Stomp of Approval!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lifting Weights and Macronutrients

My wife recently decided that she wanted to start hitting the gym and dieting.

So of course I followed suit.

We started dieting based off Macronutrients this past Monday, so 5 days ago, and we're already seeing some good results.

Our daily levels are similar, but on different scales.

Im shooting for 2,000 calories a day, over 200 grams of protein, under a certain amount of carbs, and over a certain amount of fats.

Its crazy, but Im actually having to eat MORE than normal to hit my caloric goal for the day.

Unfortunately, I've have to dial it WAY back on the fruits to stay under my carb limit. But we're still eating great food!

We have both started loosing weight already. My wife has lost a little more than me, but since we have been hitting the gym, I'm already seeing musculature gains. Thanks to good muscle memory, my physique is coming back pretty quick! And although I dont want to get back to big 225 pound guy I once was, adding back some lost muscle has been very nice!

I've also discovered planking, and it's AWESOME!!!

My running hasn't been very... Well it just hasn't really been anything because it just hasn't even been.

I want to start training soon for the Spring half marathon season. There's always a good handfull of half marathons that are fun around that time period.

My goal is to be able to go out and smash my curent PRs in everything from the half marathon down (1:48 half, 20:19 5K... Wow, I don't have a lot of real PRs) and post some good, respectable times.

So distance specific training will need to begin soon. I've always just kind of ran with the goal of running longer and longer and longer, but I haven't ran with the goal of running FASTER in a long, long time.

Well, gotta go. Time for another snack!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time for a change.

I've been thinking about my running a lot lately (not that thats anything new), and I have come to a few realizations.

Firstly, I don't think that running / training for Ultras is going to work any more.

I love running long distances. It really clears the mind and soul. Often times, after a really good long run, there is a literal sense of euphoria. Hell, after running 20ish miles thru the woods a few weeks ago I broke down and cried like a baby on the way back home because a good country song came on and made me think of how much I love my wife.

A country song made me cry....

True story.

But, running 20 miles thru the woods takes time, and lots of it. Whats worse is that 20 miles isn't even a really long distance in training for an ultra!

30 miles is.

So that time I use running is tome I could use to be doing something better. Like building better relationships with my children.

Dont get me wrong, I love my kids to death, and i feel like I'm a good father. But I dont feel like I'm a GREAT father.

My kids deserve a GREAT father.

Training for 7 hours on a Saturday morning after being at work all week isn't being a great father. 

Worrying more about missing a few hours of running when there is a family event planned on the weekend is not being a great father

It's actually being quite selfish.

And this isn't even starting to get into how this effects my wife. She is very supportive of my running and realizes what it is for me, but doesn't like all the baggage involved with being married to an ultra marathoner.

So, I need to make changes.

I will now be focusing my running efforts on shorter, faster events.

My race ranges will be 5K to 20 miles.

I'm getting older (uhh... duh? ), so my window of opportunity to run FAST is shrinking.

I'm not talking about age graded fast, I'm talking about FAST.

I want to start setting and resetting PR's in the shorter distances.

But I still want to keep my endurance where I could go run a 50K of the opportunity arose. But I'm not entertaining the idea of a 100 mile race any time in the foreseeable future.

So, here's to a new plan and more time with the family!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Beards and Getting the Itch!

I haven't ran since Whispering Pines.

My knee continued to bother me for a good week and a half after the race. I thought I had figured out what was bothering it and made the necessary adjustments and it started feeling better.

Now, 3 weeks later, it's getting little twinges again. Mainly at night while I'm sleeping, but it doesn't feel 100% yet.

This really sucks... I was hoping to be back running again this week. The Habenero Hundred is in August, and I was thinking about going for the 100K there if I could resume training soon enough to be ready for a 62 mile run. Doesn't look promising though...

So, if I can start running anytime soon, I might lower my goal to running the 50K at HH. Theres also the Blazing 7's in October. There's a 50K, 50M, and 100K at that event. So if things go good, maybe I can run the 50K at HH, and the 100K at B7.


I know I can be physically and mentally ready for a 50K in a very short amount of time, especially if I can focus on cleaning up my diet. It's all dependant on my knee feeling well enough to start running again.

It felt fine in my training leading up to WP, but the climbs, and mainy the decents, of that event really threw a screw in things. Both HH and B7 are flatter courses, so I dont think they would have any ill effects like WP did.


Since I'm not running, I've been taking care of some stuff around the house.

I finished my kitchen table build a few months ago, but I need to get on my wife's laptop to make that blog entry due to the pictures involved. It came out great!

I also built a counter top and some shelving for the laundry room. Courtney painted the top to look like granite and it turned out super awesome! She did a great job with it, and the laundry room looks completely different now!

I even built a side table for the couch that has a dog kennel built into it. It came out great too!

I also cleaned and started organizing the garage. Doing all these woodworking projects had created a thick layer of sawdust on everything in the garage, so my next project is to build a dust collection system before I start any more projects (and there is quite a list of future projects...) to help eliminate the mess and the long cleanup process.

