Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Westridge Run

Now that my father in law is a little better and lucent, I was able to break away from the house Saturday morning for a decent run. I had no plan, just one water bottle and a desire to revist some childhood landmarks.

I also decided early into the run that I wanted to see how far up the mountain I could run today. Check out this wiki map link, I wanted to make it to the the Nike Radar at the top of mount San Vicente. My run started at the bottom of the screen, south of the Riviera Country Club, and went up the ridge to the right of Topanga State Park.

I first ran by the house I grew up in on San Vicente blvd. This is one of the hot spots for road running in Santa Monica. It has a parkway with magnolia trees down the middle, and not much cross traffic. On a rare occaision, we would see Carl Lewis running here. Never knew who he was, just wondered "who is that fast guy?" The 1984 Olympic marathon ran down this street.

Once I was about 2 miles out, I hit the spot where I would turn around as a kid, but not today. I looked up toward the SM mountains and wodered "how far could I get up those".

I worked my way over to the the start of Westridge drive, at 300 ft. above sea level. For the next 5 miles, i would climb about 1400 ft. It took FOREVER to get to the trail head. You have to have some serious $$$ to live on this road. As I ascented the mountain, the sun was coming up, and it was spectacular. I could see the entire LA basin, as the recent rains had cleared the air.

I finally got to the trail head, about an hour had elapsed. Heck, I'm this far, might as well keep going. This is where the mountain bikers start. I ran their trails, goin up, up, up. I was on top of the world. Not even tired.

10 years ago I road this on my mountain bike, and thought it was extremely hard on a bike. I was now doing it on foot.

I finally made it to where I could see the Nike radar station. This is a cold war relic. It was designed to protect LA from Russian Bombers flying over LA and dropping nukes on us. These were peppered across the entire west coast. This is one of the few remaining. You can see it on the Wiki map as LA-96C.

I hit the lap button and turned around for a bomb down 1300 feet.

It was a blast. The recent rains made the views spectacular.

I am trying to find a way to run a good portion of the backbone trail this week, but it might be a tough one to pull off. Nobody wants to drive up the coast to pick me up.

Every run here brings back memories. This place has changed a lot, and has been overcome by the "pretty people".

It's ironic that nobody who grows up in Santa Monica can ever afford to live in Santa Monica.

I might go for a 20-30 on the backbone if they let me out today.

Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Our family received the best Christmas gift today at about 3pm with a phone call. To understand the impact of that phone call, you need to hear about the phone call I took Monday night.

Monday night's phone call is the one all adults dread late at night. It was my wife's brother in tears telling me his dad went into cardiac arrest. My father in law had collapsed, and his heart stopped (an artery was completely blocked). My brother in law performed CRP until the paramedics got there, which they said was an eternity. Miraculously, they were able to get a pulse with defribulators. This all happened with my brother in law, his mom, and his son watching.

He was unconcious and unresponsive, but had a pulse. They were not sure if any brain damage was done.

Today at 1pm he woke up, 3 hours after we booked a flight for all of us to go be with them (Los Angeles). My wife had begun speaking funeral language, and now her dad is pissing and moaning in a hospital bed. What great news.

Everything has changed and been put on hold.

On the bright side, I get to do some awesome trail running less than 3 miles from their houes (2,000 foot vertical in the Santa Monica mountains..... mostly reserved for mountain bikers.... screw them.)

But most importantly, I get to apologize for the horrible things I said to him two years ago. He was not an easy man to get along with, and 2 alpha males in the family made it really tricky.

I totally lost my cool a few year back, and said some pretty nasty things to him. I felt they were justified at the time, but it was definitely not something Jesus would do. Enough said.

We somehow made our peace as men do without saying anything, but that was the one thing I realized I screwed up this week. I missed the opportunity to be humble and admit I was an asshole.

I get that chance now.

I don't see it a coincidence that he woke up at the exact moment that we arrived to our church for an early Christmas Eve service.


I hope everybody enjoys their Christmas, or any other holiday you celebrate.

Right your wrongs and don't let grudges tear families apart.

Thanks be to god.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Humbled once again

I think it was Mr. Quick and I who had the conversation about thinking "am I the fastest guy in my town?"

I recall Steve saying he lived a few doors down from a former olympian, so he will never be the best athelete on his block.

I figured when I moved to Ham Lake, there would be very few runners up there (don't ask why I thought that). I don't see many runners in my area, and we all seem to know each other now, although never spoken any words to each other. Just the nod as they go by.

I know I am not the fastest guy in Ham Lake, but I figured I at least owned the honor in my neighborhood.

I was wrong. On my usual running route at mile 1 lives a man. A 59 year old man. Still can run a 5:15 mile. Kudos to you Jim Sheehan.

His grandkids go to my kids school, so we were talking at last nights' Christmas concert (holiday, for you secularists), and my wife said "you guys should run together". Um... dear.... his base pace is probably 1-2 minutes faster than mine. HIs tempo pace is probably 45 seconds to 1 minute faster than mine.

I guess I am the fastest guy on my street (I only have 4 other house to compete with). None of those residents run.

A nutrition post to come soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Goggins Controversy


Hardly a controversy, but some interesting and comical threads about David Goggins.

Check out Dunlaps post, as well as all of the comments. Dave adds his 2 cents.

My 2 cents -
> I took a few "fun" shots at him as a result of the 100 mile man website
> Yes, all of us bloggers are self promoters to some extent. Although, I air my dirty laundry just as clearly as any accomplishments I have made.
> The "Goggins Haters" are a result of his media machine creating such a silly persona of him on "his" website. I say sill, becuase it is just so uncharacteristic of the persona in the ultra community.
> I would love to hang and have a beer with him, just to see what makes him tick.

Check out this blog containing some harsh back and forth rhetoric. The best is Dave Combs' (runtrls) shout out for this blogger to run Badwater against David Goggins. I hurt from laughing so hard.

What do you guys think?

I will take this opportunity to proclaim myself as one of the top 100 ultramarathoners, living in Minnesota, in the 2008 calendar year..... Okay, top 1000 maybe in Minnesota this year.

Are there 100 of us?

And yes, I got my sorry ass out in the -12 temp for 8 this morning. I think I am 5 degrees away from having to wear eye protection.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just call me a "girly man"

I arrived at Afton at 5:15 this morning hoping to bang out a whole loop before I met up with Carl, Jim, and Zach (and Chris who I just met today). I was glad to hear Jim Wilson will be running Leadville this year. Make sure you mention that to him if any of you ever run into him.

I knew there was a little snow, but I fared well on my screw shoes last year on snow and ice out there.

I guess it was a combination of being a real slick snow (unlike the packing, sticky snow), or my inability to kick ass today, but I got my butt handed to me.

It took me almost 2.5 hours to get to the bottom of campground hill, before the long stretch on the river. It normally takes me around 1.5 hours.

When I met the gang, I was beat.

Karen joined us too, and I had a tough time keeping up with her as well. You are in great shape Karen! Don't question yourself.

I bailed with Karen after about 16 miles banked. Well over 4 hours. Tore off part of the heel on my shoe.

I don't think I will be running out there much until the snow goes away.

I somehow managed to get 50 in this week, and will get 6-10 to wrap up another good week.

My black toenail from Superior is finally deciding to fall off, but wants to hang on for dear life. I hope it goes soon. The whole toe hurts.

I don't think I have any running gear on my Christmas list.

I guess I will just wish for World Peace.............. and the option to run a couple of ultras next year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby its cold outside

Every Christmas season I get a laugh out of the ironies which are presented.

For years I have heard the song "Baby its Cold Outside" without really listening to the lyrics. Well, take a good listen, because the song is all about a man trying to get in bed with a woman. He uses the cold weather outside as his justification. Nobody has ever found this song offensive, but so many other things during this time offend people. Here, this guy is told no over and over, yet does not give up. He must be an ultra marathoner.

The point of the above paragraph, people just need to grow up and not be so easily offended. AND.... it is cold outside.

While I look at the TV when I wake up for the actual temperature, it is usually a little colder up here in the north metro.

I did not realize it was -4 when I ventured out for the 8 miles this morning. I was fine, but this is already getting old.

It was great to see the fellow soldiers out walking and running. We go from the head head nod (in the summer) to a fist pump "right on" in weather like this.

Tomorrow I am heading out to Afton for a run with "the boys" tomorrow. I plan on getting out there early to attempt a full loop before I meet up with them. I don't know how fast (or slow) the course is, so this shall be interesting.

I think a 50k run is probably out of the questions. Have to head home at 11am

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Screw Shoes are back

This week brought the dark chasm I call winter.

Somehow, the single digit temps (and the teens) take a lot more effort. Maybe it is all of the extra clothing.

But, we had some snow, so I put the screw shoes in action again. Check out this post from January if you want to see details.

I actually saved my shoes from the Superior 100 miler, as I had torn away some of the treads from dragging my feet for 30 miles. The screws held them together.

I was still able to get 54 miles in this week, but I took a lot more effort (and I was slower).

Hung out at Kiernan's Irish Pub last night to see a college friend play drums for the "sweet colleens". I should get out more, it was a good time.

It will be a major challenge to get in over 50 this week. BUT, I am starting to think about next years' plans. I really want to go back to Kettle and redeem myself as well as trying to nail down a "faster" 100. still too early to tell.

Bundle up out there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I decided to benchmark this week after a great weekend at Afton. Since I had my fastest 25k loop out there, I figured this week would be a good time to do a HADD test.

