Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chippewa revisited

Ok, initially, I was pretty disappointed, I wanted to have a good day and instead I had stomach issues and an array of other irritants and I did not achieve what I wanted at least that's the way I felt after the race. Having given it a bit more thought, I did finish and I did beat last years time by 15 minutes, so that was an improvement. So, did I take Chippewa for granted, no, at least not consciously, but I definitely didn't come in thinking clearly or having a well thought through plan.

A bit after the race, I did do some additional math, if not for my wrong turn, I could have come in around 7:45 which would have seemed better, not the 7:30 I was expecting but better. So looking back, I survived and learned a lesson I didn't think I would need to learn again which is I will never come into a 50k (or any race for that matter) without thinking through everything.

I also confirmed that I was dehydrated based on re-reading Karl King's reports on Water Intake and Nausea and some additional investigation on my own. Although my hands were pretty swollen, all of the other symptoms were classic dehydration. I was so thirsty when I was done, my bodily functions took hours to return and then the output was pretty dark so the bottom line is I blew it with my hydration which probably led to the 2nd half slow (melt) down, my wrong turn, my headache, my frustration. Here is what else I know, coming into the race I thought I had a pretty good hydration plan, which was to run with my Nathan using its 70 oz bladder and then switching to my 50 oz camelbak bladder. If it went as planned, the 70 oz would have been consumed over the first 4 hours, the 50 oz over the last 3 hours and I had an extra bottle (16.9 oz) in the car that I figured I would grab and carry to the finish just in case I needed it. That is how I had trained, I had it figured out, it was working.

Instead, here is my reality. I drank not quite 50 oz out of my 70 oz Nathan bladder before I switched bladders at around 4 and 1/2 hours, I checked it after the race and was amazed how much was still in it, I did drink almost all of the 50 oz in the Camelbak in the final 3 and 1/2 hours and never used the extra bottle. So that means for my almost 8 hours of running, walking, kneeling I consumed around 100 oz of fluid, that means 12 oz per hour compared to a planned 17 oz per hour, so I was drinking about 30% less than I had in my training, oops. So I was 20 oz light minimum during the first 4 hours and possibly 30 oz since it was a bit warmer. Would I have been able to eat if I had taken in more fluid, I say no as I have never been able to but my guess is that I may have avoided the stomach issues, without the stomach issues I might have not missed the turn and I might have not slowed as much which would have meant I might have been within 10 minutes of a 7:30 so lesson learned again.

Even knowing that I was probably a bit dehydrated, I am still irritated by the stomach issues. For 15 years, I have struggled with stomach issues and I thought I was finally making progress. I have thrown up after many events, occasionally during the event and felt like !@x! for way too many both during and after. Just once when I finish a race I would like to be able to eat something, instead it seems every time I am getting close to figuring it all slips away. When I hear about the food after, I don't even think about it as I figure I won't be able to eat anyway. This year I tried a cookie, one bite is all I could take.

I have done all of my 50k's and 4 or 5 of marathons over the last year or so drinking just Clif Shot electrolyte, no water, and I thought it was starting to work. Up to and including Chippewa, I have yet to get sick (nausea is not sick, throwing up is), which is good. But I have yet to be able to eat anything afterwards. It takes me hours and hours before I can eat. Am I the exception or the norm in this area, as it looks to me that I see most people eating? Just once would like to be able to do that.

Ok, my rant is over but if you have advice on what works for you, I am open to learning so drop me a note or an email and let me know.

Final and most important thought, I need to remember that I run for enjoyment, yes I would like to be faster but not at the expense of enjoying the experience. I will never win the race or probably my age category but I can I always finish and for me that is a victory. So for Chippewa next year, I am bringing my camera and taking pictures throughout the race. It's too nice an area not to capture some of it on film. If it costs me some time so be it, if I train better, plan better the time will be better and if it isn't that's ok as I will enjoy every minute with the exception of the final hill and maybe I will enjoy that too and if I slow down some who knows maybe I will be able to eat some of that chili and have a leinies :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chippewa Moraine 2, Me - 0

The forecast for the race was rain which in my mind beats the heck out of last years race which was run in snow (last year's report). So I was heading into it pretty optimistic that I would get a PR even though my training had been a bit spotty. I remembered the course as being rolling hills that were very runnable.

