Sunday, August 31, 2008

The start of a new routine / training week 8/25-8/31

This week, I ran during my lunch hour to mark the beginning of a new daily running routine. As a guy who loves high mileage--particularly of the triple-digit variety--I have found that getting in a second run in the evenings is virtually impossible with all the responsibilities I have as a husband and father. And so surpassing 75-80 miles per week has been all but impossible without evening runs to complement my early-morning workouts.

If husband, dad and full-time employee Michael Wardian can run 100-mile weeks with two-a-days in the early mornings and during his lunch hour--all while winning races left and right--why can't I get in triple digits?

But when I listened for a second time to an insightful and inspiring interview with ultrarunning great Michael Wardian, who is a husband, father, full-time employee and 100-mile-per-week guy who also wins tons of marathons and ultramarathons and holds the marathon baby jogger record (with his son, Pierce), I realized that, even with a baby, it's possible to stay on top of my game. But how? I got to thinking about my daily schedule and where there were opportunities for extra mileage beyond my early-morning running. This is what I came up with:

4:50 a.m.-5:25 a.m.--prepare for morning run (light breakfast, coffee and water, stretching)
5:25 a.m.-6:30 a.m.--a.m. run
6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.--breakfast, get ready for work, help Anne and Noah get going
7:30 a.m-8:15 a.m.--commute to work
8:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.--work
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.--lunch (aha!)
1 p.m.-4:45 p.m.--work
4:45 p.m.-6:00 p.m.--commute home, pick up Noah
6:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.--dinner, help feed and bathe Noah, miscellaneous tasks, prepare for next day, get ready for bed, etc.
9:30 p.m.-5:00 a.m.--sleep

Short of losing sleep, which I'm not about to do, there's not a lot of flexible time in there to run. If you're thinking there might be some time in the evenings to run, trust me--there's not! But there is an extra hour a day during lunch of which I never took advantage! Why not use it to log some miles?

So, like Wardian, Mark G., Tim C. and a few other hardcore guys I know, I'm now out and about every day during my lunch hour getting in anywhere from 6-8 miles. It sucks not having access to a shower afterward, but oh well. I just sponge off and am good to go. This new routine now makes it possible to get in 100 miles per week (though this week major scheduling conflicts on Thursday and Friday prevented the century mark).

Wasn't planning an off day but a tidal wave of unexpected stuff got in the way of my run. I resolved this day that I was going to start running during my lunch hour, allowing me to get the miles in without the miles encroaching on our life.

AM: 9 miles at home
PM: 6.2 miles during my lunch hour through University Circle, Cleveland Heights and Little Italy. Going from running in the country, where we live, to an urban environment was interesting to say the least. I liked the change. It gives me new scenery to enjoy and new places to get to know.
Total miles for day: 15.2

AM: 9-mile track workout (week 3 of 3-week cycle)
3x1600 at 5:40, 5:39 and 5:40 with 800-meter recoveries. I was hoping to break 5:40 for all three repeats. Overall, I felt in control and economical in my leg turnover. The sub-5:40s will have to wait three more weeks as I work through my cycle.
PM: 6.25 miles during my lunch hour down Martin Luther King Blvd. in Cleveland with Dave S.
Total miles for day: 15.25

AM: 6.1 miles
PM: 5.25 miles on my treadmill
Total miles for day: 11.35

AM: 9.25-mile tempo run (7.5 at tempo pace)
My tempo run was going great until I got hit with a killer side stitch almost seven miles in--likely due to the extreme humidity of the morning. Usually, I can battle through side stitches but not this one--it forced me to stop for 45 seconds as I struggled to breath. I quickly regrouped and was able to resume my run. The side stitch notwithstanding, this was a good run as I was able to keep most of my splits under 6:20: 1) 8:44 warm-up, 2) 6:11, 3) 6:21, 4) 6:22, 5) 6:16, 6) 6:16, 7) 6:16, 8) 6:37 (side stitch), 8.5) 3:10, 9.25) 5:59 (cool-down).

AM: 15.1 miles in South Chagrin Reservation
Ran with Jeff U., Ted F., Jeff T., John L. and John S. Easy pace. Ran the last 6 miles by myself.

AM: 16.3 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
Probably ran too long with the next day's 5K.

