Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking forward to 2011

( photo taken on Tahoe Rim Trail in 2007)

New years Eve and I am eagerly awaiting the big plans I have for the coming year. I just had my annual physical this week and the Dr. says I am in amazingly good health as usual. I am also feeling great and the training continues to go well and bring me great enjoyment. I look forward to spending many hours out on the roads and trail with my friends and making new ones along the way. So here are the big events I have planned so far.

Jan: Ocean Isle Beach Half Marathon
Feb: Heart and Soul Half marathon- Goldsboro
Mar: Tobacco Road Half Marathon
April: BOSTON Marathon !

After Boston I will once again return my focus to Ultra's

April : Promise Land 50K
May: New River Marathon
June: Boogie 50 miler ( This depends on the arrival of my 3rd Grand- Child which is due on the 10th.)
July: Tahoe Rim 100Mile, my first attempt at a 100 in 3 years.
Sept: Hinson Lake 24 Hour
Nov: Mountain Masochist 50Mile +
Derby 50K

That's all for now. I will probably add a few more events as the year progresses.

Happy New Year !

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Looking back on another great year

It's the day after Christmas and I'm looking at 10" of snow on the ground so while I'm snowbound with no more plans for the year, it is time to reflect on what has been another fantastic year in my life.

2009 had been a re-building year with my focus on cross-training and preparing for Ironman but after that event my focus returned to running with a long range plan of returning to the Boston Marathon in 2011. Karla and I had agreed that once she was again strong enough , we would return one more time and so now that we were both healthy it was time to focus our training on that goal.

I began the year off with a good start running a strong 5k on Jan. 1st at the Resolution Run. I followed up a week later with a 50k Pr at the Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty K on a frigid morning. Not bad for a 54 year old with 50+ ultra's under his belt. The day was made even more special by making the trip with 3 of my Angel Team, Karla, Lisa and Jenn.

Now the focus would be on training for our Boston qualifying attempt. Over the next two months there would be no racing but many long runs and nights running in the cold and dark on track nights. One particular workout stands out on March 2. It was 35F, raining and the wind was blowing 20mph with gust up to 30mph yet Karla and I got out in it and ran 6 x 800m. Lisa was with us on all of our weekend long runs and finally the test would come at the American Tobacco Trail Marathon on March 21st. It was a perfect day for the race and all three of us would qualify as I ran my fastest marathon since Feb 2006.

Now with the pressure off to qualify I could focus on just having some fun over the next several months. In April I ran the Tarheel 10 miler for fun with Karla and she ran a pr. Then two weeks later I traveled to Asheboro with Karla and Frank to run the 5k there where I ran a good time and won my age-group.

2 weeks later on May 2nd it was off to Cincinnati with the Werners and Jerry for the Flying Pig Marathon. I had a disappointing race but a fun trip. Followed that up a week later and ran a 21:33 5k in Garner which was my fastest time in a few years.

On June 12th I returned to The Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie for the 50 miler. Despite one of the hottest years ever, I was able to complete it for my longest run in over two years.

On July 10th I had probably the most fun of the year making the trip to Grandfather Mountain Marathon accompanied by by my wonderful team of Angels, The Marathon Princess, Mountain Girl and Ultra Angel. This would be a special year as I planned to do the first Grandfather Mountain "Double" Marathon. I would run the race with Karla in 4:56 and then run back to the start in Boone with Jenn. Lisa and Karla would crew for me on the return trip which I completed in 11:33 to be the first person to ever do it. Woohoo , a world record !

Now once again it was time to begin focusing on preparing to get in the best possible shape over the next few months with the long range goal of running fast at Boston next April.

The remainder of July was for recovery and then training through August. On Sept 12th I made the trip to Allentown PA for the Lehigh Valley Marathon with the Werners. We had a great trip and I ran my 2nd fastest marathon ever in 3:44,another Boston qualifier.

Returned to the Selma Railroad Run 5k in Oct and was 2nd in my age group in a fairly good time of 21:57 and then a week later made the trip with Karla and Lisa to the New River Trail 50k. Not my day but it was a beautiful day on a lovely course and a great race by Annette Bednosky and her crew of volunteers.

2 weeks later I would have my longest mileage training week ever at 102 miles.

Then in November I returned for my 4th OBX Marathon. Another disappointing outcome but another wonderful weekend with friends , the Howells and Werners.

I finished up my racing year with a good time at my 7th Derby 50k running 4:55.

Overall a very good year and I am so fortunate to have some wonderful friends and training partners to share it with. But besides running this was certainly a FANTASTIC year personally as I was Blessed with the birth of two beautiful Grand-Daughters, Aurora Ann on Feb 11 and Rachel Marie on Dec 18. Now that is something to look back on with pride and joy !!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Total races so far

The picture is me finishing my 1st Marathon in Wilmington NC in March 1981. I would not enter another marathon until November of 2002 after running my 1st ultra in Feb of 2002. There were quite a few other shorter races before this one and many since so with nothing else planned for 2010 I thought I would do a little re-cap of the number of races I have completed.

Total # of running races since my first 10K in March 1978 is 312.

Of those 312, 34 are marathons and 57 are ultra-marathons and all of them have been since 2002 except for that first marathon. From the first one in 78-79 I did 26 races. The decade of the 80's I did 120. the 90's I didn't do much running at all but I did compete in 24 races. the decade from 2000 to 2009 was my most prolific decade of racing years with 130.

1 mile, 5:25
5k, 18:40
10k 39:00
10 mile, 64:42
half marathon, 1:34:42 ( always thought this was soft compared to my 10k-10 mile pr's but had few options back then to run a fast course on a cool day)
Marathon, 3:35:15 (at age 50!)
50K, 4:44:11 (at age 54)
50mile, 10:34:20 ( I've run faster several times in the middle of other longer races)
100 mile, 23:15:59. (in 2007 at age 51)

In addition to those I have completed 48 Triathlons since 1998 including my one and only Ironman at Coeur D'Alene ID in 2009

I did one Duathlon in 2002.

so that's it.

Looking forward to continuing with another great decade of racing ahead. and I may be delusional but at age 55 I think I may still have a shot at improving my pr's in all distances from the marathon up to 100 miles so stay tuned.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

26 Miles To go

This video is a song I wrote and recorded back in 2006. I was driving back from Virginia and it came to me while cruising down I-95 and I wrote it on a notepad as I was driving. Not the smartest thing to do but I knew if I didn't write it down while it was flowing from my brain that I would lose it. The inspiration was from the experience of training and qualifying for the Boston Marathon and the group of people who were a big part of that.

Now that I had the lyrics I was determined to make it into a song but I didn't know if I would have the necessary skill to actually pull off what I was hearing in my head. I also had no way of recording it so I used it as an excuse to go to Guitar Center and buy a Digitech GNX4 guitar processor with a built in digital recorder. As soon as I arrived home I set it up in my kitchen and began trying to figure out how to use the machine and practice the song.

I became very excited as I soon figured out that I would actually be able to do what I wanted. The first thing was to get the intro recorded and after I was satisfied with it I set the drum machine to the tempo and beat I wanted and recorded the guitar rhythm track with my Stratocaster played thru a Crate XT120R amp. If I had more time and access to a better recording software I would have been able to do more with the basic track but since I didn't I was limited to a very simple line with the drum machine.

Next I used the Ibanez bass guitar I had given my younger son to lay down the bass track. Then it was time to record the vocal track. I was not really satisfied with the singing but under the circumstances I was happy just to get it done. Next I took the whole set-up over to a dinner at Margo's house and had all my friends sitting around the dinner table to sing along on the chorus.

The next day i went back and recorded the lead fills and solo guitar to complete my first ever recording !!

here are the liner notes I added for the cd

"Once a decade someone comes along to
shake up the Rock establishment.
Anderson will affect everything you
listen to for at least
the next 10 years."
Creamed Magazine

"Each generation has it's Guitar hero
to inspire millions of young people
to pick up a guitar.Hendrix,Van Halen,
Stevie Ray
Joey Anderson is our Guitar Hero for
the 21st century"
Geetar Playa Magazine

50 years in the making. Well the wait
was more than worth it. Every so often
an artist or band comes along and
completely changes how we listen to
music. From Elvis to the Beatles.
Led Zeppelin and Arena rock. The Sex
Pistols and Punk. The re-birth of
Metal in the 80's. Nirvana and Grunge
in the 90's. Now we have, well I'm not
really sure what we have but it's really
good. And I should know.

