Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scared silly

I do not think that I have ever been so anxious before an event as I am now. I am having race nightmares about going off course, losing my pacer, forgetting to eat, general pre-race anxiety. But this week seems to be horrible...

I have placed some links on the left side of the blog for "Burning River Race info" The webcast should be interesting and let everyone follow the race as it unfolds. 'Race' is probably not the right word for me, I just want to finish! My previous post contains a pace chart with estimated time of arrival at aid stations, depending upon my pace. I would like to run a 27-28 hour pace, but we will have to see how the day unfolds.

Weather. Well, depending upon when you look at the forecast, it is good and bad. I have stopped looking. It looks like it will be hot, humid, with a chance of rain. Typical summer day.

Goals for the weekend:
1) Finish
2) Stay out of the hospital
3) Finish under 30 hours
4) Enjoy the experience because there will not be a "next time"...

Things remaining to do: Pack drop bags. I have all of my stuff, or at least everything that I plan on taking, I just need to organize it into piles for each aid station.

Just start running...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here is a pace chart for next weekend (Click on it for a larger view). It is hard to believe that next week at this time I hope to have finished the 100 miles! My goal for the day is simple: FINISH! This is all that matters. I think that if things go well, I will finish between 26 and 28 hours, but I honestly do not know.

The magnitude of this event is really sinking in. Most of you are probably saying "Duh!" right now, but as with all endurance activites, I cannot think of the entire event in one chunk. My mantra will be "Just get to the next aid station." It will be a true test of "how bad do I want it" and "can I keep going when everything is telling me to stop?"

Oh yes, the taper jitters are hitting me full force!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

42 wet minutes

Took a nice 42 minute run with Gina last night in the rain. We had a blast! Gina has always enjoyed rain and last night was no different. We normally walk to the park entrance from our house but I suggested that we jog easily instead since it was raining and we would keep warmer by running. She agreed and off we went.

Once we hit the cover of the woods, the sound was very pleasent and not quite as wet. We shared a lot of laughs, talked about my upcoming race, her upcoming cross-country season, and just enjoyed being in the woods. We stopped so that she could take her coat off and the rain tapered off a bit also. We made it to the vernal pools and started off on the red trail. We startled a baby deer from the brush and chuckled as it darted left, then right, in an effort to evade us. It did not realize that we really weren't chasing it!

The rain started again in earnest and Gina put her coat back on. The rain was really coming down hard and the puddles were forming on the trail. I told Gina the best part of running in the rain on the trails is that it is just easier to run through the water/mud instead of trying to avoid it. I suddenly heard lots of splashing and giggles as she did just that, ran right through the water and mud. Times like these are priceless!

We made it back home just in time for the rain to stop and the clouds to clear. I would not have changed a thing...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Note to self...

Abby and I rode the tandem 26 miles in the Medina Ice Cream Odyssey yesterday. It was a nice day and we had a really nice time together. I am glad that we only rode the shorter distance since the day turned hot. We returned home to see the recently-returned-home-from-camp Gina! We all missed her last week and it was fun to catch up and hear all about her week.

I woke up early this morning with some sort of flu. Denise then got it around 8am too. It hit me hard for 45 minutes early morning, then I was just feeling off. Denise was not so fortunate and has fought it off and on all day. She was planning on a 10 mile run and I wanted to get 20 in during the heat of the day.

I was feeling ok at 10am so I decided to go for it. I changed and drove over to the Alexander Road aid station with the plan of running to Egbert and back. Then I would run to Station road and back, hitting the tow path during the heat of the day. I have been dreading this part of the course since it is totally exposed and promises to be very uncomfortable for race day. I was doing my 8 minute run/2 minute walk plan today and it was working well. During the open section, I changed to a 4/1 instead. It was not too bad. I ended up getting the 20 miles in and then returned home.

Gina was itching for a run so I then took off for 30 minutes of run/walk with her. It was a very good day in the heat.

Oh yea, the title of today's blog, Note to self: Don't forget the body glide for race day. Lots of sweat and no glide makes for some uncomfortable post-run sensations...

Time to get the final drop bag plans completed, check lists for aid stations, and my "things to get before the race" list created. Time is going fast, confidence is growing. Lots of things to finalize and most important, don't panic!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Golf Clubs

I took Denise for a drive thursday evening to show her where some of the aid stations were located and to work out some logistics of how to get from point A to point B. We started at Happy Days and worked our way down towards Covered Bridge. We were discussing various options of when/where she would meet me during the day.

We stopped at the Covered Bridge and took a walk across it. We were both starting to realize the challenge of just trying to follow the race, yet alone run it. All I have to do is run and keep moving forward. Denise has to juggle driving to the different aid stations to supply me with moral support, extra food, shoes, socks, and other things not in my drop bags, while also keeping the girls and herself fed, returning home to let the dogs out, shuttling pacers if necessary, etc. We have always joked that it is easier to do a race than to watch/support one. In the ultra community the support group/team for a runner is called a crew. There is an acronym for C.R.E.W. that is probably pretty spot on: Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting

We were starting to leave the covered bridge parking lot and Denise all of a sudden stopped and stated, "I know what I am getting you for Christmas. Golf Clubs! You need a different Hobby!"