Total miles for week: 82.45
Total miles for month: 365.98
Total miles for year: 2648.93

I'm running a 5K tomorrow--the Aurora Labor Day Classic 5K--and will shoot for a time of better than 18 minutes, but, realistically, I think I ran too many miles this weekend for that kind of time. I'll just give it my best. This is my first 5K in about 3 1/2 years and I'll be looking to shatter my PR of 19 minutes and change.

My goals this week are:

1) Strong 5K on Labor Day
2) Track workout of 5-6x1600 at better than 6:00 pace each
3) 8-mile tempo run under 6:20 pace
4) 80+ miles for the week (I may not be able to log more than 20 miles on the weekend due to other priorities)

I will report in tomorrow on how the 5K goes.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Experimenting with Red Bull / training week 8/18-8/24

I had a pretty good week of training, logging 82.27 miles and ending the week with an excellent long run of 22 miles. Something was telling me it was time for a 20+ miler and I'm glad I was able to get in the long run. I feel like the table is getting set for a good Columbus Marathon.

PM: 5.25 miles easy

AM: 9 miles at 7:21 pace

AM: 9-mile track workout
As part of my new 3-week speedwork cycle, I ran 2x3200 (2 miles) at 11:58 and 11:58 (such consistency!) with 800-meter recoveries between each. Then I ran one 1600 at 5:56--just because I felt like it. Overall, this was an excellent workout. I wasn't sure I could log two consecutive 3200s in under 12 minutes, but I did. Next week--again, as part of the 3-week speedwork cycle--I will go for 3x1600 at my "balls to the wall" pace, which is around 5:40 or better.

AM: 9 miles at 7:13 pace
Probably went a little too fast between two key workouts.

AM: 9.5-mile tempo run (7 miles at tempo pace)
I accomplished my goal of 7 miles at tempo pace as part of my build-up to a 10-mile tempo run two weeks prior to the Columbus Marathon. Even as I ran on a somewhat hilly course (flat courses are hard to come by in Chagrin Falls), I wasn't thrilled with my splits: 1) 8:06 (warm-up), 2) 6:24, 3) 6:19, 4) 6:22, 5) 6:27, 6) 6:23, 7) 6:33, 8) 6:25, 9) 7:42 (cool-down), 9.5) 3:57. I need to be hitting basically every split in under 6:20. Next week I go up to 7.5 miles at tempo pace.
PM: 7.25 miles easy in South Chagrin Reservation
Total miles for day: 16.75

AM: 11.27 miles easy in South Chagrin Reservation
Ran with Tim C., John L., John S. and Rich H. I took it easy because I wanted to be fresh for the next day's 22 miler; plus, we had a doctor's appointment to make and I was short of time.

AM: 22 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club

Yours truly chugging some Red Bull after logging a 4-mile warm-up for my Sunday long run of 22 miles on the streets of Solon and Bentleyville, Ohio. Maybe it was just a good day for me, but I noted less achiness (glucosamine/MSM) and more energy (Red Bull?) in logging my 22-mile run in 2:44. I could have easily run 10 more miles. Photo courtesy of Frank D.

Before this long run, I downed two glocosamine/MSM capsules (in addition to eating a bagel and drinking some coffee). Then after my 4-mile warm-up, I downed a Red Bull and two e-caps. During the run, I took two gels and two more e-caps. Maybe because of what I took or maybe just because it was my day, but this may have been my strongest-ever 22+ miler. I covered 22 miles in 2:44:20, which is 7:28 pace, which is only about 45 seconds off my marathon pace--perfect for a long run. This was close to easy for me. At no point did I feel achy and fatigued. I could have run many more miles.

Total miles for week: 82.27

For the coming week, I have a few goals:

1) 75+ total miles
2) Hit 5:40 or better for each of my 1600s on Wednesday
3) High-quality 7.5-mile tempo run on Friday
4) 18-mile long run on Sunday

On Labor Day, I plan to run the Aurora 5K and will shoot for a new 5K PR of better than 18 minutes. This will not be easy. That's better than 6-minute pace. I averaged 6-minute pace at the Blossom Time 5.25 miler, so I think a 5K of better than 18 minutes is doable. We'll see. It's past time for me to set a new 5K PR. The last 5K I ran was four years ago and I'm a different, albeit stronger and faster, runner now than then. I don't want my running resume to be "stained" by a 19:03 5K PR. I'm ready for a better time.

Aren't we all?

Onward and upward!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Training week 8/11-8/17

This was not one of my better training weeks as I battled a pretty wicked cold and a worsening lower-back injury that was really bothering me into Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, I still managed to get in 70 miles despite the cold, my back problem and travel plans over the weekend that limited my time.

