Monday, December 6, 2010

Recovery, Rest and (Staying Positive?)

Salem Lake (before the leaves fell)... my weekend trail scene

It's been four weeks since the Mountain Masochist and I feel like I'm still somewhat in recovery/re-charging mode. I took 9 of the first 11 days off from running post MMTR and even a couple of days last week. I haven't seemed to recover as quickly as I did from my first 50 mile effort over the summer (of course that trail race wasn't called "Masochist".) My legs have just generally felt tired over the last few weeks. Not really stiff or sore but just tired. So I guess I needed this break. I've had a dull ache in my left hamstring/buttocks which was a lingering injury I had prior to transitioning from marathons to ultras... so that's a concern and I'm in no huge hurry to get into serious training once again. I think I've only done a few double digit runs. Did a nice paced 17 miler a week ago with my friend Chuck who is running the Kiawah Island Marathon this weekend, and a 14 mile run with him this past weekend at 7:59/mi. Also even threw in a 6:40 mile during one of my runs to just be sure I could still run fast. It's been a LONG time since I've run anything fast.

To back track a little, when I returned home from the Masochist my wife mentioned to me that I wasn't as excited as she thought I would be after finishing a mountainous ultra. And she was right.... it was a great experience, loved the race, the course, the friends, the atmosphere BUT I really felt like I should have/could have run faster (although this slow recovery makes me wonder if I ran better on race day then I'm admitting.) I realize that I'm still learning how to train for and race ultras (particularly mountain races)and I hope to soon get it figured out and RACE to my full potential. I think it all hit home when I read one of the many race reports in the blog world. I was reading one of the reports from a guy that finished in 8th place. I was reading his blog thinking 'wow, this guy finished 8th, he's a really good runner', well he finished in 8:02, damn good time. It was when I got to his last paragraph and he said I've had a really good year, finished top ten in several ultras, and set my PR in the marathon this year at Boston, 3:04. And his goal next year is to take 5 minutes off his marathon time to get under 3 hours. WHAT? My last marathon was at Boston and I ran a 2:59..... soooo I can beat him by 5 minutes in a marathon(on the same course) and he whipped me by 1 hour 54 minutes at MMTR? Whoa..... from the time I was a kid, the longer the race, the better I did. So I mean no disrespect to anyone but something seems odd about this. Now.... for a time I got really down about it but after some time to reflect I've begun to think if I ever get this thing figured out maybe I can be pretty good at this.

To back track even further.... I began running when I was a young teen in the early 70's. It was evident early on that the longer the race the better I performed. I remember after my first cross country season the xc team ran in one of the first road races in the area (it was so long ago that we all wondered why they would have a race that was 6.2 miles long.... haha no one had ever heard of a 10k before) and I began passing all the high school kids that beat me in cross country races. The pattern of the longer I race the better I do has continued up until my MMTR results. Now I do have to admit that after running long races, including marathons as a teenager.... I also had a break of 24 years with no running at all and just began running again in December of '07. So... I've come a long way in just 3 years of running in my "second running life." Hard to believe I'm talking about racing 50's and not just talking about finishing them.

I look forward to getting back to some serious training after my extended break and prepare for the Umstead 100 in April. I will likely do some 50k's early in the year. Probably won't make it to the Frozen Sasquatch but instead will run the Frosty 50, a 50k on the same date at Salem Lake (my home course).... I guess I rambled on a bit with my frustrations, but I know I will get this figured out and perform like I know I capable of. Stay tuned....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mountain Masochist Race Report

I'm finally sitting down to write my 2010 Mountain Masochist Race Report. It was an incredible weekend and I just couldn't seem to put it into words. I'd hoped to run a little faster and faded a bit but still very very pleased to get under 10 hours and learn a bunch about running a mountain race. To put it in perspective, the following is from Running Times:

The Mountain Masochist 50 Miler is an indisputable stronghold of tradition in the ultrarunning world. In line with some of the other time-tested endurance events around the country, like JFK, the Masochist draws crowds from the tight-knit ultra community year after year.

Started 28 years ago by ultra icon David Horton, the race continues to gain in popularity as running insanely long distances has become trendy.....

...the Mountain Masochist’s reputation and history puts it in a league of its own. The 50-mile trek begins near Lynchburg, Va., and weaves through the Blue Ridge Mountains along roads, logging trails and single-track trails to finish in Montebello, Va. With a net gain of 9,200 feet and a loss of 7,200 feet, this course isn’t for the faint of heart. What’s more, the largest elevation climbs come later in the race. The most brutal climb begins at mile 22 and continues upward until mile 29.5 over the top of Buck Mountain.

After that lung-busting uphill, the notorious “Loop” presents itself at mile 33. The biggest terrain challenge on the course, the 4-mile loop takes runners over a rocky single-track path. Many report the loop is more like 6 miles rather than 4, and that the course itself is 54 miles, not 50. These “Horton miles” are the stuff of legends and part of the race’s charm and mystique.

“The Masochist is one of the classics,” says Zealand. “It really reflects the history of the race and the sport itself.”

I was able to leave work a bit early on Friday and got on the road for the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Lynchburg. I wasn't as nervous about the tough course as I was about possible bad weather. I had a bad experience last year with temps in the 30's and a hard rain so I couldn't imagine those type conditions for 8-10 hours... but the last time checking it looked like the rain and snow would have already passed and likely it was just going to be in the 30's with maybe some snow on the ground at higher elevations late. I tried to keep my mind off the race and listened to some good music... Dylan (Blood on the Tracks), Keller and the Keels, and my new favorite mountain/appalachian/bluegrass band Big Daddy Love.) I went down early to get my race packet and drove a couple of blocks to a Kroger and got bananas and some waffles for the morning.

The pre race evening program was wonderful. Good pasta (thanks Clark for having a vegetarian option) and inspirational words (and instruction) from Race Director Clark Zealand, Masochist David Horton and Jennifer Pharr Davis who holds the womens record for running the AT and next year will attempt to break the all time record. Fun to talk to JPD about her run on the AT and my experience hiking 1/3 of the AT 30+ years ago. (I guess she'll never forget my name since she told me her 6th grade teacher's name was Robert French, her first male teacher.) I headed back to my room ready to lay down, but first laid out all my gear for the race... pinned bib on my shorts, mixed up bottles of Perpetuem, counted out my gels, laid out shorts, shirts, gloves, sleeves.... after I realized I didn't have anything left to do I went to bed.

I was up at 4 a.m., took a warm shower, ate a banana, 2 waffles.... packed up my drop bag that would be laid out at the 26.9 mi mark and a bag of warm clothes for post race. Jumped on one of the busses at a few minutes before 5 a.m. and we were off to the start at James River Visitor Center. I saw a few rain drops hit the windshield and got nervous but the weather all day was nearly perfect, so no worries.

It seemed likely to be in the 30's all day so I decided on my favorite short sleeve runners shirt (from a trail race in Dupont Forest), arm sleeves, and a thin long sleeve shirt over that, shorts and gloves. The first 6+ miles were on the Blue Ridge Parkway and paved roads and everything clicked along pretty well. I felt like I was running faster then I should have but also figured I should run faster before I hit the tougher trail climbing. I forgot my headlamp at home but with so many others with light and being on the road it wasn't a big deal. It was really a great feeling as the sun rose and you could begin to make out the mtn. ridges in the distance. I hit the first Aid Station at Cashaw Creek and was in and out quickly and headed up the trail. I was happy to be on the trail and passed many runners as many were slowing on the uphills.

