Monday, September 30, 2013

Short Shorts

Who Wears Short Shorts?

2 years ago I was out running the streets of my neighborhood, it was a peaceful late summer leaving and was right with the world.  Then this peaceful run was turned into a traumatizing experience. I was cruising along passing the mid point part of the run I went by a house and out front where some young girls playing.  As I ran past, I made out what I thought to be some laughing and pointing.  I did not stop but glancing over my shoulder as I wanted to see what was up. Then.  It.  Happened.  "Hey Mr. Short Shorts...those are to short for you to be wearing.  I was nearly frozen in my tracks.  I was shocked, embarrassed and feeling like my 9th grade self.  How could some young girls be making fun of me for my short running shorts.  

That afternoon run left me scared for life...and my psychological fear of "to short running shorts" or Shortyshortnophobia, as it is known in the medical professional world. began.  I can no longer pull on a pair of 3" inseam shorts and not wonder if I'll be the butt of some pre-high school girls scorn.  I wonder at each smile, wave or chuckle along my running path, are they laughing at me?  Am I showing to much leg....will the guys/gals from Westboro Baptist be protesting me next?  Even with counseling, some slight electroshock therapy I still hide my shorter shorts in the back of my running stuff draw.

Then I wondered, do I suffer this shame alone?  How many others have been made to feel the shame of too short shorts?  And just who sets the standard of how short shorts should be?

Are you a 1.5" or 3" inseam guy?

I'm not real comfortable sporting these....I feel a bit exposed.  Along with these shorter inseams most of these shorts also offer V cuts.  But I can understand if your going for the gold, less is better and if these offer you less drag, then rock the 1.5" or 3 inch. 

Is 5" more your style?

5" shorts are more my style...I'm real comfortable in these, not to much material and plenty of coverage.  I tend to roll the waist band up one roll which gives me a 4" inseam short.  This adjusted length provides coverage yet leaves a little more of my thigh above my knee exposed.  

Are you more comfortable in a pair of 7" shorts?

These shorts provide plenty of coverage, but when I have worn these longer types, they tend to collect and bunch up.  These shorts have been prone to cause chaffing issues on long runs and I'm not a fan.

Or are you more at home in the 9" inseam?

Any length longer then 7" and especially the 9" or longer "shorts" I begin to wonder why.  I wonder why wear them, why are they called shorts, why not just wear a full length pair of pants.  If your comfortable in them...I won't judge but they are not for me.  

Or are you trying out for the NBA?

 I'm sorry I just don't get these long long "shorts" why not just wear pants?

Friday, September 27, 2013

When it gets tough

When It Gets Tough

No matter how well trained, it happens to all of us.  At some point in a hard race, our drive and determination give way to doubt.  It's natural it's a part of pushing your body to the limits, but how do you overcome that doubt and press on?  I've asked a few of the runners that I follow and admire on Twitter.  
How do you keep going when things get tough?
(in no particular order)

(50k Ace and smoothie maker...Nathan)

Nathan Maxwell, @socialshark  I think about a previous run that hurt worse. And realize I've had it worse before, and I survived that time, suck it up and keep going....

(Ultra machine....Paul)

Paul Starlings, @pstarlings  My go to thought is from a book called "Run Because You Can". The main character passed from Hodgin's Lymphoma. He wanted everyone to run because they could. So I go to it often - I run because I can, when others can't.

(Hollie, racing to another win!)

Hollie, @FueledbyLOLZ  I just try and remember that running is a journey not an individual moment. You have ups and downs!

(Steve on the Leadville 100 Trail)

Steve Spiers, @britishbulldog  This might sound dumb, but each time I had a rough patch, I used the “Ain’t so bad” mantra.

(Lisa, Running it FAST)

Lisa Gonzales, @runlikeacoyote  Usually try to remember that it can't get any worse & will most likely get better & just keep going. Even if I have to walk for a while.

(Kris, rocking the races around the 757)

Kris Lawrence, @Kris_Law  I always think "I wanted this moment, I am willing to fight for it." Sounds corny but I love racing, so I have to remember to live in moment.

