Saturday, February 28, 2009

Addicted to podcasts???

Friday morning started out bad, first I had to shovel the driveway before work which might have been ok but then I couldn't find my Ipod. I finally gave up and headed to work without it, figuring that listening to the radio wouldn't kill me. I have not listened to the morning radio shows in over a year but instead I have enjoyed listening to shows on running, religion, computers, financial stuff and a variety of other podcasts.

So, instead of my normal relaxing listening, I heard commercials, talking heads, bad songs, no matter where I tuned, I had no control. I missed my Ipod, have I become that used to not listening to the radio?

I was frantically trying to find something to listen to as I drove, I finally grabbed a CD that I had in the car and popped it in. I was able to make it to work but my normal zone out while driving routine was disrupted. Thank god, I had that Marshall Tucker CD or who knows how stressed I may have become. When I got home, I remembered where I had left my Ipod and I felt an immediate release of stress knowing that I could again control my car audio world.

This got me thinking, when you control your listening is about the content or the control or is a bit of both?

So what am I going to do for the future? I am going to throw some older Phedippidations episodes on an old mp3 player and make sure I keep it have it for emergency use as I now know, I am addicted to podcasts and never want to go back to the world of AM/FM radio................

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Runners Round Table and Schedule Update #4???

I figured I should link to the Runners Round Table most recent episode since I participated in the round table. It's an interesting podcast idea to have a weekly show made up of a variety of runners from all walks of the running community who interview a guest each week or just have an open call discussion.

In this show, Martin from the Running Ramblings blog and podcast was the host and Nicole from the blog Running Bebe, Joe from the blog Blue Dawgs Running and myself were participants in the round table. We interviewed a fellow runner, Laura who has a blog called Frayed Laces. that has a huge number of hits and comments on a daily basis. Take a look at the blogs and listen to the podcast, fwiw, I was the timekeeper who had the start-up issues, a bit embarassing but just another does of humility for me to go along with the humility I gain through my running adventures.

Now back to my running schedule, I am not sure how often I have updated my master plan for this year but "here I go again".

When I started out the year it was all about setting up my year to do a 50, the question was which one?

I had originally wanted to do McNaughton (because of it's long cut-off time) and then Superior but that didn't work out. I still wanted to do Superior but everyone says it's not a perfect first 50, so my next plan was doing the FANS 12 hour event in order to get a whole lot of time and miles on my feet and then do Superior. This plan left a lot to be desired I can't imagine how tough Superior might be but I think FANS would be very difficult at least for me. Why would that be so hard, let me see 2.4xxx miles around a nice lake with no hills probably on an asphalt bike path with planes flying overhead, cars going by, bikers, people, no wind or significant sun block other than that it would be a peace of cake. The only thing that would be more hellish would be doing it on a track or treadmill. The nice thing about FANS though would be the logistics, every 2.4xx miles I would have an aid station. I would be surrounded by 24 hour runners and fellow 12 hour runners, it would be a fun event to experience but for me it would be a very, very tough mental event. I like not seeing where I am going. Sorry for my digression, I started the post about my updated schedule, am I the only person who can't get to a committed schedule? Anyway, here is the latest update:

Next race - April 25th - Chippewa 50k (unless I sneak in something shorter)

After that:

May 24th - Stillwater Marathon or on May 31st - Minneapolis or both?

June 6th - FANS or June 14th -Swan Lake (not both and probably not FANS)

July 4th - Afton 50k (committed)

July 18th - Turtle Trot Tri (committed but it's a sprint more or less)

August - No events as of yet, doesn't seem right so I will need to find something

September 12th - maybe Moose Mountain marathon (not the Superior 50 but it would give me some time on the trail and set me up for Superior for next year) or I could ignore prevailing reason and still try Superior. I haven't done anything really stupid in a while.

October 4th - Twin Cities Marathon - I need to redeem myself as I dropped out of my last TCM throwing up at St. Thomas. I would like to get beyond that memory of TCM. It's one of only 2 DNF's and is still the one that nags at me.

October 24th - Surf the Murph 50 miler - what a way to cap off the year with my first 50. I could train on the course, all summer and fall and figure out the logistics and pacing and have a fairly good understanding of what would lay ahead. This would be my smartest plan, that I am sure.

November - December - maybe do something else, assuming I survive Murph.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Marathon Maniacs revisited

Ok, last June I looked at the Marathon Maniacs group and I thought about seeing if I qualified but I decided that yellow or black shirts weren't my thing.

