Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grasslands 2015 - The Mud & Oxford Comma

I was prepared to DNS this post but finally got around to it, not that there is much to post. I came really close to not even heading out to the race. I battled a knee injury all winter and never really got in any kind of proper training and never lost my "winter" weight.

So on race day, I got up early, under trained and over weight and made the long drive out to the Grasslands 50.  Then the traffic...


Yes, traffic at 4:30 in the morning.  The joys of living in the DFW area. This stop gave me time to formulate a race strategy: go slow enough to try and not die but fast enough to beat the cutoffs. I had 4 runs over 10 miles in the past 3 months, so I was good to go, right?

I finally made my way to the race and quickly accepted the fact that I probably wouldn't have time to prep things, use the port-o-pot, and start on time. I took care of what needed to be done and started about 5 min late.

This would be my 3rd time to attempt this race and I thought that I knew the course. However, I quickly found myself aimlessly wandering through the parking area wondering where all the other 50 milers had gone. I finally ran into a parking attendant and he pointed me in the direction that the faster and on time runners had gone. I eventually started catching and passing runners on the out and back and immediately figured I was going way to fast for my current condition. Oh, and there was mud, lots of mud.

I made it back to the Start/Finish area and took a few minutes to finalize things that I had neglected earlier in an attempt to not start too far off the official start time. I headed out on the 1st loop feeling pretty good but forcing myself to take walk breaks and keep things slow. I was focused on just finishing and wasn't going to drop from Grasslands 50 for a THIRD TIME!

I finished the 1st lap muddy, moving slow - really slow - but feeling good. The 2nd lap was uneventful outside of the mud. The never ending mud. Did I mention the mud? Mud! I seriously considered dropping for a THIRD TIME at the end of the 2nd lap. It was mud beyond absurd, I was under trained, I was on a ridiculously slow pace, and dropping sounded a lot better than starting the 3rd loop. However, I felt fine... I couldn't think of one excuse to drop. I tried but not one excuse was legit, so I started the 3rd loop.

The mud wasn't as bad on the start of the 3rd loop, the company was pretty good, and I was moving a bit better. I was still forcing myself to slow down knowing that there was still a ways to go. Then the MUD returned! (Grasslands is a Clover Leaf like course and you run certain sections multiple times) The mud was demoralizing at this point and I was just ready to dry off, hit the road home, (Oxford Comma!) and have some beers. Also, I was on pace to finish over 2 hours off my 50 mile PR!?!?!

Luckily, there was a good number of enthusiastic volunteers and finishers from the 50 mile and other distances at the Start/Finish line when I ended Loop 3. They basically made dropping a non-option and I loaded up on gels and hyped myself up to finish this race. I charged off on Loop 4 with finishing being the only option until it wasn't.

I stopped on top of a hill with great views and spent about 20 minutes walking back towards the finishing line convinced I was going to drop and then turning and walking towards the next aid station convinced that I was going to finish. The back and forth and the back and forth. Then finally a couple more runners came through and they convinced me that we were all going to finish. Oh, then it started to rain! That really helped the mud... A group of us made it to the last aid station, the very last aid station, the only option at that point was to finish.

Rain, mud, mud, mud and then a finish.

But, oh but, but, but that wasn't the finish! Long story short, my car got stuck in the mud and was stranded out at the LBJ Grasslands for nearly a week before I could retrieve it.

Fortunately, race director Chris Barnwell, his wife Anne, and Drew Meyer, Volunteer Coordinator, went way above and beyond anything that I expected. With my car stuck and no options for getting it out (the biggest truck out there had already failed to pull it out of the MUD MUD MUD) they took me in and cared for me. A sleeve of Oreo cookies and a shower was amazing. Then they drove me back into town, pulled over on the side of the road and waited for me to get past my nausea, treated me to dinner, and waited for my wife and family to pick me up.

I really can't say enough about their hospitality and will be back to run Grasslands or volunteer as long as they are associated with the race. We all enjoyed chicken fried steak and some great stories. Chris and Drew are some very accomplished ultra runners and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their stories while eating some chicken fried steak.

My amazing wife and family picked me up in the middle of the night in a far off and remote place (this is a recurring theme!) and got me home. I showered and enjoyed a beer.


Recover wasn't really an issue, who needs to recover from a 50 mile hike?! I did suffer through some poison oak or ivy that I picked up. That and my scratched up legs were the biggest post race issues.




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 - A Year in Review

2014 started on January 1, 2014 and ended on December 31, 2014.  I ran a fair amount, stayed mostly healthy, brewed some good beer, delivered a baby in the driveway, and started a Twitter account.




Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Change of Plans

There has been a pretty major change of plans for this year. No Cactus Rose 100. I'm certainly bummed about that but think that the schedule makes more sense for this year and gives me a much higher chance of successfully reaching my goals.

Big Cedar 100 is a new 100 miler in the DFW area and it is only about a 30 minute drive from my house.  That close proximity will eliminate a number of logistical challenges that are presented by Cactus Rose 100 and allow me focus all my energies on finishing.  The Big Cedar 100 will start on a Friday morning, another difference that I find appealing.  I'll be joined again by Doom (Dude, what happened to your blog!?) and also have a pretty solid group of crew, pacers, and family lined up to be on hand.  I'm really looking forward to this.

This will also allow me to run Rockledge Rumble again this year after sitting out last years run.  At two weeks out, I'll use this as a last long run for Big Cedar.  I've been pleased with my training so far this summer.  There was a two week stretch around vacation that saw very little running when a wild string of events lined up and left little time for running.  However, I typically always take a break around mid-summer and, as a result, I'm feeling really fresh heading into the next 10 weeks of running.

