Category Archives: Marathon

Halloween Marathon – 2015

October 31, 2015

Earlier this month, my friend Gilbert Barragan (Jr.), ran his first marathon.  I helped a bit with the training (bringing him needed ice-cold beers on the long runs), but his real assistance came in the form of Eddie Hahn, another hasher, who is also a Marathon Maniac.  Eddie ran with Gil the whole way and sent him on to a 5:00:22 marathon, a really good debut run.

I first met Eddie at a hash several years ago and we bonded on the fact that we had both had published articles in Marathon & Beyond Magazine. I think he got extra copies for me when his was published, too.

Eddie and I often have discussions about who has run more long distance races (he has, by far).  Mostly the discussion gets into actual mileage on races.  With my last ultra, my total full marathons and ultras totaled 101 (with 26 being marathons).  I think I have figured the total mileage is equivalent to 143 marathons.  Long Beach was Eddie’s 198th marathon.

All that being said, Eddie’s 50th birthday is next Saturday and he is running the Revel Canyon Marathon, and he wants it to be his 200th marathon.  Thus, he needs 1 marathon in between Long Beach and Revel so the numbers work out.

He decided to do a Charlie Alewine event, which is going to be loops somewhere in Long Beach.  I have done several of his races, but nothing recently.  I had told him that if he needed extra bodies to make the race “official.” (Marathon Maniacs has some standards as to what counts as an official race.  I think people were running “Virtual Marathons,” which is just you running and telling someone your time – to me, that is NOT a race, that is training.)  I was not wild about doing a cement loop marathon, but I was game to help out a friend… if I could get a decent deal on the race.

I made an arrangement with the race director (can’t tell you the rate, I promised) for a time-only rate (no shirt, no medal, no trophy – I don’t need those anyway), and I was in.

Because I am nuts, I decided to walk down to the race start from my house (about 2.5 miles).  When I arrived, Eddie (and Laura) were already out on the course.  I thought they were all doing the regular start, but everyone started early (except for me).  Laura’s marathon apparently included the mileage to and from her house (kinda that Virtual thing again).

The loop course started at the start of the bike path and then ran basically out to the end of the bike path (plus 200 yards past by the marina), and back.

I felt OK at the beginning, but started to get tired as the race progressed.  Each half loop was about a 5K (a little longer), so I could see how I started to fall apart as the race progressed.

First two sets:   32:13 and 31:42
Second two sets:  40:50 and 44:15

On my third set, Eddie walked with me.  I know it was really really slow.  He was pretty tolerant, but then again, he wants to run a good race next weekend, so why push it?
Third set:  48:34 and 51:57

Eddie finished and I went on to do my final loop.  I started seeing all the folks doing marathon training from TRH plus some TRIBE folks getting ready for the Arizona Ironman.

I had horrible blisters in such a bad place that I actually did at least a half mile by turning my right foot completely sideways and walking normally with my other foot.  Awkward.  Literally awkward.  A number of my friends out training asked if I needed assistance.  No, thank goodness I’m almost there!
Last set:  40:32 and 45:58

Total time was 5:36:53.  Pretty good considering that I walked 60% of it.  It also cements the fact that I don’t like running on cement.  Ouch.

Now I did have another 2.5 miles to walk home, but when Laura ran home to finish her marathon, she convinced Chuck to come pick me up and drive me back home.

Later that day, I walked to Chipotle for my free Boo-rito and then to K Dubs Halloween Party, and then homes, so I ended up getting in 35.6 miles for the day.

Afterword:  Since I was the only regular time marathon starter, I won the marathon (but I didn’t have the fastest time).  Eddie ran his fastest marathon in several years for his 200th/50th birthday run, and qualified for Boston.


Runnin’ with Dad Marathon – 2011

June 19, 2011

Decided to do another Charlie Alewine loop race on Father’s Day to Honor my father.  I fashioned a laminated photo of him to pin to my back.  Of course, people asked me when my father had died… but I tried to point out “In HONOR,” meant that he was still alive.  (In Memory is dead.)

In Honor of Richard Rahl

In Honor of Richard Rahl

The course is similar to the half marathon I did a year ago January, with a loop around the Colorado Lagoon and then out-and-back down Appian Way to the cul de sac (by the Naples Yacht Club).  A loop is 4.37 miles and we will do 6 of them.  I am joined by AREC members Laura Sohaskey and Nick Kincaid.

I am hoping to continue my good feeling from last week’s Boeing run (and shut away my bad feeling from work – things should be wrapping up but my boss is in the weeds).

My first loop takes me 35:50, or about 8:11/mile.  It feels fast-ish, but we will see how things transpire.  I would like to win this race… or at least finish in the top 3 (because the top 3 get a trophy!).

