Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Running and Racing Review

Goals accomplished for 2013:
I set a goal to do 100 weight workouts and completed 55 weight workouts (42 hrs, 55 min) .   In 2012, I completed 57 weight workouts (47 hrs, 43 min).  1.1 per week in 2012 to 1.06 in 2013.  Fell off the wagon big time May to October.

I wanted to do more speed work this year.  Managed a few track workouts early in the year but mostly races.

I set a goal to take 2 - 3 short breaks with 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running.  In 2012 I had 8 breaks and only 5 in 2013.

3/4 - 3/8 - 5 days (before Land Between the Lakes 50 mile)
8/18 - 8/21 - 4 days (Leadville 100 mile recovery)
10/20 - 10/25 - 6 days (KC Marathon recovery)
12/9 - 12/11 - 3 days (took a break due to cold outside and not feeling well)
12/16 - 12/18 - 3 days (still not feeling well)

Total Miles:
2013 - 2405
2012 - 2683
2011 - 2460
2010 - 2839
2009 - 2675
2008 – 3014
2007 – 2572
2006 – 1937
2005 – 2090
2004 - ~1000

Marathons (29 total):
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 (33 total):
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 2013:
100 mi -1
50 mi - 2
50K - 1
Marathon – 2
25K - 1
Half Marathon - 3
20K - 1
10 mi - 1
10K - 5 (1 Th night trail race)
8K - 2 (1 is Th night trail race)
4 mi - 9 (8 is Th night trail race)
5K -12 (3 is Th night trail race)
1 mi - 1

Total running miles run in 41 races: 473 miles (last year 28 races – 692 mi)

States I ran marathons and ultras in 2013 (3): CO (new state), KY (new state), MO
All states I have run marathons and ultras (17): AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, LA, KS, KY, MA,MD, MN, MO, OH, OK, OR, TN, WI

2013 PRs 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 2014:
1.  Continue weight lifting and try to get at least 100 workouts for the year (deadline Dec 31)

2.  Lose 10 - 12 lbs of fat (deadline March 31)

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

4.  Declutter house - closets and basement (deadline to start Feb 1)

5.  Use 7 weeks vacation to get balance down to 240 hrs before end of 2014 (deadline Dec 31)

Races planned for 2014 (subject to change):
January - Runner's Choice 20K
February - Nut Race 5K
March - 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 50 mi, 20K (March 13-15) , Sedalia Half Marathon
April - Mustang Stampede 5K
May - Berryman Trail 50 miler (May 17)
June - Mohican 100 miler (June 21-22)
July - Parley Pratt 4 mi
August - Great Sandbagger 10K
September - Heart of America Marathon, Barkley Classic 50K
October – Rock Bridge Revenge 25K, Backyard Ultra
November - Hunger Run 5K, Thanksgiving Day Pie Run 10K
December - Cheese and  Sauerkraut 10 miler, Columbia Eve Fest 5K

Friday, November 01, 2013

2013 Kansas City Marathon

We left Friday afternoon and arrived at the expo around 6:45 pm so had about an hour to pick up our stuff and browse.  I had ordered a small shirt and they were out so took a medium instead.  I'm not crazy about
white shirts but the tech fabric seems okay.

We headed to our hotel and drove around the parking lot about 4 times before a spot opened up.  We decided we better not move the car so walked to dinner after we checked in.  We tried Panera first but they
were closed.  The other 2 options were 2 spicy so we gave Which Wich a try and it was actually pretty good.  We've had a store in Columbia for several years and I have never eaten there.

We were in bed by 10 pm and set alarm to get up around 5 am so we could drive to the start around 6 am.  The race started at 7:05.  It was only about a 10 min drive from where we were staying.  We quickly
found a free place to park and just a short walk to the starting line.  We sat in the car until 6:30 and then walked.  I needed a bathroom one last time and Hugh went to line up.  I had just over 5 minutes to
spare but the bathrooms were close to the starting line.  I was surprised they didn't get someone to actually sing the national anthem.  Instead it a recording that was cutting in and out.  Eventually people started singing and they were cut off before they could finish.  Temperature was 37 F and I wore a long sleeve half zip and another short sleeve tech underneath.  This turned out to be just right the entire race.

I saw Andrew up about 20 feet by the 1:30 pacers so decided when we started I would try to catch him.  He is tall compared to everyone else and easy to see :)  We ran together for a few minutes but his
pace group was going faster than me so he went ahead.  First mile was 7:34.  I lost track of the 3:05 group and I think the 3:15 was ahead. Soon, the 3:05 caught up and I stayed with them for awhile.  I wasn't
really trying to stay with a group since I find I usually do better if I pace on my own.  However, they were using smart pacing so may have worked it I was actually in shape and rested to run a 3:05.

I ran ahead of the 3:05 group. I was feeling okay but not great and was kind of surprised the pace I was running.  The first big hill was at about 2.25 miles and went up 1.5 miles.  Mile 2 was 7:02 and mile 3 was 7:27 so still not too bad considering the long hill.  I continued to run low 7 min pace for miles 4, 5, and 6, and dipped below 7 min for miles 7 - 9.  Miles 10 - 13 were also low 7 min.  The 3:05 group did catch back up to me and pass me around mile 11 but I could see them ahead of me for awhile.  I hit the first half in
1:34:38 so about 1.5 min slower than the pacing group planned to do so.

I started to slow a bit at mile 14 (7:33) but ran okay.  I thought if I can keep up 7:30 pace until the end that would be okay and still finish in less than 3:10 - 3:15.  Miles 14 - 20 I ran around 7:30 pace so no problem.  Then a hill that goes up 2.7 miles that starts just before mile 21.  As soon as I started up that hill, I felt the energy quickly drain from my body.  My legs felt like they could barely move and I wondered if I should walk.  Mile 21 which was a little uphill was 8:01, mile 22 at 8:50 and 23 at 9:26.  Then another half mile up
and the rest is pretty downhill or flat to the end.  I couldn't even run decent downhill.  The 3:15 pace group passed me at some point so then was hoping maybe I could finish in less than 3:30.  The top of my
right foot had been hurting for a few miles and felt like my shoe was too tight, right ankle hurt, and outside left knee felt strange.  I didn't want to stop to loosen the shoe since I was afraid I wouldn't get started and also the shoe strings are too short on these shoes. I think I need to get some longer shoe strings since I can barely get them tied.  From the beginning of the race I noticed my footfall had been louder than normal and my right foot was not cooperating.  It hasn't been tracking well in the last month.  But I don't feel that was really slowing me down.  I just didn't have the energy to run any faster.

I'm sure I got passed by a bunch of people but tried not to notice too much.  There were other runners I had seen earlier and as slow as I was moving I was passing a few.  Also, the half marathon course had
met back up with the marathon course and I was passing all of the people that were walking.  I realized that maybe I could get under 3:25.  I ran mile 24 at 9:29, 25 at 9:20, and 26 at 9:01.  The last 0.6 I had at 8:25 so I did manage to pick up slightly.  Overall time on the GPS was 3:24:26 (this changed on the website since yesterday but now sounds correct). 

The finishing shoot had fruit and some kind of bread.  I took a very green banana and water.  I ate the banana but only a few sips of the water.  I drank at all but 2 aid stations during the race.

I placed 11 of 147 in my age group and 109 of 1791 overall.  So even though I didn't run a great marathon compared to Heart of America, still not quite my slowest and another BQ since I am turning 45 soon.

I waited and waited thinking I would see Hugh finish.  He was trying to stay with the 3:55 group.  It turns out he was back at the car waiting for me.  He had to drop at 14 miles due to a hamstring issue.  He came back to the finish line and found me. We were late getting back to the hotel to  check out but they gave us an extra hour so that worked out.  Then we had Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  We laid down for a nap at 7 pm when we got home and ended up sleeping through until 8:30 the next morning without eating dinner.

