Monday, September 27, 2010

Sierra Nevada Endurance Runs 52.4

This past Saturday I competed in Julie Fingar’s Sierra Nevada Endurance Runs. I ran the double marathon (52.4 mile) event. Lily and I volunteered to help Julie with packet pick-up the day before. It was fun to meet so many other runners. Lily also helped with other aspects of the race, did post race massage and ran the 12K, (she worked harder than I did that day). As always Julie puts on a great race.

In accessing my fitness I thought I had a 9:30 or under in me, (10:53 pace). Regardless, my main focus was to finish since I needed a WS100 qualifier for the Lottery.

Training of late had been consistent, but I would have liked more long runs (+25 miles). Heat running and acclamation felt good. Hill training had been good, I’d been doing hills a lot more than even I realized. I will definitely be going back to the big hills near my Echo Lake cabin for next year.

September weather leading up to the race was ever changing. The Sunday before the race it was cold and I got rained on a little while running. The cool temps we had made me hope race day would be the same, NOT! 96 degrees was the forecast. It was that temperature at least, but it felt more like we were 10 ft from the sun.

The Race

From the gun I hung with a group of runners I knew or had just met. They included Tony Overbay, Lainie Callahan, and others. The pace we relaxed and everyone seemed content. From course knowledge I knew I needed to be on my own before the gnarly single-track hit. I slowing left on my own before Buzzards Cove. I find running with a group through this section can make you run other runners paces. I soon hooked up with Eric Toschi. We ran together for a while and keep the pace conversational. Eric had just run the TRT100.

The HRM was reading right where I wanted it to be and I was running relaxed. I walked a few of the short steeps to make sure I was running within myself. Eric went on his own after Avery’s Pond when I had my prerequisite pit stop to make. I later found out we were running in 2nd and 3rd place, (never been there before).

The section from Avery’s Pond to Cardiac went well, but the heat was coming on. I ate and drank everything I planned to. I stuck to my plan and hiked Cardiac. I ate and drank as I hiked after loading up at the aid station. Just prior to the Overlook I felt a twitch in my inner thigh, not good. So I went into overtime with the salt/water. In hind sight I needed to do even more. Regardless I felt great at the Overlook. I got a surprise; Lily was there taking photos. On the back side I stayed in control to keep from running the downhill too hard.

The ascent back up was uneventful, but the twitches were there and then gone, again not a good sign. I concentrated on staying relaxed and drinking, etc. I saw Kuni Yamagata on the way up and told him about my issues as I rubbed my leg for a second. Kuni is one tough runner, so in response he sprayed me with water and ran off.

From the Overlook and back to the bottom of Cardiac I stuck to my plan, but the twitches were there. I jumped into the canal twice and it felt so good. I really love that canal, most of the year it’s a free ice bath. In the summer it’s a life saving cool off.

At Rattlesnake Bar I was having serious issues. Mark Lantz was there and told me to take even more salt. Thinking I was taking enough (2-3 an hour) I threw caution to the wind and just downed it like candy. Mark is an Ultra god so I’ll do what he says.

The remaining miles had a LOT of hiking involved. Regardless I keep at it and didn’t lose myself. Around Avery’s Pond I got more nauseous than I ever have in a race. At one point I looked at my finger and thought about doing IT, but I didn’t.

Coke, ice water, salt and lying in all bodies of water defined my life from Rattlesnake Bar aid station to the end. If you have run near Avery’s Pond you’ve seen the horse troth by the bridge. Oh yeah I swam in that, (sorry Mr. Ed).

I finally felt better right before the Twin Rocks aid station. A bit too late to matter, but I was able to run from there to the finish. At least I could finish like a runner and not a hiker at the end. All said a tough, but rewarding day.  10hrs and change for 5th over all.

Afterwards it was great to hang out and watch my fellow runner’s finish. The men’s winner will be someone to watch. I briefly meet Ronda Sundermeier whose blog I have read in the past. I got some great photos of her and some other runners.

Melisa had a super tough day. She was dealing with physical issues that would have made me a DNS. Regardless she continues reinforce her new nickname I have for her, Tough As Nails (TAS). Her report should be coming soon here.


The Nike Pegasus (road version) continues to be a great shoe for me even on the trails. Only one blister, which I didn’t know was there till it was over.

My Nathan waist pack was great, I’m glad I switched to it.

I had been toying with using a Patagonia white long sleeve to block the sun and keep me wet longer. I had tried it in training and liked what it did for me. I guess I didn’t do it at the race because I’m dumb. Next time I’m going to give it a shot.

Drymax socks: Best damn socks ever.

I know the following about me: Heat = no appetite. I used Ensure at the race which I hadn’t done in a while. It worked for me even when my stomach went south. This reinforces to me that liquid food works the best for me, especially in the heat. Looks like its back to Ensure and the Hammer liquid food products.

iPod: I went without music for most of the race. I’ve been doing in training and I think it’s a good idea. I definitely pay more attention to myself and the race without music.

A few photos of the race.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Woozy Again and a Labor Day Cabin Weekend

So Friday was my second test at UC Davis Sports Medicine. I had all my food intake cataloged and I was again starving my ass off. As I had posted a few days ago. I got a bit woozy when the arm catheter was put into my arm for the blood draws.

