Friday, October 30, 2009

Training Update 18

Monday O19: AM 1:15 running- Forest Park in Portland- true fartlek- felt good

Tuesday O20: 3:58 cycling- back to Lex from the Lynchburg airport- somehow, I still managed to need over an hour to get out of Lynchburg- that place is like navigation kryptonite to me. I basically ended up doing another tour of the city! This time, though, it was a beautiful day for cycling. For the rest of the way, I was really tired and just pushed through to Lex and went to bed early.

Wednesday O21: 2:35 cycling- around the Valley and Ridge looking at field sites for tomorrow's lab

Thursday O22: 0:59 running- around campus in the dark- hit the back campus trails to 'practice' running on trails with a headlamp since I have not done it in a while- I was originally planning on doing a headlamp workout but decided against it because I was just too tired

Friday O23: PM 0:40 running- around campus in the dark and to the G-store
Saturday O24: PM 3:39 cycling- Lex to Explore Park (near Roanoke) PM 1:59 running- 60 min WU, 4.15 mile trail race (Into the Darkness) in 27:25, 32 min cooldown PM 1:20 cycling- from Explore Park up the BRPW to a camping spot in the Jefferson National Forest

Sunday O25: AM 3:50 cycling- to Holcomb Rock to look at some rocks- very cold at first PM 2:24 cycling- back to Lex from Holcomb Rock- felt really close to bonking for most of the ride.

Weekly Totals: 4:53 running (22% of total) 17:46 cycling (78% of total) Total: 22:39

Comments: My best week in a while. OK, a poor week with a really good weekend. Interestingly, all 17:46 of the cycling that I did was utility cycling! I also did my first race in a while and did a lot of riding. I will get the race report out in a few days… For now, one of my favorite local road signs...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Training Update 17

Monday O05: PM- 1:31 running- out and back on the Chessie Trail- steady

Tuesday O06: AM 3:29 cycling- up Irish Creek to the BRPW, back on 60

Wednesday O07: PM 1:38 running- back campus then athletic fields and strides on track after dark- strides felt pretty good

Thursday O08: PM 1:35 running- back campus then athletic fields and strides on track after dark

Friday O09: PM 1:02 running- back campus

Saturday O10: AM 1:05 running- back campus

Sunday O11: AM 1:05 running- back campus

Weekly Totals: 7:52 running (69% of total) 3:29 cycling (31% of total) Total: 11:21

Comments: Overall, a poor week. The running that I did manage to do was pretty good but toward the end of the week, I went into maintenance mode as I worked to get ready to leave for the GSA meeting.

Monday O12: PM 1:03 running- back campus

Tuesday O13: PM 1:30 running- back campus

Wednesday O14: 1:00 running- ran to the laundromat then ran out while doing a load, ran back to my apt then added on to make it an hour. I had spent about a month looking (not very intensively) for a laundromat and I had finally found one that was a couple of mile away in the sprawly part of town that it pretty shitty for running. On the way home, I ran past another laundromat that is about two blocks from my apt (but on a street that I has not been down before)!

Thursday O15: AM 4:50 cycling- from Lex to the Lynchburg airport- hammered over the Blueridge and was making excellent time and then got hopelessly lost in Lynchburg. My planned route had taken into consideration the fact that the airport traffic is served primarily but the Lynchburg Expressway (a limited access highway where bicycles are prohibited). On the ground, I encountered the limited access road sooner than expected and I tried to make due. I knew that I was on the West side of town and that the airport was on the SE. I somehow did an entire tour of L-burgh and added at least 2:30 onto my ride! I have never in my life been so navigationally helpless! I do not know if it was the lack of sleep (I capped off two nights of getting to bed after 3:00am with a night with zero sleep) or the weather (raining- no sun or mountain views for navigation), or the layout of the town it self. One thing is for sure, L-burgh is a shitty place to ride a bike. PM 0:31 running- I missed my connection in ATL and had to spend the night in an Airport near the airport. I was wicked tired but my hotel did not have any room service and I had not eaten anything but airline peanuts in over 13 hours so I headed out to find a bite to eat. My hotel was surrounded by runways, freeway infrastructure, and check-cashing establishments. I ran about 15 minutes to a Checkers (I think that is what is was called) where I was aggressively (but congenially) propositioned (I think that is what you call it) by a pimp while waiting for my food.

