Race Report: Berryman Trail Marathon

May 19, 2015
Berryman trail entrance picture

Welcome to Berryman

Have you ever wished… you had a magic potion?  One that would make everything right and… just… Fix things?

Not the big things, even.  World peace… global warming (it’s real, people)… bad coffee.  None of that matters.

I just want to fix the simple things.  You know…?  Like…  WHY THE HELL I CAN’T RUN 26 MILES WITHOUT HORRIFIC  CRAMPING!!!!??!?

Ahem…  Pardon my frustration.

……..and.  So it went.

I will be the first to admit my training for Berryman was not perfect.  Illnesses and injuries made sure things didn’t go smooth… but I got through it.  And yet, as soon as I started my taper…?  I got sick.  Again.

Running a 5K with a head cold and chest congestion?  No problem.  Running a trail MARATHON?

Problem.

Race Report:

Venue:  Berryman Trail.  Berryman, MO

Quite possibly the most spectacular spot you have never heard of.  It’s glorious.  Gorgeous.  Yummy.  Think huge mixed pine and deciduous forest.  Buried deep in the Ozark mountains (hills, really).  With 25 miles of singletrack trails that anyone would eat their hat to run.  Spectacular.  If you are ever in Missouri and are a trail runner, it’s a must.

Host: Saint Louis Ultrarunners Group (SLUGS)

In a word.  Awesome.  They know what they are doing.  My only complaint was that they needed more charcoal for the BBQ at the finish line.  Everything else was spot on.

Conditions:

Well… This is where it gets sketchy.  The morning of the day before the race… there was rain.  Lots of it.  And thunderstorms.  With wind.  Lots of it.  Wind that dropped several HUGE trees across the trail.  But.  The trail itself stood up to the onslaught well.  Race morning dawned cloudy, muggy and borderline warm/cool.  About 65 degrees at race start.

Then, it started raining.  Right about the time the gun went off for the marathon.  How convenient.  And then, it proceeded to rain for the next 24 miles.  Hard in some cases.  Eight of the last ten miles of this run were in a creek.  Oh, it used to be the trail, but the trail is also the watershed, so we ran right down the middle of it.  And even though the sun came out and it stopped raining for the last 2 miles, it was too late by then.

My race:

I took a chance and decided to camp out in my car the night before the race.  I rarely do this since I have to use a CPAP when I sleep and hauling the iron lung around and setting it up is a pain.  But I tested everything at home and the car (a Honda Fit) with some padding and the seats laid down.. actually worked very well!.  Benefits of being short… :)  So, for the very rare occasion, I actually got to hang out by the campfire, spread ample amounts of bullshit, and enjoy the friendship that trail running provides.  It was actually worth the whole trip.

Race morning started off well.  I slept OK.  Which is actually BETTER than I usually sleep before races.  The battery I was using to run my CPAP crapped out about 3:45am but that was good enough.  I felt good.  Refreshed and ready to go.  I had a good breakfast and took care of some personal business… twice…  And I was ready to go.

My goal for this race was to finish.  I had no time expectations or secret goals.  I had no idea what would happen so I just wanted to get this one in the bag and be done.

I chose a sleeveless top, my new “ultra” shorts with compression liner (Sugoi) and my new New Balance 1210 Leadvilles.  My socks were the old, reliable SMART Wool PHd.s.  I decided to wear a trekking hat.  A Patagonia billed cap with a drape. Lightweight but able to cover my decidedly red neck.  Good to go.

We took off at the standard leisurely ultra shuffle.  I love this about ultras.  Everybody knows you don’t win it in the first mile, but you sure can lose it.  So it was a mostly casual jog for the first mile or so.  The course is an out and back start for a mile and then you dive into the woods for an amazing journey.

My first 5 miles were perfect.  Dead on splits.  Fueling well.  The occasional peak up at the beauty of this great trail system.  The first aid station was just a brief stop to check in.  But somewhere between the first and second aid stations…  The wheels came off.

At about mile 8, the head cold/congestion I was dealing with decided to show itself.  I stepped off the trail and proceeded to hork up a lung. …nice.

