Friday, October 30, 2009


Finally! I ran to the lab this morning. What an absolutely excellent way to start the day.

Unfortunately, the route requires about 2 miles of roads before I hit the trolley trail at 71st and Brookside. This sucked for two reasons. First, there were tons of leaves covering the sidewalk and the street, this made it hard to see the little bumps in the road or sidewalk that'll trip you up if you're not careful. Second, the dammed cars. God, I don't know how people go and pound pavement next to streets all the time. The cars are so annoying. I'll take the deer, skunks, rocks, mud, horses, snakes and spiders over the exhaust-ridden, noisy, inconsiderate roads any day.

I didn't run the whole way. The urge to see a man about a horse (aka: poo) hit me about a mile from the lab. It wasn't subtle either. I managed a shuffle to contain the problem. Then I hit the stairs at UMKC...yeah, not comfy.

Monday, October 26, 2009


So, I finally bit.

Yesterday was a stairmaster day (mostly so I could study and exercise, or, really, feel like I was studying).

I did some weights and realized what a wimp I've become.

At the end, I decided to knock a few miles off on the treadmill. So, after 20 or so minutes of running my foot started to hurt. Pretty standard on the treadmill for me. There had just been a discussion on the ultra list about barefoot running on the treadmill. I thought this sounded kooky, but as my foot ached I started to wonder: "what would it feel like"?

So, I slipped the shoes and socks off, got on the treadmill and started walking. Hmm, my foot started to feel good almost right away. Odd. I cautiously turned the speed up, just to a slow jog. It felt...well, it felt really wrong but not physically, just mentally. Like I was violating some running rule. But, my foot felt great, so I kept going. I ended up only doing about 1/2 a mile but it was fantastic.

My feet did hurt last night; it was weird to be sore in my feet.

I'm not sold, but I'm optimistic about adding some barefoot cross-training to strengthen my feet/ankles.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time to Start Thinking About Rocky!

15 weeks. Yay.

Ok, I'm working on my training plan today. I have a simple goal: sub 24-hour finish.

One big (pun intended) thing I need to work on for this race is getting my weight back down. I'm at 205 (after my haircut this morning) and that's not going to be fun come race-day. I'd really like to run the race at 190. That's a pound a week - quite doable.

So, expect a bunch of weight reports, weekly mileage logs and other stuff related to getting ready for this race over the next few months.

2009 Men's Health Urbanathalon

I ran the Men's Health 2009 Urbanathalon last weekend up in Chicago. Definitely a different kind of race for me. It's a 12-ish mile course with obstacles: monkey bars, marine hurdles, stadium stairs, taxi cabs, a 8' wall and a tire obstacle.

My girlfriend Erin, my buddy Jeremiah, his girlfriend Erin and I flew up there on Friday morning. Instead of taking it easy the day before the race we spent most of Friday walking around the city. We did turn in early that night...well, they did, I couldn't sleep, so I spent three hours in the lobby reading books and trying to get tired. Figures.

We got up around 6 on Saturday for the race. Jeremiah and I headed down there early, we decided to walk/run there instead of cabbing it. Seemed like a good way to warm up. It was about a mile and a half away and during the hike down there it started a strange rain/drizzle/snow/hail combination. I actually liked it, as I'm a fan of running in weather like that.

Anyways, we got to the start, stretched, wasted time, etc. The way the race was started was moronic. They simply divided us up by age and sex. So, males under 25 started first, followed by 25-29 males, etc. I felt pretty bad for people who started in, say, the 30-35 age group and had trained for the race and felt like the had a chance to place. They'd be forced to weave in and out of hundreds of people who had started before them. They gave us about 5 mins between heats, which didn't help the serious competitors at all.

We started off towards the North, headed to Navy Pier. At the pier we encountered our first obstacle, the tires. Simple, run through the tires, jump over the big ones, run through more tires, etc. Not a tough obstacle, you just had to make sure you weren't stuck behind someone really slow.

After the pier we headed back down South, towards Solider Field. At Solider Field, heading South, we hit the second obstacle, the monkey bars. Again, a simple obstacle, as long as you had good momentum and weren't stuck behind someone who decided to just hang there or drop off and not get out of the way.

We continued South. We were on mile 7 or 8 when I started really wanting some sports drink. They had water stations that were just that, water only stations. No Gatorade, Powerade, nothing. Just water. That really sucked.

The turn-around was the marine hurdles. Man, I didn't expect these. First off, they were on a sand volleyball court. Running up to it was the first time I'd wished I'd had gaiters on. I cleared the first two ok. The third one was tougher. I swear I had to jump higher to get it (I think because of the slope of the beach). I tried 3 times to get over it, and I couldn't. Shiiittt. Screw it, I went under it. I felt like a loser for that. Better yet, Jeremiah saw me fail to get over that last hurdle. Excellent.

Heading back North we had three obstacles left, the stairs, the taxi cab and the wall. I wasn't moving nearly as fast as Jeremiah wanted me to. I wasn't tired or worn out, I was just moving at my own pace, which I like to think is a consequence of running ultras. I like to think that, it's probably not true.

We got to Soldier Field in short order and started up the stairs. We headed up to the top level and were ushered into one of the sections. This part was the definition of a clusterfuck. They had two sections of stairs for us to run and were randomly dividing us between the sections. We were told to run past the first and do the second. Ok. We got to the second and found a giant mass of people trying to crowd into the same small section entrance. On top of that, the runners from the first section were coming out right next to us. It was a total disaster. We must have wasted 5 minutes just standing there trying to get onto the stairs.

The stairs were mostly a walk, not a run. There were so many people going up and down you didn't get much of a chance to walk until you ran into someone's rear. I didn't mind this much as I didn't have the energy to run the stairs.

We left Soldier Field and headed to the finish. I wasn't moving nearly fast enough for Jeremiah and he spent most of the last part trying to speed my ass up. It wasn't happening. We got back to the start, hopped the cab and waited in line to scale the wall. Jeremiah helped me over. I don't know if I needed it or not, but it was nice to have the help.

We finished in 1:56 and something. Not bad. The winner ran a 1:08, I think. Which is completely insane.

Once it was over I felt like I could easily do the course three more times. I don't know if that's a mental and/or physical shortcoming I have now. I didn't feel like I could run faster during the race, but I could do the race several more times.