I just found this. Sorry I don’t have a source to credit.
Slow runs, slower.
Hard runs, harder.
Long runs, longer.
May 19, 2012
I just found this. Sorry I don’t have a source to credit.
Slow runs, slower.
Hard runs, harder.
Long runs, longer.
May 22, 2011
I’ve been interested in space, flight and science fiction for a long time. There may just be a way to connect those interests with one of my other interests, marathoning. Here are some races that relate to this theme.
I’ve group the races into categories: Themed, Connected (basically, there is a tourism opportunity), and A Bit of a Stretch. I’ll also link to my report (if I have one) or put an asterisk (*) next to it if I have done it but do not have a report. For some of the “Connected” or “Stretch” races, I’ll favor races I’ve done or want to do. I’d love to hear of other races, especially as they would make good candidates for anyone pursuing the goal of running a marathon in all 50 states.
Space and Flight Themed Races
Air Force Marathon – Dayton OH (*) The race is held on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (as in the Wright Brothers). The pasta dinner is held in the Air Force Museum, where you can see some magnificent aircraft and missiles. If you don’t want to go to the pasta dinner, you can always visit the museum on your own.
Space Coast Marathon – Cocoa, FL – You can go to the Cape, you know The Cape aka Kennedy Space Center, where they launch rockets, and you currently get a discount with your race registration. The aid stations like to play up the “I Dream of Jeanie” connection.
Rocket City Marathon – Huntsville AL – I’m not sure how much they do up the space theme, but I’ll give them credit based solely on the name of the race and proximity to the Marshall Space Flight Center. It doesn’t matter to me – I really want to do this race someday!
Martian Marathon – Dearborn MI – All I can say is if the race is as good as website, it will be truly strange and truly fun. I’ve seen the shirts and they’re great. Heard nothing but good things. So, this one is on my list.
Space Connected – As far as I know, these races do not have space themes. However, they do still present opportunities to visit places that relate to space and flight. Maybe you should visit after your race rather than before so as to stay fresh for your race.
Tucson Marathon (*) – Tucson, AZ – The Pima Air Museum is an amazing place where you can get up close and personal with some vintage aircraft. It’s close to The Boneyard, where the Air Force stores old aircraft outdoors because of the dry conditions. If you want to drive a little farther, you can visit the Titan Missile Museum. If you want to go really far afield, visit the Kitt Peak Observatory.
Marine Corps Marathon – Washington DC – Visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. While it would not be quite as easy, you could also take the train down from Baltimore, meaning this visit would work with the Baltimore Marathon too.
Duke City Marathon – Albuquerque NM – While it would be something of a drive, you should take the opportunity to see the Very Large Array at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the races in New Mexico are very close to the NRAO. This race may be the closest and it’s probably 2 1/2 hours away.
New York Marathon – New York NY – Visit the USS Intrepid Museum. In addition to the aircraft carrier and vintage planes, the museum just landed (pun intended) the space shuttle Enterprise. As of this writing, you get a 50% discount for being in the race.
A Bit of a Stretch
Boulder Marathon (report) – Boulder, CO – I wanted to visit Boulder ever since watching the sitcom Mork & Mindy. Ask the locals and they will direct you to the neighborhood where the show was based. There’s not much to see, I’m afraid.
November 27, 2009
The race website describes this marathon as “tough but fair.” I’m not really sure how a marathon course can be “fair.” There wasn’t any need to crawl under anything or over anything, so maybe that’s fair. I can certainly vouch for the fact that it is tough.
My family and I made this race into a vacation. We were all very excited to be in New England to see the leaves change colors. While we had a wonderful time, I really should not have neglected to keep running. Vacations do that to me. However, lesson learned: there is a big difference between “tapering” and just not working out at all. It made a tough race that much tougher.
This race was exquisitely well organized, with an army of truly superb and enthusiastic volunteers. This became very apparent with the pasta dinner. It was great! I’m not a fan of seafood, but my wife tells me that the seafood sauce with shrimp was really good. How many race dinners do you know that even have a seafood option?
I’d say the race swag was really great, too. Most notably, we received a pullover rain jacket, embroidered with the race logo.
Weather for the race looked really dicey. All things considered, I am very thankful. It was cold, with temps in the 30s and 40s. While the sky looked threatening all day, it didn’t rain until after I was done with the race. You’ll note that some of my pictures look foggy. That’s a result of condensation on the camera lens. There wasn’t any fog.
