Nov 21, 2009

July 31st

That was the last time I broke from the trail and went for a road run. Has it really been that long? Well, today turned out to be better then I thought it would be. Wake up came at 5:30AM. Usual routine, just less food then I would down if I were running on the trail. Brett and his friend Brad were to show up at 6:30, so I busied myself with Facebook updates. Well, 6:30 rolled around and 6:35,6:40,6:45 and no sign. Left a few text messages and set out to pick up another running friend, Bill in the neighboring subdivide. I used to run with Bill previously, over the course of the last 5 years as we both were in the midst of marathon training. I'll tell you this much, no one can ever say Bill doesn't work hard at running. He has been trying for a number of years to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and this year at Chicago he did just that. Finally was his way of putting it. Way to go Bill. Prior to meeting up with Bill, I decided to warm up, since it was 33F at 6:55AM. So, I ran 4 miles (8:10,7:48,7:40,7:36). I felt so, so. I could really tell I hadn't run on the road since JULY 31st because my heartrate was way out of wack and my leg turnover felt awkward. The bright side is that my left ITband gave me no issues with the pace. Not 100% yet, but getting there. Getting close to picking up Bill, I cooled down for 1min 55secs and we met up as he was coming out his door. We ran and chatted together for roughly (59:41)8 miles(?). During this hour I still felt fairly strong. It wasn't perfect, but good progress. We parted ways and I made the additional 2 miles (7:24/7:30) home. These last 2 were not easy. I could feel myself getting tired, but I kept my head up, relaxed and ran it in. Pleasantly happy with this run.

Nov 16, 2009

2 Days @ Dr. TK Lawless Park

The plan for at least Saturday was for Pam and I to hike Dr. TK Lawless Park in Cassopolis, MI. I was pleasantly surprised that Pam wanted to come with me. It was a nice day out and we were able to wear shorts. It was really nice in the woods and the trail was dry. For the first 6 miles we hiked and took pictures along the way, but the last 4 miles, Pam decided to give her first trail run a go. She really enjoyed it and actually ran some of the hills. We would run, then hike and so forth. And Pam ate her first gel - GU Plain and liked it. After taking pics,hiking and running, we ended this adventure in 2:48. Then on Sunday, my plan was to run the whole course. Just as I was about to head out the door, Pam said she'd like to come again. Awesome! This time it was much cooler out, say 46F, but I elected to wear shorts anyway with a longsleeve top and full hydration pack. The full 10 Miles, we ran off and on. It was great. I just ran when she wanted to run, not pushing the issue. She'd take off and I'd follow behind. Pam admitted to me that she was a little sore and tired. I told her that was normal, but she did it. We finished in 2:30. What a great weekend out on the trail. Total - 5:48!!!

Oct 15, 2009

October 15th & SNOWING

Is it hard to believe? Snowing in this neck of the woods in the middle of October. Well, it seems the temperature is right for it. Currently 36F out. Doubt it will last, although the flakes do seem to be getting bigger. The ground is obviously too green and warm for anything like that to stick.

Aug 26, 2009

70M - 4 Days Building Confidence

I've been training for a number of years, but not once did I ever think when I was training on the road to ever run the kind of distance over a 4 day period, like I did this past weekend. Sure, I've run a number of 50M and finished a 70M race, but for some reason it is much easier to get yourself up for a race then it is for training sometimes. For some reason, getting myself out the door this training cycle has been easy. Sure, having a set goal is one piece of the puzzle, but really enjoying being out there pushing your limits is what it's all about. I'm having fun. The mileage is approximate; 70M (33.5/Fri - 13.5/Sat - 14+/Sun - 8.5/Mon), but over 12hrs(12:04)on the trail is key to success leading up to any 100M race or any race for that matter. You've got to put the time in, whether you like it or not. Every day will be different, but I can say that I've had more good days then bad. Train on! PS: I need a new pair of trail shoes.

Aug 20, 2009

Impailed on the Run

So, I'm out on a what seems like a normal trail run. The sky is cloudy as a storm is coming in from the West. It is about 6:50PM and I've been out for nearly an hour. It is humid out, but not extremely warm. I'm running along on a portion of the trail beside the St. Joseph River in St. Patrick's Park. I've been on this trail so many times, I can do it running in the dark. Well, almost. I plant my left foot and feel something stick in my shoe. At first I thought it might have been a stick I kicked up. I felt kind of a prick in the outer part of the middle of my foot. Then I planted again and it pricked again, making my shoe uneven. Something wasn't right. So, I stopped, and wow! An old rusty nail from days gone by was sticking out of my shoe. I pulled it out and kept running along, not really feeling anything from it. I know one thing, I'm sure glad I didn't step on it directly as it could have been a disaster as far as training goes.

