Prickly Pear Trail Run May 1, 2004

The Tasmanian Tornado

Did the Pricly Pear 10 mile trail run this weekend in San Antonio. I figured it was a sure bet to place in my age group, but things just didn’t seem to be going my way this day. It started with some low temperature weather which I was not expecting. I had not taken a single stitch of cold weather gear with me to San Antonio. I can handle cold weather, I can handle rain, but I just can’t take both at the same time. I arrived at McAllister Park about 1 1/2 hours before the race. It was already starting to drizzle. I went up to the pavillion to get a map of the race course. (one was not provided with the race packet). I met Jose Iniguez, owner of IAAP, and apparently the race course had to be changed slightly because of the torrential rains that had fallen that night. I decided to go to my car and wait till race start. As soon as I got in my car, the sky opened up and the rains came pouring down … and pouring … and pouring. I looked at the outside temperature reading in my car and it indicated 58 deg. The disc jockey on the radio said we were in a severe thunderstorm warning until 9:15 am and to stay indoors. With the rain pouring, I almost took their advice and drove off but I have this thing that if I pay a race entry fee I don’t back out – I have to do the race. Luckily the rain calmed to a drizzle about 10 minutes before the race. I got out of my car and took off my cotton t-shirt that I was wearing for warmth and behold the mighty Tornado singlet was exposed. I felt a burst of energy rush through my body. I looked at my watch – it was 8:20 (race start was 8:30). Enough time for one last trip to the porta potty. I knew it was getting close to the start time. I jogged to the start only to find out from two girls that were jogging that they decided to start the race early! What the hell. My watch said 8:27 and I know it was right. So there I am at the end of the pack on a trail run with trails only narrow enough for one. I’m passing slow runners where I can like a madman with the Tornadol logo on the back of my singlet. I manage to get to a fast group of runners around mile 2 1/2 and I eventually pass these guys only to get to open area where I don’t see any markings for the course. I come to a complete stop as do the runners behind me. I ask the group: “Which way from here guys?” One of the guys points to a trail across a narrow creek thats right in front of us. “There it is” and he dashes across the water. All of a sudden I’m waist deep in water still trying to run and lose my balance and fall forward only to lose a couple of strides. Once across, the mud on the trail looks fresh with no tracks or footsteps where others have gone before us. We keep questioning if we are going the right way. We are well into this trail about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes when our uncertainty turns into certainty that we are on the wrong course. We have about 10 people in our group and we turn back to the where we crossed the not so shallow creek. Low and behold there is a race official directing runners on the course. Where was he when we needed him. “You guys are going the wrong way” he says. No shit Sherlock. Now I am really pissed and ready to kick some San Antonio Road Runner Ass. I pass all the runners in our group that took the wrong turn as well as the other slow runners that I had already previously passed. These guys are getting their asses kicked. All I can think of is the impression that the Tornado on the back of my singlet is leaving on these runners. I’m like the tasmanian devil tornado and I almost feel like growling like TAZ too. Mile 5, mile 6, mile 7 and 8 – I’m passing straggling runners and running in water that is knee deep. I don’t care for side stepping the water on the trails anymore which have now turned into flowing creeks. TAZ is going to take the path of least resistance and take the water and mud straight on. Runners are either thinking two things: either these tornados are bass ass fast runners or their running clueless with no consideration for other runners. But, I try to be a polite Tornado by saying “passing on your left” or “passing on your right” and “thank you” when they let me through. The only other thing that goes through my head at this point is I hope I don’t crash and burn and then end up getting passed. That would not look good for the Tornados. Mile 9, I’ve been averaging about 7:50-55 miles depending on the severity of the mud and water. I pick it up on the last mile and sprint the last 100 yds which is a short section of paved trail.

When the results got posted shortly after, I find out I got forth place in my age group – only 27 seconds behind 2nd place and 9 seconds behind 3rd and 18th overall. If it werent for the early race start and taking a wrong turn I would have definitely placed second. But, I always look on the bright side of things, I got to drink Dos Equis Beer afterwards and the fajitas were excellent even though I was freezing my ass off.

Taz will be back next year to kick some more SARR ass and if it rains, that ass will be muddy too.

2013 Chevron Houston Marathon Race Report


Ran a 3:16 Houston Marathon. I'm really satisfied with my time - considering that my average weekly mileage leading up to the marathon was only 25-30 miles per week. I really don't like this fact, but when my work schedule doesn't allow me the time to run the miles that I would like to, I do what I can just to finish the marathon in a decent time. This method of trying to get all my miles in just a month and a half before the marathon is asking for trouble when it comes to a running injury. I am aware of that and try hard to deal with any small pain that develops in my training.

2013 Houston Marathon Finish

This method (if you want to call it that) of training for a marathon is not easy on the body. Without the proper miles, my body pays for it on the marathon course, especially in the last 3-4 miles. Last 3-4 marathons I have done at Houston have been run in pure pain from mile 22 to finish. My only thoughts during these final miles are "I want to STOP" and walk for a while. The only thing that keeps me going and my mind occupied is the crowds, friends cheering on, and my will to finish and not prolong the pain by stopping. My mind also stays occupied by going over calculations in my head: 'What time can I get if I were to stop now and walk the rest of the way". Fortunately, I don't follow up on that. I see alot of people walking towards the end of the marathon and I think to my self: These runners are also in pain (like me) but they took the easy way out and walked. It takes a lot of will power to refuse the temptation to walk and continue running. The pain is so unbearable that the only thing that keeps me going is the thought of finishing so the pain can go away.

Other than the pain, my marathon performance was great. I had to do 2 porta potty breaks before the half way point due to some stomach problems I was having. Without these stops my time could have been 2-3 minutes faster. I was shooting for a 3:20 marathon time and came out with a 3:16 so I really can't complain.

