Sunday, October 19, 2014

Not quite finished

But off I go anyway.

In many, if not most, ways I'm not quite ready to leave Fairbanks. However, I made a decision based on a number of factors that added up to a move. The things I look forward to are a new job that will be more dynamic. I did not want to be waiting another 10 years for the idea of something better or retirement. Career-wise this is a good change. I also think that there will be better career opportunities for Tamara, and better health care. Those were the main reasons for the move.

For running and skiing it's a bit more mixed. After 10 years of hitting it pretty hard for both, I have felt the need for changes over the past year.  Doing the same races every year--even favorites--gets a little old. Throughout this year, way before I started putting in for jobs elsewhere, I kind of had a feeling that either I'd take a break from XC skiing in the state and that I'd be aiming for new races, mostly on the "Outside." Going to Bend last December for USATF Club Nationals had a big effect on that. In particular, I'll miss the Tour of Anchorage, Midnight Sun Run, Santa Claus Half, Musk Ox Trail Run, and putting on the Interior Alaska Cross Country Series. And yes, the Equinox (but not every year).

However, in a big way I look forward to race opportunities and challenges in Colorado. I'm most interested in XC, trail races, and hill climbs. My calendar for next year is already shaping up, with USATF Winter XC Nationals in Boulder in February, some Sky Running races in the summer (vertical kilometer, and a focus on the Pikes Peak ascent to see if I can go for an age record there). then a fall marathon, likely in Bellingham, WA where my son goes to college, or something like Vancouver.

The hardest thing about leaving is saying goodbye to friends and the community. We have roots in Colorado for sure, but we really enjoyed Fairbanks and getting to know people here.  I probably forget to mention everyone, but it's been great to be around people like Bruce and Dee, the Pitney's, Gillis family, the Mark and Maggie Lindberg, Max Kaufman, the Noons, Jacksons, Hoeflers, Kelly Egger, Endestads, Ken and Jane, the Lanfords, Tracey and her family, Dan Callahan, Hannibal Grubis, Sue Faukner and the Rorabaughs, the Lathrop gang of Kevin Brinegar, Ben Nelson, and Chad Carroll, Mike Kramer, Dave Arvey, the Berkelands, the Mayo clan, Kuba and the Grzeda's.  And many more. Let's keep in touch.

This is not an end, Alaska will be here, but a new beginning. We'll be back! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Equinox Age Grade and Other Numbers

Here are some masters age grade results. It was a rough day out there for sure.  A lot of runners were off pace. It was one of those days that the longer you were out there the tougher it got. So that made for tough going many of the masters runners.

Matias Saari (44) 2:55:01 - 75.62%
Roger Sayre (56) 3:15:51 – 75.25%
Jane Lanford (59) 4:15:42 – 71.19%
Erika VanFlein (54) 4:24:24 – 64.15%
Martha Brettell (61) 4:35:44 – 68.01%

Not only was Saari the oldest winner of all time at 44 on Saturday, he has the highest men’s age grade for the Equinox Marathon with a 75.91 in 2012. He almost matched that, and had there been better weather probably would have gone faster. With the 75.25% I jumped from 3rd all time runner to 2nd , ahead of Frank Bonzanich’s storied 2:58 in 1984.  I was hoping to take the all-time lead, but that would have required a sub 3:14:10. That was definitely not in the cards considering the poor weather on Saturday. And with a top weather advantage, Saari could have broken his 2012 age grade. So I’ll happily take the 2nd spot for men.

Jane Lanford scored an excellent 71.19% to lead the women. Maybe not the time record she was hoping for, but a very good age grade result. Marth Brettell of Cody Wyoming scored 68.0% with her age group win in the 60-64 category and Erika VanFlein was at 64.15%.

SPLITS 2013 vs 2014
I won’t post up all the splits but some definitely did it different than 2013. Last year I went in with a goal of sub 3:15 but felt ready maybe for under 3:14, so I paced myself for that. My goal this year was just to beat last year’s time and maybe run in the 3:15s. So I held back for the first 9 miles.

2013 3 mile was 20:55 compared to 22:03
2013 5 mile was 34:57 compared to 36:09
2013 9 mile was 1:02:29 compared to 1:04:53!
2013 12 mile was 1:30:20 compared to 1:31:09
2013 turn around was 1:54:50 compared to 1:55:10
2013 18 mile was 2:19:24 compared to 2:18:35
2013 22 mile was 2:46:14 compared to 2:45:23
So the upshot was that even though I was way back by 9 or 10 miles, I made it up on the out and back and final miles. The snow last year had a factor, but I also locked up a bit due to the cold, which had as much or more effect than the wet weather last Saturday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Own Private Equinox Legacy

I revised my report. Names of the innocent have been removed.  I ran my own race out there for the entire 3:15 and did not hold back or pick it up for anyone.

The standard for an Equinox legacy is for sub 3 times, top 5 finishes. I arrived here at age 46 and got one top 5. Other than that you're SOL. 

