Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trail Monster Running Fat Ass

Today was the Trail Monster Running Fat Ass 50k. First of all, many thanks to Chuck and Katy for not only hosting the run from their house but allowing us to pretty much take over. They went above and beyond. Plus, Chuck did a great job of coming up with an alternate route after the planned route was not going to work. (Closed to snowmobiles = unpacked snow = not runnable.) The route was a 5-mile lollipop from their house with an up and over Hedgehog Mountain — the highest point in Freeport. So, you know we're hardcore. Plus, there was the Field of Death—fraught with soft snow, postholing, ice and icy water. So, we're like double hardcore.

About 16 of us hit the trails, with the option to do between 1 and 6 laps. Only Floyd, Ian and Alan opted for all 6 laps and the full 50k. Stephen had run from his house, and he also ended the day with 31 miles. Personally, I ran 3 laps, 15 miles. Just what I planned, and just what I needed. I could have run more, but I didn't want to jump up my mileage too high too fast. I felt great the whole way. (Well, still some hamstring tightness.) Lots of great conversations along the trail, and an awesome day all around.

Photos here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


That was exactly like my run today. Well, the parts where Rocky is running in the snow, anyway. Minus the Sorels and the KGB agents following me.

I headed out from home onto the powerlines that we often run in the summer. There is some snowmobile traffic on these trails, so I hoped they would be well packed. Not so much. First of all, there was clearly not as much traffic as I had hoped. And, secondly, it was 37 degrees out. Not a good combination for firm conditions, and they certainly were not.

The plan was for an out and back of about 5 miles, and even though it was clear in the first quarter mile or so of snowmobile trail that it was going to be slow going. The better part of the first 1.5 miles was very soft. Sometimes I only sunk in a couple inches. Other times I was in well over my ankle. For some reason, even though I crossed a could roads, I decided to still to the snowmobile trails. Perhaps because I'm so hardcore. Or perhaps I'm an idiot.

However, once I crossed Rt. 24, the trail turned off the powerlines and into the woods. More tree cover meant less new snow and a firmer packed trail. This section of trail was completely new to me as in the summer, we stick to the powerlines. And, as it was new to me, I had no idea where I was. I followed the trail until almost 3 miles, reached a seemingly randomly plowed lot, and decided to turn back.

(The stop and start points are different due to some problems I had using the GPS properly.)

The snow was even softer on the return thanks to two snowmobiles that passed me going in the opposite direction. At times, I felt like I was barely moving.

It was great to be out exploring the new trails, so I went a touch longer than planned. I ended up with a little over 6 miles. It was definitely work because of the soft snow, but I felt good the whole way. My heart rate was where I think it should be: avg 145. (Although, I have no baseline.)

Speaking of the heart rate monitor, I don't think I'll be wearing it much. I can't stand the strap. This is my second run with it, and I do not like it. I feel constricted the whole time. So, I've decided I'm not going to be concerned with heart rate. As long as it's pumping, but not exploding, then I'm in a good range.

More Rocky anyone?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Easy Ski

Not much to report from today's ski. Well, it was absolutely beautiful. I didn't get out until late in the afternoon, and the light on the Carter Range was beautiful. Oh, and the Northern Presidentials weren't bad either.

I classic skied easy for about an hour and felt pretty good. My arms were tired, which I sort of expected after yesterday's adventure. I needed to use a lot of upper body to push through the deep snow. (Oh, and I had poles with racing baskets...yeah, smart choice.) So, like I said, not much to report. Just an excuse to post a couple pics.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Skiing at Bradbury

After yesterday's run, D was in the mood for a mellow day, and I couldn't complain. We decided that due to the copious new snow and impending wind, that it would be best to no be in any open fields, and the thought of skiing across the fields at Pineland Farms wasn't really appealing. So, we grabbed our backcountry skis and headed to Bradbury.

