Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Orienteering meet, Babler St. Park

Paul and Ginger Joyner, and Anne (from Forum Dental Too) went up for the Turkey O meet at Babler State Park. The meet is a Score O format (get as many checkpoints in three hours). I felt I ran a great course, I finished pretty well in the overall standings with 560 points out of 790 possible with 5 minutes to spare. I didn't have any major nav errors and was just about beat after three hours. In fact I wasn't sure I was going to make it up that last hill to the finish. One guy swept the course, Incredible!! It was great weather and the woods were super open. Paul, Ginger and Anne scored 300 pts.

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The CP had point values CP 1-10, 10pts; 11-20, 20 pts; 21-30, 30 pts; 31-34 50 pts.

For some reason my GPS track always shows up under the map when viewed in Google maps, for the best results, to see my route on top of the map click HERE to download the .kmz file and view it in Google Earth (you have to have Google Earth installed on your computer). You may have to right click on the link and save it to your computer.

Run for Strong Kids Half Marathon 09, Holister MO

Owing to the fact that the Castlewood 8 is on the same day as the Memphis Half Marathon and Kari likes to do a half marathon this time of year, I searched and found another half to run. I came across a little race in Holister MO and thought well it is probably going to be hilly, but it is really cheap and close so we decided to do it. I just didn't realize how hilly.

Judd, Stephen Kofoed, Dave and Kari and I headed down on Friday. Kari and I stayed the weekend in Branson since it was our 10th anniversary. After making a quick QT stop and calling Chris for a little nostalgia we made it to Branson. Met Judd, Dave and Stephen and headed to Olive Garden where we saw the rest of the Rolla people that were going to run. After dinner we left Judd back at his hotel and went to preview the course. It was quickly apparent that this was going to be no stroll down Beale St. We followed the rough directions and found our way up a HUGE hill to an aptly named place called Murder Rock. I tried to console myself thinking that maybe I missed a turn or something and we weren't in the right spot when Dave pointed out a sign that pointed to the 10th hole on a golf course which was part of the rough directions, Rats well we were in the right place. Looking around I saw a water tower far below us that we had passed earlier along the route and thought oh man what have I gotten us into, I think Kari was ready to switch to the 5K at that point.

Next morning we arrived at the race, the place was chaotic and it was apparent that it was not going to start on time. After a long delay we finally headed off. My usual race strategy (or stupidity) is to go out hard, get some fast miles in and then just try and gut it out when I run out of gas for the last few miles. I figured with the Murder Rock torture fest in the middle of the race I had better hold back and save some. Dave, Stephen and I went out together with a handful of people ahead of us. Kristine from Rolla went out like a rocket and was way up on us. We passed a few people on the way out and had most everyone in sight. Stephen, seeing that he was being beaten by a girl(Kristine) kept wanting to push the Nitro button and pass everyone. Dave and I kept telling him that this is no 5K, we have Murder Rock to contend with, and we have plenty of time to real them in. Finally, at about mile 5 the piss and vinegar was about up to his eyeballs, and the hormone crazed teen could no longer stand to see a girl in front of him so we told him that if he was feeling it, go ahead and have a go. He was off, charging down a hill at a speed that would have destroyed Dave and my knees but hey, he is 17 what does he know about sore knees (I think he found out the next day). Dave and I held our pace and passed the water tower that we knew we had to be looking down onto before all was said and done.

I would like to take a moment to describe the climb up to Murder Rock. You start out passing the water tower and getting psyched out thinking that I have to essentially run to the top of that thing, then you go shooting down into a valley at a sharp decline that absolutely destroys your quads. Oh well you don't need those to climb right? Then you start your assent, winding your way up a just ruthlesly long, moderate incline which is just steep enough to push you to your aerobic threshold and sap your legs of all endurance. All the while the climb gets steeper and steeper as you go up. Then you pass by an aid station which is staffed my EMTs (wise move race director). After splashing water and poweraid all down your front because you are breathing too hard to drink anything, the road decides it is done taking it easy on you and earns the title Murder Rock. With no legs, out of breath and swimming in lactic acid the incline shoots up to like an 89 degree angle, ok it is probably like 45 but it feels like almost 90 so if you are not some sort of mountain goat/human mutation you just crawl up it to the top or your heart explodes and Murder Rock claims another victim.

The view of Murder Rock hill (its more impressive in real life)

Now I am sure that Dean Karnazes, Lance Armstrong, the entire Alpine Shop team, and anyone from the Rockies would call it a molehill and laugh their butts off, but there ain't nothin' in Rolla that compares.

Kari looking out over the precipice at the top of Murder Rock (note the water tower)

Your reward for making it to the summit of Murder Rock is to make the turn and come right back down. See, at that point you "ok the worst is over" and start your decent. Murder Rock then takes one more attempt to do you in. It didn't succeed at blowing up your heart on the way up but since you have no legs left you essentially are a car with no breaks and due to the now severe decline, it is everything you can do to keep from careening out of control and cartwheeling to a bloody demise. I can't be sure, but I think I glimpsed a large pile of skulls and bones in the valley at the bottom of the hill, and what were all those large birds circling around us for?

At about mile eight Dave and I started up another sharp incline (the one that destroyed your quads prior to Murder Rock) and I decided to walk up the incline while Dave proclaimed "I'm takin it!!" and then began walking about 15 yards in front of me. That small separation was enough though, and I couldn't reel him back in. He came in 1:20 in front of me. The rest of the race I focused on reeling in one person after another. On one of the super long uphills I noticed Kristine running and then walking and then running. When I went by her I tried to give her some encouragement to stay with me but she had blown herself up by going out too fast without knowing the perils of Murder Rock in her future. I wonder if Stephen would have made the same mistake had Dave and I not held the reigns on him for a while. The last 3.5 miles I focused on reeling in a couple of guys running together between Dave and Stephen and I. I really didn't want Stephen and Dave to go 1 and 2 and then me come in 5th. So I kicked it up a bit and passed them while they were at an aid station with 1.5 to go. They kept me honest though and I could hear them behind me for the rest of the race. I came in at 1:40:10 (7:39 min/mi.) my PR for a half which is just insanity considering the course.

After catching my breath and getting some water I went back to wait for Kari and to run the home stretch with her. Judd came barreling around a corner at the bottom of a hill at top speed and almost took out a traffic cone. I saw a cop with his radar gun out, start to turn on his lights before he realized it was someone on foot. You see Link(Judd) trains to be a "downhill specialist" which means that he likes to store as much "potential energy" as he can so that he can really build momentum on the downhills. Just after Judd blasted by me carried up the last slight incline from momentum alone, Kari rounded the corner and we ran in together. She had enough of the ipod and gps watch and unloaded all of the gear to me. She asked me if she could make it in under 2:05 and at 2:03:30 I said she could make it, but she had to get moving. She then dropped the hammer and took off which induced a cramp in my calf and I hobbled along after her. She sprinted in the finish at 2:04:42. Not a sub 2hr but a very nice time on a challenging course.

In the end the Rolla Stormin' Mormons went down to Branson to show those boys how to run hills and swept the overall men's division with 1st overall going to Stephen Kofoed (1st half marathon and longest run of his life) 1:36:52; 2nd overall Dave Whittekiend (PR) 1:38:49; 3rd overall Scott Young (PR) 1:40:10; 9th female Kari Young 2:04:42; 1st Varsity Girls-Judd Boehme 2:03:23 (1st half). Now don't get me wrong it was a small race but we are ecstatic with the results. I'll post the vertical profiles later. Official results are Here

Kari and I at Murder Rock

Stephen on his way to victory

Look like I'm really enjoying myself there

Dave bringin' it home thinking Ha! Kari is going to owe me some ice cream!