Sunday, August 23, 2009

Returning to the Trails

Today was my first "long" run since early June and since starting Crossfit Bartlett. I didn't have any of my old aches and pains, had plenty of energy, felt great, and ran without problems. I was very pleased with the way I have strengthened my body through crossfit and believe it has improved my running. Today's run was only about 10.5 miles, but's been almost 3 months since running anything over 5k (except for one 5 miler)! Crossfit Bartlett was the obvious reason that I felt strong during the entire run! Had I not had to be home by 11, I would have continued running.

Next week (weather and wife permitting), I will attempt my solo 50k at Bartlett Park.

My Blackberry Bold gps stated that I ran 9.2 miles, but it is obviously not accurate in the woods! All the bikers and other runners say that all loops together at the Stank is about 10.5 miles. If anyone has a more accurate mileage, let me know.

Monday, August 3, 2009


After Ouachita in April, I wanted to ramp up my mileage in prep for the third annual Bartlett Park Ultra...which was my first (40 miles). I was having a hard time staying motivated to run long, much less run at all.

Jeff Genova sold me on trying Crossfit to increase strength, endurance, and stamina, therefore help me run longer and faster. I joined Crossfit Bartlett in June and set my sights on Bartlett Park in August.

Since June, my longest run has been 14 miles (and that was early June). I wanted to do the prescribed Crossfit workouts, so I cut my mileage dramatically. Some weeks I didn't even run (except for Crossfit workouts). I wanted to see if Crossfit actually helped my running, without really even running (long)!

Bartlett Park is this Saturday. Aside from a bit of low confidence from the lack of long runs, I felt great about a 50k , so-so about a 40 miler, and if-y about a 50 miler. The weather forecast is for a high of 92, which is a helluva lot better than the past two years! Two new trails were incorporated into the race. The stars were starting to line up!

Jennifer's (my darling wife) father passed away yesterday. His memorial will be held Saturday. I had the utmost respect for this man, his family, and my wife. Even if I had trained, paid for air travel, and was to run Western States this weekend, I would not even think of going. My wife, my mother-in-law, and two brother-in-laws deserve my respect and attendance.

So...Bartlett Park will wait until next year! I may do a solo 50k next weekend if anyone cares to join me (which would negate the "solo" aspect, but that's ok)!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ouachita 50

This was my second running of the Ouachita 50. I missed the 50 mile cut-off at mile 37 last year. I wanted redemption, but redemption was not to be found this time. Threatening thunderstorms and a slower pace helped my decision to drop to the 50k race. I contemplated continuing the 50 miler for hours. The decision had to be made before the Northshore AS (16 miles) and since I was running about 10 minutes slower than last year, I thought it best not to be chasing the cut-offs so close.

The first four miles consisted of about 2.5 miles of road, followed by a steep stair-step descent onto the Ouachita Trail. The trail opened up and was fairly smooth for a bit, deceiving the runner into thinking the race would be a cake walk.

Within the first five miles, we have to almost rock climb up Pinnacle Mountain. As fun as it may sound to climb about 1000 feet within a quarter mile on boulder size rocks and then descend the same about a half mile on loose rocks the size of a water was!

After Pinnacle Mnt, we ran around the base back to the first AS and then out to run around Lake Maumelle. Rocks were every-fucking-where. By the time I could get up to a decent running pace, I had to slow down to jump over/around rocks that littered the trails. This became very annoying after the first five minutes.

