Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lose the Turkey Fat Ass 50k Race Report

The running gods must have been smiling on Michigan today, because this was the first and hopefully not last, Lose the Turkey Fat Ass 50k today. Chilly temps near or below the freezing mark at the start warmed to a pleasant and comfortable mid 40's by early afternoon. From emails and word of mouth about 8 people had expressed interest at my first attempt at putting on a "fat ass" event. Even though, I had stated there would be no awards, I just couldn't help but put together a small swag bag. (Special thanks to Run Vegan Run for shipping some last minute items). Items included a couple of Vanilla Gingerbread GU's, a snack size Clif Bar, a couple of Sport Beans, a trial size of Vaseline, a couple of 15 spf Lib Balms, and a small medical kit all housed in a 2 1/2 gallon ziploc bag. I put together 10 just in case a few extra runners showed up. To my utter surprise, there were about 12 runners at the start of the "fun run" and they were pleasantly surprised with their swag. Not all of them were going to run the full 50k since we got back to our cars at around the 23 mile mark, but it was a pretty cool site to say "ok, let's go" and have them wait for you to start leading this pack of ultra runners down the road.

Since we were passing through areas open to hunting, most of them had at least read the race description and wore some hunter orange on them.

And even though, I had said there would be no aid, Craig (director of the Fallen Leaves Ultra), had contacted me and said that he would just be running the trail section due to a race next weekend and would set up an aid station that runners would hit at approximately the 5 mile and then the 18 mile mark. Waiting at the trail head were a few more runners who had heard through word of mouth about the event. The aid station was a welcome site for fluid replenishment and requisite chocolate chip cookie and potato chip inhalation.
The trails were in perfect condition and it was amazing to see runners all along the trail, as I have run this trail many times in solitude. Camaraderie and conversation made the miles fly by. In the end, I finished the 50k (ok..garmy said it was somewhere north of 31.25 miles) in just under 6 hours and had an awesome day running with a bunch of fellow ultrarunners. It left me one tired dawg, but excited at the possibility of making this an annual "fat ass" event.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Trot

In support of Dirrty Girl's return to running, I was more than supportive of her saying that as a family we were going to head down to the "D" yesterday to partake in the 27th edition of the Fifth Third Bank Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Two years ago, we had done the 5k as a family in rather raw and wet conditions and then drove up a bit to catch some of the parade. Big mistake in the sense that we (read: parents) did not change and were freezing as wet clothes stuck to our bodies while watching the parade. Dirrty Girl had an answer for that. First off, we were going to do the 10k and we were going to stay down at the RenCen the night before. That way, after the race we could get change and then included with our hotel room were VIP passes in one of the grandstand sections along the parade route, along with a thermos of coffee and hot chocolate. Even though we live less than 20 miles from the city, we thought it would be fun to go down the night before, ride the People Mover and eat at Greektown with the kids.

Race morning, I had a few concerns. First, it was kind of chilly (mid 30's) and the wind was whipping around. Second, as evidenced by the picture below, Little Dirt Dawg had not ridden in a jogging stroller since I can't remember when since he is so tall and would rather run. I am thinking next year, maybe the Mashed Potato Mile or 5k for him. Lastly, the number of runners was estimated at over 14,000 and since we were just out for a fun run would be far back in the pack. Given that and our estimated time for the 10k along with the parade start, we smartly decided to drop to the 5k.
( Note: This could be our cheesy holiday family photo)

(Note: Dirrty Girl in her new running gear and Dirrty Feather keeping warm before the race)

Now, as for the Turkey Trot, it was a hoot! We ran together as a family and gave high fives and low fives, courtesy of Dirrty Feather in the stroller and stopped for cookies at the aid station. There were people though there with Garmins, Ipods, and Fuel Belts...for a 5k/10k!! Come on people...there were tons of people along the parade route cheering runners on and the rising sun took some of the early morning bitterness out of the air, enjoy the day, soak up the atmosphere. My only complaint was that even though we started near the back, there were tons of runners who thought that jumping over the jogging stroller wheels or cutting in front of us was a sound idea. You want to race, do it at some other race and at several points, I had to slam on the brake to avoid hitting some idiot. I think we finished in around 40 minutes for the 5k with a mad dash for which stroller crossed the finish line first.


