Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Am IN The 2009 Boston Marathon

I have been wanting to run the Boston Marathon this coming April, but have been putting off entering.  Cheap me printed out the forms to mail when I saw there was an extra $6 charge for online entry, bringing the total entry fee to $116.  I was going to mail it in sometime this weekend or next week, since the early entry deadline is February 15.  Plenty of time.

Today a friend posted a shared item on Google Reader, a blog dated yesterday, that proclaimed, "Registration for 2009 Boston Marathon has Closed."  I Paniced!  I went straight to the Boston Marathon web site to see if this was true, but could find nothing that said it had closed.  So I tried to register online - extra $6 be damned - and it worked.  It took a little panic to push me over that $110 entry fee limit!

I was still a little worried because they have to verify your qualifying race and send a final confirmation via email.  I was thinking that they could be just sending out "sorry the event was filled" emails.  But now I am relieved because at 5 PM I received the confirmation email:
This is to notify you that your entry into the 113th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20, 2009 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.

You can verify your acceptance into the field by searching the 113th Boston Marathon "Entrants" database on the B.A.A. web site, Additionally, an acceptance postcard will be mailed to you via US Postal Service mail.

In early April 2009, an official Number Pick-up Card and extensive information regarding the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and related race week activities will be mailed to you via US Postal Service first class mail. If you do not receive your Number Pick-up Card (required to claim number) and brochure by April 11, please contact our Registration Office at Registration related inquiries may also be directed to 508-435-6905.

Note that bib numbers will not be distributed on Race Day. Your travel arrangements should take into account picking up your number at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on Friday, April 17 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., or Saturday, April 18 or Sunday, April 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you in April! Best of luck in your training!
Guess I better hit the bricks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Workouts: January 12 - 18, 2009

Not a great workout week. Recovering from the broken-rib incident. Was able to ski the three day MLK weekend. I suppose I should be glad about that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Training: First Week or so of 2009

First weeks of the year are always full of hope and usually a little long, unless the year happens to start on a Monday.  It was a good week.  Good skiing then good running and riding, then a great race.  Then I fell down...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Watchung Winter Ultra Does Me In

The Watchung Winter Ultra "fat ass" trail race had two options: run 50K or a marathon.  I chose the marathon.

I run at Watchung about a dozen times per year.  I used to ride my mountain bike there, for winter training, back when I was a serious triathlete in the late 1980's- early 1990's - before the park banned them.

This was to be a fun day - I wanted a good long run as an easy race on a trail I was very familiar with.  I had no qualms about cutting it short if I felt over-stressed, since my recent running mileage has been relatively very low.  Plus there was the forecast for snow at a high of 25 degrees F.

I felt cold before the race in the morning.  About 50 people showed up, including my friends Paul, IronPete and Dixon.  They were all slated to run the 50K; Paul and Pete have done many, but it was Dixon's first. The race director did a great job setting up this event and even marked some of the course himself that morning before running a couple laps of the course himself.  I ran a lot of the first loop near enough to talk with him.  I ran almost the entire loop with David, a Chi Running enthusiast who I had emailed with before but never met in person - and running with him turned out to just be a chance meeting.  I was amazed that he survived about three falls from trips and slipping on ice on the first loop or so.  The last fall he had on ice hurt his knee enough for him to cut the second loop short.  Little was I to know what I was headed for.

The marathon was two and a half loops of the Sierra Trail at the reservation.  (See my account of running there last weekend for comments on that.) It was a beautiful day to be running - not many people on the trails, it warmed up a little within 30 minutes of starting, and snow was flurrying just enough to add to the ambiance.

I had two great loops and was leading the marathon runners - loop splits were 1:44 & 1:47- and I was feeling GREAT.  Really great.  I was gonna chop off that half lap in 60 minutes.  But about a half mile from the start/finish I tripped and fell and broke my rib.

I have fallen dozens of times running trails, but this time I fell really hard and I think a protruding root or rock just hit my side in a bad way.  The break is kinda under my left arm.  The fall did hurt a lot and the wind got knocked out of me.  I tried walking to keep going but noticed it felt really weird in there, like something was rattling around, and I noticed I couldn't breathe deeply without pain.  So I think I smartly decided to bag it and walked back.

I checked in as DNF and drove myself to MediMerge...  The Vicoden I just picked up is defiintely working better than the advil.... 

At the doc, my temperature was 94.3.  The nurse said it was the lowest she ever recorded.  It was kinda funny because she asked a couple of times why I would want to run that far.  Doc said, "curtail your activities" for a few weeks.  I told him I was going skiing next weekend.  He said he wouldn't do that...  hope I can.

