Monday, May 30, 2011

A weekend of trails

Saturday I hit the Holdridge trails for 20 miles of fun. Kai, Matt & Suann all were there to join in the fun.  The first miles had an occasional section of mud. Nothing to report about just the kind that adds some fun to the singletrack. Then we started hitting some standing water sections.  Each one got longer and deeper as we made our way through the woods. It wasn't the pace that had my heart rate so high it was all the fun I was having on run. 

On top of that we found a the skull of a raccoon, a tree that was burned by lightening and a frog. It was a great start to the weekend.

Then today I ran the trail at island lake.  Word was there was a lot of standing water around knee deep. Also a lot of areas with slippery mud. I set off to see what I could find. What I found first was that the temperature rose to 90F. In the non shaded sections it felt like an oven just running through the heat. Mile after mile there was an occasional spat of mud. Of course I made every effort to step in it too! The pace held even throughout the run. Then I approached mile marker 8.5 and knew I would be seeing the flooded area.  Coming out of the downhill and rounding the corner I saw the river had expanded and was covering the trail 100 meters wide. The cold river was flowing slow over the trail which felt refreshing. It was just under knee deep. Once through it only took a mile for my feet to start to dry out again.  A few miles later I finished at mill pond and waded in up to my shorts to cool off.

Overall, I covered 32 miles on the trails this weekend over those two runs. The second run I pushed a nice steady pace of 8:35. The two courses will see me a few more times before summer ends. Some good quality time will be spent here!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Putting it to bed

After several weeks of prep work  and one failed attempt in the mile PR I hit the goal.  Knowing I run faster the day after a run I waited until the afternoon to take a shot.

We got to the track I did a few strides to warm up, probably not enough to be truly ready. Then I got ready to go and the sky unleashed a heavy rainfall.  With that I set off in motion.  The first split was 1:20 followed up with another two more almost on point. 

In the end I closed out the run with a total time of 5:21. Beating my PR by seven seconds. All that matters to me is that I get a bit faster each year in May. 

I encourage everyone to take that try each year. I enjoy the feel of going all out against my own PR.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Design

My good buddy Keith  designed a logo for our shirts this year to wear at Leadville. The attached picture is the front of the shirt. The peaks is elevation of the course, genius concept design!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Strollering down the Interstate

Met up with Keith this morning for a short run at a relaxing pace. He takes his daughter out in the Stroller for runs now and asked me to join them.

Man I was surprised at how effortless he made it look pushing it.  We took the trail along the interstate for an out and back 25K run. The sun was out and such a beautiful day. The trail is a bike path with short rolling hill climbs. The kind that keep the run a little exciting.

The turnaround was a rest plaza that had vending machines and restrooms.  Ideal for run in my mind.

Next time you are in a race and a guy passes you pushing a baby better bet it is Keith and Kendall.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Leadville is coming together.....

This year knowing what went wrong last year on my attempt with the Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run I put together a plan. Here is my current status:
              Race Entry -- done
              Flight -- done
              Living quarters -- done
              Pacer -- done (not only a pacer, but three pacers!!)
              Crew -- done (my girlfriend)
              Better understanding of hydration -- done
              Pre-race meal plan -- done
              Training -- in progress
              Race plan with splits -- in progress
              Finisher belt buckle -- not at this time

A lot of races I have a general idea of what to do train for and running the race. Since Leadville seems to be a bit more challenging I thought I would put some effort into planning for it this year. I am not dwelling on it to the point of being stressed, but more of being prepared in general.

I know these next 90 some days will be a blur as I toe the line in August. Continual learning will be the key in a more successful run. Already I having three random strangers volunteer to assist me in completing it means more than words can describe.  Essentially, this blog is about running, but it has been rooted to Leadville. This race is only goal I have not completed in my five years of running. I can move on, but I still want to complete it. I know one runner you tried, tried, tried and tried until the 13th attempt he finally completed the course. That is an amazing amount of dedication in seeing a goal to the end.

Here is a view of Hope Pass 12,600' from a friend of mine that ran it last year with me.

The adventure continues........

Macomb Orchard Trail 50 Mile

In closing out my birthday I joined a group of runners for the MOT 50 Mile. Kevin Green of Just Finish created this run last year and I was one of the inaugural runners. So why not with this perfect timing continue a tradition for the 2nd Annual run.  This year with more word about it 17 runners came out for the event. The run starts at midnight and you have twelve hours to complete the out & back. The actual course is 26.4 miles each way.

So at 11:59:30 on May 13 I got a birthday start. Within one minute that lead was short lived and I was joined by the entire group. Conversation was plentiful and the sky was ideal. Then five minutes later the rain started coming down hard. I turned to Jeff and mentioned, "wow I don't think it can actually rain harder than this." Well Mother Nature proved me wrong with an even heavier rain. Headlamps were reduced to minimal lighting because of this. For about two hours this continued; causing some to turn around. The lighting would illuminate the path for a good several seconds. During those flashes you could see for what it felt like a mile head as clear as day.

Reaching the first aid station in 2:05:10 which is about 11 miles into the course the rain had just ended. Completely soaked through all my layers and improper planning I had no fresh clothes to change into for the night. I got my bag out refilling both my bottles with Cytomax and grabbed some beef jerky. The group had started to thin out. I was feeling good with the pace at hand. My entire focus of this run was improving my hydration. Throughout the day I drank all until I felt full then emptied my system out and repeated. This way I knew starting the night I was fully hydrated.  As clockwork I drank down 20 ounces every hour and relieved my system of those about 20 ounces within the hour.  A lot of my past runs I become lazy or forgetful to drink enough. I usually realize it when I stop to urinate and only a few ounces come out.  In a previous post I talked about how in the Umstead 100 I had taxed my body so hard that I later ended passing kidney stones three months later. Also a few weeks ago in the Texas heat everyone around me was soaked from sweat and I was completely dry & unable to relieve myself. Tonight with the focus primarily on that I was able to have a successful experience.

