Wednesday, May 30, 2007

where are you at VDOT Boy?

Tuesday- 3miles- 31mins ( a walk/ run mix)

as for recovery....I can now walk normally, go up/down steps, and run for 1-2 minutes at a time. Quads still destroyed. I need to use Alberto Salazar's Anti-G treadmill!!! I actually went to use the pool yesterday for some no impact aqua-jogging, but it was closed for a special function...damn.

I had some thoughts today after reading some other great blogs about the Jack Daniel's training methods and his incredible 45 years of physiology research and the great physiology fitness tables he produced. Others have taken these tables and made performance calculators out of them.

Although many argue (stupidly in my opinion) about these tables being crap and you have to prove your fitness on the track/road/trail. I find them a great tool to gauge my present fitness and then use that to set up appropriate training paces / intensities. Why? Well because I feel like my entire career -6 years of varsity XC and Track in high school, and 4 years of collegiate running (Div I, Junior College, and Div III) I trained above my fitness level and succeeded in little other than beating myself up and on a 2-3-or 4 time a week basis adding stress to my training program that was too much for me to adequately adapt to. Causing me in many many seasons to finish the season running times that I ran the first week of the season or worse.

When you look at my personal records I have achieved much better performances at shorter distances than longer. This despite considering myself a DISTANCE runner and logging 2,000+ miles a year for the last 19 years.

How did this happen? Well, when you pound short repeats quickly on a regular basis you get good at running short distances quickly.. I mean lets not over complicate it. The workouts I never did in high school and rarely did in college that I am trying to do now are not so hard and fast, but are aimed at improving my lactate threshold, and ability to hold a steady pace for a LONG period.

Here is a look at some of my PR's and the fitness level they signify:
400m-53.9 = 78.5 Vdot
800m- 2:02.8 = 70.0Vdot
1500m-4:11.0 = 66.6 Vdot
Mile-4:29.71 = 66.9 Vdot
3000m- 9:15 =64.3 Vdot
5000m-15:57 =64.8 Vdot
8K- 26:22 =64.3 Vdot
10K- 33:37 =63.7 Vdot
10miles- 57:23 =61.4Vdot
1/2 mara- 1:18 =60.0Vdot
Marathon-2:54:31 =55.5Vdot
50 mile- 6:24 = 47.6Vdot

How depressing is that?! Either I was supposed to be a sprinter...... or I have not really trained very smart. That is a pretty blatant example of decline.

If you contrast me to an elite runner (because hey fast guys are fun) like Alan Webb
you can see that depending on the year and what events he was focusing on... his PR's for the 800-1500-mile-2mile-5k, and 10K all fall in the 80Vdot physiology fitness range. Pretty impressive. So can he go out and run a 2:07 marathon today? Of course not. But I bet if he wanted to and trained for it specifically for a good 20 months he could.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sunday- 3 miles- walk (with right quad non-functional)
Monday- 4miles- walk- sore but normal gait

A great read about a fellow soldier running his own 50 miler in the desert of Baghdad. His was as part of the Wickham park marathons race held in the soldiers home town of Melbourne, FL.

I am it slowly.... from my own self inflicted beat down run. Sunday I was so sore in my quads that walking was done by locking my right knee out straight and not allowing the normal gait pattern of planting your foot with your knee SLIGHTLY bent...meaning your quad muscles act to hold you up. My right quad was having no part of that. Monday things were better and my left quad seemed near normal, and the right now allowed a normal walking pattern. Still sore, but improving. I find it strange that both quads are not affected equally...but it seems for me anyway..they never are after a run like Saturday's. I was surprised the run destroyed them so much. but it just goes to show the difference between dirt and blacktop!

Anyway, I will recover and be better off for it. I will try a walk / run mixed effort today and hope to be running normal tomorrow.

Biggest news of the weekend comes from my friends in the states who ran PR's this weekend. In a 100 mile race (Keith K) PR'd a mere week after finishing 3rd at MMT100 and Andy set a strong PR in the marathon. Congrats to both!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

50 Miles is a LONG Ways

Saturday- 50 miles- 7:15:45

Wow, 50 miles is a long ways! All seemed to go as planned...I woke up at 3:30am ate 300cals of pop tarts, drank a 12oz coke, tried to wake up, packed up the gear and headed out to start my long day at 4am. struggling to walk the 1/4 mile with a bag filled with 30lbs of drinks and long run aid station gear... sucked....of course the bag handles broke.

