Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost Dutchman 10k

Lost Dutchman 10k - 2/15/2009 by Lisa Ngai

The Lost Dutchman actually has five different race lengths available: a full marathon, 1/2 marathon, 10k, 8k trail run, and 2 mile fun run. The 10k started at 8:00am, and I had an hour long drive to get to Apache Junction so I left the house around 6:15. By the time I got to the park where the race was starting and finishing, cars were parking way out along the street. I turned my Garmin on during the walk back to the car and it was about 3/4 of a mile from the car to the park. So I used the walk as my warm-up. Then I checked my bag, used the restroom, stretched and it was time to start.
The course for the 10k was an out and back with a couple turns at the beginning then a long straight stretch. Based on the race brochure, I was expecting a flat course, and I guess for the most part it was. There were a few small slopes that I wasn’t expecting, but nothing that really gave me much trouble. I tried to keep jogging through the two water stations that I stopped at. I was able to get down a few gulps of water, but also spilled a lot of water over myself. I’m still working on how to drink and run. We were running into the wind on the way out and with the wind on the way back which was nice. I was feeling pretty good for the last couple miles except that I started to get the weird tingly feeling in my left foot again.
I discovered four pet peeves during the race:
1. People who sing out loud to their music, especially when they can’t really carry a tune and don’t know all the lyrics.
2. People who wear their music so loud that I can hear it. (Not as bad as number 1, but still rather annoying.)
3. People who wear a running watch that continually beeps at odd times. I don’t mind alerts for time or distance, but I’m guessing this was more of a pace alert.
4. People who ask others on the course what time it is. If it’s that important, just get your own darn watch!
Medals were awarded to the first 300 finishers in the 10k. (Also to all marathon and half finishers and the first 300 of the 8k.) Because of the out and back and the hills, I could see a lot of people in front of me. I was pretty worried but luckily placed high enough to receive a very nice medal. I like the cutout details along the top. Also, it’s hard to see in the graphic, but there are gold sparkles in the pot of gold and on the cactus. They had unofficial results posted at the finish area. My time was 1:01:16 which is just under a 10 minute pace. Not a PR, but one of the fastest runs I’ve had recently.
One really neat thing I saw at the finish area was that they seemed to be printing custom finisher shirts. There were about six different sets of graphics/text and you could choose what you wanted on the front and the back of the shirt. The post-race refreshments were decent and there was plenty of water. I grabbed a bag of chips, pretzels, two orange wedges and 1/2 a breakfast burrito. There was also granola which I skipped. Overall I thought the race was very well organized and if the dates are right I’d be open to participating again next year.

Run For The Islands 5k

Today was the third annual 'Run for the Islands 5k and Beach Party'. It's the second year I've run in it. The Islands is a nice subdivision in Gilbert, AZ. No, there's no island, but a couple lakes.

I left the house about 40 minutes before the start of the race. It's nice to not have to get up with the Roosters to run a race. When I got to the park, I realized I didn't brink my garmin. So, no garmin, no ipod, no fanny pack for a water bottle. I ran practically naked*. The field consisted of 126 runners, so I was about 3 deep at the start line. Then I got sucked out with the fast runners. Quickly, I slowed down. I did the same thing two years ago and PR'd this race. This time I figured I might do the same. At the turn around I was tired. I walked the water stop. I was running again, but I thought it was really slow and it would be a mid 30's time for me. A little past the 2 mile mark I was walking again.

That's when I was 'Touched by an Angel' (tv show). A lady came running by and hollered 'only one mile to go, come on' at me (maybe, touched by a drill sargeant). So, I ran. I figured if she was going to yell at me, I was going to use her to distract myself. We talked. Turns out she ran the PF Chang's Full Marathon last week. I was impressed. Last year I skipped this race after running 26.2 miles. She didn't look any worse for wear. It was her second marathon. She ran the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska last year. We talked about Nikemom. My only Nebraska connection other than, 'how bout them huskers?'. I should have told her about the Shirt That Races. Darn it. I did thank #211 after the race.

Anyway, with about 2/10 of a mile to go. I eyed the two people in front of me and decided I was passing them. Amy Williams was real close, so that wasn't an issue. Brian Watt was further up. I reeled him in and we finished 3 seconds apart. I was in front.

