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.

My training progress

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blogging and running

Well all, I think I've decided to officially take a break from blogging until 2009. After a great week of running over Thanksgiving (almost 40 miles!), an unrelenting work schedule amidst varied and unexpected home repairs has kept me off the roads. There is an end in sight, as I have several key deadlines around the middle of December, but at that point I'd just assume take a break from the computer.

2008 was quite a year for Lupus Runners. I would like to take this moment to thank Yassine, who placed first in his first 100 miler while raising tons of money towards the Lupus Foundation. I would like to congratulate Mae and Nate on their excellent fundraising efforts and other contributions such as helping to put together the official Lupus Runners logo. I'd also like to welcome Lisa Clark, who has recently joined our group and is looking forward to helping us raise money in 2009. I'd also like to thank all of you who contacted me to offer words of support or inquire about our group. I wish you all the best in your struggles around lupus. At this points, together, we raised $5,625 for the Lupus Foundation of America. You should all be very proud of your efforts--this is no trivial amount going towards an important cause. In all honesty, however, I think that the efforts all of you have made to raise awareness around lupus has had an even greater, although more difficult to measure, impact.

Thank you for helping to keep me motivated. Enjoy the holiday and I look forward to renewing our efforts in 2009.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm back, sorta

Well, it's been nearly a month since I've blogged. Work has taken up much of my time and, well, it's involved some projects that I'm really enthused about so I've let my running and blogging slip. Check out this project including establishing some hydroponics systems to provide fresh produce to inner-city residents (http://www.mlive.com/saginawnews/news/index.ssf/2008/10/fresh_vegetables_might_grow_al.html). Still, it's time for some updates.

First of all, I would like to offer a much belated congratulations to Mae, who successfully completed her first half marathon. Mae, who has lupus herself, has been a fund raising powerhouse for Lupus Runners and is an inspiration to all of us. Not only did Mae complete the marathon below her goal time, raise thousands of dollars, but she also recruited a new Lupus Runner. I'd like to welcome Lisa Clark to our group. I promise, I'll get your T-shirt in the mail soon--one more thing that I keep forgetting to do :(.

I've only managed to run a couple times a week this past month, although I have gotten some nice 12 mile runs in. I've also started to work on some strength training, although again I haven't managed to follow much of a schedule. I was happy with my aerobic fitness at Haliburton, but if I want to do this again I think I need a little more muscle strength to handle the constant pounding of a 100 miler. Anyway, I should probably move on to some other things, but I wanted to post a quick update to all you out there in cyberspace while I had a few moments.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lupus Runners--Round 2

If you read this blog and STILL haven't donated--now's a good time!

Yassine Diboun, my fellow ultrarunning Lupus Runner, will be making his first attempt at a 100 miler.  This guy is fast and has placed in several ultramarathon.  There are live updates of the race, the Iroquois Trail 100 mile race--follow Yassine's race here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Race report

I woke up early Wednesday morning and thought that I was still on some trail and supposed to be running. Now, the really disturbing thing is that I was a little disappointed that I was not out on some trail running through the night. There's an elegant simplicity to a weekend where all you have to do is run... and run... and run...

After spending the night in London, Ontario and enjoying some nice pasta at an Outback Steakhouse we hit the road early on Friday. As we headed north of Toronto I anxiously noted each of the steep and rolling hills that characterized the drive to Haliburton. I was crazy nervous. I mean I was nervous like when I was hopping on a plane to spend a year in China (well, almost). I was so nervous that I didn't want to go directly to the race start so we stopped at Subway for lunch. It was cool and misty with some rain predicted for that night so we quickly set up our tent and listened to other runners arriving as I read a book to keep my mind off things. Here's one strange lupus connection. The forest also had a wolf sanctuary so Holli and I took some time to visit the wolves before going to the pre-race dinner. Between the fundraising and the new Lupus Runner logo, it gave an almost supernatural feel to the weekend.

The pre-race dinner was initially intimidating, but Holli and I quickly found a couple veterans of the 100 miler who were more than happy to let us drill them for advice on the race (thanks Gavin and Rick!). Go slow in the beginning they emphasized. Everyone was extremely friendly and we all stood up to introduce ourselves at the end of the dinner. I didn't sleep much that night.

The morning came quickly and I found comfort in arranging all my gear. Holli and I had a bagel and coffee at the restaurant and then wandered around outside waiting for the start. A bagpipe player led us to the starting line and before I knew it we were off. The first 50 miles were relatively uneventful. Dark gave way to dawn, I encountered Gavin and Rick again who warned me against getting sucked into going too fast by following the 50 mile and 50k racers that also started with us. I'm glad I took their advice! I had some great conversations with Steve who was also doing his first 100 mile run and whose pace was similar to mine. We lost track of each other for a while, but again found ourselves running and chatting towards the end of the first 50 mile loop. I stuck mostly to gels and Gatorade (lesson 1 = HEED is kind of nasty tasting stuff) and switched shoes once (lesson 2=Brooks Adrenaline ASR give me blisters while Brooks Adrenaline GTS do not). The hills were tough, but not unmanageable and I finished the first loop with soreness, but no real problems. First 50 miles were completed in about 12 hours. I was surprised, dispite my motivation, at how distasteful the idea of heading out for a second loop was. Luckily, after some encouragement from Holli, a 15 minute walking break, a few cups of warm soup, and two ibuprofin, I felt both recovered and motivated. As I the sun began to come down, the 50 milers heading for the finish kept wishing me a good night. What was I in for?

Night was interesting, to say the least. The first it was peaceful. Then it was surreal. Then it was lonely. Then it was discouraging. Then it was over. Holli was a trooper and I confess to a feeling of relief when she decided to stay up for the first part of the night to see me at aid stations. I'm glad that I've had a reasonable amount of experience hiking at night because the rocky and rooty terrain really slowed things down. I believe the temperature dropped into the 40s and, had I been able to run without fear of tripping and falling down, I would have been dressed adequately warmly. At my pace, I was barely dressed adequately (lesson 3=dress for walking). I ran/walked alone until about 4 AM, which only made the experience more surreal. The race was small enough that I rarely saw people during that time and they were all going the other direction--bobbing headlights that would appear suddenly, followed by a grunted greeting or word of encouragement, and then I was alone in my little cone of light. A few times I shut off my headlamp to experience darkness uncommon in urban and suburban America.

I pulled into aid station 5 around 4 AM. At this point, I just needed to run home. Rick, who I'd talked with a few times throughout the weekend, was sitting in front of a campfire and told me that he was dropping because his quads were shot. He also reminded me that the section between aid station 5 and 4 was one of the worst sections on the course. With some reluctance, I stood close to the fire to put on a second shirt picked up from my drop bag and sipped some soup and coffee cheerfully provided by dedicated aid station volunteers. It was warm and friendly there and I had distinct memories of the steep and rocky slopes of the next section. It was mostly downhill, but at that point downhill was hurting much worse than uphill. Still, I knew I just had to make it through 4 more aid stations and I was done. So I headed back out, slipping on my headphones hoping a little motivational music would help. Just as I moved into the cold realm away from the campfire, I realized the batteries in my MP3 player were dead. Seriously?!?! If I was going to have to fumble with some batteries, I was at least going to stand by the fire when I was doing so. I headed back to the campfire. Just in time to see Steve, who I spent hours running with on the first loop, head out of the dark.

Steve's company was much appreciated and I did not at all mind delaying my departure while he had something to eat and drink. We chatted and complained our way through the next sections of the run, informally competing to see who would site the next aid station first. We had some low times.

At one point, Steve, who was running behind me, said "Do you see that outhouse up there?"

I said, "I think so. That must mean we're close to the aid station."

Steve said, "No wait, I think it's some sort of machine. Like a wood chipper."

I responded, "No, it looks like an outhouse."

Steve asked, "Which side of the trail are you talking about?"

"The right," I said.

"Oh, I was looking on the left."

