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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Going Stir Crazy

Ok, I haven't ran since the Rocky Raccoon 50 miler 2 weekends ago. I'm not injured, I'm not recovering, I'm working...

The plant I work in had some technical difficulties, and as a result shit hit the proverbial fan. So I've been working straight 12 hour shifts since the Tuesday following the race. I'm not 100% sure, but I think today is Wednesday, so that makes it 11 days since I last ran. Sure, it's really not all that long, but I feel like I'm still suffering from the all to addictive "runners high" addiction, and I'm needing my fix....

Supposedly we should be done with everything and off of 12s sometime next week. And although I'm missing my family like crazy, and I think the lack of hard physical activity combined with the fast paced stress at work is playing a huge part on my mental ability.

Luckily the pay checks will be very well worth it!!! And next Monday is a holiday that were working through, so between holiday pay and working on a holiday, I'll get paid 32 hours for one 12 hours shift!!!!

Maybe I can afford to buy some new running shewz now.....

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rocky Raccoon success and failures.

I finished. But did I get everything I wanted out of the race? Yes and no... Yes, I learned an awful lot about myself and what to do and what not to do as far as running 50 miles, but I didn't get a damn T shirt!!!! I wanted a Rocky Raccoon shirt, instead I got a sweater. At least its a nice sweater and not some junk though.

First off, the major key to running an ultra, in my pseudo professional opinion, is attitude. My training leading up to this race was waaaaaay behind. Since Thanksgiving my weekly mileage had taken a major plunge into the depths of 0~ single digit miles for a few weeks. The second to last week in December I did run a 21 mile trail run, by accident and finished that week with 50 miles, but aside from that week, the rest were crap.

I still felt confident though because I only had one real solid goal. FINISH I wasn't concerned about time or place our anything like that. Just complete the 50 miles, barefoot, in under 29 hours. I just knew I has to keep moving forward, and keep faith that I could do it. I think this positive mentality helped out alot. When someone would ask how I was doing, our how my feet felt, I would say something like "Amazing!" or "never felt better!" or something positive along those lines. I think I psyched myself out with this and never let negativity enter my mind.

I also screamed alot. Every few miles I would let out a war cry at the top of my lungs. Occasionally these yells of madness were answered with return yells. I think the longest string I counted was 6 yells.

How did this help? Hell, I don't know, but it did help! Ever seen any movies with epic fight scenes? Braveheart for example! No body charged head strong into battle in silence. No! everybody was screaming like a bunch of girls at a Justin Beiber concert Lionel of the Thunder Cats!!! Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Cats, HHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! or HeMan By the power of Gray Skull, I have the POOOOOWWWWEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Theres just something about a good war cry that gets the adrenaline pumping. David spent the night afterwards in his tent at the park and said that he should hear the 100 mile guys screaming all night long, so I'm obviously on to something here.

Hydration. People say to look at how much, and how often you pee to determine your hydration level. You can also go by the color of your urine. Well, I had to have peed at least 75 times during the race. And every time it was crystal clear and rather voluminous to say the least. My "strategy" was to drink what sounded good at aid stations, and drink some honey chia water while running. I ended up drinking several cups of water and gatorade at every aid station, along with the random honey milk (yummy!), heed (not yummy...), nuun (also not yummy...), and at the last aid station I had about a dozen cups of Mountain Dew. I also had a 700ml bottle of honey chia water at the beginning of lap 2. I don't think hydration was ever an issue at any point!

Caloric intake. I also ate like a piggy the whole time! The aid stations had cups full of M&Ms, which I love, so I ate alot of them... The sugar and caffeine in the Mountain Few really made a show! Since I haven't had a soft drink in years, it filled me with a sugary rush that got me through the last 5 or so miles feeling great!

Ok, so what didn't work? Where do I need to improve? Well, theres a few areas...

I need to start doing longer long runs. Miles 37 to 41 seemed to take 2 hours. I think if I got a few 30~40 mile runs in during training I would have had this mental problem.

I need to learn to poop faster. Mt normal day to day poops aren't rushed usually. I just relax and enjoy a good book or magazine and let things happen naturally. During a race its either shit or get off the pot.

Non moving time needs to be worked on. I would be willing to bet that I wasted at least 2 hours at aid stations easily. I need to spend 5 minutes at an aid station, max. Just grab some hydration and a few bites, thank the volunteers, and hit the trail.

I also think I need to buy some type of supply belt / backpack / vest thingy for my training runs, and work on going longer between replenishment so I could maybe hit every other aid station and save even more time...

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rocky Raccoon, the aftermath...

Ok, so I ran the Rocky Raccoon 50 mile ultra marathon barefoot. If this is news to you then this must be your first time here. Welcome!

Most people reading this are probablly either already barefoot runners, minimalist runners that are interested in barefoot running, or you just get enjoyment from reading about a guy stepping in poop (hey, whatever floats your boat buddy!).

Some of you may be concerned for the safety of your feet, and use that as an excuse not to run barefoot. Well, I can proudly say that after running 50 miles on muddy and root covered trails out in the woods, my feet were probably some of, if not the least damaged feet out there!

