Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Data from my GPS:
Total Distance: 26.54 miles
Total Time: 3:12:46
Average Pace: 7:16/mile
Total Ascent: 3936 feet
Total Descent: 3877 feet
Start was south tip of plot (top of picture). End was downtown.
Next up, Leadville...this weekend!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
As much as I would love to have a success story to tell, I don't. This weekend I came face-to-face with epic defeat--something I certainly am not used to. Being an acceptable runner and biker--and possessing what I thought were "fair" swimming skills (based on my very limited pool work), I went into my first triathlon experience planning to wing the swim and rock the bike and run. Halfway through the 1.2-mile swim, I came to realization after being passed by the last swimmer that I wasn't ready for this. This was a huge wake-up call for me: I am not an effective swimmer! It was naive of me to believe I could wing a swim of that distance within the time-allotment. About 400 yards from the swim finish, a kayak race official comes up to me and announces I have 10 minutes before the cutoff. I knew it was over at this point. The official said I could either finish the swim segment or jump in a boat for a ride to the end. To that I snickered and kept paddling along to the finish. They would not allow me to continue the official course because of the DQ. After beating myself up mentally in the car for about 20 minutes, I knew this behavior was counterproductive. I quickly threw on my running shoes and took off on a 13-mile run anyway.
Cardio was not the issue for me during the swim. It just became painfully obvious to me that I was putting forth quite a bit more effort than the average swimmer to make forward progress in the water. The best analogy I can come up with is: I tried to race Nascar when I had only been behind the wheel of a car one time in my life!
Despite skipping the bike portion of the race and not getting an official time, I hardly considered this event a "waste of time". I got to experience most of the triathlon experience and, more importantly, learned a lot about the swimming aspect of said event. Swimming (unlike biking or running) is not something the average person inherently knows how to do well (efficiently) without proper coaching and/or spending significant amounts of time in the pool. While fitness level is just as important in swimming as in biking/running, technique in swimming is paramount!
Water temperate was in the upper 70's--one degree below the "no wetsuits allowed" level. I opted to not wear one. In hindsight, I probably should have--not for thermal reasons obviously--but for extra buoyancy. I don't float. At all. The amount of energy I spent trying to keep my head above water was astounding!
The bike course (known as "The Iron Cross" to the locals) was mostly to the south of Clinton Lake and consisted of out-and-backs across an elevation profile ranging from ~850 feet and ~1050 feet (hardly very "hilly" by a Coloradan's definition).
The official run course was, frankly, simply retarded: out-and-backs along paved roads. My impromptu 13-mile course was much better in my opinion! ;)
Humidity was very high--but the temperature wasn't bad (for KS) on Sunday.
Outside of the triathlon itself, I had a simply fantastic weekend! Got to spend some quality time with friends/family, jump on the trampoline with my cousin's little kids, kick up some mud on the 4-wheelers, and visit a handful of Lawrence bars and restaurants! Did a fair amount of running around the KU campus as well.
I don't know if I am sold on triathlons yet--but I certainly don't have enough experience at this point to make a fair assessment. Nonetheless, I have a personal vendetta against the Kansas IronMan 70.3 and I have vowed to myself that I will go back and tackle it next year...after I learn how to swim! ;)
An experimental event I thought it would be--and an experiment it turned out to be. All-in-all, I chalk this one up to a "successful failure". I'll take a DQ over a DNF anyday!
It is a very humbling experience to be disqualified from a race--but ultimately this did me more good than anything else: it lit a fire that will motivate me over the next year!
Putting that behind me, I have three weeks before the Seattle Marathon. I really want to run it sub-3:10. Back to speed work on Tuesday's and gotta get a few more 20-mile training runs in.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Our trip began after an 8 AM breakfast at Purple Castle with Katie Throndsen, Jon Teisher, and Lauren Kennedy. The four of us planned to drive down together in two cars--as some of us were planning on sleeping *in* the car. We ran into Tanya Anderson and Susan Mopper that morning too.
