Nov 1, 2014

Injuries Take Patience

Injuries, like running a marathon or my favorite the 50 mile distance, take patience. As most of you know, I've been dealing with a nagging left knee injury. I believe it is a combination of ITBand/Patellar (runner's knee). I've been running with it for roughly 6 years. Forcing myself through training and racing. Even setting some personal records from 6 hours to 50 miles. I've cut the running way back and have focused solely on strengthening and stretching type exercises. I know I can beat this thing if I'm patient. I'm not one who likes to sit around when I could be out on a trail run, but the only way I'm going to get the best of this is to take that approach. I'll still be active as best that I can because I do want to run some races in 2015 and beyond.

Going to kick start 2015 off on March 28 running the Clinton Lake Ultra 30 Mile. I've heard nothing but great things about this event. So, it will begin.

Jul 9, 2013

Dawg Gone Long Run 50 Mile

6/29 - Dawg Gone Long Run 50 Mile

-I don't write many of these, but this one just seemed appropriate after I DNF the same race in 2012.

Course: Some of the best single-track around Caesar Creek lake south of SR 73. The largest hill is about 80', however the elevation changes are substantial due to almost constant rollers. Approx 2900'of "rolling".

Conditions (Actual): What a great day for a 50 mile trail run! Couldn’t ask for better weather at the end of June! Low 70's; overcast, changing to sun, changing to rain about 5 hours after the start, back to sun, back to overcast. It started raining about 1:00 – didn’t pour – just a nice shower. Felt good to the runners, but really made the course muddy for part of the second and the third lap.

When we race, most often it is to see what can we do to run our best. Get the most out of ourselves without blowing up or potentially ruining future endeavors. For some it is for the experience to be outdoors and just be glad to finish. We take risks at these ultra distances from 50 Miles and beyond that most people, even "recreational runners" consider crazy. But we keep coming back for more. Keep pushing the envelope.

Saturday was kind of one of those days where I mainly went on feel, but took risks along the way. I fueled about as well as I have for a race aside from running Ice Age Trail 50M on May 9th. I went with a liquid diet of Carbo-Pro/200-300Cals per 20oz bottle, and 4-5 gels per loop. 3 loops x 16.7 Miles! I felt my training was solid leading up to the event, even after a DNF(calf strain) @ mile 77/Kettle Moraine in early June. I wanted to bounce back, get Kettle out of my mind, so DGLR50M seemed like the logical event to tackle.

We started off at 6:30AM. It was somewhat humid, but I had been training in the heat so it didn't feel so bad. My friend Mark Linn and I started off the front, but immediately settled in with 4-5 other guys taking the lead out over the dam portion/road of each loop before heading into the woods at Caesar Creek State Park. We let them go, and I'm sure glad I did. Last year I chased people and came through the first loop in 2:18. It was all downhill from there. We live and we learn.


We hit the trail portion of the course going uphill on nice single track, and within a mile and half ventured across a creek riddled with big rocks and shin deep water. I didn't pick a spot, I just rumbled across it figuring I was going to be wet all day anyway. That proved to be true. The course from this point on became technical in nature from running through sections of waist/chest deep grass, and a lot of mud. Nice greasy clay type mud. 4 of us are running together. One guy isn't carrying anything, not even a small bottle. Another guy I knew from last year, myself and Mark all in line biding our time. Enjoying the conversation during the early portion of the race.

We get to the drop bag spot about 8-9 miles in and really I take my time here filling up my bottle with Carbo-Pro powder and grab a few more gels. Like clock work I was taking a gel every 30-40 minutes. We headed out to hit the back end of the course via another road/highway section and back on to an even more technical/root/rocky part of the trail. Made it through this section feeling great. Kept the heart rate down and came back to finish the loop to refill my bottle, eat another gel and we were off to do it all over again.

The 2nd loop started off about the same. Mark and I together along with another runner who actually was out for an afternoon run. Great guy. Talked with him the entire loop and even ran behind him nearly the entire way. A couple miles in I had to make a detour into the woods and told the guys I'd catch up with them. After the woods, I picked up the pace to catch up as they were probably a quarter mile down the course. I ended up losing Mark behind me at some point after the 8-9 mile mark and wouldn't see him again until after the finish. Like bees on honey I continued to fuel properly and was feeling great. To this point after the 2nd loop, I did not feel spent even with the temp rising and over 33 miles under my belt. Expecting Mark to maybe come in as I refilled my bottle, I took off for the 3rd loop solo.

