Wednesday, December 31, 2008

McDonald Forest 15K

I've been running seriously for 6 years now, and the McDonald Forest 15K is the only race I've run every year. My performance has improved fairly steadily each year, except in 2004 when I nearly missed the race...the conditions were pretty bad too...very muddy. But even after racing this course 6 times, I'd still say I don't know exactly how to run this race.

2003 - 1:12:39 - Tonya's friends from grad school told me about the race...I had just run the Portland Marathon, my first marathon, earlier in the month. I obviously had a good experience because I've been back every year since.
2004 - 1:18:27 - Almost missed it...actually, probably should have skipped it, but I had already signed up. I had some trouble making it home from Boston...the Red Sox had just won their first World Series in 86 years and I decided I wanted to go see the victory parade! It was amazing! I was supposed to get home Saturday night, but I missed my connection to Portland in Chicago...the closest I could get to Portland that night was Seattle. I remember being pretty desparate to make it back in time for the race, so I flew into Seattle, rented a car, drove from Seattle to the Portland airport...that is a LONG drive, returned the rental car, picked up my car, and drove home...I got home about 4:00 AM. Needless to say, I was not in any shape to run a race.

video

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2005 - 1:10:42 - Not a memorable year, I guess....
2006 - 1:09:20 - Got the Pain Train hooked....
2007 - 1:05:40 - Got my 5-year mug...thanks to Steve Storm for the pictures.



2008 - 1:04:32 - I was pretty excited about the race this year...I had some good 10Ks earlier in the month and it was shaping up to be a nice day with good trail conditions. I started off well behind the lead pack and was shocked when I hit the first mile in 5:48! I eased up a little in the next two miles before the big climb began. This was where I started to feel a little off...I think I might have hurt myself a little by running about 20 miles on the Friday before the race...I didn't feel like I had that spring in my step. Once the big climbs were out of the way, it was time for the sick downhill...if the mile markers were correct, I ran 4:40 for mile 8...I felt very much out of control. I ended up having a pretty good race...bettered my time from last year by over a minute...but I came away thinking I could still run the course faster. The question was, what parts did I need to work on.

Well, it just so happened that Sean Meissner had a great race that day and he posted his splits...so I thought I would do a comparison with my splits. It became pretty obvious I need to work on the Mile 5/6/7 split...I was losing almost a minute per mile on average to Sean here, and about 30 seconds per mile on average during the rest of the race. Great race, Sean...thanks for showing me how it's done!

Mile 1 - 5:48 --- 5:26 --- 0:22
Mile 2 - 6:24 --- 6:01 --- 0:23
Mile 3 - 6:34 --- 5:56 --- 0:38
Mile 4 - 7:08 --- 6:30 --- 0:38
Mile 5/6 - 17:53 --- 16:02 --- 1:51
Mile 7 - 6:59 --- 6:02 --- 0:57
Mile 8 - 4:40 --- 4:32 --- 0:08
Mile 9 - 7:37 --- 7:01 --- 0:36
Finish - 1:04:32 --- 58:50



Friday, November 28, 2008

Fall 10Ks

I love to race...all distances. And since I was a little burned out after the Oregon Trail Series, I planned to run some shorter distance races this fall.

NW Mountain Running Championship - 56:20 - This race was first up, about two weeks after McKenzie...it wasn't quite a 10K, but at 6 miles, it was close. The Pain Train talked me into running it...and I had to do it...there was prize money involved! Thinking we had a shot, we decided to form a team to go for the team prize money ($500), assuming that the normal X-Dog runners would show up. The Pain Train recruited Mark Robins and Mike Tyler...both fast and running very well. But when we got to Timberline we discovered that a little prize money attracts some serious runners...Max King, Eric and Kyle Skaggs, and Ian Torrence had made the trip and I found myself a little disheartened...I started thinking about the mid-pack prize money ($300)!

The race itself was brutal...see the video below...and for some reason I felt totally unprepared for the weather which was pretty bad...cold, foggy, rainy, windy...I didn't even bring gloves. We started off by heading down the paved road from Timberline Lodge and eventually turned and headed up the mountain underneath the ski lift. I'm not sure how long the uphill was, but it was very steep and seemed to go on forever. I can't say I'd call myself a "mountain runner"...I did a lot of walking up that mountain. At the top, we did a short traverse and then hit a crazy downhill...my legs felt like Jell-O and just staying on the trail was a challenge at times. By the time I hit the homestretch, the same road section we ran down at the start, I was dying...I wanted to walk up that hill so bad, but I knew there were a couple ladies not far behind me...have some pride!

Needless to say, the real mountain runners took home all the prize money...and it turns out I ran a few minutes too fast, so I missed the mid-pack prize money too! I do have to say, that's a race I would like to try again.




Fall Festival 10K - 38:50 - A week after mountain running, I was looking forward to seeing what I could do on flat ground. This race is an annual event in Corvallis, and I had run it once before in 2006. My pre-race preparation probably wasn't the best...I ran the course on Friday, ran a hard 12 miles in McDonald Forest on Saturday, and did not race well on Sunday. I should have run the 5K, because that's the point in the race I was wishing it was over. My first mile was about 5:45...whoa, I had never run a 10K at better than 6:05 per mile before. At this point I definitely slowed down, but in the next two miles I ran out of gas...a big group passed me...the group I should have been running with from the start. The second half of the race was not real fun...I had pretty much thrown in the towel...so much so that I didn't even beat my time from 2006...38:43. I was a little disappointed and planned to be smarter before the next 10K in two weeks.


Great Pumpkin 10K - 36:56 - I spent the weekend between the Fall Festival 10K and the Great Pumpkin 10K trying to find some new road and trail shoes. I still had a gift certificate from my birthday for Gallagher Fitness Resources, so I went up to Salem...they didn't really have any trail shoes I was interested in, so I decided to get a pair of road shoes. For road shoes, I have been stuck on the Nike Air Max 360 for some time now...only problem is they're pretty expensive and I was in the mood for something different. At the store, I noticed they had the relatively new LunarLite shoes that Nike had released this past summer...I had read about these shoes and was definitely interested. And if I hadn't read this post by Sean Meissner, I probably would have bought the trainer model...Sean gave a glowing review of the Lunaracer...that was good enough for me. I bought a pair of them. I needed road and trail shoes and only came home with racing shoes!

Needless to say, I was very excited to try out my new shoes...and my pre-race preparation was better in the sense that I came into this race fresh. At the start, I noticed that Penny McDermott was running this 10K too...she had run the Fall Festival 10K and was in the big group that passed me about 3 miles into the race...my plan was to not run ahead of her this time. This definitely helped me start off under control...the first mile was right around 6:00...and so were most of the other miles. I ended up keeping her in sight the whole way and finished in under 37:00! Based on my race at the 4th of July 10K this past summer, I figured I could run in the low 37:00 range eventually, so I was a little surprised that sub-37:00 seemed to come so quickly...could it be the shoes?


It's all about the shoes


Run Like Hell 10K - 36:09 - This race was not in my original plans, but I decided to try it for a couple reasons...I wanted to run with Kristin and Carlos again and FMR was the post-race entertainment! I was pretty satisfied with my performance at the Great Pumpkin 10K, so I didn't exactly take preparation for this race too seriously. I only ran a few times between the two races, so I was pretty fresh...a couple of those runs were on the McDonald Forest 15K course in preparation for that race. Since this race was in Portland, my plan was to stay with Kristin and Carlos on Saturday night...I made a few stops on my way up there. First, I went over to my parent's house to watch Game 6 of the ALCS with my dad...I had a couple burgers for dinner...not my normal pre-race dinner. Once the game was over, I stopped by my friend Josh's because he was having some friends over to watch a UFC fight...we ended up going out and I had a few beers...not my normal pre-race hydration strategy. I didn't get up to Portland until after midnight...and the race started at 7:30 AM!

I guess you could say I'm a big fan of 'running how you feel' because there was no way I went into this race thinking I would do that well...I felt so good through almost the entire race...I'd say it wasn't until about mile 5 that I started to feel a little uncomfortable...I was just cruising. After I finished, I was on such a high...I was walking around looking for anyone I knew to talk to...I ended up seeing a couple people. I talked to Mark Robins before and after the race...he ran the half marathon in under 1:21:00...and I talked to Darin Swanson...he was pacing a friend in the 5K. I also got to see Kristin and Carlos finish. After they finished we all went back to the car to get our warm clothes on...it was really cold. Then it was time for beer, buffalo wings, and FMR...but it was so cold that I didn't last too long, and unfortunately, by the time I got home, I was feeling very sick. I had planned to go back up to my parents to watch Game 7 of the ALCS that evening, but I could barely move off the couch. I did my best to make it through the game...but in the end, the Red Sox made me throw up...literally.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 Oregon Trail Series Recap

First of all, I'd like to say...I train with the champ! The Pain Train has really made a name for himself this year. Here's a quick recap of the 2008 Oregon Trail Series...

Hagg Lake 50K - 4:21:03 - Possibly the best trail conditions ever at Hagg Lake in February...this race is known for mud and there was very little of it this year. Thanks to Jasmine Nahorniak for the pictures.



Peterson Ridge Rumble 30K - 2:50:52 - I ran the 30K instead of the 60K since it was about one week before the Boston Marathon. I wanted to run it in just under 3:00:00 since that was my goal at Boston and that would keep me from going too fast, but my Garmin was DOA...dead battery just prior to the start of the race, so I had no watch at all! I ran about half the race with Carlos, Kristin, and Amy. Then I took off...definitely faster than I wanted to, but I had no watch...psychologically I wanted to make sure I broke 3:00:00. It was a really nice day...and fun hanging out after the 30K watching all the 60K runners finishing. I'd like to try running the 60K one of these days, but the Boston Marathon has priority for at least one more year.


Amy, Carlos, Kevin, and Kristin before the start of the 30K


Carlos crusing down the trail


The Pain Train running the 60K


Kristin and Amy coming into an aid station


Photo finish on the track


Hanging out after the race

McDonald Forest 50K - 4:46:37

Siskiyou Out Back 50K - I didn't run this race, but would certainly like to one of these days.

Mt. Hood PCT 50M - I didn't run this race, but my son Will and I went over to cheer the runners on. Our plan was to meet the Pain Train at Timberline, the half-way point, then follow him back down. He had a great race...a training run turns into a 6th place finish in 7:40:26...and Will and I had a lot of fun going from aid station to aid station to cheer all the runners on.

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The Pain Train arriving at Timberline


Headed back up and then down to Timothy Lake


Dennis Gamroth arriving at Timberline


Will doing some trail running


Waiting for the Pain Train at the Frog Lake aid station


Will doing some more trail running


At the Little Crater Lake aid station


The Pain Train on the homestretch

Where's Waldo 100K - 14:52:49

McKenzie River 50K - 4:21:56

Next year is looking like more of the same for me...I'd like to run the 50 miler and Waldo before trying to tackle a 100 miler in 2010.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McKenzie River 50K

After Waldo, I was seriously considering a DNS for this race. Then I ran HTC, did really well, and decided to go for 4:15! What a difference a week makes. I came up with some splits based on one year of experience running this race...really there was no basis for them. I didn't really stick to them...definitely ran too fast from aid station 1 to 2...and missed 4:15 by about 7 minutes...4:21:56.

5.7 miles, 47:54, 8:24 pace
5.5 miles, 41:05, 7:28 pace
5.5 miles, 46:10, 8:24 pace
5.1 miles, 45:06, 8:51 pace
3.3 miles, 29:08, 8:50 pace
5.9 miles, 52:33, 8:54 pace

I rode over to the race with the Pain Train, Dennis Gamroth, and Mike Tyler...needless to say, it was fun ride. Big props to Dennis for running a great race even though he was sick...4:49:57. Here's how my race went...

It really felt like I was running hard from the start to the first aid station...I had the debate going on in my head...am I going too fast? No Garmin to know for sure. There was a guy right behind me for most of the way up...I felt like I was letting him push me a little too hard. When I got to the first aid station, I wasn't sure if the split was right there or after the short out and back. I hit it after the out and back and was actually about a minute behind where I wanted to be!

So naturally I pushed a little harder on the next section. I saw the Pain Train on my way back down the trail and was pretty surprised he was so far back...I wasn't really sure what he had planned for this race since he already had the Trail Series wrapped up. A short time later I caught up to Will Kalenius because he had made a pit stop off the trail...when he got back out on the trail, just ahead of me, he really put the hammer down...or at least it felt to me like he did...I decided I would try and stick with him, but I knew I was going too fast. This was confirmed a mile or two later when up ahead I could see a group of Rogue Valley Runners! It's one thing to try and run with them...it's quite another to catch up to them...so at this point I slowed down and let Will go. Needless to say, I was several minutes ahead of my split time for this section. By the way, Will ran an awesome race...4:05:07...it was nice to get to talk to him a little after the race.

