Monday, May 24, 2010

Black Canyon Ascent

After getting back from NY I have felt much better. I feel like I can finally relax and run for the love of running. This of course is key, it is pivotal for one to enjoy running. If someone is running under a false guise, if they are forced to, or if the love is gone… then what is the point?

Since I felt good I decided to race. I needed a good race. One that was not too long, one in which I could go compete, race, and have confidence in: a solid confidence booster. So I decided to run the Black Canyon Ascent this last weekend. The BC Ascent follows the paved road from highway 50 up to the south rim of the Black Canyon. It is 6 miles long and I think it gains about 2000 feet.

I promptly arrived at the start 40 minutes prior to the race. The day was overcast yet warm enough for a perfect race. I won the race back in 2007 in a time of 43:17. The course record is about 40:09 by Simon Gutierrez. My goal was just to run smart, solid, and consistent. I went out at a fast but doable pace and knew by mile 1 that I would be able to win if I just kept it up. Bt mile 4 I realized I was at a really good pace because I was over a minute ahead of Bernie Boettcher. I won in a time of 41:16. Bernie was second in 43 minutes. Ben Tobler was 3d in 45 minuets. While training partners and friends Ryan Burch and Scott Drum were 4th and 5th also in 45 minutes. Results are here:
About Mile 1.5

The race director Scott Shine and the San Juan Mountain runners did a great job putting on the race. They even provided hot food at the awards… (thanks to Natural Grocers and the other sponsors) which I can’t say I see often. In addition to the normal goodies after races like fresh bagels cookies, fig newtons, apples, cliff bars, etc. they also had wonderful delicious breakfast burritos… I ate 5 of them at the awards… I was a little hungry.

Finishing a great race.

Lynnette and I after the race

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DNF at Bear Mt.

Yes, that’s right, I DNF at Bear Mt.

I finally make it through the end of the semester. I knew I was pretty tired from all the school work, running, and work so I had decided to tone down my race schedule… but I figured I could run one 50 mile race. The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in New York has an amazing beautiful course with plenty of running over watermelon size rocks, scrambling up cliffs, route finding, and amazing views. With over 14,000 feet of elevation gain it is one of the hardest 50 milers in the country. I was looking forward to it. I flew out Thursday afternoon and arrived in the evening. First thing I found out was my rental car was canceled. This was a little perturbing, disconcerting, and aggravating but I figured I’d just have to wing it. It was already midnight and I only wanted to sleep so I found a nice little grassy park near the airport, pulled out my sleeping bag and pad, and went to sleep.

I woke up at 7. It was Friday morning and I needed to make it 60 miles so I could race the next day. Normally I might hitchhike but in a metropolitan area with 15 million people that would prove most difficult. I decided the best thing for me to do was take public transportation. So… I hopped on a bus that took me from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan. From there I jumped on a subway to Penn Station. Penn Station is similar to Grand Central… it is huge. From there I asked the train station ticket office if they had any trains that went up north to Bear Mt. They did not and sent me to Amtrak. Amtrak was on the other side of Penn Station. Amtrak sent me to NJ Transit which was also elsewhere in the station. NJ Transit said I should check with the Port Authority (the main transportation authority in the area) and gave me a phone number to call. I called the number and they gave me another number to call. I then called that number and they affirmed that they had a bus going to Bear Mt. and gave me directions to get to the Port Authority bus station which was a mile away.

I rode the bus up to Bear Mt State Park. Upon arriving I realized my grave mistake of not bringing any food with me as there were no restraints or grocery stores nearby. I walked 2 ½ mile to the nearest gas station, got some food, and walked back. I camped out that night and got plenty of sleep.

Saturday morning 3:30 am wake up. I felt ready for the day and had no problem getting up. I was feeling rested and ready. The race started 15 minutes late at 5:15. Within 5 miles there was a lead group of 8 of us. Geoff Roes, Leigh Schmitt, and a few others. Max King had opted not to come out and race. For the most part we just ran along content not to push the pace.

Even so I felt lethargic and slow… I did not feel how I normally do during a 50 mile race… that is strong and ready to compete. The reason: I think it has to deal with a lack of solid training leading up the race and a stressful semester. Anyways… I got to mile 20 and I felt like I had been running for days… mentally I was not ready for the race. My pace got slower and slower and I had no energy. I managed to jog to mile 28 where I opted to pull out simply because I did not want to beat up my body anymore… mentally I was not in the race at all. I was ready to be done. This is never a good place to be in a race but it did confirm to me that I need some solid base under me. Summer is almost here. I could use the time. I need to rest up and get my racing legs back under me. It'll happen.