Monday, March 30, 2009

The desire to run long

It occurred to me during this morning's run that lately all I do is give blow-by-blows of my training. On this day and at this time, I ran this many miles, etc. Somehow, I've fallen out of writing about running as a life experience and passion, and why it holds so much meaning. As a writer and passionate runner, I should aspire to do far more than just write blow-by-blows on this blog; I should use my writing and love of running to inspire others to participate in a sport that has been so good to me.

I've met enough people in life to know that there are those who run because it's who they are and those who would prefer a root canal to so much as a 10-minute jog. Those who run are greatly outnumbered by those who don't. And of the relatively small number who run, you have many different types, of which the most common are the 10-minute-per-mile recreational jogger, the 5K and 10K racer, the charity runner, the 30-mile-per-week runner who does it for fitness, and the one-and-done marathoner--each of whom partakes in their own worthy pursuit.

A very small number of runners go for specific time goals and/or compete--locally, regionally or even nationally and internationally. Only a small percentage of runners fit into this category. And there's another small percentage who just like to run really, really far, whether it's on roads, trails, mountains, etc. This latter group gravitates toward ultramarathons, which certainly aren't for every runner.

I think of myself as a runner who likes to go really, really far--meaning I'm first and foremost an ultrarunner (who every spring and fall tries to run what I consider for myself to be a fast marathon, though this spring I may forgo a fast marathon). The more I think about myself as a runner, the more I realize that the desire to go out really far has always been with me.

As a kid, I'd get on my bike and ride for hours all over town and beyond, seeing new places. The adventure of a long bike ride and the exploration it brought were intoxicating and reason enough to look forward to my summer vacations (which back then were three months vs. today's shortened summer vacations). I loved hiking for hours through the wooded areas surrounding our neighborhood. Around the age of 15 or 16, I finally ran the 5 miles around the lake where my grandmother lived and loved every second of it (though it kicked my butt). I remember being on the treadmill at the gym 6 or 7 years ago and getting up to 7 miles and being so proud of how far I'd gone. I remember bonking on my first 16-miler in the spring of 2004 and feeling such exhilaration in knowing I'd stretched my limits at the time. I will never forget crossing the finish line of my first marathon in the fall of 2004, or running the last 20 miles of my first 100-miler in the summer of 2007. Today, running in a 100-mile race at least once a year is one of life's greatest highlights. Maybe this fall I'll explore some more by trying the North Coast 24-Hour Run here in Cleveland (assuming I survive the Mohican 100 :) ). And then maybe I'll finally go on a multi-day journey run.

The desire to go long in my running--and in life--has always been with me. I'm sure it's always been with you, too. It's like this intense fire that keeps burning and only gets stronger. The farther you go, the farther you want to keep going. Only when you can see a great distance behind you and a great distance before you do you realize that life is just one big long run. And you keep going.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recovery / Training week 3/23-3/29

I have officially registered for the inaugural Forget the PR Mohican 50K. Most of this 50K trail race is run on the beautiful Mohican Trail 100 course, with a few sections off course. The sections on the course are run in the opposite direction. While I wish this weren't the case, it is what it is and I'll use the Mohican 50K as an opportunity to spend time on the course and time on my feet as I prepare for the 100-miler.

I also happen to love Mohican State Park. I look forward to camping trips there with Noah. So this should be an enjoyable experience and there's a chance Anne and Noah may come along. My goal will be just to make the Mohican 50K a quality training run. I won't be racing or vying for high placement, especially as I need to save my legs for a potential sub-3-hour effort at the Cleveland Marathon.


There's a new 24-hour race coming to Cleveland--the North Coast 24-Hour Endurance Run. It's going to take place Oct. 3-4 at Edgewater Park along beautiful Lake Erie in Cleveland, with the city skyline in sight. It will follow a .93-mile loop. So far as I know, not since the Olander Park 24 in Sylvania went under a few years ago has Northern Ohio hosted a 24-hour event.

