Monday, August 28, 2006

Tough Sprint Adventure Race!

This past weekend's Blue Hills Adventure Race was one of the top two toughest if not THE toughest one yet in this series! I decided to make it a little harder on myself by forgoing the necessary rest the night before. Getting a little over 2 hours of very bad quality sleep, I got up at 2:15 to load the car up, drive over to get Shane, and hit the road for the drive up to Kellog, IA for the race. Three quarters of the drive up was in pouring rain and it began to make us a little nervous thinking that we might have to slog it out in the mucky stuff. It's best to mentally prepare yourself for the worst just in case. Thankfully, the course was dry, but definitely not easy. This time, the guys from Blue Hills wanted to make sure we all got out money's worth of racing, so they made the course longer than in races past to ensure a MINIMUM of 3 hours racing for everyone. We ended up doing the events in the following order with approx distances:
1. run ~1 mi
2. kayak ~2 mi
3. run ~ 2.5 mi
4. bike ~10mi
5. kayak ~ 2 mi
6. run ~2.5 mi
7. bike ~10 mi
This course was also much hillier than I expected it to be. Lessons re-learned from this race include getting enough rest the night before and make SURE to eat a good breakfast the morning of a race. Coffee and hammer gel does NOT constitute a good breakfast. During the first bike leg, we met some race course officials on one of the roads that made us stop for a "mystery challenge". They gave us a card with instructions to drop our bikes in the ditch by the road and proceed on foot into a pine grove. In this grove, we were to find hidden checkpoints A, B, and C and punch the card with them. These were cleverly disguised hanging in the trees varying distances apart. Another special test had us collecting random objects from a list and putting them in a plaastic bag for race officials to check off. We had to find a bug, coin, credit card, leaf, rock, hammer gel, piece of litter, and a piece of toilet paper. Most of these things were readily in the transition area, but a few teams had to run back to their cars to complete their tasks. Although the kayak leg(s) seemed to go on and on and on, the biking was definitely the difficult part. A good part of it was cross country on newly mowed brush clearing which bridged some of the singletrack sections. The hills surrounding the lake seemed endless with one right after another and almost no flat areas to catch your breath.
Shane and I ended up taking second place in this race behind the Backwoods WildHares. I think we had a good race since we made no big mistakes and felt ok. I think we could've done better with some solid food in us and with a little more rest beforehand, but the team we lost to has been stronger than us all season thus far. It's a bit of a downer to keep finishing behind them, but it's also good for us to have to keep pushing ourselves to race UP to the level of competition they bring.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good Training weekend

I'm tired.

This weekend, had some good training for me. Took third place in my age group at the XTerra 10k on Saturday morning, helped out (didn't have to substitute/ride in) for a 12 hour mtn bike race that afternoon, ran with the group Sunday morning,(NASTY ticks) and then got in some riding with my AR teammate Shane. This week, I'll train a little on Tuesday night, but for the rest of the week, I think I'll just hit the gym for light work on weights and swim a little. I also REALLY NEED to start eating better. I've been reverting back to junk lately. Not sure, why, but it's taking a toll on my body. The next Adventure Race is this coming weekend on Sunday. It's just a little east of Des Moines, IA. I think we'll be ready.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fun Trail Run!

The Trail Nerds held their second of the series of trail races on Friday night. Before the run, I was wondering (nervously) how I'd do. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to do well, but realized that I was actually WORRYING about it! WHY? Not sure really, but on the way there, instead of the usual pre-race tunes, (Linkin Park, Prodigy, etc...) I put in some pretty chill ambient stuff and it relaxed me a bit. That helped me rearrange my goal for the race from wanting to do as well as I could, to just wanting to make it an enjoyable run. It went great and we had a very good turnout for such a low-key race. Instead of rehashing the whole thing, I'll just let someone else's well-written report suffice. Check out Jake's account of it here.
Dick Ross generously photographed the runners. His pictorial account of the race can be found here!

One thing I REALLY think I need to work on though is the pre-race warm-up. I HATE doing little runs before a race to warm up and I dont' think they've ever helped me. Could be wrong on that, but it's my perception. BUT, I also don't feel warmed up before the race and when I go out too hard, it hurts the lungs, and jacks my heartrate WAY up! Anyone have advice for this?

The post below shows what I have in the way of mtn bikes. I'll be selling those sometime and I think I'll get one of these!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A biking dilemma and AR Training

I've been contemplating getting a new mtn bike for a while. Of the three mtn bike's I've owned, I've only REALLY liked my Gary Fisher Sugar. Even though I still have it, I haven't put any money into it lately and the parts on it are worn out. I have a hard time justifying putting more money into it when I have and am currently racing on my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR. It's newer and rides farily nice, but I just don't like it as well. My Stumpy is a small frame (which is supposedly right for my height) but my Fisher is a medium and feels more right for my style of riding. NOW I'm getting to the point where the components on my Stumpy are getting worn and I'm wondering if I should continue to put any money into it or just get something I like better. Selling a used mountain bike is such a pain though.
Anyway, it's Tuesday again and this is another training night for biking first, then running. Last Saturday I ran with the group and we got in around 8 in the trails. It's been pretty hot lately. Hopefully, the heat won't hurt the training. Last night's run was very inconsistent. Started out strong, but had a side cramp twice during it and had to walk out the first and ran through the second one. Still got in a little over 6 on the roads. While running, my deltoids started tiring. I'll either have to cut back on the fly reps in the gym or increase my mileage so get the arms back where they need to be so I can run efficiently and keep the ribcage/diaphragm open.
During the last race, Shane and I paddled fairly well, but we were both sore in the shoulders afterwards. We both know that kayaking with proper form isn't supposed to use the arms completely, but in the inflatable little rubber duckies, it's almost impossible to maintain proper form. Hopefully, we'll be able to get in some paddling practice before the next race. If not, we'll just punish ourselves more and rely on strength, determination, and experience to help us continue winning.