Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Ozark Trail 100 miler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 Defiance 50K

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2015 Rock Bridge Revenge 50K

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Mark Twain 50 miler

I had hoped to run the Barkley Fall Classic 50K again this year but decided to go the Mark Twain since it is closer to home and I had not run the race before. Also, I thought it would be good training for Ozark Trail 100 miler in November. It is only 2 hours 15 minutes  to drive but I decided to travel the day before since the race starts at 6 am. I opted for a hotel since I thought I might sleep better than camping in the tent or car. I was craving pizza so decided to skip the pre-race pasta meal which was 25 minutes away from where I was staying in Cuba, MO. I've never done this before but ended up consuming a medium hand-tossed with mushroom and chicken from Pizza Hut. I still felt a little hungry so went to Sonic and had a medium peanut butter fudge shake.  Not my typical pre-race meal but it worked since I had no issues during the race. Also, 3300 calories so I was well fueled for the race and didn't feel like I stuffed myself.

I slept poorly and just over 4 hours. Maybe I should  have slept in my own bed and driven since I would  have ended up with the same amount of sleep. I forgot to bring the Benadryl so didn't have that option when I woke up at 2 am and couldn't sleep. At 3:45 am I decided I might as well get up. I had a Lean Body Shake, coffee, and watermelon for breakfast. I left at 4:30 to head to the start where packet pickup opened at 5 am. I arrived shortly after 5 am so got a parking spot close to the starting line. It was very dark and then it occurred to me I didn't have a light in the car. It would likely be dark for the first few miles but I didn't worry too much about it. I figured I could just go slow and others around me would have lights. The temperature was 66F and a little humid since it had rained overnight. However, the trail seemed pretty dry. It was warmer than predicted since the cold front had not quite come through so I ran shirtless which turned out to be a good decision.

I saw Allan B. at the start line and he noticed I didn't have a light. He had a headlamp and a small flashlight which insisted that I use. It wasn't too bright but just enough to get me through the first 2 miles until it got light. The race also included a 100 miler with everyone starting together. I got up close to the front since we would be heading straight into the woods and figured I would end up being at least in the top 10. I was thankful to have the light since it was dark but only turned it on in rocky sections. I'm sure other runners thought I was nuts running without a light but it was easy to see most of the time.

The starting pace didn't seem too fast. My plan was to finish the first loop in around 4:20 or 10:30 pace. The course is the Berryman 50 mile in reverse and I have run it close to 9 hours the past 2 years. The reverse course is more elevation gain according to my GPS so maybe a little more difficult. Allowing for my second loop slowdown I thought 4:20 was reasonable even though Ultrasignup predicted my time at 9:26. The first 10 miles were interesting since I was running with about 10 people in the lead pack. The first 8 miles were between 10:30 - 11:45 pace (averaged 11 min) so seemed quite reasonable . At the same time I am wondering why am I still with them since it felt easy. I kept thinking someone is going to take off soon since this has never happened. Usually, someone takes off right away and I don't see the leaders.

After the mile 9 aid station, I took off before most of the group and was right behind a couple of the leaders for a very short while and then all of a sudden one of them takes off at a blazing pace and a few others followed. They were quickly out of sight. A couple guys stayed behind me and I set the pace for the second pack for awhile and we sped up too. Eventually I was passed by one of the guys but I completed the remaining 17 miles at 10:17 pace. The loop was a little over 25 miles (had about 25.5 GPS) and I came in at 4:27, refilled my supplies and was off at 4:30.

Nutrition was pretty simple. I used mostly Huma gels and a few other brands I don't like and won't buy again now that I've experienced Huma. I consumed 4 gels per loop and a few pieces of banana. Also, used 2 servings per loop of Sword. The second loop I consumed more banana and a tiny avocado wrap which I considered lunch. It worked quite well and I had very few hunger issues.

Energy was steady the second loop but hamstrings were feeling sore and getting more difficult to run up hills but I still ran up them as much as I could although slowly which is faster than walking for me. Even though I had slowed I was surprised I hadn't seen anyone. Coming into the 40 mile aid station I see the guy I had passed earlier leaving. I eventually caught him walking and he started running behind me once I passed. We ran together until the next hill and then I went ahead.

For the second loop, I had been running 11-something until mile 35. The next 6 miles were mostly 12-something until I caught the guy that I passed. As much as I slowed I managed to not fall completely apart and most of the remaining miles were 11-12 something. I finished the second loop in 5:06 so 9:36:51 overall, placing 4th out of 42 finishers.

2015 Heart of America Marathon

Heart of America was my first marathon and my longest running race streak, having now run it 12 times.  I've been training for a 100 miler in November and it is a bit difficult to stay focused and train properly for both. However, I need other race distractions before the 100 miler or I will start to lose interest. Training for a 100 miler so far out in the year is a bit stressful and I prefer to run one earlier in the year.   Training for the marathon went okay and I managed to do several of the Long Run Lunatic training runs while still doing some trail runs and a trail 50K in July. The biggest distraction was 2 weeks before the race I was severely bitten by chiggers which made focusing on running very difficult. I had to get a prescription steroid cream to heal faster and it still itches at times. I didn't run for 5 days since running made the bites itch worse and my feet were swollen for a few days. Instead of feeling refreshed for the marathon after 5 days of no running, I felt more beaten down. Then I ended up running more than I would have the week before and am still not sure if that was the right thing to do.  

The weather turned out cloudy with a start temperature of 74 with 82% humidity at 6 am according to Accuweather. It never felt like it warmed up too much since the sun stayed under clouds. I woke up at 4:30 am and we left at 5:30 am leaving 1 car downtown. Hugh also signed up for the race the day before. He wasn't too crazy about the temperature which was the warmest starting temperature in the 12 years I have run this race.

I'm not sure how many starters but there were 162 finishers down 17 from last year and I am sure there were some drops. I had a plan to pace a 3:10 and depending on how I felt I might run faster or slower. I spotted Andrew and his sister than came in from KC as soon as I stepped out of the car. We had just a few minutes before the race started. I never arrive too early since this is a small event, plenty of parking, several bathroom options, and I only live 2 miles away. I started off with a 10 oz bottle of water since the first water station didn't come until 3.5 miles and I didn't want to get too far behind with the warmer temperature.

So we are off and around the corner the first mile is downhill and unfortunately this is part of the course we have to repeat later when we come back in. After the first 3.5 miles, the course is a 17 mile loop and then we come back on those 3.5 miles plus some additional miles to finish downtown. I ran the first mile in 6:46 which was a few seconds faster than planned but okay since downhill. The second mile which is uphill I was right on pace. Andrew was close behind. Around mile 4, Alex, and 18 year old that I know running his first marathon settles in beside me and we run the same pace until around 8 miles he went ahead.

Then we hit the gravel road and Andrew catches up to me on the downhill. We talk a little but it was a little difficult to talk much and keep the pace. Usually, I can talk just fine in a marathon at this point but it was taking a bit more to focus on my pace than usual and the gravel didn't help. It was nice to get to the trail that runs along the river and enjoy the flat before the big Easley Hill.

I ran 8:16 up the portion that included Easley which turned out to be my slowest mile. My overall time was around 1:36 at the halfway point. I was able to get back on pace somewhat running a 7:25 in mile 14 and 7:12 in mile 15. I passed 3 runners in the last second but one was in the woods so I didn't realize that I had passed him. Around mile 16, it was getting more difficult to keep the pace but Still managed 7:25 average for the next 9 miles.

At this point I was checking behind and didn't see any runners. I had a hill to climb as well. I could have tried harder but ran the last 2 miles in 8:03 and 8:11. My overall time was 3:16:13, only 2:29 slower than last year. Many of my splits were very close to last year up until the last 2 miles. They were my slowest last 2 miles in 4 years.

I felt an extreme sense of tiredness after the race and felt like I wanted to lie down and go to sleep. I waited for Hugh to finish while I ate 2 Hot Box cookies and 2 small Gatorades and still felt wiped out. After he finished we went to the after party and awards at Shakespeare's. I ate 2 pieces of pizza which I really didn't even want that much. I placed 2nd in my age group and 4th overall out of 162 finishers. This is my highest placing in the 12 years I have run this race. No one broke 3 hours this year. The winning time was 3:06 and I know several runners that struggled to finish.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Psycho Psummer 50K

I skipped this race last year since it was shortly after running Mohican 100 mile. I decided to sign up again this year and was my 4th time running the summer version. There is a spring version too but I've always preferred to run it when it is more likely to be hot and humid and hopefully drier. Drier was not the case this year. I did feel good going into this race, assumed it would be hot and assumed it would be muddy.

Hugh rode with me to Kansas City the morning of the race.   Two year ago, we had to go to a church and take a bus but this year they let the 50K and 20 milers park in the parking lot at the race. We arrived in plenty of time. Hugh took off for his run in the park on the roads and I waited for the race to start. The 50K course is 3 loops. I had a cooler ready with 2 extra bottles filled with Sword, ice, and a  Huma gel or 2 in the bottle pocket. Also, had 2 Powerade Zeros. I took the Succeed Prerace Packet which I have been doing for a few years.

The race started at 8 am.  My goal was to finish sub-6 hours like last year.  The temperature was about 75F and a bit humid.  The 20 milers started off at the same time with us and the 10 milers would start an hour later.  I started off pretty close to the front runners which disappeared.  The course was quite muddy but my legs were fresh and I maintained a 10-something to 12-something pace for the first 10 miles.  I had watermelon at aid stations and was drinking a lot. The first loop was 1 hr 53 min and 4th overall with 2 other runners coming in right behind me.

I drank a Powerade Zero, got a fresh bottle and was on my way, not wasting any time. The 2 guys behind me were ahead but I caught them pretty soon on the second loop where they were walking through where it was very muddy. The course was getting worse and most of it was muddy which made it difficult to run with heavy shoes. I still attempted to run so was able to go around them.

I was passed by 1 runner in loop 2 and finished in 2 hr 25 min and 5th overall. Splits were 11 - 15 min per mile. I was seriously ready to be done, but wasn't going to drop down distance. I would complete the last loop no matter how long it took. I didn't see Hugh until I started my 3rd loop where he was on the trail and warned him I would be awhile and ended up being more than awhile.

I didn't see any other 50Kers in the 3rd loop but did see 10 and 20 milers. The course was even worse and I was managing 15 - 17 min per mile. Still felt strong but just couldn't run very fast due to the muddy conditions. I ran the 3rd loop in 2 hr 48 min and finished 5th overall in 7 hr 7 min.

It took lots of concentration and overall my outlook was pretty good considering the conditions. Photographer took some great pictures too. Temperature ended up going up to 90-something but since I was moving so slow it was the least of my worries.

Overall:  5 of 19 (75 registered but many dropped down distance), 2nd of 9 in the 40 - 49.

Previous summer race results:
2013: 5:04
2012: 5:54
2011: 6:21

The course was different than 2013. Due to the mud, we stayed on bridle trails.

We made a stop at Trader Joes in KC and decided on Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  I was too wiped out to run the next day so took a rest day.

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


Course Map/Splits

Saturday, June 06, 2015

2015 Berryman 50 mile

Race Results

Race Website

My enthusiasm for writing ultra race reports must be waning since it has been 3 weeks since I ran this race. David and Steve rode down with me and we camped with other Columbia runners. I slept in the Element and was good other than the air mattress leaked a little.  It was 66F at the start this year and got up to 78F. Last year it was only 37F.  I have run this 50 miler 6 times and the marathon twice.

I had pre-race shake, Lean Body shake, and banana for breakfast and took my Succeed Pre-Race Pack.  The 50 miler started at 6:30 am and the marathon at 8 am.  I opted to not run with a shirt which turned out to be a great idea later when it started raining.  We were allowed a drop bag at the start and Brazil Creek at 16 miles and 41 miles.  Since I have so many water bottles I stored 1 at the start and 2 at Brazil Creek to save time later.  They were already filled with Sword and water.  Also, had Huma gels stashed in the bags and some PowerAde Zero for extra hydration.

I didn't plug my Garmin into the charger the day before since it was fully charged when I left home. It died 0.8 miles into the race which I just took as a sign that I didn't need it. My goal was to finish the first loop somewhere around 4:20 and hopefully under 9 hours overall. I did have a clock on my FitBit so could sort of keep track of how I was doing except I wasn't always sure of the distance at the aid stations and sometimes forgot to look at the signs.

It started raining in the first loop (25.7 miles) and it helped cool the temp down some. It would continue to rain until about an hour or so before I finished.  Nothing eventful happened in the first loop.  I finished it in 4:19 and in 7th place overall. I was worried maybe I shouldn't have run all the hills.

The second loop was tougher. I didn't see anyone most of the loop other than 3 marathoners that I passed. About 4 miles or so from the end I started to catch a runner ahead of me and eventual reeled him in as he really started to slow. I could tell I was slowing myself earlier but once I saw him, it motivated me to try to catch him since I wasn't sure if he was in my age group.  It turned out he was older. After I passed him I slipped on some mud and cut my hand a little.  The trails were getting messy in some places during the second loop.

At the aid stations, I would mostly have a little fruit (banana or orange), chips a couple times, and coke a couple times. Otherwise, I got all my nutrition from 4 bottles of Sword and 7 Huma gels. In between, I filled with plain water and had PowerAde Zero at the drop bags.

Ended up finishing in 9:04:21, 6th overall, and 1st place masters for the 4th consecutive year.  I had my doubts this year since I didn't feel as trained as I wanted to be.

2015 - 9:04:21 (6th)
2014 - 8:52:29 (6th)
2013 - 9:01:13 (3rd)
2012 - 9:39:44 (4th)
2011 - 3:56:46 (5th) (marathon/course changes)
2010 - paced Jeff the second half of his 50
2009 - 9:15:33 (12th)
2008 - 8:53:56 (6th)
2007 - 3:37:39 (4th)

Thursday, April 09, 2015

2015 Three Days of Syllamo

Day 1 - 50K:

This was my 5th time running the Syllamo 3 day stage race near Mountain View, Arkansas.  This year, I had a newbie, Steve T. join me.  We drove on Thursday to pick up our race packets and then went looking for a place to eat.  Choices were limited but we found a large Mexican restaurant in a warehouse type building and the food was pretty good.

The race on Friday started at 9 am.  Temperature was 48F and warmed up to about 60 and cloudy all day.  I wore a long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve and removed it at my drop bag later.

This year I used Sword ginger citrus as my nutrition/hydration drink plus a few gels, and a few aid station items like peanut butter crackers and salted nut rolls.  I discovered Sword last year since it was served at the Barkley Classic.  I used it for the first time there and felt good.  I kept hearing a lot of good things about Tailwind so I ordered some samples but was not entirely impressed since it left me feeling constantly hungry.  Sword goes down easy, I don't feel hungry and I like the flavor.  I also had a PowerAde Zero in my drop bag that I drank at the aid station.

I mostly used Huma gels along with some Hammer than I am trying to use.  I won't be buying anything other than Huma in the future since they are all natural ingredients and taste good.  They are a bit expensive but I don't generally train with gels and only use them during races.

Allan B. and Steve started with me.  They let me lead the pace and I kept it conservative so we walked the uphills.  The course was out and back which was different than I had run in previous years.  We made it to the turn around 3 hr 3:21 min.  On the way back, we ran 3 hr 9 min and passed 11 people.  I felt like it was a decent effort and hoped it wasn't too fast.  Steve and I placed 28 and 29th and Allan finished with another runner we passed near the end.  I was impressed the 3 of us stayed together so long.  Steve and I finished the 50K in 6 hr 30 min and Allan in 6 hr 33 min.

Day 2 - 50 mile:

Saturday's race started at 6 am.  Legs were surprisingly feeling good.  Temperature was a bit cooler that early so I decided to start off with my jacket. It was cloudy all day so overall near perfect conditions.  The 50 mile got off to a bad start since several people turned the wrong way at the first turn. We had just turned and someone yelled at us so got back on track right away.  The faster runners did not.  I started out again running with Steve and Allan but we only stayed together for a few miles and then I didn't see them again.  The course was a loop this year and actually several different loops that connected to some of the same aid stations.  If I had to do it over again, I would have left the jacket behind since the first drop bag was not until 20+ miles.  I ended up tying it around my waist for several miles and it was a pain keeping it in place.

I had at least one person in front of me for quite awhile and didn't have any trouble following the course.  Around mile 24 we had about 1.5 miles of climbing so a lot of walking uphill.  Miles 23 - 30 were pretty slow due to the hills.  At some point a guy passed me and he really helped me keep the pace for awhile.  Running some 10 minute miles and just wanting to get it over with.  Overall, I had an uneventful race with no falls and felt pretty good most of the time.

I finished to 50 mile in 9 hr 37 min and 3rd out of 46.  A few of the people that went off course were counted in separate results.  After the race I was really hungry and ate some of the food at the finish and then had several servings of the spaghetti squash that Hugh prepared along with the sauce that Karen prepared on top.

Day 3 - 20K+:

This is the day that I usually dread but it is short enough that you know you will finish but it might be painful.  We started at 9 am and it was close to 50F and no rain.  Even though the legs felt pretty good once I started running I felt slow.  I ran the first mile which is uphill in 12:51.  It was unusual that I was even attempting to run uphill on the 3rd day.  My pace picked up to 10 min by mile 2 and 3 and 8:28 by mile 4.  Legs felt god and I felt like keeping up the pace.  However by mile 8 I had slowed down a bit and a few people passed me. Two miles from the end someone passed me and I was able to stay with her until the end.

I finished in 2 hr 22 min and overall pace was 10:27 for 13.7 miles.  The course was the same as last year, only in reverse.  I placed 20th out of 89.

Day 1 - 12:58/mi (per GPS) - 6:30:53 - 29 of 65
Day 2 - 13:00/mi (per GPS) - 9:37:09 - 3 of 46
Day 3 - 10:27/mi  (per GPS) - 2:22:50 - 20 of 89

Overall - 12:35/mi - 18:30:52 - 6 of 32.  This is based on my GPS distance of 88.3 miles for the 3 races. This was my fastest time on the same 20K course that I have run before.  The 50K and 50 mile were different than I have run before. I enjoyed the 3 day adventure running in the woods and rock of Arkansas.  I think it is appropriate that the finishing award was a rock since there is a lot of rock out there.

Finishing award is the rock.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Running and Racing Review

As far as goals go, I had a couple big fails this year.  Overall though a pretty good year and I feel like I moved forward in some areas.  Always room for change and improvement.

Goals accomplished (or not accomplished) for 2014:
I set a goal to do 100 weight workouts and completed 27 weight workouts (20 hrs, 34 min).   Big fail.  In 2013, I completed 55 weight workouts (42 hrs, 55 min).  1.06 per week in 2013 to 0.5 in 2014.

I had a goal to lose 10 - 12 lbs between Jan 1 and March 31 and lost 9 lbs.  I lost 11.6 lbs by June 18.

I set a goal to take 2 - 3 short breaks with 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running.  In 2013 I had 5 breaks and also 5 in 2014.

3/17 - 3/19 - 3 days (after 3 Days of Syllamo)
6/22 - 6/25 - 4 days (after Mohican 100 mile)
10/1 - 10/3 - 3 days (before Rock Bridge Revenge 50K - busy week)
10/20 - 10/24 - 5 days (after Big's Back Yard Ultra - 104 miles)
12/1 - 12/3 - 3 days (felt like taking a break)

I made some progress decluttering the house especially the closets.  The basement is still a disaster but things are moving forward and I am hopeful that in the next few months everything will be completed.  Right now my workout room is gone and there is no room to do weight workouts.

I wanted to use 7 weeks vacation to get balance down to 240 hrs before the end of the year.  Ended up using 5 weeks and 1 day with 297 hours balance.  Big fail.

Unlike last year, I didn't have a goal to do speed workouts and ended up doing very well with 21 workouts April - October thanks to Bob for organizing and keeping us on track.  I did take easy a few of those workouts before races but attended to stay in the groove.  Since then, I have consistently been doing stair workouts every week.

I don't set a milage goal since I tend to get enough.  Interestingly, I had the exact same mileage this year as 2012.  Also, just realized I have run for 11 years over 1,000 miles per year and over 2,000 except 1 year for the past 10 years.

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

Ultramarathons (40 total):
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 2014:
100 mi - 2
50 mi - 2
50K - 3
Marathon – 1
Half Marathon - 1
20K - 2
10 mi - 1
10K - 6
4 mi - 4
5K - 9

8 are Thursday night trail races - 13 free races.

Total running miles run in 31 races: 555 miles (last year 41 races – 473 mi)

States I ran marathons and ultras in 2014 (4): AR, KY, MO, OH - no new states
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

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

Goals for 2015 (no running goals other than breaks from running):
1.  Continue weight lifting and try to get at least 75 workouts for the year (deadline Dec 31)

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

3. Clean up back yard and plant stuff (already have started the clean up)

4.  Declutter house - basement (complete as soon as basement construction is done)

5.  Use about 6 weeks vacation to get balance down to around 240 hours before end of 2015 (deadline Dec 31)

Races planned for 2015 (subject to change):
January - Runner's Choice 20K (cancelled due to cold)
February - Nut Race 5K
March - Super Scout 5K, 3 Days of Syllamo, Sedalia Half Marathon (conflict with Syallamo so did not run)
April - Mustang Stampede 5K
May - Berryman Trail 50 miler
June - Kettle Moraine 100 (don't feel like it)
July - Parley Pratt 4 mi, Show-Me Games 10K
August - Great Sandbagger 10K
September - Heart of America Marathon
October – Rock Bridge Revenge 50K
November - Hunger Run 5K, Thanksgiving Day Pie Run 10K
December - Cheese and  Sauerkraut 10 miler, Columbia Eve Fest 5K