Sunday, December 9, 2012

1st Week in the Books

Man, what I week.

The mileage challenge started this week, and I set the bar pretty high for myself.  The problem, though, was my first run on Monday did not go well.  I decided to treadmill it (sometimes harder for me than running outside).  I got on, and was not into.  I was hoping for 10, and quit at 4.  I fully intended on making it up..... but we all know how hard that can be.

Managed 10 miles each day Tues-Friday.

P90X came this week, and my 8 year old was super motivated to do it with me.  So we did the fitness test on Thursday night, and did the first workout on Friday.

I have to say it is kind of fun.  It is even more fun to have an 8 year old saying "come on dad, BRING IT"  He loved it.  I hung in there.

It is easier than Crossfit so far, but a lot different.  This is more manageable for the average human.

Saturday brought the famous "Donut Run" organized by Jordan.  I was not going to do it, but Bill P and Adam have been making a sport of gaming me on my lackluster performance lately.

The Donut Run is a fun run where you run through South Minneapolis, stopping at a multiple of Donut Shops.

I was to join them on the 17 mile loop (the long distance).  I needed more than that, so I arrived early and did 3 loops around Lake Nokomis (about 7.5 miles total).

It was a blast.  Got to see a bunch of friends, but around mile 20 started to suffer.  Add in a few overshoots on which street to turn, my total was 25.8 miles.  If I knew that, I would have gone for the 26.2 (or actually 26.3) just to say so.  But once I stopped, I was done.

Woke up this morning and did the Plyometrics P90X workout with my 8 year old.  Wow, what a great workout, but not a good idea 24 hours after a long run.  I toasted me.  But, this disc alone, is worth it for any ultra runner.  All of the moves are great supplements for ultra training.  And it is actually kind of fun.  I can't believe my kid just plows through it.  He is a red belt in Karate, and wants to be a professional athlete already.  He can beat me on a lot of stuff, but I still think I have better form (deeper squats).

So my total for the week
70.25 miles
Long run = 25.8


Friday, November 30, 2012

Challenge updates

So I open my big mouth, and I get sucked into a competition with some of the guys from Wisconsin.

The contest is between about 15 people.  Here are the rules


1. We'll start Dec 3rd and go thru March 10th, runnng or walking miles only (as a dedicated workout) only.  No equivalent credit for biking, skiing etc.


2. Email the entire group your weekly mileage total and your longest single run for the week by Sunday night, no later than midnight, I will compile the week's results and send it out to the group on Monday.  If you don't have access to email, you can txt me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.  If I hear nothing from you by midnight, no credit for the week.


2. Mileage is honor system, you're only cheating yourself, give me your weekly total and longest run to the nearest decimal (yes that has decided the rank of runners previously)


3. Payments per week. (cheaper than any gym or coaching fees) To be paid at the end of the challenge.

        A. Four people with the lowest mileage totals will owe $2 to the pot.

        B. Four people with the lowest single long run will owe $2 to the pot.

        C. More public embarrasment if you're at the bottom of both.


4. Points system

        A. Points will be given to everyone for weekly mileage totals, 1 pt for lowest mileage, 11 pts for most mileage

                (here's where the consistency comes in, miss a week and it is hard to make up)

        B. Points will also be given for Top 5 single longest runs of the week

                (lower points since not as valuable to your training as weekly mileage but still key to endurance)


5. End of challenge payout
      A - I left this part off so the feds don't come and bust us an illegal gambling operation.  All of my winnings, if any, will be donated to my church.
Thanks to Joe F for getting me involved in this.  Hopefully I can rise to the challenge.  My goal is average of 50-60 per week.
In other news, I decided to also do P90X over the winter months.  I pulled the trigger, and ordered it.  I get a kick out of the commercial, and am curious how an endurance athlete..... correction, former endurance athlete trying to make it bak, can hold up on this program.
Take a look at the fitness test here and that can be my fitness challenge to all of you.  If you want to do our own form of the mileage challenge, I am game for that too (since I am already doing it)
I will be updating my progress on the fitness test benchmarks.  It is all about progress.  I will include 2-3 trial runs every month, ranging from 1 mile to 10 mile.  (time trials).
If I take the before and after pictures of my rock solid..... rock....  six.... okay, flimsy abs, I won't be posting those pictures.
This should be fun.  Looking forward to something different, but not as crushing as Crossfit.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anybody up for a Winter challenge?

