Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rebuilding From the Ground up...a Mile Up.

Okay, I'll be brief with the boring exercise shit, since I'm not doing anything at all impressive.

Monday - 1 hour - Visited the Centennial trails, the closest park to our house. I had to work at noon, but luckily my body still thinks it's in Michigan so I was up early. Sam and I hiked up a couple really small peaks, then ran down. I had to be exceedingly careful with my hurt foot. Any more than a few steps on the injured area resulted in pain, so I just watched Samantha as she glided down the trails.

Tuesday - Pretty much nothing, but I sure did watch a lot of exercise - helped out with a water aerobics class, orientation-type internship stuff, and helped out with wheelchair racing. Very good time to be injured - I need to shift my focus to other things temporarily

Wednesday- 1.5 hours - Sam and I hiked up Mount Sanitas. I would guess it to be about a 3 mile loop, but I have no idea. It's a rather small park, but a couple of mid-westerners like us still find it scenic and challenging. My foot, with the help of Traumeel(a homeopathic anti-inflammatory for muscle strains), Ibuprofen, and a few wraps of tape, felt a bit stronger. Still can't run on flat surfaces, but jumping around from rock to rock in the mountain is fun and pain-free. Pardon me while I act dissappointed.

Thursday- 6 hours - I had the day off, so Sam and I decided to check out a bigger park. We biked from our place to Chautauqua Park, where we hiked to Gregory Canyon, then up some where to eat lunch(forgive my unfamiliarity with the area, I'm enjoying the sensation of simply wandering around). Somewhere between the Green Mountain Lodge and the peak of Green. At the risk of sounding like a tourist, I have to say that I was awestruck. Seeing a different part of our world makes me feel things that are beyond words. Some of the views, even this close to town, are hard to describe with words or a camera. Normally thoughts materialize into written word easily for me, but I find myself overwhelmed by the enormity. It didn't stop us from taking some pictures though.
Yours truly on the Amphitheater Trail, coffee flavored GU hanging out of my mouth.

Yeah, I like flowers. So what?

Creeping out over the edge of a giant rock. Photos: Samantha
Friday -My first REAL run since the 12 hour - 2 hours - I was starting to feel better. The days of hiking over the past week have given me the confidence to test out the foot on some trails. We've been running the technical downhill parts of our hikes, so it led me to believe that my foot would hold up. I really enjoyed the route Sam and I took, so I decided to do it again. She apparently lost her sunglasses in the trail, so the run served multiple purposes. I found the spectacles, had a great run, and sat on saddle rock. I watched a hummingbird. Everything about the run was new and exciting. New trails, new shorts, new shoes, new trails, and fresh legs after nearly 3 weeks off. Running on trails that are actually far enough to be considered wilderness was new and exciting. My usual spot at home is practically butted up to a freeway, so my ears noticed the lack of tire noise immediately. The going was slow, about 14-15 minute miles on the uphills, but if I keep working, it will get better. I didn't bring a camera since it was the same route as the previous day.

Yep, I bought shoes. I wore them once in the mountains and really love them.
Saturday- 14 hour work day- Rode the BolderBoulder 10k course with the wheelchair racers on my bike. I'm exceedingly happy that I didn't register for the race. Call it Divine intervention, but not being registered for the race has given me the opportunity to get internship hours by supporting the athletes in the wheelchair racing program. The rest of the day was spent working at the Boulder Creek Festival. This was an amazing experience. I've met so many great people in my short time in Boulder. This isn't surprising since I'm involved in a program with the main goal of bringing out the best in people. With some work, I'll bring out the best in myself.

Sunday - 2+ hours - Sam and I rode our bikes to the Mount Sanitas Park and parted ways for some alone time. She had her camelback and was ready to hike, I had my shorts and water bottle. The climb is barely 1 mile from the road to the peak, but took me nearly 20 minutes to get there. I'd like to blame it on the trail being inundated with hikers, but I think that was only a fraction of my sluggishness. I got lost on the descent and ended up in someones yard, dogs barkin' and the whole bit. I turned around, going back up to the top, only to miss another corner. I just barely missed an Open Space Officer(I'm not sure how she didn't see me off trail, but I'm glad she did - honest mistake). Hit the Dakota Ridge Trail, and came up behind a pretty lady, smiling away with her blue camelback and Merrell Pace Gloves on. Sam had somehow passed me while I was lost. Imagine my surprise when my self proclaimed "non-runner" girlfriend beat her wannabe mountain racer boyfriend! Still a great run and we were able to finish together.

