Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 events review...........

Time to put the year behind me and get going onto next year. So as not to forget the events of this year along with my race report posts, this is my quick year in review.
My first 50k, ran in snow, and I am still thrilled that it was my first foray beyond marathon distance, who could ask for a more memorable and beautiful event. A very well organized first time event, looking forward to 2009. My report.
Not a great day for me but I liked the course and I got through the day. My report.
A wonderful small town event. My report.
My 2nd 50k and it was a delight mostly because I got through it without injury or sickness. My report.
Another fun year and the only tri event that I ever plan to do. My report.
Fun to provide support versus running for myself. My report.
A tough uphill climb of 14 miles, most of it in the last 3 miles and a nice single track downhill finish. Just needed more fuel and some training on the mountain. My report.
A hot day but I was happy with the effort just 6 days after Haulin Aspen. Another hot weather event with no sickness. My report.
What a great event to finish up the year, I wanted a PR day but I kind of re-injured my left foot so I just muddled my way through. My report.

So to sum up this year, it was fun. I struggled through a series of minor injuries (knees and foot) and continue to work my way through them. I set a PR in a 50k (ok it was my first and second) and I completed 3 for the year, I am still on track to set an all time high for mileage and I got through all of the events without throwing up once. Sweet, on to 2009................

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winter blues...........

I have decided that I am just not a winter guy, I have a major issue in getting out the door. I think it has something to do with fear of frostbite, slipping, freezing, darkness and the fact that I really don't like snow and cold weather. I know that committing to a race schedule will help with my winter issues, so I need to figure out 2009, ASAP.

I also reached the conclusion that the colder temps are my biggest problem, I don't like to cover my face. I like to spit when needed or do the infamous nose clear and if the face is covered it's a problem. So I know now that I prefer 20+ and above and don't like going sub 0. I will need to work on a solution to this as me thinks we have a few more sub 0's ahead. Of course, the darkness is also an issue, I know that's true as I have run the last three days and one of those days was fairly cold ~5, the other ones were almost balmy (15 and 35), it's always easier in the daylight and when you don't have to work there seems to be more time in the day :-). So I think I need to work in at least one run (preferably two) over lunch as I do plan to continue to work and that's the only time I will find daylight for running.

I know that for me this has been a tough December for running which is do in part to the weather. It hasn't been helped that work has been in a bit of turmoil. I am very thankful to have a good job, let's hope things continue to go well at work. The turmoil should be getting taken care of, except I will have more responsibilities so I will need to work on keeping things balanced (I think my wife might say I need to work on the balance without the upcoming changes) and I need to remember that running helps dissolve my stress. If I do miss out on the daylight runs I could always run on our treadmill but that is even more intimidating, it just takes too much concentration for me and usually between the cold and the treadmill, procrastination wins out.

So while on today's run, I was mulling over my training program and my race schedule. I concluded that I should get the first half of the year mapped out and committed. I know I will be doing Chippewa but I am still thinking about McNaughton versus Clinton Lake. Common sense would say do Clinton Lake, it is a month ahead of Chippewa and month after Run Toto Run. So it fits the training sequence quite well. I am intrigued by doing a 50 and I can think of no better one to do than McNaughton for my first one. But then again, I am thinking about balance, am I ready to commit to a 50, or do I just work on getting into better shape for the shorter distance events. I am also not sure about Run Toto Run, I am tired of running in snow, I would love to do it if the ground isn't covered in the white stuff but if the ground in KC is snow covered, I am not so sure and we have something going on the day after. So I may need to just punt on this one for awhile.

I do need to decide and commit to something otherwise I will just keep putting things off until Chippewa. So on that note, I think I will wait until New Years Day...................

Saturday, December 20, 2008

There is hope for me yet.................

I was reading Matt's post concerning Scott Dunlap's post which was on David Groggins. What's that go to do with me having hope, well, when I went to the site that was created to promote David Groggins, I saw a comment on the blog link and read the following comment to David Groggins, from:

dmartell said... Thanks man - you inspired me to run my first marathon in March 09'. Have you heard of this story - thought I would share.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkOfWyzZH_A&feature=channel_page


Here is the video - The Cliff Young Story by Jack Canfield



Here is another one



You can read the story here - Cliff Young, a farmer who inspired a nation or check out Wikipedia on Cliff Young

So although I think Groggins is an exceptional athlete running for a great cause and is a great story himself, you just gotta love the Cliff Young story and it's a great reminder to me that I have plenty of running years ahead and it's as much about attitude as anything else................

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Running plans update??????

Well, I am nearing my time to reach an initial decision for which races to do.

My problem is what event if any do I want to train for? I should clarify when I say train, I mean like to focus on an event usually with a time goal in mind or do I just do races and enjoy them with nothing but a finish in mind. This past year was all about getting back into a running program and clicking off a few states on my journey through 50 states with no time specific goals. Oddly enough I was disappointed with my times, maybe there is something to training for an event.

Steve L. had emailed me last week to let me know that he is doing the McNaughton 50 miler, we had talked at Surf the Murph about it. (Steve - my email came back, so I am kind of posting my reply here). I would really like to do McNaughton as it would be great to get in a 50 without time pressure, a finish there would make me happy. I have never gone 50 miles so I think I would use it to work out some fueling and mental demons. Like what will happen to my body after 35 miles? My plan would be real simple, go out slow and finish, no throwing up, no giving up.

I was pretty well starting to lock into a schedule when today my MDRA log book showed up. Now I am all confused as I did notice a few new events that look interesting.

A good start to the year could like this:
Jan 24 - Winter Carnival 1/2
Feb 14 - Run Toto Run 50k - Kansas - 1 more state
Mar ? - ?
April 11 - McNaughton 50 - Illinois - another state + my first 50
April 25 - Chippewa 50k - keeping the streak alive, 2 in a row

A Marathon May?
May 2 - Wisconsin Marathon - an inaugaral event
May 3 - Eau Claire Marathon - an inaugaral event, it would be on the way home :-)
May 24 - Stillwater Marathon - an inaugaral event
May 31 - Team Ortho Minneapolis Marathon - an inaugaral event

Why not go for 4 marathons in a month? Ok, I am pretty sure this might be a stretch but it is an interesting thought.

What about June?
June 6 - Deadwood Marathon - gotta do something in South Dakota
June ? - something else?

Close out the 2nd half
July 4 - Afton 50k - 2 in a row
July 21 - Turtle Trot Triathlon
July 31 - Grand Island Marathon - Michigan - another state, just a thought
August ? - ?
Sept 11 - Superior 50 - It sounds like fun
Oct 17 - Big Woods 1/2
Oct 24 - Wild Duluth 50k or 100k
Nov 7 - Surf the Murph - 2 in a row, another streak

Ok, I still have some gaps to work on and I will need to narrow down my list to something reasonable (you know something that balances family, work, training, health). I am sure when I look closer I will see a few more states that might be doable but then again I may also need to step back and say is it a good idea to go for the 50's and still try to get extra states? Maybe I do 50's this year, a 100 next year and put off pickin off states for a while.

Decisions, decision, gotta have something to do over Christmas break.................

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What to do on a bad day?

Some days you have it and some days you don't. This morning I didn't have it but it was an interesting run.

I ran back in Lebanon Hills and expected the light rain to have made the snow wet and slushy and I was not disappointed. I feared going into it that it wasn't going to be a good day as I woke up not feeling great and to add to my misery my left foot started hurting within the first 100 yards. I thought about just aborting but instead I just tightened up the laces and to use Londell's phrase chose to "Carry On". I seem to be getting a lot of practice at running when things go bad, it would be nice to have a good day sometime soon.

