Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Since Last Week...

It's been over a week since my last post, so here's an update...

After last Sunday's Swamp Stomper training run, I took two days off to rest. The rain and cold kept me in the gym for the remainder of the week, except for Thursday night (Bartlett Street Run). My treadmill routines were all "speed" workouts (speedy for me, anyway), which surprisingly, felt great! Sunday morning was to be another Swamp Stomper trx run, but it was too cold and wet for this old man! Now that my lovely wife has given me some cold-weather gear for Christmas, I will have no excuse next time!

Overall...even if most of my runs were on the treadmill...last week's routine was ok. I finished the week with 40 miles and no injuries.

This week has begun rather slowly. Monday evening was spent at my mother's and, of course, yesterday was Christmas. The week is almost half over and I have yet to run. I am hoping to get out later today...especially since it has warmed up! First on the agenda is to purchase new running shoes!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Swamp Stomper Training Run #3

'Twas another fine day in the forrest. I was hoping for snow, but...

Today's run was great from the standpoint of being with friends, running the trails. The "great" ends after that. Temps were about 29 when we started and about 40 by the end. I have yet to get any cold weather running gear, so I just wore two long sleeved shirts, two pair of socks, shorts, gloves, a beanie and a windbreaker. By the 3rd mile, I was sweating profusely. The windbreaker and gloves were dropped and by the end of the next mile...I was freezing again!

I wore my clunky Merrill trail shoes for traction. By the time I arrived at the red trail, I remembered that I truly hate these shoes! They are too heavy and too stiff. So, hopefully I will remember to never, ever wear them again! My Saucony's may be old and lack sufficient tread, but at least they are comfortable (and light)!!

The creek crossing was slick, but dry. I was glad and disappointed at the same time. I wanted to forde the creek and learn to run in wet socks/shoes, but with the temps so low, I was glad to stay somewhat dry!

I made the turn-around (9 miles) in a little under 2.5 hours. With only 6 miles back to the start you would think I could cover that in about an hour, but it took me 1.5 hours...and Cliff pushing and pulling me along (thanks Cliff!). A total of right under four hours for today's 25k which is fast enough for the cut-off, but I will really need to cut it down to at the most 3.5 hours.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And More...

Saturday's treadmill routine...

First mile as a warm-up: 10:30. Next...10k in 53:15 (8:35 pace). No problems...legs ok, vitals ok. Total mileage for the entire routine: 7.2 miles in 1:03:45 (8:51 pace). I am finally gaining speed!

Thursday's treadmill routine...

First mile as a warm-up: 12 minutes. Next 3.1 miles in 26:17 minutes (8:29 pace) for a total of 4.1 miles in 38:17 (9:07 pace). Nothing to brag about for you young speedsters out there, but it is for me. Once again, I had no real problems holding the pace until the last half mile when I went all out.

Oh...almost forgot...I have also lost 6 more pounds in the past week.

Who's yo daddy?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I am not quite sure one could call it a "breakthrough", but my last two runs have been my fastest...ever.

Last night, I ran 4.56 miles around the neighborhood in 42:09 (9:14 pace). My previous best on the same course was 45:27 (9:52 pace). Maybe it was the strange summer-like weather, but the run almost seemed effortless!

1 mile: 10:34
2 mile: 9:06
3 mile: 8:23
4 mile: 9:28
0.56 mile: 4:37

Today on the wonderful treadmill, I had planned on an easy slow pace run. After the first mile (12:00 pace), I decided to kick on the jets. I ran a total of 6.65 miles, broken up into two sections (treadmill only allows 35 minutes at a I had to quickly restart it). The first "5k" (incl. the 12 min mile) was an even 30 minutes (10:00 pace). I kept running for another 5 minutes to end up with 3.55 miles (9:52 pace) when the treadmill went to cool-down mode. After a quick restart, the second "5k" was done in 26:42 (8:37 pace). The total 6.55 miles was completed in 1:01:42 (9:17 pace). Once again, the run seemed almost effortless! Once I got cranked up, my respiration and heart rate slowed to the same levels as if I were running an easy 12 minute mile. Even more strange, my legs feel fine! No stiffness or pain!

I know for some of you out there all this seems very slow, but for my big ass it feels great! Maybe the last 4 months of running long and slow have paid off. Maybe my "base" is now set and I can start working on adding more speed. Maybe I will keel over with chest pain the next time I try to push the pace!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Long Run #2

Swamp Stomper course in Shelby Forrest...'twas a bitch.

It was great to meet so many new people! We had about 21 show up to run, of which I only knew a handful. Remember to check Run The Trails website for future group trail runs (usually on Sunday).

For the week, I ran for over 42 miles. Not too shabby considering last Saturday I ran a marathon. My goal is to keep the mileage around 50 per week or long as my old bones stay healthy. Total mileage for the year so far...1577!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Long Run #1

My plan is for two semi-long runs this permitting. The first run was this evening at Stanky Creek and tomorrow's will be at Shelby Forrest (Swamp Stomper practice run #2...16 miles). It is supposed to rain tonight and they have forecast scattered showers for tomorrow with a high in the low 70's. I will run if it is raining, but not if there is lightening.

