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Memorial Day Weekend

Posted Jun 16 2010 9:29pm
Main image
written by Charlie

Memorial Day Weekend -From the top of Independence Pass!

A panorama of the mountains East of Independence Pass in Colorado (near Aspen).

Fast Spring water run off in an interesting canyon.

Beautiful scenery on the Independence Pass highway.

Notice the high water from Spring run off.

Running -

Wow! Training for a marathon consumes time and miles.  It is a healthy procedure, but it can be a trial.  In training for the Seattle Rock and Roll marathon and then running it, I will have logged 626 miles.  I don’t know about you, but I am amazed by it!

I will be running with Tom.  I’ve known Tom since elementray school. Tom is the inspiration for this marathon run.  He wanted to train for and accomplish a marathon run.  I support my friend and agreed to the training!

I will also be running with another partner!  Her name is .  This girl is a class act and a world traveller.  She is going on the marathon run with me.  You can find out more about this interesting phenomenon .  A Picture?  Sure…

PTC Trains


My runs -

So far this week, 3 runs @ 13.13 miles and a pace of 10:17.

June of 2010 – 12 runs @ 84.63 miles and a pace of 11:11.

2010 overall – 124 runs @ 124 miles and a pace of 10:24.

As of today, I have 20 training miles to go and 10 days to the event!

Saturday is my last ‘long run.’ It will be 8 miles. I really never thought that I would say this, but 8 miles is a breeze or a walk in the park!  I’ll have to get out early as it is supposed to get hot in Denver, but it should not take long and I am looking forward to it!

Seattle -

I have a brother.  Clint and Susan live in Bothell, just North of Seattle.  They are providing our home base for the weekend.  Tom and I will fly out on Thursday, June 24th and returning on Tuesday, June 29th.

Thursday, will be a travel day.  We will also meet some people and get to the Expo for the event.  It is a rest day on our schedule. 

Friday will be mostly a vacation day.  We will do a short run in the morning. Then, we hope to do some driving to see some local sights and some car touring.  Dinner at Maggianos, then back to prepare for a marathon run and get as much rest as possible.

Saturday is our race day.  We hope to catch a shuttle to the start line by 5:30 AM at the Westin Hotel north of Seattle City Center. Clint retired from the navy and has access to parking at place the rest of us might not have. Of course, I will blog about the race with a race report soon after!

Sunday is a recovery day.  But are we planning recovery activities? Nah!  We’ll be tourists again!  We’ll start with a breakfast at the Pike Place Market, the Seattle Duck Tour , then wandering about seeing the market, the piers, and other things in the area.  I hope we’ll be up to it!

Monday is another exciting day!  We will be catching the Victoria Clipper at 8:30 AM and heading for Canada!  We will be meeting John and Charlene and Firefighter Cindy and Mother Superior!  We’ll all meet up in Victoria, BC after the clipper ride.  We’ll come back via the 5:30 PM clipper.  It should be a wild and exciting time.

Tuesday will come all too soon and we will head for home!  We’ll have a short flight to Phoenix then a long wait for the flight back to Denver.

It should be a great weekend and we are really looking forward to it.

I really want to thank Clint and Susan for their willingness to put up with us for the long weekend!

Humor –

You know you’re a runner when…


written by Charlie

You know, getting up at 4:00 AM is never fun, especially if you work the swing shift. That time came awfully early. I actually woke up before the alarm (a misnomer as I did not set the alarm).


The Expo -


But, I’m getting ahead of the game.  Like most larger venues, you have to pick up the race packet early. I’m not sure why that is, but I have my suspicions that it assists in raising anticipation and suspense in the runner. It may save the event’s coordinators by not having additional staff, it may assist by providing more focus toward the run, it may be for any reason. I have my suspicions, though.


So we (my good friend Tom and I) headed down to Denver’s City Park and the beautiful pavilion building that the Expo was being held at on Saturday morning. We were both going to run the half-marathon.  The sun was out, it was warm, but the sky was partly cloudy.

