Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Race Schedule

     After careful culling, and some bad luck with lotteries and entries I have a 2015 race schedule.  Ultimately I have quite a bunch of bills to pay off from 2014 so this is driving some of my decisions.  I hope to see lots of friends out there!

RACE                      DATE              GOAL
BANDERA 100K    10-Jan              12:00:00
SCHERTZ 5K          17-Jan              19:15
RODEO 4 MILE      14-Feb              24:40
NUECES 50K          28-Feb              4:10:00
LST 96 MILE           14-Mar             24:00:00
TIR 200 SOLO*       28-Mar             48 HOURS
VERMONT 888K    23-May            164 HOURS
VOL STATE                9-Jul              100 HOURS
NOLANS 14              AUG*              57 HOURS
BIG BACKYARD    17-Oct               72 HOURS*

     There may be some other races that jump in there.  I've had to reconsider Ronda Dels Cims, Born To Run 50K, and Spartathlon.  Also, I may pass on a Grand Canyon trip this year.  But there may be an event I will put on in December 2015  -  El Camino de la Vaca.  Additionally the SnowDrop 55 hour would be a cool event for nex December as well.  Stay Tuned.

Monday, December 29, 2014

An Elliptical Revolution - 100K in 2 Mile Loops

     Vincent and I were out at the Houston Running Festival on Saturday.  This event has a half-marathon, marathon, 50K, 50M, 100K, 100M, 12HR, or 24HR categories.  I was signed up for the 100K and Vincent the 50K.  The course is a 2 mile loop in Bear Creek Park on the westside of Houston.  
      My goal last year in 2013 was to run this 100K in 10hrs30min so that I could qualify for Spartathlon.  However I ended up getting the flu on Christmas day and was unable to make it.  No so this year.  I've been training very consistently since August of 2013.  I have been averaging about 136 heart rate at a 8:49 pace so I thought if all went well, my chances for a qualifying time were pretty good. Based on the new qualifying standards, I just barely qualified.  I may have to wait through a lottery process.  Which is fine for me.  No worries.   
     This course is a two mile looped course.  Logistics are easy if you can get over the fact that you are spending nine to ten hours running around in circles and with very tight margins of time. There would be little to no walking for me.  I put about two and a half scoops of a mixture of tailwind/carbopro/skratch in my hand held bottles.  I had eight, sixteen ounce Ultimate direction bottles all lined up for nutrition, and also about 4 gels at the ready.  My plan was one bottle per hour.
      Nothing ever goes according to plan.  The day started overcast at 70 degress with 100% humidity.  What a bunch of bullshit.  That went on for 4 hours.  My water usage rate went up quite a bit, but was still manageable.  After four hours the cold front blew in and cooled things off but, it rained quite a bit as well.  So it got pretty dammed cold.  My 50K split was about 4:30, which I figured for me to make a nine hour 100K would be almost impossible.
     At mile 38 my Garmin died and you can see from my results, my pace immediately started slowing down and from mile 48/50 on I was averaging about 10 minute miles.  Oh well.  Isn't that how it goes some times?  I ended up running a 9:45:58 according to these results.  I was first in the 100K which was nice, but I do not think the other competitors were there to tear up the course.  This event was really low key. 
     Why a revolution?   This is huge advancement for me in terms of total running, blocking out boredom, the elements, and managing my race nutrition.  I've never actually run that many miles in a race, ever.  All total I ran at least 61 miles of the 62.  My energy levels felt great most of the race.  I didn't let the weather get to me, and generally ran my ass off.  What a huge confidence booster for me.  I really hit a tough spot between miles 40 to 50, but was able to push through that mental barrier.  The last 12 miles were basically run at a 10min pace.  I'll take that. 
     I have some pain on the inside of my left knee and my right achilles is a bit tight.  I've been icing the knee and did some foam rolling last night and this morning.  I should be good to go by Friday.  I even have very little muscle soreness, as compared to previous events.  I really do feel like I hit this one out of the park, even though I was 46 minutes over the time I was trying to run.
     If you are reading this, thanks for indulging me and allowing me to gloat.  Let's go for a run!!!

