Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tri in the Buff

     This event is near Buffalo NY and has distances to chose from. I liked the Try a tri distance ( 200m swim, 8 mile bike and 1.8 mile run) since it was my first triathlon and first open water swim. I had somewhat of an idea what to expect from racing duathlons but the swim had me a bit concerned.

     As the swim started I started to struggle right off the bat. Swimming into waves and having others around you was a new and crazy experience. I came out of the water near last place but past a few folks on my way up to the transition area. As soon as I mounted the bike I just put my head down and mashed the pedals as fast as possible. the route merged with the other distances a few times which was fun and by the time i had finished up the bike I was pretty sure i had passed everyone in my class. As I got into transition for the run i heard them say my name and said I was the first one in. The run was tough! It was HOT, I was tired and legs felt like rubber bands. I just kept pushing forward to the turn around and glided back. I did see a few people from my class along the way but I was pretty sure that they would not catch me.

     I finished 1st over all with just under a 5 minute lead. This was a great experience for many reasons: 1st open water swim, making up time on the bike, all of the craziness of a huge event. etc. I cant wait until the Lake Erie Triathlon and to go back to Buffalo next year.






Gear:
Hammer Tri kit
Topo Magnifly shoes
Swifwick socks
Specialized Roubiax
Suunto Ambit 2


Fuel:
Hammer Gel pre race
Hammer Endurance Amino pre race
Hammer Race Day Boost pre race
Hammer Sustained Energy during race
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator after race
Hammer Recoverite after race







Thursday, May 17, 2018

Outrun 24 (O24)

O24 had never been on my radar but a friend of mine has had this on his list for a while now. we decided we would get on the wait list and do it together. We both made it into the event but life happens and he was not able to come on race day. This years hard winter and spring made it a challenge to get ready for this event plus I had no idea what to expect out of my Achilles. The event was awesome and though I did not reach my personal goal I was very happy to get 65 miles with NO pain in my Achilles! The following is from my Hammer blog. I know its kind of lazy to just cut and paste it but with a new job I am struggling to find time to document my adventures. I am confident life will even out and my blogs will improve
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I went into this event after a great duathlon and Army Physical Fitness test. Given I have fought an Achilles issue for about 2 years I was excited to see how my body responds.

The event is a 24 hour 1 mile loop style race. I had a goal of at least a 100k but really wanted 100 miles. I was not willing to relapse my Achilles though, so I decided that with any twinge I would stop. I took a bunch of Hammer samples to the race director and had him put them in the race packets, he seemed happy about that.

The day was unseasonably warm but clear. I felt good and was fueled well. Really my only concern was that i had not had enough quality long runs. After chatting with a bunch of folks I started getting focused on the task at hand and at 8 am we were off for a long adventure.

I felt great on the first few loops, my crew even gave me a few stern talks about pace, I didnt feel that I was putting in much effort I was just fueled real well. along the way I ran with one of the race directors and a Hammer team mate, which was very awesome. I was on pace for the goal of 100 miles and feeling great.

By late morning the temperature had risen a lot, due to the tough long winter we have not had any warm weather training and the heat took its toll on the field. I was able to stay steady until around the 50k point where my hips started getting really tight. I stopped for a few minutes to stretch and see if I could get them loose but nothing seemed to work. I had only fueled on gels up to this point so I had a Hammer raw energy bar to get a few extra calories in.

The hips didnt get better and as evening set in the temperature cooled but I it was getting harder to take steps. I stopped for 10 minutes to elevate my legs to get blood flowing and took the time to take a nap. When I got moving again I knew 100 miles was not in the cards and decided to get to the 100k point and see how things looked.

At 100k my energy was good but hips were not working well so I did 3 more laps and called it a day. It was a great early season event and I used about 17 hours of the 24 so I was happy. Hammer fueled me the entire way until about mile 55 when it was clear my day would be ending a few hours early, thats when I enjoyed some pizza.

My fueling plan was to have 2 gels each hour and if I need more calories I would use the Raw energy bars. I drank Sustained Energy and used 1 Endurlyte an hour. I also took 2 Endurance amino's, 1 race day boost, 1Tissue Rejuvenator every 5 hours. I used Recoverite and Tissue Rejuvenator.

