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December 22, 2006

Sad news from the Jacksonville Marathon Georgia man dies after half-marathon run

Ronald Ray and his wife, Maritza, began running six years ago as a way to help them overcome the death of their 2-year old daughter. The couple ran 13 marathons and dozens of half marathons, 5K and 10K races.

Last Sunday, Ronald Ray, 49, collapsed and died after finishing the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.

"We warmed up together. He gave me a kiss before we started, and then we ran together for the first two miles," Maritza Ray said. "I started to speed up, [and] he said, 'You're gonna do great.' I turned to wave to him, and that's the last time I saw him."

I heard about this later Sunday afternoon after the race. I hate hearing these stories. This is the fifth race in the last 2 years that I have participated in where this has happened. The others were:

2004 Gasparilla
2005 River Run
2005 St. Anthony's
2005 BFAST

Mike McLamb forwarded a New York Times article to me a couple of weeks ago regarding folks having heart attacks in running races. Mike included a note for me to ignore the chest pains at mile 15. I had shared with him a blog in the past that discussed the same topic.

When you think about the number of people participating in races, it becomes easier to understand that it is just a matter of statistics. Non-runners (particularly my mother) like to point out that running is the root cause and inherently dangerous. They point to Jim Fixx as the conclusive evidence. But Jim Fixx's father died of a heart attack at the age of 42. Running probably prolonged Fixx's life, even though he only lived to be 52. One of the articles included a quote by a doctor saying "You can't outrun your genes."

Sometimes there are warning signs such as family history, but sometimes it is just your time. Many of the runners I have spoken to this week regarding Sunday's death have said that there are probably worse ways to go than dying doing something you enjoy. It still is tough for the ones you leave behind.

On the results page for the race, the folks from 1st Place Sports included this information:

Ron Ray, age 49, passed away at the finish of the Jacksonville Bank 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. He leaves behind his wife Maritza and 5 children ages 8 to 20. Two are in college. The family has set up a fund to help provide for the children's college. If you would like to contribute the fund is:

Ray's Children College Fund
c/o Cresent Bank
PO Box 688
Jasper, GA 30143

My prayers go out to the Ray family during this difficult time.

December 20, 2006

Go ahead, put it on

Go ahead, put it on your resume. You are the "Time 2006 Person of the Year." Congratulations!

December 17, 2006

Another marathon in the books

I've now run three marathons, and I still can't beat my time in the first one I did. Granted, the weather was perfect in 2004 and I finished in 3:37:30. Last year I blew up at the halfway point and crawled home in 3:50:10.

This year the weather was fairly nice for the first half. Then the fog burned off and the sun started to bear down on us. It was pretty warm 2 hours into the race. I started out just like I planned. Very conservatively. My hip has been causing me problems the last month and I wanted to shoot for even 8:00/mi. splits. Earlier in the fall the plan was for me to run 7:40/mi. splits, but the hip forced me to revise the goal. I was golden for the first 15 miles, averaging somewhere around 8:00. The fastest mile I had was on;y 7:51. I was very happy with my self-control.

But then the wheels fell off. After the race, Rick Patterson told me when the marathon is on your back, there is nothing you can do to recover. He is right.

I started clicking off laps north of 8:10/mi. By mile 21 splits were over 9:00/mi. My finishing time was 3:42:00.

While it is easy to attribute most of the problems on the weather, I think the hip caused me to falter in terms of endurance. I was unable to finish a couple of longer runs over the past month, and I think that had a lot to do with it as well.

Race - Jacksonville Marathon 12-17-2006I was happy to see Karen and the girls, along with Beppy and Nunu at the 13 and 14 mile marks, as well as around mile 23, and finally at the finish. They were holding up signs and cheering for me. After mile 14, I was on the same side of the road as them so I was able to stop and give Emily and Maggie what they call "sweaty, runner kisses" on their foreheads.

Unfortunately, John Womack was hoping to qualify for Boston in this race. He has been running great and looking strong at the track. He needed a 3:15 and I think he finished somewhere around 3:22. Still a great race given the conditions.

The plan is to now take a couple of weeks off and go to a spin class here or there and maybe jump back in the pool.

Then, starting 1/1/2007 it is time to start training for my first half-Ironman!

UPDATE: Race photos have been uploaded.

UPDATE 2: Google Earth file (also viewable at Google Maps).

December 14, 2006

New Forerunner 305

My parents bought me a Forerunner 305 for Christmas. Since I'm running the Jacksonville Marathon this Sunday, I was allowed to have it early. I am very excited I won't have to run with my Polar HR monitor on my left wrist and my Forerunner 201 on my left wrist. Everything is now in one nice package. I'm still hoping for the cadence sensor, so I may have all of my training data needs handled by a single source in time to begin triathlon training next year.

I had heard that the GPS antenna in the 305 was really good. I had no idea how much better it was until I used it for the first time this morning on the track. The 2 photos below tell the story.

Forerunner 201

Forerunner 305

The accuracy of the new unit is incredible. I knew that the tight turns of a track were hard for a GPS to track, but that seems to be a non-issue with the 305.

I can't wait to use it in the marathon!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, that one line that looks like I ran across the field is not an error. I hit the stop button instead of the lap button at the end of an interval and didn't realize the watch wasn't running until I was halfway around the track.

December 12, 2006

Is it just me. . .

. . .or does it seem like one of the pitfalls of having a Tivo or iPod is that they numb your attention sometimes? Lately, I often find myself not paying close attention, and when I realize I'm not paying close attention, my first thought is to rewind. And I'm not talking about just TV or music. Like being at a live football game and missing a play and immediately thinking I should be able to rewind the players on the field.

Or maybe it's just A.D.D.

Sitting in the Birmingham airport

Good business trip to Birmingham. Had a series of good meetings with several prospects.

Now I have a 3 hour wait in the airport. Why?

I moved this trip several times (2 or 3 times). Everytime I changed the date, I changed my flight and hotel. Apparently, I forgot to change my car rental. So yesterday, I had a meeting planned an hour after I touched down. I go to the Hertz counter to get my car and they can't find my reservation. I can't afford to shop around to find someone who has a Taurus sitting around so I had to take whatever Hertz had available. Turns out, it was a Mazda Miata. And based on when I am going to return the car, it's going to be a 2 day rental. This is not going to be an inexpensive sales trip. Great, my boss is going to love this expense report.

Fortunately, my lunch appointment today wanted to grab an early lunch, so I went straight from lunch to the airport to try and get in in during the 1-hour grace period. When I finally returned the car, it was just beyond the grace period, but because I am a loyal Gold member, the folks at the counter adjusted my bill for one day plus a surcharge for an extra hour. Doing this saved $46, and fortunately the Birmingham airport has WiFi so I can get some work done.