Sunday, August 31, 2008

I am number 0612602

Just picked up my race package for Nike's Human Race, got my chip, and my shirt with ironed on bib number. Start time's at 7pm, then it's off to the races. Should be crazy running in downtown Vancouver. Apparently there's some sort of bus my local running store has got organized. I'm an alternate, so it's not actually confirmed I'll get a spot. Worst case, I'll skytrain to the start, then we'll see what happens. I don't know if this will be as big as the Vancouver Sun Run and I don't know if this is Nike's core audience. But we'll see.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WWR: Leg 14 - Sea level is for Sissies.

Well, here I am waiting on Matt again and I can't believe I'm getting altitude sickness at 9494 feet. Geez, I need to suck it up, because I'll be hitting 10,300 feet at the 6.5 mile mark of my 8.5 mile leg. It's past 6:15pm and I've already told Creampuff that I'll probably be 90 minutes on this leg. The trail is dirt road and dusty, more runnable trail except for that 4.5 mile section climbing up 1200 feet. Finally, Matt comes into view and we tag off at 6:30pm .I have my big floppy hat on and a bandana to keep out the dust. Both become pointless very early on. I start with a strong jog but not less than 2 min later I have to stop and adjust the damn bandana! In that time, I got chicked by a 40ish east indian woman and struggle to catch her. She takes the descents fairly easy and I'm trying to keep up. About the 18 minute mark we hit a brief flat stretch, I was keeping her in sight and then I looked past and saw the hill. Dammit. Those were a lot of switchbacks. Now it was just a grind battling the elevation and the terrain. Dirt road may be runnable but when it's climbing for 4 miles it was a little tedious. Too often I felt I was sliding uphill as the dirt made it hard to get a solid footing for me to push off for the next step. The runner ahead of me had similar problems and was looking for the best line to run up. I found tracks made by some heavy duty construction equipment and ran on the side of the road. It helped a lot as I played leapfrog with her. I would get aid from Van1, she'd pass me. She was getting aid from her Van, I'd pass her. This went on for 3 miles. Most of the time, we were just powerwalking the hill as it was just the same pace as running. Near the top we were getting passed by a bunch of ubermountain runners. Finally we hit the crest and I've been passed 4 more times with a few more gaining. One of the crew of the guy who just passed me jokingly offers me a gel cause I musta looked bad. Well, I do like them downhills....because I starting picking up the pace. Not because of the gel, but the advil/e-cap combo I just swigged down with the last of my water. I catch east indian woman, the guy with the helpful crew and two more runners. There was a brief 3 minute section where I was the only guy on the trail and this was a little worrisome because I didn't know where the course went! I was following the dust cloud ahead of me but then the trail went left and I wasn't sure if I should go left. I look behind me and everybody I just passed are barreling straight toward me. That answers that question. I put the hammer down and see the orange pylons ahead. I tag off Snatch who continues down the trail. Take a few brief minutes to cool down (mindful of the mosquitos) and check out the awesome views at Deadman.I turn around and congratulate all those chasing me for the last two miles. Sure enough, I did run my leg in 90 minutes and good thing too, cause we had only 50 minutes before the exchange closed and we would've been disqualified! Two down, two more to go. time for a little sleep before my leg as we are now down to nine runners as Matt dropped out after two legs as he had a wedding to go to the next day. Up next, a little night running. Perfect.

Friday, August 22, 2008

WWR: Leg 4 - Burning, Man.

It's is unbelievably hot waiting for Matt. It's almost noon and the temperature reads 100 degrees F. I find a place for a quick pitstop before my leg starts and I get the handoff. My leg is 4.3 miles and is rated easy, it's flat, dirt road and is completely runnable. And it is, for the first 300 feet, then the heat hits me and the fact that I'm wearing a heavy kilt doesn't help. I'm still givin'er and it's not too bad, there is some initial cloud cover, but that gets burned off really quick. I soon find myself chasing a patch of shade, but by the time I close in, it moves west and I have to go east. There's 179 feet of elevation on this particular leg, but it's deceptively over 3 miles of uphill. I see people in the distance, but they're too far ahead of me to make any sort of ground on them. (thanks a bunch, Matt!) Get a brief breeze from a little lake and that eases the heat. Clock into mile 3 and Van#1 is helping Matt recover and ask if I need anything before I cross Owl Canyon Rd. "Ice!" Snatch grabs a handful and jams it into my bottle. I break into a hard run now and see the 1 mile to go mark. My handheld is freezing cold, then it becomes cool, then rapidly lukewarm in the space of 5 minutes! Damn! I grab sips when I can and sprint the last half mile. Take my wristband and hand off to Snatch at 37 minutes! I strip off my tshirt and blind half of the spectators with my pasty white torso. Call shotgun, get in the car and turn up the AC, baby! One down, three to go!

How the Wild West Relay was won and lost

I've never been to Colorado, but when the call came out for hashers for the Wild West Relay from Ft Collins to Steamboat Springs on the Beavers Gone Wild team, I answered! I also enlisted another Vancouver Hasher, Creampuff (he's the one in the red dress) because I didn't want to be the only guy from sea level suffering.
As it turns out, the co-captains are from Portland: Amazon.cum and Nice Snatch and their buddy, Rainer Queer from New York who picked us up from the airport after an ill advised day of trying to acclimate to the elevation and heat by climbing Beerstat three hours before!

So there would only be 5 visiting hashers and 5 locals: (it was supposed to be 7 locals, but 2 got deployed at the last minute!) Bridget, Matt, Clint, Eric and Thea. I 've done relays before, but only at 100km, this was a whole different event. Considering I was tapering for Stormy 100 mile, I saw an opportunity to get elevation and heat training in. And damn if I didn't pick the right day to do heat training. Friday temperatures were forecast to be a record high of 105 degrees F! Now given that there were only 10 relay runners and Matt had to drop out after his second leg, some of us had to run 4 times. It was me, Creampuff, Snatch, Matt and Bridget (bro & sis) in Van 1 taking the first 5 legs and everybody else in Van 2 taking the next 5 legs. Since I'm not psychic, I don't know how everybody was feeling on their individual legs, so this is the story of how all four legs went.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stormy 100

Despite bloody blisters, stomach issues and a course that unintentionally lived up to its name, at 29:33,I became the last official finisher of Stormy 100 miler in Squamish yesbterday. I was able to finish largely due to two crews, my provider of hot n spicy pot noodles and fellow Club Fat Ass and Hasher, Rob and Lucinda blister care nurse extraordinarre! Without the assistance of these two, I would not have finished and more likely dropped out at 17-18 hours.

Talk about dropouts - there were 10 of them in a field of 30. Those that could make it through the bad patches finished, it was just that simple.

I learned so much from Tahoe and was able to apply it to Stormy. However I did spend a lot of time sitting down at Aid stations, but I was wolfing down the noodles so it was worth it. I might opt for the kimchi flavor next time.

Funniest moment - Entering Powerhouse for the first time, whipped out the cell, called Rob and put in a pot noodle order that was ready when I came in. Nice!

Dumbest call - Having a beer at Mile 50, which may have led to some sleepy moments at Alice Lake night section.

I'll have a detailed report on CFA soon. Coincidentally the finish time for Stormy was the same time as our Wild West relay team in Colorado. Cool, I can cover half as much distance in the same amount of time as a team of 10 runners.

I'm hungry again.