Monday, December 22, 2008

Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon

It's my favorite half marathon, period. Today, I ran the the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon in Scottsdale for the second year in a row. Most other races, I might have stayed in bed. The weather forecast was for rain. My heel didn't feel 100% or even 80%.

But, this was the Fiesta Bowl. Bigger than Texas v. Ohio State. It's my final race for 2008. It was my final race for 2007 (funny, in 2006 my final race was the Holiday Bowl 5k in San Diego).

The start and finish line are at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts and they have a wonderful sculpture garden. I got a "LOVE" shot after the race.

The finish line festival is around one of the fountains. Here's a shot right after I finished the race. The race started at 7:30 am under clear skies. I didn't feel a drop of rain the entire day. It was cool, maybe 50 degrees at the most. I started with one of my famous 'goodwill throw away' sweatshirts and got to run with Karen and Christina for a bit. I, also, got to see Chad who was running the 5k. We started 2 minutes after the gun (not that we heard it). Karen said I could go on, as I was hoping to get a PR (I always do), so after running a bit with the TRC (Tumbleweed Running Club) I looked at my garmin and headed south of an 11 mpm pace.

According to garmin, the Fiesta Bowl course is 94% flat. The other 6% are speed bumps (well, the hills were not an issue). Five miles up Scottsdale rd, across Gainey Ranch (a nice subdivision) and then back home along the Indian Bend Wash (home of the SF Giants, at least in March). I love to look around as I run in new areas, so much to see. I've driven these roads, but you miss a lot at faster speeds.

Six of the first seven miles were at 11 mpm or less. Mile 7 was at 9:57. I have no ideal why. My feet felt fine and I wasn't having any issues with getting winded or tired legs. I was taking some walk breaks and conserving my energy. I knew I hadn't logged enough training miles (better to spare the heel, then train too much). But the last six miles were a bit slower.

Not to bore you with the details, but my left heel started to be a constant pain and I didn't deal with overcoming it like I should. I would run some, then walk some and watch all the people I pass, pass me by.

I ended up finishing the race around 2:32:44, five minutes slower than my PR. I'm ok with that time. It could have been much worse. I didn't stop at the McDonalds for a Big Mac around mile 10 and I didn't stop at the Circle K for a bag of fried pork rinds at my 12 (I don't really like them anyway). I made my way to the finish, just like Karen in the picture below.

Karen, got a PR and was happy. She didn't have any leg issues and you couldn't tell she had just finished 13.1 miles. She did great.

Christina ran her first half marathon, therefore she too got a PR. Two out of three TRC runners got PR's today, which ain't bad (ain't ain't a word, so don't use ain't).

Here's the TRC - Christina, Karen, Pat. The medals this year are the same as last year, but bigger and thicker. Metal must be cheaper this year.

Christina getting a back rub by the fine folks at Massage Envy.

If it looks painful, it probably is. But, I'm sure it was good for me. Here's Amber removing my bothersome left leg.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frosty's Run (10 Mile Trail)

Frosty's Run

They call the race ‘Frosty’s Run’ and this morning it felt aptly named. We Kimberly and I first arrived at Horse Lover’s Park (Reach 11) in Scottsdale I think the temperature was in the low 40’s. It was clear and it warmed up real quick, but definitely one of those Scottsdale Winter mornings we get here – clear and cold!

The race was the 3rd annual event for “Health and Hope’ and is supportive of a local Hospice for the Valley. The run covers 10 miles and is as of this date the longest competitive run the we have done (a few longer in training of course). The course is basically packed dirt in the park and an ‘out-n-back’ track for the 10 miles. With the exception of some occasional puddle hopping or avoiding and minor up and downs it really is a great trail to run. Nearly like the road, but with much less stress on the knee dirt.

About 350 showed up for the two events, there was a 2 mile fun run too, and it was well managed by the Arizona Running Events Co. Those guys always seem to do a good job with these local races and the guy on the mic is also always good for a couple of good morning chuckles which also helps when you are cold and tired still.

We were really using the event as our training ‘long run’ for the week for the upcoming PF Chang Half Marathon so we did not push too hard. Still we had a decent showing as I came in with a time of 1:21 and Kimberly finished in an 1:35.

We will be there next year – with scarves and gloves I am sure.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fiesta Bowl 5k

Race Report: Fiesta Bowl 5k by Chad Sayban.

I woke up a bit before 5am, dressed and headed out into the cold morning. It was in the low 40s and the air was very dry with overcast sky's. It's funny, the Fiesta Bowl itself is at the new stadium, which is only about 10 miles from my house. But the Fiesta Bowl race is clear over in Scottsdale - about 35 miles away. I'm selfish, but I think they should move it over near the stadium (sorry to all my eastside Phoenix friends.) I dressed in a few layers and I'm glad I did because it felt really cold walking to where the registration was. The wind was blowing and it was really feeling cold in the darkness. I grabbed my race number and packet and headed back to the car to get ready. This race was a first for me because they were using the D-Tags for timing the race. Basically it is a disposable timing chip that loops through the laces of your shoe. You don't have to give it back at the end of the race either. It's the future of race timing for sure.

I went for my warmup and felt pretty good. About that time the wind stopped and it felt pretty good. I had a long-sleeved racing shirt and shorts and gloves. The only thing I wished I had was a cap to keep my ears warm. Santa is coming - I might just need one of those. I felt comfortable as I stretched. I then ran into Pat and Pokie who were preparing for the half marathon that went off just before my race. It was really great to talk to you guys and I hope you had great races today.

The start was pretty crowded, but it opened up really quickly. We had the entire road to use for the first half mile or so and that let everyone spreadout. I was running along at a pretty fast pace, but my legs felt good. We made the first turn and I tried to settle into a maintainable pace, but kept pushing pretty hard.

Mile 1: 7:14

I was a bit faster through the first mile than I felt I could sustain, but I knew I had gone out fast initially, so I stuck with how hard I was running hoping I could sustain it. We made another turn and we ended up on a bike path. At this point I had a scraggly looking older guy come up along side of me and then pass me. As the path wound around, I noticed that he kept running off the path onto the grass to 'short' the course. Now, I'm all for running the tangents of a course because that's what the course is measured to, but running onto the grass to cut yards off is bad running etiquette (not to mentioned cheating). Anyway, I kept my effort steady and before the end of the second mile he was behind me and I never saw him again. Karma, baby!

Mile 2: 7:35

I expected a slower second mile than the first because of my fast first half mile and I wasn't disappointed. At this point in the race, I was still about 20 seconds ahead of my pace from my last 5k. I knew that a PR wasn't going to happen even before the race started. I haven't put in those kinds of training speeds yet, but I was looking at my fastest time since coming back - and I haven't even gotten rid of all the weight I want to yet.

I could feel that I was tiring a bit now. I latched onto a lady in front of me and mentally let her pull me along. I figured we could just hold pace together to the end. The course made a left turn on the street and there were about 8,000 cones showing the way to go. This lady decided to cut straight across the cones and ran probably about 20 yards less than I did. What the #$%& is going on around here? Don't these people have any respect for rules. Well, I had figured on letting her finish in front of me since she was helping drag me along, but after that little maneuver I was like 'uh, uh.' See you missy.

