Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Training: Week of April 11, 2010

Total mileage: 49 1/2
Races: none

Sun - Morning 8m @~8.53 at Fisher River Park trails   Total - 8

Mon - Off, long day, long high school track meet.

Tue - Evening 10m @8.08 with strides   Total - 10

Wed - Lunch 5m @7.54; Evening 11m - Pilot Mtn. workout 5 x 1/2m & 2 x 1/4m going up mtn.
           doing 3rd 1/2 twice (1/2-3.15, 1-3.28, 1 1/2-3.40, 1 1/2-3.38, 2-3.29, 2 1/4-1.42, 
           2 1/4-1.40) SWEET!   Total - 16

Thu - Off, Back and right popliteus muscle irritated

Fri - Afternoon 8m @~7.45 with fast strides   Total - 8

Sat - Morning 7 1/2m - up and down Howard's Knob in Boone   Total - 7 1/2

I am having continued problems with my back and right leg, a permanent condition it seems.  The popliteus muscle behind the right knee was new.  It was pretty irritated through the last of the week and I try to be cautious with new aches.  One of my main running goals is to keep running, i.e. stay healthy.  That didn't seem to be my goal in years past as I seemed to train into the condition of injured and not running, too often.  One of my favorite sayings is "I seem to do very poorly at all the races I don't run."

When I am running, I'm running slower and slower, and faster!  My recovery days have gotten slower and slower over the last three years.  Some of that is to blame on Simon Gutierrez as I had run some cooldown runs after races with him in previous years.  I particularly remember a run after the mountain team selection race in Colorado 2006.  Asking for some training tips, one was make the easy days easier and the hard days hard and fast.  A perfect example of the slower and faster is Fisher River Park.  The recovery run on Sunday the 11th is the slowest I have ever run the trail section.  My workout this Monday, the 19th, is the fastest I have ever run the trail.  My training milage has gone up and race times have gone down in last couple of years.  So I guess I should thank Simon for the advice sometime.  A good friend, Mark Lundblad, has also reinforced the slower recovery day and long day pace.  I've even run slow with Mark some.  If Mark can run slow, I can too.

Wednesday's workout at Pilot Mtn. was pretty awesome.  My times were haulin' fast for that workout, significantly faster than I had previously run for that workout.  After the first 1/2 mile, the other 1/2 miles average 11-12%.  I was rather fired up after that one and looking forward to Mt. Washington in June.  Pilot Mtn. workouts are the basis for my predicted Mt. Washington times each year, this year looks good!  Saturday, I drove the track team to a meet at Appalachian State.  Before the meet I ran up Howard's Knob and back down.  It is on the road and probably averages 15% for 1 1/2 miles.  I won a 2 mile race there called The Knob in 2007 and 2008.  Hopefully, I can do it again this fall, it's a 5K now.

Time to go run slow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Training: Week of April 4, 2010

Total mileage: 80
Races: Pilot Mountain Payback - Marathon   1st   3:15.15

Sun - Afternoon 8m @~8.00 with Cory   Total - 8

Mon - Afternoon 2m @~8.20   Total - 2

Tue - Lunch 7m @8.12; Afternoon 5m @8.20   Total - 12

Wed - Morning 4m @8.04; Afternoon 8 @~8.00 with fast strides   Total - 12

Thu - Afternoon 8m @~7.55   Total - 8

Fri - Morning 4m @8.00; Afternoon 4m @~7.55   Total - 8

Sat - Morning 30m - Pilot Mountain Payback - Marathon  3:15.15; added 4m after   Total - 30

Back to working like a madman again, so slow getting this week's running up.  I am chasing gypsy moths now, they are hard critters to track.  This week of training was good, just taking the week easy to get my legs back under me.  My legs were actually a little better on Sunday after Mt. Penn.  They just couldn't go at Mt. Penn.  The run and conversation with Cory on Sunday was nice treat.  Though the legs were doing better, my gluts were really sore Sunday and Monday.  I get a lot of second day soreness, so Monday was worse.  I don't know if the gluts were doing the work that the rest of my legs couldn't or what.  I don't normally get sore in the gluts.  Maybe that's what happens when you get your ass kicked.

