Sunday, July 31, 2011

This And That And This

Last Wednesday was supposed to be my first official track workout in training for November's Philly Marathon. I hate track workouts but I really and truly believe that they've improved my running speed when I've stuck to a schedule.  Abby was going to join me but our morning schedules didn't quite match up. She managed to convine me to go to her gym for a midnight run on a treadmill. On a Tuesday. Midnight. Treadmill. Tuesday. Someone else's gym. But not just any midnight run on a treadmill -- a timed mile for Keri's "Are You Faster Than You Were In High School" virtual race. Abby summed it up best in her post (and her gym is nice, crazy cheap and, oddly, empty at 12:15 in the morning). It wasn't too painful and went by quick, fortunately. I hope to get my time down to where it was the last time I was doing any sort of track work regularly last fall as I prepped for the NYC marathon.

Are we silly people or what?

> On Friday after work I headed to Kempton, Pa. to volunteer for the GOALS 12-hour adventure race. This is one of my favorite races and we do it more years than not. Bill, however, was wrapping up school and I didn't have the energy to try to convince someone else to do it with me so I decided to volunteer instead.

I swear, today I am more sore than if I had done the race. Ten hours of hauling bikes to and from, lifting stuff, running around, sweating my face off, cooking in the sun ... I was spent by the end of the day. And will present every race volunteer I ever encounter with a brand new car and a dozen roses at the end of every race. I think the day was a little more insane than even the race directors anticipated. There were about 40 teams and about 15 of those teams were first-time racers who had never done an adventure race of any distance.

While a 12-hour race is something I think most people who want to can accomplish, the GOALS race has the challenge of hilly terrain and, most years, a ton of bushwacking. Lots and lots of elevation gain on bike and on foot with a paddle through a creek that never actually has any water in it combined with fair but non-obvious navigation seemed to take many teams by surprise. I was at checkpoint 8, where the race directors anticpated the top teams would arrive about three hours into the race and that the back of the pack would come through after about five hours. The frontrunners were right on target but the back of the pack came through closer to nine hours in, leading to unanticipated short-coursing and teams who seemed surprised by the challenge of the (in my opinion, entirely fair, entirely doable) course.

I was more smelly, more dirty and more tired by the time I got home on Saturday evening than I've been after most of the races I've done this year. Go figure. And then go hug your favorite race volunteer.

> It is hot here. I just realized that tomorrow's post-work run will probably have to take place on a treadmill so I can run it at the speed I want to without worrying about melting to death. I am trying to embrace all the recent treadmill runs but,  barf. 

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