Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Tears from the sky, i'm satisfied that i can't stop the rain,
Can't justify, and i can't define, and i can't stop the rain, rain

We only dream to float downstream, reminded by the rain,
Tied to a tree, cannot break free, reminded by the rain

from J-Church, "November"

Water is elemental to our existence. This we know. Rain is not elemental to good trail running. It is April, it has rained for hours and weeks on end. This is ok with me, I need a break from the trails.

Post-McNaughton has been a combination of probably drinking a few too many beers and eating a bit too much, not running enough, and working on busy end of the semester stuff at the new gig. It's easy to justify a lull as a recovery from a big effort and in some ways I think this a wise philosophy. I fully commend and in some ways envy the folks who do a lot of big, long runs back-to-back-to-back-to-back with seemingly no ill effects. I am not one of them. Dropping the mileage down, targeting only a few races for fun, and going for some shorter runs, are all good for the psyche and hopefully for long term participation in this stuff.

It's been two weeks and the only lingering effect from Mcn is a bit of forefoot pain, maybe a slight case of tendinitis. This is nothing new and new shoes will most likely help. In the last three days I've gotten out a few times for six mile road runs. Last night's was in drizzle and chilly air. Does early March never end?

Still, running in the rain is better than not running at all.

Friday, April 17, 2009


So far, so good. Had some soreness for about two days, feeling pretty good now. First run was Wednesday, a gentle three miler on trails, it's way too nice today not to get out, so planning on a six miler later. The occasional Fat Tire doesn't hurt.

Long runs may wait a few weeks, still Farmdale calls when the sun is out like today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

McNaughton Park 50 Mile 2009 Version

The weekend started on Friday at noon as I went out with Andrew to watch the 150 and early 100 starters in the cold rain, particularly Adam and Mike K. and S. Let me just say right off that I'm in awe of those guys and gals cranking the 150 or 100 on that course. It's just cool watching them launch off the start line then coming up Tanner's Pass, knowing some of these folks will be out there over two days later cranking out miles.

Lined up at 6:00 a.m. the next morning for the 50. First loop was good, maybe a bit fast at 2:16, ran most of it with Dex from Deer Creek and Stan Zygmunt from Indiana, who we were with most of the way in last year's race. Stayed steady on loop 2, felt good. The course, I thought, was actually very runnable. The rain had stopped Friday and most of the hills had dried out. Still, there was pretty severe mud in the usual low spots which made for tough going in stretches, but absolutely nothing like last year.

Loop 3 was my slowest at 2:32, hit a mental low spot from about 24-27, came out of it with some calories and never really dipped low again for the rest of the day. Picked up the I pod (Jayhawks) for loop 4. Music really isn't something I like on trail runs or in races, but in this case I sort of just tuned out, went inside myself and ran. Ended up pacing this loop off of a woman that passed me, tried to catch her for the rest of the race as a mental game, but was always 30 yards behind or so. Strong runner, whoever she was. Oh, she was doing the 100, demonstrating how slow my "running" actually was.

Loop 5 more of the same, actually picked it up a bit after totem pole and kept a solid pace. Was tired by heaven's gate, but m and m's and Pepsi cured it.

Ended up coming in at what for me is a good time in those conditions, 12 hours 7 minutes, with the family there to greet me.


-Training: I think it was good, could have probably been better. Got some good consistent long runs in in the preceding months, and I really think even the McNabb Fat Ass was a good jumping off point. I would have liked a few more weekly miles, but this is a time issue with family and such, or maybe that's just an excuse.

My mileage in the last few weeks leading up to mcN was fairly low due to life changes, basically an extended taper. I think this turned out to be beneficial. My legs felt really rested for mcN. That Illinois slam is tempting, but for me personally I just don't feel a 30 miler two weeks before something like mcN is what I want to do. Perhaps off of a better training base.

-Strategy: I had one and executed it pretty well. Going back over previous efforts and looking at other results, my conclusion was that it's really easy to go out too hard on this kind of loop course, thus the overall strategic goal was just to stay controlled and aim for more even paced loops. Even with the strategy in mind, went out a bit quick at 2:16, fading to 2:32 by 30, but then got back on track. Splits for 30-50 make me happy.

-Tactics: I consider this in-race stuff. Big guy=sweat a lot=drink a lot. I did this. Never got dehydrated. Took s-caps at the rate of about one per hour, added a few when little twinges came up. Never got too close to cramps, a possible issue for me. Adding gels this year was a help, I think. More easily absorbed into the blood, maybe? Added solid food like potatoes, peanuts, etc. when needed. No stomach problems at all except a bit of sloshing from a bit too much fluid at one point.

Knowing this course well from training out there so much helps tactically with being aware of when you want to run and when you want to walk. Some of this is dictated by the hills, but not all. I feel that I kept in a good rhythm, used the downhills to an advantage by running them, and ran more of the flats than usual. I honestly don't like the field sections at mcN and don't train on them, would rather be hill climbing, but this time having more flat miles on the road helped me run the flats better and took minutes off my finish time.

-Conclusion: This was a good race for me. Everything fell into place and I'm happy with the result. What's next? I'd like to jump off into a 100, although I'm not sure about mcN. One of the fall 100s holds appeal for several reasons. It's been a slow process, but I think with a little more training and the right buildup, it'd be possible. What form that takes, not sure yet. Going to enjoy this one for a few days.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Not Every Run Is In The Sun

Ok, so I haven't bloginated in a while. Life, new job, etc. Not like anyone reads this dreck anyway.

BUT, it is Mcnaughton Week, and that means life must be good. Training, what's that? No, actually I do feel like I got in some decent trail time. Cobbled together a few 5-6 hour runs on the course, filled in with some decent weekly mileage. The last three or four weeks has been on the low side, but am considering that an extended taper. After some lagging motivation, mostly due with just adjusting to new work conditions and other life stuff, I'm fired up now to go out and attempt fifty miles on those trails.

Weather for the weekend is looking decent, so far. "So far" has to be the qualifier because, as we all know, conditions are subject to change with no darn notice. I love running in the rain/mud, but I gotta admit that it would be a luxury to have a nice dry track to run on for a change after the last two years.

The word on thedirt is that Andy has called this the last McNaughton Trail Run. I certainly hope it isn't and that someone will carry the banner for the race into the future. What a great event for central IL for those of us that LOVE ultras and trail running in general.

Really started running the trails out there in 2002 I guess it was, but didn't do any official distance until '04, when it was the fun run. Leg fracture in 2005 but volunteered deep into the night to see Eric Clifton rip up that course. 2006 was 30 miles. 2007 was a failed 50 miler that turned into a 20 training run in the rain for Berryman. Vindication in '08 for the 50 mile DNF. Who knows what mysteries '09 holds? I just hope they aren't the last.

If they are the last, boy we had mad fun while it lasted and the philosopher in me always remembers that, like the race itself the last two years and last night's run in the pelting sleet, not every run is in the sun-- yet even the one's that aren't are always worthwhile..