Archive for the ‘Marathons’ Category

Sorry about the video quality. I am still trying to figure out how to upload videos from my GoPro without compressing the file and losing audio/video quality.

My recent trip to California was literally the greatest time of my life. I got to spend some good quality time with my brother, run a marathon on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and road-trip from LA to San Francisco.

The 2013 Beach Jam Marathon was Saturday morning and my friend Mary was supposed to meet me at the start. We ran together the evening before and she wasn’t sure if she was going to race. She decided that morning that she would run the half marathon, so I was going to run it with her. We had such a great time together at the 2012 LA Marathon so I knew this would be fun too.

image

The course was a 13.1 mile loop starting at Crescent Bay Park in Santa Moinca. From the start, you head south along the Venice boardwalk a few bocks past the pier and turn around. Then, back to the start/finish area for the first aid station. Continue north to the end of Will Rogers State Beach for the next aid station, then back to the start /finish.

The race was a small event held by Rocket Racing Productions. Between the 10 mile, half marathon, and full marathon there were about 75 people. I’ve learned to enjoy the small events because of the more personal atmosphere. Although I love great crowd support, some of my most memorable races have been very small ones like this.

My game plan…
Have fun, run smart. This wasn’t going to be a “race” to me. Since I’m training for my first 100 miler I just considered it my long run for the week, but this time I had company for the first half, a mobile pit crew (my brother), aid stations, and I got a medal at the end.

The weather was perfect that morning. Well, to me it was. Starting in the low 50’s, the the temps would rise to 71 before the race was over. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and just a light ocean breeze.

The first half…

image

This picture captures the mood perfectly.

As the race started, the conversation and laughs came quickly. We kept a slow, comfortable pace. My constant stops at every rest room slowed us down even more, but the clock wasn’t a concern. The mood was awesome. I felt strong. This was going to be great!

image

We continued on. Everything went great until mile 11. Mary was getting tired, and something didn’t feel right with my ankle. A few days before, I tweaked it while running in the snow and now the pain is starting to come back. As we finished the half marathon Mary got her medal and took off to get some food. She would come back to cheer me on at the end. I still had 13.1 miles to run, so I kept pushing forward.

The second half…
image

It was starting to get rough. I called my brother around mile 14. He was going to meet me a couple of miles down. I’ve never had a mobile pit crew, but my brother was amazing. He brought me beer and meds near mile 16 to help get me to the finish. I sat down in his car to enjoy my beer and my ankle was starting to swell. After a few minutes I took off and my brother was going to meet me a few miles later.

At the aid station near mile 18 I stopped to look at my ankle. It was getting bigger, and my pace was slowing rapidly. I typically run about a 9 or 10 minute pace for this distance but I was at about 13 minutes so I was obviously hurting. My brother met up with me again near mile 20. This time he brought me some ice, ibuprophen, another pair of shoes, and another beer. I rested there for about 20 minutes icing my ankle and keeping it elevated. I tended to the 2 very large blisters on my feet, changed my shoes, and went on my way. This race was getting brutal, but without the help of my brother I would have been suffering thru it.

image

I felt a lot better. The ankle still hurt, but I was close to my normal pace again. I saw Mary at mile 21. She walked with me for a couple minutes and we talked. She knew my ankle was in bad shape, but she could tell I was doing a lot better. I was ready to get this race over with. I only had 5 miles left. One more hour and I could relax and ice my ankle. That’s all I wanted.

image

Beach Jam Marathon course.

I pushed thru it and finally made it to the finish. I got my medal and Mary gave an ice pack for my ankle. This was the hardest marathon of my life. Other than my ankle I felt great though. I wasn’t even sore.

What I thought of the race…

Pros
*well organised
*race staff was very friendly
*aid stations were fully stocked – water, sports drinks, granola bars, gels, electrolyte tablets
*beautiful course
*plenty of rest rooms along the beach
*very affordable

Cons
*no crowd support
*not a closed course – had to dodge people the whole way (especially in Venice)
*medal was pretty basic
*not chip timed

The bottom line…

If you like quiet, scenic races then this is for you. If I lived in LA I would participate in other events held by Rocket Racing Productions.

