"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Half way

I rode 32 miles today but had to turn back because the trail was under water. I also broke several spokes on my rear wheel. It seems like whenever I take my bike off the trail I experience some sort of mechanical failure.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Run for Boniface, Sweat with the Vets, and Rt. 66

Ok, first of all I have to wonder why it takes some race directors so long to post race results. For me looking at the results and comparing to other people in my age group is part of the fun. I am still waiting for the official results for Sweat with the Vets, and since it was a new PR for me I am anxious to see the times. I absolutely love the system Fleet Feet uses. They attach an RFID tag to the bib numbers, and the results are posted on line very quickly. I'll put it this way I have run at least six races with this system and by the time I drove home I could look up the results. Anyway here is a short run down of my past three races.
Run for Boniface: I decided to run this at the last minute. I was on the fence, the deciding factor was that the start is less than a mile from my house. It was a nice cool morning, and I was glad that I ran the race because I ended up setting a new PR (albeit a very short lived PR), and winning a $20 gift certificate to the Cyclery. My time last year was 23:00, this year 22:28. It always feels good to set a new PR especially when you weren't even sure you wanted to run at all that morning.
After Boniface I realized that my shoes (Asics Gel Kinseis) had too many miles on them, and they took a beating on the second Berryman loop. They were not designed for off road use. After a somewhat disappointing trip to Sport's Authority I ended up with a pair of Saucony Pro Grid 4's. The only reason I bought them was because they felt good, and they were 50% off. I wore them for a very short run (not even worth mentioning), and was not too impressed, but then I wasn't blown away by the Kinsei's at first either.
Sweat with the Vets, is associated with work and benefits the Wheel Chair Games (?). The main reason I wanted to run this race was because last year I didn't see any of the fast people that I normally see at races so I figured it would be a god opportunity to place in my age group. Last year I ran a really bad race (25:37). I don't know why it was so slow, but damn. This year I did decidedly better and finished with a brand spankin' new PR of 21:XX. The XX is anywhere from the low 20's to low 40's. They have yet to post the results.
I knew from last year that the course starts out with a steep down hill followed by an equally bad uphill so I started fast to create some space so I could let it all out down the hill. I ended up really close to the front. I've been close to the front before, and the first wave to pass me wasn't so bad because I expected it, but the second wave was kind of demoralizing. I kept expecting that first wave to come but it never did however, the people that were ahead of me were only gaining ground and there was really nothing I could do to catch them they were just faster. It felt really good to be so close to the front, I finished probably 10th overall. I guess that is what motivated me to keep pushing the pace as much as I could. Three people passed me at the end. I tried to fend them off but I didn't have it in me. Knowing how close I was to the front I told Beth when I came I "that ought to be good for something." Regardless I was psyched about taking almost a minute off the PR I had just set a week prior. They read the results and I came in third in my age group. I think the only two people that mattered in front of me were in my age group (10-top 3 overall-old guy-me-2women=3) what are the odds of that. Oh well I still got a medal, and I ran a really uplifting race.
RT 66 10k: I had been looking forward to this race because I like the distance and I don't get a chance to run many 10k's so it is really nice to have one that starts so close to home. Last year my goal was to run under 50 minutes a goal I barely met with a time of 49:41. This year my goal was to run 45 minutes, I knew this was a little unrealistic going in but I needed something to shoot for, and after running that super fast 5k I thought that anything might be possible. I ended up finishing in 46:24 which I am extremely happy about. I started out with some tightness in my right calf, something I have never experienced before. I don't think it was effecting my pace, but I was concerned that it might develop into something more serious. After a few miles it seemed to go away so I felt some relief. Metro Tri Club had a really awesome water station, they had a ton of club members, music, water, Gatorade. It reminded me of a beer commercial. They sprayed me with water as I went through. It was great I wanted to stay and party with them. Of all the races I've run that was hands down the best atmosphere at an aid station. Immediately after though I was in a weird place my breathing was out of rhythm, and my pace dropped considerably. The odd part was that I didn't realize it until some one passed me, and I kicked it back up into my normal pace and rhythm. That to my knowledge has never happened before. Part of the course (a very short but significant section) is on my training grounds. This part consists of some short steep hills, I figured since I run these in training I would really turn it on for the race and it felt really good to know that at least some of the training is paying off, because even though I was tired I hauled arse through this section without a second thought. The finish was close I paired up with Dave Barr for the last half mile or so, and as we got closer to the finish I kept waiting for him to make a move, it seemed like it would never come and then I look left at Beth taking my picture, and he took off, so I took off and we ended up tying. The chute was so narrow, and jammed with people that we had to stop dead. I wish we would have had about 100 more yards. I'm disappointed that I waited for him to make a move first. I should have put the nail in the coffin myself. Next time I will.
Well it is father's day and I have to get a bike ride in before we go to my dad's so that will be all for now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Berryman Synopsis

