Monday, April 24, 2017

This Week in Running 4/16 - 4/22





DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOff
Monday4Medium pace
Tuesday3Easy
Wednesday3Easy (tapering)
Thursday3
FridayOff
Saturday26.25Salt Lake City Marathon
Total miles for the week: 39.25; YTD: 634.75




Week's Summary


Well what can I say, taper week.  I didn't get many miles in mostly because I was saving my strength for the weekend's marathon.  And you know what, taking a very light week off really did help.  When I arrived at the starting line, I actually felt pretty good.  While the previous week's mileage was fairly high, this week I more than made up for it.

I have been marathon ready for quite some time (probably too long).  I had wanted to run the full marathon in February but came down with a nasty case of bronchitis (I also dodged a rare monsoon in Arizona).  So if anything, I was over trained (although recently I had not done too many long - long runs).


Post Marathon Thoughts 


First off, I need to pat myself on the back for finishing a marathon.  No matter what one's time is, it is always a memorable accomplishment.  Whether it is your first or hundredth, finishing one takes commitment, training and some amount of bravery.  So many things can go wrong on race day and it can either be a fantastic day, or an agonizing long walk, or even a humbling ride to the finish line.

That being said, I have to face the fact that the last 3 marathons have left a bittersweet taste in my mouth.  I felt like I ran well in Fort Collins and after that, I've had less than stellar results.  I can chalk it up to a variety of reasons: age, difficult weather, stomach issues, etc.  The bottom line though, is that I can run fairly well in training but when it comes to show time, it is as if the running gods mock me for attempting to run 26.2.

I've run many of my training runs this spring with low 9 minute miles and not feel too badly about it.  However, I get to race day and suddenly that pace is difficult to maintain after 9 miles.  This isn't uncommon... I remember feeling this way in Ogden and in Las Vegas.

So I am definitely wrestling with the fact that if I can't obtain the times I really want to, despite how diligent I may (or may not) train for them, why bother?  Sure, there is a sense of accomplishment and I like the Saturday long runs and training but when it comes to race day, I am filled with a sense of fear "that this is gonna hurt".  And I think to some extent my thoughts turn into reality.

It could be that the marathon isn't for me, anymore.

The thought of that is a little hard to swallow. My ego takes it on the chin when I do think about lining up at a race where I used to run the marathon but have "settled" for the half.  And that doesn't sit with me.  I do get a sense of satisfaction from running a ton of miles and doing marathons.  But a part of me is upset because I don't get the times that I think my dedication deserves or what I used to be capable of achieving.  In some ways, I am almost embarrassed by my times.

I am not sure where I am going with this but hopefully someone else has wrestled with this or could lend a bit of advice.

Upcoming Races



04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/17: Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille / Elko, NV (Very Probable)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: Dam Train Race - 12 KM Race - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 Salt Lake City Marathon Race Recap






Official Time: 4:25:22
Placement: 297th out of 632, 22nd in the 45-49 age division
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: 40's to start, upper 50's when done. Mild wind
Garmin RouteHere

MileTimeComments
19:28Some uphills here and hemmed in.  
29:22
38:32Downhills here.  Wish the whole race was like this
48:48
58:41
69:09Leveling out now. Have to power myself
79:11
89:29
99:06Sort of wishing I was going with the half marathoners
1010:12Some uphill sections here took a lot out of me.
119:21
129:42
139:34Actually maintaining a decent pace despite some fatigue
149:54
1510:12
169:39
179:19
1810:10Starting to feel the wear and tear
1910:26
2011:56
2111:39Really struggling here.
2210:38
2311:00
2410:45
2511:40Come on finish line... not much left here.
2611:35
26.384:10
Total Miles: 26.38 - 4:23:46




Introduction


Last spring I got a pretty sweet offer via Facebook:  Sign up a year in advance and pay less than $3 a mile for the full marathon.  You can't find very many marathons at that price.  So taking a fairly large gamble, I decided to sign up.