We decided to drive over the morning of the race leaving a little before 5 am. My wife and daughter both agreed to be my support team and they did a great job in getting going for the race as I can get a bit testy before a race when I am running late. We arrived at the Chippewa Moraine interpretive center right at 7:00 am. But first I need to regress a moment to address my first mistake of the day. I woke up around 3:45 am and had my morning coffee, figured I should eat something so around 4:15 I ate a yogurt. I thought about what else I should eat and nothing sounded good so I figured I would eat something later. The only problem was that I didn't bring anything else, we ended up stopping in Bloomer where I realized this as I realized I was hungry, what to eat? I looked around and finally grabbed some pop tarts, I had eaten them before with no major issues, so figured that they should work just fine. In retrospect, probably not the right fuel to eat before an ultra.

I picked up my packet, saw Steve L., we had met during Surf the Murph last fall where we had talked about running McNaughton for our first 50 but it didn't work out for my schedule but it did for him and he completed his first 50. Fun to hear his description, congrats to him. Then I saw Londell and Wayne. Londell was volunteering and Wayne was running. I expected Wayne to set another PR as he had run well in Kansas where I did not.

Now for the decision of the day which shoes to wear? I had brought 3 pairs, my Rucky Chucks, unlikely because of the foot pain they caused, my Montrail Continental Divides, heavy and stiff and about worn out, my Velocity VST's, new, less stiff than the CD's but still heavy and they are orange. First I put on the VST's and then I thought a bit longer about the fact that I only had two runs in them and that maybe jumping to the 50k distance might not be a good idea so I decided I should change to my CD's. So that decision was behind me, I put on my Nathan, grabbed some cherry stingers and made sure I had my S!Caps. I looked at my Clif Shots and thought I should grab those as well.

We walked over to the start line, it was so nice to not have the snow, I was thinking that everything was set up for a good day. Cool weather, nice course, well rested, a PR kind of day. Wynn described the minor course changes we would make over last year, it involved looping around the lower part of the center on a nice wide grass path. I liked this as I figured it would allow the runners to get some separation.
Waiting for the start

Wynn shook the cowbell and we were off. We ran around the center and then down a fairly steep hill. As we went down it, the thought that we had to run back up it at the end of the race entered my mind. That might not be pretty but I would worry about it later. Running through the woods was real enjoyable. I thought back to the year previous and just smiled this was so much easier that I was sure my day would turn out well. I was sweating quite a bit as it wasn't as cold as I thought and it appeared that the rain was going to hold off so the day was going good. I was feeling a bit overheated as I came out on M so I decided to hand my jacket off to my wife, instant cool down and I felt good once again. I decided I better take my first S!Cap about 45 minutes into the race as I didn't want stomach issues later.
Me coming out onto M

I worked my way through the woods and to the 1st aid station, I saw my wife and daughter again they asked how I was doing, I said good. On to the 2nd aid station where again I felt good. The 3rd station came and I thought to myself that I should eat something, nothing looked too good so I went on through it. As I went up a hill I glanced at my watch and it read 2 1/2 hours so I knew I needed to eat something or I was going to bonk later. It was around this time that the leaders were going by, they looked good, I am sure I didn't look too good to them. Shortly after the leaders went by, I saw nwgdc and he yelled out "Hey Westy, where are your orange shoes"?. I laughed and told him I had changed my mind at the last minute. I pulled out my stingers, opened up the packet and grabbed a couple and started to chew except I gagged on them. I looked at the bag, fruit smoothies, no, they were supposed to be cherry. I finally got some of them down. I looked in another packet of my Nathan for my clif shots and realized I had forgotten them. Great, nothing to eat, at least nothing that I normally eat. I continued the journey to the turnaround. I was starting to get some stomach pains. I drank more out of my Nathan realizing that I might be getting dehydrated or was I taking in too much. I hate that I am never sure which it is. I ate another S!Cap. I then twisted my left ankle and within a mile my right, not good but I was able to walk them off so no major damage just a bit of an awkward hobble for a few minutes.

As I got nearer to the aid station, I noticed that the runners coming by me were acting a little different than last year, I remember being told just 15 minutes, just 20 minutes, just xx minutes to the turnaround. This time no one said anything until I was actually within 5 minutes of the turnaround. Not sure why, maybe I looked better than last year or maybe not. I passed Wayne and he said just a couple minutes to the turn around. I made it to the turn around and saw Londell he said I was doing great. I was expecting my wife and daughter to be there but they weren't. They had planned to go on a run themselves so I figured that they took a bit longer. The aid station volunteers were concerned whether I had enough water for the return in my Nathan. I said I did and took off, at least I thought I did. I kept patting my Nathan and wasn't too worried, worse case I would run dry a mile of two out of the 3rd aid station but I would make it.

As I left the aid station, I looked at my watch and it said 3:41:xx, not great, I was hoping to make it in 3:30 so I was off my pace but just a bit, I would have to try for a negative split. I thought I remembered it being more uphill from Deerfly to the turn around so I thought to myself that I could make up some time. I took off and was still feeling good and decided to pick it up on the downhills. That may not have been a good choice as within a mile my stomach went south and was cramping pretty hard. I tried to walk it off but the nausea was a bit relentless and my head was pounding. I could really use some aspirin or ibuprofen. I usually carry some but never even thought about grabbing some. I think it was shortly before Deerfly or it may have been after as I was a bit scattered in my thoughts that I took a wrong turn. I saw the Ice Age signs saying go to the right but I saw some streamers to the left so I went to the left. The trail was a bit rougher than I had remembered but it seemed right, I looked up and saw some more streamers but then a little while later I noticed that they weren't next to me but 10 yards into the woods. I must have spaced out and wandered off the trail so I went over to where the streamers were except there was no trail, the streamers were wrapped around trees and looked like they had been there for awhile. I thought to myself that this must be what it feels like when you get lost, great, now what? I thought about how I could have gotten off the trail and then remembered the signs, I bet I should have gone right so I backtracked and took the right turn, my little miscue cost me 10 minutes or so that I didn't really need to waste.

I made it to Deerfly road and my wife and daughter were there, I switched bladders in my Nathan so running out of fluids was no longer a worry and my wife had some ibuprofen so maybe that would work on my headache. I told her I wasn't doing great but continued on. I struggled my way forward thinking that I might need to drop at Plummer Road. I was bummed, I still had 12 miles to go and I felt terrible. This was starting to turn into a disaster, why was I doing this to myself? I heard some runners behind me, great, if I didn't drop I would just finish in last place. I tried to eat some more of the stingers, I drank some fluids, I walked and hobbled, my way forward. It took another 15 minutes or so but I started feeling better, my headache seemed to be getting less intense and I was able to run again. It was about then that I saw the two runners behind me and I thought to myself to try keep ahead of them. I then saw a runner in front of me. Could I catch him? I kept moving and was starting to get back into the concept of a race. I was starting to close down the gap to the runner in front of me when I heard one of the runners behind me fall. She got up and looked to be ok. I continued to chase down the runner ahead of me and sure enough I caught up to him as we walked up a hill. When we took back off running I went around him and thought that maybe I would make it after all. I knew I was getting near Plummer Road or at least I hoped I was when all of sudden I was flying forward. Out went my hand to catch me and sure enough I was down and my wrist/hand hurt. This was the third time this year I had fallen on that hand/wrist, I hoped I didn't re-injure it again. I got up and took back off, the pain was quite familiar so I just kind of tucked my hand into my Nathan hoping that the pain would dissipate. I looked up and saw the Plummer Road aid station, my wife looked at me and asked what was wrong and I said I had fallen and my wrist/hand was hurting. She looked at it and said it was swollen, it probably wasn't but both of my hands sure were. I hate that, was I dehydrated, had I taken too many S!Caps, what causes the swelling?

I moved on, just 10 miles to go. I made it back to the 2nd aid station and I thought I was going to make it, it wasn't going to be pretty but I was going to get there. Made it through the 1st aid station and kept going. I decided to listen to some music to distract me for the last 5 miles, I normally listen to podcasts so I thought it would be a nice distraction. I hit the shuffle button on my Ipod and what comes on but Creedence's - Up Around the Bend. Good song for trail running, up next was Shania - Don't be Stupid, maybe not so good and then came Kelly Willis - What I deserve, mmh.

Went past highway M and I continued to enjoy some music, I listened to a few more songs with the last song being the Marshall Tucker Band's - Running Like the Wind, I wasn't but I did enjoy the song. I shut off the Ipod and just kind of soaked in the scenery, I was going to make it after all. Then I thought about the hill at the finish. Maybe we wouldn't finish that way, maybe Wynn would have us finish like we did the year before. Boy, I hoped so as that hill at the finish was going to hurt. I continued on and it seemed that the hills just kept on coming. I finally made it out of the woods and looked at the flags, oh no, we were headed towards the hill. I thought to myself, buck up, finish strong, run that hill. I started up the hill, I looked up and saw my wife but I was shot, I was breathing heavy and just couldn't do it. I thought to myself what a wimp, I bet most everyone else was able to run it. I continued to struggle up. I saw my daughter, how long is this hill? I wanted to be done. I finally made it, turned right and there was the finish.
Coming into the finish

In retrospect, here is a partial list of mistakes that I made:
  • Came in under trained especially for hills.
  • Came in with inconsistent training and not enough long runs
  • Came in carrying too much weight
  • Came in without a plan
  • Didn't eat enough before the race
  • Didn't (or couldn't) eat enough during the race
  • Got dehydrated which caused nausea
  • Developed one heck of a headache and had no aspirin
  • Took my eyes off the trail a few two many times which led to turning both ankles and a nice fall on my wrist/hand again
  • Took a wrong turn and wasted 10 minutes or so being off course which I didn't really need
There is no doubt in my mind that I love the Chippewa Moraine 50k even if it has kicked me two years in a row. I had a disappointing day overall yet many aspects were still good, I survived and finished the race, the weather was great, the post race food and stuff looked good except my stomach wasn't up to it.

I got to experience a great race for another year, the great volunteers, great organization and what a great course. I again need to say that the folks at the interpretive center deserve a big thank you for allowing us to disrupt their normal routine. I also need to thank Wynn, Adam and Matt along with all of the volunteers for putting on such a well organized first class event on a wonderful trail and my final thanks to my wife and daughter for putting up with me on a day that I really didn't have it and for keeping me going when I didn't think I wanted to.
View from the interpretive center

Can't wait until next year............

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chippewa forecast continues to change

Nothing much else to say but it looks like my kind of day.

Saturday, Apr 25
High: 48 °F RealFeel®: 41 °F
Much colder with rain

I have often said I like running in the rain, Saturday just might allow me to test the theory for a bit longer than normal. I am just happy the forecast isn't for snow. If it does rain, my only concern will be the footing and the fact that the day would be tough for my support team and the aid stations. My thanks to both in advance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shoes and race schedule revisited, yes again.

I made some progress of sorts this weekend on shoes for Chippewa but first the updated weather forecast for New Auburn, WI.

Saturday, Apr 25
High: 63 °F RealFeel®: 58 °F
Mostly cloudy, breezy and cooler with a chance of rain

The weather looks like a non problem unless the breezy comment turns into a 30+ mph wind. As to shoes, I wore the Velocity VST's on Saturday with no issues, actually felt pretty familiar. We ran 12.5 miles although none of the miles were on hills so I may run in Lebanon Hills during the week or maybe at Hyland before work. The one problem I did have occurred was when I looked down and saw the orange shoes. I am not into bright colored shoes, the only thing that made them tolerable was my daughters comment about how I was dressed in Bears colors. Navy shirt and shorts and orange shoes. So at least that's a positive.

On Sunday, I wore, my Rucky Chucks but I re-laced them and that took the pressure off the top of the foot and the scab from the blister didn't get torn off but I still had some pressure that might get a bit uncomfortable at Chippewa. I ran another 12.5 miles

Today, work was a bit more problematic so I am giving myself an extra day off which isn't all bad as my knees seem a bit more tender than they should a few days out from a 50k. Might just be the normal pre-race pain creeping in or who knows what else, it's hell getting old. As to the shoes, as of this moment in time, I am thinking my VST's or my Divides. Something to ponder on for the remainder of the week.