I am still not into yellow but I finally decided to go ahead and see if I would qualify, well, I did. So I went ahead and signed up. My number is Maniac - 1369. My hope is that I can touch base with some of the folks in the group as I look to get info on future races in other states.
If you want to know if you are a Marathon Maniac, just check this link - Are you a Marathon Maniac - Are you addicted to running marathons?, I answered yes to pretty much all of them. The question that caught my attention the most was:

When asked about your racing from none running people, do you find yourself talking with great passion to the point that the person that asked the question regrets ever asking?

I am pretty sure that anyone who I have talked to about running a marathon has lived this question.

So what will I do now that I am a member, I guess that is a really good question. I have added all of my past races to my history and I have looked around their website but for the moment that will probably be it. It was initially kind of fun to enter information on my marathon race history but I have to admit that it got kind of depressing as I read through each race note. My guess is I have only hit 1 in 2 marathons with a decent amount of training and in good health, and of those races, my guess is 2 of 3 those had a surprise. So what does that mean, it means I have had about 10% of my races where things went as expected, 50% of my races turned into struggles with injuries, illness or some other issue I was aware of going into the event. Another 37% of my races had something unexpectedly bad happen because of unexpected illness, weather, poor judgment or a variety of other mistakes I have made and the remaining 3% (yes, this equates to just one of my races) where something unexpectedly good happened. Then I thought about it a bit more and I realized that I cherish each and every race as they all have been fun.

So as I map out my future races should I consider the past as a predictor of the future, yes, I probably should, but I won't as I am the eternal optimist when it comes to my races. I will never probably train as well as I should nor will I stop when an injury happens instead I usually think things like this, maybe that injury might not get worse and maybe a long run is just what I need to work out the issue, the illness that hit a week ahead of the race should leave me rested not weak, the lack of marathon pace training will be ok, maybe the emotions of the day will carry me to the finish.

So back to the Maniacs, I have yet to order a shirt as I am not sure that I want the attention it might bring during a race. Then I thought about it a bit more and I realized that this ultra running - 50 state thing has me changing my ways. In the past I avoided groups yet in the past year I have now joined both of the Ultra email groups (Ultrarunning and ULTRA - Ultrarunning), the FDip group, the MN-Dead Runners, the Upper Midwest Trail Runners, and now the Maniacs. I even car pooled with Les and Wayne to my last race, next thing I will be rethinking running the Chicago and New York Marathons and only do large races, nah, not gonna happen as I love the small marathons and all trail events.

I simply am in search of information to help me on my journey and boy do the above groups provide it and along the way I have exchanged information and stories with a lot of very nice folks. My thanks to all of you...................

Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 Lessons learned from Psycho Wyco

Lesson 1 - Never assume that you have things figured out

I had issues with my stomach for the first time in about 10 events and that resulted in slowing me down and fuel/energy issues, I thought I had it all figured out. Wrong again.

Lesson 2 - Never give up as things don't always get worse

I think this is the Ann Trason quote and I was finally able to live it. I was pretty disheartened after I fell for the third or fourth time right after I passed the guy with the broken ankle. Then after I got up, within a 1/4 mile I was gagging and grabbing my stomach, I thought the stomach was shot for the day. I then ran out of gas as I took off on lap 3 but I eventually got through it all and didn't have issues after the race. In the past, when the stomach went south it would stay there for hours and hours unless the contents were emptied.

Lesson 3 - No speed training equals no speed

I need to adapt my training and work on this and I need to remind myself that I don't have to run on roads to make this transformation.

Lesson 4 - Running downhill in mud is different than anything else

Humbled and I have no idea of how anyone could train for the mud but I did read the post about how "mud shoes" helped another runner, now if I only knew what he meant by "mud shoes"? I still would prefer mud to snow.

Lesson 5 - Stopping always feels good and finishing always feels great

The only time stopping doesn't feel great is when I haven't finished, nothing is worse than a DNF, well other than a DNF do to injury.

Lesson 6 - I should follow my own advice.

In talking with Wayne on the way home, one of the things we discussed was how hard to push when training or racing. I told him that I think he is doing a great job of not overdoing it as he is avoiding injuries and making great improvements. I told him how important avoiding injuries and developing a good base is. So why do I train through injuries and ramp my mileage quickly?

Lesson 7 - There is an advantage to the 50 state thing

I am not sure if I would have finished if not for the thought that I had to finish this race or I would have to return to Kansas to add it as a state on my 50 state quest. Of course, Wayne and I have already exchanged notes about doing this race next year. The other thing that kept me going was the very generous time cut off. I knew I could walk loop 3 and still finish in under 9 hours (cut off was 10) and I basically did.

