Saturday, May 30, 2009

...and you thought Ultrarunners were crazy......

Last week at the "Shirt Run", I had an opportunity to talk to Joe Sauerbrey briefly. While I was doing the point to point 15 mile run, Joe was doing a point-to-point-point-to-point-point-to-point run for a total of about 90 miles. I'm not sure if he was perhaps planning on doing another 10 to round it up to a 100 or not.

But anyway, Joe last year did a Triple Iron Triathlon, that's a 7.4 mile swin, followed by a 336 mile bike ride and then a mere 78.6 mile run to finish off. It took him a little over 56 hours to finish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saludos desde Mexico

Hola amigos.

I am working in Mexico for a couple of days this week, a city called Querétaro. Wonderful weather, wonderful food and wonderful people.

At 6,200 feet, it is a good opportunity to see how I react at altitude. I have been this high before, but I have never exercised. I'm not too sure about running around the streets, but the hotel is equipped with a decent treadmill, so last night, I ran a 5k to see how I fared.

I definitely noticed the thinner air, I did get out of breath sooner - when I increased the pace, and added some elevation. Bottom line though, when it comes to the 8800' of Laramie, I think I should cope just fine as long as I slow down, and when going up hill I will have to really take it easy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mangum Track Club - Shirt Run

During my 4th lap at Umstead, I chatted briefly with Jimmy who told me about the Mangum Track Club. They host a number of races, including a marathon, 50 miler, 100 miler, 100k, 50k, 24 hour run.

To become a member of the Mangum Track Club, all you have to do is their "Shirt Run".

Here is what it says on their website:

Back during the late 80's five guys would meet in the hills of Ellerbe, NC for training runs for marathons. One Christmas during that time, one of the guys purchased 5 shirts. One for each training partner. The shirt was a navy blue shirt with "Mangum Track Club" on the front of it. As the story goes, one of the wives of one of the guys wanted one of the shirts. Well being guys, they toldher, you will have to earn it. The "Shirt Run" was born. The shirt run is a 15-mile point-to-point run/walk from Mangum, N.C. to Ellerbe, N.C. Once you finish the shirt run you will receive your Mangum Track Club shirt and you are a member for life. The Mangum Track Club is a fun run crowd consisting of walkers to ultra runners. We do not have dues or meetings and you may be asked to purchase your Mangum Track Club shirt depending on the number of runners that show up for the shirt run. Normally members pitch in to buy the shirts.

So yesterday, myself along with what looked to be about 50 others did the shirt run - it looked like there were about 20 or so "Newbies"

The meeting place was described as "in the middle of nowhere". I was there about 45 minutes before the start - I am glad there were others there, because I would have driven right past.

Once people had arrived, we were ferried to the start, 15 miles away in Mangum NC.

This is the start at Mangum - it basically consists of a crossroads and a few houses.

Me and the other "Newbies" at the start

And, we're off - running through downtown Mangum

It was getting pretty hot, pretty quickly

The sign

I was running on my own for much of the time. It didn't take long at all for big gaps to appear between runners.

Laura took this picture, she was the about the only person who passed me after the first half mile.
Another of Laura's pictures - the scenery was quite spectacular.

Bottles of water nestled in one of the "aid-stations"

Much of the course was gentle rolling hills

The base of Bethel Hill about 10.5 miles into the run - it is about 1.5 miles long, and according to my Garmin, climbed about 300-400'

Half-way up

The largest building on the whole course at the top of the hill is Bethel Baptist Chruch. The Boogie Marathon starts and finishes here, and I believe you pass through maybe 2 other times during the course of the race.

The view from the top of Bethel Hill looking back - you can't really tell from the photo, but it was quite spectacular.

The Stop sign is the finish

...and here I am with my new MTC shirt, and car sticker.

Final time was 2:37 - I was pleased with that

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mild panic yesterday.......

..... well, not so much mild panic, but absolute terror would be close to the truth. Read on.

