Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boston Update

Got some good news today, Boston decided to officially let me join the party!! (provided the information I submitted is accurate!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boston Marathon Registration

I can't believe I nearly spaced the registration this morning.  I was at the gym talking myself into doing a tempo run and then remembered I need to get home and register!  Anyway, after 12 attempts and giving up and home then deciding to finish at work I was able to get through.

The only drawback is it's six months away.  Lots of time to think about it and train!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Run The Long Way at Runner's World

Run The Long Way at Runner's World

Good article from Runner's World on the long run. I tried not to cheat any long runs, no matter how I felt. If I was having a bad day I tried to finish even if it meant slowing way down so I could push my endurance further and further. I did cut one short because I felt like continuing would make things worse. That was after my 10 year old body slammed me off the bed and onto the floor the night before and threw my hips off (I deserved it BTW).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Robie Creek 2010 "The Toughest Half Marathon in the Northwest"

The Idaho Statesman had a contest for a free entry into the Robie Creek Half Marathon this year and I was selected as one of the winners.  It was a wonderful way to get me motivated and excited about running.  I was already running a lot but had never entered a race.  I ran the Dry Creek Half marathon 2 weeks before as a tune up and finished in 1:50.  Then I ran 1:50.  I was very happy with my run and more happy that Michelle finished the race too.  My brother Rich was with her helping keep her motivated. 

When I submitted the essay (on the last day with about 15 minutes to spare), I attached the following picture which may have helped my cause.....

I told Michelle after this year's race that I would run with her in the 2011 race and now the Boston Marathon is the following Monday.  We might have to have a pre or post Race to Robie of our own!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Results are in, I made it 3:14:11

I am planning on putting in a recap once I finish it.  Michelle finished in 7:09:22 and I was so proud of her.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

St. George Marathon Recap 2010

St. George Marathon October 2, 2010

I thought I should start writing this now before I forgot any details. Michelle, Hannah, Cami, and I drove from Boise, Idaho to St George, Utah on Thursday, September 30, 2010. Kaylee stayed the weekend with Katie and Zach stayed the weekend with Ashton. From what we've heard, they both had a good time without us.

We drove the course on the way into town and I am glad we did. First we stopped to take pictures of the starting line. I was particularly fascinated by the line of porta potties as far as the eye could see with not a single soul in sight. Race morning it was a whole different situation as you can imagine. As we drove the course for the first time, I was surprised by how much the course was UP and DOWN. I guess I thought it was all downhill except Veyo Hill which is an extinct volcano cone. Several of the uphill sections look like a blip on the elevation map, but they felt like more than that during the race! It was good to be mentally prepared for the course, so I am glad we drove it.

The scenery along the course is beautiful. It is just like Zion's National Park, which is pretty close. On race morning I overheard several people say, “We are from Las Vegas and just seeing the scenic course made it worth the trip!” I heard another guy who has run it 10 times say, “Don't forgot to take your eyes off the pavement and take in the view during the race. It always helps me stay relaxed and loose!”

We stayed with my mom's sister, Aunt Patti Ward. She lives in Santa Clara which is just a couple of miles off the race course. We got in about 8pm on Thursday and Aunt Patti was a little concerned since she had left us a message on my cell phone that I never saw. I don't have a car charger so I turned my phone off to conserve juice. Once we got to Santa Clara, I offered to stop and buy everyone shakes so we stopped at Arctic Circle. I think we covered the carbo loading in one stop!! They were total gut bombs, but they were so good!

Once we got to St George, we got settled and reacquainted with Aunt Patti. I was trying to recall when the last time I was at her house and I figured it must have been when I was about 12 or 13 because we went down with my grandpa after grandma passed away in 1985. I didn't sleep well Thursday night, but not due to nerves. It was from all the water I was drinking!! I wanted to be fully hydrated and have all the garbage flushed out of my system. So, I was lying awake in bed at 3 o'clock in the morning wishing I hadn’t had so much water.

I always wake Michelle up, so she was lying there with me and we decided to go to the starting line at about the time the race would be starting to check out the weather. We got up there right at 6:45 when the race would be starting the next day and it was 71 degrees, which wasn't encouraging. I told Michelle, we can't control the weather so let's just give it our best. We drove down the course at highway speed so it was still mostly dark when we got to the bottom. The uphills look a lot more uphill when the headlights shine on them!!

After we got back to the house, we decided to go to the expo to get my bib and shirt. It was fun and we saw a bunch of fun T-shirts, but none in the right size.








