Monday, March 30, 2009

Buffalo Run 25k 2009- 2:45

Whew! What a day. Taking advice from a good friend and more than experienced ultra runner- I decided not to be a slave to the watch. What a crazy yet rewarding experience. Having not run more than 10 miles this year I knew it would be an adventure but hey that's why I do this anyway right. Got to the island about 40 minutes early to make sure I knew what to wear. All I really took was my Pearl Izumi sleeves with the standard shorts, shirt, socks, shoes and of course Smith sunglasses (great plug there). It was a beautiful morning. I headed over to the start and ran into Anthony and Mike wandering around with the crowd. Jim (RD) announced to get to the start. As we listened to the count down I made a quick adjustment to the iPod when all the sudden... GO! Oh crap- I got off to a slow start and knew I blew my chance of winning this race so I settled into a comfortable pace. The course was changed from the last few years, from the start we headed up a hill. I wasn't ready for any climbing yet even if it wasn't a typical mountain climb. I knew this would test the Achilles out of the gate. Mentally I was feeling great, I came to lone tree with out breaking my pace but this had a steeper section and I had to walk it a bit. I hit the aide station just in time to see my buddy Phil undressing down to his underwear- man was I outta there! After the aid station there is a nice little decent and every year I get after it all the way down. Its a fun section before you start the switchbacks. Not knowing exactly how my legs would respond to the climb at the start I figured I should power hike the switchbacks as well as run. I took a camera with me this year knowing I wasn't going to have the legs to just go for 3 hours but I also decided I didn't want to get out of my groove in any way so the camera stayed tucked away.

At the top of the switchbacks I settled in with a group of about 5 runners and just tried to keep pace. We made it back around to the aide station and I knew this was new territory for the year mileage wise. Not knowing how long I had been on the course was strange and although I knew about what mile I was I figured my legs would really slow down here. I kept on moving and just hoped for the best. As the finish got closer my legs were heavy but I was in a little rhythm so I didn't want to slow. From the top of the mountain I could see the finish and the runners in front of me. This is where my competitive juices kicked in. When the person in front of me would turn to see where they were, I took it as a challenge. From the top of the mountain to the finish I probably passed close to 8 people. Not that I was blazing but having my winter weight still and gravity- I flew down the mountain. I came to the finish and finally saw the time- 2:45. The goal was sub 3 so for that I felt good. The Achilles held up and overall I was pretty happy. I finished 61 out of 201 and 17th in my age group. Being my first race of the year and my longest run of the year, I felt good. Sometimes its tough to sit at the finish knowing I finished 61st when there are so many runners there but in the end I am there for challenge and the experience. I have some goals but none are to win. Maybe some day I will put on my own race and not open registration so I can win it.

A great big THANK YOU to everyone that made the race possible. Jim Skaggs just raises the bar every year. I have run all 4 years of the race and let me tell you, they have all been fantastic! I saw a lot of familiar faces and met many others. All in all it was a beautiful day! My family and I hung out after my race for about 3 hours and just took it all in. Maybe that's why I run these things......

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More snow? What the.......? (7.2 miles)

I planned on getting a good run in before Buffalo Saturday and knew the weather wasn't going to cooperate. Lucky for me I committed to go with 3 others so I had to be there. When we left Rainbow Gardens it was wet. Slushy snow/rain fell so I threw on my Pearl Izumi Seek WRX trail shoes. Let me tell you, these fellas stood up to the test! As we climbed to get to BST, we noticed the snow getting fluffier and lighter. It was perfect. The mountain was covered with snow all but our nice little single track. It was a beautiful run with lots of stops to take in the views. It was a very inspiring run and it was a day I felt thankful to be able to be up there.

The Achilles seems to be handling the mileage and trail pretty well. We did the out and back of 7.2 miles which seemed to be perfect. I have my first race of the year Saturday, Buffalo Run 25k. I am about as ready as I can be and really look forward to see some familiar faces. The run is just a bonus at this point. A week ago I wasn't even sure I was going to run but now I feel more confident I can finish the race and remain healthy. Good Luck to those of you at Buffalo and I hope to see you all. Cheers!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I may be back (to back). (9.6 miles)