I have been toying with the idea for a while now (okay, every Winter) to do some kind of winter challenge to keep me motivated through the dark months of the Minnesota winter.

I was thinking of setting a bunch of benchmarks, ranging from short running distances, to more complete body workouts.

The idea would be to have certain workouts to complete during the week, and I post progress and updates.

In addition to the weekly workouts, I was thinking of having a bunch of other benchmark exercises to work on (pullups, pushups, squats, etc.).

Not sure how I would score it, but the intent would be to reward improvement.

If interested, you could sign up with me under your real name, or an alias.

Not sure what the specifics would be yet, but just trying to gauge interest.

Anybody interested?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Should the New York Marathon be cancelled?

So hurricane Sany hits, and New York City and surrounding areas are crippled.

Yes, we all know the devastation to the area so I am not going to rehash it.

On Wednesday it was announced that the NYC Marathon would continue as scheduled.  I thought "hmmm... this should be interesting."

I quickly figured out that it would be "controversial."  Not that I think it is controversial, but the mass public would think it is.

I think the sticky part of this whole thing is the fact that it starts in Staten Islan, and that was a spot especially hit hard.

I get that the local residents there will have a hard time seeing resources allocated to a "sporting event", while their lives are in turmoil.

I saw one woman intervied who said (not ver batim, but pretty close) We have nothing, no cash in our bank, no credit cards, no water, no food, etc.

Okay, this thing was coming for almost a week, and you did nothing to prepare?  Why should the marathon not be held because you refuse to do anything to prepare for a national distaster?  This person was shown by a news crew as a reason not to hold the marathon.  Although, I am not sure if the reporter asked "should the marathon be cancelled?".

I know many of you will think I am heartless.  I am not.  I know a lot of people in that area.  It is a tough situation.  But if you live your life day to day, paycheck to paycheck, meal to meal, the smallest wrinkles in life will be difficult.

.......and yes, I can speak from experience.  I was laid off from work 2 times in 18 months.  I never missed any of my obligations to my debters, or my family.  Yes, I was somewhat lucky, but I was prepared and focused on moving forward.

So the question, in my opinion, should be "why should the marathon be cancelled?"

The marathon brings in over 300 million in business.  I fuels the hospitatlity industry, sporting goods business, and many other periphery businesses.  There are countless business along the route who benefit from it.

I understand if police resources are being used which are needed elsewhere, but the NYPD has said that is not an issue.

I saw a report about some massive generators being used for the marathon media tent, and citizens being outraged that those generators weren't being put to use in communities without power.  Problem with that is...... I don't believe you can just wheel a massive generator up to a power grid and flip a swtich.  It is a bad perception, but those can be used to power all of the homes they potentially could.

All the while, Times Sqaure is still lit up.  (I was told it never lost power, but can't confirm that).  So Times Square stays lit, and nobody has a problem, but the marathon uses a genrator to power a media tent and they are evil.  I don't get it.

I think it comes down to this.  The mentality of "If some of us are suffering, nobody should be enjoying."

This reminds me of when me kids were babies.  We had a few who never really slept.  There were times where I would get up with the kids to ensure my wife could sleep.  There were  times she would get up, but would be mad that I would stay asleep.  I would tell her "One of us needs to sleep.  Let's take turns so our house can function."  She actually said once that if she is up, I should be up too.  Yes....if she is suffering, I should be too.

Those days are long gong, and my wife is awesome and we love each other dearly, but those were difficult times in our lives.

This seems to be the bottom line with the marathon though.  "If we are suffering, all of you should be suffering.  Or, at least, not be enjoying".

By cancelling the marathon, the suffering would be expanded.

If the case is made that a significant amount of resources are being diverted to the marathon when they are GOING TO BE USED in other areas, then I might think of this differently.

But for now, I say, "Racers, get on your marks."

Maybe movie theaters, Broadway shows, entertainment venues, basketball games, football games, anything else fun should be cancelled too.

......and I guess this means I can never run for political office...... Darn.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Extreme is the new normal

Once again, sorry for my formatting problems.  I blog so infrequently now, I didn't realize my settings needed updating.

