The Devil in the Details: DWD Devil’s Lake 50(ish)K

A group of my friends decided, shortly after the race was over last year, to commit to their first 50K this year at Devil’s Lake. Some just looking for a new challenge, one celebrating his recovery from cancer, and a few of us just along for the ride.

The course started out relatively flat, but the big hills that I remembered from last year started around 5 miles in. I stopped to get out the trekking poles, and was surprised at how much easier they made the uphills.

Several portions of the course were out-and back paths, which was nice because it allowed you to check in with people ahead of and behind you, check how they are doing, share food and meds if needed, etc. The proof that you had made it was to tear a page from a book that was posted there and return it to the last aide station.

Came to the 10 mile drop bag point and checked my feet. No issues, so I changed socks and went on. We came back to the drop bags 3 miles later, and it didn’t seem to make sense to tend to my feet again, so I just stuck a change of socks in my hydration pack to change out somewhere around mile 20.

Around mile 16 I caught up with a friend who had fallen and injured her hand around mile 5. It was now swelling and discolored to the point that we couldn’t deny it needed checked out. I walked with her and chatted to the aide station around mile 18, where she dropped from the race and checked in with the course medics.

The out and back that was the next 5 miles was some seriously brutal terrain. Stopped to check my feet at the turnaround point, and was surprised to see that at 20ish miles I had no blisters. Back up the hills to the aid station, stopped to share some ibuprofen with a friend along the way. The volunteer who checked my number gave me a glass of ice, which was about the most awesome thing ever at that moment. I actually lost some time through the next few miles, not moving as fast as I could have because I didn’t want to drop my ice. Its strange what will make you happy when you are past the 20 mile mark.

About this time, a few miles ahead, something was happening that I wouldn’t understand for the next few days.The course had been revised from the year before, and no one considered that the sweeper pulling the markings after the last 50 miler was also pulling the last 6 miles of the 50K course. Five runners, myself included, were pulled because the rest of their course was no longer there. (I emailed the race director when I got home, found out that the oversight had been corrected later in the day, and runners will be alerted to this time hack for future races. The five of us who were pulled have been offered our entry fees back due to not being able to finish.)

When they gave me the news, I was able to keep from directing anger at the volunteers. I didn’t understand (yet) why I could be pulled with 6 miles to go and 5 hours of the 50M course time left. I simply asked for the time (1:58 PM) and mileage (around 25 miles), then went across the road to collect my post-race food and beer.

Then I did what any Rucktard would do in this case: I refilled my hydration bladder, condensed everything I had brought into the rucksack that I used for my drop bag, and ruck marched the four miles from the race site to the camp where we were staying for the weekend. I was dead set on an ultramarathon this weekend, and 25 miles wasn’t going to cut it. 29 miles total was not the 50K I was hoping for, but it is past marathon distance, so I’ll take it.

Takeaways from this:

Foot care protocol is improving. After 29 miles, I came off with one small blister and one beat-up toenail. Much better than previous events.

Trekking poles are awesome. Can’t wait to see how they do at the Hitchcock this year.

Along the hike back to camp, I also noticed mile markers that may indicate a longer-term challenge:13645289_10209312408034476_8303004503989289543_n.jpg13680613_10209312408994500_9101178927206203241_n.jpg

It turns out there is a patch for completing all of it by foot. Stay tuned for details on that.

Sons of Sparta: MN Spartan Sprint 2016

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When asked if he wanted to run the kid’s Spartan course again, my son Josh expressed little enthusiasm. “I don’t know, I’ve done it already. If I could run the adult course, maybe…”

He may or may not have been of age on race day, but his paperwork showed that he was and no one questioned it. We set him up with some of my spare gear, explained to him that there would be obstacles that he would need coached or assisted through, and made it clear that we were going for a good time and a finish, not doing anything crazy to push for a faster time. It turned into a cool perspective, seeing something like this through new eyes.

Time for our wave came. I encouraged him to get to the front of the corral (the energy up there is something I can still feel from my first race) and told him we would move to the side as soon as we were moving to make sure we were not in the way.

Pre-race speech, fist-bumping our fellow racers, yelling “I AM A SPARTAN,” and we were off, up a steep hill. We slowed to a walk before reaching the top, but kept a steady walking pace at least. I could tell he was doubting his decision to upgrade to the adult course by the top of it, but he kept moving.

First obstacle was a pair of 6′ walls. I moved forward to assist some other racers that were having trouble, and he could see the process, so we had no trouble getting him over.

More hilly trails. At a few points they had turned on the snow-making equipment to help cool us off, and to make the trails muddy and slippery. We came to the over-under-through, 2/3 of which he could do without help. I ran just a bit ahead and could see the water/ mud pits coming up, so I called back that Spartan was giving us a chance to cool down. He smiled and picked up the pace to get there. He made it through the rolling mud portion with only a few comments of how wet shoes feel weird, but seemed less sure of himself at the dunk wall. I explained the process, had him take off the pack so that it wouldn’t snag, and went through first. (A few other newbie racers also appreciated the demonstration.)

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And he made it look good:

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Money bars were right after, which we both failed and knocked out our burpees together. Cargo net was next, which I instructed him to do one leg at a time, while I flipped over the top to show him the other option. (“Doesn’t make it much faster, but its fun and it looks cool. You need to be able to do pullups before you try that one.”)

Back uphill, taking a quick breather whenever either of us said we needed it. In particular I remember, when the hill got steeper and we entered a woodline, a racer passing us checked in that we were okay, and made a comment to me of, “I’d ask his age, but he qualifies as a man taking this one on.”

Tarzan-swinging on trees to get up the hill, constant reminders to keep hydrating (it was in the high 80s or low 90s at this point), up and over more walls, making sure that he saw how to get others over. I could tell that he had never thought about an obstacle like the reverse wall, but made it over with help after seeing it done a few times. The barbed wire crawl was one of those things that looks awesome until you are in the middle of it…

This crawl was admittedly pretty nasty. Slick mud, small gravel at the start and big rocks toward the end. I made it through well ahead of him, and walked back along the side to take his pack and encourage him along. I was proud of him, you could tell from his face that this was no fun no more and he just wanted out, but he kept going.

Just after the mud crawl: “I can’t even tell what color these shorts used to be!”

“Now do you understand why we wouldn’t let you wear a new shirt?”

“Yeah…”

I pulled him aside to give him a quick tutorial on how not to face-plant on the slick wall, then went up first to help him over the top. He got about halfway up, slipped back down, and I decided to try another way. He held on to the rope, and I pulled it hand-over-hand to get him up. Hadn’t thought of this before, but it worked.

