Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recovery Over

Since the 50k, I have run once on the treadmill (Wed) and once today on the street. I used the week to recover even though I was not really sore. I thought I would gained some weight, but not so (I even lost a few pounds!).

Today's run was fairly crappy. The first few miles, my legs were stiff and my feet felt like concrete. By mile 4, I had finally warmed up and began to feel like running. I kept the pace slow and easy, attempting to keep my heart rate below 150. My original plan was to run about 6 miles, but once I got to six I still felt ok to continue running. My new goal was 10. My normal route back into the subdivision is exactly one mile. By the time I entered the subdivision, I was still below I needed to extend a little to reach 10. Off one of the dead ends I noticed a trail and decided to follow it to see where it lead. A little less than a half mile later, I popped out of the woods on Old Brownsville road (about a mile from the house on pavement). Once back to the house, my mileage ends up being 11.31.

I have decided to skip the upcoming Sylamore 50k (2/16). One reason is my poor performance at Swamp Stomper and the other is to concentrate on training for the Mississippi 50m on March 1st. If I don't take a weekend off, I only have four left before my first 50 miler. That does not give me much time to ramp up the mileage to prep without getting injured. I would like to get in at least two 35-40 mile long runs to feel good about the race.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Swamp Stomper 50k

It was colder than a well digger's ass this morning (12 degrees)! At least it was dry...that was a small consolation. Throughout the race, my nose was constantly running. I tried to keep the snot from freezing on my goatee without much success! By the end of the race, my nose was raw from rubbing it with my gloves.


The race started promptly at 0731 (by my garmin, anyway). We were all smiles and glad to be moving, which was the only way we were going to get any warmer! After a brief run on the asphalt, into the woods we ran. The first half mile or so was all downhill (elevation drop of 150 ft by my garmin, but it felt a lot more) and then about 3.5 miles of fairly flat running. The infamous red loop comes into play around mile 4 and I am quite sure all will tell you that the red loop was a mother. Up, up , up and then way down. Followed by some flats, then up and down, repeat. I would get to the top of another monstrous hill and think I was done with the loop, then be smacked in the face with another set of up and downs. Even though I have run this course many times, it was still very demoralizing...and exhausting. OK...I finally finish the damn red loop and get back on the white trail. Another 3 miles with more damn hills and a creek crossing (dry...thank the Lord) and I make it to the turn around. After a quick potty break and some snacks, I head back to the start, which is about 7 miles of the same (minus the red loop).

My first 25k is completed in less than four hours. Another potty break & snack break (not at the same time, of course) and then hit the trails for the second 25k. On the way back to the trails, I stopped by my car to drop some gear off and also to remove my tights (it's a bitch to run with all that crap on!). I also switched out my cap and left my ear muffs (should have kept the muffs!). All this cost my over 12 minutes, but I enjoyed the rest.

The next 4.5 hours were a repeat of the first 4 hours, only worse. My energy level had dropped drastically and I began walking way too much. I tried to eat my Clif bars, but they were almost brick-like due to the cold. My Gu was also useless. I stuck two Gu's into my gloves to warm them up, which helped somewhat. Clif Shot blocks were very tough, but at least I could eat them. Thank God the red loop aid station had hot chicken noodle soup (or a variation thereof...)! What a life saver!

The second go-round with the red loop is when I was told that I was not in last place...just next to last. By mid-loop, the woman in last had caught up with me. The last few ascents in the loop and I could not see her behind me anymore. This made me feel better! Damn it! I refused to be DFL (dead fucking last)! Mid way into the second portion of the white trail, she caught me again! Arrggghhhh!!! Although she was very nice and I am quite sure a great person, I wanted to smoke her ass! By this point, I was walking at a 17 minute pace. I turned on my power walker pace, determined to lose her. I averaged a 15 minute pace and surprisingly, caught up with Cliff Sanders. I kept moving as fast as possible, breaking into a run with each downhill and made the turn-around before I saw them again. Once heading back to the start, I never saw them and prayed that I could keep a decent pace.

