Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz Race Report

Since I've decided to almost stop completely all of my promotional activites for our local sports (running and triathlons), I'll go back a little bit and blog for me. Just because it is relaxing, and there's a couple of you that enjoy reading. Those of you who do? Thanks.

I signed up for the Oz Marathon in Olathe, Kansas in late February. The idea was to start a little earlier in my prep for next year's Rocky Raccoon 100. (Yes, another attempt. It is completely a challenging, yet doable task.) And, of course, chase states again.

Today was a marathon finish in my 26th state. I got in under the six-hour barrier at 5:54:52, according to my watch.

If I was forced to not count states that had six hour finishes or greater, I'd have to toss out Hawaii, Idaho and Utah. Two of those three, I was nowhere near ready for. (Utah was at altitude without being able to acclimate.)

And today was about the same; however, that wasn't the original plan. I had signed up for the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon, which was held on Sunday, March 25, but just a couple of days before (Tuesday, to be exact), I had a bout with a 162/92 high blood pressure reading. Therefore, I decided not to push the envelope.

Plus, I had just ended a four-week stint of handling media for The Woodlands Marathon, finish line announcing for both the Gusher Marathon and the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon and race directing the sixth annual BMI 5K in Conroe. Additionally, I was trying to keep my weekly workouts up, but the flying back and forth to California and the long hours while I was at the client site didn't give me enough time to cut a little weight, which helps.

The weather for today's race was almost perfect. The sun was out pretty strong at the end, even though the temperature was 64 degrees.

The first 11.5 miles were on city streets while the remaining almost 14.5 were on a nice paved trail. This course reminded me a lot of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The race started and finished at the world headquarters of Garmin International.

I could tell from the get go, even with the cooler temperatures, that it was going to be a challenging day. But the one thing that I learned in getting ready for Rocky Raccoon was not to let things frustrate me. Do as much as possible as often as possible and then figure out what it takes to make sure that I get in under six hours.

Mile 1 -- 10:23.96
Mile 2 -- 11:40.79
Mile 3 -- 11:03.47
Mile 4 -- 11:40.31
Mile 5 -- 11:42.40
Mile 6 -- 11:02.29
Mile 7 -- 11:46.50
Mile 8 -- 13:11.81
Mile 9 -- 11:42.88
Mile 10 -- 12:06.59
Mile 11 -- 12:25.31
Mile 12 -- 12:00.31

You can see that this is where I did the math of 2:20 plus 14 times 16, which is 3:44, and would be a 6:04 marathon at that point.

However, my plan is - when I enter a marathon that I'm not really ready for - to power walk the first 10 minutes and then beginning running as much as I can to the mile marker and repeat. The sooner I get there, the more I put "time in the bank" against that original number.

Mile 13 -- 14:26.81
Mile 14 -- 13:53.25
Mile 15 -- 15:06.73
Mile 16 -- 14:21.19
Mile 17 -- 14:59.54
Mile 18 -- 14:26.10
Mile 19 -- 15:04.71
Mile 20 -- 14:46.05
Mile 21 -- 13:38.22
Mile 22 -- 16:44.31

These two mile markers above were clearly not set right.

Mile 23 -- 14:44.07
Mile 24 -- 15:59.90
Mile 25 -- 16:23.20
Mile 26 -- 16:15.94
Last .2 -- 3:15.89

Overall -- 5:54:52

Not my worst day. Not my finest either.

Runner's World Bart Yasso was in Olathe today, but he was also at the Little Rock Marathon in 2006. I was running the fourth marathon in five weeks (Mardi Gras, Austin, Surfside and then Little Rock). And he said in a presentation that he did there with his wife Laura in attendance with him that "you can train for a marathon the right way or you can go about like some of the 50 States marathoners do and also have a really good time".

I've trained right for a few marathons and did well. Today was the first time that I think that I had run outside since ... February at Rocky Raccoon. No, I wouldn't recommend it, but it is something that I figured - push come to shove - I could do.

Some notes: I saw and chatted quite a bit on the course with San Antonio's Larry Macon, 14-time 50-state finisher. Nice guy. I told him that I had never asked anybody nor him, but I found out that he doesn't have his own plane. He makes his weekly back-to-back marathons around the USA on commercial flights. Wow! ..... Somewhere on the trail, I saw a guy with a Penn State shirt. I met him with a loud "We Are" and he responded with a "Penn State" ..... Dallas' Libby Jones had a great race with an 11-minute PR, according to her Facebook status. She caught me somewhere around mile 12 or so and then I saw her close to the turnaround, which was just beyond mile 18.  She led an entourage of approximately 20 women from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to Kansas.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rocky Raccoon Race Report - Part 1

I had started a race report for Rocky Raccoon the Monday after it transpired, but it got lost in the fast pace of my life.

Working out the last day or two, the notion of writing a few words about the day and the total experience began to resurface in my mind.

It is necessary therapy for me to work through some other issues in my world.

And it allows for me combat some of the negativity and self-doubt that has come through some challenging - for me - times.

The world would say that I wasn't a success because I dropped at mile 52.2 fifteen hours into the race, but it really truly was a great day.

Why? Well, my closest friends were involved.

What more could you ask for in a crew besides my lovely daughter, Waverly, and my best friend, Bill Dwyer. If you were going to do something challenging, they're two of the best people to have on your team.

I had two pacers - John Laskowski (for miles 60 to 80) and Michael Young (for miles 80 to 100) -- lined up with the type of temperment that was necessary to push through a feat like that.

Neither would be offended to hear me say that they weren't my initial choices when I first signed up in May or June of last year, but life presents changes for all of us.

