Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 665-666 No Signs Here

"No sane man will dance. "

Here is my new made up term of the day. Runce. Runcing is what I've decided I will be doing at every stop light I hit from now on. Runce is a combination of the words, "Run" and "Dance". Please note they are not combined because they are better together or because I'm great at both, because I can't quite DO either. However instead of trying to stretch, or jog in place, or just stand there and not look cold. I've decided I will Runce. Why waste an extra 1.2 minutes just standing there getting a quick gawk and a turn away. I say PUT ON A SHOW! Now normally since I run late at night it makes little difference since no one is there. (I did get a few honks from the two cars who saw me last night.) However I have on a few longer runs lately been out when the sun is up. Subsequently I have had a few "captive" audiences, and I say its time to perform! There are so many good reasons for this its hard to list them all. First of all, some might say my dance skills are a little bit lacking. (In fact after attending one dance in my school days, a friend of mine got asked if I was mentally retarded, foh realz). So I figure if I practice, it can't hurt right? Second, its good cross training. It breaks up the monotony of muscle use on a long run. Finally, people need a good laugh. And if I can provide it, I say Pop-Rock on! (OK there is an acknowledged risk of injury...)

What dance moves do you bust out on your runs?

For inspiration, you've probably seen these running related dancers....there is an animal theme here...

665 1.1 in 11:45
666 2.0 in 26:12 Hurt my foot, there was a lot of limping. It may have helped my dancing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 661-664 Dream the Impossible Dream...

""Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible." - Doug Larson

Now I'm NOT saying running goals in general or any of my specific running goals would constitute anything close to one of the world's greatest feats, but I do like the sentiment of this quote. We listen to so much "intelligent advice" which says you can't do this, and that is impossible, and stop jumping on the bed, you're an adult! I say, "I like to bounce!" So go make friends with the impossible. Hang out with them, spend some quality time, go for a cup of great tasting coffee at work (impossible right?!), go running today, tomorrow, and every day, have fun at work (c'est possible?), enjoy a great tasting rutabaga. Who knows, maybe the conventional "wisdom" is wrong....

Day 661 - 4.5 in 48.26 Keep running when it's cold outside and there is a warm house waiting for you? Yeah right.
Day 662 - 1.0 in 11:24
Day 663 - 13.5 in 2:48:20 Fun on a long run? Impossible!
Day 664 - 3.0 in 28:00
Day 664 pt 2 1.5 in 18:13 Two runs in one day! Whoah!

Three weeks of the ultramarathon program done? Fuhget about it...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 659-660 The Long, Cold Winter

"Every mile is two in winter." ~George Herbert

I'm not sure if George the social philosopher was talking about running, but even if he wasn't it fits. Right now it feels like this is the time where most folks in the running blahgosphere have just finished their fall marathon/half/something or other and are settling in for a nice four months by the fire. Training is drawn back, goals are things to be considered next spring, I've even seen some year in review posts. To all this I say,

"May I join you?"

No no no no NO! Wrong answer, self. You must not give in! Instead I muster all my strength, put on my hat, gloves, and four layers of clothing, puff out my chest and say,

"But it's warm inside!"

/backhanded slap across the face to self. NO! Get your backside out there, keep it padded for when you fall and go spread eagle on the ice, and START RUNNING.

Ultra training moves one step forward.

p.s. Mental note: It would help if you stopped running at midnight...

659 2.0 in 23:11
660 2.0 in 21:12

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 653-658 Sick to my Stomach

I really would like to write about other things.... I would like to write about further run ins with the ghost possums which happened this weekend on a quick trip to Iowa. I would prefer to write about skpping my first workout on the ultra plan. I would much rather write about some crazy hijinks involving me getting accepted into running "sponsorship" programs (ok more to come on that later.) BUT I CAN'T!

Why? Because I'm sick. I have become physically ill. Here is the source. Mr. Try Running ran his first 2:57!!!?!?!....finishing in 16th overall!?!!?...good googly. Well done! The sickness is an ongoing joke I have with him, to further accentuate the fact that he is amazingly fast, and I am, well...I make a nice tiramisu. (Who am I kidding? I don't even make my own lunch :)

Grats to TryRunning (Boston Qualifier!) and all the other peeps having amazing runs!

653 2.0 in 22:14
654 1.90 in 20:12 (Ghost possum attack, x3!)
655 1.9 in 22:26
656 8.5 in 1:40:21 (Fall colors in the Midwest are pretty nice!)
657 1.0 in 11:12
658 1.0 in 11:50

Image @ Copyright Paramount Pictures 1967

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 647-652 Week One Done

Yikes. Time flies when you're not paying to attention to posting. And you're going crazy.

The first week of my ridiculous attempt at an ultramarathon training program is complete. Results? It is done. There was some significant pain in the top of my foot, which first showed itself after the half-marathon, but I haven't felt it for a couple of days, so I am wiping it from my memory.

