Saturday, September 8, 2018

Just the way you look

Signed up for the Glacial Trail 50k this October 14th.  Thought about the 50 miler, but the PF in my left foot is not allowing me to traverse that distance.  Guess I’ll have to break out the wallet and get the running inserts again.  I’m fortunate to be running.  Seems less and less of the herd is still in the game.  Was a time I thought running into my 70s would be no big deal.  Of course I thought Hogan’s Heroes would never bust apart either.

Yes I am still out jogging 10 minute miles.  This coming Saturday is Al’s Run 8k.  It’s all about the participation now.  I said uncle this year.  Maybe next year I will go the speed work route.  Then funny part is if I put in some serious Belt Buckle Bob training I would still be lucky to bone chip in under 33 minutes.

I’m 57 on September 11th.  That sounds close to 60.  I’ll be at a power plant looking at some work that came over from China.  I’ll celebrate by driving farther south into Illanese territory for the week. Lately I’ve been hammering Carne Asada for dinner.  The jalapeƱos have been slooping up the John B.  No matter, I put on a few Sinatra tunes in the room and call it good.  Being on the road actually motivates me to run.  I’m asleep around 8pm.  First thing in the morning I participate with black coffee, check the Pirate score, and get ready to run an hour.

Ran in MN last week.  I have a few stock places to run.  I know a few folks up there, but do a poor job alerting them in time for a run.  I may start trying to run a second time for the day if it means running with someone.  I get to where I don’t like missing the AM run.  I feel best then and trying to run at night at times is like listening to Foreigner...brutal.

Not a lot of miles, but here is the longer run notes:

7/28 15.0 (10:22) Dewey and Tim / trail and paved
8/11 25.0 (10:29) Clarky and Adam night run on Ice Age
8/25 20.0 (10:30) Dewey / Butternut back roads
9/8 18.0 (10:03) Crawford out in the Sha on paved trail

Sunday, July 29, 2018

To the mattresses

The motivation to get out and turn a few has been good.  I'm tired much of the time, but I am also active in many other areas.  Getting out and just running without any thought to pace has been more freeing than I thought it would be.  The process of still trying to figure when fast running will get in the equation is still there, but I try and ignore it.  Experience shows that piling up a few miles does not necessarily make me slower, being older guarantees the slowness.

One obstacle is the PF in my left foot.  I'm good on the right side for now.  Ever since I drove off with my inserts nicely placed in my shoes that were riding on top of my car it has been a downhill slide.  Like most Americans I will just figure it out and honestly I have learned a few things.  Some days it is painful and when it just about seems like it can only get worse it is surprisingly manageable.  I almost always self diagnose and figure stuff out.  This bugger is one of those deals where the more you put into it the less it seems to get fixed.  Yesterday on the 15 miles of trail and road it really hurt.  This time I did no self treatment/maneuvering and today almost no pain.

The Glacial Trail 50m/50k is October 14th and I am thinking 50 mile.  Mainly because I have never done that one and it is right up the road.  I have many races I'd like to enter, but it is hard justifying them when you travel during the week.  That and we have other obligations in life.  The Glacial 50m looks like a hardy challenge.  I'm not sure I can get under 9 hours on this course so that makes it worth doing.  The course starts with about 40 minutes of darkness, the trail is a bit more challenging than Ice Age, it is a small field (about 10% of Ice Age size), and there are less aid stations/crew help than my spoiled self likes.  In a way it should be a good exercise to try and work on strategies to aid me in this area.  Problem is I will buy little of my own gear.  I'll look to borrow a good light and possibly a gas station.  Probably not a gas station as hopefully I'll get up to the course enough to figure out a hand held strategy and mooch a little crew help.

