Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bears and Beavers

Can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I posted, but it is and I have survived two races since then. 
Bear Brook Marathon and Ultra - well lets just put it this way, a complete bitch of a course but I finished (albeit slower than I wanted) but for the first time in a very very long time, I finished a race with a great sense of accomplishment. 
Elevation Map
And I guess since it was a half mile longer than a marathon technically that makes me an Ultrarunner (but I'm going to save that moniker for after I run 50k or Stone Cat).  Anyway back to Bear Brook;  the day started with temps in the low 60's which was a nice break from the 90's that had been plagueing our area for weeks.  Very grass roots in that it started in a dirt parking lot when the race director, Ryan Welts, pretty much yelled GO!  First 9 miles or so where pretty flat with some rolling ups and downs.  That didn't stop me from falling at about 2 1/2 miles, and having my right hip meet a pine root.  That chance encounter would rear it's ugly head off and on the rest of the day, as my lower back started spasming off and on throughout.  But I found a nice rhythm til I ran into the first uphill, around mile 9.  It wasn't too bad for a while, but God it just kept going.  Came down the backside and would run into the second uphill, this one was a bitch.  A few more inclines and then a nice long downhill.  I tried to attack that fairly hard as it wasn't very technical and it helped to stretch out my back a bit.  That would lead into a pretty tight single track, where it came into an opening and body would hit trail one more time.  This time I caught myself from a full face plant, but my left knee came down fairly hard.  But hey, what's a trail run/race without a little blood, right?  Shortly after that you come back around to the 3rd aid station, which is actually the same as the 2nd just on the back side of a loop.  That would lead to a fairly easy fire road, run which went for about a mile I guess.  From here I would meet up with a fellow Dailymiler Mindy R.  We would run the last 12 miles or so together, which would end up saving me twice.  A little after mile 19,  I was walking up this heavily wooded section, which had these rock formations that acted as steps.  It was at this point, that my mind and body just completely crashed.  I had left Mindy about a half mile back for a break, and she came up behind me.  Out of her vest, she pulled out some sugared gumdrops and handed me a handful.  I kept walking and she would go ahead.  About 5 minutes later, the sugar would hit my system, and I felt like a completely different runner.  I caught up to her, and we would run together up the 4th aid station (about mile 22).  Which was being volunteered by Adam Wilcox, fresh off his 7th place finish at Hardrock.  Talked to him briefly as he refilled by vest, and Mindy and I were off.  At about mile 23 the back spasm would act up, and I told Mindy to go.  Stretched it out the best I could and started off.  I then hit a nice downhill area of switchbacks and I took off, catching Mindy and passing about 3 other runners.  Not knowing the course, I then hit the last two uphills.  Simply: they sucked.  Mindy caught me at the last one, Catamount, and I wouldn't see her again til the end.  My hope was to finish in 6 hours, but not knowing the course I ended up running at 6:44.  Loved the race, loved the company, proud of run for the day.
Running with the Beavers:  I took a couple extra days off the following week, as my quads were tender and the left knee that I hit during Bear Brook was pretty sore.  Friday came around and I reached out to Todd, who I run with on Saturday's to ask him if he wanted to do this 10 mile race, instead of doing Gilbert.  Since it was about a 45 minute ride for both we went for it.  It was a double 5 mile loop course.  Todd and I went out for a quick 2 mile warmup, heard the pre-race talk and off we went.  He's a much faster runner than I, although he nevercomplains about my pace during our training trail runs, so about a half mile in, I told him to go.  It was a decent loop, some wood-chipped fire roads, some fairly technical with one "you better walk this" downhill, and some runs along the water.  About the 8 mile mark, my left knee started barking, but not enough to not finish.  I was hoping to do this one in 2 hours, so about a half mile left I checked the Garmin and realized I better take off or that wasn't happening.  So I came up the last incline and took off.  For the most part is was downhill, which helped.  Finishing the last half mile in 3min44 seconds.  Ended up finishing in 1:58:05 for 10.2 miles (I missed a turn in the first loop that I had to backtrack - what a dumbass as the course was more than adequately marked).
To Summarize: 2 back to back Saturday races covering 26.8 and 10.2 miles respectively.  One slower than I wanted, one a bit faster; but in the end I'm very happy with the end result on both.  Kind of babying the knee since Saturday as I haven't run yet, but I'm planning on going out tonight for 6, as I am less than 100 days til Stone Cat 50 miler (Nov 3rd).  Todd and I are looking into some trail marathons and up to use as training runs, as you can only do so many loops at Gilbert. 
Until next time, Be Well ~ Sank

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Optimistically Nervous

Ok, I’m going to be complete honest in that I’m not nervous at all, I am 100% Optimistically Scared Shit. I have Bear Brook Mountain coming up this Saturday. It will single handedly be the longest race, hell for that matter, the longest single run I have ever done at 26.7 miles. So I guess if the definition of an Ultra-Marathon is anything over the standard 26.2 miles of a marathon is true, then I guess this is my first ultra! I know that in the world of Ultra’s this is no big deal, and after looking at the amazing finishes as Western States, Badwater and Hardrock, that I should just deal with it. But hey we’re all human right?

I am fairly confident that I can do this race, if I stay on top of my hydration (unlike my Pineland 25k issues) in which I have started to implement S-Caps with good success; and run a smart and conservative pace. From what the news says, it seems like the Weather Gods are shining down on me, as they have (or supposed to anyway) dump the Hell, Fire & Brimstone weather, for low humidity and temps in the high 70’s. Which is huge for me, as I perspire pretty good in the winter. 

But back to my nervousness, my training schedule does concern me.  I have kicked up my mileage over the past months; but per usual for me it's always something.  Be in work, life, my recurring respiratory infections, blah blah blah, excuse excuse excuse.  But I've been doing them.  I know it's not technically that long, but I have tried to taper a bit this week, to rest up my legs somewhat.  I skipped last night due to the weather (hot, humid, and some impressive lightning), but will do 5 tonight, and rest Friday.

Although I don’t know anyone personally, there’s a couple people that I “know” from either Facebook or Dailymile that are doing it, but I have never met anyone of them face to face, but obviously there’s a pretty good chance I will after Saturday.

Well that's enough for now.  I wish everyone racing at Bear Brook, Vermont 100, and a handful of others this weekend nothing but their perfect race.  If your not racing and you happen to look at the clock Saturday morning, send me some positive Karma.  Hell I can use all I can get.

Be Well ~ Sank

I put the map down below, as a point of reference.