Monday, June 27, 2011

Pacific Crest Duathlon - Training Continues to Pay Off

Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival (June 24-26, 2011)

The third year at Pacific Crest in Sunriver turned out to be a good year for Joe "Wheels" and Gimpy.  The half-marathon was the right distance for Gimpy McKay, but he spent a lot of time thinking about "Coach" Rosling and the 100 miles he was running the same day and night at Western States.  Would Gimpy get to run a 100 miler some day?

Perhaps, but Gimpy was also thinking, let's get through this half marathon run first and next months 50 miler.

So back to our Duathlong, we picked up packets on Friday and located an Olive Garden for carbs after searching downtown without luck for several Italian restaurants that had apparently closed and been replaced with New Orleans and American cuisine.  Probably good food, but not the carbs we were hoping for.  Once back at the motel, morning came a little too fast for Gimpy, but if there's a good reason to get up in the early AM it's to run.

...and to eat left over breadsticks :_)

We left the Motel 6 in Bend around 6am and headed down to Sunriver. We normally drive straight to Wickiup, but we missed the turn for some reason and ended up driving the bike course up past Bachelor from Sunriver getting a peak at the bike course and the higher than normal snow levels.  The snow drifts near Bachelor were only a few inches from the edge of the road in places and at least 8 feet high, which would make the bike and traffic challenging in this section of the course.  The road itself appeared clear and dry.

The early morning fog cleared and the day was going to be sunny and beautiful as Joe unloaded the bike near Wickiup Reservoir and the boat landing.  We hauled the stationary trainer and bike down to the lake for Joe's warm up.  A quick glance around made it appear the participant level might be higher this year with bikes lined up everywhere although the Duathlon teams seemed to be about the same number.  I think we both were wishing we had a swimmer on our team as every year we've discussed taking up swimming to make the move from Duathlon to Triathlon.

Well no time to take up swimming and as it turns out, Joe's bike time for the 58.2 miles remained impressive and resulted in a 6th place overall for the Duathlon bike times, so who needs a swimmer anyway.  The weather and training also helped improve Gimpy's time for the half-marathon this year by nearly 30 minutes.  The miles went by so much faster and Gimpy was feeling strong through mile nine.  Then it was grind time and Gimpy kept watching the pace, keep it below 9'/mile and finish strong.  I had a lot of encouragement along the way and between S-Caps, keeping hydrated at each station, and cooler temps banged out my best half to date.

Together our dynamic Duo was able to improve over two previous years and finally went sub-5 hours for the two events.  Gimpy likes the Duathlon relay!

Part of our happy experience, while at Wickiup and after Joe warmed up
and took off for the bike portion of the race, Gimpy made the mistake of
pressing the emergency brake on the van and couldn't get it too release.
As a result Gimpy got to take the bus back and only got to the transition
zone about 30 minutes before Joe.  A transition that was a little too fast
to tell Joe what happened in detail, fortunately my sister Darlene
(Joe's Wife) came over from the Valley and saved the day.
But not before Joe had to walk around for two hours in bare feet.
Oops, Gimpy's sorry!!!   
JNB TAG TEAM results:
Joe Rothery: 2:44:14, Roger McKay: 1:53:29, Total Time: 4:38:41
Well after a great race and the one mishap, all turned out ok, Joe fixed 
the emergency brake and we got back into Sunriver in time for food,
strawberry short cake, and the medals ceremony, for another good 
year at the fun festival.
...and as the day wore and I'd already made my way home, I kept checking on my favorite running coach
Mike Rosling as he made his way from Squaw Valley to Auburn impressing again on Gimpy the importance
of training and preparation, if you want to do well at those challenging things we want to do in life.
And I didn't have to set my alarm when I woke up around 4am on Sunday to see if Mike had come across
the finish line, he'd made it under 24 hours.  I did have to wait 'til after 7am to see the video as he crossed 
the line with his son and other family members.
What an accomplishment and inspiration to see...
While Gimpy wasn't ready in 2011 for Western States, he was ready for Pacific Crest and he does hope
someday he'll be ready for something as challenging, difficult, rewarding, and intimidating
as a 100 miler.
Until then, Let's go Gimpy, time to run!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pacific Crest Duathlon Relay - Gimpy's not ready for the Western States 100!!!

I thought my next blog would be about the Forest Park 50K run or running with pain.  But I'm pushing those out, 'cause Gimpy's been thinking about Saturday June 25th and the Pacific Crest Duathlon Relay and the much longer Western States 100 Miler which are on the same day.

