Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Migration

I'm in the process of switching my blog over to wordpress. Click on the link below to visit the new digs.

http://jeffhaight.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Year In Review

This is my second annual “Year In Review” post. In last year’s YIR post not only did I revisit the events of 2008, but I also set some goals for 2009. This year in addition to reviewing what I did in 2009 I’ll need to look at how what I did compared with what I said I was going to do. 2008 was a banner year for me so I set some lofty goals for myself in 2009. The first goal on the list was “run when I can and have fun doing it”. A little vague but that just makes it easier to fudge the results. I would say I did not meet that goal, but went above and beyond that goal. I competed in a record 23 events in 2009. Did I have fun? You bet I did.

2009 started out well enough with a PR at Resolution-Revolution, but in March I began having some issues. While running the Sam Costa I pulled my left calf at mile 9. My pace slowed a little, but I managed to hang on for a half marathon PR. I thought the calf was healed, but then it flared up again at the Mini. This time I was smart enough to ease off the pace and not totally trash my calf which was good because the following weekend I was going to need my calf at the Dances With Dirt 50k. I guess a good romp through the mud and hills of Brown County is all my calf needed, because it did not bother me again the rest of the year.

My next goal was to do a sprint triathlon. I actually started prepping for this in December when I dusted the cob webs off my 1991 Specialized Allez and took it in to the shop for some badly needed, long overdue preventive maintenance. I bought that bike back in 1992 with the intention of doing a triathlon. Good intention, poor execution. In January I was making regular visits to the Avon Intermediate School Pool. One day in January one of my friends asked me to do him a favor. He wanted me to agree to do a triathlon with him, he had never done one either. This was his lucky day because I was already planning to do just that. Well, then the bottom fell out, my job was eliminated on February 3rd. Making plans for summer triathlons suddenly wasn’t a top priority. Fast forward to June, I was still looking for a job, but my economic situation wasn’t as dire as I feared it would have been. I again started thinking about the Indy Sprint Tri at Eagle Creek on July 18th. I only had a few weeks to prepare. I started riding my bike. I went to the pool and tried to swim 500 meters non-stop. I made it. Now confident I could finish the swim; I signed up. Doing that triathlon was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It blew the needle off the fun meter. I was hooked. I almost immediately signed up for the August event. I shifted my focus from just running to riding and swimming. The second tri was even more fun than the first one. My son did this one with me. We even crossed the finish line side by side. I will never forget hearing Don Carr say, “It’s the Haights from Avon, Jeff and Konrad”. It was awesome. I managed to squeeze in a third tri in September. For this one the swim was in a pool. I can’t wait for next summer. The other day while running the snow covered trails along the bluffs overlooking Eagle Creek Reservoir I was day dreaming about swimming in that lake.
 
The last goal didn’t turn out so well. This goal was to run a 100 mile trail run. I guess I could say this goal fell victim to the economy, but the truth is more like I just lost interest in doing it. Whatever the reason even now I don’t have a burning desire to do a 100 miler. Maybe some day, but no immediate plans.
As I stated earlier, I did 23 events in 2009. Five of those events were 50k trail runs. Actually one of those was supposed to be a 50 miler, but I DNF’ed at 34 miles. I only ran one marathon, that being Tecumseh. If you are only going to run one marathon, Tecumseh should be the one. I ran three half marathons, setting a half mary PR at the Sam Costa in March, I love that race. I also PR’ed the 9 miles at Resolution-Revolution, I think that course is a little short of 9 miles, but still there is no better way to ring in the New Year. I also set a 15k trail PR at the DINO race at Ft Harrison. Lot’s of highlights during the year, the triathlons, running the Indy Half with my son, priceless. Total miles for the year was down a bit from last year, 1056 miles so far I’ll probably squeeze in one more run. Of course this year in addition to the running miles I managed to work in over 40,000 meters in the pool and more than 300 miles on my bike.
So, what’s coming up in 2010? Good question. As always, run when I can and have fun doing it. I will definitely do some sprint triathlons this summer and I definitely want to up the ante and do an Olympic distance or half Ironman. I’ll need to spend even more time in the pool and in the saddle to make that happen. I thought I might do fewer events this year and focus more on training, but that thought flew out the window when Brooks unveiled the 2010 I.D. Race Series. The more races I run the more points I get, the better my chances of winning prizes. Top prize, not that I have any chance of winning it, is travel, hotel, and entry to one of the Rock and Roll marathons. Looks like rather than running fewer events this year I’ll be trying to beat last year’s record of 23. The only other goal I have is to run a spring road marathon and try to qualify for Boston. I don’t want to actually run Boston, but I would like to qualify for it.
As always, make the New Year a happy one! See you at the races!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good News, Great Joy, Etc...

Good news! Brooks renewed my membership in their ID program. This year they'll be giving us a team singlet and shorts. Also there are more incentives to run races. For each race I run I get points. At the end of the year there will be a grand prize winner, 10 regional winners, and state winners. I can't imagine I would even come close to winning the grand prize, but it's a nice prize a rock and roll vacation package for two, as in travel, hotel, and entry into one of the rock and roll marathons. Brooks is the exclusive apparel supplier for the rock and roll marathon series. There will also be random prize drawings throughout the year. I'm very excited.

Had a couple nice runs and a swim so far this week. The frigid wind on Tuesday was trying to form snotcicles on my face, but I was generating just enough heat to melt them into a gooey mess. Much warmer run today. Shorts and t-shirt.

I decided to skip HUFF again this year. I'd rather give my knees some recovery time. I also decided against running the 5k's of Christmas race. After the good showing at the Drumstick Dash I was thinking I could finally break my 5k PR, but I haven't really been training for it. Maybe next spring, after getting in some good speed workouts. Besides, with the Brooks incentive, I can see myself running lots of races next year. One race I won't be skipping is the Resolution-Revolution. It isn't really a race, but I always run it as though it were. I can't think of a better way to start off the New Year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tecumseh

In a typical year there are very few days that would not qualify as good days to run in the forest. Snow, rain, hot, cold do not automatically disqualify a day from being a good day to run in the forest. Seriously, who wouldn’t rather be out running through the forest than sitting at a desk regardless of the weather? While I might not describe this past Saturday as a perfect day; it was an absolutely beautiful day to run in the forest. This was fortunate since Saturday was the 7th running of the Tecumseh Trail Marathon. It was my 4th Tecumseh. For the first two I was neither a trail runner nor a marathoner. I missed last year’s race only because I was in Sacramento that weekend running the CIM instead.


