December 27, 2012

Arizona Christmas #1

Christmas morning
Andrea went to Tennessee for the holidays, while I went to Arizona. It couldn't have been a better choice for me, because in addition to spending lots of great time w/ my family, I'm also in the midst of a really hard microcycle of training... so while 90% of the rest of the country is stuck in bad weather, I'm running in perfect conditions every day.

I'll get to my training in part #2 of this post (in a couple days), but first I thought I'd share some photos. In addition to running 20-25 miles per day, somehow there is still time for shooting, hiking, golfing, meat eating, and opening presents. Its been a fun vacation so far and luckily I still have 4+ days left before I go back up to the frozen world in Utah...

Chandler Tumbleweed Tree
Hanging outside by the grill. In December. Yeah!
Sporting clay shooting at the Ben Avery Range

Outdoor X-Mas Eve services
X-Mas day hike at San Tan Mountain Park

My sister's iPad doodle
All the basic food groups: Bison, Boar, Elk, Venison...
...and ice cream!
A little golf

December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We just want to wish everyone an early Merry Christmas!

Run fast, ski hard, or do whatever else people do during the holidays... to the max!

I've discovered that packing for a trip during a heavy period of training requires a lot of footwear...

December 11, 2012

Saucony Wear Testing Opportunity

Passing this message along from the mothership...

We are looking for dedicated athletes to participate in trials of our new footwear styles.

Participation will provide you with an opportunity to evaluate some of the leading technologies in the athletic footwear industry and have a direct impact on the design and development of our footwear.

Run more than 40 miles a week
•Know what you like about running shoes and have ideas on how to make them better
•Have a strong commitment and passion for running
•Would be able to adhere to our program schedule and uphold our professional standards
•Wear a women’s 8 OR a men’s 9, 10
•Are excited to test new prototypes and provide in-depth detailed feedback

Please contact us for an application to join our wear test program:

December 10, 2012

Strength in Numbers

There are a lot of really, really good runners that live along the Wasatch Front. And you know what is even better? Those really good runners are also really cool, fun people to hang out with. Especially if by "hang out" you mean bang out 20+ miles on Saturday morning.

Sometimes during the meat of the racing season, its hard to get big groups together for long runs because everyone is on different schedules. But right now since there aren't many races and everyone seems to be training for March/April marathons, our group is getting bigger every week. This past Saturday we had over 30 people show up. When the crew is that big, the long runs just fly by. There is definitely strength in numbers.

Luckily one of the guys snapped a quick photo before we took off for our run on Saturday morning down in Orem, UT...

Six guys in this group have run 2:21-2:24 for the marathon in the past two years. And everyone else raises their game on Saturdays to try and make the jump to the next level. Its motivating to see so many people working hard, pushing each other, and having a heck of a lot of fun in the process. I see a lot of marathon PRs going down in the spring.

The one thing we have to alter is our male/female ratio. Its out of control right now! :-)

December 3, 2012

2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Standards and 1980-2012 History

The USATF Annual Meeting took place in Florida over the weekend, and while they haven't issued an official press release yet, the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying standards and window were determined:

Men      A = 2:15    B = 2:18, 1:05 (HM)
Women A = 2:37    B = 2:43, 1:15 (HM)

The qualifying window will run from August 1, 2013 until 30 days before the Olympic Trials (date and location yet to be determined - it will be sometime between Fall 2015 and Spring 2016).

This is pretty much what we expected - that USATF would adopt the Olympic "A" and "B" standards. For the men, it doesn't get that much tougher - although now if you run a 2:15:XX marathon, that is only worthy of the "B" and you are paying your own way to the big dance. On the women's side, things have been tightened up quite a bit - you have to run 3 minutes faster to hit the "B".

Personally, I think the women's HM standard should be 1:16 - I feel like that is a more equivalent performance to a guy running under 1:05. I also wish that they would allow qualifying at the 2013 USA Half Marathon Champs (which fall 5 weeks before the window opens). That would generate a lot of excitement... as would setting "equivalent" times for the 20K and 25K, and allowing qualifying at the USA Championships for those distances. But then again,what do I know? :-)

Just for fun, I looked up some historical data on USATF and MarathonGuide and made this chart. Despite the fact that the standards got tougher after 2008 (mainly due to no more aided courses), there were more qualifiers in 2012. It will be very interesting to see what happens in this next Olympic cycle. The bar has been raised again - how will athletes respond?

“A” Standard
“B” Standard
“A” Standard
“B” Standard
No Women’s Marathon until 1984
28:45 (10K)
13:40 (5K)
138 (Mar)2
25 (10K)
10 (5K)
171 (Mar)4

Downhill courses no longer eligible after 2008
85 (Mar)
65 (HM)
10 (10K)
196 (Mar)5
24 (HM)
7 (10K)


1 - 2004 Men’s Marathon qualifiers à           A = 53  B = 51
2 - 2008 Men’s Marathon qualifiers
à           A = 65  B = 73
3 - 2004 Women’s Marathon qualifiers
à     A = 25  B = 126 
4 - 2008 Women’s Marathon qualifiers
à     A = 19  B = 152
5 - 2012 Women’s Marathon qualifiers
à     A = 45  B = 151

I was only able to find the A vs B breakdown from 2004, 2008, and 2012.

In terms of how this affects my own running plans, I'll do what I originally planned for the first half of 2013 - run an early spring marathon, then shift my focus to the Half Marathon Championships in June. Then I'll have to decide whether to start chasing the 1/2 standard or run in the 2013 USA Marathon Championships (which will be hosted by Twin Cities in October).

November 28, 2012

Ramping it back up

Last time I blogged anything about running, it was to pull the plug on the 2012 racing season. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but now as we head into December and I'm about to embark on my next marathon training cycle, I'm glad I did it. My hamstring feels strong and I can run fast on it without worrying about pulling it again.

The last 3 weeks have looked like this as I've started ramping it back up...

I like to use a Google Doc with a "calendar" view to look at big chunks of my training at once. I find it a lot more useful than simply looking at a week view. Big picture thinking is always best! [Day by day log for November is here]

The next couple weeks I'll blend together a variety of workouts and do a couple long runs - basically, get myself back into the workout routine and touch most of the paces / systems. I know that a handful of the early workouts will feel a lot harder than I'll want them to, but that's part of the training process. The goal is to be back in the groove by Christmas, and start hitting some good sessions around the holidays. If that happens, I'll be where I want/need to be.

In terms of races, I'm probably going to run the Phoenix Marathon on March 2nd. And since I usually like to get in a good half-marathon 5-6 weeks before a target marathon, PF Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half-Marathon looks to be my likely destination. Locally, I'll run the SLC Track Club Winter Series. I know I probably should go run the USA XC Championships... but I am having a hard time convincing myself its a good idea to book a plane ticket to St. Louis in February. Why can't the championships just be in San Diego every year? :-)

Beyond that, I'm not planning much. Hopefully in a few days we'll know the Olympic Trials qualifying standards and time window for 2016. That will heavily influence what I'll be doing going forward... but barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll likely focus my spring/summer around the USA Half-Marathon Championships, which will be back in Duluth next June. Andrea and I both ran pretty well there last year and really enjoyed the whole weekend in Duluth.

Speaking of Andrea - since writing her "still on the sidelines" blog, she's been making slow but steady progress... running 3-4 miles every other day without any major adverse side effects. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving in Connecticut

I headed back East last week for the annual Thanksgiving "Event" at my Aunt's house in Connecticut. I say "event" because its like a 3-4 day affair. It was great to see my family and spend a couple of really fun days with everyone.

I also jumped into the local turkey trot, using the 5K as my first harder workout of the new training cycle [Race Recap]. My hamstring seems to be healed up, so I'm excited to be ramping up the training again. I got in some great runs during the trip and then did a 20 miler on Sunday after flying back to SLC, so I'd say things are looking good.

One of the highlights of the trip was finishing the 5K, then looping back and running in the last half-mile w/ my Dad.

With my Dad after the Turkey Trot

Big Bailey
Immediate family

Dead after dinner

Chloe looking for a bite
Outdoor music night

November 16, 2012

Still on the Sidelines...

This post was written by Andrea...

I hate injuries. Especially the ones that put me on the sidelines for 3 months... with no end in sight. Without having a specific diagnosis, it's really hard to know how to treat my current issues. The short rundown is that my right iliopsoas and glutes are irritated constantly and sometimes my distal hamstring and IT band hurt.

-I've had two MRIs and two X-Rays.
-I've seen three physical therapists, two massage therapists, and one orthopedic surgeon.
-I've tried no running, only cross training, minimal running, backwards running, pool running, walking, yoga, strength training, and strengthening exercises. 
-I've taken two regimens of oral steroids and had an nerve-block injection into my back. 
-I now own an E-Stim machine, inversion table, and all kinds of rolling devices.

The living room is a PT clinic
You would think that something would work or give me a better indication for how to make some progress. Maybe I'm just not doing all the different combinations in the right order. I don't know, but it's very frustrating! This is definitely the longest I have ever been out of running. And its not just the lack of running that makes this injury a bummer - I can't do most "fun" things that I can think of - hiking, backpacking, skiing, cycling, walking, rollerblading, etc. 

I know it's not the end of the world. It's merely an injury, not some life-threatening disease or anything (I hope, at least! Luckily I didn't get meningitis from the spinal injection.).

I am super thankful that I have a great life with awesome friends and family. I just wish I could do something with them besides eat! :) 

Hopefully, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel soon...

November 12, 2012

Tennessee Mountain Wedding

Our friends Nate and Nora got hitched in Tennessee over the weekend. We went down for 3 days and had a heck of a good time. Perfect place to have a wedding and fun weekend in the mountains (outside of Gaitlinburg TN), and the weather cooperated nicely - sunny and 70 degrees every day!

Since they hire professionals to walk around w/ camera at weddings, we didn't take too many pictures, but did snap a handful...

A few that I stole from my buddy Sean...

Still some fall colors left in the Smoky Mountains...

And this is what we returned to in Utah... 50 inches of snow in the mountains over 2 days... I guess we'll be skiing soon! :-)