I made this video from a run I did a few weeks ago on Antelope Island. It was a perfect day for running. My editing skills are bad at best so my apologies.
This run starts at the White Rock trail head and circles around the hill just to the south. It's about 7 miles. If you go clockwise it starts with an excellent hill climb and then the rest of the run is more or less a gentle downhill.
I would wear these in weather above freezing as they aren't the heaviest weight fabric. If there is colder weather, wearing these under a pair of running pants can help keep legs warm in even colder weather.
Most of my training for this marathon was done at Maxwell Air Force Base just west of Montgomery, Alabama. The training was mostly in the classroom and was held during "normal business" hours. And, since I was away from friends and family, I had some time to myself which was conducive to marathon training.
Maxwell Air Force Base at this point had felt like a second home. I knew where the roads went and I knew most of the base from running around it when I had been there other times. Once in 2008 I tried running around the flightline in July and nearly killed myself. I was not in good shape and it was very hot and humid. Well, Alabama has quite the range of conditions and this time around I was there during the winter and it can get very cold in Alabama in the winter.
I wasn't very fast at this point but I was very determined to get the training in. I did shorter week day runs and longer runs on the weekends. I was getting better at maintaining a good pace and not slowing down a lot at the end of the long runs. It got very boring at times but I looked forward to the marathon and to see my hard work pay off on race day.
I flew back to Seoul in better shape for the distance than I had ever been before. I had run a 20+ mile run and was feeling good. I would say that at this point I was worried about a few things. The first was not pacing myself correctly and maybe running too fast at the start. The next was nutrition. I still was uncertain about what I should be eating before and during the race.
I got up early the next morning and got to the bus that was to drive us to Seoul. It was about an hours drive and the most memorable part of the drive was how little traffic there was in Seoul early on a Sunday morning. It was a relatively quick and easy ride.
Once the bus stopped we hung out for a while and then moved towards the start.
I don't know how many people ran this marathon, but it was a lot. The starting area took up a large block and participants lined up according to their numbers. It was at least a 1/3 of a mile to the start line from where we were staged.
|The group I was with|
One part of the beginning that I'll never for get was the warm up routine. All along one side of the road were stages lined up where performers (if you want to call them that) would say things that I didn't understand to music that I would consider 100% American. Eventually came the warm up and the people on the stage would lead us in doing warm up exercises. Shortly before the beginning of the race the song Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO was blasted over the speakers. There was something I thought was special about being in Seoul, about to run a marathon, and hearing such a familiar song that made the whole experience that much cooler.
After the official start of the race we had to wait about 10 mins for our group to actually start moving (as I said, there were lots of people). Then the race was on.
|Lots of runners|
I made what I think is a standard rookie mistake and started out too fast. I knew this to be the case but for some reason decided that I was going to just go with it. The weather was pretty good - it was probably in the 50's and was pretty sunny. I had gels about every 45 mins and had water and Pocari Sweat at the aid stations.
It was about mile 18 that I started to fade. I was getting tired and was in a fair amount of general discomfort. My body was tired and I still had miles to go. Eventually there was an aid station just before a bridge. I started to walk. Someone gave me a chocolate that I actually ate for some reason and immediately regretted it because it made me feel thirsty.
From this point to the finish was not my proudest moment by a long shot. Although I can say that I never once stopped moving forward. I had hit the wall. My whole body was in pain. I thought that running slower would ease the paint but there was nothing for it. Regardless of my pace I was not in good shape. I ran when I could and tried to walk as little as possible.
The finish was in the Olympic Stadium I ran the 3/4 of a lap on the track and finished in 3:52. I had been hoping for something closer to 3:40. After the finish I made my way out of the stadium to another running track where people were resting. I collapsed and just laid down. My legs were completely trashed and I was exhausted. Eventually I new I had to find the group I was with. I got up and walked around trying to find someone I recognized. At one point a young Korean came up to me and in perfectly good English (a surprise to me) said, "are you okay?" I thought it was funny because I didn't think that I was exhibiting any behaviors that would lead to someone to be concerned, maybe I was.
I eventually found my group and made it back. The 2012 Seoul Marathon will be a race I will never forget. It was awesome on so many levels and I learned a lot, too.
I've been through a couple of different brands and varieties of eyeglass retaining implements. The style that I prefer is typically made of neoprene and goes around the back of the head (rather than having drawstring style with a bead or cordlock that dangles down your neck).
The problem being is that there isn't a huge market for these types of glasses that I have seen. So I have to look hard and buy when I see them if I don't want to get caught without a pair. I have found several brands that have had the stitching on the part that goes on the temple of the glasses just fall apart after a few uses. Its very frustrating to have these give out so early.