I finally finished the 50k in 8:35:00. I was cold, tired, and dirty, but it felt great! About 10-15 minutes later, Cliff finished. Another 5-10 minutes, Angela crossed the finish line....DFL.

Congrats to all who ran! 'Twas a bitch, but we did it. Special congrats to the Memphis Ultra Team (Michael, Vinnie, Patrick, Holly, & Drew) for a blistering run! Thanks to all the volunteers for making this race possible! Thanks to Leigh (RD) for putting on one hell of a race!

1. I need LONGER training runs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Cold weather & I do not agree!
3. I was not ready physically or mentally for the race (see #1 & #2).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's Gonna Be Cold!

The forecast for Sunday morning's Swamp Stomper 50k is a low of 18 and high of 34! Fuck, that's cold! I went on a quick run tonight with ALL my cold weather gear on to see how it feels. I felt like a mummy and became very hot mid way into the run! It was about 35 out there during the run, so not as cold as it will be...but, hey...what's another 17 degrees? I will run the first half in full gear and probably drop the tights at the 25k point. Hopefully, that will be sufficient!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tag...You're It

I was tagged by Jolly Green Thumb...

1. Most memorable moment on the trails in 2007.
Since I started running ultras only last May, my trail races are limited to one! The Bartlett Park Ultra was my first ultra and first time running more that 15 miles at one time. August in Memphis is usually very hot and humid and this was no exception. Forty miles (over 11 hours) later, my first race was in the bag. It was a great time and a miserable time all in one. I met many ultrarunners, such as Kevin Dorsey, Mike Samuelson, and Susan Donnelly.

2. Best new trail discovered in 2007.
I spent so much time at Stanky Creek, prepping for Bartlett Park Ultra and I really started to hate being there. I finally made it to Shelby Farms and ran WRT and the Tour and this really helped me get back in the groove. WRT has 3 trails (yellow, blue, and white), so you can have plenty of variations to make your run more interesting. Hopefully I can run more trails outside of Shelby county!!

3. My best performance of 2007.
My performances for 2007 are so numerous that it's hard to decide! Let's see...I ran 2 ultras and 2 many to pick from! I guess I would have to pick Bartlett Park Ultra (40 miles in 11:47). Definitely slow, but it was my first and I was no where near ready!

4. I don't know how I previously survived without...
Running! Since leaving active duty in 1992, I got fat and lazy. I hit 40 and was 270lbs when I decided to get back into running. I have lost more than 50lbs since! As for Camelbak, Gu, and S!Caps.

5. The person I would most like to meet on the trails in 2008.
There are so many awesome runners out there that I would love to meet! If I had to narrow it down to one, it would have to be Anton Krupicka. Beyond that, there's Dean Karnazes, Scott Dunlap, Scott Jurek, Travis Liles, Sherpa John, Krissy Moehl, Sophie Speidel, and the list goes on and on and on.

6. The race I am most excited about for 2008.
My first 50 miler is planned for March 1st...the Mississippi 50. The course is relatively flat and soft, so I am hoping to finish (just finish, nothing else promised!). If, by October, I am feeling cocky enough, I will attempt my first 100 miler, the Arkansas Traveler!

Now, I tag...Kevin Ponds. Come on Kevin! Get back in the game and update your damn blog!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Day

Today's weather was perfect for running. I started late, so the temps were in the 40's and the sun was shining when I started my run. My NF Arnuva Boa's were still wet from yesterday's run, so I wore my Five Fingers. About a mile into the run, I ran by three guys and one of them looked familiar. It was Michael, Drew, and Patrick from Memphis Ultra. We chit chatted a bit and Michael said they had started the day at 4am (it was past 1030) and they were finishing a 30 mile run...and all three still looked fresh! Damn young kids! You guys make me feel old (and slow)! We said our goodbyes and continued running our separate ways. Within the next mile I run into Kevin Dorsey and John Manley! What are the chances of meeting up with five other ultrarunners by chance?

