01 June 2010

Redemption: What A Difference A Year Makes

As I was gearing up for the Musselman HIM last season, I went out and did a handful of half-marathon runs. Among them was the CATS half-marathon course out of Mendon Ponds Park in Rochester, N.Y. Having already had a handful of 13.1's under my legs, I felt confident that this was going to be the proverbial "walk in the park" run. What I did not know, is that this course is incredibly hilly—as in 50 rolling hills. Sure, you get to go down them too, but, allow yourself to let your legs go and you will be silently ripping your hamstrings to shreds and feel miserable by mile nine. I vaguely resemble that remark. When my running buddy Vanessa came home after finishing graduate work, she said "We have to get out there again and seek redemption on that course." Yes, it pretty much kicked all of our butts. I walked and jogged the last 5k. I am happy to report that this year was indeed different. Vanessa, Adam, Manuel and me went out and ran the CATS course on Saturday. With one bathroom break along the course, I finished in 1:49. Manuel and Adam finished about 40 seconds ahead of me. Vanessa took two bathroom breaks and nearly caught us. It is amazing how much easier it is to run when your bladder does not feel like it is about to explode. Following our run, we headed over to the local bagel shop and fueled up on the depleted glycogen levels and got some much needed protein—mine in the form of 2% chocolate milk. Great recovery drink!

The day after our half, Manuel, Scott, and I were going out for a little 30 mile shake out before our 50-miler the next day which included a lot of hills. We got about 12 miles out when Scott (who has the worst luck on a bike than any other human being I have ever met) decided to have an altercation with a stone garbage receptacle, bending his front rim, drawing some blood, and leaving him bewildered and frustrated.

This is a picture of how Scott should look. Notice he is on his bike.

This is a picture of Scott after a trash can ran into him.

Here is Scott crying over his wheel because he can not continue his ride.

There is a happy ending to the story. Manuel's friend Summer lives in town. Summer picked up Scott and his busted ride and drove him back to my house. Scott high-tailed it to the bike shop that was closing in a half hour on the other side of town (about a 40 minute trip form where we were.) Luckily, Scott Audi comes equipped with the all important flux capacitor. He made it to the bike shop, got his wheel fixed and we were out attacking hills the next morning around Canandaigua Lake. 

Speaking of Canadaigua Lake.... we headed over to Kershaw Park on the north end of the lake around 7:00 a.m. for a mile swim. Surprisingly, the water did not feel that bad with our wetsuits on. Of course, I had not yet plunged my head into the frigid blue deep. It took me a good five minutes to exhale normally in the water. The good news is that I felt fine after a few hundred yards, but I couldn't spot worth a lick. My goggles were really fogging up and me. I will have to go and get another pair before the Keuka Lake Triathlon this Saturday. As we transitioned from our wetsuits to our bikes, a rider came up and introduced himself and asked if we planned on going around the lake. His name is John. John is probably in his late to early 50's, great shape and was riding a Cannondale. When we first started out around the lake, we were all concerned that John was not going to be able to keep up with us. Little did we know that John crushed it on the climbs. There was a climb on the south side of the lake that he was ahead of me by a decent hundred yards. I would have taken a picture, but I probably would have fell off my bike in the process. Looks can certainly be deceiving. He took us on a couple of really steep climbs from the base of the lake up back up to the road that circles around the lake. 

Here is John telling this dude how bad he kicked the four of our butts up those climbs..."These young dudes with their matching team outfits... how cute..."

Right before we got back on and rode back north.
Doesn't Manuel look like he should be 
in comic books? He even stands like a superhero.
John and his self proclaimed "Rag-Tag" team that
we met along the way. Great guys. 

A nice steady low grade climb heading north.

Adam in the aero position. 
My new "old" ride. 
It isn't Colorado, but it is really beautiful!

The Big Deal:  Did I mention that I was Runner of the Week over at ncrunnerdude.blogspot? I would like to thank Thad for asking me to participate. 
If you have not checked out his blog yet, do so. This cat is the real deal. He updates daily with posts ranging from injury prevention, nutrition, strength training, shoe reviews, and training. I like that fact that he believes that running should be an inclusive activity. 

It was great answering the questions he asked me. It made me reflect on just how far I've come since my earliest days running two miles on a treadmill in graduate school. 

Getting ready for the Keuka Lake Triathlon this weekend. The weather report is calling for the possibility of thunderstorms in the morning. A possible du? More soon. Train Smart!



Wow!! Quite a post with great pics. I'd be embarrased to have that knee scrape photographed (give him some sh*t for me) Good luck on the tri this weekend

Big Clyde said...

I'm not a tri-athlete (but may get there someday). But I like reading your blog to see how you are pushing yourself and having fun at the same time. Inspirational!

wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

Awesome post! You had a really busy weekend! Way to redeem yourself on the half, how in the world do you get that time with hills and a bathroom break? Oh yeah, you're a guy, LOL!

Love John, the Superhero. You're right, looks really can be deceiving.

I think I am going to learn so much from you and your "matching team". Have a great day!

Alexa said...

I'll be really disappointed it gets switched to a du :(

Julie said...

Hi Mark,
What a fun post:) I love all of the great pictures....your tri-outfits are fantastic! How on earth did that trash can run into him?:) Ha ha! That is totally something that I would do! Have a great week!

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome awesome post - the pics are fabulous! How the heck did a trash can hit him? Congrats on the RunnerDude's runner of the week - very cool!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

You gotta watch out for guys like John that don't look the part. Reminds me of the time I was golfing a few years back and this bigger(aka - fat) guy asks if he can play with us on Tee 1. He doesn't look the part and I looked in his bag and saw he carried a 1-iron. I laughed and told my buddy that not even God can hit a 1-iron and this should be a fun round. Well, this guy could hit a 1-iron alright and he ended up taking us for a bunch of cash that day.

Looks can and usually are deceiving!

Great weekend of training Mark! Keep up the great work and good luck in the race this weekend!

Mark said...

Alexa—I would be only slightly disappointed if it were switched. Remind me to get my butt in that water early to warm up!

Clyde—I love keeping up on your weight loss on your blog. I think it so fantastic that you are transforming your life!

Wendy—I can run much faster with an empty bladder.

Julie— thanks. We love the outfits too. Although, more than one person asked us if crankskins were condoms for bicycles. What is up people?? Stop that!

Caratunk—Those trash cans can be deceivingly quick. I suggest you drive around your city marking them with pink paint.

Jeff—You are so right! This dude was a thrasher for sure. You know the whole time he had to be thinking silently to himself.."I can not wait to kick these crankskins sissies... bwaaaaahahahahahahaha!"

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

It sounds like you had a busy, but fun weekend! Congrats on the half! That is an awesome time for a hilly course!

The pics from your bike ride were awesome! Good luck in your tri this weekend!