Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pony Express 100

Yes, I still run and yes those are my super freaking old feet..

One more time:
I am not crazy. No, i really don't enjoy pain. However, one more time this old body is heading out to try and complete all 100 miles of the Pony Express Ultra. Why? Easy, i enjoy trying to do what appears difficult and tough because the reward for success is shit loads of joy.

This is my fourth try at the 100 mile mark for this race. The last three i always made it 50 miles or more with each year getting worse. This will be Ultra 21 with Ultra 19 being a total near death experience with tons of pain and super big doctor bills.

So, if the numbers are right i have completed 18 50 mile races, 2 12 hour races and one 44 mile run with death at my door step. Also, since starting the madness of running long distances I have now completed about 14,000 plus training miles.

What does this all mean? I enjoy running long distances. I feel so humble, so peaceful and so silent at the end of a long training run and those training runs need a final.. a closing moment so i try to get in as many races as money will allow. While most people are in the air conditioned mall I am out running 18 miles like it is a walk in the park, seeing bears and scaring the hell out of the parkway tourist. (near naked 54 year old men are really freaking ugly)

Some Health History:
During my 3rd running of the Freedom Park 24 hour New Years eve race my kidneys failed. They failed around mile 30 or so but I did not stop until mile 44. Given I kept pushing the end result was a core body temp of 92 deg. and blood pressure around 70/30. The best part was when the fire dept. rescue folks picked up my frozen body and put me on a stretcher.. I felt like my body had been crushed alive and the pain was super super intense.

My Kidney Doctor has been fantastic and expensive. His understanding of the human body is amazing. I learned a bunch about what happen and how to prevent it in the future. Most important I learned that my consumption of protein was way to freaking low for what I was doing to my old body.

End result of all this knowledge is super freaking strong legs for a man my age and low body weight. I consume around 80g of protein on training days all veg .. no animal protein. Best part is i weight about the same as last year but with only 12 percent body fat.

I also learned that those Mormons are right. Caffeine is really bad for you. I have gone without Coffee since the 2nd of January of this year. Talk about freaking total hell. I miss my coffee so bad.. But the body runs so much better.. and i have learned why.

I train on the shut-in trail. I start at the French Broad River or mile marker 395 and run all the way to the fire road 5,000. This gives me a super tough run of 18 miles. The run is almost all up hill and some downhill both ways. Nothing easy about this trail. I have never trained so hard for any race.

Right now my physical condition is intense. The Kidney Doctor is amazed at my body’s ability to grow muscle and be so healthy.. but i always remind him that he lives in a state that celebrates body fat as a holiday. I just happen to be different. Very different.

Closing thoughts:
I will do much better than in the past. First reason is the shoes. I love my NB101s. They rock. Second I have much stronger legs and lungs then in the past.

However, my lungs still have trouble with dry dusty air. This race is about dry dusty air. The key in beating this problem is get into super freaking amazing shape. That simple.

Thanks to all those in the medical industry who helped me in January. To Davy Crockett who never seems to give up on me.. and to my soul for always wanting to do the impossible..


ps: if you desire to learn more about what i learned about my kidneys and ultra running feel free to contact me. However, this link found on the ultra-running mag. website says it all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Steps to get ready for the Freedom Park 24 hour
Insane cold Ultra on December 31st, 2010

Food Consumption

My foot doctor, Dr. Dan Waldman tells me that the reason a cream he subscribes works so well is because i eat right and take care of my body. I agree. Ok. Lets cut out the crap. I am 53 almost 54. The body is getting old and old fast. The good news is I can't remember all the stuff I am mad at myself about and the bad news is muscles just don't want to grow or develop very fast or at all.

On top of all of those things one must face the challenges of recovery and repair. Given my age the entire recovery process is ten times more sensitive and complex then if I was 30 years old.

Now given these two things I thought I would share a few pieces of diet and information that may help others do what I am doing; running 70 plus miles a week and working out super hard at the local gym.

This topic is important. Nothing is more important for my age. If I can't recovery fast the entire training schedule becomes a joke and i find myself sitting in a chair rocking away my life.

  • Hammer Gels during runs
  • 128oz at least of fluids during training days
  • Heed or Scaps for electrolyte replacement
  • Large amounts of mineral vitamin and normal amounts of normal vitamins
  • Fruits in drink format, large amounts of fruits daily
  • Plenty of rest
  • Protein at least 80grams

Diet & Training

  • Large coffee and something with carbs and small amounts of sugar (scone)
  • Gels during the run. i take about 2 Gels per hour of running if I am doing tons of hills
  • 64grams of protein drink
  • 32oz of Berry Boost
  • 1/2 of a roasted chicken (dog gets the other half.. amazing small dog eats more chicken then i do.
  • 4 to 6 Bananas per day
  • (on bad days when my soul is evil I have three plan cheese burgers at Wendys.. oh shit!)

  • Minerals, tons and tons of Minerals
  • 6 X normal Vitamin intake of normal vitamins including B group and some Fish Oil
  • Infoflex. My ankles would feel like pain. Miracle drug almost as good as beer.
  • NO. But not all the time only when I want to run 30 miles. It does not do much

Rush Club
Running in Bent Creek

Right now the goal is to run about 15 miles 4 days a week and one 30 plus mile run on the weekends. Work sometimes takes up the weekend so I find myself doing other forms of training to at least make my legs sore and feel like crap by the end of the day.

During the runs if I am taking my Gels I can do 15 miles in about 2:15.. or if I do a 13 mile run I finish in 1:45 to 1:55.. depending on my soul.. The run has tons of hills.. and then down hills.. then some flat sections. I hate flat sections the soul starts thinking of evil things.. so I would rather focus on climbing the hill or not falling on my face running down hill then run on flat trails or roads.

