Friday, May 30, 2008

Great posts from other blogs

I take a few days off, and I miss two great posts from Steve. They made me laugh as well as look at myself. Read them when you get the chance.

Also, Adam is back to blogging. Two great competitors in the ultra circuit.

Steve's last post "are ultrarunners crazy?" covers some great topics. He nailed down 4 types of ultrarunners. I think I have some of all 4 in me, but not to the extent I could be labeled as one. Other runners and friends would probably disagree with that statement though.

The topic does ask the million dollar question "why do we (I) run these races?" The full explanation will be on a different post, as I believe the answer is not simple.

The short answer;
I am probably dealing with unresolved issues from my youth. I look back at my youth and see myself as a quitter and a lazy person. I am not trying to be self loathing, I am just being honest. When I started running seriously again 7 years ago, I was doing it for me, not for what others wanted me to do or thought I could do.

I enjoy running, racing, and the friends I have made through all of it. I also like putting myself in situations which will truly challenge my mind and body. When I am scared of a race, I know I tapping the core of who I am.


I use this blog as a method to answer why I run these races. I don't think I will ever be able to clearly answer the question, though.


I am starting to get the blood flowing for next weekend. Surprisingly, I am not nervous because I know there is nothing I can do (other than preparation and rest) to make or break this race.

For me, the race (in my head and against my shadow) will start at the 100k mark.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Those back to back races caught up with me this week. Or maybe not.

Whenever I would train for Grandma's I would hit this "burnout" about this time in the year. I just don't want to run. I am tired and sluggish. Maybe it is the goofy weather.

I have confidence that I can still perform well next week with 3 weeks of only 10 mile runs or less. At this point, I don't think any other stuff would help me all that much, and could possibly impede my recovery from the last two weeks.

I should be nervous, but I am not (yet).

I guess this sluggishness is good at this point, as I will be back to myself by next week.

Very few people outside of this blog know I am doing the 100 miler. I purposely don't tell non runners, because it becomes annoying to attempt an explanation. Just Sunday, after my wife told a dinner companion about it, this dinner companion started asking me about my "pace". Of course, I answered "I don't know". This person was trying to equate his half marathon training and racing time to trail running. I tried to explain to him that it is apples and oranges, but he did not get it. I think he thought my Superior 50K "pace" was rather slow. I could almost see his cartoon bubble "even I could run faster than that!"

I have learned I don't run these for dinner conversations.

After Ice Age, Todd, Steve, and I were talking about why we did these things. I think we all had one thing in common. We were intrigued by pushing ourselves into a situation where we were afraid to go. Going through those stages is tough, but getting through them is glorious. It is hard to explain, but I enjoy it.

The great thing is, one can experience this at many levels. So, even if you are on your first 5k quest or marathon quest, you will experience a dark side of yourself. How you handle that reveals a part of who you are. I call it my shadow.

Okay... this post rambled. blah blah blah.

It is helping me get my game back, so just deal.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Frostbite in late May?

Yes, it has been a long spring, but this is.... well, read on.

I was getting ready for a conference call yesterday, and I thought I would ice my knee to speed up recovery.

I always just put the ice pack right on the skin and tie a dish towel around it.

So, I did that. After preparing for the call, 45 minutes later I take the pack off. My skin was clumpy and black, and could not feel anything.


I know you are only supposed to ice for 10-15 minutes at a time, not on direct skin, but I have done this before.

It stung last night, but think it is okay today. Just some discoloration.

I told the Mrs. "I think I am ready for the 100, I don't even feel pain in my legs anymore".

Easy weekend for me. I have to recover. Maybe a 10-12 between today and Tuesday.

Hadd test #4 next week! I don't expect much improvement from the last.

Happy Memorial Day. Thank a Vet (not an animal doctor).

Thanks to all of you who are Veterans!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Suggestions from experience


When you ask runners who have run multiple 100's each, their advice has a common theme.........

Don't stress out.

Here are the responses from seasoned ultramarathoners I reached out to for "mistakes I made in my first 100"

Julie Berg wrote

Mistakes I made:

Not having enough confidence in my ability. I was afraid to run during the night alone. I waited for someone else: stupid. I spent too much time in the aid stations. I didn't have a spare pair of shoes to change into when mine became too small from swelling.

I consume 200 calories an hour; it's enough for me. A bottle of HEED, a few gels each hour or a sandwich.

Yes, relax!

