Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orderly October

Orderly October or Old School October. Either title works.  Challenge is to maintain an even, disciplined effort throughout the whole month, by adhering to the following requirements:

1) complete 25 push-ups (or 10 pull-ups)
2) complete 50 sit-ups (or 50 crunches)
3) jog 20 minutes (or walk 30 minutes or bike 40 minutes)
4) eat 1 serving of fruit
5) eat 1 serving of vegetable
6) abstain from drinking alcohol (i KNOW! it hurts so bad, so hard just to type this)!!!

Activities 1-6 must be completed on the SAME DAY, and must be done at least FOUR days EACH WEEK. No credit for splitting up activities on separate days, or cramming 7 days one week, and 3 days the next week.

Each candidate must also complete the next activity at least ONE time EACH WEEK:

7) consume 1 serving of alcohol (or milk).

Activities must be logged onto the spreadsheet that will be posted on the blog soon. Also, due to Ventoux moving, our wine making challenge will be postponed, but Six Minute September will be continued for one additional month.

Good luck! (i'm gonna need it for activity #6)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My First Ultra- Equinox 9/19/09

I can now list among my accomplishments, being able to write upside down and backwards, able to polish off 2 sacks of white castle sliders in under 10 minutes, and now ultramarathoner. Diary of a Slow Ass Chapter 3.

This is the first time I hurt since, well, the last trail marathon I ran a year ago July. This is the hardest run I've ever done, though a somewhat serious woman who breezed by me at the end when I was coughing up a lung assured me, this was easier than the IronMan. Goody for her.

Planned my work trip to Alaska to coincide with the Equinox marathon, which I had heard about from one of the neurologists in Fairbanks I was visiting. While registering, I saw that this year was the inaugural Equinox ultra (50km or 31.2mi). I didn't read much about the course until the day before I left. 80% trail. 3000 ft of climbing (in the marathon), 1800 of which was a 4 mile stretch at mile 10, then a steep descent of about 1000 ft over 1/3 mile, followed by another 1000 ft descent over bumpy trail. 80% of the runners last year were stung by wasps, and one year it was cancelled due to excessive snow. But anyone can tell you, it's the steep micro-ascents and treacherous descents that makes trail running so difficult for klutzes (or is it klutzi).

It was 40 degrees but thankfully the heavy rain of the day before had stopped just before the race. Luckily there was the UAF gym to hang out in, check out the cool polar bear decor.

The start was 700 people en masse clambering up a grassy hill that reminds me of cross-country footage I've seen. Squeezing through a small hole in a fence, had to chuckle because everyone started MOOing.

Up until the descent, life was good- amazingly beautiful course with some of the best fall foliage I've seen since Amherst (the iPhone photos just don't do the scenery justice). Mostly forest trail, some wide gravelly roads and rocky dirt trail. Walked up most the hill to the Ester Dome but that was OK, reached the halfway point well-under 3 hours.

The last time I ran trails, I promised myself I would get trail shoes, which I did. They don't do too much good if you don't wear them, however. Early on I was wishing I had brought my trail shoes, but I hadn't packed them, being stupidly afraid of running 31+ miles in shoes I had only gone 6-7 miles in.

For those of you who find my whining distasteful, turn your head. Ironmen don't whine, which is why I'm not an Ironman. Here is a summary of the descent, which started out with "The Chute", a hard dirt path with narrow tire ruts, covered by leaves and pebbles, At least 3x steeper descent than what we had just climbed.

don't face-plant.
don't face-plant.
don't face-plant.
Am I the only person who descends twice as slowly as they climb?
OW Toe cramp- walk sideways for awhile.
TA cramp. or was it EHL? Who gets a cramp in their TA while running?
Soggy woodchips. Like running on a mattress, you'd think cushy was good but it felt like quicksand, no push off and splinters getting through your socks.
More soggy woodchips. Tree roots were easier. Was actually relieved to get back on hard trail.
Slowed to a 13+ min mile pace the last 4 miles.

Limit was 50 runners signed up for the ultra, which had a 7 hour time limit. There were 22 male and 20 female finishers, the winner didn't even break 4:01. I was the 4th slowest overall in 6:44:00, but once again eked in under the buzzer.

Next stop, Bellingham Bay. After a couple beers, my legs no longer hurt, and I am contemplating a bike ride tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

davis v food

labor day weekend:

creme brulee 1 - davis 0
bbq pulled pork / cole slaw 0 - davis 1


creme brulee 0 - davis 1
brown sugar topping 1 - davis 0

alcohol 0 - davis 1

davis - 3-2.  i can live with that...

Jungfrau Marathon- Sept 5, 2009

Jungfrau apparently means “young maiden (virgin)”, or “Virgo” (astrol) and stands 4158 m (13, 682 ft), forming a solid 10 km wall, along with its sister peaks the Mönch (4,107 m) and Eiger (3,970 m) near Bern in central Switzerland.