As the run progressed I reflected upon why I enjoy running. A large part is the adventure; running through the wilderness, seeing nature, really taking in the moments powered by my own abilities. Knowing that Leadville is less than 100 days away I began to take in the images from running it last year. Traveling along this paved bike path from one city to another is sort of the same. It takes a lot mentally to push oneself along throughout the night. There are a lot of moments that you just feel blah and there a those moments you feel on top of the world. 

Entering into the second aid station at the turn-around point of 26.4 miles in 5 hours 20 minutes I called it a night. To my surprise I had started some chafing on both my thighs on the inside. In addition, having soaked socks my feet were not in the best place to make the return trip. I went into my drop bag getting out my birthday cupcake and enjoy it.  It seems the weather was a factor for a lot of the runners causing ten of the seventeen to drop by this point.  The volunteers gave me a lift back to my car after the last runner cleared the station. The volunteers that come out to help are amazing. I cant think of too many people that would come out to support a race from midnight to noon just to help a bunch of random people run through the night. This speaks loud to the type of people that are in the endurance community. Without them having to mule one's own supplies for 56 miles would be very miserable.

Looking forward to joining the 3rd annual run. Being more prepared will help ensure I complete it. The first year I believe I finished just under 11 hours (including the time I spent off the course because of some confusion on where to go) which I got even more extra miles. Those miles were some of the most memorable I will say.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Two people sharing one goal

Tonight I sent a friend a thank you for sharing some wisdom with me. I met Roger in October '06. At that time my only 5K time was 24:39 that I had ran in August. I had just been running for year and knew very little.  Well Roger is a bit faster posting 10K's around 35 minutes. He is from Barbados and his voice reminds me of a Jedi master.

Fartlek, intervals, breathing, strides and a few other things he has taken the time to teach have continued to yield new PRs every year for me. Now reflecting back and seeing he has helped shave 5:30 off my 5K time leaves me speechless.

Next time you get the chance; think about someone that has helped your running success and let them know. I feel like the PR is more of Roger's than mine.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5X5K on the XC Course

Great weekend run with Keith. Basically, ran in his shadows the entire day. As the hills came and I thought walk breaks sounded good he said those are inclines and we should run the inclines with a chuckle.

Kept the day easy and took some photos at the end to try and capture some of the hills. Pictures never seem to show the inclines through the wooded areas very well.

Ran into Ed Barton pre run and talked about training plans and all our goals for 2011.  Even shared a few memories of Leadville.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Northville Road Runners 5K

Tonight I heard there was a 5K race being hosted by the NRR group. Since I have been feeling rather good lately in training for my mile PR I thought why not give it a try.

Once we were all gathering around the club director took me on a .1 mile jog. As we warmed up he explained that it is an out back all down hill out and all uphill on the back. I thought wow great breaking my PR of 19:35 will be tough. So let me just do my best.

Toeing the line I had some nervousness in running the race with no garmin for the first time. Running on feel is my plan so currently I am using a basic ironman Timex with a chrono.

The starter yelled ready, set, go and a quick tap of the watch and I was in motion. Rounded the first corner and taking off in first I began to worry if I was faster than I should be so as the next runner approached me and I could hear his breathing I settled in with him.

We hit the first mile in 5:57 just seconds apart and sticking close. I kept listening to him and wondering if I could hold on that fast. This was faster than I have ever ran a 5k. Moments later we hit the turnaround and clocked in at 9:27. I shouted a strong hello to Dick West, the amazing ultra runner, then realized my breathing was not to labored. I then made my move to regain the lead. Every stride I was gradually pulling away. I eclipsed the second mile at 12:13. Feeling good I held in there.

Coming into the last mile I looked back and noticed I had grown the lead and no one was directly on my heels. I felt so lucky to be in this spot. For me to lead a race is not an everyday thing so I just hoped I could not screw it up. Mile three passed at 18:36. Now I knew I had not only a chance to win but also the chance to achieve a new PR.

The biker pacing me said I will race you in and my heart filled with excitement with those words. I pushed that last .1 mile hill climb to the finish in 33 seconds and crossed not only first overall but with a new PR of 19:09!!

I am so happy more with the PR because any given race it just comes down to who shows up. Today just happened to be my lucky day.

In addition, to winning the plaque I received a bottle of wine. Great day all around.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Streak in the night

Suann got me a birthday gift today that was truly enjoyable!! I unwrapped the new Pearl Izumi Streak 2 and headed to the track. I am building for a new mile PR in the next week or so.

Tonight i got my crew set at the track ready to crank off an 800M. My 11 year old blew the track whistle every 20 seconds so I knew my pace. My 16 year old sat at the 200M & 600M mark to yell the splits. With a goal of 20 seconds per 100M with a steady pace was the goal.

The whistle blew and boom from a dead stop the world was in motion. I hit 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 all on the mark then I jumped the pace up and turned in 14 seconds in the last 100M. Finalized the workout in 2:34:54 with some in the tank.  My 8 year old son came over and said, "wow!! It looked like a cheetah was chasing you." That's the best way to walk away from a track session.

If you are looking for a comfortable and fast shoe.  Check this one out.