It dawned on me the reason I believe many people drop off the last half of a 50 mile may also be related to pace.  When I train in an attempt to pace through a trail 50 mile I will work on building miles and get some long runs in.  Typically I will run most days and because I am tired run 9:30 - 11:00 pace on road or trail...every day.  In this manner on race day I go out at this pace as that is what my universal self is dialed into.  With the taper I am much fresher, but at the same time it can take 15-30 miles before I get in the groove.  I look for this on game day.  On the other hand, other runners run less days a week, potentially cross train, and get in decent workouts on both the regular and longer runs.  I'd argue this is what people recommend to them, or they figure this is optimal.  This means much of their regular training runs can be at 8:00 - 9:00 pace.  When race day comes they have a tough time staying back because it feels soooo easy.  They eventually slow down because they have to and the body isn't set up to burn at the higher rate.  Many of them aren't going to find a groove.  The thrill is gone.  Big guys in 2s, little guys in bunches.  There is much more I could say about this, but I think this gets most of it across.

7/23 = 7.0 (10:10)
7/24 = 3.5 (10:07)
7/24 = 7.1 (10:47) Menomonee Park w/ Tim/Dewey/Robert
7/25 = 9.0 (9:28)
7/26 = 3.7 (9:44)
7/27 = 6.2 (9:41)
7/28 = 15.0 (10:22) Menomonee Park/Bugline w/ Dewey
7/29 = 8.5 (10:14)
Week = 60.0

Sunday, July 22, 2018

We have the technology

I have been heat training consistently.  Three layers with the final being a hood jersey.  I also wear a stocking cap.  The best benefit is it keeps most of the deer flies off, but not all.  Some parts of the Ice Age Trail they are on you like a German Shepherd on a rib roast.  I easily killed forty a week ago.  I remember thinking in Church if I killed more deer flies on that single day than the other thousand attenders combined.  My conclusion was yes.  Based on passing zero people on the 10.5 mile Lowe Lake loop from my house, one rationalizes many people don't get after it early Sunday morning.  Which is a shame because we have a fair amount of trail and decent access.  I ran 8 miles on the Funk loop covering the Ice Age today and saw Tom and Kathryn coming the other way.  We chatted for about a minute near the Oconomowoc, but it is best not to stop long this time of the year by water.  They ran 14-15 and said they saw maybe a couple hikers.

One thing I do see a lot of out this way on the road is bicyclists. Any day, any time, and any amount of them.  Most are hauling along at a good clip.  Car up! Runner up!  Most are cordial.  I do notice quite a few banana peels on the road and Bugline.  Someone must have a routine as I see them at the Bugline and E crossing all the time.  Actually it looks fun and like a solid workout.  No matter, not my gig.  I'd never spend that much on a bike, I'm scared of cars, and I probably wouldn't buy the 3-4 super hero outfits needed.  I should get a power ranger one to run in for heat training.

I'm going to admit something.  I watched a lot of the Hardrock 100 live coverage this week and justifiably was asked by my wife why I am so dumb.  Staring at a screen for hours waiting for it to update is a bit daft, but I enjoyed it.  I've always wanted to run this thing, but don't have a boss set of tools.  I'm not a 100 guy.  I have finished one.  It would be a goal of mine to finish one somewhere in the mountains.  Problem is my wife is concerned I'm not bright enough to exercise caution and might harm myself.  This is partially true.  It is also true these things require a lot of sand and I have not proved to have much of this commodity.  To go run 10-12 hours...done.  To go out there for 24-36 hours and death march...not so much.  Fifty miles is a good distance for me.  I can practically run all of that distance.  You get yourself out there past 12-15 hours and there is some definite beat down.  I am the guy who would want to and quite honestly need to be training at 80-90 a week.  There is just too much power that has been drained from the system to do that.  The dream is gone.  Read anyone's blog still running past 50 years old and see what I mean.  Example from this week.  I ran 10.5 miles of which about 4 miles is trail and 6.5 is road.  I averaged 11:04 a mile.  I can site a ton of reasons this happened, but it doesn't matter.  It was a death march and it should not have been.  Even when I'm feeling zippy I average 9:48 per mile.  I'd have to run between 15 - 16.5 hours a week to get around 90 miles a week.  Of course I could run 60-70 miles and pretend that is just as good.  Tried it.  Felt like I was gut shot.

So I was looking for 50 mile races for the fall.  I went on the Ultrarunning Calendar and looked on line.  If you want to see what fat, old, and grey looks like, look at the picture of the guy posted for the Glacial Trail runs and get back to me.  That freakin' guy is pondering running the 50 mile event this year.  I pick chunks out of my stool bigger than that guy.

