Sunday, February 28, 2010


5.5 easy - Felt Good.
The Mt. Mitchell Challenge yesterday had to cut the course from a 40 miler to a 34 miler due to downed trees and 10 foot snow drifts. Winners Jason Bryant and Krissy Moehl reported hurricane like winds on the summit and thier own water bottles freezing, not being able to hydrate on the summit. Krissy's hat blew off and was no where to be found with 30 mph winds and 6 degrees; a volunteer gave her hat and she said that saved her race.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Totally Unexpected

Went out to my favorite out/back trail this morning to put in an easy 2 hours. I'd go out/back and if I felt OK I'd make it an even 2 hours. Got to a point where I usually check my time just to see where I'm at and I was 12:??, where last week I was 14:??. I felt good and got a little excited so I let myself go a little. Decided I wanted to get to the turn around at about 50 minutes and if I still felt good I do some tempo running on the way back. A couple other time checks on the way out had me easily under 50 for the out portion; ended up being 47:43 at a nice moderate effort. This also reminded me that the fastest I ever went out was 47:?? and back was 44:00. I couldn't help but see what I could do after 2 months of injury lay off and the horrible out/back I did last Saturday. I picked it up the whole way back feeling pretty good and did a 44:13. This is a minute faster than anything I've ever done on this out/back. Yea, I gave a little bit more of an effort, but after what I've been limited to do the past 2 months I'm loving this.
Last Week - 53:00/52:30 = 1:45:30
12 weeks ago - 49:00/44:00 = 1:33:00
Today - 47:43/44:17 = 1:32:00
By the way, I was told, more than once, that the cycling and 24% grade Treadmill workouts I was doing would allow me to hold most of my aerobic base during this injury timeout.

Recovery: Thrice Pints Hopslam courtesy of the Thirsty Monk.

Friday, February 26, 2010

100 miles with 52,900' of ascent/descent

And it's not in the Alps, Andes, Rockies or Sierra Nevadas. Check out the FAQ's on this "thing."
The Barkley Marathons.
Finish twice in 2 years.
If there are 50 miles each of ascent and descent, then the average grade is 20%.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


1 hour in Raleigh-Durham on lightly rolling sidewalks. Hip felt good and body felt much better. I wanted to get some carbs in me so I ate out last night - Bharta, Basmati and Nan with a big bottle of Taj Mahal. On Sat.'s run I averaged a HR of 146 with a max of 167, and struggled through the run at a slow pace. Today was an average of 134 with a max of 148 at a faster pace.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

30 years ago...

...was the Miracle on Ice. Yea, I know exactly where I was; in the locker room and on the ice just like I was every weekend in the winter from age 6-16. However, I have the image embedded in my mind of being in the locker room and having the radio on as we were listening to this Olympic Hockey Game. There were lots of fathers around lacing up our skates, lots of rubber mats so we could walk around without skateguards, the smell of coffee, Sanka in a styrofoam cup, and the scent that only an ice rink has. Echos, lots of echos, and a pile of slush that the zamboni left before it exited the rink, a strip of unfinished ice down the middle of the rink, the driver was on a schedule. The equipment I was wearing was primitive compared to what is worn today. Everything we, and almost everybody else on the rink, had was used. Hockey equipment is too expensive to buy new every year for growing boys; things were passed down, it was a cummunity. One thing that I never passed down was the helmet that Riley is wearing in the photo above; that was my hockey helmet in 1980, the piece of tape with my name on it is original; the one I was wearing when a bunch of college boys beat the best team in the world. Not just the best hockey team, but the BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD. This victory would be like CU beating the Kenyans or Ethiopians in the World XC championships. A famous person used the analogy of a Canadian College Football Team beating the Pittsburg Steelers. Riley and Kayle went through a box in the garage today and pulled out some old stuff. Kayle certainly has the eye for a top a little less rugged, while Riley chose to dawn the classic. I had no idea that they were going to bring out the totally 80's hockey helmets, but am glad they reminded me where I was 30 years ago tomorrow.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bitter Sweet Run