Atlas Carry was next. Josh decided that his weight-bearing ability was not up to snuff, and he would just get started on his burpees. I completed the obstacle and then knocked out the last 4 or 5 burpees with him.

We then both completed the Z wall by way of broad interpretation of the rules. There were a few points where I was holding him off the ground until he could sort out his footholds, and I used the top of the wall a few times to get through.

More trail running. I asked the volunteer if Josh could do the ladies version due to body size. Volunteer took a quick look at him, snickered and nodded.

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Drop the sandbags, quick shuffle through the woods, and came to the next obstacle, which was a beam set at about chest height. I got down on all fours so that Josh and a few other racers could use my back as a step. One of the ladies that I had helped over looked back and asked, “Does Dad need help over?” Not sure yet, I took a step back and was able to jump just high enough to swing my legs over. She smiled and said, “Got it. Dad is awesome!”

Some welcome downhill running, and we hit the Hercules Hoist. I did it first to explain what will and will not get you rope burn, then had him try the ladies’ weight. I stepped in to steady it when he needed to re-grip, but he fought through and did all the actual lifting.

The bucket carry here was brutal even a little more than most. He did the female weight, but that was still more than half his body weight, and the hill was the steepest I have seen outside of Vermont. We would push as far as we could, set it down, rest, hydrate, and do it again. I got mine to the top, went back down to help/coach Josh up, and for some reason decided to go back down again to help a newbie tag-team his bucket up to the top.

Downhill was easier, but the bucket is still clumsy and heavy. There was a steep uphill immediately after that we went up really slowly, Josh deciding to crawl part of it.

Next was what is probably my favorite obstacle of this race. A steep sloped wall about 7 feet high, with a ladder-type frame above it. I helped a few racers up it, then surprised myself by completing it unassisted.

The Rig was next, which we both failed. Heat and maybe a little dehydration was getting to us, so when we started getting light-headed when coming up from a burpee, we decided that was enough. I think we completed about 20?

We were overjoyed to find the 5 mile marker just after that. As we were running down a hill, we could hear the festival area, and they started playing “Carry On My Wayward Son,” which I couldn’t help but find appropriate. Spear throw, burpees, rope climb. The rope is usually hit-or-miss for me, as if I can keep the rope where I need it, I’m fine, but if it moves I’m usually in trouble. This time I remember stopping in the middle of the climb, okay untangle it, okay reset it, okay back in action, and was able to complete it. When I was done Josh had 22 burpees to go, so we each knocked out 11.

We formed up to do the fire jump together…

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Josh got cold feet for a minute, but recovered to finish strong:

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And now we both start training for next year. After ice cream, ice cream first…

KGB and/or Cadre: GORUCK Red Dawn

A friend found a custom challenge that we both thought we couldn’t miss: Based on the movie Red Dawn, custom packing list involving climbing gear and potato guns, very little info on exactly what would happen after we got there. I jumped on it.

Several months of gathering information and determining team and squad leaders. Ordering gear from tubular nylon webbing to training knives and paintball masks. Re-learning how to tie a Swiss-seat rappelling harness.

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Dress code was civilian 1980s attire. So I came up with the most awesome 80s MERICA outfit I could come up with:

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Finally made it to the start point at 4 in the morning, found our teams, and waited for instructions.

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When our instructions came, they were not what we expected:

The KGB knows we are here. They will be here shortly, they are going to kick our asses and move us to a detention camp. The Wolverines have a rescue team coming for us, who plan to cause enough of a diversion for us to escape. Do not talk to the KGB agents, do not give them anything to work with.

KGB agents showed up, and the welcome party was on. Low crawls off the deck we had assembled on, then backward low crawls back on it.

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We were formed up into two lines, ruck on your front, hands through the belt of the man in front of you. We were ordered to move out, and came to our detention camp about a mile down the road.

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Once there, we had to face a barn wall as we were divided into groups.

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One of the first distinctions was anyone with an American flag on any of their clothing, so I was in for the first round of interrogation. Yelled questions of where are the weapons, where is your base, what is your next target, while enjoying several ways of experiencing discomfort. Spreading cold mud on our faces/bodies:

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Headstands and body drags through the mud:

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Pouring water in our faces (not quite water boarding, but close enough for me).

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And various exercises with the Stone of Truth.

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A teammate made a snarky remark to Cadre Mikhail, and Mikhail made a point of making my PT harder in response. The guy was very apologetic when he realized how this was going, and asked if I was okay. I muttered out “Easy day, all day,” and kept going.

Shortly thereafter Cadre Danny Boy called the two of us aside for a discussion, to make sure we understood what the point of this was. The name of the game is to buy yourself time. If you come off as the tough guy or the wise ass, breaking you becomes a personal challenge, and buying time gets much harder.

By the end of the discussion the wet clothes and the breeze were getting to me and I was starting to shiver. “Okay, go tell Cadre Mikhail that you are cold and need to do exercises!”

Next thing I know we are doing continuous jumping jacks and burpees in a shed.

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In among this, groups were sent off to review the required gear and do more familiar welcome party PT.

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We were then all called to form up where we had been brought in, take all the gear out of the ruck, get it back in in under 30 seconds, rucks over your head.

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“WOLVERINES!!”

We all hear the call and run like hell into the woods. We stopped after a few minutes of running to re-form teams and get our next set of instructions. KGB will be following us, and there will be casualties if they catch us. We were given a destination to get to and moved out.

We reached the destination (a small lake called Dude’s Fishing Hole) and were ordered into the water to clean up. Holy crap that was cold.

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From this point forward, our KGB agents were American Cadre, teaching us rather than chasing us. We climbed to a high peak overlooking the fishing hole…

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To capture this epic shot:

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Then the teaching portion began. Short classes in land navigation, knife fighting, and rappelling.

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We then moved out for a paintball battle. I decided to sit out the fight and passed my gun off to another. It turned out to be a good decision, as he charged the enemy valiantly, only to find that his gun had been given to me and then to him with no CO2 cartridges.

All that was left then was the long, steep trudge back to the end point (same location as detention camp).

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And one heck of a welcome when we made it there.

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Next day was the Scavenger, in which we had to find a way to achieve various odd tasks and get photos of them. Serving someone in a restaurant, bonus for wearing part of the uniform:

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Getting everyone in a taxi, bonus if teammate is in the driver seat:

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Can’t believe I got away with that one.

Ambushing other teams with water balloons or silly string:

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This event was an epic time. I can only hope someone is crazy enough to put together something like this again.

 

 

One More Round: Battlefrog BFX Twin Cities 2016

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I decided to jump in at the deep end and went for the BFX (multiple lap) option for my first Battlefrog race, just wanting to see how I would do and how far I could go.

About 3 weeks before race day, Battlefrog announced new rules requiring every obstacle be completed, with the caveats that there would be easier versions of all obstacles and some obstacles would have an alternate penalty. Any racer failing to complete the easiest version or the penalty would be allowed to finish the lap they were on, but would have their band taken and not permitted to start any more laps. I was more than a little angry at the change, as running a race without missing at least one obstacle is rare for me, and I paid to keep going all day. More on this later.

Race day:

We were called up for a pre-race briefing and told to arrange ourselves in ranks and columns. We were given our instructions while doing pushups with each racer’s feet on the shoulder of the person behind them.

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At the end, the race official (identified only as Beard) ordered us to hold the up position and laid our BFX bands on our backs before dismissing us.

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A few minutes to warm up and assemble at the start line, a rousing speech from the incomparable Coach Pain, and we were off.

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I have trouble telling what happened there in order, as the repeated laps all get jumbled in my mind, so I will tell these in the most coherent order I can. If I did not have a picture featuring myself, I stole a picture of the obstacle from Battlefrog’s FB page.

Lap One- Hit all obstacles, hit drop bin for quick food and drink, and back out.

Lap 2- Completed all, rope-burned my hands coming down from the rope wall. Drop bin, nutrition shake, tend to feet, back at it.

Lap 3- Broke my hydration bladder going over the reverse wall, ditched it at the next water station. Recruited two guys to hold my feet and slow my descent coming down from the rope wall. At this point I knew I couldn’t do the rope wall again, as I barely made it up this time. So I had a decision to make: take 3 laps with the band intact, or go for another and lose the band. I finished well before the time limit and went back out. The band is only good for bragging rights. Going at it again helps make me better.

Lap 4: Completed all obstacles except the rope wall. I was a touch irritated that no penalty loop had been provided, as it was easily 4 times harder than the novice level at the rope climb, which did have a penalty loop. (Literally you had to perform the same motion as the rope climb, 4 times to get to the top of the wall.) When I got there, there was no one to help (only racer in sight was half my size and on her first-ever race) and the volunteer who had been there on previous laps was gone.

Screw it, this should have had a penalty lap, so I am giving it one. I elected to take the elite loop at the jerry can carry (much longer and steeper than the novice loop) and call it even.

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That carry sucked worlds away more than any penalty loop they would have given.

Obstacles:

8′ wall, novice and intermediate levels had blocks.

60 degrees was a steel reverse ladder. I hit intermediate 2 laps and novice the last 2.

Rope wall: covered above. Helped out an open wave runner with her 8-counts on lap 3 and coached a newbie over on lap 4.

Inverted wall- made it over unassisted once, needed help the rest of the time.

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Jerry can carry- novice loop was short and relatively flat, elite loop was evil.

Ladder wall- Novice was a few feet shorter, no noticeable difference between elite and intermediate.

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Church web was a web of ropes strung through one of the forts on site (the grounds are also used for paintball). The hill immediately after may have been the toughest part of the course.

The most fun obstacle, without a doubt, was the Hooyah water slide. I had to wrap a foot around the corner and use the holes in the steel framing to get up, but getting down was much easier.

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Mud mounds were tills and trenches of dry dirt. I joked that, coming right after the Hooyah, they expected us to make our own mud.

Normandy jacks are basically a barbless barbed wire crawl. Laps 2 and 3 I log-rolled through it, but by lap 4 the wires were hanging low and it turned into a roll-sideways shuffle- roll a bit more, crawl out.

Ramp wall- Novice has more blocks. I often put my foot on the top block if open wave racers needed another step.

Platnum rig, or as I called it, Penalty loop. Walking a marked loop with a wreck bag and a jerry can.

Confidence climb was a vertical ladder made out of structural steel tubing. Distance between rungs was constant, where most confidence climbs get wider as you near the top. I hit the elite level all 4 laps.

Wreck bag carry- Without a doubt my strongest obstacle.

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Tip of the spear- Novice level has a solid foot block, intermediate has a block about every 8 feet, and elite has no foot blocks. I did novice.13227819_1240770929274400_7024254147592925470_o.jpg

Over under through- On lap 3 or 4, I came to this as some ladies who did not understand that the through part had been set up first, were going over the top board. So of course I had to go over the top as well. I also found that I could do a forward roll under the under wall and save a little time getting up.

Rope climb- This did not deserve a penalty loop. Novice level was get your feet on the knot, stand up, and hit the bell. I was able to assist two ladies by either holding the knot in place or having someone else do that and using my body as a step to get her closer to it.

The tire drag marked on the map was actually a pallet carry. If you have ever worked in a factory, you know this well.

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Cargo net- I wanted to try a flip over the top, but found it a little too steep for that.

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Shortly after the cargo net was the split between repeating loops and the last stretch to the finish line. Last lap, last obstacle was the wedge wall (what Spartan calls the Traverse wall). Novice level had mostly complete foot board, others had less.

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Completed that and the last sprint to the finish line:

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People had noticed the name on the back of my jersey, and hearing the cheers of “Monk of the Mud” was awesome.

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This was a great race, a lot of fun, and a serious challenge to try to get more laps in.

My notes on the new “mandatory obstacle completion” rules, having been through it:

They need to be careful that the hardest obstacles get penalty loops. At this race, the rig was absolutely correct to have one, the rope climb was very debatable, and the rope wall needed one. I assume they will get this down to a science within the year.

The penalty loops are a more effective penalty than 8-counts (in that they are slower), but all of the shouting that they are more fair, or “an extra 800 yards is the same for everyone!” is false. The penalties here were weighted carries over flat ground, which I excel at, but I saw several competitors, who were of more of a runner’s build, being absolutely crushed by the weight involved. That being said, it is an improvement, as long as they can get it where it is needed.

Push Through the Pain: GRC 1898

I want to start this post off by saying that this Challenge in particular is difficult for me to put into words. Every challenge is different and difficult in its own way, and most give you a few things that you think you can’t do. The biggest challenge of this one was pushing through when every part of you wants to quit.

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We found the start point, chatted with old and new friends, and managed to get into rough formation before the two Cadre arrived. Welcome party was reasonably straightforward, calisthenics, bear crawls, and being reminded of the importance of following commands quickly. Interesting new feature was a skull drag, keeping the body as low as possible and crawling while dragging the ruck.

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We then were assigned team leaders, given extra gear to carry (two 80-100 pound sandbags and Cadre Rage’s swim fins), given a location to reach and a time hack, and we were off.

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We made the destination within the time limit, were given a short break while our team leads got instruction from Cadre, and off moving again. I tried to take a turn under the sandbags, but found that I could not keep pace with the rest of the team while carrying it, and had to switch out.