At any rate, these Chums are the ones that I prefer to use. I have used them heavily and have never had one fail me. I install and uninstall them every day I go running and I soak them with rain and sweat regularly. Even during an ultra these have held up with absolutley no complaints. The are comfortable and keep my glasses where I want them. I don't have issues with them crawling down or being to tight. I haven't had any problems with them bouncing or rubbing and creating any discomfort. Recomended.
I decided that I was going to go a few days later. The weather forecast was unfortunately worse than it was before. I considered this but then decided to go for it anyway. The forecasts can be wrong and it just might end up being a beautiful day, right?
I left my house while it was still dark and got out to the island. The weather went from being dry at my house to a light rain by the time I got to the trail head. I put on my gortex jacket and left the trailhead determined to do the run anyway. It was still dark at this point and I headed up the hill with my headlamp on.
Whenever I'm running in less than prefered conditions I try to think about what I once read in a Lance Armstrong book several years ago. I remember him boasting and saying the reason why he was so good is that he would train harder than the other guys. He would train in the cold and the hot the wind and rain, His point was that he was good because he put himself in these poor conditions to make him more prepared and able to perform in races.
So, like him, I try to not wake up on a cold rainy day and decide that I'm not running that day simply because it's cold and rainy. If I become more familiar with how I feel and how it feels to run in poor conditions then I can be more prepared for when those conditions occur on race day (and they have and they will).
So, I ran up this mountain in the middle of a pretty bad storm. It was very windy, it rained and it snowed. I still pushed up and kept running every bit that I could. I made it back in one piece and felt good about having done it.
At one point the light was enough that I could turn of my headlamp and I was in the clouds. Visibility was probably about a hundred yards at this point. I looked up as I was reaching a small crest in the trail when I saw two dark silhouettes of what looked like large rocks. I made loud "hey" noise to see if there was any reaction in the objects, and there was. In the middle of this storm, in the clouds on the ridge of this mountain there were two bison grazing together. I wasn't too afraid initially because I thought the trail was going away from where they were. I then realized that they were closer to the trail than I wanted them to be. The thought of leaving the trail was not pleasant because cutting through the bushes would have soaked my legs and feet. I yelled again and it was clear that the closer beast had no plans on moving much. He pointed his head toward me as I got within about 10 yards. I knew I was pushing it at this point. I stayed on the trail, passed him while looking back to see if his attitude changed. Eventually the beasts were behind me and I continued running.
I feel I should point out that theres a fine line between pushing yourself in bad conditions and doing something completely void of all sense. I think it is something that must be decided by each individual. Know your limits by testing them in small increments and not large bounds.
I'm still trying to figure out how to get best prepared for the 55k coming up in February and I think these few extra miles will be worth it.
|At the finish|
I have now "officially" started what I call Ten Mile Tuesdays in to my weekly running routine. While it's not a hard requirement to always be done on Tuesdays, the idea is that at least one run Monday through Friday be 10 miles.
Why? Because I have a race coming up soon and I don't want to be behind in training. A few more miles every week will help burn off the extra holiday food I'm certainly going to consume.
My average daily run is about 7.4 miles, and running 10 only takes an extra 20 minutes of running. Easy!
This beanie has served me well for several years I've purchased at least 3 of them and having lost one I'm now down to 2. I'm totally bummed about losing one. But the 2 that I have now I have used for at least the last 3 years. And even though its been through dozens of washes and (dare I guess) hundreds of runs I cannot find any signs of wear. I have successfully utilized L.L. Bean's guarantee and can say that they are excellent in facilitating returns if anything goes wrong. Ever. (they even reimbursed me for the money I paid to ship the product back!)
The beanie is lightweight and can keep my head warm down to about 20 degrees fahrenheit. It's very light and not bulky at all. I love this beanie and can't imagine trying anything else.
In the winter there is much more gear involved than in the summer and more gear at night than during the day.
I wanted to do a post about everything I wore while running this morning. What started out as a 7 mile run turned in to being 9.5 miles and it was rainy and windy. From the top:
- LL Bean Polartec® Power Dry® Beanie
- Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp, Black
- Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Turbo 1W Tail Light
- Chums Classic Neoprene Eyewear Retainer
- Patagonia Men's Capilene® 4 Expedition Weight Zip Neck
- Patagonia Men's Capilene® 1 Silkweight T-Shirt
- Reflective Belt
- GI Wool Glove Liners
- SPIbelt Adult Water Resistant Belt, Black Zipper, Logo Band
- ExOfficio Men's GiveNGo Brief
- REI Powerflyte Tights (Discontinued, here's the next best thing)
- Balega Hidden Comfort Tab Running Sock
- ASICS Men's GT 1000 2 Running Shoe
First, the race itself: I had a brother who had run the race the previous year and the weather was pretty bad. By the end there was wet snow and it was cold. This year, the weather was much better. The race started on time and the course was great. It wasn't a boring straight flat line and it wasn't filled with any crazy hills. It was a good combination of the two. The course was easy to follow. While there was only one aid station on the course it was well stocked and placed. I wasn't bothered by the course being open to traffic either. It really was quite excellent.
