Friday, May 29, 2009

New plan

So, between illness, insomniac kids, and general lack of running motivation after my big spring season of runs, I've gone 5 days without running. This has to stop. For one thing, I have a relay up at Lake Tahoe in a week or so that I have to hold up my end of. But mostly, I just need to make myself get out and run.

So, the old motivation question. As I was thinking it's time I tried something new, I remembered a Half-Fast post from a few weeks ago wherein Vanilla mentioned he was thinking of running every day in June. Some (probably insane) part of my brain likes this idea...

Now, I've always loved my rest days. Even if I'm running 5 days a week, I make sure and take a couple off to recharge. But I've also read about these people who feel the need to run every day, and would kind of like to see what they're up to.

So, I guess I'll follow the general rules: run every day, a minimum of one mile (although I can't imagine, at this point, lacing up for a less than 20 minute run, but we'll see...)

What do you think? Crazy? Am I gonna hurt myself?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Achy

Kind of quiet on the running front over the holiday weekend - and for good reason.

First, the good news. I did get out for a nice 7 mile run on Saturday, then took Sunday morning off and prepared for a little barbecue we hosted. Despite lots of food and beer, on Monday morning I felt like running, so I did a little 2.5 mile loop through the neighborhood. (The rest of Team Library Dork had trekked to Sacramento for the No Excuses 5K, an age-graded race.)

After Monday morning's run, things went downhill.

My son had inexplicably thrown up a couple times on Saturday - he didn't seem to feel bad, just had a couple times where he had to run to the bathroom. (Well, the second time he did - the first was all over the carpet. Yay Folex.) He was fine after that, although he did throw up again once on Monday. My daughter caught whatever he had, and spewed ALL over while I was holding her on the couch, drenching a couple of library books and necessitating more baking soda and floor cleaner.

Then I started to get it.

I think I got the brunt of it. The kids maybe complained about stomach aches a couple times, but hardly seemed affected. I just felt kind of crappy Monday night - until just after midnight, when I started making trips to the bathroom every ten or fifteen minutes. Threw up everything I had, then couldn't sleep. Got some reading done, anyway.

We all stayed home from school/work Tuesday.

The kids were feeling better throughout the day, but I kept feeling worse. Painful, fuzzy head and achy bones and tendons. My pelvis, for some reason, felt like it was made out of Rice Krispies. When I had to walk, it was a hobble. It was all I could do to play a few games and watch movies with the kids. And eat really bland food.

Toward yesterday evening, things started to get a little better. Thanks to an ibuprofen I finally decided I could get down, some of the aches went away. I fell asleep on the couch watching a DVD at about 8:15, and woke up there at 5:20. I think that's the most consecutive sleep I've had in the last ten years.

So, I'm feeling like I'm on the mend. Obviously, I can make it to the computer, and may even venture out to the grocery store in a little while. The kids are back at school, and I'm going to rest and try to get myself all the way out of this. Hopefully I'll even be able to ease back into running in a couple days. Good thing I didn't find a team for the Odyssey, which starts on Friday...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prison Hill photos

I wasn't carrying my camera with me at the Escape From Prison Hill this year, so I was happy to see the official race photos come through. A couple of them give such a good idea of how big that last hill was...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Looking for a team

I've run into a few people lately who have seen my blog - didn't realize so many people were taking a look at it. (I need to get Google Analytics working, but that's another story...) So I'll put this request out here first, in the hopes that someone will see it.

I've really wanted to do the Reno/Tahoe Odyssey for the last few years. Each time, I've thought I've had a line on a team that might need a person, but it's never worked out. Well, this year I really want to try to run it. Barring any unfortunate injuries, I don't know of any teams that need another member. I've been watching the bulletin board for "teams looking for runners" and "runners looking for teams", but it seems like most of the people on there are coming in from out of town. I'll use that as a last resort, but one of the points of doing a team race like this would be to meet some other local runners. So: if anyone knows of a local team needing a runner, please let them or me know somehow.