John Taylor wrote

Not realizing that blister and chaffing problems are more of an issue the longer you're out there. Lots of lube stuff on feet and problem areas works well for me.
200 cal an hour works for me too. A zone/balance bar of some type. Real food works well for me. I like to carry 2-3 bars with me -just in case I can't find anything like at an aid station.
I wouldn't worry about times, just finishing is an accomplishment!!!

Have FUN!!!

I sent Allan's response on to the Library of Congress, and will probably have it published. Allan has forgotten more about running and nutrition then most people will ever know.

Here are some snippets.

Allan Holtz

Feet - Realize that what feels good through 50 miles is apt to start hurting by 70 or 80 miles, unless your feet are properly conditioned and your shoe-sock-lubricant combination is right

Nutrition - Your body can most likely process 250-300 calories per hour. Take in more than that and you risk stomach and intestinal distress. How many calories per hour you expend is a function of your weight, speed and trail (climbing and roughness).

Hydration - Again the longer race you run the closer to getting it right you need to be. We all have different sweat rates, the heat and humidity and suncover is never the same, thus how much water you need to consume will vary by race. If your stomach is bloated you probably drank too much and if you aren't sweating you probably drank too little. I think it is good to separate your nutrition source from your hydration source so you are not over hydrating or under hydrating in order to get in adequate calories. Again maltodextrin has the highest ability to be absorbed into your bloodstream through your intestine compared to anything else you could eat. Thus it gives you the best chance of fueling and hydrating right with minimal chance of stomach and intestinal distress. I think it is good to get on an eating and drinking schedule where every 15 minutes or 30 minutes - whatever - you take in some liquid calories and additional water if needed depending on the conditions. Being on a fixed schedule will make sure your are regular in your intakes and give you something to think about during a long race. Then as you slow down later in the race and or the weather changes you change your hydration amount accordingly. The slower you go, the easier for your body to process food and the less water you will need.

Electrolytes - I started running 100s not thinking about salt. Big mistake. Inadequate salt intake increases blistering, contributes to nausea and will eventually result in total body cramping. I've experimented with Hammer Products E-Caps, adding a blend of table salt and lite salt to my calorie source and currently I prefer to use S-Caps made by Karl King ( That way I can separate my need for calories from my need for water from my need for electrolytes. I would recommend taking 1 S-Cap per hour at the Kettle Moraine. I would also recommend reading the various articles on Karl's website regarding the need for salt and how much to take and how to know if you are getting enough or too much. I have suffered cramps many times in 100s from inadequate salt intake and lately no cramps in 100s.

There is some more but that is the stuff some of you might find interesting.

I knew a lot of this, maybe most of it, but what I found interesting is what they did not say. Just finish!

That will be a tough strategy to take, as I know at mile 30-40 I will feel good, and no need to go slower.

I know I should fear the night, but I don't. I actually am looking forward to it. I enjoyed running in afton in the pitch dark, although it was the first hour or two of the run.

I talked to Adam Harmer yesterday, and he is doing FANS 12 hour the same day. When he is done, I will be venturing into the evening hours, probably somewhere between mile 55 and 65. He gave me some confidence. Others have as well. I guess you have to just go out there and try it.


another easy 6, thought I was walking, 9 minute miles. Not quite recovered.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Plans Begin

Now that I pulled the pin on the 100 grenade (or grenade launcher for you, Pierre), I am starting the planning phase.

I emailed some 100 vets for their advice on what not to do in your first 100. (Julie Berg, John Taylor, and Allan Holtz.) These 3 have countless 100's under their belt, with hardware to go with it. I will post some of their responses (I am sure I will have to condense Allan's, as he is an encyclopedia).

I do know that strategy and planning are just as, if not more, important than raw strength and talent. By next week I will probably have a game plan laid out with caloric intake per hour, fluid intake per hour, and electrolyte supplement per hour.

Ironically, I am not nervous. One can not go out fast on these, so the first 50 should be relaxing. Did I just say that?

Ran 6 this morning at a 9 flat pace. I felt like I was walking. Still jumbled from the last two races. No major problems, and no DOMS this time. woo hoo!

Feel free to shoot advice my way. (Steve, I will take yours with a grain of salt)...just kidding. I will think of you when I pass elephant rock, though.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's official

Just submitted my registration to Kettle 100.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Superior 50K report

I will start this out on a good note,

Back to back PR's!

