Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stone Steps - No blood, just guts

The Stone Steps course still won but by a smaller margin than last year!

The weather was between 40 and 44 throughout and a bit windy so perfect for the race. I felt rested, hydrated, and “topped out” with carbs, off we go! I held back my typical dash for the woods as I knew I would pay later for wasting energy so soon.

I finished my first long loop without falling and would not fall all day. My ave pace was 11:11 (last year was 11:43) and feeling strong, so far so good. No issues or stories, just the sounds of footsteps and breathing, mine and others. Later there would just be mine as the 160 runners spread out over the 9 miles of trails.

The first short loop was equally uneventful and my ave pace was 11:51 (last year was 12:43) and felt I was a bit cautious on uphill sections. I was consciously thinking about saving something for a strong finish that unfortunately would not happen today.

My second long loop started strong and I was cruising until the stone steps. The climb triggered leg cramps of most muscles I know the names of. I even had a toe cramp like the ones you get while laying in bed. So I slowed and made sure I was topped off with Gels and, on this lap, flat coke. Still I managed a 12:47 pace (last year was 14:07) so I’m still feeling positive.
Drafting on the Steps ? Draft legal : )

The steps - all 250+ of them - feel the burn

My training miles (aka lack of hay in the barn) showed on the last short loop. I was in survival mode and running to manage cramping and remaining energy. I misread a course marker and took a trip down (and I do mean down) a trail that clearly was wrong. This sojourn will affect my official time but my Garmin was not smart enough and just assumed I knew what I was doing. My pace was a very slow 15:02, but last year was 15:33 so even my disaster lap was faster!

Sue was at the finish line despite not feeling well, and it was great to see her. Last year David Riddle had already finished the 50K when I finished (CR), but this year we waited for about 30 minutes to see the winner cross the line. He was a tall guy about 25 years old and wearing track shorts, no shirt and what looked like track flats. The race director said it was his first ultra trail and he was from Indianapolis. He was clearly in pain but he did get a win in his first. I did not see him smile the whole time. Smug? I think he was in too much pain to be smug : )
eventual winner - brrrr

Just finished - smile for the camera : )
So almost exactly one min/mile faster than last year, and if I commit to more training miles (more hay), I’ll drop more next year. On pace for podium in 2035.

Groin cramp, still smiling though!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cincinnati Nature Center - CNC

A few recent events led me to this really cool place. Having lived probably 20 minutes from the place, it was under our radar. If I was exposed to the name, I probably associated it with bird watchers or children's programs. It does fit that bill, but much more.

Event One:
I was at our family doctor last week getting my hand stitches removed. (see White Tail race pictures if you dare).
We normally "talk running" as he runs as well, knees permitting. I mentioned that I run at Mt. Airy and he gave me that "don't your know that place is a bit sketchy" look. That is the normal response due to the reputation being surrounded by the hood. He asked me if I knew of the CNC and how it is a gem for running and quite a bit safer.

Event Two:
As is turns out, I ran at Mt. Airy that same night after work.  After a great long loop (5.3m), skipping Stone Steps but running up Gummy Bear Hill, I stopped back at the car (actually Honda Element aka toaster on wheels) a to get a water refill in by bottle. Glass everywhere as a local thought my visible backpack contained drugs or the queens jewels. Poop, to my dismay they got my green Patagonia as well as shoes and jeans. I hope they do not fit them or if they do, their peeps with thrash them for looking trendy. This is the second time this year I was robbed there, and probably related to the absence of any police (park or city) presence. 

I got the message, run Mount Airy at races, but not training runs or risk theft or worse. A real shame as the trails are great. I especially worry about the girl runners, single or in pairs. I am now on a mission to elevate awareness of the current risks as well as increase the presence of the police. The bad guys have pissed me off, and they will need to move on. I digress...

On to the CNC and my first experience yesterday. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Can't get lost here.
Forget getting lost or even using a map except for getting to your trail (many to choose from). When you want to leave, just follow the Parking arrow.

The trails are listed as Easy, Moderate, and Difficult. There are over 25 miles if trail. I ran the Red (difficult) one and it was actually groomed and lacked rocks and roots for the most part. It was hilly though and provided a great workout.

Typical trail, pretty

Get the idea?

Sue and I are taking the pups there today and maybe we will spot a few yellow spotted warblers on our walk.