What was in the bag? 4 bottles of water-60oz each, 9 cans of mtn dew, 19 gels, a bottle of Gatorade, body glide, sunglasses, a shirt, and sunscreen

I ran a 2 mile loop in 17minutes then began doing the north camp base perimeter loop following the fence-line (which is 4 miles- 3 of which are blacktop, and one is HARD packed dirt/sand/cement)

The idea was to run this one 12 times for 50 miles, unless I was slower than expected in which case I would bail at the 7 hour mark. I figured If I ran 8 min miles and allowed 2 minutes for "transition time" at my makeshift aid station I could run a 7 hour 50. Pretty ambitious.

I had pre-dissolved 12 NUUN tablets into my water and planned to fill my trusty Montrail bottle with this each lap, as well as, drink AT the aid station, and pick up a gel. This ended up working well as it took most of the 4 mile loop to drain the bottle and I took a 60-120sec walk break 2 miles into the loop each lap to hit the gel.

I wanted to try and consume 50% of what I expended and ended up doing about that. Here is the breakdown:

180oz of water ingest (with 12 NUUN tablets dissolved in it)
72 oz of mtn dew
252 oz total of ingested liquid or about 35oz per hour... I don't think I could absorb much more than that...none was forced- just drank to thirst..but by the 5th hour I was draining the bottle in the first 3 miles of the loop, so could have used more (or a bigger bottle:-)
12 NUUN tablets ingested for 2000mg of NA+, 600mg of K+ (this would be about 6 S! caps), but NUUN has more than twice the K+.... this worked great! despite it being above 100 degree temps I never cramped at all.
11 gels for 1210 calories (one per loop after the first)
6 mtn dews cans- 1020 calories
450cals ingested 25min before start of run
2230 cals consumed during, 2680 Cals processed during, or a touch over 50% of expenditure....this is really good for me
5 pee breaks
1 Aleve tablet at 34miles

Quads totally fried!!!.....They were fine for 5 hours then started to get sore, and by the last 8 miles I was doing a slowed shuffle at 8:30 pace, and my transition time had greatly increased to 3-4minutes.

14miles- 2:00
26miles- 3:40
50K- 4:22
35miles-5 hours
42miles- 6:02

The course has no hills, thus It HURT!......I like hills and the exact same leg muscle contractions at the same joint angles really wears on you.

OBVIOUSLY dirt is always better too... But, you get in what you can.

I feel pretty good about this effort and plan to follow it with a 40 miler in 3-4 more weeks. That will make the "3 is the magic number" total pre-race, and also allow me plenty of recovery time before Vermont. I don't want to repeat previous mistakes and go LONG only 2-3 weeks out from my focus race.

I suspect I will be really sore tomorrow....good thing everything on base is only one story high!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Resting up to Beat myself down

Wednesday- 4 miles- 33min easy
Thursday- 3 miles- 23min easy
Friday- taking a zero day

Well I originally planned to run long on Sat the 26th, then got anxious and thought I would run on Friday the 25th (as we have weekends Fri/Sat), But after feeling overly tired and achy here the last two days I decided to rest one more day and go long tomorrow. So today I am taking a zero day and using it to pack a bunch of my stuff up to be mailed back to the states. Tomorrow at 4am I plan to start a LONG one. "Sinai Sufferfest # Two"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Loops into the Wind

Tuesday: 15 miles- 1:48 12 mile w. up, 3 mile tempo @ 6:16 pace

Tonight I did two 6 mile serpentine loops then made my way to my 1520m loop for a tempo run. I hit a gel at the 12 mile mark (90min) and felt like it stayed in my stomach throughout the 18 minutes of the tempo fast a pace to process.

I managed to run pretty strong battling the wind today: Successive splits of 6:12, 6:02, 5:39 for a 17:53 or about an 18:50 three mile. Not bad considering that was impossible 2 months back, but still not superman pace either. It is hard to hold back these days and I let the third one go a bit. The legs were definitely tired though, no real zip. Easy restful runs the next two days then dark and early Friday morning it is on!

One Montth To Go

Sunday- 5 miles- easy 39min
Monday- 4 miles- drills & striders

A couple easy days here as I didn't feel like doubling or doing much at all yesterday. A bit tired, and in my mind I know I am planning 50 for Friday so that probably compounds the tiredness I feel. On a positive note the strides and drills feel very fluid and efficient these days. Amazing what that practice thing does huh?!

