Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall/Winter Season 2012/2013

Date   Location    Race                     Distance  Time  Place
9-15 Bettsville, OH      MAL Alumni Race      5000m  17:57   4th
9-22 Logan, OH           Indian Run        60,000m  5:12:14  3rd
10-6 Mackinaw City, MI   Mackinaw Bridge Race 5.6mi  30:54   3rd
11-22 Tiffin, OH         Turkey Trot          5mi    30:40   1st
12-1  Tiffin, OH       Run Like the Dickens   5000m  17:48   1st
1-1  Granville, OH    Don’t Freeze Your Fat Ass  50,000m  4:35:00 1st
1-27 Estes Park, CO    Frost Giant           5000m   20:02   8th
1-27 Estes Park, CO    Frost Giant          10,000m  42:11   8th

Statistics Post Indian Run Training Block
Month               Miles     Average Miles per day     Longest Run
September           68.04          13.61                  15.05
October             351.24         12.11                  20.00    
November            431.21         14.37                  19.32    
December            405.86         13.53                  22.26    
2012 Totals         4358.39        12.97                  100.00    

Midland Athletic League Alumni 5 Kilometer Race
myself, Goose, Juice, Stu

This was just a fun-run styled race prior to a high school varsity race. It was fun to reminisce and get in some miles with some old teammates and competitors.

Indian Run 60K at Hocking Hills
2012 Hocking Hills Training Block              
Month     Run Miles         Average Miles per day    
August        44.1             11.03         
September     248.15           12.91    

Interestingly enough I was terribly sick about 5 hours before leaving for the race. I had to get a ride home from work early and I was questioning whether or not I would be able to run. However, I awoke at 3am and was feeling okay so I picked up one of my best friends Zach “Goose” Gase and we headed for Hocking Hills. Goose made an eclectic playlist for the journey and upon arriving he signed up for the 10K and I checked in for my 60K.
Goose & I post race

The weather was ideal, a little cool in the morning with a slight haze in the air. The coarse was muddy and a little difficult to get firm foot plants. However, it was still a very fast course, only one rather lengthy hill and a few rolling hills and tight corners on single-track trails. Felt solid throughout, came through the first 12.6 in around an hour and a half, 25.2 in around three hours fifteen minutes. I slowed into the last loop, and faded out toward the end. Nick Hanson passed me near the start of the third loop and I momentarily passed the second place runner with about 3 miles remaining but was passed back shortly there after. Movement was difficult after this race but not nearly as bad as Leadville.

Austin, myself, Goose

Mackinaw Bridge Race 5.6 miler
Mackinaw Bridge
This was a great weekend event, once again Goose and I hit the road from Tiffin to Mackinaw City. Along the way we stopped at Tony’s I-75 Restaurant and met up with the group of friends we would also be running the race with. The race also marked the official start of the cross fit games, which I agreed to compete in despite my very limited lifting in the past couple of      months.                      We checked in early in  
the morning and a bus took us to the Upper Peninsula where we would be starting the race. Much to my dismay, it was a staggered start, therefore I was unable to actually race the two people that beat me. Normally I would not write this but, I feel the outcome would have been different had I actually been able to race my competitors.
Regardless, the race was a lot of fun, I had a strong tail wind and an amazing view of Lake Michigan and Huron. There was a nip in the air and was about 36 degrees but it felt pretty good. After the race I waited for my friends to come across, Goose had a great race considering he only recently started running again. It was great to be able to train with him throughout the fall and I was amazed with his vast improvements in running. Additionally, Kyle Smathers, Austin Mass and his wife Rachele, along with several others had strong finishes. Our group from Tiffin cleaned house in the overall finishes. Post race involved a polar bear jump in Lake Huron, hot tub, and some fireworks over the lake.

Turkey Trot 5 miler and Run Like the Dickens 5 kilometer
Great Serpent Mound
This were both local events, the Turkey Trot was unofficial but I basically ran with a cross country runner from Akron University for the whole thing and we came in together. I was pretty happy with my time considering I had done zero speed work and was not really digging that deep into the well.
Run Like the Dickens is a 5 kilometer race that has been going on in Tiffin for about 20 years. It takes a scenic route along the Sandusky River and it has been one of my favorite winter races to do since high school. Nick Fabrizio does a great job of putting together this race and making it an entertaining event. Nick, along with Stu Behm were my greatest mentors for the Leadville 100. I received invaluable advice about the course and the race from them both.

