Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007


One thing I like about running is the ability to set and achieve goals.
  • First, there's finish a marathon
  • Then, finish a marathon in a semi-respectable time (say 4:30)
  • Then, personal bests (4:30, 4:00, 3:30)
  • Then, qualify for Boston (3:10)
  • Then, qualify for the Olympic trials (2:22 hahaha)

Of course, at some point I'll have to squeeze in an Iron Man triathalon as well...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Twin Cities to Boston

Because this post is a bit long, which means you may not make it all the way through, here is the key message: Donate to my Boston Marathon effort. The link is located here.

Now, in case you are interested in continuing on:

The Twin Cities Marathon was my first marathon ever, and one of my first running events ever. Prior to that I had essentially been a couch potato for the previous four years, since the time when I ran a half marathon (I was courting at the time so I would do anything). Before the half marathon I had more or less been a couch potato since high school. Athleticism had always seemed like too much trouble to me.

But in 2007 I set a new year's resolution to run a marathon. The primary motivation was weight loss (another resolution was to lose 25 lbs -- I ran the marathon but didn't lose all the weight. The marathon was actually the only one of five resolutions I fulfilled), and the fact that my relatives 20+ years senior to me could do it and I couldn't. So I hit the pavement. I didn't try to run fast or too hard. My basic goal was to just get on the damn treadmill (or path) four days a week and put in the mileage. This turned out to be pretty tough. It's hard to stay motivated that long, and there are a million excuses not to run any given night, especially when you have an intense job with long hours.

Furthermore, my training was always a bit precarious. I'm a bit heavy and I sweat a lot. I often had a hard time in the heat, much better time in the cool. My 14 miler in the heat was tough. My 18 miler in the Florida heat and humidity was tough. My 20 miler in the Boston cool was easy. So there was a good chance my performance would be impacted by the temperature on race day. But Minnesota in October was sure to be nice and cool so my confidence was high. What did we get? The hottest TCM on record... and I was barely able to make it through the half marathon before I shifted gears to run/walking (I later abandoned all pretence of running altogether, and walked for a few miles. I started running again at the end).

So six months of hard effort ended in disappointment. I knew I could do better. So I had hardly gotten home from the Twin Cities when I decided to run another marathon, and the sooner the better. How soon? 6 months seemed reasonable, which conveniently tied to the timing of the Boston Marathon.

Except I'm not fast enough for Boston, so I had to enter as a charity runner. The charity of choice was the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and I have committed to raising $6000 for them. Dana Farber is an excellent research center that is well considered in the Boston area. Please consider donating to my website here. Thanks in advance!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jon in Tulsa

This is Jon setting a new PR in Tulsa running the Route 66 marathon. Obviously he is enjoying himself a bit more than he was in the Twin Cities Marathon in the previous picture.

Two Team Kimmel Finishers at Twin Cities

This is one of those rare shots where you can see two team members at the same time. Dan is on the far left of the picture just a few seconds behind Jon who is finishing. Jon is busy reminding himself that he paid good money to do this and that he is having a good time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My favorite Boston Marathon Video

Yeah, I know. It's a commercial. I like it a lot anyway.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Marathon Cartoon

Jon finishing Austin

Jon qualified to run Boston with his performance at the Austin Marathon. This is him at the finish line with the Texas state capital building in the background.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Twin Cities Marathon

Here are a couple pictures Andrea took during the Twin Cities Marathon.



Friday, November 16, 2007

Stephen's Twin Cities Report

Having Jon, Dan and I all doing the Boston Marathon this year apparently inspired Robert to take up marathoning himself. He called me and asked if he had time to train for a fall marathon and if he did, would I come do the race with him. The answer was obviously yes and so the question was which marathon to shoot for. A quick survey of the marathons in the Boston region came up with a number of perfectly fine marathons but casting a wider net came up with the gem of the collection: Twin Cities in Minneapolis- St. Paul. Robert had lived in the Minneapolis area and the Twin Cities Marathon is Dan’s home marathon. So the decision was easy and it was quickly decided that Twin Cities would be the second Team Kimmel race.

