Saturday, December 24, 2011

Running on the Beach and 2012 Races

Ran on the beach this morning. The nice thing about long runs is it gives me time to let my mind wander. Something John Nash (A Beautiful Mind) said about five years ago popped in my head. He was working on quantum gravity or some other equally abstract area. He noted that it's generally accepted the older mathematicians and physicists rarely contribute new ideas. However, since he spent so many of his earier years in a delusional state he may still be able to offer new ideas in his advanced years. The lost years somehow delayed the onset of the lack of creative thought.

I've been thinking about how fast I can get at my age. I'm getting faster, but also getting older. My sports have always been "fast twitch" and almost no endurance except for training runs. So starting endurance sports at such a late age, I wonder if I can place in the top of a olympic duathon, marathon or my new venture, trail races.

So, if I can extraploate John Nash's theory (who am I to disagree with The Beautiful Mind), I have been relatively easy on my body through my "delusional years" with only minimal damage. So there should be no reason why I can not compete with the best age groupers. They may have been elite in their day (Bekenstein-black hole entropy, et al) but my lost years have let my body rest waiting for the 60-64 age group.

So this is either a brilliant realization or I'm just old and slow. We'll see......

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stone Steps 27K Oct 23, 2011

Well, I survived my first trail race. If my knees hold up, this may be a regular thing. The temp at start was about 40F, and the atmosphere was laid back. The race director introduced some of the runners (50K) and it was impressive. I have been reading Dave Riddle's blog (Riddle Runs) and there he was looking relaxed and hanging out. He set a course record last year and as it turns out, broke that record today. More about Mr. Riddle later.

The 50K people started at 8:00 and my 27K group at 8:30. They would "do the 5+ loop 4x and the 3+ loop 3x. I would do each twice. I started near the back and really enjoyed the first long leg. Lots of rocks/roots, narrow trails, and really steep climbs including the stone steps climb that is steep and high. Everybody walks these. I entered the transition (or whatever it's called in trail races) and Sue has a fresh bottle and gu(s). I used Gu Brew and it worked great.

The short loop was easier and I actually felt like I was running. It was on this loop where Dave Riddle passed me. He was flying down a hill with rocks at a 6 min pace. It was really cool. Back to transition and Sue had the first bottle filled and stocked with gu. The second long loop was interesting. My limit was not heart rate or breathing but leg muscles at their limits. I did not cramp the race but I would back off when they warned me they would. My only fall of the day was on this leg. I got lazy, did not pick up my feet enough and kicked a root. No damage, just some mud. I wore my biking gloves per recommendations I read and they worked great to absorb the landing.  There is another hill called gummy bear hill and there is a box of gummy bears at the top. So I stopped this time and popped a few lime bears. The 2nd one was not good as I choked on it. This loop was a bit slower than the first but I still felt good.

Yes I'm running. Actually looking for the direction to the next loop.

The last short loop was painful. My knee was hurting, especially going downhill. I actually forgot the course at one point and waited 5 minutes for a runner to come by. The trail was very well marked, but the easy field portion confused my rattled brain. Every landing on my right knee was very painful. But I finished and so all was good.

Dave Riddle had already finished, so I got to see him get his award. Sue had talked with him before I finished and told him I was a fan of his blog. So I met him and that was cool. He is a down to earth guy and you would have no idea he was not just a middle of the pack runner by his demeanor. Quite the contrary.

No question Mr. Riddle is running.

Ok, subtract 30 as the clock started at 8 for the 50K.
I checked my Garmin and it showed an ave heart rate of 155 and a max of 175. I rarely get over 160 so I'm not sure it is right. My ave cadence was 80. (edit: garmin/hr was new, turns out my tempo's are 155-165, and max is 175)
Apparently I hit 7 min miles a few times, but pace is not a good indicator.

I read somewhere the total climb was over 5000 ft and that sounds about right. (the 50K is 10,700 ft)

My goal was 3:30 and I think I was 3:45 or so.

The winner gets a few hundred for winning and setting a course record.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 Bad to the Bone Duathlon

Still pumped from the race, so I thought I would share some things before my memory distorts.
The feeling of this event was laid back and I really liked the atmosphere. I'm guessing it is closer to a trail event than a typical tri. No security in transition, very loose, and a small group competing, maybe 200-250, not sure.

At the pre-race meeting the event organizer (who sounded like Jeff Foxworthy) tolds a few jokes, warned about the downhills on the run and bike, and then said, 'is everybody ready to go?". No joke, there was no warning, he just said "go". The past competitiors know, but the new ones started sheding clothes on the spot. I just threw a sweat shirt as it was about 48F.

The first run was fast for me and a lot of fun. I had guessed a 45 min, but noticed 33 min.on the start/finish clock as I entered transition.  I only turned my ankle twice with no damage. The course did not look like the elevation chart at all. There is a very steep climb in gravel near the start, and various up and down sections, but overall very pretty and great fun. Some single track, but places to pass and be passed. More walking than hiking trail and very pretty, even saw a few pastures with cows. Crossed a few streams, with steep banks. The only section that was really difficult (and a bit dangerous) was a steep downhill with large rocks (4" to 10") but they were covered with leaves. I fell here on the second run.  No blood.

Mayor Lucy Lou
The bike also did not look like the elevation chart. Pretty ride, but I did not train enough longer distances. Typically ride 13 miles all out, but that did not prepare me. Dropped the chain in Rabbit Hash, and no sign of the mayor (a real dog).
I stood on a hill at mile 24 and both quads locked. So, took it easy the last few miles. Had a lot of fun on the downhills, the 2nd one was 46mph and I switched from aero bars to the drops when I saw the sweeper at the bottom. (chicken)
A few killer climbs

When I started the second run, my quads locked but "good". I alternated from walk to run, (could not bend knees) so I looked like Frankenstein. Then I got to the steep climb and it was very difficult to just get up, almost walking sideways. A volunteer on the course said "bless your heart" like I should have been in a nursing home getting my own tray for the first time. Fortunately going down, loosened the quads a bit and I was able to start running. More distance biking will fix this next year. It will be interesting to see the 2nd run time, but I'm guessing 50+ min.
About 1/4 mile from the finish I hear a guy behind me coming and he said, "we will be under 3 hours" so I thought, I'll just stay with him and I'll break 3 hours. Then when he went by, I noticed he might have been in my age group. So with 100 yards to go, I sprinted and he could not respond so that may have been the "race" for a podium, not sure. If I was a true competitor I would have been pumped, but I felt sorry for him, being nice to talk to me and I then passed him.
finish line
They have not posted the results on-line yet, but I got 2nd and a plaque at the awards part. There could have been 2 or 10 people in my age group, I won't know still results posted. 

Sue surprised me and walked into the shelter where I was sitting. She arrived at the race minutes after I finished. She started to wonder if I was hurt somewhere as she started to see the slower people (relative) finish, thinking I think steve is faster than that one. The cool thing at the awards part, was the various winners had no idea where they finished (except the first ones) so they were truly surprised to hear their names called out. It was in a shelter house and everybody sitting on picnic tables and still drinking and eating. Cool to watch their faces and see them walk up to get their plaques. Sue and I were listening if I would be called, and it was cool to hear my name. The 1st run apparently offset the 2nd, and the bike was fast enough. (unless there were only 2 in my age group)

(turns out there were 5 in my age group)
I'll be back next year,
more bike and run fit !