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01/21 - 01/27

After a slow start, and some seriously cold temperatures, early this week, I was able to manage some solid training. Here how the week went:

Monday (Jan. 21): off. Recovery from the weekend.
Tuesday (Jan. 22): PM 8 miles, :51, 6:23/mile, out-and-back on Cap City Trail. 6:31/mile on the way out, 6:15/mile on the way back. Felt pretty relaxed.
Wednesday (Jan. 23): off. Signs of serious fatigue, so trying to rest.
Thursday (Jan. 24): PM 12 miles, 1hr:19, 6:36/mile, around Monona Bay and around the Arb (road). Slow-to-fast 7 mile tempo @ 6:07/mile; mile splits were 6:15, 6:15, 6:10, 6:15, 6:02, 5:56, 5:50. Tired by the end but the pace didn't feel all too quick.
Friday (Jan. 25): AM 20 miles, 2hrs:39, 7:58/mile, all over Madison. Really tired for the 5am start this morning with a group from Berkeley. I managed to keep the average pace under 8 minutes a mile when I finished the last 10km solo at a quick pace.
Saturday (Jan. 26): AM 18 miles, 2hrs:19, 7:36/mile, around West Madison. I ran with Hank starting early again, at 5:30am, on the West side of Madison. 12 x 20second pick-ups during some of the middle miles. Legs feeling beat up from all the pavement and my right achilles was acting up a bit. Temps in the single digits.
Sunday (Jan. 27): AM 12 miles, 1hr:11, 6:34/mile, SMR loop. Felt much better today. I had a warm salt bath last night, which must have helped, since my legs felt rested and my achilles less tight. Warmer temps were a nice change (in the 30s).

Weekly Totals: 70 miles, 7hrs:20. The last three weeks have been a nice buildup, with 50 two weeks ago, 62 last week, and 70 this week. I'll try to increase the mileage a touch more the next two weeks and then sit in the mid-80s each week until March.


01/14 - 01/20

One final week of traveling, and another race, before the semester begins next week. Here goes:

Monday (Jan. 14): off. Flew from Orlando to Denver and then drove 720 miles to Columbia, MO. Quite a day of travel!
Tuesday (Jan. 15): PM 8 miles, :59, 7:25/mile, Wydown Rd. to Forest Park, MO. My legs were more sore than I would have expected, likely because I wasn't able to walk around much yesterday.
Wednesday (Jan. 16): AM 10.5 miles, 1hr:17, 7:21/mile, Wydown Rd. to big Forest Park loop, MO. Feeling more recovered today, keeping the miles easy.
Thursday (Jan. 17): PM 11.5 miles, 1hr:25, 7:20/mile, Monona Bay to loop around the Arb (road), WI. Made it back to Wisconsin yesterday and returned to an old, familiar route this afternoon.
Friday (Jan. 18): AM 8 miles, :57, 7:07/mile, out-and-back on the Capital City trail, WI. My legs are finally coming around. Feeling good for tomorrow!
Saturday (Jan. 19): AM 13 miles, IceBreaker Marathon Relay, 2hr:18:17, 5:17/mile, 1st place, Milwaukee, WI. I ran 8 legs of four laps (1760 meters), for a total of around 8.7 miles. Had a blast representing Berkeley Running Company at the Pettit Center. See my Race Report: IceBreaker Marathon Relay for more.
Sunday (Jan. 20): AM 11 miles, 1hr:14, 6:48/mile, SMR loop, WI. I was feeling the effort from yesterday this morning on a brisk run in some cold temperatures.

Weekly Totals: 62 miles, ~7hr:30. My legs recovered swiftly from the marathon last week and I was able to build up my weekly mileage; plus, I had a great start to my training by running some super quick miles on Saturday.

At the start of the Disney Marathon, last weekend.

Kevin Melnuk (right) and I before the marathon last weekend.

After a cold, Sunday morning run. 

I've seen more favorable running conditions!

Race Repot: IceBreaker Marathon Relay

The marathon relay at the Pettit Center on Saturday was my first time racing indoors, and was my first time running the marathon distance on a relay team. This race is very unique: the track is around 440 meters (40 meters longer than the standard quarter mile track), there are only two lanes, there were around 99 teams, and the temperature in the building, which houses a speed skating rink, hovered in the mid-30s, and the time chip was placed around the ankle and had to be switched each time a transition was made. The dynamics of the Berkeley Running Company relay team, moreover, were atypical in that we had three runners. This complicated our strategy, since we wanted to run a distance that we could run very fast, yet we didn't want to be sitting around too long between legs, so as to avoid tightening up. So, Brian, Willy, and I decided on four lap legs (1760 meters), which would give each of us a bit over 11 minutes rest between legs.

Brian (Berkeley Running Company) owns a 2hr:30 marathon and Willy (Naperville Running Company) has a 23:45 PR in the 8km. So, on Saturday morning, I had to work hard to keep up. We each ran 8, four lap repeats, totaling 32 laps each and 96 laps total (roughly the marathon distance). Our splits were as follows (roughly: sometimes I hit the split during the time chip transition, sometimes I hit the split just after, or sometimes I timed the transition period separately):

Willy: 5:18 (shortened leg), 5:33 (4:59 mile), 5:38 (5:05 mile), 5:46 (5:12 mile), 5:43 (5:11 mile), 5:42 (5:10 mile), 5:45 (5:11 mile), 5:49 (5:15 mile)
Brian: 5:52 (5:18 mile), 5:52 (5:18 mile), 5:44 (5:11 mile), 5:42 (5:10 mile), 5:42 (5:10 mile), 5:43 (5:11 mile), 5:45 (5:11 mile), 5:48 (5:14 mile)
Eric: 5:45 (5:11 mile), 5:43 (5:11 mile), 5:43 (5:11 mile), 5:46 (5:12 mile), 5:47 (5:13 mile), 5:49 (5:15 mile), 5:50 (5:15 mile), 5:26 (shortened leg).

The result: 1st place, 2hr:18:17 (5:17/mile). I'll definitely consider running at this event again next year, as it was a very cool, and very unique, experience. Thanks to all the volunteers, supporters, the race director, Chris, and David at Berkeley Running Company!

Willy, high stepping. 

Brian, moving too fast for the camera. 

The team, post-race. 

A photo with the trophy and race director, Chris. 


10,000 miles of adventures

In the last month, I traveled around 10,000 miles by car or by plane (and sundry other miles by foot or snowboard): Madison, WI to St. Louis, MO; St. Louis to Panama City, Panama; Panama City to St. Louis; St. Louis to Boulder, CO; Boulder to Breckenridge; Breckenridge to Denver, Denver to Orlando, FL (via Atlanta); Orlando to Denver (via Atlanta); Denver to St. Louis; St. Louis to Madison. That's a lot of travel! So much so that I took the time to count the miles (and take some pictures).

Here's what the 10,000 miles of travel brought me: several road trips, a wedding, a winter wonderland (for snowshoeing and snowboarding), a marathon, lots of expenses, and one hell of a good time! Here are some photos from along the way:

After a night run in negative degree temps. 

The morning after a snowfall in Breckenridge, CO.

Winterwonderland, Breckenridge, CO.

Roadtrippin' through the Rockies. 

A recurring theme over the break: snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing through the valley, with a view of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, CO.

Enjoying New Years Day. 

An afternoon jaunt before a nice sunset. 

Battling the cold, per usual. 

Another day on the mountain. 

A view from the base of Peak 7.

Always spectacular views while driving in CO.

From the top of the T-bar at 12,200', Breckenridge, CO.

The beautiful landscape. 

This is not a mirage: it's Florida. 

Taking in the palm trees in Windermere, FL.

Snowshoeing below the gondola, Breckenridge, CO.

Over the river and through the woods. 

And some excellent photos from the marathon HERE.

01/07 - 01/13

As has become customary these last few weeks, I was traveling again this week: Breckenridge to Denver to Orlando (through Atlanta). Plus a race to boot. Here's the recap:

Monday (Jan. 7): off. Was feeling a bit ill today and had a four hour drive so I took it easy.
Tuesday (Jan. 8): off. Snowboarding in the morning and still not feeling great so nothing again.
Wednesday (Jan. 9): PM 6.5 miles, :51, 7:57/mile, Silver Circle Rd, Breckenridge, CO. Feeling better today and had a great morning snowboarding on the mountain, up to 12,200' feet on Peak 9, a bit of hiking, and lots of fun. In the afternoon the roads had mostly cleared up so I was able to run without spikes or snowshoes for the first time in awhile. Great day!
Thursday (Jan. 10): AM 5.5 miles, :55, 10:02/mile, Lower Flume to Mike's Trail to Upper Flume, Breckenridge, CO. A little tired from yesterday but managed to put on the snowshoes and bounce around for about an hour on some trails near the house.
Friday (Jan. 11): PM 8 miles, :55, 6:51/mile, two four miles loops, Windermere, FL. I made it to Florida last night to run the Disney Marathon with Kevin Melnuk on Sunday. Had an afternoon run in the mid-80s with sun and humidity--what a change! Tried to get some race pace miles in (although I was a touch fast).
Saturday (Jan. 12): AM ~4 miles, :35, 8:35/mile, Walt Disney World, FL. Kevin and I jogged around to cheer on his girlfriend, Ren, in her first half marathon. Good fun. Congratulations to her on a great finish of 2hrs:01!
Sunday (Jan. 13): AM Disney Marathon, 26.2 miles, 3:07:23, 7:09/mile, Walt Disney World, FL. I was trying to pace Kevin Melnuk to a 3hr:05 marathon and we just missed it. It was an unseasonably warm day, but since the start was at 5:30am, we stayed out of the heat for the most part. Went through the half marathon in about 1hr:32:10, and we were on pace for a 3hr:05 until around mile 23. Brilliant effort by Kevin to continue and finish strong though. Congrats to him! Also, had a pleasant surprise in seeing Chris Rubesch at the start line. Congrats to him on placing 14th in around 2hrs:46!

Weekly Totals: ~50 miles, ~6hrs:20. The marathon served as a wonderful training run, and the training will continue -- very intensely and very seriously -- over the next two months in preparation for my spring race schedule. Excited!

Quite an Expo put on by runDisney

Kevin, recovering in the warm, Florida sun.

Packet pick-up with Kevin & Ren.


2012 In Review

2012 was my first full year racing ultra marathons. I learned that there is a lot to learn in order to succeed at ultra distances. Everything is important: training, fueling during a race, fueling during training, cross training, living healthy, eating healthy, sleeping, racing strategy, what gear to wear, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. The more races I ran, the more I learned. The more miles I logged, the more I learned. So, one thing that I'll continue to do in 2013 is this: log miles and race.

A special thanks to Berkeley Running Company, and especially to David, for all the support that they gave me in 2012. Here's to hoping that 2013 will bring more support and success!

My mileage (including racing and training) in 2012 totaled around 3,375 miles, and took around 427 hours. Here's a (rough) month-to-month breakdown:

January: 200 miles, 24 hours
February: 261 miles, 32 hours
March: 293 miles, 35 hours
April: 244 miles, 30 hours
May: 407 miles, 50 hours
June: 307 miles, 40 hours
July: 350 miles, 45 hours
August: 400 miles, 61 hours
September: 250 miles, 28 hours
October: 258 miles, 32 hours
November: 220 miles, 26 hours
December: 185 miles, 24 hours

My peak mileage occurred in the summer, during which I had only one race. My mileage dropped in the last four months of the year, during which time I raced the 50 mile distance three times. During 2012, I competed in each of the following race distances: 1 mile, 8k, half marathon, 20 mile, marathon, 50k, 50 mile. My best respective times in 2012 were: 4:40, 27:35, 1:19:30, 2:08:xx, 2:51:xx, 3:21:xx, 6:21:03.

I'm looking forward to logging more miles, and running more races, in 2013!

Ending 2012 the right way: snowshoeing and beer. 


12/31 - 01/06

Here's how I brought in the new year (2012 recap still forthcoming):

Monday (Dec. 31): off. Snowboarding!
Tuesday (Jan. 1): off. Day to relax
Wednesday (Jan. 2): PM 8 miles, 1hr:05, 8:04/mile, loops around Silver Circle, up and down Fairview twice, Breckenridge, CO. Another run with spikes, as the roads as iced over and snow packed. Over 1,000' of ascent.
Thursday (Jan. 3): AM 5.5 miles, :57, 10:27/mile, snowshoe trails, Breckenridge. Had lots of fun exploring the snowshoe trails throughout the Nordic ski center. Plenty of sun and very cold. More snowboarding today.
Friday (Jan. 4): PM 7 miles, 1hr:20, 11:32/mile, snowshoe trails, Breckenridge. After snowboarding in the morning, I put on my snowshoes and went back to the snowshoe trails. Had a blast! A good amount of climbing (1,200'), and lots of sun again.
Saturday (Jan. 5): PM 3 miles, 1hr:08, 23:00/mile, snowshoe trails, Breckenridge. Another morning of snowboarding, and an afternoon of hiking in snowshoes with my sisters.
Sunday (Jan. 6): off. I had carpool duty today, taking some people to Winter Park. I was also feeling a bit sick today and, after a packed week, I decided to rest.

Weekly Totals: 23.5 miles, 4hrs:30. Mostly snowshoeing miles, which is a fairly tiring enterprise, even though many of the trails were packed snow. I had another 12 or so hours of snowboarding this week, so it made for lots of activity. Marathon in Orlando this Sunday with Kevin Melnuk!

In the valley, below the slopes, while snowshoeing.

A nice view of the peaks in Breckenridge, CO.

A panorama view.


12/24 - 12/30

Quite a bit of travel again this week but I managed to have some good runs and to enjoy some wonderful scenery too. I'll have a full recap of the 2012 season soon, but for now here's a look at the last week of 2012:

Monday (Dec. 24): AM 10 miles, 1hr:06, 6:37/mile, Wydown Rd. to short loop around Forest Park, MO. Back in St. Louis for the holiday and had a nice morning run with several miles around 6:20/mile.
Tuesday (Dec. 25): off
Wednesday (Dec. 26): AM 12 miles, 1hr:24, 6:57/mile, Wydown Rd. to big loop around Forest Park, MO. Had fun testing out my new Garmin 910 while logging some easy miles.
Thursday (Dec. 27): AM 9 miles, 1hr:04, 7:06/mile, Wydown Rd. to trails through Forest Park. Another jaunt through Forest Park before heading west tomorrow.
Friday (Dec. 28): off. 12 hours drive to Boulder.
Saturday (Dec. 29): AM 8 miles, 1hr:31, 11:18/mile, Flagstaff Trail, Rangeview Trail, Ranger Trail, Greenman Trail, Saddle Rock Trail, in Boulder, CO. Threw on some spikes and had a blast running up and down through the foothills in Boulder. 2,300' of climbing through the first five miles and then about an equal amount of descent over the last three miles. PM 7 miles, :51, 7:16/mile, Boulder Creek Path. Ran for a bit with my sister and then logged some miles around 6:30/mile. Was followed by a coyote for a short while -- a little frightening!
Sunday (Dec. 30): PM 6 miles, 1hr, 10:00/mile, Breckenridge, CO. Another two hours drive to Breckenridge today. I put my spikes on and ran about a mile on snow packed roads to the bike path only to find over a foot of mostly untouched snow covering it. I should have worn snowshoes today!

Weekly Totals: 52 miles, ~7 hours. I'll have another couple easy weeks before I start rigorous training in the second half of January. I'll try to run easy and not too much the next few weeks and I'll try to get lots of rest. Now that I'm out west, it's tough not to be moving all day: with running, snowboarding, and snowshoeing all available, there's always something to do.
December Totals: ~185 miles, ~23.5 hours. I've had lots of time off this month with not too many miles during the last quarter of the year; with another two weeks easy to start 2013 I'm feeling good about the upcoming winter/spring training in preparation for some fast races in the spring.