Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brooks ID 2013

First off, I have to give my most humble thanks to Brooks Running and Steve Dekoker for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Brooks ID program for another year.  2012 was my first year with the program, and it was an outstanding experience.

Secondly, I thought I'd try to explain exaclty what the ID program is about.  Not entirely performance based, this grassroots program of running enthusiasts ranging from race promoters, to inspiratioal stories to elite athletes, does reward those that lay it on the line and race to the best of their ability.  This is the description that's posted on the Brooks Running website and is what caught my eye last November and convinced me to apply:

Brooks I.D. (Inspire Daily) Program

Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 2,000 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders.

Click the link to the right and it'll take you to the online store for the best running gear on the planet.  Brooks - thanks again.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Otter Creek Trail Marathon

View of the Ohio River from the "OTC"
The race plan was pretty simple really - take into account that your race fitness has been dwindling recently - be careful because your nutrition / hydration were sub-par at best - see who's around after the first few miles and just take it easy early on. 

Then they said go.  And, I went.  So did the plan.  Plan? What plan? 

First of three laps - (1:04 after the aid station stop to get bottles and fuel - way too fast).  One of the single lappers, Murphy Sheets, had rocketed off the front from the gun and won handily.  But, I was in front of every other person doing one, two or three lap races.  I knew the guy that I had left just past the Blue Hole aid station was only going two laps, but right behind him were Ryan, Mike, and Heath (all super strong guys - Ryan was coming off an injury and unsure how far he'd go, Mike is a pro triathlete that I don't see that much on the trails but I know is crazy fast, and Heath is a pure ultra trail runner who is happy to hammer you the harder it gets and smiles all the time he's doing it).  I was thinking to myself "this might get ugly", but I just tried to put some more distance between me and them, abandoning the plan. 

Second lap - (2:11 after leaving the aid station - I set the course record at Otter Creek last year in 3:19  so seeing an average of just under 1:06 a lap on a slower course was a little scary).  Especially scary considering that it had already started raining and I had already started cramping. 

Finish - (2nd place 3:35)  What happened?  Coming off of the second lap I was experiencing some pretty significant cramping and the picture was getting a little dark around the corners.  But, I hadn't seen anyone behind me in a long time and just tried to maintain something that looked like running.  The rains had made the downhills almost impossible to stand on, let alone run safely down.  The flats and the climbing too slowed due to the mud I tried to tell myself, but in reality I knew I was just dying.  Still, I couldn't see anyone at the top of the descent into Otter Creek when I got to the bottom of what is a long section of trail full of switch backs - so I just kept telling myself that I had put on enough time and this was just a marathon.  "No big deal.  Mine to win".  And, as I had those fleeting thoughts, I was coming apart pretty badly and tightening up on a steep little rise when I heard "On your left!"  What?  It was Mike Hermanson and he was just scooting along with fluidity that I hadn't felt since an hour earlier.  I had no idea he was back there, and by the end, he put over seven minutes on me.  Well, I was right - it got ugly. 

But, it's not necessarily a bad way to end the year.  2011 ended with a win and a course record.  2012 ended with a 2nd and barely dragging my sorry carcass to the finish.  A little fire in the belly is a good thing with the long winter miles approaching.  Time to get ready for Lovin' the Hills - the toughest 50k around.  Can't wait.   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rave(n) Run


Stolen from the pages of Running Times, the "Rave Run" that I went on today was at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary outside of Lexington KY.  My only knock on Lexington's park system has been a lack of really rugged natural lands with trails available.  I've been spoiled by the epic trails of Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, Otter Creek in Brandenburg, and by living in the country where I can actually access the backside of Bernheim Forest Arboretum and research forest with some sleuth parking and a long fire road approach.