Expo View


The packet pickup booths were outside and clearly marked. You gave your name to a technician at the greeter’s booth, and received a small print out with your event and number. Using that, you went to the appropriate booth and got your packet. Inside the packet, was a Cardboard timing chip for the shoe, some coupons, and the bib number. My bib number was 5108.


The names on the half-marathon bib numbers all seemed to be incorrect. I had the name, “Roger,” on mine. No explanation was given except that a mistake had been made. 



Having completed the first part of the maze, we went to the BEER booth to show our ID and get a bracelet (to be worn on the right wrist for the next 24 hours – It saves you from having to carry your ID to the beer garden after the finish). We went from there to see what was offered in the Expo merchandise.


We weaved through all kinds of merchant’s booths. Great prices and discounts were offered.  There were all kinds of booths.  I got a pair of cheap running socks for the Boulder Running Company, and I stole a pair of Mizuno Nirvana 6 shoes from Runner’s Roost.  They offer a 60 day return policy on shoes they sell.  These were returned shoes.  I examined them closely after I tried them on.  At $50 for the pair, I gladly bought them.  I’ll add them to my runs after the first of June, and they will probably be the shoes that I’ll run the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon in on June 26th. Tom got a pair of Nike Lunar Elite+ for the same price.


We got our shirts at the shirt booth. Nice shirts this year. Performance shirt, white with a great design on them. As we left the Expo, the timing chip was tested. Both passed and we were on our way out. We  smoothed with some other runners and petted some dogs outside.  Then it was time to head out for the rest of our Saturday.


I performed the usual evening before ritual of preparation.  Shoes (with the chip on it), socks, shorts, shirt (with the bib number mounted), headband, sunglasses, phone charging, water belt (sans water), iPod, coin purse with Hammer Endurolytes, and charged the Garmin 205 Sports Watch. I felt to be prepared.  There is comfort in my pre-race ritual.


The Race -


4:00 AM did come early.  One cup of coffee. I immediately ate a bowl of oatmeal. Dressed, and double-checked that I was ready then out the door by 5:00 AM.  There was a race today!


The plan was to go to Colorado Boulevard then North to City Park. The streets weren’t supposed to be closed until 5:30 AM.  By the time we got to Colorado and Colfax, Colorado had been closed.  We had to do some uncertain turns and twists, but we did get there!


It was announced that there were 750 full marathon runners and 7,000 or more of us running the half. Quite the turnout this year.


There was parking available still, and we got as close as we could in the East side parking at the Denver Zoo. A short walk and we were at the start line in plenty of time.  The full marathon runners were in the chute and in their corrals.  We watched as the timer counted down and then the marathoners were off!


In another 45 minutes, we would be starting our 13.1 mile run.


It was a cool morning with a slight breeze.  I tend to take a cheap throw to keep warm with.  I wore it until the start of the race, then threw it over the fence as a throw-away.  I knew that it could be used by someone.  These throw away items are collected and given to charity.


The chute for the starting line was short. It just could not fit all of the runners.  When the starting countdown was done and we were off, there were runners everywhere.  Not only from the chute but from the waiting/spectator area to the South.


I had visited the porta-potty before the race but the moment we had the start, I had to visit one again. Why does that happen?  The first available were about 2 miles into the race. I joined a fair-sized line and it took about 12 minutes to get to one.  When you have no choice, though, what do you do?


The race started with a run through City Park (literally). We ran from the park and down City Park Esplanade to Colfax, then East on Colfax.  We ran into the rising sun as we progressed down East Colfax toward the Fitzsimmon’s Medical Center.  Water stations were every 2 miles or so.  Gatorade and water were offiered. Mile markers were marked by huge stickers on the street with sandwich boards on the sidewalks. At strategic points there was a “Gun Time” clock.


There was a slight elevation on the run to the 7 mile.  Total ascent/descent was 150 feet.  Slight for the first couple of noticeable rises, but I really felt the rise from the 5 mile mark to the 7 mile mark. From there we turned the corner to run through the Fitzsimmon’s Medical Center to 17th Street and the return run to City Park.  As I turned onto 17th, I noticed a younger man running my pace. I stayed behind him, but used him as my pacer.