My memory of some of the early sections is a big foggy but I do remember that time seemed to pass quickly. I wasn't running real fast but I felt like I was moving along well. Before I knew it we were at the Dancing Creek Aid Station and I tip toed across the creek with minimal wet feet. Again it seemed quickly that we approached the tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway at the 14 mile mark and this time no keeping the feet dry.

The remainder of the "first half" of the race was for the most part uneventful. Ran several miles with a nice kid, and I do mean kid, he was 18 yr old Jesse who I left behind only to be passed by him in the final mile. Jesse was only a few minutes off the best time ever for an 18 yr old. I got to the Long Mtn Wayside Aid Station and my drop bag in 4:42.... couldn't believe I'd been running for that amount of time but energized because I felt good and was more then halfway. I had a slow stop, at first because I couldn't find my bag and then fumbling around with loading up on gels, full bottles, grabbed a cap, etc.

I started the long climb up Buck Mtn and I played it pretty conservative knowing it was a long way up and I had the difficult "loop" ahead of me. I'd run the training run on the final 23 miles of the course so I knew what was ahead of me. Fun to hear the Rocky music playing at the Aid Station at the top (thankfully we were warned the night before that you hear the music through the canyon long before you get there)...

As we approached "the loop" I got pretty excited because lot's of crews were cheering us on and just a lot of activity. I can't remember if this is where we started to see snow dusting the ground, but it seemed to energize me. I headed into the loop and purposely decided to take it pretty slow. I really enjoyed the single track... particularly the first section in the rhododendrons. I realized it was one of the more beautiful sections of the race and I wanted to enjoy it and not tumble. I did trip one time but barely nicked my knee and slipped on my bottom heading down a really steep downhill. But not much blood to report so no chance of me winning the "best blood" award (much to the surprise of my NC running buddies who know I have a history of kissing the earth from time to time).... I was pretty slow coming down the second half of the loop, passed by a bunch of runners, but not being the best of downhill runners, I expected that.

I won't go into a whole lot of detail.. but I began to have stomach trouble heading up Buck Mtn. I stopped a total of 4 times before and after the loop and as one of my friends said... with most of the leaves on the ground it was a bit difficult to find a spot to do my thing. In addition to those stops, I stopped to water the bushes a BUNCH of times(I'd say double digits). Anyway, I guess it will always be something but my stomach trouble seemed to cost me at least 30 minutes or so. In my first 50 mile effort I had no stomach trouble and I sure hoped for the same but I guess I'm more surprised that I didn't have trouble last summer.

After some good running after the loop, we eventually headed up to some tough single track with lots of leaves on the ground and a hard trail to follow but it was marked extremely well so I made it through that section and the really steep final climb. A whole load of people passed me over the last 8 miles or so but as long as I was moving I was happy. Some people were literally flying down off the ridge. I spent way too much time at the last Aid Station talking with the volunteers. A couple of the guys wanted to talk to me about my minimal New Balance 101's and after a few minutes of talk I finally interrupted one of them to say, hey man I'm almost done this race I gotta go. They yelled as I trotted off asking if I slipped on the leaves any with that sole... I just waved and yelled YES as I took off for the final 3 "Horton Miles". I moved pretty good over the last miles but so many people passed me that I lost count. I got to the painted sign on the ground saying "1 mile to go ?" and I had to just laugh at Horton for messing with us one final time. I hit the pavement for the final mile into Montebello, still being passed by runners including the 18 yr old and then Marlin Yoder who was the first "older" guy I noticed zipping by me.

I was super happy to round the corner and see the clock at 9:56 and Clark Z. and David H. with smiles and reaching out a hand to congratulate me. From the photos it looks like they greet each and every finisher! What a heck of a nice thing to do. It was a LONG day and they are there to greet all of us.

I headed to the bus and put on dry socks and shoes, put on a bunch of layers and milled around to cheer on the finishers coming in. I ate more "junk" then I have all year but didn't stop eating for long. I jumped on the second bus heading back to Lynchburg and finally got cell coverage to call home and let Sara (wife) know I was finished and healthy. Enjoyed reading all the back and forth emails from family "following" me from the comfort of their homes on the computer.

The post race meal, awards and breakfast the next day were great to swap stories and learn from other masochists. I learned a lot and will likely do things much different next year. I feel like I left something out on the course. I really was nervous to fly down the more runnable sections like most of the ultra folks do. I will likely push it a bit more uphill (my strength) and for sure push the section before the loop, beginning of the loop, and post loop. We shall see for sure since I can't imagine ever missing this event unless I'm unable to toe the line. I had a lot of time to think about this Horton fellow. The best way to describe Horton on a Masochist weekend is like a kid on Christmas morning. I don't think I ever saw him all weekend without a huge smile on his face and an encouraging word for every masochist. In closing, a big thank you to Clark, David and all of the wonderful volunteers.

One final thing I forgot to say is that when you look at the race results and view my "Runner Results History" it lists several DNF's and 11 hour MMTR's.... not sure how that happened but that wasn't me.... I swear this was my very first MMTR! Not sure if someone else with my name ran it before or why that shows up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Final Mountain Masochist Preparation

Writing this with 6 days until the 2010 Mountain Masochist Trail Run. (Hope I didn't break some blogger rules/etiquette by swiping one of Beth's photos to finally put a pic with my blog.... let me know if I broke any rules) All the work is done and I will just do some easy light running this week and maybe a couple of complete rest days. I feel okay about my training but not super pleased with the last month or so. I didn't do much during the week days over the last month but continued to get some good long runs on weekends. I'll try to focus on the positive and know that I'm ready to run long for many hours. My long runs were good... over the last 12 weeks or so I've done 9 runs of 24 miles or longer (two 30+ milers, two 28 milers, 26.5 miler, two 25 milers, 24 miler, 23 miler on the MMTR trail, and the two weekends that I didn't go super long I did back to back 20's and back to back 21's.)

Last weekend I decided late in the week to head up to Lynchburg and join a bunch of other MMTR runners in a training run on the second half of the course. It was a perfect cool morning but warmed up nicely. So good to see some familiar faces, meet the famous David Horton and make some new friends. I didn't know much about the course so I stuck with some folks that I knew and a few that had run the course before. Lot's of slow uphills on Forest Service type roads. The uphill running was intimidating but I know I'll do fine climbing slow and steady. The "Loop" was just as advertised (thanks Rick).... nice single track that started gentle but had more climbing and some good technical downhill. My group got ahead of me on the downhills but I usually was able to catch back up on the uphills. After the loop had some trail that was difficult to follow but I should be able to find my way next week. Parts of the trail were so covered with leaves and so minimal of a trail that I felt like I was just running through the woods following blue blazes on the trees with no real trail. One super steep hill late is VERY steep and will be difficult just hiking up without resting on race day. The last several miles were generally downhill but I'm sure my quads will be trashed by then so that may be difficult as well.

