Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I need to run more trails

I really need to start running more trails. It is just so hard to get there during the week. Most of the time I don't get out until almost 730, and if I drive the 15 minutes to the trails it will be obviously later. There are some trails I can run near the house, but they are just a 1/2 mile here, 1/4 mile there, maybe 1 mile here again. Not exactly the tight singletrack I enjoy the most. And the hills just aren't the same on the roads either. They are all easily runnable. With the added daylight I am going to really try to get to the trails once in the middle of the week. I'm just spread so thin right now though…excuses I know a million of them. But when have a couple kids and work full time, and also a wife that you're (sort of) trying to keep around you'll understand. And then you can help me. Circles…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chuckanut 50K

I had a day full of adventure. And the run was the minor part. What a great day it was too.
I got up at 3:45 and decided to ride my little Honda Metro to the run. It was 42 degrees at my house so I figured I would be fine on the way there. I was a little off. I put one bottle of drink in the carbon fiber bottle cage and figured I would swap another one on the way out, plus eat a Powerbar when I got my new bottle from under the seat. That didn't exactly work out to plan. As I left my house and dropped into the Snohomish Valley the weather quickly cooled. As I continued to drive it felt colder and colder, to the point where it was about 30. I had to wear my running shoes as I didn't really have any more room to pack anything else. All in all it took me about 2 hours and 10 minutes to get there. I was shivering, my hands weren't working anymore, and my feet were numb too. It was worth it though. I didn't even use a gallon of gas to drive the 75 miles to Fairhaven.

I spent the next 80 minutes trying to get warm. I went for a short 1.5 mile run, which worked well enough to get my core temp up, but my feet were still numb. I ran into Bill Huggins, a guy I moved up to cat. 2 with in Cyclocrosst and caught up with him, which was cool. Bill is an awesome dude. Next thing I know it's about 10 minutes to race start and my feet are still numb. I wasn't too worried though, I didn't think there would be any technical trails for a while. It turns out the first 6 miles are relatively flat and the footing is easy, much to my numb feet's delight. It was somewhere between 5-6 miles before I got all my feeling back in my feet.

Heading into the first aid station meant the single track and the real fun was about to begin. I kept a conservative pace for the beginning, staying aerobic and smooth. With a minimum goal of sub 5 hours I didn't think it would be too hard to attain. I suck (slow) at power walking the steep climbs, instead choosing to plod up them as best as I can. This proved to be much faster than most people can walk. My shoes were starting to bug me though on the first long decent. They always do. I need to find a new trail shoe I like that doesn't tear my feet up. Luckily I remembered to wrap my one foot in duct tape, that stuff really does have a million uses.

I ate and drank as much as I thought I needed, but I think not being able to eat and drink in the car on the way up really bit me in the ass by the time we got to the top of Lil Chinscraper. This climb, being only 800 feet, wasn't horribly long, but it was pretty steep and tough to go fast on.
After this it was all downhill and mostly flat to the finish. Although I knew I was running out of calories. I had 1/2 a Powerbar left in my fuel belt, so I downed that. And tried to survive to the next and last aid station. I was in full bonk mode although my legs were still pretty OK. I just needed calories. I survived to the last aid station where I consumed an enormous amount of calories. A huge handful of M & M's, a handful of Clif Bloks, a couple gels, and 8-10 little cups of coke and I was off. After about maybe one more slow mile my blood sugar kicked in and I was able to get my pace close to sub 8:00 minute miles the rest of the way. I ended up running the last 6 miles in 52 minutes, but I like to think the lack of calories were a big factor in the slowing of my pace before it picked up again. I ended up running in 4:58, not horrible, but I definitely feel as if I can run that course a lot faster. I ran into Glen shortly after, it's amazing that we were only 4 minutes apart and never saw one another the whole race. We saw Joleen finish, she wasn't looking too happy but looked like she finished strong.
The field was stacked. I don't think I've ever been in a race which contained this much talent. When the current Western States 100 winner gets 6th you know the field is stacked. I would have loved to have seen them fly up the hills.
It was warm for the scoot home though. I was horribly overdressed and had to stop after an hour or so to shed a layer or 2. I took the long way home because of the increased traffic. All told it was a very enjoyable day. I ended up putting 160 miles on the scooter and only used about 1.55 gallons of gas. My back was a little sore on the way home though, but it was worth it. Then it was back to the kids and since it was so nice out there wasn't any time to relax as we headed to the park and played for the rest of the day. Good times...

