Tag Archives: western states

Excited for Indiana

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from the Indiana Trail 100 website – http://www.indianatrail100.com

I’m excited!

When I originally started this blog, I wanted to target the Mohican 100 as my first 100 mile run in mid-June 2017.  However after giving this some thought recently, I decided to instead focus on the Indiana Trail 100.  And that has me excited.

Seriously – I’m excited about Indiana! Yeah, I didn’t think I’d ever utter those words …

Why the change?

I want to push this Western States goal.  Yes, I want to run a couple of 50 milers before moving up to a 100, but I wanted to run a 100 mile race sooner vs. later.  Thus, I started poking around at the WSER qualifying list to see which races were early in the year.  And I found that the Indiana Trail 100 was in April – and a qualifier.

I see a few benefits to this …

  1. This ideally sets up up to run a couple of 100 milers next year – Indiana and possibly Hallucination.
  2. The Indiana Trail 100 is closer to home, making the weekend ideally less impactful to my family.
  3. The course appears to be less technical than Mohican.  Ideally good for a first 100 miler.

The downside though …

  1. The course appears to be less technical than Mohican.  The Mohican course looks sweet, but I’ll pass on that if it allows me the potential to get in a couple 100s next year.

I would still love to run Mohican.  Perhaps in 2018?  I know the chances are very slim that my name will be drawn for Western after only one qualifying race.  Thus, there will likely be other years I’ll need to qualify.

What race are you most excited for in your future?

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Ultrarunning: not always run through the woods drinking PBR

It’s been a tough few weeks – from a running perspective.  Yes, the year started off with a bang when I ran the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge.  From there, my running went downhill.

And not in a good, I just crested a hill and I’m ready to let gravity help me cruise sorta way.

I’ve been challenged from work on a couple of different weeks – the hours have been creeping up as we near the finish line of a major project.

My wife has work travels coming this week which will interrupt my running (kiddos can’t stay home alone while I run in the morning and it’s the time of year the double stroller is firmly ensconced in the garage, behind all the deck furniture.

Work will continue to hit me with more and more hours through the month of February.

The April race I picked, a reprise of my first Ultra (Kal-Haven Trail Race), has been trumped by work and I had to bail on it.

In short, I’ve been generally bummed out and unmotivated from a running perspective.

Dude – don’t be such a downer!

Why do I share this?  At first I didn’t think I would.  It’s not an exciting / motivating post.  But – Ultrarunning is hard.  And I thought it was worth sharing that aspect of the sport.  Too often you see only the ‘awesomeness’ of the sport.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of awesomeness, but my goal with this blog is to share the experience – the whole experience – of training / working toward my goal of running Western States.  That includes the good and the bad.  It’s easy to tell you how awesome it is to run through the woods and drink PBR.  It’s harder to write about when things are going tough.

What have I learned over the past few weeks?

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Keeping my eye on the prize – 2016 Marquette trail 50 (miler this year) – with last year’s 50k pint glass.

Well – it helps to keep life prioritized.  As I’ve mentioned previously, running isn’t at the top of my list of priorities.  That keeps my running disappointment from becoming general disappointment.

I’ve also learned when you miss a few runs, it’s not the end of the world.  And you shouldn’t try to make up for all of that lost mileage in a single day / week / or even month.  Keep focus on the goal.  For me it’s running my first 50 miler in August and building a strong base to run my first 100 miler next year.  It’s not running 10 miles on last Tuesday.

Finally – run when / what you can.  A short run is, hands down, better than no run.

 

 

 

When it’s ok to ignore the big picture

I find running to be a very ‘big picture’ endeavor.  It involves setting goals that take months and/or years to reach.  I know in the very best scenario, I’m looking at 2018 until I have any chance at Western States – with one lottery ticket.  In all reality, it will be some time much beyond that.

In addition to the goal setting, there’s the thought and planning involved with creating a training plan to get through those months leading up to a big race and shuffling your schedule around on a weekly basis to hit those training plans.

The weeks leading up to race weekends involve planning the travel and logistics of the race.  Do I need to book a hotel?  Am I flying?  How is my old man going to find me on the course at any given time?  Am I carrying hydration for the whole race or do I leave some Tailwind in a drop bag.

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Custom Map I put together for my Dad to find me during my first Ultra

One of the coolest logistical moves I’ve seen is the custom trucker hats I read about over at The 100 Mile Mark.

Honestly the ‘big picture’ is why I love ultrarunning – I’m a planner.  I love to set goals.  And I love to challenge myself.

But … (you knew there was a but coming based on the title, eh?)

There are times when I need to ignore the big picture – specifically when it’s time to actually run.

Looking at the big picture can be very overwhelming at 2:40am when my alarm rings.  I have to get out of bed and run for how many hours??

Prior to my first ultra, my parents wanted to know what time they should be in town to watch.  They live in Cincinnati – some 5 hours away from Kalamazoo.  I said something to the effect of ‘Oh, it’s a long race, you can leave when I start and still make the finish line before I do.’

Then I thought to myself … Oh shit – what did I get myself into?  They’re going to be driving, from CINCINNATI for less time than I’ll be running!! … and I had a small panic attack.

I find while I’m running, it’s always best to live in the moment.  I don’t think about how much further I need to run (I did that once on an 18 miler and bailed after 4 miles, only to go back to bed for a couple hours – it was the beginning of the end of my training for my first 50 miler last year).  I don’t think about how many more days I need to get up before 4am this week.  I don’t think about how many more hours of sleep my wife is getting each week by not running – Ok I have thought about that a few times, and it makes me want to run straight home and jump back into bed.

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Living in the moment during the Marquette trail 50k – 2015

Simply put, when it’s time to actually run, our friends at Nike said it best – Just do it.  That’s when I find it ok to ignore the big picture.  I roll out of bed, gear up, head out the door and enjoy each step in the moment.

Relax, breathe, run.  And watch the stars.

I leave the big picture thinking for a later time – usually when I have a beer with me.

Have you ever been overwhelmed with your big picture running goals?

Week of 11/2/15 in review …

Miles this week: 25

2015 YTD: 1110


Although the week started out slowly, I finally feel like I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.  After a nice 7 mile run early in the week, I deliberately took a few days of rest to finally kick this nagging chest cold that seems like has been hanging on forever.

That brought me to the weekend, and it was awesome!

Saturday morning started out sleeping in (more rest for the cold) followed by my favorite time of the week – breakfast with my girls.  Eggos all around!  I run to eat worse, vs. eat to run better!

After swim lessons with the oldest, it was off to 7/11 for Slurpees (new tradition I guess, we’ve done it two weeks in a row) before heading out on the first of three runs over the weekend and our last stroller run of the season.  Even though it was a bit chilly, we enjoyed it.  No monsters or alligators chased us on Saturday – just leaves.  And lots of ’em, it was VERY windy.

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After the stroller 6 miler, I dropped her for a nap and headed out for a quicker second lap.  It felt good to get a little speed in the legs.

My wife and I had a chance to get out, as adults, on Saturday night and enjoyed an awesome meal at Principle Food & Drink.  If you’re ever in Kalamazoo, try it.  It’s awesome – specifically the spicy pork craklin’s and the Korean BBQ wings.  Wow, wonderful indeed!

Speaking of food, my wife killed it in the kitchen too by making two of my favorite meals and chocolate chip cookies (they’re the best chocolate chip cookies).  I’m a little scared of what the scale’s going to say in the morning.

Hey – I thought this was a running blog, not an eating blog …

Ok… back to running …

That brings me to this morning’s run, and it was AWESOME.  Wow, what a sky full of stars.  My wife told me Saturday night there was supposed to be a meteor shower overnight.  I’m glad I made it up in time to run under the stars.  This was the first time I ran w/o my headlamp.  I had it with me, and turned it on a couple times when there was a car nearby, but most of the time it was off so I could enjoy the stars.  I did see two meteors along the way as well!

I did cut he run short though.  My route took me past the house about half way.  That was a mistake – the coffee was calling my name and I bailed on the last few miles.  In the end, it was for the best.  My girls woke up right after that and it let me make banana bread with them while my wife slept in.

All in all though, 25 miles this week is finally a number I feel decent about again.

As for Western States – it’s time for those who’ve qualified to enter the lotto.  There are a few folks I follow on Twitter or Strava who are throwing their name in the hat.  I wish them all the best!  Two more years and I expect to do the same!

Have you ever looked past one goal to reach another?

There’s a very good chance I hit my mileage goal for the year -> 1350 miles.  Bummer.  At the moment, on 11/6, I have 258 to go.  After a bit of rest and an ankle injury, post GR Marathon, I was borderline based on the training I have planned for the rest of the year.

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Then came the nagging chest cold / cough that I can’t seem to kick.  Every night before bed and every morning when I awake – cough, cough, cough.  That too has side-lined me as of late.  The longer it’s sidelined me, the more frustrating it’s become.

Mentally, it’s been difficult.

I think I finally made peace with it yesterday though.  I started thinking about why I run.  It’s not to run 1350 miles this year.  That was just an arbitrary number I picked out of the air.  It was me thinking – hey, I wonder if I can run 35% more next year.  35% is a lot.  Which is why it was a goal I suppose – otherwise it’d be a given.

No, I didn’t really run to hit that number.

I run to be healthier. -> Ok, so taking the time needed to actually kick this cold would make me healthier, vs. running myself into the ground on limited sleep and risking pneumonia again.

I run to enjoy the outdoors. -> I can still enjoy the outdoors while I’m sick – on a walk with the kids, or sitting on the deck enjoying the evening (what’s left of it now that we’re back on standard time).  I don’t have to push myself out of bed at 3am every day while sick.

I run to train for my next race. -> The longer I spend with this nagging chest cold, the more I jeopardize my training for the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge.  So, taking a break to fully kick this is a good thing.

I run to ultimately run my first 100 miler.

I run to eventually complete Western States.

Both of those final two are far enough in the future that they’re not really impacted either way here.

Ok – thinking through that helped.

Next I thought about what goals I have accomplished this year …

  1. I ran, and finished, my first Ultra.
  2. I ran, and finished, my first trail Ultra.
  3. I ran a sub 4hr marathon for the first time
  4. I already ran more than I have in any other year

Ok – feeling even better now.

Perhaps the answer is – I need to look past one goal (1350 miles) to reach another one (to be prepared to run the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge).

Have you ever had to look past one goal to reach another?

Western States

I’m going to run the Western States 100.

They say the first step to reaching a goal is to put it out there on ‘paper.’  So here it is – I’m going to run Western States.

Western States is the oldest 100 mile trail (running) race.  It’s also one of the most prestigious – like the Masters at Augusta National or the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.  The difference though – I can run Western.  Some might argue if I played enough golf or rode enough horses, I could tee it up with Rory in the Masters or race the Kentucky Derby.  But therein lies the magic of Western States – anyone can run it.  Anyone can toe the line in Squaw Valley, as long as …

  1. You complete a 100 mile qualifier
  2. You’re chosen in the lottery

Currently I haven’t completed a qualifier, nor do I have any entries in the lottery, but we’ll get into that later in this blog.  For now – we’re putting it on ‘paper’ – I’m going to run Western States.

If only it were as easy as that first sentence …

But if it were easy, everyone would do it.  And how much fun is that?