Aug 4, 2009

Sunburn Six in the Stix (Pics)

Matt Condron and I early on during the fun run. We went right off the front as the event started. Matt and I later in the morning. We are still chatting it up fairly good here I'm sure. Matt and I running behind a few other runners during the event. Probably used them to break the wind. This may have been the last loop I ran with Matt before we parted ways. I would run and reach my goal of 25 miles for the day (3:54)/27.36M, as I had not planned to run the full 6-hrs, and Matt would go on to run the full (6:00)/43.82M. Awesome job Matt! Pretty much what the day looked like prior to a light rain. So much for getting a SUNBURN! I know I appreciated the clouds as did others I'm sure.

Aug 1, 2009

8/1 Sunburn Six in the Stix

Course: A 2.28 Mile loop of crushed limestone and fairly flat with a few bumps. My goal going into the event was to complete at least 25 Miles, but not run the full 6hrs as I am not in ultramode anymore and have switched my focus to a fall marathon or two. I started right off the front and found myself running with Matt Condron from Libertyville, IL. His plan was to run nearly even 8:00 minute splits for 6hrs. So, I thought I'd hang with him for as long as possible. And I did for 7-loops of the course. Loop 1 - 18:31, Loop 2 - 18:04, Loop 3 - 18:21, Loop 4 - 18:01, Loop 5 - 18:25, Loop 6 - 18:09, Loop 7 - 18:07. That is when I made the decision to back down the pace. At that point I was 2:07 into the run. Matt went on and I refilled my 20oz handheld, departing quickly there after. Surprisingly, the weather was quite cool for an August 1st day. Overcast and windy. So much for the Sunburn! My legs were starting to feel it a little bit. I had put myself through some fairly hard workouts this week and really didn't take time to taper down for this run. Next 5 loops: Loop 8 - 21:23, Loop 9 - 20:52, Loop 10 - 22:57, Loop 11 - 20:06, Loop 12 - 21:48. Total: 3:54:50 - 27.36 MilesNo telling what distance I would have pushed it to had I went on to the 6:00/hr mark. My buddy Brett ran the full 6:00/31.14M. It was a good run. There were times in the later loops where I felt my energy sapped, my legs were tired. All the runners who finished ahead of me ran the full 6hrs. And I still ended up 15th in total mileage. Prerace Photo:

Jul 22, 2009

Blueberries From the Yard

How much sweeter can it get. Waking up in the morning and heading out to your own yard and picking fruit, in this case a mess of blueberries. When I do this it brings back memories from when I was a child. I'd leave the house and head off into the countryside around the latter part of June and pick "black caps" or black raspberries all morning long. The amount of blueberries I picked this morning, with Sydney our puppy by my side, would have cost at least $5.00 or more in our local supermarket. No doubt! Pam and I planted 8 bushes about 5-6 years ago in an open part of the yard, but they didn't do very well. So, we moved them a couple of years ago, further back where they get some shade and put netting over them to keep the birds away. They are flourishing, I might add. Sometimes it is the small things in life that can brighten your day.

Jul 17, 2009

Things Change!

I go into this weekend's long run a bit perplexed about my left knee. I originally thought this was an ITBand issue, but now I'm beginning to think it is more related to Patellar Tendonitis then anything. Obviously it is from overuse. It comes and goes. Some days I can run with no problem and others it is quite excruciating. I'm no doctor, but I think I'll go and diagnose this one. I'm almost 100% that I won't be taking time off for this, at least not in the near future. If it were late fall then I'd probably shut things down for awhile, but there are still trails to be run. And it is only July!!! So, I think a treatment/stretching/strengthening combination needs to be put in place now so that maybe no time will need to be taken off. Interesting enough, I've dealt with this problem for well over a year now and even set PR at the 50 Mile distance (2008 Berryman Trail 50M - 8:30) with the same issues leading up to that race. So, as I head into my next adventure: Sunburn Six in the Stix - 6 Hour Fun Run, I am as excited as ever to get back out there on August 1st. I'd like to run at least 30M, but the heat may play a bigger part in this day. Here is pic of the 2.28M and 0.50M loops:

Jun 30, 2009

The Next Move!

Pam and I prior to my DNF near the 100K mark @ Mohican Well, it is now 10 days since my DNF at the Mohican Trail 100M trail race. There are things I look back on and wish I could change, but I won't. I enjoyed the race, the training and all that was involved with the experience, but now it is time to move on with an open mind. I am contemplating my next move in whether to run the Pikes Peak Double (PPA/PPM) in August or train on and give another 100 Miler (Superior Sawtooth) a crack. Pam really liked the area when we traveled up to Duluth, MN in 2008. And I equally thought it would be a great place to trail run and take in the sights of the surrounding area. Training wise, I feel good. I pretty much trained right through the end of Mohican and feel I haven't lost much as far as that goes. I have a few kinks that I'm working on, but that comes with the territory of putting in as much time on the trail as I do. This past weekend's training went well: Fri(1:14), Sat(3:06), Sun(1:21). Although I am not up to speed "yet", I know it will come back. The good thing is that I still remain excited about getting out on the trail and tweaking whatever I need to do to get to the finish of my next race.

Jun 16, 2009

Relax! Mohican Trail 100M is Saturday

Oh my god! I'm freaking out. Dusty and I have a race Saturday. Not just any race, but the Mohican Trail 100M, just south of Loudonville, OH. RELAX! The training is done, the drop "boxes" are complete. Now all that is left is to make the trip an enjoy this adventure as much as possible. First off I want to thank my wife Pam for giving up her weekend to crew for me. This won't be her first time crewing for me, but it certainly will be her longest as far as time goes. I also want to thank Dusty's husband Brian beforehand and all the volunteers at Mohican for giving up their weekend to get us through this race. We'll need every push at some point I'm sure. So, Dusty let's get this party started and go out there and do some running. Now I can RELAX! :)

Jun 10, 2009

10 days or LESS until MO

Wow! Just WOW. Hard to believe that we have less than 10 days until Dusty and I toe the line at the Mohican Trail 100. I have many feelings wrapped up inside myself right now. It really has consumed me, but not to the point where I am getting frantic. I am excited to get this thing started. We completed our last really long run this past Saturday (6hrs on the Poto Trail) and things went really well. Last night's tempo style run went off as expected at the Dr. TKLawless Park Trails: 6M(48:58), with the last two miles (7:55/7:35). Although I won't be running anywhere near that pace at MO. All that is left is a 2hr run on Saturday and easy runs built in. Let the Journey begin.

May 27, 2009

3 Weeks AWAY - Mohican Trail 100M

Gosh! Hard to believe it. The Mohican Trail 100M is nearly 3 weeks away. I still have so much to get ready for the race. Originally, I had planned to pace this event for a friend, Dusty from Michigan. Then after pulling out of Massanutten about 4 weeks prior to the race so that I could continue to train, I decided to go all hog and enter MO. Now Dusty and I will be running as a team to complete our first 100M together, while her husband Brian and my sweetheart Pam crew throughout the day and night for us. I am excited, but do know there is still work to be done in order to toe the line on June 20th. Training has been going well. I've had ITBand issues the whole year, but have managed to train and race through it. Dusty and I have been able to train once together about a month back and will be running long - 3hrs(05/30) and 6hrs(06/06). That I am excited about. A chance to run on different trails prior to the 100.

Apr 21, 2009

4/18 Bull Run Run 50M (Race Report)