I am in the 2nd week of recovery since O24 and about 3 weeks out from the Duathlon and I feel great. I will be right back at it on Tuesday to start another training block! Thank you Hammer

#howihammer
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Gear:
Hammer race kit
Columbia Montrail Rogue FKT
Swifwick wool socks
Columbia Titan Ultra shorts
Amphipod handheld
Sunnto Ambit2

Fuel:
Hammer Gel
Hammer Sustained Energy
Hammer Raw Energy Bar
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator
Hammer Endurance Amino
Hammer Race Day Boost
Hammer Recoverite
*later in the race Pizza

























#Howihammer #Chaseadventure #hammernutrition #swiftwick #columbia

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Returning to Blog

After a couple years with a website I have returned to the blog, just cant justify the cost of site and hosting.

2018 has brought me my 2nd year of support from Swiftwick socks and Columbia-Montrial as well as my 3rd year with Hammer Nutrition. 2018 Will also be a year that I try some different types of events. I have already done one duathlon, I have another on the schedule. I will also try a triathlon and a 24 hr running event.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of running in the New York Duathlon in Randolph NY. Here is a blog I wrote for Hammer about the event.
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This was my first event of 2018. My training has not been on point due to the very tough winter we had so I had a bit of concern about how my cycling would be. I also had an added level of concern since the very next day i would have my Army Physical Fitness test so I had to have some left in the tank for that.

When I got to the park that the duathlon would start I realized that it would be a pretty small event. We had a very cool and wet day, 45 degrees and misty rain then a down pour near the end of the event. This event was a 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run.

At 9 am we lined up to start and I came out in about 5th place and worked my way up to 2nd. I am still slow in the transition and came out 5th. I was able to get 2 spots back with in the first 5 miles then a guy on a tri bike blew by me and I fell back to 4th spot. I hammered hard but could not close the gap, the 3 in front of me obviously had spent a lot of time on their Tri bikes and just kept pulling away. I had not been on mine since buying it in Jan so I decided to use my road bike. Over the last few miles I did all I could do to keep close to 3rd place but I could no longer see him.

As I came into transition back to run I had 2 people real close to me and I heard my friend in the back ground saying " come on Rob, hurry up Rob" i had thought she was yelling because I had those 2 in transition with me, I found out later it was because she thought I could catch 3rd place on the run. As I made my way out on the last leg my focus was keeping 4th spot but at about the half mile mark I was starting to see 3rd place and as I was getting closer to the turn around 1st was coming back, a bit behind him was 2nd and by the turn around I had passed 3rd. Now in 3rd place I pushed hard thinking that maybe I had a chance for 2nd. That didnt happen but finishing 3rd in this event in these conditions made me very happy.

The very next day I took the Army Physical Fitness test and scored a 299 out of a possible 300 ( I am normally max it out at 300) but considering what I did Saturday I was very content and I had the highest score in my unit. Thank you Hammer for the continued support and great products. Now on to Out-run 24 in Ohio!

Hammer On

Rob

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Gear for race:
Hammer Tri Kit
Suunto Ambit 2
Topo running shoes
Specialized Bike
Specialized Helmet
Specialized Cycling Shoes
Swiftwick Vision Socks

Fuel:
Pre-Race
Hammer Protein Bar
1 Hammer Tropical Gel

During Race
Hammer Sustained Energy drink mix

After Race
Recoverite
Tissue Rejuvenator 


I hope to keep this blog up like I used to and hope you enjoy reading about my adventures. 

Hammer on and Chase Adventure 







Friday, January 22, 2016

Building for another great year and still having fun

     I just finished reading a great article from Andy Jones-Wilkins called Laying the Foundation (http://www.irunfar.com/2016/01/laying-the-foundation-2.html) and it got me thinking about the events I have in 2016. I have a couple 50ks planned a 100k and 1 100 miler in June with a possible 100 in Sept. The June race is the Mohican 100 which I DNFed at last year at mile 75 due to physical breakdown ( pain in right foot and blisters on both feet)  but looking back it was definitely more of a mental issue.

