Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Socially Awkward Penguin

Wanted to go longer and in costume but wimped out and just wore normal running clothes. And my distance was cut short since I forgot my bottles and had to use a spare bottle from the trunk of my car. Better than nothing. Excitement during the run included a work crew trying to get into a work site but apparently not knowing what the combination was or not knowing where the key was. Oh, and then there was the bus leaving the road and the two semis turning onto the road and the blind corner and the lack of room and boom, I was out of room. So I grabbed the street sign and hauled myself up the steep embankment just to get out of the way. Made for a fun minute or two as the drivers navigated through the intersection.

Temps were about 40F. Sky was mostly sunny (once the sun came up). No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of water. Recovery was an iced latte and a burrito.

Aches and Pains:
My right behind-the-knee/top-of-the-calf pain went from about a 4 last week to about a 1 today. I could feel it but that was about it. No real pain. Biggest pain was my right heel. I think I have a bone spur or growth or something going on. Hurts but not enough to keep me from running. Just need to figure out how to mitigate it.

No special gear. Wore a thermal top, long pants, gloves, and winter hat.

Codename - Socially Awkward Penguin
I went as a penguin for last Halloween's run. Today I totally wimped out and felt too awkward to go out in a costume. Yep, I'm that shy in person but totally extroverted online. Just call me a netvestite.

Mile 1 - 11:01
Mile 2 - 11:45
Finish - 22:47

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maize Maze Mile

Went for a nice walk in the maze with the wife and kids. Until about 10 minutes in when the nice walk began to get a little long. After a full on half an hour, I was starting to seriously think about cutting through the edge of the maze just to get the hell out of there. Thankfully we got lucky when we got lost and stumbled across the exit. Woohoo!

Oh, and take a gander at the map so you can have a good laugh!

Friday, October 26, 2012

iPod Replacement

Managed to get my ass out of bed a second time to go for a walk/run. And despite the knee pain, it felt great to get outside and do something. My mind has healed quite nicely from the 100k but my body is still playing catch-up. Right now, I'm just in damage control mode and doing my best to not make things worse while still trying to carry on with my plan to run Richmond in November and Seashore in December. After Seashore, I'll be taking  a wee bit of a hiatus. Nothing too serious, just a heavy dial-back in training and pressure.

Oh, and as for Richmond, right now I'm going to try to finish but for now, finishing Seashore is more important than Richmond.

Anyway, the rest of the run was fairly ho-hum.

Temps were around 60F. Humidity was high, mostly fog though and not really any rain. Heavy cloud cover. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of plain water and a bottle of grapefruit Hammer Fizz. I finished the Fizz and most of the water. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite followed by an early lunch of a breakfast burrito, pork roast, stuffing, and corn. And an iced coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Both knees were hurting a bit but nothing too major. Most of the discomfort was a dull ache and was, again, located at the top of the right calf and in the back of the right knee. Things felt good once I warmed up but it was still tight during the run.

Wore my new North Face hat, new Rudy glasses (with the yellow lenses since it was overcast), and gloves. Got warm after a few miles but didn't overheat.

Codename - iPod Replacement
So I've been testing an older MP3 player after my iPod Shuffle pretty much died on me. It still plays but I can't control anything. The only button that works is the power button. So, my new (but old) player worked great today. I could not only control what I listened to but when my podcast was over I could listen to the local radio station.

Outbound - 34:48
Inbound - 34:58 (I knew I wouldn't negative split the route but I didn't expect to be this close)
Finish - 1:09:46

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Polar RS300X Review

I'll be straightforward up front in this review. Do. Not. Buy. This. Piece. Of. Shit.

Okay, now for the details on why I feel this way. First, a bit of back story. My employer has a fancy rewards program that allows employees (and spouses) to earn money by simply being active. We get a free pedometer to carry around with us during our daily routine and it tracks our steps and active minutes. Pretty low-tech stuff but it's a way to prove that we're moving and we get rewarded for it. While there are some flaws in the program and the pedometer, it's free, it's easy, and I get money. In other words, why not?

Enter the reward redemption. I got one for walking (or running) what felt like a million miles and debated long and hard how to spend it. And if you know me, that money sitting in my virtual wallet was just burning a hole. So I finally splurged on myself and bought two high-price items that I had only dreamed about. The first was a camera. I love it so far. The second was a GPS watch. I hated it so much I sent it back within a week.

And what was that GPS watch? It was the Polar RS300X and it came with a heart rate monitor strap and a G1 GPS sensor. After using it a day or two, I realized I needed the Flowlink just to download the data. That was the first problem. Nowhere was it made plainly clear that I needed the Flowlink to get to my data. It's really just a fancy USB device that reads the magnetic signals from the watch. And it looks like a coaster for a coffee mug.

