Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Miwok 100K Interviews

The 2010 Miwok 100K (That's 62 Miles!) took place on May 1st. I met a fellow runner, Kyle, a couple months ago at an art show here in San Francisco. Kyle told me he was training for his first Ultramarathon, the Miwok 100K. He told me that he was going to run it with his Brother-In-Law Lewis who is an Ultramarathon veteran. Lewis denies the title "veteran" though.  We got to talking and decided to stay in touch. Although we have yet to hook up for a run, we kept each other updated on how our training was going (I was training for the Big Sur Marathon). After the race, I asked Kyle if I could interview him and Lewis about Miwok. After some deliberation, Kyle and Lewis agreed that if they could handle 62 miles of running then they could handle a few short questions, no problem. I emailed Kyle the questions, he emailed them to Lewis and then Lewis emailed them back to me. Good luck at the Bolder Boulder 10k this weekend! Here's Kyle and Lewis' responses (in email form)...

Kyle "Duff" Duffy:
Hey Lew,
This is my buddy here that was going to pace you at Miwok, he writes a blog and asked if we'd do an interview for him about Miwok--the view of the veteran (you) vs. the newbie (that would be me). If you don't have time, no worries but I'm going to send him these answers for myself:

1) How long have you been a "runner"?  On and off, it's been a while. I ran in high school, decided not to run in college which I now realize was a good choice because I was able to keep running as a fun hobby and not take it too seriously.
2) How many races, marathons, ultra's have you completed? 
Done 5 of the big road marathons--Boston, NYC, Sacramento, etc... Just got into trail running over the past year and completed my first trail marathon as a training run for Miwok, the Golden Gate Headlands Marathon.
3) How was training for Miwok? What were your long runs/high mileage days/weeks like? 
It was a lot but after getting in shape, I really enjoyed it. Even though I've never been a morning person I committed to running most mornings as that's the one time of the day that I would no other conflicts (other than my pillow). I built up to about 70 mile weeks with the majority of the mileage run on weekends. My pace was definitely slow and I tried to focus on time on my feet so I would say I was going out for a 5 hour run on a weekend and not worry about mileage as much as time out on the trails.
4) What were you thinking at the starting line?
"Damn it's cold out here, when's the sun coming up?" I was actually just trying to stay relaxed and think that I'm just going out for a long training run, not think about it as a real race as I wanted to start slow.
5) What were you thinking at the 50K point? 
At 50K I was feeling like a champ, enjoying the course and the camaraderie. The course is out and back so it was fun and energizing to see the leaders heading back towards the finish at the 50K although I knew the real pain was about to set it so I was anticipating it.
6) What were you thinking at the finish line?
"It's about friggin' time!" I was wiped but ecstatic to be there and somewhat emotional when I saw my pregnant wife standing at the finish since she was so supportive the whole way through.
7) Tell us about some of the high, lows, and in-betweens you experienced? 
High's were seeing my crew (my wife) at the aid stations at Pan Toll at miles 21 and 49. Again the camaraderie of the race was great, even the leaders were lending words of support as they passed, especially seeing Lewis pass us on his way back in--which later was a low thinking that he was going to finish 3 hours ahead of me.
The real low was the hill at mile 53-55 to get back to Tennessee Valley. It just kept going and going and at that point I had awful heartburn, definitely one ailment I totally wasn't expecting from the race. Tums go in the crew kit next time.
8) What's next on your race calendar? 
Taking it down a notch and running the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day where I yet again will be smoked by Lewis.

See you next week!

Lewis "Lew" Taylor:
Hey Adam,

Thanks for doing this. It's fun to relive some Miwok memories. First of all, Duff is way too modest. And can you believe the balls on this guy? He decides to run his first ultramarathon and just skips the 50k and 50-mile distances and jumps up to 62 miles! Duff asked me if I wanted to run Miwok with him and his friend Dave and I knew I had to sign up. Luckily, we all got into the race via the lottery and the three of us set off on our own training plans.

Before I go any further, I just have to say that I don't consider myself a veteran ultrarunner. I've run about 20 ultras and three marathons and I'm definitely still figuring a lot of stuff out. Fueling is still a big issue for me. I pretty much puke every race I run over 50k and always for a different reason. I make a lot of dumb mistakes and it seems like as soon I learn one lesson, I screw something else up. I say this not out of self pity but by way of emphasizing how many issues you can confront in any race over 30 or so miles. I just know that one of these days I'll be turning my head during a race to see Duff screaming past me. He's a fast learner, a great athlete and more of a natural runner than I'll ever be.

1) How long have you been a "runner"?
I didn't consider myself a runner until 2005. That was the year I ran my first 50k, my first 50 miler and felt like I was somewhat in control of what I was doing. Prior to that, I ran two marathons poorly.
2) How many races, marathons, ultra's have you completed?
I've only run three marathons, 20-something ultras and a few shorter races. The only great race I've ever had was the 2007 Way Too Cool 50k. I won that race and have been trying ever since to duplicate it. Aside from a shorter trail run, that's the only thing I've ever won outright. Last year's Western States 100 was a breakthrough race for me, as I was able to finish strong -- thanks in part to Duff's excellent pacing. I ran just under 20 hours in a relatively hot year, which was good for 18th place.
3)How was training for Miwok? What were your long runs/high mileage days/weeks like?
I didn't exactly pile on the miles for Miwok. Most of my training was specific for the American River 50 miler. I ran a couple of 35 milers, mostly on pavement, ran American River and then focussed on recovering. I didn't run anything over 2 hours between AR and Miwok.
4)What were you thinking at the starting line?
I'll be gunning for sub 9:30.
5)What were you thinking at the 50K point?
It's getting warm out here. I'm glad that single track with two-way traffic is over.
6)What were you thinking at the finish line?
I can't believe that dude behind me didn't catch me! That, and I'm really glad to not be running right now.
7)Tell us about some of the high, lows, and in-betweens you experienced?
My biggest problem was with electrolyte imbalance. I overestimated the need for salt going out and popped way too many S-caps. A few miles shy of the turnaround I started puking. I'm proud to say I kept running while puking, though and although I needed to build my strength back up over the next 10 miles or so, I was glad to have the rough part out of the way during the first half of the race. I'm also glad Dave and Duff didn't see me hurling. It was equally great to see those two shortly after the turnaround. They were smiling and seemed to be having fun. It was fun to feed off their first-timer energy. The big high came after the final aid station (Tennessee Valley 58ish miles). I passed Chris Downie from B.C. on the uphill out of the aid station and never looked back. I know from watching Tour de France that you never look back or you're as good as dead. Chris had been killing me on the downhills all day, but I knew he wasn't running the ups. I ran every uphill I could between TV and the finish which turned out to be most everything except the steep section of the final F--- Y-- hill about 2 miles from the finish. I thought for sure he'd be right on my tail in the downhill section to the finish and I imagined him there the whole way down to the line. My legs were cramping up like crazy and I was having all sorts of paranoid delusions that I could hear him behind me. I got to the finish and he was several minutes behind me. It was a classic example of how you can do some things in races that you could never do yourself.
8) What's next on your race calendar?
Bolder Boulder 10k. I haven't really been training for that kind of distance or altitude, though. Duff could be coming for me sooner than I think.


Here's the Miwok 100K Elevation Chart: 

Also, be sure to check out ANTON KRUPICKA'S BLOG (the winner of the 2010 Miwok 100K and 2nd fastest time in race history) RACE RECAP.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Running Recovery; Rebooting My Body and Mind... even if you don't want to!

Recently, I've been on a little, somewhat forced, running hiatus. The past few weeks have been filled with some interesting muscular issues, traveling, and friends in town. This "time-off" reminded me that sometimes you actually become a better runner when you're not running. It's valuable to step back from anything you do and analyze it.

Since running the Big Sur Marathon, I have been experiencing quite a few unusual (for me) muscular issues; leg cramps (hamstring and calf), plantar fasciitis and a really bad lower back situation that lasted for 2 days. Everything is clearing up but it was definitely a good reality check about the importance of taking a step back and recovering properly.

After the Marathon, I skipped too many short runs and cross training. I was drinking more alcohol and still heading out for 10+ hilly miles and not recovering properly. I crashed and burned. I was forced to stop running and doing any kind of training for the past 4 days. This was difficult because like most 30 yr old males I enjoy feeling invincible! I took these 4 days in stride (like a long run) and tried to put the time to good use. Now I am ready to come back stronger. I have been reading ChiRunning (to find out what the hype was all about) and some other running books. I am focusing on what running means to me and how I will move forward from this low point. In addition to my muscles feeling ready to move, my running "head space" is refreshed and I know this will power me through some high mileage. I'm back.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dean Karnazes' Ultra Marathon Man Review

"...running, to me, remained the purest form of athletic expression. It was the simplest, least encumbered sport there was, and the definitive measurement of endurance."

"The highest form of competition is self-competition, and I was proving to be the cruelest of opponents, ruthlessly demanding more of myself..."

I finally got around to reading Dean "Karno" Karnazes' book, Ultra Marathon Man. I'm not sure why it took me so long to read it... maybe it had something to do with the running community being on Dean Karnazes overload over the past 5 years! Or maybe I was just too busy running. I've known about "Karno" since about 2003. I first encountered him at my gym and shortly there after I saw an article about him in the paper and realized, "Hey, it's that really ripped dude from the gym... the guy whose legs look like tree trunks."

I went for a run with my friend recently and he recommended that I read Ultra Marathon Man. I picked it up from GREEN APPLE BOOKS in San Francisco last Saturday and finished reading it by Tuesday!

Although, it was a quick read, I found the writing a little repetitive. I believe it was written like that though to emphasize to non-runners the extremes experienced during running long distances.

The meat of the book is the detailed account of the WESTERN STATES 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN which goes from Squaw Valley USA in Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California. This portion of the book from page 89-158 kept me glued. The next part of the book was about BADWATER which let me down because it was not as deep of an account as the Western States. The South Pole Marathon section, although it was a huge feat, was also a let down and dragged out a little too long.

Dean finished the book strong with the account of running 199 miles from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. I would highly recommend this book any runner. This would be a good book to pick up for your summer travels and a great book to read the night before a race.

Help Undefeated Running grow by purchasing Ultra Marathon Man through the link below! Thank You!