Friday, December 28, 2012

Just feed him when you can.

I spent much of the fall season running short faster 2-4 mile tempos.  At Thanksgiving I went back to PA and entered a 10k to see how I would fair.  It was a cool day in the mid 20s and I got ready to do battle against another 156 hearty souls.  I went out conservative and was in the lead for a couple minutes before 4 people went ahead.  A couple young guys took the lead and I worked back up to third position and through the mile in 6:12.  The first guy was way out there and didn't look like he was working too hard, but the second one was only maintaining a 30 yard lead on me.  I decided to work the downhill and uphill and caught him at 2 in 12:05.  I went past him and he countered.  We got to a flat section and I opened it up a bit to see what he had and opened 20 yards on him at 3 in 18:00.  I felt okay, but knew I had to push through a windy section and probably gained another 15-20 yards to get through 4 in 24:09.  I maintained through 5 where you make a left hand turn towards the finish in 30:18.  I peaked back and saw a couple guys coming so I laid out what I had so as not to make it interesting.  I know you finish on the track and I was determined to finish strong and did in 37:32 for 2nd.
Gobbler's Gallop

Gobbler's Gallop

Runners warm up in the cold for the 17th annual Gobbler’s Gallop on Thursday.

After a few easy weeks I'm back to my normal hobby jogging in anticipation for the upcoming Ice Age 50 mile.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feed your head

It is nice running when your not tired all the time.  When I think about it, a decade of doing the long one on the weekend just grew old.  Two hours is doable.  Did 2 hours today and probably will do 2 again tomorrow.  probably wait til January to ramp up a bit.  I assisted the Maestro on an Ultra Intro last month and I will be the wing man twice more before the end of the year.  Jeff is real good and I just ramble.  Hope to get better traction next time.

It is fun having people come up after to chat a bit about themselves and ask questions.  They ask me stuff I have no idea on, but I render a reply anyway.  When hydration comes up I often wonder why the need is felt to really change much before a race.  If you drink too much the night before and the morning of you still have to run it through the system.  I just think it takes some of the stuff you'd like to have with it.

The 50k is a good place to start for beginners.  I struggle when people let me know half their workouts are weights, biking, yoga, swimming...etc.  That is all good and I am sure there is tangible benefit.  I just think if more of the time was spent running it would be a more enjoyable/doable effort.

Kind of looking forward to running with Old Ron Bero this winter.  The Flemish Flash seems to be heading out towards the same path I'm looking for.  Not the one to the pasture just yet. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

IP Man

My son and I watched this martial arts movie and I rather enjoyed it.  It brought back memories of discussions I had with a friend who has practiced for years.  I was intrigued by the mental and physical training and saw many similarities between what he did and running.  He did as well and I enjoyed those discussions.  The movie got me to thinking again as a runner this is my art.  I have and will practice this as long as I can because it is way beyond just doing it to keep in shape.  Though competing does not hold as much as importance as it once did, I still find myself doing it because I want to get better.  Though I often jog around at 9 pace I find my schedule has morphed into a solid platform for me.  I run hard over short distances twice a week just for the shear enjoyment of running faster and then really spend the rest of the week running getting a few easy miles in.  I told Mallach several weeks ago that I have been enjoying running now as much as any time in my life. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TV party tonight!

Well another Al's Run has came and went and I am glad to report we won the Corporate team event out of 44 teams.  Some pretty solid efforts as everyone did what was needed.  I broke 30...barely with a 29:58 and had to get on the gas the last half.  The question is...what's next and I have no idea.  Want to get back over 50 miles a week.  Really enjoying running now.  Work has taken away most of my free weekly time with more travel, but I look forward to getting to bed early and hitting the bricks for an AM run with Jamie and his son Nate.  The dogs provide some humor as well.  Mentioned to Brother Grub I will entertain the idea of doing the Kettle 100 as an ultra hobby jog.  I think I am slowly getting to where I want to be.  Run what I want to, race an occasional fast one, and only commit to about 6 weeks of specific training for Ice Age.

I've been sleeping more.  It makes a big difference in life.  Watch little TV.  Even sporting events aren't that appealing.  Ahhhh...the life of a running bum.  It's not too bad.  Not bad at all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Last 5k tune-up on the track this morning before Al's next Saturday.  Because of last weeks good result I tend to hedge a bit.  I hate to say it, but I ran by "feel" the first 1600m and went through in 5:53.  I figured no biggie just keep doing that, but the second 1600m was 5:59 which meant I better crack it down if I wanted to get ahead of last week.  Third 1600m in 5:50 and it was work, but I had enough to finish the last 200m in 37 which is good for me.  Final result was 18:19, so under race conditions at an 8k I should be capable of around 29:35 - 29:40.  I may do a 1600m on Tuesday at near 5:40 just to air it out a bit.  I used to do a 3200m at race pace, but need a confidence booster.  It would not surprise me if I went through the first mile at Al's in 5:40, but woulf prefer a 5:45.  You just don't know on race day because you see everyone flying out there and it is tough not to get carried away.  I'd like to get through 4 miles at 24:00 and put the hammer down, but everyone knows it's harder to do on race day then on the day your typing it in the computer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Into the shadows

Darkness.  You can already see it coming as an early AM runner.  Like the old grizzled veteran Clement Grum said about AM running, "It's like you cheated the day."  It does kind of feel like that.  Come home from work and you are D-O-N-E.  Crank up the air and break out the iced tea Braaaaaah.

2 mile this morning for a tune-up.  Out in 5:58 and finished with a 5:46.  I worked, but again not as hard as I had to last year.  Another 5k on the track Saturday and possibly another 2 mile next Tuesday at 6:00 pace.  I'm starting to like this...because it is different, easier, and takes less time.  I ran 12.2 last Wednesday morning and that was my longest run since Ice Age.  Most other days are hobby jogging of 8:30 - 10:00 pace.  I know I can bring the mail.  I don't have to prove to myself everyday I can do it.  Actually thinking of signing up for the Discovery Run 15k.  Think I'll bolster up to 55ish a week for a month and give it a go.

Looking forward to participating with Jeff Mallach on his good will running tour.  I have some notes about what to talk to, but I'm sure it will turn into complete rambling about crap Jeff and I have learned over the years.  After all, that is all running is about.  Lacing em' up and seeing what happens.  It is fun to see people get excited about basic traing and racing.  Should be fun.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

2 mile lightning

That's what you called in when you lit it up the first couple miles in the day.  Now-a-days it's all about pace least for me.

Two weeks to Al's (8k) and I ventured to the track for the first time this season for a 5k pace run.
Last year I ran an 18:26.  I went out well today, but somewhat under control.  I can just sense what 6 pace is.  First 1600m in 5:57 and feeling okay.  Tried to stick with the pace, looking at the watch every 800m.  Through the next 1600m in another 5:57 and felt much better at this point compared to last year.  I moved on and it wasn't to the last 3 laps that it started to become hard work.  That's about 2 - 2.5 laps ahead of how I felt last yeat.  Third 1600m in 5:51 and ran the last 200m in :38 for a 18:23 run.  I'll put that in the bank, the calculator said it was 5:55 a mile pace.

