The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

A great place for running gear

Please check out this website for great running gear, fitness trackers, and other gadgets at great prices!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fat Ass Cancelled, Long Live the Fat Ass

Well, it looks like we got around 4 inches last night and the NOAA was recommending that people not travel so we decided not to drive down to Adrian until this morning. We might have been able to make it to Pinckney for the Fat Ass, but I'm not sure secondary dirt roads would be plowed early this morning and our little compact car is hardly a four-wheel drive monster. So, I swallowed my disappointment, gazed longingly at my neatly organized supplies, and opted not to participate in the run today. Good luck to everyone who made it down there as I'm sure the snow made it quite an adventure!

As a consolation, Holli suggested that I just run my own race tomorrow instead. So, early tomorrow morning I think I'm going to pack up and head to Silver Lake (the location of the run today) and just do the same thing as a solo event. We now have the biannual Brian Thomas marathon so why not the Brian Thomas Fat Ass 50 miler. I think I'll start a little earlier than the run today, perhaps around 8 AM, so if anyone out there wants to join me, drop me a post!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Non-running topic

Want to know what's really going on in Pakistan? Jim Johnson, a colleague of mine, is currently in transit to Pakistan and has set up a blog to chronicle his journey. I encourage you all to check it out for a first hand account of what's taking place there.

Happy Holidays!

It's nice to finally have a break. Elliott's second Christmas was a ton of fun as he was much more aware of what was going on this year. He was clearly aware that there were a lot of new toys suddenly available to him! He kept tapping his feet doing the "happy feet dance" and waving his hands in the air with each new toy.

I got some cool running stuff including several pairs of socks (you know you are a running geek when you get excited about socks), some spikes for running on ice, gloves, and a hat with headphones. I'm really looking forward to trying the Injinji socks I received. They have toes and have been reviewed pretty well.

I'm pretty set for the Hell Fat Ass 50 mile run on Saturday. Pinkney has some hills that I'm probably not overly prepared for so I'm anticipating a much slower finish time than in September. It occurred to me yesterday that this will probably mean I will be finishing in the dark (the run starts at 9:00 AM). It's 2 and a 2/3 loops of the Potawatami trail in Pinckney Recreation Area, which tends to have pretty well groomed trails, so I'm not worried about getting lost. It'll be good practice for night running in the future. I'm going out this afternoon to pick up a headlamp. I'm looking forward to the run to have some time in the woods to myself to reflect on the year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Brian Thomas Holiday Marathon #2

Thanks to the semester winding down and a weekend visit from Grammy, I had a great 40 mile running week. Average pace was only 10:20/mile, but that was largely because I ran another personal marathon on Saturday. I ran the route unsupported and without stopping at home (except after mile 3 to drop off the dog) through weather that stayed in the mid-20s. I figured it would be good preparation for the Fat Ass at the end of the month. I tested out the Nathan HPL 020 2.0L Race Vest, which Dave and Lauren got me for graduation. I must say that it was way more comfortable than my other hydration packs (a Camelback and a Jansport) and the front pockets were a big plus. I filled the hydration pack with Gatorade and cut a couple Cliff bars into bite size chunks, which I kept in the front pockets. I had to keep the valve to the hydration pack inside my vest otherwise it kept freezing shut, but this wasn't a problem. Other then that the cold wasn't a significant problem; I think I much prefer it to the heat and humidity. I made the wise decision to put on a second pair of socks when I dropped off the dog and I still need to get a warmer pair of gloves, but everything went very smoothly. Total run time was 4:31. That's not my fastest time, but it had me confident I'm still holding on to enough conditioning for the Fat Ass 50 mile. If that goes well (and we'll see as the hills at Pinkney always cause me trouble), I'll feel set to pick out a 100 miler for 2008.

I just wish that Scott Sigler would put out chapters of his new novel more quickly as I keep running out of things to listen to on my runs!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Too cold, too busy

I thought I'd update the blog, but I don't really have anything to say. It's been too cold and I've been too busy. Finals week is next week so things will let up soon.

On an exciting note, I will submit my dissertation to the graduate school tomorrow afternoon and will graduate tomorrow night! Holli, Denise, and Mike were kind enough to buy me my own set of academic robes for graduation and I look forward to having the opportunity to wear them. Thanks! The hat is my favorite.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Slow week

Well, after a couple of rocking weeks, things slowed down. Actually, things sped up--just not running. Between end of the semester meetings/grading and daily wind chills below 20 degrees little Elliott and I didn't get our mileage in. And by that I mean we ran 8 miles on Monday and that is all.

On a more exciting note, the latest issue of Ultrarunning arrived this week. This issue included the race results from the North Country Trail Run so I got to see my name in the magazine. Sweet. I'm still feeling pretty motivated and if wasn't for some snowperson construction this afternoon the dog, baby, and I would be going downright stir-crazy. Seriously, when we went outside today the dog started doing laps around the house. We'll have to work on a new schedule as we adapt to the new weather. On the bright side, the semester ends in two weeks, which will clear up some good running time. Hey, if you can't run often, just run long. That should be my motto.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Albeit not a running topic, I'd like to wish my parents a happy 35th anniversary! That is itself an accomplishment and shows a great deal of dedication. I hope that you have many more happy years together in the future.

My turkey marathon

I had another solid week last week so I'm pretty confident that my conditioning hasn't slipped too much despite the lack of training in October. My weekly mileage was 45. Included in that was my own personal post-Thanksgiving marathon where I ran from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Grabill, Indiana and back. Okay, it was actually only 24 miles since a lack of windproof gloves numbed my hands so badly that I called it quits early. Still, I put in the 24 at a 9:56 average pace and without any knee problems or soreness the next day. Nice. If I get through either the 50k or the 50 mile run at the end of December, I'll definitely feel set for a 100 miler in 2008. I'll probably do another 25 to 30 mile training run in a couple weeks to get ready.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Finally, a decent week...

I finally managed a decent week of running last week. I put in a total of 40 miles that included one 15 mile run, two 10s, and one 5. My average pace was just about 9 minutes/mile so I feel like I haven't lost too much conditioning since the ultra. This is important as I just got the race information for the Fat Ass 50 in Hell, MI. There are several Fat Ass races around the country. Their motto is:


That's pure running with no frills. It's set up so that I could do a 50k or a 50 mile run. We'll see how much running I get done around Christmas. I figured I'd do a 25 mile training run this week to burn off some turkey and see how that goes before deciding.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I'd like to give a special thanks to Alyn for her very generous donation that takes us up to our goal of $5,000. Thank you very much!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lupus Live Chat

Lupus Live Chat

Wednesday, November 14
3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Aging and Lupus

As individuals age, they increase their chances of developing a chronic disease. Individuals who develop a chronic condition at an earlier age, as do many people with lupus, must take extra precautions to manage the health problems associated with aging. The next Lupus Live Chat will be on the subject of Aging and Lupus and the special needs and health issues of people with the disease.

About Our Guest Speaker:

Dr. Ronenn RoubenoffDr. Ronenn Roubenoff is Senior Director of Molecular Medicine at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Cambridge, MA, where he directed research on biomarkers and personalized medicine. In January 2007 he became Sr. Director, Translational Medicine, at Biogen Idec, Inc. Dr. Roubenoff has done pioneering work on the interactions of nutrition, exercise and hormonal and immune regulators of metabolism in aging and chronic disease. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and is co-author of a New York Times Bestselling book on exercise and nutrition for the treatment of joint pain and swelling.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
3:00 p.m. Eastern
2:00 p.m. Central
1:00 p.m. Mountain
Noon Pacific
11:00 a.m. Alaska
9:00 a.m. Hawaii

Login to Live Chat (bookmark this URL)

Submit a question in advance

Read transcripts from our previous Live Chats

Upcoming Chats:

December 12 -- Teens and Lupus
Dr. Peter Chira, Stanford University School of Medicine

January 2008 -- New Year's Resolutions
February 2008 -- Women's Heart Health
March 2008 -- Kidneys & Lupus
April 2008 -- Gastrointestinal Issues & Lupu

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Treadmills and Bill Clinton

Well, the blog posts as well as running haven't been terribly consistent since the ultra. I've had a few 30 mile weeks and many 10 to 12 mile runs so I think I'm holding on to my conditioning even if I'm not doing any improvement. There is a 50k Fat Ass run in Hell, MI at the end of December that I might just target to give me some winter motivation. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Fat Ass runs, they are a class of run put on by ultrarunners. They generally have no shirts, no support, and no awards. Yeah, basically its just a bunch of people out running in the woods.

Right now I'm in Chicago at a Green Building conference. It's been a bit more corporate than the conferences that I usually go to. I was excited because Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker. Disappointingly he only spoke for about a half an hour and most of that time he just went on and on about his foundation. Oh well, it was still kind of cool.

So I did some speed work on the treadmill in the hotel last night. I only ran 6 miles. Even though I had the same novel that I've been listening to at home, I just got bored so quickly. Really, I'd planned to go farther, but finally settled on a goal of 6 miles as a compromise. Of course, to reach that goal quickly I kept setting the speed of the treadmill higher and higher so I guess I'll get some benefit from it. Oh well, better than nothing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dr. Thomas

You can now call me Dr. Thomas. Yesterday, I successfully defended my dissertation and completed the final requirement for a Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University. Honestly, the ultramarathon was much easier.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Raffle winners

Thank you to Tifosi Optical and Trail Flex for donating the two pairs of sunglasses and six hats that I have raffled off during my fund raising. I have randomly assigned everyone a number and drawn winners for these prizes. I would like to congratulate Alyn Abs and Drusy for winning the sunglasses. I would like to congratulate M. Terri, Kari Zhe-Heimerman, Fred Thomas, and Marcela Westrate on winning the hats. I will be in touch soon and/or sending your prizes to you in the mail. Thanks again to everyone who contributed!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Well, the donation site officially shut down a few days ago. With a final donation from my parents, we reached $4,500. Awesome! Thanks to everyone!

I'm finalizing my list of donors and supporters and trying to track down a few missing email addresses. I will do the drawing this weekend and contact winners of the prizes that have been generously donated by Trailflex and Tifosi.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cardinals beat Tech

The SVSU Cardinals beat Michigan Tech 33 to 16 on Saturday. The weather was great and it was a close game until the Cardinals pulled away in the third quarter. This was my first SVSU football game and really my first football game of any kind in many years. It was a good time and worth repeating. Compared to a MSU game it felt more like a high school football game, but I actually like the smaller, more personal experience better. I hear that five past SVSU football players are actually in the NFL and one of our past kickers plays in the arena football league. Not bad.

Between the first and second quarter, I walked onto the field and they made an announcement about my run and how much money I raised. I felt a little silly since I was just standing there by myself waving. The announcer did a good job and mentioned all the cool details including the 2 million people in the US who have lupus. People cheered and even stood up! Woah. After I got back to my seat, the man in front of me told me about one of his family members who has lupus. Everyone does know someone with lupus, even if few people are talking about it. Here's a picture of me standing on the field feeling a little awkward.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've taken a break from posting. In part because I wanted to leave the video up as the first part of the page for a while and also because I've been trying to get caught back up at work. I still owe a big thanks to everyone who contributed to my run. SVSU will be mentioning my effort during the SVSU-Michigan Tech football game this Saturday, so I'm hoping to get a few more donations before I officially call this effort done.

Ah, but the cliche that there is a new starting line after every finish line (or something like that) has some truth to it. I bought the domain name the other day. I've heard from several people who have lupus since I finished my run and it is truly motivation to keep going.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

50 mile run video

At long last, here is the video that I took during the 9.5 hours of my journey of 50 miles. Other than some rain that preclude checking in during the middle, I made pretty regular updates. Just a warning, the video is over 20 minutes long.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Well, I've probably crashed Windows Movie Maker at least a dozen times. After scrapping some embellishments like transitions, I got the video into one piece. Now, I've had to wait in 3 hour chunks to find out that blogger had an error while uploading. I'm going to try and upload it from work tomorrow...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lupus Foundation of America Blog

Well, I still haven't had time to get that video up and running. We're actually going to be at home this weekend so hopefully I'll have time to get that done. I did want to note that the Lupus Foundation of America was kind enough to make note of my efforts on their blog. Check it out here. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Total donations

Well, the video is part way edited and I've started working on thank you cards for everyone who has been so critical to my success last weekend. I would like to give you all the final total for donations raised:

$4,345 for the Lupus Foundation of America

That is pretty damn awesome. I can't thank all of you enough for your help in raising this money for such an important cause. While we didn't quite reach our goal, we came really close. Although it makes me wonder what it would take to get over $5,000. I just looked on google maps and it is just over 100 miles from Saginaw Valley State University to Eastern Michigan University...

(Please note that the donations page will remain active until October 15.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Official Results

The official results from the race are posted. Check them out here.

I placed 28th out of 66. Not bad! That's in the top half. My official time, captured perfectly in the photo, was 9:30:24.

Ultramarathon photos

The start is scary, but my peeps are there.

Going strong in the beginning

Refueling with my crew

Hey, this is getting tiring...

Hey Dad, where's the stroller?

Thanks to Grandpa Thomas for the photos! I'm still working on editing the video, but hope to have it posted by this weekend. I also have some donations that people gave me that I still need to add to the total. I can't thank all of you enough for your contributions to this important cause. We raised, pardon me, a sh*t ton of money for the Lupus Foundation of America. Once I get myself organized, I'll do the drawing for the prizes too. Stay tuned--there's more to see and read!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I did it!

The real time blogging didn't work out since cell phone reception in Manistee National Forest left something to be desired. I also haven't gotten around to blogging since I've been feeling a bit tired because...

I successfully ran 50 miles on Saturday!

I'll post more details, including photos and video, when I have a little more time. I just wanted to make sure that I gave everyone who has been waiting to hear results gets an update. My final time was 9 hours 30 minutes and 24 seconds. That's well under my goal time! I also placed 28th over all! I don't know the total number of runners since there were still people finishing when we left, but I think it is somewhere around 80 or 90. Thanks to everyone for your support--it helped me get through the tough spots!

Friday, September 14, 2007

On my way!

Well, we're leaving in a few short hours for the race. We'll spend the night in a hotel and then bright and early at 7:30 AM we start. The weather couldn't be better. Last that I heard it will be in the 50s, which is just about perfect for me.

Check in to the blog tomorrow! Holli is going to try and send updates from her cell phone so, assuming we can get reception, we'll have some real time updates.

Thanks again to everyone for all of your support!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

50 mile checklist

Yeah, I'm a geek so I made a spreadsheet of my stuff. While a relational database might also have been in order, it's been a busy week. :) The plan is for Holli to meet me at least at miles 12.5, 25, and 37.5 with a bag of essentials. There are aid stations every 3 to 4 miles, which will allow me to refill my water bottle and get food in between. Stuff I might need will be in the car unless I really need it. Anything I might be missing?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Thought for the day...

