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





Thursday, October 15, 2015

OC100 October 10th 2015

 

  The OC100 is an Ultra Marathon event held in October on the Oil Creek State Park trails in Titusville PA. The event consists of the 100 mile/100k/50k events. Most say and I agree the event has the best aid stations in trail running along with the best volunteers. the race director is a real class act, he works tirelessly on this event and is at the finish line to greet every single finisher and hands them their buckle and the coveted OC100 sticker.


     There are 4 aid stations in this race and 2 are crew accessible. The race headquarters, start/finish line and aid station 4 are at the Titusville middle school. The Friday prior to the race there is a dinner at the school along with packet pick up. Lodging is limited in town but you can pitch a tent on the school grounds or just roll out a sleeping bag in the school gym ( lights out at 9 PM Friday). But you can also stay in near by Oil City if you cant get a room in Titusville. There are no running stores in the area so make sure you bring everything with you.

     The race consists of loops on a 50k course and the 100 mile runners will have an extra 7ish mile loop (going home loop). This is run primarily on the rocky rooty single track of the Gerard hiking trail inside of Oil Creek State Park. Each loop has about 4600 feet of gain. You will see relics from the oil drilling era of the 1860's along the course.

     I have run the 50k and dropped from the 100k event here and swore I would never try the 100 miler. I train on these trails and know how they grind you up, I wanted no part of it. However my June 100 miler at Mohican didn't end the way I would have liked and since I was signed up for the 100k I sent an email to the RD and asked for an up grade since the 100 miler was not sold out. I now had another chance to prove to myself I could go 100 miles.

Unfortunately I don't have as clear of a memory of this race as others, so this may not be as detailed as in the past.

     Since I had a base built up from Mohican my training would not have to be as demanding as the build up to Mohican, I just needed to get more gain weekly and maintain my fitness. I have been working with Damian Stoy most of the year on my training and diet and he helped me work up a great training plan that I pretty much followed to the letter. I did a lot more body weight strength training during this cycle which was great because I didn't have to go to the gym, I worked on it right at home. I also included my new Jacobs Ladder on strength days, which was a huge help in climbing hills.


     As the race was nearing I was getting heel pain and figured it was the Achilles tendon, so that would be something I would have to manage over the 100 miles, but was confident I could get it done without any major issues. I had no crew and the pacer I had lined up backed out. Pat Krott and I were talking and he didn't have a crew or pacer either so we decided to just run it together like a 100 mile training run until one of us dropped the other. So now the plan, training and location were set, only thing left was I just had to get it done.


     On Friday we went to the school for the dinner, my wife came along and she worked at aid station 3 on Saturday. After eating and picking up my packet we went to the hotel and hoped to get to bed early, as I only slept about 3 hours before Mohican and I didn't want to do that again. Pat stayed in our room, and while getting things ready for morning we watched Unbreakable: Western States 100 because its awesome and motivating. He and Denise fell to sleep around 9 or so, I know because they both snore VERY loud. I tried to sleep but could not, I laid there till at least 12:17 AM ( last I looked at the clock). I did get some sleep but got woke up around 2:40 to the shower in our room, Denise got up first to get ready, I fell back to sleep till about 3:30 when the alarm went off.

     We got our gear on and went over to the school got our race instructions and were ready to go. At about 4:50 everyone started moving towards the starting line and at 5 it was go time. Since the plan was to stay conservative early we settled near the middleish of the pack, may even have been towards the back for all I know.... it was dark (HA HA). So we start out on the 1 mile of black top bike path from the school to the trail head and as always the slinky effect started on the first climb right at the trail head. this did get better quickly as the packs started to form up and the hill separated folks some. Section 1 ends up around 7.5 miles to the aid station, which was awesome they had lights strung on trees as you got closer to the AS. We were in and out pretty quick after saying hello to everyone there ( nice running on your home trail) and started up the switchbacks that start section 2.

