Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not Doing A Damned Thing

I walked Asia today.  That's been about it.  I was going to take advantage of the weather and go for a ride but I decided against it.  While I was walking Asia I started to design the ride thinking about how far/long I should go, what kinds of terrain, what my heart rate should be, if I should just ride at MAF and so on.  I decided that since I was being a dumbass about it and looking at it and trying to formulate it into some kind of a training ride I would just not ride.  When I realized that, I decided I really didn't need to ride as it sort of goes against the whole rest and recovery mode that I am trying to stay in for at least a month.  No running... but more importantly nothing structured and definitely NO TRAINING!

I will share something interesting though for those driven by data and maybe someone can answer this one for me.  This chart was taken from the 5K that I ran on Thanksgiving Day in Maryland.  You can see my heart rate went way up there.  If you see the yellow line on the chart, everything above that is 180 BPM and over.  Now here is my question.  I am 45 years old.  According to the 220 formula for max heart rate, I should top out at 175 beats per minute.  Well, my average heart rate for this race was 176.  AVERAGE! So how in the hell is it my heart rate could go that high and I didn't exactly die?
Everything above the yellow line is 180 BPM +.  How did I do that?
But resting is weird.  Nice but weird.  It is hard to believe it was just a year ago tomorrow that Lucho and I started working towards Leadman.  And even after August it really didn't stop as I still had the JFK on the table.  I know I like to race but I also know that deep down I really get into the process of training maybe for no other reason as it lends some purpose to my life.  But I also know right now that I am waaay burned out and need the break more than anything else.  I need to learn to do other things and or just do the things I love just for the simple act of enjoyment if for no other reason.  I also think I need to remaster the art of just sitting still.  Well, at least until the next lofty goal or set of goals comes down the pike but until then, chill.

I am still doing the Summit for Life next weekend and my goals for that are modest.  Just get to the top of the mountain.  It's a hike and it will be fun.  Actually I have been looking forward to this event more than just about anything else this fall.  Start up Aspen Mountain at 6:00 P.M.  get the top where there is dinner and a party waiting at the Sundeck and then ride the gondola back down.  It will be fun.

That being said I am still taking donations for this race.  My goal is to raise $1000 and as of right now I am at $850.  Please think about supporting this event put on by the Chris Klug Foundation which works to raise awareness for tissue and organ donation.  You can make a donation by going to my personal racing page here. Thank you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Great Petrucci - Wooten Turkey Trot Throwdown

David, Mom, Myself and Melissa
On Sunday, the day after the JFK 50, if I had to do a 5K I would have probably done 90 minutes.  On Monday I felt a little better and may have pulled 60.  Tuesday I felt like I could do 30 minutes if really pushed.  Come Wednesday though I felt 95% less sore and was definitely feeling better as that was the day I began talking smack to my stepdad David.

David married my mom in 1997 and he wasn't the most active person.  He started playing tennis and doing other things with mom and after a few years he finally began running which before he claimed to always hate.  Now he does pretty good often placing or winning in AG in distances of a half marathon or under.  For today's race he wanted to get a new 5K PR which would require him to beat his time from last year which was 22:59.

My family did something different this year for the holiday.  We actually had our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night so that everyone who needed to be here could be here.  Actually it worked out quite well except for when David and I were starting on our second plates of food I told him that the race the next morning would not have anything to do with speed, fitness or leg turnover speed... it would depend on who could digest their food the fastest.  To keep things fair we even both had two slices of pumpkin pie for dessert.

Anyway, I had no idea how this morning would turn out.  I really wanted to help David to get a PR anyway I could as I knew that me getting one was really out of the question just days after a 50 mile run.  Really I just wanted to keep up with him and urge him on if possible.  Or maybe just get slightly in front and pull him with me.  But really I didn't know if I could keep up but that did not deter me from still talking shit.

