Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Burning River 100

After 8 weeks recovery from the OD 100 I laced up the Asics 2140's for another 100 attempt. My mileage the last 8 weeks was between 0 and 47 miles per week with my long run being a few 10 milers and one 12 miler with Anne on the C&O towpath.

So how long does good training stay in your legs?? hmmm. Since the Build up for the MMT 100 I have done no speed, no hills, and no runs over 12 miles other than the 65 miles at MMT May 18th and the 100 at OD the first week of June. That is probably pushing it. I guess it was enough though, as the BR 100 I ran august 1st ended up being one of my best 100 runs ever!

I had zero stomach issues and nothing but smiles and good times for 94 miles. The last 7 (it was 101 miles) sucked a bit. I was ready to be done and very tired, but hey that is a LONG way. I ended up running 22:33 on what I would consider a pretty tough course. Harder than RR, UM, VT, AT and about the same as OD but slower due to the muddy footing and more trail miles.

BR 100 has it all, and reminded me of MANY of my favorite races. Such as:

1- the amazingly cool tour thru rock formations in the "ledges" section (mile 70-ish) was like Laurel highlands

2- the miles of curvy, rolling hills, and real nice single track was like BRR 50

3- The amazing big grassy hill at 75 was like those around the KT aid station at hardrock...just without the altitude

4- the farm houses and horse farms and quaint towns and crappy footing through a farm field reminded me of the VT 100.

All in all it was a first class race from the pre-race dinner and brief to the course, course marking, aid stations, volunteers, and RD. Two thumbs up!!!!

Back to old school

Okay so I took 2 months off from the blog. A couple of good runs in there since MMT.

3 weeks after the MMT disappointment I went back to the Shenandoah's for some redemption at the original Old Dominion 100. Wow what a race. lots of dirt roads in the beautiful valley, just enough hilly rocky trails to make you feel it, but not too much to make you hate life. and presto! a nice 5th place finish in 21:20

This was a return to old school running for me.......

1. Drove out the Day before after working a full day
2. Missed pre-run dinner and briefing- ate subway for dinner
3. slept in my car
4- Had no crew
5-Had no pacer
6- did not put out any drop bags
7- carried 3000cals worth of gels,blocks,sharkies with me
8-carried 2 battles and used my Nathan vest
9-nibbled off all the aid tables, but not too much
10-had mild stomach trouble in the heat of the day- backed off the pace and pushed hard again when it passed.
11- bonked a bit after crushing the big hill (miles 75-83- in 2nd best split)
12- finished my 17th 100 in one of my best times.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

MMT 2009

First off major props to Karl and Amy for some amazing runs at MMT! Karl proving yet again when it comes to 100's he is the man. As for me what can I say:

2003, 2006, 2009 = MMT 100 DNF!

Yikes 3 strikes and I am out! I shoulda stopped in 2002 after my 3rd finish in 3 years at this tough race. Despite training mainly on roads and bike paths the last several months I wanted to run well at my VHTRC's premiere event. I gave it a good go, but the course (and weather) ate me for lunch so to speak.

Super Pacer and crew Bryon Powell had it right when he said "know thyself". For me in the 2000-2002 years I was a rock-hopping trail runner. I went hiking a lot and when given the chance I always chose a long slow trail run on death rocks over a quick road jaunt. "we are what we repeatedly do"....... In those days the trails of MMT were not that bad. They were what I ran on all the time. These days all my running is on roads, bike paths, and the C&O canal towpath....not the proper place to develop the muscles and specific strength needed for Masanutten. By 30 miles on Saturday I figured that out. Dead quads, shaking gluts and cramping calves were my undoing. And full disclosure the idea of walking all night in the cold pouring rain was something I could no longer stomach. I have walked in my far share of 100's (including the 2000 MMT 100 (injured - 15 hrs for last 35miles), and most recently my 46:45 Hardrock... but I am not a fan.

Since the first 24 miles of MMT is almost an even split of road and trail my legs felt pretty darn good. I started conservatively running thru the first crew access point (8.7 miles) feeling happy with 90 minutes of smooth running in the books. I was taking in 200 + cals and plenty of water each hour. (powergel, clif shot blocks, and sharkies)

Climbing up Habron gap my lack of "climber" legs really was showing and despite continuing to move up through the field and passing folks I just couldn't get over how bad my legs felt on all the climbs. The flats and descent were great and I was moving well there. As the day wore on and I rolled into Camp roos it really started to get hot. Leaving Camp Roos at noon and climbing into a burned out section of the forest (canopy-less) was a bit much and my stomach stopped draining. Energy and salt intake slacked and the pace slowed. By the time I had gotten along the ridge line that is Kerns mtn I had to stop and sit a few times just to have the strength to keep moving.

Then I hit the road and wa able to run sub 8:00 miles down to the visitor center. Once there the heavens opened up and huge rain and thunder soaked us all. Climbing up bird knob my calves and hamstrings were cramping and I began tossing down the salt tabs in an effort to get some balance back with my electrolytes. I passed the 52 miles point in 10:43 and had to sit on a rock for 6 minutes to let everything settle enough to continue. Good buddy Joe Clapper came upon me and together we made our way down to 211east.