Loop 2 takes 37:11 – a drop down to 8:30/mile.  I am still in the lead, but do not have a huge lead on Nick and another runner.  I also spot Ed Ettinghausen (“Run Jester Run”) but he may be doing his own thing.

Loop 3 takes 37:52 (minimal drop), but I am going to be caught and I am not going to accelerate back into the lead.

Loop 4 takes 42:09 – a drop of another minute per mile – though my overall pace is still under 9:00/mile pace.

Loop 5 takes 45:02 – now I am over 10 minutes per mile for the loop (but still slightly under 9:00/mile).  I get passed and I drop into 3rd place.

Loop 6 is the slowest of the 6, with a 48:43, catapulting me over 9:00/mile pace for the entire race, but I finish in a time of 4:06:50, which is my fastest marathon in 8 years.  I also finish in 3rd place and get that coveted trophy.

My trophy

My trophy

One other milestone of note is that today my lifetime miles topped 20,000 miles!

Coto Trail Marathon – 2011

May 30, 2011

Today I am running my 25th marathon, with Charlie Alewine Racing.  It’s a Trail Marathon (well, trails, with street crossing gaps in between).  The essential course is a 5-mile loop (down and up), followed by a 1-1/2 mile loop on the road to the Coto de Caza gate and back.

I have the option to run in whatever order I want to, so I am doing it sort of “washing machine style,” which means I do a 5-mile loop, then two of the 1.5-mile loops, then 2 5-mile loops, etc.

I go out too fast for the first 5 miles, at a sub-8:00/mile pace (38:57).  I state that it is too fast, because while I did do a sub-8:00/mile pace for Portland Marathon, this is a different animal… and I don’t need to go out so fast.

When I get back to do my 2 1.5-mile loops, I pull back on the pace a bit, doing both at right around 18 minutes (or 12:00/mile).

For my next 2 5-mile loops, I go a little more hesitantly and do 51 minutes and 45 minutes (around 9-10 minute pace), followed by 2 1.5-mile loops at walking pace (around 25 minutes or 15:00/mile).

On the last 5 mile loop, I am very tired (as evidenced by my slow pace for the two 1.5 mile loops) and do 70 minutes, and finish the marathon in 4:51… which is not a bad time for a trail marathon.

For the first half of the race, I was within shouting distance of the top 3, but as I faded for the second half, I ended up coming in 4th place overall and the 3rd man.  Plus… I finished over 3 HOURS faster than Todd Byers!!

Independence Day Marathon – 2010

July 5, 2010

The Independence Day Marathon is actually NOT on Independence Day, but the nomenclature of the Charlie Alewine Racing may have to do more with the limit of names around certain holiday times (Stars & Stripes, Patriotic, etc.).  It doesn’t really matter.  This is another one of those race “series” where people run a marathon a day on three consecutive days (but where I run one in one day).

I’m back out to the location of a previous race (a 50K that became a marathon when Laura didn’t want to wait), though this is a slightly different iteration of that Coto de Caza course.  The trail is 80% horse trail; the other 20% is a little bit of street running and crossing streets in between horse trail sections.

The course starts out and we run from the Recreation Park to the main road (paved) and about a half mile RT loop to and from the guard gate.  As we pass the Park, we hop onto the Horse Trail and it is rolling hills to the turnaround about 2.5 miles (with a downhill trend), and then it returns back to the Park, for a total of 6.55 miles.

I walk quite a bit on the uphill sections, just to conserve my strength.  I am trying to stay consistent, and I also have a goal to win the race (though I am not sure that is possible today).  The nice part on an up-and-back course is that you can see exactly where you are in the scheme of things, and also have the opportunity to greet, as well as encourage your competition.  On three occasions, I get to see Aussie Alison Kirkpatrick, who is running the half marathon (and is the female winner and 2nd overall).

I finish my first loop in 65 minutes and am a few minutes behind third place and well behind the first and second place runners.

On my second loop, I catch the third place runner and vow to do all I can to maintain my pace and also play strategic tricks on him when I see him after the turnaround to dissuade him from catching up.  I finish the second loop in 71 minutes, and am about 3 minutes ahead of 3rd place.

On the 3rd loop, I see a few more people.  There were about 8 early starters and they were confused on the course, so they did the 2-loop version (basically a 13.1 mile loop) and we don’t really get to see them at all.  I am pushing the pace on the downhill sections (because I know I will walk the uphills), but I don’t know if my strategy is working… or if the guy behind me went out too fast and is just slowing down.  I finish in 73 minutes and am about 15 minutes ahead of 3rd.

On the final loop, the heat is starting to get to me a bit and I am not running very quickly on the downhills, but I am relieved to encounter 4th (and now 5th) place WELL behind me.  I “lap” them on the downhill section.  I finish in 4:47:12, which is a decent time for a trail marathon, especially one that I just decided to run last minute.

