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 :)