Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Change of Pace

Ok, some of you may have already read on my Facebook page what my next adventure is. While I was in the Thinker's pose trying to muddle my way through Jemez, I just got to thinking, ironically enough. My mind really hasn't been into racing this year, like, at all really. My performance has been what I consider to be abysmal and I don't like it. I needed something to excite me again, something different. So I decided to do something that I never thought that I would do. I'm gonna run fast. I've decided to try and qualify for Boston. Being 39, I will have to run a 3:15 marathon and for me that's WAY fast!! My best time in a marathon, thus far, is 4:09 with no speed training. So maybe with the right training I can succeed. I've set my sights on the Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque to be my qualifying race. It's flat and fast, so I may have a good chance of getting it done. I've got til October to get ready. I've even been talking to a running coach since I've no idea what to do for speed training. I hear people talk about doing 4x800's and crap like that and have NO clue what they are talking about. My running, up til now, has been putting on a pair of shorts and shoes and then putting one foot in front of the other til I get to the finish line. ha This should be interesting!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Jemez Race Report, Short and Sweet

This race report is going to be short and sweet, cuz that's how the race was for me. I had no way of training for the aspect that kicked my ass, and that was the altitude.
Let's start at the beginning. Aubrey and I got to Los Alamos Friday around 2pm, got checked into the hotel, and went to China Palace for some lunch. After that, we hung out at the hotel until time for packet pickup at 5pm. While grabbing my packet, we got to see Micah True, aka "Caballo Blanco", hanging out in line as well. Seemed like a really nice guy. Anyway, back to the hotel afterwards and an early bedtime.
We got up at 3am, I ate a bowl of oatmeal, and we headed to the Posse Shack, and waited for the start. We started right on time, 5am. We had to use headlamps for the first 30 minutes or so but after that, you could see with no problem. The course is simply gorgeous with amazing, sweeping vistas of the sleeping city below. I started off nice and slow and felt really, really good going out. The first seven miles were very uneventful, just cruising along, enjoying the scenery. The first big climb was fairly easy for me as well. I remember absolutely HURTING on that climb two years ago. However, my strength training in preparation for this year really made a difference. My legs would recover VERY quickly. However, once I started to climb Caballo, my heart would start trying to beat out of my chest and I would get short of breath. I was having to stop and rest every couple hundred feet. I muddled my way to the top finally, and then on the way back down I felt really strong again, running the downhills really easily. I slipped in some scree on a switchback and went down on my right side, sliding off the trail into the woods. I cut my finger, my right elbow, and my left shin. haha I'm starting to get used to falling, since it seems to happen to me at least once per race. What a loser! ha Anyway, once I made it down Caballo, you have to climb out to the Pipeline Aid Station. This is where things got worse for me. I was really struggling on the ascent, trying to catch my breath. I was yawning constantly, trying to get more air. Every time I'd find a fallen log or tree stump, I'd sit down to let my heart rate drop back down and my breathing settle. I know that several times, sitting on those tree logs and stumps, I had to have looked like Rodin's Thinker, or even more apropos, Rodin's Pouter. My thoughts ranged from "F**K this!" to "Come on, you can do this!" back to "F**K this!" Eventually, even walking became too hard, so I just decided no more. There would be no way I would make the cutoff at the Ski Lodge, even if I could have made it there at all. I dropped at the Pipeline Aid Station, the same place I dropped 2 years ago. This is the second DNF that Jemez has dealt me and I'm not sure exactly what to do about it. How do I, living in the Panhandle, train for the altitude without spending $4000 on an altitude tent. To be honest, right now, I don't even care about training for it again, but we all know how it goes. Eventually the urge will win out and I'll try it again. But for right now, I'm changing venues. (Another post will follow, outlining my new adventure.)
So two things that worked REALLY well for this race were 1. My strength training- my legs never hurt at any time and they recovered really quickly after reaching the tops of climbs 2. I used Vespa for this race- This stuff is the shizz!!! Over the twenty total miles that I traveled, I used only 2 Vespas with nothing else to eat but 4 Peanut M&M's and felt NO energy lags AT ALL!!
As I work with the Vespa more, I will post more about them and the results that I'm getting from them.
So anyway, Jemez was a flop for me..........once again. However, I still have to say that they put on an amazing race, and I highly recommend it if you can get ready for it! If you are a fairly low altitude flatlander then just be careful! One of these days, maybe, I'll go back but for right now, the two ass-whuppins I've received are more than enough. Thank you, please, drive through.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Day of Hell for the Hamstrings

