Adventures In Running

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Curt Brinkman and the Will to Win

I was reading this morning and noticed an article about Curt Brinkman. I have always admired Curt and actually ran in a race with him back when he was at the top of his career. I was saddened to read that Curt had died on September 7th at a relatively young age.

Curt Brinkman was an athlete. Curt Brinkman was also a wheelchair athlete. Injured by high voltage electricity as a teenager, his life was saved by amputating both of his legs. Rather than give in to the monkey wrenches that had been thrown at his life, he chose to use his changed body to its optimum capacity and to inspire others.

Curt became a wheelchair racer. In 1980 he won the Boston Marathon and became the first wheelchair athlete to break 2 hours in the marathon and also beat the entire field of runners.

How many of us whine when we have nagging injuries or feel sick? How many of us just give in to excuses and give up? Curt Brinkman chose not to do this. Maybe we should all be more grateful for the strong, healthy bodies we have and see just how much we can do ourselves with what we have been given.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What was I thinking :)?

On Saturday I agreed to pace Tara Workman Tulley in next weekend's Wasatch 100 race ( This is a race that starts at the Wilderness Park in Kaysville and runs over (and up and down and around) 100 miles of mountains and ends at the Homestead Ranch past Park City.

I met Tara at a Women's Conference the night before she was going to put in a full day's effort on a treadmill (my 3 miles seem pretty wimpy in comparison). She put out a call for pacer's on Facebook and I talked with her on the phone and agreed to pace her the last 25 miles from Brighton Ski Resort over to the Homestead Ranch. I am excited at my first attempt at pacing, but a little scared at 25 hard miles in the mountains. It seems pretty wimpy compared to the people pushing for 100 miles – but is still intimidating to me.

Anyway, since I agreed to do this, I revamped my running plans for the week. Did not push as hard in my 10K today and I had originally thought I might and will adjust my running so that I have fresh legs on Friday night/Saturday when I will spend between 8-12 hours pushing Tara along.

After the event is over, I will enter another blog post to let you know how it went.

My friend Leslie Peterson is also going to pace Tara for 10-12 miles of the race.

My friend Vic Mason is planning to pace his daughter Christy over the same 25 mile stretch that I will be pacing. I hope I can meet up with him for at least a few minutes on Saturday.

It beats actual labor…

Of either the work kind or the pushing out a baby kind.

Today I ran the Payson Onion Days 10K race. A lot of the members of the Fast Running Blog get together each year to run this race and eat an awesome pancake breakfast afterwards. I have missed it the last two years due to being out of town, so was happy that I was able to participate this year.

This is only my third official 10K. I have two previous efforts to claim: the Pioneer Day 10K in Provo in 2006 and the Striders Winter Racing Series 10K in Ogden in 2007. The Provo race provided my previous PR of 1:17 (that's one hour and seventeen minutes). I had just started adding in some running splits and was still mainly race walking then. I remember my niece Cherie was in the race with me and finished long before I did. The other 10K was the next winter and I was alternating running and walking pretty evenly. However, it is a very hilly course and the uphills trashed my time.

I have a dream of doing a sub 60 in the 10K. (Less than one hour). I actually did a training run last year where I ran a 10K in 62 minutes, but I have not really done any speed work this year until the last week or so. I did have thoughts of trying to break the hour mark today, but changed those plans last Saturday (more on that in the next post).

Instead I went into the race with the following goals:

  • A plan – maintain an 11 minute mile pace or better during the race (1:08:02)
  • B plan – maintain a 12 minute mile pace or better during the race (1:14:04)
  • C plan – PR (personal record) and avoid walking at all during the race

I set my Garmin to alert me if my pace went over 11 MM.

Race started and I headed out a little faster than I planned, but within a quarter mile started slowing down to the appropriate pace. I had no idea of the race course contours, so didn't want to push too hard. I did not want to be in a puke zone at all – just run this as a solid tempo run and push myself mentally. The pace was comfortable and I was able to slowly start passing other runners in the second mile. Luckily, every runner I passed after mile one stayed passed. I knew that consistent pacing usually pays off against other runners who start too fast.

I skipped the aid station at mile 3 and then we turned a corner and headed back into town and into the sun. Miles 4 and 5 were net uphill and I had to keep pushing myself when the pace alarm would go off. A couple of times I couldn't get it back down until I got out of the grip of the uphills. Still – I was able to maintain my overall pace goals. In a quarter mile stretch on the new road I passed the yellow shirted guy, pink tank top girl and black shirt girl that I had been following for three miles.

Took a quick sip of water at the aid station near the 5 mile marker. You can tell when volunteers are not runners themselves. They fill the cups too full. I immediately dumped most of the cup of water, took a quick sip to wet my throat, and started the final push into town.

I saw Michele Lowry (female winner) and Lily out running a cooldown during the last mile. The pace was starting to feel hard and I was happy when Kelli Stephenson came out and met me at 5.75 and pushed me in the last little bit. I tried to surge and pass two runners ahead of me, but didn't have the energy. I was able to do a bit of a kick in the finish chute – but not much before then.

Crossed the finish line in 1:05:21. This was 74th overall and 7th in my age group and a 12 minute PR. I beat my A plan (this is a 10:32 mm average) and am more than happy with that.

Next year – that 60 minute mark is going down!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Park City Marathon - 2010

I did the Park City Marathon on August 21, 2010 as a long training run. Overall, I was relatively pleased with my endurance, not very happy about my speed.  At the end of the day, I decided it was time to start pushing speed in my workouts.

