26 July 2010

8k Pennant Race

I caught wind of an 8k on Saturday that was put on by the Spokane Indians single-A baseball team.  All participants got a nice Brooks tech shirt and a ticket to the evening's ballgame.  I'm tapering for White River next weekend, so instead of a semi-long Saturday run I thought it would be fun to head up to Spokane with a few friends and for the 8k and game.  At packet pick-up I asked if dogs were allowed to run, and they said yes.  So Sadie got to participate in her first official road race.

Sadie's not used to running in crowds, so we started out slow to give her a some room.  After a couple minutes the runners had spread out enough for us to settle into a comfortable pace and pass people without worrying about clothes-lining them with the leash.  Sadie's so much fun to run with.  She got lots of smiles and cheers, and she did great to fight the urge to chase Mr. Squirrel at the park we looped around.  I stopped at a couple of the water stations for her because the morning was already getting warm, but she was doing just fine and was just happy to be running.

We crossed the finish line at 31:56, which placed me 10/201 (results).  Sadie wasn't listed in the results, but she actually beat me by a nose -- and it was a PR for both of us.

Sadie scouting her competition

Sadie: "What kind of fish is that?"
Me: "I have no idea."

Post-race snack

Post-race swim with Sadie

Baseball games are fun

This weekend is going to be fun too.  White River is a tough and beautiful course.  I'm looking forward to it.

Keep running!


18 July 2010

Love the Trail

Some trail running photos and videos that have been muscled out of my blog by race reports during the last few weeks:
Heyburn State Park, Idaho

Heyburn State Park, Idaho

Blue Mountains, Washington

Cooling my dogs

Sadie enjoying the view

On top of the Blue Mountains

A long day and lots of climbing to get to this ridge-line trail -- so worth it.

Looking back along the ridge trail

Mountain meadow, northern Idaho

(sad face)

Keep running trails!


12 July 2010

Palouse Double

2 days. 2 states. 55 miles. 12,000+ feet of climbing. 12,000+ feet of descending. 14 hours of running.  The Palouse Double.

The idea of this low-key, local event is simple: two loop trails (4 mile loop on Saturday - 2.5 mile loop on Sunday); run/hike the loops as many times as you can/want within 7 hours.

Day 1 was run on a beautiful 4-mile loop on Moscow Mountain.  Each loop has about 650 feet of climbing.  My goal was to keep moving forward for the entire 7 hours.  My dad flew up for the weekend to participate as well.  We ran several miles together.  He's still recovering from his quadruple bypass from about 20 months ago, but he's getting into better shape and is planning to run a 50k this fall.  It's always a treasure to have some time on the trails with him.

Gathering before day 1 start
(Maniacs are everywhere)

I love this trail

My legs were still tired from last weekend's marathon, and I knew (hoped) I was going out for 7 hours the next day, so I made it a point to take it pretty easy.  Sadie ran with me all day too.  Lots of climbing, lots of descending, then all over again.  Temps were getting in the mid to upper 80's and I was feeling it, especially after 20 miles.  Most of the trail is under shade, but it was still hot and hot weather running is not something I get a lot of practice with up here.  But I trudged along and squeaked out 7 laps (28 miles) in just under 7 hours.  Got home, took a long ice bath, cooked up some fajitas, and drank beer.  It was so nice.  Even Sadie looked a little tired when we got home.

Sitting with Dad and Sadie after a long day on the trails

Day 2 scared me.  It was a shorter loop (2.5 miles), but in the first mile it climbs over 700 feet and it's a much more technical trail.  And half the loop is exposed to the hot sun.  I was surprised how well my legs felt when I woke up.  Either the ice bath worked a miracle on me, or I'm getting into pretty decent running shape.  Or both.  I felt good, but the thought of running that loop for 7 hours still scared me.

It's all smiles...until after a loop

Amazing views on this one mile stretch along the ridge

Sun and dust and rocks and trail running

This day was an exercise in mental stamina.  It was nice having an aid station every 2.5 miles, but it became increasingly difficult to start the next loop.  And it was much hotter today, so much so that after 4 laps and 10 miles I called it a day for Sadie and leashed her up at the aid station in some shade with a bowl of ice water.  She wanted to keep going, and probably would have even if it hurt her, but I didn't want to take a chance.  She got 38 miles with me in two days and I'm sure she's happy about that.

