Saturday, December 29, 2007

The HUFF 50K Race Report

I expected to feel pretty good going into HUFF because I hadn't run in two weeks, so I thought I would be fresh. WRONG! I guess I really underestimated the impact of the CrossFit workouts I've been doing. With the squats, burpees, rowing and snatches I did this week, my quads were toasted before I even started the race. Not to mention the 5k I ran yesterday, probably not one of my smarter ideas.

HUFF is a 10.8 mile loop course repeated 3 times (you're correct if you think that doesn't add up to 31 miles.) It is run around J. Edward Roush Lake in Huntington Indiana. It's a pretty flat trail run. The course is usually either muddy or snowy. This year it was muddy.

At the start of the race my quads felt heavy and a bit fatigued but I didn't think it would be a big deal. I ran HUFF last year so I knew what to expect as far as pace and terrain. My rough game plan was to run the first loop in a comfortable time, something around 1:45, then pick it up on the final two loops to run negative splits and finish with I time somewhere between 5:10 5:30. That worked pretty will for the first loop. I came in at 1:48, but I knew I was in trouble. My quads were already completely fried. If it wasn't for the fact that I was trying to keep up with Mike, I would have ended up walking most of the 2nd and 3rd loops. Every time I slowed down, he caught up to me and cracked the whip. We ended up running the entire either together or within a minute of each other, not by design, that's just how it happened. Believe me, I was trying to drop him, It just wasn't happening today, he was strong!
At the beginning of my third loop I started re-tooling my game plan. 5:10 - 5:30 was way out of the picture. Now I would try to beat last years finishing time of 5:56 (I couldn't remember the seconds. Not a big deal right? You'll see.) But as I started the third loop that goal began to slip a way steadily. I felt so bad during the second loop, it really didn't get any worst for the third. My quads were useless, and something weird was going on with my ankles (I was worried about it during the race, but afterwards I notice both ankles hurt in the same spot so it most be due to the two week running break.) I kept plodding away until I got to the last aid station, with about 3.5 miles to go. I looked at my watch, which said 5:23. That meant if I could maintain 10 minute miles I could finish under 6 hours. That would be easier said than done, seeing as how I hadn't been maintaining consistent 10 minute miles since the end of the first loop. They were now hovering anywhere from 10-14 minutes depending on the muddy sections and the road sections. Regardless, I thought I would give it a shot. Mike was right on my tail at this point. I tried to get him to follow me, but we were both giving it all we had. I decided to make my final move. when I got to the 1.8 mile to go point, I looked at my watch: 5:39. I was keeping a steady pace. This is when I started thinking again about beating last years 5:56. It would be tough but I though I had a chance. I kicked it into gear. I reached the final .8 miles with 7 minutes to go. I kicked it into the highest gear I had left and speed to the finish. The final .25 miles is on pavement. When I hit the pavement the clock read 5:55, I crossed the finish line in 5:56:41. Still unsure if I had beaten last years time, but pleased with my effort on a day when I had far less than my "A" game.

I really only had one running goal for 2007. That was to complete 25 ultras. The Huff was number 25. I'd call that a successful year.

Congrats to Mike on a fantastic gutsy run. I'll let him tell you the details.

Friday, December 28, 2007

CrossFit WOD:
5k Run

Before today I hadn't run anymore than 800 meters at a time since my back to back 50k weekend two weeks ago. I have been giving my running muscles a chance to rest while working on total body fitness through my CrossFit training. I was happy to see this WOD when I looked on the CF website last night. The 5k gave me a chance to test out my legs before my 50k tomorrow. The run felt pretty good. My body is pretty fatigued from all CF workouts but I felt no pain in my lower left leg, which was the main reason for my 2 weeks of no running.

I ran the first 1.5 miles at an easy pace then picked it up for the last 1.6. I was running on the track, so after a finished three miles I ran another 200 meters, so it was really 3.125 miles, but close enough.

mile 1: 7:49
mile 2: 7:39
mile 3: 6:55
final 200 meters: 00:43

Total Time: 23:07

I could feel that I hadn't run in two weeks, as my breathing was a little heavy for the pace I was running, but I wasn't concerned about that. The important thing is that I can stay healthy and train consistently without the small nagging injuries that have been bothering me lately. If I can do that, I think I can run some pretty fast times in the future.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

CrossFit WOD: Barbara

Five rounds, each for time of:
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely three minutes between each round.

Round Times:

Round 1: 4:38
Round 2: 4:16
Round 3: 5:05
Round 4: 6:12
Round 5: 6:00

Total time: 38:13
(including each 3 min break in between rounds)

My arms were definitely shaking after this one! 100 pull ups and 120 push ups, don't they know I'm just a scrawny runner, lol. The 200 sit ups and 250 squats were a breeze.

Pull ups:
First set: 5 reps (no assistance) 10 reps(55lb assistance) 5 reps(70lb assistance)
Second Set: 20 reps (70lb assistance)
Third Set: 15 reps (70lb assistance) 5 reps (85 lb assistance)
Fourth set: 20 reps (85lb assistance)
Fifth set: 20 reps (100lb assistance)

I was able to do 107 of the push ups but didn't have the strength to finish the final 13 of the fifth set so I had to switch to girl push ups to finish up the 120.

Monday, December 24, 2007

CrossFit WOD:

150 Burpees

Whats a Burpee? Click Here

This was probably the hardest WOD I have done so far. I didn't think it would be that bad at first, but after about 10 reps, I knew I was in for it. I had to do "girl push ups" after about 30 reps. A Burpee is a combination of a push up and squat jump, they suck.

Time: 22:51

Sunday, December 23, 2007

CrossFit WOD:

Complete 3 rounds for time of:
Row 500 meters
Bodyweight Bench press, 30 reps

I did each 500 meter row in 2 minutes.

I can't bench press my body weight once, let alone 30 X 3, so I had to modify

Bench press:
First Set: 75 lbs
Second Set: 65 lbs
Thrid Set: 65 lbs

Total time 16:32

A lot of time was wasted traveling from the rower to the bench press because they are not in the same area of my gym.

I was thinking about going up to Mohican today to run 21 miles with Kim, Rob, Nick and others, but I am trying to give my legs a couple weeks off from running so I decided to stay home.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

CrossFit WOD: "Joshie"

Complete three rounds for time of:
40 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, right arm
21 L Pull-ups
40 pound Dumbbell snatch, 21 reps, left arm
21 L Pull-ups

This was a tough work out. A total of 126 snatches and 126 pull ups is A LOT!

I had to modify once again. I did all my snatches with a 25lb dumbbell instead of 40lb.

Considering I can't even do 21 regular pull ups, 126 "L" pull ups is way impossible. An "L" pull up is just what it sounds like: A pull up done with your body in the shape of an "L" Meaning your legs are extended straight out in front of you, which really works the stabilizer muscles in the core and makes the pull ups a hell of a lot harder.

I just did regular assisted pull ups.

Pull ups:

21 reps (70 lb assisted)
21 reps (70 lb assisted)
21 reps (85 lb assisted)
21 reps (85 lb assisted)
21 reps (85 lb assisted)
21 reps (100 lb assisted)

Time: 23:23

My forearms were toast after this one. I almost met "Mr. Pukie" during this workout. "Mr. Pukie" visits many CrossFitters when they can't keep there stomach contents down any longer during a hard workout. I threw up a little my my mouth after I finish the workout, but I was able to keep it down :)

Video of a Single arm Dumbbell Snatch

Video of an L Pull up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

CrossFit WOD
Row 5k or Run 5k

I was excited to see this WOD when I looked on the website yesterday. It was the first time I could complete the WOD without modifying it. I decided to do the row instead of the run because it is much more of a total body workout and I want to give my running muscles a break. I'm still having some issues with my lower left leg. I had never used the Concept 2 rower before, but it's pretty simple and straight forward. My back, quads and arms were pretty tight from yesterday's workout "Badger." But it felt ok after a few minutes on the rower.

Total Time: 22:46

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CrossFit WOD: "Badger"
3 Rounds of:
30 Cleans (95lbs), 30 pull ups, 800 meter run.

This workout was a real beast.