Speed going both up hill and down hill is the point. I have a problem running fast on flat trails.. my body hates flat trails. This is a problem given my next race is freaking flat going around in a circle.. Drugs anyone?

Rush Gym:
So you thought the running was enough training? Wrong. I try to make it to the boring gym at least 3 to 4 times a week. The gym is total hell. I ride a cool bike for about 10 to 20 miles depending on how close I want to take my soul and brain into hell. The other intense training devices is the stair master. Talk about evil. This beast allows me to do 110 floors at 125 steps a minute or until I start to fall off the pile of torture. While on it i wonder if Dick Cheney used this device to torture folks.

I also try to get in some light upper body work to keep my muscles in good shape. Given my age this is a battle going down hill fast. The entire gym process is tough and takes about 2 hours. The longer the better I feel when it is over and the better i feel through out the day.

Closing Thoughts

The real key to all of this is good solid diet along with training and tons of training and good sleep at night. If you enjoy the party life well you are screwed because this will not work. However, if you are old and want to keep your sex life, energy and strong body then this is the way to go.

Freedom Park 24 hour Ultra is going to be a test piece for me. It will test my diet and overall mental energy. I will be adding a few things that I am not talking about in this blog like Vespa and VO2 Max products.. along with the energy product from Hammer.. and one other super secret weapon.. that must be secret less other old people planning on beating me read this far into the blog.. oh no


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pony Express 2010

The Pony Express Trail Ultra 100
Sunrise East of Faust Utah on Pony Express Trail.

On June the 15th my left foot started a long journey down hill. Not until the 15th of August did my left foot return to normal. On the 16th I posted a good 8 mile run. By the end of the week i was running my normal 15 miles a day with some good split times. By the 15th of September my total miles for the month hit 400.

I am telling you this because at some point during the summer i feared there was no way I would be able to run in the Pony Express 100. This race means a lot to me, one because it is in my birth place and two because of the friends and relationships I have created due to doing something crazy in the middle of the Utah Desert.

This year was a challenge not because of physical conditioning but because of super hot temps for hours during some of the toughest sections of the trail. However, from the start point to Simpson Springs I ran 45 minutes faster then the year before. I also completed 20 miles in less then 4 hours and reach Dugway Pass 30 minutes faster then last years split.

However, around mile 42 (Geo Beds) the lungs started to fail on me. By mile 50 just like last year i was having trouble breathing. At mile 53 most of my lungs came back up on me.. and if I laid down I could not breath. The sad news is I spent days out in the desert getting ready for the altitude and dry weather. However, despite drinking 7 gallons of water before the race the lungs just wanted to go home.

I love this race. I will run it again but only 50 miles. I will run it faster and if luck is on my side I will have a solution to my lung problems so the race does not push my body so close to the brink of failure. The photo below shows me right after making it over Dugway Pass. The photo tells the story.
I am driven but at some point the body will fail. Mile 40 after
going over Dugway Pass. Lungs have started to fill up with fluids.

5am vs. 7am

Back in September it was decided that I should start with the 5am group. I am 53 and the old bones are getting old. I was very excited about the early morning start because it would give me hours out of the sun and allow me to reach the 50 mile mark way before the sun went down.

However, Davy felt my skill level was strong enough for the 7am group. It was an honor to be a part of this group and I stayed right on their heals for many miles. I enjoy getting to know folks who have the ability, use this ability and then perform.

At mile 53 after throwing up my lungs. I was in hell.

Details of the race

Several days before the race Hudson spent some time teaching me Yoga. He was impressed with my flexibility and the Yoga really helped me shoot out the gate at a very good clip. My biggest challenge to doing well was tons of hydration without much loss of time. The first part of this goal was great. I hydrated to the point of peeing at least 4 times during the race. The second part of the goal was a failure. I lost over an hour to stops in order to hydrate. There is a plan for next year that will help reduce this to 10 minutes but that is next year.

The first 8 miles show strong 9 min mile pace. I was keeping up with everyone and feeling ok except for my right leg. For some reason it was stiff and cramping. Scaps started to fix the problem along with some tender loving care. By mile 20 the right leg was doing well and no longer a factor in my running.

I was very excited with my split time at Simpson Springs. This 17 mile stretch is a good example of a normal training distance. To be able to run this fast in the middle of freaking hell and feel very strong gave me a ton of energy. By mile 20 I was cooking doing below 10 min. mile pace and feeling no issues.

At 53 I am one tough cookie. Notice the salt on my arms.

Notice the salt on my shorts. Shot at mile 53. Hudson took
this picture. I will always be in debt to this man for his effort and support.

This photo was taken looking back over the area i had already run.
If you have not run an ultra before this section is total hell.

The River Beds

The next stretch to the course is through what i call the valley of hell. For first time ultra runners this is a tough mind bending section. For myself this is an easy section except for the sun working its butt off to eat you alive. Given this is my 17th 50 plus mile race i have total control of my mind through sections like this.

As I approached the Dugway Pass the right foot started to cause some issues. I had replaced my first pair of shoes for another pair. However, the right foot did not like this at all. So, i put the old right shoe back on but did not change my left shoe. This lasted all the way to the end of my race with no issues. I also wore a sock on both feet when i started but by mile 8 i had to remove the right sock due to cramp issues. I did not wear a sock on the right shoe through out the rest of the race and had only a couple of blisters on my foot.

Valley of Hell with Dust every where.

The biggest challenge to this race is heat and dust. The dust adds to my lung problems. I live in Asheville North Carolina and all of my runs are in nice moist areas. I never see any dust. This year i wore something over my face when ever a car drove by but it did very little to help reduce the amount of dust that entered my lungs.

