Saturday, January 30, 2010

Running Goals for 2010

I may have posted on this before and if I did it's either ultra brain or old age catching up to me (granted I really can't have ultra brain as I am not running long enough right now so that means it must be the second option).

As January comes to an end and hopefully the death spiral of winter begins, I figured I should review the goals I set for myself for the year as I have a lot of work ahead of me to meet them.

2010 Goals
  1. Run 1500 miles
  2. Beat December
  3. Complete Afton 50k
  4. Stay healthy
  5. Add 3 states or run 3 50 milers
  6. Run a race on the Superior trail
  7. Improved core and fitness
2010 Goals Explanation
  1. Run 1500 miles would be an all time high and it should be doable if I stay healthy, last year I missed by 2 miles, enough said.
  2. Beat December means run more in December, I have only averaged 60 miles in that month, my lowest month of the year.
  3. Complete Afton 50k, I dropped last year with an injury, so I must complete it, I have done it before and I really do like the course, ok maybe not that 10 mile stretch along the river, oops I mean that 1 mile stretch but it seems like 10 to me.
  4. Stay Healthy - key to the year and every year of running, last year I was a bit dinged up and May, June and July weren't as much fun as I hoped but I healed and finished out ok.
  5. Add 3 states or 3 50 milers - I modified this goal from states to 50's as this makes more sense for me and my family for this year.
  6. Run a race on the Superior trail - I plan to run the Superior 50 and the question is do I do a training run on it or do I just take it all in on race day? Knowing me, I will do option 2 as surprises are nice.
  7. Improved core and fitness - When you get older this is important, granted it's important when you are younger. If I do this, 4 should happen as well as all of my other goals. So I may need to keep this right in front of my eyes for most of the year.
I look forward to the races I have mapped out and although I would love to add a few more I may not.

One race that might make a bit of sense to add is Twin Cities marathon. I have done it 9 times, but the last time I ran it (2005) I dropped out. It fits into the schedule between Superior and Surf the Murph so it does make sense. I do need to close out the chapter on that last TCM race, kind of like Afton for this year. The funny thing about TCM is that it's the only marathon I have ever dropped from, I wonder if that is because it's local, on that note Afton is the only 50k I have dropped from so all three of my DNF's are local. Granted the first time at TCM and probably last year at Afton I shouldn't have started and the second time at TCM, I would have finished out if not for all the people. I am kind of shy and didn't want to run/walk/throw-up around the crowds.

Something to ponder as the year unfolds, not the 2005 TCM but running the 2010 TCM, after all it is the most beautiful urban marathon in the world and registration opens on February 2nd.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catching up

I posted a goal of running 4 days/week and 1 X-training day per week on Sunday and I have to confess, I am a little behind already but I do have a plan to still make my goal this week, I just need to be a bit creative and do a 2 a day to achieve it. It seems like this has been my whole month, just a bit behind.

I am behind on listening to my podcasts, yes I downloaded some new ones and I still listen to the old runs but with runs not happening and runs not being longer, well my listening is suffering too (For clarity - I blame winter, I am just not a cold weather person). I have 86 podcasts to listen to and I can get, ok I am not sure what it's called but I just have to listen to them and I struggle to delete any of them without listening, must be my version of collecting junk. I am behind at work too as I have been doing two jobs for awhile. That hopefully will end soon.

So I think I see that light at the end of the tunnel with February coming and work returning to a new normal soon. So now I can focus on my running. I am pretty locked into my race schedule with the first race being Chippewa but I really would have liked to have seen it stay on April 24th versus the 10th. Wayne was tempting me with McNaughton but I have to pass now for sure. Although if there is snow (or any chance of it) at Chippewa, I really don't know if I want to do that again. Other than that minor issue, here is what I am thinking about, I need to avoid injuries, get in some training and make sure there are no family conflicts but other than those potential issues, I like my schedule.

Chippewa Moraine 50k - Sat 4/10
Journeys Marathon - Sat 5/8
FANS 12hr - Sat 6/5
Afton 50k - Sat 7/3
Turtle Trot Triathlon - Sat 7/17

Superior 50 - Sat 9/11
Surf the Murph 50 - Sat 10/23 (this date is not confirmed but it is what I heard somewhere)

I might throw in a few shorter distances to round out the calendar and/or find some races in August, November or December but for the moment it's time to train for Chippewa.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's back

Great news - Chippewa is back on the race calendar, I just got the email from mn-drs group (Minnesota Dead Runners Society)

Chippewa 50k info

The cost is a little bit higher and the date is 2 weeks earlier, I am guessing Wynn forgot to mention what happened the first year to the new race director (Jeff at Vacation Sports). They also are having a 10k race for the first time.

So I think I may have to update my plans and push McNaughton out for another year or two. I also think I just discovered my race to motivate me to get out the door. Yes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Time to get things worked out.

Well, it's that time of the year. What time is that you may ask, time to start getting serious about getting some consistency into my running. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, take a look at my January mileage and the days I run:

See the problem, no runs on Monday or Tuesday, only one run on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Only averaging 3 days/week of running. I would like to say that on my off days, I was cross training, that of course would be a lie. Now I have a lot of excuses, work has been stressful, it has been cold and dark and blah, blah, blah. You know none of them matter, the bottom line is I wasn't committed and therefore it didn't happen. So as I head into the last week of January, it's time to get things worked out and to motivate me here is what I need to mull over.

"Those who say it can't be done are being passed by those doing it."

"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Henry David Thoreau

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3

Add in the following:

McNaughton - 11 weeks away - with a long run of 12, a 50 could be doable but I don't think it will be easy to get there (Wayne, now do you understand my 23% probability)
Trail Mix 50k - 12 weeks - very doable, if I get started this week (85% probability)
Journeys Marathon - 15 weeks - same as the Trail Mix 50k. (97% probability)

And it all adds to this, that this week, I have a simple goal, run 4 days, x-train at least once.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Challenge to Fail?

In my last post, I stated "I want the challenge to fail" and to do this I need to go longer. I think I like the adrenaline rush of potential failure in a race as once I do the distance 2 or 3 times, I don't consider failure a possibility. It's not that I want to fail and it's not that I won't fail, it's actually the opposite, I expect to succeed but I want to not know for sure if I will. The battle within, is the battle I want to have. Can my mind propel me through the ups and downs of the distance, the course, the day.

Since I have done one 50 miler, what do I need to do? Sign-up for another. Can I do it again? I think so but the only way to know for sure is to try again and then again. Once that is behind me, what do I need to do, sign up for a 100k, do back to back marathons, back to back 50k's, back to back 50's, 24 hour run, 100 mile events? Will I be able to do these, I think so. Now this will get a bit problematic in a few years but I think it will take at least 5 to 10 years as I don't intend to rush things and get the work-life-running balance completely out of whack. I can also do some other things to make the challenges harder, run in heat, run tougher courses, run in races that would be mentally tough for me (like FANS).

So here are my probable races for this year, I think they will keep me busy for the year.

99% probability of doing
Turtle Trot Triathlon - Too much fun to not do and we have a streak going
Surf the Murph - 3rd year in a row, got to keep my streak going

77% probability of doing
Journeys Marathon - running with my wife for fun
FANS 12 hours - 50 mile goal - I can't imagine running around Nokomis for that long
Afton 50k - Last year I dropped with an injury, to do so twice would be failure
Superior 50 - I hear it's a tough course, sounds like I might have some issues finishing so I have to try it

23% probability of doing
McNaughton - Wayne wants me to do it with him, he might convince me but could I do a 50 with my current level of training?

My guess is a few more will make it on the calendar and some of these won't work out.

Ok, I probably should admit it, one of my reasons for running ultras does come from my desire to push myself beyond what I am sure I can do plus I love the courses that ultras are run on and last, the folks who I have met at ultras have made me feel welcome, so I keep coming back.

Why do you run?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why I run - part 2?

Do you remember when you first started running? Do you remember the excitement of that first running event. I remember it clearly, I wasn't sure I could do it, yes I had trained so I knew I could run the distance but could I race the distance? I posted a while back on why do i run, well it's time to update that post but first a brief look back into my running past.

My first running event was a 5k race back in 1992 called the "Race for the Rainbow", we started at Minnehaha Falls and it was an out and back. I remember thinking what am I doing here, my stomach was churning, the fears - how would I pace myself, would I go out too fast, would I finish last, would I embarrass myself? I felt like I didn't belong, but I had a couple of buddies who kept me calm and then paced me the entire way and all went well.

It was the start of a running adventure that continues to this day and it lifted a monkey off my back. You see growing up I had a firm belief that I could never be a runner. I played baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, water skiing, all sports where running wasn't really a part of the sport. It took me until age 33 to figure out that the reason I couldn't run. You see in all of the sports that I did when we did any running, turns out it was sprinting. So when I got into my 20's and decided to try this running thing out again as it couldn't be as bad as I remembered, I would go out what I thought was easy and within a quarter mile, I would be completely out of breath and my legs would be hurting. I would say to myself I am not a runner. I was frustrated, I didn't like failure and I gave up on myself as I didn't want to embarrass myself by publicly failing. Move forward 10 or so years where I discovered how to run at my in-laws. I have posted on that before so I won't bother to repeat it all here, the key is I became a runner in December of 1991, at age 33.

Like a lot of runners, about a year after I started running, I signed up for my first marathon. Why, well because a buddy and I convinced ourselves we should. Personally, I couldn't imagine how we could or the why about it but we signed up. Before we started training for the first marathon, I ran all of the shorter distance races and I had no doubts about finishing any of them (I did have many concerns about pacing). The reason I had no doubts concerning finishing was because I had run the race distances in training be it 5k, 10k or the 1/2 marathon distance. The marathon though required a leap of faith, a long run of 20-22 miles, maybe even a few of them and then on race day and you take the leap of faith that somehow you will work or will your way through that remaining 4-6 miles. It is safe to say that I had many doubts and concerns and that is what set the marathon apart from all other events. I still remember that first marathon finish, it wasn't pretty as I went out probably too fast and crashed at mile 20. I also remember the highs and lows along the course, the battle within, can I do this, yes I can, no I can't, shut up keep moving, you can do this and then I did.

After the race, I, like many first timers uttered those infamous words that most marathon runners have said once (in my case multiple times), "Never again". Then a few hours later you talk with your buddies about which marathon to do again. I have to admit that marathons have gotten a bit more like other races. I know I can finish them, now the pace and the time that is still unpredictable but finishing is not an issue. It is why I started down the 50 state path. It allowed me to take on a challenge that took away some of the predictability of the normal marathon. It was rejuvenating as in order to get my 50 states by age 60, I will need to run 4-8 marathons/year depending on how long I stay distracted with this ultra thing. I do enjoy the planning and I look forward to when I can run marathons on back to back weekend days. Why, well in 2008, I ran a couple marathons 6 days apart but can I run them on consecutive days. Again the challenge of doing something that I am not sure I can do. When I trained for my 50 mile event last fall I did do long runs on back to back days so the two marathon thing will be doable, not easy but very doable and it is something I want to experience.

So as I contemplate my race schedule for this year what jumps out at me is what is this years challenge? Do I run marathons on back to back days, do another 50, do a couple of 50's, do a 100k, do a 100 mile event?

Regardless of this years goals, I know now I run because I want the challenge to fail. For me the only way to fail is to go longer and longer. Yes I could try to go faster again and who knows I may but there is a big difference between running 7 minute miles for an x distance race and running 50+ miles. Faster is simply a by product of training at least until I reach my genetic max but running 50 miles and longer is a battle within regardless of the amount of time it takes.

So in looking at this years race plans, I do need to accomplish three things: first, remember that I run for enjoyment, second, I need to run an event that I might not be sure I can do and last I need to do something that I rekindles the spirit of running in an unpredictable way.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finally got out into the cold

It took a while but I finally made my way out to experience some cold weather.

Now my procrastination did pay off a bit, it was 5F when I went out today at lunch for an easy 5 miler. Since there was no wind it felt warmer and I have to admit that it felt real good. What have I been waiting for? I definitely needed the stress break from work and I need to get back into a running pattern so the training for the 2010 racing season officially began today.

I have pretty much locked into to doing Trail Mix 50k. Its not one of my favorite runs as it is a four loop course and I can say I would prefer a point to point or an out and back or a 2 loop course or a 3 loop course but what the heck, it's local, well supported and not that hard of a course. Karyn and I have been looking at many other events and at this point the schedule is pretty wide open. We are thinking to focus locally and then throw in a few out of town races. If all goes well, maybe 2 states and a couple of 50 milers and a handful of 50k's and marathons. So here are the current thoughts:

Trail Mix - Sat 4/17 - 25k/50k - 90%
Lincoln, NE - Sun 5/2 - Marathon & 1/2 - 25%
Journeys, WI - Sat 5/8 - Marathon and 1/2 - 63%
Superior Trail - Sat 5/15 - Lutsen - 25k/50k - 30% (Or the Superior 50, can't do both)
Rockford, IL - Sun 5/16 - Marathon & 1/2 - 25%
FANS 12hr - Sat 6/6 - 60%
Afton 50k - Sat 7/3 - 95%
Turtle Trot Triathlon - Sat 7/17 - 100%
Grand Island, MI - Sat 8/1 - Marathon & 1/2 - 10%
Superior 50 - Sat 9/11 - 50M - 70%
Rock Cut 50k, IL - Sun 9/19 - 50k - 30%
Surf the Murph - Sat 10/23? - 50k/50M - 99%

Stay tuned, as my guess is that it will change pretty quickly and often.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 Mileage detail

I figured I should expound on my year in review. The chart below shows how many months I was above my historical average.

