Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I write not to sandbag or lodge preemptory excuses, but to simply lay down the facts and bumptiously assert my aspirations for this weekend’s Rocky Raccoon 100 mile endurance run.

Let’s start with training.

I began 2012 in earnest with respectable showings at the 2012 Bandera 50K and Rocky Raccoon 50 mile runs.  Cowtown was a bit rough, but I nonetheless made it through with my sensibilities intact.

I continued the long runs as the summer heat made its forceful leap into the forefront of the forecast.  But sometime mid-summer, my Achilles decided to rebel, as has been exhaustingly documented.

Prolotherapy or the Placebo Effect finally got me back on my feet in October, and I felt good knocking down 26 miles at Ultracentric the following month.

I welcomed 2013 with eight and half hours of wet, sticky sludge with my worst Bandera 50K time yet.  But given the less-than-optimal conditions (in my opinion, at least), I was okay with merely finishing.

So here we are, on the precipice of attempting to run 100 miles for the fourth time in four years. 

My first shot took place in February 2009, when inexperience encouraged me to gut out blisters and chafing issues rather deal with them head on upon their first appearance.  I made it about 77 miles.

Eight months later, I toed the line at the 2009 Heartland 100 in abysmal cold, windy, wet conditions.  Somehow, I managed to finish, albeit in 28 hours and 53 minutes.  I was so wrecked after the race that I had to send my pacer to the finisher’s ceremony to pick up my belt buckle.

In November 2010, I half-heartedly joined Jason for the Mother Road 100, but pulled out early at 41 miles when it became apparent that I just didn’t have the mental fortitude to go the distance.

I took 2011 easy.  I only ran two races – the Cowtown 50K (as a pacer) and the Cactus Rose 50 milerun (where I DNF’d at 30 miles).  I also snuck in a century ride from Austin to Shiner.

2012 was my year to get back to it, but the Achilles injury knocked out ¼ of the year.

The question is: how do I feel going into Saturday’s 100 mile attempt in Huntsville?

Drumroll please…

I feel…

Surprisingly optimistic.

“The hell,” you say.

Indeed.  And I’ll tell you why.

I’ve got nothing to prove.  I’ve run 38 marathons and ultramarathons.  I’ve been to the 100 mile rodeo.  I’ve been bucked to the ground, and I’ve made it the full eight seconds.  Just be smart, tend to hot spots before they become debilitating, and keep moving forward.

All that considered, I’m pretty sure Anton said it best: Running 100 miles is fucking hard.  Period.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

D.O.M.S.

Delayed onset muscle soreness.  Yep, I am very familiar with it.  It's been five days, and the quads and feet are still sore from the Bandera beatdown.  This is probably the longest these aches have lingered in quite some time.  Not sure if the cause is the rough race conditions or simply a lack of quality preparation.  In any event, today will be my first visit back to the gym since last Saturday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conditions.

A quick google search will reveal numerous reports on the nasty conditions that welcomed runners Saturday morning in Bandera. Warm and humid. Wet and slick. Thick and muddy. Of my six appearances at the State Nature Area, 2013 ranks as the nastiest. The course just wasn't very hospitable--or runnable--at least for an amateur city goat like me.

I toed the line a good half hour after the start, having arrived in what I thought was plenty of time, only to be greeted by a bottleneck of traffic slowly seeping into the Lodge. 1,000 runners plus who knows how many friends and families turned what had previously been a fairly easy arrival into a traffic jam. I suppose it's a by product of the explosion of interest in ultra running and trail events in particular. I'm not one to lament the influx of newbies (I was one of them just 6 years ago), but I would be less than truthful if I didn't admit a longing for the smaller, more tight knit community that existed not so long ago.

The good thing about starting late is avoiding the masses at the beginning of the mostly single track course. I carefully made my way through the morning fog and light rain, enormous chunks of thick, clay-like mud clinging to my shoes. Normally, I can take the downhill portions fairly quickly, letting gravity do the work I as I hop from rock to rock. Not this year. The tops of the hills were more treacherous than usual, coated with slippery slime and mud. I had to concentrate on staying upright and not sliding off the side of the Hill Country. It was a slog fest.

After half way through the 50km, I hooked up with Guy, an ex-marine from New York. We decided to stick it out together for the remainder of the run. More of a hike than a run, actually. We kept the mood light and swapped stories, moving forward slowly but purposefully. Despite the fact that we probably walked half of the next 15 miles, we were never passed by any runners (other than the elite 100km studs). So apparently, many folks had also chosen to forego running for walking, given the miserable conditions.

Officially, I finished in 9 hours and 4 minutes. Because I started the run 30 minutes late, I'm putting my net time at around 8 hours and 34 minutes. That's an hour slower than last year's time. Oh well. With the rough climate--and just getting over a nasty bout of the flu that had me in bed with chills and a fever for three days before the race--I'm okay with merely finishing.

Recovery awaits.



p.s. My kids are cool.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Ambition.


2012 was a good year for our family. The arrival of our beautiful, sweet daughter; pre-school graduation and the start of kindergarten for our kind and delightfully devious son; trips to Playa del Carmen, Hot Springs Village, Austin, Miami, and New Orleans; an ample helping of live music from our favorite groups; family, football, baseball, and all things five year old boy. Our time together was relaxed, exciting, enjoyable, and hectic--an incomparable way to spend a year.

On the running front, I started off strong with good races at Bandera and Rocky Raccoon. Pacing the Cowtown was slow but appropriately so.

After that, however, things dropped off drastically, replacing running with golf, swimming, and avoiding the excessive Texas heat. When I finally started fraying to put back in some decent mileage, I developed a debilitating case of Achilles tendonitis.

While not a big believer in resolutions, I am a goal-oriented type of person that thrives on challenge, regardless of the severity.  Having races on the calendar keeps me motivated to move.  But with two children, time is a bit more limited than in years past.  Keeping that in mind, here is my (relatively) ambitious race schedule for 2013:

01.12.13 - Bandera 50 km
02.02.13 - Rocky Raccoon 100 mile (subject to cancellation if I get called to trial)
03.16.13 - Tn'T Waco 50 km
04.14.13 - Big D Marathon
06.??.13 - Cow Creek Country Classic Ride (75 or 100 miles)
06.15.13 - Tour d'Italia Ride (63 miles)
07.13.13 - Peach Pedal Ride (100 km)
07.21.13 - El Scorcho (race director)
12.??.13 - Cajun Coyote 100 mile (make up race if RR100 is cancelled due to trial)

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