Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun in Kansas City

Another week on the road, another "sales blitz"

Lots of eating out, lots of junk food, and hopefully this time no late nights. I told the gang I am old, and I need to be in bed early. It is hard to tell them that I plan on running all night this Friday, and this is tough on beer and French fries.

I really wanted to hook up with the KC trail nerds, but schedules did not permit. Bad Ben is out at the Oregon beer fest, and Rockstar is working nights this week. Caleb Chattfield was organizing a run last night, but was not done with work in time. I did get to go to the inner field of the Kansas Speedway (Nascar). I have a picture of it somewhere. That is the only time you will see me close to anything NASCAR.

Got to run 10 miles this evening in heat on paved trails. How can they call it a trail when it is paved? Nice and hot. 9 minute miles. No need for speed.

Oh well.

Ate great BBQ for lunch at a local dive. Yum.

Getting ready for Friday nights run. It will be a blast.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Next Afton fat ass run

My next attempt at this 100k thing at Afton will be this Friday, August 1st.

Again, I will attempt a 100k, but will see how things pan out. Any of you who are interested in joining me for some or all of it, I plan on starting at 4pm.

I am gone all week in Kansas City this week, and hopefully will not be trashed by a week of travel. I am also hoping to get a run in with the Nerds one night in KC.

I will most likely do this run on the 1st, and another two weeks later. This will put me three weeks to go for Superior with 3 night runs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I am officially registered

Just registered for the Superior 100 miles race. No surprise, but I finally pulled the trigger.

I figure if I can get 2 more of those all night runs in, I am good to go. I will really feel confident if I can get the whole 100K at Afton done as a training run.

I will be in Kansas City all next week, and was hoping to get some Psycho Wyco in, but Bad Ben will be out of town. I guess I will have to cold call some runners to show me the trails.

I hope my co-workers will understand when I say "sorry, can't join you for dinner...... going to go run 2-3.............hours".

I hope to see my 96 year old grandma too.

Off to Iowa today..... ZZZZZZZ. Anybody know some trails in the West Des Moines area?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Matt's Fat Ass 100k report

I did not even come close to 100k. At 40 miles I told the guys "I am done"

But that is OK, because I ran until I pretty much could not run anymore. At Afton State Park, that happens faster as the hills just suck you dry.... especially after 8 hours of running.

Wondering how to have a great time on a Friday night? Send a message out to the MN Dead Runners asking to join in an all night run. See how many show up.

Well, a lot showed up. All at different times, which made it a blast. Here is the list of all who made it for some time.

Bill Parker
Steve Quick
Zach Pierce
Jim Wilson
Andrew Scobie
Pete Anderson
Helen Lavin
Phillip Gary Pierce
Karen Gall

....and maybe John Storkamp. Never saw him, but we heard a runner with a flashlight wearing a thong was looking for us. Pete says he saw him, so we will count him.

Did I bite off more than I could chew? Yes. But sometimes that is how my training works. Now I know if I can go back in a few weeks and do what I intended to do Friday night, I know i made marked improvement and will gain confidence. I just would have spent most of the miles past 40 walking, and that would have taken forever. So I decided to come back with more strength. Not sure when, but this time I will give a few weeks notice and bring more coffee for Kami.

For those non "crazy" runners who read this, you have a mission. Spend at least 1-2 hours some time in the dark running at Afton Park. It is truly amazing, beautiful, etc.

We saw the orange moon rise above the St. Croix river. We ran across the Africa Loop plains just as it was getting dark, and it was majestic. Many times we would look into the dark woods, only to see glowing eyes staring back at us. That was cool!

We saw:
A vulture? The wing span was at least 6-8 feet
Bald eagles - one looking for dinner standing on the beach
A raccoon - perched in a tree in the dark with an evil stare.
Other stuff

All in all, it was a great time. After two loops of running, Pete and Andrew met us in the parking lot. I was drained, Jim was still fresh, and I was stalling going back out until I had more energy.

