Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not much going on

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

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

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

Races - nothing on deck

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

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


No politics on this blog!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough on that

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

Good luck to those running the Murph this weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

KC Adventure running part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thank you KC Trail Nerd(s)


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

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

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

I decided to suit up and get in the car.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kansas aint' all flat kids.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brewing instead of running

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Did Chicago Marathon Redeem Itself?

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

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

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

I am not sure I buy this. Here is why

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They would have most definitely cancelled the race.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Recovery almost complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Superior Splits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Power of the Marathon

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

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

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

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

Course Spectating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Twin Cities Marathon Runners

Great job to all who ran today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Hanson - Nice job Mark

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

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

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

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Those who inspire

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

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

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

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

Here are a few who are running this weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck to all again. Looks like good weather.