Updated 3/1/14 2013
The GPS data from the run Although it looks like all down hill, the trip down toward Biosphere in the middle is rolling steep hills. After mile 20 there are some very steep short hills which sap your strength. The key on this run is to be ready for this set of wicked hills.
Finishers Medals: Half Full
The Tucson Marathon Events Tucson, Arizona December 8, 2013
Finishers Shirts from the Event - Both half and full (Click to Enlarge)

This was our first run at this long time event, and certainly one of the coldest - if not THE coldest race I have ever ran in! 890 marathoners and 1200 Half marathoners came together for this December 6th event, which was held down near Oracle and Mount Lemon near Tucson. Dawn did very well, blowing past her times from her two previous half marathons for a new all time PR. I met my goal of running this event for the first time at a moderate pace, and took careful notes on the terrain, hills and road types to be able to plan for next years run at a faster pace. Despite the cold snowy and rainy weather, we both had a great time before the race visiting friends and spending time at the natural history desert museum and taking in the Tucson scenery. I found many similarities between this one and the Lost Dutchman race which we have run many times before with back roads, lots of desert scenery and more long hills than you ever thought possible!

Before the Races

We took Friday off from work, and headed out toward Tucson in the late morning. After a packet pick up which had a nice sized smaller Expo to walk through, we drove the route from start to finish so we could get a good handle on what was the situation on the down hills, and the all too numerous up hills after mile 20 or so. Then off to dinner and back to the motel, the Fairfield.

Saturday morning we headed over to the Desert Sonoran Museum. We had not been there in decades and it was great to see it again, and go through the natural history exhibits which included numerous fossils and mineral specimens. The desert scenery and botanical garden in the back was perfect because both of us would be racing through this type of ecology on Sunday. After lunch on this sunny but cold and blustery day, we drove all across town to visit our astronomy and fossil friends Rik Hill and his wife. Then it was time to head back to the motel and get ready for the next mornings race!

Race Morning and During the Race

The motel was awesome - they not only offered breakfast to runners at 4:30am, but a bunch of huge buses to the race starts for both half and full. The clouds had rolled in, and it was somewhere near 45 degrees out. At least it wasn't raining, which was predicted later that day as a big cold front moved in. At 5am, I got on my bus to the Marathon start and Dawn got on the one to the half starting line. The race was to start for both at 7am sharp. Getting on the first bus was a good bet we would be there when that happened! It took a long 45 minutes to get there, and we were to start on the top of a tall hill in the middle of the desert woods type environment on a narrow road. When the buss stopped, it was some where around freezing and the trees were blowing around a lot. Most of us stayed on the buss in the warm until around 6:30am, when we bundled up and headed up the hill to the race staging area. It was 29 degrees on my digital thermometer and the wind was gusting feeling like icicle knives stabbing you. They had these huge bright construction site lamps going at the top of the hill, and it was still quite dark out. every time the wind would gust, the crowd would cry out in shivering pain! Oh my, then it started snowing on us. The big portable lamps pointing down on us had tens of thousands of snow flakes in their beams.

Finally, around 6:45 they told us over a PA system it was time to dump our warm ups and get ready to race. So there we were, ripping our clothes off down to mostly T-shirts, shorts and the smart ones had a running sweat shirt on. What I finally decided on wearing was the basic running outfit plus some arm sleeves, my lightweight running sweatshirt and over that the rain bag I brought with arm holes cut in to block the wind gusts and keep my self from getting soaked in snow, rain and sleet.

When the staring horns went off, it was a relief that we would be going down hill in altitude quickly and within hopefully 10 miles would be out of this cold and snowy start. I kept a fast sub 9 pace and we all spread out over the next miles and were running our own race. It was so much like running the Lost Dutchman, I had to keep reminding myself that this was an all new race! But instead of ending the good down hill at mile 6, it kept going strong for another 6 miles until we got to the entrance road to the Biosphere tourist trap. Then lots of steep rolling hills for 3 miles. We exited back on the freeway and it was more sedate for hills after that. Fortunately, the wind which we had been running directly into for 12 miles was starting to abate, and the snow finally stopped around mile 10. The race between Biosphere and mile 19 was un eventful, lots of desert scenery and everyone was having an improving attitude as the bad weather seemed to be lessening. It was still in the low 40s however, and still a very cold race. A long steep hill starting round mile 19 or so was the start of many steep up and downs. From there on, to the finish it was rolling hills and far less down hills. You cant see the finish line very well until your really right on top of it, and it was one long final mile! After finishing, I had plenty of notes for next year. Dawn had finished before me and this was her fastest half she had ever race walked! We collected our gear and took the bus back to the hotel, cleaned up and had arranged a late check out which worked great. Off to lunch after that, and then the long drive home.