I felt better this morning so I figured I was past it. Well I was wrong, as soon at I laid down to have my 3ml blood draw my stomach dropped. So after some discussion with the staff I dropped out of the study. I was really bummed, but it was just too much stress.

I also found that after the 80min test the day before I was REALLY depleted. This made getting back to work a bit of a challenge. I was dragging for a while and all I wanted to do was eat. Another few weeks of that and my boss was probably going to notice.

Cabin Trip

So after Izabella got out of school at noon we drove up to our cabin at Echo Lakes for the Labor Day Weekend. My mom, sister, her husband and my two nephews came along also.

As always it was a relaxing weekend, when at the cabin the Brantley’s know how to chill. It was a little more “energetic” around the cabin than most visits. My mom and family are a bit more tied to the urban life than us. Regardless we had a nice visit together.

I ran to the “Y” (10 miles) on Saturday to meet Lily who hit up the Pearl Izumi Outlet for a great deal on this jacket: Pearl Izumi P.R.O.  It was a great run, cool temp’s and I didn’t feel the altitude.

Lily and I then got out early Sunday for a big run. It was odd to be cold at the start, temps were about 50deg, with lots of cooling wind. Lily set her sights on Lake Aloha or 3hrs, whichever came first. I was going to do 3-4hrs, but later I wanted to hang with Lily so I looped back after hitting Lake Aloha. It was a good choice Lily rocked the run and we had some great Husband/Wife time together on the trail, (no sex just running).  The trail we ran had it all, rocky single track, climbs, sand, and altitude. Lily was smiles the whole time. She even stuck a “1up” Pose at the top of the climb to Haypress Meadows:

I later ran on a head and later met her at the Echo Chalet for a leg soak. We concluded later that the cooler temps and the Paleo Diet she been following has helped her fitness and health. Lily loved the run, she’s got the trail bug for sure now. We talked a lot about Way to Cool 50K.

The trail:

Lily rocking the switch backs

A low Lake Aloha

Weight loss has affected how my clothes fit, (OK that's a lie, I'm just being a dork, but only because the shorts are too big and when I do this it embarrasses Lily):

All smiles:
My Moment of Zen


Thursday, September 2, 2010

UC Davis Study 1st Week test #1

So I did my 2nd trial today as part of the UC Davis study. As directed I showed up with an empty stomach ready to run. The past week of food cataloging was interesting. FYI, chicken sandwiches are NOT a good idea a fast food joints if you’re pressed for lunch. The next couple of hours were interesting to say the least.


First up was my weight, 181.2lbs, (NICE!). Last week it was 184lbs, the staff was suspect that I was changing my diet for the tests. I reminded them that I had eaten breakfast before last week. I also had to share that I was not so “regular” for a few days last week at that time. (T.M.I, but hey it’s all about the science)

Next up was a catheter in my wrist for the blood draws on the treadmill. Gretchen did great, I didn’t even feel it. Also set to go I took it slow and got up. The next feeling I had was WOOZY. So I lay down and played the please feel better game for 15 minutes. This was unexpected and sucked. Eventually I was up and running. The staff was great and said it happens a lot. Hopefully this won’t be an issue again.

Treadmill Test

So we get going with the test which was a bit more involved than the stated, run 80 mins, take food protocol every 20mins with a blood draw. I also had to wear the head and mouth gear for 10 minutes prior to the blood draw for breath testing. The head gear sucks, but I brought a hat which really helped to hold it up.

Per the max test I would be running at 7min mile pace, (OUCH). With the summer here I have to run when it’s really hot 5pm. As such 7min miles for 80mins haven’t been on the plate too much in the past months. So I’m thinking to myself, “This will be fun on an empty stomach”.

Change #2 was that I didn’t get a lot of food as part of the protocol. Today was Clif Shot Bloks. Shot Bloks are 100 calories for 3 Bloks. I figured I would get that much at least, nope I got two. Did I mention I started the test with a growling stomach? I will say the Bloks are pretty good, something to look at for a future race.

So the test went good, I would put the iPod on when I wasn’t wearing the head gear. No problems with the blood draws. Towards the end I was feeling a little drained, but I felt I good still go for quite a while. If I can build on my current fitness my C.I.M goals might work out.

The 5K run after the 80 minutes was at any pace, but they cover everything up. I went about the same pace at the 80 min test, but slowed it a bit towards the end.

Post Test

My weight was down 2lbs. Gretchen checked the blood work and said my electrolytes were great even with the water loss. She told me I must be a good sweater, but efficient when it come to electrolytes use. (HHmmmmm that sounds like a good skill set for a certain hot 100 miler I know).

I now have to do post test evaluations about soreness, etc at 2hr and 5hrs. I started fueling right away with an Endurox shake and a Clif Bar soon after. About an hour after the test I really bonked as I was getting ready for lunch. Taco Bell was my lunch choice, I back at work and in the field. I must say the tacos were perfect, all four of them.

Tomorrow will be a small blood draw followed by a 10K time trial at pace. After the test tomorrow the family is going to our cabin at Echo Lake. I foresee a lot of relaxing this weekend; the planned 20 miler might be adjusted.