Sunday, March 1, 2020

Without the use of flint or tinder

I have completed 3 months of training for the Big Hill Bonk.  The goal was to pile up some mileage, primarily to see if my body could tolerate the constant time on feet.  There were issues and the thought process was to try and figure them out.  December was a break in month of 404.7, followed by a solid January of 426.3, and I finished February with 451.7 miles.  This represents the biggest block of miles I have ever far.  I say run.  There was a far bit of walking parsed through there to get familiar with the backyard concept.  As mentioned before, practicing for this format means a lot of slow moving so you basically run out of having anymore time to run when one is on there feet an average of three hours per day.

The process did make me faster.  I ran John Dick in just under 4:41 on snow and finished 10th overall.  That's primarily on 10:30 to 13:30 minute miles in training.  Much was on tougher terrain than normal so I'm sure good strength training was taking place.  My goal was to not worry about pace at all and just get in around 100 mile weeks.  One real positive was I shuffled the shoe supports around enough as to were my right hip and back pain all but went away.  As any winter running and mileage boosts begins happening you do have to watch other niggles that pop up.  I have some of those, but nothing enough to prevent days of training.

At 4:27pm on February 28th I began my first of 10 loops of a distance of 4.3 miles in an hour.  I finished at 2:20am on the morning of February 29th.  I used the Backyard format of leaving right on the beginning of the next hour.  I made the distance 4.3 because it was all run on the road and also because 43 miles sounded like a long ways.  The times churned out were 52:55, 54:20, 53:33, 53:25, 52:28, 53:00, 51:57, 51:17, 51:58, 53:10.  I did not run with a light so it was dark after the first 2 loops.  It appears the running by feel had me running a bit hotter.  I also think at some point as one tires they automatically speed up to compensate for the tiredness.  That wasn't necessary, but I just let it go.  It was not that difficult except for the fact that in the last couple loops my lower back was shot.  So much so that I'll have to consider doing something, but I'm not sure what.  I covered 14 miles today on 2 seperate runs with no back pain.  That is good news.  I have a couple more ideas which means I may have to do another test, but certainly not 10 loops.

The event is 33 days away.  As a prolific eater I'll have to keep an eye on things.  I am already down from 4 cups of coffee to a half cup.  I do substitute decaf.  Some say that is no good either.  Neither are the bags of chocolate, or cola.  Look...I'm cutting out the caffienated coffee.  Get off me.  This ain't no coon hunt. 

How cool is it that Molly Seidel from Hartland (originally) were we live is on the Olympic team?  Watched her race once or twice here when she was a kid.  Congrats to her.  She deserves it.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Killing me softly

I am thankful for the mild winter.  Sure we get a taste now and then, but this has been good.  Many of the miles are tramped out in the dark mornings.  When it is a couple hours before the sun comes up and there isn't much going on, you get to hear many sounds.  Who doesn't like the sound of the distant train whistle?  If I am heading that way I'll try and gauge a crossing timetable.  One of the coolest sounds this winter was a large cracking sound off a huge pond of water in a cornfield. A common sound this week is snow coming off metal barn roofs and crashing into the gutters.  At first it startles you.  I think the reason it is startling is twice in the last couple weeks I've heard the sound of feet suddenly closing on me.  Both times it was a pair of dogs running down the road after me.  The one pair jumped the dog and honestly I did not hear them until the last second.  Neither did she so we fought first and didn't ponder the situation.  I landed a solid shot.  The ruckus caused the owner to whistle (you could not see his house back in the woods) and the dogs bolted back over the hill.  I think they were probably just being playful, but dang we had no idea and my dog gets like a German Shepherd on a rib roast.  She was on a leash with me.  That was it.  Everything turned out okay. 

Out running the snowmobile trails today I heard a woodpecker hammering away.  I also heard a screeching hawk which I do not hear often.  Pretty cool.  On really cool mornings with low wind you can hear the Hoot Owls back in the camp acreage. Speaking of German Shepherds, I saw a huge one off leash back on the snowmobile trails today.  The owner was near by.  I glimpsed them first so I just stopped about 80 yards away and let them go their way.  Look I get it, but I must say about every time I get on the trail just about everyone has their dog off leash.  And some of them don't like my sudden appearance, or my very close proximity to the owner.  Do people not understand the dynamic here?  Okay I'll try and quit complaining until I get served up again.

I used to complain about vehicles, but as a driver myself I have come to the conclusion to just get the hell off the road, or cross way over to the other side.  My personal take is that the elderly feel less inclined to budge much.  Perhaps it is the secure knowledge they have that they have been licensed drivers for 60+ years and have drove the tractor since being 7.  I'm being sincere.  Take your own poll and compare.  I cannot ride a bike for this reason.  I have to be facing traffic.

