Thursday, May 31, 2007

1o miles, 12:00 pace, trails

I felt sluggish today, nothing a two week taper won't cure. The fire flies were out for the first time this year. I started a new experiment with the deer of Mt. Airy Forest today. From now on whenever I pass a deer I will wave at it. My goals is to build up a camaraderie with the deer strong enough so eventually they will allow me to pet them. I will become the deer whisperer. I will keep you updated on my progress. I had a playful exchange with a baby deer midway through this evenings run. I heard something following me on the trail. When I looked back I saw this cute baby deer bouncing down the trail. I spooked it when turning around so it scurried up the hill into the trees. It followed me from a distance for a while then came back onto the trail about 10 yards in front of me and started running again. I chased it for about 10 seconds until it disappeared into the woods for good.

I am still trying to figure out my hydration situation for Mohican. I am going to carry one handheld but I need something else. I can't decide what to go with. I was originally thinking a single bottle waist pack. I considered my camelback, which I used on our 25 mile training run at Mo. It worked out great, but I am too nervous about carrying the extra weight 100 miles. I will probably use a single bottle waist pack. I just need to go to the running store and find the right one.

My new pacing plan for Mo is to run the first 50 in 13.5 and the second 50 in 14.5 for a total time of 28 hours.

I will be testing this pace at "Another Dam 50K" This weekend. The plan is to finish in 8:30, 16+ minute pace, I don't know if Mike will want to stick with me the whole time. Maybe if I'm lucky I can finish DFL!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

5 miles 12:00 pace, trails

I did 5 at MAF tonight. Didn't have enough time for the 10 I wanted to do. I feel really good.
Is it June 16th yet?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I woke up with a familiar twinge in my shin this morning. It is nothing serious, just enough to let me know it is too close to Mo to be trying out new shoes. I will not do anymore running in the slingshots until after Mo. I started studying the race packet for the first time today. I have looked at the map before but it didn't mean much before I went up there this weekend. Now I can put the pieces together. All of those different sections could get a bit confusing. I need to make sure I know what section to run when. I am sure there will be aid station workers to guide us but I don't to rely on them.

Monday, May 28, 2007

5 miles, 12:30 pace

I did one easy loop at MAF this evening. The trail conditions were perfect. It was mostly dried out from the rains last night and this morning. I tried out my new La Sportiva Slingshot's. These are a light fast trail running flat. They are made for short distance trail runs as they don't have the support of ultra trail shoes. I have never been a fan of the extra bulk that a long distance trail running shoe adds with the extra support. I don't think my foot requires all that extra support. They worked out great for today's short run. I am going to try to use the Slingshots for ultra distance races. I don't know if I will use them for Mo. That will be decided as I break them in over the next few weeks.

Going into today I had a streak of 4 months and 1 day without falling while on the trails (since the Winter Buckeye 50K.) I think this is rather impressive with the amount of races I have done in this period. That streak came to an abrupt end today with a hard toe snagging spill on a fast downhill. It was strange. I just laid there for a second and thought about how long it had been since I have done that. A very foreign feeling.

I am not going to officially start my taper until next week, but I am done with all hard training. I will get in 60-70 miles this week then cut way back the next two weeks doing short runs to keep the legs loose.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

10+ miles, around 12:30 pace

Brian, Bob and I met at MAF tonight at 7:30 to get in some night running. None of us have a whole lot of experience with our headlamps and will Mohican closing in on us Brian and I took this opportunity to get a little more prepared. It had rained today and the trail was slick. The first 5+ mile loop it was still light enough to not require our lamps. My legs felt very good today. I couldn't even tell I had run the day before. They wanted to go fast, but with Mo so close I knew there is no point in doing any fast running so I held them back. The rain picked up at the end of the first loop and continued into the second.
As soon as we hit the trail for the second loop it was dark enough to require the lights. Mike joined us for this loop and I ran with him while Brian and Bob ran together. The rain was making the trail increasingly slippery. The combination of slick trails and low light made for an exciting, challenging 5 mile loop. This night running reminded me how much you have to pay attention to every footfall in the dark.
I had some trouble seeing, but I know I will be moving a lot slower during the night at Mohican so I am not worried about being able to see. I used my headlamp in my 24 hour race and didn't have any problems with it. I really enjoyed this run, the elements made it quite the adventure. Brian and I plan to run the next few Sunday nights to sharpen our night running skills before the big day!