I also had wanted to run the Salt Lake City Marathon for a while.  It is in my "home town" and I wanted to be able to say I had run it.  I also don't go downtown much, so it would give me a chance to explore the biggest city in Northern Utah.


Pre-Race


On Friday, during my lunch hour, I made the 15 minute trip to the convention center.  Packet pick-up was fairly quick and they had a free exhibitors there.  It also doubles with a fitness convention, but since I was on my lunch hour, I didn't even bother to check it out.

What is great about local races is that I can sleep in my own house / bed.  I didn't have a lot of anxiety over the marathon.  So I actually slept pretty well.  I was up before my 4:30 alarm went off and managed to eat some food, hydrate and put the finishing touches to my gear.

I live fairly close to a rail station, so I drove there, parked and took a 5:15 AM train.  The trains are free on race day (provided you have a bib) and I figured the train would be packed.  Boy was I wrong... at my station there were a handful of riders that were doing the race.  However, once the train got near the finish line, hundreds of people jumped on.

It was about a 30 minute ride to the race start and I wound up making small talk with another runner.  Time went by fast and the train dropped us off right at the starting line.  No stressful parking, didn't cost anything and I had maybe 45 minutes to kill before the race start.



I was one of the first groups there and the bathroom situation was awesome.  Just find an open one and go.  About 15 - 20 minutes before the race, however, and they were lined up 8 - 10 deep.  I managed to go once more before dumping my warm-up gear at the bag drop.



The Race



The race started at 7 AM sharp.  A perfect time in my opinion.  It wasn't hot and the sun was just coming up.  I sort of got a late jump on the starting time and was lined up about 75% of the way in the back.  I suppose this was a good thing, as it makes me start out a little more conservatively.  However, I did have to wend my way around some slower folks.



The race headquarters are at the University of Utah and the race also immediately starts off with a couple of hills.  They don't last terribly long but they are enough to make you slow up a bit.  I didn't mind as I knew the next few miles would largely be downhill.

I loved running along the university roads.  There are many old and stately mansions there and the neighborhood had a lot of charm.

Some of the folks came out and were cheering us on.  In fact, throughout the entire race there were spots of friendly neighbors out lending support.  Some offered makeshift aid stations while others were there to offer a friendly cheer.  That was nice because I know the race causes a lot of problems for the locals.



Miles 3 through 5, in fact, have some wonderful, but not-to-killer downhills.  I was really enjoying the course so far and was hoping that it would be like this the entire run.  The views and early morning atmosphere was making this run a treat.

I did have to make a pit stop at the mile 3 aid station.  They had plenty of bathrooms but luckily I didn't have to waste too much time getting into one.  Almost from the start I had had to go to the bathroom.  I would've gone at the first aid station, but there were lines.  I was so relieved... pretty race nerves along with too much to drink the morning.  I figured I lost about 30 - 40 seconds.  Not the end of the world...


The next downhill section to the north side of the side was spectacular.  I was speeding along the downhill part and managed to knock off some pretty good splits.  I was still holding back, as I knew I had some 20 miles to go and I know I pay for fast starts dearly in the latter part of the race.  However, I was letting gravity pull me along.

There were aid stations roughly every mile and most were stocked with gels, Gatorade (probably Endurance  Formula from the taste of it) and water.  Some had bananas and oranges.  I was also carrying 28 ounces of Tailwind and my own stash of Gu.  In fact, this race had more Gu than any other I've been in... props to the organizers.

After exiting the canyon, you come up on the the north side of the city.  I've been to parts of the city before and I recognized where I was.  You run along beautiful Memory Grove for a bit before making a quick pass near the LDS Temple.  You don't actually get to see the temple but it is in the vicinity.



Around mile 9 I was starting to feel a little off.  As we peeled off from the half marathoners I felt a little bit of hesitation.  Did I have what it took to finish without dying?  Had I gone out too fast?  What did the second half of the course have in store for me?

