Sunday, April 27, 2008

2 Weeks to go, and still snow

Yes, two weeks until the Ice Age 50 Mile run, so it was a must to get a long run in at Afton yesterday. I put a shout out for some to join at 4:30 am if interested, knowing I would probably be solo. But, Karen said she was game, and Bryan on the sleep in said he was game as well. I was hoping to get in at least a 50k, but I had to be home by a certain time, hence the early start.

I opened the garage door to find what looked like to be a repeat of the Chippewa 50 weather. Snowing hard, but not sticking. The wind was brutal though. How I wish for global warming to return.

I arrived to see Karen already waiting. =Steve, there should be points added to the Fab 5 fifties for those who are the first in the parking lot at Afton=. Karen won that won. We waited for Bryan on the sleep in, but said "too bad" by 4:40.

Karen and I set out for the snowshoe loop first, as we knew it would be protected from the wind. We got down by the bridge, and we see headlights! Maybe Bryan made it! I turned on my flashing headlamp so he can see.

We looked for someone to find us, but no dice (i wonder who that was in the car?). After 2/3ds of the whole course, we started to head back to the parking lot, and there was Mr. Quick, and Mr. Rowe. Steve was the one we saw in the car earlier. Was I surprised, he claims not to be a morning person and we started at what normally is his bed time.

So we all had a good time chatting it up, forgetting about the mileage. And Steve is one of the few who knows the movie quotes I often use. The day began to blur, and we avoided the Africa loop due to high winds (i was cold, wet and beginning to tire).

Steve bailed on us, Karen was somewhere, and I was starting to fade. Down by the long stretch along the river, around mile 27, I kept getting "the look" from Todd. I was wimping out. I knew I had to get the 31 in. But it was time to Whine. I decided I needed the punishment of campground hill 1 more time.

We made it up, but on the way down, I felt better. I said "let's Kamikaze down", and we were running, full speed. Hey, that felt good. We did it again, on the next hill. It felt so good, I ran all the way to the end of the section, fast. What happened? I got the lead out.

It was time to be done, but I felt great. I decided to end it by running up the paved path and steps to the parking lot. That felt good too. Ran all the way to the car, hard, the pain is gone. Todd was a good sport, and was right with me.

I had no long run paid the rest of the day. I felt tired, but not destroyed. I could have kept going.

Ice Age will be interesting. The rest of the day was full of toting people around, and going to "stuff"

No pain this morning. What a nice change.

Will do #4 Hadd test next weekend

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boku Fun

A 3.5 hour layover in the Milaukee airport is about the most fun one can have on this planet. I highly recommend it.

The trees (and everything else) were blooming in Michigan. I am a bowl full of allergies. Hopefully I will recover tomorrow and be able to run long Sat.

Sleep in.... 830 conf call. I am glad I office out of the house.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stu Almighty

So I had to take my first business trip in a long time to, of all places, Flint, MI. Well, we covered a large portion of the state, but that is where I flew into.

I picked up Stu Mittleman's "Slow Burn" for the plane ride as I never did really get far into the book. Most of my low hr training was from Phillip Maffetone.

Well, since the FAA had computer problems with clearing flight plans this morning, I sat on the Milwaukee tarmac for 2 hours. Being the slow reader I am, I read about 2 pages.

I read about "applied kinesiology", which is the the relationship between and organ and a corresponding muscle (i probably slaughtered the definition, so don't source me). He basically claims that he was able to heal his knee pain through massaging and manipulating a certain spot in his abdomen (one is kind of connected to the other). I over simplified this, and probably did a dis-service, but cut me some slack.

Normally I would think this is crack pot goofy thinking, but then I look at where I have come in my years of running. I then look at what Stu has achieved. He also sources Dr. George Goodheart as the person who has reasearched, studied, and documented the concept. I would never have believed one could cure ailments through working, massaging, etc... certain parts of the body, but then I would have never believed I could have been able to run 50 miles.... and feel good at the end.

I love reading what Stu has to say, because it is geared at people like me, the average joe.

So I will advocate on the behalf of Stu, and I recommend the book (even if I am not done with it).

Today - off (long day on the road and I am tired... boo hoo)
Yesterday - easy 8 - 71 minutes - 139 avg hr.