I'm thinking about 5 more weeks of solid training.  This weekend I proved to myself that 11-12 minute miles does not make me slow.  I ran pretty well at the John Dick 50k for me and still put in a decent mileage week.  Since the 120 week I have went 75.5, 100, and 93.6.  I'm a bit beat up from John Dick, but hope to seek a few more high mileage weeks.  Somewhere in there I want to get near a 10 hour effort.  I am slowly getting used to the concept of being on my feet near 3 hours a day most days.  Let's see what happens this week.  John Dick is a 5 loop course through the Southern Kettle trails.  It is an out and back and another out and back with an upper loop so you see people all the time.  Someone and I don't remember who said how far to the barn and I simply replied about 15.5 miles.  It only dawned on me about 5 minutes later they may have been referring to the blog! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What a winning hand

Hey man, I am busy at work and with other things.  The running has been burning up time.  I did decide on a cut back week of 80-90 miles.  Best to heal up a bit and absorb a bit of the effort put in.  I just told myself yesterday this true statement.  You are going to be 60 next year.  Flintstones, meet the Flintstones.  And butterflies are free to fly.  He used to love that Econoline.  Forget it Jake...

Last week 120 miles.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hand me down my walkin' cane

I got around to piling up miles during the week.  Actually, they are starting to come normally.  During the beginning of the work week I primarily run.  As I tire mid-week I begin to work the run 4 minutes and walk 2.5 minutes for some of the miles.  One can easily average 13 minutes a mile with this, in the dark, with some questionable running surfaces, and while under load.  It does help with recovery.  I covered 86 miles over the 5 days before Saturday.  Saturday is a freezing rain day and I wanted to get 20 in with about half of it running only and the other half with the run/walk effort.  I managed to accomplish this in my own particular way.

Here are a few things I am beginning to find out.  You can cover many miles in a week when trying to stay slow.  You also become slow.  I'm at the point where there is no more time to train in a day.  Part of the idea was to get tired enough so you could replicate what it would be like to do 4.167 miles in an hour when dead dog tired.  For me, at least so far this isn't happening.  Even today in crappy conditions I'm doing these in 53-54 minutes.  Which is where i want to be anyway, but I really can't add more miles during the week.  I suppose this should be a good thing.  Part of the goal is to get to the point where loops don't feel difficult day after day.  Well they don't.  You can't replicate what is going to happen in a last man standing event in day to day running.  Not even close, so I guess there will be 1-2 trials necessary.  I am thinking at least one at 40-50 miles, but we shall see.

My energy levels feel decent.  I should target a recovery week, but I'm somewhat determined to aim at getting in 500 miles this month.  This is as close as I'll ever get.  Certainly it means squat, but that's how some brains work.  I'll admit my achilles in both feet are starting to wonder if we are ever getting off the island, but I keep reminding them that Gilligan says we are close.  With travel coming up it is going to be extremely difficult to find the time to accomplish this.  Outside of this venue and a few close friends, I don't tell anyone how much time I spend out there.  It is certainly not healthy.  Now that winter is here you can be sure the blue skies and tuna fish sandwiches for everyone attitude is under attack.  Let's see how this plays out.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

I’m no fun anymore

I’ve stayed the course with my plan to learn to go slow and build up miles.  Once I get up to the higher weekly mile range the goal is to figure stuff out as it comes.  So you do get tired at times.  It is then when one gets to practice how they can devise strategies on the move to maintain goal pace.  Even tired, averaging 13 minute pace is plenty doable.  It makes me wonder how many miles a week would one have to cover to truly mimic that in a last man standing event.  Now I get it.  There is the idea of arranging the schedule to key in on doing precisely that with say a 40-50 mile practice run, but I’m also trying to pound the body to find and overcome my deficiencies.  My back/hip has not been an issue.  I have increased the elevation in one of my shoes to even out the leg length discrepancy.  As odd as it may sound, I’m not willing to skip around potential body issues on lower miles.  I have to survive the training and for me that is finding a way to get it done daily.  Off course I have other niggles, but it is amazing to me so far that they come and go.  Trust me some days I go to bed and wonder what tomorrow will feel like.  Surprisingly I generally am ready to go and the mild January weather has helped.

