Archive February 2018

An Introduction

An Introduction

On the heels of my (our) first 20 mile paved trail run I decided it was a good time to make an introduction, as a soon to be occasional contributor to this blog. Having accompanied Trex (my Running Husband, not to be confused with my Dear Husband) on a good number of the runs documented on this blog I suppose it is only fitting that you hear the other side of the story, or at least another perspective.

First and foremost I am a #runner. I am very much an athlete, having run, swam, and even played Roller Derby; but I find I have returned most often to running, probably for the practicality of it. This past year I have once again fallen in love with running as an outlet and inlet for my mind and body.  Yes yes I am one of those people.

I, unlike Trex, actually enjoy running (while running). Yes, physically it is very hard, and my brain and body offer up the normal responses to tell me ‘This sucks! You really really should just give up right now’; but I find enjoyment in the physical mental process to conquer my own version(s) of the Blerch or LAD – whom I haven’t yet named, so stay tuned.

I struggle, like every other human on the planet, with motivation and discipline issues, and what I have found, repeatedly now, is that finding a running partner (like Trex) has been exceptionally beneficial to overcoming my personal tendency to stray from the (running) path.  While I do occasionally enjoy solo running and the benefits of this, over the course of my life I have always had companions to run with and just feel it is way more fun if it is a shared experience. Yes I did in fact call running fun, a fundamental difference between myself and the Trex–we generally don’t much agree on much, and certainly don’t agree on the definition of what we find to be fun. But nonetheless I appreciate the company so I don’t complain–much.

Now about our first 20 mile run….

I am not going to lie, it was hard. I mean really effing hard. The kind of hard that, for me personally, I would rank up there with child birth in terms of the mental fortitude required to keep moving once my body had hit it’s physical limits. And to toot my own horn, I have had two children at home without the assistance of drugs to numb the pain, so I have earned the right to make that comparison.

Since the 20-mile run is an achievement milestone on the journey to a marathon, as it is for most runners on that path, I fully expected it to be it’s own challenge. Being the longest distance we will run before the Full, it was a good test to see how we would hold up at our planned marathon pace. In short I feel we passed the test, but not easily, and not without sweat and (for me) tears (at the end, when Trex wasn’t there to see).

Since Trex handled the technicalities, having already crunched the numbers and tallied our distances and times and projected how we can make our planned times at LR, that leaves the feels to me….  As I already said this was effing hard, but it was also a lot of fun….right up until that last couple of miles, and even then I enjoyed being done.  We managed to keep our spirits high and the energy positive, and I am super proud of this run and what we accomplished.

The +‘s:

  • The weather held, not too unbearably cold.
  • Mentally I think I (we) was (were) in a good place for this run having completed the 30K the weekend before.
  • I feel I (we) gained extremely valuable insight into pushing through walls.
  • We stuck to the workout schedule we built with some flexibility and managed to maintain a good run/walk pace.
  • Good Carb/caffeine fuel intake during run keep energy and mental strengths in the green.
  • Escalante’s first long run performed well, no dead toenails or blisters. Super comfy on my feet.
  • Overcame the physical wall between mile 18-20 to finish on pace target.

The ‘s:

  • Too much food at rest stop.
  • Not sure if Escalantes will be cushion enough for my joints through 26.2 miles. Leaves me to debate on what to wear.
  • Encountered pre-cramping at mile 18-20. Made it difficult to stay positive.
  • Physically felt spent at mile 19-20, did NOT feel I could have run even one more tenth of a mile past 20. This has left room for doubt about how the hell I will manage to run 6 more miles.

Lessons learned: (The hard way)

  • Check your watches the day before to make sure you remembered to sync your workouts
  • Don’t overeat or drink too much at the break stops… molasses cookies, and fig newtons are a weakness.
  • Charge/check HR belts
  • Don’t linger too long at stops.. It causes muscles to lock up and you eat too much.
  • Don’t over tighten laces and or use straight laces. After the fact I have Extensor Tendinitis in my right foot thanks to my pulling the laces too tight when my shoe came untied. This injury is still bothering me 5 days later and probably needs another day or so to be completely healed.

All in all, as I said, I feel like we achieved this milestone with flying colors, but there is a niggling feeling of doubt planted in my brain that I am going to have to wiggle loose and dislodge in order to be mentally ready for 6.2 more miles.  But I am fully prepared to give it my all and try like hell to finish the next milestone on this journey for the sheer fact that I am stubborn and strong willed and hate to lose (even to myself).  Type A all the way

02072018 Intervals

It was an interval day, 10m warmup then 4 x 8 min zone 4 + 90sec recovery then 5-10 minute cool down.   Today was harder than usual, we were doing sub 10’s during the z4 sections and it was difficult.

RPE was a good 8 or 9 for me on this one and at this speed and timing it’s usually more 7ish.

But after doing 20 minutes on Sunday I imagine its carryover.