     While in Section 2 it stated getting light and we could see that Autumn was starting to take over Oil Creek and the green woods were becoming a mix of greens, yellows, and orange. Thankfully the leaves had not fallen much yet and the trail was pretty clear, well except for the rocks and roots that is. This section has 2 big climbs one of which is the switchbacks at the beginning the other is known as the never ending hill but they are both pretty early in the section and the rest is very runnable. Section 2 ends up being about 6 miles. As we came toward the end of the section there is a set of steps that are fairly tough to climb and I said to Pat these are gonna suck on the 3rd loop aren't they, of course he said yes. As we exit the trail we head down a dirt road towards AS 2 (crew accessible) and find our drop bags, get some food, fill our bottles and grab some Hammer gels. I dropped my head lamp, long sleeve shirt and buff but put on a visor and we set out for section 3.

     As we started on our way to section 3 we had seen a couple of our friends come in that I didn't figure would be near us but they looked to be in good shape and not pushing hard. As with every section at OC, we started the climb up into section 3. Section 3 is the longest of the 4 at 9ish miles but the local Boy Scout troop sets up at Cow Run Camp Grounds with water and a Ham radio, and that is about 5 miles in. Most of section 3 is very runnable, which is nice because you can really make up time if you need it but its so long it seems it takes forever to get through it. I really enjoy the section except for about 1.5 miles of it near the end. its a huge climb with most of it in what seems like a creek bed, thankfully it was dry. Once to the top of that hill though its pretty easy going to the aid station. The last bit of section 3 is a technical decent to a dirt road that you run down hill on right to the aid station. This happens to be the one my wife was working at and again we knew all the volunteers which makes it nice. We ate, filled the bottles, grabbed more Hammer gels and we were off to section 4 but as we were leaving the aid station my friends Bill and Tiffany were hot on us again, this time I talked to Bill. I said how far a head of your plan are you he said 40ish min. so I said isn't that about how far a head you were last year and he said yep. In 2014 Bill went out too fast and paid for it in the end with a DNF by not making a cut off. He assured me he felt good, I was worried for him but I had myself to think about so off we went.

    Section 4 starts with a climb named cemetery hill, there is a cemetery on the hill, dating back to at least 1812. During this climb is when my heel really started to bother me. after we ran through a good part of section 4 I had to sit down and do some massage work on the Achilles to relieve the pain and tightness. I made the decision at that point to stop every 5 or 6 miles and hit it real quick to keep it at bay and not have it impact the run. At the end of section 4 we came out to the black top road and crossed the tracks to start what is known as the Drake Well loop, which is about a 1 mile loop around Drake Well and along side Oil Creek back to the tracks and to the bike trail back to the school for the end of lap 1 and AS 4. Before we were able to leave Bill had come in right behind us again, I talked to him and he said he still felt great so that was good to hear.

     We got some food, addressed any thing that needed it, like my heel, got our gels and were on our way back out the bike path to start the 2nd loop. The 2nd and 3rd loop follow the same line as the first loop. Section 1 was pretty uneventful we just kind of moved a long at a slow pace  put still within my personal goal, stopping once to hit the heel. We came into AS 1 and it was not too busy at all, we just got what we needed and started the climb up the section 2 switchbacks, and on to the never ending hill. It had become a great day, sun was shining and it was in the mid 60's, perfect for what we were doing. Some time in section 2 my knee started to hurt a bit, I think it was compensation due to my heel issue, but it wasn't bad. We got to the steps that I spoke about above and they were a treat, I could only imagine how loop 3 was going to feel. We came in to AS2 which had some activity but not too busy and we grabbed our drop bags as it was late evening at this point and starting to cool. I grabbed some trail mix and a couple fig bars to eat later put on a dry t shirt and long sleeve shirt, a buff and my headlamp. We got some food and I addressed my heel and knee for a bit before heading back out. On our way out we did see Tiffany but no Bill.