A shout out to my friends/ Teammates / and VHTRC club mates on great performances at the MMT 100 this last weekend. And to the club for putting on such a great event. I hope to direct my own race on a grand scale someday and this event above all others is what I hope to emulate. Montrail boys went 1,2,4 And good friend and VHTRC mate Keith Knipling ran a break-through 21 hour race for 3rd! Must have been exciting day in what looked like good weather.

The most exciting thing of late is the calendar....I should now only have one more month to spend in Egypt. Keep your fingers crossed that I get out of here in a few weeks.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Friday AM- 3 miles- walk
Friday PM- 8 miles- easy (no watch)
Saturday- 17 miles 8 w. up, 8x mile 6:18 on 60sec, 1 c. dn

Another workout utilizing one of my favorites: cruise intervals. Or one mile repeats done at your lactate threshold with a short one minute recovery between intervals. I seem to really benefit from workouts lasting in the 90+ minute range and have been progressively adding longer warm ups to my speedy/tempo workouts to simulate what happens in marathons and ultras. That general body fatigue that makes it hard to both focus, and turn the legs over quickly.

Why run so many repeats and not just do 20-50minutes straight for a steady tempo? Well the way I run ultras is not steady. I take literally 50-150 breaks during a 100 miler. There are shifts in tempo due to terrain, to stop when nature calls, to stop to eat, to grab this or that at an aid station, for a walk break, to step over a poor footing area, to power-walk a hill...and after each and everyone of them I have to get the legs going again with a restart to get back up to a quick cadence and pace. Additionally, constantly choosing to attempt another repeat is good practice. As Dr. Horton always says you have to suffer (in training) to be able to suffer (in the race).

The last three months I have been working what Renato Canova (a great coach of several African Olympians) calls EXTENSION training. In the 8 week endurance phase I am now in, I am not trying to get faster...merely trying to extend the period of time that I can hold a hard pace. When I first did this cruise interval workout I did only 6 repeats after a mere 2 mile warm up. The second cruise workout was 3 x 2mile but again with short warm up. The third workout was 8 x one mile reps like tonight but with only a 3 mile warm up. I hope to do this workout again in 2-3 weeks with a 10mile warm up and 10 miles of repeats. And the final workout before my taper will hopefully be 12 miles of repeats after a 14 mile warm up. I bet I can run those 26 miles in less than 3:15 despite the time out for recovery between reps.

Tonight's run went well despite it being 116 degrees, sunny, and almost no wind when I started running at 4:30pm. That is hot boys and girls. I did two 4 mile loops for 8 miles in 63minutes then began 8 x1520m loops with 1 min rest. I ran 6:04, 6:04, 6:03, 6:00, 5:55, 6:00, 5:56, 5:51 and felt pretty smooth throughout. The goal of this type of workout is not to run hard, but to run relaxed and at a steady clip. Only on the last two did I even come close to struggling. I am pleased with my progression.

This finishes out a strong week of 77 miles for the VT 100 draws closer

You Did IT!!!!!!

Its all about Anne today! My lovely wife graduates from the George Mason School of Law today after three long years and a lot of hard work. Congratulations honey, wish I could be there to see you walk across the stage. You are the best.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time Trial

Thursday- 9 miles- 4 w. up, 2mile-11:21, 3 c. dn

Today was fun. Improvement is fun. I like this trend. Okay after Monday's reality check I really wanted to see where I am at. I also did not like the scheduled workout of 3 x mile at Interval pace as I have found I do not respond well to intervals. So to get the same intensity in, and hopefully get some confidence back with a fitness check, I decided to run a 2 mile time trial.

I warmed up with 4 miles and did some lite strides and drills to make sure I was ready. I lined up and took off with one of my favorite songs (Static X's-So Real) and managed to run around 5:38 for the first mile and finished it off with out a huge tightening up struggle in 11:21. Obviously not record breaking, but I see I am now at a level I have not seen for 5 years. Or to be precise...not since March of 2002 (pre-grand slam) and post Feb '02's 16:28- 100 miler at RR, have I run 2 miles that fast. Consulting a JD physiology fitness table and you can see I am now flirting with the ability to break 18:00 in a 5k. Not bad at all! More exciting is the fact that I am advancing in vdot levels at a rate faster than usual since it is supposed to take 4-5 weeks to move up one level and I have advance 5 levels in the last 16 weeks. Maybe having 40,000 lifetime miles is paying off after all????!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

more of the same

Tuesday- 6 miles- 45:34
Wednesday Am- 4 miles- 36min
Wednesday PM-7 miles- 63min with Drills and Striders

I heard from one of my Walter Reed former co-workers today...So here is a shout out just in case anyone is reading. I hear the ever revolving door of staff rotations on to make that sandier pastures, is in effect. (two staff members are off to Iraq)
Who knows perhaps I will find my way back to working WRAMC again in 2008...just not wearing a uniform :-)

I was pleased to feel some lingering soreness in the old legs today. Monday's 8 miles at Lactate Threshold was enough to tear me up a bit. Stress and adapt right? Today was a very boring day in the clinic. Funny how I hate to be busy but I hate NOT to be busy just as much.