A quick jaunt back to the hotel, shower, and inhalation of food brought us back out and to our parade seats for a bit until the requisite shuttling between our parents houses. In the future, we probably won't remember our time for the run or the weather, but we will remember the fun we had together and that is all that matters this time of year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lose the Turkey Fat Ass 50k


Lose The Turkey Fat Ass 50k

When: November 28, 2009

Time: 8 am

Where: Kensington Metro Park/Island Lake

Get out there and move your duff to eliminate the stuff consumed on Turkey Day. An easy “fat ass” ultra, with no fee, no aid, and probably no awards to be given. Mainly on bike paths, with about 13 miles of trail. Wear something hunter orange to avoid being confused as a deer in the woods. Contact dirtdawg50k@aol.com for more info.


Course:

Begin @ Kensington Metro Park. *Note* There is a daily $4 entry fee if you do not have a permit. Park at the East Boat Launch and head west on the bike path trail. Just before heading over a bridge, there will be a path to your left that goes under I- 96. Follow the path under the freeway and into Island Lake. At the fork just above the short hill go right. Follow the Island Bike Path. Just after the 3 mile marker on the Bike Path there will be a turn off to the left. Follow that an into the Mtn. Bike Trailhead. *Note* There are port a potties located here.

Follow the blue trail head markers and continue on the trail until past the 8 mile marker. There will be a Two Way Direction Sign with a blue arrow pointing forward and a yellow sign turn left. FOLLOW the yellow sign to the left. Continue on the yellow trail until you return to the trailhead parking. Return on the bike path back to Kensington Metro Park and your car. Total Distance to this point approximately: 23 miles. (approximately 13 miles of this are trail)

To complete the 50k distance…do one loop on the Kensington Bike Path (approximate distance 8.5 miles)

For those of you preferring to do a shorter distance less than a 50k and don’t want to get lost, or run trails…you can just run loops around Kensington. Each loop is approximately 8.5 miles. Or run the 23 miles out and back section and stop.

I expect for many of us to run together as this is not competitive at all. Somewhere in the 5 hr 30 min to 6 hour range for the full distance and will probably incorporate some walking.

NOTES:

1. There is no fee to run this (ok..except for the daily entry fee to the park. Most times though in the fall, there is never anybody checking the cars for permits)

2. It is HIGHLY ADVISED that you wear something hunter orange or very bright out on the trail section. I ran it this past weekend and saw some hunters out there.

3. There is no aid. I might have something set up at the start/finish, and somewhere along the way, but it is a approximately 23 miles for the first loop.

4. You are responsible for your own safety out there. This is merely a loosely organized fun run that just happens to be a wee bit longer than a marathon.

5. Please email me with your interest so that I can begin to take a head count


Kensington Metro Park:

http://www.metroparks.com/global/kensington_map.php


A short video about the course can be found here: @ Just Finish


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Detroit Free Press Marathon

Armed with with sweet new shiny socks, I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon for a 5th time. This was the 32nd running of the event, and the first time that the event had sold out. The only reason I was able to run was because they opened up an additional 250 marathon slots during the expo. I entertained no time goal for the marathon other than to have a good time and snap some photos seeing as how I was coming off a "fat ass" style 50k the weekend before.A new start/finish line had been constructed for this year. This was also the first year for wave starts. For the most part, it seemed to alleviate crowd congestion at the beginning and allow runners to get into their groove right from the start.
I never get tired of running up and over the Ambassador Bridge, as runners cross over from U. S. to Canadian soil.
A view of the Detroit city skyline while running in Windsor.
The Free Press Marathon boasts the only "underwater" mile as participants run back into the U.S. via the Windsor Tunnel.
Belle Isle
In the end, I ran it in 3 hr 47 min and had a blast with over 13,000 fellow runners. Despite the happiness I felt at how the city came together for such an event, a moment of silence/remembrance should be given for the 3 fallen runners who died during the event. We should all remember how lucky we are to be out there moving forward

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A runner is born


A little over 3 months ago, I received an email from my freshman college roommate via Facebook. He had heard that I was doing a bit of running, and was wondering if I would be interested in giving him a few pointers about getting back into running. Memories of all nighters, pizza, beer, sleeping in past our 8 am classes and putting on 20 pounds began running through my head. Without hesitating, I asked him for his number and told him I would call him that evening.

Upon calling Trent, he said he needed to make a change. Despite being in the armed services for several years and coaching his son's hockey team, he had fallen out of love with exercise and put on a few pounds. A few pounds I asked? Conservatively, he said, he had put on about 70 pounds. I told him to be ready at 6 am the next morning, we were going for a walk.