The race had an early start for those that expected to take more than 6 hours to finish. As a back of the packer about to have a bad day, it meant that I was to have a lonely day as well. I was pretty much at the end of this particular parade. I got passed a few times and I passed people even less.
In addition to being tough, the course is just gorgeous. Did I mention it was tough? Most marathons, you feel good for the first 10 miles, maybe feeling a little tight in the first mile especially on a crowded course. I loosened up after probably the first 10K, felt good until mile 10, and then it was a real slog from then out.
Other than the extremely enthusiastic race volunteers, there were very few spectators. I did think that one of them had it wired. Her house was right along the race course. She could just look out of her front window and smile at us and wave from what I am sure was a very cozy vantage point on a chilly day.
I had to keep bundled up for most of the race. I was able to take off my runner’s fleece somewhere around the 10K point. I had to put it back on by about 15 miles because it was getting so cold.
My miles splits show that while I didn’t come close to following my plan, the wheels didn’t really come off until Mile 16. That’s unfortunate because the toughest part of the course was still to come. The course continues to have hills until Mile 21, where it becomes All Uphill, All The Time until Mile 25. By that point, my calves were just screaming. I was so ready to quit. It would have been awful to come all that way and not finish. And if I really want to complete races in all 50 states, I’d just have to come back and I don’t think Maine has any “easy” marathons. I’m just glad that there wasn’t any rain.
Somehow, I made it to the finish line. Before I got there, knowing that my time was going to be my worst so far of 2009, I decided I was going to try to show a little pride. I took off my fleece so everyone could see my Marathon Maniac colors. They even announced I was a Maniac over the PA. This lead one of my fellow Maniacs to seek me out, introduce himself and some other Maniacs, and even tell me which of the huge selection of tasty treats in the tent I should try! This I call “Maniac Love.” It is the best reason, in my opinion, to join the Maniacs.
Thanks to the RD (and fellow Maniac!) as well as the volunteers for a very memorable race. My family and I enjoyed ourselves immensely.
I must say though, I am much more scared now of New England races than I am of running races at altitude in the inter-mountain west. Those are mostly behind me, but New England is still, for the most part, ahead.
November 7, 2009
Confession time: I undertrained for this one. Borrow the prediction of Clubber Lane in Rocky III: the forecast calls for pain.
But it wasn’t that bad. I would highly recommend this race to anyone.
It was a gorgeous day at the reservoir, where the race begins and ends. Lots of races involve a long drive to the start or a drive and then a bus ride. It was a very short drive from the heart of Boulder to the parking area at the start. It was cool that morning but no need to get out of the car. I reclined the seat and “rested my eyes” for a half hour or so.
Part of why I would recommend this race to anyone was their attention to detail. We got a thoroughly stuffed goody bag as well as a very nice cap and technical shirt. Most races are focused on, well, racing. They don’t always have the best sound systems. The Boulder Marathon, however, did not skimp on speakers.
You could either describe this race as a big small race or a small big race. Either way, I was happy with the number of people at the starting line. There was a really good vibe to everything.
We were about 3 minutes late in getting started, so I have deduct points from the technical portion of the score for this race. But we were off and all seemed to be going well.
For the most part, this race is run on well maintained dirt roads. Race materials say it is 90% dirt. My guess would be closer to 75%. Still, it is the closest thing to a trail marathon that I will probably ever do. I had some apprehension about the roads, especially given the changeable weather in the Rockies and the notable chance of rain the forecast. On this day, there was no need to worry on that score.
The race was very scenic and induced a very peaceful feeling. Being a back of the packer, there weren’t many people around me, though the race was big enough that I never got lonely. One of the nicest things happened around Mile 6. I was stopping pretty regularly to take pictures. A couple behind me took the time out to stop (yes! in the middle of a race) and offered to take my picture. How could I refuse? You can just see the cones around the timing mat at the 10K point in the background.
To this point, I was executing to my race strategy pretty well. I’ve put together a spreadsheet using map data to set paces based on the road grade. The map data was broadly accurate but I remember the first part of the race going faster than I predicted. Early miles should have had some annoying (if not nasty) hills and they just didn’t seem that bad. I’ve been working on hills but I didn’t think I had improved that much. About half way through the course, the hills just seemed to get much, much harder. Maybe I did myself in somewhere between miles 9-12 with some over exuberance on the downhills. I also worked on running up those hills after that point (if you call 14 minute mile pace “running”). I’m sure that contributed.
