Thursday, December 4, 2008

HADD test - Inspired by Matt

I just read Matt's blog and was very interested in testing my aerobic level of training using the test known as the HADD test.
It's a good time to do it, as I am just starting to ramp up more miles and it would be nice to compare some numbers and see if I can improve in the next few months with the higher mileage.
Thanks for the idea, Matt!
For the past couple of years, I have been pretty good about training in my aerobic HR zone and have benefited greatly from this type of training.
My max HR is 190, so I chose to target the HR averages at 130, 140, 150, 160, and 170.
I feel that my lactate threshold is somewhere between 160 and 170 right now.
I did the test on a treadmill to try to get a very consistent environment to run this test.
So, here are the results:
Int#: HR_Avg Pace
1 129 9:20
2 139 8:22
3 149 7:48
4 159 7:19
5 169 6:39

I know that I am not in top running condition right now, but I am hoping to make some very good improvement just by increasing miles at low HR training (mostly 130-145HR runs).
I think that the best improvement I could hope for in three months would be to run the exact same paces at 10bpm HR less than this test showed.
That would be not too far from being in 2:59:59 marathon shape (one of my goals yet).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm OK

Hey, I haven't posted in quite a while. It's time I wrote down some thoughts.

Last night it snowed. About 4 inches of it. In fact, the snow started as I was running a 10 miler last night. It was a really fun run, except for going into the wind, when the snow/sleet mix was blowing into my eyes.

A new toy. Specifically a Blackberry Curve. I finally made the leap from a regular voice cell phone to a smart phone. I feel so connected.....Now I can text, email, take pictures, video, and lots more stuff I'll probably never learn. I even got my work email set up on it without bugging our IT people.

Better Health. I have been slowly increasing my mileage. The right tibia stress fracture has healed nicely and the leg feels better than ever. I have a few issues with hip flexors yet, but that is improving also. I have been doing more proprioceptive exercises to improve my running. This was much needed, as my balance and ankle strength were extremely poor.

Another Ultra? Yes, I am considering doing another ultra again. I really have not scheduled anything yet for 2009 yet. Any suggestions would be welcome....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New York, New York

Here's my race report from the New York Marathon.
There were so many events that happened that weekend, and perhaps that is why I have postponed writing anything about it here on my blog. I will just mention some of the highlights here - the things that will stay with me for a while.
The last time I was in New York was 25 years ago with some college buddies. I thought the traffic was the worst I had ever seen, drivers extremely rude, and the city was dirty. I did not feel safe walking downtown in the middle of the day.
Now, in 2008 the traffic is still nasty - but there is less honking (I guess there is a law with a $350 fine). The people are friendlier and I felt completely safe walking the streets late into the evening.
On to the marathon, or should I say the "Moving Sea of Humanity".
This is a really big marathon, but I have to admit that they have the logistics of this down pretty good. My only complaint was that I had to spend over 4 hours waiting at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island before the start. My bus left Manhattan Public Library at 4:30AM and the first wave race start was at 9:40AM. I visited with a lot of people before the start, and was surprised how many runners were from other countries. My guess was 50%.
Since I had minimal training for this marathon, my goal was a 3:30.
The start corrals look very crowded, but are not that bad. There were 3 different colors with 3 different start times, so actually it was a 9 wave start. The 3 different colors took separate bridge lanes and different street lanes until they merged together at mile 8.
The cannon went off, and the song "New York, New York" blared from the speakers. Everyone was in a great mood, and we began the long climb up the Verrazano Narrows bridge. This is the biggest hill on the course, so I took it real easy. First mile in 8:43. After that, I got settled into a nice pace of about 7:45-7:50/mile.
We ran through Brooklyn, later on we went through an area where there were a lot of rabbis/priests there. They had braided beards and really cool black top hats. It made me think of the Seinfeld episode where George was going to convert to Latvian Orthodox because of his girlfriend Sasha.
When asked by the Latvian orthodox priest: What aspect of the faith do you find particularly attractive?
George: I think the hats.
I too, find the hats attractive.
The run went well until the Queensboro bridge ascent started. This is mile 15, and I know this is the point where my lack of training was going to be my limiting factor. HR hit a high of 177 and my legs were getting heavy.
At mile 16.5 as we turned north on 1st Avenue, Mary was there. I saw her first, then she saw me. She got a picture of me here. I'm in the orange shirt.

