Monday, June 30, 2008

Lupus Runners

This week we finally got the fundraising page up for the Lupus foundation. I am so inspired by the people that responded to this so quickly and have learned that this disease touches many peoples lives. Hopefully they will be making some strides in finding a cure for Lupus but in the meantime we will be doing what we can to make a difference. You can be a part of it too by donating at:

Personally, i had another great week of running and feel rarin' to go for the Finger Lakes 50 miler. Miles for the week: 60

Monday= Rest
Tuesday= 8 miles on the Cayuga Trail and pink trails
Wednesday= 12 miles w/ Andrew down Warren Rd. to Asbury- Hanshaw- back behind airport-business park and back to apt.
Thursday= 14.5 miles in the pouring rain w/ Ian covering section 5 and 6 of The Iroquois Trails 100 course.
Friday= Cayuga Trail 5 miles
Saturday= 10.5 miles from Ian's store w/ Andrew, Wiley and Derrick through downtown-Stewart Park- Cayuga Heights- Cornell campus- back to store
Sunday= 5 miles in morning w/ Brad through Forest Home. I also did 5 miles in the dark w/ Scottie at night on the Tortoise n' Hare route through Buttermilk...that was intense.

Quote of the week: "I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain - and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is? Don't overdo it' and? Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond."

- Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Fame

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Satisfying week

I wasn't quite sure how I would feel after the 41-miler but was amazed how good I felt this past week = good sign.

Miles for week= 70

Last Sunday and Monday= Rest
Tuesday= very easy recovery run down Warren Rd. to Asbury and back- 6 miles
Wednesday= 11 miles with Ian through Buttermilk and Ithaca College trails
Thursday= 11 miles with Sambo through Hammond Hill in afternoon; 3 miles run/walk through Cayuga Trail in evening with Erica
Friday= 19 miles through Fingerlakes National Forest w/ Nancy and Jeffrey- 25K loop and baby loop
Saturday= Rest
Sunday= 21 miles w/ Adam and Tom on Hump Triple course in morning- reverse Hurd to Mt. pleasant and back to Wildflower parking lot for me; 12 miles easy bike to Ithaca Fest at Stewart Park from apt. w/ Erica in evening...whew! i'm taking it easy now!

Being able to recover the way i have been is very comforting. I know i have the endurance so i will tone it down a little this next week before the 50-miler on July 5th. That will be my next long run... and once again unchartered territory!

Saw a great quote today: "There's no way to grow without taking a few risks"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Highland Sky 41 miler (Davis, WV)

I was a little nervous this week for two reasons. One... i was going into unchartered territory with the distance of 41 miles and Two... i had a weak right ankle and this was a course notorious for it's very poor footing and tough mountainous terrain.

Miles for week= 60

Tuesday= night tempo run (6:24) w/ new Tikka plus headlamp on Tri for the Y course (5 miles)
Wednesday= 5 miles on Cayuga and pink trails
Thursday= Nobles Hill repeats (3) from my brother Jamal's driveway to bottom and back up...5 miles
Friday= 4 miles through my sister Nadia's neighborhood in Pittsburgh (Lawrenceville and Strip District)

Saturday= 41 miles through some of West Virginia's ski area/national forest and the most technical terrain i have run on to date.

I arrived in West Virginia Friday afternoon and as i got close to the race site i noticed that my little 4 cylinder car was having trouble climbing these hills. Right when i checked in to the motel i spotted another runner also finishing up his check in. I could tell by his large watch and gear he was lugging around. I introduced myself and asked about the race. He mentioned that he did the race last year but was forced to stop at the half way point due to knee pain. He also confirmed that it was indeed a difficult course with some very significant climbs in the first 15 miles of the race. We both got settled in our rooms and headed for the pasta party and pre race meeting.

After chowing down lots of pasta and salads and listening to race director Dan Leheman talk about the details of the race I made my way back to my motel room. I didn't sleep much this night. I woke up at 1:30 am thinking it was time to get ready and then i couldn't fall back asleep. Finally i got back to sleep but 4 am rolled around real quick.

I did the usual pre-race routine: eat, lube up in Body Glide, stock up w/ gels, endurolytes,etc. and sprayed on some all-natural bug spray which ended up stinking up the whole bus to the start! We rode from the finish area in school buses to where we would start our journey about a half hour away. I chatted w/ some other first timers as the sun started to rise and we all wished each other luck.

After a quick port o'potty visit i checked in w/ the Race Director and stretched out a little. He gave us a few last minute instructions and off we went.

I started off in first place knowing that we had a two-mile paved road section to start. I figured i could get a little cushion before moving into the steep vertical climbs in the forest. As we entered the forest Joel moved ahead and led the way. I learned that he had run this section before so i decide to follow him as long as i could keep up...which turned out to be not very long. With Joel out of sight i was passed again by Zach and then Tim. I kind of had a feeling that this would happen as i am not the best climber but hoped for the opportunity to catch them eventually. I ran for brief moments and then walked and mixed the two up this incredibly steep section. Finally, we made it but then it was down a very steep descent. There were parts of this course that seemed almost impossible to find places to put your feet. I had a sturdy ankle brace on though and wondered how long it would last.

