Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Monthly PR

I used to struggle to get in 140 miles per month, but since June I've been determined to run more....This month I set a NEW MONTHLY PR!

How did I do it?

#1 Inspiring friends on Twitter/FB, You know who you are!

#2 Ran 24 days out of 31

#3 Medoc Mountain Meltdown 50k

#4 The Stick roller, started using this everyday during lunch...awesome.

#5  Put one foot in front of the other!

And have a Very Supportive Wife.......Love you Michele

What is your monthly Mileage PR?

How did you do it?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last Week

A Look At Last Weeks Miles.

Monday, nice 12 miles, running loops around the HOA.
Tuesday, 5 miles at night, and unplugged.
Wednesday, Got a run in after our run/walk club meeting again at night.
Thursday, First time running two double digits during the work week.
Friday, Trail run on Fort Lee, setting myself up for a long run Saturday and 60+ miles for the week.
Saturday, Long Run!
Sunday, REST DAY

TOTAL: 61.4  Highest normal training week!

A good positive running week and came out of it feeling strong.

How was your week?

Monday, August 26, 2013

20 Mile Run

The 20 mile run is the staple of nearly all marathon training programs.  I can't speak for all marathon runners, but the first time I climbed this running peak, I felt like I could survive a marathon.  There is something about 20 miles, running for 20 miles, covering 20 miles and surviving 20 miles that make this run special.  Even today after completing 10 marathons, 7 ultra marathon events (over 26.2 miles) and logging over 11,500k miles...the 20 miler still intimidates me.

So why does this distance still get to me?

Starting nearly every 20 miler, I feel confident, heck I've banged out longer runs, I've trained hard, I'm sure I can do this, I even look forward to my 20 mile runs.  Though out my marathon career I've run countless training runs at this distance.  Walking out my front door, taking that first step, I always feel invincible going into the run.  My goal is to roll into the first mile at a slower pace, control my heart rate and get this journey underway.

Rounding out miles 9, 10 and 11, Some consider this the middle of the run, but in fact if you have properly trained this is where the real fun begins.  On most 20s I feel good at this point, confident and empowered.  And on a few runs I've even made a deal to add a few extra miles.  Surpassing midway I start to feel like a real runner, a real distance runner...maybe even an elite type of runner capable of covering distances most people and a large percentage of runners never consider.

THE 75%:
Mile 14, 15 and is at this point that I always feel like I have covered a good bit of ground, but then it hits me...I still have a long way to go.  No matter the distances I've run in prior events, 5 miles is still a good distance. This remaining portion of the run is a distance to respect.  Alot can happen over 5 miles.  And then it hits me....can I finish this one?  Not sure why I get this feeling...but even with the confidence of all my training, all the miles and all the races over 20 that I have run, that little bird still sings in my ear.  "Dude, you have a long way to go..."

And I'm thankful that over the years, over the miles this little voice has gotten easier to subdue.  I hear it, but I'm able to assign no value to it.  Nowadays I use this voice to motivate me forward, "Sure that would have de-railed you years ago....but today YOU own that bird." 

No matter how many times I hear my GPS tell me "Run Distance: 20 Miles" it always sounds good.  Taking that last step after covering 20 miles is so rewarding, so empowering and so uplifting.  A successful 20 mile run is validating that once again I'm marathon ready.

AND the ever popular "I've completed my 20 mile run" Tweet/FB Status update is my favorite update to post online. 

How do you feel about your 20 mile runs?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

World Class vs The Marathon

Track and field athletes don’t receive the same acclaim as their counterparts in the more popular sports.  This got me to wondering how some of the “BEST” in their sport would do at distance running, i.e. The Marathon.  One given is that the subject athlete would be running The Marathon at his/her prime.  So without further ado…I give you “Brian’s Best Guess, on how the world’s best athletes would do at running The Marathon.”

Professional Football, Running Back for the CLEVELAND BROWNS, #32 Jim Brown

And yes this is a shameless plug for my favorite football team.