PM: 5.25 miles on the treadmill with Noah

AM: 9 miles at 7:46 pace

AM: 9-mile track workout/intervals
5x1600 at the track at 5:58, 5:59, 5:53, 5:53 and 5:57 with 400-meter recoveries. This was a new track workout that was suggested to me by Tim C. Rather than do 3x1600 at near-maximum intensity, I pulled back a bit and did five one-mile repeats at just under 6 minutes each--right at what my 5K pace would be (though I haven't run a 5K in many years). I loved this workout. I think these five intervals were more valuable and beneficial than 3x1600s. For one thing, 3x1600s are 17 minutes of hard running. These 5x1600s gave me 29 minutes of hard running and I wasn't that far off my 3x1600 pace of about 5:40. By pulling back only about 13-15 seconds per mile, I was able to get in two extra mile repeats and, in the process, more quality mileage. This workout will now be a part of my speedwork regiment, as will 3x1600s and another new component I'm implementing--2x2 miles.

AM: 9.1 miles easy
PM: 5 miles on the treadmill
Total miles for day: 14.1

AM: 8-mile tempo run
I didn't have much time to work with, which meant shorter warm-up and cool-down times. This run was on a pretty hilly course. My splits were: 1) 7:37 (warm-up), 2) 6:12, 3) 6:12, 4) 6:17, 5) 6:14, 6) 6:20, 7) 6:29, 8) 3:11 (.5 miles at tempo pace) and 4:06 (cool-down) for the last half mile. My back was really bothering me by the end.
PM: 6.1 miles in South Chagrin Reservation
Ran pretty hard on the trails, covering these 6.1 miles in 46:31. By the time I was done, my back was pretty well shot and I realized I was injured.
Total miles for day: 14.1

AM: 8.16 miles in Wheeling, WV
This run was on a very hilly course that included a lap around my old high school. I felt horrible, partly from yesterday's tempo run but mostly because my back was really hurting.

AM: 11.05 miles in Wheeling, WV
My back was still hurting but my legs felt much better. Once again I looped around my high school and also ran the entire cross-country trail. By the time I was done, I realized it would be a long car ride home with my ailing lower back.

Total miles for week: 70.66

My goals this week are to get my back in good shape (ice and ibuprofen) and get in about 75 miles with quality track and tempo workouts. At the track, I will go for 2x2 miles at 12 minutes each.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Only if I'm bleeding from my eyes....

Last night my mom (who only wants what's best for me) advised me to take a few days off from running as I battle this wicked cold. I told her that I'd have to be bleeding from my eyes to take a day off from running. This dismayed her, as it would any loving mother. OK, so bleeding from my eyes is hyperbole. Only very occasionally, such as last Monday when I was whacked from going 31 miles the previous Saturday and 12 miles the next day, will I take a day off--and even then I hated doing it. A cold isn't going to stop me.

Would a cold have made Pre take a day off? I don't think so. We can all learn from his toughness.

As I've written on this blog before, runners run not because it's a choice, but because it's what we're programmed to do. It's simply in our DNA. Every runner I know feels the need to run every day and endures a hellish experience when they're injured and have to shut down. Shutting down is the last resort for a runner. Most runners run through sickness, pain and injuries.

When I put on my running shoes, my world becomes very simple and the taste of life sweetens. In an increasingly complex, nonsensical and distressing world, I long for the simplicity running provides every day. To not run is to deprive myself of an altogether therapeutic experience.

So it doesn't matter how stuffed up my nose is, how sore my throat may be or how congested my head may feel--I'm running! Just maybe not as fast and long as I'd like.....


Lately I've been feeling the desire to do some unorthodox things with my running. I'm not sure why.... Here's a list of running endeavors I'm considering after my fall marathon (more on that below):

--Going on an all-night run
--Running for 24 hours straight around the University Hospitals Case Medical Center campus (where I work) to raise money for Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
--Running across Ohio (west to east) to raise money for Rainbow
--Running from Cleveland to Wheeling, WV, where my wife's folks live, for the hell of it

I was seriously considering a trans-Ohio run this November, but the more I think of it the more I realize I'm pretty over-extended right now with the responsibilities of work and home and so I may have to postpone those plans until next year. We'll see.... Running from Cleveland to Wheeling (150 miles), though, would be much easier. I know the route I'd follow. It would probably take me two full days with one overnight stay.