Going to continue with a few more pace runs, rest and hopefully do a bit better than last year at Al's.
I've been primarily doing 4 mile tempos twice a week at 6:40s to 7:10 at about 80% effort.  It seems to have paid off.  I did three treadmill run of about 2.5 miles at 5:55 - 6:05 so I had the feeling I could do what I did today.  I'm about 175 lbs., so if I can get to 170 I should be good to go.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Put your helmet on

Jog around with the dog a couple days and then light it up for a few miles.  Pretty much my last month or so.  Miles kind of low, but I have enjoyed running this way.  No schedule, rarely approach 10 miles.  I've done some 11 minute what, I also ran some times in the sub 6 range and felt like I was walking on sunshine.  Al's run 8k is September 15th and I feel ahead of last year.  Who knows...sub 29:30 may be possible.  Run by watch except if someone has one or I hit the T-mill for a barn burner.  Not sure what people think of the gray haired guy sending sweat everywhere, but that belt is smokin'.  Believe me it is all for effect...I have nothing else.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hobby Jogging

I have enjoyed running my daily 6 miles in the AM with Jamie and the dogs.  We try and leg it out a bit on Tuesdays and Fridays for 4 miles.  Not that 7:20 - 7:50 is blazing, but it is honest work and enough to feel good about ourselves.  This past weekend I made an effort to get back to 10 a day on weekends so I can stay around 50.  I'm going to run Al's again and feel instead of 30:00 as a goal I might as well try and leg out a sub 29:30.

Not sure about anyone else, but when I lay down my head to go night night, I still think about running.  My mind subconsciously dreams up running goals, or the occasional flash back of a run with runners of the past.  Those runners weren't much different than the ones of today.  Running is something we did weaved around our weekly lives.  I somewhat miss the story telling that went on after the races as everyone shared the experience of the race.  In cross you always had the guys you finished around and you told them how you beat them, or how you didn't have it that day.  Occasionally one of us would pop a good one and beat a few varsity guys.  We rallied around those times.  Most of our world beating took place in practice which coach never frowned on, but the varsity guys hated it.  Call it whatever you want, it was all we had.

In indoor the 2 mile was the last event before the 4 x 440 and coach allowed the guys who just ran the 2 mile to form 2 relay teams.  Every one was gassed, but those were good battles.  You were basically about as anaerobic as you could get afterwards and we would lay in the pole vault pit and talk trash on each other.  Good times.

I would like to do Hardrock some day.  The ultimate hobby jog.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Catch a Cannonball

Well, it's been a good run.  I started running at 14 and outside of a few detours have been running since then.  60,000+ miles on my feet and a couple good runs it is time to just run.  Oh, I won't run any less and I'll largely be the same guy everyone knows, but my desire to race is nil.  I've ran 100s of races from 100 yards to 100 miles.  Maybe my streak of 2-3 races a year the past 7 years or so was a sign, but I'm not seeing the reward.  Again, I'll do events, but I find myself not really desiring to plan for anything.  Perhaps this will be good for me.  I have the couple races I want to do every year and probably one bonus event. 

I feel great.  I don't run a lot in June - July usually, but the idea of just going out for a little hobby jogging sounds right.  If I want to do an event I'll set aside 6-8 weeks and run a bit more.  Sure, I'll occasionally air one out, but probably seldom.  The signs have been there, but I still wanted to run competitive.  I can't.  Time to get back to what drew me to the sport.  The freedom of movement.  Knowing that I simply ran today will be enough.  I don't want a schedule.  The great Jack Foster once said when asked what his training plan was that he ran from 3 - 15 miles a day.  Whatever he felt like.
That sounds good.

I miss coming over a rise on a golf course and seeing a 300 yard stretch of turf I could just blast.  I wouldn't always win, but you'd know I was there. 

I miss having the feeling when you could put the gas pedal down and you just kept feeding off it.

I miss running quarters in HS with the fast guys when coached asked me and they had to work through all 8 because I was coming.

I wish I could have just ran the 880 in HS and trained for it. Things don't always work out when there are no other distance runners.

I'm glad I saw a very remote chance to make the 100K team and I took it.  I still feel uncomfortable that a running bum like me made it, but I was proud as hell to finish that day with a USA jersey on.

I don't have any regrets.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I couldn't sleep at all last night

Now it seems reasonable to me that the biggest bang for the buck is aerobic training.  The more you train...yada yada yada...the better shape you get in.  The better shape you get in the faster aerobic miles follow.  Once you get close to this you pick a season or race and add other elements such as strength and speed.  That's what I started to understand in the late 70s, but it sure is a lot harder than it sounds.  Which means other decisions factor along the way or circumstances arise.  Some randomly and others self inflicted.

I have followed such plans both successfully and unsuccessfully.  The later ones are difficult to swallow because a lot of time and effort when into it.  What are self inflicted mistakes?

- Getting ahead of schedule
- Racing too much
- Running workouts too hard
- Not working hard enough
- Injecting too many random workouts
- Running other people's workouts and paces your not ready for
- Yada, yada, yada

Which leads me to ultra running.  I think many of us end up here because aerobic miles pretty much takes care of everything if you let it.  I like to occasionally run fast, but if you depend too much on this when not ready you compromise the aerobic training.  Not that they can't go hand in hand, it just seems we are apt to depend on the fast results they provide and skimp a bit on the longer sessions.  I am speaking as someone who is 50.  You start running fast and you just don't recover like your 30.  There are only 7 days in a week, so you may have to consider (if your a planner of schedules) a two week plan to get in the workouts you want and then repeating.  I have a tough time getting in 3-4 quality workouts a week, but I can probably handle 4-5 in a two week period.  The other stuff is good old fashiion hobby jogging at 8:30 - 10:00 miles.

This type of schedule also allows for a bit more flexibility compare to the rigid one week schedule.  I'm done now.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Take out the papers and the trash

One wonders what the purpose of many things could be.  Perhaps there is a dynamic beyond what the casual observer accepts.  More learning or less learning can be congruent.  Is it what takes place in the arena as Teddy Roosevelt states which matters?  The mainstream is powerful and packed with influence.  What about this road that is less travelled?  One has so much time to get there and then it is over.  Is it?

The reason running appeals to me is the many shapes and forms it demonstrates.  As a lifer, I have seen many of the pieces, but never will see them all.  It is highly unlikely a 500 mile odyssey, or a run across the States will happen.  Honestly, I am not sure the purpose of meeting time goals is relevant.  Is there more to running beyond the simple act of doing it?  It used to take a big goal for me to get in any arduous training.  Seasons come and go now-a-days and the simple act of lacing them up for another day has finally arrived.  It is like I am operating a prized possesion which is mine and I can do what I want with it.  I have never kept it shined up in the garage, or have I maintained it as well as most.  It's broken in and it putting the coals to it occasionally feels great.  Running through the woods for hours is no longer a duty as much as it is a desire.

Dream big.  Take stock in the accomplishments of others.  Get out there and see the world for yourselves as Paul Newman said in "Cool Hand Luke."  He also says, "Everyone keep feeding off of me!"  One sheer joy I enjoy is watching my little band of running friends dive in and dream beyond what I can fathom.  Their is much more doing than talking.  A selfless group of people who have made getting "out there" the norm.  The path each takes to get there is largely different except this act we all enjoy called running.