My personal favorite that I thought was perfect for Michelle was, THE MIRACLE ISN'T THAT I FINISHED. THE MIRACLE IS THAT I HAD THE COURAGE TO START.

After getting home, my sister Rachelle and her family arrived and shortly after that my parents showed up. We didn't really have an agenda for the day so we just hung out and got caught up. We did have to go back to the expo so Rachelle could get her race number which she was letting Michelle use. My sister, her father-in-law, and I signed up as a group. Rachelle gave up her spot because she developed bronchitis, tendonitis, and had a problem with her back. She told me while we were there the doctor now thinks she might have torn cartilage in her knee. Her father-in-law, Sam, was in the midst of moving from California to Kansas this summer as well as getting ready to retire. He wasn't able to join us this time, but hopefully he will be able to join us another time.

Friday night for dinner we all had spaghetti dinner with a salad courtesy of Rachelle. I told her I wasn't going to go overboard on the spaghetti carbo load, but then I had enough for about 3 adult men (it was whole wheat pasta though so that's ok, right?). I had raspberries for desert for some additional carbs too. Aunt Patti's son Jason who lives in the area came to dinner with his wife and kids. It was nice to catch up with them too. I hadn't met his wife before and it was nice to get to know her and their kids were all adorable. Jason brought a couple of watermelons that were enormous that we all enjoyed as well.

After dinner Michelle and I went to bed before 9pm, hoping to get some decent sleep. She took a sleeping pill and I took some Benadryl. I don't normally need anything to sleep, but Rachelle offered it to me and said, “It will make you drowsy and the worst case scenario is you wake up with clear sinuses!” It worked for me and I fell right to sleep with Michelle falling asleep shortly after me. I slept straight through until 2:30 until I had to get up and get rid of all the water I had been drinking. I woke Michelle up and that was it, we never could get back to sleep so we got up about 3:30. Luckily we set everything out the night before so we didn't have to go looking for anything and didn't have to worry about forgetting something.

Race Morning 4:02am

Rachelle's husband Morgan drove us in to town to catch the early bird buses at just after 4am. The course is a straight shot from up on the mountain down to town so all the runners are bused to the top. To encourage people to show up early for the busses they give out prizes. We didn't win any prizes and were thinking we should have just stayed at home for a bit longer.

There was already quite a crowd at 4:15, but we loaded pretty quickly and were on the road by 4:30. We were following the herd onto the bus and I managed to get the window seat right over the wheel well of the bus which meant I was going to have my knees hiked up to my chin for the whole ride to the top. At that point there were only single seats left and I didn't want to leave Michelle with a stranger so I stayed in my uncomfortable seat and moved my legs to the side and stretched them one at time. It didn't turn out to be too bad.

On the way up there was a lot of chatter among the runners. I was trying to go to my 'happy place' and tried to drown it all out. I did hear two people behind who were both from the London area get acquainted. They didn't know each other but it turned out that they were from the same area and only about 20 minutes from each other! I also overheard an experienced St. George runner telling some newbies around him that Veyo Hill separates the men from the boys. He said, “The group will stay tight right to the base of the hill and after that it starts to spread out fast!”

Once we got to the top and were getting off the bus someone in the seat next to us left a five dollar bill on their seat. I caught both of the people and asked them and they didn't seem to think it was theirs but took my word for it. *I told Michelle I did my good deed for the day so I was bound to have some good karma as a result!*

When we got to the starting area we got our space blankets and found a decent place to sit down where the pavement turns to dirt. It was pretty warm so we didn't really sit by the bonfires. The PA announcer said it was the warmest start in the last 15 years, although I am not sure what the temperature was. I had a jacket and light pants over my running stuff and I was fine. Michelle is hardcore so she didn't wear her jacket but did wrap her legs in the space blanket. I didn't want to get stuck in the bathroom line so I went twice before the mad rush at the end. The PA announcer also said there were 28 runners under 14 years old, 4 runners over 80 years old, and one woman who had run in all 34 St George races which is amazing.

At about 6:15 Michelle and I decided to get in the final bathroom line which was by now about 30 people deep in every line. I was wearing my BSU shirt and I got a lot of comments. Many of them were from BYU fans whining about a WAC school, Utah State, beating them the night before. The chit chat about something other than the race was a nice distraction from thinking about the start. The bathroom line took about 20 minutes to clear out and we were done at 6:35. We went and got one last drink and Michelle applied some sunscreen. I passed on the sunscreen since my race plan was to run fast and beat the heat! I didn't want to jinx myself by putting on sunscreen!!

