Equalizer - Round and Round I go...

The Equalizer race is set at Gray's Lake just south of downtown Des Moines. The 1.905 mile path around the lake allows for a nice flat runnable loop. It reminds me of one of my favorite places to run, the chain of lakes in the twin cities. Usually, I can head out to Gray's over lunch and do a nice, easy 5 mile recovery run or I head there to do a few laps of speed work during the week. At most, I think I've run 4 consecutive laps at Gray's - that is just under 8 miles for the mathematically challenged. Really, after a couple of consecutive laps, it can get a little boring.

This weekend was a different story. I ran 20 laps plus a couple of out and back quarter mile segments at the end for an official total 40.35 miles at the 6 hr Equalizer event. (Unofficially, I had 40.68 miles)

Actual miles, I came in second - equalized miles I came in 5th. For those of you not familiar with the race, yes - one could actually run more miles than you, but because of age/gender, they could beat the snot of you on equalized miles.

It is an interesting concept - a male at 36, my factor was 1.02.

If you are a 50 year old female, your factor is 1.351 - so you every 3 miles you run, you get credit for just over 4 miles.

Yes - Des Moines has many companies devoted to the insurance business. A by-product of that is a bunch of actuaries sitting around wondering about how age and gender have a factor upon miles. Apparently, they believe the factors listed on the entry sheet is the key. I'll leave it up to someone else to verify for me. Race info and factors can be found here.

The race director and volunteers did an outstanding job. Just for kicks, I noticed this under the entry fee section:

"Any entries received after that date may not receive a race shirt, however, race entry is permitted up until the start of the race. It is preferred that you give us some time to prepare, but if, like BP or the government response to the Gulf oil leak, you have trouble with decisions, you have until 8am on 10/30/2010 to commit."


Not much to say about the race for me - I trained the past few months to run a faster 50k. I did - at 4 hrs and 8 min - I hit a "PR" for the 50k distance -although a little flatter than the 50ks I normally run.

At 4 hrs and 20 min, I had slowed to a walk, and kept walking until close to the end. With about 15 minutes left, I found out I had 38.35 miles. At that point, I decided that I could run out the clock and try to get over 40 - that sounded good.

I did not stick to my hydration/nutrition plan which I'm sure was my downfall in the race. Simply, I did not stick to the calories and water I needed to get through the run.

Thanks to all who came out - Dave, Steph and her dog, cousin Matt, Bill, Jean and others - especially to Dave who tried to keep my spirits up around that 4:30 mark. Sorry I couldn't keep up Dave!

Not to mention tough as nails Beth, who ran 105.87 miles in the 24 hr event - who when she saw me walking let me know to "keep moving forward until the end!" Congrats to her for reaching her goal - 100 miles in 24hrs is outstanding!!


That place...

I called up Melissa to remind her about something.....

"Honey, I'm taking the day off of work tomorrow to go run."

"Great. You are crazy. Are you running around town?"

"Nope, I'm going to THAT PLACE with John."

"Although you are crazy, try not to pull John in on being crazy with you."

"Okay" - however, for the record, I think it was John's idea.

John and I headed back out to eastern Iowa to run on a piece of land where rolling hills are plenty and the smell of cows is abound. This is about the best training for me in the area, the hills are long and steep, but provide a spectacular view when reaching the top. For me, the training run itself is probably one of the best workouts that I can do; going slow, with long tough hills on nice soft grass.

Being from Nebraska, the rural setting is one where I feel at home. The cows provided a calming effect, they all just watched us in silence, their heads slowly turning keeping an eye on us as we ran by them. Sometimes, I wish these were the spectators at races, where they don't say much, but encourage you to keep going (instead of that guy who has never run more than 5 miles, who at mile 20, tells you that you look good).

John and I hit about 16 miles over 3 hours. Yes, only 16 miles in 3 hours. The hills were tough, but it was one of the best runs I've ever had.

Picture from one of the top of the hills...

One of the long steep hills, John is only about a 1/4 of the way up on this....

Oh the cows...John and I talked about how much a head of cattle was worth? We had no idea....

Our start and finish line...The weather was near perfect on this day!


Northface 50k

NorthFace 50k
Milwaukee, WI
September 18, 2010

5k version: 4:23:19; 8:27 pace; 9th overall, 3rd in age group. Great trail, great support and aid stations, and would definitely run again.

Ultra Version:


The last few weeks of training leading up to the NF 50k went well – especially since the last two falls I sat on the sideline with a stress fracture. This year, the training went without too many hiccups and I was able to execute about 95% of my training plan. Over the last few weeks, I spent time running long, doing tempo runs, up and down the hills in the south of grand neighborhood, and running on single-track trails behind the Des Moines Art Center. I had been running fast and was looking for a sub 4:30 50k dependent on the trail difficulty and weather conditions.

My wife (and kids) decided to come with me to the event to see some friends that have relocated out to Milwaukee. My kids were excited to add Wisconsin to the states that they have visited. The trip up was pretty uneventful, and as we passed into Wisconsin, Ethan let everyone know that the Badger state looked way different than the Hawkeye state.

We went straight to the sporting good store to pick up the race packet. The volunteers were awesome. I had no idea where the start of the race was, and without hesitation, the lady drew out a map and gave us what would turn out to be perfect easy to follow directions. The race swag for the 50k included socks, technical shirt, a couple water bottles, and a nice reusable bag. After doing some quick browsing through the store, and checking into the hotel, we were off to the Delafield BrewHaus. I ate a great pre race supper of grilled chicken parmesan with whole wheat penne noodles. (Thanks to Melissa for pointing this out to me on the menu!)

With a short trip back to the Holiday Inn Express, the boys and I changed and we were off to the pool for quick swim. After that, Gabe pointed out it was the season premier of STAR WARS:CLONE WARS so we sat back and watched. Everyone was sleeping by 9:30. Perfect relaxing evening for the day before the race!


The race started at 7 a.m., so I set the alarm for 5:15 to get something in my stomach (banana and cliff bar) and get dressed and prepared for the race. At 5 a.m. I woke up to booming thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Well, at least I wasn’t running the 50 mile that started at 5. Yuck - It looked like the storm was moving pretty fast, but the rain would make the trail course a bit sloppy for everyone.

Melissa got the boys up and we headed out the door for the 20 minute drive around 5:50. We were heading down the stairs to our car when we bumped into someone in the hall. It was a narrow hallway. With a polite “excuse me” offered, we moved on. Once we got into the car, I asked me wife if she knew who that was who we bumped into in the hallway. “No – should I know him?” “That was Dean Karnazes – Ultramarathon Man!”

After the quick drive, we pulled up to start of the race. With it being chilly and raining, I left the family in the van, not sure if I would make it back to the van to wish them a good morning. They wished me well and decided to hang out for bit. I worked my way over to the start line, used a restroom one last time, and began to walk toward the start line with the skies once again opened up. It poured for a few minutes and started to taper off. I walked over to the start line when it let up and decided to camp under one of those portable patio heaters.