Weekly Mileage: 70

Saturday, May 26, 2007

25 miles, 13:00 pace (roughly)

I meet Brian at 5:15 this morning to make our drive up to Mohican. We exchanged running stories and experiences and talked about Mohican. We arrived at 7:50 just in time to get ready and start our run. We were met at the covered Bridge by Kim, Regis, Tom and Ted. After exchanging pleasantries and a group picture, we began our journey. We all stayed relatively close together for the blue loop which is a scenic four mile loop. Little Lyon Falls and Big Lyon Falls were very cool, even though there wasn’t much water flowing. From talking to Regis and Kim it has been a very dry spring in Mohican, and as the day went on this became very evident. As we began the large 21 mile red-green section the pack began to separate. Regis Brian and Ted took the lead as Kim, Tom and I were more than content to stick back. It seemed that each mile we would come to a spot and Kim would comment on how muddy it usually is, but with the lack of rain the trail was very dry. There were only a few times we got our feet wet. If it stays like this until race day it should really help us out. This run really confirmed what I had already suspected; there are plenty of hills and plenty of opportunities to slow down my pace. We kept roughly a 13 minute pace throughout the run, including any stops we made. This pace felt very comfortable. When we finish I felt that I could have run 25 more miles very easily which was the point of this run, to get confidence on the course. Mohican is definitely going to be a challenging course, as long as I respect the hills and pace correctly I think I can finish. I am reconsidering my 18 min. pace (30 hr. finish.) I think that pace maybe a little too slow and may cause me to run inefficiently which could led to a DNF just as running too fast could. I am beginning to see that there is a very fine line between too fast and too slow, I still have know idea what that line is. There are so many pieces to the 100 mile puzzle; I only hope I can put them together on June 16th!

Friday, May 25, 2007

15 miles 16:00 pace

I walked into work today and before I could sit down at my desk my boss told me that I had the day off. That would have been nice to know on Tuesday when I first asked if I could take Friday off, but I wasn't going to argue. I ran out the door as fast as I could!
I went to MAF to get in some to do some Mo race pace running. I plan to average 17-18 min. miles throughout the 100 so 16 min. miles for 15 was pretty close. As you might expect the run was VERY easy, more boring than anything. One problem that I did notice was that my hips began to tighten up about 10 miles into the run. This is something that usually happens to me 30-35 miles into a race. I think going so slow makes it happen earlier. This makes me wonder if I might be trying to go TOO slow. If my hips lock up by mile 50 it won't matter how good my muscles feel, I won't be able to move my legs! This hip issue is something that has often been my biggest vice in previous races. I guess I will hope it doesn't become as big of a problem as I think it could.
After the run I took the advice of "fast Tony" and took an ice bath. Like Red, I could never before throw my self into a tube if ice after a run. I tried it once before, but only got half a foot into the water before giving up. This time I actually did it! It wasn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, it was cold as hell (hmm, that makes absolutely no since) at first, but after a minute it feels OK.
On behalf of Red I have come up with some Ice bath tips that might help her and other cold water wimps like us.

A cold water wimp's guide to an ice bath

1.) Sit in the tub while you are filling it up with cold water. It is less of a shock to your system if the cold water surrounds your body a little bit at a time.

2.) sitting in the tube while it fills, take a cup and pour the cold water slowly on your legs. Then when the water level rises it wont be as surprising.

3.) as the tub fills put the ice in a cup full at a time, until you get used to the coldness, then dump it all in (I used a 22lb bag.)

4.) While you are freezing your ass off just think " I am taking advice from a sub 3 hour marathoner, something good has to come of this!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

5 miles, 9:30 pace

A fast loop around MAF today. It felt really good. I have been able to handle the heat a lot better in the last week. The last 2 days were 80-85 degrees and I had no problems. Which is more than I could say a couple weeks ago, so that is good news.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

10 miles, 10:30 pace

2 five mile loops around MAF today. I do love those trails! I felt really good today. I almost don't want to mention it, but I haven't felt even the slightest nuance of an injury or discomfort for a few weeks now, not even after my last two 50 mile runs, strange. The most important thing I learned on my run today was that deer have allergies too. I was descending into a valley as I looked to my right where I saw (and heard) a deer sneezing frantically, 6 or 7 times. He was still sneezing when I ran out of sight. I had never heard a deer sneeze before, it sounds and looks just like when a dog sneezes, pretty cool.
As I ended my first loop I past a guy starting a loop in the opposite direction. We passed eachother again halfway through my second loop. "How many miles are you going tonight." He asked "10" I said without even thinking about it. "wow, good for you." He replied. That comment caught me offguard. Mileage that seems so normal to me and a majority of the people that read this blog, is still crazy to most everyone else out there. It wasn't long ago that I couldn't even imagine running 10 miles, let alone on a regular basis on technical hilly trails. We're just not normal, I like that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

5 Miles 11:00 pace

I went back to MAF today. I ran the same 5 mile loop which I covered 9 times Sunday with Brian. My legs are still a bit heavy from Sunday but I was able to glide comfortably over the trail, maintaining a good pace for the terrain. I don't know how it is Possible that we ran this trail for 12 hours Sunday, yet today I still found 2 course markings that we had missed while sweeping the course!
I am excited about going up to Mohican this weekend as I haven't been up there yet. It's like meeting that friend of a friend for the first time. Sure, you've talked to her on the phone. She sounds hot, but you can't be sure. All you have to go by are her school pictures which only show her face, who knows what she's hidding under there. By this time you have already comitted to hanging out with her so you can't act too dissapointed if she isn't what you were expecting. Ok, so maybe this comment doesn't have as much to do with Mohican as I first thought, just having a middle school flashback, my apologizes.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

