Friday, May 1, 2009

Posting Again?

I haven't posted here in quite a while. To find out what I've been doing, go here. I'm not sure when I'll blog again, but when I do it will be here on this blog.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Heartland 100 Race Report

I haven't posted on this blog in a while, but I have a new blog and a new project.  You can read about the Heartland 100 here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What I'm Doing

OK, I'm running again, only shorter distances (half marathon and shorter) for now. I'm going to focus on speed and consistent endurance. Then maybe I'll train for a marathon in the late Spring. I'd still like to qualify for Boston.

That is all for now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

In Limbo

I've been discouraged with my running lately, and I've missed racewalking, so I'm considering going back to racewalking as my primary sport (with some running as cross training). I rarely post any more, but if I post I think it will be back on "Walking Distance."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile - Epic Failure!

Well, this weekend I raced in the Ouachita Trail 50 mile race in Arkansas. I tried my best, but it wasn't my day. First of all, no one told me that we had to climb a small mountain - literally. We ran about 2.5 miles on the road, then got on some nice trail. After about another mile, we came to Pinnacle Mountain. We had to go over Pinnacle Mountain (about 1,000 feet - certainly no Everest) by climbing the rocks straight up. I had to use my hands and feet to scale these huge boulders (several times I put my water bottle in my mouth so I could use both hands). There was a photographer at the top documenting our ascent. Then we had to pick our way down the other side. You can see the course profile from my Garmin (although it is incomplete because it lost signal many times during the race, sometimes for about a 1/4 mile or so):

After that it was lots of rugged trail and mud - tons of mud puddles. I must have run through at least 50 mud puddles. And there were unavoidable water crossings, too - two of them were up to my knees and I had to use a chain strung across the creek to cross.

I made it to the first race cutoff at 9:45 - about 45 minutes ahead of the cutoff.

There was one stretch of the race that had no aid for eight miles except some water dropped about 3 miles in. I had two water bottles with me - I drained one but made the mistake of not refilling at the water drop. I got more and more thirsty but didn't want to drink the sports drink that I had in my second bottle. I thought I was almost to the next aid station so I never drank from that second bottle - stupid decision. By the time I got to that aid station (mile 24) I was so thirsty and dehydrated that nothing sounded good to eat. I refilled both of my bottles with ice and water in one, ice and sports drink in the other. But the sports drink didn't sound good - I was on the edge of nausea. I headed out of the aid station quickly because the second race cutoff was at the next aid station. I made it there (mile 26.2) by 12:24 and the cutoff was 12:50, so I was doing OK on time but not great. However, I was having trouble moving fast and knew I would have a hard time finishing by the race cutoff, 13 hours. I ate a little bit here but still didn't feel great and also had trouble eating because I wasn't producing enough saliva to eat with - I had to spit out some food I couldn't swallow (TMI).

I kept going and had to refill one or both bottles at every aid station (the weather was about 48 at the start and got up to the low-80s). But I still couldn't eat. And that's what killed me. I kept getting slower and slower. I passed the final cutoff at about 3:18; the cutoff was 3:30, so I had lost a lot of time. I had to stop three times to get dirt and mud out of my shoes and socks - it was stuck to the bottom of my foot and felt like I was walking with a large rock in my shoe. I also missed a turn and lost about 10 minutes finding my way back to the trail.

Sometime during the next leg a guy passed me. He looked like he was in his 50s and looked very fit. He was running pretty well. By this time I was doing 20 - 25 minute miles according to Garmin and I couldn't muster any energy to run or even walk fast. I was even having trouble walking the uphills at that slow pace. I finally decided I had to drop. If I couldn't eat then I couldn't pick up the pace, and I would be way past the final cutoff. I kept trudging along because I had to make it about 3.5 more miles before I could drop. A little bit later I crested a hill and found the guy that had passed me sitting beside the trail with his head in his hands. He ran past me because of a brief burst of energy he got after eating some boiled potatoes and drinking some Mountain Dew. But it hadn't lasted and he had crashed hard. He got up and we walked into the aid station together and announced we were dropping. There was one more guy behind us and he came in a few minutes later and dropped, too. My unofficial time was 11:23 (a 16:15 pace, very slow!).