The next morning we walked. We talked about the past but more importantly the future. He had reasons for making a change. They were sleeping soundly as we walked around the subdivision. He wanted to feel better about himself, have more energy, and most importantly be able to play with his kids without having to stop and catch his breath every minute. He thought running would be the quickest way to drop some weight, but there was a problem. Running as he remembered it, was punishment during football and rowing.

I told him if he was really interested in making a change, then we were going to start slow. Due to his weight, I told him, there would be no running for at least a month. The first month would be dedicated to establishing a routine with not only forward motion but diet as well. He would begin by walking and building up his endurance. I told him that if he just started running that almost certainly he would get injured and would begin a vicious circle of injury, couch, injury, couch, etc and then where would that get him? Secondly, I had him start writing down everything he ate and when. One of the biggest culprits and I know a lot of parents who tend to do this is to finish your own dinner and then whatever your child doesn't as well. Probably, not what he wanted to hear, but I told him that if he did this then after one month we would start to look at adding in some running. Furthermore, I told him that I would meet with him weekly and we could go over the plan as we first walked and then ran.

A month went by, and Trent stuck to the plan. He walked 3-4 times a week and began to watch his diet. As a result, the weight slowly began to come off and he began asking when he could start running. I told him to pick a local 5k and gave him a couch to 5k program that we modified as he initially had some shin pain. His goal race was the Big House 5k. I ran with him the first time he ran 2 miles without stopping and the look on his face was amazing. I could see he was beginning to love running.

Soon enough the school year began, and respectively we both became sick and busy meaning that we didn't get a chance to run together again until the day of the race. 12 weeks and 25 pounds lighter, Trent had done more than he thought he could. The 5k that we ran was just icing on the cake. From walking to running a full 5k, he embodied what it means when someone is inspired to make a change. A runner has been born.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Running for a cause

I will admit that I am selfish. Selfish when it comes to running. It is my thing. If I don't get to do my thing on a daily basis, then I tend to not play so nice with others for the rest of the day. It is the glue that holds my day together, sparks my inner child to remember what it is like to run free, and every so often gives me a creative thought.

That being said, for all the years that I have been running, it has always been about the next race, the next medal or the next tshirt. It has never been about running for a cause, or running to raise money and maybe that was all a result of being self centered and young. However, within the last year, my priorities have shifted. Yes, I am still selfish about my running, but now I have begun to focus more on giving back to the community that has given me so much.

It all started with viewing a couple of videos from Ashland Dave and The Finkelstein about their respective endurance events where they pushed the limits of their endurance. I know it was on a run, and couldn't tell you when, but when I got home, I got on the phone and called my sister. An idea had been formed.

I was nervous at first, because it as a subject we really didn't talk about anymore. You see, my niece, Madison, lived only a few short days before dying from Spina Bifida. According to the data, Spina Bifida literally means “split spine.” Spina Bifida happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. Spina Bifida is the most common birth defect that disables people for life. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. There are varying degrees of Spina Bifida with increasing level of complications that can affect a person's day to day functioning.

So, when I called my sister, I stated that I had this idea. If, I said that I could get video and pictures from my 100 miler, and put them into a movie format, would she be ok with it if I then talked about it and promoted the idea that I would send people a copy of my experience for free and if they chose to, that they could then donate money and all proceeds would then be donated in Madison's name. I told her it was just an idea and wasn't even sure if it would work out, but that I would keep her posted.

When I sat down and started working on the video, I thought I was on to something. Unknowingly, my crew had captured what I felt was the essence of my journey, and I thought it would be compelling enough that people would want to then donate. After giving my sister the first copy and she okayed it, I then talked about it on my last episode of the podcast. Now, I know there are people out there that don't listen to podcasts so I thought I would use my blog for a plug as well.

If anyone would like a copy of the movie that I put together based on my experience at the Burning River 100, send me an email @ dirtdawg50k@aol.com or a DM on twitter @ dirtdawg50k and I will ship you a copy. I will include the instructions if you choose to donate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reflections and Moving Forward

It has been 3 weeks since Burning River, and I still have some trouble putting into words what the experience of completing my first 100 miler has meant to me. First and foremost, the support and kind words from everyone who has commented on the blog or email or twittered is simply amazing. I really never thought that my simple challenge to myself would be of enough interest for others to follow along or could be inspiring.

A crew member said to me the other night on a trail run, that I looked all business as I came into aid stations throughout the experience and was I having fun throughout? As the miles ticked by and the day wore on, I found myself even at my lowest point, focused on moving forward and know myself well enough that I was in a groove. Getting into a groove for me is why I get out there day after day. Rhythmically moving your body over the terrain at times makes it feel like an out of body experience. The reflection on my face and general demeanor may seem business like, but inside I was having a blast. I had no other distractions for that day but to run, how much fun is that! If I have said it once, after my family, the thing I love to do the most is to just get out and move forward.