I'd be the first to admit I've wondered why people train, race, or go about managing things the way they do, but we all jump in and see what happens.  Old school, new school, no school, whatever; they are going into the arena.  It isn't over.  "It isn't over to I say it's over."  Perhaps Belushi was on to something.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hot Dog

Always hard to find a good one outside of your home town.  I don't eat near as many anymore because the quest has turned up few that are any good.  It is what it is. 

It has just been fantastic running weather in the AM.  For the life of me, I can't understand why more people aren't enthralled with the idea of winging across the terra firma.  Honest to Pete, I can't go out with friends without them introducing me as a "big runner."  You know how those conversations go, but it annoys me at times.  I'm much happier talking about what they do, or how bad the Twins suck this year.

Now I am a devoted Pirate fan, but if I had to pick an American League league favorite it is the Twins.  Growing up it was the Royals, but after the Brett years I soured.  Cheering for two basement dwellers wasn't condusive to a good ESPN morning.  Now the Twins suck, but the Pirates are playing over their heads this year early...again.

I might jack it up to 50 miles this week.  It's been good not doing the 3-5 hour efforts.  I'm not real happy anyway unless I'm running every day.  I'd rather not take the dog during the week, but after 5 years she loves it as much as me.  I don't run her too much because she gets in fantastic shape.  A cattle dog, she just acquires more energy, so 25-30 a week is her limit with me.  Then she gets in 10-15 a week on summer walks.  Too much running and she is on you constantly.

Yoga...what's up with that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dreams of Summer

Well, I have spent the last month recovering and hobby jogging around Waukesha with Jamie and our dogs.  I feel pretty good, but was a bit tired.  Work picks up, tons of stuff I need to do around the house, Canadien night crawlers to get it.  Thinking on getting to 50-60 a week and running some shorter races over the summer.  Though I like ultras, I think I prefer running in general more and a little change would be nice.  I busted out my 6.1 loop this AM in 42:37, so I must be recovered.

I've been reading my friends notes on their 100 mile finishes/attempts.  There is no doubt I want to do another, but until I can overcome the I need to finish in a certain time mode...I'll just wait a bit.  It is a bear of a distance and running 14 minute miles isn't real appealing to me now.  I have finished one and dropped from one.  I really don't have a resume of any sort when it comes adding them up.  20 finishes of distances of 50 miles or greater and 11 of those are Ice Age 50 milers.

I'll be skipping Voyageur this year.  I ran it the past 2 years.  I enjoyed the time, but running in the middle of summer doesn'r appeal to me much.  Perhaps I can find a way to matriculate up to Glacial this year and do the 50 miler. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The way I always do

Ice Age has came and went.  It was a very good for racers and first timers and I was glad to again be a part of this great race.  I finished in 7:55 and was pleased with the result.  Not much different than a lot of years.  In distances of this length you are given several dynamics to adjust to.  You apply what you think best and move down the trail.  This is what I did, though it took a little chunk out of me to finish under 8 hours.

Now I set back to getting in some training.  No set races yet, just start running every day and eventually I'll add a few evening runs to get the mileage up.  I briefly toyed with the idea of a 100 miler, but this to passed.  I have much to do this Summer.  The weeks will be busy.  I would like to get back to sleeping more than 7 hours.  It is a tad short of what I need.  I am an 8 hour guy.  It is uncommon for me to rip off 9 hours. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Ice Age is one short week away.  Talked to a fair amount of people doing their first 50k of 50m.  Well, just try and relax this week and get a few easy runs in.  One gets anxious for the first one and I would recommend you find a place at home to start collecting all the items you think you might need for race day.  I usually use the ping pong table down stairs to randomly pile a few items I might need.  I keep an eye on the weather because this can be a game changer.  If you do this you won't feel like your so rushed through the week.  If you remember something else you just put it on the table.

People have different goals for the race and different levels of ultra experience.  I have found it is really not much different than the long runs you have put in.  You have the benefit of plenty of aid stations, so keep this in mind.  Outside of gear and weather (personal choices), you have four things in my mind you have to stay on top of or consider.  They are:

Calories - I don't aim for a set amount per hour, but I really do try and get something at every aid point, with a little supplementation along the way, especially over the first 30-35 miles.  Even if I don't want anything I take a piece of bagel/banana/cookie/etc.  I usually hit the hammer gel a bit as well. 

Hydration - I drink a fair amount, taking whatever is given to me.  Usually gatorade and water.  I drink a bit of succeed, but do not like too much.  Past 30 I'll hit Pepsi/Mountain Dew regularly to try and get a boost, but you need other as well.

Electrolytes - Depending how warm it is I generally take 1-2 S!Caps per hour on the hour.

Bathroom - I have to take TP because I generally need 1-2 stops.  It can be frustrating if you have not prepared for this and are short on back-up.  I usually carry it wrapped in plastic wrap with a rubber band around it.

Other - I carry about 600-800mg of NSAIDs in with my electrolytes in case my legs really ache.  I use some about every other year and I don't take a lot with me because I'm not sure more would be any good for me.  I have carried tablets for my stomach as well, but not all the time.

I almost always have my wife helping me beginning at Hwy 12.  She has a box with fluids, hammer gel, bars, S!Caps, clothes, bottles, TP, Glide-On, etc.  I ask her to be there with a new bottle and hammer gel.  If I need something else I will tell her to bring it to the next aid station.  I really appreciate this help because it helps me move along without prolonged stops.  I also carry very little with me.  She meets me at 12, Rice lake, 12, Duffin, and then she parks and walks into Horsemans where she sees me coming in and coming back.  From there she heads to the finish.

The last thing I want to mention is going out conservative from the start.  I run comfortably and try an concentrate on really taking care of myself to at least Duffin (30.5).  I will stretch it out a few times, but I try and not get into race mode too early.  Duffin to Young road is where I try and transition into racing.  I call it looking for a hot spot and if it comes you have to know what you can sustain.  Move too early (catching everyone you see) can wear you out by Emma, so know what you can handle.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

...but so is Lola

I changed gears this year for Ice Age and decided to try and air one out at the Bear Trax 20k.  I seldom race, so I figured since it was on trails I run on it would be a great tune-up.  It is a challenging course with plenty of hills and was supremely marked by Robert. 

I just charged out and was surprised I had settled into 3rd place by the 1st kilometer.  I just kept pushing and after about 7-8k didn't see anyone behind me.  Perhaps I should have kept better track because suddenly at 18k a guy who I have finished within 1-2 spots over 10 years was on me.  I kept clost to 19k, but Ted Shue was way too much for me over the last 1k putting 17 seconds on me.  Man did he look good doing it.  I finished 4th in 1:24:03 and was happy with that.  My goal was to go under 1:25.

