Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chattahoochee River

Written by Owen

During our trip to Alabama to visit with Malissa's brothers and celebrate an early Christmas, Malissa and I did our Saturday run along the banks of the Chattahoochee River which separates Georgia from Alabama.

The path was very nice, I'm jealous they have such a beautiful place to do their long runs.
It was a little colder than ideal, but I was enjoying my peaceful 13 mile training run.  That is, until I saw this sign every half-mile or so (click on the picture):

Caution: Aligator Habitat
I still enjoyed my run very much, but after seeing that sign I was a little jumpy at every squirrel that made a noise in the trees.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thunder Road Marathon

November 12, 2011 7:45 AM
Charlotte, NC
Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 3:40:24 8:25 M35-39 30/121 117/606 138/907 399

Written by Owen

Wow, what a great weekend!  I've never planned, prepared, (or trained) for a single event more in my entire life.  Ever since I decided to run a marathon back in May, my mind has been on this race more than anything else.

The weekend finally arrived.  I decided to go to the expo on Thursday night, even though I'd be staying at a hotel across the street on Friday night.  I figured that was one less thing I'd have to be on my feet for on Friday. Michael and I drove to uptown and enjoyed the expo together.  It was pretty small and hardly anyone was there, but fun to feel the excitement start to build.

Michael took this picture of me at the expo
Michael was excited to pose by the Thunder Road Racecar
Thursday night my Raiders were playing in the first Thursday night game of the season, but my sleep was more important so I went to bed early, knowing I probably wouldn't sleep good on Friday night.  I slept really well and started work on Friday.

I worked until 3pm on Friday, then had Malissa take me down to the bus stop and I boarded a bus for uptown Charlotte.  I got to my hotel room by 4:30 PM, got checked in and unpacked.  I can't explain how I was feeling, not nervous at all, just pure joy and excitement that the moment was here.
The view from my hotel room
At 6:30 PM, I headed to the traditional pasta dinner.  The food was good, but the speaker was unbelievable.  It was Dick Beardsley, he probably spoke for a half-hour, but it seemed like 5 minutes, I was hanging on every word.  He was very entertaining, inspirational, etc.  If you haven't read "The Duel" by Hal Higdon, I highly recommend it.  It's about Dick Beardsley's amazing Boston Marathon in 1982.  It is only $3.95 and is a very short read.  It seems like it only took me an hour or so to read.  You can also watch these highlights of the race.  Anyway, Dick was so much fun and I consider myself lucky to have met him.
Dick Beardsley speaking at the pasta dinner on Friday night.
After the dinner I walked back to my hotel room (half a block away).  Nothing else to do except relax and set everything out for the next morning.  I decided to set my alarm for 4:30 AM so I could eat and give the last minute carbs time to digest.  So I went to bed at 9:30 PM, not expecting to be able to sleep very well.  Surprisingly I fell right to sleep and next thing I know my alarm is going off!  Very unexpected, but a great night's sleep.
Race morning, from my hotel room.
I ate a bagel, banana, and drank some orange juice and water.  I decided to not drink anything after 5:45 AM until on the course, so I wouldn't have to stop during the race.  At about 6:45 AM I decided to head down to the start area to hang out with my family.  Malissa and my kids, along with my mom and step-dad were coming to the race.  We came up with a plan for them to just use the train back and forth so they could see me at multiple points on the course.
The kids had a blast with "Lug Nut", the mascot for Charlotte Motor Speedway

My cheering squad, they were such a boost every time I saw them.
It was really cold, around 31 degrees, so we went into a building near the start to stay warm.  My mom and step-dad found a bathroom in there behind a secure door that was propped open.  They made it through, but we got turned away by security.  By the time we were done waiting for them to use it, it was too close to the start for me to risk the port-a-potty, so I knew I would most likely have to use one on the course.

I made my way to the starting line at 7:40 AM.

