Monday, September 24, 2012

5 years at Capital RunWalk

 Wow, it's almost hard to believe that this month marks the 5th anniversary of part-time job working at Capital RunWalk in Cameron Village. I had been a customer going back to the 90's ( The store opened in 1994) and I knew the owner, Mike Zimmerman through his support for many events with the NCRC over the years. I had talked to Mike about 6.5 years ago about a possible full time job when my regular job was in jeopardy due to a a company bankruptcy but things worked out so that I was hired by the new company that took over my accounts. Mike told me if I ever wanted to make some hours to just let him know. So five years ago, I was looking to fill some free time since I was getting off work around 1pm on average and I couldn't run ALL the time . Some extra money to finance my trips to races would be nice too so I called Mike and asked if the offer was still good.  He said he'd talk it over with the Management Team, Jon Baker and Matt Thomas and luckily they agreed I would be a good fit for the store with my work and running background.

   I soon found that just because it is a running specialty store doesn't mean that all the customers are runners but despite the usual issues in dealing with the public in a retail environment most of the customers are very good to work with. And although my job is to sell stuff, I still get to talk a lot of running. It is especially satisfying to talk to some beginners or someone training for their first half or even full marathon and they seem to truly appreciated the tips and encouragement as I answer their questions.

  One of the best things for me is having the opportunity to work there with some real quality young people. Most of the staff are either students or recent grads from area colleges, mostly NC State bit a few others. Most have run track and cross country on at least the high school level and right now we have 3 current members of the NC State team.  I have really been impressed with  these intelligent, highly motivated young people and I know their parents are very proud of them. And I am proud to consider them friends.

 It's been really cool to be able to work with Bobby Mack over about 4.5 of those 5 years years and watch his progression to the Elite level.  Bobby was an All American XC runner at State but when he came back to work with us he was in Grad School and recovering from injuries. It's been great to watch him go from wondering if his best running years were behind him to becoming the National XC Champion, 8k National Road Champion, achieve his goal for running a sub 4 mile and compete in the Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters among his many other accomplishments. I would take credit for this but I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Bobby has the fire within and loves running and has gotten great coaching over the years, mostly from Rollie Geiger at NC State.

  So I'm not going to do a commercial for the store but if you need running stuff there is no finer place to shop for it and if I'm not there anyone on the staff can give you great advice and service. I really didn't expect to be here this long but if they'll keep putting up with me I think I'll stick around for a few more years at least.

 Thanks to Mike, Jon and Matt for the opportunity.

 Ok, here is a link to the store website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

La Grandiose Experience. Sept update

Things have been going quite well over the past month since my last update. I recovered very quickly from the race on Labor Day Weekend. I had practically no soreness and after taking a couple of days to rest I was soon up to normal speed and distance putting in 33 miles the week afterwards.  followed that up with 59 miles last week and I should end up with 54 this week.

  These weeks have included some quality workouts as well as some good long runs with some pace work, some hill repeats and some tempo intervals. I've also been able to help get Amy on track to getting her mileage back up a bit and she did the hill repeats and tempo intervals with me. Right now they are geared towards just getting us ready for the faster paced stuff to come after she does her birthday run at Hinson Lake and I get this 100 miler done in 3 weeks. I hope to get in one more good mileage week and a couple of quality workouts, some more hills and tempo stuff and then I'll have to cut back a bit for the final two weeks before Oil Creek.

 As a little side note, the hill repeats we did and will continue to do for the next couple of months are not the normal kind I've done in the past but instead are run for about 300-400 meters at maximum effort. When we reach the top it's all about gasping and trying not to throw up. We run slowly back down and then recover completely before the next repeat. Very hard but very satisfying and a great strength builder.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Badgerland 24, uh, 13 hour Run

    I guess you can look at this as both a rousing success and an epic failure rolled into one race.

 I'm not going to bore you with the details of a race that went around and around in  400 meter circles or make any excuses on why I failed to finish the event. I certainly can't blame the weather. Although it wasn't ideal  for this time of year I couldn't have asked for much better. It never did get cool and was about 70F at the start but the high was never more than around 78F with moderate humidity, 50% cloud cover and during the mid-day hours a bit windy.

  The race started a 8 am with 24 runners. We were chip timed and there was an aid station at the start/finish area that was well stocked with the usual ultra fare with more real food added as the day progressed. Every three hours we would change direction so the scenery changed a little.

 To make a long story short, I was doing a great job of keeping with my planned run/ walk schedule all day. The pace for the first few hours was a bit faster than expected and I have to say that is probably the cause of my downfall. Not that I was running too fast but because I began to have delusions of grandeur and was imagining myself racking up more miles than even my fantasy goal because I was feeling so good. That's where the problem started because  I wanted to maintain the pace and  so I began to neglect my fuel and hydration schedule.

  Around 40 miles I should have taken a short break and made sure I was caught up with the fluids and fuel but I knew I had a 50 mile pr in the bag if I maintained my current pace. Pretty dumb huh? Yes I got the pr, officially 9:57:21 but due to the  length of a lap around the track that was for 50.22. If the 50 had been marked it would have been around 9:55. Well, I knew and know better than to run a 50 mile pr and then expect to run well for another 14 hours.

  I walked a mile then rested for a few minutes and tried to get some food in me. Went back out and was having a hard time getting back into a groove. I sat down again to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and walked some more and by the time I finished that 11th hour I had only covered another 2.25 miles. I was finally beginning to feel decent again over the next hour and got in another 4 miles but then the wheels began to fall  off again. I tried in vain over the next hour to get back in control but it was no use. I decided to try and get in at least 100k and a new pr for that distance but at 59 I was toast. I walked one more slow mile to make it an even 60 and called it a day.

 I'm sure I could have taken frequent breaks and walked a lot and gotten in at least another 30 miles but it would have been a meaningless number and just a week before I had advised another  runner planning to do Hinson Lake 24 to just run until it wasn't fun anymore. I decided I would take that advice and save it for a better day. I have the Oil Creek 100 miler coming up on Oct. 13th so rather than beat myself up I did the wise thing and quit. Yes, the wise thing but I hate quitting and not completing a goal.

 So now I move on. It looks like I made a smart decision because I have had practically no soreness from the race and began running again on Tuesday with a good 5 miler with Amy. I even surprised myself how well I ran and the pace for that run and the remaining workouts this week have all been at my normal pace.

 I don't have any pictures from the race but I did take some of the Milwaukee area the next day.