01272018 Greenleaf Run

So today we ran the Greenleaf Trail 30K.   It was a lot of fun.  At 19.5(ish) miles it was our longest distance and it took us a looong time.   At our skill levels there was just a lot of trail we couldn’t run without significant risk.  And with our first marathon in 4 weeks we chose to err on the side of caution.

This run was primarily just to have a long weekend run and to push our selves a bit.

We had a great time being outraged at the lack of flat ground, having to go miles on the side of a hill trying to walk on ground sloped at 45 degree angle which is super hard on the ankles.

Around mile 10 we got passed by a 67 year old woman, never did catch her.

Around mile 15-16 we started running into cramping problems with muscles we don’t normally use for due to road running primarily.  For me it was my inside groin muscles, the ones that run down the inside of your thighs.  For my RW it was hamstrings and assorted other places.

I used a GoPro for the first time and filmed some snippets on each mile although mile 18 and 19 got lost although I was able to do a second mile 19.  Battery failure.  That was fun and I learned some things about filming on a run.  I now have a gimbal to help with keeping video steady that I need to learn to use.

When I get around to putting the videos together I’ll post them on the Run Salty channel on Youtube primarily for friends and family to pretend to enjoy watching.  It’s really about having the memories to look back on later on down the road.

All in all it was a good run for multiple reasons, a it was just a lot of fun, b it pushed us a bit in terms of effort both mental and physical, c it was a lot of fun.

Equipment used:

Lone Peak 3.5 from Altra – Held up well, they’re servicable, not my ideal shoe but good enough

Stryd FootPod – Does not work well with a mix of run hike.  Was almost a mile and a half short of the 19.5 run.

Garmin Fenix 5X  – Best option of the watches out there for me for various reasons.

Road ID – So someone can identify the body.

Google Pixel 2 XL – Wonderful camera for taking still images and streaming music.

Saloman Skin 12 – Wonderful vest, highly recommend.  Not perfect but very close.

Ultimate Directiojn Soft Flasks with Extended Nipples – Lets you drink your fuel without having to take the flask out.

Source Hydration Bladder – The Milspec version 2L with insulated hose in Coyote Brown

EFuel – Wonderful drink mix for fueling.  Works very well for me.

EGel – Wonderful gels for fueling.  Works very well for me.

GoPro Hero 4 Silver – Audio sucks while its in it’s case.   Just be aware.  Mounted to a selfie stick of my own design and 3D printed on a MakerWorks MendelMax 3 printer in PLA.

Garmin HR Senson on Polar Chest Belt – HR monitoring sucked for some reason with a metric butt ton of drop outs and missing data.

Underarmor bike shorts, Champion shorts, REI Thin Base Layer shirt, Halo skull cap

 

01202018 10K Race

Ran a 10K with one of my running wives this morning.  it was her first 10K. It’s interesting how much running so slow, 14 min mile pace, which at one time was my pace interferes with my current stride/gait/etc.   6 miles at that pace feels like 12 at my current pace of 11 ish average.

Nothing super significant about this run really.   We came, we saw, we ran, we finished.

Quest for the 50K

The search for our 50K continues. “The” 50k we want, okay I want, is one that doesn’t have a ton of elevation change, no loops although a minor lollipop is okay, the scenery has to be decent, it has to have a long enough cut off that I can finish it and it has to be well supported. My primary running wife would prefer a trip to Paris and not Texas but she’s got bigger tastes than I do. For me the race is the thing, the achievement of doing something I would have had no idea was possible.

Cut off times is an issue. I’m not fast. I’m currently at my lowest weight since I was in high school and that’s 250lbs. It takes a lot of energy to move that much mass. Your typical runner is going to be more like 160 to 170 so I’m humping 80lbs more. Imagine putting an 80lb backpack on and then going and running?

Since the longest distance we’ve done is 17+ miles we don’t really have any idea of how fast we can do 31 miles. Or if we can. That 17 mile day was a good day for me but a bad one for my RW. I felt like I could have gone a few more miles pretty easily. She was done in.

When things get tough for us we tend to diverge. She hurts more when she walks than when she trots. Me I’m the opposite, I’m out of energy and ‘done’ and walking is a chore.

Due to the cut off time, a 50K that’s part of a longer race is a preferred set up because they have longer cut off times. When 50K is the longest race the cut off times seem to be 7.5 to 8 hours. Yes I know, who can’t run 31 miles in 7.5 hours? Well… probably me, especially if there are serious hills involved.

There’s a local 50K in June that I’m probably going to try regardless. Why not? I can drive there before the race, the race proceeds go to keep wild horses a place to hang and you get a bandana of the route map. Seems like a no brainer to try it.

It’s certainly not my ideal ‘first race’ for a 50k. But at some point I’ve got to give it a shot regardless and a cheap local race if I fail is far less disappointing than spending a grand flying somewhere, hotel, race and daily expenses and getting a DNF.