Edit: Snuck in 2 miles on the Goose Creek Path after dinner. My first pavement run since MTD. All seemed well. Even my pace was back around the "comfort" level I was running in training (around 7:05ish min/mile). Looks like I can proceed with caution from here on out. Back to my normal bitching about aches and pains associated with doubles and no sleep.

Wow, that was exceedingly long. I apologize. If my weeks are going to be this eventful, I'll have to add another post! I'll add a few notes and let you go about your day.

Training for Fall - If I'm going to do an ultra in MI when I return, I think its best to give time more weight in my training log. The intensity is far different here while I adjust. A 30 minute 5k isn't that tough on the trails at home, but I'm lucky if I can get that here. Once my foot holds up to road running, I hope that changes. My weeks of being relatively sedentary have taken me from a "recovery period" to a "de-training period." It's time to start over, so six weeks or so of base building is in order.  As I try to climb mountains with my hands on my knees, I realize that this is probably what my awful, tired form looks like:

Shoes- I needed just a bit more shoe than my floppy old trail gloves here. The MT101 is a great shoe, but the rock plate just doesn't jive with me because it tends to rock when I land on pointy stuff. The inov-8 f-lite 195 has been great on my runs this week, and should be a good road flat to get me to the trailhead when the time comes.

What I'd like to see next week - Thursday will mark the end of my second week in Boulder, so excuses about altitude will begin to be less effective. My body should be adapted, I should be feeling more at ease at work, and will finally, after nearly two months of chaos, be able to establish a routine. I feel strong, but I also know that more time is necessary to get back into fighting shape.

Have a great week and enjoy some summer!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First (partial) week in Boulder

This week consisted of no running. I was wrecked all over from 77+ miles of pavement early in the week, so I just packed up and said goodbye to family. Once I finally arrived in Colorado, my legs and body had shaken most of the aches from Saturday's race. The only pain that resided in my body was in my left foot. The pain pretty much limited me to slow walking, which is tough when Samatha likes to travel by foot. I can barely keep up with her when I have two good feet.

 I tried being patient and letting the body heal up on its own. I know our bodies are capable of great things, but when this is type of topography is in my new backyard, all I can say to my foot is, "Hurry the hell up!"
Mount Sanitas, a natural area near the new abode.
We spent the latter days of the week doing a little exploring by bike and by foot. A little shopping, a visit to the farmers market, scouting to making sure I knew where my internship office is for tomorrow morning, and a little driving and hiking in the mountains filled the first few days for us in our new, albeit temporary, home.

I've stayed in contact with family and friends. It's entirely possible that we talk more now than we did when I was home. The adventure is a distraction, but its also helping me figure out who I am without the shroud of familiar surroundings. I'm out of semi-intelligent things to say, but I usually write a blog post on sunday night, so here it is.

Friday, May 20, 2011

MTD race report 2011

Here we go, late as usual. Everyone else's are up already, but I can't help myself.

Days leading up to the race:

Running had taken a back seat to life in the weeks prior to the race. As some of you know, I was stricken a bit ill immediately after a road trip/mountain running adventure with Jason Robillard. Three weeks after the trip were filled with lots of sleeping and fairly little exercise. Once I did creep back into running, however, I found myself feeling stronger than ever. My short runs were faster(substantially-nearly a minute/mile at a given intensity) and my longer runs felt stronger. I kept the mileage low because I didn't want to lose the feeling of running being fun again. Not wanting to allow the remnant sickness to get the best of me, I ran sparsely and let the motivation and mileage come to me. There's one excuse eliminated.

Lots of fun was had in the non running world in the weeks before the 12 hour. I graduated from Western Michigan with my BS in Exercise Science, which meant two things: I consumed quite a bit of alcohol during finals week, and I consumed a lot of alcohol after finals week. Knowing that it was goodbye for me and some of my closest friends in Kalamazoo, we made sure to get lots of quality time in, mostly in the form of late nights and good conversation....and this is how my race reports get long - I get sidetracked.

