Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rocket City Recovery Week.

Laid off Sunday and was very sore. I figured I deserved a day off after the marathon.

Monday forced myself to run 4 miles (8:27 pace). Personally I found the soreness leaves as soon as I start running.

Tuesday swam a little over a mile. Really good swim and the soreness was much better.

Wednesday I ran my usually 7.3 mile tempo run (7:20 pace). Running was much easier, but the pace was still slower.

Thursday I rode the infernal stationary bike. I really do not like the stationary bike. Real bikes are much easier to ride.

Friday I was back to the pool for a swim. Had a really good swim and improved on my pace.

Saturday I ran the usual long run with friends. Trent, Dave, and Brad were there and Trent brought his girl friend who runs track in college. She set a pretty fast pace for the first 6 miles. After she left e settle into a more sustainable recovery pace. We picked up David Coon on the last 4 miles and Trent and I were able to finish with a pretty good pace.

Long run by the numbers:
8:32, 7:48, 7:50, 7:50, 7:48, 7:52, 9:31, 8:55, 8:58, 9:06, 9:09, 9:14, 9:08, 8:33, 8:31, 8:54, and Last .5 of a mile 4:35

I plan to build on my base mileage over the next few months. I will be adding some trail runs as preparation for Black Warrior 50K and McKay Hollow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Rocket City Marathon – Great Race and Great Day

Everything came together for me at this race and I had a great race and a great day.
Rocket City Marathon is a great race and the organizers and volunteers did an outstanding job.
Weather until lunch was great. Wind was at our backs on the last sections.
A sub 3:35:00 marathon was a best case goal and I was not sure I could obtain it. I had told others I would be happy with a Sub 4 hour race and I would have been happy with this.
Final gun time time was 3:33:56 and a 234th finish. This time will qualify me for the Boston Marathon.
Chip times: 1st 1:44:06 and 2nd 1:49:51, Overall Time 3:33:39

This was my first marathon length race (completed 2 ultras previously)
Preparation consisted of 20 mile long runs alternated with 16 mile long runs. I did a hill interval and a tempo also weekly. Running Dizzy 50K also helped (about 3 weeks out)
Friday evening I consumed my usual pre-race carb loading meal of a large peperoni pizza.
Had my pre-race hair cut on Friday. You can't run like Forrest Gump without the haircut.

I had decided to run in my old shoes. They just had 258 miles on them, but they had a considerably amount of wear on the tread. I received new shoes Tuesday and attempted to break them in with a 3 mile run, but they seemed to aggravate my mid foot. I decided I had to run in the shoes that brought me. It was a little chilly at the start and I wore my lucky orange toboggan. I chose to wear an under layer and my long sleeve Nike top. These proved to be very adequate for meeting my needs. My Nike shorts (actually a swim suit) had pockets which held my nutritional elements.

My nutritional needs during the race were met by 4 lime sublime GU Gels and 5 Ritz crackers. I ate a handful of Ritz as a pre-race snack. Wayne Heckler had given me some good advice about consuming the GU Gels. You usually need to wash them down with water or something. He told me he takes them out early and holds them. Aid stations can be on you and past pretty quickly, so I would take them out and hold them and even consume small amounts between aid stations. I alternated eating the Ritz crackers which provided some salt and prevented the GU Gel from upsetting my stomach. Eric Schotz had also advised me to try to drink some at all the aid stations which I did.

I printed out a pacing schedule for a 3:35:00 pace, but was unsure I would be able to finish the race anywhere near that pace. I considered several options at the beginning of the race. The guys I trained with were planning to run faster paces than a 3:35:00. I ran into a another friend who planned to run around a 3:40:00 pace. By the start of the race I decided to try to start with the 3:30:00 Nike pacer. I typically run faster at the start and bank time, so I was going to try to start at a 3:30:00 pace.

The race started and it took over 15 seconds to reach the starting line. I stayed with the pacer for a few miles, but it was to easy at this point to run faster than his pace. I just tried to keep the pace around 8:00 or better and followed the crowd. I knew with the 3:30:00 and 3:35:00 pacers chasing me I would know I was maintaining a good pace. The first 8 miles went well and I maintained a good pace. The outside of my left ankle ached a little during the first few miles and there was a little ache in my knee. These aches became less pronounced or were obscured later on by the white noise of my screaming calves and leg muscles.