Back to the run...
I parked at the ranger's station and ran past the kite area to hit the end of the trails under Walnut Grove. Once past the bridges, I hit the blue trail. By mile #2, I had given up trying to stay out of the mud and by mile #2.2 there was no hope of keeping my feet dry. The blue trail soon became an open area with a lot of standing water. I hopped, skipped, and jumped my way up to the white trail for, what I hoped, would be dry ground. Within the next mile, I was back in the mud and water. And by mile #4, I gave up and turned around.

Once back to the gravel "road", I turned down it and thought I would give the yellow trail a try. This turned out to be a great choice and my run continued on dry ground.

My 11 year old step-son wanted to run tonight, so we hit the streets about 1630. He survived 1.3 miles and had to turn around. I escorted him back to the neighborhood and sent him on his way. I was feeling lightfooted and wanted to run more. The sun was going down and so were the temps. Since I was only wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt, I figured I best keep the run under an hour. I went to the golf course and ran the cart paths around the periphery and them back home. I would bet money that there are more hills on the golf course than at Bartlett Park! It was an easy run and felt great.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bartlett Park Run

Seven miles at Bartlett Park (Stanky Creek) was enough to fully soak my shoes in foul smelling mud and cold water. Yesterday's storm was enough to leave the trails in a big mess and level a lot of small trees. The higher ground was somewhat ok, but most low lying trails were still soaked and muddy. Crossing the creek was a chore and I had to get on all fours to climb out. I dropped one of my water bottles back in the creek, but I was not about to go back down to get it. Darkness fell while running the yellow loop, so I called it a night.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fifty-One Miles, Oh My

I am starting the year of right! I have 51 miles for my first week of running in 2008! Hopefully, I will be able to keep the mileage up, but it will be hard since the kids will be back in school and spare time will be minimal. Damn, I need to get a treadmill! Come next month, there will be a lot of people selling their new treadmills that they got for Christmas. Unable to keep their new year's resolution, they will sell cheap just to get it out of their house! And I will be a vulture...ready to take it off their fat ass hands.

Although I am ecstatic with my weekly mileage, it doesn't even come close to Anton Krupicka's average week:

Mon-AM: 16 miles (2:05) in Nebraska
PM: 8 miles (1:06) in Nebraska
Tue-AM: 16 miles (2:02)~5x1min, 1xmile in 5:11, 10x1min
PM: 7 miles (1:01)
Wed-AM: 30 miles (4:05) Verdigre and back
Thu-AM: 4 miles (:36) in Nebraska
Fri-AM: 10 miles (1:25) in Nebraska
Sat-AM: 45 miles (6:05) Garden Loop+Mt. Buckhorn+Monument
Sun-AM: 30 miles (4:33) Bear Creek to Intemann to Manitou to NNC and back through the Garden

Total: 166 miles (22:58)

I bet that is a slow week for him! Of course, if I could run 45 miles in 6 hours and had no children, maybe my mileage would be over 100 each week! If you get the chance, take a gander at his blog to see what a real ultrarunner does on a daily basis!

Swamp Stomper Training Run #4

Even with a later start time, only three of us ran off into the woods for over three hours of fun. The rest of you guys missed a great run with great weather (somewhat humid, though).

Leigh, Bill, and I started at the top of the red loop and then headed south to the lake. The original plan was to turn around at the lake and hit the other side of the red loop back to the visitor's center and finish with about 10 miles. Leigh and I were still feeling fresh, so we said bye to Bill at the red and headed north to the cabin. Once to the cabin (11 miles), the vote was unanimous to run the streets back to the visitor's center. In hindsight, we would have been in less pain had we stayed on the trails!