It was easier running 17th Street.  The sun was at my back and it was a run through a neighborhood.  Time seemed to fly as the run progressed.  The miles ticked on by. Around mile 8, I finally caught up to and ran beside my pacer.  I told him that I had been using him as my pacer, so we might as well run together.  He was surprised that he was someone’s pacer, but agreed to run in together.


It made for a nice run for the last few miles.  We talked, and introduced ourselves. Ron was running this race for the 3rd time. His wife was supposed to run it with him but did not feel she had trained enough. He had anticipated a 12 minute pace, but he was doing much better.  We got into a rhythm at a better pace than either of us anticipated.  So, it was a good match for a finish.


All too soon, we crossed Colorado Boulevard again and we entered the park. The end of the race was at hand now.  We maintained the pace until the finish line was in sight.  I kicked it up a touch to cross the line.  On the way, I was passed by two runners and I passed two.


I slowed down after crossing the timing mats, waited just a moment for Ron, then shook his hand and thanked him for the finish!


I moved on as Ron went for that finisher kiss and hug from his wife over the fence.


I grabbed a cold bottle of water.  I saw the medal handlers and headed for mine.  I asked the young lady that placed my medal over my head if I could have a hug. She said sure, and my tradition of a hug continued!



I walked the gauntlet from the finish line through the pavilion.  On the way and inside, it was the pickup of the Goody bag, energy drinks, sport beans, teas, and then your choice of a pulled pork BBQ sandwich or a chicken taco.   Tom finished long before me, so I met him outside. 


Before I got into the pavilion, I got a text message from Kristen.  I was hoping to meet her as we both run and tweet.  We’ve been exchanging tweets for 2 years or so.  After I had my sandwich, Tom and I headed over to the Beer Garden.  We met Kristen and drank some beer.  Fun times!


I love the half-marathon distance.  It is my favorite race to run.  If you get a chance, try it out.  It improves your health and opens doors to other people engaged in the same like of running that others have. Plus, the bib and the medal make for an additional pleasure that you can hold and appreciate.


It was a great race and a wonderful was to spend an athletic Sunday morning!


The Humor -


“Remember, the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe, is choosing the left one.”
– A high school coach to his runners

written by Charlie

Just a quick update…



In 2010, I have run 100 runs as of today!  My run today was 8.08 miles. I have run 552 miles so far this year.  I am putting on the miles training for the Seattle Rock and Roll marathon on June 26.  I will be running the full marathon with my friend, Tom.  Tom wanted to try a full marathon and I decided to run along as support for a curious friend!

Some weekends are a trial, some are not.  I ran a 5K last weekend with a friend.  Jeff had been training for the 5K for a while.  It was a great morning and a fun community race.  Jeff did great! He ran a wonderful race and faster than he thought he would.  He even placed 2nd in his age group!  Congratulations, Jeff!

Now, I ran the 5K, then I ran from the event to my house, then finished my scheduled 18 miles on the ol’ treadmill! Now that is an event!

What does it all mean?  Basically, that I will be so happy when the marathon run has been completed!  AND…  That there will be an update next week!


Home Theatre PC News…

Lenovo wifi keyboard mouse

This is the new wireless keyboard/mouse combination that I am using with the HTPC system.  It saves a lot of space in the livingroom.  It replaced a full size wireless keyboard and mouse.  This thing is amazingly small and very usable!  It is offered by Lenova.

If you didn’t know, we do not have a TV service at the house anymore.  We do use Netflix at the base rate of $9 per month. We also use off-the-air television broadcasts (HD) through Sage TV software.  A lot of our watching is video on demand from internet sources.

I am very satisfied with what we are receiving and using.  PLUS, the savings are huge!



Are you training for an event?  Ever feel like this guy?

