Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lovin', touchin', squeezin'


It's no mystery to anyone who knows me that this is my favorite race.  On May 12th I finished my 17th Ice Age 50 mile.  You could not ask for conditions any better than what we had.  The rain held and after starting in the low 40s, I don't think it got any higher than the low 50s.  I started out conservative as usual and after 9 miles was in about 65th+ place out of just under 400 starters.  As usual I met a few new people and caught up with a couple others.  Dewey was on hand as expert crew so I could easily get through the transitions.  I chose not to carry a water bottle which suits me as I rarely train with one.  Once on the single track I made plans to get into a trail trance and tippy toe down to the turn at 21.7.  Again, only one quick pit stop on the trail and Dewey zipped me through the aid stations.  I did pass the conga line of 10-12 people at about 14.5 miles so as not to get out of my rhythm.  As the leaders started coming back I counted 53 people ahead of me roughly.  When it was my time to turn I made a mental note to keep it tight as people start coming back.

By now I am shirtless and saw very few guys taking advantage of this opportunity.  It was sort of a pick me up.  I begin picking off a few people as I spend very little time walking hills.  I'll walk them the first quarter of the race, but as people tire they walk way slower.  I pick up huge chunks of real estate.  Surprisingly there always seems to be someone to gather in.  In past years (when there was only 25-35 ahead at the turn) I might go miles before seeing anyone.  So far my target of breaking 8:30 seems doable.  I just can't get carried away early like last year going after people.  I get back to Highway 12 in pretty good shape, but I have something pressing to take care of.


From 12 there is about 24 miles to go and I have to crunch.  Just out of the station up on the hill there is a crossing I can dart over to.  This takes way longer than I want as I watch several people from my perch get back ahead of me.  No big deal.  I start touchin' the earth a bit faster and there is a set of younger ladies I had passed just past the 21.7 turn.  I cannot close the gap and in fact they pull away from me.  I heard them say it was their first 50 mile.  The one will finish 3rd overall in just under 8:05 and I eventually will get ahead of the other later on, but for now I have to let them go.  Through the winding woods to Duffin I catch a couple more and at about 30.5 miles I finally accept a bottle from Dewey.  He won't be able to render aid personally for about 10 miles.

This is where I run a bit with Bill Hutchinson.  Bill's having a good run and he introduces himself as we have a common friend in Steve H-K.  Bill goes on to tell me he reads this blog which must bring me up to double digits for readers by now.  Not bad for 7 years.  Bill points out a trio of runners going up the hill to Confusion Corner and I tell him I'm going to run up this puppy.  We part for now and Bill goes on to have a solid finish.  This where I start winding in people who went out too fast.  This back segment has plenty of small and winding hills.  I'm doing okay, but I'm just trying to maintain at this point.  The genie is still in the bottle and I am hoping Larry Hagman isn't out on the trails today.  I'm hoping to Mary Martin it in the rest of the way as there is about 17 miles to go.

Just before Horseman's, Dewey tells me Stuart is a minute up on me and Robert is 2 minutes up.  This only really matters because both are my age and John Horns (MN) is so far ahead that he ain't coming back.  I meet former Ice Age champ (Stuart) at the aid station.  He basically tells me he's a bit knackered and to have a good finish.  I return the comment and start towards Emma wondering if I'll see Robert anywhere.  Just before halfway out to Emma I see Robert and he is walking the hills.  I get pretty close to him, but he keeps pulling away on anything remotely flat.  I watch him pull into Emma and soon after I am there as well.  We acknowledge each other and I know at this point I can't just light out after him.  There is 9.7 miles to go and I have to stick with what I am doing.  In my mind I hear Keith Jackson's voice, "We have a dandy brewing here!"

None of this is remotely important, but Robert and I know each other well.  After a back injury that kept him from running for at least a year he is back running well.  You really only get a few places in the woods here where you can see someone 30-60 seconds ahead of you.  Each time I'd get to one of these spots I'd get a glimpse of Robert walking the far hill.  I am going to find out if my run the hill doctrine (I will walk a few short steps at times) is any match for his walk the hill and take off method.  I'm confident because this has worked all day.  I'm afraid to walk a hill because then I'll lose sight for good.  On the backside of Star I see Robert walking what is one of the largest hills on the course.  I charge up most of it, allowing one little short walk break before starting the last 3 miles.  Again I see him at Confusion Corner and once through there and around the bend go fairly hard on the downhill.  At Bluff (1.5 miles to go) I pull the plug and can see I am getting closer.  Robert does not look back, but I know, that he knows, that I know, that he knows I'm coming.  With about 0.7 miles to go there is a decent little hill and I get within 50 yards of him.  I actually hear him tell Joel Lammers (Another former champ our age who is out due to a knee issue) something along the lines of look who's right behind me.

