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First Half Recap

2014 started off pretty well. Started 12 races, completed 11. 2 more 50 mile completions. Just July pic 2over 1500 miles run in 6 months. On the bad side, there is some knee pain that started in March and during my last race my Achilles Tendonitis flared up. Hopefully taking the first two weeks of June off and then getting back to some limited mileage in the second half. Hopefully I can pour the mileage back on through August.

My big race on the horizon is Hinson Lake 24 hour. Old Glory Trail Trot 50 Miler will hopefully allow me to redeem myself after a rough time at Dusk to Dawn 50 Miler. 2 marathons, City of Oaks Marathon with a 3:40 goal time and Medoc Trail Marathon with a goal time of sub 4 hours. I also look forward to another run at RunRaleigh Half Marathon.

Overall the first six months were great. Started racing with a new group, Southern Pines Ultra

Running the track at Relay for Life

Running the track at Relay for Life

Running Club. Did some new things like Relay for Life, no record there but 34ish miles around a track isn’t fun. Got to go back to Boogie on Kami’s birthday and had an OK run. I ran PRs during the first half at Run the Rock 50k and Boogie (50 miles). I also ran some new distances: 25k (Merge Records 25k), 0.262 (The Point 262), and my first Downhill Mile. So 5 PR’s in 6 months isn’t bad, right?

 

Many miles to go before this year is done. Time to go after some new adventures and worry less about the things I cannot control. Let me know if you want to run some time.

You never know what you can do until you try so get out there!

Hinson Lake

Hinson Lake

2014 Race Schedule

Looks like I may have lost my mind, but at least it looks fun. 2 5k, 2 half marathons, 2 marathons, 6 50k, 2 50M, 1 24 hour and 1 other distance. Some of these are tentative, but as of now, this is the plan. May need to find something for August and December.

  • NCRC Run for the Roses 5k – February 9th (23:46)
  • Reservoir Park 50k – March 8th (T)
  • Roanoke Canal Half Marathon – March 8 (1:52:50.8)
  • Merge Records 25k – March 22nd (AM) (2:07:31.8)
  • Prison Break Run – The Escape March 22nd (PM) (not timed)
  • Leatherwood 50k – March 29 
  • Medoc Spring Races – April 5th
  • Rock n’ Rebellion Half Marathon – April 12
  • Run the Rock 50k – April 19th
  • Rattler Trail 26.2 – May 24th
  • Bethel Hills Moonlight Boogie 50 M – June 7
  • Dusk to Dawn 50M – June 28
  • The March 50k – July 19th
  • Medoc Meltdown 50k – August 2
  • Weymouth Woods 50k – September 13th
  • Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra – September 27th
  • RunRaleigh Half Marathon – October 5
  • City of Oaks Marathon – November 2nd
  • Old Glory Trail trot 50M – November 15th

Now I just need to train a little bit and maybe con some friends into pacing and crewing :).

Remember, run happy, train smart and don’t listen to the voices inside your head that tell you what you can’t do!

October Update and quick thoughts about the City of Oaks Marathon

October was an OK month, though I managed to over stress my right Achilles and ended up putting in way less miles than I had originally anticipated. Damn speed work, too much too fast. I ran 1 race, the Medoc 10 miler. Had a great time one again at Medoc.

I ran a total of 90.3 miles in October. That puts me at 1666.8 miles for 2013.

City of Oaks Marathon
I’m keeping this one a little short at least for the time being.

After this past weekend, I can finally officially check off the 26.2 distance. On November 3rd, I ran the City of Oaks Marathon. Unfortunately, my Achilles issues that stemmed from a training run between Hinson and the Medoc 10 Miler weren’t fully resolved even though the discomfort wasn’t present when I hit the line. The pain kicked in around mile 16 and did nothing but get worse through the end. Enough complaints, lets talk about the race.

I really like the course. There were some really nice challenges hidden in there, especially on the greenway portion. From my perspective, it really is a great course as I normally like a little challenge to break things up when things get boring. The nearly 3 mile climb around mile 20 was worth a few happy thoughts. Something that I noticed- between around mile 11 and 24, when we were running the greenway, not a lot of room for spectators, no room for the stuff that peps you up on the run. That was kinda ho hum, but I guess it was a necessity to keep us off the roads for half of the race.

My pace plan was 8:40 – 8:50 and I held that well through the first 17 miles or so. My splits with rank at each: mile 6.2: 235th 54:02, mile 13.1: 238th 1:56:08, mile 20: 330th 3:05:53 Chip finish: 4:26:54 Avg Pace: 10:11 Gun time: 4:27:23 overall place 403. The best thing about having a bad day is that it sets me up to potentially crush my time next go round.

I am glad I finally got over my fear of the marathon and went out and did it.

Remember, run happy, train smart and don’t listen to the voices inside your head that tell you what you can’t do!

Motivations and a little about why I run

I plan to dive a little deeper into pieces of this posting in the future, but for now here is a brief piece about why I do what I do.

Every once in a while I get asked why I run or more often than not, why I run so much, often quantified as excessively or obsessively. Some people are downright condescending while others just want to know. I have put a lot of thought into why I run as much as I do especially since I have started running longer distances, and over the last several weeks have come up with this:

I run to feel free. I run for balance and enlightenment. I run long to release the demons within and move forward with my life. I am an ultra runner because it allows me to face the black dog and move forward. I run to be free. I run to understand who I really am. I’m not an elite athlete; I am not a regional superstar and I am not training for greatness. I don’t race to place; I race to beat my last effort.

Really, the above is a bunch of statements that could mostly stand on their own as a reason why someone runs. In stringing them all together I started to really figure out why I do what I do. Maybe it only makes sense to me and maybe that is the way it should be.

Freedom was pretty easy to find through running, from my first mile to whatever I am running today I find freedom from running. It is me and the road or trail. Balance and enlightenment I may eventually find someday through running.

The black dog I refer to isn’t black dog of European lore but more a superimposition of my depression. If I run long enough, I seem to think through everything in my head and upon reaching the void there he stands, larger than life to confront me. The longer I continue on after finding my black dog the better I feel after the event. Being able to overtake my black dog one day will probably by my best personal triumph. This is my prime motivator.

Enough about dogs though, my final statement rubs many runners the wrong way. I don’t race to place; I race to beat my last effort. Many people take this to mean that I am not a competitive person. Many think you are wasting your time going out for anything less than first place. That is great if it gets you out of bed and running every day. Not saying I haven’t placed before because I have, I am just saying that using winning as a motivator to run better doesn’t help make me a better runner.

The only outside motivator that usually gets under my skin enough to make me change my ways is to tell me I will fail. Failure isn’t an option, so telling me I will fail at anything tends to push me over the edge. Once challenged, I have a relentless drive to succeed at any cost. One of these days, I may get past this character flaw as I prefer not to embody negativity to drive success.

The only thing I find more derogatory than failure is quitting.

Remember, run happy, train smart and don’t listen to the voices inside your head that tell you what you can’t do!

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra

So this past weekend I participated in the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra. It was such a great experience. The course is a 1.52 mile loop around Hinson Lake, the trail surface is maintained clay. There are some sandy spots that will slow you down but overall, an enjoyably runnable course which is good since you are continually running the same trail as many times as you can during the 24 hour period.

This was Kami and Gavin’s first time going to a race longer than a half marathon. I think they had a good time all things considered.

We got to the lake around 5:00 pm Friday evening. We took pretty much the only spot left to put up a canopy on the dam and set up my base camp for the weekend. Piles of food and running gear followed. We hung around on the dam for a bit. Ray The-K commented on Gavin’s skeleton hoodie. I was running numbers through my head, 100km (62 mi) is 41 laps. That meant I needed to do at least a lap and a half an hour. The ugly 100 mile notion kept trying to break through, “you only need to go a little more than 4 mph to get there” bouncing around my head. We ate at the prerace pasta dinner, hung around a little more and went to the car to sleep. Now that was a bad idea. We had a snoring elephant tossing and turning in the back seat. He managed to get more sleep than me. Then again, what is an ultra if you can’t experience it on little sleep?

Finally got out of the car around 6:30 or so. I ate a few mini bagels and some pop tarts changed into my running gear and wandered around aimlessly for another hour. Met up with some friends, talked goals and paces and the normal running related stuff. Got to the start area and heard about half of the announcements. 8:00 am, we were set free to run the trail. I started off at a 10 minute per mile pace which I should have known better than to try and sustain. But I did that for a little over 2 hours before dropping off to a more sensible 15 minute per mile pace. My plan had been to start off at 12:30 or 13 min/mile – big difference over the long haul. Kami made sure to make me eat and drink when I stopped by after each lap.

