Monday, May 26, 2008

Call Me Mr. Toast

Let’s start this journey by forgetting that I ran a marathon PR last weekend and just go with my plans for the Memorial Day weekend. This is my second to last long workout weekend before IMCdA and it is my last burn-out weekend so I wanted to take full advantage of the three days of free time.

On tap for Saturday was a long ride with the GeekGrl. We headed out for 100 miles but I miscalculated and we ended up with 95 but it was a good ride non-the-less. The weather was fantastic all day, we kept a nice easy pace and just had a great time together.

Sunday the plan was a long open water swim out a Cochiti Lake followed by a short run. Several other Outlaws came along for the swim and we hit the water for the full 2.4 miles. The water temperature was 57 degrees and it wasn’t all that bad. With any luck the temps at IMCdA will get to that mark by race day. My swim went well and I kept a pretty good pace but I still swim crooked. Not terribly crooked but enough to add maybe 5 minutes to my total time. We followed up the swim with a six mile run that begins with more than a mile of uphill running. It started heating up out there but we were able to keep a decent pace.

Today was the final push with a 105 mile ride followed by a run. Fellow Outlaws Mike and Maria headed out with me to ride the 105 mile “punisher”, a ride I developed while training for Silverman. This ride begins with about 12 miles of flat followed by 81 miles of climbing, over 11,000 feet of climbing to be exact. The day began with fantastic weather but by noon the wind was howling and the temperature was pushing the mid 80s. The full final 15 miles was spent riding full into a very stiff headwind and then we got off our bikes to hit the run.

Mike and Maria were slated to do a 10 mile run and I wasn’t really slated to do anything but I thought I’d hang with them as long as I could, which was about a quarter mile. At that point I just decided to get in four miles. The wind was so strong by now and still in our faces that it took a minute and a half per mile off my pace and the temperature was probably pushing 87, which was supposed to be today’s high. When I hit my turn around point I thought maybe I’d go an extra mile and get in six but my legs were feeling pretty bad; every step sent these weird shocks through my legs. I’ve experienced this before and I know it means I’m getting ready to crash, which means I’m approaching injury. I decided to turn around and head back to the car. By the time I made it back I was completely toasted but felt good that I had gotten it all in and I’m feeling very strong.

I’m not making any predictions because I know just how many things can go wrong during and Ironman but I think I’m going to do well, I feel a PR coming on.

Now it’s bed time!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

I respect anyone who can talk some good smack. Really, there is nothing else like it in the world of male entertainment. Mom Baboo was always horrified when my brothers and I would pelt each other with withering volleys of insults and the GeekGrl was very alarmed when our boys became old enough to shower each other with slander but really it’s all in good fun.

In the world of sports it’s especially funny when a lesser opponent takes a first shot at a greater opponent. It is funny not only because of the creativity that is often employed in good smack talking but it is funny because it reveals the wide eyed innocence of the neophyte.

A couple posts back the Bigun wrote a poem that resulted un an unwarranted attack. Mrs. Bigun came to his aid and I responded with a friendly and supportive limerick.

There once was a man from Brandon
On the shores of CdA he was standin’
First the swim then the ride
Through the marathon he flied
And across the finish line he was landin’

Ok, so maybe not the best but there it is. So then the Bigun just goes ape shit writing limericks on his blog and like any kid who has found a new toy he plays with them until something goes wrong, yes, he posted a smack talkin’ limerick on MY blog! I was innocently posting a recent race report and WHAM!

There once was a man named Baboo
who forgot Ironman had a bike too!
His run kicked some ass
but his bike lacked pizzaz
So now Bigun will finish before you!

Top marks for creativity Bigun, top marks but now you have forced me to take you to iron school on June 22nd and here, my friend, is my rejoinder.

There once was a man with audacity
His reality had no veracity
He bit off more than he could chew
When he challenged Baboo
Who had to make clear the Bigun’s incapacity.

Train well Bigun.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Run of the Sea Monkeys: An Ogden Marathon Race Report

Today was the 8th running of the Ogden Marathon and there were about 2000 people running the full marathon. The event also has a marathon relay, half-marathon, 5K and kids-K. The Geekgrl and I ran the full along with Fellow Outlaw Stuart “Dusty Trailz” Crane. Stuart talked us into doing this race quite some time ago and we needed a Utah marathon so why not. I began to question the wisdom of my decision to come out and do this race when I discovered that Stuart has recently begun hearing voices from his crotch and embarrassingly enough has taken to talking back to it though fortunately it appeared that he kept the conversations brief and to a minimum.

The morning was pretty cool temperature wise and the busses hauled us up to the start line beginning at 5 a.m. Guess which bus Me, Stuart and the Geekgrl were on. When we got to the start line it was still dark but the race organizers were cranking up the pre-race warming fires…sweet! This is one of two marathons that I know have run that has pre-race warming fires. The other is the Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction Arizona. While standing around the fires we met a guy who had moved here not long ago from Boulder Colorado and being familiar with Boulder we quizzed him about the similarities and differences. During the conversation he told us that for a couple months out of the year there is a massive brine shrimp harvest in the Great Salt Lake, said it was where all the Sea Monkeys came from and I told him that would explain why Sea Monkeys are all white…you know, because there is A LOT of white people up here…WAY more than the GG and I are used to. Anyway he said he was pulling our leg and he didn’t know what they did with all the brine shrimp pulled from Salt Lake but I’m goin’ with Sea Monkeys.