The next 8 miles I was closer to the 8:12 per mile pace needed for a 3:35:00 race time. I ran with different people and just ran my race. I talked to a women from Birmingham who said she was shooting for a 3:35:00 finish. She and I stayed close until around the 12th mile. The bottom of my right foot was beginning to feel sore. I was afraid the worn shoes were going to be my undoing. As the race progressed the soreness seemed to abate. I was by myself at the halfway point and the wind was in my face. I new when we turned north it would be at my back and would provide some help in the latter parts of the race.

Around 17 miles the 3 hour 30 minute pacer passed me. Mile 17 was a slow mile, but I overtook one of my faster friends. He was having some leg pain. Passing him helped me mentally and I picked up my pace. The next 7 miles were hard and I was having some soreness and pain in my legs. Around mile 20 I past the second of my fast friends he also had some cramps. Again I was buoyed by overtaking him and picked up my speed. Around mile 21 I lost my lucky orange toboggan which I had tucked into my shorts. I had to run back about 25 yards to get it. A waste of time, but it was my luck toboggan. I was running slower now and the pain was a constant reminder that I may of run the first miles too fast. I developed a chant that seemed to help. I started vocalizing “Drive through the pain” over and over. When I did this I was able to maintain my pace and not slow down.

I was still within my pacing, but I had lost several of my banked minutes. The last several miles I was able to pick up my pace and even gain a little time back. The last 3.2 miles were a blur. I constantly chanted the phrase “drive through the pain”. I also utilized some advise that Wayne Heckler had given me. Try to reel in the runners ahead of you. This helped and I was running a good pace. The closer I got to the finish the faster I ran. The 3:35:00 pacer had gotten around me earlier, but I had him in my sites. I knew I was still within my pacing, so I was not worried. I passed the 3:20:00 pacer who had been slowed by cramping. I knew I was close to a sub 3:35:00 finish and I was not going to let it get away. That fact drove me to run faster and I felt like I was flying. Finally I made the last turn and I was able to overtake one more runner. I was able to sprint and end with a strong finish. (see Gamin data below)

Last 2 tenths data by Garmin satellite hits (last turn sprint to finish)
8:18, 6:38, 7:11, 6:03, 6:50, 6:38, 6:30, 5:46, 6:21, 6:20, 6:06, 6:53, 6:43, 6:30, 6:40, 6:27, 5:03, 5:15, 5:11

Great advice and preparation made this possible for me. This is my last race for 2010 and I cannot imagine a better end to this year's racing.

Garmin Auto Laps (the Garmin was generous and ended up .3 miles over)
Mile Laps:Garmin

Looking forward to the next few months and hopefully Black Warrior 50K and McKay Hollow will be my next races.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Frosty Freeze 5K

No PR but a good effort. I had hoped to do a sub-20 at some point this year, but it was not to be. Matt Hames was going to help me pace the race and I seemed healthy and recovered from Dizzy 50.

First Mile
I started out pretty fast and as usual banked some time. I had told Matt I might start out fast and then settle in to a sustainable pace. Matt dropped back, but caught me at the half a mile. This kept me from settling into to slow of a pace. Pacing with Matt forced me to maintain a pace around 6:33. I stayed with Matt until the mid race aid station. I eased ahead of him and he dropped back. I did not find out until the end of the race he had some issues with his hip and had to walk some. He still placed 3rd in his age group.

Mid Race
I paced off those ahead of me and was able to maintain a good pace. I may of slowed a little, but still managed to pass some runners. There was a pretty good uphill grade and it was tiring. I could tell I had lost some zing from the Dizzy 50K. I was also looking for the 2 mile split which never came. Mentally it was taking a toll on me because I thought I was pretty tired not to be at 2 miles yet. I finally looked at my Garmin and to my relief it read 2.45 miles and this gave me a mental lift. I was now headed into the teeth of the wind and it was nullifying the benefit of a gentle downhill grade. I was looking forward to making a turn to the west and then north putting the wind at my back.

Last Half Mile
The end would soon be in sight and I was able to run this at a pretty good pace. The course straightened out and went up the last uphill grade. I managed to over take a runner and then he passed me and then I started pushing it and sprinting the last .30 of the race. I passed that runner and my pace at this point ranged from low 6 minute pace to eventually a mid 5 min pace. After cresting the hill all I could think of was the finish. No sub 20 but I felt I had finished strong.