But, for me Lexington has always meant training on the roads and UK Arboretum's 2 mile loop, Henry Clay's track, or the very nice paved Legacy Trail (providing a 22+ mile day from my girlfriend's house).  Finally I made the short drive to Raven Run Nature Sanctuary to see what it had to offer.  Masters national records holder, Kevin Castille, told me that he does a lot of his long runs out there, so I figured it had to have some mileage to offer. Featuring over ten miles of foot-traffic-only trails, this hidden gem gave me all I wanted today.  Initially, the trail enters the woods and is wide and groomed.   Lucky for me, within a 1/2 mile I was skipping from rock to rock and grinning from ear to ear.  While a person moving faster than a walk will have to knock out multiple loops to get a decent day out of it, the trails are just technical enough to keep you paying attention and don't have any punishing vertical challenges so you can just roll and roll.   They also offer a spectacular visitor center with running water and restrooms.   Check out the link the below, or if you're in the area, pay Raven Run a visit.  It's worth the trip.

http://www.lexingtonky.gov/index.aspx?page=276

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 - Gear In Review

This post highlights some of my favorite Brooks gear that I've been racing in this year (you'll probably notice I'm wearing the exact same outfit in every picture of me racing - the only thing that changes is my choice of shoes) -


The Launch - my all time favorite shoe.  My plan is buy up a few extra pairs before the year's end because they are unfortunately phasing it out.  It has been replaced by the sweet Brooks Pure line (see Pure Grit below).  But, I will be sad.  I've turned countless people on to this shoe.  It's the perfect blend of cushion and lightweight.  It's been my everyday trainer and long distance racer for years (did every road marathon and went 64 1/2 miles in 10 hours wearing these).  In my humble opinion, this is hands down the best running shoe ever.  There, I said it.




Fast, fast, fast.   At a scant 6.4 oz. the T7 is a smokin' racing flat.  For years I raced in the original Brooks Ghost and then the Launch which were both very light trainers so they worked well for me.  But, with the discount available, I couldn't resist the neon and treated myself to a pair of T7's.  My longest single race in them has been a 6 1/2 miler, but I did rock these for all three legs of the Bourbon Chase totalling 18+ miles and never wished for anything more.  Lacing them up just makes you feel faster.  You'll look faster anyway.


If you look closely at the pic of me running at Otter Creek last December, you'll notice that I've got Inov-8 X-Talons on my feet.  They are a very minimal trail runner that I had used up through 50k and loved them.  So, the Pure Grit had big shoes to fill (can you say that about shoes?).   The second I got approved for the ID program, I ordered up these svelt trail runners.  My feet thanked me right away.  They are the absolute perfect blend of cush and minimalist feel.  The have a soft and fairly protective, confidence-building feel while, at the same time, coming in under 9 oz.  These are my new favorite trail shoes.  I've run a leg-destroying 50K w/ 14,000 feet of elevation gain (yes gain) and they were perfect.  I may venture up to the Cascadia for my 286 mile trek across the Sheltowee Trace Trail this summer, but these trail runners are the perfect tool for any one-utra-trail-run that I can throw at them. 



While not exactly my kit (couldn't find a pic of the blue shorts), this is the Distance singlet and Infiniti III shorts that I have done almost all of my racing in.  The singlet was a little brighter than I anticipated, but that is my only gripe about either garment.  The cut of the singlet is great with the high'ish neckline and racer-type back with plenty of room at the under arm.  The Infiniti shorts also fit and feel perfect.  The hip pockets hold gels or 1/2 sleeves of blocks and the cut is exactly what the distance runner needs to run - well, infinitly. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

103rd Thanksgiving Day 10k and the Brooks ID Leader Board






Humbling to say the least, the 103rd running of the Thanksgiving Day 10k in Cincinnati OH gave me an opportunty for good hard effort on turkey day morning.  This event in my hometown draws upwards of 17,000 people and typically produces some fast times.  I've traditionally spent Thanksgiving at Lake Cumberland so this was my first time trying the annual 6.2 miler.  Prior to this year's 36:02 at Rodes City, my 36:10 would've been a 10k PR.  This day it was good enough for 68th place overall and 4th in my 35-39 age group.

