Nike: The Human Race 10k

What are you doing this Sunday? Feel like joining a million runners for a worldwide 10k?

That's right, on August 31, 2008 you can run 10k (6.2 miles) with the rest of the world thanks to the Nike: The Human Race 10k. There are 24 Official Race Cities where Nike will be holding official organized runs: Austin, Bogota, Buenos Aries, Caracas, Chicago, Istanbul, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Mt. Fuji, Munich, New York City, Paris, Quito, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, and Vancouver. Not only is this a global event where millions of runners will participate, it helps raise money and awareness for several charities, including: livestrong.org, ninemillion.org, and WWF.org. 

For those of us not able to travel to those cities, we can be a part of the event and run on our own. Here is a list of stores that are participating by holding organized runs. I'll be participating at the Niketown in San Francisco located near Union Square.

Here is a rundown for the Niketown in San Francisco:

• Doors open at 8am; you can store your bags, stretch, mingle, etc.
• Race starts at 8:31am
• There will be no water stops, but you can carry your own bottle.
• There will be no official chip or timing devices handed out, but there will be a running clock that starts at the beginning of the race.
• There will be food, water, coffee, and music playing afterwards along with giveaways and a special discount at the store for the participants.
• Everyone is welcome to run, if you'd like to register (free) or donate (optional) you are more than welcome to, however it is not necessary.

Hope to see you there. I'll be posting a blog Sunday night as recap of the event and if you email me that you participated or your finishing time, I'd love to feature you on the post.


Nike: Run Club

There are some perks to working in San Francisco. One of them is being so close to the Niketown located near Union Square. During the week, Nike holds a night where runners can meet and run together usually anywhere between 3-7 miles.  Typically 20-40 runners will meet around 6:00 pm and start the run as a group at 6:30 pm. Nike usually has 2-3 employees join the running group with one in the front to middle and a second from the middle to back to make sure everyone stays with the course and to help if someone needs assistance. Afterwards Nike supplies some water or sports drinks along with general snacks such as bagels, fruit, etc. to all the runners to round out the night's event.

Occasionally there are Nike shoe trials. Nike will select 2-3 pairs of running shoes and if you'd like, you can try running in them for the night. It's a cool experience because A. You're not putting extra miles on your shoes. B. If you are interested in buying a new pair of shoes, you can try them out first. and C. You start to learn the difference between various kinds of shoes and support. Afterwards you fill out a quick survey on what you thought and return the shoes. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Also, every week you can put your name into a raffle for a free pair of running shoes ($130 value) at the end of the month (must be present to win). So if you show up every week for a month, you get 4 entries. Not too shabby. Bonus: They also have weekly trivia questions every once and awhile where the winner will receive a small gift. 

And as if mapping out a course, supplying running shoes, providing snacks and refreshments, allowing you to sample their shoes (for Free) wasn't enough... they usually offer a discount after the run around 30% or give away some Nike schwag. It isn't every week, but it's a nice surprise when it happens.

Here is a link to find the nearest Niketown Run Club. Maybe I'll see you out there.


26.2 Miles to the Bird Nest

If you didn't get a chance to watch the 2008 Olympic Women's Marathon... then you missed one hell-of-a-race. Romania's Constantina Tomescu-Dita raced 26.2 miles triumphantly through the streets of Beijing, past Tienanmen Gate and into the Bird's Nest to win the Gold Medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 2 hours, 22 mins. and 44 seconds.

Tomescu-Dita made her move a little past the half-way point and never looked back. Don't get me wrong, towards the end she did look back a couple times to see where the "chase pack" was behind her, but by then it was too late. With thousands lining the streets, the 38-year old Romanian made her move at the half-way mark in hopes to build a lead that the other runner's would not be able to conquer.

In most marathons, the lead pack usually stays together for the majority of the race until the last few miles where they will separate. However, true to her past, Tomescu-Dita made her move early and it paid off. With no one having the energy to catch up to the leader in the late miles it became a race for the Silver as the Tomescu-Dita went on to win by 22 seconds ahead of Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) and Zhou Chunxiu (China).