I forgot to mention that I PR's last weekend at Ice Age, but I realized yesterday when I hit the trail head on the way home. I was going to pr twice in 8 days. Something I have never done. AND, it was legit, no sandbagging.

The event started with the night before race briefing. Gretchen and Mike were in charge, and they did an excellent job. They gave the usual 411 (course markings, checking in, etc.) Some "kids" behind me said "just follow the runners in front of you". Ahh, youth. They obviously were new to trail running. I told them that even the front runners get lost, or at least the people in front you often do.....(foreshadowing).

The trail boss mentioned some "downed trees" on the course. As I recall, this course always has downed trees. How much different could this be......... (que suspense music).

After the meeting, it was back to the hotel and an early bedtime for me. Carl, sorry about the beer I promised you. I owe you.

I was not nervous. My plan was to take it easy and learn from my mistakes in the past. I slept well except for the hotel alarm clock going off at midnight. Again, an alarm blunder.

The start was perfect weather. It was great to see "the gang". Pierre and Steve were there as well as repeats from Ice Age. How stupid were we. I gave no times or expectations to anybody. Although, I did tell my wife I might be done in 5.5 hours. I did say that I might not be able to run at the turnaround. I just did not know.

Curt King was there. I did not recognize him becuase he had lost 45 pounds since I last saw him at Whistlestop in October! What was his reason for the drastic change? Well, as he put, he had two DFL's last year. And for those Homer Simpson's out there. L=Last D= Dead and F= well, you can figure it out. Nice job Curt!

We lined up, and we were off!

What is going on here? Why are these people running so fast! Some of them even looked like roadies, with no water! I found Carl Gammon and laughed, "do these people not know what lies ahead?" I was going out easy and sticking to it.

One of things I learned from the last two races is that my quads hold up fine when everything else goes south. My plan, then, was to walk the hills and run down them (fast). I figured I would use gravity to my advantage.

The first mile of this race is on open dirt road, but immediately hits the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail is full of roots, rocks, mud, etc. Right away we were going up the staging climbs to Mystery Mountain. Many people were forging ahead of us, but Carl kept me in check (thanks buddy). I was waiting for my heart rate to calm, and the first big down hill. The back side of Mystery Mountain was my first chance. I blasted down it, ducking under Carl's favorite tree. I thought "how on earth can someone run into a tree?".....(I would soon find out first hand).

I caught up to some runners on the down and settled into a new pack to climb Moose Mtn. I talked to the now legend, Julie Berg. She was looking strong as usual.

Then we came upon those fallen trees they were talking about. Holy cow, they were not kidding. These were not things you could just jump over. At one point, it was easier to army crawl under a few. Some of them you had to carefully leg over. They looked like primitive torture devices. Some men may have been sterilized on this race.

Once atop Moose, I tried to get in front of the pack so I could take advantage of the downhill. The other runners were gracious, and it helped. I burned down Moose at full speed.

I caught up to Patrick Susnick, a veteran who helped me through this course 2 years ago. I was slightly ahead of him, crossing Rollins Creek when I hear him say No! No!. Wrong Way! I had missed the turn. He had saved me a major blunder. It was an easy mistake. I wonder how many people made that one? (I know of 4-5 that did, and went .5 miles up hill the wrong way).

The rest of the out was pretty uneventful. I saw Wynn, leading the pack, not even looking tired. He had this one in the bag. Joe was looking strong too. Steve Schuder and Eric Lindstrom were bringing up 3 and 4 respectively. They held that rank.

On the way up to Carlton Peak I saw Brent Bjerkness. I heard him yell to me about a wrong turn. Hmmmm, I wonder where that happened. I made it to the top. 2:45. 5.5 hour pace. Not bad. When was I going to crash, and how bad would it be? My muscles were sore but still fully functional. My mental facilities were still there 100%. Let's see how the run to Oberg station is.

From Britton Aid station to Oberg, I felt great. I kept running the down hills, and felt like I was flying. Another lesson I learned was to drink more water and less Heed. I was doing that and it felt better. I was still coherent. No crash yet.

I ended up doing this middle section 1:02 on the way out, and 1:02 on the way back. How is the way back. Sweet! that is a good sign.

At Oberg I reloaded and got my game face on. He we go Moose Mtn.

The whole way to Moose was a mental prep. For those of you not familiar with it, Moose Mtn. this direction is 800ft of serious climb. No hands required, but close to it. It is famous because it is long. I got to the top and let out a primal scream. I was past the hardest part of a back to back week ultra. The scream charged me.

