Audacious Albert's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Chasing A Goal – 2009 Marine Corp Marathon

Posted by audaciousalbert on October 28, 2009

This past weekend was the 34th Annual Marine Corp Marathon.

I was ready, trained meticulously for it, and awoke in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to run fast.

Based on my 1:04:14 finish at the Army 10 Miler 3 weeks prior, I decided to go out with the 3:10 pace group. I had my mind set on a Boston Qualifer, and was looking forward to achieving it.

I arrived at the start early enough to get a good spot in the 3:00-3:19 corral along side others who were going for that coveted 3:10 Boston qualifying time. I did some light jogging and stretching to prepare myself for the long journey ahead.

Miles 1-3:
Felt great, I was right next to the 3:10 pacer, and we were spot on pace. Didn’t take long for me to settle in and I felt pretty comfortable.

Miles 3-8:
Things stayed constant. Still feeling good, I was thinking ahead of crossing that finish line with a sub 3:10. Knowing it was still early, I held back from taking off from the pace group.

Miles 8-15:
Crossed the half way mark in 1:34:39, which is actually a half marathon PR for me! I was still feeling good, but had a feeling things were starting to fall apart, but still confident in my chance of achieving that sub 3:10. At this point, I was already thinking about mile 20, and how it’s a 10k race from there to the finish.

Mile 15-17:
Things took a turn for the worse around here. My pace slowed all of a sudden. I still remained optimistic in thinking if I slow down now, I can conserve some energy to chase down the 3:10 group when the time comes. However, with each passing step, I felt worse. My legs were feeling heavy. I downed another packet of Gu and a cup of water, and kept treading along. Another half mile went by, and my legs started to cramp. Oh man…

Mile 17-20:
I was forced to a slow jog. I even had to walk. I stopped for a few seconds to stretch out, but thought I must keep moving forward to that finish line! At this time, I exhausted my last Gu packet, and was taking anything handed out on the course. Spectators were awesome lighting up my dampened spirit and giving me hope that I would make it to the finish line.

Mile 20-24:
As I crossed the 20 mile marker, I did a quick calculation. In order to catch the 3:10 group, I would have to run a 40 minute 10k. I would be quite capable of that if that with fresh legs, but 20 miles with cramping have already taken their toll. There was no way I would be able to keep up anywhere near a 6:30 pace. As I passed some spectators were handing out bananas, oranges, and licorice. I was desperate and was hoping one of these things would help me salvage this race. No luck, my legs were shot. I started feeling a bit discouraged from all the walking, and even more so when the 3:20 pace group passed me, then the 3:30 pace group zoomed by. I was hanging in there…

Mile 24-26:
2 of the longest miles of my life!!!

Mile 26-26.2:
As soon as I saw the mile 26 marker, I remembered reading about the brutal uphill finish. I saw the finish line ahead, and hobbled to it where I was greeted with relief and accomplishment. My time: 3:38:28. No PR today and definitely not the negative split I was hoping for. Nevertheless, I still felt relieved to have finished, and thankful for the opportunity to run such a well organized and scenic race course through our Nation’s capital.

Post Race:

Spirit was crushed, legs were shot, and I was mentally drained. I walked around the finish festival but soon decided to head home and rest. The Rossyln Metro was packed with everyone trying to catch the next train.


I have been having a string of good races recently. For this race, those last 9 miles were a good learning experience. I love the marathon, but man… it can be a long ways to go when things aren’t going well. I have never hit the wall before or have been forced to walk in a race. I learned about nutritional techniques I can try to keep sodium and electrolytes in balance to prevent the cramping.

After resting for the last 2 days, my legs feel a lot better and am already looking forward to running again. I’m looking forward to getting back into training, increasing my long runs, and someday having a breakthrough marathon.


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New Nike+ Sportband 2.0

Posted by audaciousalbert on August 10, 2009

Recently, my Nike+ iPod died! I needed another way to track my miles. I was thinking about a Garmin Forerunner or the Nike+ Sportband. Since I love Nike products, and am on a broke college student budget, I went with the less expensive Nike+ Sportband (retails for $59).

It’s awesome so far. I jogged 4 miles around the track in the middle lane. The sportband measured a pretty darn accurate 1.06 miles! The next day, I went on a measured 7 mile run, and the sportband read 6.95 miles upon completion. That’s great accuracy out of the box without calibration.