Round 1:
30 cleans (65lbs)
30 pull ups (20, 75lb assisted 10, 85lb assisted)
800meters (3:54)

Round 2:
30 cleans (55lbs)
30 pull ups (10, 75lb assisted 10, 85lb assisted 10, 95lb assisted)
800meters (3:55)

Round 3:
30 cleans (55lbs)
30 pull ups (10, 95lb assisted 10, 105lb assisted 10, 115 assisted)
800meters (3:44)

Total time: 29:13

What's a Clean? Click here

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CrossFit WOD: "Fran"
95lb Thrusters, Pull ups
three sets: 21,15,9

This was my first CF workout. I couldn't even come close to the recommended weights so I had to modify it

first set (21 Reps): 65lb Thrusters, pull ups (6 unassisted/ 10, 55lb assisted/ 5, 75 lb assisted
Second Set (15 Reps): 45lb Thrusters, Pull ups (10, 75lb assisted/ 5, 85lb assisted)
Third Set (9 Reps): 55lb Thrusters, Pull ups (9, 85lb assisted)

Time: 11:17

It's humbling to find out just how weak you really are, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Whats a Thruster, you ask? Click Here

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm feeling pretty good from my running this weekend. The only problem is a very sore left Achilles. I think I am going to try my first CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) tomorrow (depending on what it is.) It might be a little while before I actually go for a run outside again. After the weather this weekend mother nature and I aren't on speaking terms. Mother Nature is a bitch.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Festivus FA 50k Race Report

I got to the starting line about 5 minutes before the start and had to throw on all my gear in a hurry. At that point I realized I didn't have my waist belt so the only food I had for 31 miles were 4 Little Debbie snack cakes I could stuff in my jacket pocket, with no aid stations on the course this was less than ideal. I also realized I didn't have any water to put in my water bottle, so I would have to wait 10 miles (where there was a water stash) to get some water.

This race based of "Festivus" The holiday celebration made famous by the television show "Seinfeld." A very low key event made even more low key by the fact that the weather was bad and hardly anyone wanted to run in it. The RD said he was originally expecting 30+ people but there were somewhere around 11 that showed up. This race is and out and back on the Olantangy bike path in Columbus. 31 miles of pavement isn't my favorite running surface but it would have to do on this cold December day.

The first half of the race I was feeling pretty good. I was following the two guys that organized the event (I can't remember there names) So I wouldn't get lost. We were running just under a 10 minute pace. By the time I got to the halfway point my legs were toasted and with the wind picking up and chilling me to the bone, any motivation to maintain this 5:10 finish through the second half of the race was gone. I was worried at this point because there was no one around me and there were many turns on the bike path that I knew I wouldn't remember. Most of the times there were signs at the turning points but not always.

As soon as I turned around for the second half and lost the two guys I was following things started to deteriorate quickly. The wind was really howling and I was running straight into it. At this point I didn't even want to keep going, but when your running an out and back, once you get all the way out there there's nothing else to do but go back. Especially in an FA with no course support. So I spent the next 3 hours and 45 minutes slowly working my way 15.5 miles back to the finish line.

After taking a couple wrong turns someone that knew the course caught up to me. I decided he was my only chance of finishing without getting ridiculously lost so I kept him in my sights the rest of the race. I was running a bit faster than he was but I would take walk breaks to let him catch up and pass me so he could show me the way. My legs were tired but I think a lot of my struggles had to do with my bad mood from the cold windy snowy wet weather. My hands and face were frozen. My main motivation to maintain a steady pace was the Chipotle burrito I promised myself once I finish. Chipotle is a very strong motivational tool, I use it often.
After what seemed like an eternity I finished in 6:24, then immediately got in my car and cranked the heat up on high and munched on anything I could find. I even tried a new recipe, peanut buter and Gu sandwich, it was pretty good. This race sure was an adventure. As Kramer would say "It's a Festivus miracle"

URINEO FA Race Report

URINEO is a 50 miler put on by the great people of the NEO Trail Club. It takes place in Mill Creek State park in Youngstown, Ohio. This was my second time running at Mill Creek and it's a really beautiful place to be. The course was an 8.33 mile loop which was run in alternating directions each time. Although this was a 50 miler, only 2 runners actually finish the whole 50. I think most, including myself stopped after four loops, 33 miles. I was a bit worried about coming back to Mill Creek after my last experience here with countless navigational blunders leading to a 8+ hour 50k. I know this being a FA run with no course markings wouldn't making the route finding any easier. Luckily I had someone to run with that knew the course for the first three miles and with the assistance of Opod we were able to find our way on the fourth loop.

There were somewhere between 10-14 runners for the race. We started in the cold and dark at 7am. The first loop everyone stayed pretty close together. I was doing my best to pay attention to all the turns so I wouldn't gett lost if I was eventually by myself. No one was in a big hurry, we were all just enjoying the day on the trails. The conditions where pretty good. The trails were leaf covered and a little wet but there was no snow...yet.

On the second loop I spent most of it with Dan K. and Jeff M. The time really flew by running with these guys as we chatted about "Into the Wild" Among other topics. Coming into the race I didn't really know how I would feel. It has been a month or two since I have been on my feet for 7+ hours and I have been doing very low mileage training lately with my increased cross training so I didn't know how my legs would respond. Early on they felt really strong.

On the third loop my legs started to tighten a little but I was still feeling good. While running with Dan we were talking about how as you get into the later miles of an ultra your able to detect every little incline in the terrain, I coined a new term by calling this the "Human Level"

By the fourth loop it was very apparent that there wasn't going to be time to do the whole 50 miles before dark. I didn't know the course well enough to run it in the dark so I decided I would only do four or five loops. I was leaning towards doing five (42 miles) but I though even then it might get dark by the time I finish. As I was trying to decide what to do the bottom dropped out of the sky and it began to snow. ok, that decides it, 33 miles it is. I finished up in 8:04 which is pretty slow, but it was a FA and I had originally planned to do 50m so I was pacing myself.

It was a fun day out on the trail. I look forward to seeing everyone out there again in the near future.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Today's workout was a real lung burner. The best one yet.

800m: 3:34
Squats: 1 minute, 70 reps
800m: 3:31
Jump Rope: 1 minute
800m: 3:37
Lunges: 1 minute
800m: 3:41
Squats jumps: 1 minute
800m: 3:48
Pull ups: 1 minute, 5 reps (then negatives)
800m: 3:49
Dips: 1 minute, 5 reps (then negatives)
800m: 3:52
Push ups: 1 minute, 32 reps
800m: 3:37
Sit ups: 1 minute

Total Time: 38:22

Followed by some extra ab work

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yesterday was an off day, which was good because my calves were still pretty sore. Today was back to the workout. I am wearing normal shoes again which should eliminate the calf soreness. I think I am going to wear my Vibrams every third workout until I can wear them without crazy soreness the next day. Today went pretty well. I was able to keep all of my 800's under an 8 minute pace for the first time and I did 30 push-ups in a minute which is the most I have done since my high school wrestling days when I could do 60.

800m: 3:48
Squats: 1 minute
800m: 3:44
Jump Rope: 1 minute
800m: 3:45
Lunges: 1 minute
800m: 3:47
Squats jumps: 1 minute
800m: 3:50
Pull ups: 1 minute
800m: 3:52
Dips: 1 minute
800m: 3:55
Push ups: 1 minute
800m: 3:49
Sit ups: 1 minute

Total Time: 39:24

That was followed by a 10 minute cooldown on the bike and some ab work.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Circuit Training Day 3

I was planning on doing the same routine again today, but my calves were even more busted up today and after one lap around the track it was to painful so I skipped the running and just did a circuit of the exercises. I think I am going to switch to regular shoes for a few days until the soreness in my calves becomes a little more manageable. After that I rode the stationary bike for a little while.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Circuit Training Day 2

It took me three tries to stand up this morning. My calves were as sore as the day after a 100 miler! That's what training in the Vibrams will do for you. The rest of my body was sore but manageable. After a few hours of messaging and stretching my calves I went back to the gym for my second session. The running started off shaky but once the calves got loosened up things went well. I did the exact same routine as yesterday, with similar results

800m: 3:29
Squats: 1 minute
800m: 3:25
Jump Rope: 1 minute
800m: 3:44
Lunges: 1 minute
800m: 3:52
Squats jumps: 1 minute
800m: 3:59
Pull ups: 1 minute
800m: 4:12
Dips: 1 minute
800m: 4:13
Push ups: 1 minute
800m: 3:45
Sit ups: 1 minute

Total time: 40 minutes

My 800's were a little faster today and I was able to do 3 pull ups and 3 dips before switching to negatives. I figure after 3 weeks I will begin seeing improvments and the soreness will subside, but until then I'm going to be hurting...

