Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pasture Run

I managed to work in a nice little run around the pasture today. I try not to get too close to the cows because they are very protective of their calves.

2 laps is about 4.6 miles and 4 creek crossings with every lap. The elevation really isn't too bad, someday when I get back in shape I should be able to run it all. It's just nice that I can get in a "trail" run leaving right from my home and following the cow paths around the perimeter of the pasture.

I am still struggling to establish some healthy habits but the exercise is getting better. I am back with my workout group every MWF and if I can't make it in the morning, I have been making it up in the evening.

I have somehow let my health and my life get slightly out of control. I let it drive me instead of me driving it. Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you, but essentially I have been in a long slump.

I am working my way out of it. Nothing serious, I have the power to take back control, and I am doing so every day.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

One Ninety-Five

I weighed in at 195 lbs. today, the most I have weighed in years. 

I am working my way back.






I have plans.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Finding My Groove

After taking a good month or so off from running (and gaining about 20 lbs.) I think I am back. The foot isn't perfect, but it is a whole lot better than where I was.

My comeback started on April 28 with the Hy-Vee Road Races half marathon. I had been signed up for this for quite some time, so after not running for about a month I decided what the heck, and went for it. Other than my very first half marathon, this is the only time that I ran a race with no intentions of competing or finishing with a specific goal in mind other than to finish. I ended up running most of it with a friend/ coworker and ran my slowest half marathon ever. It wasn't easy, but it was fun and helped to motivate me.

After the half marathon I took another week off and started back training in earnest on Monday May 6. My goal is to come back easy, and carefully rebuild my strength and stamina in time for the Mankato Marathon in October.

I am measuring and monitoring my run distance by time and pace by heart rate. It's a significantly slower pace than what I would typically run, but I am trying to do this right.

Training for May 6 - 12

Monday - Thursday 30 minutes at or below 140 bpm
Friday - Saturday rest days
Sunday - 40 minutes at or below 140 bpm
All run days have included stretching after the run and some form of strength training. I have been mixing it up with push-ups, lunges, planks, etc. Trying hard to be well rounded.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Joy and Pain

Remember this song?

If you have been a runner for a long time you have most likely encountered a lot of joy and some pain.

Today I took advantage of the awesome 75 degree weather and tested my foot out on the trails.

When I told my wife that I was going to do some trail running she warned me that it might be muddy out there today. Hello Mrs. Obvious, that's one darn good reason to be out there!

 My left heel is still pretty tender and my trail shoes don't have quite as much cushion as I would like in them. I decided to try pulling the insoles out of a pair of my Asics and adding them into the shoe. It worked great. I also shortened up my stride and found it kept from aggravating my heel too badly.

I decided that I would alternate running for 7 minutes and walking for 3 minutes just to keep myself from overdoing things. That also worked out well as I was able to run for 80 minutes without much trouble.

I did some mud surfing down a couple of hills and splashed through 6 little stream crossings.

Definitely a joyful part of my day!

Yikes...as I write this, I have 56 days until the Ice Age 50.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In a Slump

(from Google)


Sit, lean, or fall heavily and limply.
A sudden severe or prolonged fall in the price, value, or amount of something.
verb.  fall - sink
noun.  depression

So...here is how my Ice Age 50 training has been coming along.

I have completed 6 runs in the last four weeks. My last "run" was on Saturday. I thought it would be great to spend a couple of hours out on the snow covered trails. Two miles into the run, I stopped an turned around. I had a lot of pain in my foot, my plantar fasciitis suddenly decided to flare up again. I am pretty sure it came from a 7+ mile run on the road in my Altra's. I have not been wearing them much and there is very little cushion in them. I love how light they are, but I need a cushioned shoe.

I hobbled around all day Sunday and Monday with foot and back pain. It seems to be getting better day by day.

When I am not injured, it seems I have been either working, eating, or sleeping. I have totally lost my balance in life. I am fully aware of it but just have not been able to reign things back in and make some time to run. I cannot blame the boss, I set my own hours and schedule.

I guess I am just in a slump.

I have gained weight

I am not eating well or exercising much

I just need to find my mojo and get moving again, especially if I am going to run 50 miles in May.

Maybe I will try running tomorrow...