I don't feel like I have injured anything.  Just a little soreness and am walking fine.  I'm in no mood though to sign up for any long races for awhile and it may be time to take a mini-break from running.  I will cross-train, clean up the nutrition, possibly lose or gain a few lbs, and enjoy the last 4 races of the year.  I will probably run the 10K in 3 weeks for the Hunger Run, another 10K on Thanksgiving, 10 miler in early December, and 5K on New Year's Eve.

The blue part of the medal at the top is transparent.

Monday, September 02, 2013

2013 Heart of America Marathon

I registered for this marathon as soon as registration opened since I can't see any reason not to run it every year.  This year was my 10th consecutive year running the race which I ran as my first marathon in 2004.  Being 2 weeks past Leadville 100 miler, I was surprisingly a lot more excited about running it than last year but pretty clueless about the pace I wanted to attempt.  My weight on race day was down 7 lbs from last year so was hoping that might help a little.

Temperature was 66F and humidity 81% which was thankfully less than last year and had cooled off quite a bit since we were in the mid-70s yesterday morning. I positioned myself near the front next to Phil and Sam. I started at a pace that felt good and first mile was 7:06.  It seemed like quite a few runners ahead of me and a few passing me in the first few miles.  Just after mile 4 I caught up to a guy and we ended up running together for quite a few miles which helped pass the time and he was keeping a good pace.  At 4 miles I was around a 7 min pace average which we closely maintained all the way to the half.

I wasn't sure how to attack Easley hill (near top is mile 13.1).  Sometimes I have run it and sometimes walked.  He ran up and I followed, but by the top I was a little ahead of him.  They called out my half split at the time which I think was 1:34 something.  He caught me a bit later and another guy also passed us looking strong.  I picked up the pace again and didn't see him again until he finished.

I took a gel at 45 min, 90 min, and 135 min.  Took water at all stations this year to play it safe.  Before Pierpont around mile 17 I passed 6 or 7 runners up the hill which kind of surprised me to pass that many at once.  I was still feeling good and running strong and seemed like better than the first half.  The first half  I had 7 sub 7 miles and had 10 sub 7s in the second half.  The hill at mile 20 which I consider to be one of the worst since it comes later in the race didn't seem so bad this year.

The stretch down Providence Rd which is over 3 miles seems to go on forever.  There is a long gradual hill near the end of this stretch which I was glad to get over and then had 2 miles to go.  I didn't see anyone behind me when I turned the corner.  Pace slowed just slightly to 7:04 at mile 25.  I passed a guy that started walking some on College Ave.  The final 0.4 mile stretch goes down Broadway, the main street in downtown Columbia.  GPS had 26.54 miles and last 0.54 ran at 6:19 pace so finished strong.  Time was 3:04:34.

Up until mile 21, I didn't feel any pain.  From 21 on, all leg muscles felt sore and had to work harder to keep the pace.  Breathing felt good the whole race.  10 HOAs completed and this one was my 4th fastest time.  Placed 1 of 28 in the 40 - 44 age group (next closest guy was 3:11) and 10th overall (same as last year) out of 237 finishers.  Last year there were 212 finishers and 2 under 3 hours.  This year we had 7 runners under 3 hours.

Hugh had a much better race than last year finishing in 4:13 so took 31 minutes off his time from last year.  The weather definitely helped some of the times today.

At the finish, we had Hot Box cookies, fruit, and pretzels (contributed by Andy & Hugh).  Also, had Gatorade G2 and soda.

After we attended the pizza party and awards ceremony at Shakespeare's Pizza and then went home to nap.


Race Results


Race Director's Report

Race shirt, number, medal, and award
Andy & Phil with their 1st place age group awards

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 Leadville "Race Across The Sky" 100 Mile Trail Run

Looking for a new challenge, I decided to sign up for the Leadville 100 miler on January 1, the day it opened for registration.  At the time it seemed like a good idea and then later I wasn't so sure. The entry fee wasn't too expensive (compared to Western States), I could run fewer ultras to offset the expense, and only cost $130 gas round trip in a Prius.  I tried to get into the Leadville hostel to save money on lodging but it was already full.

I signed up and tried to not think too much about the race until June since I had Land Between the Lakes 50 miler in February and the Berryman 50 miler in May.  If I think about a 100 mile race too much, I start thinking about how little I am training and then start to doubt myself.  I made a training plan which included other races but didn't go too crazy with the long runs or the mileage.  I ran a lot of 20 - 25 miles runs (some days there were breaks if I ran a race) and then 12 - 16 miles the following day.  In the 8 months preceding the race, I averaged only 52 miles per week.  I had hoped to do more hill work to get ready for the mountains, but it just didn't happen.  Sleep was severely lacking for 2 months (caring for immobile dog) and stressing more about work than necessary took its toll on my energy level.  I didn't feel like I was totally prepared for it but figured I had a good chance of finishing within the 30 hours.  After Rusty passed in July I started to get more sleep and feel better.  I had a good race at the Psycho Psummer 50K to boost my confidence.

I arrived in Leadville on Friday morning and checked into a cabin that was just a few blocks from where the race started.  It was in the backyard of one of the local residents and I had access to her home to use a bathroom.  I found out about the cabin just a couple weeks before the race so cancelled my hotel in Frisco which was 40 minutes away and the same cost.  She had 3 cats that would greet me at the door sometimes.  It turned out to be the right place to stay since it was so convenient to everywhere I needed to go.  I picked up my packet and had my medical check-in which consisted of a weigh-in before packet pickup closed down at 10 am.  At 11 am, I headed to the mandatory prerace meeting which turned out to be more of a pep talk.  There was also a doctor that gave some good advice.

For lunch, I had a calzone from High Mountain Pies which was more than enough for 2 people but ended up eating all of it since it was so good. I took a nap and then met Tim and Neilly late afternoon by the courthouse where I dropped off my drop bags.  They would be volunteering at the Hope Pass aid station and had generously offered to pace me later in the race.   After we made a plan I found some dinner.  Ended up eating at a hamburger place called Wild Bills since it was less busy than other options.  Then I went back to the cabin, laid out my clothes and was in bed shortly after 8 am with the race starting at 4 am (5 am Missouri time).  I set the alarm for 3 am but woke up about half hour early.  

I decided to take a shower since I had a bit of a pressure issue in my head due to the altitude.  The shower seemed to fix the problem and my head felt fine the rest of the time I was in Leadville.  I walked over to the start line and arrived around 3:45 am.  The corral was already full.  I was walking up to it and recognized Scott Jurek in the front.  I then walked up further and positioned myself about in the middle of everyone.  I didn't see anyone that I knew but kept hearing someone yell Jed Taylor several times.  He was from Columbia and also running the race.  There were 2 others from Columbia as well but I didn't know them.

After the Star Spangled Banner, we were off at 4 am.  Too late to back out now and no idea for sure what I am getting myself into.  I started off very conservatively.  The first 5 miles are gently downhill or flat.  I ran these at about upper 10 mi/min pace and I was getting passed by a lot of people.  Once we turned to go around Turquoise lake I needed to make my first of many bathroom stops to pee.  I quickly realized a woman was squatting nearby so moved and found another spot.  The next several miles were very crowded and nearly impossible to pass anyone.  I mostly attempted to pass people while walking uphill since my walking was faster.  It was difficult to pass though and sometimes the line of runners almost came to a stop.  I figured this should definitely prevent me from going out too fast but was also afraid it might be way too slow.  My light was flashing at me even though it had fresh batteries.  It wasn't much of a concern since everyone around me had lights and the view of long line of people with lights looking back was kind of cool to see.

I arrived at the first aid station at 13 miles just about when I expected in 2:31 and was out within 5 minutes after refilling my bottles,  grabbing more gel and baby food squeeze packets, and dropping off my light.  The next aid station is Outward Bound (also called Fish Hatchery) and I remember about the first 5 miles walking/running as I climbed about 1200 ft to the top of Sugarloaf pass.  There were some runnable sections so I still made pretty good time even though had a 15 and 16 min mile.  Definitely had to lower the standards for my usual pace.  Once I reached the top of the pass I went down the "powerline" section.  Several people passed me on this section since I took it easy (about 11 min miles) so I didn't trash my quads.  Another aid/drop bag station and same routine as before.  At this point I have been running about 4 hr 45 min and 23 miles, a little slower than I expected but feeling good.