For a while it looked like there would be five of us as Dan’s daughter Elizabeth was also going to do the race. But late in the run down to the race, Elizabeth got the chance to take a part in a travelling stage show and the opportunity was simply too good to pass up. Ultimately we settled on four.

We selected a training program for Robert and the three of us had no end of “helpful” advice for him. The biggest problem he had was crashing at about 15 miles. At first we thought it was a classic “wall” problem but he was consuming plenty of food so we tended to discount that. Ultimately the problem was that he sweats profusely. Once we worked through the dehydration issues, his training went much better,

The day of the race was warm though not as warm as some training days I’ve done in Houston and not quite as warm as the disappointing race I had done in New Orleans. The original forecast was for rain but that never happened and I have never been as disappointed at not getting caught out in the rain. Fortunately it did get cloudy toward the last half and that was greatly appreciated.

Perhaps saying that Team Kimmel does a race together is over stating the case. We do the same race at the same time. Dan and Jon are so much faster than I am that they start in an earlier corral and I never see them until the finish. Unlike Boston, however, we did do our warm-ups and set off for the race together and that was good. It was warm enough though that all of us went to pre-race staging area ready to race which was a first for me. When the time came, Robert and I went to the second corral with the slower racers and Dan and Jon went to the first corral.

The people standing around waiting for a marathon to start are universally friendly… at least at the back of the pack with me. One lady who started with Robert and I comes to mind. The most distinguishing thing about her was her Pipi Longstocking hair and I don’t even want to think about how long her hair would be if it weren’t bundled up in those enormous pigtails. Robert, Pipi Longstocking and I were all trying to stay with the five hour pace guy. One of the things you always have to be cautious about is starting out too fast and it was abundantly clear that I was too fast going with Robert at the start. So early on, I warned him against going too fast but sent him on his way.

After a couple of miles, I was doing better so I stepped up the tempo. About the ten mile point, Dan’s hasher friend Dog spotted me and told me that Robert was about a quarter mile ahead of me. Just before the half way mark, I caught up with him and the five hour pacer. I was doing well and Robert was beginning to fade and I was confronted with the problem I had pondered before. Should I hold back to stay with Robert or should I do my own race? Right, wrong or indifferent, I decided to do my own race so after a mile or so with Robert I left him and continued on the pace I had settled on. Shortly after that I caught and passed Pipi Longstocking and the five hour pacer. I overheard her complaining that a walker had passed them. I loved his response, “More power to him.”

In part because of Robert’s dehydration problems, I adopted a strategy of double drinking. I took a cup of gatorade and a cup of water at every aid station. That strategy held me in good stead as the race went on. I have never seen as many racers in distress on the side of the road before. I’ve never seen marathon racers move aside so an ambulance could get through before. Clearly many of the racers weren’t ready for that kind of heat.

The last six miles or so of Twin Cities is a generally uphill section of Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. And it did start to slow me down. The five hour pacer, who at this point had no racers with him, passed me again and a few minutes later so did Pipi Longstocking. She gradually pulled away from me and I never saw her again. About mile 22, though, a walker stepped out of the crowd and walked with me for a half mile or so. Very friendly fellow from the area and I regret that I’ve forgotten his name. I did have other things on my mind. Twin Cities seemed to have more of these interesting characters along the road than most races. Besides my walker, there were a pair of ladies dressed as nuns holding vaguely obscene signs. And of course early on there was a huge black man playing the tuba to the racers. Turns out that was former all pro defensive lineman Alan Paige.

While I generally only beat about 20% of the field, I finished ahead of more than a third at Twin Cities. The extra drinking held me in good stead and while my time wasn’t my best overall, it was my best in those conditions.

Twin Cities likes to claim that it is the most beautiful urban marathon in America. They are probably right.