Mile 3: 7:43
Mile 3.1: 0:42

Official Race Time: 23:15 (7:30 avg)

A really good race, especially since I actually ran 6 miles yesterday. I am still struggling to maintain pace the whole way through the race, but I ended up finishing a full 31 seconds faster than the race on Thanksgiving Day. I knew that sub-23 probably was out of reach today. I was training through this race with my target 5k being next Sunday's ARR Classic race, which will be my last race of 2008. Still, I really felt good out there and raced well, in spite of all the people who seemed to be rule-challenged on the course. The good news is they all finished behind me. More karma, baby.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Desert Classic 5k

Race Report: Desert Classic 5k by Chad Sayban

Between the cold I dealt with all week and the tightness in my right quad forced me to change my plan for this race. Originally, this was to be my goal 5k. Instead, it turned into a fun run. It was pretty cold when I arrived (about 38 degrees). Since I wasn't going to run the race all out, I opted to keep my warmups on for the race. The race includes a 30k, a 5k and a 30k relay. I staged myself somewhere in the middle and waited for the start so we could get warm. About a half mile into the race, I was just cruising along, but I had a problem. Loud grunting runner dude decided that he wanted to run right behind me. I slowed down a bit to let him past, but he just stayed right there. If this isn't a good argument to use an Ipod during a race, I don't know what is. So in spite of my sore leg, I speed up for about a minute. No more grunting. I'm at peace again. I make the turnaround at the out and back and just about get run over by a couple of people continuing on the 30k. No problem. I'm not in a hurry so no biggie. Then at the 2 mile mark it's Return of the Grunter. He caught back up to me. So I figure that won't be a big deal. He is obviously running faster than me so he will just go right by. Wrong. He settles in right behind me again. Now I'm starting to wonder if he has the hots for me. My leg doesn't feel like doing anymore, so I practically come to a complete stop and he finally wonders past me in a total haze. The rest of the run was good because it's all downhill on the way back in.

I didn't even get an official time when I crossed. I was somewhere around 26 minutes I think. But more important was that I had a nice morning run, saw some friends and had a good start to the morning.

I've been spending the better part of the afternoon loading all of my music onto our new computer. I have a ton, so it's taking a really long time. But it's nice to have a computer where I have the space to store all of it and listen to it.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and your holiday shopping is going well.

Until next time...


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ARR Thanksgiving Classic 5k

Race Report: ARR Thanksgiving Classic 5k by Chad Sayban.

At 5am, long before the break of dawn, I awoke to the sound of heavy rain and lightning. Oooff. Not exactly the conditions I was hoping for. But after 12 years of living in the desert, I have learned that storms have a way of ending abruptly here. Besides, I was going to run the race in anything short of the aforementioned lightning and I figured it wouldn't last long. It were still three hours until the start.

After a quick shower, I dressed in several layers of gear. I wasn't sure what the conditions would be so I wanted to be prepared for whatever nature would throw at me. I ate a Clif Bar and a bottle of Gatorade and headed out into the wet morning.

It rained some on the way to the Peoria Sports Complex, but by the time I got there it had stopped. In fact, as I got out of the car, there were broken clouds overhead and clearing skies to the west. The weather looked promising.

The race includes a 10-mile, a 5k and a 1-mile walk and has been around for more than 30 years, so it draws a big crowd. One of the great parts about having it at one of the spring training stadiums is that there is plenty of parking and full use of the stadium bathrooms. No porta potties needed at this race. I collected my race number, chip and t-shirt and headed back to my car. I had my race singlet, shorts, gloves and arm warmers as I began my warmup. I ran a mile and stretched. By the time I finished, I realized that I wasn't going to need anything other than the singlet and shorts. It was in the mid-50s and plenty warm enough. In fact, it was just about perfect with very little breeze. The 10-milers were sent off at 8 sharp and I did some strides during the 15-minutes before our start.

The race

The gap across the starting mat was pretty narrow with such a large crowd of runners (632 finishers), but it opened up onto a wide road. I staged myself near the front to get through it quickly and then went wide and found my pace. The first half mile is on one of the roads leading into the main complex and then out briefly to 75th Avenue. New this year, the 5k route didn't follow the 10-mile along the paved path. Instead, it turned and run along the packed dirt next to the canal. Fortunately, the rain hadn't made it too soft. We probably lost a little time on this mile and a half long stretch, but not too much. I knew I was pushing a pretty fast pace for my current fitness as I hit the first mile mark.

Mile 1: 7:27

Yep, even faster than my fastest quarter mile intervals to date. I knew I couldn't hold this pace the whole way, especially since I knew we had a gradual uphill waiting on the way back. We had a small pack of runners at the turnaround, but I ended up in front of all of them. I don't know if I have some special talent for getting back up to speed faster than other runners, but this seems to happen whenever there is a change of direction in a race (see my last race report where I left a large group behind at the top of a steep hill.) We headed back and I saw the huge groups of people still headed towards the turnaround. I wanted to make sure they all remained comfortably behind me.

Mile 2: 7:43

I knew I had slowed from the first mile pace, but I ended up slowing a bit more than I anticipated. I was still under what I needed to hit my goal of sub-24 minutes, but it was closing up quickly and I was now fighting to maintain as we came back out on to the pavement. There were two runners who were passing others right in front of me and I mentally latched on to them, letting them pull me along. I would eventually pass them both near the end, but for now I was happy to let them drag me towards the finish. It was at this point that we began the long circle around the stadium, which includes about a half mile of steady incline. I dug down and tried to find whatever was left to maintain pace. I passed a bunch of fading runners as I spotted the 3-mile marker and accelerated.

Mile 3: 7:52

I passed my two leaders and a couple of others who couldn't respond to my late surge. As I came up on the finish, there were a few of the 1-mile walkers. Right at the line one of them decided to cut right across in front of me and I nearly wiped out both of us on the slick pavement. Fortunately, I tap danced past her and finished.

Mile 3.1: :43

Official Race Time: 23:46 (7:39 pace)
104 out of 632, 10 out of 39 in AG

In all, a really good race for me. I don't think I could have done anything more with my current fitness. The average pace for 3.1mile was the same as my interval pace for 1/4 miles a week before. I will get faster. I have a solid training plan and as I continue to lose weight, my speed will increase and my fitness will get better.

Mesa Turkey Trot

Rain was in the forecast and as I went to get the paper in the morning the ground was wet. But, the sky was clear. Here's a picture of the start of this years Mesa Turkey Trot. Three races were on the schedule. A one and two mile untimed fun run, followed by the 39th running of the 10k race.
The course is a nice one. A two mile loop around the park on closed streets, then about four miles thru a neighborhood and on Power Road, a busy thoroughfare that is half closed. Thousands of runners make it a fun race.
My plan was to do 10 minute miles. All six of them and to finish strong to come in under the 1 hour and 2 minute mark. Maybe get under 1 hour. In 2006 I did this race in 1:11. Last year was my PR of 1:07:59 at this race. This would be my fourth 10k race and I was hoping to PR.

