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3M 1/2 Marathon Recap

I was a little more nervous than usual at the start of 3M. The previous distance challenge races had little discussion or conversation in the papers. I guess my consistency in winning the local races had some buzz going. The Statesman put a nice article up on Saturday prior to 3M. That started getting me thinking about how cool it would be to win a big race like 3M. I also was the “favorite” which can add pressure. I slept a normal amount and felt fine the morning of the race. I had been dealing with a foot injury that developed at the Bandera 25k trail race the previous weekend. I was a little concerned that it would be an issue.

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I woke Ashley up to take me to the start (very sweet of het). Like a little kid, I talked to her about my nerves. I realized I was nervous because I was excited and wanted to win. My dad had come into town to hang out, and I was excited to have them both there. Ashley told me that it was normal to be nervous, and that it was probably weird if I didn’t get nervous.

People often look at me as a laid back dude, and I like to think of myself that way as well. Inside though I still get some pre race nerves. That is probably something that will never change and I guess that is why we race! It is a challenge!

I did my typical warm up of 15-20 min jog plus my warm up drills. The weather was perfect at 45 degrees and clear. I touched base with Scott Rantel, Chuy Martinez, and some other guys that were racing. I wore my typical 2XU compression shorts and singlet. No gloves or hat needed. For shoes I wore the Saucony A5 for the 2nd time. I wore them at the Rogue 30k and they worked fine there. Looking back, they may have been just a little thin, and I plan to run Austin Marathon in something just a little thicker. I threw my pack into Conley’s lead vehicle, so we would have it at the finish.

After the national anthem the race went off! I started off just as I had planned. I was comfortable just above 5 min/mile pace. 5:07 it was. I was chatting a little with Scott and others around. We hit a downhill at mile 2 and apparently I picked up the pace a little. I came through at 4:52 or so. I felt comfortable, but eased off the throttle just a tad. That separated me a little from everyone. I came across the first aid station and everyone was cheering and yelling. I heard a familiar voice screaming “Go Erik, Go Erik, You can do it!” like it was a song. Then I saw Gilbert pop out from behind the water stop. It was nice to see a familiar face cheering.

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I didn’t stop for water the entire race. The weather was nice and cool, and my mouth was gross and full of spit. I didn’t feel like trying to drink anything. As I ran through the aid station I was trying to listen to how far the next cheer was to know how far ahead I was. I didn’t want to look back, so after listening I figured I was probably 15-20 seconds or so. I got to mile 4 and started drifting mentally thinking about the end of the race, breakfast, life transitions, etc and felt ready to be done. My calves were already pretty sore and tight early on. I was a little surprised that I felt that worn down so early. I guess that it how you feel after racing 3 weekends in a row. I also forgot to pack my 2XU socks, which would have helped.

I had no choice though but to carry on of course. I had to start breaking up the race. I began thinking about just getting to mile 6. I could feel the outside of my foot starting to bother me from my ankle sprain I had at Bandera the previous weekend. “Nothing I can do about it now, so just don’t think about it,” I thought.

Once I got to 6.5-7 though I started focusing on keeping pace until mile 10. I knew mile 7-8 or 8-9 was going to have some more uphill. I couldn’t remember the visual in my head I had of the elevation chart. I hit the mile 9 at 5:23 or so and was a little surprised. I heard  James Dodds and McClung cheering right around mile 10. That snapped me out of my spell.

John Conley was in the front truck and he would yell out my name so that people could cheer for me. At first I just thought, “maybe all these people know me somehow.” I felt pretty “big-time” and then realized it was because of John. It was nice though to have folks cheering for me.  Someone yelled that I was about 45 sec ahead…I still was not going to look back. I figured it would be pretty tough for someone to catch me then. They would have had to start dropping 4:45’s and I knew that was unlikely. I still just wanted to finish.

I got through mile 10 and then was looking forward to the run down Duval.  I realized that I had forgotten to cut my toenails. I could feel the sock around my toes socking up the blood from my toenail digging into the toe next to it. Yummy! I was able to maintain pace through campus. I saw Dori just at mile 13 and she was really cheering loud! I had one last little climb up MLK and saw the finish line.

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I saw Ashley and my pops just then. It was exciting for them to be there at the finish. It felt great to finish on top! I thought I would be a little faster, but that 5:23 mile from 9-10 put me back a little.

Overall I really enjoyed the course. I would’ve though a downhill course would have felt more downhill than it did. I will finish this week fairly easy and try to get some workouts and mileage in the next 2 weeks leading into the Austin Marathon. Should be a solid group of folks coming to run fast with the prize money this year! I think I could go 2:25 on a good day and low 2:20’s on a great day.

This will be my second road marathon, although I have run much further on the trail a handful of times. I am excited for a hilly course! Good luck to everyone getting ready for the big race! Hope to see you out there!

MCT: Decker Challenge 2013

Great run today at Decker Challenge Half Marathon! 1ST overall in 69 minutes. Not super fast, but was enough for today on a pretty hilly course. Nice conditions at 30 degrees. Thanks to Taco Deli bikers out there riding with me! Thanks to all the volunteers at the water stops and folks cheering. You guys helped break up the long lonely stretches out there. 

2 Week Training Log- Trail meets the Road

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Last set! Top of Ladera “Double Rainbow all the Way!”

Thursday- 7/18- Ladera Norte Repeats with Off Rogues- 11 mile- 80 min (humid 78 degrees) Felt like trying to breath under water

pm- 8 mi easy

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Wednesday-7/17-  60 min- 8 mile + core+ Ross X 2- form drills

Tuesday- 7/16- 10 min warm up, form drills

6 mi progressive run on roads (North Loop and  Brentwood)- 5:54,5:40,5:32,5:29,5:22,5:09 (mile 4-5 were mostly up. struggled to bring time down) 15 min cool down

pm- 8 mi easyimage

(Above- Turqoise lake on our last visit to Leadville)

Monday- 7/15- 30 min am, 30 min pm + core and push ups and Ross X 2

Sunday- 7/14- 1:55 Mesa and Ladera Norte (tough getting hilly long run in solo-kept it pretty easy though) 17 mi

Saturday 7/13- Ran with Off Rogues and Trail 101 at Lake Georgetown-12 mi easy

Friday- 7/12- 45 min in Wimberley with Warren B!

Thursday- 7/11- 12 mi in Wimberley with Allison and Jeff K (Hilly up)

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(On my way back from fly fishing near our cabin in Leadville)

Wednesday- 7/10- 2 hr easy- 16

Tuesday- 7/9- Tempo Run solo & off feel, on the track- 15 min warm up- form drills- 5:13,5:09,5:04,4:58 (pretty humid and hot- 80 degrees this morning and sweatin’ like a dog- felt good to get on the track. Not bad for middle of the summer)

Monday- 7/8- Easy 60 min

 

Leadville Heavy Half

The gun went off and there we went - straight up towards Mosquito Pass.

The race started at 10,200 ft. I felt alright, but slightly nauseous and headache. I was carrying more than I needed, but figured better be safe than sorry on this race. One of my water bottles popped out of my vest right at the start and I kicked it away. I had one bottle of Nuun and a Honeystinger gel. I felt good in my 2XU compression shorts and socks! 

We ran up on the road for a mile and gained a couple hundred feet as we hit the dirt road. I made my way into 3rd, but was unable to keep a consistent distance between myself and the first 2 runners. We started around 7 min pace, but as we started gaining elevation I quickly went between 8-9 min pace/mile. We started getting some light rain and sleet, which cooled things off. The front runners continued to pull further away. 

I hit the fist aid station at 2.5 and grabbed a swig of water and roctane drink. I had about a mile of flat and downhill before I started to climb again.  Ughh! This was tough! I tried to catch my breath, and was dealing with some negativity creeping in. I tried to remain patient and knew I could not really go much faster with no significant elevation training and only a few weeks of consistent training for this race. So, I tried not to be too hard on myself and be ok with not being in the front. 

I maintained 3rd place through the 2nd aid station around mile 4.5-5. I saw Audie (Ashley’s mom) and my mom here. I waved and tried not to look too pitiful as I glared up at the mountain climb ahead to the top of the highest pass in Colorado. I grabbed a bite of watermelon and tried to keep it moving. 

I started up and this is where the real climbing started. I kept running, but soon enough was power walking. 4th place came up from behind and I tried to stay with him for as long as I could. I went to a walk run at this point….more walk than run though. We were above tree line and the view behind was epic. Mt Massive and Elbert in the background were awesome. Old broken down mines through the valley added to the view. As we climbed the temperature dropped and I started feeling a little worse. I knew that the climb was short enough that no matter how bad I felt, I just needed to get up to the top and I would feel much better on the way down. 

There were a few times I wanted to turn around. I started feeling dizzy and sorry. My heart was pounding just walking up the mountain. I remembered what I told the rest of the runners that came with me from the Off Rogues, “We are fortunate to be running this race, and this will be a challenge for all of us. We will have times of doubt and fear, but keep moving and roll with the ups and downs.” That tended to help. I also just maintained focus on the trail ahead and adding a stretch of running every few minutes. I did have many ups and downs in the 3 mile climb up. I ran when I felt good and walked when I felt bad. 

I could hear someone coming up from behing me. I looked back and this guy was power hiking up ready to pass. I did a double take and realized this guy was probably 55-60 yr old! Shit! I was about to get passed by someone twice my age. I cheered him on and was inspired. This guy was incredible. I got passed by 2 more people on the way to the top. 

As runners were already heading back down I knew I had to be fairly close. I got to the top and looked around briefly and took a swig of something at the aid station and was ready to get down. My legs were like jello and the road was super rocky. I thought I would be able to run faster on the downhill, but stayed at a semi in controlled pace. Part of me did not want to reinjure my hip as this is one of the main reasons for running the half instead of the full. 

I cheered on just about everyone I passed. I saw Ryan Boyd first and he looked pretty good. Jacque, Karen, and Arnold were all cheering as I came by. I was glad they were running together and pushing each other. Joel was looking good in the marathon as he headed up mosquito pass. Then Peter, Ashley and Bethany were all nearby running together. High fives to all of them!

I caught 6th place runner just before the aid station, but he passed me as I took a minute to get down some coke and watermelon. I was still feeling nauseous, coke usually helps. I saw my mom and gave her a high five and Audie as well. Audie told me to get on after those boys! I only had 5 miles to go and knew I would have an advantage with less decline the rest of the run. I also remembered that I had about a mile of incline left. 

I figured some people may have forgotten this climb and wanted to make sure that I stayed strong at this point. I caught 6th place and 5th place on this stretch. As I entered the last aid station I was in 5th. I grabbed a coke and kept moving. I had been carrying the gel in my hand since mile 5, but could not get myself to open it. No point in trying now. 

I big truck drove by and dusted the hell out of us! They apologized as they drove by… I didn’t really know what to say, so I said nothing. My mouth was really dry, and did not enjoy the mountain dirt in my lungs. 

Up ahead I saw 4th and 3rd pretty close. The 4th place dude was moving up on 3rd and I was moving up on both of them. I looked down at my watch and was running between 4:45-5:15 pace. I passed both of them with about 1-1.5 mile to go. 3rd place dude looked like he had a nice fall with some gashes on his shoulder. Tough break… I hit the road and started to feel a little nauseous again, but knew I had 5-7 minutes left. I probably hit mile 14-15 in just under 5 min and could see the finish line ahead. 

I cruised in and was happy to be done. Took about 1:24 up, 50 min to get down from the top. 3rd place was not bad. The winner came in in 1:58 as the first ever to break 2 hr for the race. Course record by 8 min! Pretty cool. 

( I look like the dude from star trek with a big wrinkled head)

I headed back up the course shortly after eating my Epic bar to cheer on the rest of the group as they finished. I was truly inspired to see how well everyone did. This was much harder than our last race at elevation (Steamboat Stinger) and everyone finished! Go Off Rogues!

Race Results: http://my1.raceresult.com/details/results.php?lang=en&page=6&eventid=17569&contest=2&name=Result%20Lists%7CHALF%20-%20Overall%20Results&format=view

Update

Night running, Trail 101, and prepping for the Leadville trail marathon are what’s new! Summer trail training and trail 101 started this June. I now have Thursday morning hill workout incorporated. Austin’s own Epic bars helping to keep me going (bison, bacon, and cranberry!), took the Rogue trail series training class over to Hops and Grain for a happy hour. Thanks to Josh for staying late! An old Rogue friend dropped by to show me his Keys 100 finisher medal! What a badass. Longest run was a half ironman and then did the keys 100 with his son. Awesome! Leadville trail marathon June 29th! Looking forward to a great run in the mountains!

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New Balance 1210- Ultra Awesome!

The New Balance 1210 (aka Leadville) busted in this year as an ultra trail shoe ready to toe the dirt line next to the Brooks Cascadia. With a smooth transition, 8mm offset, and 10.4 oz on the Rogue scale  (size 9), I really like this shoe.

The 1210 was designed for ultra running, and named after the Leadville 100 mile trail race. It was created by NB after testing and measuring how runners’ feet respond to Leadville itself. New Balance increased the volume of the upper to allow for foot swelling over longer distances. It also offers a slightly denser foam on the inner heel to provide some stability for tired feet, while the tongue is fairly protective and keeps the laces from adding pressure to the top of your foot.

Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time in this shoe as I rebuild my mileage. I logged 75 miles last week, with most of my runs on the Barton Creek Greenbelt and Bull Creek here in Austin,TX.

One run that stands out is my new Wednesday adventure run from the 360 access, The Hump-day Hump Run. This is a run open to the world! We meet at Taco Deli (Spyglass) and run 75 minutes (give or take a few miles) at 7:15 am on the Greenbelt. There are no trail markers or restrictions to where we go: we run, we talk, we eat tacos.

tumblr_inline_mkqx201wZ81qz4rgpThis past Wednesday we headed through the “Sweet 16″ where the trail crosses the creek 16 times within a few miles. This was the morning after more than 2″ of rain, so we were having fun! The shoe has a ton of room, and some would say it feels too wide. Being the “Leadville” I would say there is adequate space for 100 miles of foot-swelling mountain running. The shoe did drain really well, even with the multiple creek crossings.

As a lighter “ultra shoe”, I still don’t consider this a minimal running shoe. 8 mm offset is less than the Cascadia for sure, but she still has some girth. The Vibram tread is pretty grippy, as I found on some of the steeper sections, and I didn’t have to be overly cautious. Even on the wet limestone it stuck better than other trail shoes! The tread on the heel is reversed to keep you from slipping while braking on the downhills.There is some rock protection, but I still feel sharper rocks poke through a bit. For the most part, this provides enough protection for me.

I did pick up quite a bit of mud, as the trail was a fresh, soggy mix of mud and clay. No shoe could have kept the mud from sticking! I had to stop and tie my shoe a few times; it’ll take some knot experimentation to find out what works best to keep these laces tied.

I’d been dealing with pain and mild swelling on the top of my right foot since Cactus Rose, and the tongue on the 1210 does a solid job keeping off the pressure on that area. It’s not a fluffy pillow, but more like a Tempur-pedic pad that evenly distributes any pressure.

tumblr_inline_ml5mlayau61qz4rgpWe hit Travis Country and ran the road for a mile or so, which was fine – I didn’t slip or have any problems on the asphalt. We ended up hitting a few creek crossings on the way back from Rattle Snake, and I had one more shoelace tie to take care of before finishing at Taco Deli.

All in all, the 1210 is a great shoe that everyone should consider as their next trail purchase!

(Next week. You be there. Hump Day Hump Run from Taco Deli. 75min at 7:15am. Come explore!)

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