A customer in a bakery was observed carefully examining all the rich-looking pastries displayed on trays in the glass cases. When a clerk approached him and asked, “What would you like?” he answered, “I’d like that chocolate-covered, cream-filled doughnut, that jelly-filled doughnut and that cheese Danish.”
Then with a sigh he added, “But I’ll take an oat-bran muffin.”

written by Charlie

Just got home from Moab, Utah.  It is an annual thing with an internet group.  These guys are some of the very best people I know or have met!

We had a lot of fun.


I drove “The Mighty YJ” to Moab with my friend, Tom.  The first day was Friday, April 16.  It was devoted to the 6 1/2 hour drive, getting some food, checking in to the cabin (Morris Last Resort – Try ‘em!) and then meeting the rest of the group for dinner!  Everyone knew Molly (the Aussie) and knew that she died soon after last Year’s Get Together.  Everyone met Sami, the new trail dog!


We had a great meal at Fiesta Mexicana on Main street.  We agreed to meet at 8:30 AM Saturday morning to run the “Cliffhanger” trail.


Tom and I are training for the Seattle Marathon on June 26th.  Marathon training requires some running.  So, Tom, Sami, and I headed out for a 4+ something run from the cabin and then back.

Showers, then off to the “City Market” in town for the meet up.

Most of us were there on time.  Some of the Colorado Contingent were running late and wanted to meet us at the trail head. 

Cliffhanger is a great, but technical trail.  Take the Kane Creek Road (by the McDonald’s) out to the trail head (Cliffhanger is associated with the Amasa Back trail system).

Cliffhanger is tough!  It starts out with some technical steps, then simmers out some, but there are a lot of technical areas out there that take time and make this a challenging trail.

Somehow, I became the “Spotter” for this run.  A Spotter is the individual that guides a driver over an obstacle.  I don’t feel really comfortable doing it, but I am told that I am good at it, so I did it.

TMYJ Cliffhanger

This is the Mighty YJ on the steps at the entry to Cliffhanger.

Here are a few members of the group!

Andy CHH C CFR A CFTerry Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger is a 9 1/2 mile out and back trail.  Along the way are some great scenic views. There are areas where the trail is just a bit wider than the jeeps are. 

CH ott 1CH ott 2

2/3 of the way in, you find this obstacle.  Easy to negotiate, but the driver can’t see a thing except blue sky out of the windshield.  When she or he can, the news ain’t good.  Keep your rig all the way over to the passenger side, take it slow, and you’ll be OK.

Just between you and me, I ran ahead of the group to photograph this for the group (but mostly for me).  I actually slipped on one of the rocks to the driver side, then fell off it to the cliff side.  I did stop my slide, but there were Mountain Bikers that were ready to step in and catch me before I went over.

TMYJ CliffGroup Cliff

At the furthest point out, we took a break for lunch.  You find yourself out on the edge of a cliff that makes for great conversation and lots of getting nervous at people going near the edge!

End View

This one of my favorite running trails.  I had the togs on and after lunch as everyone else was packing up for the return trip, I took off for a run down the trail. I had a bottle of water and the iPod Touch and had a great time!

This trail is popular with everyone and all of us tend to keep an eye on each other.  I was well on my way when two of the mountain biking people stopped me concerned.  “Where’d you start from?” “Did you stash water somewhere?”  “Will you be OK?”

I explained that I was actually with a Jeep group and they were close behind me.  They accepted that and I moved on after thanking them.  I thought that there concern was nice.

By the way, I passed another contingent of jeeps, a contingent of PowerWagons, and another group of two Jeeps.

At the bottom, again at the steps at the entrance, I waited a few minutes then headed back up to meet the group again 1 mile back up.  Phew!  Tiring but fun!  It is good to be able to do that kind of running!

Stay tuned for more!   

PUNishment -

From the BearCrawling Nation!

The latest PUNishment!



written by Charlie

The Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon is officially sold out.

That’s OK, though, as I am in!  Tom, my best friend, is also registered for the full marathon!  I also hope to meet my friend, Lizzie Lee!

