Pete Tanguay


Vienna City Marathon 2011

by on Apr.17, 2011, under Mavia, My NF Hero, Races

Vienna City 2011 is behind me now and what an experience.  An experience that started in 2001 when I ran my first marathon in Berlin with my brother.  This was basically the result of a challenge he sent out to family and friends after he watched the 2000 marathon – “Hey this looks fun – I’ll run it in 2001 if someone will run with me”.  I accepted the challenge in February and the rest is history.

Ed runs 2 marathons a year, Berlin in the Fall and a marathon in the Spring.  I’ve run Berlin with him twice and have always wanted to do one in the Spring.  It’s our way of getting together and seeing the world together, 26.2 miles at a time. Both times we’ve run the same race we’ve run our own race and finished at different times. We’ve always had a goal to get under 4 hours, but a higher goal to finish, do our best and have fun.

I finally broke the 4 hour barrier with a 3:58 in Memphis in December 2009.  I had some injuries in 2010 but started training hard for the Little Rock Marathon March 6, 2011 and had my best race ever, finishing in 3:51.  Before the race I had decided that Ed and I would run Vienna together at his pace and this finishing time confirmed this decision.  I was 6 weeks out from Vienna and excited for that journey to begin.

The decision to run Vienna started back in December when I decided I needed a new car and looked into international delivery options from a few of the cars I was interested in.  We decided to buy a Volvo, fly to Sweden and pick it up, drive down to Berlin and pick up Ed and head to Vienna to run our 3rd marathon together – but this time, truly together every step of the way.  Vienna was Ed’s 15th and my 11th marathon.

One more thing, before I highlight the Vienna story, a friend of mine owns a running store named Go Running! and she asked me to take one of her shirts and get photos with it on as I traveled.  Sounded like a great idea and we set out to Go Running in Scandinavia and Europe with our final destination being the 2011 Vienna City Marathon.  We got many Go Running pics, starting with “Go Running with the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen”, “Go Running to pick up your Volvo”, “Go Running to drink beer with your brother you haven’t seen in 3 years” and “Go Running on top of Vienna, contemplating the race ahead”.

The day finally arrived and Madeleine, Lynn and I boarded our plane in Little Rock, Arkansas and headed to Chicago where we’d catch our plane to Sweden, stopping in Copenhagen the next day around noon and arriving in Gothenburg around 2.  Our first taste of international delivery was the driver in the Volvo limo who picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel.  The next day we were picked up at taken to the Volvo plant where we were introduced to our new car, took a wonderful tour of the facility where it was made (mostly by robots) and headed out on roads where we couldn’t read the signs and where everything was measured in kilometers instead of miles.  We picked up a bite to eat and headed to the ferry where we’d load the car for an overnight trip to Kiel, Germany where we’d get out and travel the autobahn to Berlin.  Floating on the Baltic Sea, everything new, all of us excited for what was ahead, was a great way to start our journey.

Once in Berlin we have a great reunion with Ed, Gisela, Hanna and Karla, a short visit (2 nights) and then headed out for Vienna on Friday morning because as Billy Joel sang long ago (and Claudia reminded me before I left on the trip), “Vienna waits for you”.   It was a perfect travel day through Germany and into Austria, as this video shows, and after a stop in Regensburg to eat a Bratwurst at the oldest Sausage Kitchen in Germany, and also to see where Ed had run one of his Spring marathons, we made it to Austria and Vienna in time to check in to our hotel and to make it to the opening night of OsterKlang – Festival in the Theater an der Wein.  This was just the beginning to the classical music and beautiful architecture we were about to experience over the next few days in Vienna.

The evening was beautiful, and Madeleine even made it through it, which was quite an accomplishment for a 7 year old who had been traveling in a foreign country for a few days and was used to being in bed by 8.  Opera?  Really Dad?

It got better because the Hilton came through with an upgrade to an Executive Suite since we are Hilton Gold members and we had access to the 10th floor for evening talks and morning breakfasts.  We literally started and ended each day on the top of Vienna (as shown in the Go Running pics).  The people were so nice and made us feel like royalty.  The surreal experience continued.