Of course, there was nothing on either side of the trail and we were still miles from an aid station. We did a lot of walking and tried to pick up the pace when the sun came up, but we never could accurately calculate how long it should take us to reach the next aid station (lesson 4= learn to convert from km to miles). Holli appeared walking up a trail before aid station 4, which helped me feel that we were finally getting close to the end (lesson 5=tell Holli how awesome she is more frequently).

We were sore. We were tired. We were sick of being on trails. But we were moving forward. Steve and I calculated finishing times hundreds of times. With about 9 miles to go, I started getting mad and I started getting scared. Despite aid station workers assuring me that I had plenty of time, I just got convinced that I might not make it before the cut off. And I got mad at the trail. I was just sick of stumbling on roots and picking my way over rocks. So I told Steve that I need to run and took off. I felt like I was flying. I was sick and tired of being in the woods and I was going to finish the race, regardless of how much it was starting to hurt my legs to take each step. I couldn't run the whole way and walked when necessary, but each step closer brought some new energy. Er, at least until I had about 3 miles to go, when my ankle hurt so bad I couldn't run more than a couple hundred yards. But after some dirt roads, that felt so short earlier but lasted forever, I was at the final aid station. "It's 2k, you're about 12 minutes from the finish," said the volunteer. "Really?" I thought. After counting the day and night in hours, I was baffled by the idea of 12 minutes.

My ankle hurt so I walked until the finish line came in sight so it took me over 20 minutes to cover the distance. There was Holli as I crossed the finish line.

"What do you need?" she asked.

"To sit down," I said.

I've spent the entire week thinking about the weekend. There was a mental element to the whole race that, to me, made it fundamentally different, and more difficult, than the 50 miler last year. However, I'm not quite sure how to put it into words. Physical endurance is necessary, of course, but I feel like there are mental elements that I confronted throughout the night and into the morning. I was never close to stopping (I think), but there were so many ups and downs as I was forced to confront and make decisions about my percieved (actual?) physical limitations. Are my muscles tired or do I just feel tired? Am I hurting or really hurt? How fast can I go without risking a potentially dangerous fall? What do I need to pay attention to (like where the trail goes) and what should I turn over to autopilot (like taking steps)? Why am I doing this anyway?

I'm not sure that I could have finished with the support of Holli and the many people who sent me email and wished me well the days before the race as I thought of them often. I confess though, the experience gets under your skin. In a complicated world, it almost feels purifying to spend a weekend with such a simple goal--keep moving forward.

Midland Daily News

Here's an article from the Midland Daily News. I think Tony did a good job and hope this helps raise awareness about lupus!

Stretching the limits for lupus
By Tony Lascari

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Race results are posted!

I'm still processing the whole race and planning on writing a longer race report once I am done. The brief update would be that I feel about 80% recovered although it took a couple days for swelling in my left foot to go down (gosh I kicked a lot of rocks and roots that night). I was really sleepy for the first part of the week, but I had to hit work full speed on Tuesday so that certainly didn't help in terms of having a chance to rest. I can walk and traverse stairs just fine although I did a test jog down the driveway and don't anticipate any long runs in the next few days. Still, I don't feel much worse then after the 50 last year so that has me pretty happy. Well, it also has me wondering if I could have run just a little faster at the end of the race. More about that later.

My official times was 28 hours 16 minutes and 19 seconds. Awesome! I placed 17th out of the 27 finishers. 49 people attempted the run so there was a finishing rate of 55%. Props to Derrick Spafford who won the race in 18:42:02. Seriously, that was one hilly, rocky course and I can't even fathom how someone covered the ground that fast. I'm really happy with my time since the next closest person was a full two hours ahead of me--I might have shaved off some time here and there, but there is not way I could have made up two hours. Anyway, you can check out full race results here. I'll post a full race report soon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some photos from the race

The morning of the race

Appropriately garbed

Cruising...

Heading for the finish after 28 hours and 19 minutes

I finally have a buckle! I'm wearing it to school today.

I'll post a more detailed race report later. Gotta get caught up on a whole lotta work stuff first. I do want to thank Holli, my friends and family, the race volunteers, those who have donated, my fellow Lupus Runners and everyone else who has contributed so much to help me make it to the finish line!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Run successful! 28 hours 19

Run successful! 28 hours 19 minutes!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

60 miles and all is

60 miles and all is well. Brian is looking tired but strong. Very hilly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Just back from the pre

Just back from the pre race dinner. Not sure if this is going to the blog. Feeling ok. Pretty place to run.

Nine hours to start.

Nine hours to start.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Even more news

Hey, I guess I was already in the Midland Daily News. I haven't gotten a copy of the newspaper, but a colleague of mine says the article was pretty big. Click here to read it. I'm still scheduled for an interview on Tuesday so there should be some follow up too. Another colleague sent me a small clipping from the Bay City Times too. Cool.

I gotta head home and pack up the car so this will probably be my last nervous pre-race post (probably).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More news!

Well, I think I have the cell phone to blog thing figured out, although it will still depend on 1) having cell phone service at the race and 2) having text messaging service at the race. We'll see how it works.

I just got a call from a reporter at the Midland Daily News who will be interviewing me on Tuesday. Also, a story about my run will be in the Valley Vanguard on Monday (thanks Mary!). Guess that is just more incentive to finish, eh? Make sure you are still asking people to donate at www.firstgiving.com/lupusrunners--we'll take donations after the race too!

Sandi, the race is in Haliburton Forest, which is 3 hours north of Toronto. Not as pretty as Calgary, but not as hilly either. :)

T-shirts are in!

The official Lupus Runner T-shirts are done! I probably won't have time to send them off to those of you who ordered them before I head to Canada, but I will try and post some photos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Almost race time

Well, I'm not sure I'm going to have time to post anything immediately before the run. Grammy is coming tomorrow to pick up little Elliott and Casey so they can have a weekend at her house. Holli and I are leaving, probably late afternoon on Thursday, to head into Canada. We'll stay in a hotel Thursday night before driving the rest of the way to Haliburton Forest where we'll camp Friday and Saturday night.

I'm definitely more nervous than the 50 miler last year. Going from a 35 mile training run to a 50 mile race feels much different than going from a 50 mile training run to a 100 mile race. I read the other day that the first 50 miles are physical and the second 50 miles are mental. We'll see if that is the case (actually, I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse). I've decided to think of the whole thing as simply 10 consecutive 10 mile runs. 10 mile runs have been the bread and butter of my training so that makes it feel much more manageable. How do I plan on running 100 miles? By thinking about the distance as a little as possible.

I've downloaded "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card to listen to during the race. I thought some classic science fiction would be engaging and not as dry as some of the nonfiction that I tend to listen to. During my night training run I listened to some horror short stories from www.pseudopod.org and I confess to having had one minor freaky moment just before 2 AM (Are there people standing in the middle of that sugar beet field? Can't be. It really looks like some people. Why are they standing there?). I'll probably throw on some podcasts and music similar to what I listened to on my last run (check this post and the follow up comments for my playlist.)

I also picked up a new pair of shoes. I went with some Brooks Adrenaline ASR 4. These are the trail version of the shoes that I've been running in. I've put a couple hours on them and they feel essentially the same, but with better traction. It feels a little risky to be sampling new shoes at this point, but since they are so similar and I could feel my last pair starting to break down (I can feel my knees get sore after I get 300 miles on a pair of shoes) so I thought it was a fair risk. This is, consequently, the first time I go into an ultra without some issue of blisters and/or ITB problems. That has me feeling optomisitic.

I'll probably have some extra food and drinks at drop bags and Holli is planning on being at aid stations with supplies and to hand over a flashlight, headlamp, and long sleeve shirt to me before it gets dark. I haven't used drop bags before and, honestly, making sure that everything is in the right place at the right time has taken some strategizing. I'm actually traveling relatively light with just a fanny pack that carries one bottle. I might bring the little video camera again as a video diary of the experience--I'm not sure. If you're curious about what I am bringing, a complete list is here.