One of the reasons I think I felt great was fueling. I used my skiing Camelback plus a Powerbar Gel ("2X Caffine") about every 30 minutes. That stuff works pretty good for me. I don't like eating random food handed out at races. I used the Powerbar Gels at Philly too, every 45 minutes. After today I think my next marathon - Boston - I will do one every 30. Gotta start shooting that stuff early. They are sort of a pain to carry - pockets of circa 1980 Moss Brown jacket today were fine, but gotta work that out for Boston. 

Hey, just looked, you can still get those jackets ... think I might get a new one.

Thanks to Paul for the pics and vid from the race below, and to Associated Radiology in Warren for the x-rays.

Paul, Me, Dixon (nice face)


A few minutes past the start/finish area, 50K route

Race Director Rick explaining too much before the start & me looking too happy

One of my x-rays.  Difficult to scan and see the break.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Running Pic of The Day

This is a screen cap from a friend's Facebook album.  "Getting engaged in high style, after the ATR 12 Hour. Mike ran 52 miles, got down on one knee, and got back up... that's hardcore. I think I ran something like a 5K or so."  See how running long distances causes people to do things totally irrational?   ;)  JK: May they be happy for at least as long as her race number!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Spotting the Escarpment Trail Run T-Shirt

You don't see many Escarpment Trail Run shirts randomly in your day-to-day travels, outside of a group of select runners.  So I was surprised to spot one worn by a teenager in the Overlook Lodge at Belleayre Ski Center last Saturday.  I proudly said, "Hi, I ran Escarpment four times."  At first it seemed like he didn't get the connection, but then I think he remembered he was wearing that shirt.  He said he was a volunteer at Blackhead.  I told him sincerely thanks for being a volunteer - and we went on to discuss the lightning and the trail-turned-river, which seemed to be the most impressive part of the crazy weather that day last July.  It seemed so out-of-context to be discussing it there, during the winter in a ski lodge after a day of great skiing.  Nice kid.  I told him I would see him in next July.

Running Pic of The Day

From DesertDiva's Running on Empty blog.  This would be a great desktop background at original resolution!  A beautiful winter run - the kind I want to be doing all winter long!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Watchung Reservation Long Run

My run today was 12 miles in Watchung Reservation.  It was my first run of 2009.  I have been skiing for the past week, and got only one run in, on New Years Eve.  That is OK - this is typically running down time, during the winter when skiing takes a lot of my time.  I run a lot less.  It is probably good for my body and mind and the entire training cycle.

Today's run was important, however.  I am scheduled to run a Fat Ass trail marathon, The Watchung Winter Ultra, at Watchung Reservation next weekend.  I have run hundreds of miles at Watchung Reservation.  Other runners that frequent the reservation and I agree, that the distance of the Sierra Trail there that is stated on the map is short by about 2 miles.  The maps claim 10, but running times always seem to support 12 miles.  We have collectively decided that a 10 mile loop of Watchung Reservation using the Sierra Trail is to eliminate the part to the south of Sky Top Drive.  That section is also the most technical section, with lots of sharp 4-6" rock scree, and radical uphill and downhill sections.  I am too old school and too cheap to Garmin that trail, but maybe someone else has.  I will have to ask around.

Today I figured I should include that technical 2 mile section on my run today so I am ready for it next weekend, and I figured I should run the rest of the trail clockwise, since I always do it counter-clockwise.  Trails look different in opposing directions, especially hours into a run.  The race next weekend does one lap in each direction.  I only took one 10 foot wrong turn because I was distracted by people and dogs at the intersection.  The trails were busier than usual today.  I passed 47 people and 12 dogs, not counting the people playing hockey on Lake Surprise - which I couldn't believe was happening because some of the lake was not even frozen.

My time was 1:47:14, which supports the 12 mile theory, at just under 9 minutes per mile.  It might even be longer - it felt like I was running 8:30's or better for a lot of the trail - but we know that trail running times per mile are decieveing, so I am accounting for that by about 30 seconds per mile.

I think people will be running 4 or more miles longer than they expect on Saturday.

The trail conditions today were varied.  There were sections that were icy and wet, and a lot of it had frozen mud in uncomfortable configurations.  The ground was generally very hard, not muddy as it usually is at the reservation.  We are supposed to get some rain and some snow showers this week, and currently the forecast is for rain & snow showers on race day.  Trail conditions, fueling and keeping warm might be a challenge.

This is My Running Pic of The Day

From The Freezing Cold Hash, Edison, NJ on January 3, 2008.  Screen cap from here, and more pics here.  I think it is Jody from my running club.  She looks like she is having a great time!