Saturday, March 31, 2012

Race Report - 2012 J Brians Tap Room 15k

Today's race went much better than expected. It was a last minute decision to run and I nearly bailed out at 3 this morning when I heard the torrential downpour going on outside. By the time I got up and out the door, things were looking better. By the time I was ready to run, I realized I was over dressed. Oh well, at least it didn't rain on me.

Race morning was pretty sedate. Rolled out of bed, snagged a small coffee, went to the bathroom, and arrived for packet pickup. Got my packet, went to the bathroom again, chilled out, then went to stand on the street corner like a doofus. Thankfully some fellow DailyMile friends arrived to make me feel even more like a doofus. Yep. Julia W. and Kris D. showed up with a friend and called me by name. And me? I promptly forgot their names. It wasn't until some time later that I realized who the hell they were. I mean, I recognized them, but could not remember what their name was. What kind of running friend am I? Clearly one that doesn't remember names. Biddi showed up a short time later as we chatted. Zach W. meandered around a bit too in the background waiting for the race to start.

Once they made the announcement, we all lined up and started swearing at Biddi. As usual she plops us down in the freaking front of the pack. What the hell?! I mean, we're up there in the front with the race winner and Zach (who placed 8th by the way, not too shabby there!). And us slow pokes are clogging up the road. Sheesh. And then, Biddi has the nerve to HAUL ASS the first mile and take us out at a 9:00 minute mile. WHAT THE HELL?! I was not saying nice things about her. Needless to say, I pulled over after the first mile and walked a minute.

I kept that same routine through the first 7 miles. Run a mile and walk a minute. It felt comfortable. No rush despite the mass of people passing me. No pains despite my big race last weekend (speaking of which, I spotted a HAT hat and shirt at the start - wohoo!). My fueling and fluids were decent but I had some mild bloat in the early miles. I think I chugged a bit too much water because I was thirsty and got a few too many bubbles from the foam.

The best part of the race though was the end. Through mile 3 I was feeling like ass. I was passed by Mr. Boyd who is a regular at many local races and is also a neighbor to my dad. I also graduated high school with his youngest daughter. Anyway, he passed me around mile three and I kept plugging away feeling lousy. Around mile five I was starting to perk up. By this time the old guy that always wears red is starting to creep up on me and passing me when I walk. The old guy in red is another regular at local races. Both he and Mr. Boyd have a nasty habit of flogging my ass when it comes to races. But not today. Dude in red was passed permanently around mile 6. Mr. Boyd came into view with about half a mile left and I was shocked. Truly shocked to see him. So I slowly increased my speed, ditched the extra fluids in my bottles that I didn't need, and made a bee-line for him. And passed him. Going up hill. And passed many others. Yup. I'm the asshole that passes you at the end. The fat asshole that sprints to the finish line just to beat you even though he won't win any prizes.

So with a solid 20 or so people passed in the last half mile or so I felt good. Caught up with the DailyMile gang as they drank beer, ate chicken wings, and talked shop. We snagged a picture ( and I was off for a day of shopping, errands, and yard work.

Temps started around 50F but finished around 55F. Humidity felt higher than expected but it was likely because of the rain storms that moved through the area early this morning. The sun was out for most of the race. Pollen wasn't noticeable.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-race breakfast was a small can of Starbucks double espresso. During the run I had a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum with some Hammer Gel mixed in. My other bottle started with Hammer Fizz and I gradually watered it down over the course of the race. I stopped at two aid stations to refill my bottle with water. I think it was aid stations 2 and 3 (the ones at the tennis court). Recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with chocolate ZICO. Post-run breakfast was breakfast power sandwhich, bacon and spinach souffle, iced tea, and baguette.

Aches and Pains:
Aside from Biddi being a pain in my ass the first mile for making me run so damn fast, I felt fine. Nothing terrible, just the basic sluggish feeling in the early miles and loose-goosey in the later miles.

Headphones were forbidden during the race but I just went out and enjoyed my surroundings. Once Kris and Biddi ran off after the first mile I had to find other ladies to stare at in front of me. Pickings were slim most of the time but I made do.I was wearing a beanie hat but tucked that before the start since I was feeling warm. I also wore arm sleeves that were eventually pushed down around my wrists like stockings on an old lady.

Codename - Back in the Saddle
It was nice to chill out during a run but still have the peer pressure there to keep me moving and keep me motivated. I had zero plans on setting a PR, zero plans on running hard, and zero plans to "race" the race. I just wanted to get back on the horse and ride the wave and have fun.

Mile 1 - 9:06 (waaaaaay too fast)
Mile 2 - 10:48 (slowing down to a comfortable pace)
Mile 3 - 11:07
Mile 4 - 11:20
Mile 5 - 11:09
Mile 6 - 11:10
Mile 7 - 10:48 (time to start negative splitting)
Mile 8 - 10:38
Mile 9 - 9:57 (time to beat the old dudes)
Finish - 1:38:48 (PR by about 4 minutes!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Today's Run - That's not a hill, THIS is a hill

My first "serious" run after the HAT 50k last weekend. I took a few quick strides yesterday but it amounted to maybe a tenth of a mile. Maybe. Since things felt fine yesterday I headed out today to make sure I could still drag my fat ass around the block for 3 miles. After all, I don't want to pull an epic fail during tomorrow's 15k. That's right, I'm running a 15k tomorrow. Yes, I'm an idiot. But I wanted to do the race and just go out and have fun.

Today's run was meh. Nothing terribly exciting except for my suddenly different view on hills. After all those hills last weekend, the ones I ran today looked more like speed bumps. Seriously. I don't even think I noticed them. But I did notice the young lady leaving a house, dragging a suitcase, and heading down the road. I took notice since it was a bit bizarre but I saw her later back at the Y standing at the bus stop. Still a little odd but I'm glad somebody is using public transit while it lasts. Outside of that, it was a pretty basic run. Nothing fancy and I stuck to a 4:1 run:walk ratio.

