Monday, August 24, 2009
Despite logging 101 miles this week, my hamstring was almost completely healed by Thursday. After each night-run I applied ice to the muscle for a half-hour as I read a book or watched TV. I hate TV, which means I mostly read. I also stretched more than usual and canceled my regular track and hill workouts. The speed with which my hamstring healed was pretty amazing.
I hated missing my track and hill workouts this week, but going fast would have exacerbated the injury and prolonged the healing process. I felt that I could run through the injury, with some ice therapy and stretching, and--sure enough--it worked. I think I'm now close to 100%.
Although I didn't get to the track or the hills for my repeats, I managed some good running this week. By Friday, with my hamstring feeling much, much better, I thought I'd test the muscle a little and went for a tempo run. I completed 10 miles pretty fast and had minimal discomfort in my leg. The next day I ran the hills of South Chagrin Reservation with Tim C., Ted F., Steve et al and again felt great. On Sunday, with Anne at a horse show (where she and Lena did very well!), I hammered 8 miles on my treadmill (about 6:15 pace) and then, after Noah got up, we went to South Chagrin and ran 10 miles up Hawthorn Parkway and back. Thirty-eight miles over Saturday and Sunday isn't bad.
So, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling good in my legs and have just completed my first triple-digit week since June. It's been a while since I felt this good.
I will be towing the line with some seriously accomplished runners at the North Coast 24-Hour Endurance Run. Among them: Connie Gardner, Tim Clement, Serge Arbona, Bob Pokorny, and the legendary John Geesler. Eighty-one year-old Leo Lightner of Rocky River, Ohio, just outside Cleveland, will also be running in the NC24. I have the greatest admiration for Leo, who set a record for his age group at the 2008 JFK 50-Miler.
I've thought a lot about my race strategy and am glad that the American Ultrarunning Association has finally released its standards for making the US 24-hour team. Men who want to make the team have to finish in the top 3 and complete 135 or more miles at the NC24. Women making the team must also finish in the top 3 and complete 120 or more miles at the NC24. All remaining positions for the 12-member US 24-hour team (6 women and 6 men) will be filled based on performances at other USA Track & Field-certified 24-hour events.
I won't go into the details of my NC24 strategy, other than to say that I'm looking closely at my goal for the 100-mile split and whether the remaining time would be sufficient to log the necessary qualifying mileage on very tired legs. I'm also thinking about nutrition and apparel/gear needs. Of course, planning will get you only so far. On race day, the weather and conditions often dictate what your strategy will be. At the Mohican 100 this year, with the temperature around 85 degrees and the humidity close to 90 percent, I had to make some adjustments. The need to adjust to conditions will be especially applicable at the NC24, which will be run along Lake Erie in early October. My prediction is that the daytime temps could hit 80 and the nighttime temps could sink to the 40s. Wind could be a major factor. Rain could be a problem if the temps go low. Having the proper clothing on hand will likely be critical.
Whatever happens, I think it's safe to say that the NC24 will be the biggest running challenge I've ever taken on. As Kam said on Sunday, "a 24-hour is no joke." That's Kam's way of saying a 24-hour is huge challenge--which he should know. I think of a 24-hour as a two-headed physical and mental monster. All I can do is train my ass off, remain focused and do the best I can as I run my own race. Basing my performance on what others around me are doing would be a mistake. Twenty-four hours is a long time and involves a whole lot of miles and anything can happen.
I have gotten some generous commitments to support my Run for Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital at the NC24--and still need more! Among the contributors: An Illinois couple whose grandchildren spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit. Their grandchildren weren't even born at Rainbow and yet they felt compelled to give to my Run for Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. This is so inspiring.
Trust me when I say every dollar given through my run will make a difference at Rainbow. Rainbow is a not-for-profit children's hospital that cares for a huge number of kids from poor families. Rainbow's NICU cares for babies born low birth weight, critically ill, and to addiction. Rainbow cares for kids with cancer, heart defects, neurological problems and other conditions. These are kids who need your support.
That's why I'm asking you to please give through my Run for Rainbow. E-mail me for details on how to make your gift--which is a very simple process. Don't wait. Give now. You'll be making a difference.
My goal this week is 90-110 miles. There is a lot going on this weekend, so getting in tons of miles may be tough. I'm aiming to log 65-70 miles by the end of Friday to set up a doable weekend in terms of mileage. I was going to take a recovery week this week but am going to shelve those plans.
Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Running can't just be about me. It has to be about something far larger than the confines of my life and goals. That's why I've decided to raise money for Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital through my North Coast 24 participation. Rainbow is a not-for-profit children's hospital based in Cleveland that cares for all children who enter its doors. It turns no child away. Rainbow is consistently ranked among the nation's top children's hospital. Early in Noah's life, we turned to Rainbow a few times and were always so happy with the care we received.
Not every kid is as lucky as Noah or perhaps your child. Every day, Rainbow cares for kids with heart defects, rare cancers, cystic fibrosis, neurological disorders, serious injuries and other life-threatening conditions. Rainbow has a world-renowned neonatal intensive care unit that cares for babies who are severely premature, low birth weight and born to drug addiction. No kid should have to endure such trauma. At least once a week as I'm walking through the hospital (I work at University Hospitals, where Rainbow is located), I see a very sick child and the site breaks my heart. I want to do something--anything--to help these children, and I hope you will join me in this cause. As an added benefit, your donation will be tax-deductible and you'll get a tax receipt from the hospital.
If you are interested in supporting my Run for Rainbow, please e-mail me and join my Yahoo! group. Every dollar you contribute will make a difference.
This was an excellent week of training as I completed 96.5 miles. I had a good hill-repeat workout on Chagrin Boulevard and logged some decent times at the track, running 5x1600 at about 5:50 each. On Thursday I took Noah out for his first jaunt in our new baby jogger and he loved it. We went 4 miles for my second run of the day and he was fast asleep by the time we were done. On Saturday, I ran 14.75 miles in Peninsula with the Lock 29 crew and on Sunday did my first race since the Mohican 100.
Frank D. and I met at Jeff U.'s place on Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. and ran to the start of the Perfect 10 Miler in Lyndhurst--which drew some excellent talent. The air was warm and humid and the sun completely out. Having already warmed up with our run to the race and some striders, I exploded out of the gate, covering the first mile in about 5:30, and then I slowed down. By mile 5, I knew this was not going to be one of my better races as my legs were sluggish and my right hamstring ached.
I came through the 5K in 18:11 and the 10K in 38:11. By mile 9, I was just trying to hang on. Finally, I crossed in 1:03:23 for 27th overall out of 450+ runners. This was not one of my better races but I went hard and gave it my all. I guess the heat was a factor. I would have liked to break 1:02 and will be looking for revenge next year. Now for a quick review of the Perfect 10 Miler:
- Organization: Thumbs up
- Course: Thumbs up--but my GPS did come up .2 miles short.
- Markings: None. The volunteers provided the direction, which is a risky strategy.
- Timing: Use a very light timing chip attached to the shoe laces.
- Aid: Not enough water stations--maybe two more given the humidity. Also, a few times I asked for Gatorade and got water.
- Volunteers: Good.
- Finish line food: Pizza, doughnuts, water, Gatorade, energy bars, etc.--excellent finish line fare! It's really sad when a 10-miler has exponentially better finish line food than our own hometown marathon.
This week the goal is to keep the mileage and quality up--90+ miles with speedwork and hills. There is a chance I may do something very new this week with my running and, if so, I'll report back on how it went. I'm sticking to my core-strengthening because I know it helps in the long run. The next week I plan to pull back for a recovery week and then make one final hard push before my North Coast 24 taper.
