Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fall Creek Run-Around 20 Miler

My goal race for the first half of the year is the Boston Marathon. After last year's race, I had to go back. When I saw this 20 mile race on the calendar, I thought it might make a good long tempo run. The only questionable part about it was it was the week after the Hagg Lake 50K.

Initially, I was planning to wait until after Hagg Lake to see how I felt before signing up, but I got ahead of myself and signed up early...if I had waited, I probably would have skipped it. My right hamstring was bothering me enough after Hagg Lake that I took 3 days off from running and used a lot of RICE therapy. I ended up running 12 miles with the Pain Train on Thursday before the race and even a couple miles the day before at marathon tempo pace just to see how it might feel. It felt OK, so the race was on...I mean, tempo run.

The race didn't start until 10:00...that was nice...I left Corvallis around 8:00 and got there at about 9:20. My plan was to do a 3 mile warm-up, but I only had time for 2 miles. The area was pretty nice and the weather was perfect for a long road run...the reservoir kind of looked like Detriot...the water level was real low.

The race started off and I was in second behind John Leuthold, an RVR runner. I was pretty sure John had run the McKenzie River 50K last year, and I knew all those guys were in the 4:00:00-4:10:00 range...a little out of my range. We ran the first mile together...I found out he was training for the Way Too Cool 50K. We hit the first mile in a little over 6:00...not quite tempo pace...see you at the finish! As I slowed down, Jason Hawthorne caught me...he's a local guy, from Albany...I've seen him at a lot of races, but never really talked to him...we ended up running together until somewhere around mile 8 or 9.

For the first 6 miles or so, I felt pretty tight and was a little concerned that the race wasn't going to go too well...but a little after the 6 mile mark we turned a corner and started to run uphill and I started to feel better. Jason and I really pushed the uphill...and John seemed to be getting closer. I was surprised that we seemed to be catching up so 10 miles I had left Jason and I was right behind John! He heard me, turned around with a shocked look on his face, and "put the hammer down". Now if I was racing, I might have tried to keep up, but as it was, I didn't even respond. He put almost 3 minutes on me in the second 10 miles of the race. I'll be interested to see how he does at Way Too Cool...turns out he did really well...finished 23rd in 4:12:18.

As far as the tempo run was concerned, the course wasn't real good for running a consistent pace...I ended up finishing in 2:10:51...a little slower than I hoped, but pretty good, I thought, with how I felt after Hagg Lake. Speaking of Hagg Lake, the course kind of reminded me of the ORRC Hagg Lake Road Run, only twice as long. All in all it was a really nice race...I finished in the top 3 so I got a free entry into the Oregon Marathon Relay in April...there's a's the week before Boston...I might run it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hagg Lake 50K

Last Saturday I ran my 3rd Hagg Lake 50K and 10th turned out to be a day very similar to the 2008 race. I remember thinking earlier in the week how it seemed like the 2008 trail season had just ended, but really it had been over 5 months...I was very excited to race "long" distance again. The other great thing about these races is seeing all the familiar faces...some of the Corvallis group was there...Scott, John, Dave, Erik, and Sander...I got to congratulate Darin Swanson on his sub-3 hour marathon...and Sean Meissner was disappointed I didn't wear my liger shirt. I didn't tell him, but I'm wearing my Waldo shirt this year for the's all about redemption there this season.

As Tom Riley captured in this picture below, it was a beautiful morning...if anything, I think it was warmer than last year.

I knew I was better prepared for the race this year and unlike last year, I wasn't coming into the race after getting over the flu. Realistically, I was hoping to run somewhere between 4:08 and 4:15. We all started off on the out-and-back...a little way up the road we heard a warning of roadkill, but as we got closer the Pain Train pointed out that he wasn't dead, just drunk...glad someone took a picture of this.

We hadn't gone too far down the trail when we saw Tom Riley taking pictures...thanks, really makes my blog look a lot better. I ran almost the entire first loop with a group consisting of Brendan Trimboli, Will Kalenius, and Joelle Vaught. I had some aid station splits written down to give me an idea of how fast I was going...we were on about 4:00 pace at the first aid station. I had the feeling it was a little too fast for me, but did I slow way. I continued to hit about 4:00 splits all the way around the first loop. Matt Daniels passed us without a word just prior to the Tanner Creek aid station...Brendan was the only one of us to go with him. And at about the 1 mile to go mark on the first loop, Will left Joelle and me. As I came back into Sain Creek, I stopped and picked up my full bottle.