There are lessons to be learned from this experience. First, is that I could complete a 100 miler on a training plan that kept my time away from my family to a minimum. I firmly believe that since this was really a 5 year journey from when I started doing ultras regularly, it allowed me to build a significant base to handle the increased volume and intensity. Secondly, I could not have completed this journey without my crew. Being my virgin attempt at the distance and hitting that low point, I needed their encouragement when I looked like crap and was thinking of quitting, and comraderie on the trails late at night to ride the wave of emotion to get back on track. It is an experience that will bond us forever. Third, I have said numerous times in the podcast or even on the blog that I was an ultrarunner, but really struggled with it to be honest. If I was an ultrarunner, I felt I was on the bottom of a totem pole. That being said, Burning River exposed me to an amazing group of people from all walks of life, shapes and sizes who were there to not only challenge themselves, but to reconnect with others and enjoy their time out there.

So where do I go from here? Perhaps the most important thing I learned about the experience is that no matter the pace, I just want to keep moving forward. There is no better feeling than to walk out your doorstep and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Burning River Finish

This video was sent to me courtesy of Rick, a fellow runner and listener of the podcast. He was there pacing a friend and met Dirrty Girl @ one of the aid stations. Thanks so much Rick!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Drop Bags and Clothing

Putting the final pieces together for this weekends 100 mile run has forced me to be way more organized than I have been all summer. On the eve of heading out, I thought I would lay everything out to help visualize what it would look like.

To start the run, I will be wearing my Brooks/Hansons ODP hat, Brooks ID shirt, Brooks Sherpa Shorts, Brooks Launch Shoes, and Injini Socks.

I plan on carrying a handheld water bottle throughout the race and have it filled with either Hammer HEED or Sustained Energy along the way and tucked in the storage pocket, Hammer Endurolytes. On my waist I will have a Nathan Trail Mix 2 bottle holder, filled with some water, my Iphone ( I really don't expect it to hold all day), a 2gb nano, and some Tylenol. My Nathan HPL #28 Race Vest will hold my Casio Exilim SX5 camera and a flask with 5 Hammer/PowerBar Gels mixed with water.
My first drop bag @ Station D (mile 21.9) contains another flask filled with 5 gels, some Vaseline (hey, you never know), an extra pair of socks, and 2 scoops of Sustained Energy in a baggie. My drops bags are 2 1/2 gallon Ziploc Bags with my race # and the aid station that I want them at. They must be turned in Friday night by 7 am.
Although I plan on having my crew follow me along beginning @ Aid Station D, I have packed up the rest of the bags ahead of time sans gels and Sustained Energy because I am not sure how I will be feeling in regards to nutrition. At Aid Station G (mile 36.6), I plan on switching to my Brooks Cascadia 4 for the trails that lay ahead.There is also another pair of socks, 1 bottle of 5 hour energy, another baggie consisting of 12 pills of Endurolytes, and another baggie of Sustained Energy.
Aid Station J, Boston Store (mile 56 and 60.6) is supposed to be a party and it is here that i have packed my head torch,petzl tikka xp and princeton tec 3.0 flashlight along with extra batteries. Another 5 hour energy to take along the course and a fresh hat, shirt, shorts, and long sleeve tshirt.
Rolling into Aid Station N at 81.6 miles should find the end of the trails and it is here I have my pair of Brooks Dyfance 2 and some fresh socks waiting. The finish line is less than a marathon away!
A huge thanks in advance to all the people who have posted comments leading up to the race via the blog and on twitter, email, and runcast tv. Your words, comments, and encouragement I will carry with me on race day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

DA CREW

As I go into my last few days before Burning River, and my stomach fluctuates between outright bouts of butterflies and then a peaceful calm, I have been planning, replanning, and planning again the logistics of not only my fueling strategy but the use of my CREW. At the beginning of this journey, Dirrty Girl was a bit hesitant and questioned who would want to go down and be part of my CREW for my inagural 100 miler attempt. She had a point. Who would want to selflessly devote themselves for an entire weekend to the needs of a stinky, weary ultrarunner as he seeks to run his first 100 miler? Honestly, I didn't know, but firmly believed that some people would want to come along on this journey. I couldn't offer much outside of a hotel room, a long day on the road, eating out of a cooler, telling a runner that even though he looks like poo to keep moving forward, and that in the end DNF or not (and it will be a NOT) that it would be an adventure. Amazingly, over the course of my training, a few peeps have stepped up and made the commitment. Not sure if it is overkill, to bring this large of a CREW down, I am a newbie of course, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Nate/ Mr Five Fingers

I, first met Nate last summer for some trail running and he introduced me to barefoot running and those Vibram Five Fingers. His ambitions last year were to run an ultra, but an injury derailed his plans. Listening to his body, he has made his way back, and he looked awfully strong the other night on a trail run, bombing most of it barefoot. As it stands right now, Nate will be running Sections M and N1 (Happy Days to Covered Bridge), miles 70 - 81.6, with me.


Kevin/ Skywalker


A through hiker of the Appalachian Trail, henceforth the name Skywalker, Kevin is the owner of the Just Finish website and a soon to be ultra runner at Dances with Dirt. We met @ the Martian Marathon earlier this year and have run several times since. Kind enough to slow down to run ramble with me but crazy enough to meet me @ 2 am for a training run and to fly through trails, Kevin will be pacing me the last 20 miles of the course. Run, Walk, or Crawl!!


Wife/Dirrty Girl



From my first day as a student teacher to today being 7 years of marital bliss, Dirrty Girl has been around for my journey from a pudgy,plodding marathoner to a slightly smaller, slow ultramarathoner. She has endured the early morning ramblings, the goofy podcast and is my rock. I have told her that I will look vastly different physically and mentally along the course, but barring a serious injury that she needs to tell me to keep moving forward. Fittingly, she will run with me at the first pacer pick up @ Boston Store to Pine Lane

I cannot express going into this journey what it means to have people who are willing to be so giving of themselves in helping me to achieve my goal. I say this now, because come race day, my mind may not be of full faculty.

Thanks CREW

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taper = Tired????

10 days out and I am just about as tired as I was when Little Dirt Dawg was born and I would get up with Dirrty Girl for each and every feeding. My runs have been shorter and slower by design, but in between, I feel like a waking zombie. Maybe it was the massage breaking up and unloosening the knots that my body is so tired in trying to repair itself. Interesting to note that during the massage there were more tension and knots in my back then in my legs. Maybe it is the reduced training volume that has thrown my body off kilter. As someone said, "Tapering is BS". I am sure that in a few days, maybe like 8?, that my body will be ready to roll.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

1, 2, 3.....Launch


If you have been following along via the podcast, you know that I have talked about trying to become more minimalist in my approach to running shoes. Adding more barefoot running to my training this year and reading the book, Born to Run, have me thinking that one does not need all the bells and whistles of a high dollar running shoe. Enter the Brooks Launch. Per the website this is how they describe their new lightweight trainer:

"With an incredibly flexible outsole and seamless transition, our new lightweight trainer will get you from start to finish, whether you're doing a tempo or race. Add to that the lower-profile midsole and minimal upper,"

Admittedly, these are some loud shoes in the color scheme and they scream, "RUN FAST", but even on a straight out of the box 14+ miler last night at an average pace of 9:10/mile (Note: this felt really fast to me) they felt really comfortable. Glove like in fit with just a touch of cushioning, my initial impression is that they might just become my everyday trainer. Will review again farther down the road to see how the durability, comfort and feel are.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Waiting Game: Taper

After rambling 11 miles on Saturday and 30 on Sunday this past weekend, I believe it is time to shut it down until Burning River. By shutting it down, I mean that awful, horrible but necessary word: taper.

At this point, with under 20 days to go, I don't believe that another long run or back to back session, which admittedly I said I wouldnt do but only did a 23/15 miler and a 11/30, will give me any more endurance or insight into planning or prepping for the race. By my own admission, the plan that I had sketched up before, I never really followed in hitting the weekly mileage goals, but in the end did go over the mileage estimated by about 50 miles. I have done a lot of walking during this training which I believe will serve me well in teaching my body to get comfortable with running/walking anywhere from 10 -12 min/miles which is in stark contrast to last fall when I qualified for Boston.

In tapering, I need to take it easy and cut back on the duration of my daily ramblings and rest. I need to let my body repair and recuperate from the pounding I have put it through to get ready for biggest adventure yet. I want to be at the starting line come August 1st @ 5am feeling like a caged dawg ready to scamper 100 miles.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Planning and Plotting

With race day being a mere 21 days away at the time of this writing, the enormity and complexity of this event have begun to weigh on my mind. At this point, the easiest thing for me to do is to go out and run. It doesn't require any thought and with just one more long run scheduled for this weekend I am about to shut it down and allow my body to rest.

What I can't allow myself to do is to let my mind to rest. After the recon run, I have started to begin planning the logistics for this race. In just about every other ultra or marathon, I have been able to either drive myself and crew, or have had Dirrty Girl or The Finkelstein there to give me a short lift home. This 100 miler is another beast.

First off, is child care. Being away for a few days, has meant asking grandparents months in advance to block off a weekend to watch Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather, while I attempt this selfish test of endurance. I have even enlisted my sister's help to drive down to help my dad and stepmom with the task of watching kids. To help me, I always believed that some people would want to come along on this adventure and crew and right now I have cajoled Kevin and Nate into pacer roles along with Dirrty Girl and perhaps one out of town guest. With verbal commitments in hand, that has meant searching and securing hotel rooms close to the finish and figuring out what time to leave home to make it down to the race HQ in time for the dinner and pre-race meeting.

That has been easy. The struggle has been now to lay out a plan for my crew for the day. I have it easy so to speak. I just have to run/walk and crawl. Luckily, Brian, will also be running Burning River and we have spoken about running together during the race. The course is a point to point, so with my crew at the finish line, I will be taking a shuttle to the start, and then running towards them. My hope and plan is to meet up with them along the way and have them follow me along, but this is where I have had the most difficulty. Trying to project pace as to when you might roll in is a little bit like predicting the weather. You might be right 50% of the time. I have no clue what the weather will be like in 3 weeks or how my body will be feeling. Right now all I can do is guesstimate. Pacers can not begin until mile 60, a mistake i quickly emailed out to people when i had misread and said 70, so it will be a long day in the car for them as i don't initially project hitting that mark until near dark. So now i have to try and match terrain and distance to who will pace and when. Pace will be irrelevant at that point i figure as it will be quite slow. However, I hope by that time my pacers will have found me, as it is in an area unfamiliar to us all and hopefully with the use of my phone i can alert them as to where i am out on the course.

That being said, I have been mentally going over what I think I need for drop bags, and at what aid stations. Reports say you can run the first 30+ miles in road shoes before switching to trail for some more technical sections. So, I think I am going to do that, but then it gets fuzzy. How much food do I take with me? Do I take just a handheld water bottle and a fanny pack, or a handheld water bottle and single water bottle waistpack? Do I need a new double water bottle waistpack? What about my hydration backpack? What is going to be my fueling plan? How often am I going to take Endurolytes? Am I going to use those 5 hour energy drinks again and where, when might I do those? Do I have a run/walk pattern to start the race with? How many extra batteries do I need to buy for my headlamps? How many coolers do I need for the van and Crew? What are they going to eat for the day? Intial thoughts are jotted down, then crossed out, and referenced again.

It really is quite dizzying. I am sure in 3 weeks I will have it figured out.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Burning River Recon Run




If the opportunity arises to preview a course that you are going to ramble over 100 miles, then you better seize it. Such was the case on Saturday, when with Dirrty Girl's assistance I was able to drive down and take part in a training run. that covered the last 30 miles of the course.

A shuttle took us from the finish line back to the 70.3 mile mark and a group of approximately 17 of us headed out. Grant it, I will probably be running most of this in the dark, but more than anything I needed to wrap my head around the area, the course, and converse with other runners. Reading a course packet is wonderful, but to hear tips and words of encouragement from some amazing runners who have done multiple 100 milers and races like Badwater rely gave me a boost

The course was absolutely stunning and i cant wait for August 1st .


--Post From My iPhone

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

It was with pure joy in Little Dirt Dawgs voice that he said after I got a massage that I could take him and Dirrty Feather to see the Dinosaurs @ the Detroit Zoo for Father's Day. Armed with a cooler and a wagon, we ventured out, hoping to return home. video

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inspire Daily



I have been fortunate enough to have been accepted into the Brooks I.D. program and it has got my tiny little sponge thinking.


Per the website, here is a description of this amazing program:


Brooks I.D. Program Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 1,200 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders.


Let me be honest, that I initially applied because of the gratuitous discount given to Brooks I.D. members. Seeing that I run in Brooks, with my current list including the Axiom 3, Dyfance 2, and Cascadia 4, I thought why not? I thought that at least I was pushing my own limits, but a coach, mentor, or leader? However, coinciding with my acceptance, a strange and most unexpectedly thing has happened. Something, I would have never imagined.


Through the podcast which I had orginally intended to chronicle my 100 mile adventure, I began to get some emails from listeners saying that I was an inspiration to them and motivating some of them to get out the door and maybe even to head on over to the "dark side". I then paced my friend Joe to a new PR showing him he could run faster than he thought and now he is focusing on a half marathon in the fall. Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather ran down a Kids Fun Run and away from clowns. My friend, Megan ran her first half marathon with a plan I had worked up for her and has now set her sights on the Detroit Free Press Marathon this fall. And of course, Dirrty Girl ran her half marathon. All of this of course, I have put on the podcast, because I thought it made listening and enjoyed running with all of them. But in listening to the audio, I have begun to think, that maybe I am doing something good.


Maybe I am inspiring some people. Maybe I am showing others that just because you have a job and family, that if you make some time for yourself each day you can achieve your goals and still spend time with your family. Maybe people can see that you don't have to be fast to cover long distances, just be willing to put the time in and ride out the bad patches. Maybe through my rambling diatribes, people can see that running is a wonderful sport. Maybe, just maybe, I am sharing my passion for the sport and can epitomize what a Brooks I.D. member is all about.

Monday, June 08, 2009

T-Ball

If running is one passion that I want to pass on , then my other as a youth and as an adult that I wish to pass on is baseball. The smell of freshly cut grass, the crack of the bat, the oversized wad of Big League Chew, and the exhileration of making a game saving play or hit, is something that I will always remember as a youth. Whether it was wiffle ball with my neighborhood pals, or in an organized league, I have fond memories of playing America's favorite past time. Since Little Dirt Dawg turned 5, he was able to start playing t-ball this season. Grant it, he may be as tall as some of his 7 year old teammates, but that has not stopped him from trying to pick up some skills including switch hitting and fielding.
As a member of the Crickets, his first game was this past weekend, and I have to say that I am glad I am an endurance athlete. Those games are long! Six innings, practically no one gets out and there are nearly as many parents out on the field helping the kids as there are players.
However, that being said, I wouldn' t trade it for a moment even when Little Dirt Dawg switched from being in the ready position to writing his name in the sand as he was out there having fun and proudly proclaimed at the end of his first game; "We won, it was a tie."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oak Apple Run Recap

Armed with his new "fast shoes", Little Dirt Dawg was ready to run this year's edition of the Kids Fun Run with blazing speed. After watching his old father pace a friend to a 10 minute PR in the 10k, Little Dirt Dawg did a pre race warmup or the beginnings of a mini duathlon by riding the 1.25 miles uptown to the start of the race. Dirrty Feather, armed with her "hand me down" trail runners and catching a ride in the Doodlebug took a more leisurely warmup.
Fearful of clowns (Read Ronald McDonald) who was the official starter, Dirrty Feather would not leave my side and was pretty tearful and pissed until she could run far away from that dude. Little Dirt Dawg on the other hand was cruising and showed really good form.
The dude with enormous nose, ME, was able to guide Dirrty Feather down the course and away from the clown as I told her of all the riches she would accumulate at the finish.

Post race, Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather were pretty proud of their ginormous awards, and Little Dirt Dawg completed his mini duathlon for the day by rolling home another 1.25 miles.
These are the days I will remember not only as a parent, but as a runner. Sharing my passion, my love of the sport on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pass it on

In this " I want it now" generation that has instant access to just about anything, I would be a failure as a parent, if I did not at least impart to Little Dirt Dawg and Dirrty Feather the virtues of honesty, hard work and having a passion among others. 

My passion, my love of running, is something ideally, I would love for both of them to pick up and run with.  I loved nothing more  the other day then going to pick out  some new "fast" shoes with Little Dirt Dawg for his upcoming Kids Run @ the Oak Apple Run. The joy in his face as he ran down the aisle to test out their quickness is something I can take with me through the miles  when I am faced with self doubt or in the "hole" of a long run. By having a passion, something they can call their own they can learn the values of being honest of where they are at in terms of fitness, goals, etc, but also that hard work can take you places you never might have dreamed of. More than anything, I want them to find something they can call their own to be healthy, active individuals. 

Have a passion. Pass it on. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Medals 4 Mettle


“Medals 4 Mettle”

What do you do with all of your racing hardware? You train for months and sometimes years in all types of conditions to get your body in peak physical condition for your event. You compete hoping to reap the results of all your hard efforts. Finishing, you are rewarded more often than not with a medal.

You may wear them proudly post race at the event, but then what becomes of them? Could you and would you be willing to give a token of something that you have worked so hard for to someone who is a fight for their life? Their finish line is not measured in PR's, Boston Qualifiers, distance or time limits. Often times, their finish line is making through the next round of chemo, surgery, or therapy, and hopefully, eventually being able to go home.

In my latest podcast, I was able to sit down with Slow Joe who runs the Michigan chapter of Metals 4 Mettle.

Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2005. Its mission is to celebrate and reward the individual and collective courage of all human beings by facilitating the gifting of marathon finisher’s medals from marathoners to people who have demonstrated similar mettle, or courage. The recipients can be any age and might have exhibited such mettle by dealing with disease, handicaps or any similar challenge. (via the website)


My decision was an easy one. Hanging in my man cave, these medals are better given to someone who is fighting a battle far more important than on the day I raced. On that day, I earned those respective medals and I was proud of my accomplishment, but knowing I could give something to another that is a fight far more important that my running is more important.

So take a look at your medals. Even a donation of one medal could lift a spirit, inspire a soul, and perhaps drive them on to their finish line.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Dark Side: Ultra Running…Not as hard as you think

* The following is my article which was in this week's Just Finish Newsletter*

What is an ultra? The standard definition, courtesy of Ultra running Magazine, is anything past the marathon, or 26.2 miles. However, the shortest standard distance that is considered an ultra is the 50 kilometer distance, or 31.07 miles. Other standard distances are the 50 mile, 100 mile, 100 km, and a series of events that last for specified time periods such as 6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, 48 hour, and 6 days.

Based on the distance being covered, some people refer to it as the “dark side” or “extreme” side of running and think that anyone covering this distance is nuts, loony, or otherwise has a screw loose. The fact is that ultra running is a great way to see the planet and often on a much varied terrain (trails, tracks, rails to trails, etc) than your standard 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon course. Besides that, given the distance often being covered or attempted, it is often covered at a much slower pace and with far fewer people. A slower pace often means less wear and tear on your body and a quicker recovery considering the pace and the fact that you will be not at your top end speed and redlining yourself. Yes, that means there will be walking; even “elite” runners competing do it. You don’t have to run the entire distance. Think of it as time to see the things you are running around and over rather than focusing on mile splits.

Another misconception is that you have run “crazy” amounts of mileage to be able to compete in one of these ultras. Not all of us are a Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek, or Pam Reed and have the time and financial backing to run full time. In general, if you are able to complete a marathon, then you can do a 50k with ease. It is only 5 more miles, and remember, you are going at a reduced rate of speed. Stepping up to a 50 miler or beyond will require you to extend your long run a bit, with a general rule of thumb that you can compete in an event/distance that is two times the distance of your longest run. If your mind is willing, the body will follow.

If for no other reason to try an ultra, then do it for the food and camaraderie of fellow runners. Food normally reserved for the finish line at a normal race, are a mainstay at aid stations. Cookies, potatoes, soup, sandwiches and other assorted goodies are often there along with the normal gels and drinks. Think of your run as a strolling buffet. You will need the calories to keep the fires stoked as you are out there enjoying the scenery and that of your fellow runners. That being said, runners at ultras are probably one of the friendliest and gregarious bunch of people out there. They are out there to have fun and are willing to share not only their experiences, but tips and tricks to get you through the miles. Since ultras tend to have less participants, little mainstream exposure, and little or no awards there is less pressure and that is reflected in the overall atmosphere.

Embrace the “dark side” and consider an ultra. A relaxed pace, strolling buffet, and a merry cast of characters. What more could you ask for out on a run?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tilling the land

In an effort to be greener and to show the kids what a "small" garden is all about, we headed over in the morning to our local farmers market. Buy local.
Somehow, besides the requisite tomato and lettuce plants needed for planting, little dirt dawg ended up with ladybugs (which apparently have to stay in the refrigerator for a week because it is still a bit chilly) and dirrty feather ended up with a praying mantis. Both swore that they would be valuable additions to our garden.
In my own mechanical ineptitude, I had to borrow a saw from my neighbors and several trips made to Home Depot in order to come up with the right combination of wood and nails to frame it in.
Little Dirt Dawg proved to be an able "right hand man" and helped to both measure ....
and drill.
Dirrty Feather provided sideline assistance and feedback.

After nearly a week of tearing up shrubs, tilling the land, cutting wood and nailing it all together, the team had accomplished its goal. All that was left was for Dirrty Girl to plant.
Here's to watching it grow and eating the goods!