Running With Alligators: Belated BB 50 (4/16/16) Race Report

Running Streak Day: 505IMG_3340
YTD Running Mileage: 785

Before I delve into the bittersweet details of my particular Brazos Bend 50 race (I ran the 50k, Phillip, the 25k) experience, I have to offer praise to Trail Running Over Texas. Oh my goodness! What a well organized, runner-friendly race this company hosted! The TROT people anticipated and provided for every runner’s possible needs. The food offerings at the tables were abundant and varied (even some gluten-free items, which sadly, because of my stomach, I could not enjoy – but more about this unfortunate state of affairs later). The volunteers were amazingly patient, kind, and helpful. I absolutely fell in love with TROT this day (BB 50 having been my first TROT race). TROT 4 – Ever : )

Brazos Bend State Park is located a little drive from the nearest cities (Rosenberg, Sugarland, Richmond). Phillip and I, following the recommendation of a Strava friend who lives in the area, reserved a room in Rosenberg. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and drove straight to the park for packet pick-up. We wanted to make this drive for two reasons: to know where we were going on race day, and to check out the type of trails we’d be running. I wanted to run the 50k barefoot all the way, but I had read that much of the trail was actually covered with large rocks or gravel. I run the gravel surface at Town Lake (now Lady Bird Lake, but always and forever Town Lake to us) in Austin barefoot, with no problem, so a gravel surface in general would not necessarily present an obstacle to my running the race without my usual rough trail-running go-to Luna Leadville huaraches. Continue reading “Running With Alligators: Belated BB 50 (4/16/16) Race Report”

A Run A Day Keeps the Lazies Away???

I notice that the date of my last blog post is February 7th, some – uummm – three months ago. The space

1st Place AG @ Cocoa Women's Half Marathon, January 2015
1st Place AG @ Cocoa Women’s Half Marathon, January 2015

between that post and the previous is even greater! At that time, I only brought my blog up to date concerning my goal of finishing my first 50k. I’ve set some running goals and run some races between my successful Cloudsplitter 50k completion and now. I’ll recap swiftly! I set and met a goal to run a sub-two Decker Challenge Half-Marathon in December (chip time 1:56:57, 4 / 22 AG). I set and met a goal to run a sub-two Cocoa Women’s Half in January (Chip time 1:53:10, 1 / 44 in AG). I set and failed at the goal of a 4:15 – 4:30 full Austin Marathon (see Wild Hare 50k, same song, second verse as they say). I turned off at the half, and finished with probably the slowest half time since the first half I ever ran. I saved face some with the next race after that one – which happened to be the very next Saturday: the Street to Feet 5k (chip time 25:09, 1 / 32 AG). My business (ATX Ultra Eats) sponsored the inaugural Mission for Life 5k / Half-Marathon on March 21st. I ran the 5k; the half-marathon was turned into a 20 miler at the last minute, due to flooding of the course along the San Antonio River. Continue reading “A Run A Day Keeps the Lazies Away???”

The Bare Truth About Barefoot Running

Austin Marathon 2104 Cropped
Austin Marathon / Half-Marathon February 2014

Vibram, maker of FiveFingers minimalist shoes, recently settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused the company of false advertising. As a result of the lawsuit, Vibram has to pay out $3.75 million dollars in refunds to people who purchased Vibrams from March 2009 until the date of the first summary settlement notice. Leaving aside the issue of frivolous lawsuits and personal responsibility in the use of any purchased product, I want to discuss the way news of this lawsuit relates to barefoot running in general. Reading the various articles about the lawsuit in various sources, I became annoyed at the general, blanket statements against barefoot running that appear in numerous articles, but especially at the negative statements that appear in the comment sections following the articles. I don’t have the time to comment on every article I read, although I have a deep desire to respond to the incorrect and uninformed statements that have appeared in relation to news stories about the Vibram lawsuit. Too often those people who support barefoot running as a viable alternative to wearing footwear fail to fully address the criticism in the their responses to the criticism. I decided that a writing a blanket response in one place, my blog, would be the best way to address all the offending statements and information regarding barefoot running. Continue reading “The Bare Truth About Barefoot Running”

A Tale of Two Races: Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail 10k / 30k / 60k at Reveille Peak Ranch

Reveille Peak Ranch: Capt’n Karl’s Night Trail Run
August 24, 2013

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair [. . .]” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

“The 2013 Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail Series wrapped up this past Saturday at Reveille Peak Ranch and what a finale it was!

 As runners arrived and checked in, there was a great breeze and it was definitely not as hot as it had been at the other Capt’n Karl’s races over the summer.  Unfortunately, with the humidity and the cessation of the wind later in the evening, the night turned out to be hotter than forecast but was still fantastic! Continue reading “A Tale of Two Races: Capt’n Karl’s Night Time Trail 10k / 30k / 60k at Reveille Peak Ranch”

Go For the 200 Miler!?!

“Well, after three days you are not completely fresh, you know” he says, “but it seems the exhaustion is not exponential.” (Gregoire Millet, qtd in “When Running 200 Miles is Easier on Your Body than Running 100”)

A few years ago, I was finishing a trail run at Eisenhower Park when two women getting out of a van parked next to my

Photo from Popular Mechanics
Photo from Popular Mechanics
car spoke to me. They were interested in my Vibram Five Fingers, in which I ran on unpaved trails at the time (I have since switched to $4.99 water shoes, soles pulled out, that I buy from Academy). One of the women, Rosy, explained to me that she was training for a 100 miler, and her friend had decided to train with her. As we talked, Rosy told me that she had never run a race under a 100 miles in distance. Judging from her appearance, I would guess her age as late thirties. She had started running a few years before, but decided to go straight for the 100 mile distance for her first race. She told me that she had run several 100 milers since her first race and usually finished near the bottom. A couple of times she had actually finished last place; she explained that she didn’t worry much about her pace. She just loved the experience of the 100 mile ultra.

Eisenhower Park
Eisenhower Park
I admire this woman, still, and since that time I’ve come to realize that perhaps she was wise in choosing to go for the 100 mile ultra for her first distance race. Over time one realizes that marathons are difficult because of the pace one keeps for 26.2 miles, not so much for the distance of the race itself. Once a runner has finished her first marathon, she usually thinks of any longer distance race as unimaginably difficult. If 26.2 miles feels so difficult, how can anyone consider running 50 or 100 mile races, she may ask herself. If, however, a novice runner jumps into racing by starting with an ultramarathon, she probably doesn’t have the same preconceived notion of its difficulty as a runner who has run 26.2 miles as her first race distance. Of course elite ultra runners are under pressure to keep up a fast pace for 100 miles, and they seem God-like in their ability to finish a 100 mile ultra with a six or seven minute pace – including the time they spend at support stations – which means that top finishers are running an even faster pace while they’re moving. The slower runners, however, aren’t under the same pressure. To finish under thirty hours requires tenacity and training, but not the same need for speed. To finish a 100 mile race, though, is a daunting and awesome feat for any runner.

I’m thinking about Rosy today and her decision to run a 100 miler as her first race, ever, because Phillip brought my attention to an article about ultra running in Popular Mechanics. The article, “When Running 200 Miles is Easier on Your Body than Running 100,” explains that when people run races longer than 100 miles in distance, they run at a slower pace, which taxes their bodies less; therefore, the 200 miler seems easier than the 100 miler to the ultrarunner who undertakes that distance. I’m thinking now that perhaps, instead of making my goal a 100 mile race, I should just go for broke and try a 200 mile race as my first ultra . . . . but I may have to chew on this idea a while longer . . . .