Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Badgerland Striders 6/12/24 Track Race

You might have noticed my 2012 race schedule now includes the Badgerland Striders 6/12/24 track race in Germantown, WI.  Is this a spur of the moment decision?  Not at all.  I talked way too much about FANS24 and worked myself into a frenzy of excitement from the anticipation.  I had contemplated not even admitting to this race until after it was complete, but I do want to share a few thoughts today.

This is the 1st of 3 "Goal" races between now and November 18th.

9/1-2  BLS 24 Hour Track Race
10/14  Glacial 50 Mile Trail Race
11/18  Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon (3500 feet of gain, 3500 feet of loss)

Although all 3 are goal races - Naturally the 1st race will get the most out of my body.  My training has had the variety needed to do well at all 3 races, but not focused on any one race.  The long ultra runs are key to the 24 hour and the 50 mile, but do little for the marathon,  The hill grinding and longer hilly trail runs are great for the 50 mile and the hilly marathon, but not as much benefit to the 24 hour.  The speed work provides only marginal benefit to the 24 hour and 50 mile, but essential to the marathon.

What does this all mean?  I am excited to find out.  It could be that the variety to keep me versatile has also let me keep fresh and stronger.  It could also mean that I am only mediocrely trained for each.  We will find out in the next 48 hours for race #1.

My goals for the race:
1)  Support and encourage my kick-ass runner friend Jen - Both positive and if need be any means of psychological warfare necessary.
2)  Run an intelligent and patient race = Be in position the 2nd half of the race (Specially last 8 hours) to be racing.
3)  Stay moving all 24 hours
4)  Mileage ?  It will be what it will be - This race, I am running by feel and not by goal or the watch

There are a couple question marks going into the race:  How will I do with high 70s weather (The 2 races I have done well at - have been 50s)?  how will running 24 hours on the monotonous surface of the track and running corners treat my feet, knees and hips?  How will running with (going around) 45 people on the track effect the race?  There are 9 in the 12 hour race, 16 in the 6 hour race and 20 in the 24 hour race that will be sharing the track in the 1st 6 hours.

I have learned something about myself in every 24 hour race I have run - I wonder what I will learn this race?  The 24 takes you through many intense levels of emotion and psychological places - Some light, some dark, but all more powerful than I have ever experienced any other time in life other than an all out 24 hour race.

I am fit and ready - Let the adventure begin.

Good running to all!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Racing an ultra is hard on the body. 

I had an interesting conversation with a friend at work about recovery.  No, he is not a runner - He is a body builder.  He has been training and studying how to build muscle for 25+ years.  Of course building muscle is all about recovery.

The conversation was specifically around how to recover from muscle pummeling events like 24-48 hour race or 100 mile events, but could really apply to any race where we beat ourselves up badly.

It came down to a couple pretty simple concepts:  You need a heightened amount of protein and fat to repair muscle.  Muscle has a very large percentage of water to it, so hydration needs to be above average to help with the repair and to restore the muscle health. Carbohydrates place in this process is more as a facilitator and is only needed in moderate amounts. 

In the recovery days after a hard race we really do not need an abundance of carbohydrates, normal eating along with low activity level will rebuild glycogen stores quickly.

So here is my plan for the next major race recovery:  Take 800-1,000 calories (200-250 grams) of whey protein daily to supplement my normal "Low Activity Level" eating, take 2-3 table spoons of natural peanut butter for the fat source and hydrate above average.  My total calorie goal would be approximately 3,000 per day = break even after adding 2 easy walks per day to get the blood flowing to damaged areas.

When I get some time, I will start looking for research on this subject as this plan is from a water cooler conversation. 

Good running to all -

PS - I already frequently use whey protein to supplement my protein needs after really hard workouts or when I know I ate very little protein at the end of the day and I am too lazy to get it from another source.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cut-Back Week Ended 8/26/2012

Cut-back in terms of mileage and total length of harder workouts - But not from intensity of workouts.  I really focused on weight loss this week, just eating enough to do the work I needed to get done.  The last 4 weeks have been: 141, 183, 136 and 103. - This week had a lower level of nutrition, good intensity of workouts ~ I feel like I worked just as hard this week as the last 3.

M - 10 Easy (Last day of vacation in Minocqua)
T - 6 Easy / 14 With Tempo (2x3 Miles @ 6:00 pace)
W- 8 Easy / 6 Easy
TH - 6 Easy / 12 Hill Grinders (Fast and Strong)
F- 8 Easy / 6 Easy
SA - 12 Vo2 / 5 Easy (2 fast miles - 1 all out 5:33 no top end speed)
SU - 6 Recovery / 4 Easy + striders (6 was a nice slow jog in the rain)

Total 103

I have been in control of my eating (Except Monday), I drank a bit on Vacation - but moderately.  I feel I am in a great position.  About the lightest I have been as a runner (195), about the fastest I have been as a runner (Within 5 seconds per mile for 5k-marathon), the strongest I have been as a hill climber / bomber and near the best aerobic conditioning for ultras (50Mile - 24 hour race). 

I am far from satisfied as I see I can be much better in each of those categories.

Plus ~ Just because I say it and feel it, does not make it true until I prove it.  So that is my goal for the rest of the year ~ To turn the fitness into some race results!

Good running to all -

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Feeling good - Week ended 8/19/12

After riding the over-training red line, things went really good last week.  Monday was the long trail run that I went too fast and felt crispy.  Tuesday I only ran 1 easy run and seemed to bounce back decently.  Sat-Mon was one last family vacation in Minocqua, WI - One of our favorite places to vacation.

M  8/26 (Ice Age Trail in Northern Kettle Moraine)
T  9
W 7/17 (with 4x1 mile - 5:40-5:50 pace)
TH 8/6
F 16/8 (8 in PM finished with 4@T - 23:28 ~ 5:52 pace)
SA 8 (Then up to Minocqua for a day of boating and fun)
SU 15/8 (Bearskin Trail - 15 finished with 5x5 minutes @ 30 minute race pace)

Total = 136 - 3 good speed workouts + 1 long trail run

The week ended up more mileage than I wanted for a cut back week and with 4 good workouts ~ Although a lot less than the previous week of 183 miles, this was not a cut back week!  I will have to put some serious discipline into actually cutting back this week.  The plan is to keep mileage between 95-105 miles with 1 harder LAT workout, 1 easier Vo2 max workout and a moderate hill grinding workout.

I am really happy with my progress on speed and overall fitness this summer.  I have been making constant improvement - But I am starting to get greedy and push the workouts from moderate to hard.  I need to put the discipline back into keeping the effort level moderate.  There is a lot I want to accomplish this fall and next spring and I cannot be successful if I get injured!

Good running to all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Over Training - The Thin Red Line

I have tried to stay well below the red line in 2012 and have been pretty good about keeping individual workouts and the total work for the week moderate.  This is much easier when you are only focused on base building mileage. 

Recently I have been trying to do more speed work.  This just adds another factor of stress.  Long runs (greater than 30 miles)  Hill runs (Long slower grinding repeats) and speed make for 3 workouts a week most weeks. 

3 workouts is a lot more stress than 2 a week.  If you over-do 1 or 2 workouts in a week it can have a negative impact.  With 3 workouts I cannot afford any to be over-done or it will lead quickly to over-training.

The last 14 weeks post vacation starting with Tuesday 7/31 I have run 358 miles ... I have run more - Actually a lot more in a 14 day period (475)~ But the pace was quicker, the hydration and nutrition not as good and the last 4 days included 3 runs runs > 4 hours 2 of which were way over-done on effort.

What does this all mean? 

A smart man would take a few recovery days to get a body re-set and avoid a serious case of over-training ... I hope I am a smart man!

When I become more fit and the workouts are going great, its easy to get gready.   When I want something really bad it is easy to push harder than I should.  When these 2 factors come together at the same time discipline can be hard to hold onto.

Good running to all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Training week ended 8/12/2012

Our friends from Chippewa Falls backed out last minute from hosting us for a weekend - Completely understandable as a Uncle from South Carolina unexpectedly appeared.  This completely changes my thoughts on my training week.

As I have said before I am generally trying to get in 3 kinds of workouts each week:  1)  Speed, 2) Hill grinding and 3) Long (at least 30 miles).  There are times I can double up on a workout and do Long / Speed or Long / Hill Grinding.

This was my best training week or the year - But I also have to be careful as I have no intention of trying to ride the hard training / injury line.  I am still trying to keep all my workouts at "Moderate".  The problem can be is each workout is at the hard end of moderate, but the weeks worth of work can still be over the edge.

I have 3 goal race this fall and I need to be healthy to pull off the "Hat Trick". 

Monday - 9/6 - Easy Day
Tuesday - 6/7/13 - The 13 was suppose to be a 20+ mile track run, but Sat race and Sundays 23 were still heavy in my legs
Wednesday - 6/18.5 - Speed - The 18.5 had 4x1 mile @ 5:49 on TM - By far the best I have felt running fastish
Thursday - 10.5/6/4 - Easy day - I shut down the PM run as it was not feeling easy
Friday - 9/33 - Hill Grinding / Long day - Best run of the year on HC Tower loops - I felt like I could have run them all night, but the park closes at 11pm
Saturday - 11/6 Easy day
Sunday - 31 - Long track day / 8 easy - I want to do a track 24 someday.

183 miles in 24 hours and 34 minutes - This was definitely a 100% week - I would consider anything > 160 miles a 100% week - Add in the speed and hills and it might have been a bit much.  I feel really good, but a 40 something runner has to train smarter.  My right foot is sore from Friday's 4:45 of Hill pounding (My glutes too)

Good running to all -

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seymour Bun Run 5k Results

My 1st time doing this event - It was a nice low key race with a fastish course.  It was fun to have my family all doing the race and my Dad was visiting and he came along to spectate.