The result was an awesome time in the woods, but it was also the slowest 5k ever. It took us almost 1:40 to ski 3 miles. The snow was plentiful, deep and slooooooow. Plus, the heavy snow had caused a lot of drooping trees. In many places, they were completely blocking the trail. We headed onto the east side trails, and within the first thirty seconds, it was clear that this ski quickly went from a workout into an adventure. And, in the spirit of adventure we decided to veer off the snowmobile trail onto the Lanzo trail. We were able to follow the faint snowshoe tracks of this singletrack trail for the most part. We crossed the old road and continued on Ragan. Somewhere in here we got lost. We wandered around for a bit before we decided our best course of action was to backtrack. No need to find ourselves the subject of a search and rescue. Once we got back to the old road, I had the brilliant idea to ski up it. Well, it being an old road, it has less consistent tree cover, hence, deeper snowpack. Or not packed in this case. I lead the way, and eventually we reached the Snowmobile Trail. Even though we had just run on it yesterday, it was completely unrecognizable. We freed as many trees as we could, and eventually made it back to the Link Trail.

When we reached the road, D announced that we had covered a total of 3.18 miles. I couldn't believe that's all we skied. Nonetheless, it was really fun to be out on the trails. It was a great way to mix it up, and a lot of fun. Oh, and I almost forgot: it was beautiful out there.

More pics here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bradbury 10ish

Man, was I cranky when I woke up this morning. I just wasn't feeling motivated for a run. But, we had already had made plans to meet Ian and Jim at Bradbury, so off we went. I wasn't feeling too frisky for the first 15 minutes or so, but eventually the juices got flowing. We ran an out and back on the main snowmobile trail in the park, and the conditions were less than perfect. The trail was fairly soft, certainly not unrunnable, but definitely soft. We also saw a couple snowmobiles on the trail, and it seemed that every time they went by, they seemed to soften it up rather than pack it down.

D and I hung back a bit on the way out, but then Ian and I ran together on the way back while Jim entertained D with 4.5 miles of stories. Once I reached the parking lot, I turned back to see how D was faring. I didn't get very far before she and Jim appeared still going well and still smiling. Ian showed off his baking prowess by bringing some tasty peanut butter oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies. According to D's Garmin, the out and back was 9.7, so with my short addition I'm sure I was just shy of 10 in 1:41:21. All in all, another great day on the trails.

Aside from the initial crankiness and touch of sluggishness, I felt great on the run. It was my second long run as part of my Pineland 50k training, and I'd say things are right on track. Well, the hamstring issue is still there, they felt better today after the run than they did yesterday morning following a day off. So, that's a good sign. Still moving ahead.

Also today, I wore my new Nathan HPL 020 pack. In short, I was impressed. With a 72oz bladder, it was certainly overkill for this run, but I wanted to test it out. Successful test. It was comfortable. It didn't move at all. It also gave me easy access to the camera, which was a plus. The bite valve on the hydration hose is a little funky, or at least different from the Camelbak I have, but I'm certain I'll get used to it. It's going to be great on long runs.

Snowman, Fezzik and gIANt

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Cool, but is it Necessary?

That's the question at hand regarding our new Garmin Forerunner 305. D took it out for a test drive this morning, and I would have gone along but I was (am) lazy and didn't drag myself out of bed. The upside of my laziness, and I always find an upside, is that I got to take it for a test myself. I headed to the bike path, and did the same run she did.

Admittedly, it's very cool to have all that data at your fingertips...or on your wrist in this case. During the run, I could watch my heart rate, which was interesting in conjunction with the pace. And so on and so on. I got home dumped the info into the computer, and the result was 5.33 miles in 43:42; average pace of 8:12; average heart rate of 147 bpm and a max heart rate of 162 bpm. All of this is cool, but I'm not really sure what to make of it. I'm sure I could determine a baseline, averages, yada yada, but since I never took a lab course in college I have neither the patience or inclination. So, in all likelihood, D will be using it more than I.

Additionally, I was always aware that I was wearing both the unit and the heart rate strap. Especially, the latter. I've never worn a strap before, and it felt restricting, although I'm sure that was mostly psychological. The unit felt weird the whole time, and this from a guy who has a Suunto Vector, aka the wristop bird bath. I'm sure you get used to both, and I'm sure I will. It's going to be really useful on trails, so I know we'll be glad we have it.

