Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hurricanes and Sketchy Ghost Towns

It was a muddy workout.
I've been training hard the last few weeks.  Two days ago I did my last really hard workout before NY.  I still have hard workouts, but nothing like this one.  To make it harder, it was pouring rain and windy.  Trying to kick it in against gale force winds is tough.

Anyways, I finished out the workout well.  Today I had a long run, and I think my legs are really starting to come around.  I've been running long runs on the same road for a couple of weeks, and today I started at the sketchy ghost town.  I was a little concerned that it would be foggy when I started, because starting a long run next to a sketchy ghost town in the fog seems like a scene from a scary movie.  But the fog had lifted and everything was fine.

I feel like I should write about something other than just my training, but I'm not convinced anybody would find anything else I've been doing lately all that interesting.

Oh, in the past week, we've gotten snow and hail.  Nothing has stuck on the ground here, but up on top it looks like there's at least some snow.  I'd prefer if the snow stayed up there, at least for the next couple weeks, until after NY, but as I have no control over that (short of trying to get more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but what can one man do?), I'm not going to worry too awful much about it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

All the Stuff That's Happened Since My Last Post

So it's been a while since I last updated.  First, a few things for those of you who are wondering.

Apparently a bunch of us brought an intestinal parasite from World Mountain Running Championships.  But nothing about parasites makes for interesting blogs.  Especially the intestinal kind.

Also, the house now has electricity.  By which I mean it is connected to the electrical grid so I can turn lights on and fun stuff like that when it's been cloudy.  Actually, my life is almost no different.  The shower has more water pressure and the clock on the stove is right more often than twice a day.  That's really about it.  If I didn't know, I may not have even noticed.  But it will be nice to have grid power during the winter, because that can be a little tough.

As for training, it's going.  I am training and hopefully will run well in the New York Marathon.

Sadly, I think that is all that has happened worth writing about since my last post.  Getting on the grid seemed like a really big even when it happened, but basically nothing changed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wow, I Missed Out on a Lot by Being Sick

I was thinking about writing this blog post about me getting a stomach bug earlier this week.  Then I realized that that may make the worst blog post ever written, so I'll spare you the details.  Sufficed to say, I was planning an easy week anyways, so it was a good time to get sick.

Also, the day that I got sick, my dad shot a pretty big bull elk.  So hopefully I can make it through another year of having 95% of the meat I eat be wild game.  But I was sick, so I couldn't help pack the elk out.  That made him a bit sore in more ways than one.

Also, while I was sick, my grandfather came to visit, as well as my uncle, who brought gifts of deer antlers for the dogs (dogs love deer antlers).  So the dogs are really happy now, and feeding them has become a lot more hazardous.

The good news is I seem to be getting better, so hopefully my training gets back on track soon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

So Apparently I'm the 9th Best Mountain Runner in the World

I'll start out with the spoilers for those of you who don't want to read my blog.  I just got back from World Mountain Running Championships in Italy.  I got 9th.

I'll give a synopsis of the race in a far more dramatic and poetic way than any race needs to be described.

We harriers girded ourselves for the ascent from Temu to Passo del Tonale.  The fog's hold on the area had broken overnight, and for the first time in many days, the sun shone brightly on the course, doing much to dry the rain that had not ceased for close to 100 hours.  The start was chaotic, with people elbowing each other out of the way for a spot in the front row.  Finally, the starting pistol was fired and a crowd of runners stampeded through the otherwise quite, cobblestone streets of Temu, a village built on the side of a valley.

After several kilometers, all entrants with severe allergies moved to the back of the racing pack to avoid the dust and pollen that the television helicopter was spewing into the air on the course.  The rest of us continued, trying to match the pace of the Eritreans.  Eventually, we reached the course's descent, a harrowing downhill of a steepness most were unprepared for.  I lost my balance on a particularly difficult part of the descent, saving myself from a near certain death when I caught myself on a tree.  Undeterred, I ran on, weaving through runners like a taxi driver.

