Friday, September 9, 2011

A break-up

Dear Running,

We have had some good times haven't we? Many mornings have been spent dancing on this dusty love path. This is why I'm confused why you would hurt me like this. Your abuse over the last month has taken it's toll on me. With pain in my heart, and ice packs on my left achilles, I am taking a break from you. I will come back to you as soon as I'm ready. Please know this break up isn't permanent. I will miss you while I'm gone.

Good bye!

P.S. Jog on mates!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What in the world is a Haboob?

Record-breaking haboob rolling over Phoenix
Another shot of the haboob
The Ha-whats?? A haboob, according to the ever-so-reliable source, Wikipedia, is “a type of intense sandstorm commonly observed in arid regions throughout the world.” In laymen terms, a haboob is simply a dust storm. Given the fact that Arizona is a fairly arid region located in the Sonoran desert, this phenomemon has become a recent guest of the Phoenix area. In the last month, we have witnessed one of the Largest Haboobs in the state's history as well as a smaller counterpart a week later. I am not a weather expert, but my keen observation skills have led me to believe that these haboobs are signs of the monsoon season that we were warned about. I was given the pleasure of observing this haboob-monsoon combo move last week while enjoying a bowl of Pho with Stash, Ellie, and Patsy. Now one of the key components of these monsoons is rain. Yes I said rain. Rain, this also has become a foreign event to me and I almost forgot that the sky was capable of producing such moisture. The rain in Arizona does some crazy things.The ground here is about as hard as the asphalt on your driveway so when it rains, the water does not soak in but pools up and finds the lowest point it can get to....the canals.
Another haboob

In addition to the haboobs and monsoon-like rain, we have also been afforded the joy of a recent thunderstorm. At about 10:30 PM the other night, while enjoying the outset of a good night's sleep, a large bolt of lightning flashed outside. Now, everyone knows that thunder always follows lightning and one can count the seconds between the flash and the thunder to determine the distance you are to the flash. Everyone also knows that the farther away the lightning, the quieter the rumble. Not the case on this particular strike. About 7.5 seconds after the lightning flash, our apartment was rattled with the loudest crack of thunder that has every entered my ear cavity.  It was as if a bomb had gone off. After about 5+seconds of continued after-rumblings, and after the house stopped vibrating, you could hear the not-so-pleasant noise of about 10-15 car alarms going off in the parking lot. Apparantly thunder of that magnitude demands a honking ovation. A 30 minute-long ovation at that.

As previously mentioned, the rain from these thunderstorms and monsoons needs to go somewhere and that somewhere is typically the canals that are spider-webbed around the city. As I mentioned in a previous post, my new running playground is the canal that is adjacent to our apartment. I now see the value in these canals and their purpose. Although they may be dry and serve a great place to stretch my legs in the morning, they are also a great place to get really muddy after a rain storm. My runs have now been converted into a navigational challenge as I do my best to avoid the mud holes. This is obviously nearly impossible at 4 in the morning and I often give up and just trudge through the mud. Much to my wife's displeasure I might add.

So what have I learned about Arizona weather??

1. It does rain here. And when it does, it rains hard and fast and then floods.

2. A haboob is not a dirty name high school kids are calling each other these days. Although I wouldn't be surprised if it soon becomes a slang term of some sort.

3. Running in the mud isn't as fun as it was when you were a kid. There is a lot of cleanup involved and it is still a recipe to get you in trouble with the woman of the house.The only advantage that I have now, is my wife doesn't have a freezing cold garden hose to spray me with when I get home. That one's for you, mom.

Jog on Mates!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Toe....who wins??

We all know the rules to this game but who wins when you throw a fourth player, my toe, into the mix.  This is a story about an experience that I had with this very game this last week. The answer, as much as I regret to say this, is rock. I know, pretty obvious, but you never know when an underdog will prevail. In this instance, the underdog was my left, big toe and it did not prevail. This past Wednesday morning, on my morning jaunt thru the canal, I decided I wanted to do a little speed work. About 4 miles in, after a 5 minute stint at about 6:15-6:30 per mile pace, I decided that my throat needed a little saturation. As I begin the usually easy process of taking a drink of water (while running mind you), I caught my right foot on a rock. Because I do not like tumbling in the cactus and rocks I did my best to try to catch myself. One way the body naturally does this is to try to “run out” of the trip. So this is what I started to do but it wasn’t long (like .000015 seconds (just a guestimate)) that I realized that I was going down. So….I just let it happen. After dusting myself off and picking up my now muddy water bottle, I felt a slight twinge in my left toe. Thinking that I only stubbed it badly and possibly just bent the toenail back, I continue the remaining two miles back to the bike trail. This is where I typically finish my run with a 1-1.5 mile barefoot run. Upon removing my socks and shoes I realized that what I thought was a slight bending back of the toenail, was actually a complete removal of the toenail. Looked a little something like this….

Obviously I wasn’t about to put my socks and shoes back on so I just ran home that way. Leaving quite the odd looking foot prints along the way. So….the moral of this story is…don’t always bet on the underdog, or the big toe. The rock is typically going to win this one. On a better note….I finally bought some new running shoes and I think the reason I had this little mishap is because the old shoes knew that it was their last time out on the trails with me. My old Sauconys were good to me though. You can see (pic below) that they got some good use. This is the first shoe that I have literally ran the tread off of. 

Running the tread off

I am now comfortably enjoying the New Balance MT101 and am pretty sure I am love with those shoes. I have one week to get them broken in on some desert trails and then I am venturing back to Virginia for a week where I will have a few dates with trails there.

Dreaming of trail runs….Jog on mates!

Monday, June 20, 2011

My New Found "Trail"

Once again, it has been some time since I’ve updated this thing. Sorry.  So what have I been up to since you last heard from me? Well….lace up your boots…a whole lot and a whole lot of the same. Riveting, I know! I have been running a lot more. I discovered a local “trail” that I have put to good use. I suppose I should rephrase, it’s not actually a trail. It’s actually just the canal with some open sections on either side. As I have previously mentioned, our apartment complex is conveniently located on the Aqua Fria Canal here in the greater phoenix area. Well this canal is lined by bike trails that one can run/bike/skate/skip/walk/jog/scoot all about the city. The problem is, I detest pavement, almost as much as I detest dreadmills. Okay not quite that much, but, when given the option, I’ll choose the dirt right next to the pavement every time. So this is exactly what I’ve been doing. Every morning at the late hour of 4am, I’ll lace up my tattered shoes and venture south on the bike trail for about a mile, and then continue on thru the brush, swamp, rock bed, or whatever it is. There really isn’t a trail or any markings just two 20 foot concrete walls with about 100-200 yards of brush, swamp, water, cactus, dirt and garbage in between. This is where I run. It is the closest thing to trail run I can find while being extremely far from single-track. The terrain varies from sand to large boulders which would break my ankle in two if given the proper opportunity. We will definitely avoid this at all costs. Now you may be wondering why I would venture from perfectly paved smoothness to this rocky wasteland?? Well…as previously mentioned, I detest pavement. So this “trail” provides the perfect escape. Although I would much prefer to go run the many mountain recreation areas here, but, time is an enemy that is rarely defeated. So it on this “trail” I find my solace.