After grabbing my bottle, who should catch up to me...the Pain Train...that gave me a boost and I consciously picked it up...I wasn't trying to break you...just a little bit of shake 'n bake! We caught Joelle and passed her after she took a spill...a short time later, we caught Will and ran behind him for a couple miles. Eventually he stepped off the trail and let us lead...and then, surprising to me, I could see Matt Daniels not far ahead. We caught and passed him as we popped out onto the road just prior to hitting the dam. Now for much of this time, I had the feeling that I was "running over my head"...then the Pain Train made his move...I was able to keep up on the road, but once we hit the trail again I fell back. And a few miles later, I really slowed felt like my hamstrings and calfs were getting real tight. Soon after that, Will caught and passed me...then Joelle caught me at the Tanner Creek aid station. My only thought at this point was that it was going to be darn close if I wanted to finish in 4:15. Unfortunately, this last stretch is probably the toughest to run...I tried to push...I even fell once...but in the end I was a little upset with myself that I didn't push quite hard enough to finish under 4:15...4:15:36. The Pain Train finished another great race in 4:05:54! He continues to impress me.

After the race I took a soak in the, that was cold! But I think it did me some good...everything feels pretty good a couple days later except the right hamstring. Hope I didn't make a mistake signing up for the Fall Creak Run-Around 20 Miler next weekend! Time for some road racing before the Boston Marathon.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cascade Half Marathon

The Cascade Half Marathon has become an annual race for's really good motivation to start training hard in the late fall and winter months. Like the Pain Train, it's also where I went to high's fun to come back and see familiar faces and run on familiar roads...and those roads are flat and fast.

This is a race that Tonya always comes to...she's managed to get a picture of me finishing every year...except this one when I was looking my best!

2005 - 1:33:13 - Looks like I'm about to collapse.

2006 - 1:26:35 - Redemption for the 2005 race.

2007 - 1:24:27 - Dry but cold...and the Pain Train showing off his hardware.

2008 - 1:21:36 - wind!

Mile 1 - 5:50 - The first mile felt great...under control...but I was shooting for closer to 6:00, so I backed off the pace slightly.
Mile 2 - 6:05 - I ended up running the next two miles with Ken Vendley...he was also shooting for a 6:00 pace.
Mile 3 - 6:07 - At mile 3 the pace felt a little too I slowly pulled away from Ken.
Mile 4 - 5:57 - That's more like it.
Mile 5 - 6:05 - I caught and passed Thomas Goodwin somewhere around here...he's been a measuring stick for me in the past...he finished just ahead of me at the Capitol Mile and past Cascade Half Marathons.
Mile 6 - 5:57 - First thoughts of..."am I going too fast."
Mile 7 - 5:45 - I hit the half-way point in this mile, turned, and headed into what felt like a strong headwind...I thought, "oh crap" really felt like I was slowing down, so I was really pumped when I hit mile 7 in fastest mile.
Mile 8 - 6:03 - Mile 7 was a little fast so I backed off slightly.
Mile 9 - 5:53 - I passed Michael Graham somewhere around here, I think...I started thinking about the headwind coming up, so I pushed harder knowing these next couple miles would be a little easier.
Mile 10 - 5:50 - Thought it was pretty cool to hit the 10 mile mark in under 1 hour.
Mile 11 - 5:58 - Started really thinking about the headwind coming up.
Mile 12 - 6:11 - My slowest mile..."be the wind."
Mile 13 - 6:02 - I'm sure the wind wasn't that bad, but it seemed like it was...I felt like I was leaning into it and it was holding me up.
Finish - 1:18:23 - I felt great when I finished...I want to say I could have held that pace a little longer!

I also want to give a shout out to my crew for some superbad performances...all PR's!
Pain Train - 1:20:55
Dennis Gamroth - 1:30:58
Ryan Terlecki - 1:38:23
Kurtis Drake - 1:43:32

So I lost another bet with the Pain Train, wore the shirt again, and ran another great race...I'm happy about the race results, but when can we bet on a road race?