Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thoughts on Today's Run

     Do you ever wonder, what does one think about when they run for 2 hours?  Sometimes nothing, on the conscious level, sometimes a lot.  Well I went out to turn the wheels over after work and thought, "I should make a mental note of what I see and what thoughts it conjures up."  Here are my thoughts from today's run.
     Ah shit, I put my shoes in the washer and didn't take them out to dry.  I wonder if 5 min in the dryer will work, while the Garmin picks up satellites and I get my water bottles ready?  I should probably put on socks, got a little chafing on my heel.  Hey dog, take your ass outside, as I open the door.  Fuck it's hot as I lock the door and put the Garmin on my wrist.  After holding the reset button for 3 seconds.  My feet are wet already because the shoes weren't dry.  Leaving the neighborhood, I throw a wave to one of the neighbors driving by.  Looking at the Garmin, 8min pace.  Not bad.  Moving good.  .8 miles in, sweating like a slave, shorts soaked.  WTF!  It's hot.  Sub 8 pace.  Trying to cross the access road on I-35, will this MF'er stop, does he see me here?  I get over to the intersection on the southbound side, across the street from the OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) Catholic Church.  I wave at everyone in the intersection, 3 way stop. They all see me, I cross.  1.5 miles in, I smell the chicken wings from Hooters across the freeway.  Good times, back in the day.  Drank a lot of beer there.  Grass is green, must be because of the rain.  Cars are backing up.  Lots of break lights.  Assholes hauling ass on the access road, trying to beat the jam.
    I see a billboard for Cracker Barrel, seven miles up the road it says.  Brings me back to 1998, and the little waitress I met in Boise.  That December week was filled with great sex and empty promises.  Chuys is on my right, got drunk in there lots of times.  Damned Mexicans and the margaritas.  Cresting the "hill" passing the Chucky Cheese.  Remembered a lady friend of mine and the times we took her boys over there.  Never did get to ride the helicopter.  She was a keeper, and good in bed as well.  Starbucks on the left, in the shopping center.  My daily ritual. Had it twice today.   Past that, Specs liquor store. Many days after work last year, stopped in there for a bottle of wine and a sixer or twelver of some beer.  Lots of wasted days. 
    Now Houlihan's.  Some folks having their drinks/food al fresco. I wave at them.  They don't wave back.   Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter song is playing in my head.  The parts I can remember.  "Ah yeah, can you see them out on the porch? Yeah, but they don't wave."   Running downhill now, RBFCU (Randolf Brooks Federal Credit Union) on my left as I take the access road up Loop 1604.  I went to school with some folks that work there I think.  But, I'm not close with them.  Whatever.  A Garden Ridge Pottery on my right.  They are down sizing from the big ass building just a few miles up the road.  Went there a few times with my mom as a kid.  Got lost. 
     Nearing the intersection of Lookout road.  To the left, I could turn and head over to Comanche Park, or to the right I could go past the horse track.  I turned right.  Maybe was worried about the Mexican food I had for lunch.  The stables are on my right.  I can smell horse shit and hay.  Brings me back to when I used to rope cows and get the shit kicked out of me for not cleaning the stalls right. The stables are pretty good size.  I thought of the concentration camp buildings at Dachau, they were smaller than the stable buildings.  The guard was in his shack.  I wave at him, he waves back.  He probably thinks, "WTF is this dude running for in this heat?"  Now I see the straightaway on the track, the home stretch.  I remembered all the Black Stallion books I read in the 3rd grade.  I always wanted to be Alec and ride a majestic steed along the beach.  On the left, the old Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.  Now it's a church and soccer fields.  I never played soccer or went to any concerts, so no feeling was invoked.  The house coming up on my right has an asshole border collie who likes to snap and bite.  I cross the road.  Running by the shitty car wash place, I run down the hill on the narrow ass two lane road with no shoulders.  Some car drivers slow, some don't. I yell obscenities at everyone.  An open pasture on my left at the intersection of Lookout and Evans road, there are a shit load of goats and some donkeys.  The Montana sheep joke comes to mind.
     Crossing Cibolo Creek.  I used to run in this creek a bunch, but now mostly road so I don't bang up my feet too much.  I should swing  by the crossfit gym and say hi to Coach Brenda.  Yea, sounds good.  Mile 6.5 now.  I'd given up any goal pace.  I'm moving slow.  Hey fuck it.  I'm out here running. What more can I want. I don't have to look a gift horse in the mouth.  On my left are two little shacks that in at least one, some folks live and the other I think they use if for storing feed.  They got like 5 acres, and 9 horses.  I bet they are broke as fuck feeding all those horses.  Bluebonnet Driving Range on my right.  My dad got into golf before he died. I still have the clubs he gave me.  I tried it back in the 7th grade.   He was 41 when he died.  I wonder if I will be as well?  My cousin last year was here, showed me some pointers.  In 20 minutes, I was hitting balls downrange pretty damm accurately. 
     I guess I'll run out to FM 3009 before I head south.  Check out the new building they are building to office us.  I can see the tower from our current building. 200ft.  11 years now.  Heading south on 3009 I see the new Chick - fil - a they put in across the street from Cain's Chicken. Wonder who will last?  I see the Wing Stop, no memories.  Never been.  I see a fucker running on the other side of this busy ass road.  I can catch that fucker.  I check out his form, no way he can out run me.  I cross over I-35 and pick up the pace.  I turn right at the road with the car wash on the corner.  It's been under new management like 3 or 4 times in the last 11 years.  See some kids washing cars. Wonder how long their job will last?  How much do they pay?  A cop cruises by in his Tahoe. Dickhead.  Then flips back around to wait at the top of the hill where you can't see him.  Extorting money.  I wave at this asshole, and I'm low on water.  Cruising past the houses are some empty lots.  Some tree hugger put out water and food for the deer.  They are eating. I say hi deer, deer, deer.  These typically timid basterds don't even budge. 
     I'm out of water. I sure hope Valerie is working at the shell station. I get there. She's behind the counter. I throw out a "hey what's up" as I make my way to the ice dispenser  Grab some ice and fill my water bottle with soda, the other with water. I don't pay for shit. I've got no shirt on and look sexy.   Crossing back over I-35 I make it down to the Crossfit Gym. 11 miles by God.  I shoot the shit with Brenda while the Oly class is going on.  Bout 10 minutes.  I'm sure the students are like, who the fuck is this asshole sweating all over the place.  I bid her adieu.  2 miles to go.  Nothing eventful, just hot as fuck.  Crossing Cibolo Creek again, I look down and see two deer frolicking.  Good for you deer.  I'm gonna get me a beer.
     See the basketball court. Lots of dudes playing ball.  Wonder if they think their mommas gonna come clean up all the water bottles they leave laying around? A baked potato and some wine with veggies would be nice.  Outback it is.  Let's get this shit done.  10 min on foam roller while I check Facebook statuses.  Hell yea.
    