Once I downloaded the data, I was ready to chuck everything out the damn window. Or into the toilet. Or into the toilet and then out the window. But I'm getting ahead of myself here so let me back track yet again.

The watch came and looked all sorts of pretty. I had to set my age, weight, time, etc. and that worked great. It was pretty easy to figure out without the instructions. And then things went downhill. The strap on the watch was not comfortable to wear. Too many loops, holes, and pegs to mess with. The heart rate strap was interesting and since I've never worn one before, I was intrigued by it. It fit comfortably and looked pretty easy to put on, take off, and take care of.

Then comes the G1 GPS unit. It was fucking HUGE! I had assumed (I know, a bad thing to do) the GPS unit was in the watch itself like a Garmin or Timex or something else. Turns out it was not in the watch but a huge thing you had to wear on your arm.

It doesn't look that big, right? WRONG! It's as big as my fist. The size of a coffee mug. Larger and heavier than two smart phones. And they expect you to strap it to your arm like it's a tiny watch-sized device. Oh but wait, there's more! I got this specific combination because I assumed (there I go again) that I could look at where I had run. As in, I run down a new trail and I can map it out later when I sit down in front of my computer. Nope. Not gonna happen. You see, the G1 GPS sensor only tracks your distance, not where you've gone, elevation change, and certainly not anything even remotely close to mapping.

Which means, it's like carrying around a fucking boombox to listen to a cassette instead of an iPod. Yeah, totally behind the times on technology and size. Oh, and the price for the watch, heart rate strap, and GPS sensor? $175+ on Amazon. Wow. Let's pay thousands of dollars for a damn cassette player. Oh, and don't forget the special Flowlink for another $50 just so you can see that your GPS unit didn't track shit.

Can you tell I was upset by this purchase? Sarcasm aside, I really try to be fair in my reviews. I really try to find the good in things and really try to be positive about new things I try. But this is one thing I've reviewed that I really could have taken a hammer to just for the sheer pleasure of destroying it. Even if it meant losing my money. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and I returned everything for a refund.

What will I be using to fill the gap left by Polar? I'd really like to say toilet paper but there really isn't a gap at all. You see, I picked Polar because they are the only devices that synch with my employers fitness program. So because I hated the Polar so much, I'll be sticking with the free (and cheaply made) pedometer they sent me. To keep track of my time, I'll continue to use my $30 Timex. That thing is a beast and works great. And to keep track of my GPS route, I'll use RunKeeper on my phone. While it isn't entirely accurate, it's easy to use and it turns my phone into a multi-tasker instead of a uni-tasker.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wake up the gimp

Managed to actually run for more than 2 steps today. Right knee is still pretty gimpy-limpy but it felt good enough to push things beyond my 50% threshold. No worries, I didn't push myself too hard. Just enough to break a sweat and feel good about getting out the door. Saw a woodpecker (heard him first) on the run. Outside of that, just two work crews building decks. Weather was nice and the rest of the run/walk/shuffle was pretty boring.

Temps were about 60F. Full sun. Almost no wind. No humidity.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a breakfast burrito, iced coffee, and greek yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of water. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite.

Aches and Pains:
Back of the right knee is still hurting and still tight but is bearable. It felt fine running down hills and walking up hills but everything in between I could feel the muscles back there complaining.

Wore a long sleeve shirt (was a bit too much at the end but nice and warm at the start). Wore my new North Face hat (fits great) and my new Rudy Project sunglasses (so far, they're okay).

Codename - Wake up the gimp
Today was the best (and fastest) I've felt since Oil Creek. Fingers crossed that things continue in this direction. Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to wake up the gimp.

Outbound - 16:30
Inbound - 14:51 (my first negative split in ages!)
Finish - 31:22

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Oil Creek 100k Race Report

It's been a full day since I've finished my first 100k race and I can only think of two words that completely summarize everything that has happened.

Horrifyingly beautiful.

Parts of this race were so beautiful that I wanted to stop and take a picture. In fact, I easily could have spent an extra hour or two on the course taking pictures. Thankfully I didn't have a camera with me.

Parts of this race were so horrifying, I just wanted to quit. To sit down on a rock and go to sleep. So rough and tumble, I wasn't sure if I'd fall down the mountain or fall up the mountain.

So in the end, it was horrifyingly beautiful.

And to that end, on with the details. I hope by now, I won't have to warn you that I'll go into explicit detail. About everything. So don't read if you don't want to know.

 For details on the course, you can go to the race website, But the course details don't give you the full story so I'll try to fill in some of the missing details. I'll break things down into sections from the start to the finish. I'll talk about the sections between each aid station as well as each aid station. I'm sure I'll miss some of the things that I thought of while on the course but I'll give you what I can.