Once that episode was over and I rejoined the fray, nothing felt right.  I was drinking more than usual.  Oh, and did I mentioni it started raining when the gun went off and it had steadily increased in intensity the whole time I was running?  Yeah.  That was nice.

Here is where I took a comedy break.  The aforementioned hat…  At about mile ten, the skies opened up.  My hat started to take on water.  LOTS of water.  It has a shock cord in the back to tighten it down.  But it hit a point where no amount of tightening could help it.  It slowly… Gradually… Painfully…  Started to slide down over my eyes and nothing could stop it.  What, at first, was kind of amusing turned into full blown panic… It slid down over my eyes.  I couldn’t see.  While running… On a trail.  What could possibly go wrong?  OH!  And the best part was that when it wasn’t blinding me, the design of the hat channeled water down the bill, off the drape and RIGHT INTO MY EYES!  …perfect.  I ended up clipping it to my belt for the rest of the race.

The trail started getting sloppy.  Just in spots at first, but then everywhere.  I was still coughing but not slowing down.  There were several long stretches where I could run with ease and I did so.  However, going up a hill at about mile 14, my foot slipped out on a particularly muddy spot and my inner thigh/hamstring cramped.

I’ve been here before.  I know what this means.  I’m screwed.

This really made me mad.  I had trained for months and had numerous 18-22 mile runs followed by 10-14 mile runs with NO  CRAMPING AT ALL.  I had hydrated well in the days before the race.  I ate properly as well.  What the Hell?

Regardless.  This was my reality.  As the cramping became more frequent and general, I realized that I was only going to be able to run downhill.  If I even LOOKED at an uphill, my hamstrings and calves would cramp.  I tried to take on more salt and nutrition at aid stations.  I tried beating on my legs, changing my gait and just stopping and refueling.  Nope.  Nothing.

Somewhere along the line in my frustration I stopped paying attention to the trail.  This caused me to roll BOTH ankles once and roll the right one TWICE… just to make sure.  And then, I started tripping.  AND THEN, I fell.  Nothing major (except it made EVERY MUSCLE IN MY BODY CRAMP).  And THEN… I started coughing again… Which made EVERY MUSC…

Oh you get the idea.

Then, after about 20 miles of fighting all this.  In the driving rain… I totally ran out of gas.  I was done.  And at this point in a marathon, nothing can save you.  Unless you eat A LOT, and then sit and wait an hour for your body to digest it.  You’re screwed.  Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.

The 10K death march had begun.  Running was a distant dream.  Just get through it.  This is not the fault of the race, race director, friends, family, course, mother nature, or anything else.  Something I am doing (or not doing) is causing this.  And right now?  I just need to finish.

It’s funny what you think about when you are in the pain cave.

Obviously, I wanted to quit.  I hated the choices that I have made.  I doubted everything.  I hated myself.  I over analyzed EVERYTHING.  I looked up at the beautiful scenery and loved it.  I think it’s what got me through.  I sang the same song lyric over and over for miles because I couldn’t remember the rest of the song.  I wondered if the last aid station had beer.  They did, but I passed.  I figured the only system that WAS working right was my tummy.  No sense screwing that one up too…

And the beat went on.

I finished just a tick under 6 hours.

Let me rephrase that…

I finished.

Through all my demons and doubts.  Through all the problems, failures and challenges.  I finished.

I guess that’s good enough.

Post mortem:

I don’t know what to do.  This is the 4th long race (3 marathons and a half ironman) that I have had serious issues with cramping.  It makes me wonder if I’m just not built for long races.  I may or may not try one more time with the Heart of America Marathon.  But really my only goal with it now is just to get through it without cramping.  Time means nothing.  If I can actually RUN the whole thing (give or take a few of the big hills), then I will call that a success.  But I really have my doubts.  This may just be my reality.

The positives I can take away from this are few.  First, I had NO chafing.  That’s a really good thing considering how soaked I got and how humid it was.  Honestly, after that… I guess I finished.  I lived.  I don’t know.  I’m kind of at a loss.