Anyway, my plan was to run about 4 and 1/2 hours. Good plan except that I struggled to maintain my pace right from the start. I thought it was either from what I ate at dinner the night before or it might have been from the heavy snow so after about an hour of struggle, I decided to run out of Lebanon Hills and try the pavement along Cliff Road. That helped but I still didn't feel very good. So that meant it wasn't just the snow, oh well, so I went back into the park. I figured I would try and go at least a 1/2 hour longer and then probably call it a day.

One thing I had tried when I headed out to the road was switching to music versus my normal podcasts, I figured it would be different and since it took no mental energy to listen it was worth a chance to get me going but it wasn't really helping until a weird sequence of songs.

A number of songs had played and I was kind of zoning them out and simply struggling on with the run and then a song came on "No More No More - Aerosmith" which got me thinking that I had had enough but I decided to go one more song before I headed back to the car. The next song is an odd one in a way, it's called "I'm not running anymore - John Mellencamp". Today, I was thinking that this song's title was probably right and quite predictive of how I felt but sure enough I picked up the pace and felt a bit more energy. I decided to take a left and head out on a favorite loop thinking I could make it through 40 more minutes which is what the loop normally takes. The next song was "Fire on the Mountain - The Marshall Tucker Band" which helped to pass the time but the footing was starting to bug me and my energy burst was over and then the next song came on, "Long Way Back - Kim Richey" which of course got me to thinking that I was getting pretty far out again and that maybe I should turn around or shorten up the loop as I wasn't sure I had enough left to continue on, what a disappointing day. I thought to myself that I was just being stupid to even continue at all.

When the next song came on and it caught my attention, "Have a little Faith - Jewel" so I had no choice but to continue on. The next song was "Don't look Back - Boston" and the one that followed "Past the Point of Rescue - the original Dixie Chicks". A number of songs followed some that seemed appropriate for the day and some that didn't but they all helped me to continue on, when "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad - The Marshall Tucker Band" came on, so I took it as the time to head on back to the car. I should add that I think their version of this song is one of the best but then again I am a bit partial to the MTB, who in my opinion, is the best of all the southern rock bands.

Sometimes music helps pass the time and sometimes it seems to send another message. I can say that today I was ready to pack it in at 2 hours and then through a series of songs I went for another 1 1/2 hours. So a bad day still had me on the trails for 3 and 1/2 hours, sloshing my way through the snow, playing mental games, trying many things to distract myself, what a delightful day all things considered. Sometimes, you just got to take it all in stride.........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Running stats reviewed........

I came across the chart below when I was looking through my running info. It kind of looked to me like a tough ultra course with all of the ups and downs, then I remembered what it really was.Turns out it is a plot of my weekly mileage for the year, it just happens to be week 50 of our calendar year.

Notice that week to week consistency has not been my strong point. It's probably my biggest issue in weight reduction, getting faster and basic improvement. Of course it could be the fact that I follow no specific training program that leads me to this inconsistency. I use the fear based training program, fear being the pain I might need to endure if I don't get runs in ahead of a longer event. One thing I can't forget is that this past year was all about getting back into a consistent pattern of running and that the goal was to avoid major injury. I have had a few nicks to work through during this past year but the pain of my knees and foot are manageable just mentally tiring. So overall I am pleased with what I accomplished so do I now set my goal for 2009 to push harder for time improvements? Maybe, but not at the cost of additional injury or losing the joy of running.

As I continued to glance through my data, I noticed a few trends (this data goes through this Sunday so I am including this weekends runs).

Total days of running
145
(that means 203 days that I didn't run)

Which day during the week do I run?
Monday - 10
Tuesday - 16
Wednesday - 17
Thursday - 14
Friday - 10
Saturday - 40
Sunday - 38

78 runs on weekends 67 during the week

Stats wise - this means that I have run on 78% of the available weekend days and only 27% of the available work week days. Pretty much confirms my comments above, I know what I need to get better at, will I be willing to do it?

Of the 10 Sundays I did not run 3 were after marathons or longer, 3 were due to sickness or not feeling good, 4 are for a variety of other reasons. Are running on Mondays and Fridays my least favorite days to run? Maybe but part of this is intentional, taking a day off after long runs explains Mondays and resting the day before races explains a few Fridays. I do think it's safe to say that I need to get in more weekday runs.

So in analyzing my approach to running, I have yet again concluded I need to improve on consistency and to start focusing on training with a purpose.

So in looking at next years calendar, Run Toto Run is 10 weeks away, McNaughton is 18 weeks and Chippewa 20 weeks. To do the first two events with manageable pain would require me to get going now, where as Chippewa, I could wait until late January. As 10 weeks to a 50k seems about right and 18 weeks to a 50 miler should work out fine.

So where does this lead me, well, this weekend I need to make my decision to add some additional early season races or rule them out and then to commit to a training program that gets me there..................

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back Home Again in Indiana?

In a post a few days back, I got a comment about the Indiana events that I am considering for next year and that I should look into a 50k called "the Huff" in Huntington, IN on December 29th.

The interesting thing about the Huff is that Huntington is only 1 1/2 hours from Carmel, IN where we will be over the holidays. I am sure my family would be thrilled if I said how about a quick trip up to Huntington. It would be a pretty easy way to click off a state even though I am not in great 50k shape, then again I have never been in"great 50k shape" so that hardly matters. The problem with it is (if I don't ponder the family holiday issue), is that I would prefer to do the Gnaw Bone 50 or the Tecumseh Trail marathon as they basically take place in the area of Indiana where I grew up in. The only problem is that the Gnaw Bone (May 9th) is out next year as we have conflicts and the Tecumseh is in early December and it's always a bit harder to think about driving down to Indiana twice in one month especially in the winter. I could always do the Huff 50k and then when the schedule works out do the other two.

What am I thinking, I have to do Gnaw Bone. I will just wait until 2010, 2011, 2012 or whenever it works out.

The course runs through Brown County State Park, I used to go there as a kid, it's right near Nashville, the one in Indiana, a neat little small town and it may even get me fairly close to the cabin we had on Lutheran Lake, yes that's it real name and yes, you do have to be Lutheran to have a place on the lake. It would also give me a chance to go to my hometown, Columbus, yes the one in Indiana.

If you ever get a chance swing through this area around Brown County, the trees and hills are gorgeous in the fall. Columbus is worth a visit as well, it is known as an architectural mecca, if you want to know about the architecture take a look at the link above but to give you an idea, the city golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and the clubhouse by Frank Lloyd Wright, it's even the hometown of Tony Stewart. Another thing about my hometown that some folks find interesting is that my high school basketball gym seated 7000+, basketball used to be pretty important in Indiana.

And if I ever get to feeling down about living in Minnesota (winter does bring that on, even though, yes, I have lived here longer than I lived in Indiana but it doesn't matter, I am a Hoosier) all I got to do is think about being Back Home Again to Indiana.

If you want to know about being a Hoosier, you will need to understand this video.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter running isn't as bad as I thought..........

Ok, I have to admit it, once I got outside in the daylight I kind of enjoyed myself and I even had happy thoughts about winter running.

Yes it was cold, about 4 degrees when I started and when I got home it was about 10 but it wasn't windy (always gotta remember the good :-). I ran back in Lebanon Hills and with the snow on the ground, I actually thought to myself that there is an advantage to winter running, the rocks and roots are covered up, so I didn't trip once. I even thought about how I can run snow covered trails easily in the dark since the trippers are getting covered up.

For today's run, I debated wearing my snowshoes but figured I would be ok in shoes and I debated wearing my yak trax but I didn't think it would be icy and for the most part the trail shoes worked fine. The last few miles, I seemed to slip more often, that may have been just the fact that I was tired or it may have been the fresh snow that had fallen during the run. I did run in my gore tex running suit and that worked ok along with my gaiters the snow stayed on the outside. I like to wear the gore tex suit when the temp is around 0 as it blocks the wind but it doesn't seem to breathe as well as my other jacket and pants do so I do sweat a bit more in it. I did work up a nice sweat but I never really got chilled during the run so I think I was dressed about right.

Another totally random thought that popped into my head during the run was that I didn't have to worry about stepping on snakes. That had me almost laughing as I hate when I see snakes and I have to jump out of the way. I tried to take a couple of pictures (see them below) to capture the beauty of the falling snow but the cell phone camera didn't pick it up. Maybe next weekend I will take a camera and leave the cell phone in the car.





I do love how pretty it is back in the woods........................

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Next years states?

Since I'm sitting here thinking about winter again, I figured it's time to change my outlook and what better way than to ponder which states I will try to knock off in 2009.

The main limiters to picking off states are trying to figure out when soccer events, school events, other family events, work stuff and everything else that might pop up to cause misalignment along with the need for finances, time and training and then honoring the commitments already made. So for today, I am going to put it all aside except for things I know for sure about like my youngest daughter has a soccer tournament the 2nd weekend of May which turns out to be the same weekend that my eldest graduates from college so that weekend is out for sure. I also have to rule out the last week of April as that is Chippewa, the July 4th weekend as that is Afton and the first week of November for Surf the Murph. The other thing I want to do this year besides add states is to complete my first 50 miler so right now I am about 97% sure that the McNaughton Park trail 50 looks like I will just have to try to do it and if I do it then I have to do the Superior 50 in September.

So with all of those considerations, which states will I think about?

Looking Good -
Kansas - Run Toto Run 50k in February
Illinois - McNaughton 50 miler in April

Might Happen -
South Dakota - Deadwood in June?
Michigan - Grand Island Trail in July?
Nebraska - what event?

There's always a chance -
Indiana - Has to be Tecumseh Trail in December as the Gnaw Bone 50 is the 2nd week of May
Kentucky - Lovin the hills in February or Land between the lakes in March?
Arkansas or Oklahoma- Which events?

So I think if I could get 3 states for sure that would get me further but to get any more than that I would have to not do Superior unless everything (time and money) are perfect, so the final decision may not happen until I get through McNaughton and we see how the finances and dates work themselves out.

The other thing that I am giving thought to is which marathon or beyond will I do in each state like I know when it comes to Florida, I will be doing the Disney marathon along with the 1/2 marathon so that I can complete the Goofy Challenge. I don't like big events but I just have to do the Goofy, the question is which year? For Wyoming, I am thinking the Grand Teton 50, so as the Minnesota winter descends I will be distracting myself by planning next years events along with determining which marathon or beyond for which state so that I can plan for 2010 and beyond as well.

The real question I may need to come to grips with is do I want the 50 states more than a 50 miler and then a 100 miler. My current thinking is I know I can do the 50 states, I think I can do a 50 miler but I don't know if I can do a 100 miler. So guess what I am focusing on in 2009?

I think when I lock in my schedule here in the next few weeks it will be apparent where I want to be, so stay tuned..........................................

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A December commitment ends........

Since I am not much in the mood today to get a workout in out it's time I have a reality check. Yesterday I did not work out and it added stress to today, and then today I had not yet worked out and I was stressing until I decided that I was just plain wrong and misguided. So, I am about to end a commitment that I made to myself that I can only define as a nice thought but actually it was a really stupid idea. I had wanted to convince myself to work harder and become more consistent in the frequency of my workouts so the goal was to workout every day. The intent was to get in better shape so I could get my speed back and my weight lower but if I follow through on my 7 day a week commitment, I might succeed at getting in better shape but at what cost? I fear the cost would be that all the joy I normally find in my running will be gone.

My motivation for this was logical, force myself to work harder through the month that I hate the most. Why do I hate December, I don't for most things but I do for my running, it's cold, it's dark it's the transition to winter which I hate (ok, hate may be too strong, I definitely don't like it). Each day in December is darker, each day seems colder, so between Thanksgiving and Christmas I always struggle to get my runs in. It's a very tough mental period, you add normal work stress (including the added stress in the commute because of driving through snow) and the holidays to the darkness and cold and running can pretty much lose out as a priority.

Yes it could be simply procrastination or maybe it's laziness or maybe I'm just copping out.

The bottom line is that in December we should celebrate our families, the birth of Christ and make sure that we take the time to reflect on the victories of the year. To add a stressful commitment on top of this just wasn't smart.

The good news is that once the winter solstice comes, I know each day will get lighter even though it continues to get colder. This helps me immensely and then usually I think about my runs for the new year and debate the winter carnival which helps me get out and work on my mileage in January. Then you add in the need to train for Chippewa and possibly McNaughton or other options and things will take care of themselves. I will get the training in that I need, no it won't be enough for me to be competitive in any category that exists but it will be enough to get me to the finish line.

So tomorrow I will run and if I don't I will still be ok..............

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First real run of the winter?

We had just a little bit of snow last night, probably less than a inch but enough to complicate my longish run today. My original plan was to run 16 or so this morning in Murphy but I decided to instead go back to Lebanon Hills. I figured it might be a bit easier and I was a little concerned with the footing coming down some of the hills.

As it turns out, Lebanon was perfect, the temp was in the mid 20's, the snow was just enough to cover up rocks and roots but I know Lebanon well enough that I only tripped once.

The reason I needed to get in a longish run today is that I have decided that now is the time to start training for an early spring event, regardless of the specific event that I do. From a training perspective, I have assumed that I am doing Run Toto Run in February so that pretty much means I need to ramp up the mileage over the next 2 months and if I don't do that but I try for McNaughton than the training still needs to begin.

Back to my run this morning, it turned out to be a very enjoyable run, one that brought back memories of Chippewa. Ok, granted less than an inch of snow, fewer hills, no foot bridges but it was still delightful. I felt very good almost from the start and I was able to really push the last 3 miles to the finish. I used the Nathan and outside of an initial freeze up, it worked out great. It really makes the hydration thing easy. From a fueling standpoint, I decide to again try Clif Shot Blocks along with the normal Clif Shot Electrolyte. I took the two of the blocks at 1 1/2 hours, another 2 blocks at 2 hours and the last 2 blocks at 2 1/2 hours. It all worked today, I will try it again on my next long run and if it works twice in a row, that would be sweet. I also want to throw in a Peanut Butter sandwich when I get over 20 miles to see how that settles. I know if I am going to go beyond the 50k distance, I will probably need more than electrolyte and blocks.

One thing I am sure about is that winter is now here for good, although I would be totally fine if I am wrong. I took a few pictures with the camera phone, they don't really do justice but I figured they were still worth posting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Running Goals - revisited

I received some great comments with regards to my recent "running goals" post and I decided to make a post off of the comments, followed up by my new training regiment, here goes.

As a reminder these were my updated 2009 specific running goals:
  • Get Healthy and Stay there
  • Lose Weight
  • Get Stronger
  • Run a 50 miler
These goals will not happen next year but will in a few years.
  • Run a 100k
  • Run a 100 miler?
  • Run a marathon (or beyond) in all 50 states by 60
  • Run a marathon in under 4 hours
Londell said... To much thought for me... I like the 50 then 100 thoughts... I say go for Superior 50 as that is the last 50 of the 100 so the following year trying to take that beast means you already know the second half?

That's exactly what I was thinking, if I do the 50 this year, plan on the 100 next year, the 50 should be familiar. Of course I am assuming that my brain works during a 100 after 50 miles and that I will be able to remember back to the previous year.


SteveQ said... Don't try Superior for your first 100 unless you do the 50 first and finish it saying, "Gee, I wish I could do that for another 24 hours - in the dark, with blisters."