67/126 PAT MONAHAN 47 13/19 M 29:04 9:22 pace

My last three 5k's have been: 28:49, 29:20, 29:04.

I really do like running sub 30 minute 5ks.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goodyear's Heart and Sole 5k

The City of Goodyear held it's annual Heart and Sole 5k at the new Goodyear Ballpark on February 21, 2009. This is the personal race report from Pat Monahan.
This morning's 5k was at the site of the Brand Spanking New Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, AZ. The spring home of the Cleveland Indians and future spring home of my Cincinnati Reds.

Lots of Indians fans, but the home opener next Wednesday is not sold out. Tickets are from $12 to $80. I think ticket prices are way too high at all the Cactus League stadiums. It's cheaper to go to a regular season game. Which is why I haven't been to a spring game since Ken Griffey Jr. was a mariner. Hey, I guess I can go again now.

Anyone visiting this blog for the baseball pics, can skip down to them. I talk a lot about running on this blog.

I ran the 5k and was about the 10th person over the start line. And about the 100 person over the finish line. My garmin split for the first mile was 8:16, the fastest one mile in my racing life. My first half mile was at 7:46. I tried to keep up with the rabbits, but it wasn't to be.

My second mile past the practice fields was at 9:43, much more like me.

My third mile was at 10:22. I think I had one walk break during the second mile and a couple in mile three. That first mile was getting to me.

But, I rallied to do the home stretch in 7:28. The Scorpion Cheer squad cheered and I got a finishers ribbon. Finish time was 29:16. Just 27 seconds from a PR.

The sculpture outside the stadium. It's 60' 6" tall ( the distance from home to the pitchers mound) and is supposed to looks somewhat like a planes wing. Goodyear/Phoenix airport is right next to the ballfield. This picture makes it look like a bat, but that's not the intention. If they would have made it out of used tire rubber, then it would have represented Goodyear even more.

Down the third base side of the ballpark are Reds photos. On the left side are the Indians photos.

I asked a stranger to take my picture. He said sure, so I asked him if he was with the city. Turns out he's with HOK, the builder. They introduced him during the ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Goodyear Stadium.

See the ball in midair?

From centerfield. It's a nice facility, but Camelback Ranch, the new home of the Dodgers looks better.
Run a 5k, go to the ballpark and have a dog and a beverage of your choice. It doesn't get any better.
*A side note - as I walked around the facility in my Reds attire, about a dozen Indians fans mentioned I was a year early.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon

You learn something at every race.

Yes, you do. You learn something at every race you run. I hadn't run for three days and my legs were fresh. Real fresh. This is a tale of what you learn when you go out fast in a half marathon.
The day started with a beautiful sunrise over the Superstition Mountains.

I got my picture with the Lost Dutchman himself. He wouldn't disclose were the his goldmine is. After all, it's the gold that's lost, not the dutchman.

Right around 7:30 the gun sounded and we were off. Actually, we waited as the faster runners were off. At this time I commented to all around me, "there goes my PR." But eventually we did get to run and it was less than a minute wait.

That's the Superstition Mtns. in the distance. Only about 700 runners in the half, so I didn't have to do a lot of weaving. The first mile split was 9:47. My goal was to see how many miles I could do under an 11 minute pace. 1:13 seconds was way too fast, but my legs wouldn't let me run any slower.

The second mile was 10:12. More reasonable, but still on the fast side. That made me 2 for 2 goal wise. I was a bit worried that it would get me later on. This course is half paved, half dirt road with lots of small hills. Mile 3 was 10:59, perfect and mile 4 was 10:42. I felt like I was getting in the groove.

Maybe it was the site of the medals before the race that got me in a fast mode.

There were lots of medals. I got the HM one on the right. Before the race I got to meet Alissa from Fountain Hills. She's one fast runner and it would be the last time I saw her.

Mile 5 was done in 9:58. Don't ask me. I have no clue as to why I was going so fast. Mile 6 was done in 10:06 and I was cruisin' to the half way point.

Then came mile 7. My first one over 11. I did it in 11:07. Was the first six fast miles catching up to me? I did the 10k in 1:03:47, which would be the fastest 10k I ever did. I did the 6.55 in 1:08:01. That mean't I had 2 minutes in the bank. I was hoping to do 1:10's each way.

