"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, December 7, 2008

St Louis Track Club Marathon Relay

This morning Team "Quarter Pounders" ver. 2.0 ran the St Louis Track Club Marathon Relay. This year we the team was comprised of newcomers Jackie Wolz and Detlef Ritter as well as returning members Megan Tooley and of course myself. We decided to try to get as many teams from work as we could but with the short notice and no good way to contact all of the runners at work we only fielded 2. Next year I would like to see at least 4 teams. We finished in 3:34:xx which I think was great since it was 14 degrees outside with a wind chill in the single digits. We all ran 2 legs of 3.25+ miles for a total of 6.5+ miles each. This years team was definitely slower than last years but that's ok since last year Megan found a couple of ringers who were very fast. This year I think everyone was well matched and it worked out great and was a lot of fun. Next year I will get the word out sooner and maybe set up a party area to make it more fun for everyone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spirit of the Osage 50k

Sunday was the 2nd annual Spirit... 50k and all in all I would say that I had a really good time. The trip out to Jefferson City was rather enjoyable. Beth and I were the only ones scheduled to go but since Megan was grounded we brought her along. Nic and Sarah were disappointed that they couldn't go, but that would have left us with the problem of what to do with the dogs, and after last time I don't think they will want them to stay at the kennel again.

We stopped at REI and Fleet Feet on the way out of town. REI didn't have anything I was looking for and we ended up getting stuck in some traffic that makes Fairview Heights on the weekend look like nothing. So we wasted a bunch of time heading from REI to Fleet Feet. We finally arrived at FF and I bought some Saucony running pants because I wasn't sure what the temp was going to be like for the race. As it turned out the temp was warm enough to wear shorts. I did however wear them monday for a short three mile recovery run, and found them to be very warm and comfortable. I also bought a SLUG shirt which seems a bit small. I should have tried it on before I bought it.