I finished with a 20:22 overall time for a 6:34 min/mile average pace. I finished 11th overall and first in my age group. It was a hilly course on a blustery day. All things considered I was pleased with the effort. I would like to thank Matt for the early pacing without him I would of slowed down to much and not finished as well.

Rocket City Marathon next week. I will run my usual tempo and hill runs and swim or bike the rest of the week. I believe I am ready for this marathon. I am hoping to do a sub 4 hour marathon and we will see.

The Garmin elevation graph of the Frosty Freeze.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hill Run Intervals

Hill intervals are the closest thing I do to speed work. I do repeats on the steepest parts and this simulates speed work without risking injury. I try to do this workout once a week. It is the hardest and most intense workout I do. I tend to walk down the steepest slope then run up it as fast as I can. The repeats consist of approximately 100 yards of a very steep climb then a level ridge out and back to the steep part. I walk down and then run up it again.

This routine generally helps with hills and general speed work. Since I only run 3 days a week I have to combine workouts. I run a tempo on the roads and a long run on crushed gravel trails.

Dizzy 50 Elevations - Garmin

Dizzy50 Elevations from my Garmin in jpg format and Strava

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dizzy Fifties Race Review - By Brad White

Brad White's race review was so much better then mine I had to post it. Brad has been there every step of the way in my odyssey with ultra trail running. He Drove me to my first one and worked the aid station. I probably would not be at the level I am now without Brad's help and support. Good job and thanks Brad.

Dizzy Fifties Race Review by Brad White

Since working the aid station at the Black Warrior 50K last year in support of Dan I wanted to run a 50K trail run. Dan mentioned the Dizzy Fifties as a good ultra to run for first timers, so I set that as a goal sometime around this past March. But in the short term I took on the challenge of the McKay Hollow trail run and hurt my Achilles in the process of training. Every since last March I’ve battled some kind of injury related to that Achilles injury. This really hampered my training for Dizzy. I had almost given up that goal but I started feeling 100% around a month and half ago and said to myself, “What the heck, let’s do it!” I know now that’s not nearly enough time to prepare for a 50K trail run.


I tried to eat and drink all the right things in preparation for the race. But I knew that would only help a little. There is no substitute for putting in the miles and I knew I was severely under trained for the upcoming race. I didn’t sleep very well and was wide awake at 3:00 AM.

Saturday, Race Day:

I left the house to pick up Dan and was extremely excited about the race. My stomach was not feeling real good but other than that I felt like I could run 31 miles. Dan and I got to the race about 1 hour to 45 minutes early, picked up our race packets and got our gear ready to go. The race director gave brief instructions on the course (none of which I paid any attention to) and off we went.

I started the race out running in my old Mizuno Cabrakan trail shoes and the single bottle race belt. During the first 2.3 mile loop I could tell right away that the belt was not going to cut it. It was simply bouncing up and down on my back, no matter how tight I got the belt. The shoes felt OK and I thought maybe I made a wise move running in my old shoes as opposed to my new, New Balance MT101 shoes.

I stayed with Dan during the first 2.3 mile loop and was intent on staying with him as long as I could. Everything felt pretty good. The pace felt good and I enjoyed talking with the other runners. After we finished up the 2.3 mile loop I discarded my jacket and headed to the north 4 mile loop. I was still running with Dan and I felt really good. I knew Dan would pull away on the hills and I was going to let him run the hills while I power walked them. But I still had him in sight as we finished up the north loop and proceeded to the south loop.

Before I started the south 5.59 mile loop I decided to get rid of the water belt and go with my hand-held bottle I had packed in my bag. I ate a Gu gel and a salt tablet and headed for the south loop. I still felt strong and was running a good pace. Dan wasn’t too far out in front of me but he was starting to pull away. During this part of the race I took a wrong turn momentarily but quickly realized my mistake and got back on course. It was also during this portion of the race I could feel a hot spot developing on my right big toe. I realized why I hated these shoes and decided when I got back to the aid station I would change into my new trail shoes. After I finished up the south loop and got to the aid station I quickly changed shoes, ate a clif bar and some pretzels. Took a couple more salt tablets and refilled my bottle and it was off to the north loop again.

