Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Mount Greylock Trail Race

This was my first go on this trail race. I heard 2 reports prior to the race, a very tough and not so bad. My version goes with the first, Mt Greylock is a tough bastard of a race and the other guy who thought it was 'not so bad' was obviously messing with me.

The race starts with a 3 mile scramble up thunderbolt trail climbing over 2000 ft. A tough climb, i fared well holding a position in the top 15. As the climb got steeper, my run transitioned into a fast hike. I noticed how the more experienced trail runners hiked more efficiently and faster than i could. I was greeted at the summit with a couple of teenagers in traditional Mexican dress ringing cowbells and hollering ye-haaaas. Their cheers were very welcomed. At the first rest stop I grabbed a handful of trail mix, drank some powerade and began the 11 mile descent (more or less).

My goal for the race was completion, I had no intention to compete, so as I began the downhill portion, my plan was to take it easy and not break an ankle. Regardless the downhill portion was to be proven quite technically. Fast, steep, single track covered in rocks and roots, there was a certain amount of  'fear factor' as i ran down those trails. As i focused one step ahead of the other, I was being passed by runner after runner in blazing speed. Even though I practice on trails once a week, my experience does not compare to these seasoned trail runners. There is a certain level of skill that I need to develop in running these rocky paths. 

At around mile 8 or so, the trail opened up to a beautiful field with the Appalachian Mountains in the background. Over the next grassy hill the teenagers from earlier were ringing their cowbells. I love these kids. I gave them a few high fives, stopped at the rest stop, drank some water, and enjoyed the view.

I finished the race in 2:09 minutes, 28th place out of 178 runners. Given my average road half marathon, this race took almost an hour longer. 

WMAC puts on a fantastic race. Like their other races, Monore and Savoy, the Greylock Trail Race is a classic grass roots race. No fancy arches to run through, hi tech computerized timers, massage tables, or finisher medals, just a great course with great food, potluck style from the race organizers.

Left:  On the menu: hot dogs with all the toppings, 2 types of pasta salad, various cookies, all sorts of potato chips, bananas and other fruit, double fudge brownies, pastries, bananas, chocolate milk, soda, and beer.

Training Week 6/18-6/24

First week on vacation by the beach. You would figure being next to the ocean i would be able to get in more kayaking. Yet vacationing is hard work and after all the fishing, Portugeses Festival, wine tours, and a heat wave of several  95 deg days, i was exhausted. I need a vacation from my vacation. Overall though a productive week.

Monday: NADA
Tuesday: BRICK run 4.5, 10k Kayak race at the
              rows (see post)
Wednesday: NADA travel day
Thursday: Cycle: 41 total: 19mph total
Friday:    Cycle: 38 total 19 mph avg with Charlie
Saturday: Long Run relay training. 7.5 miles in the
               AM,  7.5 miles in the afternoon. 15 total.
Sunday:   20min barefoot beach run followed with
                 20 mins stretch.

Total: Run: 21.5 miles, Cycle: 79 miles Kayak: 6.1
Time in Training: 8 hours

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 19 Holyoke Rows Kayak Race

What a great showing at this weeks kayak race with Mark Wendolowski, Joe Shaw, Ed, Dvorchick, John McCarthy,  Christopher Kielb, Jack Morse, and Mike Craft. Conditions were choppy with 15 mph southerly wind producing some 1-1.5 foot waves. Great conditions for the surf skis.

As Mark let out the command 'go' Joe, Jack, and myself in surf skis moved ahead in a pack. Mark was there too but taking in water in his ICF boat. Two words Mark, spray skirt. After a short while Mark's boat filled with water and had to head to the river bank to empty out the boat. I did my best to hang on to Joe and Jack's draft, staying on their wave. After the first turnaround, Joe and Jack. begin to move ahead and i lost their draft.

This was Jacks first race in a surf ski and he was matching Joe's paddle stroke for stroke. Jack is famous for his racing and training on the CT in C-1s and C-2s (solo racing canoe and tandem racing canoe). The transition from canoes to kayaks for Jack seemed to be seamless. As much as I tried to close the gap to catch up, they would move just a little more ahead of me.

As we approached the second bridge i was still holding on to third place. Then i heard a little splash of water and realized Mark Wendolowski, after having his boat filled up with water, paddle to the bank, dump the water, paddle back in the race, has caught up to me. I know there was a good chance he would catch up, after all he is one of the best at this sport. Yet I was amazed at how little noise he made with his stroke, i never heard him catch up. Signs of a really good paddle stroke!

I stayed with Mark for 200 or so yds after the turnaround and then he took off. At that point i was really feeling cramped in the V10l, a surf ski about 2 sizes too small. (i could not stretch out my legs more than a 30deg knee bend). A few times paddling up-wind  i felt the instability of  being a boat too small  and my hamstrings where cramping.  I am looking forward to racing in a boat that actually fits me. Someday i suppose.  Yet, for now, the seat in the V10 is more comfortable than any racing kayak i have used so far!

Great weather, great turnout, great race. Lets do it again next week,

The final results follows

1. Joe Shaw
2. Jack Morse
3. Mark Wendolowski
4. John McCarthy
5. Mike Craft
6. Ed Dvorchick
7. Chris Kielb (late start)

The CT river from Holyoke Rows

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lake Wyola Road Race

One thing about racing is that athletes tend to be so  focused on racing, they miss whats happening around them. Thankfully i pre-ran the Lake Wyola course and really got to experience the beautiful scenic roads and neighborhoods. This course is a gem. Yet, like most races, once the race begin, the view point changes.

The Lake Wyola trail race is a challenging 4.8 mile course that ascends for 2 miles, decends rapidly down a shady dirt road followed with rolling hills before the straight away to the finish.  I moved up that first hill at a moderate pace without falling too far behind my competition. By the time i reached the top of the hill though, i was already feeling exhausted. My recovery is not as quick as it used to be. I was still holding on to 6th place, behind some of the faster runners in the area. On the downhill, i let my legs fly and made some progress, but it was the rollers on the last 2 miles that really made me feel like i hit a wall. This was a tough race for me. I finished in 7th overall.

The race included a team competition and as a member of the Sugarloaf Athletic Mountain Club we had a great turnout with 3 racers in the top 10 and a second place finish. I got to take home a massive danish that Crytal, her sister Ann Marie, and myself ate for the rest of the week.

After the race, several of us  went for a 3 mile cool down through some of the prettiest shady meandering dirt roads. I definitely want to head back to Shutesbury for more long runs..they are fantastic.  My knee felt good and after all was done I tallied just about 14 miles. This is about the time the brain starts putting crazy ideas in my + distance=racing longer i dare start to think of the 'M' word again.