Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Retrospective

Sorry to be slow posting again this week.  I had a nice (in my own humble opinion) all typed up on my iPad but the app crashed and I lost all my changes!  I am retyping a slightly varied version with another app (Blogsey) and hope it does better.  If you have any suggestions on any experiences you might have had blogging on an iPad, let me know.

I thought for my last post of the year, I would look back on the year.  It helps me to realize what progress I have made and be greateful for how the year went.

Kiwanis 5K
This was my first race after working back from an injury.  It was a wet slushy run but I came in third in my age group.  And in case you were wondering the we're more than three people in my age group. :)

Kiwanis 5K

Several Great Hikes
I had a great time on several hikes this year.  With all the snow we had this spring, we had to be creative on our hikes, but all of them were great.  The highlights were:
July Uintah Hike with Troy, Mike and Gordon
September Timp Hike with Paul and Gordon
Kings Peak Hike with Evan and Gordon

The Kings Peak hike was the highlight because it completed my Three Peak Challenge that started me on this journey.  If you noticed, my brother Gordon was a part of my hiking.  He's a great brother and we've had some great times together.

Two Half's Don't Make a Whole
At least as far as a marathon goes.  I ran two half marathons this year.  Hobble Creek and the Halloween Half.  Both were a challenge to complete, but I was able to finish both of them.
Halloween Half
  Hobble Creek

I have had a lot of positive experiences this year.  More than I could have ever imagine!  Thanks for following along with me!  I would be interested to hear of some of your highlights of the year.  Feel free to comment.  Next week a look ahead as we celebrate a new year!  Happy New Year to you all!

Hang in there and I will too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas

Things have been busy this week. I kept hoping to post something longer but it will have to wait until next week.

Have a Merry Christmas and I will too!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catching Up

I thought I would do a little catch up on what has been going on.


Thanks

First of all, I enjoyed your comments about running from your monsters! Makes the blog worth writing with the such great comments! Thanks!


Earn Your Turkey Run

This was a 4 miler on Thanksgiving morning. I have not been running for speed lately so I didn't expect to be fast. I thought if I finished up between 45 and 55 minutes, I would be happy. I finished up at 44:29 so I was quite happy. I didn't start out too fast, I stayed steady through out the race and had just a little extra in the tank at the end to finish strong. I was really happy with the way it turned out.


Accountability
I said that I would be accountable about my weight over the holidays.  I am down a few pounds from my initial weigh in from just before the holidays so that is great!   I need to be careful because I have let up a more than a few times. I don't want to gain weight over the holidays. I think the running is saving my bacon here!

A Little Bragging

My daughter Sarah had her first baby during the last week of November.  He is a cutie and it is fun to see Sarah and Mike as first time parents.  They are doing great and my new grandson is (of course) a cute kid.  That puts us at 14 grandkids! Holy cow! The two youngest and I are getting by as my wife is back east helping out. Yesterday I got up at 5, sorted and started my laundry, ran 7 miles, made sure the kids were out the door OK and went to work. I don't know how single parents do it!  Helps me appreciate my wife!

Goal Accomplished

I was hoping to get in over 2000 miles for the year and I turned over the odometer in the last couple of weeks. Yes!!!

Saturday's Long Run
The mileage for my long runs is nudging up  This Saturday was an eight miler. Most of the trail was ice free until I got up to Bridal Veil Falls. The water from the falls had overflowed onto the trail and iced over. Baby steps! Baby steps!
Bridal Veil Falls Starting to Ice Over

Ice over the Trail
Biggest Loser

I am a big fan of The Biggest Loser. Tonight is the finale! It's always fun to see the changes that the contestants make in a relatively short period of time.  I don't know who is going to win but I am glad Ramon is in the mix because I have always enjoyed his upbeat attitude. This interview with him shows why exercise is so important in a healthy lifestyle. As he mentions in the video, he was diagnosed as the most unhealthy of all the contestants who competed this year including those who were in their 60's. Ramon is one of the youngest! As he pointed out, he had diabetes and sleep apnea but in a few short weeks of eating right and exercise, he has not only lost over 135 pounds, he was told that he no longer has diabetes! Physical activity is not just a weight loss tool. Exercise is the best medicine we will probably ever find.
nbc.com

A lot of you are doing great on not gaining weight over the holidays.  Keep up the great work.   Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Running from the Monster


When I was young, I spent many of my summer weeks at my grandmothers house.  There were many things I like about her staying with her.  A creek split at the top of her property and surrounded her house that my grandfather built.  There were fish to be caught, trees to climb, cherries to eat and most importantly someone who really loved me.  It was an acre of paradise.

Another great thing about spending my days there was the fact that two of my uncles had homes on adjoining properties.  So not only did I get to spend time with my grandmother, but my cousins were close at hand.  Those growing up years were filled with many fun filled memories.

One memory that I had wasn't pleasant though.  Sometimes I would be at my cousins' house until after it was dark.  That meant when it was time to go back to my grandma's house, I had to go down a dark driveway.  This wasn't just a short driveway, but more of a dirt road that connected their houses.  It was a long walk down that road.  But usually it wasn't a walk, it was a run for my life.  I would pause at the top of the drive, screw up my courage and then run like crazy.  I ran past the trees, the duck pen and the unseen monsters that lurked waiting to grab me.  I raced as fast as I could go and then make a sharp left, head for the porch and burst through the door out of breathe and grateful that I made it home alive.  I'm sure my grandmother knew why I was a little wild-eyed and breathing hard but she loved me enough not to say anything.


I don't think I realized at the time that there was a monster.  But it wasn't in the trees or the duck pen.  The monster was inside of me.  I had created it and hid it along the drive.  I couldn't outrun the monster because it was running right along inside of me.

I think we all have a monster or two inside of us that keeps us from doing what we would like.  They freeze us into inaction or get us running off in the wrong direction.  They cause us to place the blame somewhere outside of us.

I had one of those monsters that was keeping me for living a more healthy life.  It was making me believe that it was to late for me to make a change and lose some weight.  I'm glad that I had something give me hope that that mosnter wasn't real.  I could make a change, I could be fit again, I could lose weight.

I've still got some monsters that I need to quite believing in and quit avoiding the fact that I am that I am the one I am running from.  One of them is this last thirty to thirty-five more pounds I need to lose.  Why am I not willing to quit running from it?  What's it going to take for me to get rid of this monster?  I hope I can face this monster soon and get it out of my life!

You got any monsters you need to get rid of?