Miles 11.89 – 15.89:

As I started the north loop I could feel my calves were extremely fatigued and tight. I knew this wasn’t a good sign this early in the race. I took another Gu gel and a salt tablet, hoping to ward off the inevitable onset of cramps. I still felt strong and other than the fatigue in my calves I had no pain. I felt like changing shoes was a good move and one of the factors in how good I felt. I was pretty optimistic about finishing with a respectable time. As I came into the aid station I tried to really drink a lot of water and eat some salty pretzels and a couple of banana slices. I saw Kathy Youngren and she asked me how I was feeling, I told her my calves were not doing real good and that I was fearful I may start cramping at any minute. She told me not to worry about it and that the feeling in my calves would go away. I took a lot of encouragement from her advice, considering she is a world class runner.

Miles 15.89 – 21.48:

Being rejuvenated from the words of encouragement from Kathy and the nutrition I started the south loop at a pretty good clip. I was feeling really strong, until I tripped on a root and both calves locked up. I knew then I would have to battle cramps the rest of the race. I started eating salt tablets like candy and eating Gu gels about every 30 minutes. But I knew that the cramps were from being under conditioned and it wasn’t going to matter what I did the cramps were not going away. I still managed to run the entire loop as long as I was careful how I placed my feet on the ground and I didn’t trip over another root.

Miles 21.48 – 25.48

I was completely alone on the entire north loop. This was when I started having to battle my mind. The cramps were getting worse and I found myself walking much of the loop. I could run down the hills fine but when I started up any sort of incline my calves were trying to lock up. I knew I was not going to DNF but I still wanted to finish up respectably. Other than the cramps I felt good. That last hill out of the north loop seemed endless. I was by myself and if there had been anyone around they would have thought I was crazy. I was cussing that hill like a sailor. When I got to the aid station I saw Trent Dean and Matt Hames which was very encouraging. I knew then I would finish the race. I drank as much as I could hold, refilled my bottle and headed to the easier south loop for the final time.

Miles 25.48 – 31.07

I started out running the south loop but it was in the early portion of this loop that the pain started getting bad. My hips were aching and now my quads and hamstrings were trying to cramp up on me. This was also the longest distance I had ever run in my life. Not only was the distance long but the terrain was much different than the Point Mallard trails. I was using muscles I hadn’t used since high school football. Somehow I overtook two ladies on the trail. I ran by them at a pretty good pace and wouldn’t you know it if one of the ladies started running with me. I was thinking, “Dang, I wish she would have let me pass her, now I’ve got the added pressure to keep running and hold her off.” But it wasn’t long before I caught another root hidden under the pine straw and almost did a nose dive into the woods. Both legs completely locked up and the pain was mind numbing from the cramps. The lady asked me if I was alright and I told her I was fine except for the cramps and she took off like a shot. It was from that point until the finish line that I walked and ran, but mostly walked the last mile or two. I’ve never been so happy to be finished with something in all my life. I finished in a time of 5:57:15 in 36th place.

Although the race was difficult it was also a blast. The woods were beautiful, the weather was beautiful and the company was enjoyable. I got home the night of the race and couldn’t really eat anything. I felt miserable and could barely get up to go the bathroom. My stomach was completely messed up. The weird thing is I can’t wait to run again! I’ll be much better prepared for the Black Warrior 50K and I hope to improve on my performance. I’ll take a couple of lessons away from the Dizzy Fifties; there is no substitute for trail running and don’t attempt another 50K under-prepared. Put the miles in!

I’m definitely running this race again next year.

Posted by Dan Burleson for Brad White.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dizzy 50 Done

I had stuck to my training plan and was able to finish, however not at the pace I wanted to run. There is no substitute for actually running technical trails. I had the distance down, but the extra energy used to run the technical parts wore me down. I will definitely do some real trail running before Black Warrior 50K.

The race re-cap.

The race consists of a series of loops south (less technical and flatter) and north (technical with more relief). The race consists of laps utilizing both loops.

My first lap I started out among friends. I felt pretty strong and ran accordingly. The south loop is easier but seems endless. At the end of this loop the trail run right by a bathroom so I made my one and only nature break.

The 2nd lap wore me down some more, but I manged a pretty good pace. The aid station was looking pretty good by now and I stopped and stayed a little longer each loop through.