The soles of my feet came out completely unscathed and uninjured. I had a few scratches from a few stickers from going off the trail to pee, but no bloody gashes, cuts, bruises, blisters or damage of that nature. No blackened, broken, our missing toe nails. Nothing!

The only thing different about my feet was that they were a little swollen afterwards, but show me a rookie ultra marathoner without swollen feet. Hell, show me any ultra marathoner, our even marathoner, without swollen feet!

The swelling was a result of running through deep water and mud where I had to actively force my foot to rise. I was contracting the muscle at the bottom of your shin / top of your foot for 50 miles / 12 hours. This is over twice as long as I've ever ran before, so I'm happy with just a little swelling and soreness.

Heres some pics of my feet for reference...

(the left foot is the one with the most swelling, it also had a slightly red tint to it)

(side view)

(look ma, no damaged soles!!)

So aside from a little swelling I'd say my feet did pretty good!

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rocky Raccoon race report.

Ok, well, I had a nice, loooong, descriptive narrative of a race report written out, and then my phone decided that it sucked and deleted it for me.... So heres an abridged version because, honestly, the other one kind of sucked anyways. Too many words, and once that picture to word ratio gets too low, most of my target audience gets lost (ok, maybe I'm the only one, but its my damn blog!)

So, without further interruption I present to you....


Ok, so maybe it wasnt really "record setting" per say, but I have been told that I'm the first to ever complete a Rocky Raccoon race fully unshod... So I did set a barefoot course record! How about them apples?

The lead up...

I felt unprepared for this race. My longest run had been 26 on streets, and that was many months ago. Plus with the seismoiditis the last 2 months were pretty much shot.

The drive up to Huntsville (for the race, not the prison...) proved eventfull to say the least. I got to see the elusive Rocky Racoon himself outside of a CVS hitting up a Red Box...

(notice the defined colors in his coat.)

And it was POURING rain the entire time...

(Its raining and the sun is shining. That means the devils beating his wife!)

We made it to the camp site and set up our tent at "Camp Barefoot" and met up with David, Robert, and Jim and went to go grab dinner at some Mexican joint.

Its funny meeting people that you've known only over internet forums for the first time... I thought Robert was some long haired surfer hippy kind of guy. Instead, hes the Brawny man with a beard...

Luckily the resturant even had a chair for people like David so that his feet weren't dangling from his chair...

While we ate we talked about race prep and what not and I believe Davids exact quote was "I plan on being lubed up slicker than a baby seal!" Which loosely translated in my head to a fun day!

After which we made it back to the tent and bedded down for the night, ready to get the race started!

Race Day!!!

I woke up at 3:15 wide awake and wondering who was shining a strobe light at our tent. Turns out it was a crazy storm rolling through.

Yay! More rain! I heard surrounding areas got up to 3 inches of rain between Friday and Saturday, and I believe it! Robert and I headed to packet pickup during the worst of it and got soaked, which was nice.

7:00... And were off!!!

It had dropped to around 60 by the time we made it to the starting line, and it was still raining. Between shot nerves, and being cold and wet I probablly looked like a nervous chihuahua on crack as much as I was shivering.

First loop! Miles 0 to 16.67

The pace for the first few miles were dictated by whoever was in front of you, so we were really putt putting along, but that was ok as we weren't in any hurry.

During the first loop David, Rob, and myself pretty much hung with each other with the exception of Rob getting out a few people ahead of us, slipping and falling down, then hanging with us awhile longer until repeating the process again. This is no reflection on Roberts running ability, or agility, but more on the slick and muddy conditions the course presented to us.

The first lap felt great! We played leap frog with lots of other runners, many of them running either their first ultra or100. The feedback I got for running barefoot was awesome! Everyone that commented were more than positive about it, and alot of people were very interested in it!

(here we are around mile 12, notice were dirty, but but covered in mud yet... Yet...)

I think we came in from the first loop in around 3:15, which was about where we wanted to be.

(33% done and feeling unstoppable!)

Loop 2! Miles 16.67 to 33.34

(heading back out, around mile 17... I think...)

Loop 2 presented some new obstacles. The mud combined with general fatigue resulted in me falling. I was still running with David, but Robert had left us towards the end of the first lap.

It seemed I had to take a leak every half mile, and after leaving the DamNation aid station I stepped off in the erotica to do just that and stepped right in something squishy, stinky, and warm... Yes, poop. I stepped in a pile of poop. I was hoping it was from some cute woodland critter, but the wadded up soiled napkins next to my foot led me to believe otherwise... Mr Pruisitis (race director extraordinaire) clearly asked everyone to leave no trash on the trails, and I think this is why. Its not the first time I've stepped in human feces barefoot at a race, but it still wasnt very pleasant. Luckily there was some young bamboo shoots nearby that I used to floss my toes with. Shortly after this I stopped to pee again, only this time I came across a young woman pooping. Talk about akward... Geez... When we stopped again we were back at the DamNation station, and this time David knee locked up on him. It took awhile for him to get it working again, and he kept telling me that I could go on without him if I needed to. I didnt. Having David there with me was more than helpful, it was fun! We talked about everything, aside from running, that we could think of. I think that the distraction we created for each other helped out immensely in the long run (no pun intended) and played a big part in getting me through the race.

