Sunday, November 02, 2014

Training update thru 11-2-2014

 It's nice to finally be able to post a training report and actually have  some  run training to talk about again. After the Marathon in Verona Oct. 5th I took off a couple of days and just did the tourist thing until I did a 3.4 mile run the morning of my flight home for one more look around beautiful Peschiera Del Garda. Things were pretty hectic the next few days and I was very tired from jet lag but  I finally got back on track on Sat. the 11th when I met up with Lisa for  some miles . A very slow 8.6 but you got to start somewhere.

  From that day things have gone very well. I only missed one day of running over the next 3 weeks. Mostly easy runs and not too long as I want to be smart about getting back to normal again. I did get in a few faster paced workouts just to test things out. A short session of mile repeats went much better than expected and I was a bit surprised I could reach that speed already. Another run at half and marathon race pace this past week also went very well. I got on the hills a few times too and felt strong. This past weekend I finally got in a longer run returning to Umstead for a loop and had a good amount of zip even going up steep B. My mileage is back to the mid to low 30's per week so far.

 I didn't get in much cross training in Italy although I did get some  of my single leg squats and bridges done. Gotta keep working those to keep my glutes strong ! Since returning I have been doing them 6 days a week and I got right back to the normal routine alternating days of core and body weight and free weight stuff, sometimes twice a day and I'm as strong as ever there.

 I also have been back to Stiner Massage a couple of times since the return. The injured hamstring is 99% now and he worked some magic on a painful psoas and some stuff in my other leg from the cramping at Verona. His work and the exercises combined have me back on track and confident I will be racing for that marathon pr and BQ in the early Spring as planned.

 Stay Tuned ! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Verona Marathon 2014

 So, How did I end up running a marathon in Italy? I have to thank my friend Margherita Bonfante Scott for that. She was going to be running her 100th marathon and wanted that special milestone to be done in her hometown with family and friends. When she asked if anyone wanted to go I was ready to jump at this chance of a lifetme to travel overseas for the first time with her as our interpreter and tour guide. I will have another post about the trip soon but for now lets concentrate on the race.

 Well back up a little. When this came up I was in the best shape I have been in years but as I mentioned in the previous post I had been injured since mid July and as the trip was approaching I was not even running at all and it was looking like I would just be a tourist and spectator instead of a participant. In desperation and thanks to John Stiner massage as I mentioned before, just three weeks before the race I was able to run for 3 miles. One more visit a week later and things had greatly improved but with a total of 24 miles in the three weeks leading up to the race and a "long run" of 7 slow miles the week before I was woefully under prepared to run a marathon .

   Even before the injury I had planned on running the race as a fun run and enjoy the scenery and share the miles with my regular trainng partner Karla. THE Marathon Princess who was also along for the trip with her  husband Frank. Now it was going to be a survival run. Just try to get to the end and not damage anything along the way. As it turned out Karla had been having some foot issues and was way behind in her training also which as sorry as I was that she was not in shape at least now we could still try and run together.

  We arrived at the start in plenty of time on a morning that turned out to be much warmer than we had hoped for and with the 9am start it was already in the upper 60's. The three of us lined up together. Margo was hoping to run well and if things went well break 4 hours. Karla and I were looking more at 5 hours plus so we wished her well and didn't even try to stay with her as the gun sounded .

 Ok, back up a little. Verona like most of Italy has a very long and ancient history and the race started in the shadow of the 2nd largest and best preserved Roman coliseum in the country, just one of the many sights along the way.

 Now back to the start. Since we were both out of shape we came up with a plan to run/walk from the beginning, something we really don't like to do in marathons but a neccesity in this case. With the course marked in kilometers we decided to run to each marker and then walk for one minute and then run to the next kilometer and repeat as long as we could.

  Did I mention I was dehydrated? Yes, being a tourist I really wasn't keeping up with my normal hydration in the days leading up to the race and like a dummy I didn't even think to take a water bottle with me on the drive over and while waiting for the race to begin. This would play a part in the final outcome.

 Back to the race  !

 Ok, we started running through the city on an out and back spur to one of the old doors to the city, a structure built during the middle ages as part of the walls surrounding and protecting  the city.    It took a few minutes to get warmed up but we made it to the 1st kilo marker and sticking to the plan begin to walk. It was still a bit crowded and we tried to stay out of the way and soon enough it was time to run again. We ran back to the coliseum where we could see Frank and Tony taking pictures and then the course turned away from the square. A bit of cobblestones now for the next couple of miles as we ran by the Castelvecchio.   We ran over the Victory Bridge where just before as we were kidding about watching our step, Karla nearly went down when she stubbed a toe on a cobblestone ! Glad she stayed up !

 We turned behind the castle and it got a bit confusing. It looked like runners were going over the fortress bridge and into the castle but when we got there we figured out it was just the 10k runners and we were suppose to continue straight. We hoped we were right ! Apparent;y some people did get confused because over the course of the day we saw at least 20 people going in the wrong direction, some walking and some running with bibs from all 3 races.

 We got to the first water stop at about 5k and being thirsty already we were disappointed to see they we not prepared for us ! We decided to keep going and hoped things were ready at the next one. We were already very warm and working up a sweat. The next 5 miles or so were alongside the the river Adige.  Things were going well, we both felt pretty good, my hamstring was holding up well and our pace was better than expected even with the walk breaks.

  The kilometers were pasing by and we were having a wonderful time as always when we run together. No better way to share the experience than with your  #1 long time running partner. This was our 14th marathon together since the time I paced her in her first back in 2005 at Myrtle Beach ! Some nice views of the river and outskirts of town along this section. It was mostly a gradual downhill along the river and I was already thinking that meant at some point we were going to have some up hill. Nothing steep but  more like a 1 to 2 % grade.

    Yes, the next water stops were well prepared with lots of volunteers and good size cups. Around mile 8 my hamstring begin to remind me it was not yet completely healed but not hurting enough to cause much concern. The run/walk strategy was helping with that. Soon we made a right turn away from the river and soon found ourselves running along the vineyards.  After about a mile we made another right turn heading back to the city with gorgeoous views of  Vineyards and Villa's  of which the pictures I took do not do justice.

   We were both feeling great and way ahead of the pace we had expected. We crossed over the river and the course we had run earlier as we headed back to the center of the city and could then tell that the course was mainly a double figure 8 with a couple of out and back spurs at the start and finish. Before we ever got to the split for the half and full marathons we were passed by the lead Kenyan at what for him was the 37 k mark. I estimated that at the pace he was running that his finish time would be upper 2:13. lower 2:14    and I was right. There was no one with 2 miles of him !!

 We hit the split and headed back out for our 2nd trip around the course. We had noticed that there were no port a potties on the course and both of us needed to take a pee break so we were paying close attention to find a spot. Nothing for quite awhile so we moved on. The hamstring was still doing ok. Every now and then it would scare me for a minute or two but then the pain would go away again. The run walk pattern was still working and we passed the half mararthon in about 2:20, a good 10 minutes faster than we had expected. Our pace while running  was still decent and consistent and I was now thinking if things continued to go well we could finished in 4:45 to 4:50 instead of the 5:30 ish we had feared we would do.

 Finally around mile 16 we found a patch of woods. We had to climb up a short steep embankment to get up to it and after finishing our business we ran for  a couple of hundred yards on a single track trail back down to the road.

 Soon we were making the right turn again away from the river. I had noticed the first time around that we didn't see some of the kilometer markers for the marathon and I was thinking maybe they had to add some distance to make up for the 1st loop not going all the way back to the start. It was Karla that soon noticed that we were going up a long fairly steep hill that we didn't on the previous loop. We were getting tired so we decided to walk  it.

  Once we topped out  it was a turn back toward town but this time on a long gradual downhill with breath taking views of the surrounding countryside. We took advantage of this and ran all the way to the bottom instead of walking at the next kilometer mark. I was getting tired though and it was right after that the wheels started coming off around the 20  mile mark.  I told Karla  that we should cut back to 2 minutes of running and 30 seconds of walking now but I was soon struggling to do that so we walked for a full minute.

  The kilometers were slowly clicking off and if we could hold that pace we still had a shot at about 4:50. Karla was definitely feeling better than  I was and at one point I said  in my pitiful exhausted voice, "sweetie I need you back back off the pace just a little". At this point I just wanted to hang on and get it over but with about 4 miles to go  both calves and my right hamstring begin to feel like cramping before I could finish the 2 minute run portions and now was doing as much walking as we were running. Things were getting pretty miserable for me and I was feeling about as bad as I ever have in a marathon. I really appeciated Karla staying with me. She could have easily pulled ahead  but she wouldn't leave me.

 With 2 miles to go my legs were a mess and I saw a bench so I asked her to stop and let me stretch for a minute. That just made it worse so we shuffled on ahead. Soon we were back on the cobblestones and I was worried about falling now. I could barely run 30 seconds at a time now without wheezing, gasping and cramping. I knew it would probably be bad but not like this.
  What a relief it was to finally cross that finish line. All I wanted was a place to lay down and die. Many of Margo's friends and family were there to celebrate her 100th but I was in no condition to celebrate or be socialable.