Are you going to run the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon?  Let me know!  Let’s have a Tweet UP!  I am @cewtwo on Twitter!  My Facebook page is at


I have worked on my speed since January.  I don’t train well outside, but I do train well on the treadmill.

In March, I ran 26 runs for a distance of 121.9 miles at a pace of 9:05.

In February, I ran 20 runs for distance of 106.5 miles at a pace of 9:44.

In January, I ran 21 times for a distance of 105.4 miles at a pace of 11:49.

The overall for 2010 is 67 runs for a distance 333.8 miles at an average pace of 10:09.

So, there is measurable improvement for me!


Why The Title?

I want to get my treadmill time down to a regular 9 minute mile.  I am almost there or very close to it.  My figuring is, based on very little research, is that time will translate to a 10:00 minute mile outside.

My best 5K time in a race is 27:15.  Since January, I have run a 27:10 5K and today I ran a 26:58 5K (Both were in March).  As a barometer to my training, I think that is a great thing for me.

But then…  Who knows?  Do let me know what you think!





written by Charlie



Last week, I ran 6 runs.  That was a distance of 28.11 miles at a pace of 9:08.


For the month of March, I ran 18 miles.  That was for a distance of 83.3 miles at a pace of 9:06.


For 2010, I’ve run 59 miles. That was for a distance of 295.2 miles and a pace of 10:18.


That brings me into my discussion this time around.



My Training -


I have been working on my pace time.  Lately, although I have been running, I have been running casually.  I ran the Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon on December 6th – I finished in 2:36:12 making my pace 11:39. I ran the PF Chang’s Phoenix Rock and Roll Half Marathon in 2:38:12 making my pace for that event 12:05. When I ran my Marathon in Las Vegas in 2008, I ran it in 6:04:22 making my pace for that race 13:54.


In past races, I have done better – My first 5K was run at 27:15 or an 8:46 pace.  My best half marathon time is 2:20:41 with a pace of 10:45.


I have gained weight back I am now at 230 or so.  Yes.  I am working at that actively. Two months ago, I weighed 241 at the Doctor’s office.


What does that mean? I know that I can run a half-marathon (or a Pikermi as it is becoming known – Google Pikermi) in under 11 minutes per mile.  That has been my project for a future marathon. 


I have been training on the treadmill.  I was not inspired to run outside, but I tend to train very well on the treadmill.  I have been pushing the pace and the elevation since I got the treadmill repaired.  This is a graph from Buckeye Outdoors –

Pace Graph 03222010

Can you tell when the treadmill was finally repaired?  Yes, I have been working on it.


The plan?  I am hoping to head outside soon as the weather is finally becoming spring-like. Last Saturday?  8 inches of new snow.  Nope!  Not yet!





I have a few scheduled for the rest of the year.  They are:


South Suburban Parks and Recreation Highline Canal Fun Run 5K on May 8th.


Kaiser-Permanente Colfax Marathon on May 16th.


Seattle Rock n Roll Full Marathon on June 26th.


Will I see you at any of them?

written by Charlie

Running -

As you know, I am in training for another marathon. I feel to be in good shape and I am feeling healthy.

I’ve just started the training.  I am in week 4 that just happens to be a bi- week.  So far my training has had me run 88.92 miles.  I will be doing most of my training on the treadmill (as I prefer it).  I am attempting to get my pace on the treadmill to just under a 9:00 minute pace.  I figure that should get me a marathon pace of around an 11:00 pace.

Marathon of Choice?  Seattle Rock and Roll on June 26th!

Why one of the Rock and Roll?  Bling!


Around my neck are 3 medals.  One is for the Vegas RnR half, run in December of 2009. One is for the PF Chang’s Half, run in January of 2010.  The third is a customer appreciation medal for running the both of the half-marathons.  Called the “Desert Double Down” it is a nice thing to get for just running.

Next race?  Probably the Colfax Marathon (Half) in Denver!