Also, with the 1st of each month arriving, I see it as the beginning of next years' race training. Hey, it works for me.

The results

Interval Speed (mph) Avg. heart rate
1 6.5 125
2 7 136
3 7.5 144
4 8.4 157
5 8.8 165

Each interval was 1.5 miles, and the goal was to nail heart rates of 125, 135, 145, 155, and 165 repsectively.

I was hoping to match or improve from my last test in early April. It was about the same, although some improvement on the lower end. I was able to nail the first 3 easier segments, where in the past, I was all over the place with my heart rate on those.

This make sense as almost all of my running this year has been below a heart rate of 150.

So, this is the benchmark I will use to improve over the winter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun....... Even after someone loses an eye

That is what I would describe a Fat Ass run when John Storkamp is organizing. I was sure at points in this run that someone would lose an eye. It would be fun even if that happened.

Here is a course description of yesterday's run

> Branches which will cause sunk in chest wounds
> Sticks which will poke your eyes out
> Going straight up an down "deer trails"
> Dirt Skiing down mountains
> Logs to run across (remember that scene in Stripes?)
> Rocks to climb up

and I go on...

I arrived at Afton on Saturday morning at 6am, hoping to get a hard loop in before the group run. I was supposed to meet someone, but he had his panties on instead and decided to sleep in.

I say Pierre head off with John into the dark in a pick up truck. I reminded me of how one would see two kids leave the house late at night, knowing they would be up to no good. These 2 are bad asses... they don't like to do things the easy or sane way.

Mr. sleepy head did not show, so I headed out to PR the loop. I did! I nailed a 2:18, my best by 3 minutes. I also was fine at the end. No crash and burn.

The fast ass run was a blast. Thanks to:

Kurt (the other Kurt)

and base camp of Tom and Nancy.

All I can say about that run is........ 4 hours of "where the hell are we?"

John had a bright idea at the end on the beach. He strategically placed a milk carton anchored 30-40 yards off shore, sitting as a buoy. "Whoever gets it first gets a free entry to Afton and Chippewa"

Let me clarify something. On my morning loop, I saw significant ice on the river. It had melted by then, but damn!

I looked out at that buoy, and figured you had to be nuts.

Helen took no coaxing. I figured none of us could beat her anyhow, so might as well not subject myself to hypothermia.

Maynard jumped the gun and went for it. 3/4 of the out, he paused realizing he could not get the jug without fully being immersed in the icy water. Helen pounced forward and got it.

Kudos to Pierre, Karen, and Val for getting wet.

Swimming in ice water is where I draw the line.

All in all a great day.

55 miles this week. I might get out for 6 today to make it 61. I don't plan on maintaining that level, but somehow I got it in this week.

Hope everybody had a happy Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for the great community of runners, at all levels, who challenge each other and stick together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another PR falls

I was lucky enough to get out to Afton this morning to put my "healed" knees to the test. It was very last minute, and the Mrs. even suggested I go out for a long run. What a great wife.

I decided I would go for the 1 25k loop kind of hard, and see if I could pr without going all out. I did not want to go all out, because I did not think I would hold up. My longest run since September 6th has been 12 miles, so a hard 15.5 might not work out too well.

I started at 6:40 hoping I would be able to return to the parking lot and catch some runners at 9.

I picked up the pace halfway in, as I realized it would be close to my pr. I decided about 1/2 hour into the run that I would attempt to do the entire loop with the two bottles of water I had, and nothing else. No S-caps, no hammer gel, no crack bloks, no food.

I am still testing a low carb diet and how one can run on it (it is not the Paleo diet). I had a 3 egg omelette with cheese. Never done that before!

I knew by the snowshoe loop that it would be down to the wire. So I pushed it hard to the end (having to walk part of the last hill).

I cam in at..... 2:21:50, my pr by exactly one minute.

I did this with 40 ounces of water, and nothing else. Normally I would suck down close to 100 ounces for the same course in the summer, with 4-5 s-caps and some gel.

Carbs are overrated.

I arrived at the parking lot to see Alicia, Tom, and Nancy. I ran another 5 with them, enjoying their company. It is fun to hear Tom's running stories (as well as Nancy's and Alicia's).

So it was a banner day. I am still in decent shape, and wrapped up a 55 mile week.

I deciphered a certain crossword puzzle, so I will be back to Afton soon. And for those of you who know of what I speak, that document is why I will never run Arrowhead. It causes brain damage.

Oh yeah, just checked on Helen at Ironman. She is at a sub 9 minute pace 12 miles in. (that is after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112, both of which she did damn fast!).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More trail fun in Kansas City

Another week on the road, another venture into unfamiliar territory.

I decided to get revenge on the two trails which worked me last time I was here in October. Last time there was 6 inches of rain in 3 days. That made things challenging.

It was dry this week. It was almost 70 today! Wahoo!

I have been touring Subway stores this week look at promo execution. Kind of boring, and I have been ALL OVER this town.

Monday I took a stab at Shawnee Mission Park. It is a 4.5 mile loop on somewhat technical and rolling hill/switchback terrain. Not too tough. Easy enough to run the whole thing. I decided to pick up the pace, and decided for two loops. 1:25. Cool!

At one point someone was gaining on me (it was dark out). I saw this light making time on me on the swtich backs. I thought "man, this person is bad ass! they are running FAST on this in the dard".

Turns out it was a mountain biker. I held him off until the ridge, though.

Saw some trail nerds. Said hi, but nobody I have heard of.

Tonight I got done early enough to hit the Psycho Wyco course in the daylight (at the start). There was still mud on this course. And it is like... glue mud...?.... horse foot holes messing everything up.

BUT, it was a lot easier than last time. I managed to stay on the trail all the way to the dam, but lost the official course after that. I found some trails, but I am pretty sure they were not the right ones. I was a little concerned about getting lost, but it goes around a lake, so as long as I knew where the lake was, I was fine.

I made it around the lake in 1.5 hours. No pain or soreness. Some radical hill climbs and decents. I feel that I have my base back.

My last 3 weeks' mileage have been
42, 44, 46, and will probably do 50 this week. It feels good with no problems.

Hoping to hit Afton next week during the break. Maybe a power loop will be in the cards.

Oh yeah, watch for Helen this weekend at Iron Man. (Iron chick)
Good luck.... show them who's the boss.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A few pounds difference

I finally strapped the hear rate monitor on for the first time in.......4 months? I was curious to see what my heart rate was doing, as I have been running slightly faster.

Running has felt easier in the past few weeks, now that my knee is healed. Hmmmmm, what has changed? Oh yeah, I am 7 lbs lighter (178 down to 171).

What a difference. My average hr this morning was 141, and I averaged 9:20 per mile. In the spring, this would have been close to a 10 minute pace. I will have to see what the 9 flat pace works out too.

So, go take off a few pounds. It helps! And, by the way, I have been doing low carbs to zero carbs. Its funny, I saw a low carb nutrition forum where a guy said "low carbs are for non serious atheletes and couch potatoes". That sounded like a challenge to me. I am curious how long I can go on low carb. I have not had any energy problems so far. I did a 12 mile run on Sunday under a 9 minute pace, and still had energy at the end.

I am at 40-50 miles per week, and will probably stay there for a while. No need to beat my body up, yet.

Still not sure about the P90X challenge. I think I want to do it, but not sure I have the discpline. I need to get psyched for it.

AND............ The pumpkin ale taste great. Buton Ale yeast gives it an interesting taste, but it is still good. No off tastes like last years'.

Off to Kansas City next week. Maybe a rematch on the Psyco Wyco course.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Idea for winter training

Last year, after I reached the point of feeling "beat up" in January, I decided to be a test for low heart rate training. I had to dedicate 3 months to never letting my hr get above 147. It was a great way to build a real strong base, allowing me to handle a pretty challengin year of races. A couple of pr's, and new milestones.

I don't plan on doing this again this winter, as I feel I can tap into that base as long as I maintain some sense of fat burning running/training.

One of the things I realized this year, was that while my legs were stong, my body was not. I was not all around strong.

After reading Mittleman again, I decided I needed to change my diet a little (or a lot depending how much your life revolves around food). I have read many different books on nutrition, diets, and the theories supporting them. Believe it or not, I kind of like Dr. Atkins.

STOP! Before you think I am crazy, read one of his books. I base my conclusions on what he wrote, not what the media claims his diet to be. It is not a "eat as much fat as you want" diet. And while it is "low carb", I think it falls more under "pre 1950 carb and portion size"

After reading his book years ago, I figured it made more sense to get your carbs from low glycemic foods, and/or more complex carbs. This is basically what the South Beach Diet preaches (well, it is a lot more than that, but hang with me here).

So, after Superior, I cut out most of my carbs. I stopped eating ice cream :(, and kept the beer to a minimum. I also tried to eat carbs with protein to mitigate insulin production.

Without much effort, I lost 6 pounds. I also lost my craving for ice cream, and other carb rich foods. I heard about this phenomemnon, but did not completely believe it.

I was going to test how this diet works on a body (mine) which is already used to burning fat through specific training. I am not convinced that eating more carbs will help me a whole lot, as it only will store enough energy for 2-3 hours (it is more complex than this, but I have the theory in my head).


I figured I could start next season 10 lbs lighter (4 pounds to go).

I did some weight training in October, but I find it tough to do it as I was doing it.

Then the idea for winter training came.

I enjoy watching infomercials. I enjoy them, beacuse I am in sales, I like watching how they pitch their product. I also like to find all of their holes and bogus claims. I get a big laugh out of doing ab excercises for 5 minutes a day, and you will get six pack abs.