Racked Fab 5 50 Pale Ale into secondary last night. Looks good.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First dreadmill hill workout since low HR training

First of all, forgive me lord for I have sinned.

I woke up this morning to pheasants crowing, birds chirping, and a balmy 54 degrees. My prayers have been answered. So what do I do, I get on the treadmill. This was my first dreadmill run in probably 1 month.

I needed to do a hill workout, and there are not many hills in my part of town.

This was first "hard" workout since early january, minus the Chippewa/Arrowhead 1000k snowshoe marathon.

The workout
1 mile warmup

8 repeats of 15% incline at 5mph, 1/2 mile distance.
1/4 recovery at same speed, 0% incline.

I thought it would be harder than it was. It was easier than the last time I did this workout. Sooooooo, I know I did not loose much hill strength during the low hr phase. I know that this is anecdotal, but hey, what am I going to offer up?

I am a bit sore from it, as the last two intervals took some work.

Long run at Afton this coming Saturday. I plan to do the 50K at a "decent" pace. Not sure what that will end up being, but in the 150 avg hr area.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good luck Trail Mixers

Good luck to all who are running Trail Mix tomorrow.

I will not be there. Taking kids to Karate, and clean up day at church. Will run early and think of all of you.

Took today off as well as Wednesday. Had a mild case of DOMS, I believe.

6 Monday
8 Tuesday
8 Yesterday

Plan to do 16 tomorrow.

Started the weights again now that the low hr training is past base phase. I wanted to do a hill workout this week, but the body was needing a bit more recovery time. Hope for a hill workout Monday, Tempo Wednesday, and a Big Long Run next Saturday.

Fab 5 50 pale ale

click here for the pale ale report

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yeah, but can she run

While traveling with one of the Coke guys today, we came across this circus at the IDS Crystal Court.

I saw a bunch of people wearing Ortho jerseys, so I had to prod. I found Eric Lindstrom, who looked well recovered from this weekend.

All the while talking to him, I noticed this competition on bikes on trainers. This "girl" was putting the hurt on this "guy", but got caught on the final virtual hill. She looked buff and in shape, but I doubt she could run fast.

Cough, cough, ahem. Double click for a closer look.

The Mayor of Minneapolis jumped on after them. He looked out of place with his nicely groomed hair and the jersey. He needs to go hit the trails.

Eric might join the "party cabin" for Ice Age. We'll see how he does after 31 miles. Answer= still kicks my butt

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My new hero

Check this out if you have not already seen it.
This is Larry Pederson in about 50 years (i have no idea how old larry is).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Brewer is back!

What better way to celebrate the start of the trail racing season, than to brew a batch of beer. It has been 3 months since my last batch, and the supply is getting low.

Brew session tomorrow evening. I will try and remember to take pictures.

The Brew
American Pale Ale (I was going to do a summer wheat/ober clone) but changed my mind.
90% American 2 row pale.
10% Cystal 60L

Pearle bittering hops
Cascade aroma hops

Wyeast 1056

If you are thinking about running Ice Age, I will bring a keg of this to the "party cabin".

Ran 8 this morning - 9:20 pace, 136 avg hr.

Damage assessment

Third day now since the race, and no major damage. I did not have a single blister. I am not sure how I managed that.

I have two toenails who are contemplating a permanent vacation. Discoloration, but not black yet. I have only lost a toenail once, and that was skiing. (poor fitting boot, lots of moguls).

Ran 6 yesterday, 9:20 pace, 130 hr. Not too sore.

Funny, after all of that, I am no where near the soreness and pain after a road marathon. Those marathon miles building up serious LA can hurt. I thought I would have some of that, but I got lucky.

A quick heart rate recap from the race. 156 average. Some splits (between aid stations were 160 or so).

I will attempt to post a report from my Polar software for those interested. It was not a big deal to go from 140 avg hr to 155 for a race.

We will see how today's run is. 3.5 weeks until Ice Age

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chippewa Vasaloppet Report

I will start this one out with some memorable quotes.

Phillip Gary Smith "I am the only sensible one out there, I am wearing snowshoes"

Ryan from Green Bay "That was a Birkebinder start"

Wynn Davis "the course might be a little slow today"

Steve Quick "so what happened to that 4:15 you were going to do?"