So after much delay we were on our way. The drive seemed to go by quickly enough and before I knew it we were at the Hotel Deville. Beth and Megan checked in while I picked up my race packet. I made some small talk with Vicki and then I was off to the room. I wanted to drive the course just to be somewhat familiar with it, but after the delays we had getting on the road it was already getting dark so I decided the best strategy would be to follow the person in front of me. Admittedly I was a bit nervous about the hills. I don't train hills and they are definitely a big weakness in my running. I tried not to think about it so it was actually good that we didn't get to drive the course because there were some monsters, in fact because of this race I have redefined what I think of as a hill. The evening was pretty uneventful for me anyway, Beth and Megan were being disturbed by the girl's soccer team running up and down the hall out side our room. Apparently there were other runners getting annoyed with them as well because I heard it mentioned by a few people on race morning. I got to bed around 10pm and was up at maybe 5:45am. I quickly threw everything together that I would need for the run and we headed out to the start. I didn't decide until that morning if I was going to take the Perpetuem with me on the run or Gatorade. In the end flavor won out, and I opted for the Gatorade. I like the way Perpetuem works but I just don't like to drink it. The label says "orange vanilla" but I don't taste orange or vanilla. So I had my two UD hand helds one with Gatorade one with water, and some GU. I figured that, along with the aid stations would be plenty. On the way to the start I noticed that we were driving on some of the roads that I would be running on soon, and the hills were crazy. I don't want to say I was having doubts but I felt like I was going to be tested. Once we arrived at the start I walked up the hill to the pavilion where people were milling around, and chatted with a couple people. I asked Lee Hess if he brought the Slug hats he said that he did, however my wallet was in the car and once I walked back down the hill I didn't feel like walking back up, so I bought one after the race. The irony is that I thought after the race would be a better time to walk back up the hill instead of when I was fresh. After sitting in the car for a while forcing Beth to listen to the "Doldrum" mix on my ipod I figured I better head over to the starting line. Beth and I stood around talking with folks about this years Lewis and Clark Marathon which is a hot topic at races this year. I am glad that I can say "I ran with Ike". Several people were wearing their L&C shirts. I look at it like a badge of honor, the only people that had it worse that day in my opinion were the aid station voluteers (I am only referring to the race and people associated with it. I would not ever want to trivialize the experience of those who's homes were destroyed etc. but I digress). When the race started I was in the Port-a-John. I could hear David White on the megaphone "on your marks...get set ...GO." I casually stepped out and started running after picking up my bottles from where I laid them on the ground.
I started out at a moderate pace and saw John Quick not to far ahead. I sped up a bit so I could catch him and say hello. I swear John is at every race I run. He was running the Marathon so I figured I wouldn't see him after the out and back section. We talked for a bit then I was on my way again. I started to get sucked in with faster runners on the downhills, which is easy since running downhill is a strength for me. I new this would come back to bite me later so I slowed up to a more manageable pace, and ended up running with Kat Yarger for probably half of the race. She seemed to really know what she was doing so my strategy was to walk when she walked and run when she ran for as long as I could keep up. We had a nice conversation and found out that we both have a dog named Scout, small world. We ran down into Bonnot's Mill, and I have to say that is one quaint little town. If I run this race next year I want to stay at the Bed and Breakfast. The town, or at least the part that we ran through seemed like a step back to more simple times, and was sort of comforting. Then came the climb out of Bonnot's Mill, and I say climb because the hill was very steep. In fact when we were running down I was dreading the thought of running back up. I stayed with Kat and made it up fine. When we reached the turn around for the 50k out and back I dropped off my long sleeve shirt (which I knew was a mistake). Some miles and good conversation later I couldn't keep up with Kat any longer. She dropped a package of sport beans and I picked them up, caught back up, gave them back to her and then she was gone. I thought I would kick back and rest a bit then catch back up, although in the back of my mind I new that wasn't going to happen. It didn't. She kept getting farther and farther away until she was out of sight. Now I was on my own. I greatly appreciated the help getting through some tough hills though. Left to my own I would have tried to keep running and running until I was burned out so to be at this point with energy left felt really uplifting. I'm not sure what point of the race this was maybe around 20 miles. I was passed by a couple of people and I also passed a couple of people so I still felt ok about how I was doing. I was walking the uphills for the most part but instead of strategy this was out of necessity. I was running out of water and regretted not filling my bottles at the last aid station, and then like magic I could see my car coming down the next hill. I was so happy because I had a jug of water in the trunk. Beth and Megan pulled over and I filled my bottles, and drank too much water and for a while thought I was going to hurl it all back up. I kept it down though. Beth and Megan were on their way and I was once again on mine. I thought about telling them where to get my shirt but I didn't. They told me that they would see me some where down the road again. Which I took to mean the next aid station. They were actually much farther up the road, and again I was very glad to see them. I got some more water and offered some to one of the runners coming up behind me.
I was really pleased to reach the 26.2 mile aid station in 4.5 hours. I have been trying to run a sub 4 hour marathon for a while now and keep experience setbacks toward that goal. I really thought L&C was going to be it this year, even with the horrible weather I was still on pace. I told myself that I could have made it but in the back of my mind I wasn't so certain. So out there on the course with all of those hills coming one after the other I figured if I could make it 26.2 in 4.5 hours then on a flat course I could definitely run sub 4 perhaps it would be close but I know I can do it. That was a bonus for me especially since I am not sure if I will run any marathons next year.
The last 5 miles of the course were pretty difficult for me. My feet were really hurting. They screamed in protest with every step. Where the grass was mowed on the "shoulder" I found some relief but those spots were few and far between. Coming down the hill to the last aid station the wind came up suddenly, and I really had to struggle to stay close to the edge of the road. I stopped at the aid station for a minute to gather my will to make the last run to the finish. I ended up passing a few people which bolstered my spirits. I always run better when I have someone in my sights. I wasn't sure how far it was to the finish since I wasn't checking my watch that often, but when I saw the guy in front of turn and look behind I knew he was checking for traffic to see if he could cross to the finish. I picked up the pace a bit since the end was near and headed in. There were a bunch of people there cheering me on. Beth and Megan were cheering and taking pictures. I was glad to be done. My bib slid around to the back so Vicki had a medal in one hand and a buckle in the other. I turned my bib around and traded her for a buckle.
All in all I felt great about how I did. I was really worried about the hills, and had visions of not making the cut off time or worse having to DNF. That might sound a little crazy but I thought it could be a possibility since I don't run hills. I have since run my normal course that I considered to have a few hills. Now they don't even register as hills in my mind. I run them pretty much the same as I do the flats.
Everyone was great especially the volunteers, just like at Berryman. I love it when I pull in to an aid station and the volunteers are so helpful. You just don't get that with other races. The volunteers at the two Ultras I have run care about the runners and it really shows. So thanks to every one that volunteered and Thanks to David and Vicki for putting on a great race.
After the race I bought a SLUG hat, and waited for my shirt to come back. Beth and Megan were very tired and wanted to head home so I decided to write the shirt off as a loss. Maybe I'll see it again one day. When Beth tried to start the car the battery was dead. Some nice people offered us a jump and it started right up and we were on our way. I was glad to be home. I am not sure if I will run this race next year or not but I am definitely glad that I ran it this year.
Once again thanks to every one that worked to make this event a success.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spirit of the Osage

Sunday I am going to run my second Ultra (50k). Up until about a week ago I thought it was going to be on trails. I was looking at the flier and happened to notice that it said the course was 100% pavement. I don't mind running on pavement but I was expecting a different experience. I should have read a little more carefully. The good news is that I will get to meet some more SLUGS. I've only met a few and it will be good to introduce myself. I need to try and make it to one of the weekend runs, but it is hard with my race schedule plus I don't like to drive so far just for a training run when I can run the trails at SIUE every Saturday with Metro Tri Club. Travis Liles organizes a SLUG weekend run out at the SIUE mtb trails so I will try to make it to that the first chance I get. I would like to find the easiest way to link the two trail systems together because I believe that would make for a great run. I'm sure the Vadalabene trail would be the way to go. I'll ask Jeff Schleicher if he knows the best way since know he runs both sets of trails.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I need a new battery

A few trail runs and an adventure race have been logged in the books since my last post. Everything is going well. I am in the Golden Age of running right now, and I plan to enjoy it while it lasts. I just ran a 10 mile trail race 20 minutes faster than I ran the same race last year.
Got to go my battery is about to die

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Disneyworld (Space Mountain)

The first week in September we all went to Disney world. We had the best time ever. We rode the MetroLink to the airport and then flew nonstop to Orlando where we boarded buses that brought us to the Fort Wilderness Campground where we had a cabin.
The flight to Orlando was fun because Megan was so little the last time we flew that she couldn't really remember. I think she was a bit nervous. Other than that the flight was pretty uneventful. We didn't check any bags so we didn't have to worry about lost luggage. Only bringing carry-ons worked great and I think if I do anymore flying I'll stick to the plan.
When we finally got to the cabin everyone was pretty tired since it had been a long day. We got settled in, the girls took the bedroom that had bunk beds and a full size bed, Beth and I took the Murphy bed in the living room. We were trying to decide whether to go to the Magic Kingdom for a while or stay at the cabin and rest up for what would be a busy week. Nic and Sarah decided to stay behind while Beth, Megan, and I went to the Park. We left the cabin and caught the bus to the settlement where we boarded a boat to take us to the Magic Kingdom (we traveled in almost every form of conveyance you can think of). The Park wasn't very crowded so that meant there weren't very long lines for anythingg. The shops along main street were more crowded than the attractions. You could spend a large fortune in the shops. We stopped outside Cinderella's castle and watched a performance with the disney characters. I was impressed with how well the character's masks articulated. There was way more movement and expression than I expected. The Magic Kingdom is divided into different sections. We decided to visit Tomorrow Land. The highlight for me was Space Mountain, and the lowlight was the Carousel of Progress.
We rode the Tomorrow Land Transportation Authority which brings you around that area of the park on an elevated tram while it tells you a bit about each attraction as you pass by. As we passed by Space Mountain we could see the people loading onto the ride but that was all since it is in the dark. Beth, who doesn't like rides, good ones anyway turns to Megan, who falls into the same category, and I and says "we should go on Space Mountain." Clearly she had no idea what Space Mountain was. Now the last time we went to Six Flags I got motion sick from the roller coasters. I decided to take one for the team and agreed that we should definitely ride. Megan was unsure and Beth did a great job of convincing her that the ride couldn't be that bad. We walked by two signs that said some to the effect of ' WARNING this is a thrilling high speed roller coaster type ride with sudden drops, turns' etc. and once they announced the same warning over the PA system. Beth and Megan were oblivious to all of the warnings. I had trouble keeping a straight face. I wished Nic and Sarah were there to enjoy this with me. As the cars came in Megan voiced her last concern regarding being nervous about the ride, a smallish child got out of the car having completed his ride looking none the worse for wear, and Beth said "Look Meg, if they let a little kid like that on the ride it can't be that bad". So we got on the ride and it was great Beth and Megan were totally unprepared for what was about to happen. I sat behind Megan and I think she had her hands over her face the whole time. Afterward I asked them how it was and they both said that they couldn't see anything and all they could hear was me laughing like a crazy person. I think they enoyed it though because they rode it again the next day with Nic and Sarah. We decided that was enough fun for one day and headed back to the cabin. I was surprised to find that I wasn't experiencing any motion sickness from the ride. I guess all those years ago at Six Flags it was the heat not the motion. I could tell that this vacation was going to be a lot of fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Megan's 16th Birthday

On August 25th Megan turned 16. I can't believe how fast time goes by. Soon she will be driving, and she has already started a job hunt. Well as seems the tradition in our family when girls turn 16 they get a party. I personally don't get the reasoning behind it since the really is no rite of passage type event at that age, but I minored in Anthropology so there are many elements of our culture that have me puzzled. Beth told me none of this mattered because we were going to throw Megan a party anyway.
The party was held at the local KC hall and Megan's friends had a good time with the Karaoke machine. We had snacks and cake. I was the DJ. You can do a lot with Itunes and a laptop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


So much has gone on since I last posted.
-Lewis and Clark Hurricane Marathon 10 miler
-Sick dogs
I am not sure where to start.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mission accomplished

Well I made it. I only broke two spokes this time, about 25 miles out. I was determined to make it but at that point I was sure I wasn’t going to make it back home. I stopped along the side of the Great River Road, river to the left and bluffs to the right. I decided to call Beth and ask her to pick me up once I got to the park, but my phone was dead. When I tried to call out it showed “emergency calls only” on the display. I thought this was an emergency! I guessed that when I got to Grafton I would use a pay phone, but the only one I saw was broken. I kept on going only much slower, before the broken spokes I was averaging over 17mph which is good for me, after I was probably doing about 13mph. After about 3 hours and 43 miles I finally arrived. I went to the lodge and reluctantly paid the desk clerk 75cents to use the phone. I called Beth and asked her to come and get me. I found a nice picnic table and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich that I brought from home. Now all I had to do was wait. Beth arrived in a timely manner and we loaded up the bike and drove to the Cyclery and once again dropped off my bike. I am going to call them tomorrow and find out what they are going to do. I think I should get this one fixed for free or at reduced cost since it happened so soon after they fixed it. Any way the important thing is that I made it.