The weekend back to back runs which are a staple of this and many ultra plans were rather interesting. On Saturday it dropped down to about 18 degrees and everything was frozen. As I ran and sweated my shirt and pants became hard as a rock, frozen as they were by the cold. I was running with my new hydration pack (North Face Thresher if you're interested) and the water in the tube kept freezing. I realized I had to drink more frequently just so the tube wouldn't bust because of the ice. Crazy. The other crazy part was the ice. Did I mention it was everywhere? Especially on the ground. Especially on these rock steps going down on to a trail in the neighborhood. Despite my internal warning dialogue of, "Oh man I better go slow this is really sli----" I managed to do the whole- feet flying up into the air, landing on the patootie, yelping a loud vulgarity, and then looking around for any youngsters' ears that had been polluted. Thankfully in that weather, NO ONE was outside.

I feel like I've finally gotten into my slow, plodding, I can run for a long time, rhythm and endurance which is nice. As the mileage steps up we'll see how long that lasts. Seventeen weeks to go.

Finally, congrats go out to my awesome sis! She ran a half-marathon in Fargo, North Dakota (yeah its kinda cold there too) despite all her friends dropping out of the race, depsite the weather, and despite having a few less training runs than she had hoped for :) and she had a PR that beat her previous time BY ALMOST AN HOUR! Incredible! Grats Sis. I hate to imagine how fast you will be when you actually train for one of these (i.e. it will be a lot faster than me)

Ace's ultramarathon link of the hour:

Ultramarathon running advice for first timers, by the guru of ultras,

Here's the trailer for the movie, The Runner, about David's speed attempt on the Pacific Coast Trail (Goes from Mexico to Canada....) The trailer has too much crying, but the movie is highly recommended!

Day 647 - 2.0 in 22:02
Day 648 - 1.0 in 10:42
Day 649 - 9.0 in 1:10:42 It was cold.
Day 650 - 5.0 in 52:42 See above.
Day 651 - 1.0 in 12:42
Day 652 - 2.0 in 22:11 The fog rolled in during the run! Awesome.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 645-646 Go Crazy

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
Mark Twain

Today I feel like I'm going crazy. Or perhaps I just realize I've already gone crazy and everyone else has known this for some time.

Crazy is ok methinks, generally speaking. Crazy is good when it allows you to break out of the norm or the expected or even your own thoughts which are preventing you from achieving some goals. I think every now and then we need a little craziness to seize us and shake us loose from mediocrity, or bad habits, or maybe just the rut we find ourselves in. I saw an article in Yahoo News (that I can't find the link too argh!) that suggested the bizarre/absurd/crazy things in life also cause us to think more clearly and concentrate better as well. Even more fuel on the crazy bonfire.

My other crazy comes in the usual stuff of life, running, buying and selling houses, work, raising kids, buying and selling houses, more running, and also buying and selling houses. This is the good crazy stuff. That and the little yellow gnomes telling me to invest in peanut butter futures.

Day 645 2.6 in 26:42
Day 646 1.75 in 20:22

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 644 and Day 1

Cheesy motivational quote of the day: check.

Today is day one. Day one of the work towards a new goal.

Throwing out ridiculous goals into public view is always a bit risky. You might not make it. You might quit. You might get hurt. Stuff might happen to get in the way. BUT. If you don't risk something, its hard to achieve anything. So here goes.

Its time to start working towards some Rocky Raccoon action! Not the Beatles song. The fifty mile ultramarathon.

I'm so ready for this (/snicker at self)! I've got my uber-scientific, automatically generated training plan, which said yesterday I was supposed to run exactly zero miles. Yeah! I like this plan. Unfortunately there is still the whole running streak, so I did run one mile. I've got my race report links to read over and over to see how much fun puking during the race, and tripping over roots, and getting blisters the size of a Hyundai Accent can be. Plus, I've always got Vince to get me through the rough spots. My running mantra? I'm gonna run fifty miles, one slap at a time...

So hopefully in eighteen weeks I will have another race report to share, some new memories to cherish, and another goal accomplished.

Of course then, it will be also time to start something new again. What are you starting today?

Day 644 1.0 in 10:52

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 642-643 Xterra Half Marathon Race Report

And now for the executive summary of the race:

It was hard.

I've read a couple of other race reports that have sweet pics and stuff. Mine will have nothing of the sort.

Cold start in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. I really didn't know what to expect going in, other than I knew that it probably would be a tough race with the elevation gain. I didn't know what the trail would be like, what the overall race, people, aid stations would be like, etc.

Thus after shivering through the national anthem, nice touch, the gun was fired--err the park ranger guy said "go" and we were off. OK this huge convoy of camelbak toting trail runner dudes was off. I appeared to be standing still as they ran around me. The first section of trail was fairly wide, nicely maintained, and gave no indication of how the last ten miles would be. I was rather suddenly introduced to the joys of trail running about five minutes in when I was tackled from behind by a guy who tripped and fell into me. Despite "winning" the joust, it was sort of unnerving to realize this was a full contact sport. Thankfully, due to my epic pace, I was quickly behind the main convoy and didn't have any more would be tacklers trying to bring me down from behind.

