Thursday, December 24, 2009

December blues

It happens every year in Minnesota, winter comes, December begins and I get into a funk. Why, darkness, cold, snow, months of it ahead. My running screeches to a slow pace, take last Sunday, plenty of time to get outside but it never happened. I did a lot of things but did not go outside. I told myself, you can run on Monday. Well, work went late, had a contact issue, long commute, my guess is you can see the trend. Tuesday, plan was to run at lunch, didn't happen, no problem run after work, nope needed to Xmas shop, run after Xmas shopping, didn't happen. Yesterday, same issues. I still need to run 22 more miles between now and new years to make my goal of 1500 miles, so that got me going.

So today, I said no more excuses, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill barefoot, so I at least got in a minimum run. That gets me to just 19 more miles which shouldn't be a problem except for a snowstorm combined with holiday travels. My hope is that I can sneak a few in over the next few days otherwise I may be heading out on the 31st with a few more miles to run than I would like. I am too close to fail on this goal, as Yoda says "do or do not, there is no try", now it's time to do.

December is always the worse month for my running, I think it's the fact that I dread the coming months of winter. The nice thing is that Christmas always puts me in a better mode, I get to spend time with my family, I get away from work and the best part of where we are is the calendar. The darkest day of the year is now behind us and I always perk up in January as the light returns. I start thinking only one really bad month of winter left and then each month gets easier.

I have ruled out Psycho Wyco as I haven't run more than 12 miles since Surf the Murph and a return there would be just a butt kicking kind of day. I had that last year and would like to at least think I have a chance to kick back a little on a return trip. So now the search begins for which spring race to do and once I lock into one, that will get me out the door and then before we know it spring will be here but first:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Runners Round Table

Well, I did it again, I hosted the runners round table episode 61 with Albert (Albert Runs) and Lesley (Going the Extra Mile). We interviewed Jan Seeley and Joe Henderson from Marathon & Beyond magazine. You can get more info about the show on the runners round table website including a link to the podcast.

I have to admit it was really cool to get to talk with Jan and Joe (I had previous talked with them about the show along with Rich Benyo from Marathon & Beyond, heck that was great to). To be able to have a conversation with the publisher (Jan), editor (Rich Benyo) and a columnist (Joe) from a magazine, especially one I love is great. To be able to talk to an author like Joe (I think I have read at least 6-8 of his books), I was like wow, he is a legend.

It's safe to say I have no future in radio or as an interviewer but just ignore me and listen to every one else. So check it out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Odds and Ends

Running Barefoot
A while back I posted about my relationship with treadmills (I don't like them) but I outlined a plan that was intended to get me on it this winter. The plan was basically to give barefoot running a try. I decided instead of going barefoot, I would wear my water shoes which I purchased for $2.00 at WalMart. So they don't have any support, just a rubber bottom.

Well I have done two runs and have had no issues. The first run was just 2 miles and I did a mix of 2 minutes walking, 2 minutes running and stepped up the pace on each running segment. I waited a week before I tried again and repeated. I added in an extra mile, shortened the walking breaks to 1 minute and did a few more accelerations. Everything feels fine today. I did notice that I had no trouble landing on my mid/fore foot while running but I landed a bit on the heel when walking. I will continue to explore as it does get me to run on the treadmill. I do have to confess that while walking, I almost fell off. I was looking down and just drifted almost off of the treadmill.

Shoe Repair
I finally got around to repairing my Vasque Velocity VST's, the heels were separating from the sole. What I ended up doing was poking a hole through the outer sole, they are basically hollow underneath. You can tell if yours are like mine if you pull the insole out you can see right into the heel. Basically a honeycomb shape, what I did was drill the hole and then I filled it with it silicone (caulk for windows - cost ~$1). The silicone seemed to stick and the heel separation is gone and I have enough left over for about 10 years of shoe repair. The real test is that I have put 30 miles on them with no issues. Yes, I will get my mileage out of these shoes after all. So the VST's are back in my good graces.

Runners Round Table
I have posted before about the podcasts I listen to, one of them is called The Runners Round Table, a weekly running podcast about a variety of subjects hosted by podcasters and bloggers. Well, I volunteered to host, along with Albert and Lesley, this weeks show. We will be interviewing Jan Seeley and Joe Henderson from Marathon and Beyond magazine on Wednesday, I am sure I will post something after the show along with a link to the show. Feel free to join us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First snow of the year, :-( or :-) ?

Well, a couple days ago when I saw the forecast I got a bit sad, irritated, frustrated, depressed, gloomy, not quite sure how to describe it but I was not very happy. I am not a winter person, I endure each winter of living in Minnesota but it is safe to say that I am never excited about winter starting, ending yes, now that's a wonderful day. You see I hate the cold, I am ok with the snow and the ice as long as it stays off of the roads, trails and my driveway.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments that help me get through it. With the snow starting to come down and the thought of my first 2+ hour commute home, I left work a little early (around 3) and decided to head to Lebanon Hills and get a run in before it got any worse or my motivation went away. The trails had 1-3 inches of snow and the wind was brisk but it felt good to get out, I always feel good when I get outside, it's just getting out that I struggle with.

About 2 miles into the run, I was on a section of trail between the maintenance road and the christian camp road running the single track when I looked down at one of the lakes and instead a 4 to 5 foot high tree stump caught my attention. It had moved, I immediately stopped and looked hard at it. Was I imagining it as the snow was right in my face and then it moved again. Actually the stump didn't move but the owl sitting on it did. It turned it's head and stared at me, we were about 10-15 feet apart. It was covered lightly in snow and it was huge (about a foot and a half to two feet tall). It blinked it's eyes at me, looked down and seemed to not care the least about me. I just stood there and stared at it and thought to myself "way cool". As I turned and started to take off, it was still not concerned about me so I simply told it to have a good day. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera, (I have to start carrying one for moments like this).

After I got home, I looked up owls and I am 99% sure it was a "Great Horned Owl", here is a picture of one from wikipedia.

In Lebanon Hills, I have seen owls before but never so close to me. I like to think that without the snow, I wouldn't have had the experience, a great reminder to appreciate all of the seasons and yet another reminder of why I run trails.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Say it ain't so.........

I just got the news that the first ultra event I ever did is now history as Wynn has canceled the Chippewa Moraine 50k for 2010. What a bummer, my thanks to Wynn, his family, all of the volunteers and to the Chippewa Moraine section of the Ice Age trail for putting on a great event. It will be missed.

So now what, great question. I was planning on using Chippewa as my focus to get through the winter with the intent of having a PR day there. I felt the course beat me last year, actually it was a partner in that but I was the main reason my wheels fell off, now I won't have a chance to redeem myself. .

What to do, good question but I have all winter to figure it out.

