Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling The Need

For Speed....or the best I can manage these days: MotionBased stats here

8 miles with: 4x200, 4x400, 3x1000, 400, 4x200, 95 degree sun at 2pm

Easy warm up...didn't take long in the heat and my favorite time to run...AFTERNOON!
4 x 200 on 40 sec rest- 41, 41, 37, 38 Felt really good, not trying to press, just turn them over
4 x 400 on 90 sec rest- 91, 86, 88, 84 Pace was all over as I was trying to find the best mix between relaxed and pressing the 2nd half to hold the pace. Not to mention I have not run anything this quick since February. By the 3rd and 4th my heartrate was really getting up there and staying up above 120 a bit long following the repeat.

so I took 5 minutes rest then did 3 x 1000m aiming to hit 4:00 or a guess at my 10 mile-1/2 marathon pace. But onc eI got into them I ran faster and was probably closer to VO2max pace than Lactate threshold. Using equal recoveries I managed to hit 4:01, 3:54, 3:46. It felt good and I was running very smoothly. After the faster repeats to start off with, it was hard to run above 90 sec 400 pace on these repeats.

After the 3rd one I felt hot and tired. So I decided to do some more shorter reps and work on my recruitment of the fast twitch fibers that I let lie dormant so much of the time. I will probably be wicked sore tomorrow.

Last bit went 400-84, 4x200-39, 37, 37, 36, then one last 400 to try and break 80 and a nice result of 76. That chased the heartrate up to 175bpm. Probably within a few ticks of my max honestly.

All in all it was a good workout and I am glad I went and got it in. Tomorrow I am off to DC to do a bunch of things related to my new job and my new townhouse! Trying to finalize things on a new place. Super exciting.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Time to Throw Down

Week 2 post Hardrock
3 runs = 29 miles 1 easy, 1 speed, 1 moderate

Now, feeling recovered and well motivated it is time to start throwing it down. I hope to put in more miles in the month of August than I have ever done in one month. My current record is 380 miles from June of 1998 (last 11 years monthly mileage seen here) Getting in a 400 mile month would be nice.

For motivation I am using the following:

and good VHTRC buddy Sophie

On the personal side, no luck finding a house yet!!!! :-(

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back into it

After a week off to travel, recover, rest, and house search I am now back in to training. Motivation is low like it always is after a big event, but I do have some fun things on the horizon.

Anne and I powered through an 11 miler on the C& O Canal towpath in DC Sunday. My left ankle (anterior tibialis muscle/tendon) was stiff aching and giving me "itis" problems but that seems to have resolved. This was Anne's first LONG run in the build up for her fall marathon. Fun stuff to be a part of!

Today I went out for a longish run, got mis-oriented and wound up in a part of my neighborhood I have yet to run. So I made my way to the local highschool track and did an impromptu workout. Since I am such a wuss and can't stick to a regular track/hard workout routine when I end up at the track I like to make the most of it. after illusions of grandeur and a 5xmile workout I managed two before the legs and mind said......"Hey wait buddy...we are still not 100%"

So here it is:
25 min warm up
2 x mile 6:20, 6:07 on 3:30 recov
15 min cool down

Not to whine about what was but for reference:
7/7/2000- Hardrock- 36:16
7/16/2000- 7 miler with last mile 5:26
7/24/2000- 3 x mile 5:28, 5:22, 5:20
7/26/2000- 8,000m time trial on track by self- 28:53

ugh! I can't wait until I move to DC and get some training partners

Friday, July 18, 2008

what worked

I wanted to write a bit to let folks know what worked for me......and what didn't

FEET: Hardrock is an extremely wet race with stream crossings and marshlands the entire course. My feet were wet from the river crossing at 2 miles straight thru for 46 hours until the river crossing at 99 miles.

AJW tip to wet your feet before long runs was an excellent one! The two weeks prior to the race I ran with wet feet 5-6 times- spraying them down with a hose (filling my shoes really) then re-wet in a local river 30 minutes in to the runs. I also did 2-3 hour yard work sessions where I wet my feet every 45min. This constant time spent in wet socks/shoes allowed my foot skin to toughen and all the looser/weak callus stuff to peel off prior to race day and thus in the race itself I had ZERO problems. I had one tiny blister on the side of my big toe that I did not feel, drained after, and it was sealed and healed in 24hrs. No other issues at all!!!

Shoes:- I wore my Asics 2110's road shoes that have 800+ miles on them and are a year old. They drained well, gripped decently, were light weight, comfortable, supportive but not restrictive and are lower to the ground than my Montrails. However, they have higher side walls around the ankle and this caused my most severe post race problem......I have swollen ankle bones on the outside (lateral malleolus) bilaterally and the right one was rug burned into a bloody area. Runing straight is no problem, but side hill action caused the side of the shoes to push into my ankle bones. Ouch.

socks: I changed socks 4 times for no good reason other than it FELT GOOD! I used white "jockey" socks that fit my feet well. They are all ruined with stains now but hey.

fluids: I drank plan water 100% of the time and filed my bottles from the streams and with snow probably 60% of the time. I'll let you know if I develop giardia. I also took in up to 12 cups of coke along the way (drunk at aid stations)

Electrolytes: I used maybe 8 or so NUUN tablets and one S! cap, then had GI trouble and for the last 26 hours of the race only ate salty food from the tables. Salt pills are overrated. I eat an extremely low salt diet, and was well heat acclimated prior to the race so my sweat has little salt in it. I wish I had not used the NUUN tabs at all. Pretzels is all you need.

Calories: I took in 2400cals of Cliff shot blocks, 4000+cals of pure granulated sugar (that I carried in a bottle then added water too to make a gel like slurry). I will use maltodextrin in the future as sugar worked great but has a taste to it, that I did get sick off, while maltodextrin is tasteless. I ate a strawberry milkshake (real deal ice cream from an ice cream shop), 1/2 a turkey sandwich, 1/2 a turkey sandwich with cheese grilled, 2 cups of pasta, 6 pop sickles, maybe 12 cups of coke, one zip lock bag of peanuts, M&M's, and one zip lock bag full of pretzels. during the 46:45. Pre-race breakfast was a liter of gatorade and 2 banana Power bars. I'm not sure how many calories this all is but it was ALOT! yet I was still hungry and bonky a few times. The caloric expenditure scaling 40% grade mtns at 14,000ft must be higher than 100 calories per mile.

I also recently read that Krissy Moehl took in 600cals per hour at last years hardrock....this is double the 300cals an hour max the stomach is supposed to be able to process.(according to my masters degree in exercise physiology learnings) Interesting.! Probably why she kicked ass. I watched Karl Meltzer pack his drop bags for the 2005 hardrock were he spent 18 minutes in aid stations total time. He had 60 gels. for 6000cals. And ate nothing else. Trying to run at altitude asks a lot of the old cardio system so much of the bodies blood is diverted away from the viscera (stomach/intestines) and shunted to the working muscles. this makes digestion of anything complex very difficult. This is why I chose to stick closely to simple sugar and away from harder to digest foods. During exercise at a high % max output (like I had at Hardrock) the common phenomonen of "take in sugar---recieve huge insulin spike----resulting in lowered blood sugar and BONK" is attenuated. Huge spikes in insulin output are not seen, so one does not bonk as hard after pure sugar intake as one would say when sitting on a couch. No, I am not as dumb as I may seem.