Over the dam ahead I could see 2-3 runners making there way across back into the woods. I continued to bide my time. I had no idea who had dropped or where the early leaders were. I knew I was in probably 6th or 7th place at that point. So, after the dam I hit the woods and kind of took off a little hoping to catch the few runners that I did see. I caught two runners early before the creek crossing and settled in behind them. One was in the race, the other was just out running to get some miles in. Before long we caught another runner walking and even looped a handful of others. I got to the 8-9 mile aid station and wasted no time filling my bottle. I was out of there quickly. Two of us ran together, walking the hills smartly. Another runner followed us close but we lost sight of him within no time as we were keeping a decent pace. The last section, I knew was going to be a bear because of the technicality of it and the fact my hip flexors were getting tired from tromping through mud all morning. But I pushed on as we passed three more runners who went out fast early and we didn't look back. I knew exactly where we were as we crossed this wooden bridge and uphill getting close to the finish area.

All of a sudden, on the uphill the guy I'm with, Aaron Kramer, makes a move. Picks up the pace with about 400-500 yds to go. It doesn't even register to me that I should go with him. So, I let him go as I make my way through the trees, enjoying the clapping and cheering of the finish area. I was done, but not hammered. I remember thinking I probably could have gone out for another loop if I had to I felt that good. Sometimes things just go our way, but not always. Saturday was one of those days for me.

Loop #1: 2:40:50
Loop #2: 2:49:34
Loop #3: 2:45:06
Finish: 8:15:30 - 3rd OverAll
-My friend Mark would come through for a top 5 finish. So, it was a good all around day for both of us.

Oct 22, 2012

Pacing a 24 Hour!!!


This past weekend I had the opportunity to pace a friend, Adam Weber at the St. Pat's 24 Hour trail race. About a month ago I pulled out of this very same event because of lack of training, fractured left big toe, and achillies tendonitis issues. I thought I might as well still take part in the event one way or another.

So, I used social media. (Face Book) to be exact and let Adam know that I would be willing to pace if he needed it. That was about 10 days before the event. I didn't hear back until the night before the race, when I got a message on my Wall asking me if I still was looking to pace. Immediately I said I'm on board. I told him I'd be out at the park (St. Patrick's Park / South Bend, IN) before 8 PM when they allow pacers.

Well, I got antsy and showed up at the park about 12:30 PM to check on things and get an update on how Adam was doing. They were roughly 4 1/2 hours into the race at that point. I spoke to the RD, Sara Miller. And to my delight, she said I could start pacing whenever I felt like it. Nice!!! I hung around a bit and waited for Adam to finish another 3 mile loop. A little history on this loop. I know it like the back of my hand, I've run it so many times. I know where all the roots are, the bad spots, etc. Adam came in and I introduced myself to him. Yes, we'd never met but on Facebook! It didn't matter. We are runners. That is what we do. Immediately I helped fill his bottle, he ate something, and I told him I'd start pacing around 4PM. He was excited. In the mean time, I spoke with a few New Leaf Ultra Runners - Joe Ventura & Joeliezer Ventura, Matt Treter(crewing/pacing) for his wife, Tiffany Treter, Jeremy Eldrige (running the 12HR), Jen Birkner and Rita Tijerina (running the 24HR). And Eric & Leah Harold even showed up to crew/pace. Nice! We had a full house :). I probably met other runners/crew/pacers, so I apologize for leaving you out :).

Jen Birkner (Matt Treter crewing) - At the aidstation



Joe Ventura - At the aidstation


Barn: Staging area. Start/Finish

After a bit I drove back home and gathered up my running stuff needed for the evening. I already had a drop box nearly ready from previous events, so there really wasn't much to do but plan for the weather. At times it looked like rain in the afternoon, but it never came. It stayed pretty much in the 50's, with patches of sun to the evening. And I was off back to the park. Nice that I only live 15 minutes from this place.

I arrived at the park, and before long Adam came strolling down to the start/finish area and we were off. The first thing I asked was how he was doing? Anything can happen in these races. He had already run 8 hours and 42 miles, so I wasn't expecting much other then I'm hurting somewhat. Two things were aching. His quads and his foot. I asked if he had changed shoes yet? He said, no! Well, when we get back round you are going to change shoes/socks. I took charge :). We ran that first 3 mile loop in 30 minutes. Too fast. Time to slow it down. He went into the barn/staging area and I handed his bottle off to a volunteer for a refill. He changed and we were off, chatting away. We'd run, walk, run, walk. Depending on his comfort level. I'd encourage him as much as possible to run. And came through mile 48 in roughly 35 minutes. Good. Slowed it down. His high goal for the day was to get 100 miles in the 24HR's. Doable, but anything can happen in these event.
And I don't care who you are.