Next time you hit a rough patch in a race, consider some of the thoughts that keep these guys/gals running and push on!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

12 Hour ATR Race Report

12 Hour Adventure Trail Run

My original summer racing plan had me running the Air Force Marathon this weekend, but with the gov't financial mess, my travel budget took a hit. My wife had to suffer thou six workdays off without pay, in turn...we decided to stay close to home.

Over the summer when everyone else may have been cutting back on miles, I made a distinct effort to ramp up my mileage.  Rolling into September I put together three months over the 200 mile mark (Jun 206, Jul 235 and Aug 250).  I wanted to become a better Ultra-runner and gain some confidence on the hills.  I'm about half way there.

(Cool Race Swag Included)

A detailed look at my pre-race plan can be seen in a previous post.

I found the race well organized, and well supported with a extremely welcoming crowd.  After a little pre-race festivities where the RD welcomed new Ultra-Runners into the fold, we all lined up and the gun went off.  The run started at the break of dawn meaning we covered most of the first lap with limited natural lighting.  Going into this race I had run four 24 hour events and felt confident I could log 50+ miles.  Prior to the race I did check out the map and elevations charts...but in reality, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The ATR course in Prince William Forest is winding, rolling and a challenging combination of single track trials, fire roads and hills.  When you weren't running on the well groomed trails, you were challenged by some climbs over rocky passes, tree rooted turns, pounding descents and the ever popular suspension bridge crossing.

(Suspension bridge, which nearly
 bounced you off of it if you ran across it)

Compared to my mostly suburban flat-lander training, this run offered a wonderful afternoon in the woods.  BUT what kicked my butt was the elevation changes...I had worked some hills into my training and I thought my legs were ready, they were not.  They were not ready for the repeated attack of these hills.  Being 6.5 miles in reach my 52 mile goal...I would have to face these monsters eight times.  I knew after lap three, I was in trouble...this course was a grinder.

(oh the hills.... times 7)

To be honest after completing lap three and going out for lap four I was down on energy and mentally confused.  With all the extra miles I had put in, with all the runs in the summer heat and all the hills, why was I already struggling?  Just two weeks prior, I had signed up for the Umstead 100 miler (spring 2014), and at one point I wondered who I was kidding.  This was a very humbling and confusing section.

Then just as the wind turns, after finishing lap four, hitting the fuel stop and power chugging a Diet energy returned and the day was looking a bit better.  This trend continued with each pit stop and slowly I felt I was getting stronger with every lap.  lap 5 went better and Lap 6 I was feeling pretty strong, maybe the best.  Heading out on lap seven and I was running the best I had all day, bonding up the climbs, making fast work over the rocks, zipping over the bridge.........And then.

The clouds opened up!  I no longer worried about finishing, but worried about busting my butt.

My fall goal race is the Niagara Falls Marathon...where I'll be gunning for my first four hour when the rain began I decided lap seven would be my last.  With some of the technical climbs over flat rock, tree roots and step inclines...I did not want to ruin my run to Horse shoe falls.

I was okay with my early departure, the course was risky, we had a long drive home and I had bigger fish to fry.  That was until I got a hold of the final results.  Then I realized I let myself down.    I could have easily made a 8th lap and projecting my time I think I would have been in the top 10 and maybe as high as 4th.  Rats, If I don't get my sub four....

(Sub 4 or bust......)
45.5 miles in 9 hours 48 minutes 32 seconds, 15th out of 59 Male Runners.

Friday, September 20, 2013

12 Hour ATR Plan

Here it is 24 hours before my 12 Adventure Trail Run...and I'm ready.

As the old song goes..."My bags are packed and I'm ready to go....."

My 12 Hour Race Plan is Ready.

Pace:  My goal is to run 52 miles, 8 laps of the 6.5 mile course, in under 10hrs 37mins (my previous best at same distance) with a stretch goal of 10hrs.  To achieve these goals I would need to run a 12:15 and/or 11:32 pace accordingly.  I’m feeling pretty good as I’m in much better shape and 20 pound lighter then when I posted my previous best.  The only unknown is the course and weather conditions.

