Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good news!

I got some excellent news a couple of days ago which now gives me another goal for the fall.
I sent my entry in for the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. This is one of the biggest mountain bike races in the midwest. They have a 16 mile Short and Fat and the Chequamegon 40. It is a hilly race with very little time to catch your breath. Not technical, no singletrack, but that doesn't make it any easier. They limit entries to 2500 every year so it is a lottery drawing to get in. I usually opt for the Short and Fat since there are less request for it and my chances of getting in are higher. Believe me, 16 miles all out is no walk in the park. I have done the 40 three times in the past but just enjoy the short race more. More time to visit with friends and family and my brother-in-law usually does the race too. So anyway......I have been waiting for my check to clear so I know I am in. On Tuesday of this week I checked my account and saw that the check had cleared. Now I just need to wait to see if I earned a preferred start.
This gives me a long range goal to train for since I always want to do very well at this race. I have finished as high as 2nd in my class and around 30th overall some years back. Now I want to get back to that level again. Looks like a better set a training plan and get in some solid WORS races all summer long.
More later. Gotta run.... or I guess, gotta bike.......

Monday, March 23, 2009

Well, it's time for my weekly update. Amazing, I actually posted more than once every couple months! I had a fairly good week of workouts last week. They seemed good to me considering my work schedule this past week. Monday the 16th started a week of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I had Tuesday off, so it usually takes me until Thursday to acclimate myself to the "graveyard" shift. Wednesday and Thursday I worked 12 hour shifts, until 11 a.m. Sunday I tossed in another 12 hours and then a quick change to 3 p.m. to 11 p.m today. In between all this work I got in 4 days of running totalling almost 35 miles and one day on the bike-OUTSIDE! Nothing fancy and no structure or plan to the workouts. I am just kind of working on a late base/early endurance phase. It is still a bit cold to head to the track for speed work and too nice to spend time on the treadmill. The weather varied alot this past week. Just a normal Wisconsin spring. I ran in shorts and long sleeves one day and by the end of the week I drove to work in a whiteout.
The first outdoor bike ride of the season felt great! Nothing fancy and not very far. I just wanted to feel the wind on my face and start building up those butt calluses. It was just a short ride out of town on some country roads and then back home. The roads are still sloppy and snow covered in spots and full of all of the usual winter debris. The rain that is forecast this week should really improve the conditions.
My runs were generally slow and easy. I ran one after one of my 12 hour shifts. Not exactly one of my brightest workouts but in a wierd way it felt good to get out and de-stress. The roads and paths I frequent are still sloppy and some have long patches of snow hiding away in the shady spots. It makes for some interesting footing, even in the spring. One of my neighbors who has run for years fell and broke his arm running in these tricky conditions.
This week shapes up to be interesting. I am laid off until next Wednesday, April 1. Things are slow at the paper mill where I work. Of course the weather forecast calls for wind, rain and cooler temperatures. In other words, normal Wisconsin spring weather. I don't mind any of these conditions but when you combine them and get a 34 degree day with an inch of rain and 25 mph wind gusts it makes for some uncomfortable running. Still, I will probably venture out a few days. Like I mentioned above, I find it hard to get on the treadmill or bike trainer in March. It just seems wrong.
Well, since I seem to have an abundance of time for the next week I will try and update a couple times this week. It all depends on the "honeydo" list.
Later. Gotta run...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekly update

Good morning everybody. Just a quick post-I hope-to let you know how my last week went.
After my race on March 7th I had a couple days where I was a little sore. My right hamstring felt very tight and crampy, especially when I ran or biked. I took it easy for a couple of days and it feels much better now. March 9th was a busy and exciting day for Tammy and I as our newest grandson was born. We spent a good portion of the day in the hospital waiting for Trae to make his entrance. I had on short day on the fluidtrainer but cut that short due to my aching leg. I need to due this more often, pay attention to what my body is saying, that is. It doesn't make much sense to push hard when you are not feeling quite right. I had a couple of good runs toward the end of the week. I am working on my base/endurance right now and not too concerned with pace or speed. I am going with the weather as to what my workout will be. If it is sunny and springlike, I am going to get the bike out. If it is tending more towards a blustery and cool spring day I will get in a run. Right now I am itching to get out on the trails. There is still a fair amount of snow in the woods and I do not want to tempt a fall or injury due to the slippery and muddy conditions. I am working 11-7 this week so that knocks my energy and ambition down a notch. My runs to start this week were good and I hope to get in a least one outside bike ride. I also need to get back in the gym since I have a hard time fitting this in to my schedule.
Well, since this is kind of my day off-I didn't work last night-I need to get moving and do something. Maybe a short ride outside on the mountain bike and a quick weight workout at the gym?
Gotta run