Upon entering the town of Ponte di Legno, the bridge in the woods, my body screamed out for me to stop.  I continued on as fast as my body would allow, trying desperately to stay close to the runners ahead of me.  Eventually, my body realized that I would not stop until the finish line, and cooperated.  As we reached the steep parts of the course, we jockeyed for position, some running, some walking.  A spectator found himself on the wrong side of the fence and narrowly avoided joining the ranks of Eric the photographer.

As we climbed yet higher, to elevations that trees refuse to live in, we approached the course's high point.  I ran faster, knowing that I had only a few precious minutes left before I was done.  Throngs of Italians, wearing shirts with the likenesses of their favorite harriers, chanted "USA" trying to will me to displace an Eritrean as we exchanged places again and again.  Going up the last headwall, I told myself that cresting over the top, I would glance over towards our lodging, see the American flag I had hung out the window, and be inspired.  As it was, cresting the high point, I glance ahead of me and saw the Eritrean and was inspired.

The Eritrean and I continued our duel.  I passed him.  He passed me back in a sprint.  I tried to stay close.  As we approached a muddy section with narrow planks to keep people from stepping into what can only be assumed to have been Italian quicksand, I surged forward, intent on reaching the choke point before the Eritrean.  Then, I sprinted down the hill as fast as my legs could take me, around a corner and to the finish.  I had outkicked somebody for the first time in my life.  I struggled to find something to put on that was not covered in sweat, saliva, and PowerBar Energy Gel.

Anyways, now that I've finished describing the race, there is no more reason to be dramatic, poetic, or anything else like that.  I was 9th.  I showered, trying to remove whatever plant product was causing a rash on my ankle.  Then I rode the gondola of death up the mountain to a series of caves and bunkers high in the cliffs, where snow covered the ground and the echoed screams from 1916 filled the air.  I'm actually serious.  I did.  It cost me 5 Euros (which was a huge discount).

During the awards ceremony, a Macedonian kept shouting out "USA" whenever somebody found their way to the podium.  Then I got on a bus at 3:30am on my birthday and spent the next 27 hours traveling.  All 27 hours of traveling were on my birthday.  I did manage to use the fact that I traveled for over a day, all on the same day, on my birthday to get put into an exit row on my last flight, but then was informed that the flight duration was only 35 minutes.  Plus I'm a year older and closer to death now.  Oh well, you can't win them all.  Next race:  NYC Marathon.

And if you're wondering how I traveled for over a day in one day, it's amazing what traveling through 8 time zones can do.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Insert Catchy Title About Italy Here

The view out my window.  The course is above the buildings.

Course markings near the town square
I'm currently in Passo del Tonale, Italy, where in about 40 hours or so I'll run in the 28th World Mountain Running Championships.  It's Italy, so there are lots of Alps, pasta, small cars and people smoking.  I won't go into details about getting out here (because lines like "then I sat in a bus for four and a half hours" just aren't interesting).  I've been out here long enough to check out the course, and it should be fun.  I don't think anybody reading this is close enough to attend, but the race is on Sunday morning.

For those of you who can't make it, there should be a few options.  The race will be live on Italian TV, so it may be possible to watch at

Also, the US Mountain Running Team will be posting Twitter updates:
Plus, they may be posting live video on YouTube.  Check their website (, facebook ( or Google+ ( for that.

The local race times on Sunday are as follows
The Italian name for duct tape
09:40: Start of Junior Women race
09:45: Start of Junior Men race
10:30: Start of Senior Women race
11:00: Start of Senior Men Race

Since I'm from the Mountain Time Zone, I'll use that as an example.  There is an 8 hour time change from home to here, so that means my race will start at 3am on Sunday.  Sorry.

Recently, the rain and fog moved in.  It snowed not far above where we're staying at the finish.  Hopefully I have a picture to back up this claim either above or below this paragraph.
The fog and the snow.

Mmm.  Granite toast.  Good for sons and daughters of Dartmouth.

I'll try to get in a post after I race but before I leave.  Otherwise, I'll post when I get home.

Also, on another note, the NewBalance 110s should be excellent for this course.  I brought a spare pair in case something happened to my race pair during travel or something, and I may have a teammate wear them during the race (I won't mention any names just in case that would upset other sponsors).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leaving for Italy in Less Than 36 Hours

It's been a while since I wrote.  Sorry.  There hasn't been much to write about.  I feel healthy.  I have been training hard to make sure I'm ready for World Mountain Running Championships, and I haven't been racing.

