Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random Running Thoughts

Nothing interesting enough going on to justify a whole post, so here's a bunch of random stuff that will hopefully add up to something worth the price of admission...

-I've figured out that running w/ tights on in the winter is essentially the same thing as swinging a weighted baseball bat in the warm-up circle. I was able to run a couple 20 milers wearing just shorts last weekend after who-knows-how-many weeks of running in tights, and I was shocked at how stupidly fast I was able to go. I guess when you train with that slight resistance of tights long enough, your legs really fly when they're set free!

-I'm driving 10+ hours (each way) to run the Iron Horse 100 in an couple weeks. Assuming the race goes to plan, I'll finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 hours. That's 20+ hours of driving for 16 hours of running.  I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but it's definitely not "normal", right?

-The loop course at the 24 hour World Championships will be 1200 meters (.745 miles) long. This means 187 laps for 140 miles, and just over 200 laps for 150 miles. Something about the roundness of those last  figures looks pretty good to me.

-I read somewhere on the ultralist this week that a guy training on the C&O Canal along the Potomac river here in DC ran out of water on a long run. Apparently he knew this was going to happen, but instead of planting water or planning on looping around back to a water source, he carried with him a small bottle of bleach w/ an eye dropper.  When his bottles ran out, he scooped up some water from the positively disgusting Potomac (that even he admitted was the color of "weak coffee") and proceeded to mix it with 10 drops of bleach to make it "drinkable".  My only comment: "Dude, What the %^#* ??!!!!". Sure, all ultra runners are a little crazy in their own ways, but drinking bleach and Potomac water?! That's just so very wrong on so many levels...

-Camelbak now has a Flow Meter that digitally gauges how much fluid you have left in your bladder. Has anyone had any experience with this yet (or similar product)? If it actually works, it seems like a pretty great way to keep fluid/fuel consumption dialed in during long runs/races. Let me know!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Amelia v. Umstead = No Contest!

This past week I had to withdraw from running the Umstead 100 on March 27. I'm sad to miss out on the race (and seeing about a dozen running friends there), but the reason I can't run is a tremendously HAPPY one: My best friend Amelia is getting married that weekend! You may recall Amelia's amazing feats of pacing and crewing during Run 192, and it's an absolute no-brainer to switch around my racing plans to be there in San Francisco when she and fiancee Joel get married. To add to the fun that weekend, they're getting married at the Mountain Home Inn which just so happens to be smack dab in the middle of ultra-running heaven in Marin County, CA. I wonder if I can convince any of the party-goers to join me for a run on the trails up there?!

Amelia apparently pacing me somewhere in China during Run 192

A nice stroke of luck for me and my training plan for France has another 100 miler on the schedule the week after the wedding on April 3 in Philadelphia. The Philly 100 is a small Fat Ass run on a paved loop course along the river right in Philly, so it should be a perfect tune-up for France. How lucky are we all that so many 100 milers are popping up everywhere these days? It makes it pretty easy to put together a training schedule even when last minute changes pop up in real life like this. Big thanks to Philly 100 RD Lauri Fauerbach Adams or organizing this run, and if anyone is up for a run that weekend, this looks like a great place to test your limits on an 8.4 mile loop course!

Friday, January 15, 2010

All is Quiet on the Eastern Front

Normally I like to post something once a week, but I'll be completely honest, there's not much going on right now to talk about!  My training has been ramping up and going very "shhh, don't wake the injury gods" well. I'm already getting excited for my first race of the year on February 13 in Florida. My return to the Iron Horse 100 as a runner and not a volunteer like last year will be a great early-season test to see how well I can hold an even pace. Ideally I'd like to run even 8 hour splits since the goal isn't to run the fastest 100 I can, rather to keep myself locked in to a 24 Hour pace plan I can execute perfectly in France. I'm also planning on seeing how well the New Balance 100s hold up over 100 miles....but I'm getting ahead of myself. I've still got 4 weeks of training before race day. A bit of a bummer to still have so long to wait, but at least the forecast for my 40 miler tomorrow looks like 50 degrees and clear. Talk about a sweet mid-January gift from Mother Nature!

Hope the "heat wave" hits everyone this weekend (although not those running the super-tough H.U.R.T. 100 in Hawaii...they're probably hoping for a nice chill in the rain forest out there!).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Cold Out There!!

Not sure what's been going on with the DC weather the past few weeks, but after getting dumped with 2 feet of snow the weekend before Christmas the temps have plummeted!  Sure, folks running in sub-zero parts of the country can laugh at me, but 25 degrees with 20-40mph wind virtually EVERY day for the past two weeks hasn't been much fun at all!

So how does one cope when faced with nasty cold this time of year?  First off, it helps to have a college team playing in a Bowl game. There's no better reason to gather in front of the nice warm glow of a big screen TV and root on your team. Here I am w/ my father in-law Paul (who you may recall from my arctic UltraCentric Super-Crew) cheering on the Cornhuskers to a 33-0 win over Arizona in the Holiday Bowl last week.

Lizzy's family has been nice enough to adopt me into the Nebraska clan, and I've loved rooting for them the past couple years.  For those of you NFL fans out there, you better hope your team is lucky enough to avoid having to face "Mr. Suh" on their schedule for the next decade or so. That dude is a force!

Also a force, but completely unrelated to football: This Margaritaville "frozen concoction maker" - Yet another way to keep warm this winter. Elizabeth approves!

Another way to keep warm is to curl up with a good book. One that helps you think about a run you're planning later in the year works wonders for helping you forget the fact that you know the freezing temperature of Perpetuem in a Camelbak. This new illustrated book about the Vermont Long Trail is full of amazingly beautiful photos dating all the way back to the founding years of the trail. The story of the soon-to-be 100 year old trail's history is also pretty interesting, but the photos are what make it worth the read. Observing the evolution of everyone's hiking equipment is pretty funny think people used to hike the entire 272 miles with a peach basket strapped to their back containing all their canned food. Never again will I think I'm tough when out on a trail!

My final way to avoid the cold, unfortunately, leads me to the treadmill in the gym. I only use this as a last resort, but when I run out of tights and hats and really don't feel like doing the laundry, it's the only option. During our little December blizzard a couple weeks ago I was stuck on the ol' hampster wheel for a 30 miler (not recommended unless you have the margarita machine to come home to), and since then I've gone back a few times to knock out a daily run or two. Last night I actually figured out that running 6:30s feels better than running 8:30s on the stupid thing....but then again, maybe I only thought that because it meant I was able to get off the thing 20 minutes earlier.  Either way, I don't like Mr. 'Mill, but I am happy to have him around when Mother Nature acts up like this.

Anyone else have any cold weather diversions to recommend? ...and no, folks from Florida are not allowed to suggest "wearing a long sleeve shirt to dinner on the beach".   Here's what the beach is supposed to look like in the winter (view from my parent's house on Cape Cod):

Stay warm out there, people!!