Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crewing and Pacing at Leaville 100

Last year when my friend, Margaret, said she put her name on the napkin to run the Leadville 100 mile race I immediately asked her if I could crew or pace her. As an endurance junkie I have done some crazy things but never have I considered doing a 100 mile run, and a hard 100 mile run to boot. So, it sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.
During the last year I’ve watched her preparing for the run, we’ve done several Ironman races together but her eye has always been on the prize, Leadville. Her runs have been totally outrageous; back to back long runs, runs up and down mountains, high mileage weeks and just plain hard runs, sometimes hitting 90 miles per week. I just can’t imagine doing some of the stuff she’s done, she’s totally hardcore.
During the course of the year I found out another friend, Brian, was also doing Leadville and I volunteered to help pace him. What the heck, I was going to be up there anyway! Brian is another one that has kept is eye on the prize and has done some outrageous amounts of running.

I arrived early at Leadville to help acclimate myself to the high altitude, the hotel is at over 10k feet and the race goes well above 12k feet. I decided to hike around Independence pass to speed up the acclimation process. It was gorgeous up there. I’ll be pacing “my runners” ( I love saying that) along the two highest passes, Hope and Sugarloaf passes, so hiking around Independence seemed like a really good idea. The first few miles were tough, the air is thin and the hills felt steep, but amazingly after a few miles I felt pretty normal.

Margaret threw a party at the Leadhouse (the Leadville version of the Ironhouse) she rented for her family and college friends. I got to meet a bunch of the Albuquerque runners that were running Leadville, some extremely experienced and some first timers. Lot’s of pasta and a lot of energy, two of my favorite things!

I had two 10ish mile legs to pace over plus what ever happened during the day. I was more nervous about pacing than I am about racing. Go figure. The night before the race I just couldn’t sleep and ended up taking an antihistamine around 12:30 to knock me out. I decided to sleep in and miss the start of the race because I wouldn’t be any good to anyone if I didn’t at least get some sleep. I’m still bummed that I missed the start of the race.
To be continued. ..

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ironman St George

Ironman St George is coming up fast, only about 18 days left! Training for this IM has been pretty tough. The weather hasn’t cooperated and my mental state just hasn’t put in the right frame of mind to train hard. But now that the tough training is done I’m getting excited for the race, go figure.

This IM I tried something a little different; Dread Pirate talked me into taking the spin class from hell, taught by Satan himself, not some underling demon, nope, the big wig. Actually Roy, the instructor, isn’t that bad but the class is pure torture. It’s a 2 hour time trial class where you are at maximum sustainable effort for the entire time, that is, when you aren’t at interval pace or taking a “pull” at the front. Zero recovery time. I’m totally drained after the class. It’s going to be interesting to see how things turn out. Oh, and set a new HR max the second week of the class.

I’m a bit concerned about my training because I’ve only done one 100 mile bike but a bunch of 75-85 mile rides with a run after the bike. I’m really hoping the monster spin class will make up for my lack of real riding.

My running has been “okay” nothing great, I’m hoping that I can ride the ultra marathon run fitness level through to IM. I’ve been getting in some decent running but nothing outstanding. I have been doing a good 3-4k swim before each run so hopefully that’s also going to help come race day.

I’ve really had to start swimming again and it’s felt pretty good, that is, until I tried on the wet suit, wow has it always been that tight? Guess I’ll be swimming in the wet suit from now until the race so I can get my shoulders and lungs used to the constriction.

I’ve decided to use my Road bike and put some aerobars on it. At first I was really skeptical about the set up but now that I’ve been riding it for a month or so it’s pretty nice, very stable and I feel good on it. The other big change to the bike is the addition of a compact crank, it should make spinning up the hills much easier. For a normal “ride” I wouldn’t need a compact crank but let’s not forget about the hilly marathon after the hilly ride.

Overall I don’t have any time goals for the race, just finish healthy and have a good time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The things we do for fashion

Green dress run –the things we do for fashion:

Okay, I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to the return of the Albuquerque Road runners Green dress run since the Outlaws were invited back in January, it sounded like a lot of fun.

It’s been a long time since I’ve run with the Roadrunners and I forgot how friendly and supportive they are, plus they put on a great handicap series. Many thanks for inviting us to run!

The course is a tough 4 miles in the foothills of Albuquerque, with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream just a little after mile marker 2 – at the top of a one mile assent. The shot, the race and the good time’s were all for free. The catch is that you have to run in a Green dress, and the dresses are free.

I arrived a bit late for the run so the selection of dresses was a bit short. Luckily the Dread Pirate was there to help & found a nice “flirty” dress for me. It kinda looked like a large Girl Scout uniform and the GeekGirl started making girlscout cookie jokes. Funny.

When I tried on the dress, to say it was snug would be an understatement, I could barely breath. DP said don’t worry you’ll be fine it’s just a sacrifice you’ll have to make for fashion- great.

Ready to go and I get hooked up with two really fast looking girls, they were down from Colorado to run in the USA indoor track & field championships and decided to do the race for fun. I managed to keep up with one of the girls but other one just took off like a bat out of hell, she put about a quarter mile on me by the 1 mile marker. Wow is she fast – must be nice to be 20 and in great shape! The other girl that I was able to keep up with was having wardrobe problems. Okay, keeping up really means I was following her, and I might throw in that there is something strangely alluring about running after a girl in dress, very distracting.

Before hitting mile two some of the other Colorado runners came zipping by me like I was standing still – wow those guys were good!

The run was really hard, not just because I couldn’t breathe (because the dress was so tight), but racing in the foot hills with the ups and downs, the loose gravel and the big assents is just plain hard.

Misty striking a great pose

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beach to Battleship race report

B2B race report:

About a year ago the NM Outlaws were casting about for an Ironman race to compete in for our club race. B2B won out over some very tough competition – it won mainly because of the location, time of year (weather ) and cost. North Carolina in early November is incredible!

We had a house on the beach, the weather was perfect, the cost of the race was about $200 cheaper than an M dot race, and they have a half-iron distance and relays. I think the half iron distance race really cemented B2B as our race of choice this way we could include club members that are either not ready for an iron distance race or had other plans that didn’t include a big race in November. B2B is definitely a race destination worth considering.

Packing, driving, flying and organizing 12 athletes and 3 sherpas is a really hard task, Thankfully everyone took on some responsibility and all of our plans worked out flawlessly! Special thanks to Debi, Margaret, Cory, Lorna, and Loraine, you guys had us organized, transported, and fully supported!

Sitting in the Albuquerque airport I suddenly realized that I had forgotten my bike shorts and my run shorts. Darn, that really put me into worry mode, I wasn’t sure if I could find a suitable replacement for bike shorts and I need compression shorts to run in. You all know how you have your favorite non-chafing, correctly padded shorts. Thankfully the expo had some bike shorts. Since I totally suck at shopping it took forever for me to find something, Well, I actually didn’t find anything, Jane and Lorna found the shorts. The local Tri-shop had some very expensive compression shorts so now I had my replacements, and for only $150 dollars. Well, I can always use more shorts.

The days leading up to the race were hectic and not very restful though tons of fun! It’s great hanging out with Anal-retentive, tapering, hyper athletes that eat nonstop. We had a great time walking on the beach, discussing our race tactics, clothing of choice and general logistics. Of course maybe we were all hyper from the sugar of 15 dozen cookies (Thanks Lorna and Cory!)

Race day came much too quickly, The morning started at 4:00am, the usual nutrition, and off to the races! After a quick trip to drop off some last minute items in the T1 bag and then out to the beach. The trolleys to the beach were nice, warm and frequent. After changing into our wet suits and dropping off our gear we headed out to the beach. . We had a bunch of outlaws at the swim start Margaret and Namoi (in their IM debut), Mark T and Jane were up for IM number 2, Miguel, Tim and myself. Margaret looked a little worried, or maybe it was the cold, Naaaa – she never gets cold! A few last minute hugs, good lucks and we were off! The sand was really cold and my feet were numb by the time we got to the starting line but the warm 69 degree water and brisk swim quickly warmed them up. The swim is amazingly fast! That’s one IM pr that I’ll never break! 53ish minutes and it was all over. After the swim I had THE BEST wetsuit stripper of ALL TIME! He unzipped me pulled down my suit over my shoulders, told me to sit, one yank and the suit was off. Wow! That took all of 5 seconds.

The run to the bike start wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, a 400 yard jog in 48 degree temperatures, wet and without shoes isn’t something I would normally do but it just wasn’t too bad, at least my feet were cold enough the asphalt and corresponding little rocks didn’t bother them.