Tonight's run felt great! I never tired until darkness fell and I had to break out my Petzl headlamp, which is not very bright. After three miles of tripping over and kicking roots, I decided to head for the car and save some energy for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Jude Marathon Photos

Saturday, December 1, 2007

St. Jude Marathon

Where's Waldo Mike?

I came. I ran. I sucked. I thought my time would be a lot better coming into this race, but knew my time would suck around mile 17...when I started my run/walk routine. Up until then, I had only walked the bigger hills and at the aid stations to drink. Also, three pee breaks lengthened my time (had to wait in line!). All in all, I am fairly ok (not happy) with my time and plan on running again next year.

My biggest issues were the balls of my feet and my toes. I must have been pushing off with my toes, which hasn't happened before. A few blisters, but not big enough to cause issues. Another painful area is my core (lower gut). I had the same issue in the MidSouth Marathon last month. Unsure why it hurt, but I guess I need to do some core strengthening exercises.

Thanks to all who gave me words of encouragement throughout the run! A special thanks to the guy with the hot chicken broth around mile 15!! That was a great pick-me-up!

Recovery run for today was ten miles on the treadmill/elliptical/bike. No problems to note...all systems go.

Marathon #2 is now complete. Next race is Swamp Stomper 50k in January.

Official Splits:
6.2 Mile: 1:07:36 (10:55 pace)
13.1 Mile: 2:29:08 (11:23 pace)
20 Mile: 3:55:59 (11:48 pace)
26.2 Mile: 5:20:31 (12:15 pace)
Overall pace of 12:15

Official Results:
179th in age division (males)
1135th in all males
1689th overall (out of 1961 full marathon runners)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back in the Saddle...Again

I finally took more than 2 days off. Last Monday through Friday were my days of rest and recuperation. My legs loved every non-running minute of it.

Saturday was a treadmill (7 miles) and elliptical (2 miles) day. Sunday was spent driving my youngest son back home. Today...another boring treadmill day of 6 miles. The St. Jude Marathon is this weekend, so I will do a short run outside tomorrow nights and then rest the remainder of the week.

Forecast for Saturday is looking great (so far). Only a 20% chance of rain, with a low of 48 and high of 59...perfect running weather! I was worried about running in cold weather when the previous forecast predicted 35 degrees in the morning...with rain!

The Expo is Thursday and Friday night. I plan on attending the Thursday night expo to get in on the good deals and free-bies while they last!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swamp Stomper Training Run #1

Today's run was on the Swamp Stomper course in Shelby Forrest. Ten people started the run and seven completed the entire training run of slightly over 10 miles. This was my first time running in Shelby Forrest and I enjoyed the change of scenery. The course was very hilly with quite a few steep climbs and decents. Footing was slippery at times in my VFF's, so I will wear running shoes next time to see if it's any better/faster.

There will be more training runs on this course in prep for the race on 1/20/08. If anyone wishes to join us, watch the forums at Run The Trails for info.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Time Off

I have decided to take at least a week off. My feet hurt, my toes hurt, my legs hurt. I no longer have the drive to run (and enjoy it). Hopefully, a little time off will remedy this.

The St. Jude Marathon is coming up in two weeks, so I can't take off too much. We have a group run on the Swamp Stomper course this Sunday which I plan on attending. Other than that, no more running until after Thanksgiving. Then a couple of long runs to prep for the marathon, followed by a week of tapering.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Today's run was fairly miserable. I felt very sluggish and my feet seem to weigh a few pounds extra. Each step was a chore and each mile seemed endless. Darkness fell quickly during the last two miles, so I was glad to skip the yellow loop. Next time, I will be sure to pack my head lamp! I think that I should take tomorrow off.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's Run

I did not have the desire to run yesterday, so I was lazy and ate too much. This morning, I did not have the desire to run, but I knew that I would have to force myself. My original plan was 2 complete loops at Stanky Creek, but that sounded like a really crappy idea at 0900 this morning. OK. Change of plans. One loop at Stanky and then hit the treadmill at the gym with my lovely wife. Sounds better.

Once at Stanky Creek, I opted to add the Outhouse loop for an extra mile. I am glad that I did this! I have never run the Outhouse loop prior to today and really enjoyed the change of scenery.

Two hours and 9.11 miles later, I removed my VFF's to find an nasty blister on the ball of my left foot. The combination of the VFF's and my new stride seem to be placing undue stress on the balls of my feet. I am hoping this will improve with time.

Another 6 miles at the gym (2 stationary bike, 2 treadmill, 2 elliptical) brings my weekly total to 35 miles. Three days off this week has killed my mileage, but my body needed it.

While running, I took oodles of photos. You can view there here:

Thursday, November 8, 2007


If you recall, I kicked a small stump around mile 4 of 8 last night at Stanky Creek. By bedtime, my pinky toe turned black and blue. By this morning, it had swollen enough to make my shoes feel too tight.

It is tender upon touch, but no pain. All the other toes feel fine. I am working the late shift today, so I had time to hit the treadmill at the gym. The toe(s) did not bother me and I was able to get in a good 9 miles. I have no problem walking on it either. Tonight, I will have it x-rayed to check for fracture. I am quite sure that it is just bruised, but who can refuse a free x-ray?!

