Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Hidden Valley Nature Center
Run Thru The Woods Part Deux

Rich and I ran together for a bit as we pulled a couple of folks back who had passed us earlier.  I was still feeling fairly comfortable with my pace so when a dude came screaming by somewhere around the 3 mile mark I decided to see if I could hang on.  I could tell the dude was serious because instead of running around the wet areas, he just plowed straight through, on a couple of occasions going in almost to his knees.  Yes, this was the guy I should pace off of.
We soon lost Rich and it was now Steve and I picking folks off.  Around the four (I think) mile mark, we passed my parents and my other brother who informed us that we were in 16th and 17th place out of 43 which was right about where I expected to be.

Steve and I ran together for several miles.  Sometime along the way I realized that I was still feeling a bit too comfortable and had been relentlessly chatting at Steve so sometime around the 6 mile mark I upped the pace on a long gradual climb dropping Steve and bringing a couple of other runners into sight.  Yes, the chase! 

making the move on Steve

Having a couple of carrots ahead really motivated me to kick it up.  I noticed that a lot of folks were walking the steeper hills so I used those areas to really close gaps ignoring the massive amounts of pain that I was in and the fact that I'd stop seeing clearly (maybe I should have brought some gu or at least HEED).  The pain and suffering paid off though because when I hit the 2.5 mile to go mark I had moved into 12th place and a small group just up ahead of me, including the three women who had passed me very early on in the race.

the worst hill was right at the 2.5 mile to go mark.  ouchie...

By the 9 mile mark I was running on pure determination and feeling very thankful for the long mountain bike races I've done in the past.  Another 30 minutes of misery can never compare to the hours of misery involved in a 12 hour race.

As I closed to within 100' of the group in front of me, the eventual woman's winner and one guy pulled away leaving me and two other women (Katie and Lauren) to duke it out til the end.  On one of the nasty steep climbs Lauren stopped to rest and take in a GU.  She was quickly out of sight so I FIGURED I had 12th place wrapped up which was good because no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to close the 50 foot gap to Katie.

 Katie is just ahead.

Eventually, I began to realize that I'd never close the gap and resigned myself to that 12th place.  That is, right up until I saw Lauren closing in.  Shit!  I was literally on fumes at this point but the last thing I wanted was to be passed in the last mile so I mustered whatever strength I had left and amazingly closed the gap to Katie.

on Katie's heels coming into the final stretch.
I ran on her heels for about a 1/2 mile until finally, mercifully, the finish line came into sight and I shamelessly pulled around Katie to kick her butt by a whole second.

my brother rus finishing his race about 2 minutes up

I was so shot that I barely made it out of the finish shoot without falling over.  You know you've pushed yourself to the limits when both legs are quivering uncontrollably as you try not to pass out.

Jello legs

final thoughts tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Hidden Valley Nature Center
Run Thru The Woods

A couple of months ago, I was feeling restless.  The mountain bike season was coming to a close, my waistline was opening up and I was looking for some sort of goal to motivate me to get off my sorry ass and get some exercise.  My buddy WillC clued me into the first time running event the HVNCRTTW (it's too damn long of a name to keep typing it out) a half marathon trail RUNNING race.  Historically, I'm not much of a runner but have had some mild success in the past.  The wayyyyyyyy past actually.  Like back in high school past.  Back then, I started running spring track to stay in shape for football.  I started running the 2 mile and mile races but soon found that to be too taxing (and boring) and slowly migrated towards the 400m solos and relays.  Basically anything longer than a sprint but short enough to not require running more than a couple of miles in practices.  I was moderately good at it and managed to qualify for states by the skin of my teeth on a couple of occasions.  But it was not something that I truly enjoyed or seemed to be all that good at.

Over the last few years as I've been forced to walk our dogs, I've taken a bit to trail running as a way to make the most out of the time I was spending outside anyway and before I knew it, I was actually enjoying running.  The only problem is, I was only running 2-3 miles a day.  Not bad for a non-runner but not very good prep for someone hoping to do a half marathon.  So, of course I immediately signed up for the race because if a goal seems reasonable, it hardly seems worth doing.

