Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tie Dye 50K

First trip to John Bryan park and Clifton Gorge since I was "a kid" for another great race organized by the Ohio River Runners club. It's actually 32 miles (33 for me > lost again) of road, fields, smooth trail, rocks & roots, and rocks on rocks. My goal was to finish and under 8 hours, and I did, in 7 1/2 hours. Next year the goal will be under 7, which is doable.

The first 3 miles are on a road and a chance to "book" some fast miles to help later on. I ran my own race and chose to run a 10 pace and save energy for later, wise. After 2 hours, I was still at a 12 pace, but that would slip. 

The views in the gorge were fantastic from the top as well as the bottom. Unfortunately your eyes were glued to the rocks on the trails as these are ankle breakers and falling on them would not be good. I only fell once while passing a large group of scouts. The "kids" were giving me high fives, when I missed a root and crashed right in front of them, to the collective ahhhhhhhhh. There were a lot of other hikers in the gorge area so you would need to pass them on tricky areas. A few times I was on a rocky climb and the hikers would say "runner" and get off to the side. I would have preferred to use those climbs to walk but felt compelled to run up them, since they had patiently moved over.

The only issue my body had was cramping at four hours, but an S tab (salt+) fixed that. (Thanks to a blog from some ultra star about the "healing powers" of these things when things go South.)

The only missed turn was on the last climb and I added a mile or so, oh well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bucket List

I don’t know if bucket list is generational, but sure pops up in conversations, real or virtual, in my small world. It sounds like a race to the finish line, whilst carrying cool stuff where everybody loses. I wonder if the goal should be to cross the finish line with an empty bucket. Maybe it's simply a list of things you want to be remembered by, like grandpa jumped out of a plane, and then he dies after getting kicked by a horse. Sorry grandpa, your legacy is that damned kick. (rip archibald whitman)

After thinking and searching I have decided the plan should be to make a list of stuff you think is important to be, do, or think about. Then give that list to everybody you know (like post on Facebook) and then die. God, I wonder if my Facebook account is deleted when I die, poop.

So my list, a work in progress is (in case I get kicked by a horse today), is:

·      The Earth is a speck, you are smaller than the speck, accept it and get over it.
·      You will be forgotten in one generation. People may know your name but not you. Get over that too.
·      Identify your dreams, mesh with reality, and live them.

Of course the only real “purpose” living things should have is to propagate the species. But that is so…..old school.

1:19 AM hmmmmm

Monday, August 5, 2013

Berry Pickers - First One to the Top Wins

 Sue and I were in Vail last Summer for a customer’s conference. I wrote about the trip and running on a mountain here -

It was so cool we decided to come back this year and invite Devon, Craig, and Brian. Kinda like a family conference. Hey, if we talk about important stuff, can we deduct the expenses? Ok, I digress, the race.

I was searching on stuff going on our vacation week and the same trail race I mentioned last year was happening. Woooo, a bonus! Brian is taking summer classes and could not make the trip and Devon, Craig decided running in Goshen Indiana would not prepare them for the climb, so just me this year.

There were about 220 runners of all ages, and as it turns out mostly Coloradians. Hanging out pre-race the runners looked crazy fit at all ages. The middle aged and older runners had no body fat and crazy defined calves. I sat next to a girl about 25 and we chatted about races we had done this summer. She joked about the people walking around, stretching, and even jogging which you do not see at ultras. The warm up happens in the first 5 miles or so. She was from Texas and also happened to be in the area for vacation.

Let's do this!

 Sue, Devon, and Craig found me and we chatted a few minutes before the start. They would take the free gondola ride up to the top near the finish line. It’s always great to have a crew. I think I need to at least buy “team shirts or hats” for “my crew” to make the competition worry a bit. Of course, the worry is short lived.

I'm in Orange on the far right
I lined up near the back as the climb starts immediately and I did not want to block the single track that started in a ¼ mile. I ended up moving out to the side and passing as I found my pace. Once we hit the trail, it was strictly single file and no chance to pass. It was like passing on a two lane road with 20 cars in front of you. So be patient and go with the flow and walk when they walk. Eventually it started to spread out and the groups were about 3 to 5 which did allow passing with short bursts. The worry was to expend so much passing you would redline only to be passed right back, as there were no flats to gather yourself.

I spent most of the climb following someone’s butt and when I sensed they were slowing I would pass them and latch on to the next butt. J I also could hear the people behind me and there was no chit-chat like; passing on your left, or pass when you like. Everyone was gasping for air and I did not hear anyone talking.
Sue, I'm watching the trail :)

Drafting Snyder
A good portion of the trail was so steep and layered with roots, everybody around me were “power hiking” those sections. I’m sure the top few runners were somehow bounding up those, which is amazing. 

I took this last year, typical of climb
As we left the woods and started the last ¼ mile climb up a fire road to the finish, I saw two older guys in front of me. I passed the first one and finished 30 seconds behind the 2nd one. As it turns out that one was in my age group and got 3rd, poop. I got 4/9 in age and 135/219 OA.

I attached the results because I found the demographics and home bases interesting.

Last stretch home

Sue Devon and Craig had taken the gondola to the top and were cheering me on the last stretch, cool. We hung out and took a few “postcard” pictures at the top after the awards ceremony. This was a very well run race, and I just loved the experience.
The winner finished in about 35 minutes. Greg Ruckman
These are not "regular" people.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dipsea – Cincinnati Style – East Fork Backpack Trail Run

First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. (San Francisco) And its unique handicapping system has made winners of men and women of all ages.

The Dipsea inspired the 5.6 mile East Fork race, now 5 + years old, with the same type of handicapping start. Runners start between 9:00 (slower) and 9:30 (fastest) in small groups ever few minutes. Bibs on the front and back with your start position let runners know “who” you are as they pass you and visa versa. If perfectly handicapped and everybody healthy, it could have been a mass sprint to the finish line. (theoretical)

Love chatting with people.  Go figure.

 Waiting my turn to start. A steep 100 meter hill on pavement before leading into the woods. Wondering how hard to run it.

Sue came with me today and took these pictures. It's great to have my biggest supporter with me! Funny sport where the runners disappear into the woods for one to ? hours, while "spectators" hang out.

I started at 9:12 or a 18 minute head start. I was the 22nd runner to start.
      -  I passed 17 of the 21 who started in front of me.
      -  16 of the 36 who started after me, passed me.
      -  Of the two fastest runners, with a full 30 minute handicap, one finished 4 spots in front of me, and one 4 spots behind me.
      -  The “handicapped” winner was a 13 year old girl, who started 6 minutes behind me and finished just over 5 minutes in front of me. She finished with the 13th fastest actual time.

So what does all of this mean? Well, the slowest people as well as the fastest are not fast enough to win. And when you spread out 50 people over the course, close finishes are not really common. I really hoped to race some fast young man/woman to the finish as I always save something for the finish. Today I finished at a 4:30 pace, but all alone L.

My normal finishing face, scary

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My First Ultra x 2/3

Rather than detail boring race stuff (pace, cramps, falls, bla..bla..bla) I want to share my first Ultra experience though pictures thanks to the club who sponsors the Dawg Gone Long Run 50 Mile Trail Race.
ok, everybody ready, have fun (ie, go)

Pretty morning (I'm under the sign)
Weather still pretty, just like the trails
3 is my lucky number!
yep, Huarache sandals, ran with Randy for 20+ miles
the winner, first ultra, won by 1 hour plus
number 33 really should be back by now
Well I did finally show up, and dropped after lap 2 of 3, or about 34 miles.   All things considered, a great experience, running, learning, and making new friends.
late rain, mud, and of course, a fall :)