First I have to discuss my Bears who are in the tank officially with tonight's loss to the Vikes. Maybe, now the media in Chicago will recognize what I have been saying for years, it's the defense stupid, and/or it's the offensive line, and/or it's the offensive coordinator (please Lovie before you are gone, fire Ron Turner) and/or it's the running game, it's not Cutler or the QB's before him - Orton, Griese, Grossman, Hutchinson, Krenzel, Quinn, Stewart, Burris, Chandler and a whole pile of other QB's (ok some of them were the problem but Cutler is not the problem, he is the best we have had since McMahon) then again could it be George Bush's fault, it sure seems like some folks from Chicago are blaming him for about everything else?

No, folks it's the defense, O-line and Ron Turner. You see in Chicago, the Bears play defense and run the football, then the QB comes into play. That used to be called Chicago Bear football. Ok, at least that is off my chest, the only way this season won't be a total loss is if we beat the Packers and Vikes when we play them in December in Chicago.

Chippewa history, the Bears 2009 season history, can't wait to see how work goes tomorrow............

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My wife and I ran the local Drumstick Dash 10k on Thanksgiving day, it was 2 loops around Lake Harriet and happens to be the first "road race" that I have run in over in a year. It was so weird to be at a road race versus a trail race or an ultra. There were so many people, probably like 500 (actually I just checked and there were 852 finishers, no wonder it seemed so crowed, it was).

Anyway, this is not a race report although I should say my wife and I ran a nice consistent pace and finished with a negative split. This is a report on spitting, I have often wondered how many times I spit during a run, for this run, I counted. When I took my last spit, I was on count 61, so that pretty much averages to spitting 10 times/mile, 1 time/minute, I am not sure this is normal but it does seem to be what I do. I do know that I had to consider my surroundings (said differently my fellow runners) for each and every spit and I can safely say that to my knowledge no other runners were negatively affected.

My guess is it might be allergy related or it might just be a learned behavior, the one thing I know is that it is a whole lot easier to do on the trails, yet another reason to stay off the roads.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I was talking with Wayne and Karen a couple of weeks back about my relationship with treadmills which basically is that I don't like them and they don't like me.

In my almost 20 years of running I have run on a treadmill somewhere between 40 and 50 times (tops) and I have been thrown off of the treadmill at least 4 or 5 times. I was telling my wife and daughter the same story and they basically said what? My daughter's comment was (said as only a 16 year can say) "How can you run trails and not handle a treadmill"? Good question but I tend to drift as I mindlessly meander on a treadmill until I drift to the edge of the belt where I step on the belt and the side of the treadmill which stops the belt and propels me backwards onto the floor or into the wall. This has happened to me at home, at work and on a treadmill at a hotel. I still remember the funny look I got at work when it happened, thankfully when it happened on the hotel treadmill no one was in the room nor has it been witnessed at home but believe me this is something you don't plan or make up. The good news is that I have never been hurt (other than my pride) but I think it's only a matter of time when something bad might happen to me, so give me the trails, the roads anything but the treadmill. Heck, I will gladly take cold, darkness, wind and snow over a treadmill.

Now that you know my relationship with the treadmill, I have a new plan for using it this winter.

I have thought about the current barefoot running craze that seems to have taken off thanks to "Born to Run" and I thought about running barefoot myself. Then I thought about where would I try it? It's getting colder here and I figure I would look pretty goofy running barefoot plus I really like to run in anonymity and I think running barefoot would pretty much end that. Then it occurred to me, why not run barefoot on the treadmill. I would only run 2, 3 or 4 miles which means the odds of me falling off would be reduced. The other thing which my wife has reminded me of that a treadmill is good for would be to run speed workouts on it, basically some fast, hard controlled workouts, again this time of year it gets harder to do this outside, so between barefoot running and the desire to work on my speed, it might just work out.

So this week, I will give it a go and see if it helps change anything about my relationship with the treadmill.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Buying trail shoes online

Some might say I am bit obsessive, compulsive, self-absorbed, focused and probably a few other adjectives when it comes to my running shoes. Ok, maybe I am but this post isn't about that it's about buying shoes.

I used to buy shoes only at running stores and I will still if they have the brand I want. If I need road shoes, they have great selections but for trail shoes the running stores I usually go to only offer a couple of brands usually Inov8, Nike, Brooks and/or Asics and none of these really seem to fit my foot. Very few sell Salomon, Vasque, Teva, Merrell, Montrail, Saucony, Asolo, Oboz and all the other brands of trail shoes that are available.

In the last year though all of my shoes have been bought on-line. I have bought from Sierra Trading Post, Backcountry or REI (make sure you check out BackCountry outlet and REI outlet in addition to their main sites). I have looked at shoes at ZombieRunner, Zappos, Altrec, Running Warehouse, Holibird,, Road Runner Sports, OnLineShoes, RnJ Sports,, Kellys Running Warehouse and I am sure many others.

The way I go about it is fairly easy, I know my foot type very well, somewhat wider forefoot and a narrow heel. What I have always called a Saucony foot. Anyway, what I do is read reviews at Zappos, REI, Backcountry, Sierra Trading, Altrec plus many of the other websites above have reviews along with the running magazines (Running Times, Trail Runner, RunnersWorld) and a handful of other sites like Trailspace, Outside Online, Competetive Runner and then many runners who blog do reviews, there is just a world of information available. Just google the shoe you are looking at and add the word review and you will get links to look at.

One other thing, always assume you can get a coupon for extra dollars off and/or free shipping. I have found with Sierra Trading and Backcountry that by signing up for their email deal notifications they send me coupons and all of their specials. Then when I see something that strikes my interest, I take a look, do the research and if I have a need, I buy otherwise I just continue to look for other shoes which I might consider later. In the process, I usually discover a model or a brand I wasn't aware of and then I make a mental note of it for the future.

As an example of this, one of the shoe brands I would like to try is Oboz and the model that I think might work for me is the Ignition which just so happens I could get at Sierra right now and to give you an idea of the prices, take a look at the Oboz Ignition. I am not sure if the link to the Obozs will work but if you went there you should see the cost for these shoes would be $40 (with the coupons and discounts) plus $7.95 shipping. So for a total of $47.95, I would have another pair of shoes, tempting but right now I am doing ok for shoes. (Update 11/22 - Got an email from them this morning, reduced again to $35.97, total = $43.92, patience can pay off, still not buying though). They do send you a return shipping label if they don't fit (no extra expense for you - make sure whoever you buy from offer this as it does remove the risk if you do have a bad fit) and the receipt says that you can return them if problems arise for credit or replacement. I should mention that usually the shoes they have are last years model which doesn't bother me but might some folks.

With Sierra Trading or Backcountry Outlet and probably most of the online sites, you have to be patient with sizes and shoe availability so if you always run in the same model of shoe, you might have trouble finding your shoe at the 50+% off discounts. If you need a certain model, shop around and you just might find a deal.

If however you are like me and willing to experiment a bit (and like to do some research) or are still in search of the perfect shoe, it's a great to way save some money and time. I like the fact that I can usually get 2 pairs for the price of 1. The way I look at it is, if one pair doesn't work out more than likely the other pair will and then I am no worse off in the pocketbook. Truth be told, I have had as good of luck buying on-line as I did when I bought in the store, might be do to the research I have done or the fact that there is no pressure to buy so I don't just settle for what's in the store.