The weeks of tapering went well, but was a bit more abrupt than planned. I ran a couple of runs in the double digits, a few runs at desired race pace, and did some hiking and biking to keep me occupied.

The Road Trip

The best part of this adventure, as with last year, may have been the road trip. Jason, Shelly, and our friend John loaded up at the Robillard's (after I showed up 40 minutes late with a list of excuses) and headed east. We stopped along the way for food, drinks, and laughs. The hilarity that ensued would further reinforce that we are all idiots, so I'll spare it. I soon found out that John is my twin brother... or should I say twin Bro? Our group of vagabonds stayed in a hotel in Cleveland...or Toledo or whatever, then made a break for New York the following morning. Jason contracted some sort of virus from one of his spawn, so I was good friend and told him to get the hell away from me every time he collapsed in my direction. Some BRU intern I am, yes? The road trip was incredibly fun, but a bit sad as well. I've grown to love my gypsy family that I travel with, and to know that I won't be seeing them for a while was nearly enough to make this vagabond get the vapors. We all picked up various types of alcohol for various parts of the next day. I was planning on using Pabst Blue Ribbon as race fuel. My last long run with beer was an overwhelming success(36 miles at sub 8 pace), so I wanted to use what worked. We then went to Chili's for some food and hit the bed. Of course, John and I had some shenaniganning to do first, mostly in the form of prank calling friends while playing ridiculous youtube videos.

The Event
As nonchalantly as I try to pass myself off, I get pre-race jitters. The vast majority of those jitters are excitement. I was happy to actually get on the course, see some runners from last year, and see what progress, if any, I had made. MTD is a bit of a landmark for me. It marked the first year that I consistently trained for running specific ultra events. Our crew laid out our gear in our EZ up tent, then we picked up our packets and did the pre race "should I stretch? warm up? pee?" awkward dance toward the finish line. Not a moment too soon, up strolls my friend and virtual training partner, Rebecca. I was excited to see her. We met last year at the same event and had fun running together for much of the latter half. Our crew from MI took a quick photo and the race started in true ultra fashion- rather uneventfully(we all knew what we were in for, so we just smiled)

Our crew from MI actually made up a large portion of the field. I ended up very proud of them all. I think Stewart is mocking me in this photo.
 I'm terrible with names, but as it turns out, I had a rabbit for the first 50k of the race. I was following a fellow who was running nearly 7:00minutes/mile for the first few laps. I gave chase, knowing that my excitement early on may as well be embraced, not resisted. I had faith that I would find my pace and settle into a groove. I let the mystery man go, thinking that a)he was a far better runner I, or b) he was running too fast for both of us. Turns out(these are rumors, correct my hearsay if necessary) that he's a damned good marathon/50k guy who was having some back issues, so he was playing it by ear, then decided to drop.  I also had a pacer for the early hours of the race. Peter, a guy about my age, ran with me for quite some time. He's quite an accomplished runner, especially at shorter events. It was great to talk about collegiate running with someone who also has a passion for ultras. Swapping stories and talking made the first few hours cruise by. I'm thankful he was there.

As the clock approached 6 hours, I became focused on one of my secondary goals, which was to run as close to a 7 hour 50mile time as possible. I powered through the last hour with a little help from my mp3 player and some caffeine. I wanted to do this to prove that my last victory, the Woodstock 50mile, wasn't a fluke. If I could come close to a 7 hour time on this paved loop, then I could finally prove to myself that my success at Woodstock was legit.

feeling good, closing in on a 7 hour(ish) 50mile.

The clock hit 7, and I was faced with the wrath of my stupidity. I was completely drained of energy. My calves and soleii were incredibly fatigued. My chest felt heavy. I was shivering. I walked a lap, planning on starting a shuffle next time I crossed the mat. I met up with Jason at our tent, talking to him for a couple seconds. Against his advice(why should I listen to him? He's only run 3 100 milers, wrote a book on running, and taught me everything I know about how to be a good ultra runner.), I decided to take a knee for a moment. Next thing I knew, I was sprawled out in the mud, getting rained on, shivering and shirtless. I told Jason to only let me lay there for 10 minutes, then it was decision time. Should I just give up, accepting that I may simply be a 50miler? Maybe I should focus on 50s for a couple years, then push the distance barrier later on. I am young after all. Even with 50 miles on today, I'll still have a good mileage week on, prepping me for Boulder.

