Monday, December 12, 2011

Gear Review: CEP Compression Socks & Calf Sleeves

As athletes, we use a lot of gear...expecially in sports like running where you wear down products continually. I am only writing gear reviews on items that I have used for extended periods of time.

With that being said, I am totally obsessed with my compression socks & just recently the sleeves. I pretend that I am not a bit of a gear junkie, but I am at least a little. I tried my best to avoid the desire to try a product to help me with recovery; I always think nature is better, let the body do it's job...well, after talking to a few folks who actually use them, I finally picked up a pair of CEP recovery socks to give them a try.

So here is my biased review after owning and using them now for about 6 months. First things first, they are a workout just to get them on. There is a little trick to get them on by pulling them nearly inside-out, leaving the sole of the foot still in, put the foot in, and slide them on with a little struggle.

I now wear these after every long run (say 3 over hours ). On some days, I sleep in them, wear them under my suit pants at work, but I have never run in them. I use them purely for recovery. At first, I thought maybe it was the placebo effect that after everytime I wore them I had great runs, felt light, no problems, etc....but I have yet to have any negative effects from them. Recovery does seem faster and it's now the very first thing I go for immediately after an ultra or long training effort.

CEP Compression Recovery Socks
With that being said, I finally thought I should give the sleeves a try. I have only had them for about 4 weeks but I have had a number of good long trail and road runs in them. Aside from looking like a tribal warrior in them with shorts, I just figure people think I forgot my running socks so I am wearing my dress socks. The runs that I have had have been cold and have taken place on the Kettle Moraine trails in Wisconsin as well as rolling roads. I also worn them on a few long trail runs locally.

My opinion is that overall I like them. I can feel that they are supporting my calves as I am running, hopefully reducing the amount of overall vibration & pounding that ultimately causes the muscle soreness. I though that there would be a bit of a squeezing effect since they are sleeves, making my feet feel like they are going to pop, but that was not the case at all. For those of us who wait until the temperatures really drop before finally putting long running pants/tights on...these also give you a some warmth....I have not tried them at warmer temperatures yet.

CEP Compression Calf Sleeves

I have to admit, I did see a pair of mens diabetic black socks at the store for much less than the CEP's and I do wear them, but they compress far less. They feel like tight dress socks. good to wear when the CEP's are in the wash.


2012 Running Plans & Thoughts

It’s still 2011, so I have time to post my running plans for 2012. I’ll start this short list with a couple of caveats:

Caveat 1: I have a young family and at this stage in our lives, I have never been one to travel overnight for runs very much. If I could, I would, but not yet...I really prefer to stay local (within a morning drive) and since the NE Ohio Ultra Running community is so strong, I can easily fill up my calendar without having to go too far. I haven’t done all the races for one reason or another, so I am content in general to stay most of the time. With that being said, I am looking at 2 out of state 100 milers.....what the heck?

Caveat 2:  I nearly always prefer training over racing; I have since my days of cycling. As a matter of fact, I think it’s because of cycling that I prefer training. I have always preferred to head out for a hard ride or run for a number of hours to that of spending all kinds of money to do the same thing. As Chris McDougal noted in Born to Run…If you want to run a marathon, there’s the front door. I literally have run more 50k & 50mi runs from my front door than I have actually raced.  I suppose if I was wealthy and semi-retired, or just kid-free I would race far more frequently but with so many mouths to feed, I am happy to get up early in the morning and run a 50k from my front door.  I am quite aware that once the kids are older and they are too cool to hang out with the wife & I, we will be looking at travel in a whole new light. I also happen to live in one of the best places in the country to run from.

I am literally less than a 5 min run to the largest Arboretum (Holden) in the US, with over 3,600 acres, Chapin Forest (390 acres) 1 mi from my house, Penitentiary Glen (424 acres) about 0.4mi from my door, North Chagrin Reservation (BR100 start) is about 7 miles from my house….these are literally “among others”, there are a bunch of great parks around here.  As I write this out, maybe this is why I tend to train instead of race so much…..also why all my races that I am directing are in these areas!

2012 Running List (as of 12/12):
02/11/12 – Lake Metroparks Night Light Snowshoe Race (Chapin Forest)
03/03/12 – Lake Metroparks March March Madness Snowshoe Race (Girdled Rd. Reservation)
06/17/12 – Mohican 50 miler? Loudon, OH.

2012 Running Goals:
      RunWell / Leadville: I am simply overjoyed with the opportunity with RunWell as an Ambassador which is taking me to Leadville and hopefully dragging a few inspired folks with me. I don’t have any particular time goals with Leadville aside from the standard desire to run under 24 hours, my goal is to Run(really)Well for RunWell, enjoy the process, take it all in step by step, and finish very strong, it’s that simple. I want to show that it’s about accomplishing what you put your mind to. I know it sounds cliche but it is what it is. There is no doubt in my mind that I can complete another 100 miler. If for some reason, something out of my control takes me out of the be it, but there is nothing in me that will not allow me to finish.

·         O24: Outrun 24 Hour Trail Race. USATF Certified 1 mile and 13 feet trail course. What started as a need for a Spring 100 miler has turned into a full blown 24 hour race, go figure. I simply want to put on a great event with as little bumps in the logistical road as possible. It should give folks the opportunity to come and test themselves, set PR’s, reach new goals and provide them with a focus throughout the cold, dark, and wet winter months that we endure as athletes. I am trying to keep the race as simple and organized as possible. The intent is to make this a well-known yearly offering for folks who do not want to run the roads for 24 hours.  
      Nutrition: The focus that is equally important if not more this year is learning to get my nutrition on track. I have always managed to get by and be successful by most people’s standards….but I know that there is this key that I have yet to unlock when it comes to eating right. I am quite literally leaning heavily on the coaching of Bob Seebohar from to show me how to get there. I actually plan on doing a before and after Coach Bob report. I am sure I fall in the category of a lot of athletes that get by but could really unlock so much more potential. This is one of the things that makes endurance sports so exciting, it never stays the same, and you are always trying to improve.
      Training: I have got it in my head that I need to cross train more. I got out a number of times on the bike this year and it still irks me that the bike steals away mileage when I look back at my training miles. I have used training hours for years but still focus on miles as a runner. Even with running trails where hours & effort are more of a focus than exact miles, I still struggle with it. I am excited to see the training plan set forth for Leadville, I am really excited to learn from it and see where it will take me. I have to admit, I would like to drop about 10-12 pounds. I hover at 170-172lbs. at 5’8” and although I have gotten much leaner, my weight has not changed much. I am sure I can find a way to eat a few dozen less cookies and drop some dough off myself........................z

Monday, November 28, 2011

Training: what to (100+ mile week)

I was lucky enough to have some lingering vacation days that I needed to take before the year is out. So, I took a few to accentuate the Thanksgiving Holidays. After dropping off the kids at school, I had just over 2 hours each day purely to myself....what to do.....what to

Look, I have only called myself a runner for a couple years now. When I first heard of ultras, I thought a 50k was insane....then I signed up and did it. I thought 50miles was crazy, until I did a few more 50k's...seeing that it was closer than I thought. I thought 100miles was just pure mental, until I ran a 50 miler and as I finished, I thought "hmmmm, could I do that whole thing again?' Now, I've run a 100 miler and I am registered for the Leadville 100. So now even with all these ultras in just a couple years, the only reason I call myself a runner at all is because when I get on the bike now, I don't feel like I did a few years and strong on the bike. I am far more in tune with my running than I am on the bike anymore.

