Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I can still bike.

It's been 4 months since any serious biking has been completed.. okay, there was the 10 miler I did about 4 weeks ago with my TNT tri-group and then there was 21 miles done on Saturday but really that was it.

So when Formulaic said he was going out to ride 60 miles on Sunday I was a little intrigued. Mostly just to ride as the 21 miles the day before was kind of nice and reminded me how I do like biking but really I wanted to see how I would feel with biking 60 miles. After a few text's back and forth I was set to meet Form at Lake Mead.

As I got to the lake, Form was getting in his swim and I got my bike stuff ready. As he T1'd and we were set to go I remembered I forgot my helmet!! UGGHHHH!!!!! Miles from home and no helmet..SHIT! We quickly called Mrs. Form and she agreed to meet us at the check station into the lake but that would be I would be riding 10 miles without a helmet. (Yes, Coach, I could hear you in my ear yelling at me the whole way!!!) I must say it was quite uncomfortable to be riding without a helmet but what could I do, either scrap the whole ride or go 10 without it.

Once we met up with Mrs. Form and lil' Form I was super happy they could help me out and drop off a helmet. Now I was much more comfortable and ready to ride. We proceeded to enter good ol' North Shore Drive which has many climbs to reckon with. As the miles ticked away I was quickly reminded why I don't like riding at Lake Mead. I was actually looking at the sides of the roads and would see trails and think.. dang sure would like to go running down that trail and see where it goes. I actually told Form one time and he said he would wait right at the road for me, ha!

After we made the 30 mile turn around point, it was a quick refuel time and we were off heading back. Now I must say in the defense of Lake Mead and North Shore, I like the return because it is much faster with continually down grades and its just overall faster getting back then going out. As I slammed the gears down and took off I thought why not negative split the return and for 20 miles I worked it, attacking hills, out of saddle climbing and pushing the down hills! As North Shore was about to end I decided to slow down and take the last 10 miles easy. Formualic caught up with me and he took the lead the last 10.

As we pulled up to the cars I was truly ready to get off the bike and soon Form pulled a T2 and was off running. He offered for me to join but all I could really think about was getting in the lake and cooling off and that is exactly what I did. The water was a nice cold ice bath type and after a while I changed out and headed home. I saw Form heading back from his 4 mile run, which officially made him a somewhat unbalanced mini-triathlon but he really rocked it! Nice job dude!

The rest of the day I recovered and felt pretty good, tired of course but nothing out of the ordinary. The next day, I was actually feeling good again but just tired as I didn't seem to get enough sleep. Today, Tuesday, I am feeling tight in the legs but again overall Great. I will be hitting the DreadMill later today as the wind is 30mph ++ so running outside is really not good option today.

Bottom line... I can Still Bike!! and even with a 4 month layoff, it only goes to show that Ultra-running can keep your legs ready to roll in a moments notice.!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

chasing the run..

It's 19 days post OP50 and although I have logged a couple of runs, last weekend 17/20 I guess I really can't complain, or can I?

This past weekend during the 17 run it was all on trails and my left calf was bothering me two days leading up to this but must have been from the rain out/bail out I pulled on Thursday. On the same trail and route, Thursday, I was about 6 miles in when a crazy storm blew in at Red Rock and it got seriously windy and then the rain started. Luckily I was at a rest/parking area and there was a couple who asked if I wanted a ride and so I quickly jumped in as it was getting pretty crazy. So a decent run of 6 miles on Thursday followed up by running Sunday may have caused me issues.

As the Sunday run started out things were good, I mean as good as they could be. My calf was definitely not firing and I could feel I was not getting the push off I needed as was compensating with the right leg to provide the extra giddy-up I needed. By the time we were heading back to the car in the area that I really like to run down I just didn't have the power! and the legs were just not having it. At mile 16 I actually just stopped and walked the last mile. Disappointed and bummed I couldn't run another mile. I did break it down and tell my self that running the last mile was really not going to improve anything other than my Ego.

