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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sonoma 50M report

I was treating this as a training run for my summer exploits (Three 100 milers in three months). I knew recovery time would be crucial so I've been trying to toughen myself up. Thus, two weeks after going all out at Cool, and after about 40 miles of running this week (no tapering), I wanted to go out, have a good time, finish in a reasonable time (not back of the pack) and yet hold back enough that I would be able to recover rapidly and get right back to running and training.

It appears my goals were met. I finished in the middle of the pack, took about 24 pictures, the race felt easy (most of the time, there are always some "bad" stretches), and I'm feeling pretty good Sunday evening (which is when I usually feel the worst).

I saw a bunch of friends at the start- besides race director John Medinger (publisher of UltraRunning magazine) and his assistant Stan Jensen ( I saw Luanne Park, Suzanna Bon and Kelly Ridgway, who, among them, too, three of the top four places in the women's division. Also talked to David Wright, Chuck Wilson, Jim Winne and Tina Ure among others.

We were off at first light (before sunrise) and I hung out near the back of the pack, feeling stiff and tight as it took about four miles to warm up. Taking pics along the way, at one point I jumped up on an old log to take one from a higher angle, the log started rolling, and I rode it aways before falling off- safely and with camera intact. Lots of ooh's and ahh's from the peanut gallery (which included assistant-race-director Lisa Henson).

The course was mainly in the shade during this section with lots of rolls- up and down, up and down, never very far up or down though. The first big downhill came just before the mile 12.2 aid station. We finally got a brief flat stretch after the third aid station before our first big climb, fully exposed to the sun, a steep 600' ascent. At the top the nice views included a view of our next aid station, the turn around point, 4.8 miles away (but only about a mile as the crow flies).

To get there we had to drop about 700', then climb another steep exposed 750' hill (it was now approaching noon). In this section we saw the leaders heading back the other way. At the top of the hill we still had about a mile of steep rollers- up and down and up and down and...

I got to the turn-around at 5:23 (12:03pm) and headed back, not wanting to push too hard, but wanting to get even splits. I saw Mark Vegh midway back to the next aid station, unfortunately he just missed the cut-off at the turn-around and had to drop.

I felt really good on the return, except for the two too-steep descents. Otherwise the constant up and down felt good, run downhill a little ways, then walk up a little ways and repeat over and over and over. I thought I was making good time and I was passing lots of folks but at about 14 miles out I caught up to a woman in blue and I could not pass her. For the next three hours I followed her, chased her, always between 10 and 200 feet behind. Usually I pass people on the downhills and lose ground going up, but she pulled away from me on the downhills and I caught back up going up. Then we would crest and off she would go.

The running felt easy and the two of us passed a lot of folks and, when I saw that I wouldn't quite make even splits, helped each other make sure we at least broke 11 hours. (Her name was Monica Moore, age 35). With about 1.5M to go I started to get bonky, I hadn't been eating enough in the heat and I slowed down a little, finishing in 11:56 (5:33 return), about two minutes behind Monica. I'll blame the heat (80ยบ in the afternoon and a lot less shade) for the slowdown. Granted, I wasn't really pushing too hard, but neither was I taking as many pictures as I had outbound. I know a lot of other runners were two or more hours slower on the return than they were going out.

I usually don't feel like eating for awhile, but I headed straight to the tamales (excellent!) and had a couple of those with rice and four seven-ups while visiting with Mark and Luanne and Monica and Suzanna (women's winner) and others as we watched some of the runners I had passed coming in. ;-)

I picked up my very cool finisher's jacket and we took off for home, stopping at Foster's Freeze for a SuperBigGulp size Caramel Malt (4 trillion calories). We got back to Redding by 11 and after preaching at two services this morning I was ready for a nap. I feel much better now though than I did after Way Too Cool. And I didn't fall!

Sonoma 50M pics

Mark Vegh is just a blur in the early morning light.

David Wright splashes along.

Ooh! Ooh! A flat section!

Run? In this heat? With these views?

I finished in 10:55, details shortly.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sonoma 50M

I'm heading off to the Sonoma 50 miler. I'm taking it nice and easy and will be back with pics by Monday. I haven't been posting much on the blog as I've been spending more time on Facebook instead. But I'll still have race reports, etc. And totally superfluous pics of my cat.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Way Too Cool 50K

My goals were to get a 50K PR (previous PR - 5:11 at McKenzie River) or at least to get a WTC personal best (previous best at WTC- 5:18 in 2001- my first ever ultra; each of my subsequent three visits were significantly slower). My quest was made more challenging when the WTC powers decided that the course had been too short and added 1.2 or so miles to it this year to make it officially (?) 31.0.

