Saturday, March 23, 2013

We Run 5K Spring 2013

Jay and I decided to run this race as his first 5K. I wont say he trained alot for it but he was ready. I really don't have alot to say about the race other than it was very well run by our friends at WeRun. Jay put out a maximum effort and PR his 5K distance time. He ran and walked to a time of 36:39. Next time he will get below 35:00. He has the potential.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Kaihogyo

100 days ago I accepted a challenge. The challenge was a modified version of the Kaihogyo that some buddhist monks in Japan attempt. Only 13 monks have accomplished the Kaihogyo since WWII. The Kaihogyo these monks attempt involves 100 days times 7 years of consecutive ultramarathons. They must run 30 km per day for 100 days. After the first year the monks must complete the Kaihogyo in its totality or they must kill themselves.

The Kaihogyo I engaged in wasn't anywhere near as dramatic. A group of ultrarunners spearheaded by @endurancejer decided to try our own version of the Kaihogyo. We would run no less than 5 miles per day for 100 consecutive days.

Below are excerpts from my training log and some photos taken during the challenge

My legs were really feeling the 11 hours of wrestling officiating I did this weekend. Especially on the hills. It was all good though. I ran the first 30 mile plus week since my last ultra. Ramping it back up

Kaihogyo day 5- after two days on pavement I was back on the trails. Normally after only 2 hours sleep I would have called this a rest day. But not today

Kaihogyo day 10- did a lot of thinking on today's non jog. Got some life decisions looming. On a good note 10th Group 10K and Ranger School 5 mile standards surpassed again today. The raisin still has it.

Kaihogyo day 15- icy icy group run. Plus a few warmup miles

Kaihogyo Day 20- Left with a headache and returned feeling good. Tried out my new Garmin 310XT. Mileage is shorter than on my phone but I like it

Kaihogyo day 25- 1/4 of the way through the challenge..and the beat goes on

Kaihogyo day 30- 20 degrees warmer today no wind..mahvelous simply mahvelous

Kaihogyo day 35- sidewind,tailwind,headwind,sidewind, was windy

Kaihogyo day 40- lots of activity along McLoud Run trout stream

Kaihogyo day 45-nice tour of doucheville on the indoor track. God I hate the gym..I know some tough guys and all you sleeveless fucktards are not them. Also INSIDE LANE FOR RUNNERS!!!!

Kaihogyo day 50- Icy conditions made us take our group run to the indoor track. And the group was really just myself, Brian T and Ross S. Wasn't too boring doing 73 laps, we talked about ultras a lot

Kaihogyo day 55- crappy crappy day... But all better now. I saw 4 bald eagles and left Mr Negativity out in the snow

Kaihogyo day 60- Ford Fairlane..migratory waterfowl..eagles

Kaihogyo day 65- Midwest weather + wet running pants +long que for the wife's washing machine= the irony of a guy in a #trailrunnernation shirt on the treadmill

Kaihogyo day 70- warm up, Trek the Trails 4 mile trail run and the cool down. Ross S, Brian T, Peter K, Ross K, Kelly T all there. Ross S overall winner. Ross K, Peter K, Kelly T and myself all won age groups. Speedy group

Kaihogyo day 75- 3/4 done..not sure how I feel about that. Did a little recon of the Ellis Park Golf Course. Urban trail running #ultrachat

Kaihogyo day 80- tour of Lisbon/Mt Vernon..not sure if tired or just tired

Kaihogyo day 85- legs were a little dead after yesterdays snowy 50K but got in the minimum #ultrachat

Kaihogyo day 90 again - yeah I miscounted again. The math is not my strong suit. Also I am going to have to bring a compass on my runs with Peter K from now on.