The next section was the technical section...lots of lava rock...this was definitely not factored into my splits. I made it through OK...no trips. After this section I was still a little ahead of the pace for 4:15.

Surprisingly, I had trouble on the next section. I was running along on a nice flat/soft section of trail and must have missed a root, as in, I didn't see it...I went flying...landed face down on the trail and when I hit, my water bottle went flying out of my hand and over the cliff, down into the river! It only took a split second for me to realize it was gone for good, so I just got back up and took off. Luckily, someone at the next aid station had a bottle I could use for the rest of the race...thank-you! When I got to this aid station, I was pretty sure 4:15 was out of the question.

The next short section went by pretty quick...but the whole time I was dreading the final long section to the finish. I was pretty much spent by this point and really just trying to hang on. A mile or two into the last section, Jeff Phillips went flying by me...literally...he was out of sight real fast. And a mile or two after that Mike Tyler caught up to me. I got the impression he was kind of hurting too...he didn't seem to want to pass me, so we ran the rest of the way together...I have to say, he really pushed me...I would not have been going that fast otherwise. So we finished, and before I can even catch my breath, here comes the Pain Train! I have to admit, I was a little surprised...he may not be real happy with the race he ran, but I was impressed. This guy has incredible patience...it really serves him well in these long distance races.

Below are a couple pictures of me from the race...thanks to Tom Riley for the pictures.

My lower legs, right below my calf muscles, were really hurting for days after the race. I hate to blame a pair of shoes, but I've had some trouble with the Montrail Streaks...I hadn't ever had this kind of problem with other trail shoes. I also don't think they have enough cushioning for me...I need to find some new shoes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2008 Hood to Coast Relay

For the 4th year in a row, I ran the Hood to Coast Relay with Kult Kevorkian. This is one of those legacy teams that has been around for something like 20 years. Look for our team on the Hood to Coast documentary. So how did I get hooked up with them? Well, it just so happens that one of Tonya's friends from grad school, Leah Henriksen, has been on the team for a number of years. In 2005 they needed runners, so Tonya and I both ran...and in the years since then, Tonya has been nice enough to let me continue to run with the team now that we have kids.


This van probably has more HTC's under its belt than I do

I have really enjoyed running with this team...they're out to have fun...they're not overly competitive, but they are very particular about getting the numbers right and keeping track of the details...time, pace, etc. And I have to admit, it's been a big ego boost for me every year...I am known as the fast guy and the long-distance runner. Because of this I have been type cast as the guy who should run the longest legs every year. I don't mind...it's been interesting to look back over the years and see my improvement. Some of the legs have changed slightly over the years, but they're more or less the same.


2008 Kult Kevorkian T-shirts and theme: 'Cause Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born to Run'

One other important note about Kult Kevorkian...they are organized! This is a very good thing, but it means commitment to participate has to be made close to 10 months in advance...at the time last year, I knew HTC was the week after the Where's Waldo 100K, but I wasn't too worried...I thought if I had nothing left after Waldo it wouldn't be a big deal...like I said before, this HTC team is not super competitive. Well, I had a tough time at Waldo, so I was really curious how HTC would go...was I over tired and in need of a break...if HTC went poorly, there would be no question. I made sure to wear my Waldo shirt because I was sure I was the only one out there crazy enough to run HTC less than a week later...but I wasn't...I saw Gary Lear in his shirt and I also recently heard that Randy Benthin ran both. Surprisingly, HTC went very well...I ran it all out...I guess I had something left in the tank after all...below are my stats.

Leg 9 - According to the HTC handbook this leg is a gentle downhill run...there is no way...it is definitely a gentle uphill run. By the time I was getting ready to start (about 9:00PM), the conditions were perfect for a fast run, except for the darkness...footing was sometimes tricky...part of the Springwater Trail is gravel. When I started off, I had no idea how fast I was going. There was one guy up ahead of me that I wasn't catching very quickly...I ended up catching him within the first mile, but I could tell he was going a little too fast for me...I let him go, but shortly afterward he stopped to tie his shoe or something. He caught me again with a couple miles to go, I think...I tried to find him after I finished because I wanted to know what his 10K PR was! I was surprised with my pace considering I'd never run that fast in a 10K.
2005 - 7.30 miles, 50:30, 6:55 pace
2006 - 7.30 miles, 46:18, 6:21 pace
2007 - 6.89 miles, 44:28, 6:27 pace
2008 - 6.89 miles, 40:48, 5:55 pace

After our first set of legs, our van stopped at St. Helens High School to sleep for a few hours. I was really looking forward to getting some Burgerville burgers and a milkshake...but our team had started from Mt. Hood much later than we had in the past, so it was too late when we got to St. Helens...Burgerville was closed! I paid a couple bucks to sleep on the floor of the St. Helens High School gym.

Leg 21 - I've decided that this leg is much better at night...you can't see all the dust you're breathing (it's a gravel road). In years past, I've always run it in the dark...this year I ran a little after sunrise. After my first leg, I definitely wanted to run under 6:00 minute miles. I knew the leg had a pretty nice downhill, but early on, I was wondering where it was...finally I found it and cruised.
2005 - 5.00 miles, 34:09, 6:50 pace
2006 - 5.00 miles, 32:15, 6:27 pace
2007 - 5.00 miles, 31:08, 6:14 pace
2008 - 5.00 miles, 29:26, 5:53 pace


After Leg 21

After our second set of legs, our van stopped in a big field near the last van exchange to sleep...it was hot and noisy. Darin Swanson describes this well.

Leg 33 - This leg is long and rolling...I knew there was no way I was going to run sub 6:00 minute miles again, so I just went hard...I definitely faded toward the end...probably the last two miles. It was early afternoon, so it was warm...I was glad I took some water with me. And it's always good to be done...we made it to Seaside, found a place to park, and got to the finish in time to run across the finish line with the whole team. Then, as is tradition for our van, it was off to pizza...I was so hungry. As we sat down to eat we got to watch the finish of the Men's Olympic Marathon...cool, I had wanted to watch it.
2005 - 7.90 miles, 58:46, 7:26 pace
2006 - 7.10 miles, 50:32, 7:07 pace (Leg 32)
2007 - 7.72 miles, 51:49, 6:42 pace
2008 - 7.72 miles, 49:37, 6:25 pace

Thanks again to everyone in the Kult for another great year. And good news...Waldo and HTC do not fall on the same weekend next year! I'm in....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where's Waldo 100K Details

Needless to say, this race did not go too well for me. The race starts at the Willamette Pass ski lodge and basically goes straight up the ski run...so it's a walking start...I remember feeling really anxious...I wanted to run. My Garmin stopped working a few weeks before the race...I had some aid station splits in mind, but I really had no idea how fast I was going until I got to the first aid station. I followed Kelly Woodke for a while...at one point I even tried to follow him into the woods for a pit stop, but he directed me back onto the trail...pretty embarrassing...sorry, Kelly. In my defense, it was still dark and I was just following the guy in front of me.