The race started and I couldn't believe it was happening.  Other than my wedding and the birth of my three kids, I don't know that I've experienced that much joy before. I know that sounds weird, but I trained so hard for this, and now I got to enjoy it.

I told myself, no matter what, I would not run faster than an 8:20 pace the first 20 miles.  My goal was to finish happy, with a time of 3:40.  If I felt great after 20 miles I would try to push it then.  That was the plan, anyway.  I could not get my body to slow down.  Every time I looked at my watch I was at a 7:50 something pace.

Miles 1 thru 10 were all through beautiful Charlotte neighborhoods, and I felt great the whole way, no issues at all, with the exception of one quick port-a-potty stop at mile 8 that probably only burned 15 seconds.

I knew my family would be waiting for me at mile 14, so that was what I was looking forward to first.  Well, that and mile 13, when all the half-marathoners split off and we got more room.  Mile 14 came, and I can't explain the joy I felt when I heard my family cheering for me. 

After seeing my family at mile 14, I knew the next time I'd see them was mile 18.  So that's what I was looking forward to next.  I still felt great until about mile 17 or so.  Then it got slightly harder, and as you can see by my split times I got slower at that point also.  Not horrible, just didn't feel as good as I had before that. I saw my family cheering for me at the bottom of a hill on mile 18, gave them each a high-five, then knew I had 8 tough miles left.
Mile 18, the support was AWESOME
Knowing I wouldn't see them again until the finish was hard.  I averaged about a minute per mile slower the rest of the way, but pushed through it and still enjoyed the experience.

Turning on to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and seeing the finish line was the most amazing feeling.  I was overwhelmed.  I crossed the line at almost exactly my goal time, just a few seconds slower.  My time for the first 13.1 miles was 1:45, and slowed to 1:55 for the second 13.1 for an overall time of 3:40:24.  I enjoyed every minute of it and wouldn't change a thing.  The weather was perfect, family support was fantastic, just an amazing weekend.
Michael ran with me to the finish line
After the race we headed to my hotel room so I could shower, then went straight to TGI Friday's for a great meal.  Then later that evening we had a get together with family and friends that was a lot of fun.  Here are a few more pictures and my Garmin data.  A special thanks to Udit Patel for taking so many great pictures.  All of his pics can be found here.

In the elevator on the way to the shower.

"I'm running in memory of Dad": Several runners during the race shouted out: "You're dad would be proud".  That was great.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Ten Month Progress

Written by Malissa

I want to share some pictures of our progress over the past ten months. My health journey started two years ago but this past January is when Owen and I started running and when we noticed our bodies change the most, both physically and mentally. When we started running we felt better about ourselves and that has helped us make healthier eating choices.











I am so happy with our progress over these past ten months. Sometimes I forget how far we have come and then I look back at these pictures and am amazed at the difference. February's picture amazes me the most. I don't remember Owen looking like that, it looks almost fake to me, like we are wearing "fat suits".

We are almost to our goal weight. Owen has about 15 pounds left to lose and I have about 20. Now that we are getting close to our goal it is getting harder to shed the pounds. This past week we realized there are still a few issues we needed to address to helps us reach our goals. Owen eats more when he is bored and at night before bed. He usually grabs snacks that are quick and easy, not always the healthiest. We're going to try and have more fruits and vegetables on hand ready for him to eat. This time of the year it's hard to find good fruit so we stocked our freezer and fridge with a bunch of different veggies. Owen even made himself some steamed brussel sprouts the other day for a snack. I bet my mother-in-law is picking her chin off the ground right now!

I'm a little bit more complicated, I'm an emotional eater and a bit of a food binger. It seems like everything I do in life, I do it in binges; eating, exercising, cleaning, blogging, my walk with God, cooking, and even my relationships. I'm so gung-ho when I first start something but then something happens and I tend to lose interest or get bored. I've improved over the past couple of years but I know it will be something that I will always be working on. I find when I set small goals I stick with things longer. I've noticed that with running, when I have races lined up I'm the most excited about running.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Owen's Birthday Present

Written by Owen:

Today is my birthday, so here's a quick picture of the birthday present my mom got me this year.

I really like it, and can't wait to add more bling.  My first marathon finisher's medal will be on there in three short weeks.

Birthdays have always been extra special for me because I share my birthday with my dad. Malissa framed this picture of my dad shortly after he died in 2000.  The picture is of him running his first of five St. George Marathons in 1995.  He died training for his sixth marathon on that very road in the picture.

I've had this picture in different places in different homes over the years.  It has always been special, but now that I'm running my first marathon it means a lot more.

Mom, thanks for the Race Bling display.  Malissa, thanks for the picture.  Dad, happy birthday, I miss you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"On Cosby" Moonshine 5k

October 15, 2011 9:00 AM
Cosby, TN
Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 34:05 10:48 M35-39 3/? ?/? ?/? 119
Malissa 34:04 10:48 F25-29 2/? ?/? ?/? 117

Written by Owen

We decided to run this race just a few days before the race.  The kids were staying at Opa and Neina's (Grandpa & Grandma) house for the weekend. Malissa and I were deciding what we were going to do with our rare weekend alone.

We decided a nice trip to the Smoky Mountains was in order.  We like to revolve our trips around a race so I found this race in Cosby, Tennessee.  Since we were doing it for fun, I told Malissa I would pace her.  She shattered her PR by several minutes.

After the race, I wanted to run back to the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at as part of my marathon training.  Malissa stayed back for the awards and I actually beat her back (about 7 miles straight up the highway).

We thought the awards were pretty cool.
The winning time was in the 21 minute range.  I was bummed Michael wasn't there.  I honestly believe he would have won the entire race.

For our blog entry about the rest of the weekend (non-running stuff), click here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marathon for the Family, One Month Away

Written by Owen:

I have been training for this marathon for over five months now.  I've ran over 800 miles in that time.  While running those miles, each day I do the math as to how long it is before November 12th.  November 12th is one of those dates now that just screams at me. So today when I looked at the date and it said October 12th, I was overwhelmed with emotions. One month to go.  The funny thing is, I feel 100% prepared.  I'm not nervous.  I'm anxious.  I can't wait to get out there.

I've been doing all the reading I can on marathon running. One thing I read was an idea of what to do to help the miles pass easier while running the marathon.  I will assign each mile a family member.  While running that particular mile, I will think about that person individually.  I will remember fun times we've had together, I will be thankful for that person and what they mean to me.  I will also be carrying a voice recorder with me while running.  I will take notes at each mile on what I'm feeling like, unique things about that mile, etc.  I will then write that all up into the post-race blog.

Counting my wife, kids, brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents I have 28 people.  So counting the 26 miles, plus the time before the starting line (waiting to start, and actually running toward the starting line), plus the 385 yards after the 26th mile marker heading to the finish line, there are 28 slots.  Here is the pace chart I will have on my arm during the race:

I chose to put my dad in the last 385 yards leading up to the finish line because he is why I am doing this. My dad died of a heart attack while training for his 5th St. George Marathon in 2000.  I'm not sure what emotions and thoughts I will be having that last 385 yards, but I know it will be centered on my dad.

I let Malissa pick which mile she wanted and she chose the 26th.

I also let my mom pick, she picked the 13th mile for the following reason: Because it is near the halfway point, but more for Hebrews 12:1 (12+1=13) "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and LET US RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE THE RACE MARKED OUT FOR US."

For the rest, I had Excel randomly select a spot.

I hope anybody that can will come out on November 12th.  Here's a map that show's the route.  It shows the estimated time at each point when I will be there, just hover your mouse over the mile marker.  Malissa plans on going to several of the spots to see me pass.

For those of you that can't make it to Charlotte, here are the actual results that will be updated every time I cross one of the timing mats.  Just hit Ctrl+F (find) and search for Lillywhite.

