Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Constant Recovery Mode

My mileage is pretty moderate (30 to 50 miles a week since late April or early May) and "workouts" are hardly taxing (moderate effort fartlek and pace work but no more than 30% to 50% of of reps than you'd expect), but I feel like I'm in constant recovery mode. Not just the knee--which does cause me to take off a day or really back down--but just general feeling in my legs and body. I just don't have the zip any more, nor the desire to go out and push like two, three, or five years ago.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So Long, Cousin: Ric Sayre 1953 - 2011

Former US marathon champion and winner of the inagural Los Angeles Marathon in 1986, Ric Sayre, who was a distant cousin, passed away unexpectedly on June 20 in Ashland OR, where he had lived for the past 30 years. He was 57 and still in top shape. Apparently his heart just gave out after a run.

More biographical information was published from a local paper in Ashland.

As a young runner and racing fan in the late 1970s I first noticed Ric's name in Boston Marathon results, probably 1978 when he ran a breakthrough 30th place. He was just an average-decent runner in high school, where he never broke 10 minutes for the 2 mile. Went to junior college and then Walsh University in his home state of Ohio, and began to make some noise on the marathon circuit a few years later.

I'd always been told by my parents that all Sayre's in the US are related, descended from Thomas Sayre an English yeoman who arrived in the 1640s and settled into Southampton, Long Island with his young family.

Through the 1980s Ric was a prolific marathoner. He moved to Oregon for a better training environment and to make a go as a professional runner. In his career he ran 50 marathons, winning 12 including some major races and a PR of 2:12:59. He was known to do several marathons a year and credited his healthy lifestyle and good diet to the rapid recovery.

More than 15 years after his peak, in 2005, I ventured down to California International Marathon for a late fall "consolation" effort. A stress fracture and some ill-timed chest pains had curtailed my late summer running season, and I had missed the chance to run Equinox or a fast fall marathon in the lower 48. All healed up and healthy, I attempted a crash training program, going from 20 miles a week in September to 60 or 70 in October in November.

The morning before the race I walked from the hotel to a running store in Sacramento to try on some training shoes. In walked Ric--I hadn't seen his picture in years but immediately recognized him. So I introduced myself and we talked for a bit. Within a minute I KNEW we were related--like long lost cousins. He had a friendly intensity, and it felt that he was easier to relate to than my own brothers who were about his age.

Ric had just run a 33 minute 10K (or maybe sub 33) at 51 and was hoping to go for a US masters (50+) marathon record of 2:25. My goal was 2:50. We bid adeiu and promised to keep in touch. Neither of us had a memorable day. Rick missed the start, bonked at 18 miles, and dropped out. While I made it to the start, I also hit the wall at 18 and struggled in with my slowest non-Equinox effort, an agonizing 3:00:01.

So while our goals on that day were not reached we did contact each other and kept in touch. And a few years ago Ric contacted me again to ask about our geneaology. Indeed we were related, and Thomas Sayre 1597 - 1670 was our common ancestor. Among Thomas's sons were Daniel b 1633 and Joseph b 1630. Ric was a descendent of Daniel and I was from Joseph's line.

We had hoped to meet up; I invited him to do Equinox or Midnight Sun Run, and he said we'd be welcome to visit him in Oregon.

We never got that chance.

Strangely, on Monday the day he passed, I was thinking about Ric, wondering if he ever noticed my numerous race updates on Facebook--about the only time I post an update on my life is such and such race--and in the back of my mind going, yeah, I need to keep in touch.

Now he's gone. Life is so short. The articles I've read and comments from friends and family all point to the fact that he was a kind and decent man, as well as a great runner/competitor. He will be missed and I offer my condolences to Ric's family and friends.

Rest in peace, cousin!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Masters Age Group Scores for Midnight Sun Run 10K

Here are the top masters age group scores from Saturday's Midnight Sun Run.