Pilot Mountain Payback was fun.  I treated it more like a good long run.  It was nice being out on the trails.  I did a lot of talking on the way out the Corridor Trail.  The girl leading the half said I was full of stories, she did say that she liked them.  The run up Mountain Trail was the best, I just really like this trail.  It is rocky and technical, then the upper part is narrow through mountain laurels and boulders.  I passed some lamas on the course.  Seriously, some folks were walking some lamas near the pinnacle area.  I got in the lead just before the pinnacle area.  They guy and I went back and forth a little down the mountain.  He stopped at the aid station at the park office around 18? miles.  I kept going and took the lead again.  He was close for a while and then dropped off.  On the way in on Corridor Trail, I noticed a runner had dropped his chewing tobacco.  Can't believe a runner doesn't go back to get that.

After finishing, I hung around for a bit, ate pizza and chips, had some Coke, filled my bottle, and headed back out Corridor Trail for a few extra miles.  I stopped a ways out to wait for Stacey to come.  It was cool being out for a bit, watching runners come by, and encouraging them in.  I ran the last couple of miles in with Stacey.  She said she felt rough and I said that is pretty normal for long races.  Crystal came in soon after Stacey finished.  It was Stacey's and Crystal's first marathons.  I think they "enjoyed" the experience.  I was nice to hang out with them and to see some other folks out there that I knew.  I think races are becoming social affairs for me.

Later I walked back out Corridor Trail to meet Alison and help her sweep the last of the trail.  She swept basically the entire course, so her knee is doing okay.  She is also running a little now.  It was nice walking back in with her and talking.  She had also worked registration before the race.  We both had a fun day.  Abran did a great job putting on his first race.  Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Monday, April 5, 2010

WARNING: You may not want to read this, Crystal.

For those of you like my friend, Crystal, this may be one of those blogs you will want to skip.  She has said that she can only handle me in small doses.  Thankfully, Alison can handle a large, continuous dose.  Though I may leave some of you wondering how.  This blog actually came about from my recent thinking on how good life is for me right now and thinking more about the Bel Monte race.  I guess I could have written a nice, overly romanticized blog about a seemingly perfect life.  Problem is that is not real, for me anyways.  I doubt I would see life as so wonderful without the un-wonderful portions.  My life has had the surviving sections, just the same way Bel Monte had a tough surviving section.  That is one of the great things about ultras, many times the races will have ups and downs, literally, and emotionally, and physically.  One of the biggest impacts on my life was going through divorce.

Going through divorce changed me and changed me more than any other life event I can think of.  I use the phrase "going through divorce" because just the fact I was once married and got divorced isn't the key factor.  It was all that I had to deal with personally, how I view life, and how I had dealt with life previously.  It would be a book to write all of it so I'll just hit the high points.  One, I wasn't ready to be divorced.  I was a Christian, in some ways strict.  I'd only be married once, only know one woman, love forever.  I still love Kathy, my ex-wife.  Personally, I don't understand how you once really love someone and stop.  I do believe in God's love, the agape love, and in living it.  Most people only seem to apply this to children.  Kathy and I are still friends and talk regularly.  Some people don't understand this.  I don't understand any other way and haven't lost a rational discussion on the subject.  The love has changed.  It's not romantic or sexual.  I love my sisters, I don't need to say more.  But part of my dogma is once I care about someone, I don't stop regardless of the situation.  Some folks have said they couldn't deal with my views toward Kathy.  I guess that is one reason in a list of why I'm not married to them.  I couldn't deal with someone who doesn't get my point of view, cause all they could offer me was a temporary love or concern.  The point is that changing that type of love with Kathy was tough and rocked me to the core.  What did it say about me that I would say I want out?

I also kept myself neatly packed inside in my younger years, before 26.  My internal life was like a post office mail box.  Everything was tidily categorized and ordered.  Some boxes were locked shut.  Things went in and disappeared from my mind.  My divorce dumped everything back out on the floor for me to sort through again.  I spent years sorting back through my past life, some parts I'd seemed to have forgotten.  I'm not sure what I've done with all that crap now.  I've written quite a few poems and some journals.  To be honest, I drank some on nights I felt too overwhelmed.  But one description of me now is that I am not afraid to be naked.  If something about me is good, bad, indifferent, it is what it is.  I'm not ashamed of any of it.  I struggled with being a "perfect" Christian before.  I'll just say that I don't now.  I know that bothers some people, especially when I say exactly what that means.  If I did it, I'll tell you.  I might say it was or is bad, but I did it and in some instances will probably do it again.  To use Christian terms, I sin, I know that I will repeat some sins.  I'll try to sin less, but I sin as a willful act, a choice.  I don't believe in the "it's not my fault, I couldn't resist."  I'd rather own my actions.  I might not be a perfect person, don't even want to be, but I'll be honest with you.