The Brooks ID Leader Board is something that helps keep me motivated for some of these fast races.   While not at all my forte, the fast road courses produce much higher VDOT scores (*see VDOT explained below).  My rank on the Brooks ID leader board has become a favorite part of my racing.  While the trail marathons and ultra marathons don't score you much in points, the road races will rack up some valuable scores.  It's fun to get finished with a weekend competition and add my race data as soon as I can find some intraweb.  As of today, I'm hanging just inside the top 25 - right behind Shayna from AZ and just ahead of David from NE (he runs a sub-4 min. mile - just doesn't race too much, whereas Shayna has a little lower VDOT but has posted seven more races than I have).  It's just so fun.

From a Running Times article by Coach Jack Daniels PhD:

Instead of referring to this pseudo VO2 Max (the one based strictly on performance) as VO2 Max, we use the term "VDOT." VO2 Max is properly stated "V-dot-O2Max." By placing a dot over the V, we’re identifying the rate of oxygen uptake—that is, the volume of oxygen consumed per minute. We shortened V-dot-O2Max to VDOT. This way, each runner has a reference VDOT value: a single number that’s easy to work with when comparing performances. This system is also ideal for setting training intensities because intervals, threshold runs, and even easy long runs and marathon-pace runs are best performed at specific fractions (or percentages) of each runner’s VDOT.

Look what I found...



While building my race resume to re-apply for the Brooks ID program, I was searching for a photo from the Mike Hill Memorial Lakefest 10k that takes place every 4th of July weekend in Jamestown KY.   It's the pic of my son Lane and I seen above.  But, what else I found was a very nicely done video from the local telecom company down there in the Lake Cumberland area. So here it is - a nice wrap up to the little bit of blogging I've done, I thought you all would enjoy. 

Look at time :12 - :20 - Lane winning the kids race.
3:37 - 3:50 - me finishing.
6:23 - 8:34 - me being interviewed post-race.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Statebound

Good evening all.  I'm writing this post minus two wisdom teeth, following a quick trip to Lake Cumberland to deliver my mother from L'ville International to my grandparents' house at Lake Cumberland, and, what seems like so long ago, a Regional Championship weekend.  With a little time to reflect, the Regional Championship results have taken on even more meaning.  It's about what it means to the program as a whole, it's about what it means to each individual member of this team, and it's what it means to the TNHS community.  I witnessed a program ascend to prominence in its first year of competition much to the surprise of those that know high school running in Kentucky.  I had the opportunity to cheer on amazing triumphs and to share in some of the hardest heartaches.  And, I saw the TNHS community represented by 15 of the most amazing young people that I've ever had the opportunity to work with.  Special congrats to the boys team (who PR'd across the board - seven out of seven!) and ran 3rd (narrowly missing 2nd - 3 points!) and qualified for the State Championships.  And, to Sadie Middleton who laid it all on the line, suffered through a self-imposed blistering pace, and qualified herself for the State Championships with a huge PR - you rocked it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rock n Roll St. Louis

Brooks ID program sent a notice early in the year letting us members know that they had "x" number of comped entries to the various Rock n Roll Marathon races around the country.  It was a first come first get scenario, and I didn't jump quick enough to get my first couple of choices but on the third try got the go ahead for St. Louis.  The date worked well as it was a few weeks after the Bourbon Chase and it was a Sunday so was feasible during the height of XC season.  So, directly following a Saturday morning XC meet, it was off to the Gateway to the West.

The goal was pretty simple - PR.  My best of 2:44:59 (sounds better than 2:45) was an eight minute improvement achieved in April on a fairly challenging Derby Festival Marathon course in Louisville.  Looking at past results and hearing the horror stories of how hilly this St. Louis course was had me thinking it would be a tough day that might yield a top ten result if I was lucky.   

Coming off the line with the 1/2 marathoners is always tricky business in terms of keeping yourself in check, but I stayed well under my threshold and, despite a tight hip/hamstring combo, the miles ticked off pretty easily.  I was feeling strong fitness wise and made the turn at the 1/2 mark in the 1:21 range, and was curious to hear for the first time what position I was in now that we had left the halfers.  I saw my girlfriend right where she was supposed to be she said "you're fourth!"