Temps started around 50F but got up to about 55F by the time I finished. Sky was clear and the sun was out (although it was low on the horizon). Pollen count was high but bearable. Humidity wasn't noticeable.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-run meal was water and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of water. Recovery was a bottle of ZICO. Post-run meal was breakfast burritos, banana, oatmeal, and an iced latte.

Aches and Pains:

Thankfully, none.

Nothing fancy. Wore my RUEZ underwear to keep things warm. Wore long sleeves and a beanie to keep warm but began to warm up a bit too much in the last mile.

Codename - That's not a hill, THIS is a hill
Think Crocodile Dundee. After seeing a series of "real" hills on the HAT run course, I now know how little hill training I have under my belt. I seriously need to run more hills, long hills, rolling hills, and more trails. As I said before, today's run had rollers that were so small I didn't even notice them.

Mile 1 - 10:58
Mile 2 - 11:01
Mile 3 - 11:10
Finish - 34:14

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Podcast - Mile 26 - The Naked Truth

 I'm skipping the embed code for the podcast but leaving you the download link. Or if you prefer you can go straight to Podbean to listen/download. Your choice.

As for this episode, well, let's just say I freak out a bit before my HAT Run 50k race. Totally freak out. If you listen closely, you will hear me just about cry. Almost. But I "manned up" and kept talking.

Oh, and spoiler alert. I did finish the HAT Run 50k. I wasn't as fast as I wanted to be but considering the conditions, I'm happy I was able to finish.

Download or view on Podbean.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Race Report - 2012 HAT Run 50k

Well, I finished. I may not be counted as an "official" finisher since it took me longer than 8 hours, but I don't much care. I finished and I finished under some seriously tough conditions. I know everything is relative but this was not only the toughest course I've ever run but it was also the toughest conditions I've ever run in. So, let's get this insane race report started.

First, I started my race weekend by packing up the family and heading to my sister-in-law's place in Baltimore. Thankfully it's only a short drive from there to the race. Even more thankfully, it was close to an REI. Why am I thankful for that? Because as I was talking about getting ready for dinner with my wife, I realized I had forgotten my handheld bottles at home. Craptastic. So I headed out to REI after eating and picked up two bottles for the race. Oh, and did I mention that we had already stopped there before going to my SIL's place? Yeah.

Race day started out pretty decent. I got up at 0500 after a decent night of sleep, showered, got dressed, and headed out the door. I picked up some gas and an iced latte at a local Sheetz before stopping at Panera to get breakfast. From there I headed up to the park for the race. I nearly hit a deer driving in and a deer nearly hit me.

I was there right at 0700 and I managed to be one of the first 10 people there. So parking in the paved lot was easy. Once I got parked, I hiked my stuff to the pavilion for the race. The rain held off until I was all set to go for the race to start.

As expected I made several trips to the bathroom, not only before I got to the race but also before the race started. The indoor bathrooms weren't open so it was just porta-potties. Didn't really bother me, in fact it was nice to get in out of the rain.

I got my gear prepped and promptly waited for an hour or so for the race to start. I saw Andy O. hanging out and a few other faces that looked familiar but none that I knew. The pre-race brief was brief and then we headed out into the rain for the start.

The start was massive. Even with the foul weather there was a huge amount of people running. We ran across the field, through some more field, down the road, around the parking lot, to the 1 mile mark. Felt kind of bizarre to see a mile marker, but it was there. My pace was okay and I did my best to start in the very back of the pack. We came back around the parking lot to the pavilion where we kept out gear. As I came through I asked a volunteer how long before we came back. He said about 2 or 3 hours. Hmm. Not exactly what I expected. Based on the maps of the course, I thought we made a short 3+ mile loop before coming back to the pavilion and we had barely done 2. So I wasn't sure if he was right or if I was right. I put on my Nathan HPL 020 hydration pack just in case, packed a bottle of Perpeteum, and trucked on. And I promptly got behind an insanely large crowd of people waiting to get down a tiny gap in the rock wall. But I was okay to wait. The gap was small, the drop was steep, and there were plenty of pointy rocks just waiting for a victim. After that, it was a rough jaunt through the woods. We got lapped by one fast runner before heading along a different trail spur and getting stuck behind some slow guys. I was torn between going faster and passing them and going slower just to keep on track with my plans to start slow and finish strong.

Turns out I was right because after a few more miles, we came back to the pavilion. So I refilled my bottle again and headed out. This time I knew I was in for a longer trek. I had no idea where I was going so just hung on for the ride. I quickly came to my first major creek crossing and promptly got cold feet. The creek was wide but shallow. It wasn't as bad as I thought until I got through the other side and into some serious mud. It only got worse from there. And worse. And worse. There was hill after hill, roller after roller, mud after mud, and the list goes on. In fact, everything looked so much the same that the only sections that stand out are the non-trail portions. There was an aid station at the Campground that we went through twice. The first time around it was at the bottom of a hill and the second time it was after a long road section. In between was a long section in some fields. After the second campground aid station we headed back into the woods for a constant set of rollers. And then when you think it's done, you keep going. And then you go some more. And when you think you've reached the unmanned water station, you realize it's not where you thought it would be and instead you have to keep running up the hill.

Once I got to the top of the hill at the park entrance and realized I was say low on fluids I was tanked. Thankfully the unmanned water station was at the entrance so I quickly filled my bottle and kept running. The section between the park entrance and the end of the large loop is the worst. There's a long downhill road section followed by a stream crossing and a long uphill section. The worst part is hearing the finish and knowing that you have to go back up the hill you're going down. Oh, and to make things worse, I was passed by 6 people in this section. That's right, I got lapped before I could even finish my first long loop.

And somewhere in there was a set of stairs, a deep creek (up to my knees), a road section, and lots of mud. Oh, and Morgan Freeman. That's right, Morgan Freeman. I was cruising through the field section and tagged along with a group of runners. A lady and two guys were chatting away telling running stories. And the one guy was Morgan Freeman. I swear to God. He was tall, lanky, had graying hair, freckles on his face, and some uneven teeth. I swear he was Morgan Freeman from Robin Hood running in the field right next to me. I had no idea what to think.

