Friday, December 28, 2012

The High

I didn't run outside yesterday, but I did get up early enough to get to the gym before work. I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill and I wasn't really into it for the first 10 minutes.

Then I got rolling along and just lost myself in my thoughts. Many people don't really care for the treadmill but I find that I can zone out and pretty much meditate through my runs. Treadmill runs also give me an opportunity to really focus on my form and cadence.

I had a great run yesterday morning and I felt fantastic from that run all day long, I definitely was riding the runners high throughout the day. It was an awesome day and now I am ready to begin an awesome weekend with family.

I have not made any progress on my weight so far but it has been difficult for me to away from the holiday treats. I need to plan ahead for healthy eating and as I increase my mileage the weight should drop fairly quickly. I weighed in at 185 this morning and my goal is to reach 170-ish. I have found that 170 is a pretty optimal running weight for me. I have noticed though, that as I get older, I can't just run the weight off like I used to.

I wish you all a happy and healthy new year!

133 days until the Ice Age 50!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Even though we have snow, it has not been terribly cold here until the last couple of days.

2 days ago I was still running in shorts
I didn't notice it until I uploaded the picture, but there is a ferocious cat beside me, waiting for the right moment to pounce on its prey.....stupid cat.

I had a short and sweet Christmas run this morning, but the weather was much different.
8F / -4 windchill

The photographer refused to go outside in the deadly cold for this picture.

Enter the Running Ninja!

I am grateful for my winter running gear. 

It is quite the assembly of brands including Under Armour (hat, baklava, pants, and undershirt), Manzella windproof gloves, Mizuno breth thermo shirt, and breath thermo shirt and socks, and my Road Runner Sports wind blocking jacket. 

It is not always easy to muster up enough will to get outside when it is this cold but I am always glad when I do.

Are you a cold weather runner?

What is your favorite winter running gear?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Trail

Winter trail is here again


I had a great workout on the treadmill last night. When I am not able to run for a few days the anxiety seems to build up. I made some time last night and hopped onto the treadmill with my "Hard Workouts" playlist.

My song list contains a lot of "angry" music including Papa Roach. They really seem to get me pumped.

I put in an hour on the treadmill. Worked hard on keeping good form and proper foot strike.

All is better in the world now.

I weighed in at 182.4 this morning. I have not lost a lot, but it seems to be a steady progression and I am headed the right way.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I took off from work a little early yesterday thinking that I would go easy out on the trails and get a couple of hours in on my feet. I struggled a little from the start but kept pushing on, I figured that I would loosen up and   fall into a nice comfort zone in my run.
After about two miles it just wasn't happening for me. It was colder and windier than I had expected and had not brought a hat with me. I was in a hurry getting out the door and forgot to grab my trail shoes. I decided that maybe this run just wasn't meant to be.
Maybe I needed a rest day.
So I took it today.

I hired a coach a couple of years ago because I find it difficult to not over train  I was at a point back then that I was running twice a day and sometimes felt like it wasn't enough. I knew that I wasn't doing myself any good.

I have 142 days to train for this.

My first attempt at running 50 miles.

Therefore I must listen to my body, train smart, and do my best to remain injury free.

That may be the toughest challenge of all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Next 145

145 Days until the Ice Age Trail 50

6 miles mostly power hiking

There is a short window of training so I have do my best to be smart about it

183 lbs

24 miles for the week

Here are some photos from the trail today

No snow yet

Lots of critters on the trail, and a few hunters...

Lots of mud...

Even a little blood...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Next Journey

I signed up for my first 50 mile trail run today.

The Ice Age Trail 50

I haven't been running or working out very regularly and have gained some weight.

146 days of training

184.6 lbs

I ran 8 miles on the trails tonight in the dark.

If you have never run the trails at night....put it on your bucket list.

Seriously, it's awesome.

It's time to become focused again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

I had the opportunity for the second year in a row to be the race director for our local Turkey Trot. I believe that this is the 4th year that this event has been around. By taking this race over last year I decided to use it as a fund raiser for our local food pantry. We had a nice turnout last year of about 120 people. This year with the great weather on Thanksgiving we had close to 180 runners and walkers!

There is a lot to organizing and directing a race but I had several great volunteers to help me make it happen.

Through sponsors, registrations, and donations, we were able to raise over $2,500 for the food pantry this year. This is about $500 more than last year!

