Tuesday, December 31, 2013

38,764 + pushups for 2013

 This was something I really hadn't expected but once I got into it I began to enjoy adding another challenge to my fitness goals.

 Here is a link to how it all started.

 But if you don't want to read that then here is the short version. Last Fall I had noticed that I felt weak in general and had noticed I was slouching a bit especially when I was running tired. I had neglected any core or strength training  for a long time and decided it was time to get back into it. I began with just 10 -15 minutes of core and shortly after that Amy issued a 30 day plank challenge via Arrichion. We did that for actually 37 days until the end of 2012.

  I began the 100 pushups challenge on January 1st. The first workout I did 78 total with  amax of 25 in the last set. I never imagined that after I reached that goal that it would get to this point. I did my first 100 on may 2nd. On Sept. 23rd I did my most ever in one workout  with 520 and then on Sept 25 I did 1,000 in one day. Started out with 300 in my regular workout and then did 700 more in sets of 50 through out the day.

 In addition to the pushups I added pullups and dips to my routine. when I first began I could do 1.5 pullups ! Now I regularly do 60 in a workout, usually in sets of 10 or 12.  I haven't tried to see how many I can do in a set but I took a 2minute test that Bill Gentry did and I was able to squeeze in 40 in that time.

 Then beginning in October  I began adding some free weights to the program. I typically do the body weight work every other day 3 days a week and every 4th day I add the weights. Not really looking to bulk up but just keep up some strength. And as for the whole muscle vs fat stuff. Well when i began the program at the beginning of the year i was around 147 to 148 lbs. As of today I weigh 136 and running strong as ever and feeling and looking better than I have since my late 30's !

  And lets not forget the core. I have continued with that all year too. I began a 200 situps challenge on January 29th. At that time I could do  a max of 32. Now i can easily do the 200 even at the end of a regular workout. I usually average about 400 per workout.  Right now i alternate with my other core routine which is usually 30 minutes of leg raises, crunches, stability ball work, planks and a wide mix of other stuff  including kettlebells that I switch around to make every workout a little different. And no, I am not even going to bother going back and adding up all the situps, pullups and dips for the year !

 So a typical  2 week cycle  looks like this.
Mon: pullups, dips and pushups. aka body weight day
Tues. Situps
Wed.  body weight day + free weights'
Thurs. 30 minute core
Fri:  body weight day
Sat: off if I am doing a long run
Sun: situps
Mon: body weight + free weights
Tues. 30 minute core
Wed. body weight
Thurs: situps
Fri: body weight + free weights
Sat: rest
Sun: 30 minute core.
 You get the idea.

 I also do some yoga , usually 30 minutes average but I have been slack with that the last couple of months. A lot of that was due to the hamstring injury and now with me running more and working more hours but I hope to get in at least a couple of yoga workouts each week this year

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking ahead to 2014

 Once again I find myself very excited about the upcoming year. After  all these years I still love running and racing and training more than ever. After several years with no injuries I had to deal with one for most of the 2nd half of 2013 so I am really hoping to avoid that mistake. I was on pace for my highest mileage year ever and even with the down time I had a great year. Looking forward I have a goal of making 2014 my best.

 So what is in the plans for the new year?

 Absolutely nothing but training and having fun.

  The Myrtle Beach Marathon. This is what all the training is for right now. This is probably my last shot at going for a Boston qualifier for at least a year so it's do or die. It is not going to be easy because to guarantee a spot I need to get that 5 minute cushion which means with the newer qualifying standards I must also run a marathon pr. Sounds nearly impossible when you consider my pr was way back n 2006 at MB and now I am 8 years older. That may not mean so much in your 20's or 30's but in your 50's it is tough ! But I am committed to the training and I will give it my best shot and hope that Amy and I can achieve the goal that we have both worked so hard for the past 1.5 years.

  After Myrtle Beach I am returning my focus for the remainder of the year to ultra's. Of course  I have done several each of the past few years but this year it will be my main focus. So with that said my only race for March may be the Umstead Trail Marathon  which I will do for fun and training for the 100 in April. I am not decided yet but I may also do the Tobacco Road Half Marathon for fun and training also.

 Yep, the first weekend of the month I am returning to the Umstead 100 and if the weather will cooperate I plan to give it my best shot and go for the PR. I am already mixing some practice loops into my training ! I also plan to return to one of my favorite trail races the last weekend of the month, the Promise Land 50K++

 Well, right now if nothing comes up and I don't come to my senses very soon I plan to travel to New Jersey and run The 3 Days at the Fair. Yes, a 72 hour race.  I have been wanting to try a multi day ultra ever since I began doing ultra's back in 2002 but I've never gotten around to it. This should be the year. We won't talk about goals right now ;)

 Not really sure what I'm going to do but probably a return to the Boogie 50 miler

 If nothing else comes up quickly that gets my interest , I will probably be back at Grandfather Mountain Marathon.

 Aug: Nothing but fun and training. Maybe Medoc Meltdown?

 Pine Creek Challenge 100 miler in PA. If I go it will be for another 100 pr attempt and hope for good weather in this beautiful location.

 If everything goes according to plan I will take my first trip overseas to run the Lake Garda Marathon in Italy. No plans to race hard but I will run with my camera and take lots of pictures !

Tough decision here. I would like to return to Mountain Masochist 50 but I also would like to do the Croatan 24 hr the same weekend. Still plenty of time to think it over and see what a couple of the Angels have planned. Most  likely finish up the month with my 11th Derby 50k

 Probably nothing as usual but training and recovery and dreaming of big things for the next year!

 So that's it. train hard, stay healthy and share as many mile as possible with the Angels and friends.

 Stay tuned

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013, The Year in Review

 Only a couple of days left in this year so I guess I can go ahead and post the review. Definitely a year of highs and lows but as always I like to focus on the good and leave the negative behind and move forward.

 Here is a link to my post on the first half of the year.

  July :
 This was a good month for me. I had my highest mileage month of the year and was well on my way to my highest  yearly total. I returned once again to one of my favorite events , The Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It was special this year, not because I had a great run although I think I felt better than almost any other year I have run it other than 2006. What made it special was that there were 4 of my Angels running and I got to run at least a few miles with all of them and shared the whole race with Jenn in her first time in the race. I had  especially wanted to because she had run the reverse with me when I did the double in 2010.

  I started off the month with a fast 5K and 2nd place in my age group but it was the beginning of the downfall of my running for the next several months. I would have been fine because no damage was done in the race but the stupid stuff I did over the next three days all came together to injure my hamstring. I took it easy for the next couple of weeks but probably should not have run any before heading to NY and the Beast of Burden 100. The pain was bad from the first few miles and eventually the leg just gave out on me and I had to drop at mile 37.5. It was still a great trip sharing the journey with Jenn and visiting Niagara Falls.

 I gave the leg a lot of rest and it was getting much better as the middle of the month came and I was preparing to run The Run For The Fallen Half Marathon. The leg had felt much better in the days before and I was pain free during the warmup but within the first mile the other leg began hurting, I assume from over compensating from the other leg injury. By the time it was over I had to slow way down thanks to the pain and the leg refusing to move at the pace I wanted. I was well on the way to first time under 1:40 since 2006 so it was frustrating but the worst thing was that I was now injured worse than before.

 Again I had to cut way back on my running but I had a BQ attempt at The Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY in the first weekend of the month. I could only hope to get through it without making things worse. My conditioning was not nearly what I had hoped due to the lower mileage and inability to do any fast paced training   since August. The first 15 turned out better than expected. Very little pain and on BQ pace and feeling good but suddenly at mile 16 the leg just gave out on me and sharp pain followed. Once again disappointing but another great trip to a beautiful area with friends Karla and Frank and Rebecca and Ronnie.

