Bad timing

Bad timing

So…. I haven’t run since this last weekend.  That really long weekend three weeks ago tomorrow where I ran a 5K, 10K races followed by a 20K followed by a 15K (ish), a total of 28 miles I think for the day and did it in my race shoes (Escalante V1) kind of messed up my feet.  To the point where each foot strike is like landing on a bottle cap, with bare feet, with the jagged open side face up.  I ‘should’ have taken some time off but I decided to push through it and ran another 40 or 50k the following weekend.

sucks major donkey balls

So what ended up happening is to try to take some of the pressure off my forefoot I would claw my toes to take some of the impact.  This had the obvious in hindsight problem of stressing the tendons and muscles that control the toes.   Then to soften some of that I would shift to landing on my midfoot and side foot which stressed my arches.

To say it’s a giant flustercuck is a mild understatement.

Now I’m in the position of having to take time off.  In the last three weeks that we should be hitting our peak for our first 50K.   Obviously this is going to impact my abilities.  Hopefully not too badly.  Worst case I walk my first 50k.

I have the resources to medicate the pain to a dull roar, enough to let me run it.  But then that risks longer term damage and we have our first 50 mile in Feb.

Bottom line and I know you’re heard this before but until you go through it it doesn’t really ‘mean’ anything, regardless of the impetus to keep up with the training, the drive to not break your schedule, it will usually be in your best interests to take a short time off and recoup than push through serious pain and be forced to take a longer time off.

The trick is knowing which is which and when is when.

I’ve been running (moving faster than a walk) for the last 2.25 years.  Per SmashRun my average runs per week during this time is 4.2 days with an average of 4.5 miles.   Just shy of 2500 miles in 28 months.  With a total of about 8 missed run days, 6 of those during a 2 week injury from major ITBS problems.

That I’ve missed 3 runs over the last 2 weeks and will miss another 4 runs at least before I feel it’ll be safe to try again sucks major donkey balls.

My RW’s are helping, we’re doing strength training now and stationary biking this last week.  It’s all pretty much strength training for me, I’m having major issues getting my HR up above zone 1 before the difference in how you pedal a bike versus run a mile causes too much strain.   It was funny I set a cardio program on the bike with a target of 140 BPM.   My HR was around 80 5 minutes in and it really started cranking the resistance up as a result to the point where I was literally standing on the pedals to try an get them to go down and around.   I had to kill the program and do a manual one with a resistance of around level 4-5 out of 10 to find a setting I could sustain for half an hour.  Even there I hit a whopping 120 bpms before I hit that point where it felt like I was doing more harm than good to my quads.

If you taken nothing else away from this post, then just take the fact that sometimes a little break as much as it sucks, sucks far less than a long break.   So take the little break.

What not to do…

I’ve been reading race reports of 50+ races and last night I read one that was filled with ‘do not do this’ kinds of events.  The runner started out well but then a litany of things went wrong leading to a decision about 2/3rds of the way of whether to even try to finish or not.  Much less placing like the runner had planned on at the start of the race.

Several runners apparently had to be hauled off by emergency services due to the heat and dehydration so that’s not a great thing.

  • Went out too fast
  • Didnt use the aid stations
  • Didn’t carry enough water (temps were 90’s)
  • Didn’t carry fuel
  • Missed route markers
  • Race had no water or ice at the finish line

Obviously the runner had no say in that there wasn’t any water or ice at the finish area but the other things were something he could have changed.

My very first 25K is where I learned do not trust aid stations being there.   There was supposed to be an aid station around mile 3 / 12.   Temps weren’t super high but they weren’t cold either.  As a result there was a 6 mile stretch between the last aid station and the finish.

6 miles doesn’t seem like that much.  If you had planned on that.  As a result I wasn’t hydrating properly and ended up overall pretty severely dehydrated and a case of rhabdo.

It was that race that showed me that always plan for issues.  In the race above the runner got lost and ended up with an extra 40 minutes or so of trek and then had to take a bit of a lie down which added even more time before he was able to get water.

In a local race put on by our zoo, this was driven home to me again.  We ran it carrying just a small flip bottle (10 ozs) assuming the aid stations would be there.  We came back around on the second loop of a section and they’d already packed up that aid station.  And we were still well in front to mid pack, not trailing the pack by hours.

So now, I always carry at least two bottles for any race longer than 5k.  For a long run >20k I always carry a bladder although I may not fill it at first. But I have it just in case.

I think the race report drives home the fact that some lessons are hard learned.   For me it took two instances of missing aid stations, a case of rhabdo, a dangerous level of dehydration that I now don’t assume everything is going to go smoothly at a race or in a run.

A little preparation can make the difference between a finish and a did not finish, it can make the difference between a back pack finish and front pack finish.

