Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rudolph Pot Pie

I guess before you can understand why I have created this recipe, I first must give you the back story. (Did I really just say back story? I sound like a Disney villain. I guess I will have to keep a look out for a platypus now.) Several years ago, I had a small altercation with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (although his nose wasn’t red). While we were living in Alaska, my wife had organized for a Santa to come to her company Christmas party. She also arranged for a sleigh and 3 reindeer. As the guy was hitching up the sleigh, he need some people to help hold the reindeer. I got to hold Rudolph. While I was holding him, I was reminded how much I loved reindeer sausage. Well I had no idea, but apparently, Rudolph can read minds and took offense at my love for the of sausage made from his kin. He proceeded to tried to, and partly succeeded in, goring me with his antlers. I figured he would talk to Santa about the misunderstanding and I could possible end up on the naughty list. So I wrote the big guy letters, explaining my side of the story. I thought everything was ok until a couple of years ago, while putting up my Christmas light, I found a .357 bullet embedding in my roof. From the trajectory, it was clear that it came from above. I guess it was wasn’t so cleared up. I knew Santa had a Good list and a Naughty list but who knew he had a Hit list. It was clear that Rudolph was not over the incident and Santa was totally taking his side on the issue.

Since it is clear that Rudolph is not going to forgive me and Santa has put me on the Hit list, I have decided create some special recipes in honor of the one that put me on that list. This is the first one. Of course you might not want to be on the “Hit” list or not be able to find reindeer sausage. In that case, call this just Sausage Pot Pie and use a good smoky sausage like kielbasa. It will be just as yummy and should keep Rudolph from getting his nose out of joint.

This is a yummy version of a pot pie made with reindeer sausage, but instead of using a cream of soup (like cream of mushroom) as a base, it uses a cheese soup. This turned out to be a great change. It also has dried cranberries (for his nose) and slivered almonds (for his antlers). It might sound like a strange combination but it really works.  Try it and enjoy.


Rudolph Pot Pie (or Sausage Pot Pie)


1/2 lb reindeer (or other type) sausage, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium Yukon gold potato, diced
1 tsp seasoning salt (or to taste)
12 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 can water
1/8 cup dried cranberries
Handful of slivered almonds
1 9 inch pie crust.


Preheat over to 350 degrees.

If the sausage is not fully cooked, then cook it in the skillet first, Remove and proceed cooking the rest.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the onion and potato until the potatoes are almost cooked. (If they a get all cooked, that is ok as Yukon gold potatoes hold their shape well when cooked.) Then add seasoning salt,  peas and carrots, cooked sausage, cranberries and cheese soup with water. Cook until everything is nice and hot.

Prepare a 9 inch pie pan by spraying it with non-stick spray. Pour in ingredients from skillet (it should just fit). Cover with pie crust, pinching around the edge. Now poke in some of the of slivered almonds into the crust. I like to make them stick up to make it look pointy. Also make sure to poke a couple of holes in the top crust so it can vent.

Cook for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. You might want to put a cookie sheet under the pie as it cooks to catch anything that might spill out. This will help keep your oven a lot cleaner.

Turkey Day 5K

Thru my wife’s company we were able to get a discount on the Turkey Day 5K. This is just like its name implies: it is a 5K on Thanksgiving day (in the morning). The plan was to run this race with my wife (whom is not as fast as I am). We got up early and headed downtown. There was a good turnout with lots of people dressed in Thanksgiving attire. My favorite was still the back of the shirt they give out to all the runners:


The race was a loop around downtown. As we waited for the race to start, they tried to get everyone pumped up and warm but they only had speakers right at the start so we couldn’t hear anything where we were at.


Once the race got start we where finally moving. The race went pretty well and I had a great time not “racing for PR” but rather just enjoying the course with my wife. She did really well and she really pushed herself.


After the race we went home, showered and headed over to a friends for a great Thanksgiving dinner. Overall it was a great day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Exceeding Your Dreams

Even though the year is not over with, I have already meet or exceeded my running goals. This is big for me. To understand better, you need to understand last year and where I was when I set my goals for this year.

In March of 2011 I was in the middle of training for a 1/2 marathon and a full marathon when I was struck down with blood clots in both my lungs. Thanks to the fact that I am a runner, my recovery was very fast but that did leave me on blood thinners for 6 months. As I started coming off the drugs, I came to a bit of an epiphany about my running. You see I started running in 2008 as a life sport: That is something I would do for the rest of my life to help me stay in shape and be healthy (I was definitely not healthy when I started running). However, any time I would get an injury, I would use it as an excuse to not do any exercise. And truth be told I have been plagued with injuries every year I have been running (mostly foot problems). I knew that if I kept it up the way I was going, I would end up stopping running and become unhealthy again. That was unacceptable. So I had to figure out how I could keep running but stay healthy and injury free. Of course I had no idea how to do that. Then I read an article about an older gentleman that runs about a marathon a week. My first thought was how in the world can he do that? I can barely walk after running one. I kept reading and the article later said that his faster marathon ever was 4:30 but he mostly run 5+ hour marathons. That's when it hit me: he doesn't race, he runs them like an LSD run.

At the same time, I was reading a book called "Chi Running" and it really talked about your running form. That's when it hit me: the two biggest reasons for running injuries are 1) running form and 2) pushing faster than we are ready for. This gave me an approach to the next year (2012). I made my primary goal of "Run more, run healthy." In order to meet this goal I was going to really focus on my running form and I was going to treat all races like LSD runs (and to little to no speed work). 2012 was going to be a year of building miles and proving that I could run without injuries. As more tangible goal, I was going to try to run a 1/2 marathon each month of 2012 and finish by doing the Goofy challenge in January of 2013. The Goofy Challenge is a 1/2 marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. That would prove (to me) my fitness and how stayed healthy through the year (because if I had an injury, I would not run and thus would not be in shape enough to run a 1/2 followed by a full). At least that was my plan.

As December of 2011 began to come to a close, I began reading from my friends about trail running and a trail race come up in January: the Wilson Creek Frozen 50K. After a little looking I found out that there was a 10 mile race (as well as a 20 mile and the full 50K). Since I was unable to find a 1/2 marathon in January, the 10 mile race looked kind of good. My big concern was that I had never run a trail before. I knew there would be a lot more hills in trail running and I sucked at running up hills. That was when I found out that it is normal for trail runners to walk up hills. I liked the sound of that so four weeks before the race, I ran my first trail run 6 miles. After that run I signed up for the 10 miler at Wilson Creek. I continued to run trails on the weekend, even running 10 miles the weekend before. Now the name of the race is the "frozen" 50K so I was prepared for the cold. What I was not ready for was the mud. It turned out to be a warm, wet January and the trails were very muddy. Worse was that the mud was like clay and stuck to your shoes. Not only did you not have any traction, but it added an extra 5 pounds per shoe. On the 10 mile course, all the mud was on the first 4 miles of the course. But by the time you reached the first aid station (which was at the highest point on the course) you were totally beat from trying to run in all that mud. I finished the 10 miles in just over 3 hours, and that was even after stubbing my big toe so hard I broke it. Truth be told this would have been my last trail race ever had it not been for my experienced trail running friends say that this was one of the hardest races they had run because of the mud. I went from feeling beaten to feeling unbeatable. The mud had not beaten me, I had beaten it.

Wilson Creek Frozen 10 Miler: 3:05:00


Crossing the finish line of the Wilson Creek 10 Mile

I could find not races in February and all I could find in March was the Les Bois 10K trail race. I had signed up for two 1/2 marathons in April and a full marathon in May. This put me on a marathon training plan. The Les Bois was the first time my new philosophy of not running fast was put to the test. When the race started, everyone took off at a pace faster than I wanted to run. It was a test of will for me to accept running in last place (I wanted to keep up with everyone). I managed it mostly by convincing myself that many of these people were going out to fast and I would pass them. I called this the Pepé Le Pew school of running. Sure enough, I soon started passing people. This was an out and back course where you climb for 3 miles and then come back. The worse part was that the camera guy was right at the steepest part of the course so he caught most people walking. I tried to walk so the picture would look like I was running. At least he was still there on the way back so he got good pics of downhill running.

Les Bois 10K: 1:11:00


Ready to Run the Les Bois 10K

On March 29th, my running schedule had me running 20 miles. It turned out that the Pickled Feet 24/12 hour run was that same day. This is a run where you do a 2.5 mile loop as many times as you can in the time amount you signed up for. So I decided to go ahead and do the 12 hour run and see how far I could get. I was beat when I finished but I did my first 50K (actually was 32.5 miles) in 9 1/2 hours. I will admit that I walked a large chunk of that. I was so tired but so very proud. I was now an Ultra Runner. I was also very inspired by the people that managed to run 100 miles in the 24 hours. It was amazing to talk and run with them. This is also where I learned (from one of those 100 milers) that candy bars make the best and cheapest running food. It turns out that regular snickers bar has the right number of calories you need per out, plus is has carbs, sugars and protein: all the stuff you need for running. Of course snickers also has chocolate and that would be messy on a hot run. That is why I use payday bars. The best part is that you can often find candy bars for $.50 each, a heck of a lot cheaper than the health/protein bars. I find it funny that something is considered not good for you is perfect running food. I especially like candy bars for running food as I do not like the taste of gu’s or jellies or most "running food". I would encourage you to check the stats of your current running fuel and a candy bar, you will be surprised at how close they are.

Pickled Feet 12 hour run: 32.5 miles in 9 1/2 hours.


Somewhere towards the end of the 50K

After the 12 hour run, I began to feel a slight pain in my right heal when I tried to run. Since my next race was in a week, I dropped from the race (health over a race). I also dropped from the other 1/2 marathon I was signed up for in April. I probably would have been fine by then but I was not taking any chances. Plus I really wanted to do my second marathon ever.

Kuna High Speed Pursuit 1/2 Marathon: DNS

Race To Robie Creek 1/2 Marathon: DNS

Since I was side lined (I was still running but a lot less), I started looking around at other races. I found the Silver City 50K in June and signed up for it. I also was looking at the Marathon Maniacs web site (a goal I wanted for 2013) and realized that between the 12 hour run, the marathon in May and the Silver City 50K, I would qualify this year for Marathon Maniacs. Of course I am impatient and wanted it be in it sooner. That is when found out that the Idaho Potato Marathon was two weeks after the Lake Lowell marathon. I had originally thought it was 1 week after. As such, I signed up for both marathons. This would definitely meet my “Run More, Run Healthy” motto if I could pull it off.

First up was the Lake Lowell Marathon on May 5. I was very nervous about this race. I shouldn’t have been since I just finished a 50K, which is farther, but there is just something about a marathon. It is a big mental wall that I needed to knock down. In my first marathon, I hit the wall hard and was down on myself for it. I wanted to run this race without feeling defeated. I started off at my own pace and felt pretty good. I managed to run over 18 miles before I had to start walking a bit. I was really happy about that since I hit the wall at 17 before. Although I did walk quite a bit from mile 20 on, I felt good with how I did. I didn’t set a PR but was within 5 minutes of it and considering how much slower I was running, I was very happy with my time.

Lake Lowell Marathon: 5:40:18


Crossing the finish line at Lake Lowell

After this run, something changed in my mental attitude about marathons. Although it is still a long distance to run, it had gone from a really long/hard race to a distance I can run. This was really apparent in my attitude about daily runs. I wanted to run longer runs. This felt really good. My next race what the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon. This was where I ran my first marathon in 2010. I knew that with having just run a marathon, I was not going to set any land speed records but that was not my goal. My goal was to just finish so I would qualify for Marathon Maniacs. Fortunately this course is very flat. On the bus ride out to the start, I struck up a conversion with another runner. Turns out, she had also run Lake Lowell two weeks before and was running this race to qualify for Marathon Maniacs. This of course made us instant friends. The marathon itself went ok. I kind of gave up running after mile 16. My heart was just not into running but my heart was still into finishing and I was happy with walking. I got to see my new friend Marathon two times on this course (the two out and back sections). I finished the race in just over 6 hours. I was very happy that I finished, but was very disappointed with the race. The web site had promised food at the end but most of the booths had already closed up. I had to ask where to get my finisher shirt and had trouble finding water to drink. It was a shame that they didn’t feel those that finished at the end of the race deserve the same amenities as those that finished before.

Famous Idaho Potato Marathon: 6:03:22


Goofing off around mile 16 of the Idaho Potato Marathon

Now I was a member of Marathon Maniacs. I am now member 5445. I might only be a bronze level member, but I am still a member. That was not on my radar at all for this year.

My next scheduled race was the Silver City 50K. I was nervous and excited about this race. This would be my first real trail 50K. However, during a training run a few weeks before, I began feeling a lot of pain in my knee when running down hill. This made me nervous about running Silver City because I knew it was going to be a very technical course. As such, and in keep with my Run More, Run Healthy, I pull myself from the race. Since I was free that weekend anyway, I decided to help out at one of the aid stations. This would be my first time volunteering at an aid station. This turned out to be a great time. I was manning an aid station that was visited by the 100K runners only. It was so much fun. I was cooking up pancakes, Quesadas, and hot broth. I was also helping by filling up water packs and just cheering on these great runners. I was bummed I dropped from the race but happy I volunteered.