Another few loops went by. Adam would go through many ups/downs. One loop he is feeling great. Another not so much. Night was fast approaching, and there was no sight of rain. We finished up another loop around 7:20ish PM and I ran to the barn, grabbed his headlamp while he was refilling (eating), and we walked fast out of the aidstation. The temperature didn't waver much. I know because I hadn't put gloves on yet, and my hands are usually the first to go.

We kept cranking along, talked about many things. As much as Adam may have wanted to take a break around 9-10PM, I kept him going, made sure he drank fluids every mile or so. Word of warning. Just because it is a 3 mile loop doesn't mean you don't need to drink/eat. You do because for some that 3 miles could take an hour or more, depending on how much you are walking. The majority of our loops stayed in the 40-45 min range.

Around Adam's 20th loop or 60 miles, I made sure he drank some Coke and ate something substantial. Pizza was the choice at the time. I slammed half a RedBull and ate some potatoes. And we were off into the dark. The sky was bright with stars and a crescent moon. Every once in awhile we come across another headlamp/runner fighting just like we were to get it done. One loop at a time. We'd gesture or say a hello and push on. With 6 Hour and 12 Hour runners already done for the day, the trail was pretty depleted of runners.

My goal now as 10PM approached was to keep Adam upright, and on trail. Through the next few hours, the leader would pass us at least 3 times that I recall. I believe he finished with 124 miles. For this course that is pretty stout, considering the amount of roots and variation in terrain. And I don't mean hills because there really is only one on the entire course. The course has fields of grass, tree covered sections with so many leaves that you can't tell what's a root/rock/leaf. And a nasty trail section along the river that is loaded with roots at every turn.

We are on our last loop. It is past Midnight. Adam at this point is wavering between taking a nap or pulling from the race. He is at 78 miles with less then hours to go. I am 8 hours into pacing him. We made a decision coming into the aidstation that he would lay/sit down for the first time all day. My job was done. Adam would take a nap, get up and run an addition 7 miles to set a new PR (85 Miles for 24 Hours). Awesome!!!!!

I had a great time!!!!

Oct 18, 2012

Sawtooth 100 Mile


September 6th 2013
http://fall.superiortrailrace.com/race-info/100-mile/

Dec 23, 2011

Running Memories - A 12 Year Run!

2005 White River 50 Mile USATF Trail Championships(pic) - Although I've pretty much been a runner since the 6th or 7th grade, which seems like a lifetime ago, 2012 will be my 13th consecutive year of running the marathon distance (26.2) or longer. I've set Personal Records that honestly mean nothing to anyone but me, but I continue to do this because I still like to challenge myself and see where the road or trail takes me. And it has taken me to many places over the years. I have traveled to locals that under normal circumstances I probably would have never thought of going. Race sites like the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, CO, White River 50 Mile near Mt. Rainier in Washington state, Laurel Highlands Trail 70.5 Mile in Ohiopyle, PA, Leadville Trail 100 Mile in Leadville, CO or even Bartlett, IL to run this race, Windburn Six in Stix - 6 Hour on a 2.28 Mile loop in the middle of winter. (pic)- 2006 Leadville Trail 100 Mile - Prerace Briefing! I've had the opportunity to run on top of mountains above 14,000ft, under water and in two different countries during the same race, and on trails through forest that I never thought I'd be. Who drives 7 Hours to run a race (Land Between the Lakes 60K) on a mud infested trail in the pouring rain in 40F temps in Grand Rivers, KY? Runners do! (pic)- 2006 Leadville Trail 100 - Pam @ Altitude :) I even met a great friend of mine, Rob Runkle from Ohio in the "portajohn" line at the 2003 Boston Marathon. We struck up a conversation waiting to take a leak :) and have stayed in touch ever since. We have run a number of races together and stayed at one another's home. Rob has run nearly 70 marathons himself. Maybe more. (pic below)- 2008 Berryman Trail 50 Mile - At the finish! Placed 3rd OverAll These are just some of the things that have kept me motivated over the past few years. To date I have run 36 marathons and 11 Ultras beyond the marathon distance(DNF - Did Not Finish nearly just as many). Five of those DNF's include (5) 100 Mile races! That monkey still sits on my back. I know you hear me Leadville, Kettle Moraine and Mohican. Down but not defeated. (pic)- Pam crewing for me near treeline leading up to the Half Moon Campground during the 2006 Leadville Trail 100 - It comes with the territory. I will get that 100 Mile finish. 100 Mile Finishes/WINS - This guy sets the standard in my opinion. Along the way I have knocked off 11 states (CO, IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, OH, PA, TX, WA, WI). That is chump change compared to what these guys have accomplished: 50 States Marathon Club or even these maniacs - Marathon Maniacs. I mean, some people say those runners have to be out of their minds. I mean, who does that? Runners do! I've run the Sunburst Marathon 7 times because the start/finish are 15 minutes from my house, the Chicago Marathon 4 times and the Boston Marathon 4 times to name a few. I've been injured (Sacrum Fracture/2005 after running a marathon - Took 7 weeks off and ran another marathon 4 weeks later), hit the WALL, PR'd and even won a few races. Heck, during my 1st Boston Marathon in 2003 I literally walked the last 7 miles to the finish with a sidestitch from HELL. (pic)- 2007 Leadville Trail 100 Mile - Coming into the Twin Lakes aidstation(mile 39ish) 2012 is going to be a fun year running. I will complete my 10th lifetime half marathon in Michigan - Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon. And to think there are runners out there who run that many in half a year or less. Check out these Half Fanatics. Trust me on this. That is what Runners do! Why do they keep going back for more? Everyone has their own motivation. I will be running at night on a trail in the middle of winter during the Planet Adventure Winter Trail Marthon. Yes, this one starts at 6:00PM! I will run in circles, yes circles during the Circle Logic Marathon. A 1 Mile paved loop 26 times! And I'll make another attempt at qualifying for a 5th Boston Marathon at the Carmel Marathon in April. 2007 Boston Marathon(pic) - I'm older now so I need to run 3:20 or faster, but really need to run at least 3:15 to even be considered because of the new standards. 5-6 years ago, qualifying wouldn't have been an issue. Heck, I probably even took it for granted being able to qualify at nearly every marathon I ran in. Set a goal and go after it. Many other races will fill my schedule including another possible crack at the 100 Mile distance. The question is can I stay motivated long enough to put in the training that is needed. If I want it bad enough then I'll train for it because that is what Runners do! Running isn't everything to me, but it definitely has become a big part of who I've become. The journey continues on. 2009 John Dick Crusty Memorial 50K(pic)