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Go Meb Speed2 - Shoe Review

    I wanted to jot a few lines and speak about the Go Meb Speed2 shoe from Skechers. I know what you are thinking.  This dude has gone and lost his dammed mind.  But, au contraire, this is not the case.  I love a good racing flat.  The Saucony A5 is a nice shoe along with the 8$ Puma Haraka XCS I bough once. This shoe beats both, hands down. I love it.  You can run w/o socks. It's a tad narrow in the forefoot, but of course, it's a racing flat, they all are.  Plus, at 5'6 180lbs I can run 10 mile runs in these day after day and don't get any lower leg niggles like with the Saucony.  Just enough cushion and just light enough.  I really like how the heel is tilted up, keeps you from dragging your heel.  I typically wear 10.5 in all my shoes.  This one you need to order 1/2 size smaller. 


Here is the information about the shoe right off the website:

Details:

  • Congratulations to Meb on his Boston 2014 win!
  • Skechers GOmeb 2 shoe is similar to the shoes worn by Meb
  • Independent circular GOimpulse sensors for a more responsive running experience
  • M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
  • Lightweight - No extra material, no extra weight, nothing to slow you down
  • 4mm heel drop keeps foot in a nearly neutral position
  • New printed nearly seamless mesh fabric upper
  • Resalyte™ Midsole - Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Dupont Hytrel™ Stability plate in midfoot for a supportive and secure run
  • Seamless interior with microfiber lining maximizes comfort
 This is a great buy for 85$ at 6pm.com if you can find it.  Great training shoe for track work or cruising along. A great shoe to have in your line up!  Remember, use the right tool for the right job.

Getting High in CO

     I traveled to Denver on the 6th for weekend number 2 of my HA (high altitude) summer.  Gina picked me up and we drove down to Colorado Springs to hang out with JT and Brooks.  We met them down at Red Rocks Lounge on Colorado St. and started kicking back the brews.  There was no way we were going to catch up with JT and everyone else but we gave it a whirl. 
     In the AM we woke up and headed up to Pikes Peak, America's Mountain. I only regretted not wearing my Dallas Cowboys hat, representing America's Team!  We drove up a bit past halfway so we could hit the Elk Park route.  This route allowed us to do all of our work above 10K ft.  We ran down to Barr Camp and hit the Barr Trail to make the summit.  We did pretty good. Did some uphill running and running above 12K so that was nice. I was still the last person to make the peak and I had to get Lebroned to the top:
     My buddy Bill drove to the top and met us with pizza and PBR. It worked out pretty good because a little storm blew in and it got a bit nasty up there.  We hung out about 2 hours, building red blood cells. 
     In the evening, JT and Katie cooked up steaks from some cow that they one-eight-seven'ed out in Oklahoma.  Some of the folks that ran with us in the morning were there and we had a great time telling stories and general BS.  We found out that Liz really likes burritos. Basically I drank to much and felt like shit when I woke up on Sunday.  We went out and ran the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler.   It went pretty good, even though I started in the very back, cause a last minute shitter visit.  My splits were 3 min diff, so prob should have run like a 1:14:xx. Oh well.  I ran in my GoMeb2 so that pretty much means, I am bad ass at running. Buy from 3rd party retailer. 

John T Sharp   M 36   Selma TX     40:05 (1st half)   37:06  (2nd half)      1:17:12 (time)    7:43/M Pace.






 



   Afterwards we had planned a trip up the incline and maybe drive up to Pikes and do some sprints up high, but the weather wasn't playing around and was shitty.   So we went and had beers and burgers.    Gina and I left in the afternoon and met Bill and his mom and sister in Denver and ate Mexican food.  I'd mention his wife, but she acted like I didn't exist and didn't even give me common courtesy of a hello. Basically, she can kiss my ass.   She's pissed off because, who the fuck cares.   However, it was nice to visit with his mom and sister again, it has been about 8 or 9 years.  Oh yea, almost forgot, Bill and I used to lift weights back in the old days. I've known this guy since 1997, so we had a competition.  Calves, quads and glutes.  See below:


     I think I won quads and hammy, but calves are equal.  So, all said.  Only got about 20 miles this weekend, for a 50 mile week.  But I was up high on Saturday for about 6 hours.  And I felt pretty dammed good.  Big shout out to JT and Katie for hosting Gina and I.  We had a great time.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50K and CO Training

   Went up to Denver after work on Friday, the late flight out of San Antonio.  It's like a dream come true.  I laid out my training plans for the Hardrock 100 - 2014 after the TIR 200 in late March; this weekend was my first weekend in CO to start getting acclimated.  Gina picked me up from the airport, but there was a slight delay leaving SA due to an airplane problem.  I arrived in Denver about 10PM. 
   We woke up around 5:00AM, hit the Starbucks, and headed up to the shuttle bus area which took us to the start line.  My friend and fellow Hardrocker Megan is the RD for the Golden Gate Dirty 30 50K, not real sure the origin of the name, but it is in Golden Gate Canyon state park.  The race according to my garmin was 32 miles.  Rumor has it, it ranges between 7500 and 9500 ft of elevation with 8000ft of gain.  I haven't checked the garmin on this yet.  It's a pretty dammed tuff 50K.  I ended up running 7:02:55.  I had hoped for sub 6, but it was not in the cards for me.
  Even though I did not run the time I had hoped, a few good indicators were positive.  I was able to run quite of bit of uphill, granted if it was not too steep.  The steeper sections, I did a run walk interval.  My legs felt strong.  I used Tailwind for fuel and as far as calories and fueling goes, that was positive.  The only bit of trouble I had was when I drank some coke that was still to fizzy.  Also, I am not a fan of the UltraSpire handheld water bottle.  I sat down on a rock, squeezing the bottle and the lid popped right off.  Not good, especially since the next aid station was 5 miles away.  I really only felt limited by lack of acclimatization.  I figure for just arriving the night before, I did pretty good.  After the race, there was some local beer and burgers.  I also handed out samples of Trail Toes.  I waited at the start/finish line for Gina to come in and was able to spend some time chatting with Darcy, one of the toughest lady ultra runners around.
   Saturday evening, Gina's roommate made ribs and some folks were over socializing and having some brews.  I went to bed around 10PM to try and rest up for Sunday's workout.  If you're going to spend money to go up to the mountains to train, I suggest you do some research. Ha!Ha!  I didn't really have a plan on what we'd do on Sunday, but we ended up going up and over Mt. Sanitas, then back up and over to the car, skipping the flat sections.  This was pretty light work, about 1:45:xx and we were taking it easy.  After that, we drove over to the trail head for Bear Peak, however we cut in on this trail around Bear Mountain Dr.  And took the most direct route to the top, Bear Canyon trail, to Fern Canyon trail and up.  It was 3 hours up and down, so maybe 8ish miles, not 13. 
   After both days, we treated ourselves to margaritas and Mexican food, so life is okay!  I estimate that this weekend was 43-45 miles and 13K of gain at altitude.  I'll take it.  The training was very good and big huge shout out to Gina for supporting me this weekend and the next two coming weekends.  We'll be heading down to Pike's Peak this weekend for some big air and to hang with JT and 100$ bill!  Of course we'll hit The Incline, and Sunday we will be running the Garden of the God's 10 miler for some turnover work.  Planning on a trip up Pike's each day. 
   I've got a few things I'll need to work out during the week for this last month leading up to Hardrock, but I'm feeling pretty good about where I am at.  I'll be getting in some yoga and using the AltoLabs hypoxic breather.  I need to get strong in my core, mostly abs.  And more work on my posterior chain.  Expect lots of Kettlebell swings and deadlifts.  My downhills are sucking, so going for squats and jump rope.  Of course while still averaging 80+ miles a week.  I need to get tough.  And I gotta get 10lbs off. Let's go for it.

Always aim for the ultimate, never look back, be mindful of others at all times, and keep the mind forever set on the Way. - Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Work That Bootay and That Tummy

That's right!  I said it.  Work that bootay baby!  In all seriousness, strengthen your glutes for crying out loud.  I've been on a glute kick for some time now.  It is probably the most important muscle involved in running, the prime mover if you will.  In addition, if you don't have a strong stomach, then you're just pissing in the wind.  Below are exercises I do or try to do daily to keep my ass looking good and my abs rock hard!

For the leg lift exercises below I use old fashioned ankle weights, both weights on same leg.  For regular deadlifts I typically go 3 to 5 sets of 3 reps at 85% of my 1 rep max.   So about 315lbs for me. 


Single leg deadlift w/kettlebell
Pistols
Leg Lift Exercies  - Clams/Hip Abduction/Bandwalks
Prone Leg Lift
Glute Kickback
Heavy Ass Kettlebell Swings - Russian Style
Deadlifts
Ab Rollouts
Straight Leg Situp
Back Bridge  - This guy is pretty nerdy.  I use a Bulgarian Bag on my hips for weight.
Medicine Ball Twists

What you may notice is that on the abdominal work, I try to ensure that the hip flexor is not doing the majority of the work.  Squeeze the glutes on the sit up and the ab rollout!

The back bridge and medicine ball twists serve two functions, strengthening of the glutes and stretching of the hip flexor. 

The Heavy Kettlebell Swings and heavy deadlifts, the goal here is max neuromuscular activation. Do take plenty of rest between sets. 

What exercises do you use for glutes and abs???

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ode to My Hill



Running out at Comanche Lookout Park yesterday, I felt like jotting down a fun poem or a play on homophones in the English language.  I've done quite a bit of run training in this small park and wanted to honor it in some way.  Everyone needs a hill, a place to challenge themselves.

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

 

I cried a tear, climbing your tier
Whilst tearing the tor
Your course, coarse
Through the gravel floe, mind in flow
I’ve made a peace with this small piece

I’d felt weak all week. 
Hearing pleas of please
Running I need, my quads I knead
And my heel, now healing 
Bidding you marque, making a mark

The trails not new, each turn I knew
However in the mist, I missed
Sitting idle, dreaming of idols
A small hare, sweat in my hair
What do I hear, here?

I’m born again, being borne
Nevermore mourning in the morning
Desire whet, with water tongue wet
Through every groan, I’ve grown
Seeing a hart, warming my heart
Through your thyme, I pass my time

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trail Toes - No Chafing No Blisters

     What anti-chafing, anti-blister product do you use today?  I'll bet you you're using Body Glide.  I know I used Body Glide from the time I started training for my first marathon in 2007 until September 2013.  It is a good product.  Then I was introduced to Trail Toes.
     Trail Toes is most comparable to a product which is no longer on the market called HydroPel. Frankly, in any wet or super humid conditions, Trail Toes is the greatest product on the market today.  This stuff protects your feet, not allowing them to absorb water under the skin, the chief cause of blisters.
   
     Full disclosure: The Trail Toes staff and family are close friends of mine.  We've known each other since 2008.

     I have used the Trail Toes anti chafing/blister cream for the following ultra-marathons or OCR events:

The Bear 100 - Sept 2013 (used beta product) (33:18:xx)
Texas Spartan Beast - Dec 2013  (2:43:46)
Brazil 135 - Jan 2014 (34 hours)
Neuces 50K - March 2014 (4:29:18)
Prickly Pear 50K - March 2014 (4:21:53)
Georgia Death Race 100K - March 2014 (15:02:03)
Texas Independence Relay SOLO  200 Miles - March 2014  (60 hours)

     In all of these events I have had none to very minimal blisters.  The only race where I actually did have blisters was in the 200 mile event. Those were one small blister between my big toe and index toe on each foot and one on the bottom of my right foot. After mile 80, I never changed my socks or re-applied Trail Toes Cream, so one could argue those blisters are my fault. :)
     In addition to using this product for racing, I use it on a daily basis.  Everyday I run, I use Trail Toes to prevent nipple chafing, chafing under my arms, and between my legs.  My legs are huge and so are my latissimus dorsi.  This product is welcomed in my running bag!  You can see my running resume here JOHNSHARP-ATHLINKS.
     The Trail Toes company is owned by my friend Vincent Antunez.  This company is a family owned business.  Along with his wife, they mail out every package you order from the website.  Their commitment to quality and to customer satisfaction is unparalleled.  Originally this product was only offered in the large jar which you see in the Trail Store, but based on feedback from the customers Vincent has made this product available in a variety of  different sized packaging and offerings.  These new offerings make drop bag planning for Ultra-Marathons easy!!
     I highly encourage you to give this product a try.  You'll see for yourself, this product is light years ahead of it's competition.  Use my code "Run 200s" to receive a 10% discount.