Tecumseh is a challenging race. Dean Karnazes, who ran the course as part of his 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days challenge described it as “Hardcore”. There are plenty of hills, rocks, roots, and creek crossings. The water in the creeks seemed to be a little higher than normal this year. Many of the crossings had stepping stones to allow for dry passage. But not all had such luxury. At one crossing I walked across on a half rotted log about 6 feet above the water. I used that same log three years ago. I doubt it will still be there next year. At other crossings I just resigned myself to my fate, a cold wet foot.

The sun was shining brightly at the start and there was little or no wind so it actually felt warm despite a temperature in the low 20’s. It is still hunting season so the race instructions say to wear bright colors. I was wearing my Brooks Nightlife top which according to Ed was blinding in that sunshine. One thing that makes Tecumseh so challenging is getting the pace right. In a typical road marathon I can knock off mile after mile at a consistent pace and know from the start it is a pace I can sustain to the end. Not Tecumseh. I often make the mistake of starting out too fast. This is a huge challenge for me at Tecumseh, because a sustainable pace at the start will feel ridiculously slow. I started out at what felt like a pretty easy pace. Only after it is way too late did I discover it probably wasn’t easy enough. I reached the aid station at 9.7 miles about 6 minutes faster than I ever have. I’m not sure exactly where the half way point is, but I hit the top of Indian Hill Road in 2:07. I still felt pretty good at that point, but that hill definitely sucked some of the life out of me. By around mile 15 I could feel I wouldn’t be able to sustain my pace to the finish. Still I kept pushing myself. At the aid station around mile 18 there was still a glimmer of hope for a sub 4:30 finish. When I reached the aid station around mile 21, I knew there was no way I would beat 4:30. I didn’t give up completely. My legs were trashed and cramping, my tank was empty. I ran as much as I could from that point which wasn’t much. I was making frequent stops to allow others to pass me. The last few miles on the west side of Yellowwood Lake are some of the toughest miles of the race. There aren’t any big hills, but lots of little ups and downs, lots of roots, lots of little creeks. I jumped over one creek and my calf cramped up so bad I’m not sure how I managed to land on my feet. Also, there are several spots where you can see that darned dam, so you know just how far you have to go. Of course the base of the dam isn’t even the end; there is still a little over a mile to go from that last aid station. It is gravel road all the way except for the last hundred yards through the campground. I was determined to run all the way to what is always labeled the “last hill”, literally painted right there on the road, but I didn’t quite make it. I had to take a walk break before the hill, which by the way is NOT the last hill. I guess it depends on your definition of hill. At this point in the race anything going up no matter how slight is a hill and there are a couple rolling hills after the “last hill”. Once I reached the top of the “last hill” I think I ran all the way to the finish, maybe a half mile? It was all adrenaline at this point pushing me. In the last 50 yards or so I heard someone yell out “good job Jeffro”. Not sure who it was, almost no one actually calls me Jeffro, but it’s always nice when someone is there to cheer you on to the finish. 4:53:53. Not my best, not my worst, but as always a great day to run in the forest.

Friday, November 27, 2009

When Thinking Negative Is Good


Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I have so many things for which to be thankful. Of course all the usual stuff, family, job, etc. All of which can be gone in the blink of an eye so I try to be thankful every day and not wait for one specific day to give thanks.

I slept in until 5:30 which is pretty darned late for me. My alarm was set for 5:55 so I wasn’t missing out on much sleep. I’m just happy Dino, Romo, and Kooper didn’t try to wake me up at 3 or 4am. Today I would be hitting the pavement early for a 4.5 mile run with my son, niece, and several thousand of my friends. The Drumstick Dash is a 4.5 mile race in Broad Ripple. This year there were over 8,000 signed up. I’ve always thought this would be a fun race, but every year I was either too busy cooking or out of town. Not this year. After feeding the dogs and cleaning muddy feet I sat down for breakfast. I opted for the usual old fashioned oatmeal with prunes and natural peanut butter. About half way through I started feeling nauseous. I stopped eating, drank some water. Thankfully the feeling passed and I finished eating.

The race wouldn’t start until 9, but I knew the parking would be a problem in Broad Ripple so I thought we should leave around 7am. It was actually 7:15 before the wheels were turning. Then the entrance ramp to 465 north from 10th street was closed so I quickly calculate a reroute in my head. No problem, traffic was light and we made it there in time to still find a spot in the Broad Ripple High School parking lot. Plenty of time to use the porta-potties and build a good case of nerves. Ever since returning to work in early October my training hasn’t been very focused so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was hoping to be able to average 7 minutes per mile. With this large a field, I knew the start would be pure chaos. The organizers were prepared though with large pace signs to help people self seed. I was standing right next to the 7:00/mile sign. Unfortunately there were a large number of people ahead of me who either can’t read, don’t know what pace they run, or just aren’t considerate of others. Oh well, I’m just out here to have fun right?

I zigzagged my way through the crowd to a first mile time of 6:54. Perhaps a little fast, and with the slow start I knew my actual pace at that moment was faster, but I felt good so I figured I would just try to maintain. At the 2-mile sign my watch said 6:45. Still feeling good, but I thought I better take it easy in mile three to save some gas for the last mile and a half. At the 3-mile sign my watch says 6:38. I guess I just don’t know how to take it easy. Now I’m starting to have negative thoughts, as in negative splits. Running negative splits just isn’t something I do. What I usually do is burn myself out early so that I can spend the latter part of the race trying to recover enough to be able to count the people passing me. I can see the 4-mile sign. The seconds are ticking away I’ll have to hurry to beat my last mile split. I just make it at 6:37. Now only a half mile to go. I’m focused, high cadence, short stride, slight forward lean, controlled breathing. I complete the last half mile in 3:03. I feel great! Earlier while eating breakfast I thought I might be spending the day getting up close and personal with a porcelain bowl. Now I’m on top of the world and for that I am indeed very thankful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Highs and Lows

This photo is one of my favorites. It's from the 2009 Mini. This is around mile 7 or so and by the time this image was captured my race was already over because of a pulled calf. I was limping my way to the finish. It wasn't my worst time for a half and I wound up getting a nice gear bag from Brooks for being the fastest ID member in the over 40 age group (probably the only one running that day).

