Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Attempt at the Marathon Distance

Saturday was another training run for my upcoming marathon.  Every third of fourth weeks are extra long runs.  This week I was scheduled for a 26 miler.  I always worry about these longer runs because I know it will be a tough one!  The run did end up being tough (and shorter than planned) but it was also a fun adventure in many ways.

The Flying W
The first few miles were fairly uneventful.  I have covered this part of the course before many times over the last few years.  As I climbed a hill and turned west, I saw a several friends guys that I know heading for the hills on their mountain bikes.  I haven't seen them out for a while so it was good to see them.  My next memorable event was as I was approaching a busy intersection a couple of miles later.  I was running on the sidewalk during this part and my toe caught a part of the sidewalk that was raised up just a bit.  I then proceeded to do a running Flying W.  What is a Flying W?  I first heard of the term from mountain biking.  It happens when you a tearing down a trail when suddenly your bike stops but you don't.   As you sail over the handlebars, both arms extend flailing over your head giving you a brief similarity to the letter W as you fly through the air.  I did the running version of this as both of my arms naturally flew up and out as my body lunged forward.  The flailed around frantically as I tried to keep my balance.  I'm glad I didn't go down, but I am sure as cars went by they enjoyed the sight!

Down to Utah Lake
I talked to a neighbor who is a runner who has done "The Tour de Orem" before.  It is a 20 mile loop around my city so I followed his general directions.  It took me further west than I would usually run and I'm glad I did.  Even though I didn't see them, my daughter and her husband saw me running down by the dump (which is not as bad as it sounds).  It's always fun to either see someone you know or have them see you.

As I turned south, it wasn't long before I was down by Utah Lake.  It is Utah's second biggest lake after The Great Salt Lake.  The temperature was perfect and there were plenty of beautiful sights and wildlife around.

Saw lots of water fowl including Canada Geese. 

Utah Lake

Even though Spring has started, it will be a bit before things green up.

As I headed back East, this pasture was full of horses.


Just before heading east, a truck stopped and asked me for directions.  The freeway in Utah County is undergoing a big change and a lot of road and on ramps are closed or restricted.  I think I set him off in the right direction, but it is really confusing.  Hope he didn't end up in Idaho!

As I headed east, I crossed a busy street and then got a bit confused myself.  I wound through an unfamiliar subdivision, but finally found a way out of it and ran over to UVU.  BYU gets a lot of attention in Utah County, but Utah Valley University has grown to be a good sized university that can stand on it's own merits over the last ten year.  This was the lowest elevation in the run and I knew I needed to get back up on the top of the Orem bench sooner or later.  As I cut up through the campus, I found this to be the best route.  I wasn't planning on stairs!  I thought of both Alan and Michele when I saw the stairs.  No going fast up the stairs.  My heart rate climbed just fine walking them.

Feel the burn!
A Stop At the Gas Station
After a little more hill climbing, I  was close to University Mall.  I was running out of water and knew there was a gas station on the east side of the mall.  I had brought some money with me and bought a bottle of water.  It was kind of weird standing in line in my sweaty running gear but nobody passed out.  I was glad for a restroom as well.

Lavell Edwards Stadium
I still had several more miles to put in, so I made a decision to drop down University Parkway and go by Levell Edwards Stadium.  I had forgotten that the football team was playing their annual spring football scrimmage.  I made a detour to take a peek at the playing field and hopefully top off my water bottle.  No luck with the water, but it was fun to see the field all nice and green.  I wish I could have gotten a picture, but my phone died while I was there.

I then headed back North and went worked my way over to University Avenue and took the Provo River Trail all the way to the canyon.  During this stretch, my GPS died.  I knew I was close to 20 miles completed, so I tried to figure out a route that would add six more miles.  I was starting to run out of water so I thought I would have to hit another gas station but to my surprise, my neighbor came running toward me in the opposite direction.  Without me saying anything, he said if I need water, his wife was in a car about 30 yards away and I could get some from her.  What great timing!  I topped off again and ran the last stretch to the canyon and then headed west.  I thought I was getting pretty close on mileage.  It is hard for me to calculate stuff when I am running a long distance because I am putting all my resources into "right foot then left foot."  It was getting harder to maintain my pace and ended up walking most of the last couple of miles.   After I got home and recovered, I went out to Map My Run and measured the rest of the run and found out I was a two miles short.  It was hard to find out I was a couple of miles short.  Hard to be too down though. I was able to get 24 miles under my belt.  I was able to maintain my pace for at least 20 miles and build up my endurance.  All in all it was a good training run.

I now get a few lower mileage weeks and then my last long, long run is 29 miles!  For now, some much needed recovery runs for a few weeks.

The Long, Long Post
If you have read this far I am impressed.  Part of my reason for the blog is to document my progress through the process and I know I will forget a lot of this if I don't get it down somewhere.  But I hope that you enjoy it too.  Once again, I really appreciate the support!

Hang in there and I will too!


  1. You may have looked funny doing the "w" but at least you didn't go down. I know I have done that move a few times. I am glad you were able to do such a long run and it is neat all the people you ran into along your run. Keep up the great work. I love you and am proud of all you are doing.

  2. Nice work! Your flying W story reminds me of when you and I rode our Mt. Bikes in Moab and I did the flying W on our Porcupine Rim ride. We have both come down a long road since that summer. Good times! Keep up the good work!

  3. Reading this post is the closest I'll ever get to completing a marathon, Bruce. LOL! Wow, you are really packing on the mileage. So impressed! Yep, I noticed the stairs right away - Big Climb is TODAY! And I really do appreciate your sense of humor, as illustrated by the "W" recounting. :-)

  4. Hey Bruce.
    Thanks for taking us along for the run. I have done that "W" thing just in walking and hiking.Not fun and glad you recovered before you were splat on the sidewalk. Yep, those look like great stairs for training. Another major accomplishment. Enjoy some rest now. Michele