Life, Entertainment, and What I did About it! -

Television entertainment can cost a lot of money.  I was a DirectTV customer for over a decade.  I liked and appreciated their service for a long time, but recently I haven’t liked them.  They are expensive, but are willing to drop the price if you call and complain.  The latest price hike was 9%. That would have placed my monthly bill at about $80.  I called to complain and was offered $200 off for 2010. It would have required a new commitment.  I didn’t want that so I cancelled their service.

I had to think about it first.  I looked at what I actually watched on their service.  I used their HD service. I watched mostly local TV channels. I did watch a lot of BBC America, some ScyFy channel, some History, and some Discovery channels. I had their program guide and DVR service and used it.  That was it.

About a year (or so) ago, I shared a build on a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer).  If I was going to get a program guide, HD and a DVR/PVR, I’d have to look at it again.

The HTPC was in an entertainment center type of case.  It blended in well with the other components of the entertainment center.  But to do an up grade, I would need to find additional or replacement cards in a low profile assembly.

I started out with just adding an additional gigabyte of system memory. I added 1GB of DDR2–667.  That brought the system up to 2 GB. I’d have liked more, but it is an HTPC system without the demands of a gaming system.  I also added an outside UHF TV antenna for digital TV broadcasts off of the air.

The basic build was a micro ATX motherboard (MSI K9VGM-V) with an AMD Athlon 3800+ Dual-core CPU in an Antec Minuet case.  The graphics card was a Nvidia 9400GT. I couldn’t use the old tuner card as it is not a low profile.  So, I added a Hauppage USB 950Q tuner card, and an ATI TV Wonder PCIe (1x) card. Those would bring in HD off of the HD TV antenna.

I used the SageTV software that I already had.  That provided a DVR/PVR and a program guide. It also provided a media server for music and household videos, and access to some online media sharing websites (YouTube, Google Videos and the like).  It also provided new HD content from other online providers.

I had Mozilla Firefox on board to provide yet more services, such as, and the like.  I would use the household 7mbps DSL service to access the Internet with.

I assembled the revised system.  It worked!  I could record TV shows and even translate them into portable player modes, so it could be taken with.  It looked and ran like a provided service. I thought I had everything I needed.

Practical use proved otherwise, though.  The video/graphics card could not keep up with the signal.  I needed a new video/graphic card.

More research was necessary.  I wanted to make this change with the least amount of hassle possible.  HD video is not as demanding as gaming, but it would need more than I was giving it.

Most SD (Standard Definition) video is easily viewed using a 256MB card.  Win Media HD (High Definition) requires 512MB card. Those are the 2 basic standards that had to be met.  I also wanted to use an HDMI connection with 7.1 surround sound audio pass through.  Further research showed that the ATI graphic system chips are being used in Samsung TV systems.  I had an AMD CPU, an ATI tuner, and a Samsung LCD TV.  It made sense to go with an ATI graphic card. So, off to the store!

I explained what I wanted to a sales representative in the “peripheral” section.  I bought an HIS HD 4350 PCIe 16x DDR2 512MB graphic card with everything I wanted except the amount of GPU memory that I wanted

I got it home, put it in the machine, and turned the HTPC on!  Amazing, colorful HD video ensued!  I had a system that does exactly what I want it to!

A definite plus is that I rebuilt the HTPC with the updates at less than I would pay in a normal month for the satellite system that I dropped.  All input was free and working great at this point.

The splurge!  I have to admit that I did get the Netflix streaming video service at the lowest rate it was offered at.  I don’t necessarily want the DVD sent by mail, but the option is there.  The streaming service is amazing on the revised HTPC!

The only trouble is…  There is often times that there is just nothing on TV to watch!  (But that was always true!)

 How About Some “OK GO” Fun Now?


written by Charlie

Marathon Training Schedule Color 01312010

Working toward the Seattle Rock and Roll full marathon!  June 26, 2010.

written by Charlie

I have been!  It was a whirlwind trip that lasted 26 hours.

I ran as Elvis at the Vegas Rock and Roll on December 6th.  It was a fun race, but you can read about it elsewhere on this blog!

