About Mark Thompson

I'm a rebel and a runner, a signal turning green.

Change up on Varsity

I just changed the format to make the results and past sweet stuff easier to find.  (For all of my 20 monthly page-hits).  Also, I added all the marathon stuff and spice stuff from you late-submitters.  Double-check to see that I didn’t miss some times or spices.

Check out the new varsity as well.

It’s Been Such a Long Time

I haven’t posted or done anything for months.  I switched the theme on a whim to show Canton how easy this WordPress tool is to use.  Now I switched it back.

Now that the weather is finally reasonable again, and that I’ve recovered from the Dam to Dam, Bolder Boulder, Grandma’s Marathon month, I’m ready to run.

How to Post

Would you like to create your own headlining posts?  It requires just a bit more security than the anybody-including-Steve Johnson-can-comment Comments.

I would have to sign you up to an account, where you should be able to log in and create big, bad posts that everyone else could comment upon.

Todd Lane at his office at LSU.

To do this, I think you need to give me your email address, then I tell my control panel that you are authorized.  Then I bet you get an automated message that tells you what to do.

So, if you would like to Write a Post (technically this would be blogging). Then please comment on this post and list the email addy you’d like to use.

For those content to comment, make sure you enter your same email address each time because the goofy auto-avatar is generated off the characters in your email.

Or you could create an account at wordpress.com and you could upload your “gravatar” aka universal avatar like me, Simon, Nate.

Marion Freezefest 2010

Freezefest 5k was a really decent run.  The roads were clear, the sun was out, and it was 29 degrees.  The wind was strong, probably 15-20 mph, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a factor.  Lars and I ran with our Garmins, and on both times we ran the course we had it at 3.15 or 3.16.

Here are the results:


    1      OpM  Tyler Sullivan, 21, Coralville, IA         16:56    5:27

    2    1 M15  Dwight Schrute, 19, Scranton, PA           17:05    5:30

    3    1 M45  Michael Newhouse, 45, Marion, IA           17:52    5:45

    4    1 M30  Mark Thompson, 32, Iowa City, IA           17:57    5:47

    5    1 M35  Lars Anderson, 39, Iowa City, IA           18:00    5:48

    6    2 M45  Phil Kauder, 48, Cascade, IA               18:09    5:50

I led Lars until about 1.5 miles, then I fell back about 10-20m until the finish.  I would have given up and submitted an 18:20, but having a buddy there keeps you moving strong.  Lars didn’t feel the need to kick too hard, so I nipped him at the end like a criminal.

And of course, it sucks to get beaten by Dwight Schrute.  I talked to the kid, a 2008 City High grad, and we had a few laughs about his fake name.  I told him about Simon’s submission to the Luther Alumni letter as Assistant to the Regional Manager for Dunder-Mifflin.  It’s great that a 1996 grad and a 2008 grad can share the same humor.

Austin Marathon

A few minutes after the finish. Note the start line in the background. We are ready to grab 5-6 miles in the 60 degree pleasant Austin sun.

Nate ran 2:41:15, I ran 2:47:06.  With the strong training we did over the winter, those times were no huge surprise.  What was a surprise, was Nate’s 9th place finish and age div win, and my 11th place finish and 2nd in age div.  In six minutes only ONE runner separated us.  That’s about one mile.

From about mile 16 on I had interactions with maybe one runner.  From mile 13, maybe one more.  I was in a dead zone, and so was Nate.

That’s scary when you are running zig-zags through a neighborhood.  Each turn I had to double check by waiving my arms as to which direction to run, and of course this wastes energy and can set you up to run on the wrong side of the road.

It sucks not having a group of people to slowly chew up.  In Chicago you would not be alone for 10 miles.  And since most marathoners go out too hard (I did) it gives you a steady stream of fish to chew up with your Piranhas.

Also, this course was billed in prior years as “super fast.”  They made a change a few years ago, but I can’t imagine it did anything to speed it up.

There were some hills at the beginning, then some nasty ones around the half.  Then another steady up to mile 16.  After that, many groups of people said “it’s all downhill from here.”  I adjusted my pace accordingly, but those hills kept coming.  These were the quick up-and-downs, ones that don’t even show up on a smoothed-out elevation chart.