Riding My Bike To Pere Marquette State Park

I’m going to make another attempt at this today. Last time didn’t go so well but the flood waters have receded, and my bike has been repaired, so I should be able to make it. I hope to ride home also which would make 80 miles round trip. I expect that I will have to call Beth and have her pick me up somewhere along the way home. I am bringing some food, and plenty of water. I also will be carrying some spare inner tubes, and other accessories. I wish I had a small camera to take along so I could add some photos of the route. I think I will ask the kids if I can borrow one of theirs. Well I better get going so I can get ready to go. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

wii Fit

Beth bought a wii Fit yesterday. We brought it to my sister's house yesterday, and everyone had a good time with it. ("sidebar"- Ending a sentence with a preposition should be allowable grammatically. It is just more natural sounding. Take the previous sentence for example the correct way to say it is "and with it everyone had a good time" that just doesn't sound right to me. But I digress). I haven't used it yet but I plan to in just a bit when I get done posting a few things here and there.

Oh No not AGAIN!!!

Since my road bike needs to go to the shop for new spokes I figured I would brush the dust off my mountain bike and take it out for a spin yesterday. About two miles from home pedaling started to feel weird. I thought my left pedal was going to fall off but as it turns out the whole left crank arm came off. I bet I looked silly standing there next to my bike trying to disengage from the pedal with the crank arm hanging from it. So that's two bikes down in two rides. Luckily I can fix the mountain bike myself, it just looks like the bolt that hold everything together came loose.
I also ran 6.2 miles yesterday after I made it home from the bike ride. I was surprised that I ran that in my 2nd fastest time ever. Maybe there is something to the idea of warming up after all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Half way

I rode 32 miles today but had to turn back because the trail was under water. I also broke several spokes on my rear wheel. It seems like whenever I take my bike off the trail I experience some sort of mechanical failure.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Run for Boniface, Sweat with the Vets, and Rt. 66

Ok, first of all I have to wonder why it takes some race directors so long to post race results. For me looking at the results and comparing to other people in my age group is part of the fun. I am still waiting for the official results for Sweat with the Vets, and since it was a new PR for me I am anxious to see the times. I absolutely love the system Fleet Feet uses. They attach an RFID tag to the bib numbers, and the results are posted on line very quickly. I'll put it this way I have run at least six races with this system and by the time I drove home I could look up the results. Anyway here is a short run down of my past three races.
Run for Boniface: I decided to run this at the last minute. I was on the fence, the deciding factor was that the start is less than a mile from my house. It was a nice cool morning, and I was glad that I ran the race because I ended up setting a new PR (albeit a very short lived PR), and winning a $20 gift certificate to the Cyclery. My time last year was 23:00, this year 22:28. It always feels good to set a new PR especially when you weren't even sure you wanted to run at all that morning.
After Boniface I realized that my shoes (Asics Gel Kinseis) had too many miles on them, and they took a beating on the second Berryman loop. They were not designed for off road use. After a somewhat disappointing trip to Sport's Authority I ended up with a pair of Saucony Pro Grid 4's. The only reason I bought them was because they felt good, and they were 50% off. I wore them for a very short run (not even worth mentioning), and was not too impressed, but then I wasn't blown away by the Kinsei's at first either.
Sweat with the Vets, is associated with work and benefits the Wheel Chair Games (?). The main reason I wanted to run this race was because last year I didn't see any of the fast people that I normally see at races so I figured it would be a god opportunity to place in my age group. Last year I ran a really bad race (25:37). I don't know why it was so slow, but damn. This year I did decidedly better and finished with a brand spankin' new PR of 21:XX. The XX is anywhere from the low 20's to low 40's. They have yet to post the results.
I knew from last year that the course starts out with a steep down hill followed by an equally bad uphill so I started fast to create some space so I could let it all out down the hill. I ended up really close to the front. I've been close to the front before, and the first wave to pass me wasn't so bad because I expected it, but the second wave was kind of demoralizing. I kept expecting that first wave to come but it never did however, the people that were ahead of me were only gaining ground and there was really nothing I could do to catch them they were just faster. It felt really good to be so close to the front, I finished probably 10th overall. I guess that is what motivated me to keep pushing the pace as much as I could. Three people passed me at the end. I tried to fend them off but I didn't have it in me. Knowing how close I was to the front I told Beth when I came I "that ought to be good for something." Regardless I was psyched about taking almost a minute off the PR I had just set a week prior. They read the results and I came in third in my age group. I think the only two people that mattered in front of me were in my age group (10-top 3 overall-old guy-me-2women=3) what are the odds of that. Oh well I still got a medal, and I ran a really uplifting race.
RT 66 10k: I had been looking forward to this race because I like the distance and I don't get a chance to run many 10k's so it is really nice to have one that starts so close to home. Last year my goal was to run under 50 minutes a goal I barely met with a time of 49:41. This year my goal was to run 45 minutes, I knew this was a little unrealistic going in but I needed something to shoot for, and after running that super fast 5k I thought that anything might be possible. I ended up finishing in 46:24 which I am extremely happy about. I started out with some tightness in my right calf, something I have never experienced before. I don't think it was effecting my pace, but I was concerned that it might develop into something more serious. After a few miles it seemed to go away so I felt some relief. Metro Tri Club had a really awesome water station, they had a ton of club members, music, water, Gatorade. It reminded me of a beer commercial. They sprayed me with water as I went through. It was great I wanted to stay and party with them. Of all the races I've run that was hands down the best atmosphere at an aid station. Immediately after though I was in a weird place my breathing was out of rhythm, and my pace dropped considerably. The odd part was that I didn't realize it until some one passed me, and I kicked it back up into my normal pace and rhythm. That to my knowledge has never happened before. Part of the course (a very short but significant section) is on my training grounds. This part consists of some short steep hills, I figured since I run these in training I would really turn it on for the race and it felt really good to know that at least some of the training is paying off, because even though I was tired I hauled arse through this section without a second thought. The finish was close I paired up with Dave Barr for the last half mile or so, and as we got closer to the finish I kept waiting for him to make a move, it seemed like it would never come and then I look left at Beth taking my picture, and he took off, so I took off and we ended up tying. The chute was so narrow, and jammed with people that we had to stop dead. I wish we would have had about 100 more yards. I'm disappointed that I waited for him to make a move first. I should have put the nail in the coffin myself. Next time I will.
Well it is father's day and I have to get a bike ride in before we go to my dad's so that will be all for now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Berryman Synopsis

