Monday, January 30, 2006

No More Posts 'til After Race Day

I probably won't post for the next 7 or 8 days.

I'm really busy at work and getting ready for my trip to do my next 100-miler. My normal wifely crew won't be able to take vacation and support me, this year. Lou Joline (73) will be my traveling companion. We've traveled together many times before to 50 and 100-mile races, most notably when I paced and crewed for him at the Leadville Trail 100 in 2004. He'll be doing the 50-miler this weekend, and then take it easy waiting for me to finish the 100.

I've also been busy entering registration data, and doing last-minute stuff for my own race, which will take place 1-week after the 100. Today, it passed 140 entrants; almost 100 more than the last (inaugural) year. Why do I have to make January & February so stressful each year???

I'll take along some homebrew for after the race. It's always fun to have a beer before breakfast (and dawn), while sitting in the finish area and cheering on my fellow hundred-milers.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Body found on Trail at Last Night's Run

We had 10 Trail Nerds show up for the trail run last night at WyCo Park. We were going to do 1 or maybe 2 hilly 6.8-mile out-and-backs. We were cruising along pretty good, when we happened upon a body in full camo fatigues lying on the ground on the side of the trail. I actually said "whoa" really loud, and then went back to him. He at first appeared dead, but then he moved and put his finger to his mouth like he was saying "shhh." He then said, "I'm OK" and we resumed running.

On the way back he flashed a blue LED flashlight to let us know he was up ahead. He asked us if we were part of the rescue group from the archery range (5-miles away). We said no, we were just running on the trails. Weird. We continued back to the parking lot. It was now about 8:30 pm, and nobody wanted to do a second loop. Imagine that!

Upon further reflection (and after one wickedly-good homebrewed beer), I realized that he was probably involved in a Civil Air Patrol (or similar) rescue scenario. He was playing the part of the downed pilot or whatever, that the rescuers had to find. I was part of a scenario like that many years ago. Basically, it's a bunch of hand-held HAM radio operators dressed in camo who do rescue scenarios, and occasionally search for real (dead and live) bodies.
At least that's what I hope was going on.

Today's workout:
No running...(tapering for my next 100-miler).
Did the Gym Thang early this morning: 20-minutes on stationary bike, followed by a killer leg and abs workout.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tapering Anxiety

I hit the gym Tuesday morning, and then ran only one loop last night on the trails with the Trail Nerds. They had already run a "warm up" loop. The newbies and slower folks went home, so I was left with the speedy folks. I led, and we scratched out a 36:00 minute loop. (The loop is just under 5 miles on rocky and hilly trails). I didn't think I was going that fast, but was told otherwise. The last 3 miles just seemed to "flow" and I thought I could have run faster, but was holding back.

It all comes down to "tapering anxiety." I'm not running as much as I'm used to as I'm tapering for my next 100-miler, that I'll do in a week and a half. It's hard to hold back with all of the pent-up (mental & physical) energy building up in me. I just have to cool my heels and save it for race day!

Todays workout:
Back, biceps, calves, and major abs workout in the gym earlier this morning. No running.

Monday, January 23, 2006

2 Weekend Runs in Decent Winter Running Conditions

Yet again, for Saturday and Sunday, the conditions were just about perfect for running. We're having a great Winter this year and training is going along great for most runners in the area.

Six Trail Nerds showed up to run on Saturday at SM Park. We did 10 miles or so. The trails were only muddy in a few spots. Raul, Debbie, and Julie made an appearance. We haven't seen Raul in a long time, and we haven't run with Da Grrls (Debbie & Julie) for a while, so it was a pleasant time catching up.

Sunday, we had 13 show up to run at WyCo Park and do a dry-run of the Psycho WyCo course. (I think one more may have showed up later to run on his own). We chugged our way through the hills and dales to loop around the lake, back to the parking lot. I left after one 10-mile loop to stay true to my tapering schedule. A few others decided to go on and do 2 loops. Three or four were going on to run a total of 3 loops! Good going, Trail Nerds!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hyperspeed Trail Run, No Tickets, & Minimal Damage

Eight of us Trail Nerds showed up to run last night. Despite warnings from me both verbally and in e-mails about speeding in the parks, a couple of regulars zoomed into the park entrance at 2-1/2 times the posted speed limit. One of them was pulled over, but being the good criminal attorney that he is, he talked his way out of a huge ticket!

We had a great little run. We did a loop from WyCo Park shelter #2, and ran on the new singletrack that we built on MLK Day. I'm tapering, so I only did one fast 6.8 mile loop. Five of the others did 2 loops.

I had a LOT of pent-up energy from leading the slow group on Tuesday, so I hit the loop with gusto. It was 2.9 miles of "normal" trail until we hit the new singletrack loop section. The new trail section has a lot of quick turns and tight spots between trees. I was cruising along on this section (leading the group), and I snagged the sleeve of my nice Golite top, and almost ripped it off. Luckily, there was no damage to my skin underneath. After getting through the new singletrack, the normal, rocky and hilly trails on the way back felt like a virtual freeway. We hit a hard pace, and cruised back to the parking lot at hyper-speed. There were no whiners on this run; they all hit it hard.

I changed into some street clothes and then drove to meet my son for a beer and some pizza. Quite the nice night!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Photos: R-Rated Tree, & Bald Eagle Sighting on Trail

While performing trail construction on Monday's MLK holiday, I spotted a total of 3 bald eagles at WyCo Lake Park. I could barely get close enough to one of them to snap this far-off digital photo, though. They appeared to be having fun while fishing. They would swoop down to the surface of the lake and grab a big-ass fish with their talons, then fly off and eat it from the top of a sycamore or oak tree. The year-round geese and ducks did not appear to enjoy their presence, though. I have'nt seen this much bald eagle action since I moved here from Spokane, Washington 9-1/2 years ago.

The other photo is of a tree in the middle of the woods near our new singletrack section. It has a vine growing through its crotch. Bizarre!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Five Easy Miles in the Dark

Last night, I only ran one 5-mile loop on the trails (slowly) with some newbies. We had 10 Trail Nerds show up, and we broke up into a fast and slow group right I dropped back to lead the slow group. It's cool, because I'm trying to make myself taper for my next 100-miler in two weeks.

142 runners have registered for the 100, so far. That doesn't include the 2006 USA 100 Mile Trail National Championship runners who may be running in the event. It could be an exciting race this year, or at least a crowded start.

This morning I hit the gym and did a weight workout for back and biceps with lots of ab and calf work, in between sets.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

32 Miles and a Busy 3-day Weekend

On Saturday, 6 of us Trail Nerds hit the trails at SM Park for a nice 12-miler. It was 27 degrees F, so the mud was frozen and our shoes actually cleaned-up during the run.

Sunday we met to run at WyCo. Twelve trailrunners showed up! More than half of us ran two 10-mile loops, (with 5000 ft of elevation change per loop). I really needed a nap after our run, but instead spent the rest of the day moving extremely heavy pieces of furniture around with my son. I won't go into it...(but I spent almost $3000 on the whole affair). I didn't sit down until 11 PM.

Monday, I took the MLK holiday off as a vacation day. Kyle, Stacey and I met in WyCo Park to put in some more singletrack trail. Kyle and Stacey worked with me for about 2-1/2 hours, and then Shane showed up and worked with me for about 2 hours. (Shane is the one in the photo who supplied the cigars, and who could win a Jake Plummer look-alike contest). We finished 0.95 miles of trail construction for the Psycho WyCo course. It was all done with hand tools and back-breaking labor. I was out there working for a total of 7 hours. Damn, I was fairly tired after it all, but still went home and did chores and transferred some homebrew to secondary & tertiary fermenters.

This trail mileage will improve the course somewhat. Last year, the course had grassy areas that we ran people around on to make the total mileage come out right. This year, the entire course will be run on trail! Each loop will be 10.35 miles in length, and have over 5000 ft in elevation change per loop. Three loops will make it (slightly over) 50K. The 10-mile and 20-mile participants will get more for their money, I figure...a good value.

Todays fitness agenda:
Chest, shoulders, and triceps early this morning in the gym.
10-mile (tempo) group trail run at 6PM with the Trail Nerds.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Big Run on Trails

We had 11 Trail Nerds show up to run on the dark, hilly & muddy trails at WyCo Park, last night. We did a 6-mile loop and then circled back to the cars. Good Ben and I dropped after the first loop, (something I never do), and the other nine runners continued onto their next loop. I really wanted to keep running, and felt guilty for dropping. I have to keep my "eye on the prize", though. I'm tapering for my next 100-miler on February 4th, and I don't want to go over 50 miles total, for the week. I'm also running 30 to 35 trail miles this weekend, and wanted to save something for those runs.

