Monday, July 31, 2006

Class reunion announcement

Are you part of the graduating class of 1997 at Osage High School?? If so, we are planning our 10 year reunion for the summer of 2007.

Click here: Class of 1997 info

See you there!

Gay Games Marathon...or was that lap 2 or 3??

Quick stats:

61 out of 142 finishers

Laps (6.5 miles each)

1: 54:01
2: 55:52
3: 1:00:54
4: 1:04:33

According to my Garmin Forerunner the course was 1/2 mile long. It was on a bike path, so there isn't much room for "cutting corners" to vary the distance. The course was 4 laps (out-and-back) on the Lakeshore bike path from 31st to 48th Streets. The path was NOT closed to the public. We got to fight for space on the narrow bike path among our fellow marathoners and bicyclist, other runners, people BBQing on the side of the path (I didn't think about "Smoke training").

I started out feeling pretty strong. My legs felt a bit stiff, but I figured they would loosen up within the first four miles. It usually takes me four miles before I really get into a groove. Well, thank God I had a GPS unit telling me my mileage (there were sporadic mile markers). Going out, not too bad. Still dark from the morning and there was a slight breeze keeping the humidity bearable. Mile 3 - 4ish, we turned around and whop right in the face (besides the fact we had about 5 feet to turn around in) the WIND!! We were right on the lake. And there is very little vegetation between the lake and the path (And in many cases...nothing at all!) The wind...the wind!! It was soo strong. The slight elevation changes felt huge. It was terrible. Then back to the beginning were we turn around a little orange cone and start back out.
...wait...did I repeat enough, or do I need to go out again??? Hmmm...
What was great about the course, Johan, my cousin Tiffany (whom we stayed with), my sister Liz and her friend Angie were able to set-up camp right before the finish line (or right before the turnaround). I was able to see them coming in, running over to the turnaround (about .25 miles all together) and then when I was going back out to do a "lap". After the first lap, I threw my camelbak over to them. It was not sitting on my lower back correctly (and I spent most of the first lap messing with it). It was great to come through, request what I needed from the pack and when I came back a couple of minutes later, to have it handed to me. They made a GREAT crew! They are soo hired the day I do Badwater!
At mile 18-19 whatever, I was DONE. I was really done. Coming back from yet another "lap" to my left was the finish line, to my right was the turnaround. Oh, I really wanted to quit and turn left. Luckily there was a bike zooming towards me, so I had to stay to the right. Kept going.
The last lap was misery. At first, I looked down at my watch and thought that it could be possible to pull a 3:45...if I kept to it and finished strong. After giving my crew a smile and a "love you" to Johan, I was feeling strong again. I picked up my pace to 8:30 min/mi. About four minutes later, I thought I was going to die again. It was too late to turn around...I was going to finish, even if I had to walk the rest of the way. I would run 3 minutes, walk 1. Run 5 minutes, walk 2. There was no rhyme or reason to it...I was giving it everything I had to just keep in forward motion.
Finally at the end, my sister ran down to the finish line to take pictures of me as I came through the finish line and Johan was there to run me in the last few hundred yards. Even though the clock said 3:55...I felt I gave it my all. It took pretty much all I had to lift my foot up to get the chip cut off. One of the race volunteers came over to me. I was crying and hugging Johan and my sister. The volunteer asked me if everything was ok. I, hot, hot...I'm hot. I stood there while they poured a few gallons of water over my head and neck. I was pretty heated up. Liz was a little worried, but afterwards I told her that the dazed and confused look only last for a minute or two, which luckily it did.
I quickly signed up for a massage and waiting as long as I could for the "20 minutes after the race" as I could (which I did wait 13 minutes). My legs were screaming at me and they needed to be rubbed down. Thank God for wonderful massage therapist!! They are the best!

I think that this is going to be marked as an "Experience" marathon. No massages throughout my training period...mistake! Running 7:30 min/mi easy runs during the week...mistake! Going out at 8 min/mi because I really want to have a 3:30 marathon which would be 30 minute PR in only 7 months...mistake! Skipping a walk break because I don't want to look bad....really big mistake! Eating a great pasta dinner with lots of bread with great people...Great idea!

So, it wasn't my best of all was the best for that day, and that's all one can ask of one's self. As I was lying on the ground in agonizing pain, totally spent, I sort of smiled, knowing I was loving every minute of it. And reminding myself that I have 4 months to get prepared to do it all again!

Next marathon...November 26, 2006, Florence, Italy!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Almost there!

I want to thank everyone for their support!! I'm out the door to go to the airport!
I may be able to post before the marathon, but if not I'll be back Tuesday morning!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Weather forecaster as accurate as...

