Thursday, April 26, 2012

#17--Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
April 26, 2009

I ran this race three years ago today.  The annual race to benefit the Memorial of the OKC bombing is this weekend, so it seemed appropriate to write about the race.  It was memorable.

OKC is a 10 hour or so drive from Lincoln.  My wife and I drove down on Friday.  She was going to run the half, and I was running the full.  We got there a day early, so I was able to spend a lot of time at the expo.  I listened to the talk that the medical directors gave.  I learned a lot about "Marathon Medicine" from them.  The guy said that pretzels are the best thing you can eat on a marathon.  The course must have had millions of pretzels at his instruction.  To this day, whenever I see someone offering pretzels on a course I am sure to grab some and heed his advice.

The race is all about the OKC Memorial.  We took a lot of time to walk around and take it all in.  It is a beautiful, but haunting memorial.  I highly recommend going.  I will post some pictures I took with my phone.  The picture of the American Elm Tree is blurry.  This tree was right next to the federal building, and somehow withstood the blast that rocked so many city blocks.  It is a symbol of strength to all who visit.

The race begins at the Memorial, and starts with one second of silence for each of the 168 victims of the bombing.  After that, many teary eyed runners begin the trek through the streets of OKC.  The day was hot and windy, and my IT band was killing me.  I finished in just over 4:50.  My wife ran a good half and went back to the hotel and checked us out.  I took a quick shower in the gym, and we hopped back into the car and drove back to Lincoln, humbled and honored to have participated in such a great American race.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Volunteers Needed for Lincoln Marathon

I thought I would share this email from the Lincoln Marathon.

The Lincoln Marathon will be held on Sunday, May 6, 2012.  There are
several opportunities to help with the final preparations the week of the

Packet stuffing will be held at Nebraska National Guard Armory, 10th
Street and Military Road, on Tuesday, May 1, Wednesday, May 2; from 6:30
PM to 9:00 PM each night.  On Thursday, May  3, we will need  a dozen or
so volunteers to help load the packets into the Big Red Storage Truck, we
will start about 6:00 at the Armory.  The entry to the Nebraska National
Guard Armory is via Military Road.  It is the first entrance off 10th
Street on the south side of the Military Ave.   You will need photo
Identification to enter the Nebraska National Guard Armory facilities.

On Saturday, May 5, the Marathon Expo will be held at the Embassy Suites.
 Opportunities to help on Saturday are 7:45 AM -10:00 AM, 10:00  AM –
12:00; 12:00 – 2:00PM; 2:00 – 4:00 PM, and 4:00 -6:00PM.   From 6:00 -
7:30 PM  Packet Pickup moves to the UNL Coliseum to set up for Sunday
Morning Packet Pickup.

On Saturday, May 5, looking for  a dozen guys to help set up the Finish
Line at Memorial Stadium and the Start line, 14th and North of Vine.
Ben Cahoon will be heading up this project.  Work will start at 8:00 AM
and hope to be done by 11:00.  This will be at the same time as the
Mayor’s Mile and the Expo.  Contact Glen Moss at

On Sunday, May 6, volunteers are needed for Packet Pickup from 5:30 –
8:00 AM at the UNL Coliseum.

In closing we are still in need of volunteers to work the Marathon Course
as a course monitor.  You can also help at the start of the race as we
need volunteers to help with the wave start.

Please let us know what and when you would like to do.  You can either
call Lu at 402-423-6150 with your request or reply to this email message.
 If you respond by email and do not receive a response in 48 hours please
call Lu 402-423-6150.

As the number of runners is expected to reach 10,000 this year so every
attempt is being made to reach all volunteers.  Please do not be offended
if you have been solicited for help by more than one type of
communication.  If you have already volunteered, thanks no additional
response is necessary.

In closing we just want to take this opportunity to thank you for helping
make the Lincoln Marathon so successful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Updated map. Next up-Michigan.

#33--Salt Lake City Marathon

Salt Lake City, Utah
April 21, 2012

I didn't realize it until I read the paper the day after the marathon, but this race almost didn't happen.  Evidently this race has suffered from falling participation and financial distress, and until very recently didn't even have an organizer.  Well, they did a great job of putting on an event at the last minute.

Salt Lake City is a beautiful, vibrant city.  As the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, the city is used to putting on big events.  Once again, this race was dominated by runners doing the half.  There were just under 1,000 runners doing the full.  The race started at the University of Utah and wound through the neighborhoods and parks of greater Salt Lake City.  I've never seen so many police at a race.  Traffic control was great.  There were plenty of aid stations and volunteers.  A highlight was at mile 9 where a man had set up a soft-serve ice cream machine.  I didn't mine that he didn't have any toppings.  I made myself a cone, walked a few minutes, and enjoyed the break.

My legs felt tired pretty much the whole race, but I didn't have any major aches or pains to deal with.  The weather was a little warm at the end, but not as hot as race organizers had feared.  I finished just over 4:47.  I was happy to see my wife and two sons near the finish line.  They don't always get to come to the race, so that was a real treat--even better than the ice cream cone at mile 9.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weekend Forecast--Hot

It's nice in SLC now, but you'll notice the forecast for this weekend.  If the predictions are accurate, it will be one of the hottest marathons I've run.

Monday, April 16, 2012

REPOST: #6--Boston Marathon

The 116th Boston Marathon is today.  I've dug this one out from the blog vault.

