Sunday, November 30, 2008

Running Totals: 11/12/2008 - 11/30/2008

According to Nike +, I have run 7 times, for a total of 24.54 miles, averaging 10'17" and have burned 3957 calories over 4.20 hours. The majority of these miles were on trails. I have lost 2 runs totalling approximately 10 miles and 1.5 hours, which cannot be retrieved and I will not worry about. Today I weighed 216 pounds.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gear: Film - The distance of truth

There is a film about Badwater that I recently ran across on YouTube. From the website, a synopsis:

"Under a desert sky, an unlikely challenger fights to stave off one of the greatest ultra runners on the planet. 'The distance of Truth' is a human-interest story, a celebration of nature, and a philosophical examination of motivation that explores the unyileding determination of Canadian runner Ferg Hawke as he competes against the world's best in the harsh but beautiful Death Valley while attempting to master the toughest footrace on earth, the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. Follow in the footsteps of those who have wandered into the valley of death to tempt its inhospitable nature - never to return. Journey from the Badwater Basin, lowest point in North America, to Mt. Whitney, highest point in the contiguous United States. Share in the emotional highs and lows of Hawke's four-year pilgrimage, a quest that ultimately questions the tendency to accept personal limitations over its alternative...the full realization of human potential."

Watch the trailer:

Buy the DVD here.

Another lost run - my best one yet!

This morning, I went for my second run at the Hidden Lake Forest Preserve. As the previous time, I got totally lost, but that just gave me motivation to run further, as I searched for a familiar trail. The Nike + workout disappeared as I completed my workout, but this time it may have been my fault -- as it was only 24 degrees F, my hands and the iPod were cold, so I may have inadvertently erased it. However, before it disappeared, I saw that it was over an hour and over 6 miles! Even though I lost the run and it won't be added to my workout record for Nike +, I have the personal satisfaction of having put in some good effort today. Today, as on previous runs. I've noticed that the first several miles are by far the hardest for me -- don't know if I just warm up or if my body just likes to go longer, but I'd rather run 6 miles than 3 miles anyday (though it doesn't normally work out that way).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Book Reviews - Ultrarunning

I've been fascinated by ultrarunning recently. Almost unbelievable what people can achieve. Towards that end, I've been reading books on ultrarunners:

Dean Karnazes' Ultramarathon man : confessions of an all-night runner (New York : J.P. Tarcher/Penguin, c2005).

Dean Karnazes' 50/50 : secrets I learned running 50 marathons in 50 days-- and how you too can achieve super endurance! (with Matt Fitzgerald: New York : Wellness Central, 2008).

Pam Reed's The extra mile : one woman's personal journey to ultrarunning greatness (Emmaus, Pa. : Rodale, c2006).

Kirk Johnson's To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the Mystery of Endurance (New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc. 2001).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trip: Mt Washington, NH Winter Ascent

In March 2008, to celebrate my 42nd birthday, I attempted a winter ascent of Mount Washington, NH (6,288 feet). Unfortunately, we were stopped at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut by brutal weather: strong winds (85+ mph) and COLD (-49 degrees F); it was worse up top!

The day before, we had summited both Mount Welch (2,605 feet) and Mount Dickey (2,734 feet)to warm up, learn skills, and gel as a group.

I have to give the highest recommendation to Mooney Mountain Guides, who educated us and led us up the mountain, and were brave enough to turn us around before the summit due to the dangerous conditions, even though we all wanted to make the attempt.

Gear: Lost Run with Nike +

I had a problem recently when I completed a run and went to upload it to the Nike + website via iTunes. iTunes updated my Nano, which erased the run from memory and did not get uploaded to my account. Very upsetting, and apparently I'm not the only one -- see Nike + forum. I ran the next day and had no problem uploading the run to Nike +. Hopefully the problem won't repeat. I had Tiger Woods congratulate me on my fastest mile yet - woohoo!

Gear: Nike +

Earlier this month, I went to the Nike Store and purchased the Nike + Armband V5, 2 pairs of running shoes (Nike Air Pegasus+ 2007 Men's Running Shoe and another that slips my mind at the moment)and the Nike + iPod Sports Kit. The armband is totally useless unless you have twigs for arms. The next day I went out for my first run using the new system and I am hooked! It's a great motivator, especially for a returning out-of-shape runner like msyelf. Highly recommended.

Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K - Madison, WI October 25, 2008

Once I'd gotten news of the transfer, I immediately registered for the The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K, Madison, WI. The race was actually held near Ottawa Lake in Kettle Moraine State Park. This supposedly wass the least technical of all the Endurance Challenge courses, but I ran the Washington DC course and it was much more flat. The Wisconsin course had a LOT of hills. I ran as much as I could and walked the hills, which gave me enough energy to sprint to the finish. I finished 11th of 18 in the Men's 40-49 age group and 110th of 235 overall. Same swag as DC run (see earlier post), again well worth the $35 registration fee. Once again, I didn't get to meet Dean Karnazes, as he was off running in the desert.

Move to the Midwest

After years of trying to move back to the Midwest in order to be near my wife's family, I was able to get a transfer and we moved to Downers Grove, IL at the end of September 2008.

Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge - Washington DC September 6, 2008

Since I had once been a runner, I decided to return to that, and, having moved to Falls Church, VA (just outside DC), I began to run on local trails near my home. As initial motivation, I registered for The North Face Challenge 10K, which was to be run in Algonkian Regional Park in McLean, VA. Unfortunately, the fates had other plans. When Governor Kaine declared an official state of emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Hanna, the event was forced to be cancelled because the required rescue and medical resources were no longer available for support. However, the race organizers magnanimously refunded half of the registration fee and the swag more than made up for it (I would register for these races just for the North Face products that come in the race bag). I received: The North Face technical performance shirt, The North Face head wear, and The North Face technical running socks -- all great! I didn't get to meet Dean Karnazes, as I didn't attend the prerace party that was held.

Slow Slide to Sloth

In 1995, at the age of 29, I ran the Chicago Marathon in 3:39 or so. That was the high point of my fitness. Since then, I've been slowly sliding into sloth due to laziness and weight gain. Several months ago, finally alarmed by the terrible shape I was in, I decided to make the long trek back to fitness, benefiting not only myself, but my wife and children as well. This blog will be an attempt to highlight the successes as well as serve as a motivator to continue.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women