Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Running and Racing Review

Running mileage was 3219 which is the highest since 2008 when I ran 3014..

Accomplished in 2020:
57 weight workouts which was much better than the 22 I ended up with last year. 

Only 7 races this year which is a record low for overall races. The good news is that 5 were ultras and 1 marathon. I also ran a few ultra challenges (50K - 40 miles) of my own just for fun. I lost 15 lbs and have gained back 6 lbs so at least I'm ahead of where I started the year. I stayed injury-free other than currently taking a few days off recently for some toe joint pain (possibly turf toe).

Ran 1 marathon and 5 ultras this year. I've ended the year feeling tired but I think more from the stress than the running. 

Total Miles:
2020 - 3219
2019 - 2728
2018 - 2471
2017 - 2529
2016 - 2472
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 (37 total):
2020 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2019 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (didn't BQ but ran less than a week after running The Dome)
2018 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2017 - (2) Marathon to Marathon (BQ), Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2016 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
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 (BQ)
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 (85 total):
2020 - (5) - Quivering Quads 50K, Dark to Dawn 6 hour 33.5 miles, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Ozark Trail 100 mi, 4 Fore 30 Infinity - 75 mi
2019 - (9) - 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Lion's Roar 24 hr - 118 mi, Berryman 50 mi, Last Runner Standing 62.4 mi, Dark 2 Dawn 6 hr 33.5 mi, Never Summer 100K, Six Days in the Dome 48 hr 129.78 mi, Big's Backyard Ultra 104.16 mi, 4 Fore 30 - 112.5 mi
2018 - (9) - Ozark Foothills 50K, Strolling Jim 40 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Last Runner Standing 54 mi, Get Your Butt Kicked at Route 66 41.7 mi, Psycho Psummer Run Toto Run 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Big Dog's Backyard Ultra 112.5 mi, Fore for 30 88 mi
2017 - (4) - Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer Run Toto Run 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Big Dog's Backyard Ultra 100 mi
2016 - (10) - Psycho Wyco Winter 50K, Ozark Foothills 50K, Free State Trail 100K, Flatrock 100K, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Kettle Moraine 100 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Barkley Fall Classic 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Big Dog's Backyard Ultra 91.67 mi
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
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 2020:
100 mi+ - 1
100K+ - 1
50 mi+ - 0
50K+ - 3
Marathon – 1
25K - 0
Half Marathon - 0
20K - 0
10K - 1
5 mi - 0
5K - 0

Total running miles run in 7 races - 304 miles (2019 - 20 races – 863 mi)

States I ran marathons and ultras in 2020 (5): MO
All states I have run marathons and ultras (19): AR, AZ, CO, FL, IA, IL, LA, KS, KY, MA,MD, MN, MO, OH, OK, OR, TN, WA, WI

2019 PR - 24 hr - 118 mi
2018 PR - 6 hr - 41.7 mi
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

Possible races planned for 2021:
April - Lion's Roar 24 Hour
May - Trail of the Four Winds 25K, Berryman 50 mile
September - Heart of America Marathon
October -  Rock Bridge Revenge 25k, Arrowhead Endurance Run 24 hour
November - Thanksgiving Day Pie Run 10K
December - 4 Fore 30 to Infinity

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

2020 - 4 Fore 30 ♾

I spent December 5 - 6 running loops at 4 Fore 30 ♾ in Camdenton at Lake Valley Golf Club. I've now run 3 times but this year was the first time there was no predetermined end and a Golden ticket to Big Dog's Backyard ultra was at stake. The format is 4.1667 miles and 1 hour to finish. Everyone lines up again the next hour until they have the good sense to drop or go over 1 hour for the loop. 

There were 104 runners starting which was 45 more than last year. We had several runners from Columbia and we were able to run some loops together. Typically, we walk all the hills and try not to trash the quads too early on the downhills. The first loop seems like it drags on forever and after that the time goes by quickly, at least for awhile. Once it was down to just me and Joe Cooper, we ran nearly every loop together until miles 58 - 62. I think we were both starting to get unmotivated or bored. Perhaps a crew would have helped? Warmer temperatures would have been nice since it cooled down from a high of 56 to around 34 while I was still in the race. Whenever someone asked how I was feeling I stayed positive but inside I was doubting I felt that good. I felt okay but not great for so early in the race or at least early for me. I wanted to see if maybe a little faster pace would help so I picked up the pace on loop 15.

