Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turbo Turtle 50k

A friend of mine and I decided to host a fun and free race this weekend.  We have been planning it for a while and I forgot to post something on here. It's called the "Turbo Turtle 50k" and is in the Morgan Monroe State Forest, a pedestrian only area in Morgan and Monroe County about 1 hour south of Indianapolis.  I'm going to be live tweeting the event from @turboturtle50k and will upload photos and such when possible.  We were able to get sponsorship from the following places and I wanted to give them a shout out:

- RoadID - Race bibs and some gift certificates.
- Indiana Running Company - Tshirts and other prizes!
- Spiz Energy - Single Serving bottles for samples
- Indiana Trail Running Social Network - Discussion forums and promotion.

Thanks to all the awesome sponsors, and if you are interested, check out this website and show up at about 8:00am on Saturday October 20th!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dances with Dirt Race Report

Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake
Distance: 50k (31 miles)
Location: Baraboo, WI
Finish Time: 6:26:24
Date: July 14, 2012
For the past 5-6 weeks, I’ve had some pretty unfortunate issues with my IT band.  Some pretty token inflammation and tightness, compounded by pain after a few miles on the trail.  The first time it surface, I was unable to even complete the 6 mile run I had schedule with my friends of #pwlttrtdcbacz.  However, before the pain started happening, I had signed up to run the Dances with Dirt 50k in Devil’s Lake, WI.  The plan was that 4-5 of us would drive up from Indy to run the Ultra.  Once a few of us signed up, our group grew to 8.

Unfortunately, I had to figure out a way to deal with my IT band before I would be running.  In order to cut short on the emotional roller-coaster that was my entire June and July, I’ll cut it short.  I did a ton of stretching, foam rolling, a couple sessions of message therapy (including Active Release Therapy) and tons of cycling.  Here a quick look at my running totals over the first half of a year:
As you can see, I ran 16 miles in the previous 5 weeks.  Not exactly what you need to be doing before an ultra.  I did increase my cycling distance a lot as well, including a PR distance of 62 miles (100k).
I was hoping all the cycling would make up for my lack of running, but I didn’t want to find out until I hit that first hill on the DWD course.

The Race
After a drive up the night before, including a 2 hour delay in Chicago, the 8 of us met up at the prerace campsite at the Devil’s Lake Resort.  We set up our tents, rolled out our sleeping bags and relaxed a little by downing a couple local Wisconsin brews.  We turned in at about 10:30 and set our alarms for 4:00 am.  Nice and early, but we brought a campstove and a big French press for coffee.  By 5:00 we were ready for the 5:30 am start.  I decided to hang back with my friend Brett (also the RD of the Potato Creek Trail Runs in April).  He was taking it easy on this run and I was trying to run with someone fun. 
He's a champ.
At 5:30 am, we were off.  I don’t really want to go through a full play-by-play.  In summary, the uphills were tough, the downhill’s hurt my IT band and the uphills made it feel better.  There was one REALLY LONG uphill.  After about 2 miles on the ski hill, I put on my IT Band strap because my knee was feeling a little uneasy.  It seemed to work, or at least it didn’t hurt.  My knee was uncomfortable the whole time, but never really hurt until the final 2 miles, which were almost entirely downhill.  I didn’t wear my GPS watch.  Partially because I didn’t want to know how fast I was going, and partially because I was just there to have fun.  The run was great.  My final 4.5 miles were run in 38 minutes.  I SMOKED that hill, and my quads let me know it.   I’ve included some other photos below, but no more details about the run.  I’m happy to have finished my 3rd ultra.  It was my fastest 50k (of 2), but my first one was Stump Jump which is a crazy race. Overall, I could not be happier.  From thinking I wasn't going to be running at all, to finishing all 50k, there is nothing about this race that I would do differently.
Because I think it’s important to log, here is what I ate/drank:
- 1000 calories of Spiz (32 oz)
- 1 Gu (Strawberry Banana – Recommend!)
- 4 Oreos or other cookies
- 4 quarters of a PB&J
- 120 oz of water
- 12 oz of Mt. Dew (estimate)
- 20 oz of Gatorade (estimate)

I’d also like to give a shout out to LARABAR.  I had them for breakfast and generally love to eat them. Check out the ingredients, all of them have between 2 and 9.  Mostly dates, nuts and other fruit.

The ULTRA group
Brett charging down the hill

Still happy, only a few miles in

Rolling Hills

Great Views

At the top of the big climb. ~15 miles in

Like I said, a champ.


Can you see the face?


The 0.7 mile out and back IN THE HEAT.

Getting artsy, feeling good 20 miles in.

There is a trail down there somewhere.

24 miles in. More tired. Really happy.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hot Day at Morgan Monroe

It's summer time, which means it's hot and humid.  My buddies, Ryan and Griffin, and I met up last week on Memorial Day for a run down at Morgan Monroe State Forest and the Tecumseh Trail.  We did an out and back combined with the 10 mile loop that is the 'Low Gap Trail'.  I've done the Low Gap Trail many times but haven't run very far on the Tecumseh Trail.  Turns out, while they are both pretty tough, the Tecumseh Trail is pretty overgrown and I think harder to run.  Not to mention, it was 70 degrees at the start and about 85 at the end, with high humidity throughout. It was a tough run.  I ran with my trusty Nathan Endurance Pack, which I love, packed full of 70 ounces of water.  I also had 16 ounces of Spiz, but ran out of water with about 3 miles to go. Good data point for future runs, bring more water for runs over 20 miles.
Route from Memorial Day Run
Other news:
- I've been meeting up with a pretty regular Wednesday night running group and we are having a great time.  Usually running between 5 and 8 miles then enjoying some beverages and nice conversation.  This has been a good staple in my training.
- Food for the run.  I've been experimenting again.  Ryan hooked me up with some Peter Rabbit Organics fruit snacks, which are really great, but I'm pretty sure they are made for toddlers.  Whatever.  I've also had some trail mix and peanut butter filled pretzels.  My basic determination is that real food tastes good.
- Future Runs: Dances with Dirt 50k in Devil's Lake, WI.  Ultra number 3 is less than 6 weeks away.  Maybe I should put together a training plan?
- I helped maintain some trails at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park.  Feels good to give back and see how the trails are made.  The Rhino's (Rogue Hoe's) are pretty amazing when they are still sharp.

In parting, watch out for Turbo Turtles.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Potato Creek Trail Run - Race Review

Distance: 60k Ultramarathon (37.5m)
Location: North Liberty, IN
Finish Time: 6:53:04
Date: April 28th, 2012

The Potato Creek Trail Run's second running was on April 28th, 2012.  I participated in the inaugural running last year, but only ran the 1/2 marathon.  This year, do to my increased mileage and stupidity, I decided to run the 60k (37.2 miles for the metrically impaired).  This would be my second ultra to date and my longest run ever.  This course is significantly flatter than the 50k (Stumpjump) I ran last October, but the additional 6 miles wouldn't be a cake walk.  My training leading up to this run wasn't what I had hoped, but I still got in quite a few long runs with my friends.  Either way, only Friday April 27th, the adventure began.

From at about noon on Friday until about noon Sunday, this run (and surrounding events) were a fantastic and eye opening experience.  I picked up Josh  a little past noon and then we hit the road towards South Bend, Indiana.  It was a roughly 2.5 hours drive normally, but when you add in the extra breaks due to the copious amount of Nuun we had been drinking.  Hydration is good!  We arrived at the park in the mid afternoon and reserved a campsite.  After setting up the tents and unpacking a bit, we met with Race Director Brett and helped set up a few of the signs at the race start.  Brett's friend Scott showed up (CEO of the first aid station) met up with us for dinner as well.  I'd see Scott 3 times the next day during the run.  We came back from dinner, made a fire and hungout for an hour or so before heading to bed.

We both woke up about 5:15 am in order to drink coffee and get the body moving.  The race start was at 8:00 am and we made it over to the shelter by about 7:20.  We chatted with Brett's family, other runners and some of the volunteers prior to the start.  As we all lined up for the race (along a sidewalk), I went right up to the front.  Obviously it wasn't because I was going to be leading the race, but because I wanted to be in the lead (even if for only a moment).  I'll break the rest of this report in to 3 parts, one for each loop of 13 miles.
Prerace Briefing

Loop 1: The Easy One (0-13)
As the race started, so did the hail.  We had about 10 minutes of it before it all just turned to a steady rain.  That lasted for pretty much the entire lap, but stopped by the time I was 15 miles in.  From the start, I slowly ran away from the line and tried to maintain a 10:00 mpm pace.  This wasn't terribly hard but many people passed me since I started up front. There is something about being passed by people that makes you want to run fast.  Josh and I started out together for the first half of this loop.  It was actually good because we regulated each other.  I'm told that 'seconds early are minutes late'. The first half of each loop is wider nature trail.  They are the more traditional state park type trails that are wide and crushed gravel. I would wish to be on these trails later.  They are easy and fast.  After 6 miles on these trails (red), we come back by the nature center and head to the mountain bike trails (blue). The mountain bike trails are nice single track, except for that it winds around almost on top of itself over and over again.  Overall the first loop was nice, I averaged a 10:15 mpm pace.  Pretty good!  However, before I started my next loop, I had to make a quick pitstop in order to evacuate my bowels.  I saw the RD at the exit of the loop and just said "too much pizza!!".  He laughed...

Loop 2: The Tough One (13-25)
This loop made me hurt.  The first half of the loop was great.  I said hi to Scott, who recognized me the second time around.  I said "see you in 2.5 hours" as I left.  I'm not sure if he thought I was joking or not.  I stared slowing down in pace quite a bit, especially for the mountain bike loop.  The small ups and downs were getting to my head. I kept looking down at my watch, waiting for the distance to roll by.  Miles 17-26 were awful for me really.  At 17, I kept thinking about how I wasn't even half way done. Despite that, I managed to pass 2 people in the MTB trails that were running the ultra.  I got a compliment (I think) from the woman I passed.  She said "you have a good turn over with your feet".  That actually did make me feel good for a few minutes, until I realized I was only at mile 22.  At 26, my body was tired and I came out of the woods to the aid station. I swapped out my empty bottle of Spiz for a new one and passed a 3 ultramarathoner. He and I would swap positions again a few times.

Loop 3: Revival (25 - 37)
By the first aid station on this loop, I said thanks to Scott and finally pulled ahead of that guy I'd been swapping places with.  I don't remember much of the nature trails, but once I came out for the final aid station, I saw Josh and he told me good luck (or something like that, I don't remember the details!).  The final 7 miles were my proudest moments.  I knew I was going to finish and I ran the final loop a lot faster than I thought I would be able.  I drank some Mt. Dew at the final aid station and finished hard.
It's kind of a crappy photo, but I made it!
The finish: Coming out the MTB trails I knew I had it.  There were no other runners in sight so I just kept my legs moving.  I came across the finish line just under 7 hours for a new PR (since I've never run that distance before :-D).

Overview: My cadence was really consistent (see chart below - 1 RPM = 2 steps), my pace wasn't, but that's ok.  I finished 3rd.  I'm very energized from the run and can't wait for the next one.  In addition, this is a good course for exploring new distances.  The trail isn't easy, but there aren't any heart shattering climbs and descents.  My quads and hamstrings felt pretty good all day and I just tried to make sure my HR was in check. 

For those that are going to ask - what I consumed:
- 1500 calories of Spiz (48 oz)
- 1/2 banana
- 2 Gu's
- 4 Oreos
- 1 Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Snack
- 80 oz of water
- 8 oz of Mt. Dew
- some trail mix (nuts etc)

Here is a little pace chart to show that I kicked ass the final 4 miles. In addition, my middle few laps were pretty rough. The vertical bars are 4 mile segments.