I bared down and focused on trying to stay as comfort and hydrated as I could.  My last 3 marathons have been semi-grueling affairs and I wanted to -- at all costs -- to avoid having another meltdown.

I reached the half way point at roughly 2:01 or so.  That was my goal and while it was ambitious, I knew I had been aided by the fact that the first half of the race is largely downhill.  I could feel the altitude, the heat and the rolling hills taking their toll on me.

At this point, the race was mostly being run through residential neighborhoods.  A lot of people were struggling with getting around the city on account of all the blockades.  Also, it appears that it is mandated that EVERY single street corner be manned by a police officer.  Seriously -- every single one.  If I ever wanted to commit a crime, the day when the Salt Lake marathon is being run is the day I'd do it.

We did get a chance to run a loop around a hilly park.  It was very nice here but there were plenty of rolling hills.

Also, I noticed almost immediately that the mile markers were off.  I'd see mile 5, for instance, and look at my Garmin and see that I was at 5.25 miles.  I checked periodically with other runners and they too felt like they were off (it wouldn't correct itself until mile 25).

I recognized the general areas that I was running in and luckily Salt Lake is very easy to navigate with our coordinate system for streets.  So I always knew where I was.  However, I was getting more fatigued with every mile.  It was if my legs, which had been fairly well rested, just didn't have it in them today.  I lamented that I had run better training runs.

The pounding continued and I was counting down the number of quarter miles around mile 18.  I kept envisioning how much longer I had to go based upon my normal training runs.

The temperature had increased a bit and I was sucking down my Tailwind and double fisting from many of the aid stations.  I got a little depressed seeing my splits go down but I also realized not many other people were passing me.  I think everyone had underestimated the hills and it was taking a toll on them.

Despite the elevation chart, there are lots of little hills.  I don't remember any crushing hills, but the course could definitely be profiled as mild, inclines and declines.  There were a few stretches of flats but either I was making a slow ascent or descent almost the entire race.  Looking at my Garmin, I see over 800 feet of elevation climb -- that is a lot for a full marathon.

Around mile 20 I accidentally stepped / kicked a pylon.  It didn't hurt or anything but it caused me to pull up.  And my opposite calf muscle locked up. Did I have a 10K walk now?  Luckily, some stretching managed to loosen it up, but it was scary moment.

I could smell the finish at 24 and while my pace was awful (I had a volunteer / medical person ask me if I was okay) I was feeling strong enough that I knew I'd be able to finish without resorting to a humbling walk.

It was also nice to run the perimeter of Liberty Park. This is a gorgeous and historic park just south of the capitol.  It was also shaded and I knew that the finish line was near.




I was so glad to see the finish line.  However, it was still half a mile away.  It always seems to be so far away.  I kept trudging -- what felt like running through quicksand -- until I reached the finish.

I was so glad to cross the finish line.

Shari was there and she handed me a Coke, which I sucked down greedily.  It really helps settle my stomach. I actually didn't feel too bad once I finished.  Usually, I feel like throwing up but I managed to just walk it off.

Finish line is near the courthouse


I grabbed some food and water and made my way to the gear check.  Most of the runners had already left as the half marathon is the race's biggest draw.  There was plenty of food at the end as well, although the variety was pretty limited.

Conclusion



This race was bitter sweet.  I was glad to have finished and gotten my first marathon for 2017 done.  However, I was hoping for sub 4:15.  I realize this course is challenging and I certainly wouldn't call it a fast course.  It is an honest 26.2 however.  There are some declines but the rest of the course make it a good one.

I loved the aid stations.  They were properly manned and had more than ample supplies.  Usually races skimp on gels -- but this one had plenty of them.  In fact, if I had to do this one again, I'd probably not pack any.  I did, however, go through my own Tailwind.  I drink a lot and it was sunny and while the temperature wasn't extremely hot, I did drink.


