Friday, January 24, 2014

Up Next - Sean O' Brien and California Dreaming

Next up is the Sean O' Brien 50 Mile in the backcountry trails of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The good news is that I get to spend some time in sunny CA and get out of the cold (this morning's run was 0 with a -22 wind chill).  I also get to spend some time with friends Melissa Pizzaro, Jeff Moss, Cory Feign and Kevin Kwilinski.  I hope I get to see one of the most inspirational people I know - Jimmy Dean Freeman (View his Blog) and run with the SoCalCoyotes.  I'm also hoping to preview some parts of the Angeles Crest 100 Course (my "A Race" of the year).  See this Beautiful Blog for an example.

I love LA, I love running in LA.  And I am travelling equipped with a GoPro Camera for the first time, so you can expect some great video/pictures.  Keira Henninger is a great RD and this is going to be a great event!

The Bad News:

This one is going to hurt. Click here for a course preview  This race was put together to replace the Ray Miller 50 that I did last year.  (See, Race Report)  That race left me in tears.  I made some mistakes and learned a lot.  How much?  We will see this weekend!  I put this race on my schedule because it was tough.  I find that doing tough things makes training and runs close to home seem easier.  I'm not going to lie....just finishing this race will be hard for me.  But I intend to put my head down, plug in some good working music and get her done.  My hope is the hills of POT150 will look quite small after this.  Well, at least for the first few loops!

This is the deepest field of runners I have ever been in an event with.  The field includes: Mike Wolfe, Jimmy Dean Freeman, Michael Aish, Chris Vargo, Chris Price, Jorge Pacheco, Dylan Bowerman, Timothy Olson, Jesse Haynes and Dominic Grossman in the men's field and Meghan Arbogast, Cassie Scallon, Michelle Barton and Sally McRae in the women's field.  I am looking forward to seeing them on the out and back and perhaps at diner afterward.  If I got to meet one or two of these people I would be thrilled.  Unfortunately, they will likely be in bed when I get done!

Great race report and video (hopefully) to follow!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Reflections and the year ahead.

On top of Pinnacle Peak, AR

2013 is in the books.  Although I did not accomplish my goal of running in the Hardrock 100, I took some major steps toward it.  Looking back and looking ahead, there is a lot to be happy about.

Potawatomi 100 Finisher! - April

I don't know exactly how many miles I ran because between Dailymile, Garmin and Strava a lot is missing.  I'll guess that I ran more than ever before.  I had some hamstring issues and a broken toe, but I made it through the entire year pretty much injury free.  there really wasn't a period of time when I was unable to run.

Ray Miller 50 - February

I think I finally got my everyday dietary issues down.  A low Carb whole food diet with little or no refined sugar, carbs, potatoes or corn seems to work best for me.  After only a few days of eating that way every major aspect of my life improves.  In 2014 I hope to eat that way the majority of the time.  Special thanks to Phil Maffatone and Tim Noakes for the education.  If you are looking to change your diet or you have any struggles in this area you should check out Dr. Phil's Big Red Book.

I also got my racing nutrition down, which is in stark contrast.  Justin's Nut Butter for gells, Vitargo for carbs Ensure+ for extra calories and burger king cheeseburgers for filling seem to do the trick.  No GI issues or bonking in the entire second half of the season have convinced me of this. 

I went 2-1 in 100 mile races.  I'm not thrilled to have DNF'ed, but it is a fact of life.  I'm proud of the fact that I finished one graduate 100 (Potawatomi) and one post-graduate 100 (Superior Sawtooth).  I raced  one 50 (DWD Devil's Lake) but did three (Ray Miller 50 and Ice Age 50)  and a 24 Hour Race. I did 0 marathons.  I matched my best at a 5K (21:43) and I PR'ed at the 50K (Frozen Gnome). 

Mt. Elbert - the Perfect Storm - August

Most importantly I qualified for the Hardrock Lottery by completing Superior Sawtooth, but I did not get selected.  I am qualified again next year already though.  I have to keep in mind that Hardrock is the ultimate goal.  

I tried my luck at altitude by running at Leadville and up and down Mt. Elbert.  I'm pleased to report that I didn't have any major problems, so this isn't a major Hardrock concern.

I'm most proud of a few of the complete knucklehead training runs and fatass events I participated in.  I did 6 hour and 8 hours fatass runs with new Leaf Ultra Runs.  Some friends and I did some chilly muddy loops at McNaughton to train for the Potawatomi 100, a 29 mile re-taste of Chicago food run with 10 required eating stops, a run from Naperville to the Bean in the early winter greater than 50K and a 91.5 mile world's longest Turkey Trot from the Bean to Milwaukee.  I also got to help crew and pace Shan Riggs and Chuck Schultz in their 410 mile run across Illinois, crew Tony Cesario at Leadville and pace Kathleen Rytman on her 150 mile effort at Tbunk.

Re-Taste of Chicago - All You Can Eat - July
Water Crossing Practice - March

Crewing Leadville - Go Cory!!

Magic Starved Rock Run - Oct.

I think we did plenty.

Chicago to Milwaukee Turkey Trot (Orange you sorry you missed it?)

Superior Trail 100

Now, for 2014?

Sean O' Brien and San Juan Solstice 50 milers.  Each is sure to be one of the toughest 50 milers of the year.

Angeles Crest 100 and the Bear 100.  Two post-graduate 100 mile races.  Each is also a qualifier for Hardrock.

And finally, I am going to take a stab at the Potawatomi 150 mile run.  It seems simultaneously both impossible and stupid.  So it is right up my alley.

My only goal last year was to run 100 miles straight.  I sold myself short.  I made hundreds of new friends, ran hundreds and hundreds of miles with them and achieved more than I ever could have imagined.  In a way I'm glad I didn't get picked for Hardrock yet.....because the journey is most of the fun.  I'll get there someday soon!