Monday, April 30, 2012

Badwater Training Update

Now that the first 4 months of the year have gone by, and Badwater is just 77 days away I have been thinking about where my training is and where I will be going with it.

First here are some statistics and highlights:

• 863.5 miles
• 60 runs averaging 14.4 miles per run
• 15 runs of 20 or more miles
• Longest run 50 miles at Bull Run Run
• Hills: At least 1 hill session per week including three 24 mile sessions on Perkins Drive at Bear Mountain. This is a 4 mile long hill with 1200 feet of gain.
• 22hrs 15m cross training in 20 days (average just over 1hr per session)
• 4 days skiing
• 8hrs of heat training in the sauna

My plan going forward is to continue to keep my average run up in the 15 to 20 mile range while still only running 4 days per week. Continue cross training with lots of core work. I will have long runs of about 50 miles every other week for the next month with shorter back to backs of 15 to 20 miles during the off weeks (next 3 big runs below):

• TNF Bear Mountain 50 miler 5/5
• Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim 47 miles 5/19
• TNF DC 50 miler 6/2

Following DC I will substitute long hill repeats at Bear Mountain every other week on June 16th and 30th. I will likely increase those to 32 miles, 4 repeats with 20 milers the following days.
This is why I am so focused on hills!!!
Generally I am feeling very good but for a few little hip and sciatic issues which I continue massage therapy for (every other week). The core work I have been doing has really made a difference, which I can feel in my lower back. The hill work is paying off too. I know I need to continue this effort to get over the long torturous climbs in Death Valley.

Hope everyone else is seeing results from whatever training you are doing. No doubt it will pay off on race day.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

WTF New York Road Runners?

Actually I'm Not, just seemed fitting.
Yesterday the lottery was held for the ING New York City Marathon. I believe around 140,000 people applied for 45,000 spots which I am guessing is not quite accurate. There may be 45,000 spots but thousands are already taken by runners with guaranteed entries through, the 9+1 program, deferrals, qualifying etc.  In addition there are thousands of bibs already spoken for through the races amazing charity programs. I am OK with all of this but just saying your chances are significantly less than 1 in 3.

On their website it stated that the actual entrant list would be available the day after the lottery at 10am today 4/26. However you could click on a link provided which took you directly to a live web cast where the lottery would be announced and you could get an early peak at the results. So I along with thousands of other people tuned in to what was about a half hour self promoting New York Road Runner event with special guests like Ryan Hall (cool) and raffle prizes (boring). In the end there was a big confetti cannon exploding to announce the lottery had taken place. And then.......


For the next several minutes I stared blankly at the screen, which was also blank with the exception of the web cast which was on repeat. And then the Twitter feed on the side of the screen began to blow up with comments. I went to Facebook, and that too was exploding with frustration. I mean people were freaking out. Now I admit, I too was frustrated, but more so with the NYRR than actually finding out if I got in. I am not knocking NYRR, OK yes I am.  This race and organization has grown to epic proportions. I understand they are now a money making machine with 65,000 members, major corporate sponsors and so on. But seriously, with $10 million in entry fees for this race alone, it's not unreasonable to expect a simple list be posted on time.

I do love this event. It was my first marathon and I have either run it or watched it in person every year since 1991. It's great for New York City and I believe its great for our sport. So to you New York Road Runners, I know you can't please everyone all the time, but just because you have grown so large, don't forget who got you there. "We Did!"  So make us happy, don't treat us like cattle and get the little things right.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bull Run Run 50 Miler - Brief Recap

Nothing like a quick PBR at mile 45!
The wait to get to the starting line at this weekend’s Bull Run Run 50 Miler seemed like an eternity. My last race as chronicled in my "What is Failure" post, ended in my first and only DNF at mile 85 of the Javelina Jundred last November. I have carried a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since. It may never completely go away but I certainly am glad to have gotten back out there, finished and had a great time.

My original plan was to race this, but after getting into Badwater I knew the smart thing was to treat this as a long training run. That is exactly what I needed and did sticking with friend Tony Portera the entire race. We took it easy and just enjoyed the people and the trail. It was a beautiful day, beginning in the low 40s and hitting a high somewhere in the upper 70’s. The race started just after sunrise at 6:30am with about 300 runners. What seemed incredibly impressive to me was on the results page I did not see 1 DNF, although there were a few finishing times beyond the cut off. My finishing time was 9:58:37, but most importantly I was able to work on my Badwater Nutrition and race plan (Mile 45 beer will be excluded) and came out injury free. In fact with limited soreness I was able to ease right back into my training this week with a couple of light runs and some cross training. The best was finishing with my little lady:)

My opinion of the race organization and course is as follows:

Organizer: The race is put on by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, the same organization that hosts Massanutten Mt. Trails 100. I think they ran a great race. The course was very well marked, aid stations well stocked and the volunteers were friendly and knowledgeable. I would and may run this one again if I get in. It's a lottery.
BRR50 The Course
The Course: Set on the Bull Run Trail in Northern Virginia I found this track to be challenging but not overwhelming. Although, I will say it was significantly more hilly and technical than I expected (Tony can attest as I watched him either roll an ankle, kick a rock or stumble on a root nearly every mile). Along the route we encountered lots of great runnable single track, some rocky and rooty sections, numerous stream crossings and an array of open fields and wooded trails mixed in. The course was very dry as has been the case lately in this part of the country, but fair warning! If you run this race during typical spring conditions, be prepared to get muddy and wet.