In other news, I saw two doe deer almost get in a fight out the window today.  I have no idea what the one was so angry about, but she kept charging the other one.  Maybe it's the same deer that's been chasing the cat.  Speaking of which, I have a cat now.  It's a barn cat and lives outside.  Basically, it's a living rodent trap, because there are too many chipmunks everywhere and mice are moving into the car.  Apparently there are also a lot of shrews around, but I didn't know that until the cat showed up.

The big news, though, is that hopefully when I get back from Worlds in Italy, the house will have power.  It's been a long, arduous process, but actually being connected to the power grid will (hopefully, assuming it actually happens) be really nice.  And just in time for winter.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Insert Goat Joke Here

First off, soleus is doing well.  So that's good.

It's been an interesting last 8 days for me.  A week ago, two goats came after me during my long run.  When I saw them out of the corner of my eye I thought they were dogs.  It's been a while since I've been chased by goats (yes, it has happened before), so maybe such an experience was overdue.  I was a little worried about the billy headbutting me, but I think the goats were just excited to go on a run with me.  They were noisy and the biggest problem was that I spent half a mile of my run laughing before I dropped them.  For the record, off the top of my head I can remember being chased on runs by dogs, turkeys, goats, cattle and elk.  And I think maybe a pig once.

Today I had a goat free long run.  In fact, there were no close calls with animals of any kind.  Until the drive home, when I almost ran over a deer.  I do not ever remember ever being chased by deer during a run.

I am far more excited about this next week of training than my legs are.  That said, my legs should come around.  I did do a long run earlier today, after all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Injuries, Weddings and Fires: My Last Two Weeks in a Nutshell

So my soleus is getting better.  I don't really feel like talking more about it because I've been dealing with this thing for way too long.  Although I have started doing intervals again.  Anyways, I'll find something else to blog about.

The other day I got a box from USATF.  I started going through all of the stuff they sent out for me to bring to World Mountain Running Championships and thought to myself, "Oh, no.  I'm going to have to buy a new suitcase to fit all of this stuff."  Then I reached the bottom of the box, and there was a suitcase, which was good.  Although it's going to be strange to travel with more than just a carry-on.  Oh well, I don't want to complain about free stuff.  Speaking of which, New Balance and PowerBar are awesome!  On that note, I'm really excited to get a new pair of trail flats (110s) from New Balance, and I have enough PowerBar stuff packed to survive for a while (see below for why I have things packed).

About a week ago I went to a friend's wedding.  The timing actually worked really well with my injury because I needed an off day or two anyways.  It was really nice to catch up with a lot of people I haven't seen since college, and a few that I have.  My goal going into the wedding was to spend time with people I hadn't seen in way too long.  And I did, so the wedding was a success for me.  Plus, the bride and groom both said "I do" and nobody was seriously injured, so I think the wedding was a success all around.

On a not as exciting note, or perhaps a note that is exciting for all the wrong reasons, there is a small forest fire about 5 miles from where I live.  Luckily, there's been a lot of rain lately, but a helicopter spent several hours dropping water on it today and the road is dangerous because of all of the people gawking at the forest fire.  But I still packed my bags last night in case things take a sudden turn for the worse (the suitcase from USATF is already being put to good use!).  But it's raining as I write this, so that's good.  The lightning accompanying the rain isn't good, but we need the rain.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Soleus is Draining My Soul

I'll start with the bad news.  A few weeks back, my calf started hurting during a run.  I modified my training a bit and thought I had taken care of it.  In hindsight, I fell victim to wishful thinking and probably should have waited a few days before I started running hard up hills.  Anyways, I tried to run the Vail Hill Climb on Saturday.  It was a little tight before the race, but again, I fell victim of wishful thinking.  I felt great the first mile and a bit, which was flat.  Going up the hill I didn't feel as good as I'd hoped, but my calf was far from my mind.  Then, in one step I knew this had been a stupid idea.

