Wednesday, December 23, 2009

FAST times at Anchorage Besh Cups

That was quite a trip to Anchorage last weekend. Horrible driving conditions on the way down, but we made the drive in 7 hr, under white out conditions, the highway snow and ice packed most of the way, and at least in our caravan no one hit a moose.

Later in the day one family from FAST did hit a moose. Moose dead. Car drivable, occupants okay.

Saturday's weather for the freestyle sprints (~1.1 km) could not have been much worse (but I heard that last year's sprints at Sr. Nationals actually were). Temps hovered between -2 and +2 F with a stiff 10 to 15 mph wind coming off the Cook Inlet, and the stadium is very open and exposed.

The youngsters (15 and under) had 3 heats. An interval start prologue at about 10:30 and then those who advanced would have semis and finals at about between 1 and 2. The older juniors and seniors were sandwiched between, so there were heats going on for more than 6 hr.

FAST has about a dozen skiers, aged 14 to 24 and I'm working with the 3 youngest. Emma blazed to 2nd in her semi and hammered in a 3rd place J2 finish. The boys, Kuba and Erich must have taken some inspiration. Erich, a 1st year J2 and not a sprinter, just sqeaked into the semi. He started in the 2nd row in a group of 8--with 6 on the front line--and jumped into 6th before the big climb just 200 m after the start. Half way through Erich made a big move an locked onto 4th, which he held. Kuba skied in control and took a solid 3rd in his semi.

In the final, Erich was spent. Kuba was to go for top 4 in the final; he held 3rd through 60%, but he hesitated slightly coming off a short hill, going into the wind, and dropped back a spot. He missed 4th at the finish by a boot--needs to learn that lunge technique.

Won't go into the detail in the older junior and senior categories, but FAST took 4 of the top 7 men's (2nd, 3rd, 5th [16 year old Logan Hanneman], and 7th). The semi's were actually even more exciting--photo finishes in both.

On Sunday, the J2s had a rough day in the 5K classic, with Emma 14th, Erich 11th, and Kuba 9th.

But, man, did the older FAST skiers ever shine in the 15K. David Norris (just turned 19) won the whole thing by 50 sec with teammate Reese Hanneman (turns 20 this week) taking 2nd (winning the senior division over many top skiers from UAF and UAA, and young Logan was 10th overall and won the J1 by a long shot.

Tristan as a 1st year J3 won the sprint B final, taking 7th overall. So he was pretty happy with that. His classic race didn't go so well (dad messed up the wax) and he was 9th on Sunday.

Trip home was long and uneventful (the latter a good thing). Those moose are scary and very dangerous for drivers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ending the Year Positively

Well, this could be the last hurrah as a competitive age group runner for this blogger.

Had a great running year through October. I ran about 1,800 miles, plus had three months of xc ski racing and training at the beginning of the year. And as an age group athlete, this was my best year yet.

Distance - Time (US 50-54 age ranking)
1 mile/track - 5:00.8 (9th)
3000 m/track - 10:11.7 (7th) (also ran that 10:06 time trial)
5K/road - 17:01.3 (11th)
8K/road - 28:32.3 (7th)
10K/road - 35:45.1 (5th)
½ marathon - 1:18:52.3 (5th)

Road racing--caveat that road rankings are not complete, but it's the best that we have

and as a bonus
50K USA National Masters xc ski Championship
2:34:37 (1st)

Winning the Sonot 50K age group (6th overall) a week later was nice too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just a Flesh Wound!!!(?)

ITBS? If things were so simple and straightforward.
After seeing the results from my MRI last week no wonder my knee hurt so much after 18 miles at the NYC Marathon, when I was forced out of the race (with a few tears) and unable to walk for two days.

The good news is that with some luck and modern medicine it should be fixable.
Learning about the extent of the injury was quite a shock, however. I went into the doctor’s last Thursday thinking micro tears or soft tissue inflammation. Just rest it, stupid! Maybe a small meniscus tear, requiring a simple arthroscopy.
The reality is not for the faint.

Turns out I ran 18 miles (or a segment of that) of the marathon with fracture at the end of my femur. By the end of this failed attempt a section of bone collapsed during the run. Something did go squish at about 16 miles. Not only should I not have run, I should been on crutches for the past six weeks.
Too late for any of that that now.

How did this happen?

So I’m on a wait and see mode—the doctor wants me to try some skiing and running next month. But most likely, this will require surgery where they clean up the mess and graft some bone and cartilage from a healthy part of the knee. This is going to be a long haul, probably 12 to 18 months for full recovery. The knee will probably never be the same.

I just hope to ski fine within a year. We’ll see about running, but I'd be crazy to do another marathon.

Also, I have not been any pain or stiffness this week. That’s great news. I’m swimming and cycling and doing a little upper body work for now, and will get through this.

The onset of pain in the marathon was gradual—no pain through 4 or 5 miles, the a dull ache through 8 or 9. The fracture was hidden by two separate x-rays and physician examinations. It only showed up on the MRI.

I feel like the infamous Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Needless to say, after an experience like that I’m reassessing my priorities and psyche.