Anyway, thanks in advance to all those who have supported me up until this point. Hopefully the T-shirts will be ready in the next couple days, but I still haven't heard from the company. A reporter from out student newspaper is coming to my office in a little bit so hopefully we'll have the chance to drum up some more donations. Holli is going to try and post updates from her cell phone, but it will depend on the reception up there. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Purdue study on health communication

I've been contacted by Justin Guild, a graduate research assistant working with Dr. Jeong-Nam Kim (http://www.cla.purdue.edu/communication/people/jnkim.shtml) at Purdue University on a health communication study. Their research explores how information sharing behavior through online communities influences coping strategies among people with chronic conditions including cancer, diabetes, lupus, etc.

They would like to invite readers and other visitors to this blog to participate. The survey is purely academic in nature and takes no longer than 5-7 minutes to complete.

The web survey can be found by clicking on this link:

http://www.createsurvey.com/c/70237-Os3LDl/

In the survey, we use the term “blog” to refer to any online activity where you might read or share information in communities such as personal web logs, internet forums, and discussion boards. The findings of this study could lead to better management capacities of chronic diseases as well as an increase in funding for research related to online communities.

If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact Justin at jguild@purdue.edu.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In the news

I sent out a slew of press releases a couple days ago. No responses so far, except for our NBC station, channel 25. You can check out the story here: http://www.nbc25online.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=181481. Someone already commented too!

On a side note, here's a conversation I had with a colleague today.

Colleague: How's the running going?
Me: Good, I'm getting ready to do 100 miles in, let's see, 9 days.
Colleague: Oh, are you training for a marathon.
Me: Uh, well, it's an ultramarathon.
Colleague: Wait, you're going to run 100 miles in one day? I thought you were running like 100 miles over 9 days. Didn't some local guy just die doing a marathon? Isn't that like 24 miles?

Training for ultramarathons has really given me a distorted sense of distance. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

T-shirts are ordered!

I stopped by the print shop today and placed the order for our shirts. I ordered a few extra if anyone out there is still interested. I decided to get the logo printed on the back because I'm so fast that I figure more people will see it that way. Just kidding--I figured that since most people wear their race numbers on the front of their shirts it just made sense. I placed the order a bit within their "10 business day window" so they might not be ready before my race (uh, am I really running 100 miles in less than 10 business days?). However, they should be ready in plenty of time for me to ship them out before everyone else's races. Keep up the great work getting donations!

Welcome to Melissa and Nate!

There are now six of us raising money for the Lupus Foundation of America this year. I would like to welcome Melissa and Nate to our group. Nate is preparing for his first 50 miler this year and will also be running Detroit with Mae. Melissa recently suffered the loss of her mother-in-law to Lupus and will be running the Columbus Marathon in her honor. Melissa, our thoughts go out to you and your family. As of today, here's the official list of Lupus Runners.

Brian Thomas, who is running the Haliburton Forest 100 mile run on September 6th.
(http://www.lupusrunner.org)
Yassine Diboun, who is running the Iroquois Trail 100 mile run on September 20th.
(http://runforyourlife-yassine.blogspot.com/)
Bill Burress, who is running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8th.
(http://www.lupusrunners.org)
Mae K. M., who is running the Detroit Free-Press Half Marathon, October 19th.
Nate Luzon, who is running the Detroit Free-Press Half Marathon, October 19th.
(http://www.nateluzod.com/running/)
Melissa Kandel, who is running the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon, October 19.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

T-shirts are coming


Nate and Mae tracked down some beautiful artwork by Sidney Eileen and she is willing to let us use it as part of our logo! Thank you so much Sidney! It is a picture of a wolf and lupus is Latin for wolf. I like the image because, in addition to just being a cool wolf running, I think it is assertive without being aggressive. I think this is an appropriate testament to the perseverance of people with lupus.

Nate put his graphic design skills to work and, among other changes, made the logo purple since this is the color that the Lupus Foundation of America uses to represent itself. Voala! Excellent work Nate! I'm so jealous of people with artistic skills.

Anyway, t-shirts are on their way. If you want one, let me know your size ASAP. I'll let people have them for what they cost to be printed (should be $9 or $10 each). I want to print them before my race so I'll likely be finalizing the first round of printing with the shop soon. Oh yeah, these will be technical t-shirts appropriate for running in.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taper, finally

First of all, I would like to congratulate Alyn and Matthew who got married this weekend! It was a great ceremony and I wish you both the best in the future.

I would also like to congratulate Sandi and Andre, who got married earlier this summer, but held a reception for their North American friends and family over the weekend. I'm sure it was a great time and I wish I could have been there.

Okay, now to the running. I did, in fact, follow through with my commitment to get a final 50 mile run in last week. After chickening out of an all-night run on Tuesday night, I headed out the door at 4:00 PM on Wednesday with a goal of testing my race equipment and completing a confidence building 50 mile training run. Just short of 2:00 AM, I walked through the door of my house with the full training run under my belt.

I decided to simulate the race by doing approximately 10 out and back runs near my house. Since the race has aid stations about every 5 miles, I thought that made sense. I decided to keep my liquid/nutrition regime pretty simple with constant Gatorade and alternating between a package of Sharkies and protein energy bars consumed every hour or so. I polished off the regime with a few Starbucks doubleshots. I also took electrolyte caps every 30 minutes to 1 hour. I had some minor bouts of nausea, but nothing severe and I think I may have been eating a little too much as it went away after I stopped eating so much.

Here are some highlights:
-My 3 led headlamp was comfortable and provided ample illumination, even in unlit areas. With my hand held flashlight I should be okay on the trails.
-I set the timer on my watch to go off every 10 minutes so that I could walk one minute (I got this idea off of Dirt Dawg at the North Country Trail Run). After mile 30 or so this turned into two minute walks. I liked this strategy as it meant I didn't have to keep track of how long I had been running and it reminded me to eat and drink regularly. I might start with a 10 run/2 walk pace at the start to keep things slow for the race.
-Running at night is tough, but largely mental. Miles 20-30 seemed to fly by even though it was getting dark. Miles 30-40 were pretty discouraging and the idea of covering 100 miles (or even 50) felt a little far fetched. However, somewhere around mile 43 I reminded myself that my body felt pretty good (albeit with some definite aches and pains) and I was just mentally exhausted. Apparently, I was pretty convincing to myself and cruised through the final miles in a relatively good mood.

Well, planning for the school year is kicking off and I still have projects from the summer to close out. Sounds like a good time to taper off the running and ramp up the work life.

One more thing. I was up until 2:00 AM running last week. If I can do that, you can bring in some more donations! So get going all of you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What? Less than one month!?!?

Well, I go back and forth between feeling really prepared and feeling totally overwhelmed by the idea of running 100 miles. I was surfing Kevin Sayers' UltRunR Web Site and I think my long runs should have me more prepared than many people on their first 100 attempt (at least those hoping to finish). On the other hand, I noticed that the 2007 completion rate at Haliburton was only 51%. Ug. I dunno. Let's assume a worst case scenario. I run the first 50 miles in 10 hours (not unreasonable since that is a little slower than I ran the North Country Trail Run). If I completely fall apart, I'll really only need to crawl along at 24 minutes/mile for the remaining 50 miles to finish under the 30 hour cut off.

I think that running through the night causes me the greatest anxiety. I won't have time to check out the course before the race so I'll have to cover some unfamiliar territory in the dark. The race is two out-and-back 50 mile runs so I'll have gone through once during the day, but I still expect to slow down significantly at night. This week, I'm going to do a final 50 mile run--this time at night so that I can test my equipment and get a taste of what an all night run is like. We'll see how wasted I am at work the next morning--should be interesting.

Anyway, Holli and I are already starting to plan out the logistics (i.e. when will she see me on the course, when are we leaving for the race, when will we be ready to make the 8 hour drive back home, etc.) After my long run this week, I'll officially call it taper time.

Now we just need more donations! So if you haven't donated yet, get to it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome to Mae!

