Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wake up call

The running cowboy got to kick it in for the team.

Last weekend we drove out to Bend for the Pole Pedal Paddle. . This relay consists of an alpine ski and a nordic ski on Mt. Bachelor, a cycle to Bend, a 5 mile (mostly) trail run, a paddle in the Deschutes river and a half mile sprint to the finish. Some of Marc's friends needed a skate skier (Marc) and a runner (me) to complete their team. I agreed, but between you and me, I wasn't super excited about it. Seemed like a lot of effort and expense to run 5 miles. Nevertheless, we had great time.

The Wiggling Tornado Worms, and friends.

Our team didn't start until 11, making it a midday run. The day was hot and the elevation in Bend is about 3600 ft so I tried to stay hydrated throughout the morning. Fred, our cyclist, came in about 12:30, with the bright sun high in the sky. The 5 mile course started out flat but soon headed on a steady uphill grade. Except for a few steep spots it was runnable, but I was definitely feeling the grade. I also noticed that my breathing was labored almost from the beginning. I was really feeling the altitude. There were aid stations along the course, but I carried a bottle and I'm so glad I did. It was hot! I used the water at the aid station to dump over my head. We've had a cool spring so far in Portland so this was my first hot run of the year. I definitely felt like I was laboring and kept hoping for the turnaround, scared to look at my watch to see how slow I was going. Once I started heading back down the hill my mental attitude improved significantly. I bombed down a few steep hills to make up some time. But along the river I had to walk a few of the steeper wasn't entirely flat as I hoped. I didn't think I'd have anything in me for a kick. Finally, I could see the crowd ahead but held off until I saw the long finishing chute and then I turned it on, finishing strong. I heard my name and there was Marc, touching off and then running quickly to help get the kayak in the water. I hit the timer on my watch. I had only looked at my watch once, but there weren't any markers on the course so I really had no idea of my pace. My finish time was 46 minutes exactly....a 9:12 pace. I was pleasantly surprised! I guess the heat and the elevation made me feel like I was laboring more than I was. That was a tough run for me!

No pictures, please! The little guy was a trooper. After spending a week at science camp with his classmates on the Oregon coast, he immediately came with us to Bend and had to hang out all day with us old folks.

The next day back in Portland, Marc and I met up with Bret for a mid-morning run on Wildwood. Bret and I both wanted to get in some hill work so we started at the Birch trail and ran to the zoo and back. Fortunately, the first few miles were mainly downhill so I could stretch out my running legs and feel like I was moving. But then the climbs started and I was sucking wind. I walked some of the hill to Cornell Rd and again pooped out on the big hill up to Pittock Mansion. It was a little demoralizing to recall that I used to be able to run the whole way up that big hill. But if I could do it once, I can do it again. I just need to work!

Thankfully we breaked for about 10 minutes at the zoo and, feeling refreshed, I was able to run most of the rolling hills back to the big Pittock Mansion climb. Again, I walked most of the grade and then tried to enjoy the downhill on the other side, knowing it would be the last. But on the hill from lower Balch creek up the birch trail I had to walk again. And a few times I had to actually stop for a few seconds to catch my breath and bring down my heart rate. Boy did I feel out of shape! The trail leveled out in spots and I was able to find my running legs again. But I did walk again all the way up Birch.

My pace for the run turned out to be about 12:30, which isn't so bad considering I kept the clock running during our breaks. But what a wake up call! Saturday's run made me realize that I really need to work on my heat training and I need to get in some time at elevation. Sunday's run showed how lacking I am on hills. And overall, I still need to work on bumping up my mileage.

This week I'm tapering for the Forest Park 50K next Sunday. I'm not quite at the point where I can get away without doing some sort of taper. In 2007 my time was about 6:30 and that was a week after running the Mac 50k. Despite my low mileage, that's my goal for this race, and to have fun, of course.


Joe said...

Wow, what a week!

Fascinating the way people come up with ideas for relays. That race is "so Oregon"!! Glad you enjoyed it.

The first time out in heat each year is always a surprise. Add some altitude and not surprising your breathing was labored. I wouldn't read too much into it, though.

So the 50K is upon you already! You'll be set...enjoy the time getting ready!

Carrie said...

You're running a 50K and yet you need to bump up your mileage? LOL. I think it's so awesome to hear you talk about running hills and having a kick, etc -- sounds like you are all better and just enjoying yourself again!

olga said...

I always envy your family times!