 Two weeks later I had a very important race to run, the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in State College PA. I needed it as my last chance to qualify for the Western States lottery . I didn't run a step in the two weeks between races and was just hoping and praying the leg would hold up to the finish and that I was still in condition to run the necessary time to qualify. Finally a success ! I was in pain pretty much the whole time but otherwise I felt very good and was able to maintain the pace I needed and the leg held up. And amazingly enough the pain actually eased off the last 10 miles and it seemed to be the beginning of the injury actually starting to improve !


 I mostly took it easy after the 50 miler but gradually worked my mileage up a bit   leading up to the OBX marathon. The leg was improving some but some days were better than others and I was still having some pain. My only goal was to run the race with Karla and have fun and not hurt. I ran the first two miles with Amy just for fun and to get her on pace for her BQ attempt and then dropped back to run the rest of the day with Karla. We had some fun but my conditioning was down and I had a slow recovery from the 50 miler so  had to let her go at mile 16 . At least I was able to run it with almost no pain at all and was no worse afterwards and like  after the 50 it seemed to be improving even more.   Another great trip with friends as I was once again a guest of the Howells, and was able to share much of the time with Amy, Karla and Frank.

  My last planned event was to return for my 10th consecutive Derby 50k and get my  special finishers chair. I was successful in  that I  felt good, had fun and ran pain-free !


 No events but I am happy just to be running nd training normally again. I was afraid that with the injury as bad as it was in Sept and Oct that if I could just make it through Derby that I would have to take off a month like I did at the end of 2008 to  let things heal up and start over again. So you can imagine how happy I am that instead I am already over 200 miles for the month for the first time since July and I am actually able to be training for a BQ attempt at Myrtle Beach in February. But that's another story !

Sunday, December 22, 2013

update on injury and training

 It's about time to post the year in review and  the outlook for  2014 but first I thought I would fill you in on whats going on with the training. If you have been a follower at all you are probably aware that I have been struggling with some hamstring  issues since doing something stupid in August which caused my dnf at Beast of Burden 100. Just when I thought I was over it  things got worse during and after the half in Sept. Repeat for Oct and Wineglass marathon, finally going well and then as bad as ever. Took two weeks off hoping to just get through the 50 miler in Pa. later that month but it was hurting just as bad after the two weeks. Then strangely about the 40 mile mark as I posted in the race report, the pain eased off and has now gotten gradually better through the OBX Marathon and then the Derby 50k. How strange is that ?

  To be honest I was worried and almost planning on taking off the month of December to rest and heal like I did at the end of 2008 when I had a similar injury.  Doing so would not only have made me miserable but my plan of going for a Boston qualifying time at the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February would have been about impossible. Instead, ever since Derby 50K things have been going remarkably well !

 I was almost shocked at how great I felt after Derby and was back to training normally almost right away with virtually no pain. I could tell my conditioning was off but it seems to be coming back quickly. In the 3 weeks since then I have been able to get in some good long runs, some strong hilly runs at marathon race pace and nailed a couple of tempo runs at the pace I need.

 You may have noticed that I have not raced any events in December for several years for a variety of reasons and I don't have any plans   to race anything between now and MB this time around. I am totally committed to   being in the best shape I can possibly be to go for that BQ. I am not following any specific training plan but just doing the type of workouts and mileage that I know I need to get me in pr shape. And to BQ it is pr or bust for me.

 At this time I have just 8 weeks until race day so it's going to be pretty intense training for the next two months so I hope and pray that the body will hold up and I can achieve the goal. It has been about a year and a half since I got into this trying to get my training partner Amy into Boston so this may be our last shot at it for awhile. After MB I am looking at a full schedule of some long ultra's again with at least 3 to 5 events of  100 miles , 24 hr or multiday events with several more shorter ultras so if I don't qualify at MB I don't see another shot for at least another year.

 So with that wish me and Amy both good luck over the next 8 weeks.!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

10th Derby 50k finish and counting ?

 10 years in a row is a long time to do anything with so many things that can come up to break the streak. The only race that I have done more times than Derby is the Virginia 10 miler in Lynchburg. I had a 15 year streak for that race from 1978 thru 1992 but with the early 90's came the dark years and very little running and the streak was broken.  Hope nothing like that ever happens again and if I ever do break the Derby streak it will be because of something good coming up. Otherwise I plan to return as many years as possible to this great little event that Mark Long has directed for our running pleasure all these years.

 I was very excited this year to be returning to run and claim my 10 year special finishers chair despite being a bit disappointed knowing that due to recent injuries I was not in shape to race it hard. I met up with my dear friend Jenn the Ultra Angel at 5:15 to share the  2 hr ride to the Derby Community building. As always it's great to meet so many familiar faces, some of which have been here from the beginning as participants or volunteers. Of note is the only one going for finish 11, Tony Rouse. I met Tony way back then and we have shared many miles in races over the years. And Bill Keane who was also going for #10. My first memory of actually talking to Bill was in the middle miles of the Beech Mountain Madness 50k in 03. Always a pleasure to hear the stories from his decades in the sport.

 More often than  not its a bit chilly at least for the start and this year it was in the upper 20's so I was dressed a bit more warmly than I would have been if I was going for the pr. My plan was just to start off easy until  aid station 1 near the 4 mile mark and then assess the situation. I stuck with that plan and ran the first couple of miles with Fred Dummar. The pace was easy but it wasn't feeling that easy so  I already knew there was not going to be anything close to a fast time. Even though I know a pr was a fantasy I was hoping to  at least run around 5 hours.

  As I came into the aid station I didn't need anything yet so I just spoke to Susan and the Professor who have been bravely standing in the cold wind here  for many years, then ran on. Things weren't feeling any better by the time I made it over to AS 2 which was staffed by my friends the Akers and Angels Amy and Jenn. Gotta love races where you are friends with just about all the volunteers ! I told them as I passed through that there would be no miracles today and moved along. Strangely enough at mile 8 I suddenly began to feel pretty good and the pace seemed quite comfortable. I actually ran strong up the mile long hill and then ran strong back to the start/finish. I grabbed a delicious cookie that Liz Crepo and daughter had cooked for us and went back out on loop two feeling confident that I just may have a shot at that 5 hour time after all.

  I had planned on ditching the vest but it was not getting much warmer and the wind along Pappy Rabb and Derby Road was bone chilling so I stayed wrapped up. I did run strong for the next few miles but after one more trip up the hills and then into the wind again I knew that if I tried to push it then I would probably blow up and memories of my wretched run at OBX just three weeks before were fresh in my mind so at mile 13 I backed off again. The remainder of the lap was uneventful. Everyone was spread out over the course so I didn't really have anyone to talk to but just tried to enjoy the day and put the miles behind me. My time for the 2nd loop was only a few minutes slower than the first and after 21 miles I was still running ok if just a bit slow. Another yummy cookie and it was off for the last lap and claim my chair.

  And although I was slow I still was running nearly all of the last lap with just a couple of short walk breaks on the hills and through the aid stations. When I got back around to the mile long hill with 2.5 to go I was beginning to feel tired and it was my slowest mile of the race but once I got back onto Derby Road for the last 1.5 I had a resurgence of energy and ran strong the rest of the way at a pace a bit faster than any other mile since mile 22 so I was very encouraged by that as I prepare to rest up and begin training for new challenges in 2014.

  Big smiles as I was greeted by Mark and other fiends at the finish.  Before I could claim my chair though I had one more thing to do. Yep, it's become a tradition of it's own now. I dropped down at the finish line in the road and did 41 pushups, one for each mile and one for each finish.  Guess I'll have to do 42 next year.

  Got my chair and then went inside to enjoy another delicious spaghetti dinner from the church ladies and hang out with old and new friends sharing our stories of the day. That is one of the things that makes this event so special.

 Big Thanks to Mark and all the volunteers over the years that give us the opportunity to enjoy a little run every year on Thanksgiving weekend. Hope to see you next year !

