Add to Technorati Favorites "Going the Distance!": December 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

St. Louis Run with Dean Karnazes

41.2 Miles, 8:18:55

What a day! Dean actually made it to St. Louis a few days earlier than expected so I took today off to run with him. Last night I saw on his Blog that he had stopped at 4th and Market for the evening so I figured I'd go down there to see what time he was planning to start this morning. I got down there and saw the "Mothership" but Dean and his father, Nick, were nowhere in sight. I figured they were staying at the Drury (they were parked in front) but didn't want to bother him so decided to show up there around 8:00 am this morning as he's usually been starting his runs at around 8:30 am. I got up this morning and Mindy woke up to take me down there; boy was she a trooper! Her Law School thesis was due today at 4:00 pm but she knew how important this was to me and wanted to take some pictures and meet Dean. As we passed 4th and Market at 7:58 am I looked down the street and the Mothership was gone! Immediately my heart skipped a beat as we thought about what to do next. We started down the route I figured he'd take while Mindy called the Drury Inn; they said he left around 7:20 am but had no idea which way he'd gone. We then called Brad, Mindy's brother, to track Dean on the computer. He kept us updated but still we couldn't find Dean, we wondered if he was really running or if some guy overseas was fooling us and just moving the dot; perhaps it was all a scam! Being that Mindy still had some last minute finishing touches to put on her paper I disappointedly decided to go home and give up on finding Dean. Mindy dropped me off and I hurried inside for one last shot at tracking him and sure enough the "dot" was at Hampton and 40, just a few miles away. I ran to the car and sped up there and spotted him and a few others running towards Forest Park. As I drove by I rolled down my window and told them I'd been all over looking for them and that I was going to join them. Dean said "Right On, Brother!" and I parked my car in the South Zoo Parking lot and joined the run. As I walked up Dean extended his hand to meet me I took off my glasses and he said "I know you!" And I said, "Yes you do, Carey from the Atlanta marathon!" Then we were off!

Here's how he describes the day in his blog:

"It would be hard to script a day better than today. From the moment the sun crested the eastern horizon, golden rays of sunlight shimmering off the Mississippi River, today was like a dream. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, and the people were even better.
We weren’t sure of our route through St. Louis, so other runners had to work really hard to track us down. Thankfully, they did. It seemed like every time we stopped at a Starbucks to check our bearings, a few more runners joined the group. It took a few minutes for the GPS tracking on the website to update, so staying in the same place for a couple of moments allowed others to find us.
People came out of businesses as we ran by and wished us well. One family brought us homemade holiday cookies. We were given gifts, pictures, t-shirts, drawings, and lots of chocolate covered espresso beans. The Mothership is filled with these treasures, and I relish seeing them every time I board the faithful craft.
My desire today was to return to the place where this entire odyssey began three months ago, the start of the Lewis & Clark Marathon at the St. Charles Family Arena. Together with a group of fellow friends and runners, we made our way along the path and rounded the final corner to the place where it all started. The memories came flooding in. It was 90 days, and a lifetime of experiences ago, that I had last stood at this spot. Then there were thousands of people swirling around, and the anxiety and excitement about what the future would hold. Now there was just a dedicated group of likeminded folks who, out of the goodness of their hearts, had decided to join me.
It was at this spot three months ago, surrounded by family, that I renewed my wedding vows with my lovely wife. It was the perfect moment, one of those rare instances in life where everything seemed in harmonic alignment. Today was a similar experience. I had run back from the finish of the New York City Marathon, and arrived where we started, the Lewis & Clark Marathon, and the circle seemed complete. The exploration had fundamentally changed me, and I stood there today at the St. Charles Family Arena a different man than the one who had endeavored to make this journey three months ago. It was the same place I had stood 90 days prior, but it now took on an entirely fresh perspective. It was different now. I was different now. The exploration had changed everything, made it all new again.
And with a smile on my face, I thanked the others, and called it a run."