A shoe and shirt change there did wonders for my comfort level but within 10 minutes the second huge down poor was upon me and my spirits hit the lowest low yet. These things are supposed to be fun! This is not! I struggled on and again ran okay on the downhill and road section heading into gap 2. There I let my crew know I wanted to drop but was convinced to "go one more" and made it to the next aid station with Bryon pacing me. I still felt like I had given all I wanted to give on this day and took off my number at the 15 hour mark. :-(

I have been at this game for a long time now and have many 100 dnf's to my name (16/28 finish rate) but honestly this one hurts the least 2 days post run. (mentally....physically I am sore as hell and could barely do my job today)

BUT! my app for the OD 100 goes in tomorrow. dirt road racing here I come!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tapering Down, & A Look at the MMT Field

Last week was a strong one with 61 miles and a few solid runs. I continued my pattern of bigger runs followed by days off. What can I say I am an obsessed person who is lazy.....seriously contradictory I know. A few key runs lately:

26 miles- 4:22- trail
10 mile trail loop course record with 5:41 uphill mile on dirt
11 miles- asphalt bike path with a 5:28 mile with commuter pack on
12 miles on dirt in BIG rain through mud in 1:25 feeling good

Starting to really rest now. I want to be sharp next Saturday........ lots of competition in this years race. It will be hard to tune in to me and turn out all the others.

a short list of some top contenders:
Former Champs: Karl Meltzer, Todd Walker
Former Runner ups: Keith Knipling, Joe Clapper, Myself

Super stars:
Bradley Mongold - my pick to win- faster at 50k than all in the field and strong enough to run 4 back to back to back to back 75 mile days....report here....he also hunts Kodiak bears with a bow n arrow.

Glen Redpath - finished top 3 in 6 races already THIS year! maybe raced out?
Joe Kulak - GS and last great race fastest ever...can never count out
Adam Casseday - super strong in 2008
Mike Mason- Wasatch cheetah buckler

Lesser known folks who will factor up front:
Jeremy Ramsey- 2008 Hellgate 100k champ and Horton Tough Guy
Ryan Henry- puts in 107 mile training weekends, finished the 142 mile DOUBLE MMT ring
Mario Raymond- Top 10 guy previously
Nathan Echols- always runs well
Chris Reed- ready
Steve Burton- Super tough guy with good speed
CJ Blagg- Top ten man with Georgetown track speed
Gary Harrington- NH mtn runner/hiker stud

Over 50 studs who will run faster than 25hrs:
Jeff Wilbur
Joe Clapper
Mike Broderick
Tom Corris
Marlin Yoder

Womens Race:
Amy Amy Amy!!!! Girl is amazing.. Amy Sproston - runs 22-23 hours this year

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Day Well Spent

I took a day of vacation today! In 2009 I have worked everyday. No holidays off, no inauguration day off, no snow/ice days-when no patients showed up anyway-and 80% of the staff "couldn't make it in", no nothing off. But today was a great play day! I pretended I was a pro athlete. I awoke leisurely, walked my dog, ate a healthy breakfast, watched some TV, got around my gear, then headed out for a 26 miler on the trails. Upon finishing I got a nice sandwich, a big gulp soda from 7/11, had a shower, took a nap, and now am blogging. What a great life this would be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This run was my last big training effort for the MMT 100, which is now a mere 18 days away. I got in some rock hopping along the potomac heritage trail. I ran in the heat and humidity (and horrible pollen) and then got on the C&O tow path for some miles with nothing in the tank. During the entire 4:22 of running I only ingested one 200cal sleeve of clifshot blocks. Hungry "bonk" runs are great for training the old body (I did turn 35 on Sunday) how to mobilize and burn fat. I am getting very efficient as I was not really suffering that badly and was able to run 8:45 pace the last 14 miles despite taking 60sec walk breaks every mile.

I am excited, and let visions of rocking the night section of MMT play in my head the last few miles today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hills, Heat, Humidity, Horrible Pollen = MMT

The 4 H's were in effect this weekend. Wow!

This weekend I went out and got in some good MMT training and actually did a hill repeat workout for the first time in a long while. I managed to run 12 x 2-4 minute long hills here in Arlington. It ended up being over an hour of constant up then down then up then down running on a concrete sidewalk. Not rock hopping for sure but actually physiologically really good. Not to mention that it was 85+ degrees.

The whole workout had me thinking back to 2001 when I would routinely run the 1.4 mile blacktop loop on O-hill on the UVA grounds. My best workout ever was a 10x loop workout done in April the week of BRR 50 and the Monday that the Barkley was finishing up. Read below for a flashback...............to April 2001.............


With the continued Barkley updates a fever began to bubble inside me and I knew there was only one thing I could do to stop the trembling and that was to go for a run. After spending 2 miserable hours on Sunday jumping streams and freezing in cold rain I cut my run short and
felt like a punk. Good thing I did not go down to Barkley, I am not ready for that.... So as redemption or Self punishment, or maybe as a way of proving me to myself? I planned a killer workout for a Monday evening run.
I headed onto campus and settled in to a nice warm up 2 miles to the base of Observatory hill. This is no "big hell" but it is an impressive climb with a nice downhill. In total a 1.4 mile blacktop loop. I started my watch and sprinted off climbing strong, trying not to over run early as the climb takes 6:00 and gets me to my max HR before I begin the 4min. downhill to complete the loop.

I crested my first hill in 5:38 a new PR... wow, I am fit, but way to excited..."get control Loomis".. I say to myself and begin the eccentric quad busting downhill part of the loop. I reach the bottom completing loop number one in 9:31. The fastest I have ever run. I continue on with out stopping, attacking hill number 2 with my thoughts on David Horton and Blake Wood approaching the finish in TN as I run. Wow, what great runners! 58 hours of continuous movement on THAT terrain. Unbelievable. I crest the hill in 5:44 and continue around, loop 2 done in 9:37, Loop three goes well and I am amazed at my consistency: 9:40. On loop four I begin to feel the effects of the lactate build up and my stride shortens. It is a huge effort to maintain this pace. But press on I do. I study the cars parked along the road, watch a mountain biker fly by on a trail
next to my road loop.