So, last Saturday I was supposed to run the Owen-Putnam State Forest 50k. Well a not so funny thing happened on the way to the race. I was driving west on I-70 when all the sudden there was an object in the road. Not sure what it was, tool box, cooler, I don't know it was dark blue and I didn't see it until it was too late to avoid hitting it. I think it probably fell off the small pickup that was ahead of me but who knows. From the comfort of my drivers seat it didn't seem as though it had done much damage. It was very dark and our exit was just up ahead so I decided to not stop there on the interstate to inspect. The car was still running well when we exited the interstate, so we kept going. After a few miles the check engine light came on and very soon after the engine just died. It was still very dark and almost immediately a guy in uniform on his way to weekend guard duty stopped. He had a flashlight and we could then see that the radiator had been badly damaged. I called a tow service to come rescue us. About two hours and $160 later we were back in Avon at Terry Lee Honda. There wasn't much else I could do at that point so Tom and I headed down to Morgan Monroe State Forest and ran two laps of the Low Gap Trail. It was a beautiful day for a run in the woods. It turns out that the engine was completely fried. The repairs should be finished by Wednesday. Small ding in the front bumper and a slightly used replacement engine... just over $5000. Thank God for insurance.

That was the low, now for the high. Yesterday was the final DINO Series race for 2009. Ft Harrison is perhaps my favorite DINO course. It has hills, rough rocky ankle twisting trails, horse crap, even a creek crossing. And since it is an out and back course you get to cross the creek twice. On this course it is not a question of will you roll your ankle it's a question of how many times will you roll it and how bad will it hurt. It hasn't rained all week so the creek was only ankle deep this year. I went out pretty fast but felt pretty good at the turn around. I was starting to fade on the return, but passing everyone still heading out was a bit of a mental boost. The hills on the return were killing me, but I was still running well on the flats and downhills. With just over a half mile to go there is one last hill, not very big, but I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. I glanced at my watch and thought I might be on record pace. There's no point in finishing with gas left in the tank. The downhill side is smooth grass and I was flying down it. The last half mile is mostly grass and flat. You can actually see the finish area from before the last hill and through the entire last half mile. I was pushing as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line at 1:06:00, I'm certain this course isn't quite a full 15k. Still that's a PR for this course by almost 2 minutes. I certainly wouldn't have been able to do that had I run the 50k the week before. I have been worried that I've haven't been getting in the speed work I need to, but yesterdays race is lifting my confidence a bit. I have a 4.5 mile road race coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Then December 5th is Tecumseh where, if the conditions are right, I'll be trying to beat 4:30. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I think I rolled my ankle about three times.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stone Steps 50k

Last Saturday I ran the Stone Steps 50k in Cincinnati. The event was held in Mt Airy Forest which is a large park just north of downtown Cincy. The weather could not have been better. Well maybe a few degrees cooler would have been nice since I failed to pack a short sleeve shirt. This race is the 4th and last race in the ORRRC 50k series. Once again the ORRRC put on a spectacular event at a bargain price. I do have one suggestion for improvement. The race is run over two loops. The first loop is just over five miles and the second loop is just over 3 miles. You run the five mile loop first and then the 3 mile loop. You repeat this 3 times then run one more 5 mile loop. Both loops start and finish at the same spot so there is only one aid station. The aid station was stocked with all sorts of goodies. The one thing missing was my primary and favorite race fuel... pretzels. Preferably pretzel rods. I've already emailed the race director and volunteer to supply the pretzel rods for next year's race. That is if I return next year. I can't imagine why I wouldn't; this was a fun and challenging course.

The 5 mile loop is fairly easy for the first mile but then the trail gets pretty rocky and rooty. Then just past 2 miles you reach the infamous Stone Steps. I've read somewhere that there are 90 steps, but that can't be right because I'm pretty sure the elevation gain is at least 200 feet from top to bottom. One time up isn't too bad but by the forth trip these are killer steps. If you do make it to the top the trail back to the start/finish area is again fairly easy. At least that's the way I remember it but then I'm not sure how much brain function I had after reaching the top of the steps. The 3 mile loop is a walk in the park compared to the 5 mile loop. Part of this loop run over a Disc Golf course so the most challenging part of this loop was dodging the flying discs.

Through the first 2 circuits I was on pace to finish in around 6 hours. At the time I didn't feel I was pushing too hard. Starting the 3rd circuit I still felt pretty good and was running pretty well all the way to the stone steps. The 3rd time up seemed to suck some of the life out of me. I absolutely was determined to finish this race though so I throttled back a little to make sure I would have enough gas to finish. I used the relative ease of the 3 mile loop to recover physically and mentally. At the start of the final repeat of the 5 mile loop I felt pretty good mentally at least. I felt certain I would finish this race. I wasn't pushing hard, wasn't worried about time, just moving forward toward the goal. I would like to say I was enjoying the scenery, but I was too focused on the trail. I definitely did not want to fall on this rough terrain. Earlier on my third pass I saw another runner take a bad spill. He had hit his head and I think he may have received a concussion. I thought there was no way he would make it back to the aid station, but somehow he did. Anyway as I started up the stone steps for the forth and final time the muscles in my left leg suddenly cramped up and I stopped dead in my tracks. Call in the medivac, start spreading the jelly because I'm toast. Fortunately I still had a few Enduralytes left. I took one and within seconds the cramps eased up and I was able to continue. As I reached the top of the steps I felt lucky to have made it. I regained my senses and kept moving toward the goal. Another runner caught up to me and we walked, talked and even jogged a little together to the finish. 6 hours 42 minutes. Not bad at all. I think I can do better, but considering my lack of distance training I'm happy with it.

Next Saturday is the OPSF 50k. My plan there is to take it easy and just use the race as a final long training run for Tecumseh. If the weather and trail conditions are good on December 5th my goal will be to beat 4:30 at Tecumseh.

This is my son and I finishing the Indianapolis Half Marathon. It was his first half. He said it was the hardest thing he'd ever done, but he looks pretty happy in this picture. Next week he's doing the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon so I guess he's hooked. Now I just need to lure him over to the trails.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Few More Photos

Lots of Balloons

Even More Balloons

A Bee Couple, Holding Hands

A Little of This, A Little of That

Balloons preparing to lift off at Balloon Fiesta

Making Hot Air

Me with Don and Aynslee at Jemez Falls

My wife and I on top of Soda Dam

And in front of Soda Dam

Well, I finally have a job, so there goes my training schedule. I'm back at Diamond Chain as Product Design Engineer and very glad to be back there.

Last Saturday I ran the DINO 15k Trail Series race at SouthWestway Park. It's a 5k loop repeated 3 times. This year they decided to run the loop counterclockwise. The RD said it was more challenging this way. I don't know. There are some tough hills either way. I actually preferred it this way. Not a big crowd so I finished 16th overall and 1st in my age group. My time was 1:12:51, 33 seconds slower than last year. I felt pretty good the whole race. Didn't start out too fast. Didn't die in the middle, had a strong finish.