Completed another step down the trail toward the goal of finishing my first 100 Mile race in June: Mohican Trail 100. My wife, Pam and I arrived in Centreville, VA, about 15 minutes from the race site at Hemlock Overlook Park. We headed to pick up my race packet at the site and also to get our bearings for the area. The countryside heading to the race site was beautiful, with winding turns and huge homes (mansions) off the beaten path. So, we picked up my packet, which included a very nice technical shirt from Patagonia and a nice glass with the race insignia on it. Here is a pic of Pam and I at the packet pickup/race registration: This is what we'd be following all day. As usual, if you don't see ribbons on the course, you are wrong. I found this course one of the easiest yet to follow. Very well marked!!! It is funny, because race morning was nice and cool. Then again it was around 5:30AM when this photo was snapped, but the temps would surely begin to rise: I started the race right off the front. Not because I had planned to go out hard, but because that way Pam could see me from the start and snap a few photos. Here we have roughly 6 minutes to go before the start of the 2009 Bull Run Run 50M. I'm to the left of the guy with the red shorts. I arrived into the Centreville aidstation feeling really good at 7.4M. I hadn't overdone it on this section. That was very runnable for the most part. There were some hills, but none that really prevented me from keeping pace. As usual, I chose to power hike most of them. Coming into the first AidStation: After leaving the Centreville AS, the course goes upstream to a turnaround cone and then goes back the same way to this same AS. Along this 2.2M stretch, there were hundreds, if not thousands of Bluebell flowers. Really beautiful. This also gave you the chance to see the front runners for the first time and the runners behind you. After this it was back on the trail toward the start/Hemlock Park AS. I caught up with some runners on this section feeling great as the heat hadn't yet begun to affect me. I was hydrating well early on with Clip2. Pam had a fresh bottle for me at each pass at the Centreville AS and anything else that I needed. I was eating, but soon found out that maybe I wasn't taking in enough calories early on as my energy was dropping a little. So, I popped a gel and within minutes my energy was back up. I came into the Hemlock AS running great about 5 miles later, grabbed a fresh bottle and package of peanut butter crackers from Pam and was off. Coming into the Hemlock Park AS: I left Hemlock and quickly picked up the pace to catch up to the 2 runners I was previously with. Next up was the Bull Run Marina AS, 4.5M away. This section took you up/down some more hills, down along a river bottom where you had to cross a treacherous section of jagged rocks. Parts of this section along the river were tricky, especially since I wasn't fresh. Even if I was fresh, I'm not sure I could have flown through this part. And back into the woods toward the Marina AS where Pam was waiting for me with a fresh bottle. Up this point I really had no problems. My biggest worry was my left ITBand. It had been giving me problems off and on for the last "year" in training. Bull Run Marina AS: I quickly left the Bull Run Marina AS solo and headed toward the bridge we needed to cross under. It was full of rocks. No way you could run it without falling. So, I picked my way through the rocks and headed back out onto the trail. This section is where my ITBand began to bother me quite a bit. So, I decided that if I needed to I would walk/run for a bit until it loosened up. It did loosen up, but on/off the tightness came back. Probably each downhill affected it more and more. As I hit the Wolfshoals AS, I decided with the heat having more and more of an effect on me, I would take an extra S-cap per hour. And I also switched from Clip2 to nearly all ice in my bottle and lemon lime Gatorade. The sweet flavor really had a good affect at that point in the race. Next, it was onto the Fountain Head AS, at the 28.1M point where I would see Pam once again. I was done taking fresh bottles from her, but just seeing her made the day go smoother. She handed me an extra gel as the AS food choices didn't really sit well with my mindset at the time. I did however grab some boiled potatoes that went down well. And off I was again. Coming into Fountain Head: Next it was onto the Do-Loop AS, where I knew fellow KR "trailgoat" was in charge. Getting to this AS wasn't difficult, but it seemed harder only because it was getting so warm out. There really was no shade to speak of aside from an occasional tree that provided a shadow. I arrived at the Do-Loop AS and immediately introduced myself to "trailgoat". I think I remember him saying I looked strong and I joked that maybe I look that way, but felt otherwise. After filling up my bottle I was off for the Do-Loop. I remember someone saying this section was probably the toughest part of the course. Well, they didn't lie. It is a trail (if you want to call it that) that was well marked and for good reason. Alot of ups/downs with really no signs of a well used trail. After hitting the Do-Loop AS for a 2nd time, I was quickly off toward the Fountain Head AS. I latched onto a couple of runners who were pretty much feeling what I was at the time. Hot, tired and a little worn down. About this time, you could see runners coming up the trail as we headed back. I entered Fountain Head telling Pam that I was really starting to feel the effects of the heat. She told me to walk as much as I could but to keep moving forward. That encouragement really help me get back to Wolf Run Shoals AS. I also popped the gel she gave me and another S-cap and was off running again. I walked all the hills at this point. I knew I was slowing down, but time didn't matter. Just before arriving into the Bull Run Marina AS, a guy said to me as he was walking along, only "5.5M to go after you get into the AS". I arrived at Bull Run Marina not feeling so great. I told Pam that this next section may take me a little longer then usual as I didn't know how much walking I'd have to do to get to the finish. I quickly filled up and wasted no time, running out of the AS as slow as I could. And here were two black labs greeting me as I made my way up to the Bull Run Marina AS: Only 5.5M to go. I was going to do this even if I had to walk I said to myself. I tried to stay positive even though I wasn't feeling well. I was hydrating quite well, but my mouth really had this dry feeling in it. From time to time I would take off the lid from my bottle and take in some cubes of ice, even dip my visor into a stream on occasion to keep myself cool. I quickly caught up to two more runners and latched onto them for a boost of energy that would quickly go away and I would slow to a walk. Then out of the blue, another runner I had seen at an earlier AS, who had twisted his ankle, caught me from behind. We asked one another how each was doing. We both had hopes with about 2-3 miles to go, to maybe go under 9:00. By this point we were walking more than we were running, but made the last long climb out from the river bottom toward Hemlock Park and started running together as we crested the hill. We finished a tough day together in 9:04:06. Pam and I post race: Post race, I really didn't feel like eating anything, but didn't feel sick either. I sat awhile to reflect on the day. I can't say enough about how well this course was marked and the support of the volunteers who gave up their day to encourage and support the runners who survived this day. It also took me this long to realize that it is ok to walk when the going gets rough to finish a race. Every race isn't going to be a PR and things can go wrong when you least expect them to. Finishing is what really counts.

Apr 1, 2009

March - Momentum is Building Toward MO 100

March turned out to be a really good base building phase 29hrs 13min toward Mohican 100M in June. After running LBL 60K (6:10) earlier in the month, I feel confident I'm headed in the right direction. Look forward to this weekend's long run with Brett as we are headed out to T.K. Lawless Park near Cassopolis, MI. These pics bring back alot of memories from LBL60K.