EDIT: X-Rays were negative for fracture(s).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Stank

The first semi-long run post marathon is in the books. With the weather crisp, I thought a run through the woods would be more enjoyable than the blacktop. I was hoping the trees would stop any wind and keep me somewhat warmer. Stanky Creek was calling my name.

I started into the wood line a little before 4pm and came out 1 hour and 45 minutes later feeling vibrant and refreshed. Around mile 5, I remembered the recent time change...especially since it was getting dark in the woods...and fast. By mile 7, I could barely make out the trail in front of me. Since I wore my VFF's, I was afraid of kicking a stump or stepping wrong on a stick. But, my legs felt great and I was not winded, so I flew through the woods with what I thought was a very quick pace.

The VFF's are very light, making it much easier for a quicker leg turnover. They also force me to correct my landing on the balls of my feet, instead of a heelstrike. This required me to pay close attention to where my foot was landing and also made sure that I did not overstride. They VFF's protect my feet from getting cut, but I can still feel everything I may step on...whether painful or not. At mile 4, I kicked a small stump in the trail with the outside three toes on my right foot. I cursed my bad luck and thought I had broken at least a toe, if not completely ripped them off! Of course, all was well and I continued running once I verified that I still had five digits on that foot.

All in all, it was a very good run and I felt as if I could run a lot longer without any problems. I think the stride change and new footstrike help propel me forward with less restriction as my old style. I just have to remember this when running in shoes!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Recovery Run

I really didn't want to, but I forced myself to do a 4 mile recovery run at Stanky Creek. I wore my VFF's and kicked alot of stumps and roots. It was a painful 4 miles for my feet, but the rest of me felt great!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Midsouth Marathon

My first marathon is now history. My official time was 5 hours, 37 minutes, and 31 seconds. This includes the bonus mile that I ran due to being misguided off course by a state trooper. Luckily for me, another trooper picked me up and drove me back to where I went off course. I was somewhat dejected but chalked it up to being my mistake and kept running. I eventually caught and passed a few people that I had passed much earlier before my free bonus mile. Without the added luxury of an extra mile, my time is 5:14:52 (12 min pace). It may have been even faster had I not been so dejected for being off-course. Since I ran over 27 miles, does this make it an ultra-marathon?!

It was a great race and due to the small amount of participants, very personal for each of us. The aid stations were at every mile and the volunteers did an excellent job making sure we stayed fed and hydrated. I brought a few goodies along, but didn't really need them because the aid stations had all of it and more. All of the volunteers were very friendly and thanked us for coming to their race. Hopefully all the racers did as I and thanked the volunteers profusely!

It was cold at the start (40 degrees) and warmed up to 68 by the finish. My sweat rate was light due to it being cool, but I was sure to drink (and eat) as much as I could. I had no GI issues, but had alot of trips to the port-a-potty to pee. My feet were not an issue, save for one blister. My knees were sore, which I attribute to pounding the black top (trails are so much more user friendly!). I took two Alleve before the race, but should have carried another dose for later in the race (pain in knees and groin/hips).

One big mistake that I made was trying to outrun people that were passing me. A group of four women (the only one I knew was Jan Show) almost passed me on a downhill section at mile 9. Since my male ego could not allow this to happen, I stepped on the gas on the uphill section to distance myself. Of course, this action was pointless and detrimental to my waning stamina. They were smart enough to walk/jog the big uphills and increase their pace on the downs. By the turnaround at mile 13, they had all passed me and would increase their distance ahead of me the remainder of the race by 30-40 minutes.

The following is from my Garmin, which had me finishing at 5:14:52 (using the bonus mile):

5 miles at 53:07 (11 min pace)
10 miles at 1:46:22 (11 min pace)
13 miles at 2:22:01 (11 min pace)
16 miles at 3:00:08 (11:25 pace)
19 miles at 3:38:46 (11:52 pace)
22 miles at 4:18:54 (12:10 pace)
24 miles at 4:43:27 (12:10 pace)

I was doing great up until the turnaround and then the wheels started to wobble. Next race, I will force myself to start even slower than a 11 min pace.

Sidenote: running in rural Arkansas was beautiful (scenery) and disgusting (roadkill). The leaves were changing colors making for a wonderful backdrop. Every now and then, I could smell rotten roadkill and a few, unfortunately, were skunks!

For me, this was a gut-check for the upcoming St. Jude Marathon. I didn't want to push it, but wanted to get the feel for 26.2 miles on the hard pavement. I made many mistakes and will (hopefully) learn from them and not repeat them on December 1st! It would be great to finish in under 5 hours, which is possible for me.

Mistakes made & lessons learned:
  • Once again, my pace was too much to sustain the entire race (not too bad, but...).
  • I need to run my race and not try to compete with others.
  • Walk or jog the hills...don't attempt to keep pace on the hills.
  • Carry Alleve/Tylenol/etc.
  • Try to stay off sloping section of the road. When possible, I ran on the center strip of the highway. When traffic didn't allow this, I tried to run the white stripe on the outside.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I was supposed to taper my running this week, but I couldn't keep off the road/trails.

Monday - 5 miles
Tuesday - 4.5 miles
Wednesday - 2.7 miles

I will need to force myself not to run the next two days. I need to mow the grass anyway!