Didn't get to run the Big Tesuque Trail Race in New Mexico, but did do some hiking and went to the Balloon Fiesta.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Last Tri

After last week’s disappointment with the aborted attempt of a 50 mile trail run, a little success at yesterday’s sprint triathlon was just what the doctor ordered. The FAST (Fishers Area Sprint Triathlon) consisted of a 500 meter pool swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. The weather could not have been better. It did rain a little, not until after I finished the bike segment. I was faster in all three segments, but the swim and bike segments can’t really be compared with the previous events. The swim and bike courses at this venue were definitely easier and there was less distance to travel in transition. The run course was probably the most similar and I was about a minute faster there. My total time of 1:04:26 was good for 37th out of 246 and 3rd in my age group.

The swim was in a 50 meter, 10 lane pool. They were sending us off at 5 to 10 second intervals. I’m not a very fast swimmer so I don’t rush to the head of the line. A few swimmers passed me, but I also passed a few. I didn’t use breast stroke nearly as much as I do in the lake swims. I’m guessing I swam freestyle at least 70% of the time which probably accounts for my faster than normal time of 12:14. When I exited the pool there were no more participants waiting to enter the pool. Swimming is by far my worst event. My swim time was 157th, but I’m happy with the progress I’m making.

I felt a little woozy coming out of the pool, but I quickly regained my senses and ran for my bike. I had a little trouble with one shoe, but still this transition time wasn’t too bad. The bike course was a 5 mile rectangle with a few slight inclines, no hills, no hair pin turns. One of the corners was a little tight. I pushed pretty hard in the first lap and continued pushing hard in the second lap. I was passing slower riders most of the way. I think maybe two faster riders passed me. I averaged 20.8 mph.

As I approached the dismount line I slipped my feet out of my shoes and in the process came close to clipping the curb. This slowed me a little, but it’s still faster than running with the shoes on and then having to take them off in transition. I racked my bike slipped into my shoes, grabbed my race number belt, and off I went. After all the hard pushing on the bike, I felt sluggish starting the run. By the time I made it to the 1 mile mark I felt like I had been running all day. I was starting to loosen up though and mile marker 2 seemed to come up pretty quickly. Time to start pushing it to the finish. With a little more than a quarter mile to go I kicked it into high gear. Of course this only made me think that I should have been running faster a lot sooner. My run time was about a minute faster than at the last event so I can’t complain.

Sadly that’s the last sprint triathlon for this year. I can’t wait for next summer though. I hope to continue regular swim workouts through the winter and be ready for an Olympic distance or maybe even a half IM next year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exercising the 50k Option

Last Saturday I traveled to Caesar’s Creek State Park in Ohio for the Dawg Gone Long 50 Mile Trail Run. Twenty-four runners started the race and 15 finished. I was one of the 9 who didn’t finish. Physically I was doing ok, but mentally I just didn’t have the drive to finish. I rode there with Zach Mitchell, who won the race with a time of 8 hours 16 minutes and that’s after getting off course in the first mile and adding about 26 extra minutes of running. I finished my second loop about 20 minutes ahead of him finishing his third. I knew he would do well, but I was thinking more like 9 hours or so.

The course was pretty scenic, very rugged though, lots of roots and leg scraping vegetation. Parts of the course were on trails that had not been used in years. Not any major hills to speak of, just lots of little hills. Definitely more hills than the Another Dam loop in Englewood. A total of maybe 2 or 3 miles on pavement, including the bridge on highway 73. I didn’t care too much for running on that bridge with all the semi’s blasting past. I think I’d rather have swum across the lake.

My time for the first loop, which included a little extra out and back at the start to bring the total distance up to 50 miles, was 3:33. I don’t think that was too fast; although I was already having negative thoughts near the end of that loop. The bridge on 73 was maybe 3 miles into the loop. On the second trip across I was thinking I really didn’t want to run across this bridge again. After crossing the bridge, about a quarter mile into the woods, I was day dreaming and the next thing I know I’m hitting the ground hard. Luckily I was carrying two hand held bottles to help cushion the blow. I started paying closer attention to the trail afterward, but the fall didn’t help my mood any. Almost half way into the second loop I decided I was definitely not doing a third. From then on I really slowed the pace, taking time to enjoy the scenery. I was thinking there was no point in speeding to the finish area only to have to sit and wait for Zach. Of course at the time I didn’t know how close he was to lapping me. If not for his going off course he would have lapped me.

Even though I hadn’t trained for this event; I’m a little surprised and disappointed in my poor performance. My overall fitness level at this point is the best I can remember, but I guess training for sprint triathlons doesn’t prepare one for the mental challenge of finishing a 50 mile run.

Next Sunday I have another sprint triathlon on the schedule. The swim is indoors, 500 meters in a 50 meter pool, then 10 mile bike and 5k run. After that the only race I am already committed to is the Indy Half Marathon on October 17th. Oh, and of course the DINO 15k October 10 and again November 14th. Thinking about Stone Steps 50k and/or OPSF 50k. I’m going to Albuquerque September 30th. There is a 11.6 mile trail run north of Santa Fe October 3rd. This is the description from Active.com “Course is up and back a forest service road through quaking aspens and magnificent pines to the radio towers at the top of the ski area. Starting elevation is ~10,000 ft., summit is 12,038 ft. Total race distance is ~11.6 miles”. That sounds like a tasty little challenge. Now all I have to do is talk my hosts into driving me up there. Below is the elevation profile with percent grade.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Insanity Update

Last Saturday I ran the DINO Trail Series 15k at Town Run Trail Park. It’s a very flat course, but it has lots of tight turns and quite a few short steep rises, maybe 6 to 8 feet tall. With all the turns and “speed bumps” you can’t ever get in a rhythm. It’s almost 100% very narrow single track too, which makes passing a challenge. Bottom line, this course will tear you up. Brian the RD says the course actually measured 9.5 miles. Whatever the true distance was, it was slightly longer than last year’s course and yet I managed to run it more than two minutes faster than last year. That was a bit of a confidence boost going into this weekend’s event. Since I’ve been training for triathlons I haven’t been getting nearly as many miles running as I should have, but still I seem to be in pretty good running shape. I wound up 4th in my age group. The next day though, I was at a 4 mile race that my son was running. There I ran into the guy who was 3rd in my age group. He said he had realized he missed a turn on the course and cut off some distance and that I actually should have been given the 3rd place award. My recounting of this doesn’t really do it justice, but it really was an extraordinary coincidence running into that guy.

