Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spring 2012

Back in April peak athletic performance coincided with peak social neglect. Since then I have been taking care of my extrovert. A lot of awesome has taken place in that time frame. I paced my love for her 10K PR and was her mule for her first marathon. Don’t mistake me for being nice, these were selfish acts of needing to get miles in and lacking any motivation to run on my own. I ran the Ice Age Trail 50K and it rocked but my heart wasn’t in it. My heart was in the RAGNAR and it was a pleasure to train with the team and we were able to achieve greater things than I ever could as an individual. My only motivation to run was social and these past months I traded a lot of run and swim fitness for cycling fitness culminating with my first century ride. 

Super Number One Ultra Engineers.

In order of awesome the RAGNAR stands out the greatest accomplishment for me in the endurance sports space yet. Our coed ultra team made it the 198 miles from Madison to Chicago in 27 hours 31 minutes. I could write a book about the experience but no one would read it and the pictures tell a better story anyway. The team was awesome and everything went very smooth with great performances running and supporting by everyone.

Somewhere in Illinois during the RAGNAR

The Ice Age Trail 50K was my priority race for the spring but things change. I peaked early, ran my dream half marathon, cut training and checked out a month before this race. The course and weather were beautiful and well supported. I raced the first 10k with the 4 hour group and lived for the downhill before slowing myself down. The first thirteen miles of single track on the Ice Age Trail were the best. The course became much less technical on the Nordic trails and I cruised to mile 24 where I fell apart and my body cut pace for me. No amount of smart pacing could have helped me, I did not put in the required miles prior to the event. I pulled down a 5 hour time and have never hurt so much.

Early evening running
The Wisconsin marathon was run on a cold overcast day a week before the Ice Age 50K. I ran alongside my love pacing her at 8 minute miles until mile 13 where they began drifting higher to 9 minute miles and come mile 18 she found the wall. I am not sure if it was skeletal calories, muscle failure or both but I stayed positive and kept her moving as we ran walked the remaining miles. I was hoping to get her in under 4 hours but our finish time came out to 4:04:32. She did good for not having put in the miles to run a marathon. The first one is just to finish, doesn’t even have to be good. The course was flat and plenty beautiful, a good spring marathon for the future.

Run, drive, sleep? sums up RAGNAR nicely

My loves 10K the week before her marathon went real well and provided a good data point for future potential at other distances. It looked like a bad day, cold and rainy with wind but it was really a good day for running and a PR of 42:19 for her. She went out aggressively and lead the race until mile 3 where she cut pace and was passed. She finished the remaining miles strong and caught the lead lady in the last mile. They passed each other a few times but my love couldn’t out sprint her into the finish. 

Most recently the Door County Ride for Nature Century marked a triumph where I had failed in the previous year. Turns out riding 100 miles takes a lot of riding leading up the big day. The first 2/3 of this were very enjoyable, the last 1/3 was purely for the sake of riding 100 miles. A strong south wind added an hour to the day. Awesome ride.