     As we were climbing the hill into section 3 we heard the familiar WHOOOOO from Bill, he was still not far behind us.  Section 3 seemed much longer this time and it was nice to get to Cow Run and take a bathroom break. We finished section 3 a bit behind but well under cut off so there was no concern, just running easy. I think we were in and out of AS 3 pretty quick and into section 4 again. During this climb my knee was really starting to bother me, I took some fish oil in hopes of keeping it reasonable. It seemed to work ok, but it was getting colder, and I was getting sleepy. We got through section 4 pretty fast and I was on the lookout for zombies. Zombies as I found out from Pat along the way since dark were the folks that were in rough shape and could hardly function. We got into AS 4 around 10 PM, still on pace for a 28-29 hr. finish. We spent some time here ate some soup, addressed my heel and knee. Oddly Pat was having knee issues as well. I had 2 cups of soup and 2 cups of coffee. We got out of there in about 20 ,min, which was far too long but much needed.  We started the 3rd loop and somewhere early in section 1 I could hardly keep my eyes open, it was crazy. Pat was having the same problem so rather than get injured stumbling like a zombie ourselves we thought lets nap for 15 min. Pat set his watch, we pick out our spots just off the trail and too a nap. All of a sudden someone is waking us up....... it was Bill. Its funny now but man I lost 5 min of sleep. He introduced us to his pacer and new friend from Canada.

     We hiked with them for a bit but wanted to start running, so we went around and really started feeling good. The nap was a huge success! We had passed a few folks rather quickly and one guy said " Hey you guys woke up" and we all laughed then we never seen them again, maybe they took a nap. We got to AS 1 for the last time and took care of what we could and ate. I had a bunch of strawberries, which were awesome. The climbs in 2 were rough and seemed far longer than earlier in the run. I don't recall passing anyone in section 2 but we might have. The hellish steps were tough but it was the last time I had to deal with them and I was thankful for that.  AS 2 was buzzing and we got to see Allison ( Pats girlfriend) which lifted out sprits, she crewed us there and I ate whatever fresh  fruit I could find. I took a trick from a friend and laid on the ground and elevated my legs on a picnic table while I ate.  We took a while at this AS as well, but it was needed. We had heard that Tiffany was not feeling well and she had slowed down considerably. We got out of there after far too long and started the climb up into section 3.

     Section 3 was LONG, wow it was a huge mental challenge and physical beating. Towards the end of the section Pat had his lowest low of the night, we managed everything pretty well but it was tough. We came into AS 3 and there was a few folks at the fire and another set of people just taking of into section 4. We ate and sat down for a bit, I did close my eyes and slept for like 5 min. Pat called out to me and we went into section 4 and started the cemetery hill climb for the last time. Section 4 took a while, we were beat but we got it done. The sun had come up during this section, which was nice and it was another great sunrise with a blue sky. We got the Drake Well loop done and headed down the bike path, mostly walking it as the black top was putting a beating on me knee. We came into AS 4 to both Denise and Allison. We dropped some gear ate real quick, filled the bottles and got out for our last 7ish miles. Once we got into the trail I felt pretty good and kind of took off a bit, we passed a good number of folks so that was very cool at that point. We took out time the rest that loop, all we had left was the last climb of the day. Its called the Hill of Truth, very long and at 95 or 96ish miles it was very tough. But once we got to the top it was a couple small rollers but over all down hill and 1 mile on the bike path ( which we walked most of) and crossed the finish line at 30:23. Much slower than planned but the over all goal was to make it, which we did.
      It was amazing getting the 100 miles done on the home trails with so many friends at the finish line, I will not soon forget that finish!
















What I learned:
  • A nap isn't a bad thing and could save your day
  • eating fruit as much as possible is very refreshing
  • 100 miles is a long way
  • seeing 2 sun rises within the same run is pretty amazing
  • not changing socks and shoes if what you have is working ( learned at Mohican, tested at OC)
  • have a plan but prepare to toss it out, don't be a slave to the race plan, take what you can and let the miles come to you.
Gear:

  • Suunto Ambit 2 watch
  • Montrail Mountain Masochist II
  • Injinji sock liners
  • Ice Breaker socks
  • Race Ready shorts
  • Nike Long Sleeve shirt
  • Hanes long sleeve tech shirt
  • Nike short Sleeve shirt (2)
  • Pearl Izumi wind breaker
  • 20 oz Amphipod handheld
  • Buff, and Half Buff
  • Sugoi visor
  • Pearl Izumi gloves
  • Nike gloves

