Yes, it's been a while AGAIN. Well, the fact of the matter is that there has been nothing much to write about since my last post due to the lack of racing events for a good THREE MONTHS following the 50k. So, what's been going on? Save for ONE RACE in mid May, and my return to Russia for summer racing- absolutely nothing, nada, nichevo, dead as a bloody doornail! I touched on this issue briefly in my last post but, now I'm going to elaborate as it has begun to really bother me and as winter bled into early spring, and has been slowly eating at me like a cancer for some time.
The truth is, I'm healthy, injury and niggle free, etc. There is one serious issue, that may be putting me into early retirement though and it is indeed, the complete lack of any racing opportunities on the Kenai from October until the middle of MAY! If I step on some toes as I expand on this topic, good perhaps it will motivate the community to be a bit more active during this time and, hell, even if we had just ONE race per month, it's better than nothing and enough to have as a barometer race to assess fitness and or tune up race before the season gets going.
I consider myself pretty well travelled and have been a part of many different running communtites throughout the world. The sad fact of the matter, is that I have never encountered a completely dormant one for such a darn long period of time. Homer, Alaska is an awesome place to train. You can have your pick of mountains and elevation, or drop down to a totally different climate and hit town at sea level where you can run flats and where you may find bare pavemement or even the track a good chunk of the winter. I had my ass on the track from February on trying to get in shape for the upcoming season. The fact that I could do that (ok February can still be hit or miss as well as March for a clear track)was pretty amazing. I certainly couldn't in Moscow, or other places I've lived in Alaska like Fairbanks and Wasilla. OTOH, I never had trouble keeping sharp in those places especially in Fairbanks, where just about every weekend the running club had some kind of run or snowshoe going on REGARDLESS OF TEMPERATURE. Come April when the track got plowed, I just needed some little tune ups and I was ready to go. Homer is so much milder and conducive to winter training.There are so many possiblities. I was also pretty shocked that nearby Kenai and Soldotna had zeeeerow for spring races! I honestly don't get it, we are on the road system and these are all decent sized communities.
Despite my being in Alaska and my coach being back in Russia, there has been communication daily. This was the first time since 2005 I had to do long distance coaching, but it works if you have the discipline to follow through and that's never been an issue for me. I was separated during the school year from my coach in Russia from 2002-05 and posted some career best performances then. However, I was doing stepping stone races to sharpen things up. I trained, did my usual workouts , but the key component to tie all that together was missing- RACING! March, I knew I was in trouble when I was struggling to hit times that should be mundane. April, I'm still not feeling the necessary training response, all alone and not a soul to push me- still I could always push myself whenever I've been in this situation in the past to knock down solid workouts. Late April, early, May- I feel I'm beginning to get a response, but I'm so behind the 8 ball I feel that my season is in jeopardy. Something is not right, something has not been right for months, everything is sub par by my standards. The fact of the matter is that since January, I've raced just once and it was the 50k on snow. I've never been on the bench dormant and dead this long in my entire career and the consequences are becoming apparent now. My coach also knows this isn't me and something is up. After 9 years, he knows me too well and I can't fake it and say things are peachy keen and don't even try because there will be accountability anyways when I show up in Moscow for the summer and suck.
Actually, there are races, really good quality ones generally well organized, and just about every weekend and most of the winter too,but they are all in Anchorage which is a 5 hour drive from my house and required finagling an overnight at friend's who may have a couch for the weekend. In the winter, the road is just too unpredictable to mess with, and then the cost of getting there must also be considered. The other major drawback is most of them are on Saturday which would have me racing zombified after driving after school, getting in late, and up early to race on no rest. I was able to do the 50 k because I had holy days off from school that made for a 4 day weekend.
So, three months after that 50k, I finally got to do ONE race before skipping off to Russia for the summer. It was the Migration Run 5k. This one was well organized on a fast point to point course on the Homer Spit. I won this one and a lady came up to me after the finish and said it was a CR. I should be pretty pleased, but I was not. Objectively speaking, this was a sub par performance. I ran nearly a minute faster one year ago almost to the date in a downpour in Pavlovsky Posad. I was over a minute off of where I'd typically be at this time of year for a season opener in a 5. I knew things were not right and had been off. I'd give myself a C- the win was nice and supposedly the record, but the performance itself was off.
nice home brew to the winner and beautiful hand painted rock :)
My next post will include the stuff I've been up to in Moscow so far.....