Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Back to Blogging, for now

Aaaah, the pleasure of blogging about yourself. Such a narcissistic pursuit. But since everyone's doing it, I might as well get back on the blog train.

I feel somewhat disingenuous posting on my 'racewalk' blog because, well, I haven't been racewalking very much lately. I haven't been thinking about racewalking very much, either. Or talking to racewalking friends. Or dreaming about racewalking. I am still doing some coaching and I have an athlete who makes me proud with her accomplishments, including a recent victory at the Master's National Championships in her age group. And yes, there were competitors that she crushed (in a very nice, polite sort of way, because she would hate to be characterized as the crushing sort of person). I'm also coaching a group of amazing athletes who are raising funds and awareness for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. They are all getting ready to run in the Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon on July 20th. They are awesome. Some of them are fast. Some are faster and a few are even fastest, all of which makes me happy.

But I have not been racewalking. I have been playing with my wonderful kids. And beekeeping. And farming. And running on trails in the woods and mountains and parks. Sometimes I even enter a race and try to win. Little brag: I'm undefeated in 2014! I've only done two races, though, at the beginning of the year. But my range is incredible with wins at 5km and 50km. I figured it out this year and picked really small, local races with little competition. Now if I could only keep it up for the rest of the year, right? I am planning on testing my undefeated streak in August with some cross-country races and in September with an epic trail run in the 'mountains' east of San Diego. They call them mountains here, but they top out at 6,000 feet and where I come from in Oregon that's more of a foothill. It's all relative, I suppose. When I lived in Minnesota people raved about the skiing on Mount Frontenac with its whopping 420 feet of vertical drop from the summit.

Instead of writing about racewalking, I'll try to keep it related to endurance sports in a more general way. I still consider myself an endurance athlete, but I have a lot of work to do in the next few months to prove to myself that I'm still the same endurance athlete that competed with the best in the world in racewalking. Thinking of recapturing my former fitness reminds me of a racewalk story that I haven't told in years. I was at the 2005 Pan American Racewalk Cup in Lima, Peru, and racing the 50km. My new friend and 50km teammate, Ray Sharp, had decided to throw caution to the wind and use me as his early pacesetter in his quest for a sub 4:20:00 time. I say 'throw caution to the wind' because the conditions were not ideal and Ray had only walked close to that time once and 20+ years earlier. At one point early in the Lima race, I asked Ray how he was feeling and he said, "I'm feeling great. I know there's a 1:24 20km walker in here somewhere!" Well, he didn't find that young competitor in Lima, fading by the end, but he continues to race with an admirable zeal and curiosity about his potential.

In my own training, I'll see if I can harness some of Ray's enthusiasm for greatness. For now, I just need to start putting in the mileage. I'll be racing 50km at the Noble Canyon race and the more prepared I can be, the better I'll feel about my chances. Maybe I should go look at the trails I'll be running before I make any predictions, but if things go well I'd love to be up near the front contending for a great finish place and a fast time. You never know until you try, right?

 Weekly mileage last week: about 25 miles, some slow and some medium.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Napa, 2011 Edition, a few thoughts

Well, it looks like it's been an entire YEAR since I updated this blog. Ooops. My bad. I'm off to the Napa-Sonoma 1/2 Marathon with my Team Challenge crew again and I thought I'd record a few thoughts before heading out tomorrow morning. We have a smaller group of runners and walkers this year but they are just as dedicated and excited as last year's athletes. It took a few weeks, but the group really feels like a big family now. We're all working toward the same goals, facing many of the same challenges and supporting each other along the way. Everyone has put in the training and done the fundraising (a couple people need just a few more dollars, help 'em out!). And now it's event weekend.

The first season I coached with CCFA was Las Vegas 2009. I was new to the group and not 100% sure of my role. At the end of that season, I wasn't able to go to event weekend. I was off to a USATF Board meeting and missed the pleasure of seeing all my walkers and runners cross the finish line: their smiles, the joy and a wee bit of pain etched on their faces. So last year in Napa it was so rewarding to be there in person, sit down for a good meal the night before the race, share a few laughs, and wake up early with the walkers to see them step out past that start line and head down the road. And a few hours later, share those final few steps with them as they approached the finish line. What a thrill to be a tiny little part of someone else's dream, helping someone do something he/she thought wasn't possible just a few short months ago. I guess that's the biggest reward for a coach. Oh, and also that joy you get when someone gets hooked on running or walking and keeps coming back for more and more events. That's cool, too.

Best wishes to all those runners and walkers out there. If you're doing a race this weekend: tear it up! and have fun!