Next up – Yeti 100 miler. Yikes!

Next up – Yeti 100 miler. Yikes!

have been holding off on posting much about the big race I have coming up at the end of September. I just finished running the Kauai Marathon on the 3rd. I didn’t want to overshadow that race with a race of mythical proportions; the Yeti 100 Miler.

I saw the Yeti 100 pop up on my newsfeed one day and thought, “A 100 miler. Sounds fun! And crazy.” I shared the race shortly after and got a response of “If you do it, I will, too” from my buddy Josh. Would I really do it? Let’s check out the registration. Closed. Darn. Maybe next year. Sorry, Josh.

Whew.

I was a bit relieved. I mean, seriously, 100 miles. Crazy. 50 miles hurt bad enough.

Well, maybe I am a little crazy. Let’s email the race director and see if I can get Josh and I at least on the waiting list. I didn’t want to let Josh down, right? Although he did admit he, too, was relieved when he found out it was closed. What harm would it do to get on the waiting list?

A week later, an email arrived with a link to register. Jason, the race director, had pushed us through and we could run the race.

Horray!

Oh, no!

We are in … yikes.

So here we are with the Yeti looming in the bushes, waiting for us on September 29th in Abbingdon, Virginia.

Like most ultra marathons of the 100 mile variety, a belt buckle is the coveted prize. The Yeti buckle is adorned with a hairy sasquatch, majestic unicorn, a rainbow, pot of gold and a train. It can’t get much cooler than that.

Buckle photo

Unless …

… you “call your shot”. If you publically announce that you will run the 100 miles in less than 24 hours, you get a special hand-painted buckle. If you finish in 24:00:01 or slower, you go home empty handed. No special buckle. No regular buckle. No participant ribbon. Nothing.

Of course, two minutes after the announcement of the “Call your shot” challenge, Josh and I were messaging back and forth, “If you do it, I will”. Sounds a lot like conversations I had as a kid that ended up getting me grounded for a month.

We accepted the challenge.

Then this past week, I doubled-down on the “shot called”.

PIC of facebook post

Training has gone well. Our plans of doing 50+ mile training runs, 24 hour practice runs, sleep deprivation practice and night runs never came to fruition. We did manage to squeeze in a 30+ mile training run. We didn’t die or kill each other, so that counts as a success. And I have broken my record for most miles in a month these past two. So we are at least kind of prepared.

I think.

I hope.

My wife and Team Running Dad are coming along to cheer Josh and I on and help pace us for the long out-and-back-and-back-out-again course. The race runs along the Virginia Creeper Trail, named after a train that used to meander through Abbingdon, Domascus and White Top. There are over 100 trestle bridge crossings along the way. The surface is a mixed gravel and packed cinders substrate. Not technical like portions of the JFK 50 that I have run the past couple years. Hopefully this will be conducive to a sub-24 hour effort on our parts.

100 miles. Yikes. But that buckle …

The Yeti 100. What the hell were we thinking?

The Yeti 100. What the hell were we thinking?

I have been holding off on posting much about the big race I have coming up next week. I just finished running the Kauai Marathon on September 3rd. I didn’t want to overshadow that race with a race of mythical proportions; the Yeti 100 Miler.

I saw the Yeti 100 pop up on my newsfeed one day and thought, “A 100 miler. Sounds fun! And crazy.” I shared the race shortly after and got a response of “If you do it, I will, too” from my buddy Josh. Would I really do it? Let’s check out the registration. Closed. Darn. Maybe next year. Sorry, Josh.

Whew.

I was a bit relieved. I mean, seriously, 100 miles. Crazy. 50 miles hurt bad enough.

Well, maybe I am a little crazy. Let’s email the race director and see if I can get Josh and I at least on the waiting list. I didn’t want to let Josh down, right? Although he did admit he, too, was relieved when he found out it was closed. What harm would it do to get on the waiting list?

A week later, an email arrived with a link to register. Jason, the race director, had pushed us through and we could run the race.

Hooray!

Oh, #%!&! 

We are in … yikes.

So here we are with the Yeti looming in the bushes, waiting for us on September 29th in Abingdon, Virginia.

Like most ultra marathons of the 100 mile variety, a belt buckle is the coveted prize. The Yeti buckle is adorned with a hairy sasquatch, majestic unicorn, a rainbow, pot of gold and a train. It can’t get much cooler than that.

