Sunday, January 25, 2015

R.I.D.D.L.E. Run

For years we've had a local fat ass run each winter. It was called the "Riddle Run" and was always held the last Saturday in January. The first runner to finish seven 4-mile loops was the winner. It's been a highlight of my "racing" schedule for over a decade (I've run each and every event). Unfortunately, the race director, Jeff, decided he was done with this awesome event after 2013. That was the 14th year of the fat ass Riddle Run. My 2013 race report is here. In 2014, I pseudo-organized a "Sorta Riddle Run"--it was a lot of fun. Well, next Saturday (Jan 31), we are set for yet another R.I.D.D.L.E. run. The local buffalo runners will not let this event die, but we are not yet set on a name. Something that uses the RIDDLE acronym seems appropriate and we are cycling through possible titles. Names are not impotnat, running and socializing is the key to this fine fat ass event! Next weekend, we'll still run the Lake of the Woods 4-mile trail over and over until we get to an ultra distance (28 miles). At least that's the plan! All are welcome, no fees or awards given. Well, there is a roll of "Marathon" toilet paper that has been declared a travelling trophy for the fastest runner. That trophy will be on site this Saturday...who, if anyone, will claim it?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Favorite Web Running People (Blog/Twitter)

I love running and I love reading about running. And I love monitoring blogs and twitter feeds about running (or from people that run). That's why I post to DailyMile--it's a great running social media spot. I'm sure we all know the main running web sites: Runners World, Running Times, Let's Run, etc. But in addition to these popular and commercial sites, there are always pretty cool individual people that post about their own runs, philosophies, adventures, struggles, successes, races, and training. I follow quite a few, but am motivated by four particular people. Here are four regular old runners, that I've never met, that inspire me...

Running Ruminations blog and on twitter as @erinAMG
I connected with Erin via the Run Your BQ group. As a fellow vegetarian/vegan runner I was naturally drawn to her running world. Plus, at the time, she was from Chicago (now in Califiornia). After reading her twitter posts and blog, I became inspired by her amazing dedication to her training and racing. She's a fast runner!  I keep thinking one day I'll catch her PRs. Probably not. Still, she's a great motivator and a humorous poster. Lately she's adventured into the trail ultra world. Should be exciting following her 50K and beyond attempts in the future. Big lesson I've learned from Erin is to be serious about your training and follow a plan. Dream, work hard, and race results will come your way. One Patriot's Day in the future, I may be on the statring line in Hopkinton with her.

Sweat Once a Day blog and on twitter as @emilysweats
I have no idea how I got connected to Emily's blog or twitter posts. Most liklely from a "who to follow" on twitter suggestion. Well, twitter was right. Emily loves running long on the Northwest trails. She loves drinking craft beers in Oregon. And she loves getting dirty. She's an incredibly strong, and rather fast, runner. One day I hope to catch Emily's PRs...but it may not happen. I still have her beat at the 100 mile distance, but everything shorter is too fast for me. I need to follow slower runners! It was awesome following Emily's attempt, and success, at her first 100 miler last year. Major lesson gleaned from Emily is to run hard and long with friends and celebrate with a beer...or two. And do it often. I can imagine running with her on the WS100 trails.

Bourbon Feet and Sea to Sea blogs
I think I connected with Patrick's blog via the "Born to Run" barefoot running craze. He's one of those insane barefoot runners that does amazing races from one mile to 100 miles. For the longer races he uses Luna sandals. Pretty cool. Of course, most of his running and life is spent in warm and sunny southern California. That shit won't fly in Illinois winters! Patrick doesn't seem to post his daily runs anywhere, and his blog posts are sporadic at best...but always entertaining. He just started his latest adventure...running across America. Geeez. While Patrick is extremely fast (he wins many races), his biggest contribution to my running is to ENJOY THE HELL out of it. He runs, drinks, socializes, and experiences life via running. Good lesson for us all. I'd love to "challenge" him to a beer mile. He'd win. Easily.

Fellrnr blog/wiki and at DailyMile and twitter as @fellrnr
Jonathan is also known as the Fellrnr. He's originally from the UK, but now resides in North Carolina. His fellrnr blog/wiki is a treasure of useful tips, strategies, reviews, and inspiration. It's my first go-to spot on the web for candid shoe reviews (and other running related stuff). And his training experiments and documentation are unbeliveable. His DailyMile runs and posts are incredibly inspiring...because he RUNS A LOT and is honest about what works and what doesn't work. His regular 100+ mile weeks are amazing. And he's fast too. Like "made the USA national 24-hour ultra team" fast! Jonathon's main contribution to my running is his knowledge (and sharing) about best practices and research related to running...then applying that to actual runs. I may do the Umstead 100 again and it would be great to run next to Jonathan...or get his expert help at an aid station.

