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Showing posts from September, 2010

Salem Lake 30K

I'm a bit delinquent in posting my latest race report, but life got in the way.
Here's the start of the Salem Lake 30K comin' at ya.  The field was packed, 414 runners strong, and it was a fun day of dirt trails around the lake combined with paved greenway for an 18.6 mile out and back course.
Swag was good.  The promoters had nice beefy Hanes long sleeve T's and there were also some new energy bars called "Forze GPS...Athlete's Nutrition Tool." Sounds sort of techy but tastes like a gooey granola bar to me...I made away with a few of them so good value from the Twin City Track Club.
I'm still dealing with my pulled side muscle - think it's the top of the IT band - so I went off the back for the first couple of miles.  Wanted to see how the body would respond since I hadn't run in two weeks.  The side seemed to settle into a dull pain, so I picked it up a bit from the 10:20 miles I was producing.
The 30K distance was popular, but most runners were…

Stuff in my head

I have a several things I want to report rattling around in my brain; finally committed them to paper this morning following my fitness bike extravaganza.  So here they are, in no specific order or magnitude:

My brother is aware I have an arthritic condition in my right thumb joint, which makes bicycle shifting not only difficult but a pain in the butt.  He offered a novel suggestion, that of switching the front chainring shifter to the right, and rear cluster shifter to the left.  Not a bad concept, but it did get me thinking about my dilemma.  For a quick fix, I re-adjusted my right side shifter and jacked the position way up, so that the shifter trigger is above the grip.  Now, I can push down with my palm to move the lever instead of activating the painful thumb joint.  Hey, old guys aren't only tough and good looking, they're innovative!

Was listening to Trail Slammer's latest podcast today.  He got 'er done and finished four of the major 100 mile races this past …

Team Flomax

Here's a quick addendum to my Saturday morning ride story...Chuck christened us "Team Flomax" based on the fact old guys have to make a lot of pee stops! If you haven't seen it, here's a link to the Flomax commercial with a bunch of oldie athletes riding bikes:

Had a great ride on the 29er yesterday.  About 15 minutes faster than my usual pace over 18 miles.  The "flow" was with me; I was standing tall and riding well.  Was thinking about one of those pogo-stick seat posts, which is supposed to offset the harshness of a hardtail bike. The Thudbuster (at right) is top of the line at about $150.  But to make it work, one has to be in the saddle and that's not how old master competitor rolls.  I am conditioned to know that rough terrain will send lightning shots up my back, so I'm almost always standing.  That's a better workout anyway, so no thud busting for me on this occasion.

There …

Minimalist is me

Went on a somewhat normal, yet extraordinary ride this morning.

Normal in that it was a simple pick up ride, as I have done countless times before. Hooked up through the email list with Dennis and Chuck, two local characters who know who to spin the crank. We weren't far into the ride when we came upon Bruce, who was visiting from Georgia. Bruce was an Appalachian State grad and also had a daughter attending ASU, so he was back for today's football game.

But before that competition began, Bruce was setting up his own game plan by going long - on the parkway - for a training ride.  He's locked and loaded for next weekend's Six Gap Century in Dahlonega, Georgia (I did that ride in 2008 and it's a scrotum crusher...good luck old chap).

So there's your ride roster on the day:  Four (4) old guys about the same age whooping it up and enjoying the camaraderie and the miles.  We went  south from where Blowing Rock intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the Linville Fal…

Fix and repair

Here's a retro shot of master competitor looking calm and collected at the 2002 Mohican 100 mile.  All giggles at the Horse Farm checkpoint about 33 miles into the race.

Those were the days, my friend.  I went on to a casual 25:31 finish that year, then went home and mowed the lawn.

That was then, this is now.  I'm doctoring on this pulled thing in my side, but all is going well.  Went to see my physician this past Wednesday and got the cure...well, sort of.  We talked of anti-inflammatory medication and I came away with a script for some Cox-2 Inhibitor stuff...not the sort of meds you want to ingest for long periods, but on this day I needed a major bump and got it.

So, it's anti-inflammatories, a nightly ultrasound session using my Dragon Ice with MSM as the skin conductor and also a bit of DMSO...this stuff is better known as horse lineament that made monkeys go crazy. Google it sometime.

