Monday, December 10, 2007

Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon

Dear Mr. Race Director,

Please let me take this time to thank you. It was a wonderful day for a race. The skies were overcast, but not a drop of rain fell during your half marathon. The volunteers on the course were friendly. We had plenty of water, GU2O and assorted GU flavors. The course was flat for the most part and Scottsdale always has plenty of sites to see.

My race went well too. The first few miles I ran with my Earlham College sweatshirt. Around mile 3 I dropped it off in the bushes along Scottsdale road. I hoped to pick it up later, but it was gone. If you have a lost and found and it's there, please let me know. If I never see it again, that's ok - it needed to be replaced anyway.

I ran along side two women at the start of the race. They passed me and were about 10 yards ahead until around mile 5. I passed them, they passed me, I passed them and so forth throughout the entire race. Around mile 7 I passed a guy that had a garmin that would beep every 30 feet or so. I would think it was my garmin, so I would check my wrist every time his garmin beeped. I got tired of the HR beep alert and the distance beep alert on my garmin a long time ago, so mine only beeps on the mile. I had to distance myself from him so I didn't have to hear his. But, of course, he and I would leap frog each other for miles. I passed one lady, she must have weighed 90 lbs and she was walking. I asked how it was going and she said she was hurtin' a bit. I told her to hang in there. A couple miles later, she passed me by.

Here's a picture. It looks like a sky cake with a wedge cut out.

But, it's really a building with the Arizona sky above. We've been cloudy alot lately.

My first mile was done in 9:54. I knew this wasn't going to last. I wanted to do as many 11 minute miles as I could. So, I got in to a good groove of doing 10:50 splits while I was running. My walking added to the time.

My splits:

As you can see, my splits slowly creaped up. But, for the most part I ran well. The last two times I ran I had a sharp pain in my left knee. Runner's knee. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to run today and would end up not finishing. I used my knee strap that I had bought months ago and it worked great. I did not have a single knee issue the entire day.

I loved this race because they gave out finisher's medals and the coolest tee. This is the race associated with the football bowl game. The football players may get better swag (I think they get a Wii), but I love my medal and tee.

But, the neatest thing about this race is that I set a PERSONAL RECORD for a half marathon. I ran this one in about 2:27:41. My previous PR was 2:37:21 at the Casa Grande half back in October. That's about 10 minutes faster.

After the race, I ate an apple, went to the john and headed back out onto the course. I wanted to get another 5 miles in. I ran the course backwards and got to see and encourage the extreme back of the packers. I ran out about 2 miles, saw the last runner with the sweep cyclist and saw the volunteers taken the course down. I ended up having to wait at street signals, so I turned around, caught up with the last runner and ran in with them. I almost got an extra four miles in. My legs were dead. Check out the map below. We covered a lot of Scottsdale in one big loop. When I was adding extra miles on, a cop pointed out that I was running the wrong way. It was a loop course with the start and finish near each other, but I told the cop I parked near the start and needed to go back. About 10 seconds later a confused cop yelled, "I thought the start was near the finish?"

Again, I'd like to thank you Ms. Race Director and all the volunteers of this years Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mesa Turkey Trot

Another Personal Record bites the dust. I ran in the 2006 Mesa Turkey Trot last year and set a PR of 1:11:05. One year later I ran it again and finished around 1:07:59. 3 minutes and 6 seconds faster with a sore calf.

Here's the tee. I think it's pretty cool. We also got a $5 discount for Mi Amigo's Mexican Restaurant. I got to watch the start of the 1 mile and 2 mile races before my race started. Lots of folks running these races. I bet there were about 500 people for the 10k. The race was all on surface streets, asphalt with some dirt shoulders. I decided to rely on the water stops that were planned, so I didn't carry any water. This worked well and I never went thirsty. I had a gel around the 3.5 mile mark and that seemed to help. At the start it was pretty crowded, but I wanted to start slow and warm up my calf. Mile One split was 10:35, but there were times we were running around 11:30 shoulder to shoulder. I wanted to get my speed up like it was at Vegas last week. Mile two split was 9:57 and I was breathing good, but my legs felt tired. Mile three was my worst. The split was 11:58. There was 2 breaks during that mile. One for water and one for no obvious reason (that I can remember). Mile four's split was 11:18, so I was picking it up a bit, but I wanted to go faster. I tagged along with various runners that passed me, my unknowing pacers. Mile five was 11:33 with one break. Mile six was 10:20. I realized if I wanted to have a shot at a PR I better get it in gear. At the end you enter the park, the crowds pick up and you run along the lake. I passed a bunch of people and ran my fastest of the day, doing the last 2/10 of a mile in a split of 8:51.
This is the sweat shirt they gave out at the LV turkey trot last week. I really like it, but it's a medium. I can fit into now, but after it gets washed I think it will be too small. My wife, Amy has put dibs on it. Below is the data, if anyone is interested.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Phoenix 10k

