Sunday, September 15, 2013

Breaking News: My Father Trims His Nose Hair.

When I woke up this morning, I said to myself, what the hell am I thinking running this race only two weeks after a 50k? Then I wondered why my cat looks particularly extra furry in the morning.

On the furry scale of 1-10, she's an 11.
I managed to snag a bib at the last minute and so with a bit of hesitation, I got my ass out of bed this morning and headed into the city to run this facocta race. Thank christ I have an office in the city. It offer alot of convenience for races in the city. And I dont have to piss in a bottle in the back of my car when I have to squirt.

On the warmup run from office to the Start I felt like poo poo. Just tired and in a "you should have stayed in bed numbnuts" kinda way.

Darcy's Dad (from whom I snagged the bib) predicted a two hour finish which had me lined up in Corral #9, which is where I ran into Sue from the RRC and Mike, a veteran Pickler. That friggen corral filled up real quick and after about 20 minutes of shooting the shit, they started moving us up to the starting line. I find these rolling starts at these big races very surreal, because essentially it's a brisk walk as they start to move everyone up to the line, and then it's a trot and then it's BAM - run! Oh, and for those who feel the need to sprint the 20 yard gap between to the actual start line, welcome to 2013! We use this crazy thing called chip timing! It's all the rage! You're individual time doesn't start until you actually cross the Start line. So need to run like an asshole before you get to the Start line, although odds are good that you're still an asshole. I am just keeping it real. And some times, keeping it real is a hard dose of reality. 

I have been doing these big races for a very long time. And what I have yet to figure out is the mentality that some runners have that causes them to line up in a corral that's clearly way above their goal time. I was passing "runners" in the first 2-3 miles that were barely running. And this was happening consistently throughout the course of the race, from start to finish. These people are the type of clowns that sit in the left lane doing 55. I can tell. Stupidity is not single threaded. If you are going to walk, fine. If you are going to line up in a corral for people that are faster than you, fine. But at least stay to the friggen right so you dont get trampled.

I kindly asked them to move to the right, and this is what I get
So the bottom line is that I was in a bit of discomfort through most of the race, which is fine because it's what I expected. I didnt come into this thing thinking I was going to set a PR. I've been feeling a little less than stellar since the 50k. This was a long run for me. My weekly mileage has been low. When you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. And it's my friggen feet. They are killing me. Today, they were the first to go on me within the first five miles. I gotta admit I was running a little scared there for a while, no pun intended. The feet were killing me and my hamstring was of course throbbing with a consistently dull ache. I slapped some music on around mile 7 and it was like someone gave me a shot in the ass with adrenalin. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I could have run a marathon, but the music definitely got me through the last half of the race.

Do I really need to add a caption for this picture?
So for the remainder of the week I am going to lay low. The 20in24 is this weekend coming up. I have to run 33 miles in 24 hours. That's four laps at 8.34 miles a piece with about 5 hours in between laps. I might try to jump into a couple of spin classes this week so I can keep the fitness level up.

Proof that Darwin was wrong

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Heavy Legs

I think I over estimated my recovery time from that facocta race last week because I did 8.5 miles this morning with Delco and I felt it when I was done, especially in my feet. And my feet are always the first to go. It's not helping that I am running on dead shoes. I got 270 miles logged onto the Brooks PureFlows that I am running in now and those shoes need to be rotated out anywhere between 250-300 miles.

"My dogs are barking"
And that damn muscle thing under my ass cheek was giving me ogida again this morning. I get to go see the Doc tomorrow night for an hour's worth of what is really on par with medievil torture. If you have never had the experience of ART therapy, I highly recommend it. It doesn't tickle though.

Please Sir may I have another!
I am pulling the trigger on the Blues Cruise tomorrow so I can take advantage of the early reg fee of $65. That will be in 6 weeks. I think I am going to lay low with any more weekend long runs for a while. I got 20in24 in two weeks and I will be running 34 miles in a 24 hour span (not continuously) and I'll count that as a "long run" even though it doesn't fit the exact definition of a "long run." But really, what I am doing right now isn't following any sort of structured plan anyway. I am running my long runs on the same schedule as the group of folks I run with on weekends from the Running club. Everyone is running a marathon this fall, so we're all on sort of the same schedule for various races, give or take a race here and there.