I'll just hobby jog around the next two weeks and see what the 50 mile has in store.  I'm glad I did it because I learned a few things. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chucka...Chucka...Chucka Knox

The time has come for me to dare myself to taper for Ice Age.  There is a tendency on my part to want to squeeze a bit more in.  I am starting to believe tapering for a 50 mile can be a bit different than tapering for a marathon.  Seems to me one has done a few 4-6 hour runs and the process may take longer.  I rarely ran more than 3 hours in marathon training.  I usually choose to emphasize on pace work and hard medium long runs for marathons.  The general thought was to run 75%, 50%, and 25% of average mileage the final three weeks.

The logs have revealed something entirely different.  There is credible evidence I may do better with much less than this.  One example is 2009 when I ran a 7:20 at Ice Age.  It was more like 50%, 50%, and 17%.  I am under the impression if I do too much 3 weeks out then a full taper may not occur.  Age is a part of it as well.

I say age, because as I watch runners 10-20 years younger than me they simply do recover quicker.  Like some, I tend to believe the rule does not apply to me.  I have confirmed this thought is wrong and I will need to make alterations.  There are days when I feel solid and other days it is drudgery.  Since there isn't much I can change 3 weeks out from Ice Age, the one thing I can do is rest properly.  I thought about getting in a solid effort of 60 miles next week, but I think I'll be in the 40s.

Friday, March 30, 2012

...and 75 thousand pounds

Good race lines heard over the years:

Lennox when asked how he felt going into the race by a rival school.
"I've ran more miles than your school bus."

Phipps when someone mentioned they were gunning for him in the mile.
"Pack a lunch."

Someone mentioned conditions looked like heaven today.  Williams peeled back
and looked at John and said, "Take a good look around Johnny, that's as close
as you'll ever get."

"Hey, how did Dunbar do in the half today?"  Williams said, "Tough to tell.  He had
those water trucks behind him putting out the fire trail he was leavin'"

Warming up one guy was walking on his hands and Williams asked what he was doing.
The guy said, "Maybe I'm getting ready for the circus."  Williams said, "Your whole teams
a carnival and were going to put you out of the circus business."

Unknown from West Virginia University CC Invitational.  "How you planning on doing today?"
Guy says, "See that cone down there. Once I get around that I plan on wrapping it up because
Mom's cooking fried chicken tonight."

Monday, March 26, 2012

A dollar and a dime

I am in the middle of my Ice Age training and it has been good.  I get pretty tired by the middle of the week and Monday is s-s-s-slow.  I went out to the course this past weekend and ran without stopping the watch for pit stops to get a feel for time checks.  12 to Duffin in Young (6.9) in 59:40 and back to 12 in 55:20.  12 to Dew Dip in 37 and back in 37.  3:09 total for 22.5 miles (8:24) and I felt reasonably well.

I'll continue to get out there and take time checks.  If you haven't tried this it is a great way to gauge how your doing.  It helps in taking away the how far to go trap.  I just concentrate on getting the groove on.  It's hard to set sail in the winding areas.  I might be better off going by feel than trying to exert more effort than needed in these sections because you have to break and turn a lot.  It is advantageous to train on the course and continue to learn how to run it.  Thinking of a 32 miler there myself Saturday...probably in the meat of the course.

The past two weeks:

3/12 AM  10.4
3/13 AM  15.3
3/14 AM   6.3
3/14 PM   6.8 trails
3/15 AM   6.4
3/16 AM   6.1
3/17 AM  26.8 w/ Bro. Grub - 4 Black loops (3:55:xx) running time only
3/18 AM   7.0 trails
Total        85.1

3/19 AM   6.3
3/20 AM   6.1
3/20 PM   7.2 w/ 5 x 4:00 w/ 2:00 rest
3/21 PM  13.4 Lapham 2:01
3/22 AM   6.3
3/23 AM   6.2
3/24 AM  22.5 Ice Age 3:09
3/25 AM  12.0
Total        80.0

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Let me sleep on it

Morris Stroud was a 6' 10" tight end for the Chiefs who was used on special teams to block field goals.  He stood under the field goal post and would jump up and block the lower ones.  The "Stroud Rule" came into being and it is now illegal.

Morris Stroud was big and you should be as well.

Running on the Drumlin several years ago a coyote was up ahead watching me approach.  I saw him from a half-mile away.  Not really wanting to see how close I could get, I raised my arms up in the air about a 100 yards out and he took off.

I got big and you should as well.

Getting big for ultras could be a number of things.  Everyone knows increasing the mileage or loading up on the long runs at the right time help you get big, but what else can I do?  I've tried a few things of my own and listen to others over the years.  Here are a few examples:

- Some people go for the one big week and usually it seems to be 100 miles.  This is not easy to do, but if you can pony up for a week it can offer a huge mental boost later.

- Pick a day in the middle of the week, get up at 2 am and go run four - five hours before work.  It can be a different experience and one does have many obstacles to face you do not typically run into on normal runs.  It makes you adjust and in my opinion toughens you up.

- Friday through Sunday pick a high mileage goal for yourself (40 - 50 - 60?) and go do it.  This may be the toughest of them all, but it makes you analyze yourself and learn to make adjustments.  You have to work outside your comfort zone.

If your looking for something different to try on yourself and see how you do, these are it.  Not necessary to do more than 1-2.  The fact is when you are running and ultra of say 50 miles you tend to remember these.  More than likely you are experiencing issues close to what you did then.  Sometimes it is nice to have the confidence to say to yourself, "I'm hurting, but this isn't any harder than my be big session."

What do you have to lose?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Speech Class

This past Wednesday, Jeff Mallach asked if I would assist him this fall in addressing a group of runners concerning ultras.  I eagerly accepted because the opportunity to pass on what I have learned seemed fun.  Notes were soon jotted down and the gears began turning in my head.  It is something I think about everyday.  It also became a medium for me to share on this blog.  Below is the start of what I think about.  Many of the comments or phrases I reference are from people I have had the pleasure of learning from over decades of running.  They have become part of my verbage, so forgive me that I don't take the time to quote them all.

Mastering the time continuum has always been a foundation in ultras.  There are no tricks I know of other than training.  You have to build the foundation and the bigger the base the higher the peak.  The purpose of training is to prepare yourself to finish the task.  The more time you spend preparing to me means...less suffering and better results.  I have never been into death marches.  Simply put, running is how I would spend my time preparing and I would pass on any other activity to aid or supplement performance.  Nothing against weights, biking, swimming, stretching, crossfit, etc.  That was time I could be running.  The more time I spent running was more time I could learn about its magical powers.  This leads to consistency and consistency leads to an iron clad will to push farther.  This is what ultras are about to me.  If I had to incorporate other activities they would compromise my need to test my running limits.  Simply put, if I was into biking as well, I would have dual biking goals every week.  That's how I work, it wouldn't be enough to be average on the bike.

So it is beneficial to forget about time.  The struggle I see with beginning runners is they think by time.  How can you run for an hour?  What do you think about?  To me this is easy...I think about the act of running.  I don't try and think in terms of an end.  If you run three miles in 30 minutes five times a week this is good physical conditioning.  They have a set limit and when they get closer to 30 minutes they percieve this is it.  They let themselves get tired.  They set it up this way.

On the other end you have a guy like Craig who is going to run 500 miles solo soon.  He has to master the time continuum in a manner I cannot fathom.  I draw from this because it makes me look at myself.  More so, it makes me look at the physical limits we set for ourselves.  Craig might be an outlier, but because I know him I know he is no different than me other than he sets the brain limit way beyond what seems possible.