By the 3rd lap my legs were on fire and some cramping started near the end of the north loop. Eric Patterson happened along near the beginning of the the north loop. The interaction helped me pass the time and motivate me through this last technical part of the race. I downed a pretzel and salty crackers to help me through the cramps. I was alone most of the south loop but managed to run a fair pace most of the way. Mentally I was able to muscle through the pain in my legs.

By the numbers:
Officially I placed 23rd with a time of 5 hours 20 minutes and 30 seconds.

I have a 5K race and the Rocket City Marathon next. Before I run another trail race I will definitely run some trail practice.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On track for Dizzy 50

On track for Dizzy 50. The Garmin lives. Reset and uploaded new software. It seems to be functioning normally.

Good long run to cap off a good training week. Worked on nutrition during long run. Consumed 2 GUgels during run at about 6 mile intervals. I was very pleased with the pacing.

Distance: 20.31 miles
Time: 2 hr 46 min 31 secs
1st 4 miles: 8:30, 8:11, 8:47, 8:34,
last 4 miles: 7:49, 7:57, 8:08, 7:48,

Average pace over 20.31 miles: 8:12 min/miles

Next week I may try some long intervals on a 16 mile long run.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Recovery Long Run and the Garmin died

Pretty good run today. 8:21 first mile and 7:54 last mile. 8:30 mile pace overall. My 6 month old Garmin 205 stopped working today. Charged it last night and at the trail it refused to turn on. It displayed fully charged when I unplugged it.

I planned to run a shorter run today. Last week I ran 20 miles. My strategy is to alternate 18/20 mile runs every other week. (18 or 20 miles on 10/23 and 11/6 and the Dizzy 50 on 11/20}
Shorter mileage 10/30 and no long run on 11/13.

Today's run
Distance: 16 miles
Time: 2 hr 16 min 04 secs
Average pace: 8:30 min/miles

8:21, 8:22, 8:53, 8:52, 8:54, 9:15, :09,
8:29, 8:28, 8:40, 8:36, 8:38, 8:18, 8:08,
7:56, 8:03, 7:54

Saturday, October 9, 2010

20 Miler - Ramping up for Dizzy 50K

Ramping up for Dizzy 50. I will try a 20 miler every other week, 16 milers for the weeks in between.
Today's run by the numbers:

Distance: 20 miles
Time: 2 hr 45 min 17 secs
Average pace: 8:16 min/miles
Mile splits:
8:54, 8:23, 8:20, 8:19, 8:18,
8:30, 8:17, 8:17, 8:16, 8:07,
7:56, 8:14, 7:59, 8:03, 8:02,
8:10, 8:14, 8:07, 8:19, 8:21,

15 or 16 miles at a good pace will be next Saturday's goal.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Toray 5K Race

Good race Saturday. Not a PR, but improvement over my May 5K time. I shaved 10 seconds off my 5/22/10 5K race time. Still 17 seconds short of my goal. Back to a long run this Saturday. 5th place over all and took 1st place in masters.

Finished in 20:16

I will run long runs every other week until Dizzy Fifties in November. 18 or 20 milers and shorter 16 miles or less on the lighter weeks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Training... Mixing it up

For several years I have only run 3 days a week. I am a runner and running is my passion. I have found I am just as fit and competitive as when I ran 6 or 7 days a week. I cross-train the other days by swimming and cycling. This has given me another sport to participate in... triathlons. With this routine I run no junk miles and run between 20 and 30 miles a week. I can extend it to between 30 to 40 when I train for ultras.

I run a hill interval, tempo, and long run each week. The long run is my favorite and it is between 12 and 20 miles. Usually I use the long run to increase my weekly mileage. The tempo run is my yard stick to check progress and fitness (6 to 8 miles). The hill interval is my least favorite (5 to 6 miles). It is the hardest run of the week, but I derive the most benefit from this run. I bound up the steep part and this suffices for speed work.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hill Run Intervals

I run 3 different runs a week. I run one tempo, a long run, and then a hill interval run. This is the run I dread til it is over, but it provides me with some of my most productive workouts. This is the hardest run of the week. I run hills and then run repeats up a steep 100 yard incline. This is my substitute for speed work. My favorite run is a long trail run and I look forward to it. The tempo run is used to evaluate fitness and progress.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ramping up for Dizzy 50

The 15 milers during the summer are starting to pay off. Started ramping up mileage last week with a 16-mile long run. This week I was able to go 18 miles and maintain a good pace. Today I ran a 7.96-mile tempo run at a sub 7 minute pace. Things are starting to come together. Signed up for Dizzy 50 first of this month. I will be doing 18 and 20-mile long runs most Saturdays till then. All the pieces are in place.