You can see it was overcast at the start. But, I didn't think it would rain on us. I shedded my sweatshirt and left it at the start. I felt sluggish in the beginning, but was running in the 9's, so I just kept at it and figured I'd find out what I had. Lot's of traffic, so I ended up weaving in and out and around runners, strollers and walkers. My first mile was done in 9.41. A good time for a 10k race.
The road we start on has lots of desert shoulder to run on and lots of runners where taking advantage of it. The problem was that they were also off course and not running the full 10k. I kept on the street and stayed on the course. No big deal. My second mile was done in 9.32. I was actually getting faster. I figured I was banking my time for later. A lady passed me with a jog stroller. Music blaring. Not my choice of artists, but it was nice to hear. Too bad she was faster than me. I never saw her again.
Mile 3 was done in 10.49. Took a quick walk break around 2.5 mark. I was congested a bit and that left me a bit winded. Mile 4 was done in 11.04. Another walk break and I ate a GU. Vanilla Bean. I've been eating a few more carbs, so running out of gas was not a worry for me this time.
Being well rested, I cranked it up a bit and ran a 10.37 and a 10.34. I actually ran some 8 minute fartlek's in between some walk breaks. It's nice to run that fast late in the race, but I can't sustain it for a long stretch. I was playing leap frog with about 20 runners.

The last portion of the race is in Red Mountain Park. It has a beautiful lake and lots of grassy areas. I kicked in in gear and did the last .2 at a 7.59 pace. It's tough to do because you're running on a concrete sidewalk (see picture) and there's not much room to pass people.
Today, for the second race in a row I PR'd. My finish time was 1:04:36. I bettered last years time by 3.23.

The New D Tags

This race used the new disposable D Tags. It comes on your race bib and you just loop it onto your shoe laces. No need to collect them after the race. Mine is still on my shoe.

Here's hoping that any of you with races today had a great day and a great race. And for everyone I wish a Happy Thanksgiving and lots of good health.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash Volunteer Report by Reid Axman

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Maybe my knee will be well enough by then to run this race." I ended up deciding that I didn't want to risk anything, so I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll volunteer for this race." I was also thinking that this race was going to be on the day of Thanksgiving since it is a "Turkey Trot." As it turned out, it was the weekend before, and I had already made plans to go on a campout with the boy scouts, so the volunteering was out of the question. Well, earlier this week, I found out that the campout had to be canceled. Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Then, with other things going on, I had forgotten about the Turkey Trot until last night as I was getting into bed. Then I thought, "I'm gonna go and volunteer." So I set my alarm and got up early and headed over to the race to offer up my services.

It was a pretty small race (maybe 50-60 runners), so there were already plenty of volunteers. But hey, the more the merrier, right? I was able to help out at the registration table handing out shirts and goodie bags. I was surprised to see how many people from church I saw there for the race. It was pretty cool to see all their friendly faces. After the 5k started, I was given the task of timing the 1 mile fun Runners--all 2 of them. Once they finished, I went over to the 5k finish and cheered everyone on as they crossed the line. I was kind of surprised to see the first place finisher come in just under 23 minutes. I'm used to seeing the winners of 5ks coming in around 15 minutes. Seeing that made me wish I had run the race. Next year, for sure.

This was another great opportunity to help out in the community. This injury has helped me to give a little back to running. I've really enjoyed helping out at these races. I'm planning on another Turkey Trot next week (actually on Thanksgiving Day), and I also signed up to help out at the expo for the Arizona RNR Marathon in January. For those of you running that race, I'll be there Saturday morning. I'm not sure yet what they'll have me doing, but I'll fill you in on the details as it gets closer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ironman Arizona 5k

What the heck. My 5k race I was going to run was cancelled. So, I thought I'd run the Arizona Ironman..

What, you say. You can't do that without training. It's 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running.

Sorry, I guess I got you confused. I ran the Arizona Ironman 5k. It's the charity race the day before the triathletes take the stage.

It was pretty cool. We started at the new Tempe Arts Center and ran along the Tempe Town Lake. There were about 225 runners and the weather was ideal. Maybe in the 60's. I think most of the runners were family of a triathlete that will be racing tomorrow.

I got to meet Paul from Houston. His daughter and son in law are racing tomorrow. He and I ran this morning. I told him I really wanted a sub 30 minute race. But, I've been having tendinitis issues with my left foot. The good news is my legs are well rested. The bad news is, I'm not sure how my foot will hold up. My plan was to do a 9 minute first mile, followed by a 9:30 and a 10 minute mile. That would get me under the goal of 30 minutes. I, in fact did a 9:10 first mile followed by a 9:41 second. I was feeling really good and ran the entire way, except for a water stop around 1.6 mile mark. Maybe 20 seconds worth of walking and drinking. The second mile was rolling hills (three of them - just like Boston). Just kidding, the hills were maybe 30 yards in length and were not an issue.

In mile three I watched as a man about my age was in front of me. I figured I better get ahead of him if I wanted any hope of a medal. Heck, it's just good practice to race against the closest runners to you. I tracked him down and was within 40 yards of him when we started the final portion of the race. I did mile three in 9:15 and as we turned onto Rio Salado and saw the finish line I pour on the gas. My pace for the last 1/10 of a mile was a blistering 6:57. I speed past bib # 99 and finished at the same spot the triathletes will be finishing IMAZ tomorrow. Turns out #99 wasn't in my AG, but was 2 groups older.

My previous PR was 30:16 and today I finished in 28:49 (garmin time). A new PR and under 30 minutes. You can click on the graphs below to see a map and my splits.

Good luck to all those athletes competing in Ironman Arizona tomorrow. I'll try to stop by to see you in action.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Learning For Life 10k

Race: Learning For Life 10K (Peoria, AZ) by Mike Miller
Friday, November 14th, 2008

For those who maybe didn’t know, Kimberly has been training very hard over the last few months for her upcoming PF Chang Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. The event is getting very close now and her run schedule is ‘amping up’. As part of her training she works with a team up at our Country Club that all practice and train together. This week for one of their training runs they decided to all do an organized event together. Seeing it was local and on a Saturday morning, I decided to participate as well.
The event called Learning for Life has a 10K and a 5K. We did the 10K because the Arrowhead group was looking for about that many miles today. It’s a great smaller event that is focused on supporting youth groups. A lot of the adult runners seemed to be local police and fire officers (as it was also part of the event). In fact, Kimberly ended up running a big part of the race just behind the local SWAT team.
We had a great time. It was right up the way from us at the Peoria Stadium where the MLB players do spring training. The course ran along 83rd street to the viaduct, down past 75th a little then back for the 6.2 miles. After the run they had a magician and other activities for the participants. I got Kimberly a charity Police Bear.
For the first time of any run we have done together Kimberly and I both got a medal. I came in 6th overall and second in my age group a little over 49 minutes. Kimberly was FIRST in her age group! This was of course something she pointed out to me a few times… . Then again, I had to remind her that this was my second top 10 overall in the last 3 races!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phoenix 10k

The Phoenix 10k & 5k by Pat Monahan

It's been a busy weekend. Mostly work, which is a good thing. But, I did get to squeeze in 'The Phoenix 10k' formally know as the New Times 10k. The last two years it was run in downtown Tempe due to our metro area building a new light rail line. I ran the 5k in 2006 and I ran both the 5k and 10k last year. This year, they lost their sponsor but are back on their home course in downtown Phoenix. The 5k is run at 7:45 am. The 10k is run at 8:30 am. It costs $20 to run either race and for an additional $8 you can run them both.