Fourth?  I double-checked my watch to make sure I hadn't gone out stupid fast.  Nope.  Right where I should be, but I knew more hills were coming and just kept my focus up the road ahead and on running efficiency.  Probably over-compensating for the leg tightness, I was drinking at every aid station and eating lots.  It was working.  My energy levels were high, and I was getting used to the fact that I had a personal bike escort showing me the way.   Then, running through Forest Park, I saw a strong looking guy coming the other way on a two-way section of course.  A minute later, I was rounding a 180.  That meant the guy I just say was right in front of me.  Could this be happening?  A shot at third place?  Finally we exited Forest Park, my bike guy told me that it was a straight shot back.  I looked up the wide rolling highway and saw the third place guy and his bike escort.   Maybe needing some conversation, I told my bike guy "it's a hard place to be - just wanna make it all up at once."  To which he replied, "man, you look better than he does - just keep doing what you're doing."  I took his advice.

With about 5k to go I pulled even with my target then rolled away.  My bike guy went with me and his stayed with him.  It was a little surreal.  Was I really running 3rd in a huge city marathon being escorted by a medical bike?  The legs were really really tight, but my head felt good so I just concentrated on not blowing up.  A couple twists and turns downtown and I was looking at the shoot.  One more look over my shoulder and a glance at my watch.  2:43!

Shortly after crossing the line, a lady with the promotions company Competitor Group handed me an envelope and told me to make my way to the VIP tent.  Was this happening?  There were umpteen thousand people on the street and we were headed to the VIP tent?  Sure enough, catered food, private porta-potties, a clean up station and chairs - crazy!  A quick interview with the MC, then it was off to the main stage for the awards presentation.  On stage I was handed my award by Frank Shorter.  This was just too surreal.  I woke up that morning thinking a PR would be nice - then there I stood holding a boquet, in front of thousands of onlookers, and next to Frank Shorter.  Not as prepared as my fellow podium placers, I didn't even have a Brooks shirt with me.  While I was prepared to go out and battle, I wasn't ready to be wishing I had my Brooks podium shirt.   I'm not an elite runner by any stretch, but some days it's kind of nice to feel like one - if even an unprepared one.


Friday, October 5, 2012

2012 Bourbon Chase

The Speakeasies.  Four for four. 


The Bourbon Chase (sponsored by Brooks) is an overnight relay event that sees teams of 12 runners (6 runners per two vans) leapfrogging one another from just outside of Bardstown KY all the way to Lexington following the backroads of Kentucky's historic Bourbon Trail.  Each person races three segments each for a total of 36.  Following a year of doing battle with the Speakeasies,  Haulin' Oats (my team from last year) joined forces with them for this year's edition of the Chase.  This is my fourth year running it, and it's the fourth year that the Speakeasies have won.  The Bourbon Chase is hands down the most fun and challenging race that I do all year.  These eleven guys and the two drivers are amazing.  It was tight for the first rotation of 12 runners with runner-up team Runnin' a Still, but late in the night, experience took over and the gaps grew at most every checkpoint (well, not following my legs - their guy that I had to race against as the #6 hammered me every time - he blew my doors off going to Maker's Mark and brought back at least two minutes every other leg - OUCH).   See leg maps and comments below.  While not quite as fast as I hoped to be, my contributions were strong times, consistency and a wealth of know-how from having raced this course three times prior (I've been a leg  2, 7, 1, and now 6).  For anyone that hasn't had the opportunity to run a relay event, it's a blast.  Don't judge by my frowny mutt chops in the picture - I was just too tired to smile.  