 But we got it done. Margo had a great race finishing in 3:58. Karla and I were 5:06 but she could have probably gotten in around 4:50. We have been through some tough ones  together over the years and it was far from our slowest at least and considering how under trained we were I guess we didn't do too bad afterall.

 A very good race with a nice course which I would recommend to any of my friends looking for an international marathon.

 Here is a link to  the few pictures I took in the race

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Training update thru 10-1-2014

    Yes it has been awhile since the last update and that is mainly because there was really no training going on. Just a few days after the last post in late July I had a lot of pain  in the sitbone-upper hamstring attachment area. It had been bugging me for awhile but had gotten a lot worse. When I began my first speedwork to start off the final phase  for the BQ attempt I had to shut it down due to pain and tightness which prevented me from a full stride.

  I went for a massage the next day which didn't help and really hurt a lot. Then on  Thursday  at the NCRC social run  I was in a lot of pain. I  I took off a few days and then had another massage on Tuesday. The next day I met Amy for some easy afternoon miles. Things went well for a couple of miles and then suddenly I had some sharp pain in the  left hamstring. A couple of walks and stretch breaks but it got worse and I was limping. Finally had to let her go on as I walked /limped back the last half mile. I was now really screwed up.

 The next few weeks were just frustrating. Every few days I would go for a test run and would usually have to shut things down within half a mile as I could tell the hamstring was not healing and about to get worse again. Finally by Labor Day I was able to run 3 miles with Karla at the Flowers Plantation 5k but I shouldn't have and I was right back to where I was before, in pain and not able to  run more than half mile after taking off a week at a time between test.

  I of course had to skip flying to Erie for the marathon and later that week in desperation I went to see John Stiner at Stiner massage. He has worked on my friend Laura Frey and he had an idea what the root cause of my problem was before I met him.

  The first session lasted 2.5 hours , mostly testing out nearly every muscle in my body. I won't go into all the details but he said the main source of the root cause of my injury was that my glutes were not firing and he prescribed some exercises to fix things. I was feeling much better the next day and went out for a test run. I was amazed at how much range of motion I had with the butt attachemnt more relaxed and I did a fairly quick 3 miles with minimal pain and the hamstring although it still hurt some never felt like it was going to seize up or tear.

    As you may know I had my trip to Italy and the Verona Marathon coming up on Oct 5th  and I was very frustrated thinking that I would not be able to run at all, never mind trying to do a marathon.  I went back to Stiner Massage  again the week before my trip. In the meantime i had gotten in a few runs with minimal pain including a 7 miler with Karla the Saturday before leaving for Italy. Slow but we got it done.

  I need to mention that although I wasn't able to run for most of August and Sept, I was desperate to do something so I joined Planet Fitness so I could at least do something cardio. The elliptical was tolerable and didn't seem to hurt the hamstring so I did it a couple of times a week. I tried the exercycles but they hurt the butt. My favorite turned out to be the stairmill. Started a love hate relationship with it. It didn't hurt my hamstring at all and I soon found myself in a friendly competition with Laura which we dubbed Stair Wars ! 30 minutes to see who could climb the most floors. Those workouts were like tempos at first but as we reached higher and higher they were more like all out 5k races leaving puddles of sweat and gasping. The people in the gym thought we were some kid of freaks ! I have been doing core and body weight stuff as well as some free weights for nearly 2 years now but as I found myself with more time and access to the gym I started adding more weight sessions and using some of the stuff at the gym to add to my core routines. I have gotten much stronger over the last two months now.

  And so, with some rest, some cross-traing and thanks to John Stiner's magic and knowledge of how the human body works I am about 95% pain free and able to run again. I was able to run  if you can call it that in Verona but that is another story coming up shortly. Stay tuned !

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Training update 7-20-14 and whats coming !

Well, in a way there wasn't all that much training the past two weeks since two weeks ago was mostly a mini taper for Grandfather Mountain Marathon and this past week was a recovery week.

 I did have  a nice 4 mile tempo run the week before and some nice miles with Karla. But overall  I cut back on the mileage and no doubles. And of course I guess you could say all running is training for something and I believe the marathon and then the hill climb to Fire Tower will both make me stronger for whats coming.

 This past week I took two days rest on Monday and Tuesday although I did do short versions of my cross-training. Wednesday was in one way the very best run I have had in 6 months. Yes, it was a strong 6 miler on a hilly course on what should have been an easy day but this one was more for the heart and soul than the body. It was totally unexpected but I am so thankful for it :)

 Finished up the week with a few more easy runs and had a wonderful 12 miler on Saturday with Karla and Laura.

 And now with Grandfather behind me it is time to get serious about the next big thing which will be my Boston qualifying attempt at The Erie Marathon at Presque Isle on Sept. 14th. I have 8 weeks to go so I just have to hope that all the miles this Spring and Summer so far have me with a strong enough base. More details to come but for now it's a week to ease into the speedwork and a 5 k next weekend, then  5 weeks of speedwork and marathon pace running and a two week taper.

 Stay tuned

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grandfather Mountain Marathon 2014 .And a little extra !

 I had another nice trip to the mountains in July for a fun race and a little escape from the heat of the flatlands. Arrived in town about 4 pm Friday and took a little drive as far as I could go on the "fire tower" run that Bobby Cordell runs frequently. More on that later.
 I came back down the mountain and went for packet pick-up where I saw several friends and then headed to the Meigs cabin for a wonderful dinner with their family and a lot of the Zap Fitness staff and athletes.

  Arrived at the stadium on race morning about 30 minutes from the start and spent the time visiting with friends before lining up on the track. It was comfortable in my singlet which meant it was a bit too warm but nothing I can do about that.

  I thought I was holding back the first mile but it is all flat or downhill and I passed that first mile in 8:12. Too fast but it felt like a jog so I didn't worry and just relaxed and slowed down a little for mile two. Shortly after that is the first climb as we turn onto Winklers Creek Road and I would get an idea if the 4 hour attempt was going to happen. Mile 3 was 9:10 so I  felt good and decided to go with it. Only problem is the first one is the easiest.

 Over the next couple of miles I was feeling good and running well on the downhills and on the less steep parts of the climbs but when it got steep I just didn't feel I had the power to climb as strong as I hoped and needed.  I was losing too much time on the climbs and although I  made up some time going down it is a losing battle . You just can't make up as much going down as you lose going up and with a lot more up than down on this course you can't afford to lose much cushion. By mile 8 I was pretty sure unless I had a miracle surge of energy on the next 2 mile climb that the attempt was over.

 Well I felt ok but just too slow. I passed by the 10 mile mark where I have stopped for a photo every year since 2008 when I ran with Laura MacLean but just kept going. Too bad I had no Angel to run with and get a photo because for the first time in years there was a clear view of Grandfather Mt. And I was already about 4 minutes over goal pace.

  From mile 2 to 10 is about the hardest part of the course and it is possible to make up a little time so I was still hoping I could at least get close to 4 hours. Maybe run a time to match what I ran on the long course. But when I got to the little climb to the Parkway just before mile 11 I had to take a walk break and just wasn't feeling too good. I did see Tim Meigs there and he had a camera so I had to run for the picture before walking the last little bit to the aid station for water and a gel.

approaching Parkway aid station near mile 11

 I felt better once I began the 2 mile downhill portion of the Parkway. I was running strong but not bombing down it and had a good mile 12 split. No mark at 13.1 but best guess was I went through the half in about 2:02:30. Not bad but as I began the 2 mile climb up the Parkway I was not feeling too good and the sun was bearing down on us. By mile 15 , a very slow one that had turned to a shuffle as I exited the Parkway, I was feeling pretty bad and started walking the steeper hill to the Hollowell Road Aid station and the beginning of the gravel section. Margo passed me looking strong and I knew she was going to have a great day for her.


  Thanks Sharon and Ricky Scott for the pic halfway.

 I was really struggling the next two miles having to take a lot of walk breaks, running slowly and I walked all of the steep hill up to Hwy 221. That's when I posted on FB that I was in for a death march. I was very disappointed of course and really didn't want to suffer for another 9 miles and watch very slow miles destroy any chance for a decent time.

 The first 1/2 mile of 221 continues at a fairly steep grade so I kept walking until it leveled out a little bit and began to run again. And surprisingly I felt pretty good.  A resurgence of energy came from somewhere and I was actually running pretty well. From that point on I only walked a little bit on a couple of sections of the mostly uphill 8 miles to the finish when the grade would kick up a bit steeper for awhile. I was relieved and my attitude improved greatly as I felt so much better and knew that at least I would easily get my 2nd best finish time in 9 attempts here and could enjoy the end a little bit instead of wallowing in pain and self pity !

  It was definitely a relief to finally reach MacRae Meadows and the sounds of bagpipes and drums. I ran strong up the last steep hill to the track past quite a few friends and then as usual when I circle the track in the kilt I get what seems to be a lot of extra cheers from the crowds attending the Highland Games. Number 9 finish in 4:24:40. I'll happily take that.

