Sunday, December 11, 2011

off season

it's difficult to adjust to the off season.  i went through a small bout of depression when i no longer had anything to train towards.  i was bored and restless.  but it didn't last too long.  Life moves on.  people, ideas and goals come and go from your Life.  the running shoe store that i work for and myself have started a Saturday morning trail run.  it's a laid back run.  not too far.  not too fast.  just a time to get out and run w/ the dogs and get off the streets.  we've had a good turn out so far and people seem to be enjoying themselves.  i've done a couple of 10k events and pushed myself as hard as i could.  i've managed a few long training runs and Cody and i have been giving ourselves some "challenges" to stay motivated throughout the winter.  last week we both ran a hundred miles.  yesterday, we each respectively did a thousand push ups.  it took all day and we are both destroyed today.  but mostly the off season has brought me just a little more time.  time is very valuable to me b/c we only have so much of it.  this is something that's on my mind a lot.  i try to live in the moment and take advantage of every moment possible and never waste time.  you never know when you're going to be walking down the street and fall down the manhole or fall over and crack your head and be paralyzed for the rest of your Life.  so kick ass now.  do things now.  don't put them off.  tell people how you feel.  do the things you're scared of.  paint a picture.  write a book.  go talk w/ someone you haven't spoken to in a long time.  make new friends.  get outside.  take big risks.  live your Life on level 12!  DO BIG THINGS SON.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rockport Trail 10k

woke up this morning feeling about as ready as ever for a 10k effort.  i have to admit...i was a little more nervous for this one than i usually am for most ultra distances.  i felt like people were expecting me to win this one, mostly b/c it's a shorter distance event.  but speed is not my forte.  i'm better at just putting my head down and going long distances all day long.  but i was looking forward to a 10k for a change.  my year is winding down and i've mainly been running stress free w/ friends lately.  not really training for anything.  it's been nice.  i enjoy this time of year.  there's much more time to focus on other things, like home projects and hanging out w/ friends that i'm normally too busy to hang w/.  since the race is only a mile and a half away from my house...i ran there.  i took off this morning thinking to myself / just run to have fun.  who cares?!
i run these trails all the time.  this is where i've spent countless hours w/ my dog, running, sweating, bleeding our hearts out week after week.  i love these trails and i love coming out to support the "smaller" local events, if my schedule allows it.  so when the air-horn went off this morning, this race was no different from any other race for me.  there were about six people ahead of me and they looked fast.  right off the bat i'm thinkin / there's no way i can beat these guys / but i slowly start picking people off as the miles tick by.  by mile three i was by myself in the woods.  i could hear someone behind me and it didn't sound like he was breathing very hard.  shortly after, he passed me.  and it was evident that he had a full tank and was feeling good today.  he slowly pulled ahead and i just didn't have it in me to keep up.  congrats to him though.  he is a fast man that wins many of the local races around here. 
so i put my head down and fell into a comfortable pace and just did my thing.  i missed a turn at some point and ended up running seven point something miles.  no big deal.  it was still a really fun morning.  i fell once and i rolled an ankle once. was officially a trail run!  my official time was 45:55.  stuck around and talked w/ friends for a while afterwards.  won a dehydrator!  then ran home.  when i got home, i think Roxy could smell where i'd been and was jealous.  she gave me a little attitude so i had to take her to the dog park :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ironman Wisconsin race report

Swim bike run.  In that order.  140.6 miles in one day.  I’d signed up for it 12 months in advance.  I’d done the training well in advance.  I’d spent as much time in the water as I could b/c I’m not much of a swimmer.  You can’t win the race in the water but you can certainly lose it there.  Not that I planned on winning the race.  But when doing the Ironman, to finish is to win.  And all I wanted to do was to finish w/ a respectable time.  I’d been on a bike for a hundred miles quite a few times b/f.  I’d run marathons and beyond plenty of times.  But would I be able to put it all together in one day?  How would I feel at mile 130?  There was a lot of unknown territory.  But I always want to find out what’s out there.  I enjoy pushing myself to the brink and beyond.  You can’t find out what you’re all about by sitting on the couch and watching tv all day.  So after 12 months of waiting, planning and training, it’s suddenly 2:45 am and the alarm is going off and it’s time to see how fast I can push myself through 140.6 miles in one day.  Was this for real?

I’ve trained myself not to be nervous and not to think about the mileage.  You can’t think about it.  It’ll kill you.  Just show up and go like hell when the cannon goes off.  All it is, is a nice long day doing exactly what you love and enjoy doing w/ about 2,900 other people.  It’s a giant celebration of Life.  Simple, huh?

Take your time through the swim / is what you’d been telling yourself all along.  But when the canon goes off, you begin racing.  You have one speed and it’s GO speed.  But to make it through a mass swim start w/ 2,900 people taking off at the same time, it’s going to take some patience and some guts.  It’s complete chaos and it is certainly a contact swim.  It’s everyone fighting for themselves.  You spend an hour and a half trying not to get kicked.  People are haphazardly swimming over the top of each other and pushing others right underwater.  Many people get goggles kicked off, black eyes, even broken noses or dislocated shoulders during the swim portion of IM.  It’s dangerous and you’re left to fend for yourself out there.  If you’re a shaky swimmer, it can be a lot of work.  But you manage to hang in there.  You exit the water at about 1:28.  You are in fourteen-hundred-something place w/ a lot of catching up to do.  They have volunteers that help pull your wetsuit off (you hold onto your shorts so that they don’t come w/) and then you run up the helix of Monona terrace to T1.  Again, volunteers grab your gear for you and help you put it on for the bike ride.  Run to the bike, mount up and get ready for a six plus hour ride.  112 miles of hills.  IM WI is a seriously hilly course.  One of the hilliest IM bike courses out there.  The crowd support out there is fantastic.  People line the roads and cheer the cyclists on.  People dress up and hold crazy signs for the event.  It’s as if they’ve been waiting all year for you to come out and bike through their town.  You are both impressed and humbled.  You were praying you wouldn’t suffer a flat tire while on the bike at any point.  You don’t.  Your chain falls off at one point while you are pushing it up a big hill.  You have to abruptly stop to put it back on.  About ten guys behind you are not happy about that.  At one point there is someone ahead of you that hit a bump in the road and lost a CO2 cartridge.  When it hit the road it hisses and flies all over the road and bounces up and comes about an inch away from your face while you happen to be taking a drink from your water bottle.  A near accident that could have been fatal.  A dude behind you w/ a South American accent said / That was close man!

