December 28, 2008

Update x 2

So, when we last heard from our hero, he was bravely talking smack about how much he loves to suffer and about how he was gonna march in the footsteps of some of his heroes, stare the Richmond Marathon straight in the eye, purse his lips and squash that thing like a bug.

Been watching a few too many action movies lately, maybe.

Richmond Marathon:
Typhooned it. Needed a sub-3:30 to grab a Boston Marathon qualifier. Finished in 3:47. And tweaked my right hammy. Ugly work, this Richmond. Butt ugly.

Given that 8:00 miles is 3:29 and change, I started out at a reasonably comfy 8:10 pace for the first five miles, then began dialing it down from there. Hit 10 miles at 55 seconds slower than BQ and the half-marathon mark at 40 seconds slow. Peachy! Also pretty hot. As in “we’re calling for 58F and 20mph winds but what you’re really getting is 70F and, well, by the time the stand-your-scrawny-***-straight-up wind is in your face, it ain’t gonna manner any more anyway.”

Reduced to a jog by 18 or so. Reduced to a head-down shuffle by 19. Thank God my ultra buddy Mike Lipton cruised by at 20 so that I had somebody to snivel with as we did a 4-minute run/1-minute walk routine from 21 to the end. Felt decent by Mile 24 or so, but still was very glad when it was over. Mike, you carried me to the finish, bud. I owe you big time. And thanks to Michelle for hanging out with me for a couple hours afterward while I licked my figurative wounds, and to Heidi J. for letting me commandeer one of her “old” half-zip pullovers so I didn’t get hypothermia as the sun went in and the temps dropped to quasi-normal mid-November numbers. Strong reminders all that I am little without my friends.

VHTRC 50km: Speaking of friends, I took the show on the road to Clifton a month later for the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Fat-Ass 50km, a gem of a run on single- and double-track trails at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. Ran the first 21 miles with Mike Broderick, with whom I once shared the entirety of a Mohican 100-Miler and who I haven’t seen nearly enough in the three years since. Great fun running, laughing and route-finding through the Do Loop with Mike before he pressed on from the final aid station a bit faster than I wanted to go. Not long out of that final stop, I lucked into the delightful company of Rick Kerby and Jim Miller, good runners and two of the sharpest wits I know. Good times sharing the final 4 miles and change with those two knuckleheads as we finished in 6:28, a stronger day than I’ve had at that run in many, many moons. Much fun at the post-run pizza fest too.

Richmond – rugged. And then some. VHTRC 50km – a veritable walk in the park.

There are no guarantees. Part of the fun of it all.

November 14, 2008

Goin' 4 It!

Richmond Marathon is tomorrow.

My Boston Marathon qualifying time is 3:30. It has been 17 years since I last qualified.

Tomorrow, I roll the dice one more time.

Why try? Why not sandbag like always? Why not just run/walk for the first 20 and then find somebody who is struggling near the end and help that person finish? Several reasons ...

• The 19:09 5K I ran two weekends ago is concrete evidence that I am in way-faster-than-3:30 marathon shape. More like 3:07 shape.

• My buddy Bob is struggling these days with injuries and will be pretty pleased if he breaks 4:15. His PR is 2:49. If Bob was in 3:07 shape, he would try.

• My friend Dennis can't run any more. Ever. His PR is 2:37.

So this one's for Bob. And especially Dennis.

November 10, 2008

A Smack in the Mouth

So the other day, this is what I woke up seeing …

As We Forgive Those

As We Forgive Those

As We Forgive Those

Wow. How’s that for a smack right in the mouth first thing out of the box?

As we forgive those? You mean, even when I feel as if I am one of the few who is getting it right? You mean, even when I am so sure that somebody else is all about himself and how he looks? You mean, even when I am doing good, solid, heart-felt work with precious little support? Even when the other person isn’t my friend? You mean, always … in every instance?

You mean, even when up until sometime recently, I was grinding my teeth at night because of all the uncertainty at how I’m supposed to figure out how to get all this work finished when I feel as if I am all by myself on most of it? And even if I feel so strongly deep in the core of my very being that I am pushing myself hard, yet seeming to miss every deadline because of factors outside of my control? And even when people are unkind and change their minds and jerk my chain?

As We Forgive Those?

As We Forgive Those?

Yeah. Every time. No matter what.

Wow. And I thought finishing a 100-miler was hard.

November 3, 2008

On a Bit of a Roll

Saturday: I do the JMU Dukes Homecoming "5K" Run. Brutal course, teeny field, no mile marks, no splits, very low-key. I crushed it, finishing 7th outta 66. Raced the whole way, never looked at my watch, just focused on being controlled, working every climb, steady on the flats, open it up on the downs. After the initial shake-down of a torrid start on a fairly steep uphill, there are two guys within striking distance: one maybe 30 meters up and the other maybe 60 meters at, say, Mile 1. I work my way up to the first kid by the end of a sweeping flat curve, then dust him on a fairly long downhill. The next kid I get on a sharp uphill before, say, Mile 2. From there, I start the long surge to the end, just like the old days. Just like the old days, the mantra is "CHP. CHP. CHP." (Chest up, hips forward, push off.) The final half-mile is flat, and I tie up just a little bit the final 300 or so.

I hit my watch at the finish. 21:00.

Wow. With this effort, I know this course is way longer than 3.1 miles. After a 10-min. warm-down, I find the young kid who is the RD (he refs basketball with us) and ask him how long the course really is.

His answer: It's 3.4 miles. (Traditional course. Sees all of campus that they want to show off, hard to change it now that it's been going on for many years blahblahblah).

Using a Runner's World conversion tool, I ran ... 19:09. Yeah, 6:10 minutes per mile pace. 19:09. That's 18 seconds faster than I went last July in a 5K that's very accurate with a much larger field, hence plenty of people to key off of when you are gassed at the end.

MAN, was that fun :)

Sunday: Planning to do an easy 2-hour run/walk, wake at 6:30 a.m. without time to get in said 2 hours before church, so opted instead for taking the online basketball ref test. Cranked the 100-question, true-false test in an hour. Needing a 70 to ref varsity and an 80 for post-season eligibility. Instant result: 88! Sweet! Church at 8:30 a.m. with a seriously moving ceremony, then groceries. Expecting to pump out a quick 25-minute run before taking Ben to lacrosse practice in C-ville, then rush back in time to head off to Strasburg for a ref meeting. Get home to find a voicemail from the lax guy saying practice is moved from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., so Heidi cuts me loose to head off for a long run ... so I drive to JMU and do 2 hours very gently of 9 mins. run/1 min. walk. Legs felt awful at the start, then totally peachy by the end.

Monday (aka one amazing way to cap a pretty neato three days): On my 25-minute jaunt before work, I find a $20 bill!

A 19:09 5km, a 2-hr. run/walk and a little extra green. Not a bad three days at all.

October 11, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou, Patience?

Did just less than 64 miles at Hinson Lake 24-Hour Sept. 27 before calling it a day at around 11 p.m.

Went out too fast (AGAIN!), threw up on Laps 38, 39 and 41, then quit after Lap 42. Was shooting for 66.

All in all, more disappointed that I just gave up than that I didn't have the patience enough to go slower at the start. Nausea does that to me. Lots to learn still. Just when I think I have the nutrition thing figured out, the target moves.

So, what's next? Maybe Potomac Heritage 50km next Sunday on trails in and around D.C. And then maybe the Greasy-Gooney 10K near Front Royal Saturday, Oct. 25. And then definitely Richmond Marathon with my buddy Michelle Huston Nov. 15. And there's always the VHTRC 50km in mid-December and perhaps the annual Red-Eye 50km in Prince William Forest near Quantico Marine Base New Year's Day.

And, oh, look, this morning's little jaunt around Digger Park with Happy G. marked Day No. 600 of my streak.

