Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Really Great Lecture From Michael Arnstein

courtesy of

Michael Arnstein is a prominent ultra runner who successfully ran multiple ultramarathons. He follows a fruitarian diet inspired by the book 80-10-10, which has inspired some of my meals recently. Take the time to watch this. I know it is longer than most videos, but there are many things to learn from it.

Always experiment. Always learn. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

24 Hour Signup - Merrill's Mile - Course Evaluation

The other day I was browsing Facebook and my friend Willy "Natureboy" posted a picture of the Merrill's Mile belt buckle. I thought it was pretty and decided to sign up!

Ain't that sexy?
The truth is, I had heard about the race and was debating on whether to do the 24 or 12 hour race. Unsure of my abilities I was leaning toward the 12 hour. Then I saw the belt buckle. 100 miles. Could I hit 100 miles?

A quick calculation on Cool Running's pace calculator told me that I had to stay below a 14:24 min/mile. This means a slow trot or a fast walk. Could I do this? Hell, I dunno.

It is so easy to run out here that senior citizens can run!

Willy had mentioned that the loop was a 1 mile FLAT course. I have had race directors mess with me and tell me something is "easy" only to get out there and hit a mountain. Within 2 hours Willy had posted a picture for me of the loop. It was literally one of the flattest courses I have ever seen.

So I signed up.

Today I went there with Dave and ran it. We had no trouble getting into the Ranger Camp and started running. The terrain was very flat and soft. There were pea size rocks, which I didn't feel though my minimalist trail shoes(Link to my blog).

There were some spots where water had run a small divit on the course. No biggie, just step over.

The only thing I am hesitant about on this race is the flatness. This will use the same muscles the whole way. I am grateful that there are some inconsistencies on the trail to keep my mind in check and make me step differently occasionally.

I feel if there is a race that I can run 100 miles at currently this is the one. There will be a great aid station every mile, along with some very supportive people.

Check out that helicopter!

Oh, and as a bonus I was checking this out for my dad. Since he didn't join us and was worried about the terrain I sent him this picture.


More on my plans to complete this sucker later.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Being a Mule

Today my Dad, Angela, and I had a nice run up to Springer from Amicolola Falls. I tried something I have never tried before: Running with twice as much water.

Last week I did a tough run at 2:30 PM. It was around 95 degrees and sunny. At mile 6 on the trail I felt myself getting low on water. We still had 4 miles left and I was wanting to drink it all right then an there.

Fortunately we found a water pump and were able to refill/dunk our faces. From that I learned a valuable lesson: Run with enough water.

So this weekend I took my mom's CamelBak Women's Day Star 70 oz. Hydration Pack(Amazon Affiliate Link) and put 2 70oz bladders in it. I tested it with a quarter mile run, decided it would work, and set out to run 15 miles with it the next day.

Springer was an excellent run/hike. It is the approach trail for the Appalachian Trail. In my bag I had 1 70oz bladder of water, 1 70oz bladder of Gatorade mixed with Cytomax, a PB&J, 5 Banana Nut Cookies, and toilet paper - weighing in at 13 pounds. This was 8 or 9 pounds more than what I am used to running with.

It ended up being cool and rainy. I figured I wouldn't drink all my water, but it would help me as far as training goes to carry more weight and get stronger.

The first few miles were tough. I didn't drink much water and didn't really need to. It felt hard to move forward and I was tempted to dump out my bladder.

Around mile 3 I got used to it and felt like I was just carrying my Camelbak. Now you may be saying, "Well that's probably because you drank all of your water!" No, I still had at least 4/5 of both bladders left.

We made it to the top of Springer. Susan(she likes it when I mention her) had made some amazing Banana Nut Cookies. They were so delicious and moist. Well, most everything was moist at that point, but these were made that way. They really helped me not have a low point on this run. I also ate a PB&J. Another thing I like about this bag is the extra space. I can carry 4 times as much food as with my Camelbak XCT. Different tools, different tools... Of course, with this extra space, everyone handed me their trash, which I didn't mind.

On the way down I was able to handle my downhills as usual. During the times that I wanted to go slow on the downhills I had to work a little harder. Other than that it was all the same.

Around mile 14 of 15 my Dad ran out of water. I shared mine with him. He drank a 100ml of water during his run. This is great, but would have left him uncomfortable/stressed for a mile.

So, in a fast-packing and ultra-lite world where people are claiming to be minimalist, I am finding the good in carrying a little more. I was able to eat more and not worry about running out of water. Nor did I have to carry a water pump and worry about my water source. I had more food and I was able to share my extra space with others.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Peachree Road Race 2012 Recap

The Peachtree Road Race is one of my favorite races to run. It is very well organized for the amount of people that run it(60,000ish) and the crowds are fun and supportive.

2:45 AM I get a drunk text from a friend. I laugh, respond back, and realize that I have to be up in 15 minutes. We didn't get a hotel this year, so 3AM was the time to wake up for me to get my AIS(ass in seat) at 4:30 AM at my parent's house. I got dressed and was out the door. I chose to wear Vibram Five Finger KSOs with some duct tape on my feet to prevent blistering. I have been training in the VFFs recently and I have found that I am able to endure more fast running in them than barefoot. I was also sporting blue shorts, a white tank-top, and a red Bubba Gump Shrimp hat.

The drive down was uneventful and pretty quiet. Everyone was tired and looking at their phones. While waiting for the MARTA we met up with Dave, Sue, Matthew, and Carolyn. They looked tired, but once we all got together the energy level increased.
Friends, Family, and a Monkey(I am squatting)
Standing around in the cool at the start of a race is the worst. I could be running right now! Luckily I had earned wave B and got to start at 7:45, which means that I could probably run a majority of the race in the cool.

Before the race started I was nervous. I tried to relax, shut my eyes, and take deep breaths. This helped a ton. I just had to block out everything around me and just put myself in myself. One of the questions on my mind was in regards to my time. If I run a sub 42 minute race I would be in the sub-seeded wave next year. This would be a huge accomplishment for me, since that is two 21 minute 5k's back to back. This meant that I had to keep a 6:45 pace for the whole 10k. I positioned myself mid-pack on the start, thinking that the other B runners were probably equal or faster than me.

As the race started I realized I was wrong. At least 75% of the people in front of me were trotting at a 10 min/mile or less. WTF YOU ARE IN B. RUN!

After a few seconds of weaving in and out I was able to settle into a 6:00 min/mile. Gosh I felt like I was running a 10 min/mile! My legs felt great and I was passing people left and right.

I found a nice guy named Cody with a pony-tail that let me run behind him. He was really strong and consistent. He kept a pretty solid 6:30 min/mile. This put me a little ahead of pace, but I accepted it. The course starts off mostly downhill. I figured I would take advantage of the first 3 miles of downhill so I can have some wiggle room later on on the uphill.

Mile 3.1 rolled around. I looked down at my watch and noticed that I had run it in less than 20 minutes! I had broken my fastest 5K time and was on track to be sub-seeded!

The next part of the race was not easy. We hit some hills, which weren't that bad, just time consuming. They just slowed me down a little bit since I was used to running down the hills and had to switch my body to running up them.

It was at this point that a person yelled, "Yeah! Go Bubba Gump!" I love the crowd support! Last year it was, "Go Barefoot!" This year it was Bubba Gump.

Hill – Flat – Hill – Flat repeat. Mile 5 came and I was still on track to be sub-seeded. My average pace was 6:44. Ah! Too close! Gotta pick it up! I just kept pushing until we made the final turn. At this point I was running somewhere in the 5 min/mile range and weaving in and out of the trotters(why are there trotters in the A/B waves!?!).

Crossing the finish line I caught my breath and stopped my watch. 42 min 7 seconds. But my pace! It was 6.33 min/miles!?! Then I looked at the distance – 6.33 miles. Well, maybe I paused my watch a little late and my time will be lower... It turns out my time was 42:02, 3 seconds away from sub-seeded. This taught me a lesson: no matter how high the quality of the race is supposed to be, never ever rely on the distance.

After the race I stood around at the park and waited for my friends to come in. I kept moving, since my calves were sore. Last year I got overheated and started to go into shock. This year I made better choices and didn't have any of those problems. My legs were a little sore(I was expecting worse) but for the most part I was great!

I am honestly not frustrated about the whole time/distance/wave thing. I am very happy that I ran such a good race and improved so much over last year. I ran my fastest 5K and my fastest 10K all in the same race! Most importantly, I felt like I didn't injure myself or do anything stupid. I made better choices, and those choices paid off.

Oh and I made it on TV!