We drove to ONeil Woods, then to Merriman Road, then to Memorial Parkway. We then drove to the finish line and took a stroll along the sidewalk area at the finish. It will look a lot different August 3rd!

The plans are starting to gel... 2 weeks to go!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A different kind of training...

Gina is at camp. Denise and Abby are in NY visiting Denise's parents for a few days. So I took this opportunity for some guilt-free running. This is where I get to run as far and as much as I want because no one is home. Sunday, I ran two sections of the BR100 course:
  • Station Road to Carriage Trail and back.
  • Station Road to Ottawa Point and back.
20 miles total. I only got lost once when the Buckeye Trail took off from Riverview road. Lots of high grass and weeds hid the trail quite well. In fact, I almost fell into a small ditch and then almost smashed into a fallen log. The grass was covering these obstacles and I did not see them until the last moment. Once I got out of the weeds, I missed a trail marker and wandered for a few minutes before I found the trail again. I simply retraced my path from Ottawa Point to Station road to complete my day.

Monday evening I ran an hour after dark for some night training. I discovered that the new trail near our house has started construction and so I followed it a bit to see the progress. It is going to be very nice when completed!

I have been staying up way later than normal. As long as I keep active and doing something, I don't really feel tired. It is when I stop and relax, then it is "night-night" time... So the plan for race day is that: "Keep moving!" I know that a well timed cup of coffee or hit of Mountain Dew will help me stay awake also.

Tonight, I applied the first coat of stain onto the deck. My hand is sore from holding the brush for 2 hours. Tomorrow night, coat #2. The weather this week is fabulous with sunny days and no rain. Perfect opportunity to let the deck dry between coats.

I am so glad that Denise and Abby will return home tomorrow night. It is too quiet around here...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feeling the heat!

I decided to try and run this week during my lunch break in order to start to get used to the heat. Tuesday was my first and it was 86 degrees with a Heat index of 95! Perfect! I took a nice 6 mile run on the Parkway to Richmond Road and back. It was pretty hot in the sun but I was suprised that I felt as good as I did. I am slowly realizing that it is yet another mental battle that I must face regarding hot weather. I can handle it, I just need to go slow and not get all 'hot and bothered'!!

I ran again today and it was much cooler, only about 80 degrees. I ran up to Harper Ridge shelter and back for another 6 miles. I ran w/Gina last night as she took me on a tour of her cross-country course at the school and then I ran home from there for another 5 miles. Shorter distances this week.

I am volunteering at the Muddy Paws race saturday morning. It will be nice to be on the 'other-side' of an event. Only a few short weeks left before the race... I am getting anxious.

My birthday is today and we are about to dive into a blueberry cheesecake! I can't wait...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday followup

Denise and the girls had left a Subway sub for me when I got home from my 31 mile run last night. I quickly ate half of it, showered, and promptly fell into a deep "exercised-induced' coma...

After I woke up at 7:45am, I ate the other half of the sub for breakfast! For some reason, I was hungry and cereal or toast did not sound good to me...

Abby and I took off on the tandem towards Chagrin Falls this afternoon. A "Ben and Jerry's" Ice cream store there has been calling our name for a while. We had a great ride over to Chagrin Falls via the metro parks and enjoyed eating ice cream outside as we watched people/cars go through town. The day was sunny and hot, perfect Ice Cream weather.

We returned home and I changed shorts/shoes and took a nice and easy 4 mile run through the woods. I figured that the 23 miles on the tandem and 4 miles running was a good follow up to last night's run.

My legs feel good; tired, but good. It was not a HUGE mileage weekend but I feel like they were good miles. A couple of people last night did not look too good. They have been cranking the miles and may be close to over-training... I hope not for their sake...

Training for endurance events always produce the same feelings and thoughts:
  • Am I doing enough?
  • Am I doing the right things?
  • What will happen on Race day?
The answer to the first question is typically "No". At least we always tell ourselves "no". The key is to do just enough to stress the body w/o breaking it. In other words, keep healthy. There are always people out there doing more than me or you. We just have to learn what we can handle and be willing to swallow our ego and not try to keep up with another's training plan.

The second question has a whole lot of answers to that I will not tackle here...

I know that I do not know what will happen on race day. I learned from from Iron Man, just take it aid station to aid station. Someone will tell me when I can stop!

The run that almost wasn't

There were plans amidst for group run starting at 9pm from Happy Day's Visitor's Center and running the last 31 miles of the Burning River 100 course. I was planning to run 10-15 miles in the morning and then follow that up with the 31 miles at night.

The ring-leader of the group rightly decided to contact the metro parks that we would be running through to let them know what was up. Well, it turns out that the parks close at 11pm unless you have a special events permit. Run through and face getting a ticket.

Needless to say this prompted a flurry of emails about how to rearrange the run. Two groups were formed. The first group would start at 3:30pm at Happy Days and then meet the second group at 7pm at the covered bridge. We would all run to the finish together and the second group would car-pool back to Happy Days to finish the run to the Covered Bridge. Got all of that?

