Current Training Status: not blogging... running.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Covered Bridge Classic, Conway MA

Empire One Running Club's Grand Prix is contested next on October 5th, at two races. SIDS, in Springfield, was pushed back this year from its usual hot summer date. The Covered Bridge Classic, in Conway, is scheduled later in the year and both races landed on the 5th. We club members are now faced with the choice of running one or the other, with a maximum of 100 points earned by the winner of each race. Both courses are hilly, the Conway Race is 10k while SIDS is 5 miles. There is usually a big shindig after SIDS, with food and music, and Conway's Festival of the Hills also offers great post race entertainment and food. Conway has a little 2k fun run for the kids, which my son will enjoy. That, as well as the scenic unpaved course, seals the deal for me. The Festival of the Hills is where I'll be on October 5th.
After Pisgah, I didn't run for a few days. Life is very busy right now, and it was more a time constraint than anything else that kept me from running. I showed up at the Holyoke Elk's 5k, the following Thursday, and didn't know what to expect. Despite 31 soggy, squishy miles just 4 days before, I was only 4 seconds behind my PR and feeling great. So I've repeated the phenomena for the past week, running rarely and only at the local races.
This idea that distance slows you down is bunk. Next, I ran the Northampton 5k course, a tough and hilly trail race, effortlessly cracking the 20:00 where I thought that was impossible. Returning to the Elks for our last race of the season, I ran my tail off to keep up with Spencer and Kathy. Spencer and I began the season neck and neck, and he's finishing now almost a minute ahead of me. Kathy shows up to set a new age group record each week. Spence took off in the last half mile as usual, and I hung on with Kathy as best I could to peel 23 seconds off my PR with a time of 19:19. I could barely hiss my race number to Dick at the finish, as I'd forgotten to pin it on, never have I been so out of breath. This was a great way to end the season, and I was truly overwhelmed by my accomplishments this week. I felt fast on my feet, and also had a successful week at school. 
Prior to all of this, the top position in the Grand Prix had belonged to me for a few races and by a huge margin. The Series is scored with a handicap involved based on an average race pace from the previous year, so you sort of race against your past success. Racing against myself next year is shaping up to be a real grind, now. I see no reason to back down or ease up though, and will just go for it at Conway. The course is hilly, not a flat spot on it, so I don't know what the pace will wind up being, probably well under 7. Hopefully there will be a crowd and some good race competition in the hills.
Pisgah was a real success, and to pick back up on the short stuff with more speed is a real blast. I know I also need some longer slow stuff, and will try to do that with my son tomorrow, on a bike path, if the weather holds. I need to get out and run, just to be outdoors. With work beginning at 3:45 AM, and the day at school happening in the basement of STCC, it seems I never see the sun. I miss that. The big challenges at Pisgah were keeping my mental focus positive, and that's an issue here across the board over the long haul. For the moment though, and despite looming armageddon, in school, work, and running things are clicking and its a ton of fun.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tomorrow, I'll run my first Ultra-Marathon. The Pisgah 50k was suggested to me as a good first 50k, 31 miles of rolling singletrack. There shouldn't be much in the way of harrowing cliffs or tumbled boulders, just a lot of roots and cushy pine needles. Tomorrow, there may be rain and fog and darkness. My training is pretty good, for the time if not the distance, and certainly for the terrain. I'm in fairly good shape despite being stressed out after 2 months of a new job and 2 weeks of college. 
This will be the biggest factor, I have been sleeping poorly and not enough. The actual drain of school this past two weeks is incredible. Same thing as it was 10 years ago, but it is 10 years later. The job may actuallly be good conditioning, handling about 400 packages a day for FedEx, but the day starts there at quarter to 4, AM. I've trained through this though and been successfull. I know generally how to feed myself and pace the run.
I have laid out the following supplies: 
     2 handhelds with 20 oz. water.
     2 gel flasks with 5 oz. vanilla gel, these I'll carry on my waist in holsters.
     2 single servings of Orange and 2 single servings of Espresso gel, (with caffine) I'll carry these in the pouches of my handhelds.
     5 slices of dried mango, no added sugar, in a ziplock for one pocket.
     40 Endurolyte electrolyte capsules, in a ziplock for the other pocket.
I'm wearing shorts with those pockets, Inov8 305's with gaiters, and I may wear a shirt. It could be a rainy day and a layer does help with warmth in the wet.
A 9 - 10 minute pace across the gently rolling terrain may slide toward 12 overall in these hills. I don't expect to be out there past 6 hours though. I will be prepared with all of that on my person, in the event that does happen. There is water, at least, every 4 miles. Quite an interesting crowd will be in attendance. I am carpooling with Nick and Amy from Mt. Washington. Bob Sharkey and Sherpa John will be there as well. There was talk from Jay D. and Shin, that they might tackle their first ultras there tomorrow as well. We shall see. All is laid out and so will I, time to hit the hay!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I encourage you to wander onto the sidebar of my website. The tiled images there lead to various non-mainstream points of view on non-running topics, as well as my local running club. Many raise unpopular concerns. Some of these sites deal with the attacks of September 11th, 2001, health problems of our heros, and political problems that persist since that day.
Open dialogue is hard wired into this great country, 'We the People', one button shows the text of our Constitution. Another leads to a video by Ron Paul, instructing his supporters after McCain secured the party nomination. 'What do you think about the United States of America?' My cousin and his friends travelled the world asking people this question and filming the world's response. They created an award winning documentary from the footage, called 'The Listening Project'. It is a great film, about America, in the voice of the rest of the world as common people exercise what we call, 'Freedom of Speech'. This is a new link and I hope you follow it.
Everyone can agree, 7 years ago a terrorist attack aimed directly at our liberty was felt the world over, war soon began. I am posting this in honor of those that fell on that day, to honor those heroes who answered the call and now fight for their own lives, and for those that continue the fight for our Liberty and for Justice. God Bless America!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Five.. Four.. Three.. Two.. One.. PISGAH!!!

