Friday, January 09, 2015

Alaska Senior Games Records

First off, I'll caveat that the Senior Games are more about camaraderie and just being out there than competitiveness. That said, compete is what I do and indeed there is room for both. They keep a records list, however, so since 2009 at my first Games those records have been something to aim for. Prior to this year I'd run four races and four distances in the 50-54 age group (youngsters) and set a record in each, 1500 m, 3000 m (track) and the 5K and 10K road races. This time, especially following the knee setback in July I decided to go for it at three distances in one Games: the 1500, 5K, and 10K.

Sunday 1500 - Lathrop track. The morning day was bright and warm, perfect for a track meet. My plan for the 1500 was to run a solid time, but not burn out my legs for the rest of the week. I figured 80 sec laps would be about right, but I had done no speed work since June and just hoped 80 seconds didn't feel like a sprint! The race went like clockwork, I hit 300 in 59, and 400 in 80 sec, and just kept rolling at that. The only hitch was the butterflies that stayed with me through 500 m! Track will do that to you. Kept the pace, but had to push the last 80 meters or so to keep it under 5:00, 4:59.0. All in a good day!

Monday 5K - Chena Lakes Recreation Area. My goal was 17:40 or under on the new course. It just follows the bike path from the beach area to Laurence Road and then north to near the end of the pavement at the flood control diversion dam. No splits on the road and I didn't have my GPS, so I just estimated the pace. One more thing. It was hot! For here at least. 80 at the start. I went back to the summer archives and there were no other afternoon-evenings in June, July, August that reached 80. The last Senior Games 5K (2011) that I did was about 82. So holding a 5:40 pace proved difficult. I hit the turn around at 8:57, and that long straight stretch back (0.6 miles) was grueling! Had to push at the end and got in just under 18, at 17:59. Phew. That was the toughest of the week.

Wednesday 10K - Chena Lakes Recreation Area. The first 0.9 mile was the same as the 5K but we turned south on a path that followed the slough. This was tree lined and had a few gentle turns, so it was not boring. Temperatures were more amenable to running at 73. Originally I was hoping for a season's best and 36:30 or better, but that would require being fresh for the week, maybe 10 degrees cooler, and probably with pacers or other racers running similar paces. This was a solo effort, and I was doubtful that even a sub 37 would be possible. But that was my new goal as we lined up. The plan was to go out a little easier than I normally do for a 10K and see what I had at the middle and late stages. So at 6:00 for the first mile I actually didn't 

Returned and Gone Again

Had a great return to Fairbanks over the Holidays, but arrived almost in the status of protective custody--away from a difficult situation in Colorado. My mom passed away in December after a long battle with Alzheimers (she led a long and fascinating life), but sibs spent all the money, and now there's nothing to keep the household afloat until the issues of the Will, probate, and personal representative are settled. It's a train wreck, not my fault, but I'm in the middle trying to prevent collateral spillage and toxic waste.

Back in Alaska I skied something like 14 of 17 days, but kept a fairly low profile and didn't even do a real workout. Just skied. I tried some threshold reps at UAF toward the end of my stay but that got interrupted by a cow and calf moose on Big Whizzy, near where the Equinox Trail comes off of Sheep Creek Road. I zipped around the corner and there they were, the cow started stepping toward me and I had no time to even turn around, so I double-poled straight along a footpath until I was out of harms way. Maybe got 18 minutes of L3 effort in about 25 or 26 minutes on that workout.

Meanwhile, bounced to a number of potlucks and holiday gatherings. Barely just enough time to say hello and goodbye again to many many friends. Had at least one acquaintance ask, "Haven't you left yet?" No need to mention what ski club they belong to.

Other than seeing my family/friends and having some time to recuperate from the events of the previous months the best thing was the weather. Only one or two days where it got down to -20?! That's average. Enjoyed it, and the time outdoors.

The months and years ahead here in Colorado may well prove to be very challenging. I did find peace in Alaska, even though I may have stirred things up a bit, and enjoyed shaking up the standard order. For example, I will miss thrashing the likes of Bad Bob Baker week after week month after month for 10 years.

I'll miss it there, but also I'm at a time in life where I must face different and uncertain path.

Along the way though we will certainly find some nice trails.

So Happy New Year! And guess what?

I'm not quite done.

I have a few more posts here, and soon I think I'll start a Rocky Mountain blog.