Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cowtown Marathon

I left yesterday for the drive to Ft. Worth. This is about a 180 mile trip from Oklahoma City. I was doing this marathon on the cheap. I was staying at Motel 6 for $40.00. Got to the hotel around 3, checked in, then headed downtown to the expo. It wasn't bad, it was in tents and there were a fair number of exhibits. I got my bag, bib, and shirts ( 1 cotton, 1 technical) then headed back to my hotel. Located a grocery store, and bought a sandwich. Ate, set out my clothes and relaxed for a while before retiring around 10. Around 1 I was awakened by the sound of "open the door or we're going to kick it in." I looked out and the police were at the room next door. Luckily Sergio opened the door. They were there for about 30 minutes before they took Sergio away. No more drama, and I went back to sleep. I got up around 5 and decided to walk about a block to a C-Store for coffee. Brrrr, cold and windy. About 35 degrees, and wind gusts to 35 mph. How should I dress? I decided to go with my original plan, short sleeve under and long over, and shorts. Gloves and while I didn't plan on wearing my jacket, I couldn't locate the bag drop, and it was 5 minutes to the start. Oh well, wear it then tie it around my waist when I warmed up. That worked, and I ended up needing it longer than I had anticipated. While it did warm up some, the wind keep the chill factor up. I had lined up behind the 4 hour pacers. While I didn't plan on following them, that was my only goal for this run. We started, and it took a couple of minutes to cross the start. When we were able to run, I started trying to hold 9 minute miles or less. This was a moderately hilly run, and I would let the pace follow the course. Slow down uphill, pick it up downhill. Things were going well until around mile 12 when my right knee started hurting, and my right calf got real tight like it was going to cramp up. This was about the same time we left the road and entered a park path that was pure concrete and I could feel it hurting the moment we hit it. I tried to run through it, but it hurt when I tried to hold pace, so I decided rather than injure myself, I'd just back off and take it on in at a slower pace. About this time I realized that I had Endurolytes, and hadn't been taking them. I took one every 10 minutes for 30 minutes, and then started feeling better and loosening up. I then started pulling down the pace again. While I knew I had about a 2 minute cushion in chip time over gun time I decided I wanted to break four on the clock, not just chip time. This meant that I had to drop my pace a bit and fortunately was able to do that. I was feeling good and picking off a lot of runners who by this time had hit the wall or just had to slow their pace. As I got nearer the finish line I began to know that I would reach my goal. As I approached the finish line, I could see it counting to four hours. I had about 20 seconds to beat the clock. About that time this guy starts trying to pass me and beat me to the finish line. All the incentive that I needed to sprint past him and beat the clock. Final stats, 3:59:51 Gun time, 3:57:54 Chip. This is a well run marathon, but I have no plans to run it again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What a difference a (3) day(s) makes

My last run before today was a crappy run. I was tired and just couldn't get into a groove. So I decided to take a few days off. That seems to have done the trick. I ran a nice little 6 mile run, and after two blah miles Reese got his groove back. Today was one of those days that sort of defines why we run. It felt good, and when I finished I had the runner's high for several hours.
Here is a link to some pictures from the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile run. After all the things I was dealing with, I didn't worry about the pics. But one of my friends who helped me succeed has posted these. Thanks Bill. RR Pics.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sooner State Trail Run

Yesterday was the running of the Sooner State Games trail run. In years past, this was a 12k run at Bluff Creek. Due to pending constuction there, the run was moved to the Draper trails. The race was also changed to a choice of three distances, 5, 10, and 25k. Since I'm still somewhat recovering, I decided to do the middle distance, 10k. There was a good turnout for the races considering how cold and windy it was. I lined up and after Don fired the shotgun, we were off. I know this course well so I was running pretty good. It took a little time to get around people, this was mostly single track, and bit by bit I moved up. I finished in 51:22, 9th of 25 men, and 2nd in age group. This was a well run race, and I hope they are able to continue with it. The only real problem I see is there is not enough parking, and I guess this race can't get too much larger, there simply isn't enough room.