Shortly thereafter one of the team left formation without a buddy and became a casualty.

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And soon we gained a log and telephone pole that would be our constant companions for the next several hours.

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These set a new standard for brutal carries. For the first hour or so (?) I was up front switching out under the casualty and team weights. The short-but-stout log was being carried by a group of guys much taller than me, so I didn’t have a chance to cycle in. At some point we got the call to hold up because the group with the telephone pole had gotten too far behind. I grabbed a teammate and went back to see if I could help.

I arrived just as Cadre was explaining to the group that carriers need to be roughly in order of their height, or the weight crushes the tall people. We started calling out our heights to see where we fit in, got the pole up and moving. It went well for awhile, but then problems started to crop up of needing to go back under as soon as you had gotten out or of no one coming when you called for a replacement. Every few minutes we got the call of ” 1, 2, 3 UP!!” to try to get the pole back up to shoulder height, as it kept crushing us beneath it.

We got the order to put the log down, take 5 minutes, and get something to eat. Then back up and more of the same.

On previous challenges, it was common to adjust your height under the log by sort of getting under it and jamming your pack against it. When I tried that here, someone behind me pointed out that we might well lose control of the log and not be able to get me out in time, so I went back to putting a shoulder under it and adjusting as best I could.

We hit a point where the “123 UP!” was becoming continuous, and the damn thing just wouldn’t stay up. For the first time in any of the challenges I have done, we put the log down without orders. We had given all we could, and trying to carry it further would lead to us dropping it and the chance of someone getting hurt.

We stood there a few moments, staring at the log and wondering what we could do from here. Cadre looked us over, saw that we had given all we could, and told us to kick the pole into the ditch and catch up with the group ahead of us.

At the next stop the remaining log broke in two, so we again had two teams carrying. The new team lead told me to basically manage one of the teams, getting replacements for them when needed and making sure we roughly stayed with the group.

We finally were permitted to get rid of these logs as well, and moved on to our next point with only the weights we had started out with. It was about this point that the pace the Cadre required started to wear down on me and a few of the others. We ended up marching down the side of the interstate, and it was all I could do to keep moving.

When we finally got off the interstate, we formed up and rested for a few minutes. Cadre talked to us, explained that he knew we were tired, knew we were sore, but what really matters is pushing on from this point.

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Continue marching a few more miles, and we are told to take off and pack up our “snivel gear,” meaning gloves and jackets.

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Most of us knew what that meant: it was maybe a degree above freezing, and we were fixing to get wet.

We moved on, went through or over a fence to a little beach by the lake, and formed up for instructions.

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We were divided into two groups, and had to nominate one of the group to learn everyone’s name. Success meant staying dry, failure meant going out to rib-height, going completely under the water, and sugar-cookies on the beach.

We made a good go at it, but yeah, we failed.

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We got our gear back on and moved out. My leg muscles were locking up from the cold, and I was hobbling along. Cadre ordered those of us who were limping to go to the front of the line to set the pace, so I went with them. I had to fall out to fix my shoe awhile later, so I ended up back somewhere in the middle of the line.

My muscles warmed a bit from the movement, and the pace of the group was doable at this point. When calls came from the front of the line to get people to take 30-second cycles under the sandbags, I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a try. Flaw in my reasoning was that while I could keep up with the group at this point, I could not move fast enough to move up in formation to where the weights were. The moment when I realized this may have been the lowest point of the entire challenge.

We failed to get everyone across an intersection before the signal changed, and those left on the other side became casualties. I took a ruck from one of them, but I didn’t have enough left to buddy carry (at least not at any kind of pace).

We made it back to our start point and formed up for Cadre to speak.

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The detail that sticks out for me was when he asked who had considered quitting, and I raised my hand along with maybe a quarter of the class. He thanked us for having the moral courage to admit that we had come close to giving up. But 72 teammates, 12-1/2 hours, 19-20 miles, no one dropped out.

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I had intended to also do the Light that started a few hours later, but my body was too beaten up. I dropped by to deliver the team weight and flag and watched the welcome party, but did not complete it with them.

Points for me to work on from this:

I’m still too slow, and in particular I am too slow under load. Need to work on this.

Need to prep my gear further in advance. Some of my problems along the way could have been fixed by rigging my gear differently, and some of the gear that I brought didn’t work as expected.

I took a few days after this to relax and reflect, then back to training. I have more of these in the coming months, and while I was not the burden on the team that I feared being, I was also not the asset to the team that I want to be.

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On Time Hacks and BS- Response to “Can’t run a marathon under 6 hours? Don’t run a marathon.”

I came across this on one of the running groups that I am part of.

He makes a few points that I want to respond to:

  1. It is inefficient to keep a marathon course open past 6 hours.
  2. Couch to marathon should not exist.
  3. Slower runners should stick to shorter distances.
  4. Runners who cannot finish in a certain time will do it once and stop running, while those running shorter distances will keep running.
  5. An 8-hour marathon is bulls*** and should not exist.

Addressing each of these in turn:

It is inefficient to keep a marathon course open past 6 hours.

Fair enough. If the race director wants to shut it down then, we get that.But it is up to each RD to decide the benefits of more finishers against the costs of keeping the course open longer. If it is a marathon run alongside an ultra, then it costs literally nothing to give the marathoners more time on the course.

Couch to marathon should not exist.

Umm, why not? You start where you start and your goal is whatever distance inspires you. For longer distances, you are going to need to take your time, I would give sedentary to marathon a year or so. Why say you shouldn’t do it, when even you agree that having 5K, 10K, half mary, and 20 mile training runs would make it acceptable even to you?

Slower runners should stick to shorter distances.

This is the one that particularly bothers me, because only a few of the events that have shaped me into the person I am now would have occurred if I followed this guy’s advice. None of the marathons or ultras, GORUCKs and the SUCK almost certainly not, Spartan Beasts unlikely. Almost certainly I would not have done Tough Guy.

Some people want to take it slow and only go for events that they know they are completely ready for. Some find absolutely no motivation in that and want to push the envelope of the possible to see where the very limit of their ability is, and then try to make that limit greater. To each their own.

A slower pace does not necessarily mean an under-trained athlete. Some of us are not built like gazelles, might move at a slower pace, but can keep that pace up for hours on end. If they can find a race with a workable course limit, there is no reason they should not go for it.

If I didn’t know better, I would think its just that the title of marathoner would stroke the author’s ego a bit more if we got rid of all those 7 and 8-hour marathoners…

Runners who cannot finish in a certain time will do it once and stop running, while those running shorter distances will keep running.

There may be some runners for whom this is true, but many will find just the opposite. For many of us, doing something new that we don’t quite know if we can do holds greater enjoyment than doing the same thing again and trying to make it faster.

