Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Down with the sickness

No, this post's title doesn't refer to the Disturbed song, although I wish it did (it's a pretty good song). I was down this weekend with a cold/flu type thing (don't think it was the dreaded H1N1). Of course, that's no excuse for not posting anything last week, but I don't have a better excuse, so I'll just go with it.

In a nutshell, the last two weeks went fairly well. I broke 60 miles the week before last and was well on my way to breaking 70 last week until I was felled by the bug. All I needed was my 18 miler on Sunday to finish the week with 71 miles, but instead I spent half the day sleeping in the recliner in front of the Steelers/Vikings game and the other half sleeping in my bed. It was an exciting day. So, I guess this week's planned cutback couldn't have come at a better time since it's gonna be a cutback regardless of whether it was planned or not. I did manage 5 miles this morning, but my lungs burned the whole and I several coughing fits in the middle of it.

One thing that's become blatantly obvious over the past couple of months is that I simply am not capable of running as fast in the early morning as I can later in the day. The week before last, my fastest paced run was actually my long run, which I started at about 8 AM, as opposed to 4:30 AM for my weekday runs. This past week, I ran a few times starting at 4:30 and averaged around 8:45 miles for those runs. On Friday, I had the day off so I took off on my 11.5 mile run at 9:00. I subsequently averaged 8:04 miles for that run while putting out what seemed like the same level of effort. Unfortunately, it's just not practical for me to do all of my runs in the late morning or afternoon. Unless I win the Powerball. Until then, I guess I'll just have to live with it.

The standings for the Black Hills Trail Series were updated this weekend and it's looking pretty good for me (knock on wood). With one race to go on Nov. 7th, I lead the Men's Open Division with 36 points. The next closest runner has 28 points. The most points you can get in one race is 10, so assuming he wins our division in the last race to earn 10 points, I would need only 3 points (8th place in the division) to secure the overall series win. That is extremely doable, assuming no extenuating circumstances (and I've already gotten sick, so hopefully that one is out). In many ways, this race series is like NASCAR. It's not so much how many races you win, but how many you finish in a respectable position. Case in point, the guy in second is definitely faster than me and has smoked me at every race he's been at. But, he's missed the last two races and I only missed one race, which has given me the edge. The last race, the unofficial South Dakota Trail Championships, is different from the others in that there are actually two distances (10K and 16K) you can choose from and you can gain points from either distance. So, there will be a 10 point winner from each distance. This could add a strategical aspect to the series since you could conceivably just wait to see what distance the faster guys are running and then enter the other distance in the hopes of scoring an easy win. But, I'll go on the record as saying that I'm planning on running the 16K with absolutely no knowledge of who else is running it. I'll let the cards fall as they may. It's not like there's a million dollars on the line (is there?).

Hey, big football weekend coming up. Actually, it starts tonight. Belle's first playoff game is tonight at home against Hot Springs, a rematch of the regular season game that Belle won by 3 points, but easily could have been a 30 point blowout (if that makes any sense). Why a Tuesday playoff game you ask? Beats the hell outta me....the South Dakota playoff schedule is screwy beyond comprehension. In any case, the even bigger game is on Saturday in Missoula where the #2 ranked Griz take on #14 ranked Weber St. for the Big Sky Conference championship (probably). Last year, Weber beat the Griz 45-28 during the regular season in Ogden, but then got upset on the last weekend of the regular season so they ended up tying for the conference title (no tie-breakers in the Big Sky, they just recognize co-champions). The two teams met again in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in Missoula and the Griz won 24-13 and eventually went on to the national championship game (the outcome of which I won't discuss here). Both teams feature high-powered offenses and not so good defenses, so it looks like a shootout on paper. Washington-Grizzly Stadium, stacked with 26,000 screaming Griz fans, is an extremely tough place to play, so hopefully the edge will go to the Griz. For the hell of it, I'll just say the Griz do to them what they did to us last year and win it 45-28 at home.

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