Friday, October 14, 2011

Random Friday Ramblings...

On training:
Since my 50 miler I'd done only two runs for a grand total of 12.5mi.  I decided on Sunday that I felt pretty good, and with Columbus Day Monday upon us, I figured I'd head out for a 26.2 effort bright and early.  Things turned out a wee bit different since my girls wanted to go to the museum to see Sue the T-Rex, for I think the fourth time now.  Daddy definitely should not go for a run they told me.  So, the museum it was!  That changed my plans to doing a 20 miler in the afternoon, which I was totally fine with.  It's still a good long run.

The first 2 miles were pretty awful.  My calves were really tight and the legs in general were just...  blah.  A couple of stops to adjust the laces on the Trail Gloves and a few walks while I muttered insults to myself seemed to do the trick though.  By mile three I was feeling good.  I could maintain an 8:30 pace - which actually feels like real running to me - with pretty easy effort.  The day was a beauty with bright sun and mostly cloudless sky so I'd stop to take some pics every once in a while, which I normally don't do.

A view of downtown Denver in the distance

The southern edge of Highlands Ranch back-dropped by Mt. Evans

I came across one big buck whom I had to scare off the trail with some loud clapping (no pic, bummer).  I also crossed paths with a baby, 12" or so, prairie rattler, and some other small snake I couldn't ID.

Baby Prairie Rattle Snake - ~12"

At mile 12 the top of my right foot started to bother me with a hot spot just behind my big toe so i stopped and taped it, and a couple of other toes, up.  About a mile later things went south on me (as they seem to always do).  My legs pretty much just gave out. My pace slowed waaaay down, and I pretty much walk/jogged the rest of the way home for a total of 18.5mi.  I still managed an 11:36 pace, which for me isn't too bad for that distance, even with all that walking/jogging.  I'm pretty sure the legs were just telling me - "Dude, you ran 50mi only two weeks ago.  Chill out would ya?  You're still just a rookie ya know."  So, as anxious as I am to hit some long runs, I think I should stick to shorter runs more often, at least for now.

On interesting reads:
I came across an interesting article on titled: Could Usain Bolt Run from Paris to Beijing? And More on Short Strides.  It's all about running economy and how it isn't real critical to ultra runners.  It's all of a three minute read and worth the time!

On faulty equipment:
I'm super disappointed in the lifespan of my Merrell Trail Gloves.

Merrell Trail Gloves (middle) after 200 miles

I started using Shoe Goo on them after 200mi to try to extend the life of the soles and am now at about 300mi on them and they are deteriorating rapidly on me.

300 miles - 3 months old
I was happy to get to use them in the Bear Chase at least though.  My buddy Chris' son is having the same issues with his.  The estimates on those are 400mi but are the same 3 months in age as mine.  They are in much worse condition and are worn completely through on one shoe.

400 miles - 3 months old

I've contacted Merrell via e-mail and asked what they could do to remedy the issue.  They said:

"We would recommend that you try to handle your return through the retail store where your product was purchased.  If your original retailer is unable to assist, you may return your product directly to us."

"Once received, our Quality Assurance Team will evaluate the product and determine if the problem is a result of a manufacturing defect or the result of normal wear. Defective products will be replaced (we do not perform any kind of repairs). If products are not deemed defective, they will be returned to you as soon as possible."

In other words - no dice.  I bought them at Sports Authority only because I had a Friends and Family coupon.  I won't hold my breath on them taking them back.  Big mistake not sticking with REI like I usually do.

I really like the shoes, but the quality of the soles (Vibram) are sub-par.  There is no way anyone should expect to get only 200mi worth of distance in any pair of shoes!  Sorry Merrell, but unless you have a change of heart, I'm boycotting you - even if the soles aren't yours.

Anyone else out there having an issue with their Trail Gloves?

On stomach problems:
So, two days before the Bear Chase I stopped taking my Vitamin D supplements, just on a long shot.  No stomach issues race day, and really no issues since.  I had been at the point where drinking a glass of water would sometimes make me double over in pain.  My endocrinologist told me to take at least 2000 units of Vitamin D daily since I'm Vitamin D deficient.  My body just does not create enough of it naturally according to him.  That has lead to osteopenia in my right hip, which he's hoping will reverse with the supplementation.  Well, seeing I like to overdo things, I started taking 5000 units daily.  I'm not sure how long I had been taking it before my stomach issues started, but I'd been suffering with it for about two months before stopping the pills.  I've even tried to re-introduce the supplements, and with even just one dose now, my stomach bothers me.  Guess I need to talk to the doc again...