So one day last week I was driving to the airport.  I saw a car with a bumper sticker saying "Extreme" something and there were a few other stickers showing what this person did.  Nothing appeared to be extreme, but it was hard to tell.

When I arrived at the airport, I saw some kid on the C terminal tram wearing a "Tough Mudder" head band.  He was dressed casual.  Collared shirt, decent pants, but an ugly orange head band.  It was comical.

Now, for the record, I am fine with the "Tough Mudder".  Proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Foundation.  Can't say anything bad about that.  I just find it amusing that this dude was so proud of competing in it, that he was wearing it when it clashed his outfit.... and he had no chance of sweating (unless he was worried about his flight).

In pop culture, "Extreme" is used for tv shows such as Extreme Makeover, Extreme Couponing, Etc..

In politics, people who don't fit the classic 2 party system are labeled "extreme".  I once saw Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan sit together in an interview with Tim Russert (I think it was him, but it was many years ago).  Ralph was giving the Green Party pitch and Pat, the Independence Party.  Both were labeled extreme.  It was the most informative, best political interview I had seen in years.  They are diametrically opposed, politically, but they were great to listen to.  They knew what they believed in, held to those principals, and didn't apologize for it.  The masses dismissed them as "kooks" and "extreme".

There was a show in the last 2 years about people with weird addictions.  The only 2 I remember were a lady who ate dish washing detergent (or something like that... can't really remember) and a guy who ran ultras.

The funny part about the guy running ultras, it wasn't like he was doing something really that unusual.  The documented him running Javelina Jundred, which is tough in its own way, but considered a fast course.  I wouldn't consider someone who runs mid pack at Javelina, in plus 25 hours as "extreme".

Local Minnesotans, John Taylor and Daryl Saari, are setting the bar for Minnesota on what extreme might be.  I know John has run at least 8 100s THIS YEAR!, and has finished at least 40 100s in his career.  Daryl, first guy to finish the Gnarly Bandit series, has run so many so often, I can't even begin to tel you how many he has run.  They both have completed Arrowhead Winter Ultra.

The great thing about these 2, you would never know it if you met them at a social gathering.  They do not toot their own horn..... at all.

.......and I am not sure I would label them as extreme!  Maybe because I know them and understand where they are coming from.

But it is not cool to be normal.  It is not cool to be average.  It is not even cool to be a marathoner anymore.  Now, one has to be extreme to be cool.

Now we have these "extreme" races where you have to run obstacles, crawl through mud, etc., and run (like 10 or 12 miles).  It might be hard, it might be tough, but extreme?

I even ran into a woman last year who, when she heard I was a runner, had this conversation with me.
Woman - "My mom is a big time ultra marathoner"
Me - "Oh yeah, what is her name, I may know or know of her"
Woman - "her name is xxxxx"
Me - "hmmm never heard of her.  What races has she run"
Woman -
Me - "What ultra marathons has she run"
Woman - "She is an ultra marathoner.  She runs lots of marathons"
Me - "oh"
My buddy - "uh,.... yeah"

I guess we all have to be extreme to be accepted.

I am "A Guy Who Runs" for a reason.  I do what most people could do, if they just put their mind to it and had the discipline to follow through.

I am extremely normal.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Long Road Back to Fitness

First of all, sorry for the format of the last post. It had paragraphs when I composed it. So.... after my fall into obscurity after Ice Age, there was about a week I seriously thought I was done. But somewhere in early summer, I thought I would rebuild and slowly get back into shape. I decided to go back to low intensity training, and build on it over the summer. I got 3 straight 10 mile runs in, then..... my car blew up, and stress came over the family. Long story short, I used that stress and axiety to not run for the better part of 8 weeks. I started back in early August doing "low and slow". I put in 20 and 30 mile weeks. Sometimes, just to get in 5 miles seemed like a marathon. What happened to me? Superior completely changed my attitude and persona. I did 45 miles that week, 47 the next week, and..... get this.... 80 miles this week. I had to see if I still had something in me. I joined up Bill, Todd, and Maria this morning for a long run, and ended up pounding out 24 to finish my big week. It has been 2.5 years since I have done that kind of mileage in one week. And it feels great. It was all at a 9.5+minute per mile pace. Little worn out right now, but I am happy I finally pulled that off. I guess there is no substitute for mileage. Good chance this blog will be back to regular posts. I have a lot I am considering and a lot to reflect on why I started blogging in the first place. This middle aged guy is not done yet.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Superior Sawtooth 2012