Final notes and thoughts for next year

1. Try to keep a more constant pace on the hills
2. Practice on more downhill runs at race pace to build quads - this race is a quads buster!
3. A huge problem this year was the extremely poor weather we've had for the past two months, making critical training runs all but impossible. I did the best I could, but hopefully next year I can fit in the right number of long runs prior to the race.

Images of before and during the Race At the Expo and Packet Pickup Inside the Expo, the bib pickup and shirts on the right Behind the store rock cliff scenery Driving the Route The top of the small hill at the starting line for the Marathon it is in the middle of nowhere! Below: Race Morning with the cell phone cam - Full Marathon At the staging area on top of a small hill, temps were around 29F and it was lightly snowing 15 minutes before start, they told us to all strip off our warm clothes and get ready to run! Brrrrrrr. The flag is raised and the National Anthem is played That is not the sun coming up, its the high powered halogen lamps... Looking behind me during the Anthem After a few miles it is light enough out to see the dense heavy clouds around mile 5 Mile 11, down the road to Biosphere and back Dawns shots of the Half Marathon, including the second half of the Marathon Route Bus drop off of runners Lining up at the starting line for the Half close to our Mile 13 Sun rays at starting time Heading out at race start There is considerable up hills too Quad buster hill! Nearing the last few miles, plenty of hills Coming in the finishing chute after one long windy cold day! Finish shot Dawn at finish line And so ends this year one of the coldest races I have ever run! Next year will be warmer....
The GPS data from the run

A very steep first two miles on the first loop, followed by a long increasingly steep uphill for the second half!
Finishsers Medal features a large gem stone!
The Flagstaff Half Marathon and 10k Flagstaff, Arizona Sept. 21, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)
After a cold 45F start, this day ended up with clear blue skies and perfect racing temps. Both of us did fantastic this year, Dawn broke her all time PR for her 10k, and I tied my all time fastest time I have ever run here at this event! Here is the photo pictorial.
Images of before and during the Race Below: Getting close to race start at 8:00am Below: Age group medals waiting to be handed out Below: First the marathoners go out, doing the half loops twice... Below: Tim giving last minute information just before the start of the Half Below: Winning awards on display Below: Logo at the race starting/finish line Below: Lining up for the start of the Half Below: Race start! Im in yellow to the left of center Below: Away we go! Below: After the race, and tieing my fastest PR set years ago! Below: Dawn sets a new PR too! Below: After the race, runners mulling around the field Below: Flagstaff mountian vista
Above: GPS Data


The Big Brother Big Sister Half Marathon and 5k Flagstaff, Arizona June 15, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)
I would rate this race as one of our favorites for sure. I would say this is the closest thing to a race we run annually with an astronomy based theme. You can see the world famous Lowell Observatory right over the starting line from a certain spot in Wheeler park where we stage the race. Also we are racing right on the top of Lowell Mesa, right past the telescope dome. And at about the half way point one aid station has two wastebaskets after the tables which this year one had "Pluto is a planet" and the other "Pluto in NOT a planet". You throw your cup into your vote as you go by! This challenging trail run takes you through back roads, the deep woods, rough rocky trails and high altitudes, all with exceptional views of the forest and surrounding mountains. Once again Neil did a great job at orchestrating this event, and with the great weather this year - starting temps in low 50s, efficient aid stations and plenty of help made for an outstanding trail run and we both had a fantastic time! This was my second fastest time for this race ever, finishing in 2:07 this year and for Dawn one of her fastest too coming in the 5k race walk at 42:07 minutes, only seconds off her fastest ever! For the Half Marathon the first half is very difficult with long steep uphills and very rugged rocky trails full of roots and "trip vines". As I passed the 6 mile mark, my pace was only 10.0 mins / mile but after that it becomes much more downhill and you blaze through the woods at top speed. I averaged around an 8 min pace on the second half bringing the total average down, and almost making up for the laborious first half. This was a great training "tempo" run for the upcoming Flagastaff Half marathon next month, and then beyond to my 50 mile Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim adventure we are planning in October. It will be all trail runs for us until December when Im going to try to set a marathon PR in Tucson, which has a 2500 drop from start to finish.
Images of before and during the Race Below: Huge storm cloud formation over Flagstaff before race. It was not a problem... Below: Packet pickup before the race Below: Around the starting line before the race. Runners are just arriving. Below: Over the starting line you can see the Lowell Observatory! (Cirled in red) Below: Food setup at the finish area

Below: Me before the race start. This run and the next (Flagstaff Half Marathon) are the final test runs for the Nike Zoom Trail shoes Im wearing here. The big 50 mile Grand Canyon run is in October.

