Sunday, July 31, 2011

20 Days to go - Last Long Run

The evolution of Sprite bottlesImage via Wikipedia, Carbonation via high fructose corn syrup.
Is this a normal thing for a four year old daughter to say?  "Mama, when I get older I'm going to do a fifty mile hour run, so when I get done I can take a really long bath."

Context is everything I suppose.  I was doing my normal torture training by sitting in an ice bath following today's long run and she was begging to get in.  I suppose having parents who run does have an impact on impressionable young minds...

So that's it.  There are no more long runs to go.  No more 60+ mile weeks (some of which I make, some I don't).  There are no more trying things out, or figuring out the gear, or experimenting with more hydration options (I've settled on a trail running-friendly IV unit, as soon as I find one).  There is only the countdown.  I got in a four hour run today.  Did it intentionally in the hottest part of the day to do some analysis of my sweat rate (measured in gallon buckets) and try out the final approach for food, hydration, and salt (twinkies, whiskey, and licking my arm, respectively.)  There was no puking so I will call it a success.

I was joined by the best pacer any one could ask for.  AKA teh wifey/coach/co-conspirator/inspiration/friend.  She was trying out our pacing system and kept me going up the hill (are hill repeats in the heat a bad idea?) for many miles and even came by later with the support crew in the urban assault vehicle.  My six year old son jumped out of the van and sprinted to me with arms open wide to give me a huge hug.    Does it get much better?  Oh yeah, the ice cold Sprite and the soundtrack of the Imperial march (my running looked more like a death march) to keep me going.  Score.

And so now we wait.  We try not to spend too much time obsessing about things, we resist the urge to go do multi-hour runs and we refer to ourselves in the royal third person.  We should do this more often.

Here's to us having a great time going through taper madness!  (Since we're royalty it will probably just be chalked up to in-breeding.)

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flashbacks and Running Advice

English: Vladimir Bystrov. 2006 Russian Premie...Image via Wikipedia,  Faux Injury via Russian Soccer player.
About 360 days ago, I wrote this post.  Strangely enough I should probably post it again.

I have today, very exciting news.  I was all set to go start my re-re-re-redemption try again tour part four when I suddenly have pain in my shin again.  In the same spot as one year ago.  The pain isn't as bad, though I also seem to have a slightly sprained foot which causes me to limp.  This is good stuff.  No really.  I am a newly born optimist.  All these things can come to good.  The shin pain, which I'm assuming will go away with a few days of rest (optimism) will only prevent me from doing crazy things like trying to run 50 miles again, this weekend, and force me into a normal taper.  This is good.  If I didn't have these last minute injuries I would probably go crazy and try to hit eighty mile weeks when at this point it does me absolutely no good.  So.  Let the taper begin.

Also let the running advice begin.  Look there are a LOT of things you can read about running.  There are a lot of things you can read about ultras.  There are experts, and coaches, and pfffbbbtt people talking who've actually finished races, but when I need the bottom line, rock solid, no doubt about it running advice, there is only one source to go to.  My perpetually dancing, prancing, and smiling  four year old daughter.

Here are quotes from tonight's dinner about the running strategy I should use..

"Don't sit down by the side of the road and quit."
"When you get tired, just walk for a while."
"Start slow, then get faster."
"When you get to the end, run as fast as you can."
"Don't you quit Daddy!"  (said with a half serious/half grinning face)

What else do you need to know?
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Drinky Drink

Ok.  Enough of that nonsense.

The honesty and critical introspection phase of the blog is over.  It lasted 24 hours longer than I like.  It's time to run.

Try #2 at 50 miles didn't go so well, I figure, why not try again?  So I'm going to, on Saturday.  70 miles this week, 50 miles on Saturday, location TBD.  Why don't they have 50 milers every weekend instead of 5ks?  I'm not pretending last week didn't happen because I have to learn from it and get stronger.  Whoah sorry sounds a little self-helpy.  I'll leave that to this guy.

I've been reading AGAIN on hydration and all of that.  Here is an interesting article on the Succeed site.  I particularly like the chart which shows various symptoms that might be experienced while working out and  how it positions them by Low, Medium, High levels of Hydration and of electrolytes.

Here is an excerpt of where I find myself most often, usually after about five minutes of running...

"Hydration: LOW
Electrolytes LOW
Hyponatremia with dehydration
Likelihood:  rare
Weight is down a few pounds or more
Thirst is high, and salty foods taste good
Mouth is dry, can’t spit
May have cramping
Skin is dry and may tent if pinched
May have dizziness on standing up
Causes: insufficient drinking, no electrolyte 
What to do: Take electrolytes and drink 
sports drink or water
Copyright SUCCEED! Sportsdrink LLC, 

Thus I am reexamining my hydration strategy.  One particular item that I often see thrown about is the statistic of how much liquid your body can absorb in one hour.  I see it over and over again stated (almost universally without a reference to actual research) that you can only absorb 32 oz / hour.  Now I assume there must be some research to support this but I sure would like to read this myself.  Any hydration researchers out there?

Finally, here is my random Leadville Race report of the week.  I can not help myself when it comes to reading these things.  If I'm an expert at anything it is Leadville Race reports, because I've read hundreds of them.  I enjoyed RUTrunner's because of the great detail he put in on each part of the race, very informative!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Colorado LeadvilleImage via Wikipedia

There is no reason to believe.

There is NO reason to believe.