Now one would think that because this “trail” is located in the city, or in the suburb at least (if Phoenix has suburbs??), it would be devoid of much wildlife. Very wrong. Here I have seen a wealth of wildlife. Actually nearly every morning I encounter a whole family of coyotes that lives within a mile of my apartment. I've tried catching one of them but they are always just out of reach.
Guess I need to get some more speed work in. I also have recently found a large family of javelinas about 4 miles from my apartment. Now these buggers scare me. They are basically a big ole pig but I know what pigs can do to someone if they are spooked or just plain feel like eating you. Luckily they run away every time I come trudging by. The most common species is the common jack rabbit. See tons of these. They are everywhere and are wicked fast. If only I had ears like that. I have yet to see a snake in the canal and I hope to keep it that way. However, Patsy and I did have a rather frightening encounter with one about a week ago while on a trail run in Deem Hills Recreation Area. We ran to the top of the small mountain there to watch the sunset and then took the trail back down. By the time we were down it was getting dark and as we rounded a corner we both froze when we heard the rattle of snake. I had hair sticking up in places I didn’t even know there was hair. Good news is, I guess the snake will warn you before it takes a bite out of your leg. That is if you don’t step on it first. This prompted me to do some research on how to treat snake bites if you are out and about. I guess you are supposed to cut an “X” between the bite marks and then suck out as much of the poison as you can. We’ll just make sure to avoid that event. 

Other than the above running adventures, I have continued my daily 12 mile commute from work every day. Yes it has hit 110 degrees on some days and makes the day quite toasty, but the dry heat is much more manageable than the humid nonsense from which we came. I’ll take this heat over VA heat any day. Not saying I don’t miss the mountains and green of Virginia, but Arizona holds a beauty that is much different and whole different type of enjoyable. I have upped my training mileage in hopes to run some longer races come fall. The first of which is the Flagstaff Marathon. This one is a wild card because Flagstaff is much higher elevation than Phoenix and I don’t think I’ll be able to get up there to run too much. So we’ll either just wing it or see what happens or I’ll just have to make a few weekend trips as the race draws closer. The one I’m really excited about is the Javelina 12 Hour Full Moon Night Run. This will be my first attempt at a race longer than 26.2 miles. Yes I know, maybe I should try a few marathon distance races first, but quite frankly, I just don’t want to. I would much rather get lost on trails for 30+ plus miles than pound pavement for 26.2 miles again. This is not saying that I won’t do a marathon again. I have some redeeming to do since the last one didn’t go as well as I had hoped. But that is a whole different story. For now, I’m going to continue to explore my new found trail and get myself into the best trail-running shape I can so I start doing some longer trail races this fall. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this rather long prose on what I’ve been doing….if you got this far…thanks for caring! I promise, we'll meet again! 

Jog on Mates! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Graduation Weekend…back to Lynchvegas!

This past weekend my wife and I traveled back to Lynchburg, VA to participate in our graduation ceremony to confer our master’s degrees. My wife received her Masters in Professional Counseling and I will be getting mine in Teaching as soon as I finish my last classes this summer. The ceremony was awesome and over 10,000 students graduated. My parents and my sister flew in from MN for the occasion and as always time with them was too short but tons of fun. Aside from the obvious fun of hanging out with them, I was equally stoked to run on the trails surrounding Liberty Mountain. Upon arriving, I was disheartened to learn that the forecast for the weekend was rainy with a chance of rain. Luckily,  the rain held off for the graduation as well as both of my morning trail runs. I did however manage to find myself some large mud holes in which to dirty myself. Below are some pictures taken from my phone while on the run. As you can see, my phone doesn't take the greatest of pictures but it does the trick.

I'm grouping 2 weeks of training together because I'm still playing catch-up and have been very busy. I am currently researching some races near Phoenix to run this fall. You can see the very, very tentative race schedule posted on the right. These are all up in the air as of right now because money and time off work are going to play a part in them since most are 4-5 hours away, save a few. But either way, I'm training to be ready to run an Ultra this fall. Most of my weekly mileage is done on the flat bike path near my place and I try to get my weekend runs done in the "mountains" in the city. My run mileage has been quite low due to increased bike mileage and simply lack of hours in the day. I've also sufficiently bruised the mess out of my feet.

Monday, 5/2/2011
AM-Ride to Work-11.66 miles (45:35)

PM-Ride part way home from work-7.25 miles (27:38)
      -Flat Tire Run-4.13 (34:06)
Ended up blowing a tire on my way during this run so had to run whilst pushing my bike the rest of the way. Ended up making pretty good pace considering I was pushing a deflated bike. Looked pretty retarded too.

Wednesday, 5/4/2011
Arizona Canal-3.13 miles (22:52)

Thursday, 5/5/2011
Arizona Canal-4.76 miles (34:58)

Sunday, 5/8/2011
Hedgepeth Hills-5.45 miles (53:14)

Monday 5/9/2011
Bike from Work-11.88 miles (49:51)

Tuesday 5/10/2011
AM-Arizona Canal-3.01 miles (23:13)

PM-Bike from Work-11:11 miles (44:34)

Wednesday 5/11/2011
Shaw Butte Trail-5.19 miles (53:06)
Tried out the North Mountain Preserve area next to work. Good trails. Really rocky but some decent elevation change. Will try to use this trail more often. Most likely will have to be in the morning as the afternoons are getting too hot for my liking. Ran a mile barefoot on the infield of the track by work while waiting for Patsy to come pick me up.

Thursday 5/12/2011
Ride home from Work-12.85 miles (57:50)

Sunday 5/15/2011
LMTS-Lake Trail/Great Escape/Split Decision-7.5 miles (1:18:20)
Great run on the trails. Started the run very early and in the dark and the rain so it was very slow going to start with and the slow pace seemed to continue throughout the whole run. I didn't mind because it was good to be back out in the woods again.
Was nice to run under a canopy and in the mud and green!   
It was also nice to get some decent hill climbing in as well. The run up the Split Decision road/trail is all uhill and by the top I was above the low cloud/fog and the sunrise was beautiful. Monday I ran basically the same route with a short detour onto the lawn mower trail, picture featured here.
High quality images from my high-res phone!
Fog or clouds?
As always friends...
My contribution to the graffiti in the gazebo on the mountain

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jog Log is Back

I know its been a while since I've updated my training plans lately, and that is mainly due to the sporatic natuer of both the training and life itself. Due to my new method of daily transportation I have been accumulating a large amount of bike mileage. As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a bike trail that is right next to our apartment and it goes all over the city of Phoenix and surrounding suburbs. The trail conveniently dumps out right next to where I work. Amazing how God has a plan in everything. Nice part about the canal is that it can provide a variety of different loops and out and back runs. The only complaint I have is the frequency of thorns and the complete lack of elevation. Hill running is something my training is going to lack severely. Here is my activity over the last month or more. Everything since my last jog log update.

Monday 3/21/2011
Beechwood-2.66 miles (21:19)

Tuesday 3/22/2011
LMTS-4.2 miles (42:15)

Saturday 3/26/2011
Terrapin Mtn 1/2 Marathon

Thursday 3/31/2011
Poplar Forest-7.31 miles (1:02:56)
Great run on my normal route. First run back since the 1/2 Marathon. Really starting to feel the pressures/stresses of preparing for the move.