With a couple minutes to the race starting time, I found myself in the front of the crowd. Dean magically appeared and wished us well on our endurance run. I also looked over and saw my wife and kids at the start line! I’ll take those smiles over Dean’s any day! (Sorry Dean!)

The start of race went out about a ¾ mile stretch of flat road. I started out fast (marathon pace 7:16) and it was quick to see a couple of groups form at the front of the pack. Three guys went out really fast, and then there was another group of about 6 including me. The trail was in better shape than I anticipated but it was sloppy in places. After the fast start, I was about 7th in the placing up to the first aid station.

The first aid station was set up with water on the table first as you ran up to it, then the GU electrolyte drink, then the food and gels. I stopped at the water and handed my hand held water bottle to be filled. As I drank from a cup, the guy who was running 8th, shoved me out of the way to get to the electrolyte drink. I’ve never been pushed aside in a race like this before. Very UNCOOL. He passed me at the aid station along with another guy. I was mad. I decided right there that this guy was not going to beat me today.

I still wanted to run my race and kept his lead in front of me in check throughout the race; keeping him within a couple minutes of him if I had to turn on the jets.

I had one guy from the 40-50 age group pass me and I let him go. He looked strong, experienced, and was carrying plenty of fuel to get him through the race. I describe the type of body he had as one that is built like a shark in water – he had long legs, no body fat, and was built for speed.

The timber lined trail turned to marshland/prairie. I slogged through a couple of spots where there was ankle high water in spongy grass. Another area was pretty much mud with no footing. The miles passed as I fueled myself on GUs, water, heed, and S-Caps.

The race began to turn interesting around mile 24. I had kept behind “shover” for long enough and decided to make my move. I ran up upon him on a hill. He was walking and didn’t look like he had much left in the tank. I passed him and now regret that I didn’t give him “the look” made infamous by Lance Armstrong.

I continued to run and eventually was caught by another 40-50 age grouper. He was running strong and we ended up running together for quite some time. He started the conversation when it started to rain for about a half hour with some lightning “This is F..ing great.” I hinted some sarcasm in his voice. From there, his conversational style only became a bit rougher. Yeah, I think three words were the limit before he must felt the need to insert some type of swear word. And I think he hit that limit twice during our 20 minute conversation.

As we talked, some guy came ripping by us. We both looked at each other in amazement and wondered where this guy came from. We found out that he was a 50 miler and ended with a time of 6:15 minutes for 50 miles. Crazy fast… Anyway, the guy I was running with ended up about 30 seconds ahead of me and ran a great race.

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. I slowed a bit during the last 10 miles, but at that point, was concerned about hanging onto my place in the race versus trying to get too beat up along with making sure I stayed ahead of “shover”. I came into the finish and was happy to hear the announcer state “It’s dad!” as my two boys were cheering loudly for me.

Overall, it was a great race, a PR at the 50k distance, a well supported trail run with great volunteers, and one that I hope to do again – OR maybe try the 50M distance…..

1 hr prior to the race – banana and peanut butter chocolate crunch cliff bar
15 min prior – Vanilla Bean GU
60 oz of water
40 oz of HEED (orange flavor)
GUs – 3 Vanilla Bean, and 3 Espresso Love
S-Caps – 3 caps (1 per hr)
Handful of pretzels at the last aid station

Electrolyte Lemon/Lime Drink – 20 oz
Turkey Sandwich on a wheat hard roll
Cranberry walnut salad
2 monster cookies

Splits -

1 – 7:17
2 – 8:05
3 – 8:13
4 – 8:02
5 – 7:41
6 – 7:47
7 – 8:33
8 – 8:08
9 – 7:53
10 – 8:27
11 – 7:51
12 – 8:51
13 – 7:43
14 – 7:46
15 – 7:59
16 – 7:36
17 – 8:52
18 – 7:39
19 – 7:38
20 – 9:40
21 – 10:05
22 – 8:13
23 – 9:27
24 – 8:53
25 – 9:01
26 – 9:14
27 – 9:34
28 – 10:19
29 – 8:52
30 – 9:52
31 – 7:44


Idiot Runner!

Whenever I see runners in extreme heat or extreme cold or in lightning, I think to myself, "WTF are they doing???"

However, I can't count the number of times I've actually been an "idiot runner." Today was one of those days.

I went at 10 am because it was much cooler at 10 am that at 11 am (NOT!). Slow long run was the plan for the day. I quit at 1 hr and 25 minutes instead of 1:30 scheduled. My coach thought it was a good idea to call it early (did I mention I now coach myself?). I ran 9.66 miles or about an 8:48 pace over all. I carried water and stopped at a Kum and Go to refill (local gas station, and yes the name barely passes Iowa's decency laws!) . People can be really nice when you look like you are about ready to pass out due to the heat; or maybe they were just thinking IDIOT RUNNER!

Heat Index at the end of my run = 104.

YTD miles - 1496.7


Aftron Trail Run - Race report

Afton Trail Run (ATR) – 50k
July 3, 2010

4:49:58, 4th in the men’s open, 8th Overall.

It was hot at the start (73 degrees) and at the end (85 degrees). There were hills – lots of them; more than I remembered. The down-hills were quadbusters….


The day started early, about 4:30 and uneventful. My brother, wife, and kids were planning on coming out for the end of the race and so I was on my own for race day morning. As I drove out to the race, I ate my pre-race meal of a cliff bar, banana, and about 30 oz of high quality H2O.

I arrived at the race site around 5:30, about an hour before the race. I seem to get a little anxious before big races, and this was no exception. The check in process went smooth – no lines that early in the morning. On the way back from check-in, I met John and Beth in the parking lot, and it helped ease my pre race jitters. They were on their way to check in and I told them I would meet them back at the car. I had some last minute race preparations.

I double checked my “fuel” within my Race Ready Shorts which has enough pockets to hold 2 small pill bottles filled with HEED, 3 GUs, and 4 S Caps without any problems. After my pre-race GU, I found Beth and John and we headed over to the start line.

The warm morning started off as usual at this ultra. It was low key, a small gathering of around 150 runners. There was a minor agenda prior to the race – an award to the ATR for over $25,000 in donations over the 17 year history of the race.

With a couple of announcements such as “Keep the flags at your left – there are many trails, but only ONE course!” and “Run as hard as you can for as long as you can!” and the traditional – “Go!” we were off.

The first five miles of the race were much hillier than I recall from previous races. It was hard to get into a good rhythm, as I would run solid about ¾ of mile at a sub 8 minute pace, only to go straight uphill the last ¼ mile making my splits around 8:30 for the first part. No one really caught my attention besides one guy who could really run downhill. He passed me on every down hill for the first 4 miles; the problem was he was going way to slow on the flats and up hills. I thought to myself that that guys quads were going to be a mess at the end of the race.