As we were saying our goodbyes we wished each other good luck and I told Michelle how proud I was of her and she said the same to me. After a hug and a kiss we parted ways and I look up to see my Clif Bar pace setter about 2000 people in front of where I was able to get to. I should have been getting in line a lot sooner but I thought it wasn't a big deal, I'll just catch up. Everyone was telling me not to go out too fast but I thought I probably would. This would work out because I could get the nerves out for a bit then settle in with the pacer once I caught up. The pacers held a stick with about 8 balloons taped to the top with the pace written on each balloon with a Sharpie marker. They had to carry that goofy thing the whole race!!

I was standing in line shoulder to shoulder and I hadn't even stretched out nor done a warm up run. I was getting pushed around like I was on the floor at a rock concert with no room to move. Meanwhile people are trying to get through the crowd by saying excuse me and then pushing you to the side as they walk by. I was right on the edge of the pavement and dirt so it was tricky to keep my balance. I was wearing a belt with a water bottle too so the runners who were trying to squeeze by me kept getting hung up on the bottle and gave me an extra shove.

When the hand cycles and wheelchairs took off at 6:40 there was a burst of excitement and the crowd surged forward even though the runners don't take off for another five minutes. After what seemed like no time at all the crowd started to slowly shuffle forward. It was exciting to be moving finally but each step was a landmine as people started dropping unwanted clothes, space blankets, water bottles, and all kinds of other things. I shuffled as long as I could and then eventually crossed the starting line. I was really frustrated in the beginning because it felt like I was running about 3 minutes behind my pace for the first mile weaving in and out of the slower runners who had crowded to the front.

I didn't hear my one mile lap chime on my Garmin but I was sure I was already way behind so I decided to go trail running on the shoulder. It was a pretty good strategy for a while. But at mile 1.2 I rolled my ankle off the edge of some broken asphalt into a pot hole. I rolled it all the way over and almost went down. I heard a number of gasps and OMG's from behind me so it must have looked bad. A million things went through my head in the next couple of minutes from best case scenario to worst case scenario. Ultimately, I must have had a guardian angel looking over me because I decided I had put in too much to quit unless it was absolutely medically necessary.

Spot where I rolled off the asphalt
I felt decent so I kept going and quickly caught the 3:20 pacer. The crowd was beginning to thin out slightly and I caught the 3:10 pacer at about mile 2.5. The pacer saved my race for sure. I will always use one when they are available. He was keeping everyone motivated. Offering encouragement on the uphill sections and reminding people on the downhill sections to let gravity work with them and not pound their legs or go too fast. One thing he mentioned was to let our arms hang down on the downhill and let gravity stretch them out to stay relaxed.

3:10 pacer - Finish time 3:09:43
As I was settling into my pace and trying to ignore my ankle, I remembered a conversation I overheard from a veteran St George runner on the bus ride up. He was telling people not to forget to look up and enjoy the scenery. First of all, it is beautiful and second it helps you stay relaxed and loose during the race. In the last downhill section in mile 6 and 7 before Veyo Hill, I made it a point to run with my head up and appreciate the gorgeous view of the extinct volcano I would be running up shortly.

The town of Veyo was the first real big spectator location. While many runners were trying to focus intently on their race, I decided when I saw the first spectators with signs cheering on Dad, Grandma, Mommy or whoever that I was going to high five every single person who extended a hand, AND I DID, all the way to mile 26.2! It helped me stay focused and I saw some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen on the faces of little children I didn't even know. It made me reflect on my life and my own children, which helped me get through the race.

Along the way I saw many fun signs. The first memorable one was in Veyo. It said GO TODD! GO! YOU CAN EVEN POOP YOUR PANTS IF YOU THINK IT WILL HELP! I laughed right out loud when I saw that one! After bottoming out at the bridge, it was time to climb the biggest test of the marathon. At this point I was slightly ahead of my pace group. At the previous water stations the crowd around the pacer made it difficult to get a drink, so I decided to push just ahead so I could get a cup before all the volunteers had to go reload. I could hear the pacer giving instructions and was determined to keep a steady even pace up the hill.

About half way up the hill one racer in a wheelchair was stopped with a flat tire and one of the police officers on a motorcycle was helping him get it fixed. It was heartbreaking to see because he was half way up and now had zero momentum. To make matters worse he was stuck in runner traffic and wouldn't be able to get up to speed once he made it up the hill. I checked the paper this morning and the winning wheelchair came in at about 2 hours and he came in at 4 hours.