How do you pull yourself out of a slump? What gets you motivated to move again?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shirtless in February

Trail view from today

It's been an unbelievably warm winter in Missouri this year. The temperature went over 50 degrees today so I took the opportunity to take a few hours off of work in order to hit the trails. No hat, no gloves, just me in my shorts and long sleeve shirt. 1.5 miles into the run I became very warm and I had a long way to go, so, I stripped of my shirt and ran the next  5 mile loop shirtless! It felt great, but I was wearing my Camelbak and there is definitely some chaffing.

I am not normally a shirtless runner. I have had problems where my shorts will get really wet and my shoes will even start to sound like I ran through a puddle and get squishy. Yeah, I sweat that much.

I tried a couple of Honey Stinger products today. These were purchased and purely my own taste test. I will have to admit that I am a strong fan of and had the best luck with Hammer Nutrition Products. I should probably review them next.

Here are my thoughts on the three products I tried.

Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie
The consistency of the Honey Stinger gels in my experience has been a little on the runny side. There is a fairly fruity taste to this gel, it's not bad but I cannot see anything exceptional about it in my opinion. If it was at an aid station, I might take one, but I won't go out of my way to purchase this product.

Honey Stinger Ginsting
This gel doesn't really tell you any flavor, and there is a good reason for it. There is a bit of a honey flavor to it, but in my opinion, it just doesn't taste good. I took this one about one hour into my run and I sucked it down quickly. If this was at an aid station, I wouldn't even consider taking it unless there were no other choice.

Honey Stinger Chocolate Waffle

This was the best of the 3 items I tried today. I have read many positive reviews about how much athletes like the Honey Stinger Waffles. Taste and texture are pretty decent. Lance Armstrong is on the front of the package, apparently he helped design it. I would likely eat these again.
There are 160 calories in one waffle which is great if you are going to be out on the trail for a few hours. At a $1.25 - $1.40 each, I may give these another try sometime.

What is your favorite form of calories while running?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

PsychoWyco Run Toto Run 2013

Wyandotte Park trails, aka Wyco, is about as fun as it gets for a trail race. When signing up for the PsychoWyco Race you have the option of doing 1 - 3 loops of the course with each loop being 10.35 miles. Two years ago I ran the 10 mile version, and you can read about that here. This year, I upped the ante and signed up for the 20 mile race.
Right about mile 2, no mud....yet.

My running has been very hit and miss lately. I have had some strong weeks and solid back to back runs and then I have had the last couple of weeks where I ran twice within two weeks of this race. So going into this I was not expecting anything spectacular. My objective was to have fun, enjoy the course, and be able to finish. That is exactly what I did. There is really nothing dramatic to report, I met a friend from Nebraska and his family at the race. He did the 50K and ran a great race. I mostly took my time, had some great conversations out on the trails, bombed down the hills where I could and successfully finished without falling. Trust me, the part about no falling was no small feat. The trail had several muddy areas that were either slick, or sticky enough to suck your shoes off of your feet.

Dancing over the rocks
Phew, I made it!

If you are up for a challenge with some great terrain and an awesome group of people, this is the race!

Going from one hill
...to the next

When I finally came through the finish 4 hours and 8 minutes later....

My legs and my shoes were a good indicator of the mud we had faced.

My mantra was to "just keep moving forward", and in the end it was well worth it. This is the largest race medal that I have ever received, and yes, the little tornado even spins.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Back to Back

Ice Age training is still pretty spotty but I have still managed to get in a few quality runs. This week I did back to back 12 milers on the trails. Both runs really went well and even though I ran pretty much the same course both days, there was a big difference in the trail conditions. Saturday was dry and dusty, Sunday was rainy and muddy. Good clean fun!

I was a little tired towards the end of my run today but I still managed to finish fairly strong and only about 6 minutes slower than yesterday. With the muddy conditions I am very pleased with my finishing time.

The warmer temperatures make the trails still look like fall.
It's a tough march up that hill, especially when muddy,
but it's really fun bombing back down it!

I was amazed at how bright orange the leaves were today.
This is a really pretty area of the trail

Because it rained all night there was no shortage of standing water or muddy areas

This creek bed was dry most all of last year.
It's not flowing, but it's a start.