Silver City 50K: DNS


Volunteering at its finest

Since I had nothing lined up for July and August, I decided to sign up for the Idaho Wine Run Marathon at the end of September. I also decided I was going to try to PR the race. I know I had said no speed work, but I was feeling really good and was only looking at 5:30. I started a good plan with a little bit of speed work but not a lot. When September 30th rolled around, I thought I was ready to PR. Sadly, I did not PR that race. In fact, I had my worse marathon time ever. What I did learn was a very valuable and hard learned lesson on hydration. The temperature was not supposed to be that warm and with all the aid stations, I thought I would be fine with carrying any extra water. This was wrong, very wrong. My first mistake was that I was not taking in enough hydration before the race. Then I had forgotten that the little cups of water at aid stations are only 1/4 to 1/2 full. Not enough water. Although the temperature was not that warm, there was no breeze and not shade. The sun just beat down on me and by mile 8, was starting to feel the affects of dehydration. I was walking at this point. When I reached the turnaround, I sat down and just drank, and drank water. This helped some. At the next aid station (mile 15), I drank quite a bit more. However, as I left the aid station, started feeling very dizzy and generally not good. Had someone stopped and asked me if I wanted to quit, I would have said yes. I was seriously thinking about this being my first DNF. Somehow I managed to keep walking and after another mile, all the water I drank started to soak in and I felt better. I even started doing some running (short spurts). By mile 20, I caught up to my friend Ryan and Michelle. (Michelle had started an hour earlier and Ryan, after running the marathon, ran back to run with his wife.) I walked with them for a bit until Michelle said she had had enough and wanted to quit. As such (and after confirming with his wife that is what she really wanted to do), Ryan took off me with. It was nice finishing with him. I was feeling so good that I even ran most of the last couple of miles. As it turns out, Michelle’s friend (and one of the race directors), convinced her to finished, so I waited for Michelle to finish. I was so proud of her. I was also proud of myself as I pushed myself to run at the end where usually once I start walking, I don’t push to run again. I wanted to change that about me and I did.

Idaho Wine Run Marathon: 6:46:48


Only a couple of miles to go of the Idaho Wine Run

Hydration was an important lesson for me to learn and three weeks later for my next race, I didn’t mess it up. My next race was the Foothills 50K Frenzy. Since I didn’t run the Silver City 50K, this was going to be my first trail 50K. In the weeks before the race, I had managed to run most of the course so I knew mostly what to expect. This race went really well. I even powered up a really tough hill that almost killed me the first time I tried it. The only real issue I had with this race was my knees again. There was one section that was very steep, technical downhill and it killed both my knees. As such, I ended up walking most of the last 6 miles as I was afraid my knees would give out completely and wouldn’t finish. It is weird about about my knees  in that I can run flats and do hills just find but down hills hurt. But even with the knees, I finished.

Foothills 50K Frenzy: 10:04:37


Coming to the finish line of the Frenzy

My knees was a concern for me so I made an appointment with a trainer. She knew exactly what was wrong. It is my patella band. She give me some exercises to do and how to change my running form.

Since my original goal was to do a 1/2 marathon a month and I had yet to run one this year, I signed up for the Zeitgeist 1/2 marathon. The last time I ran this race. It was the first hilly race I had run and it broke me. I was almost in tears after the final big hill. My goal this year was to not be broken. I was going to top that final hill and still be happy, upbeat and running. Well I did that. I managed to run all the way up the first two hill and only had to walk a little bit of the big hill.  I was very happy with my performance. I even used my new running form on the down hill sections and it really helped.

Zeitgeist 1/2 Marathon: 2:29:18


Waiting for the start of the Zeitgeist

With finishing the Zeitgeist 1/2 marathon, I had managed to run a 10K, a 10 miler, a 1/2 marathon, 3 marathons and 2 50Ks. Not a bad year at all. But the goals didn’t stop there. At some point I had told myself I wanted to run 1000 miles this year. This would be a big jump in miles as in 2010 I had run 657 and in 2011 I had only run 276 miles. A jump to 1000 miles would be huge. Well upon finishing the Zeitgeist, my total miles for the year was 1001 miles. I still have two months left. The best part is that I did it while staying healthy. My feet do not hurt, even after a long race.

I really think I am onto something with this Run More, Run Healthy. By focusing on my running form and not pushing myself, I have managed to stay healthy while putting in more miles. So what is up for next year? Well I have a plan and have already set even bigger goals. I will post about them later this year.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012 Zeitgeist 1/2 Marathon

This was my last race for the year and it was a big race for me (not in distance but in other ways). To understand why I did so freaking awesome on this run, you first must understand what happened two years ago when I ran this race for the first time. In 2010, I had just run my first marathon in May, had run another 1/2 marathon a month prior, and was running sub 10 minute miles. However, I had done very little hill work and this course is very hilly. Even so, I managed to run a 2:31, which is a good time but it was a terrible race for me. When I topped the first hill, I was a broken man. My running spirit was gone. I managed to run the down hill into Hidden Springs, but I walked a lot of the rest of the way. By the time I hit the last 1/4 mile of the last hill (the steepest part), I was nearly in tears. I didn't care that the last 5 miles where all down hill, I just wanted it to be over. It was a good race time but a terrible race.

Enter today where I am now running 11 to 11:30 minute miles (2011 I had medical issues). My goal for this race was to not let it break me. I was not going to be afraid of the hills the hills were going to be afraid of me. I didn't care what my time was during this race, all I wanted was for when I topped the hill at mile 8 1/4, to be upbeat, happy and still running. I was going to break this race.

People mulling around waiting for the start.

The race has a late start time (10 am) so I showed up at a little after 9 to I could pick up my bib. I had forgotten that they offered a drop bag service at the start. I wish I hadn't as it was chilly. I was dress in my running shorts, short sleeve shirt and my favorite "lucky" geek socks. After getting my bib I headed back to the car. It was here that I realized I had forgotten something very important that morning: Nipple Protection. I briefly thought about trying to tough it out but knew they begin to chafe really bad after 1 hour and I would be hurting bad after 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Then I remember the first aide kit in my car. I must remember to always have band-aides in my car for such a race emergency. Disaster averted.

Me at the start

At about 1/4 till, I got out of my warm car and headed back to the starting line. Here I saw my friends Dondi, Amy and Nellie. We all stood at the back of the pack as we knew there were a lot of faster 1/2 marathoners a head of us. This race starts a little weird as they don't have a starting gun or horn. Instead they do a cheer where we spell out ZEITGEIST and then we go. The best part was the announcer forgot the last T.

We are all lined up and ready to go

And off we go. It was great seeing Rachel and Jon, who were helping with the race (although I question how much help Jon was since he tried to send me down the wrong street ;) ). The first mile of this course is a gentle climb through some very beautiful autumn roads. Then we turn left and begin a 2 mile climb up 500 feet. This was the hill that broke me last year and I was not going to let it this year. It was going to be my b'otch! I managed to run up the entire hill. I was a little disappointed that the Ricola ladies where not there playing those long horn instruments. Two years ago, it made me feel like I was crossing the Alps. As I crested the hill, I was still running and feeling good. That hill my mine now. The next mile is a down hill section so I worked on my running form (to help my knees). I leaned back and tightened my core. It felt weird but it worked as I didn't have a knee problem this race.

