Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back on the Horse

After a dissapointing race last month while I was pretty sick, I had kind of lost my running desire. I came to one of those places where I wasn't sure if I was getting as much out of my running as I was putting into it. I ended up going 9 days without running because I felt so awful after a 10 miler one week after the marathon. During those days, I have to admit, I didn't miss the running so much. In fact, I felt liberated from a weight that occupied so much of my time and thought.

When I did go for a run again- 5.5 miles on the boardwalk/beach in the cold rain at 7:30 in the morning with guys from work- it was tiring. I got in a few more good runs over the Turkey weekend and started realizing that running is important to me. As I've gotten back in the groove this week, I recognize the place that running has in my life.

I love to run! I love the feeling of accomplishment after a good workout, and I enjoy seeing my work pay off as I improve. I love to race, even if no one my pace is racing me. I've also appreciated the time I've had running the past few days after being away for a while. These have been good times of relaxation, thought and prayer.

With that, I've decided to aim for the Seneca Creek-Greenway Trail Marathon in March up in Maryland. Hopefully I'll be able to train well during the winter with our family travel and 2 dets (1 on the boat).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disappointing Marathon

After planning to run the Richmond Marathon next weekend for the past few months, I had to change my plan for work reasons. I signed up for the Outer Banks Marathon a few weeks ago and ran it this past Sunday.

The rest of my training went along really well, and I booked some solid distance runs at really good paces. This was shaping up to be my best marathon yet- aiming for 3:30.

Saturday, we drove down to the expo to pick up my race packet/number. We took the boys to the beach (it was mid 60's) and let them run around in the sand for a while before heading home.

That was the beginning of a bad race- I came down with a horrible cold, barely ate dinner and didn't sleep most of the night (still recovering from this cold today). Around 2 AM, I had decided to not run the marathon since I couldn't breathe, had a fever, and a horrible sore throat. By 4 I felt decent, downed some motrin, tylenol, and sudafed; grabbed a bagel and banana and hit the road.

The race started at 7:20, and I got off to a great start in perfect weather. I was hitting my mile splits just a touch quick, but I felt great and not at all like I was working. I ended up running with Dan from DC for about 16 miles. We kept up a steady pace and chatted off and on.

The race enters some trails around mile 9/10 and the terrain gets a little soft and undulating which I had not expected. By the time we left the woods at mile 13, I had dropped enough time that we were right on my 8 min pace. The next 6 miles cruised by easily- weaving in and out of neighborhoods while the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect.

Disaster struck just before mile 20. I hit the wall like never before, and I never recovered. I averaged 11 min pace for the rest of the race and finished in 3:52. At the time I was really disappointed, and I felt extremely sick at the finish line. In retrospect, my nausea, clammy skin, and lightheadedness probably pointed to some heat exhaustion which I was susceptible to in the cool weather because of the fever I was running and my lack of sleep.

I'm glad that I was able to feel good enough to run even part of this marathon how I wanted to, and I really believe that my training had me in place to run a great race if I hadn't gotten sick.

Now I just have to figure out where and when to race so that I can redeem this performance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marathon Training on a boat

I began training for the Richmond Marathon a few weeks ago, and as I mentioned in the last post I would be doing a 17 mile long run on the boat. Fortunately, the aircraft carrier has a treadmill in medical, so I was able to do that run without too much interruption while watching football last weekend.

Turns out running on a treadmill for that long gets a touch boring even if the football game is exciting (Jets vs Pats). I think it makes the running easier because the pace is so dialed in that you just have to keep up. It also gave me some nice time to relax and not be completely surrounded by people which is the norm on the boat.

I'm glad to be back on dry land so that I can run my 18-miler out on the roads tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Plans?

Just a quickie today. I'm going to start training for the Richmond Marathon (Nov 14) this week. After my HtH 6hr race on little training, I realized that my body could handle a little more work than what I've been throwing at it this summer.

Unfortunately, I have a 7-8 month deployment with the Navy sometime in the fall/winter/spring so I may train and not be able to race--the joys of Navy life. Also, I have at least 2 weeks on an aircraft carrier where running will be limited to treadmills (17 on treadmill, anyone?).

After looking over my training logs for my 3 marathons, I found an interesting trend. As my times decreased from 4:05 to 3:50 to 3:39, my pre-race training increased by over 100 miles each time. More isn't always better, but my goal this year is to add another 100 to last year's. This still has me at pretty low mileage each week (max week 50), but I haven't worked my body up to high-mileage weeks, and I am not making time for more running with work and family stuff.

And now it's time for bed so that I can be well-rested as I go forward this fall.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm an Ultrarunner!