Then the party wagon pulls up (it is around midnight at this point). Out comes Helen, Kami, and Eric. Well, the Helen and Kami show is quite amusing. They gave us a good kick through the snowshoe loop. After that they dropped us like a ton of bricks.

By 2 am I was pretty beat, and at 3 am, I was done.

Jim and I went back to the parking lot and set up camp waiting for the crew to return. We made coffee, ate gummy bears, etc.

Up pulled Phillip and Karen, ready to go for some running. I said "I am done"

There were some funny events during the run, but I have already rambled, so they will be told at another time. But, it was a little scary seeing a large shadow at the top of the long dirt road. It had just become dark. Turns out it was 2 lost horseriders.


I thought it was a bear for a second.

Stay tuned for the 2nd all night Fat Ass. Need to do it before Superior.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Matt's Fat Ass 100k at Afton

For those non runners who read this, click here for an explanation of a Fat Ass run.

I decided since I am not running the Voyageur 50 Mile, that I needed to start getting long stuff in, and night training. I also figured that might first stab at running all night would be best on a course where I know it like the back of my hand.

So tonight I am attempting 4 25k loops at Afton. I plan to start at 5pm, and finish..... well..... sometime by 6am or 7am (or later). I have the weather on my side tonight.

Some fellow MN Dead Runners are going to join me intermittently, so it should be a blast.

Stupid is as stupid does.

I should have some fun stuff to write about tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More low and slow

After all of that racing, dnf'ing, and recovering, it feels great to be back to low and slow (training at low hr). I think this is why I have always hit max burnout during the summer months.

Every time I have gone out not low and slow in the past month, I have had bad runs. I did 8 this morning (77 minutes, kind of slow) and 10 last night. I actually wore the hr monitor beacuse SOME PEOPLE could not believe I ran a low hr workout with out. (just kidding). Anyway,

10 miles
96 minutes
avg 138 hr

Best part, I was able to get up and run 8 miles 10 hours later.

So it will be a lot of long runs at this pace, some hill workouts, and a few tempo runs.

I might be running all night at Afton on Friday to get in 100k training. Not sure if I can pull this off yet. It should be interesting if I do. I don't know how I would fare on loop #4 out there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to the Base-ics

It's back to some low hr running (although, without the monitor).

Outside of the races, I have had some pretty poor training runs recently. Probably a combination of poor diet and that bee sting (swelling is finally gone!). My kids have been trading off puking, so I don't know if I had a little bit of that too.

This morning was and easy 6 at slow pace. 58 minutes. But it felt good and I ran an even pace. It will be a lot of these plus hills for the next six weeks.

I am already figuring that Superior is going to be a "run easy for an hour and walk 5-10 minutes" run. The fear I have of the race is being overshadowed by the excitement of running on a beautiful course.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Contro/Alt/Delete" run

Spent two hours out at Afton yesterday, and after the hour, I had to do reboot. I woke up bloated and crabby, and just did not pull it all together. The ankle swelling was almost gone, so I think I was just blah.

My intention was to do some hill work. I decided to head to the ski hill, and found more fun running the single track mountain bike loop. Damm, that is a gnarly loop. There is a good mix of hills, single track and tree dodging. One comedian even painted a bulls eye on a tree, as I am sure many have hit it. After an hour of that, though I just was spent.

I headed back to the parking lot (I started a 5am, hoping to see 6 am runners). Other than passing Jim Stocco and friend on the trail, nobody was in the parking lot. I took an easy try at the snowshoe loop, and felt much better, but was spent again when I returned to the lot. I saw Bill's truck, but was not too game on trying to chase him down.

After waiting for a few to arrive (7am) and nobody showing up, I came up with many reasons to go home. Top reason, I was sore and just not putting together a good run. So I wussed out and went home.

Saw Keith on the way out as he was coming in. After reading his recap on the day, I made the right call. I would not have kept with you on a loop dude.

So I decided to go home and go back to sleep.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Still sidelined

My ankle is still swollen from that darn bee sting. I am such a baby.