The bib pickup was certainly one of the best that I've ever been too. I really don't like being forced to go to an 'expo' only to get a bag full of ads and a bunch of other stuff I don't want or need. The hometown feeling of this 10k was apparent when we went to the local high school to get our bibs. There was no fuss about the process. We found our numbers and went and picked up up our bag with shirts and numbers inside. We picked out a hat and we left. There was no crazy exposure to a bunch of booths of people selling stuff and the bag had one ad in it with a free sample. I would prefer zero, but one is way better than 50.
The shuttles to the start were excellent and I had no problem parking or finding the shuttles to the start. The starting area at the golf course was pretty good but it was mostly good because the weather had cooperated. If it had been any more incremental then we would have been cold and miserable once the free hot chocolate was gone. I was happy to see them using eco friendly cups and had trash cans intended for them. It's always nice to have a race that doesn't want to create too much waste.
The finish area was pretty good. The had chutes that forced the finishers to line up and hand over their bib tags so they could be recorded in order (there was no electronic timing). The nutrition available at the finish line was pretty standard. Chips, drinks, bananas, chocolate milk. My favorite part was the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in to quarters and in a big container open for every one to grab and take as they desired (For someone uptight this would probably be considered very, very unsanitary, but I didn't care).
Most everything about this race was just as I would have liked it. Maybe an additional aid station would have been nice and a few more porta potties at the start. Also there was no medals for finishers. I found this strange, but I don't need an extra medal lying around. But overall I loved the easy and hassle free bib pick up, relatively small crowd (about 400 runners), great course and well done finish line area. Who knows, I just may do it again next year...
This week was a surprisingly warm week for running. And a low mileage week, too. However, I’d still like to think that I got something out of this week’s running by doing some speed work. What is speed work? Well, for me it means that during a run you spend a portion of that run going faster than “normal.” On Thanksgiving I went out for an early morning run and was rather bored and still was 4 miles from home.
I decided to do some speed work just to break up the monotony. Along this particular stretch of road are many fire hydrants and my plan was that I would increase my speed from the first fire hydrant to the third fire hydrant then slow down between the third and fourth. Once I got to the fourth it would then become my imaginary first fire hydrant again and I would start the exercise over.
There are many variations to this kind of speed work that can be done. This past week I was counting steps. It was 100 steps fast and 35 steps slow – repeated a couple of times.
I know that if you read online there are all sorts of names for these kinds of exercises that sound much more scientific but I tend to think that the basic idea is to increase the time spent running at a faster pace.
I also ran a 10k this past week that I’ll share more info about at a later time. For several reasons it was one of the best races I’ve ever ran.
At one point I learned about interval training and had done it before with mixed results. I injured myself overdoing it and probably didn't run enough miles a week for it to really take any noticeable effect. I started doing some more interval training (this is the "How to Run Faster" part). It was fall and the weather in Kuwait, while normally very hot or extremely hot, wasn't too bad in the evenings. I incorporated one run a week to doing about 40 minutes of interval training. I would sprint, or run as fast as I could, for 60 seconds then walk for 60 seconds. By the time I had done this for a few weeks I could literally see the ground moving faster as I ran. It was a very noticeable difference.
I decided that I was going to do the subject run (Veterans Day Run for the Fallen). I was excited because I was actually getting a lot better at running and I found it very enjoyable.
Everyone gathered together before dawn at the starting location. It was surprisingly cold. Some gathered around the exhaust of a light trailer. Some of the participants were Special Forces from Australia. Some were contractors, some were Army. The majority, like me, were Air Force.
The race started and I was off. By the time the race was over I had finished ahead of some of the Special Forces guys and finished just behind the first place female. I felt great. I finished in 47:31. It was awesome.
Before most had finished the race, I was showered and eating breakfast (the most palatable meal provided) and very pleased with my accomplishment.
Coming up next weekend I'm doing a 10k race. I'm running it with my spouse which should be better than trying to run it really fast. I hope the weather holds up. Snow wouldn't be bad, but windy and rainy would make it not so fun pretty quick.