After arriving there we took some pictures and chatted for a while but I knew I needed to go soon, I had decided to run back to my car at the Zoo Parking Lot! I bid Dean farewell and wished him good luck, he assured me that our paths would surely cross again on some other adventure. A fellow runner, Matt, said he would join me for part of the journey. We started out the exact way we came. Matt's girlfriend picked him up after about 5 miles and I started running up Olive alone but energized from the day! I passed Gorman and Associates, my "work Starbucks" and other familiar landmarks and with a smile on my face pushed on. My goal was to make it to Clayton before dark and as the sun was setting I was running down Forsyth past people leaving work to celebrate the start of the weekend. They looked at me funny (with my hydration pack sloshing around and my shorts and short sleeve shirt on, it was getting chilly!) unaware of the incredible adventure I was returning from. I ran past Wash U. chatting with Mindy on the phone and telling her I was almost finished. One last push up the Skinker hill and I coasted to my car; excited to see it in the distance but sad that the day had to end!

May the road bring a smile to your face and renew your spirit!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Past Marathons Recap

Below is the list of my past marathons (not including Tecumseh) along with times and ranking information:

December 3, 2005 - St. Jude Memphis Marathon, 3:30:32, 185th overall
April 9, 2006 - Spirit of St. Louis Marathon, 3:29:21, 185th overall
April 30, 2006 - Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, 3:35:44, 150th overall
May 27, 2006 - Berryman 50 Mile Trail Run, 11:58:11, 23rd out of 45
September 2, 2006 - Flatlanders 6 Hour Run, 36.6 miles in 6 hours, 3rd overall
September 17, 2006 - Lewis and Clark Marathon, 3:47:35, 57th overall
October 22, 2006 - Chicago Marathon, 3:24:40 (Personal Record), 3373 overall
October 27, 2006 - Endurance 50 ING Georgia Marathon w/Dean Karnazes, 4:11:31
November 5, 2006 - White's 50K Trail Challenge, 3rd with 26.3 miles, 4:12:26

If anyone is planning to run these races and has questions about the course, conditions, training approach, etc. please send them to me and I'll do my best to answer them or try to point you in the right direction.

Tecumseh Trail Marathon

Saturday I ran the Tecumseh Trail Marathon near Bloomington, IN which is about a 4 hour drive from St. Louis. I travelled to Bloomington on Friday with fellow SLUG (St. Louis Ultrarunners Group, Andrew Karandjeff. This marathon was hyped to be a very difficult course and it definitely lived up to it's reputation.

Dean Karnazes during his Endurance 50 quest described it as follows:
"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...
Yet for all the challenges, the setting was absolutely beautiful. Running on trails refreshes the senses; being out in nature renews the mind, body, and spirit. Today was about enjoying the elements and the wonders of the natural world. The colors of the leaves, the smells of earth and of the water, the sunlight streaming through the trees, and the crackle of twigs underfoot were all engaging and invigorating. It was impossible not to get swept up in it, even after miles of running."

It definitely was "Hardcore!" Bloomington had torrential downpours Thursday turning the trail into a mudfest; 26.2 miles of sloppy, slushy, lose your shoes in it kind of mud! There were about 427 runners in the race and the weather was sunny but a bit chilly in the mid-30's. I started out with Andrew but after about an hour let him go ahead as I was having a difficult time keeping up with him (he ended up placing 17th overall!). I then settled into my groove and focused on controlled breathing, staying hydrated, steadily fueling myself and taking 2 Succeed Caps every hour. As the race continued I felt stronger and stronger passing a number of people in the last 5 miles. I came in 67th overall in 4:12:49 and was very pleased considering the course and conditions. I made a new discovery for fuel options which were Clif Shot Blocks; these were great!!! Nice change from GU, easy to eat and you don't need a lot of water to wash them down; I'll definitely be picking some up for future races. We returned home late Saturday night and I felt pretty solid yesterday. Didn't run but I did go to the gym for an hour and half to workout on the Stairmaster and Elliptical; always good machines for post race days to flush out the legs. I'll hit the roads again tonight but will take it easy probably only running around 7 miles. The next 2 weeks will be my downtime as I'm repairing my legs from the heavy Fall Marathon schedule I had (I will recap my marathons/times in another post). I'm also planning on running with Dean Karnazes as he comes through St. Louis on his run back home to San Francisco.
Hope to see you on the roads/trails!