Hang in there and I will too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Take Things For Granted

Never Say Never


I often will post a quote that I find inspirational.  However, when I saw a quote the other day that included the words "running", "rain", and "crying", I thought that's not a quote I will post.  I thought to myself that I don't run crying in the rain.  So what happens this morning?  I listen to a podcast from Radio Labs that got me tearing up as I was running.  Stupid show!  If you aren't a Radio Labs listener already, I highly recommend it as a podcast to listen to.  This one in particular was powerful in many ways.  If you are interested you can listen here.

Kohn Ashmore
Kohn Ashmore

Slow
There were several things that got me thinking as I listened to the story of Kohn Ashmore.  He was severely injured when he was hit by a car when he was eight years old.  He was in a coma for five months and when he awoke, he couldn't talk or walk.  He had to relearn many skills and had to learn how to cope with his permanent disabilities.  One thing that stuck out was how he never realized that his speech was so slow until he recorded himself trying to sing.  He came to an abrupt realization of how he sounded to others and it devastated him.  It took him a long time to overcome that devastation.  Luckily he found friends along the way who helped him in his struggles.

Like I said, there were many things I thought about as I listened to this podcast, but one that really stuck out was how it took a moment like that in my own life when I realized what I was doing to myself and others with my weight problems.  It was a devastating moment of my own.  Thanks to others encouragement and my willingness to work hard I was able to turn things around.  Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me and I hope I have helped you as well.

No Exceptions
With Thanksgiving weekend behind us now, I wonder if you like me made too many exceptions.  We not only had the holiday and the food to deal with, by the time this week is done, there are three birthdays and a family Christmas party we have celebrated as well.  I made way to many exceptions when it came to food choices.  I need to get back into No Exceptions mode for a while. It's too easy this time of year to make too many exceptions and gain weight over the next several weeks.  I'll be accountable in my blog about how I am doing through the New Year.

Hang in there and I will too!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Attitude

Attitude plays an important part of everything we do.
Provo River Trail

For example, It has gotten colder here the past few weeks.  I was getting a bad attitude about it getting cold.  We had a cold spring and I just wasn't ready to head into winter.  After a couple of days of grumping about it, I got to thinking that the main problem with the cold was my attitude about it being cold.

I was able to get through last winter (other than an non-weather related injury) just dandy.  I know how to stay warm and mostly comfortable.  I just needed to accept the fact that the cold is going to be here for a while.  

There are plenty of things to be positive about.

  • I really enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the fun associated with getting together with friends and family.  
  • I enjoy extra time off from work.  
  • I enjoy how things look after a fresh snow.  
There are plenty of things I like about this time of year.

I have settled down a bit and am getting back into the cold routine.  I just check the temperature when I get up and layer up accordingly.  I use up more clothes in one day than I do all week it seems when the weather is warm, but that's no big deal.

What I do to keep warm.

  1. I layer according to the temperature.
  2. I wear moisture wicking clothing. (No cotton at all!) 
  3. I even layer my hands.  I have light weight running gloves that I start with and will either put fingered gloves over them if I need extra warmth.  I also have some thicker mittens when it gets really cold.  I have on occasion even used hand warmers with my gloves, but not very often. 
  4. I warm up just a bit before I go out.  I will do light leg and arm swings to loosen up a bit.  It also warms my core up a bit making the shock of the cold not so bad.
  5. A nice synthetic wool hat makes a big difference
  6. I invested in some wicking thermals as well.  They cost a bit more, but I have been happy with them on the occasions when it is extra cold.
I used to worry about rain and snow getting me wet, but on most of my runs, I get wet from the inside out from sweating so I realized that it didn't make much difference what the source of the wetness was.  As long as I'm moving, I am keeping warm.  The only exceptions are my hands and feet.  I explained above about my hands and it's not often when my feet get cold.  Just on those wet, cold, slushy days.  But even those days are not that bad. The only thing that I don't deal with well is ice.  I have slipped too many times in my life to enjoy that, but most of the time, the roads are clear enough to run on.  I go early enough and try to avoid the really busy streets so I don't have much of an issue with cars.  I wear a reflective vest and sometimes use a headlamp.  I have used Yak Traks knock offs before.  They do help with traction on slippery surfaces, but don't do well when the snow is wet and heavy.  I might not have used the best model for what I was trying to do.  Mine didn't have a strap across the top, like the video shows.  I think they would do better.



On those rare days when it's just not doable because of ice, I do have a tread mill as a backup. Now if I can just get a better attitude about the rest of my life, everyone else will be happier!  :) What do you do to deal with the cold?

 Hang in there and I will too! (5 miles away from 1000 miles for the year!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Justification


Alan at Pounds Off Playoff wrote a couple of thought provoking post.  Read them here and here.  It got me thinking about what I do to justify my actions.  These justifications are what sabotage me in the long run.  Here are two of them.

I am working hard so I can have a little extra.
I deserve a little extra!
This one gets me every time.  If I run six miles, it's OK to throw in a little treat.  I know darn well that it isn't a good thing, but I easily fall into this one.  If I run six miles, I burn a net 812.7 calories.  For more info see this article in Runner's World.  So let's say I justify eating a Whooper with cheese as a result and I've eaten 760 calories in about ten minutes.  Not much calorie deficit after that!  I usually don't go out and get a Whopper with cheese, but I do tend to eat a bit more here and there throughout the day and that adds up really quick.

I'll start being good on Monday
Michele blogged about the importance of today.  I commented that my tomorrow is usually Monday.  Like in, "Monday I'll start watching what I eat better."  But before long it's Tuesday... Thursday... Friday and then it's time to say, "I'll start being good on Monday."  Like Michele pointed out today is the day.  It got me thinking that today is the only day we can do anything.  Yesterday is gone and we have to wait until tomorrow becomes today to actually do anything.  I need to quite justifying today's behavior based on a better tomorrow.



On an upbeat note
I have been logging my mileage on dailymile.com.  I noticed a stat on there that had me feeling pretty good and gives me some incentive to keep going this year.  Since I logged my first mileage in there last year I have run (mostly) 2028 miles.  This year I am at 971 and counting.  I am on track to get in another 1,000 mile year.  Keep your eye on my daily mile update on the side.

Inspiration
People comment that I am an inspiration.  I am happy if I can help others "hang in there", but you have all helped inspire me as well.  I read of you successes, dealing with your challenges and a lot of you have given me pause for thought many times.  Thanks for inspiring me!

Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's Next?

There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.
Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers blog at Runner's World.com
Mile Markers with Kristin Armstrong
Kristin Armstrong
It is hard for me to express sometimes why I run.  I think the quote I included today helps in a small way to explain to me what it is.  There are few things in life that can help me get a better look at my character, my determination and persistence than running.  It gives me a chance to face my limits and see what I have in me.

So... What's Next?
    I've had a fun and challenging last few months.  I ran a couple of 5K's, ran a 10K, ran two half marathons.  I even made it to the highest peak in Utah!  So what am I going to do now?  I find it helps if I have some short and long term goals.  Here's what's up for me.
     
    I took it easy this last week.  I have found when you run races, it puts extra stress on your body and you are pretty much forced to take it easy.  I didn't do anything on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I walked a couple of miles on the treadmill and stretched.  That really helped.  Friday was my first day trying to run.  Even six days after the half, my legs still felt sluggish as I ran almost three miles.  This would have been an easy run the week before.  Saturday, I ran 5.5 miles as a tip of the hat to my age on my birthday.  I posted on Facebook that "Bill Hiatt ran 40 miles on his 40th.  Not to be outdone, I ran 5.5."  That was a hard 5.5 miles, when I was done, I hurt more than I did after I ran the half.  I think part of the problem was I ran too fast and a little too far.  This morning's run of 3.5 went much better.  I slowed down a bit and I felt much better, especially after stretching.
      Last Tuesday, I made the commitment to run a marathon by signing up for the Ogden marathon.  Others who have run this have said that this is a great marathon for someone doing their first and they really enjoy the course.  I must be crazy!  I'll be writing more about this as the weeks go on.  I start official training on January (brrrrrr) but I need to keep my base training up and get my core strong again.
      26.2 Ogden Marathon
      Ogden Marathon

        I also signed up for a Earn Your Turkey run on Thanksgiving morning.  It is a 4 miler.  It will be a good short term goal to get me back into training.
        Orem Thanksgiving Race 2006
        Earn Your Turkey

          I signed up for my work challenge -  Challenge: Maintain, don’t gain this holiday season! I have had mixed results in the past with the annual challenge.  I plan on being successful this year.  Last blog, I challenged you to do the same.
            Big Clyde (I always enjoy his blog!) left me a question in the comments last week that got me thinking.  He said:  

            "All-in-all, we're you happy with the race? I think you should be proud."  

            Thanks for that question because it really got me thinking.  I was disappointed with that this was my slowest half marathon.  But putting things in perspective, IT WAS A HALF MARATHON!  And thinking more about it, IT WAS MY THIRD HALF MARATHON!  Many years ago, I started training for a marathon.  When I got up to about 11 miles, I couldn't do it any more.  I was in my early thirties and I had to quit.  Here I am over 20 years later and I have done 10 miles and more dozens of times now as I have trained.  Two and a half years ago, I was 325 lbs and couldn't even walk a quarter of a mile without a lot of effort.  Now I am thinking I can do a marathon!  Thanks Clyde for putting this back into perspective for me!  I learned a lot  from this last half marathon.  One thing being, that you get out of it what you put into it.  The change to an easier paced half marathon schedule left me with an slower pace on race day.  
              Thanks to the support you give in the comments.  It really helps and encourages me to keep writing and to keep after my goals.  If I didn't post about them, I wouldn't be near as accountable as I am now.

              Hang in there and I will too!

              Monday, October 31, 2011

              Halloween Half

              “I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot” ― Nadia Comaneci
              Nadia

              I haven't talked much about the Halloween Half this year in my blog other than mentioning that I was training for it and it was coming up.  Last year, it was my first half marathon ever and I was running (pun?) a little scared leading up to the race.

              This year was quite different.  I had already run the Hobble Creek Half in August and I wasn't going to run the Halloween Half this year but after a couple of weeks of recovery runs, I was ready for another challenge.

              There were a few things that happened that made me wonder if I had made a mistake.  I chose a different training schedule to work off of.  My previous two halfs were based on Hal Higdon's training schedules. He has generously provided training tips and schedules at no cost.  You can pay for additional help, but this is a great resource for runners who want to run anything from a 5K to a marathon.  This time, I used a Runner's World schedule.  In all fairness, I used their beginning schedule since it was about were I was in running when I decided to run this one.  The longest "long run" was 10 miles and I was struggling on the long runs just a bit.

              Packet Pickup for Justin Bieber Fans
              Most of my reservations were pre-race experiences however.  The first was at Packet Pickup.  They only had one day to pick up your packet.  I went Friday night about 5pm to a local mall and we had to stand in line for an hour and a half to get our packets.  I talked with others later who waited 2 hours!  That's a long time to stand in line the day before a race.  The line went half way through the mall.  I tried to tell curious mall shoppers that we were in line for Justin Bieber, but no one fell for it and joined the line. :)

              Morning Fun
              They had us get up nice and early to catch buses at the same mall to drive us up Provo Canyon and then head up past the Sundance Ski Resort to the race start.  Even though the race started at 9:00, they had to get the buses up the canyon early since it impacted traffic.  The only problem was is that the race starting point was at a new place this year and the first buses up didn't know exactly where.  The bus driver asked for help to get where we needed to go.  I was on the front seat behind the bus driver and knew where the start of the race was supposed to be so I was his Garmin voice giving him turn-by-turn directions.

              When we got to where the race was supposed to start, I could see some starting gates, but the "heated tent as big as a football field" was not seen from the road.  There wasn't anyone from the race there either.  The bus driver got off and asked the bus drivers behind him if they knew where to let us off.  On of them told him there was a drop off point ahead.  So off we went up a narrowing road with barely enough room for one bus.  We soon were stopped by a bus load of people walking down the same narrow road.  On runner said, "He nearly drove off a cliff so we got off."  Our bus decided to take the same action.  Soon we were traveling in the pitch dark down this narrow road with four other bus load of runners going back to where we saw the starting gate.  It was about a half mile back to there.  For about 10 minutes, we gather in the cold (20*) while someone tried to figure out where we were supposed to go.  Finally someone finds and empty lite up heated tent behind some buildings so we headed en masse to our temporary shelter.

              I won't say much about the tent experience except to say there is nothing like sharing a tent with thousands of other runners who are dressed up in Halloween costumes for about 2 1/2 hours.