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."

- George S. Patton

Weekly Statistics

Well, I forgot to charge my Forerunner this week and, since I'm tapering, didn't bother charging it until today. Consequently, my total mileage is an estimate and I don't have any heart rate information.

Total mileage: 35 miles

Together, we have raised over $4,000 and we have one week to go! I have one check in my office and a few more verbal commitments for donations too. This is quite an impressive figure and I want to both thank those of you who have donated and thank those of you who have asked others to donate. This is an important cause and I couldn't have gotten where I have without all of your help.

Along those lines, I received another email this week from someone with lupus. It is a good reminder to me as to why I am doing this and wish her all the luck in the future.

Finally, I talked with the Mike Watson, the athletic director at SVSU, and he asked me if they could recognize my run between quarters at the October 13th football game against Michigan Tech. Not only is that very cool, but I think it will be a good opportunity to educate the SVSU community about lupus.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Big shoes to fill

Sure, they may be big shoes to fill, but I suspect that this aspiring runner will one day be able to fill them. Seriously, Elliott carried these shoes out from the bedroom and put them on without any prompting from me. I just walked into the room and he was standing there in a pair of my running shoes. Now that's cute.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ultramarathon radio interview

For those of you who weren't able to tune in for the radio broadcast this morning, I'm posting an mp3 file that you can listen to. The interview was only about 5 minutes and I'm very happy with how it went. Click here to listen to the interview (note that it is about 4.5 megs so it might take a little while to download or stream depending on your connection.)

Also, if you are interested in making a donation with a check, you can write checks out to the "Lupus Foundation of America" and send them to me at Brian Thomas, EN 269, 7400 Bay Road, University Center, MI 48710. I'll compile all of the checks and send them together to the Lupus Foundation after the race. Thanks again for all of your support!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Newsradio 1250 AM interview

More press for lupus! I'm being interviewed early tomorrow morning for a prerecorded interview that will be played on Newsradio 1250 AM! You can listen to it on the internet from here. I'll post when I have more details.

Also, on a side note I had a request that I accept donations through paypal. I'm going to see what I can get set up. Stay tuned and thanks to everyone for their support so far!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Weekly Statistics

It was my first official week of tapering and resting up for the race. I feel a little guilty not running so much, but it also has me realizing how much of the summer I spent trotting around town. Still, the timing of everything couldn't be better since last week was our first week of classes. Holli made reservations last week for our hotel in Manistee. There's no turning back now. I'm starting to try and eat more carbs. I hear that the night before carb-loading doesn't really work and its something that you need to build up over time. Less than two weeks to go!

Here are my stats (not as interesting as the last few weeks!):

Total mileage: 25 miles
Long run: 10 miles
Average pace: 9:47 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 151 beats/minute

Thursday, August 30, 2007

35 mile video

Gosh, this job thing sure gets in the way of my running and blogging. :) It's nice to be tapering though. Ran a relaxed 5 miles yesterday. Here's the video from Sunday. It was too long for to take as a single video so it appears in two parts. Enjoy!

Help support lupus research!

I promise the video from my 35 mile training run will be posted soon. It's too long for so I have to edit it and haven't had time yet. Until then, help support lupus research! Being politically active is cool!

The below text is from the Lupus Foundation:

Help Secure More Funds for Lupus Research and Education:

Send an email to your U.S. Representative and United States Senators and urge them to become a co-sponsor of the Lupus REACH Amendments Act of 2007 . Go to the LFA Advocacy Action Center - enter your zipcode and click GO .

Ask your family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join you in this effort to enact legislation that will heighten federal efforts to find the causes of and cure for lupus, and to educate the public, health professionals, and people with lupus about symptoms, health effects, and treatments.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekly Statistics

Did anyone else notice that the countdown clock on the site was like a day off? Maybe I'm the only one paying that much attention. :) Anyway, it's all fixed. Here are my stats for this week:

Total mileage: 52 miles
Long run: 35 miles
Average pace: 10:49 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 152 beats/minute

This officially begins my taper. My 35 mile long run went very well. Including breaks I averaged 11:30 minutes/mile. This has me completing the 50 mile run under 10 hours. That would be cool. Slow and steady finishes the race. I did the last testing of food and equipment and I'm pretty happy with my setup. I did use the video camera, but I'm a bit tired so I'll post the video later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Valley Vanguard

Yup, I'm famous. Or maybe it's infamous. Whatever. Anyway, here's the article about me in the Valley Vanguard. Not bad!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lupus Email

I got this email the other day from someone who came across this website:

I would like to thank you for running for lupus. I have suffered with this disease for over 20 years. Unfortunately, I am becoming more disabled by the day. I would like to see this disease stopped with this generation. It pains me to think that others would have to live a life of pain and limitations.
Thank you!

I've been getting nervous as the race nears and this message certainly is a poignant reminder that the nearly $2,000 all of you have given has already made this effort a success. It is also a meaningful reminder that lupus is a very painful and debilitating part of many people's lives. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Well, I think I'm past whatever was bothering me last week. I did a short six mile run on Sunday, which felt okay. I did seven miles yesterday at a pretty decent pace for me (9 minutes/mile). Of course Elliott was in day care so it was a rare run when I didn't push the stroller at least part of the time. I'm still planning on capping my training with a 35 mile run this weekend. After that, I'm calling myself ready and eating carbs like crazy for three weeks amidst relaxed runs. In honor of the start of school, I'm working on a post titled "The Sociology of Running Shoes." Look for that soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sick and Tired

Well, I'm not sick and tired of anything, but I have been sick and tired this week. I'm not sure if I stressed my endocrine system or something on my 30 miler last week. Basically, I've been fatigued the last few days, had minor muscle pain, and had periodic chills and cold sweats. I did a 12 mile run on Wednesday, which was fine, but the next day I just wasn't feeling right. It was sort of like having the flu without the nausea. Anyway, this morning when I woke up I started feeling more like myself. Unfortunately, I didn't get more than that one 12 mile run in last week. My original plan was to run 25 miles today, but of course it's been raining all day. Usually that wouldn't deter me, but I'm not sure I want to push my luck with less than a month to the race. I'll make it out for a run, but I haven't decided how far yet. I hate being sick.

On a more positive note, those of you that are part of SVSU can look for an article about me in the August 24th edition of the Valley Vanguard. I'll make sure to have a link to the article once it is up. Thanks to Alie for putting that together!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Scott Sigler Fans Unite Against Lupus!

No word from Scott Sigler, but someone called my phone last night and the caller ID said that it was Perry Dawsey. I thought that he was just some character from one of Scott's book. He left a message nearly as incoherent as Scott's. I guess Perry never recovered from the "incident" in Adrian, MI. Alien attacks will do that to you. He ranted about chicken scissors and the failure of Scott's fans to save him. He survived to the end of the book, so I'm not sure what he's so mad about.

Anyway, Perry said that 40,000 Scott Sigler Junkies may not have been able to keep him whole through Infested, but that doesn't mean they can't help save other people from a terrible disease called Lupus.

Lupus is a very real autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates between 1.5 - 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. Although epidemiological data on lupus is limited, studies suggest that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.

