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



Monday, August 27, 2012

Seriously? I did WHAT? 50K World Cup Daugavpils 19-08

I was feeling pretty confident I might be ready for a decent 50k coming off my final tune up at the 15k 8  days earlier. 4 days before the race, I did a fartlek with a 3k pickup at 4.30 km pace to simulate  planned 50k pace. Then just tapered off a bit . With the race being Sunday, I took the overnight train Thursday into Friday morning so I could sleep that off upon arrival Friday. The road to Daugavpils from Moscow is kind of a PITA as there is no easy way to get there. It involves a 13hr  overnight train that has you getting off just past 6AM at the first stop past the border. That is followed by about an hour and a half on a bus where I usually hit drool sleep along the way. So, that put me into Daugavpils just before 9AM where our team manager met me and walked me over to the dorm where we stay. I got the same nice quiet corner room I had last yr-YEAAA. Grocery run, bite to eat, then I proceeded to sleep for about 4 hours in the afternoon. I got stuck next to a cougher/ snorer in the bunk above me on the train who woke me up all night long so sleep was first and foremost on the agenda.

Now, last week at the 15k, I won a cool little toy- a new e-reader that I uploaded lost of recent episodes of some of my favorite shows like Weeds, Anger Management , Modern Family, and some new Warehouse 13 onto. I needed something to help me pass the time on the train and then chill in the evening in my room before bed to help take my mind off the race. So after an evening walk on Friday and some dinner, I curled up with some Weeds and Anger Management and sleepy mint tea and then proceeded to sleep for another 10 hours.  Saturday was Do Nothing Day except for the usual shakeout run and my task was to eat, eat,and eat some more.

                                           walking around a bit....

Team Russia- Marina Zhalybina (2011 100k world champ 3rd at Comrades this yr), Svetlana Savoskina (former 100k world champ) , and Igor Tyashkorob (multi 100K Russian national champ) showed up Saturday morning after getting their visas very last minute. That does suck and I had hoped we'd all get on the same train Thursday and try to get tickets so we could bunk next to each other so as not to bother each other as we all needed some sleep. No such luck. :-( They were down the hall from me. So, as I was munching dinner, Inita Bistrova and Nadya Kvastkina joined me as they had just come in from Riga .Nadya is 76 and althought she dropped out of the 100k at Worlds last yr in the horrid weather conditions while attempting an age gp world record, she does own the national record for her age group. She is awesome! Respect! Inita has also been o n the 100k team before I was.
So off to chill then sleep. Melatonin, mint tea, and Weeds:=) I was such a good girl and it was sooooo quiet in my room I fell asleep just after 11 and slept til 6. That almost never happens the night before.

RACE DAY! Up just past 6 so I could get in my oatmeal and carbs from a couple bottles of Vitargo+ the obligatory caffeine and have time to let it digest by the 10 AM start. Breakfast, done, hydrating, done....what to do to chill....hmmm there is still an episode or 2 of Weeds waiting ...yes, I've fallen behind this season and wanted to catch up on back episodes. Just after 9, I walked out with my gear and headed to the start a 5 min walk up the street. I needed to get there in time to set my table with Vitargo bottles for each 4k loop (course is 2k+12x4k)+ extra Roctane, and a Vespa Jr for roughly the 30k point. Table set, potty visited, off to the start.

                                       yeah need to find a better way of stuffing that salt stick in my top...no I don't have                                         boobs it's the salt stick!

As usual, I wanted to go out conservatively then pick up later on. The weather gods were kind, 15C and clouds with a breeze! Yeah, I thought, I don't get too many days where the weather gods and I agree so I'd better try to put down smthg solid. Svetlana ran the first 6k with me then dropped back. After she dropped back I was ALONE THE REST OF THE DAY:-( I was chilling at 4.33-35km pace (just over 7 min miles)not pushing but staying in that comfort zone. I had trouble last yr in the final 2 laps for some reason and didn't care to go there again. I started hitting each lap in just over 18 min like a metronome. Ok autopilot is good- no pushing First half mary- not barn blazing just under 1:37, first 25K 1:55. I tried not to freak out when I realized I was up nearly 5 min over last yr's half way split. Ok, If I hold this I might see 3:50 today were my thoughts. Each lap was sitting right at 18 min some just under now. Mentally, I wanted to get through to lap 10 without issues and if there was gas left in the tank then go. So, I chose to autopilot just over 4.30 for now because I was confident I could hold that. Picking up too soon could cause trouble too. Just before 30K I downed my Vespa and felt pretty damn good. Ok just get to lap 10 at this pace and then work. Beginning lap 10 with 12k to go.....ok still feeling really good legs responding well and time to start picking up a little. i started ducking under 4.30 -Marathon 3:09.55 hmmm I remember telling my coach in order to break 3:50 I need to not be afraid to have a marathon split of about 3:10....check that off the list. ONly 8k togo and 2 laps. The hill isn;t getting bigger today and the loops are not getting longer and i'm parking at just under 18 on the 4k. It was here I realized I had a good shot at cracking 3:50. Entering the last lap, I figured now I'm going to have a huge PR if I don't screw this up the question is by how much....ok hang on after 100k races what's another 4k? Hammertime! It was starting to sprinkle and getting just a bit windier...no biggie bring on the cooler air! I understood I HAD to do this. There many not be a next yr at my age and the conditions were perfect,my stomach was behaving, and my legs wanted to GO! Coming down the last stretch entering the park before the finish I just went last couple km were 4.15 (sub 7min mile ) and nailed it- finish just over 3:46 for an over 8 min PR! Holy crap! I nearly caught Aigars- one of our 100k studs! He finished in 3:43. I just ran my own pace which required discipline and contenctation and running by feel since I was alone. Thank God for Garmin! I passed some guys in the 2nd half but none went with me:-(
Marina won in 3:29 and Sada Buiskiene of Lithuania was 3rd again this yr in 4:09. I won the Latvian national champonship for the 2nd yr in a row.

