Monday, October 1, 2012

Hinson Lake

I did not achieve my main goal at Hinson Lake, which is to run/walk/crawl for 24 hours.  I quit just shy of 21 hours.  My pain tolerance is apparently lower than most people out there who persisted to the very end.

However, there are quit a few things that went well, very well at Hinson for me.

I've half heartly followed the low heart rate training since 2010, but started really stick to it after the half marathon in Jacksonville in December of 2011.  According to SportTracks, the average heart rate of all of my runs was 145 for 2010, 139 for 2011, and 132 for 2012.  The benefit of this training did not show up at The Scream in July, but really shined at Hinson.  I run most of the first 65 miles/16 hours, and while running, the heart rate stayed in the 130 to 135 range.  As the distance piled up and the running slowed down, so did the heart rate.  Eventually it was rare to get above 130. This was HUGE.  In the past, my heart rate would spike at any thing past 20 miles.  I remember back at Umstead 100 in 2011, after 40 miles, even the smallest imperceivable hills caused me to walk slowly.  At Hinson this weekend, I was still happily running up (some called it shuffling, others called it not running) the small hills at mile 60.  So the Maffetone training has definitely paid off.

I have been playing with Hammer Perpetuem since March of this year.  It worked very well at Chattooga 50K for me.  At Hinson, Jade mixed 1.5 scoops in each 1L nalgene bottle, and I drank from it at end of each 1.52 mile lap and never carried anything during the lap.  I did not take any salt tablets or eat salt, except for whatever salt that was in the three slices of pizza that I consumed.  I was urinating every 1.5 hours to 2 hours, and did not see any signs of swollen fingers or feet.  Came home on Sunday and discovered I was at the same weight as pre-race.  So for running at this effort level, Perpetuem is a tremendous success.

Brian posted this quote on the Hinson group page last week, and I was repeating it to myself during the night when I was doing most of the laps on my own, occasionally passing or getting passed.  It kept me going for a long time.

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction", by William James.

Other things did not go well.

Blisters........blisters suck, need to learn to tape.

Chaffing.......need better lubs.

Motivation......I lost mine when I realized I couldn't hit 90 miles with about 2.5 hours to go.  Well, I could get 85, maybe 87 miles, but the drive simply disappeared.  I guess I was so super fixated at hitting 90 for the last 6 or 7 hours, that once it became impossible, I didn't have a second goal to help motivate me.  Sort forgot my main goal for the event.  Maybe I should write it down on my shoes so every time I look down it'll remind me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

End of summer and fall racing

In the past 2 days, I have sent the drop emails to Laurel Valley and Medoc Meltdown, totally disappointed my Blue Ridge Relay team by dropping from the team a month from the race, and sitting here debating whether I should drop from Medoc Marathon as well.

This past Thursday I took my relatives to climbing at the gym.  While getting a belay from a friend at the gym on a route, I slipped on the right side but my right hand somehow hung on to the hold which resulted in a quick and hard twist on the right shoulder.  I heard a loud snap from that shoulder and instantly knew what had happened.  To my surprise, it didn't take much for my friend to reduce the shoulder, so I hoped that it wasn't very bad and will recovery quickly.  Then on Saturday morning around 5am, still asleep and all the sudden felt my shoulder moving out of the joint.  Apparently I had stretched the right arm above the shoulder then moved a bit which was enough to pop it out.  Jade heard my grunt and jumped up and reduced it for me (this had happened 6 years ago right before the surgery that fixed the same shoulder).  

So now I know how loose things are in that socket.  Being a veteran of shoulder dislocations and surgeries, I kinda know what my orthopedic surgeon will say when he exams the shoulder on Aug 21.  I'll most likely end up consuming many bottles of oxycodone and oxycontin by September after he operates on it.  

In the mean time, climbing is out, kayaking is out.  Stand up paddling may still be possible after the soreness goes away and before the potential surgery.  I'm avoiding trail running since a fall will probably be devastating to the shoulder.  

I'm really hoping for a frequently surgery discount from my orthopedic surgeon. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chattooga River 50K revisited

I stood at the start of Saturday's edition of this year's Chattooga River 50k, shivering.  June, South Carolina, seriously?  

I don't think I have done anything to earn this gift of perfect running weather.  So I'm sure I'll pay for it, either at Boogie, or Laurel Valley.  One of those two races will hit record high temperature and humidity, I'm sure of it.  

Jade couldn't make it to the race, so I drove by myself to Cherry Hill Campground on Friday in the rain, and setup the camp in the rain.  Everything got wet.  As soon as the tarp and tent are up, the rain stopped.  Go figure.  Sean was already at camp, so we chit chatted about our year of training or lack of training, and the weird weather that we're about to experience.  I found Terri at her campsite which serves as the start/finish/post race food area for the race.  Terri wasn't terribly happy either.  Rain caused her to not able to organize the race supplies, and the runner marking the 10 mile stretch of the course is over due.  She had dropped him off at the trail head at 10:30 that morning, and it has been almost 6 hours.  Course marking must be difficult, I thought.  

Dinner was a can of campbell soup, and a bit of rice.  I worried there isn't enough carb, so a can of Yuengling got tossed into the dinner mix.  Relaxing in the cool weather, I manage to read about 150 pages of Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods before falling asleep in the tent.

