Saturday, July 12, 2014

Old School Fuel is Cool With Me

I have found 3 foods that really fit my racing and training routine. They have become my go to foods. These are budget friendly and they seem to really work for me.

1. Prerace - Ritz Crackers are what I eat before and during long races and training runs. I started out Delano 12 hour with PowerGels which I like for the consistency of texture, but the latter half I satisfied myself with a few crackers washed down with Gatorade. Gels seem to make me feel like I am slowing down. On the other hand Ritz seem to settle my stomach. I usually eat about 8 to 10 crackers 30 minutes before long runs and races. The downside is you need to slow down to eat them because you might aspirate the crumbs. ( I have done this) When I walk through aid stations I am usually able to eat them.

2. During and after - Gatorade works well when I dilute it. About half and half. I use it at the end of workouts and races as part of my recovery regiment. Gatorade and Ritz crackers got me through the 50 miles I ran at Delano. In warm weather I freeze the bottles for use after the run.

3. Recovery - I have been on the chocolate milk train for a long time. I used to make my own, but I now buy the boxed kind. It has a long shelf life and can be kept at room temperature. Usually less then a dollar for a box or a little more for the organic stuff. I like the 2% or more fat content. I usually freeze the carton and let it thaw during the run.

I realize that everybody is different and different things work for every runner, but these seem to work for me. They are easily accessible and inexpensive which help because I run on a tight budget.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This nails it for me - enough said

I read this many years after Dr. Sheehan's death and years after I started running.  This nails it for me.

Why Do We Run?
by  Dr. George Sheehan

Why do I run? I have written over the years of the benefits I receive from running. Enumerated the physical and mental changes. Listed the emotional and spiritual gains. Charted the improvement that has taken place in my person and my life. What I have not emphasized is how transient these values and virtues are. With just a little thought, however, it should be evident that physical laws parallel those of the mind and the spirit. We know that the effects of training are temporary. I cannot put fitness in the bank. If inactive, I will detrain in even less time than it took me to get in shape. And since my entire persona is influenced by my running program, I must be constantly in training. Otherwise the sedentary life will inexorably reduce my mental and emotional well-being. So, I run each day to preserve the self I attained the day before. And coupled with this is the desire to secure the self yet to be. There can be no let up. If I do not run I will eventually lose all I have gained-and my future with it. Maintenance was a favorite topic of Eric Hoffer. It made the difference, said the former longshoreman, between a country that was successful and one that failed. However magnificent the achievement, without constant care the result was decay. I know the experience intimately. There is nothing more brief than a laurel. Victory is of the moment. It must be followed by another victory and then another. I have to run just to stay in place. Excellence is not something attained and put in a trophy case. It is not sought after, achieved and, thereafter, a steady state. It is a momentary phenomenon, a rare conjunction of body, mind, and spirit at one's peak. Should I come to that peak I cannot stay there. I must start each day at the bottom and climb to the top. And then beyond that peak to another and yet another. Through running I have learned what I can be and do. My body is now sensitive to the slightest change. It is particularly aware of any decline or decay. I can feel this lessening of the "me" that I have come to think of myself. Running has made this new me. Taken the raw material and honed it and delivered it back ready to do the work of a human being. I run so I do not lose the me I was yesterday and the me I might become tomorrow. Excerpt: Going The Distance

Dr. George Sheehan

Monday, March 3, 2014

P is for Play List - Training for Delano 12 Hour

A play list is something I am not used to worrying with before a race, but I will probably need  a bunch of tunes to get my head around Delano. I decided to attempt a 50 mile run this year. It has been on my bucket list for some time. I cannot think of a better place to do it then at the Delano 12 Hour race in Decatur, AL. The race has a couple of variants. One is the 12 hour race which you see how many miles you can cover from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. The other is to run  whatever time it takes you to complete 50 miles.  I chose the 50 mile variant. 

The course consists of approximately a one mile loop through Delano Park. The trail is soft gravel and it meanders through the park. The tunes will come in handy on that one mile loop. I am afraid it can be a mind killer. I have managed three 20 plus mile training runs on the course to accustom myself with the actual loops. The good thing is it puts restrooms and a refreshment stash just a mile away through out the entire race.

I have run 20 milers on hilly terrain and shorter runs on trails with a lot of vertical ascents. The 20 milers were every week for several months. The training culminated in finishing the Black Warrior  50K three weeks before Delano. Running 31 miles over muddy and hilly terrain in 5 and half hours has bolstered my confidence in finishing a 50 miler over a level smooth surface.

I feel that the lack of running 3, 4, or 5 hours regularly is the weakest part of my training. I have managed 9 straight weeks of long runs of at least 20 miles, but my long runs have usually fallen in the 2 to 3 hour range. The 50K race gave me some much needed time over feet running.  I have tried to run most on harder courses with a lot of vertical features.

So now it is race week and I am checking the weather and working on logistics and figuring out play lists. I have never been one to use music during a run, but this course kind of lends itself to using music. I have had to try out some headphones and see how hard it is to manage my mp3 player on the run. Hoping to not have to use the player much, but after about 25 laps who knows.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Goodbye Old Friends

For me trail shoes become old friends. I usually run more miles and spend more time in a pair of trail shoes. They hang around longer then a pair of road shoes and I share some pretty good adventures with them.

Now I  am saying good by to my Inov8 RocLite 295s. Our friendship started  in January of 2012. I ran 50 and  25K trails races with these shoes plus all the training runs for the races. I have really liked these shoes. They have endured 627 miles and almost 2 years of trail running. They are still runnable, but they are starting to look unreliable. They are developing holes at the flex point at the toe box. One of the shoes string bindings has broken. Although they did not out last my 50 dollar pair of Nike Alvords, they seem to be a better trail shoe for me.

The Alvords were tanks and they still are in pretty good shape, but they were not as good on the trail terrain as the RocLite 295s. This is why I bought another pair of RocLite 295s. Maybe I will hike in the old ones or kind of give them a Norse/Teutonic send off in the backyard. So if you smell burnt rubber you might want to give them a moment of silence.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Suposed to be a recovery run

What a great run. I did not expect to have my best 8 miler in weeks/months on a recovery week. I have truly recovered faster from this 50K then I expected.  Monday was a pretty easy recovery run. I was a little achy Monday, but still managed a pretty good run. Today I felt great and the run felt great. I managed a great pace without a drop off at the end. Not sure if this makes sense having my best time in weeks only days after a grueling 50K. The Garmin recorded 8.26 miles on what usually is 8.29 miles in 57:56. Even with the stingy Garmin I had the best time in months.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ready or Not... Dizzy 50K or Bust.

Well it's here... Dizzy 50K week. This year I hope to do better than ever on a 50K. I have run trails and vertically challenging long runs from spring until now. My 3 week training program has consisted of long runs, one week a technical trail run, one week a hilly 19 or 20 miler, and then an average 16 miler. I feel ready for the vertical trail sections this year. The only thing I could have done a better job on would be some long 3 to 4 hour runs.

My trail runs consisted of about 1800 feet of elevation over 8.5 miles and the long runs were around 1400 feet of elevation over 18 to 20 miles.

The weather looks great with a low of 49 degrees to start with. I feel great and my nagging ankle has subsided some in the last few weeks. I did a little tapering this week. 7 miles of hill repeats Monday and an easy 3.3 miler Wednesday. I went swimming Tuesday and Thursday and probably will Friday.

New Inov8's are broken in and my newly refurbished Garmin 305 is working great. Got the race day hair cut Wednesday and plan to eat a whole pizza Friday night. If I do poorly this year, I will be disappointed because I feel really well prepared this year.

Posted below is my 2010 effort at Dizzy 50K. This actual finishing time was around 5:20. The Strava data only counted moving pace.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2012 Cotton Row 5K ... No Taper, No Problem

This was a good race despite it being a late start on a warm day. I even managed the race with little or no taper.  I had run 16 miles on Saturday and biked 31 miles on Sunday. So race Monday I had no expectations. I had decided that after passing out the week before at the Priceville 5K I was not going to push myself. Well let's be honest I promised my family I would not push too hard.

On race day I got to see my cousin Jenny who has been doing a good bit of running and racing.  What made the race special was that my daughter Dru got up early and came to the race to cheer me on. My friend Dave Truitt was also at the race and I started out behind him at the starting line.It was pretty warm and the sun was beginning to bear down on us. I decided to not push too hard and enjoy the race. After about a half mile I eased passed Dan. Who was I trying to kid, this was a race.  My pacing was OK and I was feeling better than I thought I would. I managed a pretty good pace (6:30, 7:04, 7:38).  There was a pretty good breeze and there was some shade around the buildings.

When I came running down toward the finishing line all I could think of was not stopping to quickly and passing out. Seeing Jon Elmore at the finish also reminded me of the Priceville 5K pass out. I slowed, but ran out of the shoot and then ran on around behind the finishing area. Dru lost sight of me and it took us a while to find each other. She had found one of her friends from high school and I had found his parents, so eventually we all got back together.

I managed to finish 30th overall and 1st place in my age group. I wanted to run under 21 minutes but got a 21:10.  I will take 30th out of over 2000 runners any day. It was great to share the day with my cousin and daughter and not passing out was a real plus.

Prepping for McKay Hollow 2013

McKay Hollow was my first trail race and remains one of my favorites. I am back to some long runs and I did finish Black Warrior 25K in February, but McKay is a different level of race. McKay is more technical and more vertical. It is different right down to the rock, these are slicker limestone and the ones at Bankhead are more of a sandstone material. They are like running on sand paper. I love both these races,but I also have to acknowledge they are different.

I hope to do better each year, but coming off an injury I am not quite up to the level I was last year. I did do pretty good at Black Warrior this year. Not a PR but I did place in my age group. My weekly mileage is close to the point before the injury and I have done some trail running. I ran 8 miles at Rainbow Mountain in Madison Saturday to prepare myself for McKay. I managed not to have any major falls Saturday. The trails there are pretty technical, but lack the elevation of the McKay course. It is surrounded by residential housing, so it is a trail I feel like I can run by myself. Bankhead is to remote to run by myself.