At the end of my first long loop I ditched my hydration pack and stripped off my UnderArmour shirt. Everything was soaked and now I knew where the aid stations were. Thus I knew where to expect water refills. By this time I was exhausted already but doing my best to stay steady. Turns out I was way under-fueling because I didn't factor in the effort required to go up and down the hills and to navigate the mud.

On my second long loop, things got worse step by step. I managed to stick with some people through certain sections but eventually reached rock bottom when I got to the Campground the first time. I followed another runner in and was seriously struggling. I almost asked if I would make the cut-off but was too afraid of what would happen if I verbalized my fears. The old guy manning the table said it was only 4 more miles until we came back on the other side. So I figured I'd give it a shot.

As I neared the Campground again from the other side I was passed by a guy walking. Yep, he passed me. While he was walking. I was totally expecting to be told to climb into the van because I was beyond the cut-off but the guy in front of me got some drinks and snacks and kept going. So I figured what the hell, I'll keep going too.

On the other side I passed the mustache man that walked past me and passed three more ladies (one looked injured). After that I slowly made progress and caught up to two Marathon Maniacs. I ran/walked with them for a solid section through the park entrance. After that I kept them in sight but slowly lost ground to them. I had no running gear left until the end when I managed to run the last field across the finish line. I got my finisher's hat and blanket thingie, thanked the race workers, and went to my bag where I sat down and cried. After that I felt much better and packed my gear and left.

I'm sure there's more to talk about but that's the meat of the race.

Rainy. Temps started around 60F but dropped to maybe 55F by the finish. It rained on and off through most of the race but the worst was at the start. Heavy clouds.

Fluids and Fuel:
I took an e-Gel at the start. Ran the first one-ish miles with a bottle of Hammer Fizz. Ran another two-ish miles with a bottle of Hammer Fizz and my hydration pack. I ran my first long loop (about 14 miles) with my hydration pack and a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum. My second long loop was a bottle of Hammer Fizz and Hammer Perpeteum. I periodically took shots of Hammer Gel. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite and several pierogies. I seriously underestimated my fueling needs. I needed more fuel for the hills and the mud. I also underestimated the aid stations and how often I'd get water. That was mostly due to now knowing the course.

Aches and Pains:

My knees hurt towards the end, but that was expected. The worst pain was my toes. I managed to score two tiny blisters on my two toes next to my big toe. Both are my problem toes but the heavy downhills and constant attempts to stop falling were likely the cause behind my toes getting blisters. Oh, yeah, and add in plenty of water and mud. My calves were also hurting after the first long loop from attempting to climb up the hills and through the mud. My right quad was hurting just like it did from the ICY-8 and kept nagging me for a solid 15 to 20 miles.

I wore my UnderArmour long sleeve shirt for a good 15-17 miles. By the end of my first long loop it was soaked through and I was getting way over heated so I just ditched it. Same goes for my gloves. I also wore my hydration pack for a good 15 miles because I didn't know where the aid stations where or knew that much about the course. My Amphipod handheld bottles did great. Best gear of all was my Altra Zero Drop Lone Peak shoes. The extra large toebox helped but the traction was amazing. I saw a lot of people fall and everyone was slipping. And while I was slipping too, I didn't fall. Not once. And while I fully expected to fall because I was wearing a white shirt, I could see and feel the difference in traction. Coming in second in the awesome gear category was my homemade Hammer Fizz carrier. I'll work on getting a post up later on how to make them.

Codename - Andy and Red
Yeah, so I told you about seeing Morgan Freeman on the course. Well, combine that with the mud and rain and I felt like I was reenacting a scene from The Shawshank Redemption.

Mile 1 - 12:06 (faster than expected)
Aid Station 1 - 1:35 (getting my hydration pack on)
Rest of Short Loop - 36:56
Pre-Campground Section 1 - 1:02:23
Post-Campground Section 1 - 56:10
Last Section 1 - 1:27:30
Aid Station 2 - 3:43 (changing clothes)
Pre-Campground Section 2 - 1:16:16 (about 14 minutes slower)
Post-Campground Section 2 - 1:11:00 (about 15 minutes slower)
Last Section 2 - 1:40:03 (about 13 minutes slower)

Short Loop - 55:40
Long Loop 1 - 3:26:04
Long Loop 2 - 5:06:44

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yesterday's Run - The Naked Truth

I know what you're going to tell me. Just chill. But I can't. I'm in damn near panic mode about Saturday's race. I'm in such a panic, I started pulling crap out last night to pack, even though I'm not even close to being ready to pack. It's like I'm stuck on a treadmill. I keep running and running but I'm not getting anywhere.

So today's run was an attempt to keep the rust off my old, creaky axe handle and to put the shouts of panic into a quiet room. At least for a little bit. Thankfully it worked. Until I got home and into the shower and the panic came back. Talk about some pre-race jitters. Wow.

And how bad are those jitters? It's like I'm walking on broken glass.

Temps were about 70F to 75F but humidity was high, likely around 60% due to morning fog and early morning showers. The sun was out but wasn't that noticeable.

Fluids and Fuel:This was a pre-lunch run. Breakfast was yogurt, coffee, eggs, toast, and oatmeal. During the run I had a bottle watered-down Hammer Fizz. Recovery was a bottle of chocolate ZICO in the shower.

Aches and Pains:
The biggest pain I had was stepping on a pointy rock. It hurt enough to make me stutter step. Beyond that, things were fine.

Wore my iPod just to use the music to help drown out the voices of panic.

Codename - The Naked Truth
It's a vague reference to my next podcast episode's title. Check out my blog and catch up. If you dare.