After that I biked for 30 minutes, 10.8 miles on lowest resistance level, AVG HR:135
Then did some ab work

Friday, December 7, 2007

Circuit training Day 1

I started my Circuit training routine today. The plan is to do this 5 days a week for the next month and hope I see some improvements. The main objective is to improve overall strength (upper and lower body) and fitness, in doing that I hope it will help me run longer, harder and more consistently with better form in training and reduce the risk of injury which will translate into better race times. I think spending the time building a solid base will help me more than continuing to run high miles with a weak base. The workout is going to be 800m repeats with one minute of varying exercise in between (i.e. Squats, jump rope, lunges, squat jumps, pull ups, push ups, sit ups ect...) I want to get the heart pumping with no breaks in between activities. I have also decided to use my Vibram FiveFingers during the workout to give my calves the extra burn and work on my ChiRunning technique (forefoot landing.)

Today's workout:

800m: 3:43
Squats: 1 minute
800m: 3:41
Jump Rope: 1 minute
800m: 3:41
Lunges: 1 minute
800m: 3:52
Squats jumps: 1 minute
800m: 4:01
Pull ups: 1 minute
800m: 4:21
Dips: 1 minute
800m: 4:12
Push ups: 1 minute
800m: 3:54
Sit ups: 1 minute

It was one hell of a work out, 43 minutes total, 4 miles of running. I was gassed after the 5th 800. I couldn't even keep the pace below 8 minute miles. My upper body strength is a joke. I could only do two pull ups and 1 dip (Then I did negatives to fill up the rest of the 1 minute intervals.) It worked out well and I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow morning!

After that I rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes at the minimum resistance level for 10.5 miles with an average HR around 135. Then did some extra ab work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For the rest of December I am going to mix up my training. I'm going to do more cross training and strength training with only a little short distance running (besides a couple ultras, of course.) In the past couple months I have notice some real weaknesses in my total body fitness. I am hoping to improve my form, strength and muscular endurance while reducing the risk of injury and repairing the small injuries I currently have. After hearing about CrossFit , from Catra's blog, I really wanted to give it a try, but the classes in my area don't fit my schedule so I plan on inventing my own circuit training routine. I hope it will make me a better runner in the long run (get it "Long Run" I crack myself up.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tecumseh Trail Marathon Race Report

I drove out to Indiana on Friday night and stayed with some FUN and FAST runners from the Buffalo running club in Central Illinois. This was my second time running Tecumseh so I knew what I was up against, but that doesn't mean I was smart enough to learn from it. I felt good going into the race but I was only 6 days removed from a Trail 50K PR performance in Georgia so I didn't really no what to expect. I pushed the pace early on with an ambitious goal of sub four hours. My pace worked for the first 1/4 of the race. I was running just under 9 minute miles, but I was already wasted with no chance of maintaining anything remotely close to a sub 4 pace. After all, this is a tough marathon course with 3,500 feet of gain. I was talking to one guy during the race about ultras. He said this was his 3rd time running Tecumseh but he didn't think he could finish a 50k, if you can finish this marathon, there are plenty of 50k's you can finish. I backed off big time after that and started walking the hills and taking it easy. The middle part of the race was slow but steady, trying to recover from the unmaintainable pace I subjected myself to the first 6.5 miles. By mile 21 I got my second wind and was able to pound the last 5 miles around a 9 minute pace again. I passed a boat load of people in the last 5 miles, at least 20. It's always nice when your the one passing people rather than being the pissed off runner getting smoked. I came to the finish line in 4:39, a lot slower than I would have liked, but better than last year by 15 minutes.
The race had good organization, volunteers and aid stations. It had an ultra feel to it, although it was a large trail race with nearly 500 entrants. Not much else to report about this race. I started off to fast on tired legs and paid for it, it happens.

a HUGE congrats to Marla (what else is new!) For an awesome performance and another win! Beating over 100 talented women in the process with a time of 3:47! I don't like getting chicked but if it has to happen I'm glad it's by someone as fast and cool as her :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've been having issues with my left shin/lower leg for a couple months now. Before it would only hurt when I ran hard and would subside after a day or so. Now it seems to hurt all the time. I took three days off then ran last night and it was still hurting, so I think I'm going to have to see a doctor about it. It's not a huge deal but I think it may be getting worse.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bartram Forest 50k

I had Friday off work because of the holiday weekend so I decided to make the 9.5 hour drive down the Hardwick Georgia for the 3rd annual Bartram Forest 50k. Hardwick is in the Macon area which is right in the middle of Georgia. The drive really turned out to be more like 7.5-8 hours and crossed some really nice scenery straight down I-75. One thing I learned by looking at license plates in Tennessee is that no one actually lives there. Of the 12 or so plates I saw only 4 of them were actually from TN. It's very pretty to visit and drive through but I guess it's not worth staying too long.

I slept in my car at a rest area Friday night about 30 miles south of Atlanta and arrived in Hardwick for the race at 7am for the 8am start. This is a very small town race. Only four runners completed the whole 50k distance last year while 5 finished the marathon and three others did various fun run distances. This year I think the 50k field was somewhere between 20-25.

Elevation wise, I would equate Bartram Forest to a very hilly road marathon, meaning it's a very flat trail race, 2 shorter steeper hills per loop and 2 longer more gradual hills per loop. The course was a 5.25 mile figure 8 repeated 6 times. The terrain is a mixture of grass, sand, dirt and a little bit of large gravel. Definitely a PR course.

On Thanksgiving day I played a few good games of tackle football with some friends from high school. This was not the best taper plan. On Saturday morning before the race, I was so sore I could hardly left my arms above my head and my abs hurt when I coughed. My back, neck and Triceps were throbbing. My hips quads and hamstrings were sore too but no where near as bad as my upper body. I literally felt like and was walking around like I had just finished and ultra before it even started.

Despite my less than ideal physical condition I had a PR on my mind. My previous trail 50k PR was 5:28 (which was actually a 33 mile race, at Farmdale.) My goals where as followed: C goal: 5:27 (new PR) B goal: 5:15 A goal: 4:59 (last years winning time.)

The race begins with "Is everyone ready to start now? OK, Go!" And we are off to the races. I am in the lead pack for the first time ever in a race which is new and exciting, then I actually take the lead. I can't help but enjoy this short lived moment of glory. That's one good thing about running a race that only has 20-25 other competitors. I remain as the leader for the first 1.5 miles then one guy passes me and the other two guys that comprise the lead pack follow him. I am not about the get frog boiled less than 2 miles into the race. I'm comfortable sitting in 4th. The rest of the first loop was uneventful. The lead pack slips further away and I am alone. The nice thing about this course is that it's small and some parts are run twice per loop so you're never alone for too long. My first loop time was 46:09, about 3 minutes faster than my A goal of 4:59.

From experience I have learned not to make a conscious effort to slow down when only a few minutes ahead of pace. From other races I learn that I slow down gradually without knowing it. So I maintain my effort and continue on the second loop. There are two aid stations on the course. One at the start finish line and one unmanned aid station at the top of the longest hill (the longest hill is run twice per loop so you hit that aid station twice.) The aid station at the start finish line is about 50 feet off the course so I make it a point to only stop at the unmanned aid station to save time. I am very quick at the aid station throughout the whole race. I would say my total aid station stops add up to no more than 3.5 minutes. Just enough the fill up a water bottle and grab something to eat. The second loop passes similar to the first in a time of 49:02 which is right around where I needed to be for a 4:59 finish.

about 2 miles into the third loop (mile 14) I really start to feel fatigued. I am having a difficult time keeping proper upper body posture with all of my soreness. My shoulders are the worst. It is a task just to keep my arms moving. I try to do arm circles and stretch them out which helped but it is still painful. I am also breathing pretty hard at this point and am seriously doubting my chances at even a new PR (my C goal) I decide I will at least fight through the 3rd loop (half way point) at a sub 5 hour pace so I can say I got in a solid long run before I had to slow down. The third loop was 51:07, which is above sub 5 pace but I had about 4 minutes in the bank at this point.

I consider walking the first hill in the fourth loop but decide that I will remain on sub 5 pace until I blow up, even if that means blowing my chance at a PR. I wasn't so much interested in a PR as I was seeing how hard I could push myself. At the end of the fourth loop I am feeling really crappy. I am searching for motivation, then it came to me. I start thinking about Mike's PR performance 2 weeks ago at Mendon Ponds. I think about how he didn't slow down late in the race, he kept going strong, and I was going to do the same thing. From that point on, with 10.5 miles to go I have no doubt I am going to maintain my pace and run sub 5. Lap four was 51:36, which is again above pace but I know I could run the last 2 laps under 50.

on the fifth loop my shoulders finally begin to loosen up but now it's my legs barking at me. It is hard to keep running all the hills but I haven't walked a single step of the course all day and if I want to break 5 I can't afford to walk now. I come through on lap five in 49:44. I know have about 52 minutes to finish lap 6 to accomplish my A goal.