There were so many spectators on this part of the course. We continued north toward the Bronx. It was somewhere here where the first 3:30 pacer caught me. I ran with him a while and found out that he was in a different start color and had an offset of only 30 seconds compared to my 1:30 offset at the start. I knew that if I fell back a little, I would still be in the 3:30 ballpark.
It was at this point that I came up with my own little "Challenge Yourself".
How close, without going over, can I get to a 3:30 finish? I started to do some calculations in my head after crossing every mile marker to figure this out. It was something to keep my mind occupied, as my body was being fully challenged in the final miles. My HR was creeping and holding at an average of 173 - OK for the last 5 miles of a 10 mile race, but not OK on the final 10 miles of a marathon.
I dug deep, soon I saw the 1 mile to go sign. Watch said 3:22:10. Ouch, I'm really hurting now, but just push it a little more. 800 meters to go - 3:26:05. I think I can. 400 meters to go - 3:28:02. Keep pushing, man this hurts...Finally the finish line. Hit the stop on my watch, it showed 3:29:59.76 - Official results say 3:29:58.
Oh well, close enough.
HR at the finish was 179 - that's the highest I've registered during a marathon, but what it really shows is that I am out of shape right now.
The stress fracture did not present any major problems during this marathon. Sure, I can feel some pain in it yet, but as long as I rest properly and ease back into the training, it will be fine.
I had a great time in New York. Mary and I saw a lot of sites, ate and drank at some very nice places. Yes, squid is delicious!! We even saw Dennis Rodman while touring the city. The squid/Rodman in the same thought pattern really does not have any subliminal meaning....I don't think...
But, most of all, it is good to be home. It's not so crowded.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 mile training run

I just finished up one of my last runs before I go to New York. On the schedule was a 10 mile run.
This last week, the right tibia was on again, off again with all kinds of pain in it. I am now thoroughly convinced that my shin pain has been a stress fracture. Not severe - but enough to set me back a couple months and set my sights a lot lower for any upcoming running events.
But, after a couple days of rest, it was time to get one more long run in the bank. I took a couple ibuprofen and headed out the door. It was a beautiful October morning - heavy dew, breeze from the southwest, and 37 degrees.
The run went well. It is starting to feel like I am running - not slogging anymore.
Came in with 10.07 miles in 1:20:57 for a 8:02/mile pace.
I am thinking that I will shoot for a sub-3:30 at NYC.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cornerstone is set

I've always read, heard and strongly believe that the long run is the "Cornerstone" of the marathon training program.
Lately, I haven't been running well. The tibia on my right leg has been a real pain. And not many cornerstones have been set for the NYC marathon.
In a prior post, I planned out how I was going to get my few last long runs in before New York. Good gracious, it is only 2 weeks from tomorrow!!
I feel a bit better about all of this today. As I sit here at the computer, I still have some sweat on my back. I did it. Yep, 20.38 miles in 2:51:01 (8:23/mile).
In fact, it went well. No major pains. I did cheat a bit and took some Vitamin I (ibuprofen) before the run though.
Things are looking up...
The cornerstone is set.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Getting ready for New York

Ever since I've been set back with this shin splints/tibia stress fracture injury, there has a question in the back of my head. Will I be able to run NYC marathon on November 2?
Yea right, I just ran a 100 miler late August, and was doing marathons for training runs leading up to that. Boy, have I been humbled. I have run a total of 120 miles since my 100 - that's about 17 miles per week. And I feel that I have been pushing it pretty hard to come back.
Now, it is three weeks to go for the marathon. Last week I came up with this short and sweet marathon training plan for the injured ultrathoner.
Dates are relative to the marathon date:
4 weeks prior: 10 mile long run
3 weeks prior: 15 mile long run
2 weeks prior: 20 mile long run
1 week prior: 10 mile long run.
There is some good news here. Yesterday I was able to run 15.2 miles. I even felt good enough to push the pace a little bit to 7:30/mile for the final 3 miles.
Overall workout was 8:04/mile.
I'm feeling a lot better now about NYC...maybe there is a chance that I can run a nice little BQ AND have a lot of fun doing it?!?!?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Schmoopie completes TCM!

Congratulations to my Schmoopie as she completed her 2nd marathon at Twin Cities on Sunday!
Before anyone gets ill to the stomach about this Schmoopie stuff, let me explain.
Mary is a huge Seinfeld fan, and the term comes from the "Soup Nazi" episode where Jerry and his girlfriend call each other Schmoopie all the time and it is outright sickening. It really is so annoying that it is humorous in a strange way.
Needless to say, we have experimented with this term of endearment and it is our warped way of communicating affection to each other.
Here's the YouTube if you're interested...funny stuff.
Back to the race:
It started to sprinkle a bit at home, so I drove up to Minneapolis early Sunday morning to watch the marathon. I was able to see Mary at mile 8.5 (DuPont and Minnehaha Parkway), then saw her again at mile 19.3 (end of the Franklin bridge), and then saw her just before the finish at mile 26.1.
Here is a photo of her coming down the final stretch.