There is limited movement down there, so I figured running on it is a bad idea. Looks like it might be going in the right direction, though. Stupid bumble bee.

Hmmmm.... blogging topics? How about the cups/trash situation on the MN-DRS yahoo groups this week?

Basically, the discussion was about how Bonnie and Donnie (the trail sweeps at the end of the Afton races) picked up a lot of cups and gel packs. There was a lot of discussion on how to prevent this, and why it happened.

My two cents:
Have an announcement at the beginning that littering will not be tolerated (once outside of an aidstation, so missing a trash can is okay, as long as you are close).

Littering will result in a DQ from the race. (or punishable by death and/or dismemberment)

I don't think cups are necessary either. If one is so fast as to not carry water, require them to have their own marked cups/bottles which can be left at the aid stations.

I believe these are simple solutions.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I must Bee careful

I felt good to get back full throttle this week and get going for Superior.

I was mowing my "back 40" on Tuesday, and ran over a bumble bee nest. I only got zapped once, but those suckers shoot you up with some serious venom. My ankle still hurts, is swollen, and I had a fever last night.

I will be back at it soon. Maybe hill repeats on Friday night.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Afton 50k report

Revenge is sweet!

I can run in heat!

I do so like it Sam I am.

4 weeks after a dnf'ing due to heat, I was faced with heat again at the Afton trail races. In short I made my goal of 5:15-5:30 (finished at 5:27). But the good news is, the heat only killed me in the last 1 1/2 hours. Funny how good news is the paradigm in which you you look at it.

I always start these reports with funny quotes. I only remember one worth repeating.

John Storkamp - Race director - right before the start
"and if you get off course, and get totally lost, find a way back to here somehow and inform a volunteer...... it can happen, it happened to me a few years ago"

someone in the crowd responds "and they made you race director?"

Also, thanks to Zach Pierce and his wife Jen for taking a ton of pictures. I stole these from him.
So the day started with picking up a fellow lister from the dead runners society. She moved here last year from Boston and is a doctor, she was volunteering as medical help (hopefully I would not need her assistance). She said something like, "I am looking for some other hard core nutty ultra runners to run with, I don't know any around here". I responded "Well, you came to the right place and event. They will ALL be here today".

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new sheriff in town. Her name is Elizabeth Raskin, and she will be kicking some major butt on these trails in the coming years. Mark my words.

We passed a biker on Manning ave (remember, this is before 5am), and I jokingly said, "That's probably Pierre Oster". It was. The toughest man in Minnesota lives up to his title.

The start area was like a family reunion for me. I have met so many cool people and made a lot of friends that running is only part of the event. The RD's were busy. I got my act together, and the race started.

Pictured here from left to right - Carl Gammon, Mark Hanson, John Gustafson, Steve Quick, Zach Pierce, me.

My plan was to see how my body would fare in the heat (at that point, the dew point was low and around 70 degees) at a 2:30 loop pace. That is a decent clip for me, but I knew I could comfortably do it for one loop.

Here is Jeff Allen and me catching up (we have only talked during races, funny how that works).

And we were off running.

After briefly running with much of "the gang", I ended up running with Bruce Smith. For those of who who remember the Chippewa 50k stories, he was the one who slipped of an icy bridge and fell into an icy lake. So, of course, I warned him every time we crossed over a stream not to fall. We had a great time for a few hours. The dude is 60, has a beard a la Larry Pederson, and is tough as nails. Here we are coming into aid station 3.

We were on a 2:30 (5hr for the race) and feeling good. I was taking s caps every half hour, and drinking as much liquid as I could. I WAS NOT GOING TO GET DEHYDRATED! Shortly after, Nolan (new to trail running) caught up with us and ran with us for a while.

Somehow we ran half of the dirt hill before campground, as Bruce said "I am taking it easy".

The dirt hill is a LONG steep hill, and looks like it never ends. I call it "the b#$ch". Not long after that the trail goes down "Nigel's Hill". I don't know why it is called that, but we came up with a theory. If you run up it, it keeps going, and going.... It goes to 11, just like Nigel says in "This is Spinal Tap".