In fact there is a mountain of evidence to suggest you should not believe.

I've started six ultramarathons and finished one.  The one I did finish I was DFL and it took me over nine hours to do 31 miles (16:49 pace if you are keeping score at home).

The other races I have missed cutoffs because I slowed down and quit or just quit outright and dropped.  I've puked multiple times, gotten blisters, had breathing problems, knee problems, plantar fasciitis, and generally been dehydrated in every race I have run.  In fact it may be impossible for me to stay hydrated.  I've never peed during a race (a normal sign of proper hydration) and I probably sweat more than my stomach can possibly take in.  My knees sound like Rice Krispies every time I bend them.  Sometimes my nose/throat swells up while running and it feels like I am "breathing" through my ear.  No really.  I'd say I wear orthopedic shoes and get sick just smelling booze, but that would be piling on.  Physically I am weak.

I weigh 250 lbs.  Enough said.

I don't run fast, in fact I probably couldn't run under 28 minutes in a 5k.  My marathon PR is 5:15 and I've been as slow as six hours on a course with no elevation gain.  I've never run more than forty miles and the time I did I thought I was going into shock afterwards.

I'm not a good climber, even power walking.  The piano on my back slows me down.  I don't have the strength or will to power walk (more like stumblin', runblin' and bumblin') and thirty minute miles going up hills are not abnormal.

I don't run fast down hills.  My knees/feet hurt after a few hours and I'm too tentative to gain back much of the time I lost ambling up the hill.

When I'm on level ground I go slow and slower.  If I start off doing five minutes of running for every one minute of walking, it isn't very long before that trend is reversed and I'm walking five times more than I run.

I'm a quitter.  Evidence has shown that I'm not willing to endure the pain and push through the bad patches.  My willpower wanes when things get tough and many times all I can think about is quitting.

I'm a perfectionist.  The first time anything happens which could vaguely be interpreted as bad, or a mistake, I jump to complete and abject failure.  I accept defeat.  In fact I rush to defeat, I embrace it, look for it, make friends with it, and translate anything that happens to mean defeat.  Mentally I am weak.

I'm five weeks out from Leadville and had another epic failure at an ultra.  At the North Fork 50 yesterday I did worse than I did the previous year.  20 miles, fell apart after two hours, had some strange breathing problems, stumbled around for a few more hours and dropped.

Bottom line: I suck at running, and have no business trying to do ultramarathons.


My response to all of this?


I believe.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wyld Stallyns

Be ExcellentImage by Looking Glass via Flickr
I am ready to go.

Someone asked me the always asked question of, "Are you ready?" in reference to Saturday's North Fork 50 miler.  The way my brain worked, I instantly tried to think of a reason for why I'm not.  I couldn't think of one.

I don't have a ton of miles but I've had some good hard runs.  I've put in some relevant mileage.  Other than a few shin twinges my legs feel fresh and ready to tear up the mountain.  I could be a lot lighter but I'm on my way down.  I'm leaner and meaner than I was last year.  I know how I will feel after nine hours in the heat.  I know I will want to stop, but right now I'm preparing to do what is necessary.  I will feel pain, I will want to quit, I will want to slow down, I will want to give up.  I will not.

Instead, I'm going to have fun running 50 miles in the mountains.

Bill S. Preston, Esquire would demand nothing less.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

40 Days and 40 Nights

A Mountain Dew can.                          Image via Wikipedia  Caffeine via I.V. 
The countdown is getting serious now.

40 Days to go.

220 miles of training to go.

Two more "hard" weeks of training to go (e.g more than 60 miles per week).

320 hours of quality sleep to go.

2,347 bypassed cans of Mountain Dew to go.

40,000 net calories to go.

23 lucid dreams about Leadville where I'm either running naked or get lost, to go.  (Wait, are those dreams?)

Losing a four year old child off my back to go. (buh bye poundage)

One fifty mile ultramarathon warmup redemption race to go.

One stroll on the red carpet at 6th and Harrison to go.

I'm really not obsessive compulsive about this thing, it just sort of sneaks into my mind every two or three seconds.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

354 miles to go - Dear Diary

Buildings in downtown Leadville, Colorado, USAImage via Wikipedia
Dear Diary,  -err  Running Journal,

It has been 220 miles since my last blog post.  A few things have happened.

Some mountains have been run.  Some miles have been logged.  Some shoes have been worn out.  Some sweat has been oozed.  Some flight miles have been logged (30,000 or so).   Some running on other continents has occurred.  Some craziness has been engaged in.  Some twenty and thirty mile runs have been done.  Some thousands of feet of elevation have been climbed.  Some sixty mile weeks have been trudged through (OK just one).  Some coaching has been received.  Some low spots have burned.  Some high spots have inspired.   Some running has been done.

Forty-six days to go to Leadville.

That pretty much catches you up on things.

Once again we are on the home stretch.  The North Fork 50 miler is in eleven days. It is the next stop on Ace's redemption tour of failed ultramarathons.    I've actually been feeling pretty good of late.  A Pike's Peak ascent and descent on Saturday actually felt pretty good.  There have been some minor breakthroughs on pacing as well that are encouraging.  I'm still working on downgrading my piano to a harpsichord (i.e. lose more weight)  but progress is slowly being made.

So I hope all your crazy dreams and goals are progressing well and that they involve twinkies and runs in the mountains.  Wanna do 50?  (twinkies that is...)

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