I pushed through and completed 27 miles in the 7-hour time limit.  I was happy with this.  And about as tired as I've been in a long time.  Home. Food. Water. Water. Water.  Quite a weekend.

Let's see if I can get my legs ready for the White River 50 at the end of the month.  (I know, I said I wasn't going to sign up for any more races this year...this is that last one, I promise.)

Keep running!


05 July 2010

Foot Traffic Flat Marathon - Race Report

I have a blister on my toe - but it's okay.

I signed up for the July 4th Foot Traffic Flat Marathon a few months ago with hopes of using the flat course as an attempt to qualify for next year's Boston Marathon.  So, with my BQ already in hand (smiley face), I had no other choice but to use this race as an attempt for a new world record.

Goal A - smash world record
Goal B - barely beat world record
Goal C - run under 3 hrs
Goal D - not get heat stroke and die

Lots of porta-potties and a beautiful sunrise: a runner's dream

 Sadie going over race strategy with me

I started off very, very strong, but (and I'm not ashamed to say this) I fell off world record pace early.  Some days you just don't have it.

So the next goal was to go under 3 hrs.  I ran 3:03 last month and figured all I had to do was run a little faster this time.  So that's what I did.  After my dreams of a world record were shattered in only a few footsteps, I decided to settle in at a 6:30mile/min pace.  "Let's see what you can do with this," I said to myself in third-person.

I feel pretty new and inexperienced running these faster paces.  Just this year I ran a 5k in 19:30 (6:16mile/min pace), and I think that's just about the first time I'd ever recorded myself running a 6-anything pace.  If previous years were about how many miles I could run, then this year has started to become about seeing how fast I can actually run these miles.  I suppose it's simply about pushing boundaries.

So I kept at 6:30min/mile pace for the first 13 miles, but never felt 100% comfortable.  I felt like I was just about at my limit the entire time, like I was just waiting for a wheel to fall off.  But the 1:25 split at the half gave me some confidence as I had given myself a little bit of a buffer for the expected slow-down during the second half.

Sure enough, I hit a low spot around mile 17.  It was warming up, I didn't know if I was drinking too much water or too little, and I thought for sure that I was within a minute from just shutting down and going for a long walk.  Not only did I believe 3 hrs was out of the question, but I was wondering if 4 hrs was doable if I just walked the rest of the way.  I may not be the most experienced runner, but I have run enough so far to know that these lows are often temporary.  So I kept pushing until mile 20 ("Just get to mile 20, then it's just a 10k to the finish," I kept telling myself), though my overall pace had slipped to around 6:38min/mile.

Around mile 20 I had pushed through the low (after a short walk through an aid station while pouring a few cups of cold water on my head and back) and I knew I was back in business.

My feet were hurting, but I kept pushing.  A couple times I nearly lost my stomach.

3 miles to go.  Tired. Sore. Hurting. Hot. But locked in a 6:40min/mile pace.
1.5 miles to go.  I caught up with another marathoner (it had been 10 miles of running around half-marathoners).  It was nice to pace off him.  I had been running solo the entire race.  We ran in together. 

Finish time: 2:55:23.  8/395 overall.  3rd age group.  (full results)

A sub-3 marathon.  Another PR.  Wow, it's been some kind of year.  I sure am enjoying it.

This was the most sore I've been after a marathon.  This was the hardest I've pushed myself in a marathon.  I think if I trained properly for speed (instead of simply "trying to run faster") I could knock several more minutes of this time.  But for now I'm happy with where I'm at as a runner.  I'm having a lot of fun.  I'm enjoying every minute of it.  Not much more I can ask for.

I have a few ultras coming up next, and then a lot of training for my upcoming Chile adventure. 

Happy Birthday USA!

View from the drive home - the beautiful Columbia River Gorge

Hope everyone is having a run-filled summer.  Keep running!