It's like Ernie Banks says, "Let's Play Two".

I decided I was going to run the 5k as best I could. My PR of 30:25 was not a real goal, no way can I do three consecutive sub 10 minute miles. But, I wanted to get as close as I could. It's chipped timed, so I didn't worry about getting across the starting line quickly. The temps were around 55-60 and we had clear skies. No wind, although it got windy and rained later in the day. According to Garmin I had an opening split of 10:21. I was pretty happy about that. The course is a 3.1 mile loop around the state capitol around downtown streets. The asphalt felt really hard this morning. My left heal has been bothering me lately, so I held back a bit. I passed four different bands and we had people cheering all along the course. My second mile was a 10:32 pace. I was pretty happy about that. Around the 2.5 mile mark I was getting pretty tired trying to keep the pace. I had a choice, I could take a quick 1 minute walk break and finish strong or end up limping home with a 12 minute split. The walk break did me good. My third mile was done in 10:54 and my .1 was at an 8:15 pace. After the walk break I ended up passing 27 other runners. I counted to keep myself distracted, more so than out of vanity. Well, maybe a little of both. I didn't count the guy in the wheel chair. He was inspiring. It was an everyday wheelchair and he was alternating powering his wheels. Kind of like a someone in a canoe paddling on the left and then the right.

Garmin told me I finished in 33:06 for 3.14 miles. I don't have the official times from the race yet.

That gave me 10 minutes to rest before the 10k event. The bathroom lines were long. I looked for a private corner to pee, but none where to be found. I ended up waiting til after the 10k.

My plan was to do the best I could in the 10k. But, plenty of walk breaks were anticipated. This race would require two loops of the same course I had just run on. We passed the same bands, the same buildings, the same corners. At one point I was coming up to a corner and there was a man with his shopping cart and all his worldly possessions looking at me to see if he could cross the street. He was willing to wait. I was still 10 yards away from him and there weren't any runners behind me. I gave him the sign to cross and I ran just behind him. Lives cross sometimes in interesting ways.

I was about 2 miles into the 10k or 5 miles in, counting both races when I got a bit disoriented. I thought we had to go further out and we were turning around. heading back to the capitol grounds. I even asked the runner next to me if we had made a wrong turn. This has never happened to me before, but we were further along than I thought we should have been. I was OK and we continued on. This 10k had over 1000 runners. I wasn't going to race it, as much as just run it, so I started in the back. How far back? The very back. I tried to be the last runner to cross the timing mat. I wasn't even in line when the gun went off. When I crossed the line, they were ready to start taking up the mat and pulling down the balloon arch. I say this because it was a double loop, so during the race we hear police on motorcycles telling the runners to move to the right. I didn't know why, until a few seconds later the leaders of the race come running past us (like we were standing still). So the last half of the race I got to watch all the leaders run by at 6 and 7 minute paces. My splits were 10.49, 11.59, 12.08, 12.22, 13.03, 12.39, 10.40 and I had a time around 1:18:xx. 10 minutes off my PR for a 10k.

Last year I ran both races in Tempe in 1:48:15. This year I ran both races in 1:48:17. When you run both races (and yes, they give out awards for combined time), it's called the Five and Dime. I missed my PR by 2 seconds.

I did get a nice looking black baseball cap for free from a domestic violence group, but didn't see much else at the various vendor booths. The rest of the day was filled with showing homes and writing offers. A good but tiring weekend.

48 by 48
I'm still working on goals for my 48th year on this planet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Outrun the FBI 5k

Race Report: Outrun the FBI 5k by Chad Sayban.

I awoke to a perfect morning for racing. It was cool with no wind and a clear sky. I ate a Powerbar and had a bottle of Gatorade and headed out for the event. I arrived about an hour before the race, picked up my race number and t-shirt. This is the third race since I started racing again, but it was the first one that I actually treated like a race instead of just a tempo workout. That means I went in with a goal. I knew that a PR is out of the question at this point (22:24 twice), but I wanted to push my current fitness level. My goal was to run 8:00 minute miles to come in between 24:30 and 25:00. Treating it as a race also meant that I would go through my whole race routine. I went for a 10-minute jog, followed by a full round of stretching. Then I did 4 x 100 meter strides followed by some more stretching. I start this about 30 minutes before the start so I'm done about 10 minutes before the race. I placed myself very near the front since this was not a chip timed race. Now, this race had an additional wrinkle in it. There were 5 FBI agents running the race. They were given a 30 second head-start over the field. As you passed each one, they would give you a sticker on your bib number. Interesting, but I was more interested in my time than anything else. Besides, the five of them looked like they were legitimate runners.

A police siren blew and we were off. The course wound around a park near downtown Phoenix. When I saw the route on the website, I was worried that it was going to be so confusing that runners would be going in every direction and shorting the course. It turned out to be a really easy course to follow and a lot of fun. It isn't a really fast course because of all the turns and a few other surprises. I founds a rhythm pretty quickly and settled into a pace that felt about right.

Mile 1: 7:20

Hummm... I wasn't too sure about that mile marker. I didn't feel like I ran the opening mile that fast, but I really couldn't be sure with my current training. I decided that I felt like I was running a good pace, so I kept at it. About halfway through the second mile, we came to a grass field with rolling hills that was an out-and-back section. On the return leg I caught two of the FBI agents as I hit the 2 mile marker.

Mile 2: 8:32

I think that answered my question about the first marker. I know the rolling hills slowed me down a little, but not a minute's worth. At this point I was with a pack of about ten who were jockeying back and forth on the narrow sidewalk. A woman in the pack said 'oh shit' and I looked ahead. The cones had us going to the top of a large mound about 50 feet high. At the base of it I chopped my stride with the idea that I would hit the back side of it hard and push in the remaining half mile from there. It worked like a charm. I never saw any of the other ten people in that pack again. I caught the third FBI agent with less than a tenth of a mile to go.

Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 3.1: 0:46

Finish time: 24:40

Given the fact that the course was not a very fast course at all and what my goals were, I can only call this race a big success. I had no pain at all - before, during or after the race. I cooled down, ate and stretched and felt wonderful. I have not seen the results yet and pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow. I managed to catch three of the five FBI agents along the way. I heard that the fastest agent was only passed by two runners. I'll post an update with them once they are available. For my first 'real' race back, it went as well as I could have hoped for. I'm still a long way from my 5k goals - break my PR and eventually go under 20 minutes - but I'm making good progress. I just wonder how fast I'll be once I shed the 20 pounds I want to get rid of. I'll just have to find out.

Until next time...


