Thursday, January 1, 2015
Still running and starting the year off right! 3 miles with my beloved in 30 degrees and 20mph winds - felt great. Focused on form and foot plant. #LearnToRun. :-)
On a path for 2015 to be able to truly call myself an ultramarathoner. Yes, I did the 50k but that's just one. Signing up for some big races TODAY and mapping the way forward between work, travel, kids, house, etc.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Well, we took some time off after the 50k. Ran infrequently but kept up on some cross training. Gotta heal up!
2015 "real" trading started today with a drizzly 36 degree four mile run. We've got BIG plans for 2015.
Looooooove running. Goofballo Blanco is back!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Last year, Kelly signed us up for a half marathon a few months out. I told her she was crazy, since we hadn’t been running a LOT, but hey – it’s nice to have a goal. Despite kidney stone surgery for me in the middle of training, the race went well.
Nice view for the start, huh?
I trumped her in 2014 by signing us up very early for a Spring half-marathon and a September marathon. Long runs kept getting more enjoyable during training, and what I thought were long distances before (6-8 miles) became enjoyable midweek runs! I challenged myself in June with a trail 30k named Hell Hath No Hurry in Pittsburgh and finished it on sweat, stubbornness and PB&J. I’d highly recommend that race, it was a blast!
After the trail 30k, I couldn’t get the idea of a 50k ultramarathon out of my head. Ultra runners were crazy friendly (and crazy), supportive and impressive. 50k, 50 miles, 100 mile stickers on their cars…and multiple stickers? I love it! I decided to look for a relatively local one and found the CanLake 50, a road 50k and 50 miler. Kelly was up for it, so I got us on the wait list, continued training and started to hope it would work out. The race director (Gil) is an awesome communicator via email and by having a great website, and following the race on Facebook I couldn’t help but get excited about it. We lucked out and knew we were officially in the race before we even ran our marathon. All of a sudden, my September bucket list 26.2 mile race was now a training run for something bigger!
I was nervous the night before. We drove the 3 hours from Erie to the starting area of the 50k, a boat launch on the Canandaigua Lake. We drove the course and it looked innocent enough at first. Some rolling roads through the countryside, some nice country roads and then uh…wow. Hills. Hills like we don’t have in Erie PA! Our plan was to walk the hills anyway and run the flats and the downhills, so ok, no big deal. Wait, are we still going up? Oh good, it flattened out, then turn left. Look up, now that’s a HILL!
We got to the Finger Lakes Community College and registered, got our bibs and sweet race shirts. I'm sure I wasn't friendly enough to everybody that night and the next morning, I was pretty nervous.
That ride had done nothing to calm my nerves but we were committed. We drove 40 minutes north to our hotel near Rochester, and got a pasta dinner up the street. As it turns out the hotel is apparently in the running for the least soundproof Courtyard Marriott in America award. We were awakened by some stupid drunks at 1:00am that didn’t shut the hell up until 2:00am. Why not just stay at the bar if you want to be a loud drunken idiot? But I digress.
Up the next morning and hit the road south, we had just missed the start of the 50 milers and saw about a dozen of them running by. Pre-race time in the warm lobby of the FLCC was a blessing. After an anxious bus ride we were at the boat launch again. Starting at the opposite end of the boat launch and running away from the direction of the race is so disconcerting! Turn left and off we go for real.
Kelly and I plodded along at our planned pace and felt fine. I was overdressed and ended up taking my jacket off around mile 5. No big deal, I stuffed it in the top of my Ultimate Direction SJ 2.0 vest (which I’d highly recommend).
Here we are at the turnaround:
Around mile 10 my chest started to tighten up, I just couldn’t get a full breath. It took 3 miles for that to work itself out, which was really concerning considering how much further we needed to run. Kelly was awesome though. She slowed down for me, talked me through it and kept me focused. That chick is a rock.
50 mile runners were passing us and looking strong, that’s motivational!
Some nice views:
I especially like this one. :-)
We finally got to the aid station on the lake and refueled again. We knew the hills were coming so we wanted to be ready. We walked, we ran, we walked…it’s a long hill. Then at the left turn it just seems to go straight up. More walking. Next year, I’ll be much more ready for the hills – they definitely kicked my ass. Our goal of a 6 hour 50k was starting to look bleak after the slow miles because of my breathing and these hills. Finally, we conquered the hill – wow! A great aid station and just 11ish miles to go.
At the midpoint of the hill, looking down:
Sadly, only one of our drop bags was at this aid station and we both were looking forward to a shoe & sock switch. I’m not sure where Kelly’s drop bag ended up but we didn’t see it until after the finish. Probably my fault, I put it in the right box but didn't realize I had to label it with the aid station too.
I used this area to swap out my Altra Olympus for Altra Paradigms. Nice to change things up a bit with fresh socks and shoes. Had no problems with either shoe, Altras ROCK! I have some 3-Sums at home I'll be using for speed work this winter. If you haven't tried Altra running shoes yet, you're missing out!
We settled back in to a run/walk routine, walking only when we had to. I’m sure I could get into more detail on the race and views but they’re escaping me right now. I was so focused on relentless forward progress (great book, by the way). We wanted that medal badly!
We knew we were close, then we were directed to take a hard right. When we saw the dead end at the end of the road, it felt like a cruel joke. I was really glad to see the familiar white arrows directing us around it. Then the grassy downhill seemed even more cruel! We finally saw the finish line and finished our first 50k. 6:50:46. I couldn’t be more proud of my wife, she’s just relentless when it comes to getting what she sets out for.
I seriously have trouble calling myself an ultramarathoner. I don’t feel like one yet. I watched so many people do the 50k and the 50 miler and make it look so much easier that I’m not sure I’ve registered that I did indeed cover the miles.
It was a tough run, physically and mentally. I never would have thought I could cover 31 miles on two feet, even a couple of years ago. Now all I can think about is the next ultra.
Gil, I think if the arrows on the road were yellow and you had pretzel M&M’s, I could’ve improved my time by an hour. ;-) Just kidding! The race director Gil is top-notch. The race is REALLY well run. The aid stations are fantastic. The volunteers are my heroes. I had an older couple see me struggling to refill my bottle with Tailwind at an aid station and they came running over, did it for me and made sure I got my hydration vest back on. I’m sure I didn’t express just how much I appreciated their help (though I tried). Every aid station was loaded though and every volunteer was bending over backwards to help and cheer you on. Pringles and PB&J rule!
This is a great race, worked by great people and filled with amazing, supportive runners. The views are wonderful, the leaves are changing, the lake is gorgeous. If you haven’t done the CanLake50, do it. If you have, do it again. Just say “go JB!” as you pass me in 2015! We had already decided that we wanted to do the 50 miler before we had even untied our shoes from the 50k.
Thank you to everyone involved in the CanLake 50 – you’re awesome.
Monday, September 15, 2014
26.2 miles in 2014, we finished! The weather was perfect, and since they capped the race at 1,500 runners it wasn't incredibly packed.
This is a great race, but bring your mental toughness too! 2 Laps of Presque Isle, and this race is FLAT! Not many fans in the outer loop so you need to motivate yourself most of the time. Apparently in the past this race left Presque Isle for half the race and came back down to the shore to finish. I kind of wish that were still the case but beggars can't be choosers. :-).
I can't say enough about the volunteers and the aid stations. These folks are dedicated and excited to help.
I wore the Altra Olympus for this race, same ones I wore for the HHNH 30k trail race. They were perfect. Not one blister after 26.2 miles, I know a lot of people who can't say that!