Sunday, April 18, 2010

Continuing On

Since last weekend's Zumbro attempt I've managed to increase the intensity of my cold, and it doesn't seem to want to go anywhere fast. It's good that I have nothing on the board other than recovering. I did manage to get five days out running, but nothing over six miles until today, and all of them pretty soft.

The week started off with some nice tight quads and a sore groin, but nothing unexpected nor worrisome. As the days went by most of that disappeared and I'm starting to get some pep into the stems again.

The last two days I spent up in Duluth and ran the Chester Creek trail up in to Chester Bowl for a couple loops. It's a nice short course with tons of technical and steep hills. It'd sure be nice to live up there again for the bevy of wilderness activities just a jog away. Here in the cities you have to drive some distance to find some quiet wilderness.

69 Days until Western States. I'm nervous about it, but well motivated. I've started adding squats to the ends of all my runs to harden up the quads for the 22,000 feet of downhill we have to go through. There's not a lot around here on the edge of the great plains to get prepped for that kind of punishment. I sure hope it works.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Zumbro 100

The Zumbro 100 is a relatively new ultra in south east Minnesota in the Zumbro River bottoms. One might think that since this is the Midwest it is pretty flat, but that would be dead wrong. What we lack in long sustained climbs we more than make up for with many short climbs. That gives these races more of a 'death by a thousand cuts' character.

This was my first attempt at the 100 mile distance and while it was great fun, it didn't go all that well for me. I managed to make it through about 50 miles of the course before I checked out. The first loop went really well, probably faster than I should have gone and I clocked the 20 miles at 3:58. Overall that's not real fast, but when looking at another 80 miles it can really damage the race. On the second loop I still felt alright, but I got stuck in this negative head trip of how many more times I had to visit this section of trail again, how hot it was getting, and on and on. I ultimately knocked off this loop in a little over 4 hours, dropping some pace, but not too much.

The third loop was hard for me pretty early on. About five miles in I started feeling nauseous and light headed, something I was prepared to deal with, but not for another 20 miles. This really weighed me down and by the time I made it to the aid station around 50 miles I was pretty much done for. I sat down and had some ginger ale and tried desperately to get my head back in the game, but all for naught. My day was done.

I was given a ride back to the start by a kind woman, and in a great show of sportsmanship, when I stepped out of her truck all the volunteers cheered for me.

I think that is what will keep me in the sport, through the pain and the dnf's, the community in ultrarunning is incredible. I have not met a single person with an ego. I've talked to several elite runners and they are just like regular joes.