              The Race Itself
              00367-01-0200.1.jpg
              The Tail End of Last Years Start (Halloween Half Web Page)

              When we actually got going, I purposefully got way back it the start.  I knew it would help me not to go out too fast.  I was lined up a ways behind the 3:00 hour pacer.  It was a good strategy except being near the guy dressed as a cow.  The costume wasn't that bad except for the cow bell that he had hung around his neck that clanged for miles.  His race strategy was fun/walk.  Every time he passed someone, he would say "MOOO!"  This went on for miles and was only slightly irritating. :)

              Race Pace
              I thought my race pace was good.  The first part of the race is really steep.  I eventually caught up to the 2:40 pacer (dressed as a gorilla) and stayed with him through about mile six where he went a little ahead of me.  I thought this was great and I wasn't really that tired yet and felt I had reserves.  I stuck to my nutrition plan fairly well.  My only problem was the early steepness took a bit of a toll on my calves which felt like they wanted to cramp, but thankfully never did during the race.

              During the last part of the race though, my pace kept slowing.  I didn't have to walk except when I took some water and Gu's, but I couldn't keep my pace up.  The way my long runs had gone before, I was afraid I was going be right around three hours to finish.  Toward the end, even though I was running (shuffling), I would have trouble passing power walkers.  But I never really thought about quitting, I knew I just had to go at my pace and keep after it.  I know if I would have pushed any harder, I would have cramped up big time.

              The Finish
              I don't run from a challenge, I run through it.

              I saw this on the back of a shirt as I was headed down the stretch. This race was definitively a challenge, but I was close to the finish.  Right after mile 13, with only .1 miles to go, I got a huge cramp on my left inner thigh, I had to stop, massage it out, and then headed for the finish line.

              Post Race
              I will save until next week what my next plans are, but I would like to suggest a challenge that comes from my work that fits right in with other challenges you might have.

              YOUR CHALLENGE:
              Maintain your weight during the holiday season!
              To complete this Wellness Challenge:
              1. Maintain (or lose) weight during the coming
              holiday season
              2. Begin with an initial weigh-in around
              November 1, 2010 (the last day to join this
              Challenge is Monday, November 15)
              3. Have a final weigh-in on January 2, 2011
              4. Use the same scale for the initial weigh-in
              and your final weigh-in
              5. You’ll be weighing yourself. So be honest
              6. Keep records of your completed challenge
              Maintain, don’t gain!


              I'll be weighing in tomorrow and promise to report on my loss/gain on  Monday, January 2, 2012.  Feed free to join in!

              Hang in there and I will too!

              Tuesday, October 25, 2011

              Fall Break and General Weirdness

              Sorry to be late this week.  Busy, busy, busy!

              Fall Break Scout Trip

              The kids were off school for a couple of days last week so we planned a camping trip for the scouts.  Normally I just take the scout troop out, but for this one we had the Varsity team and Venture crew join us as well.  The 11 year old scouts joined in the fun so we had 13 scouts and 8 leaders and fathers along.

              Goblin Valley is a State Park in southern Utah.  Most people are familiar with Moab because of the great mountain bike trails along with Arches and Canyonland National Parks.  Goblin Valley is about 50 miles or so west as a crow flies from Moab so you know it is in some fun country.  

              Goblin Valley (Utah State Parks Site)
              Goblin Valley is filled with "hoodoos" which are unique formations created through years of wind and water erosion.  The great thing about this state park is that they allow you to go all through and all over the formations.  It is fun for all ages.  The next day, we hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon which is an easily accessible slot canyon that provides a ton of fun.  No worries about flash floods as the weather was perfect.

              Little Wild Horse Canyon (zaek.info)
              Half Marathon Prep
              With the Halloween Half Marathon this Saturday, I needed to get my long run in.  It was another 10 miler.  I was scheduled to run this on Saturday, but being that I was with the Scouts I knew it wouldn't work so I ran on Friday morning before we drove down.  I read about a trick to help your legs be less sore.  Lay on your back near a wall and rest your heels on the wall.  I did this for about 10 minutes.  It really helped.  When I dropped my legs back down, I could feel a rush of blood going back to them.  I was able to drive for about four hours and hike a little in the evening and my legs held up just fine.  I'll have to remember that one!

              Weird Things!
              Do you ever have weird things happen when you are out exercising?  This morning I took off a little later and walked two miles (taper week).  As I was walking down the sidewalk next to a busy street, I noticed someone cross in front of me into our church parking lot.  As I got closer, I saw an old Volkswagen bug halfway on the grass and half way into the parking lot.  During the week the gate to the busy street is closed. He was attempting to push it off the grass into the parking lot.  I helped him get the car off the lawn and asked if everything was alright.  He said that he was worried leaving his stalled car on the busy street so he was attempting to get it into the parking lot.  I walked away thinking that was weird.

              A couple of blocks down the road, I saw something lying on the grass in between the sidewalk and the street.  As I got closer I saw an 8x11 picture of Jesus.  There was nothing but businesses on this side of the street so I figured it had blown over here from somewhere else.  I didn't want the picture to get wet or mangled any further so I carried it home and found a place for it in my garage.  It will serve as a reminder each time I back out of the driveway to be a better person.

              I've had many weird and funny things happen while I have been out exercising.  Any of you want to share your experiences in the comments?

              Hang in there and I will too.

              Monday, October 17, 2011

              How You Can Become a Runner - Part 2

              Runner's World Quote of the Day
              Every time I go out there, I win. Every time I finish the task that I've set before myself, I win again.
              - David James Elliott, actor
              JAG
              David James Elliot (Netflix)

              Last week, I talked about building up a good base and running at a good heart rate.  Today I'll finish up with three more things that I feel are important.

              Don't forget to rest
              Proper resting!

              Even elite runners know you need to have rest days when you run.  You might be inclined to think that the more often you run, the better you become.  There is some truth to that as far as building up mileage, but it's important to let your body recover as well.

              Most training schedules include days off.  Some have up to three days off of running.  As with any form of exercise running breaks you down a bit in order to build you back up.  That's why regular rest days from running are important.  Does that mean you can't exercise?  Not at all!  You can do something different, even walking is usually okay because the way you use your leg muscles walking are different than when running.  Other popular ways to cross-train are weight lifting, biking and yoga.  I often use rest days to work on my core strength.  Keep your core strong and you can prevent a lot of problems down the road.

              Don't go all out every run
              usain-bolt-olympics-200m
              Usain Bolt

              You might be tempted to think that the harder you go on every run, the quicker you will improve.  I found in previous attempts at running that doing this leads to an eventual burnout where you break your body down and are forced to take a break from running.  Unfortunately that break can be for years as I found out.

              Just like you should have rest days, some of your runs will be "easy" runs.  What this means is you don't push it on these days.  Your pace and heart rate need to be slow.  Often an easy run is the first run after your "long" run.  An easy run helps your body work out some of the stiffness or soreness from either longer miles or from speed work.

              "Long runs" are also usually runs that you have to back off a bit.  Your goal on a long run is to build up endurance.  It just won't be a good experience for you when your mileage picks up if you start out too quick.  You need to hold some of that extra energy for the last part of the run.  Ever heard the term "negative-splits"?  That is where the first half of your run/race is slower that the last half.  You know you have done it right if you reserve some of that energy for the last part of the run.  It's harder than you might think.  It is great training for a race as well.

              Good form
              Good running form cannot be over-emphasized.  Make sure you are not hunched over.  There should be a straight line from your shoulders, through your hips down to your ankles.  Keep your arms at about 90 degrees and keep those shoulders relaxed.  Lean forward from your ankles so you are letting gravity help propel you forward.


              Heel Striking (Image from http://www.carifinonline.com)
              Don't be a heel striker!  Heel striking occurs if you let your foot land too far in front of you.  Why is this so bad?  It's because it causes your heel to absorb a lot of impact which transfers to your knees and hips.  It also slows you down because it causes a bit of a braking action when you land on your heel.  Make sure you keep your feet underneath your hips and let the natural action of pushing off propel you forward.  You should be landing somewhere from mid-sole to the balls of your feet.  There is a big push towards bare-foot running.  I won't get into the pros and cons here, but just be aware that if you were to run barefoot, you probably wouldn't land on your heel.  You would naturally run further forward on your foot.  Being aware of this one fact will probably save you a lot of injuries.  I find I do better at the first of my run.  When I get tired or push my pace, I tend to get sloppy and land further back on my foot.
              I hope these little tips I've learned help.  There are pretty fundamental, but when you are first starting out, you just get out there and try to move.  Keep these thing in mind will keep you running longer and with better results!

              A quick shout-out to Mark for running 6 miles!  Great job Mark!

              Hang in there and I will too!

              Monday, October 10, 2011

              How You Can Become a Runner - Part 1

              This quote from Runner's World Quote of the Day fits perfectly for today's post.


              My goal has always been to introduce other people to running. They might accomplish something they never thought they could. 
               - Grete Waitz, Norwegian marathon runner and former world record holder 
              9 Time New York Marathon Winner Grete Waitz Dies Aged 57
              Grete Waitz 1954-2011 - 9 time winner of the NY Marathon

              Thanks for all the great comments and encouragement last week.  I wasn't sure if there would be any interest in my take on how to start running.  Once again, I am not an expert, but I have learned a lot along the way.  Some things I have learned the hard way and other things I have learned by applying advice I have picked up from other runners or articles.

              Not sure if you should run?
              Often there is concern if you would put to much stress on your knees and back if you start running.  It's a valid concern.  The best thing is to see your doctor and get his/her opinion.  I was worried about this myself.  I have had back problems before but I found out that my problem was muscle related, not joint related.  I just needed to strengthen my core.  My knees were holding up with the walking and hiking I was doing.  As I became more fit, I got the urge to try running a little and see what would happen.  I found that I could do more than I thought.  If I remember right, I was about 250 when I started trying running.

              Build up a good base
              Start with walking.  Keep walking a little further each day until you can walk at a good clip for at least 30 minutes.  Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get up to 30 minutes or more.  Just do a little more each time you go out.  When I started out, I could hardly go a quarter of a mile before I was wiped out.  I would just add a little more each time out and I made progress.

              When you get to the 30 minute mark, try short, slow intervals.  I think a great way to do this is either by heart rate or perceived effort (see below).  You want to challenge yourself a bit, but don't feed like you have to go either hard or long.  You may only be able to jog for 15 seconds at first, but hey, your doing it!  Slow back down to a walk and recover.  When you get your heart rate back down or your breathing is back to where it is comfortable, try another interval at the same pace and time.  I could make it about a block before I had to stop, but I was proud of myself and was able to that several times during my normal walk.

              Heart Rate Zones and/or Perceived Effort
              This is a lesson I learned the hard way.  When I started out doing intervals, I would go until I my heart was pounding and I was out of breathe.  Talking with others, I found out that a heart rate monitor would help.  Last week I mentioned that I bought a Garmin 305.  It not only tracked distance, (which at the time I was most interested in), it also tracked heart rate.  I didn't know if I would use it much, but I spent the extra money for it.  In hindsight, I am really glad I did.  When I charged it up and took it out the next day I just let it track my progress as I did my usual intervals.  When I got back home, I loaded the data into the Garmin software.  When I saw what my heart rate was doing, it was obvious that I was running way too fast.  My heart rate was spiking at the 90% level and I would have to stop.  The very next time out, I slowed down the running portion and doubled my running time/distance.

              There is a lot of info that you can read if you google heart rate zones, but in a nutshell, when we workout at about 60% of our maximum heart rate, we can go for much longer because our body can produce the energy we need much easier and for a longer time. It is the aerobic part of exercise.  When we go at a higher heart rate 80-90%, the body has to produce the energy needed less efficiently.  This is the anabolic part of exercise. It is the state the body gets in when we hit the weights hard.  One of the by products of this is lactic acid.  So the idea is to run at a pace that your body can keep up better.  Most of the heart rate monitors will walk you through what you need to do to set things up for your age.  It isn't completely accurate because the   numbers are based on averages. But it is a good start.  on most monitors, heart rate zone 3 is where you want to be.  Most monitors can be set up to warn you if you go above or below your target heart rate zone.

              A lot of runners can also "feel" when they are in the right zone.  I can to some extent, but it is rare that I notice that I my effort is a little too high before the heart rate alarm goes off.  You might do better than me in this area, but I find that a heart rate monitor is a great tool.

              In Conclusion

              I have gone on too long as it is, so I will save the rest of this for next week.  Hope this helps and gives you some confidence that you too can become a runner!  It has made a world of difference for me.

              Hang in there and I will too!


              Monday, October 3, 2011

              How I Came to be a Runner

              When I started getting serious about losing weight again, it all started as a Three Peak Challenge.  I have written about this challenge several times before.  In a nutshell, I got inspired to get back into hiking shape by choosing three mountains to climb that I either hadn't done before, or it had been decades.  I spent a lot of time getting back into shape to get to the top of the first mountain, Big Baldy.