I also like the simplistic design of the sportband. It’s functional, aesthetic, works as a watch, and does a great way of tracking my runs. A backlight would be nice so I could see the screen when it’s darker. As long as water doesn’t get into this screen or the battery doesn’t die suddenly, I think I’m good. I think these things have been fixed in this new version (2.0) of the sportband.

Here are some of the benefits/features of the sportband from the nikestore website:

  • Tracks distance, pace, time and calories burned
  • Memory captures and stores 30 hours worth of running data
  • Removable Nike+ Link for quick connection to
  • Doubles as a watch with time display
  • Enhanced display for increased readability, improved water resistance
  • Automatic battery recharge when Nike+ Link is plugged into your computer
  • Stainless steel popper closure holds band in place and offers an adjustable fit
  • Durable polycarbonate case
  • Pre-curved polyurethane band for lightweight comfort
  • Includes Nike+ sensor to be placed in your Nike+ ready shoes
  • One size

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RIP my Nike+ iPod

Posted by audaciousalbert on August 4, 2009

The other day on my long run, something tragic happened. At the start of the run, I turned on my iPod with Nike+ as usual then proceeded to run. However, about 2 miles into the run, I took my iPod out to check the pace, and got a strange error message which said, “Firewire connections are not supported. To transfer songs, connect the USB cable provided. Press center to dismiss.” Also, my workout had been ended. I then proceeded to press the center button, and start a new workout. Soon after (~.5 miles), I heard a voice come on through my headphones which said “Workout ended. Press the center button to end your workout.” (or something along those lines)… What?! I didn’t end my workout. At this point, I didn’t bother to restart my Nike+, and just ran with the music.

When I got home, I did a search for the error, and saw on some forums that other people have been experiencing the same thing. The conclusion I got is that water is the culprit. It seems as though water (or sweat, as I know I sweat profusely… probably more than the average runner) has gotten into the dock or receiver which causes the error. Ok! I’ll let it dry out, and try again. On my run yesterday, I ran with my iPod in my pocket sans music. When I got back from the run (~7 miles), the iPod read .54 miles. I may need to get a new iPod, receiver, or sensor (I have gone through 3 of them already). Either way, I think this one is burned out from running. May it RIP.

Well, it was good while it lasted. At least the iPod is still good for music, podcasts, and all that jazz. Not sure if I should replace it, invest in one of those new Nike+ Sport bands, or jump on the Garmin bandwagon. I like the Nike+ website and tracking my runs.

As a tribute to my old Nike+:

Thanks for getting me through 217 workout and 1222.11 miles, and earning me trophies, metals, and helping me attain my running goals. You have lived a very fulfilling life.

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Weekly Training Update

Posted by audaciousalbert on August 3, 2009

Monday: 5 miles recovery from Sunday’s 1/2 marathon
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: 7 miles (in the hot sun ~107 F)
Thursday: 5 miles (still ~100 F)
Friday: 3 miles (weather is still in the 90s!)
Saturday: 15 miles

Weekly Total: 35 miles

A week full of hot weathered runs – not the typical Oregon weather.

Best run of the week was Saturday’s long run. It was the toughest thing I did in a while. As I headed out the door, I felt great. 2 miles into the run, I started dripping sweat. Due to the hot weather, my pace dropped significantly so my focus was just to put the miles in and get back home.

Next week’s long run will be 17 miles.

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Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 28, 2009

I recently became a fan of Haruki Murakami’s writing after a friend suggested some of his books to me. And after I found out he wrote a memoir about running, I had to read it!

In this simple book, Murakami describes his marathon and triathlon training and the impact it had on his writing and lifestyle. Furthermore, he highlights key moments in his life which helped define himself as a person and author.

Although I am not an aspiring novelist or writer of any sort, I found this work very inspirational and relatable to my own lifestyle. It talks about more than running and writing, but also of the struggles that come from a busy lifestyle, and dealing with various conflicts that arise. He talks about how he handled with these events and how they shaped his own life, built character, and defined new aspirations.

I especially enjoyed reading about the mental cycles he went through while training and racing whether it be from running solo from Marathon to Athens, running his first ultramarathon, or running in the New York City Marathon. The mantras that he repeated, the excruciating pain experienced, and the relief and accomplishment felt upon completion are all concisely described. Any runner or athlete will be able to relate to it.

From reading this memoir, I have more respect for Murakami for his lifestyle and strong commitment to running and writing.

Thanks Haruki for sharing your experiences, struggles, failures, redemptions, and successes with us.