Autumn Country Road

Start of the first hill

The next section meanders thought the very cute town of Hidden Springs. This was a nice section of the race and I was still running. The next hill is a small hill at mile 6. Again, I powered up the hill, running the whole way to the aide station at the time. I did walk a bit at the aid station while I got some water. From this hill you drop down to mile 7 where the worse hill begins and goes for 1 1/4 miles with 400 feet of elevation gain. I knew that this section was pretty steep and I didn't expect to run up the entire section but it was not going to break me. I did better than I thought as I only had to walk a small section the middle of the hill and the last 1/4 mile (which is the steepest part). And when I say walk, I was power walking. I didn't have to stop to suck wind once up that hill. When I reached the top I knew I had beat this race course. I was king of the hill.

Little town of Hidden Springs

The final big hill.

The last 5 miles of the course is a long down hill to the finish (with a little hill at the end). The last time I ran this section, it was dirt road but now it is paved. There was an aid station right after the peak and it was the first time I found a port-a-potty that didn't have a long line, or even a line at all, so I made a quick stop. I have to give this race one thing, they have lots of port-a-potties along the race course.

I made good time down this section of the course and really tried to work on my down hill running (which I suck at). The next aid station was run by Pulse Running store and Holly and Brian recognized me. There is just something about having someone cheering you on my name that makes you feel great. I managed to actually pick up my pace after this aid station. Having run this course once before really helped me this time as I remembered where the mile markers where so the race didn't seem as long (at least to me).

The rest of the course felt good and just kept on running. As I finally came down the hill (and crossed the street) to the finish line, there were a lot of people lined up, all waiting for someone they knew to finish. Sadly, I was not one of them but that didn't stop me for making them my cheering team. I started yelling and hollering. this got the crowd into it. By the time I crossed the finish line, the announcer thought I had my own cheering section. The one thing I have learned is that if you need a cheering section, just start cheering yourself and the crowd will always join right in.

I felt really good about this race and even managed to get a new PR on this course (by 2 minutes). After the race, I went back to the finish line and waited for Amy, Nellie and Dondi to finish (and cheered everyone that ran by).

A surprise highlight of the race were my lucky geek socks. I had several people comment on how much they liked them and I even had a guy on a bike first ask me where i got them and then later when he passed me again, cheered me on by yelling "Go Geek!"

My lucky geek socks


SplitDistanceTimeAvg Pace


Total elevation gain: 1215 feet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another 100 mile month

So far I have been very happy with my running. I set a goal of running 100 miles 9 month this year. I managed it in March. In April, I had injuries. I missed May by 5 miles because I didn't bother to look how close I was. But for June, July, August, September and now October, I have managed to reach 100 miles. Here is what I did during October:

I managed to get in more core and stretching in this month than I normally do (which is good). Although I seem to still not want to do it on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I will have to work on that. Here is yearly the summary:

As you can see by the summary line, I am just 16 miles away from my goal of 1000 for the year. Hope to have that write up for you early next week.

Foothills 50K Frenzy Race Review

I found myself excited about running this race. Although I had run a 50K in March during the 12 hour run, this would be my first distance ultra race. Of course, this also meant I was nervous and since I had some time to kill Friday afternoon, I wrote a short poem about it:
T'was the night before Frenzy and all through the house, 
My running gear was laid out all over the desk, keyboard and mouse. 
The running shoes are laid out with such care 
In anticipation the morning will soon be there. 
I in my PJs all snug in my bed 
While my spouse sits in the living room instead. 
For 3:30am comes early for me 
Sleep in for her, no place to be. 
I toss and turn and try to fall asleep in bed, 
While visions of trails, rocks and hills fill my head. 
After just closing my eyes there arose such a clatter, 
I looked to my night stand to see what was the matter. 
And what do my wondering eyes see? 
3:30am, race day for me.
If you want to know how my night before the race really went, re-read the poem (except my wife did get up early and saw me at the race start).
I got to the start of the race in good time and picked up my bib. I then got in line for the bathroom. (There is always a line for the bathroom at races.) Pretty soon, the race started and we were off. The first mile of the course is pretty flat (with only a slight grade) so it is great for a warm up. We all quickly found our places in line (based on running speed) and I found myself behind Uli Kamm. For those who do know this amazing man, he has completed over 250 ultra marathons, all by walking them. But you must understand that this man walks a 12 minute mile. And yes his is walking. So I fell in behind Uli, him walking and me running to keep up. Sadly though we quickly pull away from me as he doesn't slow down much when going up hills and I have to walk up them.
Boise from the foothills.
The view of Boise from the race course.
I was rather proud of how I was doing. The first 11 miles of the course is pretty much all up hill. By the time of the first aid station, I was able to take off my head lamp as it was light enough to see. I managed to make it the first 9.5 miles without having to stop and “suck wind.” This was big for me and I made to the bottom of “Ass Kick” hill. (Sorry for the choice of words but I was once told that it is not swearing if it is a truthful description and this hill kicks my ass every time.) Now Ass Kick hill (the hill has no name of than 5 mile gulch trail so I have named this hill) is a mile and half climb of 1900 feet of elevation. There are no dips or flats on this hill and is just steep and steeper the whole way. The first time I tried this hill it took me almost 2 hours to make the climb. Well this time I made it up in just 57 minutes. I did have to stop and suck wind a few time but I didn't have to stop very long. I was so happy (and sore) when I reached the aid station at the top.
Coming into aid station 6/25
Now there were three small sections of this course that I had not actually run before. The first was an out and back section right at the top of Ass Kick hill. Imagine my surprise to find out that this was also mostly a climb. I ended up walking this two mile out and back section as I was trying to recoup from the big climb I just did. As it turns out, this was a good thing was I felt great for the next dirt road section and was able to run most of the way to the next aid station. The next section that I had not run before was Orchard Gulch trail up to 5 Mile Gulch (and then down the bottom section of Ass Kick hill). This trail wasn't too bad. There was a small section of switch backs that was steep but it was a short section and I rather enjoyed Orchard Gulch trail. However, Ass Kick hill was not done with me. You see I have trouble with my knee when I am going down steep and/or technical section. My knee really starts hurting. (I am fine on gradual down hills, flats and uphills, but steep down hills kill me.) As I started down this ¼ mile section of Ass Kick hill, my knee started to hurt a bit. I took it nice and easy (aka, slow) and managed to make it down in mild pain. Fortunately the next mile and a ½ is a gentle down hill so I was able to work out the pain and get back to running.
I made it into the aid station at mile 22 at 6 hours 19 minutes. This aid station has a 8 hour cut off time so I was doing great. I even sat down and had a Popsicle. They asked me what flavor I wanted. I really didn't care so I finally just said a yellow one (it was the first color I saw when they opened the cooler). They told me it was banana flavor but I will have to take their word for it for all I could taste was cold and sweet. While I was enjoying my Popsicle, another runner came in and the first thing she said was “What mile is this?” When they told her it was mile 22, she cried out in joy “I get to finish the race!” She was so happy that she even stared to tear up a little.
Making the climb out of aid station 22.
The next section is a three mile climb to the next aid station. I managed to power right up the hill to that aid station. (I found that I can power walk up hills pretty good.) This aid station was the same as the first aid station and it was great to see the same smiling faces. (All the aid station workers were great and upbeat.) And this brings me to the last section of the race that I had not covered before: Femerite Patrol. Now, in one direction is Watchman Trail and it is a nice fairly flat piece of trail. Femerite Patrol goes the opposite direction so I was hoping it would have the same characteristics. Boy was I wrong. This trail had some of the steepest down hills of the entire race. It took me forever to make it to the next aid station as by the time I was done with Femerite and on Freestone, both knees were killing me. I was at the point where all down hills hurt, and the most of the remainder of the course is down hill. I was actually slower on the down hill sections then the up hills. I finally reached the last aid station and was so very glad. Only 4 miles to go and finally some flat and up hills sections. Unfortunately, I knew I still had one steep switch back down hill section and I was afraid that if I push my knees I would not be able to make it down that hill and thus would not be able to finish the race. As such, I just walked the last 4 miles.
Coming into the finish
Me coming into the finish line.
The last big thing you have to do before the finish of this race is a set of stairs. The last time I did these stairs (that was a 10 mile run), I had to suck wind a couple of times. But I not this time. I just powered right up those stairs. From here there is this a small down hill (ugg for my knees) and then it is flat to the finish. Since I was so close, I decided to see what my legs had left in them and I ran the final distance in. I was surprise at how well my legs did and at how much energy I had left. Had my knees not given out on my on the down hills, I could have put in a much better time.
Over all I am happy. It was not the time I was hoping for, but given how much my knees hurts, I am trilled I finished. The race was well organized, I got to see and cheer a lot of friends and fellow runners, and my wife was there to cheer me on that the finish (along with several friends). Even having cross the finish line last, I still felt like a winner.
My favorite pic of the race, me taking my wife's soda at the finish line.
What went right:
  • Hydration. I have sucked at hydration the last few long runs and the last marathon. I nailed it this time. I started my day by drinking two (2) sports drink (ok they were Sobe Life Water). I also drank from my pack often (having to get it refilled at one point) and I tried to eat things with moisture in them (like fruit). Sure, had to pee along the race course once, but not feeling the affects of dehydration was worth it. 
  • My gear setup. My pack, my head lamp my shoes, my trekking poles, they all worked perfect. The only place I chaffed was in the butt cheeks (which I often chaff there). I supposed I could try applying something there to prevent chaffing but I just know my wife is going to walk in on my lubing up my “back door” and then I am going to have a LOT of explaining to do. 
  • Trekking poles. Not only did they help on the up hills and down hills (stabilizing me and my week knees) they also provide something to lean on when you stop to suck wind.
What didn't work so well 
  • My knees. I come to realize during this race that the issue with them is muscle related. It turns out they hurt the most when I am trying to go slowly down a hill. Apparently I am using some muscle too much at the bottom of my knee. So what I need to work on is 1) strength training. I have got to build up those muscles and make then stronger. And 2) learn to run down steep sections. I came to realize on this run that is if I didn't try to go slow down a hill, my knees hurt less.
Time: 10:04:38