Then came mile 8. I was trying to walk thru the water stations. I did it in 10:26. I skipped some stations and this mile most have been one of them. Mile 9 was my second mile over the 11 goal. It was done in 11:27, my slowest mile. I think it was the mile that I saw Lobster Girl. Two years ago I ran behind a girl in a lobster hat for a long time. I even took a picture and she happened to be in it. I recognized her this year. Asked if it was her and we talked for awhile. She's done 8+ marathons and can't even remember how many halfs. And she's young. I was a bit jealous.

Mile 10 was 10:43. Mile 11 was 10:58. Mile 12 was 10:27. During these miles I got to talk with a guy from New Mexico and a gal from Minnesota. We all got in the leap frog mode. When I walked, they would pass me. When they walked, I would pass. Sometimes we would chat. The gal from up north eventually passed me for good. Not sure about the guy.

But, I still had 1.1 miles to go and my legs weren't as fresh as 2 hours ago. Mile 13 came in at 10:25. I did a lot of walking, but I was running in the 9's and I was holding up pretty good.

Good enough to sprint to the finish line at an 8:50 pace. I stopped my garmin about 5-10 seconds after I finished.

It read 2:19:52.

2:19:52 is 7:17 better than I ran PF Chang's 28 days ago. It was 7:23 better than I ran London's Run 15 days ago. It is the fastest Half Marathon I've ever run.

It was a great day. No rain. Sunshine. High 40's to start. Mid 50's for most of the run. The third HM in less than 30 days. Two of them for PR's. The 11th HM of my life. 11 of the 13 miles under 11 minutes. A cool medal. A cool t-shirt.

If only the Dutchman would have shared where the gold is.

Gold Canyon Resort & Golf was a proud sponsor of this race.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lost Dutchmans 10K

Lost Dutchman's Marathon

(Copied from my personal Blog)

As of lot of our friends know, Kimberly and I have really gotten the ‘running bug’ over the last year or so. Almost seems to have turned into a mini obsession. I think we both run somewhere between 4-5 times a week now. We do short runs (3 miles or so), long runs (10 or more), trail runs with hills, interval runs, speed drills, hill sprints, and plain old around the neighborhood runs. But our favorite ‘kind of runs’ are races and what we (and others) like to call ‘destination runs’. Destination runs are basically going someplace cool to run. Seeing most of the time you are running in a gym on the treadmill, or around your favorite park hills (cool but still you have seen them before) so when you get a chance to run around someplace new it is great. And if it is a very cool place (i.e. like we did the Grand Canyon, or Saugatuck, etc) then it is even better. Races of course are just opportunities to run with others and be a little competitive so as to help push yourself on occasion.

This weekend we had a chance to combine theses two favorites with a ‘destination run race’ in Apache Junction at the Lost Dutchman’s Marathon (Half Marathon, 10K, 8K Trail Run and 2 Mile fun Run). The Marathon (and all races too) is considered one of the best ‘small town races in America’. There are lots of reasons of course, the race management team, the city support, the way cool way they treat the runners with campfires and good grub, plus many others. But the main reason being the beautiful Superstition Mountain Course and backdrop that you get to run in whatever race you chose.

As we have blogged before, the Superstitions are one of our favorite Arizona locals. We love to hike them hills. The variety, beauty and challenge of the hikes make them some of our most memorable in all of AZ. Plus we really enjoy the old-west-laid-back-we-are-all-family vibe of Apache Junction. Hard to beat sippin’ a cold one on the patio there at the Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon looking out at those Mountains, or grabbing an ice cream at Tortilla Flats after a long day hike in the Mountains.

We decided to stay over near the race because it would have required a little too much of an early morning to drive over race day for us. From up North West Phoenix we are a good 75 miles or so from Apache Junction. We found a good rate at the La Quinta off 60, and scooted over a bit early on Saturday to make a full day of it. First thing was to hit the Expo and get our bibs and race goodies. The Expo was small, but nice and also well organized for an event of this size. The Apache center where the Expo was held is very nice for a community center. After snagging a Cliff bar and our shirts (nice long sleeve race shirts by the way which is kind of unique) we headed over to hang out and walk around Goldfield Ghost Town where we had a burger on the Patio at the Saloon. We stopped at an Art festival just up the street a piece (notice the old West lingo there) and walk around for a bit. We took some pictures and they are in the 2009 Misc folder if you want to check out the scenery in that area.