I was climbing over trees and ducking under them..... Boom! I did not duck enough. Laying flat on my back, dizzy and compressed by an inch, I realized I nailed that tree. Everything seemed to work, though. I pressed on...... It took me a few to get the gas back in my tank.

Once down Moose, I only had mystery left. I power hiked it. Got to the top, and one more primal scream. I asked the backpackers to join me, but they declined. I was on again. I Ran. Hard. Why did I not have this Mojo in me at Ice Age? I was making up for last week. I made it to the trail head, 5:29. I had 10 minutes to pr. I turned it up.

I caught Jeff Allen just on the other side of the river. Here was the conversation.

Me, "Jeff?"
Jeff, "Tuba Player?" (He was correct)

I thought I left him behind. I hit the road and kept the hard run home. I turned around at the gondola to see him right behind me. I heard him yell "tuba" or something like that. I ran as hard as I could. Not really to beat him, but to make up for all of the people who passed me last week.

I came in at 5:36.

My lovely wife greeted me. I talked to Keith, a few other finishers, and then it was off to Grand Marais for rock hunting. Part of the deal for me to do this race was giving my wife "us" time.

I made it back to talk to Pete, Phillip, Carl, Wayne, and many others.

It was a blast.

That night I said "I should have signed up for Kettle 100 instead of focusing on Superior, I am just about trained for it".

She said

"why don't you do it?"


uh oh

Friday, May 16, 2008

the best races in MN

As many of you know, tomorrow are the Spring Superior Hiking Trail Races, 25k and 50k. In my opinion, the best races in Minnesota (I include the fall races in here as well).

This was my first adventure in to true trail racing and ultra racing two years ago. Outside of that, I had only done Trail Mix. As Lewis Black, the comedian, would say;
"MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken"

No offense to Trail Mix, (sorry O.C.) but,

Trail Mix is to SHT races as KFC is to chicken.

I know many of you are 5k, 10k, and half marathon runners. Many of you think the longer than marathon runners are crazy, but listen to this.

You have to run one of these races some time! The time and miles go by. The views are breath taking, and on my first one, we saw a Moose!

The 25k offers up a big challenge, but is worth it to just see the trail. Power hike it if you want.

The 50k will change the way you look at running and make you a trail runner like it did me.

I had the opportunity spend a work day in Duluth today, so I ventured up here last night and stayed at Fitgers. We were upgraded to a suite, which was awemsome.

We had dinner last night at my old friends restuarant, nokomis on the lake. I highly recommended it. Tell the owner you run with me, and he will charge you extra. Not only was it good food, but he has 5 Belles beers on the menu. I got their last consecrator dopplebock.... Sweet! They had 6, with hopslam, but just ran out last week :(.

So my challenge to you no trail runners. Put this race on the calendar for next year (or do the marathon in fall, and hike it). I have a feeling I will be up there for years to come, even if I am not racing.

And by the way, I know how to "take it easy". But, I feel the juices flowing through my veins right now, and can't wait to hit the trail in the morning.

I will be competing against Steve Quick to see who can pick the most flowers.

22 hours until start............

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recovery and moving forward

It's day #4 since Ice Age, and I think I can run today.

My quads are fine, but the front of my shins are still sore. I think I have unusually large thighs, thus the faster recovery. I used to have shin splint problems, so this might make sense that they heal slower.

I rode my bike on Sunday night because I had to get the blood pumpind. Monday and Tuesday were much needed rest and sleep catch up. I plan a real easy run both today and tomorrow (30-40 minutes at 130-135 heart rate).

At this point, I just want to get out and get my body burning fat.

My plan for the Superior 50k on Saturday is to take it real easy for the first half. I am sure I will feel Ice Age on the first ascent over Moose Mtn. Even more on the way down. If I take it real easy, I might have some juice at the turnaround and Carlton peak. I do have to remember that not only is this 31 miles, but one of the hardest 50k's in the midwest.

No matter what happens, I am just glad to be there. This is the most beutiful trail to run on, and for those of you who have not been there, go. Hike any portion of the trail and you shall love it. Run it, and you shall love it more. Don't take your eyes off the trail.

Until then...... Ice Ice Baby.

I will see many of you there...... gaurd your drop bags.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ice Age 50 report

For those of you regular ultra dudes and dudettes, please understand that this blog (well, just the race reports) is read by some non runners. I dumb it down a bit, so please excuse the "Duuuuuuh" factor.