Outbound - 11:00
Inbound - 10:22
Finish - 21:23

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HAT 50k Goals

While I normally give a time goal or a goal that's something like "have fun" or "just finish" I'm going to totally go lame on you and just go with one goal. Finish. I know, I know, I use that one all the time. But I'm starting to seriously freak out about this race. Deep down I can feel the panic building and growing like an insane Chia Pet doing hits of Miracle Grow. I just want to finish this race. There are several cut-offs and I'm worried I'll miss one. Or worse yet, I'll miss the last one and get a DNF.

And I think that's my biggest worry. A DNF. It's like cancer. We all fear it as runners but we also know that people survive it, recover from it, and can even have several cases of it without losing their ability to run. So here's to fighting the good fight and doing my best to finish. That's all I really want to do. Everything beyond that is just gravy.

Yesterday's Run - I'll run up on your ass

Did my best to go slow and enjoy the sites around me. Unfortunately I continually saw my big gut sticking out in front, my hairy pits on the sides, and towards the end I would smell my own funk. Outside of that, I managed to keep a good attitude and decent pace going.

Nothing terribly exciting on my run other than my DailyMile tag is still there and I had a lorry (no, I'm not British but the thing wasn't a truck or a car it wasn't even a mini-van - the damn thing can only be classified as a lorry) try to play chicken with me. I won and he swerved. But I was ready to do a ditch dive.

No snakes or other critters although I heard plenty of something skittering on the edge of the road the entire time. Oh, I forgot about the pintail duck I startled off the side of the road swimming in some nasty-ass water that doesn't drain.

And that was it. One more run on Thursday before my big race on Saturday. And while a 50k is like a Junior Varsity race for many in the ultra community, the HAT 50k is more like a JV race run by Seniors. I feel way out of my league but I'm going to push through and do my best. Guess this means I should write up some goals.

Temps were about 65F to 70F. Humidity was noticeable today, probably about 60%. Sun came out for the second half, before that mostly clouds.

Fluids and Fuel:
This was a pre-lunch run. Breakfast was oatmeal, toast, yogurt, and coffee. During the run I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and a bottle of watered-down Hammer Fizz. Recovery was chocolate ZICO.

Aches and Pains:
Not really any to speak of. Felt some minor tweaks and twinges in my left shin but nothing too terrible.

I left the sunglasses at home. Don't know why, just didn't feel like wearing them. Wore my too-small Hammer visor but it didn't give me a headache today. Also ditched the iPod just so I could chill and enjoy the surroundings.

Codename - I'll run up on your ass
A turkey vulture was enjoying some roadkill as I came running down the road. He was reluctant to move until I got close to him. Once I was within 10 feet or so he scampered off to the shoulder until I passed.

Outbound - 30:33
Inbound - 29:55
Finish - 1:00:28

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Don't Choke

Just so I can keep track of this for my own records, this route started at the usual spot at the Visitor Center (at Westmoreland State Park). From there I headed out to the Laurel Point Trail where I detoured to the top of the River Trail. At the bottom of the River Trail I headed back up Laurel Point Trail and then back down River Trail again. I then went across the beachfront to the Beach Trail (aka Stairway to Hell) and back to the Visitor Center. From there I went down the Big Meadow Trail to the beach and back, twice. Mileage I can only guess at about 6 to 8 miles.

This was the far end of the beach:

Okay, for the run itself, it was a bit tough but ended up with a fun little jaunt in the water. The first big loop (Laurel Point, River, and Beach) was rough going. I did my best to power through the hills (namely Laurel Point) but it was rough. Going up Beach and down River was a tie in the pain department. For my second round of pain, I ditched the iPod and headed down the hill to the beach. I wasn't sure what the tides would be like but I figured I'd try to get my feet wet. I was lucky enough to catch it at low tide as it was going out and did a bang-up job getting wet. In fact, I did quite well keeping the water below the knees. Until I saw the snake on my second loop. And that's when I called it quits. Yup. I'm a chicken shit. Even more so when I saw two lizards on the way back up the hill that made me do my little Heisman dance.

The undiscovered country:

Outside of that excitement, I did my best to not scare the other people out there enjoying their day. But instead, I went topless about 20 minutes into my run. Yup. Sorry folks. I went topless. Too bad all the hot chicks on the beach didn't copy me.

Temps were about 65F with a slight breeze. Sun was out for the most part but there were a few clouds here and there.

Fluids and Fuel:
I had a lunch of spaghetti with meat sauce and two slices of bread with water about an hour before the run. During the run I had a bottle of water and a bottle of Hammer Fizz for the first big loop. For my beach repeats I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz for each as well as half a bag of chews for each repeat. My recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with chocolate ZICO.

The forbidden trail off the beach:

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt much as I ran until my last beach repeat where my right hamstring was getting a little tweaky.

Stripped off my shirt about 20 minutes into my run. Listened to my iPod for the first big loop but ditched it for the beach repeats. Although I did take my phone for the last beach repeat to snag some photos. I also wore my Saucony Peregrines for the last time. Figured if I got them nice and soaked in the nasty-ass river water, I'd retire them.

Codename - Don't Choke
As I made my way down the hill for my last beach repeat, I damn near choked on one of my little gummy chew things. After I coughed up the offending chunk I began to wonder if I'd choke next weekend at the HAT 50k. Dear God, I hope not.

This was route my route back:

Big Loop - 57;04
Aid Station - 2:53
Beach Repeat 1 - 26:07
Beach Repeat 2 - 24:19
Finish - 1:50:24

Friday, March 16, 2012

Podcast - Mile 25 - The Walking Podcast

We'll see how this goes. I'm testing a embedded player from PodBean as well as a link to the MP3 download. If it works (or doesn't) let me know. I know I have at least 1 listener out there, maybe 2 if I count myself.

As for the podcast itself, well, it was about like my run. Long, winded, and a bit sucky. I'm just grateful the snake I ran across left me the hell alone. I hate snakes. A lot.

Mile 25 (download here):

Oh, and if the stuff above doesn't work, you can go directly to PodBean like normal for the episode.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Bacon and Eggs

Went out for a long run today and sort of bailed on it but sort of didn't. I really wanted to go for 20 miles but knew I didn't have the time and I would be cutting things close on the taper-side of things. So I did what I could and left it at that.