And then I got worried.  It tried a 7 mile trail run and that went well so I was feeling confident.  Then I did an 8 mile trail/road run that demoralized me and left me with a gimp right knee that kept me from running at all for two weeks.  I did manage two 1 mile runs a couple of days before the race so I HOPED that I'd be able to get through the half marathon.

Thankfully, because of the snow and standing water on the course, the promoters shortened the length a day before the race to 10.5-ish miles.  3 miles less seemed like a great idea to me.

(Holy smokes have I rambled.  Lets get to some racing...)

On race day, my brother Rus and I show up a smidge too early (apparently it doesn't take as long to get ready for a running race as it does for a bike race) but that just gave us a crack at the porta potties before the crowds showed up.  Sadly, even at 35 degrees, race day porta johns are a stinky place to be.

trail runs draw some kooks

riding converted to running cohorts Trevor and Steven at the start line

it's worth clicking on this pic to see
Steven's facial expression (blue shirt and green shorts)

When the gun went off, a few guys quickly jumped ahead of me including Rus, Trevor and Stephen.

30 seconds in and the last I'd see
the front of the race (yes I did carry a
camera with me.  I live for blog fodder)

this opening road section was one of the nicest 
and easiest to navigate on the day

I soon found myself with a small group of 4 (as opposed to a large group of 4) that seemed to be running a pace I could manage so I settled in and let the leaders go.  As many of you know, I suffer from bouts of grandeur but this was one case that I knew exactly where I stood and that was nowhere near the front.  We kept a nice clip for the first couple of miles and I was feeling quite comfortable.  A sign that I probably wasn't pushing hard enough.  Sure enough, a train of 5-6 runners (including two women) cranked by us.

choo choo train passing me by
By the time that group was a few hundred feet ahead of us, I decided it was time to pick up the pace a bit so I passed the kid I'd been pacing off of and spent some time with a builder friend on my heels as I turned it up a couple of notches.

Hey Rich!

I've run out of time for today.  Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling ending.

Monday, November 28, 2011


V is for valiant effort.  Yesterday was the HVNC Run Thru the Woods.  I was able to finish the race despite the knee issues leading up to it but I didn't exactly win.  Actually, I didn't even kinda sorta win.  But I did finish and that is a win in this case.  Full race recap tomorrow.

mmmmm, snow and slush

hey look, more snow and slush!

and then wobbly legs.

Tune in tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let's Play a Game

The first person (who wasn't there) who can correctly identify the object in this photo wins some very special, personalized Racin Rick memorabilia.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy guessing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

De Ride!  De Ride!

Thanks to the marvel of modern combustion engines, last week I was able to leaf blow about 6 miles of trail in under three hours.  Enough trail clearage to make a group ride from my place viable.

Who wouldn't want to ride this?

or this?

thank you Mr. Stihl
I successfully lured 6 southern maine folks to make the arduous (apparently since getting them up here is as difficult as wrestling a twinkie from the hands of Ralphie May) 1 hour drive up to my place and we enjoyed near perfect conditions with temps in the 50's, clear skies, clearish trails and only a modest amount of mud.

Fun was had, trails were ridden, mocking was prolific and the endo's were abundant.  Everybody except for yours truly spent some time over the bars.  Thankfully, after missing the photo-op for one endo, I was set up properly for the next.

DA, welcome to Edgecomb

sadly, the next endo prone spot didn't supply any.  

shortly after, while JSA (just standing around) Forrest's tire popped off and we got to witness a tube trying to wrestle free from it's internment while we covered our ears in wait for the impending explosion...

it's pot rock, not to be confused with a pet rock. 
It does look cuddly though.

Danzy Pansy Puddin Pie got the worlds largest stick caught between
his wheel and seat stays.  Impressive.
and afterwards we stuffed our faces with the world's best guacamole (mine), black bean salsa, lots-o beer and some very over done burgers. 

look ma, still no upper cabinets!

