Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you are Runner or some one who runs?

Hello Monday.  I know that we never really welcome Mondays, but I am trying to not be a downer.

This morning I totally wimped out of my workouts.  I know its alright and taking an occasional day off is ok and I really needed it.  If for nothing else for getting my head cleared.  

One thing that has been bugging me lately is that all my runs are fast.  Not meaning fast as in the time, but close to my best possible time.  No matter the distance or the day or whatever the run should be.  So instead of being a runner, I have been someone who runs.  This is something that I really need to concentrate on.  

I think my problem with it more than anything is my watch.  When I see the time at say, 8:00 pace, I freakout.  I know that is crazy and I have to remember that an easy run should be slower than a tempo run.  But still the pace freaks me out.  

I am getting ready to start marathon training and Runner World's has a very detailed and SHOULD help me finish with the time that I want. Right now I am concerned with not killing myself during the first 12/13 miles and nothing to finish the race with.  

I know that you do not have to be a runner (or exceptionally talented) in order to run a marathon but you must prepare wisely.  Changing my all out, all the time, to running smarter and reserving energy.  Remembering that its a marathon and not a sprint.

This weekend was a perfect example.  I had a long run scheduled.  14 miles.  In my head I said take it easy, run slow.  Try to run at about a 8:00 mile pace. Then the first mile was 7:19 and I wasn't really working hard, I just keep going.  Yes that little voice in my head told me not to worry but here's my splits.  I only managed 3 miles at my desired pace.

             HR      ACTUAL PACE
 Mile 1 164    7:19
 Mile 2 169    7:37
 Mile 3 167    7:43
 Mile 4 163    7:35
 Mile 5 165    7:35
 Mile 6 165    7:40
 Mile 7 166    7:32
 Mile 8 165    7:50
 Mile 9 165    7:36
 Mile 10 169  7:59
 Mile 11 168  8:01
 Mile 12 165  7:54
 Mile 13 164  7:33
 Mile 14 162  7:23

I think I will have to get hypnotized before the race because once that horn sounds it off to the races.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Death Valley JDRF Ride to Cure

This past weekend I spent 3 days at Death Valley, Ca.  We were there for a 106 mile ride for JDRF.  This is for Diabetes research.  There were about 320 riders from all across the country. No one left unhappy or dissatisfied.  

The Ride to Cure is an amazing event for an amazing cause.  The staff and the volunteers do an outstanding  job.  They also remind us that this really wasn't about riding a Century (100 miles).  It really wasn't about the personal feat of finishing the ride.  It was about finding a cure for Diabetes.  Diabetes is a disease that affects so many people. It follows no color lines, no ethnic groups or socioeconomic status.  This disease doesn't care if you are 8 months, 8 years  or 80 years.  Once its strikes it's a life sentence.  There is no cure.  There is a life of finger pricks, counting carbs and watching your diet.  Even with the greatest care you still are no longer in control. You can do everything right and still have issues.  The  best you can do is manage your readings.  

The day before the race we went on a little tune up ride.  It was only about 6 miles but it was already 103 degrees.  We knew that the next day would be cooking.  The race officials also knew that it would be tough.  They were watching the weather forecast very closely.  We knew that if it was too hot they would possibly have to modify the course.  Which would cut out Jubilee Pass.  But we also knew what kind of people we were.  Most of the riders would have killed themselves riding up to the Pass and then would have been unable to make it all the way back without assistance and we just didn't have that many SAG vehicles even though there were about 10.  

Anytime you go for a ride no matter where you are, you are concerned with drink plenty of water and having plenty of nutrition.  Death Valley is no place for the faint of heart.  It will test your ability to dictate to your body that even though right now you may not be thirst but you will be shortly.  You have to drink and drink and drink and drink.  I guess you get the point.  

All day we were drinking plenty of water.  I am sure that the staff went through more than a two thousand bottles of water.  Even 30 minutes we were grabbing more water.  And when you grabbed one for yourself you grabbed one for your team.  We all made sure that we were completely hydrated.  We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying what an awesome venue we had for this ride.  Death Valley has some amazing scenery.  

At dinner on Friday night they announced that there were in fact going to shorten the ride.  They decided to make it a 25 out and back and for those who wanted to do 100, to do the course twice.  There were some groans but all of us knew it was probably for the best. We all looked at each other an knew that we would go into the race with the plan to do the 100 miles.  

Once we left dinner and went back to our rooms, we all decided to settle in.  Get as much sleep as possible and be ready for a great ride.  It was amazing how easily I was able to get to sleep.  I am normally very anxious about any kind of race, ride or run.  I get butterflies on a little 3 mile training run.  But I was strangely at peace going into this ride.  

