Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cabot Trail Relay - gory details

Well here goes, just because you asked for it. It's now 4 days full days since the race I still can barely walk, let alone run. I was trying to decide whether it can be classified as an injury, recovery or just plain stupidity (taking a leg that I knew would destroy my legs). I guess I'm in a stupid-injury-recovery mode getting rested up for this weekend's 10k race....

So the relay race. The party started the night before with our trusty team captain laying down the law while his support staff plyed us with after dinner cocktails. The party and loud music went on until almost 11pm when to complaints to the front desk shut down Disco Rob. The relay race starts at 7am which required a 545am wake up in order to get out to the start area about 1/2 hour from our hotel in Baddeck. First up for leg 1 (17.0km rating 3.5) was Michelle who had a fabulous race beating her time for this leg from last year by almost 7 minutes! No wonder she did a little dance at the end! The leg also had a cool Flintstone's theme water stop complete with theme music.

A note about water stops. Teams are assigned water stops and there is a prize at the end of the race for the most creative as voted by the runners and the competition is fierce in this event. Wait until I show you the winners, they blew us away!!

Leg 2 (17.92 km rating 3.5) had one of our newbie's on deck and she looked very worried at the start. "What the hell have I got myself into ?" was the expression on her face before the horn went off. In fact while discussing clothing options with Cool Rob, the horn did go off and the poor girl missed the start. And then at the end Suzanne was so much in the zone that she ignored the flag person with the nice butt (he blows his horn for each runner and had a different costume for each leg) and kept on going down the road despite screams from the gathered crowd. After getting her stopped it was the old "what was I thinking out there".

Next up for leg 3 (13.46km rating 2) was Rob-The Man, back to claim fame and glory once again. The guy is so cool, he didn't even break a sweat and here is the evidence from the end of his run!
Leg 4 (20.01km, rating 5) with 2.1 km of extremely steep grade climbing up Cape Smokey and our esteemed team captain in the drivers seat. He had lots of cheering along the way including the Viking team who were in full horns all weekend.
He was even rewarded with a victory kiss from his beautiful and charming wife at the end despite his sweatiness.Next up for leg 5 (17.5km, rating 3.5) was our Angela and we gave her a good send off with most of the team gathered to see Anthony's finish. She had a great run on a long rolling section of the trail.
Leg 6 saw another newbie Rick, take on a 17.5k leg with rating 4.5 (5 is the max). It was a tough go but with teamwork and lots of support Rick had a great run and a strong finish going up the last of many long hills. He was then so excited that in a moment of weakness was ready to do another leg when he heard that we had an injured runner on deck.
Leg 7 (13.1km, rating 3) with injured runner Jason going despite protests from all around the team. No fear said Jason, with my magic spray all is healed and he was off and running! Methinks he just liked all the pre-race feminine attention he was getting! Jason had a strong race and didn't even look hurt. Nice work, man!
Leg 8 (12.3k, 2.5 rate) with injured runner number 2, Murph ready and raring to go despite even more protests from all concerned. What a dedicated group we had to risk life and limb for no monetary gain or glory! The big guy looked smooth and easy despite the leg brace he was wearing and finished without too much difficulty.
Leg 9 (17.8k, 5 rating) with a 6.2k climb from the start over North Mountain and a pounding finish down the other side. It was now getting dusk and time to put on the reflective vests and glowsticks.

I seem to be having blogger errors now...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cabot Trail Weekend - part 1

What an amazing/fantastic/terrific weekend on the Cabot Trail Relay! What a fun/spirited/funny team!! The superlatives just can't do it justice and words can't adequately explain the fun that we had. So how about a whole bunch of pics to whet your appetite.

My pictures are here (156 pics)

Our team captain's pics are here (95 pics)

Our team spirit leader, Gayle's pics are here (29 pics)

I got very little sleep and am still recovering and so this will be a very short post. My leg over the mountain went well but I can barely walk today (2 days later). More on that later but the results are here for my Leg 9. Meanwhile, I need to work on my recovery a bit more. You know the drill: bagels, ice-cream and beer ;-)


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back on track

Can you spot the gardener in this picture? She's never happier then when her hands are in the dirt. It's a lot of work but the results make it worthwhile.