That's where it ended right there.  I could not close anymore and if anything Robert put a little more ground on me.  I didn't let up.  He just wasn't having it that day and finished 20 seconds ahead of me in 8:28:01 to my 8:28:21 and also garnered the RRCA WI title for our age.  Congrats Robert!  The effort also had me clip one more guy by a few seconds at the very end which allowed me to finish in 29th overall.  I'll take it.

Dewey thanks for everything it really helps having legendary crew.  Clem and Tim thanks for coming out to cheer.  Bill great meeting you out on the trail and congrats on a great run.  Dean that was a great PR!  Andy congrats on the 27th finish and the sub 10:00 performance.  Poulton's great seeing you all and Kevin as well.  Mr. Mallach another tremendous job as RD.  Angela thanks for gathering up all those wonderful and thoughtful volunteers.


All in all I held up well.  I broke 8:30 and did a little racing at the end.  I would not have broke 8:30 if Robert wasn't up there pushing.  With 2 miles to go my watch said 8:11:xx, so pushing it got me under 8:30.  It was good to visit for a couple hours and then get home for a shower.  Sitting on the couch about 8:30pm I moved to itch my groin which I'm prone to do on occasion and something did not feel right.  I was up in there trying to figure it out, but couldn't without eye balling it.  I wasn't sure what the deal was until I had the wife come over and confirm it was a tick buried in.  I got out the tweezers and squeezed his rear end right out of there.  Two days later in the shower I discovered another on the back nape of my neck that broke free.  Freakin' free loaders.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

speed of lightning, roar of thunder

I finished the week up today with 18.5 on sloppy roads.  I did feel decent and this was a bonus.  Was going to cover 15 miles and promised myself a coke if I reached 18.5.  I picked that number as it gave me 70 miles for the week on 6 runs.

4/9   = Off
4/10 = 6.3 (9:37) Joliet roads
4/11 = 7.4 (9:15) Lombard rails to trails
4/12 = 13.3 (9:56) Menomonee Park w/ Tim and Dewey
4/13 = 12.0 (10:27) Ice Age
4/14 = 12.5 (9:41) into the abyss at 4:50am
4/15 = 18.5 (10:14) into the slop
Week = 70.0

Clem sent me the recent 50k article on Tyler Andrews who ran 2:46:06.8 on the track.  Looks like a new world 50k track record.  The article mentioned Barney Klecker, who's wife Janis was an Olympian.  Their son is a top notch runner at Colorado.  I mention this because I see John Horns (55y) is now registered for Ice Age.  John is an excellent runner and won Kettle 100 outright in his 50s.  I have gotten by him at Ice Age (rarely), but man the age group competition is always stout.  Of course with the internet I looked him up to see how he is running.  One article mentioned he is Janis Klecker's brother.  I think it will possibly require a sub 8:15 to get in the top 3 this year.  Weather dependent.  You never know at Ice Age.  Some guys are just beat up, or coming back from injuries.  I have the secret crew strength.  If you ain't blastin' you ain't lastin'.  No time for uniform changes or Sweet Polly Purebred damsel-in-distress twinkle-toe scenarios.  Stand aside...can't you see we have the dang ballgame on here?

In other stats, I have averaged 51.75 miler per week since January 1st.  Better than I thought.  Runs over 2 hours January through March:

1/5   = 2:17:03
1/6   = 2:02:33
1/20 = 2:10:52
1/27 = 2:29:28
2/3   = 2:45:55
2/10 = 2:01:53
2/17 = 2:27:07
2/24 = 2:28:57
3/3   = 2:22:00
3/4   = 2:01:31
3/10 = 3:00:00
3/17 = 4:27:47
3/31 = 4:20:00

April runs over 1:30:

4/2   = 1:54:11
4/3   = 1:48:16
4/4   = 1:34:12
4/7   = 1:57:30
4/8   = 1:48:53
4/12 = 2:12:11
4/13 = 2:05:26
4/14 = 2:01:05
4/15 = 3:09:12

I'll pull the next couple weeks together and see how I feel.  I'll weigh in tomorrow.

Underdog Cartoon theme song

when criminals in this world appear
and break the laws that they should fear
and frighten all who see or hear
the cry goes up both far and near
for Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!  when in this world the headlines read
of those whose hearts are filled with greed
who rob and steal from those who need
to right this wrong with blinding speed
goes Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!  speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Jimmy legs

Ice Age is 4 weeks from today and I have not made it out to the course one time.  Next week in the 35 mile training run which I will attempt with my friend Andy.  Part of it is the drive down there and being busy with other things.  But the big reason for not going there is the crap weather.  I have commitments today, so I ran at 4:50am.  Twenty-three mph winds, rain, and just at that 34 degree mark to complete the ambiance.  In the day we went there months out from race day.  There were always people you new there.  Not so much now.  I'm sure people still go out, but I don't really know many of them.  I am also in that too slow to keep up with the main group and too fast to spend an extra hour or so getting a normal run for me in.  In some ways it is fine.  I spend more time running myself up here on the Northern Ice Age. 

Running alone is getting more preferable because I run in my own groove.  Feel good, feel slow, feel tired, feel caffeinated, feel good, feel fat and on and on.  Now-a-days Ice Age is getting out there like one big training run, taking care of myself, and then looking for a hot spot to grab on to over the last 15-20 miles.  Though in this day and age it is more the last 13 miles I look for it.

The good news is I am in decent shape.  I've cobbled together a fair amount of 10-11 mile runs during the week instead of my old 6 a day during the week.  Knowing I would not be able to go long Saturday (today), I decided to run 2 hours a day Thursday through Sunday.  So far so good the past three days have been 2:12:11, 2:05:26, and 2:01:05.  I'll get my 2 hours in tomorrow and if it goes well maybe close to 2:30.  I've held together fairly well and the biggest thing is just forgetting about time. 

I'm almost out the other end of the pipe.  I'll run less miles during the week and get the big run in next Saturday.  The following week I'll run a bit everyday and on that Saturday two weeks out I'll look to do a simulation run on close to 20 miles of the course.  It is also a good time to make mental notes about the course.  I'll time some of the harder sections and make an estimate what it will take to run time wise on them race day.  Then when I'm suffering at the end, I just look at my watch and tell myself it should take 23 minutes (or whatever) to finish the challenging segment.  This way I just shut everything off in my head and treat it like a 23 minute run.  It I get there in 21 minutes I can then get a feel for how I am doing.  If it is 26 minutes then I better reevaluate.  Over the years I can get fairly close to my estimates.  It just seems to make the run manageable.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

One tasty burger

Saturday I jogged 5 miles up to the St. Augustine lot and ran 14.4 miles with Robert and Dewey.  I then lumbered back home from there.  It was a lunch box run.  Wind, rain, and snow mixed in throughout the run, with the best weather found in the last 10 miles or so.  The trails up around Holy Hill were cautious.  At times the wet snow flakes were the size of nickels.  Felt like Al Bundy the first 5 miles on the road, but then did okay on the trails.  The run home on the road was at least 40 seconds a mile faster.  Not sure how that all works, but it is in the bank. 

I spoke to Robert about the runner lean I have to the right at the end of many ultras and especially 50 milers.  The announcer at JFK even mentioned it when bone chipping in, "and here comes a runner with the famous JFK lean."  It does seem common, so I looked up a few stretches, etc.  I guess 5-10 minutes of a routine won't hurt me.  I am also glad to report that a few wall squats every other day have had a positive outcome for my knee.  No pain Saturday at all.  Thanks Dean! 

One hundred percent disclosure on something.  I reviewed my last 6 weeks of training for Ice Age in 2009.  I know every time I'm on here I have a new formula.  In fact let me reach up to the bulletin board here and pluck one off that I created 7 weeks ago that was never utilized.  Okay...that's in the trash.  The year 2009 was the first time in like 4 years I was healthy enough to run well.  I was able to run well in 2008, but my enthusiasm created my first and only stress fracture which required 10 weeks off.  That meant no Ice Age.  So in 2009 a wiser human took over the control tower and came up with the idea to run within yourself.  See your future, be your future.  Run hard when it feels right; in other words a true how far to the barn mentality.  When I felt good I let it go.  I was some point common sense had to kick in.