Well I guess I never got around to writing a Berryman race report, so instead I will hit on some of the highlights. The night before the race I was kind of nervous trying to figure out what to take with me on the trail, and what to put in my drop bag. As it turned out I made one error that turned out to be not as bad as I thought it was going to be. At the start of the race I felt like I was doing ok keeping my pace under control. I usually go out too fast and burn out. I saw John Quick whom I have seen at a few other races so I figured that if I stayed near him I should be alright since we are close to the same when it comes to speed. This strategy worked until he stopped at I think the third aid station. I felt good still and was carrying gels, and two 26 oz bottles so I kept on trucking. I figured if he never passed me I was doing fine, and if he did catch me I would do my best to keep up. I never saw him again. It is 15 miles to Brazil creek camp which is where the drop bags were waiting, and my mind was reaching. This is not a good thing because my mind felt that it should be right around the next corner so why did I have to keep running and running and running. I was in the doldrums. I realized this simple fact and focused on other things. Immediately before Brazil creek camp is Brazil creek. Up until this point I had managed to keep my feet dry, I studied the 20+ foot wide creek and realized that dry feet were a thing of the past. The night before I had decided not to put my second pair of shoes in my drop bag. I had socks but with my shoes being thoroughly soaked I decided not to change. I left the aid station wishing I had dry shoes. I had 10 miles to go before I completed the first loop, and could get to my dry shoes. I have very limited experience running with wet feet. My only hope was that I would't get any incapacitating blisters. The next 10 miles were not nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be. I didn't have any issues from my feet being wet, and for that I am thankful. When I completed the first loop everyone cheered (Beth, Nicole, Megan, my Dad, Sis, and Natalie). I stopped over to the side where they were, and everyone was attending to my needs it was really nice. I told them what I needed and they got it for me. That was exactly what I needed since I didn't feel like rooting through my bag for things. Seeing the family really rejuvinated me, I was still tired but I felt better and I knew I could keep going to the finish. Finally with dry feet I left for my second loop. This time I decided to walk the uphills. I kept up with my nutrition, and felt good, tired but good. I felt some mystery pain in my knee and was beginning to wonder if I should call it quits. I decided to go aid station to aid station, and see what happened. Eventually the pain went away and I never gave it another thought. I lingered a bit in almost every aid station, not too long but long enough to top off my water bottles, and exchange pleasantries with the volunteers. Everyone was so nice and accomodating, they all said I looked great (one even said that I looked so good that he couldn't believe that it was my first 50 miler), and they would always ask if they could top my bottles off for me, little things like that mean alot.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the best part. When I finished the first loop Beth warned me to watch out for bears. "Haha very funny but there are no bears here" "Yes there are over on the restroom there is a sign saying not to feed the bears, if there were no bears why would they need a sign" Then it all came back to me that bears were in fact making their way back into the area. When I envision my death I see myself being killed by a wild animal, usually a bear. If anyone has read my myspace blog they understand. In my wife's defense she thought I already was aware of the bears, and was giving me a friendly reminder.
Back to the point. I decided to listen to my Ipod on the second loop. This made it hard to listen for bears but it helped to get my mind on other things. The whole second loop I saw only about 4 runners. I was alone, tired, and thanks to apple I couldn't hear. Since I was "alone" I decided to sing along. I've heard that a surprised bear is an angry bear, there have been no studies regarding the effect of my singing on bears, and there are none planned for the near future. I thought I saw a bear once along the side of the trail, it turned out to be a log. Eventually I forgot about bears altogether. I had a nice conversation with my Mother, it was pretty one sided though, but I knew what she would say if she were there.
Fast forward... I left the last aid station and I was pretty tired but I was bolstered by the fact that it was almost over, only 2.3 miles to go. Since it was so close to the end I let my nutrition slide and I started to crash "May Day, May Day". I knew the terrain somewhat and got to a point where I thought when I topped the next hill I would see the finish. This happened three times. I was in a tail spin. I was in the doldrums again. I don't know how long that last 2.3 miles took but it felt like an eternity. I finally topped the final hill and saw Megan and Natalie, what a sight for sore eyes. I handed them my bottles and I sprinted to the finish. My time was 12:23:21.
This race was a great experience from start to finish. The only way it could have been better was if I had been more prepared. Well there's always next time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back pain in the ass!