Due to efficiency of the body being able to utilize stored fat when running at x min/mile pace rather than burning glucose or glycogen, the better shape you are in, the less calories you need to take in. I am not in that kind of shape obviously! so I likily needed more calories taken in during the event than fitter/faster folks.

all in all it was a great experiement and I am glad to be back in better shape. It has been a slow climb out of the 2003-2006 duldrums, but I am getting there.

grindstone 100 in Oct and JFK 50 in Nov on the horizon

Thursday, July 17, 2008

worth a 1000 words

awesome phtos here by Olga and HERE by Steve

Awesome Awesome Awesome

Hardrock 100 - 92nd- 46:45. SUPER HAPPY! I am a true hardrocker now having finished the course in both CCW and CW directions. Yep thats nearly 47 straight hours of movement. No nap, only stopped for 20-30 minutes at a few aid stations. Thats a LONG time to be out, and surprisingly it was not that bad. I was not overly tired/sleepy at all.

Silverton is a very special place and it felt like a big reunion to see so many falks who I have run with, been teamates with, and enjoyed their company at races before. Many folks welcomed me back to the race where I had a disappointing DNF in 2005 when I came in fresh off a stress fracture. As well as the race I really began to seriously make a name for myself in ultrarunning by my 36:18 in 2000.

2008 had been a great year for me in terms of life, happiness, and steady consistant running. After 4 poor years of haphazard running and injury, I now had 24 consistent months of training behind me and felt not only fit, but confident in my ability to finish and enjoy ultras again. I had run 10 good ones in 2008 alone. My year began with two 50k's in Jan, followed by two 40 milers in Feb, and 50 milers in March, April, and May with a 100k coming just 34 days before the Hardrock start in June. Due to my schooling and travel that 63 miler was my last run greater than 10 miles, but I knew it would be enough.

Since the race is difficult to get into (lottery) and alternates directions. And since this years run would be going the direction I had not run yet but wanted to......and our lives were still pretty uncomplicated...... I knew if I got in this year I had to go. I was 22nd on the waitlist initially and slowly moved up. When I moved to 9th on the list I bought plane tickets. One week later Dale Garland the RD called me to say I was in. Yes!

In 2000 I prepared by doing multiple snowshoe races in the winter followed by countless hill repeats and training in massachusetts and New Hampshire with superstar Sue Johnston and pal Steve Pero. I then finished 19th in my first 100 at the MMT 100 in May and managed to do a 39 miler in June along with repeats of 3,000ft climb "the Priest" in the Shenandoahs after moving to VA. I was working at UPS and in the best shape of my life. It wasn't easy, but despite arriving in Silverton on Monday of race week I ran well.

In 2008 I spent all of May and June running the flat bike path in Chicago and going to school. I managed the Ice Age 50 and KM 100k, but did no other long runs and no hills other than 2 stairs sessions were I climbed 1500ft. I was READY ! ha! Not!

Much of ultrarunning is confidence and a sense of knowing what you are going to think/decide before you get there. In previous 100 miler attempts (I think this was 27 or 28 for me) I have only dropped in those races where I was unsure if I could make it while standing on the start line. For this years Hardrock, I expected to finish. Not fast, but finish. I hoped for a 38hr run beating the 2nd sun set, but was not up to that task and figured that out on the first 2 climbs.

Anne and I started our quest on Wednesday morning (July 9th) flying from Richmond out to Denver. There around 10Am we picked up the rental car after a 47 minute wait in line (ugh) then began driving west on I-70. Beautiful mountains a=everywhere and we took our time crossing the state. by evening we were both feeling tired, dehydrated and had headaches, so we got a motel in Montrose, Co.

Thursday morning we made the drive south to Silverton passing thru the amazing Ouray and into the heart of the beautiful San Juan Mountians arriving into race headquarters about 30 minutes before check in closed. I had my vitals taken and medical bracelet put on. READY TO ROLL!