The race starts at Titusville Middle School. Get there as early as you can or you'll need to park a ways away. Which isn't so bad at the start but will really suck when you finish and need to hobble to the car. I was lucky enough to park close, get my chip, then find a spot even closer. At the school, you'll walk in the front doors, get your chip to the right (near a set of bathrooms), and get dinner to the left. Drop bags for Aid Station 2 will be in front of the front entrance. Drop bags for Aid Station 4 can be left around the left corner of the building or you can walk through the cafeteria out the side door and leave it. The start of the race is out the back doors.

Loop 1, Leg 1 - 7.1 Miles
From the Start to Aid Station 1, you'll have an easy first mile or so on a paved bike path. Take the time to look at the stars if the sky is clear. And don't mind the glowing eyes to the sides of the trail. You'll see more later. You'll go under a train bridge, across a road, and onto the trail. Keep this intersection in mind since you'll see it again. When you make your return trip to Aid Station 4 or the Finish, you'll take the same route back. Once you get onto the trail itself, you'll be directly across from the Drake Well Museum. You may hear the piston popping in the distance. The first few times you hear it, it's annoying as all hell. But when you hear it as you near the finish line, it's like smelling the hay in the barn.

The start for this particular race was cold. Cold enough that I had to scrape my windows before I left. Cold enough that I got two small hand warmers and a large body warmer out. They helped a little but not enough. I was under-dressed but lucky enough to avoid hypothermia. One side note though for the men out there, don't put a hand warmer in your shorts to keep your giblets warm. All you'll do is create a chafe point in an area that you don't want one. Trust me.

On the trail in this first section, things are pretty easy. Yes, easy. In fact, the first half of the loop is easy. It may not feel that way at the time but when you do the second half of the loop, you'll understand what I'm talking about. The second half is tough as hell and longer than the first half. I'd say it's pretty close to being split into one third of your effort being spent on the first 14 miles and two thirds of your effort being spent on the last 17 miles.

In Leg 1, you'll come to the Coming Home split for the 100 mile runners pretty fast. There's water here but I never used it. I was able to keep running to the first aid station. Granted, I had a hydration pack but I think many people skipped it. Be prepared to be passed by 50k runners in this first section too.

Loop 1, Aid Station 1 - Wolfkiel Run
Don't be fooled by the signs. When you see them, you're not as close as you think. In fact, it feels like there's still a mile to run (likely only half a mile). The first time through, it got cold coming into the hollow (or holler for you red-neck folks). Easily a 10 degree drop in temperature. This kinda sucked because I was just starting to get warm. Little did I know what was coming. The volunteers here were a bit sleepy the first time through. They didn't quite know what to do when it came to helping me. Don't get me wrong, they did help me, they just didn't wait on me hand and foot.

Loop 1, Leg 2 - 6.8 Miles
Switchback Hill will beat you senseless as you come out of the aid station. But it isn't as bad as it looks. I know, you'll think otherwise on your first go, but trust me, there are worse ascents coming. You'll slog along and eventually come to an unmanned water station. Fill up if you need to. I know I did at least once here, maybe twice. My first time through I was getting low on fluids and it was starting to get to me so I pushed fluids and needed more by the time I got here. After a few more miles, you'll come to the big oil derricks. Shortly after this you'll cross a road. You're getting close to Petroleum Center Aid Station but don't let that road fool you. It's just teasing. You'll carry on a bit more and eventually come to a small foot bridge that spits you out onto a gravel road. Now you can get excited. That road crosses the railroad tracks and puts you onto pavement. From there you cross a single-lane open bridge. On the other side is the aid station. But be warned, you don't run straight to it, you need to run through the trees a bit before you're allowed to get some aid. It was somewhere in this section that I started to play leap-frog with another runner. He was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers. He was also sporting a mohawk.

Loop 1, Aid Station 2 - Petroleum Center
This was a welcome aid station. The volunteers were more helpful and you have access to your drop bag. I got what I needed and ditched some gear here. I had thought I'd warm up enough to run in arm sleeves but I wasn't so I just left them behind. This is the only section out on the course that your crew and family can come out to see you. There's one other place, Drake Well Museum, but I'm not sure how easy parking will be during the race (since the park, trail, and museum are all open to the public).