45 miles, 11:45

Well the original plan was to meet Brian (also training for Mo) at 7 am in Mt. Airy Forest. We were going to run the course of a 5 mile race with Adam (the course designer) to make sure all the ribbons were in the right spot. I didn’t make the 6am wakeup call, so I missed the first 5 miles of the day leaving me with 45 instead of 50. I showed up around 8:30 and waited around a bit until I saw Brian. The race started at 9am and we were going to run sweep to pick up all the course markings. The first loop went well. We picked up all the markings while chatting and jogging at a leisurely pace. The course was relatively hilly but nothing too steep. This was a very similar loop to the 5 mile loop at the stone steps 50k, which we have both run. The main exceptions are two STEEP hills, one towards the beginning, and one towards the end. After we finished sweeping the course our goal was to include the hills in all of our remaining loops…that didn’t last.

After the race we met up with Mike, who is a member of the running club which Brian is president of. Mike agreed to do a loop with us right after finishing the race. Mike is one of those pesky fast guys (3:15 flying pig time)! We went out too fast on this second loop; of course neither of us could feel it at the time. We ran the famous stone steps hill and cruised this lap with ease. As Mike departed we were able to slow to our ultra snail pace. At this point we were still going a bit to fast. The third loop was easy enough, and we were still both feeling pretty good.

About a mile form the end of the third loop (Brian’s fourth) Brian got a call form his friend Bob. He’s an ultrarunner who has done two 50 milers but can’t yet stomach the jump to 100. I think after hearing Brian and my stories about Mo he will come around! Brian warned me before Bob joined us that he was a talker, and he didn’t disappoint. He ran with us for 15 miles and kept the conversation going. It was a real joy running with him, and I hope we can do it again in the future. I gave him my blog address so he may stop by. Bob, if you’re reading this, thanks for the company! The strategically placed moaning and groaning made Brian and I feel much better! About the time Bob joined us Brian and I had realized we were going to fast. We may have been able to keep the pace for 50 miles, but the purpose of this run was to prepare for Mo. We dialed it down and started walking more up hills.

At this point we also cut out the two big hills and were running the 5 mile race course from this morning. This was a good move. We were feeling the miles at this point and we were both happy with the way we were able to slow down and recover before we had gotten to the point of no return. After Bob had to depart Brian and I went out for our next loop. We were both feeling tired and thinking about Mohican. I had told Brian earlier in the run how I have given up all hope of trying to break 24 hours. After about 25 miles he came to the same conclusion. All of my 50 milers have told me that I will explode big time if I try for 24 hours. After 1 loop alone, Adam, the course designer from this mornings race, joined us for the remaining three loops. It was great how we had fresh legs running with us all throughout the day.

Adam works at The Running Spot, which is Cincinnati’s premier running store, so it was nice to talk to him about different equipment and shoes. He is a trail runner and is beginning to explore the ultra community. He will be running his first 50k at Rattle Snake this summer in WV. At this point in the race we were running a little faster then what I want to be running during the 100 but it was slower than I have ever done 50 before. It was really great! The only thing that was bothering me were tight muscles and hips, due to my extreme inflexibility. I didn’t have a lot of muscle fatigued and I felt pretty good. Coming into the end of the run this was by far the best I have ever felt at the end of such a long run. After the previous 4 times I have run 50 miles or more, this was the only time I felt like I could keep going (even though I only ran 45.) It motivated me for Mohican. I didn’t run the last 5 miles because it was getting dark and I didn’t have a light.

If I had completed the 50 I would have been around 13 hours, which is about 1 hour faster than what I want to run the first 50 of Mohican. For once I am going to run a smart race! I am not going to get caught up in going to fast. If my body is trained enough to run 100 miles I will do it, nothing that happens on race day is going to be the reason for a DNF. I plan to have many 100 milers in my future. I am not going to do anything stupid. I plan to go out at the back of the pack, and stay there! If I finish DFL I can guarantee you I will be as happy as the person who wins the race!

I want to say a final thanks to Brian for allowing me to tag along on your training run today. I am not a guy that can go out on long training runs like this alone. This is why I do so many races. I would have never been able to stay motivated to run for 12 hours without you! I look forward to going up to Mohican with you next Saturday. If anyone else is interested let me know, we are in need of a tour guide, and any extra runners.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

well this week has really sucked for running. I was swamped all week at the office working 15 hour days with no chance for running. Today I was finally able to go for a run. I did a short fun intense 3.75 mile loop on relatively technical hilly single track trail, just to make sure my legs still work, they do. It felt nice. I ran short because I will be doing 50 tomorrow. Next week should allow me to get back to normal training. Mohican is so close!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The results from Dances with Dirt Gnaw Bone have been posted.
Check them out here:
50 miler Age Group
50 miler overall
Rob was one of only 5 runners to break 11 hours!
I won my age group (So what if I was the only person in that age group, lol)
and I didn't get Chicked! (there was only on women that completed the 50 miler, but I still smoked her, lol)

No time for running again today, this week sucks. I am just leaving work now.
I seem to be recovering well from Saturdays race. All the soreness disappeared early Sunday afternoon. My legs are still fatigued but not too bad. I still have a blister on the bottom of my big right toe that is a real pain, but I can take care of that. I didn't run today because I didn't get out off work until past midnight, I think that is going to be a theme this week...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dances With Dirt Gnaw Bone 50 miler Race Report.

