Sunday, February 27, 2005

Mini Syllamo

As most of you know, my next race is the multi-day race Three Days of Syllamo. Although I've raced farther than the longest day of this race (day 2 is 60k or 37.3 miles; I've done two 50 mile races), I've never done this much mileage over three days. One of my concerns is that I will be too sore from the previous day's walk to successfully complete the next day. So I decided to make this weekend, my last hard training weekend before my taper, a "mini Syllamo." Starting Friday I did three long walks in a row.

Day One: 12 miles
This day was harder than I expected because I had "dead legs." I hadn't trained all week due to lightning storms in the mornings so I'm not sure why I felt like I was dragging. I wasn't fast (which was OK since I knew I needed to go slowly and pace myself if I wanted to successfully complete three long walks) but I did finish the mileage.

Time: 2:24:08
Pace: 12:00

Day Two: 30.3 miles
This day actually went well. I walked at White Rock Lake since the trails at North Shore were very muddy due to recent rains. However, I was able to walk on the dirt trail that other runners have worn next to the cement/ashpalt running trail. So I would estimate that about 80% of the walk was on a surface resembling "single track" with some grass thrown in here and there.

I purposefully took the walk slow because I knew I had one more day to go. I kept a nice even pace all the way through the walk and did not discernibly slow down, which I was happy about.

My only problem on this day was my feet--the bottoms of my feet were very sore, especially my left one. I attribute this partly to the asphalt and concrete, and partly to the fact that the natural slope of the walking surfaces meant that my left foot took more of the force of my footfall. However, the biggest cause was probably my shoes. I've been waiting to have some extra money to buy new shoes. I ordered them last week but they did not arrive in time and I stupidly walked in my old shoes. They have over 550 miles on them, so this was a dumb thing to do.

When I got home I put them in the garage and this week I'll take them to RunOn and leave them in their donation box, along with a couple of pairs of old NB110 racewalking shoes.

Surprisingly I felt pretty good after the walk. I was definitely tired, but I spent the day running errands with my daughter and spent a lot of time on my feet--the bookstore, two grocery stores, an "indoor play area," etc.

Time: 6:28:15
Pace: 12:48

Day Three: 20.07 miles
Today I wore different shoes, some Asics 2080s that were old but hardly used. My left foot was still tender, but the new shoes helped.

Unfortunately, it rained all night so I still couldn't go to North Shore, and I couldn't walk on the dirt trails at White Rock, so all of today's miles were done on asphalt and concrete.

Again I took it slow, but in my second 10 mile loop I started getting that "horse running to the barn" feeling, plus I got a second wind. I turned in some decent splits during the last half, including several in the 11:30 range. When it was finally over, I was sure glad it was over!

Time: 4:11:44
Pace: 12:32

Three day totals:
Distance: 62.4 miles
Time: 13:04:07
Pace: 12:34

I enjoyed my little experiment. Although it wasn't on trails, I basically walked about 20k less than I will at Syllamo, and I did it with a faster pace than I plan to use at Syllamo, and I did it without a taper or aid stations (when necessary I refueled at my car). I ate and drank on the "run" and only stopped three times in 62 miles. So I feel ready! I just wish the race was here.

My taper plan is to do relatively easy walks this week and next week, probably only about 4 miles instead of the normal 6.1. The only exception is that two days this week I will be in San Jose on business and plan to tackle Mission Peak. It's too much fun to resist. Then next weekend I will do about 10 easy miles; the following weekend and the whole week before the race I won't walk at all. Then it will be time to head to the mountains!

I hope everyone is having great racing or training! Good luck and keep up the hard work!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Silly blog games

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ultras in the News

Here are a couple of links to interesting news articles on extreme ultramarathoning:

Here is a good article on Dean Karnazes and his effort to run 300 miles non-stop.

And here is an astounding article on the famed "Marathon Monks" who run 24,800 miles over seven years as a path to enlightenment. And they don't wear Nikes or Montrails and they don't have Gatorade or electrolyte caplets.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ever felt like walking 10,000 miles?

If so, then check out this Australian couple walking from London to Cape Town, South Africa! They are walking without third party support and are not affiliated with a charity or cause; they are just walking to walk.

They also have a blog.

People can really do some amazing things!


Maybe. If I can find the money.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Measuring the Distance

Did you ever wonder how they measure race courses, especially trail races? Scott Dunlap has an interesting interview with Dr. David Dreyfuss, a physicist who also helps organize races and accurately measure course distances.

In Memoriam: Hunter S. Thompson on the Honolulu Marathon

Hunter S. Thompson, "outlaw journalist," is dead.

Here is an excerpt from his column on the Honolulu Marathon:
"There are 30,000 of them now and they all are running for their own reasons. And this is the angle -- this is the story: Why do these buggers run? What kind of sick instinct, stroked by countless hours of brutal training, would cause intelligent people to get up at 4 in the morning and stagger through the streets of Honolulu for 26 ball-busting miles in a race that less than a dozen of them have any chance of winning? This is the question we have come to Hawaii to answer -- again. They do not enter to win. They enter to survive, and go home with a T-shirt. That was the test and the only ones who failed were those who dropped out."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Warm, Muggy Walk

This is the second Sunday in a row when the temperature was 63 degrees at 4:30 AM. I can't believe this is February. Personally I'd prefer some more winter weather. Winter in Dallas is usually great for walking/running.

Today I did my long walk at White Rock Lake again. We had some rain on Friday and it was gray and cool on Saturday so I thought North Shore would be too muddy.