In hindsight, I was definitely going too fast, but I don't think that was my main problem. I got to the first aid station several minutes ahead of what I thought was a 12:00 pace...since I had plenty of time to spare, I stopped to use the Gold Lake Campground bathroom. Next up was the climb up Fuji Mountain...I definitely backed off a little here and felt pretty good up to the Fuji Mountain aid station. From there to the top seemed a little tougher...I had run this part of the course a week earlier with the Pain Train and Dennis...I definitely felt the altitude then, but I didn't really feel it as strongly during the race. Heading up to the top of Fuji, I was still a little concerned I was going too fast, but I saw plenty of people on their way down and felt better about where I was at. The view from the top was great.

Heading down Fuji Mountain to the Mt. Ray aid station, I could tell something was not quite right...the Pain Train caught me shortly after hitting the Fuji aid station for the second time. I stayed with him all the way down to Mt. Ray, but I didn't feel very good...I would describe the feeling as a lack of energy...it felt like I was running out of gas...a little early for that to happen. At Mt. Ray, the Pain Train made it out of the aid station just ahead of me and quickly disappeared from sight. Because of the way I was feeling, I got pretty down on myself and had a lot of trouble on this section...I knew it was going to be a very long day.

By the time I made it to the Twins aid station, I noticed it was getting hot. I literally stumbled into the aid station and Dennis and crew took care of me and gave me the race update. I headed off toward Charlton Lake and was a little discouraged that it took so long to finally get to that downhill section. Just before I made it to the Charlton Lake aid station I was surprised to catch up to Kurt Eisele...he wasn't doing too well either...he said he had walked the whole section from the Twins to Charlton Lake, which I think must have been where he dropped. I told him I had to start running again because my crew was waiting for me up ahead.



My Mom, Dad, and Will were waiting for me at the Charlton Lake aid station. Not only that, but the aid station was manned by the Corvallis trail running crew and families...so, as you can see from the picture above, I was pretty excited to make it here. My answer to how I was doing...I didn't feel terrible, just not very good.





Someone suggested I take a dip in the lake...it took a little time, but it felt really good. I took off for the Road 4290 aid station feeling a lot better than I did when I arrived. I don't know how long that feeling lasted, but it couldn't have been more than half way to Road 4290...this was a very hot section. I hit another wall and eventually Leif Rustvold and Robert Pool caught up to me. They encouraged me to try to run with them, but I was having a lot of trouble...I felt like I could run fairly normally for a little while, then this wave of complete exhaustion would come over me.







Eventually I made it to the aid station and my Mom, Dad, and Will were waiting for me there. The middle picture above does a good job of showing how I was feeling at this point. I never seriously considered quitting, but I was thinking, how long is it going to take me to go another 25 miles in this condition? It turns out that the answer was almost as much time as it took to go the first 37. I took some extra time at this aid station...sat in the shade, got sponged off...I knew the next section would be very long...and it was. This was another section of the course I had run before...it was nice to know where the spring was to fill up my bottles...I needed it. I finally made it back to the Twins...got another race update from Dennis, saw some carnage (several people dropped here)...it was really uplifting to hear the Pain Train was doing so well...sounded like he was going to hold on and win the Oregon Trail Series. That gave me a boost...I ran the next section pretty well, under the circumstances, until the trail started heading uphill to the Maiden Peak aid station.

I REALLY struggled going up Maiden Peak. That's all I have to say about that.



And once I made it to the top, I wasn't in a big hurry to head back down. Frank Schnekenburger caught me at the top...it was nice to see a familiar face, so I headed down behind him...and Ken Ward was right behind me, as you can see in the video above. Frank ran hard down to the last aid station and I tried to keep up...it took all I had. At the Maiden Lake aid station, he took off well before I was ready...he had a great finish. I saw some more carnage at this aid station...someone was being wheeled off on a stretcher. After leaving the aid station, I got to chat a little with Ken on this last stretch of trail...he's really a great guy...he seemed a little concerned about me. The Rosary Lakes were very nice...unfortunately, I didn't see any swimmers.



By the time I got back on the PCT, I was really wanting to be done. Thankfully, not too far down the trail, Kristin and Carlos appeared in front of me and paced me to the finish. I tried to run "hard" with them, but just couldn't keep it up all the way to the finish. They definitely helped get me there, though. If only they could have been with me for the last 25 miles!





I finished, got my hat, and laid down on a bench. The Pain Train got me some food and drink...thanks for that. It took awhile, but I eventually felt like eating and drinking again. Where's Waldo is one hell of a tough race...I guess that's why they say on the website, "It is not a beginner-level ultra and participation in the race should not be taken lightly." I feel like I had a healthy amount of respect for the race beforehand, but now I know I underestimated it to some degree. It's bothered me that I can't really pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but it only took a couple days off for me to start thinking about next year...I want another shot. I want to come back better prepared and run smarter.

While I was having my fun, Will was having a lot of fun waiting for me...he really wore my Mom and Dad out. After waiting for me at Charlton Lake and Road 4290, they went over to Waldo Lake, then back to the finish to wait for me again. Will had a lot of fun playing in the dirt and rocks...he even got himself a new girlfriend. Later in the day, the weather turned and we got some clouds and rain...and a rainbow too...from the picture, you can see Will was pretty amazed. Thanks, Mom, Dad, Kristin, and Carlos for all your help!












Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where's Waldo 100K

Please excuse the language used in this video, but the chase scene plays out a lot like this race...me trying to keep up with the Pain Train.