Josh’s tips to DWD Gnaw Bone

If you find your self running in the middle of the forest, jumping over huge fallen trees and running directly through thorn bushes, with no semblance of a trail in sight, you are going the right way. If you are running on an actual trail for any more than a couple miles your lost. Find the nearest tree to climb and start looking for pink ribbons. Finishing time? No need to worry about finishing time. Running from the constant swarm of horse flies will keep you at a steady pace. The occasional hornet will give you that much needed boost.


This race is put on by a group of psychos from Michigan. Last year I ran the other DWD Event in Hell, Michigan so I knew the kind of insane things to expect. I met Rob about 30 minutes before the start and we talked a little bit about the races. He said the elevation gain was around 7200 feet. That’s a good amount of elevation, but I’ve handled more. I wasn’t too worried about it. The race began with some final words from RD Randy Step “The first five miles and the last five miles are easy, good luck with everything else.”

The race consisted of a 5.5 mile section that lead us to a 20 mile loop which the 50 milers completed twice then returned on the same 5.5 mile section to the finish. We started off running across a field and with ½ mile or so we hit the trail. Immediately we came to a huge hill, as we continued the climb I started to think, if this is the easy part I am in for a long day. After a mile or 2 the path straightened out and the running became easier. The DWD races are famous for getting runners lost due to questionable markings. This race was no different. Within a mile and a half I was running completely by my self, no one else in sight. Then I came around a corner and saw about 20 runners walking in circles franticly searching for pink ribbons (the course marking.) Right as I got there they found the ribbons and we were on our way. That was the first time I had ever been with the lead pack a mile into the race, it didn’t last long. I would guess about 75% of the runners got lost at some point during the race. I took about 4 wrong turns but never got lost for very long.

I reached the end of the out and back and began my first loop. As I ran for a couple of miles and saw no significant climbs (except for one giant staircase) I began to wonder where the 7200 feet of elevation was. At this point I was running way too fast, about 9:20 miles. The first 10 miles of the loop had few hills and were reasonably fast. As I ran down a dirt back, I came to a clearing. There was a trail to my left and a road up ahead. I didn’t see any markings. Then I saw four runners wandering around. They told me they had been there for about 30 minutes trying to find the ribbons. We decided to go back the way we came and saw 2 pink ribbons, indicating a turn right off of the path we came from.

This is where the course gets ridiculous. I took off into the woods, leading the pack of lost runners. There were no trails on this section, just forest floor covered with leaves making for very technical running because you had no idea what you could be stepping on. If there was a fallen tree or thorn bush the ribbons would lead directly through it. After about a half mile we were running down in a valley, I looked ahead but didn’t see any ribbons, then I looked to my right, straight up an 80 degree incline. Sure enough there were ribbons leading straight up the hill, right over a fallen tree. We made our way up the hill. It wasn’t quite steep enough to require getting on your hands and knees (not the first time around anyway.) The total climbs was just over half a mile. I couldn’t help but think that this is what Barkley must be like, except instead of a ½ mile it is 100 miles!

After that we got back on an actual dirt trail and ran for a little ways before vanishing into the woods again. The last 10 miles of the loop are extreme, with multiple hands and knees climbs. The most difficult running I have ever done. I came to the end of first loop, and the halfway point, feeling pretty good. I was just over a 10 hour pace, but after that last 10 miles I knew I had gone way to fast, and I was about the pay for it, and pay for it I did. The second time around the first 10 miles of the loop weren’t so easy. Its funny how in the first loop your not sure if you should walk some slight hills or not, but in the second loop there is no doubt. I walked every hill I could find. Be mile 30 I found my self wanting to get back to the hills of the last 10 miles of the loop. I thought that would give me time to walk the hills and take a rest, the running was killing me. Of course when I got to the hills They killed me too. As I climbed the half mile beast of a hill, I was spent. I became lazy in my climbing and almost rolled backwards down the hill a few times. By mile 40 my entire body ached. My legs, back, neck and shoulders were all screaming. This was new to me. I have never run a races where my back, neck and shoulders hurt like this. The pain I was feeling was the worst I have ever felt while running before. It hurt the most to walk, but at this point my legs weren’t moving very well so I couldn’t run for long periods without walking.