After 15 loops, I was thinking 100K sounds like a nice number but then I felt a little more motivation so lined up at the start again. It was cooling off so I put my pants on and changed shoes, hoping maybe that would help something. The frost made my pants damp but Sam's heater that he left helped me warm up and dry them out a bit. At this point I was thinking maybe I could get to 100 miles and then evaluate if I was feeling good enough to go further. Last year I was still feeling pretty good at 112 miles when the race ended. I definitely wasn't having that same feeling at 62 this year.

Loop 16 felt decent but I became very uninspired during loop 17 with negative thoughts and slowed down. Even though I had 5 minutes on the clock, I was thinking about quitting but returned to the starting line after the 1 minute whistle. During this loop I felt like I was slowing more. I found a driver's license about a mile into the loop and I think I was the last runner. I turned the license in at 2 miles and noticed the clock was already 33 minutes, my slowest time at that point on the course so far. I had plenty of time to finish the loop at the pace I was running so kept going. I made the decision I would quit at the end of the 18th loop, decided 75 miles was a nice number and felt at peace with my decision. The 3 minute warning whistle sounded as I finished the loop and I said I definitely said I was done and was happy to receive the coveted 💩dog tag. 

I packed my things up, started to get cold and sat in the car a few minutes to warm up and eat something before taking off. Once I got into Camdenton, I was hungry and thankfully McDonalds drive-thru was open. I was hesitant due to my last 2 negative experiences after a race at McDonalds but the quarter pounder with cheese, fries and chocolate shake were the perfect recovery food before the drive home. I was feeling great but ready to cuddle up next to a dog.

On paper I should have been prepared to run at least 100 miles. I've run over 3,000 this year and have now surpassed my record for yearly mileage set 12 years ago. However, more logged miles doesn't necessarily help prepare for an event. Rest at the proper times is also necessary. Although Ozark Trail 100 miler on November 7 was good training it was probably a little close with only 4 weeks between events. Last year I had 7 weeks between Big Dog's and Fore for 30. I think at least 2 more weeks would have helped with recovery. Also, typically I take off weight lifting at least 10 days before an event but I've been attending a weekly class since October and doing an extra workout on my own. I did one weight training workout during the week of the race but it was tough and I had 4 days to recover. I didn't run and felt good going into the race other than not sleeping well the night before. I've learned a lot this year and am hopeful I will be better prepared next year.

The race directors once again put together a top notch event and registration is already open for 2021. This event is the perfect opportunity to challenge your limits both physically and mentally. This will once again be my last event in 2021.

Monday, November 09, 2020

2020 Ozark Trail 100 miles

Saturday I finished my third Ozark Trail 100 miler. Several people have asked recently and in my mind, I have lost track of how many ultras and 100 mile races I’ve run. I keep a spreadsheet so checked and I am up to 84 ultras + 37 marathons. Seventeen ultras were 100 miles or more with only 9 that were traditional 100 mile races. The rest were either backyard or set time events which I have done more in recent years. I first ran the OT100 in 2010 and then in 2015. Since 2015, the only traditional 100s I’ve run is OT100 and Kettle Moraine. This time I was definitely reminded of the unique difficulties of running a traditional point to point 100 miler compared to other types of races where I’ve run 100 or more miles.

I had signed up for the Ohio Backyard Ultra which was to take place in March but was postponed to November 14 due to COVID. I withdrew as that didn’t work well for my schedule so was given a refund. I decided to attempt OT100 again and my pattern has been every 5 years so it seemed fitting. Also, the race occurring on November 7, I thought it would be a way to “celebrate” the end of the Presidential election and the election season. Also, it is a low-key smaller event and an easy drive, I’d done it before, and other friends signed up later so it kept looking even better. It would also be a time of social contact that has been lacking a lot this year. Of course 2020 has been surprising in many ways so I should have known anything can happen this year. The outcome of the stressful election wasn’t even known until I was out running. Maybe it was good I had a 100 mile run ahead to think about almost nothing and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

 The weather before the race was looking warm (highs in mid-70s) but of course a lot of variation out on the trail especially at night. Definitely not ideal for a November race but I typically can deal with the heat pretty well although before the race I had been training in far cooler temperatures for several weeks. I set a pretty aggressive unrealistic dream goal having run the race in 23:50 in 2015 and training went really well this year. I was right on track for the first 2 aid stations up to mile 14. Less than a mile before I slipped walking up some steps and somehow lost my balance, fell at the top and cut near the side of my wrist on a very sharp rock. Thankfully, I was only a few minutes from the aid station so a big band aid was able to stop the bleeding and by the time it was ready to fall off later, it had stopped bleeding. I don’t know if this was a sign how the day would go or if I should have quit, but I felt good and continued on. It was getting warm so I ran shirtless probably about 12 hours which I really didn’t expect for November. At times there was a nice breeze and others times it was a bit warm for ideal conditions.