Staring down reality.

May 14, 2015
image via runnersworld.com

image via runnersworld.com

Ok… Look.  I have done a… if you will pardon my French…  SHITTY job of training this spring.

My weight has soared.  My times have slowed.  My health has faltered.  I have done NOTHING to further my goals.

But yet I sit here typing this drivel two days before I run the longest trail race of my life.  And the first marathon distance I have done since 2007… which damn near killed me and took me out of running for almost a year.

I have been sick more times in the last 5 months than I have in the last 2 years!  Including ANOTHER bout with a head cold that leaves me coughing and hacking and wheezing as I head into this weekend’s trail marathon at Berryman.

What am I doing?  This is really stupid.  I’m going to hurt myself.  I need to bail on this.

Yet.  I won’t.

Call it… part goal achievement… part punishment for discretions.  Whatever…

I leave tomorrow to travel 3 hours southeast.  Deep into the Ozarks.  Where the banjos are MADE.  And Saturday morning I will hang my head and toe the line.  Embarrassed at what I have done to myself over the last 5 months and how poorly I have prepared to do an event that less than 1% of the population will ever try and even fewer will actually accomplish.  And I will slog my way through what promises to be a soggy, muddy trail marathon… just to get this over with.  In short, this has not been a shining example of my dedication or fortitude.  My goal for this marathon is to finish… before they take the finish line down…

For the 50 miler…

See, shit happens.  I have been sick 6 (six) S. I. X. times in 5 months.  This equals a 4 YEAR total for me.  And each time, I had to take a week or more off, but kept eating like a marathoner.

Then… I got depressed.  I won’t discuss the dark places I ventured to and still dwell, but let’s just say I’m frustrated and don’t deal with it very well.  As training (such as it is) progressed… I felt a little better.  an 18 miler followed the next day by a 10.  Not bad.  Then a 20/12.  Then a 22 that… well.  Kinda fell apart.  Wardrobe malfunctions… Serious chafing… The whole thing.  That was 3 weeks ago.  And it drained my confidence dry.

So.

I go into this event fat, undertrained and devoid of confidence.

What could possibly go wrong?

Oh… and it’s supposed to rain.

That should do it…

But, yet…

I’m going into this event with one goal.

Finish.

Health.  Weather.  Work.  All of it be damned.

I’m going to run a trail marathon in the beautiful Ozarks.  With good friends.  A hacking cough.  Some Tailwind. A little guaranteed muscle cramping…

And a big smile.

Because even though this may be disastrous, and not pretty to watch… I made it through 6 illnesses, 3 twisted ankles, 730 miles of training and a dozen or more canceled workouts to make it to the starting line.

The only goal now is to finish.

…and be able to drive home on the same day without completely seizing up.

…Oh… and reporting to work on Monday…


Long run thinking

April 13, 2015

I woke up this morning expecting the worst.  I ran 11 on Saturday harder than I should have.  Because Sunday I wanted to run 18 on the trail.  The Saturday run had hills and was on roads.  The Sunday run was on single track trails with mud, rocks, creek crossings and uneven trails… you know.  the good stuff.  :)

Since I was only supposed to run 10 SLOW on Saturday…  That made the 17 (of 18… due to poor addition…) on Sunday MUCH slower than I wanted to run and added more walking than I had planned.  When I was done.  I hurt.  Especially my quads and ankles.  So I fully expected to wake up and need help getting out of bed.

But… that didn’t happen.  I feel fine.  Granted, my ankles are a bit tender, but otherwise I feel like I could go out and run 10-15 today (but I will NOT.  Say it with me: “REST DAY”).

I have to admit I’m pleased with the way things are going so far.  Granted, I haven’t even approached marathon distance yet (20 is my longest run so far) but I’m more looking at my ability to recover as well as things like my average pace and nutrition.