With less than a week to go before Berryman I can't believe that I hurt my back! It is not as bad as it has been in the past which is good because if it were I wouldn't be able to walk across the room in under 5 minutes without going through excruciating pain. Sometimes I think hurting less is worse though. It tricks me into thinking I am ok so then I do more than I should and that is when I am quickly reminded that I should be taking it easy. That is what I am going to do take it easy right up to the race. If I am not ready by now there is nothing I can do about it now.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Long Winters Nap

I am finally shaking off the rust accumulated over the winter. I was really starting to worry if I was going to be able to return to last years level of fitness. I set some goals for my self this year and I was really starting to doubt if they were realistic. Some are some aren't. We'll see how everything works out at the end of the season. Two of my goals are to run a 20 minute 5k and a 40 minute 10k. I am getting faster with more consistent training, and after Berryman I will be able to focus more on these goals. The only problem is that I do not plan to run as many 5 and 10k's this year so I won't have many chances for success.
Two things I need to do are lose weight (20-30 lbs) and keep running through the winter. I really feel like I could be good at running if I actually put some effort into my training instead of the lackadaisical approach I have been using.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flirting with Destiny

Yesterday Beth and I drove down to Berryman. She wanted to get the lay of the land as far as which hotels are the closest and how to get to the trail head etc. I figured while she was doing that I would hit the trail, and see what was what. I ran the East loop because last time my nephew Michael and I tried the West loop made a wrong turn and ended up taking the Ozark Trail instead. The East loop is more clearly marked, you could call it fool proof, although I had some doubts while I was out there.
It crossed my mind once or twice that it might not be such a good idea to venture off into unfamiliar woods alone with a pretty useless map, but nothing ventured nothing gained. Right? My chief concerns for my safety were snake bite, and rolling my ankle. The main concern for my ego was getting lost and having Forest Rangers searching for me. Everything turned out alright though.
I headed out onto the trail with two 20oz bottles and a 100oz CamelBak and pretty much drank all of it on the trail. I also carried some Perpetuem powder at the recommendation of Travis Liles, and I must say it really makes a difference. If I would have used it at the marathon I know I would have made my time goal. I don't like the way it tastes, but the benefits outweigh the taste. Now keep in mind I have never been on this trail before so I had no idea what to expect. It seemed since I had no way to judge distance that the best thing to do would be to run to Brazil Creek Camp, and depending on time either run back the way I came or finish the loop. Running when you have no concept of distance, and to some extent time (I was trying not to look at my watch) can be demoralizing. Run, run, run for what seems like a long time, sneak a glance at the watch, 33 minutes. Are you serious? Now comes the math. Road pace = X number of miles. Adjust for difficulty of terrain Time + Terrain Modifier= X miles. 10-X= Holy Shit I have a long way to go. Better pick it up. I didn't think I was ever going to get there, at one point I was almost certain that I had made a wrong turn. I envisioned Beth crying on the local news describing what I was last seem wearing between sobs. I pressed onward. I was almost jubilant when I saw the sign that said "Brazil Creek", and I would have been but the trail was flooded so I had to back track a bit and get on the road. I hopped back down the shoulder and got back on the trail. When I actually got to see Brazil creek it was obvious that I would not be crossing. The water was probably waist deep, and running pretty fast. Up until this point all of the several water crossings were minor and I was able to cross without getting my feet total soaked. It was good to run with wet feet since I don't have much experience in that regard. Anyway I back tracked again to the road and ran across the bridge, and once again onto the trail.
Brazil Creek Camp is pretty much as it is described on the Forest Service website. I walked through and didn't see the trail head. I called Beth with the one bar i was afforded here, and left her a very clear and well thought out message (?) "I am at Brazil Creek. I'll probably head back the way I came unless I find the trail head to complete the loop." What could be more clear? I didn't find the other trail head so I headed back.
Now I am not going to talk time just yet because the amount of time I thought it took me to get half way (10 miles) could not possibly be correct. The trail was pretty tough but i was feeling surprisingly good. I almost rolled my ankle several times. Oddly enough it was my left ankle that was giving me the most trouble historically my right ankle has taken all of the abuse in fact I have some what limited range of motion in my right due to numerous sprains. At times I tweaked my ankle so bad I gave an in voluntary "shout out". The rocks and leaves worked together to make the trail treacherous in places. Imagine running on randomly placed baseballs hidden under a quilt. The roots didn't help either.
Finding my way back was easy. I think the trail is marked better in this direction. There were numbers written on the trail markers that I guessed were mileage from Brazil Creek if they were I was making good time. I was projecting a time of 5 and 1/2 hours which was pretty depressing. I started to get really tired and worn out. I just wanted to be done. I hate these mood swings. The mind is a terrible thing. I started to think about the race and whether or not I could make the cut off. I thought about dropping down to the marathon. I thought about not running at all and volunteering instead. I thought alot of things regarding my level of preparation for this race. The thing that stuck however was that I chickened out last year because I felt that I wasn't ready (and I wasn't just for the record), and it would be far more honorable to try and fail than to not try. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Right? I picked up the pace when I could, and I made it as far up the hills as I could before I walked the rest of the way to the top. I glimpsed a trail marker on which someone had written "9". That meant according to my earlier assumption that I only had one mile to go. I thought "but what if I am wrong?" I figured I would just keep going but if I were right then I was coming back way faster than I thought I would. As it turned out I was right. I crossed that last fire road and to the left I could see the sign for Berryman Camp, and even better I could see the car so I kicked it in and finished strong. I still like to impress Beth every now and then. Driving out I looked down the trail and realized that she could have seen me walking before the mighty finish. My total time was 4:35:21 almost a full hour faster than what I thought I was going to finish. I don't know what happened to my sense of time or how I could have been so far off at the midpoint, but I do know that if I can run the hardest section of the trail twice in that amount of time then I am pretty sure I will make the cut-off time for the race.
Yesterday was a good day