The bike: I had purchased a disposable cotton tee shirt and gloves for the bike because I knew it would be a bit cold out. They worked perfectly and I shed them at the second aid station. The station that actually had nutrition! I’ll be sending the RD a recommendation that he actually have nutrition at the first aid station – like the booklet says. Not only didn’t the first aid station have nutrition it was 30 miles into the bike. I had already gone through my “emergency” gels and all my fluids by mile 25 thinking that the aid station was “just around the corner”. The fist aid station did have fluids and I picked some up, but that meant I needed to make it to the next aid station for nutrition. It turns out that the next aid station wasn’t until about mile 50! That’s 50 miles on Heed and two gels, not a good thing for an IM race. I was pissed, and loaded up on everything because I didn’t know if the other aid stations could be depended on for nutrition. I finally caught my friend Miguel at the special needs station (mile 65) and he wanted me to work on his bike because it was making noise. Huh? Right, I’ll get on that right away!  Anyway, the rest of the bike was uneventful except for the head wind for the last 30 or so miles. Wow, the air is thick at sea level and that 5-10 mph wind really took its toll, this wasn’t

Rolling in to T2 was a huge relief, staying aero for 6 hours isn’t much fun and I was definitely ready to get off the bike, my neck hurt, but sit bones hurt, my hip hurt and I was just plain tired of riding.

The run starts off well enough then you hit the mother of all bridges. This thing must be a mile long and goes up and up and up! Nope, didn’t run most of it, my legs just weren’t there yet. Miguel and I left T2 together so at least we had company on the initial walk! After the bridge and the first aid station what comes next? Yes, another bridge, but this time you get a metal grate with little metal things sticking out. Yeah, that was fun, Oh you mean I get to do this three more times? I must say that the first few miles of this marathon was about the ugliest scenery ever. After crossing into downtime Wilmington with the red bricks and cobblestones I changed my opinion of the run. This section was great, the we got to run through some old neighborhoods with cool houses, then to a very nice park area, and then back down to t2. Since this was a two loop course I got to see all my Outlaw buddies and facebook friends on the course. It was great seeing everyone out there having a good time! Everywhere we went people were shouting go Outlaws! By about mile 9, I had dropped Miguel somewhere, and I just started talking to random folks. Most people were happy to talk but a few were a bit cranky – undoubtedly caught up in the dark side of Iron distance racing, not a good place to be. By the second loop I hooked up with Gary, together we pushed and actually negative split the second half. Way to go Gary!

Coming into the finish line was a bit weird. They had the timer about 100 yards from the actual finish line, strange After finishing I found Mr T shaking uncontrollably, and walked him over to get some warm clothes. A few slices of pizza, water, and some nice salty chips I was feeling much better and went to go greet the rest of the outlaws.

Congratulations to everyone! Margaret ( See, under 14 hours!) and Naomi on your first Ironman races, Mr T – thank you for not going into shock from pushing too hard. Miguel, you are a great training partner, double congratulations on your 1st place. Jane, you rocked the course, even with the ITband issues. Tim, wow, you are fast! Congratulations to Orlando who finished his first HIM. Michi, First in her age group! MG – you are tough guy! Debi and Hartley, very nice long brick! Wish I could place in one of my “training races” haha!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Getting ready for B2B

It’s been a fun few months getting ready for the Beach to Battleship iron distance race and I’m about as ready for it as I can be.

I feel like I’m in pretty good shape, but my low swim yardage makes me nervous. This is the first year I haven’t consistently been swimming masters, though I have been swimming a couple of times per week, It’s just not the same without someone on deck keeping you honest.

For the record, I’ve done 4 century rides, many 70-80 mile rides. One marathon, one Ultra marathon, the hard leg of the Colorado relay which totals 23 miles, and have been consistently running 20 mile runs. Oh, and don’t forget all those bricks! All that has to be worth something come Ironman time, right?

The bikes are loaded and most of the gear is heading out to NC. As I write this Margaret and Cory are just outside of Amarillo heading towards Groom Texas. You just couldn’t ask to be associated with nicer people! Big thanks to you guys, you rock!!!

Now I just need to get my butt(preferentially healthy an rested) to the start line. .

Monday, October 19, 2009

Palo Duro Trail 50k

Palo Duro 50k Trial run, The Beast

Brian first talked to me about the Palo Duro 50k right after the Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon. I must have been high on the endorphins from having a good race and started actually thinking it was a good idea. After all, the race was several months away and I would be in “good shape” after running the Colorado Relay and all the training getting ready for the Beach to Battleship Ironman. Yeah, it sounded like fun….

After convincing Margaret and Jane it would be a good idea, after all good friends don’t let friends do stupid things – alone. We registered, made reservations and made training plans.

Great, now I had three things to get ready for, the Colorado relay – which I was lucky enough to get the hardest leg (had to arm wrestle Margaret for it), the Palo Duro 50K and the B2B ironman. My training plan for B2B just wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily Jane has a coach and Margaret has a really good training plan!