I started to slow around mile 22 or 23.  I had a solid 6:15 avg until then.  The “wall” didn’t hit, but the gradual slow down did.  My 6:10’s went to 6:20, 6:30, 6:40, then with an steep, crawling ascent to the capitol, I recorded an awful 7:52.  Mile 25 was supposed to be 5:51, instead I tacked on 2 minutes to my time.  I think if it was slightly downhill, like we had thought, it would be been a doable goal.

Marathons I’ve done in order from easiest to hardest:  Chicago, Grandma’s, CIM, Fargo, TCM, Des Moines, Austin, Big Sur (Big Sur is in another category of hardness, though).

Anyway, excuses are like a–holes, everybody has one and they STINK.

My pre race prep of meals, sleep, short taper was nearly perfect.  And the weather was absolutely perfect.  Absolutely.  40-45 at the start, probably 50 at the finish, no wind, and sunny at 65 at noon.

Also we were Kings with our hotel room.  It overlooked the start line, so we could watch the crowds amass, use our own bathroom, watch the Weather Channel, listen to The Killers, ignore any sort of drop-bags and walk down at 15-til.  We could have walked down at 5 or 10 til if need be.

The finish line treats were very simple, generic gatorade, bagels, chips and bananas.  We met up and drank a few waters in the sun, then walked past the first tent, expecting a few more.  When I saw a sign that said “no re-entry” I thought I’d go back and grab a fake gatorade.  That’s when a cop put his hands on me and told me to leave.  I hadn’t gone through the gate yet.  I was 10 feet away.  So I showed him my number “oh you see I just finished.”  “You have to leave.”  “I just want to grab a gatorade.”  “Sorry you have to leave.”  “Ok…well I guess I’ll wait for my friend here.”  “No you will wait for your friend outside.”  What a dick.  I don’t know what he was thinking, but I got bounced from the lousy post race freebie section.

Anyway, Nate wondered where I went, then we met up at jogged back to the hotel to prove our toughness.  Then we washed our faces, drank some water and ate some bananas and jogged 5.25 more miles on the riverfront to heal our legs and earn the Day & Age spice. (Renamed today to mimic The Killer’s latest studio album.)

So yeah, we jogged around downtown sampling by-the-slice pizza joints, grabbed a beer on the riverfront deck (even though it was at the world’s worst restaurant – Friday’s), hopped our planes and struggled with sore legs until he got home at 10:30-11:00 and my crappy flight through Denver to CID got me home at 12:40.

Ugh.  Now I’m back to the real world.  The volume is turned back down – (to quote The Beach).  Luckily I have my fellow running vets to share this with.


Oh yeah…and I finished Dick Beardsley’s book on the plane out. We walked into the expo and I joked at the speaker, “dude looks like Dick Beardsley….wait…it is him!” So I had that book signed right quick and shook his strong hand.

Nate was reading Bart Yasso’s book, then back at the hotel we found out that Yasso had spoken right before Beardsley.

And they had a Mellow Johnnie’s (Lance’s) bike shop tent at the expo, that was cool.

Finally perhaps the absolute best memory was walking in that cool air the night before in “weird” Austin, stopping at The Onion pizza joint and grabbing slices to go.  Holy jeez they were delicious.  Sit-down restaurants rarely top the quality of street-level vendors.  After the race we returned to The Onion on foot, only to find that they didn’t open until 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.  Maybe next time, Austin.

I Earned My Mileage

When you wear ski goggles, you know it’s a tough day to be out there.  This run will make this Sunday’s Austin Marathon seem like a walk in the park.  Canton was the photographer, and he was every bit as “frosty” as me.  We about froze when taking off our gloves to get the touch-screen on his camera to work.  For all of those tough days of training or racing, I just know that it can’t be as harsh as this day was.

Enough gloating.  I hope this fires you guys up to get out now, when the Midwest temps are a bit more reasonable, and that sun is a bit higher in the sky.

About 17 miles, wind and < 10 degrees if I recall.