My mother-in-law, as well as other of my family and friends have lupus. In just over a month, I'll be running a 50-mile ultramarathon to raise money for the Lupus Foundation of America. My goal is to raise $5,000. If only 1,000 of you Scott Sigler fans come through and donate $5 each this will blow the top off my goal. Hell, if you can take over, you can help put an end to lupus.

Donate $5 now by clicking here or on the "Donate Now" button to the right and help me run like I'm being chased by an Ancestor.

(Help me even more! Digg this page, blog about it, email your friends, link to it, anything and everything helps! You know someone with lupus.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekly Training Update

Sorry for the quick post. I'm currently addicted to video posts (you're right, Sandi!), so most of my comments are incorporated into the video. I promise I'll get over it and start writing more soon. Here are my stats from last week:

Total mileage: 50 miles
Long run: 30 miles
Average pace: 10:32 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 149 beats/minute

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rifle River State Recreation Area

This is a bit of a test. I got a new video camera a couple of weeks ago. It's the RCA Small Wonder. It's really small and doesn't have the best resolution compared to full sized cameras. However, it uses flash memory, is very easy to use, and sends video clips quickly to a computer through a USB connection. In other words, it's perfect for carrying around while exploring new parks, as Elliott and I did yesterday when we went for a hike at the Rifle River State Recreation Area, just outside Rose City. It was a really nice place, I would recommend it.

I might even carry the camera during the race. Then, all of you supporters can get a first hand account of the race. I'll have to devise a way to carry it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Belated weekly summary

Well, I would like to say that my slight slip in training was due to some planned recovery days. Unfortunately, it was just an issue of a busy week at work and some high heat and humidity early in the week. Anyway, here are my stats from last week:

Total mileage: 38 miles
Long run: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:05 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 149 beats/minute

I also bought a new pair of shoes yesterday. I went with a pair of Brooks Adrenoline GTS 7. I've been putting enough miles on my Saucony shoes that I want to make sure I switch shoes before they start breaking down and bothering my knee. I was also in East Lansing for a meeting and couldn't help but stop by Playmakers. I haven't had time to try them out, but will post a review later.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beware of Scott Sigler

I think that the notorious author Scott Sigler has been working too hard on his latest book, Infested, which will be coming out in 2008. He emailed me some bizarre, nearly incoherent message that revolved around the estimated 1.5 - 2 million Americans who have a form of lupus. Scott said that in lupus the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies -- called "auto-antibodies" -- cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. Scott sounded pretty mad about the whole thing. Honestly, it was more than a little scary. That guy is weird.

Here's the really scary part. This morning, when I woke up, the chicken scissors were missing from my kitchen. I'm afraid that this may be part of Scott's misguided plan to stop the spread of lupus. Someone tell Scott he's been working too hard on his horror novel Infested--Chicken scissors cannot cure lupus! Only donating to the Lupus Foundation of America will help!

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best running music?

7.5 miles today. I was going to go for a nice 10 mile jog, but since I had a morning meeting I ended up running in 90+ degree weather. I tried to stay in as much shade as possible, but I didn't want Elliott to get too hot so I cut things short. Heat aside, the run actually felt pretty good so I guess my marathon recovery went well.

I need some help. I'm looking for good running music. Sure, I usually do the podcasts, but I do like some tunes occasionally to help kick me in gear when I'm running low on motivation. However, I'm tired of my choices and my running playlist is much too short. If you have any ideas, comment here and list suggestions for good motivational running music. Maybe I'll pick up some good music for mile 40 of the ultra!

Here's what is currently on my running playlist:
Livin' On a Prayer--Bon Jovi
Blaze of Glory--Bon Jovi
Lose Yourself--Eminem
Run Rabbit Run--Eminem
8 Miles and Running--Jaz-Z & Freeway
Adrenaline Rush--Obie Trice
Bring Me To Life--Evanescence
Wake Up--Rage Against the Machine

Okay, it's eclectic to say the least. Suggestions please!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Carrollton Charity Road Race Marathon

I ran a marathon today. That's always a satisfying way to start a day. I'll give my impression of the marathon in a bit. First, here are my weekly stats:

Total mileage: 46 miles
Long run: 26.2 miles
Average pace: 9:31 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 152 beats/minute

Plus, as a bonus, here are my marathon stats:

Average pace: 9:43 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 155 beats/minute
Total time: 4:18

So, what did I think of the Carrollton Charity Road Race Marathon? As many other runners have posted on the web, it's a very pleasant small town event. I'm not great at estimating numbers and the event is so small that they don't even post final times for everyone. However, I would be surprised if there were more than 150 people in the 5k, 10k, 20k, and marathon combined. The race is well organized and the route is easy to follow even if the scenery, which is largely residential with some cornfields (ah, the midwest), is somewhat unremarkable. You start with a short 2 mile loop, which is followed by 8 longer loops. There were two aid stations although the only supplies provided were water at both and Gatorade at only one. No bananas, gels, or anything else was provided. However, since you go through the same place 8 times, it's easy to resupply on your own.

Surprisingly, I found the 8 loop set up rather enjoyable despite the less than remarkable scenery. You get to see the winners (I hear one guy was out shooting for the Olympic team and finished in 2:23) as well as a whole range of people on a regular basis as you pass each other frequently. With so few people running it creates a feeling of comradeship. Both runners and volunteers were very supportive, which made the event endearing. I found out at the end that a volunteer even gave Elliott a stuffed duck while he and Holli were waiting for me to finish! They also made up for the lack of food by providing Tim Horton donuts at the end. Mmmmmm.... donuts.

I'm happy, although not thrilled with my performance. It was nearly 30 minutes slower than my past marathon times (it's been 3 years). I had some nausea problems after slamming a Pediasure and my knee acted up briefly at mile 22. Still, I tested out the Nathan Fastdraw hand bottle and Thermocaps electrolyte capsules and was happy with how they worked. I was initially resistant to the idea of carrying a bottle the whole way, but without a dog or jogging stroller I sort of liked it. The walk/run combination also seemed to work well. Of course, I got caught up in the race and didn't really stick to it until after mile 10--bad idea. I'll start earlier next time. I also need to figure out a more convenient way to take the Thermocaps. Hey, I'm officially over half way to the 50 mile point!

The Carrollton Marathon made for a great training run. It's also a nice local road race that is well organized, albeit hardly extravagant. It's not worth going far to attend (although I did meet someone who came from Wisconsin), but if you are in the area, it's worth stopping by.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I had a dream...

Seriously, I had a dream last night about running. I was in a race on a track and I was passing everyone, even the Kenyan runners out front. I wasn't even out of breath (clearly a dream).

Anyway, I woke up wondering if I could run faster than I have been. Has anxiety about my knee been holding me back? Am I just fired up for the marathon on Sunday? In either case, I decided to go back to a 1 mile run/1 minute walk pattern, but I really decided to kick it in for the runs. The result: including the walk breaks, I covered 10 miles at a 9 minute/mile pace. That's a full minute shorter than my 10 mile runs have been for the past several weeks. Sure, I was a little winded and slowing at the end, but after a trip to Pat and Jerry's Restaurant with Holli and Elliott for the lunch buffet I'm feeling solid.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No running content

Okay, maybe there is a little running content. I had a great 10 mile run today. Feeling solid. Elliott woke up and pointed at all the cars and trucks that passed us.

More importantly, here is what I look like as a Simpsons character:
The website gave me some problems (for instance it kept making me a woman no matter how many times I hit the "dude" button--not a pretty sight). You can check it out here. If I can get the website to work better, I'm going to make a version of myself in running gear. The Simpsons rock.

