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.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Afton Fat Ass report

As you can see by my last post, the run did not pan out as I hoped on Friday night.

I started at 12:30 instead of 4, just to get a head start. I don't think that was a good idea. It was not really "hot", but hot enough where 5 hours in the peak day heat was probably not a good start.

I took an s-cap every half hour, and I forced the water issue. Aside from the 20 oz bottle every 1/2 hour (alternated succeed Ultra and water), I also chugged half a bottle at the pump down by the river and up on the hill.

At the end of the day, time + heat dismantles me. I was okay for about 6 hours this time.

Thanks to Bill Parker and Zach Pierce for keeping me company. Helen and Val were there later running a faster pace than I was willing to even think about.


How does this pan out for Superior? It will be a lot ooler. I am once again seriously questioning my ability to complete this one. I will run hard this weekend then take it easy for two weeks.

Felt like crap all weekend. It took a while to get the system processing fluids properly again.

On another note, it looks like Leadville 100 was a brutal run this year. Only Allan Hotlz out of about 12 Minnesotans made it to the finish.

Enough of my rambling

Friday, August 15, 2008

You might be an ultra runner if........

You ditch work early and go to Afton State Park to run.... a long time
you run for 9 hours (34) miles...........
fell like you are going to puke......
and go back to the parking lot to let things settle....
and get on the computer to blog!!!!

wireless cards are cool. huh huh huh.

Zach and Bill are still out there. Helen and Val are out there. I am listening to the mountain bikers ride all out. (can hear them from here.

still have not figured out this water thing. I decided to start at 1230 since I could. I decided to drink MORE water than usual, as I did not the last 2 times. It still did not help. 20 ounces every 30-40 minutes, and I still went 6 hours with no pee. not good.

at 2 pm it was SRM 5(that's for you Steve)

probably done for the night.

looks like i will be going REALLY SLOW at Superior.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Final Afton Fat Ass all nighter

Another sales blitz in the can, and another wiped out me. Luckily, I avoided the late nights and the host city entertaining. might be an ultra runner if you opt out of the fun stuff because you know it will effect your training...

So, for those of you joining the all night fun tomrrow, here is the plan.

Start time 4pm.
1st loop - 3.5 hours
start second loop between 7:30 and 8pm.
the rest.....well.... look for the not in the back window of the 4 door white volvo parked in the visitors center parking lot.

no predictions.

I get to sleep in tomorrow.

For those of you coming, bring $1-$2 to pitch in for having to have a campsite to do this.

I am now off for an easy 6 miler.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Things are coming together

This usually happens to me mid-late summer, or in Fall. I have a stretch of not wanting to run with poor performance, then a few low humidity days with cool mornings come. I then feel like a new man.

I busted out a new pair of Asics Kahanas ($49 at Sports Authority), and comfortably ran 10 yesterday and today at an 8:30 pace. It felt easy, refreshing, and energizing.

This weekend will be my weekend to nail the 100k. Forecast looks perfect. I am eating better, and am somewhat rested.

Depending on how the training run goes will dictate my race strategy.

Watching the olymics helps get the game face on as well. Who would have ever thought that swimming could be so exciting? My can't get enough of Michael Phelps.

3 1/2 weeks to go.

Off to another fun filled sales blitz week (in the twin cities :))

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It must be the shoes

After a slow, painful run at Afton on Friday, I figured my shoes were near done.

I milked these suckers long. I have been alternating the same 2 pair since early April. I was still running on the pair I ran Chippewa, Ice Age, Superior, the little Kettle 50k. I rotated a second pair in their after Superior, and those 2 have been carrying me.

Being the cheapskate, I realized I had a pair of road shoes I barely wore from last year. They did not feel right early season, so I stuck with trail shoes.

They feel great now. Light and cushion. I feel like a new man. This type of shoe gave me big problems a few years back, so I will only use these intermittently.

Adam reminded me that Superior is 4 weeks from Friday. oh man.

Guess it is time to start training. Another round of "all night at Afton" will take place a week from Friday. Sounds crazy, but a great way to get a lot of "time" running in without killing the weekend.

Soon I will start laying out the details for the big one. I can't get my mind around the splits. It is hard to imagine taking 14 hours to run the first 50 miles. I never thought I would say such an absurd thing.

Well, no big training this weekend.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Afton Fat Ass Report #2

I received an email from Jason Hosuveth on Friday stating that he and Alicia Gordon hold the record for training miles and time at Afton (55 miles, 18 hours). It was tongue and cheek, but a challenge.

I did email him back stating that his record would probably stand last night as I was tired from a long week, ate poorly, and excuses, excuses, excuses,

Short report.

50k........ 7.5 hours..... (including breaks)... and we got "kicked out" by the Park Ranger for being there after the park closes without a campsite. Oh well.

Steve met me at 4pm and we headed out for an "easy loop". We walked a lot, every hill, and somehow still managed at 3:10 first loop (I was trying to do 3:30). I don't think that hurt us though.

We met the fabulous Jim Wilson after the first loop and decided to do the snowshoe loop, hoping to do it quick and be back at the parking lot for more runners.

Advice... Don't listen to me when I have a shortcut in mind.

We managed to get back to the lot to find Zach Pierce, Helen Lavin, and Greg Allen. We headed out for th rest of the second loop. I even said "nice way to break this up, we are almost done with the second loop". 3 hours later we were still not done.

I was taking S-Caps every hour, and that was a mistake. I thought I was fine, but after 5 hours the excessive sore muscles came. At 6 hours I was cramping. Pretty sure electrolyte imbalance.

We ended up walking for most of the last two hours to get back to the parking lot. There was Holly waiting for us. I felt very bad to tell her we were done. Done. Done. Sorry Holly.

On a positive note, by doing this type of training, I am being reminded how important it is to just take it easy and not run hard. Superior might just be an extreme hike for me. I really don't want to suffer for 50 miles (or longer). I know this intellectually, but now my body is coming to grips with it.

So, one more chance to do the all night 100k. Two weeks from now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Final details on tonights Afton Fat Ass run

Thanks to all who have showed interest and are going to show up.

Here is the plan.

I will start at 4pm, and run the course forward. I will alternate forward/reverse for each loop.

Tentative plan for each loop

#1 - Start at 4pm - forward - 3.5 hours - followed by short break
#2 - Start at 8pm - reverse - 3.5 - 4 hours - followed by break
#3 - Start at 12 - 12:30 - forward - 4 hours - break
#4 - Start somewhere around 4:30am (if i can still run) - reverse

I don't plan on having extra supplies, so bring your own stuff. I might make pancakes at the end. I will have a propane stove.

It should be muggy tonight