First of all, I would like to welcome Mae K. M., who has joined the ranks of the Lupus Runners and is helping us raise money for the Lupus Foundation of America while training for the Detroit Free-Press Half Marathon, October 19th. Thanks to her efforts, we are now past $2,000! That should be motivation to all of you readers out there who either haven't donated or haven't asked at least one friend or family member to donate. Go now! Seriously. Stop reading. Go donate or ask someone new to donate. I'll wait here.

...

Okay, now that you have fulfilled your duty as a regular reader of my blog, I would like to encourage you to check out Mae's blog at www.maeko.org. This is her first half-marathon and we're all rooting for her!

I've had another hit and miss week. I went from 71 miles during the marathon week to 39 miles. That isn't great, but I'll take it. Since I was too late to register for the Wild West 100k, I'm planning one last 50 mile training run before I start tapering. Little Elliott is going to be at Grandma camp the week of the 11th, so I think I'll do my last long run that week. I've had some anxiety about night running so I think I might make this last run an all-nighter to make sure I'm up to the task. Classes are starting soon (not to mention the fact that the race is coming up soon) so I need to get those final long runs in while I can.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Featured on the Lupus Foundation of America's blog

I almost forgot to mention that I was featured on the Lupus Foundation of America's blog. You can check out the article here. Don't forget that I'm doing this for a reason. If you haven't donated yet, donate now! If you've already donated, go out there and ask someone else to donate!

Carrollton Marathon Report 2008


I couldn't be happier with how things went on Sunday. It really did help bolster my confidence that this whole 100 mile thing is possible. While I don't know if it was a good idea, I thought I would test out this sleep deprivation thing by watching TV until midnight before waking up around 4:00 AM to make it to Carrollton for the 5:00 AM early bird start time. Since the race consists of 8 1/2 loops, I positioned a cooler full of iced down Gatorade, energy bars, and a couple coffee/energy drinks next to a tree by the start. I spent the first 10 miles or so running with a couple ultramaratoners and a well-traveled marathoner. As one of them had run Haliburtan Forest in the past, it was great to get a first hand report of the race. On the downside, apparently Haliburtan is a pretty tough course. On the upside, it is apparently a very well managed event.

As the sun rose, it began to warm up and I was glad that I did the early bird start this year. It didn't get as bad as last year and I think the Eunduralyte tablets that I have switched to are superior to the Thermotabs I took last year. Or maybe I'm just in better shape this time around. In either case, the run was pleasantly uneventful. Since I knew I was planning on doing 40 miles, I tried to keep a relatively slow pace. I took electrolyte tablets every hour for the first 25 miles or so and then every half an hour after that. I sipped Gatorade regularly from a hand bottle, at a bite of energy bar every 3-6 miles, and drank a 16 ounce Rockstar Coffee Mocha energy drink at 26.2 miles (no Starbucks Doubleshots at the gas station that morning :( ). My fame preceded me and one person asked me if I was the guy in the marathon poster.

With all that I cruised across the finish line for the marathon around 4:15--much faster than last year. It was great to hear Elliott screaming "Daddy!" from Holli's arms just across the finish line. They hurried over from home to see me finish!

After taking a break for about 20 minutes to snap some photos, have a rest, and spend some time with the family, I asked the race managers if they minded if I stayed on the course for a bit more of a run. In retrospect, I should have been more specific as I'm not sure they realized I was planning on running another 14 miles. I relied on my own stash of Gatorade as it didn't seem fair for me to use more than my fair share of race resources. Several times people asked me if it was my final lap. Sometimes I explained I was going a bit farther and sometimes I just nodded my head.

Final time for 40 miles (excluding my 20 minute break) was 6:30 for an average pace of 9:50. Shockingly, that is actually faster than my average pace on the last two months--even including my short runs. Maybe my training plan is working out.

I moved a little slow the rest of the day and took the elevator at work on Monday. On Tuesday, my quads felt a little tight so I tried a rolling pin (yes, as in baking supplies) on them that night and that worked wonders after about 15 minutes. I spent about an hour and 40 minutes on a stepper this afternoon and feel 100%. The fact that I have recovered so quickly has me feeling really optimistic. Unfortunately, registration for the 100k I was planning to run next weekend is closed. I figure I'll still put in at least one more long run of 50 or 60 miles and then call it time to taper. Less than 40 days to race time!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New shoes!


I had a meeting in Bay City yesterday, so I stopped on my way home and picked up a new pair of running shoes at the local running store. After going through three pairs of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7 shoes I decided to go wild and bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8. Crazy, eh? The desire to try something new always flairs up amongst the racks of pretty new running shoes, but I haven't had any knee problems with these shoes so I'm not going to switch now. I do like the new colors though.

On the subject of shoes, I highly recommend the Crocs Scutes for after a run. Nice squishy insole and openness to let tired feet breath. Elliott gave me some for Father's Day and they even say "Dad" in jibbitz. Don't know what a jibbitz is? They are the little decorations on Crocs (I had to look it up too).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good week, bad week

My once a week blogging schedule has fallen a bit to the wayside. Unfortunately, my running has similarly been irregular. Two weeks ago was one of my best weeks to date. I put in a total of 70 miles that week with a long run of 35 miles. I couldn't quite stick to my plan of waking up at 4:00 AM for my long run, but I was out the door at 5:00 AM and did enjoy another sunrise on the road. The weather warmed up quickly so I stopped at a gas station for a Starbucks Doubleshot, a small bag of potato chips, and a Gatorade refill. I believe that, over my 6 and a half hour run, I consumed about 100 ounces of Gatorade, 2 Doubleshots, most of a small bag of regular potato chips, and 2 energy bars. The run was pleasantly uneventful with no blisters, pulls, strains, or inflammation and I felt pretty well recovered the next day, although I was mentally a bit burned out on running.

Unfortunately, that mental burnout, a busy schedule, and some interstate travel left me with less than 30 miles on the books last week. I guess I'll just chalk it up to a recovery week. Next weekend is the Carrolton Marathon, which I'm thinking about adding 14 miles onto so that I can get a good 40 mile training run in. No excuses this week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

<60 days to 100 miles

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has donated so far! We've just started and, as of this posting, we already have raised $1,170! That's great!

Training has been going pretty well. Feeling inspired by officially starting the fundraising, I pulled myself out of bed at 5:00 AM and ran 30 miles. The weather was pleasantly cool and it was one of the best runs that I have had in a long time. While I don't tend to think of myself as a morning person, it was worth it to watch the sun rise. This topped off a 55 mile week that I feel pretty solid about.

I was on schedule until last weekend when travel prevented me from getting my long run in over the weekend. Still, I had this strange 11 mile run on Thursday that had me doing about 6 miles at 7:00 to 7:30 minute miles (with one breaks in between). That isn't bad for someone who tends to average 9-10 minute miles. It was just one of those runs when it felt good to go fast. I should note that I wasn't pushing the ole' jogging stroller so that may have made a difference too. In the end, I only put in 30 miles last week. I'll just chalk it up to a recovery week and look forward to shooting for a 35 mile long run this weekend. I might try and drag myself out of bed at 4:00 Am to help prepare for the sleep deprivation of the race.

On a side note, be sure to check out the blog of Yassine Diboun, my fellow fundraising ultrarunner. He's also running a 100 miler this year and has done some great fundraising for the Lupus Foundation. By the way he cruised through a recent 50 miler, he is more than ready for his race. I'll be happy to just finish mine. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finally, an update!

Well, my training has been going well even if I have been remiss in my blogging. I've had 45 to 55 mile weeks for the last month including three 20 mile long runs and one 25 mile long run. I'm scheduled for a 30 mile long run this week so I'm pretty much right on schedule. The heat is getting a little intense, but I'm generally happy with the schedule I've set out. It's still a little hit and miss. Yesterday, Elliott was particularly sleepy so my 10 mile run turned into a 14 mile run. Today, the little guy didn't feel like napping and decided he wanted to go home after only two miles (it was really hot out so I didn't fight it). Still, its evening out for the most part. Importantly, my knee is doing fine and, other than being slowed down by the heat, I'm feeling pretty solid.