Two things used to happen when I tried to run long.  First, my average pace would just fade over time.  That is not happening this time around.  In fact, I’m able to pick the pace up at the end of long runs.  Second, I used to cramp horribly for hours or days after a long run.  I never could get the nutrition right and suffered for it.  This time I have found Tailwind Nutrition and it really has made all the difference.  It is remarkable.  It’s not that I notice a huge boost, I just don’t fade or cramp.  I also don’t need food on the run.  I feel like I can go bigger distances with Tailwind and as long as I hydrate in the days leading up to the race I will be fine.

The other thing I was thinking about on the long run yesterday was my continuing frustration with shoes.  I used to be a New Balance fan, but I am growing more and more frustrated with the degrading quality of their shoes.  I just bought a pair of 1210 Leadvilles and after less than 100 miles I am already seeing signs of failure.  The problem is, with my freakishly wide feet, New Balance is really my only choice.  I also run Altra Lone Peaks, but they, and, to a lesser degree, the New Balance shoes are not wide enough in the MID FOOT (arch) which is where my feet seem to be wider than normal humans.  I’m also not a fan of minimalist running shoes.  I like more support (weak ankles) and am getting tired of stone bruises on the bottoms of my feet due to the lack of padding or rock plate.

Oddly enough, the only shoe I am somewhat satisfied with is the Asics Kahana, which I bought out of desperation because NOBODY had wide shoes (4E) at the end of the season last year.  It seems durable, stable and comfortable.  My only complaints with it are that it is heavy and does not have very good traction in mud.  I may look at the Gel Sonoma next.  Looks like it might have better traction.  I’ve just about had it with New Balance.  The last 4 pairs of shoes I’ve bought from them have fallen apart.  I expect more quality out of a $130 shoe.

As for the Altras… I don’t know.  The jury is out.  I might try the Superiors to see if they have more protection.  I will probably find just the right shoe about 3 days before I stop running forever.

Another odd thought crossed my mind.  And this is purely philosophical.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m not just chasing fads with running.  Instead of just focusing on local races and simple events like 10K/Half marathons, it seems like all I do is move from latest thing (triathlons) to latest thing (trail) running.  I tell myself it’s the greatest thing ever and I will do it for life, then I drop it like a two year old discards a toy when something new comes in vogue.  I mean, I really have no desire to do another triathlon.  It’s too much expense, the training is a burden and there are WAY too many “type A’s” who make the whole experience too uptight and just not fun.  Not MY triathlon friends, of course.  I’m still in the coolest triathlon club on the planet.  But I’ve had it with getting swam over or run off the road in a little local race by somebody who takes it all way to serious.

This makes me worry about trail running as well.  Will it just be a fad?  I really hope not.  I love being in the woods and running trails.  I want to say I have found my niche, but I don’t seem to be settling in to the routine or the community as easily as I would like.  Hell, I can’t even find the right shoes.  And then I wonder if I’m just looking to hard for my tribe and maybe I should focus on the fitness and let everything else just play out.

I’m also wondering if maybe I should start running with music… so I stay out of my own head so much.  It’s dark in there.


OK… NOW can I not be sick? How ’bout… now. Now? *sigh*

April 6, 2015

Yes, it’s been a while.  Yes, I’m alive.  For what it’s worth.

I consider myself a healthy person, in that I don’t get sick or have health “problems”.  In fact, I batted 1000% last year and didn’t get sick once.  So I guess I had it coming in January when I ran into a little tummy bug.  Then I had a bout with dizziness and headaches.  Then I got the tummy bug… AGAIN.  And now, I’m just finishing up a two week long hack fest of a head/chest cold.

I’m just not sure I deserved ALL of that.

Brutal.

I did NOT manage to stay on track, either.  My eating habits, exercise regimen, waistline and mental health all suffered.  I also have had to face a disappointing truth.  My knees HATE spin bikes.  I tried to switch to spinning for a while to give myself a break and after 1 week of classes, I couldn’t walk up stairs.

In fact, at a time when I should be averaging 50+ miles a week running, plus a little biking and swimming, I am struggling to just get decent run miles in.