I have included some pictures below of everything, I hope to do a more detailed post on the table because of how involved  of a process it was.


Oh, I also grew a beard, and then shaved it off just last night. I will start regrowing it whenever I start training again, and then shave it once I have completed a big race. I might keep it a little neater / trimmed next time.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Whispering Pines 50K pictures

Ok, My wife snapped a few pics of the events at the race while I was out running (HA! More like walking!)

Theres 2 of me, one is of me starting the second loop, the other is me walking into the chute after the second loop to drop out.

Theres a few pics of my son running is race and then after finishing. He was so pumped! Im very proud of him. He's actually competing in a duathalon tomorrow, should be fun!

Then there is one of my little princess stuffing her pie hole with something edible. You can see our tent in the background.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Whispering Pines 50K Race Report

I guess it was bound to happen at some point.

A big



The main cause for the DNF (Did Not Finish) was my LCL flaring up again. This was very aggrivating for several reasons.

-It hasnt really bothered me in my training. I took 2 weeks off and started back up with no problems. It only spoke up once, and even then it wasn't anything even worth thinking twice about.

-I felt GREAT during the race. Energy levels were very high, stomach felt perfect, I wasn't feeling too hot, my mental state was spot on and I felt like my muscles and body could have kept going for the remainder of the race with no problems.

-The course was beautiful! The trail was solid single track thru the forest. It felt great to be out there.

-The trail was also made quite technical by all the recent rain we have been getting. David (the Race Director) told me that all the top soild of nice soft dirt had been washed out and all the rocks and roots under it had been left exposed. So the trail was very challenging for a guy with no shoes.


But there were some good things that I can take away from the experience.

-David at Endurance Buzz Adventures is a great guy that knows how to put on a great event! I thoroughly look forward to running more EBA races in the future!

-When trying to run Ultras on trails, sometimes it might be best to wear some shoes. While I could have ran this course barefoot had my knee not acted up, it wasn't  necessarily "enjoyable" to have to walk and tip toe my way through the areas where I could have otherwise been running a very good pace. For once, running barefoot deffinately was a hindrance and negatively affected my performance.

-I normally dont eat before I go on a long run, but for something like a race I think I should. So I ignored rule number 1 of "dont try anything different on race day" and ate some guacamole before the race. I found some 100 calorie packs of guac at Walmart, and they taste amazing. They gave me plenty of energy and nutrition without any negative side effects!

-I got to meet a lot of great ultra runners from around the area. Mariela Botella, a highly tallented runner from the Houston area. Dat, another highly tallented guy from the Dallas area who was using this race as a training run for a 100K in a few weeks, and several other great runners who I played leapfrog with for most of the race. I even got to catch a very quick fleeting glimpse of Nicole Studer as she literally BLEW past me on her way to win the 50K in just a hair over 4 hours. She is stupid fast and was very friendly and supportive.

-We camped out the night before, and outside of a re-occuring issue with a theiving little racoon, that went great too! It was really nice having the wife and kids at the start / finish line. I feel like I let them down a little by DNFing though. But they enjoyed the experience and cant wait to go camping again! Yay!!!

Probablly the best thing from the day was that my son ran in the kids 1K race and had a blast! He came into the finish line area in 3rd place, but stopped short because he got confused and ended up crossing the line in 5th. But he could have cared less because he had such a great time! He rambled on and on and on about how much fun he had running thru the woods on the trails. Now he wants to do more races!!!! YAY!!!!

It was a good day overall. Jesse finished his first race / first trail race / first run over 16 miles long and he loved it as well.

So, now I'm going to take 2 or 3 weeks off from running to try and get my knee back to 100% for whatever race I decide to attempt next. I'm going to focus more on my diet and losing weight now. I went into this race tipping 200 pounds. I need to be closer to 180.

Oh, sorry, no pictures. My phone died while we were camping...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2 Days out...

Its roughly 11:30 Thursday night, and I dont think its stopped raining either here, or in Tyler, for the past week and a half... And it doesnt show any signs of letting up any time soon...

We've loaded 90% of our camping gear in the back of the wife's Sequoia. My son's field day has been changed to a "play in the gym all day" day. So hes not as excited about and has decided that he wants to get an early start on camping!

So we will be leaving Montgomery on our way to Tyler at some point early tomorrow morning. On the way out we are stopping for hair cuts, ice for the cooler, and hopefully (if I get my way...) breakfast from Chic-Fil-A...

I screen shot the forecast for Tyler. Its going to be a wet, muddy and messy  adventure for sure.


Monday, May 4, 2015

LSHT, Part 3

Well, while this run was MUCH better than my last adventure into the LSHT, it was still pretty rough!

In an effort to get my last good long run in leading up to the Whispering Pines 50K, I decided to take to the trails super early with a goal of going between 28 and 32 miles. I accounted for the run to last about 6 hours, so I hit the ground running at around 4:20 Saturday morning.