Don’t Freeze Your Fat Ass 50 kilometer Race
Running around those Tiffin Streets
This was a great way to start off the New Year, my newfound friend from Leadville, Jay Smithberger and his wife Shelly hosts this event at their home in Granville. It is not an official race but more of a get-together with 30 miles mixed in. This was easily my favorite course of the winter, about 4-5 inches of snow on the ground and some secluded wooded trails. Although more of a fun-run, I feel it got a bit of a serious tone in the last 8 to 10 miles. I tried my best to hang in the front through the trails and then put in my kick on the hilly road section. The race went well and I was able to win the coveted chicken hat.

Frost Giant 5 and 10 Kilometer Races
Frost Giant 10K
I moved to Estes Park, Colorado on January 6th of 2013 after I obtained a position as greenhouse intern for Rocky Mountain National Park. I continued training and decided to run these two local races after seeing them advertised around town. The course was somewhat hilly and very windy, but the weather was unseasonably warm with no snow in sight. I feel that the altitude does not affect my running at all, but it certainly affects my racing. These two races were easily the slowest times in those distances I have ever ran. Considering the 5K was 5 minutes off my PR and the 10K was 10 minutes off my PR. Either way it was a good time and a good measuring stick that I was not where I should be in terms of training.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Leadville 2012 vs Leadville 2013 (continued)

 LEADVILLE 100: 2; 2013
Apryle, me, Walt, Craig, Catherin

                                          Pre Race
Apryle and Dad setting up tent
This year I moved to Estes Park, Colorado in January so I had over a year of living at altitude and training in mountainous terrain. I believe I did roughly 30 mountain summits including 8 of which that were 14ers. I also managed a couple of trips up Longs Peak and a traverse of the Mummy Range and a Continental Divide crossing. However, my mileage per week dipped a little below where I like it to be for the summer but my race actually turned out better this year. I attribute this to the SAID principle or specific adaptations to imposed demands. Because the majority of my long runs were run/hikes in the mountains I feel I was better prepared for a race with ample elevation gain. Additionally, I did a lot more racing and track workouts this summer; including the Collegiate Peaks 50 and the Estes Park Marathon (which I will describe at another time). 

Summer Mileage:
2012                             2013

May                              May

20-26  =   101.68                88.47
June                             June
27-2   =   102.85                91.52
3-9    =   100.44                89.54
10-16  =   102.06                62.81
17-23  =   100.89                102.83
24-30  =   111.77                90.70
July                             July
1-7    =   101.58                105.31
8-14   =   104.61                88.57
15-21  =   126.52                68.08
22-28  =   123.37                92.94
August                           August
29-4   =   111.05                107.49
5-11   =   80.65                 100.20
12-18  =   147.36                131.50

Leadville Split Comparison
Green means timing was faster and Red means timing was slower than 2012

                                          May Queen and Fish Hatchery
Myself en route to Half Pipe
This year I camped out with my crew and I slept slightly better than in 2012 but still got very little rest. The race started out even quicker than last year and I was feeling pretty good but took a slight turn off course with a small pack of runners and added about a half mile to the race. However, I still made it into the aid station a little quicker than last year. I was able to run all the way up Sugar Loaf this year but I took it a little easier down powerlines. I kind of missed the old location of Fish Hatchery aid station but only for nostalgia sake.

Half Pipe/Twin Lakes/Hope Pass
Myself en route to Twin Lakes
The middle section was a little tougher for me this year, I was hurting on my way into Half Pipe so I alternated running and walking for a few miles. I came into Twin Lakes quite a bit slower this year and remember telling my pacer, Apryle, that she would have her work cut out for her getting me back up and over Hope Pass. I jogged to the water crossing and then hiked the remainder to the top in about the same time as last year. 

Winfield/Hope Pass/Twin Lakes
I was actually able to run down into Winfield this year in a respectable time (3:00 per mile faster than last year). I felt great until I reached the road and then the fatigue and realization that I had not eaten anything on the way down set in. I got to the aid station and I was out of it to say the least, 
I can remember that I lost 9 pounds and was having trouble standing back up. My dad fed me while Apryle covered me in sunscreen, while I was helpless in a chair. For some reason I got up and we headed back up the pass. I can remember wanting to lay down in what was probably the most uncomfortable spot on the coarse but I could not bring myself to walk any longer. When I got up Apryle did an amazing job of making sure I ate something every couple of minutes and by the time I was at the top of the pass I was feeling great. I truly believe that this race is finished with your stomach not your heart (although I'm not discrediting the romanticized tails of finishing this race with your heart it is a big part of it). I actually ascended in about the same time as last year and descended a little slower (planned).