     In 2015 I took a different approach to the "off season" and did a lot of strength training with just enough running to keep my base. This seemed to work well through 2015 as I run more miles than ever, finished the OC100 and had a lot of fun while doing it. I did get a slight case of Achilles tendinitis that I am recovering from but other than that I felt great most of the year. My goal for this off season was to do the same but also add more cross training and move from the weight room for strength training to a more body weight style of strength training. As for the cross training I have added the bike and Jacobs Ladder to the mix a few times each week. 

     Above all I want to keep running trails enjoyable. I dont want to experience burnout or the burden of over training or worse yet peak way too soon for a race. After reading Andy's article I thought about which event was my goal event and the answer is Mohican so I need to plan accordingly, it will be a challenge not to try and peak for Hyner 50k in April or Glacier Ridge in May. I have to keep the focus on Mohican and realize that the 50ks are just a test of my training at that point. I had formed a goal for each that I have now taken back and decided to just do was well as I can without over training for June. 

     This year I will again be getting help in training and diet from Damian Stoy. Thanks to my sponsors ( Hammer Nutrition and Natures Bakery) my fueling will be on point as well. This will be the first full season that I will have a proper diet so I am excited to see where it goes and how fast recovery will be. I intend on keeping the miles quality not quantity because I tend to think the junk miles is where the injuries happen. I am also getting some reading in during this period of down time and a book I have really enjoyed is How Bad Do You Want it by Matt Fitzgerald. 

     As for having fun, well I am covering that part too. Just this last weekend I had some free time and wanted to explore some new trail. I went to the Dolly Sods Wilderness inside of the Monongahela National Forest in the West Virginia Allegheny Mountains. I spent a good part of Saturday running the trails that I could as the Red Creek was raging and I could not safely cross. I had a ton of fun getting to experience the area. One of the highlights was when I had passed a couple hikers heading into the trail as I was heading back towards the car. About a half mile from where I past them I found a water bottle, figured it belonged to the folks I just passed as the bottle was not covered in snow. So I did what I would hope anyone would do, I turned around and ran it back to them, they were very thankful for the effort. The very next day I ran the Moraine State Park trails in PA with a good friend of mine Pat Krott. This was another great day on the trails and made for a great weekend. 




Pat and I eating breakfast just before heading out on the trail




     In closing I just want to remind you to not take training so seriously all the time. Take time to enjoy the trial or the road, whichever you prefer. Don't lose sight of what interested you in the sport you enjoy. Keep your goal in focus and don't peak too soon..... most of all HAVE FUN! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

End of 2015 Update

     As 2015 comes to a close I just wanted to give an update on things.  2015 has really been an amazing year of training and racing, lots of highs and really only one low (Mohican). I have hit a PR in the 50k distance, ran for 100 miles and have cross trained more than at any point since I have been running. I have ran more miles and elevation than at any point as well (currently 2080 miles and near 200,000 feet of elevation gain). I have raced trails and roads, having tons of fun at both. I have been able to volunteer (though not near as much as I should have and will improve next year). I trained with my normal amazing crew and got to meet many new friends on the trail. I have bought a Jacobs Ladder for training when I cant get to the hills and have found it to be amazing. I have been to the highest point east of the Mississippi ( Mt. Mitchell). As I said I had an amazing year.


     2015 did have challenges. At Mohican 100 the top of my left foot started to hurt at mile 21 and got worse as the day went on but in the end the blisters from running in rain for HOURS broke me down to a DNF at mile 75. I also think I developed a light case of Achilles Tendonitis from that race too and had to really closely manage it till after OC100 in Oct. Finding time to train for 2 100's in a year was tough but managed through that as well.


     This "off season" has been great so far. I am still recovering from the tendonitis ( its much better) but training has been fun. I have been hitting the recumbent bike a couple times a week, I have been strength training, running only 18-30 miles a week, and my new favorite workout is a treadmill and Jacobs Ladder circuit where I start on the JL for 2 minutes then go to the treadmill at 8% incline for 2 minutes and back to JL. I do this for a total of 20 or 30 minutes after either a strength training session or after 45 minutes on the recumbent bike.