(Insert name of your favorite Rock Critic)

Track One: 26 Miles to Go
written by Joey Anderson
Track Two: Moonlight Boogie
written by Joey Anderson
Track Three: Hinson Lake Blues
written by Joey Anderson
Track 4: I'm an Ironman
written by Joey Anderson ( are you seeing a trend here?)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now thats more like it.. Derby 50K 2010

Well, I had planned to start out slow and see how I felt but not this slow. As Race Director Mark Long said go, I looked down to start my Garmin and realized I had not turned it on and acquired the satellites. Ok, no panic today. I just turned it on and began walking veerrrry slowly until they figured out where I was which took just over a minute. This of course had me well behind the other nearly 100 other entrants but I had 31 miles to make up that little bit of time.

The morning had begun very early for me as I awoke at 4am and then headed over to Cary to meet with Lisa and Amy to carpool to the race. We made good time and arrived at the Derby Community Center where I had nearly an hour to visit with many running friends from the MTC and also some NCRC friends that had made their way down to attempt their 1st Derby. Through Facebook we had agreed that this would be a kilt run so Lisa, Amy, Ken Hamilton ,Charles Akers and myself all lined up sporting our Sportkilts.

So, now I found myself at the back of the pack and began to slowly move my way up into the field of runners. I was just relaxing and snapped a few pictures along the way. After about two miles the pack had spread out and I caught up to Lisa around the 2 mile mark. We ran together from there chatting like we were on one of our normal Saturday long runs together until we reached aid station 1 just past mile 4 where we were greeted by Mrs.Doom, Rosemary and the Professor. I was happy to see that after the 1st mile I was running 9 minute miles and it felt very easy so I just grabbed a cup of gatorade and decided to pick it up a notch over the next section to see how I felt.

The next part of the loop is the easiest and my favorite including a sweet gradual downhill on Sycamore Lane and then the mostly flat dirt road section. It is a 5k to the next aid station and I averaged 8:55 and felt fantastic. Now I just had to see how it felt going up the long hill back up to Derby Road. That felt easy too and I was able to maintain pace without trying and completed the 1st loop averaging 8:59 for that 3.25 mile section. I dropped my waist pack off by my car and quickly headed out for loop two on a mission. The PR attempt was on.

By now the weather was perfect for running warming into the low 50's. I was pushing the pace just slightly on the downhills and then easing off just a little on the climbs. I didn't want to push too much because I still had a long 20 miles to go but I was really feeling good about things and smiling to myself to be running so well and having so much fun. I was back into AS 1 a little faster this lap averaging 8:54. In and out quickly and back onto Sycamore Lane, running strong and loving life, singing songs in my head that I've been practicing lately. Unfortunately I lollygagged a little once I hit the dirt road and ran it slower than the 1st lap but still my overall pace was below pr pace.

I covered the next section to finish lap two within 2 seconds of the time for the first lap and quickly ran on gaining confidence that I could get that pr today. Back into to AS 1 for the last time and only slightly slower than lap two. Another 1.2 miles down Sycamore Lane and I passed the marathon point in 3:57:17. Now if I could just hold on for another 5 miles. I had run that last section at 8:50 pace and was moving along well on the dirt road but then the slow fade began and by the time I hit AS 2 for the last time, I had slowed considerably and things weren't looking good.

I made one last push to try and pick the pace back up but after another 1/2 mile it was over. There would be no pr today. I had to began doing a run/walk up that last mile long hill and to add insult to injury I was passed by two runners that I had passed earlier, the first people to pass me all day. And then on the homestretch I was passed by two others. But even with the disappointment of losing it the last 3.5 miles, I am still very happy to have run so well considering how the last couple of races have gone. I ended up in 24th place out of 81 finishers and 2nd Grandmaster. Even if I had gotten the PR, I still would not have beaten 53 year old Mike Riggins from SC who ran a 4:23 ! I was first kilt !

Sadly, Lisa had a bad day and dropped after one loop so we waited together for Amy. I was so happy and proud to see her finishing her first ultra, just two weeks after her 2nd marathon at OBX. Husband and wife team Charles and Blanca Akers got their first ultra finishes together and Olga Kruger from NCRC also finished her first one. Overall a great day! Thanks to Mark and his volunteers !

Now I look forward to a few easy weeks and then into some serious marathon training for Boston.

Here are some photos from the race.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Derby 50K 2010 Preview

Going to the Derby 50K has become a Thanksgiving Weekend tradition for me since 2003. I regret now that I didn't run that 1st one but at the time I was still fairly new at ultra running and didn't think I had had enough time to recover from my last race and prepare for the next one on my schedule. I did however go down and volunteer and then ran the third lap with the Finkles. I have since raced every year and include myself in a small group of 6 that have raced it 6 times. My buddy Tony Rouse is now the only one to have run every year with 7 finishes.

The picture above is from 2007 with Jenn the Ultra Angel before her first one. I ran a PR 4:46:58 that year and it remained my pr until I ran 4:44 at Frosty Fifty this past January. Derby doesn't have age group awards but I was the first Grandmaster in 06 and 07. My streak of "wins" was broken in 08 when I just ran to finish due to my nagging hamstring injuries and would take off 6 weeks immediately
afterwards and then last year I ran with Karla in her first ultra.

Derby is one of the rare road ultra's and although it has some rolling hills I consider it a pretty fast course. With the way things have been going in my last two races I'm not sure what will happen this weekend. I would like to race it and go for yet another 50k pr and at my age I know I won't have too many more opportunities to do that. My plan is to take it very easy the first two or three miles and then pick it up to pr pace and see how I feel and go from there.You never know about these things so you just take the good days when they come. If I figure out I 'm not going to get the pr I will probably drop back and run with Amy (Marathon Mom) Surrette who is eager to run her first ultra. Lisa will be running her first Derby and 2nd ultra and I expect she will once again do well. Sadly, The Marathon princess won't be returning as she is resting a nagging foot injury and Jenn has to work.

Stay tuned for the results

Here is the race website

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OBX Marathon 2010

OK, so it didn't go quite as well as I hoped but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I knew when I made the decision to do my 100 mile training week just 3 weeks before the race that I was probably killing any chance of a fast time but it's what I wanted to do so I have no regrets. Just make a note that when preparing for a fast marathon , do not run a 50k race 5 weeks before, followed by a 102 mile week and then do two more weeks of 49 and 48 miles and call it a taper.

The weekend itself was wonderful. I was once again a guest of Mike and Lisa Howell at their home in Kill Devil Hills, just a block away from the race course. It was a beautiful weekend except for some strong wind on Saturday which we spent goofing off all day.

Mike dropped Lisa and I at the start Sunday morning and we quickly found Karla and Amy and also spent some time talking to Bill and Sally Squier. After chatting a bit I ran a short warm up and made my way to the start. They had a lady that did the most incredible job of singing the National Anthem that I have ever heard. Simply awesome and inspiring.

Once the race started I settled into an easy feeling pace, just letting people pass me and trying not to get sucked into to speeding up. The first mile was still a little faster than I had wanted in 8:32 but at least not over my goal pace of 8:23. After that I fell into a nice rhythm and was steadily clicking off the miles , all within a few seconds of my goal pace. But just like last year it soon became obvious that I was not going to be able to hold that pace comfortably much longer.

Just as we were entering Nags Head Woods , I shut it down at exactly the same place as last year. I was surprised that Lisa passed me there ,well ahead of her goal pace. I knew she would be along shortly but not that soon. Unlike last year I was not going to just slow down and hope to still run a fast time. That didn't work out too well as I blew up hard and suffered mightily the last 8 miles or so. This year I just decided to get to the finish as comfortably as possible so I began walking the hills through the woods.

Once I came out of the woods and back onto the flat roads I took a short break and two gels at the mile 13 aid station before beginning a run/ walk strategy of walking one tenth of a mile and then running nine tenths. Each mile I began looking back to see if maybe Karla was coming so I could run some with her. I even considered just walking until she caught up to me but I was hoping she was going to have a good day and would catch me soon.

So that is how the last half went with me just trying to enjoy the day. Around Mile 20, Amy passed me looking strong and I knew she was on her way to a pr. I never did see Karla and after one more look back just past mile 25 I ran it on in to the finish. My time of 4:28 was almost exactly the same as last year but a lot less painful. I was talking to Mike and Lisa in the finishers corral when I looked back and saw Karla. She actually ran one minute faster than me but had started in a later corral or we could have been able to at least run a little together. Lisa would slow down a lot the 2nd half but still improved her pr by about 2 minutes with a 3:56 finish. Amy ran strong and got a pr in 4:06. Frank ran his usual 2:15 in the half and his son Eric running in his first half did 2:07 on less than two weeks training.

OBX is a great race and I have been happy to run it 4 times now. Unfortunately I don't know when or if I will get around to running it again. There are just too many events in November that I want to run and next year for sure I will be returning to Mountain Masochist, one of my favorite events.

