Monday, September 29, 2008

Mileage Update..........

When I added up my mileage from Sunday's run, my yearly total is now 1005 miles. This marks the first year since 2000 where I have achieved the 1000 mile mark and I am on pace to hit my lifetime high for yearly mileage. My current estimate is for around 1450 miles which would break my previous high by 150 miles which was from 1997 (1305 miles and in 97, I set PR's in 8k, 1/2 Marathon and 25k distances, ran 3 marathons which were not PR's - Heat/Hydration issues).

This year there won't be many PR's outside of the 50k's (I ran the distance for the first time) and I know that for some folks this wouldn't be a big deal but for me it is and I am pleased to be on pace for this record. Sweet................

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quotes for the day......

I was watching something and they brought up William Wallace (Braveheart) and they used a quote of his that struck home with regards to running.

The quote was "Every man dies. Not every man really lives. "

What's that have to do with running, well, I feel that when I run I am experiencing life.When I run longer distances, I experience even more life and feel that I am living my life to it's fullest. I have been asked many times through the years why do I run, most recently I have been asked why am I running longer distances and want to go even longer? I usually quip that the longer I run the slower I can go and the easier it is. There is a grain of truth there but I think I run longer not to test my physical limits but to test my mental limits. At some point in most marathons and the 50k's that I have done, my body grows weak and my mind wavers but it ultimately is my mind that gets me to the finish. It's a little like the quote from Henry Ford:

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

Henry Ford

Ever been on a long run and started thinking you can't do it, I have and every time it turned out I was right. I quit. On the other hand when I kept believing or at least trying by taking one more step forward, I did it.

As a matter of fact Henry Ford had many quotes which when applied to running make a lot of sense, for example:

There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.
Henry Ford

For the ultra community that I am working to join this is what I think is the mantra that they go by, what can I do?

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Henry Ford

I will remember this one as I attempt my first 50 and then my first 100 in case my first attempt does not work out as planned.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't.
Henry Ford

This was true for my first marathon, my first 50k and it will be true after my first 50.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
Henry Ford

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
Henry Ford

These two will help me during the training that is yet to come and the races yet to be run.

Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.
Henry Ford

I need to keep this one in mind when my training isn't happening.

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.
Henry Ford

Ultra/marathon training in a microcosm.

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.

Henry Ford

I think this is why I run, it is the experiences along the way, both good and bad, the setbacks and recovering from them and the fact that we keep moving forward.

Of course Ford did say this one as well:

Exercise is bunk. If you are healthy, you don't need it: if you are sick you should not take it.
Henry Ford

So you can't take all of his quotes to heart :-)

I love reading quotes like these to help me appreciate why I run, to help me when I have weak moments and am doubting myself and to keep myself in check when the confidence is high. I will use quotes like these to remind myself that I love to run longer distances for the journey and the successes and I will use my failures as simply experiences along the way to my ultimate successes. The bottom line for me is to never give up running or my dream to finish a distance or a race but to cherish it as something that with God's help I can continue to enjoy for my entire life. Remember if you think you can, you can.................

Monday, September 22, 2008

B'Day + some random thoughts

Well, it happened yet again, another year has passed and I am older once again, never thought much about it before thirty, never bothered me before forty, and even before fifty it didn't seem so bad but after 50, no doubt about it, beyond 50 is getting old Although one advantage to getting older is that I actually am starting to have more time for runs. Now I need to get out and do them but the time is there more than at any other time since I started running.

About the Birthday, Karyn and my gals surprised me with some really neat gifts. One I have already tried out, a Nathan HPL-020 hydration vest (thanks Londell for suggesting it and Karyn for remembering that I mentioned it). It worked great and was a nice improvement over my Camelbak, I love the front packs and it was quite a bit more comfortable. I can now look forward to many long runs this fall and winter. They also got me a pair of Running Funky Gaitors, so I can now run trails debris free, sweet. The final gift is a special one, tickets to see Martina McBride at Treasure Island. I love Martina, she has one of the most pure voices I have ever listened to. My wife and I saw her after the Country Music Marathon in 2002. If you run the CMM you receive a ticket to a concert afterwards (one of the nicest perks we have received in a marathon entry fee). I still remember how she brought an auditorium full of marathon runners (many who struggled to walk in, climb the steps or even to just get up quickly, yes I was one of them) to their feet especially when she sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow". Wow, that girl can sing.

Which leads me to clarify one last thing, I occasionally have commented about people, about how I don't particularly like people, actually it's being around people, well that is true at least some of the time but it isn't true all of the time.