It's been the case for the last two years, that Gimpy and his brother-in-law, Joe, head from Albany/Jefferson in the green Williamette Valley, over the Cascades, and team up in the dryer lands of Central Oregon to compete in the long-course duathlon at Sunriver.

This will be Joe and Gimpy's third consecutive year at Pacific Crest and it's always exciting to get over there and see how we're going to do against some other great duo teams.  Although the way the course is set up you rarely see anyone unless you're passing them, or in Gimpy's case, getting passed.  Some day we're hoping to learn how to swim or find someone with as much common sense as ourselves, so we can move up to the Triathlon relay.  Until then it's Duo or bust...

The big news last year was Joe got a new bike and more importantly we broke into the 90+ age group, (in our case combined age is over 100), shhh! no making fun of Gimpy's gray hair, we both go over thinking we're young and fast and full of vinegar.  In Joe's case, he is fast on his new bike and makes up for Gimpy speed, (insert a word similar to plodder here).

Joe is a hard core time trial speedster and long distance endurance bicyclist and to his credit last year knocked off 10+ minutes from the long bike ride (56.3 miles) from Gull Point on Wickiup Reservoir around Mt Bachelor and back to Sunriver.  For me, I added 10 minutes to my half-marathon time from the previous year and so we finished essentially the same combined time as last year. (Booyah!)

Thanks Joe, now hurry up, Gimpy might be slower this year and we need to go sub-5!!!

"Wheels" awaiting start at Wickiup Resevoir
Past Results:
2009 - JoeNButch_TagTeam
Joe Rothery: 2:47:52 20.73, Roger McKay Jr: 2:15:50, Combined time: 5:04:35

2010 - JNB TAG TEAM                 
Joe Rothery: 2:37:48 , Roger McKay Jr: 2:25:24, Combined time: 5:04:15

After Mr Joe "Wheels" Rothery bombed away on the bike I had a few minutes to watch the swimmers, snap a few photos, and glance at Mt Bachelor where "Wheels" would soon according to legends be careening down the backside around 50+ miles/hr and thinking I sure hope he got new brakes.

2011 News Flash: Word is "Wheels" got new wheels in 2011, so he could go even faster than 2009/2010.  Can't wait to post his improved results.

I needed to get going so I could get down to the transition area before speed racer Joe got there.  Joe looked beat, but not in as much pain as 2009 when I think he laid on the ground for a couple weeks after he finished.  (Gimpy thinks this is another good reason to run, I'm sure runners never have back problems.)

The run started out well with a quick transition time, the Triathletes hadn't yet made it to the transition, so it was odd running in the top 10, this doesn't happen for Gimpy.  However, the heat soon took it's toll and nearly knocked Gimpy out before getting past mile 6.  By mile three the lead runners off the bikes were starting to pass me like I was Gimpy slow again.  All I could think thanks to Joe I got to run in the lead group for awhile.  The aid stations were a blessing and at each one I briefly wished I'd ran the half marathon that started at 7am before the sun came up, I think.  By 13.1 miles, all I saw was cold water and Gimpy stood under a cold shower for a good 5 minutes which felt real good!!!  Those simple feelings and the challenges they are associated with are why I like to run.

This year with even less heat training, I'm hoping to do better.  I'll be loading up on S-Caps, water, and Gu and we'll see how "Gimpy" McKay and Joe "Wheels" Rothery do.  We leave tomorrow and I am super psyched and hoping to go sub-2 hours for the half.  That's like almost 1.4x Gimpy speed.  With luck Joe will hit his proverbial speedy stride and we'll go sub-5. If not, that's ok too, I'll smile when I cross the finish line, knowing Gimpy is lucky to be able to do these things with his friends and family who continually find ways to inspire him.

Last year, my reward in addition to a fun times, good food, a cold water finish, super nice medal, and loads of sun...
That's right a pumice stone gift to clean the grill, family said it's time to BBQ!!!  No Problem!!!  We'll get 'er cleaned up this year too.

In addition to Gimpy's own fun and games for June 25, 2011 in Sunriver, he'll be thinking good thoughts for SuperBadA$$ Mike Rosling, William "Pain Train" Swint, and their family and friends down at Western States 100, running the same day from Squaw Valley over the mountains east to Auburn, California.

The 'Spike' and 'Crazy Train' doing 100 milers, has got Gimpy thinking 50 miler at the end of July, that's right, Mt Hood 50 PCT and it will be even hotter me thinks, then maybe in 2012 100? ...but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Time to double down and you guessed it,

Let's go Gimpy, Time to run!!!