There really is sort of a trail here. They did some clearing this fall which
created a big open dirt area / mud pit.

This trail area provides a good combination of mostly flat areas where you can really get some speed going of you choose to do so, and several challenging hills that will leave you gasping for air on the way up and praying not to fall on the way down.

Below is an elevation comparison between my 12 mile run and the first 25 miles of the Ice Age 50K from last year.

12 mile trail run

25 miles of Ice Age 50K
I believe that they are fairly comparable other than not so many flat areas in the Ice Age. 

This weekend was a great test of endurance before I participate in the Psycho Wycho Run Toto Run 20 miler in a couple of weeks. It is one of the toughest courses that I have ever run. It is a 10 mile loop that you choose to run from 1 - 3 laps. I am going to run two laps (20 miles) because I don't think I am ready to run another 50K right now. Especially on this course!

All in all it was a very solid training weekend. I am trying to focus on good recovery habits such as stretching and rolling. We have also started to shorten up our core workouts a little and add in some yoga for the last 15 minutes.

At the end of the day, you can't hardly beat a nice long meditative run on through the rain and mud out on the trails.

Signs of a good time!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Yep, I took a week of vacation in the middle of January. No, I didn't go to Mexico or some warm tropical island, I have stayed right here in the Midwest.

I have done a little running and a lot of lounging. I hit the trails for about 12 miles yesterday, it was a beautiful 45 degrees. In fact, most of the trail looks like fall right now.

January Trail - looks more like the fall

When I wasn't sleeping in or hitting the trails I experimented with a couple of healthy snacks that I thought I would share with you.

The Green Smoothie
Pre-smoothie ingredients
This smoothie is fairly simple to make and chock full of healthy stuff. You can put pretty much anything you like in here. This one contains half of a red delicious apple, fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice, one third of a banana, a few fresh spinach leaves, fresh kale, and half of a clementine. Blend well...and viola! 
It may not look so great, but it sure tastes great.
Tasty Treat!


Speaking of kale. According to the Mind Body Green website kale has some serious health benefits. My wife purchased a big bag of "Cut and Cleaned" Kale. We typically don't eat it all before it goes bad so with some extra time on my hands this week I thought I would try a recipe for kale chips. 
If you have ever tried a leaf of kale on its own, you might agree that it's not the tastiest green out there. Kale chips solves this problem

Kale Chips
 First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, cut the large stems from the rinsed kale leaves and tear the leaves into manageable, bite sized pieces. I put the pieces in a bowl, drizzled on some olive oil, then tossed it to make sure the leaves were coated. Place the kale on a lined baking sheet then sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. You can use a seasoned salt, bbq seasoning, or what ever you may think you would like. Be conservative with the seasoning though because the kale will shrink in the oven and concentrate your seasoning. Your pre-baked kale should look something like this.
Oiled and seasoned kale before baking

Place the seasoned kale into the oven for 10 - 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, you want it to be crispy but not burnt. It is delicious fresh out of the oven while it is still warm and seems to keep well too.
The finished product should look something like this. It is really light and crispy. In my opinion, you really only taste the seasoning that you use but there is a hint of maybe a Brussels sprout flavor. 
baked and seasoned kale chips

I wouldn't go too crazy with the kale, there is some serious fiber in there. Also it is not recommended for people on blood thinners because it is high in Vitamin K.

Now it's time for me to get back to my reading.
After reading "No Easy Day", I became interested in checking out some similar books.

I am currently reading the Seal Team Six series by Chuck Dixon. I typically try to stick with non-fiction as much as possible but this series has been a great escape that I can't hardly put down.

Let me know if you try out either of these recipes, tell me what you think!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Neighborhood Run

I decided to take vacation this week. It's pretty much a stay-cation, but it will allow me to shed some stress, catch up on some things around home, and get some good training runs started.

Today, my first day of vacation, was an absolutely beautiful day for a run; so I thought would share it here.

No fancy trails, no wildlife seen, just a good road run with some nice rolling hills. This run really gives me a chance to tune out and just enjoy the experience.

Another great part of running out here is the elevation.

I am really hoping that running these hills will help with my 50 mile training. Most of the Ice Age Trail is fairly flat as I recall, but there are some rolling hills.