Today's workout: Gym - "Legs of Steel" workout, (about 4 hours ago).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Nine Trail Runners hit the Dark, Snowy Trails

We had nine Trail Nerds show up last night for our weekly Tuesday night trail run at SM Park. We would have had 10, but a newby got confused about the Mapquest instructions to the park.
What's amazing about this is: It had started to snow, and there was 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation on the ground when we started, AND: all nine runners did two 5-mile loops instead of some of them dropping after the first loop! Nobody fell on the rocky, rooty, icy and snowy trails, and everyone's lighting aparatus' seemed to work fine. Another first for a large group - Nobody whined!

My training for today will be a Gym workout:
Back, Biceps, and calves and 40-60 minutes of cardio.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hilly 20-Miler and Trail Work Day

On Saturday, we had ten Trail Nerds show up to do trail work on the Psycho WyCo course. Eight were part of the early morning group with me. Two more (Shane & Brandi), took care of business on the other side of the hill a little later in the day. The early morning crew did 4-1/2 hours work, and got the new singletrack trails in awesome running shape. We couldn't wait to run on them.
7:00 AM on Sunday morning, there were nine of us that showed up at WyCo Park to run. (Two additional runners showed up at 8 AM and ran on their own). We got to run on our handiwork from Saturday and all of the previous work party's efforts. Everybody did at least one 10-mile loop. Five of us decided to do an additional loop in the other direction for a total of 20 miles. This course is hilly. The previous week, a person who works for Garmin was testing a prototype GPS unit. His device indicates that there is probably 5000 feet of elevation change per 10-mile loop of this course. Basically this means we climbed a mile and descended a mile on our little 20-miler. Woo-hoo! I love hills!
I felt pretty strong towards the end of the 20-miler. Again, another sign that I'm ready for my next Hundred.
Twenty miles was fun and was a learning experience for some. James found out why eating is important. Alexander discovered that carrying enough drinking water can be (to quote Martha Stewart) "a good thing."

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Decent Trail Run on Toto's Course, (Flying Monkeys Included)

Last night we ran after-dark from shelter 10 at WyCo Park. The intent was to do two 5-mile loops on the hilly, rocky, rooty, and off-camber singletrack trails. Eight Trail Nerds showed up, two of which were newbies. One of the newbies, Robby, had just gotten out of the Army. The other newby was a fast young gal that is the new Mizuno rep for the region.

I started us out a little faster than normal, because that part of the trail is faster than the rest, and you have to "make hay while the sun shines." The new gal knew that Kyle and I were half-crazy for having run 100-milers before, but she asked us if we were crazy enough to run on spooky, unlit singletrack at night, by ourselves. I said, "how do you think Kyle and I met, 5 years ago?"

We hit the long 1/2-mile downhill at a brisk pace, and while nearing the bottom, we heard huge wings beating and crashing through the trees. The newby gal was freaked out, so we stopped and looked up with our flashlights. It was a flock of about 80 - 100 wild turkeys that had bedded-down in the trees for the evening. She asked what other surprises lurked out there, and I said, "flying monkeys of course." After all, this is Kansas, and we are on part of the "Run Toto Run" course.

She seemed to enjoy her run immensely, and the other newby did, as well. And I didn't hear any whining about the pace from "the usual suspect"...(a young guy that normally whines and drops out early). He saw that a "girl" could hold a conversation while running up and down steep hills quickly, while not tripping onto her face. (It was good for him). He even ran a second loop with us, something he never does.

The second loop felt great. Five of us continued on. We ran it in the opposite direction, and it was a little slower-going because of the course make-up. All in all, a great 10-mile trail run! My broken toe gave me some fits on the downhills, but other than that, it was not too bad. (The throbbing has stopped, for the most part).

Training note:
Leg weight workout in the gym this morning.
Stationary bike and abs workout tonight.
Total miles so far, this week: 51

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm Officially Ready for 100-Miles!

I led the Trail Nerds on a run last night at SM Park. Eight of us showed up to run. The first 5-mile loop went smoothly, and I was feeling "light on my feet" through the whole loop. (That's "light" as in effortless). Keep in mind that I ran a trail 50-Kilometer run two days ago and was feeling really crappy through most of the run, which I was attempting on very little sleep. Something I didn't mention in the last post: I had also ended up breaking a toe on my right foot, and twisting my left ankle pretty good, during the 50-K. Luckily, it was early on in the race, (mile 8 or so), and I had time to get used to running on them.

