Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 Storming of Thunder Ridge

2013 Storming of Thunder Ridge
     "Kneesee, I'm getting ready to have a really bad morning." Rain is bad, but not being able to use your bike is worse. As I was driving to the 2013 SOTR in a steady rain I had reached that moment when things went from bad to worse as I realized I had left my cycling shoes at home and, if you don't know, cycling shoes clip into the pedals, so no shoes essentially rendered my bike useless. 

     In an odd twist of fate, I had insisted that Kneesee bring her bike even though she refuses to ride on wet roads. With no end to the rain in sight, it seemed I had a back up bike. I ended up doing the 2013 SOTR 75 miler on a flat bar hybrid with standard flat pedals...in near constant rain.

     I mentioned rain is bad, but its really just another obstacle...something else to push past. Riding an unfamiliar bike would be an additional obstacle, but I was grateful to still have two tires to work so I could ride the course. The lack of aerodynamics on the hybrid would cost me a good chunk of speed, but I was interested to see just what I could do with it and compare it to prior years.

     I started off towards the back of the pack and just kinda stayed there. I had only done 40-45 mile training rides, so I was committed to a strategy of pacing myself conservatively anyways. I adjusted well to the hybrid and found that holding a moderate effort was yielding me about a 14-15 mph avg speed.

     Rather than break it down into segments like last year, I'm just going to say that the decent from Aid Station #3 near the radar station on the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the Peaks of Otter and then continuing down rt 43 into Bedford was incredibly chilly this year. The lower temps, the rain and the fog made for an awkward ride at times, but it wasn't anything I wasn't mentally prepared for, so I persevered and when I reached the bottom and Aid Station #4, the temps were warm enough and the rain had tapered off considerably, so I was able to finish the ride relatively comfortably.

     75 miles was a good distance to cover. I had done 100 last year and found the effort to be somewhat unrewarding after about 80 miles. Just doing 75 proved to be a good decision. I finished with minimal soreness, but still knew I had achieved a respectable workout.

     My total time ended up being 6 hrs and 34 minutes which represents an 11.7 mph avg pace, but that includes roughly 52 minutes spent snacking at the 5 Aid Stations. My Moving Time of 5 hours 42 minutes represents a 13.4 mph avg speed and all things considered I can be happy with my effort regardless of where the numbers fell. 

     My Garmin died about 6 miles from the finish, so some of the numbers are a bit fuzzy since I don't have an official Garminized distance. 76.6 miles seems to be in the ball park from what I've seen other Garmins record, so I'm using it. Besides it was a fun ride and the numbers are close enough, just not exact.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

2013 Gallop for the Greenway 5k

2013 Gallop for the Greenway 5k

Gallop for the Greenways 5k
2013-time 21:34.6, Pace 6:57/M, Place 18/492 overall, 4/30 in my age group, 18/218 among men

Garmin Data HERE

I'm definitely not at any kind of peak with my short distance sprints, but I have had some good treadmill 5k runs lately and had entertained thoughts of maybe breaking 20 minutes. I didn't really invest much into making it happen though since I decided I needed some elliptical work that morning so I wasn't exactly primed for giving it my best, but I still felt I had a shot.
Photo courtesy of Frank Finch, who came out to support the C&C racing team as well as other local running enthusiasts like myself. Thanks Frank!

Ultimately this race was decided at around the one mile mark. After the first mile I lost any desire to do anything but hold my spot. I might have had a surge in me to stay at a sub 7 pace, but I just couldn't quite get myself motivated to fight for it. The last 1/4 mile or so did see me pass 2 and get passed by 2, but even though my pace was deteriorating into the low and mid 7's I still managed to squeak out a 6:57 avg pace due to a strong mid 6 pace for the first mile. 

My minimum goal for an asphalt 5k is just to pace below a 7 min/mile, so having achieved that I wasn't disappointed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Trail Nut 10k/RNUTs 5 of 6

2013 Trail Nut 10k
RNUTs 5 of 6
Event shirts: Front and Back

     For six months the anticipation had been building. Everything was coming down to one morning...one performance. The previous December had been a month full of base building. Each Sunday saw a specific distance...3 miles, 4, miles, 5 miles, 4 miles...then BAM...the Frozen Toe 10k! We killed it! Literally killed it! Knocked the course out in just over 2 hours!

     The plan was to complete 4 Mountain Junkie trail race events at a steady hiking pace. Time and other factors would limit the base building phase to just the one month of December. The Frozen Toe 10k would be the easy one, with the base still holding strong. Come early March, however, at the Explore Your Limits 5k the results would be anybody's guess. With essentially ZERO base maintenance just reaching the finish line would be all that anybody could ask for. BAM! Knocked out the EYL 5k with a steady pace and had a great time!

     Late March would bring the Montvale Park 5 Miler into play. Again having not worked at honing in any endurance skills, we were just looking to finish and feel good about our effort. The finish line greeted us with a sense of amazement as we finished at a faster pace than at the shorter and less challenging EYL race just 3 weeks earlier!

     Now it was all coming down to one event...one morning...to determine if all the pain, hard work and sacrifice would yield the ultimate reward. A Mountain Junkies RNUT series qualifying award! 

     The Trail Nut 10k would be our only shot. The coming CtC race had 2 distances, but even the short course would be longer than we could complete as a team. It was the Trail Nut 10k or nothing.

     We approached the starting line with immense anticipation. Everything was on the line...the glory, the glamor, the prestige...all of it! Nothing, however, would be more weighing on our minds than the coveted RNUT series qualifying award...

     The starting horn blasted and we began our epic trek through the woods of Bedford's Fallon Park. Constant up and down for the next six and a half miles. No significant flat terrain would greet us as we defiantly blasted our way through each grueling mile. It was father and daughter against everything that nature had to throw at us. We threw it all out on the course...lifting each other up when the trek seemed insurmountable...beckoning out to "find your inner strength" and "pain is an illusion". 

     Finally, the finish line came into view. "This is it, Faith. I am old and used up, but this is your time...Go now. Charge that finish line with everything you've got! Don't worry about me...I'll find a way to make it across on my own and we will celebrate then!"

     "Hold my back pack, Dad" she replied. I accepted the back pack and though it added weight to my journey I was in no way burdened...indeed, I was honored to be able to lighten the load so that her youth would be unrestrained in reaching her own goals.

     That would be the last time I saw my daughter for nearly 5 minutes. She took off in a hard sprint towards the finish line to stake claim to not just a 4th trail race finish, but to her first RNUT series qualifying award!

     Alone now, I held my head in solid resolve and vowed to press on. For nearly 1/10th of a mile I continued my casual hiking pace. Each step bringing me closer to discovering the fate that had befallen my daughter. Had she made it? Had she fallen along the way? 

     By the time I crossed the finish line myself over one full minute had passed. Frantic, I scanned the festivities for any trace of my daughter and to discover her fate. I stopped for just an instant to get my finish line picture taken and then strolled up to the pavilion where food and drink were being served in abundance.

     There...sitting at a table, nibbling on an assortment of nutritional products, I finally found her. "Faith!" I cried out. "You did it! Your a series qualifier!"

     "Yay!" she calmly replied and continued to ingest her nutritional products. 

     I prepared a plate for myself  so that we could have some time to just kind of let it all sink in. "Wow! Over 20 miles of hiking, across 4 separate events, this 11 yr old child is amazing!"

     We continued to embellish in the feast and watch some of the awards ceremony. Eventually our adrenaline levels started to relax and our glycogen levels started to elevate..."Dad, I'm ready to go home. When can we leave?" Was to be the final words she would speak at this event. Still in awe at her accomplishment, I would inject no barriers into whatever manner of celebrating she wanted to do. "Uh, yeah...we can leave now if you want." was my reply and off we went. 

     The battle was won. June will grant us participation at the RNUTs cook out when the series awards are handed out. Until then our anticipation will be running high...!