Saturday was the day we mastered public transportation to get our race packets, take a tour of the Schönbrunn palace (which was worth the trip itself) and headed back to reflect on the day to come – up on the 10th floor overlooking Vienna and to the light of the moon of course.  The temperatures were perfect for the evening, as they would also be for the race tomorrow.

Eyes opened before the alarm went off because all systems were ready to go for the adventure ahead of us.  We had our race plan set.  One thing I’ve learned is to have a realistic race plan set before you start so you can spend the race focusing on executing the plan, rather than trying to decide what to do while you run.  Ed had not trained a lot during the Spring, given the winter conditions in Berlin, travel and family schedule and other things.  There wasn’t going to be a sub-4 hour marathon today and he set his goal at something around 4:30.  The biggest mistake is to go out too fast and we set our goal to run a 9:50 pace for 32 km (20 miles) and then pick it up to the end.

This made the first 25 km extremely enjoyable.  It was a slow pace for both of us but especially for me.  We talked and shared stories and took in the beautiful sites of Vienna.  The classical music was indescribable, you just had to be there to experience it.  In Vienna, every building has detailed architectural design on it.  The race experience at this pace was like a fun run in the park.  At Mile 14 we saw Lynn and Madeleine, I stopped to visit for a couple minutes and Ed ran on.  I caught up with him and we continued our fun run through Vienna.

Running in the 20-30k portion of the race you can see runners coming back that are past 35-6k and running strong and it was encouraging to see them as we would soon be running to the finish as well.  But as the race neared 32k our conversation got a little more measured and quiet.  I was preparing to help Ed do what he had never done before, run negative splits the last 10k of the race and feel strong coming into the finish line.  The responsibility was on my shoulders as I had chosen the race plan and told him if he would hang with me it would happen.  I had just had that experience in Little Rock where I ran an 8:50 pace for 20 miles and then with the help of a couple friends, passed runners for the last 6 miles finishing strong at a sub-8 minute pace.  He had the challenge before him and we were nearing what we had called the “starting line of the race” since we crossed the official starting line.

32k done.  10k to go.  The slow pace we had been running had tired me a bit and it was an effort to slowly pick it up.  I began to slowly pick it up so we could enter the next phase of the race and could see Ed beginning to struggle.  I kept the pace to let him use me as a pacer but his legs were beginning to call it a day.  The next 6 miles were painful.  As we slowed, I would run and then walk to let him catch up.  It was too painful to run his pace and yet the walking was a challenge as well.  By 40k we were at the “let’s just get this done” point.  Kudos to Ed, he never stopped running and brought it to the finish with a smile on his face.

We finished side by side, with our NF singlets on, which to me is the icing on the cake for our Vienna City Marathon experience.  I “run for a reason” as part of the NF Endurance team.  I run for my NF Hero, Mavia, and her family who face the challenges of NF every day.  This has added a new and meaningful dimension to my running over the past couple years.  It has brought countless new friends into our lives.  It has given me a new perspective of thankfulness for being able run and for the health of my family.  The goal of the NF endurance team is to raise money for research as well as to raise awareness.  Being able to finish the Vienna marathon with my brother and both wearing NF singlets – priceless.  To do it to classical music – unreal.

Take a minute to visit my fund raising page to read why I run for NF and Mavia, read the support of the people who helped raise $5,000 as part of my running the Little Rock and Vienna marathons this year and if you can, join my team with whatever you can give.  These races are over, but the race to find a cure for NF goes on.

And last but not least, Ed captured 25 pictures and 17 videos as we ran through the streets of Vienna together.  His commentary along with these images are on his blog.  There you can hear the classical music, the other marathon sounds and see the sights of Vienna as we did.  Typically I don’t like to run a marathon more than once as there are so many to run and so little time.  However, I think I could do Vienna again!

