Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009 Stone Steps 50k

I journeyed to Cincinnati for the Stone Steps 50k with hopes of breaking 7 hours and I was just able to do so. Although I had major stomach issues 10 miles into the race, the lack of training was by far the biggest factor for the day. I started slower than usual, to not get caught up in the pace, and then continued to slow down the rest of the way. It was a beautiful day though, with gorgeous weather and I was able to take all that extra time to enjoy the day & to take in the sights!

Colors were very bright on this sunny day with alot of yellow leaves still on the trees and ones on the ground really lighting up the trail -- which was especially noticeable at the start of the race when it's usually pretty dark when entering the woods for the first time. EVERYTHING under the forest canopy had a deep amber hue and when the sun peaked thru small breaks in the trees, the sunlight showed up on the ground as an "odd" bright white light! -- that was an amazing sight all day.

I apparently bumped my Garmin into something before reaching 11 miles that stopped the timer & mapping, so I have incomplete data on the race. The big loop + small loop measured 8.06 miles:

Note: Bimactive.com places Cincinnati in KY! Their site won't allow editing of info on this page other than the Notes.

There were more than the usual number of people out on race day enjoying the nice Fall colors on the trails, many with large dogs. This was the first time I did not see any deer at this park. I remember a couple years ago on a training run that they were so thick, you practically had to shoo them off the trail so you could get by! There was also another first: meeting a fellow on a horse on a narrow trail -- never knew horses were allowed here . . .

Next: This race was to boost my confidence for Pinhoti 100 in 2 weeks . . . . I believe I can do it now, yet I know everything must go right (no issues whatsoever) to finish. Checking last week with Todd Henderson, RD, he has said that they were in the middle of clearing the trails -- the countless downed trees (from a tornado) were a major stumbling block (DNF) for me last year with my bad back. So hopefully with some good luck I can improve on my performance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

back to running

A couple days ago, I was finally able to get rid of that deep rooted tired feeling that seemed to hang on forever after I got over the worst of the flu (it was so depressing to be so fatigued)! First thing I needed to do after that was to see if I could run -- a short jog on local trails showed I could but it left me very sore! What I've noticed more than anything else over the last 4 or 5 years is that when I take 2 weeks or more off from running, I lose muscle tone very quickly & the muscles get sore easily like they haven't been used in months! So although the muscle soreness was disappointing, it was expected. But, I was so happy that the fatigue feeling was not present while I was running. And, being overjoyed to be out in the forest, my mood quickly went positive!

So with running back in the picture, my thoughts returned to my once very ambitious Fall running schedule. With Stone Steps coming up in a week, I'm thinking it's much too soon to attempt a 50k right off, but then again, I really hate to miss one of my favorite events -- plus it's the 2nd closest trail ultra to Louisville at less than a 2 hour drive. With this in mind, I decided to go ahead & sign up for Stone Steps & proceed with training as much as possible, as long as the body cooperated . . .

And that means NO taper this week & entering a race this morning, the Outrunning Autism Family 5K Walk/Run. When I arrived at sign up in downtown Louisville, the only bibs they had left were the "WALKER" ones -- how fitting I thought! Surprisingly, I never had the urge to walk even though it sure was a struggle to keep up any kind of "running" pace. The city streets reminded me how much I do not like pavement -- among other things, it's so tough on the joints!

I've went ahead & turned in applications for all the races that I had originally planned on this Fall before getting sick. One thing though, while being in the funk with the flu, I missed out on signing up for the Mountain Mist 50k -- which WAS going to be my first race of 2010. The organizers had moved the application date back from November 1 last year to October 1 and the race quickly filled up (350 applicants) by October 12!! After I got lost in that race last time, I was planning on redeeming myself. I also thought it was the best & also just about the only ultra race within reasonable driving distance in all of January.

Next: A few years ago, I had a goal of breaking 6 hours at Stone Steps -- this year I'd be happy to: 1. finish the race; 2. break 7 hours. If I can reach that time goal, I plan on going ahead with the Pinhoti 100 in Alabama in November even though I won't/can't be in the shape I had hoped to be in before getting sick.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

H1N1 = NO Oil Creek = Sobbing! Cursing! Suffering!

I was a bit premature on my flu assessment in my last post. All I had to do was wait till it felt like I was run over by a truck 12 hours later! Fever, sweats & chills, extreme fatigue . . . . the whole nine yards.

I've just now been able to get myself unglued from the bed, so I'm feebly able to get to things that must be done, like cancel my motel reservation in Titusville, PA. Not attending Oil Creek 100 has to be the biggest letdown EVER when it comes to running. When 2 weeks before the race you have your race & course strategies memorized & your drop bags packed, you know the anticipation was very high . . . .

Next: well at present I'm not in any condition or mood to speculate on any future race plans. What was my most ambitious Fall plans ever are now history -- I have a clean slate at the moment.

Back to bed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

the flu blues

If you're in a car with someone who is coughing & who is later tested positive for type A influenza (Dr. said it was most likely the swine flu) later that morning, what are the chances of catching it? I figured with my luck that was probably 100%, so I canceled my training plans & went into near total rest mode after I was exposed Friday morning. Saturday afternoon I started to get a burning sensation & a little tightness in my chest & I reluctantly had to accept that it could only be the beginning. Today I have a minor sore throat with an achy feeling all over & my lymph nodes are slightly swollen. I got the regular flu vaccine over 3 weeks ago -- I'm thinking maybe that vaccine is slowing down the H1N1 virus, IF THAT'S WHAT I GOT. Maybe it's just an upper respiratory infection? It seems odd that I do not have any chest or head congestion & I'm not coughing nor do I have any major symptoms at this point. I'm not sure how this will progress so I'm going to wait till tomorrow before deciding whether to see a Dr. or not. Since there is no treatment for the H1N1 virus, not sure I want to go back to the Dr.'s office where the waiting room was full of sick people and all he will do is send me back home with some advice (which I already got the full dose directly from a Dr. there Friday).

Well, sure hope I haven't gotten into a rut here . . . . a cyst one week before my Youngstown jaunt and now this . . . . maybe I'll get lucky again - Ha! Oil Creek???? I haven't come to terms with the possibility of not running the race (yet)!