The race was supposed to kick off at 7:00 but got started a few minutes late, nothing serious. The marathon begins with about 8 miles of downhill running. I was fondly remembering my first marathon, the Tucson Marathon, which is mostly down hill and where I imagined a blazing fast time once I got rolling. Needles to say my legs blew apart later in that race but today I just sat back and made note of all the people who where ahead of me, near me or passing me who probably should not have been anywhere close to me. I decided that I would try to run the first half-marathon keeping my HR in the mid to upper 150s, run from mile 13 to mile 20 with a HR in the mid 160s and run the final 6.2 with a HR in the lower to mid 170s. I felt this was a strategy I should be able to pull off if my legs held up. That was one concern of mine what with the downhill and all the trail running I have been doing lately I wasn’t sure my legs could take 26.2 miles of pavement.

The course was very scenic. There were small rivers running most of the length of the course, snow capped mountains all around, pine forests, open farm lands, lakes and at least a couple water falls, one of which was huge. The weather was fairly cooperative too. It was probably in the low 50’s when we started and gradually warmed throughout the day. Fortunately from about mile 18 to mile 22.5 we were on a fairly narrow canyon road with high cliff walls that provided some shade but at mile 23 you turn off onto a bike path that wanders through a big city park. I am sure that the path is very pleasant but the day was really heating up, the path was closed in by trees and shrubs so there was little air and the level of humidity was higher…oh, and the course was flattening out and I was running harder so was generating more of my own heat. By this time my legs were really starting to feel the road I had left behind but the cool thing is that I was still passing people. Yes indeed starting about mile 17 I started slowly reeling people in in fairly large numbers not just the one or two at a time as had been happening since much earlier. At the mile 20 aid station I caught and passed Stuart. I had seen that I was closing on him since around mile 16 but it was hard to tell if it was really him because he was so far ahead. By mile 18 I was certain and at Mile 19 I started planning to ask him to stop speaking loudly to his crotch and get to running but at the mile 20 aid station it was as if he suddenly disappeared, I was through the aid station and I never saw him again.

This is a race that I would definitely recommend. It’s scenic, well run and not too big. The two things that I could have done without are the jungle run along the bike path and the 8 tenths of a mile finishing stretch which is straight as an arrow, flat as a pancake, completely exposed and hot as a furnace. However, the post race food quickly make up for it with loads of free Jamba Juice smoothies, popsicles, ice-cold water, oranges, bananas, Smuckers Uncrustables and more.

Oh, you are probably wondering how I did huh…NEW PR BABY! 3:46:03 according to Garmin on a slightly long course. My official race weight today, 204…still running Clydesdale. I’m looking forward to seeing what my official time will be. This is my last long run before IMCdA. Next weekend will be a beyotch of a workout weekend and then I’m into the taper.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I’m Already Winning at the Lean Horse Hundred

First I want to thank you all for your kind words on my last post. I certainly appreciate people’s support.

So today I received a letter from Jerry Dunn, the race director of the Lean Horse Hundred and Half-Hundred. Inside was a note from him letting me know that I had been randomly selected for a one-year subscription to Trail Runner magazine! How cool is that! I didn’t even know there was a pre-race prize drawing. The race doesn’t even take place until August 23rd and I’ve already given them my money so it’s not like they have to win me over to anything. What could this be, a race just doing things for the athletes who have registered with them because…why? Maybe because they feel a sense of kinship with their athletes, a kind of “These are our athletes for this year so let’s get this party started.”

I had a similar experience with the Oklahoma City Redman Iron-distance triathlon and the Silverman Iron-distance triathlon. These grass roots race organizations are just great!

Maybe you should consider joining me at one.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Run in Peace My Friend: A Collegiate Peaks Remembrance

Today I ran the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run in Buena Vista Colorado. The race offers a 50 mile and a 25 mile option. I was scheduled to do the 50 but ended up running 27.08 very difficult miles.

Our lives are fleeting and fragile...they turn on a dime. Today I literally ran for someone’s life and I did not make it. I tried, believe me I tried. The aid station was too far, the oxygen was too thin, the climb was too great and I was too slow. I spent the remainder of the day running with my beloved wife trying to hope, trying to smile, trying to convince myself I had done all that I could.

I will continue to run, to run for my life, to run for his life, to run for your life.

I leave him this remembrance. God bless you on your next run my friend.

Under the azure skies we ran with snow laden peaks looking down on us, sides glistening with the bright light of a gentle sun.

Upon the brown earth we ran with banks of dusty green pine and juniper perfuming the air as a mountain creek laughed at our feet.

Through time and space we ran with our hearts pumping and our legs churning out the miles, miles and miles with smiles broadly glinting off our happy faces.

“Another day in paradise” you said to me and I smiled calmly with a quiet, joyous heart and now there you lie at my feet, head torn, and body quaking like a gnarled aspen flowing red upon our impossibly small patch of the earth.

Through time and space I ran heart pounding furiously, legs churning and burning trying to reach the place where we had smiled.

Upon the brown earth I ran cursing the climb, cursing my slow body, cursing my impotency in the face of an enormous world.

Under the azure skies your spirit soared free, high among the snow-capped peaks, gently onward to breath in the warmth of the sun.

I finished your run my friend, I finished your run bursting at the seams with life but you too were right…today was a good day to die.