Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another "Miles stone" quietly passed

Here I am in 1978 doing my best "PRE" imitation. I think I weighed about 132 lbs here. Anyway, as you may know from reading this blog, I started running 31 years ago. Well a couple of weeks ago, almost exactly 30 years after this photo was taken , I ran my 30,000th mile. Although I got hooked on the racing bug in 1978 I was never really a high mileage runner. A combination of factors kept the mileage down including long hours at work, my first son was born about 3 months after this picture and a few beginner injuries kept my average weekly miles around 35 a week for most of the late 70's and early 80's. During the mid 90's I was hardly running and only recorded about 2 to 300 miles a year until after my torn acl in 1998 and I began my comeback. Amazingly over a 3rd of my mileage has come after I began ultrarunning in 2002 . At the beginning of 2003 I had only run about 19,500 miles.
How long will it take to get the next 30,000?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Duke Liver Center Half-Ironman

What have I gotten myself into? You idiot! Why in the world did you sign up for a stupid Ironman? I wonder if I can get a refund? If I ever get off this stupid bike I'll never do another triathlon.

These are the things I was saying to myself( censored version of course) as I approached the 45 mile mark of the bike portion last Sunday.

The day had started off well as I met my wonderful friend Margo once again to share the ride out to Jordan Lake. We were able to find a good parking spot and quickly pick up our race packets and begin preparations for the start. Looking out over the lake we saw calm water but unfortunately the forecast was for a hot humid day with highs in the 90's.

As the first wave started out I got in the lake for a little warm-up swim. The water felt perfect to me and soon enough it was time to take my position in the water at the end of the pier. I had no trouble finding room to swim and settled into a nice easy pace. Last Saturday I had done 1.2 miles in the pool and that went well so I was hoping things would go well this morning. I just had to relax and not be in a hurry. With the calm water I was able to site the bouys easily and before long I had made the first turn. A couple of hundred yards and then the final turn back towards the boat ramp. I was still feeling strong so I picked up the effort a little and with no problems and soon reached the swim finish. But as I stood up to walk out of the lake my right hamstring cramped and I had to stand still for half a minute for it to relax before continuing on. Dan Yeingst a fellow competitor from my age-group years ago when I first started doing tri's was there encouraging me as I came out of the lake and headed to transition one.

I was very happy with my effort on the swim and now I quickly prepared to head out on the bike. I was in and out quickly and soon rolling down the road. The first part of the bike course was fairly easy and the sun was still low in the sky so we were in shade for a while making it very comfortable. I was glad to have mostly flat terrain with a good road surface early so I could get my legs warmed up for the bike. Up until today I had only done two 30 mile training rides so I was worried about pedaling for 56 miles on the hills I knew were coming. At 10 miles I checked my pace and was a little surprised but pleased at the speed I was going but already the sun was beginning to bear down and it was heating up quickly.

Between miles 15 and 20 is an out and back spur and as I was coming back I saw Margo behind me and just a bit further back was my buddy Jerry who along with Margo will be doing the Iron Distance Beach to Battleship race on Nov.1st. I guessed they were maybe a mile behind me at this point. Both of them have been biking a lot more than me and Jerry has always been a stronger bike rider so I was expecting them to both pass me within the next 10 miles or so. I checked my pace at 20 miles and it was about the same as at 10. So far so good.

Over the next 10 miles I would began to come back to reality. The course was beginning to get harder and it was getting hotter. To make matters worse my neck and upper back were already tight and hurting making it very uncomfortable. I was still doing ok though but at 30 miles my pace had slowed down about 1 mph average. Now as I pedaled into new territory I was still feeling ok except the neck pain was getting more and more unbearable taking away a lot of the pleasure of riding. My pace stayed about the same over the next hilly 15 miles which brings us to the beginning of the story.

By now I felt miserable I was tired and very hot and ready for this to be over. I struggled on until finally around 52 miles in Margo finally passed me. I had expected her a long time ago, especially as much as I was struggling. And then at 54 miles Jerry came up on me. He asked if I was "toast". I just muttered something that meant yes and as he passed by, my right quadricep cramped on me. Now I was really in a foul mood. I was already going slow enough and now I could barely pedal. The last few miles seemed to take forever and as I neared the transition area I was ready to to call it quits. Dan was there again volunteering at the bike dismount but I don't think I had the energy to even acknowledge his cheering. I think a turtle could have beaten me to my bike rack from there. My legs would barely move and I was dizzy from the heat and dehydration.