The New Times Phoenix 5k and 10k races are probably the biggest races in the Phoenix area for these distances. It's pretty cool, because the 5k is run at 7:45 and the 10k is run 45 minutes later. You can run both races for just $8 more.

Last year I ran just the 5k in 34 minutes for a PR. I have since run faster 5k's, but I was hoping to do better than last years race, if my leg was willing.

On the map, the innner path is the 5k, while the 10k stays across the lake for a while. They played the National Anthem, which I wish they would at all the races and then we were off. Tigger was supposed to be here with his family, but I did not see him. There's thousands of people at this race. I started out pretty comfortable and was keeping right around a 10 minute pace over the bridge and back. Then we ran along the Rio Salado Parkway, which is the final mile in the PF Chang's half. It brought back fond memories. There was a kid that could not have been older than 8 sprinting past everyone and then walking. We would yo yo with him most of the race. He was hanging in there pretty good. Not sure when he finished. I finished under 33 minutes, but the official time is out yet.

You have to tell the chip removal team that you are running in the next race, so they don't take your ankle chip. I then had about 10 minutes to get a bite to eat and go to the porta potties. I got a blueberry muffin from Sweet Tomatoes. The lines for the can was incredible long. I ended up not going at all.

Check out the roadrunner statue in downtown Tempe. I thought it was pretty cool.

Here's a picture before the 5k. As I finished up the 10k racers were already lined up, so we got lots of cheers from the crowd.

Most of the runners do the 10k. I stood on the sidewalk at the start and just saw wave after wave of runners go by.

After a while, I jumped in and began my second race of the day. My leg was still feeling pretty good and I was hoping to get a good run in.

Until about a mile into the 10k. My calf started to bother me. Instead of agrivating it, I chose to do a very conservative walk/run pace.

This is a photo of the start of the 10k. The topless lady with the white headband must have been cold.

My splits:

5k mile 1: 10.00
mile 2: 10.45
mile 3: 10.17
1/10: 51 seconds at a 8.32 pace
unofficial time: 31.53
Official Time: 32.23

10k mile 1: 10.21
mile 2: 12.02
Mile 3: 13.26
Mile 4:12.34
Mile 5: 12.00
Mile 6:12.44
2/10: 4.19 for a 10.31 split.
unofficial time: 1.16.37
Official Time: 1:16:02

I was conservative for about a mile. I found Mark, a friend in the pack. He was nursing a sore knee, I was nursing a sore calf, so we ran and talked for awhile. We parted ways with about 2.5 miles left and I started running a bit faster. I continued to do a run/walk and talked with a few folks along the way. Again, there were lots of folks around the finish for my second run through. I ran a bit faster, but I kept repeating to myself - "Don't push it. Don't push it." I didn't want to do anymore damage to my calf.

Lisa ran the 10k with a friend, but I didn't see her either. The 10k race ran past the finish line of the full marathon. Each time I was on the marathon course I thought about Pokey, who's running her first half out at Big Sur. I hope she had a super day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

YMCA Half Marathon

This week I really tried to watch my calories and I think I got a bit dehydrated too. This morning was the 39th Annual Downtown YMCA Half Marathon and I wanted to make sure my fueling was just right. I woke up at 5:20 am and ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I forget who, but that's someone's sandwich of choice on race morning. You know who you are. I packed 4 gels. Three of them were Carb Booms, which I was trying for the first time. One was a PowerBar double espresso gel, which I really like. None of it helped.

As you can see on the chart, I bonked at around 9 miles. We started in South Mountain Park and immediately got on the street and left the park. The first mile and a half was downhill. It was hard to hold back and I was running some of it below a 9 minute pace. I slowed down and hoped I could conserve my energy, since I had to climb this hill on the way back.
Here's a view of some of the runners visiting vendor tents before the races.