Barkley Fall Classic Poem

I put together a small poem in villanelle form to commemorate my experience at the Barkley Fall Classic back in September.  

A thousand yard stare, eyes with tears glare.
No labor hath Hercules known, no deed can atone.
Walk with wanton abandon in hopeless despair.

Victims of treachery have become our fate.
Without remorse, Sisyphus rolls his stone.
A thousand yard stare, eyes with tears glare.

Running the course in our minds a debate.
The briars we bemoan, but condone.
Walk with wanton abandon in hopeless despair.

Passing Rat Jaw straights, in shoes blood collates.
Many trips over stones, nary a talent shone.
A thousand yard stare, eyes with tears glare.

Please, please where is the nearest interstate?
It would be best to just leave this all alone.
Walk with wanton abandon in hopeless despair.

Please allow me to recriminate, desecrate.
The final reckoning shan’t be postponed.
A thousand yard stare, eyes with tears glare.
Walk with wanton abandon in hopeless despair.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Measured Indifference: A Backyard Odyssey

     What is an odyssey?  Webster's Online says: a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding to someone.   The Big Backyard Ultra was such an experience.  The Ultrasign up description says, "The concept is brutally simple. Race until every runner, save one, surrenders." And you can click on the link above for the rest of the details.
     Even though Doug told me about the event back at Hardrock, I didn't sign up or make any plans for this event until the Barkley Fall Classic.  Gina and I were having a smoke with Gary after packet pickup closed and he mentioned it.  Once I got back home I signed up on the wait list and Gina and I made our flight arrangements.  We were not sure I'd be able to run, but figured if not, we'd get drunk and party. 
     Lo and behold, I made it off the wait list.  Yippie!  I get to run 4.166 mile loops till I die.  Great.  We arrived in Nashville the Friday before the race, picked up supplies, and headed to Bell Buckle.  The race venue was laid back.  We checked in with Laz and tried to make friends with BigCharlie Engle was there which was cool because I had seen his movie, Running the Sahara, and hoped I'd get a chance to meet him one day!  We talked a bit and headed back into town for some pizza and beer.
     At dinner we meet up with Mike, Kelly,  and also Joe Fejes the American 6 day record holder.  Stories were told and a few beers consumed in the typical ultrarunning fashion.  Always wanting one more, but knowing we have work in the AM, we paid the tab and headed back to our tent at Gary's house.
     We got off to an easy start at 7AM.  No worries, 4.16 miles and an hour to do it in. Listening to advice from Mike, Marcy, and Kelly I made a mental note of waypoints on the course and at what minute of the hour I hit them.  As we completed the first loop at about 55 minutes, I mentioned to Marcy how it seemed a bit stressful that at 57 minutes Laz blew the whistle 3 times, at 58 - 2 times, and at 59 minutes 1 time and at the top of the hour he rang the bell.  Marcy casually replied, "It's only stressful if you make it."  Great advice Marcy.
     Gina crewed the shit out of me.  She had all the right things I needed at all the right times.  She alleviated the boredom between loops by swapping stories and jokes with Mike, Mike, and Gary.   She had her bikini top on with her cowboy boots!  Of course!
     We went round-n-round every hour, on the hour.  At hour 12 it was the last loop on trail before we moved to the road, but you hit night time during this loop.  A few drops were expected.  I'm not sure how many there were.  However we hit the next 12 road loops with about 20 or so runners, maybe just 16 but I don't know for sure.  While some folks, mostly Kelly, said I was real talkative, I actually felt like I didn't talk much at all.  Her and I did talk on loop 2 and maybe 3.
     In the middle of the night, probably loop 20 I really wanted to quit.  Gina urged me to go on, and I kinda knew I would not quit at that time, but got dammed, I wanted too.  I kept saying, okay dammit one more loop.  And plus there were 16 people left on the course. Geeze, I can't quit now!  
     This is where the poker game started.  Okay, how many folks can drop before me.  :)  Each loop I was like, "Got dammit, I hope one of these fuckers quit!!!!"  But they just didn't quit.  On loop 25 we moved back onto the trail.  A few drops were expected on this loop and the odds makers were not let down.  At loop 27 there were 6 runners left.
     After loop 29 I dropped. Runner 6.  By loop 32 there were only 3 men standing.  Loop 37, 2 men remained, and after loop 48 the last two men both stopped.  What a chivalrous end too an epic adventure.
     I stopped after loop 29 for one reason.  I took the pain personal.  I ran the short road section, before we hit the trail portion of the loop and the pain really grabbed me.  I had been having this conversation over the last two loops as the pain would torment me, "Okay John, think about something else right now."  This strategy was effective.  I'd been using it since loop 20.  I even thought to myself. "Imagine this is the last loop, of the last race, you'd ever run in your life, would the pain be so personal then? Would it matter how bad it hurt if you knew in 10 minutes you'd never run again?"
     I knew the answer to the question already, "No, the pain would not matter."  However this still did not stop the pain from overwhelming my mental capacity to push it away. It's as if you need to view yourself at point A and the pain at point B.  You are not the pain and the pain is not you.  You exist and the pain exists, but the pain isn't taking this out on you like a school yard bully.  To love the pain or to hate the pain  is to acknowledge the pain and let it control you a bit.  If you consider the pain with a "measured indifference" then it becomes manageable, controllable. 
     So thank you to Laz and the volunteers and especially to my crew chief Gina for providing the venue and support that helped me learn this valuable lesson.  When Epictetus wrote his Enchridion, he could have just entitled it, "Measured Indifference" .  The path to realizing the principles of the chief philosophy which I espouse, has just become more clear.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Big Dream Came True

     I'm behind on my posts from the Barkley Fall Classic and La Ultra the High.  I've got a bunch of work to do.  I guess I'll get caught up, eventually.  I got off my ass and created a small personal run coaching business.  I've been wanting to do this since 2010, but lacked confidence and experience.  Whether I have the requisite experience or not now, it doesn't matter.
     This new endeavor is a project for me in an number of capacities.  Aside from learning how to coach someone other than myself, it's an exercise in methodology, marketing, social media presence, accounting, management, empathy, motivation, among other things.  It's generally understood that physical achievement is tied closely to mental outlook.  So it's also a project in philosophy and psychology.
     The business is Sharp Coaching. I'll be working with clients, motivating them, providing training schedules, nutrition advice, and necessary advice/guidance to help them tackle any dream they have in the running space.  5K to 10K to 26.2 to 100miles, road or trail.  Running is simple, that's my ultimate idea.   Let's un-muddy the waters so you can focus on being a runner, not a scientist or psychologist. 
     Most importantly, I want to do this on my own terms.  I'm me.  It would be a violation of my personal ethic to present myself in this endeavor as someone other than my authentic self.  I'm "required" to do this in my professional position.  When I'm working in my personal, passionate  space, authenticity must be paramount.  However, the client is due professional service, and diligent dedication to your commitment to their goals.  My intention is to provide this.
              Let's run, let's have fun, let's change the world! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hardrock 2014 Race Report - Esse Quam Videri

      This year was my 4th time to stand on the start line since 2009 and I had never been more prepared.  If you are friends with me on Facebook then you know that I have been training seriously since October 2013.   You can see my training log here: JOHNSHARPTRAINIG
      The pre-race hiking and acclimatization days went well as I used some of these times to help me feel confident about what splits were achievable and about what type of shape I was in.  This year was pretty special, some days I hiked alone and some days I went with friends.  My "parents" came and stayed the first week and on 3 July Samantha and Tony showed up. The 4th of July was epic with a 2nd place finish in the beer mile in 10:08 at 9,300ft elevation. 
      Also I got to carry the Hardrock banner in the parade. Scott and Melanie threw a tent up in the yard of the house we rented and it started feeling like Sturgis.   
     One of the biggest changes this year was having a crew and more pacers.  Before, Joyce would crew because Joe and I would be about the same speed and in 2012 Brian Ricketts paced me.  However, this year I had Joe as my main crew with Samantha O'Brien and then three pacers: Brooks Williams, Tony Russ, and Gina Chupka.  Additionally, after consultation with a 9 time Hardrock finisher Billy Simpson, I decided to cut my water in half.  The 3 previous starts, I started with about 110oz.  This year 52oz.  This made a big difference.  I had a pretty solid fueling strategy with Tailwind and VFUEL.  Lastly, even with the late snow melt and predicted rain, I knew my feet would be bullet proof because I was using Trail Toes anti-chafing/anti-blister cream.
     On the Wednesday before the race,  I sat down with Joe and based on some guessing we planned a 33:30 finish time using splits from Billy's 2012 round.  See the link for our mockup: HARDROCK_SPLITS.  This has my 2014 actual splits as well.  This 33:30 guess was also based on conversations and feedback from Billy.  The race check-in went well.  I packed drop bags and we waited.
     Race morning I got dressed and went over to the gym and started working on my video:

