Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thoughts after the Bighorn DNF and whats the plan ?

 After napping in my car for a couple of hours after they brought me down off the mountain, I went and got some breakfast and then returned to the park to watch the finishers from all of the races and wait for Dave.

 It turned out to be a long day since Dave didn't come in until about 8:45pm and I had a lot of time to think about things. All dnf's are hard to take but I've been getting a lot of practice at it lately and no that isn't a good thing If there is one good thing in any of them it's that it wasn't due to my fitness. I am running as well as I ever have and in some ways I'm in better shape than ever. And that makes it all the more frustrating.

  As I sat there and walked around and  sat there and walked around  and repeated during the day I was thinking perhaps it is just time for me to give these 100's up. It gets really expensive to do these things and not finish them. Why am I spending  all this money and beating my body up anyway. Perhaps it's time to concentrate on what I am doing well now and that is to focus on my speed at shorter distances. It's something that I enjoy and I don't  have to worry about dnf's and they are a lot cheaper.

 But one thing that was really eating at me was the fact that I missed out on getting my Western States Qualifier. I really want to have a chance to go back one time to make up fro my stupid race in 2007 and do it before I get too old to have a chance to finish. But now I had no qualifier and my travel budget and previously scheduled races for the rest of the year is full so i guess that is just a dream I was going to have to let go of. Yep , my mind was made up.

 The next morning I attended the pancake breakfast and awards ceremony and it was really hard watching everyone come up and get their buckles and finishers shirts. Nothing I could do about it but put it behind me and concentrate on recovering and getting ready for the next events I have planned. And you know, I am ok with that. I have plenty of other goals and dreams to work on. If I never go to WS that will be ok. I went 4 years without doing 100 miler and I can be happy if I never do another one. So many things out there to do and as long as it's running I love it.

  Well, anyway I decided to take a look and see what qualifying races may be still available and it seems like I found one that I can actually squeeze into  my schedule and not spend a fortune on travel to do. It is my one last shot and if I can do it then it will keep me in the 100 miler game for at least one more year. It's the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in PA in Oct. I just need to run it in under 11 hours which should easily doable for me if I stay healthy between no and then.

  So what's the next step. Keep doing what I am doing. I will stay focused on my goals for the year which is mainly a marathon pr at Wineglass and get a BQ. I plan to run as many miles with my wonderful Angels as possible and along the way help them to achieve their goals as they help keep me motivated to achieve mine. I have been having the best years of my life training with my average miles higher for the past 3.5 years than in anytime in my 37 years of running. And you haven't seen anything yet ! I am going to train even more and harder to be sure that when I look back in a few years I can't say that I didn't give it my best shot. Yep, I want to do things that amaze myself !

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bighorn Wild and Scenic 48 miler

I'll make this short since my race was short.

 Awesome race, gorgeous scenery. A postcard view around every turn. Felt great and ran amazing 1st 50k.

 Got dark, freezing cold and things went really bad very quickly.  Struggling to move fast enough to warm up. Knew I was in trouble. Stopped a remote aid station and tried to warm up a little and drink some hot broth by the fire but knew I had to make it the next 4.5 miles to the top at mile 48. Had them get me a trash bag to help block the wind. Headed out but was soon stumbling like a drunk. Nearly fell off a log bridge over a swift flowing creek and had to crawl on all 4's. Using what mental capacity I had left to force myself to keep moving to stay alive. Shoe sucking mud slowed me more. Teeth chattering and uncontrollable shivering and finally I could see the aid station.

 Stumbled inside and was soon under the care of a couple of awesome nurse angels. They removed my shoes and socks and dried my feet and put dry socks on me. Put a heating pad on my chest and heated gel packs under my armpits.Finally set up a cot and covered me in about 6 blankets. After about 15 minutes after I was in there they took my temp and it was still only up to 94. They took turns working on me, sitting me up and forcing broth and coffee into me until I finally stopped shivering. After an hour  I was transported back to town.

 The end.

 PS. Everything about the event is top notch with wonderful organization and volunteers and support from the local community. highly recommend if you are looking or a beautiful but tough race.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bighorn Wild and Scenic 100-Preview

Time to head off for another big adventure, this time in the remote Bighorn National Forest of Wyoming. I  love to take my summer vacations and head West into the mountains. This is a tough one with 17,500 ft of climb and 18,000 feet of descent on an out n back course up and down through canyons on the way to the high point around 10,000 at the turnaround. Along the way I may encounter all kinds of wildlife from moose elk, bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and who knows what else.