Deep down I still think of myself as a cyclist & soccer player. I don't have the background that all these pedigreed runners have. As I grew up, I didn't run track or cross country, I never ran 60,70,80,100+ mile weeks like so many runners do on a regular basis and I never had the benefit of a running coach growing up. I played soccer for hours on end and then became a cyclist and rode thousands of miles in the saddle. Even though I certainly accomplished the equivalent of 100 mile weeks in alternate sports, it just seems like a lot to me. The most I have hit was the week of BR100 with 110miles or so. I am amazed at all the phenomenal athletes out there, I still see myself as trying to squeeze in what I can. So over the break, I managed to rack up some miles with the days off and found myself only a long run away from, I went for it and got in a really nice trail run Thanksgiving day morning to top it all off. It felt normal, I took a day off running and hit the road bike Friday, ran Sat & ran Sun...feeling strong. To be honest, it did not feel all that different from a regular week.

I know that there are people on all sides of the spectrum here. Some folks that are in the same boat, running, growing, shooting for whatever the weekly mileage/hours call for and peaking at various levels for races ranging from 5k to 100miles+. I see people in my running forums posting 110-120mpw on a regular basis...and to top it off, they are averaging amazing paces....their slow days are faster than my fast days. They run 10 miles in the morning, then 10-15 at night, both faster than 99% of the population runs. Amazing. Will they be running at 30, 40, 50+ years old? I hope so. Then there are the folks who are happy to get in a few miles a week, a nice walk, an active day, etc.. It's all what you want. I think that it all comes down to what you are driven to do. If you wonder what it's like to run 100 miles, study it and do it. I thought it was crazy...and it my humble opinion it's all about adaptation and mental strength....what you think you can do translates to what you can matter what it is, not just with running...this translates to all aspects of life.

So woop dee dooo, I ran a 100+ mile week (all trails) and I was pretty happy and a little proud. More than that...the majority of those miles I ran with fellow running friends. I did a few faster runs on my own but the majority of the miles were with folks talking about life....sometimes about wool socks, shoe selections, various running related injuries, but for the most part, we were telling stories about our lives....funny stories about kids and college. If you think about it, we spend a couple hours running and talking....we share a lot of experiences. When the runs are over and we finish up our final comments, see who is doing what the next day, how far and where, I get in my car and literally have to sit back and review all the topics's a great community and great therapy.

The main reason that I am writing this post about running a 100 mile week is that a few years ago, I would have seriously told you I have no desire, need, or ability to run 100 miles in a week...let alone a 100 mile trail running race. I would have said it was not normal, necessary, or even healthy. If you are reading this and you are looking back at your own running goals and accomplishments, thinking "holy crap" that's just silly. I am simply writing this as an example of realizing what you can accomplish if you chip away at it and keep yourself focused on the goal. I'm not out there running these trails to beat other runners, I do it because I want to be better in life.

Inevitably friends & family will ask me about my running, how I do it, etc...I try to take a humble approach, but it's just such a great thing in life that it's honestly hard to not be excited about it. How does a full time worker, husband, father of 3 do it? I get up early or I run late at night, it's that simple....I get up at 4:30am and run...not everyday but for long runs I always do. If I need more miles during the week, I go after the kids are in bed and run in the dark. The most important thing is to be there for the family and at the age of my kids now, I want to be there to make my pancakes and smoothies when they are waking up and at an age that they still want to hang out with me. It might seem simple, but it keeps me focused and out of trouble. :)

Upcoming Events:
USSSA Snowshoe Race Series (Jan.15, Feb.11, Mar.3). Brought to you with Dion Snowshoes & Lake Metroparks.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Report: Run With Scissors Double Marathon

Here are my stats per my Garmin 310xt:
10:32:57 total time (4:44 = 1st marathon, 5:48 = 2nd marathon), 12:05 min/mile
Elevation: 9,962’ (Ascent 4,999’, Descent 4,963’)
Rank: OA - 10th

Video of the Wetmore section: Mud
Video compilation from the race: RWS
We started from the Ledges Shelter in CVNP on a chilly but clear day (10/30/11) in the park at 5am. From Outrun Mike Nicholson, Crystal & Chris Basich, & I were running the Double and Brian Pulling, Pam Rickard (Fellow RunWell Ambassador), Scott & Brie McGrew, Jack & Betty Sharpe, John Telich, Blondie Hinton, and Carol Krus ran the single. I saw a lot of familiar faces and it was great to see so many people getting out for the race.
Wetmore Trail Section