The next aid station, Half Pipe, is 5.6 miles and running on a paved road for a couple miles and then following a pipeline right-away.  I made pretty good time on this section running about 10:30 - 10:45 pace.  At mile 29, I am at 5 hr 54 min which is right where I wanted to be.

The section to Twin Lakes is approximately 10 miles.  The first 6.5 miles gradually climbs but some is sort of runnable with ups and down.  Then there is a 3.5 mile downhill to Twin Lakes which I didn't think how much fun (not) that was going to be running up later.  I took it easy again on the downhill to save the quads.  When I arrived at Twin Lakes I changed into my trail shoes to get ready for the climb up Hope Pass, the section which I was most worried about what to expect.

We were warned to take a rain jacket with us up Hope Pass even if the weather looked beautiful since things can quickly change.  It could rain, lightening, or even snow.  I took one even though it was a pain carrying the jacket and the sky looked pretty good.  I should have tied around my waist but did not.  There was just over mile flat before starting the long climb.  We crossed a creek and there was no avoiding getting the feet wet.  There was a rope to hang onto since there was  bit of a current.  Some people changed their socks at this point.  I kept going and my feet quickly dried out since it was fairly sunny and warm.  We started the climb.  I asked a woman if she had climbed it before and if it ever flattened out.  She said that it just keeps going up pretty much the same as we were currently climbing.  I heard someone playing a harmonica which I thought kind of strange, but someone had climbed up part way to entertain us.  It felt like nearly every muscle my legs were burning, yet I kept climbing without taking a break.  A couple people with trekking poles passed me but I ended up passing more people later even though I was moving excruciatingly slow.  I kept thinking I should stop and take a break but decided to keep moving no matter how slow.  There were people stopped along the way.  Some standing, some sitting on logs, and some bent over.  I soon realized why I had heard this called "Hopeless".  These people had sad hopeless looks on their faces.  It was very quiet and there was no talking.  The mood around me was kind of depressing.

Finally we make to the Hope Pass aid station but we are about half mile from the top.  The views up here are amazing so it is worth taking a few seconds to look away from the trail.  I am so happy to see that aid station along with the llamas but also said to an aid station volunteer that I didn't think it was that bad so far although some of the last miles had taken me 24 - 26 min.  I get to see Tim and Neilly working the aid station and they were very helpful getting me everything I needed.  I had Ramen Noodle broth, orange slices, and watermelon.  I felt just a touch of nausea which would stay with me on and off the rest of the day.  I left them my jacket and one of my water bottles.  Carrying the jacket turned out to be unnecessary on this particular day.

We climb the rest of the way and begin to see the top runners coming back.  They tell us we are almost there.  At the top there is a camera which I am sure a lot of people were smiling for this one.  I was very happy get a bit of a break going down.  The next 4 miles were mostly down with a hill before Winfield.  Even though mostly down, this was slow going (18 min pace) since a lot of rough rocks and stepping out of the way of runners coming back.  Also, legs needed to recover from the long climb.  We had to run on a very short section of gravel road before Winfield.

There were way too many people in Winfield and I had to squeeze around cars driving in the road to get to the aid station.  Winfield was the only station where I had to weigh in.  I was down 3 lbs which was good.  I left Winfield at 12 hours so am 20 min behind where I had estimated but feeling good that I have 18 hours to go back.  I was glad to get out of Winfield and back on the trail.  The cuttoff to leave Winfield is 14 hours so I easily met that requirement as well.

Going back up Hope Pass, even though it is about 2 miles less climb (3 miles vs. 5 miles), was tough.  It was in the sun a lot more climbing.  I came up behind a man and woman (she was pacing).  She said she was from Minnesota and I asked where he was from and he said St. Louis, Missouri.  At this point, I noticed he was wearing a Missouri jersey and thinking that was a stupid question.  I could feel my heart rate getting high so stopped with them about 3 different times to let it go down and felt refreshed enough to continue.  I actually had a 32 min mile on the way back. It was slow, but I as making progress.  When I got back to the Hope Pass aid station they had run out of some food, cups, and had diluted the Coke.  This aid station was considered for emergency use only since it is tough to get people and supplies to it.  I had some Ramen noodles in my extra water bottle and then Tim filled it with diluted Coke which I drank on the way down since I was getting sick of Succeed.  I took my jacket back just in case and this time he tied it around my waist.

On the way down, I let myself run a little even though I was still worried about trashing the quads. I was less careful than on the earlier downhill.  I had a couple guys catch up to me near the bottom.  We crossed the creek and into the aid station together.  I changed into my dry road shoes, picked up my GPS and charger, and headlamp and was on my way.  Just as I was leaving my Garmin says low battery and before I could get the charger connected it shut off.  I turned back on and connected the charger so would not be able to see my pace (not that I wanted to) while it was charging for the next 2 hours.

There was a 4 mile climb out of Twin Lakes which was a tough section.  I turned my light on and passed a few people walking and some stopped having a hard time.  I may have taken a couple breaks.  I had another 32 min mile.  Feeling kind of unmotivated but still moving forward.  Looking forward to having a pacer soon.  I go into the aid station and replenish my supplies.  I am doing a good job of either getting down a gel or a baby food every hour but my drink is becoming less appealing.   Around mile 71, I start looking for Neilly or Tim.  We couldn't meet at the aid station so had to wait.  I see cars parked later and am looking.  Neilly soon comes up behind me so I had missed her.  I managed some 13 min miles running with her and we took a few walk breaks as well.  I'm still wearing a short sleeve shirt even though it has cooled off.  I still feel warm.

Neilly contacts Tim as we get close to Outward Bound (76.5 miles).  He is planning to take over pacing and get me over the power lines which I had kind of forgot about that climb coming up.  It is over 4 miles of climbing and every so often you think you are done and then it goes up again.  Tim set a good pace going up and I had to stop a few times to take a break.  We managed about 20 min miles going up this climb.  After this section, we are finally done with major climbs.  We can relax a little and 5 miles to go to the final aid station, May Queen.  It was good to be done with the climbs since all day they were really causing me pain between the shoulders at the base of my neck.  Whenever I could run a little things loosened up and felt better.  Tim gets me to run between various markers and we walk the rest.  I changed my light batteries since the trail is getting technical and I don't want to fall.  It is getting more difficult to step down since I am not feeling quite as nimble.

Neilly takes over pacing at May Queen.  I refilled my supplies.  I couldn't get myself to drink anymore Powerade or Succeed so I tried the Herbalife which didn't taste that great, but decided to fill up my bottle. Muscles are a bit more sore than when I ran with her earlier so told her we would probably not be doing much running.  We mostly are hiking about 18 min pace and I am not feeling too comfortable with the trail.  I know I am going to finish so walking is just fine with me.  We did a lot of talking which helped to pass the time.

We met Tim at the boat ramp where they decided that Neilly would continue with me to the finish.  She kept reminding me to drink and eat.  At this point to the end we went a little faster (14 - 16 min pace so my overall pace was actually going down) and maybe some brief spurts of running.  We didn't see hardly anyone for quite awhile and then start passing some people.  Within a mile to the end we see 3 other runners.  We stay with them.  About half mile from the end someone says they think we should run to the end. Due to peer pressure, I started "running".  My legs were trashed so they left me in the dust.  I can see the finish and keep running.  I notice the slight incline at the end but am able to continue, get to the red carpet, and cross the finish in 26 hours 57 minutes and 14 seconds.  I am given my medal.  I managed a 16:10 pace, had just over 3 hours to spare, and no falls.  I am satisfied with my finish.

Medical weighed me in and now I am down only 1 pound.  Tim and Neilly drive me back to my cabin.  I am dreading going to the awards ceremony at noon since I would much rather sleep.  We had to attend in order to get our buckles and our sweatshirt.  Food does not sound appealing at all.  I manage to take a shower but couldn't get all the dust scrubbed off.  I am fortunate that my feet were in great shape and looked normal (sorry, no scary feet pictures to share).  Overall, I am just sore.  I took a nap and managed to drive and walk into the awards ceremony.

