August 1, 2011

I Do Stuff.

I've had a busy few weeks but I have been able to sneak in a couple of rides and runs here and there. With surprisingly good results, even.

First was the Royal Riders Century. This was a last minute entry to benefit the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Roy High Athletics. Two great causes, and I prefer to register for events that give back to something I believe in. And I believe in cancer research. You might say with my life. Quite amazingly, this was my first organized century ever. Normally it's just me out there with only me to talk to and my face in the wind for a hundred miles or so. But considering my condition this year, which is poor, I thought the distance would be a challenge and if I got into any trouble I could draft behind Mike. Mike has been training to ride RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) with the Air Force team, and his wife said he could have a new bike if he rolled 4k on his odometer this year. He's been riding like a fiend, devouring miles like a madman. Plus he was bringing along Angie, another first time century rider. I thought it would be a good ride to do. And I was right.

Long story short, it started out as the three of us with Mike and I trading pulls and keeping Angie out of the wind and on our wheels. As the miles wore on, our trio swelled as riders started to struggle with the distance and found the pedestrian 16 mph speed I pulled the group along at to be mostly accommodating to their sense of survival. Mike looked out for Angie and I sat on the front, where I like it. We shepherded riders along. They left aid stations when we did. Other riders came and went out the back. Michael nearly choked out a guy for trying to ride two up with him on a busy road, and I nearly choked the same guy out for riding in front of me like he was trying to take a pull and help out, but riding at 18 mph. A pace the majority in the group couldn't hold. WTF? I helped out a lady who had been dropped by her husband after his ego pulled them past us and then left her in no woman's land. He attacked something and left her in limbo, behind him and in front of me struggling to catch up. I bridged up and asked her if she just wanted to ride in the group. He finally faded and came back to us under the relentless pressure of the crushing 14.5 mph I was dragging the group at. Anyway, 6:15 later I was in and glad of it because my butt was starting to get sore. I guess that is how centuries unfold. You ride with your group and people come and go. People irritate you. I doubt this will be my last organized century.

Next was the Morgan Marathon. A new event, work was a sponsor and I won a comp entry. So, current fitness aside, I decided that since it was free, I was going to get my no-moneys worth and signed up for the full 26.2 marathon miles. I had two months to parlay marginal fitness into becoming marathon-worthy. With huge projects at work, a late spring that delayed everything and a week driving cross country, getting ready was a true challenge. Which I failed. However, I was buoyed by the confidence from the century bike ride. I knew that, at a reasonable pace, I would be okay and finish in maybe 4:30 without problems. I'd be fine.

I totally PR'd this run. That's right, personal record. Now I have only run a pair of marathons, but considering I ran the downhill Ogden Marathon in 3:53 and the ribbon candy-profile Morgan Marathon in 3:52, I am extremely pleased. And I did it with no blisters, lost toenails or gut wrenching stomach issues I am normally plagued with. Other than sore legs and feet I am none the worse for wear.

I doubt I'll ever run Ogden again, but Morgan probably. And I might even train the next time. But the problem with run training is that it isn't on a bike. And I miss biking, almost so much I could stop running and swimming, sell my road and cross bikes and just ride and race my mountain bike. I won't, but being a jack of all trades ain't easy and I'll take a PR anytime.