Here are some photos from the race

Thursday, November 11, 2010

OBX Marathon Version 4 preview

I am very excited to be returning this weekend to run my 4th Outer Banks Marathon! Training has been going very well this Fall and if all goes well I hope to run my 2nd fastest marathon time. I'll be aiming for 3:40, the same as I tried at Lehigh Valley. Hopefully the weather conditions will be a lot better for this race and the forecast is promising. I really hadn't planned on running this one again this year but if things go to plan , I will not have a chance to come back for at least a couple of years so I decided to go ahead run it again.

This is the 5th year of the race and so far the only one I missed was in 2008 when I ran Mountain Masochist with Jenn, or at least the first 33 miles of it. The funny thing is that I hadn't planned on running the first one but as I explained in my race report which you can read here. I only decided to go at the last minute so I could run with Karla. In many ways that race was even more amazing than her Boston finish as this came after all the months of chemo-therapy and now she was into radiation treatments and had done almost no running all Spring and Summer. The picture is our finish in 2006.

This year I'll be racing on my own. Karla will be running her fifth and hoping to run well also. I will be staying with the Howells again and I expect my other training partner Lisa will blow out an amazing time and get a big PR the way she is running lately. And my newest training partner Amy has been making huge improvements the past few months since joining us on our long runs and track workouts so I expect she will also run well in her 2nd marathon and first at OBX.

Looking forward to some fun times with good friends and hope to see some others from the area there too. Here is the race website.

Stay tuned for the results !

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miles to run before I sleep

I have to admit that after the first 15 miler on the Sunday morning that I began Monster Mega Mileage Week, I was already worrying about the 20 miler the following Saturday that I had planned to finish the week. Having never come anywhere close to 100 miles in one week of training I was expecting to be very tired and sore by the end.

I was very fortunate to have excellent weather all week other than some rain on half of my Wednesday run with Jenn which made it much more enjoyable. It was a little surprising that I looked forward to every one of the runs during the week and even though I didn't need the miles I was very tempted to get in a second workout on Friday. I did use my better judgement though and saved up for the Saturday finale.

I was expecting that Saturday would be slow and painful and I was just hoping it would not turn into a death march the last few miles. Wow, was I surprised when I actually felt great! I met Karla and Amy at 7 and it was a cold in the 30's. I had frost on my windshield on the drive over to Crabtree. After we got going I warmed up quickly and we were moving at a decent pace. As we ran along I began feeling stronger and more confident and was actually having to hold back to keep from running away from the ladies. We picked up the pace a little bit on the last 12 miles and finished strong. I was so happy to have them along to share it with me and they both said if I had began to falter that they would have dragged me to complete my goal. Glad that wasn't necessary ! I only regret that Lisa was not able to run any with me this week.

So here is the breakdown for the week:

Sunday - 15 miles am

Monday - 10 miles am, 5 miles pm

Tuesday- 10.2 am, 9 miles pm

Wednesday- 16.7 miles pm

Thursday- 10.2 miles pm

Friday - 6 miles am

Saturday - 20 miles am

Weekly total 102.1 miles

Ran 35.2 of the miles with Karla, 24 with Amy and 16.7 with Jenn.

Ran 37.1 on dirt, 9 on the track, 36 on the road and 20 on the greenway.

I don't foresee another 100 mile week in the near future but I'm glad I did it and without any problems along the way. I do hope I can get my weekly average close to 70mpw between now and Boston next April. Stay Tuned.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monster Mega Mileage Week

Darkness comes early and a chill wind begins to blow as the fog comes creeping. A full moon cast an eerie pall as shadows fall upon the path littered with the dead foliage from the skeletel shapes of the trees as the sway in the breeze. The glowing eyes of the black cat as it scurries by while unseen voices seem to moan a warning not to venture too far. Yes, it is October and that must mean--------, It's MONSTER MEGA MILEAGE WEEK !!

Well, actually it's not all that scary. But it is a step into uncharted territory for me. So, what exactly is Monster Mega Mileage Week? It will be my attempt at running 100 miles in training in 7 days for the first time in my 33 years of running. Yes, I know, I have completed 6 ultramarathons of 100 miles before but I have never come close to that in a week of training. I have done a couple of weeks of 70 miles over the past couple of years and have hit in the 60's a few more times but my average in my highest mileage years including races has been about 45 miles per week.

In order to run 100 I will need to average about 15 miles per day. I got things off to a good start this Sunday morning with a 15 miler at a decent pace on a beautiful chilly morning starting just as it began to get light outdoors. I was able to watch the fog rise off the many ponds in the area and see the sunrise. The run went well and I felt so thankful to be out and able to do this that I love so much.

Ever since I first began running I have used a chart to track all my runs and it runs from Sunday to Saturday like a calender so that is why I began this morning. I look forward to the challenge and if things go well I will be able to run quite a few of these miles with some of my special ladies from Ultraman Joey's Angels and Princesses Club or my Harem as Laura calls it. The plan is to finish up with a 20 miler next Saturday so if anyone wants to join in for some miles let me know. Stay Tuned, wish me luck, pray for me and let's see how it goes !

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New River 50K

I think this is one of the best photos I've ever taken. I'd like to think it is due to my skills as a photographer but it was more just sheer luck at being at the right place at the right time. That time just happened to be about 6.2 miles into the New River Trail 50K.

I liked the 8am starting time which made for a relaxing morning. Our rental house was only a couple of blocks away so around 7:30 we made our way down to the riverside which was covered in a blanket of fog and prepared for the journey ahead. With the temperature around 45F I was feeling confident that today would be a good run for me and all my friends. Promptly at 8, race director Annette Bednosky sent us off on the trail.

My plan was to run easy the first mile to warm up and then gradually pick up the pace to about 8:50 pace and hold onto that as long as possible. We could barely see the river for the fog at first and in the first mile the course is away from the river anyway so the only view was the runners in front of me. I bided my time behind a small group until the 1st mile in 9:02 and then eased my way around them as I picked it up just a bit. I soon caught up to Kathy Lee and ran talking to her for awhile but then she backed off and I picked it up a bit more and put it on cruise control.

I was feeling good as we approached the first aid station at about 5.3 miles and I was at exactly the pace I wanted averaging 8:50. From here, we had to do a short out and back section of about 8/10ths of a mile which gave me a chance to see most of the other runners behind and in front of me. I pulled out the camera for the first time and snapped a few shots of some friends but I didn't want to take the time to take too many. I wasn't even going to run with the camera since I was racing for a pr but I wanted to at least get a picture of the ladies. Lisa was not very far behind me and Karla was a little bit further back and looking comfortable. I kept the camera out because I knew I wanted to get a shot of the bridge over the river and it turned out to be nearly perfect as the sun was just coming up from behind the hills and burning off the fog.

Once I crossed the river , the course began a very slight but noticeable incline as the trail ran beside and upstream of Chestnut Creek. We would be going this way for almost the next 10 miles so I made a conscious effort to back off the pace slightly hoping that I could stay close to my goal and then make up some time on the downhill return. The only problem with that is that for some reason the pace which should have felt like an easy training run was not feeling easy. I didn't feel bad, I just didn't feel like I could go any faster. That seemed strange to me since I had run 30 seconds per mile faster at the marathon 4 weeks ago and now I had only gone about 7 miles.

I continued along enjoying the gorgeous views of Chestnut Creek and the trail until I reached the 2nd aid station at Chestnut Yard around the 12 mile mark. By now my average pace was 9:00, still good but it was not not getting any easier and I was hoping it would. It was nice to see some familiar faces at the aid station including Mark Long of the MTC. Mark was entered in the race but has been injured so he came up anyway to help out and support some of the MTC crowd.

I tried to maintain my pace as I continued up the trail but I was already gradually slowing down. I had not given up hope yet for the pr but something was going to have to change. A few miles later I could hear Lisa coming up behind me. I didn't have to look to know it was her. We have run so many miles together in the past 1.5 years that I can recognize the sound of her footstrikes. We ran together for a short distance but then she pulled away. She was doing great and I was hoping she would be able to continue in her first ultra.

I finally made it to the turnaround at about 15.9 miles and already I had slowed my average pace down to about 9:15 and by the time I got refilled and on my way it was even slower. Now it would take a miracle to get the pr but I tried to pick up the pace now that the grade would be slightly downhill. Try as I may, I just did not have it today for whatever reason. I just kept getting slower and slower. Finally at about 18.5 miles I decided to just start walking and wait for Karla to catch up with me. If I couldn't run a fast time then at least maybe I could enjoy the rest of the race with the Marathon Princess. I stopped at the next aid station for a refill and some coke and stretched my aching hamstrings for a bit and then continued walking. It wasn't much longer and after 2 miles of walking that Karla finally caught up to me.