Food and Nutrition:

  • Hammer Endurolytes - since the temps stayed low I only took about 1 every 3-4 hours
  • Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps- took 2 each loop
  • Fish oil as a pain reliever
  • couple Tylenol on the 3rd loop to help with pain
  • Aid station foods- fruit, pizza, grilled cheese, spinach wrap 
  • 25-30 Hammer gels
  • 3 Natures Bakery fig bars
  • trail mix
  • 2 bottles of Perpetuem through out the day





    


    


    


    

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Health Update

Well its been about a month since the Mohican 100 and I am happy to report that my feet are 100% blister free. The swelling on the top of my foot is gone and the pain is nearly gone. I am back up to running about 40 miles a week and strength training 2-3 times a week.


Today I had my annual physical and got some great news, my blood pressure is perfect and all the other normal "stuff" checked out very well. I had blood work done last week so we could review the results today as well and these are the results:


Cholesterol - 115
HDL - 78
LDL - 29
Triglyceride - 38
Glucose - 90
Vitamin D - 39


My doctor said these are some of the best numbers he has ever seen. He also said he does not agree with how much I run but with a physical as good as this, how can I argue with the results.


I am sure exercising daily is a huge factor but the changes in my diet have added a great deal of improvement in these results and in my life. As of April I gave up Dairy for the most part, aside from pizza time to time (cheese), I also added 2 smoothies a day and recently have increased that to 4 a day.


The ingredients are as follows:


2 banana's
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 TBLS honey
2 TBLS chia seeds
2 TBLS flax seeds
hand full of almonds
1 cup of kale
1 cup of  spinach
1 tsp of ginger
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsb of turmeric
12 oz of water


blend this all up and it makes 2 servings. Very hydrating, filling and calorie packed.


On a side note I am waiting delivery of a Jacobs Ladder that I ordered in June and found out today I will be receiving July 31st. This is an amazing machine that will greatly aid in fitness and climbing ability. Check it out at http://www.jacobsladderexercise.com/ Most decent gyms have them, if you have any questions or interest in buying one contact me and I can help you out with that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Mohican 100

20-21 June 2015



     This event is my first 100 mile run. I had started training for Mohican way back in February with the goal of lots of cross training to get stronger, address my weaknesses, smart running, working on form and not over training. This was done by weight training 2 days a week, using a roller nearly every day and running, of course. I had to pick my crew and pacers next, one pacer was a no brainer, Pat Krott, I had to do some thinking for who else I would trust to join my 100 mile party. I went with a friend I train with time to time at Oil Creek, Adam Peterson. I now had to get a crew together and I went with another friend whom I spent time with on the Oil Creek trails, Bill Gilbert. I also gained Damian Stoy's guidance for training, nutrition and form. Now that the crew and pacers were set I could just train right... nope.


     Adam asked if Christine Vassen could come along and help Bill. Along the way I asked Mark Cangemi along since he had major knee surgery done and was not racing this year but very willing to share knowledge. Adam then asked Tom Lane along and Dylan Hyde got invited by someone... so now I had a very large group of supportive folks to help out. Things leading up to race day went well, such as diet, training, nutrition etc were feeling good and balanced. In the mean time Pat got a job out of town and was forced to drop from pacing duties. At first I was worried but I was able to look at my team and figured I had someone who could pick up that duty. The next day or two later Pat told me he worked it out, so he was back on the team and all was right with the world.


     Finally Friday the 19th came and Denise (my wife) and I started the road trip to Mohican Adventures where our cabin ( race HQ) was located. the rest of the team was to filter in sometime Friday evening and Pat was coming Sat evening. Denise and I got there around 4, did the check in thing and decided to head to packet pick up and dropped off my drop bag. After I got my bib and the bibs for the pacers, we went back to the cabin to relax for a bit before dinner. Around 6:30 or so we went to dinner and then to the runners meeting at 7 to get any last minute instruction for the race. Around 7:30 or so Bill and Christine arrived and they came down to the meeting ( which was across from our campground).


