Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Age-Graded

It’s been a years since I have posted – so it seems fitting to write about this year’s Dam tot Damloop. I have raced plenty in the last year (including one ski race I would rather not talk about) but mostly I have done pretty well for a 41-year old. With instant access to the World Masters Assocation tables (e.g. here) an obsessive like me can start ranking every race they have ever run. And according to the tables, I had a great run this year. My time of 52:24 gets me (give or take a 5km on course I don’t think is certified) my best ever percentage ranking of 89.45 (100 would be an age-group record, or at least what the algorithm thinks should be the record). Alternately, this equates to a runner in their prime running 49:37, which puts me (in a very virtual sense) ahead of my Leiden Atletiek teammate who was in fact 2:30 ahead of me on the road. The time I ran 7 years ago, 52:18, scores 85.54%, and is equivalent to 51:53. Two years ago, I ran 51:57, for 88.85%; despite being 27 seconds slower in real life this year, the algorithm figures I ran the equivalent of 20 seconds faster.

Obviously I have obsessed about this a fair amount (this is the version of this post with way fewer numbers…) but what it really comes down to is another stage of realization in my careers as a master athlete: my days of true PR’s may be behind me. My marathon and (certified course) half-marathon times might yet drop a bit, but I will likely never break 15:00 again for 5 km, nor ever manage to get under 31:00 for 10 km; probably I will never better 31:30 again.

On the other hand, so far I am doing a pretty good job of slowing down less than the tables think I should. So who knows; if I can just maintain the all speed I have right now, in a short 13 years I will be an age-group record holder 🙂

Dam tot Dam 2017

I raced my third Dam tot Damloop today. Last year I wrote a lot about trying to figure out where to drop off my bag; as an elite athlete I had a special secret place to drop off my bag – so secret I couldn’t find it. This year I made sure to get an accurate translation: my bag was to be dropped off at the Post NL van on the canal side of the start. Or, as it turned out, in the EuropCar van on the opposite side. Whatever. I found it. I was actually a full elite races this year, rather than semi-elite as last year. This gave me more time to warm up and also a better start position. So I had a very relaxed start. By 500 meters I was cruising comfortably down the biggest hill of the course (the descent into the IJtunnel). During this…

Mountain Running

In my last post I promised an update after the Loon Mountain Race. But in the couple days after the race I was away from internet and by the time I had the chance to post I didn’t have much to write. Basically the only drama was whether I would finish in 3rd or 4th place (well, I did wonder a bit if Noah Hoffman would crack hard, but that was a silly thought). And by about a third of the way through the race 3rd place seemed unlikely – and by 40 minutes into the the one hour race it was clearly impossible. And nearly as unlikely was getting caught from behind. I ended up 4th, about a minute behind 3rd and a minute clear of 5th, and solidly in first place for the 40+ age division. I was a little slower than two years ago on nearly the…

Slow 10 km

Four months ago when I last blogged, I think I mentioned that my next planned race was the Rotterdam Marathon. My plans did not work out. After a 1:14 half marathon time-trial one afternoon, I was feeling confident. Then I went to Ramsau for February Break and did a ton of nordic skiing, which also felt great. When I came back, I had severe pain in my IT band. For a while I was down to running about five miles every other day. There have been twists and turns dealing with the injury, but I am just now feeling like it might be behind me. And despite reduced mileage I have had lots of training hours – a huge skiing week in Norway at Easter and lots of biking to fill in the missing running. My track workouts have been solid, I have felt fit, and so I went into…

European Club Champions Cup

I had kind of figured that I was done getting flown at others’ expense to compete in races. But it turns out not! Last year (with no help from me) my club, Leiden Atletiek, won the Dutch championships for cross country running, and with this victory came an invitation to the European Club Champions Cup in Albufeira, Portugal. Each team is allowed up to one foreigner, and I have been running fast enough to help the team, so they brought me with. It is definitely interesting traveling with a team whose language you don’t understand to a third country whose language you also don’t speak. My Spanish – left over from high school – makes me possibly more conversant in Portuguese than I am in Dutch, but that is more commentary on the sad state of my ability to learn the language of my new home than a claim that…

Two slow Saturdays in the snow.

So I actually entered a ski race a week ago, and should probably blog about it. I have waited due to a few factors: jet lag, a desire not to compete with U.S. Nationals coverage, and not wanting to admit how slow I raced. The race was a Zak Cup at Gunstock. The last time I raced at Gunstock was an Eastern Cup several years ago where I requested to be seeded as a Master racer so that I could make my start time after working in the morning. The snow slowed after the faster seeds and then started to speed up again as I started. By the time I finished the tracks were blazing fast. I won that race, but it is hard to say whether I did so despite or because of the changing snow conditions. Last Saturday I started in bib #1, a consideration given to me…

Racing in a Foreign Country

You might think that after a year in Holland – a country where almost everyone speaks good English – I would have the logistics of racing figured out. I thought so too. I was wrong. Buses don’t run early on Sunday morning, so in order to get to Amsterdam for the Dam tot Damloop 10 miler, I had to first bike the the Leiden train station. There were two detours along the way. The first had signs indicating the alternate route, but the second had nothing (I later learned the the best course of action was to ignore the barrier and ride through the “closed” path). I didn’t do that in the morning though, so I missed the train I was hoping to take and got to Amsterdam 15 minutes later than I hoped. I still had plenty of time before my race, and I got in a decent warm-up,…

Tips for Master Skiers

Last Thanksgiving, I received an email forwarded through FasterSkier asking if I would write advice for another older athlete with kids and a full time job. I have received a couple similar requests over the years, and I keep thinking that I will make a blog post about this soon, rather than trying to respond to individuals. I have started the post a couple of times – maybe this is the version I will actually finish. 1. Train every day. This is really the most important part of getting and staying in shape. And for many, it is the hardest. Now, a day off here and there is a good thing, so – like any advice you receive, particularly from me – take it with a grain of salt. But as a parent with a full time job, there is almost always a reason to take a day off: family…

A Not-So-Triumphant Return to the Track

On Friday night I competed in a track meet for the first time in more than 18 years. The last time I was at a track meet I set two PRs – one in the hammer (101’3″) and one in the 400 (57.5) – I was actually drafted at the last minute to rabbit the 800. How all that came to be is a story for another time. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on my return, but it actually felt quite familiar. Despite being in another country, and being alone, the feeling of being at a track meet is very much the same. There was the rush of adrenaline every time the gun went off to start another heat, the nervousness of checking out the competition, the frustration with the meet being a bit behind schedule. And about that schedule – the 5000 m was schedule to start…

January Track Workout

I doubt my blog silence has been noticed by many, what with Nationals going on, not to mention three U.S. women on podiums in different stages of the Tour de Ski, but it seems I do still have a blog! I was home in New Hampshire for three weeks, and got to see lots of family and friends. And despite the weather (Kris and I summitted Sandwich Dome on Christmas Day, and there was no white stuff to be seen) I managed to get in about 20 hours on snow. Now that I am back in Holland, this has given me the answer to a question I have had for some time: just how many days of all skiing does it take before the return to running is all sore muscles and excruciating pain? Turns out the answer is somewhere south of 10 days 🙁 Anyway, sore – and jetlagged…