So how am I doing with this training thing? Well, since starting the Jack Daniels training plan, I have gotten in the following strong runs at or longer than 90 minutes with 3-8 of the miles at a good pace:
Date- Miles
3/23- 14
5/5-40- first LONG run of a planned 3-4

My weekly mileage has been fair and consistent for a few months now. Not as high as some would say is needed, but I think the key for me is to continue to do and recover from the hard efforts, more so than pounding out many slow miles.

Weekly mileage since the first week of Feb:
54, 62, 49, 52, 70, 82, 51, 51, 78, 70, 62, 53, 53, 95, 53
or 62.3 per week the last 15 weeks.

Ideally the next 5 weeks should be pretty heavy mileage-wise and I will attempt to double a lot to average 75 or so. Then it will taper back in July.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reality Bites!

Sunday- 6 miles easy
Monday- 17 miles-2 w.u. 2x2mile-12:48, 60min jog, 2x2mile 12:47

Okay the reality of physiology pretty much blows. Okay I am improving and tonight's workout was something I could not have come close to two months ago but damn. I feel like I suck. And since I am thinking I suck now, what the heck kind of shape was I in LAST YEAR at this time???? What the heck was I doing trying to run marathons and ultras thinking I was a contender and a somewhat "elite" ultrarunner. No wonder I had so many DNF's. And all the races I did finish were disappointing and necessitated about 2 weeks completely off for recovery. I was soooooooooo out of touch with my actual fitness level it is disgusting to think about now.

Tonight's run was a classic jtupper ( Jack Daniels- letsrun message board handle) workout. In fact I got it from him off the message board. I was going to run a similar one (3 miles at lactate threshold followed by an hour running at easy pace, then 3 more miles at lactate threshold) For me currently about 6:25 pace per mile with my easy pace being about 7:45. But, I modified it to make it a bit harder and do 2 x 2mile at LT pace with 2min rest still bookending the 60min run.

I ran an easy 2 mile warm up and felt like the first 2 mile was a bit more pressing than it should have been. I ran even splits and managed 12:50. I used the measured PT test course tonight so I know it was exactly 2 miles. Then I was barely ready to go again after just 2 minutes and the second one sucked! I was breathing heavy 4 minutes in and it felt hard. 12:46. So then I go off to jog for an hour and really felt heavy legged and tired. I got hungry too so 36minutes into the hour I stopped at my hooch and got a gel and drank some coke. Since I was only half way through the workout I mentally was pretty down. I began thinking about the times where I have run 6-8 milers on a treadmill at 10mph with out problems. How I ran a 2:09 20 miler before the JFK 50 miler in 2001. How in my very first marathon I managed to run 2:02 for 20 miles. And tonight 2 miles at 6:25 pace was this hard??? Damn..... I suck.

I was thinking recently about the amazing running Greg Crowther and Patrick Russell have been doing and how their blogs have been an inspiration. Yet still, deep in my mind, I thought in a trail 100 miler I bet I could beat them. I just keep thinking that I am the man and trails are MY THING and I could tough it out better than them...or anyone. Yet, pure physiology is what it is. I have been crushing myself with SOLID workouts for 12 weeks now and still am light years behind guys like this in terms of fitness. The pace I struggled to hold for 12 minutes tonight these guys can hold for 4 hours...and I used to be able to do for 2 hours! WOW. I have a long way to go. It just takes so long to improve it is frustrating. Like all Americans I want instant gratifying results!

Anyway...I did tough out the run. I came back to the 2 mile course and ran 12:44. Then took THREE minutes rest and ran 12:49. It hurt. I skipped the cool down as I hate cool downs in general and it was already 7:38pm and I needed to go shower and get to the dining hall by 8pm as it closes.

I so wish running was a skill sport like playing pool or even Tennis. Something where the 40,000 miles of training I have logged in the last 18 years was cumulative and my ability at running never receded. I wish that the level I obtained in college just continued to escalate day after day and time off did not drop you back so far down. Man, that would be great!

