Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Training, it's almost over and of course, more shoe issues

Well it’s late May and the Western States Training Camp is over. This usually signals that the end game is very near. Training has not been what I planned, but I’m happy with what I have accomplished.

I missed Silver State and my mileage plans for May have been off their planned marks for a variety of reasons. I had planned to do the WS100 training Day 1 classic, Robinson Flat to the River for a nice 50miler on the course. Again life intruded very rudely and I could not find a co-worker to cover my on-call status for the whole day. So I did the standard 32 miler, which was great, but I needed another 50 miler before States.

The issues I’ve been having recently have helped me to put my running in perspective. I have realized the more I push the run/life balance the more stress I have. I don’t like stress; I have enough in my life as it is. So I’ve rolled with it and life is good.

The training run was still a very good training run, I learned a lot. The biggest lesson was my shoes. After my previous issues (see older posts) I went back to the shoes I used in 2007, the Asics Trail Attacks. I like the shoe, it rides low but I knew from before that 30 miles is it for this shoe. They are a bit soft and light. Not a problem, I planned to switch at Robinson Flat and again at Foresthill. I’m also going to be like 10lbs lighter this year come race day, but I won’t say what that number is.

2007 WS100 was my first 100 miler and my first experience with a hot spot. It was also the first time I had blisters that affected my running. I got a HUGE blister under my right foot in the race.

So as I’m running the canyon descents Saturday minding my own business I started to feel the same hot spot and possibly a blister(s) on my feet, CRAP!!!! Mo*^&% F*&^$!!!!!!

I also had stiff/tired hips and legs, more than I should have for the distance of the run. I had been loading it up a bit in the weeks before so I chalked it up to a tired body. But as I ran from Michigan Bluff on the fire road it felt like I was running in racing flats, no support. CRAP!!! the shoes don’t work. At the end of the day the damage was evident, a sore right big toe nail, (oh yeah it’s a goner). There were also some epic blisters, mostly on the right foot.

So it’s obvious the Trail Attacks are to minimalist and soft for long/runs with lots of descent. I think I’ll be saving these for some trail 10K’s in the fall I’ve been eyeballing.

This made me think; did I overlook this issue in 2007 and pay for it later in the race? I think yes, I did, but that’s the past, I’m in the now, learn from it and move on.

I looked back on my trail races and found when I was running beefier shoes like Montrail Continental Divides or Hardrocks I had no issues. I think I’m seeing the light on the big picture, I need a beefier shoe.

My training partner Jim has the most horrible issues with his feet. He has big flat feet, with lots of blister issues. When he wears the Vasque Blur he has zero issues on long trail runs. He will even wear the Blurs on the pavement sometimes. He has been telling me to try them, but I’ve put him off, why I don’t know I guess I’m just stubborn. I went Monday to REI where they were in stock and bought a pair. I’ll know more about them by the end of the week.

Predicting my Race

Most people running States say, “I just want to finish” with “I just want under 24hrs” being the second most common saying. This is just my personal observation, but I think it’s true because I’ve said the same thing.

Recently friends and family have begun asking me about my plans for 2009. I can say with all honesty it would be nice to beat my old time of 25:30. Even better, beat 24hrs and get that silver buckle. But, I have decided it would be even better to just enjoy the race. Recent life issues and stress have made remember, this is supposed to be fun.

As I was running out on the course Saturday I realized how much of the race I missed in 2007 because of mistakes I made and stress I had chasing a goal. Mistakes made chasing that unknown finishing time, or that buckle. Pushing myself to the point where the race was no longer any fun. This also made the race more painful than it needed to be, because we all know it’s painful enough.

I have seen video and pictures of finishers of various times coming across the line happy. The pain and tiredness is obviously there, it’s a 100 mile run for god’s sake. But the enjoyment is still there. I love to see pictures and video of Gordy Ainsleigh running and finishing, he’s happy. I can honestly tell you I missed a lot of that happiness in 2007, especially at the end.