I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the North Coast 24 because I've always wanted to try a 24-hour, but the timing of and venue for this event kind of makes me nervous. You never know what the weather in Cleveland is going to be like that time of year, especially on the lake. Cold temps, combined with rain and wind coming off the lake, could make things very nasty. But I'm still interested!
I'm not sure what my goal would be--probably just to survive.


Overall this week wasn't a bad one considering I was recovering from the Lt. JC Stone 50K. I thought a lot about the race this week and I've decided that I was at least 6-8 minutes too slow. As a guy who has broken 3 hours my last two marathons, I should have come in south of 3:40 at the Stone with a sub-3 marathon split. I am now getting back into higher-intensity workouts to improve my leg turnover because it's obviously holding me back.

Here's how the week went:


AM: 8.05 miles easy in and around the Chagrin River valley. With the Lt. JC Stone 50K only a few days removed, I ran at a relaxed pace. My quads felt only a little sore but were pretty tired. A very bitter westerly wind, combined with the cold temperature (28 degrees), made running up East Washington Street on the way home really unpleasant.

AM: 8.05 miles easy in and around the Chagrin River valley. Once again I ran at a relaxed pace, but this time I really tailed off the last half as my quads wore down. The bitter westerly wind was back, but at least this time the temperature was over 40 degrees.

AM: 9 miles in and around the Chagrin River valley. My legs no longer felt sore, but were still a little dead.
PM: 7 miles in South Chagrin Reservation. My legs felt decent during the run but my quads were sore afterward.
Total miles for day: 16.0

AM1: 10.1 miles on country roads east of highway 306. This is one of my favorite loops, but it's at least 9 miles and I can run it only on mornings that I know I have the time.
AM2: 4 miles easy on the treadmill. I carried my hand weights.
Total miles for day: 14.1

AM: 17 miles in South Chagrin Reservation with the Southeast Running Club. I ran with John K., Tim C., and Ted F., running the last 10 miles with Ted and Tim. The temperature was 35 degrees at the start and in the high 40s when we finished with lots of sunlight the whole time. This was a great trail run on a beautiful day, and I felt pretty good though a little tired. We ran a notoriously hilly, rocky section in South Chagrin with four hills, of which one is really nasty and brings a nice leg burn. If and when I get into the Western States 100, this section of trail will be vital to my training...along with an altitude chamber.

AM: 16.8 miles--5 on the treadmill and 11.8 in and around the Chagrin River valley. The original plan was to run in Solon with SERC, but Noah had a really bad night as his top front teeth are coming in and he was too fussy for Anne to take him to work while she checked on her patients. So I stayed home with Noah while she was at work and only when he fell asleep in his crib did I sneak down to the basement and get on the treadmill. When Anne got home I hopped off and finished up outside. I was really tired and my hamstrings were hurting. This is one of the rare runs I didn't feel like doing. I grumbled almost the whole way and really just wanted to go back home and crawl into bed. But I ran anyway.

Total miles for week: 80.0
Total miles for month: 338.45
Total miles for year: 886.89


Assuming my hamstrings are feeling good, this next week (3/30-4/5) I plan to hit 100 miles for the first time in 2009. I want to get back on the track for mile repeats and also have a good tempo run. So for the week my goals are:
  • 100 total miles
  • Mile repeats in the neighborhood of 5:35-5:42 each
  • Tempo run of 4-5 miles
  • Long run of 20+ miles
Onward and upward!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lt. JC Stone 50K report / Training week 3/16-3/22

The Lt. JC Stone 50K was one of the best racing experiences I've ever had. This was a remarkably well-run race--flawlessly planned and executed and fun (at least from my standpoint as a runner) thanks to a great RD in Lou D'Angelo and amazingly "professional" volunteers, many of whom are local Rotary Club members. I had a great time and consider the Lt. JC Stone 50K an exceptional ultramarathon experience.

A post-race photo with Noah wearing our medal is now a tradition in the Hornsby house. Here he is wearing the beautiful Lt. JC Stone 50K medal. He and Anne are such an inspiration. When things get tough on the course, I think about them and how I want Noah to be proud of me for toughing it out.

