Monday, September 29, 2008

Dancing with the sun

This was supposed to be another week of 80+ miles after last week's cutback, but it just didn't work out that way. Still, after a horrible start on Sunday, the rest of the week went alright and I got in some decent mileage, just not as much as planned. There're three culprits for that: feeling like crap on Sunday, work and a Saturday race:

Sunday - 4.77 miles. This was actually supposed to be a double day, with 8 or so in the morning and another 5 in the afternoon. I skipped the morning run because my wife was running a 10K in Spearfish and then we went to brunch after that. When I took off in the afternoon with the goal of getting the 8 done, I felt like absolute crap. I honestly thought about bagging it less than two blocks from my house, but charged on and suffered through 4.77, having to make two, yes two, porta-john stops in that time. It wasn't pretty...

Monday - 13.05 miles. As bad as Sunday's run went, Monday's was equally as good. Whatever was wrong with me the day before was gone today. Also played basketball at lunch time.

Tuesday - 10.13 miles

Wednesday - 10.25 miles and more basketball at lunchtime.

Thursday - 10.84 miles in the morning, 5.18 in the afternoon. This was a classic South Dakota fall day. It was chilly (mid 30s) during my morning run and then overly warm (high 70s) during my afternoon run. So, I was cold in the morning and sweating my butt off in the afternoon.

Friday - 10.03 miles in the morning followed by a 13.5 hour workday. With fall comes prescribed fire season at the U.S. Forest Service and since I still have my fire quals, I have the option of helping out with burns. Never one to turn down overtime, I jumped in and spent a majority of the day hiking up and down the burn unit lighting fire and eating smoke. Not exactly the best way to prepare for a 10K the next day...

Saturday - 7.65 miles, including the inaugural Sundance Trail 10K. The race was held just northwest of Sundance, WY in the Bearlodge Mtns. and only about a mile from the unit we had burned the day before. I was concerned that there would be a bunch of residual smoke socked in over the race course, but it turned out to be a very nice, clear day. Unfortunately for me, the previous days workout had taken it's toll and I am very inexperienced when it comes to running trail races. Apparently, you shouldn't take off like it's regular ole road race, cuz you'll pay for it later. And pay I did. The middle couple of miles were pretty brutal, but once I got to the high point of the course at about halfway and started back down, I started feeling much better and was able to run a big negative split and finish strong. I finished in 55:04, good for 6th overall and 2nd in my AG. Really, the "I worked hard all day yesterday" excuse is kind of a lame one, because three of the people who finished ahead of me were co-workers who had also burned the day before (but I'm guessing they hadn't run 10 miles before burning....or a total of over 70 miles for the week). One thing I learned for sure is that my hill climbing legs aren't nearly as developed as they were back when I was a full time firefighter and hiked trails like that every day.

Total - 71.88 miles

So, a crappy (literally) run on Sunday and no long run for the week, but I still topped 70 miles, which ain't too shabby I guess. With no races and (hopefully) no weird stomach issues getting in the way this week, I should be back over 80.

As for the weekly soccer/football update, my son played his 4th soccer game on Saturday morning. I missed it because of the trail race, but saw the video highlights and he banged home two more goals and his team was actually competitive this time. No Seahawks game this weekend, which immeasurably reduced my stress level on Sunday, but the other three teams I follow all won: Belle Fourche 54-0 over Lead-Deadwood (Belle is now 4-0), Black Hills St. 48-2 over Mayville St. (BHSU now 3-1), and Montana pulled out a nailbiter, 38-35 over Central Washington (the Griz are now 4-0 also and are the owners of the longest regular season winning streak, 25 straight, in all of Division 1 college football).

This weekend, my wife will be heading down to Hill City to tackle her third half-marathon of the year (the Crazy Horse Half). I'm staying back with the kids and haven't decided yet whether or not we should go to Spearfish to watch the Black Hills St. vs. Dakota St. game or stay home to watch the Montana vs. Weber St. game on the internet. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Last week was a scheduled cutback week for me. After back to back weeks of 82 miles and a constant, steady increase in weekly mileage since Missoula, it was time to knock it back a notch and let my legs recover a little. A quick look at my running log reveals that I haven't had a rest day since August 10th. That may or may not be my longest running day streak, but I'd have to check to be sure.

Sunday - 9.4 miles

Monday - 7.1 miles

Tuesday - 7.6 miles

Wednesday - 8.4 miles, basketball in the afternoon

Thursday - 9.2 miles

Friday - 6.9 miles

Saturday - 16.1 miles

Total - 64.7 miles

It was an action-packed weekend, to say the least. Friday was Belle Fourche High's homecoming. The parade was in the afternoon, with my son riding on his preschool's float, and then it was off to the football game, which the Broncs won easily, 33-3, to move to 3-0 on the season (that's a lot of threes).

Saturday started off with me up at 4 AM to get my long run in. I had a good 16 miler, almost all in the dark (guess I'm getting in some good ultra training). After a quick shower and breakfast, it was off to Caiden's soccer game. My wife's sisters were in town to watch him play and my father-in-law also suprised him by showing up at the game, so he wanted very badly to score a goal. His team got obliterated but, finally, in the second half Caid took a kickoff down field and pounded it home to score his team's only goal of the game (they lost 10-1). The relief and excitement after he scored was obvious. After the soccer game, it was off to Spearfish for Black Hills State's homecoming parade and football game. The kids took home their body weight in candy from the parade and the Yellojackets beat down the South Dakota School of Mines 33-13 (yet more threes). After the game we did some bowling, followed by dinner at Applebee's, followed by grocery shopping at the Walmart Supercenter. Then, finally, we went home.

We were up early again on Sunday to head back to Spearfish for the inaugural Yellowjacket 5k/10k. My wife Shannon ran the 10K with hopes of breaking the one hour mark. As she re-entered the football stadium where the race started and finished, it was obvious that it was going to be close. She came around the final turn on the track and the seconds were ticking away, but she managed to cross the finish line in 59:59. Nothing like cutting it as close as possible, huh?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm going to be published!

Apparently, not all of my writing is senseless crap (believe it or not). Several months ago, on a whim, I emailed a few of my race reports to Rich Benyo, the editor at Marathon and Beyond, knowing full well that they weren't publishable in their current states. He responded several weeks later telling me as much, but asking if I had any other stories I could submit. I didn't. Until Missoula, that is. After I BQed there, I sat down and over the course of 30-45 minutes, pounded out a brief history of my running life and my quest for Boston. I read through it once to make sure there weren't any glaring grammtical errors or accidental naughty words and emailed it to Rich. Several more weeks passed with no word, leading me to believe that nothing would come of it. Then, out of the blue, I received an email from Rich last week asking for my mailing address so he could send a contract! Holy crap! I'm sending the signed contract back to him today. Not sure yet when it will be published, but I'll keep y'all posted. Now, in addition to reading my stupid rambling for free, you can pay $6.95 for an issue of Marathon and Beyond to do it!! What a deal, huh?

I won't bother with too many details of my running last week, since it was virtually identical to the week before (82.2 miles versus the previous week's 82). The weather is still awesome in the mornings, making it oh so much easier to get those big miles in.

I will take some time here to blatantly brag about my son, Caiden. He is 4 years old and Belle Fourche has a youth soccer league for kids under 6, so we signed him up. Caiden has played a very watered down version of soccer with me in our front yard (watered down is all I know, not being much of a soccer fan and never playing it myself), but he had never actually played "real" soccer. Well, after 3 practices and 2 games, it has become apparent that he is a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field. He was a little unsure and cautious in his first game, but something clicked in game 2 and he became a ball hawk, scoring 2 goals and chasing down the other team's best player several times to stop him from scoring. I'm also proud to report that Caid is definitely the fastest player on the team. Yesterday at practice, after about 10 minutes of scrimmaging a couple of the other kids were obviously tired and asking when they could be done. Caiden was still rarin to go....he would have scrimmaged for hours. As the team huddled up after practice, Caid's coach looked at him and said "You could go all night, couldn't you?". He has a blast at practice and at games...he plays with a huge grin on his face the entire time and when there are breaks in the action, he's jumping in place and clapping his hands, just totally overflowing with excitement and ready for the game to get going again. Glad to see that he inherited the ole competitive spirit!! The day when I stop "letting" him win at stuff may be closer than I thought it would be....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pounding out the miles

The weather was about as perfect as it gets this week and my mileage reflects that. It was under 50 degrees for every morning run, under 40 degrees for a couple. The result is that I tacked on a couple of extra runs to take advantage of the awesome weather and ended up with a few more miles this week than I had planned. Oh well.

Sunday - 8.5 miles

Monday - 11.2 miles in the morning, 4.1 in the afternoon. I split the afternoon run in two and took each of the dogs for a couple of miles (taking them both at once would be an exercise in stupidity, although entertaining I'm sure for any onlookers). Our black lab, Vedder, could run seemingly forever....two miles is nothing to him. On the other hand, our yellow lab, Molly, is dragging pretty good by the end of two and spends the rest of the day sprawled motionless on the floor.

Tuesday - 8.47 miles

Wednesday - 9.3 miles in the morning, 4 in the afternoon. Registered for the Boston Marathon!

Thursday - 10.77 miles

Friday - 8.44 miles

Saturday - 17.14 miles

Total - 81.97 miles (about 10 more than planned)

Along with the arrival of fall-like weather came the arrival of football season this week. It was oh so close to a perfect football weekend for me, with only the Seahawks blowing it by sucking big time against Buffalo yesterday. Belle Fourche took down 5th ranked Winner on the road 12-0, Black Hills St. upset Southwest St. 21-14, and Montana pulled out a close one on the road against a very good Cal Poly team, 30-28. The Seahawks sucked.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My favorite time of year

As is typical of changing seasons in South Dakota, we saw a drastic change in weather this past week. From a high of 100 degrees on Saturday, to a high of barely over 60 today. Fall is definitely on its way. Between the cooler running temps and the start of football season, I'm just about as happy as George W. Bush at Chuck E. Cheese.

Sunday - 6 miles along part of the Lean Horse Ultra course.

Monday - 8.5 miles

Tuesday - 6.9 miles

Wednesday - 8.6 miles

Thursday - 9.6 miles

Friday - 7.1 miles

Saturday - 16 miles

Total - 62.7 miles

This coming week is a big one all around. Today was my daughter's first day of preschool and she was a very big girl when I dropped her off, not crying one bit. This evening is my son's first soccer practice and his first game is on Saturday morning. It'll be kind of like a Chinese fire drill, but should be entertaining nonetheless. Registration for the Boston Marathon opens tomorrow....sometimes it still awes me that that actually matters to me this year. Belle Fourche High has a cross country meet in Spearfish on Thursday. Conveniently, I work in Spearfish and might be able to sneak over to the golf course and catch some of the race. The Belle football team has their first football game on Friday night, but they are on the road so I guess I'll have to watch the highlights on the news. Saturday is Montana's first football game of the year at Cal Poly, which should be a tough one as both are ranked in the top 15. Then, the day I've been waiting for ever since the infamous blizzard game in Green Bay during last year's playoffs comes on Sunday, when the Seahawks open their season in Buffalo. Sounds like a good excuse to head down to the local sports bar at 11 AM! Oh, and it looks like I'll break 70 miles this week easy....especially if this totally bodacious weather holds!