Yesterday's run was at Stanky Creek on the Yellow loop in my Five Fingers. This was my first technical trail (I don't consider the Tour as technical) in VFF's. All in all, I felt very light and nimble and had no problems with all the roots, rocks, hills, and switchbacks. My pace averaged slightly over 12 min/mile which is OK for this trail (for me anyway). I did have a small blister form on the outside ball of my right foot. The blister was not that painful and I initially planned on running the blue loop also, but I did not want to create more problems before this weekend's marathon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Trails

Today's run was through Shelby Farms. From the kite area through the blue WRT, then the Tour for a total of 17.35 miles (3h 41m). This was my first long run since Tour d'Esprit and, all in all, it felt good. For the last 3 miles, I slipped on my Five Fingers and had no problems and no pain. The VFF's slowed me down a bit, but I guess I will get used to them soon enough.

My biggest problem was around mile 10. Usually, I don't hit any walls until well past 20 miles, but today I ran smack dab into one in half that distance. I kept running, albeit at a much slower pace. My body started shaking and I felt nauseous. Thoughts of quiting ran willie-nillie through my head. I knew that I was hitting a wall and that I best keep moving. In past runs, I always stopped running at this point until I felt better...which means my time is screwed and my muscles start to freeze up. So, keep moving...keep moving...keep moving I did. I grabbed some Clif Shot Blocks from my Camelbak and drained one of my hand held bottles. Within a mile or so, I felt the best that I had the entire run. My pace increased and I started flying through the woods again.

Once again, I hit the pause button on my Garmin and forgot to turn it back on until I was a half mile up the trail. So, I figured the missing distance using Google Earth and came up with 0.51 miles. Adding this to the 17.35, we get the grand total of 17.86 miles (check my math because I was edumacated in Mississippi!).

Now it's time to taper for this weekend's Midsouth Marathon. I will run at least two 5 milers between Monday and Wednesday and then rest. I have never run a marathon, so I am unsure what to expect. My previous long training runs suggest that I will finish between 4 and 5 hours, if all goes well. My plan is to go easy (11-12 min miles) through mile 18 and then attempt to finish out with a pace under 10 min per mile.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I should have listened to that nagging voice in my head that told me not to run more than a mile in the Five Fingers. Did I listen? Well...of course not. Now, my calf muscles are all knotted up. It's hard to start walking after sitting or lying down, but after a few minutes they loosen up enough that I don't look like an old man needing a walker.

Now the voice is telling me not to run anymore until this weekend. Should I listen? Hell no. This is the last few days to get in some long mileage before tapering for next weeks Midsouth Marathon.

EDIT: I ran 5 miles on the treadmill after work. The first two in running shoes at an easy 10 min pace and the last three in my VFF's (Vibram Five Fingers) at a 11-12 min pace. No problems during the run, but now (2 hours later) my calfs are knotted up again. Damn...if we only had a jacuzzi!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Five Fingers for Five Toes

I finally found a local store (Baumer's in G'town) that sold Vibram Five Fingers! I bought the gray/black classics, list price $70. I could have ordered them online, but I was unsure of the European sizing.


Although it was raining outside this evening, I just had to try them out. A quick two mile run at a 11 min pace felt great! Of course, it's a lot different than running in shoes and it took some getting used to. My left calf was very tight, as was my right foot. I tried to take it slow, but I was enjoying myself too much! With the Five Fingers, I could actually feel the surface I was running on (asphalt, concrete, grass) without the pain of stepping on sharp rocks, sticks, glass, etc. After this rain stops, I will give them a try on the trails!

For the first mile, I wore my Injinji socks and then sans socks for mile two. With socks felt great and so did without...except that I started to get a hot spot on the ball of my left foot. So, I will be wearing socks with them until my feet toughen up. It looks silly with white crew socks, so I will order the micro Injinji's.

Hot Springs

We went to Hot Springs, Arkansas this weekend for a quick trip. Friday nights, I ran 4 miles through town to see the sights and on Sunday, I ran up North Mountain. This was my first experience running in the mountains (not as big as the Rockies, but it's all we have around here!!). There was only 1000 feet of elevation, but the trip up the side was a gut buster. Once on top, it was all fun and gun!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

No Pain, No Gain

My mileage has suffered the last two weeks due to my foot pain and, damnit...I am getting tired of it. Yesterday's plan was 8 miles at Stanky Creek, but the rain sent me to the gym instead. Not much pain after a quick 5k on the treadmill, so I thought I would try running barefoot again. I ran 1.5 miles at a 10-12 minute pace in my socks and it felt great! The pain was there, but different somewhat...kind of like stretching a sore muscle pain.

Anyway...I figured that I was in for a lot of pain since then, but suprisingly, the pain has greatly diminished...almost non-exsistent. I really need to find a pair of Vibram Five Fingers!! Running in socks is not as cool as it would be with Vibrams!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Garmin Forerunner

I finally received my garmin forerunner 305 earlier this week! Nice toy!

Yesterday's run was cut short due to right hip/leg pain that made it very hard to run, much less walk. I forgot to take Alleve before the run and will remember to pack some for the next run. Only a few weeks left until the Midsouth Marathon, so I need to be pain free for my long runs before tapering for the race.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Back in the Saddle

After taking a few days off for recovery, I am back running. Wednesday was four miles at Stanky Creek (white loop), which went very well and faster than normal. Yesterday was my first 10k under an hour, which doesn't sound too impressive to you speed demons out there, but it's fairly fast for a big boy like me!