She was still running well and we enjoyed the next 2 miles miles together but whatever was causing me to be so tired would not let me even hold her pace so she went ahead and for the next 9 miles I would just relax and do a run/walk to the finish. The plan now was to just get to the end as comfortably as possible and enjoy the views along the way. I was really glad I had chosen to bring the camera along now . The rest of the race was rather uneventful. I was passed by quite a few friends and they all asked if I was ok. I assured them that I was fine, just not having a good day and was taking it easy the rest of the way.

With little less than 3 miles to go, Tony Rouse caught up to me and we ran together for the next couple of miles. It was nice to share a little time with one of the truly nice guys in the sport. Over the years Tony and I have shared many miles in various ultra's. The amazing thing today was that Tony and 3 others, Doug Dawkins, Eric Fogelman and Rick French had just completed a 4 day stage race across NC for 145 miles.

With a mile to go I told Tony I needed to take another short walk break. He hesitated but I told him to go on ahead. I could now see the welcome sight of the finish just ahead and as I made my final approached the best sight was seeing my two wonderful training partners Karla and Lisa standing there waiting for me.

Despite the disappointment of the slow time I still enjoyed the race a lot. It is so beautiful and Annette and her volunteers did a great job with the race .Normally if I was having a bad race I would get in a foul mood but today I was able to keep a smile on my face and just make the most of it.

Here are the results.

and here are the rest of my pictures.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

New River Trail 50k preview

The New River Trail is a converted rail trail along the New river in Western Virginia and is one of the Virginia State Parks. Along the 57 miles of the trail it passes through Shot Tower Historical Park which you can see from Interstate 77. Just a few miles downriver it also passes through Foster Falls which is now a part of the NRT St Park. In the past when I used to travel to work in West Virgina I would occasionally stop at Foster Falls where I have run and biked on the trail and once I kayaked the falls. It is a beautiful area and a wonderful place to visit so I was excited when a couple of years ago when Annette Bedknosky, an ultrarunning friend announced she would be directing a race on the trail.

I'll never forget the first time I met Annette several years ago at the Promise Land 50k when she was just beginning to run ultra's. I was sitting under the picnic shelter with the Finkles and a couple of other friends. Most of the runners had already gone to there tents for the night when Annette walked over and said she wanted to hang out with the "cool people". Of course since then she has become one of the top lady ultra runners in the country winning many races including the Western States 100. She is a terrific person and a pleasure to be around and I look forward to finally get a chance to run her race.

My training has been going very well and with the forecast for nice Autumn weather with the start in the 40's I should run well. I am planning to go for a 50k pr. I doubt I have too many chances left to get pr's at 50k so at least this course should give me n opportunity to go for it.

Karla the Marathon Princess and Lisa The Mountain Girl will be making the trip with me. Hopefully Karla can pr in what will be her 3rd 50K and the way Lisa has been running lately I expect her to get her first ultra finish and do it well. I'm also excited that I will get a chance to see a lot of my other ultra friends that I have been missing a lot the past couple of years.

Annette's Blog.

Race website.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Selma Railroad Run 5K- 2010

Well if anyone didn't run well this year , it couldn't be blamed on the weather. We had near perfect conditions in the 50's and a beautiful sunny morning. I was up early and excited so after my morning coffee, I hopped in the car and ate some rocket fuel (peanut butter and marshmallow creme) as I made the short drive down to Selma where I found parking a block from the start/finish. I picked up my number and chip and then joined Karla and Lisa for a warm-up mile.

Then about 10 minutes before the start I did another half mile with some pickups to race pace and then made my way to the line. I got off to a good start, not getting suckered into the fast pace of the young and inexperienced that always seem to go flying off. I settled into a comfortable pace and found myself just behind NCRC friend Bobby Baxter. I was hoping the pace I was on was close to my overall goal of sub 22 because I didn't think I could go any faster without blowing up later.

The first mile was good at 6:57, but I already knew my fantasy goal of beating my 2005 time was not going to happen today. So I settled in almost drafting Bobby as we continued through the neighborhood and then back onto the main road. Just before the turnaround and near the two mile mark you can see the leaders coming back and heading towards us heading to the finish. Aaron Tarter was in 3rd and Godiva's Anthony Corriveau was right behind in 4th. Clayton friend Brent George was not too far behind and then the first woman as expected was our own North Raleigh Threat, Laura Labella Frey followed by NCRC's Jordan Duvall running in his Vibram 5 fingers. Shannon Johnstone was the 2nd place woman just a little further back back in 2nd.

I went around the cone and then by the 2 mile mark in 14:12, a 7:15 mile. I was hoping I hadn't slowed but the second mile here is always slower for me. I was still just a few strides behind Bobby but he began to gradually pull away and I was going as hard as I could. I could now see the runners behind me and Lisa was not too far behind and running strong. Margo was just a ways behind her and before long I could see the Marathon Princess looking good. A little further and along came Frank.

I was really pushing now and hoping I could hold on to the pace and get under my sub 22 goal but these 5k's really hurt if you race them hard. I was able to keep up the pace and made it just under in 21:57. Woohooo !

After all my friends came in,Karla, Lisa and I went for a 2 mile cool down and got back just in time for the awards. All my friends really did well this year. Lisa was first in her age-group with a big time pr of 22:38. She is on fire these days and you'll be seeing more pr's this Fall from her. Margo was 2nd and Karla was 3rd but since they only go 2 deep with the trophies she missed out this time. I was very surprised that I got 2nd in mine but then I was :30 seconds faster than last year!

Aaron went on to place 3rd overall, and 1st in the 30-39 age-group. Brent was third in the same age group. Anthony was 4th overall and 1st in the masters 40-49. Laura and Shannon went on to place 1-2 overall for the ladies and I believe it was a pr for Laura too. Jordan was first in the 20-29 group and Frank ran strong and placed 2nd in the 60 and over. I would also like to put in a word for a fellow Zebulon runner that I just met at the race, John Goodie. John is a regular reader of my blog and a new runner and he ran what I believe was a pr for him at the 5k distance too. Good job !

I'm really surprised that more Triangle area runners don't come for this race anymore. It is a flat , fast certified course and is one of the best bargains out with just a $15 entry fee when most 5k's these days are $25 to 30 and up.

Here are the results

I would also like to proudly note that in 1981 when this was a 10k, my mother Frances Anderson was 51 years old and won 1st place in her age-group !

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Going back to Selma for the Railroad Run 5k

The Selma Railroad Run is one of the oldest continuous road races in the State with this years event being the 33rd annual. The photo is me approaching the finish line in 1980 when it was a 10k. I ran the event several times back then and so did my brother and even my Mom and ex-wife ran in 1980. Part of the appeal to me is the small town atmosphere combined with a flat , fast certified course at a time of year when there is usually nice weather. I was never able to run as well as I would have liked under those ideal conditions because it was always the week after my favorite race, the Virginia 10 miler, a very tough course which I ran 15 years in a row.

In 1980 I ran 43:48, then lowered that to 41:27 in 1981. When I finally returned again in 1990 they had changed it to a 5k and I ran 20:59, which was the last time I was ever under 21:00. (my pr is 18:40 from 1984). I didn't do much racing in the 90's and returned again to Selma in 1995 to see how slow I had gotten and ran a 22:26.

It would be another 10 years before I would return once more and by 2005 I was well into my new life as an ultrarunner and in training to attempt to qualify for Boston. I had began my training with Karla and although I was not focusing on 5 K's, I had run several with her trying to get her under 24 and using them as tempo runs for my marathon training. On that day on 2005 though I decided to see how fast I could run and surprised myself by running 21:12 at age 49 in the fastest time I had run a 5K in 15 years.

We returned last year and I used the race for fun again and to gauge my progress as I began on my quest to once again qualify for Boston. I was a bit disappointed in my 22:43 time on a warm muggy morning but Karla ran a pr and my friends Margo ,Maureen, Laura and Katie all ran very well and Frank and Jerry were along for the fun too.

So it looks like we'll be going back again to test our speed before going back for some more 50k and marathon action. I am hoping that by some miracle I might crack the 21:00 barrier again but I don't really see that happening and will be happy to go under 22 just three weeks after racing hard at Lehigh Valley. I think if I were to focus on 5k and do my track work at the paces needed I could run under 21 again but right now it's all about marathoning for the next 7 months and then back to the long ultras. Stay tuned for the results !

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Useful running tools or should I be running 5k's?

Ever since I began racing back in 1978 I have tried to learn as much as I can about training properly to maximize my performances. I've done this by studying the coaching techniques of many of the great coaches of the 60's and 70's and others that have learned and advanced what they had learned from their mentors. I've read dozens of books and literally thousands of articles over the past 33 years on training theory, techniques and strategies and applied the knowledge I've gained to my training. Over time I have learned a lot of things that don't work too well for me and others that have given me success but I am still always tweaking things. This is especially important now as I have moved into the Grandmasters age group. And as the old adage says, we are all an experiment of one.

