Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010 Salem Lake 30K report and photos


First of the important stuff:

395 Photos we took are here. 

There are a quite a few finish line photos of the 30K, but we did not get everyone.
Feel free to use them as you like. Let us know if you want a high rez photo.


Shannon and I have done this race every year since 2004 (except I missed 2006). 
Every year we get a little faster, but strangely the Garmin GPS measures the course a little shorter. 
I suspect the course organizers shorten the course every year so runners will always PR and keep coming back.

This year was no different. We were both lucky enough to have good races despite the warm weather, which is a really good sign for our marathon coming up in 3 weeks.

The best part was we saw lots of friends there. 

Friend Barbara took first in her age group

Karen got some "trail love"
Tom got some too. I saw a lot of people out there with battle scars.

Aline, always smiling

Josh, always hamming it up

Shannon and Danielle both took first in their age groups as well 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blue Ridge Relay Training Plan

Last weekend Shannon, my sister Monique, and I ran the 2010 Blue Ridge Relay on the Carolina Godiva Mixed Team.
We had no idea what to expect. In retrospect, it would have been good for us to do some "relay specific" training to prepare for this unique challenge.

So before I give my race report, I thought I would share my training plan for Blue Ridge Relay rookies.

The Running-Down Blue Ridge Relay Training Plan

  1. Rent a van, and park it in your driveway. Dump the contents of your recycling bin and garbage can inside of it. Add a few days of dirty laundry and mix well. Put a humidifier inside and let it run.
  2. Get a box of food. It does not matter what it is, because you won't want to eat it.
  3. Rent a porta-john and put it next to the van. Request one that is already full and not cleaned yet.
  4. Get an old pair of sunglasses and scratch up the lenses with sandpaper. These will be worn at night and in the morning to simulate fog.
  5. Assemble your team of 4-12 people, and sit in the van for several hours.
  6. Wait until the first person closes their eyes and starts to fall asleep.
  7. Immediately drive 3-10 miles away, and pull over on the side of a busy interstate with cars flying by at 80 miles an hour.
  8. Push the sleeping person out of the van and tell them to run back.
  9. Return the van to the driveway and wait until the runner finds their way back. Return to step #6 another 35 times.
  10. If you don't live in the mountains, you will need to simulate the 13% inclines/declines by pounding your legs with a rubber mallet.

Next up... 2010 Blue Ridge Relay Race report!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brr start

Off to good start. 10 min ahead of schedule. Eating lunch in Boone. Our van has
6 legs down. 12 to go

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blue Ridge Relay this weekend

Shannon and I are running the Blue Ridge Relay this weekend on the Carolina Godiva Mixed team.  There are two other Godiva teams, the super fast masters team and the party animal open mens team.

Our blogging friends Tim GautreauJosh, and Shuwen will also be out there on other teams.

Busy packing right now, but will do a bunch of quick updates this weekend as time and internet access allows...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ovarian Awareness 5K

Yesterday we ran the "Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk and 5K Run"
It may be a personal record for us, in terms of the longest name of race.

Shannon took some good photos, which are here.

I had planned on doing the North Hills 5K barefoot, but ended up running this race.
I looked at the course and results from last year, and thought, "Hey, maybe I could PR! Hey, maybe I could even win it!".  So I wore shoes.
Of course, these were stupid, delusional, and greedy thoughts. My only achievement was re-aggravating the pain in my left foot.
There was a guy there who ran it barefoot, I think his name was Steve.

The race starts at a high school. The course drops precipitously for 3/4 a mile, goes around the greenway at Shelly Lake and then goes back up the hill to the start.

Another reason we did this race is because Ovarian Cancer easily trumps Baptist ministries as a charity.  Most of the people there were running and walking in the memory of a loved one lost to Ovarian Cancer. I felt like a jackass for being so wrapped up with my own petty personal goals. 
Afterwords we talked a while with this lovely couple we met there. They had been running their whole lives. They told us about how 30 years ago an 18 min 5K was middle of the pack.
They had a lot of activities there, including the slide for kids. Shannon really wanted to go on it, but I had to explain to her that she was about 30 years too old for it.

I don't know who this guy was or what cologne he was wearing,  but he was getting some loving from the 1st and 2nd place women. Those two easily kicked my ass in the race.
However, that didn't stop me from gloating over my wife with my 1st place age group award.
What a sad little man I am.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Evicting Leonard

Shannon and I have a hot tub, which I consider to be an essential training tool.
You may have heard "experts" recommend ice baths to aid in recovery from hard runs, but actually hot tubs are a far superior therapy.
This is based on scientific studies which have concluded that ice baths are horribly painful and hot tubs feel really freaking good.

Anyway, a few months ago I found a frog in our hot tub.
During the summer, the tub is not used, but I have to keep water in it because it is made of wood.
The frog had somehow squeezed through a tiny gap in the cover was living large in his own private pond.

Now, the tub is no swamp. I spent a lot of time and effort keeping this thing clean. It is scrubbed, filtered, ph-balanced, ionized, and sanitized year round. The frog was the second most disgusting thing to crawl into it this year. The most disgusting thing was when I finished the 50 miler in April.

