The first thing I signed up for this year was the Hustle Up The Hancock - it's a corporate sponsored event. Actually, my son, age 6, and I are both doing this one. This is making the training more fun, and I think doing the event with him will be a blast. We've been running bleachers, hills, and some flat runs since December. Since I'm running a few times a week, anyway, often carrying a 50 lb. backpack, I figured why not sprinkle in some trail races...
A friend from Michigan is doing the Barry-Roubaix with me, and my brother-in-law is doing the Lowell 50 with me. I really look forward to the company training and racing this year...
So far I've been doing all of my winter running and training in either by New Balance Minimus MT10, or my Five Fingers Trek Sports. That includes a run down a snowmobile trail in the Minimus.
I wear wool socks (DeFeet Woolie Boolie when pace counts) in the Minimus and Injinji toe socks in the Five Fingers. I prefer the Minimus for most workouts (Five Fingers a little tight with the socks). I plan to run the Hancock stairs in my Five Fingers KSOs.
I never expected to be running and training in mimimalist shoes, especially since I'm pretty heavy (still 250+). I bought them initially for strength training, and for short training runs. Anymore, a thick supportive shoe is uncomfortable, and hurts my foot - it has to be "strapped down" to my foot so tight to keep from squirming around, that the laces hurt. The minimalist shoe feels almost loose, but my foot can feel/fit the ground more... I may need a warmer shoe. I've been considering the Altra Lone Peak, and the New Balance MT1010 (both thicker soled, the NB is uglier, IMHO).
My feet got pretty cold, even with thick wool socks, so I got a pair of Altra Superiors on ebay. The little extra thickness got me through the winter, and the 1/2 of the Frozen Five that I completed.
At first I thought I was in love, and wouldn't return to the MT10s and Five Fingers, but I do feel better and feel I run better in those...
Jan. 20: Frigid Fanny (5k trail race)
FAIL: Getting dressed for this, I pulled my back - couldn't walk for a day. Couldn't drive for 2. A few weeks of stretching, and chiropractor visits, and I was ready for the next one...
Feb. 10: Frozen Five (5 mile trail race)
It was a wet, icy, snowy, cold day. There was several inches of wet, slushy, icy snow on the ground. It was raining heavily during the race. I ran 1 lap, or 2.5 miles, and called it a day. So did many others. I ran 3 miles the day before, so there!
Feb. 24: Hustle Up the Hancock (52 floor 1/2 climb)
This was a lot of fun. My son, Isaac (6) climbed with me. He was pretty frustrated by the crowds, and the team (company) picture, and all the hubub getting to the actual climb, but once they turned us loose on the stairs he was a machine.
We didn't really know what to expect in terms of time/pace. When we practiced, it was on bleachers with 32 steps - so at most we've only climbed 32 steps in a row, before going down. After about 10 flights Isaac said he was tired, and we stopped for 10-20 seconds, drank some water, and resumed. We steadily passed people, and were only passed by 1 climber (climbers are released 18 seconds apart). After that he just kept trucking. In the last 4 flights we heard someone coming behind us, and he just took off. Later I learned, that it was the son of a friend, who ultimately took 2nd (climbing 52 floors in 6 minutes, 37 seconds). His dad told me he mentioned this little kid who was racing him, and he couldn't get around... Isaac finished a few seconds under 10 minutes, I finished a few seconds over 10 minutes.
Isaac was pumped. They hung a medal on him. It was all he talked about for a day. We went shopping for Legos at Water Tower Place afterwards, and he showed his medal to everyone that would pay attention. He called all the grandparents, told his teachers, etc. We're planning to climb the Willis (Sears) Tower in November - all 104 floors!
Mar. 23: Barry-Roubaix (
24 21 mile gravel road bike race)
This was my best race/event to date - at least in terms of how good I felt in the latter half, and how I felt at the finish, and through recovery. I rode with a friend the first 1/3 of the race, but his bike was giving him trouble on climbs, and ultimately I lost touch with him. After debating stopping for a bit or pushing it, I decided to push it.
About 1/2 way through was a climb called "The Killer" - I don't know that it was harder than the 3 sisters, if I was warmed up, or what, but I just decided to do an interval, and got over the to without hitting the lowest of my granny gears. In the latter 1/2 the 35 milers re-join with the 21 milers, and about 3 times I jumped onto the back of a pace-line, and got a pull for a minute or so before they dropped me...
As we hit pavement in Hastings, I turned to a guy I was near, and said "let's go catch some skinny tires", and sprinted off (assuming he might get on my wheel). He didn't, but I fell into a group int he last mile, and crossed the finish line at 30 miles an hour.
April 13: Muddy Monk Double Down 10k Trail Race
This year's focus is more running than biking - putting a priority on losing weight. I haven't run 10k, all at once, since 1993, so this will be a challenge.
...another great event. I was feeling pretty stressed about this one. The weekend before I started a 4 mile run, and remember thinking is the first 1/4 mile: "What am I doing?" I had doubts that I would finish without walking a mile or so. A couple more 3 and 4 mile runs, with intervals and sprints mixed in, and I felt like I could do it. I figured I would walk a little after 3, 4, and 5 miles.
The race was wet and muddy. There was a 30 yard stretch of ankle deep water in the first mile. I was prepared for wet - I wore my Five Fingers Treksports without socks. The cold, however, was a shocker - whew!
My plan was, if the water wouldn't drain, and my feet were hurting, I'd stop and put on a pair of Injinji toe socks to soak up the water, and then remove them if necessary. I had 2 pairs, and a camp towel... I never needed them. The Five Fingers drain really well.
I really felt good. I had no idea of my pace, but my form & cadence felt good. I saw the "4 mile" (complete) sign facing the opposite direction on the trail. I thought "I'm not going to walk until I pass that". After the turn-around, and as I approached the sign, I was thinking "I'm going to step up the pace the last 2 miles".
That was until the beautiful open field. The sun was peaking through, and we came out of the woods into this big grassy field. I thought "all right". But every step was into about an inch of cold water hidden in the grass. Ooohh - cold!
"I'll crank it up, after the field, then" I thought to myself - but I was starting to admit that my form was deteriorating, my feet and calves were sore, and I probably didn't have even a 440 burst in me. Then started what must have been a half-mile of ankle deep mud with no real way around.
Just trudging along through mud - some sticky, some thin and wet. For a while I tried to "run" through this, thinking I was floating above the worst. Then I settled in to trudging...
Then we hit the trail we went out on. Maybe a half-mile from the finish. I cranked it up the best I could, threw my arms up for the camera guy, and pushed through the finish.
Race number and medal added to the box-o-such-stuff
The shoes out to dry.
May 5: Cinco de Miler 5 mile run
This turned out to be a lot bigger event than other runs I've done. They expected 8000 people, spectators and volunteers included. There was a little stress since Boston, so I told my wife to avoid groups of people, garbage cans (in my mind, a place to drop something suspicious that wouldn't be noticed), and clowns (for the usual reasons).
Coming up to 3 miles, I was feeling pretty drained, so I walked 100 feet or so, and then I saw the 5k split timer ahead. Doh! I walked again after grabbing a cup of Gatorade just after the 5k timer. In the last mile I was really feeling tired, and was only able to turn it up a little for the last 1/8 mile.
Looking at my times, my 5k split beats my personal record by 3 minutes (though I never really go out to set a personal record). This explained my drained feeling after 3 miles. For 5 miles, I was hoping for 11 minute miles, and I was just over.
I ended up running this one in my Altra Superiors (pictured above). In my last few training runs, on Chicago's Prairie Path, my feet were feeling a little sore (a couple small blisters, and sore bruised like feeling on the balls of my feet). I wasn't sure if some socks in the FiveFingers or shoes would be better. I was hesitant to race in something I hadn't trained in for a while. I went with the Altras, and I feel pretty good. I think the lesson learned, is that for off-road the FiveFingers are great, because the trail under them gives a little. On pavement and gravel paths, something with a little shock absorption is probably right.
Isaac took off and passed a group (that's my leg at the back) around the 2 mile mark.
At the finish
June 16: Warrior Dash (5k obstacle race)
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! What a great event. A variety of challenging obstacles, but more to coordination and experience "playing" than pure physical challenge. I was a little surprised at my speed up over and through obstacles relative to more apparently "fit" people. Apparently, running up a muddy hill is just not something people have much experience with...
June 22: Bike MS Tour de Farms (100-125 mile)
Stats (before I forget)
- Rode 101.7 miles
- Rode only 10 or so in a larger group (intended/hoped at least 30 miles sheltered in a large group)
- Rode 40 miles in a group of 4, with 2 short pulls at the front
- Rode 50 miles on my own, with a few brief drafts behind solo riders
- Elapsed time (including stops): 6 hours, 47 minutes, 13 seconds (14.985 mph)
- Moving time (according to Strava): 6 hours, 2 minutes, 31 seconds (16.8 mph)
- Stops at mile(s) 27 (water), 50 (water, food, bathroom, stretch), 65 (following Danny's crash, water), 78 (water, stretch), 94 (water, bathroom, stretch)