ALAS, perspective! Here you go: On this base there are about 250 US ARMY soldiers. All of us have to do a 2mile run as part of our bi-annual fitness test. Of the 250, only 2 other guys have been able to break 13:00 in the 2mile in the 11 months I have been here. So tonight sprinkled in a 17 mile run, I ran sub 13min for 2 miles 4 times. Thus I am LIGHT YEARS ahead of all of these Army punks here. It is all perspective............................................
I guess I need to remember that.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On to Cooler Pastures

Saturday- 13.2 miles- 1:44:00 (last 3 miles at "strong" effort)

Well I am back at the north camp base in the land where some water actually exists and temps are a bit cooler. The air has some humidity and it cools off to below 90 at night! Yippee. It is a bigger base, but has 0% hills and is blacktop though. Anyway I am back after the 7 hour bus ride through the Sinai. I got to see some interesting terrain...some of which looked like southern Utah with red/rust colored rock formations and crumbling mountains. The road was very curvy snaking through the mountains.


Call me a biased elitist American, but Egypt has a long way to go. 3rd world really is a different world. On the drive at any point looking out the window no matter how many miles away from any kind of civilization you can see trash. Not just a stray soda can or piece of paper, but plastic as far as the eye can see. Blown for hundreds of miles tumbling along and piled into every crack and crevasse in the mountains and up against rocks. Having toured an open pit landfill when I took an Ecology class...I can honestly say the entire Sinai looks like a land fill. The world is in serious trouble due to what man has done.

We stopped for a rest stop mid-way on the drive at a town along the Sea where tourist stop at a restaurant and outside it locals had their two camels sitting there. The entrepreneur spirit being high, the camels owner asked us to ride the camel for a dollar. Nasty looking beast, but what the guy did as I waited for all to re-board our bus absolutely amazed me. He walked over to the camel and proceeded to tear a cardboard box into 5 inch by 5-6 inch pieces and feed it to the camel. Said camel laid there and ate the pieces one by one like it was lettuce. Mind boggling. Maybe they have got a great stomach but eating cardboard printed with logos and ink can not be good for an animal.

Third bash.... 10 days a go three of my friends were making the bus trip from south to north like I just took and their bus happened to come upon an Egyptian bus that had just wrecked going around a corner. My Friends being Army EMT's immediately de-boarded and began helping the Vitim's of the wreck; which was evidently awful. 8 immediately dead, 6 with traumatic amputations and on their way to dying, one guy missing his bottom jaw, ect. As they were stopped along the road other Egyptians stopped at the wreck site too. None were helping, and in fact, a few were robbing the bodies of the dead of their possessions as they laid there still warm. Just a disturbing thing to hear about. Honestly if it was dead Americans lying there then maybe I could see them robbing the dead. But, these people were their fellow Egyptians. What the hell kind of thinking is that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Round and Round

Thursday- 6.6 miles- 56min
Friday- 6.6 miles- 54min

A few more trips round and round and round the base. Tomorrow will be my last trips around the south camp base for this trip. I hope to get in a strong effort before boarding the 7+ hour bus ride back to north camp. Running in circles is really not that bad. My tolerance for boring routes and treadmills has greatly increased over the last 11 months. I really am looking forward to getting back to the states and moving to Richmond in August. Scouting running routes and finding / exploring new trails is one of my favorite things in life.

Looking at the calendar, I have now been away for over 11 months; as I left my wife and Arlington VA on June 10th, 2006. The exact dates for Egypt departure are still up in the air, but I am certainly getting closer. I should be in the US by July.

Today the legs felt no zip or spring, but they were better than yesterday. This week is pretty poor mileage-wise but I hope to bring it back up next week with a good deal of doubles. This is week 2 of the endurance cycle...gotta make sure the miles get put in.

Good luck to the Ice Age folks. My money is on the Wynnman.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Back At It

Tuesday- 6.6 miles 55min
Wednesday- 13.5 miles- 1:48 -90min w up, (6x 35sec hill sprints) c dn

A nice day for running, with a bit of cloud cover, it was actually a few degrees less than 100! The legs felt pretty good, still some remaining fatigued, but I was able to run consistent 2.2 mile laps under 17min. Then on the hill repeats, I ran them just as fast as I ever have. Probably be sore in the calves tomorrow. But a good workout. I really seem to gain a lot from workouts in the 90min- to 120min range. Nice to be back at it only a few days post a LONG long run. I had feared it'd be a week or more of down time to recover. Very happy that was not necessary.