I decide to go shirtless for the final lap, as to feel more like a bad ass. At this point I really feel like I have it in the bag. I don't see anyway I will let myself fall off pace with 5 miles to go. I hammer up all the hills, happy that it is the last time I will be seeing them. I skip the final aid station and pick up the pace with 2 miles to go. This being my 6th time around the course, I know exactly where everything was. I enter the final wooded area and can see a sliver of the shelter at the start finish area and know I am only 2-3 minutes from the finish. I pound the last couple minutes and cross the finish line for a lap time of 49:02 (same as second lap) and a total time of 4:56:55 maintaining my 4th place postion (as far as I know, anyway.)

Bartarm Forest is a great small town race with an RD who really understands what the runners want and need (Example: Who wants a finishing medal? I'll take the giant ginger bread man!) There were all kinds of treats at the aid station, and great course markings.

I have run many races this year and continue to learn something new from each of them. Today I learned that if you want to have a great race you have to risk blowing a good race. When I was feeling bad halfway through I could have settled and walk the hills using up the time I had banked and still finish with a PR, but I decided to push even if it meant a total melt down. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. This time it did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

5 miles, 37:17 total time, 7:27 overall pace, Track

Mile 1: 7:15
Mile 2: 7:00
Mile 3: 7:50
Mile 4: 7:55
Mile 5: 7:17

After yesterdays workout I didn't quite have the legs to hammer out the 5 sub 7 minute miles I had planned but it was still a pretty good run. The final 200 meters I tried to beat mikes 35 second PR I came up way short with 41 seconds. I can't match the fit from fat speed burst.

Monday, November 19, 2007

10 miles, 8:09 overall pace, hilly roads
(2 mile campus loop)

Miles 1-2: 8:20 pace
Miles 3-4: 8:22 pace
Miles 5-6: 8:25 pace
Miles 7-8: 8:07 pace
Miles 9-10: 7:30 pace

It's always nice to start of the week with a good run. My goal was to pace myself well for the first three laps so I still had enough gas to make my last two laps the fastest, mission accomplished. I couldn't stay within Mike's "The Pace" throughout, but we can't all be the Fit from Fat King.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

my running has sucked this week. I did 5 miles on the track yesterday but felt weak and out of breath with a high heart rate from just jogging slowly. o well, it'll pass.

who wants to go to Georgia with me on Friday for the Bartram Forest 50k?? It's supposed to be a nice flat non technical trail. And it's not so damn cold in Georgia. cheap entry, very low key.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AM: 2 miles, 7:55 pace, track

PM: 2 miles, 7:45 pace, Hilly roads

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5 miles, 7:40 overall pace, Track

Mile 1: 7:57
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:48
Mile 4: 7:41
Mile 5: 6:59

decent run. Heavy legs after yesterday's workout. The effort was there, the speed was not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Total mileage: 13

AM: 3 miles, track

Mile 1: 8:25
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:58

PM: 10 miles, hilly roads
(2 mile loop around campus)

Miles 1-2: 7:45 pace
Miles 3-4: 7:49 pace
Miles 5-6: 8:20 pace
(includes pit stop)
Miles 7-8: 7:58 pace
Miles 9-10: 9:09 pace
(Cool down lap. didn't feel like running any more, but wanted to finish with 10 miles)

Today was a perfect weather day for running. I'm afraid this may be the last perfect day for a long while here in the Midwest. Mike and I seem to both be recovering well from our race this weekend. That can be attributed to the even split race orchestrated by Mike. If he would have let me lead the 4th and 5th loop neither one of us would be able to walk today!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mendon Ponds 50k Race Report

Disclaimer: If you want to read a good race report you should skip this one and go to Mike's Blog. If you have grown accustom to my drivel, read on.

About 2 weeks ago I got an E-mail from Mike asking me if I had ever run an ultra in New York, I hadn't. He had seen some info on Mendon ponds and thought it would be a fun one. I didn't have anything else planned so I decided to come along.
I got to Mike's house Sunday evening and we left for the 4.5 hour drive to Rochester at about 2:30 AM Saturday morning. We got there in plenty of time for the start, so I took a little nap and got ready for the race. Mendon ponds is a 10k loop course repeated 5 times. According to the website there are 5500 feet of gain throughout the race (1100 feet per loop.)Mike and I before the start
I had decided that I would run with Mike, as long as I could keep up. His 50K PR was 6:32 and I thought he could break that, even on this tough course. We started off at a comfortable pace, just trying to pick a pace that we could maintain throughout the entire race. We knew that to beat 6:32 we would have to run each loop right around 1:18 but we weren't really focused on the time, just the perceived effort.Everyone trying to stay warm at the starting line

The course was very pretty, with a wide verity of colored leaves covering the trail. Pretty to look at, sure, but not so easy when your running down hill trying to look for roots and rocks. I can't see all that well in the first place, and when you toss thousands of leaves on the ground it doesn't help. Mike, on the other hand has the eyes of an eagle, so he was smoking me on all he down hills. He ran a very calculated race, making sure to walk the same spots every loop and maintain and even pace. This translated into very even splits through the entire race. He never hit the wall or had to slow down. He easily cruised to a new PR by 17 minutes, on a course which the RD said "If your trying for a PR, forget it!". way to go Mike!!
Mike gave me one of Chef Bill's PURE FUEL energy bars to try on the second loop. I had the Cranberry flavor. I ate it half way through the second loop and it gave me a nice pick-me-up starting the third loop.

Mike and I with RD Larry zygo

This was a very well put together race. The course markings were excellent and the volunteers were great. You couldn't ask for anything better for only a 20 dollar entrants fee!

After the race we got a chance to talk to a family from Montreal. Mryna (the mother) ran her first 50k today, She has run Boston many times. She did great. She fell twice, but was able to recover and finish strong. Her bright Orange shoes were mesmerising on the trail. I think her two daughters, Gaylee and Adeline and her husband ran one of the shorter distances. Some of the nicest people you'll ever met! I hope to see them all at a race again soon. Maybe Boston next year? If only I can knock 33 minutes off my marathon time by then.Mryna and her Orange Shoes

(all photos courtesy of Mike's blog)

Friday, November 9, 2007

I am leaving now for Mike's house. We will leave early tomorrow morning for Rochester, race starts at 8 am. I ran a couple miles this morning but they really sucked. My eating habits have been pretty sporadic this week (See: Chipotle Challenge, lol) so my energy levels have been low, but I think I have everything back to normal now. Any body want to go for a run tonight in Cuyahoga Falls?? Tiger?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chipotle Challenge

Some of my loyal readers out there my remember my post about the Bearcat Challenge I took on a while ago. Well, after my noteworthy but failing performance against the mighty Bearcat Pizza my co-workers and I were thinking about other food challenges for me to take on. All three of us are huge fans of the burritos from Chipotle, so we decided that would be next. In case you've never had a Chipotle burrito, these are no regular burritos. They vary in weight from about 1.25-1.5 pounds and are the size of a brick.

The challenge: after much discussion and debate we settled on 3 burittos and two sides of chips and guacamole with a 1 hour 15 minute time limit. Loser pays for the food.

I felt much better about my chances for this challenge then I did going into the Bearcat. When Tim came back with the order I was a bit worried as these were the biggest burritos I had ever seen them make! (he said he didn't tell them about the challange until after the finished making them, though.) My strategy was to attack all three burritos first then finish off with the chips and guac. I got off to a great start, eating the first burrito in 5 minutes. the second 1 took about 8 minutes. After that I realized I was eating too fast so I took a couple minute break to let the food work it's way down the pipe. I then went after the final burrito. I was getting full and had to take frequent breaks, but I was able to finish the third burrito in about 20 minutes. I then took a 20 minute break before starting on the chips and guac. I was really feeling it now, but was able to get through the first order of chips. Then I hit the wall, after eating 2 or 3 chips into the second order I was done! I was so close to my goal but there was no way I could finish! I fell one order of chips a guac short.

I was proud of my accomplishment. how many people can say they've eaten 3 chipotle burritos? When Tim picked up the order and told the ladies at the resturant that I was going to try and eat all three they said it was impossible. Impossible is nothing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This guy is a bad ass. Is it strange to wish I had the physique of an 80 year old man?