About mile 13 on the Bills Badass Loop

Another runner somewhere about mile 45 with some chickens
Mike & 3 others took off early in the run and I thought I was maybe top 10 assuming that there were people up front that I had not seen. Somewhere around mile 10 or so, I came out to cross the road and a lady in a car yells “you’re going the wrong way!” and points me in the right direction. A moment later, I see the race leaders coming down the path….I join up with them (after technically being in the lead for about 20 seconds) until they start to pull away. I ran in 5th place for the remainder of the loop, coming into the first marathon at 4:44 and for about another 5 miles I ran and talked with a strong runner, Jamie until he started to pick up the pace.
It was a blast to see all the single marathoners coming out from the 8:00 start as the double marathoners were heading back from the first loop. I passed Pam, Brian, Scott, Brie, Jack, & a number of others on their way out. Everyone was muddy; we all had a good mud cake layer from the shoes to the knees. It was the mud that made the already difficult task of running 52.4miles even harder. I saw Vince Rucci flying up one of the steeper switchbacks and shortly after I see the chasing lead guys for the single. They were flying! I think the winning time on the single was 3:13 whereas the double was 9:15 (Steven Zeidner). I would have a hard time running 3:13 on roads, let alone those crazy hills & mud, very impressed.
From roughly mile 31 to about 42 I did not see another person running behind me, did the Bills Badass loop and caught a glimpse of a runner about ½ mile chasing but in these races, the passing is often slow. About 2 miles later she passed looking strong. At the last aid station, I finally stopped and got a small cup of Coke as Rick Henderson caught up to me. Rick won the Men’s Masters USATF at BR100 this year so I was happy just to be at mile 50 before he caught me. He urged me to finish with him and although I resisted, not wanting to slow him down, I found another gear and we ran in strong. Two more guys came past us and looked so darn strong, we just let them go. I was happy just to have run well for so long. The mud really was taking its toll since you had to use a lot more of the stabilization muscles to stay upright. The hills were brutal and overall, it was a tough course. The last miles were nice knowing that you were close to the finish; we picked it up through the ledges and into the field for a final quarter mile. I looked at Rick and said “are we going to kick, or are we finishing together?” I am happy to say that in a race like this Rick & I finished together with smiles on our faces, doing the hetero-hand holding victory finish.
So, after all this…I am looking back and asking if I think I gave it all I had. I think I gave most of what I had. I walked the hills that needed walking and didn’t allow myself to get into a pattern of letting the walk linger once I topped the hill. I ran solo for so long that I didn’t have anyone to chase, hence increasing my effort. Even when I wanted to walk because the legs wanted to slow it down or the feet were tired, I urged myself to keep moving forward, but not just moving forward at a snail’s pace….I tried to pick it up to play with the energy expenditure and how much the legs felt when I ran quicker vs. just trotting along. Keep in mind at the second loop, everything I was doing was essentially an ultra-trot for me, not some elite runner’s version. Just like anything else, it was a learning experience.
Nutrition was really good. I was totally self-sustained with my Nathan 020 pack, 5 tabs of tropical fruit NUUN in 70oz of water, then two Hammer Perpeteum multi hour bottles, and about every hour I did 1 S-cap and 1 E-cap for good measure. I felt even overall and with the significantly decreased level of sugar in my system, it was such a relief to not have the highs & lows on the run. I didn’t have any gastro issues, cramps were kept at bay and I with the nuun every 5 mins or so for a light fruit flavor, I was able to tolerate the cafĂ© latte flavor for the 10+ hours.
Overall, a great race. Roy Heger and all the volunteers were great. Food was just what we needed after from Chef Bill.

Oh, and by the way… I will be representing RunWell at the Leadville 100 trail race in August, 2012. It’s going to be epic, brutal, and inspirational! We will be looking for 3-4 additional runners to join me at the event and the journey leading up to it.
If you know of anyone that might be interested, please check out the RunWell Event Calendar (Leadville to be posted soon) and contact me at:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Training: Sasha (trail & snowshoe buddy)

I think she loves the Fall as much as I do.

RunWell, literally.

There have been a couple of interesting things going on with running life lately. I mention the Burning River 100 mile race a lot because it was a big accomplishment to me. A few years ago I just said "those people" are crazy…referring to folks doing regular 100 milers and beyond; especially at paces that are simply amazing. With 3 young children, a full time career, and all the duties that come along with being a husband and "responsible" adult I am just happy that I have been given the opportunity and ability to be able to pursue something like trail & ultra-running. We are so fortunate to live within running distance to some of the best and most scenic trails in the area. 
With that said and thanks to social connections I've made through Outrun I was over-joyed to receive a phone call from Linda Quirk (Racing the Planet, Run 7 on 7, and now RunWell) for a little conversation or two that has turned into what I feel is a phenomenal opportunity. You may have seen communications on RunWell from Pam Rickard who has also taken a role with Linda where she is essentially promoting the mission of RunWell as well as embarking on an amazing journey in 2012 at the Gobi Desert! It's not often I get phone calls like that….wait, no….I've never gotten a phone call like that. These are things that you sit back and watch on the Discovery channel and think, that's amazing…. "I wish I could do that." Well, here it is…staring me in the face, with the caveat that you promote what you love to do and encourage others to do the same. No problem.

So, bottom line….I have accepted a spot as 1 of 4 US Ambassadors with RunWell (Non-Profit 501(3)(c)) to help promote the mission of recovery (drug, alcohol, & wellness) with a focus for now on the domestic Ultra & trail running scene (Leadville 100??). We'll look internationally later. For now, I am just happy to be a part of it. I feel that the focus on recovery through competing in events and raising funds & awareness for RunWell supports my perspective of the reasons why I have always pursued endurance sports. For me personally, it's been the element that helps keep me balanced in life and that is a big part of recovery and life in general.
If you take a look at all the folks in the local ultra-running community, it's staggering to try to keep up with all the good things that people are doing. I see people raising awareness & funds for all types of amazing non-profits like Girls With Sole (Liz Ferro), YMCA's, Camp Sunshine of Aurora, etc… How amazing is it to see people working so hard to accomplish things like running 100 mile races, desert expeditions, local 5k's, etc… and on top of it all working to help others! If you are not giving back to those around you, not bettering the community, not offering your skills to help, what are you doing it for?

Like I said, I'm excited to be a part of it. Outrun (group & team) will continue to progress through group runs, events, & discussion. We have members on the team who run for other organizations (both profit & non-profit). It's all such a great time to be a part of the growing sport of ultra-running.
So, there's the update on my little running life. I'm not elite, not the fastest guy in the pack, but I love the challenge & reward that comes from it, no matter how fast or slow I may be moving that day.


I have kept up with it….I love this little app on the droid called "100Pushups". I started being able to do like 44 good pushups straight, by week 2 was doing 65, and by week 3 or so I was able to knock out 103. I love it, it's simple, effective, and I can do it anywhere. I have taken it back a notch but work to complete at least 100 a day. I also picked up another app called Pull-ups and I am progressing on that to be able to complete 25 consecutive pull-ups. Both of these are in effort to work on things that I have always been pretty terrible at. Pull ups more than pushups, I don't think I've ever been able to do more than 15 at a time. I'm up to ~40 a night now (total set).

Shoe review:

Adidas Adistar XT-3 – (Weight: 10.4 oz (size 9)Stack Height: Heel (20mm), Forefoot (13mm); excludes 5mm average lug height. I don't see these on the Adidas website anymore, looks like they have been replaced by the Response Trail 18? I )I have got to admit after the great experience I had with the Boston II shoes, I took the recommendation from the Adidas rep for the XT3 at BR100. I am on my second pair of them now. I honestly would have been happy to run the entire 100 miles in them, if needed. I've talked about them a lot and have a couple friends loving them now, too.

Man, this has been, and will continue to be…a journey. I mentioned before that I have been giving the Hammer Perpetuem a serious second consideration for runs going beyond 3-4 hours. I am loving it. You simply load up the multi-hour bottle and sip on it every 10-15 mins. NO PROBLEMS! LOVE IT LOVE IT!!. I have finished a number of 4+ hour runs strong, no bonk, no gastro issues, etc. There is a little tweaking on the amount I intake per hour…but that is not bad. I load up with NUUN in my Nathan 020 hydration pack for my hydration & sodium plan, stash a few backup calories (Hammer Gel or similar) in the pack… but I have been so happy so far! We'll see how it all goes this weekend at the Run With Scissors Double Marathon.