Friday, November 29, 2013

Derby 50k Preview

 Wow, 10 years already ? Well actually 11. Time seems to fly so fast. It doesn't seem that long ago in many ways that I was a novice when it comes to this long distance stuff and now I guess I have to admit to being a veteran with 130 +  marathons and ultras on my resume. But lets get back to Derby. I didn't run in the  first year it was held. It was my first full year getting into ultra's and I had run my first 50 miler at Masochist the month before and had another 50k trail race in Virginia planned two weeks later so I thought it would be too much for me at that point. Although I was not in the race I did attend and was a roving volunteer with RD  Mark Long for several hours and then ran the last 10.5 miles with my friends Jay and Anita Finkle.  I enjoyed the experience quite a bit and was determined I would return the next year as an entrant. But I have to say I had no idea that it would become a tradition !

 I did return to run the next year of 2004 and ran a pr of 5:42:09. Looking back that was a slow time but then I was quite happy with it. By then I had   run 14 ultras but all of the 50k's had been tough trail races . 

 2005 was a big year for me as I ramped up my training and racing and my confidence had grown. I had improved my pr at Frosty 50 in Jan to 5:34:40 so near the end of the year after 12 ultra and several marathons I was really happy to get a huge pr at Derby with a 4:55. By this point I was no longer happy to just finish races but had become more competitive with myself looking to always run harder and faster.

 2006 was another big year with 3x 100 milers and I still improved on my pr with a 4 :48. I was 50 that year and although their are no age-group awards I was the first grandmaster !

2007 was yet another big year and I pushed myself to yet another pr in 4:46:58 and another grandmaster win.

2008 was a bit of a tougher year for me as I was battling a nagging injury. Only finished two ultras and had 3 dnf's.  I wanted to keep the streak alive so I ran Derby but this year I took it easy.  My time was my slowest since the first in 5:37:10 but besides the leg pain I ran very relaxed and felt great. After that I did not run another step until January as I took the time off to finally let the legs heal

 I did not run any ultra's in 2009 as I used it as a re-building year. I did a lot of swimming and biking and several triathlons including my 1st and only Ironman in June. After that I refocused on the running and was soon getting my mileage back up and running great. My training partner and dear friend Karla the Marathon Princess was ready to go for her first ultra so I went with her with the plan of just running together as we had for many marathons. She did great and we ran a 5:25:40.

In 2010 I was running great. I had improved my pr at Frosty 50 to 4:44:11 which is still my pr. I had by now cut back on the number of events I ran and concentrated more on going for quality over quantity. I was going hard for the pr at Derby and was on pace through the marathon but I began to slow too much. never really blew up but still ran a decent time of 4:55:18.

2011 was a pretty good year with a few great runs and a few slow ones. I was going for the pr but I think a hard but very good race at Mountain Masochist 3 weeks earlier still had me worn down a bit. I was close to pr pace through the marathon but I did pretty much blow up this time and struggled in with a 5:14:11.

 2012 was another decent year with a lot of miles and some good races. Amy and I had began training together more than ever working towards getting Boston Qualifiers but I was still sqeezing in some ultra's My lack of trail running and cold rain got to me in my 100 attempt at Oil Creek causing a dnf at 84.5 miles. That beat me up pretty bad and wore me down. By the time Derby came along I was feeling pretty good but just never was able to quite get up to pr pace like I wanted and I crashed hard with a 5:27:38.

 Which brings me to 2013 and going for my 10th finish. I had high hopes of going for a pr as I had been running very strong in the first part of the year with great training,  some pr's and fast finishes and Amy and I had been really killing it with the speedwork. I had even run my fasted 5k in over 25 years back in June, but then the injuries hit in August  and just when I thought it was getting better it took a turn for the worse in mid September.  So I guess I will have to pass on the pr attempt and just enjoy the day and get my 10 mile finishers chair !

Saturday, November 16, 2013


 Well, I never got around to writing a preview but if I had I would have told about how this was going to be my 6th time running it. I hadn't planned on running the first one in 2006 but Karla was real excited about doing it and after she found out she had cancer and was still planning to run  it I decided to be there to share it with her.  We got through that one slowly but had a lot of fun and then I returned to run it with her a year later after completion of her therapy.

 I returned again in 2009 and 2010 attempting to race it hard but blew up both years. Skipped 2011 and returned in 2012 just planning to run with Karla again and this time we had Amy along with us going for a pr. Amy did pull ahead around mile 20 and got that pr. I stayed with Karla until mile 22 and blew up again. Just can't run well on this course !

  Which brings us to 2013. The only reason I signed up was because I was wanting to run another marathon with Karla which we haven't had a chance to do since last year. Karla has been running very well and I was hoping she would be going for a pr and share the run.

  So, on Friday I drove down to the OBX and was once again a guest of the Howell's for the 4th time since I began training with Lisa. Lisa had been having some issues with her training this year and opted out of racing it but would be volunteering. Amy had decided to use this race as a last shot at qualifying for Boston this year so she was along for the run also.

   Spent Saturday just chillin and saving energy for the Sunday am race. Drove to the shuttle with Amy and along the way we were talking about the race. She was nervous about whether she could get the PR and BQ. I confided  with her that I was actually nervous a bit too. I have done so many races that I usually don't but with my recent hamstring issues I was having doubts that I would be able to stay up with Karla and I really wanted so bad to be able too.

  We found Karla and met some other friends before heading over to the starting line.   I had decided I was going to run the first two or three miles with Amy just to help keep her from going out too fast in the excitement, find the pace she needed and mainly just because I wanted to :)

   So as the gun went off we headed out and  luckily we didn't have to do too much weaving around other folks to find room to run. She needed to average 8:23 and we hit mile one in 8:30. Counting the slow first 1/4 I told er we were probably right on pace now heading to mile two. The effort felt a little hard but I was ok and the good thing was I was not feeling any pain. We hit mile two in 8:15 and then I wished her well and sent her on her way. Then I just stopped running and walked backwards looking for Karla. I figured she was probably just about 2 minutes or so behind me and sure enough in no time there she was.

 I fell in beside her and it felt good to be running a bit slower. I told her I was really glad I didn't have to try and run Amy's pace today. We hit mile 3 in 27:45 and with her goal of 9 minute pace with the 1st slower mile I thought we were close to what we needed. Sure enough we were right at 9 to 9:05 pace from that point on for awhile. It was a perfect day temperature wise for the race but already we were running into about a 15 mph wind and it was going to be in our face or side for just about the whole race.

  We were having  our usual great time together but I could already tell by mile 9 that I was probably not going to have a good day. By the time we entered Nags Head Woods and the dirt road and hills we were already slowing down and commented that at the effort we were putting out it sure seemed like we should be going faster. We came out at the halfway point in about 2:03 and the goal of a sub 4 for her was pretty much out the window. We tried to pick the pace back up but it just wasn't happening. For me at least it was obvious that the lack of training from the injury along with the slow recovery from my 50 miler just 3 weeks before had me worn down.

 By mile 14 I was struggling to keep up with Karla and by 15 I should have let her go but I wanted so much to be able to run with her that I hung on and just hoped that I would perk up again and at least be able to run with her. Finally at mile 16 I just couldn't hold the pace so I told her I had to let her go. I walked for a minute to let my heart rate go down some and then began to run at a slower pace. I was pretty bummed and not really looking forward to the last 10 miles now.

  I was able to to at least hold a decent shuffle for the next 5 miles but then with 5 to go the wheels had come completely off and it turned into a death march. I was just so beaten down and wanted it to just be over. I was finding it hard to comprehend how I ran the last 10 of the 50 miler faster than I was shuffling these last 10 here.  As I was close to the 3:40 mark  my thoughts were  with Amy and hoping so much that she would have been able to pull off the long shot and finally get her BQ. And I was hoping Karla was still maintaining a good pace.

Those last few miles were some of the most miserable I have spent in a marathon and I was so relieved to finally see the finish. All day despite the suffering I was encouraged along the way with dozens and dozens of cheers for my kilt and quite a few as I was entering the chute. I tried to be happy and acknowledge the crowd but as I crossed the line I was so worn down I was holding back tears but then when Karla saw me and came over I just started boohooing all over her. We went to look for Amy and Frank and soon found them both and went to get some food. Amy had missed her BQ but had at least gotten a course pr and with all she has been through I am so proud to see how far she has progressed this year.