In parting, Brett and his family put on a fantastic race.  I got a pretty sweet compass and medal that is personalized (I'll add a photo later) and the aid stations and volunteers fantastic.  Thanks for helping me with my gloves!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Interview with a Dog

A lot of bloggers out there do interviews with people in the field of their blog.  They meet these people at races, or randomly email them to see if they would participate.  However, I don’t have a personal relationship with any professional, semi-professional or front of the pack trail runners (no offense friends), so I’ve decided to interview my dog.  I would say he is easily in the top 10% of all trail running dogs in Indiana.  Some of his race accomplishments are listed below: 

[none found]

Bo is a 4 year old Chinese Shar-Pei / Yellow Lab mix.  There is probably some other mix of dog in there as well since he has a much more narrow frame than both Shar-Pei’s and Labs. 

He’s loving, but likes his own space.  He’s not the smartest dog out there, but is well trained in sit, lay, shake and spin.  He’s great at following a trail and loves to chase deer in the park. With that introduction, I bring you Bo Lauer:

Ok, so for most of this interview, Bo either ignored me or just licked my face.  Because of this, I’ll just type what he was thinking, because we communicate telepathically.          

HTR: Bo, can I call you Bo?  I know a lot of times you respond to Bobo, Bozie, and bosy-boo.  Of course, sometimes you don’t respond at all.
Bo: Call me what you want, I’ll respond if I want.

HTR: Tell me about your history as a running dog, specifically on trails.
Bo: You adopted me in March of 2009.  At the time you were kind of lard-y and just took me to the dog park so you could stand around and watch me run.  You knew that I loved to run so eventually we went to the trails at Eagle Creek and did a few miles at a time.  Because I’m a dog, I can’t do a lot of running in the summer due to heat, so I had a slow entry into the trail running scene.  Since January of 2011, I’ve run about 350 miles including 4 runs over 10 miles.  My peak run was 20.8 miles at Morgan Monroe State Forest.  Luckily now-a-days you are a better runner and can take me along whenever it is cool enough.

HTR: That’s pretty impressive.  What are your goals for the next few human years?
Bo: I’d like to be able to complete a few more longer runs.  Get some more 20+ mile runs completed.  Ideally, I’d like to go on a couple long run/hiking trips with you and others. While traveling as a dog isn’t really easy, doing some long runs in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, or Washington.

HTR: Do you have any endurance athlete role models or heroes?
Bo: Oh, of course.  I’m different from most runners though.  I couldn’t give a crap about Jornet, Krupicka or that Roes guy.  My historic favorites are Balto and Togo, both lead dogs from the 1925 serum run to Rome, but there are a few up and coming runners that show great promise.  The 2012 Iditarod shows that if you train with the right team, you can be a championship runner.  If you are able…

HTR:…now wait a second. I’m asking you if you have any human endurance running heroes.  Why are you telling me about other dogs?
Bo: Um… my heroes are dogs.  You humans may have bred us all to be domesticated and be great pets, but I’m not a human.  I’m basically a wolf. 

HTR: Bo, you are not a wolf.  You are scared of new people, your favorite food is cheese and you sleep in an air conditioned room on a soft fluffy bed.  If you are a wolf, then I’m a monkey.
Bo: You better hope it’s a Bonobo, they have sex for fun.

HTR:  Well, this isn’t going that well.  Let’s talk about something else.  Do you have any sponsorships?
Bo: I don’t have a job, so I can’t buy any gear for myself.  There also aren’t many dog running events in the central Indiana area.  Because of this, I don’t really have sponsors.  However, I do have gear I prefer to use.  Ruff-Wear makes great leashes and harnesses for active dogs.  I hope people check them out.  I don’t wear Ruff Wear booties because I’m more of a minimalist runner.  There has been the more commercial push recently for more material protecting our feet and I just think it is unnecessary.