Mar 16, 2009

3/14/09 - Land Between the Lakes 60K (Report)

Made it back from Grand Rivers, KY (7.5hr drive). I had the option for this race to move up to the 50M event and told the RD that I might entertain that thought depending how the day goes. All runners had the option of moving up a race or down. When my friend Brett aka kickrunner senator Brett and I arrived in Grand Rivers, KY (population 350), it was a cool afternoon with cloudy skies. Perfect running weather if it decided not to rain. I brought mention to the population of the town because there were actually 386 runners signed up to run the 23K, Marathon, 60K and 50M. Probably helped the economy out quite a bit. We made our way to the packet pickup in this small lake town surrounded by Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Of which the trail we'd be running would give us great views of both lakes. On a clear day of course. My only real goal for this event was to get a good training run in that was longer than a 50K, but shorter than a 50M leading up to Bull Run Run 50M in April. Training had gone well to this point. The two prior weekends I had done back2back longish runs and felt coming off Crusty 50K I was ready for this next challenge. Finish time really didn't matter as long as I had fun and didn't get hurt. On Friday heading down to LBL, Brett and I stopped off in Champaign, IL for a quick 30 Minute run along this bike path to loosen up the legs and then we got a quick bite to eat at one of my favorite haunts; Cracker Barrel. Course Overviews: (Canal Loop Map) The course starts at Lighthouse Landing, with the first 1.7 miles run on paved roads to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, where the trail begins. This section should allow for separation of participants before entering the trail. The Canal Loop trail (designated by blue markers on trees), is a scenic, well groomed 11.3 mile loop on mostly single-track between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes; offering many breathtaking views of the lakes, and several short challenging hills. Elevation change: has been measured at 1119' for the 23km; 2068' for the marathon, 3017' for the 60k, and 3966' for the 50 mile. Standing Post Race at the LBL Rec Area: So, after picking up our packets, Brett and I headed back to the Super8 in Calvert City, KY. A short drive away. And then after relaxing awhile from the longgg drive down, we headed back into Grand Rivers and ate our prerace meal at Patti's Restaurant. A little salty$$, but the food was great. After that we looked around town a bit and headed back to the hotel for the night to get our drop bags ready. Race day temps were calling for rain/wind/upper 30s. Well, ok then! My first thought was shorts, of which I had ready to wear in the morning along with a longsleeve, hat, gloves and raincoat(or black garbage bag). I was ready to go. Race Morning: The weather station didn't lie. It was pouring down fairly hard and had most of the night. As we headed out the door, I told Brett that I may be switching to tights. So, when we arrived to park in Grand Rivers, I quickly switched out of my shorts to tights, as did he. Smart move in my opinion. Probably could have got away with shorts for the 23K race, but then again you'd only be out there for 1 loop of the course. We headed up to the community center (laid down our drop bags) where most runners were chatting it up, staying dry, before heading down to the start line. All of a sudden, with 10 minutes to go, one of the volunteers gets on the horn and tells us that we need to start heading toward the start line. And we were off at 7:00AM. Daylight was about to break as we headed on the road section toward the trail. Brett and I started off the front for fun, but I knew I wanted no part of going out fast. Must have been a couple hundred runners in front of me making their way up the road. I was really enjoying myself, taking it easy as the rain came down. I also didn't want there to be a log jam at the trailhead when we arrived for the start of the first loop. Just as we arrived to hit the trail there was the first aidstation. Brett and I didn't bother to stop as I had only taken a couple sips off my handheld and had plenty of goodies in my waist pack. Brett and I stayed together for about 1/2 of this first loop, when I decided to take off. Aside from the mud and rain, I was really liking this course layout. Early on it had some small hills and rollers, but nothing that was steap at all in my opinion. I was making my way on the single track, hauling up behind a runner here and there looking for places to pass when I could. I probably passed 50 runners on that first loop, but kept my heartrate in check and didn't waste alot of energy. I walked when I had to and didn't really try to keep up with anyone who decided to pass me. Again, it was still raining fairly hard as I made my way along one of the lakes. I took a glance through the fog along the lake and could only imagine what it must look like on a clear day. I also new that the 2nd, 3rd and maybe 4th loop(if I decided to switch to the 50M), would be down right muddy and slick. The aidstations were spaced out accordingly along the loop, about every 3-4 miles which worked out great. I ended the first loop with the road section included in 2:06 and feeling great. The start of the 2nd loop, I wasted no time at the aidstation and was quickly off. I had picked up the pace now that I knew the trail a little. And just like that the trail turned to a muddy, slick mess. The footing wasn't all that bad as I took advantage of the side of the trail from time to time for better footing among the leaves. Of course, on a singletrack trail you can only do so much of that. My energy level was way up. Must have been the Red Bull I drank prerace (tradition) because I was on top of my game. The trail got muddier and muddier as the rain continued to fall. I never did get cold as the garbage bag I wore kept me warm. About mid way through the loop I decided to discard the bag after a very short pitstop in the woods. Finished the 2nd loop in 1:48(3:55 cumulative time), filled up and quickly headed out of the aidstation on the 3rd loop. The 3rd loop brought alot more mud. The post race pic with Brett standing in his shoes and mine beside don't really tell the whole store. The footing got downright nasty as I began to really work my quads and hips more. I found myself getting more tired than I wanted at this point. As I made my way through the loop, I'd make my way up to a runner or two and we'd chat awhile about how nasty the mud really was on this loop. It was like soup on some sections. The good thing is that I never did fall. I still felt ok during this loop and was still entertaining the thought of running the full 50M, but as I exited to the last aidstation, I gave that thought up and headed back on the road toward the finish. The road section was fairly tough going back and it really wasn't all that bad. I suppose it was the fact that I was caked in mud, wet, tired and simply a mess. I made my way back into Grand Rivers and could see the clock with about 600 yards to go. Other than the end of each loop, I hadn't really paid much attention to my watch and came into the finish in roughly (6:10:23). Finishing the 3rd loop in 2:12. I was pleased because I had run this 60K at nearly the identical pace that I had through the snow at Crusty 50K (5:07) in early February. Training was paying off. I quickly changed out of "all that was mud" and got into warmer clothes. I made my way to the community center for some soup, not knowing when Brett might make his way in and chatted up a few runners including fellow kickrunner, niemsco(Scott). Also out on the course were kickrunners cgerber(Chris) and the The Professor(?), who were indeed running the 50M. I had the opportunity to meet Chris as he finished his race after a tough day on the trail. I will definitely make the long drive back to Grand Rivers, KY in 2010 and tackle this race again. And possibly the 50M version. Another adventure completed. Now onto the next challenge.

