Antelope Island Trail Running Video

I made this video from a run I did a few weeks ago on Antelope Island. It was a perfect day for running. My editing skills are bad at best so my apologies.

This run starts at the White Rock trail head and circles around the hill just to the south. It's about 7 miles. If you go clockwise it starts with an excellent hill climb and then the rest of the run is more or less a gentle downhill.


Product Review: ASICS Men's PR Tights

I picked up a pair of these tights on a good deal recently and found them to be a very good basic pair of running tights. The fit was nice and one feature I found quite good was the kind of rubber like inner parts of the ankles that help keep them down where the should be.

I would wear these in weather above freezing as they aren't the heaviest weight fabric. If there is colder weather, wearing these under a pair of running pants can help keep legs warm in even colder weather.



2012 Seoul International Marathon (My first full marathon)

The 2012 Seoul International Marathon was my first marathon. I was stationed in South Korea for 2 years and through work emails discovered that the race was being offered and there was a (private, charity) group that was putting a group together to train for the race and raise funds for Knights of Heroes. I unfortunately had to go do some training in Alabama during most of the training and wouldn't be able to do the weekly training runs with the group. 

Most of  my training for this marathon was done at Maxwell Air Force Base just west of Montgomery, Alabama. The training was mostly in the classroom and was held during "normal business" hours. And, since I was away from friends and family, I had some time to myself which was conducive to marathon training. 

Maxwell Air Force Base at this point had felt like a second home. I knew where the roads went and I knew most of the base from running around it when I had been there other times. Once in 2008 I tried running around the flightline in July and nearly killed myself. I was not in good shape and it was very hot and humid. Well, Alabama has quite the range of conditions and this time around I was there during the winter and it can get very cold in Alabama in the winter. 

I wasn't very fast at this point but I was very determined to get the training in. I did shorter week day runs and longer runs on the weekends. I was getting better at maintaining a good pace and not slowing down a lot at the end of the long runs. It got very boring at times but I looked forward to the marathon and to see my hard work pay off on race day. 

I flew back to Seoul in better shape for the distance than I had ever been before. I had run a 20+ mile run and was feeling good. I would say that at this point I was worried about a few things. The first was not pacing myself correctly and maybe running too fast at the start. The next was nutrition. I still was uncertain about what I should be eating before and during the race. 

I got up early the next morning and got to the bus that was to drive us to Seoul. It was about an hours drive and the most memorable part of the drive was how little traffic there was in Seoul early on a Sunday morning. It was a relatively quick and easy ride. 

Once the bus stopped we hung out for a while and then moved towards the start. 

I don't know how many people ran this marathon, but it was a lot. The starting area took up a large block and participants lined up according to their numbers. It was at least a 1/3 of a mile to the start line from where we were staged. 

The group I was with

One part of the beginning that I'll never for get was the warm up routine. All along one side of the road were stages lined up where performers (if you want to call them that) would say things that I didn't understand to music that I would consider 100% American. Eventually came the warm up and the people on the stage would lead us in doing warm up exercises. Shortly before the beginning of the race the song Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO was blasted over the speakers. There was something I thought was special about being in Seoul, about to run a marathon, and hearing such a familiar song that made the whole experience that much cooler. 

After the official start of the race we had to wait about 10 mins for our group to actually start moving (as I said, there were lots of people). Then the race was on. 
Lots of runners

I made what I think is a standard rookie mistake and started out too fast. I knew this to be the case but for some reason decided that I was going to just go with it. The weather was pretty good - it was probably in the 50's and was pretty sunny. I had gels about every 45 mins and had water and Pocari Sweat  at the aid stations. 

It was about mile 18 that I started to fade. I was getting tired and was in a fair amount of general discomfort. My body was tired and I still had miles to go. Eventually there was an aid station just before a bridge. I started to walk. Someone gave me a chocolate that I actually ate for some reason and immediately regretted it because it made me feel thirsty. 

From this point to the finish was not my proudest moment by a long shot. Although I can say that I never once stopped moving forward. I had hit the wall. My whole body was in pain. I thought that running slower would ease the paint but there was nothing for it. Regardless of my pace I was not in good shape. I ran when I could and tried to walk as little as possible. 

The finish was in the Olympic Stadium I ran the 3/4 of a lap on the track and finished in 3:52. I had been hoping for something closer to 3:40. After the finish I made my way out of the stadium to another running track where people were resting. I collapsed and just laid down. My legs were completely trashed and I was exhausted. Eventually I new I had to find the group I was with. I got up and walked around trying to find someone I recognized. At one point a young Korean came up to me and in perfectly good English (a surprise to me) said, "are you okay?" I thought it was funny because I didn't think that I was exhibiting any behaviors that would lead to someone to be concerned, maybe I was. 

I eventually found my group and made it back. The 2012 Seoul Marathon will be a race I will never forget. It was awesome on so many levels and I learned a lot, too. 


Review: Chums Classic Neoprene Eyewear Retainer

I wear glasses. For reason not need to be expanded upon here, I'm not about to get contacts or laser eye surgery anytime soon. So, I have to wear glasses. With all the running that I do have to keep my glasses on my head somehow. If I don't have some sort of device helping to keep my glasses on my face then I end up pushing them up my nose every 50 feet.

I've been through a couple of different brands and varieties of eyeglass retaining implements. The style that I prefer is typically made of neoprene and goes around the back of the head (rather than having drawstring style with a bead or cordlock that dangles down your neck).

The problem being is that there isn't a huge market for these types of glasses that I have seen. So I have to look hard and buy when I see them if I don't want to get caught without a pair. I have found several brands that have had the stitching on the part that goes on the temple of the glasses just fall apart after a few uses. Its very frustrating to have these give out so early.

At any rate, these Chums are the ones that I prefer to use. I have used them heavily and have never had one fail me. I install and uninstall them every day I go running and I soak them with rain and sweat regularly. Even during an ultra these have held up with absolutley no complaints. The are comfortable and keep my glasses where I want them. I don't have issues with them crawling down or being to tight. I haven't had any problems with them bouncing or rubbing and creating any discomfort. Recomended.

Frary Peak (Antelope Island State Park, Utah) Trail Run

I wanted to go to Antelope Island last week but it didn't work out. At the time the weather was less than stellar so I wasn't too upset that I wasn't able to make it. It would have been rainy, cold and miserable. Instead I spent less time running more miles closer to home that were still wet and kind of miserable, but it was tolerable because I was just around my neighborhood and not on some mountain trying to enjoy the views.

I decided that I was going to go a few days later. The weather forecast was unfortunately worse than it was before. I considered this but then decided to go for it anyway. The forecasts can be wrong and it just might end up being a beautiful day, right?

I left my house while it was still dark and got out to the island. The weather went from being dry at my house to a light rain by the time I got to the trail head. I put on my gortex jacket and left the trailhead determined to do the run anyway. It was still dark at this point and I headed up the hill with my headlamp on.

Whenever I'm running in less than prefered conditions I try to think about what I once read in a Lance Armstrong book several years ago. I remember him boasting and saying the reason why he was so good is that he would train harder than the other guys. He would train in the cold and the hot the wind and rain, His point was that he was good because he put himself in these poor conditions to make him more prepared and able to perform in races.

So, like him, I try to not wake up on a cold rainy day and decide that I'm not running that day simply because it's cold and rainy. If I become more familiar with how I feel and how it feels to run in poor conditions then I can be more prepared for when those conditions occur on race day (and they have and they will).

So, I ran up this mountain in the middle of a pretty bad storm. It was very windy, it rained and it snowed. I still pushed up and kept running every bit that I could. I made it back in one piece and felt good about having done it.

At one point the light was enough that I could turn of my headlamp and I was in the clouds. Visibility was probably about a hundred yards at this point. I looked up as I was reaching a small crest in the trail when I saw two dark silhouettes of what looked like large rocks. I made loud "hey" noise to see if there was any reaction in the objects, and there was. In the middle of this storm, in the clouds on the ridge of this mountain there were two bison grazing together. I wasn't too afraid initially because I thought the trail was going away from where they were. I then realized that they were closer to the trail than I wanted them to be. The thought of leaving the trail was not pleasant because cutting through the bushes would have soaked my legs and feet. I yelled again and it was clear that the closer beast had no plans on moving much. He pointed his head toward me as I got within about 10 yards. I knew I was pushing it at this point. I stayed on the trail, passed him while looking back to see if his attitude changed. Eventually the beasts were behind me and I continued running.

I feel I should point out that theres a fine line between pushing yourself in bad conditions and doing something completely void of all sense. I think it is something that must be decided by each individual. Know your limits by testing them in small increments and not large bounds.


Hot Wash

Last week was a crazy week of running. I think I mentioned on Twitter that I ended up running about 51 miles which is more than usual. The higher milage attributed to running 10 Mile Tuesday, a 3 more miles than planned on Friday and one extra mile on Saturday just because. I could tell my legs were not acostomed to running quite that much. Some of the miles were kind of quick for me, too

I'm still trying to figure out how to get best prepared for the 55k coming up in February and I think these few extra miles will be worth it.


The 2011 Pyeongtaek Half Marathon (South Korea)

In September of 2011 I finished the Pyeongtaek half marathon in South Korea. I had worked hard to get in shape for this marathon and I had high expectations going in to the race. I really wanted to break 2 hours and perhaps knock 10 minutes off of that if I could. I had been doing interval training and my apartment was located near some hills that I trained on as well. I knew I was in good shape and getting faster and learning. One thing that I hadn't really done up to this point is taken serious consideration for what nutrition I should be taking during the race. I bought a bunch of energy gels and used them occasionally on longer runs leading up to the race. I decided that I was going to take 3 gels during the race - about every 30 minutes.

With this race I decided to take the bus from the base. But there was no one on the bus that I knew and not really being in the social mood I didn't really talk to anyone. I hadn't been to the part of South Korea that the race was in before so I looked out the window. We got to the start and there were no shortage of people there, it was a very big event with a stage set up for performances and everything.

I started the race with a bottle of water in my hand. I felt more comfortable that I had some water close by if I needed it. But the race had aid stations that were well placed and I eventually I ditched it. They had closed off a divided highway for the race and it was nice to have the wide open road to run down next to the ocean. The race continued on in a relatively straight line for a good while. I was feeling good and was keeping a pace that while faster than I had intended didn't feel like it was too fast to maintain. Eventually the course reached an out and back portion that went out on some kind of dike. After that we turned down a narrower road that was more of a tourist type sea front than anything. The race was going great as we reached the half-way point. I turned around and headed back on the opposite side of the road.

This was one of the points in the race that I really knew I was in Korea. In Korea it's not uncommon for them to hand out water soaked sponges. I didn't really know what these were for at first because I had never seen them. It soon became obvious to me that they were to be used to cool off. I grabbed one from one of the volunteers and squeezed it over my head. It was very cold and refreshing. By this time I was certainly ready for the race to be over but knew that I had a few miles left. I eventually went in to step counting mode where I would try to speed up slightly and check my pace ever hundred steps or so.

By the end I knew I was done but I also knew that I had run a great race. I had finished faster than I had intended (around 1:50). In fact, once I got to the end my GPS watch was short of 13.1 so I kept running past the finish line until my watch had shown that I had run 13.1, which ended up being about a half a mile. There was a cool medal and all the finishers got a big bag of rice - talk about being in Asia. Part of the group I was with had also provided hamburgers at the finish. And while I was waiting for the rest of the group to finish there was lots of stuff happening on the stage. Including some Korean pop music all girl band. They danced and lip-synced a few songs and I laughed pretty hard. I was certainly not expecting it. It was great.