With the proper mileage next year I can run a sub 3:10 (maybe a sub 3:05) and finish the last few miles with normal marathon pain instead of the excruciating pain that I had this year and the few years before that.

The important thing is to think positive, stay positive and think FAST TIMES.

testing

2013 Chevron Houston Marathon Race Report


Ran a 3:16 Houston Marathon. I'm really satisfied with my time - considering that my average weekly mileage leading up to the marathon was only 25-30 miles per week. I really don't like this fact, but when my work schedule doesn't allow me the time to run the miles that I would like to, I do what I can just to finish the marathon in a decent time. This method of trying to get all my miles in just a month and a half before the marathon is asking for trouble when it comes to a running injury. I am aware of that and try hard to deal with any small pain that develops in my training.

2013 Houston Marathon Finish

This method (if you want to call it that) of training for a marathon is not easy on the body. Without the proper miles, my body pays for it on the marathon course, especially in the

Read more: 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon

2004 New York Marathon (11/7/2004)

 

 

New York Marathon

11/7/2004

 

Click here to skip through the article and go straight to the photos.

My New York Marathon experience had it's low points and high points. Overall, it was a pretty cool experience running one of the most famous marathons in the world. Just one more item that I can remove from my "things to do in my lifetime" list.

My New York experience started at a somewhat low point. I was on a limited budget so I stayed at a New York hostel at a cost of $35 per night. Not bad considering the location - Upper Central Park west area. After shuttles, trains, subways and a grunch load of walking I arrived at the Hostel - no thanks to any help from New Yorkers. My marathon experience would have been better if it weren't for those pesky New Yorkers. Every rumor I had ever heard about New Yorkers was true. After attempting to ask directions from New Yorkers on the streets and subway stations, no one really seemed to want to help. People seemed to back off as if I was trying to mug them. I quickly found out that if someone was friendly to you it was because they were tourists or money was involved. Making eye contact with New Yorkers was bad omen and you would quickly look away if your eyes did happen to meet someone else's on the subway. Walkmans/MP3 players are big in New York. Just another method to avoid communications with a human while riding the subways or walking down the streets. Anyway back to the Marathon.


Pre Race:
The morning of the race was pretty cold. We got bussed to the starting area early in the morning. The wait is a little shorter than the Boston Marathon pre-race wait. You can easily get a decent nap before it's time to warm-up. I tried to bundle up with the little gear I had and took a short nap on the grass underneath a tent. When I couldn't take the cold anymore, I got up and found a nice cozy spot in the sun which was already shining. My pre race meal consisted of a bagel, two power bars, and lot's of Gatorade spread out over the morning. One last thing I like to take before a race when it's available is a little caffeine. A small cup of coffee with plenty of sugar gives me just the right amount of caffeine boost I need before a cold race.

Starting line:
I was really amazed at how close I was to the front at the starting area. As you can see from my photos (below), the elite runners were not too far up in front of me. It seemed like it was a long wait before the starting gun went off. Runners were well hydrated from the look of the street below our feet. We had plenty of speakers before the start - Former mayor of New York Giuliani said a couple of words. The star spangle banner was sung especially nice. Once the gun went off, it only took my a few seconds to pass the starting line timing mats and we were well into the 2004 New York Marathon.

During the Race:
I started off at a decent pace and felt like I could maintain. It was a good pace for enjoying the sights of New York and the runners along the course. I took plenty of pictures knowing perfectly well I was adding valuable seconds to my marathon time. I maintained essentially the same pace until mile 22 when I entered Central park from the north. I started having some signs of fatigue, most likely due to low weekly mileage in my training program. It really didn't place any pressure on me because I was here to enjoy the experience of running New York. I was not about to put myself through any form of extreme punishment to finish this marathon. I was satisfied with my time at the finish and felt that I had obtained a respectable time for a "fun run marathon". I had never done this before for a race and I managed to enjoy the experience of running the New York Marathon, relatively pain free.

Post Race:
The post race amenities at the finish was a big disappointment considering I was running one of the most famous marathons in the world. It was pathetic. Here's basically what happens: You finish the race, they take your chip, you get a mylar blanket, they give you a tiny bag with an apple and a banana and some kind of nutrition bar, and they chute you out of the finish area like a herd of cattle going for slaughter. I asked one of the volunteers, "Where's all the post race food?" and they reply, "Didn't you get a plastic bag with food?" That's it! a banana and an apple. I was hungry and a banana and an apple was just not going to cut it. I guess I'm spoiled from the Houston marathon with breakfast provided by HEB at the GRB convention center. This was pathetic. I would have expected more from one of the most famous marathons in the world! NOT HERE. I felt like I was just kicked in the ass and sent home. Where's all the GLORY from finishing a marathon.

Post Race Party:
The post race party and dance at a local club was also pathetic. I felt like I had just entered a nursing home for the elderly. Did all these old folks run the marathon, did I go to the wrong place, maybe it's an AARP only party? Did these people run the marathon? Well, at least they had the marathon video playing on two very large big screen TVs. NOT! The video kept breaking up and no editing whatsoever was done on the video. All the advertising commercials were left in - the local news people kept interrupting, then they would go to normal TV commercials. It seemed like some schmo had just learned how to work a VCR and had just recorded the local news coverage of the race on his 13" TV and then came in to play it. They eventually just cut the race coverage video and went to something else.

 

Final Comments:
The only thing I have to say about the NYC marathon is that the race directors need to take some lessons from the Boston marathon race organizers on how to put on a marathon maybe even the Houston marathon race directors.

Would I do New York again you ask? Hell NO. It's good for one time and that's it.

 


All New York Marathon photos taken by Pete Gaytan, webmaster, photographer and marathoner, except for the ones that I'm in the photo - duh!