Loop 1, Leg 3 - 8.8 Miles
This is a brutal leg. But not the worst. It's long and rough but doable. After leaving the aid station, you'll cross the road and parking lots and go up yet another big hill. Things get rocky and muddy in this section. You'll also chuckle at the cross-country skiing signs that say "difficult" when you've just slogged your ass up something even steeper. But I guess it would be hard on skis. There's another water-only stop here and my advice is to use it. Like in Leg 2, you'll need some fluids. But unlike Leg 2, you've got a longer road ahead of you. You'll also come through the Cow Run area where the Boy Scouts will have a camp. Avoid their fire at all costs. Enjoy their signs, they're hilarious. Read them in the daylight as you'll probably miss some of them at night. They go on for a ways so you know you're getting close. But ignore the signs that say you're getting close to the next aid station. You're not that close. Put your head down and go. It will feel like you're going forever. Then you'll need to go some more. Just keep going. And if you see train tracks through the woods, ignore them. You're not close. When you see the dirt road that you make a left onto, then you're close. Continued to play leap-frog with the bunny slipper runner. We'd chat on and off when were close to each other. I also started walking somewhere in this section. I'd still have spurts of running, but not many.

Loop 1, Aid Station 3 - Miller Farm Road
The dirt road takes you to the aid station. It's downhill and around a curve. Again, the volunteers were helpful but didn't wait on me hand and foot. The usual assortment of food and drink were there. This was the first place I had caffeine for the day. Be prepared for a long uphill when you leave this aid station. And another one behind it.

Loop 1, Leg 4 - 8.4 Miles
The first hill you'll come to is Death March Hill. Quite fitting as you hike past a cemetery (one of two on the course that I saw). After this hill, things level out a bit. Then you have another, longer, hill called Rockefeller's Revenge. While Death March Hill is steeper, this one is longer. Things are even rockier and muddier in this section. This is probably the worst section out there. Although Leg 3 was pretty rough and even a little longer. This one was tough mostly because of the mental aspect. When you start to hear the piston popping, you're close to Drake Well Museum. Close, but not there yet. Your exit from the trail onto the Museum loop sneaks up on you. You get dumped out at a bridge but don't go across it yet. You need to make a sharp left go to the end of the parking lot, go through the picnic areas, then come back to the bridge along the river. You'll cross the bridge and then get back onto the paved bike trail that is only a mile from the Start/Finish area. I was in full-on walking mode here, but was feeling well enough to move at a decent clip. Almost like a power hike. The bunny slipper runner had dropped behind me at the last aid station but I knew he was close behind and keeping nearly the same pace. As you near the school, ignore the finish line. Run (or walk) by it and round to the aid station.

Aid Station 4 - Titusville Middle School
This was by far the best aid station of the event. I feel sad that the 50k runners don't get to see this one. I hate to sound like I'm putting down the other aid stations, but this one was awesome. I had access to my second drop bag which was nice but the service I got was the best ever. I asked for food and drink and got it. The lady was even nice enough to put food in little bags for me to take when I left. Awesome. The bunny slipper runner came in right behind me but was looking pretty tired. I think he eventually dropped after a loop and a half.

My mom and Steve were there to cheer and take photos. It was nice to have family there to cheer you on and check on you. There aren't very many places for fans out on the course and I think I only saw one or two hikers out on the trail during the race. Guess only crazy people were out. I had my mom call my wife to tell her I'm okay and was continuing to move forward.

If you're still reading, congratulations! But I figure this is only a long race report because it's a really long race. So keep reading for the second half. If you dare.

Loop 2 - All of it
Leaving the school was hard. But I knew ahead of time that I needed to get out of there as fast as I could. So I hoofed it out and got back to my race. Even though I wasn't racing as much as walking. I grabbed my vest from my drop bag at the school and made the mistake of assuming I had my rain jacket at Aid Station 2. Turns out I left it at the school. I did learn an awesome trick though. Stick your grilled cheese sandwich in your cup of beef broth. It cools the broth down and makes the sandwich soft enough to eat. Oh, and beef broth is very hard to say when you're not exactly coherent.

The first section was easy enough to continue my power hiking. I was still feeling good physically, just tired. I was super-happy to come in to Aid Station 1 faster than my planned time. I came into Aid Station 4 slower than I expected but made up the time by the time I got back to Aid Station 1. I made up even more time by Aid Station 2. As I cruised into Aid Station 1 the second time, they were much more helpful. I got what I needed and left. Same goes for Aid Station 2 on my second loop. I almost voted for these guys as the best aid station since they came in as a very close second. My second time through there they had some awesome 80s music playing and everyone was super positive and helpful. It was also nice to talk to some people as I was spending a lot of time out there by myself.

Oh, I forgot to mention that as I left Aid Station 1, it started to drizzle. Very lightly. It started to rain a little more heavily as I got into Aid Station 2 the second time. It was also getting dark. I had my headlamp ready as I left Aid Station 1 but it took some time before I broke it out to use it. Once I did, it helped a lot. My entire time coming into Aid Station 2, I repeated what I needed over and over. Sometimes in my head and sometimes out loud. I did a lot of talking to myself out there. Some runners were polite and announce themselves when they came up behind you. Others were not so polite and I had one or two sneak up on me and scare me a bit.