Love Your Heart Marathon – 2010

February 15, 2010

Picked a Charlie Alewine loop course marathon for my February marathon (or longer) distance race.  I picked this event both for its availability and locale… and I guess it also didn’t hurt that most of its participants were running a marathon a day for three consecutive days.

The course was 4 – 6 mile loops around Huntington Beach’s Central Park and surrounding community.  The weather was relatively cool in the morning, but got warmer fairly fast.

On the first loop, I was a minute or two ahead of second place… that’s right, I was leading the charge.  There were maybe 10 competitors, and three of us hadn’t run a marathon on Saturday and Sunday.  The second place runner, some gal, was one of the “fresh” ones.  The other “fresh” runner was the sister of one of the runners, put into the race with the intention of replacing said runner in the “DFL” (Dead… Last) position.  That runner, one Yolanda Holder, had run probably 12 marathon races already in 2010.  Unfortunately, her sister beat her by two minutes.

On my second loop, I built a lead of about 5 minutes on second place and was able to build on that lead with the third and fourth laps, despite the fact that I walked a bit on each of those two laps.  I finished in 4:17, 8 minutes ahead of second place.

After the race, I talked briefly with a gal that was doing her first (or one of her first) marathon, Jessica Montoya.  She said that she was interested in running ultras in the future.  I figured I would see her at another one of Charlie’s races, as you tend to see the same (maniacal) people at many of his races.

Coto de Caza Marathon – 2009

October 24, 2009

Laura convinced me to run a Trail Ultra with her in Coto de Caza.  Apparently, to deal with the appeal of running marathons, there are people that put on several marathons a month (small) for lower costs than the big city races.  Today’s race director, Charlie Alewine, is an ultra runner himself, and provides the timing, a central aid station, course mapping, and a t-shirt.  I think we paid $30.

The course was pretty difficult.  We start out in the Coto de Caza (a gated community where they film “The Real Housewives of Orange County”) Park and run a half-mile loop on a dirt trail that is solid uphill.

We come about halfway down and then turn off to the right.  This eventually brings us to the street and we follow the street down to the main road, and circle back up to the park (the sidewalks are also horse trails, so the pavement is minimal).

After finishing this loop, then you head back up the steep hill, turn around and then go to the left.  This somewhat connects to a county park trail (a somewhat awkward drop onto the path) which pops out just outside of the Coto complex.  We run past the guardhouse on the main road and back to the park.

This double-loop is about 5.2 miles, so the intent is to do 6 loops, which would be 50K, give or take.

Laura is having a really good run, and I am having a so-so run.  I can tell by looking at her posted splits that she is getting further and further ahead of me.

When I finish my 5th full loop, I am notified by Charlie that Laura does not want to wait for me to finish my 6 loops because she has places to be (and because I drove with her, I am impelled to obey).  I am able to complete the final out-and-back to top out over the marathon distance… or closer to 26.4 miles.  It’s either my worst marathon in 6 hours and 41 minutes… or my best 26.4 mile race ever!

“Dumb Beerathon” Marathon – 2008

September 5, 2008

This is just a post about an adventure.  This doesn’t figure into my races in any kind of official way.

I have mentioned that I created my own (difficult) marathon course through Long Beach… and that I have put on some for fun events based upon ideas I had (like doing my own relay) or Hash House Harrier-related events.

My friend Jimmy Lewis and I decided we would put on a “Beerathon” – essentially a full marathon, with opportunities for 12 beer stations along the way (mostly at friends’ houses; one at a bar).

The rules were as follows:

** Runners could do a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, or 10K (but for the shorter distances they would need to join us mid-course, and only start when marathoners first arrived, and we wouldn’t be able to drive them back).  The Marathon was to start at 4:00pm on Friday afternoon.

** There was also a Bike Marathon option, starting at 5:30pm.  Bikers would take over the marking of the course as soon as they overtook the runners.

** For each full beer consumed (limit of 1 per stop), a runner could subtract 10 minutes from his total time.  Time to consume the beer was included in the total time, so it was possible that drinking a beer would ADD time to the total.

** As each beer was consumed, the pull tab or cap (or something to demarcate the beer) would be added to the runner’s finishing medal, which was fishing line in a loop around the runner’s neck.

I don’t think a lot of runners were really excited about doing a full marathon, but some people said they might meet us midway to run or just for moral support.  At 4pm, Jimmy and I started the timer and immediately cracked open a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), downed it, and added the pull-tab to our “necklace.”

We now set off at a comfortable jog.

I should mention that I was running with chalk (to mark the turns, though I had marked some of it previously the day before) and two water bottles (and my electrolyte pills) because staying hydrated would help me finish and getting drunk would get me dehydrated.

