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2007 Races/Events

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Short River To River followup

I managed to dig up some data from my performance at the 2006 River To River for comparison to this year's running. Last year, I ran leg 7 (which is a bit easier than leg 6, to say the least), averaging an 8:16 pace. This year, I finished with an average pace of 7:48, over significantly more difficult sections...that's 28 seconds per mile faster! I guess that means training + nutrition's worked :)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

River To River Race Report

Josh, Kathleen and I met the Buffalo for lunch on Friday, then packed up the car and headed for Marion.

Much attention was paid to the cross in Effingham
Effingham cross
and the French school buses
French schoolbus
(we kept driving past school buses with all of the text on them written in French. We both saw this, so I'm confident it wasn't a pre-race hallucination)

Arrived in Marion around 6, just as 'A Country Boy Can Survive' was starting to play - a perfect start to the weekend. Got checked in, drank beer on the patio for a little while, met up with several more members of the team (including the important cutest alternate runner ever)
The 9th (and cutest) member of the team
then headed down to 17th Street Bar and Grill for the traditional pre-race fried pickles and meat extravaganza (I had the 3 meat sampler (brisket, pork shoulder, and hot links) with greens and red beans and rice)

Headed back to the hotel for pre-race meeting/poker game
Pre-race strategy meeting
then off to rest up for the big day.

Met up at about 6:30 to head out for our 8:45 race start (as you can see, Lucky was ready to go)
Lucky practicing his baton handling skills

And at 8:45am, we were off - 8 runners, 80 miles, 1 day. From soon after River To River last year until this year's running, I was sure I wanted to run as runner 6 (which includes some of the hardest legs of the course). By the time my first leg came about, I wasn't sure on that. We'd fallen pretty far behind in the team standings (we do River To River as more of a fun running vacation than super-competitive event, but I still wanted us to finish well), and while I have tried to do as much hill training as possible, Central Illinois' hill training opportunities are few and far between. Our #5 runner laid down the law on leg 5, finishing in fantastic time, and I knew it was time for me to step up.
The handoff to start leg #6
I took off on leg 6 (listed as 'Very Hard' by the River To River organizers - see below for an elevation profile) at as fast a pace as I thought I could maintain

I finished roughly 25:26 later, at an average pace of 7:42!
Running Leg #6
Keep in mind that my 5k PR pace is only 18 seconds per mile faster than this, and I still had two more legs that I needed to run, including 'The Hardest')

Rested up a bit before leg #14 (a much easier leg), ate a kabanos, took some recovery supplements (Anti-Fatigue Caps and Tissue Rejuvenator), spent a bit of time with a TENS unit on to speed recovery), and worked on rehydrating a bit. Leg #14 was a welcome rest compared to legs 6 and 22, and allowed me to pick up the pace a little more, finishing in roughly 18:23, at an average pace of 7:21 (3 seconds per mile faster than my 5k PR pace) - see below for elevation profile

With that, it was time to rest up for the infamous leg #22. I'd been thinking about this leg since I saw it last year on my first running of River To River, and I was determined to dominate the course, and help to make sure that we'd make it to Golconda before the cutoff time (shortly before starting leg 22, I told the team captain "Either we're making it to Golconda before they close the course, or I'm going to the Emergency Room, and I don't want to go to the ER today"). Shortly after making that pledge, I was off.
Running leg #22
Leg #22 starts off nice and easy, but as you can see, gets significantly steeper.

(The River To River course description says about leg #22, "This is the favorite section for everyone except Runner number 6.

There is a short uphill leaving the exchange, then an easy downhill to Lusk Creek. As you cross the bridge, the hill ahead of you does not look too bad. Unfortunately (or fortunately), you can't see most of it!")

