Friday, January 22, 2016

2015 Running and Racing Review

As far as goals go, once again I failed in some areas. I think I might try not setting goals for a year and just do what I need to do. Running mileage was almost the same as last year and I don't set a mileage goal since I seem to run enough. I did attend a lot of track and step workouts without setting a goal so I must enjoy those.

Goals accomplished (or not accomplished) for 2015:
I set a goal to do 75 weight workouts, 25 less than my goal last year when I failed to complete 100. I completed 24, 3 less than my big fail of 27 last year. I had to move my equipment in November 2014 but still not a good excuse for this fail. The year was stressful but I need to learn to cope better, get more workouts, and make better use of my time which I think I went overboard in December in this area.  Finally, my equipment is back in its place so hopefully I will do better in the future once I am done painting.

I set a goal to take 2 - 3 short breaks with 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running.  I managed 10 breaks this year and took 3 in December (a very stressful month).  I had 5 in 2014.

I had a goal to clean up back yard and plant stuff and this was completed although I cleaned most of it up and hired a company to do the rest. Just need to reseed grass this spring.

I didn't get the house decluttering done which I had planned to do after basement construction project. That is now almost complete after 14 months so will work on this year.

I had hoped to use 6 weeks vacation to get balance down to around 240 hours before end of the year but ended up with over 330 hours at the end of the year. I had planned to take off time to paint the basement but since they were working during the day I ended up spending late nights and weekends painting myself to exhaustion in the month of December.

Total Miles:
2015 - 2588
2014 - 2683 (yes, the exact same as 2012)
2013 - 2405
2012 - 2683
2011 - 2460
2010 - 2839
2009 - 2675
2008 – 3014
2007 – 2572
2006 – 1937
2005 – 2090
2004 - ~1000

Marathons (31 total):
2015 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2014 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2013 - (2) Heart of America Marathon (BQ), Kansas City Marathon (BQ)
2012 - (2) Post Oak Trail Marathon, Heart of America Marathon
2011 - (2) Berryman Trail Marathon, Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2010 - (2) Go! St Louis Marathon (BQ), Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2009 - (5) Disney Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr), 3 Days of Syllamo (Trail), Boston Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr), Heart of America Marathon (BQ and Course PR), Louis & Clark Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr)
2008 - (4) Boston Marathon (BQ and PR), Laughing Out Loud Marathon, Heart of America Marathon (BQ), Twin Cities Marathon (BQ)
2007 - (5) Laughing Out Load, Berryman (First Trail Marathon - placed
4th), Heart of America (BQ), Baltimore Marathon (BQ), Bass Pro
2006 - (3) Flying Pig (BQ), Heart of America (BQ, Chicago (BQ)
2005 - (3) Mad City, Heart of America (BQ), Portland (BQ)
2004 - (1) Heart of America

Ultramarathons (48 total):
2015 - (8) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Mark Twain 50 mi, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Defiance 50K, Ozark Trail 100
2013 - (4) Land Between the Lakes 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Leadville Trail 100 mi
2014 - (7) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Mohican 100 mi, Barkley Fall Classic 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Big's Backyard Ultra 104 mi
2013 - (4) Land Between the Lakes 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Leadville Trail 100 mi
2012 - (9) Post Oak 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Free State Trail 100K, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Kettle Moraine 100K (PR), Psycho Psummer 50K, Burning River 100 mi, Big Dog's Backyard Ultra 104 mi
2011 - (5) Psycho Wyco 50K, Grand Canyon 47 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Pumpkin Holler 100 mi (PR)
2010 - (6) Psycho Wyco 50K, Free State Trail 100K (PR), Kettle Moraine 100 mi (PR), Flatrock 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Ozark Trail 100 mi
2009 - (4) 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Psycho Wyco 50K, Berryman 50 mi, Q50 Ultramarathon 50K (PR)
2008 – (4) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman 50 mi, Rock Creek Trail 50K
2007 - (1) Hocking Hills Indian Run 60K

Number of each type of races for 2015:
100 mi - 1
50 mi - 3
50K - 4
Marathon – 1
Half Marathon - 1
20K - 1
10 mi - 1
10K - 5
4 mi - 3
5K - 11
1 mi - 1

10 are Thursday night trail races - 14 total free races.