I did catch this informercial for the "P90x extreme" system. The guy comes up with this theory of "muscle confusion", how you continually mix of the work your muscles are doing, thus making them stronger.

That is exactly why I like trail running. You are continually calling on your muscles in different fashions.

Then I thought "Why not put this infomercial to the test?". I did some internet snooping, and found a lot of positive feedback on this, very little negative. I also found that these are HARD workouts, 6 days per week.

So I was thinking it would be fun to do a "P90x blog competition". I guess it would be me vs. any of you out there. We could all start roughly the same day, and track our progress by stats and pictures. Then, all of you decide who wins.

I think it would be fun to be in competion against others through a 90 day period, in the privacy of your own home. Then, we could also test an informercial.

Anybody interested?

I think it would great to see "Cool Hand Quick" show up to the first race next year ripped like a GQ model.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not much going on

This will be a theme (or lack of) for a while. Nothing really going on from the training perspective so I will add a few non running posts.

My fall last week did no damage, just an enlarged knee cap. It actually does not hurt to run on. It is just swollen.

Pumpkin Ale -
Transferred it to secondary fermentation on Saturday, will be kegged and ready to drink in 1 week.

Races - nothing on deck

Training - 6-8 mile runs on the road (yuck!) I saw a massive skunk on Monday morning. I was WAY too close.

Work - going well. Look forward to the roll out of "Vitaminwater 10" early next year. I hope to have samples by January.


No politics on this blog!

It seems like everybody has something to say about that election thing next week. I do as well, but realize nobody gives a crap what I think anyway.

There are enough people out there ranting and raving about their political opinions, and lots of opinions based on emotion, ignorance, and/or hatred. Political blogging plays into this perfectly.

I actually enjoy studying many of the topics which are constantly debated. I find economics fascinating, and the more I read about the current situation, the more I realize how much I don't know.

Also, I am not going to change anybody's mind or sway them to my way of thinking. So the only thing I can achieve by voicing my opinion is........ nothing.

One of my pet peeves is when people say "my voice is not being heard." We all have the freedom of speech, but the right to be heard is demonstrated through our representative republic (voting). When people don't get your their way, they say "my voice is not being heard". You just are not getting what you want. My kids try to pull this on me. "I hear you want dessert, but you are not getting any tonight." At home, I am a benevolent dictator. They don't get to vote me out of office.

Whatever the results are on Tuesday (Wednesday morning), I will respect the process and the president. I don't enjoy it when people continually hate their elected officials just because they disagree with them. I have never hated any president.

Enough on that

Check out Carilyn Johnson, she just ran in the World Cup 24 hour timed event. I ran with her a while at Kettle this year (we both died at 50K). I still have a confusing picture in my mind running behind her. Cholula Hot Sauce sponsors her, and she had the logo on the back of her shirt. It was hot that day, and when I was losing my mind, I could not understand why someone would have a picture of a hot sauce bottle on their jersey.

Good luck to those running the Murph this weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

KC Adventure running part 2

After the fun run on Tuesday night, I just had to check out the Psycho Wyco course tonight. I was told there are almost always KC Nerds running there at 7pm on Thursday nights.

I received a call from a co-worker from down here. "you up for dinner? recap the week?". No way man! I am going to Wyandotte Cty park. "Don't ask" I say.

It has rained non stop for 2 days, totalling 5 inches. I heard this was muddy and tricky on a good day. Hey, I am tough, right?..........

I make my way out there. Study the course on my computer. With descriptions like "don't try to figure out this section, your brain will explode" and "this section was designed by the race directors dog", I knew I was in for some fun.

Nobody showed up. It was now dark. Okay, how hard could it be to find the trail?, not that way,
.....ooops, not that way.
I guess I will just start on the road and look for a trail.
I see a sign,
"Bridle Trail" Yes! I knew it was a horse trail.

Hmmmmm. Rocks, hill, rocks. mud. MUD. MMMUUUDDDD!!!.
Crap, almost lost my shoe. Shoe sucker grade mud mixed in with rocks. Fun, but a little concerning. I was on foreign territory.

I am completely cool anywhere at Afton, but it is spooky seeing eyes in the forest on unfamiliar grounds. Plus, I did not know the details of the course.

After a few smart trail intersection decisions, I was on a hill with no trail. I ran across it, looking for it, and scared more deer (they scared me). Is that it?

No, it is a road. I saw the lake on my left, so I knew I was not lost. Might as well stay on the road until I find the trail. Ran for a while.

Came to a shelter. I looked around for a map. Ah, there is one down a different road. I had run from the start of the race course to the just past the "wyandotte triangle" but missed half of the trail.

I decided to take the trail back. I was not in the mood to due something stupid like getting lost, or worse, injured. I was at the "83rd street shelter". I ran back.

There was so much mud, I was 10 inches deep at one point. It was rediculous. I managed to run up the hills, but was killed by the mud bogs.

It was fun. I was feeling great, I was pounding where I could. I felt like a machine again. Then it happened.

I caught a branch with my shoe and it took me down on my left knee. Hard. Damn! At least it was my other knee, and on the front (not the back muscle). Blood, but nothing hanging off. Luckily I was almost back.

I hobbles back to the car. This is exactly what I fear running alone in remote, dark, extreme conditions. If that fall were worse, I would have been in deep trouble. Good thing I had turned around.

I was pretty candy ass only making it a quarter of the way around the lake, but it still took me an hour to get there and back.

This IS a radical course. I am guessing it is one of those which reduces you to tears in the final miles of a 50K. My kind of fun.

The knee looks okay. Nothing a little ice can't cure.

Back at the hotel. Ordered Rosatis Pizza, drinking Red Hook Lond Hammer IPA.

I am itching for a long hard run. Not sure if it will happen this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thank you KC Trail Nerd(s)


I am on the road this week in Kansas City. I decided this time I HAD to check out what the KC Trail nerds do. Hopefully I would come across Bad Ban and talk beer.

It sounded if I showed up to the Shawnee Mission Park, I might come across somebody.

Sitting in the hotel aroun 5:30pm, I was thinking "I am tired..... I don't want to run..... Piss and moan, piss and moan".

I decided to suit up and get in the car.

Rain. Rain. RAIN. Thunder and lightning, very very frightning ING, mama mia mama mia (you know the rest).

I dedcided to go there to at least see what the trail looked like.

I arrived to see a few cars with "runner" stickers on them. You know them.

I met a few of the "mud babes", and they said Caleb was out running on the course. I figured there was no way I could keep up with the likes of him, I was off.

I quickly realized it was getting dark, fast (aside from being muddy and slick). I decided I had to hustle to complete this loop (half loop) before it was dark and I could get my head lamp out of my car.

Somewhere in there I met Mark (forgot his last name). I figured I would see him after I got my head lamp.

I did find him, and we hammered a whole loop together. This was great because he got me back to running, instead of this pansy ass pace I have been doing for 6 weeks. I figured I would have to wuss out, but my hill legs kicked in. My psyche was the weak part. I was afraid to run hard. Mark made me run hard. It felt Awesome.

We had a dark evening full of thunder and lightning. A few deer. Lots of mud. Lost of slippage. Oh how I miss the trails.

I kept thinking I was going to crash and burn, but I was fine. I wasn't even tired at the end. I guess I have not lost it all. Amen.

I feel like a new man. I can hammer it again.

Looks like I might get to do it again on the Psycho Wyco course on Thursday night.

Kansas aint' all flat kids.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brewing instead of running

The week started okay, but fall allergies killed me this week.

I was a total mess for about 3 days, so a pretty lame week of running.

I still kind of can use the excuse that I am recovering, so I am not worried. I think my knee needed a little more rest.

So instead of going out for a trail run yesterday, I brewed beer! First time since June.

Hop prices are down, and it sounds like the hop harvest was pretty good this year. Look for more brewing happening in the near future.

I made a pumpkin ale. If you were at the RTA Fat Ass last year, I had a few bottles of this there (it was not the beer in the keg). It was not too good last year, as I think I made some mistakes in the process.

This year, everything went smooth, and I had significant krausen in 8 hours (last year it took 48... oops). I know this means nothing to most of you, but I don't have anything else going on. AND, you might get to try it if you are lucky enough to run with me.... cough cough.

I brewed 10.5 gallons
Starting gravity = 1.058
IBU = 37
SRM = 8 (me when I am seriously dehydrated)
This should pan out to be 5.5% alcohol by volume.

Next on deck - Amber Ale, using home toasted malt. Can't wait to make that.

Gone to Kansas City for the next week, so I hope to run the Psycho Wyco course if I have time. My dad used to hang out in that park 60 years ago. Funny how that works.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Did Chicago Marathon Redeem Itself?

Last year I posted how race direct of the Chicago Marathon, Carey Pinkowski, totally blew his role as an RD at the Chicago Marathon.

We all know the disaster which unfolded due to an unusaully hot and humid day. They ran out of water, and called the race off at the 4 hour mark.

I read many articles this morning on the marathon, and they all stated how much better prepared the race was.

I am not sure I buy this. Here is why

Last year
Temp - Over 90
Dew point - over 70
Racers at the start - 34,000 and change

This year
Temp - 80
Dew point - 60
Racers at the start - 33,033

They added 5 aid stations and upped the Gatorade volume by 100,000 gallons. They also had more "misters" and the fire department opened hydrandts along the way. Also, the race director encouraged people not to show up to run because of the predicted warm temperatures. Hmmmmmmm, maybe you should not accept 45,000 entrants! Yes, they accepted 45,000 entrants, up from 40,000.