4 miles, 8:00 pace, track

The plan was to run 10 miles at an 8 minute pace, but around my 3 I started to energy bonk and wanted nothing more then to go home and eat peanutbutter, so I did, and it was really good.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

5.5 miles, 9:50 pace, trails

I was planning on running the Owen-Putnam 50k in Indiana this weekend, but I waited to long to register and I couldn't get a hold of the RD on Thursday or Friday to see if there were any spots left so I just decided to stay home. I ran the large loop of the Stone Steps course at a comfortably fast pace today.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

5 miles, 33:29 total time, 6:42 overall pace, track


Mile 1: 6:33
Mile 2: 6:48
Mile 3: 6:48
Mile 4: 6:44
Mile 5: 6:34

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 Miles, 1:16:35 total time, 7:39 overall pace, track

Mile 1: 7:44
Mile 2: 7:47
Mile 3: 7:49
Mile 4: 7:51
Mile 5: 7:50
Mile 6: 7:55
Mile 7: 7:52
Mile 8: 7:45
Mile 9: 7:24
Mile 10: 6:33

A hard run doesn't get much better than the one I had tonight.

Bulletin: Mike and I will be going to Rochester, NY on November 10th (Next Saturday) For the Mendon Pond 50k. If anyone wants to join us let me know. You can met at my place in Cincy or at Mike's in Cuyahoga Falls. I will be going up to Mike's Friday afternoon and we will be leaving early Saturday Morning. Registration is only $20!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Final point standings for the Trail Runner Trophy Series are in. View results here. I ended up finishing 124th out of 4440 in the ultra division with 226 points. You earn 1 point for every mile of a trophy series race you run. If you win you get 4x the points, place second 3x, third 2x. I definitely never came close to placing in a race so all my points were based off the miles. I guess there weren't a lot of people who ran 5 trophy series ultras this year, imagine that. If I would have run the 100k at Great Eastern I could have cracked the top 100, next year.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Germantown 50k Race Report

Note to self: Whenever I get lost driving to a race, it's foreshadowing for the fact that I am going to get lost during the race.

I left my house with about 2 hours to go before the race started, it was only supposed to be a 50 minute drive. After getting around a closed road I got to the vicinity of the race but couldn't find the road I needed to turn on. I decide to call my dad and have him look up directions on the computer. Some background info on my dad: when someone at work asks him to send a document through e-mail he tells them he doesn't have the "capability" to do it. In other words, he's a computer dumb ass (I know he'll see this.) So by the time he pulls up Google maps, I've already found the start.
I decided to take it easy today because this was my third ultra in three weeks, and I didn't want to hurt myself. OK, it wasn't so much that I decided to take it easy from the start, as it was that I started out in the top 5 for the first 2 miles then realized that wasn't going to happened so I decided to slow down and let everyone pass me before I killed myself. This was my second time running Germantown so I had an idea of the course. one 7.75 mile loop, repeated 4 times, No really big hills but a good amount of small and a few medium sized hills. Fall is now in full effect, with the leaves completely covering the trails making it even more important to watch your step. I ran the first 7.75 mile loop in 1:22, which I was surprised that I ran it so fast after slowing down.

From that point I decided I would run my next three loops around 1:30 and finish right around 6 hours. I thought I could do that without having to push hard, giving my body a rest. That plan sounded pretty good, but it didn't factor in the 35 minute detour I was about to take. I was near the end of the the second loop when I looked at my watch and thought I should be about 10 minutes from the end of the loop. I kept running but never reached the bridge that comes at the end of each loop.

The next thing I know, I'm running in an open field. I didn't remember this from the first loop, I thought I was probably going the wrong way but I didn't have any evidence so I kept going. Then I past and old wooden out house, didn't remember this either, know I was almost sure I was going the wrong way, but not sure enough, I continued. Then I came to a paved road crossing, no trail on the other side, OK now I know for sure I'm going the wrong way. I turn around and run back until I see a marking.

I finally get back to the course but somehow I am know on the wrong side of the orange tape they put across the trails where your not suppose to run. I couldn't have been stupid enough to run right under that tape, could I? There are now course markings in both directions, I'm not sure which way I came from, so I didn't know which way to go. I picked a direction and started running, luckily it was the right way. I had somehow back tracked, and was no running the same trail I had just run about 30 minutes ago. Not only did I go off course, but I went backwards, nice.

That meant I had to climb the biggest hill on the course twice for the second loop. Once I climbed the hill for the second time I discovered what cause me to make the wrong turn. Some ass hole cut the Orange ribbon that was tide across the trail signifying that your not supposed to go that way. I re-tied the ribbon and continued to the end of the loop. The second loop took 2:05. So much for 6 hours.

After that I never really got back into a rhythm and just plodded along trying not to work too hard. It's times like these I try to cherish the fact that I have the desire and ability to be out in nature and cover these vast distances. I ended up coming into the finish line in 6:53:25, a cool 53 seconds faster than last year (although I didn't get lost last year.) It was another enjoyable day on the trails. I'm now 25% of the way to my 100 ultra goal!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

1 mile warm-up: 7:41

Stadium stair repeats: 30 stairs X 10 repeats

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

5 miles, 7:37 Overall pace, Track


mile 1: 7:45
mile 2: 7:47
mile 3: 7:47
mile 4: 7:43
mile 5: 6:56

The rain hasn't let up the past two days, but it did give me a chance to use my Marathon and Beyond Poncho I got at Stone Steps!

Monday, October 22, 2007

2 miles, 8:08 overall pace, tack

Mile 1: 8:20
Mile 2: 7:56

Went out in the pouring rain tonight to stretch the legs out with an easy 2 mile run. I had hardly any soreness today from the race and had a decent amount of spring in my step. It felt like I had only run 29 miles yesterday instead of 31.

Stone Steps 50k Race Report

This was a race I had been looking forward to for a while. It's only 20 minutes from my house and I run these trails all the time. The race started at 8am and I didn't have to wake up until 6:45! Stone Steps consists of 2 loops, the first is 5.3 miles (which I think is more like 5.5, but have never actually measured it myself) and the second is 3.3 miles. The 5.3 mile loop is the most difficult, containing the to biggest climbs on the course in addition to plenty smaller hills. This loop is repeated 4 times. The 3.3 mile loop contains only of rolling hills and is completely runnable if you have any leg strength left (which I didn't after the first 20 miles.)
My original goal, set a couple months ago, was to get plenty of rest going into this race and try to place in the top 5. But after running hard at Farmdale last weekend I knew I wasn't going to be able to accomplish that. I still sit a goal of 5:25 and decided to stick with that pace until I no longer could.
Right from the start I tried to stay towards the front of the pack because I knew it would only be a minute or two before we were on tight single track with no room to pace. The first few miles went pretty well, but as I struggled up the stone steps hill, I couldn't help but think about how I would have to climb this hill three more times before the day was over. There is also a hill at the very end of the loop which is about 3/4 the size of the stone steps and equally as brutal. Adam told me this is called the "Gummy Bear Hill." There is one aid station on the course which is right at the start/finish line, at the beginning of each loop. as I hit the aid station for the first time, I was 4 1/2 minutes ahead of my goal time, which is pretty significant being only 5 miles into the race. I knew I was going to fast so I tried to slow down just a touch going into the 3.3 mile loop. At this point I was feeling good and hopeful that I could keep up my pace. I cruised through the 3.3 mile loop and was now about 8 minutes ahead of my pace.
I took more walking breaks on the second 5 mile loop and was still feeling good coming into the aid station at 17 miles about 5 minutes ahead of my goal. But this is where the wheels started wobbling. At this point I began to realize I wasn't going to reach my 5:25 goal but I wasn't totally wasted and I could still come in under 6 hours. I didn't get the soreness and stiffness in my legs that I usually do at this distance. Usually my legs become much less agile and I have trouble running even the flats. This time my muscles were just tired but my legs were still responsive and moving pretty well. I attribute this to the speed work I have been doing in the last month. It has really helped my leg turnover. At the 22.5 mile aid station I had finally lost all my cushion on my goal pace and was know three minutes over. I did get a nice surprise at this point when I saw my mom waiting for me at the aid station. I didn't know she was going to be there.
Going into the last 3.3 mile loop I started walking all up hills, just trying to conserve my energy so I wouldn't collapse on my final climb of the Stone Steps and Gummy Bear Hill. Heading out on the final loop (5.3 miles) I was confident I had enough time to finish under 6 hours and just did what I could to finish as strong as possible. The final two major hill climbs were pretty pitiful, Climbing up the Stone Steps for the last time, I actually had to stop for a second and catch my breath. Another runner caught me as We climbed Gummy Bear Hill, less than 1/2 mile from the finish. We bonded and talked about how much we hated those damn hills and jogged through the finish line side by side in a respectable time of 5:49:14, another 14th place finish, same as last week. I was pleased with my performance even though it was well off my goal.
This is a top notch event Directed by a pair of great runners, Dave Corfman (1 of only 10 finishers at the McNaughton 150 mile trail run) and Andy Jones (former North American 100 mile record holder, and I think he is still the 40 mile record holder) and the post race soups provided by ultrarunner/chef Heather Poast (finishing her first ultra at Stone Steps yesterday!) were fantastic!

