Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

H-Town Marathon: Another Painfest

pre-race napSo it was actually going to happen. I was going to run the Houston Marathon. A few years back I had run my first Half and I had ankle issues towards the end. But still, I was close to my target time. Two years later I tried to run my first marathon, but my IT band had other plans for me. I would sit that one out. After taking another year off, I figured this was the year to do it. It still needed to be cleared off my list.

these two guys only wanted to go 15 miles that dayI promised myself to be careful and not injure myself. And for the most part I did--I was injury-free coming into the Marathon. Problem was that I had skipped some major long runs during the training period. But when I ran our longest run, a 21 miler, I felt really good and did it at about 9:30 pace. I was confident. Too confident. Since my training had been spotty I had kept my goal pretty nebulous. Until race day when all reason got shot out of a cannon and I went and looked for the 3:40 pace group. WTF? I don't know where my head was, but it wasnt with me that morning--I just kept thinking back to that 21 miler and how I felt like I had the legs to go faster. So I had set my fate.

open the flood gates, here we come!I was diligent in my hydration, so, on cue, I had to use the port-a-potty minutes away from the start. I kid you not, the gun sounded merely a minute after I got out of the stall! So that was perfect timing so far. Now, our pacer was named Carlos...thankfully, not Carlos Ibarra or I'd be in BIG trouble, but still almost as bad. There were a few women in the group that were trying to qualify for Boston and they were close to throwing a fit when our pacer was a bit ahead of the pace so early at the beginning. I too was wondering what he was doing. But I felt good so I didn't mind too much. All was going great, even past the half-marathon mark--I had PR'd at that point. Along the way there was a priest blessing runners with holy water--I made a b-line to him thinking I would need all the help I could get. And it was so true.

bring it!Mo was such a great support crew--she was at every point she said she would be. The first two times I saw her, I didn't need anything. But at the 25k point, things had turned for the worse. My legs and, more worrying, my feet were crying out all of the sudden. I don't understand why because I ran in the same shoes I had been training in and never once had foot problems. It must have been those skipped long runs--my legs and feet were not used to the long distance pounding yet. I couldn't wait to get to Mo at San Felipe and Post Oak--maybe an injection of fluids would change everything. Nope. Thats started the cycle of walking...and at that point everyone started to pass me by. That really didn't bother me--I was more worried about just finishing now. Its just crazy how things can just turn on a dime like that.

i want my mommy!So I reverted to the 9-1: 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking. My pace had dramatically dropped from about 8:24 to just about 10min or more. I didn't feel so bad because there were other people going through the same hell as I was. I just told myself to keep moving forward. I was hoping there would be more HART people out there to run/walk me in, but no one was there to help. I saw Weihan a couple of times (he took my thumbs up and thumbs down pics) but he was injured and could only cheer me on. Then came the undulation of Allen Parkway. I then reverted to AR-style trekking: run the flats and downhills, walk the uphills. I would make it, it was just a matter of "when."

The most depressing part was whenever a pacer would run past me. It was like that goal slowly slipping out of my hand. 3:50. 4:00. 4:10. Man, I had fallen back so far that everyone, and I mean everyone was passing me. I was hoping to make it under 4:20 now, but even that was slipping away. Then came the final stretch where you could see the finish line all the way in the distance. It was a nice carrot to have in front of you, but it was still a LONG way away! I did speed up a bit and hobbled the last 100m in full unmasked pain. 4:21. I was done, that's all that mattered. Shortly after going into the GRB center, Ashley asked if I was going to run another one and I replied, "NEVER!" But that's how I reply when people ask me about adventure races. Anyway, the next 2-3 days I really had a hard time on my feet. Thankfully nothing was broken. So that was it, I had done it. And I had thought before that I wanted to do a 50k or even a 100k...HA!

SES Race for the Cure

SES tentThis is why I love this company. Once in a while we get together and support a good cause and at the same time get some outdoor exercise in the process! This time it was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We have at least two cancer survivors at Stress, so this had special meaning for us. Of course, you can't expect cool October weather here in Houston. It was muggy and warm that morning--I was already sweating just walking from the car to the SES tent! I knew I wasn't going to set a PR today.

minglingWe were one of the first ones there, with Alan being the only one to beat us. We hung out for a bit while the rest of the crew trickled in. I decided to go on a warm up run...wtf was I thinking?!? Good thing I brought an extra shirt to sweat into. About an hour later it was time for photos and I was just hoping that I wouldn't sweat through our cool blue shirts. Start time was soon approaching so I changed into my race shirt and made my war to the line.

Stress Engineering ServicesIt was at this time that it started to drizzle...it was nice and cool so I welcomed it at first. But I knew it would prey havoc on us at the finish since the steam would rise and make it just unbearable. It was a full on downpour during the opening ceremonies and then it stopped right before the gun went off. Nice. I started off with a conservative pace knowing the humidity would give me fits. I was feeling good up until the final stretch on Allen Parkway. This is where I was just fully drenched in the thick air and my own sweat. I tried to push, but it wasn't going to happen. I took it easy up until the final 100m where I sprinted in with one other guy--he thanked me for egging him on. So, as I expected, no PR...a few seconds slower. I didn't mind since I haven't "raced" this short of a distance in about 2 years now.

mmm, you can just taste the humiditySo I tried to quickly dry off and enjoy the post-run festivities at the SES tent. Seemed like all were having a good time. Mo and I stayed for a bit and then had to leave at about noon. In all, a good fun time with the company!

Note: this blog will be moved back to October after this week.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gone Paddlin'

leisurely 20mi paddle at Big ChillWhile you wait for the Big Chill 24hr race report (hopefully not that long), go to Checkpoint Tracker. I'm pretty sure the final standings for the 24hr are the same as what the leaderboard shows right now.

photo courtesy of Bryan McKenney

Big Chill 24hr AR Suunto Smartbelt Log

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Year End Reviews

winter wonderlandSo it has been a silent winter for me. With the new house, new puppy, travel up to Washington, and, yes, the engagement, I have been somewhat preoccupied. But fear not, we are about to start up a new, exciting year of racing! In fact, once its up and running, I will start blogging on the Primal Quest site to keep you all up to date on our team's training up until our voyage into Big Sky Country (pronounced "kun-trehh")!

But to continue forward, occasionally you need to research the past. Here's the logs of the past 2 years. I've accumulated about 6k miles in total! More interesting is to study the cyclic nature of my activity level. You can see the distinct lulls and I made notes at these points to explain the "why." If its not very interesting to you, then maybe its a bit pretty?

Alright, finally, I know I have been slacking on the race reports, but here is a list of what I need to catch up on:

- Spread Your Wings 18hr (can't believe no one reminded me of this one!!)
- Race for the Cure 5k
- USARA Nationals 30hr
- Lone Star Rogaine Championships 24hr
- Texas Dare 12hr
- Houston Marathon

Wow, now that I list it out, I can't believe it! Yes, I'll get to it!! Until then, race on!