Saturday, July 30, 2011

50 Kilometers...that's longer than a marathon right?

Alright, either I felt too good, or was still really delirious from the marathon, but I signed up for a 50K, or for the metric impaired, 31 miles.  Personally, I blame another runner from Carmel for telling me about the race, but I guess you could say I caught the running bug.  Here is a quick preview of the race:

The Rock/Creek Stump Jump
Chattanooga, TN
October 1st, 2011
5330 ft of climbing

Click to open big map
For training, I'm feeling pretty good about the plan I put together.  I'm doing a lot of back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday.  I did 13 today, and am going to do at least 10 tomorrow.  While that's not a lot of miles, I did run my first marathon ever only 7 days ago. Next weekend I've got another marathon on the schedule at the Planet Adventure Race "Eagle Creek Marathon".  I was originally only going to run the half marathon but after I signed up for 50K, I switched to the marathon and then decided to use it as a well supporting training run.

I still am thinking about my nutrition plan.  The marathon was good, except I needed more electrolytes.  S-caps?  Others ideas?  I'm also thinking if I am going to be running another 1-2 hours then I'm going to need some protein.  Any suggestions?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Race Report- Golden Gate Trail Runs

As you may have read in my previous post, I ran this event as my first trail marathon, well, my first marathon ever actually. I have been a mix of excited and nervous ever since I signed up for the event about 12 weeks ago. The run didn't disappoint, but wasn't exactly as picturesque as it could have been. The famous San Francisco fog was present and thick the entire time.

The run started at 8:15 for the marathon and half marathon distance. I would rather have had my own start for the marathon distance, but with only about 45 of us, it wasn't feasible. I arrived at 6:45 because I got a ride with Dave of Golden Trails Blog because he was volunteering at the Conzelman aid station. Because I arrived so early, I offered to help at the beginning, so Wendell of Coastal Trail Runs suited me up in a reflective jacket and an orange flag to help park cars.  After helping out I got my bib and safety pins. Nothing else was given to me, which is a really nice relief, I don't need a bag full of coupons and race announcements, I have the Internet for that.
Pre-race Portrait
As we lined up for the start I realized I would again have to deal with my least favorite part of trail running: too many people on a small trail. It seems to be worse as the distances get shorter, i.e. Elementary school kids sprinting off at the beginning of a 5k only to die about 300 yards in to the single track. Luckily, the trail didn't narrow for quite a while, so it wasn't too bad. But there were about 250 half marathoners, and a 300 person start is a lot for a trail run.

At 8:15 am, Wendell gave the start command and we were off. The first 1.5 miles of the run was basically a climb straight up, a full 900 ft. As an Indiana trail native, I've never seen climbs this long, and I wasn't able to find any that could replicate this during my training. I stuck to my plan of hiking up most of it. There were runners around me that were jogging up, but I was basically keeping up with them, so I didn't feel bad about losing spots, after all, I knew this would be a test on my body and mind, not against others.
The middle third of the first climb

With that said, I was still doing pretty decent on the climb and I was keeping my heart rate +/- 170 bpm. Which is good, because at mile 4 there was another 1.5 mile climb of 800 ft. I actually thought this one was a harder climb because it was the exact same grade the while time, no small up or down, just long. It had three false tops as well, where you think you are at the top, but aren't. After that second climb, the run picked up. I saw Dave at the second aid station. His greeting and delicious soggy goldfish crackers really picked me up and I took off down the gentle hill toward the finish. Of course, there was one more climb, but it seemed like a piece of cake in comparison to the previous two. I came in after the first lap with a 10:35 min/mile pace and I was really happy about it. I didn't have a specific time goal, but a sub 5 hr finish would be fantastic.
Near the top of the Tennessee Valley Climb

I returned back to the start/finish area and replenished my water and Gu stores.  I headed back out on the course. I left all the half marathoners behind and from this point on I only saw 6 runners. A couple took a wrong turn on the first half of their 30k, and a couple passed me as they were running to victory in the 50k. Those guys were smoking the course!

To date, my longest run was 20 miles. 20.6 miles I looked at my watch and got really happy. I knew I could make it! Then, 1 mile later I had my first leg cramp. I immediately finished my electrolyte drink and filled up another. I was coming up in the final aid station and grabbed some pretzels.
Foggy and Wet - Top of Tennessee Valley Climb
I had to stop a few times to get stretched out, let another marathoners pass me, but it was the right thing to do. As soon as I tried to run faster, my hamstrings would tighten up and my running form would disintegrate. It didn't matter though, I wad within 4 miles of the finish. I was finishing, and I had 55 minutes to do it and still finish under 5 hours. I made it, with a total time of 4:41:10, 12th overall and second in my age group. Hooray!!

I'm going to leave you with a few more photos, but I'm already looking for my next race!
The Finish!

Miwok Trail!

Rodeo Beach from the middle third of the first climb

Great views!

Amazing single track

Running into a cloud

Don't fall

1.5 miles of up after the 1st aid station

More single track - looks like a rainforest

The wind was blowing between 25 and 30 mph up here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm ready? - Golden Gate Trail Marathon

I'm almost there. My first marathon. Only 5 days from now.
26.2 miles
4,849 ft of elevation gain
Average grade of 7%
That is 7 ft up for every 100 ft forward

While the trail probably looks like this:

I'm imagining something like this:

Am I worried? Nah. Scared? Nope. Ready? I hope so. I've got the gear laid out:

2 Patagonia Capilene 1 t-shirts - I have an obsession with Patagonia and it all started with Cap1 shirts about 7 years ago. Simply the lightest most comfortable shirt I own.
Standard boxer brief style tights - the best form of anti-chafe
Running shorts - I haven't decided which ones I'm going to wear yet. Probably which ever are the lightest when soaked with sweat
Socks - I don't have a particular brand affiliation, but I'm willing to be sponsored ;-)
Keen A86 - you've read it before, but I love those shoes. I've got just over 100 miles on them now, and they are ready for the race.

