Park City Marathon

Personal,Running by on August 24, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Jeff, Rahul and I ran the Park City Marathon on Saturday. This was another Saturday marathon, which cemented my view that Saturday marathons >> Sunday marathons because you can enjoy the trip far more when you get the hard part done up front. Plus I hate going to the airport hours after completing the marathon.

Park City Marathon Finish

The marathon elevation was between 6400 and 7200 feet, which definitely impacted our times (4:12:46). There was apparently a 2% grade the first 18 miles, but we hardly noticed it.

The course was gorgeous - rolling hills and mountains surrounded us and a gorgeous altitude sunrise started the run. Nearly all of the running was on trails and paved bike paths and the organizers did an excellent job supporting the course. Aid stations were appropriately placed and every station after mile 10 had some nourishment in addition to the drinks.

Park City Marathon Photo

After the race we had the ‘Chubby’ (pictured below) at the Copper Creek Pub & Grub. The Chubby is a 1/2 pound burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches and 100% pure genius.

The \'Chubby Melt\'

The Newpark hotel was literally 50 yds from the start and finish line.

Running for a day

Personal,Running by on July 28, 2008 at 11:08 am

Ever wonder what its like to run 100 miles? Jeff completed the Vermont 100 in just under 24 hours. He posted an awesome writeup about his journey.

I can has Elvii

Personal,Running by on December 6, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I ran the Las Vegas marathon on Sunday with Jeff and 207 other people dressed as Elvis.

Two Elvii

We apparently broke the record for number of runners dressed as Elvis (this is tracked?). The marathon organizers recruited people to dress as Elvis and provided a number of Elvis-specific events including a separate starting carrel, pasta dinner and get together the day before.

All of the Elvii stopped at Mile 5 for a while to witness couples getting married at a run-through wedding chapel. This 20-30 min stop made chip times meaningless, but from Mile 6 on we ran a 3:43 pace.

Many Elvii

The costume was so cheaply constructed that it was pretty easy to run in although I made a few safety pin modifications to keep my pants up, I barely noticed the costume was there (other than the glasses that wouldn’t stay up).

The race was well supported and organized this year (although the bag drop apparently sucked). According to reports, the marathon was poorly run in prior years.

However, this race confirmed my opinion that Marathons at vacation destinations are weak. Runners were secondary (or worse) at both the Las Vegas and Disney World marathons. The entire goals of the organizers seem to be to get the runners out of the way of the tourists as soon as possible. This means 6 am starts and shitty finishes.

While the Vegas marathon started out on the strip, it finished with two miles along a service road behind the casinos (construction areas and parking lots).

Compare this to Boston, London and other major marathons where you finish in the center of the city, running down the most scenic roads in the city.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon

Personal,Running by on October 14, 2007 at 11:04 pm

I ran the Leavenworth Marathon on Saturday. The entire event was a tremendous amount of fun. The weather was perfect (50s and sunny), the scenery was gorgeous and the course was fun. The marathon consisted of two laps of a half-marathon course. There was a long hill at mile 2/15, but the course was mostly flat after that hill. Aid stations were a bit sparse and I definitely wanted more water over the last 10 miles.

The marathon was small (90 finishers), but a simultaneous half marathon (500 finishers) made the race feel larger. Much of the course was on regular roads and since the race was so small, the roads were rarely closed. I’m not a fan of running with traffic, but it wasn’t too much of an issue.

Saturday marathons are a rare but brilliant concept. Most marathons are held on Sundays, so you typically eat light, stay away from alcohol and go to bed early on Saturday. Sunday is for travel back home. Leavenworth was a Saturday run, so we went directly from the race to the Oktoberfest celebrations in Leavenworth and ‘celebrated’ late into the morning.

We rented a cabin (Brunner’s Lodge: highly recommended) outside of town with a group of 12. There were only 4 runners in the group, but others went rock climbing or hung out in Leavenworth while we ran. Matt ran the half-marathon and posted a few pictures on Facebook.

Finishing time was 3:44:59. 15 minutes off of my PR, but definitely a time I’m proud of.

Chicago Marathon Runs out of Water

Personal,Running by on October 8, 2007 at 11:59 am

My sister tried to run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. She was not allowed to finish.

Of the 36,000 runners that started the race, 24,000 were allowed to finish. According to official sources, The Chicago Marathon was canceled due to high heat.

One runner died and over 300 were treated, many for heat related conditions. The conditions were undeniably hot, however when the race was canceled around 11:30, it was about 84 degrees. The peak of 88F didn’t occur until 4PM - well after the race would have ended. The high temperatures were predicted throughout the week, so organizers should not have been surprised.

