Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Running podcasts, Dave Ramsey. and Sunday sermons.......

What do running podcasts, Dave Ramsey and Sunday sermons have in common?

I listen to them on my long runs, I used to listen to music but after a few hours I would rip the headphones off and continue as they always bugged me. A few months back, I was listening to a Running with the Pack podcast (at home) and one of the hosts mentioned running with music or listening to podcasts while running. If I remember right, he basically said music good, podcast bad. I thought music bad, maybe podcast good?

Well the next day I had a long run and I decided to try the podcast route. Of course it took me a while to figure out how to get my Ipod to play multiple podcasts, which as an engineer was a bit irritating . I had to google it. I would love to intertwine music with podcasts but haven't figured that out, maybe another google effort as I am sure it has been done.

Anyway, I loaded up the Ipod with a variety of stuff and headed out.

I listened to Pheddipidations, Running with the Reaper, Confessions of a Runner, Running in the center of the universe, Zenrunner, Dr. Monte, Dave Ramsey, Pastor Per, NPR Car Talk Endurance Planet and a variety of others (on finances, cars, home repair, politics, religion, da Bears, running and more). Ok, the first time I didn't listen to them all but I was out for a 4 or 5 hours so I listened to a lot of them. One advantage of being slow, is I get to listen to more podcasts than most runners might.

For a great link to running podcasts, check out Nigels website runningpodcast.org
The best part was, my long runs passed by quickly. I don't like talking when I run but I like listening. It may be that they are just different so I enjoy the change, doesn't matter to me as it makes an already enjoyable long run more enjoyable.

If you haven't discovered podcasts, especially running podcasts, I have found them to be a joy and wish to thank all of those who produce them. I should probably figure out a way to post all of the ones I listen to, I know that I would love to see what others listen to.

So Podcasters, your work is appreciated and please keep up the great work...........

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fargo time and Marathon analysis?

I was on long run today and started thinking what should my pace be for Fargo and what did I think my finish time would be? Then I went back and looked at my log and I chose to review my past marathon race times and I saw an interesting trend.

Do others who run trails and then do road races have the issue of not knowing how to translate the pace?

Here is what I noticed looking at my past stats.

Marathons 1 - 15 (1993-1999) - Age: 36-42 Weight: 180-190 - Avg. Yearly mileage 1200

Avg time 4:30:18 - Min 4:02:33 - Max 5:09:46 - Std Dev 19:02

My max time was run in 1999 at Grandmas, I ran with torn cartilage to keep my streak going. After that marathon I had surgery to remove the tear and then had the following results:

Marathons 16 - 22 (2000-2002) - Age: 43-45 Weight: 190-210 - Avg. Yearly mileage 850
Avg time 5:11:07 - Min 4:42:29 - Max 6:01:58 - Std Dev 31:58

The max was in Nashville where we got to experience an 85F marathon, our hottest training run was 65F. The joys of running in Minnesota.

My conclusion, my knee surgery in 1999 did set me back, I gain around 10+ pounds and didn't get back into the same training regiment. The end of this period was marked by the end of my Grandma's steak in 2003 and another knee surgery. I tore cartilage playing soccer and failed to get into Grandmas that year which kept me from running another marathon with a cartilage tear, probably good. I also gained another 10+ pounds after the surgery.

Marathons 23-27 (2003-2007) - Age: 46-50 Weight: 210-220 - Avg. Yearly mileage 800
Avg time 5:22:04 - Min 5:03:34 - Max 5:52:48 - Std Dev 18:42

So my analysis concludes it may be age but my guess is weight. Which pretty much goes to lack of training (ok eating too much) which could have been controlled by training 4-5 days/week for 16-22 weeks.

My weight is heading down and the mileage is creeping up (by Fargo s/b under 210 - mileage > 400 and I expect by Fall to be under 200 - mileage > 900) as I have gotten myself rejuvenated through the trail races and the quest for 50 states.