Run With Scissors Double Marathon is next. I have the Autumn Leaves 5miler (I know, short) Then we have the upcoming Snowshoe Race Series (registration opening 11/7) and planning a 24 hour trail race in April. 
Leadville 100 or Cascade Crest 100 are the ultras I am looking at for RunWell. I am also wanting to get into The Mountain Masochist 50mi Fall, 2012. 

The list for the RWS is looking pretty good. I think there are like ~65 people signed up for the double and more for the single. I'm excited to do this one, it's going to be nothing but fun!!!!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Training: Cookies & Pushups

Regardless of the sport or athletic endeavor that I have been involved with over the years, nutrition has played such a critical role that it amazes me what I am still learning. As I mentioned in a recent post, I spent a bunch of time talking with folks about the issues that I had during BR100 and potential solutions for getting the nutrition plan in place, at least during the events.
A couple years ago I met with Lee Ann DiBiasi, a nutritionist in with Summa Wellness Hudson OH who did a complete nutritional analysis for me based on my weight, target weight, activity levels, and specific caloric plans for long runs. I learned a lot from it and I am pretty certain she told me everything that I needed to know, what to do, literally almost how to do it, and more information beyond that….but here we are 3 years later and I am struggling with it. This is not to say that I struggle with normal training, eating, and so forth. I struggle with taking the time to plan out my nutritional needs for longer events. As a father of 3 young children, working full time, and husband I am lucky that I even have enough time to train for ultra marathons. I know that I am not alone in this (or very similar) situation. I struggle with the fact that despite I know that 6-8 cookies per night do not do good things for me, I reach for them anyways…. As I reach for the cookie, I even say in my head “DON’T DO IT”…..but then will power dies and the cookie wins.

So, what to do? I think like any other thing that you want to accomplish that you are having a hard time with you’ve got to start chipping away at it one bit (or cookie) at a time. I can’t go cold turkey for a long time, so I have just started to have less and less every day.

Nutrition on the trails
Here is where I have had some success in the past month or so. I have become quite the fan of the Hammer Perpeteum multi-hour bottle and a Nathan HPL#020 hydration pack filled with 60-70oz with nuun. Every 10-15mins I take a decent sip from the multi-hour bottle and in between, I keep the nuun/water flowing. I have not been able to go longer than 3.5 hours at a time in the past month, but so far everything has been excellent. No digestive issues, no bonking, no cramps, not tired of the flavor. Interesting that last summer I tried it and never liked it. I always make my food the night before my long runs, races….well, as I understand it with Perpeteum and their Sustained Energy products, there are no artificial preservatives, so they sort of….spoil overnight and especially in warm weather. I always noticed this and had 3 bottles of it in the Summer Buckeye 50k last year which must have spoiled…..well, I fell out of love of it and that was that.
Former NFL player and current MMA fighter, Herschel Walker’s weight plan was all body weight activities with only three main exercises: Sit-ups, Push-ups, & Chin-ups. Google the guy, you’ll see articles and interviews from him, extremely determined person, positive, and driven to continually progress positively in life. The other key to his physical success was his nutrition plan. According to the articles I was reading, he ate very little, and only one meal a day….~1,200 Kcals per meal. I think I would faint on that level of food, but it worked for him and continues to work. Anyhow, he is well known for his rigorous body weight training. Here is the excerpt from the article above:
Every Day:
750-1,500 Pushups
2,000-3,500 Situps.
That’s it.

So, about a week ago I downloaded an app on the droid called ‘100pushups’ with the intent that by the end I can complete 100 pushups straight. 7 days in and I’m up to 150 a night at this point (in 5 sets) and the reps just keep growing each day. I read about Walker and thought that if I can do a couple hundred a day, it would benefit my upper body, core, etc…. Ultra runners aren’t known for looking like MMA fighters, so I am just looking for core strength, muscle lean-ness, and a little body fat loss.

It’s all such an interesting journey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Running: I wish I was a fly

This one's not about running, just a pure moment that I wish I could have filmed with my son over the weekend.

I spent a good 8-9 hours this past weekend chain-sawing and splitting wood. When I was about done, my young son came out and wanted to watch me for a while and help me stack the split wood. The area where I was doing all this work is in the back corner of my lot by an older shed, wooded, with  enough moss cover on the ground to allow you to sit or lay down comfortably. We sat there on the moss for a while enjoying the peaceful moment that I don't often get. While we sat there, a really large hoverfly flew over to check out the wood stack. We sat there for probably 10 minutes watching this fly hover, check out the new surroundings, shift from side to side, stop, move, stop, land, get back up and look for bees for it to eat, and every so often check us out. My 3 yr old says "I wish I was a fly, I would fly all over, over the house, in the house" he said this a couple times and I could see how he was intently studying this insect and imagining himself flying around in just the same way. I felt like if I could look into his mind for a minute I would see the view from his eyes of him  imagining himself flying over the house on this gorgeous blue sky day, then shooting into the house, through the rooms, down the hall and into his room to play.

The hoverfly eventually tired of us, we finished up the wood and headed to the side yard where my 4 legged trail running buddy was laying down in her favorite spot. We sat down next to her and rubbed her belly. My son says to me "I wish I was a dog" and I when ask him why he says "So, I could eat dog treats." I said, "well, you can have a dog treat right now if you want, buddy"....he thinks for a second and says "I think I want to be a fly."


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running: My legs were pissed at me, so I took the elevator today.

It's been about 5 weeks since BR100 and I have been having a lot of fun. Quite on purpose, I did not schedule anything on the remaining 2011 calendar as far as ultra's go. It's biting me a little bit because I would love to do a couple of them that are timed well and are already sold out.

I was "running" on day 2 after br100, but ended up running myself over to the pool and aqua jogging a while. I think I logged about 25 miles that week, and a couple 1,000meters in the pool. By week 2 I was up to 45 or so, and by now I logged 50 last week as well as a 60 mile road ride. My speed is not there, but it'll come.
So, after all the wondering about what happened to me shooting for a 22-24hr 100 miler, I realized that I showed up with a fuel tank full of nothing (did not even eat breakfast, idiot), and tried to chase that for the rest of the run. Why? Who knows, maybe I was getting over confident and under-experienced about it all. So, long story short....I have spent some time talking to folks who know what they are doing with regards to nutrition (thank you Crystal & Chris Basich, and Jody @ Fleet Feet!). Looks like for now, I have settled on getting my calories through multi-hour bottles of Hammer Perpetuum. It may change, but I am going to stick with the plan for a while and see how it goes. At least I know what I really need to do now.