I traveled to Vegas with my friend, Tom.  Tom is a great guy and a great runner.  He is much faster than I am! He ran his first half-marathon since High School and set a start over PR of 2:02!  Congrats, Tom!

While there, his brother and Tom agreed that while Don ran the full marathon at PF Chang’s in Phoenix, Tom would run the Half with his niece, Julia. So Tome was committed to the Phoenix competition.

Now…  I’m selfish.  With Tom’s first 2 half-marathons, he would get 3 medals (one of the medals would be for completing both the Vegas and Phoenix competitions in a 6 week period.  That would give Tom 3 pieces of bling.  I had 3 prior to the Vegas run. With the Vegas bling, I would end up with 4.  It was just too close!  I ended up signing up for the Phoenix competition.  That would give me the greater edge.

It also gave me an additional 5 weeks of training (I took a week off after Vegas).  Unfortunately, I also decided to take a week off to RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate) after a debilitating left calf muscle injury.

So, I trained for 4 weeks.  It does get cold in Colorado. 3 of those weeks were outside in the cold.  I did finally get my treadmill fixed for the last week of training.


I start most of my morning runs between 9 to 9:30 AM.  Saturday morning, both Tom and I ran at 8:00 AM. I was a short run of 2 miles.  Then it was time to get showered, get Sami (the yellow labrador dog) to the kennel, park the car (off airport) then get to the airport.

We got to the airport at 1:30 PM. We got through security quickly and headed for our gate.  We were there earlier enough to get some lunch. Why isn’t airport food healthy?  AND why do they charge so much more at the airport than on the street?

Soon enough, we were back at the gate and loading on the plane.  The flight took two hours with no troubles.

As each of us had only a backpack, it was easy to escape the airport. We went outside and Don was just driving up with his family.  We got in after much hugging and all of us headed to the Health & Fitness Expo.

We found out that a family friend was dying.  Nancy, Don’s wife, was absent due to that.  She had her hands full with that situation.

The Expo was good. It was fairly large and well-attended.  I did get myself a new running shirt from a past Vegas competition. I also got some “26.2” socks for Don.  Didn’t give them to him yet.  After all, he did have to earn ‘em!  How much did it cost to park? $20!  Hmmm…

After that?  An Olive Garden for dinner!  It was great! Then off to the house, a viewing of “Spirit Of The Marathon,” prepping the clothes and gear for the race, and then I fell out!

Both Tom and I looked forward to this race.  We trained in very cold weather with snow, ice and other on Winter surfaces.  This race was going to be run in shorts and short sleeves!  Won’t that be wonderful!

4:30 came early…  The coffee was ready.  I had one cup.  After all, you have to think about pit stops along the race route.

Don’s race marathon attempt would start in 3 hours.   I had some oatmeal and slowly prepared for the race.

Slowly, Tom, Nancy and Julia stirred!  We were getting ready to go out the door.  Of course, it was close to 6:20 AM before I got out the door.  It was a long drive to the starting line. 

We let Don out with enough time to get to his start line.

After Don got out, Nancy got a saddening call.  Their friend had died.

Even though it was expected, the news is still a shock.  Nancy asked if she could go to the hospital.  All of us said, “Of course!”  Off to the hospital we went.

We were all left with our thoughts for a while.  We played some games.  There was a restroom call and then a visit.  Nancy met Tom and Julia in the hospital lobby.  They came out to the car.  It was now 8:05 AM.

Nancy and Tom negotiated the closed streets to a runner drop off area.  There were a lot of people coming in as late as we were.  I think that both Tom and Julia were getting tired of me pushing a hustle out of them.  The sidewalk was busy with pedestrians and runners warming up.

We passed the start line and saw both Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor being interviewed prior to the race.  Deena did a phenomenal run and finished first in the women’s race. Ryan came in 2nd in the Men’s.

I was in corral 17.  Tom and Julia were in corral 16. I finally entered my corral with one minute to spare (to the gun).  They released the corrals slowly but evenly.  It was .28 miles and 33:28 minutes for me to cross the start line.

