Monday, November 21, 2016

Beer Mile Practice Run

To put it out there - my best unofficial Beer Mile time is 8:28 (John and I did a practice run a year ago) Beer Mile Practice Run @ Leigh HS.  I am pretty pleased with this actually!

This weekend John and I did a quick run in front of his house marking off about a quarter mile or so.  It didn't go so well for me, my time was about 12 minutes and something.  When I was running I was running fairly fast though so that is my only hope.  My chugging skills are what held me back.  I can only hope that for some reason or another I had a problem with the 3rd and 4th beer that caused me to slow down.  I think I am going to try Bud Light Platinum for my official run, it is slightly higher ABV at 5.9% but I think it is a bit less foamy.

This week we have the real SV Beer Mile at a "secret location and time".  I will put out an update with my official time.  I won't be burning down any records my only hope is to post a good time that I can feel proud of.  I know John will podium, and I should pull out first in the "kilted" division :)

Impromptu beer mile training with Jeff and John.

A photo posted by Amy burton (@amypburton) on

Friday, November 18, 2016

Have to decide...

Well a recent article by David Roche has got me thinking especially as my will and work have sent me into a bit of a spiral of not getting in enough miles to even run a 5k.

This as you can imagine is more than a little humbling.  I know I am not a spring chicken (apparent by the fact I even use that saying), but now we are just talking will power.  Something I have been dreadfully lacking (see last couple of races for examples.)  

I have decided I need to push harder at work and at play.  I can't let the family down either so this has to be a balance.  I feel like I work best when I have a plan.  Right now it is to stay fit, not gain too much weight over the holiday (failing).  I have put in for two lotteries at the moment, Western States and Hardrock I have somewhere between a slim and none chance to get in, but I don't want to make plans without knowing.  

Getting into either of those would need to be a complete game change (but shouldn't I be treating anything like that?)  My family would hate me, because now the chances of getting into them are getting slimmer and slimmer so I don't know how many times I would have a chance to do them.

I am thinking if I don't get into either that I will sign up for the Bear again.  I was thinking that I would do Pine to Palm, but that isn't a HR qualifier anymore.  And while I know that HR is over my paygrade, I feel like I want to try it so I will keep my qualifiers current.

So what is the meaning of all of this.  I am just sad and slow but I need to be ok and not ok with that all at the same time.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rio Del Lago 2016 Edition

Well Hell!  I can't seem to keep up with anything lately.

I thought I would / should start keeping this maybe a bit more up to date if for no other reason than to keep me sane?

So after my failure at Run Rabbit Run because my lack of willpower!  I could have and should have finished that.  The more I think about it the more I realize I should have finished.

Rio Del Lago 2016 Edition

My training going into this had been lackluster at best, I think the highest milage I got in between RRR and RDL was 26 mile week?  I would have to go look it up.  This new job blah blah blah excuse excuse excuse...  I have excuses but they all mean nothing (David and Megan Roche on Time Management.  If I really want to make this a hobby worth pursuing then I need to put in the time my friends (John's Blog for example) do!

So a few weeks before race day I notice that Amy is looking for pacers I thought her hubby would pace her, but with their son maybe they couldn't get time away.  After she found a few volunteers, she messaged me and said John was all mine.  I had already turned down David to pace me because I didn't want to waste anybody's time.

I told John thanks and I would take his help but I turned very schizophrenic about this as the race day got closer and my training waned.  I told him about 2 weeks before not to bother it would be a waste of his time.  He said he was going to go and he would have his running shoes if I needed...

This is a fairly flat not super technical course.

Let's fast forward to race morning - I am actually feeling ok I knew this was going to just be a slow sufferfest, so I was resigned to that.

The start of RDL is 18 / 19 miles of flatish bike trail.  I went slow and tried to stay slow.  I did finish that section a bit faster than I should have in retrospect and that might have been my downfall.  I hadn't been training with any longer runs and my body was going to rebel.

I go through Beal's point (the start / finish) and head out to finally hit some trails, fireroad at first then some single track and the dreaded "meat grinder".  I was still feeling ok, but something was off.  At about mile 30+ I text John and tell him I need him.  He said ok of course!  I will get back to him later, but let me just give you the short version - without him I would never have finished, period and end of story!

Went through the meat grinder and some other parts - got scared to death by a photographer.

At about mile 40 with about 5 more miles to get to Overlook and see John I tell him I am quitting and that I just want a beer.

I also hear from my sister and tell her the same thing.  She said to wait and just give it to the next aid station - in my mind I said no :)

I am tired and I haven't pee'd in the past 40 miles while taking in a lot of fluid and some salt.  I think my body just didn't know what was going on since I have been a lazy f#$.

Of course I am f'ing tired but the pee'ing problem was going to be bad later.

Long story long I get to the next mini aid station before a 2 mile climb (easy climb though).  I am still pissed off tired and not feeling great.

I get into Overlook and I don't see John, the aid station worker gets my drop bag with head lamp and heavier jacket.  I get some food and start packing my stuff as an automatic response.  I finally try to look for john then pull out my phone and text him.

We finally find each other and then I start heading out.  He asked me if I was serious about the beer and I told him yes so he runs back and gets it when I start telling him my woes before it dawns on me I didn't quit and we made it out of the aid station.

He won't let me drink the whole beer, I am sad and still not pee'ing.  I was moving ok up to No Hands Bridge, this is when John said something flipped I stopped moving as well (could have been the big f'ing hill that we had to climb out :) )

We travel along and at one point I stop to try and pee and my right calf cramps up so bad it is a knot, John tries to massage it out and move my foot!  I was yelling so bad that someone came back to see if John was trying to kill me :) (I think he was).  From this point on I am moving slower and slower (20+ minute miles), I am not going to finish :(  I am getting a bit dizzy on the trail and John is keeping me on the trail.  People are passing me left and right.  One happens to be a DR, so John does a quick consult around my headache, lack of urination, cramping, and dizziness.  To me I am finished at the next aid station.  Especially since it is 8+ miles to the next aid station after this.

We finally get into that aid station, John talks to the medic, I don't remember much, just eating a lot of broth and grilled cheese.  I took some of Melanie's pain medication that I had with me, since the medic said it couldn't hurt.  We just left the aid station.  All this time I feel extremely bad for John since this isn't a pacer duty he is used to, he is very fast and his friends are very fast.  :(

After about 5 to 10 minutes out of that aid station, I started running (that might be a bit much but to me I felt like I was flying).  I was actually moving through the course and we made up a lot of time over the next 3 or 4 hours.

It all came crashing down around Overlook, I was still moving but pain medication was wearing off.  I continued to move ok and we were able to get through the last few aid stations.  John kept me moving I passed someone twice my age I think as my last big push ;)

Above is the race analysis you can kind of see what I had described.  

I finished.  I was happy and sad but this was the race I deserved.  Actually a lot more than I deserved.  I wouldn't have finished if John wasn't taking care of me for over half that race! 

Amy got third place woman!  And finished 6+ hours ahead of me :)  She is amazing, this is coming off of a long term injury!  She is awesome!

I now have my Western States Qualifier.  3 years now so that should be 15% chance or so maybe a little lower.  

That is it, just a free flow of words, I am not going to go back to edit grammar and make it more interesting.

*Addition - I can't stress enough how helpful John was - especially when I remember that I had originally waved him off pacing me.  I know he had his shoes in his car, but I don't think he was completely ready to pull an all nighter with me.

This was to qualify for WS100, but now I feel I have to go back and do it again because I know if I actually train for this I can do it sub-24 I have to believe that.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Why I hate Jeff Cannata

Warning - This is not running related at all...

About a couple of years ago I started listening to podcasts.  I happened upon the /filmcast a very fun movie review site.  Great to listen to on runs (see sort of running related).  It is hosted by David Chen and Devindra Hardawar.  They added Jeff Cannata to the regular hosting duties after being a frequent guest, here is where it all went downhill.

He has this thing about not watching movie trailers and going into movies with as little information as possible.  At first when I heard this I thought he was crazy!  I am generally out of my small group of friends one of the first to watch and see trailers and movie news.  Especially with the comic book, sci-fi / fantasy and action movies.  I can't get enough of the information before they release.

So what does this have to do with me hating Jeff.  Well after I watched the first real trailer to drop for the Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was a bit upset at how much they gave away.   That was my last trailer.  Now whenever they come on - I mute the TV or fast forward.  If Melanie or I go to the movies, I have her text me once the trailers are over.  I am becoming a pariah within my family :)

I will say though I am enjoying movies a lot more, I went to see the new Mission Impossible, and knew nothing about it.  It was a lot more enjoyable!  Also the new Ant-Man, they have been great I didn't even know who was just playing Hank Pym was until just a bit before the movie.  I can't wait for the new Star Wars and that has been soooooo hard to stay away from news and trailers - even walking the aisles at target I know about the bad guy :)

So in conclusion, listen to the /filmcast it is very enjoyable - try not to watch trailers, at least for me, it makes the movies quite a bit more fun.  It is hard and will make you a bit of an outcast but so far it is worth it.  You can just blame Jeff Cannata.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Bear 100 2015 - From mid pack to feeling like DFL

The hook: As I was meandering my way through the last 5 or 6 miles of this race I had a pocket full of pancakes in one ziplock and a pocket full of bacon in the other.  I was in the middle of the woods in a race called "The Bear", you can see my dilemma here.

From before the beginning;

I needed to do a "qualifier race" for Western States and I was talking with John about it he suggested a race called The Bear 100.  The great thing about this race is that it is both a qualifier for WS and Hardrock.  Amy was also planning on running it, so we could pool resources.  (Now picture this 80 plus miles into it, I am talking to myself about John's "suggestions").

Due to working full time and family, it is tough to train as hard as I should.  I didn't lose the weight I should have going into this...  That always makes me mad, because if I was serious as I should be / want to be I would drop the weight needed to be successful.  So blah blah blah a bunch of excuses.  I still felt pretty good going into the race.

I used Frank's ultrasplits site to come up with a few scenarios I thought were best can middle of the road cases.  Worst case was just finish the race, it is my only qualifier on deck as I don't get to race as much as some others (I am looking at you Jean :) ).

I won't bore you too much with details - I would say I peaked out at mid 70's for weekly mileage with about 10k of vertical.  I should have been doing more, I just didn't.  I also joined a gym sort of thing called "Orange Theory"- it is a HR based workout for an hour at a time.  I really just needed something other than running to provide some cross training.  It is a very good workout that I think helps me, and I think it will continue to help me.  I just need to keep up my weekly mileage ongoing.

Fast forward to the race...  Amy had to pull out with an injury so I decided to just fly in a couple of days early.  Flying into Salt Lake City and then driving a couple of hours into Logan.  I met up with Dan Burke and his crew Mike, we did packet pickup and dinner.  We also got to meet up in the morning of the race.  I slept great actually (I used some over the counter sleeping aid - melatonin), and woke up ready to race.  Had my standard english muffin, peanut butter and banana breakfast before race.

The race started pretty uneventfully - from a park and then some suburb streets to a long single track climb.  I tucked in with folks going about my speed and tucked in.  The first bit I just took it easy. For the first 6 aid stations mile 45 I spent a total of 6 minutes in aid stations and hovered around 75th to 70th I got to Temple Fork at 10hours and 12 minutes.  Pretty respectable this was about 10k of climbing.  Coming out of this was going to be one of the longest climbs and this is where it all started to go down hill for me.  I had a hard time keeping the gels down - I had started to use their gels (hammer) for the last couple of aid stations and they weren't sitting well.  During this climb and the heat with the elevation I think that is what did me in.  I started throwing up and really had a very hard time.  Looking back what I should have done when I got to the next aid station was sit for a bit and just regroup - I think if I had done that, maybe spent 20 minutes just settling my stomach and then headed out it would have saved my race.  As it was I ran in, got some calories (broth) and then got out of there.

I just tried to play catchup from that point running / trotting when I could and trying to keep gels down.  I threw up a few more times and really wasn't moving too well.  At some point I met up with Ryan he and I had been playing leap frog for quite a while and decided to run together - I know now that he slowed down to help me try to save my race.  I can't emphasize how important he was!  I know I am only spending a couple of sentences on our time together, but he really saved my race. At this point I hadn't given up completely on the sub 30 hour buckle.  As the major point in our race we climbed down into mile 85 together and that is when I completely fell apart.  I sent Ryan on his way, and I was trying to choke down some broth, but I started shaking so bad I couldn't even get it to my mouth.  I tried to get up to leave, but the aid station people weren't having any of that.  They covered me with blankets and I honestly don't remember much when I did look at my watch, I realized I had been in the aid station for over an hour.  I was starting to hyperventilate a bit and decided if I was going to get out I needed to do it now.  I slowed my breathing as best I could and got some deep breaths.  Got some broth and electrolytes and I was able to stand up and start moving.  ARG almost an hour and a half, they said I went into shock but well who knows I was just happy get out of there!  The nice folks at the aid station walked with me for about a half a mile to make sure I didn't fall over.  I knew then I was just turning this into a 15 mile hump, just keep moving.

I started to hallucinate a bit as I was coming into the last aid station about a mile or two out of there I kept seeing people or cars in the middle of the forest but when I got closer I realized it was just branches.  As I made it into the last aid station they all looked at me and said they were about to send a search party for me (I think they were joking.)  Once I got sat down for a few minutes I had some pancakes and bacon and was able to keep it down, it was so nice and filling after throwing up anything I ate for the past 10 hours or so.  I had them pack me a baggy full of both and started the long hike up and out of that aid station.  After a mile hike up I started to think that is when I decided that carrying pancakes and bacon through the woods probably wasn't my smartest idea but it was highly unlikely I would run across any critters :)

Then the final challenge - about a 3 mile descent that I probably would have enjoyed any other time but after my feet and slowness I was just crawling down this.  But the end was in site - I could see Bear Lake and what I thought was the line to the finish :)  Well after coming down through this we actually had to go back up a little hill and then back down to the finish - all stuff I could and should have ran, but just didn't have it in me.

I finished with my head down at 31 hours 40 minutes.  I immediately said I would never do this race again.  But then within a few hours I thought I could do this much better and I will need to come back and get that sub 30 belt buckle.

Now just a quick bullet point list of the good and bad with some lessons learned.

The good;

  • Training was ok
  • Having a change of shoes from the Kiger 3's to the Wildhorse 3 at mile 61 was probably one of my better decisions - Wildhorse has a rock plate of sorts and I think I would use the kigers for anything at 50 miles or under.  
  • Finishing the race no matter what
  • Finding a friend (thanks again Ryan)

The bad;

  • Not taking help when it was offered (Sachin I should have taken you up on that offer) next time for sure!
  • Not having enough of my own gels - I don't like hammer gels now even thinking about them kinda makes me sick

The ugly;

  • Driving back to the airport right after the race - that was ugly!!!  Sitting on the airplane wasn't good.

That is it for now - I may go through and update this I just wanted to spend a few minutes and write something up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lake Sonoma 50m - 2015 edition

I had almost given up on this blog...  I need to jump back into it and start going through training, race reports, reviews, etc... There is no reason not to and all the reason to do it.

Executive Summary;

I finished in 101st place, in a time of 9:47:04 - an improvement of 21:34 over last year.

The Dirty Details;

As always I didn't feel like I did enough, I had a pretty good ramp leading to this race a couple of 70 mile weeks and some speed work in there as well.  Hitting the weights (muscle burns more calories than fat :) ).  I was feeling faster which was nice, but I was still heavier than I should be (see next blog post on this for upcoming)...

I went into this 50 miler like I am sure a few folks do - I like to carry as much of the nutrition I am going to use with me.  I loathe stopping at aid stations, it is a waste of time.  I love the North Face Long Haul Shorts they have the standard pockets, but the compression shorts underneath have a place for trash.  I also picked up an belt to put my iPod and some extra nutrition and my fix it baggy (ginger chews, 12 hour Aleve, Tums, and sCaps).  I had a zip lock bag for the turn around so I could replace my GU's and have a Vespa (still not all the way sold on that) and start the music.

We drove up the day before on Friday after the kids got out of school...  Drove through SF quite a bit of stop and go, so it took us three and a half hours to get to the Healdsburg Running Company, who sent us down the road to the Dinner location because they had moved the bib pick up there.  (Walking and walking everywhere).  Got bib, then went to grab some grub at the Applebee's next to the hotel (we tried to get thrown out but didn't).  Light but late dinner, it was maybe nine by the time we got into the room and settled (after a few trips back and forth to the room).  I put my "kit" out and finally went to sleep at ten - I probably got the standard 3 to 4 hours of tossing and turning sleep until I beat the alarm.

Drove and met Guy and Loren so Melanie didn't have to drive the roads to the start.  Got a big cup of coffee from Starbucks and we were off to Lake Sonoma.

Uneventful start I dropped my "drop baggy" grabbed my handhelds Guy, Loren and I chatted a bit and the next thing you knew we were off!  The first 2 miles are paved roads, easy to go out fast on those I tried to settle into a good pace but looking at it after the fact, I did a 7:27 mile on the second mile.  In all fairness it is a downhill paved run just before the single track we jump on so everyone gets pretty antsy (me included).  Now going into this I thought 9:30 was easily achievable, I was having dreams of getting closer to a 9 hour finish.  At this point (2 hours into the race) it was still possible.

The next few miles I got lucky and got into a good group for the single track we had very little passing except for one person that would pass then fall back then pass (repeated a couple of times)...  I meant to remember her number so I could shake my fist of fury at her :)  As always chatting with people is a great part of the way we run, I don't know if this happens in road marathons or not, but I sure enjoy it.  I really meant to remember everyone's name or number at least - funniest thing is I can't remember nearly as much as I wanted...

I think I hit the turn at 4:26 - 14 minutes faster than last year.  I spent a total of 42 seconds in aid stations to this point.  I stopped at the turn around for 2 minutes 37 sec, thanks again for Jill and Maria at the turn around it went faster, nice to see friendly faces there!.  I put on my music, refilled my GU, drank Vespa and filled bottles.

Headed back out for some climbs on the fire road.  Still feeling pretty good.  This fireroad on the way back seems to never end.  I don't want to look it up now because I just hate it.  I was solo some / most of this, as a side note this is where I need my race to hold on next year.  After about 6 to the aid station I filled water and grabbed a coke (first non water / GU so far) it is soooooo good.  This really can't be overstated.  I spent too long though, 1 minute and 12 seconds  The next aid station is my favorite - Wulfow!  Manned by Greg, Sean and xxxxx from our Quicksilver Running Club.  So nice to see them, sean tried to give me a pep talk but at this time I was seeing even 10 hours slipping out of my fingers, I was kinda down - but 2 aleve and 2 sCaps and dunking my head in the horse troff and I was off!  Only 2 more aid stations and 17.5 miles left (and it seems about 4100 feet of climb left).  Time to get a move on!

I should take a few sec to talk about my nutrition here because this is possibly where I should have bumped things up a bit.  I was taking in GU every 30 to 40 minutes - I think I should have reeled that in just a bit and focused on for sure every 30 minutes, then I should have pushed it down to 20 to 25 at the Wulfow station - I was getting tired it was becoming more of an effort to trot the gentle climbs. I don't know what I was thinking - it gets to be more of an over thinking thing, and I am still pretty new at this so don't listen to me :)  I should mention it here as well I did have 200 calories of tailwind in my bottle at the beginning because it is hard to choke down GU early in a race when you are feeling good so a good slow drip for the first hour is nice (I think :) ). Ok enough this will be in the "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" section.