So in looking through these stats my goal for Fargo is to break 5 hours if the weather is good (cool - no wind), the course is fair and I don't do anything stupid. If I don't break 5, I'm ok with that as I will once again as I continue to train, stay healthy, eat right and lose weight...........

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Minnesota weather - Afton 50k commitment

Days like this would have normally really gotten to me but since I discovered the wonders of trail running I can almost take them in stride.

I just got back from a 6+ mile run in Lebanon Hills - a blessing for us south metro dwellers , suffice to say that the weather was not quite optimal:

Temp - 33F
Wind - 30mph West
Wind chill - cold
Snow showers

It is the end of April, it shouldn't be this cold and there shouldn't be snow flurries but it is the wind I hate.

Which is why it was ok, when you run tree lined trails, they do an amazing job of breaking the wind. The trail was muddy but not terrible.

Enough about the weather, I am trying to map out the rest of the runs for the year. I signed up for the Afton 50K, it is a double loop course in Afton State Park, the major issue is not the course (it isn't easy - see elevation map below - downloaded from the race website) but the weather. How hot will it be?
I did the 25k back in 2005 and it was my first exposure to the ultra crowd. It was my second trail experience as I had done the Trail Mix that year also, but the Trail Mix seemed more like a normal run outside of the course was on trails. Afton was different, the food, the atmosphere, the runners, everything. To be honest, I was hooked, but I was and still am intimidated by the ultra community. Actually I am intimidated by the running community in general as I still don't consider myself a runner. Runners are those skinny fast folks but after Chippewa, I am starting to think that this is the group I belong with. I love to run the trails and I am intrigued at going longer distances and the ultra folks I have met made me feel like I belong.

The only problem I have is, do I focus on trail events or my 50 state quest? My wife said it best do both. So now I am eying a 50 miler in the fall, it may make the 50 by 60 a bit more problematic. I just need to remember that I run for my enjoyment. I race for motivation to train.

I think I can do a 50, maybe a 100k but no way am I thinking I can do a 100 miler of course I once said the same thing about a marathon.

Happy trails..............

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Trail Mix from a different point of view

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to volunteer at the Trail Mix. It provided an opportunity to look at a trail race from a totally different perspective.

I had decided to not to do the race back in March when I signed up for Chippewa, I wasn't sure how I would fare in back to back races. So after Chippewa, I remembered the email from Lynn that they needed extra volunteers so I went ahead and offered if they still needed help.

Lynn said yes, so I committed to volunteer and then recruited my wife to come along. We got there a little before 7, got checked in and then we were headed to the north aid station but they had more volunteers so our services were offered up to the south aid station along with Londell. I almost felt like I knew Londell since I have been reading his blog "Time to....." for months. He has posted a good summary of the race on his blog. So I will add just a few quick thoughts.

We arrived at the aid station as the first 50k'ers came through. It was great to see the enthusiasm and energy everyone had. The energy did drop a bit on each lap but the smiles and attitude of the 50k'ers did not. Since I don't know too many of the 50k group (or any running group since I run alone), Londell was filling us in on the runners he knew. Plus he was lobbying that I sign up for the Superior 50 which I said I was considering then he proceeded to explain why I should do a 100. How the running at night is almost peaceful, he also mentioned getting lost, needing multiple Garmin's and many other little things that I would need to figure out.

The neat thing about the trail mix is that you get to see the runners multiple time so you also get to watch them battle themselves and the course as the day wears on.

I agreed with Dean (aid station leader) that every runner should take the time to volunteer, it gave me additional insight to the joy of chatting with runners and volunteers along with the stress when things might run out or you are afraid you can't keep up. As a volunteer you definitely appreciate those that smile at you and look like they are having fun.

Based on this experience, I will double my efforts to remember to say thank you and to give a smile.

All in all a fun day.....................

Friday, April 18, 2008

Retrospective: Marathons of 1997


11 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the year I expected to PR. I decided to repeat the same three marathons as I had run the year before: Pineline, Grandmas and Twin Cities.