Below: Another view over the starting line of the Lowell Observatory! Below: Neil getting ready to start the race. I am in green on the left side. Below: David Bluestein warming up - a friend at many races! Below: At the starting line seconds before race start. I am circled. Below: Race Start Images Below: The winner of the half marathon - Below: Female winner of the Half Marathon - Below: Here I come a short time later - Im in green in the far distance Below: Last quarter mile to the finish is up hill! Below: Last hundred yards, I am racing the guy to my left.... (I beat him) Below: Crossing the finish line! Below: Winners and fast runners at the finish line, just after I came in. Below: Finish line shot, my second fastest run here ever! Below: Dawn at the finish line, here second fastest here too! Below: Finishing area, time to feast and drink! Below: Massive field of sun flowers on the way home at Lake Mary.
Above: Race Start Movie made from stills shot by Dawn Click here for a larger version!


Gaspin in the Aspens Trail 15k Woods Run June 15, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

A new PR this year for both of us on this short but grueling trail run. Clear skies, temperatures in the low 50s, and dry conditions made for a perfect day up in the deep woods at over 8000 feet elevation. No major injuries to report for this year, only a few bloodied bodies came over the finish line, and I only saw two runners trip and fall on this moderately treacherous route in the high country. For us, the rest of the year will be a series of mostly trail runs, culminating with the 50 mile Grand Canyon run in October. This year again I wore my Nike zoom trail shoes, and even though I had them quite tightly tied, they feel unstable to me on the rocky trails and so I continue to search for a better shoe for future races. They are fast though, and do very well on the road as well as off making it good for combination races with mixed terrains. I came in this year the fastest finish for this race ever, with a 1:26 time. This would have been probably a minute faster had I not stopped to check on a fallen female runner who tripped right in front of me. Dawn also did very well, coming in on 45 minutes, her fastest 5k trail race walk ever.


Images of before and during the Race
The early morning Packet Pickup
Food Table packed with goodies!
Race Registration
Neil examines the start/finish line
Starting line
Here I am warming up before the race start
Neil giving last minute directions
Bike lead vehicle
15k runners are off and heading up the hill!
The 5k prepares to start
After the Race everyone socializes
Dawn coming in!
Above: Medal for the Marathon
The GPS data from the run Click to Enlarge

 Above: Here is the new route. It roller coasters a lot in the beginning, settles out then - BAM! the giant hill at mile 20.

The San Diego Marathon Event June 2, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

For 2013, a huge amount of the route for the Marathon was completely changed. For my race times, this would be a new start as far as a new marathon and new age group. While some parts of the route were run backwards, they omitted Fiesta Island, had no part of the run past sailing ships, and we had to run a terrible hill for miles and miles starting at mile 20! While the race staged from the same Balboa Park location, we all ended up at the parking area near Petco Stadium. While the run was still looped through the main parts of the city, many of the out of town areas were changed as well. I ran this one then at a good hard pace and until the big hill, held a 9 minute pace. After that, running up a long freeway entrance ramp backwards for over 2 miles damped my pace by about 12 minutes off on the finish time.

The rest of the story We arrived on the usual Friday afternoon, and after lunch headed over to the expo. This year was perhaps the largest yet, I have never seen so many displays and tables! Some new running clothes, plenty of free taste samples, and my first pair of Sketchers mid foot striker shoes, which we have been looking for almost six months now. After the Expo, got our motel which was about a mile from the finish line, and dinner at a pasta place. Saturday we drove the areas beaches, hit the huge running store along the freeway and the big hiking store REI across the street. A big carbo loading dinner followed and we were ready to take on the race Sunday.Sunday morning I was downstairs to get on the shuttle offered by the hotel to take you to the race start. This was very convenient to say the least, and I got there early enough to see a mostly empty field and the vendors still setting up.