I had calls from and communications to a couple of good friends in Rebecca Massie and Kim Hager. The call from the former was a total, but welcomed surprise at about mile 40, if my memory serves me correct, and reaching out to the latter was simply a sign of respect to someone who has respected me as a friend over the years.

After I dropped in the middle of the evening, Mary Carter (her daughter, Faith, had been there earlier in the day), John's step-daughter Jackie Graves and Leeann Rosser and her husband, Jim, were there to support me in friendship. Something I really appreciated and meant a lot to me.

Although the one moment that I hope I'll never ever forget was in the middle of the second lap as I crossed the main park road, near Interstate 45. There, of course, was Bill and Waverly, but more importantly, at that moment, was Jim Braden of The Woodlands.

My friends are my friends for different reasons and some of them, like Kim, have had the chance to do some pretty neat things athletically, let alone in life. Kim, for example, competed in the 2004 United States Olympic Marathon Trials in St. Louis, Missouri.

What Jim once did is something few people, I'm sure, have ever done.

In 1990, he not only finished the Western States Endurance Run - a 100-mile journey from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California that represents itself to this day as the granddaddy of ultrarunning, but also won his age group at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

He often jokes that he's a "has been who never was", but to have somebody of Jim's stature and credibility make the drive up the Interstate to cheer you on and support you is something I hope that I never forget.

A few days before Rocky, Jim had e-mailed Bill to see if I was still planning on toeing the line. Bill had told him that indeed I was.

Although it almost didn't happen.

Immediately after the Chevron Houston Marathon, my 7th overall, which came a week after finishing the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson, Mississippi, I had said, "No more."

The 14 marathons had taken their toll on my body. Too much.

But sometime the following Saturday, the emotional tide had started to change.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Continually Bewildered

I decided early last week to go and cover Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston yesterday. Not because of Lance. But, rather, doing so would keep my options open, so to speak, to cover May's Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas.

I'm glad I did. I did my normal thing: did what I had to to cover the race (i.e. the professionals) to write a story for Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine, but then went back out on the course and cheered on and supported a plethora of friends that I'm fortunate enough to have.

I'm continually amazed - and thankful, of course - at those who consider me a friend.

Why? Well, it is because many are "friends", depending on the definition, I guess, of someone who accused me of stalking and harrassment. It is the farthest thing from the truth, especially when you can count the number of times that I actually spoke to that individual in person over the preceding three years on both hands.

And why would I do anything as stupid as put my livelihood on the line and affect the support of my daughter over somebody who used my goodwill without offering much in return - as far as friendship.

When the accusation was levelled at me, the Monday after Thanksgiving, I naturally sought out the law to see if anything would have met the legal definition in the state of Texas. It didn't. I consulted a friend who has been in law enforcement and is currently a private investigator and he provided some pretty good, solid advice.

One of the things that I researched is that when you believe that someone is stalking you is that you tell all of your friends to stay away from that individual.

So when you have people that you believe to be friends with the accuser continue to reach out and approach you, it makes you wonder, which I'm sure that person intended.

If that's how they get their jollies, so be it.

It is pathetic and sickening, to be quite honest.

I tried repeatedly to distance myself first from that individual many times, after realizing that they couldn't or wouldn't ever meet the standard set forth by my very best friends - or even my simplest friend.

However, they kept making attempts at reaching out, for whatever reason.

Why? Because I was a nice, genuine, honest individual who would help pretty much anybody that I thought needed it. Maybe? Maybe not? Who knows for sure? Only they do. They never shared that with me.

So when I'm out at a race - which I go to less and less because of all of this - where I come in contact with people who I believe to be friends with that individual, I am forced to be guarded in my communications because I have to ask myself, "What do they know, if anything?"

And when they are pretty friendly and open, and I begin to extend trust to those individuals again, I tell myself, "Must be nothing."

Honestly, it's a horrible way to live. All because I was on the receiving end of information, that I didn't seek out, from one person, who basically created havoc in the already strained communications with the person that accused me of stalking.

They offered up information that wasn't necessarily shocking, but some of which questioned that person's actions toward me as being something as less than genuine.

Things first came to a head the day after the Fourth of July.

After a dust-up in mid-June, there were some communications while I took my daughter on vacation to Kona and Honolulu. In between, I had offered a race entry to a Fourth of July race that I did finish line announcing for. The person told me that they would have to check their schedule and get back with me.

They never did. I didn't push the issue, but I was a little burned up on race day that they didn't take the courtesy to at least tell me, "Thanks for offering up the entry, but I ran on Saturday and I need to get in a ride this extended weekend."

After receiving a pretty lame e-mail that afternoon that they just realized that they had forgot to communicate, I learned through the evil world of Facebook that they had decided to go for a ride that morning. No big deal, in a sense. I got it, but it would have been common courtesy to have stated from the beginning that they had no intention of ever really accepting the race entry.

When I boldly challenged them, I got taken to task for how I felt over them having taken me for granted months and months before. Where and how I did so, I assume, got communicated to them from the individual that "offered up information".

Twice in the fall, before the stalking accusation, and twice in late February/early March involving activities surrounding The Woodlands Marathon, I received communications from the person who "offered up information".

It was startling, to me. They knew this stuff. So why even attempt to reach out to me? They had already caused enough strain and stress in my world. Why create more?

So after ignoring them and not responding to texts (their e-mail had already been blocked as well as Facebook), why didn't they just realize that I really have no desire to communicate with them - at all?

Still on Saturday and Sunday in Galveston, they tried on multiple times to initiate contact; however, I know that they could tell that I really didn't want to have anything to do with them. When I arrived on Saturday, that person and another individual were crossing where I a was and there was no way to avoid them.

My question is: Why can't they be like their friend and a former acquaintance of mine and just go away?