So the pain is almost gone, but I parked running for a few weeks and have been ha…

Purpose built

I have some time on the sidelines with my running agenda, based on this silly little pulled thing in my side.  So to keep the razor sharp, I'm hitting it each morning on my converted Haro mountain bike, aka commuter bike, now aka fitness bike.

I stripped off the bags, left the rear pannier rack in place and added a small seat bag for a tube and other essentials.  So now, I ride away from my apartment and look for hills - then ride up them.

It's an interesting way to see parts of town I had yet to discover.  I had the drivetrain replaced about a year ago so the gears shift crisp and clean.  Check out the long handlebar stem on this relic.  Made me think back about 15 years and in those days, it seemed the big trick was to get the rider way out over the front axle.  That's sure the case here...but despite the long reach, I still end up popping the front wheel off the ground on some of those climbs.  The grade is steep enough that it's hard to keep the front end from gett…

I'm hurt and the strange addiction

I'm hurt and this is a new one for me. May have pulled a muscle called the quadratuslumborum, which hooks onto the top of the top of the hipbone.  Could also be the tip of my IT band - I'm headed to the doctor Wednesday to find out more.  This injury nagged me the past month or so, but letting it hang out at the 4 Mile Challenge on Saturday did me in.

I am having big time pains on my left side whenever I walk or run, enough to make me turn back 13 minutes into today's jog.  Doesn't hurt when I cycle, so I rolled out the commuter bike and did an hour of hard climbs and descents on roads around the campus area.

On another note, I viewed a weird show entitled "My Strange Addiction" on The Learning Channel.  This documentary combined an individual who ate chalk, a girl who incessantly tans her body, a shopaholic, and an ultrarunner.  The ultra guy was Troy, coming off an 18 year marriage, throwing himself into ultrarunning, and prepping for the Javalena 100 mile.  …

Scaredy cat

I'll fess up on another topic: For almost 40 years, I've been scared when riding anything mechanical off road.

It started at 16 with my poorly executed efforts at enduro and motocross motorcycle racing.I was never good at it, always uptight, not one to take chances, and the slowest guy on the track.  So instead of bagging it, I found ways to hang around with the very fastest riders, culminating with world champions David Bailey and Johnny O'Mara during the mid 1980's. Instead of moving on I frustrated myself by watching really good athletes ride like lightning, while I was tied to a stump.

So as the fast went faster, I was tipping and bobbling and attempting to keep up. Fun was never evident.  What's the point of this story?  Over the past few weekends, I realized I'm no longer scared while riding my 29er. On today's ride, I thought through the process:

I ride alone, at my own speedI'm learning the 29er and how to ride itIt's my choice to ride and I…

Short and sweet

I don't often race short distance events, but the 4 Mile Challenge at Alliance Bible Fellowship is always too good a time to pass up.

Great church event, great cause (all proceeds will be donated to the Kimbro Family & Medical Outreach in Trujillo, Peru) and great course...flat, then downhill, then at 2.1 a major climb, then descent to flat, then a major uphill at the finish line.

The day started with drizzle and sad to report attendance was down based on wet weather.  We busted out with a shotgun start.  I went off the back and settled into master competitor shuffle mode.  After the flat and descent I clocked 7:52 at mile one.  We were cruising the downhill by now, so I tried to pick up the pace without jamming my back or knees.  Mile two split = 14:36.

Not bad for old mopey dope, hey?  But then the pain came.  We rounded a curve and started to climb a snake like road that went up for about a mile.  Some were walking, while others tried to blast the hill, then expired.

Rookie ex…

McDougall was here!

Wanted to let the master competitor readers know that as of yesterday, you're in a select group within the bling bling world of endurance sport.

After I posted my comments on a potential movie based on the best selling book "Born to Run" I received an email from Chris McDougall, the author!

Chris stated he is scouring the web, working to monitor sites that mention the potential for a movie.  He also told me that he was in Winston-Salem for the weekend and invited me down to run with a group at Salem Lake (I'll be doing a 30K there in two weeks).

Told Chris I appreciate the offer, but am pre-registered for the 4 Mile Challenge at Alliance Fellowship Church this Saturday.  I won my age group last year - so it's a world championship race for me - and they also spiff each runner with a great pair of tech socks.  So how could I pass that up?

Ran the Boone Fork Trail out of Price Park this morning. Didn't know what to expect as the trail is marked as difficult.  Bu…

Mont du Blanc debacle

Susan Donnelly has posted a highly detailed report regarding her experiences - or lack thereof - at this year's canceled Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB).

