Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Half marathon Race Report

It was a good race. Nearly great. No PR but I managed to push things hard enough in the last half that I'm still cramping up a bit. Although, that probably isn't all that good but it's a minor cramp so I'm not too worried about it.

Anyway, on with the extremely long race report. Last night I had a bad dream about my father dying and I was stuck planning his funeral. The worst part was I couldn't wake up and when I did wake up I couldn't think of a different dream to have. So I was stuck for about 2 or 3 hours trying to dream of something else. Eventually, my alarm when off and I took my shower. I got suited up and headed out the door.

Once at the race, I helped direct traffic into the parking lot. It was a soupy mess and only a few people parked in the lot, which was probably good because it helped preserve the lot fairly well. After volunteering for awhile, I made my way to the bathroom, suited up and stripped down to run, then waited for the race to start.

Along the way I saw Ashland Dave, Alice and her husband Shawn, and Donna. I saw a few other familiar faces as well but since I"m horrible with names, I can't really list them.

Anyway, I took some photos of the race start while I waited for my wave to start and talked to my dad. Once most of the waves took off I headed to my section in the last wave. I volunteered as the backup sweep in case the Mule didn't make it but it did make it so I opted to just start in the back and work my way forward. Since we left in waves, the first wave had 14 minutes on me. I wasn't worried about that but it may account for my place in the age group. There was only one other guy in my wave and I know I picked a few off over the last few miles.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first half of the race was pretty slow going and I repeatedly tried to keep my heart rate down and my pace slow. But it didn't work out so well and I often found myself creeping up. Around Mile 4, the leader was coming back and had a solid 5 to 10 minute lead on anybody behind him. He was totally smoking it out there. Around this time, I had 6 people behind me, two of them were walking. For the next 3 miles I would run a few steps, stop, take a picture of a runner, then repeat. So those miles were slower and I expected that but I was happy it slowed me down.

After the turn around, with 6 miles left, I was able to put the camera away and focus on running. I turned my music on, put my head down, and turned the heat up. I picked off two runners pretty quick but didn't see any for awhile after that. I made it to about 4.5 miles left and saw a glimpse of a shirt ahead of me, maybe half a mile down the trail. I dug a little deeper and pushed a little harder. With about 3 miles left I passed a volunteer checking bibs and he said they had 5 minutes on me. So I continued to push. With 2.5 miles left, I saw not just one or two but a whole group of runners. So I kept pushing. With about 2 miles left I finally caught up to the last runner in the pack, passed him, and kept pushing. Within the next half mile I passed another 4 or 5 runners. The trail was almost clear in front of me and the nearest runner would end up being uncatchable. They'd finish about a minute before me but I still tried.

I was totally gassed by the end and didn't have much of a kick at the end but I was happy with my results. Last year I ran the same race in 3:33 but that was because I was sweep. My two prior results for this race included my PR of 2:23 in 2012 and a time of 2:33 in 2011. So, even though this wasn't my fastest, I feel great about my pace in the second half of the race. Great enough that I'll try to crunch the numbers later.

When I finished, I grabbed some donuts, some fluids, then headed home after stretching a bit.

Temps were 30F to 35F at the start but warmed to 55F to 60F by the finish. Sky was clear. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had a banana and coffee. About 30 to 45 minutes before the race started I had some GenUCAN (lemonade). Right before my wave started, I had an applesauce pouch. Around Mile 6.5 I had another applesauce pouch. Between Mile 6.5 and Mile 9 I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz. Around Mile 10 I had an Accel Gel. During the whole race I had plain water in my hydration pack. Recovery was two donuts, Hammer Recoverite, and about an hour later a lunch of a ham and cheese sandwich, iced tea, and macaroons.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt until the last few miles when my toenails started to bother me. Guess I really need to trim them closer. The last few miles I also had some tightness in my hamstrings and calves but based on my pace, I'm not surprised. The rest of the day went well but my left hamstring cramped up twice, just a little bit, and my right hip feels tight.

Wore my new Lone Peaks (PORKINS), gaiters, T-Star Running shorts/headband/arm sleeves, Buff, short sleeve shirt, and gloves. I also took along my camera, knife, hydration pack, and probably more water than I needed.