Her official chip time was 4:20:14 which was within 2 minutes of her Med City marathon time in May 2008.

I was able to see some runners I knew, missed a lot of them, and cheered loudly for those that were wearing ATR (Afton Trail Run) tech shirts! This was the first time I have watched a marathon. It was fantastic watching the runners come down the final stretch...had a lump in my throat the whole time.

Also, today is our 19th anninversay. Happy Anniversay, Schmoopie!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Was it broke?

I haven't posted in quite a while. Here are some things that I have been thinking about.

My Training - A few weeks back, I diagnosed my running problems as shin splints. It was at least that. Three weeks ago, I was not even able to run1 mile any more. Sucksville!!!
The pain was residing in just my right leg. It really hurt about 2/3 of the way up my tibia. Very tender to the touch and the pain would radiate all the way through my body. Self diagnosis tells me that it actually was a stress fracture. The timing of the whole thing makes sense also. It has been 5.5 weeks since Lean Horse and 6 weeks is amount of time needed to heal a stress fracture properly.
Just in the last 3 days, the pain has reduced about 10-fold and it feels like I am running again!
I'm feeling very good about being able to recover fully and put out a respectable effort at the NYC marathon.

Schmoopie Runs Again - My dear Schmoopie (my wife, Mary) is running the Twin Cities Marathon this Sunday! She is in good shape to run this one. The forecast looks great. with temps in the 50's and 60's.
This will be her second marathon. Her first was Med City Marathon in Rochester, MN on May 25. I paced her on that one and she did fantastic - finishing in 4:18:55!
I wish her all the best, as I may have to stay home on Sunday, tending to some fall harvest duties. Maybe it will rain, and I can get up there and cheer her on!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

48 hour treadmill record?

On Monday, my sister informed me that Dean Karnazes was attempting a 48 hour treadmill record on "Live with Regis and Kelly" during Guiness world record week on the show.
I've been tuning in a bit on the live feed, interested in seeing if he can do it.
Here is the link: (click on the 48 hours of Running live feed when you get there)
I just tuned in this morning, and he is moving quite well (43.5 hours into it).
There is not a mileage readout or counter there, so I have no idea how many miles he is at, or even what the record mileage he is seeking.
(My guess is that it is somewhere over 230 miles for the record)
I know that the mention of Dean amongst ultra runners usually has two responses.
For me, if it weren't for Dean - I would NEVER have run or considered running an ultramarathon.
Thanks, Dean - now go get that record!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Post-100 blues/recovery

I've got to be honest here.
Running wise, the past 18 days have been rough.
I put myself back to running only 2 days after completing my first 100 miler. I knew after I completed Lean Horse that I did not incur any sort of permanent injury (for which I am extremely thankful).
The reason I attempted to run that soon was that I am a firm believer that after a difficult race where you build a lot of muscle soreness (lactate), you just need to get out there and push through it and flush the "bad stuff" out of your body. I went out and ran, but it was like I was using someone else's body. Running stride was difficult and it just plain HURT all over - but nothing specific.
A few days later, the runs produced some very specific pains - SHIN SPLINTS!!
Shin splints are usually related to MTSS or medial tibial stress syndrome. It's painful, and can take a while to get through. I remember having them a couple of years ago, when starting to increase miles significantly. I'm certain now that the repetitive stresses of running 100 miles led to this.
So, I've been icing, stretching, toe raise exercises, biking more, resting more, to see if I can whip this thing.
It really sucks not running. Right now, I haven't run for 3 full days and am going nuts.......
I will try a short run tonight, as some of the shin pain has finally subsided today.
I feel that I am starting to pressure myself to get some solid training in before the NYC marathon on November 2, but I really need to get fully healthy first.
Anybody that has suggestions how to get through this the best way possible- I'm willing to listen.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good Luck to Superior Sawtooth 100 participants!

Good luck to all of the runners participating in the Superior Sawtooth 100 this weekend.
Adam Harmer , Julie Berg, Steve Quick, Carl Gammon, Pierre Ostor, Daryl Saari, Matthew Patton, and Helen Lavin are just a few of the runners I have met or had contact with in the past few months. I will be supporting you from afar.
I will not be coming up to North Shore for the run this weekend, but I will be thinking of you from 8AM Friday until I see the results.
Run smart, run strong....
Have a memorable time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pictures from Lean Horse

This is taken at Mile 16.6 coming into the Argyle Aid station. Running with my new friend Mike H. from Ft. Collins, CO.
This is coming into Mile 55 Aid station. Thumbs up - thats a bunch of BS....I think I did that to indicate that I was still alive.
This is coming into Aid Station at Mile 60. It is mostly downhill after this. Here is the finish. Glad to be done. Receiving my belt buckle and 3rd place Age Group award at 10:00AM the next morning.

Lean Horse 100 Race Report

Lean Horse 100 Mile race report August 23, 2008:
Short version:
6th place overall.
Long version:
Mary and I departed Sleepy Eye at 6:00AM on Friday, August 22, 2008. I had estimated our travel time to be 8.5 hours, and as I would find out later that weekend, it is good to estimate times conservatively.
We arrived in Rapid City about noon, so we had enough extra time to travel the scenic route through the Black Hills, past Mt. Rushmore, and travel to Hill City where the 50 mile turnaround is. That way we would be able to preview most of the course and still make it to Hot Springs for the pre-race briefing at 3:00PM. We also were able to find a lot of the aid station locations on our way.
The course is relatively flat from miles 16.6 to 83.4 because it is on the Mickelson Trail which follows an old railroad bed that has a 3% grade on most of it.
The first and last 16.6 miles are much different. They are on Argyle Road, just a gravel road that winds up/down the hills from Hot Springs to the Mickelson Trail. It is 3,400 ft elevation at Hot Springs (Miles 0/100) and 4,800 ft at Argyle (miles 16.6/83.4).
When I got to Hot Springs, I felt intimidated by the hills of Argyle Road. And then I saw ultra legends Pierre Ostor and John Storkamp. I visited with them briefly before going in to Mueller Center for registration and the pre-race briefing.
There was a pre-race dinner at 5:00PM. Mary and I sat down with the Wisconsin ultra guys. There was Dave E, Brian S, Rolf M, and Greg K. Also in attendance was Brian's wife Pat, and Rolf's dad. I first met Dave E. at FANS in June, as he took 3rd place in the 12 hour. It was fun to visit with them, and I asked all of them what the best ultra food is...Dave suggested chicken noodle soup, and Brian thought trail mix.
Fast forward to the race start. - Wait a second...did I mention I fell asleep at 9:30PM, woke up at midnight and lay in bed wide awake the rest of the morning?
Just prior to the race I saw Jamie Donaldson. She was busy getting her stuff together and I wasn't brave enough to just run across the room and introduce myself to her. Just maybe I'd be able to see her run for a little bit after the start. Jamie rocks the ultra world!!
We lined up outside, it was nice and cool. I would guess 48F.
Mary's plan was to run to the first aid station with me and turn around to get 8 miles in. She wanted to get 17-18 miles in for the day, since she is training for her second marathon (Twin Cities Oct 4). She was planning on running another 10 miles with me later in the day.
I pointed out Jamie to her, and we could still see her at the 2 mile mark and then she was gone. Mary got a bit tired going up the first hill, so she turned around at mile 3 and agreed to meet me at the mile 16.6 station.
Argyle Road was tough, but every time the grade got too steep I put a short walk to recover. It was around mile 5 when I met up with Mike H from Fort Collins, CO. Mike was running the 50 and we just did a lot of visiting as we continued through the Argyle hills. It was good to have some company and we had very similar strategies for this race. Mike and I ran and visited all the way to mile 23, when he thought he could push it a little more. I think he hit his 25 mile split in 4:07 and finished in 8:09.....can you say negative split on a 50???......WOW!!
After mile 25 it got pretty spread out as the 50 milers had turned back and the 100 milers were spreading out. Mary was doing a great job crewing for me, and always had new water bottles and supplies ready for me.
Mile 35.5 was shocking, as Mary told me something. I was shocked at the news.
Mary: "You know that girl that was running in front of us at the start of the race?"
John: "Yea, that's Jamie Donaldson - how's she doing?"
Mary: "She just pulled herself out of the race."
John: "Holy crap......I can't believe it".
Badwater course record holder Jamie had dropped. The reality of what can go wrong during an ultra hit me - no one is immune.
The next 6 miles did not go well for me. I was steadily climbing to the highest elevation of 5,872 feet at mile 41.5. But temps were rising, sunshine was bright, and my gut was tied in a knot. I had a good dose of trail mix at mile 24, PBJ sandwich and raisins at mile 30, and I was taking in 20 oz of H2O every hour along with 1 Ecap every hour. Sounds right, but my gut had completely stopped. I needed to take longer walk breaks and felt like crap. It was in this stretch where I ran a bit with David H from MN. It wasn't long and David pulled ahead of me for good.