The Frederick Way Station Turkey Trot is sort of a part of our family Thanksgiving tradition really anymore so everyone ran it including Mom and Melissa.  After we all were downtown David and I started running a bit to warm up.  I didn't feel bad but I didn't feel great either.  I still had some lingering aches and pains which really made me doubt if I could keep up with him or not.  After running some more and doing some speedier pick ups I did start to feel better and things warmed up.  After about 20 minutes of this we went to the start line with a minute or two before the race start.

Once the gun went off David was GONE!  Now I really did not know if I could keep up or not.  I caught up with him though and felt good enough.  I decided to take a different tactic and keep going.  Hopefully pull him with me but I sensed after a while (though I didn't look back) that I had opened quite the gap.  I figured I could still help him by not slowing down and hopefully he was back there trying catch up, chasing me.

As for me the first mile went great, the second mile still good but there is a half mile incline in there that can take it out of you.  Between miles two and two and half another little climb. I was losing speed on the climb but my heart rate was staying the same so I knew my level of effort was still consistent.

About a half a mile from the finish the same guy that placed 2nd in our AG two years ago when I came in third passed me.  I just let him go as I knew I was pretty maxed out and considering everything else I really didn't care as I was running WAY better than I had ever expected.

I crossed the finish line in 21:13 (fourth in my AG) and once I was done bending over determining if I were going to puke or not I stood up and started looking for David.

He wasn't that far behind really.  22:57 was his time and he beat last years time by two seconds.  Mission accomplished. A new PR for David.  He also came in second in his age group.  Mom came in first in her AG so at least two of the four of us brought hardware home.

This race is probably my favorite 5K of all time.  Every year it grows more and more and I think this year they had over 4,000 people running it.  If it were a touch warmer today without the wind, times might have been faster but who knows.

This was the one planned deviation from my running break.  I just couldn't miss this run no matter how long it took me to finish it.  I thought earlier in the week I would have to run with mom and again just hoped to keep up.

Next up is the Summit For Life on December 7th which won't be a run but a hard hike up Aspen mountain.  I am still taking donations and I am 75% to my goal of raising $1000 for the Chris Klug Foundation which raises awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Please consider making a donation and help me to reach my goal of raising $1000 for this great cause. I have 9 days left to reach my goal. You can make a donation by clicking HERE. Thank you!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

JFK 50 - It's Done!

Yesterday's JFK 50 didn't go exactly as I planned or had hoped.  But it was at least consistent with the rest of my running this fall which means it was ultimately inconsistent.  In a nutshell I had a great run until mile 30.  About mile 34 through mile 38 I hit that often encountered low spot which happens in most ultra's.  I just could not pull myself out of it so I did the best I could until things finally turned about mile 45.  I finished in 9:52:58 which isn't what I wanted but still a new 50 mile PR.

The course... the first 2.5 miles are on hard road going east from Boonsboro, Md to the top of South Mountain where it hooks up with the Appalachian trail.  That 13.5 mile section of the A-Trail is really one of my favorite running trails and I always try to run at least once when I come out to Maryland to visit.  The trail is not technical but it definitely tricky with many rocks jutting out of the trail and many roots which require constant attention to footing.  Getting to the towpath by the Potomac River is a relief allowing the mind and eyes a break.  I felt really good through this section and was enjoying the trail as always.

Next is the C&O Canal towpath.  25 miles of it!  Nothing hard here except it is a grind and after awhile the river and trees are no longer visually stimulating.  At all.  I hung in here okay for maybe ten miles then it just got old.  At mile 34 I thought I was at 37 and realizing that mistake sort of let the air of my ambitions.  By mile 38 I was really in the hurt locker.  Not wanting to drop but definitely not wanting it to go on anymore and surely just wanting it all to be over.  At this point I was no longer invested in the outcome and only wanted to finish.

Finally at mile 42 the course leaves the C&O Canal towpath and joins the hardtop road with a pretty serious and abrupt climb.  The last seven miles are typical rolling Maryland farmland two lane roads.  Before I rallied towards the end I was walking the ups and running the flats and downs.   Around mile 45 things turned around and I had a really nice run to the finish.

We really got lucky during the race as the winds which were in the forecast never really materialized until about the last mile and even then we were not running into it for that long.