This sad tale reads like a miscommunication on and get the complete update:

Whey world

Stopped in to Vitamin World at the outlet mall last week.  Ever been to a chain store and have non-fit store employees try to tell you how to use product?  These were nice guys and I was respectful, but I don't buy it.  I don't understand them, they don't understand me.  I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years and am now close to vegan, so I was looking for a good deal on soy protein. One wall was covered in whey product, but when I asked about plant options, the guy walks me over to one dusty shelf at floor level, with a few lame and high priced selections.  My research side tells me that org might want to see what proportion of customers would choose a non-dairy protein source; it might be greater than the 1% of store space they allocate for that option.

All that said I bought a bottle of Ultra Sport vitamins.  Ninety in a bottle, premium price at about $18.  Once home, I learned they over-packaged the product to make it look larger; the bottle was less that 1/4 ful…

Magic plan for having fun

I have to give a shout out to Mike Boone (yes, the same last name as the city he lives in) and his shop, Magic Cycles.  It's a true enthusiast hang out with employees who know how to grind and get your gear prepped and ready for hard assaults.  You can check them out at

Had a friend in town this past weekend and we needed some equipment for off road adventure, so I checked in with Mike about his rental program. We were out the door a few minutes later with a very fine Giant full suspension mountain bike, featuring powerful hydraulic disc brakes. The bike worked really well and was an excellent addition to our activities in the mountains.

Renting a bike also allows extensive testing of a model you may be interested in. When you're looking at a major investment, a ride around the parking lot isn't sufficient. I'm happy with my 29er, but it's a hardtail with mechanical discs; I'd like to spend a full day on a 26" wheel full suspens…

Cheater on the Creeper

Thought I'd fess up here before you hear about it somewhere else...I participated in a cheater ride today and don't feel good about it.

The big spiff for hundreds of cyclist is to drive to Damascus, Virginia, for a ride on the Creeper Trail.  Most pay $13 to have their bikes and butts driven up to the Whitetop  drop off, and then descend for 17 miles back to the car.

It was OK fun, but felt weird.  I didn't earn that descent yet sucked all the benefits from the ride down.  Should have climbed that 17 miles, basked in the effort, then descended.  But on this day, it was master competitor and several thousand other bikers taking the ride to the top and letting gravity do the work, instead of my own engine.

Needless to say it was one of the biggest weekends of the year.  The Creeper Trail was littered with bikes, kids, senior citizens and couples in love.  What a mix!

It was the rare exception, but some riders had the fortitude to ride the Creeper in the opposite direction, …

Maps, fluids and fuel: Don't leave home without it!

I'm a master competitor who strives for excellence.

Today was not a good example of that expectation.

Went for my 90 minute morning run; blasted through a section I had not used in a while, a quick out and back with a steep ascent on the way out.  Local mountain bikers had been clearing trail and I wanted to learn if new sections were runnable. Not on this day so I headed back to the main loop.  Also found a fork that took me around a broken down bridge that made me uneasy every time I crossed it, so all good there too.

Grabbed a quick soy protein smoothie and headed out to Moses Cone Memorial Park, for what was to be a leisure walk.  Tom Terrific is a dimwit on this day, as I opted to:

1) Leave my map in the car
2) Decide against carrying my water bottle pack
3) Figuring my banana and Larabar were better left behind

What the ($$*####???  So you know where this story is going.  Follow the map above if you can.  I left the Moses Cone Manor, went southeast to Bass Lake and did the…

Rocket fuel for oldies

Hey, not all master competitors like to be identified as "oldies"...but it's an affectionate name, right?

Well, this oldie did some running with his new triathlon buddy Alfredo, who is from Miami and was visiting Boone for a month-long vacation getaway.

Alfredo is fit and fast and also well inside the master competitor here are some tips from this master man (full disclaimer here, you're at your own risk, we're not doctors, do not try without a physician's approval, etc., etc., etc.):

Here are the two sources of natural food supplements I mentioned:  Complete food supplements based on greens or on berries. A whole meal or a smoothie complement. Brown rice protein powder of the highest quality. Use together with the above supplements.

My own recovery formula: Spirulina, Chlorella, Chia seeds, Bee Pollen and L-Glutamine. I mix them all using the indicated dosis for each in batches to last a couple of weeks. I use a …