The way I can tell if shoes work out is the mileage I put on them. Thus far I have bought 9 pair of shoes on-line over the last 2 and 1/2 years. I have retired four of the pairs with an average of 400 miles/pair, I have four pairs that I am running in right now and I expect the same mileage from them (meaning no losers) and I have one pair that I love but the shoes have prematurely started falling apart in the heels. I have not quite 250 miles on them and I plan to nurse another 50+ miles out of them this winter and if I am lucky I think I may have figured out a way to repair them. Yes I can be cheap but when I like a pair, I like to get my miles from them.

So from my viewpoint, buying trail shoes online has worked out great. Just remember that I know my foot type, do my research and I have never found a model that I will or can buy year after year. So if you are somewhat like me give buying online a try, you will save money and the part I enjoy the most is doing the research to find the deals and the shoes and being willing to experiment with different shoes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something to Ponder????

Warning - not running related

I generally try not to post on politics or religion and this one is really on neither but some might think it is criticism of the current President since I am questioning his stimulus package at least indirectly. Now truth be told, I was criticizing the past President for the same thing. Moving onto my soapbox, we should spend what we collect in taxes, fees, services, etc... and we should not print money we can't repay in my lifetime. Ok, I am now moving back off of my soap box.

Anyway, what led to this post was our church had the annual stewardship speech (what are you donating next year) last Sunday, except they invited a guest speaker. Turns out he is local high school teacher who teaches economics and he gave a great example during his speech that helped me understand our current deficit spending in a way that really made sense (minor side track - I should clarify that he did not at any point criticize the current administration nor make any political comments, his talk was on stewardship). Back to this post, as an Electrical Engineer, math has always been something I have been fairly good at but when it comes to millions, billions, trillions I tend to have visualization issues. His example was to think of the money as time.
  • 1 Million Seconds = 278 hrs = 11.6 days
  • 1 Billion Seconds = 277, 778 hrs = 11,574 days = 31.7 years
  • 1 Trillion Seconds = 277, 777, 778 hrs = 11,574,000 days = 31,709.8 years
So to complete the visualization, he said here is the way to look at the spending. If it really did equal time and you would go backwards in time based on the amount of time you spent.
  • 1 Million Seconds takes us back to November, 5 2009
  • 1 Billion Seconds takes us back to March 10, 1978
  • 1 Trillion Seconds takes us back to 29,700 BC (no clue what month)
I thought it was a great example that helped me understand the bizarre spending in Washington over the last 12+ years. So when they talk about a budget deficit of a Trillion+ dollars it has a whole new perspective to me. I should also add that he did cover a few more topics concerning stewardship and he did provide an interesting perspective on that as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disney and Ultra Running?

The other day when I was on a run (it was one of my last longish training runs before Surf the Murph) and for whatever reason "Disney" popped into my head.

My family last went to Orlando back in 2006, we were there over Thanksgiving with 2 other families we have know for almost 30 years and we had a great time. I do like many things Disney offers but not all things. And as I was thinking about Disney I got off on random track of comparing Disney to my upcoming 50 miler and to ultra running. This may also provide insight to why I love running longer distances as I have many great internal conversations and tons of random thoughts, my only problem is that most of them I can't remember a mile later let alone a day later but for whatever reason this one has stuck with me.

Anyway back to Disney, anytime my family has gone to Orlando to experience Disney, I have always had mixed feelings. I enjoy the rides, the shows, the experience but I hate the crowds, the lines, the costs. Did I mention, I hate the crowds. So as I pondered Disney, I decided that there are some similarities between Disney and the Ultra experience.

First, at each ultra I have done all of the volunteers (and race directors) have been very friendly, courteous and they try to make our experience a good one. They make us feel welcome, like we belong even though I know I am just a back of the pack runner, why even the best of the best runners usually smile and say hello. When you go to Disney almost all of their workers are friendly, courteous and they try to make the guests visit a good experience. Then you have the start, kind of like when Disney opens it's doors, the energy of the crowd is very similar to the energy we all have at the start of a race.

Then you have the courses, hills, rocks, roots, lakes, creeks, birds, deer, snakes, foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks an amazing variety of nature and beauty all of which change each time you run the course yet they always seem familiar. Have you ever run a trail and not enjoyed the experience? Have you ever run the same trail over and over and then stop and you see something that you had missed or taken for granted. Kind of like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, Test Track, Mission Earth, Imagination, Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (I have to admit that I like this ride as it brings back memories of seeing Aerosmith back in 1973, man are they old), Everest Expedition and many more. Each time I go back it all seems familiar but I see things that I missed the previous time through, ok, maybe this is a stretch as the trails are definitely more enjoyable.

Then you have the bad stretches that almost always happen in an ultra, kind of like the long lines and the crowds at Disney, if you are patient and don't lose your cool the time passes and you are back enjoying yourself. You also have the food, good at Ultras and ok at Disney and both venues have some strange food. Like mash potatoes or potatoes you can dip in salt (when I mention these type of foods to other runners, you should see the look on their faces) or the foods of the world at Epcot, ok now I am brain dead, I know they have some weird foods there, just can't remember them. You have the weather, always a concern at Ultras and at Disney. You have people from all over the world who run ultras and people from all over the world who visit Disney (yeah, not probably the same group). You have old and young, fat and thin, men and women, families, costumes, strange clothing, rules and many other things at both. Ok, my comparisons may be getting lame but I am still amazed that I remembered any of them.

So sometimes when I am running my training runs and I start thinking to myself why am I doing this, all of a sudden "It's a small world after all" pops into my head and everything seems ok. So if you see me zoned out I might just be meandering my way through Walt Disney world, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, MGM, Blizzard Beach or various other Orlando locations and if you see me struggling just mention "would you rather be here or waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear?", I am sure you will get a smile and a very quick reply, "here!", as I do so hate crowds.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What next?

Now that is the question, what am I doing or training for next?

My first 50 is complete and the next race that I have signed up for is the Chippewa Moraine 50k but it's not until April 24th, just 166 days and a long, cold, dark Minnesota winter away (you can see that winter is not my favorite time of year :-). I know that if I my training focus is only on Chippewa I will drift aimlessly towards it and then sometime after January 1st, I will actually start the training. As I usually respond to the panic of an approaching race by getting out the door despite the fact that I don't like to run longer in the cold. You see, I know if I don't get out well then Chippewa will be a longer day than I would like and this year I want Chippewa to be fun, no dehydration, to have no snow and yes this year I want a PR. What this panic training does instead is it leads to a plan that will get me through the distance but I may or may not have time to improve as I am way too busy re-building my base. I could also just forget about running and do cross training like XC skiing, snowshoeing or do indoor training (boring) but I know that these although occasionally enjoyable don't really get me out the door or into working out on any kind of regular basis.