Aid Station / Distance/ Time/ Minutes in Aid (#)
KT- 11.5- 3:46 (3)
Chapmans-18.9-6:36 (10)
Telluride- 27.8-10:18(13)
Krogers- 32.8-13:27(6)
Gvernors- 36.0-14:32(6)
Ouray- 43.9-16:35(16)
Engineer- 51.5-21:33(10)
Grouse- 58.4-24:09(31)
Sherman- 71.8-31:04(23)
Pole Creek80.9-35:35(7)
Maggie- 85.2-37:31(9)
Finish- 46:45 (2:35 in aid stations)

My race started out at dawn on friday with 139 other crazies. I ran with a camera and snapped pics as I went trying to always maintain a moderate effort level, never breathing too hard. Which at an average elevation of over 11,000ft is not easy. Headaches came all the first day each time I ascended over 12k, but by the 2nd day were not an issue. The lack of 02 just kept me from running anything with an up slope and kept me climbing slowly. Often I was like those guys you see on TV on Everest....walking a few paces then pausing to breath, repeat.

Hardrock is no joke and the one word description Rob Youngren stated to discribe it is right on the money: DANGEROUS. Why someone has not fallen to their death their I don't know. Right off the bat I was reminded of why I held this race up as special. After crossing a river via rope at mile 2 we began the first climb up into Putnam Basin. I had fallen in with a group of folks who I knew to run around 40+ hr in previous Hardrocks. Fellow VHTRC folks Mike Dobies and Billy Losey began pulling away and 68 and 72 year old superstars Hans Deiter Weisshaar and John DeWalt were behind me. I was okay and moving well. I reached the first aid station after a long long time (3:46) and realized this was going to take just about forever to cover all 100 miles. Much unlike The Amazing 23 year old Kyle Skaggs would go on to run exactly twice as fast as me finishing in 23:23!! this destroys the old course record, and will never be touched by anyone other than Kyle.

On the 2nd big climb I had a good time with 2002 Grand Slam classmate Roger Ackerman cresting the top only to be greated by a real life mountain goat! Faced with the euphoria of summiting this huge climb, seeing the memorial to the late Joel Zucker, greeting the mtn goat, then facing the fear of the rediculous desent down the scree feild was nearly too much for me. Then good buddy Steve Pero comes running up behind me bounding from one sliding landing to the next on the 40% grade descent. I was pretty much overcome in a moment my eyes filled with tears and I had all I could do to remain upright. This is what I came to Hardrock for. This is what I live for.

I got myself together picked up the pace running hard on the downhill toward Chapman Aid station and caught Steve and Super RD Joe Prusaitis. We moved thru a beautiful Aspen groove and then landed in the aid station for some much needed fuel and fluids. Now with the noon sun high in the sky it was hot. damn hot. luckily a few po sickles and refill of my bottles had me moving all be it slowly up the huge climb to Oscars pass. This took forever!!! And I seriously doubted weather I was in over my head. I had already made one big mistake. I did not leave a drop bag at Chapmans as I thought I would make it to 27 mile Telluride quick enough. Not so now I had no Clif shot blocks, and no bottle filled with sugar. I was OUT of energy and fading near the top. Luckily Billy Simpson climbing well on his surgically repair ankle shared a gel with me. I made the summit and began eating some snow as Joe topped out. Luckily the run down the other side was only 4,000 feet and would only take us a couple hours!!!!

For fuel I had set out 5 drop bags that contained clean socks, warm clothes, lights, and equally divided: 12 packs of shot blocks (2400cals, and one 4lbs bag of sugar = 6818cals) I ended up eating all the shot blocks and about 4500 cals of the sugar. Plus stuff off the tables at the aid stations. And yet often I was pretty hungry! My heartrate on the climbs stayed above 150...sometimes literally for hours. It would be awesome to know exactly how much work was actually done, and calories burned. By the way the race is retardedly long. like at least 8-12 miles longer than 100. Gauruntee it.

