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...