Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The "Coolest" Marathon in Arizona

Last weekend I took a trip to Flagstaff to participate in the "Coolest" Marathon in Arizona (this is how it was advertised). The Flagstaff Marathon is a fund-raiser for North County HealthCare and offers several events. There was the marathon, of course, a half-marathon, a 10k, and a 'Kids-K.' I'm not exactly sure what the 'Kids-K' was, but I'm guessing it was a 1k race for kids.

I really haven't been running all that much (I was regular about running until July) and I was looking for a way to get back into the habit. My friend at BYU called me and told me that she was going to do the 10k in the Flagstaff Marathon. This would do very nicely. I could drive just a few hours north to visit with some friends, and force myself into running again. So I signed up.

I got an e-mail from the Race-Coordinator (Tim Allen- not the actor, I checked) shortly after I registered:

"The Flagstaff Marathon is 100% off road and includes difficult terrain. Elevation gains are approximately 2200 feet for the full marathon, 1100 feet for the half-marathon, and 450 feet for the 10Km loop. The course ranges from 8000 feet to 8600 feet above sea level. Please be prepared for weather ranging from sunny to snowing."

The last race I had done was between 0-100 feet about sea level. The race before that was in Tucson which is about 2400 feet in elevation. That is a pretty big jump.

I woke up early on the Race Day, about 6:15 . I left for the race at about 6:30, armed with two chewy bars, a nature valley bar, a Red Bull, a bottle of water, and directions from Google Maps. The directions turned out to be wrong and led me away from Flagstaff on I-17. Using a forest service map from the Marathon Website, and the wings which I had sprouted from drinking the Red Bull, I flew to the race site, which turned out to be out in the middle of the forest.

I arrived at 7:15 and I was shivering. It was pretty cold, something like 40 degrees. After eating some orange slices, banana-halfs, and a bagel, I started to warm up a bit. Once I stretched I was no longer cold. My friend showed up at about 7:40, and we proceeded to the start line, where the race started right on-time.

The run was actually a little harder than I thought it was going to be. The first 15 minutes or so I walked/jogged with my friend. She had rolled her ankle earlier in the week and was having a little trouble breathing in the altitude. She told me to run on ahead, so being the gentleman I am, I did what I was told and I left her.

The first half of the course was more or less uphill. Going uphill combined with the elevation and my lack of training made things a little difficult. The whole race was off-road, which was good for my knees, but the unevenness seemed dangerous for my ankles. I also drank too much water before the race, and I had to stop and pee about 30 feet off the trail.

The surrounding atmosphere was beautiful. The sun was peeping through the serene and peaceful pine forest. There was nothing man-made out there, to the point where you felt like you were a trespasser on mother-nature's property. It was just you and nature...and a few aid stations with water and Gatorade.

I finished at 1:17:14, about 20 minutes slower than my last 10k. Not an impressive time I know, but the important part is that I did it. They didn't have any age categories so I finished 20th out of 24. If I were to separate the results into age categories, I would have finished 2nd in my age group. Unfortunately, that is 2nd out of 2.

It was a pleasant experience overall. I learned a little about high altitude racing, and I had a very fun weekend in Flagstaff. So yeah.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So I went for a run this morning (which started at 80 degrees, and then finished at 90) and it was good. About 10 minutes into the run, I saw in the distance a dog running at me. I mean he was coming straight at me on the side walk. I was trying to judge what his motive was. His tongue was hanging out, so he looked like he was just going to come play with me, but on the other hand he was kind of a big dog and he was moving pretty fast. I started to think about my best course of action when it got to me. Should I play with it? Should I give it a swift kick in the face? Well, the dog approached and I slowed to a walk and turned down the volume on my iPod. Interestingly enough, so did the dog. He slowed down as well and even turned down the volume on his iPod, and he moved onto the street about ten feet to the side. We made eye contact, he nodded, and we slowly passed. We took one last look behind us, and he started running away. I assume he was on his morning run as well.

I'm not sure why he slowed down as he passed, but I have a few guesses. Maybe he was just as scared as I was. I sure as he was passing me he was thinking, "Oh boy...what do I do if he comes at me? Just remember he is just as scared of me as I am of him... Easy...Eaaaaaaaasy..."

Maybe he was just a courteous dog. Perhaps he knows that I would be scared if he came running straight at me, and passed me at a full run. He was just being a considerate dog. He knew he was scary and was just looking out for me. I don't know.

