Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wicked Weekend

I love mojo. I love when I feel like I've lost it, and then like THAT it's back! Doesn't take much, but it does take a little push in the right direction to jump-start the motivation. Geof and I have decided to find our mojo again, and boy have we found it!

All last week, we rose at the crack-o-dawn to run, did it again on Thanksgiving morning out in Iowa before the big meal, took Friday off, and then on Saturday the most glorious thing happened. We did calisthenics together. And it just got better from there. Geof decided it was high time to get back into pre-KM100 shape and stop feeling so lazy (we have been pretty lazy, in runner-terms of course...not in 'typical' American citizen terms). So we did a nice 15 minute workout, doing some planks that I thought were burning up my abs inside, arm work that emphasized muscles used to carry water bottles that feel like cinder blocks after 80 miles of carrying them, back exercises and shoulder exercises. Wow, that got us warmed up pretty good! So, then we suited up and headed outside for a little over 8 miles along the lakefront in some damn fine weather. After a loop around Northerly Island we headed back and then hit the stairs at Columbus and Wacker to run up and down them a few times. That felt funny, switching from running to climbing, then back to running, but it felt really good, too. It gets better!

When we got home, Geof took to making a kickass fruit/yogurt/cottage cheese smoothie, and oatmeal with raisins and honey, while I cleaned up and then dunked my legs, up to my calves, in a bucket of hot water and epsom salts. We inhaled our breakfast, and man did it feel good to eat so well right after running, rather than a burrito an hour late. I tell ya, the epsom soak felt amazing. As soon as we stopped running (and actually while doing the stairs, on the downs) I felt my heels starting to fire up, all the tendons protesting a little. After the soak, nada. Brilliant.

Today we met some CHUGs out at Waterfall Glen for a run. The weather was not so fine as Saturday's was...raining the whole drive there, but it did stop long enough for us to crank out a dry and cold 9.5 miles. It was a great run, following the trail clockwise, with Geof, Kelly and Ian. David, Kristi and Tony ran up ahead so we didn't spend much time with them. They were flyin'! I felt great the whole time, save for some hip flexor tightness, and when we got home I soaked my feet and calves again in the epsom salt, and Geof prepared our same smoothie and oatmeal breakfast. Delish! We did our calisthenics before we left (adding in push-ups and more ab work), which meant getting up a little earlier, but I was glad we did because I am now in full on lounge mode :)

It feels good to be getting back on track. Eating better, doing weights again, the salt soaks. Makes you feel like a million bucks when you're taking better care. I'm going to get some ART from Dr. Heddles later this week for the ankles/heels to help that process along, then...I have my very first marathon this coming weekend! I'll be running (read: hiking) the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in Indiana with a bunch of the CHUGs. Should be a fantastic time. It's a tough course, so I'm planning on taking it verrrry easy since I'm just now getting back into some miles, and thus will be doing a lot of hiking :)

My classes end in two weeks, so that means great things for my morning runs since I'll have a month off from early morning studying before work!

I smell a hundred miler creeping up...so what's it gonna be? I guess we'll see :)

Crash, out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Run, Talk Trash, Run Some More

This past Saturday was another fine installment of the Chicago Trash Runners...this time we headed north and laid the smackdown on the Loyola University area of the city, at Sheridan and Hollywood to be exact. The area is a bit of a mixed bag: it has pockets of coolness, intermingled with pockets of 'run for your life'. Geof and I drove up and met with a new Trash Runner, Matt. We covered a couple miles along Sheridan and got a good amount of running in as it wasn't as 'trashy' as I thought it would be. Still, we managed to get a number of bagfulls of stuff, and had a few laughs at some of the 'treasures' we found along the way. Man, some Northsiders sure do enjoy their condoms, and they enjoy them outside apparently!

In other news :) Geof and I made it out for a run early on Sunday, brushing off the dust and oiling the rusty joints. It felt really good. The weather was pristine and the city streets welcomed us with outstretched arms. I also was treated to no stomach issues this time! We stuck to running south on Michigan Avenue and then weaving through Millennium Park on the way home just in case my stomach had other plans in store for me. This time I was proactive: I ate some cereal, sans milk, and only drank about 1/4 of my latte along with an S!Cap about an hour before we left for the run. I also grabbed a Powerbar Gel juuuuust in case. All was well, though. We ended up getting just over 5.5 miles, and it was awesome!

We were crunched for time as we were heading out to Brian and Kelly's crib for a relaxing day chillin' out. We were getting in-house massages from their friend Rebecca Sturgeon. She's new to the biz and we were excited to get some really great massages for a great price. And what a nice young lady she is! I'm already looking forward to my next one...she did a bang up job on my calves and found some knots I didn't know I had buried in those muscles. Ouch! Hurts so good :) So today I've been drinking lots o' water and icing at work.