So after Ice Age this year, I basically walked away from most things running. I was frustrated, upset, and depressed. I had a hard time being around runners, especially ones I didn't know well. But at the same time, I realized I had taken a lot from the trail running community. I have sucked up a lot of resources and had not given a lot back in return. So I reached out to the Superior Race Director and said I am game for running a big overnight aid station. 4 years ago when I finished the Superior 100, I rolled into the Crosby Manitou aid station (mile 62), and was catered to by Maria and Doug Barton. It was like an oasis. And now, 4 years later, I was getting to be the oasis at Crosby for all of the 100 mile (and 50) runners. But selfishly, I was also looking for something to get me inspired and reverse the 2 year slump I have been in. So fast forward to last Friday, September 7th. I had support from the Lapham Peak Trail Runners Angela, Brad, Paul and a local Twin Cities runner Andrew S. Serious experience and knowledge helping out. It is a lot to ask people to give up an entire weekend, stay up all night, and really have nothing to show for it. But that is what this sport is all about. This aid station is not only far into the race at mile 62, it is kind of remote. It is way off the beatin' path, far from cell service, and precedes one of the toughest 10 mile sections of the course. The really cool part of working these is, you get to talk to the families and/or crew (sometimes both) of the leaders. The father of the eventual winner actually made the campfire at our station, and offered to help on numerous tasks. But the best part is to see people you have known, trained with, run with, crashed and burned with, fought with, cried with, and been yelled at, come through this section in a variety of conditions. Adam Schwartz-Lowe was so focused on his mission, he never heard me cheering him on. I told some of the other crews that Adam knows how to chew up other runners all night long. He did, and came in second with and awesome PR (22 something I think?) I also had the honor to take a runner from "I am dropping" to "Okay, I am heading back out onto the course". It took almost a half hour, giving him a dry shirt, Andrew giving him fresh batteries and a knee strap, some hot food and coffee, but he got up and went. How awesome is that? It felt great because so many people have done that for me. Still not sure who it was and if he finished. I hope to find him so I can tell him that..... get this... he inspired me. But the best part of the weekend started when my buddy Bill P., who has crewed for me three times and seen me at my absolute worst, came to me and said I needed to go pace Todd Rowe on Saturday. I would have said no, but Todd was one of the first guys I trained with out at Afton years ago. This was his first 100. It would mean missing most of the post race party and social hour, but I figured my energy could be better spent. So after packing up the aid station, taking a 1 hour "coma" nap, Andy and I went to find Todd. I was so punchy by then, I had this brilliant idea of taking the cow bell from my aid station and wearing it around my neck. I left the Sawbill aid station and ran backward to find him. So all of this runners heard this cowbell in the distance, and they thought they were at the aid station.... ooops. But I told them "got you fired up.... didn't it? They agreed. What I found out when I finally reached Todd was... he didn't need me. He was rock solid. He was power hiking faster than most people I have seen at that stage of the race. He was picking off 50 milers! He had grouped up with another runner, Jeremy, and there was no question they would make it. When we arrived at the aid station, I took the opportunity to taunt the sweepers (Horns and Maas), telling them there was no chance they would catch us. What I learned in those last 2 sections was not that these 2 needed some help, but there were others out there that needed help. Our train of 3 eventually turned into a train of 8 runners with Todd seriously pushing the pace. The gang behind us said they liked hearing the conversation and stories, so I continued with the boring stories and yapping I am so good at telling. (I talk a lot). We even found a new addition to the MN trail running group, Megan from Burnsville. I could tell this was a serious life event for her, and it was awesome being a part of it. Coming down the final stretch on the dirt road to the finish almost brought me to tears. For me, it brought me back to my first ultra finish ever (Suprior 50k many years ago) and my first 100 mile finish. I ran ahead with that annoying cowbell to get the finish area fired up for these runners. Not long after Todd finished, Misty Schmidt came across for her long awaited Superior finish. She overcame some serious pain as well as threats of timing out, but she brought the mojo home. It was awesome to see. What is next for me? Not sure. I could see working this same aid station for years to come. But I also have some other desires. Special thanks to John and Cheri Storkamp for an incredible race. Thanks to Angela, Andrew, Brad, and Paul for all of the aid station support. And thank you to all of the runners who brought their best.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ice Age 50 Report.......?