Lesson 8 - A good race is a race finished, a great race is a race finished with no surprises or injuries

I was happy to make it but I would have been a whole lot happier to have finished an hour and 1/2 earlier. My only inuries were a few bruises and a bit of pride over my inability to run well in mud.

Lesson 9 - Plans are made to be changed

Now that I know about the Surf the Murph 50, they soon will be.

Lesson 10 - The ultra community is a great group of folks

Wayne, Les, Bad Ben and all his fellow nerds were great to talk with, the stories were fun to share and I loved the fact that the guy who finished 2nd took the time to warn us about ice as went down a long steep hill that had been very icy during the first loop. I lost count of the number of times runners fell and other runners stopped to make sure they were ok.

Final thought, Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k is a great race.....................

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k race report....

The good news is that Les, Wayne and I all finished the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50k. It was a real interesting day, I asked the question before the race:

"By the end of Saturday will I hate mud more than snow?"

The answer is no I don't hate mud but I do have a new appreciation for it. Before the race as we drove down, Les and Wayne described the mud as something you just had to experience to fully understand. I didn't understand their comments and pretty much figured it couldn't be as bad as they described.

But first the race report.

The drive down was a bit problematic as we encountered snow around Des Moines which resulted in our 6 and 1/2 hour drive, turning into a 10 hour drive. We had one stretch where we went 8 miles in an hour. The conversation in the car was of course about running, Les commented that this was going to be his 285th event, I know both Wayne and I were impressed. We all went through some of our past running events, how long we have been running and countless other things, all in all a nice exchange. We ended up arriving in KC around 11:00 pm.

Race morning came quickly, the temp was in the mid-20's, the sky was clear, it looked like a great day to run. Les parked the car so that we could use it as a drop station, he knew the exact spot to leave it so we were set. For those that don't know about Psycho Wyco you first have to learn about Bad Ben and the Kansas City Trail Nerds, Bad Ben and the nerds put on many great events. Take a look at their website and you can quickly get a feel that they are no normal running group. We got ourselves ready, headed over to the start and waited for the day to begin. At Psycho Wyco, you have three groups of runners who start together, 10 milers, 20 milers and the 50ker's. Ben gave the final instructions and provided a race course conditions update, I just remember him saying that the first 2 1/2 miles wouldn't be good but that the rest of the course should be ok. Based on what we experienced, he was right about the first two and 1/2 and wrong about the rest of the course.

Here we are at the start.

Early in Loop 1

I wasn't sure what to expect on the course, they told me it had some fairly steep hills, rocks and depending on the mud might be extremely runnable. I told them ahead of the start that I was thinking of running loops of 2:20, 2:30 and 2:40. I figured I would fade as the day went on but thought it was doable. The first loop started fine and the first 2 1/2 miles weren't too bad as the trail was frozen and you had all of the energy from the 10 and 20 milers. I had talked with Les and Wayne about how I wasn't very good at running downhills and that I needed to work on it. Well, I got kind of cocky around all the 10 milers who weren't good at all at descending the hills and when I finally got some space I went flying down a hill. I was feeling good and felt great when all of sudden my feet flew out from under me and I was sliding down the hill, all I could think of where two things, the first was I hope no one saw me and the second was "safe". I got up quickly and I was fine (but humbled) but I had discovered that the trail was icy, it was like black ice, you couldn't really see it until it was too late.

To give you a feel for the course, the loop consisted of 4 to 5 distinct sections, the first section was from the start to the triangle about 2 1/2 miles, a series of ups and downs, across the small shallow creek, it was pretty beat up from the horses so the footing wasn't the best. The second section is the triangle. They had an aide station as you entered the triangle which you hit again on your way out of it. It is only about a mile and it is a goofy switchback that they say was a by product of a dog running through the woods. The third section takes you from the triangle, across the dam, and onto to the road and into the 2nd aid station, then up the road and back into the woods. The fourth section takes you up and down through the woods, past the boat storage and then into another aid station. From there the fifth section has a couple of fairly steep hills and some more nice singletrack.