Running out of the park you pass the horse stables.

And Scorpion Gulch. This isn't used anymore. I guess you could call it an abandoned tourist trap. About two miles into the run we got off Central Avenue and onto the canal. The asphalt was not in good shape all along the canal, but we did have great views of the mountains to the south and downtown Phoenix to the north. I ate my gels at 3, 6 and 9 miles. On the way back I got to talk with several runners. This kept me occupied, but I was feeling fatigue in my calfs around mile 9 and was reduced to walking. Two weeks ago I felt great the entire run. I think I started this race dehydrated and it just got worse until my legs felt like lead. I walked more than I ran the final three miles. Going up hill into the park you run along the open street and in car after car you see runners eating bagels, drinking Gatorade looking into your eyes and feeling your pain. They finished along time ago, I still had some unfinished business.
And since this was a training run of 14 miles, I knew I would have to do 9/10 of a mile after the finish line. I turned left into the Parks parking lot and I could see the finish line and 3 runners in front of me running, but running slow. I decided that I wasn't going to walk across the finish line. And, if possible I was going to pass the other runners. I kicked it in gear. Checking my garmin later I see that my pace went all the way down to 4:54 at the finish line. I passed two of the runners easily and the third one I passed with the official at the end pointing toward me. I passed her too.

What did I get for my troubles?

An apple and some Gatorade. My garmin said I finished 13.1 in 2:46:30. The official time was 2:49:05. Either way, far from my PR of last week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Casa Grande Half Marathon

My car's thermometer read 47 degrees Fahrenheit as I was driving south into the desert. By 7 am it wasn't much warmer and I was deciding if I needed to wear my 'Ohio State Buckeyes' sweatshirt for the first part of the run.

Note to self: buy some cheap sweatshirts at goodwill for future events. I did that for two earlier halfs.

I wasn't willing to lose my OSU sweatshirt and I was getting used to the temps. I got down their about 40 minutes early. Perfect to get my bib number, tee and go to the bathroom. I got to the starting line as the announcer told us that the half marathoners should go to the line. There was between 30-50 runners. It was a small race. I think the photo shows the full field.
At 7 am we were off and running. After a few hundred yards I checked my garmin and it said 8:30 pace. I as mad because I thought my garmin was on the Fritz again and I wouldn't have data. Then I realized that I was flying with the rest of the pack and it was right. I quickly slowed down, but still did a sub 10 minute mile 1.

Note to self: when running with a small group be extra careful you don't start off fast.

This is the test track we ran on. It was around miles 11 and 12. I had just eaten a double latte gel and was glad to be back on the campus of Central Arizona College, so this was a good place to be.

At around mile 9 you run by these old buildings. I think they used to be motel rooms. Now they might be good for fire wood.

From miles 5 thru 9 you got a view of these mountains. Beautiful Arizona desert views.

Miles 4-6 you ran next to the cotton fields. I guess caterpillars like cotton, because they were all over the road . Thousands of them and thousand more caterpillar stains on the road way. I ran these two miles looking at the ground to avoid these poor guys.

Home for the caterpillars. The cotton fields.

The back half of the race I walked some. My garmin says I walked a total of 1.16 miles for 18 minutes or 8% of the race. It felt like I walked a lot more than that.

It also said I jogged 87% of the time and ran 4% of the time. I think running is anything faster than 9:30 pace. Jogging is between that and 13 minute pace.
I was pretty happy with my race. The first 7 miles I only stopped briefly at two aid stations and walked once to eat a gel. The second aid station I had to sit down and remove my shoe. I found a pebble.
Mile 8 was tough and I did most of my walking then. But, soon I was back on track and kept moving. The last 2 miles was sort of an out and back and I got to see a few runners that were ahead of me the entire race. I passed a couple runners and then got to see who was behind me as I headed for home. I think 4-6 runners were between me and the truck with the slow runners sign. Not sure if they were calling us slow or telling traffic to slow down. The course was open to traffic.
After 13 miles, I kicked it up a notch and finished with loud cheering from all those that finished before me. I crossed the finish line at about a 6:45 pace. Another Vanity Fartlek.
My PR for the half was 2:42:48 at the Valley of Gold HM in Tucson last March. I wanted to do a 2:39:39 or better, but was doubtful I could pull it off.
Today I ran a 2:34:49 according to my garmin. I think the official time is a couple minutes more. Not sure how that could happen. But, either way it's a PR!
Note to readers: I took all the pictures after the race. I even staged the running/walking pics of me. My time would have been much worse.
PostPost: My official time is -
there were 35 civilian runners and 21 police/fire runners. I finished ahead of 4 of them. On the way back in I high fived everyone behind me and later went out to the course and cheered 3 of them in. You might notice they butchered my last name. No big deal.
Not sure how there was a 2:32 difference in the official clock and my garmin. I started the garmin when the starter said go and I crossed the start line within seconds. My garmin does have some stopped time and I know it paused at a water stop. So, I'll use their time as my new PR. I set PR"s for 2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles 10k, 10 miles and of course the half.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