 It felt good to go back down to the marathon tent, change out of my sweaty clothes and hang around with lots of friends and meet a few more sharing our stories.  Margo had done great as expected and was 3rd in her age group in 4:12. Lisa was out of shape and knew she was in for a long day so after awhile I walked back up a ways so I could see her coming. It was a relief to see her finally come into view and getting it done. Soon after she changed we were able to ride back to Boone with Dale And Alan and not have to wait on the double shuttle. Much more comfortable and great company visiting with old friends !

 Which brings me back to the beginning of the post and Fire Tower.   Bobby runs this course just about everyday, sometimes more than once and has gotten so strong on climbing It is 3.3 miles to the top and gains about 1590 feet ! Amy had been up there and run it a couple of times and I had hoped at some point to go do a training run on it with fresh legs, preferably  with her but alone if necessary. Well, I never made it up there so I decided a couple of days before the race that I would run up it on Sunday am afterwards. Probably not the smartest thing to do on dead beat up legs but who knows when I would get back up there. And besides, I'm Ultraman ;)

  So I contacted Bobby  to clarify the route for me and I was very happy that he was excited and willing to run it with me. So  we met at 7:30 at the Earthfare lot and headed up. I was very pleasantly surprised that I was feeling no real soreness from the marathon and as we began to run I just had the normal stiffness I have for every run. Only problem was the climbing starts after just the first tenth of a mile so no time to loosen up or get the blood and breathing settled in !

  We had only been a short distance when I was already breathing like I was racing a 5k  and things were only going to get steeper. What had I gotten myself into? Bobby was telling me about all the people he knows that have tried and many bailed before the first mile , others have suffered and turned before 2 miles and all that have finished have resorted to a run/walk at some point.  I had expected I would have to walk a lot but now I was determined that wasn't going to happen and I was feeling a lot better than I expected.

 But then the road got just ridiculously steep and for at least a mile my heels never touched the ground, just up on the toes digging and climbing as I tried to keep my breathing under control.  Bobby was chatting away the whole time but I just kept focused on the ground in front of me, not looking at the never ending hill in front of me and would answer him occasionally with a word or two that I could muster between gasp. The first mile was 11:59. The next half mile was just ridiculously steep but I kept digging. We finally made a turn and the grade eased off. It was weird because it was still about a 6% grade but after what I had been doing it seemed flat and I was able to run strong. Mile 2 was 12:27.

  Then at mile 2.2 ish it just got horrible. A turn up a steep gravel drive and I thought I would have to walk but sucked it up and pushed . After a short distance we had to bushwhack for a couple of hundred yards before hitting another steep gravel road. When will it ease off ! I'm dying here ! It finally did slack off the grade a little just before I was going to keel over but now we got onto a rough rocky 4 wheeler path. Soon I could see a tower but it was a false hope as the trail got steeper once again and we still had half a mile to get to the rock and the big cluster of towers still out of view.

 We made that steep climb and then had a little bit of an easier section and I picked up the pace determined to do the best time that I could. Passed mile 3 in 13:17 and then one final push,  a steep climb and then a bushwhack through the weeds and woods to the rock. Bobby let me lead the way there to be first to arrive and run the whole thing. I reached the top of the rock in 41:01. !

 Rested a little bit and took some pictures before the  quad crushing descent back to Boone. Awesome ness ! Thanks for the tour, the company and the encouragement Bobby !

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grandfather Mountain Marathon Preview Part 2. The plan

I'm feeling pretty excited for this years race. OK, I still get excited for most races so that's nothing new. I always look forward to a good time and making memories even when I'm not in shape and fortunately this year I am in good shape and hope to put that to the test this weekend.

  This was not originally planned to be a fast attempt although I had hoped that someday I might have one shot at finally getting that sub 4 hour on the course with no detours and it looks like things have come together this year to make it happen. I have had a pretty heavy training load all Spring and got right back into the training just a week after Boogie and I have had some really good quality runs so it was easy to make the decision to go for it even though my training has been geared toward Sept.

 So with that, I plan to go out at an easy pace and hit the first climb just past the 2 mile mark and see how I feel and if I do  and I expect I will feel good then it is on !

 So wish me luck. See you at MacRae Meadows in less than 4 hours or bust !

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Grandfather Mountain Marathon Preview Part one , my history.

 A little hard to believe but I will returning for my 9th trip for the GMM this weekend. I made my first run there in 2003 and it was my 2nd marathon since I began  to get into the long distance races. I had been aware of it and looked at the results going back to the late 70's when I first began running and I have to admit I was  little intimidated by it. This will be the 45th year of the race making it the oldest marathon in NC and there are not too many that have been held that many years in the country.

  I was a little disappointed to find that first year that due to a bridge being out that we would have to take a detour and I would not be running on the historic course for most of the first 10 miles. Instead we stayed on the highway all the way to the Parkway at about mile 8 and then joined onto the regular course just past the 10 mile point. It was a bit warm and humid and I ran under the circumstances a pretty good race for me in 4:41:52  , just 8 minutes slower than I had run in Richmond the previous November. That included a lot of walk breaks and hamstring cramps in the last 4 miles.

  I returned in 2004 and they still had to re-route us on the highway.  I was slower that year in 4:47:20 with the usual cramps and bonking toward the end.

 I skipped 2005 because of a trip to the Vermont 100.

 By 2006 I was in a whole lot better shape after training so hard to get my Boston qualifier and running my marathon pr in February. I was brimming with confidence, the weather was better and I had a goal of breaking 4 hours. We were finally able to return to the original course for the first 10 miles but then had to take another detour because of a bridge replacement on the Parkway ! I was actually able to run the first 11 miles with Laura Mac The Trail Angel but she was picking up the pace way too much for me so I had to let her go to keep from blowing up.  My race went great until I realized  that all the mile markers on HWY 221 had been replaced and I could still see the old ones about .6 miles later. Well sure enough I got to mile 26 in 3:56 and  was no where near the stadium ! Turned out with the detour the race was about 26.8 miles and I would have been 3:58 but instead have an official time of 4:04:08. Grrrr.

  I skipped 2007 because I didn't want to run it worn down from Western States .

 As you may have noticed I have no pictures from those first 3 races but started running with the camera after that.

 In  2008 I was struggling with hamstring issues off and on the whole year and had dnf'd the Boogie in June after just 10 miles of pain so I was not in great shape and just planned to run slow and easy and try to have fun. At least I would finally get to run the real course  !  Just before 2 miles I started running with Lori and Camilla and was having a great time with them. Then somewhere past the 5 mile mark I saw Laura walking ! I knew she had been sick a couple for weeks before so I started walking with her. She said she was having trouble breathing so I spent the rest of the day making sure she made it to the finish ok and we had a marvelous time. We were too slow and the hard cut-off was 5 hours then so we didn't get to cross the finish line but just as we entered the track we were stopped in 5:07
That was the year the tradition of getting a picture with my training partners at mile 10 begin ! Laura was the original Trail Angel and the first to have the picture taken with me there.

 Here is my report form that year.  A link to more pics in that report.

 I was back again in 2009 and this time I was finally able to get Karla to come give it a try and Lisa was along for the trip too. This would be my 10th marathon with Karla. I was in my comeback year and had just completed my 1st Ironman 3 weeks before so I was just hoping I could stay up with the girls. The track was closed so yet another alteration to the course had us running a lap around the parking lot at the start ! We did have a great time but I fell behind at mile 24 or so and couldn't catch up fighting calf cramps. finished in 4:49:15.

  And here is the 2009 report  with link to more pics

 In 2010 I was back in good shape and came up with the crazy idea of doing the first ever double Grandfather. Karla and Lisa were along for the adventure with me planning to run marathon # 11 with her. Lisa was going to do her own race but the two of them would provide support on the return trip as soon as they could get back to the car. Jenn was along too  and would take the shuttle to the top and run the 2nd half back down with me.
 I had a lot of fun running the real race with Karla and we finished together in 4:56:24.

 It was hot on the way back and tough but I got it done with the wonderful company Jenn provided.
 Here is a link to that report and some pictures and video if you have a lot of time on your hands !

 I skipped it again in 2011 to run the Tahoe Rim 100 ! That was awesome !

 I returned in 2012 but this year I knew I was in for a struggle. I was very worn down from the Boogie 100k and the dog bites and antibiotics and had been struggling the week before just to finish my normal easy runs. On top of that it was a terrible warm 100 % humid morning most of the race and I did struggle !
 Here is the report
 from that year. 