Gels used.
At the finish
Post-race entertainment


Ten Mile Tuesday

I have now "officially" started what I call Ten Mile Tuesdays in to my weekly running routine. While it's not a hard requirement to always be done on Tuesdays, the idea is that at least one run Monday through Friday be 10 miles.

Why? Because I have a race coming up soon and I don't want to be behind in training. A few more miles every week will help burn off the extra holiday food I'm certainly going to consume.

My average daily run is about 7.4 miles, and running 10 only takes an extra 20 minutes of running. Easy!


L.L. Bean Polartec® Power Dry® Beanie

The L.L. Bean Polartec® Power Dry® Beanie is surprisingly one of my favorite beanies. I say surprisingly because most people think that good products used for running need to be from a brand known for making running products. The truth is is that products are shoved down our throats using the word "running" and we, as consumers, think some magic went into developing the product that makes it better because of the way its intended use is marketed. Seriously, it's a piece of fabric cut to fit on someones head. I don't think it's rocket science. Made of a decent fabric and cut for size right just about any beanie will do for running regardless if it's made by company A or company B. (I even have a beanie from Land's End that fits both of these criteria and has stretched out a bit, but is still a decent beanie)

This beanie has served me well for several years I've purchased at least 3 of them and having lost one I'm now down to 2. I'm totally bummed about losing one. But the 2 that I have now I have used for at least the last 3 years. And even though its been through dozens of washes and (dare I guess) hundreds of runs I cannot find any signs of wear. I have successfully utilized L.L. Bean's guarantee and can say that they are excellent in facilitating returns if anything goes wrong. Ever. (they even reimbursed me for the money I paid to ship the product back!)

The beanie is lightweight and can keep my head warm down to about 20 degrees fahrenheit. It's very light and not bulky at all. I love this beanie and can't imagine trying anything else.


Moab Winter Sun 10k

I ran the Moab Winter Sun 10k race last week. It wasn't my fastest time but there were several things that I enjoyed very much about the race.

First, the race itself: I had a brother who had run the race the previous year and the weather was pretty bad. By the end there was wet snow and it was cold. This year, the weather was much better. The race started on time and the course was great. It wasn't a boring straight flat line and it wasn't filled with any crazy hills. It was a good combination of the two. The course was easy to follow. While there was only one aid station on the course it was well stocked and placed. I wasn't bothered by the course being open to traffic either. It really was quite excellent.

The bib pickup was certainly one of the best that I've ever been too. I really don't like being forced to go to an 'expo' only to get a bag full of ads and a bunch of other stuff I don't want or need. The hometown feeling of this 10k was apparent when we went to the local high school to get our bibs. There was no fuss about the process. We found our numbers and went and picked up up our bag with shirts and numbers inside. We picked out a hat and we left. There was no crazy exposure to a bunch of booths of people selling stuff and the bag had one ad in it with a free sample. I would prefer zero, but one is way better than 50.

The shuttles to the start were excellent and I had no problem parking or finding the shuttles to the start. The starting area at the golf course was pretty good but it was mostly good because the weather had cooperated. If it had been any more incremental then we would have been cold and miserable once the free hot chocolate was gone. I was happy to see them using eco friendly cups and had trash cans intended for them. It's always nice to have a race that doesn't want to create too much waste.

The finish area was pretty good. The had chutes that forced the finishers to line up and hand over their bib tags so they could be recorded in order (there was no electronic timing). The nutrition available at the finish line was pretty standard. Chips, drinks, bananas, chocolate milk. My favorite part was the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in to quarters and in a big container open for every one to grab and take as they desired (For someone uptight this would probably be considered very, very unsanitary, but I didn't care).

