Add to Technorati Favorites "Going the Distance!": September 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jurek Does It Again, Arkansas Traveller this Saturday and 9/24 to 9/30 Weekly Recap

24.03 Miles, 3:06:21, 7:45 Pace
Crosstraining - 4:35:00 (3 Hours Yoga / 1 Hour Cardio Kickboxing / 35 minutes Elliptical Workout)

Scott Jurek won the Spartathlon again with another amazing performace! Here's the recap from the Spartathlon 07 website:

"Scott Jurek did it again, finishing first in 23:12:14. Although after Sangas he was part of the leading group, which included former winners like Valmir Nunes, Marcus Thalman and Jens Lucas, he managed to take the lead after Tegea increrasing his distance from the 2nd runner in every check point.

Scott Jurek from U.S.A. now holds the 5th fastest time from last year and the 6th from this years race.

Piotr Kurylo from Poland finished seccond in 24:29:41, followed by Valmir Nunes 3rd in 25:37:40."

For the full list of finishers click HERE. Congratulations to all!

As most of you know I will be participating in the 17th Annual Arkansas Traveller 100 this upcoming weekend, October 6-7. This is only my second 100 miler in my short running career and my goal is to break the 24 hour mark which is going to require everything I have both physically and mentally. The buckle pictured above is the enameled one you receive for breaking the 24 hour barrier; I hope to have a picture of me wearing mine next week for the blog. Here's a description of the AT 100 race from A Step Beyond: A Definitive Guide to Ultrarunning, edited by Don Allison:

"The Arkansas Traveller 100 Mile is held on a 17-mile loop, followed by an 83 mile out-and-back. A short section of the route, about eight miles, is run over the unstable and rocky footing of the Ouachita Trail; the remainder is a mix of primarily dirt and jeep roads consisting of variably adequate footing. With no especially unique challenges, the 30-hour cut-off should be more than adequate for all runners. There are no major climbs on the course, the highest point is a hill called Smith Mountain that is crossed in both directions (mile 45 and 75) of the out-and-back. Since much of the course is run on dusty forest service and jeep roads, exposure to the sun should be expected. There are no stream crossings to deal with, and only a few short sections over which mud may be a concern."

They make it sound like a walk in the park; no problem, right!?! As far as difficulty goes it is rated the same as Kettle Morraine and Heartland. The key for me is to keep a steady pace throughout the entire race and not to fall into a death march in the last 30 miles like I did a few months ago at Kettle. I have a great crew with my Dad and Andrew Karandjeff and have my fueling strategy worked out; my body feels strong and I have no major injuries except for a slightly weak left ankle. This goal is definitely achievable and I'm ready to embrace the experience! I'm also looking forward to running with many of my Ultra friends down there including Gabe Bevan, Mike Samuelson, Kevin Dorsey, Rick Mayo, Matt Bickhard, Carol Izadi, Steve Kirk, Brian Kuhn and others. Also, fellow SLUG and one of my Ultra Mentors, Paul Schoenlaub, will be manning the Chile Pepper Aid Station so I'll be in good hands. Please keep me and all of the other runners in your thoughts and prayers next Saturday and Sunday as we face this challenge.

I'll leave you with a quote that I saw Friday afternoon as I was running by Kirkwood Middle School on Manchester Road:

"Don't wait for inspiration to act. Act to spark inspiration!"

Hope all is well and Happy Running,

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spartathlon 07, Running as Therapy and 9/17 - 9/23 Weekly Recap

39.71 Miles, 5:47:54, 8:45 Pace
3 Hours of Yoga and 25 Minutes Elliptical Crosstraining

The 2007 Spartathlon will begin this Friday in Athens, Greece ending 245.3 Kilometers (152.4 Miles) away in Sparta. Scott Jurek (pictured above) was last year's winner in under 23 hours and became the second fastest person and recorded the fifth fastest time behind legendary Greek/Australian runner, Yiannis Kouros, who holds the four faster times. Here is a brief history of the race from the Spartathlon website:

"For twenty four consecutive years, the Spartathlon athletes have followed the route John Foden and his team defined in 1982 when they experimented in running from Athens to Sparta. It is based on Herodotus’ description of the Athenian ‘Imerodromou’ or messenger who arrived in Sparta the day after he departed from Athens and also on well known historical events of that time. It has, therefore, been considered the nearest route to that which Pheidippides must have followed.