Jungfrau the marathon only goes to Kleine Scheidegg (2061 m) and reportedly has one of the highest finishing rates of marathons despite the nearly 5920 ft total elevation gain (1823 m) and time limit (6.5 hours). 3308 men and 822 women from over 60 countries started this year, and the winners finished in 2:58: 33 (same man holds course record of 2:49) and 3:34:24 (women, record 3:21). I was already scared after the whupping I got in Davos last July, then the Angst was fueled further as I watched videos of last years runners at the expo, amazingly fit and skinny people who looked liked something the cat dragged in, some kneeling and tearful by the time the crossed the finish.

My goal was to finish under the 6:30 time limit without getting swept. I knew from that they “sweep” the slowpokes if they don’t make certain timecheck points, but still give you a T-shirt and medal even if you don’t finish. I learned from a man, Hans from Hamburg who had done this course 5 years running, that if you don’t reach 38k by 5:45, they actually place an avalanche curtain as a barrier to stop the slow runners. I also read that because of all the single file parts, it was important to position yourself amongst people your speed, or you’d spend your time on the sidelines letting people pass or being frustrated being stuck behind someone even slower than you.

At the hotel I met this woman, Janet from Vancouver Island who had done 250 marathons/ ultras over the past 20 years, including 2 previous Jungfraus, Pikes Peak, and the K78 at Davos. She told me to add 90 min to your usual land marathon time, and to pace yourself easy in the beginning

After 3 days of rain, race day was perfect and sunny. Notice runners using nature's toilet- there were no portapotties on this course. I started with the 6:00 pace group , the first 10k was on flat land through the city of Interlaken. I knew these fit folks weren’t just shuffling along for no reason when I lost them at 20k, but in retrospect I probably should have gone faster on the flat part to have more of a buffer later.

As advertised, there were some rollers in the 2nd 10k, before hitting “The Wall” at 25.5k. It was steep trail switchbacks, and where I was, everyone switched to walking. It was completely demoralizing to huff and puff along for what felt like a mile only to see that in the interim you had advanced from 26.0k to 26.25k. Don't know if the quarter km markers were a good or bad thing for morale. I had expected the whole 2nd half to go this way like Ventoux, but fortunately, there were several flat portions where we ran through scenic mountain towns
with an amazing number of spectators with cowbells and numerous bands, including these clowns . We went through quiet riverside forest trails, rolling green mountainsides , real Nike ad terrain, and several times would turn a corner to face a huge, snow-capped mountain which took your breath away. I could see why many think this is the most beautiful marathon in the world, and afterwards I realized I had taken over 60 photos/ 5 videos during the race. We saw the famous Jungfrau helicopters which legend had it would rescue stranded runners from mountaintops, but were probably really there just to carry supplies. There was a bagpiper on one peak , Alpenhorn players and schoolboys waving swiss flags on another, and rest areas every 2k in the middle of nowhere, they could only get there by copter probably.

From 38k-40.5k was single file rock scrambling . At mile 25 a very fit woman collapsed in front of me with an agonizing cramp, and a man had to pull her leg. I had felt some tingly pre-cramps in the back of my left leg for the previous 2 hours and considered myself lucky as I climbed past her. The peak was 7234 ft (2205 m) and there was a group of half dozen people standing there to help climb the runners over the rocks before the steep descent to the finish at Kleine Scheidegg.

I could hardly believe seeing my sister and her daughter at the finish line, but I think they were more amazed at seeing me cross the line in under the time limit, at 6:17:44. I remember thinking, hmmm, I can actually run 6 hours, the Fairbanks ultra in 2 weeks shouldn’t be too bad then, and also thinking I wanted to be a better runner. Of course the resolve to be a better person melts in 30 seconds as I had to have the postrace beer and Olma bratwurst before cramming like sardines onto 2+ hour train ride back to Interlaken. We met Janet,
who had finished an hour before me, for more pasta and beer, and discussion of possibly taking on the Zermatt marathon next July, over 7000 ft of climbing and a 7 hour time limit. The next morning at 6 I got ready for the 24 hour trip back to Seattle, while Janet went for another run in the mountains.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AA-Vesper Peak

Sorry for the late entry, was hoping to include a couple videos that we shot last week on this hike but havn't been able to upload to flickr.

Spiz chose this hike for us, and holey smokes was it amazing. The route is incredibly varied. Hiking through dense old growth forest, meadows filled with blueberries and salmonberries (yum!). Breaking out of the meadows we found ourselves on a barely discernable trail as we picked our way through several talus masses, separated by Headlee Pass, a crazy steep couloir that separates the ridgeline. Past that we could pick our way to Vesper Lake and ultimately to the crazy scrample up the the summit at over 6000ft. The drop on the backside of the mountain had me a little unnerved, dropped straight down about 2500 to the little lake below, Holey Smokes! We quickly ate, snapped some photos and started the reverse scramble down.

Altitude August doesn't give up her points easily, but holey smokes, are they rewarding.