Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 6 - Marathon Training

The plan this week was 0-3-7-3-0-7-10, actual was 0-0-6-0-0-11-7. I worked late every night this week (12+ hour days) and didn't start my mid-week run until after 8 pm.

In other news, my kids are back from Europe! My daughter was there for 5 months studying and traveling. My son went over for the last three and a half weeks to travel with her. They had a blast!

Both had eventful trips on the way there. In February, the first leg of my daughters flight was cancelled due to the winter storm in DC. She cancelled her flight and booked a different one going through Chicago. Made it to Chicago, then Zurich, then when flying from Zurich to Hannover, her plane lost an engine and they had to return to Zurich. She then had to take two more flights to get to Hannover and her luggage showed up four days later.

My son was supposed to fly St. Louis to Chicago to Frankfort to Berlin but his first flight was cancelled. American Airlines put him on a flight to Dallas with no guaranteed seats past Dallas. He then flew standby to Dusseldorf and standby to Berlin where my daughter met him. Nice solo travel adventure for a boy that is going to be a senior in high school :-).

My daughter made a cool video of their trip. It's really nice having them back.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 5 - Marathon Training

The plan this week was 0-3-7-3-0-7-14 actual was 0-0-7-0-0-14-7. I worked late Tuesday and traveled Thursday but got my medium and long runs in. I guess if you are going to miss two runs, it might as well be the two short ones.

Besides the mileage, I had a couple mental toughness runs this week. Wednesday I was in Solon Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) at my remote office and set out for a run after work. The hourly weather forecast said 0 % chance of rain but there were rain showers popping up in the area. About 2 miles from the hotel, it started sprinkling which then turned into a moderate rain. No lightning and no SAG support so I kept going. A half mile later I turned around and started to head back playing the rationalization game in my head of "5 miles is close enough to 7". Then about 15 minutes later it stopped raining so I added 2 miles back on and hit the 7 on the plan.

Saturday I set out for my 14 miler about 10 am and it was already in the mid 80's with humidity just over 70% putting the heat index around 90. By mile 3 I was pretty much drenched in sweat and by mile 6 I was a little dizzy and started the rationalization game again. This time i was working on convincing myself that if I did 11 and followed up with 11 more on Sunday it would be the same as the planned 14 and 7. When I got to my first water refill point at mile 8, I poured a bunch of water over my head and started to perk up a little.

Broken water fountain :-(

Luckily there is another fountain at this park. After cooling off, I figured I could make it the ~2 miles to the next park, do the water over the head trick.


That felt so good. Now I was just past 10 miles and the heat index was in the upper 90's. Now I figured I could make it ~2 miles to the next water fountain and cool off again then make it home.

Shortly before setting off on my last 4 miles, my wife showed up on her bike to bring me cold water! How awesome is that? I email her a link to Garmin Live Track before every run mostly so that if I die of a heart attack, she'll know where to send the meat wagon even if some animals drag me into the woods :-). Anyway, 14 miles in the books.

The plan for Sunday was "just" 7 miles. It was a little cooler, but not much so I planned my route to end at the park with the cold water, then walk the 3/4 mile home to finish "cooling off".

Broke out the visor for the first time this year.


Anyway, week 5 is in the books. Week 6 is a slight cutback week.


My friend Jill commented on my last post asking how training is going. The short answer is slow. Still trying the Maffetone thing and with all the variables, I can't really tell if it's working. The long answer will be a future post :-).


Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 4 - Marathon Training

Technically last week was week four though actually it was week three since I was fishing most of week one. I've decided to loosely follow the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan. By loose I mean skipping one of the three weekday runs when I'm busy and biking instead of running for the shorter weekend run when tired.

Here are a couple pics from my fishing trip.


I'm not a good fishermen, but being out in nature is relaxing, except for the boat vs. boat competiveness :-). I don't have a carbon fiber bike yet, but I now have a carbon fiber reel and it's sweet.

Fourth of July we had about 20 people over for a cookout before some neighbors did an impressive firework display (allegedly since fireworks are illegal in Illinois). I made steak kabobs using beef tendorloin and veggie kabobs. About 30 beef and 20 veggies. It turned out well (no left overs).


So, back to marathon training. The plan for last week (starting Monday) was 0-3-6-3-0-6-13. I did 0-3-6-0-0-13-6. Thursday was the day before the 4th so I went to happy hour with a couple friends instead of running 3 miles. I switched the long run to Saturday since it was cooler and more convenient. I woke up Sunday to those heavy sore legs that could use a spin,but ran instead. It wasn't pretty,but I loved being able to be out running given my Achilles has been acting up.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Have a Goal - Need a Plan

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I made it into the Chicago marathon. If all goes well, I'll run my first marathon October 12th, 2014. Now I just need a plan and I have a few questions. Should I run four or five times a week? Should I do strength training and if so, what kind? Should I build up to one, two or three 20 milers? I know a lot depends on my goals. For now my goal is to finish strong and have fun.