You are happy to see the hundred mile marker but the last 12 miles seem to go on forever.  Especially when you know the hardest part is yet to come.  You’ve been going balls out for seven hours now.  And it’s about to get REAL.  Don’t think about it.  Don’t think about it.  When you drop the bike off, you run into transition and notice many people can’t run after the long bike ride.  Their legs are in trouble.  You’d trained your legs for this.  A volunteer helps your through transition.  He asks how you feel?

I’m about to run a marathon / you tell him.  That’s all you can say.  That’s all you can think.  You put your running shoes on and run out of the building.  The crowd goes crazy b/c you’re running and not walking or limping like most.  At that point, you see a few of your family members and friends who are there to cheer you on.  That gives you a boost.  You slap hands w/ them.  You want to stop and tell them how your day is going but you can’t.  Your body is already in survival mode and you know you must get this thing done as soon as possible b/f you stop and chat w/ anyone.  If you stop, you may not be able to get going again.  Considering everything, your legs don’t feel that bad.  But your heart rate is out of control.  You keep a slow pace and cadence, hoping your heart rate will calm down.  But truth be told…your heart rate is through the roof for about 10 miles of the run.  Again, the crowd support is phenomenal.  Every time you see someone you know and they call your name out—it gives you an instant boost and reaffirms your mission.  You know you’ll be able to finish but this run is going to be a serious grind.  One foot in front of the other.  Don’t think about it.  Don’t think about it.  Many people are walking and struggling just to maintain that.  You are not going to walk no matter what.  Your initial goals were to finish while it was still light out and to run the marathon w/out walking.  But as you check you watch, it looks like you may be able to finish in under 12 hours.  You want it.  You can taste it.  If you can only hold on w/ a slow and easy pace.  Hold on.  Hold on.  One foot in front of the other.  Ignore the pain.  Push.  Push.  Push.  It’s tough.  You are hurting bad but not thinking about it.  Your mind is nowhere and you are moving.  By the time you make it to mile 20 of the run, you put the visor of your cap down and don’t want to see anything.  Don’t want to see anyone.  Don’t want to see mile markers.  Just need to get to the end.  You don’t look up for at least four miles.  You’ve pushed yourself through almost 140 miles of pain.  HARD doesn’t describe it.  PAIN doesn’t describe it.  It’s beyond all of that and into the realm of spiritual journey.  It’s a life changing event that you will carry w/ you always and forever.  People are calling your name and cheering for you and all you can do is look at the ground and grind this thing out until the end.  You know your family and friends are a half mile away and your body is screaming for you to stop and walk it in.  You are literally wondering if you can make it to the finish.  W/ a half mile to go!  The crowd is going crazy.  You are mere blocks away.  But putting one foot in front of the other is becoming impossible.  You have a little incline to run up and it feels like a mountain.  And then finally…there it is.  It’s what you’ve been waiting for for 12 hours.  For 140.6 miles.  For 12 months of training.  That glorious finish line.   Suddenly, you’re infused w/ energy and you take off.  You scream.  You cry.  You put your hands in the air.  You are elated.  Exhausted.  Happy.  Sad.  If you could bottle up that feeling and sell it—you would be a rich man w/ the worlds best drug at your disposal.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  This is easily one of the best and hardest days of your Life!  You hear your name and they scream at you—YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!  They take pictures of you.  Friends and family are there and happy and crying for you.  You broke 12 hours.  11 hours and 58 minutes.  Four-hundred something place doesn’t sound all that glorious but that means you passed a thousand people on the bike and the run.  You did it.  You did it.  You did it.  No one can ever take that away from you.  It’s 7 pm and you just completed and Ironman.  140.6 miles.

Your family is teary eyed.  Your friends can’t believe you did it.  Everyone hugs you.  You wander off to some bushes and vomit.  You pay a visit to the medical tent.  They take your vitals and tell you you’ve lost 9 pounds that day.  To you—it’s awesome.  You’ve never puked after a run.  At least not since the 7th grade when you ran the mile.  To you, it’s just another award or a trophy.  One more thing to brag about.  Proof that you pushed through and endured.  Proof that you dug deeper than you ever have b/f.  And that’s what it’s all about.  Right?  Right?

Friday, August 26, 2011

the road to IM WI.

i'm about two weeks out from Ironman Wisconsin.  this is my first full IM and i have no expectations and have no idea what i'm capable of.  my only real goals are to run the marathon w/out many walk breaks and to finish while it's still light outside.  if i can accomplish those goals, i'll be a happy man.  i'm not shooting for any certain time.  but training has been going well.  i know anything can happen out there and i'm not underestimating this race at all.  this weekend will be my last big effort weekend.  i'm doing a three day training block and then i have a ten day taper scheduled.  TAPER MADNESS!!
this post will be short.  mostly b/c i'm tired.  today was 111 miles on the bike and then a 7 mile brick run.  i felt strong throughout most of the day.  had some low points on the bike but that's expected.  i feel like i'm ready and everything's falling into place nicely.  but like i said, anything can happen out there.  i sign up for these things w/out any expectations.  i just want to have a good time and have a long, relaxing day.  so wish me luck.  i'm really looking forward to this day.  it'll be a huge celebration for me.  a celebration of Life!  cheers...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ironman Racine 70.3

i certainly wasn't nervous for this race.  i knew i wasn't a contender.  i am no triathlete.  i just love pushing myself for a lot of hours.  and this was just a practice race b/f the full Iron in September.  so when the pros ran into the water and took off swimming, the hour and a half that i had to wait for my wave seemed to take a long time.  i just wanted to get going .  the day was already getting hot.  i broke a sweat just trying to put the wetsuit on.  so i hung out for an hour and a half in the water, waiting.  oh and for some reason, the 34-39 year old males had to wear pink swim caps this year.  so...there was that. 
i'm not much of a swimmer.  i get nervous swimming in groups of people.  so i stayed away from the pack and just took my time and tried not to think about it.  it went by relatively fast.  45 minutes later, i peeled off the pink swim cap (b/f the photographers got me) and ran to shore.  i could feel my HR a little high but jogged it into transition.  peeled the wetsuit, threw on shoes, helmet and shades and ran the bike out.  mounted and took off w/ a fire burning strong.  i felt good and was ready to breeze through 56 miles.  but it was 96 degrees by this point of the morning and i felt every bit of it.  i kept on strong and felt the drip of sweat coming off my chin turn into a pour.  it was going to be rough.  i drank five bottles of fluid throughout the ride.  took six salt / electrolyte capsules and forced down four or five gels.  i was pushing hard and began to get dizzy at points.  i'd back off and hydrate a bit.  then something in my head would say / this is the point when a strong cyclist would drop the hammer / and up off the saddle i'd go and i'd hammer it.  i passed people all day.  only a few passed me.  but i'd literally been one of the last people out of the water, so that was expected.  i cheered for other riders and cheered back at spectators.  mostly to keep MY spirits up.  i cruised into transition w/ a lot less knee pain that i had the year b/f.  racked the bike and talked to a guy who was also going through transition. 
right behind ya brother / i called out.  he was in my way a bit. 
oh sorry.
no worries.  how ya feelin?
oh, i don't know.  it's a little hot and i'm about to run my first half marathon. 
you're first?
that's awesome dude!  go get em! / and i took off.  i hoped my run would be the final nail to seal up the days event and give myself a good time.  but after about a hundred yards, i knew my legs were tired.  i'm not sure if it was the heat, pushing myself too hard on the bike, or running a 50 mile ultra the week b/f.  i'm not here to offer excuses.  but it was tough and i ran slow and just tried to hang on.  a two hour half marathon is pretty slow for me.  i jogged it and wouldn't let myself walk, like so many others.  i put my head down and gutted it out.  98 degrees and most of the race on a hot blacktop.  it was grueling.  but that's how i like it.  i put ice down my jersey and in my hat whenever i could.  i drank fluids at every aid station.  13 miles isn't usually much of a run for me but this was tough.  i crossed the finish line five hours and 37 minutes after i had ran into the water.  it was HOT.  i was TIRED.  i hadn't come close to placing but i had a good time and it was PRACTICE for a bigger event that's coming up.  and the longer the event, the better i tend to do.  so far...

here's a few pics and a dubious video of my finish...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dances With Dirt 50 miler

the race started off just like any.  i wasn't even going to do the Dances With Dirt 50 miler this year b/c it was only a week away from Ironman Racine.  i knew i'd be focusing hard on triathlon at this point in the year.  but i couldn't let an ultra that's so close to home go w/out having a crack at it.  besides, 50 miles is doable at this point.  i don't really give it much thought.  i've gone further.  i've never DNF'd (knock on wood).  the less i think about it and the less i worry about it, the easier it becomes. 

i got to meet Nick M. at the start of the race.  he's one of my longtime DM buddies.  i started out in the middle of the pack.  got stuck in the trafic jams of people as we all went uphill right off the bat.  i didn't talk to many people.  i just saved my energy and tried to find a comfortable pace.  took a header at about mile three.  the people behind me gasped.  two people passed me w/out thinking about it.  i got up.  the scrape that was on my hand from wiping out a few weeks ago was now open and gushing again.  nice.  dirty and bloody by mile three.  perfect start to the day...

i had a hard time getting comfortable and finding a decent pace for the first 18 miles or so.  but when i finally did, everything made sense.  we were going to be circling Devil's Lake twice, going up and down both bluffs two times each.  there's a large portion of the course where there's no trail at all.  you just have to bushwhack your way through.  and of course at the very end of the race, they send you up and down a bunch of ski slopes to see exactly what you're made of.

i passed a couple of strong runners at mile 20 that i've seen at other ultras.  they were struggling w/ the heat a bit.  i didn't know at that point that i was taking the lead of the race.  i didn't realize i was in the front until i made it to the aid station at mile 23 or so.  they told me i was the first 50 miler to come through.  i didn't believe her--i was convinced that there must be some kind of mistake.  i refused to believe it and refused to let it go to my head.  but at the next check point, they told me the same thing.  i was leading this race.  the next few miles was a little out and back on a gravel road so i knew i'd be able to see how far ahead i was.  right after the turn around i saw 2nd, 3rd and 4th place all w/in a mile or so behind me.  i didn't have near enough of a lead to be comfortable.  the next 20 miles or so was going to be hell and they would be hunting me down.  i took off hard and spent entirely too much time thinking about leading the race.  i'd never led a race b/f.  it stressed me out.  by mile 38, i was so stressed out i wondered how i was going to finish at all.  my legs were jacked and my heart rate was not coming down at all.  it was simply too hot and i was pushing it too hard.  there was no ice anywhere on the course so all day i'm drinking warm liquids.  no ice to put in my hat or shirt.  no ice for the camelbak.  brutal, brutal day...

i finally calmed down a bit by mile 41.  i accepted the fact that i was in the lead and i may or may not win.  i just needed to keep moving.  i was walking a lot of uphills by this point.  there were a lot of people walking the trails around Devil's Lake and they were all in my way.  but i'm sure they didn't know there was a race going on.  i think i sounded pretty rude and urgent as i let people know i was coming up behind them and i needed them to move out of my way.  i felt a lot of dirty looks.  i thanked them all after they had moved for me though.  at this point, i'm walking the uphills and sprinting the downhills to make up lost time.  every aid station i come to i slam down two drinks of Mt. Dew or Gatorade and take two gels for the road.  i fill up my camelbak every other check point.  i was suddenly on a mission and i became focused on getting to the finish line as quickly and efficiently as possible.  i was constantly looking over my shoulder, yet i was fine and relaxed w/ however the day turned out.  after all, i don't come to these races to win.  i just come to have a nice, long relaxing day where i'm completely leveled out afterwards.  my quads felt like they were going to blow up from all the downhill.  then at mile 45, they bring you right by the finish line.  right by where your truck is parked.  right where the spectators are lounging around and cheering and drinking beer and eating food in the shade.  they let you get a good smell of the food that's cooking...and then they send you up the ski slopes.  now my legs were gone by this point, so this was torture.  it was a death march to the top.  no protection from the sun and uphill slopes that never ever end.  it was awful.  i learned a lot about myself in those five miles.  i charged the downhills, still convinced that someone was going to come up behind me, looking more fresh than i felt.  somehow, i made it to the finish line.  i survived the fastest, as Dean Karnazes likes to say.  i took my ear phones out and the crowd was cheering.  they gave me an armload of prizes even though i could barely stand up.  i asked them if i'd won and they assured me that i did.  everyone wanted to know my name and everyone wanted to get me a beer.  i used the little makeshift shower they had outside to clean off 8 hours and 41 minutes worth of grime.  a guy named Mike crossed the finish line 20 minutes after me, taking 2nd place.  he's from Thailand where he works as a teacher and gets summers off.  i had run about four miles w/ him earlier in the day.  my sis and bro in law came to see me finish but were about 20 minutes late.  they nor i had any idea i'd be winning the race.  but i'm glad they came up nonetheless.  they helped me celebrate the hardest day of my life.  it was perfect...

Monday, June 20, 2011

active water

Ironman Wisconsin training has officially begun.  i have been spending more time in the pool and was able to get out for a 100 mile bike ride today and a 4 mile brick run afterwards.  i was extremely tired during the run.  HR was a little high.  but everything is right on target. 
i am now running to raise money for an important non profit organization called Active Water.  the money goes directly to Nambia, Africa and helps out a community that has no access to sanitary water.  the women in the village have to walk six miles a day for unsanitary water.  it's very disconcerting to think about.  just living in the US, we are in the top 90% of the world, financially.  this is something most of us have never had to deal w/.  if you are reading this, please donate to this very important organization.  only $25 provides one African w/ water for life!  any little amount helps.  here is my page.

please help my important cause.  i will be doing at least 3 more races b/f the end of the year for Active Water: 

Dances With Dirt 50 mile run.  July 9th
Racine Ironman 70.3.  July 17th (one week after my 50 mile run)
Wisconsin Ford Ironman  September 11th.

please support!  anything helps.  thanks for reading.

Friday, June 17, 2011

active water

the new cause that i am running for!  help support my important mission!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kettle Moraine 100k race report

it was something i knew was going to be hard.  really hard.  but i signed up for it.  i did the training.  i prepared mentally.  i did the hills, the speed work, the miles.  and then the diet and the taper.  and b/f i knew it, it was Saturday morning, 6-4-11 at 3am and i've only managed four hours of sleep and it's almost time to run.

i got there early enough to get my race packet and take a half hour power nap in the truck b/f the start of the race.  i warmed up and sauntered into the middle of the pack.  some of the folks looked pretty strong and confident.  i wondered if they'd finish.  i wondered if I'D finish.  it was hot.  seventy-eight degrees at 6 am is not a good sign.  the gun went off and w/in a mile, i was sweating.  i was running w/ runners who just want to finish.  they walked all of the uphills right from the start.  i walked a couple w/ them.  i wondered how much energy should i conserve?  but this didn't feel like much of a race so i took off and tried to just settle into a comfortable pace.  MY pace.

the course is tough but i've run it many times b/f.  it helps to know there's nothing out there that i can't handle.  now the distance and the heat, i worried a little bit about.  but it's not like i'd be climbing mountains out here.  two-thirds of it would be in the woods.  lots of hills, switchbacks, roots and rocks.  the other third would be through meadows and fields where i'd have no protection from the sun and heat.  i wore my trusty camelbak that would hold enough water and supplements to get me from aid station to aid station.  i wore a hat to shade my eyes from the sun but my shades had broken on me a couple of weeks b/f and i hadn't found the time to pick up any new ones. 

i purposely left my Garmin at home, so when i settled into a comfortable pace i was going strictly on how my body was feeling.  not too fast, not too slow.  run about three-quarters of the hills.  keep taking little sips of water.  no matter how much you don't want to--you have to keep drinking.  salt tablets and gel supplements every 45-50 minutes.  no matter what.  don't kill yourself.  easy pace.  enjoy the day.  thank the aid volunteers.  thank the good Lord for giving you the strength to do something like this.  and just enjoy the moment.  there's really not much else i'd rather be doing than running through the woods on some killer trails. 

once i found my rhythm, i started to lighten up and chat w/ folks.  there was a runner ahead of me that looked exactly like my friend Henry.  so i just called him Henry.  i noticed he was wearing the New Balance Minimus and so i asked him how he liked them and then we talked shoes for about the next eight miles.  now that i'm spending my weekends selling running shoes, i happen to know a bit about the subject.  a couple of others joined in the conversation.  Henry started getting cramps, so he had to fall back.  then i met Dave who had never run a 50 miler but here he was, running a 100 kilometer race.  he said / it's gonna be tough either way, right? / and i agreed.  then i met Travis.  he was shirtless and had a large tattoo of a bonsai tree on his back.  he carried two water bottles and his pace was strong and relentless.  he said this was his third 100 miler and two years ago, did the Leadville 100.  i told him that was my goal for next year.  so we talked about Leadville and he gave me lots of tips and advice.  his pace was just a little bit out of my comfort zone, so i decided to stay w/ him for the next ten miles or so.  it would be just enough to push me up a bit and make some miles go by.  after a while, we were both tired and ceased talking.  just running along at the same pace, passing people and offering encouragement.  Travis was strong and on a mission.  when i made it to the halfway point, he didn't spend nearly as much time at the aid station as i did.  i was still fumbling through my drop bag when he took off.  go Travis! / i yelled and he didn't even look back.  i used the restroom, put on sunscreen, refilled my camelbak for the third time w/ ice and water, washed my face and neck w/ cold water, grabbed a couple of gels and hobbled off into the woods.  my legs were hurting but i knew they wouldn't feel TOO much worse at the end of the day.  i was half done.  i tried not to think about it.  i tried not to think about anything in terms of distance or miles.  it's just aid station to aid station.  i put in the earphones and listened to a two hour podcast while going back through the hot meadows where the sun beat down on my skin.  i put ice in my hat whenever i could.  i was still moving.  not only moving, but i was still running.  i wasn't walking yet.  eventually, i caught up w/ Travis.  he was battling the heat and at a low point.  i told him if he was okay to run, i could pace him.  he said okay but was struggling.  you have to listen to your body and you have to go at your own pace.  and Travis was doing thirty-eight more miles than me.  i told him to be strong and he said / i will / and somehow that sounded tough and meant a lot and resonated. 

by mile 30 i was drinking Mt. Dew at the aid stations.  i'd purposely cut caffeine out of my Life for days like today.  slam down a couple of Mt. Dews and that caffeine is going to make you run fast for the next eight miles or so.  at mile 47, i was struggling.  just wanted to be done.  switched to music.  this was my running mix, so this was going to help keep me company until the end.  it lifted my spirits and my pace picked up.  i never felt weak and i never felt like i wasn't going to finish.  i stayed strong most of the day and remained relentless in my pursuit.  if i saw a straggler on the trail, i attacked and then put some distance btwn him and me.  and then i'd rest.  if i saw anyone behind me, i'd take off and push two or three miles b/f slowing down.  i was barely hanging on but i was still attacking.  the last ten miles, i could barely stomach water or gels.  i was operating on will alone.  i had no idea how many runners were ahead of me.  i didn't even know what a good time is for 100k.  i was just going for it.  i knew my family was at the finish and i couldn't wait to see them.  the last nine miles is about the hilliest of the course.  i was power walking the uphills by this point but still moving.  the last five miles have mile markers up, so that's all your looking for.  marker to marker is torture when you just want to be done.  each mile seems like ten.  each hill seems like a mountain.  my heart rate was through the roof, mainly d/t the heat.  and then...there it was.  the glorious finish line.  i couldn't believe it when they told me i was 4th overall, 3rd for my age.  they awarded me.  i awarded myself w/ a garden hose of cold water over my head for about five minutes.  my family was amazing and brought me cold beer and a chair.  i took my shoes off for the first time and my feet were mangled.  but it felt so good!  that solid runners high along w/ the sense of accomplishment.  it was the farthest i'd ever run.  my pace wasn't bad either.  11 hours and 40 minutes.  for sure one of the hardest things i've had to push through.  but it seems pushing through the hard stuff is one of my specialties. 

i received lots of encouragement from friends and family via text, FB etc., and it was all GREATLY appreciated.  it inspires me to keep going and keep pushing on.  this is the stuff i live for.  this is how i do...

                                                   afterwards.  a chair and a beer is all i need!

Monday, May 16, 2011

things that have helped me as a runner...

a few things that have helped me as a runner:

1.  shoes
first of all, you've got to be fitted and put into the right shoes if you're going to be serious about running.  i used to go to the mall and pick out whatever looked the coolest and i'd run in them for a few years until they were falling off my feet.  i was suffering running injuries all along but oblivious to the fact that my shoes were the culprit.  i thought that runners got injured sometimes and you can either rest or power through.  i usually did the latter.  but having decent shoes will make running easier and more enjoyable w/ a lot less injuries.  buy new shoes every 500 miles.

2.  GPS watch
i know there's a few different ones out there.  i use the Garmin 405.  it's probably not the best one out there but i love it.  it tells me everything i need to know to be able to successfully track my workouts and progression.  i will state that i DON'T like the way the battery only lasts about eight hours when using the GPS device b/f having to be recharged.  the day after my Garmin came via UPS, i went out for a bike ride that went much longer than eight hours.  i was only able to track about 110 miles.  but having the watch alone helps to motivate me and go longer on the trails b/c i'm able to track miles, elevation change, heart rate and everything else i need.

i am relatively new to the podcasting world and most of it bores me to tears.  but there are a few out there that i've explored that have been interesting.  it's nice to hear the training plans and routines of normal runners.  i normally scour the internet for my hero's like Tony Krupicka and Dave Goggins.  i read about these guys who are running 100-150 miles a week and wondering why i'm such a wuss.  why can't i do that?  Goggins does it all w/ a full time job!  so Dirtdawg and Run Tri Chat have recently helped to put things in perspective for me.  i wish i could up w/ Geoff Roes for a month or two of mountain running or run 20 miles a day, lift weights and sleep three hours a night like Goggins, but i'm a real person that gets injured if i push it too hard.  it's nice to hear from the real people of the world.

4.  local running community
i've always been stubbornly against this one.  unlike many other people, i enjoy running alone.  i also enjoy running at night.  a lot.  when running (or biking) it's a different experience each time but most of the time for me it's meditation.  meditation in motion.  i feel very calm and very human afterwards.  i enjoy the experience of going out on a long journey by myself.  don't get me wrong, i enjoy experiencing them w/ other people too.  talking w/ friends help the miles to fly by quickly.  but ever since i was a kid, i went further than most and usually was by myself.  when i was 23 i was signing up for century rides but didn't know a single person who was into anything like that.  i also rode my bike down Wisconsin and camped along the way, that summer.  it took me seven days.  more recently, i climbed almost all of the 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, most of which were by myself.  and that's how i prefer my adventure.  however, recently, i picked up a part time job at All Season Runner and have participated in a couple of the group runs.  now everyone's pace and skill vary widely and everyone has different goals.  but everyone enjoys running and triathlons.  so regardless--these are my kinda people!  everyone is encouraging and supportive.  they want to hear about your races and we all feed off of each others energy.  everyone has races they're working towards and everyone speaks my language!

5.  Dailymile
again, i like to run alone.  i don't feel i need support from others.  i don't need encouragement.  i like to run by myself, struggle by myself and cross the finish line by myself.  that's just how i prefer it.  everyone's different.  but Dailymile taught me how freaking positive people can be.  i've made tons of "friends" who encourage me and keep close tabs on my progress and / or slow times.  i've made some real friends there too, some of which i've even ran w/ a few times.  i can log my miles, monitor my progress and compare it to others.  naturally, i compare myself to all the top mileage dogs of Dailymile and wonder how the hell they are doing it--and it gives me something to shoot for.  and most days, i'm shooting for the skies. 

running and endurance sports are important to me and i don't just want to be okay at them.  i want to get better.  i want to run a hundred mile mountain race sometime next year.  that is the goal at this point.  these are a few of the tools i've used to get me to the point i'm at...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Potawatomi 50 Mile Trail Run

well it rained the night b/f from midnight until race time, so i knew it was going to be seriously muddy. i knew it wouldn't be a PR race--it would just be a try and survive race. everyone was slipping. everyone was wiping out. everyone had mud on their butts and from their knees down. although...i didn't hear anyone complain. everyone seemed to be having a good time. i wasn't really prepared for all the hills. being in the middle of Illinois, i thought it would be relatively flat. it was ALL hills. the entire day would bring 8,000 feet of elevation gain and decent. there were 10 creek crossings throughout the day, so the feet were wet all day. since the course was all mud and hills, it was tough negotiating. going up meant one step forward and slide two back. going down meant surfing or glissading down the mud. what an adventure. this was my first 50 miler w/out a pacer to help me push on. although i had many ups and downs and feelings of weakness, i felt fairly strong all day. it was by far the toughest trail race i've done so far. i'm so proud of my finishers belt buckle. it was epic! epic, i tell you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

McNaughton Trail Run

after the Chicago Lakefront 50k, things weren't working so good.  i mean i felt fine, really...except when running.  i think i strained a couple muscles in the groin area, probably b/c i was in a hurry to get to the race and tore into the parking lot and ran to registration and never found time to warm up or stretch.  smart, huh?  my own fault i reckon.  i could have been smarter about it all but i'm sure there's a lesson there somewhere.  w/ a 50 miler looming only two weeks after that, i was a little worried.  i'd paid the admission fee.  i'm signed up.  one way or another...i'm going to the race and running my best race, even if i fall short and DNF.  of course that's not the plan.  i've been resting hard, difficult as that is for me.  i've been lifting weights and biking to stay strong and ready.  but w/out run miles it's hard to go into the race feeling confident and ready.  i'm not sure at this point how the injury will hold up.  it's not a bad injury at all.  but a little injury can be a BIG nag at such a distance.  last night i ran in place in my living room for 45 minutes b/c that doesn't hurt and i'm able to keep my legs strong.  it felt good and i'm so desperate for a real runners high that it almost sufficed.  almost.  but mostly i've been on the bike, peddling away.  simulating hills.  picturing the trails.  roots, rocks, creek crossings and digging deep.  which is what i seem to be good at.  once in a while...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chicago Lakefront 50k

my first ultra for the year! it was a relatively flat course but it was a perfect way to test yourself at the beginning of the season. it was a cold run w/ some crazy wind coming in off Lake Michigan, as the entire run was along the lake. my plan was to run 8 min miles all day and see how i felt. but that just seemed to slow. i ran 7:40's for the first marathon or so and then started to get tired. the last 6 miles i had to dig pretty deep and i was moving pretty slow but i pulled it off.  i finished 10th overall and 4th for my age.  good to see a few people i know and recognized from other runs in the past. good to slap hands w/ them as we passed each other on the out and backs. overall it was a really good day. couldn't stick around long afterward b/c once i stopped running, my wet shirt and jacket didn't mix well w/ that wicked wind. my teeth were chattering five minutes after i stopped. no that time i was on a serious mission for some food!! oh yeah...PR by 81 minutes!!

Friday, March 25, 2011


i'm totally amped.  tomorrow i will run my first ultra of the year--the Chicago Lakefront 50k.  i have never done this event b/f and am looking forward to it.  it'll be a relatively flat course but i'm guessing it's going to be extremely windy b/c it's right along Lake Michigan.  i am not as prepared as i could be d/t Life getting in the way of my training but am stoked regardless to get out there and give it my best shot.  send me prayers and good vibes!  full race report to follow...

Monday, March 7, 2011

12 hour training ride

you decide to do a 12 hour training ride.  just to see if you can do it.  to see if you can sit on the bike that long.  you have yet to go beyond 8 or 9 hours (8 hours on the bike, 9 hours running) and you just want to see what's possible and where your mind goes.  it's the mental hurdle you have to get over. want to do a 24 hour training ride sometime this year, so you have to start somewhere.  some people call you crazy but this is what you call a good time. 

you prepared the living room the night b/f.  swept it all out.  put air in the bike tires.  laid out food and water next to the bikes so you are able to just hammer all day.  the alarm goes off at 5:20 and you jump out of bed, psyched up for the big journey that will take you nowhere.  you have a coffee and at 6:00 you mount up and start peddling.  this isn't so bad.  i can do this for a day / you think to yourself.  you watch a movie.  two movies.  three.  you listen to music.  you switch to the spinning bike for a while b/c you can stand up for a longer period of time and give your rump a rest.  every time you get off the bike you have to do 10 pull ups or 30 push ups.  it's your own personal rule.  the first 9 hours is pretty easy.  after that it gets tough.  mentally tough.  you're getting bored.  time drags.  the bike seat is miserable.  you push on.  your sister comes over for the last hour.  that helps motivate you some.  she cheers you on and you push hard throughout the last hour.  and at 6:00 pm you get off the bike and that's it.  open a beer and celebrate.  you do not know how far you peddled.  you have no way of tracking beyond 8 hours.  you were probably close to 200 miles but you don't know that for sure.
food eaten:
1 apple
3 peanut butter and honey tortilla roll ups
3 clif bars
4 mandarins
1 pot of coffee
4 bottles of water
1 powerade
2 avacado

you got off the bike 8 times for food / bathroom breaks.  which means:
40 pull ups
120 push ups

Saturday, February 26, 2011

birthday run

i decided to run my age in miles to celebrate my 36th birthday.  it seemed like a daunting task but i guess i've run greater distances before.  not recently, but i had.  did i really want to do this on my birthday?  isn't there easier ways to celebrate? 

Brother John met me for the first leg.  he ran the first 10 miles w/ me.  it's always good to see him and catch up w/ him.  those first 10 miles went by like water.  it was nothing.  the trail conditions were tough and ridiculous in some spots.  Roxy was also w/ us.  but Brother John is my favorite person to run w/ so it seemed like nothing. 

we finished our 10 miler at my house.  had a cup of tea to warm up and then before long Brother John was gone and it was time for me to run another ten mile leg.  i took the iPod this time and looked forward to jammin out to some tunes.  i don't usually take the tunes w/ me while in the woods but hey man...this is a celebration.  if anyone would have seen me, they would have seen a guy running through the woods on snow that he SHOULD have had snowshoes for and singing or rapping to whatever music is blasting through his headphones as his dog leads the way. 

so after 20 miles exactly, i was back at the house and had a Clif bar, a banana, a green tea and a water and made the drive to Madison.  i was to meet up w/ Kerstina who i had never run w/.  15 miles was the furthest she had ever gone so she wanted to run 16 today to PR and celebrate w/ me.  which is great.  talking w/ her also made the miles go by like they were nothing.  we ran all the way around Lake Monona which is about a 13 mile trip.  i haven't been around Lake Monona in years and never on foot.  it made for a beautiful run.  Kerstina kept up like a champ and i have a feeling she has a few marathons in her yet.  we made it back to the truck for a quick food and water break and then we squeaked out another three miles to make our 16 miles.  her watch said we were at like 18 miles for the day, mine said 15.5.  so i'm calling it 16.  it made for a great day.  big ups to Brother John and Kerstina for joining me and making the day worth while.  my favorite day this year so far!

1st leg: 10.36 miles
125 bpm
1109 cal burned

2nd leg: 9.60 miles
150 bpm
1170 cal burned

3rd leg: 15.55
143 bpm
2007 cal burned

oh yeah...and afterward all of that, i ate a boatload of sushi.  yes...a boatload. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain

I ABSOLUTELY CAN'T WAIT FOR MY BIG RUN THIS WEEKEND.  if i'm not too injured afterward, i'm sure i'll make a weekend of it.  at least i hope to. :-)  prayers and good vibes are accepted.  full report will follow...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

weekly wrap up

miles:  136
time: 9hr 49 min
rest days: 2

wasn't planning on the 2 rest days but sometimes my body tells me otherwise.  i work on my feet for about 45 hours a week so i'm not able to train as hard as i'd like to most days.  it's pretty much physically impossible.  if i push myself really hard one week, i'm destroyed the next week and mentally and physically beat down.  so i've been trying to stay consistent w/ adequate rest time here and there.  i felt decent about my 16 mile run yesterday topped off w/ 33 on the bike.  today i ran 9 and biked biked an easy 18 but did 400 push ups.  i felt good in the sense that it was almost pain free.  been having issues w/ plantar fasciitis which keeps me from running sometimes.  today's workout was spread out throughout the day while writing, hustling a bit and watching the game.  overall a decent week.  and always looking forward.  i pretty much have my whole year's races planned out and i'm looking forward to tearin it up...starting on March 26th--Chicago Lakefront 50k.

here's a couple of books i've been reading.  man, i can't believe Keith Richards is still alive.  i thought the same when i read Iggy's bio.  those guys have superhuman blood.  his book is a good read though and very well written.  i love to hear the old stories from the legendary guys that paved their own way. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

for the record

my two favorite authors.  hands down.  no contest.  complete opposite writing styles in all ways possible.  probably would have hated each other and ended up in a fist fight.  still my favorites.  i don't even know who i would be if i had not stumbled upon these guys.  thank you thank you...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

winter training

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." is a quote from the late coach Bill Bowerman.  he coached many greats including Steve Prefontaine and went on to invent Nike's first running shoe.  this is a quote that i tend to live by on rainy days.  even now, during wicked blizzard conditions...i've been trying to get outside and sneak some training in.  i still hit the indoor bike and the weights, etc.  but the real training happens outside.  over the years i've been up against it all.  i've camped outside in freezing mountains while snow falls freely from the sky.  i've gone to bed wondering if i'll make it through the night.  by choice.  after you've been through that a few times, you harden up a bit and tend to think of a blizzard as not such a big deal.  the Midwest just got pounded w/ a bunch of snow w/ drifts here and there up to eight feet tall.  i shoveled out a few driveways and have managed to still get in a few runs.  it's nothing to me but another day.  i enjoy it.  i think as a society we have become too comfortable w/ things.  we sit in our box on a big comfy sofa watching tv or glued to our computers.  we order our "food" to be delivered or at best go to a drive through.  we need instant gratification and if we can't have it we are bored.  we aren't willing to work for anything and we quit as soon as things get tough.  i've learned that i have to go through incredibly difficult things in order to become a better person.  it's just who i am.  i have to be constantly working towards a goal and training hard for something in order to be at peace w/ myself.  and there is no finish line.  i'll check my watch as i cross the finish line but not to see what my time is.  it's to see if i have enough time in the day for the next workout or the next goal.  it's a little obsessive and out there, i know.  i realize i'm a bit on the extreme side.  but that's how i find out who i am and what i'm made of.  most people will never know and never will.  it doesn't come easy for me.  it's hard work and that's why i do it.  my mind and body tell me to stop all the time but i don't and that's how i come out w/ a story to tell.  you say / but i'm not training for an ultramarathon / and i say / Life is an ultramarathon. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

who's down?

so, it wasn't a huge week in terms of mileage but i feel a lot stronger going into next week.  messed around w/ my new friend "the backpack".  the backpack is filled w/ a few of my old friends.  mostly, my favorite authors that happened to write BIG books.  Thomas Wolfe wrote some monsters.  the Russian guys always wrote books that were at least a thousand pages.  so, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are now coming along w/ me on some of my night runs.  some of these books changed my Life, moved me to tears, made me angry, gave me courage and in some ways made me a man.  it's only fitting now that i am using them to make me stronger.  and stronger.  and stronger...

                                                           my number one training partner.

but what i really want is to be healthy enough to be able to compete this year.  not just do the event to say i did it but to actually push myself beyond the beyonds and come up w/ some decent times.  assuming i don't get injured along the way, of course. 

i've been coming up w/ little challenges for myself lately.  just to keep me motivated.  and i'm always looking for friends who are willing to suffer along w/ me.  i would be thrilled if anyone would be so inclined to join me for any of the following challenges that i hope to do w/in the next few months.  this may sound crazy.  but everyone is capable of so much more than they will ever know.  and besides...misery loves company??

1.  i'm calling it the 4/4/48.
     run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.
2.  30/30/3
     run 30 miles and drink 30 beers all w/in 3 days.
3.  1000 push-ups in a day.
4.  i plan to run 36 miles on my 36th birthday.  join me for part of it!  join me for all of it!
5.  24 hours on the bike trainer.

who's up for it?  who's down?  who's got crazy idears for me?  set crazy goals.  make the myths!

cowards never started and the weak died along the way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The People Look Like Flowers At Last.

i've had BIG WEEKEND on my calendar for a while now, referring to THIS weekend.  BIG WEEKEND means BIG MILEAGE.  i planned on running a lot but i've been having this calf muscle issue thing so decided to hit the bike trainer and spin bike rather than wussing out altogether. 

weekly mileage 287
miles on the bike 258
miles run 29
hours 21:08
workouts 9

all in all i feel pretty good, considering i was on the bike for over 6 hours today.  14.5 hours the whole weekend.  there is no rest day.  tomorrow, i'll wake up and go for a run.  that's how i get down.  maybe next time i'll do an all nighter.  oh, and by the way...i have BIG YEAR on my calendar too!