Saturday, October 27, 2012

Surf the Murph 50k (Not) Race Summary

Surf the MurphAnother interesting day running an ultra and an absolutely beautiful day to run Surf the Murph, I went into this one a bit tentative about how I would hold up on the 2nd loop and instead dropped after 1 loop. Long story short, torqued my left foot around mile 4 and couldn't really run or walk normally after mile 6.

It happened right after I had gotten through the No.6 hills, I had just thought to myself that I feel great and I was going to have no troubles getting through at least the first loop. Then either a misstep or a hole, not really sure, I just know I torqued it and felt pain but I thought it would go away but it did not. So am I disappointed, yes and no, I am actually frustrated more than anything else as it has now been two years without a marathon or an ultra finish. It's a lot more fun to finish these things then to drop injured.

That said, I think by stopping after one loop I hopefully avoided any significant damage although my wife thought that stopping at the horse lot aid station would have been my best choice. It was funny, I was debating with myself around mile 8 if the foot was going to cause me to drop as the pain wasn't really going away, at the time I didn't think so, as I kept thinking it would calm down and I would soon be running without pain but it just kept getting worse. I knew I was compensating for it as the right achilles was starting to hurt as well. Nothing like stereo pain to keep you in balance.

One thing that may have contributed is that I chose to wear my New Balance 110's, they don't have a lot of support or cushion but they do have a rock plate and based on all of my runs coming into Murph, I thought they were my best option. Based on what happened though I may have made the wrong choice, my MT10's might have allowed me to feel the thing that torqued the foot before it did or I could have worn my Inov-8's as they wouldn't have allowed that much torque, of course they might have caused my ankle to roll which might have still caused issues. One good thing is that my ankle is still doing good so the minimalist running seems to have taken care of that issue

Another good thing that occurred today is by dropping I was able to make it to Como Park to watch my daughter compete in the MIAC XC championship meet. She had a great day, getting a 2 minute PR at the 6k distance. She is a freshman at Concordia-Moorhead and appears to be doing great there.

I also was happy to see a few friends at Murph, Mike and Mark who were running the 50, Kel, Rick, Steve and Elly who were all running the 50k, Londell running the horse lot aid station (nice change this year) and my old running buddy Wayne who I got to chat with at Londell's station, maybe we will eventually run together again, I even ran into John K. and we caught up on his summer of running. The only thing I feel bad about was at the finish. I was not a happy camper and I walked around the mat and walked over to the table and just told them I was dropping as I was mad and in pain and they told me that I could still get a 25k wooden medal and I said no thanks, it's not what I came for. Hopefully it didn't come across as too surly.

My thanks to Cindy and Les, Molly and all the other volunteers. They made some minor course changes this year that I think are keepers although this year they just added some extra pain. Great job, I love Surf the Murph and maybe next year it will go better.

What next, based on the the pain I had at Como and just walking around afterward, I will take a day or two off and then just wait and see.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Surf The Murph

I have gotten out of the habit of anticipating a race and doing things like worry about pre-race things, like the weather, pace, shoes, fueling, course, etc...

Surf the Murph
Surf the Murph has had a good run through the years when it comes to the weather so I looked at the long range forecast a couple weeks back and they said 63 and sunny, well so much for long range forecasting as we are now headed towards 43 and sunny. Just off by 20 degrees.

So with the weather looking like a non-factor, I thought about what pace should I run? So considering my training, weight, confidence, I am thinking that my race pace forecast is to finish in less than 10 hours. How did I get to 10 hours, well the last 2 years, I have run the 25k a bit injured and taken around 4 hours, this year I am closer to healthy than I can remember but I have struggled on my long runs with things like achilles pain, calf pain, bathroom issues, lack of fitness, etc.... So why 10, well it's real simple, outside of a bone protruding injury I intend to finish my first ultra in 2 years with no out for me based on self pity, injury, etc...

I will need to keep a good race day attitude and not worry about pace and time, here's why, let's say I want to finish in 7 to 7 1/2 hours (at least if it was a 50k vs 34 miles) and the first loop takes close to 4, mental fatigue then starts to enter the mind as I would be thinking there is no way I can do a negative split, so I lose it and quit at the 25k mark or I just tank and give up and become so self absorbed that I don't take 5 minutes and regroup and proceed to get it done.

Now by setting my goal to 10 hours, I will instead tell myself that you still have 6 hours so get out of your self pity remorse and finish it.  Now I do think I will beat 10 hours but then again, I have had a few things go wrong through the last 2 years. On that note, I should add one caveat, I am not sure that I will push through any pain, if my achilles/calf junction gets destroyed on the hills during the first loop, well that might do me in but I will give it my best.

So if you see me at STM, expect to see a smile and rest assured I am having a great time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Garmin blues

You know you are dependent on technology when it quits working and it really bums you out and irritates you. More on that later in this post.

Over the weekend I ran 9 miles on Saturday with the running club at church, actually 4 with the club and 5 before hand. Then on Sunday I wanted to get in 5 hours and say 20 to 22 miles but I stopped after 18 miles and 4 1/4 hrs. I think the 9 miles on mostly pavement took its toll and I was just inflicting pain on myself and decided that Surf the Murph will be easier if I am under-trained and walking fine versus under-trained and re-injured.