After a couple of months running the foothills, a couple handfuls of 20+ mile runs, several centuries on the bike, and hill repeats every Thursday I finally felt comfortable running the 50k. Well, I wasn’t so much comfortable with it as I was fit enough to run it. Truth be told, I was really nervous about the distance as it was an unknown.

I’m use to road marathons where the energy is high, people are anxious, the music is blaring, and the road is smooth. Trail runs seem to be diametrically opposed. The energy is low key, most folks are relaxed, there’s no music (well, there was a live piper –which was very cool) and the roads are anything but smooth.

At the pre-race pasta feed we checked in, got our swag, race numbers, ate our fill, and talked shop. What a great time. And, as a bonus, I got the coolest race number of all time, 666, yep the number of the beast! So as a group it was decided that I needed horns for my running hat, which Walgreens provided for $1.99 and Jane painstakingly attached to my prized IM St Louis hat.

The start was a bit difficult since it was in the dark and the route quickly turns to single track where it’s almost impossible to pass. It turns out it was probably a good way to start off, nice and easy with plenty of walking for the first 3 or so miles. The Dread Pirate and I ran the first three miles together, with me trying to shine a flash light far enough ahead of us that we could see the obstacles. After the 3 mile mark the trails started to open up, by mile 6 the runners had separated enough to get into a nice grove and the sun came up. Nice….

Mile 6 saw us back at the start and ready to run two big 13 mile loops. Margaret and I found each other and started to run, it’s great to find some your own speed to run with. We ran the whole race together, switching off taking the lead and taking pictures of interesting landscape items and each other.

One of the most fascinating things for me was the feed stations. I’m accustomed to powerbars, fruit, gels, the aid stations at trail events consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, cookies, snickers bars, M&M’s, salted baked potatoes, coke, pretzels as well as bananas. At first I was nervous about the nutrition and took in a few gels but after about 15 miles I relaxed a bit and just started eating whatever sounded good. It appeared to have worked since I finished the race feeling well and never had an energy slump.

The run was designated as a easy training pace but with the hills, single track, and dirt, my heartrate seemed to climb right up into the serious racing zone, I spent about 4 hours in zone 4 and about 1.5 hours in zone 3. Not necessary an easy training run but it worked for me.

The course was gorgeous, wet lands followed by rolling hills out into the deep red canyons, running along red cliff walls, through dry river banks, climbing rough single track, Beautiful scenery all over the place. Oh, and don’t forget the wild life, There was one runner making crow calls and entertaining us with his English accented calls. We could hear him from miles away.

The race was fantastic, and I’m totally hooked on Trail runs. The weather was perfect, nice and cool in the morning and no wind with the temperature heating up to around 80 by noon. My total time was right at 6 hours for 31.5 miles, definitely not a road race! If you ever get a chance to do this run go for it! You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A welcome recovery week!

As most of you know I’m training for several things at once. Long term goal is the Ironman St Geroge in May of 2010, which I’m a little nervous about because of the bike profile, but that’s an entirely different post. Short term goals are the Colorado relay (Sept 11-12, Palo Duro 50k (October 17) and Beach to Battleship iron Distance race (November 17).

I’m less worried about Beach to Battleship than I am about the Palo Duro 50k, which is really strange. B2B will be my 4th Ironman and I’ve never done a 50k run so I guess I’m nervous about the unknown as opposed to the bigger race. The Colorado Relay is hard but lots and lots of fun!

The training for both short term goals is going really well and I’m at the end of a four week build period that has been pretty intense. Each weekend has been a very tough workout and I haven’t missed a scheduled weekday workout, my fitness has steadily been improving and I’m gradually getting down to race weight..

This weekends run was a 20 mile hard trail run where I spent the majority of the time in zone 3 and zone 4, Not good, but running in the foothills east of Albuquerque makes it easy to push much harder than you would normally do your long run at.

After the run was supposed to be a 3500 yard swim but due to cramps in both lower legs I just couldn’t get past 2500 yards. Every time I would push off the wall one calf or the other would cramp. By the time I decided to call it quits both feet were also cramping. I’m not sure if the cramping was due to dehydration, stress from running the foothills or just an electrolyte issue.

The weekend’s bike rides were great, the main group did about 80 miles and two of us decided to get an extra climb in and did an extra 20 miles in the process. Nice even 100 miles for the first ride. The next days ride was a famous coffee ride. We ride out to Bernalillo (about 17 miles one way) get coffee, pastries or whatever and ride back home as a group. The coffee ride is a totally social and a welcome break to the intense training that we have been doing preparing for our various races.

This week is a very welcome recovery week, well, if you can call running a 170 mile relay race recovery!