So I have decided on a different approach, I have added a second countdown except this is to the next race that I am simply thinking about. Which for me is the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k. I ran it last year with Wayne and Les and I had a blast slipping and sliding around that wonderful Kansas mud so I wouldn't mind doing it again. It is on February 13th and is 96 days away. Now with that on my calendar I can focus on it and if it doesn't work out, no loss. Regardless, it will simply help me get out the door which will help me maintain my base and that will get me to Chippewa faster, lighter and if nothing else it will help make the time of winter pass.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surf the Murph pictures and other facts

A few pieces of additional info which I failed to include in my race report.

First I read Kel's report (great job Kel) and she reminded me about the bridge which we all were sliding off of. My thanks to Steve L. who pulled me up.

I am pretty surprised as to what was sore the next day, mainly my shoulders and back. My feet seem fine and my legs are fine. I did take it real easy on Sunday but on Monday I was able to walk the stairs at work with no issues. Today I had planned to get a run in but it didn't work out right after work and then I wimped out going in the rain and the dark. So a few days later all is well and here are a few things about the race some might enjoy.

Imported from BimActive

Route Name: Surf The Murph 2009
Location: --
Distance: 51.34 miles
Elevation Avg: 953 ft
Total Uphill: +4868 ft
Total Downhill: -4868 ft
Elevation Net: +0 ft
Difficulty: 4.5

Elevation (ft.)

Pace by loop per my garmin (as I left the start/finish on each loop)
Loop 1 - 16.01 miles - 3:47:15 - 14:12 min/mile
Loop 2 - 32.06 miles - 7:54:55 (loop 2 time = 4:07:40 - 15:26 min/mile)
Loop 3 - 48.22 miles - 12:39:19 (loop 3 time = 4:44:24 - 17:36 min/mile)
Loop 4 - 51.34 miles - 13:40:36 (loop 2 time = 1:01:17 - 19:39 min/mile)

Pretty easy to see how I ran out of gas as the fueling issues and the pain increased. When I looked at my mile splits I was where I wanted to be up through mile 44. Now the last 6 miles, I believe the best way to describe them is as "a walk in the park". I think my training worked out except the longest back to back mileage days on a weekend oddly enough was 42 miles, pretty much where I tanked. I may want to push an extra 6 miles out on a few weekends and see if that helps next time. I also have to admit I was fairly freaked out during loop 2 as I was afraid of what I would experience in loop 3. Once in loop 3, I was afraid if I would be able to walk the next day. Now that I know what to expect, I think I can push it a lot more in loop 3 and a bit more in loop 2 especially if I get the fueling working a bit better.

One last thing, although I thought I was on the verge of dehydration at times, when I got home I weighed myself and I was only a pound down so I think I did get myself rehydrated with the slow down in loop 3.

I also wish I had a camera with me to take a few picture out on the course. Maybe next time I will have one to take with me but here are a few my wife took during the race.

Wayne and myself coming in with loop 2 almost complete.

Me after I stooped to talk with my family, feeling good still but if you look close you can almost read my mind and based off of the look on my face it probably was "I can't believe I have one more lap".

Wayne and me coming into the finish

At the finish, yes I was happy to smile and I felt better than I expected but I was tired.

Ok, maybe I wasn't doing that good after all, feel free to laugh at me for this picture but I couldn't resist posting it. I could not believe how hungry I was when I got done nor could I believe that I ate pizza. It normally takes me a few hours to be able to eat after a race.

I still know I am forgetting a few things but that's it for now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Surf the Murph 2009

Here's my short report:

I finished my first 50, great course, great family support, great volunteer support, great aid stations, great job Les and Cindy and great runners to share it with.

Here's my long report (and it is long):

I got to the race a little after 5 which gave me plenty of time to get things organized. I had already dropped a bag at the horse trail station so that was a go. I picked up my number. Along the way I saw Wayne and Karen. I made a few last decisions as to what I wanted to carry versus throwing in my other bag. The weather was brisk with a bit of breeze but all things considered it was looking to be a good day. As we waited around, I even stepped out of my shell and introduced myself to Carl G. I have seen him at many races and figured I should say hello. Before I knew it, I was standing in line and we were off. We had four loops ahead for our day, the first loop was a short 3.2 mile loop followed by 3 longer 15.6 mile loops. Since I had run my training runs down in Murphy, I wasn't too worried as I knew the course well. We would be running 9 or so miles in the northern section which was hillier and more sheltered and the other 6+ in the southern section which was much more runnable. The time seemed to fly by and we had to be nearing the right turn that would start our return back to the start/finish and end the first short loop. Something didn't seem right as I thought it should have come up already. Did we miss the turn? No way, I knew the course we hadn't come to the 2nd gate. Granted it was in the dark and I was following a group but there is no way I could have missed it. We were trying to decide what to do as we were all getting nervous that we had missed it. The first loop was 3.2 miles and we were at 2 miles (I was thinking we missed it but how) then 2.5 miles (I knew we missed it) and then we came upon the first aid station (Yup, we missed it - this aid station was staffed by a friend from work, Paul and Steve G). Which caused another concern the aid station wasn't where we thought it should be. We had thought that we would be taking a spur back into a clearing, if so we missed it too. We figured we might as well continue to run the big loop and make up the short loop on the 2nd loop and we were hoping that since the aid station was moved maybe Les had changed the course, let's hope so.

We soon were looping our way to the horse trail aid station when another group of runners were coming back, they too had missed the turn and were trying to decide what to do. We told them we had too and that we were going to continue on and let Les know, figuring that as long as we ran the loop we would be ok and if not well, a DQ would be a first too. I felt pretty good as we ran along and then I looked at my watch 56 minutes into the race, I had not taken a drink. I had been so pre-occupied with where we were that I had forgotten to drink or take any S-caps. Great, my first 50 and I was well on my way to dehydration, I told myself to relax and start drinking. Onto the horse station where Londell greeted us warmly. We would be coming back to his aid station another 5 times since the southern loop basically starts and ends at the aid station. I was running with a small group that included Wayne, Karen, Rick and a few others and I was catching up on the fluids and S-caps so I was thinking it was going to go well. I should also mention that I did not have the gumption to come in a costume but Wayne (convict), Karen (SuperWomen) and Rick (an outhouse complete with toilet bowl) all did. I hope someone got a picture of Rick's a it was real creative.

Soon we were into the next aid station which was staffed by Helen (and I think Don), Helen is a great ultrarunner. Yet another fact that makes me love the trail and ultra scene, when was the last time you saw a marathon winner staffing an aid station? She had brought banana bread which I declined, I asked for a beer which she said she had, I then declined and said maybe on loop 2 or 3. It was neat leaving her station as we had a quick singletrack section that took us back to the trail, we continued on around and I was starting to pick up many other course changes from the loops I had run in training. It had me a bit lost but I loved the fact that it was different. We continued around the loop until we came back into Londell's station (there were some folks who helped at his station so my apologies for not knowing their names). I ended up running with Wayne for a lot of this loop, it sure made the time pass quickly. From there we had some more single track and then back into the northern section where Les gave us another course change from our training runs. We turned left and climbed a hill, it was the hill that would give us a view of Minneapolis. We continued up the hill and where I figured he would loop us back for the view of Minneapolis we continued on up the hill further and then went back down a steep hill when all of a sudden we turned right onto a singletrack trail that I didn't know existed and the truth be told this one was much more like a deer trail than anything else. We worked our way through it and then we climbed up a very steep hill where we popped out of the woods with the view of Minneapolis. It was a great change to the course. We worked our way through a bit more singletrack, over a few logs and on back to the start/finish. Loop 1 took about 3 hours and 45 minutes, right on my goal pace, my fast goal pace but it meant I was on track for my time goal of 13 hours. We talked to Les who said not to worry about missing the turn on the short loop he would have us finish it at the end.

As we started loop 2 I debated what to grab for fluids as I had it all planned it all out for the short loop and then a big loop. Now what to do. I again told myself to relax, grab what you think you need and get going. There were plenty of aid stations if I needed more. I had lost track of Wayne at this station but I knew he would be coming by me soon enough. Sure enough he did and we again ended up running much of the second loop near each other. I did enjoy a comment Paul made to me as I came into the first aid station, he said something like you look tired. I was as had been running with Karen. As I continued on, I was trying to slow my pace down in this loop and had encouraged Wayne, Karen and Rick to get ahead of me. I ended up staying fairly close to them which wasn't good as I was convinced I couldn't keep pace with them. My race plans were to allow 15 minutes more per loop that way I wouldn't freak out if I started to slowdown, my goal was just to keep moving. Now I did hope that each loop would be consistent but I had no idea what I would go through in loop 3 so I wanted to err on the conservative side. As we neared the end of loop 2, I had a nice surprise my whole family was there to great me (my wife and both of my daughters had come out, what a nice surprise). We finished loop 2 in about 4 hours, again right on my planned pace. I remember coming into loop 2 thinking how nice it would be to just be running the 50k.

Loop 3 was a bear, my feet were real sore, my legs were cramping up and it felt like I was consuming my body for fuel. I had not been able to eat much as I had been on the verge of nausea for part of the first loop and pretty much all of the second loop and of course it continued in loop 3. Every time the nausea got bad I would take an S-cap. I had a real difficult time keeping track of time as it related to my S-cap consumption was it 10 minutes ago or 30 or ?.

My wife and I had discussed that she would pace me in the southern loop which I had hope would give me a boost. Another thing that I had planned on doing was switching coats as I was getting a bit chilled at times. The day was interesting when you were in the trees or sheltered from the wind and the sun was out you would heat up, then the breeze would hit and I would get cold. I was running by myself along the northern section which was fine and I was thinking that I just might be able to do it as I climbed the second hill along a stretch that I call the section 6 hills. They have markings at Murphy that I have never quite figured out and the hills from section 6 are the hardest to work your way through.

I continued on to the horse aid station where my wife was waiting for me. I switched socks and shoes and grabbed my gore-tex jacket. I could not believe how nice the dry socks felt. I also cramped up as I changed into the socks, it was funny when I looked down and saw two toes at basically right angles from the cramping and I would have laughed except it hurt, I grabbed the foot and got the cramp to stop, finished putting on the socks, slapped on the shoes and we were off. Except, I was pretty much useless as my feet were pretty sore, basically it felt like I had plantar fascia in both feet. Every step hurt and it really hurt when I tried to run. We made it to the lake and I knew I needed to do something or I was in trouble. So I sat down and laced the shoes as tight as I could. When I got back up (which I was happy to see that I could do), I was able to bear the pain of shuffling along regardless of the style I was glad to get going again. We made it to the Helen aid station and as we pulled into it I had caught up to Wayne and Rick. That caught me by surprise as I figured they were way ahead of me. As we left the station we kept them in sight all the way to the Londell station. From there my wife was going to drive to the start/finish area and we had planned on running the final 3 miles together. Wayne and I took off and we worked our way through the singletrack and back into the northern section. We both were pretty well content with walking it in. I had hopes that I would recover some and be able to run but as we walked along talking I was real happy to be finishing with Wayne. We both kept telling each other to feel free to take off and neither of us did. As we took in the final view of Minneapolis from the hilltop, we both knew we had it. We made it to the start finish where we were loudly cheered on. They had told us they had placed cones 1.55 miles out and we could not miss them so we headed out. On the other loops I had figured out the turn (each time through I made a mental note, turn right at number 4, second gate) so I was thinking we would do the actual loop but as we thought about the course change they made for us, we figured they were right as we might have missed it again or taken another wrong turn. My wife was enjoying the night run, she had never run in the dark on trails before and I am sure she will doing the 25k or 50k next year. Wayne and I continued the walk to the cones and on the way we passed Karen and then Rick, it was nice to see that they were still going. We made the turn around and on the way back we passed Kel and a couple of other folks whose names I don't know. As we approached the finish, I had a great feeling of satisfaction come over me. I was an ultrarunner.

A couple of other things, my Garmin made it the entire race and it showed 13 hours and 40 minutes and 50.9 miles which when uploaded into SportTracks came in at 51.34 miles.

I have a lot of things still going through my mind concerning this race but I figured I should get this post out so don't be surprised to see a few more posts coming out fairly soon and some of them may have a picture or two. One thing that did go through my mind is 100 miles is still beyond my comprehension but another 50 mile race might be kind of fun.

My thanks to all of the volunteers, you were great, to Les and Cindy for putting this event on, your hard work is appreciated, to my wife and family for putting up with me during the fall training, for your race support and to my wife for pacing me and to Wayne, Karen and Rick and for the many other others who helped me get through this. It was a blast.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Surf the Murph Checklist

Just a little more than 1 day out and all things are coming together quite nicely. I am in the middle of working out the final details of what I think I need to do to be ready for race morning. I went for a short 3 mile run tonight, no issues except for the branch I stepped on that I thought went through my foot. Then I have work, it is doing a great job of keeping me distracted of course not in a good way but hey, I will have 50 miles to work that all out.

My plans for the race are real simple go out slow, keep going, finish. I thought about posting about the weather and then I thought why? Regardless of what it is I will be there and will try to be ready.

Here is my current checklist:

Clif shot electrolyte - 4 1/2 liters (2 bladders - 1 is 2 liters, 1 is 1 1/2 liters, 2 1/2 liter bottles)
Clif shot bloks - 2 packages
Chocolate #9 - 4
Sport beans - 2
Peanut butter sandwich - 2
Water - 6 1/2 liter bottles
Nuun tablets in case the water needs some flavor
S-Caps - 20

Race start - Jacket, shorts, socks, running pants, long sleeve tech shirt, gloves, hat
extra running pants
extra long sleeve shirt
extra short sleeve shirt
extra socks
extra shoes
extra jackets
more gloves
costume - still thinking about it

Headlamps 2
Flashlights 2
extra batteries
usb battery charger for Garmin (need to create it yet)
extra watch

I am pretty sure I have forgotten something, oh well still time to correct it.

