XTERRA White Tanks race recap

I am reall not very good at these race recap things, but will try anyhow.

It felt very good to get out this early in the year and put my first race under my belt. I really couldn’t have asked for much more except possibly to have better fitness, but the race itself was a joy to run.

The weather was near prefect, slightly cold for a race. The Suburban thermometer said that it was 39 degrees about 15 minutes prior to the start, and despite that being in my running tights or pants and gloves weather, I ran it in shorts, long sleeve running shirt, and a running hat thingy and felt fine.

The race was well organized, they had a nice sized fire blazing away in a fire pit right next to the registration area. The goodie bags themselves were huge. You could substitute them as a sleeping bag for an infant. The goodies themselves were at your discretion as you walked down the line, I stocked up but wasn’t greedy.

The race was fun with beautiful vistas of the White Tank Mountains. The trail was mostly single track mountain bike type trails which caused a lot of confusion for the apparently newer runners when the trail really narrowed down and there was more than 2 people side by side. For some reason I started way in the back of the pack, so I spent a good portion of the race trying to catch up to the people.

I should have started with, chances are I spent a bit too much energy playing catch up, but that was fine as I didn’t really have the intent to blow anyone away, despite my pre race tweet (Time to kick some ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum”). I did pass around 35-40 people while I allowed NO ONE to pass me (I did meet that goal!).

As stated the trail was mostly single track with some fire road portions, gently rolling with a few serious climbs thrown in for good measure. I made a few tactical errors in the race starting with hammering up a hill in order to pass 4 or 5 runners at around 3 miles, and I also sped up too much when I caught a glimpse of the finish line which caused me to be unable to catch the few ahead of me. I think if I would have kept it steady and gently increased my pace I would have been right behind them with about 30 meters to go. I had a girl go crashing down directly in front of me after tripping, I asked if she was alright and she told me that she was and to keep going, she really went down pretty hard.  I also saw a guy turn his ankle and tried his darndest to keep running as much as he could.  At the finish I did see both of them crossing the line, that made me feel good for them.

In the overall picture of things I was pleased with my performance and had a great time in doing so. Again, kudos to the Xterra folks for putting on a good race, I look forward to doing the series finale in Fountain Hills next month.

The finish line was well stocked with fruit, bagels, muffins, and the best post race treat in a long time, scrambled eggs! Got a decent little medal and a nice shirt (it was advertised as a technical t-shirt but is 100% cotton, no big deal to me but you know how people can be).

They had nice pint glasses to the age winners and water bottles for raffle prizes. I was shocked that some age groups only had 1 or 2 entrants. For example, the mens 20-24 age group had 1 guy in it. I figured that would have been one of the most crammed divisions, but it appeared that the older runners came out in force this weekend.

I wore the New Balance 101’s and I must say that they are a great trail shoe. Very light at 7.8 ounces (advertised weight) but the rock stop plate on the bottom kept me from getting any bruises despite stepping on several pointed rocks. The grip is also fantastic as I thought several times that I was going to turn my ankle as it started to roll on a rock or tree root, but every time as I got to the point of rolling it into damage the shoe held on and didn’t go any further. I didn’t get any rocks slipping down in them, which is usually a big problem for me when running off road. Overall I give these shoes a seal of approval!

Well the 2011 running season has started for me and I feel great about it. I even did a 20 minute recovery run on the dreadmill this afternoon. I hope your running is going well and hopefully I will see some of you out there on the path!

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New year = new challenges

Welcome 2011, and so long 2010.  I don’t really have anything against 2010, in fact it was overall a pretty good year for me.  I did many things, went many places, and had a lot of fun.  Sure there were the bad, sad, and crappy times but they were not in the forefront like they were in 2009.  If 2011 carries the torch that 2010 started it will be great year for me and my family.

So, new year=new challenges.  That is true.  For me the challenges this year will be to compete way more than I did last year and to really push myself to do things that the voice inside my head is telling me not to.  Not the things like try to drive the Suburban like a Bugatti Veyron through the streets, but the things like try to do some races and events that have intimidated me.  I might get the mountain bike down and take it back to where my endurance sports racing began.  Or maybe I will look to do distances well beyond anything I have ever thought of running in the past.  A 50K at altitude in Colorado, why not? Who knows, but I need to bring some fresh new challenges.

