Monday, September 18, 2017

Barkley Fall Classic - 4th Finish

     I must have run the Fall Classic Saturday.  I can tell because I'm gimping around everywhere I walk and I can't squat to the toilet or get into my car. 
     My feet are fine. No blisters, thanks to Trail Toes.  But my glutes, hammies, quads, calves are all revolting.  They are pissed off.  
     Gina, Kyle, and I rolled into Rugby, TN Friday afternoon.  We checked into the Pioneer Cottage, our place we have stayed the last 4 years.  We then drove over to Wartburg for the packet pickup and map review.  
      We were able to say hellos and chat with friends!  Tim gave us the low down on the course for this year.  This year we were to go up the North Bird Mountain Trail, to the Jeep road, across 116, to the power line.  Down Testicle Spectacle to the Church.  Then back up and over down meth lab hill to the prison.  The up Rat Jaw to the fire tower.  The big rule of staying in the power line cut on these sections of power lines was going to be enforced, strictly this year.  Once we reached the fire tower,then we were to head to the Garden Spot, along the North Boundary trail, to Jury Ridge, Phillips Creek, and down Bird Mountain Trail, to the yellow gate, and the last section was the same, the Chimney Top trail to Spicewood and back to the finish. Basically, the first two sections were flip-flopped from previous years.  
     This course change was a bit diabolical, as we were to soon find out Saturday morning. 
We arrived at the start area about an hour before the start.  Unlike last year when we arrived, 10 minutes before the start. 
     My plan to was run hard until we hit the trail, so I could get in front of the main group, trying to be in the top 30 or so. So that is what I did.  However, the North Bird Mountain Trail is "runnable" if you are pretty fit, so every one kept on running.  So, John did as well. After about 30 minutes into the race I told myself, "John if you don't start taking some walk breaks, you are going to blow up."  So, I started to take some walk breaks.  We finally got to Tub Springs aid station!  But being as it's all down hill to the highway, we had to run that section fast a hell too.  You don't want to be stuck behind the conga line of folks going down Testicle who don't know where they are going and haven't protected themselves from the briars.  
     I chatted a bit with a nice dude, who had just done the Breckenridge Spartan Ultra Beast and placed fifth.  But, was like, hey man, we gotta run!  
     Once we reached the highway, We had a nice hill to walk up, going towards Fodderstack and the power line of Testicle.  We turned left and i pulled the work gloves out of my pack.  I was already wearing calf sleeves, arm sleeves,  and tights that covered my knees. I told the Spartan race guy who was with me, "This is where the race starts, follow me."  
     I started bombing down the hill, slipping, sliding, and busting new heart rate highs.  At about the 3rd section, I ran smack into a small conga line of about 10 folks.  I said, "On your left."  But they didn't want to move.  One guy says, "Hey man, we are in a line here, you need to wait."  I said, "Naw bruh, we gotta move."  It was clear they were not sure where to go or how to get there, so I just blew past them.  Basically that put me in about the top 8 to 10 or so.  
     Things went well until just before the sign to turn left to the church and the second aid station.  I got this killer cramp in my right calf, and had stop.  The cramp was so bad, my foot was cramping.  All those folks started passing me.  I downed like 4 S-Caps.  
     I had two problems.  1. It was so hot and humid I was sweating my balls off and 2, those calf sleeves were cutting off circulation to my calves.  Mostly because my calves are so dammed big, the calf sleeves barely fit.  
     I got to the church just in front of those folks though, because they inclined right of the proper azmiuth, and I dropped to the creek and went up the creek bed for a bit and then to the road.  The map didn't show us having to go exactly to the road.  Either way, We all left together, but I started cramping on the inside of both thighs, as we were climbing back up tot the power line.  
     I needed to back off a little bit, but I know that to be successful at this race, you gotta put the hammer down, and never let up.  I made it back up to Armes Gap and dropped down Meth Lab Hill, towards the prison.  I was recovering from the cramping but was still pretty border line. 
     Once I reached the prison, we were able to get more water and I hit up some more S-Caps.  However, by the time I got to the ladder to go over the wall, my inside thighs started cramping again.  I didn't want to get on the ladder, because I didn't want to cramp up and fall off the dammed ladder.  I paused a bit, climbed over, cramped a bit and sat down on the other side and talked with Keith for a minute or so.  
     With the cramping subsiding, and a few more S-Caps, I went into the tunnel and sat down in the water, to cool off my legs.  That seemed to do the trick.  So I started up Rat Jaw.  I could see large group of folks above me, prob 15 or so, in another conga line, picking their way through the briars.  My first instinct was a to start hauling ass up the hill, but thought it would be better to keep a more steady relaxed pace and just wait until I catch them. 
     Just before where the power line turns left, I caught that pack, and went around them and started breaking trail.  The group splintered for a bit, but came back together, behind Rob Youngren, after we went over the capstone.  By this time, there were about 50 runners in the conga line, and I was somewhere about #8.  
     One guy reached the fire tower about 10 minutes before the whole conga line, and it was said they saw him taking unfair advantage by going under the trees to the left.  I don't know who that guy was.  
     Anyway, we reached the crowd of folks at the fire tower and began climbing up to get our punch.  As we were going back down the stairs, I thought, "Man I gotta haul ass back to Tub Springs, because I don't want to get caught behind all these folks at the aid station."  I really needed to make some shoe adjustments, but took off anyway. 
     I got to Tub Springs in good shape, got my water filled up, drank some Sword and was finally able to remove those dammed calf sleeves, arm sleeves, and put them all away in my pack with the heavy as soaking wet, leather gloves.  
     Onward we went up to Coffin Springs, over the gate, towards the Garden Spot.  About half way there is an old coal road that goes off to the right and some folks were wondering which way to go.  Little did I know,  a shit ton of those folks behind me, went down that coal road.  Which explains why only like 3 persons passed me from Garden Spot to the Yellow Gate.  Oh well.  
     I got the punch from Mike at the Garden Spot, after watching the eventual second place guy, run up the uphill to the Garden Spot.  I was thinking, "Shit, this guy is running this part, got dammit."  I busted my ass as we left there and got on the CT, where it's got the white blazes on the trees, in the top Northeast corner of the park.  But it was a quick recovery.  
     As I was running downhill, I was thinking, "Jeeze my feet are sliding around in my shoes and I need to tighten them up at the aid station."  Well, about 30 seconds later I took a hard tumble/fall and started cramping real bad again in my inner thighs.  I thought it would be best to go ahead and tighten up my shoes, now. So I did that and about 15 runners went by. Great!!! 
     I got up and ran to the coal ponds and wasn't looking and missed the left turn on to the true North Boundry Trail / North Bird Mountain Trail with the orange blazes.  No problem though, I knew it was wrong and turned around right away.  
     We cruised over to the Squire Knob aid station for our punch.  I counted the runners, and there were 11 in front of me, and about 4 at the aid station.  I made quick work of the aid station, but prob drank 3 bottles of water and one of Sword before leaving with two full bottles of Sword.  At around Phillips Creek, I was finally able to take a piss.  And boy it was yellow.  The eventual women's winner passed me just under the ridge before we met back up with the Cumberland Trail. 
     I cruised down the 12 or 13 switchbacks to the yellow gate, but stopped and got some water at the spigot at Big Cove Campground.  Some guy said I was in 8th place, and I figured that was prob about right.  
     I got into the aid station where Laz sends you out for the 3rd and last part of the course, but lost time dicking around with my water bladder.  I had put carbo pro powder in there before hand, but the tube got stopped up.  Really pissed me off.  I also had a hard time finding my drop bag with my poles, which after I got back on the trail, I thought, it was stupid to use them because they weren't truly necessary.  
     Tim Dines and I hiked up to Chimney Top but I was feeling weak and shitty.  I ate some fig newton style of bar at the aid station and it was causing me stomac upset.  So I stopped to throw up for a bit.  Tim took off.  
     Basically on the whole last section, I saw Tim and that was it.  I did finally catch Tim after stopping to chat with Kyle and Larry at the last aid station, on my way into the finish.  I passed Laz again and had just the short road section to go.  I thought for sure I'd catch at least one runner.  However, all the runners I passed were marathon finishers who either didn't make the cutoff, or didn't want to do the Chimney Top.  I did still haul ass all the way in.  However, I was 8 minutes slower than last year.  
     I milled around afterwards waiting on Gina to finish, ate my ribeye sandwich, talked with friends, drank some beer, vodka, and whisky. Gina finished about 12 and a half hours.  
     Kyle drove us back to Rugby where we all slept in, before driving back to Nashville on Sunday.  In  Nashville we had a great time Sunday afternoon.  We went to Printers Alley, to the Burbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar.  Then to Merchant's for drinks, fried green tomatoes, and pimento cheese.  Then to Rodizio Brazlian Grill, for all you can eat meat and a 36$ bottle of 8$ wine.  Afterwards, we stopped over at Legends Corner for a night cap, then an Uber Ride back to the hotel!  
    It was another successful weekend in Tennessee!  Gina and I have both finished the race 4 times, the whole 50K.  There are 7 of us left who have completed all 4, The Magnificent Seven.   Next year, I'm going to sign up as Yule Brenner.  The Pioneer Cottage reservations have been made.  If we finish next year, then Steve has a special award for us!  For the 5th year!  
     Now recovery!  Then more, Vert! More Miles. Get faster!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

