Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Before and After

In an attempt to take some before and after photos of my weight loss, I found out that I'm not necessarily losing weight as I expected. I did lose weight and even lost inches around my waist. That was awesome. But every time I looked in the mirror or looked down in the shower, my gut was still huge. Granted, I hadn't lost ten inches or 100 pounds but still, it looked like no progress was made.

Then I noticed myself contracting my abdominal muscles sub-consciously. Sounds crazy. Makes me feel crazy. But I love how it feels under all that blubber. I can actually feel muscles under there. No, not a six pack of abs. But something. And that was cool. So then I started wondering, maybe my big gut is just a lazy gut.

So that's the idea behind the photos below. First, here's the lazy gut.

Next, we have the active gut.

I don't know about you, but I can see the difference. I just wish my gut wasn't so lazy all the time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Muddy Buddy

So you may have read about my last race being a bit trippy. Well, here's proof (taken while I was waiting for my iced latte):

Monday, February 27, 2012

Race Report - Have a nice trip, see you next fall!

Oh boy. Do I have a lot to talk about. So stop right now, grab a cup of coffee, make sure the kids are in bed, and be prepared to read.

Like any race, things started last night. Instead of going to bed at my usual time, I stayed up an extra hour or so since I couldn't go to sleep. Probably all the Coke I had yesterday. Which was unplanned but necessary since we pretty much wasted the entire afternoon waiting on new tires for the truck that they couldn't install because the lug nuts were frozen on their. Not frozen like cold, frozen like seized. Anyway, long story short, yesterday sucked. So I wasn't exactly tired last night. Which was okay because I got to read some my friend's novel.

Add to a later than normal night and a few earlier than desired wake-up calls from the dog and the kid, I didn't have as much sleep as I wanted. But, I wasn't too worried about that. After all, it happens a lot. So I was up early, took my shower, and damn near thought about going back to bed for half an hour. Instead I ate some food, had a coffee, and took my time getting dressed. Once I got out the door, I headed to the race start and parked my car.

And got my first jolt of excitement. My stalker, Chunk, was there right after me. Thankfully, he played it cool and wasn't obnoxious about things. At all. Which kind of creeped me out that he wasn't creepy.

I poked around a bit, went to the bathroom a few times, drank a little GU Brew, and tried to stay warm. My dad showed up as my personal photographer. I chilled out some more. Saw Ralph W. Chilled out some more. And finally lined up for my wave to start.

The first wave started, then 2 minutes later my wave started (there were 4 waves total). I trucked down the trail a bit before peeling off to water a tree. I needed to go but didn't want to get a late start and I wanted to go before the ladies and their wave started behind me. Nothing like catcalls and whistles to make the plumbing seize up. After that, I trucked down the road some more. The waves behind had runners fast enough to continue passing me for a few miles. Not a big deal and I expected it.

What I didn't expect is falling. Last year I tripped pretty hard at the start but never fell. This time I tripped and fell. Hard. Well, not too hard. But hard enough to hurt and make me stop for a second and wonder what the fuck just happened. I was about at mile 3 and a half and had a few ladies behind me. They were nice enough not to laugh and were concerned about me which was awesome. At least I didn't hear them laugh. I was laughing. Both times. Oh yeah, I fell again about a mile later. I cruised into the first aid station with a busted strap on one of my water bottles and plenty of mud and dirt on my shirt. The workers didn't notice too much until I told them I was doing fine after my fall. When I came back through the same aid station the second time, and after my second fall, they noticed I had fallen again. They gave a little chuckle and asked if I had fallen again. Oh yeah, I was apparently making a habit of falling. Maybe I should have charged the race organizers to be the race clown.

So anyway, other than falling twice, the race was fairly uneventful. I did my best to just run my own pace and not worry too much about my overall time or anyone else's. I wanted to really focus on my aid station routine, especially since the HAT 50k has aid stations at just about the same distance apart. Of course that plan went out the window when I became insanely focused on falling down. Which means my first trip into the aid station had me distracted. I eventually got my game face back on by the time I got through the second time and it showed in my speed through there.

After the turn around and with about 3 miles left I was running behind a lady. We had traded places a few times as I would run faster then walk and she was gradually slowing down. Anyway, with about 3 miles left I looked up, saw her running a few dozen feet in front of me, looked down to see where I was running, looked up and saw her sitting on her butt. Yup. She had fallen. And I had missed it! Oh the humanity!

Near the finish I had passed a couple of people and tried to pick off one more but they were a solid quarter mile in front of me with a mile and a half to go. I eventually closed the gap to about a tenth of a mile by the finish line but just couldn't go any faster. And I wasn't really going to win anything or prove anything by passing them anyway. So after the finish I caught my breath, grabbed a drink, and headed back out for a few extra miles. I ended up doing just 3 more miles but it was good enough for me mileage-wise for the week. Plus I got to run past a few of the back-of-the-packers and give them words of encouragement. As I got to the turn-around point for my extra mileage, I passed one of these back-of-the-packers and ended up catching back up to him after I turned around. I stopped to talk to him and try to cheer him on. Turns out this was his first race. And he had only a few training runs in the bag. And when he signed up, he thought this was a 6 mile race. Ouch. But he finished in a fairly respectable time considering all the variables. And I was happy to run/walk the last mile or so with him. Having been the caboose before, I know how much it means for slower people to have somebody there.

After my extra mileage was done, I ended up talking to the manager of the local running store. He said it was because of me and my feedback that they're even considering carrying Altra Zero Drop shoes. Wow. No pressure there. But it was good to hear that they're at least thinking about it. He also said they're probably going to get some Hammer products in the store too. Super awesome. So we talked about running, shoes, and nutrition for awhile before I finally left.