The past week went quite well on the running front for a change now that my work schedule has slowed down a bit. All I have left is some report writing and one more meeting in mid-June to explain the results to my 'clients'. I'm already looking forward my my vacation for the month of July!! Anyway here's the weeks recap:

Sun- 10 quick miles before church
Mon - off as per usual
Tues - 6.5 mi easy cruise around town
Weds- 10 miles with killer 'Bunny Hill' x 4
Thus - 5 mi. easy, feeling it from Weds
Fri - still feeling sore and tired but managed 8 mi in 59:10 (7:22 pace) in the cold pouring rain. Picked up the pace trying to keep warm and then picked it up some more in the 2nd half where I was almost 'pushing it'. Nice run with bucket brigade to enter the homestead once again.
Sat - easy 10.2 miles to get the weekly total up to 50 for the 1st time since before Boston.

Total of 50.1 miles, 6hr 34min running and avg pace of 7:52 for the week (according to Garmin) and without any clock watching along the way. I'm feeling ready to start some serious training soon for my set of goal races this summer. The idea from RunNB is to Run for the Cycle where you do a 5k, 8k, 10k, 1/2 and full marathon and they take your total times for the overall score. So far I've got zero races entered because they only count events from RunNB. I guess I'd better get entered in a couple of races soon!

On Sunday I had a great run with Andrew today. He was car-less and so we met in his hometown of Eastport, Maine which is the eastern-most 'city' in the US. We did a few of his standard loops with comfort stops at his house on each pass. You can see from the track plot that we were all over the map and that there are more than a couple of hills on this seaside town (not city). The only flat stretch was the airstrip which is 3/4 mile long and but we only did 2 loops of that, despite my protests/pleas to do more loops. "Nooo, I have more hills for you to do" Andrew would say! One of the streets was even named 'Redoubt Hill' ;-)
Total of 17.4 miles in 2:21 with avg hr of 132 (70% effort) and while comparing notes after the run it was interesting to note that I was working at a higher effort level compared to Andrew despite having a lower HR. Sometimes life just isn't fair is it A? Oh, and we never saw the scenic ocean views with the thick fog the enveloped us for the entire run. The air temp of 50F (10C), lack of wind and natural air conditioning made for perfect running conditions today, unlike what poor 'Mad Dog' Phil suffered through down in Phoenix today. He's just going to have to come visit us some time to see the benefits of the northern climes ;-)

That's all for now. Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tough day on the Bunny Hill

First up is a shot from the home stretch on Boylston Street. I've got a big smile because the finish is in sight and they had just called my name and town as I coasted in.

And a goofy shot from mid-race at the photographers hiding inside the back of a mini-van. I don't know what got into me there ;-)

We're into a stretch of lousy weather here now with rain and cold again. They were forecasting snow but it's now shifted a bit north and the warning has been cancelled. At least I won't have to shovel snow in the morning and school won't be cancelled one last time. My son, A will be disappointed.

I actually got in a run that would qualify as training today. Started out in a light rain and mist for the 1st 5 miles in just about 40 minutes. This placed me at the top of the Bunny Hill, just down the road from where I live. The plan was to do a number of repeats with a hard 1/2 mile down to the ocean and then hard back up the hill. And the idea behind this is to toughen up the legs for the Cabot Trail relay leg that I'm scheduled for in just 9 days.

First mile went by easily in 7:23, though it felt a bit awkward on the steeper parts of the downhill. It was good practice for my form and breathing, especially the long climb back up where I tried to hold the burn to a manageable level and to keep my head up.

The 2nd mile seemed to go a bit smoother, but again the steep downhill form needs work (7:24). 3rd mile was tough with the wind and rain picking up to a near downpour and I could feel the legs going anaerobic on the uphill. This was good practice to recover while still climbing (7:19). Final repeat in 7:21 was all I could manage with plenty of huffing and puffing in the last stretch. Finished the 10 miles with an easy jog home in the pouring cold rain and then peeled off my clothes into a bucket before entering the house. Good thing we have a garage so the neighbors can't see me stripping down!

I'm now entered in the Mount Desert Island marathon and my room is booked with only 22 weeks to go! Have a good week!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mom's Day

We had a beautiful spring day here in the Maritimes today and I think that all the Moms that I know of were having a great day. One little tiny problem in our neck of the woods though, is a rascally rabbit that keeps invading Jo's garden and causing trouble. It seems to only chew on the evergreens so far and that might prevent the traps from coming out.In the non-running department, Steph is now the happy caretaker of a cute little black car which was safely delivered to her for safe keeping on the weekend. The countdown now begins for her all important interview for vet school next week. I know that this time she'll make it, she's worked so hard and is so determined,
On the running front, I've figured out my ticking time bomb noise which Andrew and I both thought was coming from my knee (but there was no pain). Silly me, but it turns out the problem was a simple clothing malfunction. Exhibit A:
See that shiny metal tag and strap, my Road Id in case I get run over by a bus? Well it was loose and flapping around just enough to make the little tics that caused us so much anguish. Duhhh! On the work front my insane work schedule has finally peaked, the major meetings are done and it's just some cleanup and report writing left to do. Which means that I can finally get back to some normal running and thinking about plans for the summer and fall.