Davy Crockett's Hammer Control Center near Look Out Pass

After Dugway Pass

The big challenge to getting over Dugway pass is running down hill. I hate running down hill. My legs feel like crap after a few miles of this. By mile 44 i was a hurting camper. I wanted to quit and was very depressed with my times. I lost so much time to hydration that my numbers at this point in the game looked like last year. How could this be given I had run almost the entire distance with little or no walking? Easy, now that i look back on it at mile 42 I had spent over 1 hour and 10 min. drinking water while not moving.


Around mile 45 i noticed someone coming up on me. Wow there really is someone behind me. I am excited. The person turned out to be Cliff from Salt Lake and Atlanta. We talked, moved fast and gathered some energy from each other. It was a super pleasure to run into someone doing their first Ultra. I hope to see him next year and maybe at the Freedom Park freeze your body off 24 hour race.

150th Birthday Party Sign

Last 13 miles

At mile 42 i noticed the lungs filling up with fluid. I was screwed. My goal was to run as far as I could without getting into trouble or causing Hudson some challenges. I am very proud of myself for choosing to play it safe and not create the same insanity as last year. On mile 53 i started to cough and before I know it.. my lungs are coming up.. If you have not experienced this might i suggest you do all you can to not experience the fluids of your lungs coming back up..

I picked myself up. I was out in the middle of the dark. Hudson was about 1 mile ahead. When he noticed i was falling behind he ran up and helped me move forward. Hudson was a champ. He worked his butt of to help me do well and I will always be in debt for his efforts.

I made the call to quit at this point due to medical reason. No reason in hell to push to the point of death. That is stupid. I was excited to know that my feet did well and at this point (4 days later) i am fully recovered and ready to start a training program for my next race.

Creature and I at the 5 Mile BLM Park

Closing thoughts:

I am a very lucky and blessed man. I am 53 and still have a body that can take one hell of beating, get up and move on. The return trips through the airports or the working on the first day all make the experience a challenge but in the end i love every minute. I am very proud of my effort given I spent so much time in the gym given the left foot was broken. Yesterday I visited my foot doctor. He took an x-ray and counted my 11 stress fractures. He is very impressed with the ability of the body to repair and move on.; so am i..

Freedom park here I come. I am excited for this race. My body is doing really well and there is no doubt I will shine. As for next year on the pony express.. well there is no doubt i will return.. but only to do 50 miles.. I will be 54 and it is time to accept reality.

What would i change?

Not much. The hydration plan needs to take up much less time. I plan on training with a pony bottle for next year. The number of Hammer gels worked perfect. I never have stomach issues with Hammer gels. At each water stop i took a gel and two scaps. The scaps reduce cramps but do nothing for the pain in my quads. If there is one thing I want to change is the amount of pain in the quads. This is a training issue and I will resolve this problem before the next race.

I will also be looking for someone to help out Hudson. His job is tough and he needs to have someone there to help push me, push me and then push me some more. I have a weak mind for these sorts of things. My brain is rather logical. Hey, this is way too much.. so it wants to rest.. and I don't blame it.

Remember, this is my vacation.. and most people my age.. are on some beach somewhere soaking up the sun.. while drinking a cold one.. no not me.. i am out trying to rip my soul out of my body.. by running in the middle of a super dry desert..

more training, fix the quads.. see a doctor about the lungs.. and just keep trying..
Five Mile Pass outside Faust Utah.

Yes to living life. Anything else is failure. Failure is to do nothing.. to give nothing.. and to never try. God is always proud of those who try.. try..and try again.. anything else is just a waste of time..

so i try.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23rd, 2010

Regional President of the
Old Farts Ultra Running Club!

I do not support the Tea Party Only Green Tea Parties!

Old and Ugly but not slow. My self pic after running a 13.3 mile run with 6,000 vfg & loss in under 1:47. I am pleased. Not bad for an old ugly man.

Just few weeks ago

Only a few weeks ago my left foot was a mess. Nothing worked. It hurt all the time and never seemed to heal. The foot doctor treated me like i was crazy for even trying.

Today I am happy to report that four weeks later my left foot is happy and has now run over 400 miles.

It is true that I am still ugly as all hell but the left foot is perfect and the right foot is happy.

The training schedule until race day:
At this point in the game i am going to push the body as hard as it will go. Nothing is going to stop me from pushing. Distance is important but not as important as lung max and hard running miles. I want speed with distance other wise what is the point. So far I am doing 15 mile runs in 8:14 min. miles which is good given i am old as dirt. (well.. maybe not all dirt just some dirt)

This saturday the goal is a day of running all freaking day. I plan on doing a loop on the shut-in trail that gives me 10 miles per loop. This will give me plenty of fluid stops as well as a few rest stops with the dog. If all goes well I should have the 40 plus miles completed in 8 hours or less.

I leave for my race on the 9th out of Ktown. My last stop will be with my super tight bro, brian who gives and gives and never stops giving. Once in Utah I plan on sleeping high for at least 2 days. This will give me an extra boost of blood so that my body is more able to adapt to the altitude on the trail.

Hudson is my hero once again. He will be support and the poor guy who must put up with me. I plan on bringing my creature of God who provides tons of love and companionship as well as being a pain in the butt half of the time.

The body is ready. The mind is ready and I am ready. The key is having fun and knowing that due to age this may be my last shot at 100 miles.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 2010 Report 1

Pony Express Update:

"Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations ofsocietal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves"

I found the above when i did a search on Google. Yes, it does seem that those of us we run these long races are crazy and yes it is true that near the end of our ability we have reached the point of Madness! My foot doctor has assured me that I am crazy. "The pain you feel in your feet is due to pounding the hell out of them for hours. There is nothing i can do except tie you to this chair to help reduce the pain".