Oh, one side note, I'm working on collecting data for a medical experiment of sorts. More on that later when the results are final.

Phew! Told you to get some coffee.

Temps were about 30F at the start but wearing black and standing in the sun helped warm me up soon enough. I actually took my hat off by mile 3 of the race. By the end of the race the temps were about 45F. The wind was light but noticeable. The sun was out in full with a few clouds.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was toast with honey, yogurt, and a coffee. I drank a little GU Brew before the race. During the race I had a shot or two of Hammer Gel between miles 1 and 3 and between miles 10 and 13. I drank a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum during the race (mostly between miles 2 and 10) and had two bottles of Hammer Fizz between miles 0 and 9.

Aches and Pains:
Well, I tripped. The first time I landed on my left knee and it hurt a bit. The second time it hurt the toes on my left feet. Aside from that, my calves and ankles are a bit sore now.

I wore my Dailymile singlet, my Saucony ViZi-PRO tights, and my Altra Lone Peak shoes. My shirt got a wee bit dirty after my falls (and from me wiping the mud off my bottles). My tights got a hole in the knee from my first fall and they kept working their way off my ass when I ran. Add in some busted seams and I won't be wearing them again. My shoes worked great, which is what I expected. I also busted one of my Amphipod bottles, just like I did when I fell in Caledon. I landed on the bottle and ended up breaking the strap.

Codename - Have a nice trip, see you next fall!
I felt like such an idiot falling. There was no cute chick with a smokin' hot ass in front of me. There was no unicorn running across the trail. There wasn't even a crop circle in the fields next to me. Nope, just me not paying attention. I'd blame it on the 3NonJoggers since I was listening to their podcast both times I fell but when I fell it wasn't even a funny part of the show when I fell.

Mile 1 - 11:47 (includes pee break)
Mile 2 - 11:37
Mile 3 - 11:22
Mile 4 - 12:40 (includes bottle refill at the aid station)
Mile 5 - 10:24
Mile 6 - 10:25
Mile 7 - 12:15 (actually it's 1.1 miles)
Mile 8 - 10:53
Mile 9 - 11:00 (includes bottle refill at the aid station)
Mile 10 - 10:15
Mile 11 - 10:50
Mile 12 - 10:51
Mile 13 - 8:59
Finish - 2:23:24 (new trail half marathon PR by roughly 10 minutes)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Rocky Road

I got high today. It doesn't happen often but I love it when it does happen. And today was very mild but it was still worth the effort.

Stephanie, my trainer, sent me a text this morning saying she needed to cancel today's session so I opted to punish myself. It's very, very rare for her to cancel or to even reschedule so I was a bit shocked. Her work ethic is just like her training style, pleasant but hard-core.

So off to the gym I went to workout. And then I changed my mind and opted to get a run in first before lifting weights. After all, the cold air should help keep things frozen when I get into the gym full of eye candy. God I'm such a perv.

The run was a bit bizarre. Started out cold but ended up with mixed temperatures. I was dripping sweat like it was summer but it was still cold enough that I could see my breath. What the hell? Aside from that, the run was pretty uneventful. A few passing cars, a few passing buses, and one bus stop full of kids. Nothing beats starting your school day by watching a chubby white guy run down the road.

Temps were 47F at the start and maybe 52F by the end. Felt colder than that when I started and warmer than that when I finished but it must have been all in my head. Sky was clear with a few clouds. Very little wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Water for breakfast. Ran my first 3 miles with a bottle of Hammer Fizz and took a shot of Hammer Gel around Mile 1. My second 3 mile loop was a bottle of plain water and another shot of Hammer Gel around Mile 4 (Mile 1 in the 3 mile loop). Recovery was a shot of Hammer Gel as I headed into the gym to lift weights.

Aches and Pains:
Left knee barked a bit as I started then chilled out until the very end when it gave off more of a groan. Right knee and right hamstring let out a very muffled groan in the last mile.

Forgot my sunglasses on today's run so I was fighting the glare for a few miles once the sun came up. Also wore a headband for the first mile or two. This is very rare as most headbands don't fit my head and I generally don't like them. I also forgot my iPod so I listened to music on my phone for the last 2 or 3 miles.

Codename - Rocky Road
When it rains, I always seem to get rocks in my shoes. I'm sure there's some scientific explanation for it, but until the Mythbusters give me the video clip, I'm not sure I'll understand it. So I fought the rocks in my shoes as best as I could. I also fought the sluggish feelings until I was a few miles in then felt great. Wish I could bottle that stuff. Maybe it was because I forced myself into a slower pace by walking 2 minutes and running 8 minutes.

Mile 1 - 11:17
Mile 2 - 11:24
Mile 3 - 11:20
First 5k - 35:24
Mile 4 - 11:51
Mile 5 - 10:29
Mile 6 - 10:13
Second 5k - 33:33 (about a 2 minute negative split)
Finish - 1:08:57

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Daffy Daffodils

Yet another day for a delayed-until-lunch run and for sitting at my desk shirtless in a vain attempt to cool off after my shower. Thank goodness I work from home. All my hot co-workers would be swarming my steamy, sweaty, and sexy body. Like a moth to a flame, they would fling themselves upon me in an attempt to kill themselves so they wouldn't have to look at my hairy back anymore.