Monday, July 23, 2007

54 days to go

The countdown clock on my blog seems to be broken. I'm sure that it is going too fast. I was in Meijer the other day and I noticed that they were putting out the back-to-school stuff. I thought about telling the clerks that it was still summer, but I guess they are probably just following orders. What happened to the summer? I'm sure this is just a corporate conspiracy to start the holiday season early.

I digress. Here are my stats for last week:

Total mileage: 40 miles
Long run: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:11 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 154 beats/minute

With three runs around 20 miles under my belt, I'm feel pretty okay although at the end of my 20 miles yesterday I realized that I will need to run the same distance 1.5 times over again. Yikes. I think the marathon next week will be a good test as it will be over half the 50 mile distance. Didn't I read somewhere that most people can run in a race twice as far as they have run while training?

I'll offer these as inspiration to anyone else out there training for an ultramarathon. First, a quote by Karl King:

When my longest run was 13 miles, a marathon seemed nearly impossible.
When my longest run was 26 miles, 50 miles seemed nearly impossible.
When my longest run was 50 miles, 100 miles seemed nearly impossible.
When my longest run was 100 miles, 50 miles seemed like a nice, long training run.

Second, check out the blog of Kelly, an ultrarunner with Lupus. Seriously, she kicks ass.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quick update

Had a good 10 mile run on Thursday. I'm taking a couple days off and then going to do another 20 on Sunday. I've decided to stay with the high mileage with lots of recovery days. I've been reading some reviews of the North Country Trail--some suggest hills other suggest it is mostly flat. I'm wondering if I should do at least a few hill workouts (around here that probably means going to a gym.)

I've decided to run the Carrollton Charity Marathon next week (July 29). I think it will be nice to do a race to mix things up a little and it is just about right for the mileage of my long run that week. It starts at 6:00 AM--ug. Of course, since Elliott's been born waking up early isn't as hard as it used to be. The race consists of 8 short loops and it is really a very small event, but that sounds perfect for a training run. The loop set up might be interesting. If anyone out there has run it, please post comments. I'll keep ya'll updated.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recovery and speed

Had a great 10 mile run today. My knee is pretty much 100% back. I'm not at the mileage I'd hoped to be, although all the backpacking with Elliott kept me pretty close to on track, even if my mileage didn't increase as I had planned. Still, with no ill effects after my 20 miler on Sunday I'm in a pretty good mood about my progress.

The above chart is my average pace. Before the botched run in Victoria I was running 20 miles at a 9:30 pace (including rest breaks). There is a spike as I slowed, literally, to a walk for weeks. Even subsequently, I decided to mix in a significant amount of walking breaks as part of my recovery. First it was a one minute walk per five minutes running. Then it was a one minute walk per mile. Now, I walk about a minute for every two miles. You can see that this week I am starting to pull my times back under a 10:00 pace. Honestly, I probably won't try and go any faster than this since my goal is only to finish.

To keep things in perspective, I just read in Ultrarunning Magazine about some guy who ran the 1,079 miles of the Ice Age Trail over a 22 day period. That's 50 miles a day for over three weeks. Wow.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Eating while running

times 2 = 2,260 calories

This week's numbers:
Total mileage: 40 miles
Long run: 20 miles
Average pace: 10:18 minutes/mile
Average heart rate: 152 beats/minute

It was finally a pleasant 70 degrees so I had a great long run today. Today's experiment involved drinking a bottle of Pediasure after 10 miles. Lauren had recommended Slimfast half way through a marathon and since we always have a stock of Pediasure around I thought I would give it a try (Pediasure is similar to a meal replacement drink, but made as a nutritional supplement for children). It went down easily and gave me a good influx of calories so I might be taking a some to the race. It's always been recommended to me that you test out various food before the race so that you know what sits well in your stomach after a few hours.

It's actually a bit of a challenge getting enough calories. Consider this. According to SportTracks, I burned around 2,400 calories on today's 20 mile run. I drank 80 ounces of Gatorade and 8 ounce of Pediasure. This meant I took in 760 calories over just about a 3.5 hour period. This is around 217 calories per hour and obviously well below the 2,400 calories that I actually burned.

Clearly I'm burning more calories than I consume, but it would do me little good (even if it were possible) to shoot for eating as many calories as I burn. Seriously, I would need to have eaten two McDonald's Big Mac Value Meals, including full calorie sodas. Not only would it be unlikely that I could continue to run after even one such meal, but more importantly it wouldn't have mattered. As Steve Born points out in this article, athletes simply can't digest food that quickly. He suggests that any calories over 280 calories per hour will remain undigested.

Well, that still leaves me deficient by about 60 calories per hour. It's something to work on in future runs. Hmmm... the really disturbing thing is that you have to run 10 miles to burn the calories of one McDonald's Big Mac Value Meal.

Also, many thanks to Pat from South Dakota for the donation to the Lupus Foundation. Good luck with your 50k this fall!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Green Pine Lake Pathway

Where are we, Dad?

Let's see... I rested on Monday and Tuesday, in part due to the thunderstorms on Tuesday. Then I did 10 miles yesterday and 5 miles today.

This morning, Elliott and I headed out to Green Pine Lake Pathway for a hike in the woods. I guess it was cross training with some good core exercise thrown in since I had him in the backpack, but it was mostly just fun. We were out the door at 9:00 AM and Elliott enjoyed his morning nap in the car. He was just waking up when we got there and very excited to be somewhere new. Actually, the gravel parking lot was pretty exciting and he toddled around there for a while. After that, we walked about a mile and a half down the trail. Unfortunately, much of the early part of the trail was through a clear cut that still bore the tracks of the logging equipment. Basically, that meant struggling a bit over some uneven ground and lots of down limbs. Towards the latter part of the hike, we enjoyed a stroll through so nice cool forest with a fern undergrowth. We took a break under a large silver maple and had a juice box and snack. Of course, I forgot to bring a snack for myself, but Elliott was generous enough to share. Elliott loves cruising around in the woods and he tired himself out so much that he fell asleep again on the ride home. Not too bad a day.

I'll drive home since you just carried me the whole way.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Training summary for the week

This week's stats:

Distance: 39 miles
Long run: 19 miles
Avg. pace: 10:52 minutes/mile
Heart rate: 152 beats/minute

Did my long run on the Kiwanis Trail today. Even though I was out the door at 8:30 it was already really hot. I think we hit 90 by the time I finished my run. Even though much of the trail is shaded the heat really slowed me down. I also had some knee pain that led to about 15 minute of walking, but then mysteriously disappeared after some stretching. Nothing like having a salt crust covering you after a run. I drank about 25 ounces over the first 10 miles and then another 50 over the last 9. I was going to go for 20 miles, but ran out of Gatorade and was close to home so I cut things a bit short.

Thanks to Toran Mcload for the blog post promoting my run!