Half Pipe/Fish Hatchery
Craig, me, Dad
As I got into Twin Lakes I met up with one of my best friends from high school, Craig Genet. I have put in more miles with Craig than any other person I know. Craig and I have been running together for almost 8 years and having him as a pacer was only fitting. We put in several miles in Estes Park this summer after he moved to the small mountain town as well. My crew was a well oiled machine with Tiffin Legend Walt Szablewski leading the crew for a second year along with Craig's sister Catherin (Big Cat), and two of the toughest and fittest people I know Apryle Craig and Craig Genet. Craig and I set off on the trail to Half Pipe where I took it real easy. I did not want a repeat of 2012 so I walked nearly all of it and got into Half Pipe 16 minutes slower that last year. However, Craig and I started hammering the pace into Fish Hatchery and I made up over 40 minutes from last year! I think my strategy coupled with Apryle's insistence on eating every couple of minutes paid off.
me finishing (photo credit Bryon Powell of irunfar)

May Queen/Finish
What a difference a year makes, came into Fish Hatchery, put on some warm cloths grabbed some food and took back off on the road. The time spent on the cot this year was non existent. Apryle and I took off to tackle Sugar Loaf Pass in a steady walk. It was a brutally seemingly endless assent to the top of the pass that I still do not really want to go into detail about. Suffice to say 
that I am glad I had such a great pacer
Dad and I
for the two mountain passes. We cruised down into May Queen where we met up with the crew and enjoyed the energized atmosphere of the final aid station. I remember saying as Craig and I left that we would see them at the finish around 4am. I felt great and in complete control around the lake with Craig keeping a solid clip going. As we hit the Boulevard, Apryle swapped back in to pace in place of Craig and we started ramping up the pace. We probably rolled up about 15 people in the last 4 miles. It was a exciting movement to have all my crew surrounding me as I run toward the finish. I quickly put on the indelible blazer (a high school mascot of sorts) and turned on the after burners over the line.

Craig, me, Apryle
I was very pleased overall with how the race went, I will always be striving to improve my time but I cannot complain about breaking 24 hours. I knocked off over 2:24 minutes from 2012 and I feel that I can do the same in 2014. Once again I could not have done it without the support of my crew: Dad, Apryle, Craig, Big Cat and Mom back at home routing me on! Grad school should add a new complexity to things but I hope to be back for round 3 next year!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leadville 2012 vs Leadville 2013

LEADVILLE 100:  I;  2012

Pete, Tom, Troy (neighbor in hotel), John, myself
Pre Race

Left home town Tiffin, Ohio on July 18th with my roomate from college, Tom Wilkin, his friend Pete Brown, and a college running rival and friend John Gogle. We arrived in Leadville, Colorado late July 19th. John and I got in an easy 10 miler and the next day I ran a little over a marathon from the hotel to May Queen and back. It was safe to say living at 10,200 feet had little to no effect on me. Training went well in Leadville, some big mileage weeks, a few trips up and down Hope and summits of Elbert and Massive.

Hope Pass Practice
                     Summer Mileage:
20-26 =   101.68
27-2   =   102.85
3-9     =   100.44
10-16 =   102.06
17-23 =   100.89
24-30 =   111.77
The crew on Mount Massive (Pete, Tom,
myself, John)
1-7     =   101.58
8-14   =   104.61
15-21 =   126.52
22-28 =   123.37
29-4   =   111.05
5-11   =   80.65
12-18 =   147.36


May Queen and Fish Hatchery
It is safe to say that I did not sleep at all the night before the race as I walked down the road to 6th street to toe the line. It was a surreal moment for me to be at the start of the race that had been camped in the back of my mind for over half a decade but I was not nervous but anxious. The race started much quicker than I anticipated but I remained fairly controlled, I believe the first half marathon was around 1:55. I can not more eloquently state what has already been said about this trip around the lake, so much like I did in the race, I will blow through this station onto Fish Hatchery. Running up Sugar Loaf was relatively easy and the trip down was a lot of fun hoping down the switchbacks along power lines. I entered Fish Hatchery at about 3:38 (23.5 miles) and was feeling settled into a pace.

Half Pipe/Twin Lakes/Hope Pass
I trucked along the road section and found a solid pack of 3 other runners to tackle the rolling terrain into Twin Lakes. This was a beautiful section yet uneventful, and as I entered the small town of Twin Lakes I was met with a tremendous positive energy and my loyal crew consisting of my dad and John. I was surprised to learn that I did not need a coat or anything for Hope Pass so that was positive considering the weather on top was looking good. It was a nice change of pace to hike the pass and get a break from running. I got to the aid station and sat for about 10 minutes and took in some calories, a finally reached the top of the pass in about 8:19.