The course consisted of one 6-mile section followed by five 5-mile loops around the lake at North Park, which is just north of Pittsburgh. The course was awesome, though a tad hilly in some areas to make a PR effort pretty difficult. I could feel all the history on this course--it was the course for the now-defunct GNC Ultras, which hosted a number of national championships and saw many great runners come through, such as Howard Nippert, Jim Garcia, Mark Godale, Tim Clement, Connie Gardner (who ran again in this year's Stone), Ian Torrence, Courtney Campbell and other big names.

Me looking like a Saturday morning jogger during the first lap, when it was 20 degrees and I had to keep warm in my sweat pants and 100% cotton sweatshirt--both of which came off after 6 miles.

Lt. JC Stone was a special forces soldier in Vietnam who was killed in action in, I believe, 1969. There is a field at North Park that the course passes by that is named after Lt. Stone. His brother told JC's story before the race and then ran a lap with us. This really brought meaning to the race. There was a great patriotic tone to the entire experience--from JC's story to the medals and tee-shirts given to the finishers--that made many of us very proud to be there.

I was nervous going into the race. My nervousness really came down to two factors: 1) this was my first experience with a road ultra and 2) I wasn't feeling great because of my cold. As such, my approach was to respect the course and stay in control, while still trying for a sub-3:40 time.

It was very cold at the start--about 20 degrees--and unexpectedly overcast. For the first lap, I decided at the last minute to wear my Adidas warm-up pants and a regular cotton sweatshirt, all of which I shed at my car at the 6-mile point. I was then down to my race outfit, which consisted of Patgonia compression shorts, Race Ready shorts with gels, e-caps etc., an insulated UnderArmour shirt, my SERC racing singlet, a beanie, mittens and my new Asics GT 2140s. I elected not to go with my lightweight trainers because I felt the distance, combined with my size (168 lbs.), was a little much for lightweight trainers. Turns out my 2140s held up well, though I did come down with some nasty blisters.

After shedding the warm-up attire, I was all systems go.

Out of 55 starters, I finished 5th overall with a 3:46. I felt strong and mentally and physically in the game the entire time. My legs never failed on me. I felt no bad aches and pains (a big surprise), except for some bad blistering on my left foot. I am beginning to think my daily intake of glucosamine is paying off. Here are my lap times:

6 mile: 42:21
11 mile: 35:55
16 mile: 36:15
21 mile: 36:57
26 mile: 37:45
31 mile: 37:25

Coming into the finish with a 3:46 and 5th place finish.

I see those times as relatively consistent. At the 26-mile mark, I was running 8th and picked off three runners in the final 5 miles. I was a little disappointed that I didn't break 3:40 and my marathon split of 3:08 was kind of sucky, but I have a bad cold, this was my first-ever road ultra, and, all things considered, the overall result was pretty good.

Congratulations to elite ultrarunner Connie Gardner, who finished 1st female and 6th overall with a time of 3:50, collecting top-female honors at the Stone two years in a row. A big thanks to Connie's crewguy, Tom, who offered to crew me as well and did a great job making sure I had what I needed. Tom gave me a Red Bull for the last 5-mile lap that totally turbo-charged me. I will use Red Bull at the Mohican 100 for sure. Anyway, I ran strong the whole way and never really lost pace.

What I Learned
The primary area where I went wrong was spending too much time at the main aid station. I spent about 30 seconds at each main aid station stop, probably adding at least 3-4 minutes onto my total time. I should have approached the aid station like I would in a marathon--take water or Gatorade and keep running--never stopping. I had plenty of gels on me and could easily have hydrated and eaten on the run. Along these lines, a 50K road race should be run like a marathon plus 5 miles--go hard, don't stop and consume liquids and gels on the run.

I also learned that while my strength and endurance are very good right now--probably better than ever--my leg turnover still needs improvement. I look back on where I was going into the 2008 Columbus Marathon (before my hamstring injury) and that's where I want to be. It's going to take some time and continued effort on the track and in my tempo runs. But the good news is that my endurance is off the charts right now. I can go, go and go some more.