ARR I Did A Run

Today's course was at the Arizona Horse Lover's Park. We ran the trails that the horse's do. It started just above the big horse ring and went counter clockwise. The canal below is the Central Arizona Project and the water is from the Colorado River. It was a beautiful desert trail run.

After yesterdays 9 miler I took a nap. Then I took another nap in the early evening. Then I had to pick my daughter up at 11:30 pm from the homecoming dance. I went to bed thinking I was tired and vowed to get up and see how I felt. I got up at 6 am and felt tired with a headache. But, I thought I would eat breakfast and see how I felt. Then I got in my car and drove north into Scottsdale figuring I would see how I felt. I was still tired, sore and I still had my headache. But, since I was there I thought I would run. I switched from the 10k to the 5k.

This race is free for Arizona Road Racers members. If you sign up for ARR, you get to run it for free. No tees, but lots of food and drink at the finish line. It's called the "I Did A Run". But, there were no dogs to pull us along the way (Ididirod).

I actually took pictures at the start. It was chip timed so I ended up being the second last one to start running. I did splits of 10.36,11.46 and 12.32. My final 1/10 of a mile was at a split of 8.45. I do like to bring it home on the fly.

This is a fun course because you run on dirt trails that are used for horses. It's the Arizona Horse Lover's Park at Reach 11.

PF Chang's Marathon: I read a unique race report this morning about last years PF Chang's half marathon. My first race was also the first race for this couple. But, this race report was done by their friend who was attending a marathon for the first time. It's a different perspective, which I enjoyed reading. If you read it, you might want to leave them a comment. I'm sure they'll be befuddled (yes, befuddled) that strangers are reading this post so long after they wrote it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Run to Remember

See Pat's T shirt collection
Ohh, the weather was wonderful this morning. Low 80's and I got to race at Kiwanis Park. This was the Run to Remember 9/11. It was a charity run to help support the 100 Club for Police and Firemen who have been hurt or died in the line of duty.

A few years ago my son was in Boy Scouts school with Rupert Snedigar. I was showing homes one Saturday and I heard that a Chandler Police Officer was shot to death attempting to apprehend a jewelry store thief. When I got home I quickly found out that the officer was the father of Rupert, Officer James Snedigar. He was the first officer to die in the line of duty in Chandler. Today I thought about Rupert and his younger sister (I can't remember her name, but she was in girl scouts with my daughter). They live in California and I hope they are doing well.

Kiwanis Park is one of my favorite places to run.
This race started in a new location, the corporate picnic area. A much better place to start because it had lots of tables and seating. The race started with the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and was lead by a fireman in full gear. All races should start with either a patriotic anthem or the "Pledge of Allegiance".

I don't remember ever passing the fireman. He must have been moving. I started close to the front and did the first mile in 9:19, a PR for one mile. I got to the half way mark around 15 minutes and was hoping to PR this race. I didn't think I could do the 2nd half as fast as the first, but I gave it my best. Soon fatigue set in and I did my best to keep moving. I was happy with an 11:14 2nd mile. All during the race I kept hearing a group of runners singing. It was four guys with a flag and matching shirts. Army? Police? Fire? Not sure, but they were behind me until about the 2.8 mile mark. I was walking and they ran right past me. They weren't singing anymore.

If you look at the graph you'll notice at the end of the 5k (midway in my run) I poured it on and finished right behind the four. My garmin showed a finish time of 34:07. Not sure what my clock time for the 5k is. I was running a 4:18 pace at the finish according to my garmin. I do like to fly at the end (vanity fartlek).

