Bittersweet Symphony

Brad is currently holding down the fort over on the wild side of Intrigued giving me a chance to tie up some loose ends here on the mothership. Two of those pressing items are recent race recaps that took a backseat during the Halloween season. The first of these is the big one for the year – the attempt at the 100K ultra (a bit over 60 miles for those not familiar with those units). As a side note, this week I finally came to terms with my interest in this self-torture cleverly sugarcoated as mere “trail running”. In the past I’ve always quipped it was really training for dangerous encounters while chasing wildlife in the field. That isn’t exactly true, as all I really need to be is faster than the slowest person in the group – if Ron is with me…well, let’s just say I don’t need to run for over 14 hours to make it to safety. After this week I’m changing my response to “So I can deal with the fall leaf cleanup”. Pretty much 5 days straight for 5+ hours at a time battling the tree carnage – legs spent, arms spent, abs spent matching how I felt after the Farmdale Ultra Trail Run.

Farmdale Ultra Trail 50 Mile Race - October 9th, 2022

This year the race was held on October 9th/10th which puts it exactly one week after our big Halloween Haunted Trail event. Definitely not ideal timing as the haunt takes a lot of out of me. Adding to the difficulties, we had to make a trip out to Wichita, KS for a wedding, forcing taper a week earlier than usual. Managed to get the trail taken down during the first part of race week and added in a few small runs just to make sure the body was still oiled. By the time we headed to the course (day before the race start) everything was feeling relatively good – a big relief.

Should probably set the stage with some details on the race strategy. Technically, this particular ultra does not have an official 100K, instead, they offer a 10K, 1/2, 30M, 50M and the pinnacle 100M. Two years ago I completed the 30M (link here), last year my first 50M (link here) and this year I was officially signed up again for the 50M – yep, that’s short of the 62 for the 100K mark. As tradition goes, they offer upping to the 100M once you complete the 50M – one catch, if you take their offer, you give up the 50M accomplishment (and the buckle) and if you do not finish the additional 50M, then you go home with a big ol’ DNF for all your hard work. Get where I’m going here? Correct, I was going to toss the 50M finish and add an additional loop to put me at the 100K distance and then take the DNF because at the moment, that 100M is beyond my abilities (maybe in a year or two). This also gave me a safety net, if for some reason the extra loop was out of reach, I could simply take the win at the 50M mark – as Linda will attest, I like options!

Farmdale Ultra Trail 50 Mile Race - October 9th, 2022

Hit the jump for more details on how this race strategy played out!

Continue reading Bittersweet Symphony

Hey Look, Goats!

19 months ago I ran my last official trail race – actually make that my last official race of any kind.  That was the redemption 50K run at Farmdale towards the end of 2021 – before the damn pandemic decided to destroy my running events (link here).  I did participate in one virtual race in April of last year (link here), but frankly, that’s like paying someone to give you a medal for a training run – you were going to do it anyway except now it costs you to go out and run alone.  Now, that was for Make A Wish so the donation fee definitely went to a good cause.  The rest of the 2020 races ended up going to some form of virtual as well – all those I passed on.  Instead I focused on the planned 50 miler at Farmdale – a step up from the 30K the year before.  Trained and trained and trained until the disappointing news came that it was canceled as well.  2020 was a bust, and honestly, it was looking like 2021 was stacking up to be more of the same.  That is until Linda noticed the Blue Chevy Trail Classic Half Marathon at Farmdale Reservoir was taking entries!

Blue Chevy Trail Race, Farmdale East Peoria May 22nd, 2021

Hit the jump to read about my first race since forever.

Continue reading Hey Look, Goats!

The Least Suckiest

Happy July 4th to my fellow countrymen and women especially to those who have or currently serving  in the military which brought and sustains our freedom!

Somehow my next event clock got into the steroids as I was sure there was at least 2 or 3 months left before my next race and next think I know it is a mere two days away.  With the final training run in the books as of last night, at this point it’s all about getting some rest, doing a few more healing treatments on the tweaked ankle mentioned previously and then either put up or put the tail between the legs and admit defeat.  The good news is the ankle felt strong in the quick 6 mile test last night – forward direction seems to be recovered, just need to make sure I make the foot plants solid as the outer stabilizers are still a bit tender.  As long as I keep it warmed up during the race it should be fine and expectations are the rest of the body will be so battered I won’t even feel it.

However something will likely be sticking in the back of my mind and it all has to do with this.

Blue Chevy Classic Half Marathon Trail Run, May 18th, 2019

Yep, for the second year in a row, I took on the Blue Chevy Trail Classic back in May.  You can read all about my maiden run at this trail race on a previous post (link here).  If I remember correctly, that was my first official trail race.  Since that time I’ve added a number of others and have clearly grown to love this new venue.  It is definitely harder than the traditional road miles, but then again challenge is good for the soul (and my doctor’s and chiro’s pocketbooks).  With the extra experience from the other trail races and the luxury of having done several training runs on the same course since, there was a sense of more confidence than when I toed the line the first time.  Besides, this time the race coordinators stated there would be finisher medals this year which took the pressure off of having to place to get anything to show for the effort.

Blue Chevy Classic Half Marathon Trail Run, May 18th, 2019

Riiiiiiiigggggghhhhhht!   Turns out there was plenty to worry about that race day.

Hit the jump to read a bit more detail on how the race went.

Continue reading The Least Suckiest

The Trail of Sweat

Greetings from the road you all.  Linda and I are out on another photography trip in hopes of filling up are coffers for future blog material.  Hoping for the best, but so far it has been brutally hot which is likely why the bird opportunities are fairly slim at the moment.  As we head to our next location, thought I’d finally get around to recounting my new adventure in running.  In a few posts leading up to now, I allude to something new and likely difficult coming up.  Well, that time has come and evident by the fact I can still post about it – survived.
Blue Chevy Trail Classic Half Marathon, Farmdale Reservoir IL May 2018

I’ve been running on the road for 16 years straight now.  I remember the day distinctly when I had to admit to myself that the injuries were occurring faster than I could recover in my martial arts activities.  Having done that for so many years, it was tough to give that physical activity up, then Linda came to the rescue.  She told me about the Bix Race up in Davenport Iowa.  Sounded like a challenge so I bought some running shoes and ran all the way down my driveway and back (a bit longer than you might think, but still extremely short).  From that tired and winded effort, I added distance religiously until I could make it through the 7 miles in the hills.  In a little less than a month, I’ll but doing it again for the 16th year in a row, but now that distance seems short having complete a marathon and more half marathons than I can count.

Blue Chevy Trail Classic Half Marathon, Farmdale Reservoir IL May 2018

Hit the jump to learn about the new challenge I’ve recently conquered.

Continue reading The Trail of Sweat