After a near perfect day we headed back to the Hotel where we had a dinner of our homemade pizza and protein bars for desert. Yep, we packed over the cooler because it’s just the best pre-race night meal we know and we love pizza made like that with the whole grain breads and such. We watched a little tube, then did the old {let’s try to actually get at least 4 hours sleep before 4:30 when we have to admit we are up and can’t sleep anymore anyway mode}. One day I’ll have to Blog on the trials and tribulations of sleeping the night before a race and how early you have to get up to run (with all the pre-race stuff required).

Anyway, 4:30 came about, we got up, I got coffee, Kimberly got the Herbal Tea and we started moving. I packed the car, we showered, brushed the teeth, attached the iPods and were off over to hopefully find a parking spot semi close to the race start. By the time we got there it was a little after 6:00. Sadly the parking lot was full as was about ½ mile of the road heading into the park. It was a great morning, though quite abnormally cold (good for running, bad for beforehand), but the sun was rising and you knew it would be perfect. It took us about 20 minutes to walk from the car to the starting area. We were doing the 10K this year. It started in the same spot as the Half, 8K trail Run and 2 Miler (all out and back as best I could tell). The Marathon guys finished here also.

With the various races staggered start time throughout the morning, most everything went off without a hitch. Considering there were some 2200 odd racers and more support and volunteers here everything was very smooth – there was even a ‘real’ bathroom with little or no wait most of the morning (umm Chang’s could learn something here). About 15 minutes before the race we checked our gear (the jackets and gloves, etc) and headed over to the start.

The 10K is basically out one road and back. You are headed pretty much (at least what feels like) due East into the Superstitions then back. What a great feeling as you run up and down the little hills. Most of the course is fairly easy with the minor little up and downs, with the exception of the turnaround spot that has a nice little hill that while not bad at all will have your heart rate up a bit. With the decent weather we both had a pretty good race considering all. I was ‘out of the metals coming in 5th in my age, but I was 29th overall out of the 540 runners doing the 10K. Kimberly had some aches going in but still had a respectable 10th in her age group out of 44 and was in the top 70 of all woman. We both got a great finishers metal - way cool hardware in this race!

There is no doubt we will do this race again. I think next year perhaps the Half Marathon. We sure do hope that it falls on a different weekend than the IMS Marathon on the West side – we sure hated to miss that this year.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

London's Run Half Marathon

For two hundred yards we ran. Faster than we ran all day. We could see the finish line and as I ran faster, so did she. With a smile, I said to this stranger, "Are we racing?"

"Yes", was the only thing she said. We were moving fast, but it seemed as if time had stopped. I was now looking at her feet. Our legs in sync. With about 100 yards to go, I decided to go a little faster and with that I was gone. Crowds yelling for us. A run that had been going on for 2 hours and 26 odd minutes, boiled down to a 'duel in the desert'. This was how I finished a wonderful day of running in Queen Creek, Arizona.

This is a charity run to raise money for kids battling cancer. London was such a kid. There was a table (pictured) with pictures of all the kids. The race was held at Schnepf's Farm, an agritainment farm southeast of Phoenix proper. About 50 minutes from my home. I felt like I was going to the county fair as my car was in line to park in the field with less than 30 minutes until race time.

I had to make a decision. Run the 10k or run the half. I decided 13 miles would be good distance today and I had reason to run it anyway.

As you might know, I visit the Runner's World forum and leave posts and comments. There's a few of us Arizonans that do. One guy is AZ Nick in Queen Creek. We've discussed meeting at a race, but our race schedule never lined up. Lately, I and a few others convinced Nick he was ready to run a HM. He picked this race to run with a relative. Then, that relative bailed on him and he was preparing to run it alone.

Now Nick seemed like a nice guy, but I only knew him from RW and facebook. Do I want to run for over 2 hours with a stranger? What happens if we can't stand each other? One of us would have to suck it up and run away.

Nick called right as I was entering the porta potty. I told him I'd call him back. We finally met. I got to meet his wife and BIL. They ran the 10k. I told Nick I'd run with him and we decided to do his 4 minutes of running and 40 seconds of walking pattern for an 11 mpm pace. Nick's 4 minutes were long. And his 40 seconds were short. Seriously, we did skip some of the walk breaks and we settled into doing sub 11 mpm miles for the first 4 and then 11 to 11:35 miles the rest of the way.