Injury – Run Through or Take Off?

As mileage goes up as we’re working through the plan the wear and tear is becoming a thing. Our last two weekends were short by a few miles off the plan. There was still 50 miles last week but it should have been 55 for example.

Weekend before last was an especially hard day and having the wrong shoes by mistake didn’t help and I ended up with extremely sore feet, as in a sensation like getting stabbed with a dull knife every time my foot landed.

One of the odd things I’ve had going on with me for quite some time is off and on I’ll get a sensation that at first feels like the sock or insole of my right foot has folded up causing a crease under my forefoot. The first time I had this was probably 18 months ago and I blamed it on a new pair of socks I was trying out (Darn Tough Socks). As it turns out there is nothing wrong with Darn Tough Socks it was my foot.

Anyway… I made the decision to cut last Sunday’s run a bit short, 26K instead of the 35K we had on the plan. And I took yesterday off which was a split 20K of 10K in the morning and another 10K in the evening.

So… this is the one exception I can allow to my mantra, “If it’s a run day you run.”. Injury that might lead to being forced to take an extended time off and you cannot ‘run through’ is the one thing. Case in point, this weekend was a 32 mile weekend even with the short day and I ran it with a cold/flu. It’s physical injury that can make me take pause and reflect.

In your own running you will always have to be the judge of if you need time off or not. From personal experience and the reason for my “run day you run” philosophy is that taking a day off is a very slippery slope and for most people very easily leads to another day off, then another and before long you’re finding other reasons to not run, some possibly valid, some not so much.

Everyone though has to ask that question, why am I doing this? Is it to lose weight? To get healthier and potentially live longer? To push yourself past where you thought you could? To find your own physical and mental limits?

The reasons matter and will drive the impetus to get out there each training day. But regardless of the why you’re running and totally regardless of how far you run, in the event of injury be as impartial and reflective as you can be before you decide on running through an injury and just as importantly before you decide to skip a day. You do not want to cause permanent injury either to yourself physically or to yourself mentally. The decision to take a break or just move on to something else shouldn’t be forced upon you because you broke something or because it was just the easy way out.

The 100K Unicorn

Although it’s very much a cart before the horse, we’ve been forward looking at our next distance milestone, in this case the 100k.

We’re already signed up and travel plans made for our first 50K, Dead Horse Ultra and our first 50Mile, Rocky Raccoon 50.

It’s a shame too as I would so win the best ass award.

But Ultras are a little different than shorter races in that there are in most (all?) ultra’s there is a small fixed number of slots for runners.  And these can be as few as 40 slots to as high as 500 (that I’ve seen).   So a popular race tends to fill up fast.   We were looking at a very pretty race in the great lakes area and it had filled up like 2 weeks after they opened sign ups.   And it was 8 months before the race date.

Long story not very short we’re trying to plan our races out in the long view so we don’t miss a sign up for a race we really want because that means another year before we can try for it again.

So assuming the 50K and the 50M doesn’t kill us (me really) then the next step is the 100K.

There’s some key pieces I’m looking for in our first 62 mile race.  I don’t want multiple short laps for my first race of any distance.   I want to get my monies worth out of scenery and experience.

There also can’t be a bad amount of vertical because we have no way to consistently train for long verticals around here.   So less than 8K mandatory, less than 5k preferred.

Technical terrain is fine, I’m slow anyway so it doesn’t hurt my pride/pace to have to slow down to crawl up a vertical cliff face.

Scenery is important, there has to be something worth seeing at the race if I’m spending money on a plane ticket.

Best Ass

Time of year is critical.  I physically would have serious issues with a warm/hot race.  The Javelina Jundred seems like a party race for example but 12 hours in the sun in the desert in the heat would probably kill me.   It’s a shame too as I would so win the best ass award. 😉   I need something between September and March and preferably between November and February.  This is due in large part that I have dehydration problems with heat.   My water intake mechanics are not on par with my water outflow mechanics.  i.e. I sweat like a pig and my body doesn’t keep enough resources in reserve to process water fast enough.   This isn’t a performance concern, it’s a serious health concerns.

Soooo I’m painstakingly going through all the race calendars I can find and filtering them for 100k’s and then going through each one and documenting their laps/route types, their total vertical, the time of year and historical temperatures for the race, distance between aid stations.

Another key piece is tracking down race reports for the races and seeing what other people thought of them.  Were the aid stations good?   Was the route well marked?  Were there any surprises?  How was the bathroom situation? And was the race enjoyable, as much as one can enjoy pushing oneself to such ridiculous extremes.

My current rough initial list is.  All of these need further looking into but they made the initial cut just based on vertical and time of year and cut off times.  Where I could find any I added links to race reports/reviews.