I begin to blank out, to turn off the pain, to move without effort. Detachment they call it. "The Zone".. feels like floating. Loop 4 done in 9:36, loop 5 in 9:35, on loop 6 I am no longer a human being running. I am a machine. My legs and arms propel and pump without my telling them
too. My mind is in ultra-tolerate mode. The pain will end soon, just continue, I tell it. The noise from my panting breath is almost a surprise and every now and then I come back to grips with how hard I am actually running. Wow, this is a great workout! Wait, what David and
Blake are doing is great, this... this is kiddie stuff. I run harder.

Loop 6 done in 9:34, I tell myself you can quit now, you have never done a workout this good before, anything more will cross the line between training you will recover from and overdoing. I continue on without a hitch; loop 7 in 9:33. I feel a blister forming on the downhill from all the continuous sliding forward with each pounding footplant. Bad socks. I block this out too and think about the chafe I am experiencing. Huge white salt line mounds are now forming on my
shoulders, and my face feels gritty. I can taste the salt on my lips.

I am over an hour in to the workout now and feel a bit hungry. My throat is soooooooooooooo dry: my tongue a cotton wad. Loop 8 passes and I reach that point where David has talked about where you KNOW you WILL finish, just not sure how long it will take....the way he felt in
'98 barkley before getting lost... I think of them now, they must be close to touching the gate.
I begin Loop 9 and feel my bad calf getting tighter and tighter on the steep climb, my hamstrings no longer allow me to stride out at all. I must continue though.... I am so close. The 9th down hill hurts worse than the up as my quads are shredding apart. One more, I think, as I look at the 9:38 split.

Charging into the last loop I sight a mountain biker ahead. She is on my hill! on my ROAD! I become possessive and really sprint off after her. I have passed the half marathon split in 1:28..not bad since it has 3,000 or so feet of climb. Somehow I find it in me to go just a
bit faster and 10 feet from the top I catch and pass her. A small victory sure, but hey life is all about SMALL victories. It is all down hill from here now and I pound on down for the last time. Loop #10 complete in 9:23............... my fastest ever.

14 miles of hill repeats.. I am done.

During the cool down jog home I have to stop and walk. I am wrecked. Hmmm have they finished yet??? I can't wait any longer and as soon as I get home I call Steve's cell phone and actually get him there at Frozen head. They just finished! he says. Wow, I am close to tears as
David says "It was hard..Real hard" when I congratulate him. Why do we do the things we do????
Does Pain=peace, does stressing oneself to your limit allow you to "find yourself"? Are we really more HUMAN when reduced to a weak, shaking, staggering and starving heap?????

I contemplate all this as I lay on the floor trying for 4 full minutes to take off my shoes. I have no idea. I Just know that on days like this I am happy to be alive and I to understand what
that truly means. I think the realization of what we are actually capable of is all that really matters.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bull Run Run #5

Sun- 10.5 miles- route record 1:25- one strong mile= 5:51
Mon- 10.5 miles- easy
Tues- off
Wed- 7 miles easy on treadmill
Thurs 4 miles AM, 11 miles PM, 4 mile walk evening
Fri- off
Sat- 50 miles- 7:34 (8th/314 @ BRR 50)

While I have done a lot of races over the years the only race I have ever completed five times is the VHTRC's signature event the Bull Run run 50 mile. And this happened yesterday underneath a beautiful blue sky with temps climbing all the way to 80. This course is beautiful, close in, superiorly well managed and is the absolute perfect fit for my skills as a trail runner with road runner speed tendencies.

This was to be a biggy race for me in my build up to the MMT 100. However, I did not want to taper as I still need some big mile weeks heading into MMT. I also wanted to take some self induced pressure off by going into the event a bit tired. Then if for some reason I did not run well...its because I was tired and not because I suck:-) ....So with a strong week under my belt I toed the line with 300+ others Sat. morning feeling pretty good but not super peppy.

As always the first 5 minute loop at BRR is really fast as all the guns take off to sort themselves out before the single track trail narrows the field down. I tried to get out strong without breathing heavy and managed to hit the trail around 17th or so. I quickly settled in and began to do some walking on some of the early steep climbs while those around me continued to press. Soon a few more folks passed me including first women Amy Sproston and VHTRC legend Derrick Carr. Derrick is a great guy and super consistent runner and when he sarcastically asked "is this a 50k?" I knew the two of us were on the same wavelength. I settled in with him and we would run together for the next 3 hours.

Compared to the runners around me I tend to run at a faster pace, but stop to walk for longer breaks and more frequently. This was true with Derrick and superstar senior Mike Campbell (who managed to run an insane 8:06 at age 59!) We all leap frogged back and forth as I took my walk breaks, had two off trail pit stops, but then would bomb all the downhills at 6:00 min pace in an effort to beat up my quads and would catch back up.

The miles rolled by and after falling to as low as 23rd place we began to work our way up through the field. After the first 16.6 miles of out and back we arrived at the start/ finish aid station at 2:24. Memory of last years too fast early start and sketchy math told me this was likely a really good pace. I felt very comfortable and my stomach (despite the pit stops) was feeling fine. I was eating shot blocks and sharkies every 20-40 minutes and drinking just water with salt tabs on the hour. All was going well and we rolled thru the next ten miles at 9:00 mile pace despite the challenging terrain of rolling hills.

My brand new Asics 2130 trail shoes felt fine, but needed a tightening up of the laces around 20 miles as I felt like my toes were sliding forward in the shoes too much. This did the trick and I had no foot issues the rest of the day.

After reaching the amazingly decorated wolf-run aid station (26.1 miles-3:49) I knew I was going to be able to have a sub-8hr run if I could stay smart and not fall apart. Temps were hot and I began drinking a cup of something at each aid station in addition to filling my bottle. Leaving this aid station I really felt great and began to press a bit more as we continued to pass some runners who were now beginning to fade in the heat and from the overly quick early pace. Around 28 miles I left Mike and Derrick for good and began to chase after Amy and good buddy Keith Knipling.