I passed 5 people on leg #22, one of whom ended up catching up to me and passing me, and one of whom I passed in a sprint to the exchange point
Almost at the finish!
I finished leg #22 in roughly 31:06, at an average pace of 8:11, and while I did take a much needed brief rest in the grass after finishing, in a good bit of pain...
And I'm done!
...I did not end up in the ER!
We ended up in Golconda 11:00:35 after starting, having managed to move up from 2nd to last place (in the 8:45 start group) at one point in the race to 117th place out of 227 teams!
80 miles, 8 runners, 1 puppy, 1 day
We spent a little bit of time in Golconda, had a little dinner, grabbed a drink, then headed back to Marion. It's traditional for the Buffalo to appoint one of the runners of the team Most Valuable Buffalo for their performance, and this year given my performance as runner #6 (averaging roughly 7:48 pace over the some of the hardest legs of the course), that runner was me, which has resulted in fame, fortune, and a major sponsorship deal!
MVB Baton
(OK, so in reality, it resulted in my getting to take the baton home. That's at least as cool as any of the other things mentioned above, and I'm thrilled as hell)

Got back to the hotel, split some Arrogant Bastard Ale with Josh, had a little more kabanos, and drifted off to sleep to rest up for the ride back to Champaign the next day.
Josh and a fine recovery beverage

All in all, a fantastic experience, and I hope to do River To River again. I've managed to recover pretty quickly - no knee pain at all, and I was able to do a recovery run on Monday, and a fartlek run on Tuesday. Took yesterday off from running, will get some speed work in today either over lunch or after work.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

C'mon spring/dinner on the grill

While recovering from Clinton Lake, I hauled out the grill for a farewell dinner for a friend who's moving out to California - below is the result...
Grilled scallop
We started with grilled sea scallops, served with a pomegranate sauce, balsamic vinegar, saffron, and black sea salt. Accompanying the scallops were Aviation cocktails, made with Blackwood's Gin.

Cedar-planked halibut w/ herbes de Provence
Next, we moved on to the main course of cedar-planked halibut with herbes de Provence, served with kasha and caramelized onions. After caramelizing the onions, I deglazed the pan with a ~20 year old bottle of sparkling Petillant Blanc de Blancs Vouvray NV (Kathleen brought it home on a high school trip to France), and reduced the onion/wine mixture down to a rough marmalade consistency, then mixed it in with the kasha.

Isola Mozzarella di Bufala Campania D.O.P
Before dessert, we had Isola Mozzarella di Bufala that I managed to smoke over cherry wood just long enough to get a good smoke flavor, but without melting the mozzarella at all. The secret to that is rotating it periodically in an ice bath in the smoker. The fish and cheese courses were accompanied by La Vis Pinot Noir 2005.

Apple tart
Dessert was a luscious apple/honey tart that Kathleen made.

The following night (no pictures available of this, unfortunately), I made a halibut chowder with a remaining piece of halibut, along with some of the kabanos that Josh brought down for us from Chicago, served with O'Fallon Smoked Porter.

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Clinton Lake Race Report - Updated

So at long last, here's my report on the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Race (more on why it's taken me so long to get this written shortly)
A view of Clinton Lake

I did fairly by the book, old school carb-loading for the race (2 days of carb-depletion with very high-intensity runs, followed by 4 days of carb-loading).
Traditional Irish Carb-Loading
Let me tell you, those two days of carb-depletion were no fun, although some of the carb-loading meals I made helped to make up for it (see above for details).

Several days before the race, we got a good bit of rain, helping to guarantee a good muddy trail for the race.
The rain that started falling several days before the race

Josh came down on the Friday before the race to help me out for the weekend and crew for me at the race. Had a couple of beers and tapas, did a slow leisurely walk home, and then ordered one of my traditional naked pizzas (no meat, no cheese, lots of veggies). Relaxed on Saturday, picked up my race packet, and feasted on gnocchi and red sauce Saturday night.

Sunday morning, got up bright and early at about 0500, had a light breakfast, and got the last of my gear together.

