Thursday, December 31, 2015

Making A List and Checking It Off...

The last week or so, I've been working on a 2016 bucket list. I guess calling it a bucket list is a bit of a stretch. It's more like things I want to do in 2016. Some things are quite small - just things I've never done but wanted to, and others are kind of me, at least.

For example, 1 of those things on my list I did last week. Yes, I know, technically, it was done in 2015 not 2016, but it's my list, so leave me alone. I've always wanted to ride a ferris wheel. I'd never done it because, I'll admit it, it frightened me a little. What if we got stuck at the top? What if it tipped over? Whatever. These are things I think about. Anyway, my son and I did it last week, and we survived. There were some tense moments, but we survived, and it was fun.

I'm not going to share my list because it's a work in progress and some things are personal. Plus, I'm still debating if I'm ready to share some of my personal stuff...which may never even see the light of day, but they're written. 

Make a list and check it off!!!

It could be something as simple as riding a canoe to doing R2R2R. Both those things made my list, by the way.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nueces 50 Mile Trail Run

Nueces is probably 1 of my favorite place to run in. This'll be the 4th year that I think I run it, so I'm pretty pleased that I probably had my most consistent race ever this past weekend there.  

A couple days ago a friend of mine who has been giving me training advice/tips gave me a brutally honest assessment of how I tend to run. He basically told me that I end up starting too fast, dying, trying to recover by taking too long at aid stations and then hanging on for dear life towards the end. It made me chuckle because it’s spot on.  For example, last year I think my splits for the 50 miler were 3 hours, 4 hours & 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours!!! I think I may have taken a long nap during that last loop.
So my goal for this race was to try to be more consistent.
Driving in, the temps were in the 20s and icy, but we managed to, for once, get in at a reasonable hour.
Loop 1:
As soon as I got to the pavilion, the race began, and I quickly joined the tribe of runners. I was determined to pace myself. Truth be told, the icy rocks kinda forced me to go slow, since I was afraid of slipping and falling.
I tend to start races feeling flat, and it usually takes me several miles (sometimes close to 10) to get into a “groove”. This time, I felt pretty good from the get go.
I was eating a frozen kind bar approximately every hour, supplementing it with chips and pretzels at each aid station.

The only area I struggled was the long climb along the fence line about mile 12 or so. I felt like a slug going up. I kept thinking to myself “gotta continue working on my climbing!!!” Plus, seeing John Sharp practically sprinting up that climb left me kinda speechless.
I ran into 1 of my friends, Bobby, around this time and we spoke of many things, but it sounded like we both wanted to run consistently. We finished our 1st loop in 4:02. A little slower than I wanted but probably a good thing.
Loop 2:
I grabbed some quick snacks and drank a boost and was out for loop 2 in about 3 minutes. Another goal was to make it in/out fast out of each aid station. Even taking 3 minutes may’ve been too much because I felt “flat” starting this loop. It took me a couple miles to get into a comfortable zone.
At about mile 7, I got into another little groove and picked up the pace a little.
Again, I felt like a slug going up the only major climb.
I finished this 2nd loop in 4:15…a bit surprised but feeling really well.
Loop 3:
Coming in from loop 2, I saw my good friend, Nancy, heading out. This made me be even quicker at the pavilion. I was hoping to latch on to her pace since she has a steady steady pace. I ended up taking about 3 minutes for a quick snack & refill of my handheld.
I caught up to Nancy at about mile 3 and we ran together for the next 5 or so miles.
I remember looking at my watch and noting that I’d run quite a while and didn’t really feel tired, so I decided to push the pace a bit more. Once I started running a bit harder, I felt really comfortable. I even climbed the 1 tough climb really fast (for me). It was part, “it’s the last loop so I can afford to push” and part “let’s get this s**t over with”. Either way, I finished pretty strong.
My splits for the three 16.7 mile loops were:
4:03, 4:15, 4:09
Overall, it was a good run for me and I had a good time. Eventhough, I still have a ways to go, I feel pretty comfortable where my training is as I continue preparing for my summer goal race, Bryce Canyon 100. 

