Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sione and The Biggest Loser

Sione from the Biggest Loser ran Pat's Run. I didn't see him, maybe because I couldn't catch up to him. He beat me by 5:26. Damn, he's fast.

Jeff out in Maryland was thinking of me. I got these in the mail. He knows I'm a Reds fan. Thanks, Jeff. And GOOD LUCK to Jeff, Dan, Karen, Taryn and Katie who are running the AOR Relay.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pat's Run

The first of two Pat's Runs take place at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. The school that Pat Tillman played his collegiate football. Next week there will be another Pat's Run in San Jose, Pat's hometown.
This was the fifth annual run that started soon after Pat Tillman, an American hero, died in Afghanistan fighting for America. Just in case you may not know, Pat played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals. When he was offered a new contract, he passed and joined the military. Today we celebrate Pat Tillman and raised funds for his foundation.

The race featured 20,000+ runners and walkers running from the parking lot of ASU's Sun Devil Stadium north across the Mill Avenue bridge and through Papago Park along Curry Road. As you head south down Scottsdale Road you loop around the athletic fields and up into Sun Devil Stadium. It's 4.2 miles and you finish high fiving ASU football players on the 42 yard line. Yes, you get to finish on the field and you're not rushed off. You can stretch on the grass after your run. Plenty of seating in the stands to watch your fellow runners come in.

Why 42? It was Pat Tillman's number when he was a defensive hero for the Sun Devils. This race is unique, in that 70% of the participants wear the technical shirt you get with your registration. Families will also love the play area for kids and the festival where you can get something to eat, drink or even a message.

Look to your right around the half way point and you'll see the stadium. The finish line looms big just a few miles away.

Football fields are marked every 10 yards, but at ASU, the 42 yard line is also marked so that we can always remember Pat Tillman. If you'd like to learn more about Pat click on his name.

As for my race? I planned to run 9 minute miles, or closed to it. Finish under 40 minutes and stop for just a few pics. My splits came in at 9.08, 9.33, 9.33 and 10.41. Not sure what happened at the end. But, I finished with a 9.11 for the last .2 miles entering the stadium. Final time: 40.09. It was a crowded race, but not so much to slow me down. I did a little weaving, but I was able to run the tangents without much interference. After the race, I went back to the stadium entrance and ran back in to take some pictures. Here's where you can find more pictures.

Race stats and map

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sumo Are You at 100 Days running yet?

Friday, April 10, 2009

test run

You might recall back in January I ran for 26 straight days. It was a test to see how my body and specifically my legs would hold up to daily running. Every day was at least one mile and I covered 103 miles. An average of 3.96 miles a day.

On day 27 I could have run on. I could have kept the streak going for a much longer time. I decided to stop, because my legs always felt tired. No injuries, just tired. Some run were fine, but some I didn't enjoy as much. I even ran the Rock N Roll Half Marathon on day 23 and did it in 2:25. A PR at the time. I was real happy about that race.

So, I asked myself if a running streak was in sync with my ultimate running goal. That goal, is to be running for the rest of my life. To be a 70 year old runner, an 80 year old runner and hopefully, a 100 year old runner. Can I run every day for the next 18,980 days? Or if I ran every other day is 9,490 days more realistic?

I think I can better reach my goals with an every other day (EOD) running approach. But, is EOD enough running to get better and fitter?

So, for the past 11 weeks I've done the EOD approach. 171 miles in 37 runs. A run every 2.08 days. Two half marathons of 2:25 (not a PR) and 2:19 (a big PR). 4.62 miles on average. My legs have never felt better.

Time for a new test.

Now, I am going to run EOD, 5 miles or more each time. On the off days I'm going to walk 3-5 miles at a slow pace. Maybe 18-20 minutes a mile. Plus, any walking I do normally in the day. I did 3.52 miles last night. I walked to the mall and in the mall. I only stopped once, no shopping. The mall is less than a mile from my home, so it was interesting to walk over there. My garmin even worked inside the building. Who knew? I enjoyed the walk.
The Reason.