As I reached the end of the second loop and the final aid station, I caught up to the guy ahead of me. I put on a cheerfully deposition so he wouldn’t know how bad I was hurting, then I ran out of the aid station ahead of him, hoping I could hold him off (sure I may be a middle of the pack runner, but I have my competitive nature.) About a mile out of the aid station I couldn’t run anymore. As I walked down the trail it wasn’t long before the guy had passed me. As He ran passed I picked up the pace and followed him. He looked behind and saw me following, then he started jumping over the fallen tree limbs on the course, as to tell me that he still had something left, I didn’t buy it. I had blisters forming on my feet at this time. About a half mile down the trail he started walking and I passed him again. There were 3 miles to go from this point. I could feel the skin rip away from the bottom of my big toe as the blister broke open. I decided to lay down the hammer and use everything I had left (not much.) I ran up a hill, and never saw the guy again. I ended up finishing 15 minutes ahead of him.

The last mile and a half I could hear the crowd at the start finish line. I picked up the pace and ran as hard as I thought I could run for 1.5 miles. I ran the last couple miles at around 9:30 pace. I crossed the line in 11:40. By the time I reached the finish line I was totally spent. I haven’t felt that exhausted after a race in a long time. I was happy with my finishing time, but wasn’t too pleased with the effort I had to expend and how I felt. I couldn’t even imagine running another 50 miles after this.

I am going to have to run a very calculated race to finish Mohican, I can’t afford any mistakes and can’t go out to fast. I am not even going to try to break 24 hours. If I don’t finish because I can’t run 100 miles I can live with that and train harder. If I don’t finish because I tried going to fast, and blow up I’ll be pissed.

Check out Rob's report, I'm not the only one who found this race a wee bit challenging.

I am so sore today I can hardly walk. DWD Gnaw Bone Kicked my ass, and I loved every minute of it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I will be heading off to Gnaw Bone, Indiana in an hour or so. It's only a 2 hour drive so it wont be bad at all. All I know about the course is that its supposed to be a tough, hilly course. Another slow race indeed. I will probably be looking at another 12 + hour finish, fine with me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

5 miles 8:25 pace

This was the hottest weather I have run in so far this year, only about 80 degrees. It definitely got to me, and will take some getting used to. I didn't hardly do any running last summer, so I have very limited experience when it comes to running in the heat. I hope its not to hot on Saturday for race. I need some time to acclimate!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Speed Work

10 miles total

2 mile warm up: 8:47 pace
1 mile: 7:50
1 mile: 7:13
800m: 6:49 pace
800m: 6:23 pace
800m: 6:27 pace
800m: 5:53 pace
2 mile cool down: 8:29 pace
2 miles of walking in between repeats

This speed work session was missing one key element, SPEED. Any soreness that I had left over from Sunday was gone today. My legs are still tired. As you can see from my splits, my legs got stronger as the workout went on today which was surprising but welcomed. My recovery is going well. I should be close to normal by tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2007

2 miles, 10:30 pace

I wanted to do a 10 mile recovery run today, but as I started running I realized there was no pace slow enough to make 10 miles feel like recovery today. I have very little soreness but my muscle are feeling yesterdays effort. all things considered I feel really good for one day after a PR. I hope to be recovered enough by tomorrow to do a speed work session. I only have a few weeks left to improve my chances of finishing Mohican. I better get to it.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Flying Pig Marathon - Race Report

Oh the difference a year can make.

The Flying Pig is a special race for me because it marks my one year anniversary of this crazy running world I have become a part of. It was fun to run the race this year and remember all of the spots that kicked my ass last year. Mile 15, the 1 mile section of Columbia Parkway at mile 18, the “hill” (if you can even call it that) at mile 19. When I came across the finish line in 2006 I felt like I couldn’t walk another step, and I didn’t. I stood there with my hands on my knees, throbbing with pain as my vision slowly faded in and out. Then after sitting for a long time I hobbled sloooowly back to my car. Not this year. I don’t believe in “The Wall” but if it does exit I didn’t hit it today. My legs grew wary as the day went on but I was able to keep a constant pace throughout.

And now the report…

Kim arrived Saturday just after 2:00. We went right to the expo to pick up our race packets and spent some time looking around. Then we came back home and watched the Kentucky Derby. Not because either of us cared about it but because we had been watching the pre show for the past 2 hours so we felt obligated to watch the actual race. After that we ate dinner then watch Access Hollywood, which featured a compelling story about David Arquette’s transvestite sibling. Then we watched some of the Reds game while I tried explaining to my mom on the phone that wearing my race t-shirt to the race tomorrow would be a big running fashion no-no. She wasn’t aware that there were rules about that kind of thing, “Yes mom, there are rules.”

After that riveting evening we went to bed early to rest up for our big day. We woke up at 4:15, ate and got ready. We both didn’t really know what to do with ourselves. There was really no preparation to take care of, no drop bags, extra socks, shoes, food. After all we were only running a marathon! After sticking it to the man at McDonalds we went over to UDF to get Kim’s coffee and made our way downtown for the start. We were supposed to meet Rob at 6:00 by the baggage busses but we were running late and by the time we got there, about 6:15 Rob was intelligent enough to make his way to the starting carrel, Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I wanted until 6:28 to line up. By that time it was so backed up there was no way of making it to the 3:50 pace group, which was my goal finishing time.