Congrats to all the finishers and to my fellow RGV flatlanders that went out there (Sami, Cyndi, Beto, Joel, Yano, Crystal, James & Carly). 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bandera 100K - A Quick Run Down...

My plan for Bandera 100k was to finish between 14 & 16 hours. I felt it was doable for me since my runs lately had been really well.
Of course, the weather was a concern since it was supposed to be rainy & cold, but, I kept telling myself..."it'll make it that much more memorable".
Loop 1: 
Upon beginning the 1st loop, I felt slightly “off”. It ended up taking me a couple miles to get warmed up…literally, but once I was comfortable, I felt pretty well.
It was pretty cool seeing icicles on leaves, logs and (tejas trails) signs. Fortunately, I did not find the rocks too slippery.  I can’t say the same about the mud.
I found myself either slipping through mud or carrying it on my shoes. It was quite a workout running/walking/hiking with your shoes caked in mud. Mid 1st loop, my quads were already feeling tired (running with simulated weights on my shoes - in the form of mud - was taking its toll).

I also ran with a nagging pain in the back of my knee which always seems to happen when I run in wet/muddy conditions.
I ended up finishing loop 1 in about 8:20, but feeling pretty good.
Up to this point, I'd been eating every hour on the hour about 200-300 calories which had been my goal. I'm sure this was a good reason why I was feeling well at the 1/2 way mark.
I took about 15 minutes at the 1/2 point before heading out. I made sure and changed my sweaty clothes and ate 1/2 a burger.
Loop 2:
I started the 2nd loop with my good friends, Nancy and Orlando. The 1st 10 miles or so consisted of running and speed walking/hiking. I'd like to think I was still in pretty good shape. I was still eating every hour.
The mud didn't appear to be as sticky as the previous loop, but there was more water on the floor. I think this was so because a lot of the ice had melted and the periodic steady drizzle.
At about the 10ish mile mark, we started power walking/hiking more. I think we were all feeling it at this point. The pain on the back of my knee was getting a little more noticeable, but I was still good to go.
This loop was loooooong. I guess I'm not as fast of a power walker/hiker as I thought I was.
Once we arrived at Crossroads, my crewpeople, which consisted of my son, Joshua, and my GF, Sami, told us "Only a 1/2 marathon to go!" I remember thinking that was still a long way to go, but we had no choice but to get it done.
This...1/2 marathon was a suffer fest. The mud. The water. The climbs. I'd had enough of it by this point and just wanted to finish.
The last 3 climbs, Lucky Peak, Cairn's Climb and Boyle's Bump were brutal. It hurt as much going up as it did going down.
With 1/2 a mile to go, Nancy and I decided to "run it in". I'm sure it was more like a shuffle by this point, but off we went. As usual, I couldn't keep up with her, but we finished several minutes apart.
I finished in 20:12.
I was greeted by my son and Sami. I enjoyed my finisher's buckle near the heat lamp for about 10 minutes before deciding it was time to go. I'm really glad my son was out there to see me. It was a bit of an ultra for him too - spending 20 hours awake, napping and taking it all in. He loved the whole Tejas Trails scene, btw.
It was quite the epic experience, and I'm glad to say that several runners that I coach in our running group made their trail running debut...4 of them to be exact. 2 of them even upgraded to the 50k the morning of. Good job, Eder, Mario, Chris & Jeff, and see you guys at the next race!!!
1st Loop: 8:20
2nd Loop: 11:52
Calories: approximately 200-300 an hour (mashed potatoes, ramen soup, quesadillas, grilled cheese, pretzels, etc.).
Hydration: Water, Rocktane and 3 Boosts/Equates during the last loop.
Footwear: Bondi 4s - Brand new (I washed them twice on Sunday night and have been wearing them to work ever since. Recovery for my feet).
Coldwear: Pearl Izumi gloves, buff, wool socks and hand warmers inside my gloves;