Ok, I changed my mind, here is the latest and my last weather forecast and it looks just fine.

From Accuweather - 34 at race start
Saturday, Oct 31
High: 50 °F RealFeel®: 39 °F
Breezy with times of clouds and sun

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy High


From Wunderground
Partly Cloudy
45° F | 34° F

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

STM forecast update

After last nights blustery forecast I decided to check Accuweather again and less than 12 hours later it is an amazingly different forecast.

Saturday, Oct 31
High: 52 °F RealFeel®: 52 °F
Cool with times of clouds and sun

Saturday Night, Oct 31
Low: 39 °F RealFeel®: 31 °F
Partly cloudy with a passing shower late

It appears the wind forecast has been move to Thursday and Friday. Since Accuweather seems to have some consistencies issues, I checked (oh I should add that they seem to have the same type of consistency issue).

Day Night

Rain / Snow Showers


Wind: From WNW at 16 mph
Max. Humidity: 75%
UV Index: 2 Low

Sunrise: 6:50 AM CT
Avg. High: 50°F
Record High: 83°F (1950)

Clouds Early / Clearing Late
Overnight Low


Wind: From WNW at 5 mph
Max. Humidity: 79%

Sunset: 5:03 PM CT
Avg. Low: 32°F
Record Low: 15°F (1878)

I also checked the wundergrund and it looks closest to Hard to believe any of the forecasts so I think I will get back to planning for anything.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

STM Forecast Update

A little more than 3 days out, I know I am getting excited how about you? Interesting forecast update.
Saturday, Oct 31
High: 44 °F RealFeel®: 29 °F
Very windy; mostly cloudy and colder

Saturday Night, Oct 31
Low: 30 °F RealFeel®: 20 °F
Partly cloudy

Saturday winds

Winds: W at 24mph
Wind Gusts: 50 mph
Saturday night winds
Winds: WNW at 14mph
Wind Gusts: 32 mph

Neat symbol to show very windy and I would say 50 mph gusts qualify as windy, the southern loop may be a bit more interesting. Also, the Friday overnight forecast is looking a little less promising.

Friday Night, Oct 30
Low: 36 °F RealFeel®: 22 °F
Partly cloudy and breezy

Sure hope they got the forecast wrong one more time. Time to finish up the planning although it looks like a few warm clothes will be a good addition to the list and a good idea for loops 2 and 3.

Monday, October 26, 2009

STM Forecast, Facebook, Twitter?

Less than 5 days out, here is the latest forecast for Surf the Murph
Saturday, Oct 31
High: 49 °F RealFeel®: 39 °F
Breezy and colder with clouds breaking for some sun

Saturday Night, Oct 31
Low: 34 °F RealFeel®: 23 °F
Partly cloudy

They are saying that the overnight low on Friday will be 44 (high of 60) and except for the fact that they say it will be windy with rain and drizzle it looks like a decent temp for the race start. I added Saturday night as I am pretty sure I will experience a bit of it and it looks ok.

Now about Facebook and Twitter, Ok, I admit it I am getting old and this must confirm it, I don't get Facebook and Twitter.

A while back, I set-up a account on Facebook, looked around and deactivated it. Am I missing something, should I give it another try? I only checked it out as a blog I used to enjoy reading Runalong with Pastor Mark, said goodbye to blogosphere and hello to facebook. In a comment he made concerning his decision, he stated "For now I'm going with the conversation of FB over the monologue of blogging".

Maybe, I am just better at monologue than conversation. Is that my real issue with FB? Why would I want to share info about myself? I am a fairly private person (especially at first contact), non-social, not outgoing, introvert, non group person. Yet I have a blog? I think I have it because it allows me to document my running. As I original said as I have gotten older, I tend to forget the details of past running issues and it's good to have an accurate account that I can look back at. So for the most part my blog is only about my running. When I started it I never gave much of a thought to if anyone would read it. Although I have to admit I do like getting comments. In person, I can and do talk but mostly only about things I care about, am I that shallow or do I just lack the skills of smalltalk? Maybe I will leave that for another day.

Wayne mentioned to me that many in the local ultra community have Facebook accounts, my wife and daughters have Facebook accounts. What am I missing?

I signed up for a Twitter account I think to follow DirtDawg's 100 mile event. I have yet to post any random things about myself as why would anyone want to know what I am doing 140 characters at a time? What am I missing?

Maybe I should just reactivate my FB account and give it another try, maybe I should send out a tweet, then again maybe I should just maintain my current status quo? If anyone reads this and wants to educate me, feel free to post a comment or drop me a note.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Surf the Murph forecast update

7 days out, I haven't started to freak out but I am giving a lot of thought to the logistics you know fuel, clothing, shoes, strategy, etc... more on that later. There is an interesting change to the forecast,

Not as cool with rain
Low: 42 °F
High: 54 °F

Change since last update, low and high temp forecast up 14 degrees and a change from mostly cloudy to rain. Stay tuned as I am sure within a few more days it will change :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Surf the Murph Weather Update

Wayne commented that I must be working on my taper since I started posting about the weather, well he is kind of right. Why "kind of", well you see I have always struggled with what to do during and exactly how to taper.

So this time knowing that I had no more long runs scheduled and that I was 2 weeks out from my first 50 miler, what did I choose to do but of course work on my speed. I went out to Lebanon Hills last Thursday and I thought I pushed the pace just a bit, I looked at my splits and said guess not, So on Saturday I went out and since I was feeling good I did push the pace, you see I was irritated that on Thursday what seemed faster wasn't. Turned out, it was my fastest time on my 6 mile loop by quite a bit. At least 8 minutes faster than normal. So what did it do for me, well, when I went out on Sunday for my last 20 miler, that nice hard run allowed me to change it to a 13 mile run. Why because I now had a very sore achilles and a fairly sore hamstring and a couple of other issues which I won't go into. Yes I was tapering just fine.

So last night I went for a run, you know a night run, check out the lights, get a feel for running as dusk turns into night. Again I felt pretty good so I decided to push it, after tripping a few times and almost rolling my an ankle what did I do for the last mile? Of course I decided to run it harder yet. Ok, reminder to self, taper means "do no harm", "don't be stupid", "it's too late", "relax and take it easy". So after 3 good runs and a lousy long run, I think it's time that I take it slower and try to actually taper before I do something really stupid.

Now about that weather forecast, here is the latest from Accuweather.

Mostly Cloudy
Mostly cloudy
Low: 28 °F
High: 38 °F

Changes from the first forecast, 7 degrees colder and chance of rain removed. They are calling for rain the 3 days ahead of the race and snow the day after. Of course, let's wait a few more days as I am sure it will change again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rachel's Challenge

Last night, my wife and I attended a presentation at Rosemount High School called Rachel's challenge. The event was sponsored by Dakota Electric (our thanks to their sponsorship) and earlier in the day it had been presented to all of the students of Rosemount HS and it is scheduled for many other local schools over the next few weeks.