Quick Side Notes:

2004 Athens Bronze Medalist Deena Kastor (USA) pulled out after 3 miles when she felt a pop in her foot. With a sore foot for the past few weeks and thinking it was hypersensitive tendons Deena was the medal hopeful for the US. It would later be reported that she broke her foot.

Running icon Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) responded to reports that labeled her a 'quitter' for dropping out late in the 2004 Athens Marathon due to stomach issues by running through a stress fracture diagnosed in May. Radcliffe finished in 23rd place with tears of joy and pain to the applause of many, including me.


Project One-Four-Five

Course of Action: Hills, Speed Work, Strength Training, Core Workout

That's right — myself and that guy over to the right (Paul Razo) are going to attempt to set PRs in our half marathon time by about 15 mins. Sounds easy right? 

Let's think about this, a half marathon is 13.1 miles... that means we are attempting to shave off over a minute per mile in two months time. Can we do it? We're about to find out. Over the next two months we are dedicating ourselves to shift our training up to the next level. It is going to be a daunting task, but without pain... wait that sounds bad... without extraordinary effort there can be no glory. That sounds better.

Any words of wisdom? Leave them as a comment below. Any advice you may have could make the difference.



Sunday, August 3rd in San Francisco over 14,000 runners participated in the RunSF Full Marathon (26.2 miles), first and second Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) and the 5k (3.1 miles). It was an amazing day to run and I would like to congratulate a few of our fellow runners:

Half-Marathon (first half)

Lori Lefkowitz: 1:54:56
Manny: 2:11 (PR)

Half-Marathon (second half)

JD: 1:56:03 (PR)
Tom Murray: 1:56:37 (PR)

Full Marathon:

Patrick Letellier: 4:12:14 (PR) Shaved 25 mins off Florence Full Marathon time — thanks to all of you and the kick a** training. Yeeeeeeha.

B. Kelley: 5:09:28 (PR) 10 mins off Florence Full Marathon time

If you would would like to send me your finishing time to be added to the list, please email me.

Also, if you would like to offer a few words of congratulations, click the comment button below. They would love to hear what you have to say.


RunSF 2008

Going into my third marathon, I had some self-imposed high expectations. I was looking to complete this race between 4:30 (hours:minutes) and 4:45. If for whatever reason I was unable to finish in that window, I would happily reach for a sub 5 hour marathon. Unfortunately, I would not meet either of those goals on a lovely Sunday in San Francisco — instead I would have what turned out to be one of the weirdest races in my short running career.

The day started off with a 4 a.m wake up call and a 6:15 a.m. start time. The morning was cold, but I was comfortable in my race day attire of shorts, t-shirt and gloves. With 26.2 miles to run, I wanted to start off nice and slow so that I could run the second half faster than the first (often called "Negative Splits"). I finished the first half of the marathon in 2:26 putting me on line for meeting my 4;30-4:45 goal if I ran the second half faster than the first. However, the 'Running Gods' had something else in mind.

A little after the half way marker - my left calf cramped. Ouch! It was far too early for that to be happening and came unexpectedly. With over 13 miles to go, little did I realize this was one of several problems I would be facing. Around mile 16 a blister developed on my my right toe. Running in familiar socks and shoes and applying glide pre-race - this also was unexpected. I'm sure that has to be all the problems, right? Wrong. Ignoring my own advice of running in a familiar shirt that will not irritate you, I decided to run in my RunSF 2008 shirt that fit a little snug (I usually run in the shirts given to runners at the event and have never had problems before) and guess what happened... irritation. So here I am 16 miles into a 26.2 mile race with a cramping left calf that wont let up, a blistered toe, and an irritating shirt that is getting worse every mile. Should I give up? 

It crossed my mind once for half a second, but I'm a marathon runner. I've been taught how to deal with these issues. First the cramping. I was staying up on my sodium level by eating sunflower seeds all during the race, but I needed to kick it into overdrive. Wifey was on location and I saw her at mile 16. I asked her to find me salt packets (to mix with my Gatorade) and meet me several miles later. Check! I stopped at mile 18, drained the fluid from the blister and applied Vaseline (at the water and medical stop) to prevent further friction. Check! I also applied some Vaseline to wear the shirt was irritating me. Check! But I still have over 9 miles to run on a body that is slowly calling it quits.