HTR: That’s really comical. The exact same thing has been happening to the human running shoe scene.
Bo: It’s about time, you humans have terrible running form.  Get that fixed.  I am a big fan of the barefoot running movement, I’d say that 98% of my runs were barefoot.  A couple of times I wore booties from  They are pretty much just some fabric cut and sewn to shape.  They are perfect for keeping the snow and ice from forming on my feet which can cause bleeding and soreness.

HTR: Bo, thank you for taking the time to discuss this with me today.  Are you ready for our run this afternoon?
Bo: No problem, I hope I was entertaining to your readers.

Maybe someday I'll be able to get someone famous on this blog.  Hope they don't call me a monkey.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Race Report - Land Between the Lakes Trail Runs

Land Between the Lakes Trail Run 
Distance: 26.2 miles
Location: Grand Rivers, KY
Time: 3:59:54 (I earned those 6 seconds...)

Let me put it this way.  If had an A+++ goal for this race, I would still have exceeded it.  However, let's start with some background on the race, why I choose it and the details of race morning.

I signed up for a 60k at the Potato Creek Trail Runs in South Bend.  I needed to do some longer trail running and I asked some of my running mentors about what race would be a good one to do in early March.  A number of people mentioned the Land Between the Lakes trail run in Grand Rivers, KY.  The RDs are great, the course is great, the volunteers are great and the weather was amazing. 

The race is roughly 5 hours from Indianapolis, but only 2 from my grandparents place in Evansville, IN.  I stay with them and figured I'd get an early start.  I checked the race start time about 2 weeks out.  6:00 am.  WTF.  At that time, it was still dark at 6:00 am.  That meant that I had to leave my grandparent's place a roughly 3:15 am.  Yeah, that was an early start.  On the bright side, I'd finish the run long before noon if it went well.

I grabbed my 12 oz of coffee, 16 oz of Nuun Lemon Lime (the best flavor) and a couple of these coffee cake donut-ball type things my grandma made. I pulled on my full Patagonia outfit (except for the tights) and then some hobo style sweat pants for the ride in the car.  Just under 2 hours later I pulled into the parking lot in Grand Rivers, KY.  As you can guess, my first stop was the bathroom.  After that I got my race number (2100) and packet.  It included a hat, shirt and bag.  Sweet gear for the price of the race.  As a quick note, before the race started I spotted David Riddle and introduced myself.  He had a great race too.  Watch the link for a race report.

Loop 1:
The start was down by the marina. It was still a little chilly, probably 35 degrees.  I had a beanie on, which I took off less than 15 minutes later. I finally found Farra and Kai at the start line.  I'd been looking for them for a while and I'm glad that I found them.  Farra said something that only Ultra Runners will say.... "I've had the respiratory flu for a couple weeks so I'm only going to run the 60k".  Yeah, crazy girl, only 37.2 miles. She wanted to do the whole 50 miler but hadn't been able to properly prepare.  People like this make marathoners feel inadequate, but in a good way.

Descending down a small hill
At 6:00 am we were off down the road about 2 miles to the 11+ mile loop in the woods.  The first 6-7 miles were very runnable, except for the other 599 people out there.  THe woods were crowded, so I tried to cue myself well prior to the trails.  It was tough to determine exactly where I wanted to be though.  For one, I had to pee at the first aid station, and again at the 3rd.  I'm a classic over-hydrator, usually, but more on that during the second loop.  The final 5 miles of the loop had a few more hills, but no huge ones. I walked up a few hills but tried to keep running through most of it.  I finished the first loop in just over 2 hours.  I wasn't entirely sure because I didn't have my watch set up for auto-laps that worked well with that distance.  I ran with some nice people and even saw Heather at the 3rd aid station.  She looked happy and running strong. 

