Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Did it My Way: A Tucson Marathon Race Report

December 2005 I ran my very first marathon right here in Tucson. At the time I weighed in at 225 pounds down from a high of 310 pounds. My time for that first marathon effort; 4:50:55. That earned me 90th in my age group, 612th out of the men and 912th overall. I trained hard for that marathon, or at least from my perspective back then I trained hard. I also tapered and came in rested and ready to go. After the race my legs were beaten to death. I hobbled over to our car with the GeekGrl helping me each step of the way. We then drove to a Circle K and the GeekGrl bought two 10-pound bags of ice and we went directly to the friend’s house where we were staying and I took an ice bath. We drove home that very night. It was a painful drive.

I began running in March of 2005 only because I wanted to do a local sprint triathlon, the Jay Benson. I hated running, HATED it. In all the sports I had ever participated in growing up running was the punishment. When I was in the Marine Corps we ran in formation and it was a duty; lock-step: “low-righty-leauft we love to double time!” I never learned to just run, to love running. It’s too bad because running is such a beautiful thing, such a natural human activity. It’s what children do freely, laughing and smiling all the while. However, since those first meager, painful, dreadful little two mile runs back in the spring of 2005 I have learned some things and put in a few thousand miles.

What have I learned? Well, as I recently told a group of ultrarunners, I learned how to run like an idiot.

It wasn’t until December 2007 when I finally learned to “put the fun back in my run” at the Las Vegas Marathon when I did my first marathon dressed as Elvis and coincidentally, or not, I ran my first sub-4 hour marathon. During that run as Elvis I wasn’t doing anything special but having a good time, saying, “Thank you, Thank you very much” to all the aid stations, slapping hands with the cheerleaders and giving cheering spectators the famous Elvis point. It was at Las Vegas where I learned that I really didn’t need to be TOTALLY serious about my running. In fact, I learned quite the opposite, that I probably ran best when I wasn’t very serious; at least during a race.

My next step forward was ultrarunning. Not only did it introduce me to trail running but it introduced me to what it REALLY means to hurt during a run. Ultrarunning taught me what it is to persevere, to dig deep, to exhaust every resource that I THINK I have and still keep moving. In short, ultrarunning helped me excoriate my ego and get the hell out of my own way.

These days I’m running pretty much however the mood takes me. Sometimes I run too slow, too long, too fast and every once in a while, too short. I do some races just to run with the GeekGrl and some races I go out too fast just to see how long it takes me to blow apart. In August this year I finished the Leadville Trail 100 then in September I ran the Turtle Marathon, the Do-Wacka-Do 50K and the Rio Del Lago 100. October I ran the Duke City Marathon, the Javelina 100K and set a new 10K PR at the Great Pumpkin Chase. Just last weekend I set a new marathon PR at Death Valley and the next day I renewed my marriage vows with the GeekGrl during the Las Vegas Marathon; once again dressed as Elvis.

Any serious runner would advise this is just too much running too close together to do well. Like I said, I’ve learned to run like an idiot which, I suppose, explicitly make me not a serious runner.

On December 12th 2010 weighing in at 203 pounds I ran the Tucson Marathon in time of 3:28:13, 5th place Clydesdale, 14th in my age group, 93rd out of men and 112th overall.
I qualified for the big game, I qualified for Boston. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!


  1. That is FANTASTIC!! Congratulations!

  2. That is excellent! Congrats on the BQ!!!!!!!!

  3. I love this post. Congrats on the BQ!!!

  4. Wow, congratulations on the BQ! I want to be an idiot when I grow up.

  5. Such amazing accomplishments! Way to go!

  6. Hell Yea!!! that's the way BIG B throws it down!!
    taken those numbers down one race at a time!

    nice job out there back - back weekends, way to have fun.


  7. Holy Crap! Awesome job! I can't believe how bad ass you are.

    Big B at B

  8. Love this post. Very inspirational. Thanks for summing it all up. Finding the joy in running is what I'm trying to do.

  9. Awesome! I love reading your and Geek Girl's blogs. I aspire to run the distances you run. It seems like you just get faster and faster. Do you cross train or strength train?

  10. Awesome Post Brian! Love it! Congrats on your hard work my friend! It's exactly what runners need to read. Having fun running! Wow, what a concept! :-)

  11. Chris & Amy, I used to cross train in doing triathlon but that limited my running. My only strength training is mountain running.

  12. Brian, love the blog. Great work man. 3:28 and a BQ is no joke. Hang your hat on that little nugget and continue to enjoy what you do.