Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back in the saddle again!

Today I reintroduced myself to running after a week off and loved every mile. I loved it so much that I ran a double. I got out for my usual 5+ mile run at lunch, keeping at an 8:00 pace. It was hot and humid, but I ran with my buddy Mike and shared my thoughts on the future of trail running in Maine and forgot all about weather.

I then headed over to Twin Brook after work to meet up with the crew out there and I was fortunate enough to get introduced to some new runners. This is always a pleasure. We did almost 5.5 miles at an 8:20 pace which was plenty given the undulations out there. The conversation turned to Dean Karnazes and whether he was worthy of his Espy award. Jamie threw out some valid points as to why others might have deserved it, but I must say, Dean has two kids and a wife he is supporting and every stunt he pulls off, while not as pure as running the Spartathalon or winning Hardrock, benefits someone else that needs helps. God bless. Also, how many people has Scott Jurek, who I think is a rock star, inspired to run their first marathon? Go get 'em Dean!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back at it...almost

Well, I have taken my longest break from running since probably last Christmas. I ran last Wednesday and since I have taken every free minute outside of work to hang out with my family. Given all the weekend mornings I was gone over the last six months while training, it was nice to wake up with my kids jumping in my bed, lazily roll downstairs for breakfast, and then head over to the beach for a day playing in the sand. Sunday I did have a nice workout in the form of towing my kids behind my bike for a couple hours. It is quite the challenge pulling 50 lbs. behind you - you get to use gears you typically never would think of going.

Tomorrow my plan is to get back on my routine. Hopefully I will be doing this at Twin Brook with the Trail Monster crew. I am looking forward to getting my feet moving again. Barely a week after finishing Vermont the ideas of which 100 is next are flying. Jamie was first in the ring with Umstead and I would love to join him but there are so many others I want to consider first. Ideally I would get lucky and chosen in the Western States 100 lottery and my wife would support me in this endeavor. I am thinking the lottery might be the easy part in this equation. Stay posted.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First run post-VT 100

Sorry for no report yesterday but there was nothing big to share. Having said that, I did come in to work yesterday to about a million emails from coworkers congratulating me on my race. Apparently my VP sent out a broadcast email to the company about my results. It is great to work for such a supportive company...it would be even cooler if they would pay me to run. Maybe I can convince them to bring trail races to Maine and sponsor an L.L.Bean trail series. I'll have to confer with my peeps Ian, James, and Jamie on that one.

I did get out for my first run today. I ran a few miles with a buddy at work and with the exception of a little quad soreness, I felt really good. I also feel lucky that I have not yet suffered from the stomach virus many of the VT 100 participants are complaining about, including Jamie. That would be no good.

Also, I have a confession to make. Last night while reading through "Ultrarunning" magazine, I found myself in the race listings looking for a hundred miler to run in the fall...

I am also still working on my race report and plan on having something in the next few days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Feeling Great!

Woke up this morning feeling stiff but after a couple hours of blood flow I was able to bound up and down the stairs in my usual way. I must say I am amazed at how quickly I seem to have recovered. I truly feel like I could hit the pavement for some runs tomorrow. Definitely Pineland this weekend. Maybe a nice one with Kelly.

Already my ultra buddies, James and Jamie, along with myself, are contemplating the next 100. On the table for me is almost definitely the Vermont 50 and Stonecat 50. Probably not another 100 this year as I have to now turn to supporting my wife in her running endeavors. Is a marathon in her fall future...we'll see.

Now I am off to figure out what tattoo to get to commemorate my induction into the 100 mile club...a tradition I started post-cancer to document on my person each thing I do that I never thought I could do pre-cancer. So in addition to my Ironman tattoo I need a running tat. Also planned is something to celebrate my children...maybe their names entwined in a tree of life.

'Til tomorrow.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vermont 100 Finisher

The Vermont 100 Endurance Run has ended and I have returned home to Maine to consider myself privileged to have run 100 miles in the beautiful Vermont countryside. I did it. 100 miles, on foot, in 20 hours, 27 minutes! My "A" goal for the race was a sub-20 hour finish, but I am ecstatic with the additional 27 minutes. Check out the Vermont 100 website for official results(www.vermont100.com). I got to enjoy on the trail with my friends. My buddies James (with whom I shared the first 40 miles) and Jamie both achieved their goals and went home a with a belt buckle to match mine.

