Monthly Archives: February 2010

High Visibility

Brooks ID Team Uniform

This is the new Brooks ID team uniform. In bright sunlight anyone who makes the mistake of looking at me will be temporarily blinded.  I’ve been expecting it to arrive for a few weeks now. Apparently it did arrive on February 9th, at least that’s what the UPS tracking number indicates. It was in a white plastic envelope. I guess when the UPS guy tossed it in the snow near my front door I didn’t notice it. Then today as I stepped out for a run there it was behind a bush. With all the snow melted it was now easy to see. I guess I can’t really complain much since it didn’t cost me anything. I’m not a big fan of those super short runner’s shorts, but again I can’t really argue with free.

Make Hay While the Sun Is Shining

Yesterday, securely ensconced in the cold fluorescent glow that is my work cubicle I planned, big important plans. After work I would hit the gym for intervals on the treadmill. I had it all figured out and even recorded it on a post-it note lest I should forget.  Interval, recovery, how many, how fast, warm-up, cool-down.  Alas, God was preparing for a different plan, perhaps He tired of hearing me whine about the lousy weather. When I arrived home it was so nice outside, I threw my plans out the window and decided to run intervals in the streets of the hood, in shorts. It felt so good to be outside running in shorts.  It was awesome! I even managed to knock out a few sets of pushups between the intervals. This morning at my Friday morning ritual breakfast stop at Panera I told a friend the experience was so uplifting that I felt lighter. God. Is. So. Good… To me!

My Colorado Blue Spruce from LLTH

More good news! Tento strom ještě žije. The tree is still alive. I think it has even grown some since moving to its new home, a pot on my desk. It has already out-lived the tree I received last year so there is hope. The little black rock in the planter is a piece of black basalt (?) I picked up on a hike in New Mexico. I put it in the pot to help make the Colorado Blue Spruce feel more at home. Ok, I’m a dopey geek, I admit it. Of course if you are reading this… just saying. Hey, thanks for being here for me.

Speaking of LLTH. In my last post I forgot to mention that this (click the link, you’ll be glad you did) is one of my current favorites to sing while running. At Lovin’ The Hills I must have sung through it completely a dozen times and who knows how many times the chorus was repeated during the almost 8 hour ordeal. I love this song and I’m not too tough to admit I nearly cried the first time we sang it in church.

Run Happy!

LLTH, One Word – Brutal

Finisher's Medal

I’m not sure why, but even before the snowstorm hit Indianapolis on Friday I was thinking the 2010 Louisville’s Lovin’ The Hills would be an epic adventure. The storm turned the usual two-hour drive to Louisville into a 3 hour 20 minute struggle for survival and by survival I mean keeping the car on the road and avoiding being hit by the knuckleheads who didn’t think slowing down was a good idea.

Since we arrived in Louisville later than planned, we went straight to the Cracker Barrel for some maple pancakes. Tom prefers their french toast which is also very good. The hotel is right next to the Cracker Barrel. Of course when we arrived at the hotel they had lost my reservation, but fortunately they had plenty of rooms available since the big farm implement show isn’t until next weekend. The rate they charged wound up being almost $30 less than they quoted when I called in the reservation so I can’t complain.

They were predicting more snow overnight and they were right. In the morning we found the car covered with an inch or two.

Special overnight delivery

Should have known then this race would turn into an epic adventure. Fortunately the snow stopped falling before the race started, but by then the damage had been done.  The start area is only 5 miles from the hotel, but Holsclaw Hill Road was practically a sheet of ice. I didn’t feel like sliding my car down into a ravine, at least not before the race, so it was very slow going. We made it to the Horine Center with about 20 minutes to

Tom checking out the swag before the start.

spare. As far as I’m concerned that is perfect, pickup packet, pin on number, start running.

The first couple miles of the first loop are not extremely hilly. I overheard one unsuspecting fool say, “for being called Lovin’ the Hills, I haven’t seen one yet”. Patience, son, patience. Believe me, the hills are coming. I went into this race thinking I just wanted to finish with a respectable time, no PR, just take it easy early and maybe have a strong finish. The course consists a 5.5 mile loop, a 7.5 mile loop then an out (with a 3 mile loop at the end) and back I finished the first 5.5 mile loop about 6 minutes slower than my PR pace. The second loop was some tough going with lots of mud. My time after finishing the second loop was about 18 minutes off my PR pace. These first two loops were pretty much the same as in previous years. This year the final out and back section had the Scott’s Gap 3 mile loop which was new. The change made it difficult to know how I was doing compared to previous years, but I knew when I reached the aid station  Scott’s Gap I was pretty far off my PR time, but I was getting a second wind and feeling pretty good. Then came the Scott’s Gap loop. Any good feelings I had were squeezed out of me on the  Scott’s Gap loop. At about 30 minutes into the 3 mile loop I started thinking I would be coming out of the loop soon. When at 40 minutes I was still in the loop I thought surely I’m not going slower than 15

Somewhere along the way to Scott's Gap

minutes per mile and I will reach the aid station in 45 minutes.  Finally after 55 minutes I returned to the Scott’s Gap aid station. Three miles in 55 minutes, ouch.  At this point I’m at least an hour behind PR time and down mentally. I still have about 7.5 miles to go. I was physically exhausted, but I figured

the return to the finish would be a little easier. Once I made the climb up to the ridge there would be some relatively easy running. Up on that ridge I was shocked to pass runners still on their way out to Scott’s Gap. Knowing the challenge they had ahead of them at Scott’s Gap, I had great empathy for them.

Oddly enough the return did seem a little easier despite the fact I was physically exhausted. I kept pushing, jogging all the flat areas, running fast on the down hills, pushing hard on the up hills. The thought of having to tell all the runners in my mini training group that I quit kept me going. No way was I going to quit. I knew my time would be pretty bad, but I was going to keep pushing. When I

Nice race swag, love the buff!

reached the next to last aid station I only had 3 maybe 4 miles to go. Now there was another thought pushing me to the finish.

I had a shot at beating the 8 hour mark. I reached the last aid station at 7:42. Only about a mile to go, but up hill much of the way. This was going to hurt, but I was determined to do it. The volunteer at the aid station was telling me what direction to go. Another runner had come to the aid station. She was being paced by a guy who said, “don’t worry, we’ll pass you soon and you can follow us”. First off, I knew where I was going and second, since you said that there is no way on earth you were going to pass me. The only way you would be passing me is if I were lying there dead on the trail. Certainly as I was coming into that aid station they were gaining on me, but now I was motivated. I ran all but the steepest sections to the finish and put a pretty good gap between us.

It always feels so good to stop. I grabbed my wooden finisher’s medal and headed into the Horine Center for a hot meal. In addition to the finisher’s they also gave me a Colorado Blue Spruce seedling. My goal now is to keep this one alive longer than the one they gave me last year.

Official results are now posted. I was 26th of 48 finishers.

Here is a link to another runner’s pictures.

Beef stew with large chunk of extra sharp cheddar.