Well, woke up after yesterdays run and the Achilles was in pretty decent shape. No real swelling, no real stiffness. Signs= good. I got to run with another great group of people- Phil, Anthony, Mike, Hal and Kacey. We met at Rainbow Gardens and decided to head north. The weather was cold and we had that damn canyon wind going. Once you leave Rainbow, you get to climb right out of the gate. Its' runnable for sure but I wasn't sure how I would do. My trail legs are not their and my quads felt heavy. I made it up over half way before I decided not to push too hard so I stopped and walked/ran the rest. I have been told that the climbing is where I was going to feel my Achilles ache but surprising it felt great. We went north and right away I knew I was in for a tough go. I just haven't been on the trails and the legs knew it. I kept reminding myself what my good friend Eddy told me- "it's always good to train on tired legs". I knew not to push too hard but I also know it's time to really put in the hard work. (If it was easy, everyone would do it). I survived the run of 9.6 miles and felt really good overall. A back to back of almost 10 miles on the trails, I will take it. Buffalo is only 6 days away. I had high hopes for this race but the plan now is to go out without a watch or GPS and just enjoy it. It's gonna be tough but sitting at home would be tougher.
I plan on taking tomorrow off and hitting the pool Tuesday and running BST Wednesday (with 2 more great friends) and resting up for my first race (I mean run) of the year.
I want to give a quick thank you to everyone who has passed on advice and encouragement for me over the winter. I am not out of the woods yet with the Achilles but just like running an ultra, just keep moving forward.....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dirt is good... (9.65 miles)

It FINALLY happened. I actually ran on a trail in the mountains. It has been so long. I got invited to go on a run with Jamie, Tom, Ron and their 3 dogs. I knew I had to get out on the trails to really test the Achilles and see what it could do. Buffalo Run is only a week away and since I will not be gunning for my PR, I had to make sure I could at least do it.
We set out from the Ogden Nature Center trail head and headed south. It was tough to keep my pace down at some points since the adrenaline was jolting through my body but I managed. The weather was upper 60's to low 70's and I could smell dirt, tree and sweat. I WAS BACK! I probably focused too much on my Achilles and not enough on the fact I was running- really running! No treadmill, no TV, no distractions. Just single track, sun, dirt and good friends.
We totalled 9.65 miles and I was stoked. I never felt any "sharp" pains and the discomfort was pretty minimal even during the inclines. The run was a success but now I need to see how tomorrow goes. I plan on getting about 10 more in on Sunday but word on the street is that the weather is gonna be nasty. That's alright though as Mr. Bowerman says, "there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." Well I am done being soft.....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fingers Crossed

I may not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time but I found out I can run and cross my fingers at the same time. Got in some quality running this weekend! The Achilles felt alright and no more swelling. I could feel it after my second run at 7 miles but no sharp pains. Just a dull little ache letting me know it is still there. I still don't have great hope for Buffalo in 2 weeks but got a little more confidence which I have been lacking. Really looking forward to Squaw Peak this year. I have only been doing this for a few years and haven't run all the great races but SP50 so far is my favorite. I will keep up the swimming twice a week and running four days a week with one day off for a bit longer.
Today is a very special day. My Little girl turned 4. Is that possible? For her birthday she asked me for running shoes, running shorts and a running shirt. So proud....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Proud Daddy!

Well, it's not everyday you get a first. Not just any first but one that brings tears to your eyes. My family went up to Wolf Mountain over the weekend so my daughters could ski for the first time. It has taken a little time to talk them into it but Saturday night they agreed to go.

We enrolled them in some lessons which ended up being private lessons (bonus). You could see the excitement but it was over shadowed by nervousness for sure. Aspen (my 3 year old) was first. I took her to her instructor-who was amazing, and Aspen needed about 5 or 6 hugs and some kisses and I love yous to get her going.

Next up was Sami (12 year old daughter), I took her to her instructor who was equally amazing and she was off!

As I peaked at them and saw them from the lift, I am not sure I could have been more proud. They were skiing! Lots of emotions filled their old man that's for sure. Melony and I hit the slopes until lunch and went back to collect our kids. They were having a blast. After lunch, they wanted more. Melony and I took turns skiing with them down the hill by the "magic carpet".

When we were about to leave, they both were disappointed and wanted to stay. That's my girls!

A proud day I will never forget!

As for me, the training is very slow and go. Swimming twice a week and trying to start running again. The Achilles isn't healed but it is tolerating under 5 miles. So my Buffalo plans are changing. Every year i have improved my time by 41 minutes, then 24 minutes and this year I will be hoping to run just to be out with friends and family. The year isn't going anywhere to what I planned so we will see whats next.