02062018 Stair Day

Nothing interesting really, it was supposed to be an easy day after our long run but the weather was supposed to be bad so we switched to stairs and did 6 sets of 10 flights up and down.   We didn’t want to push it after the 20 mile run and after the calf pain RW had afterwards.

02042018 Long Run

Today was our first 20+ mile run.   We parked a car at the 8 (12) mile lap and then drove to the start.   Our big thing this run was to work on our pace which is a 9 minute run, 1 minute walk and a 11 min warmup.    Our 11 minute warmup is 12-12:30 pacing.  The remaining sections are negative splits by 15 seconds for each 1/3rd of 26.2 miles.  i.e. if the first 9 miles is an 11:45, the next 9 is 11:30 and the last 9 is 11:15.

The averages are over both run and walk.  The pacing is designed to have an average of around 11:27 per mile over the course of the marathon.   This gets us just under a 5:00 marathon which is our primary goal.  Our secondary goal is a 5:15 and our tertiary goal is just to finish before the race ends.

It’s important to have attainable goals.

We did 20.2 miles in 3:47 which leaves us enough time to do another 6 and break 5:00.   Maybe.

One problem is that as is our usual thing we hit the 90% point of a run , regardless of distance and things go pear shaped.   Around mile 18 to 19 it just got really hard (duh).

My RW did an amazing job and I really wanted to trip her to slow her down but I didn’t.   She’s had problems with our last few longer runs, the last 17 mile we did and the last 19 (20) mile we did on trails but this time she just kept on going.

Afterwards we were both mostly okay but we had a superbowl party at a dear friends house and basically ate like pigs.

It’ll be interesting to see how things keep going as we’re about to go int our taper stages.

EFuel by CrankSports

#NotASponsor but willing to accept

Background I’ve tried everything as fuel for long runs, Clif, Gu, Stinger, Huma, Hammer, UCann, a couple of more brands I can’t remember the name of and in all the forms each brand offers, gels, waffles, chews, bloks etc.  I’ve DIY’d my own fuel of various recipes.  Honey based, Brown Rice based, Malto based, Chia based.  I’ve done ‘real’ foods like Picky bars, DIY energy bars, Lara bars, Clif bars, pretzels with PB, Oreos, Trail Mix, Nutter Butters, PBandJ, Bananas, Candied Ginger, some others.

Drink mixes I’ve used Skratch, Tailwind and one other brand I forget.

Long story slightly shorter is I have a ‘little’ bit of experience with a pretty good chunk of what’s available and in common usage.

So in Q4 2017 I picked up a couple of “eGel” gels.  They were being offered as freebies by someone at a race.  I took a couple and used one on a long run to validate no ‘issues’ but so far I can eat, drink anything without a problem.  After all the crap I’ve put in my belly over the last few decades both natural and unnatural I would be surprised, barring an infection, to find something I couldn’t digest.

But still they sat easy on me.

I can say that after 20 months as of right now of fueling for running that eGel by CrankSports and their drink mix eFuel has made a very apparent difference in me in my ability to stay energetic over the course of long runs.  I don’t know if their science is real or not, I’m not a food anthropologist as they say.  But I can say that I’m willing to given them the benefit of the doubt.  And valid or not they make a good argument for their stuff.

So I didn’t need to check the local shoe stores because I know exactly what they sell and this isn’t one of them. I popped over to Amazon and nothing.  A google later and I found out their website and then found out they don’t sell on amazon preferring to bypass the fee amazon charges as savings to direct customers.  There is one store in the state that sells them but it’s a 4 hour round trip to do it and just not worth it.

I ordered a sampler pack of gel and drink mix.  And got a shipped notice same day I place the order.   Each time I’ve placed an order it ships same day.  Today it literally shipped 34 minutes after I placed the order at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday.  This just put them over the top in my book s and prompted me to finally write this review.  And after using them for 4 months give or take with the same results every time is also another reason to review them.

On long runs I take a gel 30 to 45 minutes pre run and then one gel every hour or so after that.   I also alternate water and sips of the eFuel on the run.

And I have no highs or lows during our long runs, just steady sustained energy.    Last Saturday we did a pretty long 30K trail run and energy level I was up and level for the entire 19.5 miles.

Flavor wise for the gels, honestly they’re all pretty close to the same to me.   I can taste slight differences but not enough to have a favorite, they’re all acceptable.  They’re also not as thick as Gu’s which I find hard to ingest as a result but not as thin as Huma.   To me the Huma’s texture is just a bit offputting, not bad, just not preferred by me.

For the drink mix, Citrus Punch is hands down my favorite.  The orange is just awful to me.  No offense to Crank Sports or anyone who likes it but it’s just blech.  The Raspberry is not bad, if you like raspberry as a drink.  I don’t but I can say it’s okay.  The Mountain flavor which might be supposed to be kind of like Mountain Dew maybe but it’s… I’m not sure.  I got a sampler pack of the four flavors and the only one I enjoyed is the Citrus Punch.   It’s super tart which I like and citrus punchy.