I also signed up for the Red Hot 55k race. Waiting until April for my next race was just too long. And this race should prove to be a good intermediary and help me prep for my first 50 mile race. The Red Hot 55k is ran just north and west of Moab Utah. The course should be unique to me. I have walked and hiked over lots of sandstone, I haven't run a race on sandstone.
This past Friday I took a run on Antelope Island State Park. It truly is a fun place to run and this time was no exception. I got out there quick and ran a fairly standard loop. I saw both antelope and buffalo while I was out there. And and saw few people which is another reason I like running around the island.
|Trail Running Antelope Island November 2014|
How did I run that much while still maintaining a Family and a full time job?
Run early and get used to it. That's how. At least, that's how my year started. I got up most mornings before anyone else and laced up and left with the intent of getting home about the same time that everyone else was just getting up.
Be prepared. Another thing is get ready for the next mornings' run the night before. I put my running junk in the bathroom where I can easily access it and change. This way I'm not fumbling around in the dark trying not to wake up my spouse and wasting precious time getting out of the door. Being prepared shortens the time from wake up to first step and this is important.
Have a plan. In 2013 I had a plan to run 2000k miles as well. Well, not so much of a plan as a goal. The problem revealed itself soon after finishing the St George Marathon in October. Since I hadn't kept strict tabs on my progress there were many more miles remaining once I did the math - and I did the math much later than I should have. I was hoping to have enough miles logged so that I could coast out the rest of the year on about 25-30 miles a week. It was much more. It was in the high 30s. This actually made me kind of depressed because I didn't want to run that much in the cold of the winter. However, I persevered and every week I exceeded the average I needed to make my goal and the average miles per week required eventually dropped and I kept running. So this year, I ran a lot and watch the miles go up and up. I kept a spreadsheet where I enter in my total miles for the year and it gives me how many miles are remaining and how many I need to run per week to make the goal and I checked it often to make sure I was on track.
Of course, to run this much conditioning has to be a part of it as well. I've been running about 7 miles 6 days a week and it can take a lot of training to get to that level without injury. I have spend years running only 3-4 times a week before taking the leap to running 6 times a week.
Keeping things in perspective is also important, too. 2000 is just a number and it's a rather arbitrary number as well. What's more important is the capabilities that the running gives your or enhances. Once abilities are increased benefits can be reaped in the form of better health, better performance on race day and being more able to handle the various situations that running can throw at you.
Specifically for me I'm looking forward to 2015 and expecting a great year of running. Finishing my first 50 mile race and going for a sub-3 hour marathon are two of my goals and reaching and exceeding my annual miles goal will help me be prepared to make these things happen.
So, my socks are like my shoes. Once I find something I like, it's game over and I limit myself to that one thing. At any rate, I have about 12 pairs of these socks and they have served me well through thick and thin.
The only reason I have found to switch to another sock is if it's below 20 degrees fahrenheit.
One thing that I've learned about running socks, like all runner's clothing, is that nothing should ever be cotton. Never. I ran in cotton socks for way too long. I'm very glad that I found these. Maybe someday I'll try a different brand, maybe not.
I've now done the math and the best data that I have available shows that I've ran 1989 miles in 2014. So far. My goal is 2000 miles. I should hit that next Tuesday. So, unless there's some horrible accident or unforeseen event (keeping my fingers crosses the apocalypse is here by then), I'll make my goal before Thanksgiving. And it's not impossible I'll get close to 2200 miles by year's end.
Two more things on my mind:
My wife tried a gel for the fist time this morning and she couldn't have been more repulsed by the taste of it. I thought that was pretty funny seeing as how I haven't really thought about the taste of energy gels at all. I just chug them and keep going. She might like a flavor other than the Gu Roctane cherry lime flavor that she tried this morning. I've heard of people's stomachs not being able to handle energy gels and people don't like them based on that fact. But I've never known anyone to straight up dislike a flavor so much that they couldn't even eat it.
The other thing on my mind is the fact that I don't have a race scheduled until next April and it's driving me nuts. I want a race sooner. It has to be at least a half. But I'd rather have it be a full or longer. There's a race in Moab on Valentine's day and I'm very tempted to give that one a shot. It's a popular race with good support and a good trail. The weather might be pretty cold, but I don't think it's anything that I cant handle. The 55k distance seems like a great opportunity to add to my training for my first 50 mile race in April. The fact that I have family that lives there just helps me with more reasons go to down.
My history with running shoes is rather boring. I found a pair of shoes I liked and now I don't buy any other shoe to run in. Okay, that's not entirely true, because they stopped making that line of shoes I constantly bought over and over. So I had to do some research to find out what was the next closest thing. It's also not true because this year I have finally really began trail running (with some regrets I haven't done more trail races before this point). And have one pair of trail running shoes which do, in fact, make a big difference running trails.
I found these shoes for an incredible deal on amazon that I couldn't pass up. And on top of the great deal I was surprised with an extra 5 bucks off when I checked out that I wasn't expecting so it was a mega deal for me. I don't know, but I don't think that this deal is available anymore. Part of the deal might have been connected to the color because this color sucks.
I ended up getting 3 pairs of these shoes and use them for road running which constitutes most my miles.
I have read before, but question whether or not a person needs to switch shoes daily to allow for the other pair(s) to recover from the run the previous day(s). I've read in one or more places that the gel or the stuff in the soles takes time to get back to where it was and that time is greater than 24 hours (I guess). At any rate, if you run with 1 pair or 2 pairs, or 3 pairs of shoes you'll probably still average the same number of miles per shoe before replacing.
These shoes are appropriate for me who runs with a neutral stride. They are very comfortable for roads and occasional gravel surfaces and have served me well from 18 degrees fahrenheit to 80 degrees fahrenheit. I have ran in last years version in over 100 degrees and I expect this model to do just as well.
Runners are spoiled for choice when it comes to running shoes. For years I have successfully avoided other shoes because this line of shoes has been so faithful. I feel that I'm a fast runner and haven't suffered from any injuries as a result of my shoes which is why I haven't felt the need to change to a different brand or model.
So unless I find a race that is before next April, it looks like I'm in for a long winter of cold early morning runs in the dark. I'm not really complaining. If I had a race planned I'd probably be complaining about the price and the bib pick up expos (both of which I do not like). But I do plan on getting out and running more trails this winter in preparation for a 50 mile race in April. There are plenty of places to get a good hill climb in as long as I'm willing to drive the necessary distance.
So this is my wrap up for where I am and where I'm going. It's not much. But it's something.
I got to the race and had some trouble finding a parking spot. The traffic was pretty bad but all part of being in Korea.
This would be the longest race I have ever run up to this point. I had no experience racing and didn't really know what to expect.
As the race started I knew I was going too fast but kept going. The late start time of the race resulted in running in hotter temperatures and this quickly began to suck the life out of me. I remember being thirsty and not having an aid station for a long time. This race was not going well after only 5 kilometers. Then my stomach started acting up. Having 2 bowls of frosted mini wheats the night before was not a good idea. I had to find a restroom. Where was I going to find a restroom out in the middle of nowhere in Korea among the rice patties? I was seriously considering going in a ditch when there was a gas station ahead with.. well, it was slightly better than a ditch, but it was not a western toilet.
Back on the road and in the heat I was feeling slightly better but I wasn't going as fast as I had hoped. Korea isn't consistently flat so there were some hills that were long and hot. Towards the finish there were even more hills that were shorter and steeper. I had to revert to a run for a few minutes, then walk for a few minutes, then run again kind of strategy. My finishing time was about 2hrs 18mins. I was happy with the accomplishment and lessons learned.
There's a lot of obstacles to overcome when running. One of them is overcoming being bored. I'd like to think that I've overcome this obstacle. But I'm not sure if there's a mental deficiency that enables me to not be hindered by boredom or if I have truly have learned to deal with it. I run at the same time and run the same 2-3 routes week in and week out. Because I run outside on the roads, I don't wear headphones so no music, no audiobooks and no podcasts.
Running when there's no race in the near future is the hardest for me. At these times running seems to have a less tangible benefit. Maintaining fitness level justifying eating habits usually motivates me to keep going through the off-seasons.
Above it all the biggest motivator for me is race day. Even if it is far out, I know that getting out and knocking out a few seemingly pointless miles will pay off in the form of a deserved time and sense of accomplishment on race day and for many days after.
- ► 2016 (15)
- Antelope Island Trail Running Video
- Product Review: ASICS Men's PR Tights
- 2012 Seoul International Marathon (My first full m...
- Review: Chums Classic Neoprene Eyewear Retainer
- Frary Peak (Antelope Island State Park, Utah) Trai...
- Hot Wash
- The 2011 Pyeongtaek Half Marathon (South Korea)
- Ten Mile Tuesday
- L.L. Bean Polartec® Power Dry® Beanie
- Running Gear Rundown (Everything I wore on 13 Dece...
- Moab Winter Sun 10k
- Hot Wash
- How to Run Faster
- Headsweats Race Performance Running/Outdoor Sports...
- ▼ December (14)