This self-talk went on in my head for what felt like an eternity, then I remembered a conversation I had with Samantha a couple days earlier. I tolder her that this race wasn't going to be about running, but more about building the mental strength I desired for myself. Running is the one thing that nobody can tell me I have easy. The factor keeping me from improving my running is mental endurance. I'm not typically a fan of the warrior mentality(ie, "if it hurts, you're doing it right) with life or sports, but I know that if I want to get better at running long, I have to make friends with the despair that comes from exhaustion. This race was the perfect venue for that. I thought of my training partners at home. Running's a bit of a self-serving thing, but I'm a member of a small team back at WMU, and I needed to put the effort in for the crew of great runners that compose our club. They've supported me a great deal, and this was the only way I could repay them. It was time for the real work to start.

Sitting down during an ultra is a bad idea.

I got up after Jimmy V snapped a photo of me face down in the mud. Ryan Hansard let me get some of his RedBull stash and I ate a sandwich. I started shuffling just as Angie came around. She and I have been facebook friends and user's of the Runner's World Forum for quite a while, but this was the first time that I got to meet her in person. She asked if I needed some motivation. I said yes. Her reply was something to the tune of "Get your lazy %^&ing ass moving then." I'm a fairly trainable male when it comes to talk like that from the fairer sex, so I picked up my heavy feet and followed along. We took a few laps together, talking about our favorite books, her latest adventures, and life in general as I built up some momentum. I was off and running, feeling fresh and back on pace.

The smile is gone, but body keeps moving.
 I noticed I hadn't seen Rebecca in a little bit. We were likely running the similar pace on opposite ends of the loop, so I figured I might as well try to catch her, giving us both someone to babble to in the last hours. We ran together intermittently, but not as inseperably as last year. One guy said to us, "Didn't I spend the day watching you two running around together last year?"

The rest of the 12 hours felt like a typical day at my old job. Work hard, and there's 2 hours left. Slack off, and there's two hours left. I distracted myself with my thoughts at times, and focused heavily at times. Noticing that I was the main HammerGel Consumer at the aid stations, I had to try some of the nastier flavors as I drained the supply(I prefer GU, but the Hammer flavors were pretty palatable as well. (I tend to fall into the "sugar is sugar" camp when it comes to nutrition). Mountain Dew had become my friend, as did loads of water. I was relieved when the clock finally hit 11 hours.

I had big plans for the final hour. Aided by angsty music from my youth, I was going to alternate between harder laps and easy laps, both of which would be spent running. This happened roughly one time, then I just put it on cruise. I happened to meet up with Rebecca again, and asked her if she'd like to finish the race together. She obliged, provided that I don't go too fast. I didn't have the humility to tell her that it was a complete non-issue. I was only hanging on by a thread, so having her there was a blessing. She's gone beyond the 12 hour barrier, and even done a 24. My longest runs are MTD one self supported 14 hour run a year ago. We trotted around for the last 30 minutes, thinking about all that had changed in the past year, as well as what had not. My arrogant "I don't plan on getting tired" approach hadn't wavered much in the past year, but it did rub off on her a little bit. Her smart, conservative approach didn't change, but I did manage a few moments of good decision making this time around. We knew our places on the dry erase boards were not likely to change, so we just kept breaking the silence by saying, "I can't believe its almost over. I don't remember it hurting this badly last year."

The last few minutes of the race were great. People were finishing up, giving their hugs, and those who had had enough were cheering the rest on. With 5ish minutes to go, we knew we had time for a victory lap. I briefly considered running a fast 800m sprint like last year, but felt pretty comfortable where I was. We picked it up a little, then finished the damned race.