Congratulations to Mike Rioux for finish 3rd in his first Ultra with a smokin time of 4:53 (I think.)

This is a pretty challenging course with two big hills repeated a total of 8 times. It was summed up quite nicely in an exchange between a volunteer and a runner post race.

Race volunteer says to a runner as he crosses the finish line, "So, was it everything you expected!?"
Runner, with his head down, hands on knees, gasping for air, looks up and replies with a single yet profound word "Fuck."

Full results can be found here

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

5 miles, 34:37, 6:55 pace, Roads

My original plan was to do 10 miles at 7:50 pace on the track, but there was a soccer game going on so I had to hit the road. I didn't feel like running 10 on the road so I decided to do 5 hard.

After getting tierd of Mike's bitching, I finally uploaded my pictures from Plain!

Monday, October 15, 2007

5 miles, 39:43, 7:56 pace, track


Mile 1: 7:59
Mile 2: 7:59
Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 4: 8:19
Mile 5: 7:25

I went out for an easy 5 miles around the track tonight. I did a good job working out all the soreness yesterday and didn't have any on my run tonight. My legs were still feeling pretty heavy so my "easy" pace didn't feel as easy as I would have liked, but it was a good recovery run.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2 miles, track

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 8:54

I was pretty sore today after yesterdays race, so I went to the track to loosen up. The first couple laps were a challenge but I felt better after that.

Weekly Mileage: 50

Farmdale 33 mile trail run Race Report

I met Mike in Dayton early Saturday morning and we made the 4 1/2 hour drive to East Peoria, IL. Farmdale consists of 3, 11 mile loops repeated 3 times. The course is made up of mostly single track trail with a few roots and rocks, some open Meadows and a few short dirt road sections. The loop is pretty flat, with two moderate climbs on dirt roads (I walked them, but they could be run) other than those to climbs there are a few very small hills sprinkled throughout, a very runnable course. If I were to compare it to another race, I would say it is a little bit hillier than the HUFF.
The weather turned out to be perfect. As we waited for the race to start it began to sprinkle. That worried me, but the rain never materialized and the temps were in the 50's. My "A" goal for the race was to run a 10 min. pace throughout (which would be a 5:30 finishing time) I didn't bother coming up with a "B" or "C" goal. Looking at the winning time from last year (5:22) I didn't think I could hold that pace the whole way but I was willing to give it a shot. I wasn't wearing my Garmin so all of my pacing was based on perceived effort. I started out at what I thought was a 10 min. pace and felt pretty good the first few miles, but as I was passing handfuls of people at a time, I was already wondering if I could keep it up. I didn't know any specifics about the course, just that it wasn't supposed to be very hilly, so I paid careful attention during the first loop so that I could evaluate my chances of staying on pace. I could feel my stomach sloshing and I began to cramp towards the end of loop 1, but it never got any worst, and went away midway through the second loop. the first loop went pretty smooth, only walking one hill, I came to the start/finish line in 1:45, 5 minutes ahead of my goal.
As I set out on the second loop I could feel my quads starting to grow weak, and I was pretty sure it would only be a few miles before I could no longer stay on pace. I thought I could go ahead and slow down now, trying to save a sub 6 hour finish. Or I could continue to push and see how far I could get before blowing up. I told myself that if I wanted to get faster, the best thing to do is to run as fast as I can for as long as I can, so I kept up the pace. Because I ran the first loop 5 minutes below my goal, I decided to walk more of the short hills, in hopes it would save my quads for the straight aways. About 5 miles into the second loop I started feeling better again. I came through the second loop at 3:40. I had run the second loop 10 minutes slower than the first, losing my 5 minute cushion and putting me right on 10 minute pace overall. That had me worried. I hadn't notice that I slowed down that much. I now need to run the last loop in 1:50 (5 minutes faster than the second loop)
After a very quick stop at the aid station I took off on the final loop. I didn't have the luxury of walking the up hills, being so close on time. I was pushing pretty hard and still had 11 miles to go. I noticed on my second loop that I hit the second aid station in 1:16. That would be my first checkpoint to see if I had a chance at 5:30. I reached the check point in 1:14. They told me I had about 4 miles left. I didn't think I was going to make it but I kept pushing. when I got to the final aid station they said I had 2 miles left, I had 18 minutes left. At the end of each loop is a dam that we run across. I was pretty sure I needed 8 minutes from the dam to the finish line. When I reached the dam for the final time, I had about 71/2 minutes. I still didn't think I would make 5:30 but I was to close to stop pushing now. At this point I was redlining, just trying to get to the finish. I reached the final turn in the trail, right before popping out in to the opening where the finish line was. I looked down at my watch which read 5:28, I was going to make it! I ended up finish right around 5:28:30.
Last year 5:28 would have been good enough for 2nd place, 6 minutes behind the winning time. This year It was only good enough for 14th, just my luck, lol. I really enjoyed this course. There were a lot of flat single track section to stretch out the legs and a few small hills to break things up. The course markings were great along with the aid stations and volunteers.
Mike came through I short time later and we headed back to Ohio.

Special congrats to Marla for destroying the female course record of 5:37 (which she set last year) by 40+ minutes to finish in 4:54!!
(I got majorly chicked!)
and to James for reaching his sub 5 hour goal (4:59) after getting lost for 15+ minutes!
Two awesome runners, and really nice folks, for sure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

10 miles, 1:18:20 total time, 7:49 overall pace, Track


1.) 7:35
2.) 7:58
3.) 8:06
4.) 8:00
5.) 7:58
6.) 8:00
7.) 7:51
8.) 7:59
9.) 7:51

The legs were turning over pretty good tonight. I hit my stride about 4.5 miles in and cruised from there.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

5 miles, 7:19 pace, Roads

It was perfect weather for a run tonight. After 4+ months of running slow, preparing for one 100 after another, I have to teach myself to run fast again. For the rest of 2007 I plan on cutting back my mileage, to somewhere around 30-50 MPW, while increasing speed. Then at the start of 2008 I will begin building up the miles again, in preparation for the 150 at McNaughton Park in mid April.

If I want to be fast and bald when I grow up, like Tony, I need to start now. You do know that Tony went bald from running so fast back in his 2:30 marathoning days, right? He hasn't slowed down enough yet to let the hair grow back. In fact, if you look closely at pictures of Tony during this years Akron Road Runner Marathon, you'll see runners behind him choking on his hair as it flies right off his head on his way to a sub 3 hour finish. So next time Tony tells you he's now old and slow, tell him you'll buy that when you see a full head of hair!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

10 miles, trails

Did two of the big loops of the Stone Steps course today, I ran the first loop hard, then shortcut the hills on the second loop and took it easy.
First loop 5.5 miles, 9:38 pace
Second loop 4.5 miles, unknown pace (MUCH slower)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

5 miles, 7:53 pace, Track

Mile 1: 8:15
Mile 2: 8:11
Mile 3: 8:17
Mile 4: 7:48
Mile 5: 6:53

Sunday, September 30, 2007


This report is a week late but it will have to do.