Heart Rate:
First few miles were a bit high, then I slowed things down a bit then really burned it up.

Mile 1 - 13:08 (AVG HR 139)
Mile 2 - 12:26 (AVG HR 154)
Mile 3 - 12:43 (AVG HR 159)
Mile 4 - 13:02 (AVG HR 161) (average since I forgot to hit split)
Mile 5 - 13:02 (AVG HR 161) (average since I forgot to hit split)
Mile 6 - 14:18 (AVG HR 158)
Mile 7.1 - 16:27 (AVG HR 160) (includes extra tenth of a mile at turnaround point)
Mile 8 - 11:55 (AVG HR 169)
Mile 9 - 12:01 (AVG HR 170)
Mile 10 - 10:32 (AVG HR 172)
Mile 11 - 11:19 (AVG HR 174)
Mile 12 - 11:59 (AVG HR 178)
Mile 13 - 10:59 (AVG HR 180)
Finish - 2:43:56
AVG HR - 164
MAX HR - 194 (how the hell is this possible?!)
MIN HR - 86
RHR - forgot to measure it
Weight - 222.8 (after the race and after hydrating)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Introducing Porkins

had a nice little jaunt this morning to check out the first/last mile of tomorrow's half marathon. Parking lot was a mess of snow and mud but I'm sure today's rain will help clear that up. Thankfully the trail itself was nice and clear. So unless today's high winds bring down a bunch of trees, there shouldn't be any hurdles to jump tomorrow.

I also took my new Lone Peaks out for a run today. I've decided to name them PORKINS. Why? Because I'm on a bit of a Star Wars kick lately with names and the shoes are red. So Porkins was the big guy that crashed into the Death Star and I'm the big guy that tends to crash into the dirt when I run. Porkins' call sign was Red 6 (I'm partial to multiples of 3) and since the shoes are red, the name just seemed to fit. Plus it's a good way to honor his memory along with the rest that lost their lives in the Battle of Yavin.

And that was pretty much it for today's run.


Getting my new shoes dirty.

Just a wee bit of snow left in the parking lot.

Temps were about 40F. Winds were light. Sky was cloudy.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had a little coffee and an applesauce pouch. During the run I had a bottle of plain water. Recovery was a latte, three waffles, three bacon, and two eggs.

Aches and Pains:
My left ankle was wonky during the run. Felt like it needed to crack like a stiff neck but it eventually warmed up and felt fine.

My new Lone Peaks were great. They felt so nice it was almost like I already broke them in. Maybe Porkins wore them before me. Wore T-Star running shorts, short sleeve shirt, arm sleeves, gloves, and a Buff. Also took my knife and cell phone.

Heart Rate:
Didn't really pay too much attention to my heart rate but I did try to keep it in Zone 2 or lower. Last section was a tad fast but I was feeling good.

Opening Leg - 1:59 (AVG HR 122)
Mile 1 - 13:01 (AVG HR 142)
Mile 2 - 12:18 (AVG HR 145)
Closing Leg - 1:16 (AVG HR 166)
Finish - 28:36
AVG HR - 143
MAX HR - 174
MIN HR - 93
RHR - forgot to measure
Weight - forgot to measure

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Darth Vader Hater

I would like to introduce my new treadmill, Darth Vader. Since I've taken to naming all my new equipment, I knew I needed to find a fitting name for the new treadmill. Since I occasionally go by TK-42ONE, Darth Vader seemed fitting since I'm a bit of a Vader Hater. I mean, he left all my bros on the Death Star and didn't even care that the Rebels blew them up!

Anyway, Darth Vader it is. Did I mention that this is the first time I've been on a treadmill in, oh, probably 3 or 4 years? I mean, I really, REALLY hate them. But, Darth Vader helped me find my way to the Dark Side by giving me a pretty decent run today.

Now for the boring details! The treadmill was ordered probably 2 weeks ago. It took minutes to process and the order to start rolling but took days to get from Texas to Virginia. Then a good week and a half to get to my house. And the guy they sent to deliver was: 1) one guy 2) one old guy 3) one old guy that was out of breath getting out of the cab 4) one old guy that was out of breath getting out of the cab and had a limp. So guess who provided the muscle? Me. Know how heavy Darth Vader is? Heavy as fuck. Easily 250 to 300 pounds. And he was in a box. Maybe Han Solo got revenge for that whole carbonite thing.

Once I unpacked the bastard, which took some time, I had to start the assembly. Thankfully my wife was able to help because even the little side struts were heavy as shit. I mean, I nearly blew a power converter trying to move the bottom but the support arms needed a load lifter. Not to mention how cumbersome it was to attach the wire, hold the arm, and try not to drop the screws. Really could have used an R2 unit but I somehow found a way. Maybe the Force really was with me.

I had to quit last night because I was making mistakes and tired as hell. So I finished this morning and finally got everything all assembled. It was starting to look like a nice TIE fighter, all black and silver and sleek yet clunky, so I plugged it in. It powered on, I attempted to enter my name, it didn't go so well, so I just started running. And did great for my ten minute warm up.

Then I popped a circuit. Not just any circuit, but the weird little special circuit on the plug next to the sink. Which wasn't the plug I used but is apparently connected to the plug I used. So I lost my miles and time as I reconfigured the extension cord to a different circuit. Then I started my workout. Finished my workout. And everything seemed to be just fine.

Phew! This is almost as long as my After Action Report from Hoth. Anyway, I skipped the freezing temps outside, got my tempo run done, and didn't fall off the treadmill. I guess Darth Vader and I really might have a chance to rule the galaxy.

Fair warning, Darth is much bigger in real life.

How do you know Darth Vader and the Dark Side are going to screw you up? The tube of lube.


Inside temp was 73F. No humidity, no sun, and no wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had some coffee. During the run I had plain water. Recovery was coffee, a banana, and oatmeal.

Aches and Pains:
Right knee was a little tweaky but I think it was just getting used to the different stride (trying to land more forefoot) and new surface. Everything else was fine.

Wore underwear and shorts. I usually don't wear underwear but I wanted to get my run in quickly so I didn't change into my full workout gear. Was able to run topless. Didn't wear my HRM to avoid the distraction of too many gadgets. Was able to watch some TV on the DVD player (Taxi) and on my Kindle (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Was also able to Vine and check Training Peaks. And, as already mentioned, this was the first go for the new treadmill (a Sole F63 model).

Heart Rate:
Resting heart rate was 65 the first time but came down to 60 a few seconds later. Not sure what it was during the run but I'd guess in the 130 to 150 range.

Since there's a ton of buttons on Darth Vader, I'm going to start keeping track of them. It's probably all going to be gibberish to most people but I like data so I'm going to track it. I lost the first ten minutes due to blowing a circuit so this is from the rest of the run.
Speed - 4.0
Tempo Speed - 5.0
Recovery Speed - 2.0 to 3.0
Incline - 5

Not sure on all the details but I went roughly 2 miles.
RHR - 61
Weight - 222.6

Monday, February 10, 2014

Podcast - Mile 78 - Speedwork

After a bit of a re-introduction to new listeners on the basic formatting of my show, I get into an update as I've moved into the new year. I recap the holidays, the new year, and attempt to do some speed work. I skim over some of the new books I'm reading and get under your skin with my new tattoo. I also touch on my thoughts of getting a new treadmill and bitch about the rocks I have to run over. And then I get into my TV watching habits and lots of spitting. This was also a day or so before I came down with the flu.

Meanwhile, you can listen to the flu-free episode on SoundCloud.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Miles for Coach

I was supposed to do a chest work out today but I knew I probably wouldn't get my run in this weekend so I swapped them around and did my 1 hour recovery run today. Although it turned out to be more of a regular training run instead of a recovery run. Oops. I tried.

First mile or two was easy and in my recovery zone but then I saw some other runners and suddenly I felt the need to run a little faster. So I ended up getting way out of Zone 1 and well into Zone 2 and even got into Zone 3. Damn. Not what I wanted but my body did it despite my brain telling it not to. The funny part is, I saw these guys running, they passed in the opposite direction, then I never saw them again. I expected to see them after I turned around but never did. Instead I saw the young lady sitting in her car texting. Or maybe it was Instagraming.