The trails, countryside, and people of Vermont are absolutely terrific. The Ultrarunning community, of which I now consider myself a bonafide member, proved themselves to be the best of all running fanatics. I met so many new people on the trail, all of whom I consider a buddy within minutes of meeting them. Some I spent hours with and we carried on excellent conversations to pass the time. I can honestly say, every mile of this hundred was an absolute pleasure.

The race itself went fantastic for me. Other than a little stomach nauseousness between miles 70 and 85 (thanks for the Tums, Georgia guy) and severely swollen ankles and knees the day after, I am in fantastic shape. No blisters, and I am happy to report to my coworkers, no toenails were lost in this race! I will post a more complete race report on the Maine Multisports website soon (www.memultisports.com).

Lastly, I have to give a shout out to my crew: my wife, Kelly, and friends Renie Allen and Brian Manson. These guys drove over 120 miles to meet me alongside the course for the entire 20+ hours. This was the first time for all of us at a hundred miler and I would love to think they would come back to crew for me at the next 100! Especially great was the last 4.5 mile I got to spend with Kelly as she paced me to the finish line. This was, unfortunately for her, when I got my fourth and best second wind and held my best pace of the day, in the dark over single track trail that had been essentially roto-tilled by the horses that had preceded us (and we did pass 2 horses at mile 98). It is an awesome experience racing alongside horses for 100 miles - if you haven't done it yet (who has), sign up for next year's VT 100. It is the last 100 to share a course with these outstanding athlete-animals.

That's it for now. I am off to ice my knees and ankles in hopes of getting back on the road with my running buddies in a couple days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Circus Freak

Well today I realized how odd this "running 100 miles" thing is. The great people I work with decided to throw me a party to wish me well. It's not like I am moving on after 25 years with the company nor am I having a child. I am simply running another race. But my friends at work made me realize how special of a race distance this is and how absurdly insane I must be to try and run it. The party was a good old fashioned question and answer with the most entertainment coming from the almost inevitable loss of toenails a runner suffers during an ultramarathon. To all my coworkers, I promised a follow-up to that question.

Weather is looking fantastic for Saturday. I hope for good weather not only for myself and the other runners but for my family and the other friends and family that come out to cheer on the runners. We are almost packed and ready for a roughly 9 AM kickoff in the morning (and with a two toddler handicap, that really means 10 AM).

Next post will hopefully start something like this..."I was never happier to see a finish line than I was at 11:59 PM Saturday night as I crossed the finish line in just under 20 hours..."

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Three days and counting

Instead of running today I spent the time developing my detailed race plan, including what my handlers, Brian, Renie, and my wife Kelly, will prepare for me at each handler station. I have decided to alternate between using my hydration pack (Nathan pack, weighing in at 6 oz. - great pack) and handheld bottles. I suspect using either for too long will become annoying so switching it up seems like a good plan. I am also going to try and avoid using the hydration pack during the heat of the day when the handler stations are closer together to keep things as cool as possible. Seems like the right thing to do right now...

While I developed this detailed plan I knew in the back of my mind this could all go out the window at any point in the race if I run into digestive issues or any of a million different things go wrong. There are lots of things that could go wrong in 100 miles. Keeping these issues down to a minimum and under control when they do happen is what separates a great ultra run from just a bad time. This is indeed a very thin line separating the two. The plan that I used in training, and which worked at the JFK 50-miler last year, was to eat anything and everything so as to get my body used to variety and to rule out those things that didn't work. I know from experience that I can not stick to simply gels, energy bars, and sport drinks. I need variety and it is this variety that keeps me moving to the next aid station.

I am just happy I have my buddy Brian along who has vowed, in his own words, to protect me from the ice cream eating hippies that apparently inhabit the Vermont countryside. This may be hard at mile 90 when I suspect I may be so far gone that I will end up carrying on a conversation with Cherry Garcia...

Status update. My legs felt a little sluggish today but I believe that is nerves, which happens before every race. It is funny how often I find my legs feeling like I have cinderblocks for feet when running my warm up before 5Ks and 10Ks. I have been hydrating and eating well. The weather still looks good in Vermont but a little wetter than may be wanted. At least it will be cooler than it could be in July. Little to no wind is expected. So again, I feel compelled to report that I have absolutely no alibis for the race...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I felt compelled to write one more post tonight. This one regarding a recent announcement by Nike to revamp the Lance Armstrong 10//2 and LiveStrong line of apparel and to now donate 100% of profits to the LAF. I am a huge fan of Lance Armstrong and especially his foundation. As a cancer survivor myself, this organization holds a special place in my heart. Not only have I worn a LiveStrong band since they were introduced, I have it tattooed on my calf.

For those who know me well, it might surprise them that I, who harbors much distrust of corporations and their motivations (bottom line profit and pleasing shareholders), would come out so loudly applauding a behemoth like Nike. But this is truly a relationship that will benefit many and this is something Nike did not have to do. So thank you Nike. Sign me up. Time for us all to drink the corporate cool aid on this one and buy some new clothes.

Feeling good tapering.

Well, taper continues. I awoke this morning to the typical ghost pains that plagues runners during taper. Having gone through tons of tapers for past races I knew the "stress fracture" in my foot was nothing more than an overactive imagination.

So the foot is okay and I went for a nice 5-mile trail run out at Twin Brook park in Cumberland. I joined a great group of Trail Monster runners including my peeps James and Jamie who will be running the Vermont 100. A great time was had by all as we moved along at a nice 8 min/mile pace (in any typical training cycle this would be a pedestrian pace for me but having trained so many miles at my 100 mile pace this was a good clip). At any rate, a great run for taper.

My legs feel fantastic and I can say I have no alibi for a poor Vermont 100. I am healthy and happy and anxious for the starter's gun to fire. I am still fomulating race plans in my head but I suspect I won't know what I am doing for sure until I am sitting at my campsite at Silver Hill Meadow Friday night.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Nice short stroll around Freeport...and weather

The countdown has begun. Five days to go time. I took a short stroll around my weekday training grounds of South Freeport with my L.L.Bean crew. We added a new member today which is always a great thing. New conversation, new perspectives. Good stuff.

The run today was an easy five done at a very conversational pace. Taking nice easy runs like this are the reason I am happy to be a runner. It was a beautiful, warm day (a little humid) and I got to spend roughly 40 minutes chatting it up with my buddies. Not a bad lunch break. Beats sitting at my desk playing with numbers. And tomorrow night I am off to Twin Brooks to run with the Trail Monsters. Can't wait.

My thoughts are constantly roaming to Vermont. I get butterflies thinking of miles 51-100. I have no idea what to expect and this is what makes this distance so awesome. And soon we'll know. Extended weather forecast for the weekend looks spectacular. Saturday highs in the mid-70s with scattered light showers. Perfect.

I am still playing my race plan a little loosey goosey. I definitely need to get something down on paper but I keep procrastinating. Once that is done I will feel much better.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Introduction...getting ready for 100.

Howdy. This is my first shot at "blogging" and I want to give a shout out to my man Jamie for giving me the inspiration to do so. Hopefully my blog can provide as much cool information as his does. Personally, my goal for this blog is to share my running experiences, both training and racing, and to use this as a spot to develop ideas for much larger and ambitious writing plans.

I love running. It has saved my life, and each training run and race changes who I am and alters every fiber of my being. I get stronger with every run (well, most of the time) and feel a little more blessed at the completion of each training day.

I intend to post here as often as my two kids and wife allow me. As I write this I am less than one week from my first 100 Mile endurance run attempt: The Vermont 100. To say that I am a little afraid is an understatement. I am terrified to say the least, particularly of the many miles I have never covered between my longest run and the race distance. But it is this unknown that I believe propels me headfirst into this meeting with the Vermont landscape.