As far as how I felt on the run, I'd say I felt mostly OK. Even three weeks after the race that shall not be mentioned, my hamstrings are still cranky. Plan is to just run through it and hope they loosen up. I feel much better tonight after my run, so that's an encouraging sign. Long run at Bradbury tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today, I was more hardcore than a Mountain Dew ad. I even skied off piste. And, by calling it "off piste," it shows how hardcore I am all over the world. In fact, the planet can barely contain how extreme I am. It was basically Powerthirst!

OK, perhaps not, but it was a great day on the trails. It was all snow at Great Glen Trails, and I took advantage of it with an afternoon ski.

We couldn't keep up with the grooming fast enough, so there was fresh snow covering all the tracks. It felt more like a backcountry ski, and I decided that I might as well actually ski ungroomed trails. Conditions were perfect for that: 8 inches of new snow on top of a hard base.

You can barely make out my tracks on the left side.

Both those pics were taken on a trail called Whiplash, which is a great singletrack trail. One of my favorites for running. In fact, here's a video of that trail from Dramamine theater.

So, overall, the ski was more like playtime than an actual workout. And, really I think that's a good thing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It Was So Awesome

As I'm certain you recall, my last run on yet unexplored (by me) snowmobile trails didn't go quite as planned. However, I remedied that today with a truly successful exploration. The exploration would be less of an exploration if, oh, I don't know, actual snowmobile maps existed. I've pretty much worn out Google looking for a snowmobile map of any quality. The map on the official NH site is my favorite. "Where are we?" "Well, according to the map we're in yellow, but almost in cyan. Then again, burnt umber is also a possibility." If anyone knows of a decent map, feel free to shoot it my way, and I will gladly recant all my snark. (Or at least most of it.)

But, I digress. Today's run was awesome. Based on my previous exploration ("You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." And it certainly doesn't make you sound hardcore.), I had a good idea that I could get on NH Corridor 19. I parked on road off the parking lot for the Old Man of the Valley on Route 2. The road is being used for logging, so parking was lean and sketchy. I could have parked in the lot, but I was using the get the best possible parking spot at the gym mentality. About a minute into the run, I came across a much better lot that I should have known was there since I've passed it 8,000 times on Route 2. Next time.

The trail was awesome. It was not just a snowmobile trail, but it was a groomed snowmobile trail: ten to fifteen feet wide at all times. And, the conditions were perfect: a solid base with 1/2 inch or less of loose granular on top. I was rocking the screw shoes, but probably could have done without them for 95% of the trail as there was very little ice. About 5 minutes into the run, I heard two sleds coming my way, and I stepped off the trail. I waved as they passed, and I'm sure had they not been wearing helmets and goggles, I would have been able to see the strange looks they were no doubt giving me. Luckily, they were headed in the opposite direction, so I only had to breathe snowmobile exhaust for a couple seconds. For most of the way out, the trail climbed, some big uns, too. Great views all around the woods, and I wished I could have gone further. But, it was getting dark, and I told D I would call her by 5:00. Due to all the downhill, I was 2 minutes faster on the way back, finished with daylight to spare and called D right at 5:00 (once I eventually had cell service.) I probably ran a total of 4.5 to 4.75 miles, so I definitely need to get back here to see more. Today would have been a good day to have a GPS. And, as luck would have it, we just broke down and ordered one! There were mile markers out there, and on the way back, my watch claimed that I ran the only marked mile I saw in 8:07, which seems pretty quick, so I doubt the accuracy of the markers. Like I said, GPS.

Legs are still tight, but not bad. It felt good to stretch them out and let it run on the downhills. A little more stretching tonight, and hopefully a ski in fresh snow tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Day at the Beach

It's February. It's Maine. Why not go to the beach?

Admittedly, I wasn't feeling completely fresh after yesterday's run, so I wanted to take it easy today. I wanted to get the blood moving, but I didn't want to do a whole lot. With the ski conditions being what they are, I wasn't too psyched to spend the time & energy waxing for a short ski. So, a short run it was. Of course, since we had the day off together, D and I did what we like to call a "destination run." Today's destination was Morse Mountain in Phippsburg.