Nov 14, 2011

2011 Race Valpo 13.1 - WINDY!!!!!! (30-35mph / 40mph Gusts)

My friend Bob and I started off with everyone else right into the wind. Like a headwall really. Started off conservatively for the first mile and just let people go. I figured if things went well then we'd end up picking off a number of them down the road. I hadn't run on the pavement since (Chicago Lakefront 50M - 37.50Mile DNF). No worries. Not like it was foreign. And the wind never let up. Even when I was running straight it would push me from the left or right into the middle of road at times with the gusts. Once in awhile there would be some trees for a break. Between mile 7-8 Bob and I caught this young kid who couldn't have been more then 11-12 years old. Told him he looked smooth and to keep fighting and went by him. Just before the 8 mile marker we hung a right onto this open section of road and headed Southwest into what seemed like a headwall. Bob and I separated as another runner went right by us straight into the wind. It was all I could do to keep upright and moving forward. It was like running hill repeats but the road was pancake flat. With only 5 miles to go I started to feel the fatigue of the wind. But got a breather for a couple of miles as the wind was to my left now but still pushing me. Bob was still in my sights, but I knew there was no way I was going to catch him. I knew down the road just before mile 10 I would have to head back into the wind before making another right turn for another breather. It didn't seem like much though as it was pushing me from the left again into the middle of the road. I started to feel good again. Right around mile 11 I started picking more runners off who were either walking or really struggling. One guy who went out way to fast was walking. As I came up to him I told him, come on you can run my pace, stay with me. He did for about 100 yds and I didn't see him again. Now I was focused on going after as many runners as possible. I hit mile 12 and the wind now was behind me pushing really hard. I didn't mind it as it felt like I had a fresh set of legs. I picked two more runners off with less than a half mile to go. Saw the clock and was sure I could break 1:34. Just missed it at 1:34:08. Nice improvement from last year's time (1:36:48). Result: 27th/535 Finishers and 2nd 40-44AG. And they gave us a nice cold weather hat from Saucony along with a certificate. That was pretty nice. And a sweet technical race shirt. For a $30 race that is pretty good. Definitely going to make this an annual event. Really well organized. The volunteers were great and to be out on a day as windy as this I commend them. The postrace chili was really a nice treat along with two bananas and apple cider. Splits: Mile1 - 7:20, Mile2 - 7:16, Mile3 - 7:12, Mile4 - 6:57, Mile5 - 7:02, Mile6 - 6:53(Gel), Mile7 - 7:06, Mile8 - 7:26, Mile9 - 7:43, Mile10-7:43, Mile11-7:27, Mile12-7:20, Mile13.1-6:37 - Talk about a huge tailwind. I felt like I was running fast, but that wind pushed me hard.

