Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Laying Down The Gauntlet on the River Trail

Well, since Andy Martin has a broken leg and can barely play "Pickle Ball" at the moment, I figured it was time to throw down again on the River Trail.  My last time on it I kind of bonked in the heat, no GUs, etc.  
Sean has been proud as a little peacock around the store so it was time to bring out the big guns.  No more clunky road shoes for the trail.  I busted out a shoe that would give me a little more pep.  Bring on the Brooks Racer ST.  I had a bottle, a cool day, and some Hammer Gel to fuel me along the way.  I decided to take it out reasonably hard, hopefully get to Benham Falls pretty quickly to gain a cushion and then just bring it home.
It was Memorial Day Weekend so I underestimated the the amount of people on the trail.  I probably came into contact with at least 50 people on the trail.  Bikers, walkers, sitters, I saw it all.  Everyone seemed very nice and gave me the right of way.... I guess some bow legged, slow guy who looks like he is racing is enough incentive to just let this crazy guy go through.  I got to Dillon Falls in just over 30 minutes and Benham Falls in 54 minutes.  However, I probably should have run in the shoes ONCE before I heading out for 16 or so miles.  I started getting a sharp, blister like pain on the bottom of my foot.  However, Sean's snug little mug stayed ingrained in my head and that was motivation enough to keep going as strong as I could.  My downhills were a little weak but I felt good on the flats and uphills.  
As I hit "Aspen" junction, I knew I had it in the bag and let myself mellow out my stride a little bit.  I finally hit the finish, giant crowd, and and elaborate finish line (oops, sorry I need to wake up from dreaming) in 1:48:02.  
To be honest, I think I can run it a little quicker as I never pushed excessively hard after the first few miles but I'm retiring.  I haven't enjoyed the beauty of the river trail as much as I should .  Or maybe I am just saying that because Jeff Caba and Andy Martin are licking their chops to beat up on an old ultra guy and make me look really bad.  
Regardless, and true to form, I came home from dinner last night with one message on my cell phone.
"Hey Rod, I have a new challenge.  Double out and back to Benham Fall and back in under four hours."--- Sean Meissner.
Oh man.......

Thursday, May 22, 2008

River Trail Record

Rod's pretty cool (or so he thinks:). He runs the river trail from Meadow Camp to Benham Falls once a week. This has turned into a great 17 mile roundtrip tempo run for us. I'm not quite as geeky as Rod, so I only do it a few times a year.

It took a few years of Rod geeking out, but finally a couple years ago, he broke 2 hours. So I gave it a go last spring and, despite getting lost (lame, but true), I also broke 2.

This spring, Rod started upping the ante a bit. About a month ago, he clocked a 1:53:30ish. Wow, that was definitely a fast one. So a week and a half ago, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I lost the main trail again a couple times (there really are quite a few zigzagging trails out there). But, I still was happy with my solid 1:54:40.

So Rod ran it again last week. He completely geeked out this time; no bottles, no gu...light and fast. He bonked, but still ran 1:53:40ish. Attaboy, Rod, but maybe next time you'll carry a bottle and a carmel powergel.

Today I decided to run it. I have lots of miles in the old legs; 450 in the last 26 days. I really was just looking to cruise it comfortably hard in right around 2. My time to the first check point confirmed this, as I was easily 1:30 slower than what Rod usually runs for that 1.3 mile section. But then I felt warmed up, so decided to tempo it the last 15.7 miles. I hit the turn around in 58:30 and knew a sub-1:53 was possible (the course is gentle uphill out and downhill back).

My check points all the rest of the way were keeping me on schedule for a barely 1:52-something. Then came the last section. I was at 1:45:03. A sub-8 means you're moving really well here. I was moving really well and knew I could get a sub-8. Then, as usual in this section, I took a wrong cross trail. Doh! I was climbing up onto a ridge instead of staying down by the river. So I bushwhacked back down, losing probably 30 seconds. Yep, it was definitely going to be tight.