I'm looking forward to getting back into a regular running routine again, and back into training, BAM! Slow but steady build.

I dream of running :)

Crash, out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Peeking Out of Hibernation

Ahhhhhhh, hibernation is bliss. Well, self-imposed hibernation is bliss :) Geof and I gave ourselves two full weeks of rest in the wake of a very, very busy ultra season. As soon as he crossed the finish line at Javelina Jundred on November 1st, we entered hibernation. This includes zero running, zero exercise, lots of RICEing and some stretching, lots of...nutrition, and of course plenty of sleeping and ice cream.

It was weird at first to not do anything but recuperate. But after a few days of this, I fell right into the groove of hibernation. It looks good on! I have enjoyed this sort of break from running because it was a conscious decision, rather than being forced on me. That aided in avoiding any sort of guilt that could come along with inactivity. I chose to do this, so I'm not going to feel bad about it! Everyone needs to do this at some point in their season, I would imagine, to some extent. It's rejuvenating! I was getting hardcore burned out from all the racing and training, and it was time for a break, so that I could once again crave the feel of the road and trail underneath my feet, the feel of achey joints and muscles from a hard week's miles or tough workout, the wind chapping my cheeks as it turns from mild to downright frosty outside, sniffling every 4 seconds because it's so damn cold out, and of course, the feel of my shoes laced up and my running clothes (rather than stiff work clothes). These are a few of my favorite things...!

Geof and I decided to break the cycle and go for a short run yesterday afternoon. Oh boy! We were both feeling the itch and after a full weekend of relaxing inside and doing stuff around the apartment, we laced up and headed downstairs, "I don't even know what to wear for 45 degree weather!" My running clothes were so happy to see me!

Brr, it was brisk out, and windy as a motha! But it felt like heaven. We crossed the street and then switched gears and busted out a sort of shuffle. How funny it felt! Geof commented after a few minutes that this must be what it feels like for beginning runners...weird! Geof's coming off a 100 mile finish, just two weeks ago, so his run is far more impressive to me. I felt a little leg-heavy and slightly less nimble, but overall it was good. My legs settled quickly into a pace and I was enjoying myself. We went 2 miles north on the path, then turned around, with the wind finally at our backs. It was slow going, but all things considered, not bad at all!

Things were great until about the 2.75-3ish mile mark (on a 4 mile route). Suddenly my stomach lurched. Not just a little, "Hey, how are you, this is your stomach talking," but more like a, "You want a piece of me?! You goooot it!" What's that all about? It subsided almost as quickly as it attacked. But it came back a few more times in that final mile. Oh, how it hurt! Maybe I shouldn't have eaten all that pumpkin bread earlier, or maybe I should have eaten more of something else instead...I barely ate all day, other than that bread. Oops. So naturally I stopped focusing on the action, and could only focus on my stomach and making it home safe n' sound. Geof was trying to distract me, and it was working at first. Then it wasn't and I was hurtin!

Anyway, we made it home. Four miles done and done! I believe I have pinpointed the medial side of the flexor hallucis longus muscle on my right foot as my main issue right now (only when going down stairs or a sharp decline). It's a biatch, but I'm keeping on top of it. Other than that, I think I'm ready to get back at it. Ya know, just in case there's a certain hundred mile race to run in a certain month that rhymes with...February :)

I'll probably take the rest of this week off, and then start up on Saturday for the trash run I'm doing with the Chicago Trash Runners. It's looking good so far. I'll hold off on the pumpkin bread, though :)

Hello running, how are you? I've missed you.

Crash, out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ultra Cool

What fun last night turned out to be! I expected to enjoy myself, but what a long day it had already been, and with home just around the corner, I wasn't sure how long I'd last. Boy am I glad we went!

"Tropical" John Medinger and Lisa Henson (the peeps behind UltraRunning Magazine) were in town for a couple days on their way home to sunny Cali and decided it would be fun to host a little impromptu dinner party and invite all the Chicago area UltraRunning subscribers. Sweet! My subscription recently ended, but Geof still has his and he received an e-mail from John about the party a couple weeks ago. We showed up right at 6:30, at La Madia, in River North, and were immediately greeted by John and Lisa.

We sipped on wine and chatted it up with the small crowd of area ultrarunners (most of whom we didn't already know...which is funny since our 'kind' is such a small group as it is!). Eventually, fellow CHUG Vishal showed up and joined in on conversation with another fellow CHUG, Tracy. Bill Thom showed up just before we sat for dinner. So it was fun to see some familiar faces amongst all the new!