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2009 Lacamas Lake Half Marathon Recap

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 27, 2009

It was a beautifully warm day. Many runners (around 1500 I hear) ventured out to Camas High School to participate in the Lacamas Lake 1/2 Marathon Run/Walk, and 4 Mile Run/Walk events. Parking was ample, port-o-potties were not. Needed to use the restroom about 20 minutes before the race; they had about 15 port-o-potties lined up and the line was huge, but seemed to move along pretty well. I made it to the start line with about 3 minutes to do some strides and quick stretching.

Miles 1-5: The first mile was almost all downhill with a pretty steep downhill in the first 800 meters. I knew I should start out slow to avoid hitting any kind of wall so I cruised along at about 7:20 pace for a while till I hit mile 5. At around the 5k mark, I glanced down at my watch and it read somewhere around 22:30.

Miles 5-8: We ran by a golf course, and faced some gradual uphills and downhills, and a pretty significant hill starting at around mile 6-6.5. The downhill part felt nice, and it was an out and back part of the course, so I was able to see some friends as I made the turnaround.

Miles 8-12: This part of the course turned into a trail and went along the lake. Nice views of the lake! It was hard to see who was ahead of me, and I was running by myself for a good few miles. There were plenty of walkers along the side which I passed who offered some much needed encouragement. At around mile 10, there was an aid station where I hastily ripped open my energy gel packet, consumed the contents, chugged a few big gulps of water, and was off to finish the last ~5k of the race.

Mile 12-12.5: Passed 12 mile marker… Great! Only 1.1 miles left, I’m feeling pretty good, got some energy left, I’ll be able to finish this strong and fast, right? Not quite… made a right turn, and faced a big hill!!! The website describes this part of the race as “…a pretty steep uphill climb, so save a little extra energy!” Pretty steep?? How about EXTREMELY STEEP?! This should have been bolded and underlined, and highlighted in red! I exaggerate of course, but many people resorted to walking, and I was reduced to a slow jaunt which probably would have been as fast as walking, but I refuse to walk during a race! I was so relieved to make it to top of the hill, round the corner, and see the track where we would be finishing.

Finish: I did my best to mask my exhaustion and to look like I was finishing strong (see finish video). Official chip time: 1:34:58, and new PR! Great race!!!

My Finish Video!


My sister and I before the Race

Beautiful views of Lacamas Lake… a very scenic course!

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Training Update and Upcoming Races

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 20, 2009

Training Last week (7/12 – 7/18):

MONDAY: 7 miles
WEDNESDAY: 7 miles
THURSDAY: 6 miles
SATURDAY: 10 miles

TOTAL for the week: 30 miles


Upcoming Race Schedule:

Lacamas 1/2 Marathon: July 26
(maybe) Hulaman 1/2  Marathon: August 16
(maybe) USA Productions: Portland Run America – 5k: September 6
Pints to Pasta 10k: September 16
Komen Race for the Cure: September 20
Marine Corp Marathon: October 25


Current PRs:

5k: 18:00 (2008 Race for the Cure)
8k: 32:25 (2009 Run for the Cheetah)
10k: 42:05 (2008 Nike Human Race – Portland)
15k: 1:07:48 (2009 Shamrock Run)
Half Marathon: 1:35:15 (2009 Race for the Roses)
Marathon: 3:34:01 (2008 Portland Marathon)

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2009 Inaugural Oregon Prelay Race Recap

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 19, 2009

Last weekend (July 9-10) was the inaugural Oregon Prelay, a relay race consisting of 12 person teams starting from Portland (well, actually Tualatin), and ending in Eugene with the last leg ending along Prefontaine’s trail in Eugene.

I did not know too much about this event until about 3 weeks before when I found out I won a free team entry from OregonLive. Thank you OregonLive, RunOregon blog and EPIC Relays! EPIC Relays are the organizers behind the awesome relay event. More information about them can be found here: and on their blog:


The organizers were very helpful and flexible with me when I was trying to assemble my team of 12 runners. Before I knew it, team “Eat More, Run Less” was fully assembled along with mascot, Teddy!

Directions were marked well except for one incident when one of our runners took a wrong turn. Other than that, we the markers which indicated exchanges and van tradeoffs were placed well. My favorite marker was the “One Mile to Go” which after seeing, I strategically picked up my pace. All the volunteers were also helpful and friendly.

Van #1 at the start line ready to go!

