Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Year Winding Down

Hello again!

I know it’s been awhile, but I did want to update the site with all the comings and goings. First off, in September, I completed 2- 100 milers: the Rio Del Lago 100 in the Folsom/Auburn area and the Angeles Crest 100 in Southern California (just north of the eastern L.A. valley area). I was tremendously challenged in both races, with a badly bruised left big toe and sprained right knee over the last 75-80 miles at AC and temps around 100 degrees at RDL. They both took a lot out of me and left me in precarious straits. But, I’m pleased with how we recovered to finish strong in both circumstances. A special thank you goes out to my pacers at both races: Mambo Jose, Mike Moseby, Lora Liu and Rick Gaston (www.365ultra.blogspot.com). It was an awesome opportunity to run with them by my side to perservere. I’ve always enjoyed bringing and introducing friends and family to the world of trail running (particularly 100 milers) through experiences like pacing or crewing. It may or may not be something that they do in their lifetimes, but they get the taste of what I go through and we get to share that together. I never want to take their contributions to my own successes for granted.

As far as my goals for the year, I’ve hit all but two of the goals. It’s not like I had that many goals to start out with (listed below on the front page of the site), but it does show a good measure of success at transitioning to the wear and tear of these longer races. While still wanting an even better time at Badwater, I was happy with the 36 hour finish and the 16th place finish, which does represent a step forward. While I’ll still be shooting for a sub-30 hour finish if I get accepted next year, my body’s ability to recover from low points more rapidly is encouraging. The two goals left on my list for the year are a sub-3 marathon and a sub-20 100 miler. Of the two, the easier one will probably be the sub-20 100 miler. I just paced a friend to a 8:58 hilly 50 miler, minimizing the wear and tear on my body and giving me the confidence that at the level of effort I gave, I could’ve gone another 50 on the course in the same time or less. I just need to relax, limit the anxiety, and run a smooth and even race. Running a road race like the Mother Road 100 in flat lands should allow me to dial down the effort over the first 50 while finding the right rythym to keep trucking all the way through to the end.

The harder race for me should be the sub-3 marathon, considering the intensity necessary over the shorter distance. While I have incorporated major marathon training elements into my training, the marathon distance can turn on much smaller, less predictable events like a shoe lace coming loose. The one thing I haven’t focused on, but represents a big step forward in this event is weight loss. While my body fat level has dropped since starting to run ultramarathons about 3 years ago, there still is room for improvement. At about 5’11” and 179/180 lb., I’ve been able to compete well, but not well enough. I’m not getting up hills fast enough and while there could be a training component to address, I’m also carrying more mass up the hills that some of the other competitors at my height. It wasn’t until Lance Armstrong lost his weight (albeit, under rather dire circumstances due to cancer) that he was able to be come the elite climber he needed to be in order to win the Tour de France. There is simply a major advantage to the lighter athletes going uphill when gravity is pulling with a greater force on larger masses.

So here it is, in the midst of getting ready for these pivotal races, that I want to be 10 lbs. lighter by year’s end. They say that in marathons, a pound lost can translate into a 2 second drop per mile for one’s pace. 10 lbs. can represent the difference been just barely crossing the sub-3 hour barrier and making a run at a sub-2:50 marathon, simply by carrying less weight on the body frame. While some of this loss may come from losing fat, there’s also a desire to lean out the larger muscle in my quads and legs. The primary driver will have to be my diet, with a secondary driver being the use of a smart weight training program to complement my running.

Don’t get me wrong; I have no desire to be a stick figure runner particularly when my frame has always been built more for contact sports like basketball and lacrosse rather than running. But, the body is an amazing gift and just as it has taken time for it to simply adapt to running these distances, it’s going to take the next 3 months for it to take the next step forward.

I’ll post a preview of the upcoming races next week, along with the long-delayed part II finale of the Badwater report. Stay strong, run hard and God bless.


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