Monday, April 29, 2019

Tuckfest Marathon Challenge

Walking back to my car Sunday morning after the 5k, I unpinned bib #321 for the last time. A deep breath escaped my lungs as a wave of fatigue that I had been pushing aside finally rolled across my body. 5 races from a 5k to ½ marathon on the trails in 4 days is a lot of running. No change that. 5 races in 4 days is a lot racing.

I am glad that I did it.

We experienced just about every condition possible: cold, heat, darkness, and rain.

Two 5Ks were run under awesome conditions. The night time 4 miler turned was probably the toughest. What should have been an easy course turned hard after the rain. Water and mud made running more difficult. Fallen trees turned it into an obstacle course. The heat and humidity of a noon time ½ marathon tested just about everyone’s limits. The quarter marathon was run under cool conditions yet the trails were a bit slippery. My ding here, the race had to be long. A quarter marathon is what 6.60 miles. I had well over 7 miles on my Garmin.

All this aside, the WWC guys did an awesome job, and things pretty much ran smoothly. I give them a lot of credit because someone had to go mark all those races. This took a lot of time on someone’s schedule.

So the question to ask now. Would I do it again? Likely, I would. They call it a marathon challenge but I ran more the 30 miles in those 4 days. To run all those races, it only cost me $50. That’s $12 bucks per race, and I got a nice WWC Tuckfest T-shirt. I don’t know where else any runner could do this. Plus, I got to check out a bunch of other cool activities over the course of 4 days.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out next year

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Tuckfest - Day 4 - 5k Recap

One tired pair of trail shoes were laced up for the final time, and I was headed to the starting line of for the last event of the Tuckfest trail races.

I ignored the desire to skip the warm up, and I used the course for my “get ready” miles. I just hoped that my body would take it.

The 5k course was the same as the 5k course on Thursday evening so I was familiar with it.
The downhill start had everyone sprinting hard. I worked my way around several runners just before we hit the single track. I felt that I could run faster but I was struggle to make it past a several runners. The course is extremely narrow and as such doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity for passing.
Mile one was gone before I realized it. Mile two was a bit tougher but my legs felt better than I expected them. I want to attribute this to my warm up miles. Given my other no warm up races left my struggling through the opening miles.

The final mile has 4 nasty hills in it. I had caught up to the 2nd place runner, and we spent the final mile going back and forth.

We climbed the final hill and were heading back to the Pavilion when he blew past the left turn going to the finish. To his credit, he didn’t miss the turn. There was no yellow arrow telling him to turn left.
Even thou, he was maybe 10 yards in front of me, and I could left him just continue on while I finished 2nd, I didn’t even hesitate. I called out for him to turn left. I would hope someone would do the same for me. 

He beat me by a few seconds but calling out to him was the right thing to do. When I look at myself in the mirror, knowing I always try to do the right thing is important to me.  

My time was slower than Thursday night. I ran 22:43, finishing 3rd overall, and 1st 50-54. I took home my first Tuckfest Medal. Which by the way, were awesome looking medals.

My legs are now ready for a few days of R&R

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tuckfest – Day 3 – Quarter marathon.

I sleep about 4 hours last night. I woke up about 4 AM, and my mind was just churning so I got up and got ready for the race.

The temperate was awesome this morning for running. My car’s temperature gauge said it was 45 degrees. I felt chilling waiting for the start but once the race went off, I loved it.

However, I wished my legs felt better.  I struggled through the first 3 miles before my legs came alive, and I started pulling some runners back.

The race was billed as a quarter marathon but my Garmin said that I ran closer to 7 and ¼ miles.  I had expected that it would be long. We were running the Frigid 10k course which is pretty much the same course, and we were now finishing at the Pavilion rather than the boat docks. The Frigid 10k was nearly 6 and 3/4 miles. 

I clocked a time of 59:14 for 11 overall and 1st in the 50-54 age group. I was hoping to run a bit faster but my Garmin told me that I ran the same pace as my ½ marathon yesterday. Some days, I have to take what my body gives me.

Now, I have just the 5k left in the morning. I suspect that I will be hurting. My legs feel dead, and I am going to need several days of easy running to get over this adventure.

Tales from the Trails,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuckfest – Day 2 – Nighttime 4 miler

After the ½ marathon, I stuck around to watch some of the other Tuckfest events. About 7:30 PM, I headed for my car to get ready.

The day was a day of transition. The morning was humid and warm. The afternoon had the storm front roll through. An hour after the storm finished, the temperature was down, the wind was gusting, and the skies were a clear blue.

The moment that the race started I felt slow. I spent the first mile adjusting my head lamps. It takes time to get the lights set at the right angle. The trails were wet and muddy. They told us that the storm had blown down some trees on the Lake Loop. Broken branches were everywhere. I came around several corners to find myself having to come to a halt and crawl across a downed treed. In another section, I waded through water.  

I was just about finished with the Lake Loop when I came up on a woman running with no light. I don’t know how she was finding her way through the woods. I would have been running in to every tree on the trail. I told to her to stay with me, and I would get her out of the woods. We ran together until we got back to the lite parking lot. I just couldn’t leave someone hanging. That just wouldn’t be right.