I finished feeling okay and I was met at the finish line by my parents and of of my best friends Hugh and his wife Angie. Our other friend Bruce was busy working at one of the aid stations that day.   After the race we went to dinner and had a really great time.

The race... I was AMAZED!  Over 1000 runners were in it which is pretty big for an ultra, right?  I have to say that I have never seen a race managed as well as this one, EVER!  There were at least ten very well stocked aid stations along the course.   Course volunteers just looking out for runners on the A-Trail as well as on the C&O Towpath.  Every major road crossing has either local, county or State law enforcement directing traffic and looking out for the runners.  They even went as far as supplying reflective vests (which we had to give back) at mile 42 to all runners who went through there after 15:00.  That's foresight!

I think that every race director out there could learn a lot about how this race is managed from an ultra standpoint.  It was an eye opening experience.

The JFK is America's oldest ultra and this was the 51st running.  I don't know if I will ever run it again but I highly recommended that it should be experienced at least once.  I met a guy who is friends with my family this weekend and was going for his 37th finish this year.  37th!  Now that's something.

Now I am taking a long and overdue break with nothing structured or planned until I figure out the next year which might not be until the end of February.    It was a real challenge this fall having the JFK 50 still on the radar after Leadman but I am still glad that I did it.  But yeah.... now it is time for a break. I can't wait to do some ( a lot) of back country skiing in Aspen in December and more time on the bike when I can fit it in.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Weekend

It was good.  Watched a lot of movies.  Caught up with a lot of friends.  Ran on Saturday, rode on Sunday.  Slept A LOT!

The End

Beaufort.... about the last days in occupied Lebanon at Castle Beaufort.  Great movie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nguyen Wooten

Uncle Ho!
Reclaiming an old nickname from decades past as Sherpa (Where did the post go?) is so over used now.  If you want to use it you will have lawsuits from me and about 90% of the Vietnamese population raining down on your head.

And no, I won't divulge the original source or cause of the nickname so don't ask.

JT said it and I agree.  All of this ultrarunning drama has made it an interesting post-season.  Personally I have always believed that ultrarunners can be quite the snarky bunch when given a chance.  The attitudes typically flare it seems during tapers right before a big race but this stuff this fall with Leadville, Hardrock, et al, is just something else entirely.

I will say that personally I am becoming less enchanted with ultrarunning (and ultrarunners) with each day it seems.  Even though the ultraruning sport is not mainstream it is really starting to feel like whitewater kayaking started to in the late 90's when every schmoe from the front range would buy the latest play boat and just suck up time in the holes and not really ever learn the art of going downriver.  It was cool until it was cool then it wasn't cool anymore.  Yup... I see the parallels.

Aspen mountain is opening early this weekend and Aspen is going to get nailed with a storm starting later today.  Of course I am super jealous because I am stuck here in the Springs where the forecast is pretty much windy with a 100% chance of dull and brown.  Melissa will be skiing and I will be doing my own version of the slalom, dodging the homeless in Monument Valley Park on my runs this weekend.

Bitching about other things now... South Park has really sucked this season.  Bad.  It's almost like Matt and Trey have thrown in the towel but this past Wednesday night's episode was really good.  I hope they have a second part this coming week.

Kiki floated the idea of Silver King to me the other day.  Depending how things pan out, or not, I will more than likely do the Silver Rush 50 MTB this summer.  Might just make it a double.  We'll see.

In other good news... I am going to spend the last three weeks of the year in Aspen and won't be in the springs.  Now that is something to look forward to! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

8th Annual Aspen Summit for Life - December 6 - 7, 2013

I will be racing in the 8th Annual Aspen Summit for Life on December 7th.  It is a nighttime, uphill race, gaining 3,267 feet in elevation in just 2.5 miles... all uphill and all in the snow.  All in the dark.  This race benefits tissue and organ donation.

