Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Runner v. Chiropractor 2012

As a runner one learns to push through pain.  Minor aches and pains are a part of the training game and are to be largely ignored in order to log the miles and speed to produce fitness.

As a chiropractor I understand pain and weakness are a sign of dysfunction not to be ignored or injury may occur.

I guess I'm a runner. 

After an inexplicably poor performance in Montana I opted to start bidding on priceline for cheap flights to New Mexico for the next weekend instead of taking some down time. 

The resulting race led me to the answer I was seeking as to why my race in Montana went so poorly.  It did not lead to a good race.  A mile into the Jemez Mountain half marathon, which I won in 2010, there was a steep short paved downhill.  I noticed some sharpness deep in my gluts.  It was minor at the time but a mile later pain began occurring with every step and with full extension of my right leg.  I kept moving but lost touch immediately to the two leaders.  I held onto 3rd place through the major 1700ft climb through the mid point of the race.  But the subsequent downhill was extremely painful with both foot strike opening up my stride.  Jason quickly passed me on the downhill (then got lost giving me 3rd place) as I slowed to a pace nearly 10 minutes slower than the last time I ran the course. 

The good news is I found the dysfunction.  (Positive spin time).  Possibly without my ridiculous back to back of racing and traveling I would linger through the next two months with my right glut being wrecked but still mediocrely getting through races by over working my hamstrings and piriformis.  As it stands now I haven't run more than 10 minutes since Saturday.  But I'm building back and and cross training and hopefully to be running miles instead of minutes by this weekend. 

Treatment has been fun.  I've trained Kadie and Ken (Marathon Chiropractic's massage therapist) to do ART on me.  I've trained my dad to adjust.  Stem, extension exercises, and stretching are helping.  Overall I I feel more day-to-day than I feel out indefinitely which is good because I can only take so much of the exercise bike.

Mountain Cup
The Mountain Cup has once again come to a disappointing end.  Even with being the high man through 4 races it appears I'm destined for 4th place after two poor attempts at getting points in a 5th race.  I could get lucky if Matt and Jared have a couple of bad races but that's my only hope.  Rob is going to be the champion.  He's got an untouchable lead and even still is planning on doing a 6th.  I'll go ahead and congratulate him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hell in Helena

Hells Hills proved to be quite heavenly for me but my next Mtn Cup stop in Helena would finally bring hells suffering.  The Don't Fence Me In 30k was the ultimate Mtn Cup showdown with me, Matt Byrne, Jared Scott, and Rob Krar all toeing the line in the same race for the first and only time during the series.  With all the available bonus points combined with my 3 other cup victories I had the opportunity to put the series victory away with a win. 
Garmin of race
Nearly 19 miles and ~4100ft of ascending and descending stood in the way.  Normally such a long race will be quite in the early going but at the gun for this one Matt Byrne was no where to be seen and Jared spurted out 20 meters ahead of everyone.  I thought I'd be patient and let Jared's fast pace catch up with him later so I hung back waiting for Matt to work his way through the field as we tackled the first 1000 ft climb up Mt ascension.

Mt Ascension to the left
At the top Jared and Rob were only about 30 seconds ahead of me and Matt had finally caught up.  "Now's the time to work with Matt and make the miles fly by" I thought.  Then Matt went running past me.  That's about when the race ended.  3 miles into a 19 mile race I was off the leaders and would only see them again on a long road stretch way in the distance. 

Mt Helena
 The course was amazing though.  Challenging climbs and descents all along single trek trails.  The views were often long range and I got to enjoy them a little bit.  As I climbed Mt Helena in 5th place (after a lazily long bathroom break) I was still moving well but not at all fast enough to be involved.  The race finished with a 1200 ft descent over 2 miles which served as the final straw to break this camels back.  I slowly made my way down the technical descent with my hip flexors barely providing the strength to get my next step in front of me.  A runner zoomed past me early in the descent and beat me to the finish line by 3 minutes.  It was painful.

I would have loved to have hiked the 2 miles back up Mt Helena to snap a few pictures to show of the views but I could barely walk the one block to my hotel.  Instead of partaking in natures intoxicating beauty I partook in Blackfoot River Brewery's intoxicating IPA with the Mtn Cup gang.  I continued to partake until I got good and college drunk.  By the end of the evening a drunk dial to Kadie ended with a deep conversation about how I want babies.  Eek.