I'll continue to pop my nuun tabs as my hydration strategy and may even mix 'em all together for some ultra martinis (although, I have a couple friends who use it for the morning after a few too many beverages :)

With all that said, as I was talking to folks about it, I kept thinking that I had been doing this to myself for a couple of years. A 50k or even 50 miler, you can get away with a lot of different products...I still think I could run an ultra on coffee and cookies..... but it all reared it's ugly head at BR100, exposing the fact that my calorie plan was simply not up to par. My hydration plan has been solid for a while, especially since I discovered nuun, but it's the calories that really made me suffer. Such an interesting sport, this is why the experienced runners do so well, they know what works, what doesn't work, and continually tweak it as time marches on.

Blah blah blah, so what's next?? Run With Scissors Double Marathon if family, work, travel all work out. If not, I am going to reproduce the Johnson Five-0 (50 miler), shirts and all.

After RWS, looks like the USSSA (US Snowshoe Association) accepted my January 15th Race as a State Championship race and qualifier for the USSSA Nationals in Frisco, CO! Boo yah! I feel kind of like I have discovered an untapped market in Ohio, we have snow, we have winter athletes, why not race on the
snowshoes??? Well, I got a 3 race series planned for you:

Jan.15th - 5k/10k USSSA National Qualifier, Lake Farmparks, Kirtland Oh.
Feb.11th - 5k Race at Girdled Rd.
Mar.03rd - 5k Race at Chapin Forest (night race), under the lights.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Training: Smoky Mountain Running

I have asked a lot of my friends in the past this question “what would you do if money was not an issue but you had to work?” Meaning that you have to work but you would never have to worry about funding your life expenses. It’s the old adage of find your dream and make it happen. We spent the last week in the Smoky Mountains on an awesome family vacation. This blog is about running, so I will not stray too much from that path…..but running is a part of life and so they often collide.

I spent a large part of my life in Tennessee, high school and undergraduate academics then left to go back to Florida. As we were driving closer to Knoxville on our way to the Smoky Mountains for a family vacation, I had all these memories flooding my mind from all these experiences I had growing up exploring the parks and city in the area. I must have said “…this is where I used to mountain bike, road ride, hike, fly fish, trail run, backpack, etc…etc...” about a hundred times to anyone within ear shot of me. Every time I came across an area, I realized that I had story upon story to share about where I got stung by hornets, caught my first brook trout, ran 16 miles and needed toilet paper (used leaves), ran into black bears, how fast I climbed Clingman’s Dome on my road bike, how fast I descended, saw a red wolf, saw tracks, found my favorite quiet spots, on and on and on. With all this pouring into my mind, I did plan one long run and it did not disappoint.
I started from the house we have rented over the past 20 years and ran 2.7miles up to the Rainbow Falls trail head. I knew it was going to be rough when I was already walking a good portion due to the 96 degree heat and tremendous incline on the road. I averaged a 10 min mile for the first 3 miles, showing up to the trail head soaking wet, but smiling. More than 10 years ago I started from the trail head and ran the entire trail up to Mt.Leconte, the second highest peak in the Smokies (2nd to Clingmans Dome) only by about 200 feet. Driving to Clingmans is about 27 miles from the bottom to the top. This trail does it in 6.5 miles. It’s about 4,000 feet vertical change. I “ran” for as long as it made sense…..lasting about 2 miles before I decided to speed hike up the trail. I was planning on a trail marathon that day, but when I hit the peak 10 miles later at over 3 hours… was time to realize that although the view was spectacular, I had a family waiting for me at the bottom. I took a few photos, a couple bouncy videos, and decided to make the descent back to the house. It took me 1hr 30mins to descend what took me more than twice as long to go up. Admittedly, it was some fancy footwork down the trail and I stopped at each waterfall to dump my nuun visor in to cool me off, but man o man I love to run fast down hill.
As I ran the trails that day, I took the time to revel in the memories I had created in the past years on these same trails…they hadn’t changed much but I sure had. The last time I ran these, I was working as a drug/alcohol counselor after finishing my undergrad and would come to the Smokies after work to run and then fly fish until it got dark. I wasn’t married, no kids, I could do what I wanted essentially. Now, I have a large family waiting for me to come home and tell more stories, share food and drink with. Which one is better? It has all been amazing, but when it all comes down to it, the family is what provides that main ingredient to the drive that I have had all my life. The following day, I took the family with me to a spot in the mountains that only locals know about. As we were walking up the trails, we passed an older couple who smiled seeing all my kids walking up and they said “starting them off right” as they passed me. I smiled and said it was 100x better than video games and sitting inside. It was how I grew up, how I live now and how I want my kids to be. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned being in the outdoors. You just don’t learn about the cycle of life while you are playing first person shooter games on the xbox…well, you do but it’s violent and demented. While walking up a trail to a waterfall and my 5 year old is asking questions, I turned to her to ask her how waterfalls start. She immediately said from rain but when I asked her how the rain all gathered together to form a creek and eventually waterfall, she literally pointed out a little creek and we sat to examine it coming out of the moss, across the trail, down the hillside and to a larger creek. Look, we didn’t discover electricity, but she learned what a lot of kids don’t get to experience. I know I am rambling, but the point is that we need to get ourselves and our kids off our asses and get outside. I am not going to start quoting stats about the obesity rates in the US or in certain parts of the world. I think we all know how large the average US person is becoming.
My personal answer to the question posed in the beginning of this rambling blog is not completely concrete but it is swimming in an answer of inspiration. I love to be active, it keeps me sane and relatively balanced….without it I become a bit of a grouch. Why can’t we take something as raw an pure as running and inspire people to do it? Maybe it takes us running extreme distances like 100 miles or more for people to say “well heck, if they can run 100 miles, maybe I can get out and walk for a mile?” That’s it, that’s the magic of it…..someone watches, reads, hears about someone doing something amazing and they are inspired to do a little bit more than what they did yesterday, then tomorrow they do it again. I love people, I love meeting people and talking and hearing stories about what they are doing and exchanging personal stories that allow us to relate to one another. So, take all that and inspire people. I want to have a job that allows me to be with my family & friends and inspire anyone that I can. That’s it. So, with that….I am working to make it happen. It is this passion where the OUTRUN team came from, this drive to do what we love to do in a positive and social atmosphere, it is this that drives us to create our running events, multisport events, epic runs, etc…. there is a will, and we are finding ways to make it happen.

Race Report: Burning River 100 Mile Trail Run

Womens Cleveland Marathon Winner High 5'ing!

I hardly know where to begin, every day that passes since this event finished I have more thoughts and memories coming back to me. I'll start with the facts about the race for me. The number one most important thing was to finish, I wanted to run an easy 50 miles then try to maintain a sub 24 hour overall pace for the event. I did 28 hrs 45 mins, the longest I have ever run, the longest non-stop endurance event I have ever done. The only other events I have done were 24 hours or less and those were not official events, just challenges.