The starting line was still in pieces too. After an hour, thousands came in by shuttle and the totals for both the Half and Full Marathons exceeded 30, 000 runners - the biggest ever due to the huge popularity of the half marathon. There were 8000 of us running the Full. Temps were ideal for racing, upper 50s, no sun with a cloudy sky. This year I wore my Pegasus 29s which were bright lime colored, which makes me faster I believe. The race started at 6:15 and I was in coral 3 with a planned average pace near 9:30 to 10 mins per mile depending on how bad that huge hill was at mile 20.

Everything went well as far as pace, I settled in once the race started to a 9:00 pace and held that until mile 20. When the gigantic hill started, everyone slowed down so much, many of them were walking. I was able to run all the way to the finish so did well here. My final time was off by around 12 minutes to a 4:12 finish, so next time we may have to hit the bottom of the hill a bit faster! I saw Dawn quite a few times on the side lines during the race. she was able to get from one part of the route to another just at the right time and cheer me on. She put in quite a few miles herself just keeping tabs on me! Despite my slower time, I was still within the top 25% of marathoners coming across the line. If they keep this nasty hill,

I may have to try a different strategy next year. Sunday evening we joined Dawns sister and her husband at their house for a late dinner. Then Monday back on the plane back to Arizona! Next years Notes:- Hit the bottom of the hill with a 8:30 - 8:45 pace average.- Pegasus 29 worked great, no blisters or pain at all- more hill training!


Images of before and during the Race
Tidal Cave with visitors on top
Before the Race we visited the ocean and saw some seals on the rocks below.
Catching the waves
Beautiful sand bar scene
Shooting the flora
Along the ocean walk (Dawn ahead)
Reflecting on the ocean before me...
Race Morning, Dawn walked over from the hotel and took some photos of me getting ready to race!
Ready to race
The staging park where we gathered
In my coral with minutes to go...
The starting line is readied
Runners streaming past the starting gate
Some of the elites going through "Little Italy" (we had pasta there)
Running by at mile 7
Then again at mile 9 Nice even mid foot strike...
Going past mile 9
Running past mile 12. Notice how the runner on the left runs - heel strike first. Mid foot is 30% more efficient.
Towards down town
Going by at mile 22
Race Finished!
The aerial display over the race
Street signs along the route
Above: Medals for the Marathon and 10k
The GPS data from the run Click to Enlarge

 Above: The center of the profile is at the 13.1 mile turn around. The slope is constant up hill from 5000 to 7000 feet, down to 6000 feet and then back up to return!

The Whiskey Row Marathon and 10k Events May 4th, 2013
Finishers Shirts from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

This years event had the promise of clear blue skies, perfect running temperatures and literally ideal conditions. I nearly didn't race this one this year because I felt queasy just before the 5am early start, but recovered enough by the normal 6am start to do the race, although at a much more relaxed pace to not make the situation worse. The final result was I came in around a mid packer for my age group and did surprising fairly well even for not pushing it hard. Here is our story.

We arrived on Friday just past noon in Prescott to pick up our race packets at the Community center. There were a few tables with shirts and such for sale, but no Expo. Normally most trail runs like this are rather sparse on such amenities. We do about 1/3 our racing on trails or back woods roads, and this connects well with the training I do in Payson, which is very hilly at altitude. And you need that hill training for this race! It is ranked as one of the most challenging marathons in the country. We stayed that night at the Precottonian Hotel on the edge of town, and within 10 minutes drive to the starting line in central Prescott (Dawn's home town). The alarm went off at 3:30 Saturday morning and we got ready to head over to the starting line. I was starting to feel unsettled at this point, but hoped it would fade by race start. It was dark and around 47 degrees, no wind. As 5am approached I felt really bad and we decided I would wait an hour for the normal 6am race start and see how I felt. 10 minutes before the race start, I felt a bit better and ran a big circle around the Courthouse on the sidewalk. I did fine, and although still slightly queasy. I gave it a go. I have never done the normal marathon start before! I like the early start because there is only a few dozen of us, and its is much cooler near the end of the race. But as I was about to find out, there was one other difference which shocked me.