Congratulations William Swint, eventual winner of the 2008 Oregon Trail Series, on a great race and a great season...sure there's one more race, but it will be your victory lap. I know how hard you worked this year...you earned it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Old-Time 4th of July 10K

What better way to start off the 4th of July than with a race? This year I ran in the 25th annual Stayton 10K...it was my second year running the race. Last year, there were a number of factors that added up to make a tough race for me (I barely broke 40:00)...I was training for the PCT 50 miler, so I wasn't doing a lot of fast running (I remember my legs feeling "dead" during the race)...July 4th was in the middle of the week, so I was training right through the race...the course is pretty challenging (it's out-and-back with several significant hills)...and it was very hot. This year I was hoping for a better performance, but wasn't expecting great things because my recovery from the Newport Marathon had been pretty rough...most training runs were not feeling good, but things were starting to get better.

Another interesting subplot was that I had recently lost a bet and was given some clothes to wear for the race. Below are a couple pictures of me before the race...don't disrespect the half shirt...Will is looking like he doesn't even know me.


As the race began, I fell in behind the lead pack and watched the Pain Train lead us through the first mile...I remember thinking, he must be feeling good! I found myself right behind Mark Robins and thought I'd try and hang with him since he had just run a 38:04 10K a couple weeks ago. But just before we hit the first big hill heading into Sublimity, he stopped for water and I kept going. As I ran up the hill, I noticed I was getting closer to a couple guys ahead of me so I reeled them in...and at this point I was feeling good so I thought, let 'er fly. I caught one more guy on the way back and I also got a few interesting looks as I passed people heading the opposite direction...several smiles! As with most 10K races, I was able to "hang on" in the end and not get passed. I finished 5th in 37:43...a 10K PR on a tough course. Thanks to everyone for a great cheering section at the finish (see the video below)...and thanks to Bullseye and the Pain Train for not finding shorts for me to wear...don't think I would have been able to run that fast in cut-offs.

video


It was really nice to run a good race after all the tough training lately. Next up is the Where's Waldo 100K...not only is this race challenging with good training, but I'll have the added challenge of training with a new baby. Lately I've been doing lots of running with Will in the jogging stroller, the Pain Train has made many trips down to Corvallis to run with me, and the grandparents have been very supportive on the weekends helping Tonya with the kids while I try to get the long runs in...thanks everyone, especially you, Tonya, for the support!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mt. Hood Scramble

I should have known better than to bet on myself in a scramble...seriously, I've had some trouble in the past. This goes all the way back to the summer before my senior year of high school when I attended the Steens Mountain Running Camp in Eastern Oregon with three of my teammates (Joe Bartosz, Jonah Lynch, and Lafe Paulson) in preparation for my final year of high school cross-country. This camp was a defining running experience for me...I had such a great time hiking, running, and camping in the Steens Mountain wilderness. During the camp, there were many different activities...some of the highlights were the 30 mile hike/run, the uphill 5K, and the cross canyon race or team scramble. My team for the scramble included Joe, Jonah, and Lafe plus a guy from Tillamook, Josh Huffman (interestingly, I've noticed his name in marathon results lately...he was a good runner in high school and, not surprisingly, he broke 3:00:00 at the Boston Marathon this year...congratulations!). The scramble course was not marked...we had to run in a general direction cross-country down into a canyon, back out (I remember this involved a large snow field), and then find the finish. I was doing alright until we were probably about 100 yards from the finish...all of the sudden my calf cramped. Rather than hobble into the finish, Joe (on the left in the picture) and Lafe (on the right in the picture) picked me up and carried me...one of the rules of the race was that all team members had to be holding the ribbon when crossing the finish line. Getting carried across the finish line was not really something I am proud of, but it did make for a great picture in the Eugene newspaper...the expression on Joe's face is priceless.

Fast forward 12 years...Mt. Hood Scramble 2007...with a race description like this, I had to try it..."This event isn't designed for the pansy-ass front avenue runner -- DO NOT expect some cutesy lil' downtown 5K, or some wussy boy trail-run. This mother is packed with adventure: hills, creeks, rock, dirt, heavy brush and more. Wear clothes you don't mind ruining, and bring band-aids if you are concerned about some bleeding. As for aid stations...there is plenty of water on the course, but I'd think twice about drinking it...especially after you waded through it. As for the distance, well it’s about 6-miles or whatever "K". We'll time you, give you awards, probably some watermelon, and hell, we may even throw a few beers -- all you have to do is finish. Think you’re up for it? We are ready for you, and to quote Shakespeare’s Henry V, "he who shed his blood with me, shall be my brother" See you on the hill." I signed up and was planning to run the race with the Pain Train and Bullseye. Unfortunately, the night before the race I ate dinner at a restaurant in Albany which shall remain nameless, and got very sick...snakebitten again...my first DNS.

Mt. Hood Scramble 2008...return of the team scramble...the teams were the Pain Train and Bullseye versus my brother-in-law Lee and myself...lowest total combined time wins. The losers would sing karaoke...but since I like singing karaoke, I'd have to wear clothes picked out for me at the 10K in Stayton on the 4th of July. I was a little nervous about the race because my recovery from the Newport Marathon was pretty rough...the big problem was I got sick a few days after the race...it lasted several days and then seemed to hang on for a long time after that. I finally went to see the doctor and he gave me antibiotics for what he thought may be bronchitis. By the time this race rolled around, I was over it, but I hadn't really run at all since the marathon. My plan was to line up behind the Pain Train and try and stay as close as I could...then hope that Lee could beat Bullseye.

As I told several people after the race, if I had known there would be that much snow, I would have brought snow shoes...I'd say the course was at least 75% snow...it's really unbelieveable how much snow there still is up there. I lost the Pain Train pretty quickly...I was too busy postholing in the deep snow and trying to stay upright. I'd say the race for me was like one of those dreams when you're running in slow motion. It felt like I was giving it everything I had, but my body wasn't responding. When I finished and found out I was about 12 minutes behind the Pain Train, I knew we didn't really have a chance...Lee did beat Bullseye, but only by a little over a minute...too bad they weren't closer...that would have been some kind of finish. The good news was I got another great scramble picture...below is a shot of me I bought from Brian Conaghan...check out the rest of my pictures here.

So, another rough scramble for me...but a bet is a bet...I'll take my punishment like a man. Pictures from 10K in Stayton on the 4th of July will be posted soon...and I plan to get video of Lee singing karaoke.