I am already looking forward to my next big one. It will be at the north camp looking at the schedule. That is flat and on roads...but variety is good I suppose.

Today I worked on my "running log into excel" project some. The year 2000. Wow.... fun times running snowshoe races with guys that were not ultrarunners then, but have become them since (Dave Dunham, Lee Schmidt, Ben Nephew) and training with now west coasters Sue Johnston, and Steve & Deb Pero. Seems like a long time ago that I trained up for the MMT 100 with repeats on the infamous 7 sisters Trail Race course.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Random Thoughts

Sunday 2 miles easy walk
Monday 4.4miles -39min, with a few walk breaks

Well lots of random thoughts today:

My recovery from the long run has been amazing. Dare I say best ever post a run of 30+ miles? Soreness very minimal and limited to deep quad. My super problematic calves are absolutely fine. This even despite cramping slightly 20 miles in to Saturdays effort. However, I was SUPER dehydrated after Saturday's run and I suffered for the rest of the day with diarrhea (a symptom of severe dehydration) and feeling very uncomfortable. I had no access to Gatorade, NUUN, or even salt as the little store here on base was closed and I used up all I had. It Sucked. But, I pounded fluids and salts yesterday and am fine now. I will take an extra day easy before going back into the one easy, one moderate, on hard, 3 day-repeating regimen that I do. In my next long run, I will run with a bottle and sip continuously and not stop for 2minutes and force fill my stomach with 10-15ounces at once. That was good training to get used to running with a full tummy and making it process, but running- wise, it allowed multiple breaks. Next time I hope to run steady for 40-50miles instead. This will be more race specific.

Well, as sad as this all may be life continues on. Everyone is affected differently and has different thought patterns. Personally I believe really strongly in fate. Certain things are meant to happen and are completely and utterly out of my control. Should I worry about flying on a plane that has the potential to crash? NO! If it is going to crash it will regardless of what I do or what my thought patterns and personal worries are. Why stress myself out? Why do we worry about things beyond our control at all? Does not make sense to me. Granted as I have aged....freaking 33 these days... can't believe that, but anyway. I certainly realize and am aware of my mortality. When I was younger I never thought about wrecking a car or that I could possible get injured and probably was a bit reckless at times. These days I will be more sure footed and cautious on crazy potential dangerous trail with shear cliff exposure. I don't take chances with cold weather, and I pack for EVERYTHING. I don't speed like I used to and am not in as much of a rush in my life in general. The Tao of Pooh has some good lessons in it.

I also have a different perspective than most due to the incredible things I have been exposed to working in hospitals. The saddest thing I ever worked with was terminally ill cancer patients. Physical therapy and exercise have been shown to make their remaining days better, but it took a piece out of my heart watching people weaken by the day until they expired. If anything this experience made me want to live even harder. Travel more, take part in more races and experience absolutely everything I have ever thought of. Because, again, there are things we can not control. And you really never know. Better live well now.

I am so ready to be done! How my Army can go to 15 month rotations/deployments I don't know. Mentally I think one just does not care after a certain period...and studies show 7 months is optimal for mental alertness and mission focus. 15 months is going to get many more people killed due to carelessness. I should be home and out of the Army in less than two months. Seems almost unbelievable. I am still in the south camp and will likely return to north camp this weekend. I have only one more trip scheduled to come south. Time here is indeed getting short.

Fun on the web... who knew:

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Take from

ISMAILIA, Egypt A plane belonging to the multinational observer force that monitors the Egyptian-Israeli border crashed on Sunday in the Sinai peninsula, killing eight French soldiers and a Canadian, security sources said. The sources said the aircraft had hit a truck while trying to make an emergency landing on a Sinai road, but managed to briefly regain altitude before finally crashing and exploding. I heard a loud explosion and saw fire. I saw remains on a wide area. There was no one alive, said Abdel Qader Salman, a Bedouin man in central Sinai.

Security sources said they believed the crash of the twin-engined propeller plane was caused by mechanical problems, although the planes black box had not yet been recovered. Foul play was not suspected. The charred remains of five people were found in the wreckage, and a search was under way for remains of four other passengers recorded as having boarded the plane, Egyptian aviation and security sources said. The French defence ministry said eight French and one Canadian soldier had died. Egyptian state news agency MENA said the pilot had called in to report a problem with one of the aircrafts engines before contact was lost. The plane had been on a training and orientation mission, the director-general of the Multinational Force and Observers Mission in Sinai, Normand St. Pierre, told Reuters. We lost contact, and I have no reason to believe it was anything but mechanical failure, he said.

