Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Official end of the racing season

You've probably all guessed by now (due to the lack of posts) that I've decided to end my racing season for 2008. I contemplated doing the Bear 100 in two weeks but I'm just too mentally and physically tired. Nagging injuries start to creep up on me around this time every year so I think to increase my longevity in the ultra running scene it's best to switch gears and rest. So what next?

Good question. What next? In the last couple of off seasons I have done cyclocross bike racing once a week to maintain my fitness but I'm just not up for it this year. In the two seasons of cyclocross I worked my way up to a category 3 racer so I was in the middle of the pack and doing fairly well. Cyclocross is a 45 minute race that is completely anaerobic. The bikes are basically beefed up road bikes with nobby tires. The course is usually in a park or open space and on a dirt track with obstacles. It was fun but I need to do something else this year.

I've decided this off season, which consists of October and November, I am going to learn how to swim for fitness. I've never been a good swimmer so I think I've always had an aversion to the water because (just like golf) I hate not to be good at something. Well today I went to the local lap pool and did 20 laps in 30 mintues. I need help! I have no technique and I don't know how to breath properly. My good friend Tim Hola is an excellent swimmer so after Iron Man Hawaii I might employ his services. So for the last 3 days here is what my workouts looked like:

  • Tuesday - Mtn. Bike 15 myles - 1.10:32
  • Wednesday - Run 11 myles - 1.15.11
  • Thursday - Swim 20 laps (1/2 mile) 30 minutes
Don't draw any conclusions from this - triathlons are not in my future. I just feel that swimming and mtn. biking can get me off my feet, give my Achilles a good rest, and keep me fit. I am an adrenaline junkie, I admit it. But most of all I like the feeling of being fit. Even with two weeks off from running I feel sluggish and run down - I need my adrenaline fix.

I have been running pretty much non-stop for 5 years and my body is starting to show signs. If I don't take a break now then I won't be around much longer in the ultra running scene. And besides being fit, I also like the challenge of learning something new. I was amazed at how inefficient I was in the water today. I was also amazed at how much I started to enjoy the workout once I started to figure things out - like breathing. This swimming thing is gonna take some time but I have a real good feeling that it will only make me stronger come January 2009. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Next year I will be 40 so I want to make it an epic year. Here are a couple of things that I would "like" to do (key word here is "like"):

January - Calico 50K
March - Rim to Rim to Rim Grand Canyon
May - Miwok 100K
June - Squaw Peak 50 M
July - Hard Rock 100 M
September - Colorado Trail (473 myles) in 14 days ending on September 13th

Remember "like to do". Nothing set in stone, just some things I am thinking about

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chalk one up for America's Team

Ho-Hum..... another victory for the Dallas Cowboy's. No controversy when the boy's win unlike some other local professional football team here in Denver, CO. Did anyone see how convenient it was that instant replay was not working during the Champ Baily "fumble" recovery? Did anyone see Jay Cutler "fumble" the football as he raised his arm? And to think my mother-in-law would call me and kackle in my ear about beating my second favorite team the San Diego Chargers. I guess when you don't know anything about football (not to mention being a front runner) you'll take a win anyway you can get it - right Rae Jean?

btw - Myles is wearing a Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys QB) jersey. ....and QB stands for Quarter Back

Saturday, September 13, 2008

39?!?!?! Really???

Pardon my french but HOLY SHIT!! Where has the time gone? It seems like it was yesterday when I was in college... I guess it wasn't too long ago considering I graduated when I was 27. I really don't feel 39 and I probably don't act 39 but age to me is over-rated. I believe people are only as "old" as they feel, and quite frankly I'm in the best shape of my life at 39. But I still have to shake my head...

Am I where I thought I would be at age 39? Absolutely! In debt, happily married with two kids, working my dream job as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and still running. Well maybe not the "still running" thing. I can think back to high school cross country hoping the season would be over soon so that I could play the sport I truly loved - soccer. I hated running! Soccer was the sport that I saw myself playing in the old man 40+ league. But as I got into my early 30s I started to slow down and had a pulled muscle every time I played a game so I hung up the cleats when I turned 32.