Anyway, that was it on the run. Did see a truck cross over the trial but he's allowed so I didn't worry about it.

The sun was out but barely warmed you up.


Temps were 30F. Wind was light. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had a little coffee and a serving of GenUCAN (cranberry/raspberry). It didn't taste as good as the chocolate or vanilla. During the run I had plain water. Recovery was more coffee and a yogurt.

Aches and Pains:

Wore shorts, pants, shorts, thermal shirt, long sleeve shirt, wind breaker, winter hat, balaclava, neck gaiter, and gloves. Also took along my knife and cell phone.

Heart Rate:
Like I said earlier, I felt comfortable going slow the first mile or two then felt the need to blast it into Zone 2. Tried to keep things in check but my legs just kept moving. My saving grace was my lungs would scream out and I'd stop to walk.

Mile 1 - 13:01 (AVG HR 131)
Mile 2 - 13:12 (AVG HR 143)
Mile 3 - 13:48 (AVG HR 147)
Mile 4 - 12:41 (AVG HR 150)
Finish - 52:43
MIN HR - 100
AVG HR - 143
MAX HR - 172
RHR - 60
Weight - 222.2

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mossy Log

Yet another recovery run done and in the books. This one was easier at the start and a bit harder at the finish. Not so much that I couldn't do it or felt slower than normal, the hard part was keeping it in the right heart rate zone. Outside of that, it was an easy run with a podcast playing in the background.

Nothing exciting on the run was seen or heard but sometimes that's good.

Just a mossy log on the trail.

Temps were 30F with moderate winds so wind chill was a factor but not a big one. Sun was out in the sky.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had some coffee and a growling stomach from last night's bad food choices. I ate a small coffee cake bar thingy and it helped quell the distress. During the run I had just plain water. Recovery was rather weak with just coffee and yogurt. No real food until lunch.

Aches and Pains:
None really.

Wore shorts, pants, shorts, thermal shirt, long sleeve shirt, wind breaker, winter hat, balaclava, neck gaiter, and gloves. Also carried my knife and cell phone.

Heart Rate:
Had an easy time staying in zone for the first mile despite my faster than expected pace. Second mile was a little harder to stay in zone so I just took more walking breaks.

Mile 1 - 13:40 (AVG HR 131)
Mile 2 - 14:07 (AVG HR 135)
Finish - 27:48
AVG HR - 133
MIN HR - 82
MAX HR - 163
RHR - 60

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tired Dogs

Just a short recovery run that felt a bit like a breeze and a bit like a slog. I was so happy to get out on the trail and back on my feet until I realized how tired my body was and that I'd much rather have taken a nap. I guess waking up at 0330 to change your son's sheets because he peed the bed will make you a little tired.

Anyway, I managed to get my miles and time in (actually I was a bit over on my time but I was okay with that) and best of all, I didn't puke. My stomach was seriously upset after some poor food choices and it made it known this morning. But, some running, some water, and some applesauce calmed it down enough to finish up the workout.

Alligator Swamp was frozen over.

And my shoes were cleaner than my car.


Temps were 25F to 30F. No wind. Sun was out but it was a little hazy.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was coffee. During the run I had water and applesauce. Recovery was oatmeal and more coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Things started out stiff and sore but after a quarter mile I felt like I was flying (I wasn't) and felt great (that would change). My stomach gurgled but eventually settled. I started to feel pooped after I turned around and was eventually happy that I only ran two miles.

Wore shorts, pants, shorts, thermal shirt, short sleeve shirt, wind breaker, winter hat, and neck gaiter. Took my knife but left my heart rate monitor at home.

Heart Rate:
I didn't track it but it felt okay for the first mile. The second mile I felt a little more winded and sluggish until I had a quarter mile left then I felt like running fast. I didn't but I felt good.

