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.

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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 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.