The finish line is at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Davidson St. in uptown Charlotte.  My goal is 3 hours and 40 minutes which would put me crossing the finish line at about 11:25 AM (hopefully sooner).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k

October 1, 2011 7:50 AM
Charlotte, NC
This part written by Owen:

Malissa wanted to run this race to teach the kids what it means to support a good cause.

I am coming down to the wire on my marathon training so I have decided not to run any more races until after my marathon.  That way I can focus on the training and stick to my schedule.  So the kids and Malissa did this one without me.  I was there as their cheerleader, though.

The race was in uptown Charlotte, so we got up at 5:30 AM and fought the traffic to find a parking spot.  That was the only part I was worried about, but wasn't that big of a problem.

Here are the running "teams", Michael and Alicia are running together.

Malissa and Kyle are running together.

As we were waiting we heard a beep and saw this cart coming, so we scooted out of the way and saw who was driving.  It was DeAngelo Williams, starting running back for the Carolina Panthers.  He has a game tomorrow in Chicago, but wanted to support this race, and was the guest race starter.

I stood and waited with everyone until just before starting time and took this picture of Tryon St. That's a lot of people.

Malissa took this picture as she was running.

I wanted to take video of them finishing, but couldn't get the camera ready in time after I spotted them.  Here are Michael and Alicia finishing.

After the race, we caught up with our neighbors, here are some pics we took:


Here are a few video highlights:

Written by Malissa:

As Owen said earlier, I wanted to run this race with the kids to teach them what it means to support a good cause. I chose the Race for the Cure for many reasons. My Grandma died of breast cancer when I was pregnant with Kyle, my good friend Joana's sister is fighting breast cancer right now, Kyle's teacher from last year is fighting her second round of cancer right now, and a friend of mine from Utah, Jill, her son-in-law just passed away this week from a rare form of cancer (he did not have breast cancer, but cancer is cancer, right?). Today I ran this race for all four of them.

We chose to run the non competitive race to help take the focus off the kids so that they could see what this race is really about. Michael is very competitive and did not like this decision at first. After the race he said he was glad we made him run the non competitive with Alicia. All three of the kids saved their money and donated it to help find a cure.

Being the laid back kind of person that I am, I enjoyed the non competitiveness of this race. Don't get me wrong, I love the feeling I get before a competitive race and the high that I get from pushing myself to the limits. I just really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and singing with the crowd as we got ready to start.

Throughout the race I thought about the four people that I was running for. Remembering some of my favorite moments with my grandma. I said a little prayer for Joana's sister and Kyle's teacher that they would win their fight with this ugly disease. I also said a prayer for Jill's family as they go through this difficult time in their lives. And I thanked God that through running I have regained my health.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Davidson Run for Green 5k/10k/Half-Marathon

September 17, 2011 7:30 AM
Davidson, NC

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen (1/2) 1:40:12 7:39 M35-39 10/32 33/151 43/299 855
Malissa (5k) 38:07 12:17 F25-29 9/9 99/144 183/248 107
Michael (10k) 46:49 7:32 M1-14 3/3 19/51 24/140 465
Kyle (5k) 38:06 12:16 M1-10 3/8 84/104 182/248 106
Alicia (5k) 29:51 9:37 F1-10 2/9 40/144 95/248 105
Grandma (5k) 48:40 15:40 F60-64 4/8 129/144 226/248 141
Gramps (5k) 29:50 9:37 M45-49 6/16 55/104 94/248 142

Written by Owen

This was the race we planned months ago when we first challenged Grandma to run a 5k with us.  We've run lots of races in between then and now, but we all managed to set new PR's today.  50° and overcast made for perfect running weather.

Gramps and Alicia before the race

I'm in the middle ready for the half-marathon to start

Gramps and Alicia

Michael near the finish

Too fast for the camera

Picking up the kids awards.

All three kids placed in their age division.