 I was finally back in good shape for 2013 and this year along with Lisa my friends Margo, Amy and Jenn were all along. My plan was to run the race with Jenn since this was her first time actually running the race after doing the reverse course with me in 2010. I was hoping we could all stay together at least until mile 10 for the traditional photo spot. We did start together but by mile 4 Amy and Lisa were falling behind and  I knew they were in for a long day. I was feeling great and having a wonderful time just cruising along with Jenn. We kind of leap frogged with Margo and luckily we were together at mile 10.
 Some where around mile 14 margo pulled ahead for good and had a great finish. Jenn and I contniued to have a lot of fun and although she slowed toward the end we had a decent time of 4:41:42.
  After getting some gatorade I headed back on the course to go find Amy. I was feeling great and thinking it would have been a good year to have done the double ! I found Amy and she was happy to see me. It had been a bit of a rough day for her but she ran strong all the way the last mile to the finish and I was able to get my 2nd picture of the day on the track !
  here is the report and pics for 2013

Well that brings me up to date. Stay tuned for the this years preview and report.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

training update 7-6-2014

It's been two weeks since the last update so I thought I would fill you in on what I have been up to.

 Quite a bit of training actually. The last week of June I had a 64 mile week which is well above average and right on my goal of getting into the 60 per week range over the summer. That included another great hill workout at the Art museum with my fastest average splits times ever on a warm muggy morning. I had 2 days with doubles including a fast run on Umstead single track, something I haven't done in awhile. Ended up the week with a solid 18 miler on hills.

 Then this past week I hit 64 miles again. Mostly easier pace stuff in hotter weather early on in  the week but I got in  a 9 mile hill run in Umstead, 3 days of doubles, a progression/tempo run and then solid back to back 10 milers on the weekend. It was a pleasure to be able to share many of the miles over that time with Karla and an added bonus was having Lisa back with us for one, some rare miles with Margo, a couple of 10's with Laura and a guest appearance with Maureen for an hour of one of the long runs. 

 Along with the running I was able to work the cross-training pretty hard with just one day off.

 The next week I will be doing a bit of a mini taper with the Grandfather Mountain Marathon coming up on the 12th.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


After the awesome 1st half of the year I am looking forward now to an awesome 2nd half but it will be a bit different. and quite a bit different than I had plan back last January when I was making the schedule for the year.

  As I mentioned in an earlier post after the disappointment at Myrtle Beach  and with the marathon training going so well I began to look at more opportunities to not only get a Boston Qualifier but a marathon pr. To do so would require some changes in the schedule so here is what the new plan looks like.


 As expected  nothing else came up so I am looking forward to one of my favorite weekend getaways to Grandfather Mountain Marathon. I'm kind of hoping to take a shot at a sub 4 this year but that decision will probably be made depending on the weather and how I feel when I hit the first climb just past the 2 mile mark !


 I have no plans but training hard although I may jump into a 5k  if I can work it out.  It would be good speedwork and I haven't run one now since last August.


 This is one of the biggies. Heading to The Erie Marathon at Presque Isle for a BQ attempt. With the odd timing of this one coming in the middle of the Boston entry period I have a long shot at actually getting in to the 2015 Boston after all if I run fast enough. Back in January I thought I was going for another 100 miler pr this month but that changed with the decision to chase the marathon pr.


 This is a big one but in another way. Heading overseas for the first time ever to run The Verona Marathon in Italy with a group of friends. This one will be just for fun and I will take my time and take lot of pictures along the way.

  Then the last weekend of the month I am returning to the NCRC event, The American Tobacco Trail 10 mile. I ran it the first year it was held 8 years ago and I will tell you I will be very disappointed if I don't run much faster this year !


 This is another change from earlier plans. I thought I would be going for the 24 hour pr at Croatan but decided against that and will return once again to The OBX Marathon and have some fun with my friends again. This is one  that I will probably wait to decide how I will run it. I have never had a good race here but I have had a lot of fun the years I ran with Karla. Next year I will definitely be running it with her as it will be the 10th and the anniversary of us running it together while she was still undergoing radiation treatments. So if the weather is good and training is good I might be trying one more time to "race it" this year.

  Same thing later in the month when I return to my 11th straight Derby 50k. Run it easy or go for the 50k pr while I am at it. That would give me 3.5 months to get ready for the big pr attempt next year.


 As usual nothing but recovering from Derby and training.

 Well that's the plan . Stay tuned and see what really happens !

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Training update 6-21-14

  Well, it has been two weeks since the Boogie 50 miler and I'm thinking maybe the recovery is at least complete enough that I can now begin to focus on the big goals that are coming up over the next several months. I took a few days off and then eased back into  things for the first week but I did resume the cross training a little earlier but went a little easier on those the first week too.

  This second week I eased my mileage up about to normal again and will probably finish up the week with 50 miles and those were under some tough conditions with mornings in the 70's with super yucky humidity and afternoons in the mid to  high 90's. Even under those conditions I was able to get in some quality running and the longest run was just a 12 miler..
   My next goal is to run well at Grandfather Mountain and it works out great that my main focus in the training is hill work for the next few weeks anyway. I made it over to my favorite place for max effort hill repeats at The NC Museum of Art which is a perfect spot with two challenging hills  opposite of each other and both near exactly 1/4 mile. I was very happy to nail the workout and had some zip doing it. The rest of the miles this week went well too.  I did a cut down run on Thursday am and then on Friday I had planned to run easy but it turned into another cut down run but itwas still easy ! I did do a double on Tuesday and hopefully if time allows I will being increasing the doubles to at least two or three days a week over the summer.  I also did some 20 second strides on two of the runs this week and plan to continue squeezing those into at least two or three runs per week or either hill sprints depending on where I run.

   I was also back to normal with all of the cross training although due to time restraints I skipped Thursday. I was still able to get in 6 workouts for the week so I am happy with that.

  If everything goes well and according to plan I hope to get in between 50 to 60 miles a week over the next two weeks and focus on the hills again and a little pace work.  I also hope to get in at least close to a 20 miler next weekend.

 Well, that's it for now. I'll update again in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 review of the 1st 6 months.

 I have nothing else planned for June so I guess it's ok to go ahead and post a review of the first half of the year and WOW, what a first half it has been.  I was a bit worried as the new year began after struggling with the upper hamstring issue for most of the last half of 2013 but despite that I was able to maintain a high level of fitness and once the injury was finally over I was quickly able to go right back into a high level of training.

 And train I did in January. No races with the focus on getting ready for Myrtle Beach and I was having a lot of fun with a lot of great workouts even though a lot of those were done in some really yucky cold and wet conditions.

 February brought me to Myrtle Beach in great shape and confident in a good attempt at the PR. I was running great and on pace for most of the race but steady winds in the upper teens and 20mph range with gust into the 30's made it tough and mostly a headwind the last 7 miles were too much for me. A good time of 3:49 under the conditions.

 March 1st , just 2 weeks after  MB and I returned to the Umstead Trail Marathon for the first time in many years mainly to use it as a training run for the upcoming 100. It was a near perfect day to run and I was surprised at how well I ran and even just using it as training I improved on my course pr by about 5 minutes boosting my confidence even more.

  Just two weeks later and I was in the Tobacco Road Half Marathon. With the way things were going I was hoping for a  1:40. Well, it was another perfect weather day and even after the two recent marathons I felt fantastic and ran 1:39:03, my fastest half in 8 years !

 April and finally it was time to go for the 100 mile pr at Umstead. The weather was about as good as could be hoped for and the support of so many friends and volunteers made it a special weekend. Everything clicked and I got the pr by an hour and seventeen minutes and never had any problems for the entire distance.  Although I normally don't use pacers I make an exception here so I can share the experience with my closest friends and had some wonderful company with Laura MacLean, Lisa Howell and Karla Werner making the pr all the more special.

 May started off with a trip to the OBX and my first running of The Flying Pirate Half Marathon. With the great races leading up to it I was hoping to run about 1:40 on this course but a combination of warm weather and lingering fatigue from Umstead and I struggled the last 5 miles slowly falling apart. Oh well, every race can't go perfect !

 And then lees than 2 weeks later was an amazing adventure as I made a venture into the unknown at 3 Days at the Fair, a 72 hour race in NJ. Having never attempted a multi day ultra before I had no idea what to expect especially after the first 24 hours and 100 miles and really no idea how many miles my body and mind could handle. I set a rather lofty goal for myself and kept focused on it the entire 3 days. Amazingly I was able to achieve my goal and added a mile for icing on top of it for a total of 211 miles.

 June and most years that means it's time to Boogie. I had a goal  of running it to set a course pr. I finally figured out that under the conditions and toughness of the course it is not a pr course so just the pr for a Boogie would make me very happy. My confidence was high that I could do it with the way the past year had gone but the only question was how much the beat down just three weeks before in the 72 hour race would be felt. Well, I did have a tough stretch in the middle miles but overall had a very good race and i was able to get that course pr by 32 minutes and finished 16th of 97 starters.

  So there you have it. One of the themes I have had for the past  couple of years is to try and amaze myself and I am certainly doing that. My love and passion for running and racing is stronger than ever and I plan to keep working hard and racing hard and have a lot of fun along the way moving forward.