Morse Mountain is an up and over to the beach. About 2 miles one way. After a brief "detour" en route (I got us lost.), we were shocked to see other cars in the parking lot. I would have been shocked with one car, but there were six. The road over Morse Mountain was a mixed of packed snow and ice. Screws shoes were essential, and even with them it was still a bit sketchy. We ran easily and just enjoyed the views, which were awesome. My legs were tired, but overall, I felt good. A great afternoon in Maine!

More pics here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An "Easy" 8

My plan for today was to put the parts to the test with an easy 8-mile trail run. I figured that it would be a good test, and I wanted to take it nice and easy. D and I figured we'd go to Bradbury and just run the snowmobile trail out and back. This was to be my first official training run for the Pineland 50k.

Well, at 8:00am D posted our plans on Facebook, and Ian quickly responded that he and Emma would be meeting Jim there at 10:00. So, it turned into a group run, which is awesome. The more the merrier. Of course, Ian always has something devious planned, and today it was quite possibly the hilliest 8-miles possible. Perfect way to kick off my training.

The upside of the recent warm weather and rain followed by cold is that the snowmobile trails are firm to icy. Pretty much perfect for running. Not great for ski conditions, but snowmobile trails and screw shoes make for a great combination. Of course, the ups and downs today were often quite steep, and crampons may have been more appropriate in places. Emma was the only one to take a spill, but that was because she veered off the trail to avoid some ice. Needless to say, there's a lot of snow out there, and we almost lost her. We turned around at 4 miles, and instead of going straight back the way we came, Ian suggested we take a detour to the summit of Bradbury. We were rewarded with a great view, and a fun descent down the Switchback Trail to the cars. Great way to end a kick ass, ass kickin' run.

It wasn't easy, but I felt good. I can tell there's not a lot in the tank right now, but that will come. My leg felt fine. A little tightness near the end, but it's definitely turned around dramatically in the last couple days. So, things are looking up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not Racing, But Timing, Then Skiing

I guess that sums it up. I was able to get out and help Jeff at the Close to the Coast Valentine's Day Race & Couple's Relay - long name, but it's just a 10k skate race at Pineland. Great turnout, despite the crispy conditions and strong winds. Jamie, Mindy and Pete joined me on the timing crew, and if you were with us, you'd be cooler now.

Despite the pull of Stones and brunchtime deliciousness with the crew, I stuck around and went for a ski. Since Jeff hadn't expended enough energy between race directing and then racing, he joined me on the trails. We headed out to Oak Hill to get out of the wind. Unfortunately, they hadn't groomed that loop overnight, which was disappointing to say the least. It was solid and rutted. Not bad skiing, but it could have been better. At least it was a good way to work on your balance. We then hit the Campus Loop, which was much better and then tacked on a bit more in search of stray flags from the race. According to Jeff's Garmin, it was 11k. I know that I was tired, and I only put out about 1/8 of the energy that Jeff did. He's one fit old guy. Of course, no good workout goes unrewarded, so we headed to Bruce's Burritos for lunch.

Good news on the leg front, as it felt fine for the entire ski. Granted, skating on it probably wasn't the smartest idea, but I took it easy. Only a couple hop skate strides in there. (That's a ski joke.) More stretching tonight, and then a "real" run with D tomorrow.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kinda Betterish

Last night, I broke out The Stick and dropped the hammer on my right calf. Once the tears were flowing, I decided that I'd had enough. I think it really helped. It's definitely an adductor, calf, hamstring combo. There's still some minor almost-pain behind my right knee, but it's getting better. So, I'll call it kinda betterish.

With that in mind, I ran three miles in the Commons today. Running-wise, I felt great. Smooth and easy with a bit of spring in the step. However, I'm still really tight, and I can feel it behind the knee. So, still not going to push it. More stretching tonight, but I think I'll leave the Stick alone. My leg is a bit tender.