Anyway, he had to go. But he was quite stubborn and didn't want to budge. So I forcibly relocated him to the back yard, figuring he would hop away someplace else.
A few days later he was back.
So this time I exiled him to the front yard, under some bushes.
A few days later he was back again. I couldn't believe it.
How could he find his way back some 200 meters, through thick bushes and a fence? Don't frogs just hop around randomly? Was it a different frog that looked exactly the same?

So I put him back in the front yard.
This past weekend I went to clean the tub to put it back into use, and there he was.

In total, we relocated him 6 times. We named him Leonard. Somehow, with his built-in hot tub radar he would always come back. I tried securing the cover tightly, but he somehow squeezed in.

"Dooright, we are going for a walk."
This time I put Leonard into a take-out food container and took him a quarter mile down to a little stream.

I took Dudley Dooright with me, which was a mistake. He was very interested in what was in the box. I suddenly remembered the time when I carefully captured a bird that had become trapped in the house. I wrapped it in a blanket, and took it outside. When I opened the blanket, Dudley thought we were playing and jumped on it. The poor little bird was crushed before it could fly away.
Or the time Shannon caught a moth and let it out side where Dudley promptly ate it.
"NOOOOO!" I told the big dog. That was enough to calm him down.
Then I let Leonard out.
The frog jumped about 5 feet in the air. Maybe it was for joy, exited about his new home. More likely he was trying to smack me in the face.
Anyway, goodbye Leonard.
If you come back again, I am going to Fedex you to Australia.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Run for the Rub

Shannon was itching to race last weekend. She was looking for redemption from the beat down we took in the CDTR 10K. Also, we have set lofty goals for the Detroit Marathon next month and we wanted to see where we are at.

Unfortunately there were no races around. But then I read that BF Josh was doing the Run for the Rub 10K in Greensboro. So we decided to drive out there and surprise him.
The "Rub" refers to massage, as the race was part of a big birthday party for Greensboro massage therapist  Joel Tull, and the race was a pretty small, low key event.

I was feeling like crap all week from yet another cold, but my legs were rested so I wasn't sure how I would do.
Gratuitous Photoshop panorama of... a rest stop
Me with internet celebrity BF Josh
At the packet pickup, we ran into BFJ. He isn't just an internet celebrity, but one in Greensboro too. Everybody knew him.

He and Shannon talked Milwaukee for a bit, and then we did a quick warm up.
At the start Joel Tull ran through instructions.
"Who has run on the green-way before?"
A few people raised their hands.
"Everybody else, follow them"

There was only one fast guy there, and he took off and was out of sight after a mile. Fortunately the volunteers on the bikes came back to help guide people through the unmarked parts of the course.

Oh no! I'm heel striking.
No wonder my knees hurt.
Small steps!
I was felt good the first half, because it was steady downhill.
At the turn around the volunteer was reading off times,"18:10"
Wow! That would be a 5K PR for me. My garmin said it was only 3.02 miles, but it can be wrong sometimes.

The way back was a struggle and I slowed considerably. But at the finish, the clock said "37:20". This was too good to be true, considering my PR is 39:14. Other runners with GPS watches confirmed the short course.

In any case, it was good run. Shannon was the 1st female, and 7th overall, all while taking pictures. BFJ came in 4th in 42:19, once again proving shoes are unnecessary at best.
Joel Tull

When Joel crossed the finish line, we helped pelt him with whipped cream pies.
We then headed over to the post race party which was at Joe's house. The spread was spectacular:

  • a keg of a really good Amber Ale
  • breakfast with eggs, fresh fruit and more
  • free massages for everyone, with no waiting.

When I got my massage, I forgot the most important rule:

  • Never show any signs of pain

"Ow", I blurted out when therapist twisted my leg at on angle.
"Does that hurt? Here?", she located a spot on my thigh and started really digging into it.
It hurt like hell. I guess the theory is that pain can be 'rubbed out', so the louder you say "Ow" the harder they will press on it.
It's best to stay quiet.

Josh's foot, and something we got in our race packets.

Pictures are here

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Continental Divide Trail Race report

Shannon and I spent all of last week out in the NC mountains, capping it off with the a run in the Continental Divide Trail Race / USATF 10K Trail Championship, in Laurel Springs.

The course
Since we were in the area, we went to check out the course a few days before. The race is held in the Laurel Ridge camp center, which has maze of trails running up and down a big hill.
With a map and 3 dogs, we tried to run course which was not marked yet. It took us over an hour to cover just 4 miles. The single track sections are very tight, with tricky footing. Some of the inclines left us breathless just trying to walk up them.

Any thoughts of doing this fast were extinguished.

Pasta Dinner

Tim VanOrden, the "raw food" guy
We attended the pasta dinner the night before. I don't think carbo-loading for 10K is necessary, but we thought it would be nice to socialize.
We didn't recognize anyone there, so we sat down at a table with three guys and one woman.
The woman coincidently turned out be Cathy, a fellow member of the Godiva Track Club from Durham who we had never met before, but she was on our team.

The three guys were from out of state, coming in because it was the trail 10K US championship.

One of them was chopping and shredding vegetables, filling a huge mixing bowl. I assumed he was part of the kitchen help making a salad for the buffet table. But when he was done, he poured dressing it, and started eating. His name was Tim VanOrden, and we learned that he was a minor celebrity, known for his salad eating, RunningRaw website, being insanely fast.

Also at the table was Dave Dunham, a national class trail runner whose blog I had read before, and had run a 2:19 marathon in his younger days.

The 3rd guy was Andy Ames from Colorado. I asked if he had ever run Pikes Peek, arguably the toughest marathon on the planet. He had done the ascent a few times, which rises 7800 feet in 13 miles. "So what does the winner run that in?"  I laughed, "Amusing of course it wasn't you"
"Like 2:09. And no, I came in second place"

In races back in Cary, I can compete for age group awards, but these guys were in a whole different world.

Race Day
I usually try to warm up before a 10K, but this one I didn't have to. Just walking up the hill to registration table left me sweating and exhausted.

Shannon was snapping pictures with her big Canon as usual, and the race directors asked her if she would take pictures for them. Apparently the official race photographer couldn't make it.
Since the mens and womens races were run separately, Shannon could take pictures of the men's race, and I agreed to take pictures of the women's race.

Since we were running as part of the Godiva team, they wanted us to wear a Godiva jersey.
So when the rest of the team showed up, I went down the cars to borrow a jersey from Carolyn who had brought a box of them. It was warm and humid, and I wanted something cool, so I picked out an old-school mesh tank top that looked like it had been around 30 years.

I went back to the start where they were announcing the elites...
"from Boulder Colorado, Andy 'The Assassin' Ames!"
"and from Bennington Vermont, Tim 'The-Salad-Chopper' Van Orden!"

There were about 100 guys lined up at the start. I placed myself a few rows deep behind Ken and Jim, who are faster than me, but I thought I would try to keep up with them as long as I could.

At the gun, we raced down a grass field, turned left, and started to plummet downhill on a wide gravel fire road.
I am a decent downhill runner, but pretty pathetic going uphill. Since I knew I would be walking up the steep ascents, I decided to run when I could. So I took off, passing Ken, Jim and a lot of other guys.

In less than a mile, we turned and went straight back up hill, and then into the first single track section.
Heading down again, I wanted to run this part fast but was stuck behind a guy. The trail was very narrow, cutting across a steep slope and very difficult to pass.

After mile 2, we hit the first big incline and I stopped running started trudging. I stepped aside for someone behind me, and it was Ken, who was running up the hills like he was weightless. He passed another guy and disappeared out of sight.

The hill rose 300 feet in a quarter mile. It felt odd applying my ultra marathon run-walk strategy in 10K, but I had to if I was going to finish. A couple guys passed me, who I then passed on the subsequent downhill. It continued that way until the last monster climb, the "rock wall".

At this point I was hyperventilating, literally crawling up the trail with my hands at some parts. This picture Shannon took captures it nicely.

Finally I trotted across the finish line. My splits from the race are kind of funny, matching the elevation profile above.

1 - 6:30
2 - 8:36
3 - 11:27
4 - 7:12
5 - 8:26
6 - 11:09

Women's Race
I took the camera from Shannon to get pictures of the women's race while she ran. My pictures didn't turn out as well. Shannon is fearless, and will get up close to get the good shots. After getting a few of the start, I went down to the single track to catch them coming downhill.

Team mates Cathy and Carolyn 

Next I headed to the top of the first hill, then up to the "rock wall". I got some good shots there. I wish I knew how to work the camera, cause they came out a little blurry.

Women's winner Gina Lucrezi

Afterwards we hung out for awards and the Godiva teams did quite well. The women took 1st in the Open and Masters division. The men took 2nd in the open, and 1st masters. To be honest, there were not many teams there, but showing up is what counts, right?

Most incredible was the 70+ group. Just running at all is amazing, but on that course? Are you kidding?
John Eliot, age 72, finished in 1:13. He came in 65th place out of 98 runners, beating 11 guys in their 20's and 30's. Wow.

There were 3 guys in the 70+ group who completed the course.

Joyce Hodges-Hite, 73, and Jim Hite, 76 completed the course for the second year.
Joyce took 15 minutes off of her time from last year.
Bottom Line
A great race. Highly recommend it, if you can make the trip out there. Though it might be the slowest 10K you even run.

As I said in the last post,Here is the edited album of 560 high-res photos.

If you ran the race, and are looking for pictures of yourself, there is another album with all 763 pictures we took here. In this album however, photos for the women's race are low res because they all would not fit.

If there is a picture of yourself you really like, let me know and we would be happy to get you the original print quality photo.

Yesterday we were unpacking.
"You got two medals?" Shannon was surprised and jealous.
"One for the open team and one for masters. You didn't get two?" I asked
"No I got one"
"Oh that's right, your not masters yet", I held them up to my ear, "I like the sound they make when they clank together"
"Oh yeah?!", she protested, "Well mine is for first..."