Shea Packs the Cooler for a Long Day (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

Driving over to the start was relatively uneventful, except for the incredibly strange mermaid/dolphin statue being transported down I-74 at 0700 on a Sunday morning...

Weird Mermaid-Dolphin Statue (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

Got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, got everything set up, and had a little time to relax before the start of the race.

Shea At The Starting Line
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

0805 rolled around (the race started a few minutes late), and we were off for 30 miles of fun in the woods!

Shea Begins His 1st of 3 Ten Mile Loops (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

The first loop went very well, finishing in roughly 01:55, feeling good, and slightly ahead of pace (my goal was to run each loop in roughly 2:00, going for roughly a 6:00 finish)

Shea Completes His First 10 Mile Loop (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

I swapped bottles of Perpetuem and took off on my second loop, trying to pretty much keep the same pace as the first loop, maybe slowing it down a little bit since I had a few minutes in the bank. The mud was pretty stirred up by the time we got to the second loop, which made for ankle-deep (and in some places, deeper) mud, which is right up my alley.
Someone (not me) after the Clinton Lake race
I made it to the 1/2-way aid station with no problems, grabbed a little water, and took off to finish my second loop.
Water at one of the Clinton Lake aid stations
A few miles past the aid station, I felt a sudden sharp pain in the side of my right knee. I adjusted my gait and slowed down my pace a little, which seemed to help somewhat. The pain seemed the worst if I was running downhill, so I decided to continue walking the uphills, running the flats (few as they were - see below for an elevation profile [my GPS lost signal in a number of places, so it marks the course as slightly short]), and walking the downhills as needed.

I finished the second loops in a good bit of pain, briefly considered DNFing due to my knee, changed my socks (the previous pair being completely soaked with mud), watched the race winner finish (in 4:23), and decided to go for the third loop. I was pretty sure at that point that there was no way I'd manage a 6:00 finish, but I was also confident that I could finish before the cutoff. The last loop was slow (as expected) and painful (as expected). I tried to run as much of the third loop as possible, but that didn't end up being very much, at least for the first half of the loop. I hit the 1/2-way aid station, and took off with roughly 5 miles left to go. I soon realized/discovered that running (albeit slowly) didn't really hurt a lot worse than walking, so I decided to try running as much of the rest of the course as possible. With about 3-1/2 miles left, I saw another runner about 1/2 a mile behind me, slowly but surely catching up to me. Determined to beat him, I picked up the pace a bit more, at which point he picked up the pace as well. I kept up the pace as much as possible, and managed to hold off being passed by him for about a mile or so. At that point, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to keep up the pace without doing something nasty (or is that nastier?) to my knee, and he passed me. Josh met me about 2 miles from the finish line, and ran/walked the rest of the course with me.

I ended up finishing in 7:05, in a good bit of pain. I finished 30th out of 70 starters, 18 of whom DNFed.
Crossing the finish line
Walked slowly over to the car, peeled off my socks, and got a good look at the mud accumulated on my legs
Muddy Muddy Muddy
and the wrinkle-fest that was my feet after 7 hours of mud and water...
My feet, post Clinton Lake Trail Race

The week after Clinton Lake consisted of a good deal of icing and elevating my leg, a few short runs, and by the end of the week, I felt pretty much back to normal - the Saturday after Clinton, I did a 2 hour cycling session on the trainer, immediately followed by a 4 mile run. A little ache in my knee after that run, but nothing too bad, so I figured I was pretty well recovered at that point.

Last week I'd been planning on being pretty much back to higher level of training. Weather was cold, so I went to the gym on Monday for 8x400m intervals plus a little bit of core work. Felt a little run down on Monday when I was leaving work, but figured it was just due to my first interval run in a while. Monday night was mostly me tossing and turning with a fever, which lasted most of Tuesday. Aside from 1 relatively short cycling session on the trainer, I took all of last week off from training. Now, I think I'm pretty much back to normal, and I think I should be in pretty good shape for River To River this coming weekend.

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©2007 Shea Nangle