So these are four blogging runners that inspire me. These folks might not realize they've had a positive impact on my running, but they have. I hope they keep running and sharing. Three from the west coast (and all their glorious trails and mountains) and one from NC (also lots of great trails). I'm jealous. Check them out and see if they might motivate you too. Before you know it, you might be increasing your running distances and paces...and tossing back a few more beers. Patrick has me seriously thinking about a beer mile attempt. Hmmmm...

PS: I am inspired and motivated by my local buffalo trail runners every single day. I'm not including any of them here because it seemed too easy. You all are the best!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Races for 2015?

Time to look back on my racing this past year and then forward to this year. Here are the races I did in 2014 with a comment about each. In general, it was a good year of racing.

2014 Races
March 29
Clinton Lake 30
personal best for this race
April 26
Illinois Marathon
easy effort
June 7-8
Run Under the Stars 10-hr
50.5 miles
ran all night
August 9
Howl at Moon 8-Hour
40.48 miles
not very good :-(
Sept 6
Last Man Standing
30 miles
I won!
Oct 11
Illini Mentor Program 5K
1st 5K in 7 years
Oct 19
St Louis Half-Marathon
Nov 15
Tunnel Hill 50M
Dec 21
Winter Solstice 30M
1 of only 2 finishers!

Based on my experiences in 2014, I have a good sense of what races I want to run in 2015. I'll throw in one or two "shorter" (non-ultra) races, but those will be after-thoughts. Here are the main races for the year:

2015 Marathons & Ultra Races
March 1 (?)
Last Man Standing (spring)
Defend my title
March 28
Clinton Lake 30M
The race I founded
April 25
Illinois Marathon
BQ baby!
August 7
Howl at the Moon 8-hr
Try for a PR (48+ miles)
Sept 5 (?)
Last Man Standing (fall)
Continue my fabulous reign?
Sept 19
Barkley Fall Classic 50K
Hardest 50K ever
Nov 14
Tunnel Hill 50M
New PR!
Dec 28
Across the Years
24hr, 48hr, 72hr, 6-day?

Not a bad set of races for this year. The only one that worries me is the Barkley Fall Classic 50K. It's the short version of the "real" Barkley (hardest race in the world). Fortunately, for the 50K, the course is actually marked (sorta) and there are some aid stations. It'll still be the hardest race I've ever done. If I can convince one or two friends to travel down to Tennesee with me this fall, I'm all over this race!

I hope for personal records in the marathon and 50 mile distances. And a new mileage record at the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour race in August. If I'm healthy and injury-free in December, I'll tackle the Across the Years race in Arizona. Not sure which distance: 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or the BIG ONE...6 days. Wish me well--this is going to be a great year. Hope you have a few fantastic races this year. Dream big, train hard, and win.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 in Review

I already went over my goals for last year and whether they were met, now it's time to take a broader look at my running in 2014. How many runs did I do? What was my average heart rate? Longest run? Shortest? Average? How many 20+ mile runs did I have all year? Here's a quick Garmin summary of last year:

Count:230 Activities
Distance:1,540.95 mi
Max Distance:50.50 mi
Avg Distance:6.70 mi
Time:242:14:17 h:m:s
Avg Speed:6.4 mph
Avg HR:137 bpm
Max HR:179 bpm
Calories:154,109 C
Elevation Gain:62,811 ft

It is slightly off since I missed one or two runs that I did without my GPS watch and didn't manually enter the data, but it's pretty darn close. My goal this year is to track every run with GPS and HR. Of course, if it's indoors on the treadmill, there won't be any GPS data, just HR and footpod info (distance, speed, cadence).

My "average" run was 6.7 miles. My longest run was 50.5 miles (at Run Under the Stars night run in KY). Second longest run was 50.0 miles at Tunnel Hill race. I had 8 runs of 20+ miles, but they were all in races or fat ass style events. Outside of races, my longest training run was only 15 miles (three times). That's pretty sad...but typical for me. My emphasis this year will be on more long runs--particularly at Allerton Park and Clinton Lake. I want, and need, more hills. My elevation gain for the year was pathetic, but it is central Illnois. Plus, any treadmill run will come in as zero elevation gain. This year will see less indoor runs and more trails.

My shortest run was 1.5 miles on the coldest day of the year--around -40 windchill! Felt good to brave the elements. I need to do that more often. Cold, wind, rain, snow...I need to run outside. It makes me a stronger runner.

I'm happy with my average heart rate (137) for all my runs. I wanted to do lots of Maffetone style aerobic runs and I did. My max HR during a run (179) was at the St Louis half-marathon during the last 800m "sprint" to the finish. It should have been higher at my 5K race (max=173) since I could have pushed harder the last 400m. I'll repeat that same 5K race in 2015 and see if I can set a new personal best...and reach a new max HR (probably around 190).

I'm happy with 2014. I set some personal bests and I have positive summary statistics for the year. I think 2015 will be even better. Hope springs eternal!