What I didn't account for was that several sections of the course had been destroyed by tornados earlier in the week.

So running barefoot, in the dark, with a head lamp and flashlight while stopping every 30 feet to climb over fallen pine trees and then scampering thru all the accompanying pinecones littering the trail was quite... interesting.

Luckily I had thought ahead and was carrying a pull string draw bag on my back that contained .7 liters of Poweraid, .7 liters of water, some trail mix and peanut M&M's, my pair of Vibrams and luckily a ziplock baggie of toilet paper. So after spending over an hour climbing thru fallen tree tops and barely covering the first 4 miles (mile 1 was ran in 13:15, mile 2 was a real bitch) I decided that I was about tired of pine cones, so I sat down on a fallen oak tree and slipped on my Vibrams and took off again.

I haven't ran in shoes in a long time. And even then it was only for 3 or 4 miles on the roads. So running in trails in shoes was an entirely different experience altogether.

But it wasn't a bad experience!

Shoes as tools, right?

After donning the Vibrams I was actually able to continue on at a relatively decent pace for awhile. I even came upon a cleared out area that was COVERED in little pop up tents at some point. I can't remember if it was before or after the shoes, but I know it was still pitch black outside. I figured that it was the local Boy Scout's. I debated on giving then a good scare by either screaming like crazy or holding a conversation with myself.

This is what I was playing out in my head as I passed thru their camp...

This is good, just drop the body here.

No, that won't with you idiot. These people will find her.

Well if anyone sees you your ass is grass anyways, your covered in blood and chicken feathers.

Oh will you just shut up!

No, you shut up. You're  the one who got us into this mess.

I should never have listened to you in the first place. I knew that house wasn't abandoned, and this isn't my sister after all.


Sort of play it out like a Jekel and Hyde, or even better, a Smeagol and Gollum type thing!!!!

But I didn't from fear of being shot by a paranoid city dad.

Other than the trees crossing over the trail, the area from Trail Head 1 to Trail Head 6 was a very beautiful trail that was very runnable, save for the creek crossings where you went damn near straight down 15 feet into a creek bed, then right back up a 15 foot vertical climb / crawl to get back out.

I actually took a short cut trail because of the slow progress from the tornado faulted obstacles, this was the "North Wilderness Trail" and it cut out roughly 2.02 miles from the 1 way trip. This section of trail was very running friendly. Way nicer than it's southern counterpart, the Little Lake Creek Loop.

Overall, all the sections of the LSHT that I have ran have been very well marked with reflective blazes every so often, but I did manage to get off the trail at one point, but realized it after about a 3rd of a mile and was able to quickly correct my mistake. This particular turn was very poorly marked, and on the way back I showed Jesse what had happened and he said he would have done the same thing.

At one point I actually made my first human contact since kissing my wife good bye several hours earlier that morning. I met a french ultra marathoner whose last name was something like "Weisbeck". He was out on what I think came out to be around a 25 mile run. We chatted for a few minutes before resuming off in opposite directions. I always get giddy and talkative while I'm out running, especially when I meet another ultra runner, so, Mr Weisbeck, I'm sorry if I came across a little... umm... strange? Its just how I am. It was still very nice to have met you.

The plan was to meet Jesse at TH6, then return back to TH 1 either via the entire 16 miles of LSHT, or take the same North Wilderness Trail shortcut and make it back in 14 miles. I was intending on taking the longer 16 miles, but was unsure due to the setbacks earlier in the run. When I found out that Jesse mistook my drop bag full of calories and hydration I had left on the trunk of his car as one of his son's buddies bags and left it in his yard, the decision to try to make the 14 miles back with only .7 liters of water on me was an easy one to make.

To return run went great. We actually made pretty decent timing. I had to stop to remove built up dirt and sand from the toes of my Vibrams. That was annoying.

I saw, and caught, a little ribbon snake.

We see a guy who appeared to be another ultra runner bust his ass trying to cross over a fallen pine tree. I think he was a bit embarrassed because he didn't really reply when I asked if he was alright and tried to make conversation with him. He might have just been "in the zone", so whatever.

We crossed paths with the Boy Scout's group who did confirm that the sound of me running thru their camp scared the mess out of most of "the kids", but I imagine the adults werent feeling too great about hearing someone running thru camp in the dead of night either.

At mile 25 it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to stop dead in my tracks.

I needed to poop.

There was no waiting.

Thank God I packed some toilet paper!

The romp back thru the warzone of fallen trees was MUCH easier in the day light. We were actually running at around a 9 minute mile pace between trees.

I made it back to the truck, covered in mud and blood (from all the thorns and briars) in 27.84 miles in 7:02.

I expected to be sore as hell the next day, but here it is, Monday afternoon, and only the faintest signs of any soreness. I take this as a good sign!

I didn't take a lot of pictures this time. I enjoyed running in the Vibrams on the tougher sections of trail, but it still doesn't beat running bare!

Happy running!!!