The race starts just after sun up and heads out of town towards Copper Basin road. It is steep up hill on pavement and winds around a lot. Then, just after we turn toward the road, it becomes dirt. That marks the start of one massive hill climb which is why it is one of the most challenging marathons. You go from 5000 feet up wards to nearly 8000 feet in around 11 miles. This is the point where all the marathoners spread out over the course and most of the time you only saw one or two in front of you. I met some great people on this race. One did lots of Rim to Rims in the Grand canyon, and another raced Boston. I did not push, and ran a moderately good pace reaching the 13 mile turn around with about an 11 minute pace. From there you climb back up to two peaks and then down hill mile after mile on a dirt road filled with pot holes, loose gravel and ripples. And the big surprise - I never saw any half marathoners! In fact, not one 10k or half runner the entire rest of the race. No one to cheer me on, it was lonely out there. I only saw one or two runners all the way down to town. It was like I was just out for a weekend run. When you do the early start - you see thousands of runners going the other way and with you. What a shock to be all alone. Would there be anyone at the finish line when I came in? I crossed the finish line and was relived that I had taken it easy enough to be able to complete the race in a reasonable time. I came in 4th place in my age division, about half way in the age group. Not bad for a slow fun run! I have hopes for next year now, do the early start, and actually have a chance for a 3rd place medal!

Food was slim pickings at the finish as I had expected, but there was still a lot of time to walk around and see the events before they rolled up the carpets and put away the finish line. Would I have run the race if there was no early start? I dont know. The next day I felt fine and look forward to next years race.


Images of the Race
Getting ready inside the Motel lobby / Bar for the race
Ready to race ( I hope)
The starting line for the Marathon
Ready to start the race
Police escort
The race begins!
Saloon on Whiskey Row
Dawns photo of the 10k race starting line
Ready to go!
The finish line for the Marathon
Police presence
Band at the finish line
Here I come on the last leg of the race
I did not think I would make it this far the way I felt in the morning
Finishing the race this was one long day!
Re energizing after the race
Dawn after her fast 10k
Professional race set 1
Race set 2
Race set 3
Race set 4
Above: Medal for the Half Marathon
Above: GPS profile
The Brian MicKelson Half Marathon April 20th, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

This year, we had nearly ideal conditions. Clear and crisp in the morning, with an azure blue sky overhead. We both raced again this year, while I did the half marathon, Dawn race walked the 10k. We both did great this year, I came in within seconds of last years time, and again - fourth place in my age division.

We arrived at 6am and headed over to the ball field to pick up our race packets. The full marathon - Second time for this year - was starting at 7:20, and the half marathon at 7:30, then the 10k group at 7:40. The half winds through back streets, downtown Cottonwood, and twice onto some scenic challenging trails. Lots of steep hill climbs, rocks and gopher holes too! I came in at 1:54, and Dawn came it on 1:33. After the race, we had plenty of food and drinks at the finishing area. This might be an interesting marathon to do sometime, however with the intense trail running at the end, it might be really hard too!


Images of the Race (no Stealth Cam for fast races)
Runners and their families gathering at the ball field packet pickup in the morning sunrise light
Packet Pickup tables
Runners standing for the Pledge of Allegiance
Waiting for half marathon start Im in yellow with matching blue shorts
Race start. The guy in red next to me is a Boston qualifier runner.
Nearing the last few miles of the race
Last mile coming in!
Heading for the finish line
Post race shot
Dawn Post race shot
Medals being handed out for the very first time ever at this race!
Above: Medal for the Half Marathon
Above: GPS profile
The Phoenix Half Marathon March 2, 2013

Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

With the weekend before and after filled with clouds, wind and rain, we once again had great luck on a race this year. (Its pouring rain as I write this!) This was a brand new route on the second running of this new event. Recall last year, the re-birth of the old "Valley of the Sun" Half marathon was initiated, with the last years race starting at the point that this years full started off at a location on a remote location at the Rio Salado Sportsman club on Usery Road. There was no full last year. This second year it all changed. The full started the same spot as we did last year for the half, then passes the Half marathon starting line at mile 13 on McDowell road next to a store called "Waxie", onto the finish line 13 miles later. I ran the half marathon this year, which now is the second half of the full. Confusing, right? The slope was very steep down hill for last years run, and this year the slope is like 1/3 for the new half. Not anywhere near as fast. And oh man, that hill at mile 11....