So here is the scene.... Mile 37.... outbountd.... I walk... (okay, stumble) into the aid station. I see Wayne Nelson. I say "Wayne, you're driving me back to the start finish". Wayne's response "in an hour or 2, I am having fun watching and helping". Darn. Then I see see Brad Birkholz. After a short conversation, Brad says "I am dring YOU back to the start finish" Jim Stocco joined us, which was a blessing. I was gone. By gone, I mean gone. I already had Marty KC of the LPTR's try and pull me because he thought I was drunk. He abandoned his station at a road crossing to go to the next one because of how I was acting. When I say the orange reflector vest at the top of hill, I knew it was a course official waiting for me. I was a naughty boy. In all seriousness, thanks to Marty. I don't remember the whole interaction, but I remember a mountain biker yelling "you just need to drink some water". If I had any... any energy at all.... that guy would now be a mountain crawler. Thanks Marty. So back to the car with Brad and Jim. I never should have left the prior aid station. But I thought I could walk the rest of the way (apparently you need to drink water even when walking). I lost it. The combination of 3 years of frustration, and things not coming together, I just lost it. Sitting in the car with Brad and Jim saved me. I didn't want to go back to the start finish. I didn't want to go back and have to explain what happened. I didn't want any part of it. Jim Stocco has done 15 Ice Age 50 miles. He was co-founder of the Superior Sawtooth 100. He is a legend in Minnesota in the ultra community. He said "it aint' worth it man (or something like that)" Not even sure what he said, but it made a world of difference. And leaving the parking lot... we saw Mrs. Gnarly Bandit, Lynn Saari. A quick "don't ask" was all I could muster, which was fine because she and Brad argued on how to get back to the start. (She was right). ********************* Long and short of it.... I thought I was having a great day. Made it to mile 20 feeling great. I changed how I drank. Took less electrolytes. Once I started cramping in my legs, I slowly started adding electroylytes (s caps). The Boom! My stomace turned like I had an anvil in it. I slugged for a good 8 miles after. I went from overhydration worries, to dehydration. Problem was, I couldn't drink any water. I know I "could", but I couldn't. 3.5 hours of no water......I was delerious. I didn't matter anyway. I was going so slow, I was going to time out. ********************** I called my mother on Suday to wish her a happy mother's day. I never tell her about these races. She finds out through my wife (I tell her not to say anything, but she does anyway). My Mom asks me about my race and I tell her. Her response is "well, you have more important things anyway. A family who needs you" My mom doesn't get it. I did 2 races last year, probably only 2 this year. I spend less time away from the family than a golfer does. I know what she means. She is my mom. She worries. But I think of all of the deadbeat, overweight, knucklead dads who don't even know their kids. That is not me. I want my kids to see that beaing an athlete is a lifestyle. I want them to see success and failure. I want them to see that life goes on. I may quite a lot, but I step up the plate more often than most. I want them to see that failure is a part of life which you just deal with, learn from, then move on. ********************* So the best part of blogging is telling the story of achieving goals. Blogging sucks when you have to fess up and tell the story of things gone bad. It aint fun anymore, so I have to take time off again. No more races for this year.... at least. There might be a Patten Family aid station at Superior this year though. Thanks to anybody who reads this. I leave you with my favorite verse from the bible. It is the verse which has always helped me through difficult times. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, April 16, 2012


I never thought I will tell someone "Yea, I didn't manage the race correctly. I got hyponatremia".

For those who don't know what hyponatremia is, here is a definition
Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.

It is funny, because hyponatremia has incorrectly been dubbed as a "slower runner's" issue. It got this label as a result of a few isolated incodents in big city marathons. In the severe cases, it happened to runners finishing or tracking in the 5+ hour time.

Problem is, it has less to do with speed and everything to do with water intake and how much one sweats.

Up until yesterday, I would have added to the precious sentence "and how much electrolytes you are taking". Well...... there is a catch to that last sentence. And I can't believe I have missed it in my now 2+ years of struggling with this.

Here is the bombshell quote from Karl King, founder of Succeed! spots nutrition.
The sodium concentration in extra-cellular fluid is the ratio of weight of sodium ions to weight of water. So, if I have too much water, I can just add more sodium, right? Well, it depends on where you are with respect to normal sodium content in the body. If you have too little sodium, then adding more will help you return to normal. An example many runners have experienced would be low sodium with adequate water, leading to puffiness in the hands and wrists. Taking in more sodium will correct the situation and the puffiness will go down.

But if you have the right amount of sodium, adding a lot more is not good. Excess sodium can increase thirst and prompt more drinking, which is bad if you already have too much water on board ( excess weight ).

Thus, the safest course is to drink to maintain body weight ( or be a little down ), and take sodium supplementation conservatively. A deficiency of water or sodium can be corrected within minutes, but correcting excesses of either one can take hours.

The thing that really hit me is figure out hydration FIRST, then electrolytes.

Take a look at the table on here. It is Karl's table of electrolytes. I went through an asked myself "did I experience this based on these symptoms?"

I tried to relive the last few.... okay, many DNF's, and they all told a somewhat different story. But what they all had in common was overhydration. Superior last year was the best example of moderating it, though. I clearly remember my fingers getting puffy, then going away. It happened many times. This is..... A GOOD SIGN! meaning I (we.... Bill P the crew) were keeping the conditions at bay, and adjusting.

I also look at the "low hydration" column and realize I have not felt these symptoms in a while. I have felt all of them, but not in any recent races. And notice the fix for that column, very simple. The fix for overhydration seems simple as well, but as Karl said

A deficiency of water or sodium can be corrected within minutes, but correcting excesses of either one can take hours.

So what do I do? Over the next 2 weeks I am going to do my best to test this again. I will
> Weigh myself as much as I can before and after runs, and see what my %dehydration is
> Run a 50k loop at afton consuming half the water I am used to, and see what happens.

Guess I have my work cut out for me in the next 2 weeks. I have to redeem myself at Ice Age. If I can't work this out/figure this out, then I am throwing in the racing towel and switching to crew/volunteering. It aint' worth it.

I came home on Saturday in an unhealthy state. It wasn't good for the family balance.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Zumbro 50 Mile report

In short, I put forth a miserable performance.

To say I am frustrated is an understatement.

Another DNF, another struggle with hydration, fuel, electrolyte imbalance.

I completed 2 of the 3 loops. If I went for a 3rd loop, I would have gone into the body destruction mode. I did not want to do that with Ice Age in 4 weeks.

I originally considered this as a training run, and let myself get amped up to make this a race.

It is what it is, and it ended up as a brutal training run.

But.... I did not damage... physically.

Emotionally I am struggling as my body has clearly changed in the last few years, and I am struggling to adapt.

So chalk it up as a training run.

At least this puts me in a great position to have a great run at Ice Age.

Many great stories out there yesterday and the day before. Hopefully I will get the motivation to capture some of them.

At least I got another cool shirt :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Strategy on racing

Most of us keep a plan or strategy on how to run an upcoming race quiet. The reasons are two fold.

1 - One does not want to reveal to the other runners what you will try to do
2 - One does not want to make a grand plan all to fail miserably, and crash and burn.

Since I am not a force to contend with, I decided I will reveal my plan. There are so many new faces and names out there, I don't think it matters at all.

My plan is simple. I will take what the race and day gives me.

The 50 Miler starts Midnight on April 13th (okay, Saturday morning the 14th). The race director actually put in print that it starts at 12:01 am.

First 10 miles - Stay calm. Conserve energy. Run light. Monitor fuel/liquid. Stay calm.

Second 20 miles - Use the flat sections as an opportunity to "run". Keep it easy, but don't hold back too much as there are plenty of runnable sections. Walk the uphills, gently glide the down hills. Keep the heart rate medium/low.

20 - 30 - This is where the race starts to come together. Inexperienced runners will start to struggle here. Focus on the gait, and make sure form is not falling apart. Poor form leads to extra energy spent, to much stress on muscles you don't use, and a bad disposition. I find the key factor in this section is to stay happy, comfortable, and balanced. I might get cold at this point, so staying sufficiently dry and warm is key. If you are dry and warm, you feel good. If you feel good, you stay in the game. I also have to adjust to food and liquid preferences. Drink coffee before I need it. Remember that once the sun comes up, it is a new day and life will come back mentally and physically.