I slowly made my way to the top for reasons I'll discuss later.  I was concerned that it was a strain and had a pretty miserable rest of the day.  Luckily, it just so happens that my 75 year old German neighbor is a physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine.  So I've been visiting my neighbor a lot in the past couple days.

Anyways, I have high hopes for recovery, but I'm trying not to get carried away in them.  After all, if I had just been smart, I probably would be fine right now.

As for the good news, first, I've already stated my neighbor is a physical therapist.  If it wasn't true, I'd think it was too good to be true.  Also, I actually made it to the finish on Saturday.  I had several reasons, one major one being that all of my things and my ride were waiting for me at the top.  Also, my former coach from the Dartmouth Ski Team, Ruff Patterson has a rule:  If you drop out, you owe him the entry fee, even if he didn't pay it, and even if you are an alum.  I don't, however, owe him the entry fee.  In large part because there is no part of that rule that says you owe him the entry fee if you get beat by an 11 year old.  Which I did.  Congratulations Tyler Scholl.  That was a good run anyways, and really impressive given the 11 year old thing you've got going.

Hopefully my next blog will actually be about training and being healthy or something other than icing with peas and carrots and stuff like that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wildfires are not good. Obey fire bans.

Sorry it's been so long.  Not much noteworthy has happened lately, other than wildfires.  There is currently a wildfire in my county, but I think it's getting under control.  At least, I can't see it as well out the window anymore.  For a few nights, I could actually see flames at night, which was kind of scary.  So people know, there were no warnings to even start packing for possible evacuations where I am, but I think most people did anyways.  The fire also apparently set some sort of a speed record, and went from about 2000 acres to over 10,000 acres in just a few hours.  Anyways, they've let most of the evacuated people back to their homes, and it never got too close to me, but fires setting speed records near your home is a bit worrisome.  I've also heard rumor that the moisture content of the local living trees is lower than the moisture content of wood that one would put in a fireplace.  Plus, the weather around here right now has more lightning than rain.  So yeah, I'm really excited about people setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July.  If you are in Colorado for the Fourth (or for that matter at any time), please do not set the forest on fire.

Monday, June 18, 2012

US Mountain Running Championships

I ran at US Mountain Running Championships at the Mount Washington Road Race this past Saturday (June 16).  The race coincided with Sturgis or some other motorcycle rally in the White Mountains for no particular reason.  I think both events probably got in each others' way.  At very least, there were a great many motorcycles waiting to travel up the Mount Washington Auto Road when they reopened it after the racers came down.

Now that I've gotten the nonsequitor ramblings out of the way, I'll tell you what happened.  The race went out fast.  Within 20 seconds, half of my PowerBar PowerGels had fallen out of the pocket on my racing top.  Luckily, I had brought extras in case something like that happened.  I ran at or near the front of the pack and didn't look back, so I'm not sure how big the group actually was, but it felt big.  Eventually, Joe Gray and Sage Canaday broke away from the pack.  I caught a few glimpses of Sage but never got another good look at him until the race was over.  I ran against him a lot during college, so I suppose it's fitting that he's been in my last two races.

Eventually, Eric Blake and Tommy Manning got a small gap.  This put me in 5th place, and the 5th American.  The top 6 Americans qualified for World Mountain Running Championships, so I didn't have much margin of error.  To add to that, Max King, Simon Gutierrez, Tim Chichester, and Italian Marco de Gesperi kept passing me and battling for position.  I passed the halfway point in the realm of 29:20, so a little mental math made me believe that a sub 1 hour race may be needed just to qualify for the team.  About a minute later, at timberline, I decided that if I didn't make a very solid move very soon, I wasn't going to World Championships.

I caught the Blake/Manning group and kept surging.  Apparently I dropped Manning but Blake stayed with me.  I could see Joe Gray up the road, and decided that I had a chance of catching him if he faltered at all.  He didn't.  However, my surge did put Blake and I pretty far ahead of 5th place, and top 6 was really all that mattered.  In the end, Eric Blake out kicked me in sight of the finish line.  I held on for 4th.  de Gesperi was 5th, and Manning and Chichester rounded out the team for Worlds.  Also, Team Colorado beat the team record by 5 minutes.  This means that our entire top 5 averaged a minute faster than the previous record holding team's average.

The end result of all of this is that I will represent the United States at World Mountain Running Championships in Ponte di Legno, Italy on September 2.  I also have Sierre-Zinal coming up on August 12, but Mt. Washington had no effect on my start there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cattle Stampedes are Good for Speed Work

No races this post to tell you all about.  Awwww.  Don't worry, I'm running Mt. Washington in less than 6 days, and that's the US Mountain Running Championships and the qualifier for World Mountain Running Championships, so regardless of how it goes, the next post should include something about that.

Anyways, I'm into a bit of a taper before Washington.  I had my last hard interval session last week and did a short long run today.  The interval session went very well.  I felt tired when I started today's run, but as the run went on, I felt better and ran faster every mile.  I also got myself into a little cattle stampede.

Somebody's cows got out onto the road I was running on.  Cows were on both sides of the road, and I prepared to run the gauntlet on the yellow line.  The cows on the left side of the road didn't like that, and I ended up hugging the left side of the road as the cattle stampeded down the right side of the road.  Luckily there were only about 10 or 15 cows and they stopped after maybe 100m.  But I did run faster to try to get around them so they didn't stampede into town, so that's why cattle stampedes are good for speed work.  I've been in worse.  A few years back I got caught in the middle of close to 100 cattle that stampeded for much longer.  I was literally surrounded by stampeding cattle that time, so comparatively this wasn't too bad.

Later in the run, when I was almost exactly half a mile from the finish, I came across more cows.  I'm not sure if they were the same ones or if somebody else' cows got out.  If they were the same ones, then apparently the cows wandered unaccompanied through town.  I couldn't see any broken fences or anything, so I'm really wondering if they might have been the same ones.  Luckily, this time two cows got a little nervous and I passed without further incident.  So hey, I survived my long run today.  Woo.  Or in this case, maybe moo.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Teva Mountain Games: Vail Pass Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Vail Pass Half Marathon, which is part of the Teva Mountain Games.  I had to wake up at 3:30am to make sure I was on the road by 4.  I had forgotten how much I hate 3:30am.  However, the swelling in my ankle was down substantially (see my last post), so that was good.

The Teva Mountain Games are a crazy event.  The people parked next to me left carrying fly rods and I saw one car with kayaks, bikes, and who knows what else somehow secured to the car.

The half marathon itself had a very good field.  Amongst the starters were the course record holder, the defending World Mountain Running Champion, at least three former Pikes Peak Champions, and this year's Bolder Boulder citizen's division champion.

The course was interesting for a mountain race, but I liked it.  The first 10km or so were like a road race.  We gained a little elevation, but not much compared to the first 10km of most mountain races, and ran through subdivisions, golf courses, parks, and a lot of the other things the town of Vail has to offer.  Then, the course started up Vail Pass on a bike path until the finish at 13.77 miles.

I like to know my body well, and that includes knowing exactly what to expect from caffeine.  I try to avoid caffeine unless I'm in a big race, and as such, am very affected by caffeine.  A few years back, I did a few tests during training and discovered that after imbibing any caffeine, I felt great for about 40 minutes, then dropped below where I had been previously.  The way the aid stations worked out, I had a choice between first taking caffeine with about 50 minutes to go or with about 25 minutes to go.  I opted for the 50, telling myself this would give me good incentive to finish fast, and give me a chance to see whether my body has changed in this regard.

Now, to describe the race itself.  I started out at a quick pace.  Within a minute, the rest of the field had opted to run their own pace.  By 4 miles, I had built up a 150m lead.  This isn't much with almost 10 miles to go, including the pass, though.  I kept up the pace, and by the 10km aid station, felt good.  At this point, I took my first PowerBar Energy Gel, a Double Latte flavored gel with 50mg of caffeine.  I then proceeded to miss the water cup I went to grab and had to go without water.  I knew that this was probably a little early in the race to have any caffeine in my system, but I wanted to know exactly how early.  I pushed the pace up the pass and extended my lead.  By the finish line, I had won by a little over a minute ten.  I figured out that my body can now take caffeine for about 45 minutes, because the last 5 minutes felt pretty tough.  But I put forth a good effort through the entire race and am very happy with how things went, especially given my last week and a half.

Anyways, it was a long day.  I finally got home at around 10pm.  I slept well last night, then woke this morning for an 18 miler.  It was a few minutes slower than my fastest, but I can't complain.  Less than two weeks until Mt. Washington.

Also, I had a very humbling experience yesterday.  On the drive home, I saw a guy doing 75 on the interstate on a motorcycle, wearing a bowler cap, holding a cup of coffee in one hand, the handlebar in the other, while a lady held him close.  I don't even own a bowler cap, a motorcycle, or drink coffee.  Plus, I'm single.  I think the only thing I had on that guy was that I had just won a half marathon up a mountain pass.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Advice For What I Should Bee Doing With My Socks

I am writing this to ask for some advice.  First, I'm going to tell you what happened on my afternoon run today.

I've been training a lot and had a difficult last week.  I was doing what was supposed to be a relatively easy, relaxing run this afternoon.  Suddenly, I felt a terrible pain in my foot.  A bee got under the tongue of my shoe, freaked out, and stung me on top of my ankle.  This is the third time in a week that I've been nailed by something getting caught under the tongue of my shoe.  I'm mildly allergic to some sort of stinging insect, but usually when I get stung, whatever stung me is not in tact enough for me to positively identify the species.  However, I am a little worried that I'll end up with a not good reaction to whatever gets stuck under the tongue of my shoe next.  I also feel like my ankle is a little swollen, which is probably not the best for training.

I'm going to switch the detergent I use on my training socks in the hope that insects just really like the smell of my detergent.  However, just in case that isn't the case, I'm asking for your help.  Yes you, the one sitting on your computer.  Does anybody have advice on how to keep stinging and biting insects out from under my tongue?  And yes, I do run with my mouth closed.  I'll try to remember to enable comments in case anybody wants to post here, or you can post on my Facebook (since that looks like where most of you come to my blog from) or contact me in pretty much any other way.

Thanks for the help.

For those of you wondering what my difficult week was like, I did my most/least favorite workout on Friday.  Imagine the worst hills you can think of doing intervals on.  Then, make it ten times worse.  What you are imagining is probably a little easier than this workout.  Whenever I'm planning on doing this workout, I dread it for days.  On Sunday, I did a long run.  I felt tired, but I still managed to run about the time I've been running when I felt good.  Then, on Tuesday, I did another hill interval session.  The times were not good, but still much better than they were last year.  So now I'm tired.  And my foot hurts.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Maybe I Should Give My Posts Titles...

I suppose first off I should just say this Saturday (June 2) I'll be running the Vail Pass Half Marathon as part of the Teva Mountain Games.  It's a race up a pass in Vail.

Okay, as for how things have been going, it's been a mixed bag.  Training has been going quite well.  I've put in a few workouts that I've been very pleased with, and hopefully the fitness I get out of them will be apparent when it comes time to race fast.  But I do feel tired.  Luckily, I've got an easy run tomorrow.  But there are intervals the next day, so...

I'm also joining Team Colorado, which is a really low key team of not low key individuals who run up and down mountains and are from Colorado.  We're looking to run fast at Mount Washington on June 16, which is both the US Mountain Running Championships and the trials for World Mountain Running Championships.  Check out Team Colorado.  Check out Team Colorado:

On the more mixed bag side of things, we had to put down my dog Wolf this week.  He was a 13 year old golden retriever, and was my companion for half my life.  That was tough.  That said, for the past 7 years or so I've thought he wouldn't make it through the year, so I guess the good news is that I got 7 more years with him than I thought I would.

Oh, we also had a wind storm yesterday that was so bad I couldn't run outside.  The entirety of Utah blew in, and visibility was down to maybe a mile for most of the afternoon.

