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Relays and Halfs and Books…oh my!

Posted Sep 08 2010 2:21pm
Time to get caught up on the ol’ blog! I’ve been on vacation and doing fun things and reading fun books but now I’m back at the grind. As far as training updates go…yes I’ve been doing a lot of running but no swimming and no cycling. I’m not going to list out my training runs this time otherwise this post would become way too long. Instead I’m going to give short race reports on two recent races and a couple of book reviews and here we go…
My vacation started out with a bang Friday the 27th and my 8th Hood-to-Coast (HTC) Relay Race . And this was the first one I got to run with my daughter and son-in-law so that was an added benefit for me. For those that don’t know about HTC it was a relay race from Timberline Lodge 6,000-feet up the side of Mt. Hood and winds 197-miles through Oregon to the small beach town of Seaside on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The teams are made up of 12 runners in 2 vans and each runner runs 3 legs of varying length and degree of difficulty. This year I was runner #10 which was not a leg I have done before so I only have 4 more to do and then I will have done them all. Someday I’ll be able to say “I’ve run from Timberline Lodge to Seaside. It took me 12 years, but I did it!” My first run just outside the town of Gresham on the Springwater Corridor and that occurred at ~9pm Friday night. It was still warm out and by then it was dark but my Pez headlamp I found my way. My second run was at ~6am Saturday morning near the very small burg of Mist. It was just getting daylight and sky was a beautiful blue but it was a little cold. Until I started running and my first 2-miles were straight uphill. And my 3rd and last leg was just outside Seaside at ~3pm Saturday afternoon. It was very warm and my legs were not liking it all but I was doing all I could to add to my roadkill (runners passed) count and ended up at exactly 50 roadkills this year. After the finish line activities of crossing the line with our entire team and then getting our photos taken we hit the food vendors and beer garden and both were exactly what I needed! I loved being able to spend that time crammed in a van with my daughter and her husband and their friends and I’m so glad they have chosen a healthy lifestyle like the old man.
Stats for HTC Leg #1 = 6.23-miles in 41:15 @ 6:37/m pace.
Stats for HTC Leg #2 = 6.81-miles in 45:51 @ 6:44/m pace.
Stats for HTC Leg #3 = 4.15-miles in 27:50 @ 6:42/m pace.
Stats for HTC overall = 17.19-miles in 1:54:56 @ 6:41/m pace.

While enjoying my vacation and time spent in Manzanita after Hood-To-Coast, and a few days spent in Newport, OR. enjoying Nye Beach, the Old Bay Front, the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and the Rogue Brewery I was able to finish the book Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi. I loved this book. I played tennis all through high school and into my early 30’s and have always loved it. I gave it up when running and triathlon came into my life and needed more time. I’ve followed Andre and his career since he broke onto the scene and he’s always been one of my favorite players. His book was tremendous! Funny, sad, eye-popping, revealing and a wonderful read! I had no idea that he hates tennis with such a passion. Hates it with all his heart mostly due to his overbearing father forcing it on him from the time he was in the crib. Andre was forced to quit school in 8th grade to pursue tennis. He was forced to leave home and live at a tennis academy he hated to pursue tennis. And he persevered and to become number one in the world more than once and the holder of an Olympic Gold Medal and 8 Grand Slam titles including the Career Slam which means winning the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. Such names as Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Nadal, and Sampras have not done that. But Andre did and not only that, he came back from an all-time low ranking of 141 in the world to win two more Grand Slams. He was married to Brooke Shields for two dreadful years but is now happily married to Steffi Graf who is also an Olympic Gold Medalist, a Career Grand Slam winner (won all four in the same calendar year!) and the holder of 14 Grand Slam titles. While Andre’s back has pretty much stopped him from most activities he is now in a good place in life and spends all his time running the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for children in need in Las Vegas. This was an excellent book.

Now I’m reading What The Dog Saw: And Other Adventures by Macolm Gladwell and it is a compilation of his best work while writing for the New Yorker. I’ll let you know what I think of it upon completion.

I ended my week off in grand fashion with another race. On Sunday I ran the inaugural Wine Country Half-Marathon put on by Destination Races. Given that HTC was less than a week ago and I had nearly 40-miles of running on my legs by this point in the week I wasn’t sure what to expect from this race. There were several people from my office running it (including two of my employees and my CIO) otherwise I may have skipped it but I showed up and was hoping for something in the 1:40 or so range. The race is a point-to-point and the finish line is in the small town of Carlton ~30-minutes from my house so I arrived there at 5:30am and caught one of the shuttle buses to Stoller Vineyards and the starting line festivities. I must say that this race was a MUCH bigger deal than I was expecting a new race to be! There were close to 1,800 runners/walkers, filming crews, TV coverage and live action coverage from a helicopter. I had no idea. At about 7am we began making our down the long driveway to the start area and after some more loud music and announcements we were on our way. I wore my Garmin Forerunner 305 and I’m not sure if the race was wrong or my Garmin but it was consistently off a bit from the course mile markers. I had 1.2-miles to their 1-mile, I showed 9.14-miles to their 9-miles and ultimately I showed 13.3-miles to their 13.1-miles. Oh well. The course itself was very scenic and wound around the wine making towns of Dundee and Lafayette before winding backroads through the beautiful vineyards of Oregon. There weren’t any monster hills of note but lots of short and steep rollers. And at mile 8 or so we went onto a gravel road that lasted the next 4 miles or so that I didn’t care much for since I could feel my feet slip with each push-off and I knew that was just wasted energy and lost forward momentum! I had some miles from 9 to about 12 that were a bit hurtful and had me wondering if my race planning was what it could be but soon enough I was back on pavement running past the “Welcome to Carlton!” sign and less than a mile to go. I crossed the line several minutes sooner than I expected to and feeling pretty good so I think the race went well and I will be back to do it again next year. But I will rest a bit before it next year!
Race Stats13.1-miles in 1:30:57 @ 6:57/m pace. #4 in M45-49 AG, #22 OA
Garmin Stats: click here
13.3-miles in 1:30:57 @ 6:50/m pace. I hit 13.1-miles in 1:29:30 @ 6:50/m pace.
And finally, with a wonderful 10-miler this morning (7:25/m pace) under starlit skies at 4:45AM I am now moving into marathon training mode in prep for the Columbia Gorge Marathon on October 24th. That will be marathon #18 for me!

Thanks for stopping by…
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