The turn-around for the 50k was at mile 17. Then we ran back the way we came, skipping the Pinnacle Mnt rock climb...thank God. We only had a few rain sprinkles throughout the day, but when I hit the last 5k, the heavens opened up with a downpour and thunder/lightening. I was so damn glad I dropped to the 50k and felt pity for those still on the trails!
My energy level dipped a few times, but I never hit any big walls. I stuck with H2O and Liquid Shot (EFS), with some AS treats for flavor. After a short lull around the marathon point, I kept a good pace until the finish (which was very surprising!). Robert Kyle and I crossed the finish line together in 8:21, tied for 52nd place (out of 80 finishers). I was happy with my run and more happy to be done. I felt that I had enough energy left to run another 20 miles, but I was damn glad that I didn't have to.
I am confused about 50 people finishing before me. When runners started passing me as they were headed to the finish, I started counting them. There is no way that I could miss anyone, as we were running an out and back course. I recall counting 20, before loosing interest in keeping track. I know positively that another 30 runners did not pass by. No friggin' way. I passed five on my return journey to the finish. So, even if I give room for error and say that 35 runners passed me and then I passed 5...where the fuck were the other 20 runners?!?! The final results and splits are not published yet, so I cannot check the mystery remains. I am NOT saying anyone cut the course short on purpose...I am just trying to figure it out.
Anyway...I'm sorry that my report kinda sucks, but I have lost interest in writing a more detailed one.
One last thing...I finally met Jeff Genova. He's a great guy and a helluva ultra runner (5th in the 50k)!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Next Race

I registered for Ouachita 50 tonight with some hesitation. After Sunday's crappy run (15m), I wondered if I was ready for Ouachita (which is a lot tougher than the MS50 last month). Ahhh..fuck it. I missed last year's cut-off by a mere 15 minutes, so I am feeling somewhat comfortable for this year. The race is just a week and a half away, so this week(end) will be my last long run(s)...but, with it being Easter weekend, I am not sure exactly how far a long run will actually be.

March recap (202 miles):
3/30/2009 — 4/5/2009: 60.0 Miles (pushing towards Ouachita)
3/23/2009 — 3/29/2009: 25.7 Miles (maybe too much on previous week!)
3/16/2009 — 3/22/2009: 50.6 Miles (best week in a while)
3/9/2009 — 3/15/2009: 17.4 Miles (recovery week)
3/2/2009 — 3/8/2009: 61.5 Miles (includes taper and MS50)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Hoping to finally make a intelligent decision, I took the entire week off since the MS50. It was hard, but nice not to worry about getting in the mileage with the shitty weather we've been having. My body needed the break, as did my endocrine system.

I hit the roads today due to all the trails being full of water and mud. Normally, I detest running the streets because of all the jackass drivers flying by and all the car exhaust you have to endure. If I am running with Jennifer (who has yet to venture into the woods with me), then I can run the streets all day.

Today's run felt great. No aches, no pains, no problems. Ten miles in two hours, even with a lot of stopping to get Marley caught and re-leashed. She likes to run free and there was a few areas during the run that I could unleash her.

I am still debating on running the Germantown Half Marathon tomorrow. If I skip it, I will hit the streets again...hopefully with Jennifer this time!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mississippi 50

They say that the third time is a charm. They were wrong. It took me four attempts to finally finish a 50 mile trail run. Thrice in 2008 I tried a came up short. First was MS50 (missed cut-off by 30 minutes); second was Ouachita 50 (missed cut-off by 15 minutes); third was Bartlett Park (planned on 50m, but stopped after 50k...the temps with heat index was 130).

Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 is held each March in the DeSoto Nat'l Forrest outside of Laurel, MS. I ran it last year, but bloated like a whale on the third 12.5 mile loop and missed the cut-off. I didn't care at the time, I just wanted someone to stick me in the gut and let all the air out. I decided to run the MS50 again this year because it is a "easy" 50 miler.

This year's course was changed due to yearly forrest burns. Instead of four 12.5 mile loops, we ran three 16.7 mile loops (with two out-n-backs). The course was fairly dry, except for a couple of creek crossings and a mud bog. The course flat, save for a few small climbs. We had an eight hour cut-off to complete two loops (34m), leaving four hours for the last 16.7 miles.