Kevin, Radames, & I pre BR100
Here's the standard report:
I did not feel good until about mile 34 when i finally overcame the calorie deficit that I had established early on in the race. I ran the first 10 right on track, very very humid, and draining more than I knew. I did not eat enough dinner, breakfast, or at the aid stations for the first few hours. If there was anytime in the race where I thought I didn't belong, it was right about mile 20 when I was walking already and starting to take in coke. I managed to get in the calories, catch up, run the hot-ass towpath, catch up to Kevin at 33, then started feeling really strong until about mile 50, ran that hard loop, met up with JP (Pacer 1) and away we went, back into calorie battles. 58 I ate a ton of food after we were both stung by hornets, made some friends and away we went....feeling much better. The next 22 miles were a challenge of walking, running, and playing with the time I got to 80 (Pacer 2, Brad) i was well into my speed walking and continued to do so for the last 20 miles, running only a few miles near the end.

Here is what I liked:
Positive-ness!!!!! I loved meeting people and seeing all these crazy people doing this crazy thing. It was NOT as hard as you think, it was just as hard as my other runs, just a lot damn longer. This whole thing became a battle of the calories for me, it distracted me from the length of the event, how many miles were left, etc, etc... The best part was running through a major low, then running with two amazing pacers. I truly owe it to JP & Brad for getting me through so much of that race. The other thing was the people at the aid stations, holy sh*t! I could not believe the outpouring of people volunteering, pacing, cheering, at all hours of the night all around this crazy event. 400+ volunteers for 300+/- starting runners! Amazing!

Team Outrun: 4 entered, 4 finished! with a +50% drop out rate, we friggan killed it!!

I slept at the finish (below) in front of the pizza shop, slept after taking a shower at home, put on the compression socks and slept, ate, then slept some more. Caught a plane to Milwaukee and here I sit in the hotel room with good legs and barely swollen feet. All I had was a blister on the left foot but I sit here still proud of all the runners, proud of myself, and a little sad that it's over. Was it everything that I expected? No, not was more than I expected and I feel a pretty strong sense of pride for everyone, what an amazing experience.
Happy to sleep at the finish

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Race Plans: So, maybe it's a little crazy

This might be a little boring, but I need to write this out to make sure that I document some of my thoughts from a recent night training run.

Burning River 100 is getting close quickly (<4 weeks) and I am pretty confident in my race strategy. Ultimately the goal is to finish strong, regardless of the timing. I would like to be somewhere around 24 hours. Last weekend a bunch of folks met up for Mike George's annual Firecracker 40 BR100 training run that started at 7pm and ended for my little group a little before 4am (it's NOT A RACE :).

The start was muggy and very sunny, we made a few last minute changes to handhelds, shirts, food, etc...then took off. After an hour or two we ended up with a group with a girl named Chris, Marco, Mike N., and myself. My headlamp promptly gave out and eventually died, but I managed to run on someone's shoulder without biting the dirt. The trails were absolutely beautiful, weather was near perfect, we had aid stations along the way. I could write a play by play here, but this is a training run...the important thing was to determine what I learned from it.

     Shoes - I am 100% certain that I am going with the Adidas Adizero Boston road shoes.
     Hydration - 1 Ultimate Direction handheld, & maybe a little spy belt. NUUN tabs and Coke in the end.
     Socks - smartwool PhD
     Headlamp - picked up a PETZL Tikka
     Shorts - Pearl Izumi FLY
     Shirt - Pearl Izumi FLY

Food - probably the biggest portion of what I learned on the run, I did not take in enough whole/real food like I normally do on 50 milers. It wasn't until the last mile of the run where we pushed it a little bit and I started to feel a little nausea. I backed off for a couple hundred yards and felt fine. I've got to make sure that I eat my PB&J's, rice burrito's, cookies, I would normally. Aside from the nutrition and the headlamp, the simple fact that we were running through the night an absolutely essential training run.

So, next week we are heading to the Smoky Mountains and with regards to training, I will do a couple easy runs and I have planned out a 50k that hits the 4 highest peaks in the park. The trail guide suggests covering the route in 4 days. I'd like to do it in 6 hours, taking photos, self aided, should be awesome!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Race Report: "What do you want to do?......I want to finish"

Last weekend I ran the HTI 50 miler, and bagged the Mohican 50 miler so I could run with my oldest daughter on her very first 5k race. There were about 50 kids from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades who have been running twice a week at school and the whole program culminated with a 5k race finishing in the local baseball stadium.

Since school ended, I signed her up to run a beginner trail running series (as the youngest participant - 9yrs old) and she has been knocking out a 3mi run every week. I pace/teach/coach/egg on/push/encourage her on every mile. She may not know what it all means yet, but it is extremely meaningful for me as her father. We don't worry about pace, time, or speed....just enjoying the process and putting forth the effort. When she tried to walk too long I say "We didnt come here to walk, you know how to do that!" she probably wants to smack me....

The race: so, we start the run....a bunch of her friends are there, some other runners from Team OUTRUN are there and I am ready with my camera, as usual. Mile 1 is done in about 12 mins, she is smiling, having fun, pacing well, looking fantastic, doing the utlra shuffle....about 1/4mi later, she is cramping in her stomach. Walk, take your time I say.....dont worry about the pace, walk a minute, run a bit. Cramps get worse, water is good, food was good.....(except for the huge amount of candy from the festival last night.). I ask the volunteers on the course where a porto is....NO Portolets on the course......not good. We go off course about 1/2 mile, find an automotive shop that is open, use the the race has passed us. We run to catch up, get past the cop car, cramps are still bad (abdominal, not legs). I tell her we can walk the rest of the course. She says she doesn't want to be last and I tell her no matter what she will not be last, I will. I will finish behind her.

The officer asks "hey, you wanna ride back to the finish in style?"...I look at her and say, "you can ride back with the officer or you can finish....what do you want to do?..........I want to finish", she says. Pride boils up in my chest, and I tell her she can run it in or walk it....we decide to walk it in.

So, there we are with a atv next to us, cop behind us, 10 cars behind the cop, walking down the road, crossing an 8 lane intersection with traffic stopped in all lanes, we walk hand-in-hand across, smiling...not a care in the world. I was so happy to be with her for those moments, so happy. We walked it all the way in, into the stadium where they were calling out her name, she kicked the last 50 feet...I stayed a couple seconds behind her and proudly took last place. Her friends showered her with hugs and water, my wife was able to make it to the race, it was truly amazing. She was proud of herself and said it was the hardest thing she had ever done. I asked her later if she would have finished if I wasn't there. She said no and I told her how incredibly proud I was to do that with her. I don't know how she will remember it, but it was a very proud moment for me. She never gave up, never gave up, and I know she was hurting.....she was hurting pretty well but never gave up, looks I might have a little ultra runner on my hands. Or, just a little girl who doesn't give up, so much more proud of the latter.