As soon as I got past the entrance to Crazy Horse I made a gastrointestinal sacrifice to the side of the trail there. I felt a little better, and now I had an easy downhill 8.5 miles to Hill City. Mary met up with me at mile 45 and would run the next 10 miles with me. We made it to the turnaround, but in another mile I was puking again. We got to count how many runners came back from the turnaround. Eight runners, I was ninth. I got to see John Storkamp. He was in third place and looking great. They were strong and I felt weak.
Again, I had to walk quite a bit here. At the Mile 55 aid station it was time to regroup. Sat down, change of socks, new shirt, ibuprofen, and some Red Bull. At mile 56, I urinated for the second time and the amber color said dehydration. I continued to drink water, maybe more like 30 oz per hour. I skipped the Ecap.
Mile 60 got a little better, I remembered Dave E suggesting chicken soup...hmmm that sounded good. The aid station at mile 60 didn't have any.....carp. I sent Mary ahead to make sure there was some ready at mile 64.5. It was in this stretch that I made/broke a lot of deals with myself.
If I could run for 6 minutes, then I could walk for 3 minutes. When I got to the 6 minutes, I broke the deal and ran for another 4 minutes. I started walking, but after 2 minutes broke the deal again and started to run again. The running got longer and the walks got shorter. They were personal challenges against myself and I was winning!
Mile 64.5 had arrived. The chicken noodle soup went down well. I continued to drink water also. It was 5:30PM and it felt like the temp was dropping a bit. The next stretch went much better and my "deals" were getting to a ratio of 15:2 minutes run:walk.
More soup and Red Bull at mile 70 and I was feeling much better. The shadows were getting long and I grabbed my headlamp. Every aid station, Mary let me know that I was gaining back gobs of time on my "dream pace". I remember at mile 70 the volunteers told me that I was behind the next runner by 40 minutes. These runners in front of me were for real!
I was on top of the world, feeling fantastic. But, I kept in mind that this could turn quickly. I gave thanks and prayed that God would continue to watch over me. Got to mile 76 station and finally turned on the headlamp. More soup!!!!! This was my secret weapon!! I got news that I was now #8...a runner had dropped.
Mile 80 - more soup.
Mile 83.4 - end of Mickelson trail, more soup and Red Bull.
The next stretch to mile 89 had lots of rolling hills, but is net downhill. It was nice because the hills let you know when it was time to run or walk. At mile 87.5 I caught up to a headlamp.
This guy was walking, but weaving quite a bit. I asked him how he was, and his speech was slurred a bit. It looked like he could make it another mile, so I wished him well and started running again. I told Chris at Morph (mile 89) aid station about him...I hope that he turned out OK.
When I left Morph, there was another headlamp in front of me...only 200 feet ahead. He was running and it turned uphill. He continued to run. I walked the uphill. When it got level or downhill, I ran. He was looking back a lot. Then he would run, regardless of the terrain. I kept my own strategy. Finally after 3 miles of this cat and mouse game, he walked a longer time on an uphill. I announced "Let's call a truce....and get this over with. I'm 47 years old, how old are you?" He replied, "56". "Well, we're in different age divisions, so our finishing order here doesn't really matter that much does it?"
We visited a bit while walking up the rest of the hill. His name was Robert and is one heck of an endurance athlete. I am sure that he won the Senior Masters division easily. I encouraged Robert on and took off running, we had reached a nice downhill section.
Soon I was at mile 95.2 and Mary was there with more water for my last stretch. She was going to head down to Hot Springs for the finish. I was still feeling great. I announced my number to the aid station at mile 96, but did not stop. There was a hill to walk, but otherwise all running to the finish.
I cannot explain the feeling I experienced as I saw the humble finish line banner. Just fantastic. I crossed the line, gave thanks to God, and kissed my wife....and stopped running.
For you number geeks, and anyone that may have read my simple race plan:
John's simple plan to run 100 miles:
Miles 1-25 - 10:00/mile avg (4:10:00)
Miles 26-50 - 11:00/mile avg (4:35:00)
Miles 51-75 - 12:00/mile avg (5:00:00)
Miles 76-100 - 13:00/mile avg (5:25:00)
For a total time of 19:10:00
I did not believe that I had a realistic chance for this, but it was something to shoot for.
Actual numbers:
Mile 1-25 - 10:00/mile avg (4:09:56)
Mile 26-50 - 10:55/mile avg (4:33:05)
Mile 51-75 - 12:31/mile avg (5:13:03)
Mile 76-100 - 11:13/mile avg (4:40:32)
For a total time of 18:36:36 - TOTAL AVERAGE PACE of 11:10/mile
Beyond my wildest dreams......