We were at mile 42.1 and had an hour and 37 minutes to go 7.9 miles before the race cutoff. Under normal circumstances that should have been no problem. But these weren't normal circumstances.

This race had a unique option - at mile 15 you could decide to switch from the 50 mile to the 50k race. The two friends I went with both switched to the 50k and finished. I could have done that, but in the end I'm glad I opted for the 50 miler. That's what I had set out to do and that's what I intended to attempt. Every time I race (and screw up) I learn something new that I can incorporate into my training and racing. My big problem is my stomach - I never get sick or throw up, but I have trouble eating and I get dehydrated (I've DNF'd twice in 50 milers, both times due to dehydration that led to a calorie deficit).

Anyway, that's my story. On the way home my friends bought me a pedicure (my first one) and it felt great! Miraculously, even though my feet were wet for about 10 hours, I didn't get any blisters at all.

If you made it all the way to here, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Texas Independence Relay

Last weekend I ran the Texas Independence Relay with a group of coworkers and friends. The relay was 203.67 miles from Gonzales (the site of the first battle with Santa Ana in the war for Texas Independence) to San Jacinto (where Santa Ana was finally defeated). Altogether there were 12 runners on our team; we completed the race is 31 hours and 59 minutes. The pictures from the event tell the best story.

We actually won the Corporate Mixed division (of course, there were only two teams in that division!).

The race was a blast, even more fun than I expected. I hope to do more relays in the future (there is a relay in October from San Antonio to Austin that looks like fun). But it's only two weeks after the Heartland 100 so I don't know if I'll be recovered by then. Have to think about it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm an Ultrarunner

Well, I haven't posted in a while so there probably aren't any readers left. But I thought I would go ahead and post that I ran the Cowtown 50k on Saturday. So I'm officially an ultrarunner (as opposed to an ultrawalker).

Cowtown is the big annual road marathon in Ft. Worth, Texas. This year was the 30th anniversary so they added an ultramarathon option. You ran the same course as the marathoners until right before mile 24; then you did a long out and back, then rejoined the marathoners for the last two miles. It's not a bad course; it's kind of hilly (as far as road races go) and well supported. The weather started in the 30s and finished in the 60s so that was a challenge for me.

I was hoping to finish somewhere around a 10:00 pace but expected to slow down. I held the 10:00 pace really easily until somewhere around mile 22-23, then I started to tire and drag and had to walk more than I preferred. I walked and ran the rest of the way and ended up finishing in about 5:34, a 10:47 pace. I'm not too upset about the time since my ultimate goal was just to finish. I enjoyed the race and the day, saw a number of new and old friends at the race, and generally felt good about being outdoors, alive and running.

I do think I need to stop treating road races like road races and start treating them like ultras (although I hope to not have to do too many road races in the future). What I mean is that I need to eat more, drink more and consider stopping at the aid stations instead of running through and grabbing a cup with about 4 oz. of weak gatorade.

During this weekend's race, and during the White Rock marathon in December, I didn't have any problems with blisters, or major aches and pains, or cramping, or anything like that. I just ran out of steam. I was thinking yesterday that at an ultramarathon I start eating substantial food (PB&J sandwiches, potato chips, cookies) and drinking sports drinks or sodas at the very first aid station, which is usually 4-5 miles. I continue eating and drinking at every aid station.

I think that the next time I do a long road race I will carry some real food (PB&J would be good) and I will drain my bottle more frequently and stop at the aid stations to refill. I know I can do better at these distances (to be honest my training runs have been better than my races) and I think eating and drinking is the key.

My next race is the Texas Independence Relay where I'll be running about 31 miles of a 204 mile relay race with 11 friends and colleagues. Then my next ultra is the Ouachita Trail 50 miler in mid-April. I've got some good training planned before Ouachita so hopefully it will be a good race for me.

Thanks for reading!