Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Highs and Lows of the Past Month or So of Running

In typing up my running milage from the past several weeks, it was fairly frustrating to look back at my messed up training. My training log, which is a Curious George calendar and has been for quite a number of years, had as much info on what hurt as what I had been doing running. But it was also good to see all the notes of "good run", "fun run". Those were all runs that I had done with friends. Almost every time that we run together, Cory says that it is almost like not running. I have to agree. I did a 3 hour and 45 minute run with Mark Lundblad at the end of May. It felt more like an hour. My back felt good that day, or maybe I was enjoying Mark's company too much to notice the back. Then Mt. Washington was a disaster, but a fun weekend. I ran with a friend, Shiloh, on Friday before the race and warming up before the race. Then we lamented our poor performances after the race. Shiloh is a fun guy to hang out and run with. Alison and I stayed with a couple in their 70s, Richard and Joann Fedion. They are a blast. I could write a whole blog on them, but I don't think it would do justice unless you know them. Also at Mt. Washington, I got to visit and talk with several other running friends. Several of us went to dinner together that evening after the race. The mountain running scene is a great group of people. An added bonus is that Jacqueline Gareau, Boston Marathon winner 1980, was assigned to ride down with us. Alison and I ended up hanging out with her on Friday evening, then Saturday before and after the race. Maybe I could say we're friends with Jacqueline Gareau. The people and friends I interact with around running are a big high, so much so that the lows don't seem as bad. I admire the CMS crowd as I read Dave Dunham's blog and blogs of some other CMS guys. Sounds like they have a lot of fun.

Anyway, on with a quick recap of my actual running and racing. At Rock2Rock, my back and right glute were feeling better. I climbed well as I hit the top very close to last years split, but I didn't have the legs to descend. But third was still helpful for my Mountain Cup standings. By RothRock Challenge I was feeling a good bit better physically. Michael Selig was there and I knew that I basically had to beat him to have any hopes of top 3 in the Mountain Cup. The course was tougher than I expected, which I didn't mind. The first climb came early and was steep. I was close to Matt Byrne on most of the climb, but had decided to take it a little easier early in the race. So he pulled away a little at the top of the climb. I expected the race to take close to 3 hours and I wanted to be running well in the last hour, not just the first. Reaching the first descent I knew this should be a good course for me. It was steep and overly technical, super rocky. I closed on Matt on this descent. Then there were several rolling miles, some technical, some very runnable. So not being a guy with speed, Selig caught me. We went back and forth for several miles, me pulling away on the climbs, Selig overtaking me on the descents. The 3 miles leading up to the aid at 12.8 were gentle rolling and very runnable. Selig went by early and I thought of trying to hang on to him. That thought was brief as I knew I'd be straining to match his speed. I thought, "Just be Jason and run your own race. That will be sufficient or it won't, but that's how you'll run best." I knew Selig was building a significant lead. During this part, I was really thinking that my Mountain Cup year was over. I thought of just running in, obviously I was struggling mentally. I prayed some as normal and the thought hit me that just running in was not very glorifying. I had to give my best and let the results be whatever they were.

The final descent into the aid at 12.8 was crazy, kind of scooting down on you butt stuff. The climb out from there was crazier. It was just a long boulder climb. I was told that I was 1.30 behind Selig and 3.00 back of Matt and the other guy. I could hardly imagine that I was making time on anyone here, but I kept telling myself that I good at this stuff. Sure enough I made up like 1.15 on Selig in about 1 1/2 miles. The next 1 1/2 miles Selig pulled away a little again down to the last aid station. From there it was a 5K to the finish with about a 9% 1 mile climb, then a mostly down and runnable 2 miles. I didn't think my chances of beating Selig were good with the down finish. I was climbing quite well and caught him near the top of the climb. As soon as I passed him, I looked up to see Matt Byrne. I went by and kept the hammer down on the final part of the climb. Then I knew the last 2 miles were not my thing, but more my thing after a couple hours harsh climbs and descents. I just kept scream inside to run crazy, reckless. Surprisingly, I held onto second and kept my Mountain Cup chances alive. I did that last ~5K in just over 19 minutes. I ran straight thru the finish, out a pier, and into the lake. I had been thinking about the lake since the middle of the race. I left RothRock feeling good about where I was at.

Now for the lows. My body didn't seem to leave RothRock in as good a condition as my mind. The next two weeks didn't go so well. My back was getting progressively achier. By Mt. Washington I was quite unsure what to expect, but got myself believing in the possiblity of a good race on the drive up. You have to believe. I didn't start as well as I'd have liked, but kept believing until just past mile 2. I felt the right side of my low back tremble, that is never good. I had slowed 1 minute in mile 3 off what I'd have expected. My back just got tighter and I got slower. It was downright laughable by mile 5. It was the 50th Mt. Washington and I wanted to finish. Glorifying to God? I don't know, but maybe. It was all my body had that day. Maybe I need to clearly see my frailty some days. I can live with it. I did run from the bottom to the top. So a running high or low?

The back is still exerting its control on my running. When it's okay, I can run good workouts. Some better than last year at this time or ever, some tempo I've done since 1989. When it's really unhappy, I just take the day off. I'm fit, just not so healthy. I'm seeing two chiroprators, one is Ryan Woods the Mountain Cup leader at this point. I've got a massage or two, plus some self massage. Icing. Bought a sleep number mattress. It'll come around at some point. So that's my running story and I'm sticking to it.

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