He also talks about how miserable a slow marathon must be. The big thing he is forgetting: the camaraderie among runners.

This is my friend Eric with two friends that helped pace him through a marathon, exchanging silly jokes every step of the way.

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Another friend, Jaime, signed up for the longest distance she thought she had any chance at completing, and finished after the finish line had been taken down. This is the welcome that the GOATz (the local running club) had for her when she finished:

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This is the kind of thing that keeps many of us running. And often it is only found well outside of your comfort zone.

An 8-hour marathon is bulls*** and should not exist.

Really, dude? You are going to casually dismiss the efforts of so many who have trained like hell and given their all? You are proving a lot of negative stereotypes true, and the rest of us would like it if you stopped that.

Then again, spreading some manure on the fields makes everything grow better, just like slow marathons have helped many athletes grow into something better, so perhaps the metaphor works.

Snow Shuffle: Iceman 5K 2016

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I heard about a small local OCR through my friends with the North Star Spartans, and decided to give it a try.

Temperature at the starting line was 16 degrees, and the first few obstacles were big piles of snow that we had to climb over. (Makes you feel like a kid at recess again.) Small tunnels to crawl through and chest-high walls to go over.

Somewhere in the first half mile, a runner in front of me rolled an ankle. I and one other runner stayed with her until race medics could arrive and helped her into the car. As I stepped back and started running again, one of the race directors called out, “Keep it up, you’re still in this!” I smiled and yelled back, “There’s a whole wave left behind me, I’m not in last place yet!”

More walls, low cargo nets to go under, scrambling over a huge pile of tires, and an interesting block carry. The block had to go with you under a low net and over several piles of snow. About this time I noticed that the extra weight was not slowing me down, and I was starting to pass people. I’d say my off-season training is working so far.

The most fun obstacles were in the last mile, a ladder frame with wide-spaced horizontal members and tall walls with a rope to climb, a series of fire jumps and a sprint to the finish line.

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Overall, one of the easier courses by obstacles, but the snow and ice added a different type of difficulty. It was a lot of fun and likely a race I will do again.

2016 Focus

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During my rest week before the Hitchcock, I took a “body age assessment” that my gym offers for free. Pushups, crunches, body fat, resting heart rate, etc.

I came out with my body age matching my actual age, meaning I am basically normal. And I am so tired of just being normal.

This reinforced what I already knew I need to do. I have pushed as far into more extreme events as I can on my current level. My less-than-stellar performance at a few events this year backs that up. So I can stay here, call it good enough to be better than I was a few years ago…or I can push into the next level.

I am backing off of the big, audacious events for 2016. I am still racing, still rucking, trying out a couple of new events, but for the most part avoiding the 30-plus-hour, heavy-duty events that I have not exactly excelled at lately. My focus this year will be on intense training, trying to improve my abilities so that I can do a better job at the events that I go after in 2017. 8 months of training plans intended for military, 4 months of ultra running training, and tackling one or two uber-long events at the very end of the year.

Including the following goals at the start of the effort:

As of this morning, I weigh 207 pounds. I would like to get that down to below 190.

Be able to pass Army PFT tests.

Ruck 12 miles in under 3 hours.

Meet the following strength standards:

LIFT                                                   
Front Squat                             1.5x BW
Dead Lift                                 2.0x BW
Bench Press                           1.5x BW
Push Press                             1.1x BW
Squat Clean                          1.25x BW
Squat Clean+ Push Press    1.1x BW

And be able to run fast enough to actually use the tables that come with my training plans, rather than having to extrapolate out for slower paces.

Before anyone asks, no, this is not a new years resolution. This is revamping my training after the last race of the year, and revamping it with a longer focus than I have before. Daily workouts will be posted on the Monk of the Mud Facebook page for any who wish to follow my progress.

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Learning from Failure: Hitchcock Experience 2015

I like to start each year by signing up for a new, big, crazy, scary challenge later in the year. It pushes me to grow, to get better, and to find yet crazier challenges for next year. When I found a local 100 mile race, I knew I had found this year’s challenge. My friend and co-conspirator Schmitty signed up to do it with me, saying friends don’t let friends do stoopid sh*t…alone. A few more friends signed up for the 50 mile option.

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Training went okay, but not as well as I had hoped. Race day came, we assembled at the start line in the dark, were given a short overview of trail conditions, and we were off.

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We started with an out-and back up and down some steep switchbacks, then proceeded onto the main loop. The website had mentioned steep, hilly trails, but I was unprepared for exactly how steep it was. Due to recent snow melt, some areas were also exceptionally slick and muddy. (Most of the trails had descent footing, but there were a few hills where I literally slid 75 feet on my butt.)

I tried to keep a steady pace on flats and a hard march on uphills, and except for a few places with tricky footing I was able to. Somewhere around Mile 4 I caught up with Schmitty. He had rolled an ankle and was walking with a limp. I stopped and gave him some ibuprofen and continued on. About Mile 9, he caught back up with me.

“Yeah, I stopped at the aide station to decide if I should just walk back, or have them give me a ride out, and I heard a familiar voice in the back of my head telling me to get the f*ck up…”

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“I can’t run anymore, but I can still march. Can’t do the 100, but I have all day to make it to 50.”

We finished the first lap right on pace to finish the 100 in 32 hours. I stopped in to take care of my feet and Schmitty saw the medic about his ankle. The volunteers/staff at this race were way beyond what I expected. All previous races that I have done, supplies were there and you had to go get them. Here, they would come to you and ask what they could do for you. Refill your pack, grab something for you while you are tending your feet, help you tape hot spots or blisters, whatever it took to get you back out there faster. Many of the volunteers were experienced ultra runners themselves, so there was a lot to be learned from their suggestions, from what blister-prevention techniques are best to what foods would be best to take and eat on the next leg of the trail.

By the end of the second lap, the hills were starting to wear me down, and Schmitty’s ankle had gone beyond what OTC meds can fix. I finished the lap about an hour behind schedule, and he dropped at Mile 25. (I told him that 21 miles on one working ankle was an impressive achievement regardless.)

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I got a little too inside my head for the first part of the third lap, spent too much time walking and worrying about how far behind pace I was. I got my head back on straight by the last aide station, but by that time my knees were starting to go.

I was confused what was happening for awhile, as I had not had this type of knee pain before. My best guess is that, having not trained on hills anywhere near this steep, the angle between the ground and my upright body was more than my ankles could flex to, and my knees were stretching themselves apart trying to take up the slack.

I sat down for a bit at mile 37.5. I cannot tell you how much I did not want to go back out there. But one more lap gets a 50M medal, all the volunteers were encouraging me on, and I have 20 more hours to get it done in…

What one of the volunteers said sticks with me. “Is it just pain, or is it damage? If it is just pain, push through it, just think about getting to the next aide station. If it is damage, then we see how bad it is and go from there.”

