Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long Race Report

Yesterday we did our last long run before our debut at Rocky Raccoon 50 mile in 3 weeks. We really couldn’t have picked a worse day to have a race. The weather on Friday was 50-60 and no wind, the weather today is clear and no wind although cold. The weather on Saturday was 20’s with 20mph winds gusting to 40mph.

I won’t lie the headwind was real and when we had to cut across it it was worse. A 3/4 angle 40mph gusting in the face as we determined is just more horrible than it bashing you straight on in the face.

The race got off without any issues, we started out doing our planned Rocky pacing which over time proved to be just a little slow for our legs. About 5-8 miles in we ended up going about 30 seconds per mile faster than we’re shooting for for Rocky. This continued over the course of the entire 31 miles.

Due to the cold not everyone showed up we’re guessing and of those that showed up it’s possible a few decided not to go back out on the second lap. In the end only 32 people crossed the finish line the second time to clock in the full 50K.

Support was typical for a street race held by FleetFeet but again the cold cut the number of volunteers down to the barest of bare minimums for lap 1. We’d like to offer our most heartfelt thank you for the few brave souls who came out to support the runners, you’re always appreciated from the bottom of ours and every runners hearts.

3 or 4 miles from the end of lap 2 we started to see groups of 25K runners ahead even with the 8 minute resupply we did from our own car based aid station and some 2 and 3 minute potty breaks. At this point my competitive streak, not very wide but sometimes pointy, kicked in and we kicked the pace up by a couple of minutes per mile and skipped our breaks to reel the runners ahead one by one, group by group. Not the wisest of things to do on a training run but it proved we were capable of doing it and pushed us a bit which with the 3 week taper coming up should in the end make us stronger for Rocky.

For lap 2 it got pretty lonely out there with all but 1 of the aid stations deserted when we came through with no one in sight or possibly trying to warm up in their cars. But there was water and some pretzels and granola bars at each one when we needed them. A trail ultra with fresh cooked bacon and quesadillas it was not but it also doesn’t cost as much as a trail ultra so one can’t complain too much.

Our pacing and plan showed its value as we continued to reel in a few 50K’ers catching up and passing another 5 or 6 who’d started out good but burned out by mile 20-25. In fairness the cold and wind was just miserable. We know of at least one person who seems to have dropped around 40k, at least they didn’t have a finish time.

Tim, the owner of the local FleetFeets, was there along with a helper till the bitterly cold end to greet Bunny and myself as we crossed the finish line for lap 2 completing our second 50K. Even announcing us over the PA system even though there was literally no one else around to hear it. He gave us our medals and as it turned out we placed in our age groups so we got a race logo’d coffee cup as well.

Finishing long distance races with little fanfare and zero crowds or cheering is something we’re used to and will always have waiting for us. We’re never going to be in the front pack where the excitement is. But we run for us (and the medals) not for having a crowd of strangers applauding our showing up at the end of a race. 🙂

Overall it was a good race/run. We cut almost an hour and a half off our 50k PR and half an hour off our trail marathon PR. We proved to ourselves our race plan works. We determined that Spring Energy fuels work for us without any bad side effects and that our fueling and hydration plan worked.

Now just to do it again + 19 miles at Rocky on Feb 9th 2019.

Sacrifices & Rewards

Finally I have (unofficially) broken my 12-year-old Half Marathon PR. Today, thanks to the creative planning of my RH, we Raced The Dawn and I managed break my record by a whole 1:01 for a total finish time of 2:15:15. This was no easy task, and it surprised me just how difficult it ended up being given how confident I was in my abilities to break this record.

What made it so difficult you ask?  (You probably didn’t ask, but I will tell you anyways.)

For starters, in order to make this happen it required extra hydration over the last few days which resulted in numerous trips to the bathroom, including in the middle of the night; eating when it’s rush-hour at Luby’s (5pm); going to bed before 8pm; getting out of bed at the early/late hour of 2am; and leaving my house 45 minutes later, so T-Rex and I could meet at the half way point, stash a vehicle and water reroute, with just enough time to spare to start our “race” at 3:57am (PR time – Sun Rise time).  As previously mentioned in another post this was a re-run of The Golden Driller route, at which this year I failed to break my PR; and at which last year was cancelled on account of torrential rains, gale force winds, and considerable lightning in the area. This resulted in our not getting to run the half marathon we were trained and ready to run, and the decision to plunk down the premium last minute entry fees for the OKC Memorial race the following day, and we know how that race ended up now don’t we?