Approaching the infamous do loop I felt strong but hot. The super folks at the aid station told me I was mere 10-15 minutes behind and this news further fueled my fire to "chase em all down". I had reached the start of the do loop under the 5 hour mark and continued to think that something in the 7:30-8:00 range was definitely possible. The do loop is ugly though and all the leaves and poorly laid out trails are confusing and frustrating. Being toward the front of the field this year no trodden path thru the leaves was evident making the route finding more difficult. I could not wait to leave the loop knowing I only had a short bit with better footing yet to go.

Once back at the aid station having see no one in the loop I was excited to hear I at least made up time on those in front, but a bit bummed to learn I still had nearly 15 miles to go. It had to be less than that!?! I shoved off feeling strong and running with purpose. some of the next miles clicked off at 8:30 pace. At Fountainhead I learned I was now only 2 minutes back and was encouraged by the "you look great" comments. I continued to press and hoped that by wolf run I would catch someone in front of me. No luck.... but once there the volunteers told me that someone just left. So as fast as I could I again gave strong chase having now covered 40 miles in 5:59.

5 minutes later I began to see folks in front of me. I got one, then another, then a third. Then after passing super photographer Aaron S and crossing yet another stream I finally caught Keith. We chatted a bit and I pressed on with his knowledge that Amy was "just ahead". Two minutes later I caught a glimpse of her. She was brightly dressed in pink as part of the WUS-pink mafia team. Two more minutes and we were running together.

Having really red-lined a bit the last 4-5 miles I had to tone it down and settled in with Amy thinking that I would recoup for a while then continue to press on for more places but the pace she was setting was damn fast! She was destroying the BRR course and in its 17 year history no other women besides the legend Anne Lundblad would run the course as fast as Amy.

We stayed together for the next few miles with me again walking more of the ups-- falling behind--- only to pound quickly the downs and catch back up. The heat of the day was beginning to really suck and I kept getting twinges of cramps in my calves and anterior tibialis's. I swallowed my last salt tab, ate my last shot block, and hoped for the best. At the last aid station (6:40) we had 5. something miles to go and I knew we could break 7:40. Rough and slow footing trail remained along the river but Amy's desire to set a PR on this course was strong and together we toughed it out finally reaching the last big climb. A strong hike to the top and run on in brought us home in 8th place overall in 7:34. A mere 2 minutes of the CR for her and just 11 minutes off my best on the course from 2001.

At the finish I had no appetite, felt ridiculously hot and thirsty, and had my pec muscle cramp as I gave a celebratory fist pump. Ugh! What a day! All in all I could not ask for a better tune up race and feel pretty confident now heading in to MMT. In 2001 and 2002 I managed top 8 finishes at BRR and followed these with top 5 finishes at MMT. These days MMT is more competitive but I do think a sub 24hr race there is within reach.

Now the question of what to do next weekend for my last big beat down training effort remains.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pounding it out for 40

Well after a poor week with tons of work on the house but only two run days (15 miles each day) I got myself out on the Potomac heritage trail and the C& O canal for a strong 40 miler in 6:25. The last 28 miles were all under 9:00 miles. I did a 60sec walk break at each mile marker but managed to run steady 8:50's pace. That was very encouraging. During the 40 miles I took in 1100 calories and never felt hungry or bonky at all. A good sign of efficiency.

I did get in a strong 15 miler cut down run with the last 7 miles in 7:50, 7:40, 7:30, 7:12, 7:02 6:52, 6:39. Problem with the fast stuff is it kills my calves for two days following.

Hoping for a consistent week this coming week with a biggy on Saturday the 18th. Bull Run Run 50. Goal is a sub 8:00 finish, and a strong showing by my Wahooligans team.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

National Marathon

Okay this post is week late but I've been busy...

Last weekend Anne and I toed the line in front of the Wash DC Armory for the National Marathon. We would tour parts of DC I had never been to and enjoy beautiful clear skies and little wind all morning with 34-45 deg temps. The result? A whopping 9 minute PR for Anne and nearly equal 1/2 splits. SUPER!

We began a marathon build up in January switching Anne from 3 days a week of running to 4 and jumped right in with a 13 miler January 1st. Most of last falls Richmond marathon base was still in her legs so we built quickly with long runs coming every 2 weeks. Runs of 15, 18, 20 , 20, and 22 followed with each consisting of a 30sec walk break at each mile marker with an average pace per mile around 10:00. For race day after reading Galloway's suggestion of a 60 sec walk break I decided to compromise and do 45 second breaks on race day. No pre -determined mile pace was set up and we just ran home she felt. This resulted in us running in the 9:30's with the 45s walk break included. The miles ticked by and her freshness remained. She hit a gel at miles 5, 9, 13, 17, and 20 which allowed her to keep from bonking out. Reaching the half around 2:05 gave me confidence that the sub 4:21 and 4:15 goals were a definite possibility and maybe even 4:10. With a couple pit stops and some tough hill miles in the 2nd half we ended up running a slightly positive split but managed to run the last 10k in under 60min and the last 2 miles at sub 9:25 pace.

Officially we finished strong in 4:12:04 which was fast enough to make my own legs hurt.

The house projects have really geared up and my "one focus at a time-obsessive personality" let those take priority over my running. So I only logged 49 miles last week and a mere 35 this week. :-(

For some reason I always fall in to a 3-4 run days a week pattern and end up averaging like 12 miles per run. Not sure why. I did manage a 4 mile AM ---busy work day--- then 16 miler PM run home on Friday which really wiped me out.