Right before Johnson Hollow aid station at mile 24.6, my eye caught a flag on the left and without looking right, I followed. And I followed a bit too long before turning around giving up hope I had gone the right direction. I had not looked for or followed the OT permanent marker as I focused on an irrelevant flag. On the way back, I see another guy that had done the same thing. He was far enough behind he hadn’t followed me but made the same mistake. Once I got to the aid station, I had 26 miles so assume I took at least a 1.4 mile detour. At that point, I was about 15 minutes off my goal to the next 2 aid stations.

I picked up my light at Highway DD, mile 47 which I was looking forward to seeing Tim Garvey working the aid station. I wasn’t moving as fast as 2 of the runners that left with me but I was still running. Also, I left the aid station with Joe Cooper who I had passed just before the aid station and he wasn’t feeling well but he did run behind me for a while. I arrived at Martin Rd (55 miles) around 6 pm and now was 52 min off my goal. From here it continued to go downhill but not entirely unexpected considering the challenges up to this point.

My Ultraspire 800 Ultra Waist Light (not the multisport) which is new failed me. I had returned the first light I was sent due to it shutting off unexpectedly. I incorrectly assumed the new light they sent me wouldn’t have the same issues. At my mile 61, it shut off abruptly after having been on for a little over an hour. I couldn’t see anything but soon could see the stars but that didn’t help me see the trail. I semi-patiently waited and kept trying and after 11 minutes it came back on so I continued and turned down to low setting since it was my theory that maybe it was overheating on medium. Thirty minutes later, it shuts off again during my mile 63. This time it comes on in 2 minutes. I still have about 4.5 miles to go so I figure it will happen again. I felt like walking at times but figured it better to get to Hazel Creek and pick up my headlamp as soon as possible. Fortunately, I made it without the light failing again. My pace wasn’t that fast but I was pushing faster than I would have if I wasn’t worried my light was going to fail again.

I was thankful to make it to Hazel Creek and only 35.5 miles to go. Sounds easy enough but I knew from 2010 from how I was feeling at this point that it would be far from easy. It was great to see the Columbia SMUT runners again since I hadn’t seen them since earlier in the day. Several were out crewing and pacing other runners.   I spent a little too long at the aid station but felt I needed the time to rest my legs while I sat and ate potato soup, a bit of quesadilla and items from my drop bag.

I left Hazel Creek around 8:30 pm about 1.5 hours later than planned but okay with it since I had plenty of time to finish even if I walked it in. However, I really wanted to be done as quickly as possible. Leaving, I realized my quads were really sore when I attempted to run, the course was extra challenging and I could not manage faster than 16 minutes per mile and sometimes slower for the stretch to Pigeon Roost at mile 75 but I was okay with that. After my wrong turn earlier in the day everything was about 2 miles further than posted for the race.

My pace slowed further (17 – 18 min) running into Berryman Camp at mile 80. I left Berryman around 12:30 am so 2.75 hours later than my original unrealistic goal. At this point, I knew 24 hours or less wasn’t happening and thinking 26 plus hours. I finally saw another runner again a few miles later walking slower than me that I passed with his pacer. I remember taking a Honey Stinger Ginsting to wake up a bit. From Berryman to Billy’s Branch, about 8.5 miles, pace was about 18 – 19 min. I’m pretty sleepy so details are a bit fuzzy for a while. Basically, a zombie walking through the woods just trying to get to the next aid station.

 After leaving Billy’s Branch at 89 miles, I’m starting to have hope that the end is in sight although it will be in the daylight when I finish and not under 24 hours. It was a struggle for me to follow some of the trail into the next aid station, Henpeck Hollow which turned out to be about mile 96 for me. It was a combination of sleepiness, lots of leaves, wide trail and trying to see the permanent trail markers. Lose your focus for too long and you will end up wandering off trail. Even as I approached the aid station where they had put out some glow sticks, I was still having issues. These were my slowest miles of the day at 20+ min/mile. I knew the next section would be easier to follow so was happy when I reached Henpeck.  Shalini and the Terrain Trail runners fed me breakfast burritos and helped me get on my way in my sort of confused state which improved when I restarted.