We had a local business design and print the shirts for us, I thought they turned out well and participants were excited to receive a nice long sleeve t-shirt.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Amish Run

I haven't been running much lately but when I do, it's all mostly been out on the trails. I got the itch to do a long run on the road today. I was curious as to where my pace would be, most of my trail runs have been pretty casual. I typically run some hills and walk some hills and stop to take some pictures while on the trails. It's been a good change for me lately.

I headed out this afternoon after work, feeling good I decided to run the Amish Route. The Amish Route is a half marathon distance that runs right through the heart of the Amish countryside. Lots of horse and buggy traffic, goats tied up in the front yard, dirt roads, all sorts of interesting things to see. I had not run this route in quite some time and found it to be a real challenge. The entire run seems to be up hill or down hill.

Here is the elevation chart from today.

I started out feeling great for the first 8-9 miles then I started to struggle a little. Running 13.6 miles with almost no training was not the smartest thing that I have ever done but I did enjoy all but the last couple of miles. It was a perfect day for running, and for being poorly trained, I am happy with my results.

I hope you were able to get out there and enjoy a run today!

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." - Oscar Wilde

Monday, October 22, 2012


I am putting a focus on fitness again. I have been running very little lately. Partially due to a nagging cold and congestion, and partially due to the work / life balance being out of whack again. Luckily I have started back with my early morning core fitness group on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and now the gym is offering a boot camp class on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Yeah, I may be a little obsessive at times, but now that I have the first week's soreness behind me, it should all be loads of fun!

Last week I had a couple of short and early road runs just trying to ease back into things, then I hit the trails on Saturday afternoon. I bought some new trail shoes, Mountain Masochist 2, so I had to give them a spin. I ended up doing 6 miles out on the trails and had a great time.

I missed a lot of the colors, but the trails are still beautiful right now...almost picture perfect!

I initially planned to take it easy and avoid the hills, but halfway through I was still feeling good so I took the hilly route on the way back.You cannot see them here, but off to the left out of the picture were a couple of deer that watched me as I took this picture.

I took these pictures with my phone and the zoom isn't real great. The deer was about 100 yards away, I have him circled but it's still pretty tough to see it. He is hiding behind the tree, you can barely make out his head to the right and his rear end the the left.

Some areas of the trail are still calf to knee high with grasses and weeds. This time as I was cruising along and found something a little sharper than the average weed.

That's about the extent of things now. My plan is to run the Ice Age 50 miler in May and maybe  a 50K sometime in the very early spring before that. Beyond that, I really have nothing planned.

How is your training going? Any big races on the horizon?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

With a Purpose

I think I am finally back at it with a purpose. I have been sick now for a little over a week with coughing, sneezing, congestion, etc. I finally felt well enough today to venture out for a run so I chose my favorite area of trails.

It wasn't a very long run but it gave me enough time to reflect a little about why I have really enjoyed running on the trails. It can be easier on your body than road running because the grass and the earth can absorb your foot strikes much better. But more importantly, trail running makes you focus on the task at hand. When you are on real trails, there is no zoning out like there can be when you run miles down the road. You have to focus on where you plant almost every foot step or risk falling and possibly even injury. Here is one of the hills I ran up, and then back down today.

It's a fairly steep but not significantly long hill. On the way down I really have to engage my core to control my speed so that I am not out of control while also trying not to step into one of the cracks in the ground. There is no day dreaming on this hill, it's all me with one goal at the moment; making it down this hill quickly and safely.

The other thing this area of trail running provides is year 'round beauty. I have had the pleasure of seeing plenty of deer, turkey, and raccoon while out on my runs. "My trails" are not perfect by any means. There are several areas where the grass is waist high and all you can do is follow the deer paths. The footing in most areas is pretty awful too, rarely is there much of a level area to step. But the changing seasons and variety of trails keeps me coming back. 

Who wouldn't want to run in a place such as this?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Photo-fest

It was a cool foggy morning on the trails. 
I ran across a couple of bow hunters, this means it's time to start wearing my blaze orange running shirts for safety. The funny thing about this... it was the first time that I can remember not seeing any deer or turkey at all on the trails.
The fog made for some interesting navigation, the trails looked different, there were a couple of times that I wasn't sure where I was and then was totally 
surprised about where I ended up.

I love the variety that this trail had to offer.

Shameless self-portrait

It's not mountain climbing, but there are some great rolling hills

In some places you really have to pick your way through the trail

The fog made for some interesting navigation

Dry stream bed

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tribute to a Hero

Today, soon to be 63 year old Diana Nyad ended her quest to be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. This was her 4th attempt. According to her website, she was in the water for 41 hours and 45 minutes. She swam over 60 miles before being pulled from the water because of sharks, storms, multiple jellyfish stings, and severe sunburn.

