March 31, 2009

IM St. George - 2010

What are you doing on May 1, 2010? I don't know either, it's obviously pretty early to plan anything on a specific day unless it's a wedding or Ironman.

Ironman. In St. George. Utah. SSSHHHHHEEEEEYYYIT!

But it's on May 1. THAT, dear friends, is a real pisser. You see, here in N. Utah we have this little season called winter. It snows during most of it, and even, like this year, into the spring.

This is bad for training. Sheep bad. BAAAAAAAAADD.

I really don't like training in the cold, nor does my Spanish climber alter ego, El Pato. If I liked the cold I'd have had The Duck translated into Flemish or Walloon, a Belgian language. Because if you didn't know, the Belgians are the hardmen of cycling. They excel in the cold and wet, whereas other than a couple of exceptions, the Spaniards are the warmer weather winners.

I am seriously considering entering this race, though. I need to be quick, as it will fill up soon. Wifey has given the approval nod. But with 6 months between fall and long, outdoor rides and the race, I need to ponder exactly how I'll train for it. And it will demand some training because this is not a flat course. There are mountains that must be climbed and wind that must be battled.


March 27, 2009

El Pato

I was reading the news the other day and happened upon the "Entertainment" section." As a general rule I really couldn't care less about celebrities of any kind, unless they use their worship from others to make the world a better place and they can conduct themselves with dignity. Anyhoo, the story was about Beyonce Knowles of music fame and how she took on an alternative identity when she was on stage. She called herself Sascha Fierce.


These fucking people. Seriously.

But then I thought that there could be some merit to this for me when riding, specifically climbing. From this point forward, whenever I am climbing on the road bike I want to be known as:

El Pato, The Duck.

Face it, when it comes to climbers the Spanish generally outclass the rest and I could use a little extra help since I've managed to, shall we say, bulk up.

I'll let you know how it goes.

March 24, 2009

Canyonlands Half Marathon Race Report

I am so happy my first goal run of 2009 is behind me. But I would gladly do it again if I could have stayed in Moab for just a couple more days.

Wifey and I rolled into town last Friday and got settled into the Adobe Abode just on the outskirts of town. I can't tell you how great it is to have access to an actual home, and have friends that are so awesome to let us stay there. I've been to the Abode enough that, in addition to just being a great place to stay, I feel really comfortable there and already miss the quiet and solitude. Dinner at Eddie McStiff's was only adequate. But the beer was purty good so that made up for a weak meal. After dinner I donned my new trail runners - La Sportiva Crosslites - and went out for a short jaunt in the red dirt along a road that follows the base of the cliffs on the east side of town. My shins seemed to be okay, but did get a little sore. I wanted to get good and warmed up to allow a good stretch and ice session. A DVD brought the night to an early end.

Perhaps the best thing about the Canyonlands Half is the 10 o'clock start time. Conversly, the downer is the 8 o'clock bus pick-up. We had about an hour and a half to stand around freezing at the start. Sure, there was coffee and I always wear warm clothes, but then you have to strip down that last half hour. I'm here to tell you, being next to the Colorado River surrounded by towering canyon walls is as cold as it is beautiful. The sun sat tantalizingly close on the opposite side of the river, never quite making it to the runners until after the start.

We were well back in the throng of 5000 runners. About 4 minutes after the official start we finally crossed the timing mat. Not knowing how my body - specifically my shins - were going to hold up I ran with Wifey for the first couple of miles. The first mile is a fairly steep downhill and the shins were taking a beating. I was really dreading the rest of the race. But as the road leveled off, the pain went away and I decided to quicken my pace a little. I bid adieu to Wifey and took off. Soon enough the sun was in my face and things got really warm, really quick.

At first I sped up to about an 8:30 pace, but since I was feeling good, picked it up a little more. Then a little more. And still a little more until I was cruising at a 7:00-7:30 pace. I carried this speed until my average pace fell to about 9:00. I needed to average 9s to come in at my goal time of 2 hours. I found my rhythm was best at an 8:30 pace and pretty much put on the cruise control. I. Felt. Awesome. At least until I missed the second to last water station. There were no cups out and to stop at a water station means getting run the hell over by other runners. So coming out of the canyon I had a glob of not-digesting Power Gel and some dehydration going. That corresponded with a slight rise in the road and a headwind. It got hard for about 2 miles until the last water station where I was able to pound a couple of cups which made me feel immediately better. My chip time showed 1:53:11 and an average pace of 8:33. I ran hard only a couple of times and otherwise felt really good and ran within myself.

We spent Sunday with my in-laws, who braved the Apache Inn to come and watch the race. We went through Arches and did a couple of the arch hikes. It was good to loosen up a little before the drive back to reality.

