Friday, October 23, 2015

Moving Forward

Hard to believe that racing season is over.  We've been having a freakishly warm fall and it feels like summer hasn't ended and I should be training for something.  I am still training with my coach, I like her workouts and I think I lost too much triathlon specific fitness when I was on my own during last year's off season.  But I've been uncharacteristically  tired, more fatigue than the workouts should be causing.  Heart Rate Variability numbers are holding steady at 'o.k. but not great'.  The prime suspect is that I've stopped taking the birth control pills I was taking for endometriosis and aside from having to adjust to that, the pills were controlling some of my other less fun middle aged lady symptoms that I know no one wants to hear about so we'll leave it at that.  I see the doctor in another couple of weeks.  I'm timing giving up the pills with the appointment so that if I get really sick again like I did last time I tried to stop them then she can see the symptoms and hopefully help.  So far things are mostly going reasonably well but last time it took me until week 4 to get sick and I'm only finishing up week 3.

Some fall color up at Caribou Ranch west of Boulder

I've been trying to work out a long term goal so that I have some motivation to keep up with the off seadon training and so far the best I can come up with is the 2017 ITU Off-Road World Championships in Penticton which is in British Columbia in Canada.  It's not as big a deal as going to Xterra Worlds in Maui but BC appeals to me a lot more than Hawaii and I could drive, take the dogs and Jonny, and it wouldn't cost nearly as much.  Except for all the zillions of fees that USAT charges and I'd have to go with the USAT team.  That part I don't like.  Also the race is 2 years away.  Next year it's in Australia which is waaay too far.  And probably the same problem of icky sticky hot like Maui, let's not even get into the $$$.  On the one hand it gives me 2 years to prepare.  On the other hand it gives me 2 years to get older.  It's on my radar anyway.  And of course there's always the goal of Maui if I could get the money and desire together. 

More Caribou Ranch

I had a few experiments this summer.  Continued on with the Eat ALL the Fat and Very Few Carbs through summer training and it mostly worked great.  Hardest part was remembering to eat and getting in enough calories.  I had some days with bouts of dizziness on standing up if I wasn't mindful to get in enough food but these were easily fixed by eating once I noticed the dizziness.  Heat and hydration may have played a factor as well, hard to say.  I was also experimenting with some intermittent fasting and by that I mean skipping breakfast or delaying it some days and doing morning workouts fasted.  Results were mixed on this and depended on training load and how much I'd had to eat the day(s) before.  Some mornings I had early morning swim practice at the Rez (6:15-7:40 or so) then a run immediately afterwards and some of those runs were tough but food might not have been the issue.  For some reason running after swimming is hard.  For now I've settled on having breakfast mid-morning on most days with the odd day of fasting until lunch. 

The Blood Moon as seen from my neighborhood

I had my yearly physical exam mostly so I could get the blood work which the doctor initially didn't want to order since it always comes up good.  But I pleaded a case and she put in an order for me.  After 1 1/2 years of eating ALL the fat my blood work is still really good.  LDL which is allegedly the bad cholesterol was 70 mg/dL and normal is 80-100.  HDL, the good cholesterol, was 81 with normal being 40-85, up from 68 last year.  Of course we could have the discussion of cholesterol is not even that great of a predictor of heart disease, if you really want to know if you're at risk you should just pony up for a calcium scan.  It's tempting but, meh, I'd have to drive to a Denver suburb and endure some radiation plus the money.  Maybe some day.  The best news was TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone was 1.49 uIU/mL with normal being .465-4.68.  You want this to be low and it was down from 1.74 last year.  I was so hoping for less than 1.5 so yay for that.  I often wonder about my thyroid function and TSH is not the best test, there are better tests but in the absence of symptoms or very many symptoms I'm not going to bother about it. 

Last gasps of fall color at Rocky Mountain National Park

One of my other experiments was giving up caffeine sometime mid-summer or so.  This was in impromptu experiment, my stomach was queasy one morning so I skipped the caffeine for a few mornings and noticed that I felt much better.  Stomach felt better in general and I was sleeping longer and so much more deeply, having freaky vivid technicolor dreams, very cool.  I don't miss it at all though I do have it occasionally if I'm out with Jonny and he stops for it.  I think it's been almost a month since my last cup.  I think it's also helped with that thyroid number.  Adrenal fatigue is a concern for middle aged female athletes and caffeine stresses out the adrenals which then messes with the thyroid so it's not a bad thing to be rid of for now.