3 Melissa LEWIS (40)........40:06.7.....78.16
8 Dorli MCWAYNE (58).......41:54.1.....90.99
13 Jennifer MAHLEN (40)....43:42.7.....71.70
19 Erika VAN FLEIN (51).....46:00.1.....75.63
23 Pat BERKELAND (45)......46:22.8.....70.18
30 Angela CONROY (48).....47:04.2.....71.29
36 Heather JOHNSON (50)...48:15.8.....71.19
73 Dena DOUBLEX (61).......51:07.1.....77.78
107 Carol KLECKNER (57)....53:41.7.....70.05


8 Chad CARROLL (40).......36:23.4......78.07
9 Mark LINDBERG (48)......36:39.3.....82.42
10 Roger SAYRE (53)........36:47.4.....85.50
34 Patrick LAVIN (47).......40:32.8....73.92
37 Greg FINSTAD (56).......41:16.6.....78.15
40 Andy HOLLAND (55)......41:41.3.....76.72
48 David WITHOFF (54).....42:10.4.....75.21
65 Joe TRUBACZ (52).......43:28.2.....71.77
70 Bill HOOPLE (60).........43:45.2.....76.30
75 Ed DEBEVEC (56).........43:58.5.....73.35
131 Owen HANLEY (68)......46:59.9.....76.39
711 Brandon BAKER* (92)...1:14:16.8...93.14

*Age not verified yet

Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Midnight Sun Run Obligatory Blog Report

Each of my seven attempts at the Midnight Sun Run (MSR) 10K have had their own theme and this was the one where I needed toothpicks to keep my eyes open and an energy boost along the way would have helped a lot. Nevertheless, now that it's behind, it wasn't too bad.

Not that I'm bored with this race (but a bit more on that later), I was just overtired and jetlagged due to Friday's return from the East Coast. I took two naps on Saturday but felt totally out it all day. The best part of that was that there were no butterflies in my belly. I knew my energy levels wouldn't be super, so I just logged onto autopilot.

Even the starter's canon--a howitzer from 40 yards away--didn't phase me. Went out steady, about 40th place through most of the first mile that included a fair amount of shenanigans from ninja bikers, screaming Roman sentries, and other costume-laden fun and distraction. See Dermot Cole's blog for more pictures.

The nonsense phase was behind us early into the 2nd mile and I settled into a pack with lead woman Theresia Schnurr of UAF and a half dozen or so high school runners. One by one they all dropped off, and by the time we were through the neighborhoods and onto the long straight stretch on University, were were all top 15 or so, with just a few runners strung out after the first (out of sight) and second packs (about 30 or 40 seconds ahead).

I bided my time, and didn't move until the bridge over the Chena at Mile 3. I was able to pick off two or three through the Riverview neighborhood in the 4th and 5th miles. I wanted to hammer it in, but lacked both the zip and bombast to do that and opted to keep it steady, hoping to have a strong 6th mile.

Masters runners Chad Carrol and Mark Lindberg seemed to be just hanging on/fading over the last mile and I was gaining throughout (running 5:47 pace over the final 1.2 miles), but they had enough of a gap to hold me off. Techincally I was 11th place, but one of the high school runners about 40 seconds up was a race bandit so I got credited for a 10th.

Woo hoo!

In seven MSR races that makes seven age group wins (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010--did Mayor's marathon in 2008), and five top 10 finishes (04, 05, 06, 07, and this year).

Seven's a good number. At times I've had visions of going for 10 or 20 age group wins at MSR, but in recent weeks I've been rethinking that. Why do the same thing every single year?

There are other challenges that I'd like to take on that fall on the same weekend, such as the 7.6 mile 4600 foot hill climb at Mt. Washington in New Hampshire--definitely on my bucket list and I'm sort of kicking myself for not applying for the lotter this year seeing how we were on the East Coast anyway last week--and Bird Ridge in Anchorage.

I'll be back definitely, but maybe not just every year.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tough Running on Ester Dome Single Track Trail

Tuesday's trail race, second of this year's trail series, was supposed to be a hill climb (1400 feet in 1.4 miles) and descent called Masochism on Moose Mountain, but recent fires rendered the trails unsafe, or at least unfit for insurance. Newsminer Article

So the organizers moved the venue from Moose Mountain to the next hill over, the Ester Dome. Rather than a hill climb, however, the race was on the new Ester Dome Single Track Trails

Although a hill climb would have had its merits, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to run on the bike trail. Upon hearing the news last week I did my Saturday run on the trails, and luckily chose the right direction. That was enough pre-race info to pick a good strategy, to avoid crashing an burning.

