Sunday, October 28, 2012

Muddy Monster 15K 2012

My second running of this race was to be my last longer run before my upcoming ultra.

I woke up early and hit the trails with a friend for about a 5 mile warmup prior to the race. I then drove back about 30 miles to the race location and packet pickup.

The Muddy Monster is a 5K/15K race held in a very large park. The course is mostly grass with some dirt road and gravel thrown in. After I picked up my packet and race number I met up with some more friends for a short 1 mile warmup.

My goal time for the 15K race was 1:15 to 1:20 but I also didn't want to wear my legs out too much. I ran the race last year in 1:30.

The start was very unorganized and I was actually talking to someone and we didn't notice the race had started until we saw runners taking off. The majority of the runners ran the 5K, a lot of them in costume. So for the first lap I had to dodge in and around a bunch of people.

The first lap didn't feel very good, I just couldn't get comfortable. I kept trying to mentally image running light and fast but it wasn't working out too well. I did finish the first 5K loop in about 23 minutes however which was decent

The second loop was better and I kept a steady pace. I took a lot of pictures on this loop as the runners had thinned out quite a bit since most of the 5K runners were finishing. I did lap some 5K runners though, I also yelled some encouragement at two of the leaders as they passed me coming back on the loop as I was heading out. They were about 2 miles ahead at this point and heading out on the 3rd lap. Both my friends named Ross did well. Ross S finished 2nd and Ross K finished 3rd.

I finished 2 laps in roughly 46 minutes. The third lap was more of the same. My old friend the footache showed up about mile 7 and it really altered my stride. It was especially painful when turning right. The reason it happens is the locking lace system on my Salomon shies does not allow my shoes to expand as my feet swell during a race. This causes pain in the ball of my foot. In a longer race I would have stopped and loosened my shoe but since I was almost done I just dealt with it.

I finished the race in 1:13:21 which is a huge improvement from last year. This is a fun race and I will do it again next year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Anti Government Rant Against Officials in Fine Hats

In Iowa, at this point in a Presidential election, you can't swing a dead political staffer without hearing, seeing or receiving a phone call about a presidential candidate. I had friend visit me this summer from out of state who made mention of that fact that we had a lot of political commercials on TV. That was in July, it is now two weeks before the election and the din of approved messages is deafening.

The very first presidential election I voted in, I voted for Ronald Reagan, the reaganator. For the next 20 years or so I was a staunchly conservative he man Republican. The only Democrat I ever voted for was my Mother ( ya got to vote for Mom) when she ran for state representative. Other than that it was strict party line. About 8 years ago I realized however that I was holding my nose every time I voted. I was voting for the lessor of two evils which still makes it evil. I discovered something I had known all along but never admitted to myself. I was much more nuanced than I let on, I actually agreed with some of the things that the other party was saying. I disagreed with some of the things "my" party was saying. I started to pick and choose and discovered that what I really wanted was to be left alone and be treated as I treated others.

Why is it my business what someone else does with their body or in their relationship? Sure allowing gay marriage or abortion might damn us to an eternity of hellfire. Dogs and cats may be sleeping together in a hail of frogs but then again I don't see any evidence of that. Do I think these things are wrong? Yes I do, but I bet someone would tell me that they think some of the things I do are wrong as well. When did it become my job to legislate morality? I thought that was God's job, last I looked he doesn't need help from me. I have a hard enough time trying to keep myself straight.

Why is it my job to tell someone they can't smoke, chew, drink, eat fatty foods or any number of other things that both parties want regulated? Why is government telling me where to send my kids to school? Why is government telling me anything? But Mike it is for the common good, if you are unhealthy it raises health insurance premiums for all of us. That may be true but if government didn't force us to subsidize the health insurance of those that can't afford it maybe they would put down the ho ho. Or maybe not and then they would die.. so what? Uncaring? I don't think so I just don't think it is governments  job to babysit the populace. There are plenty of private sector organizations that provide assistance to those in need. I was a board member on one such organization for 3 years.

Nowhere in the Constitution or any document I have ever read does it say we are a two party system. The two major parties however have put a strangle hold on power for most of the last 100 years. But ask yourself are there really any differences? Instead of telling how bad the other candidate has been doing I think it would be pretty cool if one of these major party candidates would tell us what they are going to do specifically, I mean specifically and not just in a general way.

