Sunday, August 30, 2009

Final long run tune up for Sawtooth

The break in the heat and humidity brought the need to do the usual test run at Afton 2 weeks prior to a big race.

I decided to head out there alone so I could run my own run. For me, a loop at Afton is a good gauge to where I am. I used to do 2 (50k) before a big race, but that is too much for 2 weeks before a hundo.

My goal was to run, somewhat hard, but not go all out.

I was psyched to pull off a 2:15 25k loop, my best ever. To make things even better, I was fine at the end. I never hit a point on the hills where I thought I was going to die from heavy breathing. My change in gait and the way I run hills is paying off. We will see if it works in 2 weeks.

After a little break, I went back out to find people. It was then that I felt the pain and soreness of Lactic Acid buildup. Oh well.

I found Karen and Wayne, and we hung out for a bit. The group was celebrating Karen's 50th birthday this week. She ran 50 miles on her Birthday! Nice job grandma! (just kidding). What is more impressive about her is the fact that she has lost 25 lbs from last fall. And seriously, I didn't think she had 25 to lose. Way to be a role model, Karen.

Wayne is heading out for his 1st 50 at Superior. Dude, just relax and do it. Forget the splits and times.


I will have my master crew, Bill, back for Superior. We are putting together a plan for a great race. I have experience on my side, and a crew man who knows me well enough to know what I will need in the second half.

He has also agreed to "twitter" this race, so those of you who are interested can follow. We will do a few test "tweets in the next few weeks.

You can follow this twitter at

Matthew Patten

I am not sure which is easier to find.


Here is the deal with Superior/Sawtooth. ANYTHING can happen. The best laid plans can be wrecked by one wrong turn, fall, rock kick, etc. For me, the x factor is the muscle in my knee which went out last year. If that happens again, I will drop.

It could be a great day, or a bad day. Some of this is out of my control. That is not me being chicken, it is the reality of this beast.

I think people don't realize how relentless the terrain is on this course. That is what dismantles people more than anything.

Hopefully there will be no bees.... or at least hopefully they will not attack me this year. I will be thinking of you Molly at the spot we were attacked last year. I think I could find that spot exactly.

I get this week home to do my planning. Sweeeeet!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Fade Factor

Please don't mind the typos and grammatical blunders. It's week 4 of 4 of being on the road, and I don't care about literary prowess. I typed up the following on the plane the other day and sent the spreadsheet off to a few to mess around with. Read at your own risk.


The Fade Factor

This is a number which most distance runners can grasp, although few probably know what their number is. This number also changes based on weather, course conditions, course length, course duration in time, and your own physical condition.

Simply put, it is the rate at which you slow after a certain point. For simplicity sake, I am going to make the Fade Factor static to only the first half of the race, and the second half of the race. This means if you slow a lot more from mile 75-100 than you did at 50-75, I am not factoring that in.

So here is how it works.
 Take a 50 mile race taking 10 hours (hmmm sounds familiar)
o Fade factor should be between .40 and .45
 Run the first 50 in 4 – 4.5 hours, the second in 5.5 to 6 hours.
o If you use my Voyageur example, my Fade Factor was
 .43

I put together a spreadsheet for the Superior Sawtooth 100, and this factor was the key into planning a smart race. After about an hour of formula crunching, I came up with what seems to be a sensible breakdown of any time 24-38 hours and where one would hit each aid station.

Last year my fade was .40 (I guess more accurately I should say .60). This was after hobbling and limping for 30 miles or so.

One would reason that the closer you are to .5, the better shape you are in and/or you ran a smarter race. I think this only works to a point.

I think the magic number is .45/.55. That happens to be my factor a Kettle Moraine this year, and I felt good at the end of the race. I think .40/.60 will usually have a story behind it. My .40/.60 at Superior last year was a combination of many things, and it was hard on the body and hard on the mind.

On the flip side, my Ice Age 50 factor this year was .48/.52. I think I left some one the table and could have run the entire race faster.

So I have this sheet which you can type in your fade and determine the race strategy you want to follow. If you want a copy, email me. Right now it is only for Superior, but I might make it more of a template for any race.


Oh yeah, I have been in LA this week and caught a picture of a raging forest fire on the Angeles Crest 100 course. Hey Helen, you might be setting course records, but fire is hotter than lean horse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From The Big Easy to The Big Toughy

I thought about saying "The Big Hardie" instead, but I would attrack a lot of unsavory google hits.

So the week of Superior, I have to be in New Orleans. But, the meeting ends at noon on Thursday. I have found a flight to get me home at a decent hour, but it will be a challenging week.

All of my new co-workers will also wonder why I am such a drag while they will most likely be "enjoying" The Big Easy. Oh the price we pay to kill ourselves in races.

Bottom line, I will be at the start line at 8 am for the race start. Although, I have to sell it to the Mrs. again. (I will have to remind her I have already paid).


Friday night I joined a few for an all night run at Afton. The humidity was intense. After 7 hours of running, we called it quits at 3 am. we didn't even nail down 30 miles.

Same thing happened last year. No worries.


Ran a beautiful horse riding park in Madison, WI this morning. It was nice to do 13 with no problems. Felt great. Can't believe in 3+ weeks is Superior. Ouch.


Lots of travel for the new job. California next week. Maybe I will post more than once per week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Catch up

I never thought I would get needled if I didn't blog for 2 weeks.

Rough Crowd!

A lot has happened since my last post. Starting a new job is exciting, rewarding, but taking all of my brain power ('s a small brain).

I have pictures of some of the West Coast runs, but they are at home (I am on the road now).

Some cool stuff I got to run.
From my friends house in Malibu, I ran from 300ft above sea level, down to 100 ft, then back up to 1200 ft, all in 1.8 miles. Single track. It took me an hour to go there and back (3.6 mile). I still had the Voyageur chaffing, so it was a bit painful.

I ran around the Orange County Airport. I mean, I ran AROUND the damn thing. I was looking for the "Back Bay" of Newport Beach, but by the time I got there I was toast. It was all concrete and asphalt. Stoplights. Boo.

I also learned that "trail" to some people mean anything that is not a street.

I traveled up to the central coast of California and ran the Point Lobos Park in Carmel. Spectacular views, but the trails are lame. The National Park Service has done everything the could to make it as easy as possible to be on the "Trails". Lots of people, and they were annoyed by the fact that I was running. Few of them had the common decency to let my me by.

Check out the pictures at the link. It is worth it to run once. You can run down some small "power line-esq" cliffs to the beaches in coves. They are right out of "The Blue Lagoon" or other stranded isle movies. I am sure somehting has been filmed there.

Beautiful, but boring trails. It was fun to see Pebble Beach from a distance.


I did find out I have a meeting scheduled the week of Superior. There is a chance I won't make it to the start line in time. That bites, but I might still make it up for the weekend.

Check out the entrants list. I guess that is what I get for being a smartass on the entry form.

I am still training for it. Time for the all night party at Afton.

Looking forward to that.

Thanks for reading. More posts and pictures to come.