Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Since I had Achilles tendinitis therapy starting in late August last year and was out of running for 3+ months I've managed to gain a few pounds. Not that I'm super over weight and could be used as the "before" picture in one of those weight loss infomercials but I've added 10% to my frame, and it wasn't muscle. When it started happening I wasn't to worried because I always seem to gain 10 pounds over the holidays. I've just learned to accept it and it's the bodies way of getting ready for the colder weather. Every year I go into my marathon training having to first drop the extra weight while building endurance. So if you think about it, by carrying the extra weight, I give my body a better workout because it has to move more mass. If you're one of those super techno people I'm guessing it has to do with E=MC^2. For me it gets me stronger and faster as I drop the weight. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Anyway, my usual plan just isn't working for me these days. I'm having trouble dropping the weight and my friends are dropping me on every run. I don't mind getting dropped because I figure that at some point I'll get mad enough at myself to lose the weight and get in shape.
This morning I showed up a little early to do a quick warm up run so I would be loose when we started as a group. When I arrived one of the other guys was already out doing a warm up, GREAT...ARG!! So I headed out and 1/2 mile in I see 2 head lamps bouncing towards me. Now I'll have two guys who are already warmed up. This is not going to be my day. I hooked up with them and we headed back. I was hoping for an easy warm up run but this turned into a slight hammer fest. I was in real trouble, I had only run 1 mile and I was already sucking wind. Once we arrived at the meeting location we hooked up with the last person in our group and we were off.
As we started I was feeling pretty good and was running smoothly up the hill. But once we crested the hill the pace picked up and soon I was shate out the back side of the group. We had only done 1 mile and I wasn't able to keep up. I tried surging a couple of times and would catch the group but would once again fall behind. At the 2 mile mark the boys were out of site, so I decided to alter my route to run straight up into Westford center. If you don't know Westford center, all roads lead UP to the center. Slowly but surely I made my way up the hill. As I was about half way up I started thinking about a race that they used to have up this hill. It was always held in May just before the Apple Blossom parade. The race started at the High school and finished in the center. For some reason they always seemed to change where the exact finish line was. Some times it was at the community center, or the common or at one of the churches, so comparing your times from year to year was not really possible. What you did know was that it was going to be a race of about 1.9 miles and all up hill. I remember one year as I was leading the race I passed the home of a man I worked with at about the half way point. I remember he was out in his yard raking leaves and he just stood and stared at me like I was crazy for running up that hill. Back in those days I felt like I was floating when I was running. The following Monday back at work this gentlemen came up to me and said "Gee you really take that running stuff seriously, don't you"? As I'm standing there listening to this and holding my gym bag I just smiled and started chuckling and walked away. What does this have to do with "Running on empty", well this morning I was not floating up that hill I was barely getting my feet off the ground and needed to stop half way up to regroup.
I've slowed down quite a bit over the years but I'm not going to stop without a good fight. I hope to look back at this post in April and laugh. I'm hoping I laugh sooner, the sooner the better!!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
When it really comes down to it, racing is all about numbers. Today I tallied a whole bunch of numbers. I traveled out to Pittsfield, MA for Curly's record run. Below is a run down of just some of the numbers.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Pooh Hill 8.5K Snowshoe Scramble
What can I say….I ran like a guy carrying a piano and a rock. This race was the first of the year for me and gave me a good indication that I have a long way to go to get into shape for Boston. The race was held at the Kingpine ski area in East Madison, NH. The ski area looks like a great family location, small and no crowds at all. Where is East Madison you ask, it’s just a few miles north east of Lake Ossipee. Or 2.5 hour ride from Westford.
The day started out like many race days for me, I was up at 4:30 and put together my racing gear. It was cold out so I decided to bring just about everything. Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it. One problem I ran into was I was unable to locate my racing flats. So I settled with an old pair, 15 years old, oh well they worked good before on the roads they might have something left in them for the snow. Out the door at 5 AM and I punched in East Madison into my GPS. Time to settle in for a long lonely ride. I’m happy to report that the ride was uneventful and my GPS did not fail me. Upon arriving at the race location Chris Dunn (the race director) had just finished emptying his car and was heading back to his motel to get his family. Chris asked me if I’d watch the race prizes while he was gone, and I obliged. In short order Chris was back. Once they were set up I signed up for the race, then I headed out to help park some cars for Chris. It was cold, some said it was -1 degrees out but because of the clear skies the sun helped out a lot. With 30 minutes left before the start it was time to get ready. What to wear? It was cold, but snowshoe racing heats you up very fast. I went with a base layer for top and bottom and then added a fleece top, with a pair of light gloves and a pair of light mittens and to top it all off a pair of ear muffs. I went out to the course and got my shoes on and did a little warm up jog and almost immediately my big toes were not happy. In fact I could not feel them. Time to gut it out and hope that they would warm up during the race. At the starting line there was a person dressed up as a white tiger. Please don’t let me loose to at cartoon character!!! Chris went over the race directions with the crowd and announced that the race would start in 10 minutes. I was starting to get cold but after another quick jog I was feeling much better, except for my big toes.
Chris announced 30 seconds, 10, 9, 8,…1, GO!! I was off. The guy who won the race really took off, this was his race and nobody was going to even challenge him. I was running in 6th place and feeling pretty good for the first kilometer. Then it happened, I started feeling a little rumbly in my tumbly. At 1.2K mother nature was calling me and I had to answer. I jumped off the course and took care of business all the while a parade of runners made their way past me. When I finally rejoined the race I figured that I had lost about 30 spots, and this was going to be a throw away race. However, I wanted to get a good workout in and knew that I needed to take my time in catching people. Slowly but surely I began catching people. Heck I may finish this thing in the money! Then it happened….Pooh Hill. Just after the 4K marked we headed UP, and UP, UP, UP. I was reduced to my usual “snot bubble blowing, pile of poopy”. I had to walk, but then again everyone in front of me was also walking. Every now and then I would try and run but it was not to be. The hill was beating me badly, and some of the people I had passed earlier were now passing me. Including the founding father of the DUNGEON ROCK RACING Team, Bill Morse. Bill is a very strong hill runner and my only hope was that I could catch him when we hit the flats.
When we finally reached the top of Pooh hill the course turned from a trail run into a bush whacking down hill hold on for dear life event. This means you can finally run BUT watch out for them TREES!!! Once we popped back out on the cross country ski trails I was able to recover from oxygen debt and begin my assault on runners in front of me. Slowly but surely I was passing people. As I passed Bill, he hollered out to me that here is where I should be able to beat him. I knew better and was always looking over my shoulder for Bill. As I passed the 8K mark I was in a battle. The guy in front of me was much younger then I and I knew if this thing was going to end in a sprint to the finish I was dead meat. As I passed the guy (James Porter), he started to give up. I yelled at him “Don’t QUIT”. And sure enough he pulled right back along side of me. DAM!! This was not a good sign. We pushed each other and in the end it was no contest. His young legs (34) just danced away from me. This had to be my poorest showing at snowshoe racing ever. I ended up 19th overall and 2nd in my age category. The good news was that I wasn’t beating by anyone older then me, the bad news was I was beating by 4, yes count them, 4 fast women. This was a first for me, but those women beat me fair and square, they earned it. After finishing the race I went back into the ski lodge and took off my racing shoes and my big toes on both feat were white, and neither of them had any feeling. After a few minutes the feelings came back and soon they were throbbing with pain. 20 minutes after I finished the results were being posted, and I learned the bad news. I guess I need to start training or this will be a reoccurring theme for my racing.
19 58:43 10:53 54 Scott Graham acidotic RACING 50 M 48 Westford MA
This race was very well managed, there was food and drink after the race, and they had prizes for everyone. How could you go wrong?
Next up is the Beaver Brook Scramble in Hollis, NH on the 17th.