Monthly Archives: June 2009
As I pulled into the Mount Falcon parking lot last night after work, I noticed a TV news crew interviewing some people. It was starting to rain and they were quickly wrapping things up. When I passed by while starting my run, I overheard the park ranger being interviewed say “it’s important to stay calm and not panic” or something to that effect. That’s all of the words I caught, but I immediately figured they were most likely talking about a snake bite.
I finished my first loop and came back to the parking lot to refuel and found the parking lot nearly empty, no more sign of cameras or people. As I started my second trip up the mountain the news helicopter showed up and hovered over me for several minutes. I assumed they were splitting off from their normal rush hour traffic watching and gathering some additional footage for the spot being filmed earlier. Turns out that was the case.
A lady had been bitten by a rattlesnake in the park that morning and had hiked out a mile and a half to get help. They were interviewing some other people and also the ranger for the story. Turns out I got 4 seconds of coverage! Yee haw. No matter that I’m all of about 3 pixels high and the camera is pulling back in the shot… Hey, it was the opening story!
My part starts at 54 seconds into the clip. I’m wearing a white shirt and am just rounding the apex of the switchback on the right side of the screen, heading towards the camera.
Get out your magnifying glass!
The hikers in the opening shot were one switchback above me, I passed them soon after the helicopter left. Scene stealers. I should have been running faster!
After 2.5 years of running and over a dozen ultramarathons ranging from 50K to 100 miles and two trail marathons, it seemed like a good time to try a traditional road 26.2 miler. The Utah Valley Marathon was a race of convenience for me, as we were visiting Utah at the time and the finish line was only a few miles from where we were staying. I hadn’t done any marathon-specific training other than two 10 mile tempo runs since my Sage Burner/Growler 50k trail race and 64 mile mtb race weekend 3 weeks ago.
Other people sometimes think that I would scoff at doing a marathon after having done ultras. Quite the contrary, I had total respect for the marathon distance and for those that run them. I knew it would be an entirely different experience from what I’m used to.
The race was very well attended for a second year event, with over 650 finishers. I am sure that the USATF certification/sanctioning and being part of the Utah Grand Slam helped those numbers. The packet pickup line was long and slow, but other than that the organization seemed very good and things went off smoothly.
Based on my recent recovery (still in progress) from injury and also the big race weekend and corresponding lack of long training runs, I hoped I would be able to squeak under 3:30 and set that as my goal. In the back of my mind I knew that if I had a really good day I could maybe approach the Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group (3:20:59), but probably wouldn’t crack it this time around. No worries, this was a first attempt and I knew I would learn a lot from the experience.
My eyes popped open at 2:58 in the morning, and I got up 15 minutes later to start getting ready. I was happy to have slept very solidly, although only 4 hours. I rested as much as I could on the bus ride to the starting line, and hoped that we wouldn’t be pounded by the frequent rain showers that had been so prevalent over the past few days.
I warmed up and stretched out, happy to notice that my problem heel felt ok. I started very conservatively, logging my slowest mile right off the bat @ 7:49, overreacted a little with my fastest for mile two in 7:08, then settled into a very steady pace in the mid 7′s with my heart rate in the upper 150s.
My ultra training helped me the most in really dialing in my nutrition, salt, and fluid intakes. It all seems second-nature now, and makes a huge difference in keeping the energy levels up for a good steady effort. I didn’t feel the least bit fast, but I knew I had a very deep reservoir of endurance to draw on. I just had to keep going and not do anything stupid.
I hit the halfway mark in 1:37:43 with a 159 average heart rate. I had been taking my splits every mile, but didn’t ever look at them, choosing to run by feel and heart rate. Pacing was perfect so far. I would ask myself over and over – can you hold this pace to the finish? Most of the time I wasn’t really sure, but I was determined to try.
There were a few miles of twisting/up/down bike path to negotiate starting around mile 15. I upped my intensity through here and started passing people and would continue to do so all the way to the finish. I was hurting quite a bit for the last 5 miles, but I was surprised to still be holding on to the pace as well as I was.
It was a sweet feeling to hit mile 26 and take off with everything I had left with the cheers of the crowd propelling me to the line. I crossed in 3:14:55 which was good for 35th place, and was thrilled. Wow. I totally blew away my expectations and feel like I could have even gone a bit faster. I was very happy to get the “BQ” out of the way on the first try, and spent some time soaking up the scene afterwards. It ended up being one of the best races I have ever run in terms of even pacing and using what I had available to me on a given day. Sweet.
I nailed a perfect 33 second negative split to boot, running the second half in 1:37:10. It ended up taking a lot more work to hold that pace as my heart rate averaged 165 for that final section.
I’ve been without a real camera for far too long. I love taking photos outside, and of my kids. For 2 years I’ve just been getting by with my cell phone, but that all changed when I got a (really) early Father’s Day present. An Olympus Stylus Tough 6000. I did a lot of research, and while this one has a couple of shortcomings, overall it is turning out to be great. Waterproof, crushproof, freezeproof. Perfect for running the trails.
I took it out for a 12 miler on a beautiful day. The run was great. Despite doing basically no climbing workouts for months, I took almost 3 minutes off my time from last year up the Meadowlark trail to the top of Red Mesa @ Deer Creek Open Space. And felt good doing it.
Here is a little video I made of the day. The music is from a band called “The Dividers” that my brother Phil played in years ago. Perfect song for today.
Last night we went to a pool party for my nephew. I shot a ton of pics and vids while playing in the pool with the kids. Nice not to have to worry about a little water…
I’ll write up more about the camera in a couple of weeks after I’ve really put it to good use, but it looks like a winner so far!