I arrived in Youngstown in plenty of time for the race and found the park right away. I didn't take the time to look into where the race actually started inside the park. It's just a state park, can't be that big or confusing, right? Wrong! I drove around for about an hour before I finally called Mike, who was in New York for work. After I woke him up, he looked up directions and became my co-pilot, getting me to the race 15 minutes before it started, thanks Mike!
I had just enough time to register and tie my shoes before the race started. I decided to start out slow and shoot for a 6:30-7:00 finish time. The trails in the park were really nice, technical with some hilly sections and good views of the lakes. The race consists of 2, 11.xx mile loops and 1, 8.xx mile loop. I was feeling a sluggish the first couple miles then picked up the pace a little. I can't really remember many details except for passing Kim a couple times in her bright pink trail goddess outfit and the fact that I got lost 4 or 5 times and ended up running about 35 miles, and standing around about 15 minutes throughout the race wondering which way to go. I hadn't looked at a course map so I had absolutely no concept of the course and there had been trail vandals messing with the course markings. I have never been as lost during a race as I was during this one. I ended up finishing around 8:15. Maybe next year I'll take a map.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

5 miles, roads, 9:11 pace

I planed on going to the track for 5 miles at a 9:00 pace, but when I drove by there was a soccer game going on. I didn't think they would be too fond of me running around the field while they were playing. So I hit the road and tried to get as close to 9 min. miles as I could without knowing. It was a nice smooth run. It has been a while since I ran on the road. Now that the days are getting short I will be doing more track and road runs, as it is very hard to get in quality runs in on the trails after dark. The lack of light really slows the pace.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cle Elum Ridge 50k

well, I finished! which is more than I can say for my last race...

The course is basically set up to consist of one long climb (16 miles, 6000 feet) and one large decent(15 miles, 6000 feet). Sure, there are little rises and falls in between but not a whole lot. The race starts off on a paved road for about a mile before going off into the woods for 30 miles of dusty, single track, motorcycle ridden trails.
My legs felt pretty good that morning so I took off down the road towards the front of the pack. About 5 minutes later I asked myself if I thought I could keep that pace, or if I even wanted to try and keep that pace. My answer to both of those questions was no. Although my legs felt fine I was definitely not fresh after running roughly 100 miles in the 6 days leading up to this race. Besides that I just wanted to enjoy myself and the trail. I took the first several miles of up hill at a more conservative pace but I was still pushing it quite a bit.
After about 8 miles I decided I had absolutely no desire to finish in anything that remotely resembled a fast time so from that point on I decided to walk most up hills. This race has two aid stations, one at mile 12, one at mile 21, so it is easy to get behind on your fuel intake. Since my breakfast consisted of 5 cookies, I was pretty hungry by the time I got to the first aid station, on top of not drinking enough and taking 1 S! cap in 2+ hours. I stayed at the aid station for about 10 minutes scarfing down all the Pringles and fig newtons I could get my hands on.
I then continued to meander up the hills enjoying the smell of pine and the deep blue skies. After completing 4 or 5 climbs that I thought were all the final climb before the long down hill, I finally reached the top of Windy pass and started the decent. I picked up the pace in the second half and did a lot more ruining, as it was all down hill.
I still never improved my eating or drinking habits. I only drank 4, 20 once bottles of water, took four S! caps and eat about 500 calories in 7.5 hours on the trail, but it was good enough to get me through the race in a comfortable manner. I crossed the in 7:27:59 just glad to have completed a Washington ultra before returning to Ohio.

This was a really great race. I am glad I had the opportunity to run it. I just hope I don't run it next year, which would mean I DNF'ED at Plain...again!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I had another good run on the beach on Tuesday of 14 miles. I really wanted to do an out and back of the beach (about 50 miles) but the weather looked questionable and I wasn't sure if I could make it the whole way. Wednesday I went the Mt. Rainier and did another 14 miles on the wonderland trail. On the last half mile of my run I twisted my ankle pretty good. I would say I twisted it about as hard as I could without snapping it in half. I was running full speed, down hill over roots and rocks. I heard it pop 2 or 3 times. I have turned my ankle plenty of times, but that had to be the most painful. It swelled up pretty good right away, but never really got bad. I was able to walk on it a few minutes later. The swelling went down the next day. It only hurts a little now. I will be heading to Cle Elum later tonight for tomorrows race.

In non running related news, while I was here in Washington my car at home was totaled, which is always fun. I live in an apartment complex on a hill. I park my car in the front parking lot, right off of the road. Apparently some drunk guy was flying up the hill at 8:30 in the morning, ran through my neighbors yard, into the parking lot hitting my car, knocking the engine into the front seat, spinning it 180 degrees and into the street. needless to say it was totaled. Luckily the guy had insurance so I have a check from the insurance company for $5,000 for a new car. Which is more than my car was worth anyway. So when I get home on Sunday I need to find a new car.

Monday, September 10, 2007

16.5 miles

I had 2 spectacular runs on the beach today for a total of 16.5 miles. The first 6.5 were barefoot with the remaining 10 being with shoes. Long Beach is absolutely beautiful. I took some pictures that I will post later, probably once I get home. I even saw an otter!
On my first run I saw this guy had his low rider stuck in the sand. He had a bumper sticker that read "I LIKE BOOBS" I could relate to that so I thought I would stop to help, since he was such a classy guy and all. He also had a hot Asian girlfriend (that's right Rob, I said ASIAN) I wasn't much help as we still couldn't get the car unstuck, but when I ran by an hour later he was out.
On my second run I passed an old couple watching the sunset. They were staring at me so I waved. The old woman said to me "we're just jealous, you're in such great shape!" Grandma's always have had a thing for me, what can I say. I'm a grandma magnet.
This was the first time I have ever been to the pacific, it was nice to watch the sunset over the ocean while running on the beach. That kind of thing just doesn't happen any Cincinnati. I have a longer run on the beach planned for tomorrow if my body can handle it.
If you didn't know, I am a cheap skate, so I am sleeping in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel tonight, as long as I don't get kicked out, lol. The great thing about sleeping in motel parking lots, you can pick up on there wireless Internet, ha!
Since I am in Washington until Sunday, I have signed up for Cle Elum 50k which takes place here next Saturday. It should be a tough race with 6000 feet of gain, and more terrific views I am sure. You didn't think I would come all the way to WA and not check a state of my list, did you?
There won't be much recovery needed from Plain, as I didn't get far enough into the race to push my limits, I just fizziled out all at once. I am headed to the coast for the next couple days to do some running on the 23 mile long, Long Beach. Then I will be going to Mt. Rainier to run some of the 90+ mile Wonderland trail.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Plain 100 Race Report

I was not able to finish Plain 100 this weekend. In fact, I didn’t even come close, lol. I dropped 45-50 miles in.

I was feeling really good up until mile 35-40 when I came off the grueling 3 hour, 6 mile, 5000 foot climb up to Signal peak, Then all of a sudden one mile later I lost all my energy and spent 10 miles trying to get it back, but it didn’t happen. I’m not sure what happened. I was eating enough, I was hydrated and taking enough S caps, I just ran out of gass. My leg muscles were still strong but didn’t have any energy to use them. I guess it was just a matter of time before trying to do 3 100’s in 3 months caught up to me. I guess I tried to do too much too soon, that will never change, it’s just the type of person I am. The course was unbelievably beautiful and I enjoyed it while I felt good. I definitely don’t have any regrets about dropping. I was ready to drop at mile 40 but had to walk 10 miles before I got to a search and rescue check point to find anyone that cared. Just to show how remote this race is, after I dropped (about a 10 mile run from the start/finish line) and got in the car with the search and rescue people, we had a 100 mile drive back to the start of the race.

I took some good pictures that I will share later.

I would say the hardest part about the race for me was the lack of aid stations. When you start feeling bad, and don’t have the supplies you need there’s nothing you can do about it. The no course markings wasn’t that difficult the written directions and maps were very good, I didn’t take any wrong turns. The elevation change was much tougher than any other race I had done before but it wasn’t the reason for my drop, although it may have been if I was able to continue further into the race. My feet were still in good shape, although they probably would have gotten pretty bad too, had I continued. I don’t think all the extra weight I had to carry really bothered me either. Other than the 6 mile climb up to signal peak, there were enough streams that I only needed my 2 handhelds. I didn’t use any of my iodine tabs, as the water was crystal clear and none of the locals used filters or tabs. I didn’t really have a chance to get deep into the race and experience all of its difficulty, it’s almost like it was over before it started. I really enjoyed this experience and I will definitely be back next year to avenge my defeat and solve the mystery energy bonk.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I was going to get in a final short run tonight, but then I started thinking about all the things I still have to do and how close the race is. So I packed my back pack with the food and supplies I will be carrying with me, and marked my map. I still need to label the Mileage so I don't end up running 20 miles on a trail I am only supposed to be on for 2 miles, I am in way over my head on this one...

My flight leaves at 6AM on Friday morning, less then 59 hours until race start! Wish me luck.

I don't know when I will be able to get the race report up. I am going to be in Washington all next week. I will probably take my laptop but I don't know if I will have Internet access.