Also, I'm currently hooked on the Billibub Baggins podcast novel by Tee Morris. If you are interested in 1920s crime drama starring a dwarf from another dimension you should consider checking it out.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lupus and Ethnicity

Do you want to know more about lupus? Join a live chat online about lupus and ethnicity on their website. Information is below:

Next Lupus Live Chat
Wednesday, July 11
3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Ethnicity and Lupus

One of the disturbing mysteries of lupus is that it differentially affects patients by ethnic group. Why do ethnic minorities such as Hispanics/Latinos and African-Americans experience more active, aggressive lupus? Why are these groups younger when the symptoms appear? Why do the symptoms appear so suddenly?
Ethnicity and Lupus will be the topic of the next Lupus Live Chat scheduled for Wednesday, July 11 on the Lupus Foundation of America website. The live chat begins at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight time.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Gary Gilkeson

Thursday, July 5, 2007

BluBandoo Review

I should note that I do not have any financial interest in BluBandoo, but they were kind enough to donate a hat and a scarf in support of my training. I have spent over 50 miles in them so I thought I'd give my two cents on their products.

The two products I've been using are a white 6 Panel CapBandoo and a white Neck Bandoo. The BluBandoo products work by incorporating crystals that soak up water and then cool the wearer as the water evaporates. It takes several hours for the water to evaporate and, in fact, my Neck Bandoo appeared to hold water for a few days. The CapBandoo has the crystals located around the sweatband of the hat while Neck Bandoo is essentially just a tube filled with the crystals worn around the neck.

Do they work? After 5-10 mile runs in relatively humid 75-85 degree weather, I can say they worked better than I expected. I've been running in a white synthetic Asics hat for years and have been happy with its ventilation and sunburn prevention. I've doused it in water at times, but the water quickly evaporates. The CapBandoo acted similarly to my Asics hat when wet, but the effect lasted for much longer. The Neck Bandoo also provided additional cooling and, while somewhat heavy when full of water, was comfortable and not at all irritating even when running for over an hour. Now, don't expect magic from the crystals. A slight breeze is necessary for them to work well and regular "recharging" with a water bottle really helps also. However, I found them much more effective AND comfortable than soaking a regular hat or shirt. At less than $20 for the two products, I would recommend them for someone who sometimes struggles with the heat.

There are a few things I didn't like about them. First, you need to be careful about spreading the crystals equally around the products to prevent them from being lumpy. This isn't a big deal after the first time that you do it. Second, they retain water so they can be heavy. This didn't bother me, but I imagine could bother some. Finally, I feel a little silly running in the Neck Bandoo. Then again, if you've seen me with my various electronic equipment, Elliott, and the dog cruising through town, I'm not sure if I look that much MORE silly.

Nothing in particular

I'd like to say thanks to the people at Running with E's, the running store located in downtown Adrian, and Striders, the running store in Grandville. Both have posted copies of my flier in their stores!

Remember, fliers are available for downloading here. Follow the link and then click on file-->save as-->PDF. Check with you local running store (or any other location you can think of!) and see if they will put up a flier too!

Speaking of Adrian, the family and I are headed down there for the weekend to visit family. I'm getting psyched up for a nice 20 mile run down the Kiwanis Trail. I've run pretty much every day this week without any problems so I think the new shoes have worked their magic. I'm still icing after every run and stretching to make sure problems do not return.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Check this out....

I'm tinkering around with new fundraising ideas. Check this out and let me know what you think.
The current markup has $10 per purchase doing to the Lupus Foundation. If you have ideas, suggestions, changes, or anything please let me know. Don't buy anything yet! This is a work in progress...

Saginaw County Rail Trail

Ah, sweet recovery. Here are my stats: 38 miles this week. 15 mile long run. Average pace (include stops) 10:20 minutes/mile. Average heart rate 148 beats/minute. Almost no knee pain. Nice and nearly back to my pre-injury stats.

Dave, my brother, and Lauren, my sister-in-law, came up from Ohio for a visit (good to see you!) and Dave had the idea to track down the local rails-to-trails system. Rails to trails are genuinely good ideas. Basically, the idea is that you take nicely level and groomed, but abandoned, railroads and turn them into paths for recreation. Think active communities where it is pleasant and convenient to move about by human power. Especially after moving back from Oregon to Michigan, its really struck me how car oriented this area is. I like running--I don't like running while dodging traffic.

To our pleasant surprise, the very newly completed Saginaw Valley Rail Trail is antithetical to the car oriented nature of most city planning. By that, I mean its a very nice place to run. It consists of a 9 mile stretch of pavement that goes from Saginaw to St. Charles. An equestrian trail runs parallel, although this trail was little more than a newly mowed path a few feet from the paved pedestrian path. The northern parking lot was pretty full although most people on the path seemed to be biking with a handful of rollerbladers. Dave, Lauren, and I were the only runners. Along the northern 3 mile section that we ran, trees provided excellent shade and we even discovered a very new looking restroom with a Gatorade vending machine after 3 miles--a runner's dream!

Anyway, I picked up Elliott and Casey to finish my long run for the day later in the afternoon, but it was great to have company for part of the day's run.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Help spread the word!

Holli and I worked on a promotional flier last night. It's suitable for posting on office doors, outside businesses, on community bulletin boards, or anything of which you can think. Print out some copies and help spread the word. You can print it from here!

Thanks to TrailFlex and Blubandoo

I'd like to thank TrailFlex and Blubandoo for their contributions to my run. You will now have the opportunity to win some TrailFlex hats (great for running!) when you donate and Blubandoo has provided a hat and bandanna to keep me cool while training. Below are some details of their products:

Blubandoo cooling headwear presents fashionable neckbands, visors, headbands, doorags, and patented cooling caps/ hats. Simply immerse them in water for five minutes. They quickly dry to the touch, but keep the wearer cool for days. They’re reusable, washable, and available in popular fabrics and colors. Name drop is available. Blubandoo Incorporated is a WBE - Women Owned Minority Owned Business. Most products are made in the USA.,

The TrailFlex Modular Pack System is any pack you want it to be, thanks to the radical approach we've taken to backpack design. TrailFlex users take their skills to the next level with the most flexible personalized carrying system ever introduced. You'll never have to buy another specialized backpack when you own the TrailFlex Modular Pack System.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Running, Aspartame, Dental Health, and Risk

Ah, 8 pain free miles today. That makes me very happy. Of course, it was well over 80 degrees by the time I was done, which is a bit toasty for me, but I felt good nonetheless.

I have a confession to make. I'm a sociologist and I think about things like risk. I just read this article on aspartame (the stuff that make most diet food diet.) Yeah, it probably causes cancer. I believe Dick Cheney had a role in getting the FDA to approve the stuff back in the day, but I can't remember for sure. I have a love/hate relationship with artificial sweeteners as I debate the risk of cancer against the risk of heart disease and obesity.

I recently read a post about the potential impact of long distance running on your teeth. That got me thinking about this. Exercise is good for you and all that, but it does carry with it some risks. Tooth decay is perhaps minor compared to risks of injury, whether due to the wrong shoes or the getting hit by a car. There is even some psychological risk. I haven't read the female ultramarathoner Pam Reed's recent book, but I understand part of it discusses her struggles with an eating disorder.

Ulrich Beck argues that we live in a risk society where many of our decisions are based on assessment of risk. I think that's a reasonably fair description. We are becoming more aware of the fact that risk is inevitable and, in many ways, struggling as a society to deal with the realization. Because of this, however, I think it is important that we avoid simplistic perspectives of risk which see it as something that should be avoided. Risk decisions are really issues of which particular risks you are willing to trade against others. Maybe I'll just stick to iced tea. Make sure to brush your teeth after those long runs.

