Monday, April 28, 2014


10 mile mystery route.
I had a lot of fun this Sunday leading a "mystery" run for a group of friends from Portland Running Company. Alejandro and I both decided to run 10 miles this weekend, the weekend before our race in Vancouver. Since it wasn't the usual 16-20 miles that seems to go with marathon training, we invited some of our other friends from the group who might want to join us for this shorter distance. There ended up being six of us, yours truly included, so we met at 10am at PRC.

Normally we'd just run on Fanno Creek, but Alejandro wanted to run elsewhere because he was getting a little tired of that trail over and over again. I had the entire week to plan a new route so I told him not to worry, I'd find something else. I ended up plotting a route from the store through the local neighborhoods, trying to stay on not-so-busy roads and use fun little "shortcut" greenway paths where possible. We even did a lap in the woods of Hyland Forest Park.

I then memorized the whole route in my head and wouldn't tell them where I was leading them. So I had a lot of fun saying "I don't know" and shrugging my shoulders every time they tried to get me to reveal the route. When the trail would split I'd start running way one and then suddenly jut the other way just to mess with them. At one point a runner guessed our next move I said "you're right!" and then took off in the complete opposite direction. Anyways, lots of jokes about how I was getting hopelessly lost, leading them into the forest to kill them, secretly running twenty miles, etc. Overall the ten miles seemed really short and time flew by. It was a great run.

That was the final long run before my second ever marathon. Yikes! I'll run six easy miles tonight at run group, then follow up with an easy three on Wednesday. Then rest up until the race Sunday morning! I'll have a preview of the race and my goals later this week.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Everyone taking a picture of the map before heading out on the run to collect raffle tickets.
Despite not getting in the amount of speedwork I would have liked over the last few weeks, I was able to get it in this, my final real week of training. Monday was done easy at 9:08/mile, which was good, because I was still a little worn down from my quick 14-miler the day before.

Wednesday it was pouring rain outside but I was determined to get a marathon pace run in. I even convinced Alejandro to do it with me the day after he did track (muhahaha). It ended up being a little quicker than planned at 7:47/mile but it felt really good. Even maintained conversation for most of the five miles. Gave me some hope I can maintain 7:55-8:00 miles during the marathon... for the first twenty miles at least.

My route with ticket locations marked. I'd like
to think my local knowledge helped me create a
slightly more efficient route.
Yesterday I went to the Discovery Run put on by Road Runner Sports in Tualatin. I meant to do this all last summer but kept having conflicts. Basically they reveal a map to you showing the location of various businesses around the area that are handing out raffle tickets. The further away a store is, the more tickets it is worth. You try to hit as many as you can within one hour, then return to the store where they raffle off a bunch of prizes.

It takes place in my hometown of Tualatin, so I know those streets quite well. My was goal to hit it hard and quick (#) so I could visit as many of the locations as possible. I ended up going to all but two or three of them. My goal pace was "tempo" and I was able to hit that despite some hills. Overall I averaged 7:19/mile and my last mile was 6:57!

By the time I got back to the store I had run 6.25 miles in 45:40. My 10k record is 45:00. I wasn't even racing this thing and would describe my pace as comfortably hard. If I was truly going for it, I would have been below 45 minutes for sure, if not 44. So that was a huge boost of confidence. I didn't really even realize that until I got home and was uploading the run. I ran near PR speed without even thinking about it. So maybe Shamrock wasn't a fluke!

The goal now is to rest up! Ten miles on Sunday and then two easy runs next week. That's it before the marathon. Eek!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The hard part of marathon training is over and I only have a couple of runs before the Vancouver Marathon. It's getting really close and that scary! Anyways, I'm far along enough that I think I can reflect back on this training cycle. My plan has changed some since I initially laid it out back in January, but for the most part I remained true to my original intentions.

In retrospect, I hit my training plan pretty well. The only time I "fucked up" was when it snowed... that screwed up my long run and another weekday run, but the week after I just got right back on schedule. So while I hate that being in the "record," I don't think it harmed my training at all. Most weeks I hit the mileage I planned and I was able to get a lot more speedwork in this time around compared to my first.

