Saturday, May 30, 2009

Life Goes On . . .

It has been some time - too long - since I have written. Somehow, life has gotten in the way - again - of running and writing. I have been running, but certainly not to the extent that I would have liked. But that's OK; sometimes life takes a turn and you just have to go with it. I hate to admit it, but there are things that have to take precendence over running.

All of us in the running community are mourning the loss of a good friend. Last Saturday Diane Sherrer died after a long, tough battle with cancer. The two weeks preceeding her death many of us were spending all of our free time supporting her. It is a sad time for all of us who loved Diane, but good for Diane, as she is now at peace. We will all miss her greatly. Diane had been one of the first people I would call after completing a race, giving her all of the details and answering her many questions. And she was always a staple at the finish line of the Finger Lakes Fifties (click HERE) and it just won't be the same without her there this year. This year's Finger Lakes Fifties will be dedicated to Diane, and I know that she will be there in spirit.

I have been running . . . it's just that right now it's hard to think about what I have been doing and even harder to concentrate on writing about it. But that is one of the things that Diane really liked about her friends' running . . . the stories that they could tell. So I will be back with more details soon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Round and Round

After Bull Run Run last week I decided to take it easy for the week in order to be ready for the BPAC 6-Hour Distance Classic, which was held on Sunday, May 26 in Amherst. This race is the first race of our Western NY Ultra Series. The event is held on a paved bike path which is 3.25 miles in distance and the object is to run as far as you can in six hours. For me, the bike path is TORTURE. It is flat (OK, maybe there are some grades, but it is essentially flat) and it is hard on my knees and hips. And I feel like I am running on the track – around in circles! This is the one race that I do have to listen to my MP3 player while I run (I only wear one earphone so as to hear the bikers and rollerbladers) to maintain my sanity! But I do this race because I want to support the WNY Ultra Series and the race director and mostly because my friends are doing it and I hate to be left out. And it is nice to see everyone out there as the day progresses and how they are dealing with it.

What I do like about this race is that you can be completely self-supported. They do offer two aid stations on the course, but we parked our car at the turn-around, put-up a canopy over the back end, set-up a table with all of our needs, and WA-LA, our own personal-needs aid station was born. The other nice thing is that this type of event gives you a chance to try-out new things and if you find that they don’t work for you, you can change it on the next time around. For example, I was able to change shirts on several occasions as I drenched one shirt in sweat, became too hot in the next one, and finally felt just right in my last choice. I started out drinking just plain water and added ice as I warmed-up. I have used NUUN tabs (click here) on a few occasions during my training, but had not yet used them during an ultra. This was the perfect opportunity to try them out and I found that they work excellent. Just drop one tab in your water bottle and you get a complement of electrolytes and flavor. I fuelled myself with Pringles cheese potato chips and chocolate covered espresso beans.

After having run a 50-miler the week before, I had decided that I would be happy to just get in 10 laps (32.5 miles) at BPAC. So as I started loop 10, it all seemed to become very easy. I think it is amazing how easy things can become when you know that it will be over soon. I finished lap 10 in 5 hours, 14 minutes, 1 second. I definitely had time to do another lap. But it was getting warm and my attitude was waning, my feet hurt and I knew that I had a blister developing. Honestly, I know that I should have had a better attitude about it and kept on going and overcome my mentalness. But what I really wanted was a chair and a cold beer. So before I could talk myself into going out just one more time, I cut the chip off of my shoe and made it final. And with that I sat down and kicked back with a cold Moo Thunder and cheered on the rest of the runners . . . especially those who had the guts to go out on another loop, knowing that they would not complete the entire loop within the six-hour limit (runners did receive partial-loop credit which was calculated when they finished the loop).

So I did completed my goal 32.5 miles as did Joe. Lorrie completed 35.75 miles, and our new ultra rookie recruit, Tamara, won the women’s race overall with 38.32 miles! Joe took me to see a real live rugby game in Syracuse, which was really really cool. Munster beat the Scarlets to keep their Heineken Cup dreams alive and one of my favorite players to watch, Peter Stringer, may now see some starting time, as Munster starting Scrum Half, Tomas O’Leary, suffered a broken ankle in the last match.

So, all in all, it was a great weekend. Next up . . . Highland 1-2-3 on May 23 – race #2 in the WNY Ultra Series.

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired . . . You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.” - George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian