Nobody likes a bunch of excuses, but I don't care what people like. So here's a bunch of excuses.
Haven't had much to report over the summer. As I alluded to in my last post, I really jammed up my back while we were on vacation in South Carolina in early July. I was on a planned running break, but it did take me a little longer than anticipated to get back into the flow. And as I started rounding back into shape at the end of July, I got hit with what I think was another bout of Lyme disease. I had a couple of days of feeling very tired and sluggish on easy runs--I could barely keep up with Ben on an easy training run the day before he won Escarpment an amazing 13th time--and then a couple of days of high fevers, nausea, and general aching, pretty similar to what I experienced last year. A course of antibiotics had me feeling better in a couple of weeks, but by that time August was almost over.
In late August we went to Vermont and Canada for ten days, which was a lot of fun. I trained moderately, putting in about 60-70 miles a week, without much real quality. As I mentioned earlier in the year, I've been having some success with a LCHF diet this year, but it's a pain in the ass when you're not at home, so I took a three-week hiatus during our trip and our first week back home (I wasn't going to skip pizza and beer on my birthday). We ate a lot of poutine, which is really fantastic. I went back on the diet after Labor Day and dropped my vacation weight almost immediately, but it takes several weeks for the running to come back around while I'm still adapting to the low-carb thing, so I had a sluggish September. It was OK--not much on the horizon until the Water Gap 50K in a few weeks--but not much to report on the blogging front.
I was planning on updating the US Ultra Rankings in late August, before UTMB. But just before leaving on vacation, our ten-year-old laptop died, and it took several weeks to replace. Also, I switched jobs at the end of the month, and while my new gig is much better, I don't have access to Google Docs on the computers at work. (Plus, ultrarunning.com and Ultrasignup are both blocked on the hospital network.) So, I fell about six weeks behind on the rankings, and I just got caught up last night. I'm waiting on a few straggler results to come in from last weekend, but I'll have a post with the new rankings (through 10/1) up early next week.
I did jump in a local race a few weeks ago, the Roosa Gap Roller Coaster, an 11.5-mile road race in Wurtsboro, about thirty miles away. It's a long-running event that I've always wanted to try, and though I certainly wasn't race fit, I was glad to get out for a good hard run. It was about a third of the way in, struggling to run 6:30s on the flat early section of the course, that I realized I wasn't yet fat-adapted and that my body was rebelling against a hard effort on no carbs. Oh well. It was basically a solo effort, as I got dropped by the two leaders in the first mile and had about 30 seconds on fourth the rest of the way. The course is a flat first four miles along the old D&H canal towpath, before it turns onto some local roads and climbs almost 1000 feet in the next two miles. I went from running 6:40s to running 9:30s but started making up a little ground on second place. We leveled out a bit past the six-mile mark and the course entered the "roller coaster" phase, about three miles of rolling pavement. I closed to about thirty seconds of second but couldn't get closer until the final two miles, where I dropped down to about 5:30 pace on the two-mile downhill finishing stretch and clawed the gap back another 10 seconds or so. That was about as close as I got. My 1:18 for the 11.5 miles was nothing to write home about, but again, struggling to return to form in terms of both fitness and diet, I was happy just to get a hard effort in. (And, if the time for the course is indeed equivalent to a flat half-marathon, as the race organizers claim, was not a terrible performance.)
Two weeks later I'm starting to get a little rhythm, keeping the mileage in the 80-85 mpw range, running a decent track workout yesterday with my world-champion training partner, and overall feeling much stronger than I have recently. As promised, I'll be back next week with an update to the rankings, and in a couple weeks I'll report back from Water Gap and have some updates on my plans going forward as a newly minted old person (I mean, masters runner).