18 miles Saturday:
8:03 over first 6 miles
8:06 over 12 miles
8:07 over 18 miles
18.03 miles in 2:26:25

Back to the pool this week.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HiWAAY Huntsville Sprint Triathlon

Improved over last year’s time by 3:21. I thought I would improve the run, but just did 8 seconds better. The swim and the transitions were the big improvements. I hoped to do better, but I will take 58th place and 2nd in my age group. Last year I finished 104th and spent 13:19 in the pool.

Run 35th 22:25
Bike 22:30
Swim 13:19
104th Overall 58:13

Run 29th 22:17
Bike 21:32
Swim 11:04
58th Overall 54:52

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No Bonk and a Good Long Run

Ran a good pace and felt ready for more. The difference was I weighed 4 pounds more then last Saturday. I will definitely watch my weight the day before long runs. I have always theorized that hydration begins the day before a run. In the future will not neglect my nutrition the day before a long run. My daily weigh-ins will help me to verify it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


My first bonk. My usual 15 mile long run ended in me almost falling out.
It was a hard 12 miles and I was determined to get 15 like last week. I had to really gut out the last 3 miles. I may of found my dead-zone pace. I have run faster and much slower would have been pleasant, but the pace just left me sapped. It was hot, but I had cooled down and drank water. During post run stretches I stood up and walked over to talk to another runner. I got dizzy and woozy and nearly fell out. Luckily I was among friends and I downed a sports drink. I had been a little woozy when I finished the run, but had felt pretty good sitting there. I had Gatorade in the truck, but was trying to finish up the stretches before drinking it.

What I think happened was I had depleted my energy reserves. I had not eaten my usually large meal on Friday and I was at a calorie deficit. I was 2.5 pounds lighter before the run than I was on Friday.

So I will make sure to carb and calorie load before long runs from now on.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Setting My Sights on a Couple Goals

My next races are Brooke Hill 5K (8/14) and Hiwaay Sprint Triathlon (8/21). These will serve as training motivation for my fall goals. These are a sub 20 5K and a sub 90 minute half marathon. If I do not make them, I will still benefit from the effort.

At the moment my hill intervals are slipping, but I am ahead of last summer on distance and speed.
We will see what happens.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cotton Row Run 10K 2010

Great race!... the directors did a great job. I finished 127th with a time of 43:29. My effort was about what I did in 2005(43:11). I was happy with the time and I guess I have not lost to many steps. My goal for this summer/fall is a sub 20 5K. I seem to have gotten some of my speed back after sacrificing speed for longer distances this winter.

I am looking forward to some 5K races this summer.

Priceville Parks and Recreation 5K (5/22/2010)

This was a good race for me. I finished the 5K in 20:26 and put me within reach of a possible sub 20 5K.

I was a afraid my faster times were behind me and I could not get close to a sub 20. I will try to build on this during the summer. Maybe I will get that sub 20 5K.

McKay Hollow - Downhill Downfall

My run of McKay Hollow this year was disappointing. The directors did a great job with the race.
The disappointing thing is I was better prepared and yet I fell short of last year's pace. I had more trail mileage and more overall mileage than last year. I felt I was better prepared.

I had the conditioning and I did well on the uphill portions. It was the downhills where I lost ground.

I will have to do better on the downhills and will develop a routine to improve my downhill racing.

There is next year.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back to Bankhead - Orange Loop

Brad White and I did some Mckay Hollow training on the Orange Loop trail. This is part of the Black Warrior 50K trail. Last year the Mckay Hollow race was a muddy mess, so mud, temperatures in the 40s, and light rain made for a perfect training run.

Brad set a very quick pace for a muddy slick trail. We averaged a 9:42 pace over the 10 mile loop. If I can maintain close to that pace at McKay, I could shave 20 minutes off my time from last year. I think I will pace off Brad he is fearless on the trails. This will be his first trail run, but he is ready and will do well. He is better prepared than I was last year.