The way the first loop went was interesting, in all of the sections I saw many runners wipe out and I slid through many sections but I didn't go down again. I ended the first loop exactly on schedule in 2 hours and 20 minutes. I was stoked, I was going for a PR. I changed out of my long sleeve shirt to a short sleeve shirt at the car as it was getting warmer, probably had gotten into the mid 30's, reloaded the hydration pack. Wayne and I came through pretty much at the same time and we both headed off, Les got there as we were leaving. I lost Wayne fairly early in the 2nd loop (can't quite remember when and where he pulled away) as I was having a bit more of a problem with the footing. The previously frozen section had thawed and it was like running in molasses. Into the triangle, the footing was treacherous, I had to grab trees to keep from sliding off of the course and falling down. Into the next section, I was careful but I thought I was making ok time. Into the fourth section, as I descended from the road I came across a runner who was hopping his way out. I asked him if needed help and he said no he would make it, he said his day was done and that he had told other runners to send help for him the top of the hill. I grabbed him a stick to lean on and we said our goodbyes. (I later found out he broke his ankle). I took back off and almost immediately wiped out. I then thought about what Les had said during the drive, it was something like run smart as if you injure yourself, you really mess your year up. I proceeded a bit more cautiously as I was having a really hard time with the footing as it was getting muddy and it was even more problematic than before with the ice. I also was having stomach issues and gagged a couple times during this loop. I went through the 3rd aid station and grabbed some coke which Les had said worked to help his stomach during some races. I was descending a hill where I promptly fell again. When you descended these hills, you just kept sliding into the ravine that was created from the water erosion. I finally just tried to run down the center, the only problem was the mud was 4-6 inches deep in places. You just kind of slide through it, push off, slide, try to run, slip, slide and repeat, a struggle at least for me. Maybe running in snow isn't so bad.

As I came into the finish area, I looked at the clock and saw 5:15, I had run a terrible time for loop 2, ~2 hours and 55 minutes. I knew the mud had slowed me but I was surprised, I figured I was still coming in around 2 hours and 40 minutes. I then debated just quiting as I was drained both physically and now mentally and was concerned about the stomach issues. I stopped by the car and grabbed some Succeeds hoping that they would settle the stomach, I thought about quitting a bit more but I knew Les was behind me and would continue so I said WTH and continued on. The 3rd loop was terrible from the start, the footing was even worse and I felt like a failure as I struggled to walk and run through it, the triangle was simply treacherous and I fell for the fourth time. The dam section was bad as well but I made it without falling, the final two sections seemed slightly better as it was starting to get colder again but they still were extremely tough and I was happy that I only fell once more. I did have a nice cup of broth at the last aid station and the volunteers were still very enthusiastic, the broth really hit the spot and I was happy that my stomach issues had cleared up as well. Something to note for future races, just keep going and keep trying and things may get better. When I got to the finish I was covered in mud but had survived finishing in 8 hours and 48 minutes. At the finish I was greeted by Bad Ben himself, Wayne and other volunteers and I enjoyed a nice bowl of bean soup as we waited for Les. I can also clearly say, I was humbled by the mud but I loved it too, it was a fun and very challenging day.

So to answer my question would I rather run in mud than snow, the answer would still be yes but I have to admit that you can run a whole lot faster in snow. I had never imagined that in a 10 mile loop, about 8 miles would be in mud and at least 4-5 of those miles would be thick Kansas slippery, gooey, sticky mud.

I have to complement Bad Ben and the Nerds for putting on a great event, the aid stations and volunteers were great a very friendly group, the course was fun, it was well worth the drive down. I made the comment after the race to a volunteer that I was concerned about running the same loop three times before I started. Turns out that I ran three different courses as each loop was indeed unique. Another note, this has to be one of the best value runs I have ever seen. For $35 you get a finishers medal, long sleeve technical shirt and a coffee mug (all the goodies come with the Psycho Wyco logo below) and you get to run a fabulous course and to have great aid station and volunteer support. Everyone I met was very friendly and it was also great to see plenty of food items at all of the aid stations for me a back of the packer to enjoy.

On the way back we all caught up with how each others day had gone and talked about future runs. Turns out that both Wayne and I want to do our first 50 this year and we both were eyeing Superior which everybody says don't do for your first one. We also discussed our training methods, race selections and lots of other running things on our return trip which thankfully only took 6 and 1/2 hours.

Today, I am sore in places I have never been after any previous races as well as a few normal areas. Besides feeling pretty drained, I have pain behind my left knee/ITB/hamstring area, the back of my right hand is very sore, probably from hitting the ground so many times and I have lost another toe nail and have a small blister on my big toe. I did learn from Les how he prevents blisters and toe nail losses, he uses a combination of Vaseline and Desitin which I will definitely try out before my next run. Looking back, the biggest thing I walk away with is a new found respect for the hills and mud of Kansas as I was definitely humbled by both. I also got to know a couple of other Minnesota ultra runners which was great, I will look forward to seeing them at Chippewa and other events this year. My thanks to Les for organizing the carpool which got us there.

Back to the conversation about 50's. Turns out that Les gave us another option as he is thinking that at this years Surf the Murph on October 24th (current date), in addition to having the 25k and 50k, he will be adding in a new distance, a 50 miler, which he thinks would be the first ever 50 miler in the Twin Cities metro area. An interesting option to ponder..................

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day........

As I get ready to meander my way through the Psycho Wyco 50k, I wanted to take the time to say one more time to my wife and daughters, thank you for letting me run this event and more importantly.

Happy Valentines Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you, see you soon.........

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kansas City Bound......

Well tomorrow I am off to KC for Psycho Wyco. Am I ready, no. My training was sporadic at best. How has my taper gone, poorly. What's the weather look like, lousy.

So I am thinking I am going to have a pretty good day. Oh now I am pretty sure my time will be poor but I have given myself some slack this week as work has been a huge distraction and I think it will pay off. Regardless of my day it will be interesting to head over with Wayne, Les and Brian. I met Wayne and Les at Surf the Murph but the car ride over will give me a chance to get to know them better. I may have talked with Brian at the Murph but am not sure so tomorrow I will find out. One interesting note (of mostly useless information) about the 4 of us, one of us is in the 60's, 1 - 50's, 1 - 40's and 1 - 30's.

Here's how my week has gone, I wanted to run on Tuesday but my foot was still sore and my back was hurting and work didn't go well so I said take an extra day. Wednesday, work kept me occupied, so another day off. Today, work again, I could have gone out tonight but I figured I was better off to just chill and relax.

So my taper consisted of my last run on Sunday which wasn't real good but the foot is now less sore, the back is better, the knees seem ok so maybe the time off was good. With reagrds to my training I am using the same theory as Wayne, I am counting on Surf the Murph as how much training can you lose in 3 months. As to the weather forecast - Friday forecast is for a high of 50, chance of rain 80%, snow flurries later in the evening. Race day high in the upper 30's, no rain in the forecast. So I am pretty sure I will get to experience the mud. So the question I am starting to ponder is, "By the end of Saturday will I hate mud more than snow?"

As to the race, I am thinking that it will go something like this, first loop, relax and figure out the course, it will probably take longer than I think it should or I will go faster than I should. Second loop, panic because of the first loop but then relax and solve all of my work issues and remind myself you are not running in snow, you are not running in snow, Third loop, deal with it, remind yourself you are not running in snow, head down to the finish.

I did notice in looking at last years results that a lot of runners had splits that looked like this - 1st loop - time of x, 2nd loop, time of x+30minutes, 3rd loop - time of x+60 minutes so if the rain does what I think it may, we may have the same type of splits. So what will my time be, somewhere between 7 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours depending on the conditions. It will be real interesting to see how things actually turn out, regardless I expect to finish and I intend to be smiling when I do. All in all it should be a fun experience.........

Monday, February 9, 2009

Future plans?

Sometimes you are in total control of your life and sometimes it seems you are simply riding the waves in the middle of an ocean. The last month or so there is no doubt about it, I am floating around in an ocean of distractions but all of my issues are the easy ones, meaning no life, death, job loss or major illness issues just struggling to manage the work, life balance while working my way through the long dark and cold winter.

I am not expecting that Psycho Wyco will be all fun. I am going in undertrained, carrying too much weight and nursing a few minor injuries, so my only goal is to finish without a significant injury increase. The other thing that has me bummed is that the weather forecast is only for the 30's, I so wanted to run in shorts again (and not be cold), who knows maybe the forecast will change. After KC, I will focus on Chippewa as I have ruled out McNaughton and didn't get into Clinton Lake. After Chippewa, we discussed Lincoln and it's pretty much out as we would like to avoid some expenses for a while along with the fact that it is a week after Chippewa and the week before my daughter graduates from college. I should add that my wife and I are real proud of her, she has done great.

I am also thinking of putting off my goal of adding more states for this year and instead just focus on running local events. So what does that mean, I am thinking about locking into the following events:
  • Stillwater Marathon - May
  • FANS 12 - June
  • Afton 50k - July
  • Superior 50 - September - it would be an out of town event and cost a bit but I do so want to do it but I have to be injury free and do FANs, I think.
  • Surf the Murph 50k - November
That would only give me one marathon, 3 50k's and a couple of 50's. I think it should keep me busy. My major questions are the 50's as I am a bit bothered by a recurring foot injury which I thought I had gotten through until the last week or so.

Other not quite local options still to consider depending on FANS and Superior and how things work out for the summer:
  • Swan Lake Marathon - June
  • Bohemian Alps - September
  • Glacial 50 or Wild Duluth 50 or 100k - October
One last thing, I decided to email the marathon maniac folks and based on last years races I would qualify as a gold member, so should I join them or not? I think along with my future race schedule, I will wait until after this weekend and then decide on a lot of things..............

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Who Says You Can't Go Home...........

I debated posting this one as it's more personal than some but probably only in a way that will mean something to me so I decided to go ahead.

Over the Christmas holiday my family was able to head to my hometown. We had an extra day so we decided to head down to Columbus (IN). We have not been back to Columbus for at least 14 years and possibly up to 17 (we never did agree which it was, I can only say it's hell getting old and trying to remember things like that).

It was really weird as we headed south out of Indy on good ole I-65, I felt like I was really heading home. There were a few new buildings along the route but it all seemed real familiar.

We decided to head to Lutheran Lake first which is about 18 miles southwest of Columbus in the southwestern corner of Bartholomew county and within a stones throw of Brown County. So, we went by the Columbus exits and got off at the Ogilville/Walesboro exit and onto State Highway 58. It was great to be on the highway to the lake again and as we went through Ogilville I started to reminisce and tell my daughters about what they were seeing (I am sure they were thrilled). The old store in downtown Ogilville was closed up, I remember like yesterday when I was probably 10-12 years old stopping at this store with my Grandfather, the smell of cigars in his car, the AM radio with the Cincinnati Reds on, getting gas to cut the lawn and for the boat to go water skiing. We headed on past the 2nd Ogilville store, it was still open but I decided to not stop (I wish now that I had, these old stores are neat and do bring back the memories) as I wanted to get to Waymansville and see if "Plummers Market" was still open. Turns it was except it's now called Radtke's Market. We stopped and took a quick look around. The store looked pretty much the same except they seemed to not have a lot on the shelves. My wife and one daughter got a water and my other daughter and I got Big Red. The best cream soda in the world or at least it was when I was younger. Still tasted good. I told them about Choc-ola, you know the best tasting chocolate drink in the world. I think up here they have something like it called Yoo-Hoo.

On to the Lutheran Lake road (today it's just called "Lake Road", I would have sworn growing up it was called "Lutheran Lake Road"), my wife cautioned me to drive slowly as she remembered how I used to drive this road. Suffice to say, I went a lot slower otherwise I may have figured out how to roll a CRV. In high school my buddies and I used to see who could set the Columbus to Lutheran Lake land speed record. It was 18.6 miles and a good time was 25 minutes and the record if memory serves was 18 minutes. If you could ever drive those roads you would be impressed. We would fly over the bridges and I do mean fly. If you didn't brace for the little bridges your head would hit the roof of the car with some force. A lot or curves and hills is the best way to visualize the drive.

We pulled into the west lake entrance and onto Persimmon Drive. We stopped at the bottom of the hill and there it was our old cabin. Not really ours anymore but it looked like I remember with a few additions (bigger deck, expanded room over the patio and then they screened in the patio), additions my Mom and Dad had talked about before they died, so it was kind of nice to see that someone else had made the changes they were considering. My Grandfather, Uncle, Father and I am sure others had built the cabin in the late 50's/60's and I spent most of my younger days at the cabin.

I will always remember the Lake, I wish my girls had had a chance to experience it. It was here that I learned to water ski, fish, drink, play wiffleball, ring toss, horseshoes, jarts, experienced the joy of listening to the Indy 500 and Reds baseball games and many other things. I remember hooking Nathan in the head, catching frogs, snakes, turtles, drinking a few beers with Greg, Randy, Chopper, Al, Flippo and Hayworth and a whole lot of other folks.

We walked down along the canal, I told the story about my Uncle killing a water moccasin by the woods, I remembered the day I stepped on a baby snake that had an odd diamond pattern across it's back as I walked through the woods, barefoot of course. You see we had three poisonous snakes, timber rattlesnakes, water moccasins and copperheads. We were always told that we didn't have water moccasins or copperheads as it was too cold for them but every year some got killed. Oh the fun stuff of childhood and young adulthood. We told the Al Taylor story, did you know it was possible to drive a 67 Shelby Cobra Mustang through the woods without hitting a tree? Well Al did that and to this day, no one can believe he did it. We also heard him shifting the Cobra for a long time which turned out to not be so good as he eventually fried his engine. I learned that day that operating an engine at red line for a continued time period is not a good thing and should have learned that driving after drinking wasn't too smart either. Thankfully, I learned that later without having any issues.