I will run 4 black loops tomorrow which should be around 26.8 miles.  Those who are familiar know it is pretty darn hilly.  Sure, I have an idea of how long each loop will take, but you work to the point where it is another run.  When you get to the point the first two loops are the warm up and then you think...hey just two hours to are mastering the time continuum.  By the time Ice Age rolls around and you have done enough of these at times you can honestly say...just 2-3 hours to go and you do it.  For me the time gets absorb managing the act of running.  Trust me, enough stuff takes place you have to manage.  About the time you solve one issue another one pops up.  This is ultras to me.  The better the manager you are the better your run will go.

I guess this post ended up with more rambling than real info.  Hey, maybe I will eventually get better at keeping one idea in mind.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We have ignition

My first big meet is the Tri-County meet in '76.  I can barely contain myself.  Seven teams were there, but they have a little handout with the teams, runners, and history.  They list the all-time top ten and their times.  You start hearing the stories about the heroes of past and the close races.  Everyone is putting on the mint glo (kind of like Ben-Gay) and lacing the shoes up like a half dozen times from nervous anticipation.  I don't remember any special instructions from coach.  Coach was a young guy who monitored the suspended students at school.  He hadn't grown up running, but was athletic.  He only coached us one year before I believe he got a real teaching gig somewhere else.  I would see him occasionally over the next couple years and he had started running.  He was always interested in how I did and that was cool.

If your reading and ran cross you know how it works.  You all line up by team across a long white line.  Everyone is flying their colors and it is the most people you have seen at a race ever.  This may have been my first race ever on a Saturday, so a lot of parents showed up.  Some teams (the good ones) had piles of supporters, but I'll bet we only had a handful watching us.  The official, dressed in the old school black and white stripes stands out there and gives instructions.  It was a pleasant day that October 9th.  I was ready to fly.  I was going to miss Fred as he was injured that day.  We were close all season and he beat me twice over the course of the year. 

The beginning was a blast as everyone tore out with the grass flying.  One kid fell and and we jumped over him and everyone hooted and hollared.  If I wasn't hooked yet I was now.  The course was layed out so it seemed like you always had a freaking little hill to contend with.  This beat the heck out of me and I remember having a rather poor day.  We wound up 7th out of 7 (naturally) with a get this 176 point total!  My time would have placed me 11th in the JV race.  I ran 18:19, Mark Albers 18:55, Tarso 18:56, Salmen 19:20, and Pickle 20:02 for the 3 mile race.  Neshannock went 1 - 2 with times of 15:47 and 15:48 respectively.  Surprisingly we were fired up.  Everyone had the chance to recount their race.  No one likes a beat down, but hey we had completed our first season.  How did Union do?  Well we must have upset then earlier in the year because they were 6th with 132 points.

We felt next year would be all upside. 

WABAC Machine

The early years of cross-country had no real allure from the outside.  The team sucked, you had the hand me downs from the track team, and you actually had to run.  It wasn't about the training then, it was about the racing.  Some people ran so hard they had the dry heaves at the finish.  Sometimes you would get this saliva like glue you couldn't spit hard enough to get rid of.  Some kids just let it wrap around their face or run down their shirt.  For me I would get powerfully nervous at school before races.  Not as much about who your were racing, but because of the pain you had to endure.  Remember, no tactics were taught or learned.  You ran to the front as long as you could and held on.

Dual meets were better for me.  I could wrap my tiny little mind around racing one schools best kids.  When you arrived at the course it was usually the local golf course or on the high school grounds.  Our high schools were in the country so there was plenty of land to construct 3 mile lay outs.  You walked most of the course so you had an idea where you had to go.  While the other schools planned strategy ot tactics we just kind of goofed off.  It wasn't long before you wised up because there isn't anyone telling you where to go.  Heck, there was at least one time we had to send out a search party to go find a kid.  One thing was certain, somebody was going off course every meet.

Late summer and early fall in the north was unpredictable weather wise.  Yes, all the combos you can dream of became reality.  Look at old cross pictures.  Guys wearing tossle caps, white t-shirts under tank top, a pair of white socks for gloves...and spikes.  We wore the sprinter spikes used by the track team.  Think about that, is it still that way today?  What kid didn't love screwing in new spikes?  Basically there was a box with recycled spikes and you picked out the best ones.  You stretched a bit, ran some sprints and then lined up to hear the beautiful sound of the starters gun crack.

A dual meet might have 30 kids tearing across a piece of ground.  It was almost a true sprint.  The adrenaline you had poured into your system was finally being released.  It would take about a half mile for the little packs to appear.  The idea was to get to the next pack ahead of you.  This process broke the packs down to a string of runners by half way.  For the most part it stayed this way until about a quarter mile to go (at least for our team) and you tried to pass as many guys as you could over the last fairway which always seemed uphill.  On a good day you could catch several guys and grab your stick or card and collapse on the ground.  I knew right then that no other sport in my high school was exacting as much effort as we were.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Do things

So now I know stuff and my foray in the world of cross-country began.  We had a few characters.
Senior Jeff McMurray who had the obvious nickname of Fred was the leader.  Jeff was a good runner who competed well in the 880 in track.  Never afraid to throw down.  He had the purest speed on our team.  He was also the funniest by far.  Because he was about the only one with running experience his stories were legendary to us.  He recounted races from the track stars of the past and it was inspiring.  I'm not sure what his racing strategy was, but he was the only guy ever from my HS in cross-country I saw during races.  He made the sport fun.

Senior Mark Albers was a skinny guy who was also funny, but in a different way.  He used to put mint glow by his nose just to keep his nasal passages open.  You can't make this up.  He figured it would allow him to breath better.  How he ran with his nose on fire I will never know.  Always willing to run at the front for as long as he could and then fade into the back.  He would usually explain to us in detail after the race why he couldn't hang on.

Tarso Canerio was a senior and a foreign exchange student from Brazil.  He was our 3rd / 4th man.  He worked hard and was always pushing the pace in workouts which most of us were not mature enough to figure out.  We spent most of our time getting him to tell us how to swear in Portuguese.

The last senior I remember was Dave DeRosa who due to prior football injuries was using cross-country to get in shape.  Dave wasn't going to be up front, but man did he make it fun.  He and Fred knew like the entire senior class so the inside details of what was happening with people older than us and stories about the teachers were priceless.  Dave didn't like to lose, so one time he suggested he take a couple opponents out in the woods on the way back to increase our chances.  I'm sure he wouldn't have went through with it, but it was funny to think about.  Dave went on to Slippery Rock were I went to school and I got to know him pretty well.  Great guy.

We never had anyone from the Junior class I remember.  Beside Fred and Tarso being scorers the rest were predominantly from the sophomore class.  We perceived by our second year we would just keep getting better.  Hope sprang eternal as we ran through that year.  We won our second dual meet that year against Ellwood City and I picked up my first win ever.  I remember getting to the front and being scared I would be run down.  That's when I learned being scared isn't a bad thing.  We were crushed by the other teams.  We had several teams who made states annually and had a couple guys who could get pretty well under 9:50 for the 2 mile.  Most of those teams swept us easily.  We went 2 - 5 that year in duals.  This is when my buddy made the claim, "We're not good, but we're funny."  It was good we had fun, but losing all the time wasn't settling to me.