We got out there early, by 6:20 AM and were back in Decatur around 9:30 AM to check on the Delano 12 hour race. A really nice crowd this year, the race has found a following and grows in numbers every year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Black Warrior 50K... The Details

I wanted to thank so many people for their encouragement and advice that it started to get a little like an Oscar acceptance speech. So I decided to generalize the thank you. So to everybody and you know who you are. THANK YOU.

I would like to single out one individual who gave up his Saturday to transport me there and work aid stations. Brad White was a big help and seeing him at the 1st unofficial aid station and the last aid station was very encouraging. I would like to commend Keith Hallmark and the volunteers for a very well organized race. Aid stations were well stocked with stuff and staff.

Weather was perfect. It was a little chilly at the start 26F. During the course of the race the temperature reached low 60s. I was a little unprepared for the 26F temperature at the start. The forecast was for 30s at race time. I had to improvise and start out in a light jacket I had not intended on running in.

The race starts uphill for around 1.5 miles and it seems like it will never crest off. When I reached the crest I was warm enough to toss the jacket off and Brad was there collecting discarded clothing. By the time I reached the trailhead at approximately 2.8 miles the throng of runners had thinned out some. It was a steady stream and there was conversation and plenty of company on the trail. The 25K and 50K racers run concurrently for a little over 8 miles. I had run the trail 2 weeks earlier after heavy rains and there was plenty of mud then. To my surprise after a pretty dry week there was still a good bit of mud. It was still very boggy and muddy in places. My shoes seemed to provide good traction and did not seem to bog down. (Nike Alvord) Things rocked along pretty good at this point with more thinning of the field. The leaders were well away from my position. My fear was over pacing and running to hard at first and not being able to finish, so I tried not to pace with the 25K people.

By the time I reached the 1st aid station (54:32) I was well within my splits. I grabbed some pretzels and a little water and spent 1 minute at the aid station. Back on the trail I was still among several 25K racers. We proceeded to where the 25K and 50k racers split at around 8 miles. There was a pretty good stream crossing and my feet did get wet. My blisters were already talking to me before my feet got wet.
At about mile 10 my left ankle gave way and my foot folded under. I had injured it weeks earlier and had turned it once a week every since. I was used to running through the pain and it was OK on reasonably level or uphill running. The down hills were hard because I could only plant with the right foot. This got worse as the race progressed and really slowed my progress to a crawl in some areas. I continued on toward the 2nd aid station. I had recovered some and was running pretty good on the left foot. It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to go from the 1st to the 2nd aid station. I was still within my splits. I spent almost 3 minutes at the second aid station. (pretzels and water)

I left and headed down the yellow loop. By this time people were few and far between. I did talk to a few in passing. I was usually being passed. My legs hurt, my blisters hurt, and my left foot was sore. The soreness of the foot would override the other pains much of the time, but honestly it was not real severe and I could run through it. The yellow loop seemed a little less technical and after 49 minutes I reached the 3rd aid station. I spent 3 minute at this aid station. I was still within my splits, but I was entering into uncharted territory. I had never run for much more than 3 and half hours solid and I still had almost half the race to go.

As I left I was looking forward to the deepest water crossing and soaking my sore foot a little. I was still passed occasionally by runners who look very fresh. I was not fresh and as I slogged downhill people would ask me if I was ok. I would say yes as long as they were not the sweep. When I finally reached the water crossing I slowly strolled across enjoying some cool relief. My ankle was a little
It took me 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the 4th aid station. The section I had just finished was the worst mentally. I spent 6 minutes there eating pretzels, a GU Gel, and drinking water. I was beginning to crave a lot more water. It was becoming hotter and I was perspiring more. I did see Keith Hallmark at this aid station and it was nice to hear how the race was progressing.

The next segment was the most taxing mentally and physically. My pace seemed to a crawl. Back on the orange loop the going was more technical. The foot was really holding me back on this portion of the trail. Keith had said that all the aid stations were on top of grades. So I would find myself disappointed when I climbed a hill and did not find an aid station. The other disheartening thing was hearing voices and thinking it was an aid station only to find it was some people on horseback. The riders were everywhere and they were very courteous. I finally started up a hill and saw the last aid station. Brad’s truck was parked there, so I knew I had made it out. It took me an hour and 40 minutes to reach the last aid station. I was well off my goal split for a 6 hour 30 minute finish. I was beat, but happy to hear that only 2.8 miles of road and not trail was ahead of me. I spent a couple of minutes at the aid station and had some more pretzels and water.