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Today was a good day for running. I was going to do the "Celebrating Abilities" 5k but I decided instead to do a nice long training run. Ultimately I ran ~12 miles. I could have gone much farther as I felt pretty good at the end. The split for my last mile was 8 minutes which I actually found a bit surprising. It is my natural tendency to run too much and injure myself so I decided it would be better to head for home instead of to parts unknown.
I have been doing some research, and have started to fuel differently on my runs. So far everything has been going pretty well. The difference is noticable. My strategy for berryman is still up in the air though. I don't know if I am going to wear my Camelbak or not. Running two 25 mile loops doesn't leave much room for error, I'll only have two chances to grab what I need with 25 miles of regret if I should forget something.
Next weekend we are going to Berryman so Beth can get an idea of what to expect when we go down for the race. I am glad we are going because I want to get another look at the trail since the last time I was there Michael and I made a wrong turn and we ended up on the Ozark trail instead. Hopefully this time I'll be able to stay on the right path.
Overall I am truly excited about my first Ultra. So far I feel like a pretender, but come May 17th if I make the cut-off which is really my only goal for the race I will be able to call myself an Ultrarunner albeit a slow out of shape ultrarunner but an ultrarunner none the less.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Well the Go St Louis Marathon came and went. I didn't do as well as I wanted, but considering the time I spent training I'll just say I got what I deserved. I had some stomach issues going on which made it hard to stay hydrated. The mere thought of Gatorade and Gu made me want to throw up. When I came to one of the aid stations I grabbed a plain cup thinking it was water, but it was Gatorade instead, I really thought I was going to lose it. The only thought in my head was that I didn't want thousands of runners to have to avoid my vomit as they came into the aid station not to mention the volunteers working the station. I had a plan to finish in under 4 hours, and it would have worked had I not abandoned it around mile 6. I did exactly what I said I wasn't going to do, and went out too fast. How many times am I going to suffer through this mistake? I had to run a little faster at the beginning because I was separated from the 4 hour pace group at the start so I was playing catch up. I finally caught them around mile 6, and I felt so good I figured "why don't I just keep pushing and build up a nice cushion for later in the race?" I've watched way too many races on TV where the person behind the leader eventually catches and overtakes the leader. I should have known better. Actually I did know better which makes it worse. The 4 hour pace group which by this time consisted of the group leader and one other guy caught me around mile 20 and they were never seen nor heard from again.
Now I am more nervous about Berryman. Beth asked what I was going to do. I told her that I already paid the fee so come hell or high water I am going to run. Whatever happens happens. The good news is that I went out for a run yesterday, normally I take a week off after a marathon. My legs are still a little sore but the more I move around the better I feel and I figured I better get some miles in while it is not raining. I have a little over a month before Berryman. I have a feeling it is going to be awesome. Success or Failure either way it is going to be truly awesome.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Haiku for the Marathon