  Temperatures can range from 100f in the canyons to sub freezing at night in the high country. This years forecast is looking like one I would prefer. Range of 77 to 42 at the start finish area which is around 4090 ft. So I expect it will not get too hot in the canyons hopefully but I imagine it will be freezing at night in the higher elevations. Oh yeah !

 My only goal for this one is to finish, get my buckle and a WS qualifier, have fun and take a lot of pictures along the way. There is a 34 hour cutoff and I think I will shoot for about a 30 hour time if things go well. The race is going to try to have live runner tracking this year with check points at about 13, 30 48, 66 and 82 miles and of course the finish. I hope to reach that 48 mile point in about 13-14 hours but we will see. Start time is 11am on FRIDAY ! and that is Mountain time . If you go to the race website, you will see a link in the left border that says current results. just click on there. I will be sharing part of the trip with another triangle area friend. Dave Cockman so you can track him Also  Doug Blackford from Todd NC and Mohamed  (Sultan) Idlibi from Charlotte are racing.

 Stay tuned !

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Whirli Run 5k

Sometimes things just go better than I could even hope for and today was one of those times.

 I made the easy drive over to Wilson and found the park easily. It was already a bit warm and humid which I don't really like but is usually not an issue in a 5k . In fact my pr was set on the 4th of July and in the 80's. I picked up my race number and then waited until 30 minutes before the race to begin my normal pre- race routine. Warm up an easy mile. Then 10 minutes before the start run another half mile with 5 or 6 short 10-15 second pickups. The soreness and tightness I had felt most of the week was gone but I was feeling flat during the warmup and a bit concerned I might not be running very fast.

  This was a small race with that small town feel and I estimated about 100 or so were lining up at the start. I was sizing up the competition and noticed a few likely competitors for my age group and saw a couple that looked pretty fit. Overall I was thinking I may have a shot at a top 10 finish if I ran well.

  The race started on time and I took off at a comfortable pace and when we made the first turn after a couple of hundred yards I counted the runners in front of me and I was in 11th place. I was guessing  and hoping that I was  close to the 6:45 pace I had for my fantasy goal and just settled in.  It didn't take long before I passed a couple of runners to move into 9th and then after about 1/2 mile I passed a group of three and moved into 6th place. I could see the lead police car ahead with a group of 3 and 4th and 5th were a ways behind them and maybe 150 yards in front of me.

  Finally approached the 1 mile mark and I was eager to see if I was anywhere close to pace. When I looked down and saw 6:35 I'm sure a smile came over my face. This was just to awesome to be real. I was ahead of pace and feeling very comfortable and I was now already confident I was going to break 21 minutes ! I also noticed that the two runners ahead of me were slowing down so I focused on trying to reel them in. They were both high school runners from Wilson and as I caught the first one at the halfway mark, I wanted to tell him I'd be glad to teach him about pacing after the race ;). Yeah, I was having fun !

  The course was mostly flat and fast but not the pancake that Selma has. But nothing you could call a hill either. Just some slight up and downgrades. Heading up to the 2 mile point was slightly up and I slowed a little to 6:48, but I was still feeling good and had a few seconds cushion so I kept pressing.  Finally at about 2.5 miles  I caught the 4th place kid. As I pulled along side him, he tried to hold me off so I put in a little surge and blew past him to totally demoralize him. Tee hee hee  ! ( Why Amy ? Cause I'm an @#%&^ )

 Now I could smell the barn and was pushing it hard. 4th place locked up and almost assured of a sub 21 !!!

 Hit mile 3 in 6:39. Yes !!! Strong to the finish and a 20:48 ! The last time I ran under 21 was in 1990 and the last time I ran faster than today was in 1987, in a race which I won. Actually the only race I ever won.  When I turned 50 in 2006, I was in really good shape and set my marathon pr plus several course prs and I ran a 21:11 5k in Selma. If you had asked me last year if I would ever beat that time 7 years later at age 57 I would have said there is no way that would ever happen.   But this past year has been simply amazing and I keep surprising myself and my confidence continues to grow. I think I have quite a few good races in me for awhile to come. It makes me wonder just how fast I could get if I were to focus on training for shorter races. Well, that's not going to happen anytime soon. After all, this was just training for my next 100 miler in 2 weeks :)

 There were 117 finishers and I was 4th overall and 1st in my age group. Beat all the 40 year olds too except for the overall winner who is 42 years old. Here is a link to the results. Woohoooooo !