Secret Beach

October early
6600 feet vert, 16 miles of sand running, 5 miles of road running
Out and back loops
17 hour cut off

Mines of Spain

October late
8400 feet vert
20mile loop repeated
23 hour cut off

Cuyamaca 100K

California (SD)
October early
8800 feet vertical
3 separate loops
19 hour cutoff
highest 6500k

Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Cave Creek Thriller
(Not technically a 100K but an 80k with the Double 50k + 30k)
Temps in the 90’s
October mid
50K day run, 30k night run
Race Report Race Report

Ordnance 100K

2 separate loops (40 and 22)
7200 vertical
Aggressive cut off of 16.5 hours
Finisher medal is a glass
DFL award
Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Zion 100

April mid
7300 feet vertical
Large route, minimal out and back branches
Some major slopes from time to time
21.5 hour cutoff
Race Report, Race Report, Race Report

Crazy Desert Trail Race

March early
15 mile loop repeats
Has actual dinosaur footprints on it.
22 hour cut off
Race Report, Race Report

Black Canyon

February mid
point to point
20 hour cut off
7000 of vertical
buckle for 100k
Race Report,Race Report, Race Report

Trail Trashed

Nevada (near vegas)
March early
31mile out and back
20 hour cut off
5900 of vert

Race Report, Race Report,

Grandmaster Ultras

31 mile loop x 2
3800 feet of vertical
48hour cut off


Running Gear Must and Must not haves – Bunny’s List

My list of running gear is ever growing.

When it comes to hobbies and recreation, unlike those of us (a-hem Trex) who are gear heads from the start, I am of the mind that one eases into gearing up in case the venture loses its appeal early and I am trucking off to Goodwill to donate stuff I don’t use anymore.

Unlike other girls I actually preferred to protect my assets by wearing black motocross padded pant$.

So I generally start inexpensively, buying the least amount of gear possible for whatever new thing I am trying out. For example when I started playing Roller Derby my first pair of skates were under $200, my pads set and helmet under $150. By the time I retired from the sport my skates alone, which included high end bearings, wheels, plates and trucks, boot, toe guard, and stopper, were $1500. That doesn’t include the $300 for pads and helmet, or the $95 custom dentist made mouth guard. Yikes! Keep in mind this was my hobby before I had kids 😉

As with any one who becomes serious about their interests, whether it be an athlete, musician, or machinist,  you learn there is a difference between the cheap equipment and the expensive stuff. Just ask any professional golfer what’s in his golf bag. But while there is a difference in the quality of a product and how it generally feels, and moves etc, it is the talent and hard work of the person using the equipment that makes the most difference. I would wager to guess that Tiger Woods could pick up just about any 9 iron and put that ball on the green.

With running, like Derby, I eased my way into the sport, buying first a couple pairs of Asics Nimbus, soon realizing they weren’t going to be what was needed to get the job done. Ten pairs of shoes later, I have slowly but surely acquired and purchased more and more running gear; so much so that I have one large dresser drawer, half my closet, and one side of our hall closet dedicated to all my running stuff.

I have found that like with skates, and pads there is some running gear you don’t cheap out on, such as shoes, socks, and sports bras. But when it comes to clothing I am cheap. So far for general training purposes, and shorter distances, the inexpensive versions of things like shirts and pants are about 80% as good, if not more, over the super expensive stuff when you take into account the wear and tear, frequent washings, and occasional bleaching’s. But for Ultra distances  I am finding that materials and seam placement is going to make a HUGE difference, which is why I just plunked down $65 for a pair of shorts rated for ultra-running to replace the ones that recently caused me to have to run with a thick layer of Desitin where this product is typically applied. Ouch!

At the moment my biggest complaint is that I haven’t found a pair of underwear, shorts, or tights, that doesn’t have a seam or gusset stitching right in the wrong place. With all so called ‘seamless’ underwear there is a major chafe point (CP) where they join the front and back fabric with a rear/crotch seam.  I own several pairs. That seam shows under leggings and tight skirts. I have to go with a thong if I truly want seamless. I have looked and looked and I thought I had found the ones that might work, however when I read the reviews one of the negative reviews was from a women with the same problem I have! It ‘seams’ like the running clothing industry has some catching up to do when it comes to comfortable underwear. Why not go commando you ask? Well I have done this as well and found the seams in the the crotch of the pants eventually give me the same issue. So if you happen by this post and have any recommendations for  running shorts, underwear, or compression tights that are actually seamless in the crotch area, not just visually but physically, then please leave me a comment!