Kaihogyo day 95- bright idea.. Lets do a trail run today. 5 feet into woods slip on ice hit my back so hard I thought I broke a rib. Commence 5 minutes of coughing and nausea. I looked like a spastic monkey. I finished on the road

Kaihogyo day 100- The Kaihogyo has ended as it started. My favorite loop on my favorite local trails. The challenge- Run 100 consecutive days, at least 5 miles a day. The result- 100 days, 735 miles, 7.35 mile per day average. Effortless

So what did I learn during my challenge..this Kaihogyo?. I learned that the Kaihogyo is not the hardest thing I have ever done physically or mentally..not even close. Rather I learned the Kaihogyo is like an ultramarathon. A 100 day-multistage race ultra. Like any ultramarathon I had my ups and downs. During parts of the race I was feeling euphoric, during other parts I bonked. I ran a lot of the race with friends but most of it I was alone. But like every ultra eventually the end was nigh and I finished. And I finished better for it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Turned Out To Be The Best Decision I Ever Made

Allow me to get serious and a bit confessional. If I was in a 12 step program I think this is step 12. Were I witness to others. Tomorrow March 8 marks my 12th year of sobriety. Not one drop of alcohol has crossed my lips except for communion wine in those 12 years. For a guy with my love of beer that is a fairly significant achievement. As I tell others "I didn't quit drinking because I didn't like it, I quit because I was too good at it."

The impetus for this 12 years of sobriety was the worse hangover imaginable, I experienced this head splitting malady after going to a birthday party at a German NCO club in Bavaria and imbibing in beer and jaeger shots until who knows when because I don't remember. I woke up on my bunk in a sleeping bag covered in puke. I felt like a shit sandwich for the next 4 days barely able to move off the coach. I decided I better take a sabbatical from drinking for one day. Each day since then I have decided that the chance of another hangover isn't worth it. As time has gone on it has become easier but trust me sometimes I walk down the beer aisle of the grocery store and just window shop. Sometimes I think..well maybe just one or maybe a non alcoholic beer. But then I think whats the point?

I started drinking when I was 14 years old. I was at wrestling camp and an older kid I was rooming with had his brother's ID. We went to a local bar and he got a six pack of Michelob. I drank 3 in the alley behind the bar and got blind staggering drunk for the first but not last time in my life. I don't remember much after the alley except for playing pool in the student lounge. I do remember people laughing at me the next day saying I had been messed up. I used to steal Black Velvet whiskey out of my Dad's liquor closet and put it in a Hardee's cup and sip it in math class at school. I started drinking in bars 2 years before I was legal because I knew the bartenders.

Once I joined the military it was all hands on deck. Drinking was part of the culture. We used to buy kegs of beer on a Friday and have parties in the barracks that were epic. Shooting starclusters signaling flares down the hallways and using grenade simulators as firecrackers. One time I bet a guy he wouldn't eat my pet fish alive..I lost. Once I got to Special Forces..well what goes on deployment stays on deployment. Lets just say we knew how to decompress after a mission.

When I was stationed at the Special Warfare Training Center as a Military Freefall instructor it was drink and jump..then repeat. We would make 6 freefall jumps a day and then drink at the NCO club until we shut it down. We would wake up the next morning and jump some more, sucking on the oxygen bottles on the aircraft to sober up on the way to altitude.

I was a highly functioning alcoholic, I was never late for work. I did physical training everyday that was not only tough but competitive. I risked my life in training and on missions multiple times. I did my job but often with a beer in my hand. I was never much of a liquor drinker but I would drink almost a case of beer a day.

And then I quit, no 12 step program, No meetings, I just quit. Something clicked in my head and made me decide that it wasn't worth it. I now admit I had a problem but it is hard to see from the inside until you are on the outside. I definitely do not judge others, I think that would be hypocritical. I drank like a fish for over 25 years but I can tell you what to do now because I quit? No that isn't me. I tell myself I am on sabbatical, that someday I might have a beer, but it wasn't today. Each day I make the best decision I ever made.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hawkeye 50K 2013:50K Are Ultras Too

So this was the third running of the Hawkeye 50K. This race is on my list of favorite races because it was my first ever ultra marathon, it is really close to my house, and I personally know the race director Tim Smith. I have ran all three iterations and the weather has been different for every running. This year it decided to be 7-20 degrees and snowy as opposed to last year when it was up in the 80 degree range.

I woke up the morning of the race and made my way to the start in the Coralville lake area about 20 miles south of where I live. As in past years the 50K course was two 15.5 mile loops of road/trail around the lake. The 25K race was one loop of the same course. I arrived and made my way to the small lodge where the runners where congregating. I chit chatted with a group of friends most of whom were doing the 25K but one friend Lacey was going to attempt her first 50K. We talked about race strategy a bit and I mentioned that a sub 6 hour time was my goal. Our friend Ross told her that if she could see my red Team Red White and Blue shirt she would be in good shape.

So at the appointed time we all lined up behind the large snowbank about 20 feet in front of the starting line.

With a Ready, Set, Go we were off, in a display of jubilation I hurdled the snowbank rather than go around it. Eventually though we all funneled into the single track trail for the first mile or so we would be running in the woods. I was getting my running legs together and just easily followed the pack through the woods until we were dumped out on the service road that led us to the highway we would run along for about 4 miles. As in past years this first third of the course was fastest as everyone had fresh legs and subconsciously I think the 25K runners pushed the 50K runners somewhat. I tried to keep it easy as I listened to Planet Money on my iphone. About the 4 mile mark of the race we turned left into the town of Solon and hit the first aid station. I was feeling so good at this point I just grabbed a handful of M and M's and kept running.

As I turned back into recreation area on the gravel pack that ran along side the reservoir Lacey came from behind me. We decided to run together for awhile and we chatted and ran the next 9 miles until we hit the dreaded spillway crossing. I think it was in this section where unbeknownst to me my race started to fall apart a little bit. I was having so much fun talking and running that I forgot to stay up on my hydration and nutrition plan.

Once crossing the spillway, which despite my fears, I managed to do without getting my feet wet this year. We started the hardest part of the course. I had lost contact with Lacey during the spillway crossing so I just headed up the hill. The next 5-6 miles of the course were snowy,steep, muddy, and an all around ball buster. It was almost impossible to run uphill as the cross country skiers had chopped the snow up on the trails making it slippery and mushy. I found that if I powerwalked or took really short choppy steps I was able to get up the hills fairly efficiently. This section took a lot out of me and although I finished the first lap in 2:41, I was starting to feel nauseous.

At the halfway point I refilled my and bottles and took off a layer of clothes as it was starting to get a little warmer. I briefly talked to my friend Ross who had won the 25K in a time of 1:40 and was going to pace Lacey on the second lap. I mentioned that I thought they might catch me and I was going to get started on the next lap. Miles 15-20 reminded me that 50K are ultramarathons too. I had come into the race with somewhat of a complacent attitude. I mean I have complete 50 miles races, I ran 90 miles during my attempt at the 100 mile distance. I had just finished a 50K feeling pretty good on not much training 4 weeks prior, what was there to worry about? The problem was I let myself get behind on nutrition , a cardinal sin of ultrarunning. Ross and Lacey caught me at the first aid station as I was coming out of the woods after I had attempted to vomit. I must not have looked very well because when I told them I was going to run my own race they didn't even argue with me. Soon they were out of sight. For the next few miles I tried to get the nutrition issue under control, I pounded the fluids and continued to eat as many gels and Honey Stinger waffles as I could stomach. It started working and I started feeling better. Now that the temperature had risen somewhat the part of course that was frozen on the first lap was a sloppy mess on the second. But wonder of wonders I started passing people. By the time I got to the second aid station I was feeling pretty good. Another friend of ours Brian was the aid station captain and I asked him how far ahead Ross and Lacey were, he told me 3 minutes. I grabbed a few PBJ and headed out. My thoughts kept going back to the 2010 Western States race when Geoff Roes had been 15 minutes back from the lead and feeling bad, but he had regrouped and eventually won the race. This motivated me and when I got to the spillway it was in my mind to catch them. I felt much better going through the rough section on the second lap. I was on autopilot with one goal. I actually saw Ross, Lacey and a few other of our friends at one of the switchbacks. I yelled to them that I was going catch them. It was not to be however, as Lacey ran a great first 50K finishing in 5:33 and coming in 2nd female. I finished in 5:50:16. I felt pretty good about this race overall however. I learned that you can't underestimate any race. I learned you can bring yourself back from the darkness. Although it wasn't my fastest ever 50K time it was my fastest on that course. I beat my time from the year prior by 20 minutes in much much worse conditions. I call that progress.