Now with March nearly over it is time to get in shape! Higher mileage, more frequent runs, hill work, and some speedier days to come I swear! Next race Bull Run 50 April 18th.

at least the house is looking better :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elizabeth Furnace 50k

Sunday-off- Painting
Monday- 4 miles
Tuesday- off- painting
Wednesday- 12 mile tempo- 1:26 miles 8-11 in 19:17
Thursday- 2 miles (blah speed KILLS!)
Friday- 4 miles
Saturday- 31miles- 6:32

This week the long run beat downs continued with some specific hilly-rocky- crazy running on the Massanutten mtn trails themselves at the EFA 50k. Unlike last weekend the day stated off cool and cloudy with temps in the 30's and the forecast for rain. Luckily it held off for 5 and a half hours and then only drizzled. Not until the last 10 minutes of the run did I really feel like I was getting wet.

The goal all spring has been to continue to get stronger and keep in touch with the ugly footing of trails without getting too sore, tired, or injured. So far I have managed that, but I have had to back off the mileage during the week. This week was true to that form plus the daylight savings time switch was of no help. I hate getting up in the AM at 4:50 to make it off on my morning 4 mile run commute into work...and when my body feels like it is really 3:50......it just did not happen Monday-Thursday.

Yesterday on the run my hamstrings felt last weekends 50k, but the quads were strong and felt fresh. I think they are finally over the Reverse Ring run of 3 weeks ago. Once Mike Bur had said the "go!" command I went to the front with Sean Andrish, Brian Schmidt and Will Weidman running the orange blaze trail from signal knob parking strongly. Soon I was by myself with Sean, Brian and Will off the front and the rest of the pack stretching out behind. I settled in and soon found myself running with CJ Blagg and Joe Clapper. We would end up staying together most all of the day. All of us are prepping for another go at MMT 100 with dream goals of cracking the 24hr barrier there. Conversation was great and the pace just right. I still fall behind while walking the climbs but am gaining fitness and have no trouble on the flats or downs and am beginning to be able to run some of the ups.

To stay with these guys I had too after a pit stop and missing a turn 23 miles in. I needed to catch up to them climbing up Sherman gap. ugh! Hills are tough! After making our way up Sherman, sure-footing the ridge line and beginning the fun descent we had John and Jack come up and sprint on by with 2 miles to go. None of us felt like giving chase so we didn't and ended up placing 4,5, and 6th in 6:32. Last time I ran this course it took me 8:30! Nice run.

The next phase of training will focus on contueing to gain some speed and fitness. I need to increase the weekly mileage back to the 70 mpw range and really need to make sure I start doing hill repeats at least once weekly. To break 24hrs at MMT you have to run some of the climbs. Plain and simple.

Next weekend Anne and I will be touring the street of DC in the National Marathon

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seneca-Greenway Trail 50k

What a beautiful DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a 5 inch snowfall and 16 degree temps Monday and Tuesday, this weekend ends with a 73 degree sunny day of play on great trails in Maryland.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday- off feel crappy and tired
Wednesday- 4 miles am, 11 miles pm
Thursday- off- legs feel day, have head cold- enjoyed the rest by painting in house
Friday- 4 miles AM, 4 miles PM
Saturday- 50k (17th-5:19) ++miles???? seemed a bit long

55 miles for the week on 3 days- 5 runs

After much debate yesterday and even 15 more minutes this morning when my alarm went off at 5am I decided to take advantage of the super weather and head a few miles north to run Ed Schultz's Seneca Greenway trail marathon and 50k. With temps in the high 50's when I woke I knew it was going to be a warm one. After a bus ride from the finish to the start and good conversation with some fellow runners I began my race at 8am running with VHTRC friend Stuart Kern. We settled in to a pretty strong run allowing us to still be able to chat, but at a fast enough pace to gap some of the 200+ other starters (marathon and 50k start together). The minutes rolled by with my legs feeling pretty good. I stopped to walk on a decent rolling hill and then stopped for a pee break only to see my friend Alyssa Godesky striding up from behind. Having only been passed by two other women I figured Alyssa (who is fresh of 3rd placings at JFK 50 and Holiday lake 50k) should be a favorite for the win. I settled in to a steady run with her and realized that the first hour had now passed and the 9:00 miles we were running felt great. This was just what I needed...fast enough to let me keep my own selected stride, but slow enough to keep from crushing my already tired legs. Today was to be all about enjoying the great course, good company, and fabulous weather.

The marathoners and 50kers split up at a lake.....we would go right and make a counterclockwise loop around the lake, while the marathoners would skip the lake trail and continue on to the left. The aid station personnel were superb all day and the folks here told us we had already completed 15 miles (2:15) and that Alyssa was in 2nd place for the 50k women. The first place girl was in sight just ahead and we would stride off confidently in pursuit. I tried to keep the fluids and salt going in as the temps were now easily in the high 60's. A far cry from the weather we have had recently. As the 3 hour mark rolled by we had closed on the lead gal and managed to get 19 miles in. My legs felt great and I enjoyed each and every downhill. The climbs still are kicking my butt, but I felt more and more comfortable as the day rolled on.

As we began to catch many marathoners a bit of weaving around was in order and soon enough one of the folks we went on by was the women's leader of the 50k. Alyssa held tough and the hilliest stretch of the course was upon us. The occasional cool breezes we had felt earlier in the day were long gone but the 2nd to last aid station seemed to be forever away. Finally at the 4:17 point we arrived at the chocolate lovers aid station. No one was really sure how far the finish was from here (~7 miles) but I hoped it was short. At least the trail was generally downhill to the last aid station. One last big hill and we were almost there. Before I knew it I could see the long line of cars at the finish and our day was done. Alyssa won and we were 16 + 17 overall.