Soon after you go up the hill which ends up a the campgrounds. This is probably the hardest hill on the course. I call it "the b#$ch is back". We were all still happy and hanging together. And down campground hill we went.

The only problem with the aid station at the bottom of campground hill is you have to slam on the brakes to stop. Ouch.

Here are Bruce and Nolan playing a frat party drinking game. Chug, chug, chug!

The next stretch is about a mile and a half of flat, straight trail along the St. Croix river. I find it to be tough because you can see for longer than you want. The trail never ends. This brings you to "the meat grinder". Not the toughest hill, but a tough spot along the way. Everything went fine all the way to the final aid station. Somewhere in there Nolan asked "how many miles do we have left in the loop?". My answer "I have no idea, but we are right on a 2:30 pace". This is trail running, you can't think in miles left!

The last aid station was staffed by the vets of Minnesota Trail Running. Jeffrey, Tom and Nancy, Jason. They gave me some mental gas. Next is the snowshoe loop, my favorite part. I always pick it up a little there. It is wooded, some rocks, some roots, and some fallen trees. I came through it as planned, and did not trip on my normal root. Yeah!

The final hill is tough, but being the first loop, not too bad. We came in the first loop at 2:28. Sweet! I was not dehydrated, I was not super hot, I was not too sore. I had a lot left in the tank. Could I keep that pace for the second loop? It's worth a try! Worse case scenario, the second half will be hard. But, I know the course well enough to know where I can pick it up and back it off.

Elizabeth was manning the loop aid station. She refilled my bottles, and I left the loop with Dorn Peddy. I felt fine all of the way through the first part of the Africa loop. I was still running down the hills pretty hard, as this is my strongest advantage. Down on the back 40 I saw Steve coming back with John Taylor. Looks like he decided to eat some dirt. Ouch!

I was still on pace at the next hill. Still on pace coming in the Aid station 3. Allan Holtz, Bill Gengler (sorry about Western States man!) and John Taylor were the dream team there. Thanks for the quick refill. I knew I had to run the hill coming out of there to keep pace. That was hard.

Up on the Africa loop again. Urgghhh. It is now officially humid. It is hot. I am starting to feel it. I hammered on.

When I got down to the next aid station, I was 5 minutes off the 5 hr pace. There was NO WAY I would pick up that time, so I backed off a bit. That's cool (not literally). I was all alone at this point. The gravel hill was longer this time. ARrgg. The hill up to campground was longer.. ARgggghh..., it was hotter. My legs were starting not to work. This is what happens to me when the heat hits me. Get down campground hill!

I took time to refuel, sponge, and cool off. Nolan had caught me at the top of Campground. He knew I liked running down so he said something like "son of a b#4ch with the quads". It was funny. At the aid station he said "this sucks". No whinning nolan! Trail running rule #3.

I got out of there quickly, knowing Nolan would catch up. He did, as a few other runners did. The meat grinder killed me. Not the hill, but the heat. I was getting stomach cramps from the heat. I wanted to puke. This is where I would start to worry, but I knew I could get to the end without danger. I had to get to the shade of the snowshoe loop.

At the last aid station I asked Jeffrey to talk some sense into me. He understood. I was having serious stomach cramps now, but almost there.

The snowshoe loop was tough. I could not manage my rising core temp. I just tried to "get there". People were passing me more and more. I was in danger of missing my 5:30 max goal. I watched the roots like a hawk to make sure I would not fall. I saw my root towards the end. Missed it! In my celebration, I took my eye off the trail and caught the next one. I almost hit the deck, but was not running fast enough.

I finally made it to the last hill. Just get up it. Almost puked at the top. Hobbled to the next mini hill to get home. At the top a guy came up behind me and said "come on you f#@$%, lets take this home". That is just what I needed. We paced it in and finished together. This guy was a character, Hendry I think, and quite a foul mouth, but I did not care.

