Friday, September 24, 2010

grindstone pre-race and thoughts on the real world

Most pre-race posts are made to give the audience a run-down of who's entered in the race and who I think will take first, second, third and so on.

There are a bunch of fast people running the Grindstone 100 this year. And I'm sure they will have fun battling it out up front.

For me, Grindstone is a remption race for me this year. Last year I DNF'ed and it was my first one so it stung. There were several completely logical reasons for it, but it didn't make it hurt any less. In the two weeks prior to the race last year I ran a 12 hour race where I pushed hard and ran 71.5 miles and the week before I ran a mountain 100k and pushed hard. Going into Grindstone I wasn't recovered. Physically I had an ache in my foot/ankle that started hurting within the first 5 miles. Mentally this drained me. Also, because I had pushed hard in the previous two races and it had come out to my favor, I pushed early on in Grindstone. I had won the 12 hour and I had come in 2nd in the 100k. I went out harder than I should have for my amount of recovery. I ran mountains I should have walked and tried to stay up with people who had properly "tapered" for the race. This combined with the reasons listed above I was physically and mentally done with the race at mile 35. Especially when I was told after the first weigh in that I was down 6 lbs, which translates to: "you're dehydrated."

This year is a new year. I finished the 2553 miles across the country, finished the Western States 100 as well as a 50k. While compared to the amount of races I did last year, this year should have been a drop in the bucket. I'm afraid it has not been. Since I got back from the cross country run, I have had little aches and pains that have popped up and stayed with me. I believe it to be a result of pounding on pavement for between 3-7 hours everyday for the first 4 months of the year. Normally they subside after I get going and warm up, but they have put a damper on the amount of enjoyment I get from my runs because I am constantly wondering if I am ultimately doing myself a disservice by continuing to run on them.

I got through Western States just fine, and I plan on finishing Grindstone in an unspectacular time simply to prove to myself that this race can not beat me two years in a row. Finishing under 24 hours is of course always one goal because it's running 100 miles in a day, I'm not going for anything particular time-wise.

Don't get me wrong, I am very excited to run this race. It is a great experience starting at 6 pm to level the playing field so everyone runs in the dark. I'm simply stating that after Grindstone, I believe I am going to slow down a bit and make sure my body is working properly and is properly recovered before jumping back into higher mileage weeks just because that's what I feel like I "should be" doing. I'm 22. I'm still young and I'm not trying to set myself up for destruction by the time I'm 40.

Getting back to the real world after being on the road for 4 months has been a bit tough to say the least. I couldn't believe that yesterday marked the date that I had been done for 5 months. That means that if I had followed my gut and simply turned around when I got to the water I would have reached the Pacific Ocean a full month ago. It feels like a long time ago that I finished but time has really flown. It is also a time in my life where I'm supposed to be figuring out what to do with the next 90 years of my life. (That's right, I plan on living to be 112) So far I'm unimpressed with the real world and I now know what they mean when they say, "You gotta find something you love doing because if you do, you'll never work a day in your life." Let's just say, I've yet to find that.

I started an office job in June and have already decided that office life isn't for me. Sitting for 8 hours a day has given me a new perspective on why some people are as grouchy as they are, why some people are as obese as they are, but makes me wonder how there aren't more shooting sprees in the hours between 5 pm-9pm.

Because of my general distain for being in a town with traffic 24/7 and an office environment, and because of my desire to do something cool while I still can I'm moving to Aspen, Colorado. I got a job at the ski resort and will work there for the winter. I'm really stoked to be living in the mountains and to get out of Virginia even just for a little while. I think skiing will provide me a good physical actvity that will allow me to still exercise and lay off a heavy volume of running.

Anyway, Grindstone starts one week from today and will have a full run down of that race as it comes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

40 miles and a waterbottle

Last weekend I ran the Ring. Well, I'll be honest, I started the Ring. The Ring is a free race that takes place on the Massanutten trail. 70 miles of rocks. The beginning went pretty well. I started off and didn't feel very good or strong. But I was running well enough and was enjoying the break from the heat we've had lately. The first place to refill my water bottles was mile 13 and the second spot was mile 25ish. I felt terrible by mile 25. I just sat there for a bit. I reached that aid station in second place but wasn't so sure of the outcome at that point.

After some calories and water and encouragement from Katie, my dad and Kevin, my brother, I left the aid station for the next aid 9 mostly uphill miles away. As soon as I left I zoned out and tried to forget how badly I was feeling. It was very strange. I had energy, my legs felt fine, and yet my stomach felt funny and I just felt generally "off" of my normal stoked-just-to-be-in-the-mountains self. Upon reaching the third aid station I decided I would continue until I wasn't having fun anymore. Unfortunately, the next section was incredibly rough and the sharp rocks that we had delt with all morning were really aggrivating the bones in my feet. When i reached the third aid station at mile 40ish I decided I wasn't having fun anymore and if I kept going I would probably start running funny in order to protect my sore feet which could prepare the sure recipe for injury. With Grindstone just around the corner for me, I'm not trying to do anything to jeopardize that.

In other news I was sent a water bottle that i was able to personalize! It is sick! It is a Sigg bottle and it is BPA free and keeps my water nice and chilly.

Sick water bottles

This is the website where you can find about a million different designs of water bottles and other personalized stuff. And if they don't have what you're looking for you can just design it yourself. Pretty good idea.

Anyway, Grindstone is in a couple weeks and I'm stoked for it. This year, that race will be finished.

-- Patrick