Bottom line - we are talking apples and oranges. I wish meteorologist would stop talking about % humidity, and start acknowledging the critical nature of dewpoint. This was the big deciding factor this year, a MUCH lower dew point.

I am not sure that these races have realized the core problem Chicago saw last year. That problem is inexperience in dangerous conditions. Too many people confuse "tough" with "stupid", and end up with deadly core body temperatures.

I know this first hand from my DNF at Kettle this year. It was the only time during a race I actually panicked. Who knows what would have happened if I pushed on. I knew my day was over regardless. I learned this from experience, I guess.

A 3 hour marathoner in extreme conditions runs an entirely different race than a 5 hour runner. Just the added 2 hours of exposure is a major factor. I don't think people understand this.

I wonder what would have happened if:
All 45k showed up at Chicago and,
It was 10 degrees warmer.

They would have most definitely cancelled the race.

I am curious if anybody knows anyone who ran it yesterday, and how they feel it was managed.

I know our own "DR." Bill Parker pulled off a 4:25. Not sure if he was happy or sad about it. We will find out.

Did not run yesterday because I stepped on a small lego R2D2 full force. It hurt real bad and I nearly threw all of the Legos in the trash. I have a small bruise on my heel.

Damn Legos. Or, darn kids who don't pick up their toys!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Recovery almost complete

I opted not to join the gang at Red Rock this morning. I figured the knee needed a little more time before cranking it on trails.

I was able to 8 miles today (first time more than 6 since the race). I even did it in 9min miles.

No problems with the knee. It was one of those runs that gets you pumped all day long.

Maybe an Afton loop will be in the cards for next weekend, but not sure yet. I am sad that I will not be at the Glacial 50 tomorrow. I was really hoping to do it this year.

Good luck to Jim Wilson, Julie Berg, and I assume Pierre Ostor.

I will have some goals I will put in place soon. These goals will be
* weekly winter running goals
* weight goal to start the 2009 season
* weight training goal

I am curious how the 3 of these combined will help and improve my performance. I will be following Stu Mittleman's stragies (as much as I can) for off season training.

I am still way far off from deciding on a schedule.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Superior Splits

Someone asked me a while back to post my splits at Superior. I dug out my watch this week and decided to decipher the times. I think I have it figured out. You can see how the race unfolded for me, and where the knee started giving me problems.

Start to Split Rock AS - 2:08
Splitrock AS time - 1 minute 27 second
Splitrock to Beaver Bay - 2:27
Beaver Bay to Silver Bay - 1:14
Silver Bay to Tettegouchi - 2:25
Tettegouchi to County Road 6 - 2:39
County Road 6 to Finland - 2:23 (halfway mark 13:18:52
Finland AS 12 minutes 23 seconds
Finland to Sonju - 2:31
Sonju AS 6 minutes 33 seconds
Sonju to Crosby Manitou - 1:31
Crosby to....Cramer road (I forgot to hit the split at Sugarload - 6:33
Cramer rd to Temperance river - 2:36
Temperance to Britton AS - 1:55
Temperance AS 8 minutes 3 seconds
Britton to Oberg - 2:06
Oberg to Finish - 3:02

To give you an idea of how much slower I was on the last 2 sections, I did them twice as fast on THE RETURN TRIP at the 50 miler last year.

I remember telling the guy I was with (and John Taylor) as we were leaving the last aid station to go to the finish "no way in hell it will take us 3 hours to get to the finish. we can do it in 2 1/2" It took us 3:02.

I found that my "moving forward speed" is about half the speed of my "Ultra-race pace speed"

Maybe that helps someone when looking at things in the future.

On a funny note. That section I forgot to hit the split, I was a half in the bag. That 6.5 hour section was only 15 miles! So, those of you who ran TCM this weekend, imagine taking 6 hours to get to West River RD (or sooner, I think). I could not have kept up with the Sag Wagon.

And the last funny note. At TCM on Sunday, somebody saw my jacket (Superior 100 badge of death) and came off the course to introduce himself. He said "I know you, I saw you at mile 90 at Superior". I shook his hand and said to go finish, as he was running pretty fast. I wanted to tell him that I only remember 4 people at that aid station.

Lynn Saari (who helped me)
Gary Sheets (ran with me)
Santa Claus (checking his list)
The Easter Bunny (not sure what he was doing)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Power of the Marathon

Last night a received a call from a friend who ran his first marathon at TCM on Sunday. He called to thank me for coming out to cheer.

He is new to the sport, and has never really raced at all. He is a quiet man who keeps to himself, so he was amazed at how inclusive the running community is.

He could not believe how many people called out his number during the race, and how other runners encouraged him when he started to slow down.

He started training last year after reading stories about people running TCM. He could not even run around the block. He put in a whole year of training, and went through the same phases we all go through, especially the self doubt. He never told anybody he was running for fear of not making it to the start line. I am guessing this race help conquer some issues of self doubt and confidence. Although, I still struggle with those.

Course Spectating

The spectators around me were surprised I was able to get people who were walking to run again. A lady said "Wow, you are good at that". I responded by saying "at mile 24, many people need to be held accountable to finish stron. They really don't need Suzy Cheerleader".

I would call out runner's numbers (running or walking), and say something like "dig down deep and pull it together". I also gave the "looking great" comments when I could tell they were picking up the pace. I found people just liked having their nubmers called out. Someone was watching THEM, and they would start running.

I saw one guy walking, called out his number and made one of those comments. After he passed, I realized it was Sven the weatherman on Kare 11. So I started yelling to the people behind him "you are not going to let pretty boy Sven beat you, are you".

I enjoyed cheering because I felt like part of the race. I also remember a time like it was yesterday. 1992 Chicago Marathon. I was on course to break 3:10, but I was slowing. I hurt bad. I ran in silence for about 5 miles. For much of that time I was almost next to a much older man in a red shirt (all I remembered was red). As we approached a minor hill (the old Chicago course). I started to slow at the hill going up to the bridge over the Chicago River. This man turns to me as he was pulling ahead (we had never said a word to each other) and said "no you're not! You are not slowing down now! Get your ass moving!" I picked up the pace and left him in the dust. Running down the hill into Grant Park I could hear him yelling "that's the way to do it!". I searched for him at the finish line, but could not find any red shirt. I still wonder if he was a hallucination.

To this day, I have tried to "pay it forward" by encouraging others. Because of him, I broke 3:10 (by a very small margin). I wish I could meet him today and say thanks.

This sport is not about bragging to your friends about accolades. It is not about racing against each other. It is not about fame, glory, or money (exept for a few). It's about challenging yourself, and helping others stay true to themselves.

As we saw Sunday, the Marathon continues to be a "humbling race". I think that is why so many are drawn to it.

For those who fell short of their desired results, thats what payback races are for. There is nothing sweeter than getting a monkey off your back.

Sometimes the monkey is the one who pushes you to new heights.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Twin Cities Marathon Runners

Great job to all who ran today!

Although many would think this rainy, cold weather sucked, I was thinking close to ideal conditions (i like the rain).

It was tough capturing a picture of all the runners I wanted to, but here is what I got before the battery died

John Storkamp. He was so fast, I could not keep the camera on him!

John Akins - Always a happy camper. Pulled in a 2:56

Joe Ziegenfuss - Sub 3 hour only 4 weeks after running a sub 24hr Superior 100 mile race. Thought he was going to take this one easy.

Helen Lavin - Only 4 weeks after winning the Superior 100 mile, pulls out a sub 3:30. Nice job for someone who said earlier this year "I don't feel like a real runner".

Todd Rowe - Not sure if he was a happy camper when I snapped this. Come on Todd... Piece of cake after Ice Age 50 Mile, right?

The Julie Berg - Must have been a PR for her! Maybe even a BQ?

Mark Hanson - Nice job Mark

I missed a lot of photos just because it was tricky, and the battery pooped. But congratulations to:

Jim Wilson - did I hear you say PR?
Bryan Erickson
Cindi Matt - First timer, great job!
Pierre Ostor - Just a walk in the park for him
John Gannon - First time, rock on
Karen Gall
Elliot Esch - First time, and only ran one 12 miler for a long run. Jerk. (just kidding)
Joe Yoon - "I am not running it this year"....... 6 weeks ago he said this. Pulled out 2:53
I know I missed a bunch of people. Sorry about that.

Good luck to those running Glacial next weekend (Julie, Pierre, Jim Wilson)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Those who inspire

First of all, I will play politician and "clarify" my a somewhat stupid statement which Wildknits did a good job defending.

My comment about Grandma's holding Duluth together was based on a perspective of knowing business owners and managers up there, and they have said that the marathon is somewhat of an economic savior for them. I should have not made it sound like the people of Duluth can not live with out it. I apoligize. My experience with Duluth residents is that they are gracious and welcoming of the race. Yes, it is a pain in the rear, but it is good for the town. And, it is one of the best organized races around.

I have thought about the cut off time scenario for years, and I think what gets me is not the times, but the people who have no respect for the race. I remember seeing a story (the news actually did a segment on this guy), who came down with mono after signing up for a marathon and thus did not train. His fisrt run of the season was the marathon. They made it sound like it was such an amazing thing to do, not train and run a marathon. I feel bad for the guy getting sick, but he was healthy the 6 weeks up to the race, and was just lazy. He was in his young 20's, not overweight, and in decent physical shape. This guy overshadowed the people who actually put in countless hours and miles in to achieve something.