Friday, March 9, 2012 was you and me

I wasn't born a runner, but by the time I was a young lad I knew I was faster than most.  Quicker may be the appropriate term.  You ran in spurts then.  Tag, baseball, and kickball didn't require running great distances.  It felt good to be picked first and you don't want to lose that feeling.  Such is life.  You grow older and suddenly there are other fast kids.  Sports changed as well and having speed wasn't all you needed.  You needed specific skill sets and at times a Dad who schmoozed the coaches.  By the time you enter high school one sees the pecking order.  As Bear Bryant once said, "Be good or be gone."

I always understood this.

In 1976 our high school entered the sport of cross-country and I eagerly signed up.  We knew nothing.  I mean it was so bad it was funny.  For practice we ran around the pond a few times and ran sprints.  After this brutal 2 week training regiment we headed to Union HS for our first meet.  I was a sophomore and when that damn gun went off I did what everyone else did or tried to do...I ran at the front.  After a half-mile my lungs were on fire.  I just kept chasing, but they got farther and farther away.  I was disappointed.  I was 3rd overall and first on the team in 17:50.

After my 3 years in HS was over, we finished with a 5 - 27 record.  The best part was we managed to win that very first meet by one point.  I was in the back of the bus heading home.  Suddenly I was allowed to sit with the other non-athlete upper classmen in the back.  The results of the meet were being passed around without any fanfare.  The sheet read: Union 28  Laurel 27.

I yelled up at the coach, "Hey, why didn't you tell us we won?"  He asked what I was talking about.  I said, "In cross-country the low score wins!"  "Oh," he replied.  "I thought it was like football."

That's when I became a runner.  I knew stuff.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

...and yellow white

Every morning I get up about 50 minutes before I run to drink coffee, watch ESPN, do stuff, and most importantly watch the weather.  It's usually not enough to watch it once I have to see it twice.  From there I figure out what I'm going to wear.

Mittens below 20F and gloves 20F to 50F.
Dress socks and cotton socks below 10F.
Two head caps below 0F, one of which I can pull over my neck if too windy.
Heavy head cap 0F to 25F and a thin one 25F to 40F.
Shorts 30F and above.
Thin running pants 15F to 30F.
Heavy running pants 0F to 15F.
Thin and heavy pants if wind chill is 0F and below on real windy days.
Fleet Farm top 40F+.
Fleet Farm top and pull over 25F to 40F.
Fleet Farm top, long sleeve shirt, and pull over top 10F to 25F.
Fleet Farm top, pull over and heavy vest -5F to 10F.
Fleet Farm top, sweat shirt, and heavy vest for really wind wind chill days below -5F.  Maybe toss in a wind breaker if wind chills below -25F.

The wind can alter these, but normally they have to be over 15-20 mph winds and I'm exposed a lot.

It has been an easy winter to run in.  I can't wait to the trails are ready to go.  I love the road, but the trail runs are more forgiving and necessary if you plan on doing and ultra on them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More barn

The thing I am relearning is it is easy to consider not running.  I mean the training is good and why not take a day off.  Plenty of stuff seems to get in the way, but I have been determined to get the workouts in...and make them effective.  Just when it seems running is pointless you go out and have another good workout.  The trick is not to over work the days you don't need to.  I just try and stay on the edge.  Find a way to will yourself into the zone and get the glide going.  Regardless of what the body chemistry is telling you if you work at it good things can happen after 30 minutes.  If not, you circle around and go home...which is another reason I run out and back a lot.  I have to get home and it is a big boost when you make the turn.  It's not like the run is just half over, it's like it is 75-80% over.  Capiche?

Mon AM = 6.6 w/ Jamie and dogs.
Tue AM = 6.1 w/ Jamie and dogs.
Tue PM = 7.5 w/ 10:00 tempo and 4 x 1:25 hill hard.
Wed AM = 12.0 w/ Jamie and his dog.
Thu AM = 6.5 w/ Jamie and dogs.
Thu PM = 7.0 w/ 22:00 tempo.
Fri AM = 6.1 w/ Jamie and dogs.
Sat AM = 16.2
Sun PM = 10.0 w/ my dog.

Total 78.0

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Most on earth

I'm not sure what program I'm on.  I guess it is partly mine and a combination of earthly scholars such as Beck, Setnes, and Daws.  Beck from the standpoint it is an all your eggs in one basket approach which includes three 3 week cycles with a 3 week taper.  Setnes kind of fills in the harder Tuesday through Thursday section, and Daws from the hill work and increased sharpening pace until race week.  Of course putting it together and executing it is my part. The input I bring is knowing I have to get to the trails a bunch and the ever crucial when do you push into red line range and when do you rest?

I didn't really mention long runs, but I figured everyone doing ultras knows those are a given.  I'll probably do one less really long run this time in favor of strength/speed.  I am hoping the everyday running and weekly mileage will fill in.  I am going to run the same way I have been, but am counting on the fact my cruising speed, trail miles, and familiarity with the trails/course will allow for faster running.

If I have learned one thing about Ice Age is that when I am able to catch a hot spot coming past confusion corner heading to emma carlin then this is when I run best.  This means I still have to manage the prior 33 miles.  I can't really start racing until past this point.  My feeling is because I have taken pretty good care of myself until then I can take a chance or two if need be.  Running hard to emma carlin and then back to horsemans is roughly 10 miles.  I expect to hurt like everyone else from there in and if I have to drop the bottle and just run through stations I do.

People really get out there from the start.  I know how that works, my window for a good run that way was usually tiny and involved suffering.  To me training is about eliminating as much suffering as possible.  Looks like a big crowd this year with a pile of good runners.  Those guys (gals) don't usually come back, but you never know who might blow up.  Last year was odd because there was not a lot of people to chase down.  It seemed pretty thin in my time zone.  Hoping this year there are a few more bodies to engage with.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Between the sound machine

Very nice day for a 14 miler w/ Brother Grub to finish the week.  I ran the exact same run yesterday, but it seemed so short today.  Good to get that one in the bank.  The first week is in:

Mon AM = 6.1 w/ Jamie and dogs
Tue AM = 6.3 w/ Jamie and dogs
Tue PM = 7.0 w/ 6 x 2:00 hill
Wed AM = 10.3 w/ Jamie and his dog
Thu AM = 5.0 w/ my dog
Thu PM = 7.5 0n golf course w/ 22:00 tempo
Fri AM = 6.4 w/ Jamie and dogs
Sat AM = 14.0
Sun AM = 14.0 w/ BG

Total = 76.6

The hardest run is getting that Wednesday AM run bumped up.  Getting up before 5:00 wears on you through the day.  Probably will switch this to a PM run at Lapham Peak whenever that thaws out.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Conceived in liberty

I learned a couple new facts the past week I thought were cool.  The word with only one vowel, but this same vowel appears six times in the word.  Indivisibility.

A word in which all five vowels appear in order and only once each.  Facetious.

Also, the word facetiously has all the vowels in a row and the one consonant which sometimes acts as a vowel in a row.

I learned this info on

I learned this at the end of the Ice Age 50 mile one year when Clark Zinzow was announcing the runners coming in.  The only city with the same single vowel appearing five times is in Oconomowoc.

I was born in Butler, PA.  Well known people from there include:

Rick Santorum
Big John Studd
Bret Michaels (Poison)
Terry Hanratty (Notre Dame / Steeler) QB
Michele McDonald (Miss USA 1971)
William Perry (Secretary of defense under Clinton)

A fair amount of MLB and NFL players as well and an Olympic medalist. The only ones I knew prior were Studd, McDonald, and Hanratty.  I thought Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) was from there, but maybe she didn't make the cut.  I remember the family cheering for McDonald back when I was around 10.

Running going well.  probably post an update tomorrow after the week concludes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I've been to a town

Well, about 12 weeks to lift off.  Now the work starts.  I break it into 3 - 3 week cycles and 1 - 3 week taper.  I'm going to use the first cycle to get used to the training...meaning no hell bent for leather, you'll rue the day type attitude.  Them days gone braaaaaah.  Second cycle the weather should be a tad better, so can start getting in more trail miles and working the harder stuff.  The third cycle I'll try and ramp up the intensity of the harder stuff...and survive because I'll be on fumes.  It culminates with the 30-35 mile training run.  The last three weeks the miles go down, intensity stays up, and then a bit of needed rest.

I don't want to say it looks easy on paper because it is not, but once you get a few weeks in it is a chore.  If I get a bit too overwhelmed I may take an extra easy day or so.  I am glad it is here.  I have been waiting to get going.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

O 2 1 3 4

So I've been thinking about what happens after Ice Age.  Do one race and that's it?  Boy, The KM 100 sounds interesting again, but in a manner I would finish.  I'm going to have to sit down with the No. 2 and map out a run/walk plan from the start.  Run 12 and walk 3, run 15 and walk 5...what?  That's what I want to try, getting about 5 miles an hour.  It's tough to get a feel because even a 5 hour run practicing probably doesn't imitate the art.  Have to figure if it would be best to do shorter segments or longer ones.  Five minutes seems like a long walk at first, but 3 seems reasonable.  Of course 20/10 sounds like an easy way to keep track and get close to 5 miles an hour.  Of course, maybe you run the first three hours and then start.  One good thing is I have time to ponder it.

I would be way back there, but if you could stay reasonably fresh you'd start picking off people past the 100k.  Then if you had anything towards the end you could run the last loop in.  I don't know, something to keep this handsome Dutch guy entertained.

I've been playing 4 suit spider solataire.  I've won like 3 times in 300 hands.  I hate losing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inter Sanctum

I ran my first 50 mile at Ice Age in 2000.  Here's the data available for scrutiny:

12/27 - 1/2 = 32.7 w/ long run of 13.3
1/3 - 1/9    = 40.3 w/ long run of 15.7
1/10 - 1/16 = 50.6 w/ long run of 20.4
1/17 - 1/23 = 37.8 w/ long run of 10.2
1/24 - 1/30 = 41.4 w/ long run of 10.2
1/31 - 2/6  = 37.1 w/ long run of 10.0
2/7 - 2/13 = 41.2 w/ long run of 10.2 (twice)
2/14 - 2/20 = 23.7 w/ long run of 6.4
2/21 - 2/27 = 33.6 w/ Marathon (Smokey Mountain) in 3:10:58
2/28 - 3/5 = 38.9 w/ long run of 16.0
3/6 - 3/12 = 43.9 w/ long run of 19.5
3/13 - 3/19 = 40.2 w/ long run of 20.0
3/20 - 3/26 = 13.3 w/ long run of 7.1 (left leg was hurting)
3/27 - 4/2 = 55.4 w/ long run of 25.5
4/3 - 4/9 = 60.3 w/ long run of 28.3
4/10 - 4/16 = 67.3 w/ long run of 32.5
4/17 - 4/23 = 67.3 w/ long run of 35.0 (5:20) Ice Age Build-up run
4/24 - 4/30 = 37.8 w/ long run of 8.7
5/1 - 5/7   = 29.2 w/ long run of 7.8
Week before Ice Age
5/8 = 4.7
5/9 = 3.4
5/10 = 2.7
5/11 = OFF
5/12 = OFF
5/13 = 50.0 (7:23:45) Notes: Good run. Cool, high 40s, overcast and windy. 25 splits 3:39+, 3:44+.
8:53 a mile. Heart rate 70, 6 hours after race.

Pretty simple.  Marathon indicated decent fitness.  Maintained normal training and then a 4 week build-up period, followed by a 3 week taper.

Why do we make it so complicated now?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quantitative Management

Things I consider before Ice Age are as follows:

Take the absolute minimum or it's more to manage.  Salt tabs and scratch for sure.  Those get the big check mark.  Sometimes I bring a bar which I pre-cut and perhaps a gel.  I try and avoid carrying a bottle until Hwy 12 minimum.  Take along a minimum amount of NSAIDs.  Once in awhile I'll take 400-600mg if my legs feel extra pounded and if that don't work there is probable reason more won't.

I like a crew person which is usually Donna starting at Hwy 12.  Invaluable resource for a bunch of reasons.  You can switch full bottles, you can drop or pick up clothes, you can ask for something at next station, you can re-supply if necessary, and I have her toss me a bottle of hammer gel which I hit hard and toss back on the fly.  It saves a bunch of time.  Plus they can tend to you when you finish.  Sometimes your pretty broken up and need help.

Honestly, don't doink around.  Get out there early so you can park and aren't rushed.  Set two alarms even though you'll be up before they go off.  It just makes going to sleep easier that's all.

Try hard to eat and drink at least two hours before the start.

Consider cutting caffiene out 10 days prior so when you hit it (past 30) it might have a positive boost.

Consider carbo loading.

Always review the distance between aid stations.  Make mental notes between the long ones so you don't forget to short yourself.  Tough to make up calories or hydration late into a race.

Finally.  Absolutely follow the weather.  The clothing decision is key.  More is not always better.  Get a long run in cold rainy weather so you can evaluate.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Such are promises

Last year we held a North vs. South cross-country event at Lapham Peak in late September which comprised of racing the black loop.  In was Ron Bero's and my event to celebrate our 50th b-days.  The line of demarcation was I-94 into Milwaukee and picking up 794 straight to the Lake.  Above and your on the North and below you are on the South.  Because of the number of athletes and trying to keep everyone honest, when you finished your name was tossed into a hat for your team.  The scorers were randomly picked by Ron and myself and the collective time was added.  Low cumalative time won.  The North won fairly easy...which was Ron's team.  He has the the big title belt displayed in his office...I've seen pictures.

Forget that the South had the top two men, top three women...and the top finishing dog...we lost.  Though we did pull the top South male and dog.  This is a call for every able body on the South to get training for next year.  Ringers aren't accepted.  You have to have ran with the LPTR group 3 times, or get an exemption from Todd who incidentially runs for the North...just saying.  I believe one exemption was allowed for Troy's brother who was in town visiting from up North.  So it can happen.

