Thursday, July 31, 2008

Old-Time 4th of July 10K

What better way to start off the 4th of July than with a race? This year I ran in the 25th annual Stayton was my second year running the race. Last year, there were a number of factors that added up to make a tough race for me (I barely broke 40:00)...I was training for the PCT 50 miler, so I wasn't doing a lot of fast running (I remember my legs feeling "dead" during the race)...July 4th was in the middle of the week, so I was training right through the race...the course is pretty challenging (it's out-and-back with several significant hills)...and it was very hot. This year I was hoping for a better performance, but wasn't expecting great things because my recovery from the Newport Marathon had been pretty rough...most training runs were not feeling good, but things were starting to get better.

Another interesting subplot was that I had recently lost a bet and was given some clothes to wear for the race. Below are a couple pictures of me before the race...don't disrespect the half shirt...Will is looking like he doesn't even know me.

As the race began, I fell in behind the lead pack and watched the Pain Train lead us through the first mile...I remember thinking, he must be feeling good! I found myself right behind Mark Robins and thought I'd try and hang with him since he had just run a 38:04 10K a couple weeks ago. But just before we hit the first big hill heading into Sublimity, he stopped for water and I kept going. As I ran up the hill, I noticed I was getting closer to a couple guys ahead of me so I reeled them in...and at this point I was feeling good so I thought, let 'er fly. I caught one more guy on the way back and I also got a few interesting looks as I passed people heading the opposite direction...several smiles! As with most 10K races, I was able to "hang on" in the end and not get passed. I finished 5th in 37:43...a 10K PR on a tough course. Thanks to everyone for a great cheering section at the finish (see the video below)...and thanks to Bullseye and the Pain Train for not finding shorts for me to wear...don't think I would have been able to run that fast in cut-offs.

It was really nice to run a good race after all the tough training lately. Next up is the Where's Waldo 100K...not only is this race challenging with good training, but I'll have the added challenge of training with a new baby. Lately I've been doing lots of running with Will in the jogging stroller, the Pain Train has made many trips down to Corvallis to run with me, and the grandparents have been very supportive on the weekends helping Tonya with the kids while I try to get the long runs in...thanks everyone, especially you, Tonya, for the support!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mt. Hood Scramble

I should have known better than to bet on myself in a scramble...seriously, I've had some trouble in the past. This goes all the way back to the summer before my senior year of high school when I attended the Steens Mountain Running Camp in Eastern Oregon with three of my teammates (Joe Bartosz, Jonah Lynch, and Lafe Paulson) in preparation for my final year of high school cross-country. This camp was a defining running experience for me...I had such a great time hiking, running, and camping in the Steens Mountain wilderness. During the camp, there were many different activities...some of the highlights were the 30 mile hike/run, the uphill 5K, and the cross canyon race or team scramble. My team for the scramble included Joe, Jonah, and Lafe plus a guy from Tillamook, Josh Huffman (interestingly, I've noticed his name in marathon results lately...he was a good runner in high school and, not surprisingly, he broke 3:00:00 at the Boston Marathon this year...congratulations!). The scramble course was not marked...we had to run in a general direction cross-country down into a canyon, back out (I remember this involved a large snow field), and then find the finish. I was doing alright until we were probably about 100 yards from the finish...all of the sudden my calf cramped. Rather than hobble into the finish, Joe (on the left in the picture) and Lafe (on the right in the picture) picked me up and carried of the rules of the race was that all team members had to be holding the ribbon when crossing the finish line. Getting carried across the finish line was not really something I am proud of, but it did make for a great picture in the Eugene newspaper...the expression on Joe's face is priceless.

Fast forward 12 years...Mt. Hood Scramble 2007...with a race description like this, I had to try it..."This event isn't designed for the pansy-ass front avenue runner -- DO NOT expect some cutesy lil' downtown 5K, or some wussy boy trail-run. This mother is packed with adventure: hills, creeks, rock, dirt, heavy brush and more. Wear clothes you don't mind ruining, and bring band-aids if you are concerned about some bleeding. As for aid stations...there is plenty of water on the course, but I'd think twice about drinking it...especially after you waded through it. As for the distance, well it’s about 6-miles or whatever "K". We'll time you, give you awards, probably some watermelon, and hell, we may even throw a few beers -- all you have to do is finish. Think you’re up for it? We are ready for you, and to quote Shakespeare’s Henry V, "he who shed his blood with me, shall be my brother" See you on the hill." I signed up and was planning to run the race with the Pain Train and Bullseye. Unfortunately, the night before the race I ate dinner at a restaurant in Albany which shall remain nameless, and got very sick...snakebitten first DNS.

Mt. Hood Scramble 2008...return of the team scramble...the teams were the Pain Train and Bullseye versus my brother-in-law Lee and myself...lowest total combined time wins. The losers would sing karaoke...but since I like singing karaoke, I'd have to wear clothes picked out for me at the 10K in Stayton on the 4th of July. I was a little nervous about the race because my recovery from the Newport Marathon was pretty rough...the big problem was I got sick a few days after the lasted several days and then seemed to hang on for a long time after that. I finally went to see the doctor and he gave me antibiotics for what he thought may be bronchitis. By the time this race rolled around, I was over it, but I hadn't really run at all since the marathon. My plan was to line up behind the Pain Train and try and stay as close as I could...then hope that Lee could beat Bullseye.

As I told several people after the race, if I had known there would be that much snow, I would have brought snow shoes...I'd say the course was at least 75%'s really unbelieveable how much snow there still is up there. I lost the Pain Train pretty quickly...I was too busy postholing in the deep snow and trying to stay upright. I'd say the race for me was like one of those dreams when you're running in slow motion. It felt like I was giving it everything I had, but my body wasn't responding. When I finished and found out I was about 12 minutes behind the Pain Train, I knew we didn't really have a chance...Lee did beat Bullseye, but only by a little over a minute...too bad they weren't closer...that would have been some kind of finish. The good news was I got another great scramble picture...below is a shot of me I bought from Brian Conaghan...check out the rest of my pictures here.

So, another rough scramble for me...but a bet is a bet...I'll take my punishment like a man. Pictures from 10K in Stayton on the 4th of July will be posted soon...and I plan to get video of Lee singing karaoke.