30 - 40 - The hardest part of a 50. The hardest thing to do at this point is just focusing on getting to 40. Keep moving. Minimize time at aid stations. Get to 40, get out of any funk you are in, utilize any runnable opportunities to get to 40. It's all about the 40 at this point for me. Once you are in the 35 - 40 range, any stupidity conducted earlier in the race would have already come to the surface. At this point, there aren't too many dumb things you can do to ruin your race (relatively speaking). Might as well start thinking about "throwing it down" and going for it. Whatever that might mean at that point.

40 - 50 - Final leg. Counting down the miles. Do everything I can to maintain pace. Maintain pace, maintain pace. Keep eating and drinking. Less experienced runners stop eating at this point, leading to serious crash and burns in the last 5 miles. As long as one is maintaining a solid pace, it is tough to get passed. Other runners tend not to up the pace and kill it the last 5 miles. You think you are going all out, but 45 miles or so on the legs make an 8 minute mile seem like a 6.

One you get to 45, it is just a "getting it done" mindset.

So that is my strategy, even it if sounds like a complete void of details and insight.

Bottom line, I will listen to my body and heart, and see what God gives me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Season is Shaping up

It has been a long, hard road, but I am almost back to the mileage of a few years ago.

I finally got in a 50k at Afton last weekend, and managed to keep a "decent" pace for the entire 2 loops.

When talking with the "boys", I realized I have not put in a 2 looper out there in almost 3 years. 3 Years!! It is not from a lack of trying. It is a result of letting myself slide.

So my goal was get in 2 loops, then decide on a race.

So I signed up for the Zumbro Midnight 50. This is a slight rebirth of the Zumbro 100k from 3 years ago which also started at midnight. I am one of the proud 5 to have ever finished that race (okay...... it was only 1 year and I think only 9 started it). I have a great piece of hardware in my basement showing I won my age group. I was the only one in my age group who not only started, but also finished.

But now we have about 50 signed up. I get race against my nemesis, Zach Pierce. None of the faster Matt's are signed up, but that doesn't mean I won't be the slowest Matt.

Bottom line, I feel good. I have confidence. I actually have a decent amount of training (3 runs of 20 miles or more since Feb). This is a far cry from my 2 long runs going into Ice Age last year.

So if this goes well, and Ice Age goes well, I may consider more. Not sure I want to go back to 100s, though.

Thinking of doing a speed loop tomorrow evening at Afton if anybody is up for it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Since my last post, I was lucky enough to take my awesome wife on a 7 night cruise to the Caribbean. What a blast. If I decide to put the effort behind it, I might even post some pictures.

Perhaps the second funniest thing I saw on the trip was a preponderance of "Meatheads".

I have a customer who is a pretty good athlete, and he calls a certain type of "gym dude" a "meathead".

Definition -
Meathead - One who lacks fitness, has tons of body fat, and still thinks he is in high school. He shows his manliness by how much he can lift on a machine......... a couple of times.

.....So... the "fitness center" on the Celebrity Eclipse, while pretty good, was comical. It had many meatheads.

The treadmills had a 20 minute limit on them..... okay..... what is the point.... got it..

So I was on the treadmill, violating the rules, on my second 20 minute workout. To get in a decent workout, I decided to run "fast". By the way, 9-10 minute miles on a treadmill on a boat with serious pitching and rolling is not easy.

In comes meathead A. He starts running, and is done after 5 minutes. I had the feeling he was trying to run my speed, and decided not to quickly. Maybe not.

Anyway, after 5 minutes he was done on the "mill". I saw he shortly after.... correction... I HEARD him shortly after doing something with a huge barbell. He would do a couple of reps with some big yells and then walk around flexing. I almost asked him, "hey, where's the beach?" but thought he might figure out I was mocking him.

I actually heard him say "this boat needs a bench press". This guy had a huge gut. I thought of saying, "you know, pushups are like upside-down presses, but better", but I don't think he had the IQ to process such a complicated statement.

I got me thinking {yes, I know my grammar is horrible today... bear with me}.. thinking "what a perfect display of raw power vs. fitness".

I could take this guy in push ups, sit ups, body weight squats, any aerobic or metabolic workout. But he could press a larger amount of weight than I could.

