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Occasionally Footy Pt. I

We have a very special tradition every four years in which we come together collectively and elect our leaders in the US.* Billions of dollars were spent which is kind of nice to think about the people who were actually being paid. Some jobs, albeit temporary, were created and I’m sure thousands of articles and tens of books are being prepared to analyze all the numbers that are released. Which I think is cool, we have a unprecedented ability to take the numbers and the technology available and really analyze trends in voting patterns and tying that to social movements while keeping a gauge on the feelings of the voters who were expressing themselves on social media outlets. I mean think of all the ways you could use that information, not only in a political way but to influence areas with specific advertising or finding out ways to exploit consumer behavioooooooooring! I, not unlike millions of other Amurikins, were quite happy to see the end of the election cycle to finally see the ceasing of the seemingly endless advertisements, mailers, and especially the awkward conversations that were taking place. Pitting friend against friend and splitting families apart! And I’m sure everyone has that one friend who takes it a little too far, gets a little too preachy on one end or another, someone who definitely “drank the Kool Aid“. If you can’t really name that friend then I’m sorry, you are probably that person. And you are terrible.

*Voter turnout numbers appear to be hovering around 120 Million, nearly a 10% drop off since the elections in 2008 and representing something close to 40% of the population. Now the population figures show children and elderly, both who are ineligible to vote** but some places are reporting of “eligible” voters the figures are around 60%. So yeah. That still kind of sucks.

**Just jokes!

All kidding aside, I think that there is definite room to change the election process. There is an inherent simplicity and beauty in the popular vote. It is taking the vote of all the citizens (who choose to vote) and tally who is the winner. Unfortunately this is not how presidents are elected. There is this kind of weird thing called the electoral college (perfect explanation here). So what we have is kind of deviated democratic process. Don’t like it, but that segments nicely to the really important part of this post: Soccer.

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So this season hasn’t been the best as far as my personal soccer fandom. On the one hand I’ve had the opportunity to attend several games at Livestrong Sporting Park* which is just an awesome, awesome experience. If you ever have the opportunity, I would highly recommend a match. The atmosphere is always buzzing and there really is not a bad seat in the whole stadium. The Legends area is growing pretty nicely thus far especially with the addition of the Hollywood Casino this year. On the complete other end, top seeded Sporting KC crashed out of the playoffs earlier this week, unfortunately not able to make up a two goal deficit from the first leg in Houston.

*There is a real discussion about what is to become of Livestrong as both a brand and a major sponsor of a professional sports stadium but that will have to be left for another day.

Two legged playoff matches are a fairly regular fixture for league championships around the world, though the structure is a bit different in the MLS. Most leagues run concurrent competitions which means teams seem like they are constantly playing (especially the better teams) which draws lots and lots of revenue. Plus that means that soccer can be shown pretty much everyday. They are not hampered like the NFL which is limited (legally) to Thursday/Sunday/Monday. For example, in England this week, Premier League matches were played Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. UEFA Champions League played Tuesday and Wednesday. Europa League was Thursday. Friday begins some of the other Leagues in France and Germany and it rolls onward into Saturday’s Premier League. So a team will be competing to win its domestic league (think like our regular season) while simultaneously vying for a league cup (playoff format) or for some of the better teams, international glory as well.

The MLS is structured similarly to the other major professional leagues in the US in that it runs a “regular season” which determines the seeding for the playoff format. The two-legged format plays one team hosting and then switching in a second game. Spreads the game out and kind of gives the opportunity for both teams score some revenue from home tickets and television. Oh and something, something competitive balance.**

For Sporting KC, another disappointing early exit at the hands of Houston after a pretty great regular season. I am glad that KC does have a good sports team to follow though. With the (in order of embarrassment) Chiefs, Command, Royals, T-Bones all flailing around the last several years it is nice to have something to be proud of in Sporting KC, despite the frankly ridiculous name.***

**A good example is baseball and basketball (MLB and NBA respectively) who have 5 or 7 game series. This format not only ensures the aforementioned revenue streams but also gives the theoretically better team to prove itself over multiple matches. So its not just a one-off. It is important to note that probably the best and most dramatic tournament is NCAA’s March Madness Tournament which is a single elimination tournament. The combination of “amateur” players and the tendency for a single game to swing dramatically one direction or another fuels what might be a perfect tournament.