Monday, June 2, 2008

2008 Newport Marathon

I'll never forget going down to Sacramento in 2004 to run the California International Marathon...the day before the race they had a seminar where you could meet and talk to the pacers. At the time, I was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but training-wise, I really didn't have a clue what I was doing. The 3:10:00 pacer was talking about his running background (he had actually just been picked to run Western States, which at the time meant nothing to me) and his strategy for the race. I remember feeling very confident after listening to him which, looking back now, is pretty funny...and I remember him saying one other thing...once you break 3:10:00 you move on to the next step which is breaking 3:00:00...and once you do this, "you own the marathon." Now that sounded cool...that sounded like something I wanted to do.

In reality, I've been humbled so many times by the marathon, I know I'll never own it. A lot of things have to go right for you to be successful. For the Newport Marathon this year, it's quite possible everything was perfect...good training, a great taper, finish times from the Eugene Marathon for inspiration, several recent "bad" marathons for motivation, perfect weather, lots of support, and no high expectations since I was flying home from Italy the day before the race.

Thursday night was my last night in Italy. Intially the plan was to take it easy that night...eat dinner in the hotel restaurant, go to bed early, and get a decent night's sleep before my 6:55 AM flight the next morning. From what I understand, getting good rest before a marathon is important! But the Italians would have none of this...you have to go out on your last night in Italy, so we made plans to meet in Milan for dinner. To make a long story short, it ended up being a late night...we didn't get back to the hotel until after 1:00 AM. So let's see...I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep. It was painful getting up that morning, but once I got going, I felt better. Only a short flight from Milan to Frankfurt and then a 10 hour flight from Frankfurt to Portland and I would be back in Oregon. I fell asleep a few times on the long flight, but didn't get much sleep. Thankfully, I remember feeling really good when I got home Friday afternoon...I think I was just really happy to be home. That afternoon we packed up and headed for Newport. My parents had rented a house for everyone to stay in and my mom made a spaghetti dinner...thank-you! It was really nice to see everyone and I was very excited for my sister, Kristin, who was running her first marathon. That night I got about 6 hours of sleep and woke up before my alarm went off.

From the start of the race I felt really good and I remember thinking a few things...I was going to be very careful with fueling today...I wanted my legs to hurt, not my stomach, so early on I pushed a little harder then I might have otherwise (mission accomplished...I hadn't been that sore after a race in a long time). I also did not drink Gatorade the morning of the race! I drank much more water than electrolyte drink during the race, and I ended up taking only 2 gels, one at mile 8 and one around mile 16. There was something else too, something that I had been thinking about for over 3 weeks...I have to admit, I was very impressed and inspired by the results of a couple runners I know or know of at the Eugene Marathon. They ran great races, above and beyond their normal performances, as far as I knew. Raille Wilson ran 2:50:16...I knew he had broken 3:00:00 several times, but as far as I knew, never by more than 3-4 minutes. Chris Highfield ran 2:55:47...I've never met Chris before, but know he's from Corvallis. From race results, I could see he was in the same boat as me...trying to break 3:00:00 but coming up a few minutes short several times...as far as I know, this was his first sub-3 hour marathon...congratulations on a great race! My only explanation for their performances was they must have just gone for it...I think it's time to really push my limits. I wanted a spectacular finish or a spectacular crash and burn.

When I hit mile 4, I tried to back off slightly...let's not get crazy, I thought...but I was still running in the 6:30's. I hit the half marathon mark a little under 1:26:00, then the turn-around was a couple miles past that. At this point, for whatever reason, I put the hammer down and ran a few miles in the low 6:20's...part of this stretch was fueled by the huge emotional boost I got when I passed my sister going the other direction...she told me later she got a big boost too. Looking back at my mile splits, I noticed I started to slow a little past mile 20. But the Pain Train was waiting for me at the 22 mile mark...that gave me another huge emotional boost of energy which lasted about 2 miles. So at about 24 miles, reality set back in and I started to fade again...but by then there was no doubt...I was going to absolutely crush 3:00:00. I ended up crossing the line in 10th place with a time of 2:52:13...a 12 minute PR. That's still a little hard to believe, mainly because I know at some point my performance has to level off and based on my past three marathons, I was starting to think maybe it already had...now I'm not sure what to think. My sister finished her first marathon in 4:24:03...I'm really proud of her...she did real well with the training and ran a great race...it's such a great accomplishment. Now who's next? My marathon coaching services are free of charge at the moment.

I totally agree with the Pain Train, this is why I do this...for the occasional perfect day like this one. If there was one word to describe how I felt after the race, it was satisfied. But only temporarily, I'm not quite finished yet...I still have unfinished business in Boston...April 20, 2009 is already on my calendar.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Italian Taper

I found out in early May that I would have to go to Italy on business and stay for 2-3 weeks…I wasn’t sure, until the middle of the month, exactly when in May it would be or how long I would have to stay. This was an important business trip…by no means did I want to say I couldn’t go, but I had a conflict in the back of my mind. In February, I had signed up to run the Newport Marathon. The race is on May 31st, and initially, it was looking like I was going to miss it. But when everything was said and done, my trip had me leaving for Italy on May 17th and returning home on May 30th. I’m just glad I’ll be back to see my sister finish her first marathon.

So I’ve been in Italy now for a little over a week…unfortunately, things have not been very conducive to running. The hotel is basically surrounded on all sides by busy highways, and even if it wasn’t, I’ve been driving on these Italian roads quite a bit and I know I wouldn’t want to be a runner out there. My only saving grace has been the hotel fitness room which does have a couple treadmills. Interestingly, running on a treadmill in Italy is just as boring as back home. The only added excitement is figuring out distances and pace in km and km/hour…it’s funny that running on the treadmill seems to take even longer when I have to run 8 kilometers to get 5 miles. I’ve actually been a lot busier in the evenings then I thought I’d be too…so I haven’t exactly been keeping up with the running schedule I had planned. The Italian taper includes several days of zeroes.

Right now it looks like things are still on track for me to return home the day before the race. I leave Italy on Friday at about 7:00 AM and get back to Corvallis around 2:00 PM…pretty weird since it seemed like it took a whole day to get here. I was pretty wiped out after the trip over here…my only hope is it will be easier traveling back the other direction. My plan for the race is really just wait and see how I feel…if things are good early on I’ll push, but if things aren’t good early on…actually…I’ll probably still push and completely crash and burn! We’ll see…it should be interesting. Who knows, maybe this Italian taper will do me good…I was definitely feeling rundown after McDonald Forest. Taking this time to recover might help me.

This past weekend I drove over to Mount Blanc to check out the area where the toughest foot race in Europe is run…The North Face Ultra-Trail Tour du Mont-Blanc…more on this topic later…I need to get back on the treadmill.

