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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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trail Marathon Race Report

I woke up bright and early at 4:00 AM to head to Pinckney for the Trail Marathon on Sunday. I've actually found that it is not that difficult to roll out of bed and hop right in the car as long as I get everything ready the night before. Races are definitely more motivation to get up early than regular long runs. I was really looking forward to the event as I haven't been on trails much in the recent past and I felt that getting this long run in was important if I was going to be at least close to my training plan.

I opted for the 7 AM early start, which meant that I was not allowed to finish in under 4:30 (not that it was likely that would be a problem). I was hoping to do an extra 9 miles after the marathon so I figured the earlier I started the better it would be. I met up with Dirt Dawg at the start and actually ran with him through the entire race. If you haven't checked out his blog and new podcast, I would definitely recommend that you follow those links. I first met Dirt Dawg when we were both training for our first 50 milers and have, in fact, not run together since we cruised the first part of the North Country Trail Run together in 2007. Dirt Dawg will be running his first 100 miler at Burning River this year also. Anyway, his company for the 26.2 miles was very much appreciated since headphones were not allowed at the race and anyone who knows me well realizes that leaving me alone to my thoughts is a recipe for disaster. Seriously though, the conversation helped the miles go quickly and, as we headed into the second loop, he put on some speed, which took us to a finish in just under 5 hours with negative splits on the second loop.

Anyone who has run out in Pinkney knows that it is possibly the hilliest part of the Lower Peninsula and it definitely took a toll on me. On top of that, the weather was much warmer than expected and I didn't bring any electrolyte tablets. Consequently, I only added 8 miles at the end of the marathon and, to be honest, those were some pretty slow and ugly miles. In the future, I might try and add my additional training miles to the begining of the race instead of the end because it was sort of a drag to head back out on the trail while everyone else was relaxing after the race. Still, I put in just over 34 miles for the day and after a little air conditioning in the car and a trip through the Arby's drive through I was feeling much better. That's on top of a 12 mile run on Friday and I really can't complain about a 46 mile weekend.

On a side note, the more I think about and start making plans for a 50 mile solo run of the Great Wall of China, the more excited I get. I might have to invest in some trail shoes though as the Trail Marathon left my feet a bit beat up from rocks and roots. I'll post more details about my Great Wall plan as they develop.

P.S. The above photo of Dirt Dawg and I currently appears as the first of a set of photos on the front page of so check it out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome Lupus Runner Cruz!

I'd like to welcome the latest member of Lupus Runners. We are truly a national group with previous runners from New York, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and now Texas! I've asked Cruz to write a short bio--he's planning a lot of races this year and getting set for his first marathon.

Cruz Pitre Jr.
I'm married to Michelle for 14 years, and have two boys, Andrew and Trei. I live outside of Fort Worth, TX. I'm a senior configuration manager at Sabre Holdings (parent company to Travelocity). I'm a 40 year old Army veteran, that until the end of last year (an over-active thyroid forced me to start running again), had not run since 1992. My running has gone so well that I have started training and competing in races. These are the races that I have competed and their results:

02/28/09 - Fort Worth Cowtown 5k: 26:08 - 08:26 (pace per mile)
03/14/09 - Impossible Possibilities 5k: 24:46 - 07:59
03/28/09 - Dallas Butterfly Booging 5k: 24:40 - 07:57
04/11/09 - Crecent City Connection 10k: 53:01 - 08:33

I'm registered to run in:

04/25/09 - Outlaw Run 10k

I'm planning to run in:

05/09/09 - The Jackrabbit Run 4 Hope 10k
05/16/09 - Run For the Children 10k

My goal is to compete at the marathon distance, or higher. My basic training plan is to run each distance (5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon) at least three times before moving on to the next distance.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good luck Tim!

Our second Lupus Runner is running his big race for the year tomorrow. Tim will be running no less than the famous Boston Marathon! We are getting close to $1,000 in donations--let's see if we can take things into the triple digits for Tim! Have a great race and we look forward to report on how things go.

I'm also happy to announce that we have had another runner join Lupus Runners for 2009. Details soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Brian the Sociologist International Ultramarathon

Training plans are, in my opinion, schedules that tell you what real life has deviated you from. With summer coming close and the ultramarathon looming relatively near, I thought I would check the training plan I devised earlier this year and see how close I am. The bad news is that I am a little behind and that my weekly mileage has been below what I had hoped for. That being said, my long runs have been going well and I should still have time to get the runs that I feel I need for Burning River. Before Haliburton, I peaked with a late night 50 miler. If I can get a couple 50 milers in I should be in good shape.