So I was surprised that I felt good on the first loop last night. Two of the runners dropped-out after that loop, one due to puking, and the other due to lack of training. So I had 6 willing guinea pigs with which to push the pace up substantially for the 2nd five-mile loop, three of which had run the 50-K on New Year's Day with me. I hammered the downhills and flats, and pushed the uphills bigtime. We averaged a 7:30 pace on the rocky & rooty course, and only Kyle crashed a couple of times into the trees. We finished, and my breathing went to normal in about 10 seconds. My heart rate went back to resting heart rate in less than a minute, and I felt GREAT! Holy crap! I realized that I'm ready for Rocky Raccoon! This is a big thing with me...I have to KNOW that I am prepared and that I CAN do it. Now I just need to stay healthy and uninjured until February 4th.

Training notes:
Total miles since Sunday: 40+
Today, no running. I did my back and biceps workout this morning, and will hit the gym again tonight, ride the bike for 40 minutes and do bigtime abs. I may even hit the steam room...(I have a guest invitation for 24-hour fitness, tonight).

Monday, January 02, 2006

50-Kilometer Fat Ass Race Report

What a nice running weekend, and what a good way to start a New Year!

Saturday, eight of us Trail Nerds ran from the dam at SM Park, in Lenexa, Kansas. Four of us only ran 4.5 miles, the other four stayed out longer. Good Ben and I were 2 of the 4 runners that ran short, because we had a nice, hilly 50-Kilometer race to run the next day.

New Year's morning at 6:15 AM, Kyle, Marko Jacquez, and "Good" Ben Reeves met at Bad Ben's house to carpool and convoy up to Wallace State Park, Missouri. It's about a 1-hour drive north of Kansas City, and we arrived at 7:30 sharp. (The race director) Bob Risser's low-key start happened right around 8:00 AM.

In true "Fat Ass" tradition, the 50-Kilometer race had no fee, no shirt, and limited aid. Fat Ass runs are a post-holiday way to get back in shape and run. The course of this Fat Ass had a one-time short out and back loop, then had five 6-mile loops from that point on. As in most trail races with loop courses, the hills weren't noticed much on the first loop. On subsequent loops, they tended to get longer and steeper. The weather was just about perfect; it was unseasonably warm and got up into the 50s. For some reason, my metabolism wasn't its normal warm and perky self, and I felt like crap for most of the run. I even re-donned my vest that I had gotten rid of in the first part of the run. I ended up starting to feel good at about mile 27 or so. It might have had something to do with having 3-1/2 hours of sleep and eating holiday junk the night before, but who knows?

For the whole Fat Ass Run, the four of us decided (ad-hoc) to stay together. We all had our reasons for running it. Good Ben had never participated in a race of over a half-marathon in distance, and wanted to enter the "Ultra World" before running a marathon. Marko was "just going to do two-loops", supposedly, but peer pressure prevailed and he ended up running the entire 50-K. Kyle is "trying to get back in shape" and wanted to prove to himself that he was well along in that process. The three of them are also going to participate in my race, the Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run on February 11th, and needed a decent training run on an "easy" course. My reason for running was two-fold. I've never run in Bob & Sara Risser's Fat Ass Run, and I also needed a long-run weekend (under sleep deprivation) for my training plan to run in my 4th consecutive Rocky Raccoon 100-mile trail run, in one month. We all decided to run at an easy pace...all we needed was time on our feet.

After a fun time talking and BS-ing through 5-loops, we all finished feeling a little tired and scruffy, but still felt pretty good. We changed and went down to the park shelter and had some wonderful homemade soup and other goodies. We hung-out for about 45-minutes and got some calories back into us before heading back to KC. What a great Happy New Year run! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to run a low-key, beautiful event on New Year's day.

The tale of the tape:
1: Paul Schoelaub, 46, 4:26:39, 2: Rick Hoopes, 51, 4:35:29, 3: Kevin Guest, 37, 5:09:00, 4: David Lesh, 54, 5:15:10, 5: Stuart Johnson, 46, 5:38:43, 6: Joe Winch, 49, 6:03:39, 7:Rachele Kugel, 40, 6:24:30, 8: Dave Swenson, 50, 6:27:56, 9: Bad Ben, 48, 6:40.00, 10: Kyle Amos, 30, 6:40:00, 11: "Good Ben" Reeves, 31, 6:40:00, 12: Mark Jacquez, 27, 6:40:00, 13: Lee Hess, 56, 7:14:00, 14: Glen Zirbel, 75, 8:12:00, 15: Lou Joline, 73, 8:20:21, 16: Joe Galloway, 48, 8:33:00.