Friday O16: 2:51 running- out and back on the Wildwood trail in Portland, Oregon's Forrest Park- Awesome- felt good for about 2:20 and then the travel, lack of sleep, stress caught up with me

Saturday O17: AM 0:31 running- around the streets of Portland in the dark

Sunday O18: AM 0:29 running- from my hotel to the Oregon Convention Center +

Weekly Totals: 7:55 running (62% of total) 4:50 cycling (38% of total) Total: 12:45

Comments: A poor week with two really good days. My ride to the airport- through really stressful was a great workout and the run the next day in the park was fantastic The photo to the right is of the (lack of a) peak of Mount Saint Helens. For most of the day, the view was obscured by the low-lying clouds- this was the brief break that allowed for a view of the caldera.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Upcomming Races

Since April of 2008, I have raced a whopping four times
Allen Park Memorial Hillclimb, Vermont October, 2008
CTS Cheyenne Cañon Time Trial, Colorado July, 2009
Cheyenne Cañon Mountain Race, Colorado July, 2009
CTS Sand Creek Series Race 3, Colorado August, 2009

OK, so I am no Bernie and I never will be but I am going to be racing a couple of times in the next several weeks. Here is a preview of the prestigious events that I have planned for the rest of the year. I will be keeping it low key for the rest of 2009 while I get back full strength before (hopefully) hitting a more aggressive race schedule in 2010.

Saturday October 24th Into the Darkness 4 Mile Night Trail Run Roanoke Metro, VA

This sounds like fun. It is a trail race. It is at night. It is not too far away (~52 miles). I will probably bike in on the morning of, chill out all day, run the race and then head back along the Blue Ridge Parkway part way and stop to camp for the night (I do not want to ride back the entire way in the dark). The race course is a mixture of singletrack specifically designed for mountain biking, fire roads, and gravel roads. I do way too much of my running at night and have done quite a bit of headlamp-assisted trail running at night as well. It will be interesting to see how that translates over into racing with a headlamp...

Sunday October 25th Hospice Hustle 5km, Lexington, VA

This is the day after Into the Darkness but it is not until 2:30pm, the course sounds like fun, and Hospice programs are certainly worthy of my support (in the form of my entry fee- not in the form of my celebrity running presence). Speaking of the course, it starts by the hospice in Lexington, heads through town (downhill) to Jordans Point park where it gets on the Woods Creek Trail and heads back uphill through campus (about one half of the course is on the trail) I will probably not make it out to this one but if I do not race Into the Darkness, I will definitely race here.

Saturday October 31 Living Waters 5K Race Lexington, VA

This race starts and ends at Jordans Point Park in Lexington which means that it will probably run out and back along the Woods Creek Trail- which is not a bad thing. According to the race information, the tiny $5.00 entry fee will go to support installation of water purification systems in Guatemala. If I do not go to race, I will at least go to volunteer as I am teaching a water resources course for the winter semester and I would like to speak with some of the people involved in the Maury River Mission Community.

Saturday, November 14 Domino's 50th Annual Lexington to Buena Vista 10K Lexington, VA

This is the oldest road race in Virginia (we are definitely not in New England any more) and one of the two big endurance contests in the area (the other being a road run - road bike - kayak or canoe - trail run quadrathlon called the Lexington Road & River Relay in May). As you may have discerned from the event title, the race begins in Lexington a few feet from my apartment, runs the hilly-but-flattest-road-around-here and scenic four-lane divided highway called Route 60 to Buena Vista.

Friday, October 9, 2009

GSA National Meeting

I am headed for the national annual meeting of the Geological Society of America GSA this weekend out in Portland (the western one). This is one of the two big meetings in the USA for people that study the Earth- the other being the even bigger December meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). I will be presenting a poster on what I believe to be the most interesting facet of the rocks that I have been studying for the past several years (peridotites from Nintyone Mile Creek Canyon in the Upper Granite Gorge of the Grand Canyon.) The nice thing about presenting a poster (as opposed to giving a talk) is that once the printing is done, you can sit back and relax (instead of worrying about and working on your talk). Granted, getting the poster together was exhausting but the finished product looks pretty good (that's the sound of me patting myself on the back) aside from the printer's unfortunate reinterpretation of some of my dashed lines- very odd.