A woman sat down by me and asked about the race.  She had finished in 22 hours something.  I asked if she won and she was third.  A guy with her offered me some of their food but I declined since I still wasn't feeling like eating.  The awards seemed to take forever.  They called all the age groups up to the stage plus the Leadman (completed both bike and run), various milestones for completing the race, etc.  Then they called all the 25 hours or less to get their buckles and sweatshirts, and finally the rest of us.  The sweatshirt was personalized with my name and time. Finally, I was able to leave after 1 hr 15 min and went to eat lunch, took a nap, got some dinner, slept, got up early, and drove all the way back to Columbia.  I was home in time for dinner at 6 pm on Monday evening.

This was a great experience but I am at the point (again) where not sure if I want to run any more 100 milers.  Yes, I know I've said it before.  100Ks or a multiday races are sounding more appealing.  Leadville is definitely the commercialization of the the 100 miler which I know a lot of people don't like.  I've heard some complaining since the race and yet others like myself that said they didn't encounter any of those problems.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to run it.  I feel the organizers did a decent job considering the size of the field they allow in the race.

Last Saturday a guy posted a 12 minute YouTube video he had taken at Leadville on the ultra e-mail group that I subscribe.  I saved for later and watched last night.  To my surprise this turned out to be the guy from Missouri that I came up behind when climbing the back side of Hope Pass. I didn't realize he had a camera on him. Over half way through the video I appeared in the footage.  It is between 8:55 - 9:25.  I am wearing a bright yellow shirt.



Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Psycho Psummer 50K

I really enjoy the summer version of this race so signed up for it the 3rd year in a row.  I've run the spring version 3 times, but have enjoyed the summer version the most.  I prefer running in the heat to the cold and a there is a greater chance of the trail being dry in the summer and no snow or ice or mud to contend with.  Also, figured this race would be a chance to get a 30+ mile run before Leadville 100 next month.  Unlike last year my motivation has been pretty good but energy has not been good and have felt drained much of the time.  Taking care of our elderly dog with many nights of interrupted sleep the past 2 months had really began to wear me down.  Stress at work and stress with our house being in chaos due to an unfinished flooring project hasn't helped either.   We sadly said goodbye to our dog Rusty a week ago. I have begun to feel human again since I am getting uninterrupted sleep.  At this point last year I had already run 6 ultras and 1 marathon.  This year I had run only 2 fifty milers so shouldn't have been as worn down from long races with my last 50 miler being in May.

Hugh rode with me to Kansas City the morning of the race.   We left a little later than I had planned at 5:15 am so had to make up some time but managed to arrive around 7:15 am at a church parking lot where they shuttled us to the race.  Last year we were allowed to park on the race site so this was a new thing.  I had everything ready and in a bag so only needed to pick up my race packet and use the bathroom.  My packet included a shirt, glass, and a 50K Trail Nerds sticker.  I brought 2 small coolers for my 3 bottles and had filled them with Succeed and ice.  I also packed 2 Powerade Zeros to drink after then end of the first 2 loops extra hydration.  I had 4 gels and 2 squeeze packets of the apple based kids food.  Before the race I took one of the Succeed Prerace Packets.  I took these for the first time at the Berryman 50 and felt great the entire race so decided to try them again.   The aid stations were serving Heed this year instead of Succeed so I just planned to refill my bottle with water as needed and then get a new bottle of Succeed at the end of each loop.  I used the Clip2 this time instead of the Ultra but not sure I noticed much difference between them. 

The race started at 8 am.  My goal was to finish sub-6 hours like last year.  The temperature was about 72F and humidity didn't seem too bad.  I went shirtless and felt pretty comfortable. The 20 milers started off at the same time with us and the 10 milers would start an hour later.  I started off with a lot of people before we spread out.  There was some passing back and forth for awhile since I took it easier uphill than most people so would  pass them back on the flat and downhill sections.

Once more people cleared, I started thinking about our dogs Rusty and Bruno (died last Nov), then about a couple friends fathers that died on Friday, the stress of work, and the floor.  Really not pleasant thoughts at all but eventually was able to let go of all this and just enjoy the run.

I only stopped at a few aid stations to refill my bottles on all the loops even though it wasn't always quite empty so still had some of the orange flavor succeed.  The only thing I took from aid stations was watermelon and tried a packet of shot blocks a couple times plus took 1 gel each loop and 2 gels the last loop.   My pace was around 10-something per mile.

The hills always start to feel a little brutal during the last 3 miles of the loop but I walked/run up them as I could.  I picked up a new bottle of Succeed after each loop and drank the bottle of PowerAde and said hi to Hugh after each loop.  He was out running on the road during my first 2 loops.  I ran a few miles with Mindy the second loop running behind her awhile and ahead and then we eventually parted at an aid station but she wasn't far behind.  I've run with her at another race and always fun talking to her.  It seemed like I was seeing more people than usual on the trails even the 3rd loop.  I wasn't paying much attention to which race (10 mi, 20 mi, or 50K) they were running.

The temperature got up to around 91 I think but it stayed cloudy most of the time.  I felt strong and was amazed I ran each loop about the same time.  It did become a bit more difficult to keep the same pace as time went on but I really took advantage of the dry smooth trail conditions and the first 7 miles of the loop were very runnable.  The course was slightly different this year and I think easier than the previous 2 summer courses.  I had a very uneventful race.  No falls, no nausea, and stayed pretty well hydrated.  The only thing was I did wear a new pair of shoes and my little toes were rubbing a bit and pretty red but not blistered by the end.  I should have applied more Body Glide on them right before the race since I had done it when we left at home. Received a bottle opener finisher's medal at the end.

My loop splits were:
1st loop 1:38:59 - 18th
2nd loop 1:41:18 - 12th
3rd loop - 1:43:49 - 8th

Overall:  5:04:08, 8th of 67, 3rd of 21 of the 40 - 49.

Previous summer race results:
2012: 5:54
2011: 6:21

The entire 50K field was "chicked" by Kaci Lickteig, an Olympic Marathon hopeful, who likes to trail race ultras, for fun and ran a 4:19 and incredibly even splits at 1:27, 1:27, and 1:25.  I was pleased with my splits being pretty even and I think there were 2 others that had pretty even splits and 1 guy I know ran negatives.  This is tough to do on this loop course with the temperature warming up each loop.

I didn't feel like eating much of the post race food when we left around 2 pm.  We made a stop at Trader Joes in KC and decided on Cheesecake Factory an early dinner.  I had an everything pizza, salad, and Adam's peanut butter cheesecake.    I ran 8 miles the day after the race which felt pretty good once I warmed up.

My Pictures (all the pictures were free to download!)

Finish Video


Course Map/Splits

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Berryman 50 miler

Race Results

Splits and Map

Race Website

Columbia Runner Photos

All Race Photos

I have run this 50 miler 3 times and most recently last year.  It has always been a challenge either with mud, rain, heat or trees down.  This year the trail was pretty dry and the heat would likely be the biggest obstacle even though I tend to run pretty well in heat.

I drove down with Jeff and David on Friday and Shawn and Susan met us at the campsite. It poured rain a couple times in the afternoon so we went into the camper and did some napping. Karen and Steve also came by later and we all fixed our dinners.  I think we were in bed before 10 pm and set the alarm for 5 am.  Thankfully, I slept pretty well which I have not been doing at home most nights due to Rusty dog keeping me awake. 

The 50 miler started at 6:30 am so had 1.5 hrs to get ready once I woke up.  I had a Lean Body shake, banana, and Hammer bar - about 600 calories total.  I also took a packet of Succeed Pre-Race Pack supplements which I tried for the first time ever.  There was no waiting the first 2 times to use the bathrooms.  The marathon starts at 8 am so that helps keep the lines shorter.  It was already in the 60s and felt very humid at 6:30 am and it was warm enough to run without a shirt. We were allowed a drop bag at the start and Brazil Creek at 16 miles.  I decided to put a bag at Brazil Creek this year so I wouldn't need to carry as much supplies. 

