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  It has been replaced by the sweet Brooks Pure line (see Pure Grit below).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


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!