Winfield/Twin Lakes/Half Pipe
Feeling confident at Elbert Mini Aid Station
The "run" down to Winfield was a disaster, I was feeling the effects of 45 miles under my legs and was sluggish and clunky as I stumbled down to the aid station. I was rejuvenated, however, when I finally reached the half way point and met up with my crew and pacer, Tom Wilkin. I hit the halfway point in 9:47 and Tom and I started back up the pass. I had a very difficult time reaching the top again that included me on my hands and knees on the switch backs near the top. But as if that never happened I started bounding down the other side in decent pace. Getting into Twin Lakes I was feeling confident with my position in the race and probably started back on the coarse a little too over confident. At around mile 68 that confidence was replaced with a slow stride and quads that were seizing up on me. My pacer Pete did an exceptional job keeping me motivated and even letting me lick some salt from his hand. However, I lost a lot of time on the way into Fish Hatchery and I thought my race might be over.

Pete and I
Fish Hatchery
I am a little fuzzy on the details while I was passed out in the Leadville Fish Hatchery but I will try to recall the memories here. I got into the aid station sat down, could barely move my lower extremities and every time I tried to stand would syncope. I'm told by my dad that my eyes rolled back in my head the doctor said that it was probably over for me and I laid down in a cot. My crew with the exception of my dad headed back for Ohio which left me without pacers. At some point after being out of it for over an hour I popped up and started back onto the course. My dad put in an effort that I will be forever grateful for but had to head back as we started up the powerlines. However, on the way up I ran into Jay Smithberger and Shaun Pope (who I was passed out next to in the Fish Hatchery) and luckily they took me under their wing and helped me get up the pass. I believe Jay described this as my moment of overcoming the turning point that every first time ultra runner experiences.

Above: Jay (drinking out of cup),
Shaun (kneeling), Me (only shoes visible)
Below: Dad and I pre race
May Queen to Finish
I continued on with Jay and Shaun, dropped them for a few miles then they passed and dropped me, as I got to the Boulevard I was all alone in the night. However, as I came out onto the street I saw my dad standing at the intersection at 4 and he started walking with me. After all the preparation, we did not have a headlamp that was our own, I was using my dad's socks as gloves and we had no food or water left. I was moving in a modified walking shuffle into the finish, but my dad stayed by my side and we somewhat poetically finished the race side by side on his birthday. I collapsed across the line in 26:05:47 and spent a good bit of time in the medical tent.

It did not sink in until I was over the excruciating pain, but when I had some time to take it all in I would consider it the greatest accomplishment in my life. When asked why I would ever want to do it again people think I am crazy for answering, absolutely... about 29 more times if I am able. In my mind I would be crazy not to do it again if I am capable putting one leg in front of the other.

Stay tuned for Leadville II 2013 Edition.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I started running as a sophomore in high school after my freshman basketball coach convinced me to run track. I believe the motive may have been to get me off the basketball court more than get me on the cinder but that is beside the point. Anyway, I can still recall my first race, it was by no means a good race or an important meet for that matter but it was a significant moment for me. I can recall sitting in 3rd place with 300 meters to go in the mile and I realized that I had a chance to kick down the two runners leading the race. I kicked them down but came up a little short losing by a few tenths of a second. Losing that race was enough to get me hooked and always striving for that first place finish. I can still recall talking to my coach Stu Behm after that race. He told me that it did not matter that I did not beat the two competitors, what mattered was that I did not give up on the race even though I was behind by a significant margin. After track season I was convinced to give cross country a try; a move that probably remained unnoticed by my football coach. The season went well but I was not satisfied and decided it was time to put in some real miles. Throughout much of my high school years I ran about 70 miles per week and as I continued running collegially I bumped my mileage to 90 miles per week. When I finally graduated from what I now consider sprints (5K, 10K, and Marathons) I could focus on what I considered to be my true passion: 100's. I bumped my mileage to 100 to 120 miles per week and moved to the mountains of Colorado where I held a position at Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado was also the place where the race that I have had on my calendar since 2007... Leadville, was held. I can still recall my boss from the restaurant that I worked at back in high school asking me if I wanted to do this race in a small town it Colorado. It sounded like an awesome idea but not something I could handle while competing in high school. After 6 years of talking about doing the Leadville 100 when I graduated college, my dream finally became a reality and I completed the race in 2012. I plan on doing the race at least 30 more times in my life barring any injury. In addition to my Leadville aspirations, I have set the goal of 100,000 miles in my life time... I am currently 23 years old and have run roughly 25,000 miles, so I hope I am on a sufficient pace; although the race of life could be cut short, dragged out painstakingly, or poorly marked. With that said I don't think that the idea of "pace" is applicable to this distance goal. Either way while I am alive and well I will try my best to reach it. In this blog I hope to outline my training plan, draw some new ideas from others and share some of my experiences with those who have too much free time on their hands. So if you have finished watching paint dry... you can follow me on my quest for 100,000 miles in my blog: Harriers to Chadron (Tom Wilkin will appreciate this title).