Training over view:
When I returned from my long run today the first "Facebook" post I noticed was from Davy Crockett. He had just finished some insane training run of super long distance. I was at first very proud of my 18 mile run.. but my 18 miles was nothing compared to his run of 59 miles. No wonders this guy wins the races and I just manage to stay alive. Yes, I said alive.

The numbers look very good. I am doing about 70 to 75 miles per week with an average of 8.2 min miles for 18 or so mile runs. The body punishes me when I eat or drink anything with sugar the night before the run. I did that last night and felt tons of pain in my legs. However, I just continued to push no matter the pain until the end of the trail.

I am not doing anything close to last year. As a matter of fact I am not even close but who cares. Last year I was in perfect shape up to a week before the run then I managed to get super sick. The body was in top condition so even with the sickness I kicked butt but.. nothing like i should have.

Finish 100 miles:
Yes, I will make it all 100 miles. Two big reasons, better hydration plan and the fact that the turn around point is at mile 58. This will push me past the wall that seemed to stop me every time. I hope to pass mile 50 under 11 hours and then do my best until the finish. The key is not thinking it is late because it is dark. I keep getting tricked on this one. The month of October is the first month when dark falls fast.. and if you are not told the time.. your brain could get tricked.

First, Tony is an amazing runner. His dedication blows me away. His life and how he presents himself also blows me away. I was glued to my computer during Western States and have tons of respect for this man. Tony managed to Bonk at Leadville ( He gave up around mile 81.

Last year i also gave up on the Pony Express. I too had bonk issues. My brain fell apart. However, 2 hours later my brain was in top condition again. I found myself under one of the support drivers cars fixing his engine in the middle of no where trying to fix his car problem. Amazing and a good learning point. If I can crawl under a car.. i can keep running.

This year I will rest if my brain fails.. if my body fails.. then start up again.. That will really help.. To Tony that would not make logic.. because he is a champion.. i am just some crazy old man running like hell.

Running 100 miles is never easy. Running 100 miles at 53 is nearly impossible. I plan on doing the impossible. I can see the end.

Man, this photo blows me away.. make me want to cry.. and helps me to know.. that pain is just down the road.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August Report (Old Fart Ultra Runner)

Yesterday during my run i noticed leaves falling to the ground and several egg corns (sp) all over. The sounds in the forest are different. There is more silence. Winter is coming and everything knows it except the humans at the mall.

I figure given global warming fall will be about 3 days long. But i am wrong far more then I am ever right.

During the first week of June I won a 12 hour race, mens division all ages.

Below is a picture of the race course!

This gave me tons of emotional energy even though I knew without a doubt that no one in my race fitness level was present during the day race. Dave was present at the night race and did 60 miles. Dave told me during the award ceremony that a race together during the day next year is a good possibility. I look forward to this race (fingers crossed)

I waited 7 days before running again. Then i walked an entire day in my new NB-876 11-2e shoes. The next day i had Plantar Fascities ( After waiting 3 weeks I went to a doctor, got a shot and was nearly as good as gold 2 or 3 days later or so it seemed.

After 3 pain free days I headed back out to the trail. Within 7 days I managed to sprain my left ankle due to super piss poor form and not listening to my left foot.

So i waited another week or so. I went running on short runs around the unca track. One day I decided to run really fast on the last lap. Heck why not. Well the end result was a stress fracture on the left foot. Wonderful.

So here we are in late August feeling pretty good. My left foot only hurts after I run. I am running 13 miles a day and have for two weeks or so. Yes i am very excited.

During my down time this summer I spent most of my time training on a bike in the gym. I also did a small about of weights and treadmill. I hate gyms and super hate gyms during the summer.

Very old painful feet that seem to make running tough.

Pony Express:

The Pony Express 100 is only 6 or so weeks away. Am i screwed? Well the body is coming back fast. The feet are ok just hurt like hell for an hour or so after I run but the split times are getting stronger and soon i expect to be at my old average of 8:20 mm for 15 mile runs. Yes I wish like hell it was June but it isn't so i will do my best.

Hudson my super hero will be my support again. He expects to have to kick me and push me. I expect to run all 100 miles just not too fast but one never knows. I also expect to drink 10 times more fluids this year. I am serious. Yes, I have a plan.. same plan that worked in June at the last race.

Hudson doing what Hudson does, snow board!

For now I am just very happy that the left foot is coming along well. Miles so far in August 150. Expected miles in September around 400. I will rest from the 5th of October to the race day.. with only a few short runs in between. I look forward to helping Davy with race setup and being part of a great race.

The race foods:
  • Gels
  • Ensure
  • Super cold Gatorade with electro coconut water.
  • maybe a few other things
  • beans and cheese (the beans are for old farts)
  • coffee
  • figs
Current training diet:
  • 128 oz of liquid or more
  • 1 entire roasted chicken
  • 1 block of sharp cheese
  • 1 32 oz berry bolthouse smoothie
  • coffee 2 a day
  • N.O. by AMP
  • Multi Vitamins and some stuff for my old joints
  • 4 Bananas
  • 4 rolls
  • 2 packages of licorice
  • 1 wheat beer once a week
  • Amino Acids

that is it folks..

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26th, 2010

This is one of the trail head signs along the Blue Ridge Parkway
that marks the Shut-In-Trail. Most folks call it the Mountain to Sea
Trail. I try to run this trail as often as my feet will allow.