Doug and I at start
At the start, I bump into Doug from SC.  Two years ago, I came to this race to do my first ultra.  Stupid stupid stupid idea.  Most people look for a flattish 50K to break into ultras.  I thought this race runs along the river, so must be fairly flat right?  Doug took pity on me that year and slowed down to allow me to stay with him the entire race.  Without him, I most likely would have gotten lost and turn into another banjo boy and never be seen again.  Doug and I quickly caught up and discovered both of us have absolutely no goals for the race except to not die.  Excellent.  

We cruised comfortably through the first 7 miles on Winding Stair Trail and catching up on our lives and races and things in general.  Coincidentally, we finished this section and hit AS1 in 1:32, exactly the same as two year ago.  

The next section is the first ten mile stretch that runs along the Chattooga River.  Still taking it easy, we soon catches up to a few runners.  A camper around mile 12 is looking for his dog.  We promised we would bring the dog back if we see him.  Eventually we caught up to Walt who is coming back from a toe injury.  Walt is an amazing runner, and it takes an injury and three months off from running to slow him down to our pace.  

The trail is not how I remembered from two years ago.  Someone had done a fantastic job of trail maintenance, and it is far more runnable than before.  There were a few sections that I call the super highway, no rocks, no roots, just smooth dirt.  Holy crap, there goes my excuse to run slow.  

Walt cruising down the super highway
We hit the mile 17 AS2 and I discovered I still have about 1/4 of the 2L Hammer Perpeteum mix left, so I elected to not refill it, and hope it'll last the next 4.5 mile section.  The next 2.2 miles to the turn around bridge is all downhill, and by the time Doug and I arrived at the bridge, I was getting tired of running down hills, if there is such a thing.  However coming back is nothing but power hike, which made me wish for downhill running by the time we arrived back at AS2.  

Topping off the hydration bladder and loading up on food, we headed out into the final 10 mile stretch.  Walt had caught up to us as AS2, and from here on out we end up running together for rest of the race.  

I could not stomach the thought of letting a crippled runner pass me, so I did my best to stay in front of Walt.  Walt on the other hand, didn't really want to finish before 9 hours, but didn't wan to run alone either so he stuck right behind me.  Doug who brought up the rear, could not figure out what the heck the two morons were doing in front of him, but also didn't want to run alone, so he stayed right on Walt's heels.  Chasing each other, we finally crest the "Hill that sucked the happiness out of me" and arrived at the beach.  Taking a break from the accidental racing, we soaked our noggins and feet in the cool Chattooga and generally prevented vomiting.  

Hanging out on the Chattooga, mile 26
The Big Rock, mile 27
The last few miles of the course had quite a few downed trees.  For some reason, I feel like the best way to get over these trees is to sprint then hurdle over them.  On one of these hurdles, the landing made me painful aware of my trashed quads.  Walt and Doug knew better than hurdle at end of a mountainous 50k.  

One of the many trees along the course
The brownie that I got from AS2 melted, making my food look like shit
We climbed to Hwy 107 the final time and I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see it's just shy of 8 hours.  How the heck did that happen?  The three of us cruised into Cherry Hill Campground, not caring about the finish line, but made a beeline for the chicken BBQ sandwich, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, ice tea, and cookies.  This is the reason I run: yummy food at the end.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

First month of summer break, and Chattooga River 50K

May is my first month off from school, and it has been a good month.  The first week of May saw me running over 60 miles, which was the highest weekly training mileage ever for me.  Other than someone stole my cooler with all my resupplies during the long run, that was a great start to the summer.

The previous week, I spent 6 days in the mountains.  The first three days were mountain biking with 11 other guys on the annual "Guy's Weekend".  As usual, I was the absolute worst biker of the group.  Only my cardio conditioning allowed me to not die that weekend following these guys up and down goat trails.  I then ran portions of the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky as scouting for the SCAR run.  Those couple runs told me one thing: SCAR would be brutal, brutal, brutal.   Overall, I covered 70+ miles of steep mountain trails that week, feeling great!

In two days I'll be back one of my favorite races, the Chattooga River 50k.  Two years ago, this was my debut ultra.  It wasn't the brightest of ideas, as usual.  I'm looking forward to revisit the race and and renew friendship made two years ago.  Unlike two years ago, there won't be a 16 hour flight to catch after the race!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Summer breakdown plan

The worst semester in the PharmD curriculum means zero races in the spring, and changing rotations in the summer has screwed all attempt at a summer racing plan.  I did manage to keep about a 30mpw training schedule.  Training for what?  I don't exactly know anymore.

Lately the SCAR run has captivated my mind.  So it's not exactly a race.  Most people have never heard of it.  I'm a long way from having enough fitness and experience to attempt it, but it's a good thing to drool over, and as a long term goal to focus on my training on.

I did sign up for three events in the summer.  Boogie is such an unique event, that I must do it at least once, and to experience those midnight thunderstorms.  Then I plan to get really sore at The Scream, to take my "quads and calves to a place they've never been before".  Sometimes in August, I will suffer serious heat exhaustion at Laurel Valley as a first time sweeper.  Between these events and my summer rotation, I hope to run/hike the AT in GSMP to scout for the SCAR run.

And then there is Captain Thurmond's in August and New River Trail Challenge in September.........

By end of August, I'll either have written a bunch race reports, or be in the middle of renaming this blog to some injury related themes like Anthony's blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Very very very late Grand Canyon trip report.

I never did finish my Grand Canyon trip report from back in 2010.  I'm way too lazy at this point to write up that huge report, so I'm gonna just post a video of our trip for anyone that even cares at this point.  I'm in the green kayak and green helmet.