Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More rain. Rain, rain, rain. On the one hand, it's nice not to have to deal with triple digit temperatures. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind being able to run and/or play golf without getting soaked.

Oh well. At least, I got in a 9.2 mile run this morning. The rain didn't get me until the last 1/2 mile.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

78.02 total miles.

Not running (I wish). Biking.
Yesterday, I got up at 5 a.m. to drive to Waxahachie for the Cow Creek Country Classic, an organized ride through north Texas pastures and farm land. Depending on which route one chose to take (10, 19, 36, 75, or 100 miles), the course meandered through Waxahachie, Maypearl, Mountain Peak, Midlothian, Forreston, Milford, Mertens, Frost, and Italy (Texas). I had the notion that I would go for the 100 miler. Delusions of grandeur--especially since I hadn't been on my bike in more than a month.

Things started off well enough. I tucked in with a group zooming out around 22 mph, working together to break the wind and conserve energy. We pulled over at a rest stop just after the 20 mile mark.

After chowing down on a banana and a cup of Gatorade, I hopped back on and was just getting back into position with the "peloton" when my front tire blew. Damn. I am not mechanically inclined. About 15-20 minutes later, I had finally changed tubes and was ready to go. But by that time, the "team" was gone and my new, solo pace dropped to about 18 mph.

And then, coming around a curve, a biker just ahead of me hit some some gravel. His back tire slid out and he came crashing down. I slammed on my brakes and unclipped my right foot, but I couldn't slow my momentum. I pounded into the pavement on my left knee, scraping a decent amount of skin off the cap. I was shaken up, but okay. I turned to the biker who had taken the brunt of the fall. His sunglasses were smashed, his bike computer was broken, and his front tire was blown. I waited with him for a bit until his buddy joined us. A sag wagon was on its way when I started pedaling again about 10-15 minutes later.

At the next aid station, I washed the blood off my leg and began to ask myself if maybe I ought to take this one in. The 46 mile turnoff was about a mile up the road. It was sounding pretty enticing. As I came up on it, naturally and for who knows what reason, that voice inside my head started working on me. Before I had a chance to change my mind, I hammered further down the road. I had now obligated myself to ride at least 75 miles.

What the hell was I doing?

As if to chide me for making such a rash decision, my back tire blew out about 5 miles later. A nail had gone clear through both sides.

You've got to be kidding me.

Changing the back tire was much harder than changing the front tire. (You know, there all those gears back there.) Plus, it was getting warmer and with the wreck and the previous flat, I wasn't moving as quickly. It took me 20-25 minutes to get going again. My hands were covered in chain grease. I was hot and tired. And I still had about 38 miles to go. (I had given up on the 100 miler at that point.)

On the road again, I realized how much I missed having a bunch of riders around me. Not for the camaraderie, but to break the brutal southwesterly wind that was doing everything in its power to bring my bike to a halt. Between the headwind and the hills, I was averaging about 10-12 mph. Uphill, I was lucky to break 9 mph. It was brutal.

Finally, at the 75 mile turnoff, I got a tailwind, as the course began heading north to the finish. Suddenly, I was flying at 20+ mph again. Wow. What a difference a tailwind makes.

The next 20 miles or so were great. I stopped at an aid station and had a banana with some honey on it. (Fantastic!) I had hit my second (or was it my third?) wind. Things were good.

And then, 9 miles from the finish, my left hamstring cramped going up a hill. Ugh. I got off the bike, stretched, and popped some sports beans. Tragedy averted, I slowed the pace considerably and kept it at an easy cruise until the end.

When I finally rolled back into the parking lot of Waxahachie High, I had gone 78.02 miles in 4 hours, 28 minutes, 32 seconds. Average pace of 17.4 mph. I was hot and tired and looking forward to a shower, a big meal, and a fat nap. I enjoyed all three immensely.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Throughout the day yesterday, I kept checking Dean's progress as he attempted to break the 24-hour treadmill record. Although I don't know his exact mileage, the website says "he completed a distance equal to the total of five marathons, just one shy of the record."

Watching the spectacle unfold in real time via the internet was pretty amazing.

Also amazing was the barrage of trash-talking about Dean on the ultra listserv. I just don't get the animosity from the ultra community.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hmmm... 40% scattered thunderstorms in Waxahachie on Saturday. It may be a gametime decision on whether or not to participate in the Cow Creek Country Classic. Admittedly, it wouldn't take much to convince me to bail, seeing as how I haven't ridden the bike in about a month.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go."- T.S. Eliot

I've figured out what to do if we end up with another north Texas drought. I just need to plan to go for a run. This morning, I woke up about 5:20 a.m. to meet J for a 10 miler. And it was raining. Again. Ugh.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another long run thwarted by thunderstorms. I left the house around 5:30 a.m. About 3 miles into my run, the skies opened up and poured buckets of rain. Neverending buckets of rain. It's now 10 a.m. and it's still raining. I had planned to go for 20 or so miles but bailed when the lightning started getting close. About 7 miles was all I could manage. Bummer.