Anyway, back to Aid Station 2. I dropped more equipment and grabbed more to take out on the trail. I knew I was getting cold and I wanted to make sure I had something to keep warm. It was also here that I learned that my rain jacket was all the way back at the school. Good thing I was headed back that way. And that was probably the best part of this aid station; the knowledge that you were headed back to the finish. Every step you took was putting you closer to a warm bed.

As I slogged through the horrid second-half of the 50k loop, I fell into a bit of a trance. I don't know how to explain it. If you've ever run at night, you may have an idea of what I'm talking about. Running by headlamp puts you into a tunnel-vision just by the very nature of how much you can see. This was great at times because you couldn't see the nasty hill in front of you or see the rough patch of rocks in front. You could only focus on the few steps in front of you. But at the same time, the course was marked so well that your headlamp would catch the reflective tape of every marker (and there were markers EVERYWHERE). This meant that even though you couldn't see it, you could see the markers on the huge hill in front of you. Or the switchbacks on the hill on the other side of the stream next to you.

Anyway, my trance. I basically blocked everything out and focused on the very moment I was in. Only the next few steps would matter. I'd get depressed when I started to think about getting wet or getting cold or how long it was taking to get to the next aid station. But I'd eventually just get too tired to think about it. I'd just keep going and going. And keep in mind, I had been up since 4 am so by midnight, I was pooped.

Coming into Aid Station 3 the second time, I had already planned to take my time. I planned to take a solid 15 minutes there. I knew there were some solid hills ahead of me and I knew I needed to put pants on. I also knew I needed fuel. So I just planned to sit down and relax a bit while I took care of things. And that's exactly what I did. I got to the aid station, sat down, and put my pants on. I ate some food. I drank some fluids. I chilled out as much as I could. Then I left. I didn't want to hang around too much or I wouldn't leave.

And leave I did. The best part about leaving, and probably what helped me the most, was asking about the next section. As I was getting new batteries in my headlamp, I asked how far to the Drake Well Museum. I knew from there I'd have two miles to the Finish so how much trail was left was all that mattered. The lady said there was only 6 miles of trail left. That made me feel awesome. I knew I could do that. Then she told me the hill in front of me, Death March Hill, was only 10 minutes to climb. I laughed at her. I told her I was delirious but I knew she was fibbing. And she was. I only needed 7 minutes to hobble to the top. Granted, the longer hill was shortly after it, but by then I knew it was "6 miles to Drake Well." And that became my new mantra. 6. Miles. To. Drake. Well. And then when I saw the sign that said 1.6 miles to Drake Well, that became my new mantra. Most of the second loop, I used an older mantra that I modified a bit to fit the conditions. Dig deep, grind hard, just run. Well, the second loop was "Dig deeper, grind harder, just walk."

Oh, almost forgot. Back to Petroleum Center Aid Station on my second loop. I grabbed my bear bell because I felt like I needed it. I had seen and spooked a pair of deer and didn't feel like having any surprises out there while I was alone. It got a bit spooky at times. Well, turns out, I forgot it at the aid station. As I left the last aid station, I began using both headlamps. I'd recommend this if it's possible. You don't get the tunnel vision and you get more of a 3D view of the trail. Plus you can shine one of them off to the side if you hear something.

Like the porcupine I saw just before the Boy Scout camp site. He was a bit angry that I disturbed him but he was off the trail and heading away from me so I was able to safely pass him. There was a runner right behind me so I gave him a warning and he stopped, heard the part about the porcupine, but was more concerned about why I was where I was. I think he assumed I had run off the trail when in fact the trail took a hairpin turn. So I was on one side of the U and he was on the other side of the U and the porcupine was at the bottom of the U. Anyway, two headlamps are great. And since I knew I was pushing towards the finish and had spare batteries for one headlamp, I was fine with blazing both headlamps full power the rest of the way in.

As I got to the Drake Well Museum, I felt so relieved. In many ways. First, I knew I'd finish. Second, I knew I'd finish soon. Third, I could quit pissing so much. About the time I started my second 50k loop, I started peeing. A lot. I wasn't worried because the color was fine. I was a bit worried when I took Ibuprofen at Aid Station 2 and 3 but I kept urinating and the color was clear so I didn't worry. Plus the meds helped ease the pain just enough to keep going.

About a mile from the finish, just as I started the last leg on the bike path, I had a few 100 milers pass me. Amazing that they could still run. About half a mile from the finish, I tried to poop. Nothing happened. This had me more worried than anything else. I went twice before the race started and not once since then. A bit concerning (don't worry, things work, it just took some time and solid food).

As I got to the finish, I began looking over my shoulder. I didn't want to share my finish with anyone else, so when I saw a headlamp right behind me, I began to hobble. I hesitate to even call it a run. But I finished before the other runner, who happened to win an age group award for his 100 mile finish. Again, amazing.