We live and learn. All in all, a great day and a great way to start the 2009 racing season.


Now for the training week recap portion of this post. The previous training week I crested 90 miles before going into a one-week Lt. JC Stone taper. The week was pretty humdrum and went like this:

Monday: Off/rested
Tuesday: 8.05 miles easy in the Chagrin River valley
Wednesday: 8.1 miles easy in the Chagrin River valley
Thursday: 8.1 miles easy in the Chagrin River valley
Friday: 5 miles super easy on the treadmill
Saturday: 31.84 miles at the Lt. JC Stone 50K (included 0.5-mile warm-up)
Sunday: 9 miles easy in the flattest areas of South Chagrin Reservation (mainly the area between the sledding hill and Polo Field). I went pretty slow and took it easy.

Total miles for week: 70.09
Total miles for month: 258.42
Total miles for year: 806.89


Still fighting a cold and some minor discomfort in my right hamstring, my plan for this week is to recover, eat really well and continue with core strengthening. I'll take Monday off and then start running on Tuesday with a total weekly goal of 70-plus miles.

The following week I'll be back on the track and doing my tempo running.

My next event will likely be the Forget the PR Mohican 50K, which I'll use as a training run for the Mohican 100. Nothing like time on the course...and on my feet.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lt. JC Stone 50K update

As of now, I am still planning to run in the Lt. JC Stone 50K in Pittsburgh, Penn. this Saturday. The weather looks close to perfect--low of 36, high of 52 and mostly sunny. When it comes to racing, it doesn't get much better than that.

There is one potential complication, though. Right now I'm coughing like crazy, am a little stuffy and have a sore throat. Fortunately, I'm not (yet) achy and all week I've had good runs. I ran 8 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday and today and tomorrow will go for 5 miles very easy on my treadmill.

Despite the above problems, I feel pretty good. Let's hope it continues through Saturday when I cross the finish line with a time and place I can be proud of.

Here's to the start of a great racing season!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The build up is on / Training week 3/9-3/15

This was another great week of training--save a horrendous Thursday night (more on that below)--that culminated in an excellent 26.4-mile Saturday and nearly 40-mile weekend. I ended the week with 90.57 miles. My mileage the last three weeks has been 86.85, 83.26 and 90.57. I should log my first 100-mile week of the racing season within the next 2-3 weeks.

Unfortunately, right now my body's trying to fight off another nasty cold that Noah brought home from childcare and that really has a hold on Anne. If I'm going to be sick, I need to be sick now so that by Saturday, when the Lt. JC Stone 50K rolls around, I'll be healthy enough to run--and run well.

Anyway, on Thursday morning Anne and I had to take Noah to the ER for a double ear infection stemming from this nasty cold. We left for the ER, with our screaming baby, at 3:30 a.m. and didn't get back home until 5:30 a.m. with a much more relaxed Noah with all the medication he needed. By 5:30 a.m. I've usually already logged one or two miles with six or seven more to go. Needless to say, I didn't run that morning and instead got a few hours of sleep before going into work as a zombie. The details of this little adventure are under "Friday" below.

Here's how the week went:

AM: 6.1 miles in Roswell, Georgia, in and around my parents' VERY hill neighborhood.
PM: 4 miles easy on the treadmill about an hour after arriving home from the weekend in Georgia and South Carolina. My legs were very stiff from the airplane. I think airplanes are definitely not intended for 6'2" men.
Total miles for the day: 10.1

AM: 8.6 miles in the Chagrin River valley. A reasonable 32 degrees. Needed a rest so I took the night off.

AM: 9-mile track workout consisting of three one-mile repeats. When I stepped on the track the temperature was a pleasant 57 degrees but there was a nasty gust coming in from the west that really sucked when I ran against it on each lap. Despite the wind, my mile repeat times are finally starting to look respectable, though I need to regain consistency with my times. My times were 5:36, 5:42 and 5:49 with 800 meter recoveries at about 3:40 each. I still have a way to go in getting my times down and improving my aerobic capacity (I was gassed midway through the third interval but hung on) but this was a workout to build on. No running that night.