Course:  As mentioned a 6.5 mile loop in Prince William Forest, Va  I have never run this course but it is advertised as challenging for both the experienced and novice trail runner.

Race Plan:  To keep moving for 12 hours or until I reach my goal, whatever comes first.  At present I plan to run the first 4 laps straight….then Run 80/walk 20 the remaining miles.

Fuel Plan:  The RD is providing a wide range of fuel/food, I’m also providing my own.  I plan to hit a light snack on every loop.  Pudding and applesauce are both easy to consume and have provided a nice kick of energy in past ultra runs.  Also have rice cakes and honey available if I need something more.  I will also dissolve an GU pack in my hand held water bottles.  This mixture ensures I’ll be getting a mixture of Gator-aide and GU thought out the day.  Plus I’ll hit a GU package every middle lap.  I’ll hit up the aid table for some salty treats as needed.  If all is going well Michele will meet me mid-day with a light pizza lunch, this will be eaten on the run/walk.  We are required to carry a water bottle all day by the RD and that fits my plan to a T.

Race Kit:  Long distance shorts, six short sleeve high tech shirts, six pairs of tech socks, four pairs of Nike Air Pegasus shoes and my Dirty Girl Gaiters.  During the opening laps I’ll wear arm sleeves and carry a hand held flash light.  I also have assorted extra items just in case i.e. hat, jacket etc.

Foot care plan:  To help fight off any blister issues I'm going to use body glide on my feet pre-race. I have blister band aides (acts like second skin) on the ready and at the first sign of a hot spot I'll be applying the second skin band aide.

Electronics:  I’ll run all day with my Garmin 201 on my wrist and will have a Droid phone with MapMyRun going to record the first lap.  I plan to video record some sections of the trail with my phone and post to Facebook/Twitter though out the day. 

Mental Plan:  HAVE FUN…be one with the trail, race, fellow racers and in prayer with my LORD and Savior JESUS.  I need 12 Hours with him!

How will you know it's me?  I'll have a cross on my right calf and @cledawgs on the left!  Say Hi!

Nothing to it BUT to do it!  #letsrun

Pictures borrowed from a another Runners blog about the 2011 event.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Top Five

My Top Five Races

In the years since I’ve gotten serious about running races, I’ve learned a ton.  I’ve learned about pacing, fuel strategy, and hydration.  Gone are the days where I just showed up at a race, ran as fast as I could and hoped to survive.  Likewise, I’ve also learned what I like about the “events.”  From the size of the expo, the course layout and the support.  I’ve learned what I like in running/racing events and what I don’t like.

Here’s My Top Five Races:

#1  Virginia’s 24 Hour Run For Cancer, Hampton, Va:  My first Ultra (2007) and this is THE race where I learned the most.  The Race Director is a fellow Ultra-runner and someone who knows personally the cost of cancer.  This race is well organized, well supported and is an Ultra-running event, as much as a race.  Hosted at Sandy Bottom Nature Park, the course is easy and forgiving, but after running this event four times (66 laps) I kind of love and hate this place.  I’ll be running it again this year for a fifth time.

#2  Richmond Marathon, Richmond, Va:  When I first heard of this marathon, (2005) in a Runners World feature on being the friendliest marathon in America, I knew I wanted to run it.  And the fact that every 6 or 7 years it falls on my birthday…this race quickly became a favorite.  I’ve run this event three times, and each time found a good size expo, well organized starting line and plenty of crowd support along the course.  Other than the bridge at mile 17 the course is flat and fast…  I will be running it again, what else is there to do on your birthday?