No race report would be complete without a mile by mile blow of calories burned and pace report as recorded by the Garmin.  Here is what Garmin has to say about the 2011 Vienna City Marathon.  And as we all know so well, the Garmin simply records the truth as you deliver it step by step.

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2011 LR Marathon – execute the plan

by on Mar.06, 2011, under Mavia, Races

Thanks to consistent training runs, great running friends (who are much faster than me) and a couple long distance advisors (Michael and Bob, you know who you are), I put together a race plan to run 8:50 pace through the first 20 miles with the exception  of the hills after the half mark.  The goal here was to run with the same level of exertion and let the clock be what it was.  We would need the energy later when we got to mile 20 because this is where we were going to “start” the race, hunt down those who passed us, reel in those in front of us and put the hammer down.  That we did.

Never really hit a wall.  Steve, Tim and Stacy (picked her up at the half) were the best pacing friends ever.  Tim’s job was to keep us on pace.  I never worried about it.  I just ran and watched the cadence of these two awesome runners as they ran.  Tim was calling people, posting on facebook, etc. on his blackberry.  Ha!  Julie (and Stacy the first half) met us regularly for on course encouragement.  Tim made sure my nutrition needs were met, handing me gels and water, etc.

About mile 20 as we made the turn I told Steve to start to pick it up slowly (this was just a training run for him, getting ready for Boston next month).  Let’s put the hammer down (Tim), switch to gas mode in the PRIUS (Bob), start the race (Michael).  You can see by the garmin that this is what we did.  We were passing people the last 6 miles.  We had 2 hills at the end (small ones) to get over and then kick to the end.  In the last 1/2 mile all I remember was Steve yelling at me to give it all I had.   Who could ask for better friends?

The only thing that surpasses this is that Mavia, my NF hero, who I run for stayed with us last night and her Mom ran the relay today.  Great to spend time with her and her family.  Went to the NF pasta dinner and it was humbling.  90% of the families there had kids with NF.  Many of them were there.  Every time they raise $20,000 they fund a new research project.  Team Mavia, again with the help of my friends, raised $5,000 of it.  So collectively Team Mavia contributed 25% of a research project.  Talking with people at the pasta dinner and at the NF tent after the race it was very clear that a 3:51 was not nearly as important as giving it all we’ve got to find a cure for NF.  Once again, Tim, Michael and Bob are right there on my NF team.  Thanks guys.  Even though the Little Rock Marathon is over, you can still join Team Mavia.  I’ll be running the Vienna marathon in Austria for her on April 17 (6 weeks!).  Click here and join the team. 

Post race pic with Mavia, her brother Maddox, her mom Karrie (top left) and 2 women who ran the relay with her Mom and one other guy who is not in the picture.

More Race Pics (as I get them):

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Soaring Wings Half 2010

by on Oct.24, 2010, under Mavia, Races

One of the great races of the year is now behind us – the Soaring Wings Half Marathon.  Troy and I were in charge of the Free kids run and the night before the race we had about 200 kids out doing different distances.  What a great time.  1402 runneres registered for Soaring Wings and Dustin and Rachel outdid themselves again.

I feel good about my race, forcing myself not to be discouraged that I didn’t keep an 8 minute pace throughout the race.  I just didn’t have it.  I’ve been fighting injuries and it just wasn’t to be.  On the positive side, the 1:50 pacers never caught me.  Felt real good the first 5 miles and started sagging a bit going up the long hills in mile 6.  That’s when Matt, the 1:45 pacer caught up to me and hit me in the butt with the pace sign, saying, pick it up Pete, I’m right here.  I did for awhile but at the next incline he started edging ahead of me.  I almost caught back up coming into Centennial and the mile 7.5 aid station but it wasn’t to be.  Welcome to the middle miles.  I lost my 8 minute pace but kept from falling out of the race altogether.  I picked it up at the end but not soon enough.  Finished strong and got the time that my body had for me today.

Ran for Mavia again and am so happy that her MRI report was good, tumor has not grown.  Got her a Soaring Wings Medal and am sending it to her to celebrate.