On Monday I was at the gym and getting in some strength workout stuff and even got on the treadmill to walk a mile to loosen things up and although I felt good I still don't recall having the power back. I took Tues/Weds off and worked on stretching and resting. Today, I am heading to the gym for strength work again and although it is leg day I will take it easy with my new workout plan as to not tank my legs for this weekends run.

All of this leads me to the upcoming Labor of Love 50k on April 11th. I have to decide quick as the price increase is this weekend. No matter what I do I seem to be chasing the run.

Some of you may be wondering what's with running so much so soon again and well I must admit... I have my eyes set on Rio Del Lago 100 Sept 11 and hence, the reason for adding the SilverRush 50 in Leadville. I know I know!!! Freakn' Crazy!!! Huh!! I know! With the training for OP50 and with the plan laid out I feel I can put the 1st attempt at the 100 and although that is scary ass thought and an inconceivable thought at that. I told S. Baboo now that he signed up for Leadville 100 that just thinking about doing it is the same feeling I got when I thought about Ironman. I think I can do with the right training but still not sure and as for the 100, it's just like that. I mean going from 50 to 100 is a whole other level, like 70.3 to 140.6! and bottom line is that it all scares the shit out of me. Not only that but to train up for the 10o RDL in September means training in some fabulous Vegas Heat which is not fun as I did last year for Headlands 50 but in a positive it only prepares you for dealing with some heat at RDL, which can be hot.

Ohh and don't forget that in all this I have this guy chasing me down and will surely be busting my triathlon times this year which will only leave me want revenge! There you have it. The deep and secret thoughts of JohnnyTri. Really the.. this guy is off his freakn' rocker thoughts!! haha.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Doing Great and Even Better!

Finally, Stretch to Win, has come to Las Vegas!!!!

That's right!!! and I Dr. John am bringing it hear. Over this past weekend, I was back down in Tempe, AZ at the Stretch to Win Institute to complete my certification and so here it is:

Not that I am big on bragging and all that jazz but I will say I am the Official 1st certified STW therapist in the state of Nevada. What does that mean? Nothing really. Or wait. It means I have a lot of work to do to get people to understand what Fascial Stretching is all about and why it is so important in every day activities, athletics, recovering and everything else being as Fascia covers your Whole Entire Body!!!

I very proud of completing this certification and the experience it is adding to my practice and how much further I can help people. This last part of the certification was the Upper Body series so adding this to the Lower body this week with some of my clients has just been incredible.

I look forward to continuing on in my certification levels with STW, unfortunately, it will be next year as they have changed up there schedule and the timing of things does not work out for the level 2 course this year but no worries! All the wonderful stuff I have with level 1 is amazing and you can ask CoachLiz (she receives stretching from Kimberly @ Spine and Sports Therapy in Houston, TX. ) and you can ask Molly, Jimmy just to name a few of personal clients.

As far as training goes. Well, let's talk.

Since it is 11 post OP50 run things have been happening, in a good way. First, I actually ran for the first time last night pulling in 4 miles at a nice upbeat pace, probably which was too fast for just coming back but hey I felt good. Also since last week I looked into this and well.. July 18th is the show down!! for Leadville SilverRush 50 I just had too! The timing was right and it looks fun and challenging with all that altitude!

In training for all this I will also manage to jump in on the LOL 50k on April 11th. Calico is having a huge race event weekend and the 50k worked out well for me and I have a volunteer race credit from 2009 that I can apply so even all the more!

My next adventure is to find a trail shoe even though I have completed all my training and races in a regular running shoe, I believe it may be time to change and see what the difference is. It almost felt like a better gripping shoe on OP50 would have worked better with all the rocks and such but I can honestly say that for Headlands 50 I felt the running show was sufficient.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

15 and more! A Lot more!

I was really glad to hit the top of the big ol long road and see the valley below because I knew there was going to be lot's of time running down hill and that was just fine with me, even though I knew in the back of my mind that if we were going down this year in the mileage we had to be going back up after that valley but it was so far away I didn't think about it.

The road down was quite fun with various conditions to run on, severe rocky, a regular dirt road and some small rough road sections. Again, I am trying to take in nutrition but my stomach is just not happy with anything I am trying to give it and really only likes water at the time being but I do know that at 15 miles-ish I need to get more food at the next aid station or I am going to bonk later in the day. I come to Aid Station mile 19 and it's decision time. Here's the deal: It's the Catholic Lent Season and I have forgone Soda's, Energy drinks and crappy fast food. I know from all my race experience that Soda, flat coke helps me and I feel great so I said softly.. Lord, I am really Sorry and I know you will forgive me! Glup! Glup! down went the Coke. Immediately I could feel my stomach happy, not only from the small amount of carbonation and sugar. I then grabbed some chips and potato's and was off again. I walked for several minutes because my stomach was full but no worries because the road soon turned on to a dirt trail/road and it started leading UP! I TOLD YOU! and not only that but the wind was blowing directly head on and so running was really out of the question for me. I stopped at this point to take this picture:
My finger points to the top-ish of the mountain/hill-top where I just came from.

After this there was some good climbs and runs spots to get to Aid Station Mile 25. By the time I got there I was actually a little hot because the sun had came out and I was ready for more food. As I pulled in I see Jimmy and he says he will wait for me to start the 4 mile dirt road climb back to aid station mile 29. I load up on food and coke again and off we go. There was actually about 5 of us that left about the same time and we all ran together for about a mile until the road really started to turn up which then I changed to power walking and Jimmy kept running. As I powered up the road I noticed it was pretty boring and nothing happening, nothing to look at but then noticed some water coming off this rock wall and walked over to put my hands in because I figured it would be cold, and yup, it was nice and cold. I then wet my hat in there, took a picture and off I went power walking again.

The last mile up to the aid station was lined with posters that some kids had drawn up with all kinds of great pictures and sayings, this was the one I liked:

I was glad to reach Mile 29 aid station and get my portable Garmin charger that I had bought from BestBuy and made by Energizer, which totally works! and I grabbed some more gels but felt okay with food and headed out of the aid station. Right when I got there I saw Jimmy pulling out and that would be the last time I see him till the finish.

The climb back up to mile 33 aid station was the same single track trail we ran on in the morning downhill and so it was not too glorious power walking back up it for the next few miles and was glad to reach mile 33. I was again once in need of nutrition so I grabbed some Dr. Pepper, potato's and chips. I took off my CEP compression socks simply because the aid stations people said we were about to hit all the river/stream crossings and I didn't have socks until mile 40 aid station drop. As I left the 33 mile the run actually became fun and I really started to feel better. The course was marked really well and by this time I was basically running all by my self. I could see no one ahead of me or behind me.

I had a lot fun for the rest of the day with the river crossing and the difficult spots of the course where we were actually running in the river bed!

Now getting to mile 40 was awesome but I had to pass this one sign first:

Aid station mile 40 was some chicken soup, coke and more chicken soup and Gatorade. I took off and with 10 miles left I was ready for sun to go down and bring on the night running. As the final trail snaked around the water crossing I was pretty good not to get my feet wet and although it took me a couple of extra minutes to plan my rock hopping crossings I was excited each time I crossed and didn't get wet and even gave myself a fist pump! I did manage to get my heels wet one time and gave myself a big BOOO!!! my feet and shoes quickly dried with no problems. As the sun ducked behind the mountain I thought how amazing it was that I began running at 6am and it was now almost 6:30pm and it was about to be dark again. Started in the dark, finish in the dark.

I don't really remember when I actually had to turn my head lamp on but somewhere I did and as I was running along this road I see another runner coming towards me and he is hanging glow sticks on the trees and trail. He yells out "your doing great man, your gonna finish this sucker and get your buckle! The next aid station is about 2 mile up the road, what for the left turn onto the trail" I said OKAY thanks!!! By the time I made that left turn on the trail it was completely dark and I could hear some people behind me and could see there lights as well. I started running faster because I was not going to get passed this late in the game!!

As I pulled into aid station mile 46 I quickly grabbed some more chicken soup, coke and I was off. I could see the other lights coming and as I was about 100 yards down the road they reached the aid station. By this time I was calculating my time to finish and I figured I could break the 14 hour if I just ran so I did. Like Forest! Every time I stopped the only thing I could think about was losing time. The trail was pretty nice by this time in a grassy type trail and I was moving along quickly. I did see another light coming up ahead towards me on this dirt road and soon it was right up on me, I thought it was another person marking the trail with the glow sticks again because some of them were starting to go out but next thing I know the voice goes "Is that John Vigil?" I said said, Yeah that's me! Then the voice goes, It's Bill. I said hey Bill what's up!

He said he wanted to check on me and Jimmy and make sure things were okay and said Jimmy was about 10 minutes ahead of me and was having problems with his feet. I said, Great let's try and catch him! I told Bill that I was trying to break the 14 hour mark and was almost there but he quickly let the air out of my balloon when he said that the course was actually LONG!! and that I had an extra mile to go. SHIT! I knew then I would be about 15-20 mins after 14 hours and then slowed down a little and we chatted about the day. I would run some and walk but kept moving pretty quickly because I wanted to minimize the time. Bill was also helping navigate the trail for me and closing the gates behind me. I soon passed 3 others on the trail and within the last 1/4 mile I caught two others but didn't pass them heading to the finish line.

I crossed at 14 hours 17 minutes! The race director came over and handed me my belt buckle!!! I saw Molly cheering from the pouch and then I say Jimmy come over to congrats me too. 14 hours later it was amazing to be standing back in the same spot we took off in the opposite direction. I quickly got some real food, Hamburgers! down my throat, sat down and was in a surreal place. I really couldn't believe I had run another 50, no wait 51 miles and mostly all by my self for most of the day, doing my own thing, running and walking to my own beat. IT's simply AWESOME!

I finished! I accomplished and I totally loved it. There is just something about these ultra's that I'm attracted to. I will recap the what I learned, What I would do different and What's next on the next post. Until now.. #2 is complete and I am super proud of that buckle!


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Race Day.

3am comes and I jump up and head for the shower. I then get my race clothes out, double check my drop bags and start munching on a blueberry bagel. Soon I am down stairs in the kitchen talking with Molly and Jimmy. I get some coffee, drink some Gatorade and we all make laughs about how early it is and were ready to get the show on the road. Next we load up the car and are driving out to the start. It about 4 miles from the ranch house to the road where we turned to get to the start line, which was about a 20 minute drive from there. We actually got a great parking right near the gate to walk about 1/4 mile down to the start line, Yes, we had to walk about 1/4 mile Down to the start, which meant the first 1/4 - 1/2 mile was uphill. Welcome to Ultra!

Being as we were there before the chickens get up we had plenty of time to get our drop bags in order and get our race bibs!! and yes, they are Bibs! check them out. Then we hung out and shivered in the cool morning darkness. S. Baboo and Misty arrived and I spoke with them briefly as the attended to there morning pre-race rituals. Then the race director yelled 5 minutes to start so everyone moved to the front of the Kentucky Camp old fort building, which I totally forgot to take pictures of but then again it was dark. As we lined up they did a raffle drawing and Molly won a free pair of trail shoes! I was standing next to Misty and Baboo and 4, 3, 2, 1 Bang! We were off. I had my mini-mag lite in my hand and as we all went up the road back to the parking I was chatting with Baboo & Misty and so we were off and running up the gradual incline. I then caught up with Molly and said Hey Molly!! Funny how I am always running with you at night! (Last time I ran next her, other than one morning training run but I didn't run with her b/c she was much faster than me, It was at Badwater when I was pacing her and we were looking for snakes) That's funny between us because we said it again, don't forget to look for snakes! I then started settling into my pace and then the trail turned to single track which is narrow and you basically run single file.

As most of us strung out in the first few miles I was soon talking with Steve from New York who has ran 11 - 50 mile races and is 1/6 at the 100 mile. I asked him many questions over the next 3 miles and as I stopped to take some pictures I didn't see Steve again the rest of the day.

By the time I reached mile 7 aid station I had taken 1 or 2 too many gels and my stomach was starting to let me know it was not happy. I then heard Jimmy yelling at me and I look over and I see Jimmy showing me his palms that were bleeding and scraped as his legs were from the trip and fall he took on the single track trail where it was somewhat rocky. Jimmy was smiling though and he loaded up and took off with me following shortly behind him after I dumped two extra shirts and my leg tights. As I started running again I noticed we were going up this long type climb and there was several of us running within yards of each other but then I am upon this big mud pit and there was a couple of guys 4x4 in the pit so I stopped to watch them for a couple of minutes and took this picture.

I then continued on up the road which was nothing but power walking for a long time. I actually had cell phone service here and was texting my family and actually told them I couldn't text no more because I couldn't breath and think while power walking up that stupid long road but when I got to the top it was so beautiful and I took some more pictures. This was about the 15 mile mark and as you can see from me pointing in down into the valley I am actually pointing at the road I can see from the top and that road is where we are heading! to be continued after mile 15... rockon'

OP50 travel day.

Leading up to the race many of you know that my training was not up to par or really where I was wanting it to be. I had calf problems for a while and seemed to get that under control over the last few weeks. But my training during the week was absolutely Zero! I just didn't have the motivation to run during the week and so basically, I didn't!

As OP50 approached last week, I really didn't know what to expect as far as my time was concerned. I mean, in the back of my mind I wanted to run 13-14 hours but with things above I would be happy to make the 15 hour cut off and the aid station cut offs. I have packed for many triathlon races and packing for my second ultra I found myself a little lost and confused. What do I need type thing, based on weather conditions and terrain but the more I thought about packing the more nervous/scared I was about heading down to do this race. It's not like I would be alone or anything, Jimmy, Molly, and Bill along with S.Baboo and Misty would be towing the line as well. Still didn't matter, for me, it was something that I knew I was pretty much on my own and with the lack o training I guess I felt like it was going to be harder than I anticipated.

Jimmy and I left Friday morning at 5am and it was unfortunate that heading to Tucson there was that bus accident on I-10 just outside of Phoenix, where it crashed, flipped, rolled and caught fire killing 6 and injuring lots others. It was national news that morning and the opposite side of the freeway was still closed when we passed by and saw the bus. It was definitely an creepy feeling and with the traffic backup for about 6 miles you could only think about the crash victims.

As we pulled into FleetFeet Tucson for packet pickup it was long before Molly and Bill pulled up to as they were basically about 30 mins behind us the whole day. We did all our packet stuff and off we left to ranch bed and breakfast. We followed Bill and Molly because they knew exactly where to go and sure glad we did because it made it much easier than trying to find this ranch on our own. It called The Walker Ranch and what a beautiful place it was. Our room was great with a nice memory foam bed and pillows. Now I will say I am glad Jimmy brought his air mattress because I wasn't in the mood to spoon. Once we all got settled in our rooms and rechecked out drop bags it was off to go eat in the big booming town of Sonoita where in 2ooo census the population was 826! We found a great Italian place and enjoyed the food and friends and headed back to the ranch to settle in being as wake up time was 3am and leave the ranch time was 4:15am. According to Bill and Molly it takes about 20 mins to drive down the dirt road to the start and you want to get there early to get a good parking or you could be walking more than you want to at the finish. Lights out before 8:30pm and the alarm hit at 3am strong...more to come.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Old Pueblo 50 miler!

Well in short..

I FREAKN' MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

race recap coming soon.. most likely tomorrow... and pictures!