Once I hooked up with Steve we stayed together into Telluride running well but keeping eachother from going too hard. Steve has had lots of trouble red lining at Hardrock and losing his stomach. But not in 2008! We got into Telluride feeling great and after a big eating stop I began the 4,400ft climb up to Virginia's pass. It would take us 3 hours and 9 minutes to do this 5 miles, but man the glissading snow slides off the mountain were well worth it! With 1/3rd of the race done in less 14 hours we hoped for continued good luck. Another 5,000ft decending brought us into Ouray and the darkness. With the first days running done I still felt pretty good but that was about to change.

In Ouray, Anne met me with warmer clothes, better lights and a milk shake and cup of pasta. After filling up and heading out of there I began what would be multiple hours worth of GI trouble. In many ultras I have gone into preiods of uncrolled diarhea. It could be from being dehydrated (which I am sure I was) or a reaction to salt tablets (S caps previously or NUUN tabs now) that contain sodium bicarbinate= a known GI tract irritant to some, or something else. Whatever it is from. It sucks. 6 pit stops over the next 8 miles (and 5,000ft climb) made me miserable. So much walking and not feeling like taking anything in did not help me feel too peppy.

Steve and Joe moved on ahead and I slowly climbed in the dark. Once I got above 12,000 feet again it was freezing cold walking across snow fields and melting 33 deg water filled marshes. Each stream crossing stung with pain. When things go bad in a race, EVERYTHING seems to go bad. The engineer stations was out. out of food, out of purified water, out. it sucked. I had been looking forward to it for literally hours, then nothing. I continued to fill my water bottle with mtn run off and out of streams so that was not an issue, but I really coulda used some calories, or coke or anything.
After finally begining the descent to Grouse gulch I seemed to be over the diarhea, but man was I moving slow. I really had no energy to run and walked the long downhill road just waiting for sun rise. Scott B and Liz Walker came up behind me as the sunrise allowed us to turn off our lights. 24 hours in and I now faced the biggest mountain of the course: 14,048ft Handies peak.

In Grouse aid station I took my time. unloaded some heavy things from my pack (yaktracks I had not used yet, lights, jackets. But I had to keep warm clothes and rain gear and one hand held light because it was now clear that I would not make it to the 91 mile aid station where I put my 2nd set of lights before dark. ugh.

With the sun up and some scrambled eggs and a tortilla in my gut along with 4 cups of coke I began to climb in the 2nd days sunlight feeling okay. I caught a few folks back who had passed me up and managed to climb strong up into the snow fields. Here I stopped to put on sun screan as the 13,000 sun is rediculously intense. (I didn't get enough on for Friday and am now peeling on my neck and forehead!) Near the summit I hooked up with Paul Gross and his pace Ryan. We would stay together on and off much of the next 20 hours.

Once off the steep downhill I began having stomach trouble. I took a tylenol on the lcimb just prior to summititng thinking the pain releif would allow my quads to handle the big descent. but the uncoated pill on my empty stomach tore up the lining making me nausueous. I spent the next few hours sipping nothing but water hoping against hope it would turn around. Once we reached the dirt road the sun was blazing and I smartly dipped my shirt in some snow melt water and redonned it. Ever so slowly we made it to the aid station 72 miles in 31 hours. Not exactly fast!

I knew here that I would either be able to handle some coke and a bit of food and I'd continue strongly or I'd throw up and it might truly be over. 2 tums and 2 glasses of coke later I was nibbling some cake frosting and walking out of the aid station feeling ready to climb another 4,000ft mtn.

I climbed well and felt strong again taking in pretzles and two shot blocks in an alternating pattern every 15 minutes. Soon I was above the tree line once more and roaming in some of the most "out there" parts of the Hardrock course. Pole Creek loomed. This is an aid station packed in many miles by saintly aid station volunteers. Amazing stuff this race. Once here I once again knew I would finish and began running much more on the flats and small downs despite being above 12,000ft. I had no headache and was doing well catching some folks in front of me. The climbs and grassy hills prior to maggie guch were a challenge and I wondered if I would ever get away from the mud. Soon I was making the big decent to the aid station knowing I only had 15 more miles to go.