7/9 =   6.2 (10:40)
7/10 = 7.0 (10:02)
7/11 = 7.5 (9:39)
7/12 = OFF
7/13 = 6.3 (9:31)
7/14 = 10.2 (9:51) Fox loop w/ Crawford
7/15 = 10.6 (9:48)
Week = 47.8

7/16 = 6.0 (9:51)
7/17 = 8.0 (10:28)
7/18 = 8.0 (10:02)
7/19 = 7.5 (10:22) Menomonee Park w/ Robert, Dewey, Tim
7/20 = 6.5 (9:53)
7/21 = 10.5 (11:04)
7/22 = 8.0 (10:33)
Week = 54.5

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Final Curtain

There is this continual notion of setting a course for a stretch of brisk workouts so one can achieve some arbitrary race time.  It does not have to be pulled out, or even mildly coaxed out.  The notion is always there and it summons itself at will.  Like auto picks for the lottery the plan to achieve the goal suddenly comes to you.  When the cycle repeats for the same goal race or distance a new plan appears.  Once, maybe twice a year I will even goes as far to write them on old school note paper, using pieces of random cardboard to create the cells.  If you have read this far then you have probably done this.  It ends with various days scribbled out, or the middle days of the week not quite filled out as one tries to determine if an additional hard workout can be inserted.  These days they can be comical as if I was ever going to top out at 85 miles a week...with three harder type workouts per week.

This series of events usually ends with I could do it if I wanted to, or even needed to.  Why would I need to?  That's the issue right there.  This other under the radar thought process keeps churning out the donuts without any rational thinking from husband Dave, work Dave, or even dog owner Dave.  I SIMPLY CAN'T SHUT THIS OFF. 

You know something.  I have friends in their sixties who only allow themselves to run X amount a week and that's it.  Many times they are folks with pretty stout performance records from the day.  It seems they know a #2 conibear is out there and have to stay on the compound.

Dave likes to run.  Dave would like to run around an hour a day 5 days a week and for 2-3 hours one other day a week.  Dave likes just running comfortably and occasionally with hombres.  Dave can go run for 4-5 hours a handful of times to be able to move through a short ultra essentially at the same pace his normal hour runs are at.  I'm okay with this.  What do we tell that other guy?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Raise the Jolly Roger

Not feeling too bad post Ice Age.  I have decided to heat train this year after a positive outcome last year.  Most days I have on a stocking cap, along with two long sleeve shirts, and topped with a hood jersey.  Sure...friends think I'm a Cretan, but whatever.  I'll control the world with my weather machine.  It gets a little soggy in there, but you get accustomed to it.  I must say I have had 2-3 people let me in on that apparently this is as good as training at altitude.  I'm not trying to increase my red blood cell count.  I have Polycythemia Vera (PV).  Which basically means the cancer cells take over in the bone marrow and crank out red blood cells that are larger and at a faster pace.  Normal life expectancy is 10-15 years, so being past that I'm doing all I can do to increase that second number.  Don't panic.  I live a normal life.  I get analyzed and treated every month.  I'm solid as Sears.  When I was first diagnosed my hematocrit was 69%.  Think about that.  Any way, for the rest of the story ask me sometime when I am running with you.

Eero Mantyranta was a Finnish skier (CC) who competed in four Winter Olympics.  He won three golds, two silvers, and two bronze medals.  He was also the first Finnish sportsman who tested positive for doping in 1972.  I found this interesting because he also had PV.  When I was first diagnosed I signed up for the PV and related support list.  Not to sound above it all, but there was so much negativity and such that it had no place for me.  Currently we aim to keep the hematocrit below 45%.  There is a lot more to it besides hematocrit, but I can't stress how important it is to stay on top of testing.  The human body is doing stuff at certain times you really can't explain.  Chronic diseases like this never improve out of no where.  It's really about making the adjustments and going on as usual.  I will answer one question.  Do you think it ever helped you individually with your ability to run?  At one time the answer would be yes.

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