Please consider sponsoring me in this race and no donation is too small.  You can go directly to my official race page here to donate.  Thank you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

That Boy Ain't Right (Still)

If you are going to bail on a run, this is as good of a place as any!  The infamous Woody Creek Tavern.
Thursday's tempo run was awesome.  Saturday's run went exceptionally well too.   Sunday the wheels came off again about halfway into my long run.  WTF?

On Sunday things started off rough and just never got any better.  I gave myself a generous two miles to warm up and take it easy then kicked it up a notch after that.  The "after that" felt just as challenging as the warmup.  Even more strange was that my handhelds which I usually never notice felt like they weighed 20 pounds apiece.  Stopped after an hour or so, had some MAP a gel and drank some and started running again but quickly decided to call it a day after that.  Came home and took a two  hour nap which isn't like me at all.

To add injury to insult... something tweaked in my left foot on Saturday during my run.  It didn't really hurt running on Sunday but if I am walking around barefooted it really smarts in the ball of my foot behind my big toe.

All of this is REALLY making miss the training and riding on the bike.  Seriously... screw any other long running races for awhile... let me get into the LT100 MTB next year and give my body a respite from all of the pounding for a season and just train for that.  At least that is where my head is at right now.

But even with the running sucking we still had an awesome weekend.  The fund raiser on Friday night was a blast and our room at the St. Regis was truly something to experience.  Saturday night we went out and Melissa and I played a really tough couple of games of dominoes.  She won but it wasn't a complete shutout.

Last night we saw Thor.  Well Melissa saw Thor.  I ate popcorn, drank a large coke and had some candy bars.  I will say that the evil elves cracked me up as they all looked like Teletubbies to me.

So a day off today.  Maybe a day off tomorrow.  I need to let this foot thing figure itself out.  Already planning on a long, maybe month long break from running once this JFK thing is over with.  I can't remember ever training for a race and being so out of it as I have for this one.

In other news... Melissa and I had a long talk about the current living/commuting situation and we have come to the conclusion that one way or the other I will be living here full time by June 1st.  RIF (layoff) or not, I am putting the house and cottage on the market in March.  That means I plan to resign from Verizon unless something else happens in mid May.  It is nice to have a date for that on the calendar now. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Black Belt

How cool I think I will look Friday night.
This story has nothing to do with the martial arts and even less in regards to running.  It's just a funny story, maybe...

Melissa and I are going to a fundraiser on Friday night here in Aspen called the Flamingo A GO-GO put on by the Aspen Education Foundation.  Not really being sure what to wear and since I recently got rid of all but two of my dress suites (Yes I actually own suits) I decided to splurge and get a new suit for the occasion.  The one suit that I have and might have worn is just too stuffy and buiness like and the other one is linen best suited for the tropics, not November in Aspen.

So last week I went and got a really sharp slim fitting black pin-striped Calvin Cline two piece which I happened to get a huge discount.  I also got some new shoes, tie, and dress shirt to finish off the ensemble.  The only thing I didn't buy was a new belt since I have a ton of dress belts and just belts in general so no extra money needed to be spent for that.

A funny part of getting the suit is that I wear a 42R coat.  However, the pants that come with that size coat were a 36W... Way too huge and of course they needed tailoring just like the coat did. When the tailor was fitting me she seemed perplexed as she waved her hand at my midsection and exclaimed in broken english, "you have nothing here!"  I just smiled and thanked her for noticing.

So it is Wednesday and I am on my way up to Aspen and I am driving out of Colorado Springs around 4:40 in the afternoon.  I made it all the way from my house to 31st Street and guess what I realized that I forgot?  Yup... my black belt.

You know the scene in Harold and Kumar go to White Casetle and they leave their apartment and Kumar realizes he forgot his cell phone in the apartment and he decides to not go back for it saying "we have gone too far," even though they are like 20 feet from their apartment door?

Well that is what my decision making matrix was like when I realized I had forgotten my belt.  Of course I am pissed because I forgot it but to backtrack back to the house through west side rush hour traffic and then try to head out again... it just wasn't worth it.  I'd gone too far.