I was invited for a 4-6 hour run at Palo Duro Canyon by David Steadman. My wife has known David forever but today was the first time I've ever met him. I picked him up at his house and we made the 1 1/2 hour trip to the canyon. We hit it off pretty quickly, talking about past endeavors and races we've had in common. He's been racing in marathons and triathlons for years but just broke into ultras last year with Jemez as his first, the brave soul! Anyway, once we made it to the canyon we found the Juniper picnic area which is the race start for the trail run in October and we took off. We spent a good 4 1/2 hours just cruising the trails and chatting the whole time and at one point we took a trail that went from the bottom of the canyon straight up to the top. Good stuff! All in all, we had a great day of training and the way I felt on the inclines and declines really made me realize that my strength training is paying off! A few more runs this week with another 3 hour run next Saturday and I'll be ready...............I think!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Under the Weather

For the first time in a couple of years, I've got a cold! I've felt bad for the last 2-3 days, just real cloudy-headed and stuffy. I ran a low-grade fever last night but Advil made short work of it. I think I'm on the uphill swing though so I should be able to go ahead and get a good run in this weekend. I went on to the the gym last night for some strength training even though I felt like hammered shit. I'm not real sure if that was a good idea or not but I survived and now I'm stronger. Ha. Training all in all has been going really well except for needing to get some more good long runs in. If I can shake this cold pretty quickly then I'll be set.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

And the Training Continues

With all of the strength training I've been doing, I'm becoming much more solid. I'm looking more toned as well since I've dropped about 4lbs in the last week or so. I like it!! I've been alternating traveling lunges at the gym with 30-40lb dumbbells in each hand, and doing squats with one of my kids (~80lbs) on my back and having them hold two 10lb medicine balls. ha I'm hitting the gym at least 3 nights a week for about 30-45 minutes of good full body circuit training on the Nautilus equipment. On top of all that, I've been getting in some good runs of 10-12 miles. I need to get in some tough hill repeats out at the lake pretty soon too. I've been running 30 minute interval runs on the treadmill at 10% grade as well. At this point in time, I am really encouraged that I'll be able to finish Jemez with some left in the tank, especially since I've still got over a month to get ready. I'll keep ya posted.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jemez Bound

As a lot of you already know, I ran Jemez (or at least 17 miles of it) in 2008. The race report is here. Anyway, I've thrown myself, once again, into the fray. Training commences tomorrow on a whole new level simply because flatlanders are at such a disadvantage when it comes to mountain racing. The altitude doesn't seem to bug me but the inclines and declines just fry my quads, so I'll be hitting the gym at least 3-4 times a week, working on lunges and so forth and hopefully I will have the time to get out to Horseshoe Bend for some good hill repeats as well. I'm really looking forward to getting focused again. My racing season has been, so far, a big letdown due to time constraints and absolute lack of discipline in training. Gotta bring the heat now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ummmmm, The Grasslands, yeah, ok

Like the title suggests...................ummmmmm, yeah, what can ya say? I got to the race start with my windshield wipers on high, it was starting to sleet, there were wind gusts up to 30mph, and it was 30 degrees not substracting the wind chill. I didn't get out of the car! The people that actually ran this race are simply the bravest souls I know. I do NOT like cold weather!! I put the Xterra in reverse and pulled outta there.
There's a half marathon about 50 miles from Lubbock in the town of Lamesa and I'm gonna run that this Saturday. I'm on the lookout for something fun in April so we'll see what I can cook up.
Also, a major congrats is in order for Dave Elliott and Sonia Burdett for running the Bataan Memorial Death March last Sunday, both with 44 pound packs on their backs! Hoorah! Way to go, you two!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Got the Grasslands coming up!!

