Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Bolder Boulder

No matter how many times you try the same thing such as the same race, there are a ton of things you can choose or not to choose to do, which make the outcome different. This year, it was no different. Most of the running the past couple months has pretty much been in the water aqua jogging with no speedwork, strength, or stretching, due to the double-injuries. As stated in previous posts, the right hamstring (7-year old recurring injury), then the left pulled quad from compensation during the Barking Dog Duathlon during the bike leg for the original injury to the hamstring.

Typically I'll have some toast before a race, then coffee. The toast is to settle the stomach acid from the coffee. The rest of the morning was pretty typical for a Bolder Boulder race, with the temps a little on the cool side. For obvious reasons, with a DNF at West Side Duathlon, a sub-par performance at Barking Dog developing the second injury, the mindset was on the low end of things. I jogged through the cemetery for a warm up, down 30th to the start just as normal--except I was feeling some aches & pains & without speedwork since the last duathlon, the day wasn't feeling too promising. Not to mentally get off on the wrong foot, but you know when you're not 100% or "on" for a race. Certainly, this was one of those days.

After who knows how many trips to the bathroom today, the near 2-mile warm up jog to the start & a few accelerations, I toed the line but somehow got right up to the front line of the A-wave (usually I'm about 10 feet back). What a great chance to get out of the mess of runners! Frank Shorter was only a few feet away from me when the starting pistol went off on this beautiful sunny Memorial Day. I wasn't as concerned about tagging onto the guy who beat me in my age group the last three years, because I had the rare situation of racing for the 2nd year in a row as a 44-year old. Last year the race was on my birthday, this year it was a day before my birthday. 1-year age categories in this monster of a race.

Mile 1-it was turning our great & my split was a little fast at 5:26 I think it was. By mile 2 marker it slid to 5:36 or so--still under the 5:37 pace I needed to match last year's time. Around mile 1.5 or 1.25, Andy Ames, another frequent local race pal of mine, tapped me on the shoulder (I didn't know he was racing).  At this time, the wheels were already starting to fall off and people starting passing me like crazy (which kept up all the way to the end of the race).

Mile 3-suddenly the lack of toast to absorb the coffee came back to haunt me (I won't do that again!)
The issue with the coffee was is started to come back up...since there wasn't much in my stomach, it was just dry-heaving (which is difficult to do while running if you haven't tried it...) Quickly I told myself to slow things down, it doesn't matter how you do, you're injured and it is stupid to push it anyhow. Just use it as your first speed towards the summer racing. I kept pro triathlete Paul Ambrose in my sights, as I typically finish ahead of him in the Bolder Boulder. This year, he got me by 2 seconds though! 

Mile 4-the best & noisiest aid station out there, just awesome!  It is on 13th Street, near Moe's Bagels.
By this time there were kids and older guys passing me. There wasn't anything left in the legs, finishing was the only goal. There comes a point where finishing is just enough on those painful days--the competing can await a healthy body to return.

Mile 5-there was a guy who was in front of me who I *thought* was Joe Fogerty, a triathlete buddy of mine from the Springs. I sat behind him & slowed on the hill up to the stadium, hoping to out-sprint him. Turned out it wasn't him, but he sure ran & looked like him with his backwards hat on. Coming into the stadium I saw Paul Ambrose up ahead & tried to catch him, passing Tim Van Berkel (another pro triathlete training in Boulder). I'm sure Tim was just "jogging" but know what I's cool to have a big name triathlete place behind you even if it was a jog for him.

The finish-a nice lady volunteer at the finish saw me cross the line, bend over & start dry heaving. She moved a giant trash can in front of me & said, "Here, do it in here..."  After 2-3 minutes, I had recovered enough to stop the imaginary vomiting. Sorry to get graphical here, but it was really a crappy day out there for me. Once again, I was second in my age group, to a guy who had run in the Olympics when he was younger, in the marathon. He beat me by 14 seconds on a really bad day. Lots of folks beat me today. It's okay though.  I can either dust off the shoes & come back at it in better shape next year, or throw in the towel. Certainly, towel throwing is a bit of a stranger in my world, so there is your answer. Just have to turn this ship around and give it time. This was my second worst Bolder Boulder time, but there will be others.