We got up around 5:45 am as Seymour is a 50 minute drive.  I made everyone pancakes with blueberries - We kept the volume light.  I will not eat this close to a race (8:00am) but I figured the pace and effort level everyone else would be racing at the breakfast would be OK.

My wife and DD#2 (Kate-7) do not train but have fun participating.  DD#1 (Erin #11) has been running 2 miles 3-4 times a week and was looking forward to the race.

I managed a decent warm up of 3ish miles - Finishing @ 4 minutes before the start.  It was in the mid 70s, but humid, so I had sweated through my clothes in the warm up.  I have not run a 5k in maybe 5 years and only a handful in my life.  I have never run a really good one for my fitness level.

The 1st mile hurt (5:57) - I was trying to run hard but find a comfortable stride.  I never found a relaxed stride all race - This could be trying to use racing flats?  I was breathing hard from the start and my legs were burning early in mile #1.  I am not sure if this is because of my limited speed work or that I ran 100+ miles in the 4 days prior to the race (40 mile long run on Tuesday night).

By 9 minutes into the race I was feeling pretty maxed out.  I was fortunate to have people just ahead of me to focus on and fight to stay with.  Mile #2 (5:58) is the only slight uphill section and by the end of mile #2, I wanted to back off.  I find it mentally easier to fight into the max pain plateau in the last mile of a marathon ~ maybe because of the large investment of 25 previous miles versus 2.

Mile #3 includes a very long straight segment of road with a nice downhill.  My legs were still burning, but I hardly noticed them as oxygen was the real issue.  All I could do was focus on keeping my shoulders back and breathe deeply.  Somewhere in this section I went to 1-1 breathing.  After the downhill there is about 1/2 mile of straight away left to the finish - It feelt like the last corner would never come.  From 14 minutes into the race  to the finish line I had a constant fight between my mind forcing max effort and my body demanding to back off.

Last 1.1 was 6:32 for 18:27.  I think my legs could have done 5-10 seconds a mile faster, but my Vo2 max was the limiting factor (Ability to process oxygen).  I am very happy with the effort and result for my current fitness level and as part of a 140+ mile week.

I went back to run Erin into the finish and was surprised to find her with Jill and Kate.  The 2 girls only goals at this point in the race were beat each other.  I learned that Erin cannot eat that close to a race either as she had been fighting a really bad side ache most the way.  It did give me an opportunity to work with Erin on proper breathing and posture to get the most oxygen into your lungs.

Kate was mentally done after Erin and I pulled away. The last  100 yards before the finish she was walking slowly ... Funny I told Jill to beat her to the finish line and Kate immediately put on a 100 meter sprint to beat her Mom.

A nice family event and day - It makes me happy that they are willing to come and join in on Dad's hobby.

Good running to all!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Seymour Bun Run - Pre Race Thoughts

I have always wanted to do this race - Mainly because I think the name is funny.  The name does make some sense since it is part of Hamburger Festival.   Seymour claims to be the home of the hamburger.

This will be another nice family event with my wife and 2 girls joining in for the 5k.  My oldest daughter has been doing 3-4 times a week training (Very easy running), so I am excited to see how she does.  My Wife and youngest are just participating ~ But it will be fun for them.

I have not done a 5k in a really long time.  I think the last one I can was winter of 2007 on icy roads.  After 2 years of running only marathons or further this will be my 3rd attempt at a shorter race.

I was feeling pretty good before vacation, thinking mid 18s was a good goal.  But, after the training train wreck I will be happy to be around 19.  I am pushing the mileage pretty hard this week with the 40 miler Tuesday night and a big day / night on Thursday, so my time could be a lot worse.

This will kick off my plan of doing consistent speed work in the month of August.

Good running to all!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Family Vacation - Nice break

We spent 3 days in the WI Dells and 3 days in Southwest Michigan.  I spent the most part of 6 days in a swimsuit.  I managed one good run in the WI Dells and one good run in Michigan.  Last week total was 64 miles in 4 days of running (Vacation started Wednesday morning).  In total I hit 520 miles in the month on 27 days of running.

The downside of vacation is a statement of who I am ... There is no moderation in things I do.  This helps me run a lot, but it is also easy for me to eat and drink too much when I do not run.  I really enjoyed vacation, the time with my wife and kids.  I can also say I enjoyed letting lose and drinking and eating!

Now I am left with great memories and 5 extra pounds.

If you ever get a chance to go to Southwest Michigan:  Warren Dunes, Grand Mere State Park, Silver Beach and downtown Saint Joseph take it!

Now it is time to get back to serious training - August - October will be about running, good eating and avoiding alcohol.

Good running to all!