With the weather becoming warmer and warmer, the training is coming easier and easier. Thank goodness! The wind the last couple of days has been pretty obnoxious so I've done some intervals on the treadmill instead of getting blown to the Texas border. I will head out this weekend for a final LONG run before the marathon a week from this Saturday. The Grasslands is a great course, very runnable! Also you get to see a lot of people since you loop back to the race start/finish several times. Last year, I ran the 50 miler as part of the 50 Mile Grand Slam, and just didn't perform the way I wanted to. While I was running this race last year it was like my "Give-a-Shit-ometer" was busted. You can read the race report here.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to hitting this course again with a little more vim and vigor in my step! I'll let ya know how it goes!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2/25/2010 Cross Timbers Trail Runs Race Report

Zach and I arrived at Lake Texoma around 1400 on Friday. We easily found a place to set up camp at Juniper Point Camping Area. Juniper Point was much, much nicer than Cedar Bayou Marina last year. The campground offered amazing, sweeping vistas of the lake and surrounding hills! The race headquarters/start/finish was all just across a small cove from our camp, easily walkable, even after the race. The weather was overcast and slightly cool, and it would stay that way for race day as well! Who can forget that wind from last year?? Zach and I made a quick trip to a local grocery store and picked up a few supplies including hot dogs, buns, marshmallows, firewood, and some lighter fluid. Once we got back to camp, we attempted to start a little fire in our camp’s fire pit but I think our wood was too moist. We expended the entire bottle of lighter fluid just trying to get our hot dogs done and toast a couple of marshmallows. Haha Apparently, we suck at wilderness survival. Oh, well! We headed over to packet pickup and met up with Teresa McCoul, the race director, and also Laurie Underwood was there volunteering! Amazingly awesome ladies, both of them! This year, the headquarters was just fantastic! Teresa had somehow obtained a huge circus tent that housed everything! Very cool! A circus tent……………how apropos for us running freaks! Ha Anyway, Zach and I forewent the prerace dinner in lieu of our hot dog supper and we headed to the back of the Xterra for an evening movie and then an early bedtime. I slept fairly decent considering I was stuck in the back of the Xterra with Zach.

My alarm went off, quite loudly, at 0530. Up and at’em! A breakfast of two oatmeal crème pies and a Chocolate Muscle Milk got me up and running. Zach and I headed over to the race start to see the 50 milers off at 0630 and then waited another 30 minutes for my race time. We were given our race briefing (if your eyes were shut) by actor Norm McDonald! I swear the guy sounded EXACTLY like him! Haha Anyway, 0700 came around and we were off. We ran a brief out and back on the road and then headed out onto the fantastic singletrack trail. Now then, due to the snow melt and rain from previous weeks, the trails were a little more difficult this year, I thought. The areas that were relatively dry were VERY sticky, like clay. Nothing really stuck to your shoe but your shoe wanted to stay stuck to the ground longer than you wanted it to. Does that make sense? Anyway, in some of the low-lying areas, there was standing water and deeper mud that could be sidestepped if need be but traversing those areas wore you out while you did it. On another note, I felt like the course was actually more beautiful than last year. The moss covering the rocks was a brilliant green this year where it was a lighter yellow last year. Gorgeous! I really love this trail even if it does make you cry a little. The course was one big out and back this year for the marathoners and done twice by the 50 milers. The aid stations were very well stocked, and staffed by awesome, helpful volunteers as usual! With the weather being cooler, I didn’t really feel the need to fuel as much, and ended up taking a total of 2 Gu-Roctanes and a couple of handfuls of M&M’s over the course of the day. I kept my hand bottle filled with HEED and made sure to take at least a bottle an hour. About 5 or 6 miles in, a guy named Dennis caught up to me. We stayed together at a fairly decent pace, and talked for a good 12 or 13 miles. Good company on the trails makes it so much better! He eventually dropped the hammer and went on ahead. I ran in silence for several miles and finally made it to the last aid station before the finish. Here, I met up with Nancy! We hit it off quickly, and laughed and talked for the last 2.5 miles which, as far as I’m concerned, are the most difficult part of the course. The uphills are absolutely ass-whipping! At this point of the race, my legs were mega-sore and my ass was draggin’! However, laughing with Nancy made it so much easier. Finally as we were almost to the top of a long (and final) incline, I hear a familiar voice say, “There you are!” Zach was at the top of the hill to let us know that the finish was just on the other side. What a relief! I could hear the cowbell calling us in and I finished in 5:53 or something like that. Not the best time but with the trail conditions and the lack of training on my part, I was pretty happy! Of course, Teresa was at the finish, cooking up burgers and veggie burgers for everyone! She does such an amazing job with this race! She and her team deserve a major round of applause! Thanks, Teresa!

Now, if you’ve never run this race before, you need to know that it really is a gorgeous, yet very difficult course! Over the course of the marathon, there is a 5,510 ft elevation gain/loss. In other words, when you get done with the race, if you look in the mirror at your hindquarters it may look as if you have the ass of a dancer in a rap video! Your butt is gonna be sore! There were several brave souls that ran this as their first marathon. Although it's probably not the smartest idea, I think they did well! The race headquarters was much better this year and Teresa was able to bring in some regular port-a-potties instead of only having that scary outhouse thing from last year! That made me pretty happy! Haha In fact, I think it was the first thing Teresa mentioned to me when she saw me! Ha

I ran the 50 miler here last year and was very glad not to have to run it this year in those trail conditions. The folks that completed the 50 need to know that my hat is off to them this year! Maybe next year I’ll be trained up again and ready to give it another whirl.

See my report from last year with more pics HERE.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Training for Cross Timbers Trail Marathon

Well, training is a little slow going actually. I've been putting in loads and loads of interval training sessions on the treadmill set on a pretty decent incline, but not too much running outside. I just can't get into a long run mentally when I spend the entire time freezing my ass off! I am such a flipping pansy when it comes to cold weather!! For all you guys that ran and actually finished Bandera this year in those conditions........MY HAT'S OFF TO YOU!! I mean, dude, it was freaking cold out there! Anyway, hopefully next weekend will be warmer and I can get in a good long run. I've realized that it really doesn't take much training to just finish a marathon so I should be good. I'm not looking to place or anything, just enjoy the trail since it's so amazing!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Run Race Report

First off, let me say, I really think that I headed to this race completely undertrained! Zach and I made it to Wichita Falls and the Hotter'n Hell Hundred Clubhouse yesterday afternoon about 45 minutes before packet pickup started. It gave us a chance to look around the area and check out the race start/finish. It was a beautiful park with a small river flowing through it. Very nice. I got my packet with no problem and we headed to Stanton's house after he got his packet. I met Stanton last year at Cross Timbers as you may remember and he stayed with us during the Buffalo Springs 70.3. It was great to get to meet his wife, Amy, and his two beautiful little girls. Amy made a Spaghetti with Zucchini carb load that was really delicious! Complete with garlic bread and a good beer! Good night!
The next morning, Zach and I were up by 0600 and noticed that..........IT WAS RAINING! Dammit!!
We headed to the race with Stanton driving (they have really weird traffic lights/stops in Wichita Falls).
So just a little after 0800, we took off! And even though it stopped raining prior to race start, the trails were incredibly muddy! Not the "deep, gloppy, soul-sucking type mud," but the "slippery as Hell, make ya look like Wile E. Coyote trying to take off running when the road is covered with ball bearings type mud!" And on the inclines you had to make very sure that you had enough momentum to make it up...........or you were going back down! FUN STUFF!! The course itself was absolutely phenomenal! Everything you look for in a trail run! Beautiful scenery, lots of wooded areas, inclines, declines, stream crossings, switchbacks, and jumping fallen logs. Just awesome! At one really steep short downhill to a stream crossing, and then up a steep uphill, there were two guys directing "traffic." I stopped to assess the situation and figure out how best to traverse it and they hollered, "Just bomb through it! It's just shit water!!" Oh.........good! Thanks guys! HAHA
The course was one loop for us half marathoners, and two loops for the full. I was really happy that I didn't go ahead and register for the full, because after I finished slipping and slogging my way around the course and crossed the finish line......I was done! I felt pretty decent afterwards too which really gave me back my thunder. I finished in 2:15, exactly the time that I told Zach to expect me in. They had a water hose at the finish for us to spray off our legs and shoes which was nice too. I got that done, and Zach and I hit the road back to Lubbock. Stanton called me a little later and said that he'd finished the full in 5 hours, a very good time considering those conditions. I'm just really glad the temps were great and that it had stopped raining. I would very much like to run this course again in better trail conditions but this was, overall, a very fun and very well run race and I will definitely do it again!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm heading out next Friday to Wichita Falls for the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Races. I'll be doing the half marathon distance. It'll be great training for Cross Timbers Full in February. I'll be interested to see how I feel after this half since I tend to push harder on the shorter distances. I haven't run beyond 8 miles in over a month which is sad to say but.............oh, well.