It was a great day to be running in the mountains. I somehow got hooked into driving to the starting point (I'm sure everyone would have rather had their car at the finish) but with the beautiful weather and great friends it was nice sitting in the sun and enjoying the post run chatter. A few folks got "lost" but all made it back with a smile. Finally a driver offered to drive folks back to pick up cars. A bunch of us jumped up and hopped in his car... didn't get to say a proper goodbye but I was ready to get on the road. We had 7 hairy, smelly guys piled into a small Toyota... thank goodness for open windows! I had an uneventful ride home and was able to interrupt my music listening to tune in the LSU game on Sirius. Got home in the 2nd quarter and there was pasta boiling on the stove and I had enough energy to chop up an onion, tofu, mushrooms, green pepper, steam some bok choy and mix it all up with the pasta and ate bunches all afternoon.

I did learn a a valuable lesson about the MMTR course. As I joked with the post run crowd, I'll have to have a big lead on Beth if I intend to beat her to the finish line. She's a heck of a downhill runner! I'm a bit worried about possible bad weather next week but we shall see. Maybe that will take my mind off the difficult course.

Below is a brief summary of the last two weeks of training: (301 miles for October)

Monday 10/25
Rest Day (travel to Dallas for work meetings)
Tuesday 10/26
AM Easy paced 8 mile run
Wednesday 10/27
AM Steady 7 mile run early AM
PM Quick 4 miles on the treadmill after being in a classroom all day
Thursday 10/28
Rest Day/Travel Day
Friday 10/29
PM after getting home at 1am, did an easy afternoon 6 mile run
Saturday 10/30
AM Steady paced 14.7 miles in 2:02. 36 degree morning, but no wind. Felt great and real good to run with Chuck again after a few weeks.
Sunday 10/31
AM Nice morning... 7 miles in 60 minutes. Legs feel good.
Total 46.5 miles

Monday 10/18
AM 6 miles of easy flat running. Legs tired.
Tuesday 10/19
AM Repeat of Mondays 6 miles.
PM A lot of quick brisk walking
Wednesday 10/20
PM Steady 7 mile run in Ewood.
Thursday 10/21
AM Easy 7 miles on a cool morning
Friday 10/22
AM 10 miles of steady running with Tom in the neighborhood.
Saturday 10/23
AM 23 miles on MMTR course!
Sunday 10/24
Easy 11 mile run on the mostly flat Greenway
Total 70 miles

Monday, October 18, 2010


I got the exciting news on Saturday morning that my late overflow entry into the Mountain Masochist Trail Race had been accepted. So I'm runing a 50 mi mountain race on Nov. 6. I wanted to run another 50 miler and decided on MMTR for a few reasons... first off, well it's the Mountain Masochist, enough said! Excited to be participating in one of the east coast's premier ultra events. Plus I wanted to do another ultra sooner rather then later, feeling like my body needs a rest before I begin Umstead training. So it worked on the calendar... I've averaged around 80 miles a week since late May. So I'm excited yet nervous, concerned that I haven't done the proper mountain climbing in training. I feel like I'm a decent uphill runner, but I guess I'll find out in a few weeks.

After the high of the New River race last week you'd think I would have kicked it in training this week. Didn't exactly happen (at least not until the weekend.) I did learn a bit about my legs.... I figured out I can run 25-30 miles at an easy 9 min per mile pace and bounce back quickly with little recovery time. But running 31 miles at 8-8:20 pace really took it out of me. I just don't seem to have much energy and my legs have been dead. We moved out of our house (renting it out to the big furniture market in High Point and re-located for 8 nights into an extended stay hotel in Winston-Salem) and things weren't settled and routine for several days. So I ended up taking two days off (with a rest day prior to New River and rest day the next day).... so have taken the same amount of rest days in the last two weeks as I took all of 2008!

After not much during the week, I did have a decent weekend. Saturday I headed over to Salem Lake on a beautiful day and ran a VERY slow 24 miles. Legs were tired the whole time but I just learned of my MMTR entry so I was determined to spend a few hours on the trail. Sunday I found the closest mountain I could find and ran for 3 hours at Pilot Mtn. State Park. The trail was decent and nice to do some climbing in prep for the VA mtns. I went up to the summit twice (approx 1200'+ ea, so probably over 3,000 of climbing) and on the second time down hit an alternate trail and back up looping around the stone face of the summit... lots of rock climbing. Not sure how far I went but it was 3 hours of climbing and downhill. Legs still very tired so I have to figure out what I'll do over the next ten days before I taper. Hopefully I will head up further into the mountains this upcoming weekend.

Brief Summary of Oct 11 - Oct 17
10/11/10 Monday
AM- Easy paced 7 mile run with Chuck and docs on Ewood loop and downtown.
10/12/10 Tuesday
Busy all day long with moving out for Market so took a rest day
10/13/10 Wednesday
12 miles in Winston Salem... struggling and going slow.
10/14/10 Thursday
10 miles in W-S in a cold rain. SLOW
10/15/10 Friday
Another unplanned rest day... feeling tired and burned out
10/16/10 Saturday
Easy 24 mile run @ Salem Lake. Slow and enjoyable!
10/17/10 Sunday
@ Pilot Mtn. 3 hours, to the summit 3 times. Not sure distance, but 3 hours is 3 hours right?
Total miles: 70

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New River Trail 50K Race Report

Had a great day at the New River 50K. The experience ranks a close second to my sub 3 hour marathon as a 50 yr old at the'09 Boston Marathon. The utra marathon crowd is so different then a "normal" road race or marathon. It is a very close knit family that I now feel apart of. I know I will cross paths again on another trail with many folks that I met on October 9th.

Leading up to the 50k, I had a fairly easy week. I did a 2 hour run on Wed. but just light running the other days. I did have back to back long runs a week ago. So not a complete taper but still more rested then usual.

I made the trip alone. Got up at 4:45 a.m. and was on the road shortly after 5. Besides all the running gear, I brought a banana, coffee, and 3 whole grain frozen pancakes that I popped in the toaster for a pre race meal on the drive. The drive was less then 2 hours so I had plenty of time when I arrived for the 8 a.m. start. The temps were in the low to mid 40's at the start and it was likely to be in the 70's at the finish so I really argued with myself about what to wear. I ended up deciding on short sleeves with gloves. I could always drop the gloves when it got warm.

I didn't really talk to many folks prior to the race other then in the porta john line. Of course that reminded me of my mother always meeting people at the bathrooms when we took family camping trips. Also chuckled to myself about the Keller Williams song "I Fell in Love in the Porta Pottie Line"... no I didn't fall in love but enjoyed the pre race chit chat.

The race started promptly at 8 a.m. with the sun just coming up and fog lifting over the river. The New River was wider then I expected up in Virginia. It was a beautiful sight. The entire course is on dirt (with road crossings and wooden bridges), about the width of a forest service road, all along the river. It was an out and back course. After the initial mile I sort of fell in line with Jenny, from Bristol, VA. Jenny was all decked out with fancy gear. Sports sunglasses, compression socks, vest for gels and drinks and such. She claimed to have only run two previous ultras but she talked and ran like a true veteran. [Correction: Jenny has run a bunch of ultras but I did get it right that she only had one previous 50 miler!] She was running great just 4 weeks after her first 50 mile mountain race. I noticed her Garmin chiming at what I figured were mile intervals (no marked miles on the course). Jenny let me know we were running pretty even splits, right at 8:20 per mile or so. A little faster then I planned but very comfortable. Jenny and I also had a Louisiana connection as she went to SLU in Hammond, LA. I took an early pit stop to water the bushes and quickly caught back up to her and felt like we were slowing a bit so I moved on down the trail.

I didn't really know what pace I was running, but it was cool and the views were beautiful so I just kept moving along. The trail was much like Salem Lake, only smoother and flatter. Enjoyed the course so much... shaded trail, over many foot bridges, through a very dark tunnel, past a small waterfall, farmland, crossed Chesnut Creek.... Off and on my knee was hurting but seemed to go away as quickly as I noticed it. Ultra's seem to have more good older runners and talented women. There seemed to be a bunch of over 40 guys in front of me and several women. I got to the turnaround in 2:09 and noticed at least one gray haired guy in front of me. Coming back I realized no one had passed me since probably mile 5 and I was picking off runners, so either they were slowing or I was moving along pretty good. I tried to concentrate on keeping my cadence quick and keeping my legs under me and not heel striking and braking. I was in my very minimal New Balance 100's and felt like I kept a mid foot plant the whole way.

One guy did pass me on the way back, Chad from Mooresville, NC. Chad promised me I wasn't slowing but that he had gone out very conservative and had picked up his pace. So the last 2/3 of the race he was the only one that passed me. I did a total of 5 gels, and since this was a "green" event and didn't have cups, I stopped at a few aid stations to fill up my water bottles. I opted for a fuel belt and not a hand held for fluids. My legs were feeling tired probably in the 16-25 mile range but then actually started to feel pretty good again. I guess I got in enough fuel to rid myself of the glycogen depleted leg feel (dead legs). With about 2 miles to go I ran out of water/gatorade and started to fade a bit but with so little left it wasn't a big deal. I never did catch the white haired guy but finished feeling pretty good in 4:18:56 for right at 8:20 per mile. Very pleased... and much faster then I planned to go. It was getting pretty warm late in the run and I could feel it but didn't feel like I pushed myself too hard which was my goal.

I finished in 20th place out of 130 finishers and as I suspected quite a number of 40+ guys in front of me, also was beaten by one 55 yr old, a 60 yr old (the gray headed guy I was hoping to catch) and 4 women. I think the post race experience is what really made the event so special. A woman that finished a few minutes behind me said she was heading to the river to soak like last year.... sounded like a great idea. So I made my way down to the banks of the New River and found a nice rock to sit on about 20 feet out into the river and was able to soak my tired legs in the cold clear water up to about my thighs. I ended up talking a good bit with Chad, who was the only one to pass me after the initial miles. I joked that he had ruined my day. He is also running in the Umstead 100 mile race in April. I sat back with my legs in the cold water, warm sun on my face, mountain ridges in the distance taking it all in and feeling satisfied after running 31 miles.... listening to the "ultra talk"..... "oh I heard you ran blah blah blah 50 miler, how was that?" "it was great, 20 miles of forest service road, 12,000' of climbing, the last 20 miles on gnarly, single track, thick mud and rocks.... it was so awesome" "hey do you do 5 hour back to backs or limit it to 4 hours?" "what's your next ultra?"..... I'm not sure anything could have made me happier at that moment.

I ate some great veggie soup at the post race feast, along with bread, bananas, apples, chips and lot's of cookies. I hung around some more around the finish line area chatting and cheering on the later finishers. One old guy finished and it was announced that he had just completed his 242nd ultra. He also said they don't get any easier... the finish line crowd loved it.

I said goodbye to all my new friends, thanked the race director and headed to the car to hit the road, almost not wanting to leave. BIG thanks have to go out to Annette Bednosky, the world class ultra runner, who gives back to the sport she loves by directing this wonderful race. Now on to finding the next 50 miler or 100k before I attempt 100 miles at Umstead in April.

Brief training summary from Oct 4 - Oct 9
10/4/10 Monday
Easy 5.5 mile run with Chuck and Docs
10/5/10 Tuesday
Slept in, easy 3 mi jog (semi tapering)
10/6/10 Wednesday
14.5 mi run with Chuck, 2:04. Felt good in cool crisp temps
10/7/10 Thursday
Real easy 6 mile run alone. Okay after a few miles
10/8/10 Friday
Rest Day
10/9/10 Saturday
NRT 50k 4:18:56 8:20/mi
10/10/10 Sunday
Rest Day
Total 60 miles

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training Summary Sept 27 - Oct 3

82 miles
3648' vertical
11 hrs 40 min
20 miles on trails

A good week of running as the weather turns cooler. Did another back to back long run weekend. So 2 weeks ago did back to back 21 milers, last week a 25.6 mile run, and this week back to back 20 milers. My leg/knee still an issue but it seems to be getting better. Need to continue the hip stretching to lengthen IT band. Other then that all feels pretty good. I will try to do a solid 50k this weekend at the New River 50k but don't want to have a marathon race effort and have to recover. I will decide on a 50 mile race after I see what the upcoming weekend takes out of me.

Monday 9/27/10 (8 mi, 455')

AM- w/ Tom in a light rain. Easy paced 8 mile run in Ewood and downtown.

Tuesday 9/28/10 (5 mi, 225')
AM- Busy and a little tired so just did an easy 5 mile recovery jog. Legs were okay after initial minutes.

Wednesday 9/29/10 (14.5 mi, 705')

AM- w/ Chuck... steady paced 14.7 mile loop in 2:01:55. 8:20 pace and under. Not a hard effort but faster then last week. Decent temps so solid run. Leg feels better.

Thursday 9/30/10 (0)
No running, up much of the night dealing with heavy rains and water in the basement. Unplanned rest day.

Friday 10/1/10 (14 mi, 675')

AM- Easy 2 hr run with Tom. Pleasant morning temps. Pace approx 8:40/mi. Leg ok except for a couple of patches.

Saturday 10/2/10 (20.6 mi, 963')

AM- Slept in w/ a cool morning. On roads alone, ran for 2:59:55 for 20.6 miles. 8:44/mi. Did 3 gels. Right knee gave me some intermittent pain. Iced after.

Sunday 10/3/10 (20 mi, 625')

AM- Cool morning, w/ Chuck at Salem Lake. Water at the Dam so out and back for 14 mi and added 6 more miles for 20 miles in 2:51, 8:33/ mi. Felt quite good. no leg issues. Felt better today on my second 20 mile run. Good sign. Did 2 gels and one at conclusion of run.

September Recap

September Total Miles 340

79.1 mi/week average (11.3 mi/day)

177.5 miles on trails

Continue to build a solid base for either an ultra or marathon training. Have been over 70 miles per week since the last week in May (other then recovery from Big Bear)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Training Summary Sept. 20 - Sept. 26

75 miles
3350' vertical
10 hrs 57 min
25.6 of 75 mi's on trail

Monday 9/20/10 (7.3 mi, 450')

AM- Easy 63 min run w/ docs. 7.3 miles @8:40/mi. Feel okay but still experiencing some weakness in right knee.

Tuesday 9/21/10 (7 mi, 550')

PM- 7 mile run with 4 x Ferndale & Rockford hills at hard effort. Ea hill approx 1/2 mi duration. Felt good to change my rhythm a bit and have some oxygen debt.

Wednesday 9/22/10 (14.7 mi, 705')

AM- w/ Chuck at 4:50 a.m., 14.7 mi in 2:04. Cut off a little of last weeks wed. m/l run. 8:30 per mile, nice steady run.

Thursday 9/23/10 (0)
Rest day

Friday 9/24/10 (10 mi, 560')

AM- w/ Tom in neighborhood. Real easy 10 miles in approx 1:30. Slow running recovery run.

Saturday 9/25/10 (25.6 mi, 730')

AM- Ran the Salem Lake 30k, but prior to the race did a steady 7 mile loop in 60 min's. Saw world class ultra female runner Annette Bednosky of W. Jefferson, NC out doing an hour run prior to race just like I was. Finished my 7 miles just as race was starting (good timing). Did the first 11 miles of the 30k under 8 min pace but began experiencing the same right knee and leg weakening. So I slowed it down and even stopped to stretch it at the Linville road water fountain. Didn't plan real well and did not bring any gels. So did a 3 hr 40 min run with only gatorade at the aid stations. Was feeling pretty depleted towards the end. Ran a bit with Annette during the early portions of the 30k. Noticed on her blog that she did an extra 20 min's after the race to get in her 3:40 of running. Disappointed in my leg and feeling so depleted but solid day of running.

Sunday 9/26/10 (10.5 mi, 355')

AM- Cool morning, did a real easy paced recovery run of approx. 10.5+ miles. Legs tired but okay with some hip stretching.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Training Summary Sept 13 - Sept 19

86 miles
3022' vertical
12 hrs. 20 min.

54 of 86 miles on trails

Solid week with a steady sub 8 min per mile M/L 15 miler, back to back 21 milers for the first time and took a complete rest day. Having some issues with my right knee/leg. Some intermittent stiffness/pain around the knee. Not sure if some of it is from getting the right knee beat up from falls over the weeks and months. Iced it few times after running and will do some hip stretching to be sure it isn't some IT band shortening. Entered the New River 50k on 10/9 and may run in the Salem Lake 30k next weekend as a training run.

"I can do anything I ever done, just take more time"
-Honeyboy Edwards (95 year old bluesman)

Monday 9/13/10 (8.5 mi) (512' vertical)
AM- Relaxed 8.5 mi run. Westminster/Heathcliff/Sweetbriar/Wicliff 8:44 per mi. Once I got going legs were fine.
PM- Quick 30 minutes of walking at the HP Athletic Complex

Tuesday 9/14/10 (0)
Rest Day
AM- 40 min's brisk walking
PM- 30 min's leisurely walking

Wednesday 9/15/10 (15 mi) (703')

AM- w/ Chuck 2:00:51 for 15.2 miles, 7:57 per mile. Great M/L run, extended our usual Wed. run.

Thursday 9/16/10 (12 mi) (150')
AM- @ Salem Lake, out and back 12 miles in 1:46, 8:53 per mile. Legs a little tired so kept it slow.

Friday 9/17/10 (21 mi) (624')
AM- @ Salem Lake w/ Tom. 3:09 run. 1 loop then out to 30k turnaround and then to mile mark and back. Approx 21.3 miles @ 8:55/mile.

Saturday 9/18/10 (21 mi) (624')
AM- w/ Chuck @ Salem. 3 loops in 3:00:15 for 8:35/mi. Nice steady running. Felt better then yesterday (surprisingly) but did have some right leg issues. Now and then the leg just feels weak and feeling like it will collapse. Iced it after.

Sunday 9/19/10 (8 mi) (409')

AM- Slept in after football last night and feeling real tired ever since the mid week run. Mid morning, real easy 8.3 mi run/jog at about 9 min pace. Nice recovery day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Umstead and Weekly Summary

Had a good week of training with 90 miles of which 54 was off road with some single track technical trails and included a 4+ hour run and 3 runs of 2 hours. Temps were just right most of the week with overnight lows in the mid to upper 50's.

This past Wednesday the Umstead 100 in Raleigh began taking entries for the April 2, 2011 event. The online registration closed in 15 minutes and I missed that. So late in the afternoon I decided to mail an entry in but figured I had little chance of getting one of the 50 remaining spots they hold for mail in entries. I was shocked yesterday when my name was on the list for accepted entries. Sooooooo I will be trying my first 100 mile race next year. Eight 12.5 mile loops. You can actually opt for a 50 mile but it's officially a 100 miler. We'll have to see what's going on by next April. Still plan on doing the New River 50k on 10/9 and possibly JFK 50 mi in November.

Below is my training summary for Sept. 6 - Sept. 12

Total Miles: 90.25

Monday 9/6/10 (14 mi)

AM- Cool morning with perfect temps @ 7 a.m. @ Salem w/ Tom. Easy paced 14 miles @ 9:00/mi. 2nd loop was a little quicker with a strong finish. Easily could have gone long.

Tuesday 9/7/10 (6 mi)
AM- In Chapel Hill/Carborro. Slow and easy 6 miles on a hilly route. Legs a bit tired.

Wednesday 9/8/10 (14.25 mi)
AM- w/ Chuck basically same loop as last week. 1:59 for 14.3 miles @ 8:18/mi. After the 1st mile felt strong. Below is a link for our recent Wed M/L run. (thanks Nancy for turning me on to the new mapping site that includes elevation)

Thursday 9/9/10 (5 mi)

AM- Real easy 5 mile run on roads in neighborhood. Feeling a bit beat up so even though real cool temps just did a short recovery run.

Friday 9/10/10 (28 mi)
AM- At Salem Lake... 4 loops for 28 miles in 4:15. 3 minutes faster then last week. 9:06/mi, passed the marathon mark under 3:58. Did the first 21 miles with Tom. 3 gels, wore fuel belt again on final loop. Legs felt weak at the end but not super fatigued. Strongest 4 hour run to date.

Saturday 9/11/10 (12.5 mi)

AM- @ Greensboro Watershed Trails w/MP. Did approx 12.5 miles on Laurel Bluff and Piedmont trails. Some of the more difficult technical single track. Kept it slow and got dusted by MP the last 3 miles. Happy to stay on my feet on the roots and rocks. Bounced back well from yesterday.

Sunday 9/12/10 (10.5 mi)
AM- Easy paced (8:57/mi) 10.5 miles on the roads- Ewood, Downtn, HPU. Surprisingly legs feel decent for the end of a 90 mile week.

Monday, September 6, 2010

August in the Books...

Got through a consistent 70 mile per week August. Not real high mileage but consistent running after a couple of down weeks after my 7/17 ultra experience.

Total miles: 312
Trail miles: 140
Long runs: 25 mi, 30 mi (with a 25 mi run the last day of July and 28 miler 9/3)
So a consistent 10 mile per day average and 4 runs between 25-30 miles over a 5 week span.

With the months of Sept. and Oct it is prime distance running weather in NC so hope to up the mileage to over 80 weekly and sprinkle in longer runs, back to backs and even some tempo runs if my legs are feeling rested during the week. If you take out the Big Bear taper and recovery, I've averaged 78 miles/week since late May. So that is a good base to begin more serious training. A good base for marathon training as well as a 50 miler.

Below are the summaries of the last two weeks of training (8/30-9/5 and 8/23-8/29):

Aug 30 - Sept 5

Total Miles: 78

Monday 8/30/10 (5 mi)
AM- Real easy 5 miles on the road. Oddly, even though I didn't do much over the weekend legs felt tired.

Tuesday 8/31/10
(11.75 mi)
AM- Very easy paced run with Tom. 1:45 for 11.75 miles @ 9:00/mi. Easy running but legs still a little tired feeling.... but a very enjoyable early morning run.
(312 miles for August '10)

Wednesday 9/1/10 (14.25 mi)
AM- 5 a.m. with Chuck. Nice steady 1:58 run for 14.25 miles @ 8:19/mi. Best I have felt in quite some time. Pushed a little in the middle section.

Thursday 9/2/10
(7 mi)
AM- Easy 70 minute run on Watershed Trails. Wild Turkey and Nat Greene trail. Legs tired but okay. Saw two deer on Wild Turkey (as usual).

Friday 9/3/10 (28 mi)
AM- 4 loops at Salem Lake solo. 28 miles in 4:18, 9:13/mi. Passed the marathon mark right at 4 hours. Did 3 gels, did not carry water the first 21 miles but used a fuel belt the last loop. Nice to get 4+ hours.

Saturday 9/4/10 (4 mi)
AM- 30 minutes walking w/ SK then an easy 4 mile run in Ewood. Walking did a good job of getting my legs loose.
Travel to Atlanta for LSU v. UNC

Sunday 9/5/10
(8 mi)
AM- After a late night at the game did a total of 8 miles with 3 of those miles in Vibram Five Fingers. Amazing how little pounding for the miles with only a glove covering my feet.
Travel back to High Point from Atlanta

Aug 23 - Aug 29

Total Miles: 72

Monday 8/23/10 (10.5 mi)
AM- Easy 10.5 miles. Some with David H. 1:34 total time for 8:55/mi. Heart rate 46 resting prior to the run.

Tuesday 8/24/10 (6.5 mi)
AM- Slow 6.5 mile run over hilly Sweetbriar/Wicliff loop. 60 min run.

Wednesday 8/25/10 (14 mi)
AM- w/ Chuck 14 mile, 2 hour run. On roads, fairly cool morning for a change. Even some light rain. Much better M/L run @ 8:35/mi.

Thursday 8/26/10 (6 mi)
AM- Relaxed 6 mile run on hills (Sweetbriar/Wicliff loop) @ 8:35/mi

Friday 8/27/10 (14 mi)
AM- @ Salem Lake with Tom. Easy 2 loops in 2:02. Steady last several miles. Planned more but busy day.
PM- Travel to Boone for the Music on the Mountain Top

Saturday 8/28/10
(11 mi)
AM- In Boone... approx 11 miles, 1:42. Slow easy running but quite hilly. Found a great dirt/gravel road late in the run that was perfect along branch of the New River. Reminded me of the gravel roads up Four Mile Canyon outside of Boulder from 32 years ago. Cool, foggy morning.
PM- Travel back from Boone

Sunday 8/29/10
(10 mi)
AM- Steady 10 mile run on roads in Ewood and downtown. 8:30/mi, felt really good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ultra Plans, Weekly Summary Aug 16-Aug 22

Training and recovery from the Big Bear Trail Ultra has gone fairly well but I've decided not to enter The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in Wisconsin. Part of me still wants to jump in it, but I think a wiser way to go would be to relax a bit and put in a nice training block of long runs (4+ hours), back to back long ones, and consistent mileage over the next couple of months before I enter another 50 miler. I feel recovered from my 7/17 ultra, but experiencing some aches and pains and even a bit of left hamstring/buttocks stiffness which concerns me. I battled that problem for over a year so I don't want to revisit that. I believe based on my marathon time from Boston '09 that I can enter the JFK 50 on November 20th. So at this point that is my plan and will likely also enter the New River 50k (as a good training run) on 10/1.

Had my first 30 mile training run this week and that went well. Quite slow but running for 5 hours was the objective. Still sort of amazes me that I can run past the marathon distance slowly and bounce back really well and only have tired legs the next day. Moving forward... will try to do another 30 miler this week but with the next couple of weekends of busy schedules and travel won't worry much about my training, then will concentrate on 4+ hour weekend runs, back to backs and throwing in some faster runs when rested. Below is my log from last week.

Weekly Total 70.5 miles

Monday 8/16/10 (6.5 mi)

Noon- Generally easy 55:50 run. Ran into ultra runner Scott Douglas in the neighborhood and ran a portion of it with him. No issues, legs okay. Had planned a rest day but felt restless at lunch time.

Tuesday 8/17/10 (4.5 mi)

AM- Easy 40 minute run. Did some on the golf course, then Ewood. Recovery day.

Wednesday 8/18/10 (13.5 mi)

AM- w/ Chuck, hot humid conditions. Both struggled through a slow 2 hour run. Didn't feel like we were going so slow, but averaged 9 min/mi. Felt dehydrated after.

Thursday 8/19/10 (6 mi)

AM- In a light rain. Did a 6 mi run in 50 minutes. 8:35 pace. Middle portions of run were quite hilly. Ran out to Sweetbriar, Wicliff/Ferndale/Rockford. Feel a whole lot better. (PM core work)

Friday 8/20/10 (30 mi)
AM- Started at 5:30 a.m. with MP at Salem Lake. Did approx 30 miles in 5 hours. Started in the dark with headlamps. Stumbled along, zigzagging for the first 30 minutes in the dark. Ran the first 15 miles with Michael then went ahead and circled back for him a couple of times. Only did 3 gels but certainly needed more on a 5 hr run. Leg fatigue late but no serious issues. Slowing was more mental then physical.

Saturday 8/21/10 (10 mi)

AM- Alone @ Salem Lake, real slow out and back 10 miles. Very very slow to begin then began to feel okay.

Sunday 8/22/10 (0)
Rest day. Moved Kane into dorm in Chapel Hill so decided to rest. 30 minutes of walking and core work.

Recap 8/16/10-8/22/10

Planned on more miles and a better back to back long run but happy making it through the 30 mile run fairly easily. I hit 70 miles and decided to rest on Sunday with a busy day, would have been hard to fit in much of a long one. Plan to do 2 more weeks of 70+ before I up the mileage in preparation for November ultra.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekly Summary Aug 9-Aug 15

Weekly Total 72 miles

Monday 8/9/10 (0)
Did not feel real well during the day. Hot temps... decided on rest. @ HP Athletic Complex- walking, some jogging, running drills, core work.

Tuesday 8/10/10 (9 mi)
AM- @ Salem Lake. Easy paced 9 mile run.

Wednesday 8/11/10 (12.5 mi)
AM- w/ CK for early portion, 1:50 generally easy pace. 8:40/mi. Off and on legs/knees were stiff. All on roads (Ewood, Dntown, HPU)

Thursday 8/12/10 (4 mi)
AM- Easy 4 mile recovery run. Generally feeling tired and "beat up".

Friday 8/13/10 (11.5 mi)
AM- Slow 11.5 miles on roads. Some with TT. All slow running but feel okay.

Saturday 8/14/10 (18 mi)
AM- @ Salem Lake w/ TT and CK. 18 mi run in approx 2:40. Extremely easy on me to run only 18 and so slow.

Sunday 8/15/10 (17 mi)
AM- w/ MP at Watershed Trails in Greensboro. 3 hour run on Piedmont, Big Loop, Owls Roost and Wild Turkey. Some leg fatigue late in run but generally feel pretty good. Slow going on the technical single track trails. Did only 1 gel during the run and used waist belt for water bottles. MP said he had a 3 hour loop and I stopped my watch at 3:00:05! Not bad planning ehh?