From Yeti Trail Runners Facebook page. Note the different buckles …

Unless …

… you “call your shot”. If you publicly announce that you will run the 100 miles in less than 24 hours, you get a special hand-painted buckle. If you finish in 24:00:01 or slower, you go home empty handed. No special buckle. No regular buckle. No participant ribbon. Nothing.

Of course, two minutes after the announcement of the “Call your shot” challenge, Josh and I were messaging back and forth, “If you do it, I will”. Sounds a lot like conversations I had as a kid that ended up getting me grounded for a month.

We accepted the challenge.

Then this past week, I doubled-down on the “shot called”.

Training has gone well. Our plans of doing 50+ mile training runs, 24 hour practice runs, sleep deprivation practice and night runs never came to fruition. We did manage to squeeze in a 30+ mile training run. We didn’t die or kill each other, so that counts as a success. And I have broken my record for most miles in a month these past two. So we are at least kind of prepared.

I think.

I hope.

We have a great support team coming along to cheer us on and help pace us for the long out-and-back-and-back-out-again course. The race runs along the Virginia Creeper Trail, named after a train that used to meander through Abingdon, Damascus and White Top. There are over 100 trestle bridge crossings along the way. The surface is a mixed gravel and packed cinders substrate. Not technical like portions of the JFK 50 that I have run the past couple years. Hopefully this will be conducive to a sub-24 hour effort on our parts.

100 miles.

Yikes.

But that buckle …

Race Recap – Kauai Marathon 2017

Race Recap – Kauai Marathon 2017

Quick Kauai marathon recap: Jen and I arrived in Kauai Friday evening at 7:30 Hawaii time, 1:30 home time. We set our alarm for early the next morning to do a group shakeout run with Bart Yasso. The run was at the Hyatt which is where the expo was located as well. There was also a Keikie Run (kids run) at the Hyatt that I knew Michael Wardian’s, my running idol, boys would be running. Unbeknownst to me, Jen had emailed Mike and arranged for us all to get together after the kids run for a bite to eat. After the fun run with Bart, we watched the kids run and met up with the Wardian family. 

We all went to the expo to get our race packets and then headed to Living Market for brunch. We sat and talked race strategies. Mike had run Kauai 3 times prior to this year, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd. His goal was 2:20-2:30. Mine was 2:50-3:10. It was surreal sitting and talking about running with one of the top runners in the world. His wife and kids were really cool, too, and we all enjoyed just relaxing and chatting. This was definitely an experience I won’t forget.

Fast forward to race day. Jen and I walked to the start from our hotel. The stars were out (5AM) and the roosters were starting to crow. I somehow ended up at the front of the line heading to the start lead by traditionally dressed Hawaiians. I lined up near the front, and ended up bumping into another local runner, Karsten Brown. Yasso walked by and I got a high five. Mike Wardian lined up in front of me and we wished each other luck before the gun went off. 

I hit my goal paces for the beginning miles of the race. There is a point in the race where marathoners go right, half marathoners go left. At the first aid station after the split, I asked how many runners were in front of me. Just one, they informed me. What? Second behind Wardian? Wow! I continued running a decent pace, slowed by hills but on track on the flats and downhills. After a big climb from miles 14 to 18, the hills gave way to a stunning vista overlooking the ocean. I hit mile 20 with the prospect of a podium finish a strong possibility. Then things got a little fuzzy. The shaded roads gave way to more sun exposed running. Temps were in the mid 80s and I was feeling it. It seemed like every downhill had a tough uphill. My steady pace turned into a walk. I was soon passed by a speedy girl and then another guy. Maybe I could hang on for a male podium finish. Nope. The wheels completely fell off and I hoped to make it to the finish without passing out on a roadside ditch. 

I finally crossed the line at 3:32 in 6th place. Not my best. Not my worst. After a few beers and a ton of potato chips, I returned to the land of the living and enjoyed a nice post race party. I earned 3rd in my age group. Wardian took first overall at 2:45.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first 20 miles of the race and the pre and post race activities. I’d like to forget those miles at the end, but overall, a great destination race. I’d highly recommend this race. Nicely organized and the scenery was breathtaking. 

Now it is time to recover with my butt in the sand and a drink in my hand.

Workout Wednesday – What Goes Up …

Workout Wednesday – What Goes Up …

I know how much you love hills! Pushing yourself up the hill to build that strength and endurance that only a hill workout can give you is FUN! In reality, you are sweating profusely and cursing Coach Jeremy. Trust me, I feel your pain.