(Can you tell I've been working on my dissertation?)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's gotta be the shoes....Saucony Omni 6 that is

Well, I went to the only specialty running store in the area, spent some time getting fitted, and trying on at least 7 different pairs of shoes. What I learned is that barefoot running is probably not for me, I over pronate, and you should always ask people who know about these things. I'm now styling in a nice new pair of Saucony Omni 6 Ultimate running shoes. Nice. The store was Runner's over in Bay City on Wilder Road. They seemed pretty competent and the manager told me they even sponsor a 100 mile ultrarunner. Hmmm...

Actually, the cool thing is that they really are making a difference with my knee. You can see in my training log the dip where I got injured and this week I am finally getting back on track, although I still have some catching up to do. Most importantly, it doesn't hurt (much) to run. The picture comes from the Sport Tracks training software, which is primarily used with GPS trainers, but can be used as a conventional training log. It's great if you are a datahead and it's free. I mean, I don't NEED to know my average weekly heartrate as a percent of my max, but it is sort of fun. Seriously, it is way better than Training Center, which Garmin makes, and Sport Tracks lets you do cool things like examine satellite photos of your runs.

Anyway, I only have 12 miles on the new shoes so far, although I am wearing them pretty much all the time to take some stress off my knee. I like the cushioning on them--soft, but not too squishy. The insole also seems to fit my foot well, which is important since I've had problems in the past with blisters on the bottom of my feet. I would recommend them for a relatively light runner (135 lbs) with high arches, narrow feet, and overpronation problems.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thank you, everyone!

I'd like to offer a special thanks to everyone who has donated so far. We are over 25% of the way there! I would also like to thank everyone for their work helping to spread the word. Really, all of your support means a lot to me and my family. I still have several more fund raising ideas in the works and my training is going well (albeit somewhat slower than I had hoped). Keep checking back and thanks again!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anthropological Evidence of Distance Running

Here's a summary of some anthropological research I've heard talked about that might be of interested to runners:

What do you think? Have we evolved to be long distance runners?

All I know is that I can take Casey, the border collie, in a 10 mile run, but he has me easily at short distances.

Walking an ultramarathon

I'm still taking it slow as my knee recovers and I wait for my doctors appointment. Here's my revelation though. Last weekend, I was taking a walk with my wife, who walks much faster than I do. Being the geek that I am, I had my GPS with me and started timing how fast she walked. Without me slowing her down, she was moving at 14 minute miles--not bad for a stroll!

So, I looked up some information on powerwalking (aka fitness walking or race walking) and took a shot at walking 5 miles today. Here was the cool part--no ITB pain. Not only that, but be modifying my form, I was able to move pretty regularly at 12 to 13 minute miles and elevate my heart rate to 70%-75% of max (yes, I really am that much of a geek). This is important because maintaining a heart rate of 70%-80% will yield some aerobic benefits (i.e. keep me from getting out of shape) and even 13 minute miles are plenty fast enough to finish a 50 mile run under the cut off. In fact, to make the cut off I only need to do 15 minute miles.

Don't get me wrong. I like to run and would like to finish the race well under the cut off, but I would rather go slow than injure myself. I think it also highlights the important point that walking is an important part of completing an ultramarathon and warrants, perhaps, practice in itself. I think walking gets a bad wrap despite its usefulness in terms of recovery, pacing, injury prevention, and just getting across the finish line. For more information about walking check the links below:

Walk the Walk from Trailrunner Magazine

Walk Breaks? from Jeff Galloway, the guru of walking/running

Email update

My email is back up and functioning. Sorry for the delay. Please feel free to send me email at

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Despite the fact that I've dedicated my run and, frankly, at least as much time as I have spent training to raising money for the Lupus Foundation of America, I have not yet had a post about it. Part of this is because I believe many people feel inundated by stories about things that they should contribute to. It's part of the information age that we live in. So, while I try not to bring it up on a regular basis for strategic reasons, it is worth mentioning. A lot of diseases get attention. They should. Below is some information about Lupus. Pay attention to the demographic. Someone you know has Lupus. They are probably embarrassed to tell you. You probably wouldn't know what it was or what it meant even it they told you. If you haven't donated, please think about doing so. At the very least, send this to someone you know.

This text comes from the Lupus Foundation Website:

"Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens.

In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies -- called "auto-antibodies" (auto means 'self') -- cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.

Inflammation is considered the primary feature of lupus. Inflammation, which in Latin means "set on fire," is characterized by pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function, either on the inside or on the outside of the body (or both).

For most people, lupus is a mild disease affecting only a few organs. For others, it may cause serious and even life-threatening problems. Although epidemiological data on lupus is limited, studies suggest that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates between 1.5 - 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women. Symptoms and diagnosis occur most often when women are in their child-bearing years, between the ages of 15 and 45.

In the United States, lupus is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans than in Caucasians."

P.S. Happy Father's Day! Dad, you are cew (cew=slang for cool).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Email is down

Well, my email is officially down for the present, although I am hoping that it will be up soon. If you need to contact me, please use the Meebo instant messaging interface on the right side of this site. You can also contact me at

Friday, June 15, 2007

Phedippidations Podcast

I'd like to thank Steve for making my blog "Blog of the Week" on his weekly running podcast, Phedippidations. You can listen to this week's podcast, which includes a mention of my Lupus run at the end, on Steve's website here. Look for episode #101. Thanks, Steve!

Email Error

Just so you know, my email appears to have been down yesterday. It appears that I did not get any email sent to me anytime yesterday (I checked this by sending some emails to myself--my host company was upgrading their server). So if you emailed me, please resend the email. Thanks and sorry for the error.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Running with a baby

I haven't posted much lately. Mostly because I've been trying to follow my own advice and refrain from long runs until my knee starts feeling better. I've had a few short 5 milers that went pretty well and the foam roller/stretching combination seems to be working really well. Still, I don't want to make things worse which will lead to longer recovery time.

I've been doing a lot of walking with Elliott and Casey to make up for the lost running time. Those Kelty carriers are awesome--thanks Mom and Dad. I'm not quite sure how the workout compares to running--I checked a calorie calculator online and it looks like backpacking burns about 150 calories less per hour than running. All I really know is that between Elliott, the pack, and water I've got to be hauling nearly 30 pounds. It works up a sweat. If you haven't seen a picture of our setup there is a picture here.

Coming up with cross training that incorporates a baby is a challenge, but it got me thinking about the issue of coordinating running and other important parts of life, such as family. I think most of you reading this know that I have a 14 month old baby and a very supportive wife, who is currently working full time. I'm not teaching for the summer, which means my schedule is pretty flexible, but as those of you with children realize, it isn't all that flexible.

Basically, all my training must either incorporate the baby or take place during the evening or early morning. I usually wake up around 6:30 AM, which is plenty early enough for me and I'd rather spend the evening relaxing, or cleaning, or getting Elliott ready for bed. That leaves the rest of the day with Elliott.

Not only is it a reasonable option, but its pretty cool. Here's why:

Elliott loves to run. When he's awake he loves to look around. When he's tired he sleeps peacefully. He has probably covered hundreds of miles in his jogging stroller without ever crying or being upset. Seriously, if you have children you probably this is a sufficient reason to go jogging with your baby.

Elliott gets to see new stuff and meet new people. Seriously, I am sure he gets bored of being in our house. In fact, he would be outside all the time if we would let him. We see new places, people often smile and say hello to us. It's just friendly.

Elliott carries my stuff for me. Especially in the summer, it's nice to have some water, maybe a powerbar. We always need baggies for the dog. A cell phone can be nice to have along. It doesn't take long to have more than fits in a small fanny pack, which can bounce around uncomfortably. All that stuff and more will fit in a jogging stroller. Nice.

