Sunday, February 10, 2013

I have moved

I have moved! Blogger has been less than cooperative this last 6 mths so I got frustrated and made a quick move over to wordpress. I then found out there is a and and I may have made the wrong choice. Hoping to get things figured out soon and have a more permanent and stable home. For now you can find me here:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Red Top Rumble

Red Top Rumble is my favorite race! I have done this race the last 4 years and every year it is lots of fun. The GUTS group do a great job with the race and there is lots of great food afterwards. Typically, I just enjoy the day and have a good time with friends. This time I had revenge on my mind. Feeling a bit depressed after Mtn Mist the previous weekend I decided that that it was PR time. I desperately needed a pick up so I figured a PR on my favorite course would be just the trick. No pressure!

As per usual, the morning was cold but bright and sunny. I started off as fast as I could in the pack and whenever a space opened up I took it. I ran like this for about 2 miles and was breathing hard. A bunch of us were in a pack and Leslie remarked that I am quiet when I am in race mode. I replied I can't talk, I am breathing too hard! Shortly after this I had to walk for a bit. I went out too hard. A bunch of people passed but Leslie hung with me. We started running again at a more comfortable but fast pace and quickly walked all the hills. I never looked at my Garmin but knew based on the amount of people around us I was probably still in good shape to PR. Leslie was great company and we kept each other distracted and soon we were heading back in to the finish. I knew the last bit was mostly down hill so I sprinted and gave it all I had left. I finished and it was a 15 min PR! Woo Hoo! So, I suck slightly less than I thought last week :)

It was a great weekend and a perfect way to celebrate my birthday!

Mountain Mist 50K

Woke up feeling good and ready to run. I dressed for the expected weather but brought extra clothes for a last minute wardrobe change if needed. We stayed at our friend Peggy’s father’s house which was literally at the base of the mountain. Peggy, John and I piled into the car and drove to the race. Found good parking and picked up our chips. The rest of the group - Kim, Tripp, Terrie and Maria were settled in the main room in a group of chairs and we chatted and waited for the start of the race.

We lined up and it was go time. I started my garmin and took off. In the first 10 minutes I felt a weird intermittent ache in my lower hamstring right above my knee. First thought was hmm, this is going to suck in a  few hours but for now I am ignoring it. John was out of sight in 5 minutes and once we got on the trails I could no longer see Tripp either. Peggy, Kim, Maria, Terrie and I were together on the trails for a little while but soon Peggy pulled away and Kim followed. I kept at my comfortable but quick pace knowing that chasing Peggy was not a smart plan. I pushed my speed but made sure it was not too much. I walked quickly up all the inclines and continued pushing the pace anytime the trails allowed.

After the first aid station I kicked up the pace on the flat open trails knowing I had to gain as much time as I could. This was the mantra all day. Almost a panicky feeling in fact but I knew this was going to be close and there was no room for error. Soon the trails got tricky again. Out to the power lines where the mud literally formed a snowshoe on the bottom of your foot . For about 15 seconds I tried to dislodge some of it on a rock and then said screw it and keep moving. Back into the woods.

We climb a hill at the 18 mile aid station, shortly after a very quick bathroom break (3 mins tops) and I am told I just made the cutoff. I was in shock? Seeing as I was concerned with the 25 mile/6.5 hour mark I was not clear on the earlier cutoffs. I asked how far until the next cutoff and what time was that one. They could not tell me. At this time Maria shows up and they are discussing how we won't make the next one but I shoo Maria across the street and we continue on, albeit slower than before because I am now a bit resigned this is not happening and I am pissed. We pick it back up after a little cursing still not knowing how fast or how far we have until the next cutoff. I pull ahead and see a guy shuffling in the distance. I can't imagine this guy is in the race judging on what he is wearing - a red hoodie pulled up on his head, blue sweatpants and what look like hiking shoes. I get closer and he starts asking me how far we have come and I read him my Garmin. He speeds up and starts running very, very close to me. He does tell me the milage of the next station and cutoff. I look at my watch and know I am most likely sunk. I pick it up  a bit more but the trail starts to get muddier and rockier. Maria picks it up too when she sees creepy guy running so close to me and we soon pull away together. I push as much as I possibly can but miss the cutoff by about 10 minutes.

I felt OK post race since I felt I gave it all I had. There was no good excuse as to why I got pulled. I felt good. That nagging leg pain in the beginning disappeared after 10 miles. It also never hindered me and was more of a mental stress. I did feel panicked most of the race but can’t say that slowed me down. I think Sweetwater and Pine Mtn were great training for this race. I know I did not do every workout prescribed but I know that would have not translated into a significant faster pace. I know I have been getting faster this winter just not fast enough. I did not stop at any aid stations with the exception of the second to last one where there was a brief discussion of cut off times. I felt concerned about the race because I knew it would be tough but I was not pessimistic about it - case in point I sat in wet clothes until John finished because I did not put a key in my pack because I knew he would finish before me. I don't think I could have done any more. Initially this made me fine with things but later I thought this just means I truly suck. I tried my absolute best and still couldn't do it. Mentally I was prepared, endurance wise I still had 10 miles left in me. I just couldn't do it fast enough. The only other thing I could have done was to have been more aware of the exact cutoffs and mileages but figured the last one was the only real concern.

How do I feel now, 3 days later? Still a bit upset. I have Red Top this weekend and I am going to push for a PR since I only ran 21 miles last weekend. If that does not happen I feel like it will be really hard to get out of the mental funk.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I wanted to believe...

Like Fox Mulder, I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe that someone like Lance existed. He was able to do what no other cyclist has ever been able to do - make Americans give a sh** about the Tour De France. He won the damn thing seven times.

I always thought he was an arrogant bastard but he kind of earned it, and I was OK with that. It was only after I became a cyclist myself and read his book “It’s not about the bike” did I begin to really respect him as an athlete. Despite multiple doping allegations over the years he never tested positive. I recently found out that was not entirely true. His samples were back tested a few years ago with better testing methods and were found to be strongly EPO positive but I guess there was not enough of the sample left for independent verification.

This article was extremely eye opening

I was excited for the sport of triathlon when Lance decided to return to the sport. He competed in triathlons long before he was a world famous cyclist. His fame would bring more attention and money to the sport and it made things exciting. Amateurs like me could race alongside someone like Lance. That was amazing to me. When the WTC denied him the chance to compete in Ironman I was truly disappointed. He was under suspicion of doping in cycling, never proven, and therefore could not compete in triathlon. That made no sense to me. I am not sure how I feel about his future now that it is clear he will admit tonight to doing what everyone else did to win. Do I hate the fact that he doped? Yes, but everyone else did. What I really hate is that I truly thought he earned that piousness. That he really was clean and everyone else was a naysayer. I wanted to believe that he truly was the greatest cyclist of this generation (maybe of all time) and that he did it without doping. The cancer comeback made it an even better story. The line from his book about not wanting to put any more chemicals in his body after chemo was such crap. And I bought it – hook, line and sinker. That’s what I hate the most. You made a sucker out of me!

Should he be able to compete now that he has come clean? I don’t know. He obviously can’t be trusted so he would have to be tested over and over again. Does Triathlon need to deal with that crap? Is it fair to all the pros that have earned their titles without doping? Probably not. He is still an incredible athlete but I think he needs to cry at home in his piles of money and leave the competition to the rest of us.