The course was beautiful. Queen Creek is pretty flat. We had mountains to look at, but for the most part we were running in between farm fields. Lots of dirt roads and a few closed country roads. All straight aways, but lots of turns and in one section you go back and forth three times. The race started with us running past about 5 horses that were running in the pasture.

Nick and I talked the whole way. Kinda like when Karen and Lisa run. But, not about pedicures or tissue paper. We talked running. Jobs. Men stuff. After about 2 miles, I knew we would be running the whole race together and that it would be a pleasure.

I started running with my Phoenix Coyotes sweatshirt. Nick's a big time Coyotes fan, so he was alarmed that I was going to leave it road side. I did at the four mile point. Never to see it again. But, after the race as I was watching them award medals to the 10k winners, I looked down and saw a Coyotes sweatshirt. It was old and beat up and I'm thinking, "oh, someone has a sweatshirt just like mine. Wait, it is mine." The volunteers picked it up and my sweatshirt beat me to the finish line.

The last three miles Nick and I were trying to figure out if we could a) finish under 2:30, b) finish under 2:27:09 (my PR). I kept doing the math, looking at my garmin and telling Nick what we needed to do. Our start was 15-20 seconds late and we did a short stop so I could refill my water bottle. With half a mile left we knew that 2:30 was in the bag, but could I get a PR? As a side note, I wear my garmin really tight. The picture below is what my wrist looked like after the race. I mean 30 minutes after. I guess I plumped up during the race.

Back to the race, Nick and I had a final turn to make and then it was about 200 yards to the finish. I said let's go and started running hard. That's when I caught up to the 'lady in black' that was a willing racer.

In I came at 2:27:15 or 6 seconds over my best time. No PR today. But, a great run anyway.

It was great weather (60's), a great location, a great time and a great volunteer group. But, what made it best was running with Nick in his first half. It's the first half marathon I've run with someone. From start to finish. We are close to the same speed and we enjoyed each other's company. I know that if I ran this today, by myself I would have been 2:34 or more. Easy. Nick and I paced each other well.

So, there it is. London's Run Half Marathon is HM #10 and the second one this month. It's the second fastest HM I've run.

At lunch I saw this license plate:

Back in the day, when Steve Prefontaine was running for Oregon and was one of the best runners in America, a rival school had t-shirts made. They simply said, "Stop PRE".

Curtis Design Studios was a sponsor of this race. Please support the sponsors that support your sport.

Super Sunday 5K

Super Sunday 5K Race

This year’s Super Bowl at least brought some ‘happy football feelings’. In a season where my team (err umm the err umm Detroit Lions) set a record for futility, my current hometown boys had made the Big Dance. It was a perfect Winter weather day, the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for a good morning run.

Before knowing that the Cardinals were making it to the Super Bowl, Kimberly and I had signed up for the second annual ‘Super Sunday 5K’. It was just up the street at Thunderbird Paseo Park and put on by the Arizona Running Events guys. Seemed a perfect opportunity to get ourselves out of the sack and do a little exercise on a Sunday. For me it was all about humping it so I could then eat all the good stuff all day long while I watched the game, the pre game, the pre-pre game, the post game…. you get the picture.

Paseo Park really is a good place to run. It’s basically in Salt River Project's Arizona Canal at 59th Ave and Thunderbird. The Canal is one of the longer ones in Phoenix and makes for great running, biking, etc trails seeing you don't have to cross any roads (all run underneath for the most part). This part of the Canal makes for a near perfect 5K just by marking out a half way point in the sidewalk for an out an back easy 5K. Kimberly and I have even used this area for our long runs as you can go from 75th all the way to Tempe and more!

It was of course well ran, and a nice group showed up considering it’s a small local event. The best was they obviously had the shirts made after the Cardinals had won the Championship game, or they decided to have them changed, because the “Super Sunday” race shirts were customized with support for the Cardinals. How cool is that for a race souvenir (would have been much, much better had they won…).

We both ran a good race, I came in 7th overall and 2nd in my age group with a 21:36 time and Kimberly also took second in her age group (we always seem to do that same thing - thing) at just under 27 minutes. We hung out for a good while afterward. First we plopped down and enjoyed the banana’s and Snicker Protein Bars from the race promoters, and afterward decided to do a little more running and biking – so we just did the same 5K two more times. I figured I could now go home and let the eating in front of the TV begin…..