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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inaugural Rock n Roll Denver Marathon Recap

This is my 14th marathon this year and 70th marathon overall

Thursday 10-14-10

After my connecting flight out of Salt Lake City was canceled, they put us on a standby for the next flight to Denver, unfortunately, I wasnt able to get a seat in that flight since it was full. SO, I had to wait for the  NEXT available flight and hope I will get a seat then. So I waited by the ticket counter and hoping they will call my name, then finally that guy called my name and I was on my way to Denver, FINALLY!!

Friday 10-15-10

I decided to go check out Pikes Peak early in the morning and see how tough it is to hike up to the summit. It was only about an hour drive from where I stayed so it was a short drive.  I arrived at the bottom of the trailhead called Barr Trail at around 9am, I was carrying a water bottle and a sling bag with my jacket since they said it could get chilly up there above 10,000 feet..

After about 6 miles into the hike the elevation had reach 10,000 feet, it took me about 2 hours just to finished 6 miles hike, 7 more miles till to the top, it sounds like easy, but it isnt. Around 8 miles there was this campsite call Barr Camp where people could camp there, they have restroom and first aid station there also. I stopped to use the restroom and continued my journey. 

While I was hiking there were snow on the side of the trail, so I grabbed a handfull of snow and put them on my head, my neck, my knees to cool myself off, it felt REALLY good. Then around 9 miles, I came across this place call Timberline Shelter, a.k.a "A Frame", so I followed down the trail and check out this little A-Frame house.
The A-Frame at Timberline Shelter at 9 Miles

With 3 miles to go, it only got tougher and I was getting really tired, every steps felt like a dead man walking, I was breathing heavy, I stopped and sat at every shade that I could find and catch my breath, it was around mid afternoon but felt cool even when the sun was up. Then with 1 mile to go, the time was around 4pm, I knew I had to get back down to the trailhead before it gets dark, so after hiking for another 15 mins, I decided to  headed back down without getting to the top of the summit because I knew the sunset was around 6:30pm. =-(

There were even snows on trail.

When I was making my way down, I tried to make a short cut by just walking down the hills without following the trail, BIG MISTAKE!!! I ended up not knowing where I was because I couldnt find the trail!!! I made my way thru the tree branches and bushes and bamboo sticks and still couldnt find the trail, I was nervous and thought I would ended up spending the night in the bush if I couldnt find my way down. But I tried to stay calm and figured if I keep find my way down, I will eventually hit the trail, so I continued to make my way down thru the trees and rocks and everything, I FINALLY found the trail and decided to just stick with the trail and forget about making another short cuts. It was easier to run down the trial since the elevation started to drop, I was able to run a mile or two before I stop and catch my breath, then I continued the run and walk and get back down as soon as possible. With about 2 miles to go, the sunset was already set and I could BARELY see the trail, so I just took it slow and just walked till the bottom of the trail. When I got down to the trailhead, it was already 7:30pm. I spent pretty much the whole day on the trail, I guess that's the way to get used to the elevation 2 days before the marathon. =-)
It was about 13,000 ft but I decided to head back down, the milege was wrong

Saturday 10-16-10

I decided to take the light rail to the expo since the closest station was  only a few miles from where I stayed, plus it was only $2 each way, way cheaper than park in downtown.

The expo was a little bit smaller than a usual RNR expo, I only bought the RNR Denver Luggage Tag and the iFitness waist belt, which was a very good investment because it was very light weight and I didnt feel like I wasnt carry it while I was running, I was debating whether I should get the Splitbelt or iFitness, but I am glad I chose iFitness over Splitbelt since iFitness is sweatproof.

Carbo load Meal

I ordered the chicken alfredo pasta with cheesesticks and 10 pieces honey BBQ wings from Pizza Hut as my carbo load dinner, but of course I save the wings as my post race food.

Race Day - 10-17-10

The race starts at 6:55am , I decided to just take the 4:50am light rail again to downtown and just walk to the start, which was only half a mile. It was about 50 degree in the morning, a lot of runners were gathered at the staging area, I walked around and saw the runners were lining up for free coffee, so I got in line and got myself a cup to keep me warm and awake. Then I headed to drop my gear bag off nearby since they didnt have the UPS truck for this RNR event, they just put the bags in an open grass area by the concert stage. I bumped into my Maniac buddy Emil at the drop off table, he was wearing his Maniac shirt so I was easily recognize him from behind. We then made our way thru the  sea of runners to our starting Corral #4 and get ready for nice cool race.

me and Emil before the race.

My goal for the race was 4 hrs, so I was planning to follow the 4 hour pace group, but since the 4 hr pace group was in the corral behind me, I figured I would just run my own pace and jump on the pace group later on when they pass by me.