Friday, March 19, 2010

No Sleep...til B'ham!

Seriously. WTF? I haven't slept a decent night in about 2 weeks. 4 hours, 5 hours. 4 hours. Repeat. A good night has been 6 hours. I don't understand how this happens or why. Granted, I generally feel OK each day. Maybe it's because my mileage is back down under 50 miles per week? Am I some junkie that can only sleep when I burn a prerequisite amount of calories? I need a good 30+ mile run to get everything working again and in order. When I was running 70+ miles per week I slept pretty good every night. But I also got to run earlier - this is probably a factor. Most night I don't even get out the door until 730-800 o'clock. Then after 1-2+ hours of running, shower, stretch, food, get to bed it's pretty late. Then the friggin' alarm clock goes off at 430 and repeat.

Hopefully with Chuckanut 50K tomorrow I can get some sleep tonight. That would be a welcome relief.

Friday, March 5, 2010

100 miles - Take II

You're the fighter you've got the fire

The spirit of a warrior, the champion's heart

You fight for your life because the fighter never quits

You make the most of the hand you're dealt

Because the quitter never wins


(The Dropkick Murphy's - The Warrior's Code)

I finally found a 100 to run to redeem myself from RR 100. I am going to kick this race's ass. I am going to be so strong that these mountains will feel like a bunny hill. Pine to Palm 100 or Palm to Pine - whateverthehellitscalled. Who cares. 20K of elevation. Whatever. It doesn't matter. I am going to turn myself inside out training yet be super smart also. I am going to be prepared. There will be no surprises this time. So a big EFF U to 100 miles thank you very much. And then I will go back to RR100 and run 17:30 for 100.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tiger Mountain Training Run

Whew. We finally got to run Tiger. I picked Glen up at 0630 and we headed out to the trails. I was quite surprised by the number of cars in the lot as we pulled in about 715 in the morning. It was a hard friggin run though. Actually, we walked some of the steeper ascents (there were many) and I quickly realized Glen is a way better power walker than I. I guess I need to hang out with the old folks on Friday mornings and do some hot laps around the mall.

We started off with a 2000 foot climb in the first 4 miles. We started nice and easy since it felt like a long climb. Neither one of us have ever run the 12 Summits of Issaquah before, so we had to stop more than we would have liked to. And also made quite a few wrong turns. I think we climbed the first ascent almost 3 times before we actually found the trail to the next summit. We probably got an extra 800 feet of climbing just because of our wrong turns. Once we found the trail to summit # 2 we were pretty good though in terms of navigation. We ran into hikers and we kept asking them if we were on the right tract to wherever we were going. We found our way meandering along the side of the mountain and only ran into one more runner after summit # 2. The farther into the woods we ventured the less options we had which certainly helped our poor navigational skills out. The climb to summit # 1 was a bitch to say the least. It only gained about 750 feet during the final approach, but it felt really steep and put my power walking to the test. By the time we reached this summit it was time to turn around as it took us nearly 2.5 hours of running (and walking) to get this far.

The way back was fast though. Granted, there wasn't quite as much ascending as previous - but there was lots of technical downhill quad thrashing running. The last 4 miles felt like a controlled free fall down a side of the mountain. I ran the last 2.2 miles in 15:30. And Glen was about a minute ahead of me, so he was hauling ass.

All in all it was an awesome day to run. The weather held out. The scenery was breath taking. The trails were in great shape. And it was just great to be outside and playing in the woods so far from anything remotely resembling pavement. We agreed we ran about 18 miles in just under 4 hours - the run was that tough. Both of us could probably run a 3:15 marathon on any given day of the week without too work. I never knew 12 minute pace could feel so hard.