I ordered a Garmin Forerunner 305 last week and am looking forward to trying it out on the trails. If anyone has any handy tips for me, please let me know.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tour d'Esprit (Full)

I arrived at the race site a few hours early. I wanted to be sure to get a good spot for my tent and supplies. It was hot, but a stiff breeze kept us all from sweating too much. After setting my site up, I helped someone else with their very large tent (for the AOC running team). With all that complete, I decided to run a lap to check the course and get an idea of what lay ahead. The course can best be described as 1/3 blacktop, 1/3 loose gravel, and 1/3 dirt trail. There was plenty of room for passing slow runners/walkers.

At 3pm, we started without fanfare. My plan was to do 4-5 miles per hour and complete at least 20 miles before taking any break. Although my pace felt great and I was making good progress, my body decided multiple times that it needed a bathroom break. I chalked it up to nerves, but it really screwed up my first 20.

Blisters on the outside of both heels had to be tended to around mile 22. I wore Injinji mini socks and had no other problems. I never changed socks (even slept in them) and only changed shoes once. Besides the heel blisters, my feet were never an issue.

Supposedly there was to be food and water for the runners. I found the water without any problems, but never found the food! Email correspondance with the RD prior to the race informed me that there would be a runner's food tent, so I only brought a few Clif bars for solid food. Needless to say, I ran out of fuel early that evening. Gels, Clip2, Boost and water will only take you so far. By midnight, I was at 32 miles and up against the wall. I layed down in my tent for a stretch break that stretched out for the next six hours. I meant to get up at 4am, but reset the alarm for 4:30...then for 5...the for 6. I finally got back on the course at 7am.

I ran five miles and then decided I would pay the $5 for the pancake breakfast that they were serving. This gave me some much needed energy that would hopefully last for a while. This also took precious time away from being on the course. Back to running without any breaks longer than 5 minutes for the remaining hours. More gels and Clip2.

Lunch was to be free for everyone (runners and non). Leaving the course just to grab a hotdog consisted of my lunch break. I still had another three hours of running and I wanted to break 60 miles.

I ran into Kevin Dorsey many times during the race. His pace and form were very a machine. He always had a smile and something nice to say to everyone. Kevin is a class act. He ended up with 120 miles! Unbelievable!

Although I didn't reach any of my goals, I could blame no one but myself. I should have run through the night (probably could have covered at least 25 more miles). I should have brought actual food (more energy = more miles). I should not have brought a tent (too tempting to crash). More lessons learned!

All in all, I had a great time and met some great people! Brian and Lorrie Williams both had PR's and Lorrie even won her age group. They kept me going many times throughout the race. Good to see them complete 40+ miles! This is what is different with ultras...the friends you make and meet!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tour d'Esprit (Brief)

Quick post...more info later.

58 miles (counting intial pre-race lap to check course) in less than 16 hours total running time (with 7 hours of me lazy!).

3rd in my age group (40-44)
7th for all males
10th place overall (non-team)

Kevin Dorsey (RD for Bartlett Park Ultra) is a machine!! He ran 120 total miles! And...he is doing the Arkansas Traveler next week! Congrats to Kevin!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Taper Time

I went to Shelby Farms again today. MRTC was having a 10k run, so it was quite a busy scene when I pulled into the parking lot (of course, not finding any empty spaces!). I saw a few familiar faces pass by.

Finally found a parking space and did two loops of the Tour. I ran out of water on the second loop and, being a clydesdale...I became slightly dehydrated. I guess I will use my Camelbak next time. At least the weather was nice!

Time to taper for the race.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Shelby Farms

Ten miles at Shelby Farms felt great today! No problems with the plantar fasciitis or anything else. This was my first time running the Tour and I thought it was fantastic! I also ran around Patriot Lake and the Chickasaw Trail...boring, but at least the temps were under 90 degrees!

Yesterday's run was at Bert Ferguson Park, after dark. Only 6.6 miles, but I needed some time running in the dark to get the feel for it. The moon provided adequate light, so I didn't get to try out the new Petzl E-Lite.

Tomorrow is a early run at Shelby Farms again. Then no mas (or at least no mucho) until the race on Friday.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Run, Forrest, Run! Part Deaux

Another day almost pain free! I increased the mileage to six yesterday and did not have any problems. Even better than that, I had no problem holding a 10 minutes per mile pace the entire six miles...and it felt like I has moving too slow! I did notice a few hot spots on the balls of both feet and around the heel cup on the right. It would be a bugger to get blisters this close to the race.

Now it's time to ramp up the mileage to about 25 for the weekend and then taper for the race next week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Run, Forrest, Run!

I had my appointment with the orthopod yesterday. The x-ray was negative for fracture or spur, which is good to know. All in all, the doctor did not tell me anything that I didn't already know (don't go barefoot, stretches, anti-inflamm meds, etc). He did give me a heel cup, which is supposed to help relieve pain.