But then again, remember how I said it was a nice, cool morning? It didn’t stay that way. The race was run on the last day of summer. Summer. The weather did not want us to forget it was summer. It got really hot. The race organizers sent an e-mail out after the race saying that they thought it was really hot, too. I remember seeing the emergency vehicles go by way too many times. Once is too many times if they have their lights flashing, don’t get me wrong. I just think the heat really got to people.
So here I am, undertrained and very hot. Do you see where this is going? Not to the hospital, thankfully, but not my finest hour in terms of a race result, either.
It was a real struggle in those last miles. The race seems to have run out of cups so they were handing out water bottles instead. I don’t think I will soon forget one of the ladies using her cleavage as a cup (bottle?) holder. I wish I could have done the same.
The hills in the last part of the course were really cruel. Maybe they would have been a nice challenge in 55 degree weather. Not fun at all in the heat.
I tried to summon up the strength to run the last mile, as there is some downhill to it. But I got to experience something new instead. My body told me: “If you run, you will throw up. If you walk, you might (or might not) throw up.” I just did not want to toss my cookies this day. So I walked. I managed to run that last .2 miles or so and it was nice to have that small victory. Name announced, across the line, snag my medal.
Then something else amazing happened. For the first time EVER (and Casper doesn’t count) – I FOUND the Beer Tent! So, I can check that goal off my marathon list now, too.
The Boulder Marathon had superb volunteers and great organizers. My thanks to all of them for a good time.
September 26, 2009
As you might imagine, this report will not be that much different from my ET Marathon report from last year. It will kind of be a report about the “delta” between the two races and a chance to talk about some “firsts.”
I made friends for the first time using this blog. I got to meet Ramona, who had left a comment on my report from last year. True to her word, she was wearing her shirt from the Martian Marathon and it made her and her husband (who was similarly attired) very easy to find.
Loading up the buses went very well this year. Maybe a little too well. We left very early and had to wait longer for the race to start. Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled to “complain” that an RD did something too well!
The buses were once again ice cold but I brought my sweats this time. It turns out that you can ask the bus driver to adjust the air conditioning, too. Who knew?
Michael Jackson had just recently passed away. The bus driver had us listen to his greatest hits almost all the way there. I don’t get the feeling that my fellow marathoners were big fans. I’m not either but I have to admit some of those tunes were pretty darn good as I listened to them in that liminal state between sleep and wakefulness.
We arrived at the Black Mailbox. The race was much bigger this year. The Mailbox was lit up by a lantern at the table where they were handing out glow necklaces. Perhaps because it was easier to see, lots of people were getting their pictures taken by it. Ramona had brought along some glow necklaces and glow bracelets of her own and graciously gave me a few, with which I decorated my hydropack.
Here’s a few pictures of the starting area to give you a flavor. I start with Ramona and me posing with the Mailbox.
I believe Ramona’s husband was doing the half, so he departed on the bus for the starting line. Ramona and I, along with a friend of Ramona’s that I’m darned if I can recall her name (sorry!), all started together. They agreed to my run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute pace plan though I wasn’t exactly sure why. It was nice to have company, let me tell you.
It was windy, even a little cold. On the Thursday before the race, the full moon had been exceptionally bright back home in Phoenix, just as it had been for the race last year. This meant on race day we were a few days past the full moon and possibly due to clouds as well it just was not as bright. If anything, it was really dark and the headlights made a big difference.
Here’s a picture of some runners on the course. Can you tell what this is if you didn’t know?
We were close to the time of the Perseid meteor shower. I saw 14 shooting stars this year.
The 13 mile climb up the hill was still awful. My plan was to do run/walk for the first 10 miles and then walk the last 3 miles up the hill. If anything, I should have walked the last 4 miles! I was not defeated by the hill this year, even though I was definitely tired by the time I reached the top. This part of my strategy definitely worked.
Coming down the hill, we played a word game. You would say “I’m going on vacation and I’m taking a….” Then, you would say the name of thing starting with the letter A. The next person would say all of that plus a thing starting with B and so on. My brain has never hurt so much during a distance event! I didn’t play along when it came time to do “I’m going to a concert and I’m going to see…”
Not sure if these ladies won the costume contest but they probably should have. Imagine this sight coming out of the darkness at you. The costumes are on backwards – the ladies are running away from me and have their masks on the backs of their heads.
