Sunday, July 13, 2008

Catch up, L.L.Bean 10K, and final training

Alright, it's been awhile since I have posted on my training. So let's catch up.

My training has taken a beating the last few weeks. The week of June 16th found me playing the part of single dad as Kelly was on a business trip to Florida. That only left the weekend after her return for serious training. However, Saturday was the Mount Washington Road Race (which I ran) and which subsequently left me with a pretty nasty cold. So Sunday I was feeling terrible and missed a planned long run with L.L.Bean buddy Jim. Sunday night I was dealing with not only my cold but a vomiting son who always shares his viruses with me. Worst case nightmares were visiting my thoughts and I was quite depressed about the prospect of missing out on helping Jamie at his Western States 100 attempt. The rest of the week, before flying off to the eventually cancelled Western States 100, was all about washing my hands and ridding myself of the cold I was carrying. Then I went to California, missed my long training run that was to be my pacing for Jamie, got a few decent runs in, and came home. You know this well if you read my verbose account in my previous blog post.

So what has happened since returning from California. First, I did catch the stomach virus Quinn introduced to the our home. Riley had it when she picked me up at the airport, and I am assuming passed it on to me through all the hugging we did. The stomach virus hit me the day before the L.L.Bean 4th of July 10K while performing my race committee duty. That happened in the morning and the entire afternoon was spent in bed at home. The next morning, 4th of July, was race day and I arose at 3:45 to get to Freeport to start my race committee duty of the day at 4:30. My job was to set up the race course, including mile markers, laying out cones for all the volunteer zones, and setting up the water stops. By 6:30 I was back to the start line and runners were already appearing around the start area. With only an hour to go to race time, my stomach was still really unsettled and I was unsure about racing. I love this race and spent a lot of volunteer time to get it set up, so I decided that I would run and if necessary bail out. But I at least wanted to give it a shot. At start time the temps were perfect and the record sized field was ready to run. The race itself went off well for me, and I hit the first mile in 5:40 and felt really good doing it. At this point, I settled in with a group of guys who I have raced with in the past and paced myself on them. I stayed with this group until the end and clocked in a time of 38:17, 3 seconds better than last year. Considering my early wake time, race set up duties, and ill stomach, not too shabby. Kelly and my father-in-law Phil also ran and did so well (my measure of success is the size of smile immediately upon finishing). Also racing was Riley! She ran the 1-mile fun run and did a great job. Kelly ran with her, and other than a small section at the turn around where Riley demanded that Kelly carry her, Riley ran the entire way and finished with a bigger smile than Kelly, Phil, and me combined!

The day after the 10K race I headed over to Pineland for a final long run before my shortened taper for the Vermont 100 began. I started at 5 AM and ran the first couple hours solo. While I am a big fan of running long with others, I do enjoy the early morning solitude of Pineland. As it is in many places, Pineland is absolutely magical in those couple hours following sunrise. As the sun ascends and the day heats up, out come the deer flies and then everything changes. After a couple hours of running I joined a much larger group that included Jamie, Ian and Emma, James, Jim, and Lilly. Despite some lingering stomach issues and extreme moodiness (due to feelings of lack of preparedness for the quickly upcoming Vermont 100), I finished the day with just shy of 29 miles in 4:32 hours. I felt okay and went on with Kelly and the kids to a post-run, pity party James threw for Jamie's experience at the cancelled Western States 100.

On to last week. I had a good past week. Physically I felt okay with no stomach or cold viruses present. I got some pretty good miles in, probably a little more than typically suggested for taper, but mentally I needed it. I got a few days of cycling into work (total of about 80 miles on the bike this week) and got in one run to work. It was a hot week and I think I chose the hottest, most humid day to run to work. Wednesday morning I set out for the just short of 15 mile run to work and within minutes the deer flies found me. After a mile of battling these annoylingly painful biters, I considered turning around and going home. The problem (designed to ensure I run to work) was that I had no car to drive to work (left at work for the drive home) and it was about too late to get home and bike to work. So I continued on. At the end of the run I was soaked from perspiration and I had been rationing my water bottle for about 45 minutes. The end result was that the run took 15 minutes longer than any of my past runs to work and must have consumed nearly half of my body's hydration! This was one run I will happily forget.

Today and yesterday I got in runs around Pineland. Yesterday I met Brian (my 100-mile pacer), Jamie, and Lilly at 7 AM and we ran for a couple hours (estimated because I thought I had lost my GPS Saturday morning and ran without it only to return home to discover Kelly found it in exactly the spot I had been searching). After about 1:30 Brian took his leave and then Jamie signed off about 15 minutes later. Lilly and I continued on as we both swatted flies from each other's back and had a great conversation. Lilly is somewhat new to our group and wicked smart. She's a physics professor at Bates College and apparently knows as much about biting insects (very frightening amount of knowledge) as she does about E=MC2. I also ran into a buddy from work, Brian O. , who lives near Pineland and often runs there (but whom I have never run into there). Funny enough that the first time I ever met Brian out there I happened to be running with Lilly (professor at Bates) and Brian's wife will start teaching at Bates in the Fall. How about that coincidence.

And lastly was my run with Kelly this morning at Pineland. Today was her birthday and the kids had a sleepover with the grandparents at camp, so we were free to sleep in and run together (just like all our single and kid-free friends). We had a great run around the farm side of Pineland and Kelly got in the 1:45 run her training schedule demanded. The deer flies also joined us but were a little better than Saturday. Kelly did admirably well having not run the undulating trails fo Pineland really at all. She is setting herself up well to set a PR at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco in October. By the way, she is fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of her grandmother (who lost a battle to leukemia last year) and for me and my 5th anniversary of being cancer free. Give if you've got...I'll post the link to her fundraising page soon.

One last thing. Kelly and I were out and about in Portland afternoon taking advantage of the kids spending the night away and we stumbled onto a new "bier cafe" in Portland. The place is super cool so if you are ever find yourself walking around Portland or sitting at home in need of a very unique beer experience, check out Novare Res. I feel a mandatory Vermont 100 celebration party happening here!

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