At the 2009 Ice Age, true to my word I went out like it was a casual training run.  No pressure.  Like any long event if you stay back you'll start passing people in jimmy stacks.  It just never stopped that day and I ended up 5th overall.  It was also the best I ever felt at the end of a 50 miler.  Had I cracked the Drakos 3?  Everybody twist.  I now held information.  Information that could control the world.  But I didn't have that.  It lead to more of the, "I don't run to take beatings" mentality.  I was after all still myself.  Another bum from the neighborhood.  "This is reality Greg."

So what did those last 6 weeks look like.  Unless stated the runs are on roads.
Unless stated the dog is Cookie.

3/30 = 8.5 (8:16) w/ dog
3/31 = 8.0 (8:13)
4/1   = 4.5 (9:00) w/ dog
4/2   = OFF
4/3   = OFF
4/4   = 26.0 (9:27) Ice Age course trails (Christine, Robert, Ricker)
4/5   = OFF
Week = 47.0

4/6   = 6.0 (8:31) w/ dog
4/7   = 7.0 w/ 30:00 tempo
4/8   = 6.2 (8:30) w/ dog
4/9   = 5.8 w/ 6 x Lowell Hill
4/10 = OFF
4/11 = 20.0 (9:00) Ice Age course trails
4/12 = 8.0 (8:47) w/ dog
Week = 53.0

4/13 = OFF
4/14 = 7.5 w/ 5k tempo in 19:32
4/15 = 7.0 Lapham Trails
4/16 = 7.7 w/ dog
4/17 = OFF
4/18 = 30.0 (9:00) Ice Age course trails (Bruce, Kirby)
4/19 = 7.2 (9:48) Minooka trails (Clem, Andy)
Week = 59.4

4/20 = OFF
4/21 = OFF
4/22 = 5.0 (8:00) w/ dog
4/23 = 4.0 w/ 15 x Horab Hill
4/24 = OFF
4/25 = 21.0 (8:34) Ice Age course trails (Christine, Ricker, Kirby)
4/26 = OFF
Week = 30.0

4/27 = 5.0 (8:20) w/ dog
4/28 = OFF
4/29 = 6.6 (8:11) Lapham trails w/ dog (Ricker, Todd)
4/30 = 4.8 w/ 10 x Horab Hill
5/1   = OFF
5/2   = 5.4 (9:38) w/ dog
5/3   = 7.6 (9:13) Minooka trails (Clem, Andy)
Week = 29.4

5/4   = OFF
5/5   = 5.0 (9:00) w/ dog
5/6   = 3.4 (8:49) w/ dog
5/7   = OFF
5/8   = OFF
5/9   = 50.0 Ice Age 7:20:57 (8:50)
5/10 = OFF
Week = 58.4

I know Cookie would be up for it. 

Last week was 62.0 miles on 5 runs.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Warren G. Harding...crikey!

Yes it has occurred to me that I am not training in a way which would optimize my run at Ice Age.  It seems clear that I should bank on the single long run and have a really good effort speed wise on another day.  I should probably throw a nice mid week long run in there every couple weeks and spend most of the other days either petering around for 50 minutes easy, or just rest entirely.  It would probably only take a mix of about 9 of these types of runs in a month and it would work fine.  Problem is I don't care to run faster much anymore and I seem tired anyway; rested or not.  Besides I kind of like going out tired early in the morning and just figure out how to make it work.  Bone chipping it over 50 miles does mean you have to figure out how to make it when uncomfortable.

Truth be told I started running more in HS because I wanted it to hurt less.  It was easier to hurt over the last three laps in the 2 mile rather than the last six.  Head out with the leaders and hang on.  How dumb were we?  Can't blame the coaches...we had no distance coach.  Back then it was 6 quarters after a warm-up then you were done, followed by 3-4 miles the next day with 8 x 100 sprints.  All mixed in with 2-3 meets a week.  Good times!  Must have been okay though because our 4 x 880y relay record turns 40 this year.  The 39 seasons after going to the 4 x 800m has not replaced this yet via conversion.  It's been a good run, I hope someone crushes it.  No one knows who Havranek-Dehart-Linton-Miller are anyway.  Think of it this way.  I was born in 1961, so 40 years earlier in 1921 we were three years removed from WWI.  Just for grins I looked up Havranek on LinkedIn and just sent a note to connect.  He was our only Senior on the team.  Pretty sure I have not talked to him since then.  Linton and I graduated the same year in '79 and were good friends.  I ran into him on a trip back home in late '12.  He still lives in the school district.  That the record still stood was one of the first things he told me.  If you read the blog I mentioned last year I ran by the HS and just had to go look through the gym window.  My cousin graduated the same year (different HS) and her daughters both went on to beat and set the new HJ record.  What about Miller?  He had the 880 record at the time...I think 1:58.  It's since been bettered a couple times.  Low 1:50s now by another Miller kid (not related).  That Miller set the 400, 800, and 1600 records. The old Miller was a beast.  Heck of a football player.  Everyone called him Grubby, but I'm not sure to his face.  He ran on the 4x8, 4x4, 880, and threw the javelin.  Of course back then most all of us competed in 3-4 events.  Me?  I was on the 4x8 and ran the 1 and 2 mile.  The girl I took to the senior prom won gold at states in the javelin (I remember seeing her in T&F news in the top 50 while in HS) and just for grins medaled like 5th in the 800m at states.  Went full ride on a basketball scholarship to Fordham.  I will end by saying the song Sultans of Swing was out my senior year.  Time to climb out of the way back machine.