We wake up bright and early and have breakfast at 5:30.  Normal breakfast but more hydration.  Even with the temps in the lower 70's were still were trying to stay ahead of the game.  We start getting lined up at 6:30.  There was a definite buzz in the air.  Everyone was excited and ready for a great day.  Then the elite riders took off.  Then finally we started.  We really took it easy for the first mile.  Just getting into a single file line, finding riding partners and establishing a rhythm.  

We keep the pace at about 17 - 18 mph for the first part of the ride.  This was mostly downhill and shaded so we knew we needed to take advantage of that but still not going all out, saving that for later in the day.  The group splintered a little bit on the way out.  But it was going great.  

The ride staff had a water only SAG stop at 10 miles and then a full service stop at Badwater, mile 17 and then a full stop at the turnaround at 25.   These were perfectly spaced out.   Except with the first stop not having bathrooms, we were really anxious to get to Badwater and then leaving Badwater getting back to the Ranch.  

We made great time going out.   Three of us stayed together.  Jim C, Frederik and I.  We formed a pretty good paceline and keep an eye out for each other.  The cadence of drinking could be heard over and over again.  We had others to join us and then fall off at the rest stops.  Either they would leave before us or after us.  We were really concerned with staying together.  

Mile 23 was designated as a memorial mile.  A mile of silence.  We did this as a tribute all of the people who  lost their battle with Diabetes.  It was the only mile marker on the trail.  It was a fitting memorial.  

On the way back we picked up 2 sisters (Tara and Amy) riders from the Cincinnati Chapter.  They had left just before us and decided to hook up with us.  

We stayed together the rest of the day.  Formed a nice pace line, encouraged each other to drink and just basically looking out for each other.  At the end of day we all finished upright, under out own power and smiling.  I am so thankful. 

Today was an amazing day.  We saw the full gambit of emotions.  The excitement and joy at the start.  The hurt and anguish of cramping.  Then excitement again as we crossed the finish line.  There were tears of joy that we were able to finish and  there were tears of sorrow for the loved one who lost their lives to diabetes. 

As my friends and readers of this blog know I didn't finish this ride last year.  I fell coming down Jubilee Pass.  I had to have stitches in my arm, fingers and a serious road rash on my left hip.  I had many reminders this weekend of that.  At the dinner on Friday night, one person said make sure you stay upright this year.  At the 75 mile mark entering the turnaround one of the race officials, said "Hey, you were here last year weren't you?"  "Yes", I said.  Then he said, "I remember you fell and we had to pull you off the course.".  My heart sank.  What a way to be remembered.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Death Valley Elevation Chart

Here is a graphic representation of the Death Valley ride.  As you can see from this, there is a little climb in the middle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Starting the countdown

The excitement is really building for the Death Valley Ride to Cure.  I have seriously been looking forward to this since I returned last year.  I think about the ride and I remember how interesting it was last year.  Leaving NC with the temps in the mid 60's and getting to Death Valley with the temps still in the 90's.  

Last year I think I was still facing the awe factor.  Everything seemed larger than life.  I was so nervous, I am sure that I talked more than normal.  Now I feel more at ease but still really excited.  

This year the plan is to stay with our group.  It s really hard because at the start like with any race people roll out slowly.  I have to practice being patient.  This is totally not a strong suit for me but its important.  I am going to start my hydration today.  Need to seriously get it in order.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Magnificent Monday

Today as I was reading other blogs and thinking about my friends that were competing in events this past weekend I felt a bit jealous.  As you know I haven't competed in anything in about 2 months.  My last event was Three Pigs Tri. 

I have been training and training and training.  I have put in some serious miles over the past 2 months and now I feel totally ready to compete again.  I went for a long run this weekend and was able to maintain a sub 7:15 pace for 12 miles.  I was stoked.  I have been cycling and able to maintain about a 19 mph pace for 20 miles rides solo. I am excited. 

I will be able to get my competitive juices flowing again on Oct 15.  We will be back in Death Valley.  I am totally ready for it.  I will be shipping my bike this week.  It is going to be interesting spending the next week without it. 

Like last year I will be doing the City of Oaks 1/2 marathon the first week in November.  Last year I was not very happy with my time, so I will be looking for redemption.  My goal is sub 1:40.  We will see.  I have plenty of time so lets see if I back down from that bold prediction.

In the meantime I am comtemplating doing a full marathon on my 45th birthday.  That will be March 18, 2012.  The course is gentle (Tobacco Road) so that really does lend itself to being a great site for an inital marathon.  One of my stretch goals is to qualify for Boston.  So this race will give me an idea how much work I am going to have to put in on order to accomplish that goal.  I have never run more than 18 miles at once so I am not sure how those last 8 miles are going to be.  I have read all the stories about the wall at 20 so I guess I will find out first hand.  I haven't signed up yet but I am about 80% sure I am going to. 

We'll see.