Unsure of what to do after finishing, I ever-so-awkwardly gave Rebecca a hug.
I thought it might gross her out, but I then remembered her wiping some sort of
armpit discharge off my back early on. Ah, ultrarunning is an odd sport.
Photo: Shelly Robillard

The very next thing after the race was over? I had to brush my teeth. 12 hours of nothing but GU and Mountain Dew made my mouth feel horrible. Pizza and food to follow, along with some celebration with my Joggas. Everyone was amazing all day. Mark put up mega miles while still pulling pranks on us all. Rick doubled his longest run ever, hitting the 100k mark and some change. Brandon hit 100k, and he and Emily won the couple's prize. Shelly didn't meet last years mileage, but she ran nearly every step this year, a huge performance gain in my book. The strength to recognize quality over quantity is a trait I still don't possess.  Jason unfortunately was stricken with the flu, but managed to do well and keep in good spirits. It may have been a product of his mid-race trip to the beer store with John. John never ceases to impress. His longest run was "an eight miler a few years ago," and he managed to rack up mileage in the 20s. Stuart, Tony, and Matt all stayed in good spirits all day, putting up some really impressive mileage. Matt walked the ENTIRE time. The mental fortitude for that is beyond me, and my hat's off to him for it. Ryan Hansard was just short of his 50 mile goal, where he displayed two things: balls. I didn't get to talk to Vanessa or Robert, two of my other online friends from out West. They were a bit busy being absolutely insane, and I'm not talking about their tutus. They ran MTD, cut out just a little early, and headed to the Toronto Marathon the very next day. I envy their spirit.
I love trophies like this. The basic elegance of it encompasses what I hope our
 sport maintains for years to come.
Photo: Mark Robillard

No races on the horizon, but a summer of running mountains in Boulder, Colorado awaits- provided that I can heal myself up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quick Update: The Racoon has landed.

After lots of driving, this was a sight for sore eyes.
...I didn't know what to call myself, so Racoon it is. It's against code to give yourself a nickname, so I do not wish this one to stick. Mostly just a reflection to my dumpster-esque eating habits.

Sam and I have finally landed in Boulder after a stop in Omaha last night. The trip went exceedingly well, especially considering my track record for getting lost when most deem it impossible. Sam was a good co-pilot, staying awake and providing conversation.

The weather isn't too conducive for sightseeing at the moment. It's about 43 degrees F and raining/foggy. We were still greeted by the mountains upon our arrival. I can't wait to get up there and see what the trails have to offer. After Mind the Ducks, a change in elevation is welcome. I sit here at 5500 feet above sea level, feeling a strange sense of adventure with a little home sickness. I have this great place before me to explore, but have left my dearest friends and family behind. They're all immensely supportive, and for that I'm thankful.

On the running side, not much to tell. My foot hurts. I seem to have strained my left foot muscles(feels like the toe flexors). Im not suprised or even upset. I ran my longest run ever less than a week ago at a pace that was pretty good for this bum. I'm hoping some rest over the next couple days will clear it up and I can hit the trails by next week.

Sam and I both in search of part time work, but not in a huge hurry.

To all of you who are following me on this journey, I thank you for the support. Everything feels right, but that doesn't mean it's always easy.

Ever travelled and spent the summer/a year/a decade away from everything and everyone you know? Share, I'd like to hear about it.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taper week: MTD 2011

10 miles- trying to dial in the race pace for Saturday, but to no avail. Every time I checked the Garmin, pace was about 1 minute/mile faster than I wanted. Maybe it's a good thing, maybe it's bad. Who knows. First really hot day of the year- just over 80. I didn't bring any water, so I experienced a little fatigue at the end along with some swollen hands. Oh yeah, that's what summer running feels like. Can't wait for more.

Tuesday -
No running, but 6 hours of cutting, splitting, and stacking wood served as my exercise for the day. Good times bonding with my Grandpa, who is one of the bigger pieces of my support system.

3 miles - served no real purpose other than entertainment. 1.55 out and back(for the sake of running a 5k). Lots of downhill and fresh legs made a 20 minute 5k feel nice. Taper weeks are cool!

...3 days of no physical activity later...

77.249884850584958684943958493 miles  - Mind the Ducks 12 hour.
1st overall- nowhere near course record, but I'm one happy jogger.

Long, boring race report to follow in the next couple days.

approximately 30 feet of walking and the worst post race sickness in a while.