[JT, Katie, Lauren, Tanya, Susan, Matt]
~5 hour drive to Los Alamos with a stop at Colorado's oldest church in Conejos, Colorado. Arrived in Los Alamos, NM late afternoon and found a couple of camping spots around Bandelier. Los Alamos is adjacent to the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument. After getting settled in and paying the camp site fees, JT and I hot-footed it over to the packet pick-up and to take advantage of the free pasta. Caught up with our buddies from Austin, TX (Pete Mehok and Naresh Bhagavatha)--as well as some local yokels: Brooks Williams, James Kaminski, Sean Kute, and Andy Henshaw. Quick stop at the local supermarket for beer and ice and we all headed back to the campground.
I hate pre-race nights! Everybody is always in a great mood and wants to party--but as any runner knows, the act of partying has inevitable side-effects the next morning. Did we get to bed early and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...no. We stayed up into the early AM drinking booze. Finally Nacheaux (Lauren) gives me the ultimatum to "Go to bed BLOS!"...and so I did. ;) About 3 and 1/2 hours later we're waking up in a hungover frenzy and driving to the starting line. At the start, Katie and Nacheux pull JT out of the back of the truck, brush him off, explain to him that he is running a 50M race, and tell him to get going. I wish the 50-mile guys the best and head back to my car to finish waking up. An hour later I'm ready and out with the 50K group.
The best part of the trail (I thought) was climbing a ladder next to a waterfall in a very lush, shaded area of the trail. After about an hour of trail running at a pretty decent pace, my motivation was fading. A few hours into the trail, I pass some of the 50-mile runners running in the opposite direction. I pass JT and he tells me he is bailing at the next aid station due to injury-related issues. I pass Brooks at another point to hear him say, "Man, I don't think I'm gonna make it!" None of this did well for my motivation. Nonetheless, I was determined to finish this race--especially after my soapbox diatribe the night prior against people that DNF.
For the first time in my running career, I discovered the benefits of salt tablets. Somewhere around 22 miles into this race I noticed my fingers were swollen. Never had that happen before and, frankly, didn't know why. Suspecting it might be a hydration issue or hyponatremic reaction, I started popping those Succeed! caplets at the aid stations. Swelling started to go down and I discovered new-found energy.
Somewhere 24 miles or so into this race my GPS got tired of waiting for me to finish and died. So, I'll post this GPS plot from the race website instead:
The last part of the race was pretty boring as we were going down from higher altitude: hot, windy, dusty desert wasteland...
~8 hours later I'm finally wrapping this thing up. Whew! No finisher medals for this race--but we all got this cool poster:
...and our choice of a hand-crafted figurine made by one of the locals. I selected this:
I don't know what it is. I suppose it is some kind of candle holder--but it looks more like a urinal to me.
Start/End: Posse Shack, North Mesa in Los Alamos, NM. 6 AM start for 50K.
Result: 48th overall, 8:14:14
Group photo after the finish:
[James, Andy, Nick (overall winner of 50-mile), Brooks, Matt, Sean, JT, Pete]
Back to the campground for a short-lived evening before everyone was out for the count. Pete and Naresh needed to hit the road back to Austin so they took off shortly after we got back. Less than an hour later, Pete's car breaks down on the way out of town and Nacheaux went back to pick them up. I spent a good hour gazing at the stars after everyone had turned into pumpkins.
Sunday morning we were off to Taos, NM. After getting Pete and Naresh back on the road, we got lunch and hit Eske's Brewery in Taos. We went slightly out of the way to check out the Taos Gorge Bridge on the way out of town.
Excellent weekend with good friends. Next up, IronMan KS 70.3 in Lawrence, KS in less than 2 weeks!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
This was my fourth big race for 2010: a 25-mile trail run beginning and ending near the Arkansas River and consisting of mostly Jeep and single-track trails--some along part of the historic Midland Railroad.
Conditions were better than anticipated: cool and clear skies (forecast was for snow). I learned a hard lesson from my recent (and first) trail marathon in Salida: took plenty of water this time...and glad I did.
Ran pretty strong through mile 21 or so. I started to bonk during the last few miles, consequently losing about 15 slots to other runners. Ultimately finished in ~4:11:30.
Finished off the BV visit drinking at the new Eddyline Brewery with a bunch of hasher and Colorado Springs friends (and, of course, a mandatory stop at the Green Parrot) while waiting for a few of our other buddies to finish the 50-mile.
Next up, Jemez 50K in three weeks and lots of training to do before that!