Monday, July 22, 2013

Vermont 100 Weekend

I made it to CrossFit four times last week, and then spent my weekend helping out at the Vermont 100.

First, we hosted a runner from the Cayman Islands and he turned out to be a very nice gentleman and a great house guest.

On Friday my wife had to work, but I volunteered at the medical check-in.  I've been doing this for years - even if I run the race.  Mostly, I coordinate the madness a bit, get the runners' weights, and then direct them to a nurse who takes a blood pressure reading and asks a few questions.  If runners have questions about the course, I can usually answer them.

After the check-in, I headed home to cook an early dinner for our guest, given how early he would need to get up in the morning.  Because our guest had gotten lost returning from the race check-in, and the drive to the start would be in the dark, I volunteered to drive him to the start.  We left the house shortly after 2:00 a.m. and I got back to bed just as the skies were starting to lighten, as dawn approached.  I got 5 more hours of sleep after returning, which was essential, because I wouldn't be sleeping again for a while.

Around 11:30, my wife and I headed to the Camp 10 Bear aid station, where we would be working until 1:00 a.m.  Runners in the 100 mile race pass through this station at approximately mile 48 and again at mile 70.  We knew there had been some organizational changes with the station, but to be honest, we found way more chaos than we'd expected.  Some of the people there were essentially waiting for me to arrive, given that I'm the longest tenured volunteer at this station.  I quickly implemented a few changes such as "when making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a knife used for that purpose cannot be used for anything else, to avoid an accidental peanut exposure for someone with an allergy."

I also discovered that we were woefully low on supplies, especially given that every runner in both the 100 km race and the 100 mile race would go through our aid station twice.  The change in leadership had also led to a significant change in the menu at our station - something a number of athletes and crews didn't like.

Given our limited supplies, we also chose to protect the food a bit more than in the past.  I know this isn't true at all races, but the VT100 seems to feed crews and spectators in a way I've never seen at other ultras.  We needed to limit some items to runners only, to ensure that we would have enough.  This always angers a few people, and the crews are notorious for simply taking anything they want, no matter what we ask.  If I ever stop volunteering at this race, it will be due to the rudeness of the crews who think our aid station is their personal restaurant.  I believe I've written about this before, but for the past few years, it seems that the crews and spectators and even some pacers have simply been getting more and more rude and demanding, and I find this frustrating.  But, I digress.

I spent a lot of time going through the supply trucks that passed through our aid station periodically.  We needed more bread, turkey, cheese, cookies, ramen noodles, and especially, water and watermelon.  We managed to scrounge together enough supplies so that the very last runner had almost the same options as the very first runner.  But, it was a struggle.  Without the help of my wife and an ultrarunner from NH, I'm afraid the aid station would have been a disaster.  Many runners were unhappy that the provided sports drink was not the advertised sports drink.  Had I been running, I would have been unhappy too.  The drink we were serving does not work well at all for me, while the advertised drink works very well.  Hopefully that will be cleared up before next year.

It was great seeing old friends come through the station all day long.  Most of them finished the race, one long-time friend near the very end, but they were finishing.  And, a few didn't finish, and many chose to drop the second time through our aid station.  When the very last runner was accounted for, a little after 1:00 a.m., we headed to the finish line to wait for our house guest to finish.  He arrived in just over 23 hours, having run a very steady race.  He eats a grain-free, sugar-free diet that is relatively low in carbs.  He did use some carbs during the race, but he also used coconut oil for calories as well.  That is something that I would certainly consider using if I ever run another ultra.

We got our guest back to our house, and let him get showered and get some sleep.  But, after only 4 or so hours of sleep, we woke him up to take him to the awards ceremony.

Sitting at the awards ceremony, watching people get their 5 year and 10 year buckles, I found myself thinking "only 2 more" to get to 5.  Hopefully, that feeling will be gone in a week or so.

After the awards, our guest wanted to try some of the great Vermont beers that he'd heard about, so we took him to Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier for a bit.  After three beers, he looked like he was ready to fall asleep.  So, we took him back to our place, fed him some dinner and let him get some sleep.  He had an early flight out of Logan this morning, and we never even heard him as he got dressed and sneaked out early this morning.

All in all, it was a great weekend, spent with new and old friends.

This week, it's back to work and as many CrossFit workouts as I can do this week - hopefully 5.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Three weeks out from PRP

I made it to CrossFit four times last week.  I did some overhead work, but kept the weights very light when overhead.

Overall, the shoulder doesn't seem to have changed very much.  I do think I'm sleeping a bit better, but any gains so far have been minor.  But, the healing period following a PRP treatment can last 3-6 months, so I'm trying to not be impatient or worry that it isn't helping.  I looked over my training logs after the PRP on my hamstring in 2009, and I can't really find any comments about how the healing progressed.  I had one note from about 5 weeks after the procedure that my hamstring was "sore", but that's it.  I was lifting well during the months after that PRP, pushing all three of the powerlifts to new lifetime bests.