  I had started a tradition recently at Wineglass after Rebecca made a joke of doing pushups after my races and had done so after the 50 also. I wasn't even thinking of it when Amy commented that we should do some so we found someone to take pictures and dropped in the street to do 26.2.

 Then we found  Dave and Olga and headed over to the deck of the Tranquil house Inn to chill out for awhile on a beautiful afternoon. We rested up for awhile and then it was time to say good bye and head to the shuttles and begin the trip  home but before we left it was time for one more little tradition. Amy began adding a "polar plunge" whenever possible after an event and I had joined her at Myrtle Beach last February so after we got back to our cars we drove over to the beach. The air temperature was nice but the water was still cold enough to take our breath away ! Good times !

 Next adventure will be a return to Derby for my 10th finish there. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Success at Tussey Mountainback 50 !

   Right up until Thursday night before  the race I was about ready to just cancel the trip. The hamstring had finally began to show some improvement after over a week off but then would start to hurt all over again just as bad as before and I was getting very discouraged. As bad as I wanted to go and get the WS qualifier, I surely didn't want to go and have yet another dnf and make the injury worse. But the race was paid for as well as advance payment on the hotel so Friday morning I threw the stuff in the car and headed north.

  Woke up Sunday am to a perfect day for a race. At least I wouldn't have the weather conditions to worry about derailing my plans.  It was a chilly 40ish so I stayed in my car until a few minutes before the start. When it was time to get ready I headed over to the start and found Jim Plant who was in the same situation as me needing to get in one last chance to qualify.

   The sun was not yet risen as we began. I started very slow and easy to see how the leg would feel. No pain for the first few minutes and I was thinking just maybe it would be ok but no, within half a mile I could feel the pain coming on and by the 1st mile I was already hurting quite a bit. All I could do was suck it up and hope for the best. I stopped to stretch it out for minute and Jim passed by with some concern for me. I told him I was just doing some preventative maintenance before it got any worse. Well it didn't help. I was just going to have to deal with the pain.

  We finished the first climb which was about 3 miles long but not steep and was  runable the whole way although I did take a few short walk breaks. I soon passed Jim on the downhill and then settled in for the next several miles that were pretty easy with short easy ups and downs and lots of nearly flat sections. Normally I would have been pushing those downhills but today I was being careful  to save the leg for as long as possible so I just joggy jogged as Laura Frey would say !  I was moving along well and enjoying the gorgeous morning but every step was hurting. I just took pictures, took in the views and thought of my friends and family back home that I knew were supporting me to try and take my mind off of it.

 I did the first 10 miles in 1:47:22 and even with the beginning climb it was the easiest 10 mile section of the race. The next  aid station was around mile 11 at a State park and then we began another climb.  Jim caught up to me about mile 13 and after a few words of encouragement I let him go needing to stick with my own plan.  I was pretty much alone from that point on as far as other ultra runners because we were so spread out and there were only about 150 of us. The next 10 were pretty uneventful. Other than the pain I was actually feeling very good.

  I think it was around mile 18 that the first of the relay runners went flying by. They started in several waves beginning an hour after us. I normally don't like being passed but knowing they were fresh and only doing legs of 5 miles or less  made it easy to take. I did that 2nd 20 miles in 2:02, still well ahead of the pace I needed and feeling good.

  The next section had the hardest climb of the day, from about mile 20.5 to 25 was all uphill and 2.5 of that was fairly steep so I just settled in and not worrying. So far the leg had been  holding up but now it was flaring up for a few minutes every now and then. I was talking out loud to it and praying, just hang in there leg. We got this if you just hold up. It never got tight though and would soon just go back to the normal pain.

 I finally topped the hill and shortly after passed the halfway point in 5:07. My energy level was still good so I was feeling confident as long as the hammie held up. I had a pretty simple nutrition plan. I was drinking water in my bottle and Heed at the aid stations. I had taken 2 gels and eaten about 4 cookies and 4 small hand fulls of M&M's and the stomach was very happy. I normally have no problem eating or drinking whatever I want when it's cool. By now it had warmed up into the middle 50's  and the wind had kicked up a bit.

  I passed mile 30 in 6:09 slowing to a 2:19 for the last 10 and most of that slowdown attributable to that long climb from 20-25.

  The next 10 had some up and down with another long 2+ mile climb but it wasn't nearly as steep as the previous long one.  I was actually looking forward to the relay runners and their support vehicles passing me at this point. Nearly all of them were very supportive of us ultra runners, cheering and telling us how awesome and amazing we were. Just before the 40 mile mark we came out of the forest for the first time and ran on some paved road for awhile past some farms and homes with beautiful views of the Fall foliage on the mountains in peak color.  I did that 10 mile section 2:13.

 As I was passing he 40 mile I was doing some multi-tasking. Tried to take a picture of the 40 mile point with my phone to post to FB and somehow screwed up the phone address to FB. I was also taking pictures of the beautiful scenery with my regular camera and then texting Amy an update. Dropped my phone and then a few feet later dropped the camera and the battery popped out. Ok, time to get going here. Anyway the update I texted was I had passed mile 40 in 8:22. A little over 2.5 hours to do 10 more miles. One more big climb to go. I think I got this !

  There was another aid station just before the 41 mile point and  as I  begin to run again I noticed that my leg pain had actually subsided quite a bit and was now just a mere nuisance. My confidence was high now. I felt pretty sure it was going to let me get through this and once i got the last climb behind me it was nearly 4 miles of downhill to the finish.

  I settled into the climb and somewhere around mile 43 I caught up to Alana Garrison-Kast , a friend of Jim's that I had met at breakfast after Hinson Lake. Shortly after that the grade of the climb increased substantially. I really haven't trained much for climbing up long hills and I was a lot slower than usual but at this point I wasn't worried knowing if I was moving I was going to make it.

 I made it to the aid station about the 45.5 mile point and was disappointed  to find they were out of Coke. I like to wait until the last 3rd of the race to drink the soda but beginning from about mile 33, they had been out at every aid station.  As I was heading back out to do the last leg, Alana caught up to me and somehow she had snagged a bottle of Coke and offered to share it with me. Thank you ! It definitely hit the spot.

  We walked together up the next small hill and then with the downhill I took off. I was afraid it might be a quad pounder  but it turned out to be a sweet gradual downhill on pavement.  I welcomed the pavement because it was easier on my feet than a lot of the gravel had been over most of the course. I was still feeling great and was cruising along easily at a relaxed 10 minute mile pace.  With about 1/2 mile to go the course merged with the first half mile that we had started earlier. There was a woman at the intersection stopped and I could tell she was confused on which way to go. She looked back and I just waved her in the right direction. She was so happy she didn't go the wrong way. I saw her afterwards and she thanked me again for sparing her who knows how many bonus miles !

  With about 1/4 mile to go we came out of the woods and there was a slight uphill grade to the finish. As I approached I suddenly began to choke up and was fighting back tears of  relief joy. For that one brief moment I was almost happy one of my Angels wasn't there at the finish because I know I would have been boo hooing. But then I just got happy and was smiling big time as I crossed the finish to  lots of cheers and good job ultra. ( The relay folks called all of us ultra )

  As I crossed the line and got my medal , a group of young lady's handed me a water bottle and asked if I was ok and if I needed anything. I said yeah, I think I need one of you to take a picture. One of them said sure and was about to snap one when I said wait a minute and let me get ready and then I dropped down and started doing my pushups. They were all like OMG I can't believe he's doing that. After a few snapshots she said she had the shot and I could quit  but I said no got to do 50. All the other spectators were  cheering and amazed. I guess they just don't know who I am ;)

 I was so happy to have accomplished my goal, feel good and almost more so , glad that the leg held up on me so that I could do it. I fired off a text to the Angels and then found Jim. He had finished about 10 minutes before me with a pr and of course he was elated and while we were there Alana came in just squeeking under 11 hours.