I had a variety of gels, chews, and also used Plum Kids Organic Mashups smoothies.  The smoothies are in a packet like a gel but 3 oz and has a screw top cap.  They were apple based but flavored with other fruits and come in several flavors.  It was my first time using them and they were pretty tasty and caused no issues.  Also, I tried the Honey Stinger chews for the first time and they were good too.  I've found I like using a variety of things or I will tend to avoid eating.  I started out with Succeed Ultra in my bottle and switched to either the Clip2 or Amino, both of which have more protein than the Ultra later in the race.  In between I also used Hammer Fizz since I don't like too much plain water while/ running. Also, I left a bottle of PowerAde Zero at the start bag and Brazil Creek that I would drink to get extra hydration.  It goes down smoothly and helps me catch up when I am falling behind on hydration on a warm day. Two bottles would have been even better at Brazil Creek since I drank the entire bottle the first loop.  I carried a few of the Succeed caps and ended up taking only 3 or 4.  I was quite salty by the end of the day.

The course is two 25.7 mi loops. We started at 6:30 am and headed straight into the woods.  No one was eager to get into the front which is often the case at ultra events.  If you start too fast, you will blow up.  I wasn't sure where to position myself but started out at about the 10th position which turned out to be about right even though I was passed by 3 guys after a few miles.  Normally, I feel like it takes 8 miles or so to warm up but felt pretty decent early in the race.  My goal was to keep about a 10 - 10:30 min pace as long as possible.  Mostly I just ran by feel and kept it at an easy effort taking advantage of the down hills and keeping even effort on the up hills.

There were 6 aid stations plus the start/finish aid station.  Aid stations were 3.5 - 4 mi apart except the last one was 2.3 from the finish.  At the first station, I just topped off my Succeed bottle with water.  I had my first Honey Stinger Chews at about 1.5 hrs and only about half the packet.  Then had either a gel or chew or smoothie packet about every hr.  At aid stations I had a piece of banana and a few pretzels and sometimes nothing.  I had a few pieces of potatoes dipped in salt once.  Also, drank a cup of Coke a few times.

Eventually, I passed 3 runners in the first loop before 16 miles and the first 12 miles of the race felt really good.  After that still felt decent.  I had a guy running behind me for short awhile that I let pass before Brazil Creek but otherwise ran the entire race alone.  He had been chasing me down the hill and I didn't like the pressure so stopped on one of the switchbacks to pee and let him go by.  At Brazil Creek, I drank my PowerAde, ate some banana, and then took off.  When I left Brazil Creek, I almost forgot to get on the road and turned off on a trail but quickly realized my mistake so didn't waste too much time.  Ended up passing one guy on the road.  Also, realized I forgot to pick up more nutrition, but didn't worry about it. I had just had a gel so decided I would get what I needed at aid stations for the rest of the loop which ended up being Coke, bananas, and pretzels.  I was looking forward to getting the PowerAde and drinking the mini-smoothie back at the start.  It was humid and slowly warming up.  I was peeing fairly regularly so hydration was good and no nausea at all.  In most races 50K+, I feel some but not this time.  I was kind of feeling like I needed a bathroom and hoped I could make it the full loop.  I tripped on a few things but never fell.  I did drop my water bottle once when I tripped while trying to keep my balance.

I finished the first loop in 4:20:53 and headed to the bathroom.  Surprisingly, I finished the loop, 14 min faster than last year.  At this point, I was in 9th place.  They had told me 10th at the next to last aid station, but am guessing someone dropped after their first loop.  After using the bathroom, I picked up a full bottle of Succeed that I had already prepared, grabbed a few supplies and took off at about 4:25.  I wasn't thinking too clearly at this point since I nearly went back out down a different trail until someone yelled and I moved over to the correct trail.  About 9 mi into the second loop at 35 miles, I started to feel really good again.  I could run my easy pace, I was picking up my feet, nothing hurt and everything seemed to be going smoothly.

I started to come up behind runners that were moving more slowly.  I heard a couple guys talking and actually took me awhile before I caught up to them.  I stayed behind for a few moments and then decided to pass and their voices faded.  The only wildlife I saw all day were a couple turtles and had to jump over 1 snake.  The second time at Brazil Creek, I remembered to grab my nutrition.  I drank a couple extra cups of water in addition to filling my bottle.  I think the temp got up to around 81 but the sun stayed under most of the time. I had my second mini-smoothie on the way out and it went down very well.  I also remembered this time to take the road.  I think I was in 4th place at this point and didn't catch another runner until later.  I am really not remembering a lot of specifics which isn't unusual for me.

At the next to last aid station (45.7 miles), they told me I was in 3rd place and second place was about 10 min ahead and first an hour.  I am still feeling good but of course walking parts of any long hills.  I only had 1 mile over 13 min and that was at the Brazil Creek drop bag on the second loop.  Otherwise, mostly in the 10s - 11s with an occasional 12 min.  While I was running and especially during the second loop I was not paying much attention to my splits.  I kept pushing since I had made it this far and didn't want to slow down right before the end.  This was definitely going better than last year when Steve and I both felt pretty crappy the last 10 miles or so due to the heat and getting done didn't come too soon.

I crossed the finish in 9 hr, 1 min, 13 seconds (10:32 pace overall for 51.4 mi - GPS had slightly less), so 4 hr and 40 min for the second loop.  I was quite surprised I was that fast. It was only 20 min slower than the first loop and the closest loop splits of any other runner.  It is tough to run even splits on this course due to the fact it heats up the second loop which makes it harder.  The results have me in 9th place for my first loop, 2nd place for the 2nd loop, and placed 3rd overall. After I crossed the finish, Victoria (co-race director) walked over to me and handed me a plaque for the 1st place Masters which I also won last year for the first time.  Overall, this was my best overall placing in this race and I ended up only 2 min behind second place, and 55 min behind that fast Tommy.  This ended up being my second fastest Berryman 50 mile and feel like it is the best 50 I have run due to the splits and feeling good the entire time.  Also, felt like I had something left at the end.

After about 45 minutes, I felt like eating a bit and 45 min later I was really hungry and ate the left over food I had brought to the race. Even though I had drank what I felt like a lot during the race, I couldn't seem to drink enough after.  I estimate between the nutritional supplements and the aid stations, I consumed about 2000 calories during the race.  I waited with Karen (who finished the marathon earlier - 1st place Senior Masters) and Susan (who took good care of us) to see David, Steve, and Jeff finish.  Shawn was out pacing Laura for her second loop.

Last year my left ankle was sore after the race and this year it is the right ankle.  I did step on something a little funny in the last 5 or so miles so that may be the issue but it feels much better 2 days later.  Good to know that my left ankle isn't always necessarily the issue as it has been in the past.  Feeling very thankful this race went well and I feel good after.  I was a little worried about this race since my training wasn't all that had hoped and sleep was definitely lacking the past couple weeks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Abby dog's solo run, AKA, "Abby dog's great escape" & rescue

On Tuesday May 7, I took Abby dog to her final beginner dog training class at PetSmart. My goal for the class was to strengthen the bond with her by spending time with her away from home and hopefully she could learn a few commands. She seems to like Hugh but is still timid around me.  She will play with him if he throws a toy and won't take a toy from me.  I've felt like our bond is getting closer, but still not fully sealed.  We have both been running with her and she loves to run.  Whenever one of us would go on a run, she was usually at the closet door waiting for her collar and leash.  Since we got her in December, she had been running 30 - 50 miles per week and her longest run was 15 miles and she holds a steady pace unless it is really warm outside.  Running seems to give her a purpose in life and she is a happier dog as a result.

I honestly wasn't expecting much from the class since she is so timid and too shy to relax around people. I was hoping just being at the class would help her gain confidence. The first class she crawled under my chair and I wondered if she was truly ready for the class.  However, as the weeks progressed she gained more confidence in class and around me at home.  In class she was performing the commands with the aid of string cheese which I used since regular dog treats weren't going to cut it. She wasn't always quick and consistent to respond to commands but she was trying. She couldn't do commands like "sit" or "down" out in the open but did fine backed up against the wall. Handing her to the trainer and telling her to "come" was not a problem since she would rather be with me than a stranger or people she doesn't know very well.  "Watch me" is difficult since she doesn't like to make eye contact very long but I think we saw some improvement.

After the first class, the trainer had even mentioned the policy where we could take the class again if we weren't satisfied. I wasn't sure she would be able to pass the class either so wasn't surprised that taking the class again might be a good idea. We couldn't train much outside of class since it was too frightening for her.  This is a dog that wouldn't even come to the kitchen to eat when we first got her and we had to take her food to the bedroom and feed her on the bed. Finally, she started coming to eat when called to the kitchen and eating under the counter we were making progress.  She seemed to enjoy going to class since she would make excited noises when we turned into the parking lot. Theses were the same types of noises she made when she was excited to go for a run. She passed the class and received her certificate on Tuesday night. Before leaving, I talked to Amanda, the trainer about another class since she had mentioned she hoped we would take her next class. Even though she had passed, I didn't think she was quite ready for the next class. Amanda said she could still take the class again as she had said on the first night so I decided I would bring her back on a Saturday class that starts in June.

On the way out of the store, about 7:25 pm, our friend John and his friend Samantha were at the checkout. I stopped for a moment to talk to them and Abby was pulling while I was stopped. Whenever we are walking and she pulls, I stop until she quits pulling before proceeding.  However in this case we were already stopped and she was pulling,  tuning me out, and seemed to be having a panic attack that I had not witnessed in the past.  She started pulling harder so I gave in and started to leave and then she pulled out of her collar. She got to the automatic doors that opened, but just slow enough I was able to grab her neck and put the collar back on. I am not sure what happened next, but the leash came off and her identification tag was somehow hanging with it. I'm guessing it must have attached to the leash earlier and I didn't notice. She broke loose and started to run. I thought she would go to the car so didn't run too quickly after her, but she kept running. Also, thought if I did run after her, she would be more likely to keep running from me. The next thing I know she is across the parking lot and a car coming at her as it was leaving  and hits her. I heard the hit and her yelp and saw her get knocked down, but she got right back up and ran. I heard a woman yelling at the driver and not sure exactly what that was about.  Maybe he wasn't going to stop, but certainly couldn't blame him.  I jumped into John and Sam's car and we take off but weren't sure where she went. We looked a bit on the same side of the road as the store around some apartments on Ash St.

At 7:33 pm, I get a phone call from the trainer saying a guy (Jack) in my class has her. She then called back and said he didn't actually have her but was with her at Providence and Ash  which is 2.3 miles from the store. John took me back to my car and we took off and didn't see Jack. I'm really not sure the sequence of events  at this point (there were so many phone calls), but Amanda called and said Jack was following her in a gold Lexus. She went ahead and gave me his number. I called him and he said they were now at Stephen's Lake (4 miles from the store) and a guy on a bike also was following her. Before I could get to Stephen's Lake, he called and said she was at Broadway Village apartments (about 4.5 miles).  He thought maybe she wouldn't be able to get out. Then he called back and said she was at Landmark Bank (half mile from Broadway Village)  at the corner of Old 63 and Broadway. At this point I was pretty sure she was headed home (near Hollywood Theaters) but was possibly injured from the car and could get hit by another car.

Jack called back and said he lost her. Then I got a call from John they had spotted her. I was having problems with my phone and had to call back. Before I could call back, Sam called at little after 8 pm and said she Abby had ran down Valley View Drive, a dead end off of Old 63 and into the woods. John had followed her. I was there within a few minutes. I went down a trail between some houses but had no idea which way he had gone and he was out of ear shot. I went back and waited with Sam. She mentioned that Abby had been hit again by a car on Old 63 but the guy that hit her said he didn't think he hit her very hard. Seemed like a half hour passed and we got a call from John.  He was at the Phillips 66 station just a little bit up the road. He had followed her and said she was wearing down, mouth foaming, but had lost her. Not knowing what to do I drove around a bit looking, but it was dark.

I went home and told Hugh. We went to where she went into the woods, but it was too dark to go looking. Chuck from his quartet had driven to the area to look around. We went home and he went back out on foot but no luck. I was hoping she might find her way home. I was pretty devastated at this point and pretty much shut down. Hoping for the best but assuming the worst since she had been hit twice, I went to bed feeling helpless and couldn't sleep. I was afraid if she did try to get home, she would get hit again since she doesn't seem to have any sense that cars can hit her. Hugh came back and waited outside for awhile. We left her dog bed on the steps, the garage door open, and the gate in the back yard in case she came home. Some neighbors went out looking when he told them what happened.

After a very sleepless night with a few dreams about her showing up, Hugh got up and went for a run. I couldn't sleep so I got up and decided I would go looking in the woods where she was last seen. I took my GPS so I would have a record of where I looked and a water bottle.  I parked at Grindstone Park around 6:45 am and was hoping I could just follow the creek from Stadium and Old 63 but couldn't get very far before I ran into obstacles that prevented me from going further. I decided to walk up to the Phillips 66 where we met John and see if I could get down the bluff to the creek. I really didn't want to go between people's houses and get arrested for trespassing.  I was able to get to the creek down a hill that wasn't too steep near the little park off Old 63 and near the Phillips 66.

Once I got to the creek, I walked as far as I could and reached a point where I didn't think she could go any further since the terrain no longer followed the creek where it would be easy to walk. I turned around and went back and reached the point where I had been the night before when she went into the woods.  Even the night before I wondered if maybe she could have crossed the creek. I determined it was possible in a few places since it was shallow but there was also water moving but not too fast. I walked as far north as I could to a point where it was impossible to easily go any further. I then went back and looked at the point of the creek where I thought she might cross and I could cross as well. I thought about crossing to go look but decided to go home around 8 am. I had walked only around 4 miles round trip from my car.

Shortly after I got home I got a text from Tom S. (Tryathletics) offering to look and also gave me ideas where to post on Facebook.  I gave him an idea of the area and he went looking on his bike around campus, Grindstone park, and the apartments near Old 63 and Stadium.  I put a message on several Facebook pages (City of Columbia, University of Missouri, CMHS, emailed Second Chance).    Also, shared on my own page and ended up with 133 shares, plus others shared so a lot of people were aware.  I received a response from a woman named Liz that contained some very helpful information from No Kill Columbia - Lost Your Pet as to what to do if you lose your pet. This is the organization that Abby and I won the race It's Raining Cats and Dogs on April 28th.  Liz posted on a FB site called Columbia Missouri Lost and Found Paws.  I was already planning to do many of these things on the list but it gave me a clear plan to make sure I didn't miss any steps. I left a report with animal control, put an ad on Craigslist, sent picture to my coworker whose husband works for animal control, went to the CMHS with a picture and filed a report. Animal control and CMHS were very helpful. The employees at CMHS remembered her since we just adopted her in December.  I went back home, and of course looking along the way for any loose dogs.

I had taken the day off but still planned to attend a training class in the afternoon since if I did not attend my department would be charged for the class. It was too late to cancel or I would have done so since I was not in a good state of mind to attend. Hugh and I went to lunch.  We didn't feel like eating but were still hungry. At lunch, he asked if she was still wearing her thunder shirt (a shirt to calm dogs) when she escaped and I said yes, but wasn't sure if it had stayed on. I called the guy that followed her and he said she was wearing it so I added that to my Craigslist ad. I was glad to learn she was wearing it since it would make her look even more lost and easier to identify if she was still alive. On the way home from lunch some scam artist called from a private number that was difficult to understand. The gist of the call was they had retrieved thousands of lost pets over the past 10 years. I assume he got my number from Craigslist and I hung up. I went to my class while Hugh would do so more looking. Since she had not come home I held little hope we would see her again. I thought she could have been so injured she crawled off somewhere to die in the woods.  Also, I still had a bit of hope that we might see her again.

I made it fine though the first half of the class, but found it increasingly difficult to concentrate the rest of the time. During a break I sent a mass e-mail to all of our neighbors with the Craiglist ad. I got a text from Kathy in class offering to help search after work. I told her Hugh was out searching and we were not going to be able to do any looking later but gave her an idea of where she might look. I had been thinking it was a good idea to look in the area along roads and bike trails thinking she might have been hit or the chance someone would see her alive as well.  I read an article during a break in class that 93% of missing dogs were eventually found and returned to their owners. I had read an article earlier that the odds for finding timid dogs were not good since they won't go up to people (even won't recognize their owners), and are often hit by cars since they are so skittish. Also read that they would usually hide out somewhere away from people which got me to thinking maybe I should check out the other side of the creek very soon.

I got out of class around 4:20 and made it over to a trail entrance near the vet school that I thought I could use to get to the creek. I figured I had about 40 min to look and then would go home. It was a gravel trail and at one point there was an option to go right on a dirt trail. That looked to be the way to go to get to the creek. Eventually, I got to the creek and followed it south as far as I could go before the terrain made it difficult to walk and that trail ended. I turned around and somehow didn't get back on the same trail but instead climbed higher onto a bluff and decided to walk the bluff back which really didn't have a trail. I heard and saw a bunch of deer. A few minutes later I could hardly believe my eyes. I see Abby and when she sees me she runs away from me. I knew for sure it was her since she was wearing the thunder shirt. She isn't moving too quickly but I slowly follow her since she is moving away from me. I lose her and call Hugh to help come look and am hoping she might come to him if we see her.  He mentioned he had been to the same trail earlier but not up higher where I found her.

Hugh arrives and finds me. He runs around calling her and I retrace my steps back to where I went up the bluff. He has headed back towards the beginning of the trail which isn't too far. Soon he calls and says he has her in the car and at this point there were tears of joy. As he was going back to the car, he spotted her off the trail and she came right to him. I called Kathy to tell her to update Facebook since we would need to take her to a vet to have her checked out. At first we considered taking her to the vet school since we were right there, but realized that our vet was still open so I called to tell them on my walk back to the parking lot. She looked pretty good other than bloody pads on her paws. I called everyone that needed to know we found her on the way there. Dr. Debbie at MyZoo Animal Hospital checked her out and prescribed an antibiotic due to the bloody paws since sometimes something can get in a nail and cause an infection. Everything else checked out and her temperature was normal. I told her I was worried there could be injuries from the cars and she said to observe her gums closely for a change from pink to white. Also, she could start to show signs of soreness once she calmed down. At this point I think she was still pretty hyped up on adrenaline from her adventure so she seemed to be moving around just fine.

We took her home and fed her. She devoured her food and drank quite a bit of water. Then she went to the bedroom and noticed that she walked pretty gingerly. I carried her outside to potty before bed since I didn't want her to have to walk and she didn't seem to want to get off the bed. Thursday morning she still wanted to stay on the bed so I fed her in bed and she got her in her crate before leaving. She seemed a little interested when I left to go to a run Thursday night but didn't make an attempt to get off the bed. Her paws will need to heal before she can go on a run with us again. I think the paws are the reason she is walking so gingerly.  At this point, I don't suspect any other injuries other than she is likely just sore overall.

I also fed her on the bed last night so she didn't have to get up and carried her outside. This morning she came to the kitchen to get her food but still is walking cautiously.   She sat under the counter like usual during lunch and we even got a few tail wags. She showed interest in going outside so I put the leash on her and we walked around a little in the front yard.  She actually seems a little more comfortable around me, but may be that she can't move very fast right now so lets me walk up to her and pet her.

I learned a few things from this experience.  I actually feared something like this could happen and is one reason I used the Lupine Combo Collar on her when running.  It keeps her from backing out of her collar which she tried to do several times after we first got her in December.  I didn't think she would need it in the class so just used her regular collar.  I had tried a harness at one point when I first took her on a run but she refused to move.  We might have to revisit the harness at some point since I think it might work well for running.

I think I had such a bad reaction at first since I witnessed her being hit by the first car and assumed the worst and feeling tremendous guilt since it happened. The chase was very stressful since I knew she was out on the roads and could never make it to the point she was at since she kept moving so quickly.  All that adrenaline released and still not able retrieve her and made me want to retreat and give up at that point.  Also, wasn't sure what to do next right after it happened.  Looking seemed obvious, but it was dark and there were so many places she could have gone.  I read a lot of people will give up too easily on finding a lost pet to avoid the grieving process. Also, read in an article that 93% of lost pets are found and safely returned to their homes.  I found that statistic a little hard to believe since I assumed the worst.  Usually, I'm a pretty optimistic person but was not feeling it at the time.

In order to have a chance of finding her, I realized that I had to consider her temperament and not just expect her to come home or appear on a street somewhere.  I read the article What You Don't Know About Lost Pets Can Hurt Them which I found helpful but also discouraging if you have a timid pet since they are often hit by cars.  Also, I read Petfinder's How to Find Your Lost Dog.  The part that I found helpful is that "Most dogs are recovered well within a two-mile circle of their home".  Even though she escaped 5+ miles away, she was actually about 1.2 miles from home "as the crow flies" and just over 2 miles if she had taken roads.  I'm glad she did not take the roads and hid out in the woods since she could have been hit by a car again.  Also in this article, "If it is a shy or older pet and not trusting of strangers, it will hide." This got me to thinking if I was going to look I should look in places away from humans which led me to searching the other side of the creek.  I'm still amazed that I found her that easily.  With all the people praying for her return and sending good thoughts and helpful tips our way, it definitely helped me to think more clearly and take action rather doing nothing other than feeling sorry for myself like I did the night she disappeared.

5/13/13 update:  On Saturday I took Abby for a walk and there were no signs of limping and she seemed fine.  On Sunday, she demanded I take her on my run at Rock Bridge.  I checked her paws and decided they were healed enough for a run at Rock Bridge.  She enjoyed the the run with no problems.

Above is an approximate map of Abby's Run  (to see more detail click on link).  She was 2.1 miles from home via woods/roads and only 1.2 miles "as the crow flies"

Abby's certificate (it got a little mangled since I was holding it during the initial chase.
Graduation picture with cap and wearing her thunder shirt.  Looks like a happy dog and not one that is about to run off.
Above is the picture used in her Craigslist ad.
Abby just after she came home from being checked out at the vet.  She had just eaten dinner and jumped onto the bed to lick her wounds and get some much needed rest on her comfy bed.

Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 Land Between the Lakes 50 Miler

We had a group (20+) drive from Columbia to Grand Rivers, KY to run anywhere from the half marathon to the 50 miler.  Some of us camped on Friday and Saturday night and others checked into a hotel.  I did not sleep as well as I had hoped on Friday night but did not feel overly tired.  I was a little worried going into this race since I had not run since last Sunday.  I averaged 48 miles per week the prior 16 weeks, lifted weights at least twice per week since January, and did speed work so miles were lower than I have trained in the past.  I think this method of training is working for me since I felt pretty fresh most of the time and did not get burned out.

All distances started at 6:30 am so over 800 people.  I was a little worried about congestion but we had 1.9 miles to spread out before hitting the trail.  Ran with Lisa on the roads for about 1.5 miles and then sped up to get ahead of some people and catch up to the runners from Columbia I wanted to run with for awhile on the trail.  The course followed a loop on the trail and when we were done running our final loop (four 11.3 mile loops for the 50 miler), the 50 milers would run a short out and back on the road and then back to the finish in Grand Rivers, also on the road.  For the first loop we (David, Anatolie, Andy P.) all stayed together pretty well until near the end of the loop I decided to pass them since I needed to spend a little more time at the drop bag station refilling my bottle.

Before the start of the second loop, I had to use the porta-potty so took even longer than I expected.  I filled my bottle with Succeed (had started off the 1st loop with Fizz) and also drank one of the PowerAid Zeros in my drop bag.  It always goes down smooth and helps keep me from getting behind on hydration.  The guys I was running with earlier had already taken off when I started the second loop.  I wasn't feeling my best after the first loop, but not terrible either.  On a scale of 1 - 10, I estimated a 7.  I started the second loop with Steve who was running the 60K.  I ran with him for awhile and then sped up to see if I could catch the other guys.   I could see them at times but took quite awhile before I caught David and Anatolie.  I ran with them awhile and then decided to pass. 

My A-goal was 8 hours so wanted to try to stay with the 9:40 pace.  My first and second loop were pretty close to the same pace.  At 13 miles I was maintaining a 9:46 pace but likely a little faster since GPS was a bit behind the mile markers.  At 24 miles, I was still at 9:46 average pace.  I was surprised since I did not feel that great during the second loop.  I drank Succeed Ultra, used a few gels, and ate a few pretzels and fighting off nausea even having a hard time eating pretzels.  However, energy level was fairly good so didn't need the nutrition but also was afraid I might get behind if I didn't eat a little.

Even though the legs were starting to feel the miles at 25 miles, I felt better the 3rd loop as long as I didn't try to eat much.  The Succeed was starting to not go down as easy so I had cup of Sprite at some of the aid stations.  I would pick up pretzels and end up throwing away since couldn't eat more than a bite, but kept forcing down a gel every so often (7 miles or so).  At the end of 35 miles per GPS I was at 10:00 average pace, but my GPS was off about 1.3 miles at the mile markers so knew I was actually in a little better position and hoping I could finish in 8 hr 20 min.  I don't remember anyone passing me and I had passed a few people the 3rd loop so felt I must be doing pretty well.  The question was could I hang on for the final loop.

I was dreading the 4th loop since I was tired and getting a little bored with the loops even though it was a very scenic course seeing it 3 times was plenty.  I drank about two thirds of another PowerAid before taking off on the final loop.  A few issues I noticed earlier with my right little toe rubbing and my left knee feeling weird had stopped.  The knee was just muscles pulling tight around it so nothing major and would stop when I picked up the pace.  The latter part of each loop was more challenging than the first with the hills.  The first part was actually pretty easy.  I managed to even run a lot of the hills rather than walk.  Even when it got difficult I would walk/run the hills although much slower than the first 3 loops.  I came up behind Shannon B. that I met at Backyard and said hi to her. I saw Shawn and Nathan near the end of my 4th loop and also passed Lelande since he was dealing with some cramps.  He nearly caught me by the end.  I had a tough time drinking any Succeed during the 4th loop so dumped it out near the end so I could just have what was left of my PowerAid Zero at my drop bag.  At 46 miles, my GPS showed my average pace was 10:12.  However, it was off 1.3 miles so actual pace per the course was about 9:55 I think.

At the end of the 4th loop a guy told me I had another loop to complete and I immediately told him no and showed him my GPS.  Then I had to do a short out and back on the road before heading to the finish.  Saw Andy P. coming back on my way out.  I ran the last 2 miles at 8:37 and 8:20 pace.  Had a guy tell me near the finish that I could get under 8 hrs 10 min, checked my watch and had plenty of time.  Finished in 8:09:08 and 12th out of 122 finishers.  I think there were over 200 at the start but some dropped down to the 60K. 

It took an easier course than Berryman but finally broke my 50 mile PR from 2008 at Berryman which was almost 8 hr 54 min and walked the last 4 miles due to calf injury in that race so took off 45 min.  If I could ever run 50 miles at Berryman in 8 hours that would be amazing.  The temperatures for LBL were perfect starting out around 40 and getting no warmer than 68 with overcast all day.

I waited around after the race to see other people from our group finish and then many of us went out to dinner later at Patti's Settlement.  Then back to the campsite for a couple hours and off to bed.  Slept much better even though I smelled a skunk at 3 am that nearly made me feel sick.  Walked and ran a little (2+ miles) with David and Kate before we headed back to Columbia.  It turned out being a really fun trip having the support of runners that knew me and the time we got to spend together.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

2013 USA Track & Field Cross Country Championships

Since last year I have not generally been posting reports for races last than a half marathon, but I made an exception for this race and will do so again.

Last year I got my butt kicked at this race since I came in last place in my age group.  I was injured and wasn't able to train well but figured even if I had run faster it still would not have ended very well.  I did some speed workouts to prepare but they felt awful and weren't exactly encouraging.  The week before the race I cut back my mileage and the week of the race I ran only Tuesday and Thursday.  Also, stopped lifting weights last Sunday so hopefully that would be enough taper.

We had 6 guys for our Master's team.  Three of us traveled to St. Louis Friday night and arrived around 9 pm.  Our race wasn't until 10 am so we had plenty of time.  I ate breakfast around 7 and then went out and ran around in the parking lot a bit before we took off.  Once we got there Dan and I warmed up for 2.5 miles.  When we were in the tent I saw the Atlanta Track Club guys and introduced myself to the amazing Coach MadDog while we were getting ready.  The warmup felt pretty awful.  Many of the fastest Master's runners of all ages show up for this race so it is kind of intimidating when you know ahead of time you might not place as well as you do in local races.

Temperature was much warmer than last year.  I am guessing around 34F but there was a fairly strong wind.  The ground seemed pretty solid just walking around on the course but starting to thaw out a little.  Our race started at 10 am and we all lined up near the same starting box.  I was thinking I should take it easy (6:30) the first mile and not go out too fast.  I kept Tom on our team in sight for awhile knowing that I shouldn't pass him.  This year the course was just 4 identical loops except on the 4th loop we run down a long finishing shoot.  There was a clock and splits and each 2K.  I wore my GPS.

Unlike last year I didn't see any guys in there 60s around me (our age groups are on our backs) and very few 50s.  My first mile GPS split was 6:07 so was a little worried I had gone out too fast.  Every time I would see a 40 - 44 I was excited to catch up to them and pass.  I passed 2 in my first loop.  Also, passed a lot of other runners but my focus was trying to spot the 40 - 44 guys and get around them so I wouldn't place last like last year.  Second loop I passed another guy in my age group.  My strength seemed to be on the uphills the other runners slowed down more than I did.  Second mile split was 6:08 so was happy with the consistency but thinking this is almost my 5K pace.  However, I felt strong.

I passed a couple more in my age group in the 3rd loop so was looking like I wouldn't be last in my age group.  My 3rd mile was 6:17 and 4th mile was 6:20 so slowed a bit.  In the final group I passed another guy in my age group so was feeling really good.  I didn't notice any other guys passing me so that was encouraging.  My fifth mile was 6:14 so a little faster.  Even though my GPS was at 5 miles I had a little further to go.  The last 0.13 was 5:19 pace and 41 seconds. I was passed by at least one runner in the finishing shoot but also passed a couple. I couldn't quite catch up a 40 - 44 year old ahead of me.

We had several spectators on the course so was nice to hear my name each loop and also got a lot of pictures.   Also, got to meet Kevin H., a guy I have raced against at Truman State 5K.  I saw him standing at the finish so got to say hi. 

Finishing time:
2K splits - 7:50, 8:03, 8:02, 7:51- 6:24/mi pace overall (slower than GPS)
GPS mile splits - 6:07, 6:08, 6:17, 6:20, 6:14, 0:41
33 of 40 in age group 40 - 44.
61 of 127 overall.
Team placed 4 out of 5.
Weight 158 lbs

Last year:
Didn't give us our 2K splits last year, but my mile splits were 6:20, 6:56, 6:51, 7:03, 6:49, 0:32)
31 of 31 in age group 40 - 44.
81 of 96 overall
Team placed 6 of 6.
Weight 154 lbs

I was happy with my result this year.  I never thought to check my 8K PR before this race since I knew it was on the road and we would be running on grass.  However, my 31:44 time was only 9 seconds slower than my 8K road PR set in 2007.  I felt like maybe I could have run a little faster the 4th mile but probably not much.  It was a relief to have the race done and actually place in the top 50% this time and beat 7 guys in my age group.


More Pictures