Incidentally, she looked me up the next day to thank me for my help. She was telling me that she had a head lamp but the batteries had run down.

The 4 miler turned in to about 4 and ¾ mile race on my Garmin and part obstacle course. I finished in the 35:46 for 9th overall and 1st in the 50-54 age group.

Soon after the race was over, I headed home. I needed to refuel for the races in the next two days. More so, I wanted a shower and sleep. I was tired.

Tails from the trail

The Cool Down Runner

Tuckfest – Day 2 Recap - 1/2 Marathon

My Tuckfest quest moved to day 2 with the noontime start of the ½ marathon. The temperature was in the low 80s. I am not use to this type of warmth yet. Also, I was kept my warm up to a minimum since I did not want to add any unneeded miles on my legs.

So what happen?

Well, I was sluggish out of the gate. My legs felt a bit sore and stiff, and they were heavy from the racing the 5k last night.

By the time, we turned on to the Academy Trail, I was feeling the heat. Sweat was getting in to my eyes and burning. A big group took off setting a hot pace. In fact, they going so fast that ½ mile into the race, they took off running the Figure 8 backwards. No idea what they were thinking but they quickly realized their mistake and bushwacked their way back on to the right trail.

About 5 miles, my legs started to feel loose, and my pace picked up. I was slowly running down some of those that couldn’t handle the hot early pace. I felt even better once we go out along the river because the wind was blowing. This cooled me off even more.

I finished off the Wedge Trail, and headed for home. They still had us running around the backside of the parking lot to keep us away from the traffic.

I finished in 1 hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds placing me 7 overall and first among the 50 to 54 age group.

Big congrats to Chris on winning the race. He ran the distance in an hour and 41 minutes or about 7:41 pace. That’s amazing. Also saw Daniel E who came in 1:45 to finish 3rd. He passed me on the Academy Loop and continued to move up.

Shortly, after I finished, a storm front rolled through, and the rain poured. Two women were telling me about their experience since they were caught in the storm at about 8 miles.  I was standing under a tent, and I thought it was going to be blown away.

After the race, it was time to eat and catch some of the events. They had this Mtn. biker who can do some pretty awesome balancing. Then, I caught the Deepwater climbing. Those men and women made it look easy, but it has to be super hard. It was definitely something that I am not putting my bucket list.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, April 26, 2019

Tuckfest Quest – Twilight 5k

Last night I started my Tuckfest Quest with their Twilight 5k. If you are wondering what is my Tuckfest Quest. Well, during the Whitewater Center’s Tuckfest weekend, they organize 5 different trail races in the 4 days. There is a 5k on Thursday evening, a ½ and 4 miler on Friday, a quarter marathon on Saturday, and another 5k on Sunday. The 4 miler on a Friday is a night race starting at 8pm and makes for a long day on the trail but a fun one.

Everyone was fresh and full of energy right from the start last night, and we all hit the trails hard. I was running with 5 other guys for most of the race. I never did get away from them, and I finished a scant few seconds in front of them in 21:46, placing 4th overall, and 1st in my age group.

Once my race was in the books, I headed back to my car to start refueling. With so much racing over the next few days, I know the importance of keeping my energy stores restocked.

Today will be tough thou, the ½ marathon starts at noon. Then, I will have roughly 6 hours to rest before my night race. If rain holds off, I am hoping to spend the afternoon at the WWC and watch some of the other events.

If you get a chance, check out the events this weekend.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My Brother is joining the cause

In my family, I have also been the solo runner. Neither my dad, mom, nor brother ever ran that is until recently. I guess my brother’s doctor finally got through to him. That and he has been put on BP medicine.

At the beginning of the year, he signed up for a gym membership, and he has been working out 5 days per week. Honestly, I am proud of him. His weight is down over 20 pounds in 3 ½ months. 

Earlier today, he ran his first 5k time trail with his group in 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

How far will he go, I don’t know. What I do know; I am excited to watch his progress, and I hope that he finds the joy that I have known for years.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, April 15, 2019

Boston Marathon - thoughts

I streamed the Boston Marathon today. Anyone with an interest in running likely had their eyes on this race. My self, the memories of it took me back to my race. Albeit, we had a little better conditions.

What I enjoyed most was watching the 2 different racing strategies playout.

In the women race, they let the leader go either because they thought she was running over her head and would come back to them or because they just felt she was going to run way faster than any of them. I too had my doubts about her strategy. They were saying the temperatures were going to rise, and once a runner’s set their entire book of matches on fire by running so hard, there is no coming back from it. The “hot” early pace did appear to have some effect on the leader, and the 2nd place runner seemed to have a lot left in the tank. She just waited too long to use it. She cut a lot time off during those last 3 miles but she just ran out race. That happens. Like I said, it was interesting to watch and see who had the better plan.

The men’s race seemed to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. No one seem to want to really step up and “own” the race as was evident by the large number of runners hanging around late in the race. Even when it was down to the final mile, 3 runners were still in contention with any of them having an opportunity to win. To see the move for the lead before Boylston Street, I thought that he would wait a little longer before making his move. Once on Boylston Street, there is still a long ways to run to the finish. Watching them both of them push so hard after having run so hard for so long was amazing. He clearly gave it his all in those final few meters. Watching the postrace ceremony, two of Boston’s finest where helping him walk around. I could feel his pain right through my TV.

