Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Run Daddy Run

So Garth participated in his first ever marathon in Austin this past Sunday, February 14.


He approached this event in his life pretty much like he does everything... he took the laid-back-minimalist approach. Here is a peak into his training log...

Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5:30AM: CrossFit Central workout

Monday-Friday around lunch time: If he was lucky he ran at lunch. Which averaged about twice a week he would get in about 3-5 miles

January 24: Austin 3M Half Marathon finished in 2:00:31

Saturday, February 6: Ran 13.2 miles in our neighborhood

Sunday, February 14: Ran the Austin Marathon

Yes, folks that is it, that is all he did to train for a marathon. No running every day months in advance gradually increasing his distance like normal marathon people. No, no, no.

Race day arrived and Garth was gone by 4:45AM to get to the starting line.

The girls and I were ready in our outfits and loaded with our cheer gear by 8:30AM and off to the first stop. Yes, I did say outfits! I made them and our signs the night before around midnight... what do ya think?

Anyway, our first cheering spot was mile 11. Garth looked great. All smiles, not really breathing hard. He stopped for a couple of minutes to see his girls.

The second stop was mile 15. The girls and I had our sign and were so excited to see him run up to us again with all smiles. At this point his shoe laces were tied too tight so he had to do some readjusting but that was the only complaint.

The third stop was mile 21. He was almost finished at this point. While waiting for him we saw many brave runners nearing the completion of their journey. You could tell that this point in the marathon was one of the turning points for the runners. Their faces had the look of determination to finish. We listened to the runners motivate each other to keep going they were almost finished.... some looked like they could lay down and collapse and some looked so happy that they could run another 26.2 miles! Garth was this person... he knew at this point that he was going to finish and that was his goal, to finish.

I have always heard of people who run marathons getting blisters and losing toenails... gross! But Garth's feet look just the same. He wore these silly toe socks (injinji) that I guess did their job. He still has ALL of his toenails and NO blisters!

As a Family we had so much fun cheering Garth on and celebrating his accomplishment. I really wasn't sure that his training was going to be enough to get him through the race but it did. I think that speaks volumes for our CrossFit training.

OK, now a word from Garth on the marathon:

Greetings to those few who follow our blog! We definitely appreciate you taking the time to read about our experiences. I'll give you my opinion on the marathon, from the runner/jogger perspective. Looking back it was fun and not too difficult. Funny how our memories work that way. I really didn't plan on running the full marathon, but I missed the registration for the half and decided why not give it a try. At the time I was already registered for the OKC marathon in April, so this would just be that much more training and experience before that event. So I registered for the 26.2. Here is my training:
For the weeks leading up to Feb. 14 I really wanted to get more miles in training-wise. Definitely more than the 10-15 miles per week I usually get. But those who know me understand my tendency to procrastinate. This has worked out well for me in most situations: cramming for tests, hitting the snooze until I'm left with absolutely the shortest amount of time needed to get ready in the morning, etc. Training for a marathon? Probably not a good thing to cram for at the last minute. My goal was just to survive. I knew I could do 13.1, as I had just accomplished that a few weeks earlier at the 3M Half-marathon (2:00:31). So at the last minute I decided I had better get in at least one long run the weekend before the event. So Saturday, Feb. 6th, I set out to run 18-20 miles. I got about 13.5 done and called it a day. Good enough for me. Seriously, I felt good enough after that run to know I could keep going for a lot longer.

Day of the run:
CARBO-LOAD!!! I ate a huge plate of fettucini alfredo 5 minutes before the race. OK, not really. Since Nat and I are following a relatively strict Paleo diet, a high-carb diet wasn't an option. No big deal, our bodies burn fat and protein just as well (or better). So for breakfast that morning I had a hard-boiled egg, an avocado, a handful or two of nuts and dried cranberries, and some dried coconut. And coffee of course.

During the run I consumed additional calories. Two packets of almond butter (Justin's Nut Butter Natural Honey Almond Butter Squeeze Packs....YUM!), a couple of Gu packets (not a huge fan....too sugary), and all the free orange slices the friendly folks beyond mile 20 would offer me.

My race strategery: To take it easy. It's a marathon, not a sprint. So I expected to run about a 10:30 min/mile pace. Super easy to maintain for a long distance. I think everyone has that speed at which they feel they could run forever. For me, its about a 10 minute mile, so I was going to take it even slower to save some gas in the tank because after all, I had never done this before. And it worked. I got tired towards the end, but never exhausted. I never had to catch my breath. Never even started breathing hard. For that I have to thank the friendly folks at Crossfit Central. I've suffered through some workouts that have truly left me on the floor wishing for the end. Running (or jogging) 26.2 miles didn't even come close. Sure there was pain of wear and tear on the body after mile 20, but it wasn't unbearable. It was just pain. And I've felt much worse 3 times a week. Crossfit is all about intensity, and for me running a marathon in the time it took me to do it (4:56), there was no intensity.

And thanks to everyone cheering on the runners during the race. I had to correct them several times though, as they mistakenly referred to my pace group as "runners". "We are the jogging and walking crowd. The runners have already finished."

For those wanting to qualify for Boston or run something sub 3:30, my strategy obviously won't work. Lucky for me, that is never going to be one of my goals. Have you seen those people? They just don't look healthy.

I did enjoy the experience of putting my body through another challenge. I look forward to more marathons or trying a half-ironman in the future, maybe even the full ironman one day. And if the opportunity exists to stop for a few moments on the sideline and visit with my beautiful wife and kids then I will do just that. I'll even pose for some photos.


  1. Go Garth go! AMAZING!!! I love the shirts and signs! How did you make those? With all your awesomeness I guess! I love you guys and miss you much! I have enjoyed the post so much! Keep em comin"!

  2. nice job...i'll be there very soon...i'm starting biking to take some weight off so my knees don't flip out

  3. Everything for Garth is so easy, BECAUSE HE NEVER GETS RUFFLED! Such an awsome job Garth and Natalie love the fact that you are blogging about your days.... Love you four!

  4. Somehow i'm not surprised garth chose "Justin's Nut Butter" for protein.