So now I carry 3 or 4 eGels with me on long Sunday’s and 2 500ml bottles of eFuel and then a bladder of water. I don’t use it all but I’d rather have it and not use it than vice versa.  If it’s more than 2 hours I will also typically swap one of the eGel’s out with a Vanilla or Chocolate Gu or Huma just to have the variety of flavor.   The eGels, again to me, you might have a different experience, are just too similar so having something that’s completely different in flavor is nice to have.

Lately I’ve also been bringing a vacuum sealed pack with some pb filled pretzels from Costco, a individual pack of oreos with 6 oreos in it and some candied ginger.   Me and Bunny share those typically.

Gear Check 02012018

As of today, the 1st of January 2018 this is the gear I use and prefer –

  • Altra Escalante – Road, Love this shoe
  • Altra Lone Peak – Trail, Best of what I’ve tried.
  • Nathan Handheld – When I want a hand held, not so often these days.
  • Flip Belt with Zipper – My primary carry for runs less than 90 minutes with one of the 10 oz Flip Belt water bottles.  Holds my phone, the water and a key comfortably.  And a gel or two if I really wanted to but I haven’t.
  • Hydration Vest – Salomon Second Skin 12 – Love this vest, really love it.  It’s not perfect, I could make some changes to make it perfect for me but it’s probably as close as I’m going to get until I do try to make my own.
  • Ultimate Direction FKT Vest – Love this vest but the Salomon has a better appearance and rides better over all.   But the FKT has better storage for me.
  • Ultimate Direction Soft Flasks with Extended Nipples.  Primarily for the Salomon vest, it allows drinking without removing and replacing the flasks from the vest which is a PITA to do while running.
  • Ultimate Direction and Nathan hard bottles for the FKT and as handhelds.
  • Garmin Fenix 5X – King of watches
  • ID – Road ID Elite+ so if I die on the trail it won’t take too long to ID the body.
  • Stryd Foot Pod – Pace, distance, metrics
  • Garmin Heart Sensor on Polar Belt – This is a curious combo in that the Garmin belts have a short life span, the Polar’s much longer.
  • Scosche Rhythm+ – I have a wish/hate relationship with this thing.  When it works it’s great.  But it works rarely 100% of a run.   I’ll have ridiculously high HR’s at the start of a run, 20 beats higher than a sustained sprint and 50 beats higher than my warmup pace.  Then it evens out and reads accurately.  Until it doesn’t. I want to like it but so far it’s just not working out.
  • Halo Headcaps – The ones with the rubber strip to channel sweat.  Seems to work for me.
  • REI Light Base layers – Super soft comfy shirt when you need a long sleeve.
  • Cold running – Underarmor Cold Gear tops.
  • Vest: Patagonia running vest
  • Rain Gear: Marmot PreCip rain jacket, Underarmor rain gear.
  • Random T-Shirts – Just random tech shirts, typically in the $8 range.
  • Random Shorts – Underarmor, Champion, Asic, just a odd collection of shorts.
  • Tights – Underarmor baselayers and brooks running tights.
  • Socks – Injini No Shows or Quarters.   Love these socks.


Gimbal not Gambit

After seeing the footage from our Greenleaf 30K I decided to look into ways to making that better and I settled on a Feiyu Tech G5 Gimbal.   In just some quick playing around with it it works fairly well.

I’m going to have to 3D print some shells though to use 18650 batteries as the 22650 it comes with is just super hard to find and I have a bunch of 18650’s for flashlights of various purposes.

It’s heavier than I thought but the craftsmanship is pretty good.

I picked the G5 for a few reasons, looks, it’s just a cleaner look than the other one I was looking at, it has a ‘selfie’ button that makes it easy to do a 180 of the camera, and it was $50 less than the other one I looked at.

Also DC Rainmaker has several months of use with this model and he didn’t say anything bad about it so that’s a big plus.

And a big reason to get a gimbal, a powered one anyway, is I just like toys.  All kinds of toys.   I could have 3D printed a weight based gimbal that would have helped.  But I needed a compact one that I can easily stow in my pack and this one fit the bill.

02012018 Threshold Day

Today was threshold day of 25, 20, 25.   Not a big fan.  But it’s a run day so I run and I’m on a schedule and so I do the planned activity.

Cold, windy, not fun.  🙂

01312018 Stair Day

Today was technically a day off so we decided to do stairs.   We went next door to the 12 story building and went up and down the stairs a few times.  (Un)surprising how you use different muscles to go up stairs than you do to go up hills and just run flats.

Didn’t do more than 25 minutes just to avoid serious strain since we’re going to be doing our last long run on Sunday of about 20 miles in preperation for our marathon in Little Rock.

01302018 Intervals

Nothing really exciting here.  A set of 6 1K intervals with a 90 second recovery between them after a 15 minute warmup and with a post 10 minute cool down.

Stupidly windy, like 30mph so coming back sucked balls against that wind.