Now, with complete lack of a segue, this is hysterical. Apparently, the play by play announcer for the Florida Panthers just yells random movie quotes when a goal is scored. He's an insane genius. (May I recommend not watching the clip, but just listening and trying to guess where the lines come from.)


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Jacket Required

This post is all about Phil Collins.

OK, not really. But, did you know that Phil Collins must be playing on at least one radio station at all times. It's a law. Seriously, have you ever turned on the radio and not been able to find Phil Collins? I didn't think so.

Anywho, it was so warm today, I skied without at jacket. I had originally planned on another action adventure snowmobile trail run on my way home from work, but it was 52 at the base of Mt. Washington today. How could I not ski in that? It was a beautiful April afternoon, and I skied for about an hour. Easy, nice and easy.

(See, no jacket.)

I wrapped it up just in time as the clouds were quickly rolling in. Then it started to rain. Then I drove home in the rain. Yuk.

Hamstrings are feeling a bit better. Slowly. Although, I think that underneath the layer of hamstring tightness is a layer of calf tightness. It's like a 7 layer dip of angry muscles fibers. So, I've been working on the calves, too. The best sign today was the lack of fatigue. I felt quasi--freshish. So, I'll consider it progress made.

And, now back to our regularly scheduled Phil Collins...

What the hell is he talking about? Phil Collins is evil.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another Three

D and I headed to the bike path today for an easy 3 miles. I'm still in recovery mode. I'm still taking it easy. And, quite frankly, I'm not feeling that great. Still tight in the hamstrings/calves/quads/glutes and everything else that's attached. More stretching and foam rolling is in order...well, right after I type this.

I've decided that I'm going to treat this like an injury. I'm not injured, but I'm not 100%. For some reason, things aren't springing back to normal. I can't quite figure it out. Anyway, I'm going to continue to take it very easy until I feel...well...100%. The good news in all this is that it's early February. There's no rush. If I don't start to feel better by the end of the week, then I might start thinking about worrying. For now, I'll just enjoy my short runs. Because short runs are better than no runs at all.

In other news, mad props to Jeff for skiing really well yesterday at the Great Glen Nordic 300. And double those props to him finishing his entire Ultimate Slider Combo at Moat.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hammy Time

See those guitar strings? Those represent my hamstrings. It's a metaphor.

Three miles today on the bike path. Very uneventful except for the lingering tightness in my hamstrings. And, when I say "tightness" I mean the tightest things you can imagine. Back in 2002, I attempted my first comeback. It didn't go so well. I ended up with Patello-Femoral Syndrome due to an imbalance in my quads. Or, more accurately a complete lack of a vastus medialis muscle. This quad imbalance led to my knee cap getting pulled outward and causing a fair amount of pain. Anywho, this led me to physical therapy, and the reason I'm telling you this. At the time, the physical therapist told me I had the second tightest hamstrings she had ever seen. The first? A fourteen year-old girl with a growth disorder. Yup, I win. Well, I think I'm getting close to that stage.

I'm stretching. I'm foam rolling. D is helping me stretch. They will not loosen up. Maybe I'm going through a growth spurt?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Core Exercises

Today, I figured out why my back was cramped on Sunday and my arms were sore on Monday. I'm a WEAKLING. I did my core exercises today: crunches, push-ups, the dying bug, the bird dog and another exercise I like to call sexy time. (Despite the fun names, they're all official PT certified exercises.) Needless to say, I sucked. I need a lot of work.

Right now, I'm this:

Hopefully, I'll soon be this:

It Could Have Been So Awesome

It's critical in a recovery plan to make your first run back smooth and easy—just get the blood flowing. But, I'm an idiot, so instead...

In my travels to and from my place of employment, I find myself on Route 2 in western Maine quite often. Yesterday afternoon was no exception. And, yesterday afternoon, I decided that it was time to get a run in—my first run in my recovery plan. I was still feeling mentally scarred from Sunday's body and soul crushing road miles, so I really wanted to hit the trails. So, on my way home, I drove past my usual running destination, North Road in Shelburne, and headed for Evans Notch. Route 113 through Evans Notch is closed in the winter, or as the sign says "This Road Not Maintained for Winter Travel," but it is a major snowmobile route. Because of this I knew that it would be not only well-packed but also beautiful.

