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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Capital City 10k – 2011

by on Apr.02, 2011, under Races

First 10k of the year.  Had a nice race, nice even splits.  I look at mile 6 and wish I could have gotten it down to about a 6:40 or so but it wasn’t to be.  I appreciate my Garmin reporting it as a 6:60 instead of 7:00 – haha!! I was even focused on catching a runner I knew but it wasn’t to be.  I think this is a PR for me.  It is especially nice to settle into a pace that was good and hold it.  Finished first in my age group.  The benefits of training with faster runners!

And I improved since the same race last year – check it out!

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Chase Race 2011

by on Mar.12, 2011, under Races

Didn’t really know what I would be able to do in the 2 mile Chase Race today.  I haven’t done a lot of speed work but I have been running well.  6 days from a great Little Rock marathon – what would my legs be able to do?  Well I got a personal best and felt great on the course.  The main change in my running is that I focus on getting a pace that I can run and running it, not trying to “red line” my body.  Today I was able to dial it down to a 6:30 pace and hold it with good form.  Picked it up a bit at the end.  Could I have gone faster?  Maybe.  But not much faster.  The key is I spent the first 1/4 mile getting into the race and then brought my pace down to a 6:30 pace and held it.  Won 1st in my age group as well so that is nice.  That is with a few of the runners in my age group winning the masters and overall divisions.  15 miles in the morning, feeling good.

At 54 years old being able to run a 6:28 mile for 2 miles – I’ll take that!

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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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River Trail 15k

by on Feb.05, 2011, under Races

Ran the River Trail 15k today.  Wasn’t feeling great at race time, just not focused on the race.  It was a late start due to the snow and so instead of starting at 8 we started at noon.  I even forgot to bring my Garmin so as I walked to the starting line I just realize I was going to have to get out there and find the pace I could run and then run it.

The course was beautiful, on the River Trail along the Arkansas River with snow all around.  I ended up finding a good pace, hanging on to it well and then even had a good 1.5 mile kick at the end, passing 3 people who had passed me.  Kind of nice running without a watch!

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One Hour Track Run – 1st Grand Prix race of 2011

by on Jan.23, 2011, under Races

The people I’ve met and run/race with are clearly one of the reasons I continue to run. 
Thanks Tim, Don and Brian.

The first (of 20) Grand Prix races is in the books.  I won’t be able to run them all but will run as many as I can. This is a unique one, a one hour track run where you run around a track for an hour.  Last year I did it and ran an 8:03 pace per mile and remember it was a real struggle.  Today I ran a 7:31 pace and felt in control the entire race.  I feel like I could have gone faster but I set out to get as close to a 7:30 pace as I could and hold it. 

The year before I did a 7:44 pace and that was the year I had my half marathon PR.  So now I’ve taken 13 seconds / mile off of my PR and 32 seconds per mile off of last year.  My focus was on my form.  I kept an eye on my watch and knew I was around a 7:40 pace.  Running the last mile at 7:10 is awesome.  This is a real confidence builder for me.  I have a 15k race in a couple weeks and we’ll see how I do. 

I’ve also figured out that my foot issues are caused by shoes with not enough room in the toe box.  I ran with my Nike’s on my 20 mile run Friday and my 5 mile run yesterday and this run today.  They have much more room.  I think I will be ordering me some more tomorrow!!!!!

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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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Ole’s Astoria Assault

by on Sep.25, 2010, under Races

A few months ago, I decided to go up and spend some time with my Dad on his birthday (9/19) and spend some time with my Mom who I had not seen in over a year.  Imagine that, not seeing your Mom in a year.  I found out Mandy was getting back into running and thought – “let’s find us a race”.  I never thought I’d find a race within 15 minutes of where they lived.  It was a 7-8 mile race (more on this later) and it was on my Dad’s birthday.  Slam dunk.  Mandy wanted to do it and somehow I talked Mark into doing it and the planning (and training) began. There were many other people who were racing, but we were just in it to have fun, spend some good family time together and to finish in Tanguay Time.  Mel also trained for awhile but had to skip the race due to an injury.

From the start, I wondered if I was getting Mark and Mandy in over their head.   I was running 35-40 miles/week and they were doing well to run 2 mile runs.  They assured me they were up to the task and excited. The race was 7-8 miles.  We all expected to get out there and do the best we could at a trail / adventure run of 7-8 miles and that is what we did.

 When we got to the starting line we realized we were in for a different kind of a race.  About 230 people participated in the event and many of them arrived the night before and camped out.  One guy we talked to after the race described these events as a big party that eventually turns into a run.  He told us about a race he did where everyone ran a mile up the stream at night, got a glow stick, put it around their neck and ran back.  He also said everyone ran naked.  I knew this was a different crowd when I spotted a guy with a fuel belt on with places to hold six containers.  The difference was they were containers to hold cans and they had beers in them. 

So, we were in the middle of Oregon nowhere about to run an adventure race through the woods and when we checked in they told us to pick out a ping pong ball, decorate it so we could recognize (find) it later and leave it at the starting line.  The race started with some instructions – “The good news is that I did not write anything down but will tell  you.  The bad news is that you are going to have to listen”.  “We have never had anyone get lost.  We have had people get off course though”.  “Is there anyone here who came for a trail run?  (lots of hands go up).  Sorry, this is not a trail run.  It is an adventure race”.  “Everyone needs to get a cup, after we say go you need to take the cup down the road where you will come to a parking lot, go across it and down to the stream and fill it up.  Come back and get your ping pong ball and the take your cup and ball up the hill and leave them in the ‘spa’. ”  “And by the way, we do not close or monitor the roads during our race so watch out for cars”.  With this, 230 people headed down the highway, taking up the entire road, to fill their cups with water. 

We headed out down the road with our cups in hand.  But before we did, we had the best site of the day.  There was Mom and Dad, arriving at the race to see us off.  Mom, really doesn’t know where she is or why she is there.  Dimentia has broken her timeline and her connection to the people she loves and the people who love her.  But she does the best she can, even though situations are foggy.  She is happy to see me as I run off down the road with a red cup in my hand and 10 minutes later I am back, with a cup of water and a ping pong ball in my hand.  We are in the middle of nowhere and it would be reasonable for anyone to question what we are doing.   Mark and Mandy head up the hill and I jog/walk along with Mom and Dad as they drive along, enjoying the moment.

The adventure really began when we threw our ping pong ball and poured our water in the “spa” and headed off into the woods.   By the time we started, Mark and Mandy had already run further than they had run on any of their training runs (I think) and they were up for the task.  What was ahead was a true adventure.  I wore my Garmin so I could track how far we ran and how long it took.  I learned that Garmin is not equipped to report results on this type of terrain.  We were going straight up, straight down (sliding in the mud), over ropes, under barbed wire, through water, ………  the Garmin was lost, disconnected and inaccurate.  We were following pink and checkered ribbons through the forest, up and down hills (I mean mud slides), through 5 foot ferns and across water.  The goal quickly changed into – let’s enjoy this race, not let’s race this race. We noticed a girl struggling a bit behind us and let her catch up and learned that she came to run this with a group, including her husband and she could not keep up and they all, including her husband, left her in the woods with her walking stick.  She said it would be a long ride home for him. 

We worked our way up and down the hills, through the water and mud and ended up crawling through a tunnel right where we had left our ping pong ball. The guy there said we could cut the course short if we wanted to or we could do the last 2 miles through the woods, etc. We all wanted to finish so off we went for a couple more miles.  The girl left by her husband called it quits.

There were others that were still racing, like the ones below, but our goal to finish was good enough for us.  More Pictures Here.

And finish we did.  We weren’t last, but it was very close.  We beat the last person by 3 minutes with a time of 4 hours and 7 minutes.  Yes, it was 7-8 miles, nobody really knows how far it was.

This was truly an adventure and Mandy is already saying she will do it again next year and signing up her friends, not telling them what they are getting into.  As you can see, things got muddy but it was all fun!


From beginning to end, this was a fun family adventure.  As always, I ran in my NF Endurance singlet and ran for my NF Hero, Mavia.  And once again, someone stopped to tell me that they were glad to see a NF runner in the race.  She had run the Disneyland marathon in 2005 for NF.  That was the icing on the cake for the day.

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Chick-fil-A 5k

by on Sep.06, 2010, under Races

Final chapter of the 3 races in 3 days in 3 states.  Nice run.  My ambitious goal was to beat my Saturday time of 22:23 but as we started out and I could feel my tight legs and we were going uphill, I thought, I need to stay relaxed and get into a pace – “don’t lose your focus”.  Mile 2 had a little downhill as we headed along the Mississippi River.  I thought – what a great day for a run, what a great place to run, hey – keep up with that guy who just passed you, and I did.  Thought about this being the last 3 miles of the weekend and I didn’t want to hear any excuses at the end of the race.  Went back and forth with another runner.  Turned right from the river up a steep hill to Beale Street – if you’ve run the Memphis marthon you know what I’m talking about.  Not real long, but a good incline.  Some people were walking.  Charged up the hill, accelerated over the top and then a slight downhill to a left turn, around the corner and into Auto Zone Park.  I love finishing a race in stadium, running the track.  And this is where I have my marathon PR and so I was pumped coming into the park.  Picked a guy out to pass on the track and sprinted to the finish. 

Feel good about my time and especially that my last mile was my fastest and a 7:18. 

Here are the official results for my age bracket – 5th out of 56 in my age group.

Great tradition, 3-3-3, looking forward to next year.  Maybe find some other races to put together like this. The fun is over for 2010, but I have a few t-shirts for the memories.

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Tupelo 14.2 Race

by on Sep.05, 2010, under Races

Final race preparations the night before:

What a great day and a great race.  Would have liked to have gone faster (goal was a sub-8 minute pace), but that is not what I had today.  We started in the dark at 5am and ran in the dark for about an hour.  Then the sun came up as we were running on beautiful back roads of Mississippi with steam coming off the ponds and roosters crowing.  I found a pace that my body could run and ran it.  A few times I felt myself slowing down and sped up.  I listened to music on my iphone for about 5 miles and then ended up with some real iPhone issues, trying to keep the ear piece from coming out of my ear and the iPhone kept going into some kind of voice mode.  This slowed me down in mile 6-7.  I gave it up and decided to take some pictures but they came out blurry.  I realized I could listen to music without using the ear pieces and did that from mile 8-9 on in. 

Kept a good pace and felt very good.  There was a guy who was in my age group about 50 yards in front of me at mile 13.5 and I decided I was going to catch and pass him.  I did, about mile 14, and finished 10 seconds in front of him and got 6th place in my age group (instead of him) and they gave awards for place 1-6.  So, that was nice.

Now I am going to work on speed work and turnover, add some core work and see if I can PR the Soaring Wings Half Marthon in October.  My half time today was about 1:50 and I’ll need to take 8 minutes off of that to PR.  Doable!

Closing thought – winning age group awards is fun at any age.  Even if it is just a round piece of ceramic with a bunch of colored dots and TRC (which only people in Tupelo know means Tupelo Running Club) on it, it’s still fun.  And running friends are still the best!  :)

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