First bits of snow dusting up at Winter Park

And still some color at Winter Park

The most recent experiment is with flat pedals on my bike.  This has been awesome, LOVE my flat pedals.  It took me a very very long time to swallow the Kool Aid of clipless pedal way back in the day and for those that don't know what those are, basically a pedal with a gizmo on it that you clip into with bike shoes that have a special matching cleat.  This means that you're attached to the bike unless you twist your foot just the right way to release the cleat.

Clipless pedals.  The silver part is the thing you clip into.  I know it makes no sense that they're called 'clipless' and then you refer to being 'clipped in' but 'clipless' refers to the old school toe clips.

Supposedly you generate more power by being able to pull up on the pedal as well as push down.  But this is controversial and there is no solid proof of this.  In fact there seems to be some evidence against it.  Wish I had known that all those years ago.

And by being attached to the bike you risk not being able to unclip in time if you fall.  This has happened to me several times, happens to pretty much everyone.  I also don't like having my knee and foot locked into one position.  So when I read an Xterra pro recommending flat pedals to someone as a way of improving skills and pedal stroke I was all over it.  Pulled out some of my old school zillion year old flat pedals, put on a pair of running shoes and I was off.  SO MUCH FUN!  I was sold immediately and ponied up the $$$ for some new school flat pedals.

The silver bits are studs that grip into special shoes with grippy rubber.  You can wear whatever shoes you want but I love my grippy rubber shoes.  These pedals have more surface area than my old school pedals as well which helps a lot with keeping your foot from slipping off.  I love the freedom from the bike and feel so much more confident on descents and even some techy uphills where I formerly would have unclipped.  I also love being able to switch my foot position around which takes stress off my knee and allows me to place my foot so the are where I had surgery is not taking the brunt of the force as it was with the clipless.  There's even a guy who has written a manifesto about the flat pedals.  He is maybe more passionate than I am but I'm pretty excited with this experiment.  I've been on a half dozen or so rides now and it's early days to say if I'm faster but the flats sure are a lot of fun.  I may switch back and forth so I don't completely lose the muscle memory for the clipless but maybe not.

I gave up the idea of going to UKI Nationals.  21 1/2 hours is too much driving.  But we continue to practice with our training partner.  Strummy is still going strong and loves it.  I signed up for DOCNA trials in Nov. and Dec. because that's all there is except for AKC and NADAC and I'm not doing those.  Hopefully Strum will be able to do USDAA in January.  So far he's showing no signs of slowing down.

Boulder Rez - Strummy votes it 'Best Place to Run Your Buns Off'.

Phew, that's all for now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Xterra Nationals 2015


Swim course distance: 1,500-meters/1640 yards (0.93 miles) Combines two 750-meter laps (no run in-between)
Elevation at Port Ramp Marina for swim start:  4,900-feet
Water temperature: Probably around 67 degrees
Mountain bike course distance: 28-kilometers (17.7 miles)
Total climbing on bike: 3,400-feet
Elevation at highest point: 7,300-feet (where Sardine Peak Trail meets the ridgeline)
Elevation at T2/Snowbasin Resort Lodge: 6,400-feet
Trail Run course distance: 10-kilometers (6.2 miles)
Total climbing on run: 700-feet
Total climbing on course: 4,100-feet

It's that time of year again - Xterra Nationals!  I love this race, look forward to it all year.

I also look forward to pre-riding the course because it's that awesome.  We drove in on Tuesday but couldn't hit the trails until Friday because of . . . rain?  In Ogden in September?  Really?  And snow??!!  Yes it snowed on the high peaks, including Snowbasin, on Wednesday.  This is what it looked like in Ogden when the rain sort of cleared for half an hour or so.

Thankfully we had a groovy place to stay.  The host hotel no longer allowed dogs so I found some people renting out the bottom part of their house.  A very interesting home.  Zen Gardens I think they called it.

I kid you not.  This place cost about the same as the cheapo hotel near the highway interchange when you added in all their outrageous dog fees.  No dog fees at the Zen House.

