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Showing posts from January, 2012

Long term athlete or flash in the pan?

Here's a shot from the lowest-effort 100 miler I ever ran. It's the Mohican 100 in 2003; I was coming off my PR of 24:32 in 2002, so this time around I kept it casual and brought it home in 25:32 (or something close to that).

What I can remember on that day was the frame of mind I held, how easily my body moved, and how relatively fresh I was at the finish.  Got done, went home, and mowed the lawn.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this...and it's about coaches.  Please understand I'm not against coaching and in 2012 I'm designated as a "coach" supported runner on the Brooks team, based on my work with the Appalachian State University running club. But now that my disclaimer is in place, I have some points to make.

I listened to an Endurance Planet podcast a couple of weeks ago, where the host stated every workout must have goals and deliverables. Most runners pursue coaches to attain better results.  A coach will help you design a pl…

100 mile running: The picture tells a story

I was digging around in some old computer files and came upon this gem.  It's my brother Richard bringing it home at the 2002 Mohican (Ohio) 100 mile.

There's a bunch of chatter online about what a 100 mile is, how to approach it, and what it does to the body and mind.

No need to add commentary here. Just look into the face of the man in the red jacket.  A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Ultrarunning at the 100 mile distance is a weird animal.  There are numerous highs and lows, times when you want to poop in your pants or crawl off the trail and die like a small rodent.

But if all the cards play out like they might, it's possible to march in to the finish line.

Whatever the discourse, I'm here to tell you that 100-milers are monster events that take a little piece of you each time you make the journey.  That's why they're so epic and valuable.  You have to complete one to understand.

Everlast Door Gym: Bodybuilding for $12.99

Bummed around T.J.Maxx yesterday and came away with a true Master Competitor gem - the Everlast Door Gym for a screaming low price of $12.99.

Now there's no excuses for being ripped and ready when I do that obligatory shirt change after each ultrarun and bike ride.

Pretty basis stuff:  Elastic resistance cords hooked to any standard door.  Only trouble is that when installed on my doors, the doors won't close.  Have to brace door with one foot while doing reps. Other hassle is that to get the full range of exercises, one has to flip the brackets from two on top, one on bottom, to the reverse one on top, two on bottom. There's also a resistance adjuster that allows for increased tension.

Hooked it up in about five minutes and now it's time to get to work.  A few hundred reps a day can turn weight resistance into an endurance sport.  The Everlast Door Gym should add to my overall 2012 resolution of converting convert master man to super man in the next 60 days.

Brooks shoe combo for Spring 2012

(DISCLAIMER: I am a Brooks supported athlete.  I received Brooks running products for the 2012 season)

Things are looking up for master man in 2012. I returned home from a month of travel and busted out three new pair of Brooks running shoes. I enjoy breaking in a trio of shoes at the same time, then using a pair each day in rotation.  I believe that different shoes break down with alternative impact points and that each foot strike in a unique way for that model.   My Spring 2012 line-up included the new minimalist Brooks PureGrit trail shoe, the wonderful and cushy Brooks Ghost 3 and the nimble Ravenna 2.
My reaction to the PureGrit was...it's fast.  Quite easy to get a firm foot strike and push off based on the flexibility of this model.  The upper is thin and wispy and wraps more than fits. I ran on a wet day and the leaves were snotty; I wasn't getting quite the grip that I have been achieving with my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes. With a minimalist shoe a runner also gets…

Marathon Thoughts....this is LOL!

This piece has been going around among running groups on the Internet.  Finally clicked it on this morning. Simple concept, but when it was over my eyes had teared and nose was running from laughing so hard!

Maybe you have to know some of the 26.2 back story to 26.2 to appreciate the humor. But for those of you who understand, it's LOL.

Well done...and 182,000+ views to date!

Enjoy.

Tsali 50K revisited

Here's one of the hottest match-ups from last weekend....my new buddy Mike Montgomery burning up the trail with master man chasing him. This is where I seem to find myself in most races, shadowing someone who can hold a faster pace.

Mike was cordial and we had a fine visit, but he turned on the afterburners and took it in hard the last few miles.  This guy is the real deal - has 26 ultras scheduled for 2012 inclusive of three 100 mile events.  He's doing the Iron Horse 100 miler in February and has been working on pace, to assure he can make the cutoffs.

Tsali was a nice event.  The event promoter had details well in hand. Chip timing makes things spot on.  The event tech shirt was one of the finest I have ever received.  Long sleeve, thick wicking fabric with nice design, zippers and storage pockets.  Surely no budget shortcuts in this category.

Despite rain, the course volunteers were cheerful and made sure we have our needs met at the checkpoints. Plenty of Hammer Gel packs…

Traversing the Tsali 50K

I think my Garmin had a brain fart.  
I was nearing the finish at yesterday's Tsali 50K near Asheville, NC.  My "battery low" warning came on at around 6:30...hey, what about the 8 hour charge this watch is supposed to maintain? The watch blipped and chirped, then seemed to resume. But it finally checked out and went into sleep mode.
Until I started the drive home, when it took on a mind of its own and turned back on.  So what I now have is a 29 mile 50K at somewhere around 15:30 pace, then another 30 miles at 1 min/mile pace.  It does help skew the overall average, but I didn't feel good about accepting the stats.
What I did get is an interesting route map from the course at Tsali. I cropped and enlarged it, for your enjoyment (posted above). Have you ever considered using Garmin run loops for Rorschach testing?  I have my own interpretation of what the Tsali loop represents, but you can make your own determination.
So here's what we had: Three major loops, run coun…

Photo tour of Alabama run loop

It's easy to talk about our daily runs and the loops we traverse; but it's much more difficult to allow others to "see" what we embrace during that run. To that end, I'm sharing a slide show of my Birmingham, Alabama running loop.

I have to limp the first mile to get my trashed right foot in motion. Then I journey into the Botanical Gardens, where trails and interesting terrain awaits.  Much of the run beyond that is neighborhood roads and sidewalks, with a good bit of climb taking me into the final mile home. Here's now my splits looked today:


Split Time Distance Avg Pace Summary1:32:29.79.0110:16

Most efficient running technique

Part of my job in all things communication is to better understand social media. I need to stay on top of how we message within channels now available through the Internet.
To that end, I wrote, produced, directed, edited and acted in my first YouTube video. We shot about 50 segments, then I downloaded into Windows Live Movie Maker. I had never worked with moving pictures before, so it was a steep learning curve.  I'm not claiming any rights to the Oscars documentary category, but it's rather amazing that within three days, one can go from concept to finished product.
The content expresses my personal opinions on running style and how we can use the least amount of energy to propel ourselves to the finish line.  Much of my technique flies in the face of the current minimalist movement, but we all have to approach running with our own mindset.
Master Competitor is about encouraging individuals through endurance sport.  So keep those feet close to the ground and shuffle towards a p…

Purge wheat lose the belly?

I was taking a fine jog this morning, 65 degrees and sunny on my Alabama loop. Part of the run encompassed Ben Greenfield's latest podcast, which included an interview with Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has taken a firm and opposing stance regarding the consumption of all things wheat:

http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2011/12/the-shocking-truth-about-wheat/

Dr. Davis is the author of the New York Times best seller "Wheat Belly." He defines "healthy whole grains" as "incredibly destructive genetic monsters."  His premise is based on the argument that wheat was genetically modified in the 1970's to deliver a higher yield product.  Dr. Davis states the dwarf wheat was designed to include an appetite motivator and also became an antecedent to high insulin levels. He also contends that patients who remove wheat from their diets have experienced significant weight loss and have seen dramatic improvements from a wide array of maladies.

Readers …