Masters legacies are a bit more open-ended. It more has to do with and consecutive marathons (or lifetime in the double figures) and how "in" you are. 

Anyway, below is a just the facts summary of things that are not on the official record (EQ report).

I was here for 11 Equinoxes, and participated in all of them just not all were the marathon. Of five starts in the marathon, five finishes all of them top 10. Just one outright masters title (2004), but four age class wins (and one 2nd place), and three more overall masters (40+) runners-up. Also I wrap up with four age records (48, 50, 55, 56), and were it not for the 2+ minute train delay in 2004 it would be five for five. Have talked some about age grading over the years, and finish now with the 2nd highest male masters age grade. The official report doesn’t list that. It’s pretty damn obvious they don’t really like carpetbaggers here in Alaska. Also, although this category is not acknowledged, oldest top 10 finisher with a 7th at 55 and 8th at 56, and second oldest top 5 finisher with that 5th in 2004. No

I also participated in three relays, doing each leg once. I truly enjoyed those experiences and sharing the fun with other runners. Each was a win. In 2007 we won the men’s title (Paul Greci, Roy Strandberg), 2009 I was the improbable third leg with a couple of fine young runners (Werner Hoefler and David Norris) and we ran the 2nd fastest relay ever (now 3rd), and in 2011 teamed up with a couple of fellow masters (Mark Lindberg and Hannibal Grubis), and we broke the all-time masters record.

In years that I did not run (injury, or focusing on other things) I participated on race day by working on the race course. The Out and Back Aid station in 2005 when I had a stress fracture, Sheep Creek crossing in 2010, and Henderson Road turn off in 2012.

So that’s my legacy and I’m not disappointed, and leave with no regrets (well except maybe for that train and a couple ill-timed injuries).


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Lumbering through Anchorage 10K Classic

It wasn't my best day at the Anchorage 10K Classic on Saturday, which is a bit of a disappointment because I like to bring my A game to Anchorage races (and always have). But missing two weeks of training and having no workouts in more than five weeks took its toll.

Nevertheless, Skinny Raven puts on a quality event, and I'm looking forward to returning the future.

I went in feeling a little tired from a long week and the first two miles (net downhill of 150 feet) felt fast, even though the splits were equivalent to what I'd done just at Midnight Sun Run in June, 11:42. After that the course climbs back up and gets moderately tough at times--especially the finish with a 100 ft climb over the last 600 m.

It didn't help that I lost a few seconds at 5.5 miles by almost taking the wrong turn through a crowd of runners at the out and back section, and after that I just figured bring it home. Which just what you don't want to think at the end of a hard fought 10K!

So I fell back from two masters runners I was trying to catch and eaten up by another on the stretch. Ended up at 37:04 for 15th overall, 5th masters but only 3rd in my age group. Simply got out classed by runners that were more ready. But I feel upbeat and happy that the knee is fine.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Healed Slug

The knee seems mostly mended, so that's the good news. I must admit at not feeling very spry yet, two and a half weeks after starting up running again. Doing an hour or so a day all easy so far and this week I have done two workouts with substantial hills. I'll keep that pattern next week, but will race on the weekend. Distance-venue to be determined, but I think I have a plan.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sluggishly Bound

It's amazing that just a week or 10 days off from running renders you to a feeling of total slugdom. After some days off, I ran three days in a row now, and feel quite slow. Still good though, an off day from running is better than a day not doing anything. It's probably the cycling, which always makes my legs feel heavy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Mid-Year Reboot

Had to push the reset button on my training. Everything was fine at Jim Loftus Mile the other week, in fact someone was asking about my knee that evening and I said all is good and been getting better every year since the 2009 injury. So I ran an easy 50 minutes the next day (a week ago Friday) and felt a little tired but otherwise fine. Saturday I did the Spruce Tree Classic as a tempo run (averaging just under 7 minutes a mile for the shortened 6 mile course that goes over the UAF ski trails) and that also felt good, although I noticed some knee pain on the return through the T-Field.

On Sunday I’d planned on a 15 miler over the hills, but only made 5 before turning around and walking back. This time it’s not the cartilage in the joint but the infra-patellar tendon, an old nemesis from the early 2000s (my longest injury setback that lasted from late 2000 though most of 2003). The dark years.

So I took it very easy last week, two days off, then an easy 4 miler on Wednesday. Two more off, etc. Last Saturday I ran an easy 35 minutes and it felt okay, but a few hours later the knee was all stiff and creaky. So I’m taking this week off, doubling the NSAID dose, icing two or three times a day. And I started up some rehab exercises (hopping off a 4” plank onto both feet and modified dips off of the weak leg). It’s mid-week and all feels good again.

I plan to start small with just a 4 or 5 minute (not mile) run later this week and then build from there. If all goes well I hope to be back to near in a week or 10 days. A little mid-year break isn’t such a bad thing and I’ll make the best of it. Doing some cycling to keep active. I'm a pretty lame cyclist but it's decent cross training.