Lola enjoying her fancy accommodations.  Strummer was not so zen because of flies that kept getting in.  He's terrified of flies.  And the smoke detector.  That went off every time we used the shower.  The house was old and had some quirks but still so much better than a generic hotel.  Because how many generic hotels have chandeliers in the living room?  Or a living room?

We were in the best part of town, right next to the mountains rather than the highway.  So many nice trails just a couple of blocks away that we couldn't go on due to rain.

Thankfully the rain let up on Thursday but the trails were too muddy to ride, race officials asked us to stay off and thankfully people did.  So we went to Antelope Island instead.  Where we saw lots of buffalo but not much antelope.

It's a great place to go when you can't pre-ride for Nationals.  Wish I had thought to bring the bikes with.

Finally on Friday the trails were dry and the sun was back so we could pre-ride but I didn't want to do too much the day before the race so I only rode the Sardine Peak loop, a little over 8 miles.  I went nice and easy, stopping for lots of pictures and moments of whimsy.  And a gigantic bull moose.  No pix of that guy.

Race day was about as perfect as it gets.  Dramatic views on the drive back from dropping my stuff up at the second transition area up at Snowbasin.  There are 2 transition areas about 20-25 minutes apart so it's a lot of driving on race morning.

Driving back from Snowbasin to Pineview Reservoir where the race starts

It was hat and mittens weather while waiting for race start until the sun finally hit the transition area.  Other than that conditions were perfect.  Water was 64 degrees and I'd guess it was low 60's for the run, maybe even high 50's?  With a little breeze at times.  It was perfect.

Swim went off without a hitch despite the much larger crowd than last year.  Except someone snagged me with a super long, super sharp nail and put a good gash in my finger.  Given the chaos I guess I'm happy that's the worst that happened.  I managed to negotiate the crowds without getting too hung up except at the very start.  Drafted a bit here and there.  Ended up about a minute faster than last year though you never know how accurately the course is set from year to year.  Garmin had it a little long at 1842 yards (should have been 1640).  It's possible I swam off course but 200 yards?  I felt like I swam close to the buoys and my Garmin map showed me on course as well. 

Bike course was crowded.  So crowded.  There were 323 people compared to last year's 266 in the championship race.  Not sure about the citizens' races but those seemed way more crowded as well and they were causing the most congestion and passing issues for me.  Everybody was polite this year, no issues with rudeness but I feel like I lost a lot of time/energy/momentum having to slow down to either pass or let someone pass.  But the course was beautiful as usual.

Photos taken during pre-ride, some by Jonny who rode the whole course

Sardine Peak photos from my pre-ride

Looking down on Pineview Reservoir where we start our swim

The run was my best and fastest at Nationals, 4 minutes faster than last year.  Not bad for a trail 10K. I ran the whole thing except 2 super steep hills.  Usually I end up walking a good deal of it, especially miles 4 and 5.  Though I ended up saving the most time on the downhill sections.  This summer I finally discovered the solution to the side cramps I get when I run downhill so I did the whole race without any cramps. 

The mile splits where I ran instead of power walked were actually slightly slower (15-30 seconds) but I was going off of my Garmin and I noticed that Xterra's mile markers didn't match my Garmin so that could easily account for the discrepancy from last year.  Will be interesting to wear the Garmin again next year and compare apples to apples.  I've been working so hard on my running, was happy to finally see some improvement.  It was cooler this year for the run so that could have played a part.  I never got that overheated fatigue feeling that I think is what causes me to walk.  More run practice over the winter, maybe I'll finally be a runner again.

Strummer waiting for me on the run course.  He about pulled Jonny's arm off when I ran past and didn't stop.

He got plenty of snugs at the finish line though.  You can watch on the video montage.  Because who doesn't love a good montage?

Overall I was pleased with my race and so happy to be able to go to Nationals.  I was talking to a guy in the transition area after the race and he was disappointed with his placement.  He felt he'd put in a good effort but didn't get the placement he was hoping for.  He was an older guy, maybe my age group or one away.  And all I could think was how happy I was that I could even go and that I have the health and strength to finish such a race.  Placements are nice but . . . really I'm happy enough to be strong enough to be out there competing and enjoying the day.  I know so many people who struggle with health issues, chronic pain and general lack of fitness and mobility, people who struggle to get through everyday life never mind go climbing up mountains.  People who would love to be able to afford to train for and attend such a race.  I felt so lucky, I feel so lucky.  And I hope I have the same opportunity to go next year.

