Zion Canyon 2011

Zion Canyon 2011
Zion Revisited 2011

How To Approach an Ultra or Ironman

Jordan Rapp quote sums it up!

This Jordan Rapp quote sums it up.
"It's about the process. It doesn't matter what you do tomorrow and it doesn't matter what you did yesterday. It's about today, and making today count. That's especially true in training, but it's the same mentality that I carry into racing. Focus on the task at hand, not on the finish line, or the next part of the race, but what it is that is right there in front of you in the moment."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mesquite Marathon 2011 Race Report

 Portage, Beaver, Meanie and I flew out to St. George, Utah to meet the Captain and Hoover (Mrs. Captain) and run the Mesquite Marathon. That is, Beaver, Captain and me were doing the marathon, Meanie the half-marathon and Portage the 5k. It was mostly downhill, and on roads, so we were all looking forward to crushing the course. What could go wrong?
Portage checks out the rental bus. We wanted a Jeep, but this Yukon worked out great.

 We drove the course on Friday morning(yikes, way tougher than anticipated), and picked up our race kits later that night. Onto the host Casa Blanca Casino in Mesquite for the dinner, which featured a       "Runner's Special". The "Runner's Special" was  a pasta dinner, priced at only $7.99 for Mesquite Marathon participants. Note to runners and RD's. I asked for a menu because I don't eat pasta, and couldn't help noticing that the regular pasta dinner is only $6.99. We asked what the difference was. Nothing, except it costs a dollar more. WTF?
  So Beaver, Meanie, Hoover (Captain's wife), and Portage all ordered the $6.99 pasta dinner from the menu. Captain ordered the "Runner's Special" just for a laugh to see if there was a difference. The only difference was that the Captain got less food for his extra dollar. He was actually the only one of us who could finish his meal, the rest of us got way too much food. As a matter of fact, other than the steak and ribs entrees, the "Runner's Special" was more expensive than almost anything else on the menu.
  You can't make this stuff up.
  Time Changes and Real Beer...
 So we had an interesting situation. St. George Utah is in a different time zone than Mesquite Nevada. We arrived from Toronto, were staying in St.George, and the race started in Utah, went through Arizona and ended in Nevada. Toronto is 2 hours ahead of Utah, 3 hours ahead of Nevada. The time changes during the marathon, we gained an hour at the Arizona/Nevada border, which is cool but a bit of a logistical nightmare. For two days before the race we were saying "Utah time or Nevada time"?
  While we were in Nevada, we picked up some real beer. The beer in Utah is a maximum of 3.2%, the beer in Nevada is 5%.So we had real beer after our visit to Nevada, which is nice.
The Marathon....
 The alarm went off at 6:44 a.m. sharp Utah time, which is 5:44a.m. Nevada (race) time or 8:44 a.m. Toronto time. Portage dropped off me, Beaver and Captain at the marathon start. The she dropped off Meanie at the half marathon start. Then she drove herself and Hoover to the finish line and jumped on the bus for a ride back to the 5K start. Smooth as silk.
  I was looking for a PB, and expected to get it easily. The only flaw in my plan was the trip to Italy, which left only 6 weeks for training. I sacrificed the tempo runs for more long slow runs, and it cost me.
The starting line

On your mark, get set,go! and we were off. I started well back, at a slow pace. Many people took off too fast, and I knew I'd be seeing them later. After 2 miles, I was somehow on pace for a 3:15 marathon. After 5 miles of pretty steady downhill running, we entered Arizona, and I was now on pace for a 3:30 marathon. The course had flattened out, and I still felt fresh. I tried to pick up the pace but couldn't. DOH. That's what happens when you don't do speed work. Oh well, I still felt good and just kept going as best I could. At one point, the scenery didn't change for well over an hour, something that doesn't happen on the trails. At the halfway mark, we got to do some uphill running, and it felt great. I caught lots of folks on the uphills. I counted 39 people I passed in the 2nd half, including a group of six on one short hill.Sweet.
  Anyhow, I can't complain. The weather was perfect, the course was tougher than expected but still a PB course.I didn't have the speed, but like the Captain says, a PB is a PB!
Portage,me,Beaver,Meanie and Captain.

Before the marathon, almost everyone was in line for the port-a-potties. There are no trees to hide behind in the desert.
Beaver hops the barb-wire.
Captain gets nailed by a cactus. Owwwwwwch.
The Warriors Prepare for Battle.
And they're off..........
Only 23 miles to go.
Here comes the sheriff. Am I speeding?
The Never ending view
Welcome to Arizona...What time is it?
An hour later...
Never look back...No way is this guy catching me!
Under the overpass. Welcome to Nevada!
I pass this group on an uphill.
These cow grates were a little dangerous! You could lose a small child in there. We ran over 3 of them.

Water station lady. She kept re-appearing as the race went on. I kidded her she was a triplet.

One more turn and done.
That's the finish. Into the tent, then done.
Inside the tent.

 Of course congrats go to Beaver for his big effort and cowbell win. Meanie, Portage and me all claimed a spot on the podium in our age groups,  Captain knew it was not his day so he cruised in without wanting to chance injuring himself. Maybe that 7+ hour 50K 2 weeks earlier had something to do with it? He was swearing he would never run another road race, but then Hoover reminded him he has already signed up for the Las Vegas half marathon on December 4th. DOH. But after that, he is never running another road race.
Meanie shows off the hardware.

Hammer time for Beaver

Two thumbs up.
The 'Tage, after her 5K adventure race.

An Ultra? Where's my PBR?

Hoover cheers in the Captain

Beaver shows off the schwag with Meanie at his side.

As for me, I got a fever. And the only cure is....MORE COWBELL!
Someday, I'll prolly be back. Did I mention there is lots of free beer at the finish?
  Great job by the RD's and volunteers, except for the policeman  who didn't show up to direct runners at a sharp turn in the 5K until after the participants had all missed it. An aid station guy from one of the other distances had to chase them all down and tell them to turn around!

  More to come on the blog from our trip, the 6 of us have been exploring  the canyons of Utah for the past week, and we've also eaten some epic meals. Good times.
 For Pylon results, see previous blog post. For full results, click here.
 *Fun fact, the stoopid online registration wouldn't accept Canada as a place, so we had to sign up as Toronto, Utah, or Toronto, Nebraska. So I guess the RD's never knew they had 5 Canadians running in this race.
 **Here's a SUPER fun fact. There IS a town of 5,000 named Toronto in Ohio, and get this. Two famous residents of Toronto, Ohio are:
  • Robert Urich - Famous actor most known for his great work in the shows "Vega$"(Magnum P.I. ripoff) and "Spenser For Hire", not to even mention "The Love Boat".
  • Bill Peterson - Former head coach at Florida State, Rice and with the Houston Oilers. He was Urich's football coach at FSU. Coincidence? I think not.
  • Wow. I've said it before, you can't make this stuff up. 
  • Digger out.

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