OK, maybe I'm doing better with the cave-in at Hinson than I thought. :-)

September 18, 2008

Right around the corner now

That would Hinson Lake 24-Hour, a new-for-me race held on a 1.52-mile mostly dirt loop in the burg of Rockingham, N.C. It happens Sept. 27-28. 0800 start.

A little research provides that 66 loops is something like 100.3 miles. That would be a pleasant number to hang.

The run/walk strategy for this one will be 5/5 in hopes of saving enough energy to actually keep cranking after dark. It's been awhile since I have managed to do that. Then again, it's been awhile since I've been this fit.

Nutrition: I've been experimenting with Accelerade, an Endurox product that seems to me to basically be Gatorade with protein added to it. The fruit punch is fairly tasty. Also planning to use green tea, a few Ensure Plus, peanut butter crackers and probably some store-bought trail mix.

Last week was the last real week of the build-up. I did 2 hrs. Wed, Thur, Fri and then 5:08 on trails mostly in the gorgeous Elliot's Knob area (THANKS SOPH!!!) on Sun. Awesome, awesome cap to a really, really stellar last several months.

I am already getting psyched. :-)

August 20, 2008

102, 276, 547

Knocked out a 4:02 effort on the streets of Harrisonburg Tuesday.

That marked No. 102 run of 2 hours or longer for the year. That puts my point total at 276 for 2008.

The 547? That's the total number of consecutive days in my streak, which also equals 1.5 years.

Tuesday sure was a heckuva good day. :-)

August 11, 2008

Nice mix

Significant runs of late ...

Saturday, Aug. 2: Covered 2:34 on fire road and single-track in Shenandoah National Park.

Sunday, Aug. 3: Did 4:16 on flat roads on the Capt. Yancey loop with Bob Ring. Total of 20 miles.

Tuesday, Aug. 5: Punched out 2:30 before work, including 45 mins. at sub-9:00 with Wellness Train members Charlie and Buffy.

Thursday, Aug. 6: A gentle 2:00 of 7/3, most of it on Memorial Hall track.

Friday, Aug. 7: Steady 2:00 of 7/3 on roads before work with Carp and PJ.

Saturday, Aug. 8: A gentle 3:15 at the EMU track. Ran 4 songs, walked 1 x forever. Wore my Columbia boonie. Fine choice on a warm, sunny day.

Some thoughts here: If you kick out the Aug. 2 run and run the numbers conservatively, I just did a 70-mile week. Maaaaaan!

Then during my 1:05 trek this morning, I punched out 3 x 800 in 3:20, 3:12, 3:07. Woo!

I sure am having some fun these days.

July 29, 2008

Bringin' It

Saturday, July 19: A whopping 6:42 in the Trayfoot Trail area with my buddies Sophie, Tom, Gary, Q, Deb, John, Jill, Dave and Marc. Great group. Great fun. I met them on the trail from the Grottoes side, which means a steep climb up Furnace Mountain, then down, then back up and onto the Trayfoot Loop, then back on the Skyline Drive and down Brown Gap Road. Smokin' hot, terrific chance to slow down and manage the pace, way encouraged that I was able to do just that and still have enough energy left to mow my yard.

Sunday, July 20: A pleasant 5:00 out at Wild Oak, climbing Hankey and descending to the fire service road at the base of Big Bald, then rolling back 8.2 miles on the road, then drinking beer for 2-plus hours while the real studs (and studdettes Sophie and Marty) finished the entire monster loop.

Saturday, July 26: A steamy, rocky, up-and-down 7:06 at Catherine's Big Butt 50km. Wow. Stayed pretty steady, climbed well and then fell apart a little bit in the final hour. Still, another brick in the wall in prep for Hinson Lake 24-Hour Sept. 27-28.

Speaking of Hinson Lake, working up from the ill-fated DNF at Old Dominion, I have put in at least one 4-hour effort in six of eight weeks. And, after a little break this week, I'm going in a bit late on Tuesday mornings each week in hopes of continuing the 4-hour string at least one day a week. That mimics my prep for The killer Massanutten Ring event back in 2005, one of my best ultra efforts.

Extra stuff: Reffed six varsity girls' hoops games (two Fri, four Sun) during the July 26 weekend, and have continued push-ups, pull-ups, yoga, Pilates and trying to eat more. Have reffed a total of 26 high school games this summer at various area college camps. Wonderful, wonderful cross training.

Should be interesting to see how this 4-plus-hour thing plays out. So far, so good.

June 13, 2008

OD 100 Reflections

It's 3:15 a.m. already and I never looked at my watch once during the night. That's some pre-race sleep right there. Sweet!

Holy shmoley, we start five mins. from now at 4 a.m. and it's already 74F with big humidity. Hey, it is what it is. Deal with it.

Helloooo Burnshire Bridge at about 4 miles in 45 mins. Easy does it there, dawg.

Lookit, daylight and topping out at Woodstock Tower. That 2-mile climb wasn't so bad.

Man, this gentle downhill to Boyer aid station at 11 miles goes on forever.

20 MILES! Drop bag! Ensure. Yum. ICE! Wait, go back and wet that bandana. Smart runner. Smart runner. Easy does it now.

Thermometer on the old country store bldg at St. David's Church aid station says 86F. It's on the porch. With its back to the sun. LOVE that bucket of cold water with the sponges. Ahhhh.

I know that guy there who is in charge of the 28-mile station. OMG, Kevin Black! No way! He was third here once and was ridiculously fast in several other races too. No WONDER he has popsicles and ice-cold water for dousing us.

Four Points 1. 32 miles. Lots of open road so far and this heat/humidity combo sucks, but morale is good and the stomach seems fine. Cool! Hey Quatro. Nice lid, dude. Hey Pat Botts. Great to see you again too, and thanks for your help with putting ice in my Nathan hydration pack. No room for my other 20 oz. green tea? Here. Give it to somebody else. No, wait. What would Ben Clark do? OK, lemme drink half and then you put ice in the rest. I'll just carry it in my hand and drink the rest of it myself.

Duncan Hollow. My nemesis. Let's see who kicks who's ass today, baby ... AID STATION is here at 39ish thanks to two guys on motorcycles ... Chrisman Hollow Trail and 1.5 miles to the road ... CREEK CROSSING ... ahhhhhhhh.

Medical aid station at 43 miles. I'm only down 2.5 pounds. Awesome! Gut is great. Brain's getting a little scrambled, but to be expected in this heat, I guess. FROZEN MANGO CHUNKS!!! And a Pedialite popsicle. Talk about being a happy, happy boy.

Road stretch to Four Points 2 is a blast furnace. Hang in. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.

Four Points 2. 47 miles. Sit down and try to cool off. Succeed cap, please (to go along with the 3 others I've taken so far). Ensure on ice. Yum! Green tea in the pack's bladder. I know, Q, I know, I've been here too long, but I'm still not really cooled off yet. Shade is good, but it doesn't do a thing about the humidity. OK, lemme get that iPod Shuffle with the arm band and I'm outta here. See you guys at 75 miles.

50 MILES IN 12:10. I hear the voice of my pal Bobby G. saying HELL YEAH! OK, that means 16:50 left to do the last 50 miles. No, wait. 15:50. OK. Whatever. Too early to start with that, even if I could get the math right. You just keep moving and let the rest of it take care of itself.

OK, this arm band is annoying. Put the iPod away for now. At Edinburg, put the clip one on.

Dude, it's just a Zip-Loc baggie. OK, how 'bout this: shove a handful of Frito's in your mouth and then just fold the top of the bag over. Good. Yeah. That works. Man, did they put any salt on these chips???

Each time the right foot strikes the ground is one ... 59, 60, 61 ... 89, 90, 91 ... 100, walk ... 48, 49, 50. Run ... easy does it, boy. Easy.