My first race of the year was the Winter Carnival, I had a good day a 1:47:56 1/2 marathon which was 2 minute improvement from the year before. I then ran the St. Pat's 8k in 35:55 a PR for that event.

I continued to train and expected a good day at the Pineline. I had gone over with a buddy and our goal was to run a leisurely long training run that would be part of our base build-up for Grandmas. The year before at the Pineline was close to a complete disaster, look for my recap of that event in the near future.

Well, the day threw a twist at us, we got to run the entire race against a 15-20 mph head wind as back then it was a point to point. I was still happy with my time a 4:29 marathon. I don't know how many runners run the Pineline today but that year there were probably only 50 or so marathoners. The one thing about the headwind which was kind of entertaining at least in hindsight was I had this woman right on my heels for what seemed like forever. I couldn't figure out why she was on my heals, then after at least 3+ miles it occurred to me, she was using me to break the wind. I am 6'1", so I think I did a fair job for her. To cap off my day, I ate some oranges and they completely upset my stomach so on the drive home, I had to stop and throw up. I hate throwing up. To this day, if I see an orange at a running event, I decline.

My next race was the New Prague 1/2 marathon about 5 weeks ahead of Grandma's, it was another PR of 1:44:59 (still my 1/2 PR). I was ready, one or two more long runs, a taper and I was set to break 4.

I got to Duluth and was ready, it seemed perfect at the start, not even cold like it had been in years past, I didn't even need sweats before the race. The race began and I started clicking off 8:45 miles, it was my day (or so I thought). I was sweating a bit more than normal but figured it was no big deal until around mile 13 or so when I came around a corner and got a cold breeze off of Superior. I thought to myself that felt great. No problem as I like hot weather, I grew up in it, I would be fine. Keep the peddle down and git er done.

Great plan, until I cramped up at mile 21 and then hobbled my way to the finish. My time ended up being a 4:33:26 and I was a bit out of it as well. I remember my in-laws being at the finish and that I tried to hurry out of Canal park. I didn't quite make it, I ended up making it about 50 feet before I had to lay down on a bench in the shade. It took me awhile before I could walk out. A very disappointing day.

Twin Cities
The summer continued, my next race was the Apple Valley 5 miler, I ran another PR of 35:40. I had recovered from Grandmas and was back on track. I then ran the Highland Fest 10k in early August in 46:40, not a PR for the 10k but an ok day. Followed by a 2:09:49 PR at the City of Lakes 25k. A sub 4 at TCM just might happen.

The day of the race arrived and it was going to be hot. What to do, I made the only choice I could, go for the sub 4, Grandmas was a fluke. All went ok until shortly after I took a GU at mile 14 or 15, within a few minutes, I had severe stomach cramps. I couldn't run, I felt like I was going to throw up. I had stopped sweating, I walked for a few minutes, tried to run, doubled up. My race had fallen apart. I didn't know what to do other than continue, walk, run, double up. Around mile 21, a medical guy on a bike came up and talked with me and asked what was going on. I explained I was having cramps but would make it. The next 5 miles, where an interesting experience and to this day it was this stretch that make it probably the most memorable marathon I have ever done.

At mile 22, you go by St. Thomas University and a lot of the students will come out and watch. I remember two young ladies who called out my number and offered some great encouragement. As I got about 20 feet or so past them, I heard one of the girls say to the other, he looks really bad. I wasn't completely out of it and yelled back, I heard that. They started apologizing but they quickly figured out I was laughing and so they started laughing as well. That helped me get through another 1/4 mile. but the cramps continued, so after St. Thomas, my goal became finish without throwing up in front of people. I continued my crawl to the finish and was in a bit of trouble as I got to mile 25. A medical guy came to check me out, he was walking backwards right in front of me and was trying to get me to make eye contact and to tell him what was going on. He continued to ask me questions but then the girl next to me started throwing up. Thankfully, he went to help her as I think he was about to ask me to leave the course. I was hurting but I still was mostly coherent, as the next thing I heard was that sweet girls boyfriend or husband saying to her as she continued to throw up "hon, you are looking great". If she remembered that, he had to be in trouble.