5 Mile Trail Run

My running wife, the one I’m not married to, and I did a 5 mile trail run recently that was pretty technical back on Labor day.  She did a good job of putting up with my pace (don’t let her tell you otherwise) and not sprinting out ahead.

I ended up on all fours in the middle of the trail

There was a couple of stretches where we had to walk simply due to congestion on the trails which were single file in a few locations.

The end result was another distance where I finished with little pain from my ITBS area which again points to the physical therapy routines I’m doing actually helping.

Trail running is really just more enjoyable than road running but it can be more painful for sure.  On technical sections you really have to watch your footing, loose rocks, roots, deeper sand, gremlins or bad things can happen.

And those bad things happened to me twice.  I ended up on all fours in the middle of the trail and while under some circumstances that’s not a bad thing at all, in this case I left skin from two elbows, one forearm and two knees behind.  Rug burns but without the enjoyment of getting them.

The biggest problem I have is on the semi-smooth/easy stretches I let my guard down and start scanning the trail further down, not where my feet are landing.  As a result I tripped over a rock and a root.   The second one also wrenched the muscles in the right side of my back.

That’s not a complaint now, I’ve already been back on the trails and will be back again, and again.

It’s just a warning that trail running has dangers that are different than those of road running.  You’re more likely to take a fall, you’re even more likely to get lost, hopefully not to the point where they have to send in a rescue team but to the point you may end up running further than  you planned.

And it does require a bit more in terms of gear.  A hydration vest or pack IMO is preferable to hand helds for trail running so that your hands are free to catch yourself in a fall.  Of course if you never fall then go with whatever works.

 

Half Marathon Man (original title I’m sure)

So… first half marathon, all 13.3 miles of it, done.  Yes I know but SPR wasn’t possible since there were 25,000 runners and #notarunner in the race and I didn’t know the route as this was a very last minute race.

freezing my testicles off didn’t help.”

My planned race the day before got thunderstormed out and cancelled.  So… my running partner, her husband and myself signed up last minute for the OKC Memorial Marathon.  Half marathon technically.  I drove down the day of after about 3 hours sleep and we ran the race.

It was unexpectedly cold, colder than I was ready for and dressed for so that was a thing.  Pre race it was low 40’s and I was dressed for mid 50’s. And by the end of the race, soaking in sweat with a bajillion mile an hour wind in my face along the last mile it was OMG cold.

The race went pretty well all things considered.  I lost my running partner somewhere between miles 6 and 9.  I kept looking back and she was there and then she was gone.  I tried to find her a couple of times and then I thought maybe she’d passed me but I was alone at the end of the race and as a result we didn’t cross the finish line together.  That’s my biggest disappointment of the race.

In the end we had pretty good run I think.  I wasn’t super happy with mine but it was acceptable.  I’d planned on doing a 2:36 and ended up with a 2:39.   With better pacing it could have been a 2:30 I think.

My running partner crossed a little after me.   Our other running friend cut several minutes off his half marathon PR and this was a hilly race so he did super awesome.   He has a plan to be a BQ in the next couple of years and I really think he can do it.  He runs like a madman and doesn’t follow any training schedules.

The OKC Memorial run was very well put on, good corral management, there was no congestion on the race at all.  My races up till now the front of the herd is always full of slow runners and walkers so the first half mile is always a juggle as the herd thins out and everyone finds their natural paces.   This was a pretty nice change.

Lots of aid stations, one every mile and a half or so supplying both water and powerade and the volunteers seemed actually happy to be there in the 40 degree and damp weather.

My only issues and they’re minor is the finisher shirt hand out took some time to straighten out and the line for the promised Carl’s Jr hamburger was about a billion miles long so I ended up with a banana.

I had a few minutes of being in a bit of a mood after the race was over, mostly just knocking on myself for having to walk a couple or three times during the last 2 miles (again a hilly race) and wondering how my partner was doing.   Then having to wait a a fair long time in the line for the finisher shirt while freezing my testicles off didn’t help.

But it passed and in the end I was okay with it and that’s a key thing to take away from any race.

All in all while it was a super expensive race (major race, sign up at the last minute and have to travel = not cheap) I think it was worth it.  It was the last long race till Fall that the four of us were going to be able to do together.   I have another half in a couple of weeks but that will be the last non-5K available in the area for the summer.

Gear wise I ran in my Nimbus 18’s with my Stryd on it.  The Stryd measured 13.27 miles while my Fenix 3HR measured 3.40 miles.   13.27 wasn’t unexpected as there wasn’t any way I was doing the SPR on the course.  At one point one of my feet got wet from getting splashed and I was worried about a blister after feeling my sock start to bunch up but it worked itself out.  But my Stryd seems to read slightly high on mileage so I set the calibration factor on my Fenix 5 down to 99.7% so it should get a little closer to perfect.