Okay, I'd like to officially announce that we are taking donations. If you have been paying attention to this blog, you've noticed the "Donate here!" box to the right. It's time to ante up. Most of you know that I, along with a very dedicated group of family and friends, raised $5,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America as part of my 50 mile run last year. Well, they didn't cure lupus so we gotta do it again. I'm willing to up the ante and run 100 miles this time around. It's time for you all to step up too and donate. We going to raise $10,000 this time. Really. We raised $5,000 last year and I know that we can do it again. We're going to do it slightly differently too. I've been contacted by several people who either know someone with lupus or have lupus themselves and are runners. We've decided to join together to raise money as part of a group we are calling the Lupus Runners.

Do you want to help? Enter your email address in the box to the top right. That makes you a Lupus Runner too. Sign up for a race, a walk, a stroll, or anything. Call your friends, family, co-workers, hell suck it up and call people you don't like, and ask them to donate to here: http://www.firstgiving.com/lupusrunners. All the money goes to fight a disease that afflicts around 2 million Americans. 90% of people with lupus are women and it disproportionately impacts Asian and African-American populations. This is a problem that too few people know about. I do take it personally as my mother-in-law has lupus and that puts both my wife and son at increased risk to develop it in the future.

Yassine Diboun has stepped up and is a Lupus Runner from New York who will be running a 100 mile run in 2008.
Bill Buress is a Lupus Runner running his first marathon in 2008. We're all raising money here http://www.firstgiving.com/lupusrunners to further the cause. We need your help to reach our goal.

P.S. We already have 31 people who have joined our group of Lupus Runners on Facebook. Spread the word to everyone that you know!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carrollton Marathon

So, I was looking up the races I was planning on doing this summer to make sure they fit into everything else going on in life and decided to do the Carrollton Marathon again. It is a small, but very friendly, race only a few miles from SVSU. I remembered it was in July so I looked up their website to put the exact date into my calendar. As I'm checking out the date and time of the race, I notice that the guy pictured wore the same kind of knee brace I used last year. Gosh, and he carried a water bottle too. Really, it took me about 5 minutes to realize that I'm the one in pictured there. I don't really look like I'm at the top of my game in the photo. That grimace is likely from the iliotibial band inflammation that bothered me so much in 2007 and led to a less than spectacular finishing time at Carrollton last year. No problems yet this year so keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Long Run New Orleans

Thanks to the advice of some fellow runners in New Orleans I found a scenic, but safe, route for my long run on Saturday. I was initially nervous running down the "neutral lane" which is the route for the trolley cars and, well, I didn't know if it was okay to cruise along between their rails. It just looks like I'm going to get hit. However, they move relatively slowly, stop frequently, and after I saw several people running the same route I realized I was neither risking being run down nor impeding the flow of New Orlean's mass transit system.

Most of my run took me through the Garden District, which had many old oak trees lining the streets and some beautiful old homes. I did a loop through Audubon Park and circled back to my hotel along a route that took me along the river and through a hip looking area on Magazine Street. It was a great way to see the city and I feel like I got to see a good cross section of a very interesting place.

I did complete my goal of 40 miles in New Orleans with a 20 mile run on Saturday and a 6 mile run on Friday. Saturday was HOT. I mean HOT. I nearly emptied my 70 ounce hydration pack, before stopping at a Walgreen's for 20 additional ounces of Gatorade and a Starbucks espresso doubleshot (I love those things). I also confirmed that Thermotabs (salt tablets) really can stop heat related nausea and, by mile 17 or so, was strongly regretting skipping the ice cone stand at the Audubon Park. While I felt a little flaky at the end of the run, the heat didn't really bother me as much as I thought it would (I didn't really discover salt tablets until the end of last summer) so I'm looking forward to a good summer of training.

Also, lest I forget to mention food. The fine folks who organized the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Conference came through with a very tasty "Seafood Extravaganza" held at the Mardi Gras Museum, which helped me to recover nicely from my long run.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Orleans, round two

First, thanks to Bruce and don q for the suggested routes. That has to be one of the fastest responses I've ever had on my blog! I'll definitely head down St. Charles tomorrow. I'm going to post some pictures from my run today, but before that I wanted to post this video from the New Orlean Ladder blog.



Much of my academic life has involved studying the relationship among poverty, space, and food. The damaging economic stratification of society and the myth of the American Dream is readily apparent in cities like New Orleans. The same patterns are evident in Detroit, where low-income populations are trapped in houses filled with lead pipes. Unfortunately, New Orleans stands out as a particularly poignant example because the devastation of poverty typically creeps while Katrina highlighted social inequity with rapid destruction (although the government's response to either manifestation of poverty appears much the same). It's been strange to jog by college students getting drunk at bars and then to, so clearly, cross a line into neighborhoods where the devastation of Katrina has not been repaired because, well, only poor people live there. Okay, that's my rant.

As you can see, around the French Quarter there is some significant redevelopment going on and some high end condos just down the road from abandon buildings. But how much quality housing is available that people can afford?

Whoops, I got so caught up ranting about the state of society I forgot to give you a mileage update. I did 8.5 miles today and found the very nice Riverwalk (more pictures later). I stopped and picked up some crawfish etouffee on the way home. If I move somewhere just for the food, this place is high on my list.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

40 miles in New Orleans

Okay, I haven't run 40 miles yet, but I plan on getting 40 miles in before I head back home early Sunday morning. I just got back from my first 6 miles a few minute ago. I'm staying a hotel right next to the French Quarter so I decided to circle in and around that historic area for my first run. Of course, I forgot my GPS and got a tiny bit lost, but I like to think of it as an opportunity to spontaneously follow the flow of the city.

I took off around 7 and was back a little after 8. Here are my impressions:

1) Running in New Orleans (at least the French Quarter) is difficult. The streets are narrow and relatively crowded.
2) People here don't run. People here do drink. A lot. There are plenty of bars, package liquor stores, and people strolling around with open containers. They look at you funny when you run by wearing a hydration pack.
3) The French Quarter is cool. Among the restaurants, bars, live music, art galleries, people out strolling, people hanging out in balconies, and general liveliness of the area I am reminded of why the Saginaw area feels a little stale at times. Before my run I had jambalaya at a place called Mother's. Very yummy. I look forward to trying the crawfish etouffee.
4) The remnants of Katrina are still very visible. You don't have to get far from the French Quarter to see houses that were damaged (I assume) by the storm. I also saw several of the markings that were spray painted on houses when they were evacuated.

My rough plan is to do a couple of 7 miles runs in the next two days and then get a 20 mile long run in on Saturday. It will be a tight squeeze since the conference I am at will keep me busy most of the day, but I'm feeling determined. I'm also going to look up some potential running routes on the internet to see if I can find a route that involves fewer crowds. I'll keep ya'll posted.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Time for a plan

Okay, enough lamenting the amount of work I have to do and the lack of running that I've been doing. Time is running short. If I'm going to even make an attempt at a 100 miler this year, I need to make a plan and to stick with it. As before, my goal is to avoid getting injured and to train to finish. I'm putting in more miles/week then I was at this time when preparing for the 50 so I don't think it is too late to start getting serious. The problem is that I just haven't been putting in a regular pattern of long runs. So here it is:


I know, it kind of violates the old 10% rule, but I think if I avoid hills and update my shoes regularly, I think it will be okay. My plan is to max out my long runs with the Wild West 100k race in Lowell, MI. After a week of recovery, I'll try another 50 mile run on my own. I might do this as a regular 50 mile run, or a set of back to back 25 milers with one at night. I want to work a couple night runs in so that I can get acclimated to running while sleepy as I hear this is one of the differences in moving from a 50 to a 100. So there it is. Hopefully, having my training schedule out there will help me stick to it.