The gun went off and 3+ minutes later I crossed the starting mat. I was way behind the 3:50 group by this point and was doing my best to dodge through traffic and find an open area to get in a steady pace. I was worried how much all the bobbing and weaving I had to do early on would affect me later on but I didn’t see any other way. After we crossed back into Ohio around mile 6 the crowds thinned out and I was able to set a pace. This is around where the hills begin. Being as far back as I was I didn’t have the luxury of take it easy on the hills, nor did I need to. I used my ultrarunner quads to power up these little marathon hills. After mile 9, where the main climb ended, I was feeling pretty good but was wondering where the heck the 3:50 group was. I was running an 8:30 pace and knew they couldn’t be to far ahead.

Then, finally, at mile ten I caught up. I was relieved because I would finally be able to settle in and stop playing catch up. After a couple miles with them I thought to my self “self, you have been running 8:30 per mile the whole race, you feel pretty good, why slow down now?” So I speed back up to my 8:30 pace and continued cruising. I chuckled on the inside when I reached mile 15 and remembered how I felt at this point last year. This is when I started getting confident in my ability to maintain this pace throughout the race. My previous PR was 4:18 and I don’t do much training under a 9:00 pace, so I didn’t know what I could do for 26.2 miles on the road. Then I hit the stretch of desolate highway on Columbia Parkway. Last year I think we ran 30 out of the 26 miles on this stretch and it was all up hill, this year it was only 1 mile and it was down hill. Amazing how that works. Coming off the parkway we got a bit of a boost from the crowds after being away from them for a few miles.

When I hit mile 20 I knew I was good to go. I remembered last year being in the 4:30 pace group and the leader told us at the start of the race “you run the first 10 miles with your legs, the second 10 with your mind and the last 6 with your heart.” It was a nice saying and it came in real handy last year. My legs were definitely feeling the pace, but I knew I had enough to bring it home. At mile 24 I caught up with a couple guys in there late 50’s. They were starting to speed up, feeling the finish. Somehow ultrarunning came up and I told them about my adventures, and how I was training for Mohican in June. After that they started to drift away and one made the comment “You think you’re in shape, then you get this guy whose trying to run 100 miles!” That made me laugh, and the finish line was now about a mile away, so I picked up the pace. I was probably doing about 7:30 pace for the last mile then with about .25 to go I made my sprinting attack to move up as many places as possible in the overall finishers list. I think I caught about 10 people in the last ½ mile. I crossed the line, a final time of 3:43:26, 8:31 per mile, no huffing and puffing, no hands on the knees “I better sit down or I might fall down” , no blackouts, just a nice finish, and a year of running in the books, I’ll be back….hopefully for a BQ.

Friday, May 4, 2007

5 miles, 8:45 pace

I went to the Lunken bike path to do a 5 mile loop. The place was deserted aside from the occasional biker or rollerblader. I guess all of the responsible runners are tapering for the Pig, suckers. I felt good today, my legs are still a little heavy from Wednesday's speed workout but they should be OK by Sunday.

I better get cleaning, I have comapny coming tomorrow!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

6 miles, 9:18 pace

I wanted to do an easy run today. My original plan was to run 10 min miles on the hilly 2 mile loop around campus. My legs were definitely tired from the speed workout yesterday, but not tired enough I guess. I did everything I could to slow down to a 10 min pace but I just couldn't do it. I felt too good. I want to run pretty hard at the Pig on Sunday so my training runs wont be very strenuous the rest of the week. I am going to do 5 at marathon pace tomorrow. then something easy Saturday. The plan for Sunday is to go out at 8:45 pace (which would be a 3:50 marathon) and hope I don't blow up (my PR is 4:18.) It probably isn't such a great idea, trying to PR by almost 30 min. with no taper. Should be intresting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Speed Work

total miles: 9

2 mile warm up - 7:30 pace
1 mile - 6:17
1 mile - 6:57
800m - 6:08 pace
800m - 6:00 pace
2 mile cool down - 8:23 pace
2 total miles of walking in between repeats

I have tried to avoid it as long as possible, but I have come to the realization that the only way for me to become competitive at ultra distances is to start incorporating speed into my training. I am going to try to change my training to include three main runs each week. One speed day (similar to what I did today), one tempo run (probably 10 miles around 8:45 pace), and a long run. This will be the core of my training and they rest of the runs will be at a slower pace to build up mileage.
I met a nice guy tonight at the track. His name is Steve, he comes to the track and walks 3-4 times a week. I was telling him about my training and told him I was a long distance runner. "So have you ever run a WHOLE marathon?" he asked "yeah, I've run a few" I said. I told him how I have run a couple 50 mile races, after that I could tell he was thinking I must be a little nutty. Then I dropped the bomb and told him how I will be running a 100 miler in 6 weeks. To be honest, I don't think he believed me, but he asked questions about it anyway. It was a fun conversation. I hope I see him at the track again.

