Friday, November 26, 2010

New Adventures Both this Year and Next

My 2010 season hasn’t been the model of well thought out plans and or logistical wizardry that are usually the mark of my racing seasons but it has been interesting and still contains more in the next three weeks. Leadville pretty much consumed my focus and planning so the remainder of my season has been governed by impulsivity. While this has led to a lot of great experiences such as the Devil Mountain 50K, Rio Del Lago 100 and the Do-Wacka-Do 50K to name but a few, it has also led to a real loss of focus on one important goal that the GeekGrl and I had set before ourselves some 4 years ago, running at least one marathon or longer in all 50 states.
During the 2010 season I only picked up one state, Colorado, and the GeekGrl picked up two, California and Oklahoma. It was better that nothing but we need to get busy if we are going to accomplish this goal before we are 70. After Leadville, as I was reflecting on the lack of my focus on this important marathon goal and so started casting about to see if I could pick up another state or two. During my research I started thinking about how it would be necessary to pick up races further east by running back-to-back marathons on a single weekend unless I wanted to double my airfare and the number of days I needed to take away from work so I started to look for doubles but the only one that showed up that seemed reasonable for us to accomplish this year was the Death Valley Trail Marathon and Las Vegas Marathon double, both in states the GeekGrl already have.

However, the Death Valley – Las Vegas double does allow the GeekGrl and I to raise out status in the Marathon Maniacs from 4-star Iridium to 5-star Ruthenium all we needed was a third marathon in a different state either on the preceding or following weekend. I found the Tucson Marathon, my very first, on the weekend following the Death Valley – Las Vegas double so it is game on!

Next weekend will be our first attempt at a double. All reservations are made and all contingencies are planned. The one wrench in the plans is that the Las Vegas marathon dropped its marathon cutoff to 5:30, something that I just can’t seem to let go. Not only did they do that but they make the run through wedding chapel ceremony take place three miles in at a 15 minute per mile pace. A 5:30 marathon is a 12:40 pace. Is the run through wedding chapel so prohibitively expensive to operate that they cannot afford to conduct two ceremonies? One for half-marathoners at a 15-minute pace to be, as they say, inclusive, and one set to go so people can remain on a 12:40 pace if they want to run the marathon.
ANYWAY, because the GeekGrl and I already have Nevada, California and Arizona it really doesn’t do much in terms of the whole 50-state goal…or does it? Next weekend will be our first double. Next season, with better planning, we will get at least 4 more states in TWO consecutive weekends. That’s right, a Double Double!

April 30th we will be running the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. I have heard this is a good marathon so I’m looking forward to it but I know there are some beautiful trail marathons in Tennessee so I’m sure I’ll be back.

May 1st we will be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. There are also a couple ultras I want to do in Ohio but the Flying Pig is supposed to be one of those must do marathons for those of us who travel the country collecting marathons in different states. I am REALLY looking forward to this one.

May 7th we will be running the Wisconsin Marathon. Apparently the Wisconsin Marathon is the cheesiest and who wouldn’t want to do the cheesiest marathon. Like so many other states Wisconsin also has at least two ultras that I’d like to do one day but marathons first. We ran a half-mary there last summer and got to meet up with Mike and Jenny Wimmer so we’ll see if that is in the cards once again.

May 8th we will be running the Kalamazoo Marathon. This one has a special deal where the first person registered from each state gets their entry fee comped, a free pair of New Balance running shoes and gets to stay in a special tent at the finish line. I registered the GeekGrl first so if we were the first New Mexicans to register she will get the special treatment.

The Double Double is going to be a wild ride and will represent our biggest adventure yet, 4 marathons, 4 states, two weeks. It is going to be a blast! If anyone is interested I have the logistics worked out. We could make it a party.

However, before that little shindig there is one major task to complete. I will be going back to Rocky Raccoon to finish what I started in 2009. I’m a much more experienced trail runner and I have been training hard since my recovery from Rio Del Lago. I’m feeling confident and will be going for a sub-24 hour finish. I know I can do it I just have to keep my feet and have a good race. The GeekGrl will be running the 50-mile at Rocky and is looking to smash her 50-mile PR.
It should be an exciting season!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Kingdom for a 50K: A Veterans Day 11K Race Report

Today I ran the Veterans Day 11K because someone I know told me they were going to sign up. They didn’t sign up. Still, it resulted in a good workout that I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted. I have fallen back on my weekly mileage this week because it has been pretty cold and my mom was visiting so I needed to do some extra miles today to try and make it up.

The 11K began at Kit Carson park where all REALLY flat and fast Albuquerque races begin and there was a really small group present, maybe 50 or 60 people. However, it turns out there were a few really fast people there including a disproportionate number of fast Masters runners. My plan was to take if relatively easy since I had a long run to complete after the race but as Misty had predicted my competitive side got the better of me.

I started out at a good pace but not top speed for the distance but as the race progressed I kept seeing people I wanted to try and pass. My splits were Mile 1 – 7:59, Mile 2 – 7:56, Mile 3 – 7:53, Mile 4 - 7:39 (yeah, this is the mile in which I said “what the hell” and really started trying to pick people off) Mile 5 – 7:25, Mile 6 – 7:17. The last few tenths of a mile got rolled into my long run so I don’t know what it was but I was pretty much sprinting because I began my final kick WAY too early.

There was one last guy that I thought I had enough distance left to pass and I could see the people standing around the finish line approaching. I knew if I was going to pass this guy I was going to have to kick it. I increased my speed and pulled ahead. I kept increasing the pace in case he was able to fight back and then I realized that the people I thought were standing next to the finish line were actually cyclists way down the path. Once they pulled off the path I could see the people next to the finish line and it was, relatively speaking, a LONG way away. I took the chance of easing up just a little because I knew I could not sprint all the way to the finish. Within maybe 50 yards of the finish line I could hear heavy breathing behind me and figuring it was the guy I just passed I turned the kick back on and sprinted as best I could to the finish. I crossed the line and indeed they guy I had passed crossed maybe 15 seconds behind me. I had run much harder than I planned and now I had a long run to complete.

I diced that I would try and get in around 28 total miles for the day and I used Running Map to measure it out but since I was going to stick to trails most of the time as opposed to the dirt roads along the Bosque I wasn’t exactly sure how far my run would end up being. In the end I got in 30 miles in a total time of 4:47:31. I was on pace to crush my 50K PR, which is 5:41:22 on an easier course at about 800 feet above sea level as opposed to 5000 feet above sea level. I was really tempted to go for it but I knew the GeekGrl was waiting for me and it would have been meaningless so I turned off the trail and headed to the coffee shop and finished off the run.

I never would have begun a 30-mile long run by doing the first 11K at about a 7:30 pace but I think it has taught me that I can probably run a 50K much faster than I have previously tried and that is a pretty awesome bit of information to have.