Brent Bjerkness "I thought Goretex was supposed to stay dry"

Robert Frost "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled." I guess he was a trail runner. I should have heeded this advice, because the road less traveled was the correct one! Luckily I only adventured 5 minutes or so off course. I will explain later.

I reflect back to my days as a car salesman. I sold Pontiac for a few short months, so I had the opportunity to sell a few Trans Ams. When somebody test drives a TA, the test drive it. They ride it hard and put it away wet. So, when one is about to buy a TA on the lot, they see it has 150 miles or so on the odometer. I always thought "yeah, that is a serious 150 though. Those are some painful miles for that car"

That was yesterday. Although it was a 50k (31 miles), those were some serious miles.

It began with the short trek to New Auburn. Heavy rain and wind on Friday afternoon. Upon arrival, it had just started snowing. Heavily. I saw Larry Pederson in the parking lot. He had that happy look and thinking "finally, something hard for the runners to deal with".

After the pick up, I headed back to Chippewa falls with Carl Gammon (room mate). I saw the foreshadowing of a tough day to come with many cars in the ditch from the sudden heavy rain to snow transition.

Carl and I had the classic Ultra trail runners pre race meal, Pizza and Beer. Sorry Adam, no sprouts and lemon juice (although, he did kick our butts). We turned in early.

We awoke to....

Snow. It did not look too bad. What's a couple of inches, right?
Our trek back to the start was slow, more foreshadowing of a long day ahead.

We were lucky to arrive early enough to get some prime parking spots. I was able to get some pictures of many of the dead runners and UMTRA members.

We started in a small field of snow. I took the opportunity to throw a few snowballs at the competition.

And they were off. How bad could a couple of inches be.

The first loop seemed deeper than a few inches. It had to be 6 inches in many spots. For some reason I thought it would thin out. I quickly set in behind someone who looked like he was going to run the same type of race I was. After a short conversation, we realized we knew each other. He was Brent Bjerkness, open masters winner at Superior 50 last year. Our wives got to know each other at SHT 50, so we took this opportunity to do the same. A third guy was hanging in there behind us, but something did not ring right about him. I think this was his first Ultra and trail run. He did not look prepared, and was running too fast based on his breathing. We were at mile 1. He was in for a long and painful day.

Brent and I blew through the first aid station as we both had been stocked not to need it. I had not looked at my watch yet, but hit the lap button.

I was putting my low heart rate training to the test, and was curious where I was, but did not want to get preoccupied with it.

We were a little back from two runners, man and woman, who were set in a pace. The woman had awesome form, taking each hill effortlessly. It was intimidating to watch her conquer those hills effortlessly. Once we caught up, we learned she was from Yellowstone National Park. That's a hike.

We hit the 5 mile aid station and finally looked at my watch. 1 hour. Are you kidding me? 5 miles per hour? I guess 4 hours and anything was out of the questions. We were on an over 6 hour pace. Oh well. Great opportunity to now run by feel, and not time. I was already doing that, but now I had no worries. This snow seemed kind of deep though... 8 inches?

The next stretch I heard was beautiful. I would not know as I was looking down the whole time. Boo hoo.

8 mile aid station. Planned refueling spot. Others blew by while I refilled drink and food. Why such a hurry? Are you guys in a race?

A short hop to the next aid station, then a long haul out to the turn around. That is when it got.... special.

Right outside of that short stop aid station the snow got deep. Over a foot deep in many spots. The trail was not packed in the least, so I was just aiming for existing foot steps. Often I was going knee deep. Where it was not deep, it was slushy. After a half hour of that, I said "this is getting quite annoying". Uh no, was I whining? That was grounds for DQ. I better shape up.

Soon after we say the elites coming our way..... wait, no, "we are off course." Figures. We all turn around. One guy kept going. He was looking for that river in Egypt - de Nile.

Our crowd was only 5 minutes off, or more, but I could not let it get to my head. I figured the lead packers made the mistake, and we all followed. I will find a way to get revenge on those boys (and girl).

