Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 Berryman Trail Marathon

When I signed up for Berryman in January, I decided to sign up for the marathon this year since with my disc problem I just wasn't seeing another 50 miler in my future and even a marathon was feeling doubtful.  Then I was blessed to have surgery in February so really didn't know after what my body would tolerate and how long it would take to get back and if I could get back to running the same as before.  Fortunately, I recovered quickly and things have improved to the point where I can say I could have done the 50, but since I like to push the pace a little, I am glad I did not attempt it with only 9 weeks of training.  That would have been crazy and I am trying make choices that I are little more sane than before.  Although I am sure still insane to 99% of people.

Rode with Jeff down to Berryman and camped with him and Shawn.  Karen joined us before heading to her hotel and we sat around eating dinner and enjoying the evening in the rain (we had cover).  Ate my Basil Cashew Chicken Roly Poly for dinner along with lots of other stuff including some yummy mac and cheese than Shawn made.  Felt like I was stress eating and probably overdid it a bit on the food.  Headed to bed around 9 pm.  Woke up 3 times and heard it raining.  The weather forecast for the morning was 60% chance.

We got up at 5 am and no rain and about 65F.  Had a shake with coffee and some of Karen's yummy muffins for breakfast and a banana.  I was in the bathroom for the 3rd time until about 6:25 which was near the start.  Walked over and we all 5 of us had our picture taken and then we were off in a couple minutes.  Seemed like everyone started really fast.  We had to run out and back on the gravel so at the point we went into the woods we had run 2 miles.  The 50 milers turn around sooner so end up passing many of them later.  First 3 miles felt kind of fast, but between the gravel and the trail going downhill probably okay.   Talked to Tony, a guy I have run with at several other events and then passed more people and didn't see him again.

I wore my Camelbak without a shirt since it was so hot and humid.  Heard a few whispers how I was going to chafe, but no problems at all.  It fit quite snug and comfy.  No problem on the flats and downhills, but uphill felt like I was carrying some extra weight for awhile.  I carried 2 Accel Gels, 2 sweet and salty bars, and 70 oz of Succeed, and Succeed caps.  I ran through all the aid stations.  When I passed Brad (running the 50) he told me I was the 6th marathoner and someone else did later as well.  I passed quite a few 50 milers.  Around mile 20, I caught up to a marathoner ahead of me. I felt like I was struggling a bit up the hills and at some point he got pretty far ahead again.  Then caught up again and ran right behind him for awhile. I didn't feel read to pass just yet and was starting to feel the heat.  We catch up to some 50 milers and then I decide to go around him, had a surge of energy, and picked up the pace.

Trail conditions were muddy but many parts very runnable.  The muddy sections really slowed my pace.  Only a few trees to climb through and over and that was the only time I walked a few steps.  Considering all the mud and the warming temps, I was kind of glad I was not doing the 50 miler.  I wore my GPS, but on this course, it isn't accurate so didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it, but gave me an idea of distance and pace which was slowing.  After I passed the marathoner, I could hear people behind me so pushed on the downhills pretty hard and very easy on the uphills.  Passed another 50 miler a few miles from the end.

The miles past the last aid station went very quickly.  Noticed my Camelbak felt pretty light and was soon out of drink.  This section went so quickly, I didn't even realize I was near the end.  I was thinking I had a mile to go and then noticed the paved road and then there was the end.  As I was running earlier and I thought I was going to be around 4:06, but since the end came sooner than I realized, finished in 3:56 and was 5th overall of 77 (12 of these dropped down to marathon).  Some guy ran just a little over 3 hours on this messy course which is just insanely fast.

I didn't feel like eating any solid food yet so headed over to our camp site and had a shake and a Powerade. Then headed back over to the finish since I was thinking Coleman might be finishing any minute.  Just before I got there I saw him come in.  Then we got to see Karen come in less than an hour later.  Both of them finished smiling and happy for their first marathon.  We waited around and got to see Jeff and Shawn complete their first loop and head back out.  Mike was there to pace Shawn and I got to talk to him a bit about Kettle Moraine 100 where I will be pacing him the last 37 miles in a couple weeks.

After Jeff and Shawn took off for their second loops, I still wasn't real hungry but ate some of the salads and a burger minus the bun.  Went to the camp site, cleaned up, and then headed over to the finish to talk with people.  Karen came back later and we hung out some more at the finish, camp site, and then back to the finish so we wouldn't miss Shawn and Jeff.  Shawn and Mike arrived first and seemed to be in good shape. Jeff finished about 20 minutes later.  We ate some more and talked and then I headed back home with Karen.

Really enjoyed having Karen, Coleman, Shawn, and Mike along with Jeff.  Most of the time it is just me and Jeff at this race so was nice to share it with others this year.  Also, enjoyed talking to a lot of the other runners that I only see at trail events.  I ran Berryman in 2007 as my first trail marathon and in 2008 and 2009 ran th e 50 miler.  Last year I didn't get signed up before it filled up.  This year I signed up soon after it opened and it filled up in 4 days!  Definitely looking forward to making Berryman an annual event and will sign up New Year's Day when it opens.  Hopefully, I will have the faith I can attempt to run the 50 miler next year.

Someone took photos this year.  I have posted the ones of our group here - Berryman Photos and all others are on Picasa -  Picasa Berryman Photos

Karen, Andy, Coleman, Shawn, and Jeff

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2010 WellAware 5K

Ran a 3 mile warmup before the race.  It was kind of cool at 52F and a little wet today with a light rain.  I decided to ditch the jacket after the warmup.  Overall goal was to go under 20 since this was my first race other than the Sedalia 5K I ran my first week back running post-surgery.  This felt tons better.  I really hadn't pushed the pace too much other than a couple miles on one of the Tu/Th runs.  Started off going down the hill out of the parking lot and passed quite a few people at the bottom that started too fast.  At this point I was in 6th place.  After mile 1, I passed another guy and could still see Bill S. ahead of me.  I felt really focused and relaxed and the first mile seemed to go really fast.  I wore my HR monitor and it says my Avg HR was only 145 the first mile at a 5:55 pace.

