Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Highway Engineer Pranks

Courtesy of

Taking it slowly

It feels good to be able to run again. I've had a few over the past couple of weeks, some with pain, some without and it's forcing me to learn how to slow down. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up my mileage enough to do the Leadville Marathon again this year in the first week of July. We'll see...

Although my running hasn't been up to par lately, I've been staying VERY busy nonetheless. This past Sunday, I helped put on an adventure race with Blue Hills Adventures. Clay had asked me to design the course for the expert AR while he did the one for the novice race. He asked me to make it at least 3 hours long but probably longer. He left the route and order of events up to me and I used quite a bit of past experience to try to make it challenging and fun at the same time. Over the 4 weeks that I spent working on the layout, I put in around 100+ miles with most of that being the week OF the race while deciding what trails to use. While marking the course, I saw MUCH wildlife and even got to save a baby turtle in the middle of the road.

The race was a success with the winning teams finishing in 3 hours and 51 mins and most of the teams coming in after 4 and 5 hours. A few teams got lost but admitted that they just didn't follow the course markings correctly. It was a good experience for me and the comments and compliments I received afterward make my happy with the effort I put into it.
The Mid-west Fat Tire Duathlon series wrapped up with the last race out at Smithville Lake. I didn't have a teammate to do it with me and I wasn't confident enough in my knee to try to push it with short sprinting and biking at the same time so I just sat it out and helped with the race. The night before the race, we got another 3 inches of snow, but an hour north of us at Smithville Lake, they just got a little rain making the course a COLD mud fest! I'm not too bummed about missing out on that!
I ran with the group last night out at SMP in the rain. It felt really good to run with them again . The first loop, they let me lead and I pushed the pace a little finishing it in 32 mins for the 4.5 miles. During that loop, I rolled my ankle once, but was able to keep going which made me feel good that I haven't lost all ankle strength (conditioning) even if the rest of me wasn't feeling that great.
During our abbreviated second loop, Kyle led the way and inadvertently pissed of a copperhead snake that was sitting on the side of the trail when he ran by it. Poor Josh at second in line was the target of the snake's first strike. He saw it in time to jump and make the snake miss. Those were some damn good reflexes as he cleared it by a few inches. The strike put the snake right in the middle of the trail and it recoiled quickly enough to take a stab at me since I was following closely on Josh's heels. When I saw Josh jump, I quickly did a left side-step and stayed out of range for the snake's second strike, but I saw his mouth wide open as he came at me! That was a scary second and a half while all that occurred. We stopped long enough to admire the pissed off reptile and I took a stick and moved it off the trail. It struck at the stick a couple of times demonstrating it's ill temper. It was surprising how aggressive it was.

Ah yes! It does feel good to run with nature again.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Gonna be a little less negative this time

Success!?! I guess that's what you could call it. This past week/weekend was a busy one. Wed night we hosted a run with the KC Track club and I marked out an 8 mile run course and then cooked for the group of about 25. Thursday after work, I went out to a state park to scout out some trails for potential use in an adventure race I'll be designing the course for soon. Friday afternoon, I went out to the Lawrence River trails to help set up the transition area and mark the course for Saturday's duathlon. Saturday, Caleb and I did the duathlon and Sunday was the Brew to Brew 44 mile relay run from KC to Lawrence.

For the Brew to Brew, I had only planned to be a spectator/driver for our team, but one of our team members couldn't run and even though my running ability has been questionable at best lately, I agreed to attempt to do one of the remaining legs. My part of the course initially was leg 9 or the 10 leg relay. It was a 4.2 mile run on country gravel roads with a pretty stiff headwind.
I took it easy and allowed the still healing knee to warm up gradually and finished the 4.2 miles in 33 mins. Not a record breaking time, but just being able to do it without pain is a first for me in a few months. I was so happy to be feeling this good, that I kept going through the transition area and continued on to do leg 10 and finish up the run for our team. That last leg was on a river levee that is out in the open with no wind or sun protection and was 4.7 miles of mental torture. You can see where you're supposed to be going, but the levee curves around and regardless of your pace, it seems that you're barely making any progress. Other people may not feel this way, but it's tough for me mentally to push through that. With about a mile to go, the knee started to feel that familiar twinge and I backed off the pace significantly dropping my pace to about a 10 min mile. When I finished the 9 miles in 73 mins, I was feeling no pain and was so happy to have been able to run again. The two and a half months off running has caused quite a decline in my speed and endurance, but I still think my overall fitness is ok. I'll just have to put in some miles now to regain a base and go from there.

One thing that I think made a big difference is that I took 2 motrin about a half hour before I started running. Maybe drugs CAN help? They're certainly not the answer though.