Thinking about giving this hot yoga shit a try. I know people swear by it and one of the girls who works for us at RTD has been going to this joint in Chadds Ford. There was a point in time where I was so friggen flexible right around the time that I hit the peak of my martial arts training. We'd stretch like lunatics and just the very nature of the type of movements we'd do would naturally increase the range of motion in the legs. I could do a split at one point in time. Now, I am so friggen tight you could bounce quarters off of my hamstrings.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Since this blog is technically  called "Racetimer.blogspot" I figured I'd actually touch upon race timing. Today was the kickoff of the 2013 Fall Race Timing Season and we kicked things off with a nice little 5k for the folks at Holy Cross Academy in Drexel Hill. About 65 people, everything went off smooth. Here's a to a great season. Let's hope I don't f*ck anything up.

Things that I cant wait for with the start of every new timing season:

* Angry Runners complaining that the course is too short, too long, not enough water, blah blah blah
* Angry Race Directors who need a scape goat. A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part
* AlI the soft pretzels I can eat
* Bibs every where. All over my house.

Cheers! Because quite frankly, I am awesome.

So after I got home from my race, I slapped on a new pair of shoes and went out for a run. Horrible. The shoes were awful. I felt like poop. My calves were super tight. This happens to me on occasion with calves. It happened at the 50k as well. Eventually, the issue will dissipate if I stop and stretch periodically, but it still sucks none the less. So between the shoes and my calves, I bagged it. And I took the shoes back...

I am about to pull the trigger on the next 50k....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Run. Recover. Repeat

I did a nice little trail run tonight with the Road Runners and I have to admit that I didnt feel half bad. I stayed with the regular runners as long as I could until my legs said "No more, banana. We give up." To be honest, I think I felt worse after my last marathon, in the days that followed. I gotta lot of high fives and congrats from many of the runners tonight. That's really awesome and it's why I like running with this group of people.

So I wanna keep the good times rolling and there's another 50k that I am looking at on October 6 - Blues Cruise at Blue Marsh.

Looks fun, with a challenging course - about 4000 ft of elevation gain over 31 miles. Unlike the Labor Pains, this course is a big loop around a lake, which seems like it would be a different race for me mentally. There was a point on Sunday where I knew every goddamn rock, rut, and branch on that course. In some ways, there's an advantage to knowing the course that well - one can anticipate what's next; I was starting to think in terms of "just get to the downhill section right after the water stop" and then "once you climb up this hill you're only a mile away from the finish." Breaking up the loops into smaller segments was really helpful for me, but I think the attraction of a big loop, where there's a constant stream of new things to see, sounds really appealing. There's lots of aid stations and they are all apparently "themed." Speaking of aid, you know what would really be awesome? A St. Bernard running around the course with a barrel of beer.

Do I have to tip him?
I've always wondered what St. Bernards keep in those little collar barrels. I am hoping it's a Stout. And it would be cool if the St. Bernard had a really cool name, like Mr. Snoodle. This way, I could say "come here Mr. Snoodle, I need a beer, good sir" when I see him trapesing 'round the course. I dare anyone to tell me what would be more awesome at a race, then a friggen St. Bernard named Mr. Snoodles, with a barrel of Sly Fox around his neck.

My friend Mike wants me to run the Western States. My friend Mike also needs a swift kick in the ass with my size 10.5's. But the fact that the kid thinks I can run 100 miles shows that he has confidence in me, and that I can appreciate. The runners who do that race and some of the other more advanced ultra's arent human. They are some sort of semi-intelligent life form with a high tolerance for pain, low body fat and a really good VO2 max. I wonder if the male aliens have really big alien balls*, because you have to have an extraterrestrial set of nuts to run that kind of race.

Mike's cycling coach to Mike: "I like the way your cheeks squeeze together in your bike shorts"

 Although one could argue that running down Kelly Drive at 3 am is tantamount to running through Death Valley and I am about to do that in about 2 weeks. And I doubt I would need to carry any sort of personal self defense, like mace, in Death Valley, unless there was a decent chance of getting attacked by a wolf or a coyote. Seriously, it would be kind of cool to get attached by a wolf, just for the bragging rights. I think the convo would go something like this:

Runner: "So Frank, how was Western States?"

Me: "Dude it was awesome! Hey how was your 5k this weekend?"

Runner: "Not bad but I twisted my ankle at mile 2. I had to ice it for like a day afterwards. It's still a bit sore."

Frank: "Wow man... thats a real shame. Bummer.  [dramatic pause] Yeah, so um like a rabid wolf tried to eat me at mile 87. I had to give myself 150 stitches with a pocket knife and the drawstring from my running shorts"

I googled "rabid wolf eating runner" and this was the picture that came up. So I am going with it.

