Sunday, August 29, 2010

Odds and Ends

I emailed the folks at Dakota County Parks concerning Lebanon Hills, I asked i>f they had ever considered a race at the park and asked about running on the horse trails. They got back to me right away. As to the horse trails, Beth advised me that they were designated single use but that it will be reviewed next year so I should keep an eye out and get involved. As to a race, Kim got back to me on that and said look for one next year. She said they were talking to a race organizer and she would email me once something was more definitive, she also asked if I would be like to be involved.

I got another longish run at Murphy today and a mid distance one yesterday. They will have to be enough for Superior. Yesterday, I had issues of the bio nature, today, everything went really well until I realized that I had some major chafing issues followed by a couple of ankle rolls. Add in a bit too much heat and a blister, so I stopped after 22 miles deciding to do no more damage. I did see Les when I looped back towards my car, he again mentioned that Surf the Murph will be 3 loops this year. I really do enjoy running at Murphy and have even started liking the southern section, probably cause it doesn't kick me in the rear like the northern section does. Here is a picture from the southern side of Murphy.

I did run in my latest shoes, my "panic shoes" for Superior, I picked up a pair of Salomon XT Wings and outside of the blister today which was more a by product of the socks I wore, I really did like them. I also picked up a pair of Brooks Cascadia's a few weeks back at Run n Fun so I am now set with shoes. I was happy today to not have any significant foot pain, outside of being in lousy shape, everything else is mostly ok for Superior.

For those that may not remember, I always tend to freak out as races approach about my shoes, I like to have at least 2 viable options and going into Superior with the foot pain I was having I was concerned, hence my panic purchase last week. It helped that I had a coupon for $15 off, they were on sale and that they had my size in a shoe that I always wanted to try.

So time to taper a little bit, watch what I eat and to start planning what I will need to have for Superior. Oh by the way, the current long range weather forecast from Accuweather is calling for:

Mostly Cloudy - Hi 53° RealFeel® 48°Lo 42°


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Glass half empty?

I was thinking about my blog and how it seems like so many of my running posts are not positive but focused too much on my woes. I feel guilty if I complain about things in my blog but I complain anyway. I like to think I am just documenting my running trials and tribulations but it seems like my focus is on the half empty side and never the half full view. When I have success, I look at it and get self absorbed with everything that went wrong.

For example:

McNaughton - I strained a calf muscle mid way through the race, struggled with fueling, swelling and ultimately took 15 hours to finish and I am still feeling guilty for such a poor time. Yes I finished but I struggled after the strain and I kept beating myself up for not running through the pain. By walking a lot over the 25 miles after the injury, I did set up my year for success and I had some at Lincoln and Fargo but then..........

FANS - I got pulled from the race after 10 hours, I did not meet my goal of 50 miles, yes, I was on pace for 51 or 52 miles but do I take all the things I did right that day like my fueling, my pacing, my attitude or do I focus on the failure? I think you know the answer. My next race was.........

Afton 50k - I knew going in that my back was still too sore, tried to run anyway, had pain after 2 miles and I dropped at 25k. Still feeling bad about it. I should have pushed through it.

So now I as the time for Superior is closing in, I am sitting thinking how will I ever do 50 miles there? My only goal is to finish and I am not the least bit concerned about time. I have never run on the trail so a finish is all I want, oh yeah that and not getting lost.

Why do I have doubts, well since I failed at my last two events that doesn't help much and although I have recovered from the back issue I have developed a foot issue that is bugging me and I am sure I will feel it at Superior. It feels like a flair up of an injury I suffered 10 years back where I strained a ligament in the foot. I had stepped in a hole and overflexed the foot, when I eventually made it to a Dr, she said that I had a grade II (moderate) strain of the ligament that attaches to the first metatarsal (big toe) and she thought that with rest I would be ok, if not surgery might be needed. With that threat, I had to take 6 weeks off but I did not end up needing surgery which was good. This injury is not that bad by far but it is tender and it does bug me, I am blaming my shoes or the insoles my Dr. recommended so I am working to find a pair that doesn't aggravate it. Then you add what seems like a lot of mediocre runs recently, coupled with way too many hours at work and I am sitting in a basic self pity mode thinking thoughts like:

What if I fail? What if I don't start? Should I try to drop down to the marathon? What will my co-workers think? What will Wayne and Karen say when I drop? What will they say if I don't start? Why do I do this to myself? Why didn't I train more? Why didn't I lose more weight? What will my family think? Why am I such a failure? What will I..........

You can see the trend but it just occurred to me what if I succeed?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quest for 50

I was on the Runners Round Table again tonight, It was hosted by Eddie Marathon and we were joined by Ashland Dave and Kevin from Just Finish. We talked about the quest for running a 50 mile ultramarathon. We had a good conversation all in all but it dawned on me that I have never written a lessons learned on ultras to date. Granted I am not an expert, frankly I am still a rank novice but here is my short list of what I have learned thus far:
  1. Fueling - create a plan, try it, after it fails, new plan, try, fail, repeat until success.
  2. Fluids - drink normally the week of, take in the right amount during the race.
  3. S-Caps - use them but try to stay in sync with #2.
  4. Long runs - Back 2 backs, I like to run 25 to 30 then 12 to 20 or vice versa.
  5. Footwear - training no issues, same pair, races, bring back ups, coat feet in vaseline & desitin.
  6. Clothing - bring extra everything, days change over 12+ hours if you are slow like me.
  7. Pre Race (1) - reduce weight (some day I will), watch what I eat, hydrate normally.
  8. Pre Race (2) - have two or three pairs of shoes ready to go
  9. Training - train on the type of course you plan on running on, run up and down hills, lots of them.
  10. Course - choose one that works for you, would recommend one close to home for your first one although you can't beat McNaughton (Illinois) for the amount of time you have to finish.
  11. Plan - then re-plan, plan again, re-plan for things like drop bags, socks, items 1 to 10, etc....
  12. Post Race - take a day off if needed and then resume light running until next race.
  13. Last Lesson - Have fun, enjoy yourself, take it all in..................
That's my short list and it was fun talking with the guys but we barely scratched the surface so maybe we will get back together for additional conversations. Take a listen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend results?

I said coming into this weekend that I needed to get in somewhere between 40 and 45 miles, my reality is that I didn't make it and at the moment I am not sure what that means for Superior. I did up my mileage from last week, not hard to do when the weekly total was 3. For this week, I got in 49 miles, for the weekend I got in 36 miles.

So right now, I am just writing it off as the heat, meaning I didn't manage it very well. I hope, that is the case, regardless, I will give it a go next weekend where hopefully it will be cooler.

Back to my weekend runs, on Saturday, I sat off to run 27 to 30 miles at Terrace Oaks in Burnsville. I ran there for the first time this week, kind of an undiscovered mini gem. When I was last in Run n Fun, Perry mentioned running in Terrace Oaks and Ritter Farm Park. Ok, I was almost embarrassed as I live in the south metro and had never run in either location. My wife and I ran shortly thereafter at Ritter Farm Park, it's ok, some double track trails, some grass trails but it is limited to about 6 miles depending how creative you get. I knew that Terrace Oaks was popular with the mt. bike folks but I also knew it was only about a mile or so for them and I wasn't sure if the hiking and mt. biking sections were co-mingled. It looked like the hiking trail was at least a couple of miles, so on Monday, I ran the loop, turns out there is only a very short section of overlap between the mt. bike and hiking trails. I really enjoyed it, it's a nice up and down loop with a little over 500 feet of elevation gain/loss in each loop and is about 3 miles. Here is a picture of the trail, it ranges from dirt to gravel to grass, not too bad.

Elevation Profile

Back to my plan for Saturday, my original plan was to run 9 or 10 loops but I didn't feel right almost from the start. It was a struggle for me, much more than it should have been and I decided it was the heat and the humidity, I got through the first 2 loops and was getting pretty convinced that going much further was going to be a real challenge and to add to my woes with the heat, my left foot was aching. Knowing that I had Sunday and not wanting to get super dehydrated in the heat or do any additional damage, I ended up quitting after 13 miles figuring I would do 24 to 27 on Sunday.

So today, I decided to go out to Murphy Hanrehan, last time I was out there, it seemed like the grass was high and too many gates were closed so I hoped for better conditions today. I decided to start with the south loop as I knew it was going to get hot fairly quick and it is a lot more exposed than the northern side. I got there around 7:30 am, the horse parking lot was empty, so I proceeded to run the 5+ mile loop, everything seemed good, no major soreness from the 13 miles from Saturday. My left foot seemed ok, a little tender but manageable. On Saturday, it bugged me more than a little. I decided to repeat the loop since the heat was still bearable and I wasn't sure that I wanted to run 20 miles in the northern (hilly) section. The second loop went ok, I grabbed more liquids and headed over into the northern section. My foot was bugging me more so I decided it would be ok if I increased my walking, with all the hills that happens naturally. I meandered around and worked my way through another 12 miles, a pleasant surprise on this section was that a few more gates were open and the grassy areas weren't too bad. Since I was baking a bit more than I would like so I decided to call it a day after 6 hours.

So a little less than 3 weeks out from Superior with no long run greater than 23 miles, a sore left foot, suffice to say, I think my runs next weekend need to go a whole lot better. Otherwise, I wonder if Larry will let me drop down to the marathon?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Running Reality Check

Sometimes you get in a groove and everything comes together as a race approaches and sometimes things don't. I am headed towards the don't right now. I have had to put in a lot of extra hours at work (a couple projects where I need 40+ hrs/week for each) which means a lot of missed runs.

I thought I was back on track a couple of weeks back and then I fell off the chart. Here are my last 3 weeks mileage and my projection for this week:

Week of 7/26 - 21 miles (1 run)
Week of 8/2 - 46 miles (4 runs)
Week of 8/9 - 3 miles (1 run)
Week of 8/16 - ~50 miles (5 runs)

So if I meet the goal for this week, I am back on track for Superior. I have two runs in for the week with 10 miles logged so all is well thus far. You can see that I follow the 10% rule for my weekly mileage :-) As to Superior I never planned on anything more than a finish and with the training I am getting in that is all I will strive to accomplish.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Running motivation

I found this looking for a little running motivation on you tube, kind of puts age and attitude into a different perspective.

Plus some additional motivation that I can file away until I experience it in future races.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Superior commitment complete?

So what does the title mean, it means I probably should get in to see a Doctor for an evaluation and I don't mean a physical exam but instead of doing that I am committed to starting and finishing the Superior 50 as the payment is in, camping reservations are complete and my crew (my wife) is set. The only thing I lack is training.

So how do I train for a 50 in 6 weeks? The answer is carefully as I want to get to the start line. I had a decent base until FANs and I am working my way back from the back issue. Last weekend I got in almost 21 miles at Afton on Saturday with Wayne and Karen, we ran Wayne's double hill workout. The premise of the workout was that every hill we ran down, we turned around and walked back up, only to run down it again. Same thing on uphills except we got to go up twice. Interesting workout and Afton is a great place to do this type of workout as the hills are a plenty and if you don't think so do this workout. According to my Garmin (as displayed in SportTracks), we got in 20.82 miles with 4410 ft of climb/-4401 of descent. The only problem with the run is that it also was my total mileage for the week so I have some base to get working on.

I did check the file I uploaded from Bill last fall on the Superior 50, it showed an elevation gain/loss of 7103/7257 (difficulty of 4.5, 52.6 miles) so the Afton run probably was some decent training. As a comparison I loaded the Afton run into Bim Active (wanted to compare apples to apples) and it shows the elevation gain/loss at 4550/4543 (difficulty of 4.4, 20.84 miles).

So the good news is I am committed and that I have some training to do and I think the bad news is I am committed and have some training to do.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Running songs 2

I posted a few months back on a few running songs with the thought I would continue once every few months or so and I haven't posted in awhile but I came up with a few more as I was thinking about sending in the entry for Superior. Hope you enjoy them too.

A recent running song from a favorite artist (Martina McBride) might take a bit of a stretch to figure out but to help you all out, I figured I would try to explain (actually all of my songs probably take a bit of imagination, oh well). The song's title is "Wrong Baby Wrong", if only she would add the line "run baby run" it would be perfect but the chorus from the song is my plan for Superior.

Come on now
Everyone falls down
Everyone crawls now and then
Then they get up again
You cry if you want to
That’s what we all do
But if you think you’ll never move on you’re wrong baby wrong

Here is a link to the video.
The second song also applies to my plans for Superior and is a different spin on an old favorite (I like the old version a little bit better) from my high school and college days. The title of the song is the line that will resonate at Superior.
Might even apply to recent days, weeks and months at work.

And my third choice is from junior high (early 70's), yup that old. It too will probably apply to Superior.

Final choice - John Mellencamp Your life is Now
I guess this means it's time to sign up for Superior................


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