I just purchased some new shorts and tights from some bigger name brands who supposedly design gear with longer distance in mind. I will provide experiential opinions and reviews of such items in future posts,  but since, over the past year and a half,  I have acquired quite a bit of running gear, the vast majority of which I have gotten my money’s (or Trex’s) worth out of it, and because I rely on product reviews and runner blogs for recommendations, I figured I should pass along a few myself. So here is my current (use daily) and past (retired) inventory and what I liked/disliked about them.

Bunny Gear:

Road Shoes: Note I have a wide but average length foot. My width is not in the toe box like all the companies tout, it is in the forefoot at the knuckles, so I am still stuck looking for and purchasing Wide widths in most brands where available.

  • Altra Escalante (Mens 7.5, because the women’s weren’t wide enough! #annoyed / Up to 8K) –   Most comfortable shoe I own, but these are only great for short distances on flat, straight paved trail or road, not much else. Wore these for my first 20 mile run and found them lacking in the cushion/support department. Also annoyed that the women’s version wasn’t wide enough, probably not buying this shoe again since I can’t wear them for a lot of the current distances we are running.
  • Hoka Clifton 4‘s (Women’s 8 wide/ 5K-Half Marathon) –  Wore for my first full Marathon mainly because I trained in them. I liked them, but do find the Gaviota’s fit my foot shape just a tad better so I have relegated them to my Saturday or mid distance run shoes. My one complaint is that Hoka is tapering their toe boxes too much these days!  I don’t mind duck feet shoes if it means my feet don’t hurt after runs!
  • Hoka Gaviota (Women’s 8 wide  / Half Marathon+) – I have raced Half-Marathons, our 20 Mile, and have run the vast majority of our paved long runs in these shoes. They have good bounce and cushion and they fit my wide foot better than other shoes I have tried. I do still have to buy them in a Wide width however as the regular squeezed my foot.

Other Retired Road Shoes:

  • Asics Nimbus 18 (Women’s 8/ Up to half marathon) – Purchased when I was dealing with Plantar based on reviews that they were the best for this. Found them to be too narrow for my feet and just not up to the task of providing support and space for longer distances.
  • Hoka Clifton 3′s – (Women’s 8.5 / half marathon) Initially these were a bit narrow, but I got used to them and found I really liked them. These were my daily and long distance shoes until they wore out and I tried the Clifton 4’s.

Trail Shoes

  • Altra Timps (Women’s 8.5 / Marathon + / Moderately technical terrain) – Have worn for all short and long distance trail races and runs this year. Generally well cushioned, noticing some breakdown in support now after about 200 miles. Fit isn’t great however. I can’t use the last eyelete to lock lace as it hit the top of my foot and hurts. They are a tad sloppy because I had to go a half size up to accommodate my wide forefoot. My foot slips a bit in the shoe when we run Carl or Lip buster. I don’t quite feel like they grip sandy rock or slippery muddy surfaces as securely as I would like.  All that said, I ran a full trail marathon in them without any issues so can’t rule them out as a solid option as my alternate trail shoe.
  • Altra Lone Peaks 3.5 (Women’s 8.5 / Very technical terrain) – Newly purchased on sale since I need to figured out what I will be running our first 50K in.  I have run a total of 7 Carls in them and am extremely happy with how they performed on the steep rocky accent and decent laps we did this weekend. They fit a little better than my Timps, not as sloppy (yet?) and they grip the ground like no bodies business.
  • Topo Terraventure (Women’s 8.5 / 5k) –  Wore these in the early days of our trail running, but realized quickly they were not supportive enough for long distance for me. So I mostly use them to mow my lawn in or occasional run short runs. I liked the width of these but I feel every rock under my feet in them so they just aren’t padded or cushioned enough for my sensitive feet.

Hydration Vest & Belts:

  • Nathan Vapor Krar  (Marathon +) – Used during all major long distance runs after 30k for self-supplied hydration and supplemental nutrition. Highly recommend for comfort and lightweight materials. Storage pockets in back are a bit hard to reach for my short arms. Wished pockets in front were a bit bigger.  See our detailed review of this pack here.
  • Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure 1L (Half Marathon) –  Use for all daily summer and winter runs. Hard bottles are easy to refill. Have extra bottles I often fill and freeze and keep as spares in my car for swapping out during our longer weekend runs. Love the water proof pocket for my cell phone and car key. I think ALL utility belts and vest should have this. Storage is extremely limited, but works for shorter distance needs. Don’t like how narrow the band is, and the velcro will eventually give out, rendering this belt useless unless is repair it some way. Have to synch belt super high and tight around my waist to keep it from bouncing.
  • Flip Belt Zip w/  11oz bottle (5K – Half Marathon, supported, cooler weather) –  Used this prior to buying the UD for all my cooler weather shorter runs. Comfortably fits my iPhone, my car key, 2 gels, and the hard bottle which fits snuggly with no bounce.  Also found this is a great option for taking to an amusement or water parks for carrying phone (in a waterproof case) with cash and car key. Would like to see this come in a PUL material or with a waterproof pouch.
  • Cotopaxi Veloz 6L Hydration pack  (Half Marathon  – 30K trail) – Used up to 30K prior to purchasing the Nathan. Limited front pocket storage doesn’t allow for much storage of alternative liquid fuel options plus gels and cell phone. Stiff shoulder straps were not ideal for longer running. Liked because the straps and pockets don’t compress by boobs. Huge design win. Also like the pocket arrangements in the back compared to Nathan. Like the Kangaroo pocket which I used to store extra bottles of electrolyte fuel. Paired with Flip Belt for cellphone storage.