                                                        Awards (first time I ever saw Andris in uniform:))

                                                                      Top3 -Latvia :) -The 2 ladies are running the 24 hr Worlds/Euros next month!

                                                        Nadya! 76 and kicking ass!
                                                 top 3 men

                                                                  Marina Zhalybina :-)

Can of worms/Pandora's Box- open. See women under 3:50 and men under 3:20 get invited to the World Cup 50k final in Italy 20 October....ugh. I didn't think I would.....This is a good thing/bad thing. It will be cool to do this and Gunars Kegis (we have been on two 100k teams together) also qualified running a 3:18 and setting a new national record! Our manager wants to take us both if we get the funding. Ok cool. I wisely did not purchase tickets to the US yet until after I ran this race. Ok.... I had planned to go after the course record in Chicago at the 50k 26 Oct-the record is 3:49-doable !!!! That's now off as is my 20 yr HS reunion the 13th after I told everyone I'd be there because it was like 99% sure I didn't think I'd make the final. WOOPS! Oh, and yeah when i got back to Moscow, I found out Chicago marathon gave me the A start based on my 15k time the week before...are you kidding me? Why does everything have to be schedued at the same time! Needless to say, I'm now re-shoppong for an ultra in the Midwest early mid-Nov. The CLOSEST I found was a 50k in NASHVILLE that looks good but my ass will fall  off from the 12 hr drive! WHATTODO WHATTODOWHATTODO....
                                                      medal for 1st place Latvian NC

                                                         2nd  in 35-39 gp
                                                    Monday walking around to shake out legs

                                                                 infamous hill along the course

                                                             room and view from my window

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2 Mile and 15k and off to 50k World Cup!

I am leaving for latvia tomorrow so don't have much time to post and will be without wifi while I'm there and using my smartphone to connect is not happening because of the roaming issue. The 2 mile I ran on the 4th of August was FAST. It started fast and sot faster. i went out just over 3.40/km and finished at 3.38 for an 11.57 or xc PR. I can easily eek under 12 on the track or road but never ever have I on grass and dirt! Until this yr 12.40s were probably about where it stopped on grass. I'm bummed there are no track races now because I could run a great 3, 5, or 10 and go after a PR in all of them despite being 37.  I finished 3rd and pretty much can skip the last 2 races in the 7 race series and still win. I needed to get 3rd or better to do that. I passed Anna I with 1k to go who kicked my ass in July when I had the food poisoning. I came just shy of catching Masha who was 2nd. We really do take turns beating each other. :)

                                                     Dude, you are about to be CHICKED =)
                                                        Passing Anna I. ( we also take turns beating each other)

On to the 15K at Luzhniki on the 11th. The goal was to run a tempo at 4 min/km pace or dip slightly under if I could. This time I out just over 4 min for the first 5k and then picked up a little and parked it. I could not have run a more even pace-I just parked at 4 sometimes 4.02 then 3.57 etc...but even steven splits. We had a dark horse from out of town who used to run 32 in the 10k show up and win. Oksana B. was 2nd Tanya P. 3rd and I was a close 4th-save for the dark horse it was the same 3 who took the podium in the half. At this point, the 3 of us just need to run the final 6k race Sept1 in order to keep our spots in the summer cup. My time- I said even steven-1:00.15...... best 15k time i have posted in a good 6 yrs and not far from a PR. The weather gods blessed us w/ 18C. it was sunny early on but clouded over after the race. Masha M. was there again doing her first long race. I let her go out fast in the first 5k like all youngsters like to do but just rode back about 50 meters always within striking distance. just after 5k, I made my move ,surged, and opened up a gap. I knew she'd charge hard at the finish so I needed to gap her. At the last turnaround, I had about 20 sec on her with just over 3.5k to go(course is 2x 7.5kloops). I had even less at the 7.5k at the end of the first loop so she was falling back and I was holding even. 2k to go and I gunned it in the 3.50s for good measure and she ended up 10 sec. behind me for 5th. She was really trying. Had she run a smarter race and gone out with me at a more sane pace, I may have been in trouble. :) She's a nice girl and I think she's going to get faster. Who beats who just seems to be whoever is having a better day.
                                                 Got a spiffy new e reader I put some books and lots of videos on to watch on the road this weekend. Smthg to do on the train:) Practical prizes rule!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Zelenograd Half

   "Dear half marathon,7k, and relay runners, without a mecical certificate you will not be allowed to run!!!"