But anyway, my frustration and stress level was very high this morning so I nearly skipped out on the run today. I played some YelaWolf and eventually got in the mood. I nearly changed routes at the last minute but opted to attempt my first ever Four Points run. Nothing terribly exciting but hey, gotta shoot for something.

I did manage to score some waves along the way. A couple (farmer and his wife) and their dog were out in the fields and I scored a wave from each of them (well, not the dog). I also got a wave from many drivers and even a pedestrian walking the other way. Best of all, my dad passed by me on Dead Man's Curve in the opposite direction as he was driving my son back to my house after their weekly trip to the library. How funny. I made sure to thank him for not hitting me after I got back.

Temps were about 55F to 60F. Sun was out but there were clouds out too. Wind was light.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and coffee. Pre-run fuel was a smidgen of Hammer Gel. During the run I had one bottle of Hammer Fizz. Recovery was leftover pork chop, rice-a-roni, peas, cookies, and an iced latte.

Aches and Pains:
My shins were a bit sore as I started but they warmed up soon enough.

Went commando in my Saucony compression shorts. Not too much chafing. Also forgot my watch so my times were just an estimate.

Codename - Daffy Daffodils
Saw a few at Caledon the other day and a few more along the road today. Goofy weather is making them think it's spring already.

Times are a guess based on the crude timing device on my pedometer.
Outbound - 21:00
Inbound - 21:00
Finish - 42:00 (my training PR for this route is 43:36)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Livestock

Not exactly how I wanted to get my run in but I stuck to the route I had planned from last night and managed to eek out the time to get it done. Woohoo!

I started prepping for last night's run and, well, had some family speed bumps. Once those were smoothed over, I ended up with a booked morning with no chance to run my desired route without being terribly late to work. So I managed to get in early and take a long lunch. Thanks to peer pressure from Twitter, I was held accountable and did get my run in as planned, just later in the day. Which was probably better anyway since it was damn cold this morning and only sort-of cold this afternoon.

So as I sit here shirtless and sweaty from my shower, I realize I managed to pound out a run longer than I needed for the day. I'm aiming for 30+ miles this week and I know I need at least 5 miles for 4 days plus my half marathon race this weekend to meet my goal. And seeing as I can't stick to a plan worth shit, I think I'm going to have to try the weekly total method for a few weeks to see how that holds up.

Anyway, the run was fairly uneventful. Seeing as I live in the ass-end of the sticks, I didn't have much traffic on the gravel road and only a few cars on the paved portion. I did manage to score a WTF look from an old lady and the termite guy at her house. Can't say as I blame them. I'm sure I looked pretty damn sketchy.

Temps were about 45F. Overcast skies with a hint of sun. Winds were moderate and shifting.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water, yogurt, eggs, toast, and coffee. I took a little shot of Hammer Gel before the run. I ran with two bottles of Hammer Fizz (one grape and one lemon-lime). I also downed some Hammer Gel during the run (at about 30 minute intervals). Recovery was two small bottles of Ensure and a coffee.

Aches and Pains:
My right knee started to ache in the last mile but I think this was because I was over-striding in an effort to increase my speed. The early miles were also rough but just in a general sense. After I warmed up, around mile 3 or so, I felt pretty good and near mile 5 I felt like I was settling into a solid groove. Around mile 7 I feel like I lost the groove as I made the transition to pavement but I still kept fighting to get back into it.

Wore my Brooks vest and I'm starting to really love it. Keeps me warm yet cool. The vent in the back lets air flow through if I unzip up front but not too cool when I zip it up. It also has a nice loop for my iPod headphone cable. I listened to a 3NonJogger podcast on the way out and music on the way back. Outside of that, no special gear.

Codename - Livestock
Like I said before, I live in the sticks. Some roads are more like the ass-end of the sticks. So running by a cow or two or four goats or a horse or two deer carcases is nothing new or exciting. Seeing deer stands every mile, beer cans every 100 yards, and rusty pickup trucks is the norm.

Outbound - 46:07
Inbound - 44:16
Finish - 1:30:24 (PR for this route by about a minute)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yesterday's Run - 25 to Life

Even though I slept in a bit longer than I wanted to (and way less than I wanted to) I still managed to get in a 2 hour run. I didn't go as far as I wanted to distance-wise but feel pretty good with my total mileage for the week. The trails wreaked havoc on my quads but I think I'll survive. I need to go heavy on the hills between now and the HAT 50k and the trails at Caledon were happy to oblige.

The run was a basic loop of the Red-Blue-Yellow-Orange-White trails where I went out to the white trail and then came back. My first loop was to the right (counter-clockwise) and the second loop was in reverse. My last loop was just the red loop which was thankfully pretty flat. As I started my second loop I saw a runner take off in front of me with his dog but that was about all I saw of him. I was pretty pooped by then and he was fresh so I let him go (like I had a choice - ha!). I did see his dog leave some tracks on one of the boardwalks as it came out of the creek and onto the planks. Outside of that, I was all alone out there (although I did see plenty of squirrels).

Temps were about 38F. Winds were variable, at times light and at times nothing. Skies were overcast.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was coffee and yogurt. During the run I had two handhelds. My first loop I drank about half a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum and nearly a full bottle of Hammer Fizz. My second loop was nearly the rest of my Perpeteum and nearly another full bottle of Fizz. My last loop (just a mile) was the rest of the Perpeteum and Fizz (which wasn't much). Recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by a lunch of meatloaf, green beans, and an apple turnover.

Wore my Smartwool socks again and they feel loose on the foot. But I was wearing my Saucony Peregrines so I'm not sure how that impacted things. Outside of that, not really any other special gear. Just noticed this will be the last 10 miles on this pair of Peregrines. Time to retire yet another shoe.

Aches and Pains:
I am quickly developing a sensitivity to the more narrow shoes from Saucony. I guess I'm really starting to dig my Altras. I also had toenails in need of a trim. All of this, combined with steep hills going up and down and I was feeling some sore toes by the start of the second loop. My quads were also sore by the end of the second loop.

Codename - 25 to Life
Sometimes Eminem speaks to me. Speaks. To. Me.

Loop 1 (4.3 miles) - 55:34
Aid Station - 1:50
Loop 2 (4.3 miles) - 53:49
Loop 3 (1 mile) - 14:05
Finish - 2:05:20

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Brunch Run

I put the run in brunch today. Ate breakfast, waited an hour, and promptly went for a run. My wife wasn't too please but I did what I could to get something on the books.

Temps were about 35F at the start but warmed quickly to 40F.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt, oatmeal, toast, eggs, and coffee. During the run I had a bottle of GU Brew. Recovery was a small bottle of Ensure.

Aches and Pains:
My stomach felt okay but heavy. Beyond that, everything felt fine.

Nothing terribly exciting. Wore my UnderArmour pants/leggings and they did a great job keeping me warm. Although my butt felt chilly at the start.

Codename - Brunch Run
I usually wait 2 or more hours after a meal to eat but in this case I knew I'd be out of time before I was actually on the road so I booked it out the door while I could. And even though my wife was worried I'd be late and make us late for our usual day of grocery shopping, it turns out I got back while she still had a good 5 minutes left in the shower. Figures.

Outbound - 20:27
Inbound - 18:47 (awesome negative split)
Finish - 39:14 (a new almost-PR - now my second fastest time on this route)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yesterday's Second Run - Schwing!

Huge difference in this morning's run and this afternoon's run. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was just getting so fed up with all the shit flowing downhill that I decided to just DAM IT! and go run. And thus did the shitty waters recede as I blew a hole in the damn dam.

Okay, enough crappy humor. The run was a last minute thought. I cranked some music, got in the mood, and decided to just gun it out the door. Yanked on new socks, changed clothes, and ran into the rain. There were a ton of black birds (Starlings I think) flapping around the trees around me but beyond that, things were pretty quiet. Although I did feel a bit of pleasure as I passed the scary dog's house and made it a good quarter mile down the road before he saw me and charged the fence.

Temps were about 50F to 55F. It rained but nothing too terrible. It felt fitting considering my pissed off mood from this morning. Overcast skies. Wind picked up on the inbound leg.

Fluids and Fuel:
This was a lunch-time run so there was no food prior to the run. I did take some Hammer Gel before I started. I took one bottle of watered-down GU Brew. Recovery was one Hammer Soy packet mixed into an iced coffee.

Aches and Pains:
No real issues.

Wore my Saucony jacket to keep my iPod dry. It kept me warm and quite sweaty by the end of the run. Also wore my new Smartwool socks. So far no issues with blisters.

Codename - Schwing!
Thanks to Royanna H. I nearly went commando on this run. Instead I opted to wear my RUEZ underwear. And then I thought about all those ladies running commando. Combine that with watching the opening scenes of Wayne's World and I had the ladies on my brain. And the brooding anger from this morning.

Outbound - 20:07
Inbound - 19:30 (pushed hard in the last quarter mile to finish with a negative split)
Finish - 39:38 (my PR for this route is 38:44 which makes today's run my second fastest time)

Yesterday's Run - John in the John

After my workout with Stephanie, I tried my best to go run a short 3 miles. I barely managed 1 mile. My quads were trashed and I felt disappointed because I felt like I didn't do that much in the workout to tax them so much. But knowing Stephanie, she snuck some stuff in there that sneaks up on you and lays you flat by the end of the hour.

So I managed a single mile. Talked a few minutes with my running buddy Amanda and spent lots of time in the gym when I was done stretching out and cooling down. Of course it helped that there was lots, and I mean LOTS, of eye candy to avoid eye contact with. I swear I couldn't turn around without seeing something. Come on ladies. Wear some nasty sweats to the gym, please. And granny-panties, not thongs.

Temps were about 45F to 50F. Cloudy skies. No wind. Sprinkled a bit of rain but not much.

Fluids and Fuel:
Just a bottle of water. Recovery was breakfast burrito, hash browns, and an iced latte.

Aches and Pains:
Not really any to speak of.

Nothing fancy but I did forget my running water bottles at home so I had to suffer holding a bike-style bottle with no strap. Yuck.

Codename - John in the John
Right before I headed outside to run a little boy pulled up next to me in the bathroom of the locker room. Being a parent, I've lost a lot of my bladder shy moments as well as expectations of privacy. So when he asked what my name was, I knew I was in for an interesting few moments. The conversation went like this:

"What's your name?"
"Guess what my name is."
"How did you know my name was John?"
"Is that really your name?"
"Wow. I just guessed."
"But how did you know?"
"I didn't. I just guessed."
"Do you know what my mom's name is?"
"Guess. It starts with an 'M'."
And then he ran off since he was done. And how did I know his name was John? I didn't. I just guessed "John" because we were in the "john." Thankfully I knew well enough not to guess "Dick."

Mile 1 - 10:22
Finish - 10:22

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Today's Workout - Bad Dreams

Last night was, well, shitty. And this morning was even worse. Despite my self-loathing and epic levels of anger, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and out the door early enough to stop at the dump before meeting my trainer.

And leave it to Stephanie to beat the shit out of me all with a smile on her face. So hard to be pissed off around her since she's so damn chipper in the morning. Not obnoxiously chipper, but happy enough to have some seep into your pores while you sweat. No TRX today but there as plenty of other stuff for me to suffer through. I don't know why I struggled with some of the core work but I did. For some reason I just cannot put my ass on the BOSU and do a crunch of any sort.


Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a glass of water and a yogurt. I did my best to pretend my coffee-flavored yogurt was real coffee. It didn't work.

Aches and Pains:
My quads were screaming after this workout. Lots of lunges and squats were hidden behind upper-body work but by the end I was ready to cry uncle.

Nothing worth mentioning.

Codename - Bad Dreams
My crappy morning ended with me waking up in a panic because I thought I was invited by Steve S. to attend a seminar he would be holding on nutrition for ultra runs. It was a special event where he hosted a select few runners at his house while he sermonized about Hammer and went on training runs. Why was this scary? Partly because it conflicted with a race I have in a few weeks and partly because I was so intimidated/honored to even be invited. Yeah, bad dream. Bad because I was terrified I would be out of my league. Dream because I'd love to learn what any ultra runner has to teach.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Delayed Reaction

I'm way late in getting this posted but hey, life happens. Went for a run this morning and just tried to stay cool and relaxed. Somewhere along the way I think I tried too hard and ended up pretty tight and tense by the time I got back to the gym. Outside of that, it was a decent run. Nothing terribly exciting. Although it was nice to get back to my old haunts for running. I know it's an easy 3 and the route is flat but I needed the miles and needed to just chill. After the run I hit the gym for a few minutes. But that's another post.

Temps were about 35F, maybe 40F. No wind. Cloudy and no sun.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had a glass of water before the run. Took a bottle of watered down GU Brew on the run. Drank a small bottle of Ensure as a recovery.

Aches and Pains:
None to speak of.

No special gear.

Codename - Delayed Reaction
Figures. Whenever I think up a cool name I forget it by the time I post my report. Oh well.

Mile 1 - 10:28
Mile 2 - 10:56
Mile 3 - 10:57
Finish - 33:26

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Podcast - Mile 22 - Freezing Five

Went out for a chilly, nay cold, nay freezing cold five miler. I felt much more in-tune with my body and my stride. I didn't feel terribly fast until I hit my turn-around but I still felt pretty good. And I didn't have to make any emergency bathroom breaks. As for the contents of this show, I talk a bit about the ICY-8 race from last week, talk about how the 50k is the JV level of ultrarunning, and how I hope to get things done at the HAT 50k. Not to mention the usual rambling about who the hell knows what.

You can listen to the full diatribe here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's Run - Freezing Five

I picked the Great smiley face even though I'm a bit in between the Great and the Good smiley faces. But anyway, today's run was cold. Freeze-your-nuts-and-your-nose-off cold. But I survived. I played around with some different methods of keeping warm and some worked while others did not. But everything is intact and there appears to be no permanent damage so I'm happy with the results. Can't learn about this crap on race day so you might as well test things out on a training run.

Temps were about 20F to 25F. Wind was very, very light. The sun was out but I was running early enough that I didn't actually run in the sun until the last mile or so.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-run food was yogurt and water. I took an e-Gel right before I started. During the run I had two bottles of plain water. I experimented a bit and used warm tap water instead of cold water from the fridge. Worked great at keeping my hands warm the first few miles but it was cold enough that the spouts were freezing up by the end of the run. Recovery was oatmeal, toast, eggs, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
My right hamstring felt fine during the run although I did notice it during the last half. It didn't hurt, but I think I'm hyper-sensitive to it at the moment. Outside of that, the only things that hurt were my fingers and face from the cold.

Aside from using warm water in my water bottles, I also tested two new methods of staying warm. First, I put a hand warmer in my shorts. My Under Armour shorts have a little pouch for a cup so I shoved the hand warmer in there. It didn't work. Or at least made no difference that I could tell. My second test was putting Body Glide on my face. It worked fairly well at keeping my face warm and keeping the wind off it a bit.

Codename - Freezing Five
I was running behind on my podcast yet again so I had to record and upload this morning. I feel like a slacker but I'm also hammered with work so there's only so much I can do.

Outbound - 29:45
Inbound - 29:20
Finish - 59:06

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Today's Workout - Who's The Boss

Today's session with Stephanie was brutal. Not quite quivering muscles but certainly a lot of struggling to finish the sets. Nearly 90% of today's session was on the TRX, which I have now dubbed the TortuRe eXtreme device. I swear, that thing is nearly as bad as Inquisitor Glotka in Joe Abercrombie's books. It might not inflict any permanent damage but it's worse because it make you do all the inflicting of pain. It's like being forced to hammer your hand flat.

Anyway, I survived. My right hamstring/calf/knee were barking a bit this morning during the session but not too bad. It basically went from a 2/10 to a 3/10 on the pain scale. I spent some extra time focusing on foam rolling and stretching after the workout just to make sure nothing tightened up too much.


Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was half an Ensure and water. Drank plain water during the workout. Recovery was water.

Aches and Pains:
My right hamstring/knee/calf was sore but no sharp pains. My right knee hurt a bit as I was doing single-leg squats. Everything else was just normal workout aches.

Nothing special.