In the next few days, I'll be on my way to Boulder, writing my race report, reviewing the Somnio NADA shoe(the shoe I wore for MTD without any previous testing), and starting a new internship. Busy times ahead. I want to write about it as much as possible.

Summer's here everyone, let's get out and enjoy our lives and each other's company.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

20 miles - A flat, paved out and back from North Muskegon to the lighthouse at Pere Marquete beach. Started out a little fast(for me) at around a 6:30 pace  for the first 10 miles. I slowed up a bit once I stopped for a drink. Stayed around 7:30-8:00 minute pace for a little while. To deplete myself a little further, I ran the 17th mile at 5:45, then slowly jogged back to the car. It was a fairly challenging run, but mostly a good time reacquanting myself with the lakeshore and make at least one trip to the South Side beach before heading West in a couple weeks. As I approached the beach, I saw the city workers pulling the snow fences and clearing the sand off the sidewalks. Summer is one of the few things this town has left, and they're getting everything ready to shine again.

AM - 7 miles - Met up with Shelly for some stairs at Coast Guard Park, a 1/4 mile loop off all stairs, repeated a few times, plus the route out and back. Tacked on a few extra miles since I wasn't going to be running again that day

PM - 7 miles - Didn't think I'd be running again, but ended up going to Hoffmaster and meeting with Jason, Rick, Mark, Tony, and Ryan. Ran some quick miles with Jason and then cruised in at a good pace. Unexpected double for the day.

AM - 4 miles - Hiked with Sam at Muskegon State Park. Hiked all the deer runs and steep hills we could find, trying to prepare for the mountainous climbs in CO(we know this is futile, but any excuse to spend some time outside together is good enough for me). Shared some views of the lake and tested out Sam's new hiking poles. My calves were sore from the previous day's hill and stair work, so the hike was a perfect way to loosen things up.

PM - 2 miles - Ran from my house to Sam's for her birthday party. I carried my backpack with a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a pair of hiking poles, and some other stuff. Mostly just for the sake of transportation.

AM - 5 miles - Did some trail running with Chad, taking it pretty easy and enjoying the weather

PM - 30 miles on a bike - bike ride with Kelly on the Kal Haven Trail before packing up my stuff and heading home. To further convince me that we're twins, we stopped and ate candy from the gas station midway, loitering outside next to our bikes while eating junk food.

5 miles - I was pretty tired from moving and the car ride home, so I did a quick 5 miler before the sun went down. Started the first mile fast to set the pace, wanting to do some quality miles since it wasn't going to be much quantity. With the help of my neighbor's chihuahua nipping at my ankles, the first mile clicked by at a 5:45. 6:00 pace overall for the run- alternating between 5:45 and 6:15s, almost to the second. Being able to run faster for short distances will either help me increase my overall pace for the upcoming ultra, or it will coax me into going out too hard and fizzling out. I felt great afterward and I hope to maintain that feeling until the days leading up to the race.

2 miles - Decided to be a family man this weekend. I'll have all summer to be selfish and spend my time on the trails, so I spent a saturday going to my cousin's soccer game, attending a great uncles 90th birthday party, and doing yardwork for my parents. By the time I got done working on the yard and in the barn, the sun was setting. Nice day though, and 2 miles of running(guesstimate - length of our 5 acre property a few times and chasing the damned horse that got out when I didn't shut the gate)

Having a 6 year girlfriend is like being married. Being married means two families. Two families means two mother's day celebrations. For those of you aspiring to be great runners - women are the devil. For those of you who want to be happy, complete individuals, relaxing and tossing some frisbee around with the family is a blast! I'm tapering for MTD anyway, its an excuse to rest and let the strength come back

52 miles of running
30 miles of cycling

This week started out good, but ended with abysmally low mileage yet again. From a running standpoint, it doesn't show much progress, but the strength I've found to return after my time off is encouraging. I, for some reason, would like to have seen a 100 mile week this week. I think running half that was probably for the best. I'm in better overall condition than last year's MTD, and all I'm looking to do is improve from last years mileage. Am I biding my time until I can spend the summer running in the beauty of Colorado, or am I just exiting a phase in my life where I'm obsessed with logging high mileage? Time will tell. Running is my longest standing obsession(rivaled my snowcross, motocross, and triathlon). Prone to boredom, I wouldn't be suprised if I started slacking on running, but I would surely be dissappointed. Maybe I could run, stay relatively fast, and leave the "r word" out of my facebook statuses.

