Learn : Marathon Story  

Note from Editor: Brent was featured in Runner's World magazine (A Sick Pace) for his remarkable battle with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Despite Brent's battle with CML, he has continued to run multiple marathons each year. According to Brent, much of his success in his battle with CML is due in large part to the work of Dr. Brian Druker at the OHSU Cancer Institute. Dr. Druker, in collaboration with Novartis pharmaceuticals, developed Gleevec, a drug that interferes with an enzyme that triggers the growth of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells. "At the time of my diagnosis the best they could offer me was 3-5 years because CML was 100% fatal without a bone marrow transplant. Dr. Druker has given us a chance. There was very little incentive to come up with a cure because only 5,000 people a year are diagnosed. This guy is a real rock star for us!" explained Brent.

Running Background:

I consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for fitness. I run to stay fit, and I train much harder with a race in front of me. I've come into races in less than ideal condition and paid for it. I train harder out of fear. I chose the Las Vegas Marathon in particular because I have run Boston 3 times and wanted to try a new course. Because I'm a teacher, I only get 3 personal days per year, so I have to make tough choices when deciding which races I will run. In June I always run Grandma's Marathon because it's outside of the school year. I've never run particularly well there because I have run Boston just two months prior, so my training gets thrown off.


Usually I loosely follow the program for advanced runners suggested on the Boston Marathon web site. Since I always run alone, I don't do as much speed work as they suggest until the last month before races. I run well above the number of miles they suggest. Prior to being diagnosed with leukemia I ran 90-110 miles per week. Now, in the 3 months leading up to the race I usually am in the 85-95 mile range. In the two weeks leading up to the race I run in the lower ranges of what they suggest. Unlike most runners I don't run at all the two days before the race.

The best training advice I received came from Barney Klecker (an elite runner in the 70's-80's). He suggested a 30 second walk break at around the 8 mile mark and the 19 on long hard training runs to prevent injuries. I found that doing this brought my heart rate down and I actually ran faster in these workouts.

Race Day:

The 2007 Las Vegas Marathon was what I expected. My plan was to run at a much more leisurely pace for the first 13 miles than usual. My goal was to get a solid Boston qualifying time for 2009. Since I will only be running two marathons between then and Boston 2009, I wanted to get it over with because I have leukemia and nothing is a sure thing.

I started right on the line and the starter told us if we didn't want to get run over we better go out fast since half marathoners were also starting with us. I went out much faster than I wanted and then backed way off. It was cold and I was running very smoothly. I came in at the half right around 1 hour 32 minutes which was right where I wanted to be. I was running right at 7 min pace. Then for the next 5 miles I cut 10 seconds per mile until I was running at around a 6:20 pace. At this point I was feeling very strong and wish I had gone out a bit faster. I didn't know the course was so flat and the temperature was perfect. But then I had a serious set back at about mile seventeen! I had to hit the bathroom. I knew it was better to stop right away because waiting until later could run into problems like my legs cramping (The chemotherapy I take causes serious cramping at times). Unfortunately, two miles later I had to stop again. I knew then the slow pace and the cool weather I started at allowed my kidneys and guts to keep working. Normally I start faster so bathroom stops aren't a problem. Both times it took a while to get the legs loosened up again.

At mile 23, I was feeling stronger than I have ever felt at that point. My plan was to hit it hard the last two miles. When I got to that point, I ran into a situation I've never run into before. The half marathon course joined us again and hundreds of them were walking, so I had to weave at a slower pace than I wanted. I was only able to cut loose for about the last quarter mile.

My spits show that I ran the second half the same as the first, but minus the bathroom breaks and the traffic jam I had run a much faster second half. I finished in 3:04:09, but felt I easily could have run a 2:55 had I run differently. The course had new pavement and was way flatter than I anticipated. I met my gaol..but!

I really had a super fun time. On a hot day, there would have been problems because there were not enough volunteers to hand out water, but I think with a few changes the Las Vegas Marathon will become one of the best!


I didn't have any recovery problems. I didn't really exert myself as much as I should have, so I recovered very quickly.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Body Glide
Body Glide rules! I caked it on and for the first time my feet were 100% as were those other places I usually have problems with. There was no pain when I hit the shower!
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Nike Air Zoom Elite Running Shoes
As always, I ran in my Nike shoes. For the first time in eighteen months, I switched to Air Zoom Elites from the Structure model. These were much lighter. The Structure model was great too because it helped give me the support to heal my Achilles tendon.
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Sub 4 Headband
I finally found a headband that is really light and can be tightened to whatever fit you want. It is made by Sub 4.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Have fun and challenge yourself to meet your goals.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to continue to run marathons because if I don't plan races in advance I get lazy. This summer I'm running my fifth Grandma's Marathon, and next fall I'm running the Whistle Stop in northern Wisconsin on a crushed granite surface.

For my next marathon, I'll I will set my time goal closer to what I was running a year ago.

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