Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plagiarizing myself?

I wrote this to some friends on a running list about my weekend at the Vermont 100. I guess I'm too lazy to write anything more about the race:

"I went down to the race late on Friday, mostly to say hi to friends. In past years, I've worked at the race all day Friday, but I needed to work at my job this year. So, I got there about the time of the pre-race meeting, saw a bunch of friends, confirmed my pacing duties and work assignments for Saturday, and had a couple beers with friends.

On Saturday morning, my wife and I had no work assignments before noon, so we slept in a bit, dropped the dogs at the kennel, and drove to the race. We went to a major aid station at 30 miles to watch the runners come through. I had decided to pace a 60+ friend (they can have pacers the entire way) from about mile 38 to 47. The aid station at 47 is also used at mile 70, and it's the busiest aid station in the race. My wife and I were scheduled to work all day at this station.

My wife arrived at the station around 1:00 and I showed up with my runner about 3:00. He was hurting and I was guessing that his 12th finish was in jeopardy, with the heat and humidity being a major factor. I'm amazed at some really good runners who either quit or had terrible performances on this day. I didn't run a long way, but I ran in some of the worst heat of the day and didn't find it that terrible. But, perhaps it was because I didn't go that far that I had no issues with the heat.

Anyway, we worked through the afternoon and my wife's runner came through mile 47 near the back of the pack, but well under cut-offs. I found out later that the friend I'd paced to 47 quit at 55 - too much heat and perhaps too little training. We saw some really good runners struggling, especially as they got to the 70 mile mark. I heard later that there were quite a few ambulance rides and IVs during the day. Around midnight, only a few runners remained on the course and my wife's runner finally showed up. This is an hour before the station closes, but you really need to be through that station by midnight.

I followed them as crew for the rest of the night. By the next crew station at 77, they were near the back of the pack, but doing OK on cut-offs. At mile 88.5, only two runners remained behind them, and they were within 15 minutes of the cutoff. Of the two runners behind them, one was pulled and one missed the cut-off, putting my wife and Mary in last place. Also, you really want to be at least 30 minutes ahead of cut-offs at this station, not 15. I gave my wife's runner a quick warning when she wanted to sit for a while. I sent her down the trail while my wife was using the facilities - no time to waste. I honestly thought they were done. But, it turned out that the sunrise brought Mary back to life and they started hammering. They got to mile 95 ten minutes ahead of the cut-off, and that allowed them to walk 20 minute miles to the finish. But, Mary was still strong, and she ended up dropping my wife in the last mile and passing another runner for a next-to-last place finish in 29:43.

It was one of the best paced ultras I've seen anyone do. My wife was amazed at how hard the nighttime running and trail running were, but she stuck it out. She's still sore but very happy and planning to enter a 50K later this year.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. It's my "home" race and so many friends show up that I have to be there, even if I'm not running at all.

My first real test of the season comes on 7/31 at a very technical Catoctin 50K course in MD. I think the chances of finishing are low, but I'll give it my best."

Since the weekend, I've lifted once and run once. I was very surprised when my wife ran with me last night. She was feeling pretty good after the 30 miles on Saturday/Sunday and she was running pretty well.

Tonight, we are supposed to get some serious storms, so I think I'll plan on lifting again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another two weeks gone by

Perhaps when I was writing something here every day, it was overkill. But, being too busy to post more than a couple times a month doesn't seem right either, unless no one reads what I write.

Let's see, right after my last post, my mom went into the hospital and things didn't sound very good. So, we abandoned our family plans for the 4th of July weekend and headed to PA to visit my mom and see other family. Luckily, my mom recovered very quickly and by the end of the weekend, she was ready to be discharged from the hospital.

I got to spend some time with my sister and uncle, who I don't see often enough. My wife and I did a few runs in brutal heat, but we got out there.

I got in a few good weightlifting workouts over the past two weeks.

While running, my left knee continue to bother me. I had a chiropractor appointment on 7/2, and the chiropractor, who works with some other docs in a sports med clinic, referred me to the orthopedist to figure out my knee.

Then, my lawn mowers died. Well, one was already on life support and my son killed the other one. For about three grand, I got a nice new John Deere hat, but it came with a free lawn tractor. I'm still not sure if I won or lost that one. That was a nasty hit on top of having to replace the kitchen stove earlier this summer.

Then last Friday, our drinking water (from a well) started to get cloudy. We deemed it undrinkable, but didn't really panic until the water turned dark gray on Sunday. Last night, I flushed our basement water tank and turned off the water. Tonight, I'll turn things back on and see if there is any improvement, but I'm not counting on that. If we need a major repair to our well or pipes, it could cost more than a stove and tractor combined.

Well, at least I have health insurance. I went to the orthopedist this morning. He was grossed out by the noises my knee was making. He took lots of X-rays. Those didn't look too bad, although he saw a couple bone spurs that might be causing the clicking. He said it also looked like I had grade 1 (mildest form) of osteoarthritis in my left knee. Given my larger-than-the-average-runner size and the number of miles and races I've done in the past 25 years, plus an ACL replacement, he thought the knee was in pretty good shape. But, he was also sympathetic to the issues I was having. He then used an ultrasound to look at the meniscus as much as possible. He didn't see any glaring issues there. So, he suggested Synvisc, but told me I could wait a while and think it over. He also told me I could get it done in three sessions or one "big" session. I thought it over for a few minutes, and I guess the ultrarunner in me came out. I went for the do it now, do it big option. The single injection cost $750, so my visit to the doc today had to cost in excess of $1000. The injection itself was uncomfortable, but I got through it OK. Now, I have to rest the leg completely for two days and then ease back into running.

Oh yeah, work is interesting with the addition of a new CEO to our small company this week.

This weekend, I'm planning to volunteer and hopefully pace at the Vermont 100 mile run.