Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Thank You

I'd like to take a few lines here and send out a thank you to all the sponsors of my recent 50k. But keep in mind that these are not sponsors that pay me to speak on their behalf. In fact, most of these have gotten money from me. That's right, I get no monetary gain from their support and often have less money because of them. Not that I'm faulting them for anything, I'm just telling you that I support these individuals and companies freely.

I wouldn't have been able to do this race with out my family. My wife, my kids, my father, even my mother who was miles away. Everyone helped push me, cheer for me, and love me. It was a long race but without them I would have had nobody to share it with.

I have very few friends in the real world. It's sad but true. Most of my friends are virtual and I remember them mostly by their avatar pictures or their online handles. Even those I've met in real life I still struggle to use their real name (I'm talking about you Melli and KL). But there are a few friends I'd like to call out specifically. Not because I like them more than somebody else but because they helped me during this race. Logan, thank you for inspiring me to do epic shit. I don't think I'd have continued down the dark path of ultras without you and your adventures. Andrea, thank you for the gift. Rarely do I get real mail and even more rare are gifts from the heart. Because of you I will know it is always inside me.

FIT for This World
Stephanie was my personal trainer leading up to this insane adventure. Without her I would have been a weak blob of fat. But thanks to her I'm a strong blob of fat and muscle. I've had 24 sessions with her (23 were before the race) and I can honestly say that her contribution to my performance has been immense. I can feel core muscles work when I run, I can feel the legs flex and power through tough trails, and I can move logs like they were twigs with my upper body.

I'm a self-labeled Saucony Snob. I love their shoes and their gear. So my shoe of choice during my race was the Saucony Exodus 2.0 (in black and orange). I also wore my Saucony calf sleeves. Both helped me survive the long run by saving my feet and my calves.

The North Face
I debated long and hard about what shorts to wear during my race before I finally settled on my North Face Cardiac shorts. They don't chafe and they have pockets. Two key points for me during long runs. I loved how they performed and would choose them in a minute if I had the choice. Unfortunately I only have two pair.

I've long been skeptical of any company that guarantees anything. So when I read that this sock company could prevent blisters, I wasn't buying it. Even after reading reports from many other runners, I still wasn't willing to buy them. But I eventually caved in and got a few pair. They feel funny with their odd texture but sure enough, I have had no blisters. Even when my feet felt horrible and I was sure I had blisters, I had nothing but some chafing. No blisters at all and I loved it.

BodyGlide is one of the best tools you need in your gym bag. It works for so much it's scary. I've used it in some pretty dark places and it has saved my ass many times (literally and figuratively). I've even used it on my hands when I work outside. Simply the best. If you don't have it, get it.

Crank Sports
Like everything else, I had to be patient and find the right gel for my long runs. I've used GU in the past and like many of their flavors. Even recently discovered 2nd Surge from PacificHealth Labs has been great. But so far, nothing quite tops the e-Gel by Crank Sports. Not even the Hammer Perpeteum could keep me going quite the same.

Mission Skincare and King of Shaves
Like BodyGlide, my Mission products save my skin. From their sun block to their muscle rub, I love it. And while Mission saves my skin, King of Shaves makes me look good while I run. Well, as good as possible with this ugly mug. But their razors and after shave at least make me feel like I look good.

Shear Elegance Hair Studio
Pam was nice enough to dye my hair. And even though I was hoping for an orange so bright it would peel paint, the ginger color I ended up with is just as much fun. I got a few stair from my mohawk before the race but with the red mohawk I got even more. I loved that my family could eaisly keep tabs on my through the race as I was the only fool out there with a gingerhawk. Thanks to Pam for making it so easy.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

2011 DRHT 50k - Take Two

This time last year, I was gearing up for my first ultra marathon ever. And like most virgins, I had no idea what I was in for. There was much pain, fear, emotional lows and highs, and in the end tears of joy. I was seriously under-trained, under-prepared, and under-informed. But I learned.

This year I go into things with more training. Still not as much as I want but certainly more than last year. I even ramped things up a bit and got a personal trainer to beat me into shape. I've trained on the course at least twice a month all year long as well as logged a few miles on other trails on the In the end, I'm going into this year's race feeling much better about my training and my overall knowledge of the course and distance.

There are certain things I'll be doing differently for this year's race in an effort to keep my head in the game and to keep my load light. First among them, I'm going to try to keep things brief so you can go about your merry way.

- Last week I got a mohawk. This afternoon I get it dyed orange. As in Saucony ViZi-PRO orange. Or DailyMile orange.
- Tonight I go to packet pick-up at VA Runner.
- Tomorrow I may run a mile or two at the most. My training plan has me down for a rest day but I think I'm going to be very jittery.
- Tomorrow night, I'll be attending a DailyMile meetup for dinner at the local Vinny's. I doubt anyone will show so it'll likely be my family and myself.
- After dinner tomorrow night, it's off to the trail meeting. As in the volunteers that take care of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail (DRHT). Bedtime will be whenever I can convince my brain to shut up enough to go to sleep.
- Race day, Saturday, will be me driving by myself to the race. There will be NO live updates from the race. I might get a tweet out (http://twitter.com/#!/thetk42one) but nothing is certain. I will NOT have my phone with me on the course. If I need music, I'll listen to my iPod. I will be running shirtless and will only feel slightly sorry for those running slower than me (my back is pretty hairy). My shoes, shorts, and socks have already been picked out. My drop bag and gear is nearly ready to go.
- I will NOT have a crew. The race is two out-and-back sections and has plenty of aid stations (about every 4 miles). This should meet my water needs and I'll have plenty of gels and other stuff to choose from. I'll be able to go past my drop bag twice so I'll be able to take/leave what I need.
- My cheering section will be my wife and two kids. I specifically asked for them to be at this race since they weren't there last year. They'll try to catch me a few times on the course then at the finish. The course isn't terribly safe or easy for two young kids to watch the runners.
- My father will play the role of my official race photographer. He was there for me last year and did a great job.
- If you want to come cheer for me (or the other runners), go to the race website for details on where and when to be (http://www.racetimingunlimited.org/raceinfo/DU11Info.aspx).

Goals - This list is mostly for me, but feel free to keep reading.

1. Finish.
2. Set a PR (faster than 8:52:42 - set last year).
3. Run under 8 hours (15:30 pace).
4. Run under 7:30 hours (14:30 pace).
5. Run under 7 hours (13:30 pace).
6. Fly through the aid stations and don't waste time.
7. Keep steady, consistent pace.
8. Keep hydrated and fueled (don't bonk).
9. Have fun.
10. Finish.