=Oh about the running club at church, well I had thought about forming one for years but those that know me, know that groups and I aren't a good combo and running with a group is even harder for me so I never got one going. Wayne knows that was an issue when we first started running together and unfortunately my work schedule has put an end to that at least for most Thursdays. Well, turns out that my wife started it with another person at church and volunteered me to help out. So every Saturday morning I am now part of a running group. My wife has yet to run with us as she had knee surgery two weeks ago, (for a torn meniscus), and is very anxiously looking forward to running in a few weeks. With regard to the group, I just set-up a blog site for the group, Runners of Hope, feel free to take a look at it or join us if you like. We are running on roads and bikepaths, no trails as of yet and our goal is to get folks ready to run the GobbleGait in Hastings on Thanksgiving. We had close to 20 folks that signed up and have had around 10 or showing up each weekend ranging from experienced runners to beginners.

Back to the technology, after my long run on Sunday I went to sync my Garmin and it wasn't recognized by my computer. I have synced it to the same computer for 2+ years with no issues. So I tried on Monday, no recognition, cleaned the contacts, no recognition, uninstalled and re-installed the software, no recognition, ran today, no recognition. My next idea is to try it on a different computer, if that doesn't work, then I could do the hard reset (nuke it back to factory settings) and lose all of my data.

As to my running, I will post about that in a few days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another update - Minimalist continues

I  saw this add for Altra shoes and really thought it captured why I run.

With regard to my running, over the last few weeks I have tried to wear my more traditional shoes thinking that I would need the extra support and cushion at Murphy and my achilles has really gotten sore, I noticed that it never seemed to bother me when I was wearing my minimalist shoes. I thought it might be my increasing mileage but last weekend I was in pain 4 miles in, this week I wore my minimalist shoes and didn't have any noteworthy pain. This weekend I decided to reassess my thinking on this.

You see deep down, I  wasn't 100% committed to minimalist shoes. Sure I had been wearing them almost exclusively since April but I hadn't mentally said I would never go back to traditional shoes. I started wearing them to strengthen my ankle and that has worked but to commit that I was ready to give up on support and cushioning, well I wasn't sure. The last few weekends though have changed that, I tried to run in my older conventional shoes (9 to 12 mil drop, support and cushioning) and it hasn't worked all of my long runs were basically a disaster.

On Saturday, I ran 3 miles in my New Balance MT10's on an asphalt bike path and then 3 more miles in Lebanon Hills. For the 3 miles on asphalt, I had no issue whatsoever and again confirmed that is easier to run in minimalist shoes on pavement versus trails. Smooth and hard surfaces give instant feedback. On Sunday I decided to get a long run in Lebanon Hills. I wanted to get in 18 to 19 miles and I got in just short of 18 so I was pleased, I ran out of time not energy. For my run on Sunday, I tried to hit every single hiking trail in the center section of the park, I missed two small sections and really enjoyed running on the trails with no purpose but to hit every trail. The weather was cool but very good for running, I had some achilles pain but it was manageable. Before the run, I decided to re-commit to my minimalist shoes so I wore my New Balance MT110's. They aren't a pure minimalist shoe but are in that class of shoe more than anything else, they are a 4 mil drop, lightweight shoe (7.7 oz) and fit similar to the MT10's but they have a thin rock plate in the forefoot which gives a little more margin, here is a review of the shoes that I pretty much agree with from Jason of Barefoot Running.

So with a couple of more weekends between now and Murphy, I will maintain my commitment to my minimalist shoes and see how it goes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Update - Achilles continues

Well, so much for a good plan. To catch everyone up, a couple weeks back I went on a long run, had achilles pain, switched shoes, pain seemed better so I speculated that more supportive shoes might help at least on longer runs.

I went for a long run a week later wearing the shoes I thought might help, well I had achilles pain after 4 miles. I was running in the western section (think more hills) of Lebanon Hills but gee, 4 miles, not good. I continued on for another 5 miles and since I knew I would be out of town, I decided that taking some time off would be in order.

This past weekend I tried again, I wore my Peregrines thinking that they might work. I chose to run the river bottoms thinking that I should focus on getting in time on my feet and by avoiding hills it might lesson the achilles issues. Well the location and shoes might have helped but I will never know as I aborted this run early too but for an entirely different reason. For the first time ever during running, I experienced cramping which led to an emergency stop. Suffice to say I know now why you keep TP in your Nathan. After the emergency stop, I tried to resume running, cramped a bit more and so I headed for the car, I also got to deal with some significant chafing, all in all not a fun run but an educational one.

So what now?

I will try again this weekend and am currently planning on heading back to the river bottoms as I still think avoiding hills is wise. I have 3 more weekends to get in some base mileage before Surf the Murph and I sure hope to take advantage of them, I just need to avoid aggravating things any more  My thinking is if I can just get to the low 20's for my longer runs then I will get through the day as I really want to finish an ultra this year. Last year I didn't finish any ultra distance race and with none thus far this year I don't really feel like much of an ultra runner.

Anyway, I sure hope next weekend works out better.


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