              When I didn't make it to the top by the end of fall that first year, I had to wait until the snow melted off.  I spent the winter trying to get off the extra weight and building up my endurance.  A few months in to the next year, I was ready to try a walk of significant distance for me.  I went on what I call my Riverwoods Route which I enjoyed in the past.  When I was able to walk the 4.5 mile loop, I was really excited.  When I started out, I had trouble covering a quarter of a mile.

              As I kept walking and also dedicating my Saturday mornings to longer walks/hikes, I wondered if I could run a bit.  I started out slowly running a block and then walking to catch my breath.  It was fun to go faster than I had gone in a long time.  I was making progress, but it was slow.

              Fortunately, I have a cross country coach (Andy) and a long distance runner (Bill) in the neighborhood who had noticed that I was dropping weight.   They were both very encouraging to me.  I told them about what I was doing in trying to run.  The both told me that they used a Garmin to track their running.  I liked the idea because I often would go out but not know how far I had gone.  After researching, I found one that also had a heart monitor.  I didn't know if the heart monitor would be that big of a deal but I decided to get that model.

              Garmin Forerunner 305 Variation Parent
              Garmin Forerunner 305

              When it got delivered, I got it set up, charged it and the next morning strapped on the heart monitor and headed out for my walk/run.  When I got back, I loaded the data.  It was interesting to see how far I had gone, but I was surprised when I looked at the heart rate chart.  It was easy to see why I had to stop and walk.  My heart rate would build up quickly to a level where I had to stop and walk.  I learned that I was pushing too hard.  On my next time out, I ran slow and steady and as a result immediately was able to run almost twice as far.

              Things improved rapidly.  My weight continued to drop.  I was getting more bang for my buck during my exercise time and before long I was able to run most of the way.  Gradually I was able to build my mileage to where I was running about 6 miles twice a week and then hiking 10 or so miles on Saturday mornings.

              As I would talk to my running friends, they kept encouraging me.  Bill told me I should run a 10K.  He knew I could do it.  I felt so great to have a runner that I admired telling me I could do something that I never though I would be able to do.  I ran the Freedom Festival in 2010.  I was so excited when I finished.

              Image ID: 00312-49-1736
              Freedom Festival 10K 2010
              Copyright Zazoosh.com

              I kept running.  I began to wonder if I could even go further.  Both Andy and Bill had full confidence in my ability to run a half-marathon.  I found an online training schedule and a fall race that fit with the schedule.  Before I knew it, I was at the starting line of the race and ran the 13.1 miles down to the Riverwoods.  It finished up on the route that got me started!  My wife and daughter were there to cheer me on at the finish.  I had a hard time not getting emotional as I crossed the finish line.  I did it!
              Provo Halloween Provo FaceBook Promo
              Sorry no personal photo, but here is the poster from this year.  (I am running this again)

              I still love hiking and now I love running.  It's not easy, but I have overcome so much and learn tons from it.  I never knew there was so much more beyond just getting out and running.  Heart rate, different distances, speed training all play an important part.  I am still learning a lot.

              I hope this long post captures just a bit of how much I have come to love running.  If there is any interest, I would be willing to post a few of the tricks I learned (and am still learning) about running.  Let me know in the comments if you would like to hear more.

              Hang in there and I will too!

              Monday, September 26, 2011

              Carry That Weight

              David W. posted this article about a cross-country runner named Josh Ripley on Facebook and shared it.  As I read the article, I got thinking how often I get helped by others when I get discouraged along the journey including many of you.  Thanks for the support!

              Andover cross country runner Josh Ripley, who carried a competitor for 1/2 mile at an event


              Blog Award
              Michelle over at Ruminations was kind enough to award me with a blog award.  If you don't follow Michelle, I would recommend you do.  She is doing well on making a lifestyle change and is losing weight the right way.  A great combination of exercise (over 1000 miles biking this year so far) and making reasonable and healthy changes in the way she eats.  Slow and steady wins the race in the long run.  Keep up the great work Michelle.

              Back in Training
              As I posted last week, I decided to run the Halloween Half again this year.  I started at week 4 training on a new schedule.  My running up to this week was sufficient enough for me to start where I did.  I like the new schedule if for no other reason it mixes things up a bit.  Speed work is mixed in to the middle of an easier pace. It's fun for me to run faster for short sprints and then crank it back down.  For now the length of the intervals is about right.  Saturday's long run was a bit rough however.  I have been trying to really watch  my heart rate.  I tend to push it a bit too hard and end up paying for it on race day.  I decided this time out, I would really train within the parameters that the training calls for.  The problem on Saturday was my Garmin which tracks both heart rate and distance got knocked off the charger and it didn't even last getting out of the car.  I didn't have a watch with me, so I had to guess on my heart rate by effort.  I know the distance of a 6 miler on the path I took, but it was an 8 mile run so I had to guess when to turn back.  I am not sure if I was short or long.  I also had to take off later than I usually do.  The first part of the run was a real struggle and I ended up having to choose between walking or falling over.  I chose to walk for about a half mile until I felt ok.  From there on, I was in a bit better shape and able to run the rest.

              When I got  back to the car, this was on my windshield.
              This is both wrong and funny in so many ways!

              Hang in there and I will too.

              Monday, September 19, 2011

              The Price (of Great Health) is Right!

              A few bits and pieces this week.

              I'm a Runner: Drew Carey
              Drew Carey
              Runner's World ran a great article on Drew Cary.  You might have heard his story of losing weight, but this article is the latest in his efforts to get fit.  I can relate to what he has gone through and we are close to the same age.  I hope you get some motivation and some good practical advice from it as I did.

              September Challenge.  Mer at We're Losing It posted a challenge a few weeks back.  Really quite simple but effective.  I thought I ought to report on my progress since we are now more than half way through September.
              • Minimum 30 minute workout (Every day I worked out was at least 30 minutes.) 
              • 5-6 days a week (5 times / week is 71.4% of the time, I've exercised 86.6% of the time so far)
              • Cardio or strength training (Both.  I've been mixing it up)
              • Post daily about it on your blog. (Missed a couple of tweets, but for the most part logged my workouts)
              Bob Harper - Totally Ripped Core.   I am a big fan of the Biggest Loser and have always wondered how I would do if Bob was my trainer.  Last year I bought several of his Inside Out DVD's and they are hard.  Just last week, I got his Totally Ripped Abs DVD and it is a killer as well (in a good way.)  If you are looking to mix things up, I would recommend his DVDs.  Most are $10 and under from Amazon, Walmart and Target. 
              Bob Harper: Totally Ripped Core [DVD]Inside Out Method - Complete Collection

              One last bit of news.  I have decided to run the Halloween Half again this year. 