I ate pasta, turkey and peanuts at the aid station and walked out all fitred up ready for the steepest climb of the course up Big Boy Ridge. Despite my stomach feeling good I nearly threw up 15 feet out of the aid station. I pitched the remaining turkey in my hand and laughed it off. With Scott and Liz chasing me we made the huge ascent in no time and began our race against the dark. Lights came out on green mtn and our search for course markers became hugely frustrating. I lost those two and really could not see any markers with my 2002 LED light. It simply didn't throw light far enough. so I waited for those behind me to catch up. It was Paul and Ryan and together we found our way over around and finally down to the last aid station.

Anne had gotten a ride to the aid station and was happy to great me just before midnight. a strong 21 minutes here putting on warmer clothes, getting a 2nd light and taking care of some chafing issues was all I needed to get the energy up for the final 3,000 ft climb. I was a tiny bit worried about the final cut off but Paul assured me we had it in the bag as he had done 46:15 in 2006 and we were on that pace now. I relaxed some once we crested the final pitch and began walking the steep and rocky final mountain. My left ankle had some severe tendonitis in it now from rubbing on my trusty Asic gel 2120's I had had on the last 40 hours. Running felt awful an dI knew I didn't need to so I walked it on down down down. 4 miles on a crappy jeep road with fist sized stones beat me up before the final muddy stream crossing trail into town.

I hooked up with Richard and we managed to negotiate our way into town despite no course markings. I guess I had had enough as this really pissed me off. I didn't even muster a run to the official Hardrock marking the finish line. merely walked up and kissed the damn thing. Pissy as I was. Soon I was inside sipping a smoothie (thanks Andrea!!) and feeling much better.

I went to the hotel for a shower and a 90minute nap and was incredibly rejuvinated afterwords. At the awards ceremony I was as happy as I ever remember being. What a run. nearly 47 hours of movement. WOW.

See you in 10 years Silverton....maybe!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hardrock Looms

An easy at home in VA:

Keys were a 10 miler with a mile- 6:36, 800- 3:06, 400-77 at the end for fun
a couple of hilly 8 mile runs
and three 2-4 hour total body work sessions clearing the back lot (raking, bending, cutting,ect)

At least once each day and for all of my runs this week I wet my feet (shoes/socks) with the hose and then worked / ran. I even re-wet by stopping by the river to step in it. The results have been great. I no longer am even bothered by getting my feet wet and the skin on my feet is in great shape.

I feel pretty fit going in to the race although am a bit heavy (for me) and will be starting the run with a 34 day span since my last LONG run (63 miles at Kettle Moraine) It would have been better to get in one more 20 days out, but studies at Northwestern got in the way of that.

I did managed to run down 17 flights of stairs daily during that month however and the great year of long runs to date I think will leave me more than ready.

The big question will be how I am able to handle the altitude as I am not landing in Colorado until 44 hours before the race starts. When I ran Hardrock in 2000 I arrived 5 days prior, and when I did Leadville I arrived 16 hours prior to those races. In both runs I had headaches when I was over 12,500ft. Leadville I got incredible dehydrated and lost 6lbs by 60 miles (from 130lbs). It was pretty miserable. In the hardrock race I had to walk EVERY uphill grade slope and was unable to eat and move at the same time. It is hard to suck air and chew/swallow at the same time. But, it did force me to take the time to sit & relax in the aid all I wanted, then leave. Many aid stations I had to walk for a while out of as I was too full to run. I spent 2 hours and 18 minutes in aid stations during the entire 102 miles.

This year I plan to bring straight out of the bag sugar along in my pack to add to my water bottle along the route in order to keep calories flowing in and reduce the amount of REAL food I have to try and take in. mmmmmmmmmmmmm sugar! This is something that worked very well for me at CCC 100, RR 100, and AT 100, that I kind of forgot about.