Total running miles run in 32 races: 519 miles (2014 - 31 races – 555 mi)

States I ran marathons and ultras in 2015 (4): AR, MO, WA (new)
All states I have run marathons and ultras (18): AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, LA, KS, KY, MA,MD, MN, MO, OH, OK, OR, TN, WA, WI

2015 PR in 4 mi
2014 PR in 4 mi
2013 PR in 50 mi
2012 PRs in 25K, 100K
2011 PRs in 4 mi, 10K, 100 mi
2010 PRs in 1 mi, 4 mi, 10 mi, half marathon, 3/4 marathon, 100K, 100 mi
2009 PRs in 5K, 25K, half marathon, and 50K
2008 PRs in 5K, 5 mi, 10K, 10 mi, marathon, 50K, 50 mi
2007 PRs in 5K, 4 mi, 8K, 5 mi, 10K, 10 mi
2006 PRs in 20K, half Marathon, and marathon

Goals for 2016 (scared to make any but here goes):
1.  Continue weight lifting and try to get at least 50 workouts for the year (deadline Dec 31)

2. Take 2 - 3 short breaks from running during the year with at least 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running. (deadline Dec 31)

3.  Declutter house including basement and garage

4.  Use about 7 weeks vacation to get balance down to around 240 hours before end of 2016 (deadline Dec 31)

5. Have more fun. Not sure what I have in mind but I am going to try.

Races planned for 2016:
January - Runner's Choice 10K
February - Nut Race 5K
March - Super Scout 5K, St Patrick's Day 5K, Sedalia Half Marathon
April - Ozark Foothills 50K, Mustang Stampede 5K?, Flat Rock 100K
May - Berryman Trail 50 miler
June - Jeff Shikles 8K?, maybe a 100 miler somewhere either in June or August
July - Parley Pratt 4 mi, Show-Me Games 10K
August - Great Sandbagger 10K
September - Heart of America Marathon, Barkley Classic 50K
October – Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Backyard Ultra
November - Thanksgiving Day Pie Run 10K
December - Cheese and  Sauerkraut 10 miler, Columbia Eve Fest 5K

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Ozark Trail 100 miler

I ran this race in 2010 and it was the toughest 100 miler I've experienced so far. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to return. It was my slowest 100 miler, felt crappy very early in the race and I couldn't run for 2 weeks after. I guess time and some prodding from my running buddy Steve running his first 100 miler, and a $50 off coupon I found helped to convince me to sign up again. Also, I thought it might be good for me to return to overcome the fear, and hopefully redeem myself and have a good time and hopefully feel good during the race.

I had an aggressive goal to run in 23:45 or at least under 24 hours. I ran in 27:50 in 2010 and it was a long day. A picture after the finish has me looking my worst. After finishing this year, someone that I ran with for the first 10 miles said he was worried since I didn't seem that into it. Also, my training wasn't that great either and I really wasn't as into it as I should have been for a race this difficult. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around doing another 100 miler. It takes a toll and did I really want to do it? I accepted that I would do it even if my training wasn't ideal. Luckily, I also have 5 more years of ultra experience that made up for my non-ideal training.

I slept pretty good the night before the race taking 2 Benadryl and was asleep shortly after 7 pm with the alarm set for 2:30 am but I woke up short after 2 am on my own. The bus left at 3 am and we arrived at least an hour before so plenty of time to use the bathrooms or stay on the bus to stay warm.
I started very conservatively with Steve and Allan behind most of the runners. It always pays to start off slow. There was a short and and back on a forest road at the beginning. It turned out we didn't really need out lights since it was daylight very quickly. At the first aid station I was only 5 min behind where I estimated so didn't start out too fast. I continued to run with Steve and Allan until after mile 10 where I went ahead. I arrived at the aid/drop bag at mile 14, 2 minutes past my goal. I saw Steve coming in on my way out.

Overall, the race was very uneventful. I felt good, no falls other than a stumble and caught myself with my hands before completely going down. At mile 47 I had fallen a bit further behind schedule but only 12 minutes. I didn't worry about it considering in 2010 I was hours behind on my plan. My memory must be short since I had forgotten the difficulty of parts of the course and should have allowed a little more time. Normally, a runner slows down in a race this long and I had built that into my plan but I still had my doubts, especially later in the race that I could go under 24. I didn't ever totally give up on the idea though even though by mile 73 I was 30 minutes behind and 47 minutes by mile 87. I had gained 11 minutes at mile 94.

I kept passing people, and moving up the ranks even as I was slowing down. I pushed as hard as I could through the pain the last 6.5 miles to hopefully have a chance at sub-24. Interestingly, pushing through the pain, often makes it go away but you pay for it after. Also, the quesadillas at the aid stations helped too and were very energizing.

