Sunday, April 22, 2012

My P90X and Ultra Running Schedule

Since I am starting to feel better from the strep throat I am going to start doing P90X again. I previously did P90X, got a month into it, and stopped. I think back to when I did it and think, "I would be in such good shape if I didn't stop." Well I am back at it again with an ultra running schedule!

This plan takes 2 weeks, then repeats until I feel I need to change it to something else.

Short runs range from 3 to 5 miles and will be performed at a faster pace (7 min/miles to 9 min/miles) weighted, hilly, or all/some of the above.

Medium runs range from 5 to 10 miles and will be at a moderate pace (9 min/miles to 11 min/miles) and will be weighted, hilly, or all/some of the above.

Long Runs range from 15 to 20 miles and will be at an ultra trot (12 min/miles to 15 min/miles). I will carry my Camelbak and run these on mountainous trails or hilly roads.

Of course the speed is going to slow when I add weights or hills. Essentially I am shooting for high intensity short workouts and low intensity long workouts, meeting in the middle on the medium run.

Monday: Shoulders and Arms + Ab Ripper X
Tuesday: Short Run
Wednesday: Medium Run
Thursday: Legs and Back + Ab Ripper X
Friday: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps + Ab Ripper X
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Yoga X

Monday: Back and Biceps + Ab Ripper X
Tuesday: Short Run
Wednesday: Med Run
Thursday: Legs and Back + Ab Ripper X
Friday: Core Synergistics + Ab Ripper X
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Yoga X

So what have I done to make sure I stick to this?
  • I met a P90X coach on Facebook, Lou Trentadue, that has added me to his P90X group THE RESISTANCE. We motivate each other.
  • I created a group called The Yahooligans for us Dahlonega natives to hook up and run together.
  • I created an Astrid Tasks list to remind me on my phone.
Basically I am going to use peer pressure and annoyance.

I would like to say that I am going to change my diet and eat healthy, but I don't see that happening. Hopefully exercise is enough.

Bring it!

Dirty Spokes Gainesville 5.3 Mile Race

So all week I have had strep throat. It started after I went to a concert or two in Atlanta(which were totally worth it) and started feeling better early Friday morning. I had already signed up for this race a few weeks ago and felt compelled to do it, regardless of my current sick status.

My Dad got a free entry for buying a pair of Montrail trail shoes from Big Peach Running Co. He wasn't sure if he would be able to make the run, but free is free so he took it! With the easy return policy of Big Peach it was tempting not to buy a pair myself, get the free registration, and then just return them. That's what a true Coupon Queen would do.(sorry inside joke)

Yada yada, we arrived at the race about an hour and fifteen minutes early. We thought the drive out to Gainesville State College would be longer, but after some short cuts and less traffic than expected we were there in about 20 minutes. We picked up our packets and sat in the car to keep warm. Pre-race nerves were kicking in, sparking about 15 combined trips to the porta-potty before the race start. At this point I didn't have any nausea or a sore throat from the sickness and my legs were feeling great for not running for a week.

The shoes I chose for this race were my Vivo Barefoot Breathos and I wore my Swiftwick socks. I really like this combination and have not had any problems. I was pretty sure the trail was smooth, but I didn't want to take any chances and wanted to get a good time. I compromised ground feel for speed on this one, and later on you will find that it was almost a mistake.

The race bibs had chips on them, but we noticed that the start line did not have anything to chip us with and that the finish was only chipped. This was not a big deal, as there were about 150 runners total and we all kinda crossed the start line at once. I'm not one to heckle about a few seconds anyway.

I went into this race being mindful of my pace. I started the race a little quick knowing that the trail would get skinny eventually. I passed as many people as I could at the start while still not getting winded. Downhills seemed to be my shining point of this race. While everybody was slowing themselves down I was zipping down them and passing people.

After about 1.5 miles of running hard I decided it would be a good idea to slow down. I felt like some of the people around me on the single track trail would still want to be pushing hard. I ran off to the side of the trail and let 2 people pass me. I always try to be courteous in races and not slow anyone down. I'm not one to play defense in a race situation. I would rather everyone do their best, especially since I didn't care too much about this race. I think I was starting to feel the effects of not running for a week. My legs were sore and the winding trail(lots of back and forth) were making me a little nauseous.