I did allow myself to be flexible and switch around my days if necessary. I was also really good about getting two hard and one easy workout in each week (in addition to my long run) until these last few weeks. The 20, 16, Ragnar, 20 really wore me out and I don't feel like I have yet to recover. I haven't been quite as good getting all my types of runs in and mainly fartlek/interval stuff has suffered. I also feel like I've slowed down but I mainly think that is just fatigue and a mental thing. I'm definitely prepared to run this marathon a little bit quicker!

A couple times I also added runs to my schedule (in the easy 5k variety). This was fairly short-lived though. I was really feeling it late March but a rough sixteen miler in the pouring rain followed by the "marathon" at Ragnar snapped me back to reality. My butt muscle flaring up also didn't help. That has calmed down but is still lingering... normally rest is what makes that completely go away (it's come and gone before) so I'm hoping the taper will help take care of that.

So yeah, overall I am quite pleased with my progress this training cycle! I can only expect to get so fast running the amount of miles I do, but I still don't feel I've hit the floor of my potential with this style of training. That is probably somewhere around 3:20 or 3:15 but I'm not sure. We'll just have to see. Boston has floated in my mind, but it was always something targeted for like 2018 or later. I just see so many people burn out because they train too hard, I've always wanted to take things slower and enjoy the ride a little bit more. I'm only 27; I can keep getting faster for at least another decade.

Next marathon will be Portland this fall. I might make that fifth day of easy running a staple of my schedule. We'll see. For now, I am focused on Vancouver. Ten miles this weekend and then hope for the best come race day!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Had a fantastic two days off before my long run on Sunday. Much needed. Sunday morning I woke up and got out to do my run at 10am. Ran from my house to the Fanno Creek Trail again, just like the week before when I did my final twenty miler of this marathon cycle. Got to chop off the northern part of the trail this time though... chopping off the upper tip never felt so good! #

I had planned to run things a little faster just because the route was shorter (you know, almost a mile more than a half marathon, so short!). I was thinking 9:20/mile or so. The first mile has a good downhill stretch and I pushed it a little, felt like I was flying. That mile came in at 9:12, which was surprising based on how fast I felt like I was running. The next two miles were 8:24 and 9:07. Didn't seem like I was varying my effort too much, so it was kind of annoying. Finally, once I hit the flatter Fanno Creek section, I settled pretty steadily into around 8:45/mile.

Now, I didn't plan to run that quick, but effort wise it honestly didn't feel like I was going that hard. So I figured I'd just try to keep it up and see how things went (#). My long runs usually are at least 9:30/mile or slower so it would be a good test to run one faster. One part of the trail just south of Main Street in Tigard was completely washed out. I remember seeing the creek really high and fast a few days ago seemingly inexplicably, and I wonder if that was a casualty from that. I had to climb over some logs and a bulldozer but I got past it.

Fanno again. Sick of it yet?
All told the run went really well! Each mile over the last four got a little progressively faster with the final one being 8:21. My legs burned a little bit like I had done more miles, that's from the speed I'm sure (8:47/mile average). I'll just have to take it easy today at run group. I feel ready for the marathon! Next weekend's long run is only ten miles... I can't remember the last time my long run was that short. Kind of looking forward to that! Probably run that one a lot slower too in the name of tapering.

This morning I had a lot of fun tracking my friends running the Boston Marathon. Maybe I can get there one day. It's years off, but something to strive for. It would be such an amazing experience! I also was able to watch the finish of the men's race and saw Meb win it all, the first American male to win the Boston Marathon in thirty one years. Awesome!

Friday, April 18, 2014


My weekday runs this week really tested me on the various levels of "feeling up to it" one has before going on a run. Monday's run was great; it was sunny and 70 degrees, I could wear a singlet for the first time, and I was meeting my friends at PRC to go for an easy six mile run (8:55/mile) after my twenty miles two days before. It was great! It wasn't that hard to be runner on Monday.