She felt fine afterwards, seems to have been too much candy the night before, ate too close to the race start and just a tough effort overall.

you just can't top running moments like that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Race Report: HTI 50miler, Team OUTRUN / Fleet Feet / Nuun

HTI 50 Mile Trail Run
This is going to be a multipart or potentially long a$$ blog update. At the HTI 50 miler  this past weekend, I got to talking with a fellow runner about the team and realized that beyond the facebook group, I have not been marketing too much with the team.

Let me start with Outrun (Ohio Ultra Trail Runners) which began as a group of about 6 runners (Laurie C, Radames C., Chris B., Crystal B., Kevin T.) one morning while we were knocking out a long run in Holden Arboretum in Kirtland Ohio. We ran along thinking that there was a great local road running club, NERC but not a group of Ultra/Trail Runners. We played with acronyms for a while and came up with North East Ultra Trail Runners.....Neutr. Yes, Neutr....just like it sounds. We liked it, it was funny and quirky, but with the hopes of taking this a little further than shirts and group runs.....we eventually had to grow up just a little. I brought the group to the internet and printed shirts, started organizing group runs.... Long story short, we ended with OUTRUN. I grabbed a website and here we are....about 110 members in the Facebook group and a 23 member Ultra Running team. All this in about 6 months. Just for reference, we are just beginning. My ambitions do not stop with a series of group runs and race kits.

Team OUTRUN: Let me explain about the team. I am neither an elitist socialite nor athelete. I have been more than moderately sucessfull as a soccer player (div champs / college soccer), lacrosse player (State All Star), cyclist (Cat. III / II), triathelete (competitive AG & OA), and now runner (happy)...sorry, let the ego run on that one.....My family and work have and always will come first and although I have had opportunites in the past to take sports further, I have deferred to a professional career & family path. I literally love to train, I love the process of putting in challenging efforts into workouts in less than favorable weather conditions. Perfect weather is great, but in NE Ohio, it's hard to come by. I am not an elite marathoner, nor will I ever be but I love the process of training, the experience of pushing yourself alone or in a group knowing that 99% of the world is not working as hard as you but that there are a bunch of other people out there in that 1% that love the same process.

My goal with creating the team was to create an atmosphere where people who put in the effort, dedication, and passion for trail/ultra running regardless of how fast (or slow) they can do it, can all come together and share that passion and enjoyment on the trails. As far as I could tell in the running community around where I live, there was a gap for a running club and even a team. Outrun was born.

We partnered with Fleet Feet a few months ago and Pearl Izumi to provide our race kits with designs that I literally drew in MS Paint in my spare time. I have been abusing Pearl Izumi products for as long as I was racing bicycles competitively. To this day, I have shorts that I still wear after literally thousands of miles. I was really happy to see that they had entered the running industry a number of years ago. We have not been disappointed, we went with the FLY Pro collection and it literally is the nicest fabric I have ever worn. Printing on the shirts / jackets is to be completed tomorrow and we are all anxiously awaiting.

Nuun: I have been using nuun since I found it at a bicycle shop about 2 years ago. I wish I had contacted them sooner. I have been opening salt tabs and pouring them into my bottles the night before races, putting the little pills in ziplock bags, only to find out that I could simply drop these little nuun tablets into my bottles to get a little flavor (or a lot) as well as my sodium & potassium. I have lost the pills, run out of them, gotten to an aid station 4hrs into a run to find all the ecaps gone. Oh well, lesson learned and now my appreciation is that much higher. Nuun sponsored our ultra team and we are on the verge or receiving our product just in time before the Burning River 100mile Endurance Trail Run next month. This pic of the nuun tattoo is after 50 miles of trails (Hauling Illegal Trails 50 miler) on Saturday. I set a personal record, and technically won the event....but it wasn't a race. If it was, I would not have won, there is always someone faster and I am very okay with that.
Nuun in my veins!!!!
We are still in the process of seeking out sponsors that we WANT to support. I don't want to turn this into just searching for any sponsor. I want to feel good about the logos on my back, sleeve, leg, forehead, etc...Quite honestly, I am looking for a good local coffee sponsor at the moment. Coffee is a part of my regimine and I want to be able to provide marketing for a company that will help us at local races, etc...

My Created Races / Events in 2011:Lake Erie Snowshoe Championship race at the lake Farmparks in February.
Bi-Park Challenge 25, 50, 75K
10k / 5k Trail Race - Sept. 10/11, tbd.

We've got a lot going on and a lot of great runners doing great things. The next event hosted by a team member is by Laurie Colon for Impossible 2 Possible (I2P) on August 13th that is a fundraiser for I2P. This is just all such positive stuff, I can't get enough! We are running literally to raise funds to provide opportunites for other people!

out for now....z

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gear Review: Adidas adizero Boston 2 Men's Shoes

I have got to make a quick product review of my shoes. I don't often do this, but yesterday I knocked out a 50 mile trail run, the Hauling Trail Illegal 50 Miler completely in Adidas Boston 2 Road shoes. I killed my PR by about 20 minutes and did it in a pair of Smart Wool Mens PhD Light socks, Green Superfeet inserts & these shoes below. I have been having issues with plantar fasciitis and some ankle issues. The best combination I have found are these shoes. They still fit my needs for lightweight everyday training shoe, but with ample firm but soft cushioning in the forefoot. The upper breathes well and even on the off-camber slopes, roots, mud, etc... my foot was secure enough in the minimal upper. Let me say that I run nearly 100% of my trail runs in trail shoes; this was an experiment for me. So, with that solid test and a course "win" (not an official race ;), I will be wearing these at my next race...the Burning River 100 mile endurance trail run.
 Anyhow, this is what I am sticking to. I will pickup another pair over the next week or two as my mileage is creeping up on my current pair. I think I'll go for the green ones this time around. Very happy with the shoe.....and very happy with yesterday's results. Off to go do some eating to replenish the calories burned, baby!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Training: Cross Training

I've spent the last week off of the feet due to a traveling series of injuries. I am nearly done with it, but the week of coincided well with the need to taper for this weekends Hauling Illegal 50miler in North Chagrin. I've just been doing heavy core work and hitting the o man do I miss my bike. Thoughts and memories of literally decades of countless hours on the bike, all the experiences, all the hills, cold, heat, wind, rain, sleet, sprints, dogs, pace lines, burning legs, and land speed record attempts. Wow, just writing all that now reminds me of the pure joy of riding. I was carving down a short,steep, and well curved hill today about 40mph and I bet my smile was a mile wide. climbing back up around Holden Arboretum while the sun was nearly setting.....

well, with that being said. I think i am going to dedicate myself back to more cross training. I could feel that my once nearly unstoppable sprints and rolling hills abilities are long gone.....4 years of running has changed my perspective. I miss the pain of cycling, I never got injured (except for crashes), but man did i love the feeling of exhaustion in my legs as i walked the stairs in the morning to the office reminding me the effort of the previous days workout. Running is similar, but different. Gotta get back, gotta get back!!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Training: Raccoons make strange noises

Look, I have always known this, but while I was on a solo night run last night coming through Waite Hill I was startled as a little family of raccoons suddenly made a sharp bunch of just strange little scream-bark-screech-squeal noises. 2 seconds later......silence. Back to plodding along the roads.