Which brings me to the point of the title of this post. A big part of making a training plan after choosing an event is to decide what type of workouts to do and secondly, what pace should those workouts be performed. Over the years I have used different charts and formulas that are usually based on times from recent races. This has been much easier the past few years thanks to some really nice tools available over the internet. My two favorites are located at McMillan Running and Runners World.

Each of these websites feature a training calculator that you just input a recent time for a certain distance and then it tells you at what pace different types of training should be used to maximize your racing potential. Both are based on formula's that have been studied for many years and I know that at least in the case of McMillans they are based on the charts in Jack Daniels Running Formula books.

Another feature of these tools is that after you put in your time for a recent race at certain distance it can predict how that performance relates to how you may run at another distance. Of course in a wide range of distances the predictions are not always going to be right but at least they can give you an idea of what to expect. You will also need to adjust your training to the distant you are competing in to maximize performance.

One very interesting thing that I have noticed in both of these tools is that I probably should focus more on 5k's instead of marathons and beyond. Based on my past two marathons this year which I ran in 3:45 and 3:44:30 I should only be able to run a 5 k in about 23:02 to 23:26 but I have already raced a 5k this year in 21:33 with no training specifically for a 5k.

Conversely, if I input my 5k time of 21:33 into the calculators they predict I should be able to run a marathon in 3:26 to 3:30. I wish ! Despite training specifically for a Boston qualifying attempt my best time of 3:35 was in 2006 and I ran a 21:12 5k that year. What this tells me is that although I love the marathons and ultra's, my body is actually better suited to running faster paces over shorter distances. And I must say I do love getting on the track and doing intervals and I do love doing the mile repeats and tempo runs on the streets and greenways but I haven't not done any true speedwork aimed at improving at the shorter distances in over 20 years.

So knowing this, am I going to go from being Ultraman and marathon pacer for the ladies and start racing more 5 and 10k's ? Not hardly. I do enjoy jumping into a few each year for fun and to see how I'm still doing speed wise but I'm not going to focus too much energy on it. I could focus all of my training on becoming as fast as I can at 5k and still come no where near my times from 25 to 30 years ago. Sure, I may be able to pick up an extra age-group award now and then but I get lucky and do that a couple of times a year without trying anyway and I'll never beat the fastest guys in my age-group that show up at the big races.

No, I love the long runs so that's where I will focus my running and see just how much better I can do before age and time win the battle and I have no choice but to slow down. I still firmly believe I have a marathon pr left in this body and without a doubt my 50k and 50 mile pr's will fall and hopefully when I go back to the long stuff next year it's only a matter of time before I go back after a 100 mile pr. And who knows? My half marathon pr from the early 80's was a pretty soft 1:34 and with my goal of a pr at Boston, that half pr may fall too on the right day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lehigh Valley Photos and Reflections

Here is a link to the photos from the trip

It's been a few days since the race and I've had a chance to get out and do a couple of easy runs and everything seems to be feeling good now. I was quite a bit sore from this one but that is not surprising considering the all out effort of racing a marathon for time. I'm still feeling very good about the results for my race too. The primary goal was to go under 3:45 and secondary would have been to run 3:40.

Had I not already run a Boston Qualifier in March I would not have done the Double Grandfather Marathon in July so I could focus more on this race. Since I have not done much in the way of ultra's in the past two years I knew my recovery time would be longer now than when I was running an ultra or marathon on an average of every 3 weeks. But everything worked out ok and although with the excessive heat this summer I was still able to recover enough to run a quality race at Lehigh Valley. I was beginning to worry if I had been able to get in the quality of workouts I needed with the hot, humid conditions and the race being in early Sept instead of later in the Fall than I would have liked but it all worked out.

Looking back over the race I really don't know that there is anything I could have done to run any faster. My effort was spread out very evenly from start to finish and I was able to pick it up and run a strong last mile to ensure I reached my goal. Although I was certainly getting tired I never felt bad and there was never any doubt that I wouldn't run close to that time. I'm sure that my many years and miles of experience at running on trails helped me to navigate the rougher sections of the canal towpath and the puddles at a faster pace and maintain my focus. this gives me even more confidence that I will be able to run even faster and reach my next few goals over the Fall and into next Spring and Boston.

Apparently a good pre-race breakfast is two cups of Gevalia Costa Rican Peaberry and an Iced Honey Bun

So now I'll continue to take it easy and then it's back to training hard for the remaining Fall races coming up. Next up will be the Selma Railroad Run 5k. More about that later ! Stay tuned !

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Good Day at Lehigh Valley Marathon

With a forecast for cloudy and cool conditions for race morning, I was feeling confident that I would at least have an opportunity to run well but I was a little surprised when we walked out of the hotel and it was raining. We were hoping it would just be a passing shower and perhaps by start time it would have passed on. Since the half was starting at a different location we said good-bye to Frank and headed over to the Lehigh Valley hospital for the start.

The rain continued while we waited so we stood under my umbrella until about 10 minutes before the start and then took off our extra layers to put in a drop bag to be taken too the finish. It was 60F so we knew we would be plenty warm once we began running. Bart Yasso was the Race director and sent us off promptly at 7am.

I planned to take it easy the first mile and then settle into my goal pace of 8:25 miles but the course turned out of the parking lot and immediately started down a steep hill for about 1/2 mile where we turned onto a flat crushed gravel bridle path. Even though I was making an effort to hold back I went through the 1st mile in 8:04. This section was along a pretty creek and close to 2 miles we ran underneath a large covered bridge. I relaxed a little too much and passed mile 2 in 8:51 so I picked the effort up once again but was too fast in 8:03.

About here the course went up a short hill and we got back onto roads through Allentown. I finally hit a split close to what I was hoping for in 8:27 for mile 4 and then I seemed to finally settle into a steady rhythm with mile 5 in 8:24. Perfect. As I approached mile 6 which I once again ran too fast in 8:09 it seemed that the rain was slacking off but after crossing over the Lehigh River Bridge and onto the canal towpath it began to rain heavier.

The canal towpath was getting muddy by now and we also had to be careful of rocks and roots. I still enjoyed this section quite a bit as it was very pretty and interesting in places. We had the canal on the left with a train yard beside it for about the next two miles and the river on our right. I was back on pace at mile 7 in 8:24 and then mile 8 in 8:33.

Passed mile 9 in 8:39 and mile 10 in 8:21. At this point my overall time was 1:24:01 so I was right on pace with a 9 second cushion and feeling good. By now the path was a mess and there was not much point trying to avoid the puddles and muddy parts. At least the mud was not the sticky slippery kind so it didn't seem to affect my stride and I was able to run normally and passed mile 11 a little too quickly in 8:10 just as we came off the towpath and headed up into downtown Bethlehem. It was nice to get back onto pavement for awhile and the next thing we did was an out and back spur through a park. This was nice and I was wondering if I might get a glimpse of Karla but I was already to far ahead.

The course then crossed a bridge and into the downtown area. I missed the 12 mile in the confusion of the relay exchange. I took a gel and then as the course began a long gradual climb I just relaxed not worrying about the pace thinking I could make it up on the way back down. My time for mile 12 and 13 was a little slow in 17:19 but overall my time for the half was only about 15 seconds over pace. As I headed back down to the canal we passed a beautiful 2 story brick train depot.

Now we were back onto the muddy trail but this next section wasn't as bad as from mile 7 to 11 and in places it was nearly dry and smooth. I was still feeling good but surprised myself to run another fast mile for 14 in 8:11 even though it did include a little downhill. The next several miles really seemed like it was a double-track trail marathon as the path narrowed and wound it's way along the river and through the woods. About here we passed by the massive Bethlehem Steel Mill which was on the opposite side of the river. This was a treat for me as I have always been fascinated by these historical industrial sites and especially ones with a big connection with trains and railroading

Mile 15 was 8:33 and then 16 in 8:37 but now I was not able to pick the pace back up. I was still feeling ok but I knew that a 3:40 was not going to be but if I just kept the effort going and didn't bonk I still had a good shot at my 2nd fastest time ever and that was my real goal. By now the rain had finally stopped but at least it was still cloudy. I still preferred the rain to warm and sunny.

Mile 17 was 8:44 but I didn't let that discourage me. I was actually getting my 3rd wind and was able to pick the cadence up again and was right back on pace with mile 18 in 8:26. Mile 19 was 8:34 so I didn't lose any more time on my new goal of sub 3:45. I was turning inward now and focusing on maintaining an even effort. Just before mile 20 we turned away from the river and up a small but steep hill and I was a bit disappointed how hard it seemed and I felt I slowed down way too much. As I reached the top of the hill we were now on a gravel road with big chunks of gravel and I passed mile 20 in 8:52. That actually made me happy because I expected it to be slower.