One last thing.  And this is more of advice for all of the politicians out there campaigning.  A candidate for County Commissioner was doing a meet and greet where I started and finished a run the other day.  When I asked him about some long term issues that will affect the area in 15 or 20 years, his response was "I won't be around in 20 years."  If you are a politician trying to get a 20-something to vote for you, do not ever say this.  Their response will be something along the lines of my response.  "But I will."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I waited to publish a new post until after the Black Canyon Ascent because there wasn't really anything else interesting.  I've been pretty busy since then, but made some time to update whoever it is that actually reads this blog.

I ran the Black Canyon Ascent last Saturday.  My main goal was to just have a really good effort.  I was successful in that regard, especially during the last mile.  I did have a few slow portions of the race, but overall I think things went really well.  The light headwind helped keep me cool.  I won, set a new course record of 39:57, and was the first person ever under 40 minutes for the race.  Plus, everybody who raced got running shorts (instead of a shirt) and a delicious loaf of bread.  And I got to know some people from the mountain running community that I really had no excuse to not know.  Overall, a very successful day.

My uncle from Norway came over on Sunday.  I haven't seen him in a really long time, which is a big part of why I haven't gotten this post up earlier.  It's great to see my long lost relatives and spruce up on my Norwegian.

Training has been going pretty well.  My legs are a little tired right now, but the training plan has been modified.  Frankly, if I never feel tired, I must not be training hard enough.

As a bonus for patiently waiting for this blog post for so long, I recently learned about a really cool creature.  The naked mole rat.  They are abundant in Ethiopia and the surrounding area, are resistant to pain and cancer, and can run backwards as fast as forwards.  Their blood is especially good at transporting oxygen and they are the longest living rodent known to man.  They can live for 26 years.  Granted, they are very ugly and eat their own feces, but they can't feel pain.  That's really hard core.

Thanks for reading and I'll try to get another post up as soon as something else interesting happens.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

So it's been a while.  I figured writing about rest after a marathon wasn't very interesting, and nothing more needed to be said about Boston.  But I'm working back into the training, so maybe I can say something interesting now...

My next big races coming up are mountain races for quite a while.  Likewise, I'm doing more training on the hills than I was earlier this year.  This actually works pretty well for marathon training too, I think, because this gives me a good, long period of lots of strength, and running more on trails means I can run more with less chance of injury.  There is the risk of taking a fall, like I did on Friday, but my fall Friday was because of a loose shoelace, barely bruised at all, and on some of the flattest, easiest running I did that day.  Frankly, I keep telling myself that I'm too afraid to fall on the really hard stuff.  The thing with the shoelace really drove home that I need to listen to my mother.  She came along because she really wanted to see the trail that I was running on, and warned me about the shoelace before I started.  I think every time I don't listen to my mother when she says something about training, something goes terribly wrong.  Granted, she was an Olympian for Norway in Nordic skiing in 1980, so she knows a thing or two.  The sad part about my mother coming to see the trail was that she was too afraid of heights to actually make it far enough on the trail to see much more than the parking lot.

I ran 18 miles today.  I was really pleased with myself, because I went out at a pretty decent pace, and negative splitted the run.  I also finished building a greenhouse from scratch today, and given my lack of carpentry skills, I'm very pleased with it.  By which I mean, it is still standing.

Also, it looks like I got into the New York City Marathon, so hopefully that goes well.  But I've got some time before that, so I'm probably better off thinking more about having a great summer of mountain races and less about Manhattan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I have a sign in my bedroom.

"Some people race to see who's the fastest.  I race to see who has the most guts."  -Steve Prefontaine

I probably should say something profound about that, but I don't really have the energy.  So instead, I'll explain what happened at Boston.  Going into the race, I heard a lot of people talk about how everybody prepares for Boston's uphills, then gets killed by the downhills.  To prepare for this, I did a lot of downhill intervals.  Most of Boston's downhills are roughly a 2% grade, give or take a bit, and that was what I was doing around 1/3 of my intervals on.  I knew exactly how fast I could go down a hill without having shot legs at the bottom.  Also, I kept in mind that I turned into a full time runner a year ago.  I ran a 2:20 in Chicago on about 6 months of being a runner instead of a skier.  Now, I have a year under my belt.  I'm about 10 lbs lighter and just about everything about my running fitness is much better than it was for Chicago.