     The evening weather was awesome...70's and sunny. I had hoped the rain for the weekend somehow rerouted and it would be nice. By 8:30 Adam and Tom arrived and we had kind of a team meeting and found out Mark would not be coming till the following afternoon. Around 9 it started raining and by 10 PM we decided it was bed time. I don't think I fell to sleep until around 12:30 or so. We then got up at 3:15 to start the day I had waited 6 months for. I got dressed and ate a light breakfast. As the others were getting ready, I tried to relax and stretch. At last it was time to make our way to the start line. It was still raining off and on but by 4:50 it was a steady rain to start the race.



     At 5 am we were off! I used the strategy passed on to me from Pat and Tom to walk the first mile or so in order to let the conga line thin out before I hit the woods. and it worked perfectly! I hit the trail head and was only in a pack of about 4 of us.  I knew to hit my goal time of 27 hrs I would want to keep my pace average around 16 min miles. This is the first time I have run these trails but heard a lot about them and what was ahead. The rain kept coming as I finished the 4.5ish miles to come into the first aid station (Gorge Overlook). My crew was there, I grabbed some food and got my water bottles filled, felt great and off I went.

   The section between Gorge Overlook   and Fire tower was the worst so far, very muddy, but it was fun. Tons of single track after you get through the bit of black top to hit the trail head from Gorge Overlook. It was mostly rolling fairly fast, I only really remember 2 large climbs. One after you get on the trail from the road, awesome switch back section, and the one near the end of the 4.5 mile section heading to the Fire Tower aid station. This was my favorite section. All 3 times I went through it were very enjoyable. As I was climbing the hill at the end of the section I heard the bells and yelling so I knew the aid station was close and when I popped out of the woods it was great to see Tom waiting for me and direct me to the crew. I changed socks at this aid station, it was still raining but I still felt great and was very positive.

     Leaving the Fire Tower aid station Bill let me know I was about 15 minutes a head of my planned time. I didn't see it as an issue, I was just taking what the day was giving me. Most of the section from Fire Tower to Pleasant Hill Dam is not very memorable except the last 2 miles or so. However shortly after leaving Fire Tower I started getting a pain on the top of my foot, (near the top of the ankle joint) every time I took a step. It was not a big deal just an annoyance and not sure where it was coming from. The last mile and half or so of this section was very cool. We went through an area that can be best described as Jurassic Park. We ran under water falls, over large rocks, through/over/under fallen trees and through creeks. This all leads you to a root climb to get to the top trail, not tough but very cool. The  photo's I added of this area are not mine but it gives you an idea of what it looked like. As I got to the top of the root wall it seemed like just a short run to the end of the trail to the Dam where my crew was waiting.

     I did not even mention my foot issue as it did not seem to bother me at that point, or I just felt rushed to get back at it. This would be the last time I will see my crew till mile 27 at the start line ( Mohican Adventures). As you leave the Dam area you are sent down a lot of steps to descend the dam. The next aid station is only about a mile from the Dam, it is known as Covered Bridge and its the site of lone drop bag. I did not need anything from the drop bag so I ate, checked in and got back at it. The next two sections were by far the longest, both in distance and mentally. The first section to the Hickory Ridge Aid station was about 5.5 miles and was a ton of climbing. The trail was really getting beat at this point, 100 milers,/50 milers and marathon runners have tore up the trail into a muddy slog. At this point the top of foot pain was moving up the outside of my shin and becoming an issue that was on my mind a lot.



      I got into Hickory Ridge and it was STILL raining. The trail was really just becoming swamp but somehow I was still very positive and the miles were going well, except for foot pain. The aid station was not very well stocked at this point, though they promised to be better stocked for the following loops. The last section of this loop was about 6.8 miles to the start finish line. Tons of climbing  it seemed, but fun. I had not seen anyone since the aid station but heard voices in front of me and was making it a game to run down the voices. I was well within my planned pace and still feeling good. This section had mile markers ticking down till we hit the end of the trail head. As I neared the end of the trail, I passed a few people and got to a dirt road with a decent hill to climb. I followed the arrows which sent us through the back side of Mohican Adventures, crossed a bridge and ended up on a black top road that took us to a black top bike path, which took us to the start line. As I got close to the Start line I was surprised to see my crew short of the aid station but it was the only place for them to park. I took a seat, changed socks fueled up and wanted ice on my foot and shin. At some point Adam wanted to try deep tissue work and I gave in to it.



      After  changing my shirt and socks and taking some fuel we took the calf sleeves off, hoping that was the cause of my foot/shin issue. I was about to head out and Bill advised me I was still about 15 minutes a head of my plan. I left my crew and went to the aid station and checked in. Then off I went on my 2nd loop.


     Realizing I was spending too much time at the aid stations, I felt pressure to blow through the rest, but knew I needed to stop and get what I needed as well..... this was going to have to be balanced well because the foot/ shin had now become a point of concern. I enjoyed the pace I was running, very slow but controlled, never out of breath or over reaching in this section. As I heard the noise of the aid station I was surprised how quickly the miles passed. I came in, sat down and Adam went to work on my foot again as I fueled up. This stop was much quicker and I got up to get ready to head out, checking with Bill, I was only a couple minutes a head on that section so I slowed to my planned pace for this loop, I was happy about that. I did tell Tom I was really wanting some Pizza for some reason and had hoped the aid stations would have some soon. Away I go on my way to the Fire tower..... in the rain.

     As I stated before, the trails were complete shit at this point but my attitude was awesome and I accepted that this is my reality and everyone was fighting the same conditions. My foot was hurting and starting to swell ( from the deep massage I think).  This section was enjoyable and before I knew it I was back to the climb before Fire Tower aid station. When I came out of the woods I once again seen Tom, who directed me to keep going through the trail about a half mile and the crew was set up in a parking lot just off the trail. I got there and they had a great surprise for me..... PIZZA! I ate as Adam tried to do something with my ankle, and Bill in formed me I was still right on pace. I asked about Pat and Mark. I was told
Pat says slow down and Mark would be there in a few hours.  I spent far too much time feeding my face, but I needed a rest  and it was nice to get under the make shift shelter the crew made and be out of the rain for a bit.

I got going again and before I knew it I was at the root wall, this time it was a bit harder to climb due to mud from all the other runners shoes but still fun. I came to the Dam right on time and my crew was there. My foot was really hurting at this point, so I got off of it for a few minutes while I ate. I was really excited because I had just passed my longest run ever and I was right where I wanted to be time wise and felt amazing other than the foot. As I got up I informed my crew I would be late the next time I would meet up with them due to trail conditions and wanted to save my foot a bit. I got going down that large hill again and on my way to Covered Bridge aid station. This time through it was very, very muddy and I just wanted to start climbing to Hickory Ridge aid station because the trail was a bit dryer while climbing for some reason.

     I checked in at the Covered Bridge aid station and was on my way. This section seemed to take a long time, it was getting late and I had had my fill of aid station food and was taking fruit and eating gels. I finally got to Hickory Ridge and got some more fruit and pop ate and drank while I walked. I was getting tired... wanted a nap, ha ha. I got through the muddy mess and back out to the dirt road hill through the back side of Mohican Adventures, on the bike trail and ran till I got to my crew. I was happy to see them and excited to see Pat was there. At this point my foot/shin/and ankle had a ton of swelling, the crew iced and I changed my shirt, grabbed my hydration pack changed shoes and socks. Mark had got there also, so my crew was huge and things got very confusing for me and a bit stressful. Pat kept trying to get me out of there and finally I was able to do so. Adam was on pacing duty now so my next 23 miles I would have company.