I'll close with my new motto: Get busy livin', or get busy dyin.
Monday, August 10, 2009
My training for the NC24 is now in full swing. For the week I logged 91 miles and had a good hill-repeat workout on Tuesday and a decent but not great showing at the track on Thursday. Now that Chagrin Boulevard has reopened, I knew visibility would be the key to safely running my fast hill repeats there. So I bought this super bright yellow Brooks technical tee-shirt and it's really great. You can't miss me, especially as I'm running the hill with my headlamp shining right in your eyes!
At the track, I ran some 100-meter striders, followed by 3x1600 at 5:39, 5:40, and 5:42 with 800-meter recoveries for a total of 9.5 miles. Maybe my legs were a little tired from the two-a-days this week.
I ended the week with a very enjoyable 13.5-mile in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with the Peninsula crew on Saturday (great to return to Peninsula!) and a pretty strong 20-miler in Solon with the Southeast Running Club. The weather on Sunday morning was rough--80s with high humidity. For a second there I felt like I was running in soup.
To prepare for the NC24, my goal is to try to hit anywhere from 85-100 miles per week until two weeks out from the event, when I begin my taper. I think I'm in pretty good shape now and hopefully I can enhance my fitness level in the next few weeks. I have six weeks of training left--plenty of time since I'm building on my Mohican 100 fitness.
I am still debating my approach to the 24. Part of me wants to go out aggressively and try to potentially break 16 hours for the 100-mile split. I want to continue talking with 24-hour veterans I know, such as Mark Godale (American 24-hour record holder at 162.4 miles) and Connie Garder (who has come within a hair of setting the women's American 24-hour record) to get their feedback on how-best to approach the challenge and come away with the best-possible result.
I've heard 24-hour races are tent and RV cities and bring a real community atmosphere. I am really looking forward to spending time with the other runners on the course and having some good conversations. Of course, I doubt there will be much good conversation late in the race....
Every once in a while you see or hear about an athletic talent that really amazes you and makes you wonder if this is a once-in-a-lifetime prodigy. This is sort of how I view Anton Krupicka, a 25-year-old mountain ultrarunner who currently lives in Leadville, Colo. Anton, or Tony as some call him, just won the White River 50-Mile Run in Seattle with a blazing-fast time of 6:32:09, besting Uli Steidl's old record by 43 seconds, and is now a few weeks away from the Leadville Trail 100, which he's already won twice. Leadville is an extremely challenging, high altitude, out-and-back course in the Colorado Rockies. The lowest elevation is 9,200 feet and the highest (Hope Pass) is 12,600 feet. Yikes!
What's amazing about Anton, who's been known to run 150-plus miles per week, is that he's won races at so many levels. He's won the Leadville Marathon, 50Ks, 50-milers such as White River and the Rocky Raccoon 100 in addition to two Leadville 100s. He's a mountain-running stud and it's going to be interesting to see what he does in the next few years. Had he been healthy for this year's Western States 100 (he was injured and DNS'd), the task before repeat-winner Hal Koerner would have been all the tougher. I think Anton is going to do some crazy things in the years to come.
I've always been fascinated by mountains and my dream is to one day run the big mountain 100-mile ultras--Hardrock, Leadville, and, of course, Western States. Closer to home, I also want to experience Masanutten, which is billed the hardest 100 east of the Rockies.
But before I do any of that, there's a 24-hour race to train for....