Training: I've had a number of really good training months, have a self-aided 50mile on 6/11 with some friends at the N.Chagrin reservation that will be a key training run/week in preparation for BR100. I was filling in my log the other day and realized that year over year I have come a long way as far as the training goes and how my ability has increased. It's such an amazing journey as time progresses in running. Last year, a 4-5 hour run was a pretty big deal in my, it's a part of my regular regimen.

Ultrarunning: It's such an interesting sport that really appears to be gaining traction in the main stream running community. It reminds me a little of cyclocross in comparison to the road & mtn.biking communities. Secretly, I want ultra running to remain as a quiet & less than popular sport, but as time progresses, I am seeing "ultras" as a common term, stories of regular people running long distances, the Born to Run phenom, vibram five fingers, etc. I just read a story of a college distance runner who literally by the grace of God, ran 120 miles from college to his home. He left the school with nothing but the shoes & clothes he had on, relying on the kindness of strangers for food, lodging, water. If no one had told the story to the newspaper, it would be the way that ultra running should be, without glamor and fame.....just the runner making the journey.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ultra Team: OUTRUN / Fleet Feet / Nuun

Looks like we have managed to put together a pretty good group of 23 people on the Team OUTRUN / Fleet Feet / Nuun. Strong group of good people. We are not all elite, but I think that we have the right mentality.

Training: I feel like a million bucks but I sure am tired of my wandering foot injuries. Mortons Neuroma to Plantar Faciitis to some weird ankle issue. I know, I know, need to get off the foot. Get back on the bike. Maybe I will. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Training: Man up

I spent years on the bike, riding hard everyday. Quite honestly, I preferred to train more than I enjoyed racing. As much as I wanted to see that I was faster than most of the guys out there, I always got more satisfaction beating my own times than beating others. I didn't train hard for them, I did it for me. Years later, due to kids, work, etc...I started running to reduce training time. 20 hours a week on the bike is not all that do-able as a 30 something father of three.

So, I hit the trails. I am not fast, I say, but why not step it up and push it? Why is it that I am my own worst enemy on the ultra training and racing. Problem is, I have demonstrated that I am fast enough to be competitive. I train like I am training to go somewhere. Maybe I need to read my own words to realize that I need to man up. I don't train on speed but I can pretty easily take 2nd place at multiple short races....just need to enjoy the fact that I am able to run hard, for crap's sake! get out an run like you want to!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Race Report: Fools 50k & John

I made a realization after the Fools 50k that I have not been training my long runs fast enough. So, Saturday I ran with Mike at North Chagrin. I can't tell if it was fast for him, but there were a few moments that I realized my legs aren't back from Fools. After a few years of this ultra stuff and I am still not pushing it like I should. Aerobic capacity is excellent now, but I have not been pushing training at race pace at all. Partially or mostly because I am training for BR100 and that is not meant to be a fast one, just a get it done one. But after all these years of cycling so hard lead me to think that I should stop trying to be competitive. Not so, I have competed with myself for years, slowly progressing without pushing the pace too much. Time to step it up some more.Make friends with pain and you will never be alone. I need to be a more loyal friend to pain.

I pulled up at 5:30am to find Fransisco's front end of the car parked in the ditch. I asked him why he was in the ditch. We tried some pushing & pulling, but no luck. Did a loop and came back. Fransisco started vomiting about 15mins into the run....and continued to do so until we circled back and dropped him back at the car. We made light of it and joked that he had made a really strong first impression. Mike & I continued on for a couple more fast loops, just what I needed. He's quick and light. We got talking about cycling among other topics, really enjoyed the conversation. Realizing that my Step-Dad's funeral was getting closer, we cut the run a little short. I suppose I really didn't want to accept it was time.

John was a runner long before I was. When he was home, he got up at 4am, drank his coffee, smoked his Captain Black in his pipe and ran ~8 miles each day, 6-7 days a week, hard. He justified the pipe smoking because he ran and in the end it took him quite savagely. I tried running with him when I was about 15yrs old. I was no slouch when it came to running due to soccer and cycling, but he was just relentless. I couldn't hang with him for more than 2-3 miles, he was posting 6:45's in daily runs as comfortably as I run 8's these days. If he decided to put himself up against the local age groupers in a 10k, he usually took top 3, puked and smiled. I think he liked to just set an occasional benchmark of how he rated. The importance wasn't how you compared against everyone else, but where you rated against yourself. Every so often, it's fun to do so. Just to know. 

He didn't look back, he was quite literally always looking forward. To me, as a kid, it seemed like his mind had already gone somewhere where it wanted to be, somewhere it was going to be. When I finally broke his concentration, his steely eyes seemed to pierce me, made me feel like a kid every time.

When things start to feel like slacking, I think of him and it gives me that extra kick in the ass to get it into gear, find another gear, get it done right. I never got to run a marathon or an ultra with him....I am pretty sure he would have loved the challenge.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race Report: Fools 50k Initial comments

Had a pretty good race today. I finally took the plunge after so many ultras to literally try to race one. I wanted to be about 4:45, but ended up 5:24. the 25k split I was at 2:20, well on my way to a sub-5, but it was not in the cards today. I ran hard, felt good, took only 1 tumble, and left the Garmin in the car, great choice.

I think overall, it set me for 10th place (mens) and about 14th overall, so, a PR and decent place...can't be too unhappy about that!

So, recovery has been fine. We'll do a light run tomorrow or core work. Next is Mohican 50mi.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Race Plans: Fools, Mohican, BR100, Ironcross

I love how blogs seem like something that you are going to write on such a regular basis. For me, not so much. Here's where I am at with the running:. After a phenomenal Johnson 5-0 @ 9hrs 40mins, the thoughts crept into my head about doing a 100miler.

So, that's where I'm at now. Fools 50k this Sunday, hosting an ultra (Storm the Castle or Tri-Park Challenge) May 1st, Mohican 50 miler June 18th, and BURNING RIVER 100 on on July 30th. I've logged a ton of miles, injury free, gone vegetarian, still working towards minimalist footwear, good form strides, and feeling really good. The goal for BR100? 20-24 hrs.

This fall? Either IronCross 100k CX race in PA or Oil Creek.....we'll see how the cards fall.