Eventually, i heard two guys approaching from behind. The first guy caught me and i let him past. I caught up to him and began chatting w/ him. It turned out to be Adam Hill who won the Sulphur Springs 50 mile race three weeks ago and coincidentally he also spoke w/ Nancy Kleinrock at that race and mentioned how she kicked butt. I guess it's a small world in the ultra marathon scene. Also, after finding out that he just raced a 50 miler three weeks ago prompted me to push past him. After another significant climb we were almost at the half way point. I was in fourth place and had a little trick up my sleeve. Everyone had drop bags at the 19.7 mile aid station...everyone but me!

I decided not to stop and change shoes,socks,etc. and just quickly refill my bottles and grab some somewhat solid food. This turned out to be such a wise choice. I grabbed some PB and J's, fig newtons and a couple other random goodies and charged on surpassing Tim in third place. As i munched down while i ran/walked i looked back to see him gaining on me on the long straight gravel road. I figured this would be perfect. By the time he caught up to me i would be done eating and we could run together for the "Road across the sky" section. This was a mentally tough, hot, straight gravel road for about 7 miles. Tim and I got to know each other and ran with each other stride for stride as we put some distance on Adam and others. When he walked i walked and vice versa. It really helped to run w/ someone and we did so for the next beautiful 15 or so miles.

As w/ many other endurance races there were times of exhaustion, pain, fear, beauty and joy. The miles ticked by though and we had some incredible views of the beautiful state of West Virginia. Tim was having some problems of cramping though by about 30 miles. I offered an endurolyte capsule which i had been taking regularly and that had been helping me avoid this common trait of mine. I was so happy it was not happening to me but also felt his pain. I encouraged him to work through it and he really toughed it out a few times. Eventually they got too bad and he told me to move on. This was at about the 35 mile i pounded down the trails towards the finish. As i approached the last aid station i turned around to see him running 50 yards behind me...whoa!!!! i yelled .... "Good job Tim!!"

We were on the road by now and had a 5K to go where i got into a nice rythmn. Tim opted to walk a little and when this happened i knew i had third place wrapped up. Now i was pushing to break 6:30. I pushed and pumped my arms and rolled right through the last aid station to see David Horton yelling at us that the first two guys probably already finished. I wasn't really trying to catch them anyway because i had been informed at prior aid stations that they were so far ahead. I was just so happy to be running so strong at the end of a race like this w/ my ankle feeling great.

I figured it out mathematically that i could break 6:30 if i continued at a 7 minute/mile pace... assuming the rest was on roads. Well, it turned out that there was one last little section through some forest trail w/ one last climb for good measure. This slowed me down and i looked down to see 6:30 pass before my sweat. I could hear people...oh you ultra runners know how comforting it is to hear the sweet sound of the finish line. As i came out of the woods i could see the beautiful view of the finish line and the surrounding area at the Canaan Valley Resort. I stormed down the hill w/ a big smile on my face and pumping my arms in the air to finish in 6:31:11...good for third place overall and the seventh fastest time since 2003! I couldn't have been more satisfied with my performance.

I have to say the Dan Leheman (race director) put on one hell of a race and was just a genuinely nice guy. It really showed at the awards ceremony when he recieved a two minute standing ovation. I wish him the best of luck at Western States this year. Everyone was so nice down there and i met some great people at the race. I think i'm ready for the Fingerlakes Fifties!

Oh West Virginia mountain Mama!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

H O T week in Ithaca!

This past week's weather forecast reminded me of when i lived in Orlando,Florida. Not ideal for running and sometimes just downright punishing.

Monday= Rest
Tuesday= 3 miles (2 miles in Cass Park before i lifted weights and 1 mile after)
Wednesday=15.75 miles (7 miles in morning w/ Andrew through rec way trails; 8.75 miles in evening w/ Charlie and his dog Boots through Cayuga and Pink trails.
Thursday= rest
Friday= 9 miles (5 w/High noon group and 4 on my own) through plantation trails and bike path add on
Saturday= 13.25 miles on Connecticut Hill route w/ Michael
Sunday= 13.35 miles w/ Andrew on old railroad bed, Buttermilk and Cass park

Total miles for week= 54.35

This week i will be tapering down just a bit for the 41 miler Saturday June 14th in West Virginia. It looks like a really tough course and I am looking forward to also visiting my sister in Pittsburgh for a couple days. I'm a little nervous about sleeping in the woods in West Virginia on Friday the 13th though!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tortoise week

Miles for the week= 62

I was hoping for a few more but it just didn't happen. I'm starting to realize that the trail running training is much more time consuming.

Monday= Rest
Tuesday= 2 miles before lifting weights and 2 miles after
Wednesday= 14 miles (double loop of Tortoise n' hare course at Buttermilk Falls plus add-on; first loop w/ John O.)
Thurday= 13.5 miles--Tortoise n' hare course in morning w/ Nancy; 6.5 miles in evening through 6-mile creek gorge w/ Ian.
Friday= 7.5 miles through Cayuga and pink trails
Saturday= race! 3rd place at Tortoise n' hare w/ a time of 44:33; total miles for day= 7 -- *minor injury= rolled ankle on downhill part of course
Sunday= 17 miles; long run through Iroquois Trails 100 course in Virgil's Greek Peak area

Overall I had a decent week besides the mishap w/ my ankle...darn! i told myself i wasn't going to kill myself at Tortoise...easier said than done i guess. Well ice has become my best friend a long time ago and this calls for ibuprofen and rest for the next couple of days!