Many of my co-workers, friends, and family ask what it is like to run an ultramarathon. I guess the answer depends on the race, and yesterday was like no other.

In short, is was like no other because the first half was one of the best races I have ever run. I was relaxed, happy, and following the strategy I wanted. The second half caught up to me and made it one of those "why do I do these" experiences. But let me start at the beginning.

I rode down to the race with Steve Quick, and Todd Rowe. This was going to be Todd's first 50 Mile, so we were pretty pumped for him. We managed not to kill each other on the way down, and had some fun conversations. Very little about the race up ahead. We arrived to find Karen Gall in the cabin next door, already with race packet and settled in. We quickly made dinner. The four of us ate dinner on the deck. A beautiful Spring evening. Not much race talk.

Before bed, Steve and I had some home brew and watched some old Simpsons episodes... clowns are funny.

Bryan Erickson was going to arrive a little later, he was running the 50K.

I fell asleep and had a dream that Bryan called on my cell phone, trying to find the cabin. I think I directed him into Whitewater Lake. Also in the dream, he came into the cabin yelling "is this where the party is?"

I woke up to my back up alarm going off at 4am. Since I am an idiot, I forgot to change the time on my watch from when I was in Cincinnati that morning (eastern time). I managed to fall back asleep to wake up to the correct alarm.

Funny, Bryan was there, I don't remember him coming in.

We had coffee and oatmeal, breakfast of champions.

We arrived at the start with plenty of time to pick up our packets and get ready. I was starting to get nervous.

We saw Zach Pierce, Jim Wilson, Lynn and Daryl Saari, and a few other ultra regulars.

We proceeded to the start. Bryan joined us in the pack with his civilian clothes still on. He also had different civies on at the finish... not sure if he actually ran.

There was a moment of silence to a fallen runner this week, which was very touching. And we were off.

My plan was to take it real easy during the Nordic Loop, which is an a wide trail with rolling hills. Easy, but a killer if you waste energy on the hills. I kept repeating to myself "conserve energy". I did everything I could to take it easy. I ran it in 1:17. I felt great. We headed out to the trail heading down to Whitewater.

As we headed toward the first out and back, I was feeling better and better. At one point there was a gradual quarter mile downhill, and my body just started gliding. I left the guy I was with in the dust and started catching up to others. I was not trying to pace or race anybody, I was just following what my body was telling me.

Because I decided to carry most of my fuel, I blew through aid station 5 (where the first drop bag was). All I need from the Aid stations was liquid, which I had plenty of. I managed to pass a crowd of people at the Aid station because of the non stop. The crowd was getting thinner.

I fell in line behind someone who looked solid. After a mile or so he jumped off trail to take care of bio business. The next person was slowing as I was maintaining, so I passed as well. This is new to me. I don't pass people, especially not early in a race.

The hills were rolling and I topped off at the next aid station. Times were good.

I came upon some more runners. One was Steve who was already having a bad day with his ankle. I told him I was having a great day, which may have cursed me.

One of those I had just passed ended up running with me for a while. After a while, he said his name was Greg Loomis. Uh oh, I know this name, he is an ultra running stud. I have no business running with him, and less business passing him. I mentioned I was probably in a different league, but he said I looked and sounded fine.... nothing to worry about. He ended up picking up the pace after a while. Watching him run was like watching a bird effortlessly soar. He has form and economy.

I hit the turnaround and it was back to "confusion corner," near the start. Since this part was an out and back, it was great to see everybody. I gave Todd Rowe and Zach Pierce big "woo hoos". I still felt good. Pierre Oster gave me a primal grunt, the Frog Dog is unaffected by simple races as this.

I still felt great and let the down hills carry me. After an aid station, I looked back at some noise to find 10 people pacing behind me. I have almost never led a pack, and nobody wanted to pass. It felt great, but out of place for me. I saw Karen Gall, and she looked happy.

This was an especially rocky section, so a lot of jumping and dancing. The runners were running when I was, and walking when I was. Then it happened.

Boom. I caught a rock. I fell so fast, I only remember hitting the ground/rocks. Knocked the wind out of me. They all stopped and helped me up, then took off. I stood there bent over in shock, in a daze and not sure if I cracked a rib. I figured this is so common with ultra runners, that I just figured the pain would go away if I just started running. It took until the next aid station to get it back together. No blood but stinging all over. Lots of scrapes, but nothing serious. The water bottle in my right hand might have prevented a fractures wrist. I can't remember the last time I hit the deck that hard.

