Sunday, August 31, 2008

Follow up and Moving Foward

Just a few more comments on the Green Lakes 100k. I have been informed that I won the "Courage of Trying" "Inspiration Award." Ok, thank you. I didn't feel courageous and very inspiring while I was whining about not being able to finish in under 14 hours, but I do accept this in the spirit in which it is given. Moving forward, I had to go to work immediately the day after this longest run of my life. And it was difficult, but day by day it got better. I was working a trade show in New York, and had to be on my feet all day. During the week after, I ran 5 miles on Tue and 5 miles on Thur. I think it was a bit soon, but I had committed to run 30 miles on Saturday with a group that was running the first part of the course for the Mother road 2 100 mile run. And I thought that some short runs would speed my recovery. I have agreed to pace a friend in this race. I will probably pace him on the overnight part of the run, so I will not be running this part, but I felt like I needed to run part of the course with him in training. Up until Thursday, I wasn't sure whether I would be ready to run this far so soon. I really didn't feel ready, but knew I needed to let him know something, so I decided to say yes, and hopped I would feel better by Saturday. We drove to Elk City on Friday night in a storm, and wondered what the morning would bring. We got up early, and it was calm and really a bit warm. It was not 6 yet, and I think it was in the upper 70's and humid. We met up with two other people, several others had backed out, and started our journey. I felt pretty good, but this is on old Rt. 66 and the highway is mostly concrete. My knees didn't like that, but it wasn't too bad. When the sun rose, it began to get hot fast. By mile 24 folks were starting to feel it, and we slowed to more walking than running. One of our group agreed to run on ahead and get the car, and we would call it a day wherever he picked us up. He got back to us at mile 27 just when we were starting to feel better. In any event it was a good run, I got to know two new runners, and as always, they are good people. I'm going to take it easy for the next week, and probably race a 5k next weekend. It has been months since I've raced one, and I'm curious to see where I am speed wise. Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

100k - Almost

Almost dnf'ed. Story follows.
First let me say I'm just getting in to my hotel room. I started not to do the report until tomorrow, but what else do I have to do besides deal will all these aches and pains.
I made it to the race in plenty of time and waited around for the start. Pretty low key, ready set go. My plan was to hold my heart rate in the 140's and not worry about pace. On a level surface that would be sub 10 minute miles anyway. However, I was soon to learn that this course was anything but level. After about 2 miles you start this wicked ascent. No one was running it but the eventual winner, Valmir Nunes of Brazil. Last years Badwater winner. Many of us wondered why he was at this race, turns out he has a connection with the race director, and is training for Spartathlon, a 152 mile race run in Greece. The ascent is so steep that if it had rained, you wouldn't have been able to get up without holding on to trees. The first two loops went well, I did them both in under 1:30. Each loop was 7.77 miles, and I had to do eight. Also, it was unseasonably hot with no cloud cover. On loop three, the heat was starting to slow me down. If you look at my splits, you'll see that they got progressively slower. After finishing loop four, I seriously thought about dropping. But after staying in the s/f area for a few minutes, I decided to go back out. From here on out, I thought about dropping after finishing every loop. This race had a twelve hour cut-off for starting the last loop, and I finished loop seven in 11:57. I was the last runner allowed to start the 8th loop. I left, and a lady left with me since I was going to be the last runner on the course. I thought there was a fourteen hour cut-off, and I knew I was going to be cutting it close. So I took off on the last loop mostly running until I got to this steep ascent. I thought I could handle it one more time, but when I finished the climb this time, I was dead on my feet. I had to sit down at the aid station. this is an unmanned station, and is about a quarter through the loop. At this point it is closer to go back the way you came than to finish. I told the sweeper, I was going to drop here and head back. This lady, Carolyn said, why don't you think about that, maybe walk for awhile and see if you feel better. You know that climb took a lot out of you, and maybe you'll feel better in a bit. I said, I'll never make the fourteen hour cut-off. She said, they let you continue, you'll be listed. This perked me up a bit and I started walking. But after a little while, I had made up in my mind I was going to drop at the half-way aid station. I was dead on my feet, and could manage to run only a tiny bit on downhills. We made it to the half-way, and these guys had been nothing but great to me the whole time. When we got there, they said they were hoping I had made the last loop cut-off. I said I've got to sit down and make a decision here. While there were no more significant up hills, I just didn't think I could make it. But I sat for a few minutes, ate a bit, and said let's go. By now it was starting get a little dark, we were back in the woods, and I was glad Carolyn had loaned me her flashlight. And she had her headlamp. There was no more running to speak of, and we just powered on. I was now feeling better, I hadn't been much of a conversationalist during the first half, and Carolyn sensed that, and didn't try to engage me. But now we were getting to know each other. We went down the significant downhill, and made it to the bottom where it was pretty much flat to the finish. The crew at the finish line saw our lights, and started yelling my name. I told Carolyn that it was a double edged sword, it was nice to hear my name, but I knew they knew it because I was the only runner left on the course. We took it on in, everyone was great, taking our pictures, making me feel like a star. I finished in 14:25 It turns out I was also the second place Veteran, read old man, so I also got an award for that. While I was the last person to finish, I will say that there were people behind me that didn't make the cut-off. Also, 36 people started, and only 11 finished. I made sure Carolyn understood how much her encouragement meant to me. And this also underscores the value of a partner late in a race like this. Had she not been there, I would have dropped. I am so thankful to have finished this race. Apparently with no injures or illnesses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Taper to 100k