Portland should be fun- I have Friday off from any official duties and I am going to relax, go to Powell's, and go for a run in Forest Park. Forest Park is reputed to be one of the world's great urban running experiences and, though I have been to Portland many times, my visits have either been for the purpose of attending a race (no need to run in the park) or using the airport (no opportunity to run in the park). My hotel is close by- not by accident.

Saturday, we headed up to Mount St. Helens for the day- also something that I have not been able to do before. Sunday, is my poster session so that will, of course be the focus of the day. Monday, I will be in meetings all day before catching a red-eye for parts East.

Course Records

A few days ago, doubleD noted on his blog that he had set 146 course records (CRs) of which 17 remain (see posts here, here, here, and here). As someone who has, for the past decade or so, committed my efforts to endurance events where comparisons between courses (PRs) are not particularly helpful, I really like CRs because they provide a means through which you can measure yourself against an event and its history. I did not count snowshoe races "CRs" as CRs because the conditions can vary so much from year to year that it is difficult to make comparisons of speed across a temporal section. While I certainly do not keep the comprehensive/ exhaustive/ meticulous records that doubleD does, here are the CRs that I have and have had from my record and off of the top of my head.

1999 McDonald's Forest 15K, Corvallis, OR (52:47, old CR 55:06, Eric Reed)
1999 Elephant's Perch Backcountry 16.5 Mile Sun Valley, ID (1:43:35, old CR 1:46:35, Carl VanCalcar)
1999 Mount Hood Ski Bowl Scramble Mount Hood Metro, OR (41:44, old CR 48:05 some guy)
2000 Salmon Run 10km, Bend, OR (31:11 new course)- probably subsequently broken
2000 Otley Chevin Fell Race, Otley, England (17:10, old CR Mick Hill 17:14)- subsequently broken by the legendary Ian Holmes
2000 Erringden Moor Fell Race, Mytholmroyd, England (58:14, old CR???)- probably subsequently broken
2001 Mt. Toby Trail Run Sunderland, MA (1:25:11, old CR ??? by ???)- subsequently broken by Michael Page (1:24:32) then Ryan Carrera (1:23:26)
2002 adidas 7sisters trail race Amherst, MA (1:43:17, old CR 1:46:xx by Matt Cull)
2003 Nike ACG 10k Beaver Creek, CO (42:19, new course)- tie with Simon Gutierrez- race no longer run
2003 Northfield Mountain Race Northfield, MA (national team trial race) (50:05, new course)- subsequently broken by (the infamous) Josh Ference-the first of three courses to be used for the 'Northfield' race
2003 Talking Turkey 6 Mile XC Race Holyoke, MA (30:04, old record 30:09? by Sandu Rubenic)- subsequently broken by Nate Jenkins (and others)
2004 Monson Memorial Classic Monson, MA (1:09:58, old record 1:10:26 by Byrne Decker)- current record 1:07:50 by Alene Reta (2006)
2006 7sisters trail race Amherst, MA (1:42:06, old CR 1:43:17 by Paul Low)
2006 Tha Rivah Andover, MA (56:30, old CR 56:42 by Dave Dunham)
2006 Borderland 16 Mile Trail Run Eston, MA (1:46:22, new course)- race no longer run

So, my total is:
14 total (including the only time that I have broken my own CR- at 7sisters in 2006)
7 current (including 2 one-time races- both of which offered prize money and not including two races where I think the record has been subsequently broken)

The photo to the right is the only pic that I could find of me actually setting a CR. It was taken by Gary Bridgman at the 2003 Northfield Mountain Race

Finally, a winter sport more obscure than snowshoeing

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are probably familiar with the relatively obscure sport of snowshoeing (aka racket racing). If you were to rank competitive winter sports by how mainstream they are (in terms of overall popularity, media coverage, prestige of major titles, olympicness, et cetera) the list would probably look like this:

