Thursday, October 30, 2008

Return to Masochist

I'm looking forward to my return to one of my favorite races, the Mountain Masochist 50 miler this weekend. I wish I could say I was looking forward to running a great time but with my injuries and the least amount of running mileage in 5 years, I will be very happy if I can just make the cut-offs.

This is a view of Buck Mountain from about the 25 mile mark. The 29 mile mark is on the top of Buck Mountain

Although I am not very confident , I'm sure that I will be having a good time. This is the first time I have planned to run this race with someone. With only a few exceptions I have always preferred to run my ultra's alone. I usually do end up sharing many miles with friends along the way, most notably Tony Rouse, who I'm sure I've shared more ultra race miles than anyone. Tony won't be there this year but I will be running with the Lovely Jenn, my friend and frequent training partner. This will be her first mountain and trail ultra and I look forward to sharing the experience with her. That is if I can keep up. Jenn has proven herself to be a strong and natural ultrarunner the past couple of years so I expect her to do well, so if I feel I'm holding her back I will send her on her way.

You can check our progress here on Saturday with a webcast update I'm #259, Jenn is #118

Look for some photos and a report soon

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autism 5k 10-11-08

I really needed to do a long training run more than I needed to racing a 5k but sometimes you just have to do something a little different. Well actually I have run this race the past 4 years now but it was still a bit different. This was the first year I wouldn't be running with Karla. Our first time was in 2005 as we were training to get me into Boston qualifying shape. We ran several 5k's that Fall trying to get a 5k pr for her while I ran along getting in a good tempo workout. In the process we had a lot of fun and afterwards would go run some extra miles. Then in 2006 she was undergoing her cancer treatments so I just ran with her because of our friendship and then again in 2007 we just went for the fun. Which brings us to this years race. Neither one of us has been running well the past several months so there wouldn't be any pr attempts by either of us. Frank's son Eric was in town visiting so the Werners decided to run the race rather than doing the long run. I decided it would be a good time to test to see just how much I have slowed down since the injuries cut into my training and also see how the legs would hold up to a faster pace.
It was a beautiful morning for a race and I arrived an hour early to register and visit with friends from the NCRC. I would be racing in the Team Jersey today which is sponsored by my part-time employer, The Athlete's Foot in CameronVillage. AFter finding the Werners and visting a few minutes, it was time for me to go warm-up. I was encouraged that my legs felt good as I ran an easy mile and then did a few strides to loosen up and get ready for the faster pace to come.

Then I made my way over to the starting line. With over 1800 runners I didn't want to get caught behind a bunch of slow starters so I lined up near the front , just behind fast ladies Laura Frey and Katie Eger. At the gun, I took off at a hard but reasonable pace, or at least I hoped it would be reasonable. I had run just over 22:00 back in May but have only been averaging about 15 miles a week since then and no speedwork.

I knew by the half mile that the pace was probably too fast but I was committed so I pushed on. Charles West pulled up beside me and we tried running together for a while. He has really been improving and as we passed the first mile in about 6:55, he began to pull away. Well, they had changed the course this year so instead of a double loop, it would be out , over and back so it was predominatly downhill the first half and uphill coming back. I began slowing as soon as we hit the hills so I just tried to maintain the effort. Eric Werner passed me just before the two mile mark. Eric doesn't run much but is in great shape from biking, including a cross-country trip ove r the summer.

Once I made it over the final hill and the course started to flatten out, I tried to pick up the pace several times but there wasn't another gear left. I was slightly disappointed in my time of 23:32, but happy that my effort was consistent and my legs held up to the stress.

On to the next one.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Masochist Training Run

Last year my good friend, the lovely Ms. Jenn Ennis, told me she was hoping to be able to run Mountain Masochist this year so we made plans that we would run the race together. As you should know , Jenn has proven to be a natural at the ultra races but so far has never done one in the mountains or with any single-track trail.

So we planned on taking a day to head up to the course in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a training run and let her get an idea of what she has gotten herself into. With my injury issues and lack of running recently I was also in need of a good workout and hopefully a confidence booster with the race less than 4 weeks away now.

We picked a great day for the trip on Monday, with blue skies and temperatures in the low 70's. After the long drive we arrived at the Mt. Pleasant trailhead which is the location of the "infamous loop" on the course. From here we could use the car as a re-fueling station, as we ran the loop and then we would do a couple of out-and- back spurs on the course.

The trip around the loop went very well. It was a nice change to be able run it while I was fresh and to take the time to look around a little bit. I'm always very tired by the time I get there on race day and also in a hurry. Jenn did great but was a little timid going down the steep, rocky descent but I know she will improve with more experience. We stopped briefly for some pictures and then headed on down to the car.

After a few minutes to refill and snack we headed out onto the dirt and gravel roads that lead to mile 43 on the course. I quickly learned that Jenn has the uphill power-walk down pat and I found myself having to really hoof it too stay with her. She was also running faster and with more confidence on the downhills along this section too.

After heading back to the car for another refuel stop, we started going in reverse on the course back to the Buck Mountain aid station location. I'm not sure we ever got there or if we went past it but I know we got close at least. Things look a lot different than on race day and I'm usually not looking back where I came from.
By the time we made the last climb back to the parking area we were both getting tired and ready to rest. It was a most enjoyable day and we both got in a great workout making the trip a big success for both of us.