Race organizers insist that there was plenty of water available for runners, but my sister had a very different experience. She found no water at the mile4 water stop and consistent shortages throughout the first half of the race.

Canceling the race was the correct decision at the time, however the water shortages are inexcusable. The shortages most likely played a huge role in the hospitalizations that occurred and necessitated the canceling of the race.

Napa Marathon – 4:02

Personal,Running by on March 6, 2007 at 11:34 pm

I ran the Napa Marathon on Sunday with Rahul and three friends. The marathon was gorgeous and the weather was perfect. We jogged a mostly flat course through rolling hills and vineyard countryside with temperatures in the high fifties and partial clouds.

The conditions and the course would have been great for a fast time. Unfortunately, we went wine tasting the day before the run, and got a bit carried away. We somehow ended up at a party in our hotel that evening and by 11PM we had been dancing, visited the hot tub, ordered pizza and consumed way too much wine. At our 4:30 AM wakeup, it didn’t look like any of us would be able to run a marathon let alone survive the bumpy bus ride to the starting line.

Somehow we finished in 4:02 (they didn’t have chip timing - we used Jeff’s watch for our exact time). There was plenty of pain along the way

Pre-race photo (oblivious to the upcoming pain):

The winner ran Tecumseh in 3:16

Personal,Running by on December 3, 2006 at 9:24 pm

Me, I ran it 4:42 (134 of 429 runners). I’m actually pleased with the time -but it was a pretty brutal run (the winner’s PR is 2:35). My knee didn’t bother me – the soft trail helped.

The runners tend to be older (there were more runners aged 50-54 than 30-34), and were way more experienced. A few of the standout runners I met:

  • a man that was running his 95th marathon (he’s run 26 NYC marathons),
  • a woman that ran 16 marathons in 16 months and
  • of course I ran with Jeff, a friend that is pursuing the 50+1 (he’s 15 states and 22 marathons into it).

My first trail marathon and first real trail run. The varying terrain was pretty, challenging and engaging – it took my full attention to avoid the many buried roots, rocks and divots. The area had received a full ten inches of rain in the prior two days, and the awful weather scared off a full 20% of the registered runners. The result was many stream crossings and countless mud hazards. Both Jeff and I threw away our sneakers after this race – they were just so muddy and gnarled that it didn’t make sense to take them home. However, race day was gorgeous (but cold at the start) and around mid-day temperatures were in the low 40s and the sky was perfectly clear.

The conditions definitely slowed the race from its already long pace. The winners in the prior years ran around 3:05. The 2004 runner also ran the race and came in 12 minutes slower this year.

This quote from Dean Karnazes was on the back of the T-shirts:

Hardcore. That’s the best way to describe today’s marathon. Along with the 3,500 feet of climbing, most of the course was on technical single-track trail, with numerous stream crossings, hordes of logs and branches to climb over and navigate around, deep pocket of mud, slippery rocks, and gnarled tree roots hiding silently under thick canopies of fallen leaves.

The Tecumseh Marathon was the slowest of his 50 marathons (and he ran with better conditions). He does a much better job describing the run than I could on his longer blog post.

I was fairly disappointed with the official results on the web, so I tossed them into excel and added a few more useful stats (percentiles mostly) and merged them with the very interesting ‘tidbit’ info from the entry list. I then tested Excel’s “save as a web page” functionality and was reasonably impressed with the results. The html was even fairly clean. Here is my mashed up version of the Tecumseh Trail Marathon results, and a quick graph of the age distribution.

Our shoes:


I should know better

Personal,Running by on December 1, 2006 at 9:25 am

I’m off to run my seventh marathon – the Tecumseh Trail Run. Here is the warning they have on their homepage:

Weather Notice 11/30/06
The Tecumseh Trail Marathon and Yellowwood Lake Fun Run will continue as scheduled. We understand the forecast is lousy for Friday. Considering the commitment of time and money that participants and volunteers have made, the race will continue as planned. We have contingency plans for potentially flooded areas. Saturday’s forecast looks comparatively pleasant. . . come ready to be flexible and knowing the trail will be wet.

We’ll be climbing 3500′ over the course of the run and descending 3800′ (elevation profile).

The real issue though? I’m not in the shape I should be in. Yeah, I’m in better shape than I was for the marathons I ran in college, but I haven’t put in the miles I’ve needed to put in. Well, at least its on a trail.

I do know better, but knowing and doing are two very different things.

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