Whatever the cutoff time, or whatever the time one runs, is less important than the effort put forward to do well. Those who challenge themselves and put in the work inspire me. I am not a very disciplined runner, so those who are inspire me.

Here are a few who are running this weekend.

John Aikens (I think he is running) - He used to live around the corner from me, and we would train together. He is WAY faster than me, but did lots of long runs with us "slower" guys. He does not race a lot, he just loves running. He has an internal drive to kick ass, but he does not talk about it. He never talks about his running resume. When I was training with him, he ran 2:48 at Twin Cities, and was happy when I saw him at mile 24. He is a stand up guy.

Karen Gall - I had the opportunity to do some training runs at Afton with Karen in the spring, and she is a tough cookie. What is most inspiring about her, is why she runs. I don't think I could explain it here, or even could say I get it, but her familiy is plagued with diabetes. I believe she started running to fend off the inevitable comming of adult diabetes. She is always happy, and have never heard her complain. She looks just as happy at mile 1 and mile 50. She is a classy woman. Good luck this weekend.

Cindi Matt - I followed her blog this year. This is her first marathon, and she took the challenge with vengance. It is inspiring to see someone follow a plan, and stick with it. You are a tough one Cindi. There is no doubt you will do well.

Julie Berg - Yes she has a big fan club. I find her inspiring because she used to be somewhat of a back of the packer. She trains HARD. I MEAN HARD. She sets her bar really high for herself, and accepts it with grace when she does not achieve some of her goals. She loves the sport and gives back. She leads a group of women who are new to running. She loves inspiring them. Run on girl.

John Gannon - He goes to my church, and I just found out this week he is running! I found he trained for a year, lost weight, and put in the miles. He is a stand up guy, a great Christian father of 2 girls, and a super quiet-reserved man. I am very excited for him.

There are many others (who are and are not running this weekend), but these are some who came to mind. Helen Lavin, you inspire me..... but it is more envy. You just kick ass. You make it look too easy.

Pierre Oster - I can't believe he would be running with his schedule, but is super tough, and very humble. I am pretty sure he is running Glacial next weekend, and made it 50 at Superior....3 weeks after Leanhorse 50. Pierre WILL NOT talk about himslef. I ran with him at Superior for.... 4-5 hours? He did not say much, and refused to lead the way. I thought we lost him, yet would turn around and he was quietly there.

I guess I am a fan of regular people, regular people who dare to push themselves into uncomfortalbe and tough feats.

I have never painted my face for a race. I am sure we will see "Larry from Iowa". He is actually a nice guy, but quit painting the face dude.

Team Amanda is inspiring, but never got me going. It is great what he does with his daughter, but have wondered if Amanda enjoys it. Maybe she does. What is amazing is that guy ran TCM 2 years ago in 310, pushing her in that jogger. That is incredible. I don't care who you are.

There is a guy who runs barefoot, forgot his name. He does put shoes on in warm weather though. Yes, he has a crew who will give him shoes at mile 20 if the pavement is too hot. I would to see him duke it out with Keith on a trail.

Good luck to all again. Looks like good weather.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Marathon - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

This weekend, of course, is the Twin Cities Marathon. I will not be running it, but will be cheering.

I thought it would be fun to do multiple posts this week talking about "The Marathon". Not just TCM, but marathons all around the world, and the evolution the marathon.

Disclaimer - Some of what I will say here might offend some of you, or cause you to think I am an arrogant ass, or an eliteist. I really don't intend to, but many have taken my opinions the wrong way.

With that said, let's look at the good.

The Good
Who would have thought that a marathon would be a marketing opportunity for a city? Only a short 20 years ago, there were few marathons (comparatively), and most of them were big city marathons.

My first was Chicago in 1991 (I was a student at Northwestern, and a bunch of us thought it would be a cool thing to do). I think around 5,000 people finished that year. I heard they accepted 45,000 this year.

Back then, the Chicago Marathon was on the verge of extinction. It took LaSalle banks to come in as a sponsor to save them. It is now a very profitable race.

I don't know much of the histroy of the Twin Cities Marathon, other than the fact that it used to be a figure 8 course around the lakes in uptown.

I don't know when it happened, but the marathon became a pop culture icon. It became an ultimate challenge for some, a "bucket list" item for some, a midlife crisis resolution, and the list goes on. Because of this, the demand to run a marathon everywhere became a reality.

Not having run most of these, I can't speak to how well they are executed. I did run Whistlestop last year in Ashland, WI. That is quite a contrast to Chicago. Not only in size, but in charm. Whistle stop is in its 11th year, I believe, and they do a great job. It's great for the community too. All of the runners and spectators come to the area for the weekend, and the town celebrates it.

Duluth is not a small town, and Grandma's is one of the oldest races. What would Duluth be without Grandma's? That town celebrates the marathon, and loves hosting it. They understand that they need the marathon to keep that city together. (and they rob the runners blind with hotel rates). But that's okay.

The Bad
Some cities became so focused on the pr, and all of the stuff outside of running. They have made it a circus.

I don't know the status now, but the LA Marathon had a real bad rap for many years. Poorly managed. They used to have a "marathon bike tour" BEFORE the race. You could ride your bike on the whole route, get crap on the course, etc. They started this at 7am, thus making the marathon start at 9 or 930. They even marketed the bike tour as a tough think to do.

Sorry, riding a bike 26 miles ain't that hard. Maybe with a flat tire.

They would also spend a half hour at the start honoring all of the corrupt politicians who made this calamity happen. I used to live there, and the LA politicians are a real bad bunch.

Somewhere in there these cities realized they could compete to be the "biggest" marathon in the world, and another race was on. Bigger is not better, but they don't care. While it is fun to do one of these, one is all I recommend.

Chicago proved last year that they were not capable managing that large of a race. Throw bad weather in there, and managing 35,000 runners becomes a problem. Their solutiong, accept 45,000 entrants. I believe they expect 5-10 thousand not to show up. People blame the runners as much as the race directors for last years' Chicago (which I agree with), but it shows where their motivations are. It is a money maker.

I am glad Twin Cities and Grandmas have kept their integrity by limiting the field to 10 thousand. It creeps up a little every year, but it is still under control. Twin Cities had almost the same weather as Chicago last year, and a lot fewer problems.

The Ugly
Well, not really the ugly, but I loved that movie.

This brings up the people who run these. I believe too many people toe the start line who are completely unprepared to do the race. And yes, it is a race. You don't have to run it as one, but it is a race. (I actually do believe some of these races should have an alternative "fun run" to take the stress off the race).

Take the cutoff times.

Luckily, TCM still has a respectable 6 hour cut off. I saw one years ago which had a 7.5 hour cut (it was a flat, road race).

At some point, you dilute the race by letting anybody at any pace say "I ran the marathon".

Now, I will be the first to admit I don't run all of my races. When people ask about Superior, I saw "i walked half the damn thing". I don't say I ran 100 miles, because I didn't.

But, a course like TCM needs to hold some sort of integrity to the race. Most people should be able to run/walk a sub 6 marathon (excluding people with serious obstacles). If you can't, you probably need to lose some weight and put together a real training program.

Problem is, we don't celebrate all of the tough things people do to prepare for a good race. We don't celebrate someone saying "I am going to lose 30 pounds, and run a marathon". We only celebrate the running of the marathon. The prep and training is harder than the race.

This bings me to one of my major pet peeves. (this is where i make people mad)
"It's all mental anyway"
That quote is a load of BS in my opinion. I believe it was invented by people who don't want to put in the hard work to run a good race, so they cop out with that line. Yes, there are mental aspects of it, but most of the mental toughness is needed during the training.

I don't know anyone who has run a Boston Qualifier and said, "yeah, that was all mental".

I having nothing against the mental crowd, I just wish they would understand that YOU CAN change your lifestyle to be a runner. But it involves diet with training.

This post is long enough, but there are a few other happier topics on the marathon I will post about later.

The runners who inspire mewho are running this weekend. You might be surprised.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Yan Teopa

Today is the Frontenac State Park 10 mile trail race. I won't be there. I have yet to even go to that state park.

There is a famous rock formation there the Dakota Indians named "In Yan Teopa", which means "rock with opening". Looks like the Dakotans were about as original as I when creating names for stuff.

Good luck to all who are running, and good luck to those who are tapering for Twin Cities Marathon next weekend. I know a few running this for their first time.

There will be a few posts dedicated to TCM, I will be watching with my family at mile 24.

Still have a hard time running

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yet another new title

Helen said I should do what she did and just "name the blog after me".

So I did that.

Does not make a lot of sense to me, but if it helps me to be fast and tough like her, then I am game for it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I hate my new blog title

I guess it made sense as a blog post, but I already hate it as a blog title. It also does not incorporate any of my sarcastic nature.

So my other thoughts were:

Speed Kills
The Pain Asylum

or, on a more serious note:

Miles Away

There is a Marc Cohen tune "Miles Away" which I can relate to. Miles Away describes his detachment from the world at the moment.

"I'm gonna think about a lot about it later, but now I'm miles away". The song is a lot deeper than my brief explanation, but that is me when I am out running.

The song also captures the lack of an end to this running thing. Just new goals and limits.

Personally, I love the title "Speed Kills". If any of you remember WKRP in Cincinnati, there is a great episode where everybody thinks Johnny Fever is on speed. The keep saying, "Fever.... Speed Kills". He was just hyper.

This also captures my complete abandonment of speed work. AND, how one can do that and still have decent results.