I'm also anxious to see several of my running buddies there since I know Teresa McCoul and Stanton Porter will be there running the full! Best of luck to both of them and best of luck to the rest of us that the weather won't be shitty!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FOMO Syndrome

Ok, so I'm not dealing well with my "realization." I'm looking at going ahead and running Cross Timbers marathon in February and that will get me trained for The Grasslands 50 instead of running Bataan. I was looking ahead too and found the Leadville Silver Rush 50 that I REALLY want to do in July.............but it's on Kelli's birthday and she said "NO!" It's killin me though!! Maybe I can talk her into a roadtrip for her birthday?? I also saw that Joe Prusaitis has a new race in the works for 9/11, The Gila Gundred in Western New Mexico. They also have a 50 mile distance so that's a big possibility! Winter's gotta go away now! I got shit to do!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Well, as the title suggests, I've come to a realization about racing ultras early this year. It just ain't gonna happen. Since I took on the Nurse Manager position at Grace Medical, I've been busy non-stop, trying to get the hospital to run the way it needs to. I've had NO time to train the way I NEED to, in order to perform the way I WANT to in an ultra. I've been running some but the distances have been shorter due to time constraints and stupid cold weather. I believe that once I get the hospital running the way I want it then I'll have more time. Right now I am going to focus on fitness and losing some weight by strength training and running intervals and such so I can be ready to rock and roll when the weather starts warming up a little. I was thinking that I could just get up early and run before work like I do in the summer but we're having one of the coldest winters on record since the 80's. I'm miserable the entire time I'm out there in that frigid atmosphere and if I ain't enjoying myself then what AM I doing? I still plan on running Bataan in March since I don't think training for a marathon is that difficult and once I've put in a couple of marathons, I will be ready to run longer and longer. Maybe the Grasslands 50 in March too? So for now, fitness and weight loss, progressing back towards ultras later in the spring. That's the plan.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I got the MT100's in yesterday and have worn them around today. I'm not saying too much yet, but so far they are pretty damn nice. They are very much what I look for in a shoe. Majorly lightweight, flexible, no extra cushioning, or other crap that we don't need. So far, so good!
So on a training note, I'm out and about doing a little running here and there and feeling pretty good, so I'm gonna pick up the mileage this weekend and see how I'm feeling. Like I said before, it's gonna take me busting my hump to get ready for Rocky. Six 50 milers this year was a rockin year for me and I'm hopin my body will remember. Of course, it may remember, and then say, "Oh, HELL NO!" ha

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Am I a Scrooge?