My work out wasn't as consistent as it should have been but I am just getting used to this speed stuff, it will take a while. The original plan was to get in 4X800 but I was pretty fried after the first 2 and decided to go straight into the cool down. 8:20 pace has never felt so easy as it did after that work out. I felt really good afterwords and got in a great stretch. I really think changing up my training plan can take me to the next level. It will be a long road, but I am willing to give it shot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

24 Adventure Trail Run Race Report

A long report for a long day.

The day before

My stomach was still upset when I woke up at 3:30 am to make the hour drive to the airport for my 6:00am flight. After I got my boarding pass and checked my bags I tried to eat as much as I could handle because I knew if I didn’t I would be to weak to run the next day. To make a long story short, I ended up waiting 7 and a half hours at the airport because my original flight was canceled. I ended up flying into a different airport and taking a taxi to the airport I was supposed to fly into so I could pick up my rental car. I have only flown 2 times in my life and both times my flights have been canceled. I must have a flying curse! After picking up my rental car, and being hassled about buying the additional insurance coverage, I made the 30 mile drive to Prince William National Forest in Triangle, Virginia where the race would begin at 7 am Saturday morning. After slogging through the heart of the D.C. Friday afternoon rush hour I arrived an hour before the pre race meeting. I gathered all my bags and laid claim on a cabin, which was a great deal because it was part of the entry fee. After settling my things I went to the main hall of the camp area where dinner was being served. I sat and ate spaghetti while talking with Jason, he was a young runner who had come in from Pennsylvania, I think. We talked about how we had both run a 50 miler but had never done anything like this before. It was nice to talk to someone who was in the same but as me, or at least I thought he was in the same boat as me. As it turned out Jason went on the WIN the race!! What a stud! And I really nice guy too. The pre race meeting lasted about 15 minutes and covered the normal things: aid stations, food, course markings, course conditions, weather, safety…There was a nice prize drawing at the end of the meeting where I walked away with a new Petzl headlamp. After the meeting I went to a gas station down the road to pick up some last minute items before returning to my cabin. There were I total of 6 beds in the cabin I was staying in and by the time I got back a nice group of people from Maryland had filled up the remaining five. We chatted for a few minutes, then they left to eat and I got settled in for bed. I was very tired with my long day of airport woes. I slept well for about 2 hours, then woke up to the sound of loud snoring coming from the next bed. At that point I knew I was in trouble. I rolled around and tried to get back to sleep, but it wasn’t happening. After about 15 minutes I made the decision to ditch the cabin, with my sleeping bag in hand I head for my rental car. I knew there was no way I could run if I didn’t get some good sleep. I slept well in the Pontiac Vibe. I woke up at 6 got some breakfast and got ready for the race. I had decided that my new Keen Wastach Crests were broken in enough to wear, and I had my old shoes as back up.

The race starts (miles 1-8)
A last minute check to make sure all of the relay teams had been checked in, “are the ‘Blueberry Delights’ here?” asked RD Alex “Yes” a man replies “but I didn’t pick that name!!” Seconds later we were off. My strategy was to start out at 12 minute miles and see what happened from there. My stomach issues had subsided late Friday night but returned early in the first loop and stayed with me until around mile 6. Other than that The first loop was really comfortable. I was wearing my Garmin and checked it periodically to monitor my pace. After the first lap I saw that I had averaged 12:30 and felt comfortable with that so I rethought my plan to run 12:30 miles.

The second loop (miles 8-16)

This was probably my most comfortable loop of the day. My stomach issues were gone and my energy was high. I was carrying my hand held and filled it at each aid station, along with taking 1 endurolyte cap each 30 minutes.

They always take the pictures on the up hills when I am walking, lol.

The third loop (miles 16-24)

I met up with Susan on this loop. We had run the last few miles of Bel Monte together a few weeks back. Our running styles are much different. She charges past me on the up hills and I fly by her on the downs. We ran together for the rest of the loop. With about a ½ mile to go in the third loop I start feeling short of breath and light headed. I am not sure how much of an effect my sickness had on my race, I guess that could have been the cause. When I returned to the start finish line I was sure to take in a lot of electrolyte drink. I hadn’t been drinking much of it because I was taking the caps but I thought it might help. This aid station was the beginning of my demise. One of the major things I learned about running a 24 hour race or a 100 miler is that rhythm is very important. You have to make sure you take care of all the little things like food and drink before they become big things. If you wait to long, you lose your rhythm and that is a very hard thing to recover.

The fourth loop (miles 24-32)

I had to walk the first mile of the fourth loop so I wouldn’t puke up all the drink I had consumed. After that I was back on top of the world. The middle of this loop was probably my highest point in the race. I felt great, I was floating along. This comes to another thing that is very important in a race like this: When you get high do everything you can to maintain it, realize how good you feel and do everything you can to stay that way, encourage other runners and pass on your good vibes. When you lose that high, do everything you can to get it back. With about 2 miles to go in the fourth loop I realized that I hadn’t peed in a few hours. I didn’t have to go at the time but I wanted to inspect the color to judge hydration. To my dismay the brownish-yellow color was the darkest I had ever seen. I didn’t understand it, I thought I had been drinking a lot, how could this be? So when I got back to the aid station I spent another long break chugging 2 water bottles and eating pizza and grilled cheese. This zapped my previous high really quickly and once again threw my off of my rhythm.