Not sure what the end game is here.  As of today I have a few concerns on a couple aches and pains, but it seems the easy pace does not draw them out like intense marathon training would.  The event is April 3rd.  Currently I think I will still chase miles and peak out around mid February because past that it won’t be beneficial.  Talking to Grub we both have experienced in the past that once you get past a certain point piling up mileage seems easier mentally.  I’d like to say that’s where I’m getting to.  Off course getting up at 4am and showering a lot is tiresome at times.  The reward is getting out there and then after awhile you don’t want to come back.  Not many people get to experience the feeling of time standing still.  Pure darkness and beard covered in a glaze of ice.  Running down the middle of the road seeing a car once a mile.  Good times.

Last week 110 miles.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Giants win the pennant

The year 2019 is in the books.  It is funny how over time one begins to look at how the way things are, were, and could be and discovers much of what goes down can be farcical.  I primarily keep to running because this is a blog about running.  Stay with me for a second as I just make a personal observation.  Is it because I'm actually older that about everything I am exposed to I'm finding a huge amount of bias being weaved in?  I process the info, pull out what my responsibility may be and move on.  I'm talking about everything from TV, work, community, running, interpersonal, sports, etc.  Hey I had a really enjoyable 2019 and I'm not trying to be negative at all.  I'm just now learning to listen and keep my thoughts in most cases to myself.  I find these three things the most challenging.

I've been a field guy at all levels for 35 years.  How about a few of you actually read or research what has been given to you, or is it "funner" to pull me off the road to point out were it is in the email.

How a simple request to grab your dog becomes a lecture on how Albert Schweitzer like your dog is.

Professional sports are almost a complete waste of time and serve no real purpose to me.

Okay that's not the big three I could really share, but these are good enough for this blog.

I ran 2,658.0 miles in 2019 and December was my biggest month at 404.7 miles.  I think I had one bigger month in 1978.  Nothing sticks out in terms of performance other than I ran Al's Run 8k in the mid 33's.  That's good for me.  We had a shake up in who I ran with the most this year.  Dewey has been the number one wing man for about 5 straight years, but getting a hip replaced knocked him all the way down to second banana.

1. Tim = 43 (state champ)
2.  Dewey = 34 (crew of the decade)
3.  Robert = 16 (up and comer...primary nemesis)
4.  Andrea = 5 (legendary polar plunger)
4.  Tim L. = 5 (the flying Dutchman)
6.  Crawford = 4 (Ginger Rockstar...goal crusher)
7.  Arena = 3 (Ice Age master)
7.  Clem = 3 (Ice Age royalty of the first degree)
7.  Blanchard = 3 (running and car guru)
7.  Steve HK = 3 (speed demon...talent to spare)

Tim, Dewey, Robert, and Tim L all runs primarily at Menomonee Park.  I did not list the dog.  Of which I must sign off as it is time to get her out.

Last week was 100.4 miles.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Mr. Heat Miser

I marshaled through 14 miles Christmas morning.  At first it was to be 10 and get 4 in later, but with the busyness of the day I just knocked it out.  Towards the end there is a local ballpark I tend to run around the perimeter on.  There is a little trail that does not look like much, but this time I ran it.  To my surprise it actually leads somewhere.  The one branch goes about a half mile to the Oconomowoc River.  The other branch after a half mile I had to turn back.  I’m hoping to explore this.  It has signs set up for snowmobiles so I’m hoping I can find a tie into the Ice Age.  It would be a cool find to cut out road sections.

The evening was gorgeous.  While everyone played cards I took Cookie for a walk.  Hardly any wind.  Very few vehicles.  Mid 50s.  As the sun was setting a farmer showed up to gather what was left of a big field of soybeans.  We watched the big equipment work for a bit.  It felt great to be outside again.  Some mornings throughout the year as I am taking advantage of getting out exploring, often I’m baffled at the lack of others not getting out.  I can’t tell you how many splendid days you can be tooling along and see no one.  Days like today...yes there are people out.  On a crisp 20 degree day with low wind...virtually zero people.

The Bugline trail runs near our place.  It is a 16 mile paved trail that is not plowed in the winter.  The snowmobiles get it then.  Now if your dog makes deposits wouldn’t you at least kick it to the side?  What’s the thought process here?  Also is it mandatory for bikers to drop the banana peels on the trail?  Dole sticker included?  And when I run down this fabulous road they put in by the house that looks like a speedway, what’s the deal with people chucking their garbage out?  Paint cans, beverage containers, fast food bags, etc.  It is a rural road about 2.5 miles long that curves through some decent looking area.  Not much traffic outside of those who live there.  Plenty of locals walking, taking out the dog, or bicycling.  Why are you throwing out your trash and destroying the new shoulders with the big truck tires?  I know this is everywhere, but give me a break.  Do I sound like an old man now?