Also, most of my injuries are a result of speed work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Title explanation


It is kind of lame, but it best explains where I am going and what I am doing. Graphics, links, and format will evolve. In case you did not know, the picture on the heading was of Karen Gall, Jim Wilson, and Todd Rowe on a cold March morning run at Afton this year. I liked how it captured them running off into nowhere. Well, it was the "Africa Loop". I remember pissing and moaning about how cold it was that day.

This blog will not specific to Ultrarunning, as that is only one aspect of my "appetite". Although, it will probably be most of it.

I came to this phrase recently as a good explanation of how I approach life. Right after the Superior Race, I commented on how taxing (mentally and physically) it was on me. I think I also said it would be a while before I attempted another one.

It is funny how we forget the bad spots. I actually don't remember any of the race being "that bad", I just remember going wacko around 3am, and feeling better when the sun came up. There was a lot of pain and suffering somewhere in there, but I honestly don't remember it. The euphoria, and sense of accomplishment after a year of work overshadowed it.

So, within two days I was cruising the "Run 100's" website looking for races for next year. What was wrong with me? I still could not walk, and my lower left leg looked like an inflated balloon.

Years ago when I worked in a bicycle shop, I worked on a woman's bike who was going to compete in the Kona Ironman that year (1992?). I remember thinking that must be an impossible task. How can anyone run a marathon after biking 112 miles and swimming 2 miles+ ? Well, now I see how it can be done. I have not done one of those, but I mentally can get my arms around it. I think it would be fun to do, but I am not a tri-geek. Swim training is about the most boring thing out there. I can bike, but have antiquated gear.

I had the same appetite in my sailing years. I used to race Lasers and Sunfish in California and Chicago. I also crewed on a racing yacht out of Chicago one summer. The appetite was fed during the famous "Chicago to Mackinac" race. 6 hours into that race, we hit a storm. I remember clutching the boom and watching the wind speed read out creep up to 36 knots. I seriously thought we were going to sink. Watching the bow go 6 feet under through a wave was not what I was used to. That night, hanging off the rail in a downpour (the race took 4 days), I thought this was the stupidest thing I have ever wanted to do. I will never do this again!

If I had the chance, I would do that race again. It is one of sailings "old school" races.

Direction I am going

I plan to use this blog as way to be held accountable to my goals. I don't know what next year looks like yet, but it will very like include a 100 miler, plus many of the other favorites. Maybe I will even do Voyageur (I hate heat).

I have been reading Mittleman again, and am considering making myself a "guinea pig" of his diet & exercise philosophy. I sort of did that this winter with Maffetone, and would like to build on that.


As much as I think Adam is a quack with his diets, diet might be a topic here. Weight training might be mildly discussed. Any other cross training might make it in... Snowshoeing?.

Race I would like to do before I die:
Leadville 100
Hardrock (don't laugh)
Angeles Crest 100
Cascade Crest 100
Big Horn 100

I might not ever get to these, but appetites are somewhat out of our control.

I hope to keep some level of the condition I am in going into the winter, but I know I will likely not want to run at all come January. We will see.

I ran 5 miles this morning and it sucked. Tree stumps as legs. My quads hurt bad.

I will decided thumbs up or down on the Glacial 50 mile this weekend. I have this grand idea that I will be fully recovered by then. Cough Cough

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First run since the race

I was finally able to take the knee out for a test drive yesterday.

Flat road. Took it REAL SLOW. 4 miles. Did not even bring a watch. Just wanted to get out there.

I was surprised to feel my quads were sore. The knee held in there.

It is much better. I can almost walk down stairs like a normal human.

Did my first weight training workout since April. Took that easy too.

Blah Blah Blah.

I think I have a new title for the blog. I am debating between 2 ideas.

Another easy day today, and maybe I can go 6 tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving Forward

Thank you to everybody for the positive encouragement to keep blogging.

My purpose of doing this last year was a means to keep myself accountable to a goal. I also took the approach of "this is what has worked for me", knowing that some of my training plan was unconventional. This blog became an ad hoc testimonial to alternative training for ultra distances.

What do I mean by "alternative training?"

Year to date, I have done a total of the following

Lactate Threshold Training Runs = 1 (kind of.. I wimped out after 20 minutes)
Speed Work = 0
Hill Workouts = a few, minus the long runs at Afton.
Long Runs = A ton. Most of them at 70-75% of max heart rate.


I beat my Ice Age 50 Mile time by 7 minutes from the prior year (I had done a ton of LT trainin and speed work).
I beat my Superior 50k time by 5 minutes from two years ago (I believed I was in "excellent" shape 2 years ago for that run).
I ran injury free the whole year (up until mile 65 of Superior 100).
I never hit "chronic fatigue", I only hit "burn out" during June, July, and part of August (partially due to heat).

So, I have come to understand that once you have a strong base, you can tap into it and perform at a decent level regardless of the "recent training".

Why am I babling about this right now? Maybe I will use this blog to advocate a different style of training. Not sure yet.

I am flattered to hear when people are inspired by some of the stuff I have blogged about. I have believed for a long time that inspiration is one of the greatest gifts one can give. I don't think one can try to inspire others (I believe that would be narcassistic on some level). But, I can continue documenting my accomplishments and failures. Take them for what they are worth.

In case some of you read the last post wrong, I am not giving up running, ultra running, or even 100 milers. While I will not bu running Superior 100 next year, I have already thought about the great 100's which are out there. Some don't interest me at all.

So I guess I am considering taking one of the following directions with this blog.

> Same old blah blah blah
> Find someone and document their "Road to 100"
> Focus on the "alternative training" and track my progress over the winter using Stu Mittleman's theories. Tie this in with cross training?
> Use this as a forum to follow other Midwest Ultrarunners?
> Be a resource for "getting in shape". This could mean any level of runner. I am not sure if I am worthy to dish out advice unsolicited, but more of a "try this, this is what has worked for me". There are already too many experts out there. I don't want to be another one.
> Follow the same format, but with another specific goal (like getting a big belt buckle at Leadville..... don't laugh!......... I do my best when my bar is set high, or slightly out of reach.).

So, this is what I am thinking about for moving forward. I can't come to terms that my season might be over, so I am optimistic that one more big race will surface. I am icing the knee heavily. It might be ready by the weekend, but I doubt it. I would still love to do Glacial 50 Mile, but not if I will be doing it as a death march.

There are always the winter ultras (Frozen Otter, Arrowhead (NO WAY!!!), and the Fat Ass runs all winter long at places still to be determined.

More thoughts coming soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Superior aftermath

"boy the Mrs. is going to kill me."

That is what was on my mind on the ride home Sunday. Not only did the leg swell up big time from the hornets, but my right knee was in serious pain.

I will spare you the many photos my wife took of the oozing puss and swollen ankle. I took some drugs, and the swelling is almost gone. The puss stopped oozing about Wednesday, but my right knee is barely working.

I decided to break down and see my chiroprachtor today (Bill Parker's former landlord). I found that my popliteus is locked. This doesn't really qualify as a spraigned knee, but I guess it does not matter. With some work, it should be okay by next week. I am not sure when I will be able to run again, though. I can't even walk cofortably.

Aftermath synopsis
* locked popliteus
* hornte sting reactions
* one completely bruised toe (right big one), two not sure (small on each foot)
* aches and pains in the hip flexors, nothing serious
* seious callousing on the feet.
* had the DOMS for a few days, so it was tough to tell what was injury, swelling, and/or soreness.

Someone metioned during the race about having nightmares the week after. I have had dreams about running almost every night, but not sure if they qualify as nightmares. When it rained Wednesday night, I did wake up and think "crap, I need to put my rain gear on", thinking I was running.

I thought I would hit a low this week, feeling a let down from all I have worked on during the past year. I don't. I am just happy I get to do these things.

I still want to get in one more race for the year, but not sure if I can heal porperly by Glacial. I will cross that road in a few weeks.

What do I do with this blog now?

I am not sure if I should keep blogging. The whole point in me doing this last year was having a way to be held accountable during the training for the 100 miler. It's great to know people read, and encourage me, but I am also thinking it me be time to pass the torch.

I try not to give out too much advice here, as everybody is different. Also, a lead packer needs advice from a lead packer. I am somewhere in the "mid packer" range, or in that chasm between "mid packer" and "semi elite". Whatever the case, I have tried to document what has worked for me, and what has not.

Here is what worked for me at Superior and what did not:

Not listening to all of the "experts" and just following my heart
Not worrying about an even pace
Running my own race
Not worrying about all of the famous sections. I still can't tell you where the "drainpipe" is. Don't remember the "Sawbill Dome". Did not know I was on the "Beaver Dam" until miles later. Did not know I was in the Sonju roots section until I saw one tree/root cluster I recognized from a picture (I could tell even in the dark).
I did not worry about eating. I ate when I needed to and kept a steady flow of some kind of food coming in me.
Taking 4 bottles of fluid in the first two sections was critical. I drank it all.
Walking hard worked well. Aside from the knee proboblem, I felt I could have done this forever. I even think I could walk the whole think and still make the cut.

What did not work
I had too much crap in my drop bags. I think I used 10% of it.
Wider variety of food. I go sick of Shot Blox (Crack blox)
Better system with my pack (I did not want to take it off, so I kept dropping crap I wanted to put away)

I don't think there is much else I would do differently. I would even say it would have made more sense to go out a little harder, and get to Finland earlier. Once night hits, just switch to power walk mode. I seemed to recover while I was walking. Either way one slices it, you are going to be trashed Saturday morning. Might as well bew farther down the couse when the sun comes up.