We arrived the night before the race on Friday at the Best Western Hotel down in Tempe. This saved us the very early morning drive down from Payson. This race starts very early - at 6:30 am, and you must catch the bus to the starting line at 4am! So the Motel Idea worked out well. Saturday morning, Dawn dropped me off at the buses which went to the starting lines of all races at the Mesa Riverview shopping center.. We were all half asleep on the long ride to the race start, and were dropped off at a point next to a school campus on a street that was blocked off on both ends. Rows of dozens of propane heaters greeted us and there was some food and water offered. It was 43 degrees out at this time of the morning, and the heaters worked out great. Over 2700 half marathoners piled in on the buses. They told us that 1200 were running the Marathon, and 800 the 10k at this point. When 6:30 neared, we all walked down the adjacent road to the big inflated starting line hoop. There was not enough light yet to see well, but they had flood lights. Then just as the race started - lots of fire works! how cool was that. We raced off the starting line with giant explosions and colored sparklers. A police escort to boot. my goal was to hold a fast even pace and push fairly hard to see how it compared to the Fiesta Bowl half I run in December which is a bit flatter but more contorted.

For the first three miles I kept pace with the 1:40 group, which is a 7:30 pace. Then after the long up hills started I backed off to an 8 minute pace, which was my goal pace. The route was through some decent parts of town, leading through commercial areas and residential subdivisions as well. The big surprise came at mile 10 - 12. Really long fairly steep up hill. The initial faster pace was certainly what made up for this slow trek at this point. The best I could do at that point was around an 8:30 pace. Finally, the last mile is more flat making for a faster finish, ending at a huge shopping center - the Riverview Shopping Center. Now I know the route better, I can plan for that big hill at mile 10 next time! I came in with a 1:47 finish time, a great effort for the first running of this new route. The food at the finish line was amazing. One of the best I have ever seen for variety and amounts. Its possible that being the first running of the Marathon, they went all out. Maybe next year will be different. never know!

After the race, we went back to the Hotel, I showered and left Dawn there where she had to be on a work related trip the next morning down there. I went home, and still had most of the day to do things. I really like Saturday races! Next year if we get our registration in early, both of us can participate. I am pretty sure now that this is one of the fastest marathons in the state and might be a good choice to set a PR next year.


Images of the Race (no Stealth Cam for fast races)
Bus pickup shot, the road racer is ready for battle!
Waiting at the finish line, Dawn took lots of shots while I was running. Here is the rack of all the finishers medals. One of them is mine..
The photographers set up at the finishing line.
The Sun finally rises, and I would be about half way to the finish.
Palms and the moon
The finishing chutes
Here I come in yellow on the left the last quarter mile push!
I MUST beat the 28 year old guy in the crash dummy suit
Passing crash dummy guy...
Blasting to the finish at an 8 min pace
Passing runners to the finish
The final seconds of the race, I am in the center in yellow coming in at a very respectable 1:47, 10th in my age division.
Post race festivities and food~
Winning plaques for runners of all races
Post race area at the finish line
A great sunny, clear, blue skies day with a fast race behind me!
The following Saturday looked like this in Payson, with massive rain all over Phoenix.
Above: Medals Left is the 10k, right is the Marathon
The Lost Dutchman Marathon February 17th, 2013
Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

The weather for this year so far has been totally crazy! One weekend of rain, snow or high winds, and the next totally clear and sunny. Fortunately for our racing, the first three races of this year happened on the sunny weekends! And unfortunately for my training - my training log book shows that I have missed many critical 20 milers and long tempo runs because of the bad weekend weather and I ended up doing 6 milers on the indoor treadmill while looking out the window watching the downpour outside. This has had its impact on my races this year so far, and this Marathon was no exception. Hopefully, the cycle will break soon, and my training for upcoming events will be more typical.

For this years Lost Dutchman Marathon events, the temperatures slightly warm, but fortunatley there was a good breeze blowing - Days peaking in the mid 70's and mornings mid to upper 40s. While I did the full marathon which started at Peralta Trail head in Apache Junction, Dawn race walked the 10k event, which started and ended at the finish line at the Rodeo Grounds. While neither of us broke any new PR's this year, we both had a great time and enjoyed this event immensely as usual. And the weather for the week after the event? Snow storms and dumping 8 inches on us during the week, and on Sunday one week after the race - Another snow storm!

