Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Big Month a comin'

Well I have not posted much to the Blog as I haven't done much. No races for weeks (Green River) and I am missing the fun. But that is all to end very soon. One week from today is the Sauvie Island Marathon and that will start a very busy month of July. Ten days after Sauvie comes the SOB 50K at Mt. Ashland, then two weeks after that is the PCT 50. I was planning on doing only the 50K but with all these folks doing longer races I figured it's time I step up the plate and be a real ultra runner, so I think I will try and do the 50 (gulp) miler. The most I have ever run was the 38 miles at Sean's romp in Sisters, so whats another 12 miles and a little hike up Mt. Hood to Timberline lodge (gulp-gulp)? I know my first 50 miler should be flat like I had planned on doing at Autumn leaves in November but what the heck. I can always DNF and say I was attacked by Bigfoot on the trail.

So at Sauvie I was planning on trying for a marathon PR. My half PR is on that course and I always do real well there. The problem is that with all the longer runs I have not done any speed work and it really shows. I don't train fast and I don't race fast. Plus I have found I get a lot less injuries if I don't try and push the speed but just go for the endurance. The pace to run a sub 4 marathon seems so fast when I try it in training now. I guess I will just push it a bit and see what happens. I told Gail that I think I will try something different in this race. I know this goes against what everyone says you should do. I am going to go out pretty fast after I warm up in the first 3 or 4 miles in the race. I am going to push pretty hard and see how long I can last. I will probably bonk at 20 or so but maybe not, so I am just going to experiment and see what happens. If any of you wise and experienced folks out there got an opinion on this please post what you think. My plan is to really hit the Gells (Gu) and water early and more frequent than I usually do. I have become much more tolerant of Gu's lately and have switched almost entirely away from any sports drink to just plane old H2O. I will Gu every 40 minutes or so and carry a bottle so I don't have to stop at the aid stations except to refill. I will use the Endurolytes to give me the salts that I will not be getting from the sports drinks. Please, everyone...give me your advice.

I think I have a good progression for this month. After the 26 miles I have the 50K at SOB which should prepare me for the 50 miler at PCT two weeks later. I am trying to get warm weather running in but it has been so mild of late. So I got 3 races in July, nothing really scheduled in August except I am thinking of doing the Haulin' Aspen marathon in Bend (did the 1/2 last year) and even thinking maybe I should do Crater Lake the day before and try for a double. Never done that either.

So far this year is turning into a very crazy year for me. I will hit my goal of 12 marathons this year even before the summer is out. And Gail, if you read this? I am sorry all I talk about is running lately, I know I am a little (er...lot) over zealous with this. Thanks for putting up with it. You are the best!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Put it in a bottle and save it

Put off running all day on Monday. Finally went out around 7 pm. I ran the hills around LO and some trails I've found in the last few months. Started off a bit rough (Don't eat two hand fulls of Almonds before a run!) but ended up feeling great. I just kept adding more miles and didn't really want to quit. I just felt like Forest Gump and wanted to keep running. I love this feeling and wish running would always be like this. I ended up running over 12 miles and figured it was time to head home as Gail would think I might have turned into Road Pizza. (Famous Patty quote from Portland Marathon Training Clinic) Enjoy those runs folks, they don't happen very often.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What? No race report?

Yeah I know, I'm a loser. No race this weekend. I was thinking of doing the Young's Lake Ultra but didn't want to leave Portland so early to drive up to Seattle. I even thought of doing the marathon out in Port Angeles, but figured traffic would be a nightmare coming back on Sunday. So I just wussed out and went for a great run in Forest Park with Rick and Eric. We did about 17 miles on Wildwood, Saltzman and then back. We got pretty wet as the rain started but it wasn't cold till we stopped. I felt good most of the run with just some minor fatigue in the legs.

I've done 8 marathon/ultras this year which is huge for me. My goal was to do 12, so with Sauvie, SOB, PCT and McKenzie already lined up it looks like I should hit the target without any problems. (Please no broken ankle this year!) I do worry about running in the heat of the summer as I don't do very well when it gets real warm. I have no clue how anyone could run with the temperature over 100 degrees. I die over 80. I will try and train more in the middle of the day this year and hope it helps.

This upcoming weekend is my last weekend off for quite a while. I guess no racing till July 4th. I wish I was like Hippo and was retired. But I guess I gotta pay for all these entry fees somehow.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

"I Think I'm Done Now"

As Forrest said, I think its time for a break. I ran the Green River Marathon yesterday in Seattle. It is a free, low key race that is amazing. I suggest everyone try this race. We had only 35 runners or so at the start so it was a very laid back event but also well organized. They had 9 well stocked aid stations. The course is a bit complicated if you have never run it before and I had to stop a few times and read my directions, but I never did take a wrong turn.