Used for every Run unless otherwise stated.

  • Halo II Sweatband Pullover –  I hate sweat in my eyes and these really work. I have been using Halo’s since 2006 and I have never been unhappy with any model or version. HIGHLY recommend.
  • Injinji Toe Socks –  After my first run in a pair I have never worn anything else. I have these in various weights and lengths for trail summer, trail winter, road summer, road winter. LOVE THEM. HIGHLY recommend.
  • Garmin Fenix 3HR – Bought mine from Trex when he upgraded to the 5. Have worn it every day since, on every long run, in the pool to do lap swims, etc. This is a great watch! I feel like it will last forever. A few minor glitchy issues every so often, but nothing a reboot and sync didn’t fix. Functions I couldn’t live without are the Garmin and Custom Workouts features, and GPS Livetrack.  Also occasionally use the compass, and course mapping. I use notifications for text messages, and still get amazing battery life. I love how durable this watch feels. I debated on getting the 5s because of how big this watch is on my wrist but I have come to like the security of a large piece of durable hardware on my wrist. Kind of like Wonder Woman’s wrist cuffs!
  • Stryd Live – Bought since it was less expensive than its predecessor so I could more precisely run our distance intervals and paces for races. Since Trex and I run according to HR levels and not power I use it for distance only. There is some evidence that Power Training for Trail running is reliable however it’s rather complex to figure out and frankly as my fellow Oklahoman Sweet Brown would say  “ain’t nobody got time for that”
  • Wahoo HR  – Handed down / gifted / loaned indefinitely to me from Trex when he graduated to Garmin and his Scoshe. Had no real issues to report.  Have had to buy a few replacement bands, but I buy the cheaper generic knock offs from Amazon.
  • RoadID II – all the cool kids are wearing them these days. Plus I had to have something to put my ‘Winner’ charm on when I beat Trex in one of our earlier races. Since then as tradition, we typically gift Distance charms following big milestone. I wear mine constantly and never take it off like a wedding band, because I am lazy, unlike Trex who changes his band to color coordinate with his watch bands.
  • Plantronics BackBeat FIT – Waterproof Wireless Headphones – Love these. If you need a pair of headphones that you can always count on, rain, snow, sleet or shine, these are an excellent choice. I have two pairs and will buy more when these finally quit working. I love the fact that the connecting wire between the ear pieces stay off my head and neck the controls are easy to use to adjust volume, skip music, answer calls etc. And most important for a trail runner like me  (GASP!) who likes to have a bit of music in the background while I run, they are very durable and water resistant. I have taken them in the shower and been in pouring down rains in these. I have taken calls on the trail using them and the microphone sound is pretty decent according to most receivers. If you are picky about sound quality of your music then they may get a few points in the minus column as they are not Bose quality in that area, but I can hear my music and they keep me from having to hear Trex whine and complain all the time and they have held up through a lot of wear and tear.
  • OOFOS: Recovery flip flops – Love these. Wear them all the time, not just for when needed post run. I wouldn’t recommend the lighter colors for anything other than home use as they pick up grime and turn black and ugly fast, but otherwise these are a MUST HAVE.
  • Target Champion C9 – Tops, tights, and shorts. I generally use Target C9 wear for my daily short distance and even long distance runs. Besides the THINX sport shorts they have been my only shorts. I own some race shirts and my CDRC shirt, but generally unless I am wearing matching gear with Trex, then I am probably wearing something from Target. As I said above these are great for the price and how well they hold up.

Other Stuff worn/used as needed Occasionally:

  • Zensha Compression calf sleeves (usually for trail and long long distances) – Like these, no complaints.  Feel they help as are designed.
  • Rock or K Tape – I preferred K tape over Rock tape until their quality of materials stopped adhering to their former standards. My issue with Rock Tape still holds, they fray around the edges and also leave glued edges on my skin when I peal them up. But as of this post they seem to hold better than my last rolls of K Tape so I will stick with them for now.
  • Pandana buff – This is a light weight neck cover that worked well for me in the winter. Will probably buy a Buff brand at some point just because they are available everywhere in so many fun patterns. Likely Trex and I will have matching ones at some point.
  • Black Diamond Head Lamp – These have been worn on our Snake trail and Midnight Madness in the dark. Good for night time paved trail runs IMO, but read Trex’s run report to get a more technical perspective on how to avoid spiders and snakes when running in the woods at night.
  • Mace: Small Hand Held Pepper spray – I carry this on occasion when I run solo. I fit it in my hand comfortably rotating the head so I can press the trigger easily without the need of my other hand. If you have ever encountered a stranger on the trail or road that eyeballed you a little too long then you will understand why this is a part of my arsenal.
  • Speedo Large 35L Teamster Backpack – Bag I use to haul all my crap around with when traveling to races. I have owned a few of these over the years, including one as my diaper bag, my Derby Bag, and originally as designed as my swim gear bag. The water proof bottom and extra large opening is ideal for all sorts of stuff.

Girl Gear:

  • THINX Sports Shorts – I wrote about these a little while back, and unfortunately I made the mistake and wore them during a long hot run recently and found that the thick inner fabric was too coarse and the seams in the crotch were in the wrong place resulting in the above aforementioned need to apply liberal amounts of Desitin where they caused serious chaffing. These are being relegated to short distance running only which means I am going to have to find an alternative should the stars and moons align again.
  • Sports Bra’s – I wrote about my experience with my go to bra’s here but I wanted to include the updated list here
    • Zensah  Seamless Sports Bra:  Zensha has been a good fit so far for long distances. The reviews hold true, light and soft, but I wouldn’t recommend for larger busted women as this product won’t support you enough.
    • SheFit Sports Bra
    • Brooks Sports Bra
  • Diva Cup #2 – I have been pleased with this for daily use, but not for running. Which is why I am trying the FemmyCycle next. Since women are all shaped and sized a bit differently I recommend researching here a bit before buying.
  • FemmyCycle report coming soon.
  • Pibella Travel Pearl – Because sometimes I don’t feel like sitting on a porta potty seat or baring my a$$ to the world when nature calls. Highly recommend carrying individually wrapped Femwipes or toilet wipes and practice practice practice! Seriously, practice in the shower for a good week then with clothes on only after you have achieved expert level status in your aim and can insert this thing blindly with one hand. Also don’t wait till you have to go like a race horse, it will get messy.

I think that pretty much covers what I generally wear or carry on my person, or have worn for running. Obviously this will adapt and change with experience and distance.  Lastly, I  want to give a heart felt shout out to real people who take the time to write reviews and blogs that provide solid information about the products you use in your everyday running and why or why not. Sponsored reviews are nice and all but they tend to gloss over the nitty gritty and downplay the issues that could wind up costing someone like me hundreds of dollars in gear that doesn’t work for me. That kinda thing really chafes IYKWIM!


NOTE: I have or Trex has purchased all of the products mentioned in this article at retail price, from retail stores, for personal use. We have no affiliations with any retailers, companies, or suppliers. This is strictly a user review of these products.

Agendas turn me away

At the risk of being preachy…

I was raised to think for myself.  Which was a miracle when you consider the time, location and general society I came from.  By all rights I should have been firmly entrenched in one belief system or another and lived my life according to that system’s particular tenets.

Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.

But… for whatever reason my family both immediate and extended were all cut from other cloth.  Live and let live, choose your own path and allow others to choose theirs.  And different paths aren’t wrong just because they don’t align with yours.

This could be due to the fact that all my family and relatives on my mother’s side were voracious readers.  They were all dirt poor, too poor to buy a pot to piss in as my aunt said on many occasions but they could beg or borrow or buy (never steal) books.   Libraries, book mobiles, each other, discards from stores who would toss books that didn’t sell by their expiration date and send the front covers back for reimbursement, you name it they would find a way to get books.

As a result of all that reading you can’t not be exposed to so many viewpoints and life lessons and the like.   I grew up on The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Robert Heinlein, Louis L’Amour, books who’s heroes were heroes.  They fought for what was right, righted wrongs and got into wonderful adventures.

I never so wanted to be born a Sackett at that time than anything else in my life.

One of the things I’ve decided for myself at some point in my life is that people like to have their decisions and choices affirmed.   I think for a lot of people there is an innate need for affirmation for a choice and this leads to the friction that people have at all levels of societies.  No one likes to have a choice be wrong and what better way to be right than to have everyone else agree with you?  And if they don’t agree with you?  Then convince them to do so.

So you end up with the people who are ‘fanboys’ and go beyond that.   Whether it’s which console is better, or which religion is better or which [whatever] is better these differences of choice can create an over abundance of… enthusiasm in a person in trying to make sure everyone else agrees with them and makes the same choice.

“That’s great and all, but why are you writing about this?”

Good question, it’s because I’m watching YT videos about running.   And as I dig deeper into the videos available I run across the proponents of “This is the only way to [whatever]”.  It could be diet, or stack height, or simply the best way to carry water on a run.

Specifically what triggered this post are the videos on diet I’ve come across today by runners that are telling me that if I’m not [vegan/vegetarian/carnivore/keto/low carb/high carb/fat adapted/non dairy/nothing with a face] then I’m an idiot and wrong.

Obviously they can’t all be right because they’re 100% at odds with each other.  Each ‘food base’ points to their individual champions as proof and throws them out there as the end all be all evidence they’re right.

I’m here to say that I bet you could take any of these champions, they’re not even a percent of a percent, they’re unique and precious snowflakes, runners and they would excel regardless of what you fed them.   There are pivotal figures in ultra running who only get by on plants or meats or sugars and they’re so far above the rest of us as to be off the bell curve much less at the end of it.

Bottom line, my advice is, if you have a view point, then present it in a calm rational manner and explain how it works for you and do not imply or outright insist that any other choice than your own is wrong, only that it’s different.  

You’re not going to convince the people who already agree with you, by definition.  And your rabid insistence you’re right is going to turn away far more people than if you just presented your opinion as a personal choice and not one that if the listener doesn’t follow they’re idiots.

Let me reiterate, people do not like to be told their choices are wrong, doing so causes them to immediately shut down their thinking and listening centers and at best you’ll get polite nods and blank stares.  The human version of the “Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”

I’m perfectly willing to listen and learn and re-evaluate my choices but I don’t respond well to people who aren’t willing to return the favor.


While ginger is a great thing for both runners and #notarunner s alike and has many benefits I’m actually referring to another ginger right now.

I’m not sure why she didn’t come up in my feed before but I came across Wild Ginger Films youtube channel while doing a search for packing for an ultra marathon.

I think she has a great perspective on running and especially ultra-running and her channel has a number of good videos, videos that I’ve found directly relevant to my training and planning for running.

Because she currently has a lower number of subs than many bigger channels this I think keeps her from showing up in suggested/recommended lists and that’s a shame.

I highly recommend you check her channel out and if there’s something there that you find useful then go ahead and sub to the channel.

To the pain

“To the pain…” is such a great quote don’t you think?  From a movie filled with great quotes.  “To the pain and beyond” is how I deal with running.  I was having a talk today with someone who runs 3 to 5 miles and she says after mile 1 and until that last mile running is fun for her.   I had to acknowledge it’s not quite that way for me.

The first half mile for me is running through the minor aches and pains of getting things moving again, ankles, shins, knees, abductors, glutes, back or whatever.  At any given time there is something or somethings bitching for attention and complaining about being forced to move at all, much less move at a pace faster than a slow walk.

It’s a whole lot of boring painful foreplay for each singular, brief happy ending.

And after I beat those into a dull murmur then I have the effort of moving my large forward on a continuous basis.   At no time have I had an experience that was ‘effortless’ where I ‘felt like I could run forever’.   The runners high is a lie to quote Portal.

Yet I continue to do this an average of 4.2 days a week over the last 2.5 years.  Why do I do it?  Because of the sense of satisfaction I get out of doing something I didn’t think I could do and that the vast majority of people will never, ever try to do.  It’s a whole lot of boring painful foreplay for each single, brief happy ending.

And in reading race reports and books and blog posts and talking with runners that seems to be why most do it.  To take everything they have and haul it up to that giant wall of pain and then punch through it.  The pain doesn’t get any less, it doesn’t go away, once you break down that wall and you may get hit by falling bricks and you claw your way through the hole but for most of us just getting through that wall, even though we know another wall is coming up, is enough.

The end justifies the pain so to speak.

Is there a hundred out there?

Ever since I met Rabbit and learned of her accomplishments… well she made me question just how far I should go on this crazy journey I’m on.

Hand to heart when I started I had no intentions of doing any races. None, zero, zip.   That was two years and 3 months ago (June 2016).

“You could do that.  You can’t do that.  You can do that.  You can’t do that.  You won’t know unless you try.”

18 months I had no intention of ever doing more than maybe a half marathon.  I even designed and 3D printed a PR display that only went up to half marathon.

And then I met Rabbit who, as I’ve mentioned before, the first question she asked after we met for the first time in person was did I run or something like after she saw me wearing a pair of Altra Lone Peak 2.5’s as my daily shoes.

Since then we’ve shared stories of runs, opinions of running, gear and training.  In spite of our 1500 miles of distance apart we’ve even run together albeit in a virtual race.

Somewhere in there after I made her acquaintance, I find myself signed up, cash paid and travel plans made for not only a 50K in 10 weeks (OMG) but a 50Mile in 5 months (OMFG).

For those of you for whom these are mere training run distances now, do think back and remember a time when you weren’t quite as awesome as you are now and what you went through to get to where you are now.

And now I’m reading race reports of 100 mile races.  I’m skimming and moving on from the race reports by runners who talk about their PR’s and 8 minute paces for 100 miles and their place on the podium.

I’m not ‘casting shade’ on these runners, their abilities are awesome, no doubt about it.  But there’s absolutely nothing relatable to their reports for me.   I can barely hold a sub 9 minute pace for a 5K and it had better be cold and non-hilly that day.

No the race reports that resonate with me are the ones by the folks who worry about making the cut offs.  The ones who push through enormous, soul shattering amounts of pain both mentally and physically to cross that finish line before the last seconds tick off.   I read how they trip and fall, wrenching body and mind, their battles with darkness, hallucinations, nutrition, hydration and boredom.  Their tales of everything that goes wrong, travel plans, forgetting to pick up their head lamps, trying new foods and really regretting it, but most of all the walls they have to break through to keep putting one foot in front of another make me try to figure out how, when, if this might be me one day.

And my association with Rabbit and her endeavors in this ridiculous sport we participate in and there’s an ear worm in my head that plays over and over, “You could do that.  You can’t do that.  You can do that.  You can’t do that.  You won’t know unless you try.” make me believe it might be possible one day.

Note I have my own walls to worry about in this regard, age, weight, training time and let’s face it sheer physical resources.  But you know what?  I’m pretty sure that if such a time comes that I let this flight of fancy take root and become a reality some day that Bunny and Rabbit will be encouraging me the whole way and I’m pretty sure one or both of them will be there force feeding me liquids and calories, making sure I don’t leave an aid station without everything I need to keep pushing forward.

Altra Trail 2.0 Shorts (Mens)

Altra Trail 2.0 Shorts

In my seemingly till now never ending quest to find a pair of shorts to go really long in I’ve come across the Altra Trail 2.o Shorts.

I ordered them in the Extra Large (of course) size just on the off chance they would fit.  The official sizing is for a 37 to 41″ waist.   I’m happy to report they fit at the waist just fine for me at 6′-4″ and 240lbs.  YMMV of course.

#GingerRunner likes them and they made his top 5 shorts lists for 2018 and I’ve found over the last couple of years that we tend to have the same opinion on various pieces of gear that we have used in common.

Overall the fit is good, loose but not baggy. Which was a relief.  Although I did buy them from Running Warehouse which has a good return policy.   The waistband is slightly elasticized and there is a drawstring that ties on the outside in the front.  That means no knots, bows or strings inside your shorts to cause a potential chafe point.

The material is soft and on the light-medium weight side.

There are two slanted mesh pockets on the sides that are rectangular and about the size of an iphone 5-6.   They are stretchy so you could stuff a fair number of gels in them.   In the front left is a shallow horizontal pocket that’s big enough for a credit card, a key or two or something of that ilk.  But this pocket has no closer on it, no zip, velcro or overlapping flap.   Use it at your own peril.

In the back is a open sleeve that could be used to hold a light jacket or a pair of gloves or arms sleeves or something like that.  Under the sleeve is a zip pocket that holds a Pixel 2XL quite easily.

One minor thing I found is because the waistband is soft and only a little elastic after 5k my phone had pulled the shorts down a bit after the material had gotten soaked through with sweat.   This could be fixed by tying the drawstring tighter.  BUT… because it’s your typical string based drawstring this might cause a potential chafe line for you if you really load down the shorts with loot.

These trail shorts have a built in boxer liner which I like and the ends are hemmed just right for my quads to be tight enough but not too tight so that the liner doesn’t ride up.   Pretty important for someone like me.

I ran them for the first time today, just a 5k though.  But other than near the end that after sweating them through and them stretching a bit that they were getting pulled down by the weight of my phone they really just disappeared during the run.  And pending issues showing up on a long run these look like a very real candidate for being my 50 shorts.

I also have a pair of 2XU compression tights that I’ll be testing to see if they will work for me for long runs.   With the potential temps of the Dead Horse 50K we’re doing in November ranging from 30 to 50, dressing appropriately may be tough.   I have a feeling it’s going to be a cold start and being a bit underdressed so as to be comfortable for most of the run.   Still not sure if I’ll be doing shorts or tights for it, probably take both.