So, tomorrow morning at 3am I’m heading east to Caesar’s Creek State Park in Waynesville, Ohio to run the Dawg Gone Long 50 Mile Trail Run. As of today only 21 brave souls are registered for this new race. It’s supposed to be a 16.4 mile loop that you run 3 times. I guess technically then it will only be a mere 49.2 miles. Only 49.2?!!

I’m riding over there with another local trail runner, Zach Mitchell. He’s using this as a training run for the Oil Creek 100. Zach is a much faster runner than I, but he says he doesn’t mind waiting around for me at the finish.

Busy week ahead too. Job interview on Wednesday, drive to New York Thursday, fly home Friday, then sprint triathlon on Sunday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Success on Second Tri

Konrad and Jeff enjoying some Chinese noodles
and chocolate milk after some hard work.

I finished my second Sprint Triathlon yesterday. It was awesome! I think I may be obsessed. Of course having my son there competing and my wife there cheering us on made it extra special. My wife even brought along her therapy dog, Dino, for extra support. Dino is a 100+ pound Chocolate Lab, a real gentle giant.


This was my son’s first triathlon and he did well. He is a much better swimmer than I, so he started well ahead of me. They do individual starts at this tri and you can pretty much jump in the start line whenever you feel like it. I might have started a little sooner, but I was chatting with a guy. For some reason he asked me if I ran marathons, well, next thing you know I’m talking about ultras and once that happens it isn’t easy to shut me up. The swim was ok. I was a few seconds faster than last time. I think I swam a little more freestyle than last time, but still swam mostly breast stroke. I guess I just like seeing where I’m going and breast stroke isn’t as fatiguing. Almost half way through the swim I literally ran into one of my friends. I suppose I should say swam into. He was back stroking and my arm caught him on the leg. He looked over and said, hey how’s it going. There was a pretty good breeze blowing across the lake which made the water a little choppy. Consequently I wound up drinking a lot more water than I would have liked.


Finishing the swim is a huge mental lift. I started coming to my senses and running for my bike. I heard my wife shout out “go Jeff”. Dino didn’t say anything, but I think that’s one of the reasons my wife brought him rather than either of the other two dogs, because Dino doesn’t talk much. I was a minute faster in this transition than last time. I didn’t waste time putting on a shirt was part of the difference. Other than that I suppose I just didn’t mess around, wipe off feet, put on shoes, helmet, go.


My bike start was a little slow. I was having trouble getting my shoes locked in. The start is slightly up hill and I almost came to a stop. I managed to keep rolling and eventually get clipped in. Then I was off. This was a very good ride for me. I don’t recall anyone ever passing me. I was constantly passing other riders. My average speed was 1 mph faster than last time. I’m very happy with that. As I approached the bike finish I saw my son heading out on the run. The bike course is an out and back, so I must have crossed paths with him out there too, but didn’t notice. I saved some time by slipping my feet out of my shoes before the dismount. I was a little worried about running barefoot through the rough parking lot, but I had already done it after the swim and this time around my feet were almost numb to it.


As I started the run my son was almost a half mile ahead of me. Again with the run, I was passing lots of people, but don’t remember anyone ever passing me. The run is also an out and back so when I saw my son on the return he was maybe a quarter mile ahead of me. With about a half mile to go it was past time to put the hammer down. The last couple hundred yards is slightly down hill so I was really pushing here. With about 50 yards to go I looked up and noticed my son about 10 yards ahead of me. By this point I shouldn’t have had any notches left to kick it up, but it would be an understatement to say I was determined to catch up to him. Caught him just in time for us to cross the finish line side by side and hear the announcer say, “and it’s the Haights from Avon, Konrad and Jeff”. Excuse me while I go grab a tissue.


My finish time was 4:07 faster than last time. I improved in every area, 15 seconds in the swim, 1 minute in T1, 1:42 on the bike, 53 seconds in T2, and 16 seconds on the run. I couldn’t be happier with the results. All the hard work in the last month really paid off.



Monday, July 20, 2009

"TRI"ed It, Loved It

Way back in 1991 I did a duathlon. Actually, back then they called this particular event a bi-athlon. It consisted of a 3 mile run, 15 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run. It was fun to combine running with cycling and I starting thinking about adding in swimming and doing a triathlon. I bought a book about triathlons, "Scott Tinley's Winning Triathlon". I bought a new road bike, a Specialized Allez. Before I could do a triathlon I moved to Indiana. I thought this would be a good move because triathlons being relatively new were not all that common back then, but there seemed to be lots of triathlons in central Indiana.

The years ticked by and I never did a triathlon. In many of those years I didn't even do any running, cycling, or swimming. In 2002 I started getting serious about running. I started doing marathons and ultra-marathons. After a few years I started thinking about the triathlon again. Lots of thinking, but not much doing. In December 2008 I finally made a decision, in the summer of 2009 I would do a triathlon. I wiped the dust off the old Allez, took it into a bike shop to get the bearings greased, wheels trued, and rusty cables replaced. In January a friend who didn't know of my decision asked if I would do him a favor. He wanted to get in shape and do a triathlon in the summer and wanted me to do it with him for moral support. I just laughed and told him it was funny he asked me that because I had already decided to do a triathlon. Along the way there were some setbacks. In February I lost my job. From March through May I struggled with a calf injury. It was starting to look like I might make it through another year without doing a triathlon.

In June I ran a 50k and didn't have any ultras planned until September. That was just too long to go without a challenge. My friend had said he was signed up for the August 22 Indy Sprint Triathlon. In late June I took the plunge, I signed up for the July 18th Indy Sprint Triathlon. Well the 18th has come and gone and I am at long last a "triathlete". It was spectacular! I loved it. It was about 59 degrees at the start, so between the cold and nerves and I was shivering almost uncontrollably. The water felt great, just about the right temp. I was a little worried about being able to finish the swim, but I made it. I won't say it was easy, but the swim wasn't as difficult as I had feared. As you can see from the times below my swim and transitions need a little work, but I'm pleased with my bike and run times. My overall time was 1 hour 13 minutes 27 seconds which put me in 206th place out of 555 finishers. Not bad for a beginner.
Swim 14:11.7 (432nd) Transition 1 02:34.5 (398th)
Bike 0:32:19.3 (18.6 mph/202nd) Transition 2 02:33.0 (523rd)
Run 0:21:49.0 (07:16.3/ 83rd)
Total time 1:13:27.4 (206th)
This year the Indy Sprints have changed from wave starts to individual starts. This is supposed to relieve congestion at the start and I guess it works. There was a little bumping along the way, but the start was pretty smooth. Having survived the first attempt, I signed up for the August 22nd event. My son who went along and took pictures decided he wanted to do a triathlon and so he also signed up for the August 22nd event. He even bought himself a road bike yesterday. Should be lots of fun. I can't wait.

Having bib number marked on arms.
Entering the water.
Running through transition to the bike start.

Starting the run.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Will Tri

Way back in 1993 I moved from very rural Western New York to Indianapolis, Indiana. I was a little apprehensive about the move but I was also a little excited because I had read in some Triathlon magazine (yes, magazine, this was the dark ages before I did everything on the internet heck I didn’t even own a computer) that there were several triathlons in central Indiana. I had never done a triathlon; although, a year earlier I had done a run, bike, run bi-athlon. Now these events are referred to as duathlons. Well, a mere 16 years later I have finally signed up for my first triathlon, the Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon Series at Eagle Creek Park on July 18th. Nothing too difficult, just a little 500 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. My main goal is to make it out of the water under my own power. If I can do that I think the ride and run will be fun. I’ve done 500 meters non-stop in a pool, but in the open water of a lake with no lane markers and other swimmers kicking me?? Stay tuned…

Monday, June 8, 2009

Four More Dam Miles

I finished my second Another Dam 50k this past Saturday. This race is a 7 plus mile loop repeated four times. About a mile of the loop is consumed traversing the Englewood Dam which is part of a system of five dry dams that have protected the Miami Valley from flooding along the Great Miami River since 1922. Anyway, I now have a total of 8 AD 50k dam miles. The dam is almost a mile long and the course returns along part of the lower section of the dam, so I guess that’s how they come up with four dam miles for a complete race. Of course this isn’t counting any other dam miles I may have logged in other races. I think the Germantown 50k crosses another dam in the system, but that’s only one crossing at about a quarter mile so it’s no big deal. I suppose seeing the flat straight mile ahead of you and knowing you have to repeat it four times can be somewhat intimidating especially when to sun is beating down on you.

The race started out ok. I didn’t think I was pushing too hard early on even though I finished my first loop about three minutes faster than last year. I still felt pretty good unlike at Dances With Dirt where I knew I was toast after 7 or 8 miles. After completing the second loop I was about four minutes ahead of last years pace and still feeling good. In the third loop I crossed the dam in about 8 minutes which would equate to a pace considerably faster than my average pace from last year. Then about half way through the third loop the wheels came off. I started feeling a little nauseous and my legs started feeling fatigued. Not sure what went wrong. It was warm, but the humidity was pretty low. I started drinking more water and took some more electrolytes. I soon realized I wouldn’t beat my time from last year so I didn’t push too hard through the rest of the third loop. I ran as much as I could but took walk breaks whenever I needed to. In the fourth loop I again tried to run the entire length of the dam, but even the adrenaline boost from knowing this was my last trip was not enough to keep me going. By now my only goal was to beat 6 hours and I was pretty sure I could do that. Then about half way through loop 4 I started thinking I could beat 5:45 so I tried to minimize the walk breaks as much as possible. Shortly after passing through the last aid station I started thinking that I could come within 30 minutes of last year’s finish time. These thoughts I was having may seem dopey to those who don’t run ultras, but when you are struggling you grasp at whatever you can for motivation. Anyway I finished the last couple miles with a new urgency. My finish time was 5:41:26, exactly 30 minutes and 2 seconds slower than last year.

Next up is the Germantown 50k on August 22nd. I’m not 100% committed to it yet, but pretty sure I’ll do it.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brown County State Park

I returned to the scene of the crime yesterday, Brown County State Park. That's where I ran the DWD 50k three weeks ago. Yesterday I was there for the DINO Series 15k. It's called a 15k, but in reality the course is very close to 10 miles. Last Monday I ran a very hard 15 miles at Eagle Creek, Wednesday I ran intervals, and on Thursday I ran a short, but fast pace run. I think I was feeling good about finally feeling healthy and was ready to get my training back on track. So rather than rest up for DINO, I trained hard. I hope there will be future returns from that training investment.

The Brown County DINO race starts out with a mile up hill including a set of stairs a quarter mile in that always creates a bottle neck. I know from past experience to take it easy on this first mile and I thought I was taking it easy. After reaching the top I settled into a moderate pace behind Steve and Jim, a couple other DINO regulars. Around 4.5 miles in there is another significant hill climb. This is where I lost Steve and Jim. My legs just said enough and I walked up much of the hill and most of the remaining hills on the course. I was still able to run a good pace going down, but even then my legs felt a little shaky. I lost count of how many other runners passed me, but every time I would hear footsteps behind me I just moved out of the way. I didn't even try to stay ahead of them. Fortunately the last mile is mostly downhill so I was able to get up a good head of steam into the finish, my slowest time ever on this course, about 4 minutes slower than last year. I was in a haze at the finish and I didn't stop my watch so I won't know my exact time until DINO posts them on their website. Oh well, it was a good week of training and I somehow managed to finish second in my age group. This week I think I'll take it a little easier since Another Dam 50k is on Saturday.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Turning Point?

I survived Dances With Dirt; however, a more appropriate event name might have been Mingles With Mud. Then again it was definitely more than just mud I was slogging through on that nightmarish horse trail. My performance wasn’t pretty, but I finished. Of course the ugliness was mostly, as is usually the case, self inflicted.

At the urging of fellow DINO runner Steve B. I went off way too fast at the start. I managed to stay with Steve all the way to the second aid station at about the 9 mile mark. I had to stop there to take my left shoe and sock off to clean out the mud that had built up under my toes. At around the 2 mile mark there was a long section of ankle deep mud. Running through that shoe sucking ooze wasn’t the best way to start a race, but being fresh made it seem easy. There was a lump of mud about the size of a quarter inside my sock. It was packed in there pretty hard and made it feel like I had a nail poking through my shoe. I managed to catch back up to Steve about a mile out of the aid station but then quickly realized I couldn’t go another 20 miles at that pace. At this point there were only about 9 runners ahead of me but I was suddenly making frequent stops to allow others to pass me.

Mud on the inside of my sock after the race.

I wasn’t completely wasted yet, but knew reaching the finish line would be painful. There were a few moments where I seemed to get a second wind and was feeling pretty good. Those moments didn’t last long. There were a number of small creek crossings with cool flowing water. After the second aid station I didn’t even try to avoid the water. I actually started planting my feet firmly in the rapid flow and would squish my feet around in my shoes to clear out the mud. This worked well and I never again had to remove my shoes. Also the cool water helped sooth my aching feet.

I stopped paying attention to where I was on the course because there was no point in wasting any energy on negative thoughts about how many miles were left to go. Just keep moving forward, no stinkin’ thinkin’. I hadn’t studied the course description much, but I knew Ogle Lake was the last aid station and from there it would be just less than 7 miles to the finish. I thought I might be getting close to Ogle Lake and seeing a trail sign pointing to Ogle Lake was one of those moments when I started feeling pretty good. I soon reached the aid station, topped off my water bottle, grabbed a handful of pretzel sticks, and was quickly munching my way over the dam. They had pretzel sticks at all the aid stations. Pretzels are my favorite race food anyway, but these sticks were easy to grab. This time I even thought to poke one of the sticks into the jar of peanut butter they had. Mmmm, gourmet trail running food.

After crossing the dam there was a nice little climb up from Ogle Lake. Upon reaching the top of the ridge I started repeating my mantra from the Ice Age 50 miler “walking only prolongs the misery” and starting running as much as I could. A mile or two out of Ogle Lake the course came onto a paved road. Just up ahead I saw a lady pop out of an outhouse on the side of the road. She turned around and said, “Come on I’ll jog with you to the aid station”. I said, “huh”? That was about all the conversation my brain could muster at this point. Turns out she was a race volunteer and there was indeed another aid station just ahead. She said it was a surprise aid station and a pleasant surprise it was. It was there for the half marathoners. She had hoped to be gone by now but not all the half marathoners had come through, lucky me. Water bottle topped off, orange wedge, handful of pretzel sticks, a fresh shot of adrenaline and off I went. Only 5.4 miles to go. I was feeling good. Woohoo! I was running even though my legs were screaming walk. I was running because it was smooth flat trail and at about 5 hours 30 minutes into the run I started thinking I could still finish around close to 6 hours 30 minutes. Plus that nice lady at the aid station lied to me. She said there were only about 12 runners ahead of me. (I should have known better, turns out the number was closer to 3 times 12.)

Then it happened. By it I mean the course turned onto a section of horse trail that was pure hell. This time I wasn’t fresh. I wasn’t able to just plow right through it. Every step in this shoe sucking muck was also sucking out what the little remaining energy I had, not to mention any chance I had of coming in anywhere close to 6:30. Before the start the race director said we would start hating him 20 minutes into the race when we hit that first mud section. Then I was fresh so it didn’t bother me. Now I was worn down ready to be finished. Now I didn’t just hate the race director, I wanted to hurt him. This seemed to go on forever, no end in sight. I passed another runner through this section. I even saw several horses. One pair of horses turned and came up behind me very fast. I was hoping they would trample me to death and put me out of my misery, but they missed me. Eventually the course turned off this section and soon after I could hear the sound of a highway. The trail soon opened up to an old ski slope. I could see highway 46 and a building that I first thought was Mike’s Dance Barn (the start/finish area). It wasn’t, big disappointment. I kept running though, now being motivated by the thought of maybe coming in under 7 hours. I didn’t quite make it. My finish time was 7:00:57.

Except for the mud I liked most of this course. There weren’t many big hill climbs and most of the trail was very runable. I think if I had started out at a sensible pace I could have run this course under 6:30 maybe even close to 6 hours. Also on the positive side is the fact that my left calf gave me no trouble at all. I’m now cautiously optimistic that I can get this year turned around and headed in a positive direction. I have three weeks to find some speed for the DINO 15k May 30th at Brown County which is run on some of the very same trails as DWD (thankfully not the extreme mud sections). Then exactly one week later is Another Dam 50k at Englewood MetroPark in Englewood Ohio.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Polar Opposites

Without a doubt 2008 was my most productive year of running, just an awesome year full of great challenging races and lots of PR’s. Well, 2009 is slowly starting to stagger 180 degrees off awesome. The year started out ok, but I’ve been fighting a left calf injury for a little over a month now. This has put a huge dent in my training and is giving me a bad attitude.


Last Saturday I ran the Mini Marathon. The calf felt ok at the start, but I was afraid it could give me trouble. For the first few miles I was on pace to hit my goal, but by mile 4 I starting thinking I wouldn’t have the stamina to maintain that pace. Then at mile 6 the calf started acting up. I probably could have pushed myself a little harder, but with the Dances With Dirt 50k coming up this Saturday I decided it was smarter to try and save myself. That was one of the smarter decisions I’ve made in quite a while. I finished the run and posted my slowest half marathon time since 2003. The day after the Mini my calf felt great. On Tuesday I ran six miles. I wouldn’t say the calf was 100%, but it was ok. The lack of training was proving to be a tougher hurdle. Then today I ran another six miles and felt much better. Without even trying I ran the course almost four minutes faster. Calf felt pretty good.


So now the big question is, do I take it easy this Saturday or do I push myself? Smart thing would probably be to start out slow and then if I still feel good 20 miles out start to kick it up a notch. Of course taking it easy at the start of a race has never been my forte.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

DINO at Avon

Last Saturday I ran the DINO 15k in Avon. Once again the weather could not have been better. The course is a 5k loop repeated three times. The course was changed a little from previous years. I liked the new course. The changes made the course a little longer than it was last year so comparing results is impossible. My main goal was to stay conservative at the start, to not get burned out in the first quarter mile like I have a bad habit of doing. I started a little further back in the pack than I normally do and since this course gets bottled up in single track trail within a couple hundred yards taking it easy was, well, easy. I wasn’t able to start putting the hammer down until past the one mile mark. This strategy seemed to work out well for me. I didn’t burn out early and the first lap was my slowest. Laps two and there were about the same. I think I ran well and finish in 1:10:11 which was good enough for 2nd place in my age group. My time was a little slower than last year at this race, but it was a different course so I can’t really compare the two.


Next race is the Mini Marathon in Indianapolis in two weeks. Unfortunately last Tuesday at the Indy Runners Mini Training program I pulled my left calf. We were at mile 5 of a 10 mile run when it happened. Fortunately there was a water stop set up at 5 miles and I was able to get a ride back to the start area. I’ve been nursing it all week with ice, ibuprofen and “The Stick”. It is feeling better, but definitely not 100%. We have an 11 mile run this Tuesday which I probably shouldn’t do, but we’ll see. I had planned to do about four hours on the trails today, but that’s not going to happen. I’m ready for the mini, but haven’t been able to train as I would have liked. Of course a bigger concern is Dances with Dirt the week after the Mini. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sam Costa

