Walking the ‘thon

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Another year, another medal. I feel good about finishing yesterday’s PF Changs Marathon, and not for anything related to time, but to just sticking to it.

I decided to walk the full marathon, in final proof of this blog’s title. I stuck to my walking, and finished in 6:49 at a 15:32 minute/mile pace- I had a few splits at a 14:44 pace. I was at the half-way point around 3;23. Kind of funny as people have to run a full marathon in 3:20 to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

But no, I am not obsessed about time. I was busy looking around

For this year’s totals, we have (weak drum roll…)

  • $1355 raised for the American Diabetes Association (YAY for my sponsors).
  • 182 miles training (including the last 26.2)
  • 44.1 hours spent training (44.1 hours not snapping or face planted in front of the computer).
  • 7 pounds lost (hopefully not coming back)

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Ran, Run, Done.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

This, for me, is the nice part of running.

Being done. Looking back on it.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Conditions were perfect today, at the start at 6:30am it had to be close to 50°F and must of peaked in the 70s during the day. I was surprised at how many people were cold, shivering, huddled in front of generators for heat; I was comfortable, and if anything, you want to start out a bit underdressed as the body heats up.

With the staggered start, it was almost 9:00 by the time I ran under the start line, trying not to lauch too hard at our Senatorial greeter, maybe politicians should really “run” to get elected?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Today’s experience was mixed. I went out feeling great, and was doing good 10:30 paces til about mile 7, when I tooka first walk break, and at about mile 10, I was feeling the signs of low blood sugar bonking me. I had to slow down to take some glucose tablets, grab the sweetened sports drink, and I shut my insulin pump off, but it just sapped me of energy, and the last 3 miles were more walking than strong running.

And I was so excited to see my friends Lisa, Psyan, and Devon waving wildly as I went by at 59th Street- thanks for coming out to show support! That boost got me up the next mile. Devon got a picture of me smiling, hardly looking like a guy who hates running.

But I finished at 2:41, far from my best time, but also far from the worst. Without the low blood sugar, I ought to have come in in around 2:25 or 2:30 easy. It all counts as having it ran, run, and done. And nothing beats that thrill of finishing.

For fun, or maybe distraction, I carried by small, old Canon pocket camera, and tried to capture the look of the experience by holding the camera chest high with my right hand, and taking a photo about everytime my music changed on the ipod. I also took my own photo, by while running, they way I did this was to rotate the camera over towards me, so my images are mostly upside down, somehow fitting. I mixed this into a movie :

Congratulations to all 30,000+ runners today, especially my fellow team-mates on Team Diabetes, and thanks also to Coach Dave for tireless effort in leading us, as wel as Brian and Jose for helping run the organizational aspects.

And thanks to everyone who sponsored me, the response rate to my early requests were astounding, and I was able to raise $2600 towards diabetes education and care.

Don’t ask me now about any future plans to run! I am just enjoying being done

Did It

Marathon Medal

Cross this one of my life list. I completed a full marathon. It was not heroic, fast, not really “fun”. The final time was 5:26:01 just withing my secret, unblogged goal of 5:30. I came in 5264th place! That New Zealander in first place could have lapped me (he finished in something like 2:15, how do people do that?).

I want to send a big thanks to everyone who encouraged me, a double thanks for my sponsors, the folks who responded to my twitter messages. A big extra thanks go to Eric and family for showing up near mile 10, and a huge thanks to Travis and Britt for cheering me through mile 25. That was awesome.

All in all, the first half was great and second… not great.

The day was perfect, a total contrast to the 2007 FreezeFest. I knew it would get hot, so started in my shorts and singlet. I saw people shedding all kinds of sweats, garbage bags, gloves as soon as the sun came out. I got downtown in plenty of time, we had our Team-D meetup/photo, and I was primed:

Ready To Rock 'n Roll and Run

All in all, I likely went out a bit too fast, as I started to fade past the halfway point. Here’s the splits which show a sliding pace…

  1. 10:40
  2. 10:42
  3. 10.53
  4. 11:27
  5. 10:15
  6. 11:07
  7. 11:00
  8. 15:00 (bathroom break, sent twitter message via phone)
  9. 10:33
  10. 11:47 (stopped briefly to greet friends)
  11. 10:47
  12. 11:06
  13. 10:54
  14. 11:50
  15. 11:31
  16. 12:02 (uh-oh starting to slow)
  17. 12:19
  18. 13:47 (yes, getting tired)
  19. 13:12
  20. 14:46 (started walk intervals, sent twitter message, to tired to spell)
  21. 14:20
  22. 13:22
  23. 17:55 (ugh!mostly walked)
  24. 14:31
  25. 13:51 (picked up a bit more slow running)
  26. 13:38

He’s Smiling; Is It Real?

Got My Finisher Medal!

Some favorite t-shirts seen today (there was a lot, but my memory got fuzzy)

  • “The only easy day is yesterday”
  • “Marathon Virgin” (2 of em)
  • “Another LSD* Marathon” (Long Slow Duration)

All I can say is.. .I Am DONE! and the name of this blog stays as it is.

Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon

This seems ironic- after managing to run 18 miles last weekend, today I was looking at having to run “only” 13 miles in the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon in Scottsdale.

I must admit slacking some this week, not even blogging it, but did run my 40 minutes Tuesday, but managed to skip Wednesday and Thursday (nominally because of weather; we were up on the Rim, and it was freezing rain/snowing).

But today were were supposed to run it “easy” and avoid injury. So I did manage that, finish in non heroic form, but got my piece of metal.

Medaling is Just Finishing

The day started out (at 5:15 am) looking mean and possibly cold, but by 7:30 start time it was not so bad (especially compared to last January at the start of PF Changs when it was 24 F). This race is like the 20th annual version of it, and is, basic.. no frills. no timing chips, pretty much just water at the rest stops, but is well organized (there were cops at every major crossing).

As usual, I got a bit excited at the outset; I should be doing 11:00 minute miles, and did the first ones at 10 or less. Despite the range of people zipping by me, I kept the pace slow, moving it towards 11s even over (a 12+ for the stretch I stopped for some energy glu). The route is north on Scottsdale road, a place you usually see from a car window, and then east on DoubleTree ranch road. I got excited seeing a 56 minute time on my watch at what I thought was halfway, but I had mis read the last mile marker (I was at 5.5 not 6.5).

I had some visions of picking up some speed when we turned south on Hayden, and entered routes I run a lot. I had a fast mile at the turn, low 10, but just felt kind of laggard, and decided to slow it down. At about 11 I took a detour for the porta-potties (costing my 6 minutes on the official time, I am going by my own watch!)…. lets say the details shall not be blogged. At mile 12, turning to Osborn, I hit a burst of adrenalin just to finish and think I may have done that mile at 9:30! Crazy.

Official results have me at 2:27:15, which has no asterisks for the “long break in the bathroom”. Technically I should go with the official, but, hey, I know I was not running while sitting in that port-o-johnny.

It was just good to finish; yet sobering I am looking at doing twice the distance! As noted by my wife, on the drive home, I am not yet (or every) enjoying this, not getting the craved “runners high”. It is just enough to look back, and say, “I did it”.

So the blog title/url stays the same…

The Day After


It’s over, is mostly what I can say. I crossed the finish line at somewhere like 3:10. It was not pretty, not PR, but I was determined. I ended up walking about 2/3 the route– ran the first 2 miles, but ti was pretty apparent my shins were going to complain loudly.

And they are today, could barely walk until I got some ice and aspirin.

But rewind to yesterday. It was cold at 5:00 AM leaving the house. Not just an Arizona, faux winter chilly, it was 27 freaking degrees on the truck’s thermometer. Still feeling a know tin my calf, I thought of bailing, but also thought of the excitement, and writing less than 24 hours ago about how determined I was.

So, I got to ASU darn early, almost too early, as the main parking lot north of the stadium, has still more than half empty. I just relaxed in the truck for maybe 25 minutes, watching all the others bundle up, run back to their cars for forgotten items.

Time to go to the buses. What a surprise, and empty seat next to another Team D runner. We get downtown at 6:30, still dark, and time to kill before the Team D photo at 7am. How do the guitar players move their fingers this early?

The Tylonel I am taking is not having much effect, so although I hear suggestions, otherwise, I pop a few ibuprofen. Later, that does work, and I take a few more during the route.

First bathroom break- long lines already… tio, go past the long one on the end, where everybody falls into line. There are shorter ones towards the middle. Back in time for our group photo– what a big excited Team-D! Wish luck to the marathon runners leaving at 7:40am.

I walk down and get in line for a free sports massage. Talk to a guy from London, who has an afternoon flight home after the race. Crazy. The massage feels great, but they avoid working my sore calf muscle since they say it could lock up in the cold.

Time for bathroom trip round 2. Longer lines. Now a bit after 8, and the first bits of lovely sunlight break over the taller buildings. Grab a sliver in a parking lot, and begin organizing what goes on my and what goes in the gear bag. Get braver, remove the outer long pants and bare the legs in shorts. Not bad in the sun, worse in the shade.

Drop the gear off, and head for the starting corrals on Jefferson. Find the other red shirted Team D half marathoners. Fortunately, Corral 14 is in the sunlight! The announcements come that there is a delay at the start…. what can it be? Broken down bus? Oh well. We are shuffling forward towards the start.

And then we go. Ouch, I go out at a slow run, and can sense it will not be a pleasant few hours on this course. Turn north on 7th Ave. The first big sign I see is a huge banner:


I tihnk hell must be in Tempe, cause that’s where us 25,000 sinners are headed. There were more than a few of these, provide some chuckles along the way. Still cold, a few people are already shedding sweatshirts and gloves– folks from Goodwill are collecting them to give away. A few times some runners go to the sidelines and grab something someone else has dropped before– once a girl dashed over, grabbing a sweatshirt almost before it hit the ground.

I check my time at one mile- 10:40, a bit surprising. Best slow down. This is not going to be a race for me.

Turn east on McDowell. Still running. At two miles, 23:06. After another half mile, time for a walk break. Run into Coach Dave, who takes a photo, though I doubt I was smiling. I am into walk mode for the rest.

It all goes in a blur, not really stopping, and where possible, trying to fast pace it. With time, the proportion of walkers to runners slowly increases. It’s still darn cold, especially in the shadowy underpasses below the freeway crossings.

Walk past a favorite restaurant on Van Buren- wish I could drop in for some ribs:
Honeybears, Yum!

but why that when I can eat gel?

Down Van Buren as it curves and becomes Mill. When is that darn bridge going to get here?

Cross the bridge over Tempe Lake. Cool, they have re-routed it so we go north of A Mountain and enter the north side of the Stadium. Lots of folks cheering, bend to the south, and finally it is there! The finish!

Head right to the medic and have them plastic wrap some ice to the leg. Have to give all kinds of info to get aspirin. Weird. Data gathering.

And its done. Sign out one last time at the Team-D tent, find the truck, and weave and snake north through the side streets to find a way across the race route. Scottsdale is closed at McDowell, Thomas, but get north on 68th across Camelback, and I am home free.

And that was yesterday.

Rim Country Challenge Had My Number

The good news is yesterday I completed the Rim Country Challenge Half Marathon in Payson. The bad news is this course (see map) really whipped my butt, and I barely finished. I am not sure if it was the altitude (perhaps, I got here about 36 hours before), my drop in miles this week (resting sore shins), or just that the hills here were hard, but my time was horrible, well over 12 minutes per mile, my last 2 miles closer to 14:30, barely moving.

Img 4285

But I was just determined to finish, i ugh… something like 2:50, whereas the front runners did it in about half of that!

My first mile pace was on target (9:30), but I decided to let it up, knowing there was a steep hill on Airport Road around mile 7. The plan was to pick up the pace after that climb, but there was no juice at all.

Img 4292

The course would back and forth through neighborhoods west of highway 87, almost snake like, climbing up the hilly areas, within sight of the top of the mesa, then dropping again, to leave that hill climb up to the airport. I completely missed a sign for mile 7 in tracking my splits.

At least the views were spectacular, great vistas of the Mogollon Rim (I was in no mood to stop and take photos), and around mile 11 I was doubting I had the energy, and just plodded along to an inglorious finish, somewhere like 5th from last place.

Img 4294

But like I said, I ran the whole 13.1 mile course, and find myself wondering… how the *#$%*@ am I going to go twice this distance? The best news is that I am feeling none of the shin pain I felt last week…

Anyhow, the sad mile splits were:

  1. 09:31
  2. 11:45
  3. 12:10
  4. 11:35
  5. 12:40
  6. 13:05 (neighborhood hills)
  7. —-
  8. 14:39 (the “challenge” hill(
  9. 12:22 (steep descent on Vista Dr)
  10. 13:52 (90 second walking rest)
  11. 12:31
  12. 14:55 (out of gas!)
  13. 15:25 (gasp, uphill finish)

Img 4300

Definitely not the most proud moment on the road, and thinking very much about the title of this web blog!

Valley of the Sun Run

Today was the Valley of the Sun Half Marathon in north Mesa. This course has a lot of downhill, and it was F-A-S-T. This means another medal for the collection

Another Medal

The timing of today’s run was worrisome- after 143 days of no rain, yesterday was greeted by a major mother of a storm that yielded all day/all night rain in the desert, and likely 18-20 inches of snow in the high country.

I thought I heard rain through the night, but when I awoke at 3:30 AM (that is no typo), the sky looked clear, stars and the moon were out. Yes, it was an early start- the race organizers suggest getting out there between 4:30 and 5:00 AM. I was there enough time to park not too far down the road and get a seat on a warm school bus. We were driven 6 miles or so to the starting point near Usery Mountain Park. It was pretty damn cold, and there was not much to do except shiver and listen to some annoying local DJ. Oh, I did 3 rounds of turns at the port-o-potty (Too Much Information).

It was cool to meet up with Team Diabetes veterans Jose, Scott, and Rob, who ran in the PF Changs run in January. Just about race start time (6:15 AM) the sun was just lightening up the sky in the east. And it felt good to get out and move.

Like I said, the first 2-3 miles were downhill, and I was going faster than I thought I’d ever gone, like in the 9+ minute per mile range where my previous runs were in the 11 minte/mile range. There was a climb around miles 4-5 through a residential area, but another drop into the 10k time (I think I was under an hour at that point). The views of snow on the McDowell Mountains was inspiring. It was good and flat our Power Road, and then a huge downhill to the Salt River. Then a sharp climb around mile 11, and relativc small ups and downs to the finish line.

From my watch my splits were:

  1. 9:11
  2. 0:18:25 (0:09:14 pace)
  3. 0:27:32 (0:09:07 pace)
  4. 0:37:11 (0:09:39 pace)
  5. 0:48:18 (0:11:07 pace, with an uphil mile+)
  6. 0:57:36 (0:09:18 pace)
  7. 1:07:00 (0:09:24 pace)
  8. 1:17:00 (0:10:00 pace)
  9. 1:27:00 (0:10:00 pace)
  10. 1:37:00 (0:10:00 pace)
  11. 1:48:00 (0:11:00 pace, slowing with some resting here)
  12. 2:00:00 (0:12:00 pace, estimated, I never saw the sign to record my splt, slower up that last hill)
  13. 2:11:16 (0:11:16 pace )

I owe that last bit to Jose and Scott who came up and said, “Let’s cross the line together” (thanks for th elift, I was fading).

The 2:10 finish is a guess, still waiting on the official results. I forgot to stop the watch right at the crossing, so it is anywhere from 2:10:00 to 2:11:32.

But who cares about numbers? It was a great run.

The results are in… my official time was 2:11:16… I must have been a bit behind on starting my time, but I am not going to quibble seconds over a 12 minute improvement over my best time. Here are the results:

Valley of Sun 2006 Half Marathon Results

The 5k split of 28:41 (9:14 pace) shows how fast the first 3 miles were. The 10k split was a har (8 one hundreths over an hour, wow I thought I snagged a sub 60 minute time, but the chip does not lie– 1:00:08 or 9;41 pace, still much faster than any 10k distance before.

My final pace of 10:01 is right where I hoped to be. The pace definitely lagged the seond half, and with some more longer distance runs and/r some better pace training, I could have done better. Next goal might be getting close to 2:00:00.

Did It

More to write later, but for anyone hanging on pins and needles, I successfully completed the PF Changs Rock and Roll Half Marathon. I;ll need to wait until times are posted (and I did not even look at my watch), but my time was about 2:25. I faded a little bit on the lat 2/3 but this was pretty much my goal.

I will post pictures and other sweaty tales later, but it feels darn good to have this one checked off.

Congrats to my Team D runing mates- y’all are awesom.

Woohoo! New Times 10k

I did it! Lucky number 1376! This morning I completed my first official run of any kind in my life, the Phoenix New Times 10k in Tempe. All said and done, it was a gas, and it feels good to say I ran 6.2 miles without stopping or complaining (unless self-talk counts). The times have yet to be officially posted, but I think I was about 65 minutes, a much better pace than I thought I would manage given my gimpy knee.

I got down to Tempe way to early, around 7:00 AM, and was surprised to find easy parking. There was lots of activity already, and first stop was oicking up a “timing chip”– a little sensor that wraps with velcro around your ankle. It records exactly when you start and finish, and is rather high tech if you ask me.