A small mushroom on the 479m Fire Road about 1500 feet
above the 491 parking area in Bent Creek Forest

Some leaves after a summer rain near
the 479m fire road in Bent Creek Forest

Shut In Trail sign taken in the Sleepy Gap Parking lot of
the Blue Ridge National Parkway

Mountain to Sea Trail.

Where I Train:
The pictures above shows the beauty of the shut-in-trail/Mountain to Sea trail. I reach this trail from the 491 parking area and sometimes directly from the Blue Ridge Parkway road. The biggest challenge I face on this trail is my ankles. The trail is covered with rocks and tree roots. I find half of my body at least 4 inches higher then the other half making wear and tear on the feet a big issue.

Most of my runs are on the fire roads around the trail because of the reduced impact on my feet. However, the beauty of the trail including the chance to run into wild life makes is very tempting.

Training in the future:
Today I returned to the UNCA track. The idea is to help me get rid of some fat and run in the super wet heat. I did 7 miles today with the goal of reaching 10 miles by mid week. The left foot is still not perfect but moving along. The run was amazing because I lost so much water and then drank so much water. I managed to drink an entire gallon of fluids during the 7 miles of running. Ok, i am not a doctor but that is rather cool and just shows how the body can work when all is right.

I hope to run at least 10 to 15 miles per day on the track and head to the mountains twice a week for a break. The track should help with my speed and over all running style. The track helps me stay focused on the quality of my running while working on my splits. The trail is great for the mind and long distances but given the very limited water supply these days the trail can cause injury and prevent the body from pushing to the full limit of its ability.

Body's condition:
After the last race in June (first week of June) I managed to hurt my left foot by getting Plantar Fasciitis. It took an entire month of no running before i was able to run again. However, I spent a ton of time in the gym riding bikes. I am now over 1,000 miles on the bike for the year. The bike however does nothing for weight or overall fitness. Running seems to be the only thing that kills fat and helps the body reach its peak.. at least for me.

Since the 15th of July I have logged about 110 miles of running and should see some very strong numbers for August. My left ankle is not perfect which is the reason I am running the track. The left ankle and Plantar issues all come down to one thing.. poor running style.. which I hope the track running will correct.

Today in hot sun running on track i did 7 miles with an average of 9:45 min miles. Not too good but great given the left foot is about 60 percent whole.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Black Mountain Monster 12/24 Ultra

Black Mountain Monster Race Course and my Number 12 all beat up and super wet racing shorts.

I knew something was up when around mile 35 folks would clap and cheer me on when I entered the main section of the 3 mile loop. Also, around mile 38 the race director came up to me while i was getting supplies at my aid station and took my picture along with my setup.

Something was up. I was the leader in the Mens Division.

Yes, it is a miracle and yes it was a tough race. My time was 11:41:00 for 52 miles. Given the last lap is not counted unless completed by 12 hours I stopped at this point. I finished first place mens division and 3rd place overall. Crazy.

The rest of the Story:
My first plan for the weekend was to run 50 miles in Morganton around the track park loop. Sure it was a race but not a real race and the only person in the race was me and my crazy mind. On Friday I stopped by FooT RX to pick up some gels when Robert the manager told me about the Black Mountain Race. I called the race director and paid my cash and entered the race only a few hours before cut off.

Plan of attack:
When I arrived i knew the weather was going to be hot maybe as hot as 90+ with 90% humidity. Not great weather to run an ultra race in no matter what kind of conditions. Given I now have a dog the mornings are taken up walking the dog. This means all of my training runs start a bit after 10:00 am and last until about 1:30 or 2Pm in the afternoon. My body was ready for the heat and dripping from every cell. I mean every cell.

The course was a 3 mile loop (100meters short) with some small elevation gain and some short down hill sections. At the back mid point was some cold water and other fluids which would end up playing an important role in my hydration needs.

I also knew the course was going to be super fast given most of the runners had shown up to run the relay part of the ultra. The first lap was fast. I ran the 3 miles in 24 minutes which is moving. The goal during the first lap was to figure out where all the walk places would be later in the race and figure out water and gel needs.

Around mile 10 I was moving at a 9min mile pace and feeling very strong however consuming super cold liquids (mid race point and main aid station). My 10 min time was around 1:30 which is very strong for frank.

At first I started to take 1 scap at the main aid station but this soon became two at the main aid station and one at the mid point station. The end result was no cramps throughout the race. I also consumed about 3 cups of liquid at the main aid station and 4 cups at the mid point aid station.

Along with the fluids and scaps I consumed Hammer gels. If my numbers are right I consumed about 18 to 20 gels throughout the race a rather high number for me. However, nothing else worked with the body. When I tried to eat anything my body rejected it asap.

Even though I drank tons of fluids my recycle of the fluids was super fast and the scaps did not generate any issues.

The weather caused my body to drain water super fast and it was not until mile 50 that i took my first pee.

The race started out super fast. Tons of people would pass me. However, as the day moved on i found the entire course to myself. Around mile 30 which was mid afternoon no one was at the mid-point aid station. No one. I had the course to myself. It turns out that the heat was eating folks alive and many who had passed me had now quit the race.

Race overall:
When i showed up and walked the field of tents I started to get a gut feeling that I was going to do very well. However, I had no idea. Some of the folks who did well in the start gave up by mid race. Near the end a couple of runners tried to put some extra energy into the race. These guys added to my motivation to run faster and stronger.

Around mile 42 I stopped by the main race desk and ask for my position. I was told it appears you are in first and 5th overall. Amazing. I never figured this could be true but it was true. This information added to my overall motivation and energy in a way I never dreamed possible. The last three miles in the dark turned out to be as fast as the first three miles.