I ended up finishing in 23:50 (8th place), 4 hours faster than 2010! I feared I would regret that final push. Before I had been running as gently as possible and avoided falling. My body responded well to this race and I'm fine and can walk better than after my last 50K. One would think the post race pain after a 100 miler would be 3 times worse than a 50K but that isn't true. I still wouldn't recommend this as a first 100 miler unless you know what you are getting into. The runners this year though made it look easy with over a 70+% finishing rate. All 4 runners from Columbia finished with 3 of us in the top 15.

The volunteers were great and really spoiled us with the variety of food offerings but some of it I still won't touch during a race. I still ate some crazy things that worked such as cheese quesadillas and some with guacamole, a pancake (didn't settle well), a slice of bacon (not the best choice), a bacon and cheese quesadilla at mile 94.5 (it worked), grilled cheese (couldn't stomach it in 2010) and some stuff I just mindlessly ate and don't remember. Also, used Huma gels and Sword drink which I think contributed to feeling good the entire race and feeling like eating most of the time. If you can't eat, it doesn't go well. I had a completely opposite experience from 2010 and am glad I went.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 Defiance 50K

I needed a long run today while traveling so decided that I might as well do a race so I wouldn't get lost. Also, this gave me a chance to run an ultramarathon in another state. I ran Rock Bridge Revenge 50K last week and the major aches were gone by Saturday. I decided to do the Defiance 50K in Tacoma, WA since it was the right distance had not filled. The course is 3 loops through Defiance Pointe Park. The trails for this race were pretty smooth and the race course had a lot of turns but a beautiful course.

The weather forecast was 100% chance of rain. It rained on the drive there from Portland but was not raining at the start. Temperature was low 60s. All three distances, 15K, 30K, and 50K started together. The course was chip-timed. Very few people lined up in front so I got close but once we started I was passed by a lot of people. We ran along the waterfront on a paved path above the beach for a half mile before going up some stairs. Then we hit the trails which were advertised as single-track but most of it was not like any single track I’ve run in Missouri. There was plenty of room to pass, a pretty solid surface even though wet, and some mulch and pine needles. There were very few rocks and roots.

The first loop I had plenty of people to follow and seemed like a lot of turns so I had to pay careful attention to the course markings which I would describe as average. I had to look ahead and there were volunteers at many of the turns and roads since the course crossed over where we had run before at different points. Not long into the first loop it started to rain and it rained hard. I was expecting more of a drizzle. My shorts and shirt were completely soaked and the trail started to accumulate lots of puddles that could not be avoided. I didn’t bring Body Glide but my feet were fine. Nips were a little sore by the end. It felt a little too cool to run shirtless and I didn’t see anyone running without a shirt. Before the end of the loop, we had to rappel down a steep, wet and muddy hill. There were 2 different ropes since it switched directions. Then there was just a short run to the finish of the loop. I ran the first loop in 1:34:27. My first loop came out to 10.3 miles on my GPS but my other loops were slightly shorter even though the same course.

For nutrition I had 3 bottles of Sword and 5 gels. I had a full bottle of Sword for each loop at the start finish area to save time. Prerace nutrition was not ideal since I didn’t have access to the foods I normally eat so I was hoping I wouldn’t have any issues. None of the food other than bananas looked appealing at the aid stations but I didn’t take any since they were all whole and not cut up. My energy level stayed good and the rain became lighter in the second loop. Another 50K runner caught up to me and was running his first ultra. He had finished the first loop just a few seconds behind me. Eventually, he ran ahead of me the second loop but I caught him later and we finished the second loop together with my loop split at 1:37:22. I was surprised since I expected it to be a bit slower than just 3 minutes.

I took off on the 3rd loop and pushed the pace as much as I could. Along the path to the stairs some walkers pointed out a humpback whale and a seal. I’m not sure if it was a seal but there was definitely a whale. The whale came up for air several times as I was running past. I passed a 50K runner before reaching the steps. I had been running the gradual uphills and walking the really steep sections in the previous loops. On the 3rd loop I was just a little slower going up but really pushed on the flat and downhills. Overall the course was very smooth, runnable, and fast. I didn’t see many runners during the 3rd loop although I passed some from the 30K and lapped a few doing the 50K. I had a guy running at me at some point that was questioning the direction he was going. Although it wasn’t marked very well I assured him it was the right way. He was a 50K runner and the only other one I passed. Once I passed him I pushed the pace even more until the end. I ran the final loop in 1:38:01, only 39 seconds slower than the previous loop.

I finished feeling good and didn’t fall like I did at Rock Bridge Revenge since the course was so smooth. I placed 3rd overall out of 76 finishers and 97 starters in 4:49:50. Placed 1 of 6 in 45 – 49.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2015 Rock Bridge Revenge 50K

Saturday I ran Rock Bridge Revenge 50K for the fourth time. There is also a 7 mile and 25K race as well. Temperatures turned colder on Friday night and it was only 43F at the start of the 50K at 7 am. Sleep wasn't ideal since I was awake at 3:30 am but I felt good and ready to run. There were 60 people signed up for the 50K but after dropping down and no-shows, only 40 runners started. If you want to drop down you have to do so before since the other races start an hour later.

As opposed to last year, the trail was dry and it has rained very little recently. The weather was perfect through the race with the temp reaching upper 60s by the time I finished. My goal was to finish between 5:10 and not longer than 5:30. Last year I ran 5:22 but the course was muddy so this was a reasonable goal for the dry trail. Overall, I was thinking 10-10:30 pace but this course is tough to run even splits since the terrain varies. The first part of the course is run on one side of the park and then we run a loop on the other side of the road, cross the road and finish the loop we started earlier. Then we repeat for the second half. The first few miles are generally faster and the pace slows across the road even during training runs. On the first loop, we ran a short out and back on the road to spread out the runners. I positioned myself behind Sankalp and he was setting an aggressive starting pace. There were 4 other runners trailing me.

I kept Sankalp in sight but didn't get too close other than on downhills I would catch up a bit. When we reached a creek at 3 miles my splits were 8:31, 9:29, and 8:43. I made the decision that when I got to the creek I was going to let everyone right behind me pass since I felt the pace was not sustainable for me. I stopped for a few seconds and let 4 runners go around. I carefully crossed and mostly avoided getting my shoes wet trying to stay on rocks. They all sped ahead except I did catch up to one of them shortly that had turned his ankle but he walked it off and passed me. The first aid station is at 6 miles where we cross the road. Those 3 miles before the aid station were run at a similar pace that I started even though I let 4 runners pass me so I was in 6th place at this point.

For nutrition there are 2 aid stations on each set of loops and one at the start so a total of 5 for the 50K. I filled my bottles and sometimes had a piece of banana. I also carried 5 gels and used 4 of them and 3 of them were the yummy expensive Huma gels. I used 1 serving of Sword per loop. After the first loop, I was back at the start in 2:24. The first loop is slightly longer since we have a short out and back on the road that we don't do the second loop. I grabbed my full bottle of Sword, a piece of banana, and continued. I didn't see Sankalp but had passed him at the aid station. Shortly after I see the guy that had turned his ankle earlier coming towards me. Apparently, he had gone the wrong way around the loop on the way back. Also, I passed another guy just over 3 miles into the loop. If I passed anyone else, I didn't notice.

Just as I was leaving the aid station 20+ miles, I noticed Sankalp behind me. Whether in front of me or behind me, he helped push me through this race. Also, I kept pushing the pace since I thought that sub-5 hours was very possible. Up to this point, I hadn't fallen and managed not to fall at all in my last 50 mile race but I guess I was overdue. After mile 21, I tripped over something and landed on my arm and left knee. I had a couple scrapes on my knee and my arm felt a little sore for awhile.  At mile 24, I managed to do almost the same thing but landed off trail and squished a bunch of liquid out of my bottle and added a third scrape to the left knee. My legs were tiring so it was more difficult to pick up my feet but I still felt good. A few miles later I hit my left big toe hard attempting to jump over a log that I should have stepped over but didn't fall.

Up to mile 21, I had 1 mile just over 10 minutes in spite of some hills. My slowest mile was 22 and I am guessing took a bit to recover after falling and I had to descend a steep hill and climb another. I'm watching the clock pretty closely since keeping my mind on sub-5 kept pushing me forward. I figure if I can keep an 11 minute average the rest of the way, I can do it. I managed to do all remaining miles under 11 except 1 and even ran several under 10 min. My finishing time was 4:54:06 (2nd overall) so ran the second loop 6 minutes slower than the first and finished feeling good in spite of the half mile climb uphill to reach the finish. This turned out to be a course PR by 17 minutes. This is the best 50K, I've had in years.

There were 30 finishers and 10 DNFs so still a tough day for 25% of the runners. The winner ran 4:33 (24 years old) and Sankalp also finished sub-5 in 4:58. The cutoff for the race is 8 hours. This race is very much run by volunteers and seems to get more support every year. It is becoming an event that everyone wants to do and has filled the past 2 years.

Earlier in day pancakes were served but for those of us finishing later we had pulled chicken, chips, cookies, chocolate milk, Gatorade, and fruit.I managed to eat a little right after finishing. I've recovered well from the race in spite of running on the hard trails and a sore ankle for 1 day. On Sunday, I went out and "ran" 5.5 miles helping to remove flags from the course.