So I try to relax about it on the drive... I have two belts here in Aspen, both brown and they won't work.  I even tried to remember if one of them was reversible and of course it wasn't.  Plan B?  Well there aren't many places between COS and Aspen to stop to pick up a belt for a suit and I was in drive mode and stopping for anything besides filling the tank or a bio-break at the last minute wasn't going to happen.

But I get an idea on the drive up.  Aspen has a pretty cool little thrift store and I bet I could pick one up there.  There was plan B.  Plan C, try to find a men's store in Aspen where I could get a belt without having to pay through the nose.  Plan D, head back down the RFV to Glenwood and see if I can find something there.

I took a break today at lunchtime and walked to the thrift store.  The long and short of it, no luck.  What black leather belts they had which would have worked I could have made two belts out of for me as they were so long.  Damnit!  Now what do I do?

I really don't want to drive anywhere... I really don't.  The new commute to Aspen around Independence Pass is a tough drive and it really drained me.  I thought maybe I could con Melissa into driving me to Glenwood (in her spare time - like she has any) and see what I can find there.  But almost back to the apartment I had a brilliant idea!

Maybe, just maybe, Carl's Pharmacy might have something?  I have been in there a few times and though I never saw any belts, they have about one of everything that you could ever imagine in there.  It had to be worth the shot, right?

BINGO!  I walked to the upstairs of the store and boom, there was the belt display.  And they even had one that matched my new shoes and fit!  And it wasn't an arm and leg and I didn't have to drive anywhere else to get one!  SCORE!

To celebrate the win I went to the Grateful Deli and got a sandwich for lunch.

But closer to reality... But hey, this was an Aspen benefit as well....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Aspen Quick Trip

Drove up to Aspen Friday night to surprise Melissa.  She had no idea that I was coming up until she called and I was in Breckenridge.  Definitely surprised her and we had a great weekend.  Basically just figured that if I hung out here in the Springs all that I would do on Friday night would be sit around, eat junk food and watch movies.  Basically just wasted time so I might as well do something useful and drive to Aspen and see Melissa instead.  I applied the same theory to Sunday night because that's all I would be doing too if I hung out here.  And besides, I just didn't want to spend another weekend in Colorado Springs, hating it, and wishing I was somewhere else.

The driving situation has changed.  Independence Pass is now closed for the season so I am taking the long way around.  In order to bypass Denver and I-25 altogether, I took 24 to Hartsel then CO 9 to Frisco and caught 70 there.  The long way around ads about 90 miles an another hour and half roughly.  (It's actually ten mile longer taking I-25 to I-70 to Frisco.) So instead of it being 159 miles it is 248 and instead of taking 3:30 or so time wise it is now 4:45, one way.

Going up wasn't so bad as the conditions were good but driving home last night was a crash course/refresher in winter driving.  Basically winter conditions from outside Aspen all the way to Hartsel.  Vail pass was a nightmare with trucks stuck in the left lane, the right lane and sometimes just dead in the middle of the road.  The Jeep did awesome.  Hoosier Pass was even more fun as I was the only one driving it so nobody else had laid down tracks on the road.  The roads finally cleared around Hartsel and all in all the weather cost me another hour of driving time which I guess isn't that bad considering how nasty it was.

I got in some solid runs in Aspen which was nice. 16 mile tempo run on Saturday followed up with a 19 mile grind of a run on Sunday.   I swear that it feels like my internal carburetor is tuned to run better at 8K than at 6K.  I can't explain it but that is one thing that I have noticed this fall.  I seem to run a lot more efficiently up there than here in the Springs.  Up there it seems like my heart rate, speed, and perceived effort all line up and are in sync.  Here in the springs it feels as if one or the other is off, mostly the heart rate compared to speed it seems.

Going back up on Wednesday so this is a quick turnaround but it was worth it.  I will also be up there for a full week like normal which will allow me time to settle in to being in one place for a few days.  We are also going to a benefit up there on Friday night which will be fun.

Not sure how many more months of this commuting I have in me though, especially with the winter coming on.  I am sure that I will do it as long as needed but I am becoming more and more interested in developing a plan B for getting out of here by next summer if need be.