Next was meeting up with the rest of Team D at our familiar blue tent. There was lots of good energy and enthusiasm, and we were all fueled up sufficiently from the spaghetti dinner we had the night before. I ended up with still an hour to hang out, but that too, looking back went quickly.

Around 8:20 we moved to the lineup behind the start at 3rd and Mill. They ask you to get in groups according to your expected time per mile, so I had a few blocks south to walk 😉 I passed all the skinny racer types iin the 6 minute per mile group and made my way to the way back, past the 1o minunte per mile group (who looked like ordinary humans). There is no need to really crush the front as your time is measured exactly my the timing chip.

Things begain to move at 8:30, a bit of false anticipation form the back as we started running but slowing to a walk as they were staging the release. I’m drawing pretty much from memoery how it went, as it is already blurring together.

I very much planned to start extra slow and not get caught up in the race excitement, so I went slow and steady across the Mill Ave bridge across Tempe Lake. It was prety thick with runners, but not too much of a press. At Curry, we turned right, knowing there was a fairly steep hill to climb. About half way up the hill was the 1.0 mile mark, and a woman was yelling out times “14 minutes” as I passed, and my first thought is, “I am going incredably slow 14 minues a mile” before (mentally) slapping my forehead- that was the time since the fron was released and I was at least 3 or 4 minutes behind that.

The hill was almost nothing (I think the runs up Fossil Creek Road helped), and I felt good cresting the hill, and not going to fast down the other side. I was passing a good number of people, and cruised past the first water stop. There were two bands we passed up to here, early morning to be blasting out the heavy metal, but it was encouraging.

Then it was turning south on Scottsdale Road, with a gentle downhill to provide a good clip. I passed mile 2 at about 24 minutes, so I was doing 10 minute miles. Under the freeway, up the slope to the bridge again over Tempe Lake, one more rock band, and wheeee! Another nice downhill to Rio Saladu Parkway, where we turned east. I think I saw another Team D runner, but was pretty much in a focused zone. Out on Rio Salado parkway the sun was coming out in strength, and I could feel myself getting thirsty. I stayed at a good pace, and passed a 3 mile mark (the last mile was another 10 minutes) barely registereing that it was halfway.

At th enext water stop I slowed down to grab a cup of water. The woman in front of me suddenly turned to put her cup back on the table or whatever, and I crashed right into her. I ended up with about 1/2 a cup of water, just sipped it and dumped the rest on my head.

We turned south on McClintock, passed another loud band, and I was cruising pretty good, again passing a number of folks. Then it was a turn west in University, a good sign as we were headed back to the start, and somewhere noticed we had a decent tail wind. I was just telling myself, “No stopping, no stopping, you can do this.” The knee was making tiself known, but it was not severe pain, just a reminder.

This is along stretch, pretty straight, in full sun. Somewhere I slowed it down for maybe half a mile to catch some energy. One band I passed was extremely loud and I was motivated to run a bit faster just to get away from the speakers. Judging from my lack of appreciation of modern metal music, I feel damn old.

But I was running, and went past the 5 mile mark (“57 minutes” which meant about 53 or 54). It was thne up the small rise towards Arizona State University, and the last water stop (most of that went to a head dump). Fortunately, the tall campusd buildings provided some decent shade. I could see ahead the turn at College Avernue (north), and came around it feeling good. It was about less than a mile to go, and I felt a burst of energy, and picked up the pace significantly– there was nothing to save it for, as we turned west on 5th Street for the last burst to Mill Avenue. Then it was a right turn on Mill, and those lovely orange balloons and seeing Michelle and Dave cheers us near the finish line. I crossed the wire at 1:08 and am hoping that translates to about a 1:05 for my start time.

Oh man, did it feel good to say, “I did it!’ Now my knee was really getting stiff, but I did not care. Our team all did well! Go Team D!

The olny down note about the race was a lack of water available! Someone handed me a popsicle that was supposed to be some sort of frozen energy bar, and it was putrid! Like shit on a stick! I finally located some fruit juice.

It’s a couple of hours later, and I still feel a bit gimpy, but still managed to take care of some household projects, so I was not a total wreck after the 10k. Of course, someone in our group who is also doing the half marathon in January duly noted that this run today was half of that run!

But I will think about that another day.

Yep, I might be really liking running…