Tomorrow I run
I hope I do not suffer
Bigger fish to fry

Monday, March 31, 2008

No Quiero Taco Bell

Last night was terrible. I must have ate something that disagreed with me because I had some stomach problems that kept me up all night. Literally. I did not get to sleep until around 5am. I stayed home from work today so I could rest. I am feeling better now. Work tomorrow should not be a problem.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Road Less Travelled or 6+10

Beth and I went to see "Run Fat Boy Run" last night. It wasn't the best movie, but it had its moments. Runners will find something with which to connect. I enjoyed it even though I was expecting something along the lines of "Shawn of the Dead" or "Hot Fuzz" two movies that I love.
This morning I was so close to bailing on my run. I just didn't feel like going. I logged onto Peak.com and that inspired me to get out there and run. Since the St Louis Marathon is coming up Sunday I planned on heading out to the Nature Trail to do my normal 10k out and back route. I can't quite explain what happens to me when I get out on the trail. I ended up running between 14-16 miles depending on which map you believe. I came to the turn around and decided to keep on going, figuring that I would run on to the four mile mark and then turn around, but instead of turning right onto the Bluff Trail I kept going on the Nature Trail at that point I really wasn't sure how far I would go. I decided to run for an hour and turn around. I made it all the way to I255. The whole run lasted 2hours and 5 minutes. It made me happy to have such a good run, I feel like I will do well next week at the marathon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Albert PrintWorks

The family and I have started a business. We are doing some screen printing out of our basement. So far we have done t-shirts, tote bags and lunch bags. Everything so far has gone pretty smoothly over all. We are still novices at this type of endeavor, and there have been setbacks as well as a few rough spots, but nothing we haven't been able to overcome. I think for being new to this business the quality of our work is very good. I'll post some pictures of the things we have printed. I have always wanted to learn how to screen print so we bought a small starter kit and played around with that for a while. Now we have a six color two station press. We haven't had any orders for multiple colors yet so that is something to which I look forward. I would like to make multi-colored shirts for the family to wear at the St Louis Marathon just to advertise the business a little bit, but I don't think I will have time. I think time is the only place this business hurts us. Since we don't have all of the fancy equipment everything takes a little bit longer than it should, and when you multiply that by say 100 shirts it really adds up. So for right now we are reinvesting the money that we make back into the business so we can buy better equipment. The plan is to retire at 57 and have this business to supplement my pension. I know I won't be able to retire and kick my feet up for the rest of my life so I figure why not start a business and create my own schedule so I can be free to do the things I want to do. So I guess we'll see how it goes. We have 20 years to make this business a success.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Holding me back...

I have this video on Myspace, so you may have already seen it, but it really hits home for me. I feel exactly like this at times, and I cannot wait until I am done with me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inaugural Blog

It is less than two weeks until the St Louis Marathon. I have not really been training for it much. I will admit that since the weather started getting a little nicer I have been running more but outside of the "Frost Bite Series" I really didn't run over the winter. Next year all of that is going to change because of the goals I have set for myself.
Most people think I am crazy for wanting to run 100+ miles, but to me it seems crazy that people don't want to. Therein lies the dilemma I don't know if it is me or everyone else. A crazy person should not be aware of his own psychosis, right? So if in fact I were crazy I would be unaware of that fact, and given my current state it is entirely possible that I am officially "Tom Cruise" Crazy. But I digress.
A couple years ago I was watching laying around on a Saturday or Sunday watching tv, and I happened to stop on a show about "Badwater". I think Scott Jurek won in under 24 hours. He was running covered from head to toe in white to ward off the heat. The announcer said that the runners try to stay on the white lines painted on the side of the road because otherwise their shoes would melt. I never knew races like this existed. I was enthralled. I said to myself, "I must do this." Not necessarily Badwater, but I must run 100 miles.
Running is nothing knew for me, I was in the army for eight years. We ran about four miles every day, and while I was in the army I ran in several 5k, and 10k races. However the farthest I had ever ran back then was 13k. I remember, and it is funny to have such a vivid memory of something so opposite of where I am now, when I was in Germany a group of people from the unit decided that they were going to go to Berlin and run the Berlin half marathon, I can remember thinking that they must've had a few screws loose to want to run 13.1 miles. Now I look back and kick myself for not seizing probably the only chance I will get to put the Berlin Half on my resume.
On May 17th I will be running my very first Ultra marathon the Berryman 50mile trail run. I am super excited about it, and I cannot wait for it to get here so that I may properly begin my journey into Ultra running. I hope to finish in the neighborhood of 10 hours, which is probably not a reasonable time given my current level of preparedness. I plan to give it everything I have.
It seems like this area is going through a Golden Age of sorts or at the very least a Renaissance of Ultra Running, so I think now is the time to get involved in this sport. There are so many more resources available now than when I first started researching this sport. Without these resources I wouldn't know about little things like losing toe nails, salt pills, and eating while running. So thanks to everyone who ever gave me advice or posted a valuable lesson on a message board so that others would not have to learn the hard way.
That is all I have time for today, since I have to go to work.