So in all honesty my goal for 2009 Western States 100 is to run the race my body will let me run, while enjoying the experience. 28:00hrs, 25:30hrs or 23:59 will be fine this year as long as I can better enjoy, (and remember) the race. Especially the closing mile I get to run with my 6yr old daughter Izabella.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The “Comedy of Errors” Canyon Run and the ongoing shoe crisis

So as the pictures in the previous post show I was invited to run the canyons this past Friday with a very cool group of people. It was myself, Matt Keyes, Derek Semanski, Karalee Morris, and another runner who’s name escapes me, (SORRY). Sufficient it to say the un-named runner has been doing WS100 since I was in HS, (yep he’s that fit).

So this was an interesting run. Since almost breaking my ankle in my Nike Moto’s I knew I needed new shoes for States. Most people know I think most road shoes work fine for trails. But since Nike F^&% up the Pegasus I’ve been unable to find as versatile a shoe for trail and road.

I decided I needed to go back to some trail shoes for WS100. The shoe on most trail runner’s lips and feet is the Brooks Cascadia. So I bought a pair and did a short 10 miler on the bike trail shoulder to break them in. This run would be the first test. I’ll admit I was worried; I usually like more cushioning in a shoe, but people seem to rave about them.

The Run

I don’t know what it was, I was a bit tired, but I did some goofy stuff Friday. For example, on the trip to Michigan Bluff I was slaughtering words like “masochist”. Just so it’s clear I was talking about the new Montrail shoe.

I forgot my Garmin so I had no idea how far or how long I’d be out running. Not to mention no HR monitor, (I’m such a geek).

Knowing how long this run would be I didn’t factor the time needed to run and get home for a dinner with my mom that evening.

For the run I brought my Gregory pack and one hand held. I hate packs but I was unaware of the other water sources beside the Pump. Once we hit El Dorado Creek I hid my bottle like I had done on my last trip out to the Canyons. OOPPSSS I was running farther this trip and most of the calories I brought were drink mixes, uh oh.

Not to worry I brought a lot of extra gel. Even better I brought the brand new plain Powerbar gels I had just bought Tuesday, (my new favorite). I figured worse case scenario I’d resort to bumming some food, yeah I was going to be THAT guy.

So as I grab gels for the climb to Last Chance I notice an uncharacteristic clump in the gel packet. As anyone who uses gels knows with temps in the high 80’s the gel should be like warm runny snot, no clumps. This sucker and all the rest had clumps, not good.

Being the detective I am, (I really am). I checked the expiration date on the packet, the words Sept 08 stared back at me, and the hits just keep on coming, oh yeah I’m THAT guy.

So of course I start a sweet bonk on the ascent out of El Dorado Creek. I was actually ok with this since I was surprised I didn’t bonk earlier in the run. Matt Keyes gets the MVP so giving me the sweetest, coldest Pepsi EVER at Michigan Bluff.

So bonk ended I bummed a ride with Karalee back to Auburn since I would not have made dinner with my mom. Karalee told me we did 25 miles, can’t complain about 25 miles in the WS100 Canyons. The guys kept going and did 30+ miles.


Ok the Cascadia’s, great low profile shoe made for trail running. The fit for me was off, I bought them too big. If I had the right size I think the fit would be great. But the overall and forefoot cushioning is not good enough for me. I’ 6’3” 183lbs and I tend to need more cushioning for long runs and downhill’s, so the Cascadia’s are going back.

Next up on the shoe front the shoes which worked in 2007, the Asics Trail Attack. I’m also going to try the Montrail Mountain Masochist, (there’s that word again).


So for this run I learned when I decide to do goofy stuff I do it in spades.

Including my goofs this was a great run with really great people. Life is always busy, but days like this on the trail remind me just how sweet life is, goofs and all.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

WS Canyon Training Run

I was invited to run yesterday with some very cool people in the Canyons on the States course. It was an interesting day, (read I did some weird stuff). More on that and the run later. Here are some pic's.