Did an easy 5 mile recovery run this morning and felt a little tighter than I expected to.  That’s it for 2010 racing.  Now I MUST get into some serious strength and flexibility training, lose about 10-15 pounds and make a 2011 “A” race plan for a BQ.  It’s been a great year.  Running with gloves and long tights is just around the corner!

Another good age group finish- it’s the consolation for not exactly meeting your race goal!  All is good.

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Rock Run 8k

by on May.29, 2010, under Mavia, Races

Had a good race this morning.  Had only run a couple times this week as I had been out of town.  I’m a little frustrated that my mile 3-4 were not down in the 7:30 pace but that’s ok.  Had a good finish.  I think I am running hard, but not racing.  I try to make sure that I do not run out of gas on the course and I don’t, but I wonder how much more I could do if I could push myself harder.  Now, with that said, I felt real good today.  Had a nice first mile, stayed controlled and relaxed the entire race and finished relatively strong.  It was a beautiful day and race route and I got second place in my age division (that is because 2 others placed in the senior masters divisions and can not place in the 50-54 age group, otherwise I would have been 4th).  Just off the golf course where I shot a 75 (best round of the year!), 3 over on the front and even on the back so it’s been a good day and a great start to a Memorial Day weekend. 

We got new Conway Running Club singlets to run in and Judy had them at the race today.  I ordered a shirt but not a singlet.  I’ve committed to run all of my races for Mavia and remember the families who are fighting NF.  I don’t wear it any other time and don’t run a race without it.  It’s added an element to my racing and I deeply hope that some day they will find a way to treat and cure NF.  It is definitely possible. 

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Hogeye Marathon

by on Apr.11, 2010, under Mavia, My NF Hero, Races

Had a good race on a course with a lot of hills.  On the bright side, there were a lot of up and downhills so if you managed it right you can balance it out a bit.  Set out to run 9 minute miles as long as I could and that was basically through mile 15.  At mile 15 Lynn met me and handed me a cliff bar and a running bottle filled with Amino Vital drink.  I did not feel like I was struggling at that point.  However, as I ate my cliff bar and got some hydration, I was also heading up a pretty good hill and it seemed to take a lot out of me.  As you can see from the Garmin, I slowed on this hill (which is understandable) but after this I could never get my pace back (which is not).  I never gave up, kept working the race but basically saw an immediate 1 minute 20 second difference / mile for the next 7 miles.  I don’t really  understand this.  I want to learn what I can do in this situation.  I’ve learned a lot and am in a position to figure this one out.  In the past I would get discouraged, try to run faster, burn up more energy and hit a wall.    I did not hit a wall.  I’ve really learned about my nutrition and hydration needs in the races and feel I have good plans for that.  It was quite a bit hotter during these miles but really it was my legs not running the pace I wanted them to run.  I dropped another minute per mile in miles 23-25, taking a little longer at the aide stations to make sure I got plenty of hydration.  As I got in to the last mile it was down and up with net up and I ran real strong.  Nobody passed me in the last 4 miles and I passed a number of people. 

It’s so great to have running friends.  Ran with Claudia for the first 15 miles and when I slowed, she kept to the plan and finished in 4:06.  Frank was a bit behind us, then caught us and then dropped back with some cramping.  Here’s part of our group, some registered for the full and some the half. 


I finished 41 overall out of 102 men in the race and third out of 9 in my age group.  One of these I passed in the last mile which is nice to know.  On the enjoyable side, this was a good race.  I ran what my body could run and enjoyed the beautiful course, even the hills.  I am more interested now in learning about my running than what time I finish.  This is my 4th marathon in 5 months and I am ready for a break and then some work on specific things.  I ran again for Mavia, my NF hero and it has become a very meaningful thing to wear my NF shirt and to be a part of her and her family’s struggle with NF.  Frank also had his NF shirt on and it was great to run together for the time we were able. 

My official finishing time was 4:14:50, which is a bit longer than my garmin.  They did not use chips so part of it was this, although we were very close to the front, and part of it was when we went through a long tunnel and I lost satellite, I think. 

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