Recap 8/9/10-8/15/10
Decided to cut back a little this week in terms of recovery days and no super long runs. Legs had been feeling rougher then usual so felt like I needed it. Weekend miles were good, slow miles but good running. Hope to do a 30 mile training run next Friday or Saturday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekly Summary: Aug. 2-8

August 2-August 8 Total- 76 miles

Monday 8/2/10 (8 mi)
AM- In Hendersonville at Dupont Forest 1:14 on good trails, included stream crossing. Mostly slow pace, but rolling hills. Good surface for the most part. Very good for legs.

Tuesday 8/3/10 (7 mi)
AM- 7 mile run in 1 hr. on roads. First few miles with Kane, worked into a steady pace. Hot temp.

Wednesday 8/4/10 (10 mi)

AM- w/ CK on roads. Real slow 10 mile run in 1:29. Legs stiff, Chuck and I both were struggling a bit even at a very slow pace.

Thursday 8/5/10 (0)
Rest day after 12 straight running days post Big Bear.

Friday 8/6/10 (13 mi)

AM- Slow run on the roads. Some with T, S, D.... 1:56 running time. Knees are a bit stiff entire run.

Saturday 8/7/10 (25 mi)

AM- @ Salem Lake w/ MP. Real slow again, 4:03, 25 mile run. Legs again a bit achey but no major problems. Post run I was very tired and sleepy all day but no leg stiffness or pain.

Sunday 8/8/10 (13 mi)
AM- On roads w/ CK. 1:54:30 for approx 13 miles. Chuck had us at 8:35 per mile. Solid run, again legs/knees achey late in run.

Weekly Recap 8/2-8/8
Solid week. Legs seem to have more fatigue and stiffness as compared to the same miles pre Big Bear. Might need more recovery. Trying to decide if I will enter The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 in Wisconsin on 9/18. I will wait a little longer and see how my August training progresses. One thing pulling me to the WI race is the course seems to be more mild then most trail 50's. Rated a "2" for both terrain and surface. (Big Bear was a "3" in both categories.) Hope to do a 5 hour run in two weeks... that will probably help me decide.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big Bear Recovery

After Big Bear

After running my 52 miles at the Big Bear 12 Hour Trail Run my right leg was swollen pretty bad. The swollen area was right above and around my knee. I notice bruising above and below the knee. I wasn't really in bad pain so I was hopeful that it just needed time to recover and I wasn't injured.

After the race I ate lot's of pasta salad and other snacks at the finish area but was concerned about the leg. I drove down to the General Store about a mile away to get ice and sat in the back of the Explorer icing it. I was drinking fluids, took 3 ibuprofen, and snacked best I could. I wish I could have socialized a little more with the other runners and families but I wanted to keep ice on it and moving around was difficult. Back to Olivia's for more food, this time to go. I brought it back to my room and ate and generally felt pretty miserable. You would think after that many hours running I would sleep for days, but I was up early. The swollen knee area was extremely stiff. Walking was pretty difficult. I headed home shortly after I got up as laying around the hotel was as miserable as driving. But boy the 6 hour drive home was nearly as difficult as the race! No running for several days but by the next weekend I was able to start jogging. The swelling went down but even today bending completely at the knee is difficult, very stiff as it bends totally. Doesn't seem to bother me while running so I'm back at it. Below are logs of the week of the ultra and the two weeks after that. Beginning with the most recent week.

7/26-8/1/10 (60 miles)

Mon 7/26/10 (6 mi)
AM- Easy 6 miles on the Watershed Trails in Greensboro (Wild Turkey Trail)

Tue 7/27/10 (4 mi)
AM- 40 minutes hiking and then 4 miles real slow on Wild Turkey and Nathaniel Greene trails in Gboro.

Wed 7/28/10 (7 mi)
AM- w/ Tom, Steve and David, slow 7 miles on the roads in Ewood.

Thu 7/29/10 (7 mi)
PM- Steady loop at Salem Lake 57:16 (8:10/mi). After a slow start, this was the fastest I've run in quite some time.

Fri 7/30/10 (6 mi)
AM- Real easy 6 mile run on the road. Legs stiff early.

Sat 7/31/10 (25 mi)
AM- w/ MP @ Salem Lake, 4 hour run nice and easy. Some out on the bike path. Did 3 gels. 25 miles according to MP's GPS!

Sun 8/1/10 (5 mi)
PM- On the road to Hendersonville, did an easy 45 minutes on trails at Lake James State Park. Very gentle surface and rolling hills.

7/19-7/25/10 (9.5 miles)

Mon 7/19/10 rest

Tue 7/20/10 rest

Wed 7/21/10 rest

Thu 7/22/10 rest

Fri 7/23/10 rest

Sat 7/24/10 (3 mi)
AM- First day back. Legs seem to be okay. VERY slow 3 mi jog with SK.

Sun 7/25/10 (6.5 mi)
AM- On roads, 60 min's, again very very easy. Legs tired but okay.

7/12-7/18/10 (71 miles)

Mon 7/12/10 (0)
Began taper week with rest day

Tue 7/13/10 (6 mi)
AM- Real easy 54 min. run on the roads.

Wed 7/14/10 (8 mi)
AM- w/ Chuck, steady 8 mi run Ewood, Dntwn, Greenway

Thu 7/15/10 (5 mi)
AM w/ Chuck, Easy 45 min's, roads

Fri 7/16/10 (0)
Rest and travel to WV

Sat 7/17/10 (52 mi)
AM Big Bear 12 Hour Trail Run

Sun 7/18/10 (0)
Rest travel home from WV

Big Bear Lake 12 Hour Run Report

Big Bear Lake 7/17/10

Arrived in Bruceton Mills, WV on Friday afternoon after a 6 hour drive. I was alone as schedules didn't work out for me to have a crew along to help. I checked in at the race headquarters and got my packet. I walked out on the trail a bit and it sure look rugged... lots of rocks and roots and such. Met an old guy named Alex from New Jersey at registration he ran in '09 and covered 32 miles. I stopped on the way back to the Microtel (3 miles away) at Olivia's, a local restaurant, and had some good pasta. I tried to get to sleep early but I was a bit restless.

I was up at 5:30 a.m. and drank some coffee, ate a banana, and a waffle. Over to Big Bear Lake in plenty of time for the 7 a.m. start. I set up my ice cooler near a spot close to the start/finish with water, ice, sports drink, gels and assorted snacks. The course was completely on trails, each loop was 6.5 miles. I hoped to complete 52 miles or 8 loops but hoped to really go a bit further. But if I completed over 50 miles, I'd be satisfied.

The race was quite small with about 30 or so "solo" runners and 65 2 and 4 man teams. There were a few "veteran" looking trail runners at the start and they broke out fast after we got moving. Very strange feeling to take those first few steps realizing I had many hours of running ahead of me. I quickly realized I had underestimated the course. The trail surface was very rocky and rooty and even in "smooth" sections there were rocks and roots that you had to be careful with. And the entire way was rolling hills. Wasn't as concerned with the hills as I was with the rugged surface. I knew it was going to be doubtful that I would be able to keep the pace I planned.

I finished the first 6.5 mile loop in 62 minutes which was exactly where I wanted to be. 2nd loop in 61 minutes and the 3rd loop in 64 minutes. After finishing 4 loops or 26 miles I was feeling okay but nervous knowing I was only half way to my goal. There were Aid Stations on the course but after the first loop it seemed easier to just fill up my hand held bottles and refill them after each loop. I was also trying to eat a sports gel every 25-30 minutes. Goal being 250 calories per hour and 24 ounces of fluid.

