Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Loopy in Canada this Weekend!

First of, let me congratulate everyone for their fantastic performances at the 24-Hour National Championship this past weekend in Cleveland! I certainly missed being there to share in the fun (and try for one of the automatic bids for Team USA like last year), but my "real life" schedule (work & a wedding) never really made it possible for me to consider it this time around. It was fun cheering on my friends from my computer throughout the race though, and Serge Arbona and Phil McCarthy showed their grit and racing smarts by hanging on to finish 1st and 2nd for the men and earn their spots on the Team for next year's World Championship in Switzerland. Also impressive was the young (23 years old!) but strong and smart Nick Coury who charged past the 135 mile mark in the final hour to grab the last automatic spot on the team. Great job, guys!  On the ladies side, Connie Gardner stormed back to the top of the 24 Hour world by winning the ladies' championship (and finishing 2nd overall!) with Anne Riddle Lundblad and Anna Piskorska securing the other two spots on the Team. Fantastic running, Ladies!!

What does all of the above have to do with my race this weekend? Well, with Serge, Phil, and Nick officially on the team...and Mike Henze's impressive 154.5 miles at the worlds pretty much guaranteeing him an open qualifying spot...and the likely odds that Scott Jurek will not run World's next year (thus opening up his automatic spot on the team to the rest of us)...that means there are probably two spots left up-for-grabs on the team. Depending on how far back they stretch the qualifying window (it's been 18 months recently), it most likely means I'll need to run somewhere in the 141-145 mile range this weekend to have a good chance of grabbing one of the final two spots. There are still 3 or 4 more 24-Hour races left in the year (including the return of Across the Years) too, so nothing is guaranteed for me, but if I can grind out a 145, I think I'll be in pretty good shape.

So, do I think I can run 145 miles in Ottawa? Sure, why not?! I'll be running in a dome, so weather is taken out of the equation...and unless the 1/4 mile loops make me loopy, the flat and fast surface should certainly help me maximize my potential. I'll also be heading up to the race solo and running without a crew. Some may see this as a detriment, but I've actually run some of my best races when I've been all alone. Obviously I love having a crew and family/friends cheering for me, but when I'm alone I've found that I'm able to reach a tremendously deep level of concentration and focus as I slip into my running coma out there. I'll lose a little time mixing my drinks, etc, but in the long run of a 24 hour race, it really won't matter too much.

I'm excited to head up north and put forth the best effort I can. It'll definitely be the last race of the year for me (I did get into Mountain Masochist, to which I applied months ago, but if I do head down for that race in November it will literally be on zero training and I'll plan to just use it as a fun scouting run for a future "race" attempt). I need a solid 5 or 6 weeks of NO RUNNING between Ottawa and November to recharge my legs and bring back the excitement and desire for putting in a serious training period for 2011 (Read: I'm a little burned out on running right now!). No matter what happens in Ottawa, I'll enjoy 24 hours of peaceful calm as I loop the track at 9 minute pace and reflect on the ups and downs of the past 14 months of running. I fell short of a few goals, sure, but I also learned quite a few lessons along the way that will help me come back as a stronger and smarter runner next year. Sure, it'll be great to show off those new smarts in Switzerland as a return member of the Team, but I know I'll find some great new running challenges in 2011 no matter what happens in this final chapter of 2010!


UltraBrad said...

Ok, how about a head to head challenge? Since I'll be racing in North Carolina, where it's supposed to be in the 90's, I'll need a handicap, though.

Dan Rose said...

Ok, I think the weather will be a 10 mile advantage for me, but your much larger (and scenic) loop will be a 2 mile advantage for you.

How does an 8 mile handicap sound? Winner gets to eat all the Powerbars in the other's swag bag the next time we run a race together.

UltraBrad said...

This is one contest I actually hope I don't win. But, I'll take your 8 mile handicap...good luck!

Anonymous said...

Have a great race this weekend - smooth,relaxed and patient for the 1st 16 to get into postion - Then become one with the pain and just get it done in the last 8.

Michael Henze

Dan Rose said...

Sounds easy enough, Mike! I'll do my best to get it done this weekend so I can have the privilege of lining up next to you in Switzerland!

Anonymous said...

Good Luck, I'm missing our Nationals (NZ) next weekend as I've already qualified. But unlike the US we have no automatic slots so I have to wait and see what the selectors decide. I'm hoping we'll have an actual team rather than a Male and Female as individuals.

Matt Bixley (NZ)

ps Pretty funny watching Michael hammer/stumble around the course crashing into the barriers near the end. :D

Chris Roman said...

You rock buddy, go for it, "Who are you NOT to be great", wise man Mr Mandela :)

Amelia said...

I recently discovered a new flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that I find surprisingly delicious (Banana Split) and I plan on eating a pint in your honor to celebrate your effort up in Canada this weekend. Feel free to stop by NYC on your way back down to experience the magic with me. Go Dan go!

Agent Em said...

Please tell me that for some of those 1160 turns, you'll be allowed to run the other way??

Dan Rose said...

Ah, good question, Agent Em! We will switch directions every 6 hours to even out the pain.

Of course you realize the level of analysis you're putting into this race clearly proves that, deep down, you want to run for 24 hours around a 400m track yourself!

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt - I thought I had the inside ... I was superman for a brief moment until gravity took over and I skidded to a halt.

I do like that the USA has a very defined selection process - It may not be perfect, but at least you know what you have to do to get on the team.

Dan - You will do great as long as you take care of your body .. be disciplined on all the nutrition and pace!

I am excited for you - Its yours - You just have to reach out and grab it!

Michael Henze