I went back to running because I had not accomplished my goal of running a road marathon under 3 hours. I rededicated my training, started eating right, lost 20 lbs, and finally ran a 2.50:30 at the San Diego marathon in 2003. It was the challenge that lured me back and once I achieved my goal I started thinking "what am I physically possible of?"

Something changed in my thought process as I entered my 30s, some like to say it's called maturity. But I just like to see it as I didn't want to let life pass me by. I didn't want to look back on my life and say "shoulda, coulda, woulda" So what am I getting at here? Life is short. We are only here for a very short time so make the most of it. As Brian Fisher likes to tell me in races "don't be afraid to take chances, otherwise you'll never find out what is possible"

So here I am today 39 years old with a good life (meaning I have good family and good friends) and I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm looking for that next challenge. I'm looking for someone to say "you can't do that!"

39 years old and looking to go into the prime of my ultra running career for 2009.

And I'll end with my favorite quote in the world: The more you learn, you learn the less you know. The more you think you know, the less you learn. -Stephen Ashbrook

btw - I ran today for 39:39 and then went for a bike ride with Jaxon for 39:00. Do you think I could possibly swim for 39 minutes straight? Stay tuned for the next challenge...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wasatch 100K - Pacing duties

Just to be perfectly clear my "duties" really weren't "duties", it was just palin' around on the trail with a good friend.

As mentioned before the Wasatch 100 is coming home for me so just to be a part of the race was an honor. This time around rather than having virtually no time because of racing I had plenty of time to catch up with family and friends as I waited for my pacing to begin. I got into town on Thursday and spent the night at my parents. On Friday I went to the in-laws as they live within 2 myles of the start. Having said that I got to spend some pretty good time with both sides of the family, which is always hard to do when my family comes into town. Then I went to the pre-race with Aric on Friday and helped pack his drop bags.

Saturday morning as I woke for some reason I was glad I wasn't running, it's kind of nice to be on the other side as support for a change - no nerves, no pressure. Although as I watched the runners leave after the gun I wished I was out there. My father in law and I drove up to Francis Peak to get Aric what he needed and also to see who the contenders were this year. It didn't take long for me to find my good friend Carolyn Boman, who read my blog and came through with the peaches - Thank you Carolyn and Wes Boman! (my mom also covered me and brought peaches just in case - got tons now) Rick and I chatted with Carolyn and her daughter Trudy for a good hour about anything and everything - it was real nice to catch up Mrs. Boman. Aric came through about 1/2 hour behind his split but I knew it wasn't a big deal so I told him not to worry about it. Now the long haul to Big Mountain.

Rick and I got to Big Mountain around 3:00 p.m. and were surprised to hear Aric was about an hour ahead of schedule. He came in @ 3:30 p.m. and looked GREAT! He was in good spirits and looked fresh. We started what I believe is the roughest part of the course down to Alexander Ridge. For me, in the 4 years I have gone through this section I have never felt good so I was warning Aric to brace for the worst and hope for the best. It wasn't long before Aric's stomach turned on him. From a physiological stand point I believe around 40 myles is were the body has utilized all the muscle glycogen and has to switch systems for energy, either what is put in, protein, or fat. Some people are more efficient at this, hence a shorter bonk, but some people may take a few more hours of sorting it out in the gut. Any of you who have run ultras know what I'm talking about and it truly is a helpless feeling.

We made our way to Lamb's Canyon (mile 53) where Aric's family and friends were waiting. Since Aric paced me last year in this section he knew where we were and started to get excited. I saw the soles of shoes and a quickened pace for the last 3 myles in. It was about 8 p.m. by the time we got outta Lambs and it was dark. Not only dark but it was really cooling off. The next section is a lot of road and one sharp climb, not fun at all.