When race day came, I felt prepared.  It was hot, but I thought that since Colorado had a few weeks of 80s during March and April, I would be okay.  I told myself that my race plan was to go out at the correct pace and run my own race.  I understood that Boston is a big race and I could potentially go out far too fast, so I went out slower than I knew I could, just to make sure I didn't go out faster than I wanted to.  Within a few miles, nobody else was running with me.  I told myself that they would be back, but that I just had to keep up a good pace and jump in with them once they caught me.  If nothing else, it would give me a few miles of my pace before I tried to run theirs.  At the time, I thought that if anything I should be going a little faster, because going down a hill doesn't require a great amount of effort, especially if you are ready for it and know how to run the downhills.  I was trying to not pay any attention to the fact that I was leading because it's a 26.2 mile race.  I figured I could let the crowd pump me up during the last 6 miles.

As it turned out I probably wasn't as prepared for the heat as I thought I was.  It started with stomach cramps.  Badness steadily moved through my entire torso.  Then it moved into my extremities.  I tried to double down on both drinking and pouring water on myself, but my digestive system wasn't receptive.  In the two days since the race, I have yet to actually feel hungry.  I told myself that I was just going through a rough stretch, needed to run my own pace for a few miles, and then I'd get back into it.  I've done enough mountain running that I felt confident on the uphills and downhills, which is most of the course after 15 miles.

As it turned out, the rough stretch lasted for roughly the last 20 miles.  I think I started swerving a bit around mile 23, but I'm not sure.  After the race as I rode the subway back to the hotel, I almost passed out.  It wasn't my day, and I'm at peace with that.  If I would have run conservatively, I may not have had as bad of a result, but it still wouldn't have been my day.  I would rather have a really bad race while trying to run a great race than just a pretty bad race while trying to just have a pretty bad race and nothing worse.

Every great race I have ever had has been the result of taking big risks.  That is the only way I know to have great races, and the day I am unwilling to risk everything in a race is the day I need to find something else to pour my heart and soul into.  I try to run every race like it is going to be great, because if it turns out it wasn't my day, it wouldn't have been my day anyways.  If I'm going to run aggressively, I have to accept that there will be some bad races, accept those races and try to learn from them.

I have working theories as to what went wrong.  The heat definitely hurt me, but I'm not sure if that was all.  Because of the heat, I made sure to drink a lot before and during the race.  Another theory that I have is that my stomach problems were because I drank more than I was used to before and/or during the race.  I will continue to think about what exactly went wrong, and intend to learn from it.

If I can figure out how, I'm going to disable comments on this post.  Apparently there is a lot of drama on some message boards, and I'm trying to stay away from it.  I find that if I don't read all the bad things people I've never met have to say about me, then I'm a happier person for it.  I haven't read the message boards about my race, don't intend to, and don't really want a bunch of e-mails about the same type of comments on my blog.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Apologies for the extended time since I've updated.  Given that my every day life seems...well, every day to me, I struggle with actually thinking things in my life are interesting enough that people actually want to read about them.  I'll start out with the most important things, saying when I'm going to be in Boston for the Boston Marathon.  I'm bib 26 for those watching.  That way people in the area who want to see me know that and when I'm there.  Then I'll let the blog devolve into trying to make mundane, uninteresting things in my life seem interesting.

I'm arriving in Boston the evening of Friday, April 13 (oooh, spooky), running the race on the morning of Monday the 16th, and leaving before I see the sun on Tuesday the 17th.  I'll probably be pretty lazy and not up for much during Saturday and Sunday, and I'll probably be pretty tired on Monday afternoon and evening.  I'm going to a PowerBar Recovery Party after the race (assuming I can walk by then), although I don't know where or when that is other than somewhere in Boston sometime on Monday.  And I'll be on a plane before anybody with any complaints about my race can find me on Tuesday morning.

I'm done with the important parts of my blog, so you can all stop reading.  Seriously.  Because all I really have to say is that I'm coming off one of the most pathetic moments of my life a few days ago.  I got a first degree burn from a sock full of rice.  That's about all there is other than things like working on community presentations, training, running away from vicious turkeys, you know, the stuff that happens all the time around here.