The course is a narrow and technical trail with dozens of switchbacks, 5 or 6 dips and humps (like 5 feet down and up), some fallen tree jumps (including a spruce with 3" spikes where branches had been broken off), and lots of hills (1,200' vertical).

Weather was about perfect, maybe 70 and partly cloudy, although a little buggy. I gave a cup of blood at least.

It brought out a lot of the good local runners on both men's and women's side, with Mike Kramer, Ben Nelson, Kevin Brinegar, Ray Sabo, Therssia Schnurr of UAF, Davya Flaharty, and Melissa Lewis all lining up.

I went out at a moderate pace, letting the lead runners go right away. I could feel several guys breathing down my neck so within a quarter mile I let them move up too. Theys soon dropped back and Brinegar pulled out. So by by 2 miles I was comfortably in 5th place with Wayne Peppler and Gary Holton not far back, and a young high school runner just ahead. I settled settled into as much of a flow as possible. Letting gravity do it's thing on the down hills, while keeping my momentum going on the countless transitions. I waited until the last third to start pushing on uphills. The a high school runner had run 10:30s for 3200 this spring, although I was hoping the endurance and wisdom of older age would prevail. However, he'd pull away whenever I got to within 10 or 15 seconds.

Ended up 5th overall (with Kramer [43:29], Nelson [44:40], Sabo [46:40], and Keegan Rankin [47:20s] taking 1st through 4th respectively), 47:40s for time. Peppler and Holton were about 1.5 minutes back and they were tailed by Melissa Lewis who finished in 49:40, Schnurr and Flaharty were not far behind.

No falls, no oxygen debt or asthma. Just a good solid run, and I'm not even sore today. Even though I'm in better shape than last year I can really feel that my oxygen uptake on the uphills just isn't what it was even two or three years ago. I can hold a hard effort (and it's actually more moderate than hard) for up to about 3 minutes and then have to back down.

I hope they make this part of the trail running circuit. It's a good course.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Not even a middling mile

Actually it was 1600 meters.

Okay it's been a strange couple weeks here, trying to get into a rhythm after a somewhat promising Chena River Run and a hard effort on the Murphy Dome run, which took a full two weeks of recovery. Only this week have I started to feel decent again.

As of last week I had planned to do 5000 or 3000 meters on Thursday to kick off the all comer's series, but decided early this week I wasn't up for it. However, after a 6 miler with the FAST kids, including half way up Ester Dome and 3 days of hill runs in a row, I thought what the heck and decided to do a mile.

The turn out for these meets is always iffy, with anywhere between 6 and 15 runners, but this was one where nobody came. Almost. Only one other runner, local masters Dave Leonard, even showed up. We were going to run some 300s and 400s instead, when at the last minute Jim Loftus showed with a stop watch and starters pistol. If not a race, a time trial/workout.

With no speedwork at all, everything has been hills at 5K or 10K pace and/or threshold, I figured this would be tough. And even though the pace was slow, almost a personal worst.

First 200 (37) was too fast which set me up for a tough go of it. 1:16, 2:36, 3:56, 5:16.

I felt okay through 500 meters, tried to maintain the effort on the 2nd lap and was surprised to hear the split (too slow) and actually tried to pick it up on the successive laps. Obviously that didn't happen.

Here's the challenge: break 5 minutes at the Flint Hills Mile in a month. I've been trying to break 5 after turning 50 (5:00.8 in 2008 and 2009; injured in 2010 after doing a 3000 on the track and a few days later some 300 repeats), and actually haven't done it since a 4:54 at age 48. Running under 5 is a long shot this year, and not a primary goal. But it's a worthy standard.

To get there I need to do the following:
*Get new track shoes (mine are 12 years old)--used racing flats yesterday.
*Do mile paced training at least 1X per week. These are light but intense workouts, e.g., 4 X 400, or 5 X 300, or 2 X 800.
*Stay healthy (do workouts on turf, not track) and come into the race rested.