Mile 1 - 15:04
Mile 2 - 14:13
Finish - 29:18
RHR - 58

Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014 ICY-8 Race Report

Let's start this race report with a bit of a backstory. The flu sucks and totally took me out of my normal training schedule. I missed a planned long run of 5 or 6 hours and missed pretty much all of my training for a good week or more. So I'm not too surprised that I didn't meet my primary goal today of 32 hours. Despite missing my goal, I'm still okay with that. Mostly.

I got up this morning at 0500, showered, dressed, and went on my merry way. I had done some prep work last night so I had pretty much everything ready to go. Just grabbed a few bags and I was out the door. I was surprised how easy it was and I'm glad I did it that way. I'll have to remember that for the future.

I made a pit stop at a local store for the bathroom which is pretty normal. However I bought a large bottle of water so I could have something warm to drink as I started and ended up wasting too much time in line checking out. Added to this, I managed to get behind a car going to the race that decided to drive slow. Dangerously slow. I'm talking 35 in a 55 and 25 in a 40. I mean, seriously? The roads were not icy and were completely clear and dry. There was no reason to go that slow and if you wanted to go that slow, you could have at least pulled over to let the ten cars behind you go by at a normal speed.

All of this added up to me getting to the race later than planned. I had enough time to get out of my car, drop my bags, check in, go to the bathroom, pin my bib on, fill up my water bottles, and start the race. I knew I was pressed for time when I had to finish getting dressed during the race brief. That was not my style and I was not happy but I dealt with it and carried on. I had everything I needed for my first loop so I wasn't too worried. Oh, side note, I saw Andy Jones Wilkins (aka AJW) at the check in table. I was going to tell him I knew a famous runner, Biddz , but I don't think he would have gotten the joke.

On my first loop, I went out too fast. My heart rate was too high and the incline right at the start wasn't helping. I did my best to slow down and keep things in the right zone but it was a lost cause. So I did my best and went with the flow. I made it to my halfway point right on time and came back. I finished my first long loop and felt good about things. I was still cold but not as freezing as I was at the start. My heart rate was still too high but the excitement of the start of the race had gone so I was feeling more in the groove.

I cruised into the aid station, dropped some stuff, grabbed some stuff, and was back out running in 20 seconds. I was so happy to make it in and out that fast that it took me a mile to realize I forgot my electrolytes. And thus I doomed myself to missing my goal. I had no backup plan in place for missing this essential item so I did what I could. I again made it to my halfway point on time and made my way back.

After my second long loop I again hit the aid station and I was again still on track with my time. But I was behind on my electrolytes for the last 8 miles so I knew I needed to get some before I left. And I did. But instead of going with my normal go-to Hammer Fizz, I went with Hammer Endurolytes. They worked fine but I don't know how much to take so I winged it based on what Coach said. I took 2 pills at the aid station and another two halfway through my third long loop. It helped but it wasn't enough. By the time I was halfway through my third loop, I was still within my time goal but I had to start walking because the cramps were fierce. Like bad enough to make me stop and stretch. During this third long loop I eventually had to do the math to determine if I had enough time to do a fourth long loop to meet my goal. It quickly became apparent I wouldn't have enough time so I did the math to see if I could do a short loop instead. As I figured it then, I had enough time to do a short loop and have 20 to 30 minutes to spare. I'd later find out my math was wrong.

I came back into the aid station a final time after my third long loop and quickly grabbed my Hammer Fizz. I had to ditch my fuel source and rinse the bottle but it was worth it. The Fizz helped and so did the iced tea I grabbed. I survived the final, short loop and my cramping lessened, though it didn't go away. My last two times in the aid station I spent maybe 2 minutes each time, maybe 3 minutes the last time. So all together, maybe 5 minutes in the aid station for three trips. Pretty good and I'm happy that I was able to save so much time there. Even though I'm not happy about forgetting my electrolytes the first time through.

Anyway, the last half of the third loop and all of the fourth loop were walking. And hobbling. The cramps sucked but I somehow found a way to mentally push through the pain and force myself to continue moving the last 8 or so miles. I think this was a success considering I wanted to quit a few times on that third loop, especially when I knew I wouldn't meet my goal. But I made myself start the fourth loop.