As my time here in Nevada is winding down, I had one final weekend to enjoy. Earlier this week I saw a listing of races for the weekend of the 15th, and one was the Hotter than Hell 12 hr/6hr race. Turns out it was only about 3 hours from Fallon. I've always wanted to do an ultramarathon, but I've never devoted the time to training for one. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what would happen on minimal training.

So, Saturday morning, I got up at 3:30, drove west on Hwy 50 nearly to Sacramento. I signed up for the 6 hr race and started running at 7:30. The course was around Cameron Park Lake, a 1.25 mile trail. My A goal was 30 laps (37.5 miles; 12 minute laps) and my B goal was a 12 minute mile (15 minute lap)- hence 24 laps (just short of a 50 K). We started running, and I fell into a comfortable groove with a HR in the 120's at 12 minute laps.

A view of the lake from my picnic table

(where my gear/food/beverage was stashed for the next 6 hours)

I fell into a comfortable groove for about 3 and 1/2 hours before joining Lainie, current female series leader, and her pacer Mark. They helped keep me on track for most of my remaining laps. I hit the marathon split (lap 21) in 4:12, and I was right on pace for 30 laps.

Just before the start of my longest run ever

The next lap, however, was the wall. I ran a 26 minute lap including lots of stretching and sitting. The lap after that was 17 minutes. My 30 lap goal was not going to happen, but I had plenty of time to knock out a 50 K (25 laps). I joined back up with Lainie and Mark, and we knocked out the 2 laps I needed pretty easily- making me an ultramarathoner! I ran one more for fun, and then I decided I just wasn't up for squeezing one last lap in.

My first ultramarathon- 50 K- 5:21:10. It was awesome, and I can't wait to do another.

Oh, and I finished 2nd overall (to Lainie- 40 miles). It earned me a free pair of INOV8 Roclite 295s.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Boundary Peak

Several months ago I read a posting about summiting the 50 state high points, and I have become pretty interested in trying to accomplish that feat. Living on the east coast gives me opportunity to knock out quite a few states in a short amount of time with minimal effort. However, I have not had the time off to drive around collecting high points. For at least 2 months, I've realized that my trip to Nevada for work would offer me a great opportunity to nab the Nevada state high point, Boundary Peak- 13,143 feet. I had never climbed to that height, so I spent a decent amount of time researching routes, time required and equipment needed.

Boundary Peak is the one on the right
in the distant background.

My fellow flight surgeon, Thomas, and one of the squadron corpsmen, Pangan, both wanted to come along. After arriving in Fallon, 2 of the other corpsmen (Hand and Nicholson) decided to come along with us. None of them had much experience climbing, especially at altitude.

At our dinner stop Saturday evening
(me, Thomas, Nicholson, Pangan, Hand)

Our trip started in Fallon, and required a 3 hour drive south on Hwy 95 before hitting a dirt road off 264 just south of the 264/773 intersection. After 40 minutes to drive 15 miles on said dirt road in our rented Kia minivan, passing a couple other groups camping on the way, we reached the trailhead where 2 highpointers were waiting for morning in their trucks.

Good thing Thomas is an Eagle Scout

The trailhead is about 9000 ft, and we started off at 0645 Sunday morning. The first hour was pretty gentle hiking with minimal elevation gain, and the second hour brought us to the Trail Canyon Saddle (10,800 ft). Turns out this was the route to take after talking to the other 2 guys later who had taken the more direct/steep route. One of them likened it to running on marbles.

Nicholson asked if the hard part was over. No, it was just beginning.

Around 1015 we stopped for lunch at the 12,000 ft pass. This was the highest altitude I'd ever been to, and we can could feel the lack of oxygen after coming from Virginia only a week prior. We made it to the site where the two routes join up in another 15-20 minutes after an easy walk along the west edge of a minor peak.

The view of our goal from our lunch break

This is when the hike became a climb as the next hour required a bit of scrambling with some need of using hands to get grips going through the big talus fields. We got pretty strung out at this point, and one of our group was forced to reconsider his ascent at 12,500 after he realized there was an on-going phobia of falling off the side of a mountain. We left him hugging a rock after he decided he wasn't having fun.

The view from the top of the scree pile that is the other route. We started at the far end of the canyon in this picture.

I summited just after 1130. The view was beyond words. The sky was a perfect, clear blue and we could see peaks all around. We signed the log, took pics and headed down the mountain. We took the steep, direct route and realized how glad we were that we had not gone up that way. The trip down was quicker (only about 3 hours), and we packed up camp and headed back to Fallon.

I used my new camelbak and carried a bottle of gatorade on the trip. I drank about 70 oz and could have used more if I hadn't shared it.

I can't wait to get out and see more high points.