Briefly, Miltiades’ messenger started out of Athens on the ancient Iera Odos, or “sacred road,” up to Elefsis. From there he followed Skyronia Odos, a military road on the slopes of the Gerania mountains, and traveled through Isthmia, Examilia and Ancient Corinth. He went on to Ancient Nemea, thus avoiding the Epicratea of Argos, as it wasn’t in alliance with Athens, and he continued along the mountains between Argolida and Arcadia. He climbed the Parthenio mountain (1200 meters), where he encountered the God Pan. Descending the mountain, he continued in the direction of historical Tegea, one of the locations mentioned by Herodotus in his account about Pheidippides. He proceeded south toward Sparta. Upon his arrival in Sparta, he completed 1140 “stadia,” which equaled 246 kilometers."

Jurek will be back to defend his title along with a very impressive field of athletes from all over the world. To view the list of competitors click HERE and for live coverage of Spartathlon 2007 click HERE.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the benefits of running for treating depression, stress and anger. This is the foundation on which Running4Recovery was founded as both Brad and I have experienced these benefits first hand on our own personal roads to recovery. Recently Runner's World Magazine published an article about "Motion Therapy" and I thought you might be interested in learning more; here's a bit from the article:

"Some people work through issues lying down, feet propped up on a leather couch. Austin "Ozzie" Gontang, Ph.D., however, finds problem-solving most effective when he and his clients are in running shoes. Gontang, a psychotherapist, marathoner, and director of the San Diego Marathon Clinic, has been hitting the streets with his patients for the past 30 years. "Getting out and talking with others while you run or walk can help change your thoughts and give you a different perspective on how you choose to deal with anger, grief, or trauma," he says.

You don't need to be clinically depressed or severely troubled to benefit from "motion therapy." In fact, Gontang says many people run out their problems, perhaps unknowingly, on a regular basis. "Your therapy might come from your running group, your running buddy, the Saturday morning bunch," he says. "When you run sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles together, you trust each other, bare your souls to each other, and help each other heal."

Numerous studies have shown that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and beta-endorphin, all of which elevate mood and reduce depression and anxiety. Research is showing what runners have known all along: In this state of mind, they are more likely to disclose thoughts and feelings--whether it's to a training partner or licensed therapist--when they are logging miles. Gontang strongly believes in motion therapy and offers discounted rates to those who will see him on the road. About 75 percent of his clientele do--to his delight. "It's a healthy outlet for me as well," he says."

Sure beats lying on a couch; what a great idea! Brad and I also realize the value of having a support group and are in Phase 2 of the Running4Recovery Program which includes starting regional running clubs all over the country. Currently I am working on getting the first one started here in St. Louis which will serve as a model for the other groups across the nation. Spread the word and if you're interested in helping out please Email Me for more information. To read the Runner's World article in its entirety click HERE.

So I am now officially in taper mode logging in almost 40 miles this week along with 3 hours of Yoga; still loving that Yoga! Unfortunately Jeremy Gulley will not be able to pace me at Arkansas Traveller so Andrew Karandjeff is stepping up to the plate to help me in my sub-24 hour attempt. We got together this past Saturday at Chubb Trail to get in some miles and discuss our plans; thanks Andrew, you're a real lifesaver! My ankle is still pretty sore from the wicked sprain a few weeks ago at Hawn and it seems that every time I go out for a trail run I turn it again. I'm going to have to be REALLY careful at AT but figure everything will be hurting by about mile 70 so my ankle will be the least of my worries. This week I'll get in about 25-30 miles of running along with 3 hours of Yoga and some crosstraining on the Elliptical Machine. I don't really have much prepartion to do for AT as I've already got my list from Kettle and the AT Website has all the resources I'll need. Next weekend I'll be putting together my drop bags and picking up last minute necessities since I won't have any long runs scheduled. Nothing left to do now but rest up and get myself mentally ready for the challenge; the keys to a sub-24 hour finish are Relentless Forward Motion, maintain a Positive Mental Attitude, and EMBRACE the experience!

Hope all is well and Happy Running,

Monday, September 17, 2007

2007 Turkey and Taturs 50K Trail Race

This weekend I headed down to Oklahoma to do two things; watch some football and run a race. Well the football game wasn't really much of a game due to the 54 to 13 blowout as the OU Sooners spanked Utah State (Boomer Sooner!). The Turkey and Taturs 50K Race on the other hand was a different story with excitement all the way to the finish!

I ended up leaving Oklahoma City around 7:00 pm Saturday evening to head to Tulsa where Gabe was kind enough to let me crash in his hotel room with fellow KC Trail Nerd, John King. Originally the high on Sunday was supposed to be in the low 70's and since I've been running very fast lately I mentioned to my Mom last week that I was going to shoot for a sub 5 Hour finish (course record is 5:01) and hoped to place in the top 5. I was just going to keep this between the two of us but when I arrived at the hotel we started talking about the race and I of course threw it out there to Gabe and John but also added a disclaimer since the revised forecast was now a high of 85 degrees and I hadn't tapered. My 50K PR up to now was a 5:29 on a course much easier than this so I was making a bold statement; I guess we'd soon see if I could put my money where my mouth was!