I decided to skip my early morning run and just run with the first group. The idea of running for 20 miles, riding in a car for a while and then running 10 more, did not sound too good to me. I met Kurt and Melissa at the finish line and we headed back up to Happy Days in Kurt's truck. Kurt wanted to drop some water at two places along the trail as we went north. We dropped a cooler of water at Bath Road and at the Covered Bridge. We were a few minutes late getting to Happy Days and the group had already left! We asked some walkers if they had seen a group of runners and they said, "They are just a couple of minutes ahead."

Kurt and Melissa had already run 22 miles earlier that day so trying to 'speed up' to catch the others was not an option. We decided to skip the Pine Grove section of the route to save a mile and hopefully put us ahead of the group. We figured with our slower pace, they would catch up anyways.

Kurt, Melissa, and I kept running and stopped a few times to pick some black raspberries along the trail. They are just starting to ripen and are really sweet this year. A nice free energy boost!
We made it to the covered bridge without seeing or hearing the group behind us. We kept going to the Perkins Horse Trail which will probably be the hardest section of the race. It is a pretty technical trail with mud, roots, steep hills, rocks, and MUD! Plus we will see this section after 80 miles of running and it will be at night! Sounds like fun huh?

The trail wasn't too muddy and just as we returned to the covered bridge, the group caught us! Mike and Brandon from the 7 pm start group were there and they were waiting for the others. We raided the cooler that we dropped earlier for water and Kurt, Melissa, and I started off again, knowing that the complete group would soon catch us. We entered O'Neil woods metro park and started climbing again. I just mentioned to Kurt that I kept expecting to see the parking lot when we heard voices from the others, except that they were crossing the trail in front of us! We had missed a turn and made up for the mile that we short-cutted earlier that day.

We all continued down the trail together and hit the tow-path. Night was falling and it was getting near time to turn on the head-lamps. The bugs were not too bad and the temperatures were dropping enough that we could see our breath! I am sure that August will not be like this...

We took a small break at Memorial Parkway and then it happened; Rich yawned! You know how contagious a yawn is, and that started it for me. I tried to not think about it but it did not work. You are probably trying to stifle a yawn right now just reading about it... Anyways, the urge left as we entered another park and turned at the Signal Tree. The group was starting to get quiet as everyone was getting a bit tired. The trail was following a quiet lake with houses on top of the ridge above us. Suddenly someone at a house set off a large string of firecrackers! Needless to say that woke everyone up. We all had a good laugh and continued on to the Gorge.

We exited the Gorge parkway and jogged the last bit to the Sheraton where we said good bye to the 7pm group as they climbed into cars for the drive north to Happy Days. Kurt, Melissa, and I continued across the road to the race finish line and I tried to imagine what it will feel like on August 3rd when I cross this for real. Tonight was a simple 31 mile, 6.5 hour run. I wonder what I'll feel like after 100 miles and 26+ hours???

Kurt and I piled into my car and we picked up the coolers on our way back to Happy Days. I dropped Kurt off and made it home just a bit after midnight. A good day/night in the woods.

Some people have asked what I eat during these training runs. Last night I consumed 4 power bars, 1 PureFuel bar, and probably 200 oz of water. My goal for race day is to consume 250-300 calories/hour between food, gels, fluids. I want to mix up the food between bars, PBJ, nuts, and other things that will be at the aid stations. I will not and do not what to eat the same thing for 26-30 hours; that will get old real fast. One challenge that I will have to face is to keep eating. Experience has shown me that I have to force myself to eat after 5-6 hours. Nothing really sounds good but I know that I need the calories in order to keep moving. Just like you have to keep putting gasoline into your car, I will need to keep eating to keep moving.

I started the run with one 22 oz bottle of water and one 22 oz bottle of 1/2 water 1/2 Gatorade. I polished off the gatorade pretty fast and drank water the rest of the night. I did get 22 oz of HEED at the Merriman Road stop. Bill had water, HEED, and Pure Fuel bars for us. Lots of people do not like HEED, but I do like it and it does work well for me. I did not use any Gu or gels and I did not have to break into the 'emergency Gummy-bear' stash. This means that my nutrition was pretty good last night. If I need to hit the gummy bears, things are going down-hill fast.

Well, this was a long post. I'll stop and make another one about today's activities.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cross Training

This week has gone by fast...

Abby and I are going to ride the tandem in the Medina Ice Cream Odyssey ride in a couple of weeks. Unfortunatly, we have not been doing any riding so we are trying to make up for that now. We have taken a couple of great evening rides this week and it feels good to be on the bike again. These times are pretty fun together and we share lots of laughs each time we are out.

A group of people are meeting at Happy Days saturday evening to run the last 30 miles of the BR100 course. I hope to get 10-15 miles in saturday morning for a 'warm-up' to make for a good simulation/training day.

I am getting to the point now where I just want the race to get here! I know that whatever training that I have done (or not done) is past and I really can't do anything else now but screw it up. It is just a matter of being patient and getting the 'head games' straight. Keeping work and family and training balanced is difficult right now. I need to get back centered and hopefully this weekend will help.