Another failure, beside the flu, the missed training, and the forgotten electrolytes, I also did some bad math. As I mentioned before, my math was good enough to determine a fourth long loop was out. But when I did the math for a short loop, I somehow did something wrong. So when I started my final, short loop, I got to a spot where I knew the mileage and I was suddenly moved from 30 minutes of wiggle room to 10 minutes short. I knew I was averaging 20 minute miles and I knew I had just shy of 5 miles to go. That's 100 minutes (or an hour and 40 minutes). But I only had 90 minutes left to do it in before time ran out. My maths be not so good.

The positive that came out of this was that somehow I found the mental strength to actually run. Not often and not far but I was moving faster than a walk. I think if I hadn't done this I would have had a minute or two cushion time instead of the 7 minutes I finished with. So I'd push myself about 20 paces or so then walk another 20 then run 20, etc. I could only manage it over a mile or two but it helped enough to increase my cushion and reduce my deficit. That was a win for me.

Another win was the complete lack of chafing. I lubed up after my shower and have no blisters or hot spots. Sure, I hurt, but nothing I didn't expect. I'd like to thank BodyGlide for making this possible. And I'd like to thank Smartwool socks, Altra Zero Drop shoes, and TStar by Biddz for making great products that reduced or eliminated any chafing. My toes and taint appreciate it.

My shoes after 28+ miles of frozen then thawed mud and horse shit.

The look on my face after said 28+ miles. I'm pooped.

Temps were 25F at the start and 50F at the finish. Winds were light. The sun was out. The trail was frozen solid the first two loops and then got muddy when it thawed. This meant the horse tracks and horse shit was frozen the first 4 hours. If you've never run on frozen horse tracks, I don't recommend it. It hurts.

Fluids and Fuel:
Took one serving of GenUCan half an hour before the race. Drank 2 liters of plain water for the first three loops. This is below normal and part of my electrolyte problem. Drank another serving of GenUCan on my second loop. Drank a mouthful of GenUCan on the third loop and ended up dumping the rest. I felt very full and heavy and didn't want anymore. I had one applesauce pouch at the end of the first loop, another at the end of the second loop, two more during the third loop, and one more during the fourth loop. I had two perogies after my second loop and two more after my third loop. On my fourth loop I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and a bottle of iced tea. I took two Hammer Endurolytes at the end of my second loop and two more halfway through my third loop. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with water and coffee followed by two more perogies and an iced latte on the way home. Dinner was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

Aches and Pains:
This is where the fun begins. The bottom of my feet hurt, mostly because of the frozen terrain the first four hours and my shoes didn't have a rock plate in them. I expected this. During my third loop I slipped, caught myself on a tree with my right arm but somehow pulled something in my left arm. It feels okay but not quite normal. My back hurt from wearing the hydration pack but I expected that. My calves, quads, hamstrings, and knees are stiff and sore. Mostly my right side. And my right hip hurts and is weak. I can lift my right leg but not very far.

I wore shorts, pants, shorts, thermal shirt, short sleeve shirt, and Buff. I had two Buffs with me the whole time and used them together or one at a time as needed. I wore a vest for the first loop and the last loop. I wore a winter hat for the first two loops then switched to my Buff. I wore two pairs of gloves for the first loop, ditched one pair after my second loop, and grabbed a pair for my fourth loop. I wore my Nathan pack for the first three loops and carried my Amphipod handheld for my last three loops. I also carried my knife the entire race as well as my quaterback arm band.

Heart Rate:
From the start I knew I was way over my planned heart rate zones. The hill at the start didn't help and the excitement of the race got to me for the first loop. By the second loop I had calmed down some but then I began to tank in my third loop and by the fourth loop I was in the right zone but only when walking. I would repeatedly catch myself in the 170s.

Loop 1 (8 miles) - 1:47:30 (AVG HR 159)
Loop 2 (8 miles) - 1:57:30 (AVG HR 167)
Loop 3 (8 miles) - 2:28:07 (AVG HR 158)
Loop 4 (4.7 miles) - 1:39:49 (AVG HR 149)
Finish (28.7 miles) - 7:53:17
MIN HR - 74
AVG HR - 158
MAX HR - 181
RHR - unknown