Just after I got past the wheelchair, I passed a guy in board shorts, a cotton t-shirt, shaggy surfer hair, and HOUSE SLIPPERS!!! They were the fuzzy moccasin looking ones and he was holding a 3:10 pace through 7.5 miles! I got a good laugh as I passed him. The highlight of Veyo Hill for me was that I kept an even, steady pace and not one person passed me on the uphill. Once you get to the top though there are some rolling up and down hills. I needed some downhill as a change of pace to stretch my muscles, but pushed through to about mile 11.

My right hamstring started to get tight and my left calf was doing the same thing. I felt like I needed to stop and stretch or have one of the volunteers rub me down with Ben Gay. I was thinking about the training run I did with Pam Gaona, Billie Leinum, and Francie Hill where I stopped to stretch and my muscles tightened up so bad I couldn't continue running. After rolling this around in my head I decided to change my posture and push off my toes more to get a different pull on my legs which seemed to help.

I made it to mile 13 in 1:34:40 and was feeling pretty good as it started to ease downhill. Mile 14 is the most scenic as it heads down into Snow Canyon. At the start of the downhill there is a sign that says 6% grade ahead which was a welcome site after the hills of the previous few miles. I was just ahead of two ladies at this point and they passed me quickly on the way down. I overheard one of them tell someone they were bobsled teammates! I figured they must have been Olympians or something. How many recreational bobsledders are there? Either way, they were kicking some serious butt. I looked them up in the paper the next day. They both finished at 3:09 something.

After coming down into the canyon, the road was in the shade for a short time which was nice. I was settling into my downhill groove and my shoelace came undone! I had to stop, but it was the world’s fastest re-tie, like a calf roper at a rodeo in about 3.7 seconds flat! I got back on the road and came to the next major spectator area. One of the first signs I saw said TAP HERE FOR A POWER BOOST, so I hit the sign with my hand which brought a smile to my face. Then I heard someone in the crowd yell my name. I looked around to see if it was my family and then remembered that my name was printed on the race bib!

We raced along in the shade for a short time and then rounded the corner out into the open sunshine. This is where I remember feeling the heat for the first time. The course is rolling hills for a bit until mile 18. Then it seems like a long huge hill that lasts nearly a mile. My Garmin says it was 36 feet of gain, but it felt like a lot more than that. I knew if I could make it up this last hill I could pace myself to the finish. I was on a pace for a 3:10 finish through mile 19 although this is where I was thinking about conserving my energy to make sure I made it to the end. This is where the pacer got away from me. I wasn’t getting enough fluids at the aid stations so I decided to slow down to a walk as I passed through the aid stations to ensure I got what I needed. I asked one of the volunteers to fill my water bottle at the mile 19 aid station. At mile 20 I was supposed to have shot blocks, but realized I didn’t have any left so at the mile 21 aid station I took an orange and a banana. I sucked the juice out of the orange and spit out the pulp. Then I peeled the banana and threw the peel in the bushes. I attempted to pop it in my mouth and DROPPED it. I was concerned I had missed my chance at getting some sugar.

The next two miles were tough because this is about when you get to the town of St George. I kept thinking it would be around the next corner and it seemed to take forever. Then the road opened up into a long downhill straightaway. There were lots of spectators which lifted my spirits and again I came as close to the side as I could so I could high five everyone within reach. This takes you to just past mile 23, then you leave the highway and enter the city streets. This is where the math junkie in me started crunching numbers to see how far ahead of my goal I was and what pace I needed to finish under my goal. At mile 23 I was 4 minutes ahead of my goal and ran a 7:28 mile (which was my goal pace coincidentally). I ran mile 24 in 7:21 which increased my lead slightly.

It was at this point where my math skills started to fail me. I was having a hard time focusing, but I knew that my overall time was 2:55 which left me 21 minutes to go 2.2 miles. I remember thinking as long as I don’t break my leg or have one of those moments where my legs turn to Jell-o I was going to make it. So, at this point, I started to conserve what energy I had left.

Rachelle's picture at mile 25
I saw Cami, Hannah, Corben, and Rachelle just after mile 25. I was so focused and tired at that point I snapped at the kids when they ran out onto the course cheering me on. They were just having fun but it was throwing off my focus. I told them to keep it quiet and get off the course. I was running a bit faster than they were and I thought I heard them carrying on still so I turned and yelled again for them to GET OFF THE ROAD! They had already gotten off the course and I ended up yelling at another runner who was just behind me which was quite embarrassing.

