Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Last Runner Standing DQ

My past "Last Man Standing" trophies.
Last weekend I ran our local "Last Runner Standing" summer race. And I got disqualified! People expect to be "DNF'd" at a Last Runner Standing type of event...only one person completes the event and they win. But a DQ? How? Well, here's my quick summary. I started early. I ran different trail loops than the one specified by the organizers. And I did not wait to start a new loop at the top of each hour. I started when I wanted! Good reasons to be DQ'd. Basically, I ran my own "race" while they were doing the official race. All good. I wouldn't have won anyway. Plus, I had more fun doing "my thing" while still socializing and getting in a great long run. Finished 23.5 miles on the Lake of the Woods trails in the heat, humidity, and bright sun of central Illinois.

So I didn't win. And I was DQ'd. And I didn't get the miles I had planned (25-30 miles). But it was still a successful day. It was my longest run in almost 2 full years!  Yep, this ultrarunner hasn't been running ultras. None in 2018. Last one was way back in summer of 2017. Feel like this long run has catapulted me into ultra training. Need to keep the momentum going. With the Howl at the Moon 8-hour ultra in less than 4 weeks, I really need to keep it going! Hopefully I can keep up the long runs and ultras for the rest of the year. After Howl, I have Tunnel Hill 50 miler and the Winter Solstice 30 miler. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Running Races: July to November

I have 4 races over the next 4 months. Here goes...

July 13: Last Runner Standing
Continue to run a 4.1 mile trail loop every hour until only one runner is left standing. Easy, right? With central Illinois heat and humidity, and probably plenty of sun, it's not that easy! Everyone starts on the hour. Finish early, then you rest. Finish after the 60 minutes and you are out. Don't start the next loop on the hour mark and you are out. Patience is key. Go easy, eat, drink, and stay relaxed. Winner will likely go well into ultramarathon territory, I hope to snag 20+ miles. Good training for Howl at the Moon 8-hour race.

August 10: Howl at the Moon 8-Hour Ultra
One of the largest timed ultras in the country. Right here in central Illinois! Run a 3.5 mile trail/road loop as many times as you can in 8 hours. Simple. Not easy, but simple. Of course, you have the unbearable summer heat/humidity of Illinois, with little shade on the course. I hope for 40+ miles. Good training for a fall ultra...unfortunately my next race is a half-marathon.

October 5: Half at Fort Ben
This race has gotten under my skin. I like it, but hate it at the same time. The weather has been poor the last couple of years. Too hot for a fall race. And the course has just enough hills, at the right (wrong) miles to really test you. The distance won't be a problem, but racing a full 13.1 miles fast will be a challenge. Hopefully the Last Runner Standing and Howl races will have built my endurance and aerobic capacity. A touch of speed work should get me what I want. Hoping for a personal best for this course (not a PR for the half-marathon, just this race).

November 9: Tunnel Hill 50 Miler
The 50 miler is the middle distance race here at Tunnel Hill. The featured race is 100 miles, then they have the 50 miler, and a marathon. I would have run the marathon, but it's on the second half of the rails-to-trails course which has a long uphill section. Might as well just do the full 50 miles (once, the 100 does a repeat of the first 50 miles). I've been here before and know this course. That 5-6 mile uphill section gets me every single time. My best time for any 50 miler is 9:04 set here in 2014. I hope to beat that time this year. 8:59 here I come!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Reebok Harmony Road 3 After 50 Miles

I've now run about 50 miles in my new Reebok Harmony Road 3 shoes. Mostly on roads, with a little bike path, grass trail, and packed dirt (rail-to-trail). No track or speed workouts. Basically, all easy aerobic runs, with a bit of fartlek "surges" thrown in from time to time. The shoe is still very enjoyable, has great traction, flexes well, toe box seems wide enough, and upper is super comfortable. Cushioning is extremely good. Unfortunately, one problem has creeped up...I tend to get a pain in my left heel when I run in these shoes. I think it is related to the higher heel-to-toe drop (10mm). I can feel myself heel striking more (and maybe harder). While the heel is well-cushioned, there must still be impact forces. I'm laying off the shoe this week and will use it for a long run this weekend on a flat packed dirt path. No shoe has given me heel problems on that path. If my heel hurts again, this shoe may be relegated to walking around status. Or just very short runs. I do not want heel pain!

I believe my sweet spot for running shoe drop is 4-6mm. You would't think an extra 4mm (to 10mm total drop) would make a difference, but I can feel a change in my stride. Same with zero drop shoes. They are FANTASTIC for walking around, and short runs, but nothing fast and nothing long.

Other reviews of the Reebok Harmony 3 shoe:
Runners World
Road, Trail, Run

This shoe has great potential, but if it bothers my heel, it's not for me. If you are OK with a larger heel drop, give the shoe a try.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Reebok Harmony Road 3 First Thoughts

I've gotten in two runs in my new Reebok Harmony Road 3 shoes (9 miles and 3 miles). They're very nice! The Harmony Road 3s are considered neutral cushioned shoes and that seems right. Extremely well cushioned with a soft breathable upper. The shoes are not lightweight (11.6 oz for mens 13), yet they feel light. No stability features, but the full rubber outsole prevents too much twisting. I imagine they'll be durable too. I bought my regular size 13 and they work fine (true to size). Seem to have a good lockdown in the heel and midfoot. Toebox is not wide, but not narrow either. I'd prefer just a little more width, but they are working fine. The biggest change for me was the 10mm drop from heel to toe. I usually run in 0-6mm drop shoes. I can feel the extra heel rise. Not sure if I like it or not. It does seem to encourage a faster pace, and it definitely has lots of heel cushioning. With more miles, and a real long run, I'll be able to comment more on the heel drop. My main two take-aways so far are: very responsive cushioning and a fast feel. Curious how they'll feel for tempo runs. And long runs. And races. Yep, I can see running in these for half or full marathons.

Never ran in Reeboks before. I'm impressed.