TRUCK DRIVER SURVIVESThe Egyptian driver of the truck jumped from his vehicle as the plane hit it, and was believed to have survived although his truck caught fire and burned, security sources said. They said they were convinced all on the plane had died.
The French Twin Otter plane had been heading from El-Gorah in northern Sinai, site of the observer forces main base, to Saint Catherine in the south when it crashed near al-Nakhel in central Sinai.

The crash was the second fatal transport accident this year involving members of the Sinai observer force, which has also been an occasional target for Islamist militants.
In March, eight Egyptian engineers from the observer force were killed in a road crash while riding in a private taxi.

Last year, a suicide bomber blew himself up near an airport used by the multinational force. In August 2005, militants attacked a vehicle of the observers, injuring two Canadians.
More than 100 people, most of them Egyptians, have been killed in three bomb attacks in Sinai since 2004 that the Egyptian government has blamed on Sinai Bedouin.

The observer force, set up to supervise security provisions in the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, has contingents from 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Fiji, France, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the United States and Uruguay.

I have flown on this plane over 20 times. 3 times within the last week with this same crew and pilots. uncertain.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sinai Sufferfest Number One

Saturday- 40 Miles- 5:58

If you want to perform well in a long race, you have to get out there and suffer in training. Today was all about that. This was number one of three LONG long runs I have planned before leaving Egypt.

My day started at 4:15 when I reluctantly rolled out of bed and began getting around for my run. I ate 2 poptarts (400cals) and had a can of mtn Dew (170cals) for my breakfast. Then I assembled the aid station gear: 4 bottles of water(1.5liter)- 2 with electrolytes in them, 2 just water, 5 12oz cans of mtn Dew, 17 packs of gel, salt tablets, body glide, sun glasses, my Montrail hat- with IPOD shuffle clipped on, and another package of poptarts.

At 4:45 in complete darkness with a nearly full moon straight over head I began running in the 80 degree heat with no shirt on and wearing my new Odyssey Montrail shoes. The first lap sucked as I hate running in the morning, but needed to get going to beat some of the heat. On the second lap the moon edged lower and the pre-twilight of dawn began. On the third lap the orange fireball appeared over the Red Sea as a perfect circle rising ever so slowly over Tiran island. By 7AM I noticed it was hot, an hour later it was freaking hot, and after 9AM It was over 100 degrees.

Because I burn easily I put a silk weight all white Patagonia T-shirt on at 7AM to block out the sun and donned my sunglasses at 8am. Man, am I gonna have a nice farmer tan!

Honestly the run went very smoothly. The hardest part was laps 2 and 3. Mentally the thought of having so much left and not really feeling very good was almost too much. But, this faded and as I ran loop after loop I felt better and better.

The goal of the day was to run for 6 hours. I hoped I could get in 40 miles and planned to force my stomach to process food/water as I went. I basically ran it like an interval session of 18 x 2.2 miles loops (plus an extra 0.4miles to make it an even 40) with a 90sec to 2minute refueling rest break between each lap. I ran with nothing, but at the end of each loop I would do one of three things: 1) Drink water and take a salt tablet and a gel, 2) Drink water with electrolytes in it and take a gel, or 3) have a full can of 170 cals of mtn dew.

I ended up ingesting the following:
165 oz water- 0 cals
60 oz of mtn dew- 850 cals
10 x 110 cal gels- 1100 cals

So total intake was about 1/2 the calories of the 4,000 calories expended....which should be the goal. My stomach did a great job processing all this until the last 90 minutes when it got very hot. I basically would be FULL and sloshing for about four minutes past the "aid station" and then 10 minutes in to the loop felt pretty comfortable. I never felt bonky or out of very happy with that. The last 5 laps my stomach felt full and uncomfortable most all the time. But, it never shut down on me. I was peeing about every 45minutes, and I did get some pretty impressive salt lines going.

My legs felt just as good in the last 2 hours as the first. In fact my 5 fastest loops of the 18 were the last 5. I even got crazy on the last one and ran 7:15 mile pace to insure I broke 6 hours. The limit is not going to be my is going to be my stomach.

The 2.2 mile loop has 3 hills in it: One gradual, one Short and steep, and one longer and steep. I walked the long one each lap (40sec to get up) and the short steep one about half the time (only 15 sec to get up). so I ran all but 60 sec of each loop. I figure the 40 miles has 4,000ft elevation gain and loss, and being that it is crushed coral/sand it gives you an extra bit of work on each slipping step. All in all it was a damn good run. I am not superman yet....but I sure am trying to be!