Not much really here to report actually after Wulfow, I slowed down about a min a mile on what I should have been at, as I mentioned the climbs were taking a bit more out of me than they should have at this point.  I dunked my boonie cap in every river as it was warming up a bit. They were a welcome relief, at the last aid station, they had just taken someone out on the boat (this station is only reachable that way), because she had been taking aspirin all day and not drinking enough.  That is a sure bet for kidney failure (the aspirin alone) I hope she is ok, maybe someone will report back on that at some point.

The other item that PISSED me off.  The last mile I got passed about 800 meters to the finish (I just couldn't keep him off me - MORE GU next time maybe?)...  More fuel for the fire next year for sure!

Coming into the finish I got to see the family!  Take pictures and embarrass my son by hugging him. I was sore once I stopped. Took two days off before I ran again, probably should have went for a short jog the next day just to loosen things up. 

There you have it, not nearly as colorful as I would have liked but hopefully I will read this next year and learn from my mistakes.

Draft Done Posting - need pics and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" section.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strava - Part 2 - Setup and Security

In my last post I mentioned some setup and security things that I do.

In general I don't worry too much about security, but I thought as I run more and people knowing exactly where I live probably wouldn't be the best thing in the world.

Under Settings -> Privacy you can set up a "hidden location" for both your office and your home.  This really just moves the start of your run out about half a mile from your house.  Nothing extensive but I guess better than nothing.

One sure way if you worry about this, and I would suggest some folks doing this is change the enhanced privacy mode to ON, within this same screen.  You can approve your followers and only approved people can see and download your activities.  Especially as you start to meet people on the trail and within clubs.

I would also suggest if you are uncomfortable with people knowing your habits to some degree (you always run at 6am from x parking lot), then you should change your setting to have people "request to follow".  That way you can pre-screen to some degree.

Now lets move on to a few more fun items;

Gear - Make sure you setup your shoes and your bikes here, you can retire them later but as you start going through shoes it sure does help to keep track of all of your gear and how many miles you have on them.  I wish I had started this earlier, because I have this pair of road shoes I have tried to replace but any new ones, just don't feel the same - damn you Nike for updating models all the time!

Email Notifications - so if you signed up and have joined any clubs, you probably start getting a few too many emails from strava, this is a great place to slow those down.  I used to like getting a daily digest, but I follow a few too many folks that I don't read it now :(

My Performance - again another place you should take a few minutes to setup as it helps all of the other data screens - your Max HR you can just calculate based off of your age.  There was a great article by Ann Trason in Ultrarunner Magazine - Ask Ann: Heart Rate Homework about getting your max heart rate.  Worth a read.
Pace Zones are a bit different and they kinda bug me - but it is what it is.  I ran a pretty good (for me) half marathon - a 1:46:00, so when it shows my pace information 99% of the time I am in endurance, and I guess that is what I am doing when I am in the hills trotting up the hill.  I just don't find that as useful.

Under my profile you can also setup your "social connections" Facebook, Twitter, Intstagram, etc..., I don't do a lot of sharing unless it is a race really that some folks are watching, but it is nice to be able to share.  The best one here is Instagram - Half the fun of our trail running is the view sometimes!  Going for a run in the hills and tossing it out on Instagram (create an account if you don't have one - it is free), it will automatically look for pictures taken during your activity and a 45 minute window.  If you are out in the middle of no place with no cell coverage, you can take pictures and just let them fail and have a few queue'd up when you do get to cell coverage.  Here is Strava's blog post on it -  One other note - you can disassociate a picture from an activity also - I noticed I had a picture of my daughter and I out for a walk because it was within the upload window you just click the button "unlink" the picture.

I think I hit all the high points - really nothing too earth shattering, just wanted to encourage more people to use it.  I think I will hit on some of the "hidden" features or just not well used features of Strava next.