It was weird.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Video killed the 'Active Viewer' Star

So here I am in Mesa. I'm living with Mary Ann. It's great. Really. I'm really enjoying it. I only have one problem. I've become a passive viewer of television. I come home and sit down and just turn the TV on. I spend a few moments going through the guide, and if there is something that I really enjoy, (The X-Files, Seinfeld, Scrubs, Re-Runs of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report) I will watch those. If there isn't any of those things on, I settle for something less. I think the worst that I have stooped is Wings. Actually, probably Criss Angel Mind Freak. Yeah. I can sit and watch for an hour, and I'll even watch the commercials. Sometimes I get caught up in waiting for the next half-hour block, because something I like is on then, and then it turns into another half-hour.Even when I am watching good Television that I like, I'm still watching as a lazy viewer. I sit there, dozing off, watching commercials, calling out to the TV, all the things that I tried to leave behind with Netflix and TiVo. Unfortunately, I have failed, and I have been sucked into the Television. It may or may not be eating my mind. We will see. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MySpace = Trash

I am in the library at Mesa Community College and I was working on my English paper, but I could not resist to take this time to just talk about what I see.

MySpace. 360 degrees of MySpace. I mean just MySpace. No other networking site. There are probably 200 plus computers that I can see, and probably over half of them are being used for MySpace. I guess it doesn't really bother me, because I got a computer to work on (a rare occurance), but I can see 10 people walking around trying to find a computer to work at. Or maybe they just want to see if the have any new friends of a friend of a friend that they kind of only know because they went to the same High School, or maybe they want to see if old so-and-so changed their sparkly backround or their obnoxious music.

I can't say much about Networking Sites in general because I do have a facebook and I do use it regularly, but I can say that MySpace is traaaashy. Every single page I have seen today has a background that blinks,moves, dances, plays loud popular music, has 8 to 24 hot celebs on it,has some sparkly seizure-enducing curser chaser,and has a profile picture that conveys 'promiscuity.' Of all the Networking Modules that exist, MySpace is the absolute worst.

Also, I'm having trouble starting my paper.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

...let my Carson go

Yesterday was Saturday. I woke up and I was feeling great. Excited for the new day, I got up and proceeded through my morning ablutions. All seemed to be normal. I went to a meeting with Ms. Shane-Boyd, I taught the student leaders some new choreography, I sang very loud on the way home-- Nothing out of the ordinary. I came back home and settled down for an afternoon nap. I started to cough a little, but I just attributed that to the food that I hadn't swallowed correctly, but this cough lingered. A few hours later, it was still there and even more pronounced than before. At about this time I realized what was happening... I was getting sick.

I did what I could (drank orange juice, took vitamins, went to bed, etc.) but sure enough, I woke up this morning with a horrible cough and probably what is about 4 pounds of mucus and other various fluids squishing around in my lungs. As if that wasn't enough, this afternoon I started to develop a fever. Come on. Really? I made some lasagna and ate it, and that made me feel a little better, but I'm still just as crappy as ever.

What baffles me most is how I got it? I have been getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night, usually 8, I've been drinking orange juice, eating healthily, running, and still I end up sick. It came on so fast. I was great Friday, great Saturday morning, and a few hours later I feel like crap. I can only guess is that my body is just adjusting, or stressed. I've finished 3 weeks of school and had to adapt to being in school again, and maybe my body is tired out. The only thing wrong with that hypothesis is that I haven't really been stressed. I've been enjoying school, and I'm loving Urinetown... I don't get it.

Also BYU beat UCLA 59-0...come on UCLA...that's it?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mesa: Home, Sweet Home

I am living in Mesa, Arizona; Like Tucson, only different. Mesa lacks the natural beauty of Tucson. It is, for the most part, flat. The mountains are far away, and combined with the smog and dust of a busy city, they are hard to see. There seems to be endless development in the Mesa area. You can't go anywhere in the city without seeing a new neighborhood popping up, or a new shopping center being built. Where there were trees, cactus, and coyotes, there are now concrete walls, hydrants, and freeways. It is probably, on average, 4 degrees hotter here than in Tucson, and the dirty water on tap doesn't help cope with the heat. My home, the Sun Valley.

Mesa is great! I am actually enjoying life here. My little vignette above painted a pretty sad picture of my home, but really I like it. It really isn't as beautiful as Tucson, but I'm going to be okay.

Life is good. I'm in classes at Mesa Community College. I'm taking English, Psychology, Philosophy, and Anthropology, and so far I am enjoying them all. It requires a lot of reading, but that is forcing me to learn how to manage my time better. I am starting to eliminate items from my normal routine's, because they just aren't that important anymore. Spending a half hour writing on my blog wasn't one of those thing, apparently.

I'm taking Pearl of Great Price at the Institute and I get BYU credit for it. I like my teacher and the course, so I couldn't ask for anything more.

The college is putting on "Urinetown, the Musical" and it is one of my favorites. I auditioned and I was cast as Bobby Strong. I'm pretty excited, and I think it will go well. I'm a little bummed, but it's been taking me a little while to get my voice back 100 %. It's been a little while since I've been singing this much, so I trying to get back in the habit.

I like it here. I may even look for a part-time job, which would be helpful in attaining my goal of paying for tuition when I get back to BYU. But for right now, everything is good.