Feb 9, 2009

Training Week: 02/01-02/07

Another very good training week capped off by running my first race of the year. The John Dick Memorial Crusty 50K. Finishing 15th Overall out of 75 Starters/49 Finishers showed that this race was definitely tough. Quite a few runners gave it their best shot. To be honest with you it could have gone either way for me as well. For some reason this year I am as determined as ever to finish my first 100 Mile race. To get there successfully it is going to take consistent training and racing. Training for the week: Sun(1:11:20),Mon(Rest),Tue(57:44),Wed(Rest),Thur(49:53),Fri(Rest/Travel),Sat: Race(5:07:19). Total for the week (8:06:16). Good week considering that I raced at the end of it. Next up is Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K on 02/14. This course is quite hilly and it will probably be fun in the mud. Here is a pic when I was running somewhere along the course during this weekends Crusty 50K trail race.

Feb 1, 2009

Training Week: 01/25-01/31

Overall a decent week. Took two rest days with 5 days running for a total of 5hrs 25Min. Sun(Rest), Mon(44:21), Tue(1:10), Wed(Rest), Thur(1:07), Fri(1:48), Sat(35:13) + 3 days of core work. 18Min longer than last week. Nice improvement. Ended the month with 18hrs 19Min. This most likely would have been close to 30hrs if I hadn't been sick for over a week. Oh well! February starts my racing(training runs) month on 02/07(Crusty 50K) and 02/14(Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K) on back2back weekends. Time will tell how my body handles this. Really look forward to getting back out there and running a race again.

Jan 25, 2009

Training Week - 01/18-01/24

Well, first week back since being sick for 10-12 days. I crosstrained a couple of times over that sick period and even ran a few days, but flulike symptoms raged through my body like nothing I've had in quite some time. This week back felt great. I stayed off the trail and concentrated more on getting back on the road for a spell. Sun(1:27), Mon(Rest), Tues(44:27), Wed(44:08), Thur(59:15), Fri(Rest), Sat(1:11). Weekly Total(5:06).Great Week! 5 days on the road is the most time I've spent there in nearly 2 years as I've Fixated on the Trail. Here are few pics of Brett and I from last night's run. It was -7F w/windchill. I thought it was cold, but this pic of me tells it all. Brett chose to wear his glasses, but it was so cold they didn't fog over.

Jan 4, 2009

100M Training

Two really good weeks of running to kickstart my training toward the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100M in May. After a summer of building a strong base on the trail, I'm energized again to work my way to another 100M attempt. It goes without saying that I intend to give it my best shot this time around and think that consistent weekly training, with races built in, will get me over the hump. 12/21(Sun) - 1:11 Road Run 12/22(Mon) - Rest 12/23(Tue) - 1:10 Trail/Road Run 12/24(Wed)- 1:02 Trail Run 12/25(Thur)- 1:12 Road/Trail Run 12/26(Frid) - 2:33 Trail Run 12/27(Sat) - 1:00 Trail Run Total: 8:08 12/28 (Sun): Rest Day 12/29 (Mon): Road Run (1:09:40) / 1.4M Repeats 12/30 (Tue): Trail Run (1:31) 12/31 (Wed): Rest Day 01/01 (Thu): Trail Run (2:04) 01/01 (Frid): Trail Tempo 54:58 / Road Cooldown (7:26) 01/02 (Sat): Trail Run (2:03) Weekly Total: 7:51