Well I guess I never got around to writing a Berryman race report, so instead I will hit on some of the highlights. The night before the race I was kind of nervous trying to figure out what to take with me on the trail, and what to put in my drop bag. As it turned out I made one error that turned out to be not as bad as I thought it was going to be. At the start of the race I felt like I was doing ok keeping my pace under control. I usually go out too fast and burn out. I saw John Quick whom I have seen at a few other races so I figured that if I stayed near him I should be alright since we are close to the same when it comes to speed. This strategy worked until he stopped at I think the third aid station. I felt good still and was carrying gels, and two 26 oz bottles so I kept on trucking. I figured if he never passed me I was doing fine, and if he did catch me I would do my best to keep up. I never saw him again. It is 15 miles to Brazil creek camp which is where the drop bags were waiting, and my mind was reaching. This is not a good thing because my mind felt that it should be right around the next corner so why did I have to keep running and running and running. I was in the doldrums. I realized this simple fact and focused on other things. Immediately before Brazil creek camp is Brazil creek. Up until this point I had managed to keep my feet dry, I studied the 20+ foot wide creek and realized that dry feet were a thing of the past. The night before I had decided not to put my second pair of shoes in my drop bag. I had socks but with my shoes being thoroughly soaked I decided not to change. I left the aid station wishing I had dry shoes. I had 10 miles to go before I completed the first loop, and could get to my dry shoes. I have very limited experience running with wet feet. My only hope was that I would't get any incapacitating blisters. The next 10 miles were not nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be. I didn't have any issues from my feet being wet, and for that I am thankful. When I completed the first loop everyone cheered (Beth, Nicole, Megan, my Dad, Sis, and Natalie). I stopped over to the side where they were, and everyone was attending to my needs it was really nice. I told them what I needed and they got it for me. That was exactly what I needed since I didn't feel like rooting through my bag for things. Seeing the family really rejuvinated me, I was still tired but I felt better and I knew I could keep going to the finish. Finally with dry feet I left for my second loop. This time I decided to walk the uphills. I kept up with my nutrition, and felt good, tired but good. I felt some mystery pain in my knee and was beginning to wonder if I should call it quits. I decided to go aid station to aid station, and see what happened. Eventually the pain went away and I never gave it another thought. I lingered a bit in almost every aid station, not too long but long enough to top off my water bottles, and exchange pleasantries with the volunteers. Everyone was so nice and accomodating, they all said I looked great (one even said that I looked so good that he couldn't believe that it was my first 50 miler), and they would always ask if they could top my bottles off for me, little things like that mean alot.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the best part. When I finished the first loop Beth warned me to watch out for bears. "Haha very funny but there are no bears here" "Yes there are over on the restroom there is a sign saying not to feed the bears, if there were no bears why would they need a sign" Then it all came back to me that bears were in fact making their way back into the area. When I envision my death I see myself being killed by a wild animal, usually a bear. If anyone has read my myspace blog they understand. In my wife's defense she thought I already was aware of the bears, and was giving me a friendly reminder.
Back to the point. I decided to listen to my Ipod on the second loop. This made it hard to listen for bears but it helped to get my mind on other things. The whole second loop I saw only about 4 runners. I was alone, tired, and thanks to apple I couldn't hear. Since I was "alone" I decided to sing along. I've heard that a surprised bear is an angry bear, there have been no studies regarding the effect of my singing on bears, and there are none planned for the near future. I thought I saw a bear once along the side of the trail, it turned out to be a log. Eventually I forgot about bears altogether. I had a nice conversation with my Mother, it was pretty one sided though, but I knew what she would say if she were there.
Fast forward... I left the last aid station and I was pretty tired but I was bolstered by the fact that it was almost over, only 2.3 miles to go. Since it was so close to the end I let my nutrition slide and I started to crash "May Day, May Day". I knew the terrain somewhat and got to a point where I thought when I topped the next hill I would see the finish. This happened three times. I was in a tail spin. I was in the doldrums again. I don't know how long that last 2.3 miles took but it felt like an eternity. I finally topped the final hill and saw Megan and Natalie, what a sight for sore eyes. I handed them my bottles and I sprinted to the finish. My time was 12:23:21.
This race was a great experience from start to finish. The only way it could have been better was if I had been more prepared. Well there's always next time.