MUST eat these chips. Even two chips each walk break is better than nothing. OK, do a gel. Good. Great decision. I wonder how old that Succeed electrolyte drink mix is that they have had out here today? Wonder how they make it so completely tasteless?

Oh good. I think this is the windy downhill to the aid station. Will be good to grab a quick seat and see if I can cool off a bit.

Is that Potts? Looks like he's shooting video with his sweet handheld digi. WHOA! WOOZY! What the ???? Oh wow. OK. That's it. I'm done. Woozy? Yeah. Bed spins? A little bit like that, yeah.

OK, yeah, it's about 15 mins. back to the start from here. Ready when you are.

Hey, could I be completely pathetic and ask you to help me take my tent down? Not sure I should be bending over, really.

Dude, it's been an hour and a half and I don't feel any cooler than when I dropped. What's up with THAT? And yeah, I'm trying to drink that Gatorade but, man, it seems like it's all I can do to take little sips.

Oh MAN this big electric fan here in the fairgrounds bldg is perfect. I probably ought to be freezing to death sitting this close to it on full blast, but this is nice.

OK, yeah. It's only an hour to drive home. Yeah, I'm going back roads. And I'll watch myself.

Well, OK, so it takes me TWO hours and two stops but still, I'm home. Thank God!

(Recap: 49 starters. 20 finishers. Aid stations and support were top shelf. All in all, not a bad effort for my first exposure to these conditions in 2008. I'm sure I was on the cusp of some real ugliness. Glad I made the right call and bagged it when I did. Hey, sometimes turkey, sometimes bone.)

June 6, 2008


Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run is this weekend.

The expected RealFeel temp on Saturday is 106F. hahahah. ahahahah. 

I have drop bags with green tea, Frito's Corn Chips, Ensure Plus and then the latter ones some Red Bull too. OD aid stations are supposed to be pretty good these days, I'm told. Nice boost if that turns out to be so.

Potts will be around to crew me for a good bit of the second half, and Sophie plans to be my "safety runner" from Miles 75 to 87, the gnarly single-track chunk. Looking forward to sharing some aid station stops with Willy P. and a nice hunk of dark with Speedy Sophie. 

I should be terrified by this heat and humidity. I am not. Weird.

Showering off after this morning's light 25-minute run, I knocked my gym bag over and guess what fell out? My first iPod Shuffle. So I brought it in and uploaded some more recent tunes on it and now have TWO of them. This means, if the specs are correct, that, minus the 3.5 hours I'm running with Soph when I wouldn't be listening to tunes anyway, I should easily be able to pound tunes the entire way.  

o4oo Saturday start. Would be completely awesome to hit the finish line before daylight on Sunday. Course stays open until 0800 Sunday, so there's still quite a bit of breathing room there. Gonna be one of those years when you just gotta take whatever the day gives.

I am jacked to see how much joy I can find out there. 

May 17, 2008

well, anyway,some great OD prep

Came up just a little short on the admittedly pretty lunatic plan to do 2 hrs. Monday through Friday, then Trayfoot with Potts and Sophie.

That's "short," as in I only managed 25 mins. on Friday. Hit the rest of the days as RX'd though. And, when you package that with my having done 2 hrs. on the preceding Fri and Sat, then you get long ones on seven of nine days. 

Trayfoot was, of course, amazing. Sophie and Potts were kind enough to wait for the old, slow guy after they blitzed most of the downhill sections. Potts was shooting video and stills of the morning, which means that some really, really scary stuff may one day appear on YouTube and Flickr. What a fun, fun morning playing in the dirt with two of my faves.

All in all, pretty awesome prep for Old Dominion 100. Woo.

Streak Update: Thursday was Day 450. How cool is THAT?! 

May 2, 2008

All in good fun :-)

So I'm taking a quick break at work and doing a little surfing when I happen on this ad ...

It's for the Salomon XT Wings Challenge. You make up something stupid, then write back after you do it.

So, what the heck, how could I not bite, right?

What follows is the description i wrote ...