McDonald Forest 50K

As I mentioned in my previous post, the week prior to this race was pretty crazy for me…I was very busy at work and I got very little sleep because I was still trying to squeeze a run in every day. With this race on Saturday, my total for the week would be over 83 miles.

Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a great performance. Not only was it a tough week leading up to the race, but I didn’t think I was very well prepared physically, either. For the first 3 and a half months of the year I was concentrating on training for the Boston Marathon…this involved a lot more road running than trail running…I didn’t think I would be ready for all the ups and downs of McDonald Forest. And at one point during the race, I thought to myself, “You haven’t done any long runs of more than about 3 and a half hours in a couple months! And today you’ll be lucky to finish in about 5 hours.” Hills and endurance were definite question marks.

But what a great morning for a race it was…overcast, not too cold…and the course was dry. Last year was the first year I ran the 50K and I didn’t know quite what to expect…this year I was much better prepared in the sense that I knew every inch of the course. My plan for the race was to run the hills effortlessly early on…if I felt like I was pushing on the hills early, I figured I’d be really hurting later on. So from the start I ran comfortably…I just tried not to push it, and I felt good.

Heading up Powder House Trail, I was doing my best to not push too hard…so I was a little concerned when I caught up to Matt Nahorniak on this section. I asked him how he was doing…he said, in so many words, that he wasn’t feeling real good. Penny McDermott was also close behind, and she passed me on the last short section up to the top of Powder House Trail. She had just run the Womens Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston a few weeks ago in 2:49:32, so I figured trying to run her pace would be good for me. But Matt caught back up and passed us after we got to the end of Powder House Trail…I decided to try to keep him in sight since I knew he was shooting for a sub 5 hour finish. For a guy who wasn’t feeling real good, he was really hammering the downhills…even on a tough day, he still finished strong, several minutes under 5 hours.

After the first aid station, I ran with Sander Nelson for a while, trying to pick up some tips. In all his previous races here, he told me he felt like he hadn’t ever run a really great race…well, he can’t say that anymore…he ran a great race this year and ended up finishing fifth. We hit the first part of the maze together, but he dropped me pretty quickly going up that steep stuff…I really need to work on the hiking. I tried to take it easy in the maze, but of course, coming out of it, I still felt spent. From last year’s race, I remembered several places where I had trouble, and I was determined to do better on those sections this year. One of those sections is the seemingly never-ending climb up the road to Dimple Hill Aid Station. I was happy that I was able to run this entire section this year.

I was feeling really good when I got to the top of Dimple Hill. But interestingly, when I started down Dan’s Trail, my stomach started to bother me. I definitely didn’t run Dan’s Trail like I hoped to, but once I got to the bottom of it, the uphills actually made me feel better…and then Scott Jurek passed me going the other direction and said, “Good job!” That made me feel better too. I had been taking a gel at every aid station, but decided to stop doing this…thankfully my stomach started to feel better. I seem to have some sort of a fueling issue.

After Chip Ross Aid Station, I knew I only had two tough climbs to go…the Horse Trails and the road section after the last aid station. I walked a lot of the Horse Trails last year and was determined to run as much of them as I could this year…I ended up running, very slowly of course, almost the entire way. And once I got to the saddle, I knew it was only about 1.5 miles to the top of that last tough climb…this one definitely was tough…my legs were screaming at me to stop and walk…I gave in and did for a brief bit. Once I hit the downhill I just let gravity do the work…I pushed as best I could and was able to run somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30 a mile for this stretch. When I got to Powder House Trail I felt completely exhausted and ended up walking up the hill…I thought about 4:45, but it was just a thought…not worth hurting myself before the Newport Marathon. I ran the last downhill stretch as best I could and finished in 4:46:37.

From the time I got to Dimple Hill Aid Station, all the way until about 1 mile to go, I was thinking, when will he catch me? He may not know it, but William the Pain Train Swint really pushed me in this race. The usual scenario for ultras we run is me starting off fast, probably too fast sometimes, and him catching me at some point in the second half of the race. So when I made it to Dimple Hill Aid Station I thought, I’ll try and make it to Chip Ross Aid Station before he catches me…then when I made it to Chip Ross Aid Station I thought, I’ll try and make to the top of the Horse Trails before he catches me, and so on…it really helped push me. Unfortunately, the Pain Train lived up to his name and had another painful race…for the second race in a row his stomach was bothering him…it’s tough to run that way. He still ran a great time, 4:53:49, but I know how it feels to run a race and afterwards feel like you could have done better…I think we’re both suffering from the same affliction to some degree…let’s get this figured out.

I was surprised at how well the race went for me…I had such a tough week and still had a good race…maybe I have gotten a little tougher over the past year. I may have also been fueled by revenge since I didn’t have a great race at Boston. Well, now I start my taper for the Newport Marathon. Actually, maybe I shouldn’t taper at all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

ORRC Hagg Lake Run

Last Saturday I ran the ORRC Hagg Lake Run which is a 10.4 mile run on the road that circles Hagg Lake. As of last year, this race has become my post-Boston Marathon recovery test. It is a challenging course...it is described as having a few hills, but it's basically nothing but ups and downs. I ran it in 1:07:07 last year and this year I hoped to break 1:05:00.

My sister Kristin, my brother-in-law Carlos, and their friend Kevin were at the race too. Kristin and Carlos are both training for the Newport Marathon at the end of May...unfortunately Carlos has been nursing a knee injury since the Peterson Ridge Rumble 30K...so he was a race day decision. He jumped out of the car, ran a few hundred yards up and down the road and declared himself ready to run. In the week leading up to the race, I encouraged Kristin to run the race hard...I figured it would be a good test of her fitness 4 weeks out from the marathon. I suggested a goal of breaking 1:40:00. Kevin ran the Big Sur International Marathon last weekend in 3:18:24, a great time on a tough course, so I wasn't sure how much he would push it during this race.

As the race started, two guys took off in front of me and I could see they were going much too fast for me to keep up. We ran across the dam, made a left turn, and headed up a huge hill. I felt good early on and according to my Garmin, I was running the uphill miles in the 6:20's and the downhill miles under 6:10. I remember really starting to feel the uphills somewhere around the 5 or 6 mile mark. However, I also noticed that I ran about a 38:30 10K, which is only 20 seconds off my PR. By mile 8, I was just hanging on going uphill, but was still able to put the hammer down going downhill. As I approached the finish, I could see I was going to be close to 1:05:00. I was able to hold on and came in third at 1:04:55. Perfect...I was very happy with the race.