Family and Friends Credits: Big thanks and appreciation to my wife Carmen and sister Darlene for letting Gimpy and "Wheels" share time together doing two of our favorite past times.  Thank You both!!!

P.S. If there's a crazy fast endurance swimmer out there with super Gimpy genes or flippers give us a shout, 'cause in 2012 it may be Tri time!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

McDonald Forest 50K - May 14, 2011

McDonald Forest 50K is now on my list of todo's for next year (2012).  Here's a couple reasons.

1) It's almost in my backyard (within 15 miles) from Albany and Gimpy trains here most of the year and it's hard for Gimpy to get lost, at least from Peavy Arboretum to Lewisburg Saddle. I hear the maze is a different story, better get more flour on the course in 2012.

2) Mike "Coach Spike" Rosling says gotta run this one in 2012!

3) William "Pain Train" Swint says better toe the line or !!!

4) The pics don't lie, these guys are having fun, therefore running 50K in Mac forest must be fun:

A little chit chat with Max King (far right) before the race
Gene and I had a little fun too.
Eric, near a different finish line!
Queue the cow bell! and the train whistle!
William "Pain Train" and "Spike" Rosling savoring the finish - Awesome!!!

I think Eric Jensen's photos on William's blog capture some of the mid-race atmosphere, so I won't repost similar images here.  Overall watching these two guys run along with spectating with Eric and Gene have me thinking hard about signing up for McDonald Forest next year.

Bring on the bell...Clang! Clang! and train whistle...toot! toot!

Let's go Gimpy, time to run!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Forest Park 50K - Gimpy's Training Pays Off - A tale of two runs

Last year 2010 I decided to do my first Ultra-marathon (for my family that means >26.2 miles).  I had run the Eugene Marathon in early May and was feeling the need for something more.  I hadn't ran particularly well in Eugene and my last four (4) marathons had been progressively slower for various reasons, mostly related to training, pre-race prep, or stomach issues in later part of race:

Marathons to date (Times):
2004 - Portland Marathon (3:58)
2007 - Newport Marathon (4:13)
2008 - Boston Marathon (4:27)
2010 - Eugene Marathon (4:36)

So any marathons in 2011 looked to be slower, if I stayed on this pace trajectory.  So, I decided to mix it up and see what happened.  Up to last year, most of my runs were on the road and while I enjoy shorter road runs, the marathon on pavement can be painful for Gimpy.  Also, the life goals list indicated I better try an Ultra and the next distance up from the marathon was 50K (~31miles).  Since Forest Park is at the end of May I didn't have a lot of training adjustments I could make, I thought hey, I've run multiple marathons, how hard can it be to run another 5 miles.  As they say, I would find out the proverbial "Hard" way.

2010 Forest Park 50K starts at Macleay park and heads up the Wildwood trail at the "Stone House".  I remember feeling pretty good for the first 10K last year, walking some sections uphill, just like the google searches said, but getting to the first aid station in pretty good time.  The volunteer said something like your still smilin' so you must be doing ok.  I thought so too.  I'd run the first 20K of the course in both directions, but didn't have time to run the upper section which is a lollipop loop from Saltzmann aid station, a pretty good downhill section, onto Wildwood trail, and then....................

That's right, I hadn't run this section, they had a volunteer that pointed me onto Wildwood so I was doing good up to that point.  Well, there aren't many trails to take off Wildwood so it's hard to get lost, until Trillium, ah-Trillium?  Up or right, Crap!  too far, no ribbons go back, eventually, figured out it was up Trillium and then the road, broad and wide, can see forever, just don't see any ribbons, 'they should be every couple hundred yards'.  Right was there a ribbon, do I go left or right?  Right, but I don't see any ribbons, back to whence I came and / or wait for someone.  Nobodies coming, Gimpy's getting tired, who's bright idea was this? OK downhill is good, I can go downhill.  Gravity is good! Sometimes.

Stop complaining just keep going, and then, a ribbon.  Gasp of relief, at last I'm on the right section again. However, by this time I'm out of gas.  Down Oil Line, oh my that's steep and slippery.  ...and so it went Gimping, Limping, walking, backtracking, second-guessing my way to the finish line.  Those last two aid stations never looked so good.  Keep going, I remember getting to the last 3 miles and someone merrily running up the trail I'd been jogging up 8 hours earlier and said if you 'jog it in, you can make the cutoff'.  I thought great, how am I going to jog, I can barely walk.  I did manage to jog some sections, and finally crossed the finish line.  Happy to see the finish line, my daughter Amber, and a picnic bench.  Picnic bench looks good, I will stay here for awhile.  I finished in 9 hour and 5 minutes, past the cutoff.  Later found out others got lost too, so the running spirits had pity on us and allowed the longer time.

I like to call my daughter "Amberito", but I was too tired to say much when I finished and she took care of me and I think for the first time, I learned the value of a caring crew to help you recover and/or just keep you moving.  I think an hour later, I rolled off the park bench and gimped to to my car.  Why did I park at the top of these stares? Gimpy mistake?  Another hour and I might be able to drive to Amber's and shower.  Well Gimpy finally finished and made it home to shower.  After 24 hours of I'll never do that again, I realized Forest Park 50K had kicked my butt.  Gimpy didn't train enough, Gimpy didn't train on trails, Gimpy got lost because he didn't know the course, Gimpy didn't take advantage of the aid stations.  Gimpy shouldn't have run Eugene Marathon so close to this run with so little training.  Did I say Gimpy didn't train enough. Lesson learned, so one day after 2010 Forest Park 50K, Gimpy McKay resolves he must return and take on this race one more time, fast forward 2011.

Forest Park Ultra is on the list early for 2011 goals, but how would I train, had I learned anything, I had no idea.  I did know someone who had extensive trail running experience.  Enter Mr. Mike "Spike" "Super bad a$$", soon to be called "Coach" Rosling.  Mike who has been an inspiration for me for awhile based on previous runs at Boston Marathon and ease he seems to run the McDonald Forest 50K was kind enough to put together and guide me through a training plan that ultimately had me doing more trails, more hills, and more miles than I'd ever done before.  And when it was all done, I felt I was ready to do Forest Park one more time.  We would see who kicked Gimpy's butt or Gimpy kick Forest Parks butt.

The week before during my taper, I was thinking I should've done more hills, I should have run more, I should be running today.  No stick to the training plan.  Taper and wait for the race day.  I know, how about if I go camping on Memorial day, spend time with family and drive back day of race and go back camping.  Eric Jensen would later call and say both he and Kellie his wife said 'what the H3LL is he thinking'.  All's good Eric and Kellie, training will pay off.  Eric also told me don't overthink things.  He was right about that one.

A number of trail runners and family had helped get me to the point of conditioning I was at, now it was up to me.  I still had doubts, a couple weeks before the run heading up Mary's Peak with Mike Rosling and getting lost on the way back down.  Gimpy McKay is thinking he's doomed to get lost again, wait no I ran the entire upper section twice, I got this.  Gimpy McKay does not get lost on Mary's Peak, finds his way back to the bench and swears to bring blue die when he's running alone in the snow.  I reread the Forest Park 50K web page, the course will be floured, yes just like in hanzel and gretel, I'll find my way home this time, if Gimpy leads his self into the woods he will not forget his self there.  Not this time.

So after many miles with Rosling, Swint, Jensen, Ajayi, and Wusstig, I'm thinking I'm ready.  What will this race bring.  Stay tuned for the race report, but Gimpy kicks Forest Park's butt and knocks 2 hours and 50 minutes off last years time.  Training definitely paid off, and now it's time to up the ante again.

July 31st - Mt Hood PCT 50 Miler - Let's go Gimpy! Time to run!!!

Why Gimpy Runs

Since this is my first blog post, I'll provide a little historical background on why Gimpy runs.  It's a bit tedious, so Gimpy doesn't mind if one skips to the end where he hopes to shift to running related topics.  Although he might hit on Family, Genealogy, photography, travel, and other things of interest to Gimpy and his friends.

So back to why Gimpy runs, rewind the timepiece back to early 2004.  Gimpy is turning 45, measure 5'10" if I shift my weight onto my left leg, (left legs longer than the right), and weigh-in at he docs office at nearly 200lbs.  Oh and no one calls me Gimpy yet.  That weight is a long way from the 98 lbs my freshman year in H.S. and the 135 lbs I tip'd the scales just out of high school, ah to be young again.  For this particular visit, the doc says after some A1C checks, 'your pre-diabetic and unless something changes you'll be diabetic and on drugs in a year. Big sigh, crap! no more eat whatever I want lifestyle.

