2019 is shaping right up

I have not been very good about updating the blog during the Fall…which isnt all too strange as I travel a ton as a coach / mechanic for the Santa Cruz / Donkey Label cyclocross team.  I have done a really good job of staying consistent with my running while out on the road.  No matter how bad the running was, I got it in and knocked off a bunch of 60 mile weeks.   Sad news is, the star rider of the program, Tobin Ortenblad , http://www.tobinortenblad.com crashed and broke his clavicle about 10 days ago…so the season came to an abrupt stop.  No traveling and running at home is nice, but one of my jobs is to be out there on the road this time of year.  These things happen of course, I am actually surprised I wasnt better prepared for such a scenario, but we live and we learn.  I have made the most of being home though.

One thing I have been able to nail down is my race schedule for 2019.  Last year, I made gains, raced longer races, but never really walked away from a race really satisfied.  I have spend a lot of time thinking about this…from a lot of different angles and at the end of the day, I have no answer.  So what the hell, I will up the ante for 2019. Here is my proposed (registered for) schedule

1/19/19 Capitol Forest 25km Olympia, Wa

2/16/19 Fourmidable 50km Auburn, Ca

4/27/19 The Canyons 100km Foresthill, Ca

7/13/19 Siskiyou Out and Back (S.O.B.) Ashland, Or

8/24/19 Castle Peak 100km Truckee, Ca

Its a packed calendar with 3, 100kms. Some may submit that there isnt enough time in between S.O.B. and Castle Peak…but I think I have a plan for that.  which will consist of recovery, hiking and sleeping with some running sprinkled  on top.  We shall see if I can carry the fitness from the season and float it to Castle Peak.  The biggest challenge will be to remain balance with family, work and play all the while staying healthy.  I like it on paper.  I feel good about it.  I am going with it….curious to hear what coach Brett says.

Also, new for 2019 I will have a some product support from UltraSpire. http://www.ultraspire.com .  This is pretty awesome to me, because I already exclusively use their products.  Excited to be on board with them.  Check them out.

Altra,  I will find out around the 1st of the year if I will be asked back to the Altra Red Team.  I sure hope so.  http://www.altrarunning.com their shoes and now clothing are second to none in my opinion.

Ok, that is about it from me…get out there…there is snow up the hill and great trails all around

oh, if you are on Strava, give me a follow and I will follow back…love to see what everyone is up to

https://www.strava.com/athletes/466396

 

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Revisit, Review, Reboot

Back to the blog and back to running after Tahoe Rim Trail .

I only took 4 days off after TRT because I felt so good and I wanted to go get up in the high country and enjoy the mountain trails.  With my coach / manager / wrench duties for the fall and winter fast approaching I really wanted to get some good fun runs in.

So for this post I thought I would Revisit 2 pieces of gear that I reviewed earlier.  I want to give my initial impressions of the new Altra Lone Peak 4.0 (I have about 150 miles on a pair) and share some pics from my fun runs and talk about what I am doing with training and nutrition heading towards my goals of next year.

Shall We revisit some gear first?

A few blog posts back I did a big short review which included, https://www.altrarunning.com/men/trail-short-20

I gave the short pretty high marks, but for 2 reasons gave the other new Altra running short, https://www.altrarunning.com/men/performance-short-20 slightly higher marks.

after many many miles and some racing , I have to flip flop and promote the trail short to my new favorite….but it took a little tweaking. Out of the box I wanted 2 things different.  The leg stitch on the liner was a bit too tight for me, and the “split” seemed too short if not just down right cosmetic.  so…..I noticed that the split actually had a stitched tack in the middle of the split seam, so I removed the tack and opened it up, now its awesome!

The 0907182013

The next item was the liner leg stitch was really tight on my thigh…it worked itself out…and I think its going to be ok.  you can see that the stitching has popped…i guess I have big thighs?  at any rate, they feel better now, as long as they dont fall apart.  I still prefer a brief but this short is awesome

 

 

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Next Item that, with a heavy heart I gave a poor review.  The UltrAspire fitted race belt, https://ultraspire.com/products/fitted-waist-belt/

you can scroll back a few posts to read that review

I most likely would have just written this item off for my kit, but Tina from UltrAspire emailed me to follow up with my poor review.  After a little back and forth, Tina was convinced I just had the wrong size, and she sent me a different one.  Upon receiving the new size, I loaded it up and took it out for a run.  The thing freaking worked like a charm! Now I can say that UltrAspire products are batting 1000 with me.  ( I have 4 packs, waist belt, and 3 handhelds)

I use a 350ml flask in the back.  Keys, cell phone up front and the gear loops work awesome if you need to shed and carry layers.  Jackpot!

Now this waist belt is on me pretty much every run under 90 min.  So pumped on it.  A big thanks for the awesome customer service.  I love this thing!