Five days away, four from tomorrow morning, ahh the anxiety is building before the Pisgah 50k. I've tapered through an injury this past week. My back is acting up and the first weeks of college since I left 7 years ago have exhausted me. This week will be less mileage than the 31.5 at Pisgah. I'll only run a couple times in the next few days. Tonight it is already dusk, but I'll go out for this run. Carrying a flashlight and a water bottle, I'll summit Mt. Tom. This has become my new home, close to home. I used to run primarily around where I worked, but have not scouted any new training grounds in Chicopee and Springfield where work and school bring me. This should be my last hilly run, mountainous run. Mt. Tom is rugged enough to be called a Mountain though it is really a low ridgeline.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Extended Holiday

Fed Ex takes a day off today, it seems. There was no announcement about this and I was pissed off when I showed up for work today at 3:45 AM to find an empty parking lot. Our 3rd shift is operated on a skeleton crew and very informally, but a friggin note with my paycheck would have been nice. So, they'll be geting a firm line from me from now on, I'll take on more responsibility only with more $$. No more reckless, limitless work-ethic enthusiasm for them. For Mt. Tom, however, I will give a couple hours of my time. The sun rises there in 20-30 minutes.

I'm going to start at 141, and run the course backwards. At the windmill, above the ski trail, I'll make a trip down for the awesome view of the sunrise. Not sure if the camera will accompany me but I'll if it's possible shortly. Coming back up to rejoin the M+M on the escarpment at the cell towers, this adds 3 miles to the course and over 1000' of climbing.
My legs feel pretty good this morning. I was very sore yesterday from the Wapack race. That was a very competetive run, the distance is right for me right now. I almost got dehydrated in the last 4 miles and pulled it together with courage to drink my water bottle dry. That was an issue after puking on Mt. Tom due to over-hydration. In any case, only a couple people passed me late in the race. The course seemed so easy compared to 3 months ago, at the MorFun version. I stayed within a minute of the last guy to paas me and noticed he was wearing bib number 1, afterwards. I don't think he was the previous winner, but maybe the record holder and definitely the race-director. This was the guy who gave the pre-race breifing at the starting line, Paul Funch. Well I'd hate to miss much of this sunrise, off I go.