Somewhere around mile 15 or so, I tripped over a root. There are so few roots on that trail that I don’t know how I did it, but I did. My left shoulder absorbed the brunt to the fall. Slightly winded and barely bleeding I got back up and started running again. It wouldn’t be a trail race without a little blood, would it? That warranted a long break I thought. Antiseptic, Advil, food and water. I think this was around the point that Gavin went out to run a lap with me.

Lunch was pizza from Dominoes. Who would have thought that Dominoes pizza tasted so good? Kami walked my “pizza lap” with me. Gavin did a few more laps with me and started to get bored so I sent him to the aid station to help. He poured drinks for hours. Who said Mountain Dew, Coke and Ginger Ale aren’t running beverages?

Speaking of the aid station, they had damn near everything you could want- M&M’s, skittles, gummy bears, Twizzlers, Cheese-its, nuts, grilled cheese, PB&J sandwiches, soups, burgers, boiled potatoes and salt (my favorite for some reason), cake, cupcakes, and probably more that I can’t remember. I probably consumed somewhere around 10,000 calories or more.

Major splits (ultra distances, times approximate) 50km 7 hours, 20 something minutes (my slowest ever 50k), 50 miles 11 hours 30ish minutes (new PR at that distance though only the second time I have run that far), 100km was somewhere around 15 or 16 hours.

What started out as slow run laps became slower run/ walk laps before finally falling back on quick walk laps. No what ifs this time, I am happy with the outcome as I have never covered that much ground at once.

I ended up napping after 1:00 am for 20 minutes, did a couple of laps and took another 20 minute nap. Did 2 or 3 more laps, fell apart and slept for a little over 2 hours and started back walking as quickly as I could to rack up more laps. The long nap had a negative effect and I couldn’t get back up to a decent jog (I was actually walking faster). All told, I moved a little more than 77 miles. I guess with a little more work, I may be ready for a 100 miler in the near future.

Kami and Gavin were a great help, between the two of them they covered 11 laps with me. Kami ended up walking 7 laps, several after dark with her evil wings. They had EL wire attached to them so they stood out with a little glow overnight.

Next race on the calendar is the Medoc 10 miler on October, not sure why I didn’t sign up for the Medoc trail marathon. Then I’m off to the Crooked Road 24 Hour in November (still around 40 spots available if anyone wants to try a 24 hour event.)

You never know what you can do until you try so get out there!

End of July Update

I ran 202.1 miles during the month of July bringing my 2013 total up to 1021.7 miles. August is my last full month before the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic so I have an aggressive schedule ahead with around 283 miles planned. Concentrating on an 11:45 – 12:15 average pace this month for the long runs since that is where I want to be at for Hinson.

On to other news, after my weight loss stalled out for the last 8 months or so, I netted a loss of 6.5 pounds in July. That brings my weight down to 179.5 and my total weight loss to 65.6 pounds since June 2011. I still can stand to lose another 15 or 20 pounds and plan to push on until I get down to the low 160 pound range.

This weekend instead of running progressively longer runs like I normally do, I am participating in the Medoc Meltdown 50k (they use the term 50k a bit loosely, as the run is really closer to 35 miles. 35 miles of trails sounds like a pretty fun day to me. Twizlers and soda and junk food oh my… I may even write up a race report.

And remember, run happy, train smart and don’t listen to the voices inside your head that tell you what you can’t do!

Mizuno Wave Rider Break-in Run

I picked up some new shoes earlier this week as it was past time to rotate in a new pair. I have been running in mostly Brooks Ghost 5 this year but have been feeling like I need a change as they are feeling less responsive than what I would like. I tried a couple of different shoes and decided to go with the Mizuno Wave Rider 16. For whatever reason, this shoe felt perfect during the sidewalk jog test.

I took these out for the first run this morning. 12 miles on new shoes, but it is either that or wait until Tuesday for my next shorter run. They started out feeling good and ended feeling pretty good too. The upper offers a good bit more flexibility when compared to the Ghost 5. The Mizuno upper is less structured which probably leads to the greater sense of flexibility. The midsole of the Mizuno is firmer and felt more responsive than what I had been accustomed to, so for the most part I think I found what I was looking for.

The run today was a fartlek (Swedish for speed play) on the Upper Neuse Greenway starting from the dam. Pacing varied 7:10/mi to 10:30/mi. My Garmin wasn’t happy with the cloud cover today so it took a little over 3 miles before it was actually tracking right even though it acquired satellite signals before the start. Temp was OK and the humidity wasn’t too bad either.