Finisher's Medal


There could've been a better selection of food at the end.  Soda or even something more tangible.  They did have cream Popsicles, some corn rice cake thingy, water and Gatorade.  They also had fruit cups.  Again, I would've loved to see have seen sodas or something.

The tech shirt was a nice design and pretty standard issue as far as races go.  The medal was a little small but I liked the leather keepsake it came in.  The swag bag also was filled with lots of extras.

For the price I paid, I got a great deal and I was really excited to have run the marathon representing the city that I live in.  I grabbed their special deal for 2018 and signed up for the half marathon.

This race is definitely worth doing and if you don't mind rolling hills, this race is a good marathon to choose for Utah.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

This Week in Running 4/9 - 4/15


Pelicans are back on the Jordan River Bike Trail


DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday85 x 9.05 pace, 3 fairly easy on tired legs.
Monday5Medium pace
Tuesday4Easy
Wednesday71.5 mile warmup, 3 x .5M in 3:45 with .1 M rest
ThursdayOff
Friday7Medium paced 
Saturday87 in 9:05 pace
Total miles for the week: 40; YTD: 595.5





Week's Summary


Well this is the second week of the taper.  Judging from my overall volume, though, it wasn't too much different than any other week -- just not super long run.  I did manage to get in some quality miles though, with good workouts on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Nothing too extreme, but definitely harder paced than usual.

I was tempted to run a race this weekend.  Believe me, my mouse was hovering over the "Register Now" button more than once.  But I kept myself in check and decided to save my energy for this coming weekend's Salt Lake Marathon.

I signed up last year, for a whopping $50 (or so) for a full marathon -- which is about $2 a mile.  You can't beat that.  So I am excited and hopeful for my first full marathon of 2017.

I know the course is hard and I would've liked to have had a more traditional build up.  I am just hoping for good weather and being able to start healthy.  I don't have any time goals, but I just don't want any death marches.


Me with my cat Spooky

Sadness

This week I had to part ways with my 20-year-old cat Spooky.  She's been a trooper and has had way more than 9 lives in her life.  Cancer and kidney failure was making her life misery and it was time.  She was a beast of a cat and the diseases had whittled her away to almost nothing.

It is hard parting with her.  She was very loyal to me and every time I passed by her, she'd get up and demand to be rubbed.  I had the magic hands and she knew it.  I also knew how to pet her and if I got out of range, she'd let me know with a not so gentle bite (not sure what possessed this, but she was mean spirited in this way).

There are so many memories of this cat and all we've been through.  She wasn't the easiest but she was part of the family.  The house definitely seems more quiet now that I have no pets.  Also, there is an odd feeling of when I wake up that I have a pet to feed -- and then remember there are none.  Yes the house is cleaner -- no more litter boxes or stinky food, but there is a sense of emptiness and void as well.

Spooky will be missed.



Eddie to the Rescue


If you've read my blog for any length of time you know that I love animals.  I feed a couple of cats every day I run that aren't mine.  One is a feral cat who has never paid me an ounce of respect and another one has a home but knows I come with the "goods" and we'll share some time with one another.

I do keep an eye out for trouble on the bike trail.  Whether it is someone homeless, or an animal that needs help or what not.

So on Thursday as I was heading for a walk to feed my feral cat (it was my rest day, so no running) I spied a dog not far from my house.

We eyeballed each other but he kept to his side of the road and I kept to mine.  Suddenly, however, he darted across the street and nearly got hit by the 5 PM traffic.  He ran into an alley after nearly missing another car.  I think I was making him nervous.

I had never seen him before and I knew that if I left, he'd probably dart back across the street and surely get hit.

So I whipped out some cat treats and used them to coax him into a sense of trust.

I called the city but getting animal control or any sort of help at 5 PM is a no-go.  They said they'd be there but after an HOUR, they never came.