I love to talk to runners, I love to talk Chicago Bears football (yes, even after two consecutive losses), I love to talk soccer, I enjoy talking politics and many other things. But there are at least two times when I not overly fond of folks, one of them applies to my running and the other crowds. Crowds I don't enjoy ever, I am not comfortable in crowds, going to Disney or anything like it (MN state fair, etc...) could be fun, dealing with the crowds is not. Put me in a crowd of people and I normally am not too comfortable and as my wife can probably attest, I tend to get a little cranky. As to running, I have found through the years that when I run a race like TCM that has a lot of spectators, I get drained as the day goes on. All of those people along the course added with all of those runners and then occasionally trying to converse with them just takes too much energy. I have found that talking while running can be a nice distraction at times but for me more often than not it just takes more mental energy than I have.

So just so you understand small groups of friendly folks are ok, trail runs and runners are great, but if I don't talk too much or move ahead of you quickly (it might happen once) or fall behind during a run (much more likely to happen), don't take it personal, I am just trying to conserve energy by finding a nice quiet tranquil place to go to or I am just slow and can't keep up :-).

On that note, the other day as I was running I decided to switch from my podcasts to music and "Green Grass and High Tides Forever" came on (by The Outlaws from their debut album in 1975), that is still a song that gets me going and yet moves me into that tranquil place. For those that don't know this song, go and listen to it, for others revisit the lyrics.

In a place you only dream of
Where your soul is always free
Silver stages, golden curtains
Filled my head, plain as can be
As a rainbow grew round the sun
All the stars I've love who died
Came from somewhere beyond the scene you see
These lovely people played just for me

Now if I let you see this place
Where stories all ring true
Will you let me past your face
To see what's really you
It's not for me to ask these questions
As though I were a king

For you have to love, believe and feel
Before the burst of tamborines take you there

Green grass and high tides forever
Castles of stone souls and glory
Lost faces say we adore you
As kings and queens bow and play for you

Those who don't believe me
Find your souls and set them free
Those who do, believe and love
As time will be your key
Time and time again I've thanked them
For the peace of mind
They helped me find myself
Amongst the music and the rhyme
That enchants you there

Green grass and high tides forever
Castles of stone souls and glory
Lost faces say we adore you
As kings and queens bow and play for you

Yeah, they play just for you

This is a song that I think of occasionally when I am running, not sure why or what it might mean but I love remembering it, remembering the Outlaws, remembering my past, probably just another side effect of getting older...........

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surf the Murph = motivation..........

I have decided to commit to another event. I have to or I know I will just become a slug. Why another event, well, I race not to win, not even to be competitive, not even to PR (ok, I would still like to have a few more PR's) but I race because of fear. Yes, Fear, fear of if I don't race than I won't train. I love to run but many days I allow life events and procrastination to keep me from running so my training can turn real inconsistent.

Take this week, I took Monday off as I was sore from the weekend long runs, Tuesday, still sore. So Tuesday evening, I told myself that I would run before work, morning came, motivation was low. Internal dialogue - if you just get out the door you will be ok, so I thought about it and took the procrastination path and said to myself that I would try and run at lunch, forgot I had a meeting, ok run after work, didn't leave work in time to run before church, run after church, nope worn out just wanted to unwind. So, I told myself last night that I would run before work, morning came, motivation was even lower. Procrastination wins again, so I said to myself that I would try and run at lunch, work interfered, ok run after work, I have a meeting, run after the meeting, nope worn out just wanted to unwind.

See a trend, this is where races come in. When I sign up, I think to myself I need to run a marathon or 50k in x weeks. I have to get out the door and run or it's really gonna hurt. So I get my priorities reset and then I tend to get the work-life balance realigned and get out the door at least a little more often.

So I am going to go ahead and sign up for the Surf the Murph 50k as that will give me the motivation I need. I have already committed to running a 1/2 marathon in Lebanon Hills as my race for the World Wide Festival of Races but that is just a 1/2 marathon. I can do that with pretty minimal training between now and then. But a 50k run in Murphy-Hanrehan, that is going to require some training or it will really, really, really hurt.

So my motivation is set through November then I will just need to sign up for a race early next year like the "Psycho WyCO Run Toto, Run 50k" in Kansas and it will have to be the 50k otherwise it won't count as a state and I need Kansas in my 50 state quest and I know I have to train to run a 50k, then I have Chippewa in April, add a few more events before Superior and I will be set for a year...........

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Murphy attempt falls a bit short........

All went mostly ok this morning, I got to Murphy a little after 8, fueled up and headed out.