Yesterday I registered for the Columbus Marathon. For me, Columbus is a very special race. It was my first marathon and I've run it every year since. Last year's Columbus marked my first serious attempt at a time of sub-3 and I failed in that attempt. On the heels of my 2:58 at this year's Cleveland Marathon, I will go into the Columbus Marathon looking to set a new PR in the range of 2:55 with consistent 6:40 miles to get me there.

To get there, my training is now pretty much entirely marathon-focused. I am on the track every Wednesday, completing a tempo run every Friday, and going long on Saturday (12+) and especially Sunday (18+). I wish I had more time to train--it's tough with a baby and all. But I'm finding that if I'm wise with my time, can endure a little less sleep, and am lucky, I can get in 70-80 miles per week. That should be enough to run a 2:55 at Columbus.

Columbus is kind of my nemesis. Except for the difference between my first- and second-year times, I haven't really seen much improvement there over the four years I've run Columbus. Here's how I've fared over the years:

2004--3:22 (first-ever marathon)

Last year I ran a 1:28 in the first half, and then died the last 4 miles. Looking back on it, I still hadn't fully recovered from the Burning River 100. Hell, it wasn't until early October that I was finally able to get my mile repeat times back under 6 minutes--which has always been pretty easy for me.

This year I will look to run a 1:28 first half and 1:27 second half. This will not be easy. But I did run a negative split at Cleveland, so I think it's entirely doable if I'm feeling good that day and the weather cooperates. Those are big if's.

Onward and upward!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Training week 8/4-8/10

I had another strong week with 80 miles and high-quality track and tempo workouts. While my knee still isn't 100%, it's giving me more than enough to put in my miles and focus on my fall marathon. I'm leaning toward the Columbus Marathon--which would be my 5th Columbus--where I'm going to go for sub-2:55. I think with continued hard work on the track and with my tempo runs I can do it.


AM: 8.1 miles easy

My training partner (Noah) and me putting in some evening treadmill miles together. He always helps pass the time on the very boring treadmill by giving me smiles.

AM: 8.5-mile track workout
3x1600s at 5:53 (ran first lap too slow at 1:31), 5:44 and 5:43 with 800-meter recoveries. I wasn't thrilled with my times, especially my first mile repeat, but I know they'll continue to get better as my leg turnover post-Mohican improves.
PM: 4 miles on the treadmill with Noah
Total miles for day: 12.5

AM: 8.25 miles easy

AM: 9-mile tempo run (6 total miles at tempo pace)
My miles were: 1) 8:53; 2) 6:21; 3) 6:20; 4) 6:28; 5) 6:12; 6) 6:18; 7) 6:25; 8) 7:44; 9) 7:56. I would have liked some faster tempo splits but this was still a quality workout.
PM: 5 miles easy on treadmill with Noah
Total miles for day: 14

When I see Noah smiling, nothing else matters.

AM: 15.05 miles in South Chagrin Reservation
Ran the first 9 miles with Tim C. and Jeff T. This was a very good trail run for me. A few times I picked up the pace and hammered it. Tim showed me a hilly, rocky 2/3-miles loop he used to do 20-30 times aggressively "back in my heyday," as he said (Heyday? He just won the Burning River 100!), and I ran it a few times hard. I'm going to revisit the loop in a few weeks and may go at it hard then about 10-15 times. I intended to run later in the day but I got stung by a bee and my lower right leg swelled severely.

AM: 18 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
My ankle and foot were still quite swollen from the sting but I managed to get in a quality long run. Averaged 7:24/mile for the entire 18 miles. I felt a little heavy--maybe due to the meatloaf from the night before. Mostly ran with Paul R. and Jeff U. I had a great time both during the run and at breakfast afterward.
PM: 4 miles easy on the treadmill
Total miles for day: 22

Total miles for week: 80

My goal this week is 60+ quality miles. We have weekend plans that will keep me from making the SERC group runs and will limit my time severely. I plan to get on the track on Wednesday for 4-5x1600s at about 5:55 pace and then do a 9-mile tempo run (7 miles at tempo pace) on Friday. The following week I'll dial up the mileage again.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kyle Skaggs destroying the Hardrock 100 record