Back on the right trail, I pushed a bit harder. With about 1/3 of a mile to go, on the rocky section, I came up fast on a couple. I slowed down and politely said "excuse me, on your left". They looked back, were caught off guard, and completely froze. They looked at each other and me, and just didn't know what to do. So I stood there for 15 seconds (yes, I checked), anxiously, but trying to look patient, waiting for them to take one step to the side.

They finally stepped aside, I graciously (I hope) thanked them, and continued on. Around the bend, I could see the car. I just ran as hard as I could. 1:53:09. Doh! Mixed blessings. Although I didn't get that coveted sub-1:53, I did whoop up on Biener's soft little p.r. So for that, I was happy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Masks, PBR, and some serious Bandits

Well, we hosted the first ever trail bandit race! The flavor of these "races" or "runs" are to be pure fun and hopefully get people on some new trails that are not Shevlin Park proper or Phil's trail.... I think those have been more than covered!

The first course started off of Skyliner at the backside of Shevlin park. Runners headed up the gentle Mrazek trail and came back via the very, very rough Tumalo Creek trail. We were thrilled to have 31 participants since I only came up with this idea less than two weeks before the event. We had a nice cool start and some quick runners blazed up the trail for the first five miles before hitting the aid station hosted by our own "Ironman", Chad Baker!

After filling up with some water and treats, runners tiptoed through the rocks and boulders, climbed through a rock tunnel, and navigated some serious terrain before finishing off back at the start/finish and earning their bandit mask and an ice cold PBR.

The men's top three were: Jeff Caba, Steve "I can bake some kick ass pastries and still run fast" Morse, and Billy "Bonehead" Barnett *** who also climbed a tree mid-way in the race.

The top three women were: Kami "of course she won" Semick, Tate "Pandora's Backpack" Kelley, and Heather Vihstadt! All earned the VERY elaborate prizes of a Powerbar necklace. Does it get any better than that????

We hope you'll join us next time on a new trail.... not sure of location yet but a guarantee that it won't be at Shevlin or Phil's!!! It'll be REAL trails and beautiful views. Remember, these are not competitive and ALL are welcome! No secret "runner" handshake necessary..... Just good times, bad beer, and a mask for you. We hope to see some new bandits next month.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Trail Bandit Series

Fleet Feet is proud to announce our monthly “Trail Bandit” series. These are trail runs that will hopefully introduce people to some new trails in the area and get you off of the “same old trails” that we find ourselves running all the time. There is no fee for these trail runs. And, while they are not technically “races”, we will time the runs, add a trail marker or two so you don’t get lost, have some water and electrolyte drink for ya if the distance warrants it, and throw in a few prizes, not necessarily for the fastest runner. We’ll also post the times on our website the day after the event.

These are definitely no fee, pure fun events. So bring your sense of adventure, some sturdy shoes, and get ready for a good time with good people.

Event #1, Shevlin Creek Crunch:
This run starts from the dirt road off of Skyliners Drive that circles Shevlin Park. This run could be labeled “heaven and hell.” We will start by climbing a quick dirt road and jumping on the Mrazek Trail (think Heaven). This is a nice mellow uphill trail that will head up about 4 miles until our aid station and then we’ll send you back via the Shevlin Creek trail. This trail is as tough as Central Oregon has to offer. Roots, rocks, downed trees, this is REAL trail running. After 4 miles (trust me, you’ll have enough) you’ll finish back up where you started. We’ll then have our elaborate awards ceremony (can you sense the sarcasm) and you’ll have have seen some great trails along the way.
TIME: 8:00 a.m., Sunday, May 11th (don’t worry, you can still get mom breakfast afterwards)

Directions to the start: Head west on Galveston from the flaming chicken. At the roundabout at Mt. Washington, continue straight (Galveston turns to Skyliner). After 2.5 miles, make a right on a gravel road (there is a brown hike/bike sign). Then, after 100 yards or so, make your first left hand turn onto another gravel road and follow this gravel road for 1.4 miles. Once you cross a bridge, park on the right hand side of the road.
Summer Bandit Trail Series Schedule:
May 11
June 15
July 20
August 17
September 14