Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday Night Twilight Trail Run

So it's Thursday the 14th and I've had three days to recoup from the festivities on Sunday. Let's do a little recap Sunday night after passing out in the car on the way home from Mentor - we had just gotten on the highway (good think Bridge came to watch and cheer me on... I would have had to nap at the park and then drive home) I woke up as we exited the highway - about 35-40 minutes later. It was a nice nap. Bridge was stopping to get me some food. We got home we ate laid around watched TV and went to bed at 9pm.

Monday upon waking up I pulled myself out of bed and boy was that fun... all the cramping Sunday had put quite a hurtin on my legs. I was walking like Frankenstein all day. Bridge got me to try the stairs down to the basement... I was doubtful, however with the assistance of my upper body I was able to negotiate the stairs down and up again. By the afternoon I was walking better, but if I sat for more than 20 minutes I was back to starting point one. Icing my legs for the second day in a row was helpful.

Tuesday I was hobbling around better than Monday, but not "well" yet. After a rough day of work and sitting all day I went for a walk... thought it would be a good idea to stretch them out and work the soreness out.... since I was signed up for a race on Thursday. So I went for a walk around our block about 1.5 miles. It took me about an hour. THAT'S RIDICULOUS! But I did feel better after. So back to sleep... Icing once again.

Wednesday I took some time during the day and spun... put in about 20 miles.... it was good for my psyche. I was afraid I would be completely sore and unable to keep up on the ride on Saturday and Sunday (MS-150). I felt quite good and surprisingly without pain pushing the pedals. That made me feel good about the weekend and better about Thursday.

Thursday, rough day at work.... left late to meet bridge at the Twilight Trail Run because of a conference call that went late. Traffic happened to actually cooperate and I made it there with almost no issues and quickly as well. I arrived and met Bridget there - she was sitting on the ground stretching talking to a girl she knew form high school (first time I met her - Lindsey I think). She had already checked me in and picked up my packet. We pinned on our numbers... I paced around the field a while and she went for a warm up run with E-speed and Solar Squirrel, and Daisy Duc. When they came back we headed for the start. This may have been the strangest start to a race I have ever been part of. The women all started waves based on age... and I assume there was some elaborate statistical analysis done to come up with these start groups and spread times... I assume this is the only way one could come up with this seemingly convoluted set up. Ok so here's how this works if I understand it right.... your time really doesn't matter. If you finish first you win. The age groups and spread times are meant to level the playing field. You can also register as a single person or as a team... male-male, female-female, or male-female. Winning as a team you take your finishing places and average them... and who ever is higher wins. Ok so your sitting there going..... seems pretty straight forward so far. Well the convoluted sounding section is the age groups and the start times... I'm going to try to find them and add them later to this blog... but some age groups got 1 minute head start some got 2 minutes. some categories were like 35 to 45 year olds and 14 to 18 year olds (or something like that). Like I said must have taken some very extensive statistical analysis feeding into some nonlinear second order differential equation. You'll see if I can find it.

Ok so the race... I'm in the last group (assumed to be the fastest group)... I was worried leading up to the start of the second to last heat... you see there's something else you can do in this race.... you can buy up one age group to put yourself into a better position to win... and I heard a bunch of guys my age buying up... so I was worried that I alone would be starting 16 minutes behind the first group... BUT I wasn't there were about .... 10-12 of us? So we started out across this big open field and had to run a Z shape to the opening in the trees where the Bridal trail was. We entered the trees... with yours truly in DEAD last. Legs were pretty heavy and I didn't warm up much at all... I was afraid that my legs being so tired already wouldn't make it through any extra miles. 5 miles was going to push me to my limit as it was. Once you entered the trees you had about 20 feet and then a creek crossing. There was a guy taking pictures and you can't puss out and run the rocks when there's a camera to capture the moment. So there was a little mostly flat run followed by a hill... and I would call this a heck of a hill. Quite the height gain... so I passed on guy just before the hill. I was following another up the hill. Just before Mile 1+ water stop I passed the second guy in my group. Feeling ok so far.... kind of surprised that my legs are feeling this good. I'm moving quite well... we pass mile 2 and there's a guy who keeps bouncing between walking and running quite a bit faster than I... and there are two guys that I'm keeping my eyes on trying to keep up with. so we running and running and running and running through the woods, and we come to this...hill.... now this hill is some of the steepest grade I've ever run... and certainly the most steep I've run on loose gravel. After making my way down we popped out by Squires Castle. As I run up to the water stop the woman tells me that I'm almost to mile 4.... my head starts to race... Mile 4! I haven't been out here long enough to be at mile 4.... have I? Did I just run right past the mile 3 marker with out seeing it? Oh well maybe she's wrong and just miss understood where we were.... we ran around the castle and I passed the my second woman of the race.... and as I headed to the trail again there it was mile 4 marker. I picked up the pace a bit to try to reel in the two guys in front of me... however I think that they had a similar game plan... once we hit mile 4 they sped up as well. As we headed down the last mile - they pulled away and I lost sight of them.... however, I was still feeling pretty good and moving well for me. I came across a road and recognized it as the entrance to the park were we started, which went I was really close... time to turn on the kick and push to the finish.... yeah ... so that's what should have happened... about 6 steps at a quicker pace and longer stride and my body revolted it said "Um... no, no thanks.... you're going back to this comfortable pace now or you're walking through the field"... so I slowed back down.... till I hit the opening heading back into the Z shape run back to the finish. I picked up the pace and finished as strong as my legs could pull off. I was hoping to break 60 minutes which was my last 5 mile trail race time..... as I got closer I could see the clock I could see the the time 1:04:something. I had two minutes to get to the finish and I would be right around 50 minutes... yeah that's right FIVE ZERO! Ten minutes faster than the last one! Sure hope I can keep that up for a while and get my times down.... but over all fantastic job based on my ability to walk on Monday and Tuesday. I felt good about this old man bouncing back so quickly.

Ok... so it's late and I need to sleep. So later kids!
see you on the roads.... I'll get you an update on MS-150 soon.


At 9:41 AM, Blogger E-Speed said...

Great Report and great job Thursday night! It is a strange starting system, but it is definitely one of my favorite races of the year!

At 10:08 AM, Blogger solarsquirrel said...

CONGRATULATIONS on a 10 min. PR! You and Bridget are HAMMERS!


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