Most everything about this race was just as I would have liked it. Maybe an additional aid station would have been nice and a few more porta potties at the start. Also there was no medals for finishers. I found this strange, but I don't need an extra medal lying around. But overall I loved the easy and hassle free bib pick up, relatively small crowd (about 400 runners), great course and well done finish line area. Who knows, I just may do it again next year...


Hot Wash

This week was a surprisingly warm week for running. And a low mileage week, too. However, I’d still like to think that I got something out of this week’s running by doing some speed work. What is speed work? Well, for me it means that during a run you spend a portion of that run going faster than “normal.” On Thanksgiving I went out for an early morning run and was rather bored and still was 4 miles from home.

I decided to do some speed work just to break up the monotony. Along this particular stretch of road are many fire hydrants and my plan was that I would increase my speed from the first fire hydrant to the third fire hydrant then slow down between the third and fourth. Once I got to the fourth it would then become my imaginary first fire hydrant again and I would start the exercise over.

There are many variations to this kind of speed work that can be done. This past week I was counting steps. It was 100 steps fast and 35 steps slow – repeated a couple of times.

I know that if you read online there are all sorts of names for these kinds of exercises that sound much more scientific but I tend to think that the basic idea is to increase the time spent running at a faster pace.

I also ran a 10k this past week that I’ll share more info about at a later time. For several reasons it was one of the best races I’ve ever ran.


How to Run Faster

I never really considered myself much of a runner in 2011. By October I had been deployed to Kuwait and found myself with some extra time at the end of my shifts that needed to be filled. That time could be spent doing lots of thing like watching movies, reading, or hanging out with friends. I found myself spending time at the gym and running. I began recording my weight and deciding that among the bad or worse food available, I was going to at least have less of the bad food.

At one point I learned about interval training and had done it before with mixed results. I injured myself overdoing it and probably didn't run enough miles a week for it to really take any noticeable effect. I started doing some more interval training (this is the "How to Run Faster" part). It was fall and the weather in Kuwait, while normally very hot or extremely hot, wasn't too bad in the evenings. I incorporated one run a week to doing about 40 minutes of interval training. I would sprint, or run as fast as I could, for 60 seconds then walk for 60 seconds. By the time I had done this for a few weeks I could literally see the ground moving faster as I ran. It was a very noticeable difference.

I decided that I was going to do the subject run (Veterans Day Run for the Fallen). I was excited because I was actually getting a lot better at running and I found it very enjoyable.

Everyone gathered together before dawn at the starting location. It was surprisingly cold. Some gathered around the exhaust of a light trailer. Some of the participants were Special Forces from Australia. Some were contractors, some were Army. The majority, like me, were Air Force.

The race started and I was off. By the time the race was over I had finished ahead of some of the Special Forces guys and finished just behind the first place female. I felt great. I finished in 47:31. It was awesome.

Before most had finished the race, I was showered and eating breakfast (the most palatable meal provided) and very pleased with my accomplishment.


Headsweats Race Performance Running/Outdoor Sports Hat

I've run more races than some and of course, not as many as some others. If there has ever been one piece of gear that has been on me every single race, it's this Headsweats Hat. (There's actually one other thing that I have worn every race, but I'm going to save that for later)

This hat has excellent reviews, which is why I bought it in the first place. This has been with me through thick and thin, cold and hot, rain and wind. 

So, it's a hat and it's awesome, what more is there to say? I think that it is very comfortable. The bill is a great size to keep the sun from blinding you or, in my case, to keep vehicle headlights from messing up your night vision. 

This hat is also very low maintenance. I just chuck it in the wash after every few runs and it's good as new. I've had this hat now for probably 4 years and I still don't think it's ready to give up anytime soon despite the hell I have put it through.

In comparison, I have a Patagonia hat that is terrible. The strap on the back goes loose mid run, and it's heavy and uncomfortable. This Headsweats hat has absolutely no complaints from me.