Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am a Marathon Maniac!!!!!

For those of you who don't know, Marathon Maniacs is a web site is for people that run marathon and ultra marathons. In order to become a member, you have to meet certain criteria. The "bronze" level requires that you either run 3 marathons in 3 months or 2 marathon within 16 days. 

I managed to qualify by doing three marathons (actually 1 50K and 2 marathons) within 51 days. But I also did 2 marathons in 15 days. This was not one of my goals for this year. In fact, joining wasn't on the radar until next year. But was I was looking at my running schedule, I realized that I would qualify. This made me very happy and excited. It ended up being the driving force behind my finish of the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon. I am member number 5445.

But why did I want to qualify for a website that I have to pay to join? What is the point of it? I have been thinking a lot about that the last couple of days since joining. Although joining does have financial benefits (discounts on some marathons), most of the reasons why are less tangetable.

First there is the commemoratory of fellow runners. Although when I started running I never thought about this, but this is a HUGE benefit to running. Fellow runners are some of the nicest and friendlest people you could meet. They are always so supportive no matter what performance level you are on. During my last marathon, I meet a lady that had run the last marathon (two weeks ago) with me. We instantly hit it off as friends, even though I knew nothing about her. There is a special kin-ship that occurs between fellow runners. They are also an immediate support system for running. I already have a great group of friends from so now I am looking forward to meeting friends from Marathon Manaics.

Another benefit of joining is how it makes me feel. It is a feeling of great accomplishment. I did something that a couple of years ago I would have thought impossible. It makes me feel good that I set a goal, a hard goal, and I stuck with it until I meet that goal. That does more for my self image than anything. I can do anything I put my mind to.

The last benefit is not just from joining Marathon Maniacs but from my continued posting of goals I have meet. I have started to see friends and family doing more and more physical activity. I get a lot of questions from them about running too. I have, through inspiration or guilt, got them to get moving which is great and I am so happy to see that. 

2012 Pickled Feet 24/12 hour run

The idea of a race where the time is set and you see how far you can run is new concept for me, but I like it. I was schedule to run 20 miles that day anyway so I figured I would sign up for the 12 hour and see if I can do a 50K (and become an ultra-runner).
The pickled feet 24/12 hour run turned out to be a great event. I can't say the weather was perfect for the 24 hour runners as it rained the first 3 hours of the start, but for my run, the weather was nice. I even got a sun burn (you can call me a "red neck" now).
The 12 hour race started at 6am and it was dark then.
Coupled with the rain the night before and this made for a very interesting first time to be off road running in the dark. It was very hard to see the mud spot and for the first lap. However, after two laps the sun was up enough that we didn't need the head lamps any more. I ran for most of the first 15 miles, but after that, I started walking.
The sun was up, the was a little bit of a breeze, over all it was a very nice day for the race. I got to meet a lot of people and every one of them was absolutely wonderful. Many of them were doing 70+ miles (24 hour runners) but when they found out I was an Ultra virgin, they were encouraging and supportive. No attitudes here. It was great meeting old and new running friends (Thanks Wayne for "not" pacing me a lap). I did spend a couple of laps "chasing some skirt" (A guy by the name of Robbie was wearing a hula skirt.)
I will add that with just 15 minutes left in the race, wind picked up and blew like you would not believe.
So what was the damage from my first 50K?
Well, after the race my feet where hurting (but no blisters), my thighs were stiff, I have a nice sunburn on my neck, and I was tired. Not bad for a first ultra. I ran a total of 32.5 miles in 9.5 hours. Plus, as a finisher, I recieved a very special metal in the shape of a foot, very cool. I look forward to next year when I plan on doing the 24 hour run.