-Tim

Last week I found out that my next race was cancelled. I was planning on flying to California to visit my brother. I planned on running the La Jolla Canyon 50k, but it ended up getting cancelled due to an issue with permits. So, I searched around for other races in the LA area that same weekend. Even if I find a 5k, I am running a race while I’m there. Well, it must have been my lucky day. There is a marathon in Santa Monica (where I’m staying) the same day the 50k was scheduled (March 9th). The Beach Jam Marathon starts in Santa Monica and runs along the ocean south to Marina Del Rey then north to the Pacific Palisades, then back to Santa Monica. I’m looking forward to the challenge of another marathon. I always enjoy the scenery, the happy runners I chat with along the way, and the sense of accomplishment that I get from races. Let’s just hope this one doesn’t get cancelled…

-Tim

Since I started blogging over half way thru the year I decided to put together my “Best of 2012” photo album. This only covers January thru September to let all of my awesome readers, followers, and fans know what else I’ve been up to this year. It’s been a very tough year, but it was filled with some unforgettable times and valuable lessons. I look forward to the many amazing journeys coming up in 2013 and sharing them with you. Thanks to everyone for your support. Best of luck to all of you. I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Tim

image

LA Marathon with Mary and Jason.

image

Let's Move Festival Half Marathon - New personal record of 1:25:48

image

Color Run Chicago with Andy and Andrea. That was one amazing weekend with my 2 best friends.

image

Run for C.H.U.M. Half Marathon - ANGELRUNNERS.COM

image

Warrior Dash Michigan - Jessica's first race! She did great and we had a blast!


image

Crim Festival 10 Mile - I high-five random spectators. That's how I roll.

image

Run Woodstock - Jimmy and Jason ran their first 50k and I ran my first 50 miler. I think it's safe to say this day changed our lives forever. I'm grateful to have shared this experience with such awesome people.

image

Run Woodstock - My hippy-bus for placing 4th in my division, awesome peace sign medal, and a well-deserved cold beer

Although I was not able to run the 2012 Detroit Free Press Marathon, I wanted to go to the race to cheer on all of the runners and hopefully meet up with some friends of mine who were running. My good friend Jason was running it with his wife Dawn, and our friend Mary. This was Dawn’s first attempt at running a full marathon. Jason and Mary were both battling injuries so I really wanted to be there to show my support for them.

image

One month earlier, Jason and I were running the Akron Marathon and Jason would get completely pumped up whenever we ran past anyone ringing a cowbell. So, on my way to the race I stopped at a local music store to buy one. I told the clerk that I needed the biggest, loudest one they had. He set me up with a really nice (and very large) cowbell made by Pearl and some Vic Firth drumsticks. I figured even if I wasn’t able to find my friends, I would still enjoy cheering on the other runners and have some fun with my awesome new cowbell. Around 11am I arrived downtown. As I walked toward the race route, I could feel the excitement in the air. About 24,000 runners were participating in this year’s race. I weaved my way thru barricades and crowds to make it down to the Detroit River Walk near mile 23. I knew my friends were not quite there yet, so I walked the race route in reverse in hopes of finding them. A short while later, I crossed the Belle Isle Bridge to take in a great view of the city and continue my search.

image

As I strolled along, I rang the cowbell and cheered for the passing runners. They greeted me with smiles, high fives, and the occasional thumbs up. I was loving it. My disappointment from not being able to do the race diminished and I was full of happiness. Although I have run many races, I never attended one as a spectator. I quickly learned that being on the sidelines was a ton of fun. Two guys ran past with Indian headdresses on and one of them called out my name. It was my friend Eddie and his buddy. After shaking his hand and wishing him good luck I continued on. Not even a quarter mile later I noticed a former running buddy of mine. This was also her first attempt at a full marathon. I trained her from the ground up, so I was very proud to see her out there running strong.

