Half Fanatic

So as it turns out I reached Half fanatic status, at least the reqs awhile ago and just didn’t know it.  I’m currently in Uranus status.  After our back to back halves at the end of the month that moves us to Jupiter status I believe.

I went ahead and signed up paying the lifetime membership option of $150.   At $55 the first year and $15 each year after that, it didn’t like it would take long all things considered to save money.  Assuming I don’t have a heart attack and die or get mauled by a rabid cougar while running.  In which case it was a waste of money.

It’s step one toward becoming a Double Agent which ever since we first saw the shirts at Route 66 run last fall I’ve wanted to be one.

This year’s T-Shirts (no offense guys and gals) doesn’t have the usual bug eyed guy/gal logo on it and for me that’s a good thing.  Since I don’t have any history with the group or their logo, which they explain in detail how it came about and it’s a interesting story, the artwork is just not to my taste.    It seems like that may be the case with a fair number of people since they ditched the logo on this years merch.

Honestly my #runningwife and I were only going to buy one shirt, the one with the smallest version of that log on it prior to now but I’ll likely buy two or three shirts to have to run in now that I can get one that fits more my personal tastes.

Anyway I’m a half fanatic now, working my way toward Marathon Maniac hopefully this fall with a Full and a 50K within 2 weeks of each other.

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.

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 Gear

Here’s my gear list for the 2018 Little Rock Marathon.  Yes I know it’s a supported race.  Yes I know it’s a road race in the city.  But I like to be prepared and I’m the one carrying the stuff so hush you.   And I don’t like Gatorade or Gu which is what they have in the aid stations.

  • Hydration Vest – Salomon Advanced Skin 12, because it hugs you like your wife did back when she was your girlfriend.
  • Hydration Bottle – Ultimate Direction 500ML bottle with extended nipple.  Mmmm man nipples.  I plan on only have one bottle full at a given time with eFuel mix.  I’ll take plain water from the aid stations.
  • VLOG – GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a self designed and 3d printed selfie stick.
  • Fuel – eFuel in Citrus Punch (awesome), eGel, one of all 5 flavors, candied ginger from Sprouts, Golden and Regular Oreo’s just for a change of texture and flavor.  I don’t plan on needing all of this stuff, I just want it to have options. But Crank Sports fuels work and work really well for me.  And I love candied ginger and it has belly soothing properties as well as anti-inflammatory.
  • REI Lightweight Base Layer long sleeve quarter zip (love these shirts, soooo soft)
  • Either Brooks Running Tights or Champion Shorts with UnderArmor compression shorts depending on weather.
  • Injini Socks (love these things)
  • Scosche HR monitor – Love Hate relationship with this thing.  But it’s more comfortable than my Garmin HR chest belt and 26.2 miles needs comfort.
  • Stryd Foot Pod – Love the precision of this device for pacing and distance.  It’s 99% accurate once it’s calibrated to you.
  • Shoes…. Here’s my conundrum.  I love the Altra Escalante’s and I have a newer pair that have exactly 20.2 miles on them as they’re the ones I ran my last long distance training run in.  But… For 26.2 miles my Altra Paradigm 2.0’s with their little bit of extra cushioning in them on top of the stability feature may be the better option.   The longest run I have in the Paradigms though is around 17 miles.  And they have 150 miles on them.
  • Misc – Half sheet paper towels, I’m one of the ones that cold air makes my nose run like a faucet, baby aspirin (just in case I have a HA en route), half a percocet just in case I hurt something badly.
  • Garmin Fenix 5X – Love this watch for the features that I’ll never need and that it looks like a watch and not a ‘e-watch or smart watch’.
  • Google Pixel 2 XL – For using the Garmin Live Track so my wife can monitor my progress and know if something bad happens en route and for music.
  • Plantronic bluetooth headphones – waterproof, not water resistant, good battery life, good sound and they don’t go into my ears.  I can’t wear in ear headphones for long before the pain gets unbearable.

And there you have my marathon kit.

Salomon Advanced Skin 12

So I’m currently using the Salomon Advanced Skin 12 as my primary running vest.   To give you background I own the Ultimate Direction Jurek FKT and the Cotopaxi Veloz Hydration Pack 6L along with experience with some non-runner specific hydration packs from Source and Camelbak.

The  SAS12 is my current preference, strong preference, for any supported run longer than an hour or two.  The worksmanship in my particular model is good, (is it worth $175? that’s subjective) the feature set is good and the functionality is also good.

The fit is great for me although I’m at the edge of usability due to my #superclydesdale status.  I have a 45″ chest and I have to loosen the chest straps almost all the way.   I’m also 6″-4″ so verticallity is a little shy.