      The 3rd loop started well enough, but it was not long and I started to feel blisters starting. I could not believe it, to get about 55 miles in the rain with no blisters then they start when the rain stops and I get fresh socks and shoes. In order to save my foot Adam and I took this section as a run and hike. Pace was great and when we got to the Gorge Overlook aid station we hit the target time and things were looking good, I was still on my 27-28 hr goal. The next stop for us was the Fire Tower, most of this section for me was a blur. I just could not focus and my blisters on my right foot and both heels were getting much worse, so I stopped and made my shoes much tighter, as I think the crew let them way too loose, I should have adjusted them before I left the Mohican Adventures aid station but I kind of just wanted out of there.

     As we made our way to the Fire Tower aid station we walked into a very sad state of affairs, lots of drops and folks looked rough. I grabbed some food and pop and headed over to the crew. Again we iced my foot I had some coffee and things were very, very confusing. We tried mole skin and tape on my feet to help the blistering but nothing would stick. I spent 20 min. there and only got stressed for the time spent. Since this loop is shorter, we would not see the root wall or Dam again, so the section was about 2.6 miles long. We started out hiking and I finished my coffee, did a lot of chatting and ended up walking the whole thing, my feet hurt so bad at this point. As we came into Covered Bridge Adam grabbed my drop bag, I lubed the blisters up really well, had coffee and some food and off we went.

    It was getting very late and we had some ground to cover. As we climbed up a long hill at the start of the Hickory Ridge section we talked time left vs miles left, I could not believe how much time had slipped away and now for the first time I was against the cut off. We were running and hiking pretty quick while coming up with a plan to get this thing done. The plan was I would not sit again and when we got to Mohican Adventures, I would drop my pack to my crew, I would check in at the aid station, Pat would bring my pack and batteries for head lamp to me and we would head out with out wasting any time. All I had to do now was make the cut off. Adam and I were passing folks, it was fun, Adam says see those fireflies (headlamps), lets catch em...lol and that's what we did for miles. But with about 4 miles to  go before leaving the woods for the dirt road I ran out of steam and my feet didn't want to work with me. The blisters hurt so bad, the swelling and pain in the foot was making it very hard to take steps.... and time was slipping away.

     We were within a couple miles from the dirt road and I could not put pressure on either. If I step on roots or rocks I would just tip, Adam would grab my pack and help me out, we did this for a mile or so then I came to realize it was after 5 and I had failed... more than 3 miles in less than 30 min was not going to happen at the pace I was reduced to. It was a tough few minutes of conversation with Adam but we both knew it was over I was not going to make the cutoff. At this point Adam suggested going to get his car and meeting me at the road instead of walking the dirt road and bike path. I agreed this was a good idea but we ended up just parking me on the side of the trail to get the pressure off my feet. I fell  asleep while there, for about 45 min or so, till the crew came into the woods to get me. We went out of the trail on a side trail that dumped into the camp ground, and ended up getting a ride down to the cars from a camper we accidentally woke up.

     When I got back to the cabin I took a shower, chatted with the crew for a bit, then fell  asleep while I had my legs elevated. I woke up and everyone was gone and Denise was packing up the car. I knew it had to be around noon for sure, but it was only 9:30. We checked out and finished loading the car and headed for home.




     As I sit here and type this a week later, I feel unfulfilled but I know I did give it all I had. I am happy to have made it 75 miles and that so much of my plan went well. A few things will change for my next 100, such as a much, MUCH smaller crew, too confusing and stressful late in the day. I will tie my own shoes and make as many adjustments myself as I can, go with my gut when I have a strong feeling about something and not use so much Hammer Perpetuem, it seems to bloat me after hours and hours of use, alternate with water is the answer I think. My foot swelling has gone down and I only have 1 blister left to heal, foot pain is getting better. I now have my attention on the OC100 in Oct.

Gear: 



Nutrition:

  • Hammer Gel (http://www.hammernutrition.com/)
  • Gu Gel
  • Hammer Endurolytes
  • Hammer Perpetuem
  • Hammer Sustained Energy
  • Natures Bakery Fig Bars
  • aid station food
  • Hammer Recoverite
Odds and ends: