Wednesday, October 9, 2013

7 Miles

I ran 7 miles last night without a walk break for the 1st time since the end of June.

It is sad how far out of shape I have fallen. But I find myself pondering a new thought ~ I wish I could hit the reset button and start over.

I often find myself burdened with memories of past fitness or accomplishments. I often let the past intefere with enjoying the experience of the present. I find these ghosts of the past constantly influencing my training goals and race expectations.

If I were starting today: 30 miles per week (MPW) would be solid, 100 MPW would be crazy talk. I could run races without expectations, because I would have no idea what I was capable of. Running would just be another thing I do for fitness. Running a marathon would seem out of reach. Running a 50 mile trail race not possible.

I could revel in the accomplishment of running 7 miles without a walk break.

I wish I had a reset button - putting me back to my orignal facotry settings.

I could feel the joy of each little accomplishment. The 1st time I ran 4,8, 10, 13, 15 or 20 miles would all special. The 1st time I won an age group award. Setting PRs in almost every race, many because I have never ran the distance before. Crying for no reason as I finished my 1st marathon.

I ran 7 miles last night without a walk break ~ Yeah, me!

Good running to all~

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

5 days before Glacial 50M

I will be the least trained for any race I have done ... But I will also be the least over-trained for any race I have done.

I have had this habbit of over-training, then not tapering enough. I suck at taper and never taper enough to maximize my current fiteness.

At least for the Glacial 50M, I feel good ~ Not fit, but not beat up.

My training has been:

End of June to Mid September ~ Run / Walking on TM 4-5 times a week ... no core, weights or stretching
Week #4 ~ A couple of trail runs with my beautiful sister in CA ... total 38 miles for the week
Week #3 ~ Trained pretty hard: 1 30 mile rail trail run, one 100 minute technical trail run and one 20 mile trail on on actual race course ... Total 96 miles
Week #2 ~ 1 100 minute technical trail run, One TM hill workout ... Total 45 miles
This week ~ 1 80 minute technical trail run, 1 light TM hill workout ... total 30-35 miles pre-race

My back and hip and holding together, I can hear them wispering in the back ground, but they have not screamed since last Wednesday playing tennis.

I a weird way, I am looking forward to not caring about "racing efficiently". Taking my time at aide stations, diggin in my drop bag, chatting with other runners. A race with no self imposed pressures of finishing times or place.

The downside = By the time I finish, there will be little time left to sit and chat post race with other runners.

I am hoping to hit the turnaround at New Fane(mile 25) in 5 hours and finish between 9:45 and 10:30.

Good running to all!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Signed up for Glacial 50 Mile

I had promised myself I would not race again in 2013. I guess I am a liar ... A no good dirty dog!

I wanted the priveledge of signing up for the Western States 100 Mile lottery and I do not have a 50 mile qualifying race.

Glacial 50 mile: This is my favorite race, it has a low key vibe. Great organization, volunteers and race course. I have not trained since June, I have an angry back and hip, but what the hell? I pulled the trigger and signed up a little over a week ago.

11 days of training and 10 days of taper will not leave me with much room for error. But I believe if I pace very conservative, I can get the 50 miles done in under 11 hours, the required time to use it as a qualifying race.

If I were to race aggressively, I might be able to get under 9:30, but that is not the goal of the day so I expect to be around 10 hours ... as long as I am under 11, I am happy.

Good running to all!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I still haven't found what I am looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come Then all the colors will bleed into one Bleed into one But, yes, I'm still running .... You broke the bonds And you loosed the chains Carried the cross of my shame Oh, my shame, you know I believe it ...U2 ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Nothing much has changed and yet many things have changed. I am wrestling with the future and trying to break free from the past. My hip and back (March 3rd ski crash) are about the same, but I have only recently started to try and strengthen the injured areas. Weight is still very high (235) and my fitness very low = a lot of run / walking. A few weeks back my good freind Richard and I hit a low point at about the same time and we have re-issued a fitness / weight loss challenge bet from years past. Funny we both weighed in at 241# that morning and reached out of the blue reached out to each other. Between now and January 31st - I have my rules of engagement that should drive some consistency in my daily routine. What am I looking for? A return to the origins of running for me? I started running to increase general fitness that would support all the other activities I love. But it is hard to break the bonds of trying to focus on running and racing. I guess we will see how the next 4-6 months play out. Can I learn to run for fun? Good running to all!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Racing year over ... Maybe

I have made peace with the fact that even if I get my issues fixed up, my racing season is over. I was reluctant to let go of my goal to run a sub 3 marathon every year. I really thought I would be able to do this for many years to come. The streak will end at 9 years in a row. The "Maybe" is for a miracle - Miracles do happen, but I am not expecting one. I have looked at for what would be possible. The latest one in WI is November 10th ~ Mad City. The latest one that would work logistically is December 15th ~ Dallas White Rocks. Four things would have to happen: 1) Specialist sees no long term issues in my vertebrea if I keep running, 2) I have to be injury free and 3) I have to lose 30 pounds and 4) I have to have enough time to actually train injury free for at least 12 weeks ... so basically be fixed up by September 15th. Like I said, it would take a miracle. Good running to all!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Looking into the future

I am still fighting hip and back pain resulting from a March 3 downhill ski crash.  It came to a head June 26th when I was already tired, but ran a couple hours on the Ice Age trail from Greenbush.  I had to drive right by for a 2 day off site meeting and could not resist.

Since then I have made some bad choices to not cross train and eat and drink without much control.  This has put 15-20 pounds on my already not too svelte frame.

I did see the general MD before vacation and I am now looking to get an appointment with a specialist.  The MD did an ex-ray that showed some mild compression between a few vertebrae.

I see it likely as two unrelated issues.  My back has a softball sized area that has remained tender / sore to the touch since the ski crash, it is half way between my spine my side.  The mild compression of vertebrae would seem normal to me after 47,000 miles of running the last 10 years.

My DW and I have been thinking about retirement (15 years away) and trying to plan what we want to do during retirement.  Looking into the future, I want to be active into my 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.  I am seeing this issue as my "50,000 mile check up"

With the goal of being active in a relatively pain free manner, is it wise to continue to run?  I hope the answer is yes and I am able to work through the current issue and the compression of vertebrae is a non-issue.

I am also more than willing to accept alternative ways to get my aerobic fix.

Until I get an answer,  I have started to jog again on treadmill and trail trail to minimize the impact.  I have made a plan to lose those 20 pounds by mid-September.

I am guessing it will be a couple of weeks before I know anything and may be a couple of months before I have the real answer.

Good running to all!

Monday, July 1, 2013

10 years of running - 47,120 miles later

Ten years ago I was 300+ pounds.  I was an active fat guy , but I was tired of being fat.  I was a family man, with a wonderful wife and a two year old daughter.  I was tired of struggling with weight, tired of the yo-yo weight loss ... weight gain.

Ten years later, I still struggle with weight, but now the range is not 200-300+ pounds, but 195-235.  Running always brings me ... sooner or later.

It has been a wonderful road of self discovery, new friends, new experiences and exploring many places.  There have been sacrifices I wish I had not made ~ I have lost contact with many friends, I have given up or limited many activities that I enjoy.  It is hard to find the energy for other things that I love to do.

Ten years and 47,120 miles later I am at a turning point in my life.  After running > 6,000 miles in 2012, I decided to run a lot less in 2013.  To run another 10 years, I will need to find more balance.  My wife never complains and encourages everything I do, but she deserves more time.  My daughters are now 12 and 8 and there activities are ever increasing.   I need to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.  I need to have the joys of other sports.

I also need to figure out how to train while running 2/3 the mileage I have become accustom to run.  I need to figure out how to eat for 80 mile weeks instead of 120 mile weeks.  How do you effectively use a scalpel when all you know how to use is a sledgehammer?

It is time to re-balance the spiritual, mental, physical and social in this big experiment called life.

Good running to all!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 Maritime Marathon Race Report

Wow - My body rebelled for this marathon!

Ok, maybe I helped a little by going out with friends Friday night, eating food that was not good fuel and drinking beer. 

Saturday the whole family headed over to Manitowoc to hang out with my Wife's Aunt and Uncle whom we had not seem for a long time.  Great family time, but we got going late to their house and stayed a bit too long.  Luckily we arrived at packet pick up 15 minutes before closing (4:00pm).

I went for a little 3 mile run after packet pickup and did a few striders.  I felt sluggish and uncoordinated.

I slept decently and the morning went smoothly.  Right before the race I chatted with Mike and Nic ~ 2 people I knew that were also going for a sub 3.

The gun went off and from the start it was hard.  I was working my butt off, I felt sludgy and stiff.  Mile #1-3 I was fighting to stay with a couple of people hoping my legs would loosen up.  All I could muster in miles 1-3 were 6:55-7:00 miles.  I knew I was in trouble and backed off. 

Even running 7:15's felt uncoordinated and hard.  At mile #5 I was passed by 3 people and I decided to tuck in behind and just try to relax.  The pace was 7:05-7:10 and I was barely hanging on.  I started to leave sweat foot prints before mile #6.

This was also the time I realized I had seen a guy with a sign "I don't know you, but your are a star #98 (My number) 3 times already.  I say him maybe 9-10 more times in the race, it turns out he was there for his wife, but had randomly picked a number to also cheer for.  I was close enough to her pace that I saw him a lot.  Weird, but nice and fun.

Mile #10 I let them go and went into survival or "Faking it" mode.  I relaxed and ran comfortable hard, I stopped looking at my watch and just smiled.  If I am going to be slower, I might as well enjoy the day.  I started to walk for 10 steps at aide stations to get both a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade.

I went through 1/2 Marathon at 1:34:35.

Sometimes smiling and deciding you are going to have fun works.  I was feeling much better and smooth at mile #17, so I started tracking mile splits again. It was a 7:17, I decided it was time to re-focus and finish as best I could.

I could get my pace down to @ 7:05 before I would get light headed, my legs felt like they could go faster.  I was fairly dehydrated at this point, so I just took what my body gave.

At mile #22 I saw 3-4 people ahead and just focused on them, although I did not pass the 4th person until near mile #24. 

The last 2 miles have some short but steep uphills, a pretty mean place for hills!  After mile #25, I saw 2 guys ahead.  1 was 2 bocks ahead and the other 2 1/2 blocks ahead.  I caught up to the 1st one with 1/3 mile to go.  He put the hammer down, so I just ran with him as we approached the 2nd guy.  I passed the them both just before a 180 degree turn 1 block from the finish line.  He immediately passed me back and I did not have the heart (Desire) to go after him again.  He ended up 3rd in our age group and I was 4th.

2nd half was 1:35:39 for a 3:10:14 12th OA.

Both Mike (2:56 3rd OA) and Nic (3:08 9th OA) finished ahead of me.

My wife's cousin Jody and husband were at mile # 23 and the finish line with my wife and kids - I was nice to spend a little time catching up.

After the race we went to Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers.  The wind was now straight from the East, making it fun to play in the waves.  We added a little volleyball and beer and had a great time.  The water was in the low 50s, making for a nice post race ice bath.

This was an amazing family weekend that just happened to have a race that I struggled running.

Good running to all -

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maritime Marathon - Full taper - No madness

Usually I cannot stand the 2 weeks of taper to a marathon.  I get really irritable going from running a lot to very little running. 

My training level for this marathon was 2/3 the normal amount = 85-95 MPW.  This leaves me with a lot of time for other life activities.

I have not noticed any PMI (Pre-Marathon Irritability) yet and there are only 4 days to go.  I usually end up mowing the lawn 2-3 times, getting a haircut, getting the oil changed, edging the lawn and applying weed and feed marathon week.

The weather forecast is pretty average for late June, but we have had a really cool spring, so I was hopeful for a bit cooler temps.  Saturday night's low is forecasted for 62F and Sunday's high in the upper 70s with 75-80% humidity.  Winds out of the south 13 MPH.  The course heads North the 1st half and back south the 2nd half.

If I have a chance at sub 3 it will look like 1:27 / 1:32 with how the wind is forecasted.

I would put the odds 2/1 against.

But you never know.  I have had a couple of races where I was sure I would be 2:55 and my legs only wanted to do 7:15-7:25 pace.  I have had another couple race I felt I was in 3:05-3:10 shape and ran a 2:55-2:59.

I am hoping the 1st couple miles are 6:40-6:50 and feel easy ... But I will enjoy the exerience of another marathon.

Good running to all!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maritime Marathon Taper

It is now 10 days before the Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc, WI.  Since it takes about 10 days to get value from training stimulus ... all the training is in the bank and it's time to taper.

What?  I really just started to train consistenly 6 weeks ago. I am just starting to make a little (very little) progress toward losing weight and getting a bit faster.  May 4th I ran a 6:40 pace 10k and June 8th a 6:24 pace 5 miler.

I am finally getting comfortable with training within the limits of less miles.  I have managed to match my eating to the lower mileage and I am starting to believe I can train and improve this way.

I signed up for this marathon to try and extend my streak of years with a sub 3 hour marathon to 10 years.  Things are clicking a little too late to be confident.  June 23rd is too late to expect great running weather, so I am a long shot at best.

10 days of doing everything right and I have a chance.

The other thing I like to keep in mind is hitting marathon times.  From 2:45 - 3:00, I still need 2:46, 2:51-2:54.  From 3:00-3:09, I still need 3:01, 3:02, 3:04 and 3:08.  I am not even going to entertain that I need 7 times in 3:10-3:20 range - I will be faster than that!

The time I have run the most often is 2:56 and I have run 2:55-3:00 9 times, so I am just hoping my body knows what to do.

I believe with decent weather I am in 2:56-3:04 shape.  More specifically 2:59-3:01 ...

Good running to all -

PS ~ Beer is evil until 10:00am on 6/23!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013 Walleye run 5 mile report

I last did this race in 1997.  It is a fun, smaller family focused event.  It has a 5 mile, 2 mile, kids 1 mile and kids 1/3 mile race.  Walleye weekend is a big event for Fon du lac with tons of activities going on.

This was a family race ~ DD#1 (12) did the 5 mile race, DW and DD#2 (8) did the 2 mile race.

The weather was great for June in WI ~ 58F, cloudy with a light breeze.  The only thing keeping it from perfect weather was high humidity, as sprinkles filled most the morning.

The last 5 weeks, I have had a little more consistency in my running and my weight is at 220 pounds, down 5 pounds from the 10k I did at the beginning of May. 

I decided to run comfortably hard the 1st mile. I usually over-run mile #1 and then suffer as I fight hard to maintain pace the rest of the race in races 5k - 10k.  My goal was to be under 32 and hoping to be near 31 minutes.

Mile #1 6:30 ~ There goes a 31:00.  I decide to relax, but try and pick it up a little.

Mile #2 6:30 ~ I guess I only have 6:30 speed, so I might as well find an efficient stride and focus on maintaining pace.  My limiting factor is getting oxygen.

Mile #3 6:33 ~ It dawns on me ... I am not suffering.  I decide I should suffer some race pain the next 2 miles.

Mile #4 6:17 ~ Some suffering as I struggle getting enough oxygen, but I decide I can suffer more.

Mile #5 6:09 ~ I might have been able to get 4-5 more seconds out of my body the last mile if I pushed to pass out territory, but not today.

Final time 31:59 ~ 2nd AG.

DD#1 was 2nd in her age group.

DW and DD#2 were @ 25 minutes ~ reasonable for non-runners.

We celebrated with Beer, soda and deep fried cheese curds.

Nice family day!

I does leave me at the bare minimum speed to hit 2:59:59 in the marathon in 2 weeks ~ Darn ... I am enjoying running a lot less, but I miss being in better shape.

Good running to all!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

24 Hour race fueling - The alternative view

   At FANS 24 I crewed Don, his brother Tom also ran.  They both hit 100 miles.  Tom is built like a linebacker, his idea of fueling is 3 square meals.  He eats 3 square meals every day, why should race day be different?

  I have thought about this for a few days.  Many runners have a big issue with their stomachs.  We pound highly engineered calories, along with some easier to digest normal food. 

  I am able to eat a pretty darn big meal and go home and do a long "Feeling Guilty" run.  It takes 3-4 hours for this big meal to empty out of my stomach.  If I run too fast, I will fight the food trying to come back up.  So a big meal pretty much forces me to take it easy.

  I am seriously considering experimenting with Tom's 3 square meal (Plus a late night snack) plan.  Eat a decent breakfast of eggs, bacon and waffles about 1 hour before the race.  Eating chicken or hamburger along with pasta around 6 hour into the race.  Having chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy 12 hours into the race and a 2am snack of 2-3 servings of Roman Noodles.  In between this bigger feedings, I anticipate drinking water for 3 hours and then taking some engineered stuff until the next big feeding.

It may be the worst idea / biggest blow up ever, but I think it is worth the experiment.

Now I just have to find the desire to run another one of these puppies.

Good running to all!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 FANS 24 Crewing Report

June 1-2 was my 6th year involved with FANS 24 in some shape or form.  I have participated three times, volunteered twice and this year I crewed a friend for the 1st time.

It is the 2nd time I have crewed for someone and I think crewing is hard.  When I run, I am a very demanding runner and my wife is one of the best crew people on the planet.  When I crew, I compare myself to the high standard she sets and I just cannot come close to her attention to detail and being on the ball all 24 hours.

My friend Don is a pretty good runner and has potential to hit a high number in the 24 hour.  He came in with a nagging hip problem, but still anticipating a solid day.  Secondarily, I was helping another friend Chris when his parents were not around.  I was not much help, but it was nice seeing Chris in action ~ his attitude is always excellent. 

This year the event is being held at Fort Snelling.  Lots of room and parking, but the parking location made for a long carry of supplies to tent city.  As always the FANS 24 hour organization and volunteers were as good as it gets.

The day started out warm and humid.  The start was offset .135 miles, making the 1st lap 2.307 miles and the laps following were 2.17 miles.  This allowed the 100 mile mark to be exactly at the start / finish line.

The course was 2/3 eight foot wide paved bike trail and 1/3 a little wide dirt / gravel trail.  There were many places with opportunity to run in the grass alongside the trail.  In my opinion this course was a little harder than the previous Lake Nokomis location, but still a good course.

The 1st mistake I made was not getting an exact time on all of Don's early laps.  He was running @ 9 minute miles ~ Which is well within his skill set, but with the warm and humid temps it was a pace that was too fast.  I did end up recognizing the pace versus the weather and eventually asked him to slow down to make sure he could Rock and Roll at night.

At the 4 hour mark we ran into a problem to solve.  Don had lost 4% of his body weight.  The race weighs you every 4 hours if you lose more than 5% they can pull you until you are back in range.  Think of this as expiration date on beer.  The beer may be fine, but they pull it from the shelf just to be safe. 

A slower pace, S-Caps and drinking more than we would have liked solved this issue and he was up 1/2 pound at 8 hours.  Between the faster starting pace and the solution to our weight problem, lead to issue #2 = Sour stomach.  I also think that Gatorade and its simple sugars were a major contributing factor.

We fought sour stomach most the rest of the race.

Between 4 and 8 hours we had a pretty good storm roll through with heavy rain for an hour or so.  It did cool things slightly, but it took a few more hours for the front to move completely through to give us relief from humidity and some really cool air moved in.

Somewhere between 8-12 hours we had issue #3.  His hip was getting really tight.  His calves were also crampy, but I think that is pretty normal in a race of this distance.

I have run enough 24 hours races (8) and suffered through 5 bad races that I understand the mental and physical battles.  If we have only 1 issue to deal with, we are pretty blessed and almost anyone can handle it.  But as the issues start to pile on one another, it takes more and more mental fortitude to not let them effect your race results.

Starting the race too fast is one issue that is difficult to overcome.  The problem with pace is our bodies have something different to give every day.  It can feel really easy, but even 15 seconds per mile too fast for a few hours and you have a mountain to overcome.  Mountains can be conquered.

Injuries - Series or Nagy injuries going into a 24 hour race often will doom your chances.  Sure you can gut out a marathon or 6 hour race with a bad hamstring, hip or knee issue.  The 24 hour race is not so kind, to have a chance to achieve 90% of your potential you need to be injury free.

After 12 hours, Don continued to fight, hoping things would turn around.  He continued to lower his goal, but set the new goal high enough to force himself to focus on his race.

In the end, he had to settle for the goal of "100 mile sweatshirt" they give to 24 hour people reaching 100 miles.  He hit this goal with around 80 minutes left in the race, then pulled the plug to not cause further damage.

24 hour races are hard.  There are 10 things that can go majorly wrong and blow up your race.  If you hit 90% of your potential you have hit a home run.  Like 100 mile race, often the person who problem solves the best wins the race.   Something will always go wrong, but the goal is to resolve the issue quickly as possible.

I believe Don and myself  are a little wiser through Don's suffering (Thanks Don).  I think we are a little better equipped to be better at our next 24 hour race from the experience.

In the end being at the FANS 24 hour race was a really cool experience, but did not create any fire in my belly to return to racing the 24 hour.  Next year is the 25th anniversary of FANS 24 ... and I do need 101 miles to get my 500 mile vest ... so maybe.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29th Still Alive

   I am remain on break from any serious running or training.  This break may last the rest of the year. 

   I do hobby jog 5-7 days a week, once per day.  If I feel like running long, I do.  If I feel like a speed workout, I do that too.  I often start the week with a pretty strong plan, only to skip or significantly shorted 3-4 runs a week as I am enjoying letting life get in the way.

Since my last post I have raced (Fun run)
3/23 - Clinton Lakes 30 miler 5:06:48 13/65
4/15 - Boston Marathon 3:12:39
5/4 - Run for Home 10k 41:27

All 3 runs were at least 1 minute per mile slower than I should be at if I were in serious training, but I did enjoy racing.

I am looking forward to crewing my friend Don Sullivan this weekend at FANS 24.

I have a few more fun runs planned this summer ~ But now it is boating season, and I doubt the training will get very serious.

Good running to all!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Break from Running / Blogging

The reason I started this blog was to show my Clydesdale brothers and Athena sisters that we do not have to have a runner's body to succeed in this sport.  My dream was that I might inspire a couple of people to start the journey and enjoy running.

I have only run twice since my last post (Ash Wednesday). 

I have decided to take a break from being public about my life.  I have not been on the running communities I frequent.

I have no idea what path I will follow next.

I am a physical person and will do physical things.  I will run ... I might train.  After a 3 week break, I am wiping the 2013 plan clean.  I may write a new one, I may not.

I do need to start doing something as I have already gained 7-8 pounds ... only 2 months until swimsuit weather :)

I am not sure if I will blog again ... Probably, just much less frequently.

I appreciate all of your support.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Risk and reward of court sport cross training

Running is not the best sport for functional life.  It trains the muscles in one repetitive motion.  It coverts or at least enlists white muscle fibers to help with sustained running activity.  Runners typically look slow (Almost goofy) doing sports like tennis, racquetball, volleyball or basketball.

Until 10 years ago I was a court sport person.  I laughed at my runner friends in the racquetball court .. really could you 1st step be that slow.  Since then I have run @ 46,000 miles.  I have become what I mocked.  I have lost 8-10 inches of vertical jump, my 1st step is slow as molasses and it is hard for me to change directions quickly.

Other than impressing your friend with your aptitude at court sports, what other benefits do they hold for you?  Consistently playing court sports will lead to stronger support muscles around your ankles, knees and hips.  This is something you also get technical trail running.  Using your muscles in a different way will create a different stimulus than running, breaking up some of the running training monotony.  These sports tend to be very social sports, allowing people with different fitness levels to play together.

What are the dangers of court sports?  Since I have given them up for 5+ years, I have had significant atrophy of some of the support muscles in my hips, knees and ankles.  This leads to a higher level of risk of injury as I pick them back up.  I do not know how to play moderately.  If I have done a hard run in the same day before playing, it is very risky.  I have to treat playing basketball or volleyball as a hard workout day and run easy that day and know I will be a little sore the day afterward.

I know a lot of runners that get hurt playing court sports.

Is the risk worth it? 

For me the risk is not worth the physical reward.  I have started to play basketball, volleyball and racquetball again, not for the physical benefits, but because I love to play.

I am still uncoordinated, have no vertical and am slow as molasses ~ But with a smile on my face!

Good running to all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Point Bock 5 Miler

This event closed out in less than 12 hours ~ A growing trend for all races.

It is the event that kicks off the Wisconsin racing season each year - A flatish, fast 5 miler with 1500-2000 people.  A fun time of racing and beer, held at the Point Brewery to celebrate Point Bock Beer season!

Luckily for me a friend found an entry and they allow transfers.

I am happy to now have this race on my schedule.

They have a Big Bock (200-219) division and a DoppleBock (220+) division.  I am currently DoppleBock, but I will be a Big Bock by race day.

Good running to all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Anticipating Improvement

We train to improve.  To run faster or longer.  We know when we start a new training cycle we will improve in the macro-cycle.  We also create an expectation of improvement week to week.  Early in the training cycle we see quick improvement.  This leads to thoughts like ~ "Last week I ran 5x1 mile at 6:22 pace, this week it will be 6:18 pace."  We might even start scheduling out the improvement over the weeks to end in the fitness we want to be at for our goal race.

Reality improvement happens or does not happen on its own schedule. happens.  One week we might see no improvement, the next a much bigger improvement than we expect.

For me last week was the 1st week I took care of all the non-running training and I was anticipating a nice improvement in fitness.  I ate right, slept well and avoided alcohol.  I felt really good going into my Saturday morning 10 miles at marathon pace run.  I looked forward to a run faster and easier than the previous weeks workout.  But the 1st step was hard and by 1/4 mile I had to back down slightly.  It never got easy, some workouts are like that.  It never got harder either.  I spent the whole run trying to relax and find a smooth stride.  By the end I had run the 10 miles at the same pace as the previous weeks 9 miles at marathon pace.

I started running almost 10 years ago.  In the early years I would force improvement in workouts that was not really there.  This led to a snowball effect of over-pacing a series of workouts. I anticipated consistent improvement, but my real improvement was always behind the pace I was forcing.  Eventually this ended in over-training and a sub-par goal race.

I still anticipate improvement, but I am not a slave to the watch.

Currently my biggest potential improvement is from weight loss ... I am not gaining or losing ... stuck at 220 pounds.

Good running to all!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Which race distances scare you?

I am thinking about this year's racing goals = 5k-10k.  Looking at a race predictor

I feel little to no anxiety about getting into 2:50 marathon shape = being able to run 6:30 miles.  The thought of running a 29:19 5 mile, 17:45 5K or a 5:10 mile makes me pause and wonder if I can do it. 

Having never had a goal race or tapered for a race under a marathon, my experience in the shorter distances are running them as a speed workout while marathon training.

If I am going to spend 7 months training for the 5k-10k distance, not only will I taper for these goal races, but you better bet my goals are faster than the numbers above.  Of course if you read my post on "January Optimism", it is only February, so I still believe I will do great things in 2013!

100 Milers or 24 hour races do not scare me ~ Only a little dread about the pain that will happen.  Marathon - 50 milers I always look forward to as 9 out of 10 times they bring joy to me on race day.  5k - 1/2 marathons actually have caused me the most disappointment and in race anguish.  The only time I smile in these shorter races is after I am done!

I do have some long races that scare me ~ not the distance, but the race.  Arrowhead 135 or any race that you have to carry all of your stuff in a polk is not on my radar screen.  I will leave those races for the real Manly-Men out there.

Good running to all -

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Focus

I started training 4 weeks ago.  But that is only half true.  I started the running part of training 4 weeks ago.  Now it is time to add the focus on eating, hydration, sleep and avoiding alcohol (mostly) that is needed to truly "Be in Training".

I will commit myself to the next 8 weeks (February and March).  There are 3 ways you will know I have been successful:  1)  I will be < 200# on April 1st, 2)  I will run a 5k Friday April 5th and be <= 18:36 and 3)  Boston Marathon will be < 3 hours.

Then it is onto training toward my goals of 2013 ~ 5k, 5 Mile and 10k PRs.

Good running to all -

Friday, February 1, 2013

The old man and the snowblower

Stubbornly, I did not get a snow blower until I was 40.  I love being physical and snow blowers are for old men.  I turn 44 later this month and I have come to hate shoveling snow.

It rained a lot on Tuesday night and then it snowed 10 inches.  About 1/3 the way through my snow blower broke.  This left the snow / slush the snow plow leaves at the end of the driveway and the 40 feet in front of the mailbox of the same heavy slop.

Not only was it heavy, but it did not want to come off the shovel.  90 minutes Wednesday night and another 45 minutes Thursday morning (Thank you snow plow) left my back, hips and legs tired and tight.

Only in week 4 of my current training cycle, my workouts are still pretty easy.  Last night I planned 15-17 miles with 12x1.5 minutes (Treadmill) faster (Think mile pace).  I take plenty of rest 2.5 minutes between reps.  This workout is just glorified striders to work on form and to get comfortable at faster paces.

I knew I was in for more work than I bargained for right away.  I guess moving a few tons snow is not good for your training.  I had thoughts of passing on the workout.  I knew I would not have another chance as we are going out of town this weekend.

In the end it was not that bad.  Usually I do 5 reps a bit slower than add .1 mph to each of the remaining 7 reps.  Last night I ran 16 miles and did all the reps at 10.4 MPH.  Yes I am slow, but it is early in the season.

I need to get the snow blower fixed, because us old men have an aversion to shoveling. 

Today it is sunny, -5F with a wind chill of -26F.  I love the sun ... I need the sun in winter, but this old man does not like running in the cold either.

Good running to all!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Darkest before the dawn - SAD

I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and February is always the darkest time.  The days are still too short to see much sunlight before or after work.  The weather in WI is still cold, snow and ice impede running.

I start my training in January, but it usually is borderline, half-ass training.  The focus to hit runs, eat, drink and sleep for training comes and goes. 
February is always very good training.  I think it is my way to flip the middle finger at SAD.  I am focused on running, eating, drinking (+ not drinking alcohol) and sleeping well.  Does this improve my mental state or just give me something to focus on enough and get too busy to be depressed?

Here we go again the last day of January.  I am 220 pounds, I have been training half to three quarters-ass the last 4 weeks.  One last hurdle to get past (Superbowl weekend with friends) and it is training "Go" time.

My original goal was to weigh < 200 pounds by my birthday (2/27) ... that will not happen.  My new goal is to be < 210 by my birthday.

10 weeks until Boston - Need sub 3:00
26-27 weeks until goal races (Bun Run 5k and Otto Grunski Runski 10k)

Good running to all -

Friday, January 25, 2013

Screwed up week

Last week was a really nice training week.  This week not so much.

I worked late, made bad choices around how to de-stress ... beer, food and late night TV instead of late night running.  No running on Monday and Wednesday, but very little sleep, not enough hydration, poor food choices and no weight lifting or core ... BAD HORSEY!

A cut-back mileage week can be great for training.  But "Training" is much more than mileage, it is all the non running things that are critical for me:  Sleep, hydration, eating and weights/core.

Training is the accumulation of months of work, one week is pretty meaningless.  If the week gives the body a reprieve from hard workout stress and allows it to recover to give it hell after that week, it can even be very positive.

I am only in week 3 of training, it is not positive ... This Big Horse needs to get focused and start making consistent good choices. 

Good running to all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anticipating workouts

I am running less at a higher effort level.  I am taking time to recover.  I am anticipating, excited for my next workout.

I have more time for family and friends and all the non-running activities that I love.
For the past 6+ years I have trained mostly dead legged.  I would 1st add as much volume as I could handle and then start layer speed or hills on top of the volume.  This meant from day #1 of training I was tired.  Driven by the goal of putting maximum effort into a week, month or training period.  I was always trying to figure out how to recover enough for the next big workout - dreading it.

I am only in my 11th day of this training cycle - I am not beaten down yet, I am not tired, I feel like my workouts are a lacking the normal punishment ... inadequate, but, I am anticipating the next workout, like a kid on Christmas morning.

What results will come from this new direction?  Will I have the discipline to stay the course?

It's January and anything is possible!

Good running to all -

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Optimism

I am always optimistic in January or delusional?  I set up really hard stretch goals that have a hint of realism.  The plan is made and I start working toward those goals.  In 2 out of 9 years I have hit most of my goals, the last few years I have fallen flat on my face.

It is amazing in January what I think I can achieve by the end of August.  Then there will be a few set-backs ... But set-backs came be overcome.  Next the set-backs accumulate and the denial has to end.  Finally the reality of how much I will really achieve is accepted.

I could be happy to set nice, middle of the road, realistic goals ... But, it is January, and I am planning for great things in 2013. 

It is cold, but sunny - I think I will let the sun shine on my face a little longer.

Good running to all -

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Old ... er

In February I turn 44. 

Moderation is really not in my vocabulary, so when I downhill ski or play volleyball ... or like Sunday both, I end up pretty stiff on Monday morning.

I will comment on stiff days like today to my girls and the reply I get is "Daddy your not old, your not old until your 50."  Jeepers, I was hoping not to be old until I was old, not as early as 50!

I have been thinking about it lately.  Because of my full throttle approach to any sport, how will my body feel at 50 and beyond. There are days it feels used up already.

Will I have to stop taking jumps and doing tricks downhill skiing?  Will I stop doing the same wake boarding?  Should I stop trying to hit the ball as hard as I can in volleyball, golf and racquetball?

I figure once I use up my right elbow and shoulder, I can always have the challenge of learning all the sports I love left handed.

But how will I get my aerobic fix when all I can play is croquet and bocce ball?

Since according to my dear daughters I only have 6 good years left until I am "Old" I will have to enjoy life, making the most of them.

Good running to all!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weight lifting and running

4+ years ago I stopped lifting weights ... Why would a runner want to carry extra upper body muscle?  I have taken off approximately 15 pounds of muscle.  I miss the days when I could bench press 335 and push 80lb dumbbells overhead.  The amount of mileage I have run in the last 4 years it would have been hard to find the time to keep lifting.

I am in my 2nd week of the re-start of weight lifting and focusing on core workouts.  Why re-start weight lifting?  1)  I like it, 2) core strength, 3) injury prevention and 4)  I want to keep a certain level of strength as I age.

I have a 2 routines that take 30 minutes for different parts of the body.  I do core work between each set in the 30 minutes.  The goal is to do each a minimum of 2 times a week.  I am willing to re-gain 5 pounds of upper body muscle, but will try to build muscle stamina more than high end strength.

Only 5 month to bikini season :)-

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

YMCA of Hades

I run my speed work on the treadmill in winter.  This is safety measure in Wisconsin.  I have 2 choices, the YMCA or my basement.

Monday night training plan was for an easy 20 minutes at LAT with a total mileage of 14.  I went to my local YMCA to pretend I am a social person.

I knew it was a mistake as soon as I stepped into the ATC (Aerobic Training Center).  It had to be 80F+ and the room was solid people.  I think all 40+ pieces of aerobic equipment were all full.

Before I could turn and bolt for home a treadmill opened up.  Ok, stop your bitching and get this done.  I tried to keep the pace easy, but honest ... before mile #4 I had sweat through shirt #1 ... I made it last to 5 miles. 

I only packed 2 shirts, so after a quick change it was time to get to the 20 @ T.  I picked a speed that was comfortable on my legs.  After 5 minutes it was still easy on my legs, but I guess it must be hard to do speed work in Hades, because my lungs felt like mile #2 of a 5k.  By 10 minutes I backed the speed down .1 MPH and gasped into the last 10 minutes.

Final result 9 miles with 20 minutes at T.

Maybe it was a combination of a lingering cold, the hot air and being out of shape.

If I decide to try speed work at the YMCA of Hades again - I think I will try in the morning ... before the new batch of lost souls of New Year Resolution arrive in the underworld.

I think the search for speed will be a long journey.

Good running to all -

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 training starts January 7th

For me training is more than just running.  When I start training, I pay close attention to what I eat, my hydration and sleep. 

This training cycle is going to be longer than usual.  I plan on patiently, even methodically building my fitness and speed.  The goal is to focus on 5k-10k distances with the peak racing in early to mid August.  I believe I can set new PRs at these distances, but time is running out.

This is the 1st time ever that I will focus on a few shorter races.  In the past anything under a marathon was just done during marathon training.

Also for the 1st time ever, I have asked a friend to give training feedback and advice.

I have 2 longer races I am committed to doing for fun:  Clinton Lakes 30 miler and Boston Marathon.  Neither is a goal race and I will not try to do a mini-peak.  I still have an "Old Man" goal of continuing my streak of years with a sub-3 marathon, but if it does not happen at Boston, it will have to happen later this fall.

Truthfully I do not know if I am capable of turning my back on marathon and ultra-running in 2013, but I am going to try.  We will see if I can prevail or I will revert back to old habits.

I have also chosen early August as my goal race time, because I really, really, really want to do Superior 100M in early September.  I am very conflicted on postponing this another year or doing it without true ultra training.

I am also struggling with Dances with Dirt (DWD) 50 miler in July - This race does not fit my training or goals at all.  I set a goal of running it in 2012 before I decided on 2013 goals.  I think the smart thing to do is to run the DWD 10k race instead.  I am not sure if I am that smart.

Once you have been pulled neck deep into ultra-running, it is a hard habit to break.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

No Point Bock 5 miler - Again

I am not sure when the race sold out.  Registration opened 1/1/13 at Noon and I looked 1/2/13 before noon and it was sold out.  2,000 spots for a 5 mile race in less than 24 hours.

They may open up spots or do a few charity spots - But I think I need to find another race.  Maybe it's God telling me to stop prioritizing races based upon how great the free post race beer is?

1st no Ice Age 50 miler (Milwaukee Ale House) and now now Point Bock 5 miler (Point Brewery) ... I guess it's a sign.