I decided to forgo any hotel/motel and camp out at the start area. Approximately twenty feet from my small tent, a posse of rednecks decided to have a family reunion (actually they were horse riders there for the weekend) for what seemed like all damn night. They were loud and obnoxious...totally inconsiderate of anyone else in the camping area. They even left their damn generators running all night. Needless to say, I tossed and turned all night. I finally got up before 0430 to break camp and get ready. I thought about singing a few loud David Allen Coe songs to wake the rednecks, but they wouldn't have heard me over the generators.

We all gathered at the start, saying our hellos/good-lucks and taking pictures. At 0600 we started running. I wanted to start more conservative, but that went to the wayside for a bit. Four miles to the first aid station was were the majority of the water and mud were found. This was an out/back, so we got wet/muddy a total of six times over the 50 miles. I tried to stay somewhat dry, but it was of no use.

Aid station 2 was around the 9 mile mark. Only 5 miles from AS1, but it seemed an eternity. I knew that once the sun was up that this stretch of trail would be a bugger and needed to remember to fill up my water bottle at AS1 each time.

AS3 was about 5 miles from AS2. AS4 only 2-ish from 3; AS5 was actually AS4 after another out/back...then about 2.3 miles to the start. The biggest mind-fuck was getting from the start to AS2 (total of almost 10 miles). This section of trail was long and boring. The more I counted the miles, the worse my disposition. I tried to block it out and just run, but once the temps started to climb up to 80, it was hard to keep a good pace. Once I passed AS2 on each loop, it was all good. All the other aid stations are bunched up, so this made it easy to just run AS to AS.

At AS4, the 50k runners can skip the out/back and head to the finish on their second loop. When I got to this point, I almost dropped down to the 50k. My right hamstring was cramping and I was starting to bloat a bit. I knew that I would regret doing this, so I put on my big boy pants and kept running the 50 mile course. If I was going to fail to reach 50m, then I was going to at least fucking try...damn it.

I finished loop 2 with about ten minutes to spare. My left foot had been hurting for a few hours due to being wet, muddy, and sandy. I knew there would be multiple blisters, but was wary on removing my shoe/sock. Before the last loop, I decided to take time out to take care of the foot or I may never make the last loop. I had a bucket of ice water that I used to wash my foot and quickly donned another Injinji sock. I knocked all the sand/dirt/twig/etc out of my shoe, put it back on and hit the trail for one more damn loop. My foot felt much better! I should have taken care of it earlier...another lesson learned.

The last loop seemed like the shortest. Maybe because I knew it would be my last loop and that nothing was going to stop me from finishing. I was the last runner to start the last loop and saw only three others on the first out/back. One of the runners was Paul, whom I had been somewhat running with the first two loops. He was approximately 2 miles ahead of me when I saw him and I figured I would see him again. Before reaching AS2, I would catch a glimpse of him in the distance. I felt the need to catch him. This helped me keep my pace up and gave me motivation. Once I caught Paul, we would continue the remainder of the race together...pushing and pulling each other. We talked a lot about running and past/future races which helped take our minds of the remaining miles. We only saw one other runner and she was too far ahead to even think about catching.

After the last out/back, Paul and I knew we would never make the 12 hour time limit. We pushed it for all it was worth, hoping Dennis (RD) would allow us to at least finish. We saw Dennis in his truck on the gravel road about a mile from the finish. He was making sure we were still alive and moving. The last 200 yards is all gravel road and I decided it was well past time to put it in the highest gear I had left and finish the race on empty. I wanted to cross the finish line with Paul, but he was lagging too far behind. I felt great to have just enough energy left to run those last 200 yards in a drunken sprint! Right before crossing the finish, I turned a ran backwards. I wanted to do the Jurek roll, but I was too tired. Fuck it, I was done either way!