Anyway...I finally started running again yesterday. I was relatively pain free, before-during-after the run. One may think this is attributed to the four Alleve that I took during the course of the day, but I hope that it is because I am healing. Three miles at a 10 min pace felt great! The fourth mile was a test in prep for the 24 hour race, so I walked half and "trotted" the last half. I am trying to time how fast I need to be walking and/or how slow I can run and still stay under 14 minutes per mile.

It feels great to be running again! Too bad that this Sunday starts my taper for next weeks race.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Well...only 11.5 miles last week. This is down from my weekly average of 55 miles. My bout of plantar fasciitis has sidelined me for the time being and it's driving me crazy! The last two runs have been disastrous. My gait is so off that it is affecting my shins, knees, and lower back. Taping my foot seemed to help for a bit, but no longer.

I have an appointment with the orthopod on Wednesday and hopefully he can give me the miracle cure. I really need this problem to go away...very soon! My first 24 hour race is in less than two weeks and I need to be 100%.

Someone say a prayer for my foot!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Forgot To Tell You...

As of Saturday, I have lost a total of 52 pounds! I am still 25 pounds shy of my goal, but still making progress.

Last May, I weighed in at a staggering 270 pounds. That's when I knew that something had to change in my life. With a family history of heart disease and diabetes, my chances of keeling over dead were pretty damn high...especially at 270 pounds! We joined Bartlett Rec and I started on the elliptical. This year, I moved on to running on the streets and trails. So far, I have run for more than 1100 miles just since January this year. My diet hasn't changed too much, so I can attribute losing 52 pounds on ultradistance running.

Go me!!!

More Pain

My damn foot is not getting better. I've done all the stretches, used arch supports and even decreased my mileage...still painful. Actually, Monday it felt great! Not so today.

I went for a short run yesterday afternoon since the weather was so cool. The foot was a little stiff the first 1.5 miles, but seem to feel o.k. after that. Around mile 6, it started really aching. I would walk in attempt to loosen it up, but it actually hurt less when running. By mile 7, my running form was really in the tank and I was hurting elsewhere because I was overcompensating for my right foot PF. My darling wife drove by me about 200 yards before starting mile 8, so I stuck out my thumb to hitch a ride back home. Luckily, she saw me (how could she miss?!) and picked my sorry ass up.

I guess I need to stop all running activities for a bit, which is putting me in a funk just thinking about it. I have the 24 Hour Tour d'Esprit coming up in less than three weeks, so I really need to be pain free. Of course, if I don't run to allow my plantar fasciitis to heal, then I may not be ready to run the 24 hour race. Maybe I will be o.k. for my weekend long run.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Muddy Run

Today's run at Stanky was great! Before I could get past the first mile, the rain started pouring down. The white loop wasn't too bad and the yellow was a little worse...but the blue loop was a bugger! It's been raining off and on for the past day, so there was a lot of standing water to run through and the hills were slimy and slick. I knew it would be impossible to keep my feet dry, so I just ran through the puddles like a kid and had a great time! I originally intended on at least two laps (16m), but since I was soaked to the bone, I called it a day after just one.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lazy Me

I have taken almost the whole week off from running. Tuesday was only four miles and only nine today (so far...going running with the wife later). Other than that...zilch, zero, nada. Actually, I have a semi-great reason for my laziness. I have spent the last three nights at different car dealerships trying to wheel and deal. Now that I have purchased my car (2007 Maxima 3.5 SE), I can get back to business as usual! Anyone for a Stanky run at 0745 tomorrow?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wolf River Trails

I finally made it out to the WRT yesterday! My initial intention was to run the Tour de Wolf, but wanted a more "woodsy" run. I wasn't even sure that I was in the right place for WRT, but I saw some other people parked so I was hoping I wasn't about to look like a fool! Anyway...

Once parked, I met another runner named Johnny. I followed him onto the yellow trail and after about 10 minutes, I stopped to let him get ahead. I didn't want to crowd him and also wanted to experience the trail in solitude. First impression of the yellow trail: is this the jungle?! The trail was overgrown with vines and face-slappers. There were a lot of areas of "beach", where the sand would slow you down and get into your shoes if you weren't careful. A few logs that had to be jumped/climbed made the run even more enjoyable. My calculations were 4 miles out to Walnut Grove where you could continue on pavement back through the camping area, then to the start. I chose to turn around and retrace. It was too hot (only 94 degrees!) and my camelbak was almost empty.

WRT (yellow) was not as technical as Stanky, but a nice change of pace. There were a few ups and downs, but mainly just light rolls that you could open up your pace on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back in the Saddle

After taking two days off to let my PF heal, it managed four miles. I went to Stanky Creek, but there is a time-trial for the bikers going on (race tomorrow). Begrudgingly, I headed for the gym. I smoked the first two miles with a 8 minute per mile pace and felt great! My right heel was somewhat stiff, but not enough pain to stop me. What did stop me was a blister on my right ankle where my trail shoe had worn (I should have put my street shoes on!). The front desk people gave me a band aid to cover it, but it still burned like the dickens! I did not want to stop, but it my shoe kept digging into the blister. Wait a minute! This would be a great time to run barefoot...well, at least sockfoot!