Relevant splits: 3:56 marathon, 4:38- 50K

Ooh and I almost was 114 degrees when I finished.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Into The Oven

Thursday AM- 2.5 Battalion run in cadence- 23min
Thursday PM- 4.5 miles- 34min
Friday- 4.4 miles 36min

Okay back at the south camp and into the OVEN! Wow it just got hot this week...probably jumped 25-30degrees from where it has been. South camp is always hotter as it is more a true desert and the prevailing wind comes off the dry land and out to the Red Sea, where at the north camp the wind comes from the north off the Mediterranean Sea and it is humid there with a rainy season. The rainy season has ended and the local Bedouin nomads are herding their goats around the outside of the base and harvesting the hay-like desert weed growth. South camp is the opposite and has absolutely zero vegetation growth and gets a 15min rain storm once every 7-8 years. Yesterday it was 117 and at 10 pm the temp had dipped down only to 95. NICE heat training!

Tomorrow is the biggy. My first long run in a 8 weeks. I plan to get up at a ridiculous time to start running around sunrise. Maybe even have some miles in before 5am. I hate morning workouts mentally, and so does my body. The first 2 miles this morning were a full minute per mile slower than normal with the same effort. But, after 20min it all works out. I brought 17 gels and some NUUN electrolyte tabs with me, then bought some pop tarts, and mtn dew cans here yesterday. I hope I can pull it off.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tough but Tolerable

Tuesday- 10 miles 1:17 with 3 x strides
AM- 7miles-59min
PM- 12 miles-1:29 3 w up, (8x1520m- ave 6:00) on 1min rest, 1 c dn

Tough but doable...that is the continual theme after 6 weeks of running Jack Daniels running formula type workouts. At first I was running exactly from the book, now as I get bored (feel like going off on a whim) I am altering the workouts sometimes, but keeping the same spin on it. Today was a good day as I actually got my lazy self out of bed and put in a good hour run before 7AM. Then tonight I had a great workout.

I did the 3 mile loop warm up, then settled into a hoped for 8x sinai mile effort at near lactate threshold pace ( 6:25 per mile) or so. I wanted to ease into it and thought maybe I'd shoot for my calculated marathon pace on the first couple to slowly warm myself up as 8 seemed like a lot and I was replacing a run in the JD program that had me running 8 miles at marathon pace steady.

So since it was windy and warm I launched off into the wind and ended up running a solid but comfortable 6:33 converted mile or somewhere in between LT pace and Marathon pace, then decided to try and keep working the pace down. I ended up running 6:13, 6:12, 6:06, 6:02, 5:56, 5:53, 5:49, 5:43 all on 60sec rest. My heart rate dropped to 110 60sec post the 8th I was not over running, but admit the last two took effort that had me breathing somewhat hard. Quick math has this averaging out to 6:00 for 1520 or about 6:20 mile pace. NICE! Pretty happy about this when you look back 5 weeks ago when I did 6xmile a good deal slower. and I must admit the geek in me thinks the numbers look beautiful with the cut down progression!

Yes Improvement is still fun.

I am off to the south camp base tomorrow morning to see patients down there for a week (plus the weekend). Saturday is a big day as it is the first planned LONG long run. Looking to put in 6 hours....ugh...I'm scared.

APRIL Mileage check shows a modest 253 for the month. The 4th month in the last 6 where I got in more than 250.....this after 54 straight months without a single month over back to the month prior to my 2002 Grand Slam

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Getting Lazy

Sunday- 15miles- 1:53 with 4 x 90sec surges, 6 x 35s hill reps
Monday- off

Man, I'm getting lazy. I flew back to the main base yesterday and got in then went right into a meeting and then it was after 6pm and I was hungry... I chose food over a run. Getting lazy here. 3 days off in two weeks. This is the beginning of my 8 week endurance phase and what a start... A non planned day off and then this morning I slept in and blew off my double. Such a wuss!!! Anyway I'm planning a big run for Saturday. I hope to get in 5-6 hours. Have not seen that kind of a run since the HURT 100. Should be loads of fun though. But, I must admit I am a bit scared. My last long one of 26 in 3:39 hurt me and I am not ashamed to admit it. I just hate the down time waiting to recover post long runs. I do know that to have any chance at tolerating the suffer-fest that the Vermont 100 will be, I HAVE TO SUFFER NOW in training. As the good Dr. Horton gotta suffer to be able to suffer! So I guess it is time to step up.