The next aid station was at exactly the marathon distance. 4:10. I was on an 8 hour pace. I figured I was in a great position to do 8:30. I figured there were some tough spots ahead, and I had lots of time banked. Although, one runner said "the bank is not open on Saturday".

I was fine until about mile 30. I knew it was coming so I was prepared. The feeling is a slow shutdown of all mental capacities. For those of you who have run marathons, most of you have experienced this. Mostly it is the depletion of you glycogen stores. Some call it hitting the wall, but hitting the wall is more from non-fat burning runners who hit it hard. This is like a more slow, painful death.

I was starting to be passed. No big deal. I just needed to hold on and focus. I started to tell myself "this will pass". I knew it would, the question was when. Slow down and let the body recover. I did.

I was passed by Tom Bunk on the hill right before confusion corner. Not only is Tom a legend, but is 66 years old, and ran that hill like it was nothing. I was not worried about being passed by him.

I got to the "Margaritaville" aid station. Glen, the rd, took my picture as I arrived. I refueled and put my game face on. The next section was the hardest. I kept telling myself "you will get through this", and I was starting to wonder when. Usually I would have gotten my mojo back by now.

The hills in this section are big, rocky, and plenty.

I shared the trails with some horse riders at one point. Hmmm, that was odd.

I finally made it to the Palmyra AS. I took a moment to sit and give myself a pep talk. Time to focus and get it together. I think I even said out loud, "get it together". The workers understood. Off to the 40 mile turnaround.

I was starting to get it back, but slowly. This hills are not as bad in this section. A mud bog which a small child could have been lost in was tricky. I thought I saw a bear, but figured it was a big dog (it was). I did not stop to smell the flowers.

I figured my game face would change at mile 40. It didn't. I could not break though it. I felt better, but the juice was not back. I tried jumping to it, all to find myself redlining a few minutes later.

This was the second out and back, and I was not really looking forward to cheering for everybody. I was so low on juice, I could barely talk. Not long after the turnaround, I saw a fellow Afton trainer, Bill Gengler. I saw him many times in the spring out there. He was looking calm and strong. His is getting ready for WS100.

I don't remember what I said to Steve on the way back, I grunted for Todd, and I don't think I even acknowledged Zach. Bill caught me at the Palmyra AS on the return. I left ahead of him, but he was with me quickly. Then he was gone. He dropped the hammer and I saw him run up a hill. Dang, he was running strong.

I saw Karen soon after, and I think I high fived her. Not even a grunt from me. When would I get my juice back? I tried running down the hills to kick start. Nothing. I kept taking fuel. Nothing. "you will get through this"...........WHEN?

I managed the course back to the "Margaritaville" AS. only 3 miles or so to go. I tried to charge but I could not. Close the deal. Close the deal.

I finally got to the last AS. 1.5 miles to go. I purposely did not look at my watch until then. 8:48. I had 12 minutes to run 1.5 miles on the easiest part of the course. I can do this! I unlocked it and took off.

I even found myself think of Adam's blog "Pain is temporary, regret hurts forever". I hear you Adam. I think I maintained a 7:30 pace..... until a mountain jumped out in the middle of the trail. I knew it was out of the questions. I tried my best to get up it, but it was a power walk. I think I also cried for my mommy. I turned it back on, but knew I would finish over 9. At this point, I was just happy to get r done.

I did hammer the last two hills, knowing they were in the last 1/8 mile. I crossed the line at 9:02, 7 minutes faster than last year. I was very happy.

Jim Wilson was there to give Kudos. Bill finished well under 9.

The RD for Kettle 100 took a picture of me with my war wounds. Maybe Jim will help me retrieve that one.

I had someone hose me off at the finish. That was a treat.

I saw Steve finish, and he did not look happy. He got the job done, though, with serious ankle pain. I did not get to see Zach or Todd finish, but saw them soon after. Great job to those guys. Pierre crossed the line like it was a walk in the park. Karen had a great finish too.

We all went back to the cabin and enjoyed a dinner of home brew, chips, salsa guacamole, and brownies. I fell asleep on the floor, and somehow managed to take my sweatshirt half off in the middle of the night. I was gone.

We all battled the demons, and a lot of people struggled this year. My theory is, in part, lack of heat acclimation. Anybody in the upper midwest did not get any long runs in weather over 40 degrees.


First of all, did the low hear rate training work?