Ok, on to the new Altra Lone Peak 4.0,  https://www.altrarunning.com/men/lone-peak-4

I am a big Lone Peak from from the 2.5 forward….I have always been able to make these shoes work really well for me.  Whether its getting the leather punch out and changing the lacing pattern, sizing down to prevent too much upper stretch or coming up with some unique lacing, the Lone Peaks have always been super reliable for me.  My only small beef with the LPs have been the mileage.  I cant get over 300 miles on them before the out sole breaks down enough (because of my poor mechanics) for me to have to retire them. You can see in the following pics the wear from my supination (transverse tib/fib fracture when I was young…) and I feel like the traction is not that great laterally.  Fore and aft is acceptable, but nothing super special. But running down, bounding into a loose apex of a switchback…?  no way I would do it without looking for something like a rock or root to create traction, Just dont have confidence in dynamic situations in the the older versions

So I am eager to see how the Lone Peak 4.0s wear in comparison with the new out sole compound…so far so good at 150 miles

Let me just say this, the Lone Peak 4.0 out of the box is good to go for me.  The fit, the lacing are on point, no alterations required.  my feet are sooooooo happy!   The new upper fits like a glove and is way cooler than the 3 and 3.5.  havent had any sweat stains on the long hot runs on the 4.0s.  The out sole on the 4.0 has a new compound and the “Trail Claw”  The combo of the 2 have made up for the lack luster traction in all directions / conditions so far for me…..i have been running on mostly dry trails, but there has been some mud.  big thumbs up so far for me!  Like I said, I only have 150 miles on them, so I will report back with a more long term review.  But so far, they are the best shoe I have ever run in.

 

With all the gear stuff out of the way…..what have I been up to?  And where am I headed with this running thing?

With my racing season closing after the Tahoe Rim Trail at the end of July I spent the month filling up my soul running up in the mountains, getting a bunch of work done and dreaming up my goals for next year.

While running around the foothills and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada I have had a lot of time to reflect on this past year.  All in all I am super happy. I have had a great year and really enjoyed all the work we (Brett Horning) and I have accomplished.  I am so excited to set goals for next year that are a bit bigger than what I experienced this year.

I am not 100% sure of all my racing next year, but 100km distance is going to be my next bump and The Canyons 100km is going to be my primary spring objective.  What will we do between now and then training and racing wise is really up to Brett, but I have some thoughts on what I need to expand on and be better at.  One thing I never nailed was fueling in the 50 mile distance.  Late this summer I decided to take a serious crack at getting into Ketosis and striving for figuring out the LCHF training and racing plan.  I have dabbled with OFM and the such before, but in a pretty non disciplined way…I know it works, but now I am on it in a big way and really doing the field work to refine it and see if this is going to work for me in the longer races.  I have had a ton of help from Peter Defty of Vespa Power, and learned a lot from Jeff Browning and his experiences. But this go round, I have my chief accountability officer, Tiana Rockwell of http://www.trirealfood.com/ .  things have been pretty good, been a rough patch here and there…and now out on the road has been really tricky.  But I am committed to the experiment.

What else?  Well, I will be traveling a ton between now and middle December which means I have to go find places to run “out on the road”  Right now I am out in Rochester NY enjoying short runs in the area, Mendon Pond Park is my favorite

 

That is about all I have for now.  I think for the next time I will compile a bit of travel trail and report back!

Thanks for reading.

Tahoe Rim Trail 50 was quite a day for me

I had a great time at #TRT50 and learned a lot.  Not only did I learn a ton, but I was able to manage myself and make positive adjustments all day.  That aspect of my day is not  reflected in a time or placing… But I will give myself an B+, always room to improve.  Ok, before I go into the race report I need to do some thanking

A big thanks to my friends Todd Hennings and Erica Sonnenberg.  They let me crash at their house and we car pooled to the race.  Did I mention Todd and Erica both raced the 50 miler too…..?  Yup, they did.  Power family.

Then my Crew!  I was lucky enough to have my wife Hollie and our dear friend Kate Flore crew for me as you can tell from the pictures, they were amazing

 

 

As if my support crew wasnt perfect enough, much to my surprise Tiana Rockwell and Jim Pelton were at the finish line to say hey.  They got a little more than they bargained for as I was a little barfy after the race and a little spun…I must say that was super cool to see them.  Sorry for the barfing……

I also need to thank the good folks at Altra Running for not only the amazing shoes but the perfect singlet and running short…I will recap my gear in a bit

Last but not least, Brett Horning of Trails and Tarmac.   I feel like I keep this guy on his toes as a coach…sorry for that, I try not to be high maintenance but I most likely am a pain in the ass…I feel grateful for Brett’s help with my training, accountability to the training, but also his experience and knowledge.  I dont think I tell him thank you enough…

Ok, on to the stats and gear:

The TRT 50 is:

50 miles, roughly 9000′ vert on some really nice decomposed granite trails (mostly Tahoe Rim Trail) and most of the course is over looking Lake Tahoe.  Its pretty amazing.

Gear:

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 shoes, Altra Red Team singlet, Altra Performance 2.0 short.  Drymax thin crew, Ultraspire Momentum race vest.  everything worked out really well.