I was glad to final get off the gravel and back onto pavement as the coursed passed through the parking area for a boat landing. There was an aid station here and I took another gel and then passed mile 21 in 8:59. I picked up the cadence once again and the body responded giving me the confidence that I would be able to run this one to the finish. I was also steadily passing runners which is always a boost and although my pace was slower I was still running strong and counting down the miles. The course was now on a paved bike path still along the river as we headed into Easton.

I passed mile 22 in 8:41 and then mile 23 in 8:43. Woohoo, only 5k to go and I'm running strong and holding a decent pace. but oh no, another little hill and it slowed me down way to much in 9:12 for mile 24. It made me mad because I really didn't want to go over 9 and I was losing my cushion on the 3:45. Just two more miles to go now so just dig deep and keep pushing. I was beginning to think I would never see the 25 mile mark and was worrying I had fallen off the pace again but I hit mile 25 in 8:58 and 3:34:05. About all my cushion was gone now and I was angry again because I didn't want to have to push the pace and hurt that last mile but I was determined so I kicked it up another notch.

Once again the body responded but it was not easy I was moving past runners but moaning and groaning with every breath. I had my doubts and was nearly resigned to running just over my goal but I was determined to try. But before the finish we had to go up another hill as we left the bike path and back up to street level. I was gasping but still pushing and then we got a slight downhill to the 26 mile mark across a bridge which I passed in 8:34. Phew, I had done it. Almost 2.5 minutes to go 2 tenths but the finish was a cruel uphill to downtown Easton. I finally reached the end and high fived Bart Yasso as I crossed the line in 3:44:30. Another Boston qualifier and my 2nd fastest marathon. Frank , who had finished the half in 2:16 was waiting and got a picture.

I got my medal and then walked around while waiting for The Marathon Princess. She was not able to get her pr and while I waited I was interviewed for the local news and shortly after Karla came into view. She looked good coming up the hill and I was glad that despite running slower than she hoped that she felt good and ran well. She also was 2nd in her age-group just beating out the 3rd lace lady by 8 seconds. Good thing she finished strong !

Overall I was very pleased with the marathon. It was fun with a nice course although the trail was a little rougher than I expected in places. The aid stations were frequent and well supplied and the volunteers were very supportive. If you are ever looking for a fun event in early September then give it a try.

Here is a link to the results.

Here are some photos. I didn't run with the camera but I took some along the course after the race and Frank got a few at the finish line.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lehigh Valley Marathon-Preview

Way back before the New Year as I was planning ahead for 2010 my # 1 priority goal was to get in shape to qualify for Boston. I was hoping to do that early in the year at Tobacco Road but was looking for a back-up in the early Fall just in case. With Boston filling as quickly as it has the past couple of years I knew I couldn't wait too long in the Fall but I was hoping for later so at least I would have cool weather. The other criteria was that I would need a fast course. I found this race after searching the schedule on and other than being a little earlier than I had hoped it seemed to otherwise be perfect.

As it turned out I did get my qualifier at Tobacco Road in March so now I have no pressure to qualify but I am still planning to go for as fast a time as possible. With the extra hot weather we've been having I was beginning to have doubts but it looks like we may get very lucky with the latest forecast for Sunday in Allentown looking very nice with a starting temp around 58F, cloudy and a chance of a little rain and the high by 11am of only 63F. Not perfect but I'll take it!

The race itself looks like it will be fun. A small marathon with about 300 runners, a companion half with around 500 that starts halfway up this point to point course and a relay. The course was designed by Bart Yasso of Runner's World and is flat and fast. It begins slightly downhill on roads towards the Lehigh River and then follows along the river on bike paths and a canal towpath through Bethlehem and finishes in Easton near the New Jersey border and the Delaware River.

My training has been going very well since I seem to finally have recovered from the two 50 milers this summer. I was worried with the hot weather because I still seemed to be struggling with the paces I needed to be running but on the few cool days we've had since last weekend I have noticed a big improvement and I'm feeling more confident now in running well.

My training partner Karla "The Marathon Princess" Werner and her husband Frank are going to be joining me in Allentown on Saturday. She is running the marathon and hoping for a fast time too and Frank will be running the half as usual. As always, a part of me would like to run with her and enjoy taking it somewhat easy while taking some pictures along what should be a very pretty course in places but it is not in the plan this time. We'll have to run # 12 together some other time. I'm ready to RACE ! I want to RUN and JUMP and SEE BIG FIRES !

Here is the race website

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"A Man's Got To Know His Limitations"

That of course is one of the more famous movie quotes of the Clint Eastwood character, Dirty Harry from 1973's Magnum Force. So what has that got to do with running you may be thinking? Good question, but for some reason it pops into my head when I'm training or thinking about past or upcoming races. Most recently I thought of it as I was thinking about a friend that is currently exploring his limitations as a relative newbie to the ultra world and trying to improve on his marathon pr.

The fact is that we will never know our limitations unless we have the courage to go out and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Once we take that next step into the unknown then we can began to see new possibilities and realize that most of the limitations we have are self-imposed. Ok, I know, that we do have to be somewhat realistic in our expectations. I know I'll never qualify to run in the Olympics and never could have but I can achieve faster times and finish bigger events if I just allow myself to dream a little and be willing to work hard toward a goal.

Friends and relations can be both a help and a hindrance as we go out and push the boundaries of what is possible for us and I will give examples of both.

When I was preparing to run my first 100 miler in 2004. I had been told by many that I should just run to finish and not worry about my time based on my previous experience and speed at shorter distances. Despite all the indicators suggesting that I would not be able to run under 24 hours, that was my goal and I felt in my heart that I would be successful. I ran 23:48 that day and immediately looked to other events to test myself further.

On the other hand in 2005 despite several attempts I had not been able to run under 4 hours for the marathon. I was resigned to the fact that I would never come close to the 3:35 I needed to qualify for Boston. It was only because of the encouragement of my friends Karla, Margo and Jerry that I would even give it a try. It was only after putting in the hard work over that Summer and Fall that I even began to believe it myself but by November I still was a long 12 minutes away from qualifying. But I remained focused and did the training and got my 3:35 just in time in February before the April Boston race. I still believe I would not have done it if not for Karla and some divine intervention but I do know for a fact that had I not been willing to do the work and push against the wall of my previous limitations I would never have made it to Boston.

So whats the point of this rambling ? I just hope all of you that read it will be inspired to dream and not be afraid to push beyond what you may think is possible. GO FOR IT !!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Training update Sept 1st

Mom says I need to write something so I guess I'll tell you what I've been up to since Grandfather Mountain. Well, mostly sweating a lot. This has just been a miserable summer with hot humid days and warm humid mornings.

After Grandfather I took a few easy days to recover and prepared to begin training for the upcoming Fall season. Things were going ok but after a couple of good days I would have a bad day and it just seemed to be taking a long time to recover. But then I did do two 50 milers this summer after having not run that far in over two years and both of them were under hot conditions. Finally about two weeks ago I started feeling good again and getting some zip back in my legs.

Karla and I stopped with the hill repeats and have started going back to the track now. I've been experimenting with a slightly different approach that we will use for our next marathon and see how it goes. The past couple of weeks we have been joined by The Marathon Mom, Amy Surrette. With the hot weather still affecting us we are doing shorter repeats for 400m and 200m with just 200m recoveries instead of the normal one mile and 800m repeats. They are not as fast as normally we would run for those shorter distances but focus on 10k to half marathon race pace. I usually try to get in a little faster workout before they show up and have already seen a big improvement over the past three weeks running faster and with more spring in my stride.

We are getting in our long runs with Lisa on the weekends and the past few weeks have been running a little shorter but picking up the pace to Karla's marathon race pace. One week when she was away, Lisa and I did one at what was suppose to be her race pace but it was much faster and was actually faster than my usual marathon pace workouts. I believe Lisa will be smashing her PR this Fall at OBX

On Mondays I have been doing either a marathon pace run of 10 miles or a tempo run at 10k pace and they have been getting better each week.

Our usual Thursday afternoon runs were a bit different in August due to me hosting the NCRC August Umstead Series. During August we meet and run the course for the evenings club run to set a time for the runners in the series to try and win the Ultraman Joey Award. I was quite a bit slower this year and struggling with the mid afternoon heat and humidity but it was still fun to run with the ladies. I'll probably have another post about the series soon. That's it for now. Hopefully I'll have several more post over the next couple of weeks now that I've got more going on than training.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grandfather Mountain Double 2010 Part 1

The first 13 miles of the Grandfather Mountain "Double" Marathon

Grandfather Mountain Double 2010 Part 2

Part 2, miles 13 to the finish of the Grandfather Mountain Marathon.