I had decided to run the old mountain bike section as the last 2 or 3 times I have run in Murphy, I had run on the horse trails. They are a bit open, a little boring and not that interesting, plus I figured there would horses this morning. I have not run the old mountain bike area in years, something about getting run over by a mountain bike had discouraged me. They opened a new mountain bike area so this area was fair game for running, I remember it being a bit hilly.

I quickly discovered that my memory was wrong, it isn't a bit hilly it is hilly, up and down. I just saw that Les is having a 25/50k here in November, that should be a blast and it may be harder than Afton, depending on where he has the course going. My plan was to run multiple loops so I could again use my car as my aid station. I wasn't sure how long a loop would be but I figured that 3 loops would get me close to 20 miles with a few extra side trips to check out spur trails that looked interesting. The first loop went pretty good, the legs didn't feel too bad and I pretty much ran it in hard, my Nano said 6.5 miles, it isn't always right but it's usually within a half mile or so. I refueled and headed back out, my plan was to reverse the loop so I could get a better feel for the course. My legs were starting to feel the effects of the day before and the hills so during this loop I pretty much decided to run only 4 hours give or take.

As it turned out that was a good decision as on the last leg heading back, my legs were hurting and I was having some chafing issues. Note to self, use more body glide in key areas. So I ended up running just 3 hours and 45 minutes, probably about 17 miles.

I did learn a couple of things, I need to work on fueling and hydration. When I started this morning I felt bloated from the day before. That is pretty normal for me for a day or two after a marathon or long run. So if I do try back to back marathons, that is going to be at best bothersome and maybe a problem. I wasn't sure if I needed more electrolytes or not so I took a few extra on today's run and it didn't seem to hurt, matter of fact, I did use the restroom a few times. I also ate some Clif Shot blocks, they were ok, I ate them because I had them. I thought after I ate them that I wish I had packed a Peanut butter sandwich. When I got done I was hungry. I also need to be in better shape to do back to back and it would be better if they were on trails. I think if I had tried this on pavement, my legs would be really hurting.

All in all, not a bad weekend of running, a few lessons learned and a re-acquaintance with Murphy. What a great place to run................

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Double marathon attempt aborted, kind of........

Ok, the plan was to run 5 to 6 hours on consecutive days, my thinking was I that would be able to get close to 26 miles in 5 to 6 hours depending where I ran. I decided Friday to run in Lebanon Hills on Saturday and Murphy Hanrehan on Sunday. I know both parks fairly well and figured I could do 7 to 13 miles loops which would allow me to use my car as my aid station.

So this morning I had hoped to get to Lebanon Hills no later than 9, well I had a few too many trips to the bathroom to hold that start time, not a great way to begin. I made it out about 10 and decided to start fairly slowly to let everything kind of settle out. I was surprised, I actually felt good, almost like I could go forever. I decided to keep it slow thinking that I was going to be able to easily hold the pace for 5-6 hours.

I was meandering my way along and was about 40 minutes in when I kind of started feeling queasy, so much for forever, I popped a S-Cap, kept going but noticed no real help, about 15 minutes later, still not right, so I went ahead and ate a packet of sports beans. I felt slightly better within a few minutes so I was thinking one of the two must have worked. It was about 15 minutes later that I got queasy again, with some stomach cramps. I decided to walk for a few minutes, no real help, I also was having knee and foot pain, it was shaping up to not be a very good day. I was quickly reaching the point to abort the run. I headed over to where I had dropped a water bottle and was thinking it wasn't my day and that I should just head back to the car. As I picked up the bottle, I thought to myself, so you feel lousy, what if you were doing your 50, would you stop? A little guilt does occasionally help, so I turned left instead of right and headed deeper into the park, I took another S-cap and figured to give it a good try. I still wasn't feeling too good but then it started to rain right as I left the woods into an open area. I love running in the rain (hate starting in it) so I figured this was a sign to continue on. For a few minutes, I did feel better, but I quickly felt weak and queasy again. I was bummed but I had given it a good try, I had of course run out about as far as I could get from my car. Oh well, I would just run/walk my way back.

I kept thinking to myself that I was wimping out, and that I should just walk if the running wasn't going to work. At least it would be time on my feet and if nothing else I could work on my fast walking. I continued to badger myself mentally and when I was about 2 miles from my car, I started thinking I was feeling better and picked up the running. I was holding on ok as I went around Jensen Lake until I was about 3 minutes out when it came back yet again and I decided enough was enough and it was time to pull the plug. I got back to the car and thought yet again, no don't quit. I was almost to the 3 hour point and I said to myself, oh go for another 30 minutes, so I filled up my camelbak, ate a bar and out I went.

I decided to run the center section's horse trails, thinking that with the rain there probably wouldn't be any riders. I also hoped that since I don't run this section too often that my brain would enjoy the change of scenery. It worked before I knew it I was heading up a hill and decided to push it. I was actually feeling better than I had at any point in the run. I ended up running out for 45 minutes and then turned around to head back to the car. I was still feeling good when I got to the car and debated going back out. I decided no, Four and half hours was enough. The goal was to see how my body would respond on back to back long runs and I figured that I had probably gotten in about 18 miles and to pile on any more miles with everything else that was going on wouldn't be my best choice.

So on to Murphy tomorrow, hopefully the morning starts out a bit better and I get to enjoy the entire run. The goal for tomorrow is to be out there for at least 4 and 1/2 hours and hopefully longer.............

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Congrats to all who attempted Superior........

Ok, this post is strictly for me. I am inspired, intimidated and in awe of all who attempted Superior last weekend, be it the marathon, 50 or the 100. I dabbled with thoughts of doing the 50 this year and for a variety of reasons just did not go for it. The 50 is on my calendar for next year. It just sounds like too much fun not to try.

So I will start my planning now to get to the 50, trained and healthy, so why is this post for me, well, real simple I am pasting in links to all of the blogs I read for inspiration to train for the next 12 months. When the darkness comes, the cold descends, the trails turn icy than snowy, I will pull out this post, click on these links, soak in your craziness and then get my rear out the door.

My thanks to all of those who shared their journey both the final result and all of your other posts that documented your path to the starting line. I have picked up many things that I will need to work through over the next 12 months.

Adam's blog - joe-ziegenfuss-race-report
Adam's report
Brent's report
Carl's report
Christian's report
Helen's report
Julie's report
Karen's report
Kel's report
Keith's report
Londell's report
Matt's report
Nolan's report - added 9/16
Steve's report

So the plan is the Superior 50 in 2009 and who knows maybe the Superior 100 in 2010, that kind of looks like the makings of a great goal with a catchy intro - 50 in 9, 100 in 10..................

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Retrospective: Marathons of 1999


I entered the year still recovering from a hip flexor injury, the physical therapy continued and I was starting to gain some strength in the hip but a new problem emerged, left knee pain and it is my storyline for 1999. It was kind of funny as the hip pain eased the knee pain emerged, it may have been there for awhile but the hip pain masked it.

My first race of the year was again the Winter Carnival, I went out at a reasonable pace but completely ran out of gas at mile 12, my time was 1:56:07 which was a bit disappointing but I learned that even a 1/2 marathon needs respect as to pace, hydration and fueling. I did make it through with only a moderate amount of hip and knee pain although the next day I had to abort a recovery run early because of knee pain.

I continued to train for Grandma's and decided against other races to try and baby the knee, I was convinced that my knee was just tendinitis which I had dealt with off and on over the years, especially after playing basketball but the odd thing was it would seem to lock up or to catch occasionally and then the knee pain was excruciating. Usually this happened when I wasn't running, but when I was walking and changed directions, kind of odd.

The knee pain did leave to a great discovery, trails. I found out that pavement hurt my knee a lot but trails only hurt a little, so this was the year I probably completed my conversion from roads to trails. Every trail run left me satisfied and content, no people, shade from the sun, protection from the wind, and a lot of turns and twists and climbs to keep my interest.

Almost every run leading up to Grandma's was on trails. I did everything I could think of to get the knee healthy, rest, ice, etc... but nothing was working. In February, I thought about going to the Doctor but ruled it out as I didn't want to deal with them, I don't like dealing with Doctors, not sure why, just don't. In March I avoided it as well but I thought if it didn't get better I should go in. April came and with no change, I took the plunge and made the appointment. I scheduled it with a Doctor who I had gone to prior for running injuries as he liked treating runners and he had never told me to stop running.

Turned out he didn't tell me to stop but he did tell me that he was sure that I was dealing with a cartilage tear in my meniscus but to be sure that they would do a MRI. I went for a longer run on May 4th on the Luce Line, I made it 17 miles but the knee was hurting.