How do you run with a baby?

I've read multiple places that you should wait until they are 6 months old (uh, check with your doctor of course--this is just some blog). Elliott and I started when he was slightly younger, but we went slow, he had unusually strong muscle control for his age, and I was eager. Properly bundled I've been running with him at 40 degrees and with sunscreen we've been out in 85 degree weather. We have a full cover rain shield that is essential in windy weather too. I've taken him up to one and half hours at a time without a complaint. I'll probably try longer this summer if the weather is right. I don't know if this is typical, but it works for us.

What about your dog?

Of course, Casey goes with us. I've found surprising little information on running with a baby and a dog at the same time. I don't have many recommendations. A waist leash can come in handy so that you can keep both hands on the stroller. Make sure that your dog is one that you can keep under control. Casey jogs nicely next to the stroller, but it took two runs of him desperately trying to outrun the stroller and running into the wheels. He figured it out. I also threw in a few cautionary grunts when he started to drift too close to the stroller. I always keep him on a shorter leash so that he is slightly behind the stroller and can see it well. Otherwise I risk a collision when I change directions. Other then that it just takes a little practice to make sure everything is moving in the right direction and turns don't look like some NASCAR highlight reel.

Whew, that turned into a longer post than intended. Hope some of you found it useful and don't forget to DONATE TODAY!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

98 days to 50 miles

Woah, seriously. I've kept the mileage light this week and will probably skip my long run on Sunday with the goal of getting back on schedule Monday. The knee is way better than last weekend, but I don't want to push my luck. I've also added the use of a foam roller and some strength training to my anti-ITBS repertoire. I think that the foam roller is really helping. For those with similar issues, are some details here. I got mine at Dick's Sporting Goods, but they are cheaper at if you don't mind waiting for it to ship.

I'd lack to take a minute and thank everyone for there responses to the sunglasses contest. I cast my net wider this time, and have been happy to get such a positive response. In particular, I'd like to thank Dave, Bill, Steve, Sandi, Francis, Phil and Brenda, David, Kris, and Holli, all of whom have made mention of my effort on various blogs and websites. Steve has also said that he will mention in one of the upcoming episodes of Phedippidations, his weekly running podcast. You can listen to it here.

I also got a very supportive email from Kelly Ridgeway, an elite level, Montral-sponsored, ultrarunner. She apparently has Lupus and still does well in ultramarathon. That's pretty bad-ass.

Finally, I IM'd with Scott Sigler yesterday and the T-shirt design is finalized and should be ready very soon. This is the first time he's promoted a charitable effort through his fan base (and they really are a cult like group if any of you have started following his work) and is interested in what the response will be. Scott just signed a movie deal with the company that did "Shaun of the Dead" so its great that he is still putting the time in to help his fans. I don't remember of I have posted this link before, but here is the New York Times article about him that appeared this spring. There are also links to samples of his novels, as well as some other podcasters.

Anyway, I mostly wanted to make sure that I offered a public thanks to everyone so far. We still have a long way to go, although I have some other plans that I am working on. Sociologically, I've been curious as to the nature of social networks that have developed through new technology (i.e. podcasting, the blogosphere, MySpace, 2nd Life, old fashioned listserves) and so far I've been pleasantly surprised at the potential of these social networks in relation to charitable activities. As Holli would say and I would agree, yeah I'm a geek.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Donate now, win sunglasses!

Tifosi Optics has generously donated two pairs of sunglasses that I am raffling off to those who donate money to the Lupus Foundation in support of my 50 mile ultramarathon. Simply click here before September 15th to donate. For every $5 that you donate, you will have one chance to receive one of the pairs of sunglasses (e.g. if you donate $25, you will have five chances to win.) Please make sure to include your email when you donate so that I can contact the winners.

I've been running in a pair of these for the last few months and these are quite a step up from the cheap gas station sunglasses that I am used to. They are lightweight, stay in place while sweaty, and don't fog up. They even have interchangeable lenses. One pair is the "Slip" model. The other is the "Gavia" model. These make great sunglasses for running and, I imagine, other outdoor sports.

My goal is to sell 200 additional "tickets," which would mean another $1,000 towards our goal. Please pass this information on. Those who have already donated will automatically be entered.

Do you have a blog or website? Mention this raffle and I'll give you a free ticket. Just email the link to me at

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Running with Your Dog

I only ran a slow 5 miles today since my knee has been bothering me. It didn't feel too bad, but I don't want to press my luck and make it worse.

I thought I'd give me thoughts as to running with dogs. Nearly every time I run, I run with my 6 year old border collie, Casey. In fact, we've been running together since he was about 1 year old and just moved into our tiny Oregon apartment from the Junction City cattle ranch where we got him. He is by far the coolest dog that I have ever met and, seriously, you can communicate with him in complete sentences. He's also an excellent running partner.

Dogs make excellent running partners. I occasionally run with other people and its a nice break, especially on long runs. However, I'm not really cut out for running in groups on a regular basis. Too often my runs must be carefully timed with work, caring for Elliott, traveling and the dozens of other things that come up on a regular basis. Casey doesn't care about any of that stuff. He is always ready to run. Not only that, but he gives me reason to run. Border collies are extremely smart dogs that are bred to work. In fact, they suffer psychologically if they can't work. Running is Casey's work and, while it can be inconvenient at times, I have probably run more regularly since Casey arrived at our home then all the previous years. (A side note, DO NOT get a dog just for motivation, especially a work dog like a border collie. They provide motivation if you already have an interest in an activity, but most people are unable to deal with high energy dogs and that's one reason too many dogs are in shelters.)

How far can dogs go? Casey is the type of dog who will run as long as I want him to. That can be a problem. In the first year that I ran with him, we had some problems with wear on his paw and at least one overheating scare. I think that the paw wear stemmed partially from the salt on the winter roads we were running on. More frequently, I get concerned that overheating will be a problem. I've carried water for him with me in the past, but now I usually just drop Casey off after 3 or 4 miles instead. On cool days (<50 style="font-weight: bold;">What do I need to run with my dog? I recommend taking your dog to obedience training. This is just a good idea under any circumstance. I've been chased by a variety of dogs and encountered a variety of people--it makes me feel better to know my dog is under control. Casey and I use a harness and a belt leash we got from campmor for around $20. It's called "The Buddy System." I recommend it as I like to have my hands free while running. Also, it is the only thing that makes running with a dog AND a stroller manageable. As note, consider bringing water for runs on warm days.

Is it good for my dog? Er, duh. It's good for you so it is also good for your dog. It's good psychologically. It's good physically. Casey just had a checkup last month and the vet commented that he had a nice low athletic heartrate. On a side note, she also recommended that I begin to give him glucosamine supplements to prevent long term wear on his joints (see previous post). Unfortunately, Casey doesn't like taking large bitter pills. Luckily I just found out that Nutro makes biscuits with supplements inside. They are technically for senior dogs, but might be worth considering if you run frequently with your dog.

It is hard not for me not to smile a little when Casey starts circling me excitedly at the mere smell of my running clothes (and he does know the difference between a cotton T-shirt and a synthetic one.) He is gets such pure enjoyment from cruising along the road with the occasional glance back to make sure I am still there. How can you not like running when you run with someone who enjoys it so much? It adds another dimension to the experience of running just watching him. Besides, its hard to skip a run with those brown eyes staring hopefully at you.