My biggest take away from the half marathon was confirmation that road running is boring.  Mind numbingly boring.

But my goal is to finish a 50K on a trail so that’s less boring.  Better scenery, more interesting and entertaining running and being one of the few who make it beyond a half marathon and the very few who make it past a marathon.   I’m not sure my physiology (so not built to run) and let’s be honest starting training to run a 50K when you’re 50 while oddly ironic isn’t necessarily the best starting point.

But what else do I have to do with my spare time?

 

Racing all 10 of the k’s

Ran my first real 10k race today.   By real I mean one that I was able to run it at my pace, as slow as that pace is.

I guess mine suffered from shrinkage as it has been cold”

I ended up with 1:08:00 for my 10K time.  This shaved 6+ minutes off my last 10K PR time so that’s not bad.    I was also able to get negative splits on almost every mile.  Only mile 2 was a few seconds slower than the preceding mile.   Average pace was 10:54.  My last mile was at a 10:12 pace.

I felt okay at the end of the race and now which means I could have shaved a another minute or two off my total time.   At no time was I huffing although the last 3 miles saw my HR creep from a low Zone 3 and into Zone 4.   That’s telling me that my upcoming half (April 28th) I’ll have to slow it down.

Using the Race Predictor in Pace+ for Android it’s showing me at a 2:30 for a half.    Which is IMO far more realistic than the Garmin race predictor which has me running a half in 1:51:19.    The Garmin’s predictions in my opinion are more than a little jacked up.   I can’t do a mile in 8 flat much less the 5K Garmin says I can do in 24:12.   I’m honestly not sure what Garmin uses to get these numbers but they’re far more enthusiastic for everyone I know who has them than is possible.

Anyway the Pace+ at 2:30:00 is right where I think I may land.  If I can do a half in 2:30 I’ll be fairly okay with that.   I’m still 120lbs heavier than the average distance runner.  That’s a LOT of dead weight to be carrying over long distances.  It’s better than the almost 200lbs over the average runner I did have.

This race I ran with a Nathan hand held, I really like the strap on those, super soft materials.   In it I had 150calories worth of Tailwind Orange, basically a scoop and a half.   I went through almost all of the 15oz of it over the course of the race.  The bottle supposedly holds 16 oz but I guess mine suffered from shrinkage as it has been cold.  Or the fact that it’s double shelled for insulation is consuming some of the internal space.

For the Golden Driller Half I’ll be wearing my Jurek FKT vest with the one 20oz bottles of plain water and one with a 2 scoop Tailwind mix. I’ll also put probably 20oz or so in my bladder, not so much because I may need it all but to just balance things out.

Tomorrow is a 10K training run and I’m going to try the Green Tea Tailwind, I ordered a sampler pack to find out if I like one of the other flavors better.   The Green Tea version appeals as it has caffeine in it which on early morning runs I can use to keep a caffeine headache at bay.   I also picked up a bottle of SaltStick Plus tabs which have caffeine in them that I can also use to offset a headache.

I found the Tailwind to be better for me than any of the gels.  I still prefer Stinger Waffles for taste, texture, enjoyment, but Tailwind is likely to become my primary fuel source for longer runs and I’ll reserve chewables for pre-race carb hits.

My Hoka Clifton 3’s held up well during the race, no complaints with them at all.   I believe this is the first >4 mile run I’ve done in them.  If I don’t find anything better I’ll probably order a couple or three pairs when the Clifton 4’s come out and the 3’s take a price cut.   They’re not OMFG good but they’re good enough to invest in if there’s nothing better.   I’m hoping the Topo road shoes get an upgrade this year, I’d love to give them another shot.

Hand Holding

I’ve added a couple of hand helds to my inventory and have been using one lately.   On 2+ hour runs my arms, especially my left one has been bothering me so I thought adding hand helds would help in conditioning my arms to be bent at an L shape for hours on end.   And it lets me not use my belt which can be annoying if I have anything more than keys and my phone on it.

having the most cushion you can get will make it more comfortable for all concerned.”

The jury is still out on if I care for the handhelds.   For trail runs they restrict my ability to catch myself on a fall or use trees as hand holds when the trails get really technical.   Also since I carry my phone with me so that my wife can track me using Garmin Live Track it puts my phone at risk; if I have to catch myself the phone is going to take the hit first.

I read a study that had data that indicated hand held water is the least efficient way to carry water if you carry water at all.   A vest is best followed by a belt or pack and then hand helds.   This is due to the fact that it takes more energy/effort when your water is at the end of levers, aka your arms, as opposed to just riding passively at your back or waist.