I turned off the logging truck highway that is Route 2 and headed south on 113 towards the point where it is closed and gated. Then I started seeing the signs: "Road Work Ahead," "Road Work 1000 Feet," "Bridge Closed." Hmmmmmm...I wonder exactly what "Bridge Closed" means. The construction site was actually past the road gate, where I parked, so I started running down the plowed road behind the gate. The construction site quickly came into view, and I learned that "Bridge Closed" actually means "Bridge Gone." I wove through a maze of trucks, yellow steel and rock piles and found a rickety foot bridge over the stream. Finally, onto the well packed snowmobile trail. Not so much.

Since the bridge had been dismantled by Maine DOT, the snowmobile-types couldn't access the trail from this end. There was, however, a single track that has been made the dogsledding outfit that runs trips in Evans Notch. Needless to say, teams of 12 dogs, a musher and a sled, don't exactly pack things down as completely or evenly as snowmobiles. And, dogs pee more. So, my recovery run wasn't really easy or smooth, but it was beautiful. Route 113 follows the Wild River and the late-afternoon light was stunning. I ran until I reached the Hastings Campground and checked out the footbridge over the Wild River. One of the snowmobile trail signs indicated that it was 2 miles back to the road gate, but there's no way it was that far—1.75 miles at most, but I'm calling the run 3 miles: 35:35 total time. I really wasn't looking forward to the run back because it was so uneven. I almost fell a couple times. So, unfortunately, without the consistent snowmobile traffic, I can't recommend running from the Gilead end of 113 without snowshoes. Even with shoes, I think the inconsistency of the dog-made track would be rough. However, this would make a kick-ass run next winter—assuming the bridge is fixed. So, instead of being awesome yesterday, it was just potentially awesome. (I also need to look at the surrounding trails for the non-snow seasons.)

As far as the recovery part, I felt pretty much OK. I was certainly tight all over, including my arms. My hamstrings are kind of bad. I need to really focus on these over the next two weeks or so. That's how long I'm thinking it will take for these to work themselves out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Recovery Walk

Yeah, I said "walk." Don't judge me! Seriously, though, I'm still sore. So, in the spirit of smart recovery, I'm going to continue to take it easy until I feel...well, not sore. I'm at work for a couple days, so I grabbed a pair of snowshoes and went for a walk on the trails under the not moonlight. I shuffled around for a little less than an hour in the dark. I brought my headlamp, but even with the cloud cover, I barely needed it. I think it was a good choice as I could tell that I needed to get the blood moving through my legs. I honestly can't believe how sore I am. I may or may not go for an easy run tomorrow. It will all depend on how I feel.

I know I've been a whining a bit more than usual since Sunday, but I'm really glad I did that race. OK, not really glad, but satisfied. The fire is burning brightly under my behind, and I'm ready to move into a period of real, honest, actual, extreme action adventure training. Plus, it's a great race...even though it hates me. Well organized (Nice work, Erik!) and there's pizza. Post-race pizza is almost as good as beer. Next year, though, I think I'll be the "Water, first! Gatorade, second!" guy. (Someone please remind me of that next January.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

2009 Maine Track Club Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic

Photo from Maine Running Photos.

I think that photo pretty much sums it up: Feet barely off the ground? Check. Satan face? Check. The perfect picture of pain? Check. Wave of people ready to pass me? Check.

When I got up on Sunday morning, it was 6° and snowing. Ah, race day. As expected, it warmed up considerably as we headed to Cape Elizabeth, and in fact, conditions were pretty much perfect. Well, perfect for a February road race in Maine. Temps in the low 20's, no wind.

D and I did a short warm up and stretched. I felt fine, and I wasn't nervous at all. (D was nervous enough for the both of us.) I didn't even need to go to the bathroom 4,000 times pre-race. Perhaps, that's not a good sign.