Monday, September 3, 2007

9 miles, Trails, 1:40 (total time, with breaks)

5.5 mile loop: 53:24
3.5 mile loop: 34:37

There was a big group for the training run this morning, 15-20 people. I ran the first loop faster then I should be running this close to Plain. I would like to run 5:20 for Step Stones in October. That would mean running the 5.5 mile loop in about 54 minutes. After today I don't think there is anyway I will be able to run that fast the whole race.
I picked up a lot of supplies for Plain, but I still have to study the map so I don't get crazy lost...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

5 miles, 10:35 pace, Trails

did the big loop around MAF today. It was a bit warm, but a very beautiful day. Tomorrow morning is the Stone Steps training run. I am only going to do one big and one small loop (8.6 miles) because I am in my taper.

Friday, August 31, 2007

5 miles, 11:10 pace, Trails

My work schedule this week didn't allow me to do any running. I am in my taper for Plain so it could have been worse timing, but there is a big difference between tapering and not running at all! I have found that whenever I go 2 or 3 days without running a start to get sick. This week was no different. It started with a headache on Tuesday, then progressed into a cold Wednesday. My run today was a good one. I was able to keep a good pace at a comfortable effort level. I plan to run about 20 miles spread out during the holiday weekend.
Only 7 days left until Plain! I really need to study those maps and figure out what I will be carrying with me in my pack and what I will have stashed in the drop bag area at mile 55.

Here is the list of the 33 runners. I am lucky number 7. Will there be live online tracking? They don't even have aid stations, what do you think? lol.

RUN# Sex Last-Named First Name
1 M Abbs Alan
2 F Anderson-Abbs Beverley
3 M Ballard James
4 F Berman Melissa
5 M Bostad Shawn
6 M Crockett Davy
7 M Dillingham Josh
8 M Elsbernd David
9 M Englund Tim
10 M Escobar Luis
11 M Goggins David
12 M Graham Jove
13 M Gruenewald Ray
14 M Hester Robert
15 M Holmes Todd
16 M Huff Jeff
17 M Jackson Tom
18 M Jegerlehner Beat
19 M Johnson Eric
20 M Kieffer Dimitri
21 F Lang Kathie
22 F Lawson Shawn
23 M Lee Joe
24 F Maislen Michelle
50 M Martineau Arthur
25 M Masterson James
26 M McIlvenna Ian
27 M Michel Roger
28 M Mignery Les
29 M Rogers Glenn
30 M Simms Matthew
31 M Stroh Tim
32 M Updegrove Jim
33 M Varner James

Saturday, August 25, 2007

17.5 miles, trails, 12:40 pace (including all breaks)

I got an e-mail from Bill last night telling me there was a group running at MAF Saturday morning at 8am. I was already planning to go out there sometime today so I was happy to tag along. I met Bill, Bob, Brian and Dan at the oval at 8 to start our run of the stone steps course. We all have races in the near future, some closer than others, so we were getting in some good trail miles. Bob and Brian will be heading to San Diego in October for the San Diego 100, which has been rerouted due to threat of forest fires. Bill is headed to Idaho for the Bear 100 at the end of September and Dan is going to Colorado in three weeks for the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler. We had a good run and I really enjoyed running with these guys, all accomplished ultrarunners with experience and all around good guys.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Intrigued by Mikes blog, here I am as a simpson, Thanks to

It actually does look a lot like the picture I submitted, lol, here is a comparison. The wavy hair, squinted eyes, goofy smile...
5.5 mile, Trails, 11:45 pace

I ran the normal loop tonight at MAF inculding both big climbs, which adds the extra .5 miles. That extra half mile is a real killer. There is probably more elevation change in that 1/2 mile than in the rest of the loop. I am looking to run 50 miles this week, which will probably include to medium distance runs on the weekend. I am going to try to give myself a break from the long run this weekend as I never really gave myself a weekend to recover from BR. I was thinking about running a the Baker trail ultra Challenge in PA (50 miler) but decided it wouldn't be a good idea, two weeks before Plain.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2 miles, Vibrams, Road, 8:30 pace

I got in a nice short run with the Vibrams tonight. I ran the Hill loop around my block. It was hot (95 or so) and humid. I just noticed they posted the splits for BR a couple weeks ago. I was interested to see what my pace was for the last 9 miles. I felt like I was really moving well but couldn't really tell after 91 miles of running, I covered it at a 10:40 pace, I just wanted it to end!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

5.5 miles, trails 12:10 pace

I Went out to MAF for the first time in a few weeks tonight for the 5 mile loop. From now on I am going to incorporate both big climbs into the loop, which I often skip. Both of these climbs are included in the Step Stones 50k so I want to start training on them. I also ran with my full pack today to simulate what I will be carrying at Plain. Running with the pack isn't much fun, but I was running at a faster pace then I will be for the race so there wont be as much bounce and pressure from the pack.
Total miles: 8.5 Total time 1:25

2 mile warm-up: 8:30 pace
400 meter walk
1 mile repeat: 6:52
400 meter walk
1 mile repeat: 6:48
400 meter walk
800 meter repeat: 3:16
400 meter walk
800 meter repeat: 3:08
400 meter walk
2 mile cool-down: 9:03 pace
400 meter walk

Since the Flying Pig Marathon at the beginning of May I can probably count on one hand the number of sub 9 minute miles I have run. I have also had trouble getting back into my morning workout routine I was in before BR. So today I thought I would kill to birds with one stone, a morning speed workout. It was tough going, and I was definitely reminded of the fact I haven't done any speed work in months. I am going to try to incorporate a speed workout once a week. I think the increased leg turnover will help me in the later stages of long races, not necessarily making me faster, but allowing me to run smoother for longer.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fallsberg Marathon Race Report

26.2 miles, 4:48

While sitting at work on Thursday afternoon, annoyed with my job, I did what I usually do when I get stressed, look for a race to run. I was itching to find a race for this weekend. There was nothing on so I had to do the unthinkable, look for a marathon. I’m not big on marathons, mainly because most of them are run on roads, which I avoid like the plague, but I thought I would look at to see if there was anything worth running. I came across the Fallsberg Marathon in Lowell Michigan. It was advertised as a mixture of back country roads and trails, sounds pretty good, but I still wasn’t sure. Then I read the first paragraph on the website.

You have better be in shape if your going to tackle this one...this race is not for beginners. But if your up for a challenge, looking for a GREAT workout, or are just One Tough Old Fart...then this is the Race for YOU!”

Is that a challenge? Hmm, sounds difficult, where do I sign up? I still wasn’t sure if I wanted make the 6 hour drive for a marathon that would involve a good amount of road running. I E-mailed the RD just to see if he had any spots left for the marathon, being that it was only 2 days before the race. He e-mailed me back, telling me I was now entered in the race. Sweet, I guess my mind is made up now.

I made the drive Friday night after work. After stopping at a few rest stops along the way and sleeping in my car I got to the race start at 7 AM Saturday morning. The race was to begin at 9. I decided that in preparation for the unsupported 100 miler I will be running next month, I should wear my hydration backpack and my two hand held bottles to get used to the system. I put a few energy bars in my pack, filled up my water and was ready to roll.

This course has two loops that are, for the most part, separate. The first loop is mostly roads with many large hills while the second loop is mostly rolling trails. This is knowledge that would have come in handy before the race. We started off on a hilly asphalt road. I was confused as to what type of pace I should set early on in the race. I thought we would be hitting the trails soon so I just took it easy. Little did I know the first 9 miles were all on asphalt or dirt roads. About this time I started to wonder “Did I really just drive 6 hours to run a road marathon?” The trails lasted about 2 miles before spitting us back out onto the road and back to the start/finish line where the half marathoners would end there day. At this point I was frustrated because I thought this was a single loop course repeated twice, and I had no desire to repeat that loop.

To my relief the second loop was much more entertaining with more trails. My pace was very comfortable throughout the race, seldom disturbing my rhythmic breathing and never even breaking a sweat. My legs were still feeling the last 2 weekends of racing (100 miles and 38 miles) My joints were stiff, my legs were heavy but they felt steady and strong. Both loops had beautiful scenery. The first took us up and down past corn fields and farms while the second wrapped around sandy trails through pine tree forests. I ran a very comfortable race and didn’t have any trouble running with my hydration pack which was comforting.

For a small race (about 25 registered runs for the full marathon) Fallsberg really hooked us up with the swag. I got a t-shirt, hooded sweat shirt, and an embroidered towel. In all this race was a nice experience. I can’t say I will mark my calendar for it next year, but I’m glad I was able to make the trip this year.