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By this time it was dark and the 50 milers were out on the course. Something about night running is always a bit surreal for me, the limited sight, the noises in the dark, deer flushing around me as I kept running. The view of the surrounding city skylines from the high points of the course were also quite beautiful.

My knees were in terrible shape, and I was having to stop for a few breaths during even moderate uphills. I grunted it through the last few miles, sharing encouragements with the 50 milers as they passed me, and made it back to the start point at somewhere between 23 and 24 hours. The staff encouraged me to push on, but at this point I knew I was rapidly approaching the point where pain crosses over to damage. They marked me down for a drop to 50, gave me the 50M medal, and encouraged me to make sure I got the full 100 miles worth of food.

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So…

Not what I had wanted, but still more distance (and dear Lord more vertical distance) than I have ever done before. Much learned from volunteers and fellow racers that will help keep my feet and body going, and much learned from the trails about how I need to train differently.

A few days off, back to training, and this course will see me again.

 

Working the Plan: The Road to My First 100 Miler

I purchased and just started using training plans from Mountain Athlete in preparation for my first 100 miler. With the journey that this is bound to be, I have decided to record it journal-style. Many people are concerned with following a plan like this through to the end, it may provide a sort of case study example for anyone who wants to try it. Particularly those who don’t think they can juggle training for something like this with the responsibilities of family life.

The plans I am using are available here: http://strongswiftdurable.com/product-category/mountain-athlete-plans/ultra-running/

Since I know not everyone will want to read the full version, here is what I learned along the way:

Disregard what day of the week the plan thinks should be your rest day. The day with the most other stuff to do is your rest day. For me that is Saturday, but it took me almost the entire training time to figure that out.

When you plan something like this, build in a couple weeks of fluff time before your race. It is easy to fluff it out if you finish training before your race, but it sucks to try to shorten it if you run behind.

While I am not certain if I have trained hard enough to make it, I am better trained for this than I have ever been for any event. Stay tuned for the next post to see how it went.

Long version:

8/11/15. Start of the Pre-season Ultra Running plan.

The calisthenics portion of this plan is tough. I think I love it. Cut the base run short. I ran out of time, may have to start doing 2-a-days.

8/12/15. Six miles at Zone 1, otherwise known as a fast walk. 13 laps around the block as the sun rose. Excited to get into zones 2 and 3 on tomorrow’s run.

8/13/15 AM: Strength training in the morning, no time for the run, will have to get it in tonight. I got my ass kicked by an exercise called Jane Fonda… EOs suck a lot too.

PM: My stepson had basketball, so I got a guest pass from the gym it was to be held at and got started on the treadmill. About half an hour later he comes up to tell me that no one else has shown up. Someone somewhere misscheduled, get him home, go to my gym and complete the workout. Not falling behind plan this early.

8/14/15- Light duty day. Mowed the lawn, did some yoga.

8/15/15- 11 miles easy run in the AM, Electric Glow Run with the kids in the PM.

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8/16- Slept through my scheduled 5 mile shuffle and couldn’t fit it in later in the day. Taking today as a rest day and do the 5 miles tomorrow (scheduled rest day).

8/17- 5.11 miles round trip to the grocery store, carrying about 10 pounds extra on the way back.

8/18 AM- Starting week 2 on time. Getting used to the strength training sequences. Have to make it a 2-a-day, ran out of time for the run.

PM: Got the 4 mile treadmill shuffle in, appropriately enough watching Spartan Race on the gym TV.

8/19- Really hoping the weather improves soon, treadmill time sucks. Plan calls for 7 miles, I was able to get in 6.42. Within 10%, I’ll take it for now.

8/20- Noticed that the strength training session was longer than previous, and the 2-a-days are getting harder to fit in. I got up an hour before the gym opens and got as much as I could do without equipment done at home, then hit the gym for the rest, Had some foam rolling and Jane Fondas that did not get done, but they are easy enough to fit in later.

8/21- Rest day, or as I like to think of it, light duty day. Made up the foam rolling and Jane Fondas from yesterday, rested up, and had a dinner date with my wife.

8/22- Up at 5 on a Saturday morning. Plan called for 12 miles, ended up at 12.79 plus four sets of monkey bars. Belly not really cooperating, slowed down by multiple bathroom breaks. It was windy, but at least the rains have stopped for the moment.

8/23- Plan called for 5 miles and we were one ingredient short of what we needed for dinner. Up early and my stepson and I ran the 2-1/2 miles to the store and back.

8/24- Much needed rest day.

8/25- Got up at 4 a.m. to do calisthenics in the living room, bike to the gym when they opened, did the rest of the strength training sequence and 4 miles on the treadmill. Managed to avoid needing a 2-a-day.

8/26- Up at 4 again, 7 miles run. Home to do some yoga just as the sun was rising. Zone 1 runs are getting faster, which makes it much more enjoyable.

8/27- Up at 4, calisthenics in the living room until the gym opens, the rest of strength training session and treadmill time at the gym. Another mile and a half in at lunch. Really trying to avoid having to make time in the evenings.

Loving this training plan, feeling a lot stronger. Leg blasters are no freaking joke.

That being said, really looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

8/28- Rest day.

8/29- Got to watch the sun rise again, 14.49 mile sheady shuffle (with a stop in the middle to pick up some items needed for the house). I like to fit random tasks that need done anyway into my runs, makes it feel like I am running somewhere, rather than just running a distance.

8/30- GPS failed me, giving me some extra distance in mile 5. I most certainly did not achieve the 45 mph it recorded…

In any case, best guess at distance is 5.25 miles.

8/31- Developing a love-hate relationship with the lower-body circuits in this plan. And my calves have become freaking ginormous.

9/1- Rest day.

9/2- Overslept and only got the strength portion of my workout in. Will do the run portion tomorrow, then rest up for the 12-hour SUCK this weekend.

9/3- Treadmill Zone 2-3 intervals. 5.25 miles in total.

9/4-9/5- Attempted the 12-hour at the Ultimate Suck and had to withdraw at 8 hours. To be covered in another post, but definitely covered the programed 12 miles for today.

9/6- Travelling to Indiana for my wedding reception. Got 4 miles on the hotel treadmill.

9/7- Travelling home. Rest day.

9/8- I got up with my early alarm and elected to go back to bed, worn out from this weekend. Shifting this week’s rest day and continuing on with the plan.

9/9- For reasons that will not be recorded here, I got no sleep and missed my workout.

9/10- Another night of rough sleep, did not get my usual morning workout in. Enough of this crap, taking a long lunch to get it in.