Week 35 miles on 4 runs.  I was tired.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Larry Yount

I was out on the road last week for work and decided to spend a long weekend visiting my Mom and siblings.  This was very enjoyable and I did get to double digits on hot dog consumption.  I did spend Saturday touring around North Park running the Lt. JC Stone 50k on the park roads.  Started comfy, loosened up around 10 miles, stayed steady, and then bull winkled the final 10 at 8:08 pace.  I'll take it.  It was 17 degrees at the start, but the very low wind factor made it runnable.  My 4:27 finish was 19 minutes faster than when I ran 4:46 here at the GNC 50k in 1999.  It was a good trainer for Ice Age.

I consider myself knowledgeable about most all things related to running.  I've been running since the 70s so I know how to run 20 miles without a bottle, power dump without travelers checks, flip my shorts around if I'm chafing, or even handle a couple farm bred canines.  I never really accomplished anything in running, but certainly understand what accomplished ones look like.  In the cartoon world I'm your Tennessee Tuxedo level.  If I was a rock band then probably Bloodrock.  Baseball player...similar to Larry Yount.  Even looking at these they were all way beyond my grasp. 

Beck of the Peck is a blog I read and I am reminded there of the amount of Shamanism that has entered our avocation.  I don't wander much on the internet.  I go to a couple blog sites and read the variety of blogs those folks have attached there.  I do enjoy these.  Much like looking up clips of the Pens and old movie dancers: (I'm probably unable to do this attachment correctly)

Regardless, the recent post had me linking to a few places I'd probably not find.  What other world exists out there?   I know I don't look like a runner, but how many runners exist that claim very respectful finish times and yet at the same time would blend in better for a China Buffet ad?  Look I've ran a handful of ultra events and I can't pound out hundreds of miles using special drinks and a positive attitude.  It got me to thinking of what people have told me over the years about what they were going to achieve.  The mere act of discussing what you are going to achieve and dressing appropriately for the part ended up being enough.  I'll leave it at that.  I don't claim any extra special disposition, but do some people have any clue I'm not The Incredible Mr. Limpet?  I know a good fish story when I hear one.

Last week 58.1 miles on 4 runs.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fisher's Big Wheel

I went for a run around 1pm today which is unusual for me.  It was nice to run in shorts and the sunshine.  I was out on the Ice Age up by Holy Hill and it was sloppy.  As much as I was enjoying the solitude I became disenchanted when I began hitting 13-14 minute miles due to the footing.  At one of the road sections I just beat it back around on the macadam.  It is remote back there as many of you know.  I just wound it out in low and enjoyed rural Washington County.

Just under 9 weeks to Ice Age and again I want to do well, but the will to do the extra stuff just is not there.  The biggest gain I can make is to drop from 180 to 170.  That's hard to do as I eat the same way I always do.  Seems every time you turn around I'm supposed to be minding something else.  I have zero problem running 60 a week, I just don't have the motivation to look after a sore knee, the PF creeping back,  a week back, and anything that even resembles 8 minute miles let alone 7's.  What am I talking about?  The fastest run I had this week was in Peru, IL on the roads when I blazed 9:30 pace for 9.1 miles.  I saw Beck writing about how retarded this whole exercise is and I can see his point.  I've tried not to ponder the steady decline and yes I should be happy I can still move forward.  Part of my wonderment is how I have fooled myself into believing that achieving 10 minute miles at Ice Age is solid as Sears. 

62.1 miles this week on 6 runs.