100k WC 2011

100k WC 2011

Gagarin Half Finish

Gagarin Half Finish
Gagarin Half Finish

Awards Gagarin Half

Awards Gagarin Half
Awards Gagarin Half

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)
Cosmonauts give out the awards

snowshoe

snowshoe

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Winter Racing in Moscow

I hadn't seen pavement since July. Seriously, when I got to Anchorage for a few days before heading across the pond, it was the first time I'd seen pavement since July.
West High Hill repeats in Anchorage followed by adult beverages


I got 3 races in over winter break. The first one was the Srichinmoy Mile in the winter racing series I used to include in my offseason diet to keep fit over the winter. Now, I'd been doing intervals on dirt, mud, ice, snow......but I know from experience that the handicap can be huge and times are slowed due to conditions. I'd gotten some progression runs in on the treadmill to try and gauge where my actual speed -or lack thereof may be. I hadn't raced a mile since the indoor one I did in December of 2015 also over winter break. So, pretty much cold turkey with no track workouts, I found myself at the indoor mile. I honestly never thought I'd race this again because usually the December race falls the day winter break begins and I fly out. This year, it was right smack in the middle. The year after I left, Lena had started making a comeback. I knew there was no way I was going to get her this time. She's a bit stronger now than we were in our heyday 4-5 yrs back when we chased and pushed each other to some damn good times. She's where she was 8-10 years ago before she began to slow down. So, I ended up finishing second after nearly a 4 yr hiatus from this series. My last season was 2014-15 before moving back to Alaska. Surprisingly, I was not that far back and was faster than my last indoor mile 2 yrs ago which was the last time I had raced that distance. It was fun seeing old friends and running buddies  again. I get asked if I miss Moscow. Is the sky blue? I tell them I miss everything except the craptastic work situation and instability that accompanied said craptastic situation. I left for economic reasons- it was about survival and long term stability. The irony is that now I actually have time to go out and do the things I almost never got to do while working in Moscow because of the anti social work schedule I had (as do many who teach English late into the evenings).















The next morning, I got up and doubled back at a Half Marathon in Terletsky Park. This was easy peasy to get to- just order an Uber and it was 20 min away. Transport was complicated and over an hour- I chose to sleep in and shortcut :) This one was a trail half and I awoke to a dump in progress...yeeeeesssssss SNOW and lots of it. This would work to my advantage as it was a very familiar surface! It was fresh, loose, slow going type snow too. This also saved me the trouble of bringing both flats and icebugs and deciding what to race in when I got there. It was a no brainer icebug day. There was a half, 10k and marathon. I opted for the half. I ran even splits on the 5 loops through the woods and did not get lost because things were very well marked. The distance was spot on accurate and the organizers were awesome! I won the half and got a nice workout in. My pace was slightly up from the 15k XC I did in July just before I came back to Anchorage. The xc race was on dry dirt with a few gnarly sandy  and rooty spots but this half on fresh snow was by far a more difficult surface. I was surprised because my legs were not fresh this being a day 2 race. It's also possible the 15k was slower in July because I ran it a week of Belochka Marathon too but who knows.








SNOW RUN-
30 Dec
I could have headed to Gorky Park for a Half, but chose the backyard race with my clib in Kuzminki. I have done these off andon through the years when they did not conflict with the winter mile series. This year, it worked out. IRC Snow RUN! The last time things didnt' conflict was in 2012. This one is by team and it has to be mixed meaning guy girl. Leonid and I went in as the Tortoise and the Snail. I dressed appropriately as the snail. The surface- BARE GLARE ICE. It was probably the nastiest of the snow runs I've done or watched. We had a freeze thaw following all the snow we had earlier in the week that gave us an ice rink. Even in icebugs it was slow going and turned into my slowest snow run ever. Hello snail! I stayed a bit after for our tea and munchies at the end but it was really windy and I run from my flat to the start when I do this so don't drag along a winter coat, so had to get moving. Again- It was fun hanging with friends and running buddies :)