At the start line was the Mayor of Phoenix and Senator John McClane.  Interesting things to see!

The start was slow and it took a while to break from the crowd to run at a comfortable pace.  I set my mind to an 11 to 11 and a half minute pace.

As is my style, I like to interact with the spectators.  I encouraged them to encourage the runners.  I asked them if they’d run it next year.  I high fived and fist bumped a lot of people!  It needs to be said that I think the people of Phoenix are great, and there were a lot of them watching us run!  Yay, Phoenix!

The run reminded of East Colfax in Denver.  In areas, it was a path of buildings and streets that had seen better times.  The race is a joint venture between Phoenix, Scottsdale and the city of Tempe.  The objective was to run from Phoenix through Scottsdale to Tempe.  It had to be a course that featured all three cities.

I though it was funny because in tow places we ran around little city parks.  It was explained to me later that the route went there to provide some additional restrooms.  Makes sense now!

Most of the course was flat! But from about mile 8 to mile 10 was a slow, gradual upward incline. The we went down for a mile and then slowly up again.  We ran through one University parking lot.  There was a climb out of there that assisted you knowing exactly where the quads are!

The longest miles were the last 2, for me. Finally, though, the bridge that crosses the Salt River just prior to the finish line came into view.  The down side? There were two musicians carrying their cases that I had to run over to and ask them to slow down so I could pass them running.

Finally, there was the crowd at the finish!  I can do this!

Another mile, and I crossed the line.  I ran across the line and started to walk.  In a daze, I missed my friends as they congratulated me from the sidelines! There were water bottles and I grabbed one, opened it, and slugged half of it down.  Ahead of that, was my medal  My bling.  One of the reasons for doing this race!  The lady who was handing them out gave me mine. I told her that I have a tradition of hugging the medal giver!  She told me to go right ahead.  We hugged and she thanked me.  I thanked her, too!

I walked through the finishers area, collecting energy bars, green banana (Green Bananas?), oranges and crunchy munchies!

I found Tom, Julia and Nancy. Is there time to watch as Don finished the full Marathon?  But we’ll talk of the soon!

I cross the Finish Line!

(Look to the right, the count timer actually covers me as I finish!)

The Bling!

Phoenix Bling!









written by Charlie

Just a quick update to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.  I missed Hannukah, I apologize for that!

I am supporting a life long friend in his first marathon attempt.  Don, Nancy, Julia and Mitch are a super family. They provided me great support when I completed my first marathon in Las Vegas last year.  I want to support him in his first marathon!  So, I’m flying out to Phoenix on January 16th, running the half on Sunday morning, then waiting at the finish line until my friend, Don, crosses it!  They were doing their best to get me to come out but I wanted to surprise them (Now I just hope they don’t read this blog until AFTER Christmas!)

In November, I ran 21 runs.  It was for a total of 118.1 miles at an 11:04 pace.

In December, I’ve run 10 runs.  They’ve been fo 58 miles at a 12:18 pace.

I hope to sign up for the 2011 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge right after the first of the year.  That sets the sights high for training near the end of 2010.

January 17th, I will be running the PF Chang’s Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  I’m there, I’m going to run.  I just hope that I can beat the first-timer to the finish line.

Nancy is going to walk the half-marathon, and their daughter, Julia, is going to run the half!  She is 12 years old and it will be her second half-marathon!

Of course, there is also the Rock And Roll Competitor bling. Vegas RnR haf medal, PF Chang’s half medal, a Desert Double Down medal for completing both Vegas and the Phoenix half.

I put a corkboard up in the living room behind the couch.  I put a RnR mylar blanket as a background and we are placing our race numbers and our medals on it now.

Picture?  Later maybe!

So, remember…  Get off the couch, get out there and run! 

Something for a friend that is far from home at Holiday Time!

Hang in there, Mate!  Wanted you to know that people are thinking about you and missing you!  Keep a stiff upper lip! And enjoy the holiday!



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