I have trained hard for this miracle. I have no idea if other miracles might be around the corner but in the end.. all i can do is keep pushing and learning until the next race.

I have been training this year very different then last year. I put in far less miles, almost half as many and spend at least 60 miles a week on a bike. The bike riding is adding to my overall endurance while the running keeps the lungs strong and running muscles ready for action.

I have also added gels to my training with no water stops during most training runs. The lack of water stops I think helped me get through this race.

Supplies used or consumed during the race:
  • 2 Gallons of Water
  • 1 Gallon of Gatorade
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 18 Hammer gels
  • 29 scaps
  • 3 daily vitamins
  • 6 fig bars
  • 1/2 a cup of rice
  • Sock for my left foot
  • 876 New Balance Shoe, a great shoe by the way.
Post Race recovery:
I feel very strong however, the right foot hurts near stress fracture points. The pain in the right foot did not show up until today while walking the dog. The left foot has a super large blister and two of the toe nails on the right foot are falling off fast.

I expect to be in the gym on Monday and doing some minor bike riding byTuesday.

Next race, heck if i know.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 21st, 2010 Update

May 21st, 2010 Update:

Map of Bent Creek (red dots is the 22.8 mile course)
I have 8 different courses that i run with 12 miles being the smallest and 36 miles being the longest.

Bent Creek also gives me the chance to take trail 5000 all the way down to Mill Creek and up to the parkway. This is a very tough run given the long down hill and then return trip of going up hill with no water supply along the way.

The course I ran today, 22.8 miles, is a good run. I used to mix some single track from the Shut-In trail but given the ankles no longer like single track i have removed all the single track except a small part near the start of the trail.

The goal this year is to try and get speed in before distance. If all goes well I hope to do 17 or 22 or there abouts on Sunday in an effort to push the week over 70 miles. However, if i notice that the weather is bad or i am starting late then i may just do 14 miles with speed being a key goal.

The new New Balance 876 shoe is working out ok. It is not as good as the 875.. but it is much lighter. The big challenge with shoes is moisture. I figure the weight of my shoes doubled after the run due to all the moisture from my body running into the shoes.

I spent the first few hours after the run today cutting the lawn and taking the dog for a walk. Now late at night i am eating pasta and getting ready for some sleep ..


Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9th, 2010 Update

When the year started my right foot was a mess and the gluts did not work at all. The Morganton 24 hour race had done me in as far as running was concerned so this is what I decided to do instead.

  • January rode 300 miles on a bike
  • Feb. rode 300 miles on a bike
  • Worked out hard in the gym both months
  • March, started to run just a little maybe 30 mile weeks
  • Most important, worked on the gluts.. and it has paid off
By April my body was just starting to come out of the most insane winter ever. The legs did super well after the long winter of bike riding but my lungs had no real capacity.

The last week of April i managed to get above 55 miles for the week and the numbers started to look good. Today it is the 9th of May and my splits are amazing. I am running at least 30 percent faster then last year at this time.

Courses for the year
Bentcreek Forest

Course #1: (12 mile run-fire roads and some single track)
The personal best on this run is 1:53:50. This run is from the 491 parking area up sleepy gap and then all the way to the last gate of the 479m trail and then down 479 main road all the way back to the parking area.

Course #2 (14 mile run-fire roads and some single track)
The personal best on this run is 1:58:00. This run also starts at the 491 parking area but instead of going up sleepy gap it works its way up the hard times trail all the way to the start of the 479m trail. I then take 479m all the way to the last gate which connects me to the main road of 479. I then run all the way down 479 to the parking area. This is a good hill climber.. and good down hill run.

Course #3 (15 mile run-single track some fire roads)
The personal best on this run has not been established yet this year.
This run is on the Mountain -Sea trail walked on by the President and the First Lady a few weeks ago. I start at the 491 parking area and run up hard times to the 479M fire road. I then run all the way to the mid point of sleepy gap then up to the parkway connecting me to the trail. I then take the single track (amazing single track) all the way to the parking area of the arboretum and then back up the main highway to the 491 parking area. I love this run but the feet do not like it.. so i do it once in a while.

Course #4 (22.5 mile run on fire road only)
The personal best so far is 3:01:55. I enjoy this run because there is plenty of water. I start at the 491 parking area through hard times up to the 479m trailhead. I then take 479m all the way to the final gate then given insanity I then turn around and return to the start point of the 479m gate. I then re-join the hard times trail and run all the way past the arboretum parking area down to the road and back up to the 491 parking area.

Daily Diet
  • Chicken Roasted (one entire chicken)
  • Yogurt (48oz a day)
  • Strawberries (2 pounds a day)
  • 2 cups of coffee and a scone
  • 3 plain cheese burgers.. nothing but bun and meet
  • 5 bananas
  • 2 quarts of ben and jerries ice cream a week
  • 1 pound of block cheese a week
  • 11 64oz apple juice containers per week

Diet while I run

  • Hammer Gels both with and without caffeine
  • River water
  • 2 to 4 scaps
  • 4 muscle relaxers 200mgs

Overall thoughts and goals

My feet are in pretty good shape and the gluts are doing well. I hope to get the weight down below 160 which is very low for me but important to keep up the speed. I hope to get the times down to the 8min mark if not lower by the end of the summer.

For May the goal is a total of 400 miles with at least 1 50 mile race. Not sure if the body is ready for that but so far it looks like it do ok.

Problem still exist with the lungs. After 3 hour long runs my lungs start to act strange, and filled up with fluid..

Right now I am as happy as a full pig..