A hot pulled pork sandwich was our reward for a long day. mmmm mmmm

Thanks to Ed and all the volunteers for a great day and a great race! Next up... the EFA 50k

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 8

37 miles - on 3 runs

Sunday- Wednesday- off... quads SORE, legs dead
Thursday- 11 miles PM- wow, quads still SORE!
Friday- 4 miles
Saturday- 22 miles with Anne in her last prep run for the National Marathon

A recovery week, with legs feeling okay early on until I ran on them Thursday. Wow that hurt. I had to stop and walk frequently. I did manage to make it through the long run Saturday touring the mt Vernon trail with Anne.

I hope to get the mileage back up for Week 9.

Miles January- 273, February- 263

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Reverse Ring 71 Miler

A sound week resting up for Saturday

Sunday- off
Monday 4 miles AM, 11 Miles PM (strong pace)
Tuesday- 11 miles
Wednesday- off (feeling sickish- 1/2 of co-workers out sick)
Thursday- 4 miles
Friday- off
Saturday- 71 miles on MMT ring 19:23- 2nd place

Saturday started out with a 4am wake up and 2 hour drive out to the mountains (I took wrong turn and did an extra bit. doah!) But, I arrived with plenty of time to get my backpack ready and mingle with the other 20 starters. Start time of 7:07am allowed for full light and a perfect stillness made the 17 degree temp feel comfortable. We began slowly with Keith Knipling taking off the front at a good clip while the rest of us chatted it up making our way up the first rocky climb. This days run would have some of the worst footing in all of ultrarunning. These are the Massanutten mountains....the rocks are everywhere!

I settled in and decided to focus on me and run it as the training effort it needed to be and soon found myself chatting with Mike Bailey and then Joe Clapper and Tom Corris. My camelback hose froze up once we had made it over signal knob and descended into the valley where it was noticably colder. I tucked it inside my shirt and soon enough it had unfroze. With a mild effort I began to feel the aches and strains the rough footing and trails give you. Since I run exclusively on roads (bikepaths) these days and hit the trails every other weekend on average I am not as strong in the lateral muscles as I should be. Both plantar fascias got tweaked, both achilles were sore pre-run, of course I rolled both ankles...generally I began to wonder why it was I wanted to run the MMT 100 again at all. Then I looked around and found the peace the mountains of fort valley give me and I settled in to a better less tense gait pattern and started feeling good. As I rolled through the Powell's mountain section having taken aid for the first time at 14 miles (woodstock tower road) I was sitting in 6th place and the competitor in me began to rise a bit. Why am I so far back? How can I be moderately pushing and be behind these guys? My head still thinks I am in the 2001 era body and that all those in front of me should not be there.

Soon enough the tough course began to take its toll. Some folks were dropped off the pace, some dropped out with minor injuries or stopped due to the pure realization that 71 miles on these trails would in NO WAY be fun. By whatever reason, when I starting the climb up short mountain I felt great and had now moved into 3rd. I chased Mike this entire section running a 1:49 split which is as good as I can remember ever doing that section. It is actually about what I was able to do in the 2001 MMT 100 (all be it the opposite direction). I saw Mike leave the aid station at moreland gap as I pulled into it just a bit ahead of my projected pre-race pace. I had covered about 31 miles in less than 7 hours and really felt good. Better actually than I did just 2-3 hours ito the run.

I fueled up with a "whoopie pie"- some kind of frosting filled cookie that really hit the spot- one that I had never seen before, but will look for in the future. I downed some mtn dew, ate a few chips, grabbed my headlamp (just in case) and continued on as I had been all day. I was drinking water from my camelback and nibbling on skittles and sharkies. I have figured out that I run best with little in my stomach but need to do a constant infusion. The day was going well with partly cloudy skies and temps now around 40. Ascending Jawbone gap I pushed strongly, then eased off on the section of MMT I hate the most. Kerns mtn. Talk about sucky footing! You can never find a rhythm on that trail. I can't wait for this year version of MMT as we will at least get to run on crisman hollow road for a few miles following this dreadful section. Not in the RING though. We simply crossed the road and headed down the degraded and super steep trail section known as waterfall mtn. It drops 1500 feet in a mile and has no switchbacks. Sucks on the knees. Man did they feel it. About a mile out from the aid station at crisman hollow road (hiked in by Michele Harmon- thanks!) I came up on Mike who was now walking and said he had slipped on a log and tweaked his back. I tried a little Physical therapy on him on the trail but did not seem to make him feel any better. So he continued walking on out and would then walk the road back to camp roosevelt to drop out.

At Crisman hollow road aid station I gladly partook of a PB & J sandwich while early starter Gary Knipling also fueled up. Having started at 3:13 AM with superstar 75 year old Ed Demoney. Gary had made it 37 miles of his planned 46 mile day. I left the aid station with him and enjoyed Gary's conversation as we ran together for 5 minutes. What a great guy and fellow grand Slam finisher. Chugging down waterfall the reality of how far I had to go was sinking in and I had some oh gosh thoughts. I attempted the MMT reverse ring before in 2006 only to drop at 46 miles and then went on to the MMT 100 and dropped there at 76 miles. So finishing today had special meaning even if any real training benefit had probably already been surpassed by the 10 hours I had been out running.

Climbing up the mountain away from one of the many stream crossings I got really inspired and started pushing hard. Once I crested the top I really let it go and was ripping down the poorly kept trail catching briers and downed branches all the way. I easily was running some sub 8:00 mile pace miles and put out for over a solid hour an effort that I use only once a week on my commute run home. The 11 mile trek on these days takes around 1:20 so I knew I was probably over-doing but it felt great to be able to press this hard on technical trail 10 hours into an event. This feeling of total control with each foot plant and being able to press as hard as I want in an ultra has really been absent for 5-6 years. Amazing what actually training will do for you huh? Miles 39-46 were some of the best I have run in a long long time.