Next year, tune in to the marathon. Nothing is more motivating than watching those runners stream over the starting and then hours later stream over the finish.

Makes me think about doing Boston again.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Back Solid Food again

Following my dentist’s instructions, I have been on a soup diet for the last few days. On a cold day, I like a good bowl of soap. Makes me feel warm.

Eating a bowl of soup more often, it just doesn’t cut it.

That’s why yesterday was so nice. I finally got to eat something more meaningful. Yes, my gums are still sore but getting better with each passing day.

I dropped the ibuprofen on Wednesday.  In my case, my dentist over exaggerated the pain. If I had taken the drugs that he had recommended, I am not sure if I could feel anything.
Of course, there is one thing that’s tough to swallow.  He has me rinsing with warm salt water 3 times per day. Think of being at the ocean, a wave rolls in to shore, and catches you with your mouth open. 

That’s exactly what it taste like. Fun, fun, fun.

So the recovery is going well and should be in my rear view mirror in a couple of weeks. Should be perfect time as I am looking to kick off a busy May of racing.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner


Buckets of rain falling

I needed 20 miles yesterday, and I watched as the rain came down. Not just come down but the rain poured. 

When I could felt like it was slacking off just a little, I finally pushed out the door. A quarter mile later, I was soaked head to toe. I no longer found any need to steer clear of mud puddles or for that matter, the torrent of water running off.

I waded through a couple of places where the water was ankle deep. One place it was up to my knees. The last place that I arrived to find one of the two foot bridges had been carried away. This time I erred on the side of caution and headed the long way back. Recognizing one’s own limits is important. The risk was far greater than the reward getting to the other side.

Be safe when crossing a stream. A fast moving current can knock a runner of their feet and send him or her floating way.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Busy week outside of running

I am getting all of my body maintenance done this week. Tuesday, I crossed my wisdom teeth off my todo list that my dentist had been after me to do. Today, I crossed of my biometric screening. My employer gives me a kick back on my insurance if I have this yearly screen. Just reminds me of the Disney's circle of life kind of thing. The biometric screening reminds me that I don't need those McDonald's hamburgers any more, and I should be eating a salad. My dentist keeps my teeth in great shape so I can eat those salads.

In my 20 and 30, I never thought much about this kind of stuff. I worked, run, ate, slept, and repeated it. Now, it is all about the little things to the old engine running.

Make sure you are doing those same little so you can keep running for years to come.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

100 days 1000 miles

100 days in to 2019, I topped 1000 miles today. Actually, I have 1005. If I can stay on this pace, I should run somewhere in the 3600 mile range for 2019. That will be slightly more than I ran in '18.

I hope everyone else is getting in their miles and running well. The weather is perfect now that the rain has stopped.

No excuses. Go run.

Tails from the trails,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Losing some wisdom

During my last check up, my dentist suggested that I have my wisdom teeth removed. This has something do with how my teeth were meshed together. I am not expert here but she felt it best so I agreed to have it done.

Today, I had the two on the right side removed.

They offered to put me under for the procedure and offered me several different types of medication to deal with the pain. I refused all of it. I prefer to know what’s happening, and pain happens for reason. It should never be ignored.

The procedure was less stressful than I had imagined. Probably the worst part, he put this huge needle in to my gum to further numb it. Nothing like seeing a huge need come at me. 

The top wisdom tooth came out in one piece. The bottom tooth came out in two pieces. They gave me some gauze and after care instructions. I was in and out in less than 45 minutes.

The numbness wore off in about 3 hours. I noticed a little swelling but nothing major. Aside from a couple of ibuprofen, I haven’t taken much else.

In truth, I felt worse after running marathon.

Now, the hardest part, I am on soft foods for a next few days. I’ll share what that’s like on Friday.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

GPS locks up

Last Saturday, while on my long run, my Garmin’s GPS suddenly locked up. However, the Garmin didn’t totally lock up but just the GPS distance tracking stopped. The time was still running.
I was about 18 miles into a 20 miler when the Garmin flashed up a lost Satellite warning, but it quickly went away. A few minutes later, the same message popped up but again when away. This time, however, the Garmin stopped recording any distance but the time kept running. I stopped and started it. I recycled it. Nothing would work.

When I finish, I did a hard reset. This time it loaded and start tracking distance again. Never have I had anything like this happen with any of my Garmins.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Snow in April

Saturday, I was finishing up my long run, and the temperature was pushing the mid 60s. The thought crossed my mind that I could soon put away the gloves and long sleeve shirts for a few months.

Then, Sunday was cooler, and Monday, it was still cooler.

This morning, I stepped out on the door on the 2nd day of April to see huge snow flakes coming down. Over the next hour, the wind blew hard enough to chill me down, and the snow changed over to sleet.

This is not what I expected heading in to April.

Warm days will be here soon enough. I just wish we got more of the middle of the road weather. Goldielocks weather, not too hot, and not too cold, but just right.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner