Monday, April 23, 2012

April Marathons

Eisenhower Marathon

I ran the Eisenhower Marathon on Saturday, April 13 in Abilene. It was a hot and humid but not nearly as bad as 2011 when the temperature really sored. A mostly cloudy sky helped a lot to keep the intensity of the sun away. It was that kind of day in Kansas where you could just feel ‘it’ in the air – it was the same day when so many tornadoes broke out all over the state later in the afternoon/evening. Apparently one came right across the highway where the course was, but several hours after the conclusion of the marathon.

Before the start the Race Director gave the announcement that the storms weren’t supposed to come until later in the afternoon but if something did pop up to make your way to the nearest house and seek shelter. Then she said if no one was home find a way to get in their house and into the basement. Several hundred runners burst out laughing about the blanket permission from the RD for such an intrusion. But if a real tornado was coming we for sure would have done it.

This marathon was my first ever run with a GPS watch – my new Garmin. I found it really helpful for keeping the pace and meeting my goal, which was sub 3:45. I finished in the chip time of 3:44:48. My watch measured 26.7 and I don’t have any clue if that margin of error for the watch is normal for that distance.

This was the 3rd time I’ve run Eisenhower and I keep going back because it’s a nice race with great hospitality and feel.

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

I ran the Garmin Marathon in Olathe on Saturday, April 21. I was the pacer for the 4:00 hour group. This was my 4th time as a marathon pacer and second time as a pacer for this race  (3rd time running running this race overall). Also, my first time to serve as a pacer with a GPS watch. I’m not sure if the watch made it easier or harder, I’m thinking harder. But I’m also convinced that the course was long by over a half-mile, either that or I need to leave the GPS at home next time.

I love this race and this course, especially the out and back section on the asphalt paved Indian Creek Trail. It’s shaded and scenic and a fun break from the concrete roads from the first 12 miles.

I was following my smart pace strategy really well except for the fact that I was following it perfectly on my watch and not on the course mile markers. So after 10 miles I had to speed up a bit to catch up with goal pace and unfortunately, this is where I lost several of my very large pack that I started with. But I still had a pack of a dozen or so until the last 10K when a few just could keep the pace and I finally finished with about 4 or so right by me, with a few going ahead and several just a bit behind me. If I would have had two of me I believe I could’ve pulled in about 6 more with the 4 hour goal.

My final finish chip time was 3:58:59 which averages to 9:08/mile.

This completed my 69th marathon/ultra-marathon. I am hoping to complete my 70th in May – hopefully the Lake Perry Rocks 50K.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rockin' K 2012

Rockin' K 2012 is now history and I completed the 50 mile trail run there for the 3rd year in a row and 4th time in the past 5 years. The race is one of my top favorite trail ultras (top three being Flatrock, Heartland and Rockin' K; Freestate is also a favorite). I ran the marathon loop feeling great most of the way and surged into the turnaround feeling kind of worn out but I've felt so much worse at that point before, I really had nothing to worry about. I'm thankful for my friend and running partner, Andy Bowman, who came to pace me again this year, for the third year in a row, for the last 24 miles. The second loop was ugly but I survived it. I really don't have much more to say about it. It was slow, it was ugly, I slowly stumbled through it and eventually I was sprinting to the finish!

I've chronicled every detail of the course before, section by section. The remains the same just about every year. The weather in 2012 was by far the best of the 5 years I've run it - the most reasonable temperature with the most reasonable wind though the gusts were still pretty brutal much of the day.

A friend of mine asked me on Sunday morning why it took me so long to finish the 50 miles race (like 12 hours and 34 minutes)? He said didn't you finish a road 50 miler in like under 9 hours? He is right. It's just so different. Then my friend asked me if maybe I just wasn't trained up well enough or maybe I was just not tough enough. Then I punched him.
Phil and Stacy Sheridan have become world class race directors and they announced that this will be their last year leading this race. It will be so sad to see this change but look forward to returning to Rockin' K nevertheless. Links to Rockin' K 2011 and prior years.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Brew to Brew 2012

The 44 mile Brew to Brew race from Kansas City, MO to Lawrence, KS can be added to my list of ultras successfully completed. Considering all the circumstances regarding the day the result was a pretty good success and I am very well pleased with it. I finished in 8 hours and 42 minutes. Could I have finished a little bit faster? Probably. Do I want to try again some year and finish faster? Sure!

The forecast was for record high temps of 90 degrees on April 1st. It hit that, at least, I would say and there wasn't any clouds most of the day. I drank at least two bottles an hour during the hottest part of the day. I don't think I got dehydrated but the heat took it's toll with about 10 miles to go and I lost my drive to push hard and kind of wimped out and slow down. My legs were pretty trashed but not in an out of the ordainairy way or anything. It was a great first ultra of the month and one I would love to do again since it's mostly roads and gravel roads with some short "other" sections".

Official results:
I have fun running with my friends from Lawrence and KC areas as made a few new friends along the way! Time to heal up for Rockin' K 50 this Saturday.