Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunset in Seattle

Mount Rainier, Qwest Field, Safeco Field

On Monday I left Spokane early in morning and flew to Seattle for work this week.  Fortunately I don't usually travel a lot for work, so I'm usually home every night to see my wife and read my son our nightly book and tell him a story.  I'll be honest I fully expected to come to Seattle and spend the week in the cloudy & rainy Emerald City, however today I pleasantly surprised when the sun came out!

Usually when I come to Seattle I always bring my running shoes and really enjoy running along the water as the views are amazing.  Unfortunately, I strained my right calf, so I decided to stay with my patient plan and go for long walk instead of running after dinner to enjoy the sunset.  As you can see from my cell phone pics it was simply amazing!

During my 30 minutes sitting at pier 62 I had time to reflect on my life and especially the last year of my life.  Now that I'm a father to my 6 yr old son and I've gone through heart surgery I'm more patient than I use to be, although I still have to work at it.  I encourage everyone to take time to reflect on their life and evaluate the path they are choosing. Remember to not take life for granted!

Somedays when I struggle with sort out the answers to "why" or "what's next" the spirit in my heart calls me to open up to believe and find the positive.  After heart surgery I truly feel more connected to god than any other time in my life.  I've always believed in god, however I now see and feel signs of his presence in my life.  Tonight is perfect example of something calling me to walk down to the pier and experience the awe inspiring beauty of the sunset.  I truly believe god has a plan for all of us if we open our hearts to follow.

Enjoy my sunset in Seattle!

Remember to take the time to enjoy the sunsets and reflect on all that is good in the world.  I'm really looking forward to getting back home on Friday to see my little buddy Reecer, my wife and our three rascal dogs Scooby, Barkley and Lulu!

Thanks for reading and supporting me!

Reece at the movie Dolphin Tale in 3D.  This is a great feel good movie and 3D was really cool too!

Bubble boy!  Reece is truly a blessing in our life and loves to have fun!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blessed Runner

Scenic Half Marathon 9-18-11

This was my first longer running race since heart surgery 10 months ago even though I've been training consistently and specifically since July.  I was really looking forward to this race and thought based on the training that 1:28 was very realistic, unfortunately my poor race execution cost me.  I appreciate the fact I was able to participate, although I feel this excitement led to my somewhat frustrating day. 

The weather was wet on the 75 min. drive to Sandpoint, however it stopped raining by the start of the race! The course is tougher than I expected with several short rolling hills during the first 6.5 miles, so after over 100 races and too much motivation to contain my patient pacing approach I went out too fast and paid for it. Here's my splits/HR, which obviously explain why I felt dizzy at mile 5 and had to walk to regain my senses. A little scary, but self inflicted!

1=6:27 @164

2=6:35 @ 176

3=6:45 @ 181

4=6:45 @ 182

5=7:51 @180 (dizzy and walking-Thank you Daniel Zwiesler for talking me into common sense)

6=7:30 @174 (Right calf cramping)

7=7:06 @ 179

8=7:02 @ 179

9=6:44 @ 178 (downhill HR still high?)

10=7:05@ 179


12=7:12@180 (HR still too high & right calf super tight)

13.1=1:33 (Average HR 178) (Ouch!) *2nd Age Group/17th Overall

*My hat award says "winner" on the back which definitely made me laugh/smile.

What did I learn? After over 100 races I still always learn something.  Even though I'm running tempo runs at 6:30-6:40 and track intervals at 5:30-6 min. pace on the flats since heart surgery I can't run the hills at that kind of sustained effort or pace. Today all the short climbs on the way out left me feeling really dizzy and somewhat puzzled as how my HR during 400 intervals could be 178, yet today my average pace was 7:05 and HR 178. I obviously need work into pace and be more patient during the Portland Marathon as I really feel the fitness is there to run a solid race, however I need race smart!

I need try to continue to not to focus on old best times, although I'll be honest it's really TOUGH. When I train consistently/specifically for something I expect to see race results that match up to the training and today it just didn't happen, although it's the individual mental/physical challenge that I love about endurance sport!

As I was driving back to Spokane from Sandpoint reflecting as I always do after every race I tried to remind myself that I need to be thankful I can still run at all as less than one year ago I was told I couldn't continue to do all this endurance stuff. I know I need to focus on new PRs, so I guess the positives definitely outweigh my internal competitive wiring which is completely based on my own previous best times. As I was driving back I thought to myself, wow, how did I ever run a 1:23 half or 2:59 marathon? Well, I trained consistently for 6 years to become a better runner and need to remind myself I'm in much better shape now than when I was 24. At that time I ran 1:50 half and 4:55 full marathon and weighed +200, so there is always some positive to be found!

Great job to all the Team Blaze athletes that participated today and continue spread the positive Team Blaze vibe! 

This is a very well organized event! Every athlete receives a nice medal and cool shirt. They had plenty of volunteers, consistent aid stations, tons of food/drinks at the finish and free massage!  It was fun to come home, ask my son about his cycling race today and then give him my medal!

I recommend this race as it provided me with the perspective I needed moving forward to the Portland Marathon on Oct. 9th and beyond.  It was great reminder of the fact I've made a great deal of progress in the last 11 months, yet I still need to listen to my body and race patiently! Most importantly I need to remind myself how blessed I am to be running, healthy, able to participate and help other achieve their goals. 

God has given me another chance to inspire others and help them live healthy lives which is much more rewarding now than it ever use to be.  At the end of my journey it is very important to me that I know I gave back more than I took.

Remember to enjoy the journey!

Thanks for reading and supporting!

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Marathon Adventures

Recently, I've been ask several questions about how to train for the marathon and run your best race.  First off I'll say the marathon is one of those "love/hate" experience for some, bucket list items for others and measuring stick for me.  When I began my fitness journey back in 1998 after gaining 40lbs after swimming in college it all started by training for a marathon. 

That's me on the right in 1996 while traveling in Spain with my friend John
"Woodsy" Coats.  I had hair and +40lbs of extra love I had gained.

Why would I take on the crazy marathon challenge?  Well, it was in large part due to the fact my Dad's Uncle Dave encouraged me to do it.  I was in awe of all of his running feats with +40 marathons completed,  several Boston Marathon qualifying runs and positive outlook on life through running.  Back 1998 when I toed the line at the Columbia Gorge Marathon at 24 yrs old I had no clue what I was doing.  Uncle Dave was 64 at the time and I thought if he could do it then I had no excuse.  One slight problem, he not only knew what he was doing, he always trained and ran +50 miles a week vs my 15-20 miles weekly.   Even though I was way out my league I though what the heck let's do it! 

My next monumental mistake was to select a course that climbed +2000 over the first 9 miles and try to run with Uncle Dave. After feeling like I was done at mile 8, I had to walk the first of many times.  As I was excited to see family and friends as I came down into the town of Mosier at mile 16, however I wasn't quite sure how I was going to run or even walk the next 10 miles as my shoes were too small and my feet were blistered.  I decided at that point my survival strategy was to run from road sign to another and walk in between.  As reached mile 26 mile Uncle Dave was there to encourage me to the finish.  As I finished I was absolutely spent, I lost my two big toe nails and Uncle Dave had beat me by over 45', although I learned many valuable lessons and I was HOOKED!

Ultimately, following a consistent and specific training program is going to lead to the best possible outcome. I jokingly say to athletes on occasion that "magic doesn't happen on race day", so with that in mind it all comes down to training with purpose and finding an ideal race weight to set you up for success!

Let me again mention I didn't run in high school or college, I swam which although great for triathlon doesn't help me on the run. I weighed 164 while swimming college and then gained over +40 lbs the year after college which made running both painful and challenging. I started running again in 1997 as means to lose weight and obviously it has worked, however I've learned in order to improve in any discipline you must CONSISTENTLY and SPECIFICALLY train that sport.

Here's an example of my marathon history and weight:

*1998 Columbia Gorge Marathon (time=4:55/weight 185 lbs)

(This was a hilly course, however I was heavy and only completed one run of 10 miles or longer. I survived, lost both big toe nails and I was determined to take the marathon challenge again.)

*1998 Portland Marathon (time=3:45/weight = 172 lbs)

(Big PR and I was hooked!)

*2000 Portland Marathon (time=3:35/weight = 168 lbs)

*2002 Portland Marathon (time=3:25/weight = 166 lbs)

*2002 Honolulu Marathon (time=3:19/weight = 164 lbs)

*Trained really hard, however humidity and bad blisters did me in at mile 20)

*2003 Las Vegas Marathon (time=3:14/weight =164 lbs)

(Brutal +20 mph winds which blew over all the aid stations made for a rough day)

*2005 Portland Marathon (time=3:11/weight = 162 lbs)

(I went out in 1:26 (stupid) and bonked big time with a +40' last 5K. I had to have 2 IVs at the end. Lesson learned: magic doesn't happen on race day and hydration is key!)

*Jan. 2006 Las Vegas Marathon (time=3:11/weight = 162 lbs)

(Cramped at mile 24. )

*Feb. 2006 Phoenix Rock Roll (time=3:11/weight=161 lbs)

(Cramped at mile 25 right as I thought the Boston time of 3:10 was finally in my grasp.)

*Oct. 2006 Chicago Marathon (time=2:59/weight = 160 lbs)

(The best race of my life! I trained smart by doing all the right things, figured out my hydration challenges and focused of running at specific pace in training with quality intervals. I negative this marathon running 1:30:30/1:29 with a 20:20 last 5K! I finally qualified for Boston!)

*April 2007 Boston Marathon (time=3:04/weight = 160 lbs)

(I only ran 3x per week due to the weather and family health challenge, however I made every run count and keep my weight down in the winter!  Boston was an amazing experience with horrible weather.)

*Oct. 2009 Portland Marathon (time=3:17/weight = 168 lbs)

(I hurt my knee in the winter by falling down some stairs and I couldn't run for 6 weeks. When I started training I weighed 178 lbs and my fitness level was zero. I felt like I need another 4 weeks of training to be ready and it showed over the last 4 miles when I lost about 50" per mile over the first 22 miles.)

Ironman Triathlon Marathons include:

2004 IM CDA (time=3:58/weight = 165 lbs)

2005 IM CDA (time=3:35/weight = 162 lbs)

(Excellent pacing on the bike and run pace/training lead to a big PR)

2008 IM Canada (time=4:00/weight = 167 lbs)

Granted the Ironman marathon is much different, however feel the many of the same principles for success apply.

*You MUST train the bike if you ever expect to run a solid marathon in IM.

*Don't over bike in the IM or run will suffer.

*Run consistently in training, however don't run mega long runs at slow pace or you become a slow runner during the IM.

*Being patient in the IM on the marathon is key!

So, why did I share all this information? I want people to understand some key factors to running a solid marathon or IM marathon. As I mentioned above I never ran XC or track in high school or college, I was a swimmer that taught myself to run through trial and error over the since my first dreadful marathon in 1998.

I've done tons of research and experimented with my own training/races and weight to determine the best approach for me, however the most valuable lesson I've learned is that NOTHING can replace consistent and specific training to lead to positive outcomes.

There are no short cuts! 
Here is one of great resources I've used to really help me to improve as a runner & coach. I encourage everyone to follow this guideline to marathon success!

I know some people may question my sanity when I say the IM is easier for me mentally than a stand alone marathon, however I've found that when I'm racing a marathon at higher heart that the last 3-4 miles is what keeps me coming back for more. I've now run 15 marathons and one ultra marathon since 1998 and through all these races I feel I've only had one race that went as I planned. In 2006, when I race the Chicago everything came together and I felt like I floating to the finish the last 5K (20:20) with a negative split run and sub 3 hr marathon. As I prepare to toe the line for Portland Marathon Oct. 9th with my new found perspective after going through heart surgery I'm searching again for that great day I experienced in Chicago in 2006. I'm focused running my new PR, which involves running a smart, steady 26.2 miles based on all the lessons I've learned and enjoying the journey!

Let me know if you have any questions or interest in letting me help guide you to a new PR!

Healthy training,

Coach Scott

Thanks for reading!