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Barefoot Training Project with collected Data

Opening Thoughts:
Last month when i finished born to run at first i figured it was just another good book with a story line. However, over the course of a few days I remembered my surfing days in Southern California and the fact that by the end of the summer my bare feet could take a pounding and do very well.

I also remembered the Seal Beach Wrestling team. We always dreaded wrestling these guys because they seemed so tough and as always never wore wrestling shoes; 100% barefoot. Tough feet due to never wearing shoes.

So given these memories I decided to try some barefoot running and collect data so i could learn and pass along what I learn to others with a long term goal of mutual sharing.

First attempt and lesson learned:
Given i had no idea where to start I drove out to Beaver Pond Park (private city park full of runners) and took off my running shoes. Zero stretching just started to run. No socks, just bare feet. Within minutes I could not walk let alone run. The bottom of my feet are soft and gentle. Even the smallest rock or bump caused the bottom of my feet to hurt. I learned that shoes have turned my bare feet into wimps. super wimps.

Data collected from the first effort:
  • Feet are super sensitive after years of wearing shoes.
  • Park grass is full of bumps and rocks. Feet are very sensitive to the unsettled grass
  • I felt everything. Brain seemed very aware of what my feet where doing.

First week of efforts:
The next day I returned to barefoot running but this time at the UNCA soccer field. The grass is super short and very well groomed. The field is closed to the public so i ran on the sidelines of the field which appeared to be in the same condition as the field. Boy what a difference. I was able to run 2 miles.

Data collected from my first week of running:
  • Soccer field much easier to run on then park grass
  • First 100 yards my feet did not know what to do. I was kinda lost
  • 200 yard mark to 2 mile mark my feet felt very good.
  • Was landing at the back of the ball of my foot, both feet
  • After 100 yards of running my feet started to do the same thing
  • When I started the left foot had a different style then the right.
  • By the time I finished the 2 miles the left and right foot had the same style.
  • I did not spend much energy.
  • Moved about the same speed as running with shoes but with much less effort
  • Near the end of 2 miles the heal on the right foot started to hurt a bit. New pain.

Second and Third week effort:
Each time i would go out the running seemed easier. I looked forward to the short runs. My brain felt like a kid when I kicked off my shoes and started to run. I also did the same course with my shoes on. First, I would run the 2 miles then I would put my shoes back on and run the same 2 miles. I would return on week three and try putting my shoes back on with and without socks.

Data Collected from second and third week:
  • I felt like a kid when I went running barefoot
  • Within a few yards of running both feet would self correct and have the same style.
  • Would run the 2 miles without shoes then put shoes on with no socks.
  • Noticed that shoes require much more energy to run on the same grass.
  • When I ran barefoot my feet and the brain connected. I did not have to do anything
  • When I put the shoes back on with or without socks left foot would land on the left outside of the foot almost right away.
  • I went running 2 miles then went on a 14.3 mile trail run. Noticed that my entire body was in balance with almost no pain. It seemed like the pre-barefoot run was a great warm up to a long trail run.
  • When I wore no shoes the feet relaxed. When I put shoes back on the foot would crunch up and I would have to tell the foot to relax. (all the time)

Forth Week:
The most important thing I have learned so far is running a short barefoot run on groomed grass then heading out to the trail is a great warm up exercise. My entire body performed much better with this process then without this process. Most important thing I noticed was the body was much more relaxed on the days that I went running barefoot before I ran a long trail run; 14 miles.

I tried a bit of park grass this week. So far the foot is still not too excited about the rocks and bumps. However, the bottom of the foot is getting stronger just not very fast.

Tonight I went to the soccer field and ran about 1 mile. The field is very wet and very cold; 32 degrees. At first my feet performed very well with both feet acting the same and relaxing. However, within 10 minutes I could not feel my feet and before you know it I had no clue what my feet did. With my feet numb from the cold it felt like i had shoes on. I had lost a connection with my feet even though i had no shoes on.

Data collected from the fourth week
  • Bottom of the feet getting tougher but a long ways to go.
  • Within 20 yards both feet self correct and start running almost the same style
  • Put the shoes back on and the effort is much harder plus feet start running a different style. Right foot does its thing and left foot does its thing.
  • If the foot goes numb due to running on a super cold surface the feet start acting like they are in shoes. I can not tell what they are doing any more.
  • If I run 2 miles barefoot on the soccer field then head out and do a 14 mile trail run the entire body is relaxed and i use much less energy during the run. My leg muscles do not hurt. I sweat less. (not a whole lot less however).

Closing point:
Back to my surfing days. At the start of spring when i started to walk around on pacific coast highway or the hot sand my feet needed some protection. By the time school was out my feet could walk on any road surface including hot sand with no problems.

Second, when i wear shoes the feet do their own thing. The right foot has its landing and motion style and the left foot has its landing and motion style.

Most important after a month of this effort two big things stand out. First, it takes a ton less energy to run without shoes then with shoes. Second, a 2 short miles on the groomed soccer field barefoot then a long 14 mile trail run create perfect condition. My body is very loose and very relaxed.

It seems so far that shoes do a great job of protecting my feet while making my legs and upper body do tons of work. My feet stay super weak and my legs get super strong.

to be cont..

Friday, January 1, 2010

Freedom Park 24 Hour Race New Years Eve
Complete race report with photos..

I am so excited:
I managed to come in 50th place out of about 100 runners and given i am always near last place that is nothing but super good news. If my right foot which is a pain in the butt all the time had held up just a bit longer I would have been at least in 40th place. Exciting!! Plus the brain was in heaven for most of the race. My weak mind did super super well. Watch out Utah.