In what was probably the most impressive ultrarunning performance of the year, 23 year-old Kyle Skaggs (who apparently trains with Anton Krupicka) ran a 23:20 at the Hardrock 100-Mile Endurance Run, considered by many to be the hardest 100-mile race in the US. Kyle bested the previous Hardrock course record set by the great Scott Jurek by 2 hours and 45 minutes. Unbelievable when you consider that Hardrock brings 34,000 feet of vertical and 34,000 feet of descent with an average elevation of 11,000 feet. See the video of Kyle's finish below. His record will stand for years.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Training week 7/28-8/3

My weekly mileage (85) was the highest it's been since the Mohican 100 Mile Endurance Run (19:22/4th overall) in June--a race that rendered my left knee pretty badly (but not irreparably) injured and me out for a few weeks. So, it was great to get in some high mileage and quality workouts this week.

PM: 5 miles on the treadmill with Noah next to me

AM: 8.5 miles
Finished strong with a 6:38 for mile 8 and a 3:20 for the last half mile

AM: 9-mile track workout
I intended to do my normal 3x1600 repeats but--I guess due to the severe humidity of the morning-- began dry-heaving just prior to hitting 800 meters of my last repeat and had to stop for a few seconds to regroup. Even so, this was a pretty solid track workout. I did 2x1600s at 5:43 and 5:40, and then 2x800s at 2:50 and 2:55. I was still feeling queasy during that last 800.
PM: 4 miles on the treadmill
Total miles for day: 13

AM: 8.05 miles in South Chagrin Reservation
Checked the BR100 course markings. Once again very humid. Struggled in the end.

AM: 8.25-mile tempo run
My miles were: 1) 8:33; 2) 6:20; 3) 6:18; 4) 6:21; 5) 6:19; 6) 6:23; 7) 7:17; 8: 7:33; 8.25) 1:54
I ordinarily would have extended the length of my tempo pace to 7 miles but I wanted to be sure I had enough in the tank for Saturday, when I would pace Tim for 31 miles at the Burning River 100.

PM: 31 miles at the BR100 as a pacer
Paced Tim Clement for the last 31 miles. Tim finished 1st overall. This was a great experience--one I will always remember. Not only did I learn a lot from an experienced, accomplished ultrarunner, but I also got in a quality long run that will benefit me should I do a possible 50-miler in a few weeks.

AM: 11.35 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
Despite only getting about 5 hours of sleep due to the previous night's pacing, I decided to venture into Solon and run the big loop with the club. Not many were there. Overall, I felt decent--not much soreness.

Total miles for week: 85.15

This week I'm shooting for between 65-75 miles with quality track and tempo runs.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tim Clement wins the Burning River 100; Connie Garden 1st woman, 2nd overall

Last night at 10:40 p.m., friend and fellow SERC member Tim Clement won the 2nd annual Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run with a time of 17:40.

I had the honor and privilege of pacing Tim the last 31 miles of the race. He is a former 50K, 50-mile, 100K, and 100-mile national champion. At 47 years old, he is now back on top of his game.

Without giving any too much info, there was a stretch from 81-85 when things for Tim got dicey, but he battled through it all like a champion, regrouped and won the BR100 by 41 minutes. Watching him run with so much mental and physical strength amid the challenge of 100 miles was astonishing.

Connie Garder, also one of the top ultra runners in the nation, finished second overall with an awesome time of 18:21. We knew Connie would do everything she could to chase us down--she's as tough as they come. But Tim never let up. The last 10 miles he kept going and going and going when most of us would have been at a jog/walk pace.

For me, this was an extraordinary opportunity to see and experience how a successful 100 is run. I've run two pretty good 100s, but watching Tim the last 31 miles of the BR100 I learned a few things that I plan to put into practice at my next 100. Most of what I learned isn't physical; it's mental.

Congratulations to other club members and/or running friends who finished the BR100:
  • Dawn Malone (last year’s top woman) – 22:18
  • Kim Martin – 23:04
  • Roy Heger – 23:10
  • Steve Hawthorne – 25:41 (first 100 finished – congrats, Steve!)
  • Dave Peterman – 26:57 (3rd 100-miler this summer – Massanutten, then Mohican, and now the BR100 – Dave, you are the man!)
  • Fred Davis III – 27:14
  • Rich Henderson – 28:18

Results can be viewed by clicking here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How will today's Burning River 100 shake out? That is the question!