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lean Horse Flash Update

I am alive and well.
Finished Lean Horse 100 in 18:36 (6th place overall) and had the time of my life.
I've got lots of things to catch up with now (work/family and stuff like that), but I promise a full race report (with photos) within 3 days.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taper madness

Yep, I've got full blown taper madness.
Lean Horse 100 taper madness.
I've had soreness in my shins, my left knee cap aches a little, a little stiffness in my hips, it keeps going on.
I know that I am perfectly healthy, but all these little twinges and aches are driving me crazy.
Now, I'm worried about getting sick.
I need to just get out to Hot Springs and start cure for taper madness I can think of.
Tommorow morning, Mary and I will depart Sleepy Eye and should arrive at Hot Springs around 2:00PM. I plan to take in the pre-race briefing.
Tonight, I will pack my stuff.
I will document my race goal right here, so that I can compare plan vs. actual after the race.
John's simple plan to run 100 miles:
Miles 1-25 - 10:00/mile avg
Miles 26-50 - 11:00/mile avg
Miles 51-75 - 12:00/mile avg
Miles 76-100 - 13:00/mile avg
I know this may be a bit aggressive for my first 100 mile race, as it points to a sub-20 hour finish. I'll do the best that I can to execute the plan and carry through the tough times.
I figure this might work since I had a similar plan for the 12 hour FANS.
At FANS, the plan was:
Hours 1-4: 9:00/mile avg
Hours 5-8: 10:00/mile avg
Hours 9-12 11:00/mile avg

My next post will be a race report on Lean Horse!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Countdown to Lean Horse

Only 5 days until Lean Horse.
I'm ready to get out to Hot Springs and run my first 100 miler. Right now there are 123 runners registered to run the Hundred. I will not be alone.
I find myself thinking about IT a lot.
I noticed that the 50 mile turn-around is near Hill City, on a street called "Deadbroke".
I guess I will go for dead broke.....and then do it again.
Co-workers think I am nuts. Others don't even comprehend when you tell them.
I had one co-worker ask, "So when's your next marathon?"
I replied, "Well, I'm running a hundred miler next week."
Co-worker: "Good luck with that one." It sailed right over the top....
I'm tapering well. My legs are feeling strong.
Saturday was my last preparatory long run. I ran "only" 15 miles. It went well - 8:30 per mile and I was taking walk breaks every 2.5 miles.
Went for 20 mile bike ride with Mary last night. Nice and easy and it was just what I needed.
I won't run much this week, probably less than 10 miles in the next 4 days.
Lots of stretching and rest.
Side notes:
I looked up some MN runners that were in CO this last week.
Julie Berg was at Leadville 100, but it appears that she pulled out of the race at about 100K.
I'll be looking for her race report.
There were a lot of MN runners at Pikes Peak and I saw that Dennis Wallach took 2nd in the 50's AG with a marathon finish under 5 hours.
Also, it sounds like the RTA and Afton runners had nice weekend runs under the full moon.
Way to go runners!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dress Rehearsal AGAIN!

This past week was a good training week. As I am starting to taper for Lean Horse, I intentionally ran fewer miles this week. No racing, just training.
I went for another dress rehearsal on Saturday morning, starting at 5:45AM.
Again, I packed the cooler with essentials and ran my 5 mile gravel road loop. My goal was to run 6 laps (30 miles) and take a one-minute walk break at 2.5 miles and another aid station break at home by my cooler to restock.
Temperatures were nice, started out at 60F and climbed into the upper 70’s. Relative humidity was extremely high at the start (90+%) and I was pretty well soaked by mile 5.
Heart rate averaged in the low 120’s for the first 15 miles and climbed up into the 130’s for the final 15 miles.
My goal was to average around 9:30/mile including the walk breaks and stops.
Again, the final 5 miles I skipped the walk break and felt energized.
Overall, it was a very good preparation run for Lean Horse.
I’m really looking forward to August 23rd.
I just received an email from RD Jerry Dunn that Jamie Donaldson will be running Lean Horse this year. WOW!!
She was 3rd place overall at Badwater ’08, and smashed the women’s course record previously held by Pam Reed.
Maybe I’ll get to run a few yards with her if I speed it up a bit…..

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dress Rehearsal

This weekend it was time to get back to some serious training for the Lean Horse 100. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running 50-60 miles per week. But I needed to do some “dress rehearsal” training. You know….running on really tired legs, running in the dark, running when you just plain don’t want to. I got up about 5:00AM Saturday morning and packed my “aid station” with ice, water, bandana, pop tarts (the breakfast of champions), gels, body glide, sunglasses, etc. The cooler was just loaded with all kinds of stuff that I might need when running an ultra.
I live in the country, and there are gravel roads nearby. There is a 5 mile loop around the section where I live. The gravel road is very similar to the surface that I will be running at Lean Horse.
The morning session went well, and I completed 23 miles at a 9:30/mile pace. I planned to walk for 1 minute every 2.5 miles and the plan went well. I took an ice bath and fueled up. The rest of the day went well. I took a short nap, sprayed some weeds in some fields, did some crop scouting, and did some much needed repairs on the farm.
For supper, we went out with friends and I had one beer, a Hawaiian pizza all to myself, and many glasses of water.
That night, I went out at 9:00PM for my night run. The first 10 miles went well, but miles 11-15 were a struggle. I was lonely, tired, had a headache, hurt all over, and felt like $hit.
I forced myself to run the last 5 miles, imagining that I was at Lean Horse in the middle of the night. I pretended that I was at mile 95, and I kept running. I forced myself to skip the walk break. Pretty soon I was feeling full of energy, the feeling was amazing.
I finished with over 43 miles for the day, 98 miles for the week.
Sunday, I felt tired but not bad at all. I even went for a 3 mile run with my wife that night.
I plan on running lower miles this week, allowing my body to rebuild and strengthen for August 23.