Saw a few interesting things going on during my run. There was a work crew from the local jail. There were park workers repairing cabins. There were beer cans on the trail. There was a group of kids on the beach (where I think I photo-bombed their group picture). There was even the smell of bacon in the air.

I saran wrapped my phone but didn't quite get it out of the way for this picture:

Temps started at 55F but quickly went up to 70F by the time I finished. Skies were clear. Very light breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had a full-blown breakfast of eggs, yogurt, coffee, toast, and oatmeal. I left for my run about an hour later and had a bit of a heavy gut early on in the run but nothing too major. During the run I had a bottle of plain water, a bottle of watered-down Gatorade, a Hammer Gel, and two bottles of Hammer Fizz. I was sweating a lot later in the run and the Hammer Fizz seemed to help keep the electrolytes in order but I was running low on fuel because I didn't use any Perpeteum. Recovery was a chocolate ZICO followed by a lunch of left over hamburger, potato, and corn and a small Coke.

My man-made bridge to get to the other side:

Aches and Pains:
I felt sluggish for parts of the run but during other parts I felt like I could continue to grind away for another hour. Late in the run I could tell my fuel was low but I also knew I was almost done so I didn't bother taking in more calories. My knees hurt at various points along with my ankles. Nothing major. Had some nipple chafe due to my neglecting to put on BodyGlide. My toes were also hurting a bit by the end as well as the ball of my left foot. My gut only made me stop two or three times, once was for a major bowel movement (thank God for baby wipes!).

Wore my cycle jersey with pockets in the back. Really wish somebody would make a runner's version of this. Wore my Altra Lone Peaks with no issues. Took my iPod but only listened to it for the last few miles. Also took my phone to track my mileage in RunKeeper.

I was able to go from this side of the beach to the other (about the middle of this picture) due to low tide:

Codename - Bacon and Eggs
While I had a full-blown breakfast and enjoyed it, I was a bit worried that I would bust a gut on the trail. Thankfully I didn't, at least not because of my breakfast. I'm sure the coffee helped flush things out but the worst part wasn't taking a dump in the woods. The worst part was smelling somebody making bacon. Oh, did it smell good. Wonderful, crispy, bacon. MMmmmm.

The sun was out in full today:

Mile splits are by RunKeeper and not completely accurate. I did use my watch to keep track of my time at the "aid station" (aka my car) but I ended up only taking one break there to refill my bottles.
Mile 1 - 12:39 (includes pee break)
Mile 2 - 12:15
Mile 3 - 13:18
Mile 4 - 16:42 (includes poop break)
Mile 5 - 13:37
Mile 6 - 19:24 (includes refilling bottles)
Mile 7 - 13:44
Mile 8 - 14:56
Mile 9 - 10:58
Mile 10 - 20:56 (includes some exploring on the beach)
Finish - 2:33:43

Loop 1 (about 5.6 miles) - 1:19:46
Aid Station - 4:12
Loop 2 (about 4.8 miles) - 1:09:43

Almost forgot to mention that I ran every open path today. If the trail was open, I ran it. The only ones I skipped were Turkey Neck and Beaver Dam which are still closed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Snakes

Shit on a stick. This run stank. But I'm okay with that. I at least beat gravity just enough to make it out of bed and into my shoes.

Let's see, what else can I complain about? Probably nothing you'd care about so let's move on to the meat of the run.

Temps were 65F to 70F with a steady wind of about 15mph. Wind was warm but nice enough in some sections to cool you off. Heat was brutal. I really need to get back into the heat training mode and I'm glad to have the practice but man, I really did wish it was cooler today. Stripped off my shirt about a mile into the run.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was eggs, yogurt, and coffee. Had a little water before the run but not quite enough. Took a shot of Hammer Gel right before I left. During the run I had a bottle of water and a bottle of Hammer Fizz. Finished both by the end. Very thirsty and very hot.

Aches and Pains:
It felt like everything hurt. Left knee, right knee, both shins, then ankles, then chest, then everything else. Yuck.

No special gear. But I did leave my iPod at home.

Codename - Snakes
I hate snakes. A lot. And while I never want to encounter a bear during my run, I think I'd rather see a bear than a snake, I hate them that much. So when I saw a baby snake on the road (skinnier than a pencil and about 10 inches long), I freaked out a bit. I left it alone and didn't see him on my return trip.

Outbound - 31:04
Inbound - 30:43
Finish - 1:01:47

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Podcast - Mile 24 - Outside My Shell

Dear Lord am I a nut. A loon. A crazy, weird dude. Yah. You should know that already. So anyway, this podcast is extremely short as I didn't feel like talking in front of my family for fear they would ridicule me for talking into a voice recorder (and rightly so). So instead I just cut the episode short. I did pay a bit of an homage to Kim and her Running and Other Stuff podcast. I don't know why, but I like her podcast. I know, that didn't sound right but she does a great job.

The rest of this episode is just me briefly recounting the tale of my falls during my most recent race. Hope you enjoy. And try not to laugh too much.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Turkey

Decided to come home after my workout with Stephanie and eat breakfast. And then I promptly tried to take a nap. I wasn't very successful. But at least I tried. Getting out the door was fairly easy since I was still in a bit of a fog. Got to the Y in plenty of time to ditch my gear and use the bathroom. Once I had my kit on and everyone was ready to go, we went outside and enjoyed the weather.

Oh what a beautiful bunch of ..... I mean ..... what a beautiful day it was outside. We set out and ran a loop and just as the last of the ladies were finishing, I stripped off my shirt, scared them away, and had the second loop to myself. Although there was one other lady out there but she's a family friend and runs a shit load faster than me (and thus didn't have to see the Lumberjack in all his topless glory).

Nothing too exciting about this run other than the weather. I did mess around a bit with my fluids and fuel and had so-so results. Further proof that I just need to stick with what works and only tinker on training days where I can easily bail on a run if I need to.

Temps were about 65F to 70F. Winds were gusty and steady around 25mph. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
After my full breakfast recovery meal after my training session, I had about an hour to digest before running. That seems to be the bare minimum that I need to avoid any stomach issues. During the first loop I had a bottle of plain water. I downed a Hammer Gel (Montana Huckleberry isn't the best flavor) between loops and had a bottle of Hammer Heed for the second loop. The Strawberry flavor was not very strong (that's a good thing) but I could not feel any impact to energy levels. Recovery was a hot shower followed by some coffee, another aborted attempt at a nap, and a large salad with a can of tuna.

Aches and Pains:
My left shin was hurting during the second loop. I think it was due to my form and my shoes (they're nearing the end of their life and I'm really getting used to my Altras). Outside of that, everything felt fine, just sluggish.

Discovered it's a bit difficult to clip your iPod shuffle to your shirt when you don't wear one. Tried to clip it to my necklace but ended up making due with attaching it to my shorts. The wind didn't help as it blew the cable around like crazy.

Codename - Turkey
Turns out my running buddy Amanda is moving to Turkey in July. She's so nice, runs a little faster than me, and is always great to talk to during a run. I'm going to miss her.

Mile 1 - 10:00 (way too fast but Amanda is great at pushing the pace)
Mile 2 - 11:15
Mile 3 - 10:46
First 5k - 34:12 (includes stripping my shirt, downing a gel, and swapping bottles)
Mile 4 - 10:28
Mile 5 - 12:50 (includes a pee break)
Mile 6 - 10:42
Second 5k - 35:02
Finish - 1:09:14

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Yesterday's Run - The Tree Wins

Felt slow and sluggish today. I think I really need a nap. Took lots of effort to skip crawling under the blankets and instead go outside to enjoy the weather. Once I finally cranked some tunes to set the mood, I was able to convince myself that running was a good idea. Even though every moment down the road I could hear my bed calling me all sorts of bad names. Oh well.

Once I finally got out the door, I did my best to enjoy the weather. It lasted about 2 minutes. What the hell was I thinking wearing long sleeves, a vest, and a winter hat? Yes, I knew it was going to be warm but for some reason that didn't register when I got dressed. Thankfully I didn't sweat off too many pounds. But man did I sweat. Dumb ass move.

Outside of that, the major excitement was Lumberjacking a tree, a tree Lumberjacking a guy with a chainsaw, and a power crew working their poles. So first up, I tagged a sign with the DailyMile sticker on my return leg. Nothing fancy, just a push pin and a sticker. Maybe Michele S. will see it on her next trip down the road. Then we had the tree branch across the road, the guy laying in the grass, the two dudes standing around shooting the breeze, and the lady directing traffic around the branch in the road. I ran by, said hello, and got no response. So I kept going. A quarter mile later, I hear sirens. Apparently the guy wasn't taking a break in the grass but instead broke something. Guess it wasn't that much of an emergency since they didn't ask me for any help. And finally there's the power company's work crew that was either inspecting or labeling power poles. I didn't stop to ask but got some pleasant hellos and waves.

The tagged street sign:

Temps were about 55F with winds around 20mph. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was oatmeal, yogurt, and coffee. I also had an iced latte and some water this morning. I took an e-Gel right before my run. During the run I had a bottle of water and a bottle of NUUN. I finished both by the end. Recovery was a bottle of chocolate ZICO and some Ramen noodles with leftover taco meat.

Aches and Pains:
The arch of my right foot was starting to hurt a bit towards the end but nothing too terrible. Outside of that, I just felt winded and slow.

Like I said, I over-dressed for the weather but made due. I also took my iPod for tunes and my phone to take photos (only available on my blog, sorry).

Codename - The Tree Wins
If you have an accident and need help, please ask for it. Clearly if you're not able to ask for help, that's understandable. But if you have three people standing around doing nothing and you're hurt on the ground, then the least you could do is tell the guy running by what's going on. Granted, I may not be an EMT and I may not have been able to provide first aid for a guy that was clearly conscious and not crying out in pain, but I could have helped direct traffic. Hell, I even looked like a damn traffic cone.

The winning tree:

Outbound - 32:33
Inbound - 34:24 (includes a headwind of 20mph for the last mile)
Finish - 1:06:58

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Lumberjack This, I'm Going Home

I just didn't have enough Lumberjack in me today to feel motivated enough to finish a second loop of anything. I had Lumberjack intentions though and left my second bottle out to scoop it and go for a second loop but ended up calling it quits after one loop.

The run was fairly uneventful. Damn near Lumberjacked some deer as soon as I stepped onto the trail. They took off running when they saw me. Not sure who was more startled, me or them. Outside of that, things were just slow. I'd walk, run, walk, meander, poke around, take some photos, run some more. Boring. But it was nice to get out and do something. Especially after taking a nap like the dumb Lumberjack that I am. Should have just ran instead of collapsing on the bed but no, I made a poor decision. I think tomorrow I'll try to swing back to my daytime schedule and just deal with the lack of sleep as if I were staying up late to Lumberjack a good book or movie or something. Guess we'll see how that goes.

A bit Lumberjacky but moderate enough with temps around 35F to 40F. There was a slight breeze. Sun was out as far as I could tell.

Fluids and Fuel:
I totally Lumberjacked my fuel this morning. Breakfast was yogurt and water. Then right before I left to go run, I downed a Honey Stinger waffle and a small back of potato chips. Dumb. Ass. During the run I had one bottle of water. Recovery was a bottle of ZICO.

Aches and Pains:
Thankfully I didn't trip and Lumberjack on my ass. That being said, my ankles were sore and my breathing was seriously heavy considering how slow I was going.

Nothing fancy although I did run with my phone for some reason. I think I had intentions of mapping a new GPS route in RunKeeper but gave up.