On a fundraising note, I'm still planning on posting a link for donations. I just haven't had time to get everything arranged and, I'm afraid, the way my summer is going I'm going to scale back my fundraising goals significantly. More later.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Run commute report

Well, my run to work went through without a hitch. I was out the door at 7:30 with a small backpack full of extra clothes. The rain that was previously predicted held off and the morning weather was pleasantly cool the entire way. I did pack everything into zip-lock bags so I wasn't worried about the possibility of rain, but all things being equal I prefer to be dry.

I arrived about an hour and twenty minutes later and covered 8.5 miles as planned. A quick change and I was ready for my first meeting of the morning. The run itself was interesting since it provided me with a different perspective of a route a drive on such a regular basis. It is interesting how much stuff you miss while driving a car--such as the amount of trash and roadkill there is on a given country road. Traffic was a little heavier then I prefer; however, commuters were relatively accommodating and moved as far out of my way as was safely possible. I had to do a bit of running on the uneven part of the shoulder so it was sometimes hard to get a good rhythm going at times, but perhaps that is good training for trail running. It does cut into the work day as I had to leave earlier than I usually would in order to make it home at a reasonable time. If I keep this up on a regular basis, which I think I will, I'm going to look into renting a locker over at our sports center so I don't have to carry so much stuff with me.

I did opt not to run in today as previously planned. I had an unanticipated meeting out at the greenhouses this morning and, while I like to run, adding an extra 4 miles in the middle of a 17 mile day felt a bit excessive. It does give you an new appreciation for distance and I figure I must have saved around $3 in gas at current prices. I spent my savings on a piece of pizza for lunch.

Anyway, if any of you out there live close enough to work to give it a try, I recommend the experience. Even if it isn't something that you do on a regular basis, I think it gives you a good perspective on the meaning of distance in a fast moving automotive society. Rather coincidentally, I found out yesterday afternoon that my commute timed with Bike-to-Work Week.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Run commute, take two

I turned in my grades last week and have the summer to focus on research and running. It seems to me that it is time to give the old run-commute another shot. Two weeks ago I had a solid 50 mile week and, while I only put in about 30 miles last week, I think I'm ready to try something a little more ambitious. So here's the plan. It's 8.5 miles from my house to my office. Tomorrow, I have a meeting at 10 so my plan is to leave here around 7 or 7:30. That should put me at work and cleaned up well before 10. Then, back home by 5 for a 17 mile day. The only down side is that it is supposed to rain tomorrow morning. I've run in the rain plenty of times and my laptop is currently at school so I think it should be okay.

If that goes well, I might try the same process again on Tuesday (Denise is in town so I'm working on Tuesday also). I haven't had time for a decent long run in the past couple weeks, but back to back 17 milers should be a good way of kicking off the summer!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Speedwork, me?

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On Saturday, Holli, Elliott, and I packed a picnic and headed to SVSU to enjoy some sun and for me to run a 5k put on by the TKE fraternity. The last time I ran a 5k was right after Elliott was born and it was put on by the Hispanic Student Organization on campus. I'm hoping that eventually there will be enough support that there will be an annual 5k on campus since it is a nice chance to get together with other runners. While they still have some details to work out (e.g. better signs to the start/finish would have saved us from walking all over campus and arriving minutes before the start), the course was well marked and everything was run pretty smoothly. I think there were only around 40 people running.

Now, as regular readers know, I rarely run short distances and I forgot my GPS so I started out with the first wave of runners with some trepidation that I was going too fast. After about 5 minutes I looked around and there was only one person in front of me. I have clearly started out too fast, I thought. After about 13 minutes, someone finally did pass me, but the three of us were at least a minute ahead of the next runner. So I finished 3rd overall and 1st in my age group (over 25) with a final time of 21:13. Now, I realize that all the cross country and track runners were noticeably absent, but that's my first overall placement that didn't involve 15 people ahead of me getting lost on the track (seriously, that happened last 5k at SVSU). I was awarded the fine trophy, pictured above, which has a pleasant 70s-ish look that really compliments our mantle.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Almost summer vacation!

Well, I was on a streak of 3 solid weeks of 35-45 miles each, including two 20-22 mile runs and a few 15+ mile runs. It was a good, and even somewhat adventurous three weeks too! I helped a father and daughter who had car trouble outside of Freeland. I saw a turkey vulture nest from about 50 feet away. Then, a rash of end of the semester meetings, family changes, organizing an Earth Day event for nearly 200 people, a garage sale, and other events conspired to keep me indoors all this week. I like to think of it as an unplanned rest week. That isn't unreasonable either as next week is finals week and then I am out for the summer.

Okay, I have three different research projects going, but I can, more or less, set my own hours, which means getting out on the road will be much easier. Also, since I won't be teaching, I think a running commute is possible with fewer logistic complications (e.g. if I run too slow, I won't have 30 students sitting around wondering where I am). So, I'm really looking forward to classes being over and continuing the streak I was on earlier.

I haven't mentioned this before, but I'm also well on my way to earning a little (and I do mean little) cash for all this running. Our university is sponsoring a program, which rewards employees for healthy activities, including exercising. We get 5 points for every 30 minutes of exercise. If you get 1,000 points by the end of the year you get a $150 gift certificate. Moreover, whoever has the most points at the end of the year, wins $1,000! I'm already at 700 and haven't really put in any heavy training miles yet!

Of course, if you quit smoking you get 500 points just for that... We shall see how the rest of the year goes. Anyway, hopefully I'll have time to blog more once the semester is done.

I would like to congratulate Dave, Lauren, and Yassine who all pulled down some excellent times at Boston. Lauren even appeared in a Columbus newspaper!

Also, congratulations to Toni who completed the London Marathon while raising money for aid dogs. I'm glad to hear that you accomplished your goals running and fundraising!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The ultrarunning culture

I will be glad when this semester is over. Only about one more month.

First of all, good luck to Dave and Lauren, who will be running in Boston. That's a great accomplishment.

Also, good luck to Toni who will be running the London Marathon soon. She's done a great job raising money for assistance dogs. You can check out her blog and donate money to this excellent cause here.

So, I use "running culture" as an example in classes sometimes and it makes me wonder about running identities. I read the other day in Ultrarunning magazine that just over 1,800 people completed 100 mile runs last year. That is approximately 0.000006 of the US population. I find this fascinating because the sense I have is that the ultrarunning community really likes to exist as a fringe activity (i.e. something that not many people do). This isn't to say that running 100 miles requires more or less dedication or training then fast marathoners or even those preparing for their first marathon. In fact, someone on the ultrarunning listserve noted that many 100 mile runners don't run much more than 40 miles per week so I'm not sure it is fair to say that the training is more rigorous or difficult (note that people who run 40 miles/week aren't the ones who win ultramarathons--just complete). So, while some argue that people are driven to the "challenge," I think this overlooks the very subjective nature of challenges.

I certainly enjoy the exotic nature of the sub-sport and like the fringe identity. Importantly, I think this fringe character and small number of participants has created a different culture. There is an emphasis on challenging oneself, rather than challenging other people--you see this in race reports that emphasize completion rates, rather than first, second, and third places. Everyone who finishes the race (or in some cases finishes under 24 hours) gets a medal (or belt buckle). There are fascinating variations, such as the Plain 100, whose rules are simple: You receive nothing from anyone. Water comes from streams or lakes. Despite my fascination with gadgets, there is an elegant simplicity to that which I appreciate. Consider also that everyone who runs an ultramarathon has their name appear in the same magazine. Sure, winners are noted and such athletes are and should be admired. Still, everyone is in there.

The number of people who completed 100 mile run increased in 2007 and I expect will increase in 2008. While I look forward to helping those numbers increase, I do wonder as to how this will change the character of the sport.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Scott Sigler

Hey, on a side note, Scott Sigler, the author who helped publicize my run last year released his first hardback novel, Infected, today. Mine arrived in the mail and it is pretty slick. I listened to the novel when he first podcast it and will probably bring it to read on the way to Cuba. You can get it on Amazon.com or pick it up in Barnes and Nobles stores around the country. For more information go to www.scottsigler.com or www.infectednovel.com.