My actual babies
La Sportiva Mountain Cup
I have to do a 6th race after that stinker.  So removing that race from my total through 4 races here's how it looks between Rob, Jared and I:
Ryan Woods - 83 point
Jared Scott - 82 points
Rob Krar - 82 points
Matt has only down 3 races but he has 62 through 3 so if he get his average on his fourth he'd be at:
Matt Byrne - 83.67
The whole series is amazingly close with so little left to go.  Obviously everyone could control their own destiny but it may come down to who wins the race with the most bonus points or who is willing to do 6 (or 7!?!) races. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome to Moe's!

The Plan 
Rendezvous with Devin for a low key 5k with and easy payday

The Catch
The race requires you to eat a Moe's wrecker burrito at mile 2

The Result
A very poor plan with a very big catch. 

The Lesson
It turns out if the prize purse is big enough then fast runners will show up no matter what torturous acts you throw their way.

The Contenders
Me - Winner of several awards for beauty and grace
Devin Swann - Sub 24 8k roads sub 30 10k roads etc
Ricky Flynn - 2:13 marathon (12th I heard at the trials)
Patrick Morgan - 4:01 mile
John Compton - fast but I don't know any of his pr's... often contending and beating Devin and I
Eric Ashton - South Carolina legend
And what appeared to be 8-10 other runners who were under 10 minutes at the two mile

How it all shook out
It was a very tense start line.  There were about 10 guys who all thought the exact same thing.  "Eating a burrito in the middle of a 5k is stupid.  No one will show up to this race and I'm going to make some easy cash."  There would be no easy cash.  The gun goes off and the field is out so fast you'd think this was the NCAA cross country championships.  4:30 pace didn't scare anybody as no less than two dozen runners blaze through the half mile in 2:15.  I know because I was in about two dozenth place.

The pace lags and I spurt to the front of the pack and take control of the race with Ricky Flynn by my side. We go through the mile on the garmin in 4:39 and start to get a small gap on the field.  I saw 4:44 pace late in the mile before the course took us to a left hand turn up a steep embankment leading to the two mile mark and the burrito station.  On the steep uphill I let Ricky get a few meters on me for the first time as I eased into the burrito station trying to not be too winded. 

What happens now is not something I'm proud of.  I grab a burrito, unwrap and take a bite.  It's like sand.  I grab a water and go Joey Chestnut on its ass.  Take a bite, sip of water, swallow, and repeat.  There was no chewing. 

The mannerless strategy worked.  I gulped my last bit and yelled "Welcome to Moe's!" to signify to the judges I was finished.  I was the first out of the burrito station.  I ran a few steps at normal race pace and looked back over my shoulder to see if anyone else had finished.  I can't describe the desire I had to look back and see no one.  In that moment it was a desire greater than any I had ever experienced.  Unfortunately I saw 3 people, running together a mere 20 meters behind me.  Complete disappointment.  Even now after having been fast to the burrito station and the fastest out, making up a good 8-10 seconds on Ricky Flynn, nothing had been settled. 

I didn't know what was going to happen now.  The prerace plan was to dominate to the burrito station, eat fast, and then cruise to the finish enjoying a huge lead.  4th place and no prize money was suddenly breathing down my neck. 

Begin system check.  I'm moving fast.  The garmin says 4:45.  I feel good.  I taste beans.  Spit.  I taste rice.  Spit.  Mouth is clear.  My new plan is to keep running fast until my stomach says "no more" in what I'm sure what be a violent scene.  I check the watch and I've covered .2 miles.  Then .3 and .4.  Still nothing coming up and still keeping 4:45 pace.  The finish is approaching and I'm confident that at this pace I won't be caught from behind.  I'm shocked at how fast I'm moving and how pain free my abdomen feels.

What seemed rather quickly I recognize the final turn that leads to the home stretch.  My lead has shrunk but not by much.  I make the turn leading to the last quarter mile and start to push.  I check over my shoulder several times as I'm running down the home stretch.  The lead may have dwindled more but I'm getting close and begin to kick in earnest.  Once the kick has started I can taste victory.  And a bell pepper.  But that's what victory tastes like sometimes.

Eating and running is what I do!!!