  Other than running out of Coke way too early in the race everything else about the race was 1st class and I would recommend  it to anyone looking for a moderately challenging  50 miler.

  Now, I just have to take care and make sure the leg heals so I can get back into regular training and be able to race hard again.

  The lottery for Western States is on December 7th and I will have 3 tickets in the hat this year. wish me Luck !

  Here is a link to the pictures I took on this beautiful day in the Allegheney Mts of PA

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tussey Mounainback 50 miler preview

 It's not that I haven't thought about running this race eventually but it was certainly not on my schedule for 2013. After my DNF at Bighorn 100 miler due to hypothermia I was about to give up on doing 100's after a streak of bad luck causing  string of dnf's. But deep inside I knew I was not yet ready to call it quits. I still know I can one day improve on my pr and more importantly I still have the desire to fulfill my dream of completing the Western States 100. And that is where this race comes into the picture. Because of my DNF at Bighorn I had no qualifier to enter the lottery and without one I would have to start the whole process over again. I know if I don't get in soon I will be too old and slow to finish so I really need to get back while I am still running strong.

  Due to time and budget restraints I was having a hard time finding a suitable qualifying race but then I saw this one. Not too close but driveable and I could do it without missing a day of work.  I begin to get excited and was looking forward to coming up here and running a fast time knowing if I blew, up I could still finish under the 11hr cut-off. I even signed up for the USATF because the race is the National 50 Mile Championship and although I doubt I would have placed  I was looking forward to the age-group competition.

 Well, that was before I got stupid one weekend in early August and ended up with a hamstring injury that was avoidable. It's been hampering me ever since and most recently screwing up my BQ attempt two weeks ago. I have not run a step in the past two weeks in hopes that the leg will just get me to the finish line in under 11 hours. So, rather than race I will go conservatively and just try and enjoy the day and I guess that's not a bad thing  sometimes. I will take advantage of the slower pace and take in the views and take lots of pictures. It would be nice if an Angel or two could have made the trip to keep me company. I don't know anyone in the race except for Jim Plant who like me dnf'd in the summer and is running just to keep his name in the WS lottery.

  What seems a little strange is that under the new qualifying standards for WS only certain races are eligible and about all are trail with many road ultras dropped from the list. But this is a road race, about 75% dirt and 25% paved. I assume that it is due to the fact that it is the championship 50 miler. The course has about 5,000ft of climbing in the Allegheny Mountains of central Pennsylvania. It is one big loop with a short section at the beginning and end that is run in both directions starting at the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort outside of Boalsburg PA, which is just outside of State College PA.

 Here is a link to the website:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wineglass Marathon 2013

  My travels to Corning went well on Saturday with no issues. I drove straight to the expo from the airport and was happy to see The Werners just 2 cars ahead of me heading into the parking lot. Talk about perfect timing. We picked up our race packets and just before leaving we found Ronnie Jones, a CRW racing teammate that was running the marathon also. We walked over to the downtown area and found Rebecca Sitton, the last of the group and went to find some dinner before heading to our separate rooms for the night.

  I woke up an hour early with excitement of the race just ahead. I wasn't too happy with the weather which was about 20 degrees higher than normal for this area. It was mid 60's with chance of rain and humidity near 100%. Oh well, you do the best with what you got. My main concern was whether or not the legs would hold up to the pace and distance I was hoping to run. They had felt a bit better and I was hoping for the best.

  I hitched a ride with Ronnie to the start about 3 miles from the hotel and there we waited for Karla to arrive. Frank and Rebecca were doing the half which started , well halfway on this point to point course from Bath to Corning. We made our last minute preparations and then headed up the hill to await the start. Then it started to rain with 3 minutes to go. Not but a sprinkle and with the high humidity and warmer weather I actually wouldn't have minded if it rained later.

  The first half mile was downhill which allowed me to run at about my planned race pace with the effort closer to my training pace. The course then flattened out and I hit the first mile in 8:09. Pr pace is 8:12 so I was pretty happy to be right there. But I wasn't happy because the right leg was already tight and hurting. It wasn't too bad and all I could do was hope it got a little better and I could keep going. The 2nd flat mile was an 8:07 and with that I decided that yes, the pr attempt was on.

 I relaxed a little too much mile 3 in 8:21 but was right back where I needed to be with an 8:09 fourth mile. Mile 5 had the first significant uphill which slowed me down a bit to 8:23 bu tfor 5 I was 41:12 and right on pr pace. Mile 6 had some more climbing and then from 6.5 to 8.5 I was surprised to find that it climbed the whole way. It wasn't steep but it still took an effort and my pace was slowing to the 8:20's. At that point I realized with the warm conditions and a few more hills to come that I would not be making that time up so I switched to plan B which was to just get the  Boston qualifier of 3:40 which is an 8:23 pace. I was steady clicking away the miles at 8:20 to 8:22 and feeling very good other than the constant pain. It did seem to ease off a bit for a couple of miles but never went away like I had hoped.

 I passed through the half marathon point nearly dead on 1:49:00 which gave me a one minute cushion to work with, or about exactly where I needed to be.  There was a nasty hill just before mile 15 and I backed off the effort a little bit. It was then that the 3:40 pace group went by. I wasn't worried because I knew they were slightly ahead of pace and as soon as we crested the hill I was reeling them back in and ready to settle into pace behind them over the next several flatter miles. Well that was the plan but my leg had other plans.

  Just before reaching the 16 mile point the leg just suddenly gave out on me. The pain sharpened and I had to limp and just could not extend the leg anymore. I walked into the water stop and tried to massage it and stretch it a bit but as soon as I began to run it was obvious that my race was over just that fast. Even my hopes of at least going for my 2nd fasted time were shattered. It was all very frustrating knowing there was really nothing I could do to change things.

  I saw a sign that said next medical tent 1 mile so I kept moving forward and figured I would drop out there. But as I got nearer I knew I really didn't want another DNF. I had plenty of time to finish but I did not want to have to walk the whole way or make the injury any worse.  The pain had eased of enough that I could run at a much slower pace without limping so I just went into my ultra shuffle  pace and mindset. As long as I could keep moving and not limp I was going to get to the finish and get my medal !

  It didn't help matters when the sag wagon with a few casualties inside came up behind me near the 18 mile mark but I resisted and kept moving. By now I was walking backwards a lot and looking to see if Karla was coming. I had been hoping she would run a sub 4 hr and doing the math in my head I knew that she should catch me sometime before mile 19 if she was on pace. Well, I didn't see here and by mile 20 it was obvious she was not going to do it today. Not long afterwards she finally caught up to me. I ran about 1/2 mile with her before I had to walk some more.

  It really stinks having so many people pass you in a race like this and especially knowing I was fit enough to be way ahead of where I was at but I just sucked it up an kept moving as fast as I could without making the leg any angrier with me. When Karla had passed I told her it would probably be a 4:45 finish for me but I was able to move a bit faster than I thought and I soon figured out I had a shot at going under 4:30. Really a meaningless goal at this point but it gave me something to focus on and yet another goal  to shoot for.

   I was so happy to finally see the bridge crossing the river and into downtown because I knew I had about 1/2 mile to go and I would break the 4:30 barrier. The crowds along Market Street were great cheering for us and despite the disappoint of the injury I was able to smile and wave to the crowds and enjoy the moment. I saw Rebecca taking a picture just before the finish and then it was over in 4:28:44.

  I felt pretty rough in the finish area for a few minutes but soon Frank and Karla and Rebecca came by and before long I felt a lot better. As I was getting up from the curb where I had been resting, Rebecca made some comment in joking about my pushups. So I dropped down and gave 50 which she recorded. That was a lot easier than running the marathon.