Congratulations to the Boulder Running Company athletes (we had the 1st overall amateur from our team).  Thanks to Cody Hill of the Boulder Running Company and Adidas--the most awesome line of shoes out there, for sponsoring the BRC-Adidas team. I'm proud to run for them, now I need to recover and get back to my 2013 racing shape following these injuries. Until next report--which should be in about 2-3 weeks hopefully...keep the rubber side down!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Barking Dog Duathlon: Racing with Injury

Overall this was a step up vs West Side Du's DNF. The first run was aerobically sort of a non-event & didn't have that muscular extra gear, but aerobically it wasn't that hard--needed to take the run to Andy a bit harder. I did a short sprint at the end of the run just to try anything--get a mental edge even...on Andy before a traditional adding of a few seconds to him during T1 (but he's narrowing that gap). At the start of the bike, there was literally a fraction of the power on the pedals I normally ride. Andy put time into me on the bike & there wasn't anything I could do about it no matter how hard I tried.

By the time I hit the last run, my legs were so tired from basically pedaling with one leg (to protect the hamstring injury), that the run legs were gone. I was hoping to catch Andy on the second run but managed to lose about another 5 seconds. At the one "dog leg" I stopped briefly to tighten my right shoe as it was flopping around & annoying me from being too loose. This time there wasn't anything left in the legs to click into another gear. Again, aerobically, it was just fine, but no reaction from the legs. The issues do not seem to be one of cardio, but more of the chassis being underpowered. That's what happens when you get old I guess!

The end result was about a minute behind Andy & about 4-5 places from where I would be when healthy. Obviously some fast guys showed up, but no way my placing is indicitive of where I will end the season. Since West Side Du a few weeks ago, there is no place to go but up. With a new sense of focus on nutrition and recovery from this past weekend, it is time to buckle down & buck up...the season is upon us & I'm behind the 8-ball. It's time to pump up the volume so bring it! long as the body holds up that is.

After the race I was talking with a young chap and his wife who had just moved here from Arizona. Pretty funny story...I was explaining how after the timing mat was crossed at T1 on the bike exit--that I jumped on the bike (I saw signs but no "line" on the ground).  The refs yelled to get off the bike & re-mount at the line (which again, there was no line on the ground that I saw, just signs). After hopping on the bike a THIRD time in total...with rubber bands on the shoes already broken...I "stop-mounted" the bike and then my right heal came down on the teeth of the chainring, completely tearing the entire heel off my right foot compression socks (those aren't cheap either!)  No injury was incurred.  In explaining to the young couple, I said now I guess I'll throw out the compression socks. He quickly requested them to take...used, dirty/sweaty, with holes in them. So I took them off right there & handed the socks to him. That was actually just about the best thing of the day because *inside* I was laughing my arse off. Love a good laugh!

Notice the above pictures during the run where the socks are on, then the podium shot where there are no socks. By this time--the third overall place guy (Brian) had already left with his "award" lol!

Which reminds me, racing on what is now a four year old bike with nearly 15 year old race wheels, and 6+ year old tubulars. My gear is getting out of date. It seems to still be working & I still seem to be competitive when not injured, so no point in getting anything but new tires at this point so flats don't happen. Although I need a new race kit...half of my stuff is so old it is in a *dry rot* state. Elastic on the leg grippers are starting to go. The big A race of the year isn't for another 3.5 months so time to heal up & lay the foundation. Sure hope I'm healed better for Bolder Boulder...much further behind than last year, that is for sure! Until next  can either toss in the towel or use it to just wipe the sweat off of you & keep going.
One thing I did different due to injury, was to use the KSwiss shoes as they were super light & needed to take as much strain off the injury as I could. At least until I get a new pair of ultra-light ones from Adidas. In hindsight the Adidas would have had a lot better traction and may have helped on the dirt trail quite a bit more.

As it is a day after the race, I'm barely sore. which tells me racing with injury has left me sensible enough to race UP to the point or threshold of just under making injury worse.  At least it was enough to win the 45-45 USAT Rocky Mountain Regional Duathlon Champion title. Nothing feels worse, as in re-injuring the hamstring--which tells me there is a good sense of awareness on what line not to cross. Hats off to all the competitors for racing fast this past weekend...until the next race...Kevin

(Just call me ===> KK)

Special thanks to Rachel Ames (Andy's wife) for the spectacular pictures.