Archive March 2018

First Half of Half Fanatics Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be the first half of the two races I need to get into the Half Fanatics.  Next weekend is a 25K which will satisfy the entry level ‘2 halfs in 16 days’.   It’s not so much that I want to be a Half Fanatic but that I want to be a Double Agent.  Which requires both Half Fanatic and Marathon Maniac membership.

My dear running wife will pick up her entry into the Half Fanatics at the end of the month when we both do back to back halves and jump up to “Neptune” level.

Why?  Because we thought the shirts were cool last year when we ran the Route 66 half.

And it’s both a way to ‘show off’ and a way to encourage others to maybe push through that barrier they think they have and achieve even more.  Honestly because of those Double Agent shirts is the only reason I’m considering doing 2 marathons in 2 weeks and that will require some extensive pushing through barriers both mental and physical.

And for whatever reason my post mid life crisis seems to require me to try to push those limits before I can’t.

TellTale Heart (Or Not)

So on our 30 minute recovery run on Wednesday ‘my’ heart rate was in the 160’s seconds after the run started.  Obviously wrong.  I can’t hit 160 with a 8 minute sprint.

So I try various things, I stop and start the run.  I take the Fenix off my wrist in case it’s picking up cadence, nope the LED’s aren’t on.  I pull the Garmin HR belt away from my chest.  My HR goes up.

I take the chest belt off.   Still reading between 160 and 180, it’s going up and down incrementally as I jog along without any sensor against my skin and with the LED’s on the watch turned off.

I’m left going…. WTF?

I end up averaging 160+ BPM for that run.

All I can say is lately I just can’t depend on anything to read my HR correctly.  I’ve gone through two Scosche’s, 2 HR belts, changed the battery in my HR sensor and they’re all just jacked up.

And yes I know my HR wasn’t that high.  Fingers on neck and counting my pulse and I’m getting around 120 (ish) BPM which would be spot on for the pace that I was doing.

It seems like I’m just generating some weird anti-technology vibe since last fall that keeps jacking with whatever system I use for HR measurements.   So annoying.

Snakes on a Run

Yesterday we ran the TATUR Snake Run 3 Hour run.  The race was held on Turkey Mountain in Tulsa and was a 3.75(ish) lapped run.   There was another course, a 1/2 mile, loop runners could use to rack up more distance if they hit the point where they didn’t have the time to finish the big loop.  Not finished = not counted.

The course was a gently sloped up and down, shaped like a W based on my Fenix’s tracking.   The course was well marked with streamers, chalk and hazard tape to keep people on course.   It was a mix of double/triple wide track and single track and primarily hard packed dirt with some sand and rocks thrown in for good measure (typical Turkey Mountain Pink Trail).

It was mostly an out and back with a slight alternate loop on the way back to get the distance up to 3.75 I assume.

The weather turned out to be gorgeous for the race in spite of the possibility of heavy rains but they held off till later that afternoon.

Support was good with an aid station at the turn around which was offset a little in distance at the turn around that you passed going and coming.  There was always the usual trail fare, pretzels, cookies, nutter butters, bananas, pb&j’s, trail mix, gummies spread out along with water and some energy drink, gatorade maybe, waiting for anyone that needed.  I only used the water since I prefer eFuel after trying everything under the sun.

There was also the adult beverage aid station where if you needed something a little stronger to get you through the lap it was available.

We went out a little fast as usual but we had 3 laps done with 47 minutes and change left over.  I made the possibly dumb decision based on how I was feeling to see if we could get the 4th lap in and honestly a half mile in I felt like it was the wrong decision.  Energy levels were low, no sleep, lack of training in the two weeks prior trying to recover from the Little Rock Marathon and injury had me telling my partner to go on. Which she didn’t do but which she could have.

I used to hold an edge in endurance while she was the fast one but the student has become the master.  Anymore it seems like we keep each other moving, one of us will be struggling and the other picks up the slack.  Although the last couple of races I’ve been the one doing the leaning.  Not sure what I’m going to do on solo runs, have to find myself a temporary running wife I guess. (Just kidding!)   [Or am I?]

Anyway with her there to keep me moving we finished lap 4 with 42 seconds to spare by my clock, I stopped the timer at 2:59:18, even though up until the last 90 seconds I thought it was a done deal, as in we weren’t going to make it.

As of right this minute we only got credit for 3 laps as I believe they’d moved everything over to the half lap at that time and weren’t really expecting a last second finish on the big loop.   No worries though, Garmin and us know what when we finished. 🙂  I did ping the race director to see if we could get our 4th one made official as that would officially have both of us placing 3rd in our age group which would be a pretty cool result.

The laser cut and painted wooden finisher medal was a nice touch, better than the Greenleaf 30K medal for sure.

All in all while I’m not a huge fan of lap races personally the Snake Run is definitely worth running especially if you live in the area.  Most of the runners were super nice, with many offering encouragement each time you passed them by.

Gearwise I ran with the following which is my expected ultra gear so I wear it for any run longer than an hour or two so I can make sure we’re happy together –

  • Shoes:  Altra Lone Peak 3.5
  • Socks: Injini
  • Footpod: Stryd
  • Shorts: Champion
  • Underlayer: Underarmor compression shorts
  • Shirt: REI quarter zip base layer
  • HR: Garmin HR chest monitor
  • Watch/Timer: Fenix 5X
  • Vest: Salomon Adv Skin 12 with Ultimate Direction soft flask with straw.
  • Hydration:  Crank Sports eFuel
  • Fuel: Crank Sports eGel
  • Run Plan:  10 minute run, 1 minute walk (didn’t stick to it as well as I could have)

031818 – The Wall and Teeter Totters

Today we ran our first race since the Little Rock Marathon, the Snake Run, a three hour 3.75 mile trail loop through our local urban wilderness area, Turkey Mountain. It was no easy run. Despite injury and pain, and perhaps some unseen bruising, my running partner once again set out and met his goal, completing 4 laps,  (15 miles), while I ran mostly behind (mostly). We did this in just a hair under 3 hours. Mission accomplished with only one fall. I am not saying who fell, that really isn’t important. Overall it was a great race. It wasn’t without it’s challenges, or falls, or walls, but I’ll put this one in the ‘Had Fun’ column for sure.

After having been by my running partners side (or behind) as he’s pushed through his personal ‘walls’ on several occasions now, including our marathon, I wanted to take this opportunity to say how amazing it is to witness and be a part of. Inspirational comes to mind. (I know that is a tad sappy, deal with it, it gets worse)

We have all been there–had a bad day, where we just can’t get our head in the game, or when it’s just simply hard-as-hell and painful. But it is different when it’s not you, but instead it’s the other person that’s struggling.  During our longest runs so far, Greenleaf 30K, our 20 mile training run, and the Little Rock Marathon, we both encountered moments where it was extremely difficult to push through the pain (The Wall), and find strength to put one foot in front of the other, but having the other person there, I think, is one of the things that kept us going.  Sometimes to climb over a wall it’s just easier with another person to give you a boost. (Sappier still. You were warned.)

I think, we seem to find our own strength when the other person is struggling to find theirs. We dig deep because we know the other person is doing the same to overcome their own battles. We ignore our own pains because we see the other person moving forward in spite of theirs. Bearing witness to someone fight extreme pain can make you feel helpless, and is almost painful by itself; it’s in that place where we find strength of our own to support the other person, in whatever way we can (or they will allow), and that helps us push through, and almost forget our own pain (almost).  Our partnership is like riding a teeter totter. When one is down the other is up. (Okay down right saccharine I know. Sorry, not sorry.)

Today, similar to Little Rock and countless other runs, when the teeter totter shifted, it took us both working hard to restore balance. More often than not, we are right in the middle… let’s just hope one of us doesn’t decide to jump off suddenly. (ouch!)

Vlogging Little Rock Marathon

I knew it was going to be fewer but I was surprised at how few clips I did record on the Little Rock Marathon 2018.   Frankly it was a boring race for the most part and the last 1/3 was very painful both physically and mentally wondering just how much damage I was doing to myself.

But I’m happy to report the mic set up I used worked really well.  The sound is clear and crisp and there’s no scritchy noises and no wind noise.   I’ll work on compiling it and posting it but it’s not all that good and frankly would just be for a few people who were there or are part of my running crew that would care.

This is the mic I used and will be using.  I drilled a hole in a spare GoPro housing I picked up cheap that I feed the USB through and with the gopro on my custom self stick which has room for the mic to sit inside it’s pretty compact without a lot of snag material.

You can get the selfie stick over at my profile on thingiverse here.

Being Injured Hurts

After our marathon I’ve been forced to take it easy and by easy I mean pretty much do nothing.  I keep trying to run and I keep having to bow out within a couple of miles.

Being injured hurts and not in the obvious way.   It feels like I can feel all the effort I’ve put into getting this far slipping out while I’m benched.  I know I can make it up and I know I’m not losing as much as it feels I am but still… being injured hurts.

I’ve run once this week since Sunday’s atrocity of a run.  I’ve got a 3 Hour run this Sunday, a lap trail race with the laps at 3.75 (ish) miles.   I’m hoping to get 4 laps in, will settle for 3.  If my quads will hold up and let me do my slow dinosaur thing.

I would much rather have to stop running because I’m out of energy or wind or whatever.  I hate having to stop running due to injury.

My dear running wife got me a t-shirt that is pretty awesome.  It says “I ran 26.2 miles because I’m a Badassasaurus” which is pretty cool.  I have something coming for her, technically us so we can be twinsies, that she’ll hopefully like as much.

I got my V3 Paradigm’s in yesterday.  They’re definitely not as ‘duck foot’ as the V2’s I have but they’re longer, almost too long, the next size down might be better.  I just can’t win on shoes since I can’t try them on in person since no one carries my big foot sizes.

Honestly how hard is it for a shoe company to make a shoe and sell it as a specific size?  It’s not like a size 13 varies in length depending on the month. It’s a very fixed, down to the millimeter, length.  And yet, literally, Altra shoes models in a size 13 vary by as much as half an inch in length between the models.

The Escalante is the only shoe of theirs I’ve owned that a size 13 is ‘true sizing’ for me.

But such is life in the shoe lane when you’re a #notarunner.

Little Rock Marathon 2018 – Done

Let me preface this that my running partner was a rock on this race.  She held up with smiles and support for me the entire course in spite of me getting more than a little snappish.  I was so inwardly focused dealing with the race in the mid part and the pain in the latter part that any intrusions into my focus were the sand in the oyster problem, i.e. irritations. And no pearls resulted.

But that’s one of the good things about our duo is so far when one or other of us gets mentally out of shape the other not only manages to put up with it without smacking the person they manage to pull them out of it.  What’s going to happen when we both get into a bad headspace remains to be seen but I think it’ll be fine.

The Little Rock Marathon 2018 has come and gone and we survived although to be honestly I was seriously starting to question what injury I might have been doing to my body starting around the time we were coming down that ridiculously long hill between miles 13 and 17.   I’ve already suffered one case of Rhabdomyolysis so far in my running career and that 4 miles(ish) of grinding uphill had me feeling the same muscle damage and pain in the kidney region on this run.

So on top of what was turning into pretty excruciating pain with every step, especially when I ‘changed gears’ i.e. shifted from run to walk and walk to run, I had the concern of actually dying from potential kidney failure, or of at least inflicting additional kidney damage onto myself and that stuff doesn’t heal well or at all.  The damage tends to be cumulative.

But… I’ve not always done what’s right and I pushed through each bolt of pain as I moved each leg forward and back.  After we came down from the hills and hit the river walk flats I knew from driving the course that I had a few miles of flat to recover and the next two hills were steep but short and the grade into the finish line was a shallow climb.  And between you and me there wasn’t a chance I wasn’t going to finish that race if I had to crawl to the finish line peeing blood the whole way.

In the end we were on pace or ahead of pace all the way to the top of those hills, another mistake; I should have slowed down knowing I had miles of hills to go up but I was focused on breaking 5 hours for our first marathon.  And pushing hard uphill cost us big time in time as we finished in 5:30 and a few seconds.

Based on my energy levels and general physical state I believe we could have broken 5:00, perhaps not easily but doable, but the long climb did me in.  At no point was I feel fatigued or out of energy

The Marathon as a race was well done, well supported although the back half wasn’t quite as well supported as the front half but it was good enough.   Support was good and *gasp* they didn’t do something stupid like prevent us from wearing hydration vests like the OKC Memorial Marathon has recently announced, now that most people have already paid their non-refundable entry fees.  Yes that pisses me off and no I won’t be running the OKC Memorial Marathon races again.

We ran the 5K the day before which though was more of a pain.  They didn’t enforce corrals and we were in our corral and the first several minutes of the race was literally weaving and waiting our way through walkers and strollers.  It cost us too much time just breaking free to have a chance at a PR which was disappointing.   One thing I’ve always done is put myself in the queues about where I think I’m going to finish.   I’m not asking others to do it, just be aware if you’re planning on walking a race then perhaps in the front of the race queues may cause other runners inconvenience.

As with every time we push ourselves and go for a new record race we try to learn something from it and we find out if we’ve reached our limits. I’m happy to say yes I’ve learned it may be best to give up some time on a really hard section of the race to avoid losing more time later on due to damage/injury.    And I’ve learned I can push through a whole lot of pain for a long time frame and keep moving forward.  I already knew that but it helps to have it reaffirmed.

So no, a marathon is not my limit.  Not even close.

As usual I’d like to give a shout out for all the volunteers who man the registration, aid stations, recovery tents, whatever.   Without you people these races wouldn’t be possible in a safe manner and quite literally you potentially save lives with each race through the support you give.

I recorded some footage of the race with my GoPro but not as much as I might like.  The route was for the most part boring in terms of scenery and there just wasn’t much to talk about.  And latter on it was all I could to do to keep moving forward at more than a shuffle.  But if it’s not too horrible I’ll post it.