Codename - Who's The Boss
I was doing a pull-up/inverted push-up thing on the TRX and Stephanie had just mentioned a few minutes before that each set was going to be 8 of each thing. So I'd do 3 sets of 8 reps. So I did my first set, took a rest break, then started into my second set. And it felt like it was going on forever. Turns out I had placed my feet so that it was a bit easier than the first set and she had decided to make me pay a bit for that. So when I finally said something about not counting (which I rarely do - despite being a compulsive counter), she said oh yeah, I was counting, you were done a long time ago. So as I stop and take a break and silently curse her for making me work more, she said something to the effect of "I just wanted to show you who was the boss. You did 22 in that last set." Holy hell. 22 instead of 8. Needless to say, I counted the rest of my sets after that. And put my feet where they needed to be to make it harder.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Sucks

This post is extra crappy. Like that one 3NonJoggers episode. You've been warned.

Oh boy. My mind really needed this run more than my body. Which means it was a constant battle against myself. In the end, it was a tie. My mind won because I finished the entire route instead of wimping out after 15 minutes. My body won because I damn near shit myself. Yeah. Turns out running after a lunch of salad and fresh apples is a bad idea. Thank God the road had light traffic and I was wearing gloves.

Aside from the near shit shot in the shorts, the run was a struggle to get my mind past my ICY-8 race. Those Monday morning quarterbacking skills, second guessing, and an insane amount of self doubt have been nagging the shit out of me. And I think the damn race will haunt me until I run it again next year and complete a full 50k. But I made it through the run today so I'm happy to be back in the saddle.

Temps were about 55F with a light wind. Sky was clear.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a breakfast burrito, oatmeal, and an iced latte. Lunch was a salad with salmon, some cookies, and applies with caramel dip. I took an e-Gel right before the run. Ran with a bottle of plain water and a bottle of GU Brew.

Aches and Pains:
Legs were stiff and sore from the race but aside from that nothing too terrible.

Had some issues with the routing of my iPod headphone cable but I managed to re-route it during the run.

Codename - Sucks
As I was fighting the prairie dog, I realized this run sucked like a Tijuana hooker giving a vampire a blow job while he vacuumed. Yep, that level of suckage. But I made it.

Outbound - 30:27
Inbound - 30:48 (includes taking a dump)
Finish - 1:01:15

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Podcast - Mile 21 - Loopy

I'm so loopy and incoherent on this episode, I can't even bring myself to listen to it. Feel free to give it a shot but beware, it may cause a stroke. I recorded it live while I was running the ICY-8 (an 8 hour ultra) and this was my next to last loop. Amazing that I survived another one after this. At least I think I did. I'm not sure. Things are a bit blurry.

Give it a listen here.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Yesterday's Run - No Beer For You

As usual, I'm going to be verbose and graphic in my race report. So sit back, relax, and wait before you snack.

My morning started at 0400 with my daughter waking me up after I managed to snag maybe 2 hours of sleep. I had some serious pre-race jitters that would NOT go away. Despite this being a not-so-serious race for me, I still wanted to do 50k if not 40 miles. Turns out I barely reached the marathon distance. Anyway, my daughter woke me up after she had a scary dream. So I laid in bed for another half an hour before my alarm went off and I stumbled into the shower. I got dressed and started to prep for my drive when my son decided it was his turn to wake up. So I got him back into bed before hauling my tired butt out the door.

I made a quick stop at the local Sheetz because I couldn't remember if I packed my gloves. I did so I continued on my merry way. Once I neared town, my coffee started to kick in so I used the bathroom at the Wawa before heading over to the local Panera to wait for them to open. I knew I'd need something solid to eat before my long run and a bagel would be safe. I snagged my bagel and headed down the road to Lake Anna State Park.

I arrived just as they started the check-in for runners. On the drive into the park I noticed a nice little skunk rolling around on the shoulder of the road. It must have been a sign that my day would stink. I parked, checked in, got my bag with shirt and bib, then headed back to my car. I hit the bathroom yet again and began to lay out my crap. Not that kind of crap, my running crap. All the junk that I thought I needed but it turns out I didn't need half of it. Not to fulfill any stereotypes, but I totally felt like a woman going on an overnight trip. I had that much crap packed. Seriously, three pairs of shoes? Who the hell does that?

So, my gear was stashed on my blanket for my own personal aid station and I geared up to start my run. They gathered the runners for the pre-race brief and thankfully they went over the course markings because I was too damn tired to remember what color was for what loop. Hell, I didn't even have a map handy. I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. They pulled the virgin ultra runners and gave them a Hawaiian lei before counting us down to start.

We were off over a short quarter mile or so of pavement up a hill. Like a dumbass, I ran. And kept running. My plan was to run a short loop, three long loops, then another short loop. I stuck to my plan for the first loop and tried to settle into a groove. It was bright enough to see but cloudy enough that I didn't need sunglasses. For some reason I thought it would be sunny but I think I saw a hint of the sun just once. Thankfully the rain held off until the very end of the 8 hours. So the first loop, a short one, was okay. There was a nice downhill, a slog of an uphill, and plenty of twists and turns. We got to the split between short and long loops and I made my turn, ran next to the road a bit, ran through a controlled burn (where a lone, tiny pine tree was standing intact that reminded me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree), then headed through some decent trail. Then there was a slog down and around and up and through that made you feel like you were running in a freaking washing machine. After that section, you came out onto a fire road of sorts that was decent enough but still had some hills to check your speed. I finished my first loop, yelled out my number and "short" and headed for my personal aid station.

I refilled my bottles, stripped my Under Armour thermal shirt off, slapped on arm sleeves, and went back out, this time for a long loop. The short and long loop have the same start and finish but the long loop adds another 3+ miles (the short loop is 4.7 miles and the long loop is 8 miles). I trucked along on the long loop, through some nice gentle downhills, up some short hills, to the power line section. Here I was greeted with some nice steep ups and downs before heading back into the trees for more single-track trails. Somewhere before the power line I tripped on a root and managed to stay upright. I should have rolled to the ground but instinct took over. And I think that single trip is what cost me my goal. Shortly after I finished the power line section, my right hamstring started to hurt. As I progressed through the run, it continually got worse before the pain began to radiate to my calf and my knee. So even though I didn't make my goal distance of 50k or more, even though I'm not happy with my final results, I'm okay with how I did. I'm still in one piece and I'm not in too much pain the day after.

After my second loop, I topped off again and decided to stick with just short loops for the rest of the race. So I did another short loop and finally saw my wonderful crew, Biddi O. waiting for me. She helped me refill my crap, put some KT tape on my hammy, and without knowing it, kept me going. I was seriously thinking about just callign it quits right then and there. But knowing she would be there waiting for me, I knew I had to keep running. She'd beat my ass for wasting her day and for quitting.

So I headed out for another short loop and Biddi met me for the last mile or so and ran in with me. We repeated the process for yet another short loop, but this being my last one, I had no gas left in the tank and ended up walking nearly all of it. I was in a constant state of change on that last loop. One minute I'd be in the dumps ready to quit and the next minute I'd be ready to go for another one. My mind was not all there as I know I talked to Biddi but don't even know what the hell we talked about.

A few random notes from the race. It was great to see Ally S. , Steve S. , and Andy O. before and during the race. While Steve and Andy certainly outgunned me in the running department and Ally wasn't there to crew for me, they always took the time to give me a cheer when they saw me and ask how I was doing. A class act all the way around. I got much the same vibe from fellow racers as they commented on my shirt, bright orange attire, and even my shoes. In stark contrast was the horse riders out on the trail who took the time to give me the evil eye or make snarky comments about how I should use the bridge for people instead of the water crossing for horses. Thankfully not all the horse riders were this rude. Others were quite nice and two ladies even moved to the muddier portion of the trail and made comments about how awesome we were for running. The trail was muddy as shit (and full of horse shit) but was runnable. After a few laps, you knew where to go to avoid the worst of the mud but after a few laps you didn't really care about getting muddy. The race directors told us to run the first loop in one direction then we could change directions if we wanted to. I didn't change directions as I felt the direction of travel was better (in other words, more downhill than uphill, thus making it easier). I was passed many times and while it wasn't depressing like it usually is, it took a bit of navigational aid to do it safely. Runners would come in either direction and I had to keep a constant eye over my shoulder for faster runners coming by me. I figured it was only right to move out of their way when they came flying by.

Temps were about 35F to 40F. Cloudy and overcast skies. Light sprinkle on my last lap but steady rain didn't start until the last few minutes of the race.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a Starbucks Double Espresso and half a bagel. My first lap I ate the second half of the bagel and had a bottle of plain water and a bottle of Hammer Fizz. I also had a bit of Hammer Gel. My second lap I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz, a bottle of plain water, Hammer Gel, and an e-Gel. I ran out of fluids about a mile from the end of the second loop. My third loop I switched to a bottle of Perpeteum mixed with Zico and a bottle of Hammer Fizz. I also tried to squeeze out more Hammer Gel. My fourth lap was another bottle of Perpeteum, this time mixed with Starbucks Double Espresso, and another bottle of Hammer Fizz. My last lap was two bottles of flat soda. The only aid I took from the aid station was three potato chips, a small cup of Coke, and a pirogi (which I didn't eat until I finished running).

Aches and Pains:
The bottom portion of my right hamstring started to hurt during the second loop. It continually got worse as I continued to move. The pain began to spread to the top of my calf and behind my knee. In some of the muddier sections the left side of my knee hurt. The bottoms of my feet hurt but nothing too terrible. My shoulders and the small of my back also began to hurt towards the end.

I wore my iPod for my last two loops. I wore my new pair of Altra Lone Peaks for the entire race (fresh out of the box and no blisters!) even though I brought two other pairs of shoes to wear just in case. The Lone Peaks (which I saw on another runner) performed awesomely. No blisters and only one hot spot (the outside edge of the ball of each foot). The only issue I had with them is the difficulty in attaching gaiters to them. I have an idea on how to fix it though, just haven't tried it yet. They did awesomely in the mud with very little sticking to the sides or bottom. I did manage to kick a few rocks in them but only had one that really hurt. And I learned from my last run and gave them a solid cleaning today. My arm sleeves were the biggest surprise performance. When I packed them I figured I'd never need them but when I stripped my thermal layer off after the first lap they did a great job at keeping me warm but not too warm. I had some very minor chafing with my shorts and thought about putting my RUEZ underwear on under them but every time I got back to the finish, I determined it would just take me too damn long to change clothes. They were nice to put on after I had finished running though. I also wore my Brooks vest for the last two laps. I was starting to get colder as I slowed down and had not planned for that. Nor did I plan for chilly weather when I was done running I needed at least two more layers for after the finish and probably should have swapped out my headband for a winter beanie for the last two laps.