AM: 9.3 miles in the Chagrin River valley
PM: 5.05 miles during lunchtime in Shaker Park. The trails were very muddy and the footing awful. I twisted my ankle toward the end but it was no big deal.
Total miles for day: 14.35

PM: 9.12 miles in South Chagrin Reservation. As written above, Anne and I had to take Noah to the ER at 3:30 in the morning when his non-stop screaming and crying and restlessness indicated an ear infection. Sure enough, he was treated for a double-ear infection and given an antibiotic and we got home at 5:30 a.m., when I'm usually on my run. With Noah a little doped up on meds, we grabbed a few hours of sleep and then headed off to work exhausted while Noah went to childcare to sleep it off until Anne picked him up a few hours later. I honestly didn't think I'd get in a run but, sure enough, I grabbed these 9.12 miles late in the day and actually felt really good. The sun was still out and the temperature in the 40s. It was great running on the trails--my body and mind needed it.

AM: 22.4 miles in a very sunny South Chagrin Reservation, though it was a bit cold. I covered these 22.4 miles on trail, save 2 miles, in 3:17, and I felt good the entire time. Once again I felt like I could keep running forever--a good sign of where I am with my endurance right now. I ran with John K. and Ted F. the first 8 miles and then Ted and I went another 7 before I broke off and kept going.
PM: 4 miles on the treadmill easy. My right foot hurt a little.
Total miles for day: 26.4

AM: 13 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club. I basically ran with Jeff U. the whole time and we talked about marathoning, ultras and the upcoming race calendar. My legs were pretty tired and I was quite tired from only 7 hours of sleep (thanks to Noah waking us up at 4:40!), but I hung on and averaged 7:34 for the 13 miles to finish the week just above my goal of 90 miles.

Total miles for week: 90.57
Total miles for month: 188.33
Total miles for year: 736.77

Assuming I'm healthy, the weather's OK and all is well in the Hornsby house, I'll be a go for the Lt. JC Stone 50K this Saturday. I'm going to taper this week, running about 25 miles or so going into Saturday's race, and focusing on a good pre-race diet. If the Stone doesn't work out for the above-mentioned reasons, I may do the Green Jewel 50K here in Cleveland or just go on a long training run on Saturday. Either way, I don't want to go north of 70 or 75 miles this week.

Onward and upward!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another solid week / Training week 3/2-3/8

Another solid week of training as I look to an exciting racing season. While my 2009 schedule is still fluid, here are some the spring and summer races I'm planning to participate in:

March 21: Lt. JC Stone 50K (Pittsburgh, first-ever road ultra)--going for a sub-4 hour time
April 19: Forget the PR, Mohican 50K--just a training run
May 17: Cleveland Marathon--questionable I run a race or training run for the Mohican 100
June 20: Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run--The Main Event!
August 1: Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run--If I'm still in one piece and functional after the Mohican 100...

As obvious from the above, I have decided that unless any bad circumstances should arise in the Hornsby house (as I write this I'm coming down with a cold and Noah and Anne are sick), I am going to Pittsburgh to run the Lt. JC Stone 50K on March 21. I hope to run the 50K in under 4 hours. Since this will be my first road ultra, I just don't know what to expect from 31 miles of pavement running and therefore don't want to get too ambitious with my goal time. I'm just going to go out there and do my best and hopefully the result will be better than 4 hours.


As far as how the training week went, it was more or less built around the fact that I'd be traveling all weekend and wouldn't have much time to run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday afternoon, I left for Atlanta, Georgia, where my parents live, and then the next day we drove to Sumter, SC for a much-anticipated family extravaganza--my grandmother's 95th birthday. She's 95, still very mentally sharp and on only one prescription drug (for her arthritis). Unbelievable! Her birthday brought together aunts and uncles, cousins, longtime family friends and others who I hadn't seen in years. It was a nice occasion.