Rachel's challenge is the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed at Columbine High School who believed she would make a difference in the world and she has thanks to the journals she kept and her family's willingness to share these with the world. It is an amazing and inspirational story with a great message for all of us.

Her theory is “If one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” So, if we accept her challenge and make it part of our lives than we too can start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. I think it is something that we all should accept as part of our lives.

If you have an extra 10 minutes check out this video summary from You Tube, look at the Rachel's Challenge website or better yet attend one of the remaining scheduled dates and hear her story for yourself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surf the Murph - weather forecast

It looks like we may have a few more nice days ahead but what about the weather for Surf the Murph. Well here is the initial forecast from

Saturday, Oct 31
Partly Sunny w/ Showers
A couple of showers
Low: 35 °F
High: 45 °F

Can't wait to see how many times it changes over the next two weeks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Final long run in murphy

I went into my final long run thinking that I planned to do 33 miles, basically the short 3.2 mile loop followed by two long loops around the park. The plan was simple run in my Aether Trails, fine tune my fueling.

Good plan, poor execution. What went wrong was pretty much everything. To start with I realized I had failed to pick up more Clif Shot Bloks which was Problem #1, not planning out my run ahead of time, no problem I told myself as I had my Chocolate #9's, a PB sandwich, a package of sport beans, my clif shot electrolyte, some gummies along with a solo bar. Problem #2 came up right after I got to Murphy, I had failed to grab anymore #9's, oh well, I had one, it would have to do. Problem #3, I had forgotten my gaiters, hopefully it wasn't going to be too muddy.

The first short loop went fine, it took about 45 minutes. I had wanted to run it easy so the time seemed fine. On the 1st long loop I did run the first bonus loop, thanks Wayne and Kel for getting me the location. I liked it, I love tight singletrack and the hill that Kel mentioned (in her post on her training in Murphy) wasn't as bad as I thought (yes I do have longer legs so the footsteps worked ok). On around the loop I went, I decided to take my #9, which leads me to Problem #4, I normally eat something about 1 1/2 hour into my run, I took the #9 at just over 2 hours. I crossed over into the horse trail parking lot, thinking that besides my errors, I was doing ok. I meandered around the lake where I had to stop to get rocks out of my shoes, gaiters would have been nice. I made it out onto the open section of this loop where I remembered Problem #5, I failed to grab any warmer clothes and with just a short sleeve tech shirt and my light jacket, I was chilled from my sweat and a brisk breeze. A nice long sleeve tech shirt would have worked better. Where had that sun gone, finally I got out of the wind and I felt better. On around the loop I went. After crossing over the road, I realized I was getting hungry so I ate half of the pack of Sport beans. As I climbed the hill I came to the gate that I had not gone around last week and I decided to climb around the gate and see what the section was like. This section is not too bad, mostly runnable, a couple of uphills and some nice downhills. I moved on around the remainder of the loop and came into the main parking lot with a time of 4 1/2 hours, pretty much where I wanted to be, a 3 hour and 45 minute long loop added to the first short loop.

Now the plan was to run another long loop and finish out my final long run. I grabbed another bladder of electrolyte, the PB sandwich and the solo bar. I was still chilled but what the heck, I had to keep going. I decided to change shoes as my Aether trails only had about 15 miles coming into this run and I thought adding 33 more to them might be a mistake as my feet were starting to get sore, the good news was no toe damage and no blisters but then again I had only gone 18 miles. So I put on my Salomon's. This decision of course created Problem #6 but of course I didn't realize it right away so more on that shortly. I ate my sandwich which tasted really good, I realized I was very hungry. I proceeded around the loop and ran down the first hill, ouch, my shoes didn't feel too good and of course they only got worse as I went. I was not able to run down any hills and basic running was a problem as well. I went ahead and finished my sport beans, I needed energy. Between the shoes and the energy level I was out of gas. What to do? I decided to just continue to walk but it was slow going, when would that food hit home? On I went. Finally made it up the hills and went to the bathroom for the 5th time, which seems like yet another problem the fluids were just going right through me which may have been related to Problem #7, I ate pizza the night before, maybe not the best choice of fuel before a long run. I felt like quiting and couldn't imagine finishing the loop. I ate the solo bar, it was almost frozen. Still the energy seemed low, ok, time to work the mind. I ran down the hill into the horse camp and thought about calling it a day. If I did I would only get in 26 miles, which is where I figured out Problems #8 and 9. I had lost track of my S-Caps and I was struggling with figuring out where I was and how much distance it would give. Since I knew this was my final run, I decided to venture out into the southern section and proceeded to walk some sections that aren't part of the course. I finally was able to run (albeit not real fast) and had figured out how to run in my shoes without major pain, who knows maybe with 4 or 5 miles of mostly walking the swelling in my feet had gone down. I finally figured I had gone far enough and decided to head for home. Of course when I got back to the main parking lot, I looked at my Garmin and it was just short of 29 miles, I had miscalculated my distance and headed back out for one more mile. Of course I failed to restart my Garmin so I just went out a ways and then turned back after not quite 10 minutes and then I guesstimated that my total mileage was just under 30. Not what I wanted but all things considered good enough, since I felt toasted by mile 19 but went another 11 and if not for the thought of "do nothing fatal" probably could have gone farther.

I do have to admit that over those final 11 miles, I kept thinking to myself how the heck am I ever going to run 50 miles, well upon further review here is what came to mind.

1. Don't run 12 miles the day before
2. Buy whatever you think you will need the week before
3. Pack extra clothes
4. Don't run in your Salomon's no matter what for distances longer than 10 miles
5. Last I need to remember no matter how bad I feel, I still have 14 hours and based on Kel's and Wayne's conversation with Les, more if needed. That is not good as I don't want to be out there for 14 hours, longer I just can't imagine.

Final thought, if I am doing 30 miles in around 8 hours on tired legs that still gives me 6 hours to go 20 more miles (18 min/mile) which should be more than enough time, I think.

Time to taper, regroup and then get it done.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shoes, again?

After my panic a couple of weeks back, I am thinking that I am actually in pretty good shape at least as it relates to shoes.

My panic was caused when my Vasque VST's started to come apart and my toes were bleeding in my Salomon's so I went out and bought a couple of other pairs from Sierra Trading Post. Another good deal, $90 for two pair. This is my second order with them, both times quick delivery (plus free return if needed). Their selection is limited and changes fairly often so you have to watch or just get lucky or be willing to branch out and try new things (oh make sure you search under "Running" as well as "Trail Running" if you are looking for trail shoes as I have found trail shoes under both categories and that you search for on-line coupons to maximize your savings). What I bought this time were Teva Romero's and Vasque Aether Trail's.

The Romero's seem a bit wider (than my Salomon's and VST's, which is good) and they got me through my long run last weekend so they are a good candidate for STM. They seem reasonably stable (moderate weight ~12 oz/shoe), they did pick up a lot of mud last weekend but they provided decent traction going down hill.
I will be wearing the Aether Trails this weekend. They fit slightly better than my VST's, they seem just a pinch longer and maybe slightly wider, so I think they will be another good option. Vasque's always initially seem stiff but after 50-100 miles they seem to start getting comfortable and then after 200 I really seem to like them. These may have the stiffest upper of any I have tried (for the record they are my fourth pair of Vasques, previous pairs were Velocity, Mercury, Velocity VST) but I do seem to like the fit. They seem to be fairly stable (probably less so than the VST's) and they are lighter (moderate weight ~12 oz/shoe) than of the other Vasque's I have worn. I will see how they work tomorrow when I go for 33 or so miles.
The bummer about the VST's is that they were just hitting their prime (~250 miles) but with the heels blowing out, I don't think they would be a good choice for STM. Besides being concerned about them falling apart they also have an odd sound which would drive me crazy over 50 miles, like a bellows blowing air as the air goes in and out of the bubble. Here are some pictures of them.

Now that I have documented the bubble (ok, attempted to) I have placed screws in them and plan to use them for winter running where I hope to reclaim the lost mileage from them.

Another thing I have figured out is why I never buy the exact same shoe, can you tell which pair of my Salomon XA Comp 3's have almost 250 miles and which pair has 20 miles? The other day when I went to put them on for a run, I couldn't. After looking for a while I finally did, at least I think I have.
So I am set for shoes as Surf the Murph approaches and I think I have a good plan as to how I want to fuel, now I just need to figure out what to wear. Let's hope for 55 and sunny to make that an easy decision.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nice weekend of running

I had a real enjoyable weekend of running even though I didn't feel great during the runs and I now believe that I will finish my first 50 miler in less than 4 weeks. I have to admit up to this weekend I had doubts, ok, who am I kidding I still have doubts but I now know it's achievable.

Why? Well, my plan for the weekend was to run 2 loops at Murphy and I actually did it. My original thinking was to run Sunday as I thought Karyn and I would be running the river bottoms on Saturday and I thought my daughter would have cross country, as it turned out neither happened so I decided to go for it on Saturday. My plan was to run the 1st loop kind of by feel, I would walk all the major uphills, walk when I felt like it, take a drink break every 20 minutes or when walking a hill depending on where I was, take an S-Cap every 40 minutes, take fuel around an hour and a half and whenever I needed it there after.

I got to Murphy around 8:30, I went to the entrance that the race would start from as I wanted to emulate the race at least as far as the loops go. It was a cool morning so I through on a jacket and some pants, I loaded up the Nathan, decided on which shoes (Teva Romero's) and off I went.

I didn't feel good from the start my left IT band was tight and I was expecting my left knee to bug me as it had been recently causing some issues. Nothing too urgent, probably just tendinitis but the hills at Murphy I figured would aggravate it. I thought I might run into some folks as Wayne had emailed that on the Surf the Murph website they said they were having a training run at 8:00 am. I also should admit that I got there after 8 as I didn't want to run this with anyone else. I do enjoy my solitude when I run but on this morning and for this run I needed to do it at my pace and being social means I am not running my pace.

I tried to keep the pace slow, my thinking was to shoot for between 14 and 15 min/mile on the 1st loop and then see what happened on the 2nd loop. I marked out the hills mentally so that when the race happens I can keep the positive voice going, things like just 3 miles and then the hills that hurt are done. Oh there are many other hills at Murphy but only 2 that really cause me issues to walk up. In order to stay true to the course I did have to go around a couple of closed gates but I needed this test to be as close to the race course as I could make it. As I meandered through the north section, I felt ok except for the IT band and a feeling it was going to be a long day. I just plodded along and kept thinking that 2 loops was going to be a struggle, then I stepped back and I told myself to relax, you have all day. My thanks to my wife and my family for allowing me to take on this time consuming task.

When I came into the horse parking lot, I decided I should go for some fuel as maybe my malaise was just low energy. I went for a couple of clif shot bloks and continued on. After a mile or so I was feeling a little better but still not real good. It was cold or I should say I was cold. It had drizzled a bit but it was more from the exposed southern section. It could be interesting if there is a stiff wind for the race. After another hour, I decided I was still having some low energy so I went for a chocolate #9, it was a bit stiff from the cold. I hope they don't freeze. I may have to test that out before the race. I was heading to the single track section that takes you out of the southern section when I heard someone behind me, it was couple of women. I figured they would pass me during that section, I crossed the road and was heading up the hill when I came across yet another locked gate (course marker 15 to 9), this one had multiple signs on it to stay out, so this time I decided I would. I took a left and then looped back to the other side of this gate (meaning from 15-13-12-11-10 to 9), from the map this looked to be about the same distance. I turned around and headed back to the main parking lot, after a bit the two women reappeared and passed me as we came into the main lot, they continued on as I went to my car to grab more fuel. One loop done in about 3 hours 45 minutes, the Garmin said the distance was 14.6.

On to the second loop, I decided I had gotten hot so off with the pants, keep the gloves, more chocolate #9, a liter and a half of electrolyte, a few more S-caps. I wasn't too sure how it would go as I was feeling low energy still and my legs seemed dead. The IT band had not gotten worse nor had it gone away. I was crossing the wooden bridge in this section that is over a marsh and I slid right down the last part (it was like sliding on ice) which kind of snapped me a bit. I was a bit surprised and walked it off, no damage. I made it through the hills and got to the horse trail lot, I was thinking I was going to make it. The energy remained low so I just kept moving, I took a 5 minute walking-fueling break with the hope it would get me going. It didn't but I just kept moving. I was doing a lot of walking in a very runnable section, I just didn't have it.

On I went, until I was back on the single track section and I debated do I just pack it in or do I repeat the exact previous loop. I decided I had nothing to lose so on I went. I got to the gate again(15 to 9) and debated, nope, not this weekend and proceeded to repeat the first loop again. As I worked my way towards the main parking lot, I was starting to feel pretty good not where I could run but more with the realization that if it was race day I would just continue on for one more loop and do exactly what I did on loop 2, walk, run, just get through it. I finished the loop right at 4 hours, the Garmin said 29.3 and it went to 29.5 when I synced it later.

So on a not great day, I got through almost 30 miles and felt like I could have gotten through a third loop, I can do it. I won't be fast and I will probably be on my own as my pace will probably be a bit sporadic. A couple of things did come up, I lost track of when I was taking S-caps, my chocolate #9 was pretty thick and I developed a couple of hot spots on both feet but considering how wet my feet were, that was ok. I ran 8 miles today and outside of the hot spots on my feet from yesterday all seemed ok.

So 4 weeks out, things are looking good, one more long weekend of running and then it's taper time.


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