12:22 p.m.: As of the second Station Road bridge aid station (39.7), Tim Clement has extended his lead to eight minutes. Going into the second Station Road bridge aid station, runners have just endured a tough stretch as they climbed the Carriage Loop trail and then made their way back to the bridge via the towpath, which was a hot and humid stretch last year. Now they enter the Buckeye Trail 50K course, which is a challenging stretch.

The current top 5 now looks like this:

1) Tim Clement--5:58
2) Randy Miller--6:06
3) Bob Pokorny--6:09
4) Russ Goodman--6:10
5) Darris Blackford--6:11

Connie Gardner is running 6th at 6:12, and Chris Petit, who placed 2nd at the Laurel Highlands 70 in June, is at 6:19.

Tim has some tough competition behind him, but the good news for him is that he knows how to win races and stay strong. Randy Miller won the Laurel Highlands 70 and Pokorny is tough and experienced and now appears to be getting stronger with the race. I will be leaving soon to meet Tim at the Happy Days aid station (70), where I run him in.

10:27 a.m.: Big news--last year's BR100 winner, Mark Godale, has dropped from the race, likely due to the injury he's been courageously battling for some time. I feel terrible for Mark. He's a champion who fights through pain and I know this is tough for him. For him to drop means the pain he was feeling was off the charts.

Amid the bad news of Mark's status, there is some good news! Our fellow SERC member Tim Clement, who I'm pacing today from 70 to the finish, has moved into the lead as of the first Station Road bridge aid station. The top 5 is now:

1) Tim Clement--4:59
2) Russ Goodman--5:00
3) Randy Miller--5:02
4) Darris Blackford--5:05
5t) Connie Garder--5:09
5t) Bob Pokorny--5:09
5t) Scott N. Draper--5:09

I can't see Tim relenting. The level of toughness and natural endurance he brings give him a huge advantage. But there are 67 miles to go and a lot can happen in a 100....

9:14 a.m.: According to my thermometer, it's 67 degree. There's been some movement in the top 5 as of the Shadow Lake aid station (18.6):

1) Darris Blackford (2:33)
2) Benjamin Bowman (?)
3) Mark Godale (2:39)
4) Tim Clement (2:42)
5) Randy Miller (2:42)

Not sure what's going on with Dougherty, who was running second as of my last post.

Last year I think Mark G. was 2nd or 3rd and eventually moved into first sometime around the second Station Road bridge aid station.

At this point, runners are now on trails/towpath for most of the rest of the way. Some of them might be feeling some minor leg ache from the 9-mile road section to start the race.

Just now I see that Blackford and Bowman entered the Egbert Picnic Shelter aid station (23.4) at 3:19 and 3:24, respectively.

8:26 a.m.: Going into the Harper Ridge aid station (15.4), runners have just completed a long but steady climb up the Bridal Trail. I would imagine the front-runners ran, not walked, it. The top-5 are:

1) Darris Blackford--2:04
2) Benjamin Dougherty--2:09
3) Mark Godale--2:09
4) Benjamin Bowman--2:11
5) Tim Clement--2:12

Bob Pokorny, Connie Gardner and Russ Goodman all came in at 2:13.

Not surprisingly, Connie leads the women!

A whopping 5 minutes separate Blackford from his nearest competitor, and 8 minutes separate him from the #5 guy. But in 100s, 8 minutes isn't much. Sometimes the tortoise will beat the hare (though no one in the top 5 could be construed as a tortoise--they all have speed). It will be interesting to see if Blackford can hang on.

The weather is perfect--not even 70 degrees.

7:15 a.m.: The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run started a little over 2 hours ago. I wish I were there, but that's not the point of this post!

Thanks to the organizing committee and our friends at Vertical Runner, you can track runners' times via webcast by clicking here.

Interestingly, only 120 runners started this morning. Last year, 144 started. I wonder if the less-than-50% finishers rate last year kept some folks away.

Needless to say, who crosses first will be interesting to see. I think it's going to be a battle between returning champ Mark Godale (16:07 at last year's race; 24-hour American record holder with 162.4 miles) and Tim Clement (2003 100 mile and 2004 100K national champion) who are both SERC members!

I also think Rich Wisneski, a very fast marathoner who is making his 100-mile debut, the ever-tough Connie Gardner and of course Bob Pokorny will be in the hunt.

I am pacing Tim from mile 71 to the finish and look forward to it. Mark has a great pacing team, with Jeff U. going from 60-75 with him, and Kam L. bringing him home.

I will try to check in again later this morning, but at 2 p.m. I'm outta here to go meet Tim!