Friday, July 18, 2008

FANS memories

I saw that Steve and Adam posted their FANS pictures on their blogs, so I thought I would give it a try also.

This picture was taken about 8 hours into the race, and I was feeling the heat.

This is me and my "Schmoopie". My beautiful wife Mary was crew support for me during the 12 hours of torture.

Pucker up, honey!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Badwater is conquered!

Congratulations to Michele Santilhano, who just completed the Badwater Ultramarathon in 39:42:23!!!!!

She finished in 29th place out of 80 runners who toed the line at Badwater Basin on Monday morning.

I was somewhat wrong in my prediction of 48 hours, but I knew she would earn the Buckle for sure (under 48 hour finishers receive the coveted Badwater belt buckle).

I hope to hear from her this week, to find out if she went on to make the ascent to Mt. Whitney, I think she will do it.....

Here is a photo of her crossing the finish at Whitney Portal...

Yea.... she's still smiling!!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Badwater - Good luck Michele!

As I write this blog entry, two waves have started and the final wave of endurance athletes are about to start their journey from Badwater to Lone Pine.
135 miles of pure, hot hellacious torture.....

I've gotten to know Runner #38, Michele from Menlo Park, CA.
I first met Michele at the Rock-N-Roll marathon in Pheonix, AZ this past January.
I was the 3:40 pacer there, and this gal Michele starts talking to me at the expo near the pacer booth. She's telling me that it is her dream to qualify for and run Boston.
The next day, we go out and run the marathon, and I visited a bit with her on the course, especially miles 9 through 14. She was doing well, but slowing a bit at the time. She had an extra 5 minutes to qualify (she needed 3:45:59 or better).
Well, she ended up finishing around 3:43 and got her BQ!!!
I talked to her for a while, and she told me that race was the toughest thing she has ever done!!!
After a bit more visiting after the race, I started to find out a little bit more about Michele......She is a very accomplished endurance athlete and was being very humble in my presence.
You see, Michele has completed more than 6 - 100 milers, she has mountaineered the highest peaks on every continent, she's swum the English channel, swum to Catalina Island, and also has completed a TRIPLE ironman.
I met up with her in Boston this last April.
Yes, she got to fulfill her dream.....and more. She met up with some of her ultra buddies and ran the double that day, starting about 4AM and arriving in Hopkinton about 30 minutes before doing the timed run back down to Boston.
Back to Badwater, Michele is not the fastest runner out there, but you don't find them any tougher.
I predict that she WILL finish Badwater in under 48 hours.
I also predict that she will continue on with the additional climb to the peak of Mt. Whitney after she crosses the finish line at Whitney Portal.
I'll be cheering for you via the webcast!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oops,...I did it again....

Last night I made a great leap of faith and filled out my registration for an event that I have been contemplating for a loooong time.
I've considered this for the past year, ever since I completed my first 50 miler at the Endurance Challenge (north of Des Moines) last September 1.
I promised myself that I would give it a try if I got through the FANS 12 hour run healthy.
Then, I signed up and ran the Afton Trail 50K, and promised myself I would sign up if feeling good after that one.
Well, it's 4 days after Afton, and I'm feeling great!
I will step up the training for the next few weeks, and then challenge myself to another level on August 23rd.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gotta love those new shoes

That's right, I got a new pair of shoes today. Runners look forward to new shoes like kids look forward to Christmas. What a thrill to try them on and take them for a spin.
The shoes are Pearl Izumi Peak XC Performance Trail shoes.
I'm kind of a shoe minimalist, and these weigh in at 9 oz.
They probably don't have a lot of protection, but I don't run in real rugged terrain either.
I took them out for a run tonight (about 10:00PM), and they really feel good. I ran for 5.4 miles and wanted to keep going....
I will run in them a few more times this week, and it is likely I will test them out at the Afton Trail Run 50K this weekend.
Ah, the thrill of new shoes.............

