Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend plans and weather forecasts for KC...

Weekend plans are pretty simple, run for 3 hours on Saturday or Sunday and run for 5 hours on Sunday or Saturday. I am hoping that the back to back long runs will get me enough base to get through Psycho Wyco. I may shoot for a 6 hour run next weekend and then taper for 6 or 7 days but first this weekend.

Now for the long range weather forecast for KC. I should add my disclaimer about this as I did the same for Surf the Murph last November and thankfully the long range forecast was very, very wrong. So I don't put much stock in it but it's still fun to look ahead.

This is for Kansas City, KS from

Saturday, Feb 14
Mostly Cloudy
Mainly cloudy with a flurry
High 40 °F Low: 17 °F

It will be interesting to check in every few days and see how the forecast gets adjusted. The one thing that I noticed in looking through the 15 day forecast is that they aren't currently forecasting a lot or rain or snow which may mean it may not be to muddy.

Now on to the trails...........

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still cold but there is hope..........

Went for a run in Hyland after work, I think it was between 5 and 10F and darned if it didn't feel almost warm. Other than getting onto the XC ski area and getting told I don't belong (in a nice way) it was fun and real enjoyable to run there again. I do understand his concern, their season is limited and runners/hikers/snowshoers don't really need to get into their space. I ended up only getting in 4 miles as we talked for 10-15 minutes which did get me a bit cold so I figured with darkness descending, a shorter run would be a good idea. The guy I talked to, did try and convince me that I should switch to XC skiing in the winter, I declined and said running is easier at least for me. I told him I do snowshoe although I have yet to pull them out as I have been able to run through the snow thus far. Good news is that I have a navigable path from the Ski Jump parking lot to over to the nature center and then onto the visitor center without getting into the XC ski area. I haven't run in Hyland as I wasn't sure if it was runnable, now I know that is so I can try and run there before work.

On a different but weather related note, I just checked the long range temp forecast and I can see the end is nearing as they are forecasting high temps in the 30's by Saturday. If it happens, running outside will get a whole lot easier, I am already enjoying that there is sunlight still at 5:30. I smile now when I leave work, I have always had issues with our winter darkness and now we are over the hump. I also checked the long range forecast for KC, temps there are forecasted to be in the 40's and 50's over the next 5-15 days, sweet.

If we keep tracking towards spring, why, pretty soon all of my weather related excuses will be gone which means I will just need to train, train and train.............

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random thoughts.......

I ended up just a bit short of my 4 hour goal but I did make it within 5 minutes, so I am calling it good enough. This is by far the longest I have ever run on such a cold day, the temp was around 3F when I left with a windchill of only around -10F. I think it warmed up a little bit during the run but that may have been a hallucination. I did have a lot of random thoughts and questions pop in and out during the run so I figured I would jot some of them down.
  1. Why do people like cold weather?
  2. Why do wild animals make deposits in the middle of the trail?
  3. If it ain't from wild animals, then why do dog owners let their dogs deposit there?
  4. Is hard packed snow as hard as asphalt, dirt, concrete or brick?
  5. Is 4 hours running in the snow on trails equal to 4 hours on the same dirt trails?
  6. Is this the last of the really, really cold weather for this winter?
  7. How do you tell if frostbite is happening?
  8. Why do I need to spit so much?
  9. I love my gaiters as I can now step off the trail without my ankles getting covered in snow.
  10. I am doing Disney for my Florida marathon and for sure the Goofy (1/2, M) and probably the Dopey (5k, 1/2, M).
  11. I love listening to podcasts.
  12. I strongly dislike cold weather below 20F and I hate cold weather below 10F and I can't describe what I think when the temp is below 0F.
  13. The nice thing in MN is that in the winter you don't stop running for fear of freezing up.
  14. The nice thing in MN is that in the summer you don't stop running for fear that the mosquitoes will catch you.
  15. Another nice thing is that snakes hibernate.
  16. One good thing about snow is that it covers rocks and roots.
  17. I love people who snowshoe as they pack down the trails for me to run on them.
  18. I like running materials that breathe, I don't think GoreTex does?
  19. Wearing my Nathan under my coat really does keep it from freezing even when it's real cold.
  20. What is the freezing point for blue juice?
  21. Why did my Nano-Nike+ stop after 2 1/12 hours, ok, I know this one, I hit the wrong button I think?
  22. Do Clif Shot blocks freeze?
  23. How hilly is Psycho Wyco?
  24. When will we have our first 70F day?
  25. How long will it be before I am warm again?????????????

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Running in the cold.....

Ok, I admit it I am a wimp, this running long (or short) in the cold is for folks much hardier than I am. I went out today, the temp was around 2F with the windchill around -15F, with a plan to run in Lebanon Hills for 4 hours. I made it about 8 miles, just under 2 hours and I was cold. I had covered up the face but I think I needed an extra layer up top. It felt as if I was freezing up at the wrists and the arms in general. In all of my runs in the cold, I have never felt that before.

So what's the forecast for tomorrow? About the same, so, I will head out again but will add another layer and see what happens. If nothing else, it will be interesting to push it yet again. I think the Kansas event will be an interesting day, as I will have about 2 more weeks to get in some quality long runs after tomorrow.

On a different note, the soccer season schedule is pretty well set, so the remainder of the running schedule can pretty much start to get figured out. Brookings, the Superior 50k and Minneapolis are out. I will need to revisit some other possibles events and then decide what works out the best. FANS and Deadwood are both doable except that they are the same weekend so I might be able to do one of them. Lincoln is still a good possibility and maybe Stillwater. I could consider the Illinois Marathon in mid April. Or I could.......

Anyway, I am sure there are many other options that I will think about but for the moment I will just work on running long tomorrow and take it from there.............

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Florida Marathon?

I was listening to a podcast called the Runners Round Table which is put out by a group of running podcasters who get together via the web and discuss running. Check out the podcast if you want but they got me thinking as this week's show was all about the recent Disney Marathon.

I am always looking ahead at the question if I can only do one marathon or beyond in a state which race would I do?

For Florida, I have always figured I would do the Disney Marathon, actually I would want to do the Goofy which just means running the 1/2 marathon the day before the marathon. Anyway, the problem is, in listening to the podcast, they talked about the 21,000+ runners which is the issue. As I have gotten older, I don't like being around huge crowds ever, for anything, for any reason if I have a choice. So, 21,000 runners even at Disney sounds like it would be packed in. I think I will email some of the folks and get a feel as in a perfect world, we would do Disney in 2011 or 12.

To help me remember I am posting links to the Disney posts of some of those who were interviewed, my hope is that they provide me a reference as I rethink Florida over the coming years.

Jason's Disney post - The Palmetto Runner
Gordon's Disney post - Run to Disney
MarathonChris's Disney post - Running Adventures
Maddy's Disney post - Gotta Run

So back to the question, if I can only do one marathon or beyond in Florida can I tolerate the crowds at Disney? Good question?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Smart or Stupid?

Smart or stupid, which am I, can I be both and when do I cross the line and what happens when I do?

What's the difference between smart and stupid (at least as it applies to my running), near as I can tell, smart is when you train to your near max (be it mileage or pace) but stop just short of injury. Stupid is when you cross over the max and end up injured. Well, I need to be pretty committed over the next few weeks in order to have an ok day at Run Toto Run, notice I said an ok day, not a PR, all I want is to finish in around 8 hours but less would be better. So, I need to be smart in my training and I need to try to not be stupid by ramping too quickly or any other dumb things I have done in the past. Especially since it's January.

On Sunday, I went out intending to run for 4 hours, I had run on Saturday for 3 hours with Karyn so I figured it was a great way to get into the swing of ramping quickly for Run Toto Run. I was feeling a bit worn out in the morning but I knew I had to be disciplined as I had to get my run in. I had decided to run in Lebanon Hills figuring that the distraction of the trails with the light snow would keep me occupied.

Well it did for all of about 15 minutes until I slipped one too many times and torqued my left knee. On a side note, having run without a sharp pain in the knee for a few years has really been enjoyable as this pain immediately brought back distant memories. I stopped and looked at my knee and thought to myself or did I say it out loud, what is this, I have to run for 4 hours? I then resumed running and the sharp pain slowly subsided as I carefully stepped through the snow but I was struggling. On another side note, I can again quantify what is the difference between pain and an ache? Well, pain is something that makes you stop immediately and an ache is something that makes you think about stopping. Problem is at least for me is that I have discovered if I run through pain, I end up usually getting more pain and if I run through an ache, I often develop pain so the net outcome often ends up at the same place but the journey and the residual effect is often different.

Anyway, I kept thinking that the pain and the lack of motivation and energy for the run would work itself out. I kept debating that maybe if I bailed on Lebanon and hit the roads, the even pavement of a bike path or road would make it easier but then I thought about cars, people and the general boredom of the roads and decided against. I even thought about bailing and trying to finish on the Treadmill. I decided I wasn't that desperate and finally got to the loop over by the visitor center where the snowshoe rentals usually get everything tramped out. Which led to another thought, why didn't I just snowshoe? Good question looking back but the thought never entered my mind. The trampled down snow helped and I kept plodding along, I tried to eat some blocks to get my energy level up, they helped but of course I had only brought the number I needed based on a normal 4 hour run so I had the negative thought what's going to happen in another hour? Think positive, I kept telling myself, one step at a time. I started believing that I would be able to hammer it out when I misstepped again except this time it was left hip that notified me it wasn't happy.

Ok, decision time. I was approaching 2 hours and would need to go for 2 more hours, I had no reason to stop as I had the time blocked out. Would I do more damage by continuing? How would I know if I didn't gut it out? I decided for this run though, I would be smarter if I bailed. So I did, but did I make the right choice?

I concluded about 8 hours later that I made the right call as the knee hurt going up the stairs and the hip seemed weak on the same stairs. The hip worries me a bit, it's an old injury that flairs now and again, it's more of an ache but the longer I run the weaker it gets until I can't raise the leg, kind of interesting but not helpful to running long distances, the good news is that the hip usually only flairs when I haven't been stretching or try to ramp my mileage too quickly. Guilty on the stretching and about to be guilty on the ramp.

So going forward, I will work on stretching, strengthening the core and ramping my mileage intelligently. I think if I keep saying that I will, I will, right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quick update....

I like the fact that thus far for this year every time I think I lock my running schedule down, I pretty much immediately change it, so to stay consistent, here I go again. But I do have a good excuse, it wasn't completely my idea to change it.

You see, I had concluded that I wouldn't do the Run Toto Run in Kansas as I had too much going on at work, some family logistics I needed to work out for that weekend and the basic reality that I hadn't really gotten into a good training routine and so I determined that it would be a really stupid idea to try and ramp up my training on an accelerated path especially with some really cold weather coming. Good thinking, then I get the email from Les saying he was renting a car and heading to KC and that he had space for a few extra folks. So I did the only sensible thing, I asked my wife and she said sure I could go, so I am now heading to KC to run the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k.

Since I have run all of 13 miles in the last 11 days and that was in a run last Sunday, it's time to get going on my favorite training schedule. Basically I call it my panic plan, which says, I am running for 3 to 4 hours this weekend, then for 4 to 5 hours the next weekend and then another 4 to 5 hour run two weeks ahead of it, sprinkle in a few extra runs and then take a week off and head to Kansas.

I have always felt that a good training program was overrated, of course I can't remember when I ever followed one so instead I will train a little and then head to Kansas and have a fun day, after all I have plenty of time to train properly later in the year or next year.............

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2009 Event Schedule Update.....

I did decide to scale back a bit to allow time for work to settle down as it has been hectic and distracting (next week I hope to get things back in balance) so a few events are now off the list and I will cut myself slack with regards to running over the next week or so.

With the adjustments I am thinking of, I should still be ok on the 50 state front goal for the year, best case I would do four states in the first half of the year, worse case 1 state. Even in the worse case, I think I should still be able to hit my goal of 4 states for the year.

So the verdict is in, here is my updated 2009 schedule (for the first half of the year) with my disclaimers and clarifiers.

24 - Winter Carnival 1/2 - might still do but weather and attitude dependent.

No events planned - too much going on to add the stress of ramping mileage quickly.

28 - Clinton Lake - on a waiting list, will know by the end of February. I will train for Chippewa with this as a slight possibility.

25 - Chippewa 50k - looking forward to Wynn's promise of no snow.

3 - Lincoln Marathon - dependent upon no significant issues happening at Chippewa.
16 - Brookings Marathon - dependent upon my daughters soccer schedule.
24/31 - Stillwater or Minneapolis - might do one but not both depending on Brookings and Fans.

6 - FANS 12 hours - dependent on soccer schedule and getting over the thought of looping around Nokomis for what would seem to me as forever (3 laps is my previous max), if I don't do this then I will need to do a 50 mile run on my own to feel ready to attempt Superior in September so maybe this would be better?
14 - Swan Lake - if not Brookings or FANS and no soccer conflicts, it would be my next SD choice.

4 - Afton 50 k - Would like to repeat and improve.
11 - Psycho PSummer 50k
- A summertime Kansas run?
18 - Turtle Trot Triathlon - I really should train some for this and then try to PR.

August & Beyond
Wait and see

Steve Q. made a comment concerning my possible yearly race mileage based on a previous 2009 schedule which caught my interest. So to satisfy my curiosity for the first half of the year here are my race potentials:

Hopeful Race Mileage - 167 miles
(2 50k's, 2 marathons, 1 5k (TT) and 50 miles at FANs)

Maximum Race Mileage - 267 miles
(3 50k's, 3 marathons, 1 5k (TT), 1 30 miler, a 1/2 marathon and 50 miles at FANs)

Minimum Race Mileage - 86 miles
(2 50k's, 1 marathons, 1 5k (TT))

Should be interesting, to see how things work out..........

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Event Schedule Revisited......

Some good news, a new lesson has been learned, which is that sometimes procrastination can lead to new opportunities.

Well, I have a new opportunity. I delayed registering for Clinton Lake, one day too many, the registration is now closed and I am not in it. I knew it was filling up but held out registering as I wanted to get all the other logistics worked out. I was thinking about the sequence of races I was going do and I was analyzing my training to each event, and I was checking hotels and camping sites, and making sure the family had no conflicts for the days (and/or that they were manageable), and I had the nagging thought, is this the one event I want to do in Illinois and I thought......... and basically forgot to close out the simplest of things, registration is required. Oops.

So now what, well, right now, I have way too many options so the question becomes how far am I willing to drive and how far am I willing to run and how soon am I willing to do both and then can I convince my wife that the new plans are a good thing.

So back to the internet to find more races, maybe a marathon in Kentucky in March, Farmdale in Illinois in October or how about that 50 mile event in Pekin, IL in April or do I go to Kansas in April for the Rockin K?

Too many choices, again. I think I will first focus on am I doing Run Toto Run or not and then get the other races figured out.........

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Event Schedule......

Well, I have made some decisions and deferred some and may change my mind before things happen but here is my 2009 schedule with my guesstimate on probability of happening. This is an update to my wish list schedule from early December. As I finalize things (meaning sign-up for the out of town events), I will move them from considerations into my committed schedule.

February 14 - Run Toto Run 50k - 50%, need some training/scheduling resolutions (Kansas)
March 28 - Clinton Lake 30 - IL - 97%, works well into my training plans (Illinois)
April 11 - McNaughton 50 - IL - 3%, would love to try but logistics don't seem to work
April 25 - Chippewa 50k - committed
May 3 - Lincoln Marathon - 70%, A quick recovery from Chippewa? (Nebraska)
May 3 - Eau Claire Marathon - 30%, might do if Lincoln doesn't happen as I like first time events
May 16 - Superior 50k - 30%, it would be nice to run on the trail before the Superior 50
May 24 - Stillwater Marathon - 50%, might do as I like first time events
May 31 - Minneapolis Marathon - 30%, another 1st time event
June 6 - FANS 12 hour - 50%, might be my first 50 mile event (assuming I can do 50 in 12 hours)?
June 7 - Deadwood Marathon - 50%, depends on soccer schedule and Fans (South Dakota)
July 4 - Afton 50k - committed, unless I need and want to get in Kansas then
July 4 - Psycho Psummer 50k - 10%, it depends on a lot but it provides a backup Kansas event
July 18 - Turtle Trot Triathlon - committed
July 25 - Grand Island Trail Marathon - 50%, depends on schedules, sign up is open (Michigan)
Sept 12 - Superior 50 - 70%, I still think it sounds like fun
Sept 19 - Bohemian 50k - 10%, backup for Nebraska but very unlikely if I do Superior
Oct 3 - Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse Marathon - 20%, depends on Deadwood (date needs to be confirmed)
Oct 24 - Wild Duluth 50k or 100k - 30%, depends on how the year works out
November 7 - Surf the Murph 50k - committed

On my schedule for the year are events in Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and South Dakota. I need to do at least 4 of these to meet my goal of adding 4 more states this year and if need be I may need to look at a few other states.

I am still having internal conflicts with the desire to do more of the local trail races but I think I have enough of a mix to keep me happy and I still have options depending how the year actually unfolds. The nice thing is I am done looking ahead, I just need to work out the logistics of training and finances, then I will start signing up for the events and enjoy the year of running...............

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Goals............

I decided I needed a few more specific goals than the list on my blog as those are a bit too long term.

So for 2009.

1. Join the Upper Midwest Trail Runners
2. Run 1500 miles (as of December 26th, I am at 1348 miles - my all time high), my stretch goal would be 1800.
3. Improve on month to month consistency - goal would be to average between 125 and 150 miles/month (only 6 out of 12 meet this from 08)

Here is the month to month mileage from 2008

Notice the low mileage in January (no committed events), the increase started in February (committed to Chippewa), May was low as I was sick on back to back weekends, December reflects the weather and no committed events coming up.

4. Four more states
5. My first 50
6. Weight under 200 by June, under 190 by September
7. Improve core strength - situps, pullups and pushups on a consistent basis

I have a few other goals as well.

1. Get my cholesterol checked again
2. Be nicer to my family
3. Keep family, work, running in balance
4. Continue to grow in my faith

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year.............


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