Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
My Marathon goals:
Last resort goal = 3:30:00
Most realistic goal = 3:15:00
Best case "begin my Olympic training" goal = 3:00:00
Actual finishing time: 3:14:45
I ran 23 miles with my buddy Chris until I began to fade a bit and he moved on ahead crossing the line in first place a couple minutes before me. Second place earned me this golf tournament-style check worth $195 "Charity Bucks" to go towards the charity(ies) of my choice. The top three men and women in each race were awarded these checks
Every small town should organize an event like this. It works! And here's how:
Most small towns have fairly close knit communities whose residents are, for the most part, genuinely concerned for the health and welfare of their area. Alot of times, there's not enough funding available to keep some of the community programs running let alone allow new programs to pop up. Funding special interest, non-profit organizations that take care of hospitals, schools, development, refuse and recycling, trails and pathways, animal shelters...etc., can be very difficult. Many of these programs cannot be funded by the government because the pool of taxpayers paying in is so small and oftentimes, the area being serviced in a rural area is quite large so the costs are increased even more.
Organize a community non-profit group to put on a running event in the center of town on a Saturday morning. Contact all the local non-profit groups and create a list of all the groups that would like to be able to receive donations. (C'mon, who would turn that down?) Contact all the local businesses (or individuals) who would like to act as sponsors of the event and who will donate money up front to be pooled into a "Matching Fund". On the entry forms, people can sign up for whatever event they would like: 5k fun run/walk, or competitive 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or even a full marathon if possible. The key is, something for everybody. Each person's entry fee goes toward the cost of putting on the race. They have the ability to also choose a non-profit group from the list to donate additional money to. Any money donated by the people signing up for an event is then matched by the "Matching Fund". And all the participating non-profits are required to provide the event with a certain number of hours of volunteer work to help advertise, organize, and run the event (such as course set-up, traffic control, aid stations, start/finish control). Perfect, right? Then each participating non-profit has a tent set up during the event so people can learn more about the organization, if they'd like. Perfect, right?
Everybody wins. And I'll have to wait until the final numbers from today's event are tallied, but judging by the masses of people that turned out, I'm sure it exceeded most everyone's expectations. I know it did mine.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Preparing to descend to Dry Fork Aid Station. Mile 26.
Looking back at Riley Point from mile 37. We had just been up there at mile 25 and would be climbing up there again at about mile 77.
The fun woodsy section at mile 40. Sunshine and rain!
Sparkling raindrops. Brilliant.
Mile 44. Preparing to descend into the Tongue River Canyon and the Footbridge Aid Station at mile 46.
Mile 82 at 9:00am. That was a long night and this was my last photo. I wanted to be done and I had 17 miles to go. It would take me another six and a half hours on my achy swollen feet. Next time, I'm wearing roomier shoes.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Three weeks?! Oh how time does fly. I wonder what has caused this long delay... Hmmmmm... Was I busy recovering from Big Horn? Did "life" happen and bring up an important matter in need of my focused attention? Have I been injured? Have I been out training this whole time? Have I been too busy enjoying the most beautiful summer ever here in the Tetons? (now that it's finally here!) Hmmmmm... All very real possibilities. And the answer is... Yes.
Ok, so let's back up and I'll make this quick.
The week after Big Horn was a rest week. I ran for the first time the following Saturday after my feet had returned to normal after their balloon-like state and the blisters had healed. Then on Sunday, I sprained my right ankle while test-driving a pair of size 11 Montrail Hardrocks. And I NEVER sprain my ankles! (Well, I did have a bad sprain two years ago, but that time I wasn't paying attention to my footing. I'll say I never sprain my ankles when I'm paying attention)Apparently, I should only wear these shoes when I have Nutty Professor feet or am in a circus and NEVER before. They might as well have been clown shoes. At least it wasn't a bad sprain and I could continue running on it.