But have you ever done the work in reverse? No, not running backward, although I may try that for next week’s Workout Wednesday. I’m talking about running down the hill instead of up. Downhill workouts usually get overlooked because it seems too easy. Just cruise down the hill, right? Wrong.

If you have ever run the Baltimore Marathon or the Boston Marathon, you know that the first half of each starts downhill. You fly down those hills with reckless abandon thinking how easy the second half will be. Then “BAM!” you start to feel your quads burning as you get to mile 16. By mile 20, you are toast. Calves cramping, hamstrings tingling. Why? You probably did not work on your downhill running to help your quads and calves adapt to the stress of running a decline.

Your body’s natural reaction to running down a hill is to lean back toward the hill and use your heels as a brake. Your stride also elongates because gravity is helping you cover more distance in each stride. This change in your stride creates a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. To avoid this, try to tighten up your stride and take quicker, choppier steps down the hill. Lean forward from the hips and keep your body’s center of mass over your feet as best as possible, not behind. Remain in 100% control of your body and your running form. Don’t let the pull of gravity helping you down the hill cause you to get sloppy form. Control the chaos and focus on your form to minimize the chance of injury.

Hills, whether uphill or downhill, are sometimes where races are made or broken.

A downhill workout you can try to learn how to fall in control:

  • 1-2 mile warm up to the top of a decent hill. Not a crazy drop in elevation, but a gradual, steady decline.
  • Run hard, but under control, down the hill for 30 seconds. Walk or jog back to the top. Take advantage of this recovery time.
  • Repeat this 6-10 times. If you work this into your normal routine, add a rep each time you do it.
  • Finish with a 1-2 mile cool down.

Just think of that burning sensation in your quads the first time you do this workout as a hug from the hill. You two have become such good friends recently! Admit it. You love hills!

Workout Wednesday – A fartlek by any other name …

Workout Wednesday – A fartlek by any other name …

As you know by now, “fartlek” is one of my favorite vocabulary words. Several of the athletes I am currently training for upcoming marathons have seen a lot of this word recently on their workout calendars. As I was thinking about and planning their upcoming workouts, I remembered a challenging workout that Calum Neff shared with me a while back. If you don’t know, Cal is the World Record Holder for the fastest marathon while pushing a stroller. The dude is fast.

So here it is, in his words.

“My favorite workout has been the Moneghetti Fartlek: 2 x 90 seconds, 4 x 60 seconds, 4 x 30 seconds, 4 x 15 seconds; all with equal but fast recovery in between. The first rep usually starts out around 5k pace and gets faster from there. It’s a great workout because it only takes 20 minutes total, hits on a ton of paces and energy systems. I think my best has been to cover 6,100 meters, that’s 5:17 per mile average INCLUDING the recoveries.”

Wow. Here is how I would prescribe the workout to my athletes:

Easy 2 mile warmup
2 x (90sec HARD, 90 sec REST)
4 x (60 sec HARD, 60 sec REST)
4 x (30 sec HARD, 30 sec REST)
4 x (15 sec HARD, 15 sec REST)
Easy 1-2 mile cooldown

For the HARD sections, progressively pick up your pace, starting around a 5k effort, until the last one is your best effort. For the REST come to a walking pace or jogging pace to gather your self for the next rep. Stop if you need to between reps. You can perform this workout on a track or on the road. The hillier the terrain, the harder the workout of course. So choose wisely, or just hit the hills and be a badass.

This workout makes you work hard, with a short period of rest in between. A lot of bang for your buck in this workout. It’s quick; you will build speed endurance and you will also be challenged to keep an efficient running form in order to hold those hard efforts. If your form gets sloppy, your times will not be as good. Once you have done this workout several times, you can compare to see if you have made improvements.

Good luck getting down to a 5:17 overall pace, but you never know (let us know if you do so we can recognize your badass-ery).

Want to impress someone? If anyone asks you what you are doing, you can tell them “Just the Moneghetti Fartlek.” They will nod and say, “Oh, yeah, the Moneghetti Fartlek, I love that one!” Then, they will most likely go straight to Google to find out what the hell a “Mona-whatever” fartlek is.

The workout is named after an Australian runner, Steve Moneghetti, by the way. More info and his bio here in case you get called out.

So get out there and kick it like Running Dad Cal! Post your distance and pace in the comments below.