2012 Famous Idaho Potato Marathon

OK, my goal for this race was not to PR, since I just ran another marathon two weeks ago. My goal was to finish as this would make 2 marathons in 14 days, thus qualifying me for Marathon Maniacs. As such, I was in great spirits, even though my feet were killing me and I walked from 17 miles on. But I am getting a head of myself.
I started off by arriving in time to catch the first bus to the starting line. They had a nice line of Port-a-potties, but the sprinklers where on and the sprinklers where shooting water right into a couple of the potties. It was a very nice day in Boise, but for some reason it is always windy and very cold at the starting point (Lucky Peak Dam). Fortunately they have a very good drop back service so I didn't completely freeze waiting for the start. It was kind of funny as everyone was huddled together against buildings and cars, trying to get out of the wind.
I was very glad to see that they changed the start and let the full marathon people start a 1/2 hour before the 1/2 marathon. This race starts on a double lane road and within a 1/4 mile, you change to a 4 foot bike path with a concrete divider on one side and the Boise river on the other. On the bus out to the start, I re-meet a new friend. It turns out I was not the only crazy person trying for the two-week double to get into Marathon Maniacs. A very nice lady named Martha had also ran Lake Lowell (we ran together for a while), so we chatted up.
We even got to meet a couple of runners who where already part of Marathon Maniacs (and got a pic with them).
I also saw my friend Christie briefly as she was looking for someone. This, however was the only time I saw her as she just wheeled her marathon.
The race started off pretty good and I settled into my pace pretty easy. It wasn't until the second aide station (just after 4 miles) that the leader from the 1/2 marathon passed me. After that there was a pretty good stream of 1/2 marathoner passing me until we reached the turn off to the finish. The full marathoner kept going on the path and came back to the turn off.
For some odd reason, I cannot get my bowel to get into sync with this run. I have run it twice and both times I have had to go during the run. Fortunately, after the turn off there are a lot of city restrooms on the green belt. Now at the start, we were handed a piece of paper that denoted a change in the course.
Around mile 14, we detoured though a neighborhood for 3 miles. We only ran this section on the way out. I was bummed when I saw this as I guessed (and was right) that I would be on this section while Christie was on the other section and I would not get to see her and cheer her on. It was after this section that I started walking. My right ankle was really giving me a bother. As I discovered during my running gate analysis, on my right ankle, I don't let it bend during my run. Instead, the muscles on the outside of my foot force the ankle to stay straight. (I think I started this because of my PF.) There were times when it really hurt but I forced myself to walk through it as my goal was to finish the race.
The green belt is a multi-use trail system and is not blocked off for this race. That means you have to compete with walkers, non-race runners, bikers, baby strollers and dogs. It wasn't too bad, but it does make it interesting.
At about mile 24, I saw my friends Michelle and Ryan. They turned around and walked with me for a bit. It was great to see them and made me happy. After they left, I realized a major change in my attitude from the last time I ran this marathon two years ago. It was my first marathon and I bonked hard at 18. I felt so bad that when a couple of other friends came and found me, I felt terrible that I was walking. But this time, I was really upbeat about it. Ryan asked me if I was on track to PR and I said, probably not, but it didn't matter. I then told him my goal of getting into Marathon Maniacs.
I walked the all but the last .3 miles as I just had to run across the finish line. It was here that I became dissapointed with the race. Up to this point, the race was well organized and lots of helpful staff (although they were a little skimpy on the water filling cups only 1/4 full). But after I crossed the finish line, I was given my metal and then nothing. Most of the booths and vendors were either already packed up or packing up. I had to ask where to get my shirt. I walked up to the food booth and although they had big jugs of water, there were no cups. Then the buy pointed me back to the finish where there was a table with cups and water. The only food available was a baked potato (which was good), but there was no milk or fruit to be found. (Although I later did find a box of bananas spilled on the parking lot.) I late discovered that even the photographer left so the that finished late didn't get a picture of them crossing the finish line. It seems that if you don't finish the marathon by time they have the awards ceremony, you are lucky to get anything. I paid my money and I ran the course: I think they should stay up until the last runner crosses the finish line. IMHO.
Overall, I had a great time and it was great seeing so many running friends. Sadly my ipod puked and I lost my run on it (I hate technology sometimes). My time according to the clock was 6:05. Not my fastest (actually it is my slowest) but hey I finished.

2012 Lake Lowell Marathon

I am always nervous and excited before any marathon. I don't know why, I just am. My wife has even commented that before a race, my mind is just not there. Case in point: My DailyMile friend Calvin came up to me and my wife and I introduced him as Sam to my wife. As soon as he walked away, I knew my mistake and talk my wife his correct name. I later ran into him at an aide station and apologied. He got a chuckle out of it.

Me at the start.

The race started off right on time (which included a very nice redition of the National Anthem).I started off working on running my pace and not getting caught up in the rush of the crowd.

There were lots of great and interesting people on the run. I ran next to a guy who was obviously not from here as 1) he was not familiar with the prevailing wind patterns and 2) was not familiar with what crops where what. There was the lady wearing a plastic bag. It made for a great wind breaker but was so noisy I could easily hear her coming as she passed me. There was the couple from China who were taking pictures right and left (She even gave me a business card).

I have to say the Final Kick Events did a great job with volunteers as they were all cheerful and supportive. They made the race a lot better.

I felt good and strong for the first 1/2 of the race. It wasn't until mile 14 that my weak core began to complain. I began taking short walk breaks every mile at this point.

The wind, coming from the Northwest meant that we started and finished with a head wind. When it got to much for me, I would walk until I felt the wind die down but as soon as I started running, it would pick up again. Around mile 22, my thighs began complaining at I ended up more walking than running from that point on.

Despite this, I was still in great spirits and kept seeing my running friends who really cheered and encouraged me.  According to the official timer, my time was around 5:40 for the marathon, even though my Nike+Ipod said 5:39 for 27 miles.

As a come to the finish line, my friend Jon held out the metal like a carrot. So I ran to it, reaching for it. It was pretty funny. As a joke I tried complaining to Wayne and Christie (Final Kick Events) about how my $20 foot pod got a different number than there $1000 piece of official technology used to measure the course, so clearly their equipment was wrong. Sadly the joke was lost on them as they tried to explain the difference to me. (I guess it is like when I tell people that because I have a short finger, that if I learn sign language I would have a speech impediment. People that don't know sign language laugh but people who do know always try to tell me that I wouldn't. Some jokes are just not funny to everyone.)

Mile 27

I did not PR on this race but I felt really good on it and felt I did a good job with fueling. Now I just need to work more on my core and legs. Overall, it was a great race and I had a great time.

I would recommend this marathon to anyone. It is a fun run with pretty sceenery (lots of country side). Another thing I really like is that they don't have an "official" photographer. Instead, several of the volunteers took pictures of everyone. Then Final Kick Events lets people download them for free.