Anyway, with a goal of 80 miles, I knew I'd need to jam in as many miles as possible during the work week and try to squeeze in another 20 over the weekend between family functions. Fortunately, it all worked. Here's how the week went:


AM: 6 miles easy on my treadmill. I carried my 2 lbs. dumbells as I ran, holding them close to my body. I've found that this improves arm strength--critical to a successful 100-miler since your arms are up and swinging back and forth for a full day.

AM: 9 miles easy on the treadmill. The temperature was a crisp 5 degrees, so I chose to stay indoors.
PM: 6.8 miles during lunchtime at work. I ran down MLK and back. It was very cold--18 degrees with a fierce wind coming in from the lake. The out was brutal with the wind, but the back was a piece of cake with the gust at my back.
Total miles for day: 15.8

AM: 9 miles in the Chagrin River valley. Once again it was very cold--a gusty 10 degrees is hardly ideal for track intervals so I just headed down to the valley and held a 7:00 pace for the whole run with some pick-ups mixed in.
PM: 6.2 miles during lunchtime at work. I ran in and around Shaker Park.
Total miles for day: 15.2

AM: 9 miles in the Chagrin River valley
PM: 5 miles during lunchtime at work. I ran into Cleveland Heights and Little Italy.
Total miles for day: 14

AM: 10-mile tempo run (5.5 miles at tempo pace). This was another solid tempo run and the weather was great--50s and clear though a tad windy. My splits for the 5.5 miles at tempo pace were: 2) 6:24, 3) 6:12, 4) 6:12, 5) 6:22, 6) 6:16, and 6.5) 3:14. My legs were a little tired by the end due to two-a-days the previous few days. No run that night as I was traveling to Atlanta.

AM: 10 miles semi-easy in Roswell, Georgia, north of Atlanta, where my parents live. The temperature was in the 50s and the conditions totally clear. I ran (in shorts!) from my folks' home down to the Chattahoochee River, traipsing along the river for a few miles and then turning around. Riverside Road is a really nice flat stretch that would be perfect for an out-and-back tempo run. I didn't have much time to work with because we needed to be in the car by 8 a.m. to get to Sumter, South Carolina for my grandmother's birthday. No run that night because of family commitments.

AM: 12.26 miles in Sumter, SC, where the temperature was in the low 70s, the sun was out in full force and the sky was blue as could be. You can't find this kind of weather in Cleveland in March! I previously thought Sumter wasn't too scenic but was I ever wrong. Starting from the Hampton Inn, I ran through some beautiful neighborhoods--many with older homes and mature trees, etc. I saw buds in the trees and it seemed every other home had sprinklers running. This was a very enjoyable run and I wish I could have kept going but we had church at 11 and I had to get back to the hotel to get ready. I felt kind of nasty because of the previous day's runner-unfriendly, yet thoroughly delicious, diet (hamburger and fries for lunch, barbecue for dinner), but oh well, you have to go with the flow and enjoy good food and good company when you have it.

Total miles for week: 83.26

Total miles for month: 97.76
Total miles for year: 646.2 (about 100 miles below last year's tally at this time)

With no travel plans for the coming week, which will be my final hard week before the Lt. JC Stone 50K in Pittsburgh on March 21, my objectives are pretty clear-cut:
  • 90-95 miles
  • 3x1600s, each at 5:35-5:45 pace on Wednesday
  • 4-mile tempo run on Friday (reducing length in view of the next day's activities)
  • 3.5-4 hours of running (about 24-26 miles) on Saturday
  • How ever many miles on Sunday to achieve my weekly goal
Then the next week I'll scale it back and do a 5-day taper for the 50K.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

An amazing week of running / Training week 2/23-3/1

Congratulations to Mike Wardian, who won yet another USA 50K Road National Championship title at the Caumsett 50K in New York with a blazing-fast time of 2:56:36. Mike won the USATF Ultrarunner of the Year Award for 2008 and is one of the sport's best. As an east coaster, he doesn't seem to get the respect that he deserves, especially from the mountain guys out West. It will be interesting to see what Wardian does at this year's Western States 100.

Congratulations also to fellow SERC members and friends on their outstanding performances at the 50K nationals--Mark Godale, 3:21 (4th overall), Marc Abramiuk (3:30), Steve Hawthorne (3:53) and Connie Gardner (3:58).