image

Near mile 18 I finally ran into Jason, Dawn, and Mary. I was so happy to see them. Lucky for them, I had a some Blue Moon beer, pain cream, GU, and salt and vinegar potato chips. We had a beer together and then they were off. I walked back to the bridge to cross back over to the river walk. I ran into them again near mile 22 and they were at a very slow pace. Their pain was getting unbearable so I decided to tag along with them for a little bit to give them moral support and refreshments if they needed them. I was definitely not dressed to run, and I had a backpack and cooler that I was carrying, but none of that mattered. What mattered was my friends finishing this race safely.

image

I decided to stick with them all the way to the finish. They battled thru all of the pain and completed the race. I was so proud of all of them, but especially Dawn for completing her first full marathon. It took me back to that race the year before where I did my first 26.2. The pride and sense of accomplishment I felt after crossing that finish line was unexplainable. I could see it in Dawns eyes. She did it. And, although she was in a tremendous amount of pain, she felt that amazing feeling of victory. The marathon is something that will change your life. Somehow, everyone who finishes comes out of it a stronger, more confident person. As I drove home that day and reflected on the event, I realized that I should attend more races as a spectator. It means a lot to a runner when people encourage them and cheer for them. Even if you have never met and will probably never see each other again, you can still make a diffence by simply encouraging them. I look forward to more events in the future where I can bring out the cowbell and lift people’s spirits.

Only 3 weeks after running my first ultra marathon, I ran the 2012 Akron Marathon with my good friend Jason. It was going to be a tough race right from the start. Both Jason and I were battling injuries, and neither of us should have been running. To top it off, I was also dealing with severe allergies the night before and I didn’t sleep at all.

The day started off a little chilly, as you would expect in late September. As the sun started to rise and the race began, fireworks took over the skies above us. I thought that was a really special and unique way to begin the marathon. Immediately after starting, Jason and I were both in pain. My foot had nerve damage, and he had an undiagnosed injury to his knee. When we run run marathons together, we aren’t concerned with our time. We are just out there to have a good time and complete the race.

image

Even though Akron is not a very big city, it had a lot to offer. Our injured bodies shuffled thru downtown and we worked our way across a few bridges. We were able to take in views of the valley below as well as the city skyline in the background. Water stations were everywhere. Literally every mile or so. We really appreciated that, but not once during the race did anyone have any food. No oranges, no candy, nothing at all. We started build up some serious hunger by the half way point, so Jason decided to run into a gas station and buy some Lay’s salt and vinegar chips for us to snack on. Immediately, we became the center of attention. Spectators watched with puzzled looks on their faces and runners drooled in envy over us having chips during a race. Our tasty snack helped curb our appetites as we continued on.

image

Just after mile 23 we met up with some really great people who were hanging out in front of their house watching the race. They gave us each a Michelob Lager, which really hit the spot. After slamming our beers and chatting for a while, we hit the road. With only 5k remaining, we decided to run a little faster. We pushed thru it even though the pain was really building. The race ended in Canal Park (Akron’s baseball stadium). As we came toward the finish line, the crowd cheered loudly. We were greeted with very nice finisher’s medals, an Akron Marathon running hat, and tons of refreshments. They had Michelob Ultra, TruMoo chocolate milk (my favorite), bananas, Powerbars, Oreo cookies, and potato chips. We finished the race in 5 hours 39 minutes and 39 seconds which was Jason’s personal record for a marathon. All in all, I really enjoyed the race. The only thing I would have changed was adding food to some of the aid stations.

image

PROS
-Plenty of free parking very close to the start and finish of the race.
-The course was wide open. Very little crowding on the course.
-Great scenery along the way.
-Fireworks at the start of the race.
-Plenty of aid stations and medical stations.
-Great swag for participating. Brooks running jacket, Akron Marathon hat, really nice finisher’s medal.

CONS
-No food on the course.
-Lack of crowd support on Tow Path Trail.