I could see the trail for this section and it would be light soon. Perhaps, knowing the end was in sight, I was able to pick up the pace a bit until the end and have hope in finishing under 26 hours. I could see a runner behind me on the switchbacks after a few miles so there went my plan of walking it in.

As I approached the finish at Bass River, a couple told me there were some people waiting for me. It was nice to finish to the cheers of the Columbia SMUT group. I finished in 25 hours 25 minutes, 6th place overall. A finish was the end goal. There were 79 starters and 45 finishers.

 I kept pretty good track of my nutrition. I consumed 2 protein shakes, 5 Body Armor drinks,  9 Untapped Maple syrup, 2 Honey Stingers, 4 Sword drink mix , 2 GU Stroop waffles plus solid food from the aid stations (Ramen, potato soup, quesadilla, grilled cheese), consuming an average of roughly 150 calories per hour. No issues with nausea and felt pretty good other than quads were done and really nothing nutrition could fix.

This felt like one of the harder efforts I have done in a while but in its own unique way. This course is definitely a big challenge for me. If it had been easier this report would likely have been much shorter. Every time I’ve run OT, the aid stations and volunteers (many runners that I know) are amazing and that didn’t change even during a pandemic. Time will tell if I’m confident enough to attempt again in 5 years or sooner. I’d more likely want to be a pacer the next time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

2020 Heart of America Marathon

Perhaps should have tapered more but I finished my 17th Heart of America Marathon on September 7. I wasn't feeling great the week before but I started feeling better on Saturday. There was a bit more stress leading up to the 2020 marathon. Took a risk and got a massage the day before the race to warmup. I was very cautious with prerace nutrition even getting up at 2 am to eat. I consumed extra sodium and Pickle (brand) juice both the day before and morning of the race.

This year's race was no fanfare, no relay, and no spectators at the finish due to concerns with the pandemic. There were many guidelines for the race to follow and everyone was distanced (lining up by their assigned animal) and wearing a face covering at the start. The weather was not ideal with 74 at the start and 81% humidity.

I warmed up 1 mile before leaving home and felt pretty good. I stuck with the plan to run 7:30 my first mile. I started in the 3rd animal wave. Overall, I felt good and sustained my pace pretty well but the last 2 miles were definitely not easy and my HR was higher. The lead bike fell back talked to me quite a bit earlier during the race which probably slowed me down a bit. I'm sure someone thought the bike was pacing but that was not the case. I wore my Hoka Bondi B's for the first time. They got me through but probably a bit more shoe that I need in the future.

Post race, I sat down for several minutes after to drink and eat and felt better. During the race, I had 4 gels and drank lots of water. Poured a lot over my head too. This year the water was in bottles and very cold which was an advantage to the cups that are normally passed out. The first few aid stations a couple slipped out of my hands as I passed but I eventually got the hang of it. Even with lots of drinking, I lost over 5 lbs.

I passed 1 person in the first mile of the race and then was in 3rd place until mile 25.5ish passing a runner walking and finished in 2nd. 3:22:22.22 official time which is second slowest overall of 17.

2020 Rock Bridge Revenge

Rock Bridge Revenge 50k race went smoothly. I felt like maybe I started just a bit fast but turned out okay. I ran behind Marianne for a couple miles and once we got to the gravel before the Gans loop, I could still see here but not after we went up the hill. I ran the first loop in ~2:18:30 and was hoping possibly going under 4:40 since 2nd loop is shorter without the beginning out and back to spread everyone out in the first loop. It warmed up about 20° during the second loop from when we started at 59 so not realistic for me to run more even splits.

I continued to feel good the second loop so pushed when I could but not much up the really steep hills where it makes sense to walk. I passed Marianne a little ways after I got up the hill on the Gans loop. I was slowing but figured sub 4:45 was still doable. I managed to keep all miles under 11 minutes. Felt a twinge like a cramp about 1 mile from end but nothing further. My overall time was about 4:42:47 (9:13/mi - GPS for 30.67 miles) and 3rd place overall. My fastest RBR 50k. Thankful to be outside and see so many friends before, during and after.

I did pretty good with nutrition and hydration consuming about 750 calories with 2 Sword and 5 various gels or Sports Beans. The Untapped maple syrup gels are amazing. The course was marked extremely well with plenty of volunteers and aid stations.