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


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