Leading up to the Race:
Weeks leading up to the race I spent about 15 hours running around the circle track in Morganton. The splits did not look good and my brain was not happy with the circle concept. My biggest fear was giving up around mile 23 because my brain had failed. The good news is my brain did super well. I did a lot of reading on the mind and ultra-running prior to this race. What I learned helped me gain a better understanding of my brain.

Work leading up to the race was insane. I work on computer networks and systems associated with the mad and crazy banking world. December is the month of money and anyone in the money world can tell you nothing can break down. Second, the weather proved to be near global melt down with more snow and cold then in the last 40 years. This meant only gym time for December with very few running miles. Gym time is great but it does nothing for my feet and that is the point.

Race Overview:
The weather tried super hard to make this a very bad race. However, this race was a blast. I enjoyed the run, the layout and the other runners. Most of the runners loved to talk to you and see what you thought and felt; visa versa. I also enjoyed making that turn around the last corner to see tons of tents, food stands and timing devices all lite up in the night sky. It was fun to run down this row of stuff, stop by pick up some apple juice and head back out for another lap. Good stuff.

I knew from the get go that staying dry and warm was going to be a big challenge and a very important function if planned on staying alive. Freezing weather / rain is a great way to die. Every five miles for the first 40 miles I took off all of my top layers except the thin rain jacket and replaced with a brand new layer of clothing. My sister would take all the wet frozen clothes to her car and dry them over the dash board heater. This drying system worked for some clothing items but not for everything.

The best move i made was buying extra stuff to wear including some cotton shirt that sucked the water off my back faster then any fancy stuff but of course.. once the cotton is wet I had to pull it off and replace with another dry top. I wore about 5 layers and replaced all 5 of the layers except the rain jacked every 5 miles.

Shoes and Feet:
I wore a pair of NB 875 Double E shoes for the first 30 miles. The shoes did a great job with about 100 miles on them before the race. I walked for 3 miles in a new pair of 875 NB shoes. This was a big mistake. I should have just keep the old shoes on if for no other reason then it cost me tons of time changing shoes.

I changed back into the older pair of 875 shoes for the rest of the race. The shoe offers very little support but given my feet are a mess it does a better job then any other shoe I have found on the market.

The left foot was hurting a few days before the race due to all the walking at work. However, the left foot was a champ during the race causing no pain or issues. The right foot also did well up to about mile 47. I was running a slow pace when the right foot twisted outward 100% causing tons of pain. I managed to walk back to my tent and rest for a bit. At the 50 mile mark i stopped running and rested in the car holding the foot in the air. This helped. I managed to get out of the car and move another 3 miles before giving up. If the foot had held up I am sure the numbers would be much higher. It should be noted that at mile 53 i was full of energy but the foot was in deep pain.

Layout and Food:
I set up my old trusty tent. This tent has seen seven 7,000 plus meter peak climbs over the many years. I bought this Noals tent in 1984. Inside the tent was my old Moonstone sleeping bag and some pads. I had a cooler located outside the tent with vitamins and scaps including some gels and other minor items including the famous ibuprofen which i kept to a very limited supply.

Food intake:
  • 3 whole bananas
  • 4 quarts of water mixed with multidextrin
  • 6 Cliff Shot Gels (body got sick of these after a while)
  • 3 GU gels
  • 1/2 of pizza (big mistake it came back up )
  • 16 ibuprofens over a 24 hour period
  • 12 scaps
  • 1 small mixture of coconut water (hate that stuff)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 5 small cups of chicken broth soup
  • 11 small cups of apple juice
  • 2 small pieces of hamburger which also made me sick
  • 1 grilled cheese sandwich at mile 50

The cliff shot gels and the water mix of Maltodextrin played a super big role in giving me extra energy both with the mind and the body. The pizza and hamburger did nothing but bring me down with the body throwing the pizza right back up within 10 minutes of eating.

The cramp issue was big. I was eating scaps every few miles. The scaps did their thing but only for a few miles. I was very surprised how many scaps i consumed during this race.

  • 5 mile = 44 min My PB = 37
  • 10 mile = 1:20 My PB = 1:10
  • 20 mile= 3:35 My PB = 3:16
  • 50 mile = 11:40 My PB = 9:36 this year. Last race was 12:39 however.

  • Going into the tent and laying down without someone to help get me back out
  • Eating pizza slice cost me 15 to 20 minutes due to throwing up the food
  • Changing shoes at mile 30 cost me 15 minutes
  • Letting my sister leave at mile 40

Outstanding issues:
  • Figure out what is wrong with my right foot for the long term
  • Figure out why my lungs fill up with fluid starting in the 40 mile range

  • Beat my last 50 mile run by 45 minutes (beat it by 47 minutes)
  • Run first 20 miles in less then 3:45 (made this goal)
  • Never get frustrated or angry during the race, feel positive and in control (100% success)
  • Do not injury myself beyond fast repair so i can run another race in March (made this goal)

Recovery and Next Race:
The next race is March 27th on Antelope Island State Park in Utah. This is a 50 mile run and i should do very well with this race. This run is all trail and more to my style of Ultra running.

The recovery so far has been very strong. My best friend Brian dropped by on the 1st to party and have some fun. I drank 2 beers which caused my body to feel strange. However, here we are on January 3rd and I am feeling very strong. My right foot still hurts but is not super big (i can put my shoes back on.. wow!!!!). I figure it will start working 100% in about a week so no long runs for a while.

The legs hurt but after some bike ridding in the gym today I am feeling pretty good.

Race Results and Info on the race:

Closing thoughts:
I had a blast. Period. Sure my body was feeling the miles but the mind did so well that I am super excited about the next race. My biggest concern from the last few races was the brain and how it was dealing with running for long distances. I worked on this weakness with fantastic results. Until next time.