Sunday, November 25, 2012

Derby #9

 Running smart is not something I am  often known for but I decided to make a rare exception at Derby this year. It was a beautiful morning with temps in the low 40's and warming into the 50's with abundant sunshine which would make for great running conditions. I had a great time seeing amd greeting many friends inside the Derby Community Building until just a few minutes before start time.

  I lined up near the front with Jenn but only because no one else seemed to want to be up there. At this point I was still going with Plan A which was to run comfortably to the first aid station around the 4 mile mark and then assess the situation. If I felt good and was near pr pace, then I would go hard. If not then revert to plan B. We ran along nice and easy with Bill Keane and a few others in those early miles and I got over the hills feeling alright the first time .

  I arrived at the aid station just about 10 seconds per mile over pr pace which I knew I could easily make up if I felt great. Well, I felt ok but I knew in my heart that I could not come close to that today. The next segment is my favorite with a nice long gradual downhill along Sycamore Lane and to the dirt road so I decided to maintain pace at least until aid station two at about mile 7 and then re-assess my condition. The downhill mile went great in about 8:36 but once we turned onto the dirt road, a fairly stiif headwind greeted us and it was a lot harder to maintain pace and I quickly decided then that I would be switching to Plan B.

  Once at the aid station, I wished Jenn well and stopped briefly to speak to the "Professor", Frank Sherrill and then headed out to implement Plan B. That plan was to make today's event a training run for my upcoming 50 mile race and PR attempt coming up in January. I was going to slow down the effort, switch to a run/walk strategy while trying to maintain an average pace  faster than 11 minute per mile and get to the finish feeling like I could keep going comfortably at the end.

  Everything for the next few hours was going just as I hoped. I was making sure to keep up with the nutrition and hydration and just relax with the effort. The first lap was soon over and the 2nd lap went perfectly with my average pace about 10:15 as I headed out for the last lap.. I was able to chat with a few people occasionally even though we were really spread out by now. I made it over the hills with no problem just losing a few seconds on the pace and through the aid station 1 for the last time. I was feeling good and very happy to be confident that I would not be going into Plan C which would be doing the survival shuffle and suffering to the end. I do know for sure that if I hadn't shut it down at mile 7 that I would be in a lot of pain by now and not having much fun.

  As I headed down Sycamore the last time and onto the dirt road my pace had slowed just slightly and I was very happy to think that I had never had to resort to a shuffle. Other than the planned short walk breaks, when I was running , it was still a decent easy run pace. I came into aid station 2 and thanked them and told Frank I just had an easy 3.5 to go. Woohooo !

  Came into the finish in 5:27:38, a 10:26 average pace and although I was a bit tired , yes I could have easily maintained that pace for several more miles. Looking ahead, when I race in Nevada in January, I will not have beaten myself up with 84.5 miles of tough trail just 6 weeks before and I won't have raced  a marathon just two weeks before so I should be in better shape and a lot fresher. This was a big confidence builder for me that I am on the right track. Maybe next November I can come back to Derby for my 10th finish with fresher legs and be prepared to race it hard.

  Big thanks to Mark Long and the MTC volunteers for putting on this wonderful low key event once again.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Derby 50k 2012 Preview

 Saturday November 24th I will heading down to Derby NC for my 9th running of this wonderful little race put on by Mark Long of the Mangum Track Club. This is the only race that I have somewhat of a streak going. Bill Keane and I have both run 8 and the only person to have run all 9 previous versions is Tony Rouse. I was at that first year event but as a volunteer. I was still a novice at ultrarunning and didn't feel I was ready to run another 50k at that time. I did  at last get to run one lap with my friends Jay and Anita Finkle.

 Most years I have used this course to attempt a 50k pr. It is not an easy course with several hills on each of 3 laps but since it is a rare road ultra, at least it is faster than most other 50k's out there. I have usually run a pr here only to break it in January at Frosty 50k but last years attempt which I shared the first 20 miles with my friend Margherita ended with me blowing up halfway through the last lap. Nothing unusual there. I almost always blow up but each year I was getting a few minutes faster. A couple of other years I just ran for fun with friends including Karla's first ultra.

  I was kind of hoping to go for the pr once again this year but my previous schedule and the type of training I've been doing are not really  geared toward having a great performance here. The pace I would hope to run is about the same I was hoping to run at OBX two weeks ago and that didn't work out too well.
 So I will just go and hope to have fun. If I find myself close to that pace after a few miles and I feel good, who knows? Maybe I'll go for it until I blow up again. You never know. It could happen. But I expect I'll be no where near that pace and if so I'll hope to find someone to run with for fun. I might end up running with Jenn. IF I can stay up with her. Funny thing is that I usually run  lot faster than her at every distance up to 50 k but at 50 and 100 miles she has run faster than me. She just has one speed and doesn't slow down or blow up like I tend to do. Well, no matter how things turn out, I intend to have fun. Stay tuned !