I got my WTC record by four minutes and missed my 50K PR by four minutes. I'll be running the much easier Tehama Wildflowers 50K next month and so have a good chance of getting my PR there.

The trails were in perfect condition today, the weather was perfect and I ran a good race but the four or five big steep climbs were a little too much for me. Most of the rest of the course I was running between 9:00 and 9:30 per mile. I finished 7/36 in my age group. My friend Ron Adams from Vancouver also finished 7th in his age group.

24 year old Leor Pantilat won with a blistering 7:05 pace (3:40 total), which is absolutely astonishing to anyone who has been on this course.

As usual I struggled on the big climbs and flew down the descents. Many of them were technical, but I am pretty fearless and pass a lot of people on these downhills, folks who are much more timid (or intelligent) than I.

I remember the steep technical descent in a rutted, technical rocky section between miles 8 & 9. I was passing so many others, and going so fast that at one point I literally flew down the course.

Yes, I know what "literally" means.

I always wondered what would happen to my attitude about downhills if I ever took a big fall on a steep, rocky downhill section (my occasional falls have generally been gently with soft landings). I caught my toe on a rock while speeding down, and went airborne in full, arms-outstretched Superman mode. Unfortunately I was unable to fly all the way down past the rocks and came down in a bad place.

Fortunately, God sent an angel to protect my face, head and bony parts. My water bottle protected my left hand. My right hand doesn't look bad, but the bleeding didn't stop for about a half hour afterwards. (Unfortunately, I had just taken my gloves off). If there had been sharks, I would have been in trouble.

My lower left leg got pretty messed up. I couldn't see how much because (fortunately) I was wearing tights. I could tell that the tights were torn, the shin was scraped up and the leg was basically sound.

Fortunately no one saw me (the people I passed were still a ways behind). So I stood up, surveyed the damage, said "ouch" or something like that and did what our dads and coaches always told us (us boys, that is) to do in such a case: "shake it off". The whole thing took less than a minute and didn't bother me (though I could feel it, and the blood dripping off my hand in two places was a nuisance). I continued down the downhills fearlessly. Of course, one might argue, it really wasn't all THAT bad of a fall.

When I finished and took my tights off, it looked like you'd expect- road rash and some funny and impressive swelling.

Way Too Cool results are posted here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Are you motivated by sex?

If so, get exercising!

I was tempted to link an article a couple days ago showing that overweight people found less pleasure in sex than folks with a more ideal Body Mass Index.

But I wasn't sure if it would come across as motivational or as, well, something else.

But today's surfing uncovered a new study showing that statins (the drugs nearly everyone over 50 seems to take to lower their cholesterol) also lead to a decrease in sexual pleasure.

Exercising helps control weight and improves your cholesterol.

Motivated yet?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life! Affirmation! Diversity! ... oh, never mind.

I'll just copy and paste this one in full. Via James Taranto:

"Some students at Alveda King's speech Tuesday night did not expect a strictly literal interpretation of the advertised 'life affirming choices' speech," reports Central Michigan Life, student newspaper of Mount Pleasant's Central Michigan University:
The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King spoke out strongly against abortion at her "Can the Dream Survive?" presentation in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium. Some students were surprised to learn that was the topic of her lecture. Several of the about 650-person audience walked out.
"I felt a little misled personally," said Flint senior Detrone Turner, who said he thought the speech was going to be about increasing diversity.

And of course the best way to increase "diversity" is by refusing to listen to anyone you disagree with.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lassie the cat

A Bremerton Fire Department official says an elderly woman has her cat to thank for saving her life in a smoky house fire.

The woman's smoke alarm was going off as smoke billowed through the vents from her home heater but she slept through it. Her cat jumped up on the bed and pawed at her face until she woke up.

Says Fire Lt. Charlie Rinard, "If the cat hadn't woken her up, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have made it."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We're Out of McNuggets! Call 911! (seriously)

Key Excerpts from Today's Police Log:
Told McDonald's was out of Chicken McNuggets after paying for a 10-piece, a local woman called 911.

Three times.

"I called 911 because I couldn't get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets," Goodman told police.

"Goodman maintained the attitude 'this is an emergency, my McNuggets are an emergency,'" the report states.

Goodman's 10-piece selection has 460 calories and 29 grams of fat.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When I was a boy...

So you don't believe that when I was a boy I had to walk 5 miles through the snow and broken glass uphill both ways to a one-room unheated schoolhouse?

Here's proof:

Today kids want Wiis and Gameboys and stuff for their birthdays.

When I was a boy, this was cutting edge toy-dom: