Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Garmin is in route!

I just got the tracking info for my Garmin and I should have it well before Saturday. That said, I may get a huge dose of reality at Afton and then probably for the rest of my summer. Actually, it's quite possible that I may relish the days before the Garmin.


Well before I could always use my Nike+ inaccuracy to rationalize that I was faster than it appeared. With the Nike+ my 7 mile run on trails could come in at 5 miles or even 7.5, I have never figured it out exactly other than pace, foot strike (side-steps, etc.....) all seem to matter. That 7 mile run has come in at 5, 6.5, 7, 7.3, 6.8 so I rationalize it as a 7 mile run. With the Garmin 205, I will get accurate stats in all areas. I will see the time and the distance with almost no error along with elevation and pace.

Garmin 205

So if I run my normal loop in Lebanon Hills which I think is about 7 miles and the Garmin comes in at 6 miles then I will be crushed and I will have to face the fact that I am not only slow but I am real slow. On the other hand if it confirms the loop then I will be able to just consider myself slow. Regardless I am looking at modifications to my training specifically the diet as I plan to focus on dropping some weight between now and fall. I have not gotten into a consistent eating plan focused on weight reduction as I was counting on my running consistency to be the solution and with injuries and motivation struggles, well it hasn't worked out. Instead this year I lose 10 pounds, gain 5, lose 5, gain 7, lose 3, gain 6 and all of a sudden I am back where I started. This cycle needs to end or I am never going to accomplish what I want to with my running (I want to be free of fear of cutoffs and I do want to get faster too :-). So after reading multiple books, my conclusion is that they all say the same thing - eat more vegetables and fruit, less processed stuff and do watch the calories you consume. More on this later

For now a new reality is approaching specifically on Thursday, UPS willing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fathers Day & Afton Weather update

I received a couple of really nice presents for Fathers day last Sunday.

The first present was my two Chippewa Moraine 50k finisher prints nicely framed and ready for display. I figured I would take them to work but instead was surprised a second time when my wife said let's display them in our family room.

Here is a copy of this years print,

I couldn't find a copy of last years print but this picture (taken from the Chippewa Moraine 50 website) should help remind everyone of what the course looked like.

Can't wait to see next years print hanging on the wall and I do expect to have a good day, weather permitting.

The second present was a Garmin 201, I had often thought about getting one but couldn't justify the expense as I had my nike+ system and a watch, why did I need a Garmin? Yes I wanted one but how would I rationalize it, well my wife went ahead and got me one, so I had the easiest justification of all, a gift from her. Thank you.

As it turns out in reading on the Garmin website they suggest you get a Garmin with the high sensitivity receiver if you are running in woods. I emailed them to confirm and they gave me a definite maybe, so I emailed one of the ultrarunner groups and the responses I got said go with the 205 or 305 or 405 or what about the 310xt and the 405cx (can we say a lot more expensive). So today I returned the 201 to WalMart, my wife had ordered it on-line and had gotten a good price. I had no problem with the return at my local WalMart. So after that I ordered the 205 from NewEgg for $149.99 with no tax or shipping. I ordered it from NewEgg as they always have had fast shipping and I never have had a problem with them before. I did debate for a few minutes the 305 but I just have not been able to get into heart rate monitoring as a tool for my running. It seems to bug me more than it helps. So if the 205 arrives before Afton, I will give it a go, if not I will look forward to many runs in the woods and an increase in accuracy in my distance. The Nike+ can vary greatly or seem to record fairly accurate when I run in the woods, you just never know which you will get so it will be interesting to see how the Garmin checks out for consistency.

The weather for Afton is still looking good, here is the latest forecast.
Saturday, Jul 4
High: 75 °F RealFeel®: 74 °F
Sunshine and patchy clouds

The overnight low is calling for 56 so it should be a fairly good day for running, that is if their forecast stays on track :-).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weather for Afton and injury updates

Just gotta take a quick look ahead at the weather for Afton, doesn't look too bad.
Saturday, Jul 4
High: 79 °F RealFeel®: 84 °F
Sunshine and patchy clouds

As to my injuries, well they should be healing up and might be ok for Afton. I say should be as I still have issues but haven't run since Sunday, so I will get out tomorrow and see how it goes. Regardless, I think I will try and get back and visit Dr. K either tomorrow or Friday and then follow-up once more next week. The good news is the plantar fasciitis in the left foot is gone and the right ankle seems ok. That just leaves me with a sore left ankle and a tight right achilles. We did get in 13 miles on Saturday and everything stayed together except we went in the afternoon and it was hot and that was a struggle.

So I view it as starting my heat acclimation again, it sure is tough to get it here. I will probably start my other way of getting used to heat tomorrow. That routine is to drive home with the windows up and the AC off. It gets warm but it seems to help, if nothing else it provides my wife some amusement.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

50 State Quest Status

With the completion of Swan lake I can join the 50 states clubs as it signified my 10th state completed. There are two clubs that I am aware of:
What is the difference between the groups other than the DC issue, good question as I am not sure I will join both groups or if I will join any of them. Here is what they say about themselves

50 state marathon club (description below is from their website)
We now have 1,852 members in all 50 states, DC, and 11 foreign countries! Our members have run a combined total of more than 100,000 marathons! (demographics)

2009 Renewal forms are in the center of the March newsletter. Please fill out the Member Profile and return it with your $10 annual dues.

50 & DC (description below is from their website)
The 50 States & D.C. Marathon Group is a unique group of individuals from around the world. We currently have members from 50 States & D.C. plus Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, England, Germany, Netherlands, Latvia, Japan, Portugal, and Bermuda. The group all shares a goal of completing a marathon in all 50 States & D.C. To join this ONE of a kind group you must complete 10 marathons in 10 different states. We welcome Wheelchair and Handcyclists to our group with only having to complete 1 marathon to join. A ONE TIME $10.00 fee for lifetime membership gets you a lifetime of memories, achievements and friendships! So come join the fun, “What are you waiting for?”

I will have to continue to look into each group and maybe there is merit as you do get discounts for many marathons. For example, Swan Lake would have given $5 off their entry fee. Then again, Marathon Maniacs also receive discounts at some races, Minneapolis would have given $10 off.

Below is my current list of states completed, I may not get any more states in this year as my focus is on the Surf the Murph 5o.

If I do any other states this year it would probably be either Illinois (Rock Cut Hobo 50k) on September 20th or Nebraska (Bohemian Alps 50k) on September 19th. Hold it, what about doing both? All we would need to do is cross over Iowa after Bohemian. So the weekend could look something like this, we leave town on Friday and drive 424 miles to Brainard, NE, run the 50k, then drive to Rockford, IL. That's another 478 miles, run the 50k and then drive home, just 339 miles. So here is what this weekend adventure would look like:
  • total mileage ~1250 miles
  • time in the car ~23 hours
  • time running the 50k's ~15 hours
  • cost for gas ~ $150.00
  • cost for food & lodging ~ $250.00
  • cost for 2 races ~ $120.00
  • Total cost ~ $520.00
So you can see some of the interesting things that can come up when planning for adding states. You can cut a few corners on the food and lodging but other than that, there is not much else you can do to reduce cost. These two would be drivable but many of the states I have left are not so the cost will increase depending on airfares, rental cars, etc.....

So with just 10 states complete and 40 to go, I see a lot of cost and planning activities ahead.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Swan Lake Race Report (Long version)

We headed over to Viborg, SD around noon on Saturday, the plan was to get their around 5 and have spaghetti, check out the course and get to bed and await the 6:00 am start.

The race is held at the Swan Lake Christian Camp and is used as a fundraiser for the camp and as a way of reaching out to folks. They have an interesting story on how the race got started, check it out "Swan Lake Marathon History". We hit some traffic so we didn't get there until around 5:45. We were quickly checked in by Judi (Office Manager), got our packets, confirmed the cabin and proceeded to the spaghetti. Judi is who we worked with to get a room at their camp and as it worked out we ended up in brand new cabin. Everyone was friendly and the spaghetti was real good. The director of the camp, Jerry, stopped by our table and asked us where we from, why we chose Swan lake? He sure made us feel welcome. We met a couple of other runners, one guy from Dallas who was working on completing his 50 states, this would be number 48 and a guy from Minneapolis who was doing the same thing but I can't remember where he was on his quest but he was ahead of me. I felt like a rookie.

We woke around 4:00 am and began the process of getting ready for our races. Karyn was running the 1/2 and I was doing the full. I munched down a banana which was all I was able to get down, hopefully it would be enough. I made my decision to wear the Nathan, my plan was to drink Clif Shot electrolyte again, take S Caps as needed and to try and eat some Clif Shot Bloks early and to wash them down with water. I made the final choice on shoes by choosing my Vasque Velocity VST's. I figured with 2/3 of the course being on gravel they would be the best choice especially since they are my lowest miles shoes. The tape on my achilles and on my plantar fascia seemed to make it through the night so it was going to be interesting to see how I held together and how much the tape bugged me during the race. On to the start line.

Swan Lake start line

Karyn and I decided to start together but we discussed that her pace was probably going to be too fast for me so we agreed early on to part ways. She was planning on running 11 something miles and I was thinking 12's. We ended up parting shortly after mile 1 or 2. I was able to keep her in sight for the first 6 or 7 miles but finally lost touch with her as we made it into Viborg. The course loops around Swan Lake (~5 miles) then you head towards Viborg where you run on highway 19. The course is basically a figure 8 with a couple of side jaunts at the start and then later into something they call the keyhole (basically running into a cul de sac, it was different so it was ok). Back to highway 19, the highway is open but there wasn't a whole bunch of traffic. I choose to run on the right side of the road as did most runners, I noticed Karyn ran on the left side. We were on highway 19 for about 3 miles and the slant of the road got to be bothersome. I had ignored the early pain as it was pretty much ok, just the occasional jolt when I stepped funny or caught a rock wrong. By the time I made it into Viborg, my left hip had started to hurt, I tried to compensate which made the achilles hurt, compensated for that which caused left foot pain. It was shaping up to be an interesting day. I continued out of Viborg thinking you only got 17 miles to go. The pain got worse but more importantly my pace was slowing down but the effort seemed to be increasing, not a good sign. Around mile 10, it seemed to be getting hot, by 11, I was having doubts. I started down my normal path of beating myself up over how I could be struggling like this and I continued this internal berating for the next few miles.

Around mile 12 and 1/2 the marathoners go straight and the 1/2 marathoners head back into the camp. I was thinking I should abort as I didn't think I was going to make it. I thought about driving back and running it next year, I thought about how I would feel if I dropped, I thought about how could I get through it? Then two things popped in my head - they have a 7 hour time limit and what would Steve do? The bottom line is I knew I had enough time to walk it in and I knew what Steve would do, he would finish which is the choice I made. Decision made, time to figure out Plan B. So I slowed down going up a hill and amazingly enough the achilles pain went away, I ran - got pain, I walked - no pain. Now I didn't want to walk it in but I had made the choice so I needed to keep going. Mile 13, 14, 15 passed and I was somewhat holding a 13 minute pace. Mile 16 we turned north, wind out our back, sun shining, it was hot. No trees, just gravel roads and South Dakota farmland.

South Dakota farmland

I walked more, I ran less, another issue came up when I tried to run, my left hamstring was tightening up and starting to throb. Ignored it. We turned at mile 19 east, a breeze, tried to run, bad, walk, run, walk, mile 20 was approaching when I noticed two guys walking. I was going to catch them.

I started running again, I would catch them soon. I noticed that the gap wasn't closing. I had thought earlier that I wasn't getting much forward momentum while running. Turns out I wasn't so I power walked. The gap started closing, tried to run, gap stayed the same, power walk gap closing. Even I was starting to figure this out if you can walk faster than you can run, swallow the ego and walk. I caught them, they were both real friendly, one guy whose name was Larry asked me how I was doing? I said I had better days and I had had worse, he said it was a great day, what a wonderful day to be out there. He oozed positive energy and he reminded me of why I was there, to have fun, so I smiled and continued on but with a new attitude, I was going to do this smiling as Larry had it right. We were caught by a woman named Nancy who was one of many runners who had run Marathon 2 Marathon the day before. She said she had been trying to catch me for a while and noted that I walked real fast. We talked for a mile or so and separated shortly after mile 22, she had a plane to catch and I had a plan to not hurt myself worse.

Leaving the mile 22 aid station, you can see the kinesio tape .

I tried to keep her in sight, thinking that it would help me get to the finish, I lost track of her after mile 24 when I had a bit more foot pain. I was forced to walk slower, I also was developing a blister on my right forefoot. The last few miles were going to be a bit bothersome but I knew I had it made.

Coming into the finish

Ringing the bell a Swan Lake tradition.

So with the marathon completed, I assessed myself for damage, I felt mostly ok, some achilles pain, left foot pain, a half dollar size blister, a sore hip and a tight hamstring but I think I made it through without any major issues. The tape on the achilles and on the plantar did not cause any blisters nor bug me during the race. Did it help, don't know. Did the PT work help, again I don't know but I made it so it didn't hurt. I had no nausea after the race so the hydration - S Caps seemed to work so that was good news. I had eaten the Bloks with water and that seemed to not cause any issues. Anytime my stomach even twinged I took an S Cap if it was at least a 1/2 hour since the last one. Bottom line is I was able to eat a couple hours afterwards which is good for me.

Overall, I felt pretty good and I was actually pretty happy with the effort. I entered a bit banged up but I got through it without any more significant damage.

One thing I did notice was my left foot was hurting more than I had hoped but it wasn't in the plantar area so as we drove back home I was flexing it and then I noticed a bump on top of my foot. I am thinking that might be the remnants of the sprained ankle from Chippewa or maybe it's something else, the bump is where I do have pain so I am thinking that there may be a connection. I did check the right ankle and I have no bump on it.

Oh a couple of other notes on this marathon, that guy named Larry who made me re-think my day, turns out to be Larry Macon, the world record holder for number of marathons in a year. He did 105 in 2008. You can check out a pretty good post on him at Wayne Joseph's Blog. Something for others to shoot for. Another guy I was talking with after the race was asking which states I had run, then he asked about Michigan? I said I hadn't done it, he said I should run Grand Rapids as it is a great race. I commented that I had exchanged emails with the race director and he seemed like a real nice guy. He said good answer, his name is Don Kern and I am that race director. Check out his website - Don's Really Cool Adventures.

This marathon seemed like it had a high number of maniacs and 50 Stater's. The neat thing was that when we talked with them they sure made us feel welcome and like we belonged. The good news for me is with this race completed I have met the minimum requirement for joining the 50 states club, I just may have to sign up.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swan Lake quick summary

Finished, no major damage (but a bit more minor damage), not fast (but when was the last time I was), wore my orange shoes (they sure were noticeable and worked mostly), I even met a few nice folks and some of them are pretty well known at least in the maniac world.

Swan Lake is an extremely well put on event - friendly volunteers, great and frequent aid stations, easy logistics, ok weather considering how bad it could have been. I love small marathons they are so much more appealing at least to me.

I learned a few things that I need to figure out which I will include in the long version? One of the lessons that I am starting to learn is to quit beating myself up when the day doesn't go as planned.

That sums it up, I do have a lot more to say but it will take me a few days to work my way through it (at least in a semi-coherent fashion).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pride goeth.......

I said in an earlier post that I didn't want to go into visit Dr. Kevin the week ahead of a marathon, it's amazing how pain can change things. When I woke up on Friday, my left foot was hurting. So I looked at my work schedule, swallowed my pride and called Lyn Lake Chiropractic. As always, no problem getting in. They did a quick check of the structural integrity of my ankles and feet and saw no issues asked about the pain and from there they proceeded to use the following on me.

Electrical stimulation (felt tingling)
Ultrasound (nothing to note)
Deep tissue massage (pain)
The stick (less pain than the massage)
Adjustments (left ankle did feel like it popped back in place)

As I talked with all of the different folks who worked on me they all said that they have plenty of runners who come in the week ahead of a marathon so I shouldn't have even hesitated. They are expecting to be real busy next week with more folks coming in ahead of Grandmas. I just never like going in for help. The reality is that I can be a bit stubborn and I never like to ask for help. I always think I can fix it myself and that if only I had stretched more, iced more, lost weight and done a couple dozen other things then the problem would go away.

When Dr. K was checking out the left foot he asked when had I sprained my ankle and noted that I had an upper ankle sprain (more on top than on the side) and that it was still a bit swollen. He pressed right on the tender spot and then said that was probably why my left foot hurt and felt torqued. He adjusted both feet/ankles and when he did the left, it felt like it went back into place and the torqued feeling I had had seemed to lessen.

Then they taped me up with the kinesio tape and wished me good luck. Here is a video from Runners World showing how to use the tape for Plantar Fasciitis (sorry about the commercial that pops up first). It's the way my left foot looks, they also have a video on taping for Achilles and a variety of other conditions on the Runners World website.

I will be curious to see if the tape helps at all, I went for a real easy run yesterday and it seemed to work ok, and my pain level was reduced. Was the pain reduction from the tape, the massage, the adjustments, the fact I was going slow or simply a placebo effect? So am I now ready for Swan Lake, probably not but I have done everything I could have.

My plan for Swan Lake is to do the run/walk method since I haven't gone farther than 15 miles since Chippewa, I am expecting the last 10 miles to not be too pretty but my only focus will be finishing not on time. My hope is that if I if I can get this in as a long slow training run and not cause anymore damage then I should be ok for Afton. After that I will plan out the rest of my summer running plans and then start to train towards a 50 at Surf the Murph.

Final weather forecast for Swan Lake, they say a low of 50 tonight so it should be in the low 50's at the start headed towards:
Sunday, Jun 14
High: 75 °F RealFeel®: 76 °F
Partly sunny and beautiful

Looks great................

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sunday is approaching

I ran yesterday with some pain but it was manageable, today I ran a mile and 1/2 (before softball - kind of a quick warm-up) to see how the feet/ankles/achilles held up. I ran in my stiffest shoes and it was ok. So I think the key decision I have for Swan Lake is which shoes to wear? Hey wasn't that what I said before Chippewa?

I had planned to run in my Vasque VST's thinking they are my newest (best cushioning) and a trail shoe since part of the course is on gravel. After yesterday's run I have a few doubts as each step I experienced a bit more than I would have liked. Option 2 is to run in my Montrail Continental Divides, they are getting up in mileage (just short of 400) but they are definitely the most supportive shoe I have and they seem to lock my feet in place. Option 3 is to wear my road shoes either the NB 767 or my Asics 2130's, so tomorrow I will run in one of those and see how I feel on Saturday. I plan to taper on Saturday and hope Sunday works out ok with one of my 3 options. Right now I am leaning towards the CD's. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday will change my mind?

Weather update for Swan Lake

Sunday, Jun 14
High: 78 °F RealFeel®: 76 °F
Partly sunny and beautiful

The weather sounds hard to beat, looks good for fans (will there be any?) maybe a bit warm for me, regardless I should be able to work on my tan :-).

Hey speaking of FANS, I have read through a few posts and I am pretty sure that I have to try it next year. Congrats to all who participated in it as well as those that ran Kettle. Maybe next year, I will join you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Swan Lake Forecast

Forgot to add my Swan Lake Marathon forecast to my earlier post and I kind of have enjoyed posting the forecasts as they are a fun thing to look back on. It's safe to say that for previous races the forecasts have changed quite a bit.

The weather looks ok which means it will change then again if it looked bad it might change. The marathon starts a6 6:00 am so I am guessing it will be fairly comfortable at least for the first part of the race.

Swan Lake Marathon -- Viborg, SD
Sunday, Jun 14
High: 79 °F RealFeel®: 81 °F
Warmer with times of sun and clouds; an afternoon shower or thunderstorm

On the running front, I did get in around 10 miles this afternoon, the feet did hurt at times but it was mostly manageable, the one nice thing is that I get pain from a variety of spots in both feet/ankles and then an occasional Achilles shot on the right. I did do an ice soak afterward which I plan on continuing all week. So with a little luck things will heal quickly or enough for Sunday.

I debated going into Lyn Lake Chiropractic for some PT but I decided not to. Mainly because of the lack of time and it can be a bit embarrassing or presumptuous to walk in and say "Hi, Dr. Kevin please fix me, I have a marathon in 6 days, yes it has been a few years since I was last in". He will then ask how long it has been hurting and at least this time I can say only about 4 weeks. In the past it's usually been 4 months or longer, then again I don't plan on going in so maybe history will repeat. In the past Dr. Kevin has helped me for a variety of issues and he does offer many things besides the chiropractic stuff (meaning normal PT stuff - ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice compression, etc....) and the combo usually does the trick I especially have liked his ice boot therapy which worked great for a past ankle sprain which led to plantar fascia issues in the other foot. You know that sounds almost familiar, naw, couldn't be.

The journey continues....

Fueling, running, diet, it seems like I have been going in circles lately.

Fueling - Wayne provided me with some e-Gels and e-Fuel which I had planned on using on my long runs, only problem is I haven't been able to go farther than 13 miles so it has yet to happen. I did try yesterday on our 13 miler to take in only water, and tried GU gummies for the first time (suffice to say that I will stay with Clif Shot Bloks) and then I had to have a GU gel as I was kind of bonking near the end and felt like I was getting light headed, out of gas, it was a feeling I haven't had in awhile at least 2 1/2 hours into a run. What did that tell me? I think it says that taking in electrolyte throughout my run does help me from hitting major lows. So I think I will keep my e-Gel experiment is on hold until I can run longer than 13 miles on a training run. I debated trying e-Gels at Swan Lake next weekend but concluded that wouldn't be a wise idea as I know I will have my hands full with the run itself so better to go with a fueling system I am used to.

Diet - I need to get my act together and get serious about it. I was doing ok until early May when I got off track, it's time to get back on track. So for the next few months I am going to try to be diligent about the diet. I think between work and running in pain, I have just been a bit distracted. So I will attempt to focus a bit and see what happens.

Running - I seem to have paid a bit of a price for Chippewa. I was disappointed with my effort there but in looking as to how my body has recovered, I may have been too hard on myself. When I finished at Chippewa my feet and ankles did hurt but I was bumming about my time, I figured it was just the result of multiple ankle rolls and having run 30+ miles. I think I missed the early warning signs as since then I have struggled with the right Achilles and just when I think I almost have it together something else goes wrong. On Wednesday, I ran 10 miles in my Rucky Chucks, it was not a pretty site. After that run, my Achilles was hurting a bit but my left foot was hurting worse. I love it when I go into a run with something hurting and then come away with something totally different hurting that takes my focus off my original injury except for the fact that the original injury is still injured. I have been told multiple times about not running through injuries maybe one day I will listen to that advice but probably not today. As to the foot, it's a pain similar to a plantar fascia injury but the weird thing is that when I rotate the foot or extend it, it seems to catch and alerts me via pain receptors to the event. So I am taping both and hoping for a bit of quick healing. So as the result of this, did I decide to rest and take it easy? No, I did the logical thing, I blamed the Rucky Chucks so I will avoid them for awhile.

On our run yesterday I did feel slightly better for the first 5 miles, I debated which shoes to wear and decided on my road shoes, NB 767's. I had some pain but it was more of a discomfort than pain. As the run continued, the discomfort increased, it never got terrible so I left thinking that Swan Lake wouldn't be pretty but I should be able to get through it. I did conclude that I probably won't wear the 767's as there is gravel and they don't do great in that. Pretty much after the run both feet hurt to walk or to sit, so my guess is I will get through Swan Lake but will probably have issues afterwards.

So today, I plan to run for a couple of hours and if the foot pain seems to get worse than I will abort it and attempt to begin to heal up for Swan Lake. Regardless of today, I have a week to taper and heal so I see a lot of ice therapy coming my way between now and next Sunday. It should be an interesting week.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Running from the Devil

Just finished reading Jamie Freveletti's novel Running from the Devil, the long and the short of it is, I really enjoyed it.

I used to read a lot of books and then we had kids and ever since, I have been sporadic with my reading. I would pick up running books and other books that only require me to skim or to scan read and occasionally I would read a good adventure novel like the Ludlum books. The one thing I learned is that a good fictional novel requires and usually gets my full attention once I get started.

I saw my opportunity, an out of town business trip, a long plane flight (3+ hours to LA) and I had the perfect window of time to settle back and enjoy this book. The nice thing about diving into a book while on a completely full airplane is that it allows me to not have to talk to folks as most people won't disturb you if they see you reading a book. It worked both ways, thank you Tavia and Jamie for allowing me a very welcome distraction and some nice introverting time.

I wasn't too sure about this book going in, as it's background info said it featured intrigue, drugs, terrorists, etc... not what I usually enjoy reading about when I delve into fiction. For this type of book, it's imperative that I get into the characters and that the plot has a semblance of plausibility. This book established both fairly quickly. Jamie established the characters by providing just enough information to understand who folks were (great job of pulling me into the characters) but didn't divulge all of the info until it was needed later into the book. The main character is Emma Caldridge who happens to be a very good ultrarunner and a top notch chemist. Not to give the plot completely away but Emma is on a trip to Columbia, the plane crashes, she is thrown clear, she sees passengers surrounded by armed men. Turns out it was hijacked and the surviving passengers are herded off at gunpoint. She checks her cell phone, no service, she sends a text anyway, then the remains of the plane are blown up and she decides to follow them and we are off on the adventure.

Why was Emma going to Columbia? Was her text received by someone? Who did she send it to? Why the heck did she follow them? Why was the plane hijacked and why did it crash? How does her being an ultra runner and a chemist help the believability of the story? Who helps her? What did she have to learn to survive? How did she survive alone in the jungles of Columbia? Does it end happily ever after? Just of few of questions you will work your way through when reading this book.

Another thing I like in to have when I read a fictional book is believability? This book passed the test as well as the author seemed to make sure she had her verifiable facts correct and her fictional storyline did seem believable. We all know an ultrarunner can do anything, right? The book is a well done effort. My thanks to Tavia for sending me the book, it was a very welcome distraction on an otherwise boring business trip although I am not sure reading about a plane crashing as my plane was taking off was the smartest idea, at least for me.

My advice is find the book, read it and decide for yourself what you think. If anyone wants to read the book I received, I would be happy to pass it on, just drop me a note off-line and I will mail it on to you or Tavia also said in her last email that she still has some copies she would send out to folks willing to read it and do a review on their blog or podcast (if you want her email address, email me and I will forward it on). I think it's worth your time to read this book, I know for me, I will look forward to reading future novels from Jamie.

Thank you.

Here are some links to some reviews already posted about RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL, plus the author's website and book page (check out the video on her site).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Running update and Myers-Briggs

First on the running, I had planned to run 18 miles on Saturday instead I hobbled my way through 13. Karyn and I were running in the river bottoms when I stepped into a hole around 3 miles into the run and re-torqued my right ankle. I was able to walk off most of the pain within a few minutes but it caused some ancillary pain as the run continues most of it in of course my achilles area. I was not happy but it is what it is. I have less than two weeks before Swan Lake. Any further attempts at a long run would probably not be wise but I am hoping that maybe I can get in a 15 miler tomorrow. If I can't so be it, I will run Swan Lake with the mindset that I have 6 hours and will attempt to do no major damage to myself. After that, I will target Afton and see where I am at. Karyn did question whether or not I could have gone 13 more miles if I have issues at Swan Lake. I can't remember exactly how I answered her as I too was thinking that wouldn't be a pleasant journey. I think I did say it would be my 10th state which would motivate me some and that I would rest a bit between now and then and from there I simply need some race day magic and a bit of luck.

I was reading Steve's recent post where he mentioned Myers-Briggs and that he was an "INFP" which got me thinking what am I? So I did what only made sense, checked for it on the Internet and I found a website with a fairly quick poor mans version of the test, you can find it at the HumanMetrics.com they call their test the Jung Typeology Test.

Based on this test, I am an INTP, the interesting part is their analysis of where I was in each category. Here are those results:

Introverted (67%) Intuitive (62%) Thinking (1%) Perceiving (33%)

(Strength of the preferences %)

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
  • distinctively expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • slightly expressed thinking personality
  • moderately expressed perceiving personality
I agree that I am introverted and intuitive, the other two categories it appears I am not quite as strong in one way or the other especially the thinking/feeling category. The fun part with the test is I you can go back through it and play with some of the questions and see what affect they have on the scoring. (I should add sometimes you have to wait 5 minutes or so as it came back service unavailable occasionally). The bottom line is for me the questions I could go either way on didn't change anything at least not too much.

I did read the typelogic description for my type and it did strike close to home.

What's it mean, you got me but it's always fun to psycho analyze oneself.


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