              PROVO HALLOWEEN HALF MARATHON

              I was not going to race anymore this year but after cutting back on my running for a couple of weeks, I am feeling ready to train again.  I have benefited a lot from training for races.  Saturday it really started bugging me so I checked where I should be in training according to a Runner's World training sheet and found I was about right on my weekly runs.  So I started on week 4 this morning.  I am going to really focus on my heart rate on this training schedule and see how it goes.  This morning went really well.

              Hang in there and I will too!

              Monday, September 12, 2011

              Timp III

              My brother Gordon and I tried to hike Mount Timpanogos about 6 weeks ago.  After 5 miles and several snowfield crossings, we turned back when one of them proved to be too much.  I didn't know if we would get another chance this year until some of the guys at work said they wanted to hike it.  I set up a date, we got about 10 people saying they wanted to go and the plan was set in place.  After all was said in done, on Friday we arrived at the trailhead with Gordon, one other guy from work, (Paul) and me.  I've described this hike several times, so I won't go into much detail here other than to point out a few things that were different about this hike and also a few pictures.

              It was fun to have all three of us be matched up well in our hiking abilities.  We took turns switching off leading and it kept us on a good pace.  We hit the summit after hiking about four and a half hours.  Not bad considering the average is six to eight hours to the top.

              Paul and Gordon at the place where the snowfield stopped us last time.  Just a small patch is all that is left.
              Looking down at Emerald Lake which is still partially covered with ice.  It's usually snow free by the first of July.
              Paul, Bruce and Gordon at the summit.
               On the way down, we met two others from work, Scott and Joe, who had a conflict in the morning.  They started hiking around noon and kept going until they met us coming down.  As you can see on the following picture, it is a beautiful trail.
              Heading back down.
              I felt really great on this hike.  I even packed the poles away for most of the hike on the way down.  I think my training for the half marathon on downhill routes helped.  The only thing that was painful is my trail running shoes are too small in the toes and they were a bit tender.  I need to get another pair.  Other than that, it was a great hike and I'm glad I got to do it again this year.  It also makes Gordon a member of the Three Peak Challenge club.  Great job Gordon!  Thanks to Paul for being a great hiking buddy as well!


              Another quick note.  My daughter Sarah suggested that I read "The Long Run" by Matt Long.  It is an inspiring story of a NY city fireman who had run marathons, was an Ironman finisher and is a survivor of the 9/11 attacks 10 years ago.   He was hit by and sucked under a bus, survived after receiving 69 pints of blood and over 40 surgeries.  He chronicles his recovery, his discouragement and how he overcame this and became determined to run a marathon again against all odds.  It was truly an inspiring book.  I felt it was fitting to drop this book back to the library by running the 1.2 miles down there instead of driving.  Just a small tip of the hat to Matty and his inspiring story.  I highly recommend the book.

              Hang in there and I will too.  

              Tuesday, September 6, 2011

              Carry That Weight

              Over the long weekend I was trying to decide what to blog about on Monday.  I had some general ideas, but I didn't realize that most of my blog this week would happen on Monday itself.  

              My brother Gordon invited me to on an early hike to Silver Lake with him and one of his neighbors.  That worked out well with it being Labor Day and I was scheduled for a 3 mile run. This would give me a similar workout since the hike is about a 4.6 mile round trip. 

              I haven't been to Silver Lake for quite a few years, but I remembered that both the hike and lake were pretty.  I got to my brother's house at 6:30 and we climbed into the van and off we went. 

              I have mentioned before that I feel really blessed to live where I do because there is so many outdoor opportunities.  I love to hike and within a half hour or so, we can be to many wonderful trail heads.  Extend that out to a couple of hours and the options are limitless.

              After last week's disaster hike, I wondered how this one would go.  I decided to go very minimal with what I took and it ended up being a good decision in more ways that one.  I didn't even take my hiking poles with me on this one.  I felt really good on the hike and I had more than enough energy and endurance for this one.  I was very encouraged.

              Silver Lake

              Me and my brother

              Reflection of the sky.
              As we were there at the lake, we were approached my a guy who had been camping overnight.  He asked if we were heading back soon.  When we said we were, he told us of another camper who had hurt his back and needed help getting back down the trail.  He said his group could help him, but they had full packs themselves and were wondering if one of us could take his pack down.  I said no problem since I didn't even have a day pack on.  Both Gordon and I both know from personal experience about back problems so we were glad to help.  We went over and helped him finish packing.  I know how hard it is to get up and down when the back hurts so we finished packing his tent up.  I put the pack on, Gordon gave me his hiking poles and we took off.  It was a little over 2 miles back, so I decided to hike as quick as I could with the pack on.  I made good time back to the van.  We prearranged a place to leave the pack.  Hopefully all went well with him getting down with the other campers.

              Later that day, we had already planned as a family to go to Lisa Falls.  I haven't been there in years either.  It is up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake.  The hike is short and easy and the falls are pretty as you can see.

              The main falls coming down a granite face.

              Not really big, but pretty.
              We didn't stay long.  We made it back home in time to see "The Help."  Great movie!

              Hope you had a great holiday weekend.

              Hang in there and I will too!



              Wednesday, August 31, 2011

              Bonus Post - September Challenge

              Mer over at We're Losing It has put out a Supreme September Super Duper challenge which is easy enough to do, but I think will have a big impact on your health if you are not already doing it.  Consider doing the following:

              • Minimum 30 minute workout 
              • 5-6 days a week
              • Cardio or strength training
              • Post daily about it on your blog.
              I'm in.  I am going to tweet  (@brucegud) my daily workout (I guess tweeting is micro-blogging).  How about any of you?

              Hang in there and I will too.

              Monday, August 29, 2011

              Getting Back Up

              This posting is dedicated to Clyde and Alan who have been a constant source of inspiration and the ability to put a smile on my face.  I guess I can relate to both of them since we all came to a realization that we need to make some serious changes in our lives.  Clyde and Alan are having some struggles of their own right now and maybe a few of the rest of you are as well.  Let me share something with you.