I sat down to change my shoes determined that I would at least try to finish what I had started. I slowly headed out stopping at the aid station to get some cold water to pour on my head and to drink. Then I started walking. The first half-mile is flat on pavement and then turns uphill on a gravel road. I walked until I reached the top of the hill and another aid station. They had ice cold towels so I took one and began to run. By now I was feeling a little better and I hoped I could just do an easy run/walk and get through this thing. The run course had a couple of out and back spurs so I was able to see Margo and Jerry as well as Thomas Asta and Kara LaBella out on the course.

Things went OK for a few miles but it was miserably hot and humid. As I left another aid station around 4.5 miles suddenly my right hamstring felt like I had pulled the muscle. I tested it out a couple of times over the next half-mile but I knew then it was over for me. As much trouble as I've had all year with my injuries I was not going to ruin myself today just to finish in a slow crawl for 2 more hours . So I slowly made my way back down to the transition area and turned in my chip and then after grabbing some food and drink I found Kara and we made our way to the finish to watch for our friends. Kara had a great race and was happy and excited. Margo came in soon looking strong and 30 minutes later Jerry came in. Thomas had finished before I came back in and was already gone.

Yes, it was a brutal day and disappointing to have to drop out but the day wasn't a total loss. I hopefully learned a few lessons out there and I did get to spend some time with some friends. And as you can see in the photo at the top of the story I got a hug from a pretty young lady.

On to the next one

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hello Ultra Friends

It's been a strange year for me so far. Over the past several years I would have already completed 8 or 9 ultra's by this time of year but so far I have only finished one and that was the Frosty 50K way back in January. I dropped out of the only other two I started, Umstead at 69 miles and The Boogie at 10 with the leg and butt pain. I really miss the ultra's, the trails but mostly I miss seeing all of you. As you know it is a special atmosphere at an ultra and most of the people are very special.

I am enjoying the Triathlons and cross-training very much although it is different. The best part about it is several of my really closest , true friends are currently participating in in the Tris and cross-training too. Margo and Bill, Frank and Karla, Jerry and Thomas and even Jenn is getting in on the excitement. Thomas just completed his 2nd Ironman in Louisville a couple of weeks ago. Jerry and Margo are training for the Iron Distance Beach to Battleship in Wilmington this November and Jenn is now looking forward to going for an International distance race next year. And of course I will be training for the next 9 months to get ready for Ironman Cour D' Alene.

Tomorrow (9-14-08), I am doing the Duke Liver Center Half-Ironman at Jordan Lake and maybe doing one more sprint that is less than 10 miles from home on Oct. 4th. After this weekend I plan to try and increase the running mileage and get back on the trails. Although I'm still not 100% my running is improving and I ca fianlly run without pain on most days. I look forward to the cooler weather and preparing for Mountain Masochist and my return to Ultras. Of course after that I will still have to cut back on the ultras until after next June but I do hope to run a few 50K's in between.

Look for a report on the Half-Ironman soon.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

NCRC August Umstead Series 2008

What a difference a year can make. Let's face it, it's always hot in August but last year was a bit ridiculous with record highs and an average 5 degrees above normal for the month. With the heat index over 100 the 2nd week some were even suggesting canceling but the show went on and was well attended. So this year? We couldn't even have a day in the 90's. I had to apologize to those looking for extreme conditions because it was almost comfortable out there.

2008 was well attended with an average turnout of 53 making it once again the oldest and most popular of the NCRC Social runs. As always there were some people out for a hard workout, some for a slow run and everything in between. The only competition is for the prestigious Ultraman Joey Award each week. This years winners were Kevin Miles, Paul Minor, Angela Candies and Mark Davis.

We were once again sponsored by our friends at Inside Out Sports in Cary and one lucky winner each week won a $100 gift card for a pair of shoes in a random drawing.

Thanks also to my wonderful volunteers and to the staff of William B. Umstead State Park for allowing us to use the park trails again.

Here are a few photos I took.

and here are some Ben Dillon took on the course.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hurricane? What Hurricane ?

Well, I was suppose to leave this afternoon for the Patriot's Half-Ironman Triathlon in Williamsburg Va, but mother nature had different plans. When I signed up for the race I didn't feel I was really ready but my training has been going well on the bike and swim and my confidence has grown and I thought I would have a decent race. So, since I have next weekend off also , I have now signed up for the Duke Half-Ironman at Jordan Lake next Sunday. I didn't choose it originally because it is a hilly course and I am still not very strong on the hills but I'm getting stronger so I'll just have to deal with the hills and do the best I can. Hey, at least the water is flat.