***The CHL team Missouri Mavericks were in the playoffs the last couple of years and actually went to game 7 of the semifinals last season. I like watching hockey but hockey strategy eludes me. It is one of those things where actually playing the game helps to clarify rules and makes it easier to understand strategies. About as far as I got in strategy for hockey was to hit everyone and shoot a lot. Thank you Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey

Furthermore, my favourite soccer team, Liverpool FC is having a terrible season as well. They are sitting 12th of 20 currently. Quite a long drop for a team that has the second most Premier League titles (18) and had consistently been top 4 for the better part of 20 years. They are currently under new management as club legend Kenny Daglish stepped down at the end of the season after failing to inspire the squad to much success. The US owners, a bit reluctant to splash the cash, were not able to give new manager Brendan Rodgers a second striker outside of the polarizing and often brilliant   Luis Suarez. There is a winter trading window where hopefully this can be remedied. The season though looks to be in shambles a bit. My expectation is if everyone stays healthy, Liverpool climbs back into a Europa spot and maybe if all plays nicely wins the Europa this year but its hard to imagine. YNWA!

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NaNoWriMo!

Glad to announce that I am going to try my hand this month at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Challenge! The challenge is to pen a manuscript over the course of November. Though I’m going to take it a bit differently than what is generally prescribed on the website.  My goal is to try and write in the novel or on the blog somewhere around 1,000 words a day.

I think I write pretty well, but as with anything, I wonder how much better I can be if I actually practiced on a more consistent basis. Over the last couple of days I’ve gone back and looked at some of the things that I have managed to save. This includes old blogs, short stories, even some emails that I thought were pretty good. Most of it is not good. Well at the time I thought I was writing something significant but looking back, not so significant at all. But in a way that was good. Kind of an unintentional journal lets me put into a better perspective what was going on at the time. And looking at the current number of subscribers and hits on this blog, it appears I am doing the same thing now. Just a chronicle. (Which is an awesome title for a novel…)

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Quick update on things:

Finished my last road big road race for the year which was the KC Half Marathon. The race went pretty well. 1:53 According to my profile on Athlinks, I’m averaging 1:49 Half-Maras. So that is pretty much right on track. Weather on the morning was a little chilly but it was beautiful right at the start. Nothing too big to report regarding the race, I just felt pretty strong most of the race, tried not to freak out too much, (didn’t want to get over 2 hours), just pace myself through. If I’m doing another run this year it might be a Thanksgiving 5K.

Trying to sort out the calendar for next year. Talking to a couple of people and maybe its time to plan a couple of races outside the area. See if there is races in St. Louis or Chicago or even some of the fun looking races in California. But obviously time and money constraints will apply.  I am also tentatively aiming at the Half Ironman in Lawrence scheduled for June 9, 2013!!!*

*So many french fries will be consumed if that is accomplished. Look forward to a post on potatoes. 

I started my second quarter classes recently. Got an A on my Managerial Communications class. Yay. This quarter I’m taking Competitive Analysis (Econ) and Strategic Marketing (Marketing). Both classes are going pretty well so far. It is interesting talking in my econ class about utility and opportunity when I’m imagining all the other things I might be doing with my time. It is probably worth it though.** The professors seem to be genuinely very interested in the material which makes those 3 hour classes go by a little bit faster. Another thing to consider for next year is how fast I want to have this degree completed.

**Graduate level degrees, especially in business, seem to be the new bachelor’s degree. Unfortunate and adding to the “education bubble” crisis which looms in the horizon.

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Going to leave this last section to brainstorm topics to write about that are not already on my growing list of topics. Most will be rather short but I do encourage people to adjust their email subscription settings. This next month is going to be pretty annoying for you if you have it set to immediate or daily reminders. You have been warned.

Brainpower!/PartyArty/Apple and Case Study/Fantasy/MLS/Youtubes and Content Creators/Elections/Streaming Music