* It would be even cooler if those big alien nuts glow in the dark. Dont get me wrong; ET's little parlor trick with the glow in the dark finger is cute, but nothing beats glow in the dark genitals. Granted, I don't think glow in the dark balls are bringing dead plants back to life, or healing cuts and bruises, like ET's red glowing finger trick, but cmon- we're talking about glow in the dark balls here. Just let that settle in for a bit...

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly

First, the easy one. The Ugly: me. That goes without saying

Pre-Race. Thumbs up. Like the Fonze

I had the pleasure of having some friends along side of me at the race: Janet Smith, who rode up with me and who won this damn thing two years ago; Matt Morse, who's family is part of my running club [as is Janet] and who are also avid Picklers. My fultra marathoning riend Juliana was there along with my one of my old Drexel engineering classmates - Anh Dong - who is one hell of a triathlete and an Ironman. Some other Delco RRC members took a ride up mid day: Cheryl, Jen and Bill, and they paced Janet through some of her laps. We had the tent set in the little "tent city" sprawling across the Liederkranz compound and really settled and made the place our home for the next 12 hours. 

The Play By Play:
The course is a 5 mile loop with a little bit of everything - including a water/beer stop half way through each lap. Apparently, this was a new/ modified course from the year previous. I really can't comment on whether this course is good/ bad relative to last year's course, but I heard a few people say that it was a bit tougher. From my perspective, it was a b*tch.

First half the course was up. Not like a straight shop up, but definitely alot of elevation gain over the first two miles. Take a look at the course elevation map.

We started with an uphill start out of the parking lot of the Liederkranz, onto a paved road for maybe 60 yards, then up a grass hill, then a straight, flat shot down a small residential street and then a dog leg into the woods via one of the local's backyard.

During that first lap, there was alot of walking for the first two miles because we were bunched up in a big group. When we finally hit the single track, we all settled into a single file stream of runners, and when we hit the hills, we all walked. . It reminded me of my old mountain bike racing days, where the field would start together in one big blob of riders, and we'd get a hole shot into the woods off the line. The hole-shot was typically an all out sprint to get positioned prior to heading into the meat of the course, because once you're on the single track, you're stuck in line behind the rest of the clowns in front of you, at least until you've had the chance to pass where and when you can, as the slower riders start to drop off the pace. 

Anyways, I dont like uphill starts. I dont mind running up hill - I've actually been getting better at it over the course of the summer, with all of the hilly trail running I've been doing - but uphill starts KILL my calves to the point where they are SCREAMING for mercy. So the only saving grace that I had on the first lap is that we took alot of walk breaks. 

Once we passed the 2 mile-ish mark, the course levels out and then ultimately starts descending back down to the start/ finish area. Years and years of mountain biking has given me the ability to read a trail at speed better than most trail runners, and it was evident: on the first lap, I passed a couple of people taking it easy going down some of the steeper hills which made up for some of the time lost during the first half of the lap.

I felt fine on the 2nd and 3rd laps. I felt a little light headed after the 3rd lap, and I took way too long of a break  - nearly an hour- before I headed out back out for the 4th lap. For the rest of the laps, I kept the breaks under ten minutes before heading back out for another dose of fun. I saw Janet come in for at least three of her laps, and she'd be right back out in the door. Friggen amazing.

After that third lap, I was checking my heart rate every five minutes and it was pinging over 100 bpm. After sitting still for40 minutes, it should have been much lower. I was eating fine, and hydrating very well - if not over hydrating. This might be a bit TMI for most, but my urine was a good color so I ruled out dehydration. I figured it might have been due low sodium/ electrolytes so I hammered down some potato chips and my friend Juliana gave me a couple of Electrolytes - and I took one dose between each lap for the remainder of the race. 

Note the banged up Knee on J. Took a nasty one at mile 9

 Oddly enough, she was complaining about being light headed as well. It was hot and I didnt expect it to be that warm that day, and since I've been doing most of my training since the dead in the summer in the cooler weather, I think the heat caught up with me. The first lap was ridiculously muggy to boot. I was DRENCHED after the first lap and I sucked down nearly two bottles worth of water. I had decided to go with my hand held bottle rather than my trusty Nathan Hydration pack, at least for the first lap to see if the Nathan pack was really necessary for a five mile loop. After the 2nd lap I made the switch to the Nathan because the weather kept getting hotter and hotter, and I was sucking down nearly three-quarters of a bladders worth of Gatorade/ water mix (2/3's G-ade to 1/3 water).
Things got quiet after the 1st lap - the field was super strung out. There were points where I didnt see another human soul for miles at a time. Every once in a blue moon I'd catch a group in front of me and run with them for a bit. 

