Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap-up

End of the year - I guess it's time for a wrap-up post. Weirdly, just like last year, I'm nursing a holiday cold for it.

There was good and bad this year. The good mostly came in the spring and summer, and things fell off in the fall. I'll let a chart of my monthly mileage tell the story:

That's a total of 1377 miles, and 189 hours (7 days, 21 hours) of running.

29 races:
Nine 5Ks, six 10Ks, seven half marathons, one marathon, and a few races of different distance.
Twelve trail runs, fifteen road runs, a relay and a snowshoe race.
Only bib number I had twice was #13, at the You've Gotta Be Crazy Run and the Anything is Possible 5K.

The spring and summer held a bunch of PRs for me. In the half marathon. I notched down my PR times at the Roseville Whole Foods Running School, the Davis Stampede, the Reno Rock 'n River, and finally the Avenue of the Vines for a 1:27:17. There were also a few 5K PRs thrown in - a 20:03 at the Spring into Action 5K and a 19:29 at the Scheels Fanatic 5K. (There was an 18:50 in Carson at the Safe & Sober 5K, but it was a short course.) While building miles over the summer for a fall marathon, I inadvertently set a 10K PR at one of the Reno 5000 races - after an easy 8 miles, I ran the 10K in 42:59. And finally, my fall goal race was the Lake Tahoe Marathon - where, despite an injury I still managed a 3:41:12.

So that would count as a pretty good year - except for the way I ended it. After the Lake Tahoe Marathon, and despite going to physical therapy, my left ankle kept complaining more and more. The only time I felt like I was making progress with it, I fell and hurt my shoulder, which still hasn't healed. And still, every time I go out to run, the ankle flares up within half a mile. And currently, with a chest cold, I can't even try that.

On fronts other than running, thinks have been pretty good. Passed my goal of reading more than 100 books again, clocking 119 this year - about 70% non-fiction.

And have still been baking - managed to master cupcakes this year, which have strangely always been a challenge for me. And doing the fancy stuff, like this Bûche de Noël -

I'm not one for setting specific goals, but letting them evolve over the season. With the way I'm feeling about running right now, though, I'm hesitant to even think about it. If anything, my main goals for 2012 will be to get my head and body back into the game, and run a few of my "legacy" races - the ones that I've been doing consecutively for years. I hope my body cooperates.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Relay Peak (Almost)

Despite my lack of recent training, an invite from Chris and Dave to head up towards Mt. Rose for some late-season trail running was more than I could resist today.

Unfortunately, in was all of 19 degrees when I left my house. Two minutes away, where we met, Chris's car thermometer read 16 degrees. We were all wondering if we'd brought enough clothes, thinking it would be in the low teens or single digits by the time we started.

Hello, temperature inversion. At the trailhead it was 30+ and sunny. This made for some interesting clothing decisions while we met up with Wendy and her dog Bobby (Bobbi?) for the run. I ended up only slightly overdressed with a long sleeve shirt, windbreaker, tights and a knit cap.

We headed off up the trail -

And were soon rewarded by some awesome views:

(And I'm not talking about Chris's butt.)

After a mile or so, we could see the goal, Relay Peak:

Up until that point, the trail had been pretty good. Some sections of ice and snow, but pretty manageable. I was taking it easy, a little scared of taking a fall on my shoulder. Pretty soon, though, the trail turned into this:

I elected not to run any of the snowy parts - wisdom before valor, or something. Or maybe I'm just seriously out of shape. At any rate, Chris had been pulling away from me pretty hard, and eventually I was able to spot him - um, up ahead a ways:

My plan was to run until I hit the 45 minute mark, then turn around and head back. I took this picture at about the 42 minute mark, though, and it looked like there was going to be a good view just up the next rise. There wasn't, but I did get to see Wendy and Bobbi catching up:

Wendy and I decided it was time to head back down, and before long, Chris caught us up and passed us:

Yeah, he even looks fast injured, doesn't he?

Wendy quickly outpaced me on the downhill (I was, um, taking it easy on my ankle, yeah, that's right...)

As yo an see, a mix of trail surfaces on the way down as well.

One more pic before Wendy got too far ahead of me:

Finally finished - a total of 6.61 miles for me. Thought about stretching it to 6.66 and calling it the "Run From Hell", but it wasn't actually that bad.

Afterwards, Chris and Dave and I hit up Peg's for some post-run nutrition. I'm sure my breakfast quesadilla had at least twice the calories I burned on the fun, but it sure tasted good...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Western States Lottery

I'm a couple of days behind on this - the lottery for entry into the Western States 100 was held last Saturday - but just wanted to send out congrats to all the northern Nevada locals whose names were called:

Dave Briggs of Reno
Jennifer Dicus of Sparks
Amber Monforte of Reno
Grae Ven Hooser of Reno
Leslie Wunder of Carson City

Congratulations, happy training, and have a great time out there!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Red-Nosed Run

Team Library Dork Gimp all managed to get together for a race this morning - First time since Burton Creek at the beginning of the summer, I think. We've all been battling our own injuries and general lameness. This morning, though, everything fell into place, and we met at Reno Running Company to tough out a three miler.

I say tough it out sarcastically, but it actually wasn't easy - the temperature was in the high teens at the start, which made it tough to get going. Dave and Chris went out for a warmup lap, but Amber and I wimped out and sat in the warm-ish car until a few minutes before race start. Personally, I wasn't sure if I was going to make three miles anyway - my last run was a week before, and I had cut it short to 2 1/2 miles anyway. Counting on race adrenaline to get me through this morning.

I couldn't talk Dave and Amber into creeping farther forward in the start gates, so the first bit took some fancy footwork to run around people. Soon settled into a good pace, though - in fact, I'm kind of astonished at the consistency of my splits. 7:45, 7:33 and 7:34 pace for each lap - and the first one had a slow start, as I mentioned.

The course was actually kind of fun, looping through the southeast section of the Summit Sierra parking lot. Uphill out to Mt. Rose Highway, downhill back into the parking lot, and a little uphill at the end and on through to the next lap. If anything, the course was a bit twisty - all those 90 degree turns made running the tangents pretty important. One little kid that I was running near was ignoring the cones and running his own tangents across grass and gravel landscaping. Had to pass him just on principle.

There was a guy dressed as a Santa that I was following for most of the race - through the first and second laps, he was about the same distance in front of me. I started reeling him in at the start of the third lap, and was right behind him with about a third of a mile left - at which point he put on a burst of speed and took off. Didn't realize Santa was sandbagging...

As far as an injury report: my shoulder felt pretty OK with the running - I certainly wasn't pumping my arms hard or anything, but the jostling didn't bother it too much. My left ankle, though - the one that's been the problem - started hurting at about the half mile mark. By the last lap I was able to tune it out, but it hurt the whole time. And now that I'm home, it's getting worse - there's some serious hobbling going on right now.  (Well, not RIGHT now - I'm currently set up on the couch with two ice packs, a laptop and some beer).

I slid though the chute and circled around for some finish pics - had to snap a pic of another Santa, and then Amber came through - not sure why she's sticking her tongue out. :) Dave finished in a mess of people, and I couldn't get a shot of him.

TLD reconvened for a group picture:

And then hit the nearby Starbucks for some post-race caffeine and nutrition:

Back to the race start area, and hanging around waiting for the raffle. We thought it was wasted time, but on the LAST number called, Amber won a pair of shoes. She was, um, kind of happy:

Dave and Chris took off, and I went back to RRC to help her pick out a pair of shoes. With the help of store manager Ryan Evans, she ended up with some great Pearl Izumi triathlon shoes. Hopefully she can improve her T2 times next year with these...  ;)

Despite my painful run, it was a pretty good morning. Great to see all of TLD together, and hopefully all healing up. Despite the cold temps, had a nice warm feeling this morning.

Results have been posted...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Races this weekend - 12/3-4/11

I'm sure a lot of people in this area are going to be heading over the hill this weekend, to the California International Marathon in Sacramento. I've been registered for it for months, but won't be going due to injury. Good luck to everyone headed that way, though -

 In fact, I'm not even sure if I'm going to be able to make the other race happening in the area - Reno Running Company's Red-Nosed Run. Sounds like it'll be fun, though - three one-mile laps around the Summit Sierra parking lot. I may head down to spectate, even if I don't end up running.

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011 Scheels Turkey Trot

As one of my "legacy" races - runs that I've done every year since I started running - I couldn't miss the Turkey Trot this year. And since my parents would be in town and wanted to do the walk with the kids, I found myself gingerly lacing up my shoes and strapping myself into my shoulder immobilizer for the first run since my fall a week and a half before.

It was quite a bit warmer that it was for last year's Turkey Trot, when temps were in the teens at the start line. My shorts and a windbreaker turned out to be a little warm during the run, but the walkers were fine in their new red sweatshirts. We milled around for awhile , and the kids were excited to meet the giant turkey.

Some confusion with the start time - it had been scheduled for 8:30, but the announcer kept telling us that they were going to stop taking registrations at 8:30, then start the race at 8:45. Hardly anyone could hear him, though, and the 2 mile walkers (who had their own start line) got antsy and took off at about 8:35. The starter for the runners even got us off a little bit before 8:45, too - 8:37 according to my watch. I know this isn't a completely serious race, but it seems like a race should pick a start time and stick with it...

Since I hadn't run at all wearing my shoulder sling, I was curious to see how it would go. Turned out just fine - a little awkward in the crowds at the start, where I was worried about tripping over someone's feet, but perfectly manageable once things thinned out. My first mile was slow, then I picked it up for a couple miles, and slowed a little for the last two.

And the course was perfect this year! After the 5.8 mile "10K" last year that yielded so many PRs, they figured it out this time. My watch measured exactly 6.2 miles - I usually don't get GPS data that perfect. Good job there, guys.

Saw a few people out on the course - Ryan Evans from ActiveReno, Eric Lerude of the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, and Page from Twenty-Six And Then Some, in town for the holiday. Didn't get to say hi after the race, unfortunately - I was too slow this time to catch any of you fast people after the race. :)

I did get a good comment from the finish line announcer - said I was hardcore to run in an arm sling - he had almost not showed up that morning because he was having a bad hair day!

Result are posted at ActiveReno - my 52:00 got me 238th place, 45th in my age group. Yikes, last year I was a whole 10 minutes faster. Guess that's what I should expect from it, though.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ultrarunner manicure kit

Just had to share this, from the Fail blog:

In fact, I pulled off a toenail with a pair of needlenose pliers just this morning. My kids were fascinated.


Since I didn't include any pictures with the description of my fall on Tuesday, here are a couple of the bruise that's developing on my left arm.

Still can't figure out how that part of my arm managed to impact the sidewalk so hard. Must have been a pretty violent fall; wish I could remember it better -

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another injury update

Wow, so it's been awhile since I talked about what was going on with my ankle. Short story is: at my most recent physical therapy session, they found a really painful knot of scar tissue deep in my ankle and worked it out. After that, I was able to run a pretty pain-free 4 miler. I followed that up with the "unofficial" Donner Lake Turkey Trot - Since it was cancelled, Gretchen and I did the 7 mile loop around the lake anyway. Ankle was OK there - hurt a little, but never got past a certain point. I was getting kind of excited about running again, and was starting to get a little training plan in my head to get back on track.

So - Tuesday I didn't need to be in to work until 11:15, and figured I'd get a morning run in after dropping off the kids - when it had warmed up a bit and was actually light out. My 5 mile loop backwards sounded like the perfect run - up Keystone, over the top of McCarran, and down 7th St. Everything was going fine; ankle was feeling about like it did up at Donner, and i was just over halfway through the run, going downhill on the inside of McCarran heading towards 7th. There was a crack and raised area of the sidewalk that I didn't see at all, and I apparently caught my right toe on it and went down hard. Honestly, it happened so fast I'm not quite sure which way I fell - just felt a crack that I think was my neck. I canted a bit to the left and ended up rolling about 15 feet down the embankment, coming to rest in some fluffy bushes. And no, none of the cars driving by stopped to see if I was OK.

Trying to pick myself up, I immediately knew something was wrong with my left shoulder. Managed to drag myself back up to the sidewalk, where my water bottle and glasses landed. (Good thing my glasses stayed up there, I wouldn't have been able to find them in the dirt.) I started walking home - about a mile and a half down King's Row - and took stock as I went. Couldn't really move or hold anything with my left arm. Hmm. Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me - I don't usually carry it, but I was testing out a GPS app - so I called my wife, my work to let them know I wouldn't be in, and my doctors office for an appointment.

After a painful change of clothes and awkward shower, I waited around at the doctor's office, then got x-rays. Filled prescriptions for pain meds and picked up a "shoulder immobilizer." Spent the rest of the day loopy on the couch, tweeting on a laptop and watching old episodes of Top Gear. Heard back from the doctor the next day - no break visible on the x-rays. I'll let it rest this weekend and go back in Monday to talk about whether I should see an orthopedist, get an MRI or CT scan, or what. Meanwhile, I have a nasty bruise forming right on the meaty part of my left bicep - weird place to get a bruise from the sidewalk. And I'm back at work - only at about 60% efficiency with my left arm immobilized, but getting stuff done.

So, yeah - be careful out there, people. And if you see a runner take a digger by the side of the road, stop and ask if they're OK, huh?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Donner Turkey Trot cancelled

Well, that's 7 miles I'm not gonna get in this weekend...
Sorry to announce that  

The 2011 Donner Lake Turkey Trot Event has been


Due to safety concerns of slippery roads
We hope to run it gain in 2012