As I was running the first five miles, the thought about how tough this race really settled in. I could not find a solid pace to stick with; it was terribly warm already and without doubt was going to get warmer. From the start, I thought there were around 20 people in front of me. The people that were running around me started tor drop, but I never really could tell how many people were in front of me. It annoyed me to not know where I was in the field, but I thought I was probably where I was at least year’s race – just at or right inside the top twenty. At that point, I decided I just needed to forget about the people in front of me and just run my race. About mile 6, I started to feel better.

I stuck to my nutrition plan, having a GU every 40-45 minutes, refilling my water bottle with my HEED mix every hour – topping off with water every chance I had to get the 24-30 oz of water/heed mix per hour.

I was beginning to feel more in the groove – I still believe the toughest five miles out on that course are the first five (and then again from miles 16-21).

About 7 miles into the race and after a long decent, you hit one of, what I call, the big 3 hills. Although this hill is a long gravel road, it must be about a half mile long in total with a slight “runable” incline in the middle of the hill. This hill just seems to torment me each year, just knowing that it is the first of three hills I detest, and then knowing that I was going to have to climb it again in the 2 loop course.

I soon found myself basically alone through most of the last half of the first loop. The course led to another open prairie section at that time, I counted about 8 people in front of me. I wasn’t going to catch them, and figured there were quite a few more people in front of them. Nothing else too much happened the miles clicked on by. The second and third “bad” hills came and went.

I pulled into the halfway point at 2:14:20. I was on target, but with the warmer weather, I knew I was going to have to slow down a bit so I wouldn’t risk heat exhaustion. I decided I would shoot for 4:45, just a bit faster than last year.

I started out on the second loop after restocking and fueling up once again. This time around, I grabbed my Ziploc bag that was filled with 3 more GUs, cliff bar, 2 pill containers of HEED, and a few more S –Caps. I refilled my HEED, ate ½ the cliff bar, and had my 4th GU of the day at the half-way point.

I ran through the terrible first 5 miles of the course basically solo. I came out of the wooded area to a prairie and noticed I had 2 people I could catch about quarter mile ahead of me. I focused on them and caught them on an incline that I ran and they decided to walk. One guy in my age group and one woman; I passed both with a runner’s “Keep it up”. They were both struggling. As soon I passed them, I had another guy, in my age group, pass me from out of nowhere. He went pretty fast by me, but then slowed, sped up, slowed and eventuality we were passing one another every quarter mile or so. We hit that first hill again, and we walked up together.

I found out his name was Rob, and this was a training run for a 50 mile event in the fall. He wanted to make it through the 31 mile race and feel pretty good. He started with a buddy, who was struggling during the first loop. Finally, he decided to drop his buddy at about mile 13 and he had picked up his pace. We chatted for bit, and were running together for about a two mile period. We hit a flat space and we both ran well. He was a bit in front of me at that point, but we came to an aid station and I passed him as he walked in. I was quick through the aid station and did not see Rob again, but I was just sure he was going to catch me all the way up until the finish line.

With about 6 miles to go in the race I came upon an aid station. I first spotted my wife’s beautiful smile, then my boys bopping around, and my brother, all looking in a different direction down a different section of the trail (this was a two sided aid station). It was great to see them, and finally I was with reach and had enough energy to yell at them. I came in and had my water bottle topped off again, and gave the boys high fives. My wife and brother both said that I was doing really well, and both said that I was likely in the top ten. What?? Top Ten?? No way. My time was similar to last year at this point, and last year I came in 19th.

At this point in the race, the down hills really had torn up my quads. It hurt more to walk than run, so I simply just ran as much as could. I passed one more guy shortly after the aid station on the last really bad hill. He was struggling and I didn’t think he had the fuel to catch me in the end.

Overall, I was happy to be up in the standings 11 spots. With the heat, I was happy with just coming in faster than last year’s time given the conditions.

Food/Fuel consumed
Prior: Cliff Bar, Banana and 30 oz of water (1.5 hours before); Espresso Love GU (15 min prior)
During: HEED refill topped with water every hour (dumped out each hour and started new if some mix was in there) 5 total – approx 30 oz water/heed mix every hour; GU (either Espresso Love or Vanilla Bean) every 40-45- total of 7 GUs, ½ cliff bar at 15.5 miles, 5 S Caps, and pretzels at 21.6 aid station.

1 - 8:18
2 - 8:37
3 - 7:50
4 - 9:06
5 – 8:47
6 – 7:53
7 – 7:58
8 – 8:50
9 – 7:38
10 – 9:53
11 – 7:49
12 – 9:11
13 – 8:10
14- 10:09
15- 9:57
16 – 8:21
17 – 10:04
18 – 8:17
19 – 10:08
20 – 10:00
21 – 8:57
22 – 8:23
23 – 11:11
24 – 8:18
25 – 10:12
26 – 10:34
27 – 8:58
28 – 10:38
29 – 10:55
30 – 11:12
31 – 10:20
.1 - :44

Total Time running – 4:47:16 (official race time was 4:49:58) difference due to “auto pause” set on Garmin during aid station stops.

At the start of the race…..

Out on the prairie trail…

At the half-way point – 2:14:20 on the clock!!


With 10 days to go.....Taper!

Finally - after a few weeks of really hitting the running hard, it is time to start to lay off a bit!
Maybe I'll have to kick back and one of these to celebrate:

On Friday, I ran a 50k in about 4 hrs and 24 minutes. It was a great run to have under my belt with two weeks out. I followed up the 31 mile run with a 6.5 mile run on Saturday. The back to back days helps with the feeling of running on legs that are shot (muscle fatigue). Yes, my legs were shot. It was 31 miles the day before after all!

The past week, I did one last tempo run, where I had 8.5 miles in 60 minutes. Not as fast as I would like, but with the high humidity and temps in the 90s, it was a solid run in hindsight (while running it, I thought it was way to hard and way to slow!).

I know go pretty easy until race time, letting my legs feel rested for the race. I've started my pre-race rituals - checking the 10 day weather outlook, looking at past results to see where I should pinpoint my goal time, etc.

For the ultra running geeks, this weekend is shaping up to be a great race weekend at Western States 100. There is great competition at WS100 this year and it will be fun to see how it plays out. Just to call out the men's race picks - Geoff Roes or Hal Koerner - it is a toss up - slight edge to Roes based on what I've read.

6/17 - 5.5 miles
6/18 - 31 miles
6/19 - 6.5 miles
6/20 - OFF
6/21 - 9.2 miles
6/22 - 10 miles (8.5 @ 7:03)
6/23 - 10.6 miles

YTD - 1370.6 miles


Training, Training, and More Training

It has been a while since my last post. If you ask what I've been up to, basically, the title sums it up.