Dinner was delicious! Lots of great thin crust pizza and salads, and even better conversation. Geof and I sat at a table with an area ultra dude, Jim, and his wife, and Lisa. Lisa regaled us with highly entertaining stories about being a pacer and how she's pulled some runners back from the dead to finish a tough race. What a funny gal she is! John held down the fort at the table next to ours. Lots of great discussions going on, and fun stories about our various experiences running 100 miles. I can't stress enough just how enjoyable it is to be surrounded by all like-minded folks, geeking out about ultrarunning. I love it!

To top off the evening, Lisa and John handed out the new UltraRunning hats they just had made and we took a big group photo, wearing out new hats.

Meeting John and Lisa was really cool, and made even better by the fact that they are such fun and down-to-earth people. That's one of my favorite things about the ultra community, the people!

So, thank you John and Lisa for having us all out for dinner, and for being such great hosts!!

Crash, out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Javelina = Jot, Jot, Jot!

What do you get when you put eight CHUGs in a desert for the first time, hot weather, and grilled cheese sammiches? One jeck of a Javelina Jundred!!

Tis' correct my friends, we boarded ship on Friday morning and arrived in sunny Phoenix that afternoon, hopped in the "K Bus" (that's what we named our rental mini-van) and stopped off at Denny's in Fountain Hills for a delicious dinner of burgers and brownie awesomeness (yes, we did this two hours before the pre-race pasta dinner was scheduled to start...). After getting settled in at the Holiday Inn in Fountain Hills, we headed over to Jeadquarters to get the boys checked in and then partake in some carbo-loading. Geof, Brian, Gary, David and Jerret were running (Geof's second 100, everyone else's first 100-miler) and had to pick up their swag from the ever cheery Chris Rios, then get weighed in with the medical peeps. We hung around and caught up with some other familiar faces then found a nice little cacti to do a jumper photo in front of, great job snapping this one, Kelly!

Jerret, Brian, Gary and Geof

Since we had a big dinner, everyone just went and sat down. Geof wanted some grub, so we stood in line for some food (I got a slice of cake, yum!). After dinner, Caballo Blanco (Micah True, the dude featured in Born to Run) gave a speech that about running down south. It got dark fast, and we were all pretty wiped, so we headed home afterwards. Time to sleep! Kelly and I got to relax this time while Brian and Geof busied themselves preparing for the morning.

"Hey buddy, how ya feelin'? What can I get you, some soup, maybe some hot chocolate? You look good! Only 95 more miles to go and you're done!!"

I slept like a baby :) I think everyone else got some pretty good sleep, too. We rallied the troops for a 4 a.m. wake-up and were out the door by 4:45. Kelly and I were volunteering at Javelina Jeadquarters so we needed to be there at 5 a.m. The guys picked their spot under the picnic shelter, out of the hot sun, to keep their bags during the race, and readied themselves for the 6 a.m. start. Jeadquarters was buzzing! So many peeps! I met Robert Andrulis (sp?), Chris Rios (he was our aid station captain from 5a-1p), Dave Combs, Patti Coury (RD's mom, who is a complete sweetheart, to the max!), and a bunch of other folks and readers of my blog, how fun!

Six o' clock came fast and before we knew it, it was time to go. The course is about a 15.5 mile loop, run 6 times, and a 7th shorter (~9 miles) loop added at the end. Runners also run the loops in a washing machine fashion (switch directions each loop). Cool, huh? Here's Geof, all set to go in his Chicago Ultrarunners Atayne shirt!

The morning went fast, with Kelly, Ian and I all helping out at Jeadquarters. Ian was our "CHUG Brew"master (making all the Succeed ULTRA drinks), Kelly and I sliced, peeled, poured and restocked the table to our hearts' content. I met so many folks from the list, and was really enjoying myself. The runners were so appreciative and awesome. Patti was great to work with and really had this whole thing down to a science (the Coury family is one heck of a race directing machine!). It started to get jot, jot, jot around 10 a.m., eventually maxing out at around 81 degrees. The sun was out in full force, not a cloud to speak of, and zero shade anywhere on the course. Ice was a very popular commodity, and so was the pumpkin pie. It was fun to see the front runners come through and observe their antics (come in, drop their bottles, grab two more from their crew, and head out, never breaking stride in that whole exchange). Jorge Paccheco never exchanged anything, he just ran over the mat and then headed back out. No refills, nothing. He ended up DNF'ing later that day, leaving the front to Dave James the rest of the time, and the course record :)