Idaho Wine Run Recap

No PR and what a painful lesson

My goal in starting this race was to set a PR. I was only trying to shave 5 minutes off and felt very confident. My plan was to take advantage of the aide station for water and food, since they were going to have it. Sadly, this was a mistake. Oh, they did have water and food, but it was not enough for me.

I started off great with a great pace (which included running up the big hill in the first mile). I was feeling really good. Sadly, around mile 6, things started to go down hill. I around mile 8, I switch to run 6, walk one. Sadly, this become too much for. I kept trying different run/walk combos, but It was just getting worse. I just had no energy and my stomach was cramping. It was around here that I realize my problem. Although there was water to drink, they only pour the cup about 1/4 full. I needed a lot more water than I was getting. I ended up walking from mile 10 to mile 17, At the 1/2 way point, I sat down and just drank a lot of ice water. I also took more salt tablets. However, after the next aid station (mile 15), I drank a lot and ate grapes. Then I felt worse. I had a headache, dizzy, cramps and a full stomach from all the water I just drank. It was here that I really considered dropping from the race. I was in bad shape. Had the lady in the car come by at that point, I would have dropped from the race. However, she did not find me for another mile, at which point I was feeling much better. I think I finally go enough water and was getting re-hydrated. I even did a little running here. The best part during this part of the run is a bunch of really cool classic cars drove by. It was great to see. There were lots of great cars.

I managed to catch up to Michelle and Ryan Anderson. Michelle was also doing the full (Ryan had paced the 2 hour 1/2 marathon group and afterwords, ran back out the course to find his wife and walk with her). Michelle was in a bad way when I caught up to her. The day, although the temp was only 86, the sun just beat down on us and made it much hotter. It was hard on me and it was hard on Michelle. I walked with them until about mile 18. Here Michelle said she had had enough. So I started off again and Ryan, after talking with his wife, started off with me. (It turned out that Christie pushed Michelle into finishing the race.)

Around mile 20, I started doing more running. My original plan was that after I started walking around mile 18, I was going to push myself into a run/walk rhythm. As it turns out, I was actually able to finish this marathon that way, so that is a good thing.

My final time is not a new PR, in fact it is the opposite, my worse time. But that is ok. I had fun and I learned a valuable lesson that I have to work on (Hydration). 

Time: 6 hrs 51 minutes

Monday, September 24, 2012

1 Week To Go

I am down to just 1 week until my next race, the Idaho Wine Run. I am doing the full marathon. I have a goal of beating my PR of 5 hours 35 minutes. Will I do it? We will find out on Sunday. 

My taper has not gone well. Two weeks ago, I was supposed to run 14 miles, but a bunch of people were doing a trial run of the Foothills 50K Frenzy course and I really wanted to join in. As such, I did 18 miles with 3700 feet of elevation gain. Then, for some reason, I got it in my head that I still had three weeks to the marathon. Last weekend I did 10 miles with plans of doing 6 the following weekend and then the marathon the following. In truth, my marathon is next week. Oops. I guess I will have to extra taper this week to make up for it. ;)  

As for this marathon, I feel pretty good. My goal is to run as much as I can and then, instead of walking from mile 18 on, I plan on doing the run/walk technique. I figure with this, I should beat 5 and a 1/2 hours. The big wild card is the course. 

Idaho Wine Run Marathon Course

The course is pretty hilly and I am just not sure what that will do to me after 26.2 miles. On the 18 miles last weekend, there were lots of really big hills and it was tough. The big key will be if I can push myself to keep running after many miles and walking up a hill. 

This will be my 3rd marathon this year. In 1 month, I will be doing my second 50K this year. So far this has been a good running year. Before this year, I had only done 1 marathon and no 50Ks. The 50K is my last race of the year. 