#3 Monument Ave 10k, Richmond, Va:  40,000 runners running a inter-city 10k.  I’m sure at first glance you’re thinking no way this event could be well organized.  And likewise I’m sure your second thought was no way can you run a PR with that size of a field.  Well I’m here to tell you after running this event in back to back years (2012, 2013)….it is a well coordinated race, with no logistics issues. AND I set a PR both years (2013 = 46:21).  How they get 40,000 people down 6.2 miles without major issues is a mystery to me, but how I set a PR is easy.  With that many people in the race, and a wave start, you always have targets in front you.  I used these to motivate me to run just a little faster.
#4 Run For The Dream Half Marathon, Williamsburg, Va:   With a start in Colonial Williamsburg and a finish on the track at William & Mary college this half is tough.  The course winds thou the historic buildings of Williamsburgh and then ventures out on to the colonial parkway.  Once out on the roadway you’re faced with a number of nice climbs.  The only real draw back for me, the expo is rather small but is offset by wonderful views along the run.  I ran the first two races (2011, 2012) in the three year history of this event.  A downer was that last year they moved the date and I could not make it.

#5  Marine Corp Marathon, Washington D.C:  My first of the Marathon "MAJORS" (2012).  It’s the Marine Corp Marathon, that alone elevates this marathon into my top five.  It’s run in and around of our nation’s capital…firmly making it a favorite.  Crowd support is outstanding with an emotional aspect which includes, tribute miles, support signs and memories of fallen heroes.  All the patriotic highlights along the course have firmly cemented this marathon as one you (I) will never forget.  The expo is out of this world, the start is crowded, the finish is breath taking and our nation’s capital as a backdrop make this a must do race.

And Honorable Mention:  Medoc Mountain Meltdown 50K+

Those are my top five races, Which race is YOUR favorite?    

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

To celebrate Friday the 13th, I thought I would review all My Half Marathons!

06 Feb 2005, Asics Half Marathon, Watford UK:  First Half, wanted to finish under 2 hrs, came home at 1h 55m 01s

13 Mar 2005, Flora Adidas London Half Marathon, Silverstone race track, UK:  A flat fast course, went out to fast and paid for it, finished at 1h 50m 28s

30 May 2005, Brandon Forest Half Marathon, Brandon UK:  Surprised/shocked that at mile four I was thinking of DNF...pressed on, fought my way home at 1h 49m 53s

17 Mar 2007, Shamrock Half Marathon, Virginia Beach, VA:  After a lazy ‘06  my first goal was getting back to distance running, finished in 1h 51m 51s

14 Apr 2007, Dismal Swamp Half Marathon, Chesapeake, VA:  Some times you just know it’s going to be your day, never figured a PB at 1h 44m 11s

2 Nov 2007, USAF Al-Udied Half Marathon, Al Udied Air Base, Qatar: Ran with 3 hrs sleep, it was painful, but finished in 2h 10m

14 Feb 2009, BI-LO Half Marathon, Myrtle Beach, SC:  Great Valentines weekend w/Michele and friends Kendra & Jeff, I finished in 1h 56m 7s

22 May 2011,  Run for the Dream Half Marathon, Williamsburg, VA:  I ran in the inaugural "Run For The Dream Half Marathon" to support Susan in her first Half, we finished in 2h 23m 

11 June 2011, XTERRA Half Marathon, Richmond, VA:  An opportunity to experience “legendary” root slipping, mud hopping, tree ducking, river crossing, hill climbing, dirt on your shirt/shoes and sweat in your eye trail run, finished in 2h 28m 09s

 20 May 2012, Run for the Dream Half Marathon, Williamsburg, VA: Needing a race and a 20 mile run…2 friends and I ran 7 miles before this event then seamlessly ran the race, I finished in 1h 57m 58s

8 Oct 2012, Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, Hampton VA:
Week 10 on the road to MCM I needed a 20 mile run…a friend and I ran 7 miles before this event then seamlessly ran the race, finished in 1h 59m 15s

Do you plan to on run 13.1 on Friday the 13th?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sept 11 2001

Sept 11 2001

What were you doing?

My family and I were at my mother’s house that morning, in the middle of a military permanent change of station to RAF Mildenhall, England.  I was just returning from a one year remote tour to Thule, Greenland.  My next assignment was with the 352 Special Operation Group, USAF.  My wife, also active duty USAF was also moving to England and we were just ending 30 days of leave visiting family.  Up and getting breakfast, I sat down to watch the news, they reported some type of explosion in the first tower.  I remember watching the news report and the “live” scene as the second aircraft flew behind and hit the second tower, I told my wife and mother… “this is going to be big.”  Then explaining to my son and daughter that some people hate our way of life so much that they wish to harm our country.