I ran two miles at a 10 minute per mile pace in my socks and it felt very liberating! It took some getting used to, but it was great! Unfortunately, another damn blister...this time on the ball of my left foot which is where my foot would first contact the treadmill. Blisters be damned. Next time, I will wrap my feet regardless of shoe choice or surface choice. I am pondering on purchasing a pair of Vibram Fivefingers, which would make it much easier for me to run "barefooted".

To find out more about barefoot running, please give Barefoot Ted's site a look!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good News...Bad News

Good news: Since changing from a base-building, slow run to a faster 5k pace run, I have seen much improvement since May. My 5k time has improved by 4 minutes and my 8 mile time has improved by 20 minutes! This is all wonderful news for me! Running slow and keeping my HR down during my Maffetone work-outs for 2 months was soooo boring. I am really excited to be running faster...and without pegging my HR out to max!

Bad news: I seem to have developed a case of plantar fasciitis. It started nagging me when I increased my pace this past Sunday. Halfway into a 10k run last night, I had a lot of trouble walking. I actually had less pain when I was running, so I finished the mileage. This morning, I could not bear any weight on my right heel. It became less painful as the day progresses, but still very tender. I guess I will need to lay off the running for a bit. The recumbent bike and elliptical will have to suffice for now (yuck!).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stumpjump 50k

I just noticed that the Stumpjump 50k registration is closed! I knew that I should have registered this past weekend!

My alternative for that weekend is actually better than Stumpjump! I plan on joining Kevin Ponds who will be crewing for Jeff and Sherpa John at the Arkansas Traveler 100. This is a race that I want to run, but there is no way that I am ready for it. So...why not crew for some people that are ready? There is a lot I can learn from Jeff and Sherpa John! Maybe I can pace one of them, too!

Now, if I can just convince the wife to let me go play for that weekend!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stanky Creek

The weather finally cooled down enough to run the trails! It was 97 degrees, but very humid. Even if it were over 100, I don't think I could have hit the treadmill. I needed to run the trails...and run the trails I did.

I've decided that I am tired of running slow. I need more speed. Today's run was to be considered a speed run....eight miles of speed. I hit the trail head at a blistering pace and held it constant except for uphills. After the first four miles, I was dog tired. I took a short walk break and then took off at a steady 11 minute pace. I had my watch set for a 3:1 interval, but usually just kept running. Another short walk break at mile six. My body and mind were telling me to slow down, but I wanted to push it as much as possible. I finished the loop in 92 minutes, which is shy of my PR by a few minutes. It was exhausting, but I felt good about my performance. I know an eleven minute pace is not fast for a lot of you, but it is on the trail for me. Of course, I doubt I could have kept that same pace for much longer!

Side note: There were lot of bikers on the trail today. As I passed a family of said bikers, the wife called out to her husband: "Here comes a jogger, Ed!". A jogger?! How insulting! I am a runner, by damn it! I am a ultradistance runner! I am the best ultradistance runner known to man to my wife!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Salt Burns

I ran my first long run since last week's race. I am rebuilding my base with slow, long runs that get very boring. It took me 5 hours to run 21 miles today. I started well before the sun came up...but once it came up, it got hot real quick. I packed GU, Clif Bars, PBJ's, and plenty of S!Caps into my camelbak and hit the road by 0515. I wore my usual attire (bike shorts under running shorts) and all was fine the first couple of hours. I took S!Caps more often that I did during the race, hoping that would help my gut not bloat (which it did help).

By the beginning of the third hour, I noticed white foam on my thighs. I assumed it was salty sweat and thought nothing else of it. I continued running, eating, drinking, and taking even more S!Caps. In hind site, I guess that I was taking way too many S!Caps and this was overloading me with salt.

When I got home and in the shower, I nearly screamed in pain! I had what looked like whelps or burns on my inner thighs, buttocks, and testicles. My guess is that I perspired a high concentration of salt and because I was wearing compression shorts, my skin was overly irritated. Needless to say, I am still in pain.

NOTE TO SELF: don't take so many damn S!Caps!!!!!

SIDE NOTE: S!Caps are worth their weight in gold...when taken properly!!!!

I hope all is better before tomorrow's trail run!!

Friday, August 17, 2007


The weather is finally supposed to cool down this weekend! Tomorrow's high is expected to top out at 95, which may seem hot...but it sure beats the daily average of 104 this week! With the cooler temps, I will finally get back to running outdoors and running longer distances. My plan for tomorrow's long run in to get up at 4am and hit the streets until 9am. I prefer the trails, but it's a bitch being the first one out there and hitting all the spider webs! Trails will have to wait until Sunday's 16 miler.

On a side note, I am now a proud member of Team Sherpa!

"Team Sherpa Ultra-Running is a nation-wide group of runners passionate about simply going the distance and camaraderie. There are no dues, there is no budget, there are no waivers to be signed. You are not guaranteed a number to run Boston or any other over-crowded race. What you are guaranteed is support, friendship and a good time. We are not a non-profit organization or really an organization at all. We are group of runners feeling good about inclusion." - Sherpa John

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Post Race

I always thought I would loose weight from running 40 miles, but I have actually gained 6 pounds! Everyone responding to my post on the ultra-list say it's only water weight and I hope they are right!

