Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Double Time III, or close enough (introducing the "within 24 hours" rule)

I swear, the better I get at this, the worse I do in the standings.

Let's demonstrate using the Panda Run.  I started out pretty slow (10:15 the first mile, 10:45 the next) and I'm not sure I was prepared for what I was getting myself into, really.  A night trail run with headlamps sounded really awesome in theory, and in some ways it was, but it definitely had drawbacks.  The first being that I had to wear the head lamp, and the ones they have weren't very comfy if you have a head size that wears a 7 1/2 fitted cap or above.  It kept popping off the top of my hat and was too tight anyway.  Eventually I put it directly on my head and put my hat over it backwards with it sticking out of the hat.
Yes (not actual race photo, demo only)

You really can't see much of your competition.  It's hard to tell if the person in front of you is getting closer or further away if they were more than 10 yards ahead.  The headlamps barely showed up if you were coming behind a single person, especially if they were using the lower green light instead of the bright white.   Even right on top of them you couldn't tell if they were big, small, short, tall, and sometimes you couldn't even tell if it was a man or woman until you were 5 feet away.  They could have been aliens for all I knew, and just the lighting and creepy figures coming up on you reminded me of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
There was a group of 3 that were unmistakably young teen girls.  You're not going to hear that much noise and see cartwheels (yes, they actually were doing cartwheels at mile markers) from too many other groups.  As I passed them around mile 3 they asked if I thought they were being annoying, and all I said was "All I can say is you sure have a lot of energy for running 13 miles."  I made a little bit of rush after passing them to get to a range where they were a lot less audible.

By mile 4 or 5, I was already seeing lights coming back at me.  These guys running halfers at an hour and change are amazing, and are usually breathing easier that I am.  They all just looked like headlights, though, and I couldn't see a single person.  This situation was really working against my people-watching ways. Maybe that slows me down, because I picked up a lot of time before hitting the half point.

I spent a good chunk of miles 4-6 in the dark.  It would have been really dull just to run in the dark with nothing to see save a little oval of illuminated path ahead of me, if there weren't a lot of weird animal noises going on.  We set off someone's guard dogs to high alert, as well as the house owners who turned all their exterior lights on to look out and wonder why there were all these people with lights snooping around behind their place.  There was a lot of rustling and calling noises as I passed places on the trail and I never got a good look at what but my guesses were deer, raccoon, possum (saw the tail, but could have been a musk rat too), wtf was that?, barred owls (which sound to me like a baby cooing and throwing up), deer.  Mile 5 had a distinct skunk smell to it and I was hoping and praying that I wouldn't get a spraying.  Maybe it would have been a better story though.  Do you still finish or what?  What's the rule on runner toughness in the face (or butt) of a skunk attack?

Luckily I didn't have to find out.  After the half point, I just wanted to get to the next mile faster and hold pace.  I caught quite a few people, some of which looked to be in really good shape, and I refused to relinquish position.  One woman chased me so close I could feel her behind me for 2 1/2 miles before I got far enough away that I couldn't hear her breathing anymore.  She did not want to surrender to the fat man.  I only lost her because I was still ramping up my speed.  After 6, every single mile was a little faster than the one before (at least until 12), and my return trip on the down and back course was ridiculously quicker than the trip out.  I even threw in a sub 9:00 mile in there on 11.

I pulled in just under 2:10 (according to my cheap watch that lights up in the dark), and took off my hat and headlamp.  I got my medal, and gave them my bib tab.  I didn't feel like food at all, so I skipped my plan of going to Pizza Sam, and went straight home.  It was 11:30, I had a 1 1/2 hour drive back, and I actually wanted to see Jessi before she fell asleep because I had to leave for the race basically the instant she got home from the tubing trip (where the tubing part got rained out, anyway).

I didn't get the results until 4 days later, but look at this...
Last in my age group.  Set a PR for your half-marathon; get dead last.  You also get your last name misspelled, but you can't see that because it has been edited.  I don't know why, it would be pretty easy to figure it out.

As if that wasn't enough for last weekend, I woke up 4 hours after getting home (let alone to bed) to get up and run the Blueberry Race for the second year in a row.  I don't even know why I bothered.  It's not like I was already registered.  That was just me being stubborn, especially considering I did the 8K and not the 5K.  My legs were struggling just to move at all, but I kept telling myself it would be a good way to shake out that halfer.  I'm not sure I even accomplished that.

There were no "good" miles in there.  I just kind of clipped along, reminding myself periodically to lift my head up.  I wasn't sure if I was more physically tired than I was mentally tired...or even if I was just tired.  I probably could have laid down and taken a nap.  My inner whiner was coming out big time, which just means I probably gave myself some sort of situational endurance training of some sort.  Whatever, I was sick of it, and I wanted it over.  So I just kept going.

Here's what I got for that.  Last again.  Where have all the slow runners gone?  Funny how there were still people in my age group behind me last year, but this past weekend, I get two lasts.  Last year, with rested legs, I was still 6 minutes slower, too!  Where are you slow early 30's men?  Show yourselves, uhhh, please...

After the Blueberry I had a great veggie omelette at Naples Pizzeria, and drank about 4 cups of coffee and about 6 waters, which guilted me into tipping really huge.  I ran that poor lady ragged for getting just an omelette and coffee.  Then I changed clothes and went to church there, but got a familiar priest anyway, who is covering there for now, as well as running his home parish.  He looked more tired than I felt.

Anyway, that sums up the weekend.  Jason and I did another Crim run under goal pace until I lost my will at 7 1/2 (he was really pulling me, yeah, back to normal).  We didn't make any water stops because we both forgot our money, and I can't make 10 miles without water.  So I had to stop and walk (which, for the record, is failure) for a mile and a half.  I was dripping wet, and I was getting a little dizzy.  It was probably dumb enough that I insisted on going back to a run at mile 9.  Even with the slow 1 1/2 mile walk in there, sadly, we skill almost beat my time from last year.

So this weekend can really be summed up with two phrases:

"Man I used to stink at running"
"I just got last in my group...twice, I still stink at running"

Oh well, whatever, I still improved on my half time, even if there was no sun to deal with.  I'm counting it.

I think I'm shutting down the running program until the Crim on Saturday.  My legs are tired, I need a break after a 35 mile week, if only to let the blisters and cuts heal.  Hopefully the work (despite some of my wussing out) pays off.  I think I have the right strategy in place, and what pace to expect and shoot for between each mile marker.  We'll see if I have "it" on Saturday, and we'll hope "it" isn't the pulling right calf muscle that seems to attack me every time I get near the Crim course (it's like it knows).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Locations of visitors to this page