I suppose if I graphed it out, it was inevitable and projecting forward around 2011 with no running intervention I'd be pushing 235.  It seems that 20+ years of two (2) liter Mtn Dew and Pepsi has apparently caught up with me.  The years of gold panning, hiking, and adventuring in Oregon, couldn't keep the pounds off.  Eating sugar out of the bowl, years of free donuts, and a nagging and persistent sweet tooth don't help.

Note: I've had a few teeth pulled over the years and so far they still have gotten the right ones.  Ask my kids who now have to hide the candy when they come home to visit.

So in 2004 what's my choices: 1) Do nothing and invest in Novartis or Merck or 2) Go to the pre-treatment classes and find out about option 2.  At the time I was leaning toward #2 since I get a discount on medical insurance.  Glancing around the room at the a few folks who didn't get the note about the risks of insulin deficiencies soon enough and I'm definitely, kinda, sorta getting on the diet and exercise caboose.  Caboose, cause I think in 2004 I'm along for the ride, and won't be capable of conducting the train for a couple of years.  I'll try to cover some of the early runs in other posts, but my big decision in 2004 was distance, how far and how frequent, cause I had some catching up to do.

I'll digress here to summarize running experience up to 2004, should be quick:

My first running memories, like a lot of kids, were playground stuff, Phys Ed, running into the broad jump pit, and getting away from the bullies around 4th grade.  I decided I liked running and stayed with the longer distances in 9-12th grade, well long for me at 1-2 miles in track and 3-5K in High School cross-country.  Running-wise I was near the back of the pack in the 3-4A schools I went to and near the front in 1A schools.  Needless to say, I liked the small schools, but didn't and still don't have any trouble running back of pack.  Although I do daydream about those gutsy finishes on tough trails and beating out my closest competition, like Mr 'Spike" Rosling.  In reality, Gimpy's often crosses the finish line alone, but never sad, competing against the pain in his gimp and the clock.

In high school, aside from running, at 98 lbs 9th grade wrestling looked like it might be in the cards, however it only took one practice and a 99 lb wrestling partner to get me pinned and break my collar bone about 10 minutes of the first day of practice, thus ended my state championship aspirations.  Heal up and back to running.

Almost made it to State in 4th year of High School, but running gravel roads in thin soled shoes resulted in an unexpected fracture in my right foot, which I didn't know was stressed and ignored it thinking this kind of pain is normal when you run.  It comes from running in shoes that are 3.5 sizes too small, yes 3.5.  I saw the coach taping other runners, so I thought, I'll tape it and go.  The coach wasn't too happy about that and the pain lesson I'm still struggling with, 'is that bad pain or good pain'.  Pain management was a big part of growing older, at least for me, and probably will be for many years to come, like into my 80's if possible.  I did a little running in college, but wasn't competitive enough and eventually tapered to low mileage from 1980's to 2004.  Enter mr pre-diabetes and figuring out what the exercise part of diet and exercise would be for Gimpy McKay.

I finally settled on the 2004 Portland Marathon.  I figured why not go long, put in the extra miles and see how it improves the A1C and regular glucose readings.  Of course, that was before I found out about ultra's.  Maybe I'd have gone longer, but as it turns out, one (1) year of training for Portland, a sub-4 hour run and I hadn't learned my lesson about diet and exercise. Being in the exercise caboose and actually conducting the train it were two different things. William Swint's 'Pain Train' analogy comes to mind and I did get on board briefly,  I made the mistake of not setting my next set of goals after Portland and landed in self-congratulations and singular accomplishment land and stayed there for a couple years, before my weight was back up to 200 lbs again.  The on again, off again running program wasn't working.

Over the next couple of years, Gimpy didn't gimp much.  He took up road biking, returned to school, focused more on family outings, life happened.  It wasn't until higher glucose readings, sleepiness, and general lethargy made me re-evaluate running and kick start a series of running activities from 2007-2011 that have set up running as a important way for me not to just manage my weight, but running also gives me that something extra motivation to get out of the house and experience something more.

It's also helped to get more involved in the running community.  A couple of runners who've played a big role in Gimpy McKay's running this last year are Mike "Coach" Rosling, William "Inspiration" Swint, Eric "Motivator" Jensen, Samuel "Cold hands, quick feet" Ajayi, and Gene "Too fast for me" Wusstig. Of course, I have a few other heroes and motivators to discuss in future blogs (A certain weiner dog and Sasquatch to name a few).

I see this first blog as comparable to one of my early season training runs, hopefully it will get better with time and the style more efficient and enjoyable.  I've logged a few miles on the trail and road this year, we'll see how many of these experiences makes it to Gimpy's blog.

For now, Let's go Gimpy, time to run...