As I started to run my ankle was holding up pretty good on the flat surface. I managed around a 9 minute pace the last 2.8 miles. The first mile was uphill. When I finally reached the downhill portion I knew I would be OK. I finished the last segment in a little over 25 minutes. My unofficial race time was 6 hours and 37 minutes. I was sore and tired, but very happy. I did manage to grab a small bit of red beans and rice before we headed for home. I spent Saturday evening eating mass quantities of calories.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Completed Black Warrior 50K

Been there… done that… got the tee Shirt.
I finished with an unofficial time of 6 hours and 37 minute.
Much to say and many people to thank for helping me achieve this goal.
Details later… right now I must consuming mass calories.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black Warrior 50K… Ready?

Ready or not here it is. I followed a minimalist
approach to preparation, so I will be glad to just finish.

If I break 6 and half hours, I will be very pleased.
Weather is perfect, 32 to 58 degrees, wind 5 mph, and mud will be at a minimum.
I will probably have to discard an outer top.

Hope I do not have to pay to dearly for the attempt.
We will see if I am ready Saturday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black Warrior 50K Recon - Saturday February 6th

A lot of mud and wet feet. Slogged up and down rolling hills. There were stream crossings also some ankle deep. I got a nasty blister, but it feels better today. I was told that it was as muddy as they had ever seen the trails. Met up with the 3 Erics (Patterson, Fritz, and Charette). It was nice meeting these runners in person. My friend Miles Powel ran with me. Jim Barnett and Miles kept me on course and from getting lost. They out paced me but waited at the junctions to make sure I stayed on track. Jim gave me a lot of information about the race course.
With Saturday's run my Black Warrior checklist is complete.

Completed 16 miles in 2:57:20 (around an 11:00 minute mile)

1. Fuel belt works great (I barely know I have it on)
2. GU Gels Lime Sublime (seems to agree with me)
3. Nike Alvord (seem to provide plenty of traction with out gumming up)
4. 20 Milers equal 2 (some 18 milers thrown in for good measure)
5. Actual visit to racecourse equals one (no substitute for boots on the ground)

My quest to complete a 50K has been done with minimal amounts of preparations.
I will definitely build my base for the next 50K, but you have to start somewhere.

Ready or not I will be running the Black Warrior 50K the 20th.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Black Warrior 20 miler

42F no rain and a good day for 20 miles.

1st 2 miles=16:45, 8:39, 8:00, 8:15, 8:21, :48, 8:37, 8:34, 8:34, 8:34, 8:34, 8:32, 1:25, 8:23, 8:37, 8:43, 8:54, 8:51, 8:44, 1:35, 8:49, 8:37, 2:55:00

I ran through a turned angle from the first quarter mile.

Was able to drive my brothers Mini Cooper home and run the vacuum cleaner.
I guess I am OK. Movie with the wife this afternoon… “Extraordinary Measures”
Very good movie.

Next up... some trips to Bankhead for some recon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

5:30 AM, 13/14F Degrees, 20 Miles, and another day closer to Black Warrior 50K

I guess 5:30 am start time was a bit over the top, but is has been my normal run time for months.

I like early starts and finishes. With the longer distances I can be home by 9:30 am and that leaves the rest of the day for family and Wal-Mart.
I had partners in my insanity. Dave and Wayne were also there to help me with my madness.

I shook down a new fuel belt. I have never used a belt before and was quite pleased with how it fit. No problems with binding or the extra weight. For the second Saturday I utilized Gu Gels. No problems there. I have never been one to eat during or before a race or training run. With the longer race I had to start utilizing nutritional supplements.

All in all a good run and a 20 miler out of the way.

By the numbers: Mile splits
8:32, 8:41, 8:39, 8:49, 9:02, 9:17, (4:16 break), 9:11, 8:55, (2:31 break), 8:52, 8:51, 8:48, 8:46, 8:39, 8:20, (2:31 break), 8:37, 8:40, 8:44, 8:44, 8:20, 8:03

3:04:00 - 9:12 pace including car stops
2:54:42 - 8:44 not counting car stops