Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thinking Ahead . . .

Not much new to report. It’s Fall, it’s beautiful, and I am a little leery about getting out on the trails. Which really sucks. The weather is great today – it’s about 42 degrees out, cool, and the trees are awesome. And the hunters are out. Fortunately, right now it is bow season, which means the hunters are at least a little more careful about spotting their targets before they fire their weapons. And I think I can easily be distinguished from a deer before the marksman lets loose his arrow. The gunslingers, on the other hand . . . well, I sometimes think that they hear movement and fire without fully spotting the target. I have heard some scary stories. I don’t know the full set of hunting time-frames of arrows versus guns, all I know is that it is hunting season, which means be careful where you run until probably December.

So I have been doing some thinking about the future and what runs sound promising for the year to come. In 2010 I will be turning the BIG 4-0. This really hit home when I registered for my first race of 2010, The HAT Run 50K, and when it asked for my age on race day it was my first experience having to enter 40. Wow. One of my friends recently turned 40 and she celebrated her birthday with a gathering of friends to run a 40K. Nice idea; relaxed and just a great group of people celebrating life and running. So this got me thinking about how I want to celebrate my 40th. Somehow I want to celebrate life, running, and friendship. And then it hit me. How about a 100-miler with all of my friends? After running a few possible scenarios in my head I think I have finally come up with a very doable plan. One of my favorite running routes is a 9.5 mile loop starting & finishing at home. Home would be a great place to set-up the home-base aid station and I could run repeat loops, hopefully with the support of my friends joining me throughout the run for as many loops as they can tolerate – and hopefully there will be a few die-hards who will be willing to get me through the night! My birthday is in March which likely would not be conducive to the event, so I think I will likely be looking to the end of April or early May sometime. I am already way excited about doing this! I love the camaraderie at ultras but I despise those terribly high entry fees and the cost of travel and housing. This way it costs me very little, I have my own bed, shower, and toilet at close disposal, and Joe will finally get to run some of a 100 with me. What better way to start a new decade of life!

"Great people and great athletes realize early in their lives their destiny, and accept it. Even if they do not consciously realize the how, the where, the what." --Percy Cerutty

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heineken Cup Rugby Off & Running!

Rugby action has been basically hit or miss for me over the summer, but things are back in action! Heineken Cup play is in full-swing and my Munster men seem to be getting their crap together. I watched in disgust as my team lost to Northhampton last week - didn't see that one coming.

Saturday night I got home for work around midnight and when I finally got to tune into the Munster vs. Treviso match, around 30 minutes into the match, Munster was down 10-7. I was worried that they were blowing it again. But things took a quick turn-around and despite some really disappointing kicking from Ronan O'Gara, who is normally a pretty stealth weapon in the kicking department, Munster managed to just roll all over Treviso. It was awesome and well worth staying up until 2am.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crewing, Recovering, & Converting

It’s been time to ease-off a bit and enjoy the Fall. I feel that I recovered well after IT50 and I have just been out and enjoying the Fall weather and colors. The nicest thing has been running with Joe and helping him to get ready for his Fall ultra, CanLake50(K), which was this past Saturday. Despite reports that the day was to start out rainy and overcast and that it would blow over early, it didn’t happen that way. The day started out with temps in the high 40s, raining, and overcast. It was actually pretty nice weather, if you were running. I, however, was crew for Joe this time around. It was great fun and an honor to do this job, but it did get a little cold at times as I was standing and waiting for Joe to come into the aid stations. I suppose I could have sat in the car, but I really wanted to watch the other runners and help out Lorrie, who was at different stages of the race than Joe. All in all, it was a really fun day with Joe finishing the 50K in 5:44:XX and Lorrie 5:08:XX. A warmer day would have been nice for the crews but definitely deadly for the runners.

I have been reading “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougal. It really is a great book and I am becoming a total convert. I am really seeing the light of less being more. It’s time to go back to “old-school” running, time to get rid of the straps and spending so much on the latest styles of sneakers. I have been running in an old pair of Asics Gel Trainers, which are a pretty flat running shoe and very light weight. I have been focusing more on my form and am finding out that running in these lighter less shoes has made my form better. Running is feeling less of an effort and much more enjoyable. And, much to my chagrin, I have to say that Joe has always been on to something. I am always after him to get new shoes and get more cushion under him. I am finding out that as long as the form is good and there are no structural parts altering your foot function, running in those old shoes is OK. It’s a neat concept and hard to explain, but I would highly recommend reading this book and seriously thinking about how you run.

It’s now time to start getting ready for the Stone Cat 50-Miler on November 7. This is a really awesome race. Last year was the first time running it for me and for Joe, who did the marathon (which he will be doing again this year). The course is a 12.5-mile loop which is run 4 times for the 50 miles. The volunteers are great and have a lot of fun out there and the amenities are totally excellent with a tech shirt when you get your number and a great jacket when you finish! And did I mention free beer?! It doesn’t get any better than this and you completely get back your $75 entry fee with all the stuff. And it will be another “family reunion” with Barbara, Greg, Karen, Rob, Will, Laura, and Jeff. Looks like this year we will also get to reunion with Aliza, Kelly, and Jack from Vermont. I guess it’s time to get back into training mode . . . I mean, it is a race, isn’t it? It’s just hard to think of it that way when you’re having so much fun.

And Heineken Cup rugby is back in action. My Munster team had a bad weekend, losing to Northampton. My man, O’Gara, had a bad day kicking, and I thought at the last minute the team might come through, but it just didn’t happen. Just as bizarre was the match between Leinster and London Irish, with London Irish beating the defending Heineken Cup Champions Leinster. Very Bizarre. But I’m not giving up on the Irish men of Leinster and Munster . . . they will come back.

So that’s it for this week; not much to report. Had to break-out the tights today for the first time . . . it was a whopping 34 degrees when we went out to run! I had the constraints of wearing tights, but I think I have a few more shorts-wearing days left.

Over-and-out for now. Have a great week and get out and enjoy the cool Fall weather and the great mosaic of colors!