Sunday, November 24, 2013

JFK50 results

10:51:36.  A new PR (by a lot).  It was cold.  Last year I would have qualified for WS100. Oh well, personal goal accomplished.  Race report to follow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ankle Synovitis

As a beginner utlra runner I suppose some type of injury is inevitable.  Although I diligently tried to apply the 10% rule, "listen to my body," and all that stuff, ultimately my body has to adjust to the new demands that I am placing on it.  For me, a brief injury is one of those adjustments.

About a month ago I did a 28 miler on Saturday, followed by 10 on Sunday.  There were no issues while running, other than the outside of my ankle felt a little off when I finished my run on Sunday.  Four hours later, it was screaming.  Any motion in the ankle joint caused immediate (negative) feedback.  I went to an ortho who said I had synovitis.  He prescribed NSAID's and recommended physical therapy.  The drugs worked and a few visits to a therapist at D1 later (for soft tissue work) and my ankle seems to be back on track.  I was able to run 24 this past Saturday and am going to go for 30+ this weekend.  If the ankle feels good, I will be heading towards the JFK50 in two weeks!  Although I had to adjust the volume of my training I still feel better prepared for this race than I did earlier this year for the TNFEC 50.

In total, I took two weeks off to get back to the point where I am running pain free.  Although the therapist said I could run on it without doing permanent damage during that time, I figured it was better to go into the JFK50 a little under trained by missing one long run than hobbling out there for 11 hours (hopefully less) on a bum ankle.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TNFEC 50 miler race report

June 1, 2013 - Washington D.C. (technically we were in Sterling, VA but that isn't how North Face advertises it)

3:45 a.m. - why is my alarm going off...why is it so dark...what is...oh yeah...that's right...I'm about to run 50 miles.  After a little breakfast and final gear check my wife drove me to the start line.  There were a little over 300 folks registered for the 50 miler, which had a 5 a.m. start.  Later that morning there was a 50k (7:00 a.m start) and marathon (9:00 a.m.).  I had never ran an ultramarathon before and, to add to my anxiety, it was supposed to get up into the mid-90s early and stay there all day, which was well in excess of what I was acclimatized to.  There were 3 "waves" separated by a minute to let us stretch out before entering the trail.  I was in the last wave and at 5:03 a.m. I was off!  At 5:02 a.m. I realized that my Garmin 405 failed to upload the workout I had planned to monitor my heart rate throughout the day...epic fail (although it turned out to be a good thing later on).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Training - August

Fortunately, my training continues to progress.  I broke from my traditional 2 weeks up/1 week down regimen that I have been using so that I could have a rest week over Labor Day weekend to spend some QT with my wife.

Fairly early into the training for my last 50 I feel into the habit of only running 3 days a week - doing two 6'ers mid-week and then one long day on the weekend.  I made it to the finish with that strategy, but it wasn't pretty.  This time around I am continuing my two mid-week runs of around 6 but am running long on Saturday and then doing around 8-10 on Sunday.  My Saturday volume is creeping up much slower this time but I feel that it is making a big difference and that I will be better prepared come November when I toe the line at JFK.  My volume for this month will end up being about 135 miles, which isn't to bad considering the way the month fell I really had two rest weeks in there.  I plan to work on consistent 40-45 mile weeks in September and max out around 50 miles a week as I peak before my race.  Overall, I suppose my volume is a little low for an ultra but its the best I can do with work and maintaining a life at home and at the end of the day that is what running an ultra is about....doing the best you can do.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Training - the last half of July

My training for the last half of July was fairly uneventful.  I ran 29 miles the week of 7/15 and 30 miles the week of 7/22.  I had planned to log a few more miles the week of 7/22 but it just didn't work out that way.  On my Sunday run (on July 28th) I started to have some foot pain along the outside edge in the danger zone (aka stress fracture zone) so I backed off the pace and finished up my run.  I was due for a crash week.  Every so often I take a crash week rather than a rest week.  The difference - I don't run.  At all.  A full seven days of no running.  I'm usually a little stir crazy by Thursday morning but it seems to make a difference in my ability to continue ramping up my mileage.  Like they say, we are an experiment of one.  And just like that July is over...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JKF 50 here I come!

It's official.  Although the check cleared the bank a few weeks ago, I waited to get my SASE with a tiny slip of paper confirming that my application into the 2013 JFK 50 had been accepted.  It's an old school race that doesn't take online applications and sends everything by snail mail.  The cut-off time is an hour less than my last 50, so I better have learned all the lessons I think I did to get there in time!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


All of us have been asked it numerous times by friends, co-workers, strangers who see your race T-shirt (the list could go on for a while).  They just don't get why, to us, marathons are a training run.  The conversation usually ends with that person shaking his/her head, calling you crazy and making a comment about ruining your knees.  

Nights like tonight remind me why I choose to be an ultra runner.  Since I am training for the JFK 50, it seems appropriate to steal (and alter) a phrase from the late, and great, President John F. Kennedy, Jr.:

I choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of my energies and skills, because that challenge is one that I am willing to accept, one I am unwilling to postpone, and one which I intend to win.

Training - week of July 8

Recovery.  A necessary part of staying healthy.  Recovery is not only physical but also mental.  It's mental in the sense that it gives you more time to spend with your wife, husband, kids, etc. and it doesn't seem like every free moment that you have you are out there.  It is physical because we are, after all, only human and our bodies do need time to adjust to training loads and intensities.  This week I went a whopping 20 miles.  2 x 5 and 1 x10.  My 10 miler was the hilly section of Umstead (a state park in Cary, NC) that is hopefully going to help me get in shape for the JFK 50...yes, that's right I GOT IN!  I am fortunate to have the ability to train in an amazing place like Umstead but more importantly, I am fortunate to have the best crew in the world, my wife, who is willing to put up with me for another race.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Training - week of July 1

This week marked one month since my first ultra.  I'm still a little slower than I used to be but overall my body adjusted fine and I didn't experience some of the horrible side effects others have blogged about (like exhaustion for weeks, mood swings, GI distress, etc...).  Either I got lucky or my training paid off or, probably, a little of both.  I'm still working on my report from my 50 miler on June 1st and hope to have it finished soon.  It's hard to write an report that succinctly recaps how the race went but also provides information to folks who want to run the race in the future that I wish I had going in to the  race - like the mile long rock hopping section that you loop through 3 times that really screws with your time splits.  Anyways, I started training for another 50 miler in November (hopefully).  I'm still waiting for my race entry fee to clear the bank since it is one of the races that only takes paper applications and was close to full when I sent my application in!  I have added a lot more hills to my workouts since my last 50 and the meltdown that ensued around mile 36, that was in substantial part hydration related...race

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Gear: Pearl Izumi shoe review

The folks over at iRunFar recently reviewed the Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail M2.  Check it out here.

Have you tried the Pearl Izumi line of trail shoes?  What did or didn't you like about them?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Training schedule for my first 50 miler (TNFEC 50)

Here is the training log that led up to my first 50. Stay tuned for a future post about lessons learned and how I'm adjusting my training for a stronger finish (hopefully) next time. I started with one of the examples from Bryon Powell's book, "Relentless Forward Progress," which you can buy from the folks at (NFI). Work and life led to me doing less volume than recommended but I finished injury free with a whole 20 minutes to spare before the cut-off!