Monday, May 25, 2009

Med-City 20 miler

This past weekend was the Med-City Marathon... Half Marathon, 4-person relay, and 20 mile run. The weather was great as well as everything else that I saw and experienced. Thank you to the YMCA, Final Stretch, and everyone else involved in putting on a great event, again!

The last couple years I've done the half marathon and then played spectator for the rest of the morning. This year I didn't get around to signing up early, and by the time I did I decided $55 for the half marathon was too much. That decision was made easier by the fact that they have a 20 mile run and it was only $15... so that's what I did.

I decided I should make this practice for my FANS 12 plan. Overall the run went well and I learned a few lessons: run off the asphalt as much as possible, run slower, take the walk breaks - all of them and for the fully allotted time. So what is the FANS plan? Run 25 minutes (max), walk 4-5 minutes (including all of the concrete bridge, even though part of it is downhill), repeat.

I feel pretty good about getting 20 miles in and not doing any damage to myself. I'm not sure I could've done another 20 miles, which is why I need to be better about following the plan.

I still played spectator a bit, and as you'll see a couple trail runners came down to join the fun. This was Karen's first Med-City, but Allan is one of the handful of people that has run every one... along with my friend Andy - congrats, guys!

Allan and Karen before the race

Karen, Andy, and I before the race

Karen about mile 3, right before she dropped me (it was time to start working the FANS plan which meant I was due my first walk). In orange is Rochester runner Kit H. who was working the RTC aid station later. And in the back left in black are Joe and Sara Lovett - thanks for cheering us on.

Karen around mile 15 - I was around mile 14.

The Rochester Track Club (RTC) aid station was in this area, and they were full of enthusiasm and making lots of noise. I recognized a number of familiar faces which is always nice. The 2nd time through they were asking what they could get me and listed off water, gatorade, energy bar pieces, orange slices, etc. I said "Well, what I was really hoping for was a cookie!" Well sometimes you just need to know who and when to ask... hehe. Thank you Jean for digging one out from your aid station volunteer stash! I enjoyed nibbling on that for the next half mile or so. I figured it was the RTC's aid station so it seemed reasonable that there were cookies somewhere in the vicinity! That was a nice little bonus.

Andy around mile 23

Allan around mile 22.

Karen around mile 21.5 - I was almost done with my 20.

Andy and Tom, friends and competitors from way back. Both went under 4 hours.

Allan finishing (grrr, smudged lense... sorry for the crappy picture). Chip time: 4:01:44

Karen finishing (sorry for the crappy picture). Chip time: 4:18:38.
Turns out this was a PR -- Congrats!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Superior 50K Trail Run, take II

This past weekend was the Spring Superior Trail Races. Thank you to Mike and Gretchen and all the volunteers for putting on a great event! The weather was rather harsh out in the open, so everyone deserves extra kudos for toughing it out for the benefit of the runners... THANKS!!

My experience:
"Wow that was hard. Really hard."

Yup, I stole that from last year's race report. It's still true.

I've been getting used to the warmer weather 'down south' (Rochester), and just barely brought enough clothes. I'm glad I grabbed the hat and gloves on the way out the door. Got pretty muddy and that's always fun.

(Pictures are from Rick - Thanks!)
Ran with Karen G. and Rick B. for awhile... then ran the rest of the race mostly alone. Every now and then I'd see someone as they cruised on by. It was crazy... people wouldn't slowly catch me and then slowly pull away. Suddenly they'd be there, and then gone. I'd look up 30 seconds after they passed and in most cases wouldn't be able to see them any more.

It was kind of a weird race. I ended up doing well, but I didn't really realize it during the run. I was too negative in my head all day, so I'll have to work on that. It's a tough trail to run, and others seem to cruise along on it better than I do. I'm quite careful and concerned about my ankles, so that slows me down. Anyway, I must've said to myself about 800 times some version of "man, I just can't run very well on this trail". Before too long the other voices in my head started answering back: "yeah, we got it... shut up already!!" And that was pretty much the conversation for most of the day. doh! Like I said, I'll have to work on that.

My main goal was to run fast enough to get my time in the results. Last year they put 'Finisher' for everyone over 8 hours, so I wanted to go under 8 hours. I set up my Garmin to race myself using last year's data, but it didn't work... so I really didn't know if I was ahead of schedule or not. At the last aid station I asked Larry Pederson if I could walk the whole last section in 2 hours and 15 minutes, and he said I'd have to run some of it.

I took that to mean I actually had a chance. So I tried to keep moving as best I could. I don't know the end of the trail all that well so I kept wondering "well how much farther is it, and do I have enough time?" "What if I get to the bridge with 20 minutes to go... can I get to the finish in 20 minutes?" "That last road stretch seems to go on forever... but maybe forever is just like 10 minutes or so." And of course there was the every so often "man I'm kinda tired, is 8 hours really that big a deal??" Thankfully that thought was mostly ignored. I ended up running way more of the last few miles than last year, and I got the sub-8 hour!

So at the end of the day I ran faster than last year, I made my goal of under 8 hours, and my time was in the range I've been running lately. A pretty good day, I'd say. Too bad I didn't figure it out until after the fact.

Congrats to everyone that got out there for a run, and Thanks again to the race directors and all the helpers!!

Oh yeah... I should add a 'Steve Quick' note. No I didn't beat Steve... are you nuts?!? He's way faster than me, even after running like a thousand miles in the last 4 days... or whatever. But I gotta take what I can get, so here it is: Steve and I both ran the Superior 50K in 7 hours and some. :)