Even more amazing was that I didn't cry. I wasn't emotional at all. The thought of crying crossed my mind but it never happened. I don't know if I was too tired, too amazed, or just too far gone to even think about it. The race director handed me some booties to keep the school's floor clean, handed me a finisher's sticker, and a belt buckle. I was done. On many, many levels.

So, that's the gist of the race report. On with the technical details.

Temps were about 30F when the race started. Slowly warmed up to about 55F or 60F by noontime. Stayed decent until the sun went down then it dropped to about 50F. Rain started around the time I got out of Aid Station 1 the second time. Heavy rain started around the time I got into Aid Station 2 the second time. Rain lightened up some later and the wind blew on and off the entire day. I did have some fog here and there which played havoc on me while trying to run with a headlamp.

Fluids and Fuel:
I had nothing for breakfast except a quarter of a bagel. I ran with plain water and Hammer Fizz the entire race. I supplemented my fluids with what I felt like at the aid stations. I had a Coke at Aid Station 3 on my first loop then more at Aid Stations 1, 2, and 3 on my second loop. I also drank food. Mostly Hammer Perpeteum in between aid stations but at aid stations I also had beef broth. I had about three grilled cheese sandwiches during the race, several fig newtons (these worked better than expected), several Oreos, several Pringles, and a cup of mashed potatoes. The biggest shock was the complete lack of perogies. I mean, there were none. Anywhere. Wow.

Aches and Pains:
Um, everything? Ha! I had some minor chafing on Loop 2. I think it started when I stuffed my shorts with a hand warmer on Loop 1. It wasn't too bad and I had Body Glide that took care of it. On Loop 1 I had to fix my right heel. It started to rub so when I got into Aid Station 2, I put some RockTape (KT Tape) on it. That helped a ton. Should have done the same on the left foot too. Turns out my left foot would slide a bit more and would eventually get a larger blister over time. But by the time it hurt enough that I wanted to fix it, I was past my drop bag on my last loop and just didn't care. I did fix the laces on my left shoe and that helped some. My left ankle was still gimpy from my cut but I could ignore it well enough.

Fitting to have this new section right here. My right knee is all sorts of stiff and sore. Nothing clicks or pops or binds but it feels like bone pain. Just sore from working so hard and taking a beating. This fits right in with my right calf and the back of my right knee. The muscles and tendons are insanely sore. Fully extending my leg hurts as does standing and sitting. Ibuprofen and massage helps but what I really need is just time. I also have a larger blister on my left heel. But it isn't too bad. The bottoms of my feet felt like I had blisters but upon further inspection had none. Just very tender and sore. I only had one bruised toenail (amazing!). It was my left toe next to the pinky toe. I had some minor chafing on my arms where they bumped into my hydration pack but not really worth mentioning. I also managed to score some rubbed skin on my right leg. Guess my left heel needed to whip it a bit.

My best and worst piece of gear was my Salomon hydration pack. I loved that I cold put my Amphipod bottle in the pocket but the damn thing just couldn't carry enough gear for what I needed.  It could carry enough water for me, which was good. But when it came to the pockets for fuel and equipment, it was annoying at best. My shoes were awesome. Altra Lone Peaks. Loved them. Plenty of room for my toes. Not quite enough protection for the sharp rocks but enough to make it through 50k+ before really hurting. I also saw at least two other pairs out there. Oh, and I rarely slipped despite running through mud, wet leaves, and mossy rocks. My clothing of choice was a thermal shirt under my Lumberjack singlet. I wore calf sleeves which I think helped but began to be irritating after 30 miles. I wore my custom T-Star Running shorts. While I didn't use the pockets as much as I could have, the chafe-less design is exactly what I needed. I had plenty of compliments from both men and women. I think any other short choice would have ended poorly for me. I did need to put pants on over top for the last 8-ish miles. I was wet and getting cold and walking wasn't keeping me warm enough. My headlamps worked well. I started with one through the first leg then stashed it in my pack for later. I wanted to keep one on me at all times just in case it took longer than expected to get to a drop bag.

Codename - Buckle Fever
I've long been concerned that I've caught buckle fever. I've thought about this race for some time and the single point that swayed me into doing this race was how "easy" it was to get a buckle. I put "easy" in quotes because I knew it would be hard but there would be plenty of time to suffer. When you think about 31 hours to go 62 miles, the math works in your favor. It's the course that makes you pay the price and makes this race a real race. This isn't just something you wander into and "do." The course was technical in many section but also easily runnable (or walkable) in other sections. But I didn't know a lot of that going into the race. I just saw what I saw on paper and had no perspective. So looking at the cutoff times and the buckle, I knew I had to take my chance at getting a buckle. And now that I have it, I'm happy. And in case you have the same question as my aunt, I know exactly what I'm doing with my buckle. Wearing it. It won't be a trailer queen stuck in a display case. It's going to show the wear and tear it deserves. Just like the wear and tear I got earning it.