This was one of my strongest training weeks in a long time--definitely since my hamstring injury last September. Going into the week, I felt very discouraged because of my recent health problems as I'd fought off a number of viruses that kept me from logging high mileage. But this week I feel like I made a breakthrough, getting healthy again and achieving my goal of 85 miles (actually, I ran 86.85) with a very strong tempo run on Friday followed by an excellent 21-mile trail/road run on Saturday.

Here's how the week went:

AM: 5.3 miles easy on the treadmill

AM: 8.3 miles on my treadmill. I wasn't inclined to go out and fight the single-digit weather, so I ran indoors instead. My legs felt fresh and for the first time in weeks my lung capacity was back to normal.
PM: 6 miles during lunch. I ran up Fairmount and returned to the office via Shaker Park and MLK.
Total miles for day: 14.3

AM: 9.25 miles with sub-6:30 pick-ups. I headed to the track but couldn't do my intervals because the track was snow-covered. So I hit the streets and roads of the Chagrin River Valley, incorporating three one-mile pick-ups into my run.
PM: 4 miles easy on my treadmill
Total miles for day: 13.25

AM: 8.5 miles in the Chagrin River Valley. Too busy at work and home for a PM run.

AM: 10 miles with 5 at tempo pace. My plan over the next few months is to add a half-mile onto my tempo run every week, eventually hitting 10, 11 or 12 miles by the late spring. This week my goal was 5 miles at tempo pace and the run went very well despite high winds as a cold front blew in. Here are my splits: 1) 7:43 (warm-up), 2) 6:17, 3) 6:14, 4) 6:17, 5) 6:21, 6) 6:18, 7) 6:24, 8) 7:31 (cool-down from here on), 9) 7:11, 10) 7:19. Obviously this was a great run for me. No PM run to get my legs ready for the following day's long effort.

AM: 21 miles in 3 hours, 2 minutes in South Chagrin Reservation with Tim C., Ted F., and John K. (Southeast Running Club). Despite a temp of 14 degrees at the start and icy trails, this was an amazing run as I never really got tired. I could have kept going at least another hour. Maybe the two Endurolytes I took before the run made the difference. It is unusual for me to be able to run for over 3 hours and feel good with no calories coming in except for a little Gatorade here and there. I ran the last 5 miles solo, going down Chagrin River Road, and then climbing the hill toward the Chagrin Falls village before taking Bentleyville Road back down to South Chagrin Reservation. No PM run as I deserved some rest.

AM: 14.5 miles in Solon with the Southeast Running Club. Once again the temp at the start was cold--about 14 degrees with a nasty wind from the north. I averaged 7:30 pace.

Total miles for week: 86.85
Total miles for month: 276.35 (terrible!)
Total miles for year: 562.94


I'm traveling a few days this week, which will make a high-mileage effort pretty challenging. I'm going to try for 80 miles, including intervals, 5.5 miles at tempo pace, and hopefully a long run.

The following week (3/9-3/15), which will be one week before the Lt. JC Stone 50K, will be critical. I'm going to shoot for 90-95 miles with a run of 4 hours. If I hit 90 miles for the week of 3/9-3/15 and am feeling good, I will likely taper for a few days and go to Pittsburgh and try for a sub-4-hour time at the Lt. JC Stone 50K. If I'm not where I want to be, I'll probably run the Green Jewel 50K here in Cleveland as a trainer. It's a fun-run, but it's a point-to-point run and would allow me some valuable time on my feet.

I still plan to run the Forget the PR Mohican 50K in April as a training run and am as yet undecided as to how I run the Cleveland Marathon--as a training run for Mohican or all-balls-out. It depends on how I'm feeling and where I am in my conditioning. Marathons really kick my butt and I want to be ready for Mohican only a month later. I do not want to peak prematurely. I want to peak at Mohican. Contrary to what some of my running buddies might say, I believe a well-trained athlete peaks only twice and maybe three times a year.

Onward and upward!