It was a beautiful stretch, more hills, and long board walk over a river, a wooden fence I contemplated hurdling, then the leaders coming back. Adam was taking a stand, and still looking strong. Joe was just steps behind, as well as Eric and others. John Storkamp looked quite relaxed as he was not dragging a sled. Jim R. looked pissed off. Can't unleash a world of hurt in deep snow.

Finally the turnaround, and some much needed familiar faces. Keith, Tom, Nancy, and Wynn were the only faces my brain registered.

Again, I took the time to properly load up and refuel. Then back to the start. Brent took off quickly so I was alone.

It was great to see everybody on the flip. Some looked better than others. Carl, you looked great. Karen Gall was toward the back, but getting ready to open a can of whop ass. Her gas tank was full.

Phillip must have been dropped on his head as a child, because he was seriously doing the whole thing in snow shoes! I thought he was kidding at the start. You are one tough dude Phillip!

Then it was lonely. Nobody for a long time.

I was happy to see Keith and another person taking pictures later on, as I knew I was close to the aid station. They took pictures in a tough spot. I tried to smile. But I was starting to loose my attitude.

I eventually kind of caught up to Brent and hung on (kept him in sight).

I was buried somewhere in there by the #2 woman, Molly, making this look like a walk in the park. She was happy, relaxed, and moving quick.

She had tech problems after a while, and shortly after, She, Brent and myself formed a pack.

We stuck together for the remainder of the race. The stretch from mile 23 to 26 was long. We were getting quiet, except for Molly. She was chipper. Looking back, that helped a lot, although she claimed she was hurting too.

The next hour was one of those true "runner boding experiences". We all needed each other but were not doing anything for each other. We all kept each other going.

Mile 26 to 29 was about a 10 mile run. The slush, snow and now serious mud was getting to me. I am sure glad I had that last long training run. It was holding me together.

We made it. Just 2 miles to go. Two long miles. We picked up the pace, but some dude blew by us like we were walking. We started running hills again, we were in pain, but nobody was going to pass us any more.

We knew Molly was holing on to the #2 woman spot, so we told her that was our mission, and Brent and I would tackle any woman who dared try and pass. Boy was I loosing my mind.

When we finally saw the end, it was still 1/3 mile to go. A glorious final stretch. When we hit the road, we made Molly take the lead and bring us home. She helped get me there, so she was going to lead her in.

That was a finish line I will always remember. 50k in snow. 5:59. 1:45 off my goal of 4:15. Oh well.

The finish area was great. Great bonding great people, great food, beer, and live Bo Dean tape. Only thing better would have been Bodeans in person. Maybe next year Wynn.

I saw Adam (#2 stud) varying his lemon diet and drinking a Leine. Look out for this guy as he is still getting stronger.... and lighter...

Did my low heart rate training pay off?

Yes. I ran almost even splits. 5 minute differential from out to back.

Last year Brent beat my by 45 minutes at Superior. I hung with him on this one. But, I had no tempo or speed work. I had three hill workouts (afton) where I walked hills.

Now I will put in 1 tempo or hill workout per week. Long runs might be faster.

All in all, an awesome day.

Wynn ran a flawless race. Nice job Wynn.

4 weeks to Ice Age. Updates to come.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prep for the big opener

I get like this before the first race of the year (or at least significant race). All I can think about is the race. I am pumped to test out my tedious low hr training.

I do have the jitters, as I have done zero tempo work and zero speed work. Like most racers I plan to do the out somewhat relaxed and controlled, and start the race.

Out and back races are fun because you can see everybody, take some cheap shots, and watch the race unfold. I especially like Ice Age because there are two points of out and back, and things really change by the second one.

I think the race will begin at the turnaround. There could be fresh snow on the trail on Saturday and chilly conditions. I would not mind either as I have trained in that. I will have a spare drill wrench and screws in case I need some spikes for the shoes.

Easy week for me.

8 Monday
off Tuesday (spank me 37 times)
6 today
5 tomorrow
off Friday

Git R Done

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Final Hadd Test

1 week from today marks the 3 month point of my low heart rate training, and also is the ultra trail running opener at Chippewa (50k).

I have been working Dr. Greg House (Adam Harmer) on testing the progress of this training through periodic "hadd" tests. I used Dr. Phillip Maffetone's theories when training at the low hr level. Below are the 3 Hadd tests, with the third being todays test

#1 (January)

Interval Speed (mph) Avg HR
1 6.4 126
2 6.8 136
3 7.2 143
4 7.8 153
5 8.5 166

#2 (end of Feb)

1 6.5 129
2 6.8 133
3 7.4 144
4 8.1 154
5 8.7 163

#3 April 5th

1 6.6 127
2 7.05 137
3 7.6 147
4 8.3 156
5 9.0 168

So, on this last one, I got a little over zealous. On #2 I left some on the table, as the hr goals were 125, 135, 145, 155, 165. I did not want to be below those targets. I did not want to be above, like todays', but it is okay because I received a lot of valuable information from it.

The key I see from today is the 8.3 at 156, a 7:13 pace. Not all that impressive until you consider last fall. I was probably running that pace in the mid to low 160's. Does this mean I could run a 3:10 marathon next weekend? Maybe. What I do know is I could maintain that heart rate for a long time. I also have a 10 mile run this on the road to compare to today's treadmill test. 12 miles, 8:50 pace, avg hr 141. How does this all add up? Not sure, but at least the 12 mile run acts as a bench mark.

March was also a good training month for me. I was able to do 2 runs over 30 miles (31 and 33.5), both at Afton State Park. I felt much better after the second one than the first and was able to run 8 miles the following day with no problem (I wanted to run long).

To be clear, I have not done any exercise with my heart rate above 147 since 2 second week in January (except for the 3 Hadd tests). Zero speed work. Zero tempo work. If I went back to the Whistlestop Marathon course next week, I am confident I could run it faster than I did in October. How much faster? I don't know. The true test will be next weekend.


In addition to the above improvements I continue to see the following benefits.

* I am not in all
* I am not in pain
* I am not sore
* I am not in pain.

I used to have this idea (albeit stupid), that if I was sore from a week of brutal workouts, I would gain a lot after I recovered. Problem is, I never recovered.

* I am not tired (as much) during the day
* It is easier for me to wake up early (this is anecdotal as winter is over).
* My one bout with sickness this year, was won quickly. The lingering cough only lasted 1 week (not a whole month).
* After a long run I am not tired. Well, comparatively. After 33 at Afton I was tired, but the 8 mile run the next morning was at a 9:05 pace, and I felt like I had not even left the house.
* I don't wake up in the middle of the night for no reason (it used to happen a lot).
* I am not sore
* I am not in pain
* No shin splints (even after 3 weeks out of 4 of 70 miles).

Shin splints used to be my nemesis. If I could run my PR marathon today (3:08) without shin splints from training, that would be proof enough. If I could not do 3:08, I know I could be close.


The final analysis will be next weekend. After all of the data crunching, my time to beat will be......


See you all there

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

So far so good

As some of you may know, I just started a new job. Today will be day 5, and they have not fired me yet.

I work for glaceau, makers of Vitaminwater and Smartwater. Yesterday I earned a few stripes when I got to explain to some people why not all sugars are the same. Of course the inevitable question came up.. "do you run marathons?". It is funny now to answer "no, not anymore".

Glaceau is owned by Coke, so I eventually might have something to do with Powerade. I had to touch that subject with kids gloves. I stopped short of trashing Powerade, but I told them Coke HAD to reformulate it if it were to be taken seriously in the sports world. The response was "it isn't?". I said "nobody trains with that stuff"

On the good note, I now have a major stash of samples. I even snagged a stash of "Vitamin energy" for everybody at Chippewa. (I almost broke an axle getting the stuff home). I know it is not a sports drink, but it is free, and they needed to unload this.

So back to the important stuff, running. Yesterday was off, Monday an easy 8, and today will be 10 (maybe 12). Hadd test will be Friday or Saturday. This will be an exciting test, and I will post a "time for me to beat at Chippewa" after the completion. I am already thinking 4:15 will be that time.

Oh yeah, use caution if running at RTA. After yesterday's snow, monsters might be lurking. If you see a man with a hatchet running around, run fast, and use the Shinning.

Hey Jim Wilson, you still going to McNaughton? You can always run Chippewa twice!


UPDATE = Ran 12 miles - 8:50 pace - 141 avg heart rate. Sweeeeeeet!