Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Rest of 2005: Chicago and Vegas

The 2005 Chicago Marathon was relatively non-descript, besides Gail and Jerry being in town for the race. I trained a little smarter and learned a good lesson in pacing in Green Bay.

In one of my best ideas for a shirt (but worst ideas for a look), I opted to shave the goatee down to a moustache and put “MOUSTACHE LOVE” on my shirt. It was a huge hit with the crowd that day. Here's the freshly shaved 'stache. Cops and '70s pornstars were all very proud.

I was trying to run a 3:35 that day. I ended up coming in at 3:38, so I was pretty close. However, the trend of me slowing down in the second half continued. I ran the first half in 1:46:18 and the second half in 1:51:58.

I think I really started to get a good grasp on marathon running during that race. One of my favorite parts was seeing Justin and Alicia Murphy standing on the raised middle part of the street divided in Chinatown. Justin yelled out something about moustaches or moustache love and pretended he was drawing a moustache on his own face with his index fingers.

I placed 5143rd out of 33027 finishers. Here are some pictures:

Here's that day's support crew on the Trader Todd shuttle that miraculously showed up in Chinatown to take them up to the finish line.

Tiffany and me after the marathon.


Just six or seven weeks later, I ran the “New” Las Vegas Marathon. Tiffany, Nick and Jaime made the trip out there with me. My mom lives in Henderson, NV so we all stayed with her and her husband Jerry. It was a small vacation of sorts. Might as well run a marathon if you’re there, right?

We did some gambling, some shopping and some other stuff. Nick, Jerry and I also bowled the day before the marathon and I remember kicking Nick’s ass. I think I bowled a 190 something. This is funny because Nick bowls weekly in a league.

Anyway, seeing as how I just ran a max-effort marathon a few weeks before, I did a simple training program that just maintained my fitness level after Chicago. I also wasn’t trying to run it faster, I wanted more of a controlled effort. I was attempting to run a 3:43 or an 8:30 per mile pace.

The race started at the south end of the Strip in front of Mandalay Bay. It also started at 6:00 AM. And most shockingly, the temperature on that December morning in Vegas was a chilly 35 degrees. Yes, it was that damn cold. I had some gloves and a weird stocking cap of sorts. It almost looked like a wool pilot’s helmet, complete with velcro strap. I brought that to cover my ears. My shirt was short sleeved and I wore shorts. I was pretty cold, but as long as you keep your hands and ears warm, it’s not horrible.

My shirt said “R.I.P. MR MIYAGI.” Las Vegas native and Karate Kid star Pat Morita had just passed away. As you could guess, it was another tough year figuring out what to put on the shirt. It was a hit on the course for all 20 Las Vegans who had crawled out of bed to watch the marathon.

I ran a solid race and actually ran a perfectly even split race. 1:51:19 for the first half and second half, finishing at 3:42:38. I ran the race exactly how I had wanted to and gained a lot of confidence in my ability and my pacing. I took some of this confidence into 2006. I placed 1045 out of 8816 finishers.

The top two are a couple of my favorite marathon pictures:

I don't remember what mile this was, but it was definitely earlier in the the first 15 miles or so, as I am still wearing the wool hat and have two pairs of sunglasses on my head. I was wearing the yellows at the start because it was so dark. As we went deeper into the morning, I went with the regular ones.

Here's the final kick down the homestretch.

Jerry, me and Nick post race. They look pretty warm.

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