Last year I did lots of tempo work, lots of hill work, and lots of hard long runs. I was 7 minutes slower.

This year I did 1 hill workout (outside of the 4 Afton runs where I walked all of the hills), and no speed work. No tempo work.

Here are some things I think I can do better.
1-eat better. Less sugar burning food and more fat burning food. I think my body just struggled with processing fuel properly. It was not my diet this week, it was my diet in general.
2 - More hill work. I just did not have time to do hill work as my low hr period was over only 4 weeks ago. I would have done one 2 weeks ago, but had a rough schedule that week, and struggled with allergies the following. Realistically I needed 2 months of solid hill work.
3 - More long, SLOW, runs of close to 40 miles......earlier in the season. It is tricky to cram these in between races. And 40 takes time to recover from. Earlier in the season would be smarter.
4 - Run long with experienced runners who have run that race in 8 - 8.5 hours.

So what is the difference between this and a marathon? The point at which you don't think you can keep going is dragged out for...... 18 miles? But really is not that much different. Normally one recovers from the dumps and gets back to it.

Now for another challenge I have not taken on, back to back ultras.

Next weekend is Superior 50K. I need a quick recovery.

Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.

Off to Lutsen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A real test of endurance

Not only is the big Ice Age 50 tomorrow, but I had an ultramarathon week at work.

These guys work hard and play hard.

I was up at 5am eastern time every day, on my feet most of the day, engaged with sales calls, pep talk stuff, and poor diet.

But, they had an endless flow of vitaminwater and smartwater. I think I drank a pallet of the smartwater.

Not the best dinner selections for race day prep. Ate at Morton's steakhouse last night. Great stuff, but a 20oz New York Strip is hardly carbo loading (not that I even believe in carbo loading). I turned in last night while everybody was heading out to the Haffbraus House. Too bad, because I wanted to go there real bad. I think of all the people I know, Mr. Quick would be the only one who would appreciate that place.

So I am tired, sore, but pumped for Ice Age.

I got to the airport 1/2 an hour ago to find my flight cancelled. But, the stellar salesman I am, I got her to change me from NWA to Delta (they were going to send me through Detroit, getting me home way too late for the trek to Ice Age). I said "come on, I am running Ice Age tomorrow". That made all of the difference.

I will be a fun trip, if we all don't kill each other on the way down.

If you want to check up on us, there is live webcasting here.

My race name is Matthew Patten, not runner brewer. Check out the rest of the Minnesota runners. Todd Rowe is running his first 50, Bryan Erickson is running his first non snow 50K, and Steve Quick will be.....nursing a twisted ankle?.... running? we will see.

Jim Wilson will be running the 50K (chippewa helped), Karen Gall is doing the 50M, watch out for her at mile 30 when she drops the hammer and passes 50 people. Pierre Oster, the toughest man in Minnesota is running the 50M. Knowing him, he will probably ride his bike there today. Jason Hosuveth is doing the 50M, Kevin Martin is doing the 50M, and the rest of the star studded cast who I don't know.

I just hope I did not kill my race with good beer and bad food this week.

Party on

Monday, May 5, 2008

What to do the week of a big race

I always get the jitters during the week leading up to a big race. I have been looking forward to Ice Age almost from the moment I finished it last year. I want to see what I can do if I run it the way I should run it (without my mental lapse where I was almost crying like a baby and entertaining all of the bad thoughts during a "crash").

I found out that Steve messed up his ankle, which will put a downer on the weekend. There is nothing worse than not being able to run when you have trained your body for a great performance.

I have a major challenge this week. I have to fly to Cincinnati in a few hours for the whole week for a "crew drive" and "sales blitz". I will be with Coke guys early every day in a competitive sales contest. The big challenge will be the after 5pm events. Since I am new to the company, I need to be seen as a part of the team. But, I can't afford to be partying every night and only getting a few hours of sleep. I am the only guy with a 9am flight on Friday. Everybody else booked a later one so they can have "fun" on Thursday night.

Oh well, the sacrifices runners make. I just hope the sales drive does not physically wear me out.

On a good not, this will be a good distraction from the upcoming race.

All I am predicting now for a time is under 9 hours. I would like to do 8.5, but I will have to see how I feel after the first half.

Anybody interested can click on the Ice Age link to the right and check on the "webcast" on Saturday to see how we all are doing.

Probably the last post before the race.