Update: Around 11 a.m., the skies had cleared and the sun had emerged. So, naturally, I hit the pavement to finish out my long run. I made it about 1/2 a mile before the clouds blew in and drenched me yet again with sheets of rain. No lightning, though, so I kept at it and got another 9.5 miles in.

On a more upbeat note, yesterday's Star Telegram did an article about El Scorcho. Here's what they had to say about our race:

Spots in El Scorcho race a hot commodity
Star-Telegram staff writer

It seemed reasonable. For Ryan Valdez's 30th birthday, he and buddy Jason Costantino, 24, would run 30 miles in the middle of the summer.

How hard could it be? Both had ridden the Hotter 'N Hell 100 bike tour in Wichita Falls, that legendary dead-of-summer beast.

"I won't say [running] is harder, but you don't have nearly the cooling effect of a bike," said James Newsom of the Fort Worth Running Company, which Valdez and Costantino approached for help organizing a small race for friends and family.

Newsom and his father, Jim, one of the area's top running coaches, convinced the duo to hold the July race after dark. Thus, the first El Scorcho 50K was born.

Scheduled for midnight July 15 at Trinity Park's 3.1-mile oval, El Scorcho grew from a goofy idea to a full field of 200 runners. At 31 miles, this ultramarathon will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

"When we first talked about it, we said, 'OK, that's fine and everything, but we don't want to kill anybody,'" James Newsom said of the July date.

Valdez and Costantino never expected more than 50 runners, but that was "150 more entries ago than we thought," Costantino said. He's had to call the city about 20 times to re-up the park permit number. People are begging in e-mails to get in. Next year, the event might move to the Trinity Trails.

Costantino wants to fit in a 201st runner, local ultramarathon specialist Dr. Stephen Hudgens, who is set to run the Badwater Ultramarathon on July 23, a ghastly 135-mile race starting in Death Valley. Hudgens has run ultramarathons in China, Greece and Antarctica, among others.
"Badwater is our race on steroids," Costantino said. "Hey, I'd ride the course and hand him water. I'm pretty sure we can fit him in."

Hudgens said he's considering a warmup at El Scorcho, which at this point would be easy for him.

"I don't think [finishing El Scorcho] would be a problem," Hudgens said. "If you want to do your first ultra, I think this is the best way to start. You use up your reserves in a marathon and hit that wall. The extra five miles is a way to push a little further and get past that fatigue."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Last night, I left the house on foot around 8:15 p.m. for Trinity Park. I took a longer, less direct route and made it to the starting line for El Scorcho after about 3 miles. J showed up half a mile later, and we did two laps around the course, giving me a total of 9 miles or so. The pace was pretty lax, and my legs were admittedly a bit tight (that's what I get for taking 5 days off), but I slept great and awoke feeling better than I have in days.

Speaking of El Scorcho, we hit our 200 runner cap yesterday morning. No more entrants. I've already gotten a few e-mails by folks asking if they can pay extra to run. As much as we'd like to capitalize on the popularity of our inaugural run, we're at our entrant limit. If you wanted to run but didn't sign up in time, why not come out and volunteer?

Monday, June 11, 2007

I've been pretty busy at work these days. Our 4th wedding anniversary was Thursday, but we weren't able to really celebrate until Saturday, as I was stuck at the office late during the week. That sucks. But I have a wonderfully supportive and understanding (and beautifully pregnant) wife, so we were able to wait a couple of days....

Oh, and as a result of the endless billable hours, I skipped my long run this weekend. 14+ hour days have a way of killing any motivation to hit the pavement. After leaving the house at 5:45 a.m. Friday morning and not returning until 8:30 p.m. that night, I didn't feel like getting up early Saturday, so I blissfully slept in. Around noon, I managed to drag myself to the gym to lift weights and put in an hour of cardio, but no running. I had to work again on Sunday for a few hours, and I didn't make it up in time to beat the heat, so I did another an hour of air conditioned cardio. But no running. Same goes for today. Didn't get up in time to run before work. I'll lift weights after work, but no running.

Gotta run tomorrow. Inertia is starting to kick in.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's much easier to wake up at 5 a.m. for a marathon than for work. I'm leaving the house in a bit to drive to Brownwood, Texas for an injunction hearing. Brownwood is 160 miles from Ft. Worth and the hearing starts at 9 a.m. Lovely.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Early yesterday evening, I was at the FAC doing some nice, air conditioned cardio on the elliptical trainer when I was greeted with this question:

"Are you the endurance runner attorney guy?"

Wow, that's a first. I've never had someone "recognize" me before.

Turns out, the inquirer was Dave Fannin, a personal trainer and owner of The Body Firm. We shot the breeze for a good 20 minutes or so. Dave said he was planning to run El Scorcho, but was having trouble deciding between the 25K and the 50K. Naturally, I encouraged him to go for the 50K. After all, it's a loop course. If you get in trouble, you can always bail. But Dave didn't seem like the type who'd want a DNF on his record. I think he could do it, no problem. He told me he'd already run 16 miles, so the 25K is in the bag.

We'll see what he decides to do....


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