Sunday, November 18, 2012

OBX Marathon 2012. The year of the Kilt

 Headed down to OBX late Friday afternoon and arrived just after the power outage which had the entire Island and Manteo in the dark. It was a little tricky navigating without stoplights in the darkness but I soon found my way safely to the Howell home and within minutes the power was restored.

  Enjoyed a very relaxing and beautiful day on Saturday with temps in the 60's including breakfast with the Werners, a visit to the Surrette campsite and a short run. Everything was looking perfect for a great day of racing.

 Up in time Sunday morning for the short drive to get on the shuttle and then a few minutes over to the start from there.  I met up with Karla and Amy was along in a few minutes while we visited with some other friends before making our way over to the starting corral. All three of us were wearing our kilts at Amy's suggestion which sounded like a good idea since we had planned to run together as much as possible.

  We got off to a good start , just trying to stay relaxed and not get caught up in the excitement and stick to the pacing plan. Amy got a little ahead of us in traffic but we caught up right at the mile mark which was a little faster than I had wanted but still a few seconds slower than the 4 hour pace so everything was good. Amy was having a hard time holding back and began to pull away so we just let her go and hoped she wouldn't go too fast and burn out early. By mile two we had already decided the most popular word of the day would be kilt. It was amazing how many comments and compliments and questions we heard about kilts and /or skirts. this would continue for the whole race.

   By mile 3 we were settled into about perfect pace and feeling very comfortable with it. Amy remained within sight  but every now and then we would lose her as the road would turn or curve. Just past the 7 mile point on a narrow bike path that connects to the Wright Brothers Memorial we had a little excitement as a deer sprinted at top speed just in front of us and behind the runner just ahead. It would have done some serious damage if it had bumped into anyone.

  As we came into the open just before entering the Memorial I could see Amy about a minute ahead but then we lost sight of her. We saw her family cheering for us as we ran around the Memorial and then we headed out and towards Nags Head Woods at the 10 mile point. We passed it in about 1:30:30 which was just about perfect and was what I had hoped for minus the 30 seconds or so that it took for Karla to refill her water bottle a mile or so back.

  I was feeling good on the gentle rolling hills in this section and was thinking they felt easier than the past couple of times I ran here but Karla was falling back a little. I tried to keep the pace up just enough and hoped she would catch up to me. Around mile 11 I caught up to Amy. We were a little behind pace so I tried again to pick it up a bit and hope they would stay up but by 12 they were still behind a little so I stopped at a tree to take a whizz and then slowly caught back up to them.  When we began the short steep climb up the single track section I took it real easy but then tried to get back up to pace but the ladies were still hanging back so I eased off the pace and let them catch back up and as we exited the Woods at mile 13 we were about 30 seconds over 4 hour pace.

  We were now back onto the flat roads which was a good thing except it was getting a little warm and there is zero shade on the 2nd half of the course. The single track mile had been about 10:15 where we lost all of our cushion and then the next mile was a too slow 9:40 as we were now onto the highway. My legs were beginning to feel a bit tired but I decided to give it one more shot at getting the pace back up. I begin to push it a bit and I didn't look back hoping that the ladies would be hanging on but when I reached mile 15, I looked back and they were way behind. I had gone too fast in 8:44, hoping for 9  so I stopped and waited until Karla caught up to me. She went through it in about 9:20 and Amy was another 10 seconds back. We just plugged along around 9:20-9:30 pace for the next few miles. Amy would catch up and then fall back a bit and I was worried each time that she was going to struggle but she again showed  the toughness I had admired when she first started running with us just before her first marathon several years ago.

  Just around the 20 mile point Amy asked if I thought she could still get a pr (sub 4:06 for her) and I figured in my head we were on about 4:05 pace so I  just told her, yes, but she couldn't slow down. At that she slowly begin to pull ahead of us. Karla and I continued on slowling few seconds each mile but still moving well. Around mile 22 I stopped for a gel and  ran to catch back up to Karla but just after I pulled up beside her , my stomach felt a little sick and I felt as if all the energy drained from me. I told her I was going to have to let her go and I begin to walk.

 It was very frustrating to see her pull away. I had really hoped to finish with her and just a mile back I felt confident that I would. I ran again until halfway up the bridge and then walked to the top. Running down the other side I felt a resurgence and was moving at a decent pace and for a moment I thought I may actually catch back up to her but as soon as I hit level ground again the pace once again slowed  and from that point on I just did a run/walk to the finish. At this point there was no need to make it any harder than necessary.

  I finally made it to the finish in 4:14:23. Karla had slowed a little but still made it in around 4:09 which is her fastest time in her 7 years on this course. Amy not only didn't slow down but ran a strong finish and got the pr in sub 4:05.