Codename - No Beer For You
The race director said at some point during the day that you needed 31.5 miles to earn a pint glass. Which makes sense, that's pretty much 50k. And if I could have squeezed out another short loop, I would have gotten that glass. And even though I really, really wanted to push myself to the max and get in a 50k, I knew that if I pushed too hard and blew out my hamstring I'd be putting next month's HAT 50k at risk. And I didn't want to do that. That's my next A-race and I need to get some more training in. And not just training in running either. I need to work on my aid station technique. I did pretty well in this race with my longest aid being around 10 minutes (when Biddi taped me up). But my shortest was 2 minutes. And I'd guess my average was 3 or 4 minutes. Pretty good but I can do better. And since the HAT run has some cut-offs, I need to trim every second I can only focus on what matters. So I may not have a glass to put my beer in but I have a keg full of knowledge to use later. Oh, and Biddi did bring a "girlie" beer (Stella) for me and I managed to drink half of it. Still tasted like ass but less-so than the last stuff she shared.

Like a schmuck, I didn't use my watch like I wanted to so my aid station times and loop times bled together a bit.

Loop 1 (short - 4.7 miles) - 1:01:25 (includes some of my aid station time)
Aid Station 1 - 2:33 (includes some of my Lopp 2 time)
Loop 2 (long - 8 miles) - 1:43:36 (includes Aid Station 2 time)
Aid Station 2 - unknown
Loop 3 (short - 4.7 miles) - 1:09
Aid Station 3 - 8:54 (includes Biddi taping my hamstring)
Loop 4 (short - 4.7 miles) - 1:12:03
Aid Station 4 - 1:52
Loop 5 (short - 4.7 miles) - 1:21:24 (the last 4 miles were all walking)
Finish - 6:40:54 (26.8 miles)

PS - If you look at my Loop 5 split (an hour and 20 minutes) and look at when I stopped running (6 hours and 40 minutes), you may wonder why I didn't go back out and walk another short loop. It's because I thought I didn't have enough time. My mind could NOT do math and I thought I only had an hour left. This haunted me for pretty much my entire drive home but I'm over it because I'm still in one piece. And another side note, when I went to bed last night, my mind was still running. Literally. Every single thought I had would go back to me running on the trail. I'd start thinking a sexy woman and poof, I'm running on the trail. I'd start thinking about driving a fast car and poof, I'm running on the trail. I'd start thinking about rescuing somebody from some dire scenario and poof, I'm running on the trail. I could not turn it off, no matter how hard I tried.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The 7 Deadly Sins

As I was running one day, I began to ponder the seven deadly sins. And how many I suffer from. And how many will kill me.

Envy.Yep. I suffer from this one. I envy those with a better life. More money, more sex, better jobs, better houses, better cars, everything. I envy those people. Not bad enough to do anything too stupid, but I do feel completely incompetent around people that are better than me. And I envy them at the same time.

Gluttony. Are you shitting me? Have you ever seen me eat? I had two servings at dinner tonight. One full serving more than I needed to have. And I'm pretty sure I'll have a snack later tonight too.

Greed. I think I'm greedy to a degree. But I do know that if I were rich, I'd give it all away. Well, not all of it but enough of it to make sure I could live a comfortable life will still improving the lives of those around me.

Lust. Not even going to discuss this one. Too personal. So let's leave it at that.

Pride. I'm extremely proud of my running accomplishments. Proud as a peacock. I love telling people how far I've run. About my past races and future plans. Yes, that's right, I do brag sometimes. But I at least try to humble brag.

Sloth. I'm sitting down for work and for rest. I'm a total couch potato. There are days where I could stay in bed forever. For many reasons. But it's days like that that going to the bathroom are about the only reason I leave the bed.

Wrath. I am spiteful to some degree. I have some extreme thoughts when it comes to people committing certain crimes. Even more so when it comes to punishing stupid, ignorant people.

Isn't low self esteem fun? And so many of these feed off of each other. Gluttony and sloth. Pride and envy. God am I so messed up.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Podcast - Mile 20 - Across The 8-Tracks

In this episode, I cross the tracks. As in, I've now put 20 episodes out there into the wild and have yet to hear from anyone. And I'm okay with that. As I reveal more and more of my personal life, I think I'd prefer to remain anonymous. Although becoming ultra-famous does sound appealing.

Anyway, this episode covers two main topics. First, the movie Across The Tracks staring Brad Pitt and Rick Schroder. It was a decent movie but was pretty interesting to watch as a fan of running. My amateur analysis tells me that Schroder can't run but Pitt can. Second, I worry about my upcoming race, the ICY-8. It's an 8 hour ultra and some big dogs are coming to town. Specifically Steve Spiers and Andy O'Brien. While both are supremely nice guys, they will grind you into the ground when you compete against them.

So there you have it. I know I'm late in getting this episode out but work is, well, work. And with my race coming up on Saturday, I've been shitting bricks. So just hang with me while I stick it out.

Give it a listen here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Numb

Felt super sluggish for this run but I knew it needed to be done. The weather was great but man did it get hot. Scary to think that 60 some degrees is hot but when you're used to running in weather cold enough to freeze your kibbles-n-bits, anything over 50 is hot. My legs, back, and just about everything else were about as flat as Nebraska.

Temps were about 60F to 65F. Wind was moderate. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
This was a lunch-time run. Breakfast was an egg, toast, coffee, and yogurt. I had a few glasses of water after that. First lunch was salad. During the run I had one Hammer Gel and one bottle of Hammer Fizz (way under-hydrated based on the temps). Recovery was spinach and artichoke dip with bread and an orange soda (no caffeine).

Aches and Pains:
Everything was unhappy today. Legs, back, arms. Pretty much just felt blah. No sharp pains though.

Wore my Hammer visor for the first time and it barely fits (I have a huge head). Will also be the last run in these particular Kinvaras.

Codename - Numb
Yet another numb run. Just didn't feel much of anything. Meh.

Outbound - 20:14
Inbound - 20:22
Finish - 40:36