 Leg 6 started with me getting the baton (slap bracelet) about 30 seconds in front of the #6 man from Running a Still.  I went out way to hard trying to hold him off, and when he shouldered up to me, he calmly said hello and good job and then motored by.  I went with him for a couple of miles then completely imploded.  So much for consistency and know how, huh?  I knew enough to simply let his little blinky light vanish into the night and concentrate on getting myself back together.  I just tried to limit the damage and got myself to Maker's Mark without incident.
Leg 18 was much less exciting in terms of topography and competition.  It was a straight shot all the way into Danville and I had a few minute cushion on my new nemesis.  Running my own pace, it was back to what felt more familiar in the Bourbon Chase - picking off runners and in control.  5:50's felt better.  After a very short cool down, I found my guy jogging around.  He had been running 5:20's.
The final segment for me was the net vertical loss of 6.4 miles into Woodford Reserve Distillery.  At this point we had built a pretty sizable lead on the next closest team and I enjoyed picking off about 30 - 40 "road kills"  (the slowest seeded teams start first thing Friday morning and the fastest start about eleven hours later so the faster runners are catching people all the time, hence the name road kills).  I felt strong and enjoyed the rowdy crowds of Woodford.  By that point in the event, people are getting pretty loopy and it's a really gorgeous place to drop in to.

By early Saturday afternoon we were safely in Lexington and in less than 20 hours (with a mile wrong turn!).  The Speakeasies rocked it, and I was honored to be a part of it.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1/4 Marathon?

video
 
Never heard of one?  Me either until I ran the Big Hit 1/2 last year, which was a few weeks after the Bourbon Chase (BC) and where I set my most competitive PR a 1:15:15 (5:45 for 13.1 miles).  But, this year the Big Hit was a week prior to the Chase. So, as the BC was my primary focus for the fall, I decided to only race the 1/4 and just make it a pace training day for the BC.  Since I wanted to be able to run well under 6 minute pace for the enitre relay a week later, I went out at about 5:45 in the 1/4 marathon (6.55 miles).  Within a few minutes I was pretty much alone at the front.  This is a really nice event that just hasn't gotten very big in its first two years.  In fact, last year 1:15 was third, and this year it would have won handily.  It's a terrific venue, big promotions company, and they give away sweet custom Louisville Slugger bats, but it just hasn't gotten really competitive.  Which was fine with me, since I was using my free entry to get a good training day in, not race shoulder to shoulder burrying myself a week before the BC.  In the course of the race, I ran past the police lead-out twice and got to the stadium before the organizers had even set up the cones to tell you to turn in to the center field gate (luckily my friend Tom Nielsen is the head grounds keeper at Slugger Field and I knew where I was going).  If you look at the start of the video, you'll see the guys scurrying across the bottom of the frame looking for the microphone to announce my arrival. 

It IS a really well done event.  And, the 1/2 is a blazing fast course (even faster this year than last) and how many of you have a 1/4 marathon PR? 

Check out the Brooks gear in the video:  Distance Singlet, Infiniti III Shorts, and T7 Racer shoes. 

 
 

Monday, August 13, 2012

TNHSXC Course Preview


From my blog on tnhstrackxc.weebly.com:

Your typical cross country meet flyer has a course description saying "our course is this, or our course is that." Indstead, I wanted people to actually see what the TNHSXC course looks like. I know, the still looks more like a picture of a barn, a soccer field, and a tennis court. Well, it is, but in and around lies the home of TNHSXC which is developing into a permanent fixture on our campus. The other permanent fixture, that little neon green speck, is me.

Home to the upcoming Wednesday Night Warfare cross country meet at TNHS, the XC course is almost entirely visible from the top of our stadium. This video is of me running a tempo 20 minute 5k (in 10 minutes!) on the course as seen from the press box and the runner's point of view taken from the gator. This was shot on a muggy afternoon following heavy rains. While I don't think this will ever be a super-fast course, it's not a slow one. The course will continue to improve and is quickly becoming a hub for fitness activity in the TNHS community. Turn up the sound, take some Dramamine, and hang on. Don't take my word for how great this course is. See for yourself.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Once you get on the bus, stay on the bus


From my blog on tnhstrackxc.weebly.com:

I just don't tire of bragging on this guy. Kevin Castille (pictured with Coach Bradley and myself) is certainly the fastest person I have ever had the honor of meeting. Today saw the start to Nelson County Schools' annual running camp. And, we couldn't have kicked it off with a more charming, motivational and accomplished speaker. I happened to get hooked up with Kevin as I was trying to nail down another speaker while visiting John's Run Walk Shop in Lexington, KY.