Friday, August 7, 2009
- HURT (1/19): Geoff Roes / 20:28, Top Female: Tracy Garneau / 27:43 (results)
- Rocky Raccoon (2/7): Andy Jones-Wilkins / 15:57, Top Female: Jamie Donaldson / 16:51 (results)
- Yukon Arctic (2/15): Markus Wiaderek / 31:25, Top Female: Marianne Heading / 48:30 (results)
- Susitna (2/18): David Johnston / 27:25, , Top Female: Laura McDonough / 31:12 (results)
- Iron Horse (2/21): Brad Smythe / 17:11, Top Female: Kim Battipaglia / 23:21 (results)
- Coyote Two Moon (3/13): Roch Horton / 21:31, Top Female: Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs / 25:27 (results)
- Moab (3/28): Duncan Callahan / 18:52, Top Female: Janet Thomson / 27:01 (results)
- Umstead (4/4): Dave James / 15:05, Top Female: Jill Perry / 16:02 (results)
- McNaughton (4/9): Joe Winch / 23:53, Top Female: Laura Waldo / 27:06 (results)
- Keys (5/16): Ryan Krognabb / 16:31, Top Female: Jennifer Vogel / 19:10 (results)
- Masanutten Mountain Trails (5/16): Karl Meltzer / 18:29, Top Female: Amy Sproston / 24:59 (results)
- Sulphur Springs (5/23): Geoff Linton / 18:40, Top Female: Sue Lucas / 21:47 (results)
- Kettle Moraine (6/6): Zach Gingerich / 15:17 (new course record), Top Female: Jenny Chow / 20:26(results)
- Old Dominion (6/6): Jason Lantz / 18:35, Top Female: Liz Bauer / 22:44 (results)
- San Diego (6/6): Ben Hian / 18:15, Top Female: Suzanna Bon / 19:32 (results)
- Big Horn (6/19): Karl Meltzer / 19:15 (second 100-mile win of 2009), Top Female: Ashley Nordell / 24:51 (results)
- Mohican Trail (6/20): Wyatt Hornsby / 19:52, Top Female: Jenny Chow / 22:58 (results)
- Laramie (6/27): ?
- Western States (6/27): Hal Koerner / 16:24, Top Female: Anita Ortiz / 18:24 (results)
- Hardrock (7/10): Karl Meltzer (third 100-mile win of 2009) / 24:38, Top Female: Diana Finkel / 27:18 (course record) (results)
- Tahoe Rim Trail (7/18): Erik Skaden / 20:27, Top Female: Bree Lambert / 23:42 (results)
- Vermont (7/18): Jack Pilla / 16:36 (51 years-olds!), Top Female: Stephanie Case / 18:38 (results)
- Swan Crest (7/25): Canceled
- Burning River (8/1): Mark Godale / 16:17, Top Female: Connie Gardner (2008 champ as well): 19:21
- Stormy (8/7)
- Headlands (8/8):
- Viaduct (8/8):
- Leadville (8/22):
- Lean Horse (8/22):
- Cascade Crest (8/29):
- Grand Teton (9/5):
- Lost Soul (9/11):
- Superior Sawtooth (9/11):
- Wasatch Front (9/11):
- Haliburton Forest (9/12):
- Plain (9/12):
- Angeles Crest (9/19):
- Delaware (9/19):
- Iroquois Trail (9/19):
- Bear (9/25):
- PCT Ultra (9/26):
- Rio Del Lago (?):
- DRTE (10/2):
- Grindstone (10/2):
- Arkansas Traveler (10/3):
- Heartland (10/10):
- Oil Creek (10/10):
- Pony Express (10/16):
- Boulder (10/17):
- Syllamo (10/23):
- Cactus Rose (10/31):
- Javelina Jundred (10/31):
- Ozark Trail (11/7):
- Pinhoti (11/7):
100-Mile Grand Slam Races - 2009
- Western States (6/27): Hal Koerner / 16:24 / Top Female: Anita Ortiz / 18:24 (results)
- Vermont (7/18): Jack Pilla / 16:36 (51 years-old!) / Top Female: Stephanie Case / 18:38 (results)
- Leadville (8/22):
- Wasatch (9/11):
- Way too Cool 50K (3/14): Leor Pantilat / 3:39, Top Female: Caitlin Smith / 4:12 (results)
- American River (4/10): Maxwell King /6:04, Top Female: Kami Semick / 6:45 (results)
- Miwok 100K (5/2): Eric Grossman / 8:35, Top Female: Kami Semick / 9:02 (results)
- White River 50 Mile (USA Championship, 7/25): Anton Krupicaka: 6:32 (new record) / Top Female: Kami Semick / 7:57 (results)
- JFK 50 Mile (11/21):
- The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship 50 Mile (12/5):
USA Championships - 2009
- 50K (Caumsett 50K, NY, 3/1): Michael Wardian / 2:56, Top Female: Kami Semick / 3:29 (results)