Our next beer (#2) was at Danial Singer’s house (aka “Chewy”) right around Mile 2.  In order to get in 12 beers in 26 miles, you should average about 1 every 2 miles; however, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to actual have a stop EVERY 2 miles… because after 10 miles, I would be too drunk to continue.  We had this stop AT 2 miles, because of its closeness to the course.  Beer done, pull tab off.

The next few miles were through the CSULB campus, over to Studebaker, briefly through El Dorado Park to Bernice’s (“Special”) for a beer (#3).  Hi, Special.  Beer done, pull tab attached.

Back onto Studebaker, across Carson Street into Lakewood to Debbie and Steve’s (aka “Cornie” and “Head and Shoulders”) house for a beer (#4).  Their house was around 9 miles (our average has dropped down a bit).  Beer done, pull tab attached.

By now, the bikers should be off and behind us, and hopefully will catch us soon so I don’t have to stop any more and mark arrows for the turns!

We go back across Carson, back onto Studebaker, but veer right onto Los Coyotes Diagonal to cut across toward Signal HIll.  Just after the 6-way intersection (Clark, Los Coyotes and Stearns), we make a turn into the neighborhood to Laura & Jon (“Sucks on Trail” and “Double Dipper”)’s house with a couple of yippie dogs (who are excited to see us) for another Beer (#5).  Beer done, pull tab attached.  Mile 12 done.

Now we head over into Signal HIll proper and the halfway point, where we think some people will meet us at Steve’s house (“Double Entry”).  There are a couple of fast guys (not so fast, guys) who want to run a half, and a guy who quickly biked over here (who wanted to do the full, but we didn’t know) who wants to run the rest of the way with us (Steve will truck his bike to the end).  Beer (#6) done, pull tab attached.  Mile 13.1.

From Steve’s, we go about a block to Hill Street (18% grade) and head up the hill (about 0.25 mile), turn left and we are at “Open Fly”‘s daughter’s garage (I don’t know his real name.) for yet another beer (#7).  Done, pull tab attached.

We do a little more circling around Signal Hill (more steep up- and downhills) and work our way across Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) down to Anaheim Street and Joe Jost’s for another beer (#8).  I had previously stopped at Joe Jost’s when I ran a version of this marathon course to train for my 50M/marathon back-to-back run last year.  I knew I could get a small beer for a couple of dollars, and that would be a good idea, because I was starting to feel it (even with drinking water)… but no, no small beer for me, because the bar was packed and people were excited about our adventure and someone bought me a Schooner (20 oz.) AND a Joe Jost’s keychain.  Beer… do…n…e, keychain attached.

Our next stop was at Inger & Zack’s (“Snow” and “Hitter”).  I had to call them to come out, because we were WAY off schedule… and where are those cyclists?  Inger came out with a beer for me, Jimmy and the rest of the guys running with us (#9), and I added the pull tab from the finished beer to my collection.  WHEN the cyclists arrived, they didn’t have the phone number, so they had to bypass.

We also picked up a few runners from Joe Jost’s who ran with us to the end (Inger & Zack’s now about Mile 22).

Next stop was Anne and Scott’s garage (“Beams” and “BBBB”), where they had bottled beer (#10) for us.  Umm… no pull tab, so Scott hammered a hole through the cap with a nail and I added that to my collection.

Next stop is Ken’s place (“Passing Wind”).  I am getting really “S” faced at this point.  I have the directions in hand, but I am starting to question whether they are correct or not (they are), so I decide that I will run in the opposite direction.  Wrong!  Beer (#11) done.

There were a few other options for beer, but one of our downtown options was going to work out as soon as the cyclists passed us (which they still haven’t, so we couldn’t stop there) and somewhat near the end, but he wasn’t home when we came by but was a little later when the bikers came by.

After Kenny’s is my favorite part, which is across the pontoon bridge on Colorado Lagoon and then up the 6th Street hill back to the Start/Finish at the 49r.  Jimmy had arrived a little ahead of me, because he trusted my directions when I didn’t and got a little lead on me (the last few miles I had to walk).  He was waiting for me with my final beer (#12).  No pull tab, no key chain, so I bit a hole through a coaster and added that to my final “medallion.”

Just after I finished, the cyclists finished (what!?!).  One of their group had had a flat and they waited… and they were also just as drunk as we were… er… tipsy.

The total time was 6 hours and 32 minutes MINUS 12 beers times 10 minutes (aka 2 hours).  So, our net time was 4:32.

Our next plan is to do an ultra beer-a-thon, which we think should be 50 miles (probably a loop course) with 2-3 stops every 10 miles (hope that others might consider doing it if it was a relay).