Anyway, the greater Watertown area has dog pile off good runners.  These guys are thick as theives and they have a glut of top ten finishers and all their home boys from Oconomowoc, Columbus, Fox Lake, Hubertus, and whatever town they pay runners to come down and run 3 times to qualify.  The South is a tiny hamlet of well mannered runners who up to now have put up with accepting whatever crumbs fall through the grating.  This post is a call to start encouraging (all in a perfectly legal and binding sense) other highly moral athletes to consider what we are up against and join us next September.  It just feels right to take the high ground.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Busta move

In football you can make adjustments during the game.  In distance running it is a bit more challenging.  Once an event starts (at least for me) you try and stick to your plan.  I think what seperates longer distance events from shorter events is the more mistakes you make up front the harder they are to recover from.  The older I get the harder it seems to be to not make mistakes, so one tends to be conservative.  My running today consists primarily of feel.  In shorter races there is no feel.  I should be able to rocket out at this pace and hold it because these specific workouts and trials indicated I could.  I can't do that with longer events.  If anyone is following this, here is the dilemma:

How do you train for feel?
How do you combine long runs and speed together without compromising the process?
Does anyone get the fueling process because I never have?
When does one hold back and when does one let it go?

I think the ultimate bullet answer for all of them is to run about 100 miles a week, get used to it, and just gradually run those miles faster.  If I could do that I really wouldn't have to ponder how to race 50 miles.  Because I can't or won't I'm left with the tinkering process.

If I could eliminate one of those questions, it would be the first one.  I'm starting to believe I'm going to have what I'm going to have that day.  You still have to put in the work, but I tend to have huge cycles of feel good and don't feel good and I must not be the only one.  This is why in races I largely prefer to run alone.  I tend to be all over the map in pacing and racing.  One encouraging sign is when I run the hills I tend to get a spark of sorts.  My downfall on the trails is the constant turning, weaving, and uneven terrain.  I have a tough time getting into a proper cadence.  I think mentally it wears me out. 

I know I'm not old at 50, but I get pains that come and go during longer events I just don't get when running on the roads.  This means I have to get out to the trails a lot more this spring.  I also have to get back to getting fast so I have a better cruising pace.  These races start and it just seems like people are flying.  I have to stay back because right now I know I can't afford to go out and hang on.  At one time I held back because it seemed to make the most sense.  Now I have no choice.  I have to run this pace and hope the people ahead of me get tired. 

This is what makes me love the sport.  Trying to figure it out.  I'm not sure you ever really get to that point.  Sure, I could be like Brother G and run 8 times a month on average, (usually in a 20 day period with 10 off days to follow), but that doesn't work for mortals.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Morning Governor

Twer' the night before John Dick
And all thru the manor
Not a salt tab could be found
Just remants of powder

The shoes were piled
In the basement in boxes
Some missing inserts
And the others had rocks in

I looked at the fuel belts
That were still in the package
I won't need those things
There just extra baggage

I pulled out the duct tape
Said your my best friend
You'll cover my nipples
Might use you again

Hey Adidas, hey Asics
I said in my head
Can you pound down the trail
Beat Egnarski again

When all of the sudden
It dawned on me then
The Dick's not a race
It's a run with good friends

There's chili, there's brownies
There's beer and there's soup
It's a primitive trail run
I might even poop

I'll see you tomorrow
Fifteen bucks in my hand
And before I forget
Someone please bring the Hamm's

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I and I

When I was a little kid I could fly.  In elementary school no one could catch me.  I didn't think I was different or special, but I knew I was on to something.  As you grow, go to bigger schools, on to college; you find your really just average.  Everyone can fly.  We weren't all created equal.  Some people could really cut loose.  By then it is what you do and running well involved a lot of hard work.  Sometimes you worked hard and other times you didn't.  I'm not sure what I was chasing because by then I was hooked.  I've been running since I was a little kid.  Sure I had quite a few off years during the get married, get a masters, have kids, and persue corporate dreams.  But I was still a runner.  I'd grab the shoes and go on a whim.  You feel free.  I can't explain it.  It's not like riding a bike or hiking.  It's continuous forward motion.  The benefits are unmeasurable, many of which I just took for granite because I was young.  I don't have great thoughts, figure out problems, or even think about anything...but the act of running.  I've been broken, injured, sick, and even in a few deep holes, but one thing I always wondered was...when can I start running again?  There were three times in my life I thought running might be taken from me.  I wasn't in the state of panic or was like a friend died and I had to move on.  The body is an incredible machine.  I've been able to come back and for that I am greatful.  Someday it will end, but while the stores still sell Adidas for $30 bucks a throw I'm still in.  All in and I thank God he allows me to get fired up to this day. Like a little strap them on for another day. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Up in here

I didn't die or anything.  Been putting in about 50 a week, sometimes more.  Really been enjoying the mild winter.  Really enjoy getting out, but the weekends have been full with kid activities, so I actually run a lot less on weekends than planned.  That's okay, I run most days.  Got in 8 runs last week.

I am kind of itching for March to come around so I can start training for Ice Age.  Going to put more emphasis in hill/tempo training this year so I'm not too far back in the weeds.  It will be tough, but I want to do some of the long runs myself.

John Dick is this weekend.  The weather looks mild so a nice easy long run looks in order for the day.  Hope to see a lot of smiling faces...and chili. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Squandered my existence

After a 253 mile December I have basically been taking it easy.  Most playing solataire, scrabble, and chewing tobacco.  Time to fire up the engine and get running before I get zotted at Ice Age.  Been struggling lately with the concept of training versus running for enjoyment.  I'm not sure there is a middle position for me.  I would still get in around 50 a week, and probably run fairly well, but the problem is acceptance.  Always one more race, or year, or milestone.

Mentioned to Brother G I like beating people and he said, "It never gets old...does it."  Truer words were never spoken...or at least text.  I don't like this about me.  I'm not a diehard anymore, but it is a challenge that keeps me going out the door.  There is a point in training were it gets hard.  Not so much during, but the before and after.  Sore, tired, and short tempered is no way to go through life and it happens around 60+ a week.  After a 45 and 36 mile week I have more energy.  I get other stuff done.  Life doesn't seemed so...vacuum packed.

I'm sure this will pass. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Otto Maddox

Well, I'm going to break a rule tomorrow and run sick.  It is more in the category of get one more in before the bad part gets here.  Is it just me or do I always seem to be sick over the weekend?  Probably best, I hate laying around on work days and end up working anyway.

Not a bad year last year...2,272.7 miles.  That's about 43 a week.  I'll take it.  Recently I have been thinking of cutting back my yearly ultra total.  Thinking Ice Age and maybe a special event now and then.  I really don't enjoy running long much anymore.  Two hours is about all I want to tinker around with.  Wait, I only run 2-4 races a year of any length so why run?  Because I love it!

I still want to do a mountainous 100 venue.  Just get out there and amble along.  Breath in the air.  Suffer a little bit.  Beat the cut-offs.  Enjoy life.  No hurry, but hopefully in the next couple years.  Would like to go with some buddies, pals, hombres...legends. 

Doing the maintenenance miles.  Staying fit.  More of an update on this over the weekend.