It was frustrating to have to go so slow the last 3 sections. I was actually right behind Bill Gengler at Temperance (mile 80 something), and he put an hour and a half on me during that time to the end. That was all knee. Oh well.

So for now, here is my shout out to anybody who reads this.

Go run a trail.

Consider one of the Spring or Fall Superior races. You can actually walk the Marathon and make the cut. It is an experience you will cherish, and a great way to see beautiful scenery.

I will be there in the Fall next year either crewing, pacing, working an aid station, or all of the above.

I am sure the Afton runs will continue all winter long, so join us out there. I will try to do some "normal" time of day runs.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Superior Sawtooth 100 Report

September - 2007

My family and I were driving up to Lutsen for my 50 mile race at the Supeior Hiking Trail. We stopped at an aid station for the 100 mile races and watched a few come through. My wife said "that is absolutely crazy". I thought "I have to do this before I die". Even the thought put a knot in my stomach.

That started my road to 100.

Fast forward 1 year.

Date - Saturday September 6th
Time - 4am
Place - Somewhere between the Crosby Manitou aid station and the Sugarloaf aid station on the trail.

I am bubling around the trail. My brain is melting. My knee is killing me, not letting me go down hill like a normal human. I can't stay awake. I am looking for a comfy spot to take a nap on the side of the trail. I am on the verge of crying. I was thinking I should have reached the aid station by now. "this is absolutely crazy, why did I want to do this?"

The hardest thing at that point for me was realizing that if I was going to finish, I would have to go 30 miles on a bum knee. That was not going to happen. Looks like I am done. I am going to get to the aid station, take a nap, and feel sorry for myself. Turns out sorry is spelled "Saari". I will explain later.

Rewind 1 days

Gooseberry Falls visitor center. About 60 runners out to conquer this beast. Just to show up to this start takes a certain amount of Mojo, and this group had it. For me, it was surprisingly relaxing. The weather was perfect, 50 and low dewpoint. Looks like overcast for a while.

Larry Pederson said go, and the race began. Early on I said to someone "can you imagine that many of us won't get there until tomorrow night?" Sobering thought.

The first leg I planned to just keep it low and slow so I could stay calm. I found myself with Pierre Oster, "toughest man in Minnesota". Pierre is one of the most humble and quiet guys, but has more than most to brag about. He has completed Badwater, Arrowhead 135 (he is the race director), and Leadville just to name a few.

Early on Gary Sheets passed me. I would get to know this man very well.

The first two sections were rather uneventful. I was keeping it easy. The views were spectacular. I was comletely focused on making sure I did not screw up. I had to stay properly hydraded. I actually said after 3 hours "this is great! I have already peed twice!". This was a great sign. I was drinking more than enough (dehydration has been my downfall for months).

I rolled into the Beaver Bay aid station. Karen Gall was working it and said some great encouraging words. It was a quick stop. Lynn Saari (who was crewing for her husband) said some encouraging words.

I left the station with John Taylor and Pierre Oster. Not long after that, we pulled 100 yards ahead of Pierre and came upon some railroad tracks. I said to John "wouldn't that suck if a train came right now and cut us off?". I then heard a low rumble. As we were crossing a long Taconite train was coming around the bend. I turned around and yelled "Pierre, hurry up, a train is coming". He did not make it. Funniest thing ever in a race. That was a long train.

Somewhere in there I got separated from John, and then Molly Cochran caught up to me. We ran for a little bit. We were up on top of a mountain, coming down of a rock formation when we hit the hornets. We were both attacked. I don't know how many times they got me, but at least 3. I know Molly got more. I said "this sucks, but is not going to be the worst pain we experience in the next 24 hours". She said "good thing I am not allergic to them". I found out later that she was taken to a medical clinic after she broke out in hives. She ended up having to drop. That was sad as she is a super positive person. She woudl have been able to finish.

Wayne Nelso was at the Silver Bay aid station. He helped focus. Got my act together, and I was off. The next two sections blurred into one. I was walking the uphills, but crushing the down hills. I felt great. I felt on top of the world. I as not tired. It started to rain, but it felt good. The scenery was amazing. At one point we walk along a cliff overlooking a lake. I made me rather nervous as it was very high and steep. Spectacular views. I saw a female runner taking a picture at one of the overlooks. Turns out to be Susan Donnely (she came in second). She has a long resume of ultra finishes.

I came into Tetteguchi on fire. I felt great. I was happy, relaxed, and full of energy. Alicia Gordon and Jeffrey Swainhardt got me set and I was off. Hey, there is Lynn Saari again...

All I really remember of the next section is catching up to Gary Sheets on the down hills, and him pulling away from me on the uphills. Gary has finished this race before, so he knew the course....cough cough. He said at one point "I think this is the last hill before the aid station county rd. 6" We came down off it, turned a corner, and saw a sign which said "county road 6 - 4 miles". I turned to Gary with a smile and said "bastard!". 3 or 4 more times in that section he said "this is the last one". He was wrong every time. Before the aid station, the race runs along a high ridge, very steep, and you can see the station. I asked Gary, "is it a technical down hill, or easy". He said "easy, not technical, you will be down there in no time". 10 minutes later I said "easy and not technical my ass!". He was wrong.

Tom and Nancy were at County Rd 6 making their famous grilled cheese. They also made the best broth I have ever had in my life. I took the time to get ready for the night as it would be getting dark soon. After leaving this aid station, I was feeling tired. I could not really run, so I walked hard. I then was frustrated that I was walking so much. I was thinking "man, I am going to be passed by everybody". I just kept the charge going and walked hard. Nobody passed me. I remember walking across the famous "Beaver Dam" which is just a board walk across a lake/dam/lagoon. Turns out Gary Sheets helped built that. He said first time he went across it, a beaver slapped its tail next to him and scared him half to death. I heard a lot of splashing, but did not realize I was crossing beaver dam. Dam(n).

I got dark. I dropped my hat. I dropped my s-caps. Lost them both. I just wanted to get to Finland (mile 50.5). Kind of the half point, but just shy of it. I rolled in to it a little after 13 hours. Lynn Saari took charge and got me everything I needed. How did she know? Two weeks prior she did her first 100 at Leanhorse. The aid station had good food. I still felt good, but was feeling sore.

I was off to Sonju. People speak of the infamous "Sonju roots". For some reason, I thought they were after the Sonju station. About a mile into this section, it started to get rooty. I was feeling good at this point. What is interesting about this section is, the trail is subjective. It is hard to tell the trail, from no trail. Add night, and it became a game for me. It was kind of fun. It was peacfull, as I was alone. I did not take me long to realize "this has to be the Sonju roots". This section, while technically hard, was not bad for me beacuse I still felt good.

The Sonju station was peacfull. Campfire, nice people, great soup. The said "take your time relax, enjoy, but we kick you out in 15 minutes." I was good to go.

All I remember about the next secion is some dude passed me. I could not believe he was the first to pass since mile 43. Maybe this walking plan will get me there. I did some short math. If I walked hard, I could still break 30 hours! Bring it on. I caught up to Gary again, and he was not the happy camper he was 4 hours prior. I decided to hang with him and see if we could help each other. We rolled into Crosby together. His crew was there getting him focused. Doug Barton made me a cheeseburger! Maria Barton had the station cranking. The fire was great. But I had an idea of breaking 30 hours. We had to get walking.

I left there with Gary some time around 1:30 am. Right away I could tell Gary was at a different point than me. I did not want to, but I pulled away from him. I was on a mission. This next section is highly technical. Straight down to a river. My knee starting hurting bad, and would not let me put load on it, only transfer load. It was starting to hurt bad and lock up. When I got to the bottom, I thougth "what goes down, must go up". The next climb ruined my knee. Straight up. At one point, I could not find the trail. I knew it was within 10 feet of me, but could not find it. I took a chance climbing over a boulder, and there it was.

This is almost a 10 mile section. I kept going up and up. My spirits were going starting to fall. My knee was failing. I was now very tired. Good thing I am almost to the aid station (I was still probably 6 miles away!). Daryl Saari passed me with his pacer. I said thanks to him for having such a cool wife. I tried to hang on to them, but my knee would not let me.

This post started with where I was now. Time to dig down deep. I kept pushing on. Where was the aid station? Push on. My knee hurts. Push on. I walked off the trail because I was falling asleep. I can't keep my eyes open. The trail is morphing. I need to find a place to take a nap. If I do it on the trail, the next runner behind me will probably wake me up thinking I might be dead. Can't let that happen. Where is the aid station? That was a LONG stretch. Coming up to the aid station were tiki torches. I smiled. I was there! Nap time! I am done.

I rolled into Sugarloaf. I saw Lynn across the way. Don't make eye contact, maybe she won't see me. I did not even call out my number. I went to a chair by the fire and buried my face in my hands. Why did I pay money to do this? Someone took my pack and worked on it.

There were a few runners who had dropped there, and were wrapped up in a blanket by the fire, enjoying conversations. Pierre was there! How did that happen? Unfortunately, he had dropped. I guess the Leanhorse 50 mile two weeks prior was catching up to him.

I had some food. Some coffee. I was going to hang here for a while. Get comfy. Take a nap. Figure out what to do with my knee. I guess I am not cut out for the 100 distance. I was just happy at that point to be in front of a fire and not running.