So, I'll simply remain patient, lift within the rules defined by my doc, and give it time.

I hoped to get to CrossFit on Friday last week, which would have been 5 consecutive days.  But, I took my car to the dealer for an inspection and a few minor issues.  I got the car back at 5:30, too late to get to the gym, and my wallet was $1536 lighter.  The work I wanted done was about $250, but the work needed to pass inspection was about $1300.  My wife and I are thinking it's time to consider trading this car.  It gets poor gas mileage (and we drive a lot - long daily commute), it's got 130K miles on it in four years, and in the last year, we've spent over $7500 in maintenance costs - way more than our car payments in that time period.

But, for right now, the car is running great.  I took it on a 2.5 hour round trip to go fly fishing Saturday.  All of that driving resulted in a single tiny wild rainbow.  One of my favorite fishing spots on the New Haven River has been drastically altered by our recent rains and near-flood conditions.  A beautiful hole on the river just downstream from a bridge, now contains two recently uprooted trees, and dry fly fishing there is nearly impossible now.

Sunday, we drove even further, meeting some friends in Keene Valley, NY for some rock climbing.  Well, my wife climbed.  I did a lot of belaying.  Even though I got my wife started in climbing, as well as one of our friends who climbed with her, I'm just not into it that much these days.  For a long time, I would climb well past my comfort level, and it wouldn't be fun.  I'm glad I've gotten to the point where I don't give in to the pressure to climb if I don't feel like it.  I have nothing to prove to anyone, I don't really like being scared, which is often the case when climbing, and I'm happy to just hang out and belay my friends.

Next weekend, I'm volunteering all week at the Vermont 100 mile endurance race.  My volunteer work starts Friday about noon and lasts through the weekend.  So, I need to get to CrossFit as much as possible for the next four nights.  The gym is going to be very uncomfortable, with high temperatures and high dew points expected for the next few days.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On a Roll - Finally

It's now been 16 days since the PRP treatment on my shoulder.  I can't say that I feel a lot better, but I don't feel any worse.  And, I'm slowly returning to some of the lifts that I've been excluding for the past few months, although I'm doing them at very light weights.

Last week, I did some push presses one day - at 45 pounds, rather than my best of about 165.  Earlier this week, I did some thrusters (a front squat followed by a push press) also at 45 pounds.  Last night, I did some power snatches at 53# and some clean and jerks at 63# - numbers far from my best, but in many ways I'm starting over.  And, these lifts didn't hurt my shoulder at all.

Up until the beginning of July, I felt like I'd been goofing off more recently.  I did some sort of exercise fewer than half of the days in June.  But, July has seen a big turnaround already.

Last week, I got to CrossFit four days, I got out on my road bike one day, and I did a sprint workout another day - 6 out of 7 days for the week.  The only day I didn't train, I got out for a little bit of fly fishing, so I wasn't completely inactive.  This week, I've trained every day so far.

Last Friday, I even got a new PR on the front squat - 250 pounds.

Today, I am a little bit sore though.  We did heavy front squats last Friday.  I did sprints on Sunday.  Monday was back squats and front squats, and last night had high volume, low weight front squats.  That's a lot of stress on the glutes and hamstrings, and I'm a bit stiff today.

Our strange weather continues.  For the third day in a row, it's been raining hard where I live.  But, at my office, an hour north of where I live, it's been mostly dry.  We have flood warnings where I live but not where I work.

This coming weekend, I'm hoping the trout streams are finally back to decent levels.  My son has to work, and I'll probably do a little bit of work on the weekend myself, but I have time to get out for some fishing.  I'm hoping to spend some time on the Middlebury and New Haven rivers.  The rivers closer to where I live - the White and the Winooski - remain too high for safe wading, and the water is very muddy as well.  Hopefully, the rivers to the west will be in better shape for the weekend.  I haven't caught a fish for three weeks right now.

And that's it.  Back to work and then off to CrossFit.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hit and Run

The rain won't stop.  I should build an ark.  I haven't fished in over 3 weeks and I might not fish for quite a while.  There is a chance that our rainforest weather pattern will break next week, but by the time the streams are down to a fishable level, the water temperature may be too high for catch and release fishing.

My shoulder feels a little better.  I'm working out this week - every day so far.  I even got out on my road bike for an hour yesterday - first ride of the season, done in between storms.  I'm hoping to run a few miles tomorrow.

And then there's work.  I swear I have six months of work due by the end of this month.  I worked yesterday (the 4th of July).  I'll probably work all weekend.  I see no way to take a vacation this summer.  By September, it will be a year since I've taken off a full week.  I'm starting to feel pretty burned out, to be honest.

(Edit) My wife just called.  The brakes went out on one of our cars.  And, the car I'm driving is in need of some serious repair work.

I want my life back.  Or maybe I'm just ready to surrender to the universe.