I already posted these but I'm including them here along with some extra commentary. The splits aren't exact as I forgot to time them a few times. I guess 22 hours of work will do that to you. My original goal was to finish in 24 hours. My planned splits put me at a finish time of 23 hours. My secret goal was to finish in 20 hours. Overall, I'm extremely excited to come so close to my projected finish time, especially since I pretty much just guessed at my pace.

Loop 1
Start to Aid Station 1 - 01:48:54 (planned on 2 hours)
Aid Station 1 - 00:03:52 (I was in and out as fast as I could)
Aid Station 1 to Aid Station 2 - 01:50:07 (planned on 2 hours)
Aid Station 2 - 00:08:36 (took a little extra time to fix my right heel)
Aid Station 2 to Aid Station 3 - 02:37:56 (planned on 2 1/2 hours)
Aid Station 3 - unknown (forgot to time it but it was maybe 2 or 3 minutes)
Aid Station 3 to Aid Station 4 - 02:52:09 (planned on 2 1/2 hours - very disappointed that I missed my goal)
Aid Station 4 - 00:07:14 (a little slower here than I wanted but I wanted to make sure I had my gear and fuel in order before I left)

Loop 2
Aid Station 4 to Aid Station 1 - 02:39:20 (planned on 3 hours - very happy to make up time here)
Aid Station 1 - 00:02:43 (in and out as fast as I could again)
Aid Station 1 to Aid Station 2 - 02:51:04 (planned on 3 hours - again, very happy to make up time)
Aid Station 2 - 00:04:53 (this is pretty fast considering I dumped everything out of my drop bag and searched for different gear)
Aid Station 2 to Aid Station 3 - 03:32:28 (planned on 4 hours - never registered until now how much time I made up here)
Aid Station 3 - 00:14:18 (longer than my other aid stations but I planned on taking my time to fuel up and get my gear changed)
Aid Station 3 to Aid Station 4 - 03:48:15 (planned on 4 hours - amazing that I took only an hour longer than my first time through)

Finish - 22:41:53

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That Moment

That moment when you realize you're going to be doing* 100k this weekend. OH FUCK! OH FUCK! OH FUCK!

*Note: I said "doing" not "running" and there's a reason for this. I don't even run an entire 5k race because I'm too fat, slow, and tired and have essentially trained my body to take walking breaks. So I'll be "doing" 100k. Not "running" 100k. Just to make that clear.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dick in a Sock

Just a short run to get the heart rate up. And to keep the rust off. Been doing a lot of resting lately and it's driving me crazy. My left quad was still grumpy today despite my increased periods of rest but I still want to rest it just to play it safe. My A-Race is just a few days away and even though I know it's too late to train or do anything but I'm still minimizing my risks as much as possible. That damn pre-race walking on eggshells syndrome sucks. Every Lego in my house, every stool, every speck of dirt is a potential injury waiting to happen. I know, crazy, but that's how I feel.

So today's run was short and simple. I watched some sage advice from Sage Canaday and his VO2Max Productions videos. I said it was sage advice, I didn't say I followed it. I did just 10 minutes at about 95% instead of the 20 minutes at 80-85% he mentioned. But I threw in some of the strides he has talked about in the past. Will it help? Doubtful but at least I got something on the books for this week.

Temps were about 50F, sky was overcast, a light wind, and light humidity from the early morning drizzle.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a burrito, iced latte, water, and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of plain water and finished maybe half of it. Recovery was the rest of my iced latte and a shower.

Aches and Pains:
Left quad was grumpy but not as much as before. Almost felt like it was asleep and too tired to give me crap.

Wore gloves and a headband to cover my ears. Also wore my shirt. Felt a little chilly running through the section with fields on both sides since the breeze was blowing. Outside of that, my iPod Shuffle was giving me crap. Not sure if its the headphones or the iPod itself. I don't need it for my race but I'd like to have the option there if I want it.

Codename - Dick in a Sock
No, I didn't come up with that name because it was chilly out. I came up with that name because I was listening to the Dick in a Box song and some Red Hot Chili Peppers. You make the connection.

Outbound - 5:01
Inbound - 5:09
Finish - 10:10

Monday, October 08, 2012

Podcast - Mile 44 - Rest, Don't Rust

I'm going to be a cock-tease and tell you that I hope the Mile 45 episode will be something a little different for you. Hoping. Not sure I can squeeze it out before I go but we'll see.