Thursday, October 30, 2008

YMCA Half Marathon

That's the long sleeve tee you get and my bid number. I paid the morning of the race, so getting a two digit number was pretty cool. There's probably 300 halfers and the same number of 5k'ers running. I saw bib #1 on his way back in. I was jealous. Sort of.
This picture doesn't do the line to get into the park justice. It was a bit of a traffic jam and I was afraid I was going to be late. I made it with time to spare. At the registration table, the lady said my name and Ried, Life Strides was sitting next to her. He said Hi. I knew he was going to be there, but I was already in the zone. I wish I could of had more time to talk with Ried. I'm not conversational right before a race. Check out Ried's report, it has pics of the start.

The YMCA Half Marathon bills itself as the oldest continuous footrace in Arizona. Going on 40 years now. Wyatt Earp starts things off with a real shot gun start. Wyatt is a great great great (I don't know how many greats) grandson of the famous Wyatt Earp.

I started in the back with a gentleman that had a Aramco Houston Half Marathon shirt on. We discussed that race and how wonderful it is. He really recommends it.
This years race had about 1 mile of double track trail running. Much better than the park road to start things off. I tried to take a picture but it was still too early with not enough light. But, to see that long string of runners on the desert trail was pretty cool. We started the race at around 57 degrees. We'd finish around 75. A nice pleasant day for running.

I knew this wouldn't be a PR day. I was hoping it wouldn't be a PW (Personal Worst) day. And as you can see with the splits, the downhill and my speed work lately paid off. The first five miles were all under 11:24. I ended up eating a GU at the 3 mile mark and the 6 mile mark. My gut told me that I didn't want to eat anything else on the back end of this race. My split at 6.2 miles was 1.09.22. Just one minute and 23 seconds away from a PR for the 10k. I continued for the next three miles to get splits just over 12.

Then slowly, I took longer walk breaks and the splits crept up into the 13's and 14's. Mile 11 was the start of the hill back up to the finish. It's not a steep hill. I kept telling myself it wasn't a hill at all. But, I ended up walking a lot of it. With about 1 mile left there were two other runners near me. One lady was running her first half. I told her she need to do the Rock and Roll half in January. She looked at me like I was crazy. Do this Again?
The other lady went off course twice. We had to yell at her to keep her running on course. She kept ahead of me and would run whenever I would run. It was one of those things, if you walk I'll walk, but I want to beat you. With about 100 yards to go, I broke out into my finish kick. A full sprint. Garmin said I was under a 3 minute per mile pace at the end. I passed her, but I just like to sprint at the finish and would have even if no one was in front of me.
My final unofficial Garmin time was 2:43:25, about 6 minutes faster than last year, same race. I'm ok with that. It's a tough finish and I'm not really prepared to run a half at this point. This is all part of my training for the 'real half', The PF Chang's Rock and Roll Half in January.
So, this was a great race to do for the second time. So, in 22 months time I have done one full marathon and 7 halfs. Half Marathon #8 is early December and it will either be the Fiesta Bowl Half in Scottsdale or the Tucson Half about 1.5 hours from home. Then #9 will be the Rock and Roll Half.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

YMCA Half Marathon

YMCA Half Marathon & 5K (Volunteer) Report by Reid Axman.

I've never written a volunteer report before. This was my first time volunteering for a race. I've wanted to do one for a long time, but never got around to doing it. So, I was excited to have this opportunity, even though I had to get up super early. I was assigned to the race-day registration table. It was kinda fun to be on the other side of the table. I got to meet a lot of people, including fellow RBF, Pat. We didn't have much opportunity to talk because there were a lot of people registering, but he seemed like a real nice guy. After he walked away, I thought, "I should have gotten a picture with him." Maybe next time.

When it was time for the half marathon to begin, I happened to be bringing some supplies over and got to see the unique start. Wyatt Earp, complete with shotgun started the runners. With a BANG, they were off. It was pretty cool to see all those runners fly by! Something I'd never experienced before. I've always been one of those runners.

My next assignment was to keep the 5K runners in order as they crossed the finish line. I really enjoyed seeing the runners cross the finish and be the first to congratulate them. This didn't last too long as I was given a new assignment of running the results over to the results board. After my first run over, I was given the new assignment of official timer. And I spent the rest of my time clicking a button when the participants finished. That doesn't sound too exciting, but I really had a good time seeing everyone as they reached the finish. It was interesting to observe them. Some were completely exhausted, some were as thrilled as can be, some were relieved it was over. There were families running together. I think the youngest finisher (not in a stroller) was 5 years old. And I was surprised to see how many people were running with their dogs! I guess the "Family 5K" includes pets.

Volunteering was so much fun! There really is a lot going on that we don't really see as runners. The amount of work it takes to organize, set up, direct, take down, etc. etc. is incredible. I really respect the race directors and everyone behind the scenes for doing what they do for runners. Race day must be a crazy day for them. This was a great experience, and I can't wait for another opportunity to volunteer again. I highly recommend it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Race for the Cure

Komen Race for the Cure 2008
Sunday, October 12th, 2008

by Mike Miller

Last year’s Komen Race for the Cure was about as special a day as can be in life. It will be a day that stays with me forever. We talked a little about it in THIS BLOG. There was something special that day and I doubt there will ever be another one like it. But having said that, every Komen Race day is pretty amazing and special for us, and this year was no exception.

For those maybe not as familiar, the Susan Komen Race for the Cure is one of the biggest events that support the foundation. They have many of them throughout the US in the bigger cities. Phoenix this year had near 40,000 runners and walkers, including about 800 plus Survivors (woman who have had Breast Cancer). It’s a day of celebration and remembrance. Everything is based around the run, but they always have a neat setup of ‘walk around’ activities and vendors at the Race location. The vendors all really do a great job, as does the Komen group, of making the Survivors feel special. This year even included a Survivors parade before the race that Kimberly participated in (in the 10-14 year Survivor Group!).

A couple things made this year very special as well. Mostly because this last year my mother was diagnosed and treated for Breast Cancer. In fact she really just finished the radiation treatments about the time for the Race. So we both of course were ‘running for Mom’ this year. As you would expect the runs are really about celebration and remembrance too – in fact we always wear the signs that say who’s survival we are celebrating (and others who are being remembered).

Kimberly was pretty pumped up for the day. She had the added motivation of celebration for Mom to add to her Race. In case you didn’t know the Misses is pretty competitive. And while the Komen is ‘non-competitive race’ (not chip timed) they still give awards and recognition to the top 3 finishers overall and among Survivors. Having finished 7th or so last year, and knowing she now is a couple of minutes faster on her 5K time, there was a decent chance she could move up paces and maybe even had a shot at Top 3. She of course did amazing improving to 5th overall and cutting a huge amount of time off her last year results. I was so proud again, it’s pretty cool to have a wife with that kind of drive, strength and commitment.

The day started way too early – about 4:30, in order to get ready, get down there, walk around, park, do the parade, etc (so little sleep of course). The rest of the day beside the race was walking around, getting the pink goodies, eating some banana’s and taking lot’s of pictures. Kimberly even got to see a couple of her Racer/Survivor friends she met last year (pretty cool). She did an interview with Channel 12 just before the Race (she’s quite photogenic you know). Speaking of photo’s I was the camera man again and had to quick run over to the car to drop off the bag so I could run the race as well when the rest of the group started. I had a good run considering I ran in the ChaCha yesterday morning as well.