As I began my 5th loop after running 26 miles, I took the lead among the solo runners, although I didn't realize it at the time. I was holding up pretty good and just tried to keep moving and not worry about how much I was slowing down. The object being to just keep going. A couple of ultra trail quotes were in my mind... "perpetual forward motion" and another came to mind when I started feeling bad...."it never always gets worse"... The second quote meaning sometimes you have bad patches where you feel bad or your legs are dead but many times after refueling you will bounce back and feel better.

My biggest problem besides general fatigue was I ended up tripping and falling down 3 or 4 times. Not unusual in a trail race. I didn't feel like any of the falls were really bad and just seemed to be scraped up a bit. My final "fall" was under the pine trees over the smoothest part of the trail. Laying in the bed of pine straw felt so comfortable, it was difficult to get back up.

Somewhere after 30+ miles my right quad/thigh began to stiffen up pretty badly. I wasn't sure if it was caused by one of my falls or if it was just stiffening because I'd been running that far. I thought many times the last 20 miles that my left leg just felt tired but no issues and my right leg was in bad bad shape. At the end of my 6th loop (39 miles) I began to feel some nausea and decided to change what I was ingesting. I switched my sports drink to just gatorade and diluted it with some super cold water, did a different type of gel and grabbed a small baggie with potato chips. The new "food" seemed to pep me back up. At one point I realized I'd run over 40 miles and I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion. I'm not sure why it hit me like that. I wasn't boohooing and crying but I did get all misty eyed and walked a bit to drink some while I re-grouped.

My final 13 miles or so were really tough. My right leg was stiffening badly and I ended up power walking up the hills(not uncommon at ultras) and just shuffled along the trail when I could. I slowed way down over the super rocky parts, very concerned that I would fall one more time. But shockingly I stayed on my feet the entire final 20 miles. Toward the end of the 8th loop one of the team runners passed me and really encouraged me when he realized I had run over 50 miles..... it really helped.... he told me to just keep moving and I "looked great" shuffling along down the trail.

As I closed in on the final steps of the 8th loop and knew I'd complete my 52 miles, I knew that would be it for today. I crossed the line a little over 10 hours after I started and even though I could have continued on as I had 2 more hours before the time limit was up, that was it for me! 52 miles, 10 hours 18 minutes.

While taking off my shoes and attempting to clean up I realized my right quad was swollen really badly. Later I determined that the stiffening and swelling was caused by one of my falls (and running another 3 or 4 hours on it). I stopped at the scorers table and asked how many solo runners were out on a 9th or 10th loop and they informed me I was the first to have completed 52 miles. I came home with the "first solo male" award. Nice to bring an award home. I'll post next on my recovery.

Monday, July 12, 2010

5 Days until 12 hour run

Bare with me as this is my very first post and not even real familiar with other blogs .... but did want to document my running as I approach my first ultra. For clarification, technically not my first ultra. I did run a 50k back in 1978 but that was in another life. I'll keep this real simple today and just share my last few weeks of training. Not much going on this week as I taper for the Big Bear Lake 12 Hour Trail Run on 7/17 in Bruceton Mills, WV.

Week 7/5-7/11/10 (62.5 total miles)

Mon 7/5/10 (10.5 mi)
AM- Easy paced run on the roads, 10.61 miles 8:38 per mile.

Tue 7/6/10 (10 mi)
AM- Real easy pace with Doc group (Steve, David, Tom) Included a couple of Galloway walks. 10 miles relaxed pace.

Wed 7/7/10 (7 mi)
AM- Easy paced 7 mile loop at Salem Lake alone. Legs felt generally really good but somewhat tired/hungry. 1st run in Inov8 X Talon 212's.

Thu 7/8/10 (14 mi)
AM- Slow 14 miles, 2 loops at Salem Lake with Tom and Michael. No issues during run.
PM- Left ankle stiff while walking the dogs at night

Fri 7/9/10 (0)
AM- Left ankle very stiff. Took a rest day. Not sure if it was the laces on the X Talon's but very nervous to be having issues during my taper.

Sat 7/10/10 (8 mi)
AM- Steady 8 mile run on the roads (Country Club, Sweetbriar, Dntn). Ankle feels a bit better, ice it after.

Sun 7/11/10 (13 mi)
AM- Final double digit run prior to Big Bear. Ran with Chuck and Mason(7mi) at a very easy pace. Went back to the NB 100 shoes. I think the ankle is okay.

Recap 7/5-7/11/10 Began the taper with one week till Big Bear. Ankle a concern but feeling a little better about it. Restless with only 62 miles. I've loved the ultra training.

6/28-7/4/10 (82 total miles)

Mon 6/28/10 (0)
Rest Day

Tue 6/29/10 (9 mi)
2 runs totally 9 miles.... all easy, some on trails and Greenway at Environmental Center.

Wed 6/30/10 (15 mi)
AM- w/ Tom, 2 hr. 11 min run on the roads. All slow pace.

Thu 7/1/10 (14 mi)
AM- Easy 2 loops at Salem Lake, for 14 miles. 2:01 total time. Relaxed run.

Fri 7/2/10 (27 mi)
AM- Cool morning, good temps for summer in NC. 27 miles, 4 hrs. 12. min. 9:20/mi. Much of run with Tom and Michael. Very pleased and just feel tired. Did 3 gels and a boiled potato, banana.

Sat 7/3/10 (3 mi)
AM- Decided to rest, so steady 3 miles with Kane.

Sun 7/4/10 (14 mi)
AM- w/ Tom @ Salem. 2:05, very slow first loop, then 60 min for second loop.

Recap 6/28-7/4/10 Pleased with 4+ hour run. Solid week. Enjoying the time on my feet. Wish I didn't have to taper.

6/21-6/27/10 (total miles 103)

Mon 6/21/10 (13.5 mi)
AM- 5:15am w/ Tom. Slow 2 hour run. Legs tired.

Tue 6/22/10 (25 mi)
AM- At Salem Lake alone. 3:43 run, 25 miles at 8:55/mi. Slow and easy. 2 gels, Legs tired but not in terrible shape.

Wed 6/23/10 (5 mi)
AM- Real easy 45 min run alone and then some walking w/ SK. Leg fatigue but little soreness.

Thu 6/24/10 (14)
AM- 2 loops at Salem Lake, 1:58. Legs feel great. 2nd loop in 57 min.

Fri 6/25/10 (14)
AM- 2 loops @ Salem, 2:01, 2nd loop in 60 min. Legs tired.

Sat 6/26/10 (8)
AM- Easy 75 min. run in Emerywood, Greenway and HPU.

Sun 6/27/10 (24)
AM- Alone at Salem Lake, 24 miles total. 2 loops in 2:01 then out and back. Fell in 21st mile. Scraped knees, thigh, big chunk out of elbow. Walked approx 1/2 mile to water fountain to clean up. 3:40 including walking and fall.

Recap 6/21-6/27/10 3 weeks until Big Bear 12 Hour Run. Best ultra training week to date. A bit of knee pain here and there but generally just tired legs. Heel blisters from gravel but otherwise holding up okay. Need one more good week.