The official race conditions this year were near perfect for a PR, but it seems our re-run was not able to escape the ‘Curse of the Golden Driller’.  As we arrived at the park, much to our amusement, once again we were met with a torrential downpour, strong winds, and lightning. As we sat in the car watching the sheeting rains there was nothing to do but laugh and check the radar again. Luckily the worst of it passed quickly over us and we were left with steady light rains and winds with cloud-to-cloud lightning far enough away not to be of danger, and just enough time to make our official start time.

So into the rain we stepped, found our official start/finish segment of pavement, set our watches to the same race program we used three weeks ago, and then set off at our race pace.

The weather being what it was actually cooled the morning off enough so that overheating wasn’t as big of a problem as it threatened to be, but all the water on the trail eventually soaked our shoes completely, and by the end of the race I was weighed down, drenched in water from head to toes. My soaked clothes and shoes probably added a good 2lbs of dead weight. But the rain made nice sounds as we ran under the trees that canopy the trail in several areas, so there’s that at least.

It being as late/early as it was and pitch black thanks to the clouds, we discovered that the Riverparks trail lights don’t blaze all night. Luckily we had headlamps to light the trail and all the frogs that hopped in front of us.

And unlike a sponsored public race, and because of the ungodly hour of the morning, in the rain, there was no one else on the trails running but T-Rex and I, which has its pluses and its minuses. On the plus side, you don’t have to constantly bunny hop around other runners, forced to weave and dodge around them expending additional energies. Also there is something nice about the quiet of running in the middle of the night in the rain. Meditative. But on the minus side there were no cheering fans, or by-standers, no support, no one to catch up with, and lastly the lack of energy and enthusiasm that comes from the race high. Not that T-Rex wasn’t good company, quite the opposite, although we ran mostly without conversation on account of the harder pace and need to conserve oxygen, which felt scarcer thanks to all the moisture in the air.

Eventually I was given the direction to “go on without me,” and unlike last-time I did.  Right around mile 10 I broke away and hoofed it as fast as I could go at that point, which wasn’t nearly as fast as I had hoped for and squeaked into the finish with just a minute to spare. But my speed vs T-Rex’s gave me just enough time to grab my celebratory supplies, to setup some finish line tape, and open a confetti popper as he crossed the finish. Mission accomplished.

Many things are sacrificed in the pursuit of one’s personal best. Today that sacrifice was sleep, energy, wear-n-tear on the body, and time with family while I mostly lazed around the house in recovery from my run. I was completely deplete of the energy needed to do more energetic activities most of the day, stove up with some muscle knots in my back, and I couldn’t to do much with my family besides sit around and watch movies. Although I did take them to the pool hoping to help them burn off energy and give me a chance to soak in the hot tub, but the latter didn’t happen and I ended up in more pain than when I went in. Oh well, put some mom points on the board for sacrificing recovery for making happy memories with the kiddos, and hopefully this spasming pain in my back will go away with proper rest home treatments.

But, for me, the sacrifices made were worth the feeling of accomplishment that came with finally putting this PR win on the board. And because no race would be complete without bling, separately–unbeknownst to each other,  T-Rex and I both made, and had made, special awards and medals to make official our First Place Male and Female statuses of Race the Dawn, a RunSalty production.

Today turned out to be one our most memorable and fun events, and though T-Rex doesn’t know it yet, I am going to propose that we do this again next year, and turn this into a yearly event. Next year maybe our friends will join us as we try and beat the sunrise again and break the curse of the Golden Driller.


Back to Back Half Marathons

We’ll be doing back to back half marathons this coming weekend.  Technically 2 half marathons within about 26 hours.  The first one will be the Golden Driller Marathon put on by FleetFeet in Tulsa, OK.

Then we’ll head to Oklahoma City to do the OKC Memorial Marathon half.   I’m still very unpleased by their decision to ban hydration vests and this will be the last time I do the OKC run as a result. But it’s their marathon and they get to choose what rules they want to add to the run and I respect that right.  But I also have no desire to change the way I run based on a rule I disagree with.   Especially for a race that has a No Refund policy and race directors that choose to change the rules well after most people have paid to participate in their race.