April 15, 2002. 4:20:57

This represented the end of a two year pursuit for me.  In 2000 I set a goal to qualify for Boston and reached that goal with the Twin Cities Marathon that same year.  The qualifying time is good for two years.  I was very busy with medical school, so I decided to run Boston the following year.

By this time I had met my wife-to-be and we spent several days touring the historic city.  (She was in OT school and couldn't get any time off.  She told her professors she had scabies and couldn't come to class for a few days!  Nobody asks for proof when you tell them you have scabies!)  This trip was more of a vacation than a race.  We walked on the Freedom Trail, went to a Red Sox game, drank at Cheers, and gorged on seafood.

I took a narrated bus tour of the course.  It was really cool to finally make it here and be surrounded by so many other runners who dedicated themselves to the same goal.  It can be argued that the Boston Marathon is the most famous and prestigious road race in the world.  The great thing about marathon running is the chance to compete in the same event as the best in the world.  Not many people can play in a Super Bowl with Tom Brady or a World Series with Derek Jeter, but I was able to "play in the Super Bowl of Running" for one day.

I was not in great shape for the race and labored to a 4 hr + finish time.  The course was 26.2 miles of history, and I didn't mind a single minute spent on the course.  The entire course was lined with enthusiastic spectators who are as much a part of the race as the runners themselves.  I took a disposable camera with me on the course and tried to capture what I could of the race.   For me, however, the race was fairly anti-climactic.  This was about the destination AND the journey.  To this date, qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon remains my proudest accomplishment.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Duel in the Sun

The Boston Marathon is coming up on Monday.  While the race is sure to be exciting and competitive, it will probably not match the race between Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar.  With blazing temperatures and fast times, pot holes, motorcycles and a bus, this race had it all.

Here is a link to a YouTube clip of the final 10 minutes of the race.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

R.I.P. Caballo Blanco

Micah True, a.k.a. "Caballo Blanco" was found dead near a stream after going out for a 12 mile trail run in New Mexico last month.  He is thought to have died of natural causes.  True did not seek fame, but found it in the bestselling book, "Born to Run."

True was an inspiration to runners everywhere.  He will be missed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

#16--Berlin Marathon

Berlin, Germany
September 28, 2008

This was one of the more memorable marathons for a lot of reasons.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a one month European fellowship.  I spent the month of September in Switzerland learning from one of the great minds in foot and ankle surgery.  I figured as long as I was there, I might as well run a marathon!

I knew that Berlin was one of the great marathons in the world, so the timing was perfect.  I had run a sub 4 hr race in the spring, and my training was going very well.  I aimed to improve on that time.

The expo the day before the race was a disaster.  Germans are know for being organized and efficient, but this was the worst I have ever seen.  It took me almost 3 hours of waiting in line to get my race number and chip.  The youth hostel that I stayed at in East Berlin didn't exactly afford a very restful nights sleep, either.

Race day was perfect.  Sunny and calm, with temperatures in the 50s (F).  I ran the first few miles under 9 minutes/mile and felt really good.  At about mile 4 my left knee started to hurt like crazy.  IT band issues again.  If you've ever had it, you know it is not something you can easily run through.  I was forced to stop several times and try to massage out the soreness.  Lucky for me, there were actually a few places on the course that offered a massage, too!  

My pace slowed to almost a crawl and I wondered if I would ever finish.  One of the neat things about international races is the different traditions.  On this course I saw many spectators wearing medal from Berlin Marathons that they had finished.  I had never seen that done before, but it was the incentive I needed to finish.  I was going to get one of those medals!!

I did finish, but it took well over five hours.  I was beat, but very proud that I had finished.  I basically ran the entire race in severe pain.  The 5 flights of stairs I had to walk up to get back to my room at the hostel took almost as long as the race.

My wife and I then toured Berlin for a few days.  It is one of the most interesting and exciting places I have been.  It's very old, but also very new.  I will always cherish the experience there.  I will also always cherish the medal from the Berlin Marathon.  All of the others are in a shoebox in my basement.  Berlin is the only medal that I display.  It's a constant reminder to never give up in pursuit of your goals.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Salt Lake City preview

After a 16 mile run last weekend, I am tapering for the next marathon in Salt Lake City.  I've never been there, so I'm really looking forward to the trip.  Here's a look at the map.  Looks like a point-to-point course with a couple of long climbs in the middle, but an overall net downhill course.  Elevation is 4,000+ ft.  Altitude isn't a big deal until you get above 5,000 ft, so I'm not too worried about it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kathrine Switzer--Pioneer

The 2012 Boston Marathon is less than two weeks away.  I am willing to bet that nearly half of the field of runners will be women.

The marathon and half marathon boom that we have seen in the last decade is thanks in no small part to the growing participation of women.  Most of the marathons I have run are comprised of at least 50% female runners.

It is hard to believe that was not always the case.  In 1967 Kathrine Switzer entered the officially all male Boston Marathon as K. Switzer.  A race official discovered her true identity and tried to run her off the course!

See the picture and read about this trail blazer for women's equality here:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

State Farm 10 Mile

The 2012 race season officially began with the State Farm races yesterday.  There was a 1 mile kids fun, 5K, and 10 mile races.  The 10 miler started at 9AM.  With record high temps all weekend, weather was definitely a factor in attracting a large number of runners, but also slowed many runners down towards the end of the race.

I needed to do 16 miles yesterday.  In order to avoid parking issues and to beat some of the heat, I got there early and did an easy 6 miles before the race.  I probably didn't drink enough water and spent most of the day fighting off a headache from mild dehydration.

Congrats to the Lincoln Track Club for putting on another outstanding race.