Grandfather Mountain Double 2010 Part 3

The last 26.2 miles of my "Double" Grandfather Mountain Marathon

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grandfather Mountain "Double" Marathon 2010

I don't know if I'm the first person dumb enough to do this but it was the first and last time for me. Once was enough. Don't get me wrong, I am glad I did it and enjoyed the weekend and the whole experience but it was tough out there. Maybe now that I've done it some others will be inspired to give it a shot.

We arrived in Boone early Friday afternoon and went straight to packet pick-up where we saw several friends and then drove up to show Jenn some of the course and stash some water and gatorade for us to refill our bottles for the trip down until Karla and Lisa would be able to get down the mountain to start crewing for us. It was pouring down rain and we were hoping that it would all blow over by morning start time.

We arrived at the ASU track about 6am and began preparing for the race. I was very excited about what was ahead and was enjoying visiting with the many friends in attendance. I lined up with Karla planning to run as much as possible with her. Lisa has been running great lately and we knew she would be going for a fast time this year so we didn't even try to go with her today. I had the video camera going to try and share a bit of the experience for those that have never had a chance to see what this race is about. I hope to get it uploaded soon.

It was a warm , muggy and overcast morning and within a mile I was sweating and worrying about overheating. It looked like we would avoid the rain but I was hoping for cloud cover for as much as possible. Karla and I settled in to an easy pace and went about enjoying ourselves out on the course, taking in the sights and talking to other runners along the way.

We were making decent time but Karla wasn't feeling too zippy today and we were walking a bit on the steeper hills earlier than last year. On one hand I was hoping she was feeling good and would have a great day but on the other hand , an easier pace would allow me to stay with her longer. Normally not an issue but today I needed to be saving energy for the return trip.

The race was moving along smoothly for us and by the time we got to the Blue ridge Parkway around the 11 mile point, the sun was breaking trough the clouds. A beautiful day and we could finally see the mountains in the distance but that was just going to make it warmer for us. I had forgotten my handheld water bottle I'd planned to run with so I was trying to make sure and drink plenty at the aid stations.

Things were still going well as we moved onto Hwy 221 for the last 9 miles along this gorgeous course. I was feeling fine and there is nothing better than to be sharing the day with The Marathon Princess. As always we were having a grand time talking , laughing and enjoying each others company. We have run thousands of training miles the past 5 years and this was the 11th marathon we have run together.

And then we finally reached the site of the Highland Games and the finish line of the first marathon. I had the camera out as we ran past the race tent to make our way onto the track. I am a bit amazed at how many of the small crowd that were there were people I have gotten to know over the past 8 years and the great cheering and support that we received as we passed by. Once on the track we were getting a lot of cheers from the grandstands due in part to the fact that Karla and I were both wearing our kilts. We crossed the line together in 4:56 and after a quick photo opportunity, I began my journey back down the mountain by running a reverse lap on the track and back down to the marathon tent.

I spent about 15 minutes here getting some food and drinks and talking to a few friends. Jenn had taken the shuttle to the top and was now ready to accompany me on my reverse marathon back down to Boone. I got a hug from The Trail Angel, said good bye to some friends and off we went. By now it was pretty warm out on the course and the sun was high overhead. There is a lot of shade on the course but during the mid afternoon there are a lot of exposed areas too.

It had been a great day so far running with Karla and now I was having the pleasure of The Ultra Angel for the rest of my adventure. Once we were out on the road for a while I was noticing just how much climbing there actually is on the return trip. With it being a mostly uphill climb to the finish its hard to judge just how much downhill there is on the course but believe me you really start to notice that when you are going backwards. By now I was in ultra mode so we were running the downhills and walking most of the uphills. I was starting to feel the effects of the warm day and was trying to stay hydrated as the temperature crept up to a high of 82F.

By now my left foot was beginning to hurt a little but otherwise the legs were ok. Jenn was great company and content to move at whatever pace I wanted to move. Normally I'm pretty talkative but now as I was getting tired and facing the reality of what I had committed myself to doing I was being a little quieter than usual. Still we were having a good time enjoying the sights and views as we went along Hwy 221 and after awhile we finally made the turn back onto the gravel road around mile 17. It was here that I finally ran all of the hill that Laura calls simply 17. It is the steepest hill on the marathon course and even in the year I was in my best shape and racing for a sub-4 I had to walk part of it. Now I was finally going to get my chance to run all of 17. The only difference was that now I would be running it downhill.

At the bottom of the hill is where we had stashed some water and gatorade. We took a short break and then continued on. I had guessed that we would reach this point in about 2 hours after leaving the top and we were right on pace. I had figured the one drop would last us until Karla and Lisa could take the shuttle back to Boone to get the car and then drive back up the course to crew for us the rest of the way.

Things were still going ok, slow but steady as we made our way back to the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 15 miles to go. Let me tell you, the BRP is not the place you want to spend too much time running on a July afternoon. Although it is beautiful there is a lot of traffic, just like a major highway and a lot cars are going too fast. There is practically no shoulder to get out of the way either and there is hardly any shade this time of day and the sun was beating down on us.

The first two miles of the Parkway are a nice gentle downhill but then there is that 2 miles climb that we enjoy so much when it's a downhill going the other way.
Well now it was a hard two mile long climb and I was beginning to wear down. And I was running low on fluids and still no sign of the crew. We walked halfway up the hill and then I spotted a place to sit on the bridge over Sims Creek so we took a short break to take a gel and stretch for a few minutes.

We started again and the climb got steeper the closer to the intersection where we would be getting off the Parkway. And then just before we finished that climb, we saw the ladies and they pulled over at the exit. It was great to see them and we re-fueled and refilled looking forward to a couple of miles of downhill running on Shulls Mill Road. From here we had about 10.5 miles to go.

At about the 10 mile mark we reached the point where I usually get a picture of Grandfather Mt off in the distance, the first place you can see it in the marathon. I have pictures of Laura and I when we ran together in 2008, Lisa, Karla and I in 2009, Karla and I from this morning so I had Jenn stop so I could get one of her there. No one around to take on of the two of us but at least with the clear skies you could see the mountain.

The crew was waiting again at the bottom of Shulls Mill Rd and then we turned onto Poplar Grove road. The marathoners always see that as a nice long quad burning downhill break but going the other way it turns into a nightmare of a climb that is as long as any going the other way and probably steeper than any hill going up the mountain. By now I was really starting to drag and I was so thankful to have Jenn along to share in my misery. She was doing a great job of keeping me moving and breathing and trying to make sure I was taking in fluid and calories. When I'm hot my stomach doesn't want anything but I was forcing myself to take in as much as I could.

It was slow but we finally made the climb and I knew there would only be one more significant climb after that. The ladies met us one more time with about 6 miles to go and then they headed to ASU to wait for us and have an ice cold Coke that I was craving waiting for me. We reached that last climb and Jenn kept prodding me along and once we reached the next downhills we actually were running a decent pace over the next couple of miles. We reached the point of two miles to go just as Winkler's Creek Rd enters town and I was feeling ok but within the next half-mile when we reached the main hwy through town leading back to the stadium , the wheels were really stating to come off. The heat humidity, dehydraion , pounding and miles were about to beat me down.

Finally we made the turn with the one short hill back up to the stadium and on to the track. The gate was open so we stepped onto the track to do the last reverse lap back to the race starting line and my calves both decided to cramp on me. I had to walk most of the lap and then we ran the last 100yds to the "finish". I had done it. Fulfilled another dream and completed my "Double" Grandfather Mountain. They handed me my Coke and I walked over to a bench in the shade and sat, too tired to drink it and when I finally took a small sip I was hit with a wave of nausea and spent the next couple of minutes throwing up everything I had put in my stomach over the past hour. first time I have ever done that in an ultra. Ok that wasn't fun but I immediately felt better.

Total time for the run was 11:33. It consisted of 8,000 feet of elevation gain and 5,000 ft of elevation loss. and as I said just because it has a net elevation loss of 900ft running back down to Boone , it is not an easy course. There are still many miles of climbing, some long climbs and some steep ones.

I did make this a little harder than I should have by running the first half, or the actual marathon as a normal marathon and then try to run back, especially considering how tough the race is anyway. It would have been much smarter to approach it for what it was, a tough 50 mile + ultramarathon and spent a lot more time walking the early climbs saving energy. But with that said I'm glad I did it the way I did even though it made it much more difficult. Otherwise I wouldn't have made the 5 hour cut-off for an official race finishers medal and even more importantly I would not have been able to share the marathon with The Marathon Princess.

Thanks so much to Karla for running yet another marathon with me and Lisa helping to crew with Karla making for a very long day after running their races. Lisa had a great run in 4:16 knocking about 30 minutes off her time last year and taking 3rd in her age-group against a tough field of women runners. And a special thanks to Jenn for making the trip, waiting around all morning for me to run the race and then keeping me moving down the mountain. Having these three ladies made it even more special than ever. And Thanks to all of the many friends, runners and non- runners for your support and encouragement.

