Things nobody really cares about but I'll comment on them anyway

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Morning Masochism

So I decided to try and hang and train with the big dogs the last couple of mornings. We met at Valle Crucis to run the Cub at 5:30. Did I mention I'm not really much of a morning runner. Actually I'm more of a warm cup of coffee on the front porch kind of morning person. I've always been amazed at Steve's and then subsequently Shack's ability to get up that early and then work out. So I figured it was time to try and step up to the plate.
Yesterday morning was surprisingly not that terrible. I actually felt awake and energized by the beauty of the predawn in what would be a great day. We started off and I was very impressed by Shack hanging with us on a pace quicker than his usual. He was with us until about mile four and then Steve and I pulled away together on the hill. When we crested out at the cemetery and turned back to pick Dave up he was already turning onto the final hill stretch and looking pretty strong. We joined up on him and all ran the last section. Then SHACK ATTACK, Dave starts accelerating up the last hundred feet of the hill up and over the rise and into the downhill. I was in cruise hill climb mode and he totally dusted me. I had to race to catch up. We finished just under a ten minute pace as OSTAF was pulling into the parking lot. All in all a nice run to start the day with and of course the cocky thoughts began to flow. Before I could stop myself I was suggesting the same thing this morning.
All day long I was feeling that run and beginning to wonder if another was a good idea. That afternoon Amy reminded me it was supposed to be raining and nasty. Steve and I talked on the phone and avoided the very tempting cancelation to wait it out for the morning. 4:45 came way too early this morning, and the sound of water running through the rain gutters only made me want to roll back over and go back to sleep. I dragged myself out of bed and got my stuff together. The drizzle was very light and mostly just overcast. After meeting Shack and riding together through town it started to rain. But when we pulled into VC it had stopped. Steve rolled in and despite all feeling rough we headed out.
I was flagging in mile one. We started out at around a ten minute pace Shack again hanging tough. After a mile or two the pace quickened a touch but I felt slower. Again Shack was with us until the hill. This time Steve tested at the cemetery and just as we were turning around to pick him up Shack was cresting the final rise. What a monster. We regrouped and headed into the downhill together. I was beginning the final fade now. As we turned onto Broadstone and the final half mile Shack opened up a 50 yard gap on me with Steve by his side. I started to try and do a mild increase but he was still accelerating. I had to sprint to catch up to him by the Mast Store Annex with 100 feet to go and it turned into a three way foot race. We ended up finishing two minutes faster than yesterday thanks to Dave. I don't know how he does it but he is obviously built for distances greater than seven miles.


Monday, May 5, 2008

VC 25k

A beautiful day to suffer. What a fantastic race. Beautimous weather, sunshine, cool breeze, challenging course, and of course diabetic drama. I picked Steve up so he could get a bike ride in after the race without leaving a vehicle. All was good until the pre-race test. 280 while a great score in sports such as bowling is not a number I think Steve was excited to see on the glucose monitor. We started the race all full of ourselves during the first mile of gently rolling creekside running and then the hill began. Apparently just having a blood sugar of 280 is pure joy in and of itself but when you add a nice anaerobic sustained climb for 2.3 miles well then it's just ectasy. Ninja plowed through the hill. At mile 3.3 we hit the first crest at Rominger Rd. Steve's test was 260. Not exactly good news. A short recovery period and we were climbing again. He was hangin' tough though and in fine stoic form it was easy to forget just how uncomfortable he must have been. A test somewhere between the aid stations showed a miniscual drop to 240. At this rate of decline he would still be around 180 at the finish. From here though the course was a gradual descent. We were actually able to catch the group that passed us at the second aid station. We would subsequently pinball and yoyo between this group of about 6-8 runners for the remainder of the course. Steve started to feel better and the course floated by as the views became more and more impressive. At the second aid station Steves test was 140. A drop of 100 points in just over twenty minutes. Let the roller coaster ride begin. He started eating shot blocks. By the third aid station at mile nine manned by a former student and her Mom, Steve's plummeting blood sugar had stabilized at around 114. Keep in mind he would have to eat shot blocks continuously just to maintain this level. Nothing quite like feeling like poop, running up hill, and then crashing mid-course, and having to force feed yourself gooey cheweys like it was your job. Around mile ten we hit the river road. The long gradual uphill on rough gravel. We picked up a chocolate lab who paced us the remainder of the run a solid 4-5 miles of playful energy at my side. Into the final aid station Steve tested and remained just above 100. He crammed down a whole package of shot-blocks six gummy squares plus power aid. Then we rolled out with a clear mission of recatching and passing the group that had just sailed through ahead of us. And catch them we did just as we got to the sneak hill on Watauga River Road. The cliff shot I had taken at mile nine kicked in here along with some inner drive as the grade increased. I geared down and it felt like I floated the last hill pulling just ahead of Steve. Of course at the crest I was looking down at not quite the downhill I had been hoping for. The lab stayed with me and I managed to stay out in front of the people I had just passed. I saw a woman about 2-300 yards ahead of me finishing strong and was very content to come through the finish line by myself. Steve was not far behind. All in all a beautiful day. Steve and I cooled down a little before he took off for his "light ride" up through Willow Valley. All in all a great run. I can't begin to tell you how nice it was to run with a friend for most of the course chatting away enjoying the views rather than singing lame songs to myself in my head to try and maintain sanity and avoid thinking about how stupid running fifteen miles really is. Sorry Wayne! Kudos to OSTAF for Off The Couching it. Yeah great idea to ride 25 miles the afternoon before ha ha. Although I don't know if I would have been able to finish a fifteen miler in 6 hours under your self imposed training regimen. I still say you would have been better off with a couple of frosty carbo-beverages and nachos. And you still think you're not sure if you could handle a marathon??? There's no question in my mind.

Dressed for the event

Just passed past the second aid station

Two goofballs at the mile nine aid station. Steve cramming down shot blocks

Our lovely mile nine aid station volunteers look on as Steve psychs himself up for yet another gooey chewey.

Now show me great internal angst and self loathing!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Zircon's Tiki Doll AKA Low Boy Incarnate

So my friend Dave's alter ego is LOWBOY. He has plagued Dave incessently throughout his life's battle with Diabetes. One of my students gave me this TIKI doll a few years ago (I'm still not sure why). Perhaps they thought it went well with the Hula Girl sitting on my filing cabinet for most of the year. All I could think of when I looked at it was the Brady Bunch episode where they go to Hawaii and have the cursed TIKI doll that gets them into all kinds of trouble. That all changed when I started hearing and experiencing Lowboy moments working with Dave. Granted I have yet to see LOWBOY in all his awsome power. I get the occasional hint of a former glory every now and again, but since Dave has started training seriously for Ironman Madison with a couple of other suspect characters, LOWBOY seems confined mostly to jokes and references to this doll. Perhaps he has been condemned to ride out eternity in this cheap knock-off of Polynesian art. Let's hope so. LOWBOY is trapped most of the time in the top drawer of my filing cabinet the place where all the "Emergency Snacks" live. It seems a fitting place.