Read the book to find out why the shirt I wore last year referenced chicken scissors. You might not want to know the answer.

Just an update


Well, my blogging has definitely taken second chair to other aspects of my life lately. I can't complain though. I just got back from a weekend with family and friends celebrating Elliott's birthday. We were at Pokagon State Park in northern Indiana and I kept telling myself that I would sneak away for part of the weekend to hit some trails. However, we discovered that Elliott really likes to swim and I couldn't pass on splashing around the pool with him. It was a great time and thanks to everyone who was there.

My running has been hit and miss too. I've had a couple 40+ weeks interchanged with 30+ weeks. I'd really like a solid string of 50 milers to make me feel like I haven't lost too much endurance over the winter, but really haven't had the time. I did get through a solid 13.5 mile run today in the middle of a wind advisory (I love Elliott's jogging stroller, but aerodynamic it isn't) so I think I'm still in reasonable running condition.

Fundraising efforts have actually not fallen to the wayside. I've been in contact with a few other runners who are interested in raising money to support lupus research this year. I don't want to give any details yet, but we are cooking up something interesting. I'll keep ya'll updated.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Run commute postponed

Well, the bad news is that I had to postpone my first run commute to SVSU. I forgot that I had to present awards to students at our annual sociology conference. The conference ran until 8 and I knew I wouldn't feel like getting home any later then that. Congratulations to Nick, who was in the first class I taught at SVSU and won the Graduating Sociology Student of the Year. He is off to the Peace Corp and, I am sure, great things after that.

On a side note, I've secured funding for a research trip to Cuba in May! Yup, I get to spend 10 days studying their agricultural system and cool things like worm composting. I love my job and, yes, since it is my job it is even legal.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Run commute

The weather has been above freezing. Work hasn't been too demanding. Consequently, I finally had a decent running week more reminiscent of last summer than the relatively lax schedule of the past couple of months. It was even well into the 40s on Friday--spring really is around the corner, which has given me some new motivation. I noticed several new faces out running around our neighborhood this weekend. Where were all of you this winter? :)

So, here's my resolution. I'm running to and from work this Wednesday. It's a little over 8 miles each way, I don't have any particularly early or late meetings, and there is even a shower at the recreation center that I can use. It seems that all the pieces are in place. I actually did this a few times back when I was living in East Lansing. I alternated between running one way and biking the other way. If you have time and the opportunity it is a nice way to get your running in and to decompress from a day at work. If things go well, perhaps this will become a regular occurrence. Right now, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and most Fridays are good running days thanks to an evening teach schedule and a 2 year old (almost) who prefers 2 hour naps in his jogging stroller to sleeping in his crib. Mondays and Wednesdays my schedule is hindered by this thing called work. If I could slip in a 16 mile run on one of those days, I would be a really solid base to start training for the 100 miler once summer comes.

If you are interested in running to work, here's some information on it.

On a complete side note, Sandi I got your wedding invitation and Holli and I agreed that it was one of the coolest invitations that we have ever seen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No running content


This doesn't have to do with running or lupus, but it is cool. I'm currently blogging from my latest gadget. It's an Asus eee 4G. I've had it for a little over 24 hours and it is the coolest thing that I've picked up in a while. I bought it to replace my aging PDA and to help me manage all the various work related projects I have going on. It works way better than I expected. It is about as fast as my 2 year old laptop, with the exception that this little guy boots in about 30 seconds. The screen quality is very good and it has excellent WiFi reception. I've been keeping more and more of my life online from teaching documents to the Google calendar I share with Holli so it is nice to have an easy way to access everything. Weighing in at around 2 pounds, I can take it to meetings and take notes without having to haul out a slow-booting and, at times, socially awkward 15 inch laptop. It has me convinced of what I have long suspected--that Linux is far superior to Windows. The only real downside I've found so far is that the small keyboard takes getting used to.

Anyway, it is too small to serve as a desktop replacement and there are programs I use for research which will keep me inevitably tied to a Windows machine. However, it should allow me to leave my laptop at work most of the time. And, notably, since it only weighs 2 pounds and utilizes solid state memory (i.e. very durable) I'm seriously considering how it would be to start running to the university this summer when I'm only doing research and not teaching.

Note, I have no financial interest in Asus, but I am a gadget geek. :) If I only can figure out how to hook up my Forerunner...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

That's it, I'm picking a race

Okay, enough putting things off. I'm going to try and run the Haliburton Forest 100 mile race on September 6th of this year. I said that I would decide in March--so there it is, I've decided. The timing of the race is nearly spot on, it's relatively nearby, and, well, it doesn't have many hills.

Honestly, I'm a little nervous about having time to commit to both running and fundraising. It's likely I will be out of the country at least once this year and traveling to conferences at other times. I also don't want to ask too much of all those who were so generous last year. However, I keep getting emails from people who have lupus so I feel that I have some momentum in terms of support. Besides, and perhaps most importantly, my son Elliott will only take naps for me if I am pushing him in something with wheels. And his jogging stroller is way more comfortable than a shopping cart. :)


Now if only we would stop having all these snow and ice storms...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taking a break

Well, here we are amidst another snowstorm. Not much news to share since the snow and low temperatures (can you say -25 degree windchill?) have kept me on my little stepper machine more than outside. I did devise a way to watch TV, instant message, surf, and use the stepper at the same time today. That really seems like an unhealthy amount of multitasking. Hey, Elliott was taking a nap so you do what you can with those moments.

I've decided to take the month of February off from blogging. There is some interesting stuff going on at work that is keeping me busy and I'm starting to get burned out on winter so I haven't been all that motivated. So why push it? Here's my plan. First, any running I do during February will be fun and not associated with any training plan. Second, I won't keep close track of any of it. Third, by the end of the month I will have picked a 100 mile race for this year. See ya'll in March.

Oh, one more thing. There was an update to the Paint Creek 50k results. I got bumped to 4th, but that's cool. Congrats to everyone who ran!

              1. Tim Collins = 5h 11m
2. Mike Dobies = 5h 21m
3. Craig Mulhinch = 5h 28m
4. Brian Thomas = 6h 01m

Friday, February 1, 2008

Paint Creek 25k/50k Results

Hey, maybe a few inches of snow works to my advantage.  I placed third in the 50k!  Check out the results below:

15 Ran the 25K
13 Ran the 50K

*25K: 1. Jack Hund = 2h 35m
2. Lisa Taylor = 2h 42m
3. Ron Dober = 2h 42m
4. Harold Curley = 2h 43m
5. Jim Zittel = 2h 44m
6. Tony Mattar = 2h 48m
7. Gabriel Kohn = 2h 55m
8. Frank Jobe = 3h 07m
9. Emiko Tawarada = 3h 20m
10. Bruce Geffen = 3h 20m
11. Tim Looney = 3h 20m
12. Michael Swaney = 3h 20m
13. Wayne Hanlon = Finished
14. Walt Storrs = Finished
15. Al Durham = Finished
(No Time Sent In)

*50K:
1. Traildog = 5h 21m
2. Craig Mulhinch = 5h 28m
3. Brian Thomas = 6h 01m
4. Ultratrailman = 6h 08m
5. Angie Failla = 6h 12m
6. David Ostafinski = 6h 25m
7. Marit Janse = 6h 35m
8. Bill Fuchs = 6h 35m
9. Tony Mazur = 6h 48m
10. Bruce Purdy = 7h 08m
11. Jim Chiado = 7h 08m
12. Dick West = 7h 19m
13. Dan Dewey = 7h 39m

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paint Creek 50k

It was a great run yesterday. The weather was cold, but there wasn't any wind so it was rather pleasant. In fact, the gentle snow made it rather picturesque. The race was very laid back. Starting time depended on, well, when you wanted to start and you were responsible for tracking your own time. Finisher awards were passed out ahead of time from a cardboard box on a nearby park bench. They were tins of cookies--can't complain about that! The only aid station consisted of a card table halfway through the out and back. No one crewed it, but it was well stocked and the potato chips really hit the spot during the second loop.