Codename - Lumberjack This, I'm Going Home
Thanks to Biddi G. for inspiring me to write like a Lumberjacking Smurf. I'll now upload a new profile picture so people don't Lumberjack too many bricks when they read my list.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Blackjack

Huge thanks to Biddi G. for giving me a reason to not only get out of bed but to get out the door and run. This past week pretty much sucked training-wise. Sure, I got two sessions in with Stephanie and I got a nice 8 mile hill workout in, but damn, I wanted more miles on the board. 8 miles just wasn't in the plan. But plans change and sometimes the couch is just too tempting so you have to, just have to go lay down and sleep for an hour. And then sleep for another hour. Oh well, I'll live.

So today was a make-up day of sorts. I wanted to crack 20 miles but I had no idea if my mind or body would let me. Thankfully Biddi was there to kick me in the ass enough to get me started. So we cruised along together for a solid 13 mile run. And it was awesome. But she was the one that paid the price this time. She said I needed to "trip her and drag her ass back" if she tried anything over 12 miles. Well, I thought she said 10 miles (she was nice enough to prove me wrong at the end). So when we got to 10, I tried to turn her around but no, she pushed on. So at 12 I tried again and again she said no, just a little more. So we ended up with 13. I didn't mind the mileage but I knew she needed to play it smart and not get fucked up and sit on the sidelines for another 2 months.

I knew she was flagging a bit through the whole run because she wasn't pushing me hard. Usually she'll crack the damn whip and make me thrash myself raw by running 10 minute miles (or faster). Today, she was slower and I was able to keep up without seeing spots from lack of oxygen. So I knew she was still recovering. And that was cool, I needed to go slow anyway. But I made sure she paid a little bit in the last mile and a half. I knew she was suffering but I also knew she told me to stop her from going over 12 miles. So I did the best I could and easily cruised ahead of her and maintained an solid lead through the last mile. I was happy that I was easily going faster than her but I tried not to take too much pleasure in it. After all, I was trying to teach a lesson. Slow. The. Fuck. Down.

So, after we parted ways, I headed back out to torture myself. Thankfully Biddi wasn't there because I paid the price for enjoying her suffering. I suffered through a good portion of the next 8 miles but at the same time I was happy to get in my 20 miles and a hair more. A great mental victory (and a few miles) in the bag.

A side note for the local runners out there, I saw more people on the DRHT today than I've ever seen before (except for races). Biddi and I saw 1 lady and her two dogs and another runner well ahead of us that we never caught up to. As I was doing my solo 8, I saw another guy running with two girls and then another lady with her dog showed up just as I was leaving. Wow. Busy day.

Temps were around 40F at the start and got up to maybe 45F or 50F by the end. Heavy clouds with not much sun. Rain started just as I finished. Wind was light to moderate.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was eggs, toast, coffee, and yogurt. During the run I kept to mainly Hammer Fizz, Perpeteum, and Gel. The first 8 miles was a bottle of Hammer Fizz and a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum with some Hammer Gel mixed in. The next 5 miles was the same (a bottle of Hammer Fizz and a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum with some Hammer Gel mixed in). The final 8 miles was again pretty much the same except I had ZICO coconut water with Hammer Gel mixed in one bottle and Hammer Fizz in another bottle. Recovery was another bottle of ZICO followed by three sliders (that's a mini-hamburger) and some jalapeno poppers.

Aches and Pains:
I felt slow and sluggish for the first 4 miles but once I warmed up I felt pretty good through mile 11. Around mile 12 I felt pretty damn awesome through the end of the fist 13 miles. From there, it was a roller coaster. Miles 16 and 17 were rough but I felt better until mile 20 when things got rough again. By then I just wanted things to be over with. The last 8 miles also brought some sporadic pain to my right hamstring. When it got too painful I just stopped and walked until it calmed down some. Outside of that, my hips and knees hurt but that's to be expected at this distance.

I wore mu Saucony Peregrines which were fine until about mile 15 when they really started to annoy the hell out of me. I brought my Altra Lone Peaks but I didn't change into them out of sheer laziness. I wore my arm sleeves for the first few miles and they were awesome at keeping me warm while letting me strip them off at mile 4 of the run. Skipped the sunglasses due to the serious lack of sun. Listened to my iPod from mile 9 to mile 21. No other fancy gear.

Codename - Blackjack
I doubled-down today and came away with a winning hand. But I didn't win a lot of money, fame, or bragging rights. What did I win? An awesome new phrase thanks to Nora . So ladies, if you want to get Lumberjacked, just let me know. And while I'm willing to Lumberjack some guys, I don't expect many to knock down the door for a turn. In fact, I don't expect any women to volunteer either. Maybe I shouldn't stare at their asses when they run in front of me.

Mile 1 - 10:08 (includes a pee break)
Mile 2 - 12:13
Mile 3 - 11:18
Mile 4 - 10:34
Mile 5 - 12:37
Mile 6 - 11:05
Mile 7 - 10:44
Mile 8 - 10:51
Aid Station - 9:56 (refilled my bottles and grabbed my iPod)
Mile 9 - 10:50
Mile 10 - 11:02
Mile 11 - 12:19 (includes pee break)
Mile 12 - 10:41
Mile 13 - 11:18
Aid Station - 8:48 (refilled my bottles)
Mile 14 - 10:27
Mile 15 - 11:42
Mile 16 - 12:34
Mile 17 - 12:20
Mile 18 - 11:44
Mile 19 - 13:30 (stopped to tie a streamer on a low branch)
Mile 20 - 12:05
Mile 21 - 11:33
Finish - 4:20:23

Friday, March 02, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Let's Go Boro

I'd like to extend an extra-special thanks to 3NonJoggers for their wonderfully cursed white shirt. Asshats. But more on that in a minute.

So after I did my morning workout with my trainer, I snagged some food, packed my bag, and changed my shoes before heading to the local state park down the road. I knew I'd have a bit of extra time this morning before work so I did my best to enjoy myself. I haven't run all week and it was starting to nag at me. After getting totally sucked into the black hole of my couch yesterday morning (and sleeping for 2 extra hours), I decided I needed to get my run on. So I set out to enjoy myself first and to focus on hilly routes and just running based on how I felt, not my pace.

