19 April 2012

24 Hours of Towers: Save the Date

Mark the date: 8-9 September 2012
24 Hours of Towers

24 Hours of Towers is less than 5 months away, just 11 once a fortnight time trial hill climbs left to brush up (including one tonight up Horsetooth).  If you want to camp you should reserve a Horsetooth campsite.  The north end of the campground is starting to fill up, with I49-I54 all reserved, hopefully all by FCTRs, but there are still some spots open down that way.

Happy hill climbing.

16 April 2012

Streak no more

I didn't run last Monday.  The streak is dead.  But that's OK, I needed a day off and I took one.  My streak was never about checking off each day on the calendar at the cost of everything else.   So how did I come to miss a day?

I came down with the flu a couple weeks ago, the evening after the last Tortoise and Hare race to be exact.  At least the timing was good.  My wife and kids were all struck down on Thursday but I was able to have a fun Greyrock run on that Friday, run Pete's final 15 miles of March with him and Cat, and then run the Tortoise and Hare race on Sunday before becoming sick myself.  I've never had the "real flu" that I remember, turns out it wipes you out. 

The week I had the flu I was only able to manage a meager 1 mile walk with Sandis and Tonks on Monday but was able to run the rest of the week with Thursday even being an easy effort run most of the way up Towers.  On Friday I was back to work and was a little surprised that I made it through the flu with The Streak in tact. 

It also turns out that laying on the couch all day (with a short run in the middle of the day) while sick is much easier on the body than going to work when you're first "recovered".  I ran but was tired Friday, kept it short on Saturday and Sunday my 20 miles turned in the toughest 10 I've run in a long time.  When I was again dead tired on Monday I decided that running was not in the best interest of my recovery and took the day off.

The decision wasn't nearly as difficult as I once thought it might be.  When I thought about it logically I knew rest was the smart thing.  My streak wasn't a compulsive check it off kind of streak, it was about getting my head back in the running game and I had accomplished that.  There were a few days during the past month that I ran only because of the streak and I didn't like that, I knew it went against the reason I was streaking and I didn't want to become a slave to the number.  Mentally I needed a day off, but was slow to accept this.

I went to bed Monday content with a good run of 167 days of running.  167 days, 1017.4 miles, tons of confidence, and all the speed I had lost, to be exact.  And Tuesday I had one of the best track workouts I've had all spring.  Seems rest can be a good thing, mental and physical rest.

Yesterday I ran for the 6th consecutive day.  I think I'm mostly recovered from the flu, though I'd like to blame my slower than desired late miles of Saturday's run on not being 100% yet.  :-)  I don't think I'm going to call this one a streak though.  I'll get up every morning planning on going for a run, a but if it's not convenient or if I'm too tired or my head's not in it I'll be OK skipping it.  Though that's the first step to being lazy and falling into a rut I think I've learned enough to head that off if it starts setting in.

Long live the non-Streak.

09 April 2012

Running is not a solitary sport

With the passing of Micah True I have been browsing back through Born To Run a bit.  Last night I came across this passage describing Scott Jurek.

"The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other, he understood, but to be with each other. Scott learned that before he had a choice, back when he was trailing Dusty and the boys through the Minnesota woods.   He was no good and had no reason to believe he ever would be, but the joy he got from running was the joy of adding his power to the pack."

I've mentioned a similar sentiment a few times before here but I really like how McDougal framed this in terms of experiencing joy by adding power to the pack.  I get that when out running with our FCTR pack.  It is what drives me to do this.  Running is not a solitary sport.

06 April 2012

Prize Money!

The Tortoise and Hare race series is put on by the Fort Collins Running Club.  It is a once a month race series (Oct-Apr) with a staggered start system where all the runners will finish at the same time, if they run their predicted time.  Each race points are handed out to those who cross the finish line the fastest, essentially to those who beat their predicted time by the largest margin.  The top 5 five in the series standings receive gift certificates to a local running store.  To be in the running for the money racers need to continue to run faster than predicted each race, to continue to improve speed-wise each month as the predictions are re-calculated with every result.  Racers also need to be stubborn enough to show up each month, or at least for 5 of the 7 races.

Though I didn't plan it this way, my slump in fitness and speed happened at the perfect time as I was running as slow as I remember in 3-4 years when I entered my first race of the series last November.  On top of running my slowest 5K in recent memory that day I suffered the embarrassment of coming in DFL and of having taken a wrong turn on the course, adding 0.1 mile or so to my race.  Since that day I've been working hard to get my fitness back though and with every successive race of the season I have beat my predicted time, and for the past 4 races I have finished "in the points".  This was enough to earn me 2nd place overall in the standings and $75 to spend at the Runners Roost.  Woo Hoo, new shoes!

I've never won anything racing before, so I'm pretty excited.  It feels a tiny bit strange to win something this year while never scoring more than the minimum 5 points per race last year as I'm running essentially at the same level now as I was a year ago, with my last 3 race times close to identical, comparing 2011 with 2012.  Still it was fun, and actually took some racing in the end to secure second place.  I passed one of the girls who tied for 3rd place overall with about 1/2 mile to go in the race and had to edge out another runner at the finish line to secure my place in the standings. 

My race wasn't the PB I set out for that morning but the 2nd place finish will make up for it for now. I finished the race in 24:45, running 7:45, 7:54, and 7:58 splits the first 3 miles after aiming for 7:45 on all of them and around 24:00 for the race. I guess that's what the next race is for. Maybe Tonks can pull me in to a PB at the Fast and the Furriest.