05/17/08 - Berryman Trail 50 Mile (Race Report)

My training partner Brett and I signed up for the Berryman Trail races back in late March. I would be running the 50M event while Brett would be running the marathon (his first trail race) or the "fun run" as the website stipulates. I was excited for him and excited for as well as I hadn't run a race since Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K back in February. I was way under trained for that event, but finished and knew I had alot of work to do come May 17th. Sure, training can be fun, but there comes a point in time when you really need to get back in the game, back where I feel most comfortable and that is racing.

My biggest issue coming into this race was a bout with ITBand irritation in my left leg. It would come and go, but at times it was excruciating following some runs. Come late April I even emailed the RD to ask if it was possible to move down to the marathon distance as I wasn't entirely sure I would be adequately trained come race day. She said that I could once the race starts, but wouldn't be eligible for any awards. So, I completely pulled myself off the road and concentrated solely on training on the trails. In the past when training for ultras I would use a combination of road marathons/trail running. Leaving the pavement behind helped. Even during trail tempos I experienced no problems the following day and was able to bounce back. I was ready for the challenge. From this point on I wouldn't second guess my decision to stay in the 50M race.

Brett and I set off for our destination, Potosi, MO. A small town about 74 miles southwest of St. Louis. Not far from where we'd be racing at the Berryman Campground inside Mark Twain National Forest. This area of the country is quite beautiful and hilly. I did a little research on the course, but one never knows until they actually get out there as to what it’s like. Sometimes it is best not knowing what you are getting yourself into.

Course: Two loops (24.8M per loop) for the 50 mile, 1 for the Marathon, plus a short out and back for each event on a gravel road. There is one crossing of Brazil Creek per loop. The course crosses many other stream beds that may or may not have water in them depending on recent rainfall. Aid Stations will be approximately every 4 to 5 miles apart.

After arriving in Potosi we dropped our stuff off at the local Super 8. A great place to stay for the race and cheap$$. Plus, they had a great breakfast buffet. And the fact that it is located only 15-20 minutes from Berryman Campground. So, we headed out to the campground to pick up our race packets and found they were just getting things set up. It was pretty low key, so we gathered our packets and headed back into Potosi for a bite to eat and some rest as the race would be starting at 6:30AM. We did notice however that the temperature was a bit warmer than northern Indiana and they were predicting start temps in the 50s with a high in the lower 80s. That concerned me a little, but what could we do. At least we'd be running under the canopy.

Going in I really had no expectations as far as finishing time for this ultra. Brett said he'd like to run right around 5hrs. Not knowing what the course was like I through a time out there late on Friday evening prior to the race of 9hrs, but "finishing" was what I was really after.

We turned in somewhat early for a 4:00AM wakeup. I slept about as well before a race as I probably ever had. Everything was ready and we headed toward the campground. The day finally arrived. It was a cool morning, but the sun was slowly rising over a ridge. There wouldn't be a cloud in the sky on this day. We arrived at the campground as others were pulling in. Each of us put a drop bag down for the 16 mile mark after crossing Brazil Creek.

After a few late instructions from the RD, Brett and I wished each other luck and we were off on the short out-n-back section on the gravel road. The 50 Milers would cover .4 miles on the road and the marathoners 1.4 miles before heading back into the woods to start the loop. I started right off the front as did two other 50M runners and a few marathoners. I didn't know these two runners, but by the looks of it they were seasoned trail runners. I stayed close behind them from the start as we entered the trail and was right on their heels. The beginning of the trail is made up of rocky/root covered sections. There were a few dry creek beds, but most had water running through them. The cold water felt pretty good, but my goal was to stay as dry as possible. I stayed with the lead runners just before the first aid station at 4.45 miles. They were going a bit faster than I wanted to go this early and my heart rate was telling me to back off. About that time, just before AS#1, another 50M runner came up behind me and passed. I stayed with him as we headed into AS#1. We left as soon as we came in not wasting any time. I was close behind him. Not far from AS#1 he caught his foot on a rock and rolled it pretty good. I asked him if he was alright and told him to walk it off. Don't run on it immediately. This would plague him all day. Most if not all of this section was very runnable aside from navigating the rockier creek areas.