(_here we are somewhere around mile 30)

I think it was during this lap that my nipples started chafing a little bit. Luckily my wife got me some bandaids and fixed that problem right up!

I think we finished this lap way behind where w wanted to finish it, although I can't remember the times...

end of second loop, 16.67 more miles to go!)

Loop 3! Miles 33.34 to 50!!!

My legs were toast going into the 3rd and final lap. I was already pretty deep into uncharted territory being 7 miles over my longest run, and plenty more still to go.

I had begun getting a little pain in the muscles and tendons on the top of my left foot from having to lift my toes up through the mud and water for 30+ mikes at this point, but I tried to block it out as best as I could. At this point in the race lots of other runners were still amazed that I was barefoot. I think the most common question I was asked was "How them feet holding up?" Oddly enough, the soles of my feet felt better than the rest of my body, so thats what I would tell them. Then I would ask how their feet were holding up, to which I always got the same answer... "Their killing me...."

Around mile 35 I started hitting that mental block. It seemed as if we would never make it to mile 40. So I asked for a bandaid at an aid station and used it to cover the screen of my Gamin so that I couldn't see the miles passing as time seemed to slow to a halt (
theres a picture of this floating around somewhere on facebook).

After leaving the DamNation station for the last time the muscles ontop of my left foot hurt so bad I had to stop and attempt to massage them out while David continued jogging in circles around me to keep his knee from locking up. At some point he asked me how my nipples were feeling, I found it to be the funniest thing I've ever been asked and couldnt stop laughing.

At some point my wife met me and handed me my head lamp, although I can't say that I remember that, or do I? Most of the last lap is kind of a blur.

Court snapped this pic of me as I took off with the headlamp in hand__)

Running barefoot in the dark is a little troubling since you can't see. Throw in the fact that your on trails with lots of roots and mud, and then put 40 miles before all of that and things can get a little tricky...

At the last aid station I decided to down about a dozen cups of a Mountain Dew. A little back story here, I haven't drank a caffinated drink in about 10 years, do the Mountain Dew REALLY had a good effect of my energy level, cause I ran probablly 95% of the remaining 5 miles. Granted some of the uphill runs were the same speed as Davids uphill speed walks, but going from walking to running hurt too bad to continue doing it, so I kept running along.

As I neared the finish line I realized that I had felt better for the last 5 miles than I had for any of the previous 35. I felt amazing! Like I could have kept going for a good 15 more miles, although I realized that would probablly change as soon as I crossed the line.

And then there it was. The finnish line! I crossed in 12:15:42!

50 barefoot miles behind me!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, February 2, 2012

T minus 34 hours....

Holy rusted metal Batman, Rocky Raccoon is less than one and a half days away... Am I ready? What have I gotten myself into? Can I double my longest run to date, even though it was ran months ago? Will the fact that the past 2 months have been total flops in term of running hold me down? What if the course isn't as barefoot friendly as im thinking HOPING it is? What if I need to poop, and I'm nowhere near a bathroom?

Do I have this kind of determination? What if Mr Rocky Raccoon laughs at me?

I can't handle that type of degradation. What if he attacks me in the car on the way up there?

I would probablly end up pooping my pants before the race even started if that happened...

But what if, by some strange chance, this race is my guiding light. My beacon, calling me to the ways of the Ultra Marathon. What if this race its my hero?

... Yeah, probablly not... I'm sure it will be more liken to the following picture.

Yep, screwin the pooch....

Ill admit, I have been a little nervous about this race the past few days. I have only one goal, and that is...


In order to prepare I've made a few purchases, and prepared a few things...

For starters, we bought a nice tent. We even camped out in it one night!

Im using the little schwag bag from the Hermann Memorial Sugarland Half Marathon (which is about a 4th the distance of this race...) as my drop bag.

And ive amassed a nice quantity of Honey Chia waters. 8 of them to be exact!

And my lovely wife picked up 3 large bags of Almond M&Ms (i didn't know these even existed until just a few days ago!) Thanks baby! Your the greatest!

I also hit up Academy after work today to see what I could find in the way of a replacement for my Spi Belt that has gone MIA. I lucked out and found this gem!

Another Spi Belt! Oh happy day! The sun had peeked out from behind the rain drenched clouds and shone itself upon me. I also picked up some "Body Glide".

I've never used Body Glide before, but I figure it can't hurt! Hopefully I can convince my awesome wifey to help me apply it before the race! Thats true love when your partner will apply Body Glide to your nether regions before your big race!

This will probablly be my last post before the race. It might also be my last post ever, as I might not make it through.

So, heres to you Rocky Raccoon! I'm going to make you my bitch Saturday!*

*I'm about 99.9% sure I'll be eating those words come Sunday when I wake up in the medic tent bleeding from multiple orifices

posted from Bloggeroid