I took Sunday off from running. Monday was a treadmill day. Tuesday I ran outside in the 102 degree temps. Today...back to the treadmill where there is air conditioning!! So far, I have not had any extra pains attributed to the race. I am keeping the daily mileage low in order to build back up slowly. This weekend will be back to running the the shade!

Monday, August 13, 2007

One Down...Many More to Go!

I survived my first (and definitely not last) ultra. I am disappointed that I did not make the cut-off for the fifty miles, but I am more than pleased that I did not stop after fifty kilometers! The temp was 102, so a lot of runners were smart and went home after 50k. Call me glutton for punishment...but 50k was not enough to satisfy me. Missing the time limit cut-off to go 50 miles, I settled for the next best thing...40 miles.

I made the most prevalent mistake made in ultras: I started too fast! I was mid-pack the first 8 miles, moving at a pace that I knew I could never keep after the first loop. I even ran up all the pace never slowing. But, damn it...I felt good! By the end of the first loop, I had beat my PR by three minutes (1:30/8miles). My stamina seemed OK, but I knew that I had just blown it for the long haul. Chalk it up as stupid and keep moving. I promised myself that the next four loops would have to be at my pace.

I have been to the wall and it almost won. The 25 through 29 miles were the longest hour of my life. At one point, I removed my Camelbak and just laid on the ground...wishing it was over, praying for relief. Although I ate what I though was enough, obviously it was not. Nothing tasted good. My appetite was non-existent. I was running on fumes and my body was tired of moving forward. A couple GU's and a PBJ keep me going long enough to climb that damn wall. Once over, there was no looking back. I felt tired, but great all at the same time! I had only hit the wall once before during training at mile 20, and it beat me. There was no way it could have won this time...I was damned if I was going home without at least 40 miles of trail behind me.

I have to acknowledge two things that helped me the most: Clip2 and S!Caps. I am now a believer and will not race without them! Thanks Karl King! Your products kept me moving forward and feeling good! Being the first time I used the S!Caps, I wasn't sure how many to take. I figured one every four miles should be sufficient, but in hindsight I should have taken more with the temperature being so high.

Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers!! They did an awesome job of keeping us fed, hydrated, and safe. The two RD's (Mike Samuelson & Kevin Dorsey) put on one helluva race and were always present to help in anyway possible! Thanks to all those who gave me words of encouragement throughout the race (Susan Donnelly, Jan Show, Kevin Dorsey, Mike Samuelson, and so many others)! There is no way I could have run 40 miles without all of your help!!

My biggest and most heartfelt thanks is reserved for my beautiful wife, Jennifer. Without her understanding and patience I would not have been able to finish this race, let alone start it.

So...after eleven hours and forty-seven minutes of brutal heat, blisters, chaffed skin, and trail grime...I was smiling from ear to ear! When is the next race? Where do I sign up?

Mistakes Made & Lessons Learned:
1.) Too fast out of the gate! As I have read many times: "start slow, then taper".
2.) I ran the hills at first. As I have read many times: "walk the hills, even the small ones".
3.) I did not eat enough food. Eat, eat, and eat...then repeat.
4.) My belly would swell as if it could not empty. More S!Caps solved this problem.
5.) I ignored the blisters instead of taking care of them.
6.) The wall is real. Be mentally and physically ready to climb it. Keep moving forward!
7.) Lubricate everything! This includes feet!
8.) Bring your own toilet paper! You will need it!
9.) Red Bull did not help me, but Boost!Plus and Coke certainly did.
10.) Listen to the veteren ultra runners. They have already been there...done that.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I am full of butterflies...anticipating tomorrow's race. There are many questions bouncing around in my head. Did I train enough? Were my long runs um, long enough? Will my old joints hold up to 10-12 hours of constant forward motion? Will I be able to push through the many walls that I will surely face?

Another problem that we will face is the brutal southern heat. A high of 101 with 49% humidity is expected tomorrow. Luckily, we will be in the woods! Not much improvement, but hopefully bearable!

I think I have all my supplies ready. Twelve packs of Clip2, one bottle of S! Caps, a gallon of chocolate milk, three gallons of h20, plenty of Gu!, Clif Blocks/Bars, a liter of Coke, four Red Bulls, and three full change of clothes. Luckily, the course is an eight mile loop and I can stop at my car each time to refill my Camelbak and eat my personal stash. Also, two aid stations (every 4 miles) with other goodies should keep my fuel tank full. I am probably taking too much, but that is better than not enough. I only live four miles from the course, so I can always call my wife to bring anything I may have forgotten.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bartlett Park Ultra

I am looking forward to (and hopefully prepared for...) the Bartlett Park Ultra this Saturday! My current plan is to complete the 50 mile race, but will be somewhat happy with the 50k or the 40 miler. One race distance at a time!

This will be my first ultra distance race and only my second race of any type (I ran a 5k on the 3rd of July [32:05]). After eight years of running to and fro for Uncle Sam, I quit exercising altogether and put on almost 100 pounds of blubber. I started running again last year and since have lost 50 pounds. For the past few months, my weekly mileage has increased from 15 mpw to 55 mpw (with the obligatory weekend long runs).

As I stated at the top of this post....hopefully I am prepared for the race Saturday!! If all goes well, my ultramarathon career will not end this weekend.

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