This coming weekend is my first 10K race on Saturday and I think I’m going to wear my Hoka Clifton 3’s.   The last few runs I’ve used my Nimbus 19’s, Topo Terraventures and Clifton 3’s with a mix of distances, 11 miles to 3 miles, and road to trails and my left knee on the outside has been bothering me.  Nothing ‘major’ but enough to make me shorten my stride and slow down my pace.  But I think having the most cushion you can get will make it more comfortable for all concerned.

Tomorrow is an hour run at zed 3 pacing, for me that’s going to be around an 10:30 to 11:00 mile pace.   We’ll see how the knee fares with that, I’ll be using some compression sleeves on my calves to see if it makes a difference.

I have noticed that compression sleeves have helped me with calf pain when I run with slower runners; yes Virginia there are slower runners than me.

Last long run I used some DIY Huma chia gels.  Even making my own I’m just not a fan of chia based gels.   It was chia seeds ground to a flour in a spice grinder, a mix of complex sugars, tart cherry juice and strawberry puree.  With some sea salt and salt substitute for sodium and potassium.  But in general I find the gels to be barely tolerable at best and downright eww at worst.

My preferred supplements are still the Stinger waffles and the Stinger chews.  I’m probably never going to be a high fat low carb non-runner in spite of my normal diet consisting of high protein, moderate fat and low carbs.

One month give or take and I’ll do my first half marathon.  I don’t see me not finishing.  I would like to finish in in a 2:30 or less but we’ll see how it goes.   Remember I’m carrying 120lbs more than the average runner’s weight, it takes a lot of energy to move that much mass and the energy costs aren’t linear.

 

Hey Sweetie…

The Fleet Feet Sweetheart Double has been done.   I ran this with a very old friend of mine.  Not that he’s old per se, he’s younger than me, but that I’ve known him for 25 years give or take at this point.

there was some hot and heavy sweating all the way through”

This was his first 5K and he chose to run both the 5K and the 10K with me.  I’m happy to report he did really well given he’s only been running awhile and he’s only run 3 miles at one time a single time before now.

The 5K was fully ran albeit slow but we finished fast enough to be ready for the start of the 10K.

I wore my Jurek FKT vest for the first time today, just water bottles, no bladder.  I must say I liked it.   It receded from concious notice fairly quickly and easily.  Kind of like wearing a LBE Vest for awhile, you just forget it’s there until you need the stuff on it.

I had no problems having enough ‘stuff’ for the races, some beans, some waffles for the two of us and had pockets to store trash in.   The waterproof pocket held up, I put a couple of salt tablets in it and they didn’t melt on me and there was indeed sweating going on.

Like I thought it might, the lack of any 3D mesh or air foam or ridging meant there was no air flow between the pack and my back.   It’s also fairly wicking so… Since I didn’t have a bladder in the vest there was some hot and heavy sweating all the way through.

I’ve got a long run tomorrow as usual, it being Sunday, 10min warmup, 50min run, 5 min recovery, 50min run, 10min cool-down, and I’m going to put a bladder in it, I have an old platypus that mostly fits.  I may get a new 2L Source bladder, I really like their bladders, for the vest but we’ll see how this one rolls.

When we finish our half marathon training in another couple of months we’ll start a full marathon, just in time for Oklahoma summers.   Since I’m not a morning runner and I don’t like running later in the evening after I’ve eaten, I may end up running alone during the week.  But that’s a problem to worry about later.

 

Nine Point Three

So tomorrow I have a 15k to run. Technically it’s a 5K followed by a 10K immediately afterwards. The reason I’m doing both is because they forced me as a #JEWELRYCOLLECTOR to do so.

bask in the glow of my double heart medal”

The 5K medal is just a medallion, a small heart. The 10K medal is a twin heart but one heart is set with magnets to hold the medallion.

So if you want a full medal you have to run both. And I run races for medals. It’s the only reason to pay someone to let you do what you can do for free anywhere for me at least. The t-shirts are okay but typically are covered with sponsors on the back and yes I get that the race would cost more, and the profits to the race producer would be less, if there were no sponsors. But the end result is really that we wear our race shirts to work the Monday after the race and probably never again.

But the end result is I’m running both races back to back. Now I’m running with someone who is slower than me so it shouldn’t be hard race for me. But still it’s 9.2 miles.

And the day after I have a 2 hour running session, 10min walk, 50min run, 5 min walk, 50min run, 10min walk.

So this weekend should be interesting by the end of Sunday. On the plus side we have Monday off so I fully intend to do not a damn thing on Monday except bask in the glow of my double heart medal.

Note that I’m using Heart Rate based training and I have no intention of killing myself so I keep a eye on my HR and when the signs of over exertion kick in, I’ll chill it down, walking if I have to.   I’d like to see my kids adults after all before I kick the bucket and return back to the dirt.

And with that pleasant thought I’ll bid thee adieu.