I always get nervous before a marathon (or any race for that matter). I think the key for me is to keep my mind off it. I am trying something new for this race, I am going to get a massage before it. I have never had a massage before and am kind of looking forward to it. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Product Review: Polar AW200 Activity Watch

When I first started running (and could do more than a mile), I decided that I needed some type of watch to help log my time on my runs. Of course a GPS watch would have been a great choice but 1) I didn't know what I really needed and 2) I was too cheep to buy one of those thing for something that I was not really serious about yet. When I first started running, I was doing a lot of traveling for work and thus, earning a lot of points on my American Express card. I used those points to get this watch. 

This watch has the following features:

  • Duel Time Zones

  • Barometer

  • Stop Watch

  • Pedometer

  • Records number of steps in 5 different zones

  • Altimeter

  • Calories Burned

  • Temperature

  • Cute graphical guy that runs with you (and looks annoyed when you stop moving).

The watch is easy to use. The first step is to enter your age, gender and weight so the watch can calculate the calories burned. After that it is pretty straight forward. You can also set the watch to display barometer or altimeter. Although the idea of an inexpensive altimeter watch sounds great, this watch does not have a real altimeter in it. Instead, it uses the barometer to determine elevation change (the higher you go, the lower the barometer). This works great except when a weather front moves in. A quick moving storm will fool the watch into thinking you are either going up or down. The manual for the watch says that if you want the altimeter to be accurate, then it recommends you set it before each time you use it (not very useful, IMHO). I left the watch in barometer mode as it will still record elevation during a workout.

The watch has three modes. The main (middle) mode displays the time. If you press the top button on the right side, it will display the barometer/altimeter screen (with the current temperature). If you press the bottom button on the right side, it will display the workout screen. 

You can press and hold the center button on the right side to begin a work out (or you can press the bottom button on the right and then press the center button). During the workout, the little guy will show you which zone you are in. the zones are:

  • Slow walk

  • Normal Walk

  • Brisk Walk

  • Slow run (Jog)

  • Run

However, what speed you have to be going for each zone is unknown. During a workout, you can press the top and bottom buttons on the right to change watch modes, however your workout is still going. To stop a workout, you press the bottom button on the left to first pause the workout and then again to stop it. Pressing the center button while paused will start the workout again. During a workout, the watch will display your zone, the workout time and the calories burned. Once you are done with your workout, the watch saves the data. It stores your last 9 workouts. Sadly this watch does not interface with your computer so you will have to manually enter the data into whatever you are using to track your run (Polar does have a website that allows you to enter all the data from the watch: When you review your workout, it displays the total steps, total time, active time, number of steps in each zone, elevation gain, elevation loss, max altitude and calories burned. 

These are the things things this watch does not do

  • Tell you how far you ran (you would have to figure you average distance per step and then do the math)

  • Allow you to do splits. It only tells you total time for the workout.

  • Track your heart rate

When I first started running, none of these were that big of an issue since I used my car to figure distances around my neighborhood before I went running and being a n00b, I didn't care about my splits or heart rate. The biggest drawback to this watch is the price. I have found it on-line between $80 to $200. Given that a Garmin 405 can be had for $140 on-line ( and other GPS watches run under $100, that price is hard to justify for the features. The watch is really just a really cool pedometer and you can do better for the price.

Summary (scale of 0-5):

Battery Life: 5  (about 4 years, non-rechargeable watch battery)
Data Tracked: 3 
Data Upload/Website: 1 (It has a good website but you have to manually enter the data)
Size/Look: 3.5 (it is smaller than a GPS watch and you could wear it as a daily watch without looking too runner-geek)
Ease of Use: 5
Cost: 2 (it cost from $80 to $200 and you can get a good GPS watch for about that price) 


Beginner Runner: If you can get one for cheep or free, I would recommend this watch. That being said, given the cost, look for a GPS watch

Intermediate Runner: No. Even without the cost, it just does not track the information you need from your runs.

Advanced Runner: No. Even without the cost, it just does not track the information you need from your runs.

Now that I have totally not recommended this watch, I would just like to say that I still use my watch. I like to use it on "naked" runs, where I know the distance I am running and only want how long it takes me. (I know the definition of naked run means no electronics but for me, I am happy just not recording my splits, elevation profile, heart rate, etc.) I also will use it for races where the distance is know. It is just nice sometime to not worry about my watch losing a GPS signal or such things. That being said, any $10 watch these days has a simple stop watch on it that would work too, but for me, this was my first sport watch and it means a lot to me.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

100 mile month

By adding 3/4 of a mile to my LSD run yesterday, I managed to reach my goal of running 100 miles in July three days early!

This is the second month in a row and the third month this year. I am pretty happy and well on my way to my first 1000 mile year. Here is my montly break down totals:



I am still bummed that I missed May by just 5 miles. That is what I get for not checking how close I was. My running is coming along very nicely and I should have 100 mile for the next three month each. If I do, then I will have reached my goal of 1000 miles by the end of November. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Will Run For Pancakes

This last Friday, some people organized a group training run at a local trail system. The plan was to meet at 6pm, run till midnight and then go to IHOP for pancakes. I like the idea of joining the group run and I love any run where there is food at the end. I also decided to try out taking S-Caps during the run. I have yet to take such things during a run as I felt I would getting enough salt from my food. However, with the resent heat wave, I have started to wonder. (Please note, I did not take any of the following pictures so thanks to all who did and shared with me.)

The brave few that started at 6pm

When I arrived at 5:30, the temperature was a sweltering 98 degrees (according to my car). A quick look around and I realized we would be running where there were no trees. This was going to be a very hot run. Other runners choose to join the running later, after it cooled off a little (like to 90). A 4.1 mile loop was mapped out for us and people had brought large containers of water for people to share. 

The hot path

With the sun beating down on us, the first lap was torture. I was so hot after the first lap that I was thinking about finding some shade and waiting until the temperature dropped a bit.

Coming in from the first lap. Very hot and with my Nathan's Pack.

Fortunately, fate stepped in. It turns out that I had forgot my PF inserts for my shoes and since I had never run in the shoes without them, I was starting to develop a blister on my heal. Since I really did want to run and I only lived 15 minutes away, I drove home and got my inserts. By the time I got back and was ready to head out, my friend Martha was coming in. Turns out even though she started the same time I did,  this was her first lap as she made a wrong turn and did some bonus miles. Since we are about the same pace, we decided to run together. This turned out to be a great thing as it was nice to have someone to talk to during the run.

Martha and Me having too much fun

I also decided to ditch the Nathan's Pack and use my Simple Hydration bottle, since there was water every 4.1 miles. I think the S-caps really helped and I shared them with Martha. But the thing that probably helped the most was the cloud cover that rolled in about the time I got back from getting my inserts. It was still in the 90s, but the sun was not beating down on us.

Ready for the night part of the run.

During our third (and final) lap, we were blessed with a lightening storm. The storm was a long ways away so we could just enjoy the flashes of light. It was really cool since it was dark (we were running with head lamps).  Fortunately the storm did not last very long and by the time we finished the last lap, the sky was starting to clear up. (The moon rise was so cool looking.)

Mmm, Pancakes.

Afterwards, we all headed for pancakes at IHOP. Surprisingly enough, they are not very busy at midnight. Over all it was a great time and I got to run on new trails (new to me that is) and hang out with some great friends.

So in review:

First run using S-Caps: I really think this helped me a lot. Going to keep using them (especially on really hot runs)

First night run: This went ok. Not really into night running as I could no see the contour of the trail and was afraid I would twist my ankle. Need more work here (and maybe a more directional head lamp).

First group run: I had a blast. It was definately better when you have someone your own pace to run with.

Oh, and I managed 12.5 miles. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Half Year Down, Time for Goal Check

I am amazed that 1/2 the year is over with. Where it the time go? Being half over, I thought it best to take a moment an review how I am doing on my running goal and how the year has gone so far. Back in December of 2011, I decided that my goals for this year are 1) run more, stay healthy, and 2) run the Goofy Challenge in January 2013. 

The first goal is my main goal for the year. The reason is that for the past 4 years of running, I have been fighting various injuries (ok, last year was blood clots in my lungs). These has taken me out of running (mostly because I tend to use an injury as an excuse to not exercise). I started running because I wanted to have an activity I could do the rest of my life and stay healthy. However, with getting an injury every year, I know I would give up running (and I did not want to do that). Then one day I read an article about a guy that runs multiple marathon a year (like one a week). He was older than I was and I wondered how he could do that when after I run my 1 marathon, I was wiped out and hurting. Then I read that his fasted time for a marathon as only 4:30. That's when it hit me: the key to running more and staying healthy is to not push yourself all the time. To just run because you love it, not to better your time. So that became my strategy for the year. I was going to run more and stay healthy by not pushing myself hard to always get a PR. (This sounds really simple but it becomes very hard in practice when, at the start of a race, you are dead last.) I needed to figure out how I could run more and stay healthy or I would end up dropping running. 

My original plan was to run some race (like a 1/2 marathon) a month for the year and the do the Goofy Challenge. How did I do? Well, in January, I ran my first trail race. 

Wilson Creek 10 miler

Wilson Creek Frozen 10 Miler

It was the Wilson Creek Frozen 10 Miler. I had been reading friends posts about trail running on Dailymile and it sounded kind of fun. On January 1 I did my first trail run (6 miles) and decided to sign up for the race. It was one of the toughest races I have ever done. Instead of being "Frozen", the temperature was in the low 40s and it had rained the night before. It was a total mud fest. Had it not been for my friends who routinely run trail races telling me this was a very had race because of the mud, I probably would have given up trail running right there. 

Oddly enough, in February, there are no races in the Boise area (at least none that I could find). In March I did the Les Bois 10K trail race.

Les Bois 10K trail run

Les Bois 10K

This race is really more of a dirt road race than a trail race, but it is a 3 mile climb with a 3 mile return down. It was a lot of fun running this. At this point I had signed up for a marathon in May and in laying out my running schedule, I was supposed to run a 20 miler on March 31. As it turns out, the Pickled Feet 24/12 hour run as that day. So I decided to sign up for the 12 hour run.

Pickled Feet 12 hour run

Pickled Feet 12 hour run

Now this race interested me as I had never done a race where the time was set and you raced for distance. Since the course was a 2.5 mile loop, it meant that I would not have to carry any water/food since an aide station was at the end of every 2.5 mile run. I totally surprised myself here and managed to complete 32.5 miles in 9.5 miles. Yes, I did a 50K! I can tell you right now, doing a 50K was not on my list of goals for the year. 

However, after this run, I found that my left ankle was hurting if I tried to run on it. I knew that it was not a major injury but because my goal was to run more/stay healthy, I decided to not run the two 1/2 marathons I was signed up for in April. Plus I really wanted to do the marathon in May. After doing a little research, I found out that 1) the Idaho Potato Marathon was two weeks after the Lake Lowell marathon (which I was already signed up for) and not 1. And 2) if you do 2 marathon in 16 days, you can join Marathon Maniacs. I was feeling pretty good so I signed up to do both. 

Lake Lowell Marathon

Lake Lowell Marathon

The first marathon in May was the Lake Lowell Marathon. This was the second year for the race (I was supposed to do the full marathon last year here but due to the blood clots in my lungs, I only did the 1/2). This marathon was an epiphany run for me. When you run a lot of marathons, people ask you if they get any easier. The answer to that is Yes and No. No in that they still take a lot of physical effort. But Yes in the mental aspect of it. To any runner a marathon is a very long distance. Even after doing my 50K in March, I still had a mental barrier about doing a marathon. My first marathon had been in 2010 and I bonked hard at mile 18 (I now know it was because of fueling). As such, this marathon was a scary task for me. However, upon completing the race, something clicked and, although it is still a very long and hard race, it became a distance I can complete instead of a huge scary task. 

Idaho Potato run

Famous Idaho Potato Marathon

In a very short two weeks, I had my next marathon, the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon. This was my first marathon 2 years before. As I was riding the bus out to the start, a lady sitting across from me on the bus started talking with me. Turns out she ran Lake Lowell marathon two weeks before and was doing this one to qualify for Marathon Maniacs too. Small world. It turned out to be a blessing meeting her as my wife was out of time and I had no one to cheer me on. The course had two out and back sections and I was able to see her both times. Plus, other friends (husband and wife) were on the green belt and I got to see them and they encouraged me. My time on this marathon was my worse so far (6:05) but since my goal was only to finish so I could become a member of Marathon Maniacs, I didn't care about my time. 

In June I was scheduled to run the Silver City Endurance 50K, but three weeks before, while trail running, I came down this very steep and technical section (read lots of loose rocks) and my right knees started really hurting. I continued to hurt every time I had to go down a steep section (walking or running didn't matter, it just hurt). Since my goal was to run more/stay healthy, I pulled myself from the 50K. As it turns out, this was smart as that course was very technical with lots of hills. However, I didn't want to just sit around and do nothing so I volunteers with some friends to help at an aide station.

Silver City Endurance Run

Silver City Endurance Run Aide Station/ with Christie

I joined the Ebenroth family running the aide station. They went all out for the aide station (I think they were trying for the best aide station). We had decorations, lots of food (including pancakes and quesadilla). They even had little zip lock bags so runners could pack whatever the wanted. But best of all, they had beer and Popsicles. I had a great time helping the 100K runnings as they came through the aide station. Of course, I am totally ruined for running these endurance races now as I will be expecting every aide station to be as cool and well stocked as this one.

So that brings me to the end of June. So far this year I have run 2 marathons, a 50K, become a member of Marathon Maniacs (#5445), and volunteered at a 100K trail race. I am still on track for my Run More/Stay Healthy goal and I am signed up for the Goofy Challenge in January. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Tempo Run

If the goal of a Tempo run is to make you run outside your comfort zone, then this was a success. I had heard of Tempo runs but didn't know what they were, so after a quick query of the god of all knowledge (Internet), I had an idea what they were. The only problem is that you are supposed to run at your 10K pace. The only 10K I have ever run was the Les Bois 10K and that is a 3 mile climb, followed by a 3 return. As such, I have no idea what my 10K pace is. So I just made it a little slower than my Yasso 800 speed.
Again, I decided to create a workout on my Garmin for this to help me (I like letting my watch tell me when it is time to change up and I don't have to keep looking at it). I set my target tempo pace to be between 10:00 and 10:30, plus a 10 minute warm up and 10 minute cool down. I did discover that on my Garmin 405, I can only have 1 course and 1 workout uploaded to the watch at a time. (I just need to make sure I upload the course and workout before I go for a run.)
I started off not feeling very good. My stomach was bothering me again this morning and I felt very Blah, and my starting pace really showed it. I normally start off fast and slow down but this time I did the opposite. My starting pace was 11:30 but by the time my warm up was over, I was pushing 10:30. When my Garmin told me it was time to start running at pace, I thought for sure it would be screaming at me to speed up, but when I look down at it, it was telling me to slow down and that my pace was 9:00. I didn't know I had that pace in me. I finally managed to settle into a pace my Garmin liked and away I went. I was supposed to keep this pace for 20 minutes, but after 16, I just had to slow down (the web site did say between 15 and 20 minutes). After the Tempo part, I was supposed to cool down for 10 minutes but I ended up walking.
It felt good and both this and the Yassos are making me focus on my pace more, which is something I never do. 
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 36 minutes

Yasso 800s


I decided in order to reach my goal of a new PR in September, that I would add running Yasso 800s into my running routine.  I had read about Yasso 800s a few years ago when training for my first marathon (and even ran one set). I decided to dust off this training method and incorporate it into my running. Since my goal it so run a 5 hour marathon, that meant I had to run 800s in 5 minutes, followed by jogging for 5 minutes. You start the first week off doing 4 sets. Then you add addition 800 per week until you reach 10 sets.

This first set was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong, I did have to push myself, but I wasn't dying at the end of the 800.

After doing some research on my watch for following GPS courses, I found out about setting up a workout on it. I thought I would give it a try for my Yasso 800s. It was pretty easy to setup (I setup a warmup, 800, recovery (repeat steps), cool down). I then uploaded it to my watch and let it tell me when to go and when to slow. Here were my times:

1st 800: 4:56 (it felt good when I started off and my Garmin told me to slow down) 
2nd 800: 4:55 
3rd 800: 5:00 
4th 800: 5:04

Next week I do 5 800s.

Polecat Trail


Most months, a local running store (Pulse Running) holds a FKT course. (FKT = Fastest (or Funnest) Known Time) They reward the fasted runners (boy and girl) and then do a drawing for everyone else. This is the first time I tried to run the course in the month we were supposed to. 

They always offer a Garmin GPS of the course you are supposed to run. Me, not knowing the foot hills at all, need a lot of help staying on the correct course. After a little research, I figured out how to upload a course to my Garmin 405 watch and how to use it to figure out where I am supposed to run. I was bound and determined to follow the course this time (I have tried others but still get lost). Now I have never been to this trail before so my first challenge was to find the trailhead. Fortunately, Pulse Running had some good directions. When I arrived, there was only one car in the parking lot. I didn't realize that there was someone it in until I was ready to start.

I took a quick look at the map at the trailhead and realized that this route just followed the Polecat trail. This information would be very valuable later. I started out and the arrow on my Garmin was pointing the right way. When I reached the second branch however, the arrow on the Garmin was pointing back the way I came. However, the Polecat trail went on straight (the trail markers were most helpful), and the side trail cut back to teh right. I was confused here. Believing I should "Trust the Garmin", I turned right and headed up the side trail. When I got about 30 yards however, my Garmin beeped at me and told me that I had "lost the course." I stopped and looked and it was pointing back teh way I came. So I turned around and after three steps, it beeped again and said "course found" and pointed me back to the parking lot. I tested this three step zone a couple of times and finally decided to ignore the Garmin and follow the signs. 

Polecat Trailhead Parking

As I headed back to Polecat trail, I realized that Polecat when straight on for about 20 yards and then cut back up the side of the opposite hill. So I think my Garmin was trying to tell me I needed to go up that hill, but it was not very clear and gave me bad information at the intersection.

Out of 6 intersections, my Garmin pointed me the wrong way 50% of the time. Not really helpful in finding the right trail. It was good at telling me when I was way off course, so I guess that is something.

Polecat Trail

The Polecat trail was really nice. I had the trail to myself until I reached 1/2 way. Oh and it was here that my garmin told me that the "virtual partner" had just finished the course. This is a feature I need to turn off. At this point I started seeing a good stream of runners and bikers.

The Boise Foothills: Lots and lots of trails.

Overall, it was a lot of fun exploring this trail. I will say that I am less than impressed with my new Garmin 405. Not only was it less than helpful on navigating the course, but at the start of the run, it had trouble figuring out where I was. I started and stopped in the same place, but my Garmin had me starting out in the middle of nowhere. I think for courses, that I need to let the Garmin sit for a minute before starting my run so it can get a good GPS fix.

Change of Running plans.

Two weeks ago, while running a trail course, my knee started to hurt on steep downhill sections. It hurt just trying to walk down the hills. Strangly enough, it felt fine on flat or gradual downhills (walking or running). As such, knowing that I have a 50K trail race in 3 weeks, and that it is a challenging course, I had to really think about if I wanted to push my knees. Whenever I have such a decision like this, I think back to what my goals are for the year. This year my goal has been to run more and run healthy. If I hurt my knee bad while doing the 50K, then I would be laid up recovering. I know myself well enough to know that if I do that then, I will get off my diet and won't exercise at all (sad but true about me). As such, I think my best plan is skip the 50K and work on building up my knee for running steep downhills.

So what does that mean for my running plans for the year? Outside of the Foothills 50K Frenzy in October and the Goofy Challenge in January, I had no plans after the Silver City 50K. This gave me a chance to think about what I want to do for teh second half of the year for running. After some thought, I have decided that I want to build up my endurance so I can run further. Currently in all three marathons I have completed, I have walked form about mile 18 on (the last marathon I walked from mile 16 on). As you can tell my current PR is not very impressive for the marathon (5:35). I know I can beat this time if I can just run the entire way. So I found a marthon at the end of September (the Idaho Wine Run) and I have decided to try to beat 5 hours in that marathon. This does mean a shift in my training. Currently I have not been doing anything but putting in miles. Now I will have to do some workouts that will help me work on my pace and speed. 

Even though my goal is to cut 35 minutes off my best Marathon time, I think it is completely doable. I will keep you posted.