Geof was looking AWESOME. He is a machine, a quiet, swift machine. I prepped a 5-scoop serving of Perpetuem for him so that I could just pour it right into his bottle, fill the other with water or Gatorade, and he's change his shirt or shorts while I did that, and then he'd be out. He was moving well the first few laps, slowing down some as the day grew jotter and jotter (j = h in this post, in case you were wondering, to keep with the Javelina theme :)). I was planning to jump in and pace Geof the last 9 mile loop, or maybe even the last 25 miles tops since my ankles have been giving me some grief since Glacial Trail 50k three weeks prior. Geof mentioned some funky glute and knee pain he'd never felt before, but the usual aches and pains were nowhere to be seen. Funny how that always works out in a race! On the fourth lap, the funky pains disappeared and he was feeling great again. But it was JOT! Here he is, heading out for loop number four...looking back for me :) (FYI, my most favorite picture!):

Back at Jeadquarters, I suited up, just in case Geof needed me to jump in a little earlier than anticipated. Kelly and I chilled out by the guys' bags, enjoyed a nap in the K Bus, and I made multiple pee stops (I was trying to keep up on my water intake since it was so hot). Brian eventually made it in, and we snapped to it, helping out however we could. Beej fights a constant battle with blisters and today was no different. I convinced him to clean his feet up with soap and water after he popped the devil blisters. He put on clean socks and shoes and then enjoyed a slice of pizza. Jerret and Gary came and went and seemed to be in good spirits. David was having a time with the heat, but still in great shape.

Helping Brian with his feet

After sending Brian off, Kelly and I got back to chilling out. Geof was going to be in soon, hopefully. Steve Hanes (whom I met a year ago, while hiking/running the Black Forest Trail and is an all around great dude, and I met his son, Mike Hanes, while running the Pineland Farms 50M this past May, in Maine) and Ian Stevens came over and we chatted for a bit, always great to catch up, dudes! It was starting to get dark, earlier than anticipated, around 6:00. Geof didn' have a light on him so I was a little worried. It was taking longer than we expected for him to get back, so I walked up to the trailhead where he would be emerging from. No sign of him after about 15 minutes, so I walked back down to the Jeadquarters. Eventually, G came running in. He sat down and he was smiling! He was now 100k into the race, alright! I asked him if he wanted me to jump in and run with him and we decided on a 'yes'. Okey dokey smokey! I put on two long-sleeve shirts and has on my Moebens in addition to my short sleeve CHUG Atayne top. Geof was still drinking Perpetuem so I filled up my bottle with Gatorade...something I do NOT do for long runs. I figured I'd be okay this time around. All suited up and 40 miles to go(!):

For as hot as it had been earlier in the day, it was cold as a mutha at night. We headed out on loop number 5, clockwise direction, and started walking on the undulating and very sandy/rocky trail. By the middle of each loop I ran, I had about half of the desert in each shoe. The moon was high overhead by now, and we ended up running without our headlamps for awhile once we passed the super rocky section. This was fun! The desert is gorgeous, especially in moonlight. We chatted most of the way to Coyote Camp AS, and I was digging deep for my rhythm. Where was it? You should know that Geof is one hell of a late-race runner. He moves, fast. He was pacing me! Obviously, as the pacer, you don't want to complain about feeling crappy, when your runner is almost 70 miles into the race already. But I'm bad at covering discomfort up. We were in and out of Coyote Camp and headed the next 5 miles to Jackass Junction AS. After we hit JJAS, it was mostly easy downhill back into Jeadquarters. We didn't need out headlamps and we just soaked in the scenery as we ran quietly. I was starting to feel like complete ass. My stomach was screaming, "where the hell is my damn Perpetuem?!" My ankles were saying, "you shmuck, you think you can push us another 40 miles, after standing around for 12 hour straight?!" And everything else was saying, "sit down, stop." Ugh, I felt awful. Clearly, my stomach was used to a liquid diet on the run, and today I was not giving it that. I was considering sitting out the 6th loop, and then jumping back in on the final loop.

Once we reached Jeadquarters, I dropped one of my long sleeve shirts, and then mixed some Perpetuem for myself when Geof decided he was done drinking it. We dilly dallied a bit, but then headed right back out. Things settled a bit while we were at the AS so I was feeling better. We headed back for number 6, counter clockwise. This time the trail is slightly uphill. Not enough that you can't run most of it, but enough that you feel it and kinda just want to walk. However, now I was cold (when you crested a hill it was warm air, but when you got to the bottom of one, it was chilly. This was weird because the hills were nothing major.) so I thought we should push it some. I started to jog, hoping Geof would follow suit. He did. So, we ran. And ran, and ran, and ran! No headlamps, just moonlight, and we were running, almost 80 miles in now. We were quiet for most of those 5.5 miles into Jackass Junction, but we ran every inch of it. I sort of regretted initiating that (!), and soon Geof pulled in front of me and was pulling his pacer along! I thought I was going to expire! We were pulling off sub-9:30 miles and I was gassed! It's amazing what the body can do. After Jackass, we decided to walk for a little. The rest of the loop went similar to this. Good strong running for awhile, following by strong walking. This was a really nice stretch. Just us, moving along, getting it done.