Congrats and Good Luck:
Huge congrats to my buddy Chris - the Agile Fox - on 3rd place overall and 1st Masters in the inaugural Slickrock 100 in Moab, UT last weekend!

And good luck to my pal David in the Detroit Marathon Relay on Sunday!  You must be all out of bubble gum!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reflecting on the Bear Chase...

Well, it's been well over a week since the Bear Chase and I can walk without pain again.  I'll probably lose my pinky toenail on my right foot still, since it's black, but it doesn't hurt at least.  My blisters are pretty much healed up too which were never really a bother for me anyways.

Monday and Tuesday after the race I could hardly walk.  Getting out of bed was challenging (sooo tired and sooo sore) and stairs were almost impossible.  Not surprising I guess since I've never pushed myself physically (and maybe mentally) that hard before - ever.  Going down stairs backwards is a little trick my wife taught me, and works.  Much easier.  One strange thing that was going on was a severe pain in my left ankle.  It wasn't there race day at all, but it sure was there on Monday.  It's a sharp stabbing pain on the outside of my foot just below and slightly forward from my ankle bone.  Never had that before.

Wednesday was a little better aches and pains wise and Thursday better still.  By Friday I was ready to try a recovery run, though my ankle still was bothering me.  Well, I went out with Chris who was going to do an EZ 7mi lunch run and figured I'd tag along for 4mi and call it good.  As Gump says; 'Stupid is as stupid does' and I did the whole 7mi with him.  Seemed OK at the time, and my muscles definitely felt better for it - but not the ankle.  It was even worse now.  So, I figured I would just take more time off until there was no more pain.

Good news...  Monday, no pain!  So, I managed a 5.5mi EZ run on Monday and had no issues.  The legs felt decent and tested them out on one short hard effort and really, overall, had no issues.  Back in business!

Looking back at the race and trying to figure out what I could have done better, I really can't think of a whole lot. I feel that I was very lucky and had very few problems.  No sunburns; minimal chaffing; no real feet issues; fueling, salt, and food was good; Drop bag worked well.  Maybe I could have done better on the hydration portion.  Conserving once and once running out was a bad thing, but I don't think my performance was hindered much by it.  I think if anything, I definitely could have trained more.  My biggest week leading up to this had been a mere 51mi.  I did have intentions of getting a few 60mi weeks in and as much as 70mi, but it just never worked out for various reasons.  I'm amazed at the people that can put in those kinds of big mileage weeks, week after week after week.  Very dedicated indeed.  I do suppose that everyone is at different stages in their lives, have different jobs and careers, etc., but still - It's a huge time commitment, especially when you get your miles as slowly as I do.

What's next for me?  Well, I've got the bug now for sure.  I'm enjoying some rest and recuperation time, I'm sure to the delight of my wife.  I've gone 50 miles and achieved my 'Ultra' goal, but onward and upward!  So now I'm thinking about either a more difficult 50mi race, a 100km race, or even a 100 miler.  I'm giving the Moab 100 Mile Endurance Race, that takes place at the end of March, some consideration (11,000' of climbing), but Diana is not too keen on that idea.  There is also the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 50 Mile in May that is a possibility and would be much more difficult than the Bear Chase with about 9400' of elevation change.  For now though, I'm gonna ease back into it, though I am thinking of a 26.2 mile effort this holiday (Columbus Day) Monday.  March and May are pretty far away and I'd like to do something sooner, but I do need to ramp up my miles and get some speed work in there too.  I would like to get a little faster.

Another interesting thing which I'll end off with - is how hungry I was for about a week after the race.  My body was craving all kinds of things and I would devour whatever it wanted.  The body knows best I figure.  Diana baked some peach raspberry pie and blueberry pie - which didn't stand a chance.  A tub of chocolate ice cream (which I don't even really like) was a goner.  And, broccoli with hummus. I can't seem to get enough broccoli...