In 3rd place again, a few of the lead marathoners were making their way along the course. I graciously ran to the right side of the single track letting them pass as their day would end way before mine would. Staying with them would be a huge mistake. I would have no part of that. Over this time as I headed into AS#2 and AS#3, I made sure to power walk nearly every hill. I ran some of them, but it made no sense to waste quad strength that I would need late in the race. By this time the 50M runner who had rolled his ankle was behind me once again and I let him pass. He was running all the hills, but was having a heck of time on the downhill portions where I would trade places with him again and again. I was feeling really good. As we headed into AS#3, another marathoner came in as I was leaving. He caught me going out and we ran together, chatting it up. This section to AS#4 at Brazil Creek ended up being more horse trail then single track. Quite muddy at times, but nothing that stopped me from running through and around it. We headed down the rocky section to Brazel Creek at mile 16 on the course. You had no choice but to jump into the cool water and across. I actually didn't mind it. As soon as you get across and run through a bit of sand, the course veers to the right to the aid station at the campground. I grabbed a glass of coke and filled my hand held with half gator”barf”/half water and grabbed a handful of gummy bears. To this point I was eating Sharkey's and Energy Beans from my belt and the occasional GU.

We left AS#4 through a small clearing and out onto the only paved road section on the course. I decided to walk half of it before heading back onto the trail into the woods. Soon after I would catch the marathoner I had run with prior and we chatted awhile. The pace felt comfortable so I went with it. He told me there are days when he'll mountain bike this course and then run it. I could probably do it but when it comes to biking I'm a green horn and would probably hurt myself on this course. From this point on we would run together until he finished. Most of the bigger (long) hills were from 16 miles on until the completion of the first loop. I would continue to power walk the hills as fast as I could while the two runners I was with would run them. Again, after the hill I would catch them shortly after.

We made it into AS#5 (19.5M) and filled up. I chose to stay away from any solid foods. Nothing looked good to me at the time. I was drinking well and popping an S-cap nearly every 1hr-1.5hrs. One of the volunteers told me he'd have ice and popsicles for the 2nd loop. I told him I'd hold him to it and laughed as we headed out toward AS#6. More climbing ensued, but alot of this section was easy running.

We headed into AS#6 greeted by two lovely ladies, filled up quickly and were gone. One more longggg climb remained and then some rollers back to Berryman Campground to end the first loop. I was feeling good as I came through the start/finish area in 3:49. Maybe a little to good as the temperature was rising. Here you had the option of dropping to the marathon distance by running an additional out-n-back if things weren’t going as planned. I filled up quickly and was out of there. Now I was thinking that maybe I had a shot at setting a new PR. Two other runners came in behind me at the end of the loop and quickly caught me. The guy who rolled his ankle early on and another runner I had not seen to this point in the race. I let them both by and stayed close behind the runner hobbling on his ankle. He quickly pulled off to the side as we headed into AS#1 and I wouldn't seem him again until the race was over. The other guy took off down the trail.

From this point on I would run solo the remainder of the race aside from coming up behind a few late marathon runners. I think at the time I was in 4th place. It was getting hotter. Each time I stepped out of the shade on the trail into the sunlight the sun seemed that much warmer. I kept moving forward. Just before Brazil Creek I came upon 5 horses and their riders on the muddier section of the trail. I quickly moved off to the side not wanting to spook them as they went by. I crossed the creek into the Brazil Creek AS and joked with the two girls volunteering, asking them if this was a school project or were they just giving up their Saturday for us. I thanked them and quickly left. Things were still going well. As I excited Brazil Creek and out on to the small road section I chose to walk the entire length of it until reaching the woods and took off once again. More climbing would ensue. To this point I still had my legs and had no problems running without having to grimace in pain because my quads hurt like in past races.

For some reason with like 5-6 miles to go I kept thinking about the lead female catching me. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it is my competitive nature or something. The funny thing is that I didn’t know who it was and didn’t see her all day. I suppose this motivated me a bit to push on harder. I had two more aid stations to go to the finish. With 6:35 on my watch I headed into the 2nd to last AS. Low and behold they had ice and a lime freeze pop. Just like the guy said that he would. I filled up my bottle and walked out of the AS. Man did that freeze pop hit the spot.

Within a quarter of a mile leading into the last aid station I noticed the runner who passed me at the beginning of the 2nd loop was limping. I asked him if he was ok as I went by and told him to walk it off to the next AS. Now I was in position to take 3rd overall and a new PR was within reach. I entered the last AS and quickly exited after a fill up. I knew there was one long climb to go. I knew I would really have to push myself at this point. I wasn’t struggling, but at this point in the race with it being over 80F, I felt depleted. I could feel the salt hanging on my face and arms. I knew the finish was near. After power walking the last climb, I took off only seeing a few late marathon runners ahead on the trail. I exited the woods and across the gravel road and could nearly see the finish area. I picked it up a bit as they rang the cowbells with people cheering me on. It felt good to be done although I would have pushed on had the race been longer. I met Brett at the finish. He had finished his first trail marathon in 5:17. I was happy for him.

Finish: 3rd Overall (8:30:09PR) - (Old 2006 PR: 8:43:55)
1st Place – 7:37
2nd Place – 7:54