 So now it's time to heal and hope it won't be too long before I can get back to running again.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Wineglass Marathon Preview

  There are a several reasons why this race ended up on my schedule. I had been to the area with my family when I was about 14 years old and had fond memories of the trip and the area. I took my younger son Jeremy there when he was the same age on one of our vacations too. Two of my training partners, Karla and Lisa had expressed an interest in going to run this one and I was  excited to plan on going with them and sharing the experience and re-visiting Watkins Glen, one of my favorite places to see. After a couple of years we decided that this would be the year to sign up. It fit my schedule and I was looking for a fast Fall marathon to either run for a fast time or Boston qualifier so we signed up and began to make plans.

  Unfortunately, Lisa had been struggling with her training over the summer and decided she wouldn't make the trip.  Karla and I will be running the full, Frank, Karla's husband is running the half and our friend Rebecca Sitton will also be running the half.

  I had been hoping to go for a marathon pr with my training going great over the summer and running faster than I have in years at the shorter distances but a hamstring problem cropped up in August and September training was way off and things are still not 100%.  Right now  after a forced taper I will just have to see how things feel when the race begins. Hoping for the best but I just don't know and  I'm not feeling too confident . I will just go with the flow and if I feel great, I'll go for the pr. If I just feel good then I will go for the minimum BQ pace and if I don't feel like I can hold that then I may drop  back and run with Karla  and hope I can hang with her.

 When we signed up we were hoping for normal Autumn NY weather in the mid 40' to mid 50's  and dry during the race. But it looks  now like it will be 60- 75f during the race with humidity near 100% . Booooo !

  Here is a link to the race website.

and their facebook page.

 The race will be doing live tracking but I don't know how often it will update or at what points on the course. I have it set up to post to my facebook page. You can go to this link to sign up to get updates from ChronoTrack and have it sent to you FB or to a phone.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Run For The Fallen 1/2 Marathon

 Lets start with the good news. I ran 1:42:20 which is my fastest time since 2006 for a half marathon. It was a beautiful morning with cool temps and dry air. A bit windy but I'll take those conditions anytime for this time of year.My hamstring felt pretty good and was not  an issue in the race.

 The bad news? The other leg came up with a mystery pain within the first half mile causing me to suffer significant pain and discomfort and kept me from having a shot at breaking 1:40 !

I met up with Lisa, Karla and Frank before the race. Went for an easy 1/2 mile warmup and felt great with no pain. I was feeling very confident that it would be a good day. There was not a large field with only 85 finishers in the half so I lined up very close to the front. I didn't want to go out to hard and just ease into a good rhythm and stuck to my plan. At first the pain was not too bad, just annoying and I was hoping it would go away after I got warmed up well into the race. I passed mile 1 in 7:29 and it felt easy so I was now thinking I could go for the sub 1:40.

 Just before mile 3 the leg flared up petty bad and I was getting worried and had to back off a little but then it eased off to just painful again and I was dead on pace again with a slight cushion.. Miles 4 and 5 were exposed as we ran along beside the runway and directly into the head wind and a slight upgrade. I backed off the effort a little bit until just after the 5 mile mark when we turned out of the wind and into some trees. I only lost a little bit of time there and by mile 7  I was exactly dead even on 1:40 finishing pace and other than the pain I felt fantastic.

 Then around mile 7.5 was when the leg really began to fail on me. Lots of pain and I had to shorten my stride and back off the pace. Over the next several miles I was a bit erratic with the pace as the pain would ebb and flow. I was really getting angry that I was feeling like I could run so fast but the leg just wouldn't let me and I helplessly watched the group of runners that were going for the same 1:40 disappear in front of me. I knew I was till on pace to run my fastest since 2006 so I just gritted my teeth and ran with a grimace and pushed as hard as the leg would let me.

 Finally around mile 11 it eased off some and I was able to get the pace back to around 7:40-45 ish for the remainder of the race. Finished up with a good time but so frustrating to have another injury now. It was really strange to run a good time and still feel like without the pain I could have kept going at that pace easily for several more miles :(

  Karla ran well and ended up with 1st womens grandmaster award and 4th woman overall. Lisa was happy with her effort after struggling with her training for a long time now and Frank had a very good day too. We had a great time hanging around after the race eating burgers and hot dogs for breakfast !

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Run For The Fallen 1/2 Marathon- Preview

 I'll be heading out to race a rare half marathon this Saturday Sept. 14th at 6:30 am. The race is at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro and is a fundraiser for The Wounded Warrior Project . I found out about it several months ago from a flyer they dropped off at Capital RunWalk and saw that it fit my schedule in my build up for the Wineglass marathon in Oct.

  Yes, I  did run The Myrtle Beach Marathon this past February and oddly enough although I wasn't "racing" it, it was my 2nd  fastest half since 2006. As you may know I was pacing Amy in MB and had a fantastic run in 1:43:29 and felt like I could have gone quite a bit faster on a near perfect morning. The last time I raced was way back in March of 2011 when I ran 1:43:03 at Tobacco Road.

  When I signed up for this I was excited to run on this flat fast course and test myself because I really feel like I'm in even better shape than  I was in 2011 but the past few weeks I've been a bit worried. Due to my hamstring issue before and during the Beast of Burden, I don't feel like I have been able to do the training that I would have liked. The good thing is that after an easy week with just one short run after BoB, I have at least been able to get back to my weekly average mileage of about 50 mpw. I have been especially encouraged in just the past few days. Although the leg is not even close to 100% yet, I have been able to get in some good quality workouts and no problem with any pain while running. Amy and I just did some mile repeats this past Tuesday at about the pace I hope to be racing Saturday and  now t looks like it's going to be a pretty cool morning.

 Not going to make any predictions on time but I do intend to give it a good solid effort and if things go well I do expect to beat that time from two years ago. When I signed up I was hoping to go under 1:40 but I'm not going to hurt myself trying if that pace is too fast.

 Race website

 Stay tuned !

Monday, September 09, 2013

Beast of Burden Summer 100

 Sorry it has taken so long to post about this one. For those that don't know already it was another DNF and I really hate writing about DNF's. I will spare the gory details but the race deserves a little report at least.

 Overall this is an excellent event and I can highly recommend it for the organization and volunteers. They put on a top notch event with good aid stations, especially the main one at the start/finish where they had and were cooking a large variety of food as well as many of the usual aid station far.  The only downside is that the course gets really boring very quickly. It is a flat out and back, 25 miles round trip that is repeated 4 times. There are a few nice views along the way and the bridges and small villages are interesting but mostly just the canal , the towpath and trees. Unfortunately the trees offer no shade for 23 of 25 miles each lap. This could be a very fast course in ideal weather but even with the somewhat mild 80F day, it felt VERY hot all afternoon with the sun bearing down.

  My race started out ok but I was in pain from the first step. I had tweaked my hamstring two weeks before getting ready for a 5k, racing it and then doing speedwork two days later. Yes, it was a very dumb thing to do especially considering that I was aiming for a pr here . But anyway, I was hoping it would hold up for the distance and the pain would ease off after I got warmed up for a couple of miles but sadly it never stopped hurting. I was running quite well despite the pain for the first 25 miles and on pace for the pr but as I headed out for the second lap it just kept getting weaker. By 31 I could barely run at all and even walking fast was now hurting it quite a bit. My pace slowed so much over the next 6.5 miles that at the rate I was moving I would not even be able to move fast enough to make the 30 hour cutoff even with the nice cushion I had built the first lap. So I  reluctantly gave up at th 37.5 mile turn around aid station not wanting to do further damage for nothing.

  Jenn the Ultra Angel of course accompanied me on this trip and she was still in the race so I became her crew. She had really struggled with the heat and was having a tough time getting in calories. But she is tough and hung in there and even picked the pace back up on the last lap to finish strong in just over 25 hours.

 Here is a link to some pictures I took from the race.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beast of Burden Summer 100 mile Preview

  In case you've been wondering why I have been posting all the Niagara Falls pictures on my facebook page, here is a little bit of an explanation. It seems I have a little 100 miler to run just a little Northeast  of Niagara this weekend.