This year, we stayed at a Best Western motel in Mesa the night before the race. At 3: 15 the alarm went off and we headed out the door by 4am to catch the first shuttles to the marathon starting line. When we got there, only a few dozen runners were there and the camp fires were just started. What an amazing desert experience, with the campfires, stars and nearby Superstition mountains less than a quarter mile away. There was little wind at that point, and temperatures were around 48 degrees. At 6:50 we all started to line up behind the starting banner, with each pace category marked with flags. The race started at 7am with a gun shot, and we were off in the morning twilight down the dirt Peralta road. The scenery is breathtaking at this point, surrounded by desert plants and serene silence - except for the hundreds running marathoners. Around 6.5 miles of this and your down at the paved road. From then on its through rural subdivisions, onto the main highway twice and long stretches of rolling hills with long steep inclines in the last 5 miles. And after all those wicked hills, that finish line never looked so good!

The new Swan Spy cam I took along did not fare well. Only 8 shots were on the card from the dozens I shot, and I may have to do a lot more testing on this new stealth cam before its ready for full time use.

Here is the photo pictorial of our race day.


Images of the Race Before Race Start...
Being dropped off at the Marathon bus pick up point. Im not sure I am really awake at this point!
Waiting for race start at Peralta trail head. The interpretive sign. It is very dark out...
The steep cliffs of The Superstitions
Campfires and services at the race start staging area
In the starting coral at race start. No, Im not running at an 8 min pace...
Cactus and sky along Peralta road
Still on Peralta road, mountains view
  Finally hit the pavement at 6.5 miles
  Heading down the freeway...
The race mascott at the finish line
"Old Timer" Diemonds?
Runners getting ready for 10k
Waiting for the racers to come over the finish line
The empty finish line awaits...
Bag pickup. When you are at the starting line you can drop off your warm ups on a bus to pick up later at the finish line
Aid station at the food tables
The winners announcements
Announcements after the winners come in
The fastest racers coming in
And the rest of us! Here I am in yellow working my way to the finish line
Heading for the finish line
After the race!
Dawn after her 10k
Balloon at finish line
Above: Medals for all the races was the same, part 2 of a four part
The Sedona 10k February 2nd, 2013
The Starting line before race start
  Finishers Shirt from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

Once again we lucked out in the weather department on this highly scenic race. The weekend before was a total disaster for the weather. 2 3/4 inches of cold rain, clouds and no sunshine. During the week it cleared and finally, on Saturday - the skies were clear, sunny and the temperatures back up in the 70s for this part of Arizona. We both did the 10k again this year, and attendance was very good for all races. We had a great time and even got in some fossil hunting in Sedona afterwards. The next day it was cloudy, rained and back to cold! Here is the story of our adventures that day.

We left Payson that morning around 4:45 and arrived in Sedona around 6:30 am. This was essential to get a good parking spot, even though it was still dark out at the top of the hill from where the race was held. From there, you walk down half a mile or ride the shuttle part way to the start/finish line area. It was around upper 40s at that point and when the sun rose, warmed up a bit. I was fine with a cotton long sleeve shirt for the race, and for such a short race, it worked fine. The race time was moved later an hour to just after 9:00 this year. I think this made more runners show up and attendance was a record 2500 for all races which include a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon (21K) and Full Marathon (42K). I use the run for an intense training run for the Lost Dutchman Full which Ill be running in two weeks. Intense indeed! With the steep up and down hills that are always long and challenging, you wont break any 10k records on this one. I came in at 4th place in my division this year, one minute short of a 3rd place medal that I took last year. Dawn race walked a new PR for this event, and we both came away with some fast times, and had a lot of fun.

After the race, we watched the runners coming in, had some food and went off to the restaurant to have a late lunch. Afterwards, we drove back to the area and on a side road to Dry Creek Canyon road did a bit of fossil hunting in the brownish red shales. You can read about some of the fossils we found here:


The sky slowly clouded up with a haze and we drove back home. The next day was cold, cloudy and around noon started to rain for the rest of the day. Couldnt have asked for a better day!

Notes for Next Year:

- More Hill training for that last minute!