So as I dig deep for positives, I can find just one right now.  The long run feels… good.  I am up to 19 miles and actually really enjoying it.  Not just during… but after.  Which is really weird for me.  When I did this craziness last time and did my long runs, I just wanted to nap the rest of the day.  But this time, after 19 on Saturday, I was out in the garden all afternoon.

So, not to doubt myself… but I’m wondering why…?  I think I have most of it figured out.

  1. I’m in better shape.
  2. I’m now USED to longer distances.  I can’t stress how important this is.  I notice it mostly in the fact that I’m not getting horrible muscle cramps like I used to after long runs.  And I can actually sleep at night after a long run WITHOUT liquid painkillers… :)
  3. I have the right shoes.  Trail shoes (like the New Balance 1210 Leadville) are just more stable and wear longer.
  4. My pace work is better.  I start out between 9:30 and 10:00/mi and slowly speed up over about 6-8 miles.  For me, this REALLY works.  I have gas in the tank at the end of the run.
  5. I found my nutrition.  Tailwind is the right product for me, no question.  It just works.  And right about mid run I have a fruit… bag… thingy (puree of fruit in a gel like container).  Seems to balance out my need for calories and gives me an extra shot of good sugar.

I see this not only in my run and immediately after, but also the next day.  I am able to go out and run another 6-10 miles (albeit slow) the next day.  No way I could have done this before.

Berryman is my spring goal race.  It is in May.  I’m very much looking forward to it.  Since it is my first marathon distance trail race, I have no expectations for time.  I just want to finish upright, breathing and stay out of the med tent.  My biggest fear now is the heat.  I will need to start acclimatizing myself to hotter runs as I go along, but I think it will be OK.

The rest of my season is pretty easygoing and I’m going to run long as long as it feels good.  I want to run Heart of America (very tough road marathon) in September and then do my first 50K at Rock Bridge Revenge.  If I live past that I may even shoot for a 50 miler before the end of the year.  Probably not going to do much else, multisport or otherwise.  Running feels very good and relaxing right now.  I’m gonna ride that pony for a while.  Low stress/high fun factor.  Dirtbaggin’ it, even.


Upgrade!

February 16, 2015

OK… I admit it.  I have become slightly addicted to stats.

There.  I said it… I feel better.

I used to be the guy that badmouthed (lovingly) all his runner buddies as he ran by them (with his trusty Timex Ironman watch) as they shuffled around and held their shiny, new Garmins to the up to the GPS gods so that they could be blessed with signal.  Without which, some of them seemed completely incapable of completing a workout.

But I, too, eventually drank the GPS Kool-aid.  I found the GPS world to be klunky, unreliable and more of an irritation than anything.  Dropped signal, poor battery life, hard to read and set up interfaces and mysteriously illusive satellites that could easily be spotted and locked on to in my basement but disappeared when I came out into the open skies.

I stuck with it though.  Part of my problem was a poor choice in GPS watches (the Timex GPS).  I also had to learn the lingo and get myself in the habit of planning ahead so that my device was 1.) Locked in and 2.) CHARGED.

I started to slowly learn how to milk useful information out of the data.  I could track times over the same course.  I could see improvement (or not…) over time.  I began to get my mind around things like cadence and power.  …and I liked it.

But over the last 6 months my watch has slowly started to fail.  The battery just won’t stay charged for more than an hour or so.  And since I am only going longer, this is the worst thing that could fail.  It also can no longer be submerged without fogging up completely and becoming unreadable.  So swim training is out.  Which means I can’t wear it for triathlons.

So with equal parts sadness and joy, I said good bye to my first GPS watch this weekend and… I upgraded.