Credentials: You can see my PRs and stuff on the sidebar, but more importantly - I CAN be competitive if need be, but would prefer to just be out for a fun time on a race like this. Would love a mixed group with runners of all different ages/speeds/etc. But beggars can't be choosers... :)

Guess I should include some sort of contact info here - one email address I check regularly is turi_b at hotmail dot com.

Bumping it up

I haven't been posting about my normal workouts much lately, just about races and other happenings. Did something noteworthy, this morning, though.

For the past year and a half, I've been running intervals on a treadmill. Sure, I've done the occasional track day with friends, but I find the treadmill gives me control over my speed and kind of forces me to hold it for whatever time I'm doing. I had settled into an interval pace if about 6:30 miles, and definitely saw improvement with that. I've started noticing that those intervals are seeming easier lately, though. So, in the interest of always challenging myself, I decided to bump the speed of my intervals up a little. This morning, I did a short set just to get the feel of going a little faster - 4 x 4:00, with the first and third at 6:30 and the second and 4th at 6:00 pace. Strangely, I think the third interval was the toughest...



(I still can't figure out what to do with my heart rate data. I keep recording it, just to be able to refer back to trends, and see where I'm at if I ever decide to use it in training. Seems weird to me, though, that I was seriously pushing it this morning during the fast intervals, and my HR only got up to 166. Guess people's hearts all work differently...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Silver State 50/50 Trail Half Marathon

Yesterday brought the Silver State 50/50 Half, which is:

- The second race in the High Sierra Trail Half series
- My fifth straight weekend racing (and last for a few weeks)
- The third straight week that I was able to ride my bike to the start of a race

This is only the second year they've offered a half marathon for this race, the other options being a 50K and a 50M, hence the name. I think trail half marathons are the perfect distance, though, and piggybacking on the ultras like that made for some super well-stocked aid stations. It also thinned the field for the half - there seemed to be less people running this race than there were at the Escape From Prison Hill a few weeks ago.

The ultramarathoners had gone off early, 50 milers at six and 50k runners at seven. The half didn't start until eight, so I was able to get up at a decent hour, have some granola, and get gear set up. A few gels, some sports drink, my camera, and my new shoes. First race on the Salomon Speedcross 2s that my REI dividend went for this year. Lighter than my XT Wings, I was planning on using them as my trail race shoes - I like them so much, though, they may get more play than that.

So; showed up at Rancho San Rafael at about 7:30 - followed another couple on bikes into the park, and they were riding to the start of the race too! Made me kind of happy. Checked in, took a little warmup jog, and wandered down to the start area where the RD was giving the obligatory megaphone instructions.





And we were off. After a strangely muddy section through the dog park area, and the tunnel under McCarran, we got into the trails. First we headed up Evans Creek canyon, a nice system of trails to the north of McCarran. Here's a view looking up:


(A little blurry there - I'm still wishing I'd bought the next camera up in the line, which had "Image stabilization." It's about 3 years old now, though - almost time for a new one anyway...)

Continuing uphill, we followed one of my favorite running trails (albeit backwards - I usually run it the other way) across to the radio tower area, where the first aid station was. Now began a long grinding climb up to a series of trails and roads. Here's a view looking back from near the top of one climb section.



White shirt guy in the foreground there is a nice kid named Garrett (sp?) that I ran near for a lot of the day. I'm not a great judge of age - he was maybe a high school junior? I'm sure he won his age group, anyway. He ended up in a lot of my pictures, simply because he was right with me when I was taking them. Here he is on a semi-flat road section right before the last big climb:



We turned off the road into another maze of trails - here's a shot of the canyon we headed into now. Our path leads to the left and UP.



There was a big hill that took us to an aid station at the little lake up there, then another short section to a ridiculously steep hill (the last one.) I think Garrett's body language sums it up at this point:





After a quick stop at the aid station, (and meeting a guy who recognized me from the TRT last year - sorry, I'm absolutely terrible with names), it felt awesome to get onto some downhill. Felt so good, in fact, that I took some video of the trail. Sorry if the sound is annoying...



And a different angle - inspired by the ultra running video that's been making the rounds lately.



