Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day 8 Miler @ the Whitewater Center

What a muddy run. We were slip sliding the entire race.

The 8 & 5 mile races started at the same time so there are people racing around me with totally different agendas. My personal agenda was to not fall. Warming up, I hit some of the race trails, and it seemed that I was spending as much time staying vertical as I was moving horizontally.

The opening portion of the first mile is around the channel so not much chance of falling here, but entering the connector trail to the South Main Trail was another matter. It was slippy. My arms were flailing as I attempted to maintain my balance. At the last downhill section before the South Main Trail, my feet went out from under me, and I went down on my hands and “but”. Runners were streaming by me on both sides. FlaVia went by me saying something about wearing trail shoes. Yeah, the thought did cross my mind as I set there on my “but”. Everything is a risk vs. reward. At least only my pride was hurt and nothing more.

Back on my feet, I settled in behind a long line of runners that had passed me. Over the next 7 miles, I slowly worked my way back up through the field. Trail passing is tough, and sometimes you just have to follow until the trail widens enough to pass. Ultimately finishing 5th overall was good for me all things considering while finishing in 61:02 and first in my age group.

Looking around after the race, I wasn't the only one with mud marks. But isn't that the fun in doing a muddy trail race. The extra challenge is what creates a memorable race. Would I have preferred a nice dry coarse. Absolutely! However, this mud run will likely never be lost in the my lifetime blur of races.

Kudos to all of the runners that completed on this muddy coarse. You all deserve a pat on the back.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hydration Vest

Yesterday was hot, and the weatherman was calling for more of it today so I knew that I needed to drink and drink more. Nothing tanks a run like being dehydrated.

This leads me to talking about my new Hydration Vest. The idea of running a 50 miler this fall has me exploring all types of new things these days.

Before today, I had always used handhelds. For whatever the reason, they always seem to be more comfortable, but as I start to stretch my long runs out and in the heat, water plays an enormous in how well my runs go.

Over the last couple days, I have been test fitting my Hydration Vest, adjusting the straps, wearing it around my house to see how it felt, and practicing how to drink from it.

This morning, I headed out for 10 miles with 2 liters of water strapped to my back. Getting the feel of it was a little awkward. I had straps pretty well fitted so the vest didn't bounce around. But with every foot strike the water jostled inside the pack. I also realized the purpose of the straps to keep the drinking hose from bouncing around. Then, after a few miles, the sound the water began to blur into the background. To the point, I no longer noticed it by the end of the run.

I was drink at every mile today, and in an 90 minute, I had drank nearly a liter and half of water. Even thou, the temperature was close 90 at the finish. I felt good. No signs of thirst. Actually, I didn't even need the two extra bottles that I brought with me as backup.

I'll get a better test run in next weekend when I take it out for 18 miles. But from the signs I am going to like using it, and with more hot summer days ahead, I will make good use of it.

The Cool Down Runner

Gummy Bears

So, let's just say that I was too lazy about getting to the store this past week, as such I was lacking my usual supply of Sports Beans or something to throw a little energy at my system during my long run. This only dawned me while I was packing for my Saturday long run on Friday night.

While I am not a fan of Gummy Bears, I have heard stories that some some ultra runners use them. So on the way over for my trail run, I stopped by a gas station to pickup a bag. Actually, I grabbed two bags since they are 2 for $2.

If you are wondering what flavors did I chose, well, I chose the multi flavored pack. Although, I have to say, they all pretty much tasted the same.

One advantage, I do like about them. They don't get stuck in my teeth as I chew them. For the most part, I couple of quick chews, and they are ready to swallow.

One aspect that I was expecting but didn't get was an overly sweet sugary taste. In fact, I hardly tasted the sugar at all. I have found during my runs as I tire, I like strong flavors but I don't like any thing overly sweet. The sweetness just seems to leave me with a sickening feeling.

With my first Gummy Bear test run in the books, I don't know that I am going to become a pronounced user of Gummy Bears on my long runs, but you have to admit at 2 bags for $2 which easily gives me enough Gummy Bears for 4 long runs, the price point is right.

Never be a afraid to test something new. Just don't do it in a race. LOL.

The Cool Down Runner

River Jam 10k, May Edition

So the summer time is nearly upon us, and the River Jam 5k/10k race series is back for another year at the Whitewater Center. Last year, I only made one of their races. This year I put myself on notice by signing up for all 5 races.

This particular Thursday evening happen to be noticeably warmer. During my rerace run down by the river, I could feel the humidity rolling off the water. That was part of what was on my mind. But more concering; while casting my eyes toward the shy, I could see dark clouds looming in the distance. As race time neared, spotty drops of rain could be felt. I just hoped they held off until after the race. 

The 5k and 10k races start together and run for much of the same course. At the Lake Loop, the 10k runners take a right on to the Lake Loop Trail to add the additional three miles. The 5k runners head straight back to the finish by the channel.

In past races, I had always went out hard and then was gassed by 2 miles. This time, I took my time and positioned my self further back as we entered the South Main Trail. Several runners were ahead me so I picked my spots to move up. In a couple of places where the trail opens up, I throw in a couple of hard surges. May be too hard of a surge.

I had passed Andrew about 2 miles, but he passed me back about 2.5 miles. Just before the Lake Loop, I passed him back. He followed me for perhaps the next 1.5 miles. Then, he passed me one last time and took off. I wanted to stay with him but those two surge earlier took more out of my legs than I realized.

By the time I came out of the woods, Andrew had put a good 30 to 40 seconds on me.

Say what you want about the trails at the Whitewater Center, having the finish going around the channel is awesome. Most people might not realize it but this section is net downhill. Meaning, we all probably finish a little better than we should. I guess that's the trade off for busting “but” on the trails.

My time was 45:23 for 6 OA, and 1st in my age group. Overall, this is a nice start to my summer racing season.

The Cool Down Runner