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!

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.