Second mile just tried to maintain pace.  There was a bit of an uphill in one place so slowed down some and ran in 6:03.  Last mile I was just hoping to hold the pace and kept it at 5:56, avg HR up to 160 for that mile so guess I was working harder to maintain pace.  The last 0.17 had to go up the hill we came down in the beginning.  Did not push at all up the hill but once got to the top, let myself go.  Saw my time was about 18:30 so really pushed to get in under 19 minutes.  Overall time was 18:57, 5:59 pace so beat my 20 min goal easily and ran this course just as fast as I ran it 2 years ago.  Honestly, thought I was a lot slower and didn't have speed back yet.  This race was a test to gauge where I am at.  I didn't feel like I pushed all the way and my avg HR for the entire race being only 153 seems to indicate that.  That is about the average I would hold for an entire marathon.

Ran some cool down miles with Christian and Matt, the first and second place guys.  Overall, I was 5th and got the coaster for 1st in the 40 - 49 since Christian (in my age group) was the overall winner.

Nice coaster for first place in age group.

Tech shirt and belt with pockets and bottle holder given to all entrants

Monday, May 02, 2011

Rim to Rim to Rim Scenic Run

Highly recommend seeing the Grand Canyon by running it.  I will skip over the fun time we had traveling as a group and get right to the run on Saturday.  Even if you can't run it all from rim to rim, it is worth attempting to run part of the trails, but just make sure you research and are prepared.  We had person start at 1 am that went almost all of the way before turning around.  Ten of us started as a group from  a parking lot near the S. Kaibab Trail head on the South Rim and some others started later doing a shorter run.  Temp was in the 20s and pretty cold, but slowly warmed up.  Definitely a cooler day than usual to do this in late April so we were quite lucky.  High was probably in the 70s in the canyon bottom and felt like 40s on the North Rim.  Most of us stayed pretty close for awhile and then split up and caught up at some points.  I had a camera so stopped many times to get some photos.  I stayed with Hugh for his first 15 miles.  We made a 35 minute side trip to see Ribbon Falls which was about a mile and then he headed back for 19 miles on his own getting back around 2 pm.

After leaving Hugh, I picked up the pace, hoping to catch someone in our group.  I refilled my Cambelbak at Cottonwood.  Cambelbak was surprisingly comfortable to wear, although about 4 lbs heavier each time I refilled.  Caught up to Nathan on the way up to the North Rim, then Nicole and Andy P., and finally Dan and Jeff.  Stayed with them for the rest of the day.  As we climbed closer to the top, it will just a little harder to breath and heart rate jumped and we were walking most of the time with a few breaks.  We kept asking people coming down how far and weren't sure who to believe.  We saw Andy S. and Rodney coming back down.  Finally, someone said a couple minutes and I think we were there in 5 minutes.  I wore my GPS but I think it was a little wacky since it said 26 miles at the N. Rim and I suspect it should have been closer to 23.

We arrived around 11:30 am, rested about 15 min, had someone take our picture and then headed back down. We were able to run some of the trail down.  There was some flat runnable trail but overall for this trek you are either going up or down.  We refilled water at Cottonwood campground and arrived at Phantom Ranch about 3:40 pm.  Jeff hoped to get a Coke, but all they sold was lemonade, ice tea, and beer so we all had a lemonade. Nathan arrived shortly before we took off to head to the Bright Angel trail for our ascent to the South Rim.

We ran maybe a mile after we crossed the bridge and then walked the rest of the way up .  They trail was quite sandy at this point.  Earlier had been mostly gravel and rock.  This trail was a bit more technical as well. Took our time and took several breaks.  Stopped at the Indian Gardens and sign said 4.5 miles to go and we left about 6 pm.  Eventually got dark and had to turn on our lights.  Very slow going the rest of the way and my GPS surpassed the 4.5 miles.  Seemed like we were never going to get to the top.  We could see lights on the trail below us of others coming up in the dark.  We were told that there was a record number of people attempting Rim to Rim on the same day.  Finally, we reached the top and had someone take our picture.  Some other people we didn't know had just finished ahead of us.

Packed about 3500 calories in food and consumed every last calorie from my Succeed Ultra drink, 7 Accel Gels, and various bars, crackers, and cashews.  I was hungry by the time we reached the top and also freezing cold as the temp seemed to really drop in the last couple miles.  I got my clothes off pretty quick and jumped into the shower to warm up.  Rodney and Andy S. in our group finished ahead of us and Nathan was not far behind us.  Rodney and Yvonne finished about 1:30 am and Nicole and Andy P. came in at 2 am!  Nicole had been out there 25 hours and the next morning seemed to be in pretty good shape.

This was the most enjoyable vacation I have had in a long time.  I am not sure my report can describe the experience, but it was just amazing and physically grueling at the same time.  Almost just too much to take in at once.  We all got along great and had a good time before, during, and on the trip home.

Not sure these pictures do the Grand Canyon justice, but should give a good idea of some of the scenery and tell the rest of the story that I can't put into words.

Rodney A. photos


GPS had 52.1 miles, but it was pretty erratic.  Based on where we started and my trip to Ribbon Falls, I am claiming 47 miles.  Maps that start at S. Kaibab taking the same route our group took say it is 44.9 miles.