"Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense."
- David Blaikie

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tap tap tap... is this thing on?

Hello? Testing, testing...

Wow, been a while since I've posted anything here. Not much to report this year. After having some arthroscopic surgery last year to address some meniscus issues I wound up taking a long, frustrating break. Lots of single digit mileage weeks. Some 0 mileage weeks.

Tried to rally in Jan... did an 8 mile run in the snow under a big moon (spectacular) and my knee was quite sore afterward. Drat.

Ran 13 miles in Feb.

Tried to rally in March... Fail. Longest run was pacing Robert "Kerndog" Kern 1 loop at Umstead 100. It was also great to see Warwick "Morph" Ames and Bill "Icarus" Vanca finish their 1st 100 milers. What a group!

April and May were not good (don't even ask). Finally, at end of May, with the help and advice of my Guru Physical Therapist Brian Beatty I got on the bike, refocused on PT and started running short distances every other day. We settled on August as the timeframe when I could start to think about doing any real training again.

By June I was feeling a little better. Paced my friend Jeff "Wackus" Patterson through his first 100 at Old Dominion. He did it! Awesome job with only 30% slowing in the 2nd half. Toward the end he was really pushing to get under 24 and calculating pace... just completely in the middle of it all. As much pain as he was in late in the race, I would have given anything to trade places with him.

Around the same time in June I got my arse handed to me on some group ride with bunch of people I didn't know (I will have my revenge on you people.) That fueled some hill repeats on the bike that brought back some cardio and leg strength and I started feeling a little better on the trail.

Mid July I was back at Hardrock to pace my friend Kean "Gumbi" Hankins. I was on the waitlist and actually got pretty close, but wouldn't have started. Seeing the views from Handies Peak in the San Juans fueled the fire some more. I talked to some marmots who were very nice. On one of the last days there I made the climb up to Grant Swamp Pass with Janet "Plank" Hankins and then in a moment of divine inspiration sprinted down to Island Lake, dove in and swam out the the island rock. "That wasn't a swim, it was a Baptism."

By the end of July I couldn't contain it any longer and set out on a spree of 20 milers every other day for a couple weeks. "Just until I get into shape" I said. And "I'm only running every other day." Slow. Cautious. Soft, even surfaces. Fitness came back quickly at first and then the excitement of being able to run was gradually replaced by the realization that it would take a loong time and a lot of hard work to get back to where I was mid 2009, let alone improve. Still, I was running again and could look back on my logbook and track my progress against old training run PRs and it helped to see improvements come in weeks that took months in '06 & '07.

Weekly long runs got longer throughout August. 20, 25, 30, 30. I discovered the all night run... put the kids to bed, go for a 7-10 hr run. Bit snakey at night this time of year it turns out. How this tactic escaped me in the past I'll never know! It's a thing of beauty when done right (trick is to stockpile sleep for a few days leading up to it). Having TrailHeads friends like Adam "Dorph" Byerly and Kurt "Snuffy" Rosencrantz out there all night made it pretty fun too.

Then in Sept, I logged two 40 milers in the same week rounding out 161 mile week. Time to sign up for something, but what? I saw an email on the ultralist from Gary "Laz" Cantrell about something he called the Backyard Ultra. I couldn't find any information (all the more interesting) so I sent him an email to ask when it would be (it's 10/23). No response. Next email from him on this to the ultralist had the date and the list of entrants, including my name! It's an 11 hr (sunup to sundown) race on mixed surfaces (more on that later). Ok... that's good for something different and I don't feel like throwing my name in the hat for any buckle races quite yet.

Wrapped up Sept with some great running and a beautiful wedding in
Telluride, CO. I got back to some of my favorite passes including Grant Swamp, Oscars, and Virginius. Then the last day went back up Bear Creek Trail above Ouray. This place gets harder and harder to leave every time!

started out well with some pacing at Grindstone for my friend Adam "Dorph" Byerly who completed his first 100 miler! Very cool course. Yes, I do a lot of pacing: It's fun, helpful, and very educational. I think I've paced something like 14 people now and learn something every time.

So, here we are, October 5th, the 1 yr anniversary of hearing that I would need arthroscopic surgery and some "time off". If my calculations are correct I'm about back to where I was in early 2008. Coming up on 1000 miles for the year (vs 2800+ in '08 and 2000 jan-aug '09).

Okay, that's the year to date. Bit of a brain dump, but there you go. Shorter posts from now on...


Mike said...

Glad to hear that the recovery is behind you and its full bore trail running again. Very curious to hear about the backyard ultra!

Joseph Lea said...

@masonham! Hey, thanks for stopping by. Enjoying your blog as well. Great pictures.