Thursday, May 29, 2008

....Off to San Diego......

We are staying at the same resort as last year....right on the trolley route!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One Tough Race

The Molly accompanied us in the van....

The Wyoming trip was quite eventful. On the way to Cheyenne, we encountered one of the tornadoes in western Kansas. We were listening to the radio for information, but they were just speaking about county locations of the tornadoes and we weren't sure if we were heading into it or if we would get hit by it if we stopped. We finally determined that the first one had just hit the town of Ellis which was just ahead of us and that another one was headed our way. We decided that if we kept moving, we should be able to get through I-70 in between them. The first one apparently had not moved as far north as we thought, because just to the north of the interstate was this pitch black area that was is the closest I ever want to be to a tornado ever again. It was heading away from us so we kept moving and as we moved toward Ellis, we saw all the overturned vehicles (mostly semi's) along the highway for about 5 miles. So just getting to Wyoming was an adventure in itself.
The marathon....the most scenic marathon I have done. Also, the hardest marathon I have ever done. It was held between Cheyenne and Laramie in the Medicine Bow National Forest.

The start temp was 33 degrees and there was a hard north wind. We headed out and it was downhill for the first few miles and then we hit the uphills and the wind. It wasn't long until I determined that this was a survival race. I was breathing hard even when walking. The altitude, along with the hills and wind took it out of me pretty quickly. I probably walked 2/3's of the marathon. The last several miles are a steep uphill. I was struggling just to walk it in. I never seemed to be able to breathe. I calculated that I had 1.8 miles left in the race and I was seriously doubting I could do it. I was dizzy and felt queezy. I just shuffled in and finally, I was at the top and at the finish....
We jumped in the car and headed back down to Cheyenne and I started feeling better after a few hours.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Where the race director promises you nothing, and he delivers."

That is the motto of the Wyoming Marathon this weekend. This is the kind of marathon I like. There are very few people, it is hilly and difficult, and not a lot of frills. No porta-potties, no cups (we fill our bottles up from coolers), no bands, and lots of open space.
It will be a nice long weekend trip. We are renting a van, throwing NED (aka Molly) in with us and heading west. We will drive up through Denver and the mountains and into Cheyenne. I had a rough time with the altitude at Fort Collins, so we are just going to add on another 3000 feet or so and see how that goes......

This one is an out and back and will be much tougher, but I do not have any other goal, other than finishing. It will be nice to be back in the mountains so quickly....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shawnee Mission Park

I hit the MTB trails out at SMP tonight for my first trail run since Red Bridge Ramble. I was definitely rusty. I hit the trail and about 150 feet into it, I looked at my Garmin head is suddenly and exactly 73 inches ahead of my shoes. I crashed and burned, rolled and I was back on my feet in one motion and thinking....way to make an ass out of yourself right off the bat. Then I heard the people behind me start rating my crash. The first comment went something like "Wow, that was cool. I wish my falls looked like that." Followed by a "that was one of the more graceful falls I have seen." I guess after all the martial arts and football over the years, I should know how to fall. It was my first trail crash. I have witnessed a few during my brief trail running experience, and all of them have been pretty big mud-compressing thuds with some loss of skin.....I was able to keep my feet under me for the next 4.48 miles of the 4.5 mile run.
I ended up averaging a 9:50 on the trails which I was very happy with since my last trail run was in March and I am still a little leg-dead from the Colorado Marathon. I need to hit the trails far more often now to get ready for Psycho Wyco and I need hilly ones. SMP works well for these on shorter runs but at some point I need to get some WyCo Lake runs in and get a taste of those real hills.
I did notice that I run better on the trails at night with my light than I do during the day....not sure why...maybe it is a focus thing. At night I probably concentrate on the trail more and there is less to look around at.....but I had fun and actually had forgotten how much fun it is.

A New Trail

There is a new trail being built down the street from our house. They have started excavating the path, but have not paved it yet. I really hope it is asphalt. We took our boxer, Molly, and our neighbor's boxer, Harley, down the dirt path and followed it from our neighborhood to see where it went. We followed it for about a mile as it wrapped behind some new commercial development and along the backside of Ernie Miller Park. We stopped at a muddy section and turned back, but it looks like it will easily be long enough to get a 3 mile run in and probably much more. We covered about 2.25 miles on the walk....Molly slept like a rock last night and I am guessing Harley did too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Random Pix

Sampling from one of our tanks

The speedway from JoCo....zoomed at max from the top of the tank

Future grapes in the backyard

Future raspberries in the backyard

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tough Race

I am sore today. I have not felt as bad after a race as I did after this one in a long time. I think a combination of the altitude and having a cold took its toll. I ran well for the first 14 miles or so but I knew it wasn't my day well before then, but I went out hoping I could run through it. The stomach cramps started around the halfway point and once that started, my goal changed to just finishing below 5 hours, which I did....4:55:57. The course was beautiful. It followed the Poudre River down the canyon and into Fort Collins. It was downhill and a bit steeper than I expected and I just knew the quads would be screaming later in the race.

....about mile 3
I hit the 1/2 at about 2:04, but I felt like I had already run much further than that. I spent the last 10 or 11 miles in run/walk mode.
Fort Collins is a college town (Colorado State), a lot like Lawrence. They even have a street that looks much like Mass Street. It is also the home of O'Dell and New Belgium breweries. Kim, Steve, Steff and I went there for a self-tour and some of us did a little sampling also.

Overall, it was good marathon, but I don't think it is one I would come back to do. I think the altitude had more of an effect on me than I expected and this one started pretty high in the canyon. Next up....Wyoming which is less than an hour away from this one, and supposedly much tougher.....

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fort Collins

This weekend is the Colorado Marathon. Kim, Steff and I fly out tonight and head to Denver with a short drive north to Fort Collins. This is my target race for the Spring so I hope to run well, though I don't have a specific time I am shooting for....I plan on just starting out in the 9 - 9:15 range and see where that takes me. The course has a -0.8% average decline so it should be a nice downhill run. It is slightly more of decline the first 18 miles and then levels out a bit. A lot will depend on the weather and how I deal with the altitude. I also am getting a cold, but hopefully it is peaking and will be gone by Sunday. A tour of the brewery and hopefully some Fat Tire samples are on the agenda for Saturday which is the perfect cure for any cold......