Got workout in starting about 2 in the afternoon. As the gym has 2 squat racks and 3 benches (both needed for today’s training) it was good to be in at off hours and not need to fight for the equipment.

9/11- Plan calls for an 8-mile run and a few exercises requiring gym equipment. Run to gym, work out there, back out the door and continue the run. Ran out of time, had to cut the run distance to 7 miles. Got a 6-mile bike ride in at lunch(packet pickup for tomorrow’s race), so I think that evens it out.

9/12- Ran to and from the Muddy Vike Mud Run, and managed to run a PR at it. Total mileage for today was lower than scheduled, and I missed a workout entirely this week, but with recovery time after the Suck, I’ll take it. Moving on.

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9/13- Got 6 miles in right before bed, Zone 2. Zone 2 is getting noticeably faster and more steady. Feeling good about this.

9/14- Got to bed late last night, didn’t get up early to hit the gym. Needed to be home for the kids until about 8:30, so I did what I could at home, then closed down the gym. Get it in any way you can.

9/15- Slept in a bit (and by that I mean until 4:45). 7 miles before work, another 3 and some core work at lunch.

Standing Russian barbell twists. Are. The. Devil.

9/16- Got up at 4, got as much as I could done in the living room before heading to the gym. Got the run and everything requiring equipment done there, and ended up finishing the last of the calisthenics with my stepson, who quickly decided that leg blasters. Are. The. Devil.

917-9/18- Off with my wife for our honeymoon.

9/19- Spartan Beast Vermont. More than 9 hours on the course, steep slopes, rough trails. And an epic finishing photo.

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9/20- Did a zip line course, enjoyed the last day in New England, flew back to St. Paul and drove home, arriving around 3:30 in the morning.

9/21- I had intended to do a recovery run today. I was too sleep-deprived in the morning and couldn’t fit it in among family responsibilities in the evening. Take the rest day today, skip rest day on Friday, and we are back on schedule.

9/22- 6.5 miles in zone 2 early in the morning. Faster than I have been in zone 2, loving the improvement. Still a little sore from Vermont. Lower body strength session tomorrow should be fun…

9/23- Up at 4, kettlebell work at home then to the gym for weight work. I hit my limit on how many rounds of clapping pushups I can do EMOTM, so did the rest of the rounds on a 2-minute cycle rather than 1 minute. 2 mile Zone 1 run at the end.

9/24- Weather was terrible, so I slept in and got the workout in in the evening. Run 1.5 miles, short strength session at the gym, run 7.5 more miles, bed.

9/25- Light duty day.

9/26- Slept in in the morning and only had time for half the strength session in the evening. Still got the 6 mile run in.

9/27- Plan called for an 18-mile run. I ran out of training time at 15.53 miles. Since I had broken open a blister at 15.2 miles, I was okay with stopping early. Note: Start taking a break for foot care every 12-13 miles. I’m getting into distances that my feet can’t take without re-applying lubricants.

9/28- Got up to try to work out, my body said no, and I went back to bed. Adjust training dates and drive on.

9/29- Tweaked something in my back. Got the run and some core work in this morning, hoping it calms down enough to do the strength session tonight.

9/30- Did not get strength session in last night. Back is feeling better, so I got today’s scheduled workout in and added in about half of the missed session. Add in the other half tomorrow.

10/1- 6 miles run, short core circuit at the gym, and the rest of the skipped strength session from earlier this week. I know this is not following the plan as closely as I would like, but it seems better than skipping it entirely.

10/2- Long strength session and a 4-mile run. Mixed in stair climber for some of the mileage. Feeling stronger.

10/3- Up early for a 13+ mile Zone 2 run. Made it to the falls and back, and found ways to improvise some hills. The trails that I run on often pass under bridges, with stairs or paths that lead to the street above. Up the stairs, across the bridge, back down, run a bit on the other side of the river, do it again at the next bridge.

Later in the day we went to a corn maze (GPS tracked the distance at 1.01 miles) and the kids requested that I propel them into the air on the bouncy pillow. Bonus plyometric workout, right?

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10/4- Slept in this morning. Got the kids dinner and then slipped out for a 4 mile recovery run. PR for Zone 2/ 4 miles (i.e. I have run faster than this for this distance, but have never done so while restricting my heart rate). Assessment day tomorrow, to establish a more accurate set of heart rate zones. Done with the preseason plan, starting the 8-week 100 mile plan.

10/5- Quick warmup and 7 mile assessment run. Pulled off the 7 miles in 1:20. Average heart rate for the last 4 miles was 174. Now I need to look up what my new training zones are.

New zones are a little faster than previous.

Zone 1= Under 148 bpm

Zone 2= under 156

Zone 3= under 165

Zone 4= under 172

Zone 5= under 184.

Looks like we are speeding up. Good, because the old zone 1 was freaking boring.

10/6- Up early to do calisthenics in the living room, bike to gym for a strength session. Worked up to the front squat max that I will be referencing for awhile (150#, a little disappointed in that), full body strength workout, and a rather sore bike ride home.

10/7- Plan called for an 8-mile training run, part at zone 1-2, cycles of 15 minutes in zone 3/ 5 minutes zone 1, and the rest in zone 1-2. Zone 1 run to the gym, cycles on the treadmill (having time, distance and heart rate on the display makes it easier for me than having to bounce between the phone and the watch) then a zone 1 run home, 8.4 miles total.

10/8- Overslept just a little. Got the strength session in, but only got 2 of the scheduled 7 miles in. Failed to find time for them in the evening

10/9- Rest day

10/10- Evening run. 16.26 miles in just under 4-1/2 hours. Longest run to date with no blisters. (Foot care break at mile 9.)

10/11- 13-mile evening run. There are some lonely sections of trail that get seriously dark. Add in strong winds and falling leaves to create lots of random noises, and you have a legit Halloween experience.

One section of the trails is crossed by a railroad. I took this as a valid reason to rest for a few moments:

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10/12- My run last night may have gone a little too late. I felt like crap and decided to take a rest day. Leaving the keyboard now to do some yoga. Back to the grind tomorrow.

10/13- Overslept and missed my morning workout, and it looks like family and work commitments will prevent it happening this evening. Dammit. Nothing stopping me tomorrow, even if I have to do it on no sleep. This shit ends now.

10/14- Hit it hard today. Finished all of the workout intended for yesterday and about half of the one intended for today.

Goal tomorrow is to complete the rest of today’s (speed work) and the strength portion of tomorrow’s scheduled workout in the morning. Tomorrow’s scheduled run is 7 miles, and I need to pick up a rental car tomorrow evening 7.2 miles from my house. The universe wants me to sneak in a 2-a-day.

10/15- The treadmill speed work was the opposite of pretty, but it got done. Strength session went well.

10/16- Long drive to Ohio for OCRWC.

10/17- OCRWC, 10 miles of hilly terrain with epic obstacles.

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10/18- Travel day, no workout.

10/19- I had intended to get a run in today, but sore from the weekend and short on sleep. Not happening today, adjust dates and move on.

10/20- Planning a 2-a-day run/ruck today. Up at dawn, running to grocery and rucking foods home.

PM- Felt like crap, didn’t get PM run in. Not moving long runs off the weekend ever again, this sucks.

10/21- Rucked back and forth to the laundromat this morning, a little over 8 miles. Let’s see if I can get out there for 5-10 more tonight. Wish me luck, 2-a-days have been hard to get done.

10/22- Fail. That is all. No PM run last night, no workout this morning.

10/23- Had to leave at 6:30 for a long drive, but was able to get a full strength session in.

10/24- Had to get my runs in in pieces to fit around work/family time, but got a total of 26.32 miles in. Hurting seriously those last couple miles.

10/25- Last nights run ended after midnight, and my Achilles tendons are feeling really tight. I skipped the scheduled run and put 11 miles on the bike. Not the best, but its something.

10/26- Body is asking for a rest day, so I am giving it one.

10/27- 7 mile run. Made decent time.

10/28- I am having some trouble getting my heart rate high enough on the treadmill, so I decided to do my zone intervals on this guy:

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Legs are just a tad sore.

10/29- Front squat-dominant strength session. I can feel myself getting stronger.

10/30- Various mobility work and more stair climber intervals. Spent 90 minutes on the stair climber.

10/31- Schedule called for 11 miles, and there was a local trail 20k. 1.4 miles over, close enough. Great hills, muddy trails, good times.

11/1-11/2– Everything went to hell. Professional and family issues came up, I got no training in, and I feel like I am losing my mind. Honestly debated deleting this post entirely because I had lost hope that I would get back to it.

11/3- Much better day. Got up early to bike to the gym, killed the strength workout (increased my front squat max 55 pounds over last time, although that is largely due to better form), got the base run done on the treadmill, and as I type this I am stepping out the door to ruck groceries home from HyVee.

11/4- Got 6 miles in last night. Had to argue with myself a lot to get out of bed, but when I eventually did I got another stair climber zone interval workout in.

I am a bit behind schedule on the plan and I have a procedure tomorrow that will prevent training for 24-48 hours. I am breaking the rule about doing all workouts in order (keeping it as much as I can, but modifying to try to get as much as I can done). Core work tonight, get a strength session before the procedure, take a day off, back at it Saturday.

11/5- Tore it the hell up at the gym today before going to the dentist. They tell me I can get back to training tomorrow. SCORE!!

11/6- Evening bike ride, just under 9 miles.

11/7- 5 miles on the bike to get groceries, 16 mile AM run. Life got in the way and the hoped-for 8-mile evening run did not happen.

11/8- Utter failure. Hope for better days tomorrow remains.

11/9- Slept in during my normal morning workout time, but got some quality time with the stair climber in later in the day. Crushed the workout, feeling much better about myself.

11/10- Again slept in and moved my workout to late afternoon. 1-mile intervals at Zone 5 suck hard core, but I knocked them out. Biking home after was a mild form of torture with the steep hill near the gym.

Rest up, squat workout in the morning.

Note: I made the mistake of scheduling this training plan right up to the week before the race. Due to missing various workouts, I am a bit behind schedule. I have decided that I will do what I can to catch up until November 20th, then skip whatever I have to to do the last few weeks per the original plan. Next time, I will build in some wiggle room in the training schedule.

11/11- Crushed the morning weight session, got 4 out of the scheduled 5 miles in before I ran out of time. Pushed off the core circuits until evening, and didn’t have enough left when I got there.

11/12- Knocked out 210 floors on the stair climber this morning. I got in just over half of the total scheduled distance in before running out of time. While I was thinking about slipping out of the office to get the rest of the workout in, my body is giving me clear signals that it needs rest. Take half for today, see how I feel in the morning. Better going in under-trained than beaten-down.

11/13- Still feeling like crap, rest day.

11/14- Goal for today was 28 miles. My feet blistered badly before 10 miles and at 22 miles I decided to quit rather than risking later workouts.

11/15- A little time on the bike and letting feet heal.

11/16- Stairmaster lactate threshold intervals. Feeling better, absolutely crushed it.

11/17- Strength session. Sometimes I wonder if the weights I crush will go to heaven…

Ran out of time, had to cut the core session short.

11/18- Rest day.

11/19- 5 mile easy run in the AM, then went heavy-duty on the stair climber after dinner. 14.39 miles total.

11/20- We got 16″ of snow. I live on a corner lot, meaning lots of sidewalk to clear. The schedules 7 miles got replaced with a 2-hour snow slog.

11/21- Next time I do this, I need to figure out another time for long runs than Saturdays. With family commitments, it just doesn’t work. Managed 2.4 miles and some snow removal today.

11/22- Long run scheduled for this was 31 miles. I managed 20. Finding time for runs over 20 miles is tough. Hoping it gets easier as I get faster.

11/23- Not feeling it. Barely got 1.5 miles in. Rest up today, hit it hard in the morning.

This marks the end of the crazy long runs and the start of the taper. And I could not be happier about this.

11/24- Today was supposed to be a stair-climber lactate threshold interval workout. I got to the gym and found I had forgotten my heart rate monitor, so I switched to tomorrow’s scheduled workout. Lots of front squats, core work, etc. Got a little under 2 miles in, then had to run to get the kids to school. Should be able to get 3 more miles in tonight.

PM- Got 3.25 miles in after dinner.

11/25- Lactate threshold intervals on the stair climber today. Warm up went fine, first interval was the fastest stair mile I have ever done, second interval was also good pace, then I seemed to run out of gas. My legs couldn’t produce enough horsepower to get my heartrate into zone. After half a mile of this, I decided that this was all I could do and did a zone 1 treadmill run for the remainder of my workout time.

6.11 miles for today.
11/26- Thanksgiving. Eat all the foods and rest up.
11/27- Mixture of track, treadmill, and stair climber. 6.16 miles in total.
11/28- Family commitments, made it a rest day.
11/29- Run to Walmart and back in the AM, then hit the treadmill in the PM. 16.1 miles total.
11/30- We got another large batch of snow, and shoveling ate into both the time and energy I had available to run. 3.5 miles on the treadmill and a lot of white stuff moved.
12/1- So, that’s it. Short easy runs, yoga, and rest up the next few days. Then we will see if it was enough.