Honestly for me it needs to have about 2″ more width and height but I am pretty far outside the bell curve on both width and height for distance runners so I accept what I cannot change.

The kangaroo pockets in front and back are great, I wish my FKT had them.

The back pouch is okay, the FKT in my opinion has more storage options.

You know if I could get the webbing from the FKT and the kanagaroo pouches from the Salomon along with a bit more material I’d be far closer to having a perfect vest for me.

The chest pockets are decent, I’d prefer one of the ones on the left strap zipper closed or have a key ring hook.    The one of the right should be moved up about 2 inches.  Right now the pocket descends behind the water bottle and into the water bottle pouch.  Makes it a bit of a pain to fish something out that’s small if you have a full bottle in the pouch.

The material is very smooth and comfy and the fit is very good.   The first time I wore I took it out with 2 liter bladder and full bottles up front and the lack of felt bounce was wonderful.  With a similar set up with my FKT I do have to occasionally adjust things as it rides up a bit on me over time.

The side pockets work better for me than the FKT, my Pixel 2 XL fits vertically in it just fine and keeps it close at hand.

Capacity is good, you can stuff a surprising amount of stuff in the vest.

Marmot PreCip

Today I had the choice of running in the rain and 39 degrees or finding some place to run indoors.  So of course I chose to run in the rain.  Right before our Greenleaf 30K trail run it looked like we would be running that in the rain so I picked up Marmot PreCip jackets for myself and the RW on sale.  They were on sale for a ‘reasonable’ amount.  Given what running gear costs.

Anyway I ordered a 2XL size for myself as I wanted some extra room so I could wear my hydration vest and layers under it and it is just about the right size.

Running for 45 minutes in a constant light rain and I had no problems with water penetration.   The rain rolled off it the whole run which was nice.

Breathability was decent for something that was waterproof.  It was also kind of cold but with a 45 minute run including some 5/1 sprints at no time did I feel ‘hot’ nor did I feel like moisture was building up under it.

The 2XL on me (6′-3″) was long enough to keep the water that was rolling off it dropping down onto my thighs leaving my nether yaya dry(ish) which will help with preventing chafing in such conditions.

With the weather forecast right now predicting our first marathon will be in the same type of conditions, wet and cold, it looks like the PreCip will be of real value.

Now if I could only figure out how to keep my feet and socks dry…

Stryd Live aka Stryd Light

The RW (running wife) added a Stryd Light to her arsenal to get better pacing and distance.   I’ve been very happy with my Stryd, it’s precision is pretty phenomonal compared to GPS.   For example on our recent 20 mile run, it measured 10.1 miles out and 10.1 miles back and the start and stop were within 2 meters of each other.

While you ‘can’ run with a Stryd out of the box with a calibration of 100% I believe you really do need to run a calibration run with it.  For instance during our races she was coming up slower than me and her distance was shorter (obviously).

The calibration is to go to a 400 meter track and run 4 laps and the distance should be 1600 meters (duh) then run 8 laps and the distance should be 3200 meters.   If you get less or more than those values then divide the desired number (1600 and 3200) by the actual value.   And then move the decimal two places to the right.

Example:  You should hit 3200 meters but you ended up with 3100.   So divide 3200  by 3100 and get 1.032.   Move the decmial two places right and get 103.2.  Plug that into your calibration value.    Now your measured distance will be multiplied by 103.2 percent and you should be on the nose.    If you measured high, like you got 3250 meters and it should have been 3200 then  3200 / 3250 = 0.984.  Move the decimal two places to the right and you get 98.4 as your calibration value.

After running the calibration I believe she ended up with calibration of somewhere around 101.7 which sounds pretty close to what she should have comparing hers to mine during the races.

My calibration is currently 99.1.   I also ran (re-ran) a calibration run yesterday of 6k.  I lapped at 4 laps and had 1.6K (400×4 = 1.6K).  I then lapped at 9 laps and had 3.6K (400*9) is 3.6K.  Those were around 11:00 minute miles.   My ankle and arch is still bothering me.   And I weight 250lbs.  Don’t judge me.  After those I did one lap at a walk of about 16 minute and ended up with .39k so it was a hair short.  Then I did 1 lap at a 7:00 minute mile and had .4k.    I’ve seen for a while that the Stryd doesn’t register quite as accurately for me at a walk as it does at a run, it always reads a bit short so the .39 was expected.

We still have some training runs to do so we’ll see if we’re closer to the same ballpark when we run together.

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

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.