Final Stats

Swim:  34:00 swimming time/1842 yards, 1:51/100 yards (35:07, 2:08/100 yd. last year if 1500m)
             258/323 overall (188/266 last year), 58/86 women (84/110 last year), 6/11 age group
             (3/7 last year) 

Run Up Ramp to T1:  1:44 mins. (1:16 last year)

T1:  3:10 (4/11 age group)

Bike:  2:47:38/17.65 miles/6.32 mph (2:42:00/6.71 mph last year)  294/323 overall (240/266 last
           year), 88/96 women (73/86 last year), 9/11 age group (5/7 last year)

T2:  1:53 (1:51 last year) (5/11 age group)

Run:  1:26:08 for 5.87 miles/ 13:40 min/mile per Xterra, 14:40 min/mile actual  (1:30:16/14:27
          min/mile last year)  290/342 overall (249/266 last year), 85/96 women (73 or 77/86 last year),
          9/11 age group (6/7 last year)

    Run Splits:

    Mile 1:  17:24
    Mile 2:  12:47
   (Miles 1 and 2:  32:26 last year, 30:11 this year)
    Mile 3:  15:57 (16:30 last year)
    Mile 4:  15:49 (15:16 last year)
    Mile 5:  14:32  (14:17 last year)
    Mile 5.87:  9:39 (12:01 last year)

Final Time:  4:54:33 (4:53:31 last year),  286/323 overall (243/266 last year),  84/96 women
                    (75/86 last year), 9/11 age group (6/7 last year)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

No Rest for the Wicked

And I must be wicked because my 'rest day' for the week is tomorrow which is also a day of 5 runs at a USDAA trial which does not sound very restful to me.  But this is the last big week of training before Xterra Nationals so the only way to squeeze in a trial day is to pretend it's a rest day.  I wasn't planning on going but signed up last second in order to have some more runs on international style courses so I can decide if I want to endure 6 days of driving to go to UKI Nationals.  It sounds crazy and unnecessary, I know where we are competition-wise, but I'm trying to work up some enthusiasm for 6 days of driving.  For maybe 8 minutes total in the ring.  Maybe.  That seems crazy stupid.  But I was watching some videos from last year's UKI Nat's. and it looks very fun.  And we'd for sure be in the finals.  But SIX DAYS of stupid making I hate driving.  48 hours.  Stupid.  Anyway, we'll see how tomorrow goes.  I have until sometime in October to make up my mind.

And on the driving front, I've had 2 trips in the past week up to Winter Park/Fraser after not going for about a million years.  Because of stupid driving.  It's about 1 3/4 hours but you have to go over twisty, wind-ey, steep Berthoud Pass which is very beautiful and I have some very cool video of driving through low cloud cover up there from last week but yeah, I'll get right on with processing that.  In the meantime, a nice view from the Flume Trail.

Seems like there should be a moose standing right there.  I always feel ripped off when there isn't one.  We did see a moose and her baby on this trail a zillion years ago but it was at a different place.

Fall colors are starting to kick into gear.  Northwest Passage Trail.

The Northwest Passage trail used to be heavy forest then the Pine Beetle came and wiped it out and for many years we didn't come back because it was depressing to see all the dead brown trees.  But as you can see from the photos, the forest is springing back and this time with some aspens.  So nice to see some life again on this trail and in some other areas that were effected.

I love the trails in Winter Park/Fraser, wish they were closer.  The Tipperary Creek Trail was the main attraction because it's very similar in grade and terrain to the course at Nationals.  So I endured the drive to do some sustained hill climbs.  I'm not the fastest racer but going up and down and back up Tipperary gets some remarks from folks struggling to get up it just the once. 

Jonny took these pix on Tipperary.  I was on a mission and didn't stop, even for some grouse photos.  I have some GoPro video but it's too bumpy and barf making to watch.

There was a group of guys that we kept running into and at one point one of them let me try his super light 23 pound Fat Bike.  SO fun.  But I can't have more bikes right now.  I accumulate bikes like some people accumulate Border Collies.  I have to get rid of some bikes before more can come live with me.  But wow, very fun.  But NO MORE BIKES.  I don't care how fun.  Same goes for Border Collies.