I got some water, banana and orange for my rest. I got to talk with Mark. He's always at the races. Mark is going to be doing his first half marathon next week. I asked him what his top mileage has been. Mark said 4 miles. Good vibes go out to Mark.

After a rest, I ran some more. I wanted to get in 8 miles today. I ran the course in reverse. Going out I passed the last of the walkers coming in. Ran past the lake where there were lots of people doing T'ai Chi. Past a group of runners in a seminar and past a young group of runners finishing up a run with their coach yelling out times. I got back to the finish line completing 5.5 miles or 2.4 miles after the race. They were giving out awards, I grabbed a drink and looked at the finish times. I don't remember my time (I'll get online later), but I did see that I was 7th of 8 in my age group. No need to stick around, I started my 3rd loop on the race course. I did a mile around the lake, said hi to one of the race officials picking up signs and felt I was done for the morning. 6.4 miles done. My marathon training calls for 6 miles, but I wanted to get in more. It, also calls for a rest tomorrow, but I will probably do a short recovery run tomorrow to get my 8 miles in for the weekend.

I'm excited about the cooler temps. I hope they keep up. And one more thing, I got the t shirt above in a large and it fits. All my other tees have been of the XL variety.

Update: 169 out of 232 PAT MONAHAN 45 7/8 M 34:31 11:07
I think my garmin time of 34:07 is more accurate. I, also, found out that the winner was Kal Clark (his dad was second). It's just no fair having Kal in the race.


The past two nights have been softball nights. On Thursday we split two games. We're 5-3 so far. The first game I went 4 for 4. No power, all singles. The second game I went 2 for 5. Friday was the first game of the season for our coed team. We always get a large turnout for the first game. Which dilutes the quality of our play. It's a church team, so everyone plays. I pitched and held the other team to 7 runs. Pretty good for softball. However, we didn't hit and only scored 3 runs. I only got one at bat and made a weak out.

The streak continues and is now at 60 days.

Quote of the Day:
I think I'm allergic to exercise - I keep breaking out in a sweat! -Justthisguy.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Susan Koman Race for the Cure 2007

Komen Race for Cure Kimberly

(from our personal Blog in 2007 - see also 2008 report)

I love my woman – she has always made me very proud to be her man. Her kind soul, passion, giving personality, relentless determination in pursuit of her desires, and her ability to drive through the challenges that life will sometimes thrust upon us are but a few of the things that make her so special and me a lucky man. I always have this realization with me, but every once in a while there are days, or moments perhaps, in life that stand out and the pride you have for a loved one is so strong it gives you that ‘smile and a tear’. Sunday, October 14th 2007 was one of those days. One that I will remember forever – it was just perfect, and I couldn’t imagine it being any better.

Kimberly and I raced in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure on the 10th year anniversary of Kimberly’s diagnosis of Breast Cancer. My little baby went out and ran her sweet little behind off and finished in the Top 10 of all 3000 or so Survivors that participated!! Talk about determination…. Just like she plowed through all the challenges that the cancer had brought her 10 years back, she used that special something to push herself and accomplish something special. You should have seen her: up front, taking off in the lead (that's her the Redhead in the picture out front), a 42 year old, cancer surviving grandmother looking like nothing in the world was gonna’ stop her. It was pretty freakin’ cool – yep, that ‘smile and a tear pride’ from this old man.

The rest of the day was perfect as well. The Race for the Cure really puts on a great event, for a great cause. You should all join us next year – walk, run, or just hang out and see or hear the stories of survival and loss – it’s for sure a day of perspective that we can all use sometimes. And while I am at it, next time you’re headed out to a restaurant, stay at home with someone you love instead, turn out the lights, light a candle, cook some pasta with a little sauce, and send the tip money you saved to the Komen Race for the Cure Foundation – Cancer is a bitch, it needs to go away.

I love you baby – RUN HARD!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sunrise at Old Tucson

Randy, the race director, planned this one right. Two loops in the studio town with single track trail thru the desert inbetween. Of course, going thru horse poop alley might not have been the best choice.

St. Pat's 8k & One Miler - Kiwanis Park

The mile (click to enlarge)
The 8k (click to enlarge)