After getting my race mementos from Dennis and telling the few people remaining thanks and goodbye, I staggered to my car to wash up a bit before my five hour drive home. There was no band playing at the finish, no cheerleaders, no tape to break, not even a sandwich. Being the very back of the pack kind of sucks! I was proud to finish, no matter what the time.
Race nutrition:
Since I have had bloating problems in the past, I decided to stick with water for liquids and used EFS Liquid Shot for cals. Other cals came from various aid station fare, mainly PBJ's and Coke. I did have some bloating, but that was controlled with Pepsid and belching loudly. My energy level dipped a few times, but I never really hit the wall. There was a time when I had the intense desire to lay down for a nap, but I quickly snapped back into the race. I think my main need that I forgot to address was sugar. My legs were still in the race, but my mind was slipping. Sugar is a good fix for this.
I also took S!Caps throughout the race, but kept the dose low because the EFS had electrolytes as well.
More photos on Facebook and Picasa sites.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Run in the Snow

It rarely snows in Memphis. We usually get ice, which sucks ass. It started snowing yesterday afternoon and did not let up until after I went to bed. Unofficially, 8 inches of powder was reported. Of course, today's sunshine is destroying our late winter wonderland!

Marley and I hit the neighborhood streets late yesterday afternoon for our first snow run. We made it 4 miles before deciding that we had enough. I planned on getting up early this morning to run Bartlett Park before everyone else got out there and messed up my snow.

The alarm buzzed at 0600 and I promptly turned it off, checked outside, and went back to bed. So much for running the the virgin forest snow. Up and at 'em around eight and out the door after ten. Marley and I hit Bartlett Park before 10:30. At least five sets of tracks in the snow told me that we went the early birds.

The trails were snowy, wet, and muddy. Before making it to the bridge on the white trail, my feet were already soaked with the freezing water and mud. I tried my best not to run in the water, but it was difficult to run through eight inches of snow off trail. I figured my toes wouldn't fall off in the two hours I had planned on being out there, so all was well.

There were a lot of limbs and whole trees across the trails, weighed down by the snow. By the time I got up to a decent pace, I had to detour or duck under/around down foliage. It was slick in some places and I almost did the splits a few times.

I called it a day after six miles and went home to bathe Marley. She was very stinky and muddy. There are more photos on my Facebook page (link is at the top of this page).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Test Post

This is a test. It is only a test. Had this been a real post, you would have been directed to the nearest emergency exit...
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Blah Blah Blah

Sorry for the lack of post (for the two of you who actually read this blog!) and even more sorry for the lack of mileage. After last Sunday's 20 miler, my hips just ached and I had no energy to run. Hopefully I get my ass out to the trails tomorrow to meet up with my ultra friends for my last long run before the MS50. We'll see if I am too lazy...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today's Long Run

I tried a new fuel for today's run...EFS Liquid Shot. Seems to have worked ok. No stomach distress or bloating and plenty of energy. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake, which was a plus.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today's Run

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Today's Long Run

Temps started around 24 degrees and made it up to a steaming 32 by the end of the run. We had seven (including me) runners and Marley start from the visitor's center in Shelby Farms. Two more joined at Germantown Road. One got lost and one stopped short. All in all, it was a great run with some great people! No issues, no problems (except for the frigid weather!).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

DFL...but 27 Minutes Faster!

I was the dreaded Dead Fucking Last in today's Swamp Stomper 50k. I also finished 22 minutes faster than last year's time, so I am ok with the stigma DFL! My garmin time was 8 hours, 8 minutes, and 8 seconds.

The weather was perfect for running in the woods. At the start, the temps hovered around 37 and made it to 51 as a high mid-afternoon (most were already done, but...of course...I was still out in the woods). Supposedly, 150 runners started the race, but I think the number was much lower. Only about 25 finished the 50k (about half of those who registered for the 50) and around 80 finished the 25k. I'm not sure why so many dropped to 25k, which made for a lonely second loop for me.

The first loop was near perfect. I ran with Michael and Clint to the turn-around (9m) and then decided to push on a bit faster. Michael caught and passed me around mile 14 and started his second loop before I even made it out of the woodline for 25k. I still felt strong and had energy. I had Heed in my Camel Bak and a mix of Power Gel and Sustained Energy in multiple squeeze bottles for my nutrition plan. This seemed to be working ok, but I began to bloat around mile 20.

The second loop was about 20 minutes slower than the first. Except for runners passing by me on their way to the finish, I was alone. I had my ipod to keep me company, but that became more of a hindrance than a help. The red loop has always been a mother, but running it alone makes it even worse. There are so many climbs that makes it very depressing when you think you've reached the last climb only to descend and climb again.

When I started the red loop for the last time, I found out that I was the last runner and I was 20 minutes behind the person in front of me. I tried to push it slightly, hoping to catch sight of her. I didn't want to burn out with another 10 miles to go, but I didn't want to fall further behind. At the next aid station, the volunteer couldn't remember when the last runner came through. The next two miles were the worst of the entire race. Still no sight of any other runners.

At the next aid station, I was informed that the previous runner had left there about 10 minutes prior. I tried to push the pace to at least get sight of her and hopefully catch her at the turn-around (mile 25-ish). Michael passed me on his way to the finish in this section, looking as strong as he was from the beginning. A few others passed on their return trip. I finally caught sight of the next runner as she passed me headed the other way. I knew that she was now at least two miles ahead and I had zero chance of catching her. With another 7 miles until the finish, I decided to take it easy (or easier) and just try to finish within 8 hours.

My gut was bloated, making running very uncomfortable...not painful, just uncomfortable. I tried to maintain a good, steady power hike and keep my time per mile around 15 minutes. At times, my Garmin stated that I was hiking a decent 13 min pace. I really need to re-evaluate my race diet and get this bloating taken care of (Sherpa John is helping me).

The final ascent to the finish was the most difficult. Mid-way up, I just wanted to lay down and give up. I was at the 8 hour mark and still had about a quarter mile to the finish line. I kicked myself in the ass and got moving. I crossed the finish line in 8 hours and 8 minutes (official time), with about 10 people cheering me on. I was dead fucking last, but at least I finished with my head high...and 27 minutes faster than last year!

The entire picture set is posted on my picasa.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Swamp Stomper 25k Training Run

I had forgotten how much of a bitch the red loop was! Now I remember...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 in Review

A new year has arrived in which I hope to improve my family life, my running, and win the lotto!

The best time of 2008 was running 100's of miles with the love of my life, Jennifer! She was not a runner before and has gone from not running at all to a half marathon in less than one year!

Total mileage for 2008 = 2036.70

January - Swamp Stomper 50k (8:30): very cold...witch titty cold, in fact. I went out too fast and bonked hard. Hopefully I learned something.

March - Mississippi 50 (37.5m 9:15): my first attempt at 50 miles. I made it to the start line late and missed the last lap cut-off by 30 minutes.

- Germantown Half Marathon (2:06): I ran as a bandit. PR for me!

April - Memphis Ultra 6 Hour: 24 miles of fun with friends!

- Ouachita 50 (36m 9:45): second attempt at 50 miles, once again missing last cut-off by 30 minutes.

May - Scenic City Trail Marathon (6:15): I under estimated the elevation of Chattanooga!

July - Firecracker 5k: my wife's first race (I ran bandit with her)! I still have yet to get her on the trails, though.

- Diamond Head Fun Run: not a race, but fun to run Waikiki and Diamond Head while on vacation!

August - Bartlett Park Ultra (50k 9:10): it was even hotter than last year's race! Original plan was for 50 miles, but stopped after of the my smartest moves of the year!

October - Tour d'Esprit 24 Hour: stopped after 50k due to pain(s).

November - Wade's Big Adventure (3:23): great short trail run with great friends!

December - St. Jude Marathon (5:22): I paced with my wife for her first half marathon! She did great and I am very proud of her! And I still have yet to get her into running trails!

2008 Mileage:

2008 Per Month:

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