Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picking up...

my afternoon snack!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


For anyone interested in hanging out at Afton State Park this weekend I will be camping there Fri and Sat nights. I might try some night running for the first time [based on the forecast I just heard that'll probably be Sat night into Sunday]. Otherwise normal camping stuff: hanging out, reading, swatting bugs, sitting by the campfire, etc. Feel free to join me if interested... you can let me know ahead of time or just look for me if you're out there. I'll be at campsite 27.

And yes, it would be considered bad form to use this information/opportunity to rob my house or sneak around and scare me at my campsite. :)

And in the "Random Pics" department, I took this with my treo from my normal lunchtime hangout.

A couple more photos based on SteveQ's comments...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FANS 12 hour

Last weekend was the FANS 12 and 24 hour races. I did FANS 12 (the kiddie race compared to FANS 24) for the first time. A huge Thank You to everyone involved in the organization of the race, and to all the volunteers -- everyone I came in contact with was top-notch and everything ran smoothly. There were some familiar faces out there running, volunteering, and cheering and it's always a nice boost to see people you know. And of course it's also cool to be cheered on by people you don't know, like other runners and their crew. This really is a great event!

Congratulations to everyone that got out there and gave it a go... especially the 24 hour runners. Going into the race it was obvious to me that the 24 hour is a whole different beast than the 12 hour : lots more planning and strategy and stuff is required. And then during the race, keeping your head in the game and staying motivated and focused for the whole time... wow. Especially when the weather doesn't cooperate very well. During the all-day rain I kept thinking "well at least I know I am done at 8pm". I felt bad for the 24 hour runners who were looking at an all-day rain and as far as they knew an all-night rain as well... double congrats to all those that hung in there for the whole thing under those tough conditions!

Karen's tent and umbrella in the middle, John Taylor's
shelter on the right, and my stuff on the left

I set up next to Karen who's daughters were there to crew for her. That was great because they were willing to crew for me and anyone else that needed help - and it turns out they were great cheerleaders for everyone on the course... so much so that they won the best campsite award! I enjoyed their company and encouragement during the race and then hanging out with them throughout the night. (Btw, most of these pictures are from them.)

Monica, John, me, Karen, Craig
...ready to go!

The race starts with a 1.656 mile out-and-back... according to plan I walked this whole section. I figured it'd be a good way to ease into the day and I planned to take the first half hour for that part. I think it worked well, but it was hard to walk the whole thing when I was fresh and most everyone else was running.

My plan from then on was to do the 2.4217 mile loop every half hour (4.84mph) for as long as possible. And this one-loop-per-half-hour plan included a 4-5 minute walk covering the whole concrete bridge. Initially I was able to do each loop with a minute or two to spare for refueling, hanging out at base-camp, or whatever.

So for those keeping score at home, yes... in the first hour I walked 30 minutes, ran ~.9 miles, walked 5 minutes, ran ~1.2 miles for a total of ~4 miles. Did I mention I was trying to 'ease into the day'??

a couple hours in - wet but still warm enough
with 2 shirts, afton hat, gloves, and sweatpants

Another part of my plan was to run on the side of the paved path as much as possible. The first couple hours went fine but of course I started feeling things, like my creaky ankles. And my left knee started bothering me (IT band?). So after 'preaching' to Karen that runners need to be careful with ibuprofen I went right for it! I then walked half of the next lap and started running mostly on the paved path. After that lap I changed shoes (and put on dry socks) as well. I'm guessing it was mostly the ibuprofen but these adjustments worked and nothing really hurt the rest of the way.

a couple more hours in - added vest and warmer hat

A nice thing about my one-loop-per-half-hour plan was that I would be back to my stuff at the top and bottom of the hour. That made it easy to see how I was doing... whether I was on track or starting to fade.

I was in for the 3-hour checkpoint at 2:54. Then I was in at ~3:25 and that's when I took the ibuprofen and walked the first half of the next lap, getting in for the 4-hour checkpoint at 4:01. So far so good but then I started fading as other check-point times were 5:13, 6:17, and 7:27. So by 7:30 I was about a lap 'behind', though I had actually started shutting it down by then (more on that later).

I made note of a few other splits: marathon was 5:45, ~27miles at 6 hours, 50K was 6:50:50 (PR), 35 miles at 8 hours.

Pete and family stopped by, woohoo!
approaching the last hour, added another shirt and jacket

I think to keep going in a race like this you need to have some set goals that you refer back to when your motivation fades. My main thought for FANS 12 was to bridge the gap between 50K and 50 miles. So my goals were to cover about 40 miles, not get injured (like thrashing my achilles or knee), and go the whole 12 hours. Somewhere around 9-10 hours I started thinking maybe I'd bail early until I remembered the specific 'whole 12 hours' goal. Without that who knows what I would've decided in the heat of the battle (ok, in hour 8 of the rain!).

Since the idea was to bridge the 50K to 50 mile gap, I wasn't actually going for 50 miles. WHAT?!?!! That almost seems sacrilegious, doesn't it? I debated with myself for awhile during the middle part of the run - should I go for it or not? At the end of the day I didn't go for it; I finished feeling good, confident, and hungry for more... so I'll definitely be going for 50 miles next time! I will say if Pete had showed up earlier the debate would've probably ended differently... so I was kinda relieved that my fate was sealed by the time he got there. :)

Jarrett and family stopped by, woohoo!
This is the "I'm done!" picture.

I pretty much walked the last couple full laps. Then came the last hour and the short loops. I decided I would do a few of those mainly to experience that part of the race, and before long I was running pretty hard and eventually sprinting (at least it felt like it) for the last cone with the clock ticking down. It's a pretty exciting time with lots of people around, so if there's anything left in the legs it's pretty hard not to run.

All in all this was a great event and I enjoyed it a lot. And I plan to do it again. Thank You to everyone that played a part!

This is my longest race report ever, but I suppose that makes sense considering this was my longest run ever. Here are some final notes as I wrap this up:

  • My garmin 305 registered 47.02 miles! The official results (now) say 46.37 miles. This is the most miles I've ever run at one time. Actually, it's more miles than I've ever run in a week.

  • I like seeing people. And this venue allows you to see ALL of the other runners - especially if you do the 12 hour and then stick around for the rest. And of course all the other people as well: family, friends, crews, volunteers, etc.

  • Doing the same course over and over again didn't bother me. Actually I kinda liked it as I'd recognize different spots... and use them for markers later.

  • There were some great performances... a new 24 hour record of 147.41 miles, quite a few people over 100 miles including Karen with a 3rd place finish and a PR at just shy of 107 miles, John Storkamp's 80.9 miles in the 12 hour!!