More mainstream
Downhill/freestyle skiing
Downhill/freestyle snowboarding
Figure skating (female and pairs)
Ice fishing
Drunken sledding (NCAA)
Cross-country skiing
Ice dancing
Ski jumping
Skeleton racing
Ice sculpting (chainsaw division)
Sasquatch wrestling
Figure skating (male)
Short-track speedskating
Drunken sledding (non-NCAA)
Ice sculpting (non-chainsaw division)
Snowshoe racing
Less mainstream

Recently, the folks blogging for Outside Magazine have posted a video of a new sport called cross-country snowboarding which promises to dethrone snowshoeing as winter's most obscure sport. The video is a pretty good way to spend three minutes of your day and the comments section needs more input from people who do not realize that this is a mockumentary.

Above: the largest event (Curley's 2004) in the most obscure sport (snowshoe racing) in the center of the snowshoe racing universe (western Mass)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Training Update 16

Monday S21: AM 1:07 cycling- Valley and Ridge

Tuesday S22: PM 1:31 cycling- out to Glenn Maury Park in BV to recce a field stop and back- hammered and felt good

Wednesday S23: PM 0:59 running- laps around the practice fields after dark

Thursday: S24: PM 1:01 cycling- Valley and Ridge- got caught in the dark (again)

Friday S25: PM 1:50 running- out and back on the Chessie Trail (dead flat) and some roads in Lex (got too dark to continue on the trail...)

Saturday S26: AM 2:34 running- out and back on the Chessie Trail- felt good for about 2 hours, rough for the rest

Sunday S27: AM 1:05 cycling- just felt like $%!# and turned back way prematurely

Weekly Totals:
5:23 running (53% of total)
4:04 cycling (47% of total)
Total: 10:00

Comments: Not a good week at all. No quantity (10 hours?!?), no quality and messed up sleep. I wonder how much more of this I can take before I develop a Paper Street-style psychogenic fugue. The image above is a screen shot from Google Earth of the view from the pavilion at Glenn Maury Park in BV

Monday S28: AM 1:46 cycling- Valley and Ridge

Tuesday S29: PM 1:01 running- laps around the practice fields after dark

Wednesday S30: PM 2:30 cycling- out to the BRPW, South to a stop for tomorrow's lab (just before the tunnel) and back- felt good and hammered

Thursday O01: PM 1:05 running- laps around the practice fields after dark- legs felt good

Friday O02: PM 2:29 running- out and back on the Chessie Trail- felt good for the first 1.5 and pretty rough for the last hour

Saturday O03: AM 3:23 cycling- Valley and Ridge- up Goshen pass- felt good PM 1:01 running- back campus- leg felt tired

Sunday O04: AM 1:18 cycling- out to the Belfast trailhead- easy 2:43 running- up Belfast Trail past Devils Marble Yard and to the AT, left (north) on the AT down to the James River and back, - a very good run with two big climbs PM 3:02 cycling- up Petites Gap Road to the BRPW, North to 60, back to Lex (started about 20 minutes after finishing my run)

Weekly Totals:
8:19 running (41% of total)
11:59 cycling (59% of total)
Total: 20:18

Comments: A decent week- kind of like a few weeks back, though with a carp week followed by a really good weekend (F,S,S made a nice "hard work sandwich"). I am still having trouble sleeping and this is still affecting my ability to get out for AM workouts. Not only am I missing morning workouts, but I had to do two runs after dark this week- not good. The highpoint of the week was my 2:43 run on the AT. I was planning on going for two hours because I had a lot of cycling planned (getting there and back) but when it came time to turn around, I was not too far from the James River. I decided that I wanted to get out to the river crossing before heading back so that I would have a nice, long climb back up to the ridge during the second half of the run. The trail through here is fantastic, coming off of the ridge on the way out, you catch nice glimpses of the James- after the leaves fall, there will be miles of great views. The image above is of the Devils Marble Yard (the white scar on the side of the mountain) from the Blue Ridge Parkway.