This little lady above is Sarah. Yesterday, Sarah, Wilbur and I go for a run at Jordan Lake. There is this one spot that is about a 1.5 mile loop that I drop the leash and let Sarah run loose. I don't do that with Wilbur because he can get a bit funny if we meet up with other dogs, so it is better if I just keep hold of him. Until yesterday, Sarah had never left my side, apart from the odd bathroom break.

Yesterday, I have no idea what she saw, mabe a squirrel or rabbit, but whatever it was, her ears suddenly perked up, and she was off into the woods. Sarah is fast, really fast, and within seconds I couldn't see or even hear her. Wilbur and I follwed her into the woods whistling and calling - allowing Wilbur's nose to guide us. The thing is, I have no idea if Wilbur has any tracking sense - he was pulling me, but who knows if it was Sarah he was following or a deer that went through a day earlier. I go back to where Sarah first went walkabout. Now what?

Call Jess, that's what. I am starting to really become panic stricken, and I was choking up when I called home to explain what was going on. More calling, more whistling, more panicing. Sarah had been gone about 10 minutes by now. I decided then the best thing to do was run back to the car a little over a mile away, in the hope that she could find her way back to the parking lot, and perhaps I could engage the assistance of the park rangers.

Here's what made it worse, a few minutes before she ran off, the tag with our phone number came away from her collar, so there wasn't even a way to for us to be contacted if someone found her.

I am now distraught, she had been gone for 20 minutes, maybe more. I call home again, devestated. At one point I think I saw her in the woods - I walked into the woods where I think I saw her, called, then whistled to no avail. More time wasted. I give up - time to get help, I can't believe what a screw-up I am. I start running again.

And there she is, sitting in the middle of the trail, her tail wagging, with the biggest grin on her face, "this is the best game ever, can we play it again?"

We were about 1/4 mile from the car, and she had been gone for about 30 minutes or so. Words can't explain how relieved I was. There will be no more "freedom runs" for the pups unfortunately.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Applying for a "Lycra License"

It is always an exciting time when you get new stuff. Yesterday, I got to try out some new shorts. I have had problems in the past with chafing, and also shorts bunching - even the 9" inseam Nike Dri-fit shorts bunched - even more so when I wear compression underwear to eliminate the chafing, which becomes a viscious circle.

So I ordered some RaceReady LD Fitness Shorts. They claim, "These running shorts are an ultrarunner favorite, and work great for any runner who is prone to chaffing. You've read about the advantages of wearing stretchable fabrics..... DRYLINE supports your hamstrings and quads, reducing muscle fatigue." If the bit about chafing, and reduction of muscle fatigue is true, then they will be worth every penny.

I went for a run yesterday, and they are very comfortable, no chafing, no bunching - but it felt like I was running in just underwear, weird, I guess that is something I will have to get used to, because so far, these are the best running shorts I have owned. Oh, and Jess says that the pockets at the back look like a hula skirt, I say they're practical (and they are). I went one size up, because I didn't want too much compression, that also seemed to work well.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jimbo sets PR on treadmill

I didn't plan this, but this evening ended up doing a half-marathon on a treadmill.

I'm on the road this week, and as I normally do when I travel, I try to make sure I do at least a 30 minute workout.

As hotel exercise rooms go, this was a good one, the treadmills were decent, (they even had those little fans that keep you cool). I hit quick start, and was thinking 3 or 4 miles would do at a very steady 11-12 minute pace, with the occasional walk. As the miles ticked away, it just felt right, so I kept going. The "quick start" function finishes at 99 minutes - by that time, I had done 8.6 miles. That was when I decided to do 4.5 more and get to 13.1 - so I started the dreadmill again and did the next 4.5 in 41:50 - a not too shabby 9:17 pace. If my sums are right, that means I did a half in 2:20:50.

I can't see too many more treadmill half marathons in my future, so this record may stand for a while.

I wish I had lubed up the nips tho'.........