After those 2 guys passed me I offered to let a girl named Kara pass me. She said, "No no no, go ahead. I am wanting to settle into my pace." At this time we were varying from a 7:30 min/mile pace to an 8:30 min/mile. I told her that's exactly what I wanted to do.

From this point(about 1.5 miles) to about 4.5 miles we all stuck together. Kara was running strong and I felt like I was holding her back. I know she was catching my draft but I respected her because she was giving me motivation. We actually started talking and she told me that she was a Crossfitter. I could tell! She, like every other Crossfitter I met, was extremely friendly and supportive.

Around mile 4 I started feeling junky. The mucous from my sickness combined with my dry mouth and made it hard for me to concentrate on my running. As we powered up a long uphill I felt myself falling apart. I wanted to pull off to the side and let everyone pass. I wanted to quit.

Then I heard a voice behind me, "C'mon Tyler, we're gonna have to speed it up." Kara didn't want to pass me. She wanted me to do my best and pace her to do her best!

My motivation switch flipped on! I tilted my body, increased my cadence, and started moving faster. At this point we were passing by the 4 mile mark. I looked at my watch which told me 3.8 miles. I hate it when this happens for these reasons.
  1. Either the course is marked wrong at this one spot and we really are at 3.8 of 5.3 or...
  2. We are at 4 miles and I need to start thinking about going faster for a strong finish.
It was a tough call, but I assumed the race was marked correctly and powered on!

Eventually we caught up to a man in front of us. I tried to run behind him and catch a draft. He was going a little slower than I wanted but I was okay with that since I wanted to save some juice for the finish. Unfortunately, I am not skilled with drafting and have very little experience with it. I got a whiff of his laundry detergent fragrance and gagged. My sickness was coming back. I had to get around this guy.

We got to the point where it looked like we were coming back to the finish. It was a slight down hill with a little opening in the trail. I took advantage of it and ran off the trail to pass him. As I entered back on the trail my ankle hit the edge of the trail and twisted. I heard a tearing noise. "Ahh F**K!" I yelled. Fortunately it sounded worse than it hurt and I was able to keep moving. That was the first time I had ever twisted my ankle! More shoe == Less Procioception == More Ankle Twisting.

What I thought was the finish was really a false finish. We winded back into the woods and  went up and down the rolling trail. Soon enough we hit a wide, kinda ugly, dirt road. I could see a turn up ahead and didn't really know how much more there was left. Thankfully, a volunteer was cheering us on and said, "C'mon guys! You're almost there. Just about a tenth of a mile left!"

I didn't trust him. After being lied to by volunteers(probably by mistake) I am skeptical. Sure enough, we made another turn and the finish line was in sight. I could see the second guy that I let pass me earlier in front of me. I got right behind him and waited for him to make his move. He took off and I waited. After about 2 seconds I went into a dead-on sprint. I had to be moving around 5 minute/mile. I zipped past him and held the sprint to the finish at 39:36.8 minutes.

After finishing I didn't know how my body would react. Earlier in the race I wanted to puke. I went into a brisk walk and hoped my body could transition. After a few seconds of walking I trusted that I would not throw up and hit the water station. I congratulated Kara and thanked her for pushing me.

I later learned that Kara won overall woman’s! I was really proud of her but couldn't find her again to congratulate her. So CONGRATULATIONS KARA!

Now, this may sound cocky of me, but I feel like I played a good role on this race for her. Earlier, while we were talking, she mentioned/joked that I was pacing her. I hope this was true and that she was able to perform her best partially because of me. I love seeing people achieve their goals!

About 10 minutes later my Dad came in! This was an excellent time for him! He kept 9:17 min/miles, which is unheard of for him!

About 10 minutes after that my Mom came in. Being a new trail runner I was impressed! She even took second in her age group!

Overall I really enjoyed this race. It was extremely well marked and had people pointing on every non-obvious turn. There was literally no way to get lost! I definitely want to do this race next year and maybe even do the series. There were some fast people out there. I hope with my training I can keep moving up in the pack!