With two younger boys in baseball, finishing up school recently, and now all the summer activities, it has been about a full time job being a scheduler, chauffeur, and athletic supporter (ha!).

I have had a few longer runs built into my training plan for 50k Afton Trail run on July 3rd and have actually managed to get them in. One run recently involved me getting up at 3:30 am to be running by 4 am. With a 4 hour run, and some stops, the total run finished up around 8:30 am. Then off to work - but I did get the run in!!

With all the training, I feel pretty good moving toward the 50k. I have a couple more hard workouts left, including a 4.5 hour easy run and a 60 minute tempo run, then begin to taper around 10 days out from the race.

A few random take aways from some runs over the past month -
1- Proper fueling does help!! At Ice Age, I ran out of gas and I decided that I would focus on proper fueling for Afton. So, I found that I really like GU. Seriously, I have started to use these and I can really tell they help. I rarely feel like I'm running out of gas during my runs by using the GUs to help provide the proper nutrition. I have two flavors that seem to work for me: vanilla bean and Espresso love.
On longer runs, I try and space these out about 45 minutes each. On a three hour run, that means about 4 of them. With a 4 or 4.5 hr run, this means 5 or 6. I try and use the vanilla bean for most of the run, and when things start to get tough or I feel like I'm going to hit the wall, I'll use the espresso love with 2x the caffeine to help get me through it. Along with using HEED, there really is no excuse to run out of gas like I did at Ice Age.

2- I recently upgraded my phone to a myTouch android phone. I'm not that different than others in this category, moving to a smart phone, but I did find out about the versatility of the phone and apps that I can use. For my runs less than 2 hrs, I feel comfortable using my phone for both music (through Pandora app) and GPS distance and time (through Cardio Trainer).

3 - I've recently started to follow more blogs regarding "elite" ultra trail runners. Geoff Roes, Karl Meltzer, Hal Koerner and the likes. My biggest takeaway is the difference in training each one of these elites do. Some do just over a hundred miles a week, others do 200. It amazes me that there is this much difference in training for these elites. I have always thought the more mileage the better, but after reading blogs, it really does come down to 2-3 long runs a week, mixed in with some solid tempo running, and some hard hills. Each one also stresses the importance of recovery and feeling strong. It will be interesting to see how Western States pans out this year - my two picks are Geoff and Hal in that order.

Okay - here is the list of daily workout runs - (I have also linked my new web based training log at the top of the blog!)

5/20 - 7 miles
5/21 - 16.6 miles
5/22 - 8 miles
5/23 - 5.2 miles
5/24 - 8.2 miles
5/25 - 7.4 miles
5/26 -11.6 miles (Progression)
5/27 - 8.4 miles
5/28 - 17 miles (trail)
5/29 - OFF
5/30 - 4 miles
5/31 - 7 miles
6/1- 9.1 miles (54 min @ 6:50)
6/2 - 13.1 miles
6/3 - 8.25 miles
6/4 - 20 miles
6/5 - 14.2 miles
6/6 - OFF
6/7 - 7.51 miles
6/8 - 7.51 miles
6/9 - 10.89 miles
6/10 - 5 miles
6/11 - 28 miles
6/12 - OFF
6/13 - 7.33 miles
6/14 - 8.25 miles
6/15 - 12.41 miles (4 X 15 min at 6:40 pace)
6/16 - 12.46 miles
YTD - 1297.8 miles


Ice age 50k race and nutrition report

Summary -

Solid race, if you took a look at the results, 1 1/2 minutes was the difference between 13th (4:29:38) and 8th (4:28:04). I didn't use a watch at all for the race, my Garmin lost its charge overnight and my non-GPS running watch battery died last week. I had no idea about time while I was out on the course. That led me to be off regarding my fueling plan; I took too long to take my gels and not enough lytes. I was stuck holding two GU's at the end of the race that I should have used.

I ran out of gas the last two miles. I was well trained and had a good plan, I just didn't fuel properly and I had nothing left in the tank for the short steep up hills at the end. I was pretty much 14th the entire race, up to 13th about mile 20; then as high as 11th in final 4 miles. I gave back two spots in the final half mile - I hate getting passed that late in the race.

Overall a solid race, just a bad taste in my mouth regarding my watch issue, missing out on my fuel plan, and getting passed in last half mile. I'm thrilled to get a 4:30 on this tough of a course.

More details:

Although there were cool temps and a forecast of 30 mph winds, the winds were really not a factor as the course was shielded from the wind throughout the race. There were a couple of sections where it was "open" and wind was a cross wind vs. a head wind - it just made it chilly at those spots.

The first big decision of the day was about the shoes. Which shoes do you wear for a race on a trail - trail shoes or road shoes?

I went with the trail shoes..... My Garmin mysteriously lost its charge overnight and my regular non- GPS running watch battery died the week before. I ran the race without a clock attached to me.

Here is a picture of the start line - sorry for the blurry pic - best I could find! I am just to the left of the guy in the bright yellow shirt on the left 1/3 of the picture - I am wearing the navy running baseball style hat!)

I figured a good start would be under 2 hours for the out and back 13 mile section. Started hard and ran a solid. I found a "pacer" and decided to stick with him for a while. After the turnaround, I saw John on the way back in - he mentioned something about 59 minutes - I was about 7 miles into the 13 mile out and back - okay, I think I was on target....

(From the picture below, you can see the out and back section followed by the loop which we did - twice!)

The 13 mile out and back section leads us back to the start line - I was expecting my first glimpse of a clock. There was none to be found. I thought I was running a little fast, but I felt good, so I kept pace. About a half mile into the Nordic loop - I settled into a pace next to someone who was running the second leg of the 50k relay. He let me know the official time was 1 hr and 54 minutes. WOW - I was way ahead of where I thought I would be and realized I had a good shot of running a 4:30 trail 50k.
The loop was pretty uneventful, but I noticed a few steep up hills. I realized these would not be fun on the second lap. Also, I forgot where the aid stations were, I thought the aid station was about 4 miles into the loop - it was six. I thought I was never going to get there!! I finally saw a sign that said the next aid station was a short 97 trees away... (It was short; imagine counting trees in a dense forest...)

After the first loop, I saw the clock for the first time. 3:05:??... Wow, I just had to run 9 miles in hour and 25 minutes to get under 4:30?? I could do that!!
I ran next to a guy who said this was his first 50k. I mentioned he was doing a great job, keep it up, although it can and will likely get harder, it will end. He mentioned to me that he knew, he ran on the trail before – a 50 mile run and a 100 mile run (different races). Nice Sturm-Smith (duh!) – (I should have learned my lesson a few years ago when a guy asked me during a 10k what my 10k PR was. I said I didn’t have one – I never ran a 10k before. Oh yeah – I went to Boston earlier that year and had done about 8 marathons at that point – just never ran anything shorter than a 20k. Just as an FYI – I came in 3rd at that 10k race and the guy who asked me the question came in 4th.)