We drove over to Jean and Joe's cabin, they are my godparents and we used to go over there once in awhile. Their cabin is still there with their name on it, sweet. We then drove around the lake, a lot more memories came back but onto Columbus.

We drove into Columbus and I got to see for the first time the new bridge. Columbus is very big into architecture so it's fitting that they have a funny looking bridge. (the pictures below I got from the Columbus web page I think)

Through the bridge you can see the courthouse. My dad was in charge of the refurbishment of the courthouse when he was County Auditor. If memory serves me right it was done in 1971. I used to climb up the old stairs that led to to the top of the courthouse, you can see the black grills on the towers, they were added to the courthouse as part of bringing the courthouse back to it's original look. I used to go up there and look out over the town and dream about growing up. There are three towers and they all were quite interesting to climb up. At the time I was pretty sure they weren't very safe but since I never asked, I am sure they were ok but they did sway as you climbed the stairs. The large bell in the clock tower was cool but you definitely didn't want to be next to it when it would chime as it was loud. It was interesting to be a floor above or below when it banged away except the whole tower seemed to shake from the vibrations.

I still remember seeing Bobby Kennedy when he gave a speech on the steps of the courthouse back in 68 , a few weeks later he was assassinated. As an 11 year old, he was mesmerizing to me and to the audience. Every generation witnesses things and people both good and bad that they will remember forever and his speech is still something that I remember and I am pretty sure I always will.

We then headed over to visit my childhood homes, first we stopped by Crystal Flash, still there, then we went by St. Peters Lutheran Church, where I had attended grade school, been confirmed and to a large part can thank for meeting my wife and my most things in my life. Why do I thank St. Pete's, well I received a grant to attend Valparaiso University which paid half of my tuition and room and board all because of St. Petes. You see to qualify for the grant you needed to have been confirmed at St. Pete's and you had to live in Bartholomew County. Without the grant I would have gone to Purdue, probably flunked out as I didn't really want to go there as I doubted my self and flat didn't like Purdue. Which would have meant that I never would have met my wife and probably never would have made it to Minnesota, become an engineer, run a marathon, had two beautiful daughters, and hundreds of other life events. I still look back on that life decision when Uncle Pat convinced my that I should visit Valpo as my George Bailey life event, without it I would never had evolved into who I am. I would probably be still in Columbus and ......., needless to say, that grant along with Uncle Pat's prompt, helped me in more ways than I can count.

St. Pete's had changed for sure, I knew they had built a new church and had added onto the school. What really caught my attention was the building next to it, I had no idea what it was, turned out it was my old Junior High, Central, or should I say the new Central Middle school as my old one was gone. That one hurt, Central was old but I didn't expect it to be gone. Other than that, it all looked the same, we went by my old homes and they were still there and even looked pretty much the same. Then we drove by the library so I could show my family the Henry Moore sculpture (I always called it the hipbone of a dinosaur).

From there I wanted to go down Washington street and show them Zaharkos, Lucas Brothers, Cummins Bookstore, Columbus Bar, Murphy 5 & 10, Commons and a whole lot more. Many of the old places were there and few more that I remembered and Washington had changed from a one way to a two way street again. We drove down into Mill Race Park, it's along side of White river and we used to ride bikes from Noblitt Falls along the river all the way over to Mill Race Park. It seemed like a long way but was probably all of a mile or two.

Another thing that doesn't remain is the Commons Mall. I wanted to show my daughters Chaos. They have torn down the portion of the mall where Chaos was but the roof and steel pillars were still up and Chaos was encapsulated in insulation. I checked into it and there are plans to build a new community building around it. Below is a picture of Chaos. It is a really cool sculpture, we always thought it reminded us of the game "mousetrap" as it has metal balls about the size of basketballs that move throughout it.

We did find out that Lucas brothers was still open but at a different location. We used to think that they were the best hamburgers in the world. They smash onions into the hamburger, cook the bun on the burger, add pickles and you have a great hamburger. Ok, looking back they are more like a Whitecastle burger but these really are a lot better. I do think they would taste real good after a 50k.

