Running the Marathon

Date: May 14th 2011, 7:00am
Distance: 26.2 miles
Weather: Perfect

This is it peeps... the post-marathon report. Now, don't get me wrong, while you may have caught some of the photos on Facebook, you won't understand the full experience until you know the juicy details. So here they are:

Here's a pre-race photo of the Brauns than ran: Steven, Michael, Jeffrey and I. We can thank Mom for the matching shirts, although Steven missed the memo we sent out about wearing matching shorts. This was the route we ran:

The race started out in North Idaho, just West of Post Falls. The course went westward along the Spokane River all the way to downtown Spokane. The River has a public paved trail that goes along side it called the Centennial Trail. The whole route has a net elevation drop of 239 feet.

See that doesn't look so bad!

The race started at 7am, ridiculously late, compared to most of the marathons I've seen. I was way worried because I woke up at 5:30 and it was light outside. I was certain that I had slept in (the time zone change always gets me), but I hadn't. It just happens to get light at 5:04 am in Spokane. Who knew?

The weather forecast said a there was a 50% chance of rain but it seemed relatively clear. Steven's friend Cody, who was also running in the race, came over so we packed 6 men into the car (plus my Mom, the poor woman) and cruised out to Post Falls. Standing on the starting line it wasn't that cold, although there was a strong breeze aimed directly in our faces. Fortunately, 200 m off the starting line, we get to turn around and run West the rest of the way, putting that strong wind at our backs. Gotta love that.

Mile 0

5-4-3-2-1, GO! (no gun went off this time... the guy just said "go!")

We started running. There were a lot of runners, 390 to be exact, but they didn't really get in the way (in Ogden, we had to shuffle for the first mile until there was adequate room to run at our normal pace). We did the hair-pin, ran by Michael's place of work (Center Partners, doing customer support for T-Mobile), and eventually got on the Centennial Trail.

Mile 3

(By the way, these mile counts are very approximate)

I'm feeling pretty stiff in my lower legs. Should have stretched beforehand. Also it seemed like everybody was running at a faster pace than I was used to. Steven's watch said we were doing a consistant 8:30 mile. That was probably a little faster than what we needed at the time.

Mile 6

Michael gets the award for the "most entertaining Braun" during the race.
  • Point 1: When the trail cames right up next to the highway, Michael did the truck-driver-honk-your-horn motion with his arm in an attempt to get drivers to honk. His persistence paid off because he finally got somebody to honk after about 4 minutes of motioning. 
  • Point 2: The trail was not closed off for the race, so we often passed people walking or biking in the opposite direction. Without fail, whenever we passed a runner who was going the other direction Michael would shout out "Hey, you're going the wrong way!" 
  • Point 3: See mile 23.
Mile 9

Michael and I had to stop at the Barker freeway exit to visit the Honey Bucket. The other guys slowed down a bit for us, but it still took us maybe 8 minutes to get completely caught up. Unfortunately, this is about when out mile times started slowing down. Where we were once doing 8:30 miles, now we are doing 9:00-9:30s.

Mile 13

Here we cross the halfway point. Our fan club was there so it was nice to get some cheering as we passed by. Here's a photo of us passing by (with Cody leading the way, and Michael in the back thumbing his nose at the fam):

As you can see, the weather was beautiful... sunny with a breeze at our backs (although maybe a tad too warm). Our halfway split time was something like 1 hour and 58 mins. We had to have a good second half in order to get below the 4 hours some of us were aiming for.

Mile 17

Here we left the river and start running in the neighborhoods in the Millwood area. They had cops stopping traffic for the runners so that was nice. By this point Michael was struggling a bit so we started walking through all the aid stations.

Here's the deal with the aid stations. They usually put up an aid station every 1 or 2 miles where they handed out cups of water and HEED. HEED stands for "High Energy Electrolyte Drink," and it was supposed to be something like Gatorade. Unfortunately, it tasted kind of like river water, which was fine for the first 8 miles or so but by this point everybody was just going for the water. Plus with the water, you could dump what you didn't drink on your head. Occasionally, you'll pass an aid station that was handing out some high energy GEL packets, or gummy bears. They Gel was pretty good, cause they had some nice flavors (like apple-cinnamon, or Montana Huckleberry). The Gummy Bears were nice too.

Mile 23

By this point, everybody was hurting but Michael was hurting the most. Steven and Cody must have got a second wind because they got up ahead of the rest of us, where as previously we had all been running as a group. We found ourselves taking occasional breaks to walk for 200 meters here and there. There was a spot where the Spokane River had flooded part of the trail (the water level was really high) and Michael dunked his head in the river. I didn't go that far, but I started taking two cups of water at every aid station: one to drink and one to dump on my head.

Mile 26

Just as we were getting close to finishing, it started to rain, thus proving the curse that whenever Michael goes running with me, it rains. (see Day 16 and Day 34 for examples). In the Day 34 post I even predicted rain for the Marathon because of this trend. I was right.

Anyways, for this last little bit we were in familiar territory, running by the pavilion, the big red wagon, the carousel, and finally the falls. Our group seemed to have an extra burst of energy, giving us good form as we crossed the finish line. Of course, Steven and Cody finished about 6 minutes ahead of the rest of us.

First of all, props to Steven, who got 3rd place in his age group (with Cody right behind him). I think he could have got 2nd had the rest of us not held him back for most of the race. Hey there's always next year.

Here are our final times:
  • #47 Steven Braun - 4:16:34.0 (placed 116th)
  • #336 Cody Spillane - 4:16:34.1 (placed 117th)
  • #46 Michael Braun - 4:22:20.8 (placed 133rd)
  • #44 Bryan Braun - 4:22:21.0 (placed 134th)
  • #45 Jeff Braun - 4:22:21.0 (also placed 134th)
You may find it funny that we finished exactly in reverse order of age (Steven first, and Jeff last). Apparently us older guys have passed our prime. You can see the full list of rankings here.

If you want to see more photos, you can visit this site and type in our bib numbers to find photos that other people took of us along the trail.

It sure was nice just sitting around and eating food when it was all done (Thank to the Dunns for the doughnuts). Overall, I felt a lot better this time than I did at Ogden (although that's probably because I ran 30 minutes faster at Ogden).

I've gotta give a shout-out to Holly and James Mulloy, who ran the half, as well as some of the Johnson girls. And thanks to Elaine and Tim Dunn for volunteering at the finish line. Way to go folks!

In short, we came, we saw, we conquered, and we fell asleep on the living room floor afterwards. Oh yeah.

That's all folks!

Now, I want to properly wrap up the whole training experience. This blog has a record of every training run I've done for the last 5 months. That's a lot of running, but lets put it in perspective. From day 1 of training to the end of the marathon, I have logged the following stats:

  • Total miles ran: 353.6
  • Total calories burned: 39,780
  • Total calories consumed at the buffet at dinner 7 hours after the marathon: 39,780 (approximately)
  • # of times I ran in the rain: 4 (3 of those times were the 3 times I ran with Michael)
  • # of times I ran while it was snowing: 3
  • # of times I failed to do my scheduled run: 4
  • # of bananas spotted on the road while I ran by: 3

Here are a few maps, showing the paths of all my runs:

And lets look in a little more detail:

Now focusing on the spot right outside my house:

Incredible, huh?

So that's it guys. All and all, I had a blast, but honestly I'm going to take a break and not go running for a while. So while this is the end of this blog, you can bet I'll be running again. Someday.

If you didn't get to read about the race, then make sure to check out the Marathon Post.
In the mean time, you can still see what I am up to at Go check it out! I post something there every weekend... usually about cool things I'm learning at school or insights I've had during the week. So please take a look, and remember to click the "join this site" button in the sidebar. Ciao friends!

Day 51: Winding down

Date: May 12th 2011, 8:20am
Distance: 2 miles
Weather: I forgot what the weather was like.


This is exciting stuff... but honestly, it felt like just any other run. Today's trip was a quick little buzz down to T's diner and back. No big deal.

Ever since I started running down this way in January, I kept my eye on this house near T's diner that always had it's Christmas lights up. I kept watching to see when they would take them down. January went by, then February. Then March. Then April. In fact, to this day, they still remain hanging on the house. When will they come down? I guess the world will never know.

So that was the final run. It's always nice going on a run and being back in 20 minutes.

Of course, I'm going to be posting a full update after the big race, so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, if anybody needs me, I'll be chilling in Spokane.

Day 50: Running Behind

Date: May 10th 2011, 8:20am
Distance: 3. miles
Weather: Early

I had to get home, shower, walk to campus and be in my seat at 9:30 am. Needless to say, I was running pretty fast.

As I came back up the road behind the stadium, I saw a man with his dog on a leash, allowing it to perform a naughty deed on somebody's lawn.

Shame. Shame on you.

Because I was in such a hurry, I was really flying down the hill from the temple. I soon realized that running this fast was a little too much impact for me. My feet were really pounding the pavement. I didn't want to risk anything with the marathon coming up, so I slowed down a little. I was so short on time once I got home, that I ran most of the way to class in order to make it.

It was close.

Day 49: Skaters and Sprinklers

Date: May 8th 2011, 11:00pm
Distance: 7.8 miles
Weather: Dark and Warm

Holly spent the day in Salt Lake while I had Daddy duty, so I didn't get to leave for my run until she got back (at about 11pm). When I left it was strangely warm outside... almost muggy.

I made my way up University Parkway to Orem, again. I'm starting to get very familiar with this sidewalk. I've probably run this way 20 times. But I was caught off guard when passing under the overpass and running up the hill, I saw a low dark figure moving at me very quickly. There were no streetlights so I could barely see it, but I thought it was a dog heading toward me a full speed. I did a double-take and it whizzed past me, going faster then any dog I've ever seen. Only then did I realize that it was a guy, laying down on his longboard, doing the "luge," down the hill at top speed, in the middle of the night, in the dark. Had I been running on the other side of the sidewalk, I would have been street pizza. As I continued to run, I passed 4 more longboarders  who were coming down the hill, although these guys were standing up. I was pretty lucky none of them hit me. It's amazing how fast you can get going on a long board.

When I got to the top of the hill, I saw that sprinklers were going off and were watering the sidewalk. I wasn't feeling too warm (wearing just a t-shirt) so the sprinkler guy's miscalculation became my curse. By the way, these were those big sprinklers that rotate around and could get you soaked if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was that guy.

Funny enough, I saw more sprinklers as I got on 800 S Orem and more as I started moving back towards Provo. At one point, as I ran by the intramural field, I got sprayed by one set of sprinklers and they turned off just as I got past them. Then, the next set (located right in front of me) turned on just in time to spray me as I went by. Why do all these sprinklers spray all over the sidewalk and not just the grass anyways? I'm pretty sure that the 180 degree sprinkler heads cost the same as the 360. C'mon people.

It's all good... I just need to rant about something. And the fact that the "something" is sprinklers shows that this run really wasn't that bad at all.

Day 48: Kiwanas

Date: May 5th 2011, 8:00am
Distance: 3.1 miles
Weather: Getting better every day!

I've gotta tell you, I'm loving having shorter runs now that my schedule is winding down as I get closer to the marathon. Now I can just buzz out there and be back in less than 30 mins. Nice.

Today I ran by Kiwanis Park, a Provo landmark. As I went by, I saw the ghosts of ultimate frisbee games past. Good, good, times.

The streetlights were a bit nicer to me today (unlike yesterday). I kept a good pace and before I knew it, I was running up the 63 step stairs by the bell tower. Most 5k's don't have these kind of obstacles along the way (but then again, the 8 mile run in Vegas surprised us too).

As I neared home, running through the parking lot of the Marriott Center, I was surprised to see about 6 or 7 people wandering aimlessly around the parking lot, carrying buckets. It looked like grounds crew people but they were going in random directions, moseying, and generally not doing anything. I wish I could say I was surprised.

Day 47: Early Morning Time Crunch

Date: May 3rd 2011, 7:30am
Distance: 4.7 miles
Weather: Nice and Cool

This morning I was getting ready for school when I looked at the clock and saw that I had an hour before I needed to leave. "If I run really fast," I thought, "then I will be able to get home in time to shower and not be late for school."  However, knowing that the traffic lights don't always work to my favor, it brought an element of gambling to the table. Either way, I knew I had to run fast.

Things went OK all the way down University Parkway, but once I turned back East (near Olive Garden) the traffic lights turned on me. I hit 3 or 4 bad red lights in a row... the kind where you missed your chance to walk across by like 5-10 seconds. I tried to compensate by speeding up between lights but I knew I was lagging behind schedule. Once I got free of the lights, I turned on the afterburners. Unfortunately by that time, I hit the big hills.

I will say that it is kind of fun running through residential areas on a weekday morning. It's like watching Provo wake up. I saw kids walking to school with their brothers and sisters, men walking dogs by the park, and of course the three ladies chatting on a street corner (one of them cheered as I ran by... "run faster!"). I even caught a young girl saying "bye Dad" as she walked out the door to leave for school.

I nearly ran myself into exhaustion  on my way home and I was surprised to find that I still had 25 minutes to spare before I had to leave. Not too shabby.