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...