Wednesday was a slightly different story. It was overcast but dry. I had planned to go to group run Wednesday at PRC but was offered tickets to the Blazers game that night around lunchtime. Since I already had my running stuff with me to change for PRC, I ended up running right after work from my office. I ran down to the Portland waterfront and did two laps from the Steel to the Hawthorne Bridge. These six miles were done at "marathon pace," so 7:52/mile. I then washed off in the sink at work and went to the game. Glad I was able to fit my miles in. Would have been really easy to just say "fuck it" and scrap my run that day.

My made up five miler.
Yesterday was the really tough one. I was a little worn down from my run the day before and work had kicked my ass. It was also sprinkling rain and honestly the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was run. I just kept telling myself "this is not a option" as I went through the stages of grief pretty quick. It was odd, one second I was laying on my bed in my work clothes, the next I am getting out of my car at Southridge High School to do intervals. I don't really remember the in between. I just sucked it up I guess. I did trash talk myself some... I was bummed because of the weather but it was light outside, 55, and barely sprinkling. Tell January Thomas about that and see if he gives a shit.

Anyways, so I get to the track and there is a high school lacrosse game going on. Probably a good thing, I didn't need to be doing intervals. I did my speed run the day before and I think another hard effort might have tweaked something. So I ended up "freestyling" five miles from the high school parking lot. It was actually a lot of fun! Got to see a lot of new territory and it was fun to kind of get lost but then find my way back. Everything in the suburbs eventually dumps you back on a main street, so honestly I wasn't too scared of actually getting lost.

All told I was proud I dragged myself out there yesterday and just got it done. My reward now is two days off and then a long run of "only" 14 miles on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


It was an awesome day for running, mid 60s and a beautiful trail.
Saturday I did my final twenty mile run before the Vancouver Marathon on May 4th. Like training for Portland, I managed to get three twenty mile runs in. Why three? Well, I based my training plans off the Hal Higdon plans and his intermediate and advanced plans all have three twenty milers. It seems like a good balance between getting prepared as possible for the marathon without tearing your body down in the process.

This time around I also timed my twenty milers just about like his plan. They were 8, 6, and 3 weeks from race day. Back in 2013 for Portland they were 11, 7, and 4 weeks from the day of the race. I feel like clumping them closer to race day will lead to a stronger race. We'll see. I also did Ragnar last weekend and ran 26 miles in 26 hours, so that has to count for something. Just hope I didn't wear myself down!

We'll call this "The Claw" route.
Twenty milers still suck. They suck but are manageable. This is only the second time I have done it alone, the other time being my first ever twenty miler. That first one was an "adventure" and I did fine without headphones but this time around I needed something to distract myself a little. I ended up loading three episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher onto my phone and listened to those while running. Ended up being good distraction material and I cracked up out loud to myself numerous times.

As for the run itself, it went well. Just ran from my house to the Fanno Creek Trail and all the way up to its northern terminus. Then back south along the trail all the way to the Tigard Library, about a mile from the southern end of the trail. Then back up the trail to Hall and to my house. Ended up hitting twenty right where I wanted to as I was able to get a half mile cool down walk to my house. Felt pretty good on the run, but I still think I was a little worn from Ragnar. Miles 16-20 weren't the most comfortable, but all told it wasn't too bad for twenty miles. Mostly my feet just hurt.