Monday, March 9, 2009

Race updates

It has been a month since my last update. So much for timely posts! I am trying to do better. I guess I need to work on my time management skills.

In the last two weeks I have completed two races that have become a tradition for me. On February 21 I competed in the American Birkebeiner - This is a 50K cross country ski event. This year the Birkie drew just shy of 7500 skiers. The race course elevation profile looks like the business end of a hand saw. The hills don't stop until about 45K and some of the downhills are as challenging as the ups. My training for the Birkie went pretty well. I had a pretty good base with just over 410K/254 miles. I even got in one very cold race. Throw in some running and bike on the trainer and I felt ready. I had a week of vacation for the Birkie but leading up to that I had worked 20 days without a day off. Still, despite all that, yes, I felt ready. I even went out and splurged on a new, actually 2 years old, pair of skis. Basically the same as the current model, just some cosmetic changes. I went up to spend race weekend at my Dad and Step-mother's with my wife, one of my daughters, one of my sisters and a niece. Race day weather was almost perfect with some light, fresh snow on the course and temps in the low teens. I lined up in my wave and waited for the cannon to go off. I took it easy at the start and didn't let myself get sucked into going out too fast. I hit all the aid stations and at the halfway mark was feeling great. No aches, cramps, still hydrated and replenishing energy steadily. I paced myself up the myriad of hills and planned on pushing the pace past the halfway mark. I still felt very strong on the hills past the 40K mark and picked it up a little more. My form felt strong and I felt I was coming close to my goal of 3:30:00. Around the 45K mark as the course is finally flattening out and heading for the long trek across Lake Hawyard I started down a gradual downhill with a slight right hand turn. Next thing I know my skis are out from under me and down I go. I still am not sure what happened. Tired, ice, evil nordic ski gods? It wasn't a hard fall but my left ski came off and slid a little way down the trail. I quickly got up and grabbed my ski and tried to put it on but half the binding was missing. NO!!!! This couldn't happen this close to the finish. Only about 5K to go. There was no way to keep my boot clipped into the binding. I placed my foot on the ski and proceeded to double pole down the trail. I cautiously made my way down the last couple hills and continued to double pole across the lake and up Main street to the finish line. I had finished!!! Nowhere near my goal time but I finished. For me that is always the number one goal. Once I finished and got back to my Dad's I inspected the ski. I had actually cracked the ski underneath the binding. That got me to wondering. I had the binding on that ski adjusted just before the race because it wasn't mounted correctly. Could that have caused the crash? Guess I'll never know for sure. Even with the slower time and the fall I was pleased with the race. I paced myself well, nothing hurt (too bad) and I felt pretty good at the end. There's always next year.

Then it was back to work. After another 13 days straight and 11 hours on my feet the day before, I ran the Point Bock 5 Miler on Saturday, March 7- This is a spring tradition for me. I have done this every year since 2003 and always have a great time. I don't take it too seriously and just try to run a steady race and have a good time. From around 300 runners in 2003 the race has grown to over 1300 this year. And they have FREE BEER at the end. This year my wife and another friend ran the race also. I barely hit my goal of 37:00 minutes. I never have a strong race here. Too much time on the snow and not enough hard speed work. Still, it gives me an idea just how much work I need to do to get myself ready for the spring/summer race season.

Now I can try and get ready for my next race. I am planning on doing a 15K trail run on April 18 and then maybe a half marathon on May 2. Throw in trying to train for the mountain bike race season and I have my work cut out for me. Plus, my wife and sister are pushing me to run a qualifying time for Boston at a fall marathon. I am getting tired just thinking of all the work ahead.

Later.......gotta run