All I could think of was "what a meathead"

Sad part about the whole scene, if it came down to a challenge, I bet you anything that this guy puts more value into power press weight than how many push ups he could do.

Hows that for a post... FINALLY!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Might as well

I figured I have offended enough people in my blogging years that those are still read don't care.

So here it goes. Got this from Bad Ben of the KC Trail nerds.
Very funny

Don't kill the messenger

Monday, January 30, 2012

Worth a post

I know someone who turns 50 this week and is going to run 50 miles on his treadmill to celebrate

Think he will make it?

Happy birthday dude

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ice Age 50 Mile...... again. But things are changing

I am not one big on "streaks", although I have at times been inadvertently caught in one.

The most common one is the "I have run x days in a row".
The other is the
"I have run this race x years in a row"

Well, I am caught in the second. Not sure how it happened, because I am not a big fan of the streak.

So in walks Ice Age 50 mile. This race has become my favorite race. It strikes the perfect balance of factors which are in my "zone". Here are some reasons why

1 - Course - It has everything to offer. Technical, flats, hills, scenery. People see it as an "easy" course, but it is really not. It is hard enough to make you run a smart race, but no too hard where it tears you to pieces. You can actually run most of the race.

2 - Time of year - Mid may. Almost never hot. Usually 50s or 60s, often rain/cloudy/overcast/ etc. Rarely hot and humid.

3 - The people - I have tons of great friends who show up every year to represent, set the bar, and put it on the line.

But this year should be a little different......

Last year I was surprised to get an email in late February from "tater Todd" saying I better sign up quickly, as it will fill up shortly after. I was surprised, as the prior year one could sign up on race day (and here we were almost 3 months from the race).

I was also surprised at the race last year the large influx of "newbies" to trail running. I am all for "newbies". I embrace anybody who wants to be a part of this community. But this class of noobs was a little different from when I was a noob. I almost go the feeling that people weren't getting their "cahce" from marathons, so they graduated to ultras to be cool. One can see it in the amount of gear people think they HAVE TO HAVE to run these. Even a 50 miler. (and this is a 50 you can run with almost nothing because of the copious amount of aid stations and frequent access to drop bags).

Enter 2012. The community has been changing, and is showing a much different face. The race director decided to create an official website instead having the site an extension of the Badgerland Striders site. Good call. It used to be tricky to find the site, and it had become a nationally recognized race. It needed it's own (I am not sure if I have that 100% correct with the Striders, so sorry if I am wrong).

So the RD ran into some snags with the website development. No big deal. It was delayed going live. No big deal. Heck, it is January. Who needs to worry about a race in May? Well nobody told that to huge influx of noobs. If you go to the facebook page for the race, you can see threads of people freaking out that the website isn't up yet. One person even commented by saying "Radio silence - for the past week - wouldn't be the way I'd want to treat runners who are interested in participating in my event..."

Wow... Tough crowd. This person went on to defend his comment and saying that there was no disrespect. More surprising were the people who "liked" his comment.

I don't think people realize that trail ultras are much different than typical road races. They take a lot to put on. Sponsorship is rarely in money, but in free stuff. Resources are limited. Races typically don't make money.

Gone are the days of "you are responsible for knowing the course and markings". In are the days of "who marked this course?.... it is horrible. I got lost x times!"
(if you get lost at Ice need help)
Gone are the days of "results will be posted later this week". In are the days of "come on, this race was chip timed. Why aren't the results posted (this being said a few hours after finishing)"

So I signed up last night for this race, as I saw it was almost full. The website/registration went live Monday, and it hit the 300 mark yesterday. Limit is 375 (which I believe to be the largest), and that will be hit this week easily.

But luckily most of my Sconnie nemesis are on the list. And this year I will show up at least somewhat trained for the race.

And if I don't have a good race, I will pile on the race director and blame it on him.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year

As most people commit to their new years' resolutions, I will commit to my curmudgen response. "Why commit to something in the new year when you can commit to it all year long?"

My wife and I rarely celebrate valentines's day as well. Aside from it being a manufactured holiday, valentine's happens in my house year round.

One does not only need a race to hget in shape for. Somwtimes being in shape is enough for to feed the soul.

If you made a new years resolution to get in shape or lose weight, I ask you this....
"What was stopping you before?"