A Louisiana Native, Kevin turned 40 this past March. Since then, he has broken American masters records in the 10k, 5k and 3k, And, lucky for us, about a year ago he moved to Kentucky. His 10k mark of 28:57 and a 5k of 14:00 are exceptional by any standard. Now with his sights set firmly on the marathon, his mileage is increasing, and he was nice enough to invite me along for his Saturday workout last weekend. Maybe he was nice enough to agree to my inviting myself along. Regardless, I was looking forward to joining him, if only for a fraction of the workout.

What struck me the most about Kevin was his running efficiency. He chatted comfortably as we rolled along Lexington's Legacy Trail - the rest of us tried to chat and sound as if we weren't under distress doing it, breathing harder all of the time. As one of the younger runners in our group was beginning to yo-yo off the back of our pack, Kevin softly shared some wisdom. He said the Kenyans have a saying. They say "Stay on the bus. Once you get off the bus, you won't get back on the bus." which means stay with the group, because once you're off the back you will stay there. A few minutes later, the high schooler fell off. Shortly thereafter, another runner. Six miles in, I was gone, watching the bus roll away.

I'll probably continue to invite myself along for some of Kevin's workouts especially as I get my training back on track. But, if that by chance was the last time I ever run with Kevin Castille, I'm honored to have gotten to meet him, to see him speak to our kids, and most of all, to have spent that short time with him on the bus.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back to back and back to back

Between April 28th and June 10th of 2012 I ran three marathons (two on trail) and one ten hour ultra marathon (and a 5k just for kicks).  Back to back were two marathons in two days, a first for me.  Then, a few weeks later, in back to back weeks I scored a couple of wins and course records.

It started with my first trip to the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon.  A late April tradition, "The Mini" as it's more commonly known around here because of the umpteen thousands of people that opt for the half marathon version, it offers a challenging course with the hills of Iroquois Park and a few gnarly climbs in the last 10k.  But, I had adhered to the taper plan and was ready to attempt to push my PR down to a goal time of 2:45.  It had been a spring of near misses - falling off the leaders to place 4th at the LLTH 50k, and missing my goal times by a collective 17 seconds across three races at the 5k, 10k 10mi. Triple Crown events.  This was a day to not let up and not to settle.  Early on I found Bourbon Chase teammate,  Jeremy Burtel, and would spend much of the race running along side him, trying to convince myself that the 6:10's and occasional 6 flat were not too fast - the miles ticked away easily.  Finally we split from the halfers and headed down toward Iroquois park.  Then, shortly after entering the park, we started reeling in a lone runner.  It was Troy Shellhamer, a friend and ultra running stud.  Now our threesome was knocking off climbs, rolling descents closing in on runners. Somewhere between miles 17 and 20, I was feeling too good.  I rolled away from my buddies with a couple mile surge that I would later realize took a bit too much too soon.  With 5k to go, I was toast.  Jeremy passed me back up, Troy passed me back up and I was just hanging on for dear life.  I remember looking up at Jeremy as he crested a climb thinking "man, he's usually so fluid - he looks terrible."  Then it hit me "wait a minute, he just blew by me.  What do I look like?"  But, I kept pushing, and made my goal time by one whole second.  2:44:59.  Finally. 