It was a struggle the last two miles, I walked quite a bit of the up hills - I just ran out of gas.... Without my watch, my fuel plan went out the window and I was stuck holding a couple extra GUs that I should have taken on the race. I passed a few people on the first and second loop only to give back two spots in the final mile. 13th overall and with a time of 4:29:38.

Running a sub 4:30 on that was a great accomplishment for me!

I headed back to car to change and get warmer. While I was changing in the car, it started to rain - HARD. Then it started to HAIL (pebble sized, but still hail!!). My thought was 1) that sucks that John is still out there; 2) I'm sure glad I'm done!

Nutrition Plan Review

Pre-race - Bottle of Water + Clif Bar + Banana.

The Race -

I detailed out my fuel plan prior to the race as follows:
GU every 45 minutes
HEED (20oz) + HEED (yes, they provided HEED!) from aid station (4-6 oz)
1/2 Clif bar at mile 13
1/2 bottle of ensure at mile 22.
S caps at mile 13 and 22.

MISTAKE #1 - Forgetting the S Caps.

Oops, I'll have to come up with something else at the aid stations...Pretzels??

I was running with a guy and I asked him how long we had been on the course. He said 38 minutes; I waited for the next incline and took my first GU.

For the water/heed mix - There was an aid station I planned to hit just before an hour. My plan was to start with a full bottle of HEED. I carried a pill bottle with 1 scoop of HEED in it and planned to mix up another batch at the first aid station.

MISTAKE #2 - Turned around without actually stopping.

I drank almost all of my HEED mix at that point, but did not refuel. After I turned around and ran about a half mile - I thought - "THAT was stupid, you needed to reload!!" I missed out not only on my 20 oz HEED refill, but also the 4-6 oz of additional HEED I would have been able to get from the aid station.

MISTAKE #3 - Not having a watch.

I lost track of time, took my second GU around hour 2. Not too bad, but I was behind from what I though I might need. I stopped at the drop
area/cooler and picked up new handheld bottle of HEED and ate 1/2 cliff bar.

MISTAKE #4 - Ran the loop - didn't drink enough HEED.

Stopped at the AID station about mile 19 (2 hrs 40 minutes into the race??) Grabbed some HEED off the table and had them top off my hand held with water. It was only about half empty. Grabbed 4-5 pretzels (is that a substitute for S caps??) and a quarter of a PB and jelly sandwich because it looked good.

MISTAKE #5. Ran by the drop area without stopping with 9 miles to go. The plan was to stop, dump my water/heed mix and fill up with a bottle I had mixed prior to the race. I didn't stop - I only had 9 miles to go!(Funny how the mind works!!)

I did grab some more pretzels, I felt much better after having those from the last aid station. I also grabbed a cup of heed, and had my water filled once again with water only.

Drank the rest of water/heed mix, - took third Gel about 3 hrs and 10 minutes. That was my last GU that I took, but I still had one in my Race Ready shorts and one at the drop bag that I was suppose to pick up at the drop bag...

With 4 miles left in the race, I grabbed a few more pretzels and decided to just run hard and be done.

I ran out of gas with 2 miles to go. I made it through 1 mile okay, but the last mile I had nothing in the tank.

Overall - here is what I had:
50-56 oz of HEED

20-30 oz of H2O
3 Clif Mocha Gels
1/2 Clif bar
1/4 PB and Jelly sandwich
18 small pretzels
Part of me didn't want to stop to fuel up out on the race - I knew there were a few guys around me pretty close and all I could think about was the "time" I was losing by stopping at the aid station/drop bag. In the end, it would have better to stop for 30 seconds and been able to run harder at the end.
Since it has been a while since my last posts - here is the quick version of miles ran by day -
4/26 - 5 miles
4/27 - 7 miles (30 min @ 6:30)
4/28 - 10 miles
4/29 - 7.2 miles
4/30 - 6.5 miles
5/1 - 9.2 miles
5/2 - OFF
5/3 - 5.5
5/4 - 5 miles (2 miles easy - 1 mile @ 7:10, 1 mile at 6:05, 1 mile at 7:10)
5/5 - 5.1 miles
5/6 - OFF
5/7 - 3.1 miles (Strides)
5/8 - 31 miles (RACE)
5/9 - OFF
5/10 - 5 miles
5/11 - 8 miles
5/12 - 10 miles
5/13 - 10.5 miles
5/14 - 11.75
5/15 - 3.1 miles (10K Race with family!)
5/16 - 8 miles
5/17 - 6.3 miles
5/18 - 10.7 miles (50 min at 6:39 pace)
5/19 - 13 miles
YTD miles: 1032.9


The running week and a bloody nose...

The weather decided to cause havoc on my running week. Okay, I caused havoc on my running week and blamed it on weather.....
After the trail race (race report to come shortly!), an easy week of running was planned. Well - let me rephrase that - it was a week without speed work but some nice long slow miles.

All week, I heard it was going to rain on the weekend. I got really worked up about it, and sliding my Saturday run to Friday morning (also kids schedules played a role), and my Wednesday run to Tuesday. Tuesday run was a success. On Thursday, one child was sick, so it was my turn to stay home. No issues, I had planned to take the day off of running, and run Friday morning. Well, Thursday was a gorgeous day, Friday called for rain, and I didn't want to take more time off of work for running since I just took time off to take care of the kiddo....

Hmm....I could do the long run on Thursday night. My wife was going to be home around 7. I could start at 7 at night, end around 11. Okay - I can do this.

I ran 9.5 miles. Called my wife to drag the kids out with her and and come and pick me up. Bonk. Working around the house all day, not eating right, and doing a nigh time run were not for me.

Okay, long run had to wait until Sunday - it was suppose to rain.

So, yesterday, I went out - ran long, and had a really good run...some of it in the rain. Nice run in prep for the 50k in less than two weeks. Clif bar and Clif Mocha gels were used along with 40 oz of HEED. Probably not enough while I was running, but it was good enough and I felt fine after the run....

Well, until later that day...
When I was playing catch with my son and wasn't paying attention (yes, me, not my son) - he nailed me in the nose with the baseball. Hard. I think I've had two bloody noses in my life. The amount of blood that came out yesterday was nothing like I had ever seen. I could have ran to a blood bank and someone could have used the pint of blood I lost....

Anyway, all good. Next time, I'll be paying attention to the ball.

The week that was:

4/21 - 8.3 miles
4/22 - 9.5 miles
4/23 - 7.14 miles
4/24 - 5.77 miles
4/25 - 27 miles

YTD - 851.95


Running weather, kids, and the Twins!

The weather has been great here the last couple of weeks. The trees and flowers are blooming and it feels great to get outside and run. Getting out and running is really fun when the weather is as nice as it has been!
My oldest son's under 9 baseball team rocks. My son throws the baseball harder than I have ever thrown a ball - yes, even today he can out throw me!