We’re going to be shooting for a sub 2:15 half result at Golden Driller.   It’s a bit of a push, I _just_ broke a 2:20 half (#250lbnonrunner), and as a result I don’t if I’ll be able to squeeze that out of me. I’ll have to do a little more tapering than normal, this half just happens to fall on the same weekend I’m doing a half for training purposes for my trail marathon in June.   Doing two is pushing that.

I believe my #runningwife is more than capable of breaking her own PR of 2:16:xx that she set at the Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco several years ago.   She’s not hampered by the extra 100 lbs of weight between us and 15 years younger and #better so I’m just going to try not to be a #boatanchor for her and push her to set a new PR for herself.

To do that I’m going to be trying a 6-30 run walk run.   6 minutes of 10:00 pace, 30 seconds of walking whatever that turns out to be.   If my math is right that’s a 2:15 and change.

But it’s going to be a hard sell for my old dinosaur body so we’ll see.

But barring cardiac arrest I’ll finish both and that will move up out of Uranus and into Jupiter as my Half Fanatic status.   Not that I mind Uranus.

Hogeye Half Marathon

This last weekend I ran the Hogeye Half Marathon in Springdale Arkansas.  Sadly I did it without my normal running partner, aka my #runningwife.  I did though have a running buddy, a much better runner than me normally and when he tries he’s #awesome but he dialed it back and ran at my ancient dinosaur pace.

We drove down the morning of, getting there right at 5:00 a.m.  We went to the tent to try and do our pick up they weren’t ready for us, technically no one was there at all, so we went back to the car to change and then headed back where of course there was now a line.

There was a lot of issues with bibs just in the few people in front of me.  Most couldn’t be found, one guy didn’t seem to have ever registered for the race.   One marathon runner was a little pissed that he couldn’t get a shirt in his size showing up late on the day of the race.

And as it turned out the guy I was running with ended up with someone else’s bib.  I hope Joshua isn’t too upset about his time.

The course wasn’t bad, it wasn’t awe inspiring, it was a city run after all in what is basically a small town but it wasn’t bad.  And the last 3 miles wasn’t uphill which was very much appreciated.

I hadn’t planned on running this one fast, I wasn’t really ‘feeling’ it to be honest but I knew I wasn’t doing based on feel.

As usual I started off a little slow (for me, a lot slow for others) but you know what, as usual I ended up passing some of those folks later on who went out too fast and burned out.  It can be hard to set a plan and even harder to stick to it. But I’ve found over and over that setting a plan enables me to finish stronger.   But as always run your race, not others.

Springdale has a nice wooded area near the lake which they share with Fayetteville and it was a nice place to put part of the route.  Although it was a wee bit hilly to be honest.

For the most part the 2018 route had some sharper hills but they were usually quick to deal with and move on, only one long gradual climb.

Around mile 10 or so I knew I’d been going fast enough that I had it in the cards to set a new PR so I stepped it up a bit and the last few miles rolled past as I ‘ate up’ several people that I’d been playing tag with or that had passed me earlier.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out a heart felt thank you to an incredibly lovely but nameless girl that I leap frogged a couple of times.  She brightened the cold dreary day by just being visible.  But in the end getting a new PR beat out hanging back with her so I moved on.

The last mile was very ziggy and zaggy but coming around the last corner I could see the clock at the finish line and it was ticking up to 2:20 so I kicked it up as much as I could, breaking into a 7min pace for that block thank you very much, and I crossed the line with 8 seconds to spare, with a 2:19:52 cutting another couple of minutes of my half PR which I’d just set 2 weeks earlier cutting 7 minutes off my PR with that one.

I’m going to try and break 2:15 with my next half which is in a week and change just to let my running wife get a new PR for ‘real’.  She has a 2:16 and change PR from several years ago when she ran the Nike Half in San Francisco.   I think she could easily break 2:16 if she wasn’t stuck with #boatanchor in the form of a old reptile.

But I’ll do what I can to get her there.