   This may come as a bit of a surprise to most of you. Usually I have races on my calender and talk about them quite a bit leading up to race day but for  a couple of reasons this time I decided to lay low and keep my plans on the quiet side. There are a few people I have mentioned it to that probably don't really care and of course the Angels are in on it. In fact one of them, Jenn the Ultra Angel Ennis is running it too !

  It's kind  of odd that I ended up picking this race to began with as I really hadn't planned on doing another 100 this year but there were a couple of factors that played into the decision. For one, I was very frustrated with my attempt to get a 100 mile pr. First it was the the problem with the stupid race that shall remain nameless with their extra 5miles and a ridiculous bushwhack up and down hill on a "flat fast" course. Then in May I  decided after having to drop from said nameless race,  that I would go for the pr in my own event, The Nightmare on the Neuse. The  only nightmare was the weather throwing a wrench into my plans. After an extra cool Spring and running all my miles in the 50's to the low 70's with low humidity, it turns 86 and humid. I still ran a lot better than I expected considering I had no heat acclimation but I slowed too much for the pr so I shut it down at mile 50.

  The other reason involves the Ultra Angel. We had originally planned to go to  out West but she was unable to make the trip to Bighorn. So we were considering something else closer and looked at Burning River but it was getting close to race day and no decision was ever made for sure and I decided  I really wanted to go for the pr one more time without having to wait until next Spring so I looked at this one. When I mentioned it to Jenn I was surprised that she actually wanted go  because I figured a flat course  would have no appeal to her.  But she said lets do it so we signed up and booked our flights.

  Signing up for this one in the hopes of going for a pr is kind of a crapshoot with the weather. I would not have even considered a race in August for a fast time but when I looked at the historical weather review, the average  high for Lockport NY where the race is held is only 78F. If I got lucky and it was average or lower I may have a legitimate shot at running a pr. But, the record high is 98F and we could get anything in between. I decided it was worth a shot and committed to it figuring if it was too hot I would just run to finish and if we got lucky and it was cooler then I could go for the pr.

   Well, right now the forecast is for 80F high and 59f  for the overnight low so it's game on ! That is still pretty warm but it should be a bit less humid and I am well acclimated by now with two back to back big mileage months with many days of running in the 80's and 90's with afternoon runs with the heat index well over 100.  I know not to go for the fantasy goal but if things go well and I keep it smart there is a good chance I can finally beat the pr of 23:15 from 2007 at Rocky Raccoon.

 There is no runner tracking on their website but I hope to be in touch with Awesome Angel Amy and she will try to give updates on my fb page throughout the day and evening and I will try to post on fb myself after she goes to bed.  The course is flat along the Erie Canal towpath. We go out 12.5 miles and back  4 times so I will try to update every 12.5. Cool , just like Umstead but no hills !

 Stay tuned !

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Dog Days of Summer 5k

 Wow, another 5k? That's three this year after going over two years without running one. Well, I really had nothing going on so I  thought it would be fun to do another one to keep things interesting. Back when I ran the Whirli Run on June 1st  I had targeted my training for several weeks hoping to crack 21 minutes but I knew that was not going to be happening here. Ever since my dnf at  Bighorn in mid June , I have been piling on a lot of miles with June and July my two biggest months of the year and in the top 10 months all time so I wasn't expecting to run very fast on this day. Combine the miles with  a hillier course and one of the nastiest muggiest days of the summer and I knew it was going to be tough.

  Despite that, I still wanted to give the race 100% effort with what I had so I prepared with my normal pre-race routine before heading to the starting line. There were about 250 runners so I expected a little more competition this time around.

  We headed out on a gradual downhill that continued for nearly all of the first mile. I got into a nice comfortable groove early and was trying to spot any competition. I noticed two guys that appeared to be close to my age move past me and by the 1st mile in 6:41, they were both about 30 yards ahead and seemed to be pulling away slowly. The next mile was several rolling hills. At the turnaround I started counting and saw I was in 18th overall. Pretty happy with top 20 in a race this size.

  I also noticed after the turn that I seemed to be gaining on the two competitors so I focused on trying to reel them in. Just at the two mile mark one of them started walking and just as I passed he began to run again but soon I could not hear him breathing behind me. One down one to go. Hit mile two in 7:08 and began the long uphill grind to the finish. Just before making the turn back onto Blount Street with a little over half mile to go I made the pass of the other age grouper.

  I tried to make it a strong move but shortly after the turn was a block long steeper portion and I didn't want to push too hard and blow up. Once things leveled back out a little more  I tried to pick up the pace a little and thought I had the 1st in age wrapped up but suddenly my competitor pulled up beside me and the race was really on. I matched strides for another 100yards but then he put on a surge and I had nothing and watched helplessly as he pulled away taking 1st by 5 seconds. But I pressed on and was able to be happy with beating my pre-race goal of sub 22 with a 21:52 official time and 18th overall and 2nd age group.

 Had a nice talk with the first place guy. Turns out I knew him as a customer from Capital RunWalk, Mike Martino. Congrats Mike !

 Onto the next adventure. Stay tuned !

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grandfather Mountain Marathon

  Had a great trip up to Boone this year and had a lot of fun and got in a great workout.  I've been running very well recently and the idea of racing it and maybe going for a sub 4 had crossed my mind, but I decided to go ahead and stick with my original plan and run with Jenn. After dropping at mile 48 at Bighorn , I only took one rest day and then ran 50, 64 and 64 mile weeks leading up to the race and only took the Friday off before the race so it would not have been smart to race it anyway.

  Jenn had accompanied me down the mountain when I did my double back in 2010 and I had always hoped if she ever got around to actually running in the race that I wanted to share it with her. Two other of the Angels, Amy and Margo were also running it for their first times  and I was hoping that we could all stick close together for as long as possible. Lisa was back again too but Karla and Laura were not here this year.

 We lined up on the track on a nice cool morning, about 59F and were soon circling the track and out onto the roads. I had really expected Margo to be way ahead and pushing the pace but she was right in front of us as Jenn, Amy, Lisa and I were all together. Just past mile 2 we began the first climb and I could tell Amy was working too hard for the pace. I was a bit sad that by mile 4 she and Lisa were both dropping behind. I had hoped to stay together at least until mile 10 so we could get a picture at the traditional spot. After this year , all of the Angels have run the race with me at least once and had our pictures taken there but Amy will have to wait  until another time.

  Jenn was running well and we were having a great time and I was happy that Margo was able to run quite a bit with us. We did stop at mile 10 for the photo but with the fog once again there were no views of the mountain this year. Soon after we were on the parkway and enjoying the nice downhill to the halfway point. I was feeling great and the pace felt very easy to me. We passed the half in about 2:13 and then began the climbing again. Once we got to the mile 15ish aid station Margo began to pull head of us and not long after we lost sight of here.

  Just before 17 hill we caught up to my young cousin Andy Sicard who is a park ranger at Grandfather Mountain State Park. He used to run a lot but quit competing 7 or 8 years ago but decided he wanted to run the marathon for the first time.   Talked to him for a minute and introduced him to Jenn and then we were off again.

  Jenn continued to move along at a good pace as we hit hwy 221. I was still feeling great just enjoying getting in a great workout and sharing the miles with her. The weather was great this year. It was quite a bit humid but the temperature stayed in the mid 60's and there was a breeze most of those last  7 or 8 miles. We were on pace to run about 4:35 I guessed but by mile 22 Jenn began to walk a lot more on the hills that earlier we would have been running.

 Finally made it to the games and ran strong to the end finishing in 4:41:42. Despite  the easy pace and a lot of walking in the end, that was still my 2nd fastest time by 10 seconds 8 finishes ! That just shows how well my training has been going. We walked down to the finishers tent and I got a cup of gatorade and then headed back out on the course to go find Amy. I was really a bit surprised at how great I felt as I ran back looking for he. This would have been a great year for me to do the double. I was 15 minutes faster finishing the race, I felt a lot better and the weather was cool compared to the mid 80's in the afternoon of 2010.