I saw Luz in the Fieldhouse this morning and then met Smooth and Teena.  Teena was nice enough to KT Tape my left knee for precautionary measures.  It has been a little twingy on runs, but nothing I was worried about.  I had a wrap for my ankle in case I need it because it has been a bit sore at times lately, but I keep finding that it never hurts when I run, so ended up not needing to wrap it.

The contact was removed from my eye the day before and I debated putting another emergency contact in that morning. (My Recurrent Corneal Erosions flared up again a week or so earlier). I am starting to dreading sleep because that is usually when I feel the skin on the cornea tear. The eye bothered me all day - probably should have put the lens in - but I used medicated eye drops instead.

Anyway - back to the race.  Park City is so low key compared to other races.  They had the anthem right before 6:30 and then we headed out.  I kind of wish they would start the race at 6 to try and beat the heat up there more.  I knew I wouldn't have any speed because I haven't done any speed work or altitude work this year. I had said hello to Mike DeWaal and his wife before the race - he is my mailman from work.  This was his first marathon post heart attack and they were aiming for 5 hours as a long run too.

Shortly after starting out I saw one marathon runner just quit the course and then about 1-2 miles out saw a couple of half marathoners realize they were on the wrong course.  Talked with Ken, one of the bike paramedics and we would joke with each other throughout the race.  I actually geared myself to be in last at the beginning and was comfortable not pushing myself.  I knew I would start passing people after a while.

Around mile 4 I passed my first runner.  She was talking about the hills and I mentioned there were about 17 miles of uphills on the course. She then said, "Good thing I am only doing the half." I mentioned she was on the wrong course and she said that she had a brother and other friends also running the half that were up ahead.  After the race I mentioned this to the RD, Jolie, and suggested she post a sign around the corner by the Fieldhouse to let half marathoners know they were on the wrong course. Never saw that runner again.  Hope she got a ride back.

At mile 6 I passed two runners.  Easily pulled ahead of them and then didn't pass anyone again until mile 12.  I was just enjoying listening to an audio book and really didn't pay attention to the mile markers, but noticed they were usually 1/10 of a mile early compared to my GPS.

Starting at mile 14, I was able to pass 2-4 or more runners each mile and only one ever passed me back for good and that was at a pit stop.  Took advantage of any water hoses that people were using to mist people and had my lower body cooled down.

The course was a little different coming back through Park City.  I think they had events with the Tour de Utah and had to keep us out of the downtown area. After Empire Avenue, I found they did a better job of marking the course in the neighborhoods and didn't get off course like a bunch of us did last year.

One bossy little girl was really cute and giving out ice water at her house.  I gratefully took it and then put all the ice in my cap.  It felt good to have that melt over the next few miles.

One disadvantage of running near the back - all the food was gone when I ran by the big barn. PC uses Hammer Gels, so had to carry all my own gels since those made me sick. (I found out later that no one got the deluxe spread they usually have at the barn this year).

Overall - it was a good race.  I like the new disposable chip system and thought the race was well run.  I did like the food at the end - they gave you a disposable bowl with 3 banana chunks, two types of bread and some pretzels.  Now if only the chocolate milk was not all gone (one of the disadvantages of being near the back of the pack).

I had plans to run more later that day, but the altitude and hills took a toll on me.  Just did an ice bath and lounged around wearing compression shorts and socks.

Believe It, Be It – Thoughts on the book

This last week I read 'Believe It, Be It' by Ali Vincent. She was the woman who became the first female winner on The Biggest Loser. I found the book interesting and worth the investment I paid for it. I highlighted several sections in the book, but some of the following really caught my attention and made me think.

When you don't set goals, you deny yourself opportunities to succeed and celebrate. It's important to set realistic goals for yourself and rejoice when you achieve them.

I have always liked to focus on goals and set challenges and/or resolutions for myself. I like her take on the subject of goal setting and also on recognizing when you have succeeded at that goal.

Quit mothering your mom. Rescuing my mom was not the answer to my problems—or hers.

Wow! This statement and the sections around it really hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never really thought of my behavior when my mother was alive as my trying to rescue my mother from her unhappiness with life, but after reading this section, I realized that was exactly what I was always trying to do.

Consistency is key when you're trying to make big changes in your life.

So true! Often we forget that and we try to bite off more than we can chew. A little at a time and consistently attacking the goal will get us where we want to go.

Of course it's hard, because it wouldn't feel this good if it weren't.

People often ask me why I push myself to run the distances I do. Even when I am suffering, it is a good feeling to know I am pushing myself to my limits.

I chose to compete like an athlete. I would give it everything I had. I was determined to follow through and accomplish my goal.

This is what I want to focus on for the next year. I have a few big goals: Getting below 135 pounds. Running a sub-2 hour half marathon. Qualifying for Boston. Getting my body as strong as I can. In order to do any or all of these, this is the focus I need to apply and the attitude I need to have.

Stop seeing the obstacles you face as reasons why you can't do something. See them as a reason why you can. And celebrate your accomplishments on a daily basis.

The statement speaks for itself.

My body is my Olympic solo, my Tour de France, my Mount Everest, my Super Bowl touchdown, my step on the moon.

I had never quite thought of it this way. We learn at church that our body is a temple, but this statement really speaks to me.