- Dont wear a slippery shirt

- No need for hydration belt


Images of the Race Before Race Start...
The stunning sunrise
Booths set up before sunrise
The moon in the pre dawn sky
Looking down the main road through Sedona before the race
Police escorts getting ready for race start
The starting line
Walking down to the starting line
The bottom of the hill is the starting area
On display - allfour medals including the next two years
Images of the Race Start of the 10K (Dawns Shots on her Race Walk)
The runners gather in the start area before the race
Dawns photo log - standing at the starting line
The 10k has begun!
Heading for town along the main road
Racers coming from the other direction
Scenic views
Here I come from the other direction heading back
Passing and heading for the finish
Police escort
Dawn coming in at the finish line!
Heading in to the finish
Finish line shot
Finish line shot
After the race heading back up the hill
The road sign showing a runner!
Professional photos 1
Professional photos 2
Above: Marathon and Mini Marathon Medals (Click to Enlarge)
The PF Chang Arizona Rock and Roll Marathon / Mini Marathon January 20th, 2013
  Finishers Shirts from the Event (Click to Enlarge)

After what can be best described polar temperatures the previous weekend, we lucked out again this year for the running of the PF Chang Rock and Roll Marathon. Highs in the low 70s, and lows at a perfect upper 40s meant superb temperatures for the entire run. This year, while I was running the full, Dawn did the new "Mini Marathon" which was 5 miles, and ended at the same finish line as I did. The marathon is essentially mostly up hill running. Some times steep, sometimes just mile after mile of up slow going. I started out with my planned pace, however by mile 15 found that the pace was too fast for the constant up hill. I backed off a bit, and came in about 10 minutes later than last year. I also had some problems with my fuel belt giving me bad side cramps, blisters on one foot, and trashed quads from going this distance with my new Nike Zoom Elites. While these are lightweight mid-foot strikers racing shoes, they are too brutal on runs over a half marathon in length. I will most certainly be making some changes for the running of next years race! Hopefully this will be one of the last races that will be without a Stealth Cam. We recently purchased a new ultra tiny high resolution "spy camera" for running, and it is currently in evaluation. Dawn however did get some remarkably good shots of the Mini Marathon she took part in this year, so there is plenty to show you here. I also did get a few shots prior to race start at the starting line with my cell phone camera. And some good news to report - we just purchased a brand new mini professional grade spy camera, which we plan to use as the new running "Stealth Cam". First race will be probably at Lost Dutchman in 3 weeks...

Notes for Next Year:
- Wear more cushioned Nike 29's
- Less slippery running shirt (belt slides around)
- Less weight on fuel belt (Bottles half full?)
- Set pace for 9:30
- More Carbo Loading?


The race course through the Valley. The bottom of the elevation profile for all 26 miles. Start is on the left.
  You can see in this elevation profile that this was an uphill battle for much of the race. The steepest was around mile 12, then it was a roller coaster after that.
  It is essentially up hill till about mile 18, and after mile 22 is has some brutal steep grades. The last spike near mile 25 is the Mill Avenue bridge, not a kind thing to do at this point in the race!
Images of the Race Going to the Expo in Down town Phoenix
Entering the Civic Center
  The entrance to the Expo
  First you check in, and collect your bib and race packet
Here I am in line (white shirt) getting my race bib and timing chip
  Next your rather anemic swag bag of mostly papers, and your race shirt you DONT wear your race shirt for the Event, its a memento of the Race.
  Then go through the isles for shopping for running goodies and clothing.
Before the Race - At the Marathon Starting Line
The view from the starting line area, a news helicopter was there to capture the start of the race. There were about 5000 marathoners
  Here I am, waiting for the time to take my coat off and get ready to race! (about 15 mins before start you do this)
  Runners gathering around the start line
My corral 2, starts right away
  Finally - in line ready to hear the horn that starts the race!
Before, Start, and during the Race - Mini Marathon (5 miles)
Still dark out, around 5:30am signs on the lamp posts along the route
  The "Dragon" Beat it across the finish line and you get a coupon for a dessert at PF Chang restaraunts.
  Water Station at the starting line
the famous banana tables at the start line for some last minute carbs!
  Typical scene at the start line, runners getting their photos as they prepare to race!
  Getting lighter out, and the starting line is now easy to see
Runners and walkers gather at the mini and half marathon start.
  Nearing race start
  Near the Dragon
The Race has started!
  Heading down McClintock and Hayden Rd.
  Along the Tempe Town lake
Down the ramp to the Tempe Town Lake.
  The marathoners NEVER got to do this part of the route. Ahead is the Stadium where we all will be finishing.
  Finished - and waiting in the finish corral for the runners and marathoners to come in
The huge parking area turned into finishers area
  Here comes the Dragon! What is it we win again?
  Runner coming in, one with an American Flag
End of the Race - The Marathon
The long wait is over - here I am finally coming in!
  That last mile was a killer!
  The victorious Marathoner
Dawn after her Mini Marathon too!