I decided to do some hill training, so my plan was to do two loops of the lake; on each loop I would leave the lake trail and do four repeats of Loving Hill. All went well except that I was pretty sore after the first loop. Loving Hill is great training for Heartland because it is a long, somewhat steep hill (similar to the rolling hills of the Heartland course), not a short and very steep hill.

I wasn't as fast as I was last week, but I that's because I was so fast last week and I'm still a little tired and sore from that effort. But today felt like a good effort and I maintained a fairly even pace throughout the morning. So I'm pleased with today's training.

Distance: 26.64 miles
Time: 5:18:43
Pace: 11:58

On a scary note, we had some serious medical drama this week. My wife went to the doctor for her five year transplant anniversary appointment and bone marrow biopsy. After the procedure (she's had at least ten of these!) she fell asleep, then I noticed that she wasn't breathing! She used to have a high tolerance to the sedatives and pain medications they give for the biopsy, but I guess her tolerance has worn off and she was overmedicated. The nurse called a "code" and doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners all rushed in and started giving her mouth to mouth, preparing IVs and breathing bags, etc. They gave her a dose of Narcan to immediately counteract the effects of the narcotics, and after that she woke up and was really confused to see about 10 people in the exam room.

Thank goodness she was OK and there were no long term effects. We stayed at the clinic until well after 7:00 so she could be observed and we could make sure she wouldn't have any further problems. She's doing well now and feeling fine.

What's the lesson to this story? ALWAYS take someone to the doctor with you. I've spent enough time in hospitals with Angela to know of the potential for mistakes, mismedications, lack of attention, etc. I don't blame the medical community as a whole--they are understaffed and trying to do too much. But it is so important to have someone knowledgeable about your personal circumstances and health history to help mediate for you and keep an eye on you. Don't forget it!

Happy training, everyone.

Monday, February 14, 2005

For Those About to Run.....We Salute You

I went out Sunday morning to do 25 miles. I decided to do my training at White Rock Lake on the asphalt/pavement running path since the trails at North Shore were still muddy and I wanted a little break from the mud. We have had some sort of freakish warm front move in--at 4:30 AM on Sunday morning it was 63 degrees!

As I got to the lake I started thinking about the route to run, the distance, etc. I thought about Richard at the Freescale Marathon in Austin, and VJ and Patrick doing the half. So I decided to do 26.2 in honor of their efforts.

As I started figuring out the logistics of 26.2, I realized I'd have to do two lake loops, then almost half a loop before turning around and going back to the start. I didn't feel like thinking that much, so I just decided to do three loops. Each loop is about 9.3 miles, so that meant 27.9. In the end I walked a little short out and back to reach an even 28 miles.

I felt great all day in spite of the heat. In fact, my marathon split was less than one minute slower than my marathon PR (PR: 4:56:57; split 4:57:42). I slowed down for the last 1.8 miles because I was pretty exhausted at this point. I ended up at 5:20:14 (11:26 pace). My marathon PR pace is 11:20. So I felt like this was a good workout; I'm sure if I had tapered and I was racing I could go quite a bit faster. I don't have any road marathons on my schedule but maybe I'll try to do one next winter.

I didn't walk today but will do the normal 6+ miles tomorrow. I really need to start planning my Syllamo taper. Congrats to all the Freescalers!

Distance: 28.0 miles
Time: 5:20:14
Pace: 11:26

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm still here

I got a comment from someone wondering if I was going to post again. I guess I have been a little remiss. I've been so busy I've been scanning everyone else's blogs but haven't had time to really read them thoroughly or to comment (congrats to Richard on his excellent half marathon and PR!).

Last week I wasn't feeling well so I didn't walk at all during the week. I felt a bug coming on and I knew if I got up early to walk and pushed myself that I would get sick.

On Saturday I went to my niece's two year birthday party. I tossed around the football with my nephews and ran around the back yard. It sure made my knees sore, and I jammed my thumb; it was an interesting shade of purple for the next couple of days. At the party we found out that my brother-in-law is about to do a 14 month tour in Afghanistan. We are all concerned for him and his family (he has a four kids, from 2 years to 14 years). So I'm unofficially adopting one of the nephews and will make sure to be there for him in his dad's absence.

On Sunday I had one of the hardest workouts in my life. Once again we had rain so the trail was muddy. The mud was the slickest I have ever experienced; it was often like ice. In some instances I had to find a branch on the side of the trail to help me get up steep, slippery hills. I fell three times in the first three miles, including two face plants. One was so hard that my Garmin came halfway loose from the strap. Luckily I was able to secure it once the sun came up.

My plan was to do thirty miles. The trail is about 8.5 miles long, so I did one out and back (17 miles) and then another out and back of 13 miles. It was brutal. Some miles, when the trail was relatively smooth and mud free, I could do 11 to 13 minutes miles. But on some of the muddy miles I did 16-18 minute miles. I even tried running sometimes because it was easier than walking.

Then, I managed to jam my toe HARD against a rock--TWICE! I knew it was going to be bad when I took my shoe off but I just kept going. I successfully finished the thirty miles in 7 hours 14 minutes, a pace of 14:28. That felt pretty slow to me, but after reviewing my walking log I realized that it's not much slower than my 50k PR of 7:21:48, a 14:13 pace.

When I got home it took me about 15 minutes to get the mud off my legs and out of my socks and shoes. My toe was just as I expected--fat and deep, dark purple. But all in all I was pleased with the day. It was hard, but I enjoyed being outside and the weather cleared up and was beautiful. For the last couple of days I have felt terrible. Everything was sore on Monday, even the tops of my feet. But now I'm feeling much better and am planning to walk tomorrow morning.

That's about all for now. I hope everyone else is having fun and training hard.