 

To the race recap:

Race day !  We woke up about 3:45 am and I was happy to be greeted by Todd and Erica…..and Coffee!  I ate some sweet potato hash brows and a fried egg, loaded the van and we blasted off by 4:30.  The drive over to Spooner pass was easy and we found a great spot to park.  No Stress morning.  Check in was easy, number pinned, vest loaded and secured on my torso and we were off.

The opening miles of this race were the only miles I wanted to “position” myself well for because you head into single track really soon and are on it for about 4 miles.  Mission accomplished and I settled in with a good little group of runners (some where doing the 55km) so I had to remind myself that I was running the 50 mile and not to “race” anyone.  The next 18 miles went great: Hobart, Tunnel Creek, Red House and Bull wheel Aid stations just flew by.  I made sure to be eating and drinking and not to be in a big hurry at aid stations.  finish the bottles, top off and head out.  That was working  great for me.  Miles were flying by and I was enjoying myself and the other runners.

Heading out of Red House the group I was with thinned as we went back up to Tunnel Creek, I was now just with one of the original single track posse.  We were in the top 6 of the 50 milers and running well together. As we started over towards the Tyrolean village section, I started to notice that my new buddy was running strong and he kept testing things.  Carrying more momentum up and over little hills or letting it go a bit more on the downhills….I started to get “race brain”  and was concerned about matching his efforts…and it didnt feel awesome.  Instead of running myslef into the ground, I just backed off and let him do his thing and I stuck to my plan.  Eat, drink and move forward in a stable manner and get down to the crew at mile 30 and re evaluate things.  So down to Diamond Peak I went

Mile 30 arrived and I was so happy to see Hollie and Kate.  I knew what I had packed for resupply, but I had no idea the level of positivity and service I was about to receive.

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Hollie and Kate sprung into action.  I drank a cold bottle of water right away, emptied my trash, re filled my my vest with calories and swapped out the bottles for ice cold fluids.  Hollie rubbed some anti inflammatory gel on my knees and quads as a “just in case”, Kate prepped the icekerchief and got it on me…then as I was getting ready to roll out I got some knuckles from Kate, 2 big sniffs of peppermint oil and a kiss from Hollie and away I went

48653The long 2 mile Haul out of Diamond Peak back up to the ridge line.  Was I in direct  heat for 45 min climbing a super steep sandy climb?  Yes, but I actually enjoyed it.  I hiked it and drank 1 liter of water and just took inventory of how the body was feeling. I also marveled at the 2 amazing people and their energy that I just left.  LUCKY DUDE.

Once I topped out it was 2 miles to Bull Wheel again, so I focused on finishing my fluids before then and eating some calories.  Bam bam, I was in and out of there really well and actually felt amazing.  I ran happy for the next 6 to 8 miles. “lets close this thing out!”  At Tunnel creek my Icekerchief got refilled and more cold fluids were added to my bottles…on to Hobart…things are going great!  about a mile outside of Hobart, I decided to get the GU rolling, you know, the rocket fuel for the next 10 miles.

The instant that GU hit my tongue I threw up.  You know the kind of barfing where every muscle in your body contracts and your eyes water as if you had been crying with no control.  Uh oh…. “Ok Dude, get to the next aid station, Hobart and sort things out, just keep moving”  that is what I did.   I had to hike a lot of stuff I should have ran, but I was in a bit of triage mode.  “just keep moving and stay positive, you can fix this” I stayed positive, topped off and ate some water melon and  with just a little slow down in pace, I headed off to Snow Peak, the next aid.

There I was greeted by some very enthusiastic Boy Scouts.  Right on, I thought…they put a smile on my face.  I drank some water and filled my bottles and got moving….something was wrong though.  I puked again.  The water tasted so bad, as if it was 3:1 chlorine to water.  The Boy Scouts, in wanting to “be Prepared” might have over done it on the Chlorine….At any rate, with most of the miles remaining to be at a vertical loss, I committed to moving to the final aid station, 5.3 miles away.  I had most certainly slowed down, and my stomach was unsettled.  I did manage to eat some food, I think I had a pack of honey stinger chews and just kept pressing on.  I really couldnt run how I wanted, I just had to keep backing off and that would be how it was until the end.

Once I arrived at the last aid station I was so happy to get some crisp cold water.  The best water I have ever had.  From there I got myself down to the finish….it was slow going, but going.  Right before The line, I saw Tiana and Jim, that put a smile on my face.  I never expected to see them.

I crossed the line into the finish tent and sat down.  I got a little dizzy and felt a touch sick, but could easily converse with the folks in the tent.  They told me I was 2nd in my age group and 7th over all (actually 8th).  I sat there for a moment…in a daze.  Reflective. Happy.  TRT 50 was in the books and it went pretty well

I have a lot to be happy about.  Great prep and training block.  Healthy mind and body and I felt that I was really able to stay right there mentally every step of the way.  I was not letting past experience map my reactions to feelings, nor did I let the future over ride the present.  I was just right there, moving.  So simple.

I will take a break from racing for a bit now, but I am looking forward to continued growth with my training and I also am going to get a little more serious about my nutrition.  It should be fun!  Rest and relaxation GO!

48608Thanks for reading.

Day off, Shorts Review

Shorts Review.  A couple things, I have no idea why the photos wont post correctly. No matter what I do…this is their orientation.  Sorry.

Second, These are my opinions and experiences with these shorts and I might have the most sensitive skin on the face of the planet, so take what I say with that in mind.  In the photos below are the shorts tested,  I will talk about my “GO TO” short and I will talk about the new shorts I found at greater length (not much greater) than the shorts that just went in the “nope” pile….maybe

My “GO TO” trail short is the Patagonia Strider pro 5″  Link: https://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-strider-pro-running-shorts-5-inch/24632.html?dwvar_24632_color=VIK&cgid=mens#tile-12=&prefn1=sport&prefv1=trail-running&start=1&sz=36

I like the cut, I like the fit, I like the outside drawstring….the pockets are well thought out and I have used them for running and back packing for about 4 years now.  The fabric does get wet and clingy, when I sweat and I would say they dont really dry out on the run.  But if I have put on the correct amount of anti chafe in the right spots, the wetness isnt a problem.  These shorts have been really good to me.  I have even grown fond of their wacky color options.  I am just tired of black shorts.  That being said, warning….I didnt pee my shorts if you see me out there running in non dark colored shorts… my crotch just sweats that much.  I apologize in advance.  thumbs up, love these, own a lot of them.

Next  I will give you the “Nope” Pile

From left to right, top to bottom

The Raid Light Ultralight short,  https://us.raidlight.com/shorts/4896-ultralight-short.html#/

When I first got these I was so hopeful, but a little worried that the length would bug me.  I tend to like a shorter split short, but I wanted to try this 2 in 1 longer short,  in an attempt to see if maybe I was wrong and should abandon the short split trail short style.  I was really stoked at first, these shorts are incredibly light weight and very soft to the touch.  The pockets are good, 2  of the 5 pockets are a little clumsy, but not a deal breaker.  When I put them on I didnt love them, but committed to a 10 mile run in them.  2 things I didnt like:  the draw string is on the inside of the short, this will wear a hole in my stomach for sure.  And second, the outer short is stitched to the longer, inner short down the outside of the leg…so you cant adjust the length of the inner short without bunching up the outer short.  <<< that I dont like.     Out the door I went in these, and they felt good.  Well supported, comfy….huh, maybe I was wrong about the longer shorts…..  but within a couple of miles I realized there was no way I wanted to put these in the “Yes” pile.  The inner short was so hot (it was not a hot day)  my boys were cooking!  I started to sweat like a beast in the nether region and before too long I was wearing a 2 piece soggy short system that was no longer soft or light weight. Soggy diaper came to mind. To the “Nope” pile for me.  I also got some pretty major chafing despite my best efforts and application of anti chafe product.

Next was the North Face Better than Naked 5″, they dont make it anymore, so no link.  This short was very comfortable but very fragile. ( I got an inch long cut from a sticker bush, just running by) The fit and feel are incredible in these shorts minus the fact that the drawstring is on the inside of the waist band.  So why in the “nope” pile.  The fabric and the elastic in the inner brief chafed me horribly.  ***despite my best efforts

 

The next short is from Ruhn, a Salt Lake City company, a place I hold dear to my heart. Compression style shorts have never appealed to me because I have spent enough of my life wearing tight cycling shorts, I just dont need that anymore….but their claims of Zero Chafing kept me curious.  I ordered a pair of the original short (9″)….they were so long, down to my knee caps….I just never ever ran in them.  I cant handle that for some odd reason, so those just got put in the back of the drawer, not even the “nope” Pile.  I even raced bikes in short shorts

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But a few weeks later, they launched a pre order for a 6″ version.  Even though I worried that these might be too revealing for the local trails….I ordered some.  https://www.ruhn.co/mens/ruhn-base-compression-short-20-pc9ma

Ruhn claims a chafe free experience… They go so far as to say  no more anti chafe required products required..sounds promising, count me in on that.  The day they arrived, I put them on and ran out in the living room and asked my wife if it was ok for me to go in public with these shorts….she gave me her blessing and to the trails I went.  Here we go, Chafe free….ready!  Long story short, I went for 18 miles.  There was chafing.  In fact some of the worst I have ever experienced and in some spots I had never had an issue before.  If that werent bad enough, these things got hot and again my boys were cooking!  With the heat, came the sweat and these things got super soggy and heavy.  so….”nope”

OK, the last “nope” for this review makes me a little sad.  I really really like this short.  The cut, the fit, the pockets, the brief, the ventilation..they felt wonderful on in the living room.  Unfortunately the fabrics and the elastic in the brief chafe me badly and incredibly quickly *** regardless of my best efforts.  I want this short to work so bad, I ran in them a week straight (washing them of course) to see if I needed to just toughen up the chafed areas….no luck.  I will keep my eyes out on La Sportiva shorts…I think they are on it with the cut and design, just need to select different fabrics