Baseball players. You know how baseball players are considered good when they hit the ball 30% of the time? I think weather forecasters are the same. As long as they are in a certain range, then all is good.
Now the temps for Saturday are to be 77 degrees. Maybe I should just not look at it and just be at peace that I have NO control over the weather, whatsoever!
Speaking of weather, it has turned humid here in the Bay Area. This just might be a little gift for my second-to-last run. A little preview of what weather will be like!
Tonight is 5 miles, 3 of those at a 7:19 pace. We'll see if I'll get that fast. I'm starting to listen more to my body than my schedule!
My friend Jeff Holman placed 107 out of 299 in the 5k. I forget his time, but I think his pace was around 7:39. Looks like they had a pretty fast group running. I'm hoping all of those fast 29 and under types are only there for the 5k/10k races!! :)

Mantra for today, tomorrow, Friday and Saturday: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!! :)

Map is too small

Here's the link:


The "map"

This is the "course map". Notice the great attention to detail. >:(

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

3 down, 8 to go

Everyone enjoying the heat?? One great thing about living in Oakland, it gets hot...but not that hot!! 83 degrees is warm, but nothing like 100!!

Ran a nice 3 miles around Lake Merritt last night. I kept slowing myself down. Today I'm really feeling the effects of the taper. I feel really antsy and want to go out and run. I think that's a good sign. I was worried that my legs were too tired, but as long as I keep the next two runs at a slow pace, I think I'll really be ready to go on Saturday!

I've been a little nervous about everything to do with the marathon (anyone around me can tell you that), but I think things are starting to fall into place. My cousin, WHO IS THE MOST WONDERFUL PERSON IN THE WORLD, has opened her doors to Johan and me, plus my sister and her friend, plus another friend of mine who is coming up from Southern Illinois. We are going to have a great time!

There is still a few issues that need to be resolved. The "revised" course map has yet to be posted. I have a bad feeling that it won't be posted until the day before. I have a feeling that the course is still NOT certified. I have a feeling that the Aid stations won't be fully stocked and will run out of water/gatorade and food. They've had a long time to prepare and it appears that they don't have their act together. PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!!

Another weather update??
High: 71
Low: 59

Can it be true!!!! From what everyone is saying, it is unbearable there right now, yet on Saturday it's only going to get up to 71!! This could be the most ideal weather I have ever run in!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

11 more miles...

Only 11 more miles before the big day. 3 tonight, 5 on Wednesday and then 3 on Thursday. Hard to believe that this journey is almost over! I guess that's why I've already signed up to do another marathon in November. I love running too much to take much of a break. Though it will be nice to be crossing a finish line again. There's something very emotional and moving about crossing a finish line.
On my Saturday long run, I was talking to a fellow AIDS Marathoner about what running a marathon felt like. It goes something like this:
The first 2-3 miles are spent weaving in and out of people. Or trying not to get run over! Lots of excitement and lots of restraint from going out too fast is needed.
By mile 7, a rhythm is found and the miles start to go by effortlessly. At Mile 13, you hear the inevitable, "You're halfway done!" Now, 13 miles maybe mathematically halfway, but when running 26.2, 13 miles is far from halfway.
Enter mile 18. This is where the weeks of training start to pay off. I start to realize that I only have 8 miles to go...or is that I still have 8 more miles to go? Mile 20, only 6 more miles (a mere 10k) but seems like forever. I start to calculate finishing times in my head. Doing math after running 3 hours is nearly impossible!
Mile 22, it hits me that the marathon is almost over, and I feel like crying. It's like realizing that you only have one more day of a great vacation and you still have a long list of things you want to do. Mile 24, it hits me that the marathon is not over, that I still have 2.2 miles to go...and I start to question myself whether I will be able to finish. Walk breaks become mandatory and running feels impossible. The water stop is always a welcomed sight, especially because it gives me an excuse to slowdown. Mile 25, almost done. This is where the crowds of people give me my energy. Without someone cheering, I don't know how much running I could do. I keep thinking I should hit mile 26, but it never seems to come.
Mile 26, I think I'm done, but realize that I still have .2 to go. The crowds are cheering and somehow my legs turnover even faster, my stride lengthens. I sprint the last bit to the finish line. Whizzing by runners in the last few hundred yards is quite the energizer, which makes me go even faster.
Once I cross the finish line, I'm ready to sit down and cry. Amazing how something like running can bring on such emotions. After the Napa Valley marathon, the only person I wanted to see was Johan. After Miami, I walked up to a few AIDS Marathon program reps and gave them big hugs. I didn't even know half of them, I just wanted someone to hug.
Now for another marathon. It's going to be the warmest and most humid marathon I'll have run. It will be the first time a family member will be there. I'm nervous and excited. With the past two weeks of tapering, my legs are starting to feel better.