Dad's finish line photo
Mile 25 was 8:05, mile 26 was 8:28, and the last 385 yards was about 8:55. I remember feeling really proud to be running in strong after all these miles and on an ankle that wasn’t 100%. With about 50 yards to go, I looked up and finish line clock said 3:15:45, HOLY CRAP I have 15 seconds to finish so I kicked it in high gear. Just as I am getting to the line, I remembered the difference between gun time and clock time. It turned out that the gun was about a minute and forty seconds ahead of my chip time, but I did get a quick scare! As I approached the clock, the other thing I remember was getting smoked by a man in the 60-64 year old age group which was amazing!!

Race  finish line photo
Immediately after crossing the finish line they has set up misters to help people cool off and I stood there like it was a shower for a minute trying to control my emotions. After getting it together I walked down the chute and got my finishers medal. The volunteer who put it on me said something to me but I was really scattered brained and couldn’t understand him. I stumbled a few steps and was met by a National Guard soldier who asked if he could help me to the finisher’s area. My legs were jelly and I appreciated his help. My parents had been at the finish for a while and said they saw the National Guard soldiers help several people cross the finish line who just had nothing left.

Once I was in the finisher’s area I looked for the Blue Bunny ice cream that Sam had been raving about during last year’s race. It was awesome too! I got a plate of fresh fruit and some chocolate milk then began looking for my family in the mass of people on the outside of the finisher’s area. I finally found them and made my way through the crowd. It was a wonderful feeling to meet my family and share this moment with them. Both of my parents gave me huge hugs with the sweat still pouring down. Cami and Hannah opted for the ‘nice job’ high-five don’t touch me hug!!

I sat down on the ground to catch my breath then laid back to stretch my legs. I wasn’t sure I would ever get up from that position. While I was recovering I overheard several runners around me telling their family and friends that they just missed the Boston cutoff. When I sat up the same guy congratulated me and asked how I did. I told him I just made it and I felt really bad for him. I know he must have worked just as hard as I did to prepare for this, but was only 90 seconds behind me. After walking around for a bit it kind of hit me that I actually met my goal!

When I first told people my goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon I was nowhere near my needed pace. I think I was about 30 seconds per mile off of my needed pace when we found out we were drawn in the lottery. I just figured if I made my goal public it would push me to work as hard as I could to achieve it. A year ago this was just a dream, if you are going to dream – dream big!!

We got settled into the shade then decided to have lunch while we waited for Michelle to finish. While everyone was eating I made a number of trips back and forth to the finisher’s area to get as many ice cream sandwiches as I could carry! There were 9 of us and it was a full time job staying stocked with ice cream. I was a little stir crazy and didn’t sit much. I wandered around and claimed my bag from the starting line. I was a little concerned I would never see my clothes again but they were very organized. The bags had been all sorted out and volunteers were calling out numbers of people walking up before they even got there. By the time I got to the bag area it took about 15 seconds to get my bag!

In the finishing area they were engraving the finisher medals with your name and time for a few bucks and Rachelle offered to have one made for me. The marathon organizers rounded up massage therapists from the area and were offering a free massage to anyone who was willing to wait in line. I wasn’t willing to wait in line and decided to pass on it. I was also having a hard time sitting down and relaxing. So while everyone was sitting in the shade I was on my feet wandering around the park. While I was off they decided to take turns waiting in line for me. When I made it back around they told me they had been waiting so I hopped in right when they made it to the front. I am glad they waited in line for me because it was well worth their time!! I think the poor woman felt sorry for me and my gimpy left leg and I got about twice the time as you were supposed to.

After getting the massage, we anxiously awaited Michelle’s arrival at the finish line.

((I will leave this section for Michelle to put her thoughts in her own words. I was very proud and excited for her when she crossed the finish line however!)) Its done I just have to put it in here.

One of the best parts of the day was the post-post-race massage from the family! The kids thought it was a little strange but all joined in. 8 or 10 hands make for an awesome massage!

The next day we drove home. I wanted to drive back up the race course to get some pictures and see if I could find the spot that I rolled my ankle. We got some great pictures and I found the offending piece of broken asphalt and I can’t believe I was able to run through that the rest of the race. We had taken a bunch of blankets and pillows to make a bed in the back of the car so we could stretch out on the ride home but never got around to it. Riding 11 hours cooped up in the car the day after wasn’t the best recovery day!

On the way home as I reflected on the weekend many things brought a smile to my face. I was thinking that running has been a kind of metaphor for life. This weekend taught me to feel compassion, enjoy the beautiful scenery, recall the power of child's smile brought on by a total stranger, determination, hard work, and most importantly the value of family. If it takes running a marathon to remind me of all these blessings in my life I will continue doing this as long as I am able and in the end ......... the time on the clock will be of little importance.

What’s next?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...