Friday 4/1/2011
Timberlake-Sandusky-11 miles
April Fools run. Wasn't really sure about where the heck I felt like running today. Just went out and ran. About half way thru the run I thought it would be fun to see if I could make it to Lynchburg College and back before work. Almost made it. Better luck next time I guess.

Saturday 4/2/2011
LMTS-3.65 miles
Great trail run. Jammed out to some Katy Perry (yes...guilty as charged) and stumbled accross this out in the middle of the woods. Great relaxed run. Took my time and got enjoy and soak up the company of the trails.

Monday 4/4/2011
LMTS-6.68 miles (1:07:31)
Ran same trail as I did on Saturday in search of a lost article from Saturday's run. Didn't find it but had a great run anyway.

Tuesday 4/5/2011
Timberlake-Sandusky-10.3 miles (1:30:42)
Tried again to get to LC but didn't quite make it due to weather and time constraints. As the time of this run reflects I was quite sore and I also got poured on about one mile from home. Good to get some miles in.

Wednesday 4/6/2011
Best Coffee Ever!
This run marks the success of making it to LC. Being as I didn't have to go to work today I took my time and made sure to make it all the way to Lynchburg College. In celebration of this monumentous achievement (it is in my mind anyway), I stopped at the local gas station for some coffee. BEST CUP OF COFFEE TO THIS DAY! WIN!

Saturday 4/9/2011
Altus, OK-3 miles (25:30)
Barefoot run with Cory in the streets around the massive city of Altus, OK. Good to run with an old friend! This is the first run on our great journey accross the nation.

Sunday 4/10/2011
Altus Cotton Feild-5.55 miles (43:01)
Great Vibram run on some dirt roads outside of Altus. Very flat.

Sunday 4/17/2011
Canal-3.25 (37:56)
First run on the canal. Ran in the Vibrams with Patsy.

Monday 4/18/2011
Canal-4.88 miles (38:16)

Tuesday 4/19/2011
Canal-2.72 miles (21:25)

Wednesday 4/20/2011
Canal-2.86 miles (25:10) +barefoot

Thursday 4/21/2011
Canal-6.56 miles (48:32)
Great Tempo Run

Sunday 4/24/2011
Hedgepeth Hills-5.05 miles (53:53)
First trail run in AZ. Trails out here are very rocky and busy. Lots of foot traffic if you go any later than 5am. This set of trails is fairly close to the house so this may become my usual weekend spot unless I want to drive a little further for some trails.

Monday 4/25/2011
AM-Bike AZ Canal to Work-12.07 miles (43:43)
First bike commute to work. Great ride with nice trails the whole way.

PM-Bike AZ Canal from work-12.09 miles(51:45)

Tuesday 4/26/2011
AM-Canal Run-2.72 miles (19:22)
      -Ride to Work-12.3 miles (48:05)

PM-Ride from Work-12.23 (59:56)
Very windy ride home.

Wednesday 4/27/2011
Ride to work-11.91 miles (46:48)

Thursday 4/28/2011
Ride from work-12.11 miles (47:40)

Friday 4/29/2011
AM-Ride to Work-11.5 miles (43:42)

PM-Ride from Work-12.23 miles (50:24)

Total Mileage for April
Running: 75.21 miles
Biking: 96.42 miles
Hiking: 1.51 miles

Now I know that was just a whole bunch of useless info but I needed to spit it out somewhere so there it is. Another post is soon to follow regarding this weekend's trip back to the great city of Lynchburg.

Jog on Mates!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Great Arizona Adventure

Well friends...its been a while...I know....I'm sorry. As I alluded to in earlier posts, my family (Wife, myself, and Jermaine) have journeyed across the USA to the desert state of Arizona. Now let me clear up a couple of misconceptions about moving to the desert. So far...the desert is beautiful...yes we know its going to get extremely hot and miserable but there is always A/C, swimming pools, and/or ice cubes. Now why Arizona you may ask? Well...we honestly had never given this state any thought in our future plans, but as always, the Lord has other plans. Patsy has an awesome internship at an eating disorder facility called Remuda Ranch. I am currently working as an enrollment counselor at GCU. We have been here for approximately 3 weeks now and have yet to see a cloud. This state is beautiful in a such a different way. The Lord truly is creative when it comes to designing landscapes.

Now to the gritty details...we left Lynchburg on April 6th at about noon. After a late night of loading and packing and cleaning and loading and packing and cleaning we finally got the U-haul loaded and were ready. We made it to Nashville the first night and then headed toward Altus, OK where we spent a day with the Nordstrom family. It was great to get to meet their newest edition and catch up. Cory and I got to share some miles in our bare feet on some flat OK streets and country roads. From there, we journeyed across Texas and New Mexico and finally into Arizona. Those are some boring states to drive through. Scenery was limited and very flat. Nothing compared to the hills of Virginia. Once we started  getting close to Flagstaff we could see a large mountain in the distance. From Flagstaff the drive is all downhill into Phoenix. Once in Phoenix, Kyle Schultz came to our rescue and essentially moved all of our stuff into our apartment, with a little help from Patsy and I. THANK YOU KYLE!

Now I know that was a very abbreviated summary of our journey but below are plenty of pictures which essentially tell the entire story. Since moving here I have acquired a new hobby. Patsy's job requires a daily commute of at least an hour each way, my commute varies from 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. Problem is....we only have one car. Our apartment is conveniently located near a canal that has a bike path along it. It is also quite convenient that my job is located on the same canal and the same bike path. So for the last 2 weeks I have been riding my bike to and from work on days where Patsy cannot pick me up. So my running has slightly taken a back seat as I allow my legs to adjust to the added mileage. Again, this is all very summarized as I have been way behind on updating this blog.

New Lessons Learned.
1. We are pretty good at moving. This trip has taught both of us the value in throwing things away. The Lynchburg Good Will should have an abundance of good items resulting from our purging activities prior to the move.

2. We now know why everyone says that Arizona is "hot, but beautiful". When we first told people we were moving here everyone always had the same response..."It is hot there, but beautiful". That couldn't be more true. This state has so much natural beauty and beauty that is so different than any I've ever seen.

3. Jermaine is the best cat ever....

4. New beginnings are scary, but amazing as well. This move has taught us that new things are scary as all get out. When we finally moved into our apartment we both just sat there and had a proper sulk. The emotion and stress of weeks of rushed preparation all came barreling down at once. The most amazing thing is, we have quickly adapted and have made our place our own, and are loving every minute of it. Yeah there are times when we wonder what the heck we are doing but that makes it all the more exciting. We miss the mess out of our VA friends and really miss our families but we are confident that this is the path the Lord has chosen for us right now and we couldn't be more happy about that.

5. WATER! I have never drank so much water in my life. This state is so dry that you don't all. But no matter how much water I drink, I can never get enough.

6. FLAT, but not. As you can see by the pictures. The state is flat....but also has "mountains". Now these protrusions of rock and sand are by no means the size of mountains that were out East, but they sure do the trick. We have been hiking every weekend and are hoping to hike as much as possible before the sauna is turned on this summer.
New Running Trail...FLAT!
My new Ride to work

An Arizona-style Mountain

Well that is enough for this post, I'm sure I'll have more stories and additives as they come to me but for now enjoy the photos and updates. Be looking for race/training updates soon as I continue to get plugged in to the new running community.