If you ran this race, or any Dirty Spokes race, leave a comment. I have a feeling almost everyone had a good experience. They even made this stellar video!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My First DNF - The Georgia Jewel 100K

I am starting this post by telling you that I did not finish this race(kind of like how some books start with you knowing the main character is going to die).

The race, The Georgia Jewel 100k proved to be a tough course for my amateur legs.

Before signing up for such an ambitious distance I thought it would be nice to speak with the race director to make sure the distance would be possible.

Our email conversations went like this:

I am pleased to see that you signed up.  We went and finalized the course this past weekend.  The 100K has four loops which consist of roughly 1400 feet of climb per loop.  Some parts are technical and there are a few water crossings so you will get your feet wet.  However, I've extended the time limit to 18 hours and if you train on trail with some climbing involved you will be fine.  Hill repeats will help as well.

Thanks for signing up.  I'm giving buckles on the 100K.

See you in April.

- Karen

Thanks! Just to clarify, I have 13 hours to run the 46.5 miles(3 loops), then I am on my own to finish? This is my first ultra and I am not sure how my pace is going to be, so I am just trying to plan ahead. The way the race was presented in the handbook gave me the idea that we would have ample time to finish. Honestly I am not sure if I can finish now with less time.
     Barefoot Tyler -

 You have to leave The House on the fourth loop by 8pm.  The finish is at 1pm so that gives you 5 hours for 15 miles.  That's 3 miles an hour on the last loop which is very manageable.  You will be fine.  18 hours is a lot of time for a 100K.  It is not a tough course - well there are some good climbs with a few technical parts but it's very runnable.   Just remember that you will have to make the 8pm cut off but you will have 5 hours to do 15 miles.

I have been known to be lenient on race day but one has to draw the line.

Don't worry you will be fine.

See you race day.
Impressed with the quick replies and information given to me I signed up for the 100k, as my Dad did for the 50k!

Race day came. We all stood in a crowd as the race director gave a slightly confused but carefree guide to the race. Basically we start at The House, follow a bunch of pink ribbons through the trail for 5 miles, and end up back at the house. Then we run 5 miles to a cottage, and come back for 5 more miles.

Simple enough, I thought. The race started at no defined spot, and we were off. The most eventful thing about this 5 mile loop was the two river crossings back-to-back, which after crossing we noticed that they were completely unnecessary and Karen was just messing with us. We laughed and kept running. Apparently somewhere along the first 5 mile lap I missed a turn(as did other people) and only had 4 miles on my watch. This was after getting turned around a few times, but I thought, "Hell, I'll just keep going and get as far as I can.

The 10 mile loop after the house was confusing and hard to follow. We would be on a defined trail and all the sudden not see any pink ribbons. Run back 10 feet, and we found a ribbon in the woods completely off the trail. Times like this were frustrating but were not as taxing as some of the later confusion.

Somewhere in this mess I met a man named David, who went on to finish, and a woman named Elizabeth(I think). David had completed a 100k before and kept me excellent company. Elizabeth was a minimalist runner and commented that she liked my gait. Sweet!

At one point after running past The Cottage and fueling up myself(at this point David and Elizabeth were ahead of me) and the running sisters(I don't know their names but they are the neatest girls ever. They are 15 and 16 I think, and can probably outrun you) started running together. Then the major confusion happened. We ended up right where we started to make our way up to the cottage. WTF! This race is stupid!

After about a half mile of listening to the girls yell at each other we finally got back on what we thought was the right path(I looked at my watch and saw that we hadn't been that way before, so it might be correct...)

The only major climb of this section was the climb to the water tower. It wasn't so bad though on fresh legs.

Finally, after getting turned around a few times with a different group we made it back to the house. At this point, mile 14.5, I was feeling pretty good. I fueled up and went back to start on my second loop. Despite the confusion I felt like I had a better understanding of the course and told myself, "You can do this!"

The back side of The House
During the second 5 miler I was expecting to get on track with what the race director wanted us to do. With only missing one mile I wasn't that worried about it.

As I ran up on the dual river crossings I saw where I was supposed to go and where I went. Basically I originally had went straight across the river, saw an arrow pointing to the right, and ran that way. Sensible right? Nope!

Apparently I was supposed to make a slight left while crossing the river and go down a side trail. No problem, I'll just go this way!

Then I hit it.

The mile that I missed was the hardest mile of the whole course. I have never climbed anything that steep for that long. It was steeper that Duncan Ridge Trail(but not as long thankfully). During this time I sent my mom a variety of text messages. They said,
Don't let my dad come back out again.
Why not?
It's really hard
He has already left
Great. I had tried so hard to warn her. Now all I can picture is my dad crawling up this hill, dying, and rolling back down.

Some pretty flowers greeted us on the 10 mile loop
Making it back to the house I told my mom of my experiences. I told her, "I probably won't finish this. It is much harder than anticipated." She told me to try my best and that my dad had already done that mile the first loop and he already knew about it. Relieved, I set out on my last 10 mile loop.

This loop was less eventful. My pace went up by about 3 minutes during this loop. It was in the heat of the day and I had no ambition to run any faster.

This second lap was much easier to follow. The race directors went out and added some touches to the course. I also had a mental map of the course and could find my way around.

During this lap I lost a lot of something. I felt like junk. I had been drinking Gatorade, but I was forgetting to eat. When I hit the cottage I was greeted by some awesome volunteers who filled my Camelbak up and cooled me off with ice. There was also pizza. ALL HAIL PIZZA!

After chilling there with another 100k'er named Mark my friend Paul came up. He was looking pretty beaten up, but still staying strong. The volunteers had noticed that I was shaking when I came in(from malnourishment), but told me I was good to go if I wanted to. After talking with Paul for a minute we agreed to go out and get after it!

The last 5 miles were pretty uneventful. The climb to the water tower was much steeper this time and took much longer. Through all the complaining we couldn't help but appreciate the land.

Mark, Paul, and I kept leap-frogging each other all the way back. We weren't trying to beat each other(I think), but we were just hitting highs and lows in our runs.

Finally coming in I ran past the imaginary finish line and sat down at the house. I had zero incentive to keep moving. I looked at my watch and it told me that I would have to do the next 15 miles in 4 hours. This is extremely do-able on flat ground or even semi-hilly, but not possible for me on this course.
After chilling out for a minute I thought I might-as-well get up and run another 5 mile loop. I took about 10 steps and my head was killing me. Forget it.

One of the few flat spots on the course
 I walked over to the race director and told her that I was dropping out. Other runners tried to convince me to keep going and that I would regret it.

I still don't regret it.

We still had to wait for my dad to come in. I was pretty happy about that because it was an excellent day to sit outside and talk to people.

During this time I met a super awesome runner chick named Brandi. We talked running, technique, products, gels, etc. She tried to convince me to do the Northface 50k. I tried to convince her to do the Duncan Ridge Trail.

She mentioned that she had finished the race around 6 hours and was awarded the 3rd place girls overall plaque. Shortly after the girl who came in 4th accused Brandi of missing the 1 mile section of the first 5 miles(the one I missed). She had admitted to that before, compared GPS watches with the 4th place girl, and had her award taken away from her. This is complete BS. This was not her fault. I would understand if this was intentional or if she was the only one but I believe a majority of the runners missed that turn.

Brandi's friend, Dean, was out in the lead for the 50k. He was running without a shirt and looking like he knew what he was doing! He had about a 15 minute lead on the second place runner and about a 30 minute lead on Mitch Pless and his gang.

As we waited for the 100k to come in I talked with my dad. He said he was basically hiking and would be a while. He mentioned that he was being lapped by 50k'ers.

My Dad is on top of the hill(This is the climb to the water tower)

My dad came in and about 45 minutes later the first 100k'er came in. He was running without a shirt. Brandi was so excited to see her runner come in. The runner let out a, "WAHOO!!!" and held his hands up. As he got closer we all started to realize, "Wait, that's not Dean! That's Mitch!"

Dean bringin' it home
Mitch had caught up to Dean and passed him, filling in that 30 minute gap. What a beast! While most people are breaking down he is breaking in!

Shortly after Mitch Dean arrived. Everyone was happy to see each other and were super congratulatory to each other. Although Dean didn't have his win, he did do a great job especially for his experience compared to the other runners.

 Overall my feet held up great during this run. I did not have any blisters and they seemed dry. The VivoBarefoot Breathos and Swiftwick Socks really helped!

So all-in-all it was a just okay experience. I had a good time finding my way through the woods. Once I got over the idea of not finishing and just enjoying myself things got better.

Will I run another Georgia Jewel race? Probably not. I obviously don't agree with how the race director sets up her races. Instead of making a big deal out of it I will just avoid the races. I don't know why some ultra directors find it necessary to lie. If they were just truthful I could mentally prepare myself. This is why I like The Duncan Ridge Trail. Yes, it is hard. I can mentally prepare myself for it and chose my distance wisely. This year I am doing the 50k, a step up from last years 30k.

Some other blogs about this race are:
Determined to be Fit

Friday, April 6, 2012


I am writing this from my phone so it will probably be short.

The Georgia jewel is tomorrow.  I am both excited and nervous.  I understand the excitement, but the nervousness is not necessary. I have nothing to lose on this run.  I would love to finish,  but even that is not necessary.

I am looking forward to the ultra experience: the race, the people,  ultra legs, and good night of sleep afterwards!

A few friends are running this race and a few people I have chatted with on facebook will be there. I look forward to meeting them!

Anyway, throughout your day tomorrow keep me in mind,  because I will be running. While you are eating lunch, I will be running. While you are walking your dog, I will be running. While you are tucking your kids in I will be running. Send me some good energy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time Crunched? Reduce Cost of Food and Eat Healthy

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day.
The idea is simple. The less you eat the less you spend on food. The more you plan, the less you spend on food. The main goal of this post is to reduce eating out and pissing away money on convenience.

Get a Calorie Tracker
I used to love going out to Zaxby's and getting a milkshake until MyFitnessPal told me that I had just ate near 1500 calories. The slight guilt of going over your calorie limit prevents you from choosing junk food. Eating out costs more than making it yourself and when you make it yourself you choose to buy things that are good for you(for the calorie tracker). Bar-code scanning is really nice as well on MyFitnessPal.

Frozen, Your New Fast Food
Think $3 is cheap for convenient food? Regret it after putting it in the calorie counter? Many frozen foods are convenient and low calorie. Yes, they have more sodium than if you were to cook it yourself, but to me is worth it. I rush my mornings. It takes all of 2 seconds to grab a meal from the freezer and enjoy later. I recommend anything Michelina's Lean Gourmet or even the normal ones if you aren't too concerned about extra calories. They all are $1 and are 300 calories. The carby ones(noodles, rice, etc) will hold you over for dinner. Buy them from Kroger, use your card, and save money on gas.

Stop Buying Soft Drinks
Soft drinks such as Coke and Pepsi are notoriously bad for you.  Instead, drink a powder drink. I prefer to use powder for different tea flavors. They are typically 10 calories a pack and I put them in 64 oz of water. This is cheaper than buying a 12oz soft drink and the hydration is better for you, especially if you drink all of it in one day like I do! If you must have a soft drink, try something like Fresca. 0 calories and typically on sale at super stores.

Get social
This is more of a frugal trick(beggars can't be choosers). Do you have family near-by that you never see? Ask if you can have dinner with them sometime? After a few visits suggest making it a ritual. I have Monday dinners at my grandmother's house. It is a great way to visit with loved ones, eat great food, and save money.

Prepare Breakfast The Night Before

Feel rushed in the morning? No time to eat? Not eating in the morning can mess with your metabolism and throw off your diet. If you are really in a crunch for time make hard-boiled eggs the night before. Eat 2 eggs with some yogurt and you have a breakfast that takes less than a minutes to put together. Before digging these things out of the fridge start your coffee.

I tend to have more time around dinner time to cook what I want. If you don't consider this: A crock pot. These guys are awesome. Throw a chicken with random vegetables and fruit in it. Go to work. Come home and you have a delicious dinner. Maybe throw some canned foods on the side and you are good to go.

Any more tips? I know I haven't suggested a lot, but do you have any more tips that would benefit our fast-paced lives?