I'll wait til Mayto get in some tune ups before heading off to Russia  again. There just isn't much I can be arsed to fly in for just-coz-. Running should be accessible to everyone. There was a spring break possibility, but really, charging 40$ to enter a 5k and 20$ for a shirt is way over the top. I can buy a pair of shoes for that (at the sales of course). I was tempted to enter Little Su 50 this year but also- said screw it because there is a real chance I could be on weather hold and never make it and the 100$ entry would be in the hunny bucket.I also cannot justify the potential expenses of getting stuck in Bethel on possible weather hold to shelp myself to Anchorage once in a while for races. it's 500$ a pop just to fly in not including the possible getting stuck in Bethel at 200$minimum a day. Sorry, but the ends don't justify the means until I can get out for some commercial stuff spring summer. So, i'll be planning key races accordingly.

Out of Hibernation....for a bit

Well, once again, I've disappeared for months on end. I actually finished 3rd in a 4 miler 29 of July before heading to Tuluksak. Just because I'm not racing every weekend, does not mean I'm sitting on my ass and growing it. I still do 2 interval sessions a week  the intensity and workout depends on how close I am to my next race series. I do the workouts so I don't go totally to hell in a handbasket because I'm basically looking at winter break and late spring into the summer to race (ha unless someone wants to pay my airfare out then , yes, I'd go back to a few races a month). I am stubborn as f#ck and want to stick to mountain,ultra and trails. I'm just not into the road scene as much and to be honest, when I'm fit I can happily climb shit all day those fast roadies can't. So, how in the hell am I going to keep my trail strength and mountain legs while training on open tundra? I can see the mountains and they are actually close, but 15+- min by small plane :-(  Budget be damned, I invested in a treadmill that I can program to the same grades I trained on in Homer and even more difficult. 1700$+500 to ship air cargo. When I leave one day, I sure as shit ain't donating it, I'll send it right back to Anchorage, because that or south central on the road system is about the only place Id likely transfer out to. Took me til October to pay that bastard off, but it was that or get weak legs over time. I still run mostly outside  and once I get done doing 12-15k on average outside, I come in and do 3-5k of UP at a minimum of 12%grade-sometimes more.




 I knew I'd get one race in mid September in Kalskag for Rip the Ridge with the xc kids. They need a female chaperone for overnight trips and I'm it! They do an open 10k that starts on open tundra ...prepare to get really WET....then it's a steep climb to the top of the mountain and just before the top there is actually a rope to use to get up! You literally go over the top swing one leg over the mountain and then head back down the other side! Try not to kill yourself on wet slick rocks while you are at it. It was very foggy actually and visibility was damn near zero and I actually dropped back a little to allow a HS boy to catch back up to me because he knew the course. Last year , 2 HS boys got lost on the descent and were gone over an hour off course before they found the markers to head back! The course was very well marked but up top in that fog it could be very easy to get lost. This is an open race for the kids and community. This was a very tough course. I loved it. I was surprised our elementary kids do the whole thing! Sure, the littles hike where it's really steep and tough, but still this ain't your snoozy groomed golf course XC course! I ended up winning the open. Mid-September I could still climb up and down shit :-) It was a fun way to get to know the kids better too and hang out. Many of the kids I work with face very difficult challenges, but are still really nice, open, and friendly especially when you take the time to get to know them. Half the village already knows basic Russian thanks to asking Leonid and I how to say this, that, and the other thing :-)





This would pretty much be it for racing til winter break.
I did train through the fall and early winter leading up to that. Now, I do have one concern. By Thanksgiving, I was down nearly 5kg(a good 10 pounds)! WTF?! Leonid also lost weight -a little less. I still cannot figure out what gives. I eat-I'm very good at eating. The only diet I know is the SEEFOOD diet-I see what I like and eat it! I eat breakfast and lunch at school then come home and usually go for meat/fish/protein and veggies. I was told I may not be getting enough carbs of all things. Ok, well sometimes the meat fills me up, but an hour or so later I usually sit down to watch something I've downloaded  and attack anything from ice cream, to craisins, to chocolate covered raisins, to even redvines, fruit and or yogurt...you name it. It's not all of the above at once, it's whatever the hell I feel like munching. Fruit is usually apples and oranges I stock up on when our store gets them because they are cheaper to buy here than order on that item and I go for the grapes when we have them too. Some people lose weight in the Bush because they can't just go buy some kind of takeout or fastfood, but I never really did that anyways-cooked at home most all of the time save for maybe a sandwich or pizza from the Fritz Creek general store when I was in Homer and that was once a week maybe. In Moscow, I cook too. All I know is despite eating some damn good not calorie counting food over break in Moscow, I did not gain a gram. I did bloodwork in Moscow late December and all was normal. Friends in Moscow and in Anchorage noticed said weight loss- that's not good. I do NOT wan't to lose more  that's for sure. I feel fine, but 10 lbs is a LOT off me when I was barely 120 on a good day (boy I have to EAT to hit that) to begin with and I'm nearly 176 cm tall FWIW.
Never too cold to run-





Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tradition Dies Hard- Belochka

There is only one race I've done more than Humpy's/ Big Wildlife now Runfest in Anchorage and that is Belochka. I've done the marathon 6 times in Anchorage and the 49k in 2015. I'm 7 for 7 -always won. I skipped it for other races last year and this year, well, not sure I'll fly in from Tuluksak that weekend. Keep in mind flying in from Tuluksak is going to be 450$ a pop, so any racing in Anchorage at this point really has to be worth the bother. Belochka- I have done the marathon 7 times off and on since 1998. I have won 3 of 7 , but the last win was 2004! I have otherwise been 2nd or 3rd every other time. I also have opted for the 10k 5 times as well instead of the marathon.
There was a lot going on this weekend and I had eyed the 5k xc run in Zelenograd, but it was too short.....I need a 10 or longer to be competitive and even the 10 is pushing my luck. I've been deliberately racing up to the half this year so I can recover between races and get more racing in effectively since my season is so darn ridiculously short.I really wasn't planning a marathon especially since it's usually way too damn hot in the summer and they are nothing but sufferfests in the heat. I actually was leaning more toward the half in Sergiev Posad or maybe going to Gorodets for the first time since 2005 to run that marathon and see friends. Gorodets got scratched when I saw all the express trains on the return after the race had been sold out. Coach pushed me toward just doing Belochka. There was a note from the RD this yr that prize $ would be equal on the guys and gals side after last year's mess on that front. It's not been insanely hot this summer so i just figured I'd slog out a long run on a very wet and muddy course from all this rain. It POURED the day before the race just to make things more interesting. Well, since I only have one more weekend after this to race before heading back and possibly running the USATF Alaska championships and this would probably be the only marathon this year....Belochka it was.
It was muddy....very muddy on the trail sections and this being a hybrid on/off pavement course, I had to run it in my regular road racers and just suck it up on the slick muddy patches. The first 20k I had company. A lady ran with me and  3 guys as well. We just stuck together and after 15 or so, the boys began to drop behind and I just decided to sit on the lady. It was too soon to get antsy and move....yes this would probably cost me some time but not just going my pace early on and pulling away, but I decided to run for the win tactically as opposed to trying something stupid and getting caught in the final 12+k loop. I had not been doing any marathon specific training and just screwed around most of the winter running hills and mountains due to lack of racing opportunities. It was not super hot- 23-24 C but very HUMID and mostly overcast. I was drinking like a fish and actually carried salt sticks with my regular eats along the way. Leonid was waiting after each loop with my drinks too. The first loop is a quick 4k followed by 3x12 and change just under 13. I just sat with her the first 2 loops, then, she dropped back at about 20k and I was pretty much on my own the rest of the day. I passed a few other guys along the way.I just pretty much locked into a mostly even pace save for the slow mud patches that sucked time.Being ALONE, I paid damn good attention to the course markings so as to avoid another f#ck up like last week. Actually, things were well marked and I know the course which is why when back in 2011 the leaders got sent the wrong way I knew something was not right. There were arrows freshly painted on every turn and markers on the trees some even with cure squirrels on them (belochka) this time. I won this one and broke the curse of not being able to win in 13 years. At the awards, the RD even announced my first win back in 98. I now feel nice and OLD! I was 23 and just starting grad school at Moscow State....where did the years go?! Well, I'm now 4 for 8 in this marathon!





snowshoe

snowshoe