 Thanks for reading and your support. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The next phase or how I plan to train for the marathon pr attempt

I have come close to a BQ a couple of times in the past year but nowhere near the pr but with good weather I think I would have been close at Myrtle Beach this year. Within a couple of days after that race  I had decided to go forward with this plan, and  I have been thinking about what I need to add or subtract from what I am currently doing to push it to another level.

 First thing of course is to drop the ultra's so I can  be doing the training on fresh legs and a body not worn down from the long races.

  Over the past several years my mileage has been fairly consistent with just shy of 50 miles per week. I am ahead of that pace already this year. I hope to build from that to at least 60 per week and if things go well I'd really like to get into the 70 per week range at least part of the time. At least during the summer I will be padding the miles with adding a couple of doubles  each week with some morning runs to supplement the normal afternoon runs.

 As far as the types of workouts I'll be doing, the stuff I did over this past Winter seemed to be working really well. The 4-5 mile tempo runs at 10k to 10 miler pace seemed to be very effective. And lots of marathon and half marathon pace runs. I really enjoyed the hybrid workouts I made up on the fly. They were tough but made me tough mixing tempo and race pace stuff into the same workout. and of course mile repeats and some 800's too.  I like to do a wide variety of stuff to keep it fresh and work on all facets of my running.

  I will also be adding a little more hill work especially in the next few weeks of June and July. I like variety here too. I do some max effort 400 hills and some longer but more relaxed pace too and as part of my speedwork will be doing some short hill sprints. I also will be doing more strides a couple of times a week on my regular runs. I do these every now and then but have been inconsistent.

  And of course the cross-training. Over the past year and a half now I have been alternating core and body weight workouts at least 6 days a week and adding some free weights about every fourth day. I plan to continue that but will be tweaking it a little bit too.  I plan to add some more lower body stuff like lunges and squats and dead lifts and I'm thinking of  adding  circuit training workout  in  place of one of the others once a week. We'll see how that goes.

 So first up after finishing up this recovery week from the Boogie I  will be getting the mileage back to normal, adding a couple of doubles and began hitting the hills and adding more strides. Next race is Grandfather Mountain Marathon so now is a good time to get strong on the hills. I will probably make a decision on the fly at GMM on just how I plan to run it. If I feel good in the early miles and the weather is a little better than the past two years I may try to go sub 4. Otherwise I'll just have some fun and use it as a long training run.

 After GMM the focus will be on the race pace workouts with the first real test coming at The Erie Marathon at Presque Isle on Sept 14th. I hope the weather will cooperate and I can attempt to get a BQ and see how close I am to the pr  The big target is at Wrightsville Beach next March 22nd but that is a long way off. I'll keep you updated of course with the training and racing in the meantime.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ultraman has left the building..... temporarily.

  Yes, I have decided it's time to change my focus, training and racing  and the new plan doesn't not include any ultra's for awhile.

 Ok, let me explain. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, after failing to get any faster at the marathon in 2010 and 2011 I had given up on ever coming close to my Pr of 3:35:15 set in 2006 when I was 50. and it made sense in a way. You are not suppose to get faster once you get my age. So I decided to quit chasing after that goal but felt like I still had a shot at a 50 mile and 100 mile pr if I could just get everything to fall into place on the right day at the right race. And that became the focus of my training leading up to the 2012 Umstead 100. As you may recall lousy warm humid weather de -railed that attempt.

 It was right after that race that Amy and I began to train her to get faster and get a Boston Qualifier. I had no plans at that time to go to Boston but our qualifying times were about the same so we could train at the same paces.  I knew from past experience in 2005 and 2006 that I ran most of my best ultra's off of marathon training so it seemed reasonable to do the hard workouts with her while focusing on my ultra's. Of course over a period of a few months  things were going great I began to feel that I actually had a legitimate shot at going for the marathon pr and added that to my list of goals.

  Well, a couple of attempts and I fell short, most recently at Myrtle Beach due to the very windy conditions. But as I shared , I do my best ultras during the marathon training and it proved to be true again. During the training I shattered my 50 mile pr last year by an hour. and then this year after MB I have knocked an hour and seventeen minutes off of my 100 mile pr. and then I have just followed that up with a dream goal of 211 miles in  3 Days at the Fair and a course pr at the Boogie 50 miler. And also during that training period I have raced my fastest 5k in over 20 years and my fastest Half marathon since 2006 !

 Ok Joey, then get to the point !

 Well, the point is after running MB I had already decided that I was going to give myself every chance to get myself one more marathon pr before I turn 60. It already seems ridiculous to think I can do it at 58 but I have the confidence in myself that I will do it. I had planned on going for a 24 hour pr in the Fall and also another 100 mile pr but those plans were change after MB and the schedule has already been changed. I have already gotten the ultra pr's I wanted and now it's time to concentrate on the marathon.

  I know it is a difficult challenge I am facing but I thrive on the challenges and training for them ! I also know that in order to do it I need to drop the ultra's for awhile. The recovery from them  just
doesn't allow  me enough time to train properly and I think that is the edge that I need to reach the next level. 6-8 weeks is just not enough time after an ultra so they are out of my life for at least the next 10 months. Ok, yes I still plan to run Derby at Thanksgiving as always but it is seriously just a  long marathon and it will be an over distance training run.

  I could just wait until after September and slow down and still get a BQ due to aging up for the 2016 event but this is not about Boston. It's all about the pr and actually I want to go sub 3:30 so there you have it !

 Actually this is time away from ultra's is not without precedent since I began ultras in 2002. After Derby in  2008 I went an entire year without running an ultra before returning to Derby in 2009. The big difference this time around though is that in 2008 I was struggling with painful nagging injuries for the entire year and after taking 5 weeks off completely from running or biking, I began a slow re-building with biking swimming and just a little running as I returned to triathlon. After doing the Ironman Couer D'Alene in June 2009 I once again  returned my focus to running. This time around not only am I not injured but I am in my best shape probably since my mid-30's !!  And I am hoping that fact is what will allow me to push the barrier back just a little more before time does finally take it's toll on me an my speed.

 So that is my announcement for the next phase of the runner formally known as Ultraman. It will be awhile before you get to follow along on any of my crazy ultra adventures but don't worry there will be more to come. Hopefully I will get lucky in the lottery and a year from now will be in the final days of training for The Western States 100 and if not I'll be looking for a qualifier to keep my name in the hat. And there are still so many more challenges out there I want to do. They will just have to wait awhile.

 Stay tuned and I'll have an outline of how the training and racing the next 10 months will be looking like.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Boogie 2014.

 I was coming into the race this year full of confidence that my course pr from 2011 was going to fall based on how well my training and racing have been going this  first 6 months of the year. Of course I did have some  reservations about that with the lingering effects of the 72 hour race remaining as an unknown until I actually got out there and put things to the test. The weather forecast was looking like it would be about as good as can be expected for a night of Boogie.
 the start.

 I lined up near the front and while everyone was wondering exactly where the starting line was located Doug yelled go so we just took off from where we were standing. My plan was to run well within myself the first lap and not get over-heated knowing that after the first lap we would be in the shade and the temperatures would begin to slowly drop. It was about 86-87 but that is mild compared to some years. I fell into a comfortable pace and enjoyed some light conversation with the runners around me in those first few miles.  I have to say that as I approached the house where the Devil Dog attacked 2 years ago I had a bit of an adrenaline boost but no sign of him around.

 We came around the first 6 mile loop and I was pleased and a little surprised at the pace because it felt easy. I stopped at my car which I was using as my personal aid station and took a gel and refilled my water bottle . The water at the aid stations is pretty nasty here every year so I had brought my own. In fact I never stopped at the aid stations but once the entire race and I'll tell about that a little later in the report. Normal aid station fare just doesn't have much appeal to me any more and whenever its possible I provide most of my own nutrition.

mile 6

 I was quickly back out on the road and headed down the hill. This is about the only time in the race  on this out and back spur that you get to see the runners in front and behind you in the daylight to know who they are. Lots of friends and familiar faces and lots of encouragement along the way. I ran strong up the hill and finished the lap a couple of minutes faster than I had planned and feeling good while looking forward to no more sun and cooler temps.

 As I headed out for lap 2 I stopped at the car once again and slammed a Carnation breakfast shake. I found these to work better than the Kellogs that I used at Umstead because these do not have the 5 grams of fiber which lets just say adds up to way more than my body can tolerate in a 24 hour period !
Refilled the water and off I went. Still feeling good and moving well but I was having a bit of foot pain, so far the only thing I was feeling left over from 3 Days. I also noticed my ankle tendonitis which I have had since before Umstead 100 was being bothered by the camber of the roads, ,especially in those first couple of miles each lap so I was trying to find the flattest part of the road as possible.

 Lap 2 was rather uneventful. By the time I was  down to the river it was getting dark and I was having to keep my mouth shut to keep from eating so many bugs along the swampy area. I was not running with a light and as I was climbing the hill I was surprised at how many people were recognizing me and offering words of encouragement and calling my name. I could hardly recognize anyone but I did at least know most of the voices !

