Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Well... here it is, the week of my first race of this season. The Recover from the Holidays 50k.

On Thursday morning at 4:30 I'll meet Jack for the ride down to Huntsville, Al. Am I ready? not sure. I think I'll be fine but we all know that the chef is his own worst critic.
It is fun running through all the mental check lists... food? do I have all the gu's I need? bananas? peanut butter and honey, and banana sandwiches? Gatorade? Water? should I take an extra pair of socks?
Its all kind of fun and I do enjoy the organization of it all!

So next time I write I'll be talking about the race! Thank you to everyone who is so supportive of my endeavors. I truly am grateful.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

21 miles at I.C. King today!
3:53.53. 11min. 8 sec. miles average. 25 degrees at the start!

Matt, Atch and I set out for a great run! These are great guys and true friends...

Today was tough. I completed a total of 3 laps each one about 7 miles. The trails that we ran today are very hilly though you can opt out of the hills and go around the bottom of each. On each lap you can climb a total of 5 hills two of which you would run in both directions. According to the link above the total elevation gain is about 800ft per lap. I did opt out on two of the climbs on the last lap so it looks like I climbed about 2,080 ft. Doesn't really sound like much but these climbs are pretty steep.

Atch and Matt were fantastic to have out there! We started in the cold. It hurt it was so cold. Its always kind of tricky to wear enough clothing to not freeze but also so that when you get warmed up you don't burn up. So we did the first lap together...mostly. Atch is very strong and shot ahead of Matt and I. That lap was easy. Lap 2 Matt and I ran together... quick side note, Matt has not been training much at all and other than a few 5 milers and one 11 miler a couple of weeks ago, he has not run much. So he finished the second lap strong, and at 14 miles completed an Awsome run! Great job Matt! Atch had shot ahead here and there for picture opportunities and finished that lap strong as well. On lap 3 Atch set out with me and got me to the base of the first climb before he headed for the truck. I went on to climb the first 3 climbs fairly strong but after a longish downhill thought that I would be better off if I did not do the last two.

I was hoping for negative splits today and didn't get them but I did run 21 miles in the hills today and had an amazing crew help me along! We saw "coach" out there and my wife and daughter even met me at the finish! I could not have felt more supported today.

Thank you all for a great day!
( not sure how to get multiple pictures where I want them yet on screen here! grrrr!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

18 miles at Haw Ridge! Time was 2:53.43! or about 9min 39 sec miles!

Jack and I, last sunday, went over to the ridge for one of my last long runs before I start to taper for my first race the Recover From the Holidays 50k. It was a great run! Haw Ridge is a great place to run because it has all the hills you could want, including one called 'The Hill of Truth', and there are about 30ish miles of trails out there.

The run was a solid effort. We completed two nine mile loops around the outer rim of the park. The second lap was done faster than the first(called a negative split), and I felt good throughout. Jack had wanted me to take it easy through the whole run but he took off and tried to leave me which only dangled a carrot in front of me. I couldn't just let him get away so easily so I sped up as well. It was fun kind of chasing him through the woods and running really quickly especially near the end of the 18 miles!

So overall the training is going very well and we have reached a point where after next weekend I start to drop my millage so that when the race comes in a few weeks I'll be rested.

The week looks like this: rest Monday and Tues, Easy short run (5miles tops) on Wed, easy run (7-8miles) on Thurs, rest on Fri, 10miles on Sat, and 21miles on Sunday at I.C.King to include all of the hills. I can't wait for my first race!!

They picture is of Jack and I after lap one at the Ridge. As always, Thanks Jack!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oak Ridge Half Marathon today! Ran it in 1:43.14, thats a 7min 52sec pace. I'm getting faster!

One of the great things about having a coach helping me with this is that he has been not only helping with how long, and hard to train on a given day, but also how to run a race. I know... sounds pretty basic doesn't it, but not so fast!
You would think that you should just go out and run all out for the allotted miles and be done with it. Not really the case though for the longer distances. In a longer race the trick is to pace yourself so that you can achieve your goal but also so that you will have something left in the last few miles to really pick it up and beat that goal by a lot. In road bicycle racing all you do is hang with the pack until the end when you try to beat out the other guys. Or, if you are strong enough, you can try to break away on your own. In running if you are not one of the top guys/gals you then have only the goals you set for yourself to beat. Thats the cool thing about all of this for me. Its the challenge of setting time goals for myself, of having to run slower so that my body can get the needed rest on a day when I feel strong , of pushing myself out the door on the cold mornings at 5am for that 8 miles before work when my wife is all warm and snuggly in bed, and of pushing hard up that hill on mile 14 when my body screams for me to stop. All of this adds up to the development of more discipline. Truly doing what it takes to reach a desired outcome. I Love it! ... and thanks Jack!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

" ...sometimes thats how it starts, you just have to bloody yourself up."-Jack K.

This is in the context of jump-starting the fitness required for running as far as I intend to. (Not to be taken literally, the bloody part that is;-)

We were discussing my run this morning of 14 miles on trails with lots of hills. It wasn't an especially good run. Not terrible either. The morning was beautiful, and clear, and warm. Just cool enough to be chilled in short sleeves at the onset, but perfect as you get warmed up. The trails were in great shape, and Piper (photo inset), was ready to roll!
A side note on Piper. She is an amazing trail partner. Fun, energetic, and routinely runs double the mileage I do, due to the fact that she chases squirrels up the sides of the hills we run on.

Sometimes you just don't feel like running 14 miles first thing in the morning, and this was one those mornings for me. But if you wanna reach a goal worth reaching you have to work at it. It was with this mindset that I hit the trail.
The 4 ultra-marathons that I am running this winter are all 50k races(see 'Races Planned' links on side board). That's about 32ish miles. They are all in the mountains, with the exception of the first one that is more of a cross country running course on grass. The real goal, however, is not these races. These are the "jump start" events I'm using to to gear up for a 50 mile race or two by the end of the year.

So I finished the run this morning with a blistered toe and chaffed nipples. Not fun but still all part of the experience. I am so very grateful that I have the opportunity to take on this challenge. I think we truly learn about ourselves when we push the limits of what we think is possible.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interesting week in training thus far. I have only put in about 20 miles as of Wednesday. The weather kept me in on Tuesday as the remnants of Ida passed through. I got to the Cherokee Blvd this morning around 5:45 for a speed workout but was only able to muster a 5 mile run with only one mile at speed. Sometimes you just have to listen to the body and rest it when it says rest. Tomorrow I have an 8 miler scheduled and after a restful evening I should be ready to hit it hard! Then Friday is a rest day. Saturday is a 8 miler followed by the long run on Sunday of 12-14 miles. It might be good to note here that I walk, on any given day, a minimum of 6, and sometimes as much as 12 miles at work in my retail store! I'm kind of a geek. I bought a pedometer so I could keep track of the walking.

So about the fish...

To the best of my knowledge the image of the fish in the fence is Not photo shopped, nor is it staged.
When I first started this blog I did a number of image searches for various titles centering around hurricanes and other natural disasters. I finally found this image from a search of 'hurricane Ike special needs'. Initially I was laughing so hard that I couldn't even speak! My wife kept saying that I was crazy I was laughing so hard!

I spoke with a close friend in the Charleston area who had a bit of a different take on it. When asked what he thought about the picture he said it was hilarious to him at first, but then he gave it some thought and saw the tragedy and the deeper implications of it all.

How hopeless a situation these fish are in. When you're a fish, and your world is turned so upside down that you become stuck in a chain link fence, that under the most odd circumstances, you would never have the chance to even see much less be near enough to touch and to get wedged in ?!

The stories you hear from victims of disasters be it natural or other wise are not unlike these unfortunate fish. I realize this sounds awfully dramatic but, in the day to day of our lives, don't we tend to forget about those outside of our current focus who are in need of a hand?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A'live and Running

So it looks like we are live on Portlight.org ! Thanks to Kelly and the Portlight I.T. team we are ready to take donations. Just click on the Run To Help link on their Site and it'll get you right to the proper page. From there just hit the 'Donate' button!

As Ida makes landfall lets not ignore those who will be in need over the coming days/weeks. Portlight has a mobile kitchen capable of 2000 meals per day heading to Destin Fla right now. These efforts take money to accomplish so please give if your able and forward this link to those who may be interested.

The last week of training has gone really well. I started this week with a 15 mile long run at I.C. King, a local park with great trails. Ran well, climbing all the hills twice with a time of 2hrs 36min. Thats about 10min 24sec miles! I'm getting faster thanks to my coach Jack!

The legs feel good today and might be up for the scheduled speed workout tomorrow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I started running a year and a half ago.
Ever since I heard that people run 100 miles through the woods I, strangely, have wanted to do just that.

My first run on this road was in March of '08. It was a 5 mile slog that really hurt. By that next October I completed my first ultra marathon. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I was hooked!

Now I've got 4, 50ks (31 miles) scheduled starting in December. One each month through March and then, if all goes well, a 40 miler in June!

I called my good friend Paul at Portlight Strategies, Inc to to tell him about my running, and to see if maybe we could team up. So... here we are!
Portlight has helped to serve the needs of people with disabilities since 1997. Their more recent work has been to focus on those needs in the face of natural disasters. It's with this focus in mind that we are teaming up.

I think Paul wrote it best with this statement; "There are certain populations which are simply not well served by the large institutional and government relief infrastructure. It's a niche which Portlight Strategies, Inc., has filled in relatively small ways in past disasters.... We are deeply committed to filling this niche in the future."

The needs of the physically disabled are many, different, and just simply not accommodated in the face of natural disasters. See the Portlight Story tab of their website for a great look into what they do.
So my goals are now to raise awareness of a constant and, to date, under served need as well as help raise money for the cause!
...and oh yeah, to run... a lot.