Of course I'm going to be taking a hydration pack and some food for the two 13 mile loops.

Hydration pack - I'm going to take my Nathan Endurance pack. 70 ounces of water, no extra stuff.
I've got a spare 10 ounce bottle for my electrolyte drink...
Camelbak Elixir - lemon lime is my favorite. Does the job, easy to drink when it is hot (unlike sugary drinks)
Clif Bar - solid food is good!
Gu - every 5 miles or so for me.
Camera - I'm sure as hell taking photos on this run. If I stop a lot my time will be slower, which means PRs will be easier in the future. That's the attitude right? Haha
Soft white paper - self explanatory. No port-o-pottys on the trails

I'm ready aren't I? Tapering feels weird. I want to run, I think. But I'm notorious for over exerting myself, so I'll take it easy, and eat as much as I can.

Anything else I should (or not) be doing?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Vasa Trail - Traverse City, MI

Recently, on a trip to Michigan, I was able to do a training run on the Vasa Trail.  This trail, which is primarily used in the winter time for cross country skiing.  My goal was to complete a 22 mile run as the peak in my training for the marathon.  My family was up in the area for 4th of July celebrations.  I got up at 5:00 am in the morning, after my 8 hour drive up from Indianapolis on Friday.  I was really excited about running this trail the entire week, but at 5:05 am, I was NOT pumped.  I made it out to the trail by about 6:15 because I had a bit of a drive to get there.  I ran the 25K loop then the 10K loop to get the 22 miles, but I think I missed a small turn on the 25K loop because I only had 20.4 miles on my Garmin.

Trail Map

This trail was actually really well marked.

The first couple miles of trail
Most of the trail was firm, sandy soil.  Almost all of it was double track so that a grooming machine could come though in the winter and prep the trail for skiiers.

The sun started peeking through the clouds and trees after the first 6 miles or so.

Single Track
There was some occasional single track with really nice grasses or ferns.  Every time I see a big group of ferns like this, I think of the movie "Fern Gully".  Then I start looking for sizzling red "x"s on all of the trees.  Stupid Humans trying to ruin the world.

A beautiful clearing in the trail.

Sandy Trail
The sandy trail was really nice for running on.  My feet felt amazing, in no small part due to my Keen A86s.  This shot is of my footprint.  I was trying to get a little artistic with my shots I guess.

Snowmobiles?  It's 80 degrees out here!

Turkey Trot
Now I know why all the thanksgiving runs are called "Turkey Trots".  This turkey was making a ton of noise, following me down the trail and running in a way that can only be described as a trot.  I would have been a little scared that the turkey was going to bite me, but I was too entertained.

I'll be back with views like this!

Why I run + interesting links

I guess this is my “why I run post”. Everyone has to have one right? Anyway, as you may or may not know, I’m a really active guy, who often over exerts himself and signs up for too many things at once. As an example, at some point in my life I’ve done a season or tournament (not including college intramurals) in the following activities: tennis (since age 6), soccer (since age 6), volleyball (for 3 years post college), golf (3 years in HS), swimming (age 6-16), basketball (age 5-10), sailing (since age 13), ultimate (since college) and cycling (got my first road bike in high school). While many of those things I don’t do actively anymore, I pretty much never have rest days, just cross training. I started running again last year so that I could be in shape for club ultimate in Indianapolis, but I didn’t really run enough last year to be in shape, so I wasn’t super motivated after the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.

This year was completely different. I’m not sure if I’m ready to admit it, but I think I run the roads to cross train for ultimate and I play ultimate to cross train for trail running. My mind is still blown by how easy it is to feel great after 2, 4, 10, or 20 miles on the trail. I used to have to play a really great game of ultimate, or a string of volleyball matches with all wins to get the same emotional and physical lift. Now I just lace up (or strap on) the shoes and head out the door. Road running is ok. I feel good doing it, but I don’t get the same sensory feedback as I do on the trails. I love being alone in an environment for long periods of time. I almost take the deer, squirrels and foxes for granted now. But not the turkeys, turkeys are crazy.

Running has also helped me lose a lot of extra weight. I’m not sure how many people reading this have had big weight loss in their life, but I like to think about it in 8lb segments. Why 8 lbs? because it is the weight of a gallon of water. I think about the fact that I used to run with 5 more gallons of water attached to my body and it is almost unbelievable. I’m not a fast runner, but I’m getting there.

I also really like the network of runners out there. I think trail runners are some of the most socially conscious, care people that I’ve met. They all love the outdoors, love taking care of themselves and their planet, and they love being active. That’s why I run, everyone has their own reasons, and they only matter to one person, you.

A couple of other quick notes of things to look at while you are bored at work today:
- I saw the following post on and I wanted to share it here because it features two things that I think are awesome: Patagonia and Ultrarunning. Those who don’t know me aren’t aware of my obsession with Patagonia clothing, but I have one.
- The Hardrock 100 started today. Follow it on twitter with the #HR100 hashtag or go to this site for live tracking of runners:
- Follow these blogs for funny and/or interesting running tips and news.
- - Pete is a great runner and is doing some great research on affects of footwear on runners health, speed and enjoyment
- - Donald is also a super runner with some really great race reports.
- - Adam is a silly man who says silly things. Don’t read his posts if you don’t think poop is funny. Otherwise, you will greatly enjoy!