Monday, June 29, 2009

Mt Agamenticus 6 hour

View from the summit of Mt Agamenticus

On Saturday was the annual Mt Aggie 6 hour run, which Deb and I were invited to participate in and we are glad we went.

This is a run put on by a group of Maineacs with the infamous Joe Hayes presiding court and making sure there was plenty of water, aid and whatever we needed to get as many loops as we could. With just about every runner bringing something, the aid table looked better than at most races. A huge showing by the GAC'ers just added to the fun we had on this day. The course is an approx 3 mile loops with a good mix of road and trail. It starts with a paved road for maybe 1/4 mile, then a dirt road for another mile or so, take a right onto the trail up to the summit, which has some steep slickrock sections on it. Once you reached the top, you could get water at the summit house, then run down the great trail back to the aid table. The loop has somewhere around 600' of climb, not much but it adds up with each loop.

Steps on the Vulture Trail leading to the summit

Just to mention this is not a race, but an annual last long training run for those who are planning on running the Vermont 100 in three weeks. This was good because I had no desire to race I wore my HR monitor and decided to use it as a test to see what staying below 140 bpm will do for me. 140 is just below 70% of my max...

The plan was to try as best as I could to stay at or below this HR and only drink maltodextrin in my hand carry bottle for fuel, along with some electrolytes as it was expected to get warmer as the day went on. The HR actually dropped to the mid 130's on the downhills, no matter how fast I ran, but when it got hot was climbing up into the mid 150's, no matter how slow I went.

The first 5-6 loops went by easily and for the first few I had Stephen Peckiconis as company. We were both doing the HR thing and comparing notes all day. By the 3rd loop, Bob Dunfey waited for us at the bottom and joined us for a few loops until he got caught up in conversation at the aid table. It was great having Bob's laugh along the way... On loop 7 (Still with Stephen), we hooked up with Penny Matel, who entertained us with her Lou'ziana accent. Penny showed up late, was 2 loops behind us, but was running about the same pace.

My original plan was to get in 10 loops or 30 miles for a good day of training, but as the day got hotter and sunnier, the 35 minute loops became 38 minute loops, then 40 min loops, which put me behind schedule. So as Penny and I (Stephen got a little ahead of us on this one) came into the aid table at around 5:40ish, I assumed I couldn't and wouldn't go back out. Then the guy who made himself in charge at the sign in clipboard, said "So, you going to go back out? Are you a man or a?" He explained that as long as I got in before 6 hours I could go out I asked Penny if she'd like to get in another loop and I think she was taken aback somewhat, looking at me shocked and said "Ah don't know". I told her I was going back out to get 30 and she (I think) reluctantly joined me for that last loop, but was happy we did when we were done. As we ran by Stephen's car, we tried to get him to come out with us, but his plan was 27 miles and no more...

It was a struggle on the hot climb up, needing to stop at the top to soak our heads before the last run down the trail, but we got it done and I ended up with 30 miles in maybe 6.5 hours...the HR and fueling plan worked well, I pretty much stayed on pace, never felt bonky or sick except for the very last few minutes on the last summit near the top in the sunny 82 degree heat, I started to feel it a bit. I soaked my head and shirt and once I hit the cool breeze on the way down on the shady trail, I opened it up to get it done. Deb (and Tucker) ended up with8 loops or 24 miles. Deb said if she had known I was going out again, she would have, too....not sure about Tucker, who was "dog" tired!

The next part was what I really came for....the Cookout at the Collins' down the road. Deb and I went and showered at Joe's house, then headed to the collins' for some BBQ and beer to finish the day. It was amazing to see who else was there that I never saw!

It was a great day on a fantastic training hill on a beautiful day with friends, nothing like it! Plus one of my goals is to always make new friends at these things and I now have Penny as a new friend...

Next up is pacing at Vermont...then the MMD50K in the White Mountains! Also because Deb and I (Well, I) have decided to go to the Bear 100 in September, I feel like my training has some meaning and purpose. With no Hardrock this year, it just wasn't there....

Also congratulations to all the Western States participants, whether you finished or not. What a tough day in the 100+ deg heat. I would not have made it past the first several hours....

'til next time,

PS: Photos are not mine, but some I found on the web...

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's been awhile!

...since I've posted....

Reason being is we haven't been doing much but training and getting our old house ready to put on the market.

Last weekend I ran the Pack Monadnock 10 miler in 1:26:58, which was better than my goal of sub 1.5 hours. I guess the old boy's still got some leg speed... results here.