And, in making that goal, I earned a comped entry into the following day's Backside Trail Marathon (thanks to an arrangement with friend and race director Tim Barnes - if I didn't make my goal, I had to man an aid station all day).  There were many of us "doubling down" and completing our second marathon in as many days.  This was uncharted territory for me, and I was glad to share in the camaraderie with Troy for another day.  Surprising was the general consensus about how bad our legs did NOT feel.  Not that we were feeling zippy by any means, but the tight and twisty trails of Cherokee and Seneca Parks made the miles go by somewhat painlessly and we rolled to a  two-lap negative split sub-3:40 trail marathon.  Although, Troy hammered me in the last mile, it was a really enjoyable day out - not like racing at all.  Here's a link to Troy's blog:
http://troyshellhamer.blogspot.com/2012/05/backside-trail-marathon-race-report.htmlhttp://troyshellhamer.blogspot.com/2012/05/backside-trail-marathon-race-report.html

Troy Shellhamer and I after the Backside Trail Marathon.


Following a short month, which included a surprisingly successful 5k, I was headed to Bernheim for their trail marathon.  Placing 2nd there last year, and knowing the trails pretty well, had me gunning for a strong result.  However, shortly after the players were sorted out, I knew that I had at least one full marathoner in front of me.  It was one of those days where I felt like I was pushing really hard but getting nowhere quickly.  Every aid station had worse news as the time gaps crept up to 2 min, 3 min, 5 min!  So, I just kept hammering.  Not feeling good all day, I simply kept telling myself "don't be a _________!"  (insert chosen word).  Then around mile 20, I saw a figure way out ahead of me walking up one of the gravel road sections.  It was the leader.  He was done.  Apparently, I hadn't been going that slowly, he was just going that fast, and now he was done.  I checked to make sure he was OK as I went by, but he had food and water and just said "I'm done."  So, I told him good job and went on my way.   After a day of feeling pretty dead, I was rejuvenated.  Entering the final section of trail, I realized that my time wasn't even too bad.  I kept hammering.  I was re-entering the arboretum thinking "what was Althaus's record time?".  The I hit the final road section, I was close, checked the watch,  remembered 3:39 was the time to beat.  Hammer down.  Done.  Won.  3:36.  Not bad for day that didn't really feel like it was my day.

Then, the fourth and final installment, in a pretty good month of racing was the Race Under The Stars (RUTS) 10 hour endurance race.  The premise:  run as many laps as you can around a 1/2 mile crushed limestone horse track in 10 hours.  The end result?  Too much time in my own head to relay in one blog post, let alone one fourth of one.  So here goes - I started our very easy and disciplined, stopped every hour, ate food, then went a little faster, then found myself in the lead, then just wanted it to be over, ended up battling with Chris Estes for most of the second half, then wound up winning and beating the course record (as did Chris).  Pretty epic finish to the back to back a month after my first back to back.  Took a nice rest and soon came back again.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brooks ID Program

I am proud to say that I have been accepted in to the Brooks Running ID Program for 2012.  What is it you ask?  The following is an excerpt from the brooksrunning.com website (which is linked to the Brooks ID logo at the right)...

     "Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 800 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders." 



... I am a big Brooks guy, I coach, race a lot, and sometimes go pretty fast.  So, I went for it.  It's amazing.  There are sweet perks like discounts all year, a package of free gear that we get to choose for ourselves, as well as a package of goodies that we get to pick for our athletes.  I'm pictured wearing some of my swag that the kids on my team will enjoy (and, no they didn't print their stuff backwards - webcam image).  The program keeps a Leader Board, on which I am trying to claw my way into the top thirty.   Being a member of the program is part of the reason I started this blog (maybe the whole reason).  Look for me in every pic to be wearing my new Brooks singlet, shorts, and Launch, Pure Grit or T7 Racer shoes.  And, while the product reviews are to come, in a nutshell, Brooks running gear is the absolute best you can buy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Launch


This is the start of another foray into unfamiliar techno territory - blogging.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I've written a few posts on the web page I developed for the Thomas Nelson High School XC and track teams which I coach, and I titled my first post for that site "Launch".   However, I have tried not to include too much about my own running and racing experience, even my personal reflections on coaching.  This is the platform for that.  I came up with much cooler names for the blog title, but none were available.  "runninginmyownhead", "don'tbea#$%&*", and simply "go" were my top choices, but I had to settle for "matthoyesrunning".  It is who I am and what I do after all.  Please read, share and enjoy.  Go.