     Within the last few weeks I have received word from 4 sponsors for the 2016 season. These sponsors include Hammer Nutrition  (http://www.hammernutrition.com), Natures Bakery Fig Bars (https://naturesbakery.com/), Suunto (https://www.suunto.com/en-US/) and Jacobs Ladder (http://www.jacobsladderexercise.com/jacobs-ladder-cardio-machine/). I have one more application out that I have not heard an answer for yet so I hope to be able to update that soon.


     So onward to 2016! I have the following races planned
April -  Hyner 50k
May -  Glacier Ridge 50k or Cleveland Marathon
June -  Mohican 100
Sept -  either Stagecoach 100 or TNF 50
Oct -  OC100 100k
I am sure I will meet tons of new folks and have some amazing training with  the OC crew along the way! Hope you have a great year in 2016 and hope to see you on the trails! Please enjoy a couple of my favorite quotes......


"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.". - T. S. Eliot

"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

 




Saturday, November 7, 2015

Black Mountain Range NC weekend Oct 31st-Nov 2nd 2015

     It all started simple enough, I had a class for work down in Hickory NC. Since I was in training for the Mohican 100 I had hoped I could find some trails to run on in my down time. After some research I found that near Hickory there were tons of trails to run. I found the running store there and went in to find out where the trail heads were. I walked into the Fleet Feet store and looked around and the only thing I was seeing was road running stuff. A member of the staff asked if they could help so I explained I was there for a week and wanted to find some trails to run, but since they were road runners they couldn't help but just then Weston Drum came out of the back room and the lady that was talking to me sent me to him.





     Weston filled me in on a bike path right in Hickory that also had dirt trails but he told me about a small nearby mountain called Baker Mountain and a bigger one called South Mountain. He told me roughly how to get to them and invited me to run with his trail group on Wed at the trails in Hickory, We exchanged numbers and I was on my way. The next day after class I went to Baker Mountain and ran. It was very enjoyable but then it happened. I got to the top of Baker and got blessed with a view to the west and saw much bigger mountains. I instantly fell in love with this place and had a need for more of it. I descended and ran some of the lower trails till almost dark then drove to the hotel to plot my next adventure.


     I had decided that I would take my running gear and as soon as class was over Tue I would drive to South Mountain and see what it had to offer. So after class I did just that! I stopped and got a trail map at the welcome center, changed my cloths and I was on my way up the trail. A few miles in there was an amazing water fall that seemed to attract a lot of attention, I just snapped a quick picture and was on my way. The trails were amazing and the climb was fun. I did not have time to get to the highest peak as it was on the other side of the mountain but I climbed up as far as I had time for and oh what a view. I knew then that I would have to come back and run those mountains I can still see off in the distance.


     I did show up to meet Weston on Wed after class and got to meet Jody Gibson. Since only the 3 of us had been there to run we set out. the trails were fun and I learned a lot about the area and those mountains off in the distance. I then found out that the highest peak east of the Mississippi was in this range and its name was Mount Mitchell. From that day on it was my goal to come back and get to the top of that mountain. This was the last I would see of these 2 guys, though we do keep in contact on Face Book and Jody was instrumental in making my future trip a HUGE success. I was truly blessed to meet these 2 and hope one day I can return the favor here at home at Oil Creek State Park.

     After I came home I knew I had to get back to the mountains, I truly loved the experience. I really wish I lived closer to some. But since I don't I planned my return. I knew since I had Mohican in June and OC in Oct it would have to be in the fall. I figured a few weeks after OC would be good and I should be healed up enough to do so. I asked Jody when the mountain started getting snow and he said after Dec things start to be a gamble so Nov. it was and I settled on Oct 31st- Nov 2nd.  Over the next 8 months I planned, bounced ideas and trails off of Jody and got trail maps. I was set to go!


     As luck would have it I also got word that my company was laying off so this trip now had another purpose, check out my companies facility in Asheville NC. Over the summer I spoke of the trip to my friend Adam during our runs and he thought he would like to go so I planned on that, later came his girl friend Heather so now we were 3. During the training build up for OC I mentioned it to my friend Bill and since he is off Mondays it didn't take him long to decided to go with us. So we planned to head out as soon as I got out of work on Friday the 30th.


     The trip down was uneventful but fun. It was tough for us to stay awake and we rotated driving time so we could all get some rest. The plan was to get to the town of Black Mountain and hit the local running store ( Vertical Runner, Black Mountain running store) and then go run the Gray Beard Trail. This peak is at about 5300ft and would be about 8 miles round trip. I got frustrated early due to the group wanting to hike the trail. I ended up just taking off by myself and got to see some amazing views. I had a slight concern with how slow the others were going since it was beginning to rain and getting late. When I got near the top I found a look out that just took my breath away, I had never been at that elevation and all I can says is WOW. When I got to the top the view was amazing as well. I descended back down to meet the group and go back up with them. once there we were going to take a different trail down but since it was getting closer to dark we decided to just take the same trail down. Again they were hiking so I went the rest of the way down alone.








     We stopped for dinner and went to Asheville to get a hotel room. We all got showered and got stuff ready for the next day. Adam and I were going over my plan for the trails to take up Mount Mitchell, thanks to Jody's advice. I did find out later that the route we took is likely one of the most technical in that part of the range, it was tough but also was great training. The other 3 went to sleep but I was not tired, even thought I had not really slept since Thursday night. I chatted with my wife for a bit and finally dozed off and got a few hours of sleep. We woke up and hit the Crackle Barrel for breakfast, huge disappointment. We loaded up and checked out of the hotel and set out on our hour drive to the Crest Trail head. We got started later than planned but didn't think it would be a problem since it was only about 18 miles round trip. I took a Amphipod 20 oz hand held, a few Hammer gels and a fig bar.



    The first thing we noticed on the trail was how large the mountain laurel was, it was the biggest I have ever seen.  The trail was not bad and it didn't seem to steep of a climb. It wasn't till much later that we found we underestimated this adventure.  The trail turned technical really fast and some of the climbing was very tough. As we got further up the trail the views got more and more breathtaking. Being able to look over peaks that just a few hours ago were above us was amazing. We stayed together most of the day, unfortunately this turned into mostly a hike, which made it take much longer but it was cool to share the view with friends. One of the first WOW moments came as we came around a corner and had seen a huge fairly flat rock that looked wet and slippery while taking it easy getting up it I looked right and the mountain opened up to a unbelievable view.








 





   As we crested peak after peak we did come upon hikers several times, we chatted with them then moved on. The trail got more an more difficult to climb, It was hard but amazing. I was amazed at all of the views and the nature, I have never experienced anything like it. We came upon a climb that someone must have thought was too tough so they anchored a rope to assist, we had fun with it but the climb really was not that hard. After a bit of time we heard voices again and came upon a couple more hikers at the peak of Big Tom, 6580 ft with an awesome view. We could now see the top of Mt. Mitchell and the hikers told us we were about 30-45 min from the top. As we go real close we found a couple rustic cabins and picnic tables, crossed the road and up a few steps, passed the ranger station and up a paved trail to the top! It was very overcast but we got what we came for and it was time to descend.  I was getting concerned because I was running out of food and water, the water source at the top was turned off, for winter i assume.


   





  It took some work to find the trail back down but after a bit we did find it, it was now starting to get dark and we had a long way to go. We moved fast to use up as much daylight as we could but we were not going to get to the bottom before dark. Thankfully 2 in the group brought a light source so we paired up and turned on the lights and pushed forward. the trail was not technical at all. More than a few times I questioned if we were on the right trail and it was getting later and later. I had long since run out of water and was saving my last gel, thankfully it was not hot and we did not push it hard when we were heading up so I was still good to go. After hours we finally hit the road.

     I had directions for the road to get back to the car but Bill said he had it memorized so we went with it. Well it turned out he had it backwards so we got a bit extra time on the feet, made our correction and after many hours we were back at the car with many great memories.  The plan was to head towards home when we were done but the other 3 wanted to get a hotel at this point. We went to the closest town and tried to find some place open to get some dinner, only place was McDonalds so I passed on it. We got a room and slept a few hours ate breakfast and then got on the road to head home.




     Great trip over all. I plan to go back and do some more of the Black Mountain trails!

What I learned:

  • dont plan on a time frame on trails you dont know
  • make sure goals of the trip are clear with whoever is going along, will save a lot of unneeded frustration 
  • bring more wholesome food on the trip
  • carry more Hammer gels than you think you will need. 
  • the mountains are more enchanting than I thought