Finally we arrive at Upper Big Water and there is still lots of family and friends supporting Aric: his family, Scott Mendoza, Phil Mendoza, Rick Robinson, and myself. Aric and I were shivering because the temps were now in the high 40s and we were about to go higher in elevation. I had been forcing Aric to take a gel every hour since I had picked him up. He didn't notice but I noticed the increased energy. I know he was still feeling bad but those gels helped get him up those hills. Through Desolation lake and Scott's tower and now down the road to Brighton. Little by little Aric's energy was being zapped but I was amazed at his tenacity and his drive to put one foot in front of the other. And then it happened, twice - BLAAAAHHH! First time for Aric. We've all been there and know the helpless feeling. There was nothing I could do or say to make him feel any better. Just walk, and walk we did. Getting into Brighton just before 6 a.m. Scott Mendoza was there to greet us. Scott hadn't slept all night and was there with sleeping bags, chairs, and food. Talk about true friendship! Aric's race literally depended upon Scott's support at Brighton.

Into the Brighton lodge to warm up and take a good break. Things weren't looking good and then all of a sudden Aric came out of the bathroom and said "Let's go right NOW!" Scott and I were both shocked and giddy. Aric had done it! He had done it all by himself! He had literally taken himself through the whole process of DNFing to I'm gonna finish this race come hell or high water! Amazing! Just goes to show you Aric's resolve to succeed and fear of failure.

Leaving Brighton is the point of no return so if you can get out in time, the finish is almost a sure thing. I got emotional as we climbed to the top of Catherine's pass because I knew the journey Aric had taken over the past two years to get to this point. I was extremely proud but also knew the work was not over.

25 myles to go and some of the hardest trail anyone will ever run. I was trying to prepare Aric for the types of ups and down we were in for - The plunge and dive, Irv's torture chamber. I tried to give him a preview between aid stations so that he could prepare mentally. In my own experience of this race, it's at this point were I just get pist off. I could feel Aric was starting to get in that realm with statements like, "how much further to the aid?" "are you f-ing kidding me!" I knew he wanted it to be over and I wanted it to be over for him. I wanted to see the joy in his face as he saw his family and finish.

34.51 minutes after Aric started in Kaysville, he finished in Midway. Well under the 36 hour time limit. He had done it! His family, his sisters family, my parents, my in laws, Phil Mendoza, and Scott Mendoza were all there to congratulate him. It was a very happy, emotional time.

So you see, my "duties" as a pacer weren't really "duties". It was about palin' around on the trails with a good friend for 24+ hours. I believe life is about good family and good friends. If you are fortunate enough to have both then you have a good life. I am very fortunate.

In the end, I reconnected with my Wasatch family. When I speak of my Wasatch family it constitutes a bunch of people that I have met over the years. But primarily it's made up of the Boman/Sybrowsky family. What wonderful people they are! In addition, I got to spend time with my parents and my in laws who are both very supportive of this crazy ultra thing. I love you all and hope to see you soon.

Oh and one other person I forgot to mention that was there THE entire time - Wayne Manning. Wayne is always watching....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

10 myles - 1.12:38

Daniels Park - 4:00 p.m.
mid 60s, South wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - OK
easy effort

I just needed to get out today as I will be driving to Utah tomorrow. I didn't want to overdo it leading into my pacing responsibilities at Wasatch so I just basically put the myles in today. My body feels solid and mind seems to be coming around. Nothing more to add so I'll leave you with a quote: The rabbit hole is much deeper than you think - The Matrix.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

11 myles - 1.19:44

HR East/West loop - 11:00 a.m.
cooler, slight wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - solid
easy effort

No one out on the trails today, guess everyone has to work or something??? I'm fortunate to have the trails right out my door and I'm even more fortunate to be on home study right now. Although buried in books for 8 hours, dissecting medical studies on RA, and taking online tests can be a bit overwhelming at times. I would much rather have heated discussion with physicians and have them kick me out of their office.

Nevertheless my run was really nice! My legs wanted to spin with positive vibes flowing through my body in the form of tunes. I'll get out tomorrow about the same distance, take Thursday off as I drive to Utah, and then get out for a short spin on Friday. Looks like I'll be pacing Aric from Big Mountain to the finish, which is about 60 myles. In all for this week I should get in 80 myles.