Somewhere in that rambling is how divorce upset my previously perfect, and falsely, balanced life.  Divorce was a hard process for me that brought out some good things in me, some bad.  It definitely changed me for better, and worse.  I do like that I am more like I was as a kid.  I wish I could recover the naivety I had as kid(that will be a good blog sometime), but I won't.  One of my best lessons was that life, time, the movement of the sun and moon stops for no one.  We each have a limited amount of time and I plan on living mine up.  I don't want a gravestone when I die(don't believe in that, for me), but if I did I would want it to say, "He did too much," or "He did too much living."  The second sounds a little arrogant, but I can live with that.  I also have much greater appreciation of life after divorce.  I am much more thankful for anything, even some of the "bad" and "difficult."

Below is a poem that I wrote this weekend.  It's a first draft, which I seldom like.  I like some of what this poem says, but not exactly how it says it.  It was brewing in my head for years and finally fell out.  Anyway, I thought I'd toss it out there.  So the point of all my rambling is that some parts of life must just be survived.  During my process of divorce, I made some different choices from before.  I didn't try to be perfect.  I shouted at God, cussed God, questioned my belief in God, but I talked to him and I talked honest.  I was merely surviving for a year or more, and not doing that well.  Just as I had to survive a large section of Bel Monte 50 Mile.  You force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, whether it is fast or slow, running or walking.  When you can, you make yourself run and good things can happen.  If you walk when you could be running, you'll miss an opportunity.  Other people can judge whether I'm good or bad, better or worse.  You can judge.  I'm not sure how much sense this blog makes, but who cares.  It's me.  I'm definitely different and not afraid to be judged or disliked or liked.  But I plan on using my time up and I'm not afraid to be naked.

Drunk and Naked on the Floor

Looking back,
it was just a night 
alone in the sea. 
At the time, 
it was night after night, 
drunk and naked, 
alone on the floor. 
Where was my God? 
Though I've asked, 
he hasn't spoken. 
Too many nights, 
I couldn't sleep 
and the Comforter 
never came, 
maybe my hard words 
kept him away. 
No one wants to see 
a bare soul on the floor, 
naked and drunk. 
Someone came and walked away, 
a man stripped a little too much. 
They'd worry in silence. 
I'd suffer alone. 
Sometimes you have to 
swim on your own 
or drink 
yourself naked and drunk 
on the cold soil.

It seemed like years, 
it seemed like a night or two, 
maybe there's little difference. 
A bad mind lost time, 
a day, a year, 
I remember little of either. 
So looking back, 
maybe just one night,
maybe four years, 
a minor detail 
of a corrupted mind. 
Not sure who rescued me, 
or if I swam the ocean alone 
and found the shore. 
God hadn't walked away 
having seen me stripped bare 
ranting in my nakedness.

Shrivel feet on course soil, 
clothed once more 
suddenly appropriate again, 
but not underneath. 
Though, the Comforter 
could cover 
a multitude of nakedness. 
She'd say I still wasn't right, 
though she found me 
far from removed 
from the shore 
only sometimes 
naked and bare.

Just a single night 
alone in the sea 
left me different and bare. 
Maybe God needed 
a man, 
naked and bare.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Training(Laugh): Week of Mar. 28, 2010

Total mileage: 23 1/2
Races: Mt. Penn Mudfest 15K   4th   1:02.50

Sun - Off

Mon - Bike 10 @16.5mph

Tue - Bike 12 @17.2mph

Wed - Afternoon 2 1/2m @~8.20   Total - 2 1/2

Thu - Afternoon - Michelle's torture treatment, otherwise known as massage; 
          Evening 5m @8.10   Total - 5

Fri - Off

Sat - Morning 16m - Mt. Penn Mudfest 15K 1:02.50 @6.45 avg.   Total - 16

I'll describe this past week as rest/recovering for the first half and tapering for the second half.  That works, right?  In previous years, the La Sportiva Mountain Cup has not started until late May, this year April 3rd with Mt. Penn.  I had been planning on doing the Cup again this year and this race was within driving distance being in PA.  The Cup schedule wasn't announced until early March.  I had put Bel Monte on my race schedule before Christmas and didn't want to miss that.  So I was left with a choice, cut one or try both.  I don't see going from a short race to an ultra as any real problem, ultra to short in a week is tough for me.  With that in mind I feel like Mt. Penn went well.  My body never felt good and recovered all week and didn't feel that way on Saturday.  But I was okay.  I warmed up with Derek Schultz and Jason.  I knew then that I was going to be hanging on.  During the race, my legs just couldn't push to that acute speed and pain of a shorter race.  I ran hard, but my body was still running a ultra.  I just didn't have legs, no pop or bounce.  Top 5 was my goal and I got 4th.  But the racer in me can't help but want more.  Two of the guys in front of me are sub 14 5K runners, I can now say I am a sub 17 5K guy again(16.46 in Oct.).  The other guy has been on the US Mountain team the previous two years, 2009 Mountain Cup winner, and 2008 Olympic Trials marathoner.  I really shouldn't beat any of these guys, but...  I'm delusional enough to want to and to try.  So I beat the people I was "supposed" to beat, but I want to beat the ones I'm not "supposed" to beat.  Some friends have suggested I be more satisfied with my running.  I am happy with my running achievements, but I like the driven, pursuing part of my personality.  Racing is my outlet for that.  I have a saying for myself and that I tell Alison sometimes, "When your dreams get too big, go delusional."  That is not Alison's personality, but she has come to realize that it works for me somehow.  I like my delusional, pretend world.  Alison also says the more I accomplish, the less delusional my goals are.  Which kind of sucks.

I have also tended to race a lot over the past couple of years.  No apologizes there either.  I really enjoy the races, seeing running friends, and meeting new people.  I have become somewhat of a social racer, though I never thought I would.  I'll just say that I like to play, a lot.  Which, I should have another blog about my view of trail racing up later this week or next.  It's titled, Act your shoe size, not your age!  Enough for now.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm Sexy

I am sexy.  At least, that is what I heard, again, one Friday night back in February.  I was running by a house when a girl hollers, "Woooowho, Heeey Sexy."  This just confirmed the extraordinary amount of sexiness I must now possess.  My sexiness had to burst through the abundance of clothes I wore; tights, shorts, shirt, jacket, 2 gloves, beanie, hat, and headlamp.  I was running in the middle of the road as a heavy snow was falling with 4-5 inches newly on the ground.  I'll admit that the headlamp probably helped her see my sexiness in the heavy snowfall.

I believe my first discovery of this odd sexiness was more of a conveyance of another's more established sexy power.  It was in May, 1989 and I was only 16, an awkward, some might say puny and thin, young runner.  Some might say I have maintained the puny and thin build.  I had only been running for 6 months, but that strange power had begun to take hold.  There was a group of us Dobson boys out on a midnight run in the nearby town of Elkin.  A car passed and someone hollered, "Hey, it's Sexy Rexy's boys."  That's when I first heard of this sexiness in running.  Rex Mitchell was our Surry Central High School track and cross country coach.  He not only coached, but he ran, all 6'5" in running shorts and shirtless in summer.  He'd become known to some as Sexy Rexy and we were his runners.  

I'm not sure what it is about this sexy mystic that running christens us with.  But with many miles logged on these legs, some just can't resist calling out, "Hey Sexy."  I'm sure many of you running infatuated have experienced the same.  It seems strange that a lean, underfed looking, half-naked person quickly chasing one foot after another could emit such a strong sexiness.  I have even found that some males, who'd swear they're straight, will whistle or holler the "Hey Sexy."  A few years ago, I had a situation where a 73 year old woman commented on my lean body.  She said she was not hitting on me, she was just admiring.  I told her I was dating someone.   Though I've come to understand the overpowering nature of this running sexiness.

I help Sexy Rexy coach at the same high school where he has been passing along this power for more than 30 years.  Now I run with our guys on the local roads.  I must apologize to the new kids each year and tell them they will get used to all the hollering when they run with me.  I also tell them that if they too log many miles, someday people will be unable to control the proclamation of their sexiness.

Our Sexy Cartel
From left to right, Me-jb, Jason Key-JK, Kenny Koves, Joseph Gonzales-JG, Jason Lawrence-JL

All photos are from my senior yearbook.  Even the one of me looking goofy, or maybe SEXY.