My other son is playing tee ball. He gets bored and doesn't understand why he can't play "big boy" ball. Why does he want to grow up so fast? Tee ball is the best - there are no losers, everyone hits, and everyone is always safe!!

Just so I don't forget to log the miles - here are the past couple of weeks of runs. There is a race in there and I'll do a race write up soon.

4/9 - 10.33 miles - 10 x hill workout
4/10 - Easy 6.5 miles
4/11 - 7.5 miles
4/12 - OFF (Taper for race week!)
4/13- 8 miles
4/14 - 7 miles
4/15 - OFF
4/16 - 4 miles
4/17 - 16.5 miles (1 mile warm-up - 15.5 mile race - 1 hr 51 minutes and change - 7:11 pace for the trail race - write up soon!)
4/18 - 6.5 miles easy
4/19 - 7 miles easy
4/20-13.15 miles easy

YTD - 794.24 miles.

Oh yeah - after the race on Saturday - I was treated by my rock'n bro to this:

What a great afternoon!! By the way - the Twins won this game against the Royals! Twins are the best!


Be careful what you ask for.

As most of you know, I have a running coach who puts together my running plan. Basically, it works like this. I email coach and tell him I what races I want to run. Coach provides me a training plan that includes 5 to 7 running days a week, and includes a mix of one or two days of speed work, a midweek shorter-longer run, a weekend long runs and a few days of easy recovery runs.
(A shorter-longer run is a run greater than 10 miles but not nearly as long as the weekend run- see, I have lost it....)

Nothing too much out of the ordinary for any plan you might pick up from Runner's World, Running Times, or a book such as Advanced Marathoning or from legendary coach Jack Daniels in his book - Daniels Running formula. There are plenty of them out there but all of the long distances basically have the same formula as above.

So why hire a coach? I ran a 3:06 marathon without a coach and haven't run one faster since. For me, it basically comes down to three reasons.
  1. Injuries - I know have a history with stress fractures. Books don't exactly do the best job of making adjustments on the fly when my shin problems rear their ugly head.

  2. Going beyond the 26.2 marathon. Like I mentioned above, a plethora of choices for 26.2 training but going beyond seems to narrow down the training guides and books quite a bit. And even then, the message is not nearly as consistent as it is for the marathons. Some plans do not include speed work, others really rack up the mileage, etc.

  3. Keeps me accountable. I send a report to coach weekly.
I was taking a look my plan and noticed with my 50k coming up in May, on my schedule, my longest run was "only" 3 hrs and 15 minutes.

So the email looked like this...

I was just taking a look at my plan between now and the two upcoming racing (4/17 & 5/8). It looks like this weekend’s (4/3) 3 hr and 15 minutes is my last long run. This seems a little far out from the 50k to start to shorten the training plan, at least mentally. I trust your plan, just now sure about me mentally to go the distance of a 50k. Longest run so far this year was 22 miles. Thoughts?

I was hoping for an email to just run longer on the weekend of 4/24 - maybe 25 miles or so. Here was his reply...

4/3- 3 hrs. 45 min. ~27-28 miles
4/10- 60-80 min, EASY
4/17- Race 25k-- Warm up 3 miles, race 15.5, cool down 5 miles-- ~23 miles 4/24- 4 hrs- Easy- ~28-29 miles

Wow!! Serious mileage.

During the 4/3 run - it ended being on 4/2 due to traveling on Easter weekend, and I came in right at 3:45 with 27.66 miles. I've decided to pay attention more to my nutrition on these long runs. So I decided to track what I was eating just prior and during the run. I had a pre-run snack of a Clif bar and 12 oz water. Over the 3 hrs and 45 minutes – I had 40 oz of Heed (.75 scoop per 20 oz of water) and 6 fig Newtons (2 per hour at 1 hr, 2 hr, and 3 hr). After running that long I was a little nauseous. I went home, and had some chocolate milk for recovery.

After some review, I don't think I hit my carb target right. Basically, I'm aiming for 40-60 grams of carbs per hour and the above worked out to 25.6 grams of carbs per hour.

I don't have many long runs to experiment with, however, I did have a 90 minute progression run (30 min easy, 30 min at 7:12 pace, and 30 earlier this week. For the first time, I used a HEED and Clif Mocha gel together. I drank about 5 oz of heed mix after the easy warm-up, 10 oz along with the gel at the 45 min mark; and the last 5 oz with the 35 min left. I felt great through my run. Here are the products I used:

On a side note - I was running along a gravel road for an easy 6.2 miles one day. It looked like this. The road had recently been flooded so I expected some rough spots.

Looks like a pot hole coming up.....

Wow - this pothole is bigger than my car! Yes, I believe that a car was lost in the pot hole - do you see all that is left is a tire???

Anyway - the week of running that was:

4/1 - 6.2 miles - easy

4/2 - 27.66 miles in 3:45

4/3 - OFF

4/4 - 7 miles - EASY

4/5 - 5.2 miles of tech trail

4/6 - 40 min tempo run - 6 miles at 6:47 pace - total of 8.7 miles

4/7 - 30/30/30 min each of easy, race and threshold - 12.15 miles total

4/8 - 6.2 easy miles

YTD - 707.76 miles



I hit some trails yesterday. We've had some flooding issues, and usually some of these trails are well underwater. However, yesterday the trails were in good shape.
The first picture is one of three "water" crossings. I went over these twice, for a total of six small water crossings. I know, not really a water crossing, more of a running through puddle....

The trails were pretty technical, lots of turns and switchbacks, so it was hard to get an even pace. However, the small ups and downs and quick turns are great training for the Afton Trail Run 50k in July.

I was out for a total of 1:45 and ran 12 miles. Not a great run, but after Tuesday's hard interval work, I was happy to enjoy the trail running. It was a windy and warm spring day - about 80 degrees and decided to carry water. During the run, I went through 20 oz of water and HEED mix.

3/26 - 14.5 miles

3/27 - 6.5 miles

3/28 - OFF

3/29 - 8.15

3/30 - Split day - 8 X .5 miles @ 3:06; .25 X btwn with a warm up and cool down of 2 miles each at 7:10 pace - total 10 miles. 4 miles easy in the PM - total for the day was 14 miles

3/31 - 12 miles - 6 miles of tech trails.

YTD = 634.65


New Kicks, out in the middle of nowhere, and other random items...

Okay, after figuring out I had about 440 miles on my pair of shoes, I decided to switch it up. I read about these....Brooks Cascadia 5 Trail running shoes. These were designed by a fellow heel striker and ultra runner - Scott Jurek. (More on Scott here: http://www.scottjurek.com/#/bio/ )

Okay, Scott is in a different league than me, but still, a PT who designed a trail running shoe who is a heel striker? Sounds like some one who knows what he is doing.