Then a voice said, "time is up, get out there!" What? I am not doing that. No way. "All you have to do is get to the next aid station. 5 miles"

I saw Bill Gengler had just come in. Maybe I could hold on to him until the next station.

I don't know how it happened, but I left that aid station follwoing Bill. The sun came up shortly after, and I was a new man. All I remember about this section is it rained. But for some reason I did not care. It was great hanging with Bill. He is a tough dude.

Eventually we came to a road, close to Cramer road. I saw Larry Pederson marking part of the start to Moose Mountain Marathon, which starts at the next aid station, in half an hour! I said to Larry, "is it too late to sign up for the marathon?".

I was psyched to get to the station, thinking maybe I would see familiar faces who are running the marathon. Kel got this picture as I was walking in. I was still a little loopy.

Bill Parker and Wayne Nelson came to cheer me on. Thanks Guys!

I think I said to Bill Gengler "we are almost done!" (25 miles left). Aside from the incredible pain I felt going down and hill, I felt renewed. The Marathon runners blew by us, and gave great encouragement. Bill got ahead of me, and I just pressed on.

Temperance station came, and I felt victory withing reach. The next section is not long, but a hard climb up Carlton Peak. That destroyed me knee, again. My knee took turns working, then not working. Limping was not fun, but I thought I could get to the end.

At the Sawbill aid station, my new crew (Lynn) got me situated and asked "don't you have a hat?" I said I dropped it a long time ago. "is it white?" yeah. "Pierre picked it up, I have it". Funny how that works.

Gary Sheets came into the station as I was chowing on something. I wished hime luck and told him to catch up to me. I left the aid station, and shortly after, he caught up. I told him we were going to finish this thing together. He was on pace to PR. He did not believe he would, which gave me resolve to get us there for his PR.

I started seeing weird things in the bushes. Weird things in the leaves. Was I going nuts?

John Taylor caught us right before the last aid station. He was going to finish strong.

We rolled into Oberg, final aid station. I asked Kurt King what time it was. He answered with a time and I said "wrong, it is time for me to get my jacket and belt buckle". I went over to where Gary was and "chop chop, time is money, let's go get our buckle!"

We were off. I was a constant chatter of "we are going to get it, we are almost there".

I was worried about Moose Mountain as my legs and knee were trashed, and this is one heck of a climb. We go there. We were two pathetic babies climbing that sucker. We would go 40-50 ft. and rest. Close to the top, I saw my kids hiding in the bushes, waiting to suprise me! I can't believe they came up to cheer me on!


Turns out it was a buch of sticks and leaves. I was seeing faces in leaves, animals which were logs, and so on. We got to the top of Moose, and I could taste the finish.

Eventually, we made it to the trail head. Then crossed the river. I raised my hands pumping them. When we got to the dirt road, I turned to Gary and said "I can't believe we are about to finish this thing" We were walking. We said we would run from the Gondola to the finish.

I looked behind us. Another runner. Just a 50 miler passing us.

NO! He as a red bib. He is a 100 miler! Dude, we can't get passed in the last quarter mile! So we ran. This cat was closing on us. No way, not today. Gary and hit the fence to the pool by the finish line and I yelled with glee "100 milers coming through"

We crossed in 33 hours 39 minutes, only seconds ahead of that guy who chased us in.

I gave Larry a hug and called him a sick bastard. He laughed and said thank you.

Kel also caught a picture of us finishing

I was so high, I don't remember the next ten minutes.

I saw Carl and was crushed to hear he had to drop. Steve, Adam, Kel, Brent, Jim Wilson gave me congratulations. It was great.


There is so much more to say, but this has become too long. Stuff for posts later.

On the way home my foot started swelling, and by the time I got home, I was a little nervous. My wife made me go to urgent care. The hornet stings decided to swell now.

Not sure why this happened two days later. Swelling has gone down today.

All I can say right now is thanks to everybody who was so supportive in this mission. All of the emails I received, I took in my pack, and were with me all night.

Too many thanks to too many people. I will find a way to thank you all somehow.

It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself, but most importantly I learned this.

When you dig down deep, eventually you will find you can't dig anymore. At that point hand the shovel to someone and they will dig deeper for you.

Thanks to Lynn Saari for taking the shovel.

Happy Trails

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Superior Races Update

I was fortunate enough to finish in 33 hours and 36 mnute

Chris Gardner from Duluth Won the 100 in just under 22 hours (smokin' fast)
Joe Zigenfuss came in second
Brent Bjerkness took 3rd.

Helen Lavin won the womens in around 26:50 (awesome job)
Susan Donelly took second.

My report will follow later. I am very happy, but it took A LOT out of me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Big Race

This post is for the non-runners, and my friends and family who have encouraged me through my years of running.

What is The Big Race?

It's the Superior Sawtooth 100.

Simply put, it is 102 miles of ass kicking trail running in Northern Minnesota. The trail is very technical. Too many roots to count. Rocks. Boulders. Rivers. Wild Moose. Bears (i hope not). It is a killer course.

To read what the race is like, check out Julie's report from last year. It's a great story of it.

When I went up to run the 50 Mile last year (it starts 22 hours after the 100), I knew the 100 was a race I had to do. So I started preparing for it back then.

It is 1 week away as I write this. Friday the 5th at 8am.

Last week I posted to the readers of this blog to send me encouraging emails, of which I will print and put in my pack I will be wearing all night. I am thankful for the emails I received. I have directed others to this site to read about this and send me encouragement.

So here is my last call out. Send me an email. Say what you like. And I will take you with me on the race. To send the email, click on "view my complete profile" the click on email.

The emails will be my crew. I will have aid station workers read me some when it gets hard.

So far, the comment which will be on the top of the list, and read to me at every aid station after mile 40, is not an email. It is a comment posted by someone who has given me a 65% chance of finishing. It will be fun hearing that comment read to me at every aid station.

Thanks to everybody for reading. Thanks for the support. Thanks for the encouragement.

Probably the last post before the race.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final long training run

Adam asked me if I was in better shape than last year recently. I answered "I don't know" as much of my long runs turned out to be difficult late day, warm weather, and night runs. They were all more challenging than I expected. I needed a run that I could feel good about and could measure against.

Based on the awesome forecast for this morning, Afton would be it. I considered running the full 50k, but also did not want to over do it two weeks out.

I started at 5:30am, and went out relaxed, but good intensity. First lap was 2:32, and I was not even tired. Sweet! I decided to do a second lap.

Once I hit a total of 28 miles, I could feel I was about done. No need to push and finish, and not gaining anything from pounding 3 miles. If I would have finished it would have been no longer than 5:40

Last year, I did this 2 weeks before the Superior 50M, and ran it in 6 hours. I felt I had a great race.

I ran today a lot faster, and felt fine at the end. I am definitely in better shape this year. And I definitely needed this confidence booster.

I crushed the downhills. My form has acclimated to downhills quite well.

I tried out a new North Face hydration pack today. Worked well, will use it from mile 40 on.

Guess it is time to take it easy and prepare.

I am ready. Willing and able.

I got to hang with Tom, Nancy, and Maria in the parking lot and talk aid stations. It sounds like there are going to be some fun things at the aid stations, but Maria would not tell me what. Look for her and her husband Doug at mile 62. Tom and Nancy will be making their famous grilled cheese at mile 40 something. Maybe I can beat Jason Hosuveth's record of grilled cheese sandwiches consumed at that station. I think Tom told me 4.

This will be a FUN race.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A request to all of you

2 weeks from today is THE BIG RACE.

Some minor changes in family plans have left me solo for the weekend, which means no family crew. This might work out better for me, as I don't have to worry about getting to an aid station by a certain pre determined time.

I also have no pacer, which I am fine with. But, after reading Allan Hotz's race report from Leadville 100 (the only of 12 Minnesotan's to finish it last weekend), one sentence rings loud. "You have to really want to finish" to get through the hard parts. I am paraphrasing, but that is the essence.

I have no crew, I have no pacer. But, I have all of you. Yes, this sounds cheesy, but one of the reasons I have consistently run all year this year is knowing people are checking up on me.

So here is my thought. Send me an email. Say whatever you want, but give me something to work with to get through the night. I am not worried about the first 50, just the second. I have no idea how many people read this blog, but for those of you I don't personally know, tell me why you read it. If you are not a runner, send one anyway. Feel free to give me some trash talking, or words of encouragement. Give me anything that might get me through the night.

I am going to print these out, stick them in my backpack, and have them with me the second half of the race. If I get to the point where I can't go any more, I will pull some out and read them. For me, it is harder to let other people down than to let myself down. So if others have high expectations of me, that actually helps a lot.

Instead of posting my email right here (I don't want internet sniffing programs sending me millions of emails) go to "view my complete profile" and under "contact" click the email link.

Don't worry if I don't know you, I welcome any email, from any level of runner (or non runner).

I know this is somewhat self promoting and narcassistic, but I know it will help.


Tomorrow is going to be my last long run at Afton. I plan on 20 - 30. I am going to run it faster than usual just to get my confidence back. Last year I ran the 50k as a training run in 6hrs, and had a great 50 mile race two weeks later. I know if I do at least 20 at that pace or faster, I will fell much more confident.

Not sure if I want to throw 50K out two weeks before this race, but all of my good races have come with 2 week tapers, not 3.

I am in sweet home Chicago next week, and get to run on my "home turf" on the lakefront. Can't wait to have a night run coming south on LSD toward the skyline. One of the more spectacular runs out there.

Big sale at REI this weekend. I might actually pick up a camelback and use it on my run tomorrow.

Happy trails.