Now, back to my race schedule, yes again, sorry about that but I am having a real hard time locking things down. I am rethinking my May marathons as I would like to do Minneapolis because I like the idea of the coat, the cost, the course and the logistics but I need to see when my daughter's soccer team plays so I have to hold off on signing up until that is resolved. With regards to Stillwater, the course looks good, it's the logistics of getting to the start line that concern me along with the cost of entry ($20 more than Minneapolis). You see, I don't like crowds, buses or lack of control over things that involve crowds and buses and it looks like it would be hard to get control for the race, so I am thinking a bit more about it. The last thing is I would like to have a decent day in a marathon this year which for me would simply be a sub 5 for either of these and then maybe a 4 and 1/2 in the fall. If Chippewa is a disaster then I have to rethink my training and decide on what I am willing to do to get the time improvements.

So I will now shut down all of this pointless brain activity worrying about things and just see how Chippewa goes and then I will plan out the rest of the year.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Last panic towards Chippewa

Chippewa is just a week away so I figured I would take my normal peak ahead at the weather forecast, looks much better than last year (if the forecast accuracy follows normal trends it will change fairly often between now and then but I like watching them anyway).

Saturday, Apr 25
High: 62 °F RealFeel®: 58 °F
Cloudy and cooler with a couple of showers

Now that I have the forecast, what do I plan to wear? Clothing is not the issue, for me its which shoes? If I wear my Continental Divides I know I will lose toenails, if I wear my Rucky Chucks I may have some blister issues based on recent runs, if I wear my Mercury's I will have foot pain so what to do? My CD's and Merc's are also fairly well worn out so that is another dynamic to consider. So, I ordered another pair of Vasque Velocity's (from BackCountryOutlet) which I had good luck with last year.I will run today and tomorrow in them to make sure no blister issues or other problems surface and then I will bring them all with me and make the call the morning of the race. I have to admit that part of the reason I bought these is as an emergency option for Chippewa but the other reason is they were $49.95 and I am a sucker for low cost shoes. I should also note that the orange shoes are a bit out of character as well but then again as I told my daughter, I buy shoes for functionality, cost and last style. These fit 2 out of 3 and who knows maybe the orange color will grow on me and if nothing else maybe they will help hunters figure out that I am not a wounded deer hobbling my way through the woods.

What are my fueling plans, good question? Fueling will be Clif Shot Electrolyte in my Nathan, supplemented with Clif Shot Bloks, Stingers and I do plan on sampling the food at the aid stations. Last year I took in soup and Coke and both really hit the spot. This year I will try to sample either the PB & J or the Grilled Cheese as if I do my 50 later in the year I may need foods like this. My thinking is that if they sound good I will try them, if not, I won't as I don't want stomach issues at Chippewa.

What are my race day plans, great question? I am still pretty unsure of my conditioning for this race, the failure at my last long run didn't exactly help the planning. Last year in the snow I ran 8+ hours, this year my goal is to just come in under 7 1/2 hours or at least set my 50k PR which would be under 7 hours and 40 minutes. I would love to do better but the truth is I don't know what I am capable of nor do I know this course very well since last year was my first time on it and I would like to think that the conditions this year will be markedly different. Last year the snow was an experience, not sure what the trail conditions will be like this year (I am counting on not having snow) or what other variables will exist so I think I will shoot to take it easy and see how things work out. I do know regardless of how the day unfolds I will enjoy myself as that is the most important thing for me.

Good luck to all of those running Trail Mix today, it should be a great day for a race.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring in Minnesota?

Tuesday was the day I discovered the answer to the question I have been pondering for a very long time, which is;

How do you really know its spring in Minnesota?

Here are my answers in David Letterman fashion

10. Most of the snow is melted
9. The Twins are playing
8. The Wild are not
7. The T-wolves might be playing but most Minnesotans don't know if they are
6. You see people again that you thought had moved away
5. Folks talk about how it's a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic day just because it's in the upper 40's and the sun is shining
4. Things are starting to change from brown to green
3. Some folks are in shorts and others are still in winter coats
2. Flying bugs are back and of course I swallowed my first bug of the year
1. I saw my first snake and yes I almost stepped on it, I hate that part of trail running.

Thankfully, I can declare with little fear of being wrong, spring has finally arrived in Minnesota

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tax facts to ponder just a bit......

I am by nature a contrarian and somewhat apolitical (against both Democrats and Republicans) and I might lean libertarian so this was too enjoyable for me not to post.

I decided to add a bit more about my view on politics, I was raised as a Republican in Indiana when it meant fiscal conservative, socially don't care. I am pretty sure that this definition doesn't apply anymore to Republicans at least in Minnesota and on the national level and from what brothers tell me in Indiana as well. I still have the same beliefs, spend our money wisely, the government should build our infrastructure, defend us, protect our lands, set policies that benefit the country (not themselves or their districts). Suffice to say, I have no party, never have, never will and I doubt the sincerity of almost all politicians even though I tend to vote for the individual based on my belief or perception of their character (meaning is he saying what I want to hear or what he believes). I have voted for Libertarians, Green, Democrats, Republicans, Independence party folks and probably a handful of other parties that have come and gone. One politician I did come to admire was Paul Wellstone. I think he believed what he said and even though I might have disagreed occasionally, I respected him and trusted him to do what he felt was right for the good of the country. He seemed the same whether he was giving a speech or cheering for his daughter at the local races. I do think the country needs some folks with character and that actually believe in something besides their own wealth and power. Enough said as not to offend although it could lead to probably a pretty good debate on a very long run and I should add that since I run alone I have that debate quite often and my views haven't changed as of yet.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Good, the bad and the ugly???

First, congrats to all who participated in the inaugural Zumbro 100k and 100 miler, the reports and pictures sure make it look like a lot of fun, maybe next year?

Now for this post I decided to steal the title from one of my favorite westerns as it best describes my weekend.

The Ugly, my plan was to take a 1/2 day off from work on Friday and get in 3 loops at Murphy. Good plan, but a terrible result. I only made it 10 miles when I pulled the plug. I was dead, the legs had no energy, the back hurt, nothing was going right. After a terrible and somewhat painful first loop, I convinced myself to go out for the second loop, I walked for 5 minutes to try and get my act together. It only got worse. I ran easy for another 5-10 minutes and finally gave up. I hobbled back and thought to myself that the folks running Zumbro would look like I looked, minor difference they would be finishing a 100 mile event and I was finishing just 10 miles, ouch. I thought long and hard about Chippewa and how miserable that would be if I felt like this. One of the reasons I aborted was the reality that this run was going to do nothing whatsoever to help me there. I am in mediocre shape and this run won't help.

The Bad, I ran with Karyn on Saturday, we again ran the Big River Regional trail into Fort Snelling along River Road through Minnehaha Falls and back. I felt not so good to start the run but after Friday, I had to do this run. As it turned out, I felt ok, not at the start mind you but after a few miles I started feeling almost normal. So why was this the bad, well, I wore my Rucky Chucky's and I developed a nice blister on the top of my foot and felt like I was getting poked in the ankle from something. Weird place to blister and a weird pain in the ankle, what if this was Chippewa, that weirdness might be a real problem as this was only a 14 mile run. Another reason it was bad, Karyn struggled much like I did on Friday, so maybe it was just a bug of some sort that we both had.

The Good, after eating too much candy and then too much brunch, my system finally recovered and I decided I still had time to get in a quick run in Lebanon Hills. I got there around 6:45 PM, I wanted to run at least 5 miles and thought about doing 7. One minor problem was I didn't bring a headlamp and I was flirting with the sunset. So, I decided to take it a mile at a time, sure enough when I got a couple miles out, I could see that darkness would be a problem for 7 miles so 5 it was. It was about then that I thought to myself that I felt good and had been running fairly hard. I told myself to finish it up even harder. I actually did keep a reasonable hard pace and felt good the entire time. So this gave me hope, maybe I still have a chance for a decent day at Chippewa, all I want to do is beat last years time and I gotta believe I can do that as long as it doesn't snow, I do hope that it doesn't snow, I really hope it doesn't snow, who knows maybe it will be hot.

So despite a lousy final long run there is still a slight ray of hope for Chippewa not being a disaster, regardless I will enjoy the course and as long as there is at least one cold beer waiting for me at the end, it should all work out just fine.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Lately, my wife and I have done almost all of our running related shopping and subsequent purchases on-line. The main reasons have been the ease of finding exactly what we want, bargain prices and discounts and then the time savings. Although, one of the concerns I have always had is what if there is a problem? Will the on-line vendor back the sale or will it be a hassle if there is a problem?

Well, we got to find out about one of the vendors, the vendor in question was ZombieRunner, Karyn has bought numerous items at Zombie and one of the purchases was my Nathan hydration pack.

What happened is that a couple weekends back as I filled up my Nathan's hydration pack, the seam split and I was bummed as I love my Nathan. My Nathan had been a B'day gift from last fall and I had used it pretty much weekly as it provided me complete freedom on my runs. Karyn checked in with Zombie concerning the problem and they immediately issued her a RMA and said send it back. She did and yesterday the replacement hydration pack arrived. They were easy to deal with and gave us great customer service when I simply expected them to say contact Nathan and that it would be hassle. Instead Zombie just stepped up and took care of us, when was the last time you had a store provide this type of service, for me it has been a while? I give my wife credit for taking the time to contact them as I am sure I would have just ordered another one but maybe not from Zombie. Karyn took the time and ZombieRunner came through so instead of being bummed about my Nathan, the issue has been resolved with no headaches. Needless to say, Zombie will continue to get our business.

Thank you ZombieRunner, fabulous service.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend recovery?

The plan was to again go back to back long on Saturday and Sunday, Saturday was ok, I went 13 with Karyn but Sunday didn't happen. I was feeling a bit out of sorts on Saturday as I had some start-up issues which I won't detail but I can say it led me to carefully run on Saturday with an eye towards the locations of bathrooms. We ran the BRRT over the Mendota Bridge thru Minnehaha Falls over the Ford Bridge and back to the Mendota bridge via Mississippi River Road. A nice run even if too much was on concrete and the rest of it was on asphalt (maybe these runs will make the road marathons I do in May more tolerable on the body). It's nice in a way that we have meandered into the river road area as there are a lot of nice options for adding extra distance to runs. I am sure as spring awakens, I will probably freak out with all the people we will likely encounter on the same routes.

On a different note, I have been amused and occasionally irritated with observing bikers while sharing the pathways with them. It has led me to classify and stereotype them into four groups of cyclists: Mountain Bikers - friendly, usually smiling; Family bikers - usually happy depends on the kids; Skinny tire - focused, dress the part with road bike clothing and pretty much avoid any close encounters, may nod to acknowledge and may say on your left or hello (usually on the road, not the path); Skinny tire posers - dress the part but think they are entitled to the path, basically rude and clueless, we have almost been hit by more than one, probably would get run over on the road.

Anyway, I ended up falling asleep during the Villanova game on Saturday, energy level was very low, light body aches, some nausea. On to Sunday, zero energy, I tried to run some errands which took all of my energy (I like when I break out in a sweat for no apparent reason) so I decided my body needed a day off. I wasn't great today but better so I have concluded my issues are one of four things - diet, stress, something as yet undefined or just randomness. Karyn made the comment that this has happened before so I went back in my log and checked it out. I didn't find any comments where I described the same things but I do know I had a similar event a few months back (nice to see that although I am good on recording my mileage and which shoes, not so good with comments so not completely AR). So that back to my four issues, diet, I may have eaten something that didn't settle well, stress work has been, managing two groups and 13 or so folks, plus dealing with other groups issues can be tiring, so it could be I just need a day off. As to my last two thoughts, they cover every thing else so not worth worrying about. I also had thoughts that it is simply weather related, it probably isn't but I am sick of winter but probably not sick from it.

I was on a pretty nice trend of weekly mileage increases with a plan for 50 this week. The last 6 weeks have looked like this - 27, 31, 35, 41, supposed to be 46, was 20, then 50+ for this week. So, since I missed one of my final long runs my new plan is to just forget it and to get in my final long run this weekend. Normally I would try to squeeze it back into this week and then move my final long run out to mid next week, you know cram it all together in about 3 to 5 days instead, this time, I am not going to sweat it and hope the rest does me more good. So for next weekend I will do one more overload weekend, back to back running days with one run at least 10-13 and the other run close to 25 then taper for Chippewa.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Music tastes.....

I have read many blogs concerning music that runners listen to and I have posted a couple of times on how I like podcasts and I have posted on some of the music I like or have liked but I was just looking through my music and I decided I do have an odd assortment. Almost every song has something to do with running (at least in my mind) and my music helps me get motivated or it allows me to wander away for awhile. My only problem is that I can only tolerate music for a couple of hours before it starts to bug me. Here is a quick summary of the bands on my Ipod along with a closer look at a song that always makes me smile.

From my early years
Aerosmith, Allman Brothers, Boston, Cowboy, Cooper Brothers, Headeast, Flying Burrito Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Jethro Tull, Marshall Tucker, Pink Floyd, Nitty Gritty Dirty Band, Rush, Steely Dan, Dr. John, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Desert Rose Band, Chris Hillman, J. Geils Band, Heart, Journey, Lynyrd Skynrd, Molly Hatchet

From the 80's and 90's,
Alison Kraus, Anita Cochran, Blues Travelers, Bon Jovi, Eurythmics, Clapton, Edie Brickell, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Hootie and the Blowfish, John Mellencamp, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Sister Hazel,

Some country and christian
Martina Mcbride, Kelly Willis, Kasey Chambers, Faith Hill, Shania, FFH, David Crowder, Dixie Chicks, Sawyer Brown, Brooks and Dunn, Caemon's Call, Casting Crowns, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jeni Varnadeau, Kim Richey, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Mark Schultz, Lucinda Williams, Leann Rimes, Kimmie Rhodes, Sara Evans, Trick Pony, Jars of Clay, Across the Sky and quite a few more.

I am sure many of the artists most haven't heard from but I like the fact that I go from Aerosmith - The Train kept a Rollin to Kelly Willis - Heaven Bound to J. Geils - Must of got lost to Shania Twain - Up!

"Up!", is the song that brings a smile along with every time I hear it I think I about the St. Thomas hill in Twin Cities Marathon, and it always gets me through a bad stretch on any run. Here are some of the lyrics

It's about as bad as it could be
Seems everybody's buggin' me
Like nothing wants to go my way--
Yeah, it just ain't been my day
Nothin's comin' easily

Even my skin is acting weird
I wish that I could grow a beard
Then I could cover up my spots
Not play connect the dots
I just wanna disappear

Can only go up from here
Where the clouds gonna clear
There's no way but up from here

And the last verse

When everything is goin' wrong
Don't worry, it won't last for long
Yeah, it's all gonna come around
Don't go let it get you down
You gotta keep on holding on

If you aren't familiar with it take a listen (sorry it is disabled for embedding) so here is the you tube link:

Shania Twain - Up!: Green Version

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mileage update

I figured since I was taking another day off as I let life intervene one more time I may as well make a year to date mileage update post. I feel guilty about the many days off I have taken although I have to admit many were needed as stress, recovery and the weather have dictated many of them. I also have to be honest and say that procrastination is the other main culprit but enough on my bad habits, here are my totals:

Jan - 109 miles
Feb - 103 miles
Mar - 134 miles

Now for some useless statistical facts (yes, I have to admit that when I get into the stats I am either a bit OCD or anal retentive or maybe a bit of both :-)

My January mileage total was my 2nd highest January ever
My February mileage total was my 2nd highest February ever
My March mileage total was my 2nd highest March ever

Total year to date of 346 miles

My total for the first three months were my 2nd highest mileage ever (346 - previous first three months total was from 1997 - 360 miles).

Interesting trend of 2nd best, if I hit my goals for the remaining 9 months they would be highest monthly totals ever. Time will tell how it works out. On to even more useless trivia

I ran 0 total miles on Monday's (0 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 19 total miles on Tuesday's (4 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 15 total miles on Wednesday's (4 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 0 total miles on Thursday's (0 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 26 total miles on Friday's (5 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 151 total miles on Saturday's (12 out of 13 weeks)
I ran 135 total miles on Sunday's (12 out of 13 weeks)

The only useless stat that surprised me were the 0 miles on Thursdays, my normal schedule was supposed to be to run on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday with the other days being off or optional. I usually like to run long on Sunday's so Monday is an off day for recovery, we attend church on Wednesday so most of those runs were when I ran home from church usually after I missed my Tuesday run, Friday's were the guilt carry-over from Thursday.

So as I look forward for the remainder of the year, I am pretty sure how I can set those all time monthly highs and that is to just run on the days I am supposed to run or said another way I just need to become a bit compulsive towards getting runs in and a little less towards thinking or planning about getting them in. My new motto needs to become "Just do it" .


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