Sunday, June 13, 2010

Steal the Seal 50k (31 miles)

Midnight (June 12th) Friday night/Saturday morning I started my first official ultra marathon of the year. Official because I did run past the marathon January 2 in an unofficial ran.
This race is called "Steal the Seal" because early in Oklahoma State history the first Capital was Guthrie. The story goes that the State Seal was stolen in the middle of the night and taken to Oklahoma City to make it the new Capital. So the premise was that we would symbolically return the seal to Guthrie.
At midnight we started our journey to Guthrie from the State Capital in Oklahoma City. Down Lincoln to 50th and then to Martin Luther King Dr. This street has several names as it passes through Oklahoma City to Edmond and beyond. I started with three other friends and we ran together for about six miles. One surged ahead and the other slowed down a bit after the first 10k. When we left Edmond it was very dark and the fireflies were putting on quite a light show for us. It was probably the most enjoyable part of the race outside of the finish. Bill and I stayed together until around 2o miles when I was starting to fade. Bill was still running strong, so he went on. It was about this time that we left pavement and hit a dirt road. It was very dark on the road and at this point I started to use my head light. The dirt road part wasn't bad except when cars would pass and then the dust was a problem. Since most of the cars were supporting us though, I'll take some dust. There were too few aid stations in the second half for the heat and humidity during this run. When I saw Cara and Shay on the dirt road it was like an oasis. I was out of water and knew there were no more aid stations until the finish. Another small change I'd make would be to put more signs on the dirt road to confirm that we're going the right way. Although I did not go off course, I was afraid I had. I ran for over 5 miles without a sign and couldn't see any lights letting me know that I was near Guthrie. My Garmin was reading 30 miles and I was still on this road. Just as I was about to panic that I had gone too far, the road curved and I could see pavement and houses, Guthrie. I knew I was near the finish and picked it up a bit. Now there were people at the turns to let you know where to go. Three blocks to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 5:36:21. Fifth male and sixth overall. This was not an easy run but neither was it really hard. There were hills and the heat and humidity made it difficult. But it should be good training for yet another ultra, 50 mile, July 2nd with another midnight start.
Thanks to Bret, Bill, and Mary for the time we ran together. Thank you to all who manned the aid stations in the middle of the night. Thanks to all of you roaming the course with aid to anyone who needed it. Those that I remember were, Dave, Keith, Cara, Shay, Chuck, Vaden and friends, and special thanks to Brandi and friend for the aid, and Brandi for the ride back to my car.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers.

I have said I'd review these for some time now. Almost a year ago I purchased the Vibram Five Finger KSO's. I have over 100 miles on these. I bought the Five Fingers to hopefully make my feet stronger. I had run a couple of races over 50 miles and the thing that hurt the most was my feet. In the later miles of my 100 mile run, my feet were really hurting. There was no damage to them, they just hurt from being on them so long.
I must say the verdict is still out on whether they are helping. I have two road ultra's in the next month, and I may know more after that.
I have done most of my running on pavement or grass. I don't feel comfortable running trails in these. I have some friends that do, and Barefoot Ted has run hundred mile races in them. But I feel that I'd be courting injury running trails with these. I've stubbed my toe hard running trails, and if I hadn't been wearing trail shoes with their extra toe protection, I would probably have broken one by now.
Lately I've been combining heart rate training and running in the FF's. My heart rate training entails keeping my HR under 130. I usually do 5 to 6 miles in this range at a nearby paved loop. The most I've ever run in the FF's is 12 miles. Whenever I run hard, my calves hurt for several days. It's not a injury hurt, just a sore hurt that tells me I'm using muscles I don't usually use.
I guess I would say that these are fun shoes, but whether they are worth the money depends on what you want from them. But as most people advise, if you do get them, don't rush into long mileage with them. I would suggest no more than 5-8 miles a week for several months.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Andy Payne Pt. 2

I'm only calling this "Pt. 2" because this is the second time I've run this marathon. I first ran it two years ago. This year's version was run Sunday, May 30th. It is a very low key marathon, less than 100 finishers this year. And it is almost always hot and humid. This year was no exception. I ran this race as a training run for my next two ultra marathons, 50 k on June 12 with a midnight start, and 50 miles July 2 also a midnight start.
It was in the low 70's at the 6:30 AM start of the marathon. I had a somewhat loose goal of running this under 4 hours. But my main goal was to run it smart. I started out running with a friend from the running club. We separated after about 7 miles and I ran the rest of the marathon alone. The race starts in a park where we run about 2 miles and then it's 3 times around lake Overholser. If it weren't for the hot and humid conditions, this would be an easy course. It is boring, but there is very little elevation change. I started feeling the loss of energy around mile 15, which is on the last part of the second loop. I was still able to maintain a sub 10 minute mile, but I had to use the walk run strategy for the final lap. It was now into the high 80's and too far between aid stations. Still when I finished in 4:05:45 I didn't feel bad. I won my age group and am ok with the time. As a training run I got what I needed, a nice finish, heat training, and no injuries.