Tuesday, June 1, 2010

iRon kNee - two days later

Spun it out from home on the road bike this morning, but the quads and calves are still a touch tender - a pain I secretly enjoy.

As some of you may know, I was nursing some weirdness in my running world over the past three weeks. I was feeling low and like I wasn't running to my potential and maybe even getting slower with all my little "iggle-de piggly de" leg issues. I sort of felt that I was letting down my Trans Rockies team mate, Duncan, who has been training and running hard. I needed Iron Knee to go well and it certainly did.

I started out nice and slow. Slower than I was comfortable with actually, but I told myself it was the right thing to do. The start of Iron Knee is a bit of a balancing act for me. The first couple kilometers are under power lines on a service road and then the trail dives into Baden Powell's tight single-track. The runner wants to run easy to start, but not so easy that you enter the single-track behind a slower group of racers. Ceding yourself properly is tough to do, but I think this was my best effort to date. I reached St. Georges bench in 13th place, according to trail running guru Rob Doyle, who was marshaling there. It was just after that point that I'd planned to crank things up a notch. And that I did, immediately noticing the tension in my right hamstring. No problem though, so I ran on. Down the long steps into Lynn Headwaters aside another racer, I guess Mr. 12th Place. We ran across the Rice Lake connector and that's where the wheels starting coming off the bus and I saw trail running buddy Brad De Abreu. He was filming and I wasn't looking good. I shoved in a Vanilla Bean Guu and crossed my fingers. Magic was made. I picked up the pace and again I was rolling. With burned out legs and core, my body was tired before heading up the infamous power lines. Really tired. I typically run the powerlines, but I was certain I wouldn't run all the way this day. There was no way...or was there? I dropped my head, dropped a gear, and put a smile on my face to actively defer the evils of mental anguish. I ran past two runners into 11th place and hit the top of the climb. Rounding the last switch back I'd run the whole thing and hit the top in about 17 minutes from the Riverside turn off.
(These two pictures were taken seconds apart. It's interesting how my body position changes after I noticed the camera and smile. Shoulders low and hips forward.)

The decent down to Indian River Road was quick as usual, but a nice change of pace after my long climb. I just had to hold off the runners I'd gotten by on the Power Lines. Coming into Quarry Rock I checked my watch and saw 1:38. I knew I had 12 minutes to finish if I was to beat my own 1:50 personal best. This was it and I knew I could suffer through and make it. 1:49:18 was my final time and I felt terrific finishing. My hamstrings worked themselves out, but I still headed for the ocean to soak. There really is nothing like finishing in the Cove, standing in the water and cheering for the rest of the field. It's cool watching people react to their finish time and those around them.
Thanks so much to North Shore Athletics for another well run event and to everyone who volunteered there time to be out there. Particular Kudos to the champ who hauled the Black Forest Cake up to the top of the power line climb.


  1. Thanks to everyone who has commented over the past couple days.

    To Rob, who said I'm getting faster with age. Let's see what happens after the kid comes along. And...

    To Ryan N. Things are so relative. I myself am wondering how someone went 15 minutes faster than me. You should be so proud of that finish. 2:05 is a killer time for that distance over that terrain. Iron Knee is a very challenging course.

  2. I have never run this race, but I run the Lynn Valley parts of the BP almost everyday. I didn't get a chance to see any of this race but can't believe how fast you guys navigated the Mud. To me mud can be dangerous because of the potential unequal footing. And what is up with the 70+ guy (Ronald Ness) under 2 hours. That is amazing. http://www.raceheadquarters.com/results/2010/run/IronKnee25k2010.html

  3. You're so right, Wiglebot. That's one fast senior if you don't mind me calling him that. I suppose it could be an error. In the past Tender Knee athletes have been put into the wrong race results. If not, I hope I'm that fast when I'm 70+.

  4. you're not letting anyone down ... least of all me! i'll be working my butt off just to stay with you in the thin colorado air.

    congrats on sub 1:50 and getting to be the nsa poster boy in the north shore news. keith should give you some more swag for that... right keith?!!

  5. Tommyyyyy!!
    Great run - psyched you beat you PB! I'm sure you and MrC are in for a great TRR. Learn from every race and giv'er! (but watch and take of those 'tweeks' before they get out of hand...)

    pv - reading this as I soak my ankle in a 5gal pail of ice water...kind of looks like little icebergs floating around my leg.

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  7. Nice work Tom. Very inspiring to read about your benchmark and how you keep progressing;)