I parked and headed down the first trail fully intent on crossing the little creek at the bottom that's at least knee-deep. I splashed through a few puddles along the way, passed a guy reading on a bench with his dog (more on him later), and generally just had fun. I wanted to trash my shoes and socks in an effort to put them to the test before heading to the HAT 50k this month and so far I was doing well at getting them dirty. At the bottom of the hill I cruised out onto the beach and saw the little stream was a bit deeper than I remembered. At least waist deep if not more. Yeah. Fuck that shit. So I ran to each end of the beach (not very far) and headed back up the hill (very slowly). Again I splashed through the puddles and stopped at my car to refill my bottle and grab a snack.

My first loop took me down the Stairway to Hell trail first and along the beach. How bad is this trail? Any local can tell you it sucks. 220 steps from top to bottom. And yes, I counted them (don't you know I'm OCD?). There's a few ups and downs in between but not many, mostly just stairs. As I got to the top of the longest stretch of stairs, I slid on the slimy, moldy platform. Holy fuck. Talk about being scared straight. I damn near wiped out at the top of at least 175 steps. In a row. That would have hurt. A lot. So I went slowly down the steps, onto the beach, and cruised to the other end to pick up the next trail. I slowly went up this trail (only 83 steps on this one) and slipped a lot where there were no steps. Very muddy, very loose, and very sketchy. But I survived and cruised down the other side before eventually making it back to my car.

Along the way back to my car, the guy that was reading with his dog pulled along side in his car and said "sorry to interrupt your run but did you go to Edinboro?" Talk about dumbfounded. Hardly anybody around here has heard of Edinboro. Hell, most people in the country have never heard of Edinboro University. Or if they have, it's because they think it's in Scotland. Well, it isn't. It's in north-western Pennsylvania. So we chatted for a few minutes but I was such the socially awkward penguin. I have no idea how to react to people I don't know. I have to be around you for a bit before I open up. Anyway, he graduated in 92, my wife and I graduated in 98, I mentioned it was a small world, etc. etc. etc.

From there I got more water at my car, downed a GU, and headed back out to run the same loop in reverse (going down 83 steps and up 220). And this is where the curse of the white shirt struck. Cruising along a nice flat section of trail, feeling good, see some puddles ahead to run through, WHAM! Tripped on a fucking root. Thankfully the ground was slick enough that was able to execute a decent tuck and roll. But yet again, I busted my strap on my Amphipod bottle. Shit on a stick. And got a pretty good chuck of mud in my watch band. And banged my hip hard enough to bruise it (but thankfully missed landing on my phone somehow). So I wiped myself off a bit, rubbed some dirt in new scratch on my leg, and kept going. Down 83 steps. Across the beach. Up 220 steps. Back to my car. And done.

Temps were about 65F when I started and crept up to 70F by the finish. Wasn't humid but I could feel the heat wearing me down the first few miles. Nearly took my shirt off but after I fell I realized that may not be a wise idea. Sun was out with a few clouds. Light breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
After my workout I had two breakfast burritos and an iced latte. During the run I had a bottle of NUUN (first 3 or 4 miles) then a bottle of Hammer Fizz (last 3 miles or so). I took a GU gel around mile 4ish. I also ate some PowerBar chewy things but they didn't seem to help much. I could feel the GU kick in as well as the Hammer Fizz. Recovery was a bottle of ZICO and some ham when I got home.

Aches and Pains:
My calves were sore from the morning workout but held up pretty well. My right hamstring was starting to hurt on the second loop as I went down the steps. Again, I think I was over striding going down and it started to bark in the same spot just above the knee. My hip hurts now where I landed on it and I can feel the scratch on my left calf. Nothing too terrible though.

I love my Amphipod bottles but damn, they suck when you land on them. This will be the third bottle I've busted a strap on from falling. I even tried not to land on the bottle this time and it still broke. Thankfully I ordered two more from REI yesterday. And of course I was blessed with the curse of the white shirt again. I think I'm starting to see a pattern. Wear white, get stains. In other words, wear a white shirt and you're going to fall down in the mud. No iPod today but I did carry my phone to use RunKeeper to keep track of my distance (trail maps are always a bit unreliable). Wore my Smartwool socks and Altra Lone Peak shoes and put a healthy trashing on them. They both held up quite well so I think I'll continue with the combo until something rubs me the wrong way. Had no issues going through mud or water in them. Worst part of slipping was the moldy steps and the very loose mud (slick as snot). My feet would be cold going through the water but after 50 paces or so I wouldn't even notice. The shoes would get heavier with the water but would drain well too.

Codename - Let's Go Boro
I'm still amazed that I could meet a fellow Alumni in some remote park in the middle of the week. Crazy.

Splits are from RunKeeper and may not be entirely accurate. I also kept splits on my watch to keep me honest moving in and out of my aid station (aka my car).
Mile 1 - 12:45
Mile 2 - 12:34
Mile 3 - 17:08
Mile 4 - 14:00
Mile 5 - 11:58
Mile 6 - 14:09
Mile 7 - 16:18

Big Meadow Trail - 17:46
Aid Station 1 - 1:34
Beach Trail/Laurel Point Trail - 45:57
Aid Station 2 - 2:52
Laurel Point Trail/Beach Trail - 42:44

Finish - 1:50:56

PS - Here's the elevation profile for the route. I hated those hills but I hope they'll help.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Podcast - Mile 23 - What's On My Mind

Have a lot on my mind during this podcast. An email from my mom may put us in Salt Lake this summer (or New York or New England). My friend is working on a book deal and I'm one of his beta readers. I have some positive exchanges and one negative exchange with a dog. And then I start to delve into the dark abyss of rambling because I can't think of squat to say. Maybe one of these days I'll make cue cards.

Despite all this, what really stands out to me is all the background noises. Did you hear the honk? Or the kid saying hi? Or the dog's chain break?