Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a most revealing video

A couple weeks ago, I ran in my favorite race, Louisville's Lovin' The Hills (LLTH) 50k.  As I predicted, I did better previously in my "solo race" (7:21) over the same course than on the actual race day (7:41).  Percentage wise, that's less than 5% slower -- is that the difference between a good race & a bad one?   Not really, but those 20 minutes extra were very, very tough, plus I felt terrible afterwards -- no comparison whatsoever between the two races.  What did I do wrong?  Again, I blame the usual -- get caught up in all the hoopla & excitement & start out too fast.   Will I ever learn?  Don't think so -- I may go a race, sometimes 2 after a disaster like this, but I always revert.  All my ultra PR's have been where my top priority has been to start out "slower than slow".  So the cycle continues . . .
 Feb 9, 2013 race day:                             Dec 18, 2012 "solo race"

At LLTH this year, I let someone use my camera to take some video of the race.  I've seen many pictures of myself during a race, but I had never seen a video.  Several things were revealed to me & a couple that I won't ever get out of my mind:

1.  I thought I started near the back of the pack, but the video revealed I actually started near the middle.  With the record number of runners this year, I clearly misjudged this & messed up big time here.

2There was also video taken at about the 5 mile point & I watched as the lead runners flew past the camera.  The main pack passes 10 minutes later.  Ten more minutes & some of the runners are walking up the slight grade.  Several minutes later, here I come, dragging along.  I was really more like "scooting" along.  Starting too fast? - in my mind only!  Didn't realize that my running style is truly a shuffle too.

3.  Also, there's one sight which others shouldn't have to endure:  seeing someone wearing very tight compression shorts who's also shirtless on a sub-freezing day & letting his beer gut hang a couple inches out & over at the waistline.  AWFUL!  No wonder other runners don't like being passed by someone looking so overweight and do their best to pass back!  I can be a great motivator though as some runners I pass really do come right back & pass me & I never see them again.

Yep, I've been on a diet since the race.  It took a video to renew my diet training which has always been the hardest type training to me of all.  Unfortunately, once your gut gets distorted to such an extent for so long, it will never go away no matter the weight reduction -- so people are just going to have to turn their head (quicker) if they don't want to see it.

Now that I've learned not to sleep on my right side, I've not had any more severe pain (knock on wood) and this has helped me more than anything else these past 2+ years.  One of the culprits could be temporary blockage or a physical restriction/dislodging of the intestines (my Dr. calls it an "anatomical issue") or a malfunctioning bowel.  The medicines I take, including those for acid reduction, could actually be contributing to the problem.  Still trying new meds though & the latest one I took was a combo for anti-cramping (muscle relaxer)/anxiety (benzodiazepine).  It was yet another med to help me sleep, but it too gave me such a buzz I had to discontinue it.

Next up is Land Between the Lakes 50 miler.  If there's one place where early pace has been a continual problem for me it's been at LBL.  I've had only one evenly paced race in 7 attempts.  It doesn't help that there's a fairly tight cutoff at 36 miles (must maintain a 13 minute/mile avg pace).  The urgency to make that cutoff disrupts my usual running scheme from the word go.  I would do better if there wasn't a cutoff, but I can't just forget it's there either.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

mist & ice

Last weekend, I was in Alabama for my 3rd running of the Mountain Mist 50k.  The previous 2 times I had serious issues  -- got lost the 1st time & was still recovering from foot surgery in the other.  This year I was only worried about the unpredictable abdominal pain.  I had a relapse with worse than usual pain the week after I ran the LLTH solo "races", but I'm happy to report I did not encounter any problems during my race.

The course included a hand climb up a "cliff" and thru these caves/tunnels:

The most difficult part of the race, though, was the drive down Interstate 65:  I was on the brink of not going at all because during the week the forecast called for mid-twenties & I didn't want to deal with ice on the rocky trail there again.  Not until Thursday night did they change the forecast to the low 30's for race morning and it would be rain, not snow or freezing rain in Huntsville on Friday.  The course would be muddy again, but I've heard it's almost always muddy.  The real problem with the drive was handling the ice storm leaving Louisville (& then all thru Kentucky).  I left Friday morning.  If it's raining when it's 25 degrees, that's a bad sign!  Wrecks, road blocks, tow trucks & emergency vehicles everywhere . . . it took 2 1/2 hours longer for an already long drive.  It was nerve racking on me mentally & tough on my gut, but somehow I survived with no ill effects.

I am now satisfied with my performance at this venue as I believe, finally, the finish time closely reflected the condition I felt like going into the race.  I'm hoping my gut will continue to let me run.  Each night & each day the pain is a little different, so I can't take anything for granted.  Oh yes, I did have my 2 Drs. appts since my last blog entry:  The PT Dr. gave me some steroid shots around my xiphoid & some medications to help me sleep.  The shots were very painful & the short term benefit I received from them was not worth it -- I do not plan to attempt that again.  The medications that were to help me sleep made me feel so drugged & dizzy that I've discontinued them, at least for now.  The gastro Dr. performed another EGD (upper endoscopy) and he was surprised to find I still had some evidence of reflux, despite all the stomach meds I'm taking!  He did not think this was the source of my pain though.  So right now, I'm awaiting results of the biopsies and then I'll proceed (wander) from there.

Next up is Louisville's Lovin' The Hills 50k on Saturday.  I did not run last year as I was taking time off from running during a 3 month period to see if the abdominal pain got better (it got worse).  Cynthia (RD) and I will start flagging parts of the course & marking downed trees for removal tomorrow.  I do not plan on any running this week in my taper.  And that includes when marking the trails -- I'll just hike them.