Saturday, May 29, 2010

3 Ultras - 10 Weeks

I am one week from my 2nd TNF 50 Miler in DC, also the site of my first ever 50 miler and I can't wait to see Tani at the finish again (this time with Isla and Kyle; Jared has a lax tournament). I had been looking forward to this again in September 2010 but for some reason it was moved up to June this year. So for me to run DC this year it meant adding one more race in a very short period of time.

Before last year I had run 3 marathons in 7 years, all NYC in 2001, 2007 and 2008. In my last post I wrote about my ultra anniversary (first was Bear Mt 50k May 2009). Now 3 weeks later I am mentally preparing for my 3rd race in 10 weeks and 6th in less than 10 months (1 marathon and 5 ultras).

Sept 2009 TNF DC 50 Mi.
Nov 2009 Stone Cat Trail Marathon
Nov 2009 Knickerbocker 60k
March 2010 Umstead 100 Mi.
May 2010 TNF Bear Mt. 50 Mi.
June 2010 TNF DC 50 Mi. (coming soon)

While I can't deny the feelings the personal achievement has brought me I hope that I am raising awareness for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and that this year's fundraising which will officially begin later this summer will be more successful than all years past (you are of course welcome to click fundraising now too:).

To all those who courageously fight cancer, you inspire me to never give up.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elite v Average: My Ultra Running Anniversary at TNF 50 Miler Bear Mountain

This past Saturday I celebrated my 1st year running ultras and I did so by running TNF's 50 Miler at Bear Mountain. I was about half way through my typical post race write up when I read Geoff Roes's Race Report. I decided to change it up a little and provide a comparison of elite vs average (at least give me that).

Race Reports: Geoff Roes's v EricG's

GR: Going into the Bear Mountain 50 miler this past weekend my biggest concern was how little sleep I was likely to have in the 48 hours leading up to the race.
EG: My biggest concern was kicking a rock and smashing my face or having surgery again.

GR: On travelling to the race; 8 hours of flying time from Juneau to Newark and eating crappy food at airports, 4 hour layover in Seattle.
EG: 20 minute drive to Bear Mountain and a nice home cooked pre race dinner.

GR: For the first 15-20 miles the pace felt more to me like the start of a 100 miler than the start of a 50.
EG: I was really pushing hard the first 27 miles running as many hills as I could.

GR: I never really felt very tired all day but I also never really felt like I had a much faster gear. I just kind of plugged along at my steady pace and eventually I was done.
EG: I was always concerned about my pace and shortly after mile 40 my breathing was labored and I could not get my heart rate down. I was afraid I was about to crash and burn which forced me to walk for quite a while until I gathered myself with about 6 miles to go.

GR: I'm sure I could run this course a fair amount faster than my 7:06 finishing time, but this past weekend I don't think my body wanted to push any harder than I did.
EG: I finished in 11:34 and thought I was going to die. I still think I can break 10 hrs on this course and I plan on it next year:)

GR: In many ways this race felt more like a training run than a race. I never really felt like any other runners put any pressure on me to run a faster pace than I wanted...
EG: This was one of the toughest races I have ever run. It took a lot for me to keep pushing myself and encouragement from my pacer and crew was needed.

GR: My legs weren't even sore when I finished.
EG: I have been hobbling around like an old man for days and nearly come to tears when walking down stairs.

GR: I was even able to drive over to the aid station at mile 40 and run a mile or so with my friend Dan.
EG: 4 days post race it took a Herculean effort for me to knock out 3.5 miles.

GR: Bear Mountain is a super rocky course but there isn't a whole lot of climbing. I don't think there's a place anywhere in the race when you are climbing continual for more than 2 or 3 minutes.
EG: This course is very technical with crazy hills. I felt like I was going up or down most of the time.

GR: I feel really good about how strong my body felt and what this means moving forward with less than 7 weeks until Western States.

EG: I have never run this many races so close together and I hope I recover in time for DC in 3.5 weeks. I have been hoping to do well there.

GR: In all this was a really great weekend trip. Got to see most of my family (I had a contingency of 15 family and friends at the race); got to see my friend Dan finish his first ultra ever; and was able to pay for my entire trip with the $1000 prize money for winning the race.
EG: This was a great event. My family was there and Tony came out to pace me. Then I got to watch Tani finish her first post baby race on Sunday. It cost me about $15 in gas between the 2 days and there is no prize money for 55th place.

I want to thank Tony Portera for coming out to pace me the final 23 miles. We had a blast and I know I would have been slower without him. Sorry about the ankle Tony!

Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for coming out.

And of course many thanks go to my always present wife Tani, not to mention my daughter who gave me that final push across the finish line. I could not do it without them.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today was a very special Mother's Day. Tani was not only celebrating her commitment to Jared & Kyle but also her first Mother's Day since the birth of our daughter Isla just 3 months ago. So why not make this the day for her first post delivery run. And so, Tani ran the 5k at Bear Mountain which at any distance is technically and vertically challenging. It was a cold and windy day out there and I was so excited to see her take off into the trails (see video below).

As I sat there waiting for her return I could not help but think how many times she has sat there waiting for me for hours and hours, and I could not have been more proud to be sitting there waiting for her. Until she reappeared with a big smile and a swollen ankle.

Happy Mother's Day Babe. You did it! Peace


Friday, May 7, 2010

Volunteering For The 1st Time

With TNF Endurance Challenge 50 Miler coming up this Saturday I had a brilliant idea. Yesterday I volunteered up at Bear Mountain (site of the race) to help mark a stretch of the course. Seventeen miles of it to be exact, much of which I will be running tomorrow. The crew yesterday consisted of 4 other volunteers as well who agreed to spend a day hiking the spectacular trails of Bear Mountain with full packs of personal gear and our trail marking supplies which consisted of bags of ribbon, clips, metal stakes and directional signs.

I was fortunate to be paired with the leader of our crew and Local Race Ambassador, Brian Duncanson. Brian raced for Team Guinness for several years and started Genesis Adventures nine years ago. I have only known Brian for 24 hours but I participated in many of his adventure races and he knows how to put it on. Definitely check it out.

Below Brian leading the way (he knew every inch of trail out there...not sure he ever used a map). I did however do most of the heavy lifting:)

I have always had a great deal of respect and appreciation for all the volunteers at races I have participated in from race check in to aid stations etc. However I never gave much thought to the set up. Its there when you get there and its not when you return. It must be magic. After 11 hours of hiking I can tell you its not. This is not a pat on the back it's just an observation. The next time you participate in a great event remember all those behind the scenes, setting up for days before you get there and leaving without a trace when you leave.

Brian, thanks for letting me a part of this unique experience. Let me know the next time you are in for an event. Happy to help out.

See you all at Bear Mountain. Peace

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