After five 100 mile months in a row, a combination of bad weather, work travel and lack of mojo caused a bit of a set back, but I should go into marathon training with a base of about 20-25 miles per week. I looked at my weekly mileage and was surprised by the weekly variation.


At least I'll have something to blog about again :-).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

All Streaks Must Come To An End

My hundred miles per month streak came to an end after six months. A combination of being busy at work, crappy weather, water in our basement and recovering from an ultra meant less running than usual. Like those excuses? That's exactly what they are. The truth is, I haven't been working that much extra, I have a treadmill I could use in bad weather, we hired out most of the basement work, and I only needed about a week off after my ultra. Laying out excuses makes me think of one of Jim's recent posts.

I never posted a report card for 2013 so here it is. I only had three goals

  • Do a plank a day for a year
  • Maintain my weight
  • Run 1000 miles


My plank streak lasted until my fishing trip and I quit and never really got going again. I should really start back up. Having a strong core helps my running and helps keep lower back pain away.

I was able to maintain my weight even traveling and eating out 100+ days and nights. Portion control helped out here a lot. Restaurants serve way to much food so I typically only eat about two thirds of it. I also eat salad for lunch quite a bit.

I did hit 1100 miles for the year and I'm pretty happy about that, specially with all the traveling.


Time to start a new 100 mile/month streak :-).

There is almost always a pair of my shoes and gloves drying in front of the fire. There are two more pair on the mantle ready to go.

Had to delete some photos to take that last one :-)


Number of races scheduled = 0

Number of goals = 0


That's all for now...


Monday, December 30, 2013

My First Ultra

Since I'm not on Facebook, I just happened to hear about this free, self supported race. I was heading out to run some local single track late Novemebr and a couple members of the our local tri club had just returned from a run and they told me about it and how to sign up. I promptly signed up that day, since it sounded like fun.

The format sounded perfect for someone who has never run an ultra or a marathon. It was a "last man standing" format where we all ran 4.1 mile loops with each loop starting at the top of the hour. So the sooner you got in from your loop, the longer you had to recover, but also get cold and tighten up. Definitely some strategy there. The loops were nice in that it let people drop when they were ready.

Having not trained or raced at all this year, I wasn't sure how to train for an ultra when signing up just a month and four days before the race. I decided that it was best not to change anything for it since the risk of injury ramping up mileage in such a short time wasn't worth it. Instead, I would rely on my base training which has been a consistent ~25 miles/week and 100+ miles per month for the last six months. Not exactly ultra training levels, but there is no fixing that in a month.

I hadn't practiced nutrition either, so I put some of everything in the back seat of my car hoping something would sound good and I would be able to keep it down. I also put several pairs of socks, shoes and clothes in the trunk so I could switch out of wet clothes when needed. As I was packing my car, I noticed some extra carpet in the garage and cut a couple squares to put on the ground for sock and shoe changes. It worked great!

The night before the race I did nothing different than usual. I had a couple beers and Chinese food with friends. I did drink more water than usual and went to bed early (before 11pm). Race morning I got up at four a.m. and ate some peanut butter toast and had a cup of coffee. With no porta potties at the race, I wanted to get things out of the way before heading to the race. I was able to fall back asleep and even had one of those goofy but stressful race dreams. The alarm woke me up from a dead sleep at 5:45 and I went about getting ready. I turned on the gas fireplace to warm up the family room and the flames came out the fireplace, which they sometimes do for a couple seconds before going up the flu, but this time they stayed out long enough to set off the fire alarm. Not the way you want to start race day. I got that taken care of and set off to pick up SuperKate and head to the race site which is a convenient two miles from my house.

Kate and I were talking about goals on the way to the race. My first goal was to run 5 loops or 20.5 miles which would be my longest run to date. My previous long run was in the same woods at Patrick's 12 hour run and I ran 18 miles in four hours and called it good. My second goal was 8 loops or 32.8 miles. Running 50k is one of those trail running bench marks. Anyway, we arrived at the race site an hour before the race started and visited with ~60 other runners and the race organizer. The race was free, self supported and yet had amazing volunteers and an extremely well stocked aid station that all the runner's contributed to.

At 8 am we all lined up and were off. Pacing is the key and I luckily latched on to a group that wasn't running to fast, but fast enough to get back with about 5 minutes to change and eat. Here is what I remember of the loops.

Pre-race meeting




Loop 1 - Uneventful. The trail was in good shape, temperature was in the low 30's and we kept a nice easy pace. At the end of loop one, I drank a half a bottle of Gatorade which was a bad choice.

Loop 2 - My stomach was sloshing and cramping a little but cleared up after a little while. When I'm cold, my index fingers turn white and go numb, so each loop started with me blowing warm air through my cotton gardening gloves for about the first mile until I warmed back up. After loop 2 I ate half of a banana, drank half a bottle of water and took a salt pill. My stomach was much happier. After loop 2 I also changed my sweaty base layer out (top only, I lubbed the under carraige after every loop using body glide).

Loop 3 - For the most part uneventful but fatigue and soreness started setting in. I was a bit surprised it started so early but I guess if you run the furthest you have in months, it shouldn't be that surprising. I did start worrying that I would not make five loops if the rate of fatigue continued. After loop three, I changed shoes and socks which felt good. I had another half a banana, half bottle of water and a salt pill.

Loop 4 - The soreness and fatigue persisted, but did not increase. Phew! I started evaluating how far I was going to go then kept reminding myself to worry about right now. Keep my footing since by now the temps were in the mid to upper forties and spots on the trail were getting sloppy. At the end of loop four, I changed base layer, ate half a banana, drank half a bottle of water and took a salt tab. I started worrying that a half of a banana wasn't enough calories, but it's all I could stomach.

Loop 5 - I was excited starting loop five knowing I was probably going to hit my prime goal. Concentrated on staying with someone keeping a good pace and staying in the moment. My lower back started barking a bit and I started worrying that this would be my last loop. At the end of that loop, the volunteer recording loop count and times commented that my loop times were the most consistent he had seen. I gave the credit to badass adventure racer Emily (who I met in real life for the first time during loop 2) I'd been in a group she ended up pacing most of the loops. At the end of loop five, I changed shoes and socks, ate half a banana, drank half a bottle of water and took a salt pill. I also laid the two carpet squares on the ground, laid down and stretched my back out. It really worked well.

Loop 6 - I lost a good pace group and started a little too fast. I let some folks pass and tried to pace myself using my Garmin. I definitely need some work there. I was hurting on this lap and thinking I could probably do one, maybe two more loops. At the end of loop six, I changed base layer, ate half a banana, drank half a bottle of water and took a salt tab.

Sporting the Christmas/ultra goatee

Loop 7 - I was hurting when I took off for this loop. I almost turned back and called it quits, but I kept going. There is lots of talking with other runners on a trail run like this. When I hit 26.2 miles, there were three of us running together and I told them that was my first marathon. After some high fives, the guy in front of me said I should go for one more lap to hit 50k. I told him I was hurting and this was my last lap. He said I was running strong enough that I could do it. I didn't catch his name, but I'm sure he (or any of the other experienced racers still going) would have paced me in, but I decided to call it.

Still smiling after 45k :-)

My Garmin read 28.9 miles and I had been at it for just under seven hours. I was happy to exceed my main goal and increase my longest run ever by over 10 miles. I'm proud of that run and really enjoyed running with a bunch of other ultra runners. Everybody was very friendly and encouraging. It really is a great community to be a part of.

Today I'm sore, but in a different way than a road race. Trail running is so much easier on your body than road running that I think I'm less sore after this ultra than I was half after my last half marathon. Probably due to the trails in part and the level of effort. The soreness isn't so much in the quads and back of the calves, it's more in the glutes, and sides of the calves, knees and quads.

I'm pretty proud of that run. Next year I might just half to sign up for (and train for) a 50k :-).



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jingle Bell Hell 2013

I decided to do XLMIC's Jingle Bell Hell again this year and actually post a race report :-). I did it last year and just never got around to posting about it, but still managed to win the Weasel-Your-Way-Into-The-Donuts prize :-). I did it in 2012 and was pleasantly surprised to receive a gift and a hand written note. That was probably the first thing I received from a blogger friend and it was pretty cool.
The rules:
Must be at least 5K in total maximum.
- I ran 5.4 miles Saturday (and 6.4 miles Sunday).
Must be done on a challenging course (and if you hate treadmills, that means it could be on a treadmill) because the idea is "Hell" ... that is the important part.
- I ran on some local single track after 4 inches of heavy snow. It was awesome, but made my pace hellishly slow.
Must be done between Dec. 14-22, 2013... any time of day or night. This gives you two entire weekends to choose from.
- check, ran on opening day 12/14
You must laugh at least once... can be an evil laugh, a laugh of futility, any kind of laugh but laughter is a MUST.
- laughed at myself for worrying about mountain lions after reading there was one sighted not to far from here :-).
So, on to the actual race report :-). I feel like the last runner on earth to get a Garmin and Brooks Cascadia trail shoes,but Santa brought both early, so JBH was the break in run for both.
I got to put the first set of tracks down :-)
Just put down those tracks

Besides the slow pace, I had a "hellish" hair day. I've always had thick hair and get my hair cut every four weeks. I missed my last hair cut due to travel and my ear wrap bunched my hair up making it look like I had put my hair up in a small bun :-). Serious hair hell for sure.
"Bun head"
No mountain lion tracks :-)
Breaking in some new shoes
Post race cookout :-)

Hopefully Patrick doesn't read this so I can reclaim the only male virtual racer prize title I took two years ago :-).