Week two: This was a good week. I put in a few hard runs and felt great. I took a few trips up Teton Canyon including a run with Jen, my wonderful pink-skirt-wearing pacer from Big Horn (and who also happens to be my neighbor) . Apparently, this running thing is rubbing off on her and she expressed interest in going for an easy trail run. So we ran five miles up Teton Canyon until we hit snow at 8,500 ft. 10 miles and two and a half hours later and Jen was feeling great. She'll be out there with all us crazies in no time. ; )
On the Fourth of July, I did a run around Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park including a long side trip up Open Canyon. My goal was Mt. Hunt Divide at a hair over 9,000 ft. Nope. Not yet. Still too much snow. 18 miles and four hours later, I was back at my car and ready to float the Snake River Canyon on a RAGING river running at about 20,000 cfs! Yeah! With Jen as our guide (she used to be a professional river guide in Jackson), we all made it through safely with smiles and laughter and pounding hearts. Perfect. Then it was dinner at Dornan's and fireworks at Snow King. Could this day have been any better? Nope.
The following Sunday I was back in Jackson to do an alpine hike up Glacier Gulch in GTNP with a friend of mine from Victor. He's lived in Victor for like 20 years and has been playing in these mountains for more than that. He knows them well. Our route up and over the saddle between the SE ridge of the Grand Teton and Disappointment Peak was spectacular and it was a pleasure being up on the high-angle snow slopes with mountain boots, crampons, and axes alongside someone experienced and who shares the same sense of humor and love for the mountains as I. Good altitude training too. The saddle was over 11,000 ft.
The next day, Monday, after work, I drove to the head of Teton Canyon and ran from there up to Table Mountain and back. 4,500 ft of elevation gain (Table Mtn's summit is over 11,000 ft) and around 20 miles round trip. Felt great. But I began to notice a bug bite that had been on the front of my left thigh since Friday was getting bigger and more sensitive. Tuesday, it had grown even bigger and I had swelling in my thigh around it. Hmmmmm... That's wierd. Never had that happen before. Wednesday, I tried to meet up with a group doing a run up at Grand Targhee. I arrived too late so I did my own run up Fred's Mtn to the summit of the ski area at 10,000 ft. Gotta get that altitude training in! On the way down, my fat, swollen, jiggling left thigh was excruciatingly painful. Wow. WTF is going on here?! Thursday, my leg was so swollen and painful I could barely walk so I checked into the local health clinic to see what's up. A severly infected mosquito bite. A MOSQUITO BITE?!?!?! DAHHHH!!!!!! You've gotta be kiddin me. This is not happening. No, no, no. Not two days before the Devil's Backsone 50 miler in the Gallitan Mountains south of Bozeman! I picked up my seven days worth of antibiotic pills at the pharmacy and limped over to the Thursday night music concert in downtown Driggs. I was a wounded stallion, but I still managed to get some swing-dancin in! Hah!
Devil's Backbone never happened. I took the weekend off from running. Four straight days of nothing all because of some wicked little mosquito. I'm sure it's dead by now, but I hope it died a horrible agonizing burning fiery death. The leg is better now. The antibiotics have worked. I drained about an ounce of bloody puss from the volcano on my thigh on Sunday and today it felt so good that I had to get a run in. So I ran back up to Table Mountain doing a repeat of the run I did last Monday. And I felt even better today. And since Jen had the day off, she decided to go up there too after I brought up my plan of doing it after work. She left at 3pm and would be hiking. I started my run at 5:45. We passed each other halfway up, she on her way down as I continued my ascent. I felt strong like bull. I was glad to be getting more altitude!
So what's next?
Well, I have the Tin Cup Challenge Marathon this Saturday. WHAT??? A marathon? Yes, it's a charity-based event that benefits all the local non-profit groups in our Teton Valley, ID community. There's also a 5k, 10k, and a half-marathon (oh, and a diaper-derby which I was thinking of signing up for, but aren't derbies usually pretty violent? I don't want to get smashed up).
I was in Yostmark today picking up a new pair of Montail Streaks and mentioned to Lars (the owner) that I was doing the marathon, but that I hadn't been doing any speed work. Is it wierd to think about the marathon as a speed event? Most people don't, right? I remember a time not too long ago when I thought running 26.2 miles was outrageously far. What has happened in these past couple years?
Oh, and one more thing...
What's with all those comments about altitude training? Like eating, sleeping, working, and playing at 6,000 ft isn't enough, huh?
Not when I'll be running 100 miles at 12,600 ft in Leadville, CO this August. Hee Hee.