There were many places we also visited like my old high school, Columbus North, Lincoln park, where I played baseball and softball and we had our ice rink. You see in Columbus there are no outdoor ice rinks as the water doesn't usually freeze. We went by the old camera shop where my mom had worked, it was gone, we checked out Hawcreek and Clifty Creek which had major flooding last summer. I still can't believe they flooded into the hospital and many other parts of the town. One place I forgot about until we left town was Saps Donuts. I know they are long gone but they had the best yeast donut in the world. Ok, maybe a personal bias again.

Wow, who says you can't go home (sorry but they disabled the song for embedding in a post).

Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles - Who says you can't go home

What's this song got to with heading home, not a thing but the truth is I just like this song as it always make me think about heading back to Columbus, where I grew up and lived the first 21 years of my life and made the majority of the decisions that ultimately have determined the direction of my life. It also means I have been in Minnesota for 30 years, now that hurts a bit.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trends are interesting once you notice

I was looking at my log book the other day when I noticed a couple of trends, one good and one not so good.

First the not so good, I noticed that after long runs over 2 1/2 hours, I struggled the next day with another long run. When I went out less than 2 hours, my long runs were fine. Now it could be related to sleep, health, fueling, weather, mental focus and/or a handful of other things but it might be the longer runs the day before. I always tell folks (young engineers) at work that a single data point does not show a trend but two might (good advice for Quality as well, more on that another day). Well, I have 3 of them and after all 3, I failed the next day on a longer run. So what should I do with this info? That's easy, take more data points and eliminate as many other variables as possible like sleep, fuel, etc.... So, stay tuned as I will enjoy working my way through this issue.

On the good side, I set a couple of goals for the year regarding my mileage and after one month I may have the start of a trend. Remember a single data point does not a trend show but I still like the direction.

Miles for January of 2008 - 40 (a very low number indeed)
Miles for January of 2009 - 109 (a 273% improvement and a PR for January)

Projected miles for 2009 after January ~ 1389 (a bit below but hey it's only January)

Miles for February of 2008 - 80 (better than January)
Miles projected for February of 2009 - 157 (a 196% improvement)

Projected miles for 2009 after February ~ 1645 (where I want to be after February)

One other miscellaneous fact from 2008 - highest mileage month was April with 146 miles. So if I make my February goal, another record will be reached as I that would also be my all time high for any month and of course a PR for the month of February.

So I will plod my way onward and see if I can get a second month in and continue the trend upward..........

Monday, February 2, 2009

Running Podcasts continue to grow

I was listening to a running podcast the other day called Trilogy Running (a couple of brothers who documented their training towards a 1/2 marathon, it's kind of a Bo and Luke Duke take up running podcast, fun to listen to people just starting out, now they are heading towards the marathon) which led me to check out a few more new podcasts they mentioned (Rundiggerrun, Runway and Three Apples Tall) and then ultimately led me to back to the website that Nigel created:

I found a few more to listen to, for any who haven't listened before, take a listen, many of them are well worth the price (ok, yes, they are free except for your time). I listen to most all of them either on my way to work or on my runs. I thought about adding a comment for each but decided against it as my comment doesn't really matter, listen and make your own choice. Many are back of the packers, some are mid packers, some are up near the front of the pack, some are new to running, some are not, some are fast, some are slow, some are young, some are old. So, if you ever wanted to listen to a fellow runner check any of them out.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not quite what I had planned..........

I went out today thinking 5 hours of running was ahead of me. I knew before I started that it might not be my day. My back hurt, why, didn't know, my ankle, same thing, my hip, ditto and my knees were tender, those at least I was used to hurting (I have not done a good job of ridding myself of my tendinitis) and through in some stomach issues for one more thing to think on. I said to myself it doesn't matter, go.

Turns out it did matter, I struggled and after playing mind games with myself for over an hour and a half, I made the decision to abort the run. I was right on the edge of doing major damage, I was so tight and not right at all such that each step took energy and hurt, I tried stretching, walking, running hard, nothing was working. So KC is 2 weeks away, am I ready, maybe, maybe not. I wasn't planning a PR but I also wasn't planning on having a painful day. That's why I decided to quit as if I had continued I am pretty sure I would have sealed my fate for KC, if it still turns painful so be it. So I think I will take tomorrow off from running and then think about one more longish run.

For the remainder of today, I will work on stretching, icing and relaxing with a cold beer and enjoying the Super Bowl. As to who do I want to win, well, that's easy. Why because I grew up with the Bengals and still am a fan, so think hate the Steelers, I adopted the Bears when two guys from Columbus played there in the 70's, so think Chicago, and it's settled ---> Go Cardinals......


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