After coming into Jeadquarters, and before heading out on your final loop, runners are given a glowstick necklace so that AS folks know the runner is on their final loop. This was a fun idea, and motivating whenever we saw a runner with the necklace on already. Geof got his, and then we were off once more, heading clockwise up the trail. Geof was tired, and after letting go of the idea of finishing sub-24, he was pretty quiet again. We walked, a lot. And I was chiiiiillllly. Every so often, I would start a slow jog, Geof would follow suit, and then we'd slow back to a walk after a bit. I was getting tired finally, and the long day was starting to take its toll on me. Eventually we reached Coyote Camp, enjoyed some soup, said hi to Jerret who was chillin' on a chair, wrapped up in a blanket. Despite that, he looked good still, I had no doubt he would finish. He still had another 5 miles into Jeadquarters before he could get his necklace. Dawn was approaching and we had just 4 more miles of smooth downhill trail before we were home free. So, off we went. Geof grew chattier and we moseyed along the awesome Tonto Tank Trail, off and on shuffling and walking. The sun was starting to break free of the mountains and share its warmth with us. Sunrises are so pretty out west:

The sun came up fast and soon the Pemberton Trail was in sight once more. Once you were back on Pemberton, you had one more mile to go. We were running once again! Oh, glorious locomotion! Geof was almost done! Up and down, and up and down the last stretch, we crossed paths with Gary, who was heading out on his final 9 miles, past Karsten (the dude I went back and forth with at Vermont) and Dorn Peddy, who had dropped from the race and was cheering runners on at the trailhead. We rounded the corner by the tiki torches, and BAM! Finish line!!! Geof crossed the line in a highly respectable 25h:08m! Done and done! What's that? Two-time hundred mile runner, comin' in!

We hugged at the finish line, relief washing over us. Rest! Food! Oooo, belt buckle! Jamil handed Geof his buckle and someone grabbed his timing chip, then we went and...sat the eff down! Geof's finish was made even more impressive by the fact that exactly 50% of those who started the race DNF'd. FIFTY PERCENT! Wow! I have to say, I completely understand why the drop rate is consistently so high. That course is downright deceptively tough. You go into it thinking it's easy because there is no major climbing, and it's a loop course. You come out of it thinking it's effing TOUGH because there is no major climbing and it's a loop course! Mentally, that course will chew you up and spit you out if you're not trained for it in your mind. Then, add in all that extra running you're doing because there aren't any hills that force you to walk, and you're one tired SOB before too long. Oh, and the heat will do a number on you, too.

What a fun day though. I got to see my dude reel in his second 100-mile finish, run 40 miles through the desert in a place I've never been before (first time in Arizona!), spend time with my lovely CHUGs, hang out with Kelly who is pure human joy, and learned even more about how incredible the human body is. Just when you think it's had enough, it kicks into another gear and pushing you along some more. Geof is an incredibly strong runner and it was so cool to see first hand how he does it. JJ100 is a very, very well run event, great volunteers are out there, working hard, Jamil and his whole family 'get it' and have everything you could possibly want from a race. The organization is top notch, and they just...thought of it all. It was so cool. Kudos to the Coury family, and everyone that worked to make this happen!

Lessons learned? I don't fall in the desert, so maybe I should only run in deserts :) Geof has really, really great legs. Perpetuem saves lives. I love glow sticks when they lead only to aid stations. Never volunteer for 8 hours, crew for another 5 hours and then run 40 miles on a stomach filled with pumpkin pie, Gatorade, water, oatmeal cookies and a sub sandwich. Perpetuem really does give you the best sounding burps, and the sound reverberates off of cacti very well...I'm just sayin'. Blister ain't no joke...I just KNOW there is a solution out there and Brian is going to discover it :) And, last but not least, 100 miles is an amazing distance filled with a lot of incredible experiences and lessons that you will take with you everywhere in life. I can't wait to run 100 miles alongside Geof :)

Two thumbs up to Javelina. I recommend running it someday. Just remember, it ain't all that easy!

Chillin' at the K Bus with Geof and Brian after Geof's finish, and a luke-warm shower

Check out Geof's account of the awesomeness: A Very Javelina Jalloween

Crash, out.

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