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


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

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............


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