Monday, October 21, 2013


very good day.  drove down to jacksonville to watch ec football take on macmurray, our third biannual trip down. like the drive, like the campus, good to get the win (23-15!!).  drive home up 78 to havana and over.  great fall scenery, trees just starting to turn.  took the boys to dinner at the harvest cafe in delavan.  amazing restaurant, highly recommend it.  had pheasant for the first time in my life, springfield brewery wheat beer, and the best dessert, literally, that we've ever had (cherry crumble with sweet corn ice cream). no kidding, it was that good.  all local farmers and seasonal foods, go check this out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farmdale Trail Run 2013--30 Mile Version

i really wanted to try an ultra distance this year, since my first was almost 10 years at the quivering quads in missouri.  having not done an ultra since august of 2010, i wanted to mix up my training approach.  power hiking and some minimal gentle running at a steady pace has become the staple of daily training. pretty simple principles, not at all scientific:

-train every day. have only missed 5 days in '13.

-mostly power hike/walk, some running but always on trail.  no speed work. no road running. steady diet of slow pace, something i find both enjoyable and sustainable physically and mentally

-as much volume as is possible.  sometimes this means double or triple "workouts."  often this means 1-2 hour trail sojourns with a headlamp at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m.  i do not mind this.  in fact, love it.  fewer "long runs"--longest sustained trail effort was 3 hrs. 30 minutes.  quite different from the 4-6 hour runs, midweek tempos of several years ago. what i did do was go 4 hours that day and 3 combined on the next.  weekly volume also way up the last few months compared to the past, but with much less recovery time needed.

-no dietary or other considerations, really.  just being sensible and having fun.

race itself:

with farmdale closed, the race was moved to jubillee state park, four loops on 7.something miles.  great trail, not overly tough, but some nice climbs mixed in.  i had no idea on pace goals but things worked out better than expected.  started steady, actually power hiking as fast as some at the back were running.  had the pleasure of chatting with mike siltman for a bit, ultra and beer guru.  yellow jacket sting to the back of the head at 3 hours, fall and leg spasms at 5 hours, neither turned out to be a big deal.

pacing was steady, i really had no idea about time, figured maybe 8 hours.  i was faster than that.   broke down like this:

loop 1: 1:40
loop 2: 1:47
loop 3: 1:47
loop 4: 1:56

watch time 7:11, official time 7:08    placed 32/61

fueling, hydration, and mental energy was good, never really flagged despite the heat.  climbed well all day using "chunking" strategy of going from tree to tree, an old mental trick that pays dividends.

so, i didn't finish this thing "fast" by race standards, maybe i'm not really even a "real runner" (what does that mean??) anymore, but am really happy to have proven to myself that i still have the fortitude to do an ultra.  it was great getting back into the "scene" and seeing like-minded folks, spending a day in the woods.  family there at the end was cool, the finisher's rock is great, now, planning on working to find a way to make this sustainable and look at some events for next year.  some days life is pretty good.