Let's try this one

Last night, Mary and I signed up for the Afton Trail Run.
I'll be running the 50K, and Mary will do the 25K.
I spent some time looking at the trail and elevation maps. WOW
There are some monster hills on this run, but I am prepared to walk when necessary.
Should be a really unique Independence Day experience.
I am hoping to meet some more ultra runners at this one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

FANS 12 hour RR

FANS 12-hour race report June 7, 2008:
Short version: 71.21 miles
2nd out of 35 overall.
Long version:
This past Saturday, I participated in the FANS 12 hour endurance run held in Minneapolis, MN. This race benefits the FANS Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to inner city youth for post-secondary education.It is a very well-organized event in its 19th year of the 24 hour event and 7th year for the 12 hour.
My resume' in ultra running is somewhat limited, as my only prior official ultra was a 50 mile run last September in Iowa. I knew that if I ran with a plan, I would realize a pretty successful run at FANS.
My plan going in to the race was to see if I could average 9 minute miles for the first 4 hours, 10 minutes for the second 4, and then 11 minutes for the final 4.
The weather in MN had been quite mild this past week, but Saturday turned out to be the warmest day of the week.
On to the race....After a few brief announcements we were off and running at 8AM. A good 5-6 people shot out quite quickly, but I just sat back with my plan. For the first few laps, I was alone, even though this run takes place on a 2.42 mile loop around Lake Nokomis.
Soon I saw more people, passing them for the first time. A lot of them were in the 24 hour event and were being smart as the temperatures were rising quickly and the humidity was quite high yet from an early AM thunderstorm. The sun came out in full force, and the toughest going was from 11AM to 3PM.
I needed to back down from my original plan after 10 miles, as the heat was pretty tough and I knew I would not be able to sustain this pace for another 10+ hours. My dear spouse Mary was support crew for me, but she went to visit our daughter and estimated that she would be back about 11:00 AM. Here it was 10:30 AM and I was in desperate need of an ice bandana right now! She calls me up and tells me she is going to be late, because of all the traffic. When she got back, she made me the first of many ice bandanas that day. Those sure helped me to cool down. I was able to keep eating food all the way through 8 hours.
I got to visit with a lot of fantastic runners during the day... too many to mention (I forgot a lot of their names because my brain kind of melted down a bit also). There was a lot of encouragement every lap, including the MN RED group who had set up a tent and support area for their club members that were running that day.In the final hour, Brian (yes Hermosaboy's speedy racing friend and training partner) ran a lap with me. I really appreciated that a lot! We were able to maintain very close to 10 minute mile pace that late in the day, as the temps started to decline and humidity dropped.
After that lap, I had time to run one more lap around the lake before beginning the short laps (0.25 mile short course). Brian came out and ran me in for the last part of that final long lap.I had 19 minutes yet to compile some more distance on the short laps. I knew that I needed a few more to get over the 70 mile mark. I ran about 3 or 4 of them and got some real bad cramping in my stomach. I just had to walk now – because I felt that I would blow chunks in front of everyone if I continued to run. There was only about 7 minutes left on the clock.
When I started to walk, Hermosaboy comes up and walks with me. He didn't encourage me to run hard, he could see that I was hurting bad. After walking one short lap, and seeing that there was just over a minute left, I decided to get one more 0.125 mile in and broke into a jog again.I got the half lap counted and then the 12 hour odyssey was over.
Rob, I appreciate your friendship. Thanks for being there!
The winner of the 12 hour event was Adam Harmer. He is an extraordinary endurance athlete and compiled a little over 75 miles....
WOW!! Congratulations, Adam!
I had a great day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boston Marathon Race Report

The weather was good. It was a bit foggy before the start and about 50F. We couldn't even see the fighter jet fly-by because of it. It seemed that the clouds burned off right at start time and we had quite a bit of sunshine for the most of the race.
I had a goal of 3:10 for this one, and knew it would be a formidable goal on this course.I stayed on pace real well most of the race and felt very good at the half.The warmer weather was good, and it seemed like there were twice as many Wellesley girls out as last year. And they were LOUD!!!!
I passed a lot of runners on the Newton hills. I can't believe so many good runners tank it so bad on the hills.The fan support was really strong from Boston College all the way to the finish.My legs filled with concrete from about mile 22 and beyond. All I wanted to do want get this thing over with. I pushed as hard as I could at the time and finally reached the "1 mile to go" marker beneath the Citgo sign.
I glanced at my watch and it read 3:03:10.
OK, now I need to really work to get this 3:10:00 or better.....I pushed it really hard and the fan support was phenomenal.
I saw Mary about 300 yards from the finish line on Boylston and felt tingly all over as I pushed it to the finish.
Final time - 3:09:50
Mission accomplished.