This might be my last post before the 12 hour death shuffle, so stay tuned.
Good luck and move free.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

End of an Era

This is my last week here at WMU. A couple finals, some paperwork, and I leave with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. It just doesn't feel like it should be over yet. I'll go home for a couple weeks(after I get my accumulation of shit out of my room here in Kalamazoo), Then head off to New York for the 12hour. After the 12 hour is one of the most important journeys I've embarked on in my life- I'm moving to Boulder, Colorado with my girlfriend to work for the Summer at a therapeutic recreation internship. I'll undoubtedly be running, but I'm more excited to explore the mountains, myself, and my potential career, not to mention putting up a resistance to being domesticated by beautiful significant other(she's particularly laid back, but I'm equally as unrefined in my current level of sloth).

0- got about 40 minutes of cardio while bike commuting, then did a few strengthening exercises. After the long run Sunday, a few weaknesses showed themselves. Weak gluteus medius muscles and core muscles needed some work. Carrying the water bottle(and big ass slushy) for so long required core stability in the transverse plane, so the obliques were sore the next day. Some lunges and squats, as well as the 4 way hip machine and some core exercises.

AM - 5 miles - Nice cruise around the loop at Al Sabo. Kept the pace even at around 7:10ish for the first 4, then took it easy on the way back. I'm developing a habbit of running my short runs fast. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm finally slowing down my slow runs and speeding up the fast ones, instead of just going slow all the time. Enjoyed a little warmth. I haven't gotten hot enough to actually soak my curly afro in sweat for a while, so it felt nice.

PM - 10 miles - Joey met me at my place to do a workout on the Arboretum loop. A three-ish mile warmup, then a cool gravel loop that happens to be exactly 1200m(well, as exact as a Garmin can get). I got 3 repeats at around 6ish pace, then fell apart. I did some short, explosive bursts up some technical hills and ran some of the singletracks nearby while Joey cranked out a couple more 1200s. I found out where 3 weeks off takes its toll. I'll have to put some serious work in to get that 5:10-5:20ish snap back into my legs. Oh well, a fun time running in the mud while it rained on and off.

10 miles - Ran at Al Sabo...suprise! I actually found a new trail, just when I thought I explored every inch of the place. I found a small loop that circles a pond, where I decided to lay down and take a short nap. The running was fairly quick, somewhere around a 7:30 pace. Stopped off at the KVCC track for 1.5 miles of barefoot in the grass(garmin said about 6:20 pace, but that seemed a little fast). Even though I stopped intermittently to sit and watch the blue jays, it still felt like a good workout.

35 miles...on a bike ride. Did some sweet shreddin' with Shredward Scissorhands(aka Evan G). Rode around in the rain on some of the sweet Kalamazoo greenways, enjoying some good times and a delicious pilsner along the way. Great ride. If I have make time for a run today, it could be a good training day. Nice.

6 miles - Hiked out at Al Sabo for a couple hours, having a few IPAs and finishing up a book (Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, as recommended to me by Angie). After that, had a nice 6 miler with Joey and Alex, who seems to have made a triumphant return from the dead. All the beer earlier in the day seemed to have given me...ummm...GI distress. Damned craft beer. I'm sticking with PBR as my choice alcoholic long run fuel from now on. The hike was awesome, as was the farewell to Al Sabo Land preserve. Having some time on my feet that wasn't running felt pretty good as well. Too bad the 12 hour race is so close, because the weather is finally beautiful.

A windy day at graduation.
0 miles...but I graduated!

3 miles easy with Sam. Returned a library book and enjoyed some sun. First small sunburn of the year.

34 miles of running
35 miles of biking
1 half assedly done core workout
1 Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science
1 awesome party at KBo's house
1 lease signed for a summer house in Boulder, CO

No where near the fittest dude around, but I'm a shoo in for the happiest.

Another week of low mileage, but it was a busy, fun 7 days. I'll take it. Low mileage coupled with altitude makes me think that I'll have to start a "couch to 5k" program when I get to Boulder. In the words of Dad, "Who gives a shit?"