- 100K Road: Not held
- 100 Mile Trail (Tahoe Rim Trail, 7/18): Erik Skaden / 20:27, Top Female: Bree Lambert / 23:42 (results)
- 50 Mile Trail (White River, WA, 7/25): Anton Krupicka / 6:32 (new record), Top Female: Kami Semick / 7:57 (results)
- 100K Trail (Where’s Waldo, OR, 8/22):
- 50 Mile Trail (Tussey Mountainback, PA, 10/3):
- 24-Hour Championship (North Coast 24, OH, 10/3):
Notable 100+ Mile Races - 2009
- Arrowhead 135 (2/2): Eric Johnson / 46:55) (results)
- McNaughton 150 (4/9): Ryan Dexter / 34:42, Top Female: Van Phan / 47:39 (results)
- Badwater 135 (7/13):
- Spartathlon / 152 Miles (9/25):
Notable Timed Races - 2009
- North Coast 24-Hour Endurance Run (10/3):
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My entrance into the North Coast 24 means I will not be running in the Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile, which is also held Oct. 3. I regret backing out of Tussey because it's a great race from what I've heard, but I have my reasons for running in the North Coast 24, and here they are:1) I have never run in a 24-hour race and have wanted to for the past two years. In fact, last year I almost created my own 24-hour event in Cleveland to raise money for University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital (I work at University Hospitals in fundraising)--but those plans never came to fruition. I may explore ways to raise money for Rainbow and/or another charity through North Coast.
2) In my opinion, the 24-hour race is probably ultrarunning in its purest form. Modern-day American ultrarunning's roots go back to the famous six-day races in Madison Square Garden in the late nineteenth century. I love ultrarunning and everything the sport stands for and symbolizes, and want to experience it in its purest form.
3) I want to support Cleveland and Northeast Ohio as a mecca of ultrarunning. From the Mohican and Burning River 100s to other events, we have many premier ultramarathons and many top ultrarunners here in the northern half of the Buckeye State. We used to have another major event, the Olander Park 24-Hour Run in Sylvania, which served as the 24-hour national championship for years and attracted the likes of Yiannis Kouros. It was at the 1999 Olander that Mark Godale, a native Clevelander who I run with in the Cleveland Southeast Running Club, set the American 24-hour record at 162.4 miles--a record that still stands today.
Now that a 24-hour national championship is back in the Cleveland area, I want to be a part of it because this opportunity may not happen again.
4) I want to do another 100-mile event this year. I was unable to run in the Burning River 100 because I'd already committed to being a pacer, and I don't think I was quite ready for the distance with Mohican being just six weeks prior. I've scoured the schedule of 100-milers for the rest of 2009 and, due to a variety of reasons, the North Coast 24 is perfect. It will likely, of course, involve far more than 100 miles.
Beyond those reasons, I'm excited about taking part in a national championship event. I imagine many top ultrarunners nationally and even internationally, as well as an excellent group of runners from the region, will be at the North Coast 24.
Because I've never done a 24-hour event, it's hard to come up with specific goals for North Coast. I guess I'd like to go north of 130 miles and potentially go under 17 hours for my 100-mile split. It would be nice to also establish a 50-mile PR. Most of all, I just want to experience what it's like to go for 24 hours.