I hit the trails over the past couple of weeks with John K to try out the shoes. Nice ride. I'm hooked.

John and I ran some land out in the middle of nowhere Iowa (I'm still not exactly sure where I was at). After "scouting" the land for about 4.8 miles, we came up with a 5k course. We ran it twice - once forward and once backward and came up with an even 3.1 each time.

The hills were killer. This was a tough 11 mile trail run. However, for some odd and likely unreasonable reason, the challenge was worth the 2 hour drive and the run was refreshing. I hope to get back there a few time before the summer races.

Here are a couple pics of the land

Rolling hills was basically all we ran, if you weren't going up, you were running down. Lots of good elevation change. Through the run, it was good to get in a 10 min mile. The change up in pace and terrain was a great way to mix up the normal pavement running.

While out on the run, we decided that we could hold a race out there. It would be an extremely challenging race.

I've recently switched back to drink heed during my runs. The mix seems to work best for me. Also, one item that is growing on me is this yogurt as a snack -

Also - I saw an ad in Ultra runner Magazine about Jason's Nut Butter. Organic peanut butter that I ordered and will try. It sounds yummy and it might be a good alternative to a GU pack on the run. Once I get it and try it out, I'll let you know my thoughts.
My running past for the past couple of weeks

3/11 - 5 miles - easy

3/12 - off

3/13- 21.2 miles in 2 hrs 50 minutes

3/14 - 5 miles

3/15 - 5.6 miles

3/16- Split day - 4 X 3k @ 7:10 with 5 min between - 10.75 miles; 3.6 miles easy

3/17 - 30/30/30 min E/R/T which worked out to e=8:30, R=7:10, T=6:40 = total miles was 12.2 miles

3/18 - Off (elliptical)

3/19 - 3 hrs with the last 60 min at race pace = 22 miles

3/20 - off

3/21 - trail - 7 miles

3/22 - 11.5 miles trail/pavement mix - easy

3/23 - 10 miles total - 1 mile warm up and 9 miles @ 6:47 pace

3/24 - 11 miles trails (HARD!)

3/25 - 5 miles easy

YTD total - 585.5


Sisyphus took my stone....

I've had a few great runs over the past week. While I was able to hammer away at my runs, it has been such a great change to get outside consistently to run. Spring is definitely close - I'm glad that John decided to officially pronounce winter over back on Friday, Feb. 26th at 11 am. I haven't touched a treadmill since. After this winter, the next time I'm on a treadmill for any reason will seem to soon.

Last Friday, I had something new on my running plan:
8 x hill?
60-70 seconds up
20 min warm and cool

Huh???? I understood the 20 minute warm-up and cool down - what was the whole hill thing - how hard should I run?

In an email - here is what my coach provided for an explanation - "For Friday's hill workout, depending on the hills that you have access to, ideally a hill that takes 2-3 min. to climb, moderate grade of uptempo, sustained running, probably T pace or slightly faster effort/breathing. Run the hill and jog down very easy, low impact and then run the hill again. You should fully recover on the downhill. The purpose of the workout is to get a harder, nearly anaerobic, strength stimulus while not beating your legs up too bad."

So I took off and found a hill. The hill is about .15 miles long and has an elevation climb of 250 ft. That is about a 30% grade. Although short, the hill is pretty ominous when standing at the foot and looking up.

I ran up the first time - 70 seconds, hard.

I do this again, and again, and again until I reach 8 times total.... and I am noticeably working harder to get up the hill in 70 seconds.

Afterward, I realized that I must look like an idiot just running up this steep hill over and over again. I guess it could have been worse if Sisyphus wouldn't have stole my rock....
After last week, I have a scheduled easy week this week. The highlight of this week was a 40 minute tempo run. I had a 1.5 mile warm up and 1.5 mile cool down with the middle 6 miles fast. (Bring it Tony!!)

Also - just cause I made it, a sample of this week's supper....

Grilled Chicken seasoned with Jamaican jerk and pepper served with brown rice and a few chips - and yes - the salsa and guacamole is homemade.


Runs since my last post:

3/2 - 9.15 miles (5 X 5min at T pace with 3 min easy between runs)

3/3 - 12.15 miles

3/4 - 5.5 miles

3/5 - Hills - see above - 5.4 miles

3/6 - 21 miles (3 hrs)

3/7 - OFF

3/8 - 7.1 miles

3/9 - 9 miles total with 40 min @ T pace (6:40)

3/10 - 10.1 miles am; 5 miles pm

YTD - 455.65 miles


Feb in the books

Inside my Franklin Covey Binder [and the answer is yes, I still use a paper binder to compliment my blackberry (work), smart phone (personal), and various Google calenders] is my scribbled upon half sheet action plan and running log.

Really - do I need all those things to stay organized??? I once heard only keep one calendar for everything and you'll stay organized. The calender in my Franklin is the key - but I do have a family calendar I check with, work calendar I check with, baseball calendar, etc.

Back to running....

Taking a quick review - the biggest highlight - or maybe more accurately non-highlight was missing the Run Toto Psycho Run on Feb 13. With the bout of injuries I've had lately, better to sit one out and live to run another day.

Coming in a close second was the full week of the 21st through the 27th. I was hitting most of runs on target - and feeling good. Basically, it felt good to go at the 7:10 pace for a lot of the runs during of the week. I ended the week with a 3 hour run, with the 6 miles at the end at that 7:10 pace. I'll take it for February.

I've let my nutrition slide, but will try to get back track in March.

New Race - I've recently signed up for the Trail Mix 25K on April 17 - just three weeks out from Ice Age.

Bring on the March madness!!

26th - 21 miles (2:49)
27th - 7 miles
28th - Off
March 1 - 5.1

YTD - 371.25


Pick it up Tony!

A high school pal, Tony K. posted a pick on Facebook of his "easy" running day back on Feb 16. Ever since than, I've been looking for a good opportunity to run some speed work on the dreadmill just to see if I could crush it. (His picture shows a display of 8.01 miles in 58:27 or a pace of 7:18 a mile.)

Yeah - call me competitive.... I know, totally one sided here as I'm sure Tony could care less what I'm running.

Funny how these one sided rivalries seem to exist in running. I have many one sided rivalries that keep me motivated. I have also heard many stories from some of my running buddies about other runners who they wish to beat in runs that just seem to edge them out in races. However that runner who they are trying to beat has no idea that someone is trying to beat them.

Another example from me is Helen - you can visit her blog - Live Life. Be Passionate.- on the links to the side. She crushed me at Afton last year (20 min) and blew me away (1 hr) at Lean Horse. She has no idea who I am, yet I'm going for her. In fact, she recently posted her goals for the 2010 Afton Trail run is a sub 4:30. I told my running coach, I'm going for a sub 4:29.