     At this point there is nothing to be worried about, just go run and have fun.  The early miles went as expected.  Strong climbs up to Grant Pass and Oscars.  Got some pretty good rain coming into Telluride, but I never slowed down.  As necessary I would drink water from the streams when my water would run out. My first bit of struggle was going up to Kroger's Canteen aid station out of Telluride.
     Before I cleared timberline I had to stop and throw up a few times.  I didn't know why at the time but I was mixing my Tailwind too strong.  I was putting 2 scoops per 16oz in my chest bottles.  After 8 hours I am guessing this was too much on the stomach.  I just wanted to try and get 300 calories an hour.  So I'd drink a bottle and take a gel.  I reached Kroger's pretty low so Roch and Megan gave me an O'Doul's to drink and some soda.
    Since I had low blood sugar, going down the 3 pitches to the road was slower than expected, but by the time I hit the road I felt much better and I hauled ass all the way to Ouray. 
      In Ouray I met my crew the second time, pretty pumped up.  I got to wear my sombrero I picked up at Clines Corners. 
    The crew fed me grilled cheese and chicken soup. I picked up Tony as my first pacer and we reached the Grizzly bear mine before we had to pull out our head lamps.  It started raining again when the sun went down, but by the time we reached Engineer aid station it stopped.  Tony was soaking wet because his jacket was shitty, but I was good.  We peaked and hit the road to Grouse Gulch aid station.  About a mile out, my IT band on my right knee was killing me.  Turns out my Hokas were causing me to pronate excessively and making my IT band hurt.  Paul Schmidt came to the rescue with his piece of panty hose trick.
     Here I picked up Brooks and we high tailed it up to the top of Handies Peak.  We made this section in 2hr50min and in the pre-hiking I made it in 2hr30min so I felt pretty good about how things were going.  I did push a bit going up, so the going down took a tad longer than I expected.  However, once we hit Burrows Park we hauled ass into Sherman and passed a few runners.
     Basically, everything went as planned until about 2 miles out of Pole Creek aid station.  I didn't have a hat or a buff to protect me from the sun.  Dammit.  I basically got overheated and my body started slowing down.  Looking back I should have laid in a stream for 5 minutes, got chilled and got my butt up and start running my tail off.  It's always a double edged sword though.  What if you got wet and chilled and a storm blows in?  We got in and out of Maggie's and made our way to Cunningham.  At the top of the first climb out of Maggie's we ran into a bit of sleet and hail, but nothing major.  It was a God send because it cooled me off and I was able to function a bit more efficiently.
     Brooks was doing a great job keeping me moving, taking selfies, regular pics, and throwing up!
     As we rolled into Cunningham, I was okay but pretty exhausted.  I knew that sub 35 at this point could be attainable, but I'd have to work really, really hard.  My first goal of finishing in the day light, I knew I would make.  I decided I'd take my time getting to the finish.  Does it really matter?   Yea, it does to some extent, but I was happy and satisfied. 
     I picked up Gina as my last pacer and we climbed up to the top of the final climb.  We got a bit of hail on us, but nothing to write home about.  Just kind of cooled us off.  Once we started heading downhill, the last seven or so miles into town I sat down on a rock.  I get a bit nostalgic at the end of events sometimes.  All this struggle, the labor, it will be over soon.  I wanted to hold on to it a bit longer.  Scotty Mills and his pacer went by.  I figured I should get moving.  We walked it in to town.
     As we approached the ski lodge, Bill Dooper met us.  That was a real treat.  He is ultrarunning's biggest fan and I enjoy seeing him at the races and chatting.  Coming down the final stretch on Reese Street,  I could see my crew standing in the middle of the road. For some reason Joe was walking Samantha's dog.  It was comical.  Here is us at the rock:

Reflections: Mostly I feel grateful and thankful.  For standing at the start line 4 times, for my friends who were there crewing me, pacing me, and bringing me to the finish line.  For a great mentor, coach, and friend who's made these Hardrock finishes possible. For the race itself.  That there is an event which demands all you've got.  For the ability to endure.  

               Esse quam videri  - To be, rather than to seem to be".

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chuy's To Chuy's Walk 2014

      Why would anyone want to walk from the Chuy's Mexican food restaurant in Selma, TX to the Chuy's restaurant in Austin, TX at Barton Springs?  Why not.  My friend Thomas Orf started this event about 4 years ago and has asked me numerous times to take part.  I never have.  In May, I saw him finish his walk from Austin to Selma with 3 other friends and then ride their bicycles home.  They looked really gassed.  As we were having a cold beer and sharing a meal at the Chuy's, I said, "Man this looks cool.  I'm going to do this as well." 
      That's how it all started. I went home and created a Facebook event and invited friends to take part on July 26th.  Pretty simple.  As the week came upon us, Jorge asked if we were really still going to do this, "Yes bro!"   Vincent Antunez from Trail Toes sponsored us and also took part. 
     The rules are simple.  Walk to Chuy's.  No running, no hotels.  The spirit of the event is for all participants to start and finish together.  We had a great time.  It took us 23 hours.   We left about 1430 on Saturday and finished at 1330 on Sunday.  No sleeping.  All went well for me except for my shoes were kinda dead after Hardrock. 

Here are my reflections from the Walk:
-Don't do it, WiFi on will kill battery in GoPro, my singing isn't as good as I thought, Hardrock kills Hokas, if you get an offer to ride the party bus you should take it, its really hot in Texas in July, jalapeƱos and 100k don't mix, I've got great friends, and Austin looks a lot closer on the map.

And Jorge's:
- John's jokes don't get better as time progress
- trim your damn nails before walking 100k (and calluses)
- San Marcos looks better from a car (at 70mph) but they do apparently thrown killer parties
- they need a gas station between San Marcos and Kyle damn it!
- never understimate a guy with short legs, even after 50 miles and having done a 100 miler 2 weeks prior
- For all the Hoka OneOne love I always hear, pretty clear that I should stick with Pearl Izumi/Running
- John and Vincent kick ass
- never say never

 And Vincent's: 

-I now realize you don't need bling to make an event an event
-Doing any distance over 26.2 may in fact make you an ultra marathoner if it can be verified by others
-Saturday night drivers have a tendency to drive toward the light rather than away from it.
-John can only remember the some of the words to a lot of very old and very country, western songs but he knows all the lines to tombstone, young guns, and good will hunting
-No matter how dead an animal is it still stinks
-There is now at least one 7-11 gas station attend that at least knows the name Mises, and because of that I didn't get my much needed ten minute nap
-I can now say I know how it feels to walk a mile in John Sharps shoes
-Jorge has a great stride and makes it look effortless and no matter how hard I tried I could never keep up
-My wife is incredibly forgiving and accommodating and Isabella is cute as hell when placed in front of a camera
-My boy Phillip is a great soul who is in the process of becoming a better man, but even he thinks it is crazy to leave the house at 1000 pm to bring his father another pair of shoes, because the ones he was wearing hurt his feet (help you understand some of the statements above)
-Finally, 62 miles is a long way to walk for Salsa and beer, because that was about all I could tolerate after we started eating.
I do also want to thank Bill who called for a table at Chuy's so we didn't have to wait too long and also helped in other ways, you are a good man my friend

Vincent cried a bit :) about not getting any bling, so made him a finisher certificate:

Then I made a YouTube video: 

      Next year we'll go with the main group with Thomas leading.  Maybe try and get about 20 of us to participate.  That will be fun.  You don't need an official organized event to challenge yourself.  Create your own adventure.  Thanks Thomas.

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:


  • 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 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