I passed on the Hollis 5K this past Wednesday where I ran 19:52 last year, finishing 4th in my AG. I thought it was wise to not run three races in a week with the Nipmuck Marathon on the following Sunday. If I ran and had run close to the same time I ran last year, I would have won my age group, as the fastest 55-59 was 24+ min's.

Yesterday I ran the Nipmuck Marathon in Ashford, Ct. This was interesting because the last time I ran this was in 1999, so when I heard that Dave, the RD was only letting prior finishers run this year, I though I'd like to be a part of that. In 1999 my time was 3:54:55 at the age of 47...and I was interested in seeing how I could run it now with 10 years of ultrarunning since then. Deb came down with me to work an aid station and when she was done, she went out and ran most of the course for a training run. If Deb had run the race she would have won the over 50, I'm sure of that...and would have been somewhere in the 5 hour range.

The run started quickly and I settled into a comfortable, quick pace yet knowing we were running a marathon that day that runs like a 50K. I believe the actual distance is about 26.5, but who really's a trail race! I settled in with my old buds Richard Collins and Ed Alibozek, but in time some how and probably stupidly pulled ahead on some of the downhill stretches.

When I race I believe in racing....I don't like to leave anything on the course. To me a successful race is when I start to fall apart with the finish line in sight.

Without going into a lot of detail, I kept the quick pace (for me) up until around 17 miles or so, when I started to feel the first hint of I took a big hit of my 1st Endurance Liquid Shot (calories and mega electrolytes) and tried to keep moving as best I could to get to the next and last turnaound.

The course is set up where you run approx 6.5 miles south, then turn around, returning to the S/F at about 13 miles, then you go north for about the same distance to another turnaround. The 2nd out and back is a little more hilly and technical and runs slower.

I reached the first turnaound in 55 minutes, about on pace for my goal of 4.5 hours. Rich had the same plan and wasn't far behind me. I reached the S/F road crossing in 1:51, so was still running pretty good, maintaining the same pace on both legs.

Here I am at about mile 19 in 19th place

Knowing the next section was a little more difficult, I didn't know what to expect, but started to tire just before it, reaching it in 3:08. Just before the turnaround you go down a set of stairs that sent my shins into a cramp spasm. I had just gone by Matt Estes, who many will remember had a great period of racing around 2005 when he won MMT100 and Hurt 100. Matt was NOT having a good day and mine was about to take a turn for the worst. I got to the turnaround aid station and while they filled my hand held bottle, I took another hit of the Liquid Shot, but that finished it off, not good with an hour and a half left to go.

Climbing back up the stairs, Matt was coming down them and just rolled his eyes at me. I struggled to get up the stairs and then there was a long climb up the trails...from here on in, it was all cramps, nauseous stomach and stopping to settle down the cramps as the warm day was getting to me. I stumbled my way to about 23 miles without losing my place of 19th, but then the runners started to go by as I limped up the trail and road. Rich went by me as I walked up the road....Then another aid station and I had the volunteer fill my bottle with whatever energy drink they had to keep some electrolytes coming in.

I was coming unglued quickly and even had to stop several times with adductor cramps that I thought were going to rip. Everytime I saw a log I had to lift my leg over, I knew a cramp was not long after that. Then I'd just stand there and drink while waiting for the cramp to calm down. I'd be able to start walking, then jog the downhills ever so carefully to not cause yet another spasm. Then Farmer Ed went by, asking me to come along with him, but I couldn't....then Curt Pandiscio and several others until I just knew the finish had to be close by. I actually went by a poor guy who was in rougher shape than I was because I heard rustling behind me. Turned out it was Donna Utakis, the first woman finisher...who I pushed to keep her from going by me. Not getting chicked is a rarity for me these days ;-)

I crossed the line in 4:44 in 25th place. Not that bad and I thought it was a lot worse than that....the other minor victory, which is one I always check is that there was no one older than me in front of me.

The next part was the worst, then the I sat and held off the nausea while sipping on a Coke that Ed gave me and within an hour I was able to eat a couple of hot dogs and enjoy the lively conversation at the finish.

Another race up is the MDLD 100K in MD/PA with the Traildawgs on June 20th, then we head to Maine on the 27th for the Mt Aggie run and cookout.

I'll also be pacing Patty Duffy at Vermont this year and with her running 4:58 yesterday (4th woman) and bettering her time by about 1 hour and 25 minutes, I think she will be at Camp Ten Bear aid station, where I'll pick her up, a little earlier than she's thinking. Congrats, Patty!

Until the next post....happy running!