Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Experiment

Liv, me, El, and Cole on the Airline Trail, White Mountains, heading to Madison Springs Hut in early August 2011.

Okay, I just need to break the ice of such a long absence from posting to my own blog. Life is full of good stuff. Though I try not to write too much about my personal/family life on this post, I do want you to know my elder daughter is a freshman in college and loving every moment of it. My other daughter has adjusted well to her older sister’s departure and is continuing the strong Keene presence on their high school playing fields.

The Ironman Eagleman in June saw my return for a personal record on that course. I was thrilled to have competed and absolutely bowled over that I improved in the rankings. My one-word adjective for my Eagleman experience 2011 is “luscious”. The water was so warm and nice, the bike was sunny, calm, and beautiful, and the run was a bearable temperature with a light breeze to cool us in every direction, or so it seemed.

The summer saw racing the Star on Wednesday nights, racing the log canoe on the weekends, and keeping with a light to moderate activity level of swimming, biking, and running. The families reached the White Mountains in August for some gorgeous hiking. I spent a week in Utah with my sister where I got to do some trail running (Yay!), swimming, hiking, summiting, and mountain biking.

Me outside Moab near Dead Horse State Park about to venture onto my first solo mountain bike experience.  I went downhill for 8 miles here and it took me over an hour.  Some spots I had to walk they were too scary for this flat lander.

Two weeks ago my friend, Pete, and I towed Seabiscuit, my Star, to New York for a Centennial Regatta for the Star class in Larchmont. We had our chance to shine; we even led two of the races, but victory was not to be ours.

The experiment: Two weeks ago I signed up for a half marathon in Chestertown. What was I thinking? I have not been running, and I certainly haven’t run anything close to 13 miles since Eagleman in June. So, as the time drew near, I succumbed to the notion that I would simply make this race an experiment; one where I would do what I could in the hopes that all my other contortions of late would give me the stamina to finish strong. I’m happy to say that I faired well.

However, I made two mistakes. The first was forgetting to roll on anti-chafe protection. I have the worse case of chafe my underarms have ever had because of a rough shirt I was wearing. The second mistake was not eating anything immediately before the race and not carrying any fuel with me. To counteract this mistake I drank Gatorade at every aid station, and that saw me through.

I felt good at the start and quickly fell into an 8:05 pace for the first 5 miles in the warm, windless misty morning. Not knowing whether I would bonk later, I cracked off on the speed, but kept a good 8:15 pace going. All was well until mile 10 when my knee started to act up…nothing too serious, it was just talking to me to slow down. I finished around 1:51 for the 13.1 and felt very pleased with my performance. I didn’t think there were as many as 40 people ahead of me, but there was. I finished 8th of 22 in my 10 year age group. Now, because I am no stranger to injury, I did take it easy yesterday and with my recovery today. I’m very thankful for what I can do.

Me with Mikaela after her 2nd place victory at this year's Chesapeak Man Skipjack Triathlon.  At the same time I was running the half, down south in Cambridge a friend was running her first triathlon, Chesapeake Man’s Skipjack, a 70.3+ Ironman distance. Mikaela swam with us for the first time over 4th of July weekend when six of us met at MRYC for a swim in the Miles River at daybreak. We were wowed by Mikaela’s fitness level and speed in the swim and the bike that followed. I believe it was that day that we convinced her she needed to sign up for a triathlon, so she did in a large way by being 2nd overall for the women in yesterday’s event. So cool!

This is the season for the trails and I look forward to the first fall run at Tuckahoe with friends.


Stephen G. Bardsley said...

Mike, was glad to see a new post from you! My oldest son has a new teacher that does the log canoe races with you on the Miles. I am quickly approaching my "bay to breakers" (Kent island to Assateague st. park) one day century bike ride. i am now working for a Yacht management company, supervising crews on the detail end of the business. That gives me weekends off, and I would love to meet up at Tuckahoe on a Saturday morning. Bon fire soon? Lets talk, Bards

Runners on Trails said...

Hey Bards. What day are you doing the 100 miler? I'd love to meet at Tuck; maybe in a few weeks. Don't know about the bonfire, will let you know. best, Keene