 BD Sechler caught up to me just as we crested the hill and we ran the next 6 mile loop together. These were some of the most enjoyable miles of the night but  I think as we got caught up in the conversation we ended up running a lot of the spots we should have been walking !  As we finished the lap I stopped at my car as he went on to the aid station. We had planned to continue on together but I was never able to catch him. I found out later he had dropped 4 miles later.

 I had been feeling very good but as I took off down the hill things began to turn on me quickly. I was feeling tired, my hip flexors were aching, the pounding was hurting my feet and the ankle was flaring up and I was forced to take several walk breaks going down. Still lots of runners speaking to me in both directions in the dark. We did have a nice moon, just over half of one that was offering some good light but still nearly pitch black along the tunnel of trees by the swamp. By now it had cooled off into the low 70's but it was slimy sticky feeling as the humidity continued to rise. A haze in the sky prevented many stars from being out at this point.

 I made it back up to finally complete mile 30 in a slow disappointing time for the lap and took time for a pitstop and then another re-fuel, refill stop at the car and hoping I would feel better now. But, I continued to struggle and things just kept getting worse. I was  breathing way to hard, having to take frequent walk breaks on the easy downhill grade that I normally run the whole way. Life was beginning to stink for me and I was doing a lot of moaning and groaning. It was not going to be much fun to have to go on in this condition. I knew I could keep going but the motivation was fading.

 With half mile to go before reaching the dog pen aid station I was telling myself, ok get it together. Think what you need to do to try and turn this around and be prepared when you get there. I finally shuffled in and immediately sat down and asked for some chips. That was one thing I knew was missing was any sodium other than the little bit in the  gels. After about 5 minutes I got up and grabbed a cookie to go to tide me over until I could get to my car.

  After finishing off the cookie I started to run again and in a few minutes was very pleased that I felt  a whole lot better, running all the sections I normally do. No more gasping, moaning and groaning. I just hoped that the feeling would last. When  I  got to my car I was ready for the rocket fuel so I downed half a bottle of pepsi in addition to the gel. As I headed back down the hill I was very pleased that the hip flexors were relaxed and not aching nearly as much and once again I was able to run all the way down and to the turn. The only real problem was that the feet were still not liking the pounding. I was able to do some decent running coming back up too and I knew now that I could make my goal of a course pr even if I walked the remainder of the evening.

 As I came through for mile 40 I could see that I had lost an awful lot of time in the those first 4 miles of the previous lap and my other goal of a sub 10 hour was going to be nearly impossible but I decided to give it my best shot and keep pushing. As I headed out on that last lap, it had cooled down into the mid to upper 60's, still slimy humid though. but the haze in the sky had cleared and more stars were visible now as the moon was getting low on the horizon.

 Crusied by the dog pen and took a gel from my pocket and thanked them for being out there all night for us and moved on. Really enjoyed the now nearly star filled sky along the former dirt road which is the best part of the course for sky-watching . Although tired I was still moving well or at least it seemed that way and I pushed on in hopes of getting that sub 10 finish. But , when I made it back around to the car and just a hair over 4 miles to go I saw my time and the reality was there that I had no chance of doing it. My pace and perceived effort in the dark just didn't match up and I was moving a lot slower than I had hoped. More pepsi and off I went to get it over with. A huge pr was mine now and I thought to myself no need to push it but it's just not my style. As long as I was able I would go for as fast a time as I could.

 Fortunately I did feel good but tired. As I ran all the way down once again I was making up stupid rhymes and making noises in rhythm to make the time pass and keep my mind from telling me to slow down or walk. And then I was at the turn and just two miles to go ! Anyone can run two miles I told myself, but then usually 2 miles don't include 1.4 of Bethel Hill  ! I did run as much as I could, more than the past few trips up and then I could tell as I reached the last little pitch before the curve when you can see the lights of the church. And just at that moment as the church came into view a meteor flashed by to my right seemingly just above the treetops burning brightly ! That brought a smile to my face and then  a minute later I crossed the finish line. I was so happy that I had been able to turn things around and feel so much better the last 16 miles or it could have been a real suffer-fest and  I probably not have attained my goal.

 I chatted with the folks there and got my mug while my heart rate dropped and then it was time for me to drop and do 50 pushups. Tada ! Time of 10:14:11 and the course pr by about 32 minutes. 97 runners started out of 120 that had signed up and  of those, 50 finished the 50 miles and I placed 16th overall . Another 32 got credit for 30  miles and I guess that leaves 15 that were dnf's before reaching at least the 30.

 Thanks to Doug and Brandon and all the volunteers  for another awesome version of the Boogie !
  A Short Boogie Quiz.

 Question 1.

A. My feet are killing me
B. My quads are trashed
C. My butt hurts.
D. All of the above

 Question 2.

A. Did anyone get the license tag of that bus that hit me?
B. Oh God, I am sooooo tired !!!
C. Just shoot me now and get it over with.
D. All of the above

Question 3.

A. I am never running another ultra.
B. I may never run again ! Well maybe a 5k every now and then.
C. when can i sign up for next year?
D. All of the above.

 Bonus Question.
The best thing about the Boogie is

A. Doug and all the wonderful volunteers.
B. Running with all the wonderful like-minded runners and the support from each other.
C. Running in the dark with just the light of the moon and stars.
D.All the sounds of the night creatures, especially down by the swamp.
E. And the lightning bugs
F. Boogie Burgers !
G.Finishers Mugs.
H. Seeing the lights of the church as you round the last curve and reach the top of the hill on lap 5 and knowing you can stop !
I. All of the above !

 Answers. 1. D
                 2. D
                 3. D
                 Bonus. I

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Boogie 2014 Preview

 I am excited and looking forward to returning to this 50 mile night time run after having to miss it last year while I was out in Wyoming. This of course is one of the MTC events and is always a lot of fun despite the heat and hills.

 I made my debut in 2005 and actually just ran the marathon in the first year that Doug had added it as an option. I ran it with Karla, our 2nd together as I had just began training with her. It was tough and my slowest marathon to date. However I must mention I had just raced 41miles in an 8hr overnight run the week before !

  I returned in 2006 for the 50 miler and despite having run the Old dominion 100 miler 2 weeks before I actually ran fairly well just taking it easy finishing in 11:03.

 In 2007 I had  to skip running since I had Western States coming up 2 weeks later but went and volunteered.

  I returned in 2008 but I was really banged up that year with nagging injuries and was forced to drop after just 10 miles barely making it up Bethel Church Hill my legs were in such pain.

 I came back again as a volunteer in 2009. After finally taking off a month to heal the previous December I was in a re-building mode and cross-training and had my first Ironman coming up a week later.

After the Ironman I was ready to re-focus on running and was excited to return to Boogie in 2010 ready to race.  Well, it turned out to be one of the hottest ever with about 97F at the start.  A slow miserable 11:32 that had me wandering to  myself at mile 30 as to whether I was really wanting to be an ultra runner again. I decided I did and went back out and actually felt better the last lap.

 By 2011 I was much stronger again and running well and set my course pr of 10:46 on a fun night including an epic thunderstorm.

 And then the madness of 2012. I surprised everyone with my plan to do a double Boogie, the first Boogie 100. I started at 6am with my then training partner Amy and within the first 1.5 miles we were attacked viciously by the dogs.  We continued on after the attack and Amy left after 26miles and I continued on  but was forced to drop after 62 miles and go to the  hospital.

 And then I had to skip last year of course as I mentioned due to the Bighorn 100 out in Wyoming.

 And that brings us to this year. I am in great shape and looking forward to giving my course record a beating ! But although I seem to be running well and recovering nicely, it has only been 3 weeks since the 72 hour race and the 211 miles . I have been running well with almost normal mileage but I'm sure it will be well into the 50 before I find out if or how much lingering fatigue there may be. And my feet are still a long ways from being back to normal and I just hope they hold up ok.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

3 Days At The Fair, some final thoughts.

It's been 2 weeks now and I am still struggling with putting the final words on this experience so I'm just going to ramble a little bit while I have some free time on my hands.

 First of all I would like to say thanks to Rick and Jennifer McNulty , their family and all the volunteers. An awful lot of hard work goes into putting on an event like this. I imagine their were a lot of runners that got more sleep than the McNultys did.

  I would love to be able to tell all about what an almost spiritual experience this was or how I had these epiphanies on the meaning of life. How I left a big part of myself out there or how I had to dig deep into myself and discover things I had hidden inside to push myself on. But even if I had the writing skills to do it I couldn't because none of it  happened.

No, I am very happy to say that as long as I was out there, I never really entertained the thought of not continuing, even when I was so sick of the rain and even when my feet were killing me. I had come with a purpose and a challenging goal and for those long 72 hours I was able to keep my focus on what I came to do. Yeah, there were a few rough patches but I kept a positive attitude and kept moving. I have had quite a few races over the years that I have given up mentally as well as physically. There have been many times I have questioned why I was continuing to put myself through an ordeal and many times in  distances from 50K to 100 miles made up my mind to never  do another one. That did not happen here. I don't know if it is just that I was well trained for this or I did a great job of listening to my body and had a well thought out plan for success and was able to roll with the punches and adapt that plan as needed. Whatever the case, things just went amazingly well for me to be able to still be knocking off some fast laps in the final hours. 