Now it's time to take a little time off and let the shins heal. It's a good excuse to start biking more, anyway.

March 17, 2009

The Moab Half and an Apology...

The Moab Half Marathon is this weekend and I am really looking forward to getting into some warmer weather and enjoying my first longish run of the year.

You heard me. I am going to enjoy this run. No feeble PR attempts or banging myself into the ground. I am shooting for a reasonable 2 hour time, which is a 9:10/mile pace. That is going to be a big enough stretch this early in the year. It is going to be an exercise in restraint and test my maturity and ego, but I gotta do it.

Because I am hurt a little. I have a weird leg thing going with the inside of my right leg, where the calf muscle terminates. I am not sure if it's muscular or bonular or tendonular. It had been off and on for a couple of weeks, but since running last Sunday, it is so very much on all the time. Tender to the touch and generally bothersome.

But I am entered and so run I shall. I'll back it off (if backing off any more without stopping was possible) after and cycle more to ease off the pounding and see how it goes before heading to a doc.

And now, I would like to publicly apologize to generations of ladies whom I have generalized when it comes to shoe shopping. You see, I wanted to buy a new pair of trail runners. So I went to the running shoe store (Striders) and told them what I wanted.

Holy CRAP!

Within 5 minutes I had no fewer than 9 styles of shoes in 2-3 sizes each. I got confused and spent an hour and a half in there. Walking around and running on the treadmill. I finally settled on a New Balance because I was truly feeling stupid. I took them home and wore them around a little before deciding they were too big. So I took those back to find my size was gone. So I chose a La Sportiva Crosslite. Which is totally bad ASS. But I think they are too small. Plus, I can't put Speed Laces in them and they are a little tough to tighten up. Who cares? My bike to run transition cares.

So I may take them back and go with a Mizuno. Hopefully in the right size.

I don't remember being this wishy-washy in a long time. Especially not over something as simple as a pair of shoes. I guess it is more about the potential for the shoes to damage my feet with blisters that I worry about. Still...

I'll never make fun of women shoe shopping again.

March 9, 2009

Ramping UP

Perhaps I am turning a new leaf with two posts in less than a week. We'll see. One thing is for certain, this helps my creativity. Blogging is sort of like flushing a mental toilet. I get all this stuff floating around that I just can't seem to get rid of. Then I write a little, not work related, and the flotsam and jetsam disappears.

Or at least grows moderately more transparent.

I had a good run yesterday with my borrowed buddy, Cody. 7.4 miles in a time that doesn't reflect anything. Way too many dogs and ear scratchers to go non-stop. Still, I felt pretty good and Cody tempered his effort much better. I think he knew what he was in for this week. But by mile 6 he was off the back again.

I think there was another run since the last post, but I don't recall... I'm feeling pretty good about the half in Moab, and I'm hoping for a 2 hour time. But I really am not in the mood to kill myself.

Otherwise some resistance and core work. Just trying to build the connective tissues and improve core strength. I'll hit the pool the next three days, provided my daylight savings time affected brain will let me. I may as well swim, it's still snowing.

March 5, 2009


So it has been a month since I last posted.


It seems that time flies, whether you are having fun or not. Fortunately, I'm having fun!

Training is on the up and up, in spite of the weather. I'm easing into everything whether I want to or not. But I think it is good because I have been frigging tired lately. It doesn't seem like I am doing much, but when I add up the hours at the end of the week, I am definitely putting in some time. Maybe too much, too early, which could be why I am always beat.

The Moab half marry is in just a couple of weeks. I had good sensations during a long run of 6.5 miles with my borrowed buddy Cody on March 1. I'll try for about 8-9 miles this Sunday and hopefully be all set for Moab. I'm not really worried about setting a PR, in fact, I'm just training through with no taper.

I'd like to take Cody with me again, be last Sunday was pretty tough on him. He was gassed the last couple of miles. He's a lurcher, a generic term when a greyhound is mixed with anything else, which in Cody's case is likely Walker hound. He has a lot of energy, but uses it up pretty fast. He's currently living at the greyhound rescue. His energy needs are a little different than those of a greyhound and he needs more exercise. It just so happens that running with a dog is one of my favorite things to do, so it works out.

Swimming is bumming me out, I gotta admit. I really suck, and that doesn't help my motivation. The modest gains I had before my tumah surgery are gone, and now I am starting over from scratch. 100 yard reps are doable, but my form is so bad the last 50 yards that I am now doing 50 yard reps. I'll give it a couple more weeks and then start doing longer distances again.

Another bummer: the Ogden Marathon is sold the fu#& out! I said in the post race report last year it was coming. Ah well, I've already found some replacements, and most of them benefit a charity in some way.

I need to do this more often...