The race starts on the Green River in Kent. As the RD yells out "Go!" off head northbound. We are running most of the first 13 miles or so on the bike path that follows the Green River towards Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound. Once again this 220 pound boy is in last place. By the 1/2 mile mark I am a good 200 yards behind everyone and in last place. Guess I am like one of those old steam train engines you see in the westerns. I start off super slow but once I get going I do pretty good. It is a bit depressing to see everyone way ahead of you in the beginning and you feel a bit left out of the excitement of the first few miles. An interesting tidbit is that if I am doing a 1/2 marathon or less I go out and run at least a 1/2 mile before the race. That really improves my pace in the beginning of a race, but in a marathon or longer I don't want to waste the energy.

Top notch aid station volunteers!

Well I pass my first runner by about mile 2 1/2. Thereafter I pass a few that stop at aid stations and other runners every few miles. I only got passed by 1 other marathoner who I passed earlier so I guess I do finish pretty strong even though I sure don't feel that way. Ha funny....just thought about my last comment. When you are in last place at the start I guess not too many other runners do pass you! "I'm not a bright man but I know what running is" (FG sort of quote.)
It was a beautiful day in Seattle. Clear skies and warm at the start. I wore my Maniac singlet with no other shirt. I never do that as I like running with a t shirt dri-fit type of top. But today was going to be warm so I thought I would try a marathon with just the singlet. Guess what? This old white boy got a tad sun burned! Yeah all that old white meat that never sees the light of day got toasted! I really look like I should be living in a double-wide now with this tacky tan line! I can't remember the last time I got burned. I just thought it was Seattle plus I would be done by 1pm and all would be ok. Wrong! Oh well guess I will do the sun block next time.

The course continues where I run much of my time spent in Seattle. I love this path along the Green River. In the winter its a great place to run when its wet or even in the dark. It winds through the farm land of the Kent Valley as you go through Kent, Tukwilla, Renton then into west Seattle. My legs felt great. I kept expecting them to tire as I have done 2 50K's in the last two weeks. But this course is very flat so it was little or no stress on them. I was actually wanting some hills so I could stretch them out a bit.

By about mile 8 I started chatting with a woman from Seattle who had run this the previous year. She filled in the few holes of the course I hadn't run before. She has had an interesting life as a photo journalist. Living over 14 years in Africa and being the main photo person for CNN. Her husband and her two cute little red headed, three year old children would meet her every few miles. We ran for 5 or 6 miles together then I gently pulled away.

As we headed past Boeing Field Airport the course starts to get a city feeling to it. This is the area where I could have gotten lost. Plus lots of traffic as you run next to some 4 lane Highways. We then get into some residential areas then industrial parks at around mile 15 or so. My legs started to ache just like last week so I took a couple Advil which again seem to really help. (yes I know, I am becoming a drug addict.) I also tried to drink as much as I could. I knew the heat which was in the upper 70's by now would hurt me if I didn't. I eat only 3 gu's on the run but felt ok with that. I also took about 12 ecaps today.

By mile 22 we hit the area near Alki. Had amazing views across Elliot Bay to downtown Seattle. The wind had been blowing 10 mph or so in our faces most of the run. This kept me cool but also slowed me down for sure. This is where I started to have to walk a bit. I would walk about .15 of a mile then run 3/4's to one mile if I could. I did this pretty much to the finish. I think the heat was what was getting me as I really had very few complaints from my legs. Usually my quads go out but this time the only discomfort was the hamstrings on both legs right near the top. Wasn't really bad just annoying.

As we headed into the busy area of Alki point every things got really busy. This area is full of tourists and locals alike, all enjoying the great weather on the beach. I didn't really know where the finish was but just kept plugging along. We had no race bibs so we kind of just blended in to the other joggers. Well....some folks did. I wore my yellow Maniac shirt, my yellow running shorts and my Nike Pre shoes that are white, yellow and green. (Eugene Marathon/Oregon Ducks) So being a 6'4" Fat-Boyee I think I kind of stand out! "Hey Martha, look at the that old guy wobbling down the road in that crazy outfit. I bet he is only running a mile or so. Boy he is out of shape and sure looks stupid!"

Well the finish was finally in sight. With Lenore as the official time keeper, I crossed the line(?) area and was getting "high fives" from the other Maniacs. Lenore asked me "if my time of 4:19:12 works for me? Or did I need to change it?" I said I would like 3:59:59 but if not that is what I show too. I felt good breaking 4:20 today after last weeks races. I probably could have done sub 4:10 but just didn't have the mental push for that today. This was a fun race, you all should do it sometime, plus free is nice compared to these mega marathons that charge $125 or so. I like the small races much better. No hassles, just run.

On the drive back to Portland I started to have the light headiness and nauseousness that I often get after a marathon. So instead of looking like a drunk driver on I-5 I pulled over half way between Tacoma and Olympia. I got a couple plain cheeseburgers and took a little 20 min nap in my car. I woke up feeling much better. Was it the food or the nap? I don't know. But I walked over to Starbucks and got my Grande Latte for the rest of the trip home. I felt good the rest of the night except for
my stupid sunburn!

Well whats up next? I don't have a marathon planned till the Foot Traffic Flat on July 4th. Other wise known as the race with free strawberry shortcake at the finish! Next weekend is the Helvatia half marathon which I really enjoy. Maybe I will go do that. See how it is to try and run fast again. Been quite a while since I have done a half.