The Course:

The course was beautiful! We ran along small roads and witnessed amazing scenery that I never knew existed in Oregon despite living here for 20+ years. Although there were some narrow shoulders along the course which we had to be careful running through, most of our legs seemed pretty safe. I’m sure the directors are working on marking the course better in order to increase safety for next year’s epic race.

A cool stream at a park located at one of the van exchanges

Never knew or heard of the Oregon Garden before, but looks like something to check out in the future

Imagine running against this sunset… amazing!


Although I initially thought we were going to be a noncompetitive team just going out here to have some fun, I think the competitive runners in us came out when we realized we were the lead team. Since there was a wave start and we had an earlier start time, we were unsure of how far behind the other teams were. With each leg, my split times became faster:

Leg #4: 6.0 Miles (Rating: Hard) – 7:06 min/mile pace

Leg #16: 7.7 Miles (Rating: Very Hard) – 6:56 min/mile pace

Leg #28: 2.4 Miles (Rating: Mild) – 6:05 min/mile pace

Looks like I got a pretty good speed workout in for my last leg. If only I could keep these paces up for a marathon… 🙂

As a team, we ended up placing 1st in our division (Mixed Open) and 3rd overall in a time of 23 hrs 47 minutes 32 seconds.

Thanks Stewart for taking all these great pictures! (maybe next time I won’t be so lazy to take my camera out of my bag)

Overall, it was a very EPIC race, and I had an amazing time participating in it. I am looking forward to it next year, and highly recommend it to everyone reading this.

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Running in the Rain

Posted by audaciousalbert on November 15, 2008



It was raining (Oregon style) the other day, and I decided to go running with some friends. We did a couple of loops along Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, across the Hawthorn Bride towards SE, back along the Eastbank Esplanade, and back across the Steel Bridge. Although I am not a great, highly experienced/hardcore runner, while on that run, I realized how much I really like running. I didn’t even care(too much) that it was raining bullets and I was dripping wet the whole time. Maybe it was adrenaline that kept me going for duration of the 5.97(according to my iPod’s Nike Plus sensor) miles, or the fact that there were bagels and refreshments waiting for us back at Niketown(for Run Club).

Anyways, I had a blast! Perhaps I should blog about something other than running. Stay tuned for other interesting and audacious blog entries! 😉

Thanks for running with me, Noel and Ginny! 🙂


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2008 Portland Marathon Reflection

Posted by audaciousalbert on October 20, 2008

The Portland Marathon was amazing! It was my very first marathon and I hope to be able to run it again(and faster) in following years. Even though it rained on us, I thought the crowd support was good, especially at the start, in the neighborhoods after crossing the St. John’s Bridge, and in the final miles. I am proud(and a little shocked) that I was able to continuously run the whole time. My previous longest run to date was about 18 miles. My final time ended up being 3:34:01 which equates to around 8:10 miles. I started out in the 3:45 pace group; Tanja who was the Red Lizard pace leader was very nice. I past that pace group early on in the race and wasn’t able to catch up to any of the other pace groups. Although I don’t think I slowed down too much in the last few miles, the last mile in particular felt like the longest mile I have ever ran in my life. Perhaps a Boston qualifier marathon time (< 3:11) is in my future; it’s a stretch, maybe not for another few years.

2008 Portland Marathon results are posted here:

The course was good and well laid out. Because of the rain, some of the views from the St. John’s Bridge, and around the University of Portland were slightly obstructed.

During the race, I consumed Ultima(a replenishing energy drink), water, and 4 packets of Gu(energy gel). I took a bit of a risk by taking Gu for the first time the day before the race just to see if it would upset my stomach. It didn’t, and worked well during the race.

My sister ran the 5 miler event, and my mom was a volunteer. There was a plethora of food and drinks available at the finish line and I also got a snazzy metal, foil blanket, rose, tree seedling, and a pretty awesome finisher’s shirt.

After the race, I felt super sore for the next 3 or so days. I have a new appreciation for banisters when going up and down stairs(especially down).

I love this video! It reminds me of how I felt the day after the marathon:

I am now fully recovered and ready to start training for my next race! 🙂

warmed up and ready to go!

warmed up and ready to go!

My mom and I before the race

My mom and I before the race

Cathi and Dat, morning of the race

Cathi and Dat, morning of the race

26.2 miles later...

26.2 miles later...

After the race showing off my shiny new medal!

After the race showing off my shiny new medal!

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