You can easily see that my December blues this year are not abnormal but instead quite normal. Why, well my rationalization is that I have no races, the cold, darkness, Christmas, travel, snow, basically just adapting to winter. I am 100% sure if there was no snow, the numbers would be different. For 2009, the month with the lower mileage that was of interest was May. Why so low, injury is the answer. I injured myself (left foot/ankle and right achilles) at Chippewa and struggled through May, tried to ignore it in June as I did the Swan Lake Marathon and tried to ramp up further for Afton. That didn't work out so well as I dropped at Afton, took a week off and then I continued to train on the injuries but was careful to not aggravate them. Ultimately, I was able to increase the mileage and ramp for Surf the Murph. For my training, I only focused on getting and then staying healthy, anytime I had pain, I backed off. Basically, I had to log a lot of long slow miles and avoid any recurrence of injuries by not racing and avoiding any speed workouts and I avoided the roads to reduce any pounding and I backed off on the hills to avoid any additional stress. It worked out as the foot and the achilles healed up and I was able to get through Murphy.

I had said that I would explain my not making the 1500 mile goal. I was just 2 miles short and I could have easily gotten in 2 miles. I consciously choose not to as I just wasn't motivated enough to do it. So it is my new goal for 2010.

You see, I just needed a mental break from everything and gave myself a break over the holidays. We always travel over Christmas and our travel goes something like this; Saturday - drive to Chicago, visit with Karyn's family, Monday drive to Indy, visit with my family, drive back to Chicago, visit a bit more with Karyn's family, drive home. We usually drive 1500 miles over 5 days, it can be a bit tiring. Karyn and I did get a run in when we were in Indy, Carmel, specifically, we ran down the Monon Greenway trail. It's a converted rails to trails that is quite nice which runs down into Indianapolis and then north towards Westfield. Carmel has done a great job of intertwining the trail into it's city having built the Monon Center (community fitness center and water park) right across the trail and they are in the process of building a new music conservatory right next to the trail as well. My only complaint is that it is an asphalt trail. I did think about running on New Year's eve when we got home but the thought quickly left me and I am just fine with my new all time high of 1498 miles for a year.

So now it's time to re-group and start ramping towards something. The question is what?

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Year Summary

Well, I had to do it, a look back on a year full of ups and downs. I started the year with the following goals:

2009 Goals:
  • Get Healthy and Stay there
  • Run 1500 miles (stretch is 1800 miles)
  • Improve on month to month consistency
  • More miles per month in 09 than 08
  • Get Stronger - Core workout 3 days/week
  • Add 4 more states
  • Run a 50 miler
2009 Ups:
  • Completed 2 50k's
  • Completed 1 marathon
  • Added in 2 states (got me to 10 so I can join the 50 state groups)
  • Ran a Turkey Day 10k with my wife
  • Ran many runs with my wife
  • Completed the Turtle Trot Triathlon with a PR
  • Had 3 months with a new high for peak mileage for the month
  • Had 3 months with the second highest peak mileage for the month
  • Had 4 months with the third highest peak mileage for the month
  • So for 10 of 12 months I improved my month to month consistency (a 2009 goal)
  • Set an all time high for mileage in a month
  • Ran more miles in a year than ever before which means more in 2009 than 2008 (a 2009 goal)
  • Actually DNF'd a race because of an injury in order to get healthy for another race
  • Ran and completed my first 50
  • Ended the year without injury ( a 2009 goal)
  • Made many new friends in the ultra community

2009 Downs:
  • Didn't add 4 states to my tally (a 2009 goal) - only 2 states but my first 50
  • Dropped out of Afton because of an injury - a good choice
  • Tanked my mileage in December - weather, work, lesson learned, 2010 goal
  • Missed my 1500 mile goal (a 2009 goal) - ran 1498, a future post will explain
  • Stronger core (a 2009 goal) - did a little but no consistency
  • Ran my last Chippewa? - race canceled, a bummer
So all in all a good year with a lot more ups than downs and with that here are a few goals for the new year:

2010 Goals
  • Run 1500 miles
  • Beat December
  • Complete Afton 50k
  • Stay healthy
  • Add 3 states
  • Run a race on the Superior trail
  • Improved core and fitness
  • Run another 50?
Happy New Year.....................................................


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