All my big workouts before Nat's. are done, now I just have to get through tomorrow's trial and it's taper time.  I'm very excited for this year's race, much more so than last year's, probably because the warm summer weather has persisted and it still feels like triathlon season whereas last year fall blew in 2 weeks before Nat's. and I was suddenly over triathlon season.  Today's open water swim felt like mid-summer.  Hopefully the good weather will persist until Nat's.  The forecast looks perfect, if only it'll come true.

And just because, a freaky rainbow settled into the mountains in Nederland before our ride last week.

And more fall colors starting up, also in Ned.

There will be more fall colors to come and of course reports from Utah.  Complete with buffaloes.    Can't wait!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UKI Trial - Onward to Nationals?

This was by far the most fun trial of the year.  I love UKI but we have so little of it.  At least this year there were 2 full trials and a one day trial.  But all of them 2-2+ hours away and in summer during peak triathlon training season.  And one on 4th of July weekend which is not a weekend you want to be on the roads if you can help it.  I know, whine whine whine.  But I hate the driving, SO MUCH, especially driving from Boulder to and through Denver with the traffic and construction and stupid Broncos game traffic or whatever it was that brought the highway to a standstill on my way home.  Thankfully there is a bypass so I wasn't in the parking lot for too long.  Takes a little longer but at least it was moving.  But still, 2 hours 20 minutes stuck in the car on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. O.k., enough whining about the growing traffic situation of Too Many People on the Front Range.  On to UKI.

First round for us was Agility.  Here's the course map.

And the video.

Fun course but I was super rusty and Strummer was wound up and flying around the course.  Not a great combination but somehow we managed a Q.  He has no masters level standard agility Q's in USDAA after how many years and somehow he pulls off one in UKI?  He hasn't trialed since May and we've barely practiced in the past few weeks due to heat and schedule conflicts with my training partner.  And let's not even get into the soreness and fatigue in my legs from training and the big quad busting climb on my bike the day before.  Maybe that's the key to success?  Don't practice and work your way into physical exhaustion.  Sounds like a plan.

 Then on to Masters Series Agility or Super Fancy Agility as I call it.

It wasn't pretty but we got it done without an off course.  Elements of it were similar to regular Agility so we had a little practice from the previous run.

Then on to regular Jumpers.  The one thing I don't like about UKI is weave poles in the jumpers courses.  Strummy got his entry but popped out for some reason.  I think I slowed down a bit to praise him and he thought something was wrong but who knows.

Next was Masters Series Jumping.  I don't have video because I turned the camera off when I thought I was turning it on.  Because I'm a genius that way.  We had just a refusal, I forget where.  I know he got his weave entrance so it wasn't that.  Again some similar challenges to regular Jumpers.

 And finally Speedstakes which is my favorite class and the one I was sure we would Q in.  No weave poles, fast straight forward course, perfect for Strummy.  But I rushed my handling after Jump #6 and didn't give enough forward cue to Jump #7 causing him to back jump #6.  Oh well. 

Overall he got 4/4 weave pole entries which is pretty darn amazing for him though admittedly the entries played to his strengths.  Also got both teeters and A-frames and 1/2 dogwalks.  Can't complain about his obstacle performance especially since he hasn't been on obstacles since May except maybe the odd weave pole or teeter at my training partner's house.  My handling though, yeesh, I need to practice for me.

Overall he ended up getting a Q in the Masters Series and a bye to the Finals Round at Nationals.  And he won a small sum of money which was a surprise to me.  Didn't know you get money for Masters Series.  Now, do I want to drive for 3 days to go to Perry, GA for Nationals?  This was not even a blip on a blip of my radar.  I can't imagine all that driving.  6 total days of driving for 3 days of agility and realistically only a few minutes total of time in the ring?  Agility is a bad bang for your buck/time when it comes to competition.  But it might be a fun experience and I've never been to the south.  And it would almost certainly be my last opportunity at a Nationals competition with Strummer.  He's 10 1/2 and still going strong but who knows for how long.  And I have no youngster waiting in the wings so it would be years before I could ever go to another Nationals.  But Three Days Of Driving.  Then turn around and do it again 3 days later.  Hmmmm.