Not long after this, I was slightly distracted by pulling my camera out again, and caught a toe on a rock. Managed to (fairly gracefully, I'd say) roll out of it, but my right arm and shoulder took a hit and got pretty dirty. Oh well, what's trail running without a few tumbles, right?

Back past the radio towers, and cresting the last little hill, we had a classic view of Reno:



This section was one of the only parts that was "Half Only" - the 50k and 50M runners didn't hit this part. I think it didn't get quite the same attention as far as trail marking - I lost the trail of red flags at least 3 times in about a mile and a half. Sure are a lot of little roads and trails crisscrossing around in there, though - must've been hard to mark them all. We met up with the trail we took up Evans Creek Canyon, and retraced our steps through the tunnel and to the finish. My wife and kids were waiting to cheer me into the finish - very nice, since they don't usually show up at my races. I tried to get a picture of them as I lurched to the finish, but it came out blurry:



Here's the whole route, from Mapmyrun:



And the elevation profile in green (with my speed in blue) from Garmin Connect:



Oh, time - I WAS keeping track of time. Funny - I'd told my wife I was figuring on about 2 hours, so she would know when to show up. I clicked my watch as I went through the finish, and it read 2:00:22. I'm totally happy with that - it was a great day on cool trails right in my backyard. Didn't really have a time goal, anyway...

So the downside to having the family meet me at the finish was that they wanted to head out and run errands right afterwards. We DID have a lot to get done, so I biked home, showered, and headed out. Didn't get to hang around and see results, but I did bike back over later in the day - I think my time got me 11th overall, and 4th in my age. I seem to be getting a lot of those AG 4ths - just out of the medals. Oh well.

One benefit to running errands was that I got to stop by a store in town that just started getting Dogfish Head beers. I was able to reward myself later in the day with a Raison d'Etre and a Palo Santo Marron. Exceptional beers.

Serious big shout out and thanks to all the organizers and volunteers. It was a hot day out there, but everyone was supportive and awesome. Thanks all.

Results are posted - nice and quick, thanks to the Striders. Turns out I was 13th overall, 3rd AG. So I should've hung around for the awards. Wonder if they mail them out?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Painful pictures

The official race pics from the Reno Rock 'n' River half marathon came through:



Wow, I look like I'm about to die. I don't feel too bad, though - I searched a few friends that were running that day by bib number, and everyone looks about the same - not all that excited to be out in the rain...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Run-Amuck

Does This Jogbra Make Me Look Fat?

Uh, yeah. That's the name of the team that Chris and I competed in yesterday in the Run-Amuck, a two-person obstacle course relay connected with the Reno River Festival.

The race consisted of two 2.5 mile loops from Wigfield park in downtown REno through Idlewild Park, a little to the west. There were various obstacles set up along the way, including hay bales, a big mud pit (hence the "muck"), bop bags and football blockers, a crab walk, and some weird balloon-between-the-knees-thing. Wasn't incredibly well organized or staffed, and there was some confusion as to what was going on...

Anyway, I met Chris down there about an hour before the start, and we got organized and checked out the scene. What a zoo down there! The expo part just kept going. spreading out all over the area. Here's a shot from the Arlington Street Bridge, looking down on the kayak competition:



We decided to take a little warm-up run, but before that, we took a couple "before" pictues. I think the normal one ended up on Chris's camera, but this is what I've got. I can't believe I'm putting this on the internet, but here goes:



Yeah. I'm the white one. You checkin' out my butt, Chris? Take a picture, it'll last longer. Oh yeah - your wife did...

So we went for a warmup jog and quick look at the course, getting a lot of comments along the way (like "Oh THAT'S gay...") and got back just in time to line up in the corrals. Chris went out first, and I got to wait around in a packed cattle-like enclosure, with no room to stretch or anything, stiffening up and getting super thirsty. Chris was first back from his look, and I grabbed the soap from him (the "baton" was a bar of Ivory, I didn't mention?) and took off. Dang, I was thirsty at that point. Glad for a water table about 3/4 of a mile in.

I negotiated the hay bales, looped around the far end of the course, and headed for the mud pit. I was passing a few of the slower people at this point, and it seemed like the few course officials that were out weren't ready for the second round yet. But I dove right into the mud pit, crawled my way through, and sloshed out the other side. Got mud EVERYWHERE, which I guess was the point. Didn't think it'd get so far up my nose, though. Bounced off a couple of football players, crabwalked for awhile, did the balloon dance, and was done. I'm not even sure how far behind second was, but I never saw them.

So yeah - we won! Honestly, the first race I've ever won - closest I've come was another relay with Chris, where we took first male relay, second team. But here's a picture of the dirty duo:



Little chilly there, Chris? Jeez...

The awards weren't for another two hours, so we after a cleansing dip in the river, we hung out (wearing different shirts to avoid chick tan lines) and had a beer and some food. Finally the awards came, and we got some super bling-ey medals, a bag of swag including a watch and some gift certificates, and a Bud Light grill (more of a hibachi on a stand.) And of course a snuggle from the Bud Light girls, which was the real prize. ;)



The bad news: almost immediately after the race, I started feeling crappy. It felt like I had just got some dirt up my nose, but now it feels like a bad cold. Maybe it has something to do with the mud, I dunno. At any rate, I'm miserable now. Hoep I recover in time for the Silver State 50/50 Half next weekend. I'd totally do the Run Amuck again., though - I'm not sure about Chris's idea for "Team Banana Hammock", though...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reno Rock 'n' River Half Marathon

Well. That was wet.

As of yesterday, a couple days ago, the weather forecast sounded like it was going to be nice this morning. But this storm didn't really blow through, and we ended up with rain and wind. There WERE a couple minutes where it wasn't actually drizzling, but they were balanced my a few where it was coming down pretty good. That said, it seemed like a pretty successful race, for the whole crowd, and for me in general.

It wasn't raining as I got ready this morning, had some granola and coffee, etc. As soon as I hopped on my bike for the one-mile ride downtown to the start, though, the rain started. My hands were cold and feet a little wet even before I got there. Locked up my bike and started seeing people I knew. Felt weird - I'm not all that used to seeing people I know at races - it was like I was popular or something. Gretchen was there, lining up for the full marathon. Then I talked to Dave of TLD for awhile, and also saw friend Alex and my sister-in-law Sarah, and her sister Dixie. Oh, and work friends of my wife, Brian and Elizabeth. Social butterfly, me...

After a little jog around a couple casinos to warm up, we all lined up for the half marathon start. Here's the view behind me:



Got started right on time, at 7:00. I don't think it was raining for the first mile or so, but then it started again. I was keeping an eye on my pace, and hit it right on 6:50 for the first mile, but just couldn't hold it after that. Slogged through the first few miles, to a different little turnaround area in Dorokstar Park that had changed from last year. The extra loops made it so I missed Gretchen, ahead of me doing the marathon, but I did get to wave at Alex, a couple minutes back in the half. We crossed the river, turned around ar the Patagonia warehouse, and headed back towards town.

(Going to try something different with the course map here - I can export from Garmin's website to Mapmyrun, so we'll see how this works...)


On the way back, we (the semi-fast half marathoners) started passing the slower 10K runners, and a few of the leisurely marathoners. It was kind of fun to have other people around, instead of the lonely run out at the end of the course. At this point, though, I was just trying to hold on and finish as close to 1:30 as I could, and was hurting and fighting it. Finally came into the downtown area, turned the corner onto Virginia Street, and gave it all I had up to the finish. Here's a view up the finish chute:



I was a bit confused by the Marathon and Half clocks at the finish - I think I looked at the wrong one as I was crossing. But my watch read 1:34:57, about a minute and a half behind my PR. Here's the Garmin page with all the splits and stuff.

The only thing worth eating at the finish was a banana, so I wolfed one of those and wandered in a daze for a few minutes. Finally found Dave again, and we wandered down to where Chris had been watching and cheering the finishers. We wandered back to look at the results, I got waylaid by Alex for awhile, and then rode my bike home. In the rain. Again. A long hot shower later, and I can kind of feel my hands...

Official Results: 1:35:01, 29th overall, 4th Mens 35-39