Pitiful running report for the week:
Sunday - nice 15 miler with A but thrown off by a tic
Monday - off
Tues - 5 mile blow off steam run after meetings (7:32 pace)
Weds - easy 5 after final meetings (7:55 pace)
Thurs - day off but ran out of time to run and also feeling very tired
Friday - quick 5 miles before heading off to Truro (7:47 pace)
Sat - another quick 5 after return home (7:40 pace)

Weekly total of only 35 miles but somehow my average pace is dropping without any attempt to speed up, rather the reverse has been true where I've been trying to hold back and take it easy if anything. Maybe it's just that most of the runs have been a bit rushed all week.

Same thing happened this morning. Up early but not early enough and only had time for a quick 10 miles before church. Result was a 77:30 (7:45 pace).

Time for a plan. Have a great week!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A ticking time bomb?

What's that ticking noise, Andrew?

Hmmm, the birds are singing too loudly, I don't hear anything.

I think it's coming from my knee!

Oh yeah, I can hear it now, just like my old car!


15.1 miles in 1:59 ,avg hr 142
1- 8:48 easy start
2- 7:50
3- 7:56
4- 7:50 - watch out for those Rotweillers!
5- 8:28 - stop for A's water
6- 7:55
7- 8:05 - there's a good hill in South Meadow
8- 7:44 - rolling down the other side, engine ticking starts (no pain)
9- 7:36 - nice downhills
10- 7:38 - ticking now less noticeable
11- 7:47 - good uphill in the middle
12- 7:35 - home stretch with warm sun in our face
13- 7:43 - another uphill I guess
14- 7:37 - cruise past the cars after a short argument discussion
15- 7:32 - return back up the hill to end

Fantastic spring morning. Cool 2C at start but sunshine and warming up nicely. Another great run at Boyden Lake.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Another busy week

Warning! My running is getting hi-jacked this week.
Did I ever mention that I used to do some diving?
Well, all the 'diving' I do no-a-days is in a 3ft deep garden pond
With a few goldfish that refuse to die off in the winter and numerous pond plants which were the real reason for the pond in the 1st place.

But actually it's been my job that's been keeping me crazy busy for the last little while. One more week of this, a final face-off with my industry clients and fellow scientists and then I'll be a free man once again. At least more back to normal with a little more time on my hands for running and scheming about running. I haven't even had time to come up with my plan of action or redemption to make up for Boston.

The clock is ticking for the Cabot Trail relay race on May 26th and there has been a slight development there for me. My team captain sent me an email last week, they had a dropout and now was wondering if I'd switch legs and take the North Mountain leg, pretty please?
My original leg #5 looked really easy with even a possible fast time with no big hills in the way. No problem, don't even have to train for this...
But leg 9 is a real challenge. That's a typo in the description. It's only a 385 meter (not km) climb in 6.2 miles before crashing down to 0 again on the 2nd half or 1250ft for the metric-ly challenged. I did this leg 3 years ago and could barely walk for a week because my quads were so thoroughly trashed. Of course you know what my reply was.
Sure, no problem, I'll start my hill training right now! Do I have sucker written all over me or what? Let's see, I've got 20 days and 2 or 3 good hill sessions should be enough to toughen up the legs, right? It's much like Boston in that it isn't the uphill but the downhills that will get me but at least the pain is over much quicker with only 17.8 km (11.1 miles) to do. It'll be fun.

Meanwhile back at the ranch I've got some decent running in over the last week. My cold is now totally gone and the paces of all the runs have been brisk with no extra effort. In fact, I've made a point of running easy and keeping the watch in my pocket so as not to be goaded into going too hard. Total of 40 miles in 5 runs with average overall pace of 7:50.

On tap for the morning is another Boyden Lake adventure with Andrew. We had a great 13 miler last weekend which he so nicely and accurately documented. Not sure what will happen this time around but I'll try to keep the tsk, tsks under control.