Some photos

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A "Special" Grandfather Mountain Marathon?

So what's "special" this year? Well, every year at this race is a little special. I love going to the mountains any chance I get and Grandfather Mountain is probably my favorite. Very beautiful with it's unique profile and so rocky and rugged up top. I have vague memories of my first trip there at age 5 or 6 with my family to see the Highland Games.
Of course the thing I remember the most was a little girl about my age that was one of the Scottish dancers and I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen and she had my complete attention all day. Some things never change.

I heard about the marathon soon after I began running 33 years ago but it wasn't until 2003 that I finally made my first trip to run the race. The first two times I ran were special. I ran in the 4:30's and cramped up in the last few miles. Then in 2006 when I was in my best shape ever I went for a sub-4 only to find the course had a detour that year and was long. I passed mile 26 in 3:56 but had another 6tenths to the finish. I was able to run the first 11 miles with The Trail Angel before coming to my senses and backing off the pace.

I 2008 I returned, not in my best shape and was only hoping to finish without injuring myself anymore. At mile 5 I came across The Trail Angel walking due to some breathing problems so I stayed with her the rest of the way. And then last year I had the pleasure of running with The Marathon Princess and Mountain girl in their first trip up the mountain. So as you can see all 5 of my previous runs have been special but this year will be EXTRA Special.

Ever since that 1st run I have wondered what it would be like to run the course in reverse and of course being an ultra runner, naturally I thought it would be cool to do both. So, as I was running last year I made up my mind that I would plan to do just that in 2010 if everything was going well with my training and health. So yes, this year I am doing the Grandfather Mountain Double Marathon.

The plan is to run once again with Karla and Lisa for as long as I can but if I feel I need to slow down to save energy I'll let them go. Then when I reach the finish line I will reverse direction on the track and began my trip back to Boone. And this is where it gets even more special. My dear friend Jenn, The Ultra Angel is going to be waiting for me at the top and run with me on the return trip. How cool is that? And of course The Trail Angel will be running the race too so I'll have most of my "harem" as Laura refers to my Angels and Princesses in attendance. Woohoo. It's going to be FUN !!!

Oh yeah, and just for the special occasion I will be wearing the family tartan. I have a new Anderson Clan kilt and the ladies will be running in kilts too.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Mid Year 2010. how's it going ?

Looking back I must say that 2010 has gotten off to a great start and certainly better than the past couple of years. Overall the training has been going well. My mileage goal for the year is 2400 miles and I'm only 10 miles off that pace mid-year. I've been very consistent with the workouts which is always a good thing. Karla and I have only missed a couple of our key workouts all year meeting at the track in blazing heat and freezing cold, wind and rain but it has paid off. We switched to hill repeats in May to build strength for the hills of Boogie and the upcoming Grandfather Mountain Marathon. We've been joined by Lisa on most of our weekend long runs and we three try to meet every Thursday for a mid-week 10 miler in Umstead.

I began the year with the 5k Resolution Run and had a very good effort on a hilly course. A week later in frigid conditions I set a new PR at The Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50K. This was especially satisfying in that I have run this race 6 times since 2003 and was still able to improve at 54 years of age. It was a great trip with the ladies Karla , Lisa and Jenn. What a lovely bunch of traveling partners I have. Yes,it's good to be the Ultraman.

February was a flop with the Myrtle Beach Marathon being canceled but the ladies and I still got in a great half-marathon workout on Ocean Blvd and Lida even set an unofficial pr for the distance.

March brought us to the Tobacco Road Marathon. Under nearly ideal weather and racing conditions I was able to run my second fastest marathon and achieve my goal of racing my way back to a Boston qualifier in 3:45:00. Karla and Lisa also qualified so we have already booked our rooms for a special weekend in Boston next year.

In April I ran with Karla in the Tarheel 10 miler where she got a pr and I had fun and got in a great workout. Then two weeks later we traveled to Asheboro for another 5k. I had a great run on another perfect weather morning running my fastest at the distance in nearly 5 years while winning age-group. Karla won first masters lady and Frank also claimed an age-group award.

May found us traveling to the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati with my buddy Jerry along for the fun. I had a bit of a disappointing race on a rainy morning but still enjoyed the weekend. Jerry had a bit of a revival after not training very much for awhile. Karla's race was a bit slow too while Frank ran his usual time in the half-marathon. A week later when I normally would still be in recovery mode, I raced the Garner 5k and amazed myself dropping my 5k time for the year down to 21:33 finishing 2nd in my age-group.

June has turned out to be one of the hottest early summers I can remember but we've still been getting out there and getting the training done. I ran a slow hot miserable 5k at Archers Lodge and then a week later headed down to Ellerbe for the Boogie 50 miler.

Looking ahead, I have the Grandfather Mountain Marathon next weekend on July 10th. It will be my 6th time running and this year should be special. More on that later. I don't expect to do any racing in August but will be training hard for an attempt at a fast marathon in Allentown PA on Sept 11th.

In October I will be racing for yet another 50K pr attempt at the New River 50k in Virginia. Annette Bednosky is the Race Director and I look forward to finally being able to run her race. I had to miss the first two editions.

I've decided just in the past couple of weeks that I will return once again to the OBX Marathon in November and hope for cool temps and a chance to race hard and make up for last years very slow painful death march. Then if I can work it out I would like to take a trip out to Nevada and run the Valley of Fire Marathon with Margo. No plans for December so we'll just see how things are going then. Mainly I'll be focusing my training then on a marathon pr attempt at Boston 2011.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where's Ultraman? Boogie 2010

As I entered the main aid station at the church, 30 miles into the race, the ladies volunteering asked me how I was feeling and what did I need. I replied that I needed a good reason to keep running because right now I was not feeling very motivated . So Susan Dummar says, Where is Ultraman Joey? What are we going to call you now? I said I guess TRFKAU or The Runner Formerly Known As Ultraman.

Little did Susan know but that is exactly what I had been asking myself as I slowly dragged myself up 1.4 mile Bethel Church Hill for the 3rd time in the still, muggy, hot hours just after midnight. Things were not going as I had hoped and planned and now I was just slow, hot and tired and wishing I could just stop running , cool off ,have a cold drink and eat. I was looking for a good reason not to quit.

But then why was I here anyway? It has been over two years since the last time I have run over 50K. The last two 100 milers and a 24 hour run had all ended in DNF's and I was physically and mentally burned out on the sport and a long break was needed. During that break I achieved what I had wanted. I am now injury free, I've qualified for Boston, I've finished an Ironman and this January I ran a 50K Pr. And I was ready to once again be Ultraman Joey. Or was I? I'm hoping to go run 100 out West next summer, probably at Tahoe Rim with Jenn. What if I can't even finish another 50 miler? I drop out now and just go ahead and tell her to forget it? That I'm done with Ultra's?

As I slowly trudged up the hill, I kept asking myself why I should keep going. I certainly have nothing to prove to anyone but then it's never been for anyone but myself anyway. And that was the answer. I would go on because I am Ultraman Joey and I wanted to finish this thing for me. So, even before kidding around with Susan and Tammy and Ms. Wright at the aid station I was already committed to going on.

Susan told me to eat something while I sat to take a short break. I grabbed a cookie and she told me I needed to eat something more substantial next time through.( I found out later Jenn had told her to make me eat.) I am so lucky to have my wonderful Angels and Princesses to look out for me and encourage me.

So after a few minutes I stood up and headed out into the dark for lap 4. This would be the slowest and loneliest lap of the night. I ran the whole evening with out a light and it was very dark and remote most of the evening but that is the way I like to Boogie. It was a little strange but I actually felt better running than when I was taking walk breaks. I made it over to the dog pen aid station and sat for a few minutes kidding around with the helpers over there. It seemed like forever before I finally made it back around to the main aid station at mile 40.

I grabbed some baked potato and sat to try and eat it but as soon as I put it in my mouth I got a gag reflex so I spit it into the trash and said I guess I want be eating anything this last lap. I was able to take a gel with no problem though so I was still able to get in some calories. Just as I was about to leave, Laura The Trail Angel came in finishing first woman and 4th place overall. I went over and gave her a congratulatory hug and then headed out for my last lap.

And strangely enough I began to feel a little better on the last lap. I still took a short break at the dog pen again but then when I passed the church at mile 46 I just kept running on down the hill for the last time. As I made the last turn and started up the hill it began to get light as dawn was beginning to break. And finally it was over. there at the finish was one of the things that make this sport and especially this race so great. There greet me at the finish and checking to see if I needed anything were the race winner Jonathon Savage and Laura the womens winner along with Mike Walsh who had shared the ride down with me.

So how was it? Hot, humid, long and hard. But I found Ultraman Joey and I'm happy to report that he is alive and doing very well.