I have to honestly say that I am so glad the Holidays are over! They wear me the Hell out!
Maybe I can focus now. I'm seriously wondering if I will be able to get ready for a 50 miler in 5 weeks. I think I may be really cutting it close. I'll really need to bust my ass! Anybody have thoughts on that? If not Rocky Raccoon then maybe Cross Timbers?
I've been training a lot in my Fivefingers, however, I went ahead and ordered a new pair of the MT100's by New Balance. I just don't think that you should skimp on the rock protection offered by a good trail shoe during an ultra. I think that running Rocky in the Fivefingers would be a blast simply because that course is so amazingly soft!
Ok, so it'll be interesting to see what my body can do within five weeks. The race is on!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Howdy Again

Ok, so I've been told that my blog is sucking. Point well taken.
I am, believe it or not, still alive and kicking! I was out of running for most of November due to an old back injury flare up but I'm back in the saddle and ramping up for Rocky Raccoon 50 in February. Following that I have plans to race Bataan in March. Dave "I'm Your Huckleberry" Elliott invited me to go and I thought "Hell yeah!" Bataan is an amazing race, and I highly recommend it. Dave will be going heavy, carrying a 35 lb rucksack on his back. That scares me, quite frankly. I prefer running 26.2, rather than slogging along with a big pack on my back, so KUDOS to you, Dave! Hoorah!
I am still trying to wrap my brain around a 100 miler for this next year but haven't decided which one as of yet. Anyone know of a good 100 miler out there that feels more like 50? ha
Anyway, I will be back on board with the blog thing more often and keep ya all posted!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9/24/09 What's UP???

Hey all! Thought I'd better post something before my blog gets deleted. Obviously I haven't been keeping up with it for the last couple of months. I've definitely been running though! Ran Lean Horse a month ago and now am ramping up for Palo Duro. I'm trying to find the time to get back on here and start putting back in some reports and training posts............or I may give up the blogging business all together. Facebook has become a little more my speed and I've enjoyed keeping tabs on my running buddies on there! So in the meantime if your curious about what I'm up to, just click on my Facebook link. I'd be happy to add ya as a friend if you're not there already! Peace!

Monday, July 27, 2009

7/27/09 Where I need to be!

Ok, guys, so I am finally getting back into the groove of things. My mileage is looking much better and things are starting to look pretty good for Lean Horse. I went ahead and got registered too so that keeps me honest in my training. Yesterday brought a gorgeous sunset and a nice, steady 20 mile run with Aubrey. I am feeling stronger and stronger. Such a difference from earlier this year. But as my friend, Dave, told me, "Mark, you're running 50 milers like most people run 5k's." No wonder I was feeling a little tired. Anyway, I've had a nice break but now it's time to get back into the racing. I've dropped abut 10 lbs over the last couple of months down to about 165 too. I think that's made a pretty significant difference in how I feel out there too. I would like to, honestly, take off another 5-10 lbs but I have a feeling it's going to be easier said than done. I really do like FOOD!! Ok, so another cool thing is that Aubrey is finally getting back into the swing of things as well. He is running the 50 miler with me at Lean Horse so it should be a good trip. I'll try and keep ya posted. Peace!

Friday, July 17, 2009

7/17/09 Gross Blog Negligence

Oops! I keep forgetting to post for some reason. Actually I know the reason...........Farm Town and Vampire Wars on Facebook or "Crack"Book, whichever you want to call it! Crazy addicting stuff! I'm in here screaming, "I CAN SEND A CHICKEN NOW!!" Ridonkulous!!
My running on the other foot is going very, very well! I'm putting in some good mileage! Last week held about 30 or so miles, and as a matter of fact, next week I am looking at a 50-60 mile week! I'm feeling great and moving well. Most of my training is done at about an 8 to 8.5 min pace. Pretty steady for me. Lean Horse is looking good right now and I'm hoping to pick up the pace there as well. The course itself makes for a good chance for a PR. I'm not sure that I want to post a goal time or not since it kind of locks ya in! ha I may and I may not! I'll try and keep ya posted. In the meantime, if you need me to send you a goat or a donkey for your Farm, let me know!! Peace!