I can't follow Steve's advice as I have never finished any running event thinking I wish I could run farther. I usually am saying "never again" but I do get his point. I think I program myself to the distance of the day and keep moving until the end happens. I will be curious to test this method at the 50 mile distance next year.


MN Ultra Runner said... My first thought was to make Superior 100 your first. Odds of finishing versus other races is much lower, but who cares? It happened to me this year and I realized it wasn't that big a deal. If I fail again then it might be time to start thinking about an easier course;)

I agree with Adam, who cares, if Superior is harder than most other events in the Midwest, why not take it on. If I fail so be it but if I target it and train for it over the next year and a half, I should be able to get myself ready both mentally and physically.

Matthew Patten said... I think any 100 is a very personal thing. I am not sure it makes sense to worry more about if one is harder than another (within reason).

They are all hard.

I have come up with a "removing road blocks" theory. Spend your time training at removing road blocks (taking certain things out of the equation).

For me, a major road block is heat. Superior is almost always cool, so I removed that road block. My margin of error was reduced.

I spent a bunch of nights running until I could not run any more. The road block was not removed, but reduced in size. The night was fun at SST for except for about 2 hours.

Look at the road blocks you can control - Weight (body fat), basic endurance strength, fueling & hydration, clothing & comfort, plus a few others. If you completely have these under control, other issues are less likely to destroy your race. If you don't control all of these issues, once another one pops up, you are toast.

That's my 2 cents.

I say go for it, but get a couple of 50's in you first.

I like Matt's advice. I can control losing weight, committing to a training program, running at night and many other things to get myself ready. For example, this past year, I was able to run multiple hot weather events without getting dehydrated, yes I ran them slower than I may have liked but I avoided being stupid and gained confidence in my fueling/hydration methods. I also trained even more on trails and then ran some trail 50k's. So his point is well taken, with training comes confidence, with confidence, success will follow.

So what do I want to do to get there? I have decided to focus initially on a two fold approach to training or said more accurately, removing the first of many road blocks.

The first part of the program is to commit to 20 minutes a day of exercise. Why 20 minutes, well, I think that it is an achievable minimum regardless of the curves life throws at me. What qualifies as exercise, pretty much anything that gets me off of my butt. So walking, running, snowshoeing, biking, skiing, weightlifting, floor exercises would all be fine.

How will it work, since I expect to meet my 20 minute commitment 7 days a week, I will grade myself on a monthly basis. So if I workout 20 of 30 days, I score a 67% on meeting my commitment. Each month, I will work to achieve 100%. That way if I do get off track, I can correct it and not worry about my specific race training being affected directly or dishonoring a commitment to myself. I will update this as a stat weekly on my blog.

The second part (even as my body absorbs the Thanksgiving food) is that I am starting a new diet. What type, well one that will suit me. I call it my veggie/fruit/soup/nut/oatmeal diet. I will pack my lunch for work and eat an improved breakfast both that will utilize the above items. I will eat normal with the family at dinner but will again emphasis the above. I will make sure that these items become my snacks as well. The basic premise is, do I eat a Clif Bar at 250 calories or do I eat 2 apples or a bag of carrots? This way I replace easy to eat quickly foods with foods that will take longer to eat. As part of this effort, I will track calories and will adjust the intake as needed to lose weight. I figure if I start working on it in December, I will be able to adjust in January as needed and be well underway to reduce weight.

Officially, I will start the exercise and diet training program on December 1st.

I hope all had a Happy Thanksgiving, I know that I feel blessed to have a great family and good health and I look forward to a committed training program that will allow me to have another great year of running in 2009.............


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Retrospective: Marathons of 1995

1995

Wow, 1995 is a long time back. It was going to be my year, no doubt about it I was going sub 4 this year. I was focused at running my fastest Grandma's ever.

My first race of the year was the Winter Carnival, I had an ok day a 1:54:50 1/2 marathon which I was happy with, why, well first off my calf had held together, second I ran an even split race. I had always wondered what that was like. I then ran the St. Pat's 8k in 37:30, not a great time but considering I had ran 12 miles the day before I was quite pleased. I again ran a rock solid consistent pace, I had hopes of picking it up the last mile or so but the tank was empty but I held my pace.

I continued to get the miles in and I was starting to feel real confident about my body holding together. Next up, was the Get in Gear. A 10k PR of 45:02, held pace fairly well. On to a half marathon on New Prague, again the day went well a 1:46:35, sub 4 was in sight. I proceeded to train very well, I looked forward to Grandma's

Grandmas
I got to Duluth and I was ready, the injuries of 94 were behind me, I felt great. I was sitting at the Ford dealer and was actually almost cocky. Scott came over to talk with me and noticed I was drinking some Ultima. I said, it was my day a little electrolyte would be just what I needed. He was surprised as normally I wouldn't drink anything ahead of a race. The race began and I started clicking off the miles, it was going to be my day. I felt good, right, well not quite right, but I couldn't figure out what was bugging me then at mile 3, they started, severe stomach cramps. Not the diarrhea type but more like pain. What was going on, I had to walk, the cramp seemed to subside, I took back off, they returned. I tried to run through it, they doubled me up. What was I going to do, I was 4 miles in, 22 miles more like this? I decided to just do it, I ran, I walked, I cried, I finished in 4:34 minutes, what a terrible day. What had caused the cramps? A very disappointing day.

I got right back into training and didn't have any issues so I figured that Grandma's must've been a fluke. Next race was at the end of July, the Rosemount Run for the Gold. This year I was running with Kristin, actually she was going to be in the baby jogger. Race morning came and so did diarrhea, what a lousy way to start a day. I thought I was still ok to run and decided to run the 1 mile race which proceeds the 4 miler. I left Kristin with Karyn who was manning a water stop with our oldest daughter Katie and her Girl Scout troop. I ran a decent mile in 6:05, actually a PR since I couldn't ever remember running a timed mile before. The 4 mile race went fine, we finished in 31:30 and Kristin got a lot of smiles. So a lousy start but a couple of decent races. The next day I was sick, I spent the day sleeping. Monday - sick, Tuesday - sick. Wednesday - went back to work, ran with Kristin, Thursday - diarrhea continued, Friday the same. I felt better on Saturday and got a run in, ran again Sunday and then on Tuesday. Wednesday it was back, sick again. Slept all day Thursday, Friday back to work, not normal. Ran Saturday and Sunday. Monday seemed ok, Tuesday it was back, Wednesday to the Doctor. Thursday felt better, went to work, Friday felt tired but got in a run. We left on a short vacation to Bemidji, on Saturday it came back and I vaguely remember being at Itasca State Park and laying on a picnic table in agony as well as staying in the car. Sunday no better, Monday it continues, Tuesday it's diagnosed. Antibiotics started. Turns out I had Giardia and Kristin and Karyn had it as well. We were not sure how we got it but finally figured out that it must have come from when we stayed in Austin, MN over Memorial day. We had stayed at a Holiday Inn and Kristin had played in a wading pool without filtration and our guess is that is where we got it. Over the course of August, I lost about 12 pounds and had gotten fairly weak. I had signed up for the Woodbury 1/2 and since I had been antibiotics for 4 days, I figured I would be fine. I was feeling light and quick and of course went out too quick. No stamina.

I ran the Jesse James Days 15k race a few weeks later, it went well and I was slowly getting my strength back.

Twin Cities
The day of the race arrived and my plan was to go out slow, enjoy the day. I knew that my stamina was still not quite right so I figured a slow pace would be a good idea. I floated through the course, it was cool and actually a beautiful day. I was feeling good so after going under 35W I decided to pick it up a bit more it went ok and I started thinking in the back of my mind that maybe if I could keep picking it up I might have a chance at a sub 4. I did the math and it was possible but I was going to have to run a fast final 8 miles. I made it to St. Thomas but was out of gas, I did the math again and figured I couldn't make it. I went ahead and did the best I could and finished in 4:02:33 which matched my best time ever. I couldn't believe that I ran a marathon best in the exact same time as I had run Grandma's in 93.

1995 was an interesting year, expected to PR in my first marathon, disaster struck instead, in my second marathon, I almost PR'd without really trying...............

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recent runs.........

My last couple of weeks of running have been fairly similar, think about it during the week, maybe make it out, run Saturday and Sunday. I have kind of adapted this routine as the work, life, health, motivation, running balance was in need of attention.

Work - we are doing a minor org change, good news - more authority, bad news - more responsibilities, all in all I think it will work itself out. The good news is that I have a job I enjoy and since I work in the med device industry, I think I may have it longer than some and the org things are almost resolved.

Life - a couple of things on this front, the first was we had a need to buy a car. I am selling my old car to my daughter as she needs a car for her upcoming internship. We decided to buy a used car that would basically be a commuter car for me and one that would be safe for my youngest daughter to practice with as she heads towards her license next fall. That had the normal stress of dealing with car dealers but thankfully the Internet made it pretty easy.

The second thing is my Father-in-law had a kidney transplant, it went very well and is working, (the kidney was donated by one of my wife's brothers, the surgery was on Friday down in Chicago) and we continue to pray for his return to good health as well as for her brother's quick recovery from his donation. It's one of those things that just keeps going through your head. Life is precious, appreciate your health and your loved ones.

Health - the foot is tender and I figured a few more off days than normal might be a good idea.

Motivation - for me this equals my next race, no committed race until Chippewa so I am working on this.

Running - health and motivation affect this as does the life and work issues, the bottom line is I did get a few runs in and they all helped my mental health. Some were slow, some were slower, some were short, some were longer, they were all enjoyable. Take today's run in Lebanon Hills, I was on the backside of Jensen lake and what did I see running across the ice but a coyote. I have seen an occasional one in Lebanon Hills but they are pretty shy and I usually only see them once or twice a year. One of the reasons I love running trails is the animals I see, it sure beats seeing cars, people and pavement.

So to sum up the last few weeks, the foot is no worse (nor better), a car got purchased, work is getting calmer and the motivation is getting pretty close to getting itself resolved. We are thankful for the successful surgery (and pray for it's continued success) and will look forward to catching up with family and friends over the holidays.

So it's time to work on the training plan for the winter and next year....................

Friday, November 21, 2008

Running Goals.......

I am debating what I want to accomplish in my running for next year so I decided to focus first on my life running goals. So I took a look at what I had posted last year:

Running Goals as of 2008
  • Run a marathon (or beyond) in all 50 states by 60
  • Run a marathon in under 4 hours
  • Run a 50k
  • Run a 50 miler
  • Run a 100k
  • Run a 100 miler?
  • Qualify for Boston?
  • Run 50 marathons then go for 100
I accomplished one of my goals this year, I ran a 50k (actually three) and I have reviewed the remaining goals which has led me to reconsider a couple of them. Why, well, they no longer interest me

The first goal I deleted was "Qualifying for Boston", why, too many runners, to lazy to work hard enough to get the time, it's on pavement and the reality is I would rather run a marathon (or beyond) trail race in Massachusetts then deal with "Boston".

The second goal deleted was "Run 50 marathons then go for 100", why? Well, what difference does the number of marathons matter? So I will track them but why limit myself to 50 then 100, why not 200?

So here are the goals I will carry over for 2009:

Run a marathon (or beyond) in all 50 states by 60
Continue to click off states - goal is 4 more states for 2009 which would bring my total to 12 states. Probable states for 2009 - Illinois and Kansas. Other possibilities might be Michigan, Nebraska, Kentucky, South Dakota and/or Indiana.
Run a marathon in under 4 hours
If it happens fine but I think this goal will be 2011 or beyond because although I would like to go sub 4, I think I will focus more on the next 3 goals a lot more.

Run a 50 miler
Run at least one 50 miler in 2009, this is the main goal, I am thinking McNaughton and Superior with Glacial as the last resort or my third one for the year :-)

Run a 100k
May or may not happen in 2009 (maybe Kettle Moraine or Wild Duluth?)

Run a 100 miler?

Plan to do in 2010, do I just go for Superior or do I do a couple other ones first?

I have added a few more goals to my internal list but haven't decided to post them on my blog goal list, why, can't answer that, but here they are:

Get Healthy and Stay there
Working on the foot, will work on stretching, improving core and will
carefully consider continuing to run through injuries?

Lose Weight
Plan to do in 2009

Get Stronger
Plan to do in 2009 by lifting weights, working on core, floor exercises, hill workouts, speed sessions, I just need to get healthy to be able to work harder.

So will I follow through on my goals for 2009, you bet, I have found by writing things into the blog that it helps me to focus and to get back on track when I get off track (notice I say when, not if). If I tell my family what I want to do that helps and it helps me get their support to follow me to most of the races. I may tell my co-workers at least a few of my running goals and that will keep me on track as well.

Now I will start to focus on my 2009 races but I will hold off on publishing my list until Christmas. I can think of nothing better to give myself for Christmas than a list of race possibilities except maybe signing up for about 5 or 6 them. So all I want for Christmas is .........................

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter approaches..........

Normally as winter approaches I dread it, it's dark, it's cold, there's snow, paths are icy, and it seems to go on forever, it's depressing.

No matter how long I live in Minnesota, I will never ever get used to winter, it starts around Halloween and usually is over by around April Fool's day. Back in southern Indiana, winter would start maybe by Thanksgiving, for sure by Christmas and it would usually be over by early March and Groundhogs day had meaning, you know 2 or 6 more weeks of winter (Mid February to mid March).
I only remember one winter in the 25+years we have lived in Minnesota where it ended in March (definition of ending would be no snow, sunshine, short sleeve/shorts running weather).

What used to get to me the most was the darkness and the snow together. I think I could have dealt with either one but together they would bum me out big time. But as I head into this winter season they no longer concern me, at least not as much they used to. Why because I am now a card carrying member of the trail running/ultra community. What's that got to do with anything, I have been a trail runner for years so what did ultra running teach me, well through the ultra community I know now that I can run in snow (thanks to Chippewa) and how to use a headlamp to run trails in the dark.

This summer I started thinking about doing a 50 miler and then one day a 100 miler to do either I need to run in the dark.
When I first read about doing a 50 the race information said that you started in the dark and depending on your time you might finish in the dark, it kind of freaked me out. I remember reading Matt's posts this summer about heading out to Afton and running all night, I thought at the time he was nuts, today it doesn't seem that strange.

So as winter approaches, I am only concerned with will my hydration pack freeze and how long will my headlamp last when the temps go sub zero. I am starting to look at early spring races and for the first time as winter approaches I feel I am equipped to deal with it and will keep my focus to train well through it. Yes I would still prefer the summer heat and the bugs but today, darkness, cold, snow, ice no longer have the same sting.......



Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back running again?

Last week I said I was committed and motivated to run, commitment and motivation are funny things and for me unfortunately they aren't always enough.

I was thinking after my run last Saturday that I was ready to commit to a training program that would lead me to my first 50 miler. The commitment ended the next day when my foot hurt too much to run. I went ahead and did the research on the injury and I am fairly certain that it is a similar injury to what I had back in 99 which was a tendon issue, the pain is on the longitudinal arch area at the point where it connects behind the big toe. I figured a few days off were appropriate and besides I had the answer to my foot dilemma, it's the solution I always use, get new shoes. When that doesn't work, then I might go to a Doctor but I have found that new shoes and ICE (Ice, Compression and Elevation - I don't like to do the Rest part and some Doctors seem to always start there, actually I am not that good on the Ice part either, oh well). So Sunday morning, after looking at them for months, I ordered a pair of Montrail Continental Divides from BackCountry Outlet (with a 40% off coupon from CouponCabin, I am glad Karyn taught me to look for on-line coupons) for $62.97 with free shipping. I would prefer to buy shoes at my local running stores but with trail shoes I just haven't been able to find any that seem right and most of the running stores don't have a lot of selection.

I ran on Thursday in my Mercury's and the foot was still sore during the run and sorer the next day but on Friday my shoes arrived. So Saturday Karyn and I went for a run along the river bottom, the Continental Divide's seemed a bit stiff but they definitely seemed to cradle the sore arch and I had a relatively normal run. So feeling cocky, I ran today in Lebanon Hills, I was feeling good as well, I was able to climb hills without much pain. The foot is sore but I am hopeful that the shoes will offer some protection, otherwise I will have to get in but the last time I went in for this, I had to take weeks off so I am thinking that shoes, ice, massage and being careful will take care of it. Yes, I should rest it as much as I can but I have run through injuries for years and will probably continue to do so. I am not sure why but it is my nature. Steve had a recent post concerning running through injuries and I saw myself - here is the section that caught my attention:

When shouldn't you run on an injury?

If the pain gets worse the further you go, you shouldn't be running. If the injury makes you change your gait, you shouldn't run. If you start getting other injuries because you're babying the injury, you shouldn't run. If you have a fever of 102 or more, you shouldn't run.

After reading it again, I realized I am ok, I have never run with a fever of 102.

Yes, running through injuries have allowed me to become slower but I still love running and minor injuries are normal. So now that I know I am ok to continue to train, I figured I should get back to planning races so I went back and scoped out McNaughton, I saw the registration link on the left side, not sure how I missed it before and I now have a timeline. I need to sign-up for McNaughton by December 31st to avoid another increase in fees.

So I am back to thinking I am heading to my first 50 at McNaughton, so the goal will be to develop a workout/diet routine that helps me lose weight, gain strength, train and become injury free by year end, I love simple goals..............

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Overdue Concert Review

A few weeks back, ok it was actually a month, since it was October 18th, my wife and I attended a concert to see my favorite female singer - Martina McBride.

My girls had given us tickets to attend as my birthday present, what a great gift. She was playing at Treasure Island Casino in Red Wing, Minnesota, we had never been to Treasure Island or in any casinos in Minnesota, suffice to say it was an interesting experience. I wasn't sure what to expect for the venue but I knew it was smaller, the acoustics were good the seating was ok, not quite what I expected - fold up chairs and bleachers. It turned out it was her last stop on her tour and she was great as always. If you have never heard her sing, she has a phenomenal voice (or at least I think she does). She sang for a couple of hours and got through a lot of her songs but left a few off, she did go off her normal play list once and then forgot the words, it was a funny moment. I have never seen that happen before and she handled it quite well. She also sang her new song "Ride" which I just stumbled upon on YouTube which is what prompted me to figure out how to post a video from YouTube as it was recorded at the Treasure Island concert. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thinking about next year still........

I ran with Karyn today along the river bottom, not a great weather day but my guess is it will be about as good as it gets until March, that is not a pleasant thought.

We decided to shorten up our normal run to about a 9 mile run. Karyn is nursing a muscle strain and I my foot. We entered the bottoms back behind the Sibley house (not too far from the Mendota Bridge) and ran past the 494 bridge a mile or so until it got real muddy and then we turned around.

This was my first run since Murphy and I was pleasantly surprised. The legs felt good, the foot is sore. It felt better before I ran so I will need to continue to ice it and wrap it. I could take time off but I need to run for a number of reasons.

The first reason is my mental health, running is a release. I always feel better after a run. The second reason is my weight, if I don't run, I might gain weight. Since I haven't really worked on it, my plan is to focus on it with a goal of losing another 11 pounds by March 1. Not an overly aggressive goal but a realization of my holiday/winter malaise that normally gets me off track. Why 11 pounds because that will put me under 200, which would be a good place to be once again. I have been at 210 since the end of summer which is good and bad. Good I didn't gain, bad I didn't work to lose. The third reason to run is I am about 85% committed to McNaughton as my first 50 miler. Why 85%, well I went to their website and I didn't see an entry form or dates to enter and the way it works for me is that until the entry is sent in, I can't move it to my committed category with the exception of Surf the Murph, if Les and Cindy bring it back for next year, I will be there.

So tomorrow I will run again as I am now committed to officially start my training for next year, the only question is which will be my first event and exactly what is my training program, always a few things to work on..............

Monday, November 3, 2008

Time to plan for next year........

My running events for the year are complete, it's time to let the body heal and start to plan for next year. Looking back I did do a few races, 4 marathons, 3 50k's and a 1/2 marathon. The day after Murph I was sore, a bit of left foot pain, some left knee and hip pain, right side of the body felt good, mental state was great but overall I was feeling it. This 50k probably took more out of me physically then any other event for the year.

So the question is what do I next year? Do I focus on getting more states? Do I focus on my first 50? Do I do both? Do I figure out a training plan and follow it? Do I add cross training? Do I focus on losing weight? What to do?

As to races, I have signed up for Chippewa and will do Surf the Murph again but what else? I plan (hope) to do the Superior 50 in 2009 but that is predicated on getting in some training, staying healthy and having the family calendar line up with no conflicts as I will need their support to take on Superior.

Right now, I have identified a few races that have captured my interest, I am leaning towards either Clinton Lake or McNaughton Park Trail to take care of Illinois. Clinton Lake is just a 30 miler so it's real doable and is March 28th, perfect for building up to Chippewa, McNaughton would be a 50 and is on April 11th. What I love about McNaughton is that there is basically no time limit for it, you have 34 hours which is what they give the 100 milers and even today I think I can do that. What a great race to take the time limit pressure off for my first 50, I would just go and keep moving, one loop at a time. The problem from a training standpoint is that McNaughton is two weeks ahead of Chippewa, could I recover from it and still do ok at Chippewa? I think so but having never gone that far, I really don't know.

Another race that I am considering is the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k on February 14th which would take care of Kansas. I am not sure if that will work out with logistics or not but I like the timing as I would have to pretty much keep on training as we head into winter. I like that as I always train best when I have a race pending. There is also the Rockin K Trail Marathon and 50 miler on April 4th which sounds appealing.

See my dilemma, if I chose the Rockin K then Clinton Lake and McNaughton would be out. There are also a couple of races in Kentucky in February and March that look good. Then if I don't do McNaughton as my first 50, which one will I do or do I just target Superior? Ice Age is out, my daughter has a soccer tournament, Kettle Moraine might be problematic as well for soccer and they don't have a 50 miler, it would either be 38 miles or a 100k or I could lose my mind and try their 100 miler. Or do I go after states and try to click off a few marathons? There is the Grand Island Trail Marathon in Michigan, Deadwood in South Dakota, Bohemian Alps 50k in Nebraska, Gnaw Bone 50k/50 miler or Tecumseh Trail in Indiana.

What to do?

All I know is that I love this, the planning that is, as one running year winds down you immediately start planning for next year, now if I could only get as motivated for the training...................

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Surf the Murph - Unexpected Experiences.......

Some days you get up, get ready, show up and everything goes exactly as planned. This morning did not quite go as planned.

I got up at 5, so that worked fine, got ready, that went well, arrived at Murphy around 6:15, picked up my packet (flawless execution by Les, Cindy and their team). I received a nice technical long sleeve shirt, I needed that. So my morning was going great, I have been training fairly well in Murphy and I thought I had had a decent taper for it, so what was I expecting but my 50k PR, now that wasn't actually asking for too much since there was no snow (Chippewa), no heat (Afton), I thought I had everything teed up. That's about when Murphy showed up, no not the park, Murphy's Law, if you aren't familiar here you go:

Murphy's Laws

  1. If anything can go wrong, it will.
  2. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.
  3. If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
  4. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
  5. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  6. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
So what happened, well I finished getting ready, put on my shoes, gaiters, hat, jacket and gloves (decided against pants - figured I would be fine in shorts) as the temp seemed to be in the upper 30's and it was supposed to be getting warmer, grabbed my lights, put on the Nathan and headed to the start line.

Les (I think) gave us the instructions. I was getting my NikeIpod+ ready so I was kind of zoned at and was at the back of the pack so I figured I wouldn't have too much to wrry about, so right at 7, we were off, I pushed the time on my HR monitor, pushed the center button on my Ipod to start the time/distance and immediately recognised a few logistic issues. The HR monitor didn't start as I had left the chest strap in the car, the Ipod froze. I debated going back to get the HR monitor but chose not to, I had intended to run at a prescribed HR pace as that's how I did my training. I figured I could get by for one loop without it. I instead focused on rebooting my Ipod, I could not get it to reboot, I took off one of my gloves, no success, took off the other glove, it still wouldn't reboot. So I glanced at my watch and said I guess I will go by it. Since I was fooling around with everything I stayed at the back of the pack, talked to Les, I think he mentioned he would the sweeper for the course, the pace was slower than I wanted so I decided to move around a few folks. All was going well, I had moved into a nice spot, all alone and no visible lights in front of me and I was starting to pull away from those behind me. I was stoked, even though the start was a bit more stressful, I was doing ok. I was in Murphy, there were stars in the sky, it was a beautiful morning and had the makings of a great day.

I proceeded around the course, I was so content as I knew everywhere we were headed. As I went up the a hill by about #3, I got my Ipod to reboot, set the button to start recording time and distance and then selected my podcasts but they didn't start. No, what else was going to go wrong, then I remembered that if I selected shuffle songs, it would normally work and it did. I decided to go ahead and listen to music for awhile and settled into a nice rhythm I flew down the #4 hill, made it up the #6 hill with no damage except when I tried to get a drink from my Nathan and I couldn't get anything out. I must made a lot of weird noises as I struggled to drink, as a women in front of me turned around, I muttered I couldn't get anything out of my Nathan. She then stopped and asked me if I needed a drink and then I got it working but what a nice thing to do. I do like my camelbak's mouthpiece better than the Nathan's. Oh, I should mention that this was my first drink, so much for taking a drink every 15-20 minutes. But I didn't sweat it as I still felt good and I quickly got back on track, heading towards the first manned aid station.

I talked to another runner whose name now escapes me, does anyone else have memory issues during and after long runs? He was from LaCrosse, I think, we ended up running together for the next few miles and into the aide station.

I floated on through the first aide station, there were other runners there but with my trusty Nathan I was in good shape, except that with all of the messing around with the Ipod and the Nathan, I had forgotten to take any S-Caps so I quickly took one. About then, I had a slight misstep, and got a fairly intense pain in my left arch, it felt exactly like it did in August. I kind of ignored it and hoped that it would be like an ankle roll and get better over time. I made it up the #14 hill, the pain seemed to sticking around so I decided to make a strategic stop to my car and switch shoes. I was running in my Vasque Mercury's and was switching to my Vasque Velocity's. The Velocity's have more support so I was hoping that would help the arch. I was also going to grab my HR strap. I would have worn them from the start except they have about 550 miles (the Mercury's have 150) on them and I normally only get 300-400 miles out of a pair of shoes.

I made it past the start/finish line and noted my time was around 1:3x something, opened up the car, switched shoes, decided to drop the stocking cap and grab my old Grandma's hat. I checked my Nathan, plenty of fluid so I was off again. The Velocity's did help as I left the aide station and I was getting back my confidence. Oh blank, I had forgotten the HR strap, ok, run the 2nd loop without it. I met up with another runner named Steve, he said he had run his first 50k the weekend before and decided to run the Murph as he felt good. We talked for awhile, he mentioned many of the blogs he reads, he commented on Helen and how amazing she was, Julie Berg and how she had qualified for Boston, we discussed that neither of us were in love with Grandma's or TCM's polices concerning Ipods. I like my podcasts. We continued to chat about family, running and many other things. He mentioned what he was drinking I commented on my love affair with Clif Shot Electrolyte Crisp Apple and he said I know who you are, I read your blog too, I can't believe people read my blog but then again I do follow 30 or more so who knows, anyway I was flattered. BTW, the Runners Gate (in Lakeville) did have my electrolyte and they do give the MDRA discount so I wanted to correct that since last post I said I didn't think they did, I didn't ask about MN-DRS but will next time I go in.

We proceeded through the northern section and I was trying to ignore the foot pain but it was getting to me. I told Steve to take off with the runner from Lacrosse, wish I could remember his name and they quickly moved ahead of me. I made it to the aide station, I think Adam was there, I should have introduced myself, maybe next time. Onto a totally random subject, I got to take leadership training this week for work and I now know that I am not "anti-social", I just like autonomy. If you read their description of autonomy, it said things like - likes to work alone, lead projects not people, creative, likes to solve hard problems, of course one of the negative traits they mentioned was may appear to be anti-social.

Anyway, back to Murph, did I say yet how beautiful the day was becoming, wow. I couldn't believe it, what a day on November 1st in MN, a fall day instead of a winter day. As I left the aide station, my foot was throbbing, not good. I was still running fairly well so I decided to ignore it one more time. The #14 hill really caught my attention, the foot did not like it at all. I caught up to another runner who was limping, he said his IT band was causing some serious pain so he was stopping at the 25k point. I thought about it as I moved away from him, should I stop, the foot was not getting better and I was starting to have hip pain, probably from compensating. I decided to make the call at the aide station, I got there around 10:30, ran into a co-worker (Paul) who had done the 25k. We talked for a bit. He asked how I was doing, I said ok then mentioned to him that my foot was a bit sore but it was such a nice day, I was continuing on. I stopped at the car again, dropped off the jacket and walked over to the aide station. Talked to Paul for awhile longer and he walked with me onto the course, said our goodbyes and I was off again.

I was having more pain on the hills then I wanted. It wasn't bad enough that they were steep but they were killing the foot. I was having to stop halfway up the hill for the pain to subside. I was having serious thoughts about cutting back to the start and calling it a day. I then did a reality check, was I here to PR or to enjoy myself? I decided to enjoy myself, I want to do a 50 next year, if I am going to do that then I need to manage these bad moments or I will never get it done.

I stopped and looked at one of the lakes, what a beautiful day and what a nice park, did I say that already?

I hobbled up the #6 hill, have I mentioned that I don't like that hill? I was getting passed by the front runners throughout this loop, they all gave me encouragement. You don't see that in road races. After that hill though I was able to get into a bit more of a running motion. I made it to the aide station, talked to a women there who said she lived in Lakeville and had done the 25k. We both agreed that Murphy is a special place. I mentioned my foot, yes I was getting preoccupied with it. About then I heard some other runners coming into the aide station, I didn't recognize any of them until I saw Les's coat, oh no, I was about to get passed by them and he said he was sweeping the course. That got me out of there quickly and motivated me for the remainder of the day. I got through the 3rd loop, it was tough, took about 2 hours and 10 minutes, I think.

Onto the 4th loop, a simple task stay ahead of Les and don't get swept. As I approached the dreaded #6 hill, I was running ok and was enjoying myself. I saw a gorgeous blue jay and the a bright red cardinal, I stopped and watched them for 10 or 15 seconds, last weekend in Murphy I had seen a huge red headed woodpecker, I looked around for it but didn't see it, back to running. I got a call from my daughter asking how I was doing, I said fine but probably didn't sound great. I had talked with my wife while I was on loop 2, it was nice to talk with both of them. Ok back to that hill, it about did me in, I had to stop 4 times going up it. I think in the future I will always run Murphy counter-clockwise to avoid it, I wonder if I can get Les to change the course :-). I ran ok through the back stretch, a few stops because of the foot but nothing too bad and made it again into the horse park aide station. I talked to the women from Lakeville again and another guy who was there asked if I had seen Wayne N., I said that I didn't know him and yes it was possible he was behind me (more likely ahead) but about then Les and his small group came in and Wayne was with them. That got me out of the aide station and I worked my way through the remaining 2.5 miles without disaster and yes I did stay ahead of Les but not by much.

So was this a good day or a bad day?

In the past I would have been bummed big time, I would have felt like a failure, to be so far off of my goal, I had wanted to finish in no more than 7 :30 hours and I felt that a 7:15 was possible and I ended up finishing I think, around 7:50 (7:46 was my official time) as my Ipod had quit after 4:51 and 21 miles), not sure exactly so I will need to wait for the official results . And I would have beat myself over the foot, you know maybe the foot really wasn't that bad, I should have pushed through it more.

My answer is, this was a very good day. A very good day indeed, yes, I made mistakes, I had some Murphy encounters, I struggled at times but I got through it and enjoyed myself. I met Les, Wayne and many others and got to enjoy for almost 8 hours one of the metro's more beautiful regional parks on probably the nicest November day I have ever seen since we moved to Minnesota. One last thought, "Surf the Murph" will definitely be on my calendar for next year, thank you Les, Cindy and volunteers for putting on a great event............

Monday, October 27, 2008

Which way at the Murph?

I ran in Murphy on Sunday (interesting weather day) and ran the course in the clockwise (CW) direction, I was hoping that I would be faster than my counter-clockwise (CCW) direction.

The result is in and it doesn't matter which way I go, on Sunday I ran it CW in 1:49, my Ipod+ said it was 8.49 miles and my previous run going CCW was a 1:50, Ipod+ said 8.75 miles. Now, what was interesting was the distance from the horse parking lot to the main parking lot, my Ipod+ showed it at 2.55 miles which seemed to track to the distance after the second water stop, except that would mean it was 6 miles from the main lot to the horse lot (instead of 5.3 if my Ipod+ was equally accurate - which it may not be). All things considered, the distance doesn't matter to me as I figure it is what is and if we go 31 or 33 miles it will still be fun and I will still be at the back of the pack.

I will admit it was fun going the CW direction on Sunday as it was a nice change of pace from my other runs, what I noted was I was sheltered a bit from the wind and sleet, snow, rain mixture. So if it is windy it won't be terrible for us running, now the aid station folks might have it tougher. There are still a lot of leaves on the ground some of which cover rocks and ruts. Maybe the wind blew them all out before it subsided :-). There are sections that I can't run (at least not for 4 loops) as my walking and running speeds would converge and my HR got up to 150+ walking after I stopped the running. The uphills I remember the most are the #6 hill and #14/13 hill, the downhill I liked was the #4 hill, sure beat going the other way but don't worry there are many more in both directions. There are a few sandy sections which may slow you a little bit but not a lot and sufficient horse droppings, rocks and ruts that you should probably keep your eyes on the trails.

So with the final run at Murphy complete, I patiently await the Surf the Murph 50k.......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last Weather Update for the Murph.........

I was just checking today's weather to see if the wind was going to calm down before I head to Murphy (it's not so I will see how Murph does in the wind) when I noticed Saturday's forecast from weather.com:

Saturday - Nov 1 - Partly Cloudy - 48° High - 10% chance of precip

That is only 12 degrees different from Accuweather.

and so I checked the Weather Underground:

Saturday - Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of rain. Highs around 55.

So I think I get it now, they don't really know, so I won't check anymore and my plan will be to open the door on Saturday morning and take a look outside and plan accordingly.

Weather for the Murph and a few minor problems....

Let's see on Tuesday they said 35 and snow, Thursday 51 and rain, now look at the forecast, a 25+ degree swing in less than five days. Weather forecasting accuracy in a microcosm :-)

Saturday, Nov 1
High: 60
Save Now
°F RealFeel®: 51 °F
Clouds limiting sun






One problem I may have is that I have been running the course backwards. I have been running my loops counterclockwise. I was reading on Andrew's blog (he has a good post on Murphy with pictures) that he thought we are heading out clockwise, does it matter, yes. I think (hope) clockwise will be easier, so today I am going to head over and run 1 loop clockwise. I will probably find out it is harder but I will be ready regardless of which way we head.

Good to know today as if I had gotten there Saturday morning and saw we were going the opposite way I would have had a minor freak out. If we do go this way, it will make running in the dark a little easier as the trail is wider, the only problem outside of rocks and ruts will be the bridge over the swampland. It's wide enough to not be an issue just a matter of getting on it and staying on it. This does mean we will be climbing the hill from 6 to 7 versus going down it, it is a fairly steep hill, I think I will like going up it more than going down.

This has been an easy week of running as work, life things along with the need to recover have been my agenda. I will only have 3 days of running this week and will plan on only probably 2 runs next week ahead of Murph. I am hoping this will be an ok taper not a step backwards. I would like to hit this race strong both physically and mentally, so time will tell.

On yesterday's run I tried Heed Mandarin Orange Sports Drink (free samples) instead of my normal Clif Shot Electrolyte Crisp Apple. I decided to try it as I am out of Clif Shot and thought the Heed might work ok which is my other problem for the Murph. The problem with the Clif Shot is that it is hard to find in town where as I see Heed in all of the running stores, I normally have been buying my Clif Shot from Amazon at $12/container (a sale price that comes and goes on Amazon - limit of 2) versus the normal $22. Sometimes the Runners Gate in Lakeville has it but you pay full price (no MDRA or MN-DRS discounts) and it's the sometimes part that is problematic. Suffice to say that I did not like the Heed, I am in a rut and will need to get some Clif Shot before Murph. It probably doesn't help that it was orange flavored as I still have memories of throwing up after eating an orange and drinking some orange flavored Gatorade after the Pineline Marathon years ago. I have avoided orange flavored drinks ever since and will continue to do so going forward. My plan is to use my Nathan at Murph and to have an extra bladder filled and ready to go so my hydration will be easy to manage. Now I just have to find my Clif Shot Electrolyte this week, I guess it gives me something to do as we are just 6 days out...............

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Improving forecast and perspective adjustment............

Starting to look real good.

Saturday, Nov 1
High: 51 °F RealFeel®: 44 °F
Periods of rain






I was at the dentist the other day and got a nice dose of perspective and having read many recent blogs (Karen, Londell) they helped focus even more. I often have lamented about my speed and my abilities, specifically my lack there of, which I attribute to age, weight and the most important thing, training.

My dentist broke his hip downhill skiing which led to many operations and finally a hip replacement. He had only started running a few years earlier, we had talked about running marathons and then his running was done. I was talking to his wife about it and she asked me if he had asked about my running and I said yes, she said that not being able to run was still the hardest thing for him to face. So having given it a bit of thought, I love that I can run, maybe one day I will run better but today I appreciate the fact that I can run period.

So as I think about Surf the Murph, I say bring on the weather as I intend to enjoy every step and every minute that God allows me to take it all in...................




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