 As I said in the reports there was really not a lot of self-exploration or deep thoughts going on. I was so focused on the goal that I was able to keep count of all 211 laps and I was constantly going through the numbers of how much time I had left, what pace I needed to maintain, how long I could allow for a rest break, etc and that really didn't leave much time for wondering in my mind. The one thing I did allow myself to think about was one of the main things that helped with my motivation and that was of my many family, friends, followers and of course the Angels that were out there supporting me. I really looked forward to reaching a milestone or something special that I wanted to share with the FB updates and text. I couldn't allow myself much time to see the likes and comments on FB but I was aware of them and when I would check and see a text  checking on me from one of the Angels it would bring a smile to my heart. Thank all of you that cared enough about me to follow along. It was huge in helping me to perform as well as I did knowing you were out there thinking of me and pulling for me.

  I do wish I could have spent more time talking to some of the other runners but it is really a hard thing to do when you have a tough, tight scheduled goal. I had to keep my own pace and it was just very rare that anyone was around that was moving at the same pace or wasn't running when I was walking or vice versa. There were some really cool people out there.

 I have to say that I was a bit surprised and almost amazed at how little soreness I had and how well the recovery has gone. I was pretty much walking normally the day after once I got moving other than the very painful blister. By Tuesday that pain was nearly gone and I was walking normally with practically zero soreness I allowed myself another day for the swelling to go down and was running my normal easy pace by Thursday and ran everyday for 8 days straight afterwards with some strong fast miles mixed into some of those.

 One thing that took a little longer was getting over the sleepiness ! I was sleeping my normal  routine all week afterward but by mid afternoon everyday for the first week I was groggy and all I wanted to do was take a nap which I couldn't do . I was glad that was finally over. And eating ! That was a good thing. All I could think of beside sleeping was eating. Lots ! And I did !

 So, is there another 3 day or other multi-day in the future plans? The first few days I was thinking no way of course. My feet hurt and I knew I had put myself through quite a beating. And I had achieved my goal so really what would be the point? Well, there would be none other than if I just ever have the desire to do another one and I can't answer that question now. I don't see anything anytime in the near future but who knows what another year or two or three may bring.

 So thanks for reading and your support. Stay tuned and find out what I do have planned coming soon !

Saturday, May 24, 2014

3 Days at the Fair. Day 3

 After eating I headed back around to my car. I didn't really want to stop now  at the beginning of another day but I felt like I really needed another nap so I set my alarm for 30 minutes and snoozed in the cool morning air. As I headed out there were more runners on the course than at any other point in the weekend with the 24 hour runners now on the course as well as another bunch of marathoners.

  Once again after a 1/4 mile walk it was time to test the running legs again and once again they surprised me and responded well and I was soon clicking off some good miles. I say surprised because to be honest I was expecting probably the 2nd half of the race to be a painfully slow death march but here I was into the third day and still running well and the legs were still feeling good. My feet were not feeling too good but amazingly I had not gotten anymore blisters since the 1st day and even after running in the rain for most of the 2nd.

  The air was still cool as I moved around in the morning and a breeze was still blowing so I kept on my long sleeve shirt. The sun was now high in the morning sky and a welcome sight.    I sent a text to the Angels at 51:53 that I had passed mile 160. I said I had a little over 20 hours to run another 50 miles to get my goal. It sounded easy but I'm sure it won't be ! By now the brain was not functioning too well. I was trying to figure out what I needed to get my goal and somehow the numbers just didn't add up.  I badly needed a 5th grader to help me with some simple math like figuring out how I kept coming up with 21 hours in a day but somehow I knew there had to be 24. Finally gave up on that one and just decided to keep moving,

 I took a quick break to eat some more and headed back out. By now it was still feeling cool on one half of the course with the breeze but on the other side the breeze could not be felt and with the sun bearing down it felt very hot. I had put on my straw wide brim hat to shade my head and face and was getting a lot of compliments with folks saying I had the coolest lid on the course. Bill said I reminded him of David Carradine and he was expecting me to throw down some Kung Fu any minute !

 Moving steady and I hit 170 in 54:37. I texted the Angels that it was sunny and hot but after the miserable day before in the cold rain I was finding it hard to complain ! Sat down long enough to eat an amazing cheeseburger !

 As I said the 24 hour runners were out with fresh legs so I was being passed frequently. About mid afternoon I had a funny experience. There was one young pretty petite lady that seemed to be passing me nearly every lap. And then once she came up to me and slowed down and asked, " Are you Joey Anderson ?" That caught me by surprise and I said why yes I am. She said her name was Melissa and she was from Raleigh. She said every time she mentions that she runs ultra's  to someone then they ask if she knows Joey Anderson so she figured I must be some kind of local legend ! How cool is that !

After hitting mile 180 at 58:30 I was ready to eat some more and get in hopefully one last nap. I had only taken the two so far for about 1:45  and was a bit surprised I hadn't struggled more with sleep deprivation. Unfortunately I just couldn't get comfortable and with so many more runners and crews around now it was still noisy at 8pm so I probably just dozed for about 15 minutes and then got on up and went back out.

 With the sun going down it was cooling off quickly so I soon had my jacket and gloves on. It was still a bit breezy but not nearly as much as the night before. Once again the legs responded and I was soon adding on the miles and as best as my feeble mind could calculate I was still on pace with a little cushion. I was not happy with my feet though and I got really frustrated when  I felt I was getting a blister on the right forefoot. I stopped and added a double layer of socks and hoped that would reduce the friction and keep it from getting worse. And it did seem to help.

  It seemed now that time had stood still and the miles were passing so slowly  but I just couldn't think about it. One mile and one lap at a time and repeat and slowly add up the mileage. I passed 186 just before 11pm and texted the Angels good night. I told then them it was getting colder and I was adding another layer and putting the ear warmers back on. One of them was so excited that she asked me to let her know when I hit 200 no matter what time it was. I told them it was time to get this thing finished now with about 10 hours and 24 more miles to hit the goal. I had no doubt in my mind now that I was going to  do it.

  I don't know, maybe it was just because I was brain dead and probably sleep running half the time but during the darkest hours of the night it seemed the miles were getting shorter. That was cool. It made it a little easier  to face heading out for each lap.

 Finally just after 4 am I passed through mile 200. I stopped at the car to wake up the Angel that there was her 200 and to go back to sleep . Then I tried posting the 200 mile FB update. Whoops. I dozed off right n the middle of it. I thought I had sent it but there I was holding my phone and some gibberish typed in. I cleared it and started again. Boom, nodded off again. Finally on the 3rd attempt I was able to post it. I had planned on going straight through to the end but that wasn't going to happen so I set my alarm for another 30 minutes and was out in seconds.

 Much too soon the alarm was going off. A quick mental calculation and I decided I could afford to rest another 20 minutes. After waking then I knew I had to get moving and it was so tough to head back into the cold. I did get moving and once again ran pretty well but my feet were really hurting. I made it another 5 miles and had to get some relief. My feet had swollen so much and with the double layer of socks that they were throbbing. I didn't want to take a break but something had to give so I stopped and took off the shoes and socks and propped my feet up and massaged them for about 15 minutes.

 Once I put back on one thin pair of socks and the shoes it did feel much better. It had worked to prevent the blister but I was just going to have to take a chance now that I could cover 5 miles without the double layer. About 2 hours and 5 miles. Can I do it? Normally that question to myself would sound ridiculous but right now I was serious in wondering if it was possible. Well it didn't take long to answer that as I was soon putting up some of the fastest mile splits in the last 30 something hours. Not only would I get the 210 but could easily get an extra mile for icing on a deliciously successful cake !

 When I came around I still had about 11 minutes on the clock but I didn't want to put in the effort to try and beat the clock for another one so I rang the bell for the pr and waited for Bill to come across. He busted out an incredible 21:30 last 3miles to finally achieve his goal of 200 with a final tally of 205. We sat down with Alanna to wait for the final tick of the clock when Bill mentioned something about pushups. I had forgotten so I immediately got up and did 72, one for each hour just before the end of the 72 hours.

 What an amazing experience ! Texted the Angels and then enjoyed a wonderful breakfast while we awaited the awards ceremony. After the awards I called The Marathon Princess to give her all the details before taking a badly needed nap before I could drive to my motel. I slept for about two hours and then got up and packed up the tent that I had emptied and left drying in the sun while I slept. Drove into town and had a chili cheese dog and the best chocolate milkshake ever ! Then on to the motel where I crashed and had a 3.5 hour nap of the dead. Got up long enough to find a Boston Market and stuffed myself with half a chicken and all the good sides and then back to sleep like a baby til the next morning.