Today I decided to do an easy 10 mile run around Lake Hefner. I started off slow and never got in a groove. I averaged around 10 minute miles, but walked in all but the last three miles. This doesn't worry me because of the race yesterday. My legs felt tired the whole 10 so I just need a little rest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Training Again

I started back training this past Sunday. I've been running 7 to 8 miles each time. I seem to have recovered from the 100 miler but don't want to push things yet. I did do a tempo run Tuesday of 6 miles at an 8:15 pace. I have two marathons scheduled in the next few months. Cowtown the end of this month, and Boston April 20th. Just a short post to let you know I'm still out there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rocky Raccoon

This was to be my first attempt at the 100 mile distance. If you read my previous posts, you can see the issues I was having with crew/pacers and family issues. I also told of one of my running friends who out of the blue at Starbucks last week said he would crew me. Then he found someone else to help and suddenly all the burden of getting there and back and having company to run/walk with me during the night was off my shoulders. This was the basis of my success. Yes, success, I did it and I almost can't believe it.
Willie (click on his name to see his report) and Bill (I will post some pics they took when I get them so be sure to check back) picked me up at my house on Friday morning. They had every thing I needed in the way of ice chests, waters, an air mattress and sundry other items. We got to Huntsville TX, checked into the hotel then went to the park for me to check in and so they could sign the pacer waivers. Since dinner wasn't included in the fee, we decided to eat at a local chain restaurant. We went to bed early, and I did not sleep well. If one of them hadn't told me I snored a bit, I would have told you I didn't sleep at all. But I didn't worry about that. We went to the park, and waited for the 6:00 a.m start. It was dark and we had to play follow the leader until it was light enough to see the trail. I had decided to take a very conservative pace and warm up before trying to hold 12 minute miles.
Things went fine the first loop and I did it in around 4:07. Went out on the second loop and this was the loop that I felt the worse on. My knees starting hurting and of course I was projecting forward thinking they they would continue to get worse. They didn't. I finished the second loop in around 4:20. Time for that all important third loop. I knew it would be dark before I finished it, and my crew had my headlamp ready at an aid station. These two guys were anticipating my needs every loop. Neither has run an ultra, and neither has crewed a trail run, but they did better than I could have ever wished. I was starting to fade but my mind was thinking, I can do this. I am not going to be able to do it fast, but I can finish. At about mile 56, Willie met me at the Park Road aid station to start pacing me. I was a bit concerned about this because Willie has been injured recently. I did know that I would not be challenging him with a blazing pace, but still this course is hilly, rooty, and difficult, especially in the dark. Nonetheless I welcomed the company. I won't get into what we talked about, everything, because what happens in Huntsville stays in Huntsville. I walked more than ran, but threw in runs in the spots that I knew were not too rooty and downhill. As I approached mile 80 I was really starting to believe that I was going to do this. But also my feet were killing me. I had taken several pairs of shoe and socks, but decided that if I didn't have any problems I wasn't going to mess with it. I didn't think I had any blisters, but again, didn't want to take my socks off since I wasn't having any serious problems. My feet hurt because I had been on them so long. Last loop, Bill picks up the pacing duties. Bill was just as perfect as Willie. He would ask me in places that looked easy if I wanted to run a bit. It was pitch dark, we seldom encountered others and it was a long loop. Mainly because I stopped several times to rest. But I kept them to no more than a minute or two. As the sun came up, Bill started encouraging me to run more and more. I never would have believed that I could run after covering over 90 miles, but Bill convinced me that I could, so I did. We even started pushing the uphills because I made the stupid comment that I might be able to get in under 27 hours. We almost made it, I think my time was around 27:03. No official results are available yet. Afterwards we were able to shower at the park and headed home. I'm extremely sore, but once I took my shoes and socks off, I see that amazingly I have only one minor blister on my big toe. And I've had worse than that after running a marathon. I am truly blessed to have finished, to have finished apparently with no major problems, and to have had such great friends willing to change their schedules to help me accomplish my goal. Make sure you come back to this post, because I still haven't slept in over 36 hours, so I will probably be making adjustments to this post.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weather induced taper

We had an ice storm come through on Monday. For those who've never experienced one, it is worse than snow, worse than sleet, and much worse than rain. Basically it's rain that freezes on everything it touches. On top of that, my father had to go to the hospital that day. The storm was just coming in, and I felt it was ok to drive my mother to the hospital. He is out now, but still having issues.
When the storm came in, I decided not to try to run. I have "Yak Trax" but also knew that it was time to taper for my run next Saturday (Feb. 7). Also, I have already run more miles in one week (75) and one month (232) this January than I have ever run before even with not running for 5 days this week. I did run Saturday with the Marathon training group. We did 10 miles around Lake Hefner. I warmed up about a mile before the group started. I did this because I wanted this to be a tempo run of sub 8:30 for all 10. I hooked up with a friend that I knew could pull me along at that pace or lower. It ended up lower. We averaged 8:06 and did the last two at 7:45 and 7:20. I was struggling to hold that last mile, and tailed him just a bit at the end. But did it and felt pretty good afterwards. Then went to Starbucks for good conversation, and may have picked up a crew for my 100 mile attempt. If it works out, great, but if not, I'm prepared for that also. But just the offer showed me what a great and spontaneous group these runners are.