I ran the 40th Annual Sam Costa Half Marathon Saturday. It’s the oldest road race in Indiana. Weather was great, cool and overcast, perfect except for a little too much wind. I started out ok. Maybe a little quick, but not too bad. I soon settled into a nice steady pace around 7:13 or so per mile. After passing the 7 mile mark I started to pick up the pace. I was passing people and was feeling pretty good. Then just past the 9 mile mark my left calf suddenly started to cramp up. I stopped for a moment to massage it. This helped a little, but I knew I was in trouble. I started running again, but very tentatively. With every step of my left leg I had to pull my toe up to keep the calf stretched. This is no way to run, but I was somehow able to run the next two miles at 7:30 pace. As I hit mile 12 I realized if my calf didn’t completely disable me I could still squeak out a half marathon PR. Well, I made it to the finish in 1:36:14, a little more than 2 minutes faster than my previous best which was run on this same course in 2007. I think I lost around two minutes to the calf problem so if I can get healthy I can shave some more time off that PR.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Means DINO

The first race of the DINO Trail Series happened last Saturday at Eagle Creek. The weather was perfect and the trail conditions were pretty good too. A little mud in a few spots, but otherwise dry. Very large turnout, in fact the largest ever for a DINO Series event, 202 finished the 15k and 195 finished the 5k. I'm glad the economy isn't keeping people from racing, maybe we're all just running away from our troubles.

The course was a loop that was repeated three times for the 15k. The course was modified slightly this year to shorten it. Last year the course was a little longer than 3.1 miles. This year it was a little short of 3.1 miles. I ran a pretty good race, didn't start out too fast and was able to maintain a good steady pace the entire race. Lots of fast runners though and I wasn't able to crack the top three in my age group. Still I'm happy with my effort and the finish time of 1:05:44. I'm still plagued by this respiratory infection, but I didn't let it get the best of me this time.

This morning I did a set of 75 burpees in 12:53. Not a record time for me, but still a good effort. Tonight is Indy Runners Mini training at Butler, an easy 6 mile run.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bubble Burst

I was really bummed out after my poor performance last Saturday at the Spring Fling 15k race. I ran almost four and a half minutes slower than last year. Today though I am taking some consolation from the fact that I've had a respiratory infection for about two weeks now and I guess that took more out of me than I thought it would. I didn't think about this until this morning when I went out for an easy six mile jog and my legs were extremely sore and lifeless, much more than they should be from a mere 15k. I have another 15k race this Saturday, the first race in the 2009 DINO Trail Series. I hope this infection is cleared up by then.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Twenty-One Redux

It’s been just over two months since I’ve tackled twenty-one. Since that time I’ve been working a push up program to improve my push up endurance. That program is supposed to get you to the point where you can do 100 consecutive push ups. Well, I’ve not reached 100 yet, but I’ve definitely improved my push up endurance and it shows in the results for twenty-one. On December 16th I needed just over 33 minutes to complete 21. Today I did it in 19:16. For those who don’t know, twenty-one is a push up and crunch workout where you start with 20 push ups and 1 crunch, then 19 push ups and 2 crunches and continue until you do 1 push up and 20 crunches. I do a leg lift crunch where I lift my legs and curl my knees up into my chest. You can do whatever type of crunch or sit up you are comfortable with. Enjoy.

By the way, I followed twenty-one with 100 squats for good measure. Squats are a quick way to burn lots of calories and you can quickly do 25 or 30 at work even. Contrary to popular myth, squats are good for you knees, just make sure you a doing them properly. Go to http://www.crossfit.com/ to see a video demonstration.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lovin' the Hills, Kentucky Style

I felt really good going into this race, was well rested, and slept good the night before. So naturally I went out a little too fast at the start. Dumb, dumb, dummy. When will I ever learn? I ran the first loop about four minutes faster than last year and the second loop about 12 minutes faster than last year, but at the Scott’s Gap turn around I was only a few minutes ahead of last year’s pace. From Scott’s Gap to the finish I was still able to run the flats and down hills, but didn’t have the steam to really push it like last year. Also on the return from Scott’s Gap I was having trouble running fast down hill because my toes were so sore. It’s too bad I blew it this year because I can’t ever expect to get better weather and trail conditions than we had this year. I have to give a huge thanks to all the volunteers who made this race possible. The ice storms from two weeks ago and the wind from last week knocked down so many trees there was a good chance the race would have to be cancelled. Fortunately many people worked their butts off to get the trail ready. I have never seen such devastation; there were trees down everywhere, but with a couple minor exceptions the trail was cleared and in great shape. For finishing we got a wood medal shaped like a heart and a Colorado blue spruce seedling. Not sure where I’m going to plant it, but it should make for a lasting reminder of a great day on the trails. That is if I don’t kill it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still leaking, but keeps on ticking

Two years ago a cardiologist told me I had a leak in my aortic valve. He told me to avoid lifting heavy weights, but running should be ok. He also told me to come back in two years for another cardiac echo. In the two years since then I’ve lost at least 15 pounds and have set new PR’s for just about every race distance with one annoying exception, the 5k. I had another cardiac echo done a couple weeks ago and the cardiologist says everything looks great, of course the leak is still there, but it isn’t worse. He said I’m in excellent shape and just keep doing what I’m doing and of course come back in three or four years to drop off another wad of cash.

This is all good because this Saturday is Louisville’s Lovin’ The Hills. LLTH is one of the toughest 50k’s around. My 50k PR is 5:11, my best time at LLTH is 6:30. This year my goal is to beat that time. It won’t be easy, but if I’m patient and don’t go out to fast at the start I know I can do it. Then again if I'm slogging through mud the whole way forget about any goal other than just finishing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that I now have lots of time to train. The bad news is I won't have the money to sign up for races because my job was eliminated on Tuesday. I'm now looking for a job as a "Certified Internet Surfer" with a salary in the low six figure range. If anyone knows where I can find such a job let me know asap.

Actually I've been pleasantly surprised by the amount of jobs that are posted.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bayonet 7

The Groundhog 7 was only the second time I’ve ever run a 7 mile race. Seven seems like an unlikely number of miles for a race. The first was back in 1984 at Ft Ord, home of the 7th “Bayonet” Infantry Division. They had a seven mile race called the “Bayonet 7”. I don’t remember much about the race other than seeing guys running in combat boots and fully loaded rucksacks. I was wearing shorts and running shoes, no rucksack. I also remember the Commanding General standing at the finish line shaking everyone’s hand as they finished. I don’t remember my exact time, but it was almost certainly slower than 48:18.

I belive this picture was taken after the race. All the hardware belongs to the girls. They were pretty fast runners. I don’t remember how three girls came home with five trophies, but they did. We were all students at the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) at the Presidio of Monterey. The Monterey Peninsula was most definitely a runner's paradise. I imagine it still is.

Back row: Sgt. Steve Lefavour, me, SSG Rob Pinnell

Front row: June Parsons, Debbie Hamilton, Michele ??