Me looking ever so pensive
I've updated the race schedule on here to show the races that are on my radar. Mainly so I know what ones I am shooting for. Many of these races are not nearby so they are going to require more money and planning. I have not registered for any of these yet but I am definitely hoping to do at least some of them....hopefully!

As always...Jog on Mates!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Terrapin Mountain Half Marathon

Wow so this post initial was written on the 29th of March...Better late than never right?? Obviously things have been a bit busy. So here it very belated Terrapin Mountain Half report.

Prerace, trying to wake up

I had originally intended on running the 50k version of this race but grad school and moving have significantly limited my training. I actually wasn't even going to do this race at all because of fear DNF due to poor training. I registered knowing that if I didn't register I wouldn't actually race. Weather for race day called for rain and it was actually fairly chilly. I struggled with shoe choice because my only trail shoes are the minimus and I have had just a few miles on them. I was nervous about how my calves and legs would feel as this was going to be the longest run I've done wearing these shoes. The race began with the sound of a gong and off we went went down paved road. I made sure to put myself closer to the front of the group because I knew the pace would slow considerably once we hit the base of the hill.The road slowly changed from pavement into gravel, from gravel to stones, and from stones to boulders, stumps, twigs, roots, streams and mud...the works.

As I expected the climb was slow. But I was able to run the majority of the time. One thing I didn't consider was the amount of rocks and roots I would encounter. The shoes held up great but I think that for future races, I may need to go with something with a little bit more cushioning because my feet were very sore from any rocks that were trod upon incorrectly. When I got to the Camping Gap aid station, I thought we were at the top but soon learned that true climb was yet to come. I didn't take any food at the aid station as I tend to lose a lot of time at aid stations and I also carried water and gels with me. After the aid station,  the course steepened considerably and I was forced to power hike the majority of this portion to the summit. Once at the top,  the course breaks from the actual trail and you have to climb out on the peak to punch your bib, proving that you've actual braved the climb and reached the summit. I wish they would subtract at least five minutes from your time so you could stay and enjoy the view.

After the summit, then comes Fat Mans Misery. Now, I had heard of this in the pre-race briefing but had no clue what to expect. This turned out to be a space between two rocks that were at angles that you had to climb thru. This is where my first big scare came . As I was climbing down my right foot slipped and my left stayed planted. Now my left knee is the one that I unfortunately had surgically altered due to multiples dislocations and isn't quite as sturdy as the other. Thankfully nothing came of the slip and, unlike most other runners, I found the second punch.

From this point the trail follows the ridge for a while and then begins downhill...rapidly. This was the best part of the race. The pain of the four mike climb was erased with the elation of cruising across the ridge. Once the trail starts down I found it difficult to hold back too much. Once on the Rock Garden the run became more of a controlled fall making sure to pick up my feet so not to go down the remaining decline on my face.

It was on this downhill where I met Tom. Tom and I talked for a while about our New Balance shoe choice. Tom probably made the wiser choice with the 101s but I was very pleased with the Minimus. I passed a few others at this point and was very pleased with how my downhill running had improved. Once again, I didn't take any food at the second aid station. I stopped briefly to throw my trash and then started back up the hill.  This part was very fun as it was just a constant up and down on rolling hills that switched back and forth so you could see runners in front and behind. There were a few small stream crossings scattered throughout, just enough to keep your feet soggy. Tom caught up to me here and was a good pick-me-up as I was struggling on some of the uphill portions. I matched Tom's pace for the remainder of the race.The trail eventually returns downhill the same way we came up earlier. The Reed Creek crossing seemed deeper than the first time and there just so happened to be a photographer strategically placed here hoping to catch any unlucky persons who may fall. Thankfully I didn't get caught in a photo or in the creek. The remainder of the course is all down hill and eventually back to the road we started on. As we came out of the forest we were accompanied by a hound dog who ended up clipping Tom's heels and bowled him over. About a mile or so from the finish I decided to test my leg speed and opened it up a bit for a strong finish. After high-fiving Clark and changing in my car I returned to learn that I had actually placed 12h overall which was way better than I thought I was going to do.


This race confirmed my love and adoration for trail runs and proved the value in mountain training/running. Please check the next post for updates on my new running venue. Quite different from what I am used to but will be fun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bi-Weekly Jog Log: Mar. 7-Mar. 20

Due to crazy busy happenings this blog may become neglected and possibly a bit stagnant in the coming months. I am hoping to keep up with and I will definitely have some good stories as there are lots of new developments in the Carlson family. I will be sure to keep everyone updated as to those as they happen. 

Wednesday 3/9/2011
Blackwater- 7 miles (1:00)
First day back running in a couple days due to busy but successful weekend of traveling. My wife surprised me yet again with a pair of New Balance Trail Minimus. Love them! I didn't take much heed to the warning listed on the shoes that calf strain is likely and I ran until I got sore...most likely a mistake but was very enjoyable. These shoes are awesome. Closest thing to the ground without sacrificing comfort or safety.

Thursday 3/10/2011
Poplar forest-7 miles (61:00) + Barefoot
Real Rainy, sluggish run this morning. nothing special.

Friday 3/11/2011
Beechwood -2.7 miles (21:00)
Nice shakeout run this morning in the Vibrams. Took it easy because my calves were still a little sore.

Sunday 3/13/2011
Apple Orchard Falls Hike
It was a gorgeous day today so me and the family decided to take a hike to Apple Orchard Falls. I was also using this to scout part of the trails used for the Promised Land 50k as I intend on running that (depending on AZ move). Beautiful hike! The trail was a little washed out and even underwater in some places due to the recent rain.
Stash and I in the middle of the falls.

Monday 3/14/2011
Run home from Work-5 miles (41:00)
Had a lot of time off my feet in the past two weeks and this was meant to be just a quick jaunt home and ended up going really well. I was able to really test my speed and how long I can hold a quick pace.

Wednesday 3/16/2011
Hortons Dam Playground-4.5 miles (46:00)
Overslept this morning so I wasn't able to go near as long as I wanted to. I was planning on doing 10-12 miles but only did 4. Lots of up and down on the Liberty Trail System on some trails I haven't hit up yet. I also registered for the Terrapin Mountain Half Marathon. I was hoping to be fit enough to have a go at my first 50k but I haven't been able to get even one "long" run in, let alone multiple long runs.

Thursday 3/17/2011
Poplar Forest - 7 miles + barefoot (58:00) 
Finally was able to conquer daylight's savings time. Ever since we've had to change the clocks I have had the hardest time getting up at my normal 5 am. Finally was able to get out of bed this morning and wow was it dark. Rather uneventful run, minus the old man who looked like he was cross-country skiing and wearing a HAZMAT suit.

Saturday 3/19/2011
Farm Road/Towles Mill-7.5 miles (1:08)
This was originally going to be a long run but due to the weekend's travel plans I needed to cut the run short. I did the full run in the Vibrams and my legs were really quite sore so it was good to only go so far.

My training has been quite casual as of late due to busy schedule getting ready for April's big adventure. I'm going to be racing on Saturday in the Terrapin Mountain Half and I'm excited to put my legs to the test although a bit nervous about my current level of fitness. I guess we'll see. My calves have been a constant area of soreness so I'm going to take it pretty easy this week.  


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weekly Jog Log: Feb. 28-Mar. 6

Tuesday 3/1/2011
Poplar Forest - 7 miles + barefoot (56:00)
Had a good run this morning. Was a bit chilly because the air was very damp from all the rain we had yesterday. Most mornings I do this run with my head lamp so I don't face plant on the back roads by poplar forest. There seems to be a high frequency of large, misplaced boulders that more often than is desirable decide to jump out at my feet. Well this morning I forgot my limitation a almost paid for it. Due to recent gale force winds, there just so happens to be a large number of giant sticks all over. These sticks are also completely invisible to the human eye at 5:30 in the morning. Thankfully, the particular stick that decided to make acquaintances with my shin, was kind enough to break before bringing me to the ground. The other issue with forgetting your headlamp is this, in the rare occasion that you happen to meet other morning joggers who were fortunate to remember their illumination, they can't see you. Doesn't matter if you are wearing a bright obnoxious reflective vest and breathing like a stuck pig at christmas. This chick just about ran me over but right before the impending collision, she saw me an most likely pooped herself from fear. Quite hilarious until I see the same joggers three miles later. I'm very sorry for whoever you are!

Wednesday 3/2/2011
LMTS-10 miles + barefoot
Ran up Candlers mountain and the back thru the trails via the camp hydeaway trail head. This was only meant to be a six mile jaunt but ended up being around ten. I got really hungry during this run. Actually, the last two days I've gotten real hungry mid run. I think my fat stores might officially gone and now I will really need to concentrate on fueling. Finished the run with a fast barefoot loop around campus.

Thursday 3/3/2011
Poplar forest-7 miles (55:00)
Ran in the Vibrams today. My intention was to just go real easy but my feet tend to get a little carried away in the Vibrams. Ended up turning into a training run of sorts. Felt good to sustain a strong effort for a couple miles. I also got cussed at by some older lady in 70s jogging suit because her dog would have rather joined me than trudged along with her. Rude!

Friday 3/4/2011
Subway run-3.5 miles (35:00)
Ran to subway and back with Patsy to get some lunch. We went at the worst possible time because school was letting out and there was lots of traffic and Patsy is not very skilled when it comes to navigating traffic as a pedestrian. Sorry love! Was real easy jog just to get to my legs moving.

The running week was cut short due to some scheduling mix-ups at work and weekend travel plans. It was still a good week of running and outdoor enjoyment. Due to a successful(more about this later) weekend trip, let's just say my scenery will be changing soon. Please check back for some exciting updates on that subject!

Total Miles Jogged: 27 miles
Total Time Jogging: 4 hours

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Jog Log: Feb. 21-27

Monday 2/21/2011
Wyndhurst 3.5 miles barefoot (35:00)
Legs were real tight this morning from yesterday's unintentional "Patsy-mile-repeats." Went barefoot the whole run. Decided to try my hand at geocaching along the way. Found one, more still pending.

Tuesday 2/22/2011
Day off
Calves were still so sore. Took the day off. Brought ice packs to work with some tall socks and stuffed the ice packs in the back in hopes to speed recovery. Should've done this yesterday because by the end of the day my legs already feeling better.

Wednesday 2/23/2011
Still hurting
Right leg is a go, left is still a bit iffy. Should be back in action by tomorrow. I sure hope so anyway, I'm getting stir crazy.

Thursday 2/24/2011
Wyndhurst-3 miles (26:30)
Wore the Vibrams because my legs felt much least I thought they did. About a mile in I could tell that everything was still way too tight. After brief mile-long argument with myself I turned back. Listening to my body on this one. So frustrating.

Friday 2/25/2011
Frustration...the end

Saturday 2/26/2011
Poplar Forest-7 miles + barefoot (55:00)
Finally was able to run without pain...sort of. Calves got pretty sore about three miles in. Finished with a mile barefoot and an ice bath. Hopefully that will help keep the soreness away.

Sunday 2/27/2011
Blackwater Creek Bike Trails-8.5 miles + barefoot (1:20ish)

Today was Patsy's long run day and I wanted to make sure to not have a repeat of last week so we set up a better plan on how to meet up when parting ways. Thankfully it worked flawlessly. It was really warm out and the run did not start well as we had some issues with Patsy's asthma acting up. But the little fart has some determination and powered thru it and it ended up being a good run after all. Patsy is the best at negative splits. Every long run we have been on together she gets faster as the run goes on. I know there are many who are envious of this skill/habit. I started the run barefoot and after about 2 and half miles we split up. I wore the Vibrams on the dirt bike trails and we met back up to head back to the car. Patsy was in much better spirits about the run when we met back up. I was very proud of her determined effort today. We are definitely going to be racing together shortly.   

Tough week for me running-wise. Thankfully I was able to get some solid runs in at the end of the week. In other news,tomorrow I have a phone interview for a job in AZ. If it goes well, the month of March could prove to be very busy. But for now, keep praying for wisdom and openness to the Lord's will to be evident.

Total Miles Jogged: 22.5 miles
Total Time Jogging:3:23
How High?:1476 Feet

Jog on mates!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Jog Log: Feb. 14-Feb 20....Has anyone seen the girl in Pink??

Monday 2/14/2011
Poplar Forest-7 miles (55:00)
Valentines Day! Was able to get a good run in before heading off to work. Made sure to order some flowers for my wife before leaving.

Today brought with it some very big news for our household. Patsy was offered an internship position at Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, AZ. This is an offer that we've been praying about and hoping for for a while now so it is almost 100% that we will be moving to Arizona. So, now I am on the job hunt and we are hopeful. Thankfully, Remuda has told us that the position will be waiting for her until we can make the necessary arrangements. This is truly an answer to prayer as Patsy has been dreaming of working at an establishment such as this. Now we just need to find a job for me and then finalize the technicalities. I'm excited for a new set of trails and running routes. I am not such a fan of the warm weather year-round but I hear that it is beautiful there. Plus, it will be fun to start a new adventure!

Tuesday 2/15/2011
Rainbow Forest- 5.3 miles (48:00)
Lots on the mind this morning. Lots of prayer about future decisions and what moving to AZ might entail. Actually ended up taking the day off work I got myself so worked up. Good news...I feel much more at peace about everything now. God is so good and knows what He is doing and just wants us to trust Him.

Wednesday 2/16/2011
Candlers Mtn.-8.7 miles + Barefoot (1:22)
Great run up Candlers Mountain and then back through on the Lake Trail to Snowflex. Finished with a barefoot loop around campus. Always fun to see the looks you get when you run around public places without shoes on. If only they knew the freedom of running unshod.

Thursday 2/17/2011
Richland Hills- 6 miles + Barefoot (56:30)
Just a casual run around the Richland Hills area. Didn't have a plan for this run just wanted to get out and run around. While running and enjoying the view of the moon, this random thought came to mind. Everyone enjoys seeing a sunrise and sunset and also enjoy the moonrise but how many people get to enjoy the moonset? That number I would imagine is much smaller. Oh the joys of getting up at the crack of dawn!

Saturday 2/19/2011
Run to Snowflex - 5 miles (42:00)
Liberty Mountain 5K -22nd out of 193 (25:08)

Snowflex to Home - 6 miles + Barefoot (55:00)
Because Saturdays are typically my long run day I had a bit of a dilemma since the Liberty Mountain 5K was on the same day. remedy this problem, I just ran to the race, ran the race, and then ran home. This was the first time I was going to be racing since the Marathon and I have not done any speed training so I didn't have too high of hopes for a 5K. I have been running these trails a lot lately so I felt I would do well coping with the technical aspects of the trail as well as the hills. Thankfully my hill training paid off and I felt very strong on the uphill parts of the race, which was pretty much the whole second half of the race. It felt great to get out and run fast and I was very please with my performance and how well my legs and feet felt after already having run 8 miles on the morning. After the races was over I ate some fruit and then headed home.

The afternoon proved to be rather eventful as my wife had big plans for my birthday weekend. I had no clue what the plan for the day was. After watching Manchester United move on to the next round of the FA Cup, Patsy and I got in the car and headed north. I had no clue where we were going because she wouldn't tell me where we were going. The ride up was quite eventful as our area of Virginia has been hit with forest fires. About 15 minutes south of Charlottesville the road was covered in thick smoke from a fire somewhere to the West. The smell of smoke reminded me of the times my dad, my brother, and I would burn the swamps back in Minnesota. Miss those times!

Once we got to Charlottesville, Patsy surprised me by taking me to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Store to get fitted for some Vibrams. Patsy isn't too fond of my recent infatuation with running barefoot so she decided to help my poor little feet by getting me some Vibrams. After the shoes, we ventured to the Downtown Grille, where we had a dinner. Lets just say, they make good steak, as for sides...we'll just say lacking.
New Running Shoes

Sunday 2/20/2011
Blackwater Creek Bike Trail- 9.3 miles (1:30)
Today is my birthday! Patsy made me breakfast in bed this morning! I housed 4 cinnamon rolls in about 5 minutes accompanied with a big cup of Dunkin Donuts. Doesn't get much better than that. After church, Patsy and I went to the bike trail for her weekly long run. Rather than doing this run barefoot, I wore the Vibrams. This run is the reason for the title of this weeks entry. I desperately wanted to try the Vibrams on some trails because I have been dying to go completely barefoot on some single track but the frequency of rocks, sticks, stumps, shards of glass, razor blades, heroine needles, and whatever else may be lurking beneath those leaves has kept my shoes on when on the unbeaten path. So after about 2 miles of pavement I convinced Pats to let me venture off on some of the dirt trails that Blackwater Creek area has to offer. I had planned on joining back up with after a short test run. Problem #1: Neither of us had our phone. Problem #2: I underestimated the speediness of my blonde beauty.

After my short jaunt on the dirt trails, I ventured back up to the paved bike path. Thanks to Patsy's bright pink shirt and blonde hair she is usually easily to spot. However, I did not see her. "Did you guys pass a girl in bright pink?" I inquired of two gentleman as they jogged by. They told me they had so I started up the trail the way we had been going when we parted ways. So I took off at pretty decent clip thinking I would catch up with her in short notice. But I began to second guess her whereabouts as I met another runner in pink. So after about a mile I decided I would turn around, thinking that I must still be ahead of her. After returning to the trail with still no blonde in tow, I once again turned around again. After passing the same people for the 3rd time I finally decided to just run the length of the trail. Sure enough, two in a half miles later I find her waiting for me. So what was supposed to be a 7-8 mile easy run turned into a 9+ mile run with about 2-3 miles of speed and anxiety in the middle. I guess from now on when I want to do some speed work I'll just tell my wife to go out and get lost and I'll sprint around to find her. We'll call them "Patsy Mile Repeats".

This is me running thru the woods in my new shoes

Total Miles Jogged: 51 miles
Total Time Jogging: 7:36 hours
Total Elevation: 4,578 feet

Jog on Mates!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weekly Jog Log Feb. 7th-Feb. 13th

Monday 2/7/2011
Beechwood 2.6 miles (23:00)
Went real easy on this one. Gearing down this week as I've recently ramped up my mileage. This used to be my daily run. Was nice to return to some old routes. 

Tuesday 2/8/2011
Poplar Forest-8 miles (1:06)
AM-Ran my normal route backwards and added an extra mile. Great run. Legs felt great from taking the previous day real easy. Still gonna cut back a little this week. Planning for higher mileage next week. 

Story time... After work, I went out to eat with Patsy and her mother. At dinner, Patsy surprised me with this watch!....Let me just say that this thing has since changed my life. No longer do I have to hit a button to start and stop the time or wonder about how far I've ran. It does everything for me. Pretty cool. I'm a sucker for information and this thing provides copious amounts of data for each run.

PM-Barefoot run to the trash and back to test out the watch. Learned that it is exactly .57 miles round trip to the dumpster with a total elevation gain of 62 feet. Useless....maybe....Awesome...most definitely.

Wednesday 2/9/2011
Candlers Mtn.- 8 miles (1:20)
This was another run mainly to explore some trails I have yet to run on Candlers Mtn. There was pretty steep portions of this run that forced my to power hike up them rather than run. I also got lost a couple of times on roads that led to nowhere and chose to not trespass this time. So this made the run a bit more interesting.

Thursday 2/10/2011
Poplar Forest- 7 miles (59:00)
Another stock run to just get moving for the day. This run is proving to be my go to run when I don't know where to go. 

Saturday 2/12/2011
Appalachian Trail- 3.6 miles (1:05)    
Got Valentine's Weekend started early this year by spending the evening with my bride at the Craddock Terry Hotel in downtown Lynchburg. We then celebrated with a fine dinner of Lobster and Crab and Shoemakers Grill.  

We then made a stop at Riverside Runners to purchase my wife a pair of shoes. This was a long overdue trip as hers were pretty old. After trying on a few pair she settled on Brooks Ghost 3 because it felt like she was "walking on clouds". I had tried this shoe a year ago and had accidentally purchased a size too small and wasn't able to find my size upon returning them. 

Patsy's New Shoe!

After this pit stop we grabbed some lunch and then drove out to the Appalachian Trail to hike/run around for a bit. The trail was right along the James River and the wind was quite cold but once we made it into the woods it was beautiful. This was my ploy to getting Patsy to start trail running with me. I think it may have worked as we ended up running half of the time and then hiking the rest. I think that this will become a more regular occurence.

Sunday 2/13/2011
Percival Island-6 miles barefoot (1:09)
Ran barefoot with Patsy on her long run again. We have some discrepancy with the actual distance of the run because the Garmin said 6.1 miles but Patsy's iPod Nike+ said closer to 7. So we'll just go with 6-7 miles. Either way, running with my hot wife can never be a bad time. Was good to go this far completely barefoot and my feet have definitely adapted to longer periods of running unshod. 

Overall, good week of mileage and fun new technology. Was real relaxed about mileage this week. I am actually going to run my first race of the year and first race since the Marathon.  I'm pretty excited about this because I have been able to a lot more trail running whereas last year trails were foreign language.

Liberty Mountain 5k Trail Race

Total Miles Jogged: 25
Total Time Jogging: 4:43
*New Feature* Total Elevation: 2, 439 ft.

Big News in future Posts!! 

Jog on Mates!  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekly Jog Log: Jan. 31-Feb. 6

Monday 1/31/2011
Poplar Forest 7 (1:07)-5 min barefoot
Real tired this morning. Just getting over the last remnants of my cold. Took it very slow and then slipped in a little barefoot at the end to help shake out the legwebs.

Tuesday 2/1/2011
Poplar Forest 7 (1:00)-5 min barefoot
Much faster than yesterday. Scared a whole bunch of deer out of someone's yard. Amazing how there can be so many deer in such residential areas. Makes me miss Minnesota.

Wednesday 2/2/2011
Candlers Mtn to Top of Snowflex-6.5 mi (59:00)
GROUND HOG DAY! Praying for more winter and some snow that lasts! Today's run ended up turning into an exploration/discover run to find some new trails up on the LMTS. Ended up taking a trail that turned into a very high incline. My run slowly turned into a power hike. The clouds were real low this morning so it was cool emerging from the woods to find myself at the top of Snowflex. Not too sure how much I'll use this route until I become much better at scaling steep inclines.    
View from Top of Snowflex looking down.

Thursday 2/3/2011
18 mi bike ride
Took today off of running since I had to work early and didn't feel very lively in the morning. Was able to ride the bike with my wife. Ended up riding about 18 miles while reading McDougall's Born to Run book. I've been reading this book slowly over the past couple of months. Great read. Good stories on some great runners and also support for the barefoot running community that seems to be growing larger.

Saturday 2/5/2011
AM-Exploration on the Trails-9.5 miles (1:19)
Again, I decided to modify the routes that I already knew of so I could learn more about the trails on LMTS. Patsy went to breakfast with a friend so I only had a set time to squeeze in my run so I didn't want to get to far out in the woods. Ended up going about 9 miles between the trails and then did some hill repeats up Candler's Mountain while waiting for Patsy to come pick me up. Wasn't quite as long as I would've liked to go but got some good technical running in. I also know some new trails that I can link into my long runs to add some length.

PM-17.5 miles bike
Weekends are wife time and so I went with her to the gym to get in some cross training on the bike. Tomorrow, Patsy will be going for her first long run. Spent most of the afternoon psyching her up! The rest of the day was spent watching the first unfortunate lost of my beloved Manchester United and following twitter updates of the Rocky Raccoon 100.

Sunday 2/6/2011
Blackwater Creek Bike Trail-6 mi barefoot (1:02)
Wife and I went to Percival's Island for her first long run outside. Due to her bad asthma, Patsy does most of her running indoors but she is slowly working toward more outdoor running. She killed it on this run. Was tons of fun to encourage her. She was able to run and breath seamlessly the entire time and we got to enjoy some beautiful weather. I think we will be making this a regular weekend occurrence. This was also the longest I've ran barefoot. Was fun to see how far I could go. My feet did take a bit of a beating, but that was primarily because I spent too much time running on the asphalt rather than on the grassy shoulder.  I will do well to spend more time on the grass on these runs.

Running Ray of Sunshine!
My Smoking hot wife lacing up!

Total Jogged: 36 mi
Time Jogged: 5:28

Jog on Mates!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekly Jog Log: Jan. 24-30

I have recently taken pride in my ability to avoid the sickness that tends to teem in the nostrils of those of us confined to the cubicle 9-5. I think that my hours logged outdoors is reason why my immune system has been able to thwart off even the most pesky of cold bugs. Not so this time. Sunday evening I felt the tickle in the bottom of my throat that signaled the impending onset of a cold/sore throat. I did my best to load up on Vitamin C and rest but to no avail. However, after a week of ever changing weather conditions, I was able to catch up on some rest and I believe I avoided the worst of the cold. Due to the poor weather, my runs this week were rather muddy in nature.

Monday 1/24/2011
7 miles through Poplar Forest / Wyndhurst-1 mile barefoot-(59:00)
Felt pretty tired on this run. Sore throat and slight head cold made for slow going. Was really nice to get the legs moving and the weather was warm so I was able to forgo the tights this morning.

Tuesday 1/25/2011
Run home from work-5 miles-1 Mile barefoot-(38:00)
Had a great run after work. Legs felt great and I was very energized after sitting all day. Turned this into a tempo run and was very happy to sustain a fast pace over the course of about 3 miles. Did that last mile barefoot. Weather was once again very nice so I didn't need many layers.

Wednesday 1/26/2011
Candlers Mtn Rd-Camp Hydaway-Lake Trail-7 miles-(58:00)
Another great run! Ran up Candlers Mtn. to get a good hill workout in. The road then plains out for the most part of the remaining 2 miles or so to the Camp Hydaway Trail Head. I then slogged it back to my car on the Lake Trail. The trail was in decent condition but it had been drizzling most of the morning so some parts were to become very muddy. It was a good thing that I started this run early because the weather deteriorated rapidly as the day went on. Had it been 10 degrees cooler and we would have been hit with a decent snowstorm. Unfortunately what we received instead was Virginia's infamous "Wintry Mix". I have a different name for the stuff but I'll keep this post PG-rated.

Saturday 1/29/2011
Run Around Liberty Mountain-12 mi-.5 mi barefoot-(2:08)
This was a repeat of last week's long run. Not too sure of the accuracy of the distance as the trail is filled with switchbacks but this is my best guess given the time it takes and my try at mapping the run, with the help of Google of course. I had taken 2 days off due to school compounded with a sore knee and utter laziness. The rest, however, led to a strong climb up Candler's Mountain. The weather was very warm and I ended up shedding some layers by the time I reached Camp Hydaway Trail Head. The route is trails from this point forward. Due to the increasing temperatures, the trails were very soft. My hips and knees took quite a beating due to the muddy conditions. At one point, in my laziness of mid-run fatigue, I found myself wiping out in some greasy, orange, Virginia clay. Thanks to this run, my socks will be forever orange after running. Sorry Patsy. All in all, this was a great run to test my technical abilities on trails. Soon, I hope to make this a regular midweek run and double the loop on the weekends. 

Shot of the trail from my ever-so-awesome camera phone.

Not too much foot traffic yet.
Total Jogged=32 miles
Time Jogging=4:45
Time Falling on my Butt= .7 seconds


Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly Jog Log-Jan. 16-22

As a runner, I am a sucker for statistics. I try to stay as gadget free in my running as possible but I still carry my watch and occasionally take my music magic box on days I know the run might be a bit drab. So here is a recap of the previous week on my feet.

Monday 01/17/11
7 miles (57:00) through Poplar Forest/ Wyndhurst--1 mile barefoot
Great workout after fertilizing nature at mile three. Weather was warmer so I was able to run in less clothing which is always liberating. I also encountered a couple of sleeping deer who were not too happy to see me at the bright hour of the morning.

Tuesday 01/18/11
AM-3 mile hill workout (33:00)
Made three trips up Candler's Mountain and slow jog down. Great hill workout. Knee was very sore on the downhill portions of the run but felt very strong going up.
PM-9 mile bike workout (30:00)
Stationary bike workout in the gym with my wife. Felt great to get off my feet and work some muscles that have been neglected recently. This is something that needs to become more commonplace in my workouts.

Thursday 01/20/11
5 mile-Run home from work. 1 mile barefoot. (42:00)
This run is growing in popularity due to my wife needing the car for her internship. I like this because it makes me get some miles in and I usually try to go pretty quick since the route is pretty flat.

Saturday 01/22/11
12 miles on LMTS half mile barefoot (2:09:47)
This was a great run. Just went out in the woods and got lost for a couple hours. About one hour in I actually jumped one of these little guys.
Vulpes vulpes (not the same fox I saw)

He was out for a morning jog as well. I figured he would just take off once he saw me but instead he just stayed on the trail in front of me for about a mile. Was great to experience God's beautiful creation in so many ways. All in all, was a good week for me, I'm hoping that I will be able to be more disciplined and consistent over this next week.

Distance Trekked=26 miles
Time trekked=4 hours
Animal's Mornings Disturbed= 3

Jog on Mates!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today and twitter...yes I said it...twitter.

So I did it, the unthinkable. I have a twitter account. Now in my defense, I did it for the sole purpose of following Rio Ferdinand, center back for Manchester United. He tweets all day and has proved to be a valuable source of entertainment and time wasting during my lunch break. I took the day off from running today,minus a barefoot run to the trash and back. I am having a hard time being patient with my training. I tend to over train which usually results in injuries so I am trying to build my mileage very slowly. I am hitting the trails in the morning since the weather looks like it's going to cooperate. If anyone is on twitter, go ahead and follow me @unshodjogger. Not sure how much I'll tweet( I think that's proper lingo) too much primarily because I don't know what I'm doing. We'll see! Jog on friends!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What to do When Nature Calls?

First, let me start by apologizing for my lack of writing over the past two weeks. I have been busy prepping myself for another semester of graduate school and prepping my wife for her internship. I will do better to share my stories/adventures more frequently, regardless of their possible meaningless nature....take this next little number for example.

So, as the title may suggest, I was faced a troubling question this very morning. While enjoying my morning run through the summer dwelling place of our 3rd president (Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest), I was struck with question of "where is the nearest port-a-potty?" Typically when this sort of question arises, I am able to shrug it off and make it until I arrive home. However, this morning was a much different story. Not sure if  it was the French toast or the prime rib pasta that I had for dinner, but something was not agreeing with my  unstable bowels. Thankfully, I was at the most remote part of my run, I was wearing socks, and I was even able to find a large hollow stump to accommodate my needs. Yes, that is right, this morning, I was forced to defecate where Thomas Jefferson used to spend his summers. I sure hope that was not illegal. 

Now why did I share this somewhat disturbing story? NOt really sure, maybe because it is the most eventful thing to happen on my runs lately. However, I have been hitting the trails near the Snowflex on Candlers Mountain lately. and when I say "Lately" I mean late at night or early in the morning. Two out of my three runs on the trails in the past week have been in the dark. There is something truly exhilarating about running through the woods in the dark. I need to spend some more time up there in the daylight because I am not too familiar with the trails and tend to make wrong turns. Been lost twice so far.

I have recently ramped up my training in hopes to be fit enough for Holiday Lake 50k++. THe registration deadline for this race is this weekend so I need to make up my mind if I am going truly run this or not. I am lacking confidence right now because I do not feel my training is where it should be in order to run an ultra, let alone my first ultra. But, at the same time, I think that I may need to just register for the race and go for it. We'll see. I am looking forward to the unknown adventures of pushing myself farther than I've ever been. I have been researching a lot of races and am really hoping to have the discipline to run in most of the LUS and Beast Series races this year. I also plan on doing my fair share of the usual street races that are part of the Lynchburg Race Series. 

If you have made this far, I applaud you for not giving up on me after that first paragraph. Sorry about that. Don't worry, I won't make a habit about sharing such personal stories. However, look forward to more stories as I try to make every run unique in one way or another. Until next time, Jogon Mates! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Year in Review and the Dawn of 2011

Good Morning from the New Year! 2010 has been over for almost 8 hours now and 2011 is live and well. How am I awake at this hour after last night's festivities?? I have no idea. Blame this on Manchester United and watching the first EPL game of the new year. Go United! So what have I been up to in the last week since I last wrote?? Being as Christmas and New Years have just been concluded my waist line and pants are going to appreciate a return to my normal exercise routine. This Christmas season wasn't as hard on me as the past. I think I was able to maintain my weight rather than gaining 5-10 pounds, an activity that has been more commonplace in the past. My training has definitely taken a back seat due to late nights, poor weather, and simple lack of discipline. That is definitely one of the first things I am going to change in the New Year.

With the close of a year, many persons reflect on the year past. I am going to attempt to be as brief as possible about the past year but I think there are many things worth noting about the year. For me, 2010 was a year of firsts. I celebrated my first year of marriage to my beautiful wife. I also finished my first marathon (Suntrust Richmond Marathon). I was also privileged enough to get to see Manchester United play on their US tour. I went to the match in Philadelphia and getting to see them made me all the more anxious about the day I get to go to Old Trafford to see them play. My running for 2010 was not as joyous as I would've hoped. I had to deal and run through plantar fascists for much of the latter part of the year and that severely hindered my mileage. However, I was able to complete some of my favorite races. My times (to follow) were a bit slower than I would've hoped but I can only hope to improve on those times for 2011. Here are some pictures and times from my races over the past years.

My racing year in Review:

4.3.2010: Point of Honor 5k. Lynchburg, VA
                 Time: 24:39
                 Place: 72nd out of 302

My Sister and I before the Race
4.17.2010: God Parent Home 5K. Lynchburg VA
                    Time: 21:50
                    Place: 28th out of 467
                                 3rd in my age group

9.25.2010: Virginia Ten Miler. Lynchburg, VA
                    Time: 1:17:36
                    Place: 155th out of 1080
                                 35th out of 83 in my age group (20-24)

10.9.2010: Deep Hollow Half Marathon. Lynchburg, VA
                   Time: 2:15:13
                   Place: 27th out of 113
                               11th out of 32 in age group
Coming up to AS 1. See Feet below
Left foot after race.
Right foot.

10.23.2010: Run for their lives 10k. Lynchburg, VA
                     Time: 49:13
                      Place: 39th out of 264

11.13.2010: Suntrust Richmond Marathon. Richmond, VA
                      Time: 4:09:13
                      Place: 1607th out of 3755
                      75th out of 132

Start of the race. Bart Yasso's head.

Coming in at half-way point. Happy to see my yellow-shirted crew.

Taking off for the last 7 miles. Was not feeling well at this point.

Crossing the Finish Line. Not too happy about the time, much better than a DNF though.
My Faithful Crew and Sponsors! Couldn't have done it without them!

So, with the year 2010 concluded and 2011 moving forward in full force, I am sure that many of us have made New Years resolutions for 2011. I honestly haven't given resolutions much thought until now. I like to think of goals rather than resolutions, maybe they are the same thing. So without further delay, here are the current list of goals/resolutions I have set for myself for 2011 (my philosophy is to shoot for very lofty goals so do not be alarmed if these seem a bit out there):

1. Disqualify Pop from my menu completely (Pop=Soda for those of you in the south who may be confused by my vocabulary)
2. Finish my Master's Degree (I am about 12 credits from completing my Masters in Teaching)
3. Find a new place to call home (not complaining about my current residence, but my wife and I agree that it is about time to move away from our college stomping grounds)
4. Run an UltraMarathon (currently training for Holiday Lake 50k++)
5. Complete the LUS/Beast here to find out more what that is.
6. PR on my previous races.
7. Get out of Debt, Dave Ramsey Style

So I know that this has been a rather lengthy read but I figured that I would do my best to sum up 2010 as best as I could. I am sure that there will be many more references to the past in the future but for now this will have to do. I am also sure I will be editing my resolutions/goals adding to them as the year progresses. Going to finish watching United beat (hopefully) WBA and then going to try to get some miles on my feet today. 

Jog on Mates!