I was almost looking forward to getting a tear confirmed but I couldn't figure out when I had torn it. I had torn cartilage in that knee 15+ years earlier but that had healed up fairly quickly so I was a bit puzzled. The MRI came back and the diagnosis was confirmed, the Doctor who read the MRI said I had two options: surgery or to try and live with it and maybe I might avoid the surgery. He said the surgery wouldn't be too intrusive as the surgeon would probably use a procedure known as arthroscopic surgery. When I said that I couldn't live with it, he said that my next step was to meet with a surgeon so I could understand the surgery, the recovery and possible long term consequences of the surgery. The surgeon I choose was also a runner, we met on May 17th and he answered all of my questions, he said that this tear was the same one from 15+ years earlier as it was in an area where there is no significant blood flow so the tear would not have healed completely. Which is probably why when I didn't remember hurting it. He figured it could have been a simple movement that caused it or even wear and tear that caused it to resurface (I thought it was the PT on my hip, oh well, root cause doesn't really matter). The surgery would be outpatient, I would arrive in the morning and the surgery would be relatively simple and not take very long. He explained that I would receive a general and I asked what that meant and he said anesthetized (knocked out). I asked if could I have a local as I didn't want to be knocked out. He said no, he didn't want me to flinch and bend his instruments. He said I could also receive an epidural but that it was best that the anesthesiologist explain my options. I asked if I could have the surgery within the next few days or at least before Memorial day as I wanted to get in a decent long run after the surgery before Grandma's.

He looked rather oddly at me and said no, I will not do surgery ahead of your marathon, that is out of the question. You need at least 6-8 weeks to recover fully and you will need to take at least 3 weeks off before any running should be attempted. I said that I had to run Grandma's as I had done it since 93 and this was to be my 6th consecutive year. He said that he understood but this was a streak that was ending. I was really bummed by that thought and so I asked, since he wasn't going to let me have the surgery before the marathon, could I run it without the surgery. He gave me another rather odd look, paused and said only if that when the pain got intense that I would stop running. I said I could do that. He explained that he wasn't too concerned with the tear getting worse but didn't want me to damage anything else in my knee.

So all I had to do was finalize my training plan, I would attempt at least one more long run, preferably two, then head to Duluth and git er done. So on May 22nd I headed out on the Luce Line for a 20 miler, well the first 10 miles weren't a complete disaster but the last 10 were a hobble, wobble painful run/walk but I made it. Great thing about the Luce if you run out 10, you got to come back 10. So now I knew if I could get one more long run, I would be set. I wanted to get out the week after Memorial Day but I kind of did something stupid and ran on pavement on the day before my final long run, I only went 5 miles but I was too sore the next day to attempt a long run. The day after that aborted attempt, I went out and I was only able to get through 14 miles, well Grandmas was less than two weeks out so it was going to have to be enough.

We got to Duluth and my plan was real simple, run until it hurt, walk, run, repeat. I was hoping that I would be able to at least to mile 18 before the pain got intense.

The race started and off I went, my other plan was to run on the shoulder or grass and to avoid the asphalt. Did you know that there isn't much of a shoulder that you can run on down Highway 61? I discovered that and said oh well, nothing I can do about it, unfortunately the knee pain got intense around mile 8. So the modified plan had to be; walk, run, pain, walk, run, pain, repeat until Canal Park, man this was going to be a long day. As I ran along Hwy 61, I kept stopping and looking out into Lake Superior, I was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the lake. In all my previous Grandma's I don't think I ever had fully absorbed the majesty of this great lake. I was never so happy to see the turn off of 61 onto London road, just 8 more miles to go.

Along London road, I ran on the grass, the surface wasn't level but boy did I like the extra cushioning. I even stopped and had a beer, I figured what difference would it make and maybe it would even mask a bit of pain. I continued my struggles down the road, but again I looked around and noticed beautiful homes that I had completely missed before. Another thing I discovered as I made my way into downtown Duluth. is that they have sections of the road that were brick, bricks are really, really hard and they don't provide a level surface, ouch. I also confirmed that asphalt is a softer surface than concrete. As I hobbled my way onward through downtown, by the DECC, around that stupid boat I was never so happy to be nearing a finish and yet I was so satisfied with what I had seen and experienced that I didn't want it to end. I made it to the finish in my worse ever marathon time of 5:09:46 but I made it, yes the streak was intact, 6 consecutive Grandmas.

My surgery was delayed a bit but ended up getting scheduled for July 15th. My surgeon did ask me about Grandmas on the morning of the surgery and was surprised when I said I finished, he said didn't your knee hurt, I said yes, he said didn't I tell you to stop when it started hurting? I said that I did, I walked until the pain was manageable, he said NO, you were supposed to quit. Oops, but I made it :-). The surgery went well, I did do the epidural and was able to watch the surgery on the monitor, pretty cool. I went back 5 days later for a post op check-up, I asked about when I could start running and I was quickly instructed that under no circumstances was I to begin running for at least 3 -4 weeks and that I should expect that it might be 4 to 6 weeks before I could and should resume. I said what about 2-3 weeks, he gave me a funny look but I decided to follow his advice, I took two more weeks off before I attempted a run. On my first run I only went a 1/2 mile as it was tender, the next day I went a mile and I concluded that maybe another week off would be a good idea. I thought that maybe it was like post-marathon soreness on the first run and all the soreness would be gone on the second, good plan, but after the second day I had to conclude that it was different and that it was a bit more pain than soreness.

A week later when I tried again, it was weird, I would run and it just didn't seem right. It took me two or three runs to figure out that the problem was it didn't hurt. I was so focused on expecting pain that I didn't know what it was like without any pain.

Twin Cities
I was working in August to ramp my mileage back up with the hope of having a good day at TCM. I needed to ramp fairly quickly but I knew that my goal was to simply run a pain free race and to enjoy the day. I avoided stressing the knee by only running trails and didn't do any speed workouts or hills and all was going well through August. I decided to run the Woodbury 1/2 marathon as a test to see if TCM was a go and I hoped that it would help me to start figuring out what my pace might be. It went ok, I started as I always do at too fast a pace and kind of died after mile 8 but I got through it and the pavement and hills didn't seem to cause any major issues.

As September began, I was starting to think that maybe I could push it a bit more and that if my training continued to go well that I would even beat last year's time. I had a plan to add 3 miles a week to my long run and I seemed to be handling it well. I was starting to get even cockier as I was running with no knee or hip pain for the first time and I felt great and then it happened. I was running a quick 6 miler after work in Lebanon Hills and the day was so nice, not too hot, a light breeze that I was just kind of zoning out when a deer jumped out, about 10 feet in front of me. A bit unusual in the afternoon but I was struck at how graceful it's stride was when the next thing I know I was flying forward and heading for the ground. I had stepped into a hole and my left foot had completely bent in half (at least that's the way it felt). I thought to myself, idiot, eyes on the trail but the deer was so interesting to watch. I cleaned myself off, decided that I hadn't broken or cracked anything and no blood was visible so I started to run but the foot that I had stepped into the hole, hurt, kind of like an ankle roll but this was in my arch and it was a bit more painful. Different than I was use to but I got through the run without any increase in pain and figured it wasn't a big deal. Two days later I headed out for a long run on pavement and everything went fairly well, I again kind of ran out of gas (normal issues - pace, fuel, hydration) after 15 miles but worked my way through another 4. My foot was tender and kind of ached throughout the run, I just figured it would continue to heal and that the pain would be gone soon.

I continued to try and build base over the next week with the plan for one more long run, I went on my birthday, I thought to myself what a great present to me, a long run. I decided to stop after 15 miles as the foot was too sore and TCM was now less than two weeks away. I was worried could I run 26 miles, would my knee be ok, would my foot be ok?

TCM came and I was sure I was ready, I had rested well and avoided running but had done some biking and I had convinced myself that the foot was healed. I reset my goal to just take my time and enjoy it. Unfortunately within the first mile I knew I was in trouble, my foot hurt. I couldn't seem to push off. I thought just marathon start paranoia, you know everything is hurting, ignore it and I did. Except I couldn't, I hobbled around the lakes and I told myself, you ran Grandmas with the knee issue you weren't going to let this foot get to you. I hobbled on down Minnehaha creek, I was having trouble putting my heal down, actually I just couldn't manage the pain when my foot bent so I basically was just running on my toes. I continued on, but the pain wasn't getting better and I was really struggling with running on the toes, then I hit the moment of truth as we turned onto Cedar to begin going around Nokomis, I decide to walk the small incline to give the foot a break. It hurt worse when I walked. I resumed running but it was hard to run on my toes, my knee was really starting to get torqued by the awkward motion. So now my foot was throbbing, my knee was throbbing, my calf was tightening, things weren't quite going to plan. I hobbled forward over the Cedar bridge and turned left to go around Nokomis, I saw the 1/2 way point and I then I saw my wife. I walked over to her and said I am done. The look of surprise on her face was quite interesting. She thought I was kidding, I explained what was going on and she still looked amazed when I said let's go to the finish and turn in the chip. I had officially given up, I felt like such a wimp.

As we drove over to the finish, I was thinking I had made the wrong choice, I should've stuck it out, sure it was throbbing a bit but I only had 13 miles to go. As we got out of the car to turn in the chip, the foot really hurt to walk on it, I needed ice, I hate ice, not good, ok,maybe I did make the right choice. I turned in the chip and asked my wife to get ice for me, she came back and said they needed my number and that I should go into the medical tent. I had always avoided the medical tent not sure why but I think I always figured it was for real runners and I have never considered myself to be one. So I hobbled into the tent and they sat me on a table, someone asked me what was wrong and then gave me some ice and said that the Doctor would be right over. Never knew they had real Doctors in the medical tent, kind of makes sense. Turns out the Doctor that came over was a podiatrist, Dr. Sperling. She always had a magnet in the goody bag with her info, I almost felt like I knew her and thanked her for sponsering the race. She asked what my issue was, asked when I hurt it, how I hurt it and then she proceeded to look rather closely at it, bent it, asked if this hurt and that hurt. She was quite good at finding the exact spot where it hurt. She turned and looked at me and said you need to go in and get this looked at more closely (x-rays, etc....), I think you have a torn tendon. Turns out I was able to get into her office the next day. She confirmed her initial diagnosis and then gave me the bad news, no running whatsoever for at least 4 weeks. Ouch.

I went back to see her a few weeks later and she again said the same thing, take 4 more weeks off, it's not an injury you should hurry, that meant 6 weeks without running. I finally got out for first run on November 12th and it felt great, no knee pain, no foot pain. Yes, I was back.

I continued to run trails for the rest of the year and I thoroughly enjoyed every run.

1999 marked my 6th consecutive Grandmas and my first DNF ever. I was ok with both decisions and I felt I made the right decision in both cases, to push through the pain at Grandmas and to pull out at TCM. Neither decision was easy and I learned something about myself in both cases. At Grandma's I learned that I could manage pain while running and the importance of running to me. At TCM, I learned that I had not completely lost my perspective. After Grandmas, I really wanted to run without pain and the decision to drop at TCM was right for that goal, now my decision to start the race might be open to second guesses...................

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fall Plans........

I have been thinking about everyone doing Superior and Kel's post kept coming home, that was a great post for gaining insight to just how long the 100 is.

So yesterday as I got to work, I thought about everyone that was doing the 100, they were an hour away from their start, I thought about my pre-race nerves from other events. Were they thinking (freaking out) about fuel, pace, hydration, weather, course and/or were they calm and relaxed? While we were at dinner they were 10 hours into it, how were they managing themselves, staying positive, enjoying the scenary, chatting with fellow runners, zoned out and alone, anticipating the coming darkness (I can only imagine where I would be), when I woke up they were 22 hours into it, for some they may have a few hours left but for many they will be out there for another 12+ hours. Wow, that is a long time to be on your feet, I have a lot of respect and admiration for what everyone is trying to do. The battle within they are all going through would be interesting to experience, maybe next year I will be willing to try.

I have been giving a lot of thought over what I want to do this fall, would I like to get a couple more states completed, yes, would I like to run my first 50, I think so. Do I want to travel to other locations, consume dollars, family time, spend weekends driving to and from, not really.

So I think I will do what I mentioned in my last post, I will create my own events. My plans will be to do a double marathon weekend and then do my first 50 mile training run.

So next weekend, I will do my double marathon.

After I do this, I will know that next year I can run back to back marathons to get 2 states completed in a weekend. If I have trouble then I will know that I need to adjust training and I can work on that. I also think I need to be able to do this for my confidence prior to attempting my first 50. My plan will be to run 26 miles or 6-7 hours whichever comes first on Saturday and then repeat it on Sunday. I am debating where I want to run, Afton, River bottoms (Eagan), River Bottoms (Jordon), River Bottoms (Bloomington) and/or Lebanon Hills.

I know if I run the River Bottom Eagan loop - Cedar-494-Fed land-St. Paul, that I can easily get in 18 miles without backtracking and adding 8 more wouldn't be a problem, I will have to figure out my hydration drops but other than that it should work out well. Or I could run the Bloomington loop - Cedar to 169, can't remember the total distance but it should be 13 miles one way or I can make it that. Or I could do a couple loops at Afton, would be harder on the body but the hydration would be easier. Or I could run Lebanon Hills, I would do a couple 13 mile loops so the Hydration is covered. My other option is the River Bottom down around Jordon, I have never run here and I think it would be a good spot to carve out my 50 regardless it's always fun to run somewhere that I haven't been.

So I will give some thought to which course or courses I want to do, figure out my logistics and then go for it next weekend............

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to training but for what????

Good news, I ran 14 miles on Saturday, took Sunday off and ran 13 miles yesterday. The foot was the same on both runs, a bit tender but the pain did not get worse. The only thing I needed to watch were significant flexes of the foot. I went up a hill on Saturday and decided to attack it, on the first step, it felt like my foot was tearing so I simply backed off and had no additional issues. So my diagnosis seems to have been on target, ignore it, give it a day or two and then train sensibly through it.

Now the real dilemma, what am I training for?

I had thoughts of running Farmdale and the next day Grand Rapids and that still has a lot of appeal. Why, because I have never tried to run 33 miles on Saturday and 26 miles on Sunday. I think if I could do that, I would be ready for a 50 miler. I do want to go after a 50 miler but my original plan was to do that next year which I think is the right decision to revert back to. The problem with doing these two back to back is time and money.

So since I haven't yet committed to Farmdale or to Grand Rapids, I decided to take a look around and see what else is available for this fall. I searched my usual sources for races and discovered a few additional events:
  • September 13th - Winona Lake, IN, Lake City Marathon & 50K
  • September 28th - Omaha, NE - Omaha Marathon
  • September 28th - Quad Cities, IL - Quad Cities Marathon
  • October 4th - Mt. Rushmore, SD - Mt. Rushmore Marathon
  • October 5th - Medicine Park, OK - Spirit of Survival Marathon
  • October 18th - East Peoria, IL - Farmdale 33
  • October 19th - Louisville, Ky - Louisville Marathon
  • October 19th - Grand Rapids, MI - Grand Rapids Marathon
  • October 26th - Ozawkie, KS - Rock Creek 50k
  • November 1st - Wynne, AR - Mid-south Marathon
  • November 15th - Mountain Home, AR - Mountain Home Marathon
  • November 16h - Tulsa, Ok - Route 66 Marathon
There are a whole lot more events but I kind of figured that these were all drivable in a day or two. I also noticed a couple of interesting things. Things like which marathon is closer to the Twin Cities - Tulsa, Oklahoma or Louisville, Kentucky?

Tulsa - 695 mi – about 10 hours 29 mins
Louisville - 708 mi – about 11 hours 20 mins

I would have said Louisville and been wrong, another interesting tidbit is, did you know that Tulsa is only an hour farther away than Grand Rapids (589 mi – about 9 hours 29 mins)?

(My mileage and time estimates come from Google maps)

One thing I am going to have to figure out in the 50 state quest is what will it cost and once I get by the states that border Minnesota, how will I work the logistics of time off work, travel time, etc....

To give you an idea of the cost, if you simply add up the cost of gas to Louisville and back:

(1408 miles/30 miles/gallon)
* $3.65/Gallon = $171.31

Add in hotel, marathon entry fees and miscellaneous other expenses and a trip to any one marathon would be easily over $300.

So if I averaged $300/marathon the cost to do all 50 states would be $15,000 (and that doesn't probably include airfare to Hawaii or airfare/driving to Alaska, Florida, Maine, etc.... Ouch, I may not want to post this blog, I think I will calculate what we have spent to date and then continue to track my 50 state cost. The one solace I can take, is since my times are slow, my value based on time spent on the course per dollar per event is quite good compared to my faster friends.

I can't remember if I ever posted but the cost of Grandma's marathon is the reason I am doing 50 states . I have run Grandmas many times and I always looked forward to our trips to Duluth each June. The problem was after 2006, I figured we were paying between $1000-$1200 for the weekend. I told my wife we could go to 3 or 4 states a year for that and the 50 state quest began. Now I love Grandmas and would recommend it but stay with a friend or sleep in your car as the hotel was the majority of the cost, gotta luv that 2 night minimum with raised up rates.

Ok, why the ramble about cost, well when you spend a few weeks out west and you want to run more events, it does equate to $. So a part of the equation in doing 50 states and thinking about ultra events is you got to have a budget or a pretty good income. So instead of running Farmdale and Grand Rapids, another option would be to run 33 miles in the river bottoms and then 26 miles in Lebanon Hills. Cost $3.65 for a gallon of gas to get me there or I could ride my bike to my entry points for a $0 cost.

So my point is depending on what I am training for I can get by a whole lot cheaper staying home. As a matter of fact, I might as well go and hold my own 50 mile event.

By hosting my own, I could avoid the crowds, I can plan it based on a good weather forecast, choose a location I like, I would finish last and first, I would win my age group, I could wear headphones, I can make the course 48 miles or 52 miles and still call it a 50, I could have the drink and food I want during the race and I could have a nice ice cold microbrew of my choice at the finish. I do lose out on the prestige of a jacket/finishers stuff, etc... and the long travel times but I can take our travel expense savings and buy my own jacket, along with a new pair of shoes, and a new hydration pack and a new pair of shorts and a new hat and get me some gaiters and about anything else I can think of. I can even have my wife crew for me and buy her a jacket or whatever as well. I can tell my friends that I ran the River Bottoms 50. They don't know anything about ultra events and they pretty much think that I am nuts for wanting to run a 50, let alone a 100, so my guess is they wouldn't check on the authenticity of the event and if they did and I said I made my own course, it would only confirm their initial thought anyway.

You know this idea is starting to make sense to me..............


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