Did I mention that Diana turns 63 tomorrow?

Simply amazing

You can read about her adventure here.

Here is a news clip about her adventure.

On another note....

I had an awesome weekend in La Crosse Wisconsin. I participated in a 100 mile bike ride as a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). JDRF holds about 5 of these rides a year throughout the United States and this has become the largest. There were a record 425 riders and we were able to raise well over $1 million on this ride alone. It was a great feeling to be able to participate in this event.

My 100 mile ride went fine, we had a great time. But it was nothing compared to what Diana Nyad has accomplished.

Support sign from a T1D child, very inspiring.

This was a stop at mile 40, still feeling good.

Going for the balding mowhawk look :-/

After the ride, we found a place famous for their bloody mary's.
For the record, it was awesome!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trail Porn

Beautiful morning for a run!

Here are some pictures from Grand Trace Conservation Area today.

See the moon in the middle?

Mother Nature added some obstacles today.

Gorgeous Day!
How much for this ride? Two Bucks!


No shortage of hills!

The grass (weeds) in some areas was waist deep.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Breaking the Slump

My first order of business....
It's crunch time for me. On August 18 I will  be cycling 100 miles in order to help raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. My goal is to raise at least $3,000. I am close but I need some help. Please consider a donation. Click here to donate!

On another Note:

Training for your "A" race is a huge commitment. It means early bed times on at least one weekend night due to a long run the next morning, juggling work and family commitments in order to get in that crucial mid-week tempo run, and of course, the forces of nature battling against you.

For me, once the big race finally comes and goes, I have found that I go through a cycle. My first instinct is to find another big race in which to participate. I am fired up and energized from my accomplishment. Then I figure why not, I am already in great shape. No sense in wasting all that hard work.

Then comes the downhill slide. I find that I don't want to work so hard anymore. I need a break, I need to have some fun and not feel obligated to run.

After my 50K back in May, I still enjoyed running. I managed to fit in a half marathon and a 5K within a little over a month after. Then came the crash. I didn't feel very good and really didn't feel like running.

So I didn't.

Except for an occasional run here and there, I pretty much stopped running and working out for about  3 weeks.

The good thing is that never once was I afraid that I wouldn't get back into running. I knew I would when I was ready. I am easing back into it now. I even started a couple of my runs this week before 5am. Once I can get out of bed, the morning runs are nice.

They help keep me balanced, take the edge off.

I am back, and I have a plan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fall Plans

I have found myself in a bit of a funk lately. I've been a little tired and worn down. Much of this has probably come from work stress, mostly self-induced. It's funny how society has taught us, (or maybe just me), that it's valiant to work hard, and put in extra hours to succeed; but if you take a long lunch or adjust your schedule for some fitness time, then maybe you are not as committed to you work as you should be.

I know that this is an internal struggle that I deal with quite often.

Because of this recent slump, I have decided not to take on any major fall races this year. I had a couple of them that I thought I might do. I considered the Hawk Marathon / 50 mile trail race but the date just doesn't fit well into my schedule. Then I came close to signing up for the Kansas City Marathon just to see how that would go, but have not pulled the trigger. Mostly because my running has not been going very well lately.

For almost three years now I have been running and training for a fall and then a spring event. It has been a great adventure but I think that I may need a little time off from serious training. The work-life balance has been tilted out of balance and really heavily leans towards work these days. That probably isn't going to change for awhile.

Currently on the radar, I am hoping to run the 50 mile distance at the Ice Age 50 next year.

Of course...I could change my mind on all of this tomorrow.

Good news...I noticed that they have mowed the trails at Grand Trace, one of my favorite places to run. Looks like I will be running there again soon.

It may be just what I need.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gravel Sunday

I started to write this post on Sunday, but I wore myself out by the end of the day.

I ran10 miles and then biked 30.

I don't think exercise is an addiction for me, but it certainly takes the edge off and makes me a more patient and understanding person.

I ran the gravel on Sunday. I saw several deer but was not quick enough to get any pictures of them.

Here is what I did see though...

I ran another one of my famous "in the middle of nowhere" roads

These line our gravel road for almost half a mile.

Black eyed Susans

Queen Anne's Lace


Storm off to the south, we could have used that rain.

My running philosophy has changed drastically this last year. I am not so competitive on my runs, but much more meditative. 

I like it.