Gear for this one included (it was damn cold with 20mph winds):

  • Brooks Running Tights
  • Underarmour Shorts (had to wear this to avoid getting naked in the parking lot)
  • Underarmour Infrared Top
  • Chowder Dish Running club shirt
  • Patagonia Vest
  • Garmin HR monitor
  • Ultimate Direction Endure waist belt
  • Crank Sports eFuel and eGel
  • Altra Paradigm V3.0
  • Stryd Footpod
  • Injini Socks
  • Sweetheart Run stocking cap

Solo PR

Went out this morning and ran a 5k for time and then some extra for endurance.   I set a new PR beating my last PR time by 1:21 and I didn’t really feel like I was pushing it.  My new 5K is 33:26.  Not earthshaking although some would argue when I run the earth does shake but each month brings some incremental improvement.

And while tight and narrow is good in some areas”

As long as I’m seeing improvement then I’m doing something right.  Right?

I could feel the pace obviously but running solo recreationally is not the same as running as a pack in a pay to play race.  So I believe I could shave another full minute off that to be honest in a race situation and with some proper preparation.  I run a calorie deficit 99 days out of a 100 and on top of that a low carb intake so my energy stores at any given time are not what yours probably are.

But all my planned 5k’s till about November I’m running with slower runners so it’ll be awhile before I can set an ‘official’ PR for a 5k. So I’ll have to deal with GPS based or lap based on a measured track PR’s.

Tomorrow I have a 2 hour ish training run and then a trail run of 4K right afterwards.  The trail run is a organized race.  I’d thought about doing the 8K trail run but was talked out of it.   The talk made sense, the 8K is two laps of the 4K so why bother?  The purpose of the run is to get a taste of trail running, not see the same scenery twice.

This was a last minute race, I’d chalked it off since the race description didn’t mention a T-Shirt much less a medal but yesterday they posted a picture of the medal on facebook which while I’m not on facebook one of my running friends is so he sent it over.

I’m going to be running in Leadville V3’s tomorrow on the trail.  As a card carring member of the bigfoot club I have very few options in shoes.   The Leadvilles are one of the few options that come specifically in a 13 4E.   And thus I have some.

I bought some Vazee Summits online since they were so cheap on the hope they’d work but they were impossibly narrow.   And while tight and narrow is good in some areas, in shoes it’s just not a great thing for me.

The Leadvilles are nice and light but the heel cup feels shallow to me compared to the Nimbus 18 and 19’s.

I’ve already put a pair of Engo blister resist heel patches in them.   I’m going to be putting them in all my shoes actually.  I believe for me they just make sense to increase the life of my shoes and decrease the risk of blisters.

Another thing I’m trying is Leuko cloth tape.  This stuff is far superior to the standard cloth athletic tape.  It sticks like… glue?   It’s slicker than athletic tape so there’s less friction which equals less skin movement.

If you weren’t aware blisters aren’t caused by friction per se, it’s caused by forces being applied to the skin that creates shearing action which causes the layers to break apart.  The skin layers separating is obviously not a great thing and as with any violent action to the human body, bodily fluids are released and thus you have those watery liquid filled puffy blisters.

And running with blisters sucks as anyone who’s had them knows.

No Solo Mio

Set a new PR today for a 10k of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 54 seconds.   Some folks are rolling their eyes at at that I’m sure.   But try putting a backpack of 70lbs on your back and 25lb ankle weights on each ankle and let’s see where we stack up against each other.  🙂   That’s roughly the difference in weight between myself and the average male distance runner.

she was eaten by zombies twice”

This was the 10K Z4 training run of the Garmin level I HR based half marathon training.  Week 8 or 9 I think.    Tomorrow is a Z2 hour run.

I have issues with Z4’s.   I can’t sustain it for long much less 6 miles, I’m pretty much a Z3 racer/runner when I push it.    My heart is more like a semi truck than a Porsche.  It takes time to ramp up and the gas pedal only goes down so far to reach the top end.   Bu

I was running with a girl, technically a woman but women younger than me by more than 10 years are girls in my mind.   This was her first 10k run in several years and 2 kids ago.  She’s doing so much better than me.   From nothing to 10k in 2 months to reach a pace it took me 6 months to reach.    She’s a Porsche.   She runs sustained at a heart rate that would quite literally kill me.

Granted she was eaten by zombies twice when the random zombie chases of Zombie Run kicked in and she couldn’t kick in the 20% faster pace necessary to escape.  The zombie chases are brutal if you’re already near the top of your distance sustained pace.

So in the event of a real zombie apocalypse it’s good to know I don’t have to outrun the fast zombies I just have to out run her.