 

Last category, the new “yes” pile of my review come from the same company, 2 new shorts from Altra.  Now, I know…  how can I  give a fair review because I am on Altra Red team…But I will tell you this, their shorts I tried last year…….were sooooo bad that I retired them for good and committed to my “Go To” patagonia shorts.  So when these 2 latest versions came out….I figured I would stay true to form and give them a try, but had zero expectations.    I ordered a pair of each, the Performance 2.0 and the Trail 2.0.  Upon receiving the shorts, the “test” was almost over.  I ordered a medium, same in all of the shorts in this review…and the fit on the mediums was confusing.  The shorts were so big, I think Hollie could have jumped in them with me.  She refused… But I tried to get her to.  Disheartened I emailed and requested a return.  Reflecting on the fact that at least the patagonia shorts work pretty good for me and I should just be happy with those.  Within a couple minutes, I had an email back from Altra saying that they could process a refund or exchange sizes.  The fabric, the pockets and the outside drawstring convinced me to try the smalls.  SO I went for the exchange.

Smalls it is for me!

The Trail short was the first model I took out for a spin.  This short is $10 less than the performance short. I cant tell why but I can tell you this:  The trail short has well thought out pockets and a unique “double” pocket thing that is really cool on the back of the waist.  Instead of a brief liner it has a longer liner that has 2 different materials built in it.  One for support and compression and one for ventilation.  Here is my only problem with this short.  The stitch where the 2 materials meet, chafe me.  The outer fabric is very nice, its light and has a small “split” on the outside of the leg,  Which I  like and could ask for more split.  Pretty happy with these and the reason why the chafing doesnt relegate them to the “nope” pile, is because the chafing is minor and doesnt happen until 3 + hours are run.  So I think this could be preventable with diligent anti chafe procedure or even a smoother joining process.  These are pretty cool shorts, but did stay wet after I started to sweat. Maybe there is no true “fast drying” short.      here is a link:

https://www.altrarunning.com/men/trail-short-20

 

OK, Last but not least this short is in the “yes” and “go to” pile, in fact I will be racing the TRT 50m in them this weekend.  The Altra Performance 2.0.  Link:

https://www.altrarunning.com/apparel/men?series=Bottoms#Tops

These shorts are actually (without being race tested yet) better than the current “go to” short.  Fit is great (although I had to size down)  the fabric is awesome and the brief is perfect for me.  No chafing….and I have even done some runs with zero anti chafe just to really test that out.  I cant believe it!   Pretty pumped!

Its not all rainbows though.  There are 3 things I would change.  (besides only offereing dark colors) 1st, this shorts pannel isnt split.  I wish it were and I wish it was split much higher than the Trail 2.0.

2nd, I wish the short was a touch shorter, like a 5″split short.  I would guess its 6 to 6.5″

3rd there is a pocket on the right butt cheek, like a wallet pocket that I just dont see as necessary and in fact it gets a little hot on the cheek…..I would say if the purpose of that pocket is for packing a light weight jacket…get rid of it and use the double pocket thing from the trail 2.0 maybe for stashing.

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weird pocket

That is all I got on that!  If there is a short you dig that you think I should try..let me know. I buy all these, no gives me these shorts for review.  Feel free to comment.

Broken Arrow to TRT50 and the bit in between

Things have been pretty “normal” here since the Broken Arrow DNF.  I got my head out of my ass and actually I am very grateful for the lessons learned from Broken Arrow.  Next, I have the opportunity to test these measures in the 50 mile Tahoe Rim Trail race 7/21

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broken arrow up

I actually resumed training right away after BA.  Felt fairly good and knocked out a solid week knocking out a 63 mile week.  Maybe it was all the Western States excitement or maybe it was getting up in the high country for some runs with friends…whatever it was, Its been a lot of fun.

Western always brings excitement, emotion, and motivation, but getting out in the mountains fills the soul.  So far this summer I have been getting up there and out there at a pretty good interval.  I would be up there all the time if I could…but Then I wouldnt get any work done.  Need to figure out how to transplant my life into a higher elevation.

This past Sunday marked 2 weeks to TRT, so the taper begins.  This always makes me a little nervous, but I will trust my coach and I will pay attention to how I respond.  1 thing I know, I have had a great block of running since recovering from Lake Sonoma and I am excited for the next race.  in the last 3 weeks the mileage has been good and really fun:  63 miles, 8k vert…73 miles, 11,600 vert….64 miles, 8k vert.  pretty stoked about that.

Not much else to report…biz as usual.

I could do a gear review on some shorts if anyone is interested….let me know with a comment if you anyone wants to hear about my experiences…I have been running in Patagonia Pro Striders 5″ forever…..and have been testing the waters with some other shorts.  LaSportiva, Ruhn, Altra….cusious?

Failed to follow my own rules

Well, after about 24 hours of trying to explain my DNF at the Broken Arrow 52km yesterday I have landed at the conclusion that I didnt follow my own damn rules.  A little reflection…bear with me….maybe read on

Things have been quiet on this blog for awhile, but things have been quite busy and the training has been really good.  In fact, considering how busy and spread thin I have been for me, I am really happy with only 1 (4day) misstep in my training in the last block. But that misstep was for a good cause, the #buildersforbuilders fund raiser. Could I have been more disciplined and got it all in?  The answer is yes…but I made the choice not to….. “The Choice not to”  I do these things for self exploration and really enjoy the act (the pictures are proof)

“I made the choice NOT to”

wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks this morning.  After using the “physical” to explain away my dropping out at Broken Arrow I realized I did it again yesterday.  I made the choice to NOT go out for my second lap.  There was nothing wrong, I didnt break anything, I wasnt vomiting, I didnt have a fall… So why did I make that choice?  My thoughts are this:

I trained really hard, Felt really good and accomplished from said training and dreamed of greatness for the Broken Arrow.  From that mindset, I thought it was pretty much an automatic that the event would just be easy, flying, fast run in the mountains with stellar views with 300+ other awesome folks.  I skipped the reality part where things dont go to dream script and the true fight required for these types of events escaped me. I failed to prep or have a plan for the true battle, the mental one.   I struggled, things were not going the way I “dreamed” and I made excuses, physical anomalies (sarcasm) to justify quitting.  The self talk on the way down to the 1/2 way point just disappoints me.  I wasnt able to redirect and I crumbled.  Using the negative self talk to “redirect the script”  Is one of my go to things to preach to my athletes and I failed to do it myself.

All the way down I convinced myself how “dire” things had gotten and I had no choice but to drop out….it was  a mystery….diet?  blood sugar?  altitude?  lack of preparation?  these ideas just poured out of me.  At the aid station that marked the 1/2 way point, I was horrified to see my Coach, Brett Horning.  No offence Brett, but you threw a wrench into my dropping out….for a few minutes.  (in the future if a similar scenario arises, feel free to call me out on my bullshit and send me back out on course with some Vince Lombardy antics).  I automatically felt ashamed that I had resigned myself to dropping out and your presence, which should be a welcome sight, was a subtle “calling out” inside my head.  I apologize for not only pulling the plug, but running away and doing it out of sight…  I couldnt even own it right there.  Very weak of me and something I need to address

I need to embrace this experience.  I need to take full advantage of it and own the fact that I could have with a little fight completed that second lap without harm to myself and with a pretty good time.  I just ran away because it wasnt going the way I dreamed it would.  What I really missed out on was seeing what was really waiting for me both physically and mentally on that 2nd lap.  That experience, good or bad is what I am really interested in, seeing what I can do with my mind and body.  The concept of a place or a time totally replaced the real mission.  Making the choice to pass on the opportunity to self explore and push through discomfort on the unknown is the reality of my actions and I have to own that.

Hindsight is a real Son of a Bitch today, but I have to redirect and use the experience to make myself a  better for next time.

So I will cherish this DNF and carry it with me as I head into TRT 50 miler in 5 weeks time.

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Work, Run, Repeat

Not much going on around here of note.  Lots of work getting a few bikes done before the http://www.lostandfoundbikeride.com/, one of which will be raffled off with 4 other builders bikes.  All proceeds go to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship…pretty cool. I will get a link up so you can buy a ticket or 10 if you so desire.  Also, in the bike dept, I have had a few side jobs pop up, an old Waterford rebuild and a brand New Stigmata complete build.  All Good Stuff!

The running has been going good too, although I feel like I am not getting enough vert…

the last couple of weeks looked like this

Miles:  52, 65

Time: 433min, 542min

Vertical: 5121ft, 6438ft

Shoes: Altra Superior 3.5 and Lone Peak 3.5

Broken Arrow, my next race has 11k vert in 52kms….so you can understand why that is on my mind.

The weather has been stellar and the the views have me feeling like I am in some remote alpine setting or something.  I have got to enjoy it now, because it will be smoking hot and brown before you know it.  Also, toying with really exploring Grouse Ridge / Spaulding area much more this summer.  Come join me…I dont want to get lost alone! haha

Speaking of exploring…that snow is melting fast in the high country and I think it wont be long until we can get on the TRT course and do some recon.  Pretty excited about that.

Not much to report.  Just happy to be moving along and having a great time.  I hope you are too

Rest Week, Turned 45, Rented some Goats and Resumed Training

Ahhhhhhhh, a rest week!  That was necessary and very beneficial.  My body was in pretty good shape post Lake Sonoma, with the exception of my left quad.  A couple days off and it seemed to be doing much better.  Some things I noticed, I had a ferocious appetite and I was sleeping 9 to 11 hours a night.  Bam! In addition to massive amounts of sleep, I also went to the Revival Float center for a nice float (if you havent tried floating, i highly recommend it) and I had a great lesson with Kate Flore, my integrative Movement Specialist, AKA Feldnekrizzle!

7 days post LS50 I turned 45…yes on 420.  Dont worry, I didnt get all smokey, I left that to the others……..45 for some reason bothered me as a number.  I dont know why, I feel like I am 25 and act like I am 18…..but time marches on and waits for no one.  So I will take this moment to remember that every second counts and damn it, I am going to maximize every second.  Dont let the gray hairs in my chin fool ya…the peanut in my skull is still young.0426181724_hdr.jpg

During this week “off” (I have been working a shit ton) we also rented 18 goats to help with the fire abatement of the property.  These goats are sure personable and do a heck of a job eating brush.  Down side, is the dogos have to be on lock down and dont have their normal free reign on the property.  Hollie and I have been walking the dogs off property 3 times a day, well I usually only go on the evening walk…Hollie is making sure the dogs get to burn off some energy.

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Speaking of burning off energy, during my rest week I was starting to go a little stir crazy, so I went on a bike ride or 2.  I always say I am going to try to run 60 and ride 60 miles per week, but that hasnt happened as of yet.  It was nice to get out on the Splice bike

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So with the rest week over it was time to resume training.  Brett Horning, my coach from Trails and Tarmac and I had been talking every couple of days, checking in on my recovery.  First week back to running will be and has been pretty light.  3 days of flat 45 min runs, 1 day off and then some “longer runs with hills”  but the longest run is 80 min…so really just re entry.  It is always nice to check in with how the feet are working, so I have been running in my Altra Superior 3.0 shoes all week.  I find these shoes to be great performing shoes, but I also have incredible sense of “touch”.  I feel like proprioception really takes over and my mechanics really re organize.  I love it…why dont I run in these all the time?  I dont think my feet are strong enough yet…they tend to get tired / sore around 40kms in these.

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The first 3 runs of the week have been super mellow and it feels great to be outside on the trail.  We are having amazing weather and I am happy to be out in it.  1 little niggle has popped up.  My left quad, the VMO specifically is sort of saying “hello” to me on these short runs.  I am doing my best to work it out asap.  Wednesday I went and had a wonderful massage from the ever so talented Anne King…she found some stuff!  haha.  Interesting that my right hamstring was a wreck as well as my left quad….some diagonal fascial stuff from a compensation pattern no doubt!  I will keep working on it.  But this 45 year old kid is pretty happy and glad to resume training

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What is next?  I put my hat in the ring for Broken Arrow Sky race in mid June.  I figure it will be a very difficult day on the feet, at altitude with a ton of vert…great prep for Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miler in late July.  So here we go!  part 2 of my running season is on!

Other exciting news, well…I think it is exciting, I am going to be making some super light weight and packabe trekking poles for the Sky Race.  As things develop I will post up about that.  First design is done,  Materials have been ordered and are coming my way.  I think I can make these come in around 270grams per set…yes, I am a dork.

ok, get on out there!

 

Lake Sonoma 50, before and beyond

I think I missed a week, or 2 of updating this thing…but I was deathly ill so nothing fun to report anyway.  Luckily I started to turn a corner 4 days before Lake Sonoma.  I thought I was in danger of not starting,  I felt so bad on the Tuesday prior to the start.  That really bummed me out, I had been training really hard and consistently and I felt ready for the challenge of my first 50 miler

I trained and raced in my go to Altra Lone Peak 3.5s

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Lake Sonoma starting area

I was able to get in 3 short runs and feel human in the last few days before the start. With my legs back under me  I had to adjust my goals and really gave myself the mission of finishing my first 50 miler.  But come on, its me, I wanted a performance based goal.  I broke the race into 4 sections.

section 1 roughly to the 12 mile mark…Todd Hennings would be there for a bottle swap and I wanted to be there between 1 hour 45 min and 20 hours.  I was there comfortably in 1:47:00, bam!  Happy as a clam, I saw Todd, grabbed the 2 bottles and ate a stroopwaffle. From there my next section goal was about 25.5 miles or the turn around loop aid station.  For this section I gave myself 2 hours to 2:10.  I was there in 2:03:00.  again, happy dude, saw Todd and grabbed some bottles and resupplied my gels.

Prior to the turn around, I started to see the leaders heading back.  I was around 30th place, but these runners were just amazing.  Some super focused, some spouting support and some a little grumpy.  I loved it all.  Like a fan boy a cheered them on.  Especially Ryan Ghelfi, Dave Laney (trails and tarmac dudes) and Jeffrey Stern of Rabbit.  But when I saw Hal Koerner all I could do was make a bowing gesture and blurt out”legend”….He just smiled and laughed and told me good job.  I am a dork…its ok.  But to me, that was like shooting warm up free throws with Jordan.  I was kind of there…only about 10 min behind him at that point. haha  Again, Stoke was high!

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On the way back around mile 30 my left vastus medialis started to hurt running down hills, like really bad.  I was favoring the left leg and it started a series of breakdowns.  Obviously, when you start to favor something your pattern changes, so something else is about to get used more.  I was still rolling pretty good, but knew I would need to adjust my section 3 time goal.  Originally I wanted to get from mile 25.5 to mile 38 in 2 hours to 2:10.  I adjusted that by padding it with 20 min.  I think I got there in 2:23.  so still ok.  Now my quad was bad. I was having to skip, walk the downhills and I had started to get passed by folks.  Once to the aid station, I soaked my quad with cold water hoping it would provide some relief as the awesome aid station volunteers filled my bottles.  I left hoping for magic, but as soon as I crossed the creek and started the last 12 miles of the race I knew I was in trouble.  My right hamstring was now having a fireworks show…..as I shuffled/ walked.  As I continued on my IT bands started to hurt, like they didnt want to lengthen! I knew there was no good way out of this as I was committed to getting back to the finish and the van.  I had to walk a lot of the last section.  I should have been in around 8 hours to 8.5…took me 9.5.

9:33:30.  I was so upset with this time, this performance…I just hung my head as I crossed the line and went right to the van.  What was that all about?  Everyone was so happy and positive at the finish…I went back to the van and sat on the floor disappointed.  How could I possibly be disappointed?  I was on deaths door 4 days prior and that was my first 50 miler…..but my mind briefly told myself to not make excuses and that sucked.  oooh the struggle in my head.  As I sat on the floor mentally wrestling myself, Todd showed up at the van.  He cheered me right up as I thanked him for all of his help, I was now very excited to hear about his day and hear about his wife Erica’s progress on the course…all was good. Even when I had a few rounds of the dry heaves!

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glued to the van floor in my new jacket

Todd kept me in good spirits as we joked and laughed and I got hot and then really cold and then hot and then cold….I settled down and was able to drink some fluids and even had some pizza.  Win win.  Erica came in a little later, What a champ, she had very little training and just got it done.  I was so stoked for her….Todd went right into taking care of her mode like a champ.   It was so great to hear about her day and she was so happy.  Win win win!

We all shared an entertaining dinner at a Thai place in Cloverdale, and I lucked out on nabbing the last hotel room around.  It was about 10 pm and I needed a shower and some sleep!

The next days drive took me north and then east through Hopland and Clearlake…no way I could take the traffic of the “faster route”.  much better re entry that way.

A few big nights of sleep and a pretty wicked appetite have left me feeling pretty good.  Legs feel 92% recovered…going to take it pretty easy this week, smash some work and think about what is next if anything before Tahoe Rim Trail 50 in July.

 

The last week of training for Lake Sonoma 50 Lots of Yuba for me

This week was the last week of “work” before I start the taper into Lake Sonoma 50 on 4/14

Miles ran: 62.3

Time on the feet running: 554 min

Vertical gain: 8500′

Shoes worn: 3 pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.5s

This past week was tough.  I spent a lot of time down at the Yuba, looking for vert for specific workouts, or terrain similar to that of the Lake Sonoma course.  From the get go, I felt a little flat.  I tried really hard to get recovery every way possible.  Easy runs were easy, naps were taken, good food was eaten, I even had a great session floating at Revival Float center.  I am sure all the effort to recover helped, but the first “workout” of the week and I didnt hit any stellar sensations.  Should that be expected at the end of a 3 week block?  I could see that, but I did expect a little more of myself.  Flared Nostrils proof of my efforts

I ran down to the Yuba at Jones bar as my warm up, then did 4 x 8 min “tough” efforts out, with 4 min recovery in between.  I started what felt conservative, so I could finish strong and not fade…I ran the first 3 pretty much equal, but the last one sucked.  the pace overall was slower than the usual. So I turned my attention to rest and recovery for the final big workout on Saturday.

A day off and a couple “easy” runs and Saturdays big run was upon me.  3.5 hours with 3.5 to 4.5 vert…back to the Yuba for me.  This time I drove down to Purdon Crossing to take advantage of the South Yuba trail to Edwards Crossing and Round Mountain trail.  This terrain is very similar to LS50.

From the get go I felt bad.  Actually threw up, well dry heaved at mile 3…the day didnt get any better.  I actually cant recall feeling that physically bad in my life ever.  I knocked out the vert and the time, but the sensations left me feeling pretty horrible.  I guess my take away is this; 3 week block of training, 60+ miles per week was a lot for me and I am frayed for sure.

Sunday I was able to get in a short easy run, just to make sure I could still run…I could, it was a miracle.  But the unraveling continues…I am now sick…uggg. run ragged right on the edge I guess.  Fingers crossed for a quick turn around.  health, Fresh legs and mind are all I need now.

side note, I happened upon a podcast from 2015 on ultrarunnerpodcast with Bob Shebest and I picked up 2 gems.  “I had a great 1st half…..”  means nothing in ultra running.  And you want to set yourself up to run the best part of the race in the last 25% of the race.

Well, I think I am skipping today’s run in hopes of getting rid of this cold……