Olympics

I’ve been sucked in for the last couple of weeks. I don’t believe that the Olympics has ever been quite so compelling for me and I can’t really give a good explanation as to why. As I’ve said before on this blog, I think sports is the great universal language. In any language and in any culture, if you see the 100M dash or the Marathon you can appreciate the speed and the stamina. When you see the emotions after the race or the exhaustion, that raw feeling communicates so much.* My favourite Olympic sports are probably Swimming, track and field, and the Marathon. All sports that can pass the 2nd grader eye test. Where a 2nd grader can predictably tell you who won. Those sports are the best. You’ll notice I didn’t list the sports that I generally talk about the most on the blog, soccer and triathlon. Olympic soccer on the men’s side is not nearly as prestigious as the other major tournaments, World Cup or the FIFA regionals (Euros, CONCACAF, African Cup of Nations, etc). The teams are also comprised of U23 + 3 overage players so it is not generally the established starts who are playing but rather rising stars and youth programs.** The Olympic triathlon is pretty popular (they set the standard ‘Olympic’ distance) but I still think it falls short of other competitions such as Ironman Series. That might be more of a personal note for me, I think that those triathletes are amazing, sure, but the Ironman captures my imagination.

*I don’t think any Olympics post written in the US is complete without a discussion about the broadcasting and coverage provided (at great cost) by NBC. While I generally disagree with the editing and the timing (many of the premiere events were shown during prime time rather than live to ensure that advertisers paid the premium prices) it is hard to argue that NBC got their money’s worth from it. More people tuned in per the ratings this year than ever before and despite all the backlash, I would say a majority of Americans had absolutely no other choice of watching the Olympics. Many people found ways around the blocks and watched the vastly superior BBC streams but you had to have a bit of savvy in order to get it. I followed live blogs from Reuters and the official London Olympics website as much as I could to get the news as it happened. In the end as much complaining as there was, money talks and NBC definitely got their money. Luckily the next Summer Olympics will be in Rio, our time zones match up much better so most of the streams will be live for us then.***

**Women’s Olympic Soccer is completely different. That is a fascinating and exciting tournament and topped off this year by what might be the best match ever played (arguably) between USA and Canada in the semifinals, followed by USA redeeming themselves against the Japanese side who stole the last Women’s World Cup. (Airplane Controversy) I have read on several blogs that women’s international soccer is more popular than MLS. I think that the line is pretty close but yes, its not quite the “Girls of Summer” team with Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm but Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and Abby Wambach do make a very watchable team. 

***On a related note, this Olympics also showed the might that was twitter. NBC received a huge backlash for the tape delays because results were already known. Technology has progressed to the point where information can wrap around the world almost instantaneously. So when your phone tells you Usain Bolt broke the Olympic record and defended his 100M title, it takes a little bit away from watching the tape delay later. Still, like I said before, NBC still got paid. 

A great synopsis from my one of the best channels on Youtubes:

And there were some great stories coming out of the Olympics. Definitely gave people in professional and social situations something to talk about that was universally acceptable. Unlike saying “Did you catch Jersey Shore last night?” which could turn out either awesome for you or (in all likelihood) disastrous. I think over the next couple of months as interviews and books are being published about these Olympic games, maybe more stories about who cheated**** and who didn’t will be a fascinating until it inevitably dies out.

****Don’t be fooled, cheating is a as traditional in the Olympics as the torches or the medal ceremonies. Cheating is an art and is as important in the global discussion as the accomplishments of the athletes and the weather in the host country. What was terribly controversial doping debate here in the states was the teen Chinese swimmer who easily destroyed the field in 400 and 200 IM while nary a peep on US coverage regarding the 15 year old US swimmer who easily crushed the field in the 800M Free. You can bet that both swimmers were heavily scrutinized for those unlikely performances. Spirit of competition my butt. Especially in blatant cases such as the boxing match between Japan and Azerbaijan  the IOC would like to forget about such cases but the evidence was everywhere. 

What I will cherish the most about this and really any Olympics is how much you get to see a foreign city. While I might not have been quite so excited with Salt Lake City or Vancouver (actually now that I think back, Winter Olympics don’t seem nearly quite so interesting), I loved Sydney and Beijing and especially London. But I love the British so when Kenneth Branagh  was rolled out at the Opening to the Eric Idle appearance (who sang the song I quoted to close my toast at my sister’s wedding) at the Closing, I was totally geeking out on all things delightfully British.

Biggest highlights for me:
1) Bolt winning back to back titles in 100M and 200M.
2) Women’s 4X100 Medley Relay WR (Rebecca Soni is my Olympic crush)
3) US v Canada Women’s Soccer Semifinal
4)McKayla is Not Impressed meme 
5) Oscar Pistorious historic runs (and the best race ever)
6) Ennis finishes decathlon winning 800M
7) Mo Farrah wins 10K and 5K gold
8) Phelps bounces back and becomes most decorated Olympian ever
9) Opening Ceremonies (Bond and the Queen)
10) Watching random day events (rowing/water polo/trampoline) with my sisters

Let me know what you thought of the Olympics! Favourites? Least Favourites? Love to hear about them.