Oct 31, 2011

Chicago Lakefront 50 Mile - DNF @ 37.50 Miles

Wow! What a morning. Never really expected to DNF this race. However, going in I had it in the back of my mind that this would no doubt be one of the hardest races to this point in my short life. All "paved" for 50 Miles (4 x 12.5 Mile out/back). I mean, I've run 50 Miles before (White River, Glacial Trail, Berryman Trail, Bull Run Run) and have even run longer (Laurel Highlands Trail 70.5 Mile), but all were on for the most part soft trails. And I've run more marathons on the pavement then I'd like to count right now. The last time I ran a race on pavement was a 3:27 @ Carmel Marathon in June. After that I ran a few short road runs, but mainly concentrated on hitting the trails fairly hard for the tough course at Glacial Trail 50K, three weeks out from the Chicago race. Well, in between Glacial and Chicago, I got sick. And a mighty chest cold came on. No excuses. I'm running regardless. And race morning came and we are off. I started off the front running beside Chuck Schultz, who by the way recently finished a Triple Ironman! The guy is a beast. The morning was crisp in the upper 30s. Right from the get go, you can usually tell who is going to fly off the front. And one guy certainly did and never looked back finishing in 5:32 (remember this time) in what I think is the 2nd or 3rd fastest 50M of the year. All within weeks of one another. Another guy who shot off was Inov-8 Team Manager, Mark Lundblad. A heck of runner in his own right. We started in the dark, but with so many city lights and a glare off Lake Michigan, a headlamp wasn't needed. Chuck and I would run about 2-2.5 miles together and then we got separated. From this point on I would run solo even though I'd see countless runners and bikers throughout the morning. Running solo can be hard, but I've never thought of it that way. Things were going smooth. I decided to go with a waist pack and a 10oz bottle with a couple extra pouches attached to the front. The plan was to take at least 3 gels a loop. I look ahead and a volunteer biker is stopped ahead of me. It is the 5k mark and I come through at 23:ish on my watch. I'm not breathing hard, not pushing. I head toward the New Leaf Ultra Runners / CHUGS aidstation and Brian Gaines is there to high five me as I run by. I hit the turnaround near McCormick place or roughly 6.25 miles in 42:ish on the watch and head back to the start. As I'm running back I greet other runners making the same trek. I hit the aidstation and Brian Gaines encourages me on telling me I am looking strong. And I was feeling just that way. On the way back to the start, I notice that I am in 4th or 5th spot and come through 12.5 Miles in 1:34ish on the clock. And just like that after a fill up of the bottle I am gone. Feeling really strong. The next 12.5 Miles out/back would feel nearly the same. I hit the turnaround at McCormick and not long after that a runner passes me. No big deal. Just prior to arriving back at the start, another runner yells out to me that you are in 4th place. That really was the farthest thing from my mind. I had a long way to go. I get back to the start in 3:09. Pretty consistent loop in 1:34ish. And after asking the volunteer to fill my bottle with half Coke/half water I am off. About the 3-4 miles later, my day would start to unfold. I get past the aidstation where Brian Gaines was manning with a number of other volunteers (thank you by the way) and my upper back starts to tighten up. Like my arms seemed to start freezing up a little. Weird feeling really. Then all of a sudden my right arm becomes limp/numb. I'm still running as I head toward the turnaround and greet Geoff and Paige Dunmore out for a casual run. They encourage me on. Now I feel I'm in a little trouble. My right hand turns cold. I'm thinking maybe it is a salt issue. So, I pop 2 E-caps and walk a little. I'm just past 31 miles or 4:09 in the race. I run some, walk some. My back isn't loosening up. I get to Brian's aidstation and tell him that my right arm went numb and I can't move it. However, I head out of the aidstation and run on. Before long I am walking, running, walking. I assess my issues as I'm plodding on and my back isn't giving me an inch. My arm is about the same. I hit the start area or 37.5 Miles in 5:32. Well, the winner of the race arrives right behind me. I stand there for a few minutes and realize the fun of day was gone inside me. And realized that if that is gone. I am done. I pull out of the race. I felt I ran fairly strong for 31 Miles. Today just wasn't my day. There will be other races. I'm not defeated although I may have felt that way out on the course. Things happen and I can accept that. I'll be back.