This episode also brings us, roughly, to the anniversary of the podcast. What special events do I have planned? None. I have too much shit to worry about to celebrate. Beyond what I'm hoping to do for Mile 45, the show will be the same old rambling, cheap, crazy-ass me talking to you while I run for an hour. Don't like it? Well, it's probably because you're too stupid to leave. After all, I've been doing this for a year and if it's taken you that long to figure out you don't like my show, go slam your nuts in a door.


This episode brings us to even more left quad pain, some building panic over my upcoming race, and a wasp nest in a phone box. Exciting stuff, let me tell you. Oh, and then there's the issue with my ankle. Between recording this episode and today, I've seen it get worse, gone to the doctor, assured it was okay, seen it get better, and now it looks quite a bit better than when it started. So no, I don't expect my foot to fall off.

You can view the rusted runner on Podbean or download directly.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Testing, 1 2 3 4 5 , Testing

Just a short leg stretcher before heading back to work. Took the morning off to see the doctor about my ankle. Turns out it won't be falling off any time soon. What happened? Well, not sure if I explained it all before or not but I scored a nice cut on it last weekend. Did my usual walk around the car while I was getting gas and cut my left ankle on the rusty metal piece that ran around the edge of the concrete curb that the gas pump sits on. Phew! So, any way, the cut started oozing a bit this morning and looked worse than it did last night so I just made a decision to get it checked out. I felt like such a hypochondriac but I'm glad nothing's wrong with it. She said just keep it clean and watch for red streaks. And in the mean time, I'll put some heavy cream on it to help it heal.

Meanwhile, today's run was just a short run to test all my new equipment. Not only did I test out a new watch but also the heart rate monitor and GPS unit that went with it. I also tested out my new GoPro camera and the Steadicam I got for it.

Temps were about 75F. Sky was clear and humidity was moderate. No breeze in the trees.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a bagel and sandwich from Panera. Took just a single bottle of water during the run. Recovery was leftover pork chop, couscous, and corn.

Aches and Pains:
Left quad was still grumbling but nothing too major. Did manage to trip on a root but got lucky and didn't eat dirt.

Like I said, new watch with heart rate monitor and GPS unit. New camera and Steadicam. Everything else was the norm.

Codename - Testing, 1 2 3 4 5 , Testing
I like new gear but I think I over did things today with my test. Way too much stuff for a run.

Didn't do splits because there was just too many timing devices being used.
Finish - 30:00

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Honky Tonk Honker

Another boring run that wasn't really that boring. Had some free time during lunch so I trotted out the door and opted to do just a shorter version of my usual 3+ mile route. Recorded a podcast along the way and generally just tried not to feel like crap. This taper is killing me. I don't believe in tapering since it's never really worked for me but with my left quad has been nagging me lately and I want to make sure it has time to rest before my race. I'm not really worried about it but I want to avoid any potential issues. Same goes for my ankle. I managed to score a nice cut last weekend and it's been taking some time to heal. I don't think it's infected (like my wife seems to think) but I'm not saying no to a doctor. I'm just waiting and watching. Like the quad, I'm doing my best to avoid any potential issues during the race. So while I'm not excited about getting treatment, I'll certainly get it if I feel I need it.

Temps were about 75F and the humidity was moderate. Skies were cloudy and overcast but no rain. Breeze was light to moderate and felt nice.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a (healthy) breakfast burrito, yogurt, iced coffee, and two eggs. During the run I had a bottle of plain water. Recovery was a salad, three Oreos, a small Gatorade, and an iced coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Shins were feeling a bit sore but I think it's the shoes. They're about due for retirement. Left quad was grumpy but nothing major. Left ankle was tender but again, nothing major.

No special gear but I was able to run without a shirt (likely the last time for that).

Codename - Honky Tonk Honker
As I was coming back home, some guy drove by in his pick-up and honked at me. First time that's ever happened. No idea if it was a honk of rage, honk of love, or something in between. But seeing as he didn't run me off the road or throw a beer can at me, I just waved and kept going.

I kind of forgot to check my split when I turned around so I have no idea.
Finish - 27:50

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Big Booty Call

It's not something I advertise often because I don't much like surprises. So I'll try to surprise you by announcing that today is my birthday. And an even bigger surprise? I've joined Facebook.

But be warned. I won't put up with your stupid shit on Facebook. So if I piss you off, you can suck it.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Podcast - Mile 43 - Hawt Girl

With deepest apologies to my wife, I felt the need to discuss the hot girl from the 12 Hour ATR race that I crewed at. Shame on me. But I also mentioned my man-love for Tony Krupicka. Does that help even things out? Doubtful.

I think I'll put the shovel down now before somebody hits me on the head with it and buries me deep in the hole I've already dug.

You can hear more about my shameful secret on Podbean or download it directly.