See y'all next time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Screwed

My right knee is still f'ed up a full week since my last real run. It's been tweaky since a couple days after my run commute. I'm not sure is that is what did it or not. What I do know is that my right knee hurts and feels very unstable. Yesterday, my knee felt good so I tried a run this morning but after 1/4 mile it was obvious that the knee still wasn't happy so I grabbed a rake and did some trail work for this weekend's ride instead. Ride this weekend? Well, if you're reading this and are so inclined, I'm having a group (group of 1 is nobody shows up) ride this coming Sunday at 2 leaving from my place. 2-ish hours of singletrack followed by grilling and bon-firing.

The pot spot
So, be there or don't.  Your choice.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A Raking We Will Go

My right knee has been a bit tweaked after Friday night's run (thank you so much pavement!) so I've been taking it easy for a few days.  It actually felt pretty good this morning but I still decided to do some trail work instead of my morning run.  We've got a blanket of leaves on the ground 3-ish inches thick right now making it difficult to see the trail when running in the dark and pretty easy to trip and impale yourself on something.  You know, like this spring...

Bit by bit, I'm bringing my trails back into being.  Going from this:
to this

and this
here's a tip for riding these trails.  Don't get off line.  you'll go from carving goodness to riding on ball bearings.  the landing is soft (usually) though.

There will be a Sunday ride happening from my place in the near future before winter ruins it all.  Anybody in?  Wait, does anybody read this?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Success! - ish

In preparation for THE BIG RACE at the end of the month I decided to run home from work on Friday, a good 8 or so miles (unless I was feeling good and decided to tack more on) of road and trail.  Enough to gauge my fitness but hopefully not enough to kill me.

I survived the ordeal but the first three miles of road literally made me never want to run again.  My trail shoes on pavement lead to massive shin splints.  Immediately.  They were so painful that I was forced to run in the ditch most of the distance which was a rolled ankle just waiting to happen.

Thankfully, I managed to plod my way through it and actually enjoyed most of the rest of the runs via trail.  I wasn't too psyched by my average speed but it is what it is and I still have three more weeks to shape up.  My brother just so happened to be doing a similar commute home from Boston to Newton at the same time.  Let's just say that Rus' time was a smidge better.  I might have to fake an injury so that I don't have to endure the shame of losing to him in three weeks.

After I got back I posted my time and speed on facebook.  Hilarity ensued (if hilarity is defined as anything that is even remotely amusing when you are scraping the bottom of the barrel for blog fodder).  Here is an early morning edit for folks.  I, in no way actually think that what happens below is hilarious.  Only mildly amusing at best...

  • Rick Nelson Good news is I survived. Bad news is I'm slooowwwwwe. 7.95 @5.3. Boo
    Friday at 6:39pm ·

  • Geoff Getz Depends on if that's measured in mph or min/miles. The later is pretty good. Maybe not Rusty Nelson good, but pretty good...
    Friday at 10:31pm ·

  • Rusty Nelson It really shows that he's a mountain bike guy that he reports his runs MPH and not minutes per mile.
    Saturday at 8:25am ·

  • Rick Nelson Only silly runners measure in minute per mile! Men and race cars use mph
After the weekend I still stand by my statement (or, to be more accurate, sit uncomfortably as my legs ache).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I Do Ride a Bike On Occasion

This blog has seemed less like a cycling blog recently and more like a trail running/whoa is me blog (to be honest, the who is me part has always been there), but I do ride a bike on occasion, just not that often these days.  Thankfully, I was finally able to do something today that I haven't done much this year.  No, not wash my underwear, commute by bike.  My schedule this year has made it tough but it's high time I start getting creative again and sneak in at least one or two commutes a week by bike again.  My legs, belly and inner hippy need it.

Hunting season has started here in the vacation state and iffy trail conditions after this weekend's snow/wind had me deciding on the road steed which was just as well since I would be hauling my brand spanking new 17"! (the size and weight of this thing are out of this world!) laptop with me.  No need getting my boss all pissed off at me for smashing it on a rock only a couple of weeks into it's possession. 

er, I guess that's it...