They say you burn the same number of calories if you walk a mile or run a mile. No matter the speed. I could use the extra 300-500 calorie burn and walking won't (I hoping) tire my legs. I'll get an extra 1100 calorie burn from the walking. About 2100 calorie burn from the running each week for a total of 3200 calories. Almost a pound.

So, until the end of April I will be doing the Run/Walk test to see if I can keep fresh legs and burn enough calories to shed some pounds. I guess I'll have to avoid the mall too. The food court and Aunt Annie's Pretzels are way too tempting.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sabino Canyon Sunset Run

You don't see this kind of view at the start of most races. At the Sabino Canyon Sunset Run you get this view and many more that are better. I ran the 2009 version of the race as my first hill dominant run. I say hill dominant because the first 3.7 miles are mostly all uphill. You turn around at the top and return the same way to the finish.

Sabino Canyon is just to the northeast of downtown Tucson in the Coronado National Forest. You might have taken the tram into the canyon as a tourist. You defiantly want to do the run. I drove 2 hours each way for just the run and it was well worth it.

Being in the national forest system, you have to pay $5 to park inside the gates. Here's a hint. There's a small parking lot outside that's free. Then you just walk an extra 100 yards and you'll be at the visitor center/ tram station/ race start.

It's all on asphalt road, two lanes wide with seven bridges that the runners cross over twice. Once going up and once coming down. There's a dip in the road for each bridge. Here's a hint. When the Sabino Creek is flowing strong, the water will flow over the bridges. So, on race day that means you're running in water to cross the creek. Deep enough to get your feet wet. See the pictures from the 2008 race.

You'll start out in daylight around 2735' elevation. At the turn around you will have risen about 600 feet to 3375. Half of it in the last mile. But, then you'll get to head back down the canyon. Then you get to fly. I ran down 10 minutes faster than my ascent.

The picture above shows you the last mile. The runner is returning, but above him you might be able to see the road and some runners heading for the turn. In many ways this feels like a trail run, without the trail. No rocks or roots to watch for.

But, hurry down the mountain. Because darkness approaches after about 45 minutes of running. Robert Seamon, of Tucson finished in 40:45 to win overall first and Paula Morrison, of Tucson was first female overall with a time of 48:15. Half the runners finished in under 1 hour 6 minutes. The last group finished in 2 hours and in the dark.

You could say my race was a series of ups and downs. Yeah, pun intended. I had early splits of low 12 minutes per mile. I walked some of the way. Mile five was the first full down hill mile. I did that in 8:06. Miles five and six literally flew by. But, as if by design the race director had one more hill for the runners to climb right before mile 7 ended. Pictured below. By the time I got there, all I could see was the silhouette of the runners as they reached the top.

At the top you could see a single light, about a half mile down the road. That's the finish. You can't see runners in front or behind you. Just the single light. If you can finish this race in under an hour, it won't be an issue. But, for the back half of the field, we ran in the dark. Plus, you get signs like this:

Now that will get you moving.
The Southern Arizona Roadrunners put on this race and do a great job. We had entertainment before the awards ceremony with a cowboy doing gun and rope tricks. The parents loved it, almost as much as the kids.

The awards for 1, 2 and 3rd places were these great framed photos. I had to get back to Chandler, so I couldn't stay for the awards ceremony. I'm sure it was a fun time.

SAR also does a good job at having people around to answer your questions. Here's Dave Hill with a great t shirt on. He's in front of the Performance Footwear sign. A great sponsor of races throughout Arizona.

Then of course, there's the eats. Peanut butter sandwiches, orange slices, bananas were the fare. A bit light compared to what there sister club, Arizona Road Racers, up in Phoenix does. But, it was fine. Heck, maybe all the fast runners got the good stuff.

The volunteers where friendly like always. The weather was perfect. All in all, it was a great day for a run.

Pat's Running Splits