I tried to get it together as I was at the cathedral and could see the finish, I tried to run, my stomach cramped and I doubled up again. I had to walk down the hill, that is depressing but I didn't want to lose it down the hill, that would have been worse. I made it to the finish in my worse marathon time ever of 4:57:40 (I have since done worse) and yet another medical guy was in my face but a nice young man came stumbling in and he went to help him. I got through the people and proceeded to find a tree and threw up. Wow did that feel good. I proceeded to throw up multiple times and as it turned out I was still about 9-10 lbs lighter, 8 hrs afterwards. Many runners have told me if I had gone to the medical tent and gotten an IV, my recovery would have been much quicker.

1997 did not turn out as planned but to this day it remains my most memorable running year with PRs at many short to middle distances and mostly disasters at the marathon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CM 50k first run after and few random thoughts?

I decided it was time to try out the legs, feet and mind and see how they held up after Chippewa. I headed over to Lebanon Hills after work hoping the trails would be clear as I didn't really want to see snow, I do so hate snow. Well, the trails are muddy in places, with just a bit of remaining snow and are mostly ready for some fast trail running but that would need to come on another day.

I was expecting to have some very distinct pain, like that post marathon first run, where every step hurts for the first 1/2 mile or so. To my surprise, no real pain. Yes, my legs seemed dead, my feet felt ok, my two toes will eventually heal, my knees were ok most of the time, my hip seemed ok, I think I fared quite well.

I roamed a bit with no real plan other than to log some miles. I did allow myself to walk a few hills (that was for my toes and my legs) which of course made me think that it wasn't a good recovery run. I guess I wasn't into it today, maybe it's a post 50k blues thing, or maybe it's just my legs are dead, or maybe I just wimped out.

Then I thought, the snow is almost gone, say hallelujah, now as long as we stay warm, I can have 6 or 8 months of normal trail running. Then again, the mosquitoes will be out soon, actually in Lebanon, it's the horse flies that bug me or do they help me run fast? What if the summer is hot, will I wish for cold? Ok, probably not.

So with the recovery run thing underway, I can now think about ramping up for Fargo and then planning out the rest of the summer runs. I need to add something in June and July. Do I want to add a June marathon? I am already leaning to try the 50k at Afton, but I am afraid it will be extremely hot. I can think of nothing crueler than Chippewa in the snow and Afton in the 90's. I guess if I do, then I would have the spectrum covered for weather and I haven't thrown up from heat related issues lately, so maybe I should. I do like running in Afton. Then, I have the two western marathons in August with nothing firm for September and October.

There is the Superior Trail 50, I think if I did that I would consider myself an "ultrarunner". Somehow a 50k just doesn't seem long enough to deserve the moniker of an "ultrarunner".

My last random thought concerns my goal of 50 states by the time I am 60. I really enjoyed Chippewa, would I rather focus on trail runs of greater distance? I think I just might, it would be easier logistically, it wouldn't preclude the 50 states, what to do?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chippewa Moraine 50k - what an experience

What a great weekend. Here is the short view, I finished my first 50k, the race course was phenomenal, the weather was unpredictable, the race organization was fabulous, the post race was great, the finishers picture is cool, folks were friendly, I can't wait until next year. Now for the details and the rest of the story

We headed over to the race with a forecast of snow, wind and temps in the 20's to 30's. When we picked up our packet, it was rain/sleet combination. I kept thinking well better rain than snow. We talked to a few folks and they said the course was snow packed and near the turn around point had 12-18 inches of snow. I kind of freaked out and thought how can we run through that. The best way to describe the weather was what we saw the night before. We were staying in Chetak and ended up driving to Rice Lake (15 minutes north) for dinner. When we left Chetak it was raining by the time we got to the Cameron exit off of 53 (10 minutes north) it started to snow when we got off in Rice Lake it was snowing extremely hard with the wind gusting. I thought to myself, I hope this stays north. It didn't but it only ended up adding a couple more inches by morning.

The Course:
This is the description of the course from the race website:

Overview - The Chippewa Moraine trail races start/finish at the beautiful scientific interpretive center. This course consists of single dirt/leaf track over roller coaster terrain that traverses through the glaciated landscape of the Ice Age Trail. The trail meanders through hardwood oak savannas, cedar swamp, pine needle sections, outwash plains, marshes, boardwalks, and over 40 different kettle lakes and bogs in multiple directions. One of the most beautiful trail races you'll ever run!

Here is a link if you want a closer look: Chippewa Moraine Course Map

I would say that the above overview was extremely accurate with the exception that instead of dirt/leaf track we had a snow track.

Race day:
The first decision was which shoes to wear, I had brought three pairs. My trail shoes which I had found worked well in loose or hard packed snow, a pair that I had added screws to which worked well on ice or do I wear my yak trax which worked well on hard packed snow or ice. I decided to wear my trail shoes because of the fresh snow.

The race started pretty much right on time with a temp in the upper 20's and the wind blowing. Wynn's nephew played the Star spangled banner on his saxophone and then Wynn gave us our last minute instructions and we were off.

It was an interesting start, I had gone to the back of the pack as I wanted to make sure that I went out slow. We ended up in a single file line as we headed into the woods. I was surprised at how well packed the snow was but the footing was not very good, we kept slipping. The packed area was around 18 inches wide which is where everyone tried to run. I don't know how they made the hard pack area but it made a difficult day doable.

For the first 2 miles, it was very difficult to get around anyone as we stayed in a single file line in the hard pack groove. It was very difficult to have any control over your own pace as you felt like you couldn't slow down as there was fear of getting run over. If you wanted to speed up and pass that meant jumping into 6 or more inches of snow and very few runners did.

The first 2 miles took 36+ minutes and I felt like I was running much faster and harder, not good. The runners all stayed bunched up in the single file line until the next aid stop (5 mile). After that stop, we started getting spread out a bit but I was surprised how often a runner was on my heals or mine their's.

The aid stations were spaced every few miles and were a joy to see. Here I am coming out of the woods into an aid station.

I wasn't passed by the leaders until somewhere around mile 12-13 for me, miles 18-19 for them (it is an out and back course). I would step out of the hard pack into the snow to let them pass as there wasn't room for two in the hard pack. There were a few times where the snow was up above my knees. I slipped off the trail a few times into the deep stuff but I never had one of those magnificent trail falls. There were a few downhills that had me a bit nervous but no disasters. My wife mentioned that one of the runners slipped off one of the foot bridges into the water, that would have been cold and I can safely say I didn't go sprinting across those bridges for fear of slipping off and getting wet. Looks like I was right.

As to the weather during the event, it snowed occasionally, the winds were gusty (and cold) at times, the sun shone for a few brief moments, all in all it was ok.

The fun part about ultra events versus the marathon is the change in the food items. Instead of GU we got vanilla wafers, gummy bears, M & M's, pretzels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, fruit and miscellaneous other items. The last item that I had at the final aid station was a coke, it tasted great and went down easy. I had of runners drinking coke and I do think it helped in the final few miles.

My favorite item to eat or drink was the hot soup that I had at the turn around and again at mile 23. Here I am am enjoying it at mile 23.

The volunteers at the aid stations were helpful, kind and encouraging and I think their day was as tough as ours. Standing around for up to 8 or 9+ hours in 30 degree weather waiting on us. Here is a picture from the aid station at mile 26 where you can see the snowman they made to pass the time.

Here I am coming around the bend for the final uphill climb into the finish.

50k Finisher
For the last few miles, I kept thinking another runner was coming up on me and I didn't want to be passed. I think it may have been just an echo of me going through the woods or maybe I was losing it :-). It kept me moving regardless until the end. Although I wanted a faster time than the 8 hours+ that it took (I am not sure of my exact finishing time as I didn't check it at the finish nor stop my watch, I believe it was about 8 hours 10-15 minutes). I have to admit that the course was a bit more challenging than I originally expected but afterwards I was quite proud to get through it and I now have a PR for the 50k that I expect to beat next time.

I came away without major physical damage, I may end up losing a couple of toenails but considering that I ran almost the entire race with wet and cold feet, I am thankful that is all. I had hip and hamstring issues during the race but I don't think that they will bug me much in the days that come.

I wish to thank my wife for fabulous support throughout the day. It was great to see her at each of the aid stations, she kept me going and fueled. I know it had to be a long day for her. Thank you for the great support.

Miscellaneous thoughts

Race Organization:
For a first year event, everything was extremely well done. Wynn Davis and all of the volunteers did a fabulous job. My thanks to him, his team and all of the sponsors.

We also owe a special thanks to the Ice Age Interpretive Center and all of their friendly staff who welcomed us and allowed us to use their building.

Post Race:
Wynn had vegetarian chili, cookies, ice cold beer (leinies of course), vitamin water and miscellaneous other items. Every finisher received a beautiful 12 x 18 print of the course. He plans on continuing this each year with an updated print taken from somewhere on the course.

Great, fabulous, a joy to see.

Race Director and team:
I think Wynn deserves all of our thanks as he had to spend a lot of time getting this event planned and off the ground. He did a fabulous job. For those of you who don't know who Wynn Davis is, take a look at his bio on the Inov8 blogsite.

Inov8 - Ultra Team - Wynn Davis

Day after:
Feet are sore, legs are sore, left elbow is sore probably from swinging the arms to keep my balance. Looking forward to next year without the snow...........................

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Running Podcasts and me?

Since I got a Nano last summer I have become a podcasting fool. I hardly listen to the radio anymore. I just listen to podcasts on running, finance, religion, computers and a few other subjects.

Well, in listening to the running podcasts, many of them ask for input or comments for their shows. Lately, I have gotten over my isolationist attitude and started making comments on the podcasts blogs. I think it was spurred a bit by Steve Runner's announcement that he was cutting back on his Phedippidations podcast. I have listened to everyone of his podcasts, actually I think I did so in a couple of weeks. He provides great information and many of his podcasts sure sound like he might be talking about me. He is not alone in developing some very good running podcasts, check out Nigel's great website - RunningPodcasts.org - where you can find all of them listed. I listen to and enjoy every one of them.

What's that got to do with this blog, well I was listening to the Running with the Pack podcast and Allan or Jeff made a comment about tights and using body glide and about the Flying Pig. I decided to post a comment on glide and the pig and to say thank you for their podcast and added a comment about me doing 50 states (if you haven't listened take a listen it's worth it). Well, to my surprise, Allan came back and said that they might want to interview me for their podcast at some point. I posted back sure, be happy to. Of course thinking to myself, no way. Allan was just being nice. They aren't desperate enough to talk to me, I have done nothing worth being interviewed about.

On Friday, Allan dropped me an email that said Jeff would be out of town and would I agree to be interviewed over the weekend. I of course agreed and we talked on Sunday afternoon. If anyone listens, I hope I don't sound like a complete fool as I was nervous. I still can't imagine being on a podcast especially about my running. I am nothing but an old guy plodding my way through a few races whose best running trait is stubbornness. After it was over, I decided it was a lot of fun and I definitely owe Allan a thank you for including me and that I do like to talk about running.

I did leave out a great comment from my daughter about me doing the Chippewa. I asked her what she thought about me doing a 50k. she said, “Dad, I have seen you after a marathon and it isn't good” with that endorsement we head to my first 50k. Her words will be proven to be right, I won't look good but I will feel great.

Running Streaks.........

I don't know how everyone else feels about running streaks but I have always wanted to do a first year marathon and then keep doing it every year.

My wife and I ran the Country Music Marathon in it's first two years but didn't make it back for the third year. I don't remember the why of not going back. It may have been who the band was, it may have been the cost to get to Nashville, it may have been that the 2nd year was in the mid 80's and I think our hottest day during training was the mid 50's, it may have been that I tore cartilage playing soccer but the bottom line is we didn't make it back.

I still remember when my Grandma's consecutive streak (of 10 in a row) got broken, I was so disappointed. I had failed to get my entry in on time. I received it on a Wednesday and mailed it the following Monday but it didn't make it in time. They had filled the marathon in a record number of days.

That was in 2003 as well, so two marathon streaks were broken. If you are wondering about the knee, I would have run Grandmas on the torn cartilage as my guess is it would have been like 99. In 99, I had to run Grandmas with torn cartilage in the other knee because my surgeon would not perform the surgery before the event as I had made the mistake of saying I had a marathon in 6 weeks. He didn't want me to abuse it after surgery. He did the surgery a couple of weeks after the marathon, I still need to write about that marathon, it was an interesting day.

I did keep one streak alive in 2003, after the surgery I completed Twin Cities Marathon (TCM). I was under-trained as I had to ramp fairly quickly and didn't quite get a good base back. Yet another story.

The question is how many runners have streaks that they will do anything to keep going?

One year ar TCM, I passed a runner around mile 3 who was on crutches. He had run every previous TCM and wanted to keep his streak alive. I believe he did. At Grandmas and TCM, I would always run past an older runner (yes older than me). We got to know him over the years as we stayed at the same hotel in Duluth. Each year I would look forward to seeing him on the course. He had severe knee issues but kept doing both events and if I remember right, he only missed the first Grandmas and had done every TCM. He wanted to keep his streaks going and was putting off knee replacement surgery to do so.

My last streak got broken in 2005, it marked the first year that I did not complete a marathon. I had a "did not start" at Grandmas as I had sprained an ankle a couple of weeks ahead of it. I debated running it anyway but since the family had other conflicts, I decided that I better give it a rest. Now if my streak was still going I would of course have done it. I then had a "did not finish" at TCM. It was a hot day and I had severe stomach cramps after mile 10 or so. I lost the battle with the cramps at mile 22 1/2. After throwing up for 10 or 15 minutes, I did not want to continue. I still regret that decision occasionally, when I think was it my pride that didn't want me to go om. I hate getting sick especially in front of people and I knew if I went on I would have continued to get sick. Now I like to think it was the aftermath of 97 that I was trying to prevent, I need to write about that marathon too, but who knows, the bottom line was that my streak of running at least one marathon a year ended that day.

Which leads me back to the Chippewa Moraine 50k, it is a first year event within a couple hours of our house. It is not a marathon but just a bit longer, it is run on trails, there can't be many spectators nor runners for that matter, it is my kind of event. I think this may be another streak in the making, check back next year..................

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chippewa thoughts.....

I was reading through some running blogs of folks who are running the Chippewa and it had me thinking what am I doing. These guys are talking about running it in 4 hrs+ and what order they think they will finish in.

I am sitting here thinking why am I doing this? I have no business running with these guys. I am under-trained, overweight, still working through an injury then it occurred to me I am not running with them. I am running with me. I run for enjoyment and what better way to spend a Saturday then meandering through the woods for 6. 7 or 8 hours. I will set a PR regardless of my time and my goal is to finish and then next year improve.

It's like before one of my marathons, I was talking with a guy like them about how much faster he was and how he must think folks like me are a joke. His initial response was I can't imagine being out there as long you are, I have it easy I run for 2 and 1/2 hours and am done, you run for 4, 5 hours or longer. If I am injured or not right that day I drop out, you run through it and just go slower. His response was interesting, he then asked do you run as hard as you can for the distance? I said no but yes as usually I couldn't go much farther and he said exactly. The battle is within, the time reflects training and your running aptitude (weight, genetics, etc....). He went on and said never discount or downplay yourself, running is personal issue and the time merely reflects where you were that day not who you are or where you will be tomorrow. Some very good advice.

Another runner once said during a marathon when I lamented my slow pace that day, dude, we get to work on our tan and we get to be on the course longer, I think that qualifies as more event for our money.

Anyway, Chippewa is a week away, I am doing it and I will have a blast..............


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