Three hours and fifteen minutes is just a really long freaking time to be on your feet. Anyways, the goal now is to taper for the race. By far the best part of marathon training! Hal Higdon does 12 and 8 the next two weekends in most his plans. I think I'll do 14 and 10 just since I don't do quite the midweek miles his plans have. We'll see. I can tell I'm a little worn from my recent high mileage weekends, so rest is most important at this point.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Location with camera direction marked.
I've been meaning to do this for a while. I think it's fun to see where other people are running, especially if it is somewhere they run often. Laurel did this on her blog at one point showing her run through a park in Japan she used to frequent. I believe Katie at Runs For Cookies also did this a year or so ago. Since I was still in recovery mode from Ragnar and supposed to take my run easier, I thought stopping every mile to take a picture wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

So I present to you my normal weekday "Home 10k Loop." This is from my house, so this is not the course I run on Monday & Wednesday at PRC run group. Overall, I really like this route. It is a good mix of park, neighborhood, road, and some hills without being too killer. One rule I gave myself on the run was I had to take the picture right when my watch beeped. No fudging the location a bit to take a prettier picture or anything. It misses some areas that are my favorite, but oh well.

At the mile one marker in the powerline park. There are miles and miles of uninterrupted trail I could run, but that route is very hilly.
Looking east along SW Hart Road. Not the most scenic part of the run, but there is a "your speed" sign I like to play with right around the corner.
East along SW Hart Road again after a small detour through the neighborhoods and the powerline park again. Literally beeped right as I exited the park (on the right).
East along SW Sexton Mountain Road. Part of the 250 foot climb in less than a mile, but this is along a flatter spot. Turn the corner there and you will see the hill rise in front of you.
South along SW Murray Blvd shortly after a small detour to avoid the potential of stopping at a stoplight. Murray isn't the greatest run to run on, but this is all downhill so I like it.
Looking west along SW Beard Road. Beeped right as I turned the corner, so instead of neighborhood, you get a shot of the sun setting. About 30 yards ahead I turn left and run the final .22 home.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Supporting Dean of Van Two!
Once all of Van One's legs were done we decided to support the first runner of Van Two on his legs (Dean). So we ended up stopping every quarter to half mile to cheer him on. That was a lot of fun because he didn't expect any support from us and then we went completely overboard with cheering and power tunnels.

After that we headed to San Diego and grabbed lunch at In'N'Out Burger. I got a Double Double Animal Style and Animal Style fries. They were good, not great. I was expecting more from the thousand island sauce. I think the Big Mac sauce kicks its ass personally.

I was staying in a hotel with Katie, Caitlin, and Colleen so after lunch we got settled in there. I tried to nap for a little bit but I don't think I really fell asleep. We misjudged the time Van Two was going to finish so we raced to the finish line only to realize we had 90 minutes more than we thought. Oh well, beer garden it was! I think I had three beers in there before Van Two came in and was feeling pretty good.

Pretty soon Colleen ran in the final leg for our team and we all joined together and ran that final tenth of a mile. That was a ton of fun running in together as a team. That part was way better than Hood to Coast, where your runner crosses the official mat and then you meet them in the finishing chute and then walk across the "finish line" together (probably due to the sheer size of HTC and number of teams finishing every minute). We then got our medals and a bunch of pictures taken. Back to the beer garden for a beer or two. Couldn't linger much, our team captain John's husband Ric had a giant party at their house ready to go at 6pm.

The party was awesome. John and Ric's backyard is already super pretty, but they really did it up for the party. Felt like a really classy wedding. Very cool. Dinner was pasta, garlic bread, and salad, which was perfect for hungry runners. Dinner was eaten and more alcohol was consumed. Again, like Hood to Coast, I should have been exhausted, but the during the after party I caught a second wind. Had a blast. Wish I could do that party over again on a full night of sleep.

Went back to the hotel around 10:30pm and absolutely crashed. The next morning we woke up and had an amazing brunch at a place called Baja Betty's. It was then off to the San Diego Zoo with most of the team. The zoo was awesome but very hilly and tiring. We went out for dinner at a nice place called The Fish House and then called it a night. Everyone was still pretty beat.

All of us (except Cat) at the after party.
Monday my flight was at 5pm but I still had time to visit the USS Midway Museum with Dean and get in one last lunch with my team. Everyone was so awesome and they felt like family even after only a few days. It was super sad to leave all of them!

Overall, Ragnar SoCal with From Strangers to Sole Mates was hands down my favorite running related experience and definitely in contention for favorite trip/event ever. I loved all of my teammates and to experience this relay together was just awesome. It went by so quickly and I can't believe it's over so soon after waiting for it to get here for what seemed like forever.