 Although my time and especially not finishing with Karla was disappointing , I still enjoyed a wonderful weekend of friends and running. I can't say the result was unexpected. I imagine my body was still tired from the 84.5 mile beating I inflicted on it at Oil Creek 4 weeks ago and I had put in some pretty big miles in training since then. This one was for fun anyway but now the speedwork phase of training for the BQ attempt next March begins after some recovery time this week. Oh, and in the meantime along with the speedwork, I still have a 50k after Thanksgiving and a 50 mile PR attempt in January. Stay tuned. It may be interesting.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

OBX Marathon 2012 Preview

    I'm looking forward to returning to the OBX Marathon for the 5th time this coming Sunday Nov 11th. Back in it's first year, 2006 I had not planned on running it but my training partner ,Karla The Marathon Princess had signed up right away. Of course at the time she signed up she didn't know that she would be battling cancer for nearly the entire year. After we ran Boston, she had hardly ran at all over the summer but she still wanted to run OBX despite the fact it came just after completing chemo and she was now into radiation therapy. I decided I would go and run and support her and have some fun.

  The weather was nasty with high winds and heavy rain for about half the run but we had a good time and she actually ran faster than she had at Boston. Here is my report for 2006.

   In 2007, I did a double running the Richmond Marathon for a BQ attempt on Saturday and then drove to OBX to run with Karla on Sunday. By now she was back to training well and getting close to her pre cancer condition. We were both surprised how well she ran that day and I was having to work to stay with her on my tired and worn out legs. Here is that report.

  I didn't run in 2008 but returned in 2009 and 2010. In both of those years I ran on my own to attempt Boston qualifiers but blew up and failed miserably both years. This year, I am not nearly in shape to go for the BQ and the only reason I signed up for the race so that I could once again run it with Karla. This will be our 12th time running a marathon together but it has been two years since the last time we've been able to  schedule one. Karla has not raced since OBX last year due to a foot injury that kept her from running most of last Winter and she only begin to get back to normal training last Spring. I would like to say I can easily keep up with her but she has been running very well lately and I will be very happy just to keep up.

 And as you should know , Ultramom Amy  and I are training together now to get her in shape for a BQ next Spring. She will be running with us Sunday for fun and as a test to see where we are in the training. The goal is to go for 4 hours. wish us Luck !

Monday, November 05, 2012

Another "Miles stone" 40,000 and counting

 Yes, during my first long run after Oil Creek while running in Umstead with 3 of the Angels, Amy, Jenn and Karla I passed my 40,000 lifetime mile.  Seems like a pretty big number but I have been at it for 35 years now. Funny thing is that over half of those have come in the past 10 years. During my first decade of running I only hit 1,000 for a year on a few occasions and my best was about 1600 in the early 80's. The miles really dropped off in the 90's and it wasn't until after the knee injury from soccer in 1998 that  I re-dedicated my self to running.  From then until 2002 I was still fairly low mileage, about 20 a week and concentrating on triathlon but after jumping in on my first ultra on a whim, things begin to get serious .

  The really cool and amazing thing now is that I am not only running more but enjoying it more than ever, especially having the privilege of sharing a lot of the miles the past 7 years with the most wonderful training partners that I call my Angels and Princess.

 The picture above was taken finishing my first 10k at The Natural Run in Winston-Salem in March 1978 in 48:59. If you look closely at my left hand I have just grabbed my finishing place popsicle stick from the man on my left. After that day I was hooked for life.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Det Store Eksperimentet 2 update

 As we move now into November, the training is going to get a little tougher and a bit more specific to the ultimate goal but the harder part is to do the training while still running a marathon and a 50k this month.

  The 100 miler is now behind me and the recovery has gone remarkably well. As trashed as my legs were after that I thought I had really screwed myself up and it would be weeks before normal training could commence but within 4 days I was out for a test run with Amy and I was able to easily run my normal easy pace with just minor soreness.By the weekend I was on the hills of Umstead for a 13.6 miler with Amy, Karla and Jenn and then I followed that up the next week with a 56 mile week including another max effort hill workout with Amy. She is starting to show improvement now and getting her mileage up a bit also and just a week after Hinson Lake she ran a great 5k showing that a lot of the speed she'll need is still there. At that hill workout last week she had stepped up to a whole new level from the previous workouts.

 We are now in somewhat of a slight taper with the OBX marathon coming up on Nov.11th but we are still putting in some good miles at a good pace his week including a 6 mile progression run that finished at tempo pace.  Karla is looking to be in great shape with strong long runs and mid distance runs at  or faster than marathon goal pace for OBX and we have a couple of more runs scheduled this week in preparation. After a little recovery from OBX we'll start doing some speedwork  to prepare ourselves to handle the long runs at marathon pace later on.

 So , a few more quality runs this week and then we'll take it pretty easy next week. Stay tuned for more on OBX and the continuing Det Store Eksperimentet 2 ! (that's Norwegian in honor of Karla's family heritage)