To celebrate my 47th b-day on May 9, I am doing a 2-hr. run/walk each day May 5-9, then a 21-miler on the Treyfoot Trail May 10 with my ultrarunning buddies.

(If I pull this off, what awesome training for OD, plus, who knows, maybe some sweet goodies too!)

April 29, 2008

Triple Dip, Part 3

Promise Land 50km in a word: AWESOME!

Ate steadily, maintained a gentle-yet-even-and-basically-whenever-I-wanted-to-punch-it strong pace. Had no problems with stomach (yay!) and even managed to be a little stronger still in the final 50 minutes, aka that awful downhill stretch at the end that crushes your quads whether you run 6:40 (three years ago) or 8:02, as I did Saturday.

Nutrition: An ice-cold 20 oz. green tea 30 mins. before the start. On the course, dried fruit, potato chips, a cold slice of pepperoni pizza (!!!), a tiny cup of ice cream (double !!!), maybe 75 ozs. of water and a couple cold cups of CLIP. Oh, two cups of Mountain Dew too. And several banana chunks.

The 8-hour jaunt to cap a 15-hour training week is a huge step in the right direction for OD.

Sure was great to hang with Potts, Dan, John, Neil and crew Friday night. Same goes for running with J.R., Blake and Dorothy, and hanging post-race with the usual suspects, a list that included Sophie, Flame, the Quiveys, Gary Knipling (THANKS FOR THE KNOB CREEK AND PEPSI, dude!!!).

I've done seven of the eight Promise Land runs. Horton knows how to put on a great show. Here's hoping he keeps it going somehow, even with the Promise Land camp being for sale.

Fun weekend. Fun run. Awesome prep for OD.

April 25, 2008

Triple Dip, Part 2

Part Dos was a little tougher, but just a little.

As predicted, the tough part was waking up. Did a 7 min. run/3 min. walk routine the whole way. Ate a Snickers Chocolate Chip Marathon Bar at halfway. Yum! Drank 16 ozs. from a hand-held bottle. Kept the run pace very gentle. Stayed mostly on flat stuff. 

Hammered two Egg McMuffins after. Brain seems to be working fine (relatively speaking, of course), so that's a great sign that recovery is happening.

Tomorrow should be most interesting. I have done a lot goofier triples than this (see the Great Tour de Skyline run), but not ones with sooooo much climbing on the final day. Talk about terrific training for OD! 

Promise Land is so steep at the start that you really have no choice but to be patient. Part of the built-in blessing. As long as I watch not to pound the downhills, this has all the ingredients for a great start to the OD build-up.

April 24, 2008

Triple Dip, Part 1

Part 1 comfortably in the bag.

A gentle 2 hours of random iPod run/walks. Most were three songs run, one walk, but a couple went 2/1. Depended on the song. I am sorry, but there are just some Sugarland songs that you cannot walk to.

Wore my Ultimate Direction hydration vest pack thingy. Drank 30 ozs. of water. Rare that I even take fluid on a 2-hour, mostly-in-the-dark run. Decided to change things up a bit to see if it has any positive residual. Well, and a 51F start is a lot warmer than, say, a 6F start, even if I don't sweat much even when it's 78F. 

Run was great. Did some push-ups and pull-ups after. Pounded a Greenberry's Supremo Mocha Mint latte. Ahhhhhhh. Probably enough calories in that to cover me for the run, b-fast and lunch, but scrawny runners need their food, so no thoughts of skipping lunch.

Found on the run: 43 cents (one quarter plus EIGHTEEN pennies) and one huge, live blacksnake. Kept the coins. 

April 23, 2008

Can anybody say "Triple dip?"

So I'm thinking, if I am "training through" Saturday's sometimes brutal Promise Land 50km with my eye on OD 100, why not go big ... as in sticking with the typical 2 hrs. Thursday a.m., 2 hrs. Friday a.m. routine, then follow it up with 7 to 8 hours at PL?

Would create quite the training effect, esp. with PL being such and up-and-up-and-up-and-down, single-track wonderland.