Any good rituals you all do before a race?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why I run Chapter 2

Nothing interesting again this week with my running. I took the last two days off due to allergy drug overdose (been dazed and confused....) Might do an easy run tonight.


I moved to Chicago. I was going to go to a High School where I knew nobody. I had no friends, and just befor I left LA, the girl I had a crush on said she would miss me :( She ignored me for the prior year, what was her deal? I still ask her that till this day.

Instead of running track or x country, I decided to go the music route and play my tuba.

I remember one nice day in the spring. I thought it would be cool to run 10 miles. So I ran up the Metra trail tracks on the north shore of Chicago from Kenilworth to Ravinia and back. My brother told my dad what I was going to do, and my dad came looking for me. He never did find me, but I made it back okay. I had no reason to do this, other than wanting to run 10 miles. Still no competitive running.

I kept running as a stress release, and for the joy of it.

My playing the tuba landed my a gig at a University as a music major. I still ran for fun.

My jr. year a friend of mine said she was going to run the Chicago Marathon. I, of course, thought that anybody wanting to run that distance was crazy, but was intrigued. At that time, only 5 thousand or so started the race. I ended up deciding to do it, just to finish.

My friend was not a great runner, as she had not really run much in her life. It annoyed her that I could go run 10 - 12 miles at a decent pace.

I followed the "brute force" training plan. No plan, no watch, just go run hard. Run with your heart (i totally understood that part in the Ultramarathon Man book).
I was terrified to run that race. I don't remember much about it other than my self doubt and insecurity.

I vividly remember mile 18, hitting the wall, with a stiff head wind going north on Lake Shore Drive. I was going to quit, I could not run anymore. Problem was, many people were waiting for me to finish. Those jerks. For some reason I felt I had to keep going for them, not me. I did. Those last miles were not fun. I barely remember them. It sucked.

The old course at Chicago spends half of the distance on Lake Shore Drive, the remaining 6 miles heading south from Belmont to Grant Park. I was one of 2 or 3 runners returning back through Grant Park to a crowd of spectators. That was pretty cool. But I was dying. I managed to finish in 3:18. My friend took 5 1/2. She was mad at me.

I figured there would be no way I would EVER do something like that again. NEVER.

The next spring virtually everybody asked me "are you going to run Chicago again?"

Since I am an idiot, I said yes.

End of Chapter 2

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why I run chapter 1

This week is a pretty boring week running wise. I am also fighting the return of allergies and nighttime coughing, so I am once again drugged out.

So, I thought I would share the story of how I started running.....

As many of you know, I grew up in Santa Monica, Ca. I lived on a street where the 1984 olympic marathon ran by (I was doing my paper route when the runners went past).

At my Jr. High School, Lincoln, we had to do the Presidents Fitness test every so often. One of the segments is running the mile. We all dreaded "the mile". Like that was an eternity.

The first time I ran it for this test I was lazy, out of shape, and (add any other adjective here). After finishing, the teachers aid who was timing looked at the stopwatch and said something like 11 or 14 minutes. He then said "that was pathetic".
He was right.

That spring and summer I must of hit puberty, because I became a basket case full of energy. I had a crush on this girl (her house was on my paper route), and I just could not think straight and deal with my overload of energy. So I started running.

By the way, I ended up marrying that girl, and we now have 4 boys. We did not start dating until I was 21, though.

Back to running.

I would run to the beach "station 8", go body surfing, and then run home. I just ran and ran. It felt good to purge my body of this excess energy. It calmed me down. I had no rhyme or reason. I just ran. I would finish a run and jump in our pool without cooling off.

School started again, and "the mile" was looming near. The next test started and I knew I could run the mile without suffering. That day without trying, I ran between 6 and 7 minutes. I did not take too much effort. I then realized that, if you actually train, you can run faster. Duh.

I progressed throughout that year, and my times improved to under 6 minutes. People thought I was fast. (remember, this is jr. high)

The jr. high olympics came, and I was to compete in the mile. I was a top favorite. The top three of us started the race at the back of the pack, and let all the others think they could sprint it. After 2 laps, the 3 of us were in the lead.

I ended up taking second at 5:20. It was the most painful 4th lap of my life. I hated the feeling.

The High School Track coach caught wind of the time and called me at home. He told me, with work, that I could be a competitive runner. So I went to train at the high school.

The following weekend after the first practice I cracked my pelvis in a skiing accident. I did not run for 4 months.

I then found out my family was moving us to Chicago that summer, so I would not be going to that high school anyway.

End of chapter 1.