Jim Brown was a power-back with brute force, speed, and grace.  Many view Brown as the best football player of his time and of all time.  Brown’s mixture of pure power and on the spot speed left many a defender in his wake, but how would he do at 26.2 miles?

I believe Jim would have been a 3:00 to 3:20 marathoner.  I have no doubt with his talents, he was also a world class lacrosse player and his determination he could have run The Marathon.  Brown was a pure physical specimen in his day but that build may have worked against him in a distance race.  But help the runner who got in his way.

Professional Basketball, Point Guard for Da Bulls, #23 Michael Jordon

On the hardwood this guy had it all…and off the field he changed sports marketing forever.  Everyone wanted to be like Mike.  Not much of a b-ball fan I was witness to his on the court moves via ESPN.  But his business savoy was on display nearly every commercial break.  But how would Air Jordon do at the wall and over 26.2 miles?  Would he fly high or bonk?

I predict old MJ would have been a 3:40 – 4:00 finisher.  Why I have no idea, again this is not a scientific prediction.  During his career we heard a lot about his shooting skills, ball handling, and his seemingly ability to fly to the rim…but not much about conditioning.  So I wonder if he had a sub 4 hour marathon in him.

7 Time NASCAR Season (Winston Cup) Champion and 200 Time Race Winner, #43 The King, Richard Petty.

This guy was racing way before racing was cool.  The Petty family and Richard’s Petty blue race car dominated the NASCAR circuit like no other.  Richard was the first driver to win over one million dollars in a year.  And Petty was the first driver to win seven Daytona 500s and first to win 200 races.  But how would he do with a pair of running shoes in place of his Goodyear racing eagles? 
Richard, I believe would finish as it’s well established on how tough he was.  An example being he once drove with broken bones and rebuilt his cast so he could compete at the next race.  But 26.2 miles on your feet is a lot harder the 500 miles in a car.  The King in his youth would finish around the 4:30 to 5:00 mark.

#1 Ranked Women's Tennis Pro and 5 Time Wimbledon Champion, Serena Williams

When you think of tennis most think of Serena, a mixture of power and grace, she has won it all.  Ranked number one in the world with victories in Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, and the Australian Open (Tennis Majors) there may have not been a better tennis player this side of her sister.  But could she over power Boston?

With 610 victories in pro tennis, I’m sure she would have the drive and ability to train for the marathon.  But I believe with her natural power house frame and muscular build a 3:45 finish may be her best.

America Swimmer, and 12 Time Olympic Medalist, Dara Torres

Torres has won twelve Olympic medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze), one of three women with the most Olympic women's swimming medals. She won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics when, at age 33, she was the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. She has also won at least one medal in each of the five Olympics in which she has competed, making her one of only a handful of Olympians to earn medals in five different Games. But could this natural in the pool cross over to the road.

If there is a better cross over sport…I can’t think of it.  With the aerobic capacity and overall conditioning it must take to set world records in the water I’m sure Dara could tackle The Marathon.  In her prime, I would predict a 2:30 to 2:45 and I would not be surprised of a faster finishing time.

So there you have it, what once was a wild thought while running “How would other “World Class” athletes from other sports do at The Marathon” is now in print.  It might have been better to keep this stuck in my brain and not in print, but tooooooooo late now.  Okay here is the legal stuff…so pls no one sue me.

The above opinions of said blogger are a humorous attempt to predict how select World Class Athletes may performance in The Marathon.  This information, based on nothing but a hunch as I gazed at pictures and career facts on the internet (Thank you Wikipeda) should not be used for anything other than entertainment.  And the value of that entertainment is subject to much debate.  Said opinions should not be used for financial gain, betting lines in Las Vegas, predicting actual performance or any endeavor where you’re relying on my intelligence.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

12 Days

12 Days of Camping, Running, and Floating Down The James River

This is the life.  3 mini camping trips over 12 days in which Michele and I lived out of our RV.  During this time we ran a race, went back to work and then went on our annual trip where we floated down the James River.  All in all this was a great get away and a snap shot of what we hope our life will look like in a few years.

Our trip started with a 3 day camping weekend at Medoc Mountain State Park in Holister North Carolina.  It was at this state park that I had signed up to run a 50k Ultra trail race.   I’ve already blogged about the Medoc Meltdown Race, click here, but that was only one third of the trip.

Medoc Mountain State Park is a beautiful place with a nice campground.  It’s here I received a lesson on how to shoe horn a 40 foot 5th wheel into a spot meant for something a touch smaller.   While planning this trip I had researched the area and the camping options. The park campgrounds were perfect, right near our race HQ and they had pull though spots…advertised as 80 foot long.  A foot note should have been that the 80 foot was measured around a corner and in the middle of that corner was a 100 year old oak tree.  And another nice comment would be that the road drops off on both sides of the entrance to the parking spot.
(Medoc Mountain State Park, Base Camp Alpha,
a bit tight but we made it out alive)

I think I wore the tread off my front tires but Michele and I got the 5th wheel parked and leveled without any damage.

From there on…it was a near perfect weekend.

Next we headed to Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, Va.  We have stayed there before as this is a close location to work and makes for an easy commute.  We stayed here the 4 days between our North Carolina race weekend and our annual tubing adventure in Scottsville, Va.
(Pocahontas State Park, Base Camp Bravo, 
a nice setting with plenty to do)

Compared to Medoc, the RV sites at Pocahontas are large and wide open yet still lined with trees and a feeling of being in the woods.  We set up our spot in no time and began our relaxing.  The park also has miles of roads and trails to run which we both took advantage of almost daily.  As much as we enjoyed both the Ultra run and the trail running around Pocahontas, the highlight of this trip was our time floating down the river.

Scottsville, Va is a short hour and a half drive and worth every mile.  We arrived at Horse Shoe Flats campground around mid-day.  After purchasing our first RV from Coastal RV, a GREAT RV sales business, our first camp outing was at HSF and we have comeback every year since.  This campground is a Mom and Pops type site sitting along a bend in the James River.  For a river adventure weekend, We cannot think of a better location, and the owners Peggy and Richard, who live on site, make you feel like family not tenants.
(Horse Shoe Flats,
Base Camp Charlie)

We booked our river adventure portion of the trip thou James River Reeling and Rafting, who are conveniently located directly across the river from Horse Shoe Flats.  The service from these folks has always been great, they get you up the river in short order and well briefed on what to expect.  The bonus is the ride to the launch site, let’s just say that rivals the best roller coasters out there.
(Unloading, the big chill is coming)

Once off the bus it’s grab a tube and get ready for the shock of a life time…  There’s not much I can say about the first 10 second while you get in the water…at a point of a natural spring…but you will remember it.  From then on out it is smooth sailing as they say.
(Michele, Me and Susan)

(Someone mentioned we looked like a bunch of seals,
and it was Shark week)

There is something so relaxing about floating down the river.  Maybe it’s the gentle rocking of the waves and flow of the current.  Maybe it’s the fact that the river will take you where you want to go.  Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t have control, you just float.   No matter what it is, Michele and I find it very refreshing to float along on our personal inflatable cruise ships.  This year we wanted two days on the river, so we headed out on Friday and Saturday morning.  Total count in our party was close to 20 and we had a great time floating along the James.  For some this was their first float and I believe everyone enjoyed the day.  Proud to report that no one was hurt...a few had just the right mix of "happy juice" cause the laughter was flowing.
(Group Float)

We have told so many of our camping friends about our James River Adventures that this year we decided on a group outing and booked the campground for the whole weekend.  We filled every RV spot, and a few tent sites too.   This year our son Anthony and his girlfriend Sara came along as well.  Our RV was parked between our camping pals Fred and Susan and our new friends Robert and Jodi.  Before this outing we did not known Robert and Jodi very well but after this weekend and hanging out together, for 4 hours floating along...we shared a lot of laughs!

The weekend was such a hit, everyone talked about making this a repeat Camp out in 2014.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Top Tweets

Some tweets make me think, Some tweets make me happy, Some tweets make me mad, Some tweets make me chuckle....and Some Make My Top Tweets:

“If you start to feel good during an ultra, don’t worry you will get over it.” ~Gene Thibeault  @paulrunslong

Felt like I was running with a fleece blanket wrapped around my head this morning... So much humidity. @jimmclark

After an hour of running in the rain I am now a prune. @jclarke1209

Images of chocolate are dancing in my head right now so I think it is time to step outside for fresh air & sunshine  @RunningMom6

I can't be the only one who laughs when I see people boast about their day's productivity on Facebook... @RasberiRunner

It is during our failures that we discover our true desire for success. @TeamRunner4Life

I've had my iPhone less than 24hrs and have nearly dropped it in the toilet twice already. I see this ending badly. @PrincessBuckeye

Never underestimate the power that one good workout will have on your mind. Keeping the dream alive is half the battle. @karagoucher  @Dirtdawg50k

Apparently, there is an even crazier group of runners that is DONE RUNNING before 5 am. No. I'm sorry. We cannot be friends. @runinhighheels

And the TOP Top Tweet:

Satan can't stop God from answering your prayers. So he tries to prevent you from praying. Don't give up! Don't give in! Don't give out! @thEMANacho

Monday, August 12, 2013

Am I Racing

Am I Really Racing?

Most weekends on the social media platforms someone will tweet or Facebook status post “wishing those who are racing good luck.”  But lately I've felt kind of conflicted with the term racing.

Am I really racing?

I've come to the relation that I may not have the physical ability, the inherent athletic genes or the time in my life to really train hard to run for the win.

So am I really racing?
I approach every "race" with a target finishing time in mind.  I base my training, my focus and my preparation to meet this performance benchmark.   Race Day for me is when my fitness and race planning are challenged by a digital pacer not by the other competitors.

Is this really racing?

On the starting line, I feel the same excitement as the elite runners who are competing for the podium, but my competition is not the runner standing next to me, behind me or in front of me.  My competition is something much more imposing.  My race is run not against the crowd but against the shadow of my goal pace. 

Is this really racing?

In the middle of the race when a move on the competition is to be made, I don’t judge the success or strength of this move compared to the distance I’ve separate from the pack.  My move may only re-position me from one pack of runners to another.  I can’t focus on beating another runner my focus is squarely on a pace/distance milestone, a milestone based on time not on another runner.
Is this really racing?

I’ll be judged a success or failure on a invisible figure propelled by my goal.  My standing will be validated not by the distance gained on another runner, and not on the number of runners I leave behind.  My success or failure will be based on the sinister pacer and the ticking of the digital judge poised high above the finish line.  

Is this really racing?

Nearing the finish tape I won't be leaning forward to beat out my competition by a nose, my finishing lean will be to edge out the last tick on the clock, that ever present timekeeper.  My success or lack of will be measured against the digital monster that judges me with every tick.

Is this really racing?

I lavish in the same feelings of success or crumble in the remorse of failure hinged with the cadence of my foot strike.  The highs of winning my personal race are every bit as high as the runner standing on the podium and my failure is every bit as low as the Olympic athlete who comes in fourth.

Is my run against the clock racing, Is it really racing...HECK YES!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Medoc Meltdown

Medoc Meltdown 50k (plus), The Race Report

Organizer Frank L. advertised this event as a Fat A_ _ Running Event, meaning it was not "a race." There was no entry fee, no awards (but a cool finishers rock), no whinning and no aid would be provided (yea right, those Popsicle were awesome).  The Meltdown was an opportunity to run with old and new friends (plus plenty of NC horse flies!) and enjoy the hot and steamy beauty of an NC state park in August.

Going into this event, as a Meltdown rookie, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into.  From all the Facebook posts I could tell that this was going to be a tough run and a chance to hang with the Ultra crowd.  I knew it was going to be hot/humid and I knew I would have to provide for my own support.  But I had no idea how tough the Medoc Mountain State Park course was going to be.

Do you like Hills, Medoc Has Them:

(One of the Medoc Climbs...are we there yet?)

Do you like Roots, Medoc Has Them:

(Medoc ankles loved these)

Do you like Rocks, Medoc Has Them: 

(Rocks are one thing, ROCKS going up hill...come on Medco)

Do you like Stairs, Medoc Has Them:

(The World Famous Medoc Stair Way To...more pain)

The course at Medoc was a little over 8.6 miles in length and the 50K event (4 laps) would have you completing nearly 35 miles in the heat and humidity of North Carolina.  The conditions of the trail and the temperatures made this the toughest trail race I have run.  Being a rookie I never had a good feel of what Medco challenge was coming up next, so I never knew when to push it or when to conserve. 

(One of the many Medoc Challenges) 

But I'll tell ya four laps of this place was all I wanted.  Out of 77 starters I placed 7th with a time of 8 hours and 30 minutes.  That time is slow compared to my previous 50k PR but knowing the trails I ran over....I'm very happy with my performance.

But the best part of the day was the people.  The Medoc crowd and it's organizers Frank and Cameron were GREAT.  I was blessed to run with some super people, Paul S, Amanda M, Jon H, and Veronica J.  You guys made the kept me going when I needed a push and I hope I made your run a success.  Running is about more then the miles, the trails or the is about the people!

If You Like Cool Race Bling, Medoc Has That Too:

(This Rock Motivated Me All Day Long)

At one point I told myself this may just be a "One and Done" event for I'm wondering when next years Meltdown will be.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

World Record

New World Record....Monthly Running Miles

When I hit and surpassed 200 miles for the first time, I thought boy it's going to be hard to do that again.  After all I ran a lot of those miles while on vacation.  That was June, and now it's the end of July/1st of Aug and I set another monthly mile PR at 235 miles...with no vacation days.  How did I do that...and what did I learn.  Oh yea its a new world record only for me..ha ha ha

How Did I Do That?

1.  I Ran, Nearly Everyday...26 Running Days

2.  I Ran Faster, pretty simple rule when you think of it...the faster you run the more ground you cover.  My running time is limited, I really don't have extra hours to add to my running schedule, so I ran fast in the time that I did have.

3.  I Ran In ALL Kinds Of Weather....and I don't recommend this.  I went out one day in a monsoon, we received 2+ inches of rain in an hour, that was bad enough, but the thunder and lightening...that made it scary...but I did get in 8 miles.

4.  I Ran Double Digits...normally Saturday was my only double digit day of the week.  To step up my game I added Monday as a double digit miles days as well.

What Did I Learn?

1.  More Miles = More Speed.  My training runs are faster and I find I have more left at the end of the run, my speed does not tail off meaning I finish stronger and faster.

2.  My Legs Feel Great

3.  You must about three pairs of shoes to keep the rotation fresh.  With the hot and humid days of July my shoes took a beating...I could not have done this on one pair or two pairs of shoes.

4.  I have a TON of respect for the guys and gals who get to run the big miles day in and day out, month after takes a lot of dedication.  Over a 30 day period, a lot can come up to get in your way.

5.  YOU MUST Have a supportive wife.  My wife was great about allowing me the time to bang away at the miles...  Thank you Michele! 

TO Thank GOD for my good future and health, without him nothing is possible.  

Next Up and My Fall race Schedule:

Medoc Mountain 50K (Next Up)

12 Hour Ultra Run

Crawling Crab Half (20 mile training run and race combo)
Niagara Falls Marathon

Richmond Half Marathon

SeaShore Nature Trail 50K