15:56 was my final time.  The garmin had the course at 3.00 miles with a lot of 90 degree turns.  The garmin also had me at 4:43 for my last mile.  I'm shocked at how fast I just ran with a burrito in my stomach.  The garmin had me kicking the last 12 seconds at 4:04 pace.  Ricky Flynn takes second place about 5-8 seconds behind me.  He's followed closely by Patrick Morgan then Eric Ashton and John Compton.  Devin takes 32nd place.  Eating and running is not what he does.

Caitlin Chrisman won the women's race and had a few videos taken of the eating.  Here's a link:
Leaders eating. At 1:46 you can see me running and the chase pack
Caitlin finishing burrito while Devin still snacks on his

Big races are on the horizon.  In 3 weeks I'll be competing in Helena, MT to possibly finish the cup.  June takes me to Mt Washington for a chance at making the world mountain running team.  July takes me to Whistler, BC for the NACAC mountain running championships.  Hopefully my hot streak will continue for a few more months.  As it stands I've got an 8 race winning streak!

Closing Thoughts

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lucky 7's

Last time I wrote it was regarding a mostly unlucky 7 month period.  Today I write regarding a 7 weekend/7 race win streak.  Not too shabby.  The 7 wins include two Mtn Cup victories, the title of Carolina Mtn Goat, and a butt whoopin to my old college teammate Devin Swann. 
No Devin at this finish line yet
This past weekend was a showdown royal for the Hell's Hills 25k in Smithville TX, the setting for "Hope Floats."  It may have stared Sandra Bullock and some dreamy heart throb.  Jared Scott (last years Mtn Cup champ) and Rob Krar (beat us both in Moab) showed up and so did the heat and humidity.  The high's were 86. 
Finishing photo courtesy Rick Kent - Enduro Photo
What a handsome sweaty fellow in his new La Sportiva get up!

The 7am start kept the temp in the low 70's and the 3 of us ran comfortably through blue bonnet fields on a rocky single track and rolling terrain.  Half way in Jared made is move in response to my move... a move to sit on a log and pop a squat.  For two miles I pushed to catch up with serious reservations about my abilities to ever see them again.  But I caught them both on the single track and got to settle back into their comfortable pace for about half a mile.  Then we hit an old logging road and Jared threw down again.  This time we were going 5:20 pace I hung tight though and it paid off when we got back on the single track.  I felt Jared and Rob slow on the single track around 12 miles in and decided to push.  I opened a gap that I held onto through the finish.  For a 15.5 mile race the ~20 seconds between first and 3rd was tight.  It was my third trail race in La Sportiva's Vertical K and I'm now 3 for 3.  Ryan likey.
24:49 for 8k

The big Mtn Cup showdown may occur May 12th in Helena, MT.  Jared, Rob, and Matt Bryne may all be showing up meaning my attendance would result in the ultimate Mtn Cup throwdown.  We'll see if that comes to be.
Carolina Mtn Goat

In the Meantime I'm going to keep the consecutive racing weekend streak going for two more weeks.  If I jinxed things then whoops but I can't contain the pleasure from the two mtn cup victories and the Devin Swann beat down.

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 month review

It's been awhile.  Since I last posted I...

Fell apart at the World Mountain Running Championships.

Dropped out of a 50 mile trail race.  [Blisters led to shuffling led to falling on my face a lot].

Dropped out of the World's Toughest Mudder 24 hour challenge after 90 minutes [15 min of swimming in a shallow New Jersey pond in December is not a good idea].

Won a marathon and placed 3rd in a marathon [both in November and not in that order].

Become Active Release Technique certified [Lower, upper, and spinal].

Won 2 of 3 2012 Moutain Cup races I attended. 

Lost 1 of 3 2012 Mountain Cup races I attended.

Haven't used a snow shovel all winter.

Did a track workout.

Joined the Hammer Nutrition Team [Only gel I've ever had that didn't cause GI diahrea]

Joined the La Sportiva Team [New Vertical K is a super lightweight racer with some protection]

That's about it.  I'm hoping 2012 will include a few more Mountain Cup victoried, a spot earned at Mt Washington for the World Mountain Running team, a fast 5k or two, maybe even a track race or two. I'd like to share abit more about what I'm doing on here but we'll see how lazy I get.  I may get some pics of from the Moab 33k which tirned into a nice vacation.  I may get some pics up of the pets cause they're so pretty.  I may not.