Wow, it is good to be racing healthy once again! First I need to give credit where it is due- strong work by Parr, Henshaw, and Clark- it was fun watching the battle for second as I ever so slightly gained ground on third. Well done gentlemen!
The drive to the race was peaceful. The frost on the trees glimmered in the early morning sun as twinkling diamonds while Meg and I cruised through the meandering and 3 degree cold sections of Hwy 50. I remember telling her that today I get to do my favorite thing- running hard through the mountains in a variety of terrain and conditions with a lot of fun people. I am so grateful for this; we shared some time for Jenna and had her close to our hearts on this day. Remember what you have...
The check in brought a lot of smiles seeing friends from the running community- Bill Dooper the best fan of ultrarunning greeted Meg and I with a huge hug! As I prepared for the race my action suit for the day made me chuckle. A few weeks ago Brooks sent me the 2010 Race Uniform which included a neon green singlet and black shorts with neon green sides. I held the shorts up in the air, "These are short shorts!" You guessed it- I had to give them a try-I felt like the total roadie with the side split shorts and too much man thigh...So the benefits-1. Light as a feather, felt like I was running in nuthin'! 2. They had the vital hip pockets for storing GU's. 3. "What is that guy wearing?! obnoxious factor. Cons- holy cow did my upper leg get sunburned! The sunburn pattern is awesome with all the unburned speckles where the mud hit the back of the legs...ok too much info- onto the race.
The race started fast...I settled into a comfortable pace with Marco P as the rabbits ran for their lives. It took me awhile to start feeling the flow- the first 45 minutes consisted of a lot of spitting, farmer blowing, clearing the throat, productive coughing, and other upper respiratory delights as I recovered from some early week sinus fun. After passing through the half marathon turn around aid station the volunteers let me know I was in 6th. Thus beginning my run as the hungry hound. I was like a locomotive all day-gaining momentum as the race chugged along. At the turn in Turret I was 6th with 5th entering the aid 10 sec. ahead of me. I quickly filled the bottle, downed a GU and set off for rabbit #5. I could see that rabbit #5 was fading as I passed him on the opening climb out of Turret. On the crest of this hill I witnessed Marco P take a HARD fall on the ice-with adrenaline in his voice he said he was good...unfortunately the fall had some adverse affects and he wisely called it a day. A few miles down the road Kate L told me that the guy in front of me (Andy) was walking. Extra motivation to hunt rabbit #4. At the 17.2 turn I got a visual of Nick and Dan V ascending the snow packed road with Andy about a minute behind. It was going to be a race! From the turn I began to consistently gain ground on rabbits 2-4. Around mile 20 I saw a flash of red through the trees. Unexpectedly rabbit #4 had changed from Andy to Dan V. I moved passed knowing that 4th was secure and giving it my best to track down rabbits #3 and #2. With about 4 miles to go I caught some more visuals in and out of the trees as I descended. They were pushing each other so hard for the 2 spot that the ground I was gaining felt only like a few seconds on each minute. As I came out of the technical and onto the "groomed" trail above Tenderfoot I saw that Andy had made a small gap on Nick. In the last few miles I pushed the downs trying to remotely see if I could give Nick a scare. Once we hit the flat by the railroad tracks I knew Nick the Quick would safely make it to the comfort of his rabbit hole. Nonetheless I charged in to keep the margin of his victory small- somewhere between 30-40 seconds (the official results are off). Saturday the hound went home hungry...Overall I felt strong throughout the race, gaining steam with each mile. The strength is there- time to fine tune it with some structured speed/hard effort sessions. A beautiful day to race- lots of sun, mud, snow, and fun!
1. Tim Parr 3:13:xx
2. Andy Henshaw 3:18:xx
3. Nick Clark 3:19:xx
4. RWB 3:19:36 (my watch)
Another solid outing; Gunnison runners took 3 of the top 6 spots with Keri Nelson winning the women's division.
2010 Tale of the Tape Race Series: Nick the Quick wins Round 1 by a hare! It's shaping up to be a good one! Nick, I'll round up and spot you 1 minute for your win in our margin of victory times.
Ryan's Excuse: "I did a VO2 max on Tuesday and I know that the effort cost me at LEAST two minutes on race day!"
In other news: On Tuesday I met with Dr. Scott Drum of Western State to do my first of a few VO2 max tests in the High Altitude Performance Lab at Western. I learned that it takes approx. 4-8 months to fully acclimate to 7700 ft. Gunnison altitude also decreases VO2 by 10-15% compared to sea level and decreases max heart rate and many other factors.
Results: 58.7 VO2 max- Parr has one of the highest tested at this facility at 69 ml/kg/min!
Max HR: 180
HR at Rest: 43
Later this year we are also going to test lactate threshold and economy. These 3 factors along with genetics play a huge part in ones running ability. It is fun to be a lab rat for these tests! BTW the weather in Gunnison is awesome today- above 40-heat wave! Get out and run!