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07 February 2012

Frozen Fat-Ass, new shoes, and a dog bite!

Ok, I'm getting better, but I'm still admittedly not quite the blogger I desire to be. I'm still working on budgeting time so that I have a regular blogging schedule, but as I haven't reached that point yet, I've missed writing blog updates on three topics I wanted to touch on: The Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50k, my first runs in NB101s and finally, being jumped by a dog last weekend on the trails. Now, since I don't really want to bore anyone with an extremely long blog post, I'm reduced to touching on them all briefly.

1) The Cape Cod Fat Ass 50k. What a race! All the race reports are true, this is one hell of a race. Two rough "figure eights", with the first (smaller) loop being a five-mile run down the beach before looping back through the low dunes and hitting the aid station, before going into the longer loop. The longer loop is a short jaunt down the driveway and a sharp left into the dunes/marsh area for about six miles, then you end up back on the beach and fight the headwind for four miles straight down the beach, where you start it all over again. First, running on sand for 50k is a lot tougher on the legs than I thought it would be (silly me). Second, struggling with even the ability to run is mentally exhausting. Third, I should not have worn trail shoes. If I do it again next year, I'm going to do it in racing flats. The treads on my NB800s kept breaking up the sand, even when it was semi-packed and I was landing mid-foot. Finally, I overdressed from the start and was exhausted and drenched in sweat before I even reached the end of the first little loop, where I dropped my gloves, hat, and jacket at my car, put on a dry long-sleeved tech and ran the rest in just that. I ran the first 25k pretty well, and I think I was on course for around a six hour finish, which would have been fine, plus, I knew there were a bunch of people still behind me. As it turned out, the people behind me were running the 25k. I ran almost the entire second 25k by myself. Completely exhausted, wind-blown and sapped of all energy, finishing the race in exactly 7:00. It was certainly a personal worst, but it was a hard-earned personal worst. Overall, this was a great race -- I hated running it with my hydration, but 10 miles between water stops made it necessary. Great race, great runners, and a great RD. I think I'll do it again next year.

2) NB101s. I like them! They don't have a lot of tread compared to my NB800s, but they have a really thin rock plate that holds up well, and other than that, there's not much too them! Feather light (in my opinion), but they hold up well, and I'm getting used to the tread. One thing though -- I took them out for six on the trails in the snow -- probably 3 to 5 inches on the ground, and some trails I had to blaze, but not too much -- the shoes didn't hold up very well. I don't know what I was expecting, but they did slip more than I expected. When I took them out again last weekend on the mostly dry trails, I put in a good 12 miles, and really liked the way they felt, I found myself feeling surprisingly confident in them, despite the fact I was still getting over the fear that their sheer minimalism was going to break me. I think I'm a convert -- stay tuned for more..

3) Finally, I was jumped by a dog this weekend on the trails. Despite the fact that the State Park has a "strict" (read: unenforced) policy that all dogs must be leashed, I saw over 30 dogs off-leash on the single-track trails before one finally decided I was too close to its owners and jumped up on me, literally nipping me in the ass and scratching my leg. It made me angry, but it made me even angrier that I couldn't confront the owner, who wasn't even bothered to stand up and stop sending his text once the dog ran back to him. I may be crazy, but I'm not going to confront a guy with a dog that has ALREADY bitten me once, right? Long story short, the scratch broke the skin, the bite did not, and I emailed the head ranger of the state agency that oversees the parks, and received a reply promising greater enforcement that did make me feel a little better... If only I hadn't heard it all before!

The day after the dog jumped me, I also ran my first road race in a while, The Lynn Stew Chase 15k. I ran just under a nine-minute pace, putting me about 45 seconds slower than the last time I ran it (two years ago). I felt great running the first half, I even pulled a couple of 8:20 miles before the big hill, but then I crashed during the second half, and was forced into a run-walk style that, unfortunately, I have become all too familiar with, so I can surge for 20 seconds, and fast walk for 30 seconds, over and over and over again. It's mentally exhausting, but hey.. it gets me across the finish line. I really do need to work on it, but hey, it makes my road races look really funny when I transfer the data over from my Garmin..

I'll post another update soon..

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