After I finished, I went back to my truck to get my camera to take a picture of Kristin, Carlos, and Kevin finishing. I got back over by the finish line around 1:30:00, and figured I had plenty of time before they would be finishing. Then all of the sudden I looked down the road and Kristin was finishing! I was totally unprepared with the camera...this is the best shot I got of the Future Cougar Star.

She finished in 1:33:47, well over six minutes under 1:40:00...I was very impressed. It's really satisfying to see good training paying off. She is going to do great at Newport because she is well prepared. Kristin wasn't too sure how Carlos and Kevin were doing...she last saw them only a couple miles into the race. To make a long story short, Carlos and Kevin still hadn't finished over 2:30:00 since the start of the race. I had to leave because I had to go into work that afternoon, and Kristin was going to drive down the road to try and find them. I found out later that Carlos had to walk most of the course because of the knee injury and I believe Kevin decided to walk with him. I was glad to hear they were OK.

As is tradition, after the race I stopped at the Hagg Lake convenience store for a pickled egg or two and was very distraught to find that they were out of them! It just didn't feel right leaving Hagg Lake without one.

Tomorrow is the McDonald Forest 50K...I've had a tough week...high mileage, very busy at work, and definitely not enough sleep...so we'll see what I'm made of.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon

OK, it's been over a week...I've had plenty of time to think about this race. For the fourth year in a row, I went back to Massachusetts to run the Boston Marathon. This would be what I consider my second legitimate shot at running sub 3:00:00.
  • 2005 - I was training with William the Pain Train Swint to run a 3:10:00 qualifying time at the Newport Marathon, when I was offered unqualified entry through work. I took the offer and ran my most enjoyable marathon in 3:30:44.
  • 2006 - I qualified for the 2006 race at the Newport Marathon with a time of 3:10:55 (talk about cutting it close). The Pain Train and I trained to run sub 3:00:00...I knew by the half marathon mark that I wasn't going to make it, so I slowed down quite a bit and finished in 3:09:18.
  • 2007 - This time we trained even harder, with the goal again being to run sub 3:00:00. However, this year we ran different marathons. The weather prior to the Boston Marathon was terrible...strong wind and heavy rain...the race was nearly cancelled. Amazingly, it wasn't that bad during the race...wet roads and some head wind. I ended up running 3:05:10, and the only thing I can think, is the weather got in my head...I don't think I truly believed I could run sub 3:00:00 in those conditions. The Pain Train ran 2:59:38 at the Eugene Marathon...it was great being there to watch...that guy is tough.
  • 2008 - Time to take it up a notch...I used a 2:50:00 training plan this year. Here's the story...
My Aunt and Uncle have a condo in downtown Boston and they have been nice enough to let me stay there the night before the marathon for the past two years. So I had some time to myself to think and get my plan together...I was going to hit every other aid station starting at mile 4...I was going to take a gel every 4 miles. I watched the Celtics beat the Hawks, then the news, went to bed and got a good 6 hours of sleep.

I felt good when I got up in the morning...I ended up eating two bagels and a banana for breakfast...this is pretty typical for me before a race...forgot to eat my grapefruit though (this has been a marathon tradition since 2003). And instead of drinking water, I had Gatorade.

At 9:30 I walked down to the corrals. Like every year previously, I stopped for one last bathroom break before heading up the street to get in my corral. For some reason this year the lines were extra long or people were taking their time, because I was getting worried that I wasn't going to make it to my corral before the race started. With chip timing I knew this wasn't a big deal, and I was trying to not let it bother me. But it still did and I ended up running a bit up the street to make it into the corral seconds before the race started.
From the beginning, I would say I didn't have a spring in my step, but I had no problem running about a 6:45 pace. At the mile 4 aid station I reached down to grab a gel I had pinned to my shorts and realized I had lost two of them (the rest were in my pockets). I remember laughing rather than getting upset. OK, I'll just take a gel every 6 miles now. Speaking of fueling, this year I made a conscious effort to get all the Gatorade or water down I took at each aid station. I had some problems with cramping at the end of the marathon last year I think because I was having a hard time getting all the liquids down at the aid stations while on the run.

I felt like I was doing a good job running a consistent pace. I ran the first 5K in about 21 minutes, so I tried to keep doing that. The half marathon mark was hit at 1:28:27...a little faster than I had planned, but I felt good about it. I continued to keep the pace up to the Newton hills...my overall pace declined a bit in the hills, but I expected that. There was only one thing that was bothering me...

I don't remember when it started, I think it got progressively worse, but my stomach started to really bother me. It felt like I needed to throw up...I did a few times...it wasn't a full fledged hurl, but I had stuff coming up in my mouth that I'd spit out. It looked like yellow foam...could it have been the Gatorade I drank before the race? Other than the upset stomach everything else seemed to be alright...up until Heartbreak Hill. I had a little trouble going up that one, but then I was encouraged when I followed that up with a sub 6:40 mile.

I thought I might be able to overcome the stomach problem, but everything seemed to fall apart around mile 24. When I went to take my last gel, I put it up to my mouth and gagged. I was pissed and just threw it on the ground...my stomach was really hurting at this point and I feel like I pretty much threw in the towel. The last two miles were a struggle. I hit the 1 mile to go sign at about 2:55:30...I thought to myself, all I have to do is run a sub 4:30 mile...it didn't happen. I finished in 3:04:17...a PR, but I could have cared less. Needless to say, when I crossed the finish line my stomach still felt really bad. The volunteers came over to me and were concerned that I was dehydrated because there was some salt on my face and apparently I wasn't looking too good (my cousin would tell me later I looked f'd up). To make a long story short, they ended up taking me into the medical tent and giving me an IV. I'm not so sure I needed it, but I felt much better after lying down for a few minutes.

After I got out of the medical tent, I met my crew at the Park Plaza Hotel. Tonya made Boston Marathon T-shirts again this year for herself, Will, and my sister to wear on race day...it's just a simple thing, but it really means a lot to me...it's just one example of how much support I get from my friends and family. Below is a picture of me with Will and Tonya after the race and a picture of some of my family that came out to support me on race day. Thank-you all!

Obviously I was pretty disappointed with the race results...everyone says, be happy, running a marathon that fast is a great achievement, but I won't be satisfied until I break 3:00:00 at Boston. See you in 2009.