I did get the dog to trust me and I checked his collar with bribing him with treats, which he greedily ate.

No I.D.

So we were stuck.  He wasn't buying it when I tried to lead him and unless I had a leash he was going to bolt.  I was looking for anything to get him.  No one was home either and I don't have a leash at home.

Luckily, I spied some old rope holding together a gate.  I managed to untie it and make a leash out of it.  I tied it to his collar and off we went.

I brought him home and called the city, who now said they were closed and I'd have to deal with it until the morning.  Huh?  I have a deathly ill cat and now I have a strange and hyper dog in my house.  I couldn't just let him go.

I tried to leave him in the garage but he wasn't happy there so I let him have free reign on the house, which didn't please Spooky.  I went to the grocery store to get some dog food but it turns out I didn't need to -- he was robbing what ever was on the counter and eating that.  He ate a TON of cat food.

Eventually it was getting late and I was worried about Spooky and I knew we had to take her in to the vet in the morning.  I also had this dog who I didn't want to let out of my site.  We have a lot of wood in our house and he was clearly exploring and I didn't want his nails scratching stuff.

He climbed on the bed with me and even put his head on my legs but he was too crazy and couldn't sit still for more than a few minutes.  This was going to be a no sleep night.

On a whim, I called a 24 hour vet to see what they suggested.  Luckily, they took in strays and would coordinate with the city.  They were the answers to my prayers and sleepily I went over there and turned him in.

I haven't heard back yet but I did check the checkbox saying I wish to be notified if his owners can't be found.  He was micro chipped and I can only hope they have found his owners.

I am glad I did my good deed for the week and that I may have saved a dog's life and gotten him reunited with his family.

I am not sure I want him but you never know.  We bonded and at the vet the dog was glued to my side -- as if to say "Please don't leave me, I want to be with you".  And he was so cuddly in bed.  I was really sort of sad to turn him in.  He did understand basic instructions too, so obviously he had a family (he appeared on the older side too).

I love dogs and I could easily see myself getting attached to this one...


Upcoming Races



04/22: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)
04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: Dam Train Race - 12 KM Race - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

This Week in Running 4/2 - 4/8 - Plus Desert Run






DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday7.5Run through the desert in West Wendover Nevada
Monday5Easy run today
TuesdayOff
Wednesday71 Mile warmup, 2.5 x 8.10 pace, 2 at 8:20ish pace
Thursday5Medium Paced run
Friday3Easy
Saturday12.5First 10 at 9 min / mile, last 2 fairly easy.
Total miles for the week: 40; YTD: 555.5





Week's Summary


This was another strange week.  I fully expected to be sore and tired from last week's Emigration Half Marathon.  It was largely a downhill race and it usually takes me a few days to feel not sore afterwards.

The rest of the week was kind of ho-hum.  I was in part recovering and in part prepping for this weekend's half marathon.  My race schedule for this month is pretty insane and I have to balance maintaining my fitness with being "race ready".

I did get in one speed workout session.  I did a series of tempo runs.  I did my warm-up and ran until I get to my normal turn around point.  I wound up taking a bit longer of a break upon arriving (bathroom issues) and then made the return trip back.  So I got in nearly 5 miles of quality training.  Overall it was good run and I came away feeling like it was a productive workout.

Canceled Race


This Saturday I was supposed to race the Winter Striders Ogden Half Marathon.  I had rested for it and was all set to race it as well,.  However, all throughout the week they were warning the north Utah area that rain was in the forecast.

The race directors had sent out numerous emails to be prepared for winter weather.

The previous night I packed just about every imaginable kind of clothing and had two massive piles of running "junk" on the table.  I dutiful woke up at 4 AM to the site of absolutely no rain.  None whatsoever had fallen throughout the night.