Busy Trails during the first loop.
Loop 2: 
I felt great going into the second loop.  With the trail open I was able to run some 8ish mpm miles. I tried to keep my heart rate down and just run happy.  About 4 miles into this loop I wasn't feeling great and wasn't sure what was going on.  I pop a gu, had some more spiz (thanks to Jerry for the tip) and kept running.  about 15 minutes later I figured out it was due to dehydration, I think.  I drank quite a bit from my hydration pack and started feeling better in less than 5 minutes, just in time for the hills!

I exited the dirt loop at 3:46 and was told I had 1.75 miles to the finish. At first I didn't give a lot of hope to a sub 4:00 marathon.  I was planning on a sub 4:20.  My previous PR was 4:38.  The weather was perfect and the trail was runnable. At 3:58 I reached the hill and was able to see the finish line.  I turned it on, dug deep and finished as long as I didn't cramp or crap my pants I could get there by 4:00.  At 3 hours, 59 minutes and 54 seconds I crossed the finish line.  I let out a WHOOO! and the volunteer handing me my medal jumped a little.  

El Fin:
Needless to say, this race was out of my mind.  I never thought I'd be able to do this.  I'm feeling really good about my training for the 60k in April.  My training plan has been

Beautiful Trail
working so far and my nutrition is working.  I need to figure out the amount of water to drink based on temperature and output.  Clearly I drink too much water before the race and not enough during.  Also, I might consider these S-Cap things.  How does everyone else feel about that?

It was great to see some running buddies out there, it's nice to see familar faces that I've never met before (that made sense in my head) and I really want to do this race again next year...maybe the 60k or more?

Quick nutrition note: I switched it up a few weeks ago and started drinking spiz during long runs.  During this race I had 2 bottles each with 16 oz of water and 3 'scoops' of spiz, which is something like 500 calories.  I also had a gu or two during the run.  And 4 peanut butter filled pretzels.  That's it.  Spiz was a wonder drink for me.  I've never used other endurance drinks though, but this one doesn't go bad after mixed, so it was perfect for a drop bag.

Worst after race photo ever.  I wish I had my hat on to hide the balding.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Typical Gear - Part II

I wrote about what I wear, but now I'm going to write about what I bring and eat.

Packs / Hydration:
I'm in love with my Nathan Endurance Pack.  It has a 70 oz capacity, which is perfect for 20 miles in the winter and at least 10 in the summer.  There is one pocket in the back, great for my car keys and my backup TP, because sometimes the coffee doesn't kick in until later on the trail...  The pack also has a elastic closure pockets and a zip pocket.  The zip pocket is great for a couple gus and a camera.  The elastic pocket is great for a 16 oz amphipod bottle filled with Nuun or Spiz (see below).
I also have a Nathan HPL-028 pack.  It's basically just the front half of the endurance pack with a pocket in the back for powdered drink mix or gloves.
I have a camelbak octane as well, but the strap around my waist gives me problems in the digestion/bladder area.  (yes, i'm talking about gas / urine, and I bet this won't be the last time).

Gu.  About 1 every 30-45 minutes.
Sport Beans.  When I'm bored or want something different, I'll eat a few of these.  They are super tasty.
Peanut Butter filled Pretzels.  I almost don't even need to say anything.  Eat one after 18 miles.  Your life will change.
Spiz.  I'm pretty new to this stuff, but it's great on my stomach (unlike Heed and Enduromax) and tastes like nesquick.  I'm not sure if it will be good if it gets warm, but I'll let you know in July.  I'll be using this on my next marathon and some training runs leading up to it.

Nuun / Camelbak Elixer.  Same purpose, different flavors.  I'm not partial to either one, get one that tastes good to you.
Spiz.  See above.  It's food, it's drink.  Get pumped.

Camera.  I found the lightest camera that was less than $150.  It's a sony or something.  I don't really care, I just wanted to be able to snap photos of my dog and stuff.
RoadID.  When I'm alone, I try to always wear mine.  There is no reason not to.

What is your essential gear (non-clothes) for the run?