I stated earlier that training during the holidays can be difficult, and I kept my end of the bargain by not fully training as I wanted to.  I did get some good quality training in, and I can still feel my overall endurance improve and now that I am back in it I can feel it coming back and then some.  This Sunday I will be racing the Xterra White Mountain trail race.  I am not looking to bust onto the podium, but I am looking forward to letting loose and seeing what I can do at this point in time.  Hopefully it is the start of a great year of running and racing for me.  I hope to get at least 2 50K’s done this year but in searching the online race calendars I don’t see a lot that will fit into when I have time to travel and properly train so we will see what happens.  New challenges right?

I have been making an effort to get a more vegetable and fruit based diet worked in and so far it is going ok.  I ate at Pei Wei a few nights ago and had tofu instead of chicken in my Spicy Korean dish.  I did miss the taste, texture and smell of the chicken but I ended up being satisfied with what I ate and I do think that I have a bit more energy than usual.

Took a trip up to Sedona a few weeks ago and that was a blast as it always is.It was not as cold as it has been in the past, but as usual it snowed several inches and temps dropped into the teens 2 days after we left.  I got in a few good runs, but the combination of hills, altitude, and lack of quality runs caught up to me.  Still they were great runs.  I wanted to get up to Flagstaff to see if I could bump into Ryan Hall, but it was a no go.

I really wish there was a way to move up there but getting my wife to agree to move there is next to impossible.  Although she did say this trip that she could see herself living there.  Huge strides!

TEBOW!!!!

We took a little side trip to Page Springs Cellars to get a christmas present for my mother.  It is owned by the guy who co-owns Arizona Stronghold with Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer singer MJK.  Pretty cool little winery right in the middle of the Verde Valley.

I got the new iPod Nano for Christmas, it is a great piece of equipment for anyone who listens to music while running or working out.  If you are in the market for a new mp3 player, give this one a long look.

I really don’t have much more to say, so here a little motivational video to get you going.

New stuff

Good Labor day out to everyone out there!

A few items of note for today.  I was looking at the YMCA Valley of the Sun half-marathon as a possible upcoming race even though I really don’t care at all for the route.  To my surprise this year the route has changed!  The entire race is now inside South Mountain Park.  Why they didn’t do this years ago I will never know but I am glad that they did it.  In the past the route took you down Central Ave and you we running right next to cars going in and out of South Mountain Park.  I am guessing that there will still be some auto traffic to deal with, but not anywhere near as bad as before.  Due to this change I just may be there this year. In it’s 42nd year this is Arizona’s oldest continuous race.

I will be in Flagstaff the weekend of September 17th for the Soccer at the Summit  soccer tournament. I am looking forward to this trip as I really would like to run Buffalo Park a few times, tour the Lumberyard Brewing facilities, and get out of this blasted heat.  Its september and still 110 degrees out here.  That ain’t right.

As for my running I had a decent week last week with some faster, longer runs mixed in with my regular training.  I have been able to maintain a better diet by mixing in more fruits and veggies.  I had some thoughts about trying the 8-1-1 diet but it appears a bit extreme for me (I know I like easy).  Maybe I can swing it for 30 days and see how I feel.

I am also eyeing the Xterra trail race at Estrella Mountain Park as a possible upcoming race.  Trial runs are always harder than road races simply because of the elevation changes and rough terrain, but I may try it.  Looking at the prior race results I will probably be a back of pack runner for this event, but it would be good for me to get out and give it a shot.

Today I got in a very steamy 6 miles, fairly slow pace but I will take it given the heat, humidity, and this locked neck vertebrae.  If I can keep a consistent level of miles going along with some more good tempos on the dreadmill I think I will be able to PR at the next half-marathon I run.  I really haven teen able to keep any decent consistency with my training.  I will have a few good days in a row and eat halfway decently, then I will go and miss a workout or two and eat like crap, which pushes me back about a week in training (at least by feel).

Here is a new IPA I recently picked up.  From the beer mecca of Salt Lake City.

Again, happy labor day and I will see you on the roads!