Another experience, another story is waiting for me at the end of the finish line on Saturday. May all of the runners out there have the run of their life (I just hope mine is just a few seconds faster!)

Weather update:
High 79
low 66
Partly Cloudy!

Cross your fingers!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Weather update

Got word from my mom that it has been VERY hot and dry in the Midwest. Pulled up the weather forecast (again) and it looks like it will remain really hot...until Friday of next week!! :)

Saturday's forecast
High 81
Low 66
Mostly Sunny
winds 11 mph from NNW

Looks like the weather may cooperate!! :)

Did a nice 4 mile run around Lake Merritt last night (then locked my keys in my apartment...but that's a different story!) Only 4 runs remain!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weather report

First weather report for Saturday, July 22nd!

High: 82
Low: 63
Chance of T-Storms
ENE 12 mph

It looks like it won't be that hot after all (it's still 9 days away, so everything could change!)

If the winds are from the ENE, then I would think that it could even be cooler on the Lakeshore Path, because the winds would be coming from the lake, causing it to be cooler. Sound right??
Because of the chance of t-storms, I think it might be fairly humid though! :(

An easy 4 mile run tonight. Saturday is my last "long" run of 8 miles.

Got an email from cousin. It will be her 30th birthday the night we get in. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! She told me to stop being nervous about things and that everything will be taken care of. The whole nervous thing comes from my mom's side of the family...I'm pretty sure of it!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

10 days and counting...

Wow, only 10 days until the marathon, 8 days until I leave for Chicago, 0 days before I get all nervous about it all!!

Saturday's long run of 12 miles was hard. I'm not sure what was going on, but it seemed to be a very hard 12 to complete. My Garmin was all messed up, telling me I was going 13min/mi and then 7min/mi. My legs felt tired and going around Lake Merritt 4 times was not exciting!

That evening Johan and I went up to Whiskeytown Lake. We went camping with his family. It was a lot of fun. I only wish that we could have stayed longer. Quickly whisked back to reality!

Only 6 more runs remain until the Marathon (none over 8 miles). I think I've successfully made the switch to my new shoes. I've only gone 20 miles in them, but I think they'll be fine come marathon time. The most difficult part is to get the shoelaces at the right tightness. Usually takes me a few times before they are right.

Now the hard part...not eating like I usually do since I'm running about half as much as I have been!

Keeping healthy!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Oh...that's right...I'm also training for another marathon! And raising money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

On January 29th, 2006 I completed my very first marathon with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program, the ING Miami Marathon. What an amazing feeling that was! (pictures attached!)
Of course, when I was asked if I would raise money and complete another AIDS Marathon, I couldn't say no! What a great organization and what a great cause! While we may not be losing people as fast as we did in the 80's & 90's, AIDS is still around, people are still dying, and there is still NO cure. Until then, I've made a personal pledge to keep raising money for the SF AIDS Foundation. This is the foundation that helped my uncle when he was dying of AIDS back in the late 80's, early 90's. This is my way of giving back in memory of my uncle and for the future of my niece & nephews.
I'm asking you to reach for your checkbook/credit card and make a donation. No donation is to small (or to large for that matter!) Last year I was able to raise almost $4,000!! This year I want to surpass that amount before August 25th!
Again, a thousand thank yous for your support!
Yours truly,
Brad Niess
PS: I realized that I didn't mention which marathon!! It's the Florence Marathon on November 26th!
Just click here to support me in this amazing endeavor:

Now for the taper...

Amazing how fast time flies. (How many times do I say that around here??)

I finished my last long run of my training and now to slowly taper down before the marathon!! In the spirit of this round of training, I opted for a trail run instead of my 20 mile road run. Good idea? Who knows! I did have an awesome time though!

I finished a 25km in 2:28:02. Enough for 30th out of 88. This being my VERY first trail run/race, I think I did very well! Afterwards, I was sitting on the ferry going back to Tiburon talking to a fellow runner. He asked me what I thought of the run, I told him that I've completed two marathons before, but never a trail run. I looked down at my dirty shoes and my dusty legs, looked back up at him and smiled. He said, yeah, all it took was one run for me to get the trailrunning bug too! I told him that I had a 20 mile training run planned for today and was a little disappointed that I only did ~15 miles. He told me that 15 miles of trail is equal to 20 miles on the road. I would have to agree!

Only 16 more days until the marathon! The new dilemma, do I have time to break in a new pair of shoes for the marathon, or do I use my older ones that have over 300+ miles on them??

Safe running!