Somewhere around Mile 17, I realized that I was Not Done. A marathon just wasn’t going to be enough for me tonight!
Somewhere between 17 and 20, Ramona and I went our own way. She was having a much easier time holding her pace.
Hit the wall twice. At 23 (predictable) and 30 (surprising).
Finally had a negative split at the marathon distance, as best I can calculate from my Garmin’s data.
As I was coming back from the turnaround (25.7 miles, as I recall), I found the sunrise. It was unbelievably gorgeous and worth the wait and the effort. I’m not sure the picture does it justice but here you go.
Finally had the feeling that running would be easier than walking in the late 20s. I started counting the passing lines on the pavement, trying to run for (what else?) 51 of them before walking for a few. Finally, I just couldn’t count anymore and there went that trick.
I was racing with a number of people towards the end, so I feel like I earned my Age Group DFL. The most amazing part was at the finish line. A guy tried to pass me. It made me so mad! I didn’t realize I had that much left in me. I was going so fast that I literally could not go any faster, arms and legs were just flailing, full sprint after 31 plus miles. He nipped me at the line but it was still really cool!
I met up with Ramona at the Little A’Le’Inn. She said she would have gone out too fast if not for me and I thought that was a really nice complement. That is my big takeaway for this race – do not let that initial hill defeat you.
I had hoped to break 7 hours, as Ramona did, but instead I came in just over 7:17. This is better than my 50K PR of 7:42, so I’ll take it.
Had a beer and Coke at the bar. Easy to find the post race beer when you have to pay for it! Perhaps because of the calories, I was a real chatterbox on the way back. Here, I got to make another friend, Maryann (another commenter on this blog). It was great talking about other races, music, and all sorts of other things. Still, sorry if I disturbed anyone on the bus too much.
It is the policy of this blog that all race volunteers and great and wonderful and deserve to have praise lavished upon them. The volunteers at this race excelled and were especially noteworthy. I really appreciated the Pepsi near the marathon point and that you smiled as I was singing “Family Tradition.”
Much as last year was a good event, this year was better and so the credit for that must go to Joyce, the lovely and gracious, our RD. Big Thanks to her and to all the volunteers and to the wonderful staff at the Little A’Le’Inn.
July 23, 2009
This event was tactically well executed, especially given that it was an inaugural event. I just don’t like some of management’s choices. It all boils down to the fact that I can’t stand wave starts. I’m done with them.
It was a beautiful course. I absolutely love my new tech shirt and I wear for workouts all the time. The course was challenging but not a killer. My wife and I had a wonderful time in Seattle before and after the race. There really was a lot to love.
I have some pictures. I may post them later.
June 16, 2009
Here’s another question that led someone to this blog. I have several reactions.
1. Honestly, it beats the hell out of me. You would think that if someone did all of that running, the weight would just dissolve, almost as if by magic.
2. But it doesn’t work that way. I’m not exactly sure why but here is what I surmise. All that exercise makes you hungry. It is very easy to overeat, especially when you feel you are being “good” by adhering to your training program. Running, however, is not an excuse to not watch what you eat. If anything, you need to think about what you are eating more, so that you are properly fueled for practice and for racing.
3. Because you do need to be properly fueled for running and for life in general, I don’t believe that marathoning is a particularly good weight loss regimen.
4. What running and marathoning can be though is something much better and much greater. You’ve heard that cliche – make a lifestyle change. If running, and running marathons if you want, becomes part of your life, becomes part of who you are, well, my friend, you have made a lifestyle change. I do believe that the weight will come off, agonizingly slowly perhaps and not without some setbacks, but you will lose weight.
5. The latest things I have read in the papers (for whatever this may be worth) say that you need to exercise for 5 hours a week to lose weight. If you are faithful to a marathon program, and if you have made running a part of your life such that you keep running even when you are not training for a specific event, you will be able to run 5 hours a week. I find that if I keep control of my diet and stay at 5 hours or more a week I have much better success in losing weight. If I am having trouble, I can usually find that my log will show I have been running for less than 5 hours for a week or three.
6. If you are just starting, don’t let 5 hours a week scare you. It may take years for you to get to that point. It did for me. But you can make it. This again is the dreaded “lifestyle change.” I’m here to tell you that it is doable. There’s no rush. Keep at it. Remember, though you need 5 hrs/wk to lose weight, you need only 60 minutes a week to get real health benefits from running.