With this good effort I managed to arrive at Camp roosevelt aid station before sunset. I just happed to do it 1:50 behind Keith Knipling! I was still well ahead of the existing reverse ring course record pace and had hopes of running something around 17 hours. As I ate some chicken noodle soup (really drank the broth, more mtn dew, and ate part of another whoopie pie) My stomach did not feel great so I declined the turkey and cheese wraps they had to offer. I filled my camelback bladder and got my lights out as the darkness was now full on. With a heavy backpack and the odd twilight time lighting it was hard moving well leaving mile 46 and I ended up walking the entire climb up to Kennedy peak taking about an hour to do so. So much for trying to break 17 hours.

Thus began the long long stretch on the eastern ridge line alone with my ipod tunes and one of the best canopies of stars I have ever seen. I decided to back it off completely and shuffle run only when it was safe. Deep piles of leaves covered the deadly rocks in many places and the trail seemed to go on forever. Occasional trail intersections with Habron gap and the Indian grave trail gave some break up to the monotony but to be honest it was a pretty miserable walk. I was very hungry and kept taking gels and eating skittles but never felt like I had enough. My hormone pulses told my my bed time had come and gone, but still I was on the ridge line. Every now and then I was smacked around by huge gusts of wind, but at least it was not that cold. Perhaps in the high 20's.

At 16:05 into the event I finally made the turn to head off the ridge and descend toward veach gap! Man o man did that feel good. I started running again and was super excited to see the tent (which contained bags of food and drink) left at the trail intersection in the valley floor. I stopped for a refuel with some mtn due, a backpack reorganization ( the straps were killing my shoulders) and grabbed 4 cookies for the long long walk back up to the next hill top. I supposedly had just 8 miles to go but it would take me a full 3 hours to cover this remaining ground.

I felt okay and moved as well as I could but my light (which is 7 years old) was dimming out and really is not up to today's brighter standards. (Anyone have some suggestions for something better?) The trail was muddy, wet and of course rocky and footing continued to suck. My mind said enough...... this is not longer fun, but the trail just continued on ever upward. While my flat and downhill running has really returned to form. I climb like molasses. I mean I really suck. I don't have the fitness to run the hills like I used to and I have absolutely zero power to walk strong uphill. These will be my two main focuses in the remaining weeks before the MMT 100 as I am determined to run well there once again.

After about a million years I reached what I thought was the top of the hill only to dip and roll and climb again about 7 more times. I have only been on this section maybe once or twice in my life (the opposite direction to boot) and nothing looked familiar. The trail is not maintained as well as most in this area and I kept having to search to make sure I was going the right way. Mentally I had no picture that I would be ascending to shawl gap and then follow the main trail down to Elizabeth's furnace.....it just didn't make sense.... and I struggled at the intersection of 4 trails on top there in the dark with my dim light for a long time. I even dug out new batteries replaced them and continued down only to lose the trail and get stuck back-tracking uphill on some interpretive nature trail. Once I finally hit Elizabeth's furnace I was determined to follow orange and not the MMT course route. I kept stopping and backtracking only to realize it was the correct route. Then I couldn't believe I needed to cross rte 678 to get to the parking lot and finish. What a mental fog I was in. Needless to say the 18 and 19 hour barriers remained in tact and at the 19:23 mark I finally reached Quatro's car, tapped on his window to wake him up, and officially finished the MMT Reverse Ring. I Join only a few others who have done the ring in both directions and gained the title "Master of the Ring" ahhh...... finally!

After a couple hour fit-full nap in the back of the car I drove on home happy to have fulfilled my goal and to feel overall pretty good physically. I'll be ridiculously sore tomorrow but it was well worth it. At least I don't have any blisters. (injinji socks and pearl izume road shoes) Last time I did the ring my feet were a mess for 2 weeks.

Thanks to the VHTRC and for all the volunteers. What a great event.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Week 6

Sunday- 10- miles on Potomac heritage trail
Monday- off
Tuesday- 4 miles
Wednesday- 4 miles AM
11 Miles PM- with 3xmile 6:25, 5:56, 5:41
Thursday- 5 miles
Friday- 4 miles
Saturday- 20 miles with Anne

Some good trail and my first speed workout of the year after last weeks tempo run. Things are coming around. I took it real easy this week baby-ing my Achilles after the Sunday trail run in the mud really flared them up.

Long runs for the year of 18, 20, 20, 21, 26, 40 with a REAL biggy coming next week when I attempt the Massanutten Reverse Ring 71 miler. wish me luck

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week 5

Solid...not super, but solid 65 miles

Sunday- off
Monday- 4 miles Am, 11 milesPM
Tuesday- off
Wednesday- 4 miles Am, 11 miles PM- tempo last 8 miles sub 7:00
Thursday- 11 miles
Friday- 4 Miles
Saturday- 20 miles- 3:21 with Anne

Reverse Ring 71 miler is now just 2 weeks off

Sunday, February 1, 2009

week 4

Crappy weather for most of the week. DC area is not prepared for snow/ice like upstate NY. For sure! Wednesday I actually ran in and out to work wearing my yak tracks. I was the only employee to get to work on time. In fact I beat everyone else in by 2 hours. I actually ran right down the street in the yak tracks in a few places. Sidewalks are still glare ice even now in shady areas where the sun can't reach. Saturday I went to Charlottesville for a run with fellow VHTRC ultrarunners around the Rivanna ring trail. My garmin read 20.7 miles for the loop (data here) Although I planned a double loop, but the legs felt trashed and I called it a day after the first 4 hour loop.

January turned into a decent month with 273 miles.

This week was pretty weak due to the weather: (correction I am WEAK)
sun, Tues, Thursday- off

Monday- 4 miles am, 11 miles pm
Wednesday- 4 miles am, 4 miles pm
Friday- 4 am, 4 pm
saturday- 20.7 miles

Lets hope for a better week next.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

week 3

Time to get serious....I guess. Massanutten is really not that far off now. I have started to focus more and although not 100% focused in terms of trying to train to be able to race top ten. I have begun to bring SOME intensity back into the routine. This week was a bit wild with a 22 mile day midweek due to the inauguration metro/road craziness. I avoided it all by getting up at 4:30am eating breakfast then running the 11 miles into work. Worked a full day (7am-4pm) and then ran home another 11. Damn cold that day too. I have no idea how 2 million endured that wind chill. BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

I have put in 5 days a week or running the last 4 weeks and am feeling good.

Sunday- 25 miles- 6:32-MMT course Garmin data here
Mon- off
Tuesday- 11 miles am, 11 miles pm
Wed- off
Thursday- 11 miles with 2 x 6:30
Friday- 4 miles
Saturday- 18 miles with Anne

80 total on 6 runs / 5 days

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 2

Sun- 5miles on TM walking 9% grade
Mon- 4miles AM, 11 miles pm
Tues- 4miles on TM walking 9% grade
Wed- 4miles AM, 11 Miles PM
Thurs & Friday- off
Sat- 15 miles easy w/ Anne

45 miles run 9 miles walk- pretty cheesy week, but good stuff. I am recovering and ready for a big week 3.

sun- 25 miles on MMT 100 course in 6:35 with my buddy Sophie. Tuesday looks to be a fun 11 mile AM 11 mile pm commute run due to the city being shut down. Should be fun.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


40% loss in your 401k got you down??? Here is a great pick me up. Russell and Frannie of the Charlottesville Running Co fame will be allowing the first 100 entrants into the 2009 GEER 100k to pay only 1/2 of the normal race entre fee. Thats right....you heard me. Pay only half price to enter a SUPERB race and get all the same treatment, shwag, ect....just pay 60 some dollars less. Entre opens Feb 2nd.

Here's to hoping the race has better temperatures than today does! burrrrrrrrrrrr

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The first week is history

Sunday 40 miles - 9:14 at Boyer's Furnace FA
Mon & Tues- off
wed- 3 miles walking 8% grade
Thurs- 4 am, 11 pm
Friday 4 am 4 pm
Sat- 8 miles with Anne

Time continues to roll on by with one solid 74 mile week in the books for 2009. My first long run in several weeks went very well for me with no issues or aches. Even my healing left ankle held up fine. However, some others did not fair quite so well. Check out the VHTRC page for the low-down here. This is the event I put on each year for the VHTRC. It started in 2006 when I wanted to run in the mountains with friends while home from my deployment and has grown into an annual event. This year I toned back the formality of it and actually ran the thing myself. Basically all I do is mark the course and set out aid ahead of time and then guide a group of like minded individuals around fort valley. Most are trying to train up for the MMT 100 of some similar event. It has been a lot of fun and the bon fire at the finish really puts a nice cap on a long day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 in numbers

366 days in a fine leap/Olympic/ Election year

211 Days my lazy self got out for some miles either running or walking

18 days I got out twice in one day

229 workouts- 217 Runs - 35 walks

2425 total miles for the year
2390 Miles running
35 miles walking

6.6 miles per day
11.5 miles per day my lazy self got OUT for something

11.01 miles per run in 2008

2.92 miles per walk in 2008



My life time miles is now over 45,000

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 a fine year

Well that's it for 2008! Another year rolls on by. Don't they go fast. 2008 saw me graduate with a graduate certificate in prosthetics from Northwestern Univ and begin a slightly different career path in prosthetics only to return to physical therapy when the economy started tanking.

The shift back to PT has been a good one and I am very pleased with my outpatient PT work in Vienna where I have seen patients from age 7 up to 89. I have helped folks heal and rehab everything from toes to brain injuries. Perhaps the best part about the job is that it has a shower in the facility and is located less then one mile access from the W & OD trail.

My commute has evolved into a good routine of the following:
1.2 mile run to the metro, 15 minute ride to vienna station, 3 mile run to work in the morning
and I either repeat this in the afternoon, or if feeling tough I run the entire 10.75 miles home.
so I get in at least 8 and some days 15 miles. My aim as the MMT 100 approaches is to increase the number of times I run the long way home to 4 per week. It'll save me money as well!

weekends I plan on running the local Potomac heritage trail to get some quality rock running time in. and 1-2 times a month I will make the trek out to the MMT course for some actual miles on THOSE rocks. My planned long runs look like this:

Jan 4- Boyers Furnace 40 miler- encircling the fort valley with a bunch of friends
Jan 17-18- at least 26 tough miles on the MMT course
Feb 7th- 26 or 52 miles of the Wild Oak Trail
Feb 21- 71 miles -I want to actually complete the reverse ring this year to join the elite group of Masters of the ring.
March 14- EFA 50k on MMT trails
March 28th- Bel Monte 50k or 50 mile
April 11- chocolate Bunny 50k- on MMT course (a night run)

with this line up and the increased weekly mileage I should be rounding into good form by May.

As for the blog...I plan to return to regular weekly posts to update my training mileage. And yes. the more I run the more I tend to blog!

2008 wrapped up for me as my 7th best year of running in terms of mileage (2425 miles total) but most prolific with 20 races, of which one was a road marathon, 14 were ultras, and one of those was my first ROAD ultra. Here's to a great 2009!