Here is the difference... I feel great. The whole 26.2 miles, I never hit "the wall." My energy level never dropped during the race from start to finish. Mentally, I'm still thinking that I can turn this thing around and finish with a good time. I'm still doing decent mile times but having to take more frequent walk breaks. My legs are just chugging along and I just kept passing mile markers. 

I finished the race in 5:09. It was not what I expected to do, but never the less it was a PR (personal record) by about 10 minutes. And over a half-hour better than my time the previous year. (That year I was running on a severely sprained ankle that was about 80% healed) That was probably the dumbest running thing I have ever done — I could have permanently damaged myself and luckily the race god's shined favorably on me that day. Perhaps this year's race was the yang to that yin. I was in shape to post my goal time of 4:30 - 4:45 time, but it wasn't meant to be. The funny thing is that I felt absolutely wonderful. It was a great race, my spirits were up the whole time and I just had some technical difficulties that slowed me down. 

I'll spend the next couple days evaluating my race and training schedule to to see where I can make improvements. I feel a little let down, but I can't be disappointed with posting a PR and enjoying the race. When people ask me how it went, I sort of smile and say the race was "a bit weird." For everything that happened during the run, I should have been filled with negative emotions, but I never really was. I guess a positive attitude can make all the difference.

I do have to say thank you to the Wifey for having an "Amazing Race" moment trying to find me salt packets and for locating me on the course as quickly as she did. Another thing to add to the reasons why I couldn't run without her support. And also a thank you to Super Lori for being at the finish line (along with her Super Husband) to cheer me on. She was equipped with a yellow sign that had my name and screamed loud enough for me to hear her over my headphones. And she ran the first half-marathon that morning in an amazing time. She is pure running inspiration for me and a number of runners I know.


Sunday: The Race

Hello all - I'm fairly tired after a long race and am not going to post tonight. I know, what a slacker, right?

Well, I can't let you think that so I will let you know that I did finish the marathon and set a PR (personal record) by about 10 mins. I finished slower than I had hoped, but am pleased with how well I did overcoming such adversity. What adversity you say? You are going to have to wait to hear about that one. Thanks for checking in folks.


Saturday: 9 Hours and the Invisible Man

Ok, so maybe it's not the invisible man, but that's what it looks like. In order to insure that I have everything I need from head to toe, I lay it out... Here is what I will need for Sunday's race:

A: Running sunglasses (polarized)
B: 2008 RunSF dri-fit shirt (Given to each participant)
C: Watch (to monitor pace)
D: Runner's bib
E: Running gloves (for the SF morning cold)
F: Runner's Belt (Holds water, Gatorade, gels, etc.)
G: iShuffle (see Tuesday's post)
H: Dri-fit running shorts
I: Running socks (with extra cushion where needed)
J: Shoe tag (Given to each participant) to track official course time attached to running shoes
K: Where Mika is sleeping while I post this.

It's 9:30 and I am off to get some rest. Wake up time: 4 AM.


Experiencing the Expo

Before a marathon, an Expo is held. It is almost like a convention style set up where there are multiple vendors that have products relevant to the sport. Such as clothing, shoes, food, drinks, watches and other accessories along with helpful tools including books, massage aids, running gels, injury prevention or support. There are also tables that include information regarding upcoming marathons, training programs, runner's diet plans, etc. And as if that weren't enough there are tables set up to offer framing options for your medal, photo, bib or anything else you may think of.

If you are planning to participate in an event and there is an Expo available (usually on a Friday and/or Saturday race weekend) then I would highly suggest that you plan to attend. They can answer any questions you may have about the event along with supply much needed instructions you may need to know for the race. This is also the place where most events plan for you to pick up your race bib and runner's packet. Packets usually include maps, event info, promotional pamphlets, discounts on future events and other free goodies.  And we runners, love free stuff, especially t-shirts.

Today, I attended the RunSF Expo and spent about an hour wandering around sampling different types of energy bars and drinks. I picked up my race bib, runner's dri-fit t-shirt and timing shoe tag. I also had the opportunity to meet a well known running legend, but I'm going to save that story for another day. I've been getting a lot of best wishes from fellow runners and friends... with the race 2 days away it always helps. Thanks guys (and gals).