So why did I titled this post "First Brian the Sociologist International Ultramarathon?" Well, if I follow this training plan I will be attempting one of my long runs, specifically my first 50 mile run, while I am in Beijing doing a preparing for a 2010 study abroad trip. The logistics of this are a little daunting as I won't have my full set of running gear, resupplying with water and food may be problematic (dumpling stops?), and many parts of Beijing are crowded enough so as not to be running friendly. I'm also not quite sure how I will fit it into my already busy itinerary. However, I think it is worth the effort as there are few better ways to see the city, if I can really get my act together I could do the whole thing on the Great Wall or someplace similarly cool, and with my GPS it is really pretty unlikely that I will get lost. Anyway, I posted on the ultrarunning listserve that I will be in China, but didn't hear from any Chinese ultrarunners so if anyone out there reads this post and has suggested routes or just advice, post a comment!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Have a great race, Deb!

I just wanted to let everyone out there know that our first Lupus Runner is running a half marathon tomorrow. Deb is a lupus sufferer and has done a great job of raising awareness and funds. She deserves our support. I've posted a note below that Deb wrote on Facebook about her race.

From Deb's Facebook site:

I suffer from a disease called lupus. It is a chronic, life threatening illness. I had several years where I couldn't walk for longer than 2 or 3 minutes without having to sit and rest. I have had kidney involvement twice, lung involvement, taken massive doses of steroids, taken chemotherapy - which left me unable to have children, been hospitalized 4 times, had a pseudo tumor.. that was fun.. the doctor told me that I possibly had a brain tumor, based on what he saw in my eyes.. but to try not to worry about it until I saw the neurologist in the ER, had 2 spinal taps, gained lots of weight, have major joint pain, have extreme sun sensativity, have tons of scars, have taken as many as 12 perscription medications at one time, lost a ton of hair, had years of depression, yet somehow managed to keep my sanity. ( no comments )

To see me today, you would not ever know that I was ill. Now is my turn to beat up on lupus. This is my revenge for the suffering and pain it has caused me. I will run the Illinois Half Marathon on Saturday, April 11, 2009. I'm asking for your financial support.

During the race, I will wear a pace tattoo on my arm, marking where I should be along the course at what time. If you offer your financial support, I will write your name on my arm during the race, and you will act as my mental support during that section of the race. I will really need your support, as I am coming off of two weeks of illness, and am just 4 weeks out from the race.

If you are able to support me, please follow this link to the Lupus Runners page. It is a team page, so you will not see my name, but rather a group page. If you leave a donation, please mention my name in the comment section. Thanks for your support. - Debbie

Monday, April 6, 2009

Does this count as speed work?

Well, I completed the Martian Marathon with a chip time of 3:53. I'm really happy with that because I averaged 8:55 minute miles when I've been training at 10 minute miles. Also, this is approximately the same time that I had the last time I ran the Martian, which was 6 or 7 years ago (woah.) The race was fun, although it reminded me why I still prefer the culture of ultramarthons. Even though this was a relatively small marathon I still felt a little like I was part of a herd. Still, it was a nice way motivate me to put in a long run and it was fun to see all the people excited about the race (but really, do you need a hydration pack for a half marathon?) As always, Running Fit had everything very well organized, included some insane looking technical t-shirts and had some wonderful greasy pizza waiting at the end.

I was planning on doing the whole thing in around 4:20 and adding on a 4 mile run in the end to make a nice round 30 mile day. However, at the halfway mark I overheard someone say that we were at a 4 hour pace and decided I would rather speed things up and get home early than stretch it out another few miles. I need to write a blog post one of these days about the honey/salt/molasses concoction that I have been using on my long runs. I switched between that and the Gu that they had at aid stations. Interestingly, I felt a tiny bit nausious around mile 15 after a few Gu packets, but felt perfectly normal after going back to the honey mix. Kept pretty even splits throughout so I'm feeling pretty close to on pace for the 100.

Kudos to Deb who has kicked up the fundraising! I need to clear some grant reports off my plate and then hopefully will have the chance to start bringing in some money.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Martian Marathon and my aerobic capacity

Heading down for the Martian Marathon this weekend. I did this a few years ago and it was a nice run. I've more or less lost track of my training program; however, I did manage a 25 mile long run a couple weeks ago and a 20 mile long run the week before that so I'm feeling relatively solid. I might add a 4 mile run after the marathon for a nice even 30.

My weekly runs have been really hit and miss. This week for instance I did 12 on Monday and 6 on Wednesday. It is unlikely that I'll have any time to run before the marathon on Sunday. Still, I was comfortable running 10 minute miles during my last 25 mile run so I think I'm making some progress. I'm not sure I could get away with such intermittant training if I hadn't gotten myself in shape for the 100 last year. I hear the endurance you build for ultras has more of lasting effect than for shorter distances--that might be just one of those web rumors though.

On an interesting side note, I stopped by a health fair at SVSU where, among other things, some kinesiology students were testing aerobic capacity. Ironically, I tested in 20th percentile, which basically means that 80% of the rest of the world is in better shape then I am. That doesn't bode well for the marathon. Actually, the test was based on heart rate and, based on my experience with a heart rate monitor, I have a relatively high resting and, in all likelihood, maximum heart rate, which throws things off. One of my students told me that the kinesiology department does have the equipment for me to test my VO2 max, which would give me an accurate measure of my aerobic capacity. I might just be curious enough to track that equipment down...