We met Ian at the starting line, and he immediately called me out on my pre-race sub 1:10 prediction. I mumbled something about my uncertainty of this goal, but in my mind I was thinking, "Hell, yeah. I didn't come out here to stink up the joint." Then the cowbell rang, and we were off.

After nearly, running into an icy snowbank in the first 100 yards, the rest of the first mile was uneventful. Ian and I chatted for most of it, and I was still feeling confident. My hamstrings immediately let me know they weren't thrilled with the pace, but I hope they would loosen up. I suppose they kind of did, and I continued to feel OK as we hit the second mile—the hilly second mile. Ian got a bit ahead of me, but I was just trying to stay smooth and relaxed through the hills. I passed a ton of people who thought it wise to sprint the first mile, but something was amiss. As I passed the mile 2 sign, I was feeling...well...sluggish. It only got worse in the slightly less hilly third mile. Then as I passed the mile 3 marker, I was toast.

I never had a hit the wall moment, but the next 7 miles were just a pile of awful. I watched Ian's orange hat steadily pull away until it just blended into the line of runners moving steadily away from. My back started to tighten up sometime in mile 4. I repeatedly has to stretch it out over the rest of race in hopes of avoiding the angry demon from last year. At some point before the 5-mile marker, I had a brief moment of feeling good. It lasted about 10 seconds, and that was the end of that. I knew I was in real trouble when I hit the 7-mile marker, I thought I had picked up the pace over the last mile. In fact, I'd slowed down. Then for the next three miles each time I was praying to every deity I could think of to make the mile markers appear sooner. "Oh, Thor, please smite the other runners with a mighty thunderbolt, so I can finish in the top 75!" Apparently, pagan gods take Sundays off, as wave after wave of runners over took me in the final three miles. Through 8 miles in 56:01. I told myself that if I could really dig deep I could still break 1:10. Instead, my back kept cramping, and I ran the slowest mile yet. Even when I tried to kick down the final hill in the last 100 yards to the finish, I could barely lift my legs. Well, at least it was over.

After the race, Mindy was nice enough to let D and I tear through her trash and poop and puke all over her furniture. Oh wait, that was her dog. We actually showered at her house and went out to a delicious and large brunch with her and her friend Claire. The bacon, sausage and pancakes helped wash my crankiness away. Hopefully, I wasn't bad company.

Here are the ugly numbers:
Mile 1: 6:41
Mile 2: 6:59
Mile 3: 6:59
Mile 4: 6:47
Mile 5: 6:53
Mile 6: 7:05
Mile 7: 7:11
Mile 8: 7:28
Mile 9: 7:33
Mile 10: 7:16
Final: 1:10:51 (Chip Time: 1:10:59)

As predicted, I'm cranky. But, as not predicted, I'm motivated. I really need to get my act together. I have no one to blame but myself for this fiasco.

Here's what I've learned/decided:
1. Training matters: I half joked about the fact that my training for this race was lackluster. And, well, the result really shows that. I'm not sure how I expected to barely do anything before this race and still run well.
2. Not just running matters: The combination of skiing and not doing a single push up, sit up or other core strengthening exercise is just plain stupid. As Mindy has said to me many times, doing PT exercises makes you feel injured. And, she's right, but they're essential. Despite what you may think (and I know you do), I'm not a perfect physical specimen. I need to do my exercises.
3. Smartitude: I didn't really recover properly after the GAC Fat Ass. "Look at me, I ran 40k! I'm invincible!" Not so much. I didn't pay enough attention to proper recovery. I need to be smarter about these things.

I guess, in short, I need to start taking this thing seriously, so I'm not in a perpetual state of cranky. The seriousness starts today. And, that first step is proper recovery. Today, I am sore. Way more sore than I was after the 40k, but not quite as sore as I was after MDI...but close.

On a happier note, D ran a great race finishing in 1:16:27. Why? Because she's much tougher than I am. Also, the aforementioned Ian rocked the house. I'm going to take a little bit of credit for scaring him into running so well. It was the best executed of all my race strategies!

Ian with his game face, me and D post race: photo

Official Results
Race Photos

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Hate That Race

Not so good.


I have a lot of work to do.

Real report coming soon.