29 November 2014

This week, I passed my goal for 2000 miles in 2014. I haven't been plagued with any serious injuries this year and haven't been sick enough times to make an impact in reaching my goal.

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

Keep running!


How to Run 2000 Miles In A Year

On the 25th of Noveber I passed my 2000th mile ran in 2014. Wow. So many miles. So many boring miles.

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.


Balega Hidden Comfort Socks

There was a reddit post in the /r/running subredit a few years back. I don't even remember the specific topic but it was about running stuff. It could have been sock specific, I don't remember. I just remember that the Balega Hidden Comfort socks were the top post. I bought a pair and now 99% of the time, this is the sock I'm wearing.

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.


Goal Achievement, Energy Gels and Racing

So this week of running wasn't very eventful. The only thing I did that was more fun than usual was a run on the bonneville shoreline trail. The trailhead parking lot is quite a bit lower than the actually shoreline trail so the run up to it is steep and it's hard to get up it very quick. I managed to get up there but it was something in the range of 25 minutes before I finished my 2nd mile. That's some of the slowest running I've done in a while. But I managed to make up some time on the shoreline trail. While the trail isn't flat the ups and downs equal out more or less so there's equal parts climbing and descending. On the parts of the trail that are on the north slope of the mountain there is ice and snow that hasn't melted. I had to be careful on these parts because slipping isn't fun.

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.


Winter Running

It was cold this week. Much colder than I thought it would be at this time of year. There are pros and cons to running outside in the cold. My main complaint about running in the cold is all the stuff I have to wear to stay warm. Putting on tights and jackets takes extra time before I can get out the door.

I used to be hesitant to run outside in the cold. In fact, my first winter back in Utah I pretty much didn't run outside. I commuted to a gym and ran on a treadmill for most of the miles put in. The next winter I decided that I was going to confront my fear and actually run outside. I got some tights and put on a fleece pullover and before I knew it I was able to run outside in 20 degree weather without any problems. However, this first winter outside I limited myself to just running on a main road with plenty of lights. I didn't deviate much from the same path to get in the miles. 

The next winter I overcame even more of my fears and ran on the backcountry roads that are very dark. It turns out I love it. I liked running where it's incredibly quite and the only thing out there is me leaving tracks on a half inch of freshly fallen snow. 

I think that running has been a constant cycle of getting out of my comfort zone and adapting. People assume that I have always been fast but rarely do they know the time and effort I have put in to getting where I am and that there was a clear point in time where I couldn't run a mile without a near death experience to go along with it. I hope that I won't or don't assume others to be good because of some easier path they took to get there. 


Ascis GT-1000 2 Shoe Review

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.


Hot Wash

Wrapped up this week with 46 miles. To some this might seem like a lot. To others, this is not much. For me, it's about average right now. I only have one race coming up and, again, to some it would be considered a race, to others, it's not much. To me a a 10k isn't much. 10k is more often than not a shorter distance than I run on a daily basis and since I'm running the race with a slower partner I don't expect, and shouldn't, to break any personal records.

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.


Running In Korea

One of the first events I ever did was a half marathon while I was stationed in Korea. When the base made these events available they were always free and included transportation. I remember trying to get some of my coworkers to run the race with me to no avail. I looked at the event and information like starting times and locations. I decided that rather than taking the bus that the base offered I was going to drive myself. That way I could arrive later and leave sooner rather than meeting up earlier and staying later as part of the larger group.

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.



I ran today, just like I do every other day. There was nothing special about today's run. I got up, checked the weather to see what I should wear, put on the gear and left.

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.