And to close, British athletes lip syncing Queen:

Rough Days

Not been the easiest week for everyone. Seems like kind of a crazy spring lull between Easter and Memorial Day. Though some things you have to expect around this time in the Midwest. The tingling of an uncomfortable humidity, tornado season, the Royals falling well short of preseason expectations (again), and many many students getting a bit stir crazy as finals approach.

Of course there are larger things to discuss. More of our armed forces were lost in the desert of the Middle East and sometimes it hits closer to home. Despite your feelings towards one political party or another, we can all agree that there are truly some extraordinary individuals who have put forward their lives in service to the country that deserve to be honored. So say “Thanks!” to an Armed Forces member next time you see one.

Also on the international front, scary times look to be ahead for our comrades in Europe. One of my favourite news organizations, the BBC, has a really in-depth section on their website concerning the eurozone crisis. Don’t know how much has really been reported stateside because the US is gearing up for what promises to be a rousing election season.* Essentially, there is unrest throughout the eurozone with most of the worry hinging on the current economic situations. In an earlier post about Greece, I wrote about some of the troubles that the eurozone was likely to face. Led by the Germans, Greece was resolved (sort of) and now all of a sudden the pieces begin to fall. Other countries, Spain and Italy have serious problems looming and stronger economies in France and the Netherlands have elections in which potential winners will fight the treaty that was signed recently to reduce all national debt in the eurozone. This means deep budget cuts all around which spells a period of stagnation in the general economy. Going back to the last post about the youth, there is no more disenfranchised youth population than in Europe. They are very well educated and there really are not a lot of jobs open for them right now.** Very uncertain future for the EU. We still need the continent to be strong or else we may look to stand alone against Russia and China in international policy.

*Fun fact: Think about voting in our current representative democratic system. It’s pretty nice right? Better than those oppressive dictatorships that crush the general populace while international powers stand by idly. Now think how important it is to vote. Now think about the population of the United States, everyone’s vote counts exactly the same as the next guy. A political analyst’s vote counts the same as a mathematician’s. A convicted felon’s vote counts as much as the busboy working the midnight shift at IHOP. Your vote counts exactly the same as that pretentious hipster walking a fixed gear bike up a tall hill while wearing a sweater and a striped wool beanie which is complimented by large plastic fake glasses and a $7 cup of organic coffee supposedly shipped from a third world country where it was lovingly produced by farmers who have no fingers or something in 90 degree heat with 70% humidity in the middle of the summer. Just something to think about.

**Reuters article about the situation in France. In short, ready to burst. Young, French, and desperate.

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Times like this you have to try and fall back on stress relievers. It could be something simple (and delicious) like chocolate, putting in a couple of miles on the treadmill*, perhaps an adult beverage or three, or maybe chatting up an old friend. At work, I have a fancy “Dismember Me Zombie” which does help around times like these, just to pop off a couple of limbs actually does wonders to calm the spirit.

I also like to watch old movies in the background. It is very comforting. As a side note, one of my all time favourite movies, Casablanca has a one-night-only movie screening at participating theaters TONIGHT April 26. If you’re looking for something to do tonight, you could do a heck of a lot worse than see this terrific film once more on the big screen. Fathom Events

*Fun fact 2: Treadmills, while useful for harnessing energy from both humans and animals, were also used as torture devices and as a popular facet of hard labour camps.

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I promised a recap of the Rock the Parkway race. Pictures (Courtesy of Action Sports International) Ran an appropriate 1:58. I say appropriate because my preparation should have been better but I’m glad I still snuck in under 2 hours. It is my slowest recorded half-mara (out of three) but it shows I still have some space to improve. I have one more half-mara scheduled this season in the beginning of June, the infamous Hospital Hill Run, highly recognized as the “Grandfather of Kansas City Road Races”.  My strategy to use music and a pacer to bump a couple of minutes off my time failed miserably as I never had the opportunity to stick with the intended pace group (or a series of subsequent pacers). I’m a fast starter when I run which means I tend to burn a lot of unnecessary energy towards the beginnings of runs but I’ve been trying to calm the pace a bit as I did during last fall’s KC Marathon. Maybe laid back a little too much this race, but again, it was a great time, beautiful course and they did a really good job with sponsors and food in the event area at the end.

Trolley Run this coming weekend for me. This super popular 4 mile run-walk will feature something around 11,000 participants. Instead of splitting up by age, the waves for this race are set up by general finishing time to reduce congestion and general danger for all runners involved. Last year I was in “Yellow” wave meant for slower runners and partial joggers with the Pure Fishing folks. This year however, since I ran a sub-30 minute race, I qualified for “Blue” wave. Technically I had a good enough time for the top wave (Red) but that seems too legit-sies for me right now. Those people are really fast. Found out today I won’t have to use this race to qualify for a Corporate Challenge 5K Race spot so that takes some pressure off. Wish me luck!

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Business of Endurance Races Part 2

The quickest growing segment of endurance races is the “adventure” races that have been popping up around the country. These adventure races include obstacles throughout the courses to “spice” up the traditional distance races. Personally, I love the idea, I think it is fresh and it brings back fond memories of trying to recreate old Nickelodeon game shows with props around the backyard. Adventure racing really isn’t a brand new segment, but rather an evolution of the trail races and, I would like to wager, the popularity of the obstacle course races that have evolved in game shows from Japan (see Ninja Warrior). The three major races I found thus far are: Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and Spartan Race. Though the first of such races that I heard about was the Urbanathlon hosted by Men’s Health Magazine. My sister actually participated in this 10 mile obstacle race around downtown Chicago and had a blast. A couple of the notable obstacles were the stair climb in Soldier Field and jumping over taxis at the end. These races are not out only to test your cardiovascular endurance but also your muscle  strength in a variety of areas.

Warrior Dash:
This traveling 5K has had a lot of national exposure and is the fastest growing of the three races. The obstacles are fairly standard and it is super popular due to the relatively short length and the huge number of entrants that they run. Unfortunately this also attracts some people that are really not prepared to race and there has been a rash of injuries reported at these events nationwide. The funny thing is, these reports are treated as almost a badge of honor for the race, as it relishes in the fact that it is not for everyone but includes a “rockstar” atmosphere (free beer!) that aims at a more hip crowd. “Not your father’s 5K” if that makes sense. Basic climbing, lots of mud, fire, etc. I’m interested in trying one of these out for myself.

Tough Mudder:
Highly regarded 10 Mile obstacle race is supposedly based on British Special Forces training. This is no joke, the race website used to state that it wanted to supplant Ironman as the premier endurance race in the world.* They make it a point not to time the average runner who enters the race. “The challenge is to finish.” As it is a bit longer, Tough Mudder adds quite a few twists in the obstacles they throw at people. Underwater sections, large rope sections, even electricity and barbed wire has shown up on Tough Mudder courses. I really want to try one of these races out. Its not quite as accessible as other races and it will require some work in strength training that I have not done in quite some time.

*Business Break! In a strategic sense, this idea makes the best business sense for the company. Tough Mudder correctly identifies the biggest proverbial fish in the pond and makes it clear what their line of attack is. By setting Ironman as a target, it not only gains a boost for association but also sets the bar for the rest of the industry. Imagine some new kid challenging the old bully on the playground and suddenly everyone comes out in arms and you get the idea. Love it.

Spartan Race:
The spartan race comes in several lengths with the most demanding being the 48-hour Spartan Death Race. These races carry the friendly tagline “You May Die”. Death Race aside, the Spartan race seems a bit more intense than the other races out there. There are gladiator type challenges, carrying heavy objects, testing mental strength. I don’t know anyone who has done one of these races but the videos and pictures make it look like a real test. I’d like to speak to someone who has done one of these before I pass judgement on whether or not I would run it. The descriptions make the race organizers sound malicious.

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On the business end, these adventure races are taking off alongside the traditional endurance race growth. While maybe seen as a niche event, the similarities keep all these companies in the same industry. We discuss strategies for businesses to grow in terms of customers. Either develop new customers or steal customers away from your competitors. The endurance race industry has both types of growth as thousands of new athletes emerge every year and the number of races has gone to a point where differentiation and keeping customers is a real key point. There are some strategies in this regard that I have seen.

Cooperation by far is the more popular option thus far, as race organizers have tied together races throughout the year in order to keep control and to establish a kind of brand for each race. Most of these groups are either organized by race type or the more popular choice is basic geography. Cities are combining organizing committees to better establish race calendars for an area and recycle vendors and such.

On the other hand is the product differentiation. Personally, I am going to try to compete in any Ultramax event I can feasibly enter because not only do they have a terrific team that is well organized and efficient, but of the races that I have done, they also have the best race swag for runners. Pint glasses, high quality t-shirts, random stress balls? Count me in. But adventure races is a clear example of differentiating the product. They are not merely races with mud but also obstacles and length.

I expect the industry to grow some more over the next two years or so, a lot of races adding more locations and participants, but then I think the companies involved start to hit the ceiling. Without sweeping social reform on physical health, the US will hit a peak of new athletes very quickly. The current generation will likely continue, providing a fairly reliable source of revenue but with too many races out there to choose from, many races will simply not have enough capacity to continue from year to year. A sort of consolidation period is on the horizon and adventure races are well positioned at this point to come out of that consolidation stronger due to the groundwork of branding and unique product differentiation they have already set. Also those sort of races are very accessible, something that I like to call “everyman” people can get into them. They don’t have to spend a ton of money on fancy equipment (see bicycles) or invest a lot of time in a gym as long as they put in the effort in around homemade workouts. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

I think marathons are fairly standard as a bar for runners, and triathletes will always be looking at the Ironman crown, but in the end, all those other races are just kind of lumped together. I’m really curious to see what becomes the new standard for these adventure type races or if they will simply attempt to co-exist and stand alone as individual achievements. I think it would be neat to see one of the races make a real competitive effort and become the “king” of the particular segment, but only time will tell.

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Think I missed something in my analysis? Want to add your opinion? Hit me up at thangers@gmail.com or leave a note in the comments below!


KC Star on Adventure Racing

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I’ve been really active recently on LinkedIn so if you happen to have a LinkedIn account, try to find me and add me. A lot of reports and general feedback from students around the business school say that LinkedIn is a bit flooded by robots and spammers (see monster.com or careerbuilder) but I think it still has some use. Especially just in analyzing business contacts and attempting to get a foothold in some places. Check it out!

Marathon Wrap-up

Sorry for not sitting down and writing a post for the last couple of weeks. A little bit of a crazy time with the marathon and my older sister’s wedding here in town. Will try to be more on top of it as the semester passes into the final month or so.

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The Kansas City Marathon was held October 15th and I was fortunate enough to have my parents in attendance for some of the race to get some pretty good photos/film footage. The race had approximately 11,ooo total entrants in all events (5K, Half-Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay, Kids Marathon) which solidifies this race as among the fastest growing in the nation.

I got some assorted photos/videos from various sources and cameras. I had to resort to my phone camera for a little bit so I apologize for the randomly poor quality (especially the sound, yikes) but hopefully as I get a little more experience, I can provide a bit better quality.

As I said during the video, I finished the marathon in under four hours, making my goal! I did have to walk a bit towards the end because my legs were really, really sore. Overall I walked probably about two miles of the 26, which isn’t too shabby but hopefully will get better as my running career goes forward. I do walk through water stations, cause I find I don’t get as much water if I’m jogging through. The weather was absolutely perfect throughout the day, starting temperature somewhere in the lower 50s and didn’t get much over 60 degrees by then end of it. Here my official splits as timed by the good people at Ultramax who were running the chips for this event.

Bib:                           1239
Division: Male      18-24
Division Place:     28/62
Overall:                 352/1553
Splits:
5K:                         27:08
10K:                      50:01
13.1:                   1:46:52
21Mile:              2:59:46
Overall:             3:52:40

Overall pace was 8:53 per mile. But the observant eye will see that I took nearly an hour to run the last five miles of the race. As a comparison, the race winner, Jae Yung Hyung, averaged 5:41 per mile and finished in under 2 1/2 hours. I don’t think I’m ever getting to that level, but I felt really good about my races this year and this kind of crowning achievement to end the season. There is room for improvement (as always) and in the next few weeks I’ll start gearing back up for next year.

Until then, I’ve been eating a lot of terrible food and not exercising much at all. Neither will help the results of my upcoming routine blood work, but oh well, I got to eat a Kobe burger!

Burger & Sweet Potato Fries

I’d also like to say a quick congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Bruhn. I wish you both the best in the years ahead and look forward to seeing you soon. Good luck in all your marital adventures!