So I ate and packed up my car and hit the road just before 5 AM.  By the time I got to the freeway, my windshield was dotted with drops of water.  By the time I got to north Salt Lake it was raining pretty good.  And finally by the time I was in the middle of Davis County and approaching Weber it was coming down in buckets.  

Once I got to Layton I decided to turn around.  My car was hydroplaning on the freeway and I saw lightning.  So even if I made the rest of the journey I figured that it would be canceled from lightning.  Also, I didn't fancy sitting in an open field for 45 minutes with nothing but an umbrella and a wind breaker.  So I turned around and came home.

I checked in on Facebook and sure enough the race directors canceled the race.  They are working on rescheduling it.

Believe me, I was really upset with myself for punking out on the race.  I had paid a decent amount of money for the series and I have already missed out on one of the races.  I am also likely to miss the 30K, since it comes one week after the Salt Lake Marathon.  

Hopefully I can make the make-up race.

Desert Run

On Sunday I was pleasantly surprised when I got up after an early night of gambling in Nevada to go for a run and didn't feel too bad.  I wound up taking a route I hadn't taken in a while and added a new twist to it.

It was nice to get on an ATV trail that was for the most part fairly flat and do some exploring.  I wound up doing a fairly slow 7.5 miles and just barely beat an incoming storm.  In fact, as I was heading into town it was starting to drizzle and by the time I got to my hotel it was coming down pretty good.  I loved exploring the trails and was itching to do a longer run, but time and energy level constraints held me back.  Also, on the plus side, I found a very nice compass that was laying in the middle of the trail.

Enjoy the photos:

















Upcoming Races



04/08: Winter Striders Race Circuit Half Marathon - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed) Rescheduled
04/22: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)
04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: Dam Train Race - 12 KM Race - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Monday, April 3, 2017

This Week in Running 3/26 - 4/1


Almost to the top of Wire Peak




DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffHike up to Wire Peak
Monday54 Miles at medium pace with 1 Mile of strides
Tuesday5Generic run
Wednesday51 Mile warmup, 2 Miles hard, 2 cool down.
Thursday4Generic run
Friday3Easy
Saturday13Emigration Canyon Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 35; YTD: 515.5





Week's Summary


This week was off.  I felt really drained for most of the week and I had zero to minimal "oomph" in most of my runs.  In fact, I was running what I like to call "dead legged" and very uninspired.

That is usually a sign that I am running too much -- as well as racing too much.  I had barely recovered from the 6 Tunnels Half Marathon two weeks ago as well as a long run.  So I really took it easy this week.

The hardest part, for me, in regards to training is that I feel like I should be doing more.  So while I did get in some quality miles on Wednesday, I felt like I really wasn't "training".  I just plodding miles along.

The plus side of the week is that I did race pretty well.  Downhill races always scare me. It is hard to contain one's pace and yet I wonder how much faster I could've taken the downhills.  There is such a punishing element to it as well.  I was very surprised in the following days that the muscle soreness wasn't as bad.

Wire Peak Hike

On Sunday, I did get in a hike to Wire Peak.  I like to use hiking as cross training since they are like speed work -- without the pounding.  I find I can really work up a head of steam just rapidly ascending the side of a mountain as I do running a tempo run (or intervals for that matter)

I did the hike last year and it was a fairly easy hike but I really felt winded this year.  Granted, the first couple of hikes of any year is getting acclimated to high altitude as well as relentlessly trudging upwards.

I just didn't feel like myself, and I didn't have a lot of power.  I had to stop and take a lot of breaks.  Again, I am way overdue for a running break and yet I am going into what is likely my most ambitious race month -- with 4 races planned.

I have attached a bunch of photos -- merely for your enjoyment of the high.  It was a beautiful day to get wet, muddy and check out the sites overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, Salt Lake City and the University of Utah.





























Upcoming Races



04/08: Winter Striders Race Circuit Half Marathon - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)
04/29: Winter Striders Race Circuit 30K - Huntsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: Dam Train Race - 12 KM Race - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)