              Saturday I went on a hike.  If you have followed this blog at all, you know I enjoy getting out and hiking.  We have so many beautiful places to go and I enjoy the challenge of them all.  This hike was different however.
               Even though I saw sites as beautiful as this I soon lost my appreciation of the hike.
              Early on in the hike
              It could have been a number of things.  I was just finishing up a recovery week from my half marathon last Saturday.  I only got 5 hours sleep.   I ran a long run the day before.  It has been hotter than normal the past week.  And for this part of the country, it was muggy as well.  I haven't sweat that much in a long time and even though I had plenty to drink and enough to keep me fueled, I realized I wouldn't be making it to the Cascade Saddle as I had planned.  It wasn't because I didn't have time, I was because I was exhausted after four miles and a lot of climbing.  I felt like I did when I started out a couple of years ago.  The only difference was that I had gone four miles instead of a quarter of a mile.  Still I was defeated!  Those four miles back to the car took forever.

              Even though I knew how far I had come, I felt like a failure when I climbed back into the car to go back home.  I haven't felt like this in a long time.  I had been knocked down for sure.  Maybe the stumble started when I didn't finish the half marathon in the time I had hoped.

              So what to do.  Going home, getting something to eat and soaking my tired legs helped.  I took it easy the rest of the afternoon until it was time to go to a family reunion on my wife's side.  It always cheers me up to see them.  I got a few compliments since they haven't seen me in a while and several of them are runners as well.  It's funny how much I not only like to run, but also talk about it as well.  What a running nerd I've become!

              A good night's sleep helped as well.  I realized as I got up, that I was a bit weary in the body, but I was recovering quickly.  No limping and no getting back into bed.  I was ready for the day.  I went to church and things were looking and feeling better.

              This morning I got up and went out for a three miler.  I made sure this was the  recovery run it was meant to be.  I came home, stretched and got cleaned up, had a healthy breakfast and headed to work.

              How am I feeling now?  Still a bit discouraged, but I got back up after the knock down and kept on going.  Do I always bounce back this quick?  No, but we all need to keep the perspective that our knock down times are not going to last forever.  We need to do what we can to get back up, be patient with ourselves and never, ever, give up.  Don't give up and turn back towards where you came from just because your having a rough time.  Catch your breath, get your bearings and get back up as quick as you can.  You have come further than you realize.   Keep moving forward!

              Hang in there and I will too.


              Monday, August 22, 2011

              Hobble Creek Half Marathon - Lessons Learned


              Training and running in a half marathon is one of the most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging things I have ever done.  Last year is the first year I even considered that I could do it.  Thanks to the encouragement of running a 10K and having running friends telling me I could do it, I took it seriously and trained in earnest for the Halloween Half Marathon last year.

              This year, I knew I could do it and I wanted the challenge again so I signed up for the Hobble Creek Half Marathon.  It has a reputation locally of being one of the best courses, so I eagerly signed up in time.  It sold out in about 1 hour this year.

              © Sojourners Running Club. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

              Last year, I was happy to be able to finish.  This year, I had hopes of finishing around 2:30.  My training runs had given me the confidence to think it was doable.  When I finished though, I was disappointed with my finish time of 2:43:10.  Training right leads to a good race, but it doesn't guarantee it.  Here are some things that I just couldn't train for:

              1. The buses that drove us to the start line were late and there were not enough buses.  This lead to a late race start and got us down to the bottom of the canyon as the day was getting warmer.  I really started to tank when I got out in the sun.  
              2. I have been training getting my nutrition down, but I didn't train on carrying my Gu's pinned on the inside of my running shorts.  I ended up having one of the Gu's leak and run down my leg.  I knew I was having a problem with this as we went up in the buses, but it didn't become an issue until I used the porta-potty and when I came out, the Gu (chocolate no less) started oozing out more.  Looked like I had a bad accident.   This lead to getting yelled at and threatened.  We were starting at a campground which they blocked access to the runners going down into the camp area.  I asked the host if there was a water spigot near by that I could rinse the Gu off.  They were more than helpful in letting me use a nearby tap.  An ornery lady was camped near the spigot and kept yelling at me to get out of the area.  Even though I told her that the campground host said it was ok, she kept yelling at me.  She stood up with her German Shepherd and asked if I wanted her to sic her dog on me.  By this time, I had had enough and told her to go ahead.  She said, "Are you sure?"  I said, "I didn't care."  I think that surprised her.  One of my running buddies came by about that time, I finished cleaning up and left without incident.  I told the campground host about her.  He said to his partner, "She's the one I was telling you about that I would like to kick out of here.  She's the camper from *$%%!"
              3. I finished in 1013 place!
              4. I finished last in my age group!
              5. I finished 13 minutes later than my goal time. 

              Recreation of the killer German Shepherd!
              Uncredited photo.

              It took me a while to get out of my funk, but I started thinking about some positives from the race.

              1. I cut 10 seconds a mile off from last years run.
              2. I set a PR for my half-marathon pace.
              3. Walked only once besides the water breaks.  Even jogged up the hills.
              4. I wan't last.  About 80 people finished after I did.
              5. I rode up with two running friends from the neighborhood.  Matt who finished in 213 place and Todd who finished in 46th place!  They were both very encouraging and patient with me in finishing long after the did.
              6. Even though I was a bit sore in the calves today, I still was able to go out and run 3 miles.  Last year, I wasn't able to run more that a mile for about 6 months due to getting hurt during and after the race.

              Things I learned

              1. Losing the weight I talked about last week will make a big difference.
              2. The heat is a killer for me.  I need to do some of my training in the heat to get used to it.
              3. Something is always going to be different than you expect. 
              4. Don't do something new that you haven't trained for.  The Gu didn't work out well.  Should have tried it first.

              Funny stuff 
              I have had many funny things happen while running.  This race was no exception.  During the latter part of the race, we went through a sub-division.  There were three young girls and one house with a toy drum, a tambourine and water sprinkler.  As I passed, the first girl half-heartedly shook the tambourine, the the little drummer girl did a tap-tap.  Even though I was pretty tired at this point, I waved and smiled.  They both just stared straight ahead.  I guess after a thousand runners had gone by, they were tired themselves.  The last girl was still enjoying herself as she pointed the water sprinkler out to the street for us to cool ourselves off with.  I was appreciative for a small break from the heat.

              I am grateful for the lessons learned while training and running this race.  Even though I was disappointed in my time, there were a lot of positives from the race and I am going to stick with my plan to lose the weight and get ready for the Ogden Marathon next year.  Thanks for all the encouragement you have given me through all of this.  It really makes a difference!  Hang in there and I will too!