I looked at a lot of different watches.  Garmin, Suunto, Timex… The whole lot.  I got overwhelmed and a bit nauseous and stepped back to look at what I wanted.  Then I made a list:

  • AT LEAST 15 hours of continuous battery life (gotta get me through that Ironman or hundo I’m never doing)
  • Easy to read (stupid 48 y/o eyes… nothing lasts anymore)
  • Easy to set up
  • Good software that DOES NOT cost extra (that was a stupid choice on the part of Timex) at least for the basics
  • Waterproof.  I need something I can swim with.  This eliminated some good watches.
  • Swim tracking.  Something that counts strokes and measures distance in the pool AND open water.
  • EASY to do multisports with.  Tracks different segments correctly (the Timex never did this right)
  • Altimeter accurate enough to figure out things like steep hills or stairs.  My old GPS tracked altitude but on a course that had steep hills, my distance was always different than everyone else.

rf-lgSo when I looked at what I wanted, the choice was easy.  The only watches that really do this are the Garmin 910 and 920.  Garmin LOVES the 920 ($500 for a watch?  Really? Does it come with a free entry to an IM?).  The 910 is last years model and except for a couple of new features I don’t really care about it does everything.  They are getting harder to find but a local shop had a couple of them left and they were on sale (bonus!).  As an extra bonus, all they had left were the models with the heart rate monitors.  I’ve never used a HRM before but have really wanted to try it.  And did I mention the “sale” made it about HALF the price of the 920?

All of this, plus the fact that I got a little extra jingle in my paycheck made for a pretty easy decision.  I went with the Garmin 910XT with HRM.  Granted… not the cool new toy all the big kids have, but I’m good with it.

My impressions so far…

Setup was easy.  Plug in the Ant+ USB stick, let it get set up, set the watch next to the computer and magic happens.  The watch was updated and added to Garmin Connect automatically.  The website is easy to understand and navigate (I had never seen  it before and was hopping around almost instantly).  I got all my info set up and customized the interface for my interests very quickly.  I put in some shoes, my bike and watched a few videos provided by the site to help with swim setup.  The basic things I want to see (total time, segment time, distance) on the watch are actually the defaults so there was no digging through confusingly named options.  The display is easy to read.  The vibrate alarm will take some getting used to.  Scared the crap out of me the first time it went off.  I knew it did it… I just wasn’t expecting it!

And… of course… it snowed about 6 inches last night and the temperature is a balmy 18 degrees, so the first run will have to wait.  Who knows… If I can get out of my driveway, maybe I’ll actually get back in the pool (for the first time in MONTHS) this afternoon.  Could be ugly…


My own nutrition

February 2, 2015

How is it that things get more complicated the more I try to simplify?

Last year I was all in by February.  I had bought and paid for the Triple Challenge in Chicago, a race that wasn’t for 7 months.  I had also signed up for a half dozen other races and was hard core into a weight loss challenge.

So this year rolls around, I’m in much better shape and really doing well.  I decide to simplify back down to running only, with a sprinkling of duathlons and triathlons for flavor and just focus on feeling good and the love of the run.  I sign up for a trail marathon and optimistically look at also running a road marathon and even a 50K.

Then January hits.  All but one of my long run days are C.R.A.P. weather.  I get sick (for the first time in over a year).  I get sick again (for the first time in… a week).  I fight off (successfully… so far) a THIRD round of the plague.  I roll an ankle (first time in a year).

So at a point in my training where I should be base building and running 30-40 miles per week EASILY… I got 108 miles in, FOR THE MONTH!  I actually got in more SPIN class miles than I got running miles in.  Thank the GAWDZ my trail marathon isn’t until May.

Confession:

I actually looked at the pool at my gym yesterday and WANTED to get in.

That’s just sick.

And today, as I gaze longingly out the doors, knowing I’m already 8 miles behind because yesterday was another C.R.A.P. weather day and all I could do was spin… I see beautiful sunshine, roads and trails glistening in new snow, temperatures at a balmy 17 degrees and our roads… ice covered and impassable.  C’mon county road crew!!!

I don’t mind snow, and cold, and rain, and wind… and injuries, and flu, and tummy bugs.  I would just politely request that they not all converge on me AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!!

Is that too much?  I mean… really?

OK.  Whiney pants off.  Moving on.

I did get in 11 on Saturday and felt pretty good.  I’m occasionally having a problem with dizziness and headaches AFTER my longer runs.  I’m pretty sure this is hydration/nutrition related.  It’s still no fun to stand up and get the spins, regardless of the reason.