I've been bad about blogging lately. Truth be known,  my internet connection has been loopy the last week or so and  I've been doing quite a bit of writing and time consuming  homework for a class I'm taking via correspondence with Univ. of Alaska to renew my teacher cert and just have not had the time to keep up here. Zelenograd....I don't even know where to begin here but I suspect Zelenograd 2012, sadly after having run here since 1998, may be my last Zelenograd Half. I know the new organizers are trying to do their job, but the fact that the particapant numbers have dropped over three times since Boris Prokopiev left the helm speaks volumes. Plus, this year, for the first time ever in all my years racing here, I actually saw people turned away for not having a stupid medical certificate (spravka). This is a whole can of worms in and of itself. Among those turned away was the MEN'S TWO TIME NATIONAL RUSSIAN MARATHON CHAMP FROM 2010 2011!!! COME ON HOW LAME IS THAT??? That would be like telling Ryan Hall or Meb, "Sorry guys no piece of paper so you aren't fit to run, go home!"

A friend of mine from our running club had a real spravka and went to get his number the day before to avoid the lines on race day. The doctors on duty at registration didn't like the STAMP on his spravka and rejected him! After learning this, I started thinkning of a plan B in case the docs didn't like my spravka when I  went in. The organizer offered this person a chance to pick up his number race day after the misunderstanding, but he didn't bother to race. My plan B was simply to try and play the foreigner card. When I was in grad school that got me out of this stupid spravka formality. So, I went to get my number I just casually asked if foreigners need spravki and they gave me my number right away. I had my passport with me just in case.Plus, this yr their online registration was much better. You could now pay with a bank card instead of having to waste time going to the bank to do a money transfer if you want to register early.

OK, so that solved my issue, but what about the buttload of runners who ended up running without numbers? In the past, organizers always let you sign a statement similar to a waiver in the US if you are spravka-less NOT THIS TIME. WHY SO STRICT ? Last year some young guy with epilepsy died at this half. OK, I realize this is sad, but unfortunately these things can happen at ANY event. Look at the major marathons around the world. Almost every yr. someone dies in Chicago. The organizers cannot be held responsible. When you get some 40,000 people out for an event, unfortunately things can happen. Sadly, one of my friends in the running club died after crossing the finish in a marathon just outside Moscow. This was a truly tragic thing and I was in shock for quite a while after, but the organizer of that marathon was in no way held legally responsible. This whole legal issue was discussed in full on our boards/forum and the lawyers in the group said that under Russian law, there really is no law that would hold the organizer legally responsible. Hmmmmmm? Really???? So why the fuss???? Basically the organizers just wanted to cover their asses from all ends just "in case". Ok, so I give you a spravka and play by the rules. It's not a 300% guarantee I won't die out there either. So what gives? Basically, Soviet bureaucracy was resurrected in full.
Where's the logic? I can drink, smoke, go out behind my house and join the junkie losers shooting up in the yard, but I can be banned from doing something that is GOOD FOR ME? Yeah folks only in Russia! AWESOME. So turn me away from running so i can take up smoking, drinking, or perhaps drug addiction instead!
Ok enough on that sore topic-to the race. It was craptastic from start to finish. The course was new (although accurate this time). The organizers did a good job measuring it as the old course was nearly 400 long.  The new course had some long hills in it which should not be an issue for me but my legs were not in the mood to run them I guess and I just couldn't  change gears in the second half and pick it up like I usually do. I'm not sure if it was also related to the weight loss from the food poisoning  2 weeks earlier. In a short race I can hold up but in a longer race, I can't be rail thin. I was sitting around 51kg when I should be at least 54 preferably even push to 55 though that's very hard. I lost 4 and gained only 1 back. I'm 176cm (or 5'9" and being like 112lbs is too flippin SKINNY). Whatever it was my race sucked like Alaska mosquitoes in the summer. Sure it was under 1:30 but is that supposed to be good??Nah. I did run with the same guys I ran with at Luzhniki though.

After that fail, I cut town the next weekend and ran 35k on hills. I haven't been able to do regular killer hills because the place i do them is shut. Well the hill isn't shut, but the locker room at the track where I leave my stuff is. So, either I go out of town on the weekends or run the wimpier hills in the park which are too wimpy for me:(

 pix by A Pronin and M Shalneva

Coming soon- report on 2 mile xc run 4-Aug hint it was much better and I redeemed myself for my sh!tty performance in this half.