Did an out and back today and the hip felt great. I could feel a slight difference between my right and left hip, but cannot report anything I'd call pain. What a difference a pair of shoes makes! However, the body felt like crap today; I have alot of work to do to get back to where I was 2 months ago. On Dec. 6th I did this same out/back twice:
Out/back x 2 - 50:34/49:08/47:50/46:25 - (1:39:42/1:34:15)
Today it was a struggle at 52:30/53:00 - (1:45:30)
I don't think, though, it's as bad as it looks on paper. The last few weeks I've been on a diet with only the intention to lose weight. I went into this run today with almost no fuel, and certainly no carb stores. I'll be able to get a better idea of where I'm at in another couple weeks when I'm back on more of a training diet. Looking forward to the feeling of floating through this out/back the way I felt on Dec. 6th.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Morning Intensity !!

"Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive plays that song that's so elusive and the magic music makes your morning mood."

I can't think of a better way to start the day than hammering out some intervals!
Ran 5 miles flat yesterday, the hip is at it's worse on the flats, and had very little pain, it never got worse, just stayed the same.

Then, this morning, did 1 song hard, 1 song easy x 4 this morning at 12% grade.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mt. Mitchell Challenge Course Conditions

I'll flat out admit it - I'm not at all unhappy that my hip has not allowed me to run this 40 mile race next week. This is not what I had in mind when I wanted to try an ultra. It was summed up well by another person who said, running in those conditions is a waste of fitness as a runner. I agree, I wanted to RUN an ultra, not struggle and posthole through through 3 foot snow drifts for 8-10 hours. Hats off to the people that are going to start on Feb. 28th, you are all effin' tough! I see clearly why the title of this course uses the word Challenge and not race or run.

Course update:

A group of 5 with snowshoes went up from the Black Mountain campground to get a look at the summit snow...Race Director Jay Curwen then skied down the Toll Rd. to get a look at some deep snow...

Snow Observations:
Bill's Knob (halfway up Toll Rd.) - 6" to 8"
Pinnacle Mountain (1 mile from parkway on Toll Rd.) - 12" to 18..."
Parkway and State Park ...Rd. to summit - scraped and dry pavement
Stepps Gap down to Camp Alice - 8" to 24" (some scraped, some drifts over knees)
Buncombe Horse Trail - 20" to 30" (drifts well over 3 feet)
Camp Alice up to Commissary Ridge - 20" to 24" with hard ice in places.
Summit trails (Black Mountain and Commissary) - Lots and lots of snow.

So, the big question..."Do we need snowshoes?"
Short answer - Maybe.
The reality is, we will not be able to run the entire course w/out some alterations...There is no way you could traverse the horse trail and Commissary Ridge Trail from Black Mountain in a day (it took me close to 90 minutes to ski from Commissary to Stepps Gap...a distance of maybe 3.5 miles)...Drifts on the summit Trails are waist deep and then some.
The likely scenario is up and back to the summit on the pavement...Which leaves the snow on the Toll Rd. to contend with...There is enough snow now that I was able to ski all the way down to the water tank in Montreat yesterday...But, I feel that snowshoes would really only aid you for the final few miles of the Toll Rd. just before the Parkway (and the first few on the way back down).

If I was going to race the course myself, tomorrow, I wouldn't take them...But, I am comfortable post-holing to my shins and knees for an hour+...

We will have a hard cut-off of 10AM at the Parkway...That's 3 hours from the start...If you are a Challenger, and you get to the aid station on the Parkway at 10:01, you will be turned around.

This is going to be a tough year, even if we are limited to pavement on top...Yesterday, I snowshoed up from the Black Mountain campground and skied down the Toll Rd....for a comparison, this is basically the course (actually a little shorter) of the very first Challenge, which I ran in 3:27......yesterday took me 6:30.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Patient Partner

Tima has been very patient during this layoff I've had. Compounded with traveling and icy roads the past 6 weeks her running as been cut to a third, probably a quarter of what it was through the fall. Aside from making a few statements and chewing some things she's been great. I really can't blame her though; she'll be 9 in April and has never known the sedatary life. During the boredom she has discovered new ways to nick food from everywhere. I'm suprised she hasn't learned how to open the fridge yet. As much as I look forward to getting back to some training, I look far more forward to being back on te trail with Tima.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Salesman's Diagnosis

About 11 days ago, Feb. 5th to be exact, I was in Raliegh-Durham at the HQer's of the company that owns Highgear. This company has other brands including YakTrax and SofSole. I was in town getting ready for Munich/Austria and going over some of our product with some guys that also sell Yaks and SofSole insoles. I'm working with this guy Tommy, who has sold insoles for 12-13 years. He can't help but look you up and down from behind just to see how you walk - ultimately to see if you need insoles. So he's behind me as we are heading down the hall to the office I was working out of to look over some Highgear product when he says
"Are you having some pain in your right hip?"
I gave him a look like - don't go there, I don't want to joke around about my hip.
He gives a look back that makes me realize he doesn't know anything about my hip problem so
I say "You're joking right?"
He says "No, why do you have some pain?"
"Why? Am I limping?"
"No" he says, "You're over-pronating like a mother-fucker."
"Are you serious? I said.
"Yea, this is what you look like when you walk." He then showed me how the inside of my foot was falling in like I had no arch, flat feet. He ripped apart the shoes I was running in, gave me some Stability Soles and told me to get a new pair of shoes. Well, I have to say this guy told me 10 times more than any Dr. or PT did in less than 5 minutes. I just wish he could have saved me my co-pay on my MRI !!!
So I'm on the mend. I got rid of the "minimal" type shoes I was wearing. I have the insoles in and back to the shoes I used injury free for years. For the next 2 weeks I'm going to feel out my hip and get a little fitnes back. Then, I plan to start training again on March 1st, the day registration opens for Mt. Washington.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another Hip Test

Ran for 1 hour this morning, hip felt the same as it did yesterday, but I may have some very promising news. There's a good chance this whole hip thing is shoe/foot related. I've got some insoles and will have some new shoes on Monday and should be able to tell very soon if this is all it is. I have a great story on how this discovery was made and I'll share it if it turns out to be the foot/shoe issue. I'm sure I'll tell the story anyway!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hip Test

Did a 30 minute jog this morning on flat sidewalks. The ice falling from the sky was the most uncomfortable part of the run. Hip felt like it did a month ago, before I attempted Tsali 50K, so I'd say it's making some good progress. I ran as comfortable and natural as possible and noticed my cadence was higher than I expected, about 180. The engine was firing well. I'll do a little longer run tomorrow morning in the same area; I'm in Raleigh-Durham right now. Then I leave for Munich/Austria for a week tomorrow late morning. I want to continue to run through the week and see how the hip responds. I'm hoping the schedule allows for me to get in some morning runs, especially up a mountain in Austria! I was, however, told by our VP of International Sales, to "keep your skirt at home!" I've never used my wife's running skirt so I should be OK.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Treadmills and Kids

I was lucky to learn a lesson yesterday w/o incident. I've always thought that I made it nearly impossible for the kids to start the treadmill by themselves, but I hadn't changed the way I did that now that the kids are older and smarter. In order to use the mill a person in my house would need to plug it into an outlet, turn a switch near the bottom, put the magnet piece on the dashboard and then press a number for the speed. Realizing that 3 of the 4 were always possible we hid or put the magnet out of reach.
Yesterday afternoon we heard a noise that sounded like the treadmill, went into the room where it is and Riley was on the mill at 24% grade and 4 mph! Maureen put her hand on his back and said "what are you doing?" Riley answered with "I'm doing 5 minutes walk, then 5 minutes Run." the same training I did the day before. We found out that Riley just took a magnet from the refrigerator and substituded it for the one that came with the treadmill and was hidden. At 4mph it would not been long before he was off the back of the mill with an injury if he hadn't been able to stop it before he couldn't keep up any longer. Maureen and I both learned that with the mill inside now we need to be even more careful about treamill safety.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Riley shows me how it's done

63 minutes, 4,000', 3mph, 24% grade. Average HR=148, Max 161.
Ran 5 minutes, walked 5 minutes for this run. HR was a good 10 bpm higher on the run portions for the first 30 minutes. Then, after 40 minutes things started to get a little tough, in a good way. On the last set of run/walk the difference between my HR's for each was only 5 bpm.
This speed and grade are very interesting; I didn't expect running to be so much harder than walking. This ended up being a little like an interval w/o where the hard/easy weren't at extremes.
Oh yea, no issues with the hip, even on the run portions.