How can you not move to this one? I think it first came out in 1980. I actually found myself doing the skippy dance thing that Madness do - works well on a treadmill.

Monday, May 4, 2009

French Fries - they're veggies right?

Dieting with Jimbo

Since I have been running, I have done pretty well at keeping pounds off - in fact I have lost about 30lbs since I started this madness. Mainly through exercise, but I have come up with a couple of dieting concepts.

First we have "Jimbo's Breakfast Bowl Diet". It's very easy - eat what you want, but it has to fit into a breakfast bowl. It sounds quite a clever way of contolling portion size, but there is one slight problem: You would be suprised at how many pieces of fried chicken fit into a breakfast bowl, or bratwursts, or slices of pizza etc. etc.

So the next idea, was "Jimbo's Canclellation Diet". This came about as a joke rebuttal to when someone once questioned my sanity for eating a bacon-cheeseburger washed down with a diet coke.

"Oh, this is the cancellation diet. The diet coke cancels out the burger"

"Really, I didn't know that?"

"Yep really, honest"

So this became the norm - have a salad with your steak - yep, zero sum gain, therefore cancelled.

A burrito - a cancellation diet all wrapped up. The meat is cancelled out by black beans, the cheese cancelled out by salsa.

Pizza - sauce cancels the dough, jalepeno peppers cancel out the cheese, mushrooms cancel out the pepperoni.

Perturbed by breakfast? No problem. An orange juice and a yoghurt will cancel out the bacon and eggs.

I have even had someone question this theory seriously. "You look like you've lost weight Jimbo". "Yep, it's the cancellation diet - as long as you cancel out the bad food with some good food, the pounds will fall off". "Oh, does that work? I will have to try that, thanks."

Prior to Umstead, I had decided to let my appetite be my guide - if I was hungry, I would eat. I certainly didn't want to suffer on any training runs for lack of fuel. I mainly stayed away from the "really" bad stuff, but in the month or so preceding Umstead, I probably put on 6 or 7 pounds (it was all muscle, honest). Between now and Laramie, I will try to get rid of that, plus another couple. If the calculators I have used are correct, this will mean I will burn 500 less calories not having to carry that extra [errr, muscle] mass for 24 hours. That's 5 gels at $1.50 each. We're taking real cash savings here ;)

Which brings me up to my next great diet plan - it is "Jimbo's-combination-cancellation-breakfast-bowl-diet". Fairly simple, you can eat what you want, as long as it fits in a breakfast bowl with an equal amount of food to cancel it out. I mean you can't fit that many drumsticks into a breakfast bowl if you have it half filled with steamed brocoli now can you?

Back to the original question - I travelled through Greenville SC on Monday. Greenville is home to in my opinion the best BBQ restaurant there is, Henry's Smokehouse. Their ribs are out of this world

It is fairly small, and you would probably drive right past it, but if you do find it, the food is delicious, it is friendly, you can smell the hickory smoke in the parking lot, I love everything about the place. They proudly display a Playboy feauture recommending it as one of the best places to get BBQ (see some people DO buy the magazine for the articles)!

For a little over $8, you get ribs, pulled pork, french fries and beans. Heavenly, but try as I might, I can not get the meal to cancel out - unless I call the french fries "vegetables". Yeah, that'll work.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Real men wear mositurizer

I have been having a problem lately with sweat running onto my eyelids and really stinging (probably something to do with the rapid onset of summer. It maybe something to do with sunscreen or something, I don't know. I have tried a couple of things to eradicate the problem, I used the "brave soldier" runners lube, and vaseline - the brave soldier stung even worse than the sweat, and vaseline worked but just felt weird. However, the cheap moisturizer I steal from hotels works really well (the bottles are very handy to carry some vaseline, lube or advil etc., without taking up a lot of room).

Plus there is the added benefit of oh-so-soft eyelids

Yes siree Jimbo, welcome to the 21st century moisturizer, is no longer just for chicks ;) (was it ever?)