 Look for some last words in another post coming soon

Friday, May 23, 2014

3 Days At The Fair. Day 2

 At the end of the first 24 hours and with 90 miles and a bit of a cushion , I allowed myself my first extended break having breakfast with the feet propped up on a picnic table under the shelter near the start/ finish. Sent out updates to the Angels and FB. I must say it felt good and it was oh so tempting  to just stay there but I still wanted to go for as many miles as possible. I wanted at least 60 for the day and every minute sitting was a minute lost. It's tough to balance how much rest and how many miles to push especially if you've never done anything like this before. Finally after about  30 minutes I got up and headed out to walk a complete lap before resuming the running.

 It wasn't much later that the rain started coming down harder and it was getting chillier. I hit the 100 mile mark in 27:40, or 12:40 in the afternoon and took a short break in my car to dry off and put on some dry clothes and put on a poncho. I told the Angels I was sick of rain and my left foot was a blistered mess. But as soon as possible I was back out on the loop.

   By this point it was almost like I was living in a time warp. The rest of the world was pretty much forgotten. and all that mattered was trying to move as fast and  as comfortably around that same old one mile loop,   one step at a time. I had wondered what kind of things I may think of being out there for so long. Well, I have to say there was not much deep thinking going on. It seems nearly all my thoughts were just doing mental calculations of how fast I was moving, how long could I afford to take a break and still stay on pace, when should I eat again etc. Life had become very simple for me.

 And it rained. And it rained. And the wind blew and swirled. And it sucked ! I was getting so miserable. And to make matters worse, as I went by my tent around 2 pm I saw that the wind had blown it half over and it had gallons of rain in it. No sleep yet and I would not be relaxing in my tent any this weekend. :(

  Mile after miserable rainy mile we trudged on. Lots of runners were taking shelter and waiting it out but those of us with big goals just kept going.  You don't know how easy it would have been to just say forget this, I'm done but I had no excuse not to go on other than I was wet , cold miserable, tired and my feet hurt !

 Finally around 6:30 pm I noticed that I felt ok running but as soon as I begin to walk I was woozy and having a hard time not staggering. My run had turned into more of a shuffle too so I knew it was time to take that first nap and get out of the rain for awhile.  The car was already crammed full of stuff but I was going to have to make some room to stretch out. This was not going to be the ideal sleeping arrangement but at least I would not be worrying about getting too comfortable. I changed into dry clothes again, texted the Angels I was at mile 115,  set the alarm for 45 minutes and was soon nodding off. I woke up at the alarm and decided to give myself another 15 minutes of rest before heading out.

 It was tough to pry myself out of the seat but I had a long ways to go. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle so I was hoping it would be over as I headed back on the loop. I walked about 1/4 mile before trying to run. I was dreading the attempt to get moving again but was pleasantly surprised that some zip had returned to my legs and I was running along at a good pace once again. I was not happy that it started raining hard again and I was soaked by the time I got back around to the car to get the poncho back on.

 After a few more hours the rain finally stopped about 11pm but I kept the poncho on for another hour just to make sure. It stayed windy all night and cold too. I put on my jacket and I was very happy that at the last minute I had packed some ear warmers ! The cold and lack of rain kept me motivated to keep moving and I was able to put in another night of good mileage.  As usual most of those were lonely miles as I watched the fast guys from the 48 hour pass me regularly and I would pass the slower runners, mostly walkers at this point in the 72. I have to say I was very pleased that I was still running well and sticking with my marks to start walking and when to run.

  I wish I could tell you the thoughts that went through my brain but I'm afraid there still wasn't much wisdom going on in there. Sometimes in long races I have designed houses, written stories and songs, planned vacations started business etc, but now I was really just counting very slowly one mile at a time and doing those same  mental pace calculations over and over.

 I was so happy when daylight began to return once again and I could see the clouds moving out and an actual sunrise ! I pushed on until I was done at the 48 hour mark and was elated to hit 153 miles, 3 over my goal pace at this point. I continued around to my car and texted the angels and updated FB and then headed back around for some more breakfast.

 To Be Continued.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

3 Days At The Fair. Day One

  I had chosen to get a good nights sleep in a motel about 25 miles away from the race site knowing I was going to be dealing with sleep deprivation over the next 72 hours. I woke up refreshed and had a nice waffle for breakfast before heading over too the fairgrounds.. Unfortunately the stomach bug that had hit me Tuesday morning was still not 100% over so I was really hoping it would not be too much of an issue during the race. I had really concentrated on staying hydrated..

  I arrived at the site and saw a few familiar faces while I made my final preparations. I was feeling excited but also a bit apprehensive having never done anything of this magnitude in my years of ultra-running. 72 hours is a long time and I had a rather lofty goal in mind which even under the best of conditions would be a difficult challenge for me and would not allow for any lolly-gagging. I knew I was putting myself under pressure but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  It was a bit foggy, upper 60's and humid as we began. My plan was to go out a bit hard on this first day and go for some intermediate goals and then hope to hang on for day 2 and 3 and hope I hadn't run myself into too deep of a hole. I was also prepared to back off of that plan as soon as it begin to look like things weren't going well. Well, what I wasn't expecting was to lead the first lap. I began at what felt like an easy pace and noticed after the first 1/4 mile that I was only about 10 yards behind a group of 4 runners By the half the distance was still the same and that's when I decided it would be pretty cool to be in the lead after the 1st mile so at 3/4 I made my move And 50 yds later I missed a turn ! There was an arrow pointing straight but it was from another course apparently but the guys behind me yelled for me to come back so I had to work a bit harder to pass them all again. Crossed the line in 8:32 and immediately backed off to recover and then settled into my real pace.

  It was warm and humid and the MTC shirt came off after the 2nd mile. The course is not flat by the way. I would guess it's about 1/3 upgrade, 1/3 down grade and the other 1/3 flat with the grades varying from 1 to 2%. For most of the early miles I was running nearly the whole lap  for the first hour and then  began experimenting with and timing while taking walk breaks at different points to see how it affected the over all pace. I soon figured out what seemed to work best and settled in to that pace.

  Things were going very well for me. My legs felt good, the energy level was good and I was right on pace to get a 100 mile pr for the 1st day. I was working the nutrition and hydration strategy and everything was clicking. The only issue was it was still very humid and getting warmer into the mid 70's. Thankfully it stayed overcast the entire day other than a few moments a couple of times when the sun would peek through. The miles were sliding by and I felt good but it wasn't much longer that I could tell I would not be setting  a hundred mile  or 24 hour  so I made the decision at mile 25 in 4:32 to shut it down. I stopped to take my first break and eat some lunch and texted the Angels an update. 

 That would kind o f be my routine for the remainder of the race. Take about a 15 minute break with my feet propped up about every 10 miles or so, get some food in me and then walk all or most of a lap before resuming the running.  I was soon back out on the course and was able to share a few miles with Bill Gentry and Bob Ring. They were on a set pacing plan  but every now and then over the next days if they were starting a lap as I was getting up from a break I would join them for a couple or 3 miles. These were some of the best miles of the weekend with these guys I've known since I first began running ultra's 12 years ago.

 At some point a pretty lady pulled up beside me  that I thought looked familiar. She said we had met at Beast of Burden last summer. Turns out she had given me a ride back to the start after I had to drop with the injury. Her name is Maryka and she set Canadien age group records for the 48 and 72 hour  distances.

  I was very disappointed that before I even got to 50 mile that I was getting some blisters. I had one rather painful one on the left forefoot, one on the left outer heel and one on the right inner heel. Great ! Normally if I get blisters at least I'm over halfway done but here I am looking at another 66 hours of dealing with the pain. Oh well, suck it up and stay focused.

  Despite backing off I was still running well and went through 50 miles in 11:05. I could have probably tried to push it for a sub 24 100 but it would have been meaningless and just worn me down so I let that thought go. At mile 57, around 10 pm I texted the Angels and told them I felt I could get 90 for the 1st 24 hrs and I would update them in the morning. I took time to pop the blisters and put on some new socks. When I had taken  off the socks I discovered another blister between the pinkie and 2nd toe of my left foot that I was unaware of. I didn't need to tend to it. It had already popped and was a nice bloody little mess. Oh well, I don't have time to mess with them or worry about them. I'm a man on a mission.

 I headed out into the night ready to settle in for some relaxed miles. The course is well lit with street lights so no worries there. I was hoping it would cool off but it never got lower than the mid 60's and still very muggy. I was not planning on  sleeping any this first night unless I was struggling. I really wanted to get in as many miles as possible while staying relaxed. Everything was still going well as planned. I was still taking a short break about every 10 miles, posting a FB update, eating a little and back out on that by now very familiar loop. I did get a bit groggy around 4am but I was maintaining pace and I knew from experience that a soon as daylight would come back around that I would perk up for awhile.

  I was a bit surprised that it begin to get a bit light by 5 am. And then  at 6am I begin to perk up just as the rain started. The first few hours it was a light rain and sprinkle and it was still warm so it was not really an issue just yet. By now the 48 hour runners were assembling to begin their race. I hit mile 90 just a few minutes before 9am and the end of the first 24 hours just as i had predicted to the Angels.

 To be continued !.