We of course are already looking forward to next year’s race. We will raise more money for the great cause, celebrate 12 years for Kimberly and 1 for Mom, and we will have better race times

The Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb

A Perfect weekend in Bisbee - The Great Stair Climb
Saturday, October 18th, 2008

By Kimberly Miller
Bisbee Arizona is located not too far from Tombstone, AZ and is a great little place to visit anytime of the year. It is full of unique art and antique shops and even more full of history as an old mining town. There are cement stairs all though out the city that the copper miners used and most of the steps are still in working conditions thanks in part to the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb Event. The event is a unique combination of running 4.4 miles and climbing the aptly named 1000 stairs.

This was the 18th year of the event which had us and other runners trekking through the streets of the city and up 8 separate sets of stairs totally actually 1037 steps. Although the mileage is not huge the elevation of the run and the steps and just the fact that the city is at a high elevation makes for a challenging but thrilling run. The first (almost) mile is a downhill run (nice due to what is to come) and then the first set of steps makes one realize that the run will not be too easy. Mostly on the steps due to the amount of runners, individuals are walking briskly upwards and then taking off when reaching the top until getting to the next set of steps. The steps are old but well managed and since there are houses situated at all levels in the city so most of the time the runners are going past homes as they rise upwards. Many of the city’s “eclectic” citizens cheer on the runners from their yard offering words of encouragement and smiling faces. As a participant in this year’s race I really appreciated and enjoyed the kindness of everyone, not only the people putting on the race but also the other racers – it was a great vibe. This was a very competitive event and chip timed but there was no pushing or rushing one another on the steps. People allowed others to pass if they desired and if one had to step aside to get a breath they were given easy access back to the steps when they were ready. What a great race.

Michael and I both did very well. We both came in 11th for our age/gender category out of 61 in my group and I think 64 in his (RESULTS HERE). Michael was 116th overall with a time of 44:32 and I came in 321st with 52:37 – out of a total of over 1100 runners. It was not only a great race but also a great weekend. We enjoyed being able to eat our own food (our old hotel had a kitchen), we meet some great folks from Phoenix (Bill and Greta – and their Aunt too), and Oh By The Way if you get to Bisbee eat at Cafe Roka! It was the best meal Michael and I have had in a very long time! I had the artichoke and mushroom lasagna and it was a flavor explosion! Michael had the Chicken and said it was better. Great service and outstanding food.

Overall Bisbee is a great little weekend trip anytime, but for sure was a special weekend for the Stair Climb. We will be back next year – and Michael says look out Ice Man Competitors (this is another event with 155 stairs and a 10lb block of ice….)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chandler Challenge

Chandler Challenge 10k by Pat Monahan

The Chandler Challenge is a first time event and I was expecting around 200 runners between the 10k and the 5k. There were three times that many runners and both races started at the same time. All the runners ran on the same course, so until the 5k'ers crossed the bridge at the 1.55 mark, it was crowded. This canal is the same canal that the Tumbleweed Running Club runs on, so it was familiar territory.

I started out fast, but comfortable and as you can see my splits went from the 10's to the 12's after mile two. That's when I started taking walk breaks.

This was a fund raiser for Chandler schools, so each elementary school had a team of teachers, parents and students walking, jogging and running. Most did the 5k, so once I was passed the 1.55 mark it got much less crowded. Unfortunately, more people were passing me on the back half of the course, than were being passed. I traded back and forth with a few people, but eventually they pulled away from me too.

I did have enough gas to kick it in gear for the final .2 and did that in a 10:50 mpm pace. I ran 89% of the race, so I just need to improve on that a bit. This was also the lightest I've weighed for a race (216), so that's got to help.

This is the third 10k I've run and the 30th race overall since August of 2006. As you can see in the graph below, it was my slowest 10k. I'll do the Mesa Turkey Trot again next month and hopefully will have a lot more stamina and get closer to my PR. At last years turkey trot I walked .26 miles of the course. Today I walked .67 miles.

Edit: It's actually my fourth 10k. I forgot I ran the New Times Five and Dime last November. That's where you race the 5k and then the 10k event back to back. I got about 10 minutes to rest in between events. I did the 10k portion in about 1:16:xx. So that would be my slowest. I'm doing both races again this November 9th.

On a personal note, my kid Tyler got his drivers license yesterday. He couldn't parallel park my Honda Pilot last week and had to retake the test. Yesterday, we took Amy's Toyota Sienna mini van and he did it on the first try. Then out on the road and after a long wait (it was the DMV after all) he got his new license. We celebrated by eating sushi for lunch, which accounts for my slight weight gain from yesterday. That darn white rice.

Good luck to anyone racing this weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cactus Cha Cha Trail Run

Race Report: Cactus Cha Cha trail run by Chad Sayban.

Anyway, Eric, Lori and I arrived at the parking lot about an hour before the start. The wind was blowing pretty hard off of the mountain side and it felt pretty darn cold. I know, all of you northerners are going to say 'cold, what are you talking about?' True enough, but when you have just lived through an Arizona summer of 100+ degree days and all of a sudden it's in the 50s, that is a big change...and cold.

Lori headed off first running the 3 mile race and did very well. Eric and I got ready to toe the line for the 7-mile race. I had some anxiety going in. Not only hadn't I raced in more than six months, I was 15 pounds heavier, had only been back running for three weeks and hadn't run anything longer than 4 miles on flat pavement yet. Ok, now that I have laid out all of the excuses, on with the race.

I staged myself towards the back, not wanting to get in anyone's way. I ended up passing a whole bunch of people early as I tried to find space on the narrow trail. I ended up running with Eric for a little while. The first mile and a half are a gradual uphill and was right into the teeth of the wind. I decided about halfway to back off my pace because I knew that the effort of this course was closer to running a 10-miler than seven. Eric was feeling good and continued ahead. I never saw him again until after the finish. He has made such amazing strides in the last two years, it is hard to describe. I settled into a conservative pace and really thought of the run as a long workout rather than a race. I knew I would even approach the 1:02 I ran last year. I was just happy to be out with all of the other runners. The group I ended up with was very quiet, which was fine because I was doing a lot of thinking about where my running had gone and where I was now heading. I had no real trouble with the largest climb and cruised through the first five miles. The last two miles were more of a struggle. Nothing hurt, I was just really tired. That was to be expected given my current level of fitness. I felt awesome as I crossed the finish line, knowing I really was officially back in the sport.


One big surprise was at the awards ceremony and raffle. Near the end, John the Race Director - who is a wonderful man and does so much to support running in the Phoenix area - gave out a special award to the 12 people who have competed in all 5 runnings of the Cactus Cha Cha. I now have a long-sleeved, hooded sweatshirt with the race logo. Such a very cool thing for him to do for all of us. The race has really evolved over that time from an almost club-like run to a fantastically run race with prize money and a loyal following. You can be that I'll be running the next five just to find out what he does for the 10-year runners.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cactus ChaCha

Cactus ChaCha

(From our Personal Blog)

As we have talked about in a lot of this year’s Blog’s, Running has become one of our ‘gig’s’. When now officially even look for races and unique cities to run around for our weekend fun. It’s a riot, healthy and cheap… all hard to beat. From an event standpoint, most all runs are some sort of street run of a fixed distance (5K, 10K, half marathon, etc.). So these have been our focus, as that’s really what the options are. Having said this, occasionally there is a unique event that is not just the typical street run. For example our upcoming Bisbee 1000 which is 4.4 miles and 1000 plus stairs (yeah sounds like fun huh?). And another I just had a chance to compete in; the Cactus ChaCha Trail Run.

The Cactus ChaCha is right up my alley. While I am still fairly new to running, I will always identify more with Trail Running. I enjoy the dirt and rock much more than the street or a treadmill. Sadly though, there are not just many organized trail running events. In fact, aside from the ChaCha, the only other one in our area each year that I know of is the Lake Pleasant Good Dam Run we did in April and that is only ½ trail.

In any event, the ChaCha has a 3 mile and a 7 mile race. I had planned on the 7 miler (fairly close to what I do a couple of times a week now) but with the ankle still a little jacked (I wrap it) I thought I better stick to the 3 miler. I had a great time. The course was at the White Tank Park Competitive track. It is a good track, small rocks everywhere but not too much elevation changes. The exception being a nice little wash near the end. I ended up coming in 14th place overall (7th gender) out of 170 in the 3 mile race. My time was 23:19 which I was mostly happy with considering the ankle and the trail conditions. The event was well ran and a good group of folks out there (trail runners are a little different breed I think). As example: the ChaCha had breakfast burritos for the runners at the end along with the typical banana.

I am looking forward to next year, no ankle issue, and hopefully it will not be followed the next day with another race as this year’s was (we do the Komen Race for the Cure tomorrow).

Friday, October 10, 2008

ARR South Mountain Classic

Race Report: ARR South Mountain Classic 5k by Chad Sayban.

I woke up long before the alarm went off this morning, but just laid their until it was time to get up. A shower and some breakfast and I was out the door headed for South Mountain Park. The primary race is the South Mountain Classic 20k, but they also have a 5k in conjunction with it. I wasn't coming into this race trying for any kind of time. I ran 6 miles yesterday and the South Mountain course is a very tough one to run fast. The entire first half is uphill, including about half a mile of fairly steep gain. I was really treating this as a speed workout. It was a little warm as well - the temps were about 75 degrees. I started out at a pace I figured I could hold the entire race. After a flat first half mile, the course turns upward. My legs felt a bit rubbery, I'm guessing from the long run yesterday. I found a pace I could maintain up the hills. It wasn't very fast, but I kept it even. At the turnaround, I was more than ready for the downhill back to the finish. I've seen people talk off at this point and a few did today. I caught them with a half mile to go when the downhill ends and they realize they still have more running to do.

26:19, (34th out of 107)

I had hoped to go under 26 minutes, but it wasn't to be. Still, it was a fun race this morning and I managed an even level of effort from start to finish.

On the weightloss front, I managed to drop 3 pounds over the week bringing me down to 182. That means that I have lost 8 pounds in 4 weeks. That's pretty much what I am hoping to do. I think that's a good pace of weightloss for me.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, especially if you were racing.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Race Judicata 5k

A wee bit smaller race than yesterday. It was at the local park, Kiwanis in Tempe and was a fund raiser put on by the Young Lawyers Division. Two races in two days. I had to decide between the one mile race and the 5k. There was about 7 runners in the miler and I would have one first place, but last year it was won by a 12 year old and I didn't want to run against kids. This year it was mostly adults. I should have run it, but instead I did the 5k. Lots of old farts like me running in it, so not much chance for a medal. Because all the other old farts are faster.

Yesterday's average pace was 11:20 mpm. Today, I was at 11:29. It was about the same. Less walking today and less speeding around the course. Just a nice steady pace. I finished around 35:40. Forgot to turn off garmin right at the finish, so I added maybe 5-10 seconds.

2008 Race Judicata had 195 runners, I finished 143. The one miler had 7 participants, the winner finished in 12:21. Now, 10 hours after the second race and I feel gassed. I slept all afternoon and can't wait to go to bed again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Air Force 5k

When I started running in June of 2006 I felt like this NASA Plane. Big and slow and awkward looking next to all the other runners.

Someday, I'd like to be like this plane. Now you see me now you don't. Today was the Air Force Annivesary 5k down at the Pima Air Museum. Wow, what a place to hold a run.

The Pima Air Museum is on the south side of Tucson, AZ near the Davis-Monthan Air Base. If you are in the area, it's a must see. Next year when my son is at the U of A, I hope to take him over there to see all these planes and learn all this history.

The entrance has this beautiful work of art. My race details are below. You can click on it to see the numbers. I'm not sure why the satellite view did not come up, but if you'd like to see the boneyard that we ran in, see my inital report about this race.

What I like best is the first mile. Under 10 minutes and it was a nice consistent run. What I don't like is all the walking I had to do in miles 2 and 3. And the fact that this was a long 5k. My garmin said 3.36 miles. I doubt it's off 1/4 of a mile. So, my garmin 3.1 miles was done in about 35 minutes. The RD has me in at 38:54.

I got up at 3:53 am. Seven minutes before the alarm would wake me. Got my stuff together and was out the door heading for Tucson at 4:10 am. It was a nice quiet ride down to the Ole Pueblo and I got to think about how I like the energy that comes from these races. it's not about beating anyone, especially in my turtle like state these days, but I just enjoy watching people milling about, stretching, talking and getting ready to accomplish the same thing. Run a race.

We all headed toward the start line. I parked right near the course, so I grabbed my camera to snap some pics.

First the color guard and the national anthem. Lots of military running and supporting this race which is a fund raiser for the Tucson Chapter of the Air Force Association.

Then the start. I snapped a couple of photos and then jogged to the start turned around and then jogged to my car. Threw my camera in, locked the doors and joined in the fun.

My first mile was great. 9:41. I just run with the crowd and usually have better race times if I feed off the energy. I know you're suppossed to go out slow, to conserve energy. I usually don't. Lots of strollers in this race, which is fine because the first half mile was on a wide closed support road for the museum. One kid had a scooter and it was loud. Inside the Museum, the surface turns to desert sands. No more scooter time. Another kid was yelling, "Go, Mommy, Go" . She was in a stroller and mom was the locomotion.

After awhile these guys caught up to me. Individually, they can all kick my ass. The ran in formation chanting as they ran. I kept in front for a while, but then they passed me. I'd walk awhile then run pass them. But, the machine that they are would pass me again. I thought I'd never see them until one of them had to puke. One stops, they all stop. NO man left behind. The last mile I ran behind them and fed off their energy. Left, Left, Left, right, Left.
I felt bad about passing them. But, I had the need for speed and I got in two good bursts at the end. At around the 34 minute mark in the race I got down to a mpm of 5:49 for about 40 seconds and at the end I did about 50 seconds of under 5 mpm pace. I was as low as 4:19 according to garmin. I finished 216th out of 286 runners, just 20 seconds ahead of the great men and women of Davis-Monthan Air Base. I thank them for letting me feed off their energy.

I didn't know we were getting medals for finishing a 5k. It was a nice surprise. After the race and awards ceremony, I went into the museum and got to see the original AirForce One. You even get to go inside it. Pretty cool.

Now, if you look out your window on your next flight and the engines look like this, you're in trouble.

Here's the bling. cool race bib, nice tee and a medal.

The neatest thing I saw in the museum. The first flag on Utah Beach in WWII.

Last night I ate some more carbs. Today, I didn't worry about the carbs and ate more. Not sure if I raced better because of it, but I didn't want to bonk. I'm still far from were I was back in January, but that's OK. I'll get there. Now, back on Atkins so that I can shed some more pounds before I start running double digit miles.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beat The Heat Knight 5k

Not since I ran the PF Chang's Marathon, have I run in a race. Tonight I went over to the 2nd annual Beat The Heat Knight 5k. It was put on by the Higley Knights Cross Country team.

It's been stormy all week in Arizona and tonight was no exception. Last nite I was getting ready to play softball when we heard a loud thunder crack and the ump immediately said 'go home'. Tonight the lightening was off in the distance. But, as the gun sounded 5 minutes early the rain came down. It wasn't too hard and made for a nice way to cool down. We did a lap on the track in front of dozens of fans in the bleachers, then headed out into the dark and down an abandoned roadway. They did set up spot lights along the road. The asphalt was removed, so it was really running on dirt. The spot lights would shine in our eyes and blind us. We couldn't see the elite runners on their return leg. Luckily the could see us.

I knew my time wouldn't be very impressive, I just wanted to run in a race and this was a small one close to home. For most of the race I was keeping up with 4 of the girl Xcountry runners. They had a better kick at the end and left me in the dust on the track.
You can click on the map above to see where we ran. When I was about 1/2 mile from the stadium, the lights went out. I told a volunteer that I was slow, but at least they could have left the lights on. I got a chuckle. We ended up running on the track in the dark.
Only got a luke warm bottle of water at the finish, but we did get a cool t-shirt for our efforts. It was an unusual race, because I think the average age was around 16-20. I doubt 38 minutes will get me a medal, eventhough I bet there are only 4-6 runners in my age category. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Enviro 5k

Race report: Enviro 5k @ PIR by Chad Sayban.

To start with, I didn't have much in the way of expectations for this race. My training has been good, but it has been all base building to this point with really no speed work. I knew I could comfortably run the distance, but I also knew I wasn't going to come anywhere near my PR.

One thing about running a race at Phoenix International Raceway, you have to park outside of the track, and then walk all the way into the center of the track. That's about a 3/4 of a mile walk. Since I didn't preregister for the race, I had to make the walk three times. Not a big deal. I had plenty of time before the race. Once I got everything squared away, Eric and I decided to walk a lap of the track as a warmup and to get to see the course. I was really surprised that the track looks a lot smaller when you are on it. The track seems pretty narrow and since everything is surrounded by walls, it has a pretty enclosed feel to it.

It took forever for them to get the race started. The 5k was supposed to go off at 8am. Instead, we didn't get started until almost 8:30. The start was right at the start/finish line for the track. Someone yelled "Go," and we were off. I went out conservatively and quickly made my way down to the very bottom of the track. The banking is pretty tough to run on, but down at the bottom, it's quite a bit flatter. The first mile is one lap of the actual oval, but as you come around turn 4, they have you go down pit road. There were no mile markers, but I had the first mile at around 7:30. A bit faster than I figured I could go, but I felt pretty good. One big thing I found out about the's not flat! The entire backstretch is a gradual uphill, and it was into the breeze. Once you catch turn 3, it flattens out and then it a slight downhill down the front stetch and into turn 2. I bet even the diehard NASCAR fans didn't know that!

So as we go into turn 1 of the second lap, they take you off of the oval and into the road course. This is how they pick up the extra .1 mile to make 5k. Eric's Garmin read exactly 3.1 miles at the end, so I guess they got it just right. I was pretty steady through the second lap, but I knew I had slowed down a little. I passed a bunch of people on the second lap. Only one guy got past me though. To bad the guy was pushing a running stroller. I hate that! It's bad enough to know that I'm not as fast as I want to be, but to have a guy pushing 25 pounds go right by me...guurrrrr!!!

Anyway, the second lap passed and the third lap was once again around the main track itself. I felt pretty good, but didn't have a higher gear to go to. At the start of the race, I had hoped to keep the pace under 8 minute miles, and come in below 24:00. Well, I must have kept it right at 8:00 pace, because I hit the line at 24:24 for the 3.1 miles. Not bad. I'll take it considering where I'm at with my training plan. The weather was really good, about 75 at the start with a bit of a breeze. It wasn't the best organized race was a first year event. Even so, it was pretty low key. I'm guessing there were about 150 runners in the 5k. We will see what it says in the final standings.

Eric did awesome! He finished in around 27 minutes, which had to be a PR for him. But I will let you check out his blog to find out.

All in all, I had a lot of fun and am really happy to be back racing again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dam Good Run

Lake Pleasant ‘Dam Good Run Hike’ by Mike Miller

This last weekend Kimberly and I traded in the weekend Hike for a local event at Lake Pleasant called the 3rd Annual “Dam Good Run Hike”. It turned out to be a really fun day, and we enjoyed the Lake Life vibe all morning and afternoon.

The ‘Good Dam Run Hike’ offered two tracks - one 4 mile and one 7 mile. Wanting to get a good workout in we opted for the 7 miler, and glad we did. The event is in it’s third year and while still smaller (maybe 100 people total for both runs), the group was a perfect mix of young and old and all nice people. The fees you paid went to support Lake Pleasant and they had a good group of sponsors, so entry included a T-Shirt, hat, snacks, and some other miscellaneous stuff. All in all a very well run event.

The seven mile track was about half trail and half road. This was good news for me, because I am still much more comfortable running on trails. Seeing the first 2.5 miles are so where all trails, I knew I could get a little head start on Kimberly and maybe hold on for the Road portion and beat my little gym rat - runner wife (not that we were being competitive or anything ). You start from a parking lot and quickly descend down into a wash riparian area. The trail follows the wash/creek for a couple miles before you head up and out. There were 4 creek crossings and several spots where you had to duck under the trees. Heading out of the creek, you climb up a service road that gains a thousand feet or so elevation in about a mile - a nice painful stretch for this old man. After the climb you head toward the New Wadell Dam (hence the name of the race). The Dam is an earthen Dam and what holds the Aguia Fria to make the lake. As far as I know this is the only day of the year us regular folks can be on the Damn. So pretty cool you get to cross it and then head back. After coming back on the Dam you have another mile or so of trail run.

Just for the purposes of documenting the day for future years… I have to say I did end up crossing in 1:09 which was enough to get there ahead of Mrs. Miller . Considering we had 7 miles and 1800 ft. net elevation gain, had some creek crossings, and had a wine and tequila night the night before with good buddy Shane - I think us old folks did pretty good.

After the race we found a nice little Ramada with a view of the lake, setup my trusty grill and had a great lunch. then we headed over to the Marina and partook of a glass of Vino and a cold one. Once again…. life is good!