Here are a few photos taken by Tony and a race photographer volunteer. Peace E
Mmmmmm PBR and Cheese Balls

One of many crossings

Me and Tony

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Am Safety Man

"Safety Man"
It seems to me that I am hearing more and more about athletes becoming victims out on the roads. Are there more of us out there these days? Are we being too careless? Do most drivers even give a shit that we are out there? My answers are yes, probably and I think so but most of the time they just don't see us.

So here is my annual reminder to my fellow runners and cyclists alike. Let it be known that we are out there.  It is our job to do whatever we can to be seen because the fact is most drivers simply don't see us. Last year I posted a fairly detailed write up about my safety practices which you can see here 2011 Safety Tips and the prior year a brief acknowledgement that common sense is required 2010 Reflective Gear.

This year I thought I would share many of the safety products I use.  Please note that while Nathan Performance Gear has recently agreed to provide me with a product sponsorship I have been using many of their products for years (if I did not believe in it I would not use it, you can be certain of that).
  1. Headlamps: I use the Petzl Tikka and the Black Diamond Spot. Not only do these light the way for me but they make me more visible to oncoming traffic on the roads in the early morning hours.  I tend to prefer the Tikka because it's slightly lighter in weight, feels less bulky and is certainly bright enough on the roads. The Spot is however significantly brighter. Battery life is in favor of the Tikka on max power.
  2. L.E.D: I have been using the Nathan L.E.D. Safety Strobe for the last year or so. Previously I had used one meant for cycling but it was a little bulky. When I saw the Nathan on the rack at my local running store I had to have it.  It was more sleek, light weight and had a variety of flashing options. It also comes in 4 different colors. I like to attach this to the back of my headlamp strap so I am seen by cars coming from behind. Even though I run on the opposite side of the road I think its important to be seen from every direction.
  3. Reflective Vests:  My first vest of choice was the Nathan Streak. I just love the way it fits and it has plenty of reflection. Now that Nathan is providing me with a product sponsorship I will have the opportunity to try their other models as well. Although the fit of the Streak is ideal for me as it fits snugly, my new favorite from a visibility standpoint (safety) is the Photon L.E.D. Vest. I am wearing it in the photo above. With its reflection and flashing L.E.D. with multiple settings it's the most visible vest I have ever seen. It bounces a little bit, but I think it's worth it. I will be sure to report on the other versions as I have opportunity to try them although I will need to force myself away from the Photon. The new vests also have ID tabs for emergency information.
  4. On the subject of ID, I previously ran with a business card with my emergency information written on the back. Now I run with the Nathan's VITAband. This ID bracelet actually has multiple features. Emergency contact information right on the face, an individual ID number that first responders can connect with to access whatever personal information you feel is important to know (allergies, medical conditions etc) and lastly it has a Debit card you can prepay and use along your route to purchase additional supplies as needed (no more nasty wet money).
  5. Last are the Nathan Snap! Bands. I started using these last year after I saw my fellow crew member Chuck use them at Badwater. What I like about this product is it creates movement which I believe attracts more attention. You can put them on your ankles and wrists for example.
Have fun out there, be seen and be safe. Peace

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Impact of Micah True's Life

How is it possible that someone can have an impact on your life, if you have never met. I read about Micah True "Caballo Blanco" and although we never spoke a word I somehow feel connected to him now that he is gone. While I, like most I imagine, want to know what happened it's more for closure than curiosity. That's because it is the way he lived not how he died that is most meaningful to me.

This morning I ran with no watch and no music. Just the way Micah would have wanted it I believe. It was me, the crisp morning air, a steady cool breeze, the birds, the trees and the sounds of my breathing and feet striking the ground. It was quite peaceful out there except for the relentless pounding of thoughts bouncing around in my brain like a super ball. I have tried to corral these reflections into something intelligible and here is what I have come up with.

Caballo Blanco was simply a man who lived freely. Not carelessly and not frivolously, but without boundary. He was committed to his beliefs and pursued them vigorously. He did this at the expense of no one. In fact from everything I have read, his actions were to the contrary as he cared deeply about people. I am sure he could have turned his life into much more of a commercial success, but money is not what moved him. He was driven however by wealth and the sum of all his experiences, memories and friendships likely made him one of the richest people on earth.

Thank you Micah True for helping us think about what is important in our lives.  Peace
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