Stuffing my face in the background

The fifth loop (miles 32-40)

Again I had to walk out of the aid station for a while before I could begin running again. I can’t really remember what happened this loop. It was late in the after noon and the weather was reaching its high. I was beginning to slow considerably.

Loop six (miles 40-48)

I can’t remember this loop either, lol. I know I was moving pretty slow and was unable to get back the rhythm I had already lost twice. I think I ran this loop in about 2:30

Loop seven (miles 48-56)

I took of my shoes and reapplied Vaseline to my feet at the aid station before leaving for the loop. I left out of the aid station slowly on my way to another slow loop. Then less then a mile in I was past by a runner, he told me to run with him. He was moving pretty good and I didn’t know if I could keep up but I thought, what the hell, and gave it a try. It turned out that his pace was manageable, althought he was pushing the hills hard. His name is David Snipes. He had just run Promise Land 50K the same morning and drove 4 hours to run through the night at this race, what a stud! He helped me out big time and we went on to run the lap in 1:50, a huge negative split for me at that point. Come to think of it, it was pretty stupid for my to run the loop that fast at that point in the race, but if it wasn’t for me keeping up with him I would have been reduced to a walk for most of the lap. This brings me to another important lesson: having someone to run with and talk to makes a HUGE difference in such a long race. His company made the pace seem easy, where as if I tried to run it on my own at that point I would have really been struggling. It was getting dark at this point and I was quickly losing motivation to run. I was glad Dave was able to pull me through that lap, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him for another. I took waaaaay to long at the start/finish line at the end of loop seven. I sat around for about 30 minutes eating and resting, another big mistake.

Loop 8 (miles 56-60)

By the time I left the aid station I was completely out of “running mode” all I could manage was a slow shuffle, not even a walk. I just couldn’t get myself to speed up. My legs weren’t dead, I just didn’t feel like moving. At this point I knew the race was slipping away, it was a matter of how much longer I could hang on. I walked for a while on the trail then found a log to sit down on. A sat for about 10 minutes while a few runners passed by and asked if I was ok “yeah” I replied “I feel great, just resting up for my big charge, watch out!” I eventually got back up and walked a little while longer. I came to one of the hamm radio operators that was helping out at the race. He saw me moving so slowly and asked if I wanted to sit for a while. At that point I was in no condition to decline a good sitting opportunity so I sat and listened to his stories about running 15 miles while in the army and about all the “Pussies” in his hamm radio club that didn’t want to carry a backpack into the woods and camp out all night. He was a really cool guy and I enjoyed his company. He told me that some people had gotten to this point on the trail and turned back around for the start/finish line, and that I should consider it. There was no way I was going to do that. I had already walked a mile, and I would have to walk another mile back to the aid station without even getting credit for it. Plus the section that I had left to go to the middle aid station was much easier terrain than what I would have had to go through to get back to the start/finish line. So I started walking, reciting an excerpt from a Robert Frost poem that Mike told me last week “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
Over and over again. With my two sit breaks it took me 2 ½ hours to cover the 4 miles to the middle aid station. When I got there it turned out that the Hamm radio operator had radioed the start/finish line and told them to send someone to pick me up. Scott, one of the RD’s was waiting for me. I was bummed about that because I was hopping to sit at this aid station and try to see if my desire to run would come back. But I decided to take the ride back to the start/finish line. As I pulled myself into the truck, my race was over.

I am not disappointed or mad about my performance. I wanted to get in 70 miles and it would have been really great to run all night to get in more night experience, but I was out there for 17 hours and had a great time. I plan on going back next year at taking some revenge. I ran this race as training for Mohican but I think there is a big difference between a 24 hour race and a 100 miler. In a 24 hour race when you get tired there is less and less motivation to get to a certain point. When I was out there on the trail sitting on the log I thought to myself, every second I sit here I am getting one second closer to the finish line. A 100 miler isn’t like that. If you sit around you are getting nowhere. I think my personality is geared more towards a race with a set distance not a time limit. I stopped after 60 miles because I didn’t have the motivation to continue to 70. You can damn sure bet that if it had a 70 mile race, I wouldn’t have even thought about stopping at 60. Or if it had been a 100 mile race I would have ran until the time limit was up. But because there was no set distance and all I had were distances that I would have like to reach, I didn’t have the motivation to get there. A 24 hour race is a unique experience. This doesn’t make me worry that I won’t be able to finish Mohican. I am not saying that I will finish, but I think I can. The final thing I learned is that there are so many elements that go along with a 100 mile race. So many things that can go wrong and end your day. This is why veteran 100 milers can still DNF at any time. When you are running 100 miles it isn’t solely about running ability, the mental aspect is huge, and if you let one thing slip through the cracks you might come up short.