The route involved a couple of significant hills appropriate for walking. The majority of the run was either along a rail trail or through some tree-lined, country-ish suburban roads. We saw several multi-million dollar homes including, according to someone I was running with, one owned by a high up Flagstar bank executive. Funny, they own my house too. The other people on the run were very friendly and had the pleasure of running and chatting with Eric, Trixie, Brian, and Mauro much of the time. Trixie made the lottery for the Western States 100 mile this year--cool. In true competitive fashion, we all stopped whenever anyone needed to tie their shoelace or slipped on the ice.

My one adventure involved saving a very cold short-haired terrier who almost got hit by a couple cars. Deftly avoiding being urinated on by the anxious canine, I picked him up and took him to the nearest house. He had a collar, but no tags. The women who answered the door was a little nervous about bringing a stray dog into a house with some small children, but was sympathetic to my explanation that I was in the middle of a race and might have trouble carrying the little guy for the next four miles. So finally she took him inside with the plan to call animal control. He was shivering pretty badly at that point so I'm glad he found a warm place for the time being.

Many runners, including the group I was with, decided to call it quits after one loop (25k) so I turned on the old mp3 player and got caught up on the latest Scott Sigler novel. The rail trail sections were partially packed down, but you still had to trudge through some pretty deep snow so it was slow going. Still, I felt pretty solid the entire run. With a steady supply of Gatoraide, energy bars, and the occasional Starbucks Espresso double-shot (a new favorite of mine), I never "hit the wall." I did feel a little nauseous about 2/3 of the way through, but that was quickly fixed with a salt tablet and a few handfuls of potato chips. My final time was 6:01:48.

Thanks again to Dan and everyone else who put the run on. I look forward to running it next year.

Friday, January 25, 2008

All ready for tomorrow...

Well, I'm all set for the Paint Creek 50k tomorrow. I haven't done much running in the past week--more due to the frigid temperatures than anything else. Elliott stays pretty warm when he's all bundled up, but I'm not really comfortable taking him out in weather in the low 20s or upper teens.

Last weekend I picked up this mini stepper thing at Meijer for $50. It's sort of like this, but a different brand. It actually works pretty darn well for its price. I've put about 3 hours on it and other than adding a little WD40 to cut down on some squeaks, it has been quiet and solid. Now, while I do work up a sweat it doesn't provide the same workout as a treadmill or a real stairmaster. Still, I'm cheap and the price fits my budget. It's quiet so I can crank out an hour or two at night after the little guy has fallen asleep. Finally, it's small so I can keep it in the living room and I don't have to make my way all the way to the basement to workout (ironically, I am that lazy). Anyway, it certainly doesn't replace running, but its a nice way to conveniently get time on my feet when that old Michigan winter isn't toddler friendly.

Anyway, wish me luck tomorrow and I'll post a report soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another race to consider

I didn't look closely at the Canadian races (sorry ya'll up north!). Here's one close to Algonquin Provincial Park that's about 8 hours from home. I can't add it to the poll since people have already voted so I'm just posting a new poll. Sorry to those of you who have already voted. Thanks for the comments so far!

Haliburton Forest, September 6-7.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I need to pick a race

I had a pretty good running week last week, but the winter weather and lack of a specific goal have been feeling a bit ambivalent about running. I need to pick a 100 mile race for 2008 and sign up for it. The problem is that I am having trouble deciding. My criteria are influenced by 1) the limited number of races, 2) the need for it to be either just before or soon after school starts at the end of August, and 3) potentially limited time and funds for travel. Also, I want one that isn't at such a high elevation or involving so many hills that my likelihood of finishing is ridiculously low. Here are my possibilities, in no particular order:

Superior Sawtooth, Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN (September 7-8)

Burning River, Cleveland, OH (August 2-3)

Lean Horse, Hot Springs, SD (August 23-24)

Iroquois Trail, Buttermilk Falls State Park, NY (September 20-21)

After reviewing www.run100s.com those seem like the best possibilities while avoiding flying to California, being ready in two weeks, cooking in mid-summer the heat and humidity, and buying a stairmaster. I'm going to post a poll on the right. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Next on the racing agenda

I switched shoes and my knee is doing much better even after a couple 10 mile runs this week. I'm running in a pair of North Face Amp trail shoes, which have been my backup/alternate shoes for the past year. They are a bit firmer than the Brooks Adrenaline that I usually run in. That works well on trails, but I prefer the Brooks for road running so I'll probably pick up a new pair of those soon. The Brooks also have better cushioning. I really just picked up the North Face shoes because they were super cheap at the North Face outlet and I really wanted to try that cool looking wire ratcheting system that they have instead of laces. I do like the ratcheting system, but I don't like the overall feel of the shoes.

So, next on the racing agenda is another little informal race in SW Michigan. It's the Paint Creek 50k held at Rochester Park in Rochester. I heard about it from Tim Looney's email group. It's two 25k loops including both road and trail. I gather its a pretty informal event as it has no fees, no website, and registration consists of emailing the RD to let him know that you want to run. There is also a limit of 30 people. Just my style. The race is January 26th so look for a race report soon afterwards.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The year in review

I didn't think about doing this until I was checking out Dirt Dawg's blog. Here's 2007 in review:

Total distance run: 1,152.22 miles
Total time spent running: 196 hours 17 minutes
Calories burned: 124,795

Continuing to use McDonalds Big Mac value meals as a metric, I burned the equivalent calories of 107 value meals. Theoretically, that means I could have eaten a value meal approximately every 3.4 days and burned it off running (not a good idea for a variety of reasons).

Now that's pretty cool. That's also an underestimate since I only started logging miles at the beginning of March. It also only includes runs that involved my GPS, since I'm a computer geek and too lazy to log miles manually. I highly recommend the logging software that I use, which is Sport Tracks. It has some functions that the Garmin software doesn't, such as satellite views, and best of all, it's free! I also find the interface more intuitive.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A cold day in Hell

Okay, I stole that post title from Tim Looney's blog. It was witty so what the heck. Anyway, I hope that you are all had a good finish to 2007 and a good start to 2008. My little personal race on Sunday was a good time, although it represents my first DNF for an ultramarathon. Well, at least it would be a DNF if it were actually a race. I started my run at 7:30 leaving from the Silver Lake parking lot at Pinckney. The first loop of 18 miles went really smoothly, although it did give me a new appreciation for the spikes that my mother-in-law gave me a few days earlier. There was some very picturesque winter scenery; however, there was also a sheet of ice covering much of the trail. There were a few people out hiking and a couple of mountain bikers, but the trail was pretty peaceful and the snow added a pleasant softness to everything. I do miss running on trails. Unfortunately, my tendency to underestimates those Irish Hills continued and I began to feel the strain of the ups and downs by the second loop. On top of that, my ITB began to tighten up a little after 30 miles and as my walking increased and the idea of being well into the third loop after dark I decided to call it quits. Total miles covered: 36.

All in all, however, I'm not disappointed in my performance. I had no problems resupplying every 18 miles and stayed warm despite the winter weather. Injinji socks are awesome and well worth the praise that they have received in other reviews. Even with the irregular terrain, I didn't even have any hot spots. My little $10 headlamp I picked up at Dunhams worked great for the little that I used it in the morning and it has me looking forward to trying out some night running in 2008. If it weren't for the tension in my IT band, I think that I could have finished the run even if my time wouldn't have been great. Still, I think I made a good decision to stop since I had some trouble going up and down stairs for the next 24 hours. Two Advil and 48 hours later, however, I was nearly back to normal, which means my recovery time is where I would like it to be. I'm optimistic for a good 2008.

Hopefully I'll be there for the 2008 Hell Fat Ass. You can check out the results from the actual race here.