In all we got 5 runs in and were done by just past noon.  And I didn't even enter Gamblers which ran first, could have been 6 runs.  I wish agility was always like that, I'd be more inclined to drive the 2 hours each way.  But wow, only 4 dogs in the masters classes.  Total, all heights, and Strummy the only one in his class.  Personally I don't mind but it's probably not sustainable for clubs to have that kind of turnout.  And where was everybody?  I know it's a drive but if I can do it all the way from Boulder, sheesh, it's not so bad from Denver.  But I think people are entrenched in their pursuit of titles and there isn't enough of a critical mass of UKI trials yet to interest people.  I would much rather have interesting, challenging courses than worry about titles.  They're mostly a marketing gimmick anyway to get people hooked and keep them coming back.  Why not try something new rather than trotting around the pinwheels weekend after weekend for MACH 107?  Ah well, you can't tell people what they should enjoy doing.  Just wish we had more UKI and closer to home.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hosetooth Open Water Swim

A friend from masters convinced me to do this race.  Which took some doing because I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get up to Fort Collins in time for the 5:30-6:30 check-in.  For a swim race.  If not for her there's no way I would have signed up for this on my own.

The drive there in the dark was a bit harrowing because it's country roads with lots of twists and tight turns that you can't see in the dark.  And suicidal bunnies.  Lots and lots of suicidal bunnies.  I told my friend please to hit the bunny rather than swerve into a ditch if it comes to it.  Thankfully it didn't come to it.  I know, I sound mean, I love bunnies, nobody wants to hit a bunny, but I also love living and not ending up in a ditch.

It was a chilly morning, 45 degrees or so when we got there and the sun never made it up over the mountains before race start.  Thankfully I brought a hat.  And did jumping jacks and high knees running.  Lots of high knees running.

Before.  Waiting it out in the chill.

Thankfully the water was supposedly 72 degrees, maybe even a little warmer, so I was fine once I got going.  72 degrees and a chilly air temp. is no problemo in a wetsuit but kind of a problemo without a wetsuit for some people who ended up with hypothermia.

The sun came out while we were swimming and it turned into a beautiful morning for me in my nice toasty wetsuit.

Horsetooth Rez

I was warned that the race was disorganized and it sort of was but not completely.  Parking, check-in went off without a hitch but the course description?  Major confusion.  They kept explaining it over and over during the pre-race meeting but there were 2 people who took turns explaining different courses.  Then at the start line the starter woman explained a different course.  But since she was the last person to tell us, that's the course I followed even though it made no sense whatsoever.  And of course it was wrong and the kayakers came out and shooed all of us over to the correct course.  Then at the end lots and lots of people skipped the last buoy and cut the course.  By a LOT.  I think more people cut the course than did it correctly.  And the kayakers let them all go.  I was there for training not awards so I wasn't bent out of shape but sheesh, it's a race, it should be fair for everybody.

I pushed hard the whole way, did a good job of keeping focus for once.  My wave was small, only 52 people so I wasn't able to draft much or practice working in the crowd which was my main motivation.  But I did get to see where I am with my swimming and what my current race pace feels like.

I ended up winning my age group in the wetsuit division as did my friend.  I was second woman overall and she was fourth.  A very good day for the Boulder BAM ladies.

After.  Showing off our bling.

Of course I left my medal in my friend's car but she took a nice photo of both of them.

The race was 1.2 miles and I swam exactly 1.20 miles according to Garmin.  Time was 38:37 for a pace of 1:50/100 yards, about my typical race pace.  Kind of frustrated that I can't seem to get any faster but also kind of happy that I'm not losing speed with age so far.  My swim time for Nat's. last year was 2:08/100 yards but the course was crowded, especially at the start, and I didn't go too crazy because it's a long day.  Also hard to know how accurately the course was measured or how accurately I swam it, I didn't have my Garmin and there is much weaving because of the crowds.  Anyway, I can expect to swim something similar this year, gives me a good idea of pacing and coming up with a race plan/goals.

Had some hill repeats later in the day.  Those could maybe have gone better but in addition to being tired from the race we had some remaining haze from the zillions of wildfires out west.  It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great.  Thankfully only seemed to make it a bit harder to breath while running and didn't have any effects once I stopped.  Some people were bothered by smoke at the race and it only just occurs to me that it could have effected my pace though I can't say that I noticed the smoke at all and the pictures aren't crazy hazy though supposedly the smoke was at its worst in the morning.  Thankfully much better here today.  Hopefully they'll get those fires under control soon.  Not good for anybody.