I woke up around 5:15 am after lying there all night half asleep; I wasn't nervous but for some reason just never hit my sleep stride. I figured I'd be OK since it was "only" a 50K, quickly got my gear together and headed out the door. At the race I ran into KC Trail Nerd Rick Mayo (pictured in the header with me) and his wife, Kristi (thanks for the pics), and we chatted a bit about ultra "stuff" and the upcoming Arkansas Traveller 100 Mile Run. A few minutes later Gabe and John showed up and we all chatted with fellow SLUG, Mike Samuelson, and Kevin Dorsey. It was about 68 degrees for the start and at 7:08 am the race began with the signature TATUR potato exploding; I must say that was a first in my racing experiences.

Rick started at the front and I wasn't far behind as I didn't want to get stuck in a lot of traffic. For the first few miles I worked my way past other runners, skipped the first 2 aid stations and soon found myself running alone. Around the 7 mile mark I spotted Rick and we started running together. This trail was VERY TECHNICAL meaning extremely rocky and rooty; it required your full concentration at all times and was similar to running through a field of softballs. From this standpoint it was the toughest course I have run to date. Around mile 8 I let my mind wander and took a NASTY spill going head over heels; fortunately I tucked and rolled with the majority of the impact to my right shoulder blade so although it was very painful it wasn't a race ender. When I fell it distracted Rick and he took a bad fall and may have broken his right hand; of course we both jumped up, brushed ourselves off and continued on. Rick got away from me a little and was about a minute ahead of me at the 25K turn; I quickly refilled my bottles and started back out on the course.

By this point the day was heating up and I was getting tired. My goal was to keep my walking to a minimum (I didn't walk at all the first loop) and I was able to pretty much stick to that although my pace slowed quite a bit. I kept chanting in my head "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "Relentless Forward Motion" to motivate me to keep moving and it was working. About 4 hours into the race at the 25 mile mark I spotted Rick up ahead and he said, "About time, I was wondering where you were? Let's take this home for a sub 5 hour!" We knew we'd have to push and do 6 miles in that hour which would be difficult with the rising temperatures and the biggest hill on the course left to climb. He pulled away a bit with 3 miles left as I walked that last hill; I reached the aid station at the top and the volunteers told me I was in 4th place and this was where I made my mistake. My fueling strategy for the race was to use Gels exclusively and I was taking 2 about every hour and a half; this was definitely working as my stomach felt great but I should have been taking more. I felt a "bonk" coming on but instead of taking an extra 20 seconds to down some gels I figured I could gut out the last 2.4 miles. About a half mile out of the station that familiar wave washed over me; I was able to run the downhills but struggled with even the slightest climbs and was forced to walk. With a mile left I was passed by Kevin Dorsey who encouraged me and helped to light a fire for me to start running again. With my sore body and ankles I carefully jogged in the last mile. As I came out of the clearing Rick came running towards me telling me to hurry up because I was in 3rd place. What, I thought I was in 5th? As I crossed the finish line in 5:13 Rick told me that the first 2 finishers had gotten off course and had been disqualified; he won the race overall, Kevin Dorsey got 2nd place and I was in 3rd! I took a moment to sit down and gather myself then joined Rick and Kevin to recap the race and cheer in the other finishers. Gabe finished a bit after me with a great time of 5:31 and John King brought home a 6:11 finish only 2 weeks after completing his first 50 miler. Before heading back for the long drive home I sat around and talked to all of these guys about the upcoming Arkansas Traveller race; Rick, Mike Samuelson, Kevin Dorsey and Gabe are all running in the event. I'm really looking forward to seeing all of these guys again as it's like we're family; I love the ultra community and the friendships I have made through this sport!

I learned some great lessons in this race including my fueling strategy and how to keep myself running when my body just wants to walk. I am prepared physically and mentally and am running better than I ever have. At Arkansas Traveller I will be surrounded by friends on the course, at the aid stations and supported by my Dad, Andrew Karandjeff and Jeremy Gulley as my crew. I am excited to push myself through to the finish; my goal is to go under 24 hours and I feel confident that will happen.

Thanks to all of the volunteers and Race Director, Brian Hoover, for putting on such a great event. The aid stations were well stocked and the course was well marked; perhaps you guys can get out there and remove some of those rocks for next year. I'll definitely be back!

To see pictures from the race click HERE and for the full race results click HERE.