We bumped into at least 13 other runners today. With only two weeks left until the race, people must be getting the last long run in before tapering. Next weekend, the volunteers will run the course, so I will stay out of their way and run Bartlett Park for my last long run. If anyone wishes to join me on Sunday for 10-16 miles, let me know or check the forums.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First Run of 2008

I have many goals/races to accomplish this year. One goal is to crank up my weekly mileage past 60 so I can start running 50 and 100 milers. Juggling work and family does not leave much room for running during the week and when there is time, the weather sucks! It can be a pain to go to the gym, especially when you factor in travel time. So I plan on purchasing a treadmill so I can run anytime without leaving the house. If I get up at 4:15 each morning, I would be able to run 5 miles before needing to get ready for work! That's 25 extra miles, Monday through Friday...with only missing 35 minutes of sleep each morning! I'm a genius!!!


After taking most of Christmas week off (only had one 6 mile run), it was time to hit the trails. To my surprise, I had only gained 2 pounds from all the eating during the holidays!! Today's run was at Stanky Creek (should I start calling it Bartlett Park? Sounds less offensive, eh?). My hips protested the entire run! I had spent too much time on my ass during the holidays and now it was time to pay! I took it slow and easy the entire run and still had alot of hip pain.

There were alot of deer on the trails today. On the yellow trail, I spotted two doe and a buck bounding across the trail. They stopped about 20 yards from me and we all just starred at each other for a while. They did not seem scarred, but only curious. Maybe they were thinking that they would have no problem outrunning my fat ass if need be! When I started up the trail again, they didn't run...just kept watching me plod along. I thought I heard one of them taunting me...something like "you call that running?!".

Year in Review

2007 in a nutshell:

In May of 2006, I weighed 270 pounds. I also turned 39 years of age. With a family history of heart disease and diabetes, I knew that I had to loose weight and get my diet under control. We joined a local gym and I started on the elliptical. Off and on for a year, I stayed on that damn elliptical! I lost about 25 pounds, but knew I could do better. During my stint in the Army, we regularly ran 2-4 miles during PT. I reckoned I best start running the streets again if I want to loose more weight and get back into shape. In May of 2007, I (re-)started my running career. It was slow and painful at first, but the more weight I lost the more motivated I became.

I ran my first race in July (5k - 35min, if I recall) and then decided to switch to ultras (which seemed to favor slow pokes like me!). My first ultra was Bartlett Park in August (40 miles - 11:47). This was a wonderful, yet terrifying experience for me. It was great to "run" 40 miles, but the many walls that I had to climb over to get there was new to me. After this, the ultra bug had me by the throat!

The next ultra was the 24 Hour Tour d'Esprit in September. Of course, this was my first 24 hour track ultra and I had no idea what to expect (except what I had read on Kevin Sayer's Ultrarunner website). The race started at 3pm and by midnight I had 50k behind me and a huge wall in front of me. I assumed that (and read in an email from the RD) that there would be a runner's tent with food throughout the race. I never found this tent! I had only brought a few things (Clif bars, gels, etc) which was not enough fuel for my fat ass to keep moving past midnight (hindsight: I should have jumped in my car and went to McDonald's and Starbucks!!!). I slept until morning and then had to actually pay for a crappy pancake breakfast. Another 27 miles was accumulated for a total of 58 for my second ultra. Lesson learned: this was not a true "ultra" event, but more geared for team relay and each team brought their own supplies. Next time, I will be prepared.

Next race was the Midsouth first October. This particular marathon was an awesome experience!! The entire town of Wynne, Arkansas came out to help and cheer the runners! Unfortunately, I ran a dismal 5:37:31. I hit a small wall at the half and a huge wall at 17 miles. Lesson learned: start slow and taper!!!!

The final race of the year was the St. Jude Marathon in December. Once again, a wonderful experience, but a disappointing 5:20:31! Shit. I need to get faster!!!

My total mileage from May 21st 2007 until December 31st 2007 was 1661.93 miles. One of my new year's resolutions is to run 2500 miles. That will be a lot of training runs and races and I hope to see all of you out there "suffering" with me for most of the miles!

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