 Big Foot got in ten laps before the angry villagers chased
him back with pitchforks.

Very conversational pace - most of us were bull shitting most of the time and I think alot of people tend to be more like me; mentally, I like having people around me to occasionally shoot the shit to break up the mental monotony. Plus, I like having someone to chase/pace.The leaders would pass me every once in a blue moon, running like they just started ten minutes ago, not six hours ago. 

After Five Miles. Still Smiling
 Starting with lap 4, I was getting sloppy with my feet and my lines. I nearly tripped at least three times in the last three laps. At least twice I hit my big toe on a root or a rock hard enough to make me yell some rather unsavory language. I literally thought I broke my toe after one doozy of a stumble. My feet we're dragging from the fatigue and I was not getting good ground clearance. By the time I hit the 5th and 6th laps, I started taking it easy over some of the more technical parts of the course. I felt like poop on the 5th lap. I walked most of the first half of the 5th lap, but picked it up on the downside.
After ten miles. Who looks like shit? This Guyyyy

The pre-race crew at Camp Wannalickahoochie chillin before the rac
The sixth loop was a shit show. I walked most of the first two miles, and ran "most" of the last half of the lap, with a healthy lay-over at the water stop to have a one of PA's finer beverages - Yuengling out of a can.  It was at that point that a beer sounded like a very, very good idea. It sounds crazy, but it did perk me up enough to get my ass moving for the remainder of the loop. Cheers to you, Mr. Derr. You know what I am talking about my friend. 

Me after another ten minutes at that beer stop.... 

And finally, to hit the exact 50k distance, it was a quick trip back into the woods, hit the 50k turnaround point, and back to the Liederkranz.

The Miscellaneous (Nutrition, Gear, etc)
Nutritionally, I think I had everything dialed in as best as I can. This isnt my first rodeo, and I have been doing this long enough to know what works and what doesnt work. I dont think I could keep enough fluids in me long enough to keep my electrolyte levels up - I am a heavy sweater. So thank the sweet baby Jesus in the sky that my friend Juliana let me poach some Electrolyte tabs off of her. But I think I over did it on the 5th lap, because I couldnt stop peeing for about two hours after the race was over.

I kinda got sick of PB&J and Gu after my third lap, so I started nibbling on chips, gummy bears, and believe it or not, half a hamburger between each lap - but I still banged down a GU about 4 miles into each lap. I stayed away from any caffeine throughout the race, especially after that third lap when my HR was pinging on the high side. I hit 300 mg of Advil after every other lap (about every two hours).

I changed shoes after the first lap. I started out with my heavier Cascadia trail shoes, not knowing what to expect. Between the sweat and pouring three cups of water down my back at the rest stop, my shoes and socks were soaked, and rather than chance a blister, I popped on my road shoes, which held up surprisingly well in terms of my stability. I felt no worse in those shoes than I did my trail shoes, which is saying alot considering that I was dragging my feet like a caveman later in the race. 

I ran with no music. I am not surprised. I like running in the woods without music. I gave it a shot on the 5th lap, but it was distracting me, not helping, so I gave it the boot. This has happened before in both of my previous marathons - the music tends to take away from my focus, rather than take my mind off the fact that I am in pain. 

I saw some crazy shit out there and I saw some very impressive stuff as well. Like this young lady who has to be a good six months preggo out there on the trails. I heard she did three laps running/ walking. That kid is going to shoot out of her and punch the doctor in the mouth.
Thats one bad b*tch yo
Then there is this guy, I think his name is John. I have see him around the races off and on. Anyway he is 82 and ran 36 miles. One tough SOB

Word has it that John offered to take these two back his tent to show them how its done

And in Summary....

The Good:
  • I ran the 50k which was my goal )although I have to admit that after my fifth lap, that 26.1 distance was looking very tempting. But, I started my sixth loop and passed the 26.1 turn-around with an "ah fuck it" in my head)
  • I was hydrated, if not over hydrated.
  • I didnt injure myself.
  • The event was a blast and I had a ton of fun - lots of friendly faces at the race as well.
  • Lots of food

The Bad:
  • My facocta hamstring was on fire for the first ten miles. This has been a nagging issue for me especially in the last couple of weeks, but it seems like once I get a couple of miles in me, and I stop and occasionally stretch, it seems to ease up. I saw my ART guy earlier in the week and I am going to pop into to see him one night this week as well.
  • The first half of the course was [mostly] up. 
  • The weather was warmer than I anticipated. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wake Up b*tch

I'm awake. I feel good. I'm hungry. I'm about to get Janet.