John's Kaihōgyō

     UPDATE: 10/30/2017 - This will not be taking place this year.

What does Kaihōgyō mean?  It translates into English as, circling the mountain.   The wiki entry is here:

     I've been enamored with this idea for a few years.  I spoke with Gina about it in 2014 after reading John Stevens book: The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei.  

     I'm not looking for enlightenment per se, but discipline.  So these monks in Japan do a 100 days of a certain mileage going from temple to temple saying prayers, etc..  They do this for seven years and there is quite a bit of other things invovled that you can read about on the wiki entry. 
      I'll be turning 40 years old in November and I want to do something that is or seems impossible.  Because who knows how many years I have left on this rock.  

Enter, John's Kaihōgyō.

What does this look like for me?  It looks like this.  I am planning on starting Oct 30th 2017 and will finish 100 days later on Feb 6th 2018.  What will I do?  I plan to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.  I started back on snuff a few months ago, so I'll be quit before this starts and will start tapering caffeine at the beginning in Oct.  I've already stopped alcohol, so hopefully I can maintain since my goal is no alcohol until Sept 2018.  Here is the rest of my plan:

40K a day running/walking with 5K a day of vert (vert will be achieved on the TM)
40K a day on indoor bike trainer*
10K a day on indoor rower*
100 thrusters @ 95lbs*
100 Deadlifts @ 185lbs*
100 Kettlebell swings*
100 Burpees
100 pushups
100 situps
10 minutes of planks
40 pullups

Basically, this will be 6 to 7 hours a day of  "working out".

I have 2.5 months to buildup to this, so that is what I'll be working on.  From now until then.

I don't really know if I can actually do this, but outside of my "El Camino de Lavaca Pilgrimage" Dec 4th - 10th my schedule is open and I have purposely kept it so.  I wasn't sure if I would really commit to this, but I think that I need this in my life.  The items above with * may get skipped on the El Camino days, but I'll see about having these brought to me each day so I can keep my goal.  If not, 93 days of the above is still killer.

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Looking Ahead into 2018

Gonna be brief.

10 years ago I started running, one goal was to quit drinking and be a good runner.

10 years later and I'm mediocre at both.

August 1st 2018, Gina and I will be running the Trans Pyrenees.

This is the greatest challenge either of us have considered.  200K of vert, 535 mile, 20 days.

I want to be my best.

Also, I have a personal challenge of 880 mile bike ride across Texas in late Feb 2018.

Did I mention the 888K Infinitus as well in 2018? I'm signed up for that.

I don't know if I can complete any of these 3 adventures.

But I do know, that if I want a shot, I gotta be better.

From Nov 1 to 100 days later, I will run 20 miles per day. 

I have to get ready.

I will not drink any alcohol until Sept 2018, starting Aug 1 2017. 

I'm working on some diet options as well, but will up veggies and reduce meat.

Wish me luck.  Long road ahead.