It didn't take long to figure out this would be an entirely different race. After a nice little introductory loop, the trail started heading up and got more technical, rocky, tight turns, branches, trees, all the stuff that makes trail running "fun". (Insert standard running is not fun disclaimer.) I also realized that my trail running form most resembles that of an eighteen wheeler with no brakes. Getting up the hill was extremely slow, going down the hill occurred at break neck (likely mine) speeds. This resulted in the back and forth passing and being passed by the same runners over and over. I wound up "power" hiking (doesn't that sound a lot better than totally gassed trudging up a marginal incline?) quite a bit of the more extreme (and not so extreme) uphills. Considering some of the incline I really don't feel too badly about walking those sections. At a couple points I even passed some folks who were "running" while I was walking.

I wanted to try and make up as much time as possible on the downhills so on the first major downhill section I "put the hammer down". This actually was almost fun. It reminded me of being a kid in Montana and running down mountains (epic trail from Agnes Lake was the classic) and through trails. The down side was I was sprinting and working hard on that downhill only to be faced with the second major uphill section as a reward.

At this point it is probably fitting to point out a few comments on the volunteers. Generally speaking, the volunteers were great, very encouraging and helpful. With a couple of notable exceptions:

A) Somebody needs to teach these people how to fill up a cup! At every single aid station I was handed a fairly large cup that had no more than one inch of liquid inside. I seriously needed about five cups per station to get a decent drink. Needless to say I didn't want to stop and spend that much time asking for more and more cups so I usually got a couple and then drank from the bottle I was carrying. Seriously, fill up the dang cup! (I'm not blaming anyone for some dehdyration bonk that occurred later on but, seriously more than 1 oz per cup would be nice...)

B) I had a sort of unintentionally funny interaction with one volunteer who had asked me how I was doing. I replied that I was doing well (lies and still in the first half of the race) and asked how he was doing. His response? "Well I'm doing better than you look!" Uhhhhh I thought you people were supposed to be encouraging? I guess it could have been more funny if he had done anything to insinuate it was supposed to be a joke...Look I know me running is the farthest thing from beauty imaginable, and I'm sure I looked like death warmed over at that point, but couldn't you put a little bit of an optimistic spin on things? You know like "Hey I bet you'll live long enough to at least finish the race!" or something? :)

I was still shooting for an under three hour finish and as I approached the second major high point, I knew I had a lot of time to make up. I ran the second down hill as hard as I could, and pushed through to mile twelve still thinking I could maybe gut it out. Unfrotunately I hit the twelve mile marker, looked at my watch and saw there were only eight minutes left. Not going to happen. It was a major bummer, and I honestly stopped and walked for a bit internally raging at the fact that I was going to miss it. Ironically the official time was about three minutes off from my watch (no idea how that happened) and I finished much closer than I thought. Official time was 3:00:38. My watch time was 3:03:33. 38 #@$*(*%!@#$% in' seconds. But I digress.

Initially I was a little bummed about how slow that is, but considering the difficulty of some parts of the course, (I actually dropped down to hands and feet a couple of times) and that the winning professional time was 1:42 I didn't feel too badly. The winning marathon time (the marathon course consisted of two laps) was over four hours, equals more encouragement. Also I didn't get lapped which was nice.

Let me just say that was tough. I feel pretty good about getting through it. At many times it felt tougher than the marathon I ran earlier this year. Somehow I strained my foot about half way through which made things a bit painful, but I don't think it is anything permanent.

Once again, I had a world-class support team led by "teh wifey", the chilrunz, and my pops even made a guest appearance. Thanks! My first trail run is in the books, first official half-marathon is in the books. And now its time to start the ultra training plan.

Day 642 13.1 (some race reports have the course at 13.4) in 3:00:38.
Day 643 1.0 in 13:20 Uhh...pain.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 640-641 Goal setting

My goals for tomorrow's race in order of degree of achievability (going from most likely to not a chance):

1) Make it far enough along the course that they can recover my corpse
2) Finish
3) Finish in less than three hours
4) Finish with no chafing, sunburn, mangled feet, or permanent injury
5) Finish in less than 2:30
6) Not get chicked by anyone aged nine or under.
7) Sprout wings and fly to the finish
8) Have fun running. (HAHAHAHAHAHA yeah that one's pretty absurd)

Despite my whining, we're gonna give it a go and have fun with it.

This one's for you G.E.!

640 1.0 in 10:42
641 1.0 in 10:32

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 638-639 Impetuousness leads to Impending Doom

Well, have you ever had one of those moments? One of those decision making points where all logic flees your mind, and you go with your crazed impulses?

Yeah me too.

I have a race this weekend. I am doing the Xterra Trail Half-Marathon. I registered a few days ago. I've been thinking about this rash decision and come up with this analysis.

Reasons this was an amazingly bad idea:

1. I have all of three runs over ten miles in the last two months. All on flat lands. At extremely slow pace.

2. I haven't run any trails since June.

3. My knee has been aching a bit of late.

4. I didn't really notice there was 2000' of elevation gain until after I registered.

5. Bad weather is moving in...

6. The aid stations have no horse tranquilizers.

Reasons this is an amazingly good idea:

1. Its crazy.

Thus I assume there will be another race report forthcoming sometime after Saturday.

Just for fun here is the elevation profile....

638 1.0 in 11:52
639 2.35 in 25:52