   I was happy that I didn't have to go too far  to find Amy. She had about 3/4 mile to go when  I found her and she had a big smile when she saw me. Although she was hurting a bit from the effort, she ran strong all the way to the end  and I was happy to at least share the finish with her. Got to finish one of my favorite events twice with two different Angels in one day !

  Wonderful weekend with friends and the next day I had practically zero soreness, no more than a normal long run. I took off Sunday and right back to normal training on Monday. A very good sign that my training is on track for some big things to come ! Stay tuned !  

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2013

 So, what 's coming up next you might ask ? Well a lot but not much really.

 I have Grandfather Mountain Marathon coming up on the 13th. I'm not planning to race it though. Just hoping to run as many miles of it as I can with some of the Angels and use it for a long training run. Amy, Jenn  and Margo will be running it for the first time and Lisa is coming back. I expect Laura will be there as always. It's too bad Karla isn't running this year or it might have been the first race with all of them at one time.


 I'm planning on running The Dog Days of Summer 5k on the 3rd for fun and to test the legs for speed again. Hope to do well but it will probably be warmer and muggier than the Whirli 5k I ran on June 1st and not as flat either. But, I will give it my best.


 Run for the Fallen Half Marathon at Seymour Johnson AFB. Flat fast course should e a good test of my fitness before the BQ attempt next month.


 This is the biggie. All the training this Summer is geared toward getting a BQ and if things go really well and the weather cooperates, maybe even a pr at The Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY on the 6th.  Karla and Lisa will be going on this trip too and Frank is running the half.

On the 20th I will be heading North once again to Pennsylvania for The Tussey Mountainback 50 miler. I hadn't planned on doing this but after failing to finish Bighorn, I need a qualifier for the Western States Lottery. I should be able to get it here if I just run smart.


 I'm going back to the OBX Marathon and plan to run it with Karla. How fast depends on a few things, mainly if she is up for going for a pr. She may already get it at Wineglass and be content to run easy. We'll see .

 I'll finish up the month with The Derby 50k. This will be my 10th and if things go well I would like to celebrate it with a 50k pr.


 No races but I may have something planned that I can let you in on later. It may involve a 50 mile pr attempt ;) .

 Oh, and there may be , ok there IS another biggie in the works but I don't intend to talk about it so don't ask if you don't already know. You will know soon enough.

 In the meantime, I am working out nearly every day , twice a day with core, body weight or yoga and I am trying to get my average mileage up from the 50ish that I have been running the past few years up to 60 miles per week at least. and I would like to get in as many 70 mile weeks as possible before Wineglass to give my self the best chance of going for a pr there and then again at Derby.

 Stay tuned !

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Mid year review 2013. How's it going ?

 So far this year I have had some great successes and unfortunately several failures but overall I am pretty happy with the way things are going.

 Got the year off to a great start at the "Running From An Angel" 50 miler at Lake Mead Nevada. Exceeded my own expectations and shattered my pr by over an hour with an 8:54:57 finish and 1st Grandmaster.

 Recovery went very well and I was right back into marathon training with Amy. We ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon together and I ran my 2nd fastest half in 7 years while pacing her to a huge pr in 1:43:29. A very proud and happy day for me to see her come so far since we met.

 In March it was time to go for the Boston qualifier at the Tobacco Road Marathon. Things didn't go as well as planned. We had hoped to run together but had to separate at mile 5. I missed the BQ but still ran a 3:52:50. Amy missed also but was still able to get a pr so progress was being made.

In April, I started off volunteering at the Umstead 100 again and had a great time and got in a lot of miles over the weekend Got to run for the first time with Amy's sister  Karen, paced John Adamoff for a lap and then  ran another lap with THE Marathon Princess. A week later it was time to test out my speed after all the months of marathon training. My first 5k in over two years at the Cary Road Race. I had a great day and ran a 21:24, my fastest in several years and won 1st Grandmaster !

 Finished up the month going for a 100 mile pr at a race which doesn't deserve to be mentioned here. I was running great on a perfect day weather wise but some personal issues and one stupid screwed up race made it easy to drop halfway even though I was well ahead of pr pace.

May brought the Nightmare on the Neuse 100 miler, my own creation to take out my frustration and go for the 100 mile pr. Even though it was only two weeks after the last attempt, I felt great and was running well but de-railed by the weather. After weeks of below average cool weather it decided to get up to 86 and humid and with no acclimation to the heat,  I couldn't maintain the pace needed so I shut it down at 50.

 In June I started off the month with a great run at the Whirli Run 5k in Wilson. On a flatter course than Cary, I was able to run a 20:48. The first time under 21 in almost 25 years ! First Grandmaster and 4th place overall out of 100 + . Then  it  was time to head West for a vacation and the Bighorn 100 miler. Not a pr course. Stunning beauty and a wonderful event but I made a critical mistake in planning and ended up getting myself in a jam with some bad hypothermia that ended my race at mile 48. Disappointing especially as well as I was running up to that point.

 So that's it for events so far.  Despite the dnf's I have really been enjoying this year so far. Lots of miles with my Angels, Amy, Karla, Jenn and Lisa and that is the best thing of all. I continue to run well and keep surprising myself at just how well at age 57. I am still doing all the body weight, core and yoga workouts nearly everyday and look and feel better than I have since my early 30's. And I am on pace right now to have my highest mileage year ever !

 Stay tuned !

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thoughts after the Bighorn DNF and whats the plan ?

 After napping in my car for a couple of hours after they brought me down off the mountain, I went and got some breakfast and then returned to the park to watch the finishers from all of the races and wait for Dave.

 It turned out to be a long day since Dave didn't come in until about 8:45pm and I had a lot of time to think about things. All dnf's are hard to take but I've been getting a lot of practice at it lately and no that isn't a good thing If there is one good thing in any of them it's that it wasn't due to my fitness. I am running as well as I ever have and in some ways I'm in better shape than ever. And that makes it all the more frustrating.

  As I sat there and walked around and  sat there and walked around  and repeated during the day I was thinking perhaps it is just time for me to give these 100's up. It gets really expensive to do these things and not finish them. Why am I spending  all this money and beating my body up anyway. Perhaps it's time to concentrate on what I am doing well now and that is to focus on my speed at shorter distances. It's something that I enjoy and I don't  have to worry about dnf's and they are a lot cheaper.

 But one thing that was really eating at me was the fact that I missed out on getting my Western States Qualifier. I really want to have a chance to go back one time to make up fro my stupid race in 2007 and do it before I get too old to have a chance to finish. But now I had no qualifier and my travel budget and previously scheduled races for the rest of the year is full so i guess that is just a dream I was going to have to let go of. Yep , my mind was made up.

 The next morning I attended the pancake breakfast and awards ceremony and it was really hard watching everyone come up and get their buckles and finishers shirts. Nothing I could do about it but put it behind me and concentrate on recovering and getting ready for the next events I have planned. And you know, I am ok with that. I have plenty of other goals and dreams to work on. If I never go to WS that will be ok. I went 4 years without doing 100 miler and I can be happy if I never do another one. So many things out there to do and as long as it's running I love it.

  Well, anyway I decided to take a look and see what qualifying races may be still available and it seems like I found one that I can actually squeeze into  my schedule and not spend a fortune on travel to do. It is my one last shot and if I can do it then it will keep me in the 100 miler game for at least one more year. It's the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in PA in Oct. I just need to run it in under 11 hours which should easily doable for me if I stay healthy between no and then.

  So what's the next step. Keep doing what I am doing. I will stay focused on my goals for the year which is mainly a marathon pr at Wineglass and get a BQ. I plan to run as many miles with my wonderful Angels as possible and along the way help them to achieve their goals as they help keep me motivated to achieve mine. I have been having the best years of my life training with my average miles higher for the past 3.5 years than in anytime in my 37 years of running. And you haven't seen anything yet ! I am going to train even more and harder to be sure that when I look back in a few years I can't say that I didn't give it my best shot. Yep, I want to do things that amaze myself !