I've arrived in Syracuse with no major problems. I flew into Buffalo because it was several hundred dollars cheaper than flying directly here. My flight was about an hour late into Buffalo, but that was not a problem. I still got here before 7 local time.

My training has been going well. I ran 30 miles this weekend. Twenty on Saturday, 11 on roads and 9 on trails, a new trail to me, my first run at Arcadia lake. I like this trail, but it is a long way from where I live. Sunday I ran a fairly easy 10 miles at Earlywine park. This is a 1 1/2 mile track. I ran a hard quarter during every loop, but otherwise I just ran to keep my heart rate under 135. This week I've only run 8 miles. I ran 4 on Tue easy, then ran 4 Thur. 1 easy and 2 at 8:30 and the last one at 7:30. I won't run anymore before the race.

I'm a little nervous about this run since it will be my longest ever, but I do feel like I'm in condition for the race. It looks like it will be a bit warmer than I'd like but I'll just adapt as the conditions dictate. This race has a 14 hour cutoff. That's not a blistering pace, but you can't take it too leisurely either.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow in the Run with the Bulls or any other races. I'll be checking the results.

Should you care to follow me they have a link and say they will update the splits in real time. To remind you, this will be 8 loops around a 12.5k (7.77 miles) trail.

For a description of the course, go here:

Hope to be giving you a race report Sunday evening.

Hasta el domingo

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Messing with my tranquility

My training has been up and down, but mostly up. This morning I ran the Edmond hills. Two friends and I did 14 miles hard. I finished, felt good and returned home to my grand daughter greeting me at the door. Later we ran together. She is 5 and we ran about 2/10 of a mile. It was hot, but she enjoyed it. The day is still going well. I had a headlight out on my car. I also had to pick someone up at the airport. I figured I had time to buy the headlight, fix it, and continue on to the airport. I go to O'Reilly Auto parts and find the part. Price, $10.83. I hand the guy $21.00 because I don't want a bunch of bills in change. He hands me 17 cents in change. I immediately tell him I gave him a twenty. He says "I've got to count my drawer." Keep in mind, the store is crowded, there are people waiting, and the one other guy is helping someone with a big parts order. I'm pissed, but don't say anything thinking this shouldn't take long. Twenty minutes later the guy still isn't back. So I did what I hated to do, I got loud. I asked why it took twenty minutes to get my change. The guy comes back and says he hasn't finished counting. I say "so you're calling me a liar?" He says "no." I say "then why do you need to count the drawer?" He says "I want to see if I have ten dollars too much." I say "then you're calling me a liar?" You see where this is going. He goes back to the back to finish counting. I ask for a manager. None here the other guy says. I ask him why they are working so hard to cheat me. I get loud again and there are now about 8 people waiting in line for only one clerk. After 30 minutes, the guy comes back to shut me up, he's still not through counting, and says here take the ten dollars and get out. I tell him he's a jerk and I'll never be back. He says "good, get the f*ck out." See, this is how people get shot over nothing. Messing with my tranquility. I will be writing a letter to the home office, but I don't understand this kind of "customer service." Over the years I have probably spent over a thousand dollars there. Not another penny more, and for what? Ten dollars?

Any way I vowed that I would not carry that attitude to the airport. So I never said anything to the person I picked up and my day is going fine now, and I plan to run trails in the morning.