We came in at 5:27, and I was happy. The heat almost destroyed me. I felt vindicated. I still managed a 50K pr. That is 3 pr's this year! I mustered up a smile instead of puking. Thanks Greg for getting my tag.

Congrats to Joe Z for the win, and Helen Lavin for a kick ass 2nd place for women (4:36).

Eve Rembleski won again for the women, and set a course record again! Here she is coming off Campground Hill

A great day, a fun time. A must do if you are runner in Minnesota (at least the 25k).

Now the Superior training starts. Am I cut out for that? We will see.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The most killer race schedule I have ever seen

Not me. I thought I had a heavy schedule this year. I remember the first year I did two marathons in one year. I thought that was pretty tough.

Check out Chihping Fu, I was thinking of posting to clarify that this dude is really running all of these 100's this year. Check out the dates too, many of them are a week apart. Personally, I would be cool just with a name like Chihping Fu. Although, it lends better to golfing "chipping fool".

Like Keith, I have a full blown case of Afton fever. I even took the time last night to have great diet prep for the race. I had some people over and we ate brats, baked beans, home brew, and I had a piece of French Silk Pie. I topped it off by only sleeping 5.5 hours. I tried to sleep in, but my body likes the 5am hour. It is all okay. I can take a nap today. Sleep is over rated for these runs, and I will have a great day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Profile Change

What's that? My real name?

When I first started blogging years ago (on a home brew forum), I was paranoid to put my real name. (or, my wife was). That is why I came up with runner brewer, for the brew forum. It fits better here.

But now I shall keep it as an alias. I can't call it a nickname, because a nickname can only be given to one by others. I was always annoyed by people who came up with their own nicknames. That is not how the world works. Here are some of my past nicknames.

M (Everybody called me that for years out west)
Hupp (my middle name)
The Huppster
Pat Matten
Tuba boy
Starbucks guy

I have mostly lost the Starbucks nickname, but all of the customers I called on in my territory years ago still know me as that. It is really funny when I am with a Coca Cola rep, and somebody sees me and says "hey, the Starbucks guy".

Just don't call me late for dinner

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ultra Grand Slam

I case any of you fellow crazies did not see, there is a solution to the Ultra Grand Slam this year. To those non-ultra dudes and dudette's, the Grand Slam is finishing Western States 100, Vermont 100, Leadville 100, and Wasatch 100 all in the same year. These occur 3-4 apart from each other, which makes each race even more killer than the races themselves. Western States was canceled last week due to fires, so this created a void for the Slam

Like anything of this magnitude, I am sure this will be a year with debate over weather it was harder, easier, or if it really counts. To me, it is sad if it comes to that. 4 100 mile races in a 4 month period is amazing anyway you slice it. I hope it never comes up as an issue.

Another point of contention could be that Western States is one of the most difficult races to get into (aside from Barkely). One has to win a lottery, many times taking years to finally get in. So, slamming is even more rare due to this fact. I believe one could still get in all four of the races and slam this year if they signed up today, but the slam registration closed on the 25th of June. Regardless, this shall create an interesting twist.

Not that I would ever do this (could, or would want to), but it is interesting to watch it develop.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's race week.......AGAIN!

One thing I did not take into account in having a heavy spring race schedule was the limited time to train once they started. It seems since Chippewa 50k in April, I have either been recovering or getting ready for the next race by taking it easy. I am not a big believer in tapering. I just take it easy 1-2 weeks prior based on the race and type.

All the books say to taper for 3 weeks, but I never had a good marathon doing that. My best are two weeks, with some hard stuff the week before.

I am finally pumped for Afton. I was still on the fence about it a week ago, but looks like the weather will cooperate.

The beauty of this loop course is that the first loop will truly be a warm up, a killer warm up. Then the action gets fun.

It also helps to know the course intimately, like that root on the snowshoe loop right before the bridge. I have snagged it many times.

Of all of the times I have run Afton, I have never done this race. I was either toasted from Grandma's and/or afraid of the heat.


See you all there on Saturday.