Funny, really when it comes down to it, for me, it is a matter of testing my limits and seeing how much I can push myself. Other runners provide me with a "measuring stick" of sorts. For example, with Helen, it is a matter of where I compare to her after each race. Do I seem to be falling behind? Or improving?

So Tony, pick it up. Post your picture. I'll be gunning for it.

Monday - easy 40 minutes - 5.15 miles

Tuesday - 10X3 min @ 6:44 pace, with 2 min easy - 7.5 miles (with warm-up and cool down)

Wednesday - 25 min E,30 min R,30 min T,5 min E - E =8:15, R=7:13, T=6:44 - total 12 miles (yeah Tony - I ran 25 minutes prior to the picture above AND I continued to do the 6:44 pace for the additional 4 minutes)

Thursday - a planned (and needed) day off.

Upcoming - Friday - 3 hrs with the last 60 minutes at R pace.

YTD - 338.15 miles


Yuck - more snow!

I know this picture is blurry, but you'll get an idea of how the roads were on Saturday morning.
I arrived at 6:40 for the 6:45 am departure time. From our running group postings, I thought we would have a nice small group at 6:45 for the first 7 miles before meeting with the Capital Striders' group at 8 am for the remaining 7 or 8 miles. Well at 6:44, I was the only one in the parking lot, and the world's greatest minivan pulled up next to my VUE.
John hops out of the van ready to go and says "It's just us till 8 - everyone else bailed (because of the weather)." Yuck - the day before we had received another 3-4 inches of the powered stuff - and this was really made the roads more of a sand like consistency.
We tried to imagine running on the beach for about 3 seconds, than realized if we were running on the beach we wouldn't be wearing stocking caps, mittens, and 10lbs of other running clothes.
I'm ready for this to be over! Bring on the 90 degree heat instead of the snow!!!
A quick review in the week that was:
My ankle seems to be healing fine and I'm pretty much back to normal running. I went a little hard this week, likely in response to being mad about missing the race last week.
Wednesday - TEMPO run - 7.5 miles - 30 minutes at 6:50 - 7 min mile pace with 3 miles of warm up and cool down. Yes, outside on the ice.
Thursday - 8 miles on the treadmill just under an hour.
Friday - 7 miles easy
Saturday - 2:15 about 15 miles. See pic above for explanation about slower pace.
Sunday - 8 miles in 59 minutes - Outside on semi hilly modified Drake half marathon course. The roads were much better......
YTD - 313.5
I know I have posted much about nutrition lately - basically, I get hungry and start eating so fast that I forget to take a picture.


The Run that wasn't....

Even with the ankle, I was determined to run.

My body had other thoughts though. Even with RICE, my ankle was only about 50% on Friday Afternoon. I decided to bag the race, call it quites before it even started.

Although the right decision, this was one I did not like to make, especially this race! PsychoWyco will always be a special race for me. About three years ago, John asked me if I wanted to do a trail race, something a little different than the road marathons that I had become so familiar.

Why not? Getting out on a trail seemed like a good challenge. I wasn't going to have to worry about speed so much - just finish. It was a novelty that I had wanted to try, and running a trail race in February wouldn't mess up my spring and fall marathon plan.

Well, fast forward a few years later and if I had to choose between a marathon and trail run, trail runs win hands down.

For me, it is about running on those 4 foot wide bridle trials, those single track mountain bike trails, the challenge of the different terrain, all those ups and downs, and basically; the beauty of the run.

Here is what I missed:

miles of running smiles!Reminding yourself that "it's all just training for Ice Age" (John and I started saying this about two years ago - since we actually signed up for the Ice Age this year, we'll have to come up with a new race to train for...."
Missed out on running with this Living Running Legend:
FYI - I emailed Kurt to let him know I could not run due to the bum wheel and it being the size of a grapefruit on Friday - Kurt's response was "That sucks. I’ve been trying to get mine to swell up like that all week."

Oh yeah, and I what did I miss the most - getting this muddy!!

Friday - 2/12 - attempted to swim, but ankle was causing too much pain and had to to quite after 400 meters.

Saturday 2/13 - my ankle was still swollen, so I did the elliptical and some spinning. The ankle was pain free as long as I only moved it up and down and not side to side.

Sunday - 2/14 - the swelling went way down, I hopped on the treadmill for 7.5 miles and all was good. No ankle pain.

Monday 2/15 - 10 miles, easy treadmill.

Tuesday 2/16 - 7.5 miles, hills

Ankle is about at 90%-95% with little swelling. Definitely not a 100%, but making progress to full recovery.

YTD miles: 268 miles


Seriously - ankle sprain??

I'm getting ready for the Psycho Race this weekend. This was a planned light week for me. I've done pretty well this week. I've cut back on the amount of running I'm doing to let my body heal, more so than I have in the past and I've been eating right - For example, here is what I had for supper on Tuesday night....

Grilled sliced chicken breast apple sandwich with a side salad. I had about 3 oz of sliced chicken breast, two pieces of whole wheat bread, 1/2 apple - sliced, and about a tablespoon of natural organic apple butter. The side salad was 3 cups organic spring leaf mix with almonds and a clementine orange with 2 tablespoons of Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Salad . This was filling and satisfying....

In prep for the race, I've contacted my coach and nutritionist, and have a solid plan for both the run and fuel intake needs. My running plan consists of running the inclines, flats, and downhills - walk the steep uphills. My running coach recommends I push it a bit on the second loop and try to run it all. I told him, this is tough race, but I'll plan to give it a shot. My nutrition plan consists of 16-32 oz of water along with 40-60 grams of carbs per hour.

The planned week of running was Sunday - off, Monday - easy 5, Tuesday - speed work (8 X 2 min on, 1 min rest with warm-up and cool down, Wednesday - easy 5, Thursday - off, Friday 20 min with strides, Saturday - 20 mile race.

Everything was going to plan until yesterday's (Wednesday's) easy run. I went outside and although icy, the ice had nothing to do with it, I hit some uneven pavement and took a spill. Second fall within a week. All seemed well so I got up, walked off the pain, and carried on my 5 mile easy Wednesday run. Although falling down is not something that occurs regularly, it does occasionally happen, so I really didn't think twice about it.

Here is what my view was from my work computer earlier today....

Yes, an ice pack taped to elevated ankle. This ankle is sore. My "ankle bone" is about the size of a small grapefruit or large orange. I've contacted my PT to get some quick solutions to stop the swelling and he recommends RICE. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Yikes, in the almost 8 years of running, I've never had this amount of swelling for a sprained ankle.

Hopefully, the swelling will go down, and I'll be able to take some ibuprofen to minimize the swelling/pain on the run this Saturday!!

2/7 - off

2/8 - 5.15 miles

2/9 - 5 miles with warm-up/cool-down and 8X2 with 1 min rest at 6:40 pace)

2/10 - easy 5 miles

2/11 - planned and now ankle sprain day off.....

YTD - 243 miles...