The level of stupidity and lack of cooperation in the current political climate in this country repulses me, people will tell you that voting third party is a waste and a vote for "the other guy". Those people are wrong. Well I have run out of steam on this rant and there is probably a lot more I could say but do me a favor. Don't be lazy vote for someone that really agrees with what you do not just the lessor of two evils.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1st Annual Running Village 50K

I decided to run this race at the last least for me. I registered only 2 weeks before the race when I found out about it from my friend JD. I decided it was a much better fit for my 100 mile training schedule than my original plan of running the Des Moines marathon. This turned out to be a good decision. A muddy sloppy trail race has a lot more specificity than a road race.

The race was held on a Saturday morning and I knew things were going to be hectic based on my usual Modus Operandi of trying to fit 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag. So I officiated a highs school football game the friday night prior, got home about midnight and packed for the race and work the next day. There would be no time to come home after the race. I got to sleep about 0100 and set my alarm for 0430, intending to drive the 60 miles to race start and pick up my packet at 0600. The race was to start at 0800. JD was running the 25K and we had I planned on running a little before hand to warm up.

Well as as usual no plan survives first contact and I suddenly awoke at 0600 and leaped out of bed. Crap!!! I might not make packet pickup that ended at 0730. I threw on my clothes, grabbed my stuff and got in the car. To make matters even better it was pouring rain. I stopped at the gas station and fueled , bought 4 gatorades and some donut sticks. I was then on my way chugging the gatorade and eating the donut sticks.Not the preferred pre race breakfast but it is what I had. I called JD on the way and he picked up my packet for me. So when I arrived at the race start all I had to do was get it from him and get dressed in my car as the rain continued to fall.It was so wet I decided not to take my phone. There would be no pictures this race which was a bummer because I saw a lot of cool things.

The race would be two 15.5 miles loops mostly on single track with a few miles of pavement. The race started in front of a pavilion in a park and headed east into a city park and state preserve. I heard there were 90 some runners registered for the 25K/50K but it looked like a lot less at the starting line. I think a lot of people bailed due to the weather. This was the first year of the event so support was really low key but the swag was awesome. It was sponsored by a local ultra runner and running store owner so he knew what runners wanted.

The race began with literally a READY,SET,GO!!! I hit my watch and off we went.We ran down a paved bike path for about .5 miles then turned left into the woods and hit the single track mountain bike trails. For the first 3-5 miles we would loop back and forth on these trails, crossing the pavement periodically and heading back into the woods. I was maintaining about a 10 minute per mile pace and just concentrated on staying steady. At one point I was leading my little group of runners when we got to a trail intersection. We had been told to keep the flags on the right but one of the volunteers motioned me to head the other I did. I got about 25 yards down the trail when he hollered for us to turn around. So of course now I was at the tail end of the train of runners and lost about 6 places. I slowly made this up however of the course of the next few miles. I hit the first aid station at about 30 minutes but I ran past it as I was feeling pretty good and had plenty of water and gels in my hydration pack.

The rain had stopped by this time but the course was a wet muddy and sloppy mess. It consisted of twists and turns and a lot of little rolling hills. We also hit the occasional sandy spot or steeper hill.
Here is a course preview

At approximately mile 10 we hit the second aid station. I did stop there and got some fluid and calories. I had been running with the same basic group of people but shortly after this aid station I hooked up with another runner named Tim. We talked as we hit some steeper terrain including a series of railroad tie steps. Tim had run quite a few ultras including a 24 hour race. I ran with him for about 5 miles until we hit the berm and bike trail that would loop us back to the start/finish line.

I finished the first lap in 2:29. I spent 6 minutes changing my socks and drinking another bottle of gatorade and was off on the second lap. As is usual on these races the second lap was different than the first. Although the course was the same it felt different. Even though I ran it slower it felt like it went faster. I was pretty happy at my energy levels as I passed a lot of people that had gotten a head of me earlier. My IT band and hamstrings started to bark at me a little bit which probably slowed my pace some. I was in good spirits though and talked to others along the route. With about 2 miles to go I passed the runner Tim who I had been taking to on the first lap. I finished the race in 5:29:59, 10 minutes of my best ever 50K time but I felt like I could keep going strong. As a training run this was a good effort.