I-regret-nothing-550x359I’ve been very impressed with Tailwind.  I didn’t take any with me on Saturday because I was only running 11.  This may have been a mistake.  Just like in real life, my biggest downfall with exercise is nutrition.  Hydration and fueling are a mystery to me.  If it ain’t pizza or bacon… I don’t get it.  However, Tailwind is the only stuff I’ve ever tried that actually feels like it works.  I carry a handheld Nathan bottle and that usually gets me through 14 or so.  The next big mystery to solve, especially if I want to go marathon or longer, is where to go from here.  I have a CamelBak hydration pack that is 70 ounces.  I don’t mind the bounce/slosh and it fits well (no chafing) but I’m not sure it’s enough.  I’ve looked at Orange Mud, Ultimate Direction and other hydration solutions, but I feel like they are almost overkill.  I don’t want to run with two handhelds either.

I’m not complaining, this is just new to me.  I need to experiment.  I don’t want to drop $$$ on a system that doesn’t work and you can’t rent them, so I’m going to have to test what I’ve got.

The bigger mystery to me is eating solids while running.  I’m losing interest rapidly in bars of any kind.  Most are too processed, sweet or loaded with chocolate.  Now, before you bring out the pitchforks and torches… I love me some chocolate.  Just not 3 hours into a run.  Other bars made of mostly nuts and seeds don’t help a lot either.  I have had people suggest everything from bananas to Big Macs and everything in between.  The classic PBJ is always popular, but I still don’t feel like it’s actually getting processed well enough to do much good.

I seem to favor savory over sweet.  I like Epic bars but they tend to be dry and the Power Bar Performance Energy Blends actually work really well (yes, I know… baby food) and even though they are fruit, they are not too sweet.

My biggest problem is the frickin’ internet.  I need to stop READING everybody elses’ nutrition ideas and just find what works for me.  But in trying to get ideas for things to try, I get wrapped up in Sid Soandso’s power maple, brussels sprout, quinoa, chia and dirt bars and by the time I’m done I actually think “…huh.  That doesn’t sound half bad…”  Ugh.

…maybe I just need to make my own Big Bob’s bacon, pizza, Dorito and bean dip bars.  And make my own hydration drink… I like to call it “Barley Juice”.  Only 4 ingredients: Water, yeast, natural assorted grains and hops.

…And now you know why I look like I do.  :)


The Plan

January 28, 2015

norunningI realized today that I am, for the first time I can remember, looking at the “other side” of my training plan.

What the heck does that mean?

For the first time, when looking at a “training plan”, I feel like my base is above where the plan says I should be.  And I have NO FREAKIN’ IDEA what to do.

I find myself waking up every day, looking at my plan and (except for the long days) saying… “That’s IT?  That’s ALL?”

I don’t know… maybe I picked the wrong plan.  Maybe this is a good thing.  But SCHWEET BABY JEEZUS!  On a day in January in mid Missouri with highs in the 60s you are telling me I should only run 3 miles of hills or stairs?  GAH!

I know… I know…  Deep breath in…  and enjoy it now, before the crap weather comes back and you have to run 20+ miles in it.  Having experienced all 4 seasons on one run before, I get it.

But it does bring up a challenge… doesn’t it.  I’m not asking myself to stick with the training plan by desperately trying to actually MAKE the mileages.  I’m desperately trying to SLOW MY ROLL and not throw in tons of junk miles just because the weather is decent or I have an hour to kill because I actually CAN because I’m in decent shape for the first time… ever.

The bottom line is this proves NOTHING.  Other than I can’t follow directions.  It’s the same philosophy my dad tried to teach me back in the day… Just because you CAN… doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Over training is a killer.  Especially at my… um.. ADVANCED… level of experience. *cough*

But I really don’t think age matters.  I have seen old farts and young guns alike totally derailed by “one more run” or “a few extra miles”.  People who are smart enough to make these plans (for the most part) carefully calculate the balance between “enough” and “too much”.  If you are actually going to FOLLOW a plan… frickin’ FOLLOW it.

Sounds easy.  Doesn’t it…


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