I reported to the SOG on Sept 24th and began the best 4 years of my career!

Father GOD, Please glide our country back to you.  Let your will be done and Bless the USA!

What were you doing on Sept 11 2001?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Picking A Race

How Do You Go About Selecting A Race?

Picking a race to run can be a big deal.  A lot of training miles are invested in one day.  A lot of money can be spent on travel and registration expense.  Selecting a race can be a major decision point.   

Do you enter a race based on the distance, part of a training cycle?  Do you sign up for a race based on the destination, a getaway with the family.  Do you register for a race based on performance, are you attempting a BQ bid?  Or do you decide to run a race with nothing in mind other then a good time, the bling/swag, the party and the fun?

So how do I pick a race?

Mostly on distance.  I pick most of my races based on the distance I need as part of my Marathon/Ultra training plan.  I normally target a few select races during the year, then the rest of my racing is based around races that will support these races.  The trend lately has seen most of my races being Half Marathons and longer.  Looking back at 2013 and I've only raced twice at distances shorter then a half (10k and 14K).

On Location:  I'm not an Elite, not independently wealthy and not sponsored by a national shoe company.  Selecting a race and associated travel costs and vacation days I would need to blow are a major factor for me.  Most of my races are local events, but a few I run in combination with long weekends or already planned family vacations.  Reviewing my race travels for last year I ran, nine races within the 757 area code and four in combination with a night out of town.

On performance:  This year my eyes are squarely on running a sub-four hour marathon.  I selected both Cleveland (failed attempt) and Niagara Falls (up-coming) with the hopes of providing a flat and fast track.  I have yet to avoid a run based on the performance.  I've gone into a few races knowing it was going to be a slow tough event for me.  In 2013 I ran both easy races and one (Medoc Mountain Meltdown) that I knew would kick my butt.

With my eyes on the bling/swag:  Yes I'm a sucker for the big and shinny  And I love the free goodies and event shirts.  But in reality I do not pay much attention to the bling or event goodies when I select a race.  I love finding out what the medal looks like (after) and I like a lot of chrome and shinny stuff, but I do not select a race based solely on the bling/swag.  The swag at the expo and the finishing bling is a bonus.

Saying all that, I Just signed up for the 20th Annual Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run!


So how do you select your races?

No matter how you do it, get out there and run, race and do your best!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Motivation, what keeps you going?

Running 100, 150 or 200+ miles a month, the amount of miles it takes to run a Marathon or race a Ultra takes more than just the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes I think running is the easy part, once I get moving the run comes natural.  What I fight, what I have to overcome is the mental motivation or lack of motivation to get out the front door.  What gives me a kick in the butt is knowing I have a race upcoming or that I’ve committed to a new goal distance.  

What motivates you?

Are you motivated by racing?

My training is more focused and it is easier for me to get out the door on a much more consistent basis when I know there is a race date on the calendar.  As much as I enjoy running long distances, it is hard to head out the door without a goal.  A 20 miler is hard enough, but the degree of difficulty only goes up if the run is just a maintenance run and not focused on an upcoming marathon.  When I have a marathon or ultra-race on the calendar, and I’ve committed to the race…I feel much more compelled to “train” during my long run and not just slog my way thru it.    

Or are you motivated by reaching distance or overall mileage goals?

Racing does not do it for you?  Try reaching for a new distance goal.  When I’ve committed publicly, when others know that I’m reaching for a new monthly, yearly or distance goal.  Or when I want to extend my long run further then I've ever run before…my training is much easier to get into.  Running with a focus of a new goal, a non-racing goal then the long run becomes an important step in reaching my goal.   Posting my runs to my running log keeps me focused on the big picture.  The immediate feedback of missing a run is perfect feedback to keep me going out the door.

If you feel unmotivated during your next long run, sign up for a marathon, commit to an Ultra, and you'll notice that your running gets much more focused.