To prepare, I'm going to get back into high mileage starting this week, building on my fitness from my Mohican 100 training. I've been in a 70-80-mile per week zone for the past few weeks and will now begin working up to near 100 miles per week. The goal this week is 90 miles. I may not hit 100 miles at all going into North Coast, but I'll be in the 90something zone and will continue with my hill repeats and speedwork, which will come in handy in December when I run in the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship Gore-Tex 50-Mile.
For the first time in a few months, I'm really excited about my running and feel like I now have something to drive toward. For whatever reason, I wasn't that psyched about the Tussey Mountainback, but I'm definitely stoked about the North Coast 24 and feel completely energized. This will be a huge challenge but one that I look forward to.
Monday, August 3, 2009
And then the rain came. Lots of it. I woke up on Friday morning at around 1 or 2 to sounds of a massive downpour--which wasn't in the forecast. I guess it was what they call a "rogue thunderstorm." I felt sick to my stomach.
Ted and I were planning to run from the Polo Field to Harper Ridge on Friday night just to check the section over and fix problem areas--a "run-and-check." Those plans were now out the window as the rain had washed away most of the 50 lbs. of lime we laid down. So Friday night's scamper turned into one of re-marking several areas of the course where the lime was now gone. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad. All of the pie plates and flags were still up. A few more flags and plates here and there and we were done!
Afterward, we celebrated at the Rusty Bucket in Solon. There we sat at about 11:00 p.m.--me chomping on an enchilada and Ted on some mac and cheese while we both enjoyed well-deserved cold brews.
Our efforts paid off. The section of the course we marked was perfect. I now hope the eight hours I invested in this endeavor will count toward my volunteer hours for both the Buckeye 50K and potentially the Western States 100, assuming I go out West next summer.
On Saturday at the Burning River 100, I paced last year's champ, Tim Clement, a fellow Southeast Running Club member who I train with on Saturday mornings in South Chagrin Reservation. Tim had a great race, finishing third overall in 18:35. I went the last 30 miles with him, feeling really good the whole way except for the fact that I should have worn road shoes instead of my Salomon Speedcross 2's.
Mark Godale, also of SERC and the 2007 BR100 winner, won the race with a time of 16:17. I saw Mark come into the mile 70.3 Happy Days aid station and he had the look of a someone who was locked in. Jay Smithberger, winner of the 2008 Mohican 100, finished a very strong second with a time of 17:58. And a big congratulations to Connie Garder, who once again was the top woman at the BR100 and finished fourth overall. I saw Mark and Jay at the finish line after Tim crossed.
I hung out at the finish line in downtown Cuyahoga Falls for about a half-hour and then headed home. On the drive back to Chagrin Falls, I got really hungry...but where to eat past midnight? I didn't want to stop at a sit-down restaurant and I didn't want to make something when I got home, risking waking up Noah. So I figured drive-thru was the only option. I stopped at the Burger King in Solon and ordered a #1 "value meal," which included a (delicious) Whopper, french fries and a Sprite. I sat in the parking lot as I stuffed my face. I HATE fast food because of what it represents and what it's done to America (obesity), but damn was this good. I can't decide what's better--the Whopper or the Big Mac.
Back to the BR100. Congratulations to the following other friends who finished the BR100: Jim Chaney, 19:52/master's winner; Marc Abramiuk, 20:06; Rich Henderson, 21:40; Greg Dykes, 22:45; Dawn Malone, 23:10; Frank Duchossois, 25:35; Dave Peterman, 29:00; and "Wild" Bill Wagner, 29:17. Complete results can be viewed by clicking here.
This week I logged only 75.6 miles but spent many, many hours on the my feet marking the course and went the 30 miles with Tim. I had a great hill-repeat workout on Tuesday and was forced to skip Friday's track workout due to course-marking.
My goal this week is 85 miles with good hill and track workouts.
I look forward to my next big race, the Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile in Pennsylvania. It should be a lot of fun and a big challenge.