Monday, April 23, 2007

Yes, I'm Here: New Challenges

It's been almost a month since my last post. I'm doing well and getting ready for new things.

My ankle seems to be 95% better. I still get a little soft lump on the front of my shin and I can feel it, although there is no pain. But I've been putting in some decent miles at a decent speed and feel good. I recently bought two new pairs of trail shoes (since New Balance discontinued my beloved 781s), Merrell Overdrive and Merrell Octane. So far they've both performed well. The octanes got a good workout their first time out of the box - mud, mud and more mud, but not slippery mud - sticky mud that gives you platform shoes and occasionally flies off in a big chunk. Plus some creek crossings (actually, many creek crossings). The insert of one shoe was moving around so I'll have to watch that.

I also bought a double-bottle pack, the Nathan Elite 2v. Recently my Camelbak FlashFlo bladder got funky and smelly, and I decided to try a bottle pack instead of buying a new bladder. I've always loved the FlashFlo (I bought it when I joined Team in Training in 2003 and have used the same pack ever since, only replacing the bladder once) and thought it was a great pack. It has only one drawback - it's a pain to refill during races. I have to take the entire pack off, and it's hard to open and close the bladder. Also, you can't totally refill the bladder while it's in the pack, so you can't take full advantage of the 45 ounce bladder.

So for now I'll try the bottle pack. I used it for 24+ miles and 5+ hours this weekend with no problems. The Elite 2v has two removable pouches on the sides that I can't use because they interfere with my arm motion when walking; itdoes not have any storage in the rear, just a bungee cord to hold a jacket or something similar. However, I was able to take one of the side pouches and attach it in the back (whether this is by design or just good luck, I don't know). Then I attached my Amphipod pouch to the front and I was ready to go: Clif Shots, electrolytes, Advil and lip balm in the front; cell phone, toilet paper, ID/insurance card and spare Clif Shots in the back.

The big news is that I've been asked to be a Racewalking coach for the Team in Training DFW Metro Team this summer! I've never coached before but always wanted the opportunity, so I'm very excited. I've been attending the last training sessions for the team finishing their season now, plus I've been attending recruitment meetings. The season starts May 6 with Kick-Off, then training starts the following week. So far we have 20 walkers on the team and still a week of recruitment meetings, so it looks like we will have a great team. I can't wait to get the chance to share my love of racewalking and my support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the team. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

I'm currently trying to adjust some responsibilities at work so I can travel to my next race, Laurel Highlands Ultra in Johnstown, PA. I did this two years ago and loved it. Unfortunately it conflicts with some scheduled work activity, but I'm trying to get the schedule shifted around.

After that I plan to do three summer runs in Texas (UGH!):

Capt'n Karl's Run - June 30, a 12 hour all night race starting at 7:00 PM
El Scorcho - July 15, a 50k on a flat asphalt 5k loop, starting at 12:00 AM (midnight)
NTTR Night Run - a prediction run on the rugged North Shore Trail at Lake Grapevine

After that I'll be training hard and long for the Heartland 100, my first 100 mile race. Then hopefully the Ultracentric 24 hour, then hopefully the Texas Double: SunRock - SunMart 50 miler on Saturday, December 8; White Rock Marathon on Sunday, December 9.

Of course things can change at any time and life intervenes, so I'll just take it one mile at a time and see what happens.

If you are still here, thanks for reading! I hope to post more in the near future, especially on the progress of the TNT Walk Team.