Ragnar itself could use some work. I understand this is a new course for them and other Ragnars seem to be better run, but compared to Hood to Coast they didn't quite have their shit together. The first 2/3rds of the course were uninteresting and ugly and the whole thing had way too many stoplights. There was a weird gap in one of the legs were you had to drive your runner to the next exchange (which defeats the whole relay thing). That drive took 40 minutes!

Many volunteers didn't seem to know what they were doing. That might be the biggest difference. The HTC volunteers know their shit and get everything in line. A lot of the exchanges were in chaos because I don't think the volunteers at this event were properly trained. Traffic honestly wasn't too much of an issue, at least for our van. Hood to Coast traffic was worse, but I guess that's understandable given twice the teams and most of it being on two lane road. Ragnar didn't mind if your next runner jumped out and ran to the exchange, which I thought was a good way to combat any traffic snarls at the exchange (big no-no at HTC).

Dean and I touring the USS Midway Museum on Monday.
Despite those gripes though, they did pull off a fun event with only a few hiccups. Those are bound to happen and as long as they take constructive criticism and try to improve upon the major complaints, what more can you do. Our team wasn't going to let a few glitches ruin our time and most teams felt the same way. Ragnar has a lot fewer teams actually competing and most teams were like us, just trying to have fun and support all the runners.

Well, that's it. Like I said, I could say a lot more, but I'll keep it at that for now. What a fun time! Going to be hard to get back into the normal routine but I'm going to have to. Vancouver is less than a month away and I've got a twenty miler this weekend.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


About to hand off to Katie at exchange #1.
After waiting an extra fifteen minutes to start, I was finally off for my first leg as Runner #1 at 5:15am. I was also the first runner out of the van on my Hood to Coast team, but it was a lot of fun to actually start the race with all the other teams (as opposed to being in the second van). The start line was a little odd because it started on grass but then had a one-foot step down to the concrete after about 20 yards. They could have just moved the entire thing onto the concrete but whatever!

Like I anticipated, the run would have been really pretty but I couldn't see anything because it was still dark outside. It was all just north along the seawall in Huntington Beach. All I could see was the blinking lights of runners ahead of me and about fifteen feet or so of paved trail in front of me. I was feeling good and got in a good rythym. Had interesting splits: 7:30, 7:25, 7:17, 7:25, 7:30. Didn't quite get a full sixth mile in because the leg was only 5.9 miles long, but I was running a 7:13 pace to that point when I hit the exchange.

There weren't a ton of runners in front of me, maybe like seven or so. I passed off to Katie and she started her leg. Right after she started the sun began to rise. I was feeling great, the leg was easy enough and despite the fast pace it wasn't too taxing on me.

Then started the fun of driving around to support your runners and going to all the exchanges. Katie got lost on her first leg and ended up running two extra miles. It wasn't her fault though, they were missing signs on that leg and a ton of other runners got lost. She handled it well. Everyone else seemed to have a good first leg and before we knew it, we were done.

During our down time we went to meet one of Katie's readers at her school. She is a teacher and we actually got to stand up in front of her class of middle schoolers and talk about Ragnar. It was really fun! Never did I imagine giving a talk to a bunch of kids in the middle of Ragnar. After that we went for lunch at a Mexican place and then tried to nap a little before our second legs. I got maybe thirty minutes in the back of the van.

Colleen passing off to me for my second leg.
Soon enough it was almost 7pm and Colleen came bolting in from Van 2 to hand off to me for my second leg. This leg was 11.9 miles and would be my longest. I have to say it was my least favorite and that wasn't even because of the distance. My complaints were a plethora of stoplights (especially at the beginning) and lack of scenery.

I was able to get some decent scenery right at the beginning when I could see the beach through the trees. But mostly it was just along a highway and kind of sucked. The sun went down and then we started to climb up some hills and run around San Clemente. Lots of stoplights again. The hills weren't bad because I was used to them. The route ended down a service type road through the woods. That was kind of fun. Pitch dark and all you could see was fellow runners. Reminded me of my Hood to Coast night leg.

My body was feeling pretty decent until about mile nine. At that point I just felt kind of tired. I was taking a nice, easy pace at 8:27/mile. Normally on any run over ten miles I run above 9:00/mile so it was nice to run faster and still feel pretty good. I handed off to Katie for her second leg and felt relieved that my hardest leg was done!

Our team once again did awesome on our second legs and finished around midnight. Our team had rented a hotel near the midway point so after handing off to van two we headed there to catch some winks. I curled up on a couch after taking a shower and passed out. Two very important hours of sleep. Unfortunately van two had shorter legs and before I knew it we had to meet them at the exchange.

I then started my final leg. Colleen was always so fun running in and slapping the bracelet on me. She was always so happy and upbeat! Wish I could say the same for myself. Three crappy nights of sleep were catching up with me. My body had stiffened up after my nearly 12 mile run and I was not feeling it. This leg started in the dark again around 5am. I basically limped out of the exchange at 9:45/mile. I'm sure my team was thinking "uh oh!"

Only one mile to go in my relay! Hallelujah!
This leg was a slog but I was able to get through it. The first mile was mostly uphill and that sucked, but I was then able to get a downhill mile. Lots of people were passing me, including many I would normally be passing myself. My body just wasn't having it. I settled into my normal long run pace at 9:45/mile. I was in survival mode and this would get me to the finish line without incident.

The first half of this leg wasn't very memorable, through some office parks and then under an I-5 overpass. The last four miles were along the beach though and right as the sun was coming up. Scenery wise it was the best of the legs and that helped carry me through those last few miles. I felt lucky to be doing what I was doing and my body not feeling very good wasn't going to damper my enjoyment.

Anyways, I "airplaned" into my finish and then I was done! Phew! I don't think I slept at all after that until later that night. Our van was done with our legs around 11am or so.

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


From Strangers to Sole Mates at the starting line. From left: Martha, Colleen, Cat, Hilary, Katie, Paige, John, me,
Shauntay, Dean, Caitlin, Bonnie.
Overall, Ragnar SoCal was a total blast! I loved my teammates and it was such fun to get to know them and hang out every day. The runs themselves weren't quite what I hoped, but a relay race is about so much more than that!

I think I'll be splitting this recap into three parts. I could probably do a few more, but I'll restrain myself and try to keep it brief. This first one will be a recap of my journey getting there and the bring you right to race time. The second will be a recap of the relay itself, and the third will be the after party and reflections on the whole experience.

First team dinner in Huntington Beach.
The night before my flight to San Diego I didn't get the greatest sleep. I had to wake up at 4:45am for my flight at 7:00am and probably didn't fall asleep until almost 1am. So a good four hours of sleep at most. I was bringing my team doughnuts from Voodoo and when I offered I forgot how big they were and how much room they were going to take. I had my carry-on bag and a backpack and both were STUFFED to the gills. My backpack didn't even fit under the airplane seat.

My flight was delayed in San Francisco because the plane door wasn't sealing correctly. So two and a half hours later than planned I was in San Diego and the last to arrive. My team captains, John and Katie, picked me up and they were as awesome as expected.

I then got to meet my teammates and pass out their doughnuts. I recognized 85% of them, but there were a couple I couldn't quite pinpoint (the further from your Facebook photo you looked like at the moment, the less of a chance I recognized you). So that was kind of awkward shouting a name and pretending I already knew who they were when they went to get their doughnut, haha.

After that we drove to Huntington Beach and had a team dinner. That was a lot of fun and afterwards we went to Party City and got a few supplies to decorate the van and ourselves. We had an early bedtime due to the early start the next morning. Our team start time for the relay was 5am and we had to be there at 4am. So that meant waking up at like 3:30am.

My team cheering at the starting line chute. I was at the
starting line getting ready to run my first leg!
So another crappy night of sleep. I was excited/nervous and sharing a room with three strangers, two of which were making some "breathing noises." All told I got two hours of sleep maybe. So starting an overnight relay on 4 and 2 hours of sleep. Awesome.

I was awake enough when we got up to go to the starting line though. I was excited for it to start! After checking in, we had to stand around and wait for the race to start. It was cold! When planning a trip to San Diego, I didn't expect to be cold so often. I think it had to do something with the ocean breeze, because 52 was felt almost freezing there!

Our wave ended up going off at 5:15am because a lot of teams were late or were having problems checking in. Ragnar wasn't nailed down quite to the science Hood to Coast is, but I'll save that for the third post. Anyways, we finally went off 15 minutes later than expected and the relay was on!

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Team logo created by our very own Dean!
This will be fairly brief as I have a lot of stuff to do before leaving for the airport tomorrow morning. My flight is at 7:00am, which means I should leave my house around 5:15, which means I need to get up around 4:45... ugh.

If you are wondering what the hell this is and who the hell I am doing it with, let me explain. Ragnar is basically the same thing as Hood To Coast; a twelve person, two van relay over about 200 miles in 30 hours or so. Hood To Coast might have been the original relay to blow up back in the 1980s, but now there are many others and Ragnar is a popular company that puts on about a dozen or so each year.

My teammates are a bunch of people I have never met in person! I started reading Katie's blog, Runs For Cookies, because Laurel mentioned she really liked it. Katie was starting to train for her first marathon, and as a newbie runner myself with aspirations of a full marathon some day, I went along for the journey. I lived vicariously through Katie's training, knowing I would have to do these crazy long runs some day. Turns out she is a really inspiring person too and super down to earth on her blog.

So I started commenting a little, and as one of the few male readers who actually interacted with the blog, I guess I stuck out. So she started to comment on my blog a little and then sometime last fall she asked if I would do this relay with her. I immediately said yes! The rest of my teammates are other fellow readers of her, and our other captain, John's blog. I've gotten to know them on Facebook over the last six months and can't wait to meet them in person. I feel like I know them already. Our team name is "Strangers to Sole Mates."

The course is from Huntington Beach, CA to San Diego, CA. I have the hardest legs of any of the runners and it's going to be a huge challenge. As the fastest runner though, I feel it is my duty to tackle them and am actually looking forward to the challenge. My only concern is my butt muscle strain. It's still feeling iffy and I hope that doesn't slow me down too much or act up further.

Leg One (5.9 miles, "Hard"): The easiest of the legs. Wish it would be the last leg, but oh well. Pretty much all along the beach in Huntington Beach and super flat. I should fly and it should be really pretty (although, now that I think about it, it's going to be dark). Only issue is this will be at 5am as the gun for the relay goes off. I am our first runner and we have to be at the start line an hour early. Ugh.

Leg Thirteen (11.90 miles, "Very Hard"): My second leg and the "Leg of Death." Includes a 250 foot hill in the middle of the leg. Shouldn't be too big of an issue as I am used to hills. Distance is the problem here, considering I have another long leg coming up. I'll just take it easy and not kill myself. I'll be running this about 5pm, so it could be a little warm.

Leg Twenty Five (8.10 miles, "Very Hard"): My third and final leg! This will start around 2:30am in Carlsbad. Looks like I go uphill a little and then get a nice downhill for about a mile. Last six miles are pretty flat and the last four look to be along the beach (again, in the dark). The wildcard this leg is how I am feeling due to the lack of sleep and nearly 18 miles to this point. Goal is to survive.

Overall, I'd like to average my marathon pace. So 7:55-8:00/mile. The first leg I'll probably shoot for 7:30s, the second leg 8:15s, and the final leg like 8:00s. We'll see. Our team doesn't care about time, so whatever I do will be fine. Don't want to kill myself and injure something for Vancouver. Altogether I am running almost a full marathon, 25.9 miles!

Anyways, I'll be back with a report next week! Until then!