Can I do it? Or is it just too stupid? Ah, don't ya just love the questions that are just begging for answers. :-)

April 19, 2008

Wise words

Wow. Just read this column by Kristin Armstrong (one of my favorite writers of the moment) ...

I use these feelings all the time in training, the amazing sense of wonder of the next moment, what's around the next turn, some view of a random rooftop that I've run past 50 times but never noticed. Same goes with a particular drum beat or other background sound when sporting the iPod Shuffle.

I left all that at home for this year's Umstead. Wow.

I agree with K. It's really a LOT more about persistence than talent. Especially when you're talking about 100-milers.

You can only do so much with your body. You finish 100s with your mind. A 100 is a test of will. Running helps, but running isn't all of it.

Old Dominion 100 is June 7. Glad I get another shot soon. :)

April 8, 2008

Wrong kind o' yakkin'

The short version of Umstead 100 2008: Swing and a miss.

My stomach was a complete mess from about 20 miles until I finally called it a day at the end of Lap 5, 62.5 miles in 15 hours and a little. That's my first DNF in a long while. It's still just as humbling as ever, if not moreso.

I've beaten myself up a fair amount trying to come up with some answers for what the heck went wrong. The reality is that I have no clue. I should be comfy in that state, given that it's where I've spent my entire ultra career.

Amazing how I can do a fairly tough 50-miler on cookies and water with energy to spare, then be in peak fitness and running a lot slower at Umstead, yet have some dramatic nausea before the marathon mark. Weird.

When I got home Sunday, it was straight here to the computer and away I went on a literature review of all things drink replacement. Sheer desperation almost led me to order one of them. Then I noticed a torn black notebook on the floor near the computer. An old hand-written running log I kept for years in a three-ring binder. Digging in, I found that magical year in 1998 when during a 10-week span I spanked Umstead in sub-22, then the challenging Bull Run Run 50-miler in 9:50 and my then-nemesis Old Dominion in 22:51. On the back page of the OD entry I wrote: Eight drop bags filled with one vanilla Nutrament, one sandwich baggie of Fritos and took one S Cap every two hours.

Hmmmm ... let's see ... that's a WHOLE lot less than I was trying to push in Saturday. Hmmm ...

Perhaps too much grub and not enough salt has been the problem more often than not since that magical 1998 stretch?

Stay tuned for more. OD 100 turns 30 this year. Seems as good a time as any to get reacquainted.

April 2, 2008

Umstead 100 Finish No. 9???

I go visit my old friend Umstead 100-Miler this weekend.

Completely and utterly psyched to catch up with old friends, make some new ones, tell a ton of stories, get my brain as far away from work as it can possibly get.

I have broken my cardinal rule and actually tapered with only 20- to 25-min. runs since last Friday. Trying to approach this one as an adult would. I actually have a nutrition plan. And I have committed to taking it VERY easy the first 25 miles. Hoping that combo will make it possible to make it through a whole Umstead without a nap (or a 3-hr. collapse like last year).

I'm really fit. I'm tapered. The weather looks hot and humid (yay!).

Found out just today that my buddy Amy Leigh "Flame" Brown has offered her services as Pacer Extraordinaire for the night shift, so that's added incentive for me to keep myself in one solid piece until darkness strikes. Imagine me and Flame blabbing our way through the North Carolina night together?

This could be one to remember.

March 12, 2008

Make that TWO dogs with everything ...

(Overheard on this morning's 2-hour run ...)

Little Voice Inside My Head: Dude, the veggie thing ain't cuttin' it.
Me: What?

LV: Your diet thing. It's not working.
Me: What?

LV: For one, you have been passing OUT at like 8:15 p.m. every night.
Me: What?

LV: And then you don't even know anything about nutrition OR take the time to fix the right foods. Then you fill in with total crap like candy bars. So the veggie thing is dumb.
Me: You think so?

LV: Plus, most important of all, how can you get your Little Kid on when you don't eat Jess' chili dogs? Or those steak pitas you like so much?
Me: Hmm. Valid points.

LV: I mean, really, aren't you supposed to saving exertion of will for 100-milers and crawlin' outta the rack at 0400 for weekday runs and stuff? What the hell have you been thinkin'?
Me: Umm. That I would feel better?

LV: Dude, you see that piece in Runner's World that says we are burning 591 calories an hour at our easy-run pace? That's, oh, about 1,200 cals a long run. So you're starting most days of late seriously in the hole.
Me: Crap. Really good argument.

LV: Man, are you a dork. Riddle me this: When was the last time you looked at a menu without indecision?
Me: Umm. Christmas?

LV: Exactly. So it's time to get over yourself ... now, go knock down some chili dogs. And chase 'em with onion rings. And a beer. Or two.
Me: OK, OK. You win. I give in. Just go away, OK?

LV: Not to worry. Gone! But I'm sure you'll give me a chance to be back soon.

February 28, 2008

Awesome short day

This morning is a pretty typical "short" day for me.

Did 25 mins. of 4/1 (note: i detest 20F), then followed with some Pilates, yoga, extra abs. Pilates was The Hundred, Leg Beaters (20 each side), Hip Beaters (10 each leg), Bicycle Twists (15 each leg), Superman (10 x 4 counts). Yoga was Drunk Flamingo (2 x 30 secs. each leg), modified Sun Salutation and modified Downward Dog (lotsa ahhhhhh from both). Finished with 60-second Plank and 45-Side Plank x 2.

Add to that a quick stop for some 7-Eleven coffee and you have a great, great way to kick-start the day.

January 29, 2008

Veggie Boy? Yup.

When you say, "I am a vegetarian," what does that mean?

Could mean lots of different things. In my case, what it means is that I am exploring a different way of fueling this engine, a way that hopefully makes me feel as good when I am not running as I do when I am.

It's not nearly as hard to do this as it was back in my post-collegiate days, really the last time I paid any attention at all to what I put in my mouth. Maybe that's because there are, according to a recent Washington Post column, 12 million American vegetarians.

My switch-over has been a gradual move spreading across the past month. This weekend, grocery shopping found us scoring soy burgers, soy milk and a couple cans of veggie chili to go along with the typical pierogies, fresh fruit and pasta that are already staples of the Team Gentry diet.

My goal is to avoid red meat entirely, and try to keep to a minimum anything pig. Fish and chicken stay. So does dairy.

I would have "gone vegetarian" years ago, but wasn't really willing to do the extra food prep and meal planning required to make that happen and still keep Heidi and Ben on their quasi-normal diet. So far, no problem. Given that it's Basketball Referee Season, I basically eat no weekday meals with either of them.

The good news is that I feel much, much better. The running is much better. My concentration is much, much better (maybe due to mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks and an overall increase in food intake).

Should be way interesting to see how this plays out.

Oh yeah, beer remains on the Preferred Foods list. Good runner food, beer. :-)

January 24, 2008

Great start

Any day that starts with a 2-hour run, then Animal Crackers has to be a good day.

January 4, 2008

Just another day in paradise, baby!

Did 2 hours run/walk (7 run, 3 walk) with Mike Carpenter and P.J. in and around the 'Burg. Yeah, it was 13F at 0500 when we shoved off. Yeah, I was in shorts. Yeah, they made big fun of me. No, my legs were fine. My hands, on the other hand (arf arf!), were stumps, even in double gloves. Parked at Carp's house, I was so pathetic that i ALMOST had to go get help with turning the key in the ignition. Yep, guess it's time to replace those 7-Eleven Jersey gloves with some real ones. :-)

Strength work before showering: 4 rounds of 15 push-ups, 20 crunches, 5 pull-ups in 4:55. Nice number. I can go faster. The last round everything hurt. Awesome!

Tonight I ref girls' JV hoops at Spotswood High School with Scott Arbogast, a young guy who is top quality. Good supplemental training piece and should be a fun time. Nice change to be home by 8ish, too.