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.