After the race started, I wanted to keep my pace around 9:00 min/mile so I could finish around 4 hours, I didnt carry my usual water bottle with me because I knew they have aid stations every 2 miles or so, so I just carried my disposable bottle for the first half and throw away once I finished the bottle, I found out later I seems to run faster without the bottle with me. At around Mile 4, the volunteers at the aid stations were dressed in tuxedo with bow tie and fake mustache, kind of looks like waiter/ress outfit, very creative, too bad I didnt get a picture of them cuz I didnt want to stop. We ran thru a few local parks throughout the course and it was nice to see the Relay race happen at the same time, the full and the half ran together for the first 12 miles before we split up. There were a few turnarounds during the course, so I got to see the runners who were infront of me and behind me.

At about Mile 19, I started to slow down a bit and started to take a little walking break, then I found out the 4:00 pace group were not far behind me, so I just waited for them to pass by and jumped on the wagon and hopefully they will pull me thru. I followed them for about 2 miles and I couldnt catch up anymore, so I decided to slow down and run on my own from then on. I took at least 2 to 3 cups of water/cytomax at every aid stations, I think it was because of the altitude that made me even more thirsty, I even pour some on my head to cool myself down, it wasn't too hot but it was around the 70's I would say. After Mile 20, I knew my chance of finishing under 4 hours was out of the question, so I just hoping for a sub 4:15.

One mile to go

With 3 miles left to go, we have this out and back hill that we had to run thru, nobody likes hill at this late of the race, but I just tried to run/jogg whenever I could. Then with 1 mile to go, I was very excited that I was about to finish, so I just started to run the final mile, when I got to the corner and ready to make a left turn to the finish, I could see the finish line ahead of me, the people on either side were cheering for us, I started to run a little faster toward the finish line, then I raised my hands up and crossed the finish line at 4:09.45. A Sub 4:10 finish.

They had a lot of good food at the finish line, I was able to grab a box and just get whatever they have there, chips, oranges, Cytomax drink, etc.. I then went to grab my checked bag and changed and listen to Semisonic at the post race concert area with my delicious wings from Pizza Hut the night before. =-)

Overall I really like this race, it was pretty flat, not a lot of hills, the volunteers were awesome, I had a lot of fun,  I really like how they finish around the Stage Capitol. If the expo is bigger next time, I would love to return.

My Splits
Mile 1- 8:52          Mile 14 - 8:55
Mile 2 - 8:55         Mile 15 - 9:47
Mile 3 - 9:13         Mile 16 - 8:56
Mile 4 - 9:01         Mile 17 - 9:16
Mile 5 - 9:03         Mile 18 - 9:42
Mile 6 - 8:45         Mile 19 - 10:07
Mile 7 - 9:03         Mile 20 - 9:23
Mile 8 - 8:58         Mile 21 - 8:54
Mile 9 - 9:08         Mile 22 - 10:19
Mile 10 - 9:14       Mile 23 - 9:28
Mile 11 - 9:31       Mile 24 - 10:47
Mile 12 - 9:04       Mile 25 - 10:19
Mile 13 - 9:11       Mile 26 - 10:06

Next Race.................................Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon 10-24-2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mother Road Marathon Recap

This is my 13th marathon this year and 69th marathon overall

I signed up for the Mother Road Marathon just a few days after the registration was opened earlier this year, since they said it is their inagural race, I made no second thoughts about running this race. Still cant believe it was already here.

The Mother Road Marathon is located in Joplin, MO, I did a few researches and found out the best and cheaper way to get to Joplin was to fly to Kansas City, Mo and drive around 200 miles down to Joplin. I didnt mind the drive so I decided that will be my plan.

Thursday and Friday - 10/7 - 10/8/10

After catching a red eye flight from LAX to Minneapolis to Kansas City, I was in KC early morning, the first thing I wanted to do was drive over to this place in downtown KC call College Basketball Experience, it's a place where they have   everything about college basketball history from the begining to present, signed basketball, trophies were displayed in the lobby, plus they have a full court basketball upstair so people can play some pickup games. You could shoot free throws, 3-pointers, dunking a basketball on a lowered basketball. It was a basketball heaven for any basketball fan. I was there for almost 4 hrs playing basketball and make sure I play all the games there. Since it was an early weekday, I was pretty much the only one there so I felt like I got this basketball heaven all by myself.

I also went a few museums there and took some pics while I was there

Saturday - 10/9/10

I got up early and drove 3 1/2 hrs down to Joplin, MO to the packet pick up inside the Joplin Musuem, it was a nice smooth drive with no traffic on a 2 lanes highway, saw a lot of roadkills though.
The expo was really small, it was just inside a small room with only 2 vendors, I was out within 15mins, I bought a poster and 3 ROUTE 66 pins, each represent the state of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, since it runs thru 8 states, I need to collect 5 more to collect. =-)

So after I was done with the expo, I decided to drive to Wichita, KS, cuz I heard they have another marathon expo also happen on the same weekend. So I drove ANOTHER 3 1/2 hours east of Joplin and arrived at the expo just a little over an hour before it closes at 5pm.  The reason I wanted to drive to this expo was because I heard Dane Rauschenberg will be there at the pasta dinner, he also was the guy running 52 marathons in a year a few years back. So I got his book signed and he was kind enough to give me a few poster of him. I was able to listen to his speech at the pasta dinner at the Hyatt Hotel right across the parking lots from the expo, the speech alone was well worth the long hour drive, he was very entertaining talking about how he got into running and the ups and downs on his journey of his 52 marathons in a year.

I drove 3 1/2 hrs just to meet him again, he is an awesome runner.
You can follow Dane at

After the pasta dinner, I decided to drive BACK to Joplin to rest up for rest day, yup, that's ANOTHER 3 1/2 hours drive.

Race Day - 10/10/10

I actually slept in my rental car in the parking lot where the finish area was, which was a few blocks from the Joplin Museum at the Sports Complex, they told us we could park there and take the shuttle to the start. I was there early so when I got there, I realized there wasnt much cars there, I thought I was at a wrong spot, but later on the cars started to arrived. After a quick change and got everything ready, I was headed to the shuttle bus, since I parked at the finish line, I didnt have to bring any bag to be checked.

Around 6am I boarded the bus to the start, they actually have 2 buses, one for the full and one for the half. About half an hour into the drive, the driver actually got lost and couldnt find the way to the start, then one of the runner on the bus was offering some directions cuz he said he drove around the area a lot, that seems to helped a little, but they finally had to ask one of the officers on the street to guided us to the start. What a joy ride!! We got there about 45 mins till the 8am starts, so many of us were either sitting on the sidewalks killing time or sitting on the bleechers socializing or just taking pictures. The start was at Commerce, OK on Route 66 and run thru Kansas and ended in Joplin, MO

Before the start, they had a girl from local high school singing the national anthem, she can really sing, then with less than a few mins before the race starts, I was lining up at the front of the start with all those fast runners, because I knew the course infront  of me was pretty wide open so I dont think people behind me would have trouble passing me, plus I just wanted to get into the pics at the front. =-)

Early in the race while we were still in Commerce, OK, I found out we were running on Highway 69, how perfect would that be?? This is my 69th marathon and I get to run on Highway 69!! Could not have been any better.

Here are my splits for the first 9 miles before I felt a little discomfort to my right hip, I was pretty much struggling the rest of the way, but with stretching every once in awhile, I was able to run for a few mins before I had to stop and walk and stretch and run again.

Mile 1 - 7:44 - gone out way too fast!!
Mile 2 - 8:19
Mile 3 - 8:30
Mile 4 - 8:23
Mile 5 - 9:10
Mile 6 - 9:07
Mile 7 - 9:29
Mile 8 - 9:42
Mile 9 - 11:20 - I started to having some problem with my right hip, never felt this kind of sore before.

The volunteer and the crowds were awesome, plus the police were pretty helpful also, when we entering the start of Kansas, there was one officer standing on the side and welcome every runners "Welcome to Kansas", I think that was really cool. The race was very well organized, the mile markers were very visible since they were really high up, you can see it from the distance. The aid stations were every 2 miles so I didnt really need to carry my water bottle, I felt like I run better without my bottle with me.

At about Mile 13, we actually had make a right turn and run around the school parking lot, then ran back out on the Route 66 just to add some distances. We actually got to run on the OLD Route 66 for a few miles around Mile 20, that was a long stretch of boring course with few spectators, plus the warm temperature was helping me getting faster. Once we got back on the regular Route 66, they actually had a huge fan blowing cool air on the side, I stopped by there and just cool myself down a little before I moved on, that was a huge relief.

So after Mile 24, I have half an hour left if I wanted to finish under 5 hours, I wasnt really thinking about my time because I was kind of tired and sore, I just wanted to finish without further injury. So I kind of took it easy and just take it one step at a time. Then when I got to the home stretch to make a left turn to the finish, I saw a Maniac who I met earlier during the race greeting me on the side, she finished around 3:48 and I saw her medal around her neck, which was very nice. Then I could see the finish line ahead of me, luckily my hip felt better so I was able to run the final stretch without stopping and was able to pass by 3 other runners right before the finish, and I BARELY finished under 5 hours at  4:58.05

After I finished, I rested for about an hour and a half before I drove ANOTHER 3 + hours BACK to Kansas City to get back to my room and rest.

Overall I really like this marathon, great support from everywhere, if I live in Kansas, I would run this one again, too bad I dont.

Next Race.................................Rock n Roll Denver - 10-17-2010