The extended rest period also lined up nicely with a trip to Colorado.  I was able to come off that rest period and really hammer things for a couple of weeks before dialing it back heading towards Colorado.  Unlike last year, I actually have an entire day free and hope to take advantage of that by hitting the trails early in the day and not playing the "oh, where will the monsoon storms be today?" game.  I'm aiming for 5 14ers in 24 hours and that will give me about 22,000' of vert over about 50 miles.  Man I love the mountains!

Brewing Update:

I've been slow but steady on the brewing front but really need to start bottling some of this stuff now that my stock of bottled brew is getting dangerously low.  I've brewed a red farmhouse ale with my house yeast blend, 15 gallons of wild ale using a spontaneous fermentation starter, and a simple saison with grapefruit using my house saison blend.  The saison and farmhouse are ready for bottling and should be prime for drinking come football season.  Some random pictures of those brews:


Monday, May 26, 2014

Week Ending 5.26.14 - Cactus Rose Week #2

Monday - Stairs, pullups, pushups

Tuesday - AM - 4 miles, BF
                PM  - Deadlifts, pullups, pushups

Wednesday - Stairs

Thursday - Sairs, pullups, pushups

Friday - 4 miles, BF

Saturday - AM -  9 miles, NB MT1010, AM2 - 10k race, NB MT101

Sunday - Off

Total - 24 miles plus 2.25 hours Stairs

Essentially the same mileage as last week but the addition of 3 stair sessions and a lifting session really increased the stress on my bad ankle.  My ankle seems almost fully healed and I was totally stoked to get those stair sessions in.  The grinding vert up and down is essential to preparing the quads for Cactus Rose.  

No brewing updates this post or any cool running pictures... so here is a video:


Monday, May 19, 2014

Cactus Rose Training Week 1 (a Redo)

So I planned to do this post about a month ago but I went out for an easy run on Wednesday of that week and some how injured my ankle. I think it was a strain of the Flexor Hallucis Longus tendon and I'm not exactly sure what I did to aggravate it. My mileage had been pretty low leading up to that and I had only been lifting one day a week but the pain was real and took the next month resting, icing, and doing short test runs. The ankle is still stiff with some slight pain but I would say that it is about 90% and seems to improving each day. So here is another attempt at Week 1!

Monday - 4 miles, BF 

Tuesday - some easy exercise bike to warm up and then some stretching & rolling

Wednesday - 6 miles, NB MT 101

Thursday - same as Tuesday

Friday - same as Tuesday

Saturday - 12 miles, NB MT 1010

Sunday - off

Total - 22 miles A pretty lackluster week but I was just glade to get through it without the ankle flaring up on me. I did the stairs today without any issue and that was a huge hurdle to clear. I'm behind where I would want to be at this point but the reality is that October is a long ways off. I'll slowly ramp the mileage over the next couple of months and hope to hit my stride in August and September.

Some brewing pictures: I brewed a 100% Brett Chamomile / Lavender ale that I'm pretty pleased with

Monday, February 17, 2014

Consecutive Days of Barefoot Running!

Not much has been going on since pulling out of Rocky Raccoon 100.  A number of things just weren't falling into place in the days leading up to the race, so I pulled out.  Then less than 12 hours after calling things off, my 8 month pregnant wife comes down with an abscess tooth.  Funny how things work out sometimes.

I've been basically just taking it easy (code for getting fat) but have started to ease back into things.  I'm going to ramp things up over the next few weeks with the target of running Hells Hills 50 but knowing that is probably a long shot.  Once the baby is here, I'll just play it by ear and try to hit some kind of training rhythm this summer.  I'm only going to pencil in Cactus Rose 100 for right now but may try to do a couple of warm up races before that, if things workout.

I've been hitting the gym pretty hard with a focus on deadlifts, squats, press with pullups and pushups thrown in.  And of course, still grinding the stairs for some vert.  The weather this week has been awesome and I manged consecutive days barefoot running for the first time in forever.  I'll be glad when the weather allows for me to get back up to doing 60% or more of my miles BF.

I brewed a 100% Brett Pale Ale recently and am very pleased with the results, in fact, it is awesome.

 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Holidays Ending 1.5.14

12.23.13 - Monday - 45 min stairs

Tuesday - 30 min stairs, squats, dead lifts, pullups & pushups

Wednesday - Off - Great times with family

Thursday - 45 min stairs

Friday - 45 min stairs

Saturday & Sunday - Off with more family in town, great Christmas this year!

Monday - 45 min stairs

Tuesday - Gym - squats, dead lifts, pullups & pushups, started feeling like I was coming down with the flu.

Wednesday - Off, whole family sick

Thursday - 45 min stairs but still feeling ill

Friday - 45 min stairs

Saturday - 22.5 miles, NB 1010, finally a nice day after a brutal stretch of cold weather, finally getting over my illness

Sunday - busted water pipe! yea!

Not really a 2 week stretch that yells, "This guy is getting ready to run 100 miles!" but I'm pretty pleased considering the combo of weather, holidays, failed piping, & sickness could have easily resulted in a two week shut out.  I only have two more weekends before I should start to taper.  My plan was to go 20/20 this past weekend but obviously that didn't happen.  I'm aiming for 26/16 and 30/20 over these next two weekends plus some shorter weekday runs thrown in with the daily stair climbing, esp. if we can get some warmer weather.

Brewing

I recently brewed a 100% Brett Baltic Porter that is currently sitting on about 5 lbs of blackberries, should be good stuff come this fall.