Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Here I am.

I didn't know if I would ever blog again but here I am. Since my last post, I have volunteered at the Free State Trail Run and the Psycho Psummer 50K. Broke both my pinky toes running at Kill Creek in my Vibram 5 Fingers. Rediscovered biking because my toes were broken. Helped build new trails at Wyandotte County Lake Park. Spent a week in Colorado hiking and running in Rocky Mountain National Park. Had a blast running the Psycho Night 10K trail race. And generally had a large time.

Trail runners are a fun bunch. Read Sam's blog for an in depth Psycho Night race report from a fast person.

Ta ta for now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Listen to your body. HA!

If I listened to my body, I'd be on my couch, guzzling ice cold Coke, eating a pizza and watching Firefly episodes. My body needs to be quiet!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feets don't fail me now!

I am obsessed with my feet and footwear. Suffice it to say, my long bout with foot ailments piqued my interest in non-traditional foot gear. I plan to blog more extensively about this in the future but I wanted to post a quick note about my run at Kill Creek Park tonight. It ROCKED! It marks the first time I have covered the whole 7 miles in my Vibram 5 Fingers. Aside from a little hot spot on the side of one of my big toes, my feet feel better than they have in months.

I don't think I have been magically cured by my 5 Fingers any more than I think that regular running shoes are the root of all evil. But I do think that my feet are benefiting from the strengthening and toughening process that happens when you take to the roads and trail in what amounts to gloves for your feet.

Next thing you know, I'll be building huaraches out of old tires (or Old Navy flip flops already in process).

More later. Ta ta!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Raining in Wichita

Happy Easter Sunday. I shall celebrate by thoroughly enjoying Easter dinner and watching a bit of golf on the tube.

Foot recovery is progressing well but much slower than I would like. I've only managed 1 trail run in the last 3 weeks. That was a 7 miler at Kill Creek Park and the foot held up well but was sore for a couple of days afterward. I've been able to use the cardio machines at the gym to maintain some level of fitness but I'm really looking forward to being able to hit the trails 3 or 4 times a week again soon. My patience will be rewarded or I'll throw a fit. Planning to run at Kill Creek again this Tuesday (mud permitting) and see if my foot is improving.

Ta ta for now.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Have a Name!

I have been whining about my feet incessantly for the last month. Occasionally, I would sit by the trail, staring at my bare foot practically begging it to tell me what is wrong. Once, I even ran back from Land's End at Clinton Lake with my shoe insoles in my hand. I have bought shoes, changed socks, taken a week off, and contemplated burying myself in shallow unmarked grave next to the bridle trail at WyCo. All that has changed. I now have a name for the malady that has plagued my runs ever since Psycho Wyco.


Sounds horrible doesn't it? Not really. It just means that I've irritated the tiny bones in the ball of my foot that give you a little extra leverage when you push off your big toe. It's a form of tendinitis and it frequently occurs when you increase an activity like running. Especially on hills. A pretty accurate description of a guy who recently gave up the couch for the trail. It's not too much, just too much, too soon.

The good news is that I'm already getting better. A little time off. A little less mileage. Some shoe adjustments. And I'm back on the trail.


A more thorough description of the condition at: www.foot.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getting a little stir crazy.

So! I took an entire week off of trail running hoping my left foot would quit torturing me. I did do some work at the gym on the elliptical trainers and bike. Finally, Sunday, Susan and I went to WyCo and ran some of the horse trail plus the triangle. Just about 3 miles. While I didn't actually have to start favoring my foot, it was not happy. I'm going to continue on the low mileage plan for a few weeks but if things don't improve soon, I will have to consult a physician. I'm also going to try some different shoe options.

Other than the foot, things are going well. I plan to spend a little more time in the gym to make up for the reduced mileage.

S'long for now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Many is Better Than One

Today was not my best day on the trail but being around a group of fun, accomplished, and encouraging runners sure beats going it alone. I wanted to be really cranky about my sore feet today but the Trail Nerds wouldn't let me. Thanks!


Read these blogs!

Back of the Pack
Outer Limits

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back to the Scene of the Crime

I went back to WyCo Lake Park yesterday and ran the Psycho WyCo loop. The trail was frozen hard and I discovered that my feet are still tender (read horribly bruised) from the twenty miles last weekend. By the time I finished, I was walking and whining. I tried not to whine too loud though because WyCo whiners are buried in shallow unmarked graves. I came home, iced my feet and watched Big 12 basketball.

While approaching "Fall Down Hill" I came across Ben and Jim who were out marking new trail. Ben explained that they are closing some sections that are eroding and replacing them with new. Sounds like there will be volunteering opportunities for trail building and maintenance.

When I finished, there were two bald eagles working the west side of the park. They are gorgeous birds. At one point, they came in for a low pass and I got to see them from no more than 40 yards away. Wow! A red tailed hawk decided to chase them away. I'm not sure how THAT works, the hawk being about half their size, but it was successful. The last I saw of the eagles, they were circling high toward the Missouri river. I wonder if these eagles nest in the vicinity. I will ask one of the rangers next time I'm there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Psycho WyCo, Run Toto, Run!
20 Mile Race Report

First things first. The KC Trail Nerds are an outstanding bunch. All you have to do is show up and Trail Nerds will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. During group runs, they will wait for you if you are slow. Some will back track and check on you if you're real slow. And generally act as though their happiness depends solely on your personal well being. Thanks to all the KC Trail Nerds that made this race, the dozen or so other races and fun runs as well as the 10+/- weekly training runs possible. Proud to be a Nerd!

I arrived at the race too late to get a prime parking spot but the walk/jog down to the ranger station was a good way to get warm and loose. I said hello to various and sundry fellow Trail Nerds and found Beth and Colleen (#2) from the world famous Alternate Chili Run Turtle Group. Erica, whom I had run a loop with a few weeks ago, joined us and said she would like to run along. When I explained that I would be going “painfully slow” she said, “That’s okay, I just want to finish without crying.” She did.

Some one must have said go because we proceeded across the bridge and headed for the woods. I started out at the back of the pack because, well, it would have been demoralizing to be passed by all 300+ entrants before reaching the woods 200 yards away. I vowed not to run up any hills until I was good and warm and I kept my promise. By the time we reached any significant downhill sections, I was ready to rock a little. I told Beth I’d be waiting for her at the finish and Erica and I moved ahead.

I actually passed some people during the next mile or so. A fact I attribute to gravity and a total disregard for my personal safety. I note this because it happened so rarely. As we crossed the road on the approach to the Wyandotte Triangle, I noticed one of my shoes was untied and told Erica to go ahead. I could hear the cowbells and cheers from the Triangle aid station long before I got there. Have I mentioned that KC Trail Nerds rule! A couple of folks let me pass at the top of the Triangle. I could tell by the white showing around their iris that there was no way they wanted to be below me if I got out of control. Good plan. I made pretty good time through the Triangle in spite of it being just a little slick in spots. As I was coming up one of the last switchbacks, I saw Erica hit the straightaway back on the bridle trail. I shouted: "Erica! Go! Go! Go!” That was the last I saw of her.

Soon (by my standards) I arrived at the top of Fall Down Hill. So, I fell down. Flat on my back, with a leg pinned under me, at a slow walk, I fell down. That’s when I figured out that the dry looking bare dirt spots were slick as snot. I picked myself up and tiptoed the rest of the way to the bottom. I was passed a time or two on the dam because, well, it’s not down hill!

After grabbing a cup of coffee at the dam aid station, I caught up with Jackson Jones walking the paved section. I asked him how far he was going and he replied in a very matter of fact way: “Just ten miles, twenty’s too far.” Jackson is the most awesome 9 year old Trail Nerd in the universe.

Sadly, Speed Demon Ridge was too slick to stampede down in my usual wild abandon. But, I still made decent time to the top of the steep gully that goes to the bottom of the ridge. At this point I fell down again. Flat on my back, at a slow walk, I fell down again. It is hard for my brain hold onto the fact that I shouldn’t step on the dry looking bare dirt spots. To make a long story short (well not quite so long) I fell down three more times before escaping Fester’s Wander. The trip from the archery range to the Amos Family aid station was uneventful.

At the aid station I said hi and thanks to everyone I could. Got my bottle filled. Grabbed some salty snacks and hit the trail all in about 20 seconds. Gary Henry was gathering volunteers for a group picture. Stacy Amos asked: “Will we see you again today?” I replied, “Absolutely!” Kyle Amos told me that since I marked it, I should know the trail from here.

On the way through the three hills section, I passed a young lady and asked how far she was going today. When she said, “10 miles” I told here she was almost done. She said, “Thank God!” I don’t think she was having as much fun as I was. Soon I passed through the gate at the end of my first loop in about 2 ½ hours. Ben told me to keep moving “No beer for you.” Someone filled my bottle. Vickie Holmes pointed out the boiled potatoes and salt. I grabbed a pack of fruit chews and started loop number two. I was afraid to stop for fear I wouldn’t start again.

Loop number two was more of a mental game than actual race strategy. After all, the only person I was racing was me. I arrived at the Triangle again to more cheers and cowbell. I handed off my bottle and took off down the hill. Oh no! The Triangle had turned to mud! Luckily there were strategically placed trees that helped me turn the corners until I could adjust my speed. Before I got out of the Triangle, a couple of the 50K racers lapped me including Trail Nerd Rick Mayo. That guy is so nice he tripped and practically killed himself just to make eye contact when I said “Hi”. Great job Rick! Second overall! Got to the top of the Triangle, grabbed my bottle, downed a half cup of sport drink (had a cup in my pocket), and was told I had nice straight section that I could “Hammer!” Well I didn’t feel much like hammering anything at this point but the notion that someone would say that to me tickled me so much that soon I was running and singing: “Swingin’ a nine pound hammer all day, workin’ for the state, the rent’s all paid.” I got a big lift out of every aid station. Thanks again.

I got to the bottom of Fall Down Hill without falling down. Across the dam and got some more aid in the form of pretzels and sports drink. Negotiated the pavement and took off down Speed Demon Ridge at a pretty good clip since it had thawed enough to give better traction. As I was going down I passed a runner who had turned (broken?) his ankle and was on his way back to the road. I stopped long enough to be sure he was okay getting back to the road without help and went on my way being extra careful not to turn my own ankle.

The early stretch of Fester’s wander was better footing the second time through and I was beginning to think I might make decent time (for me) the rest of the way. However, everything soon turned to slop and it was a struggle to remain upright. Shortly after another 50K runner lapped me, I built up too much steam on a muddy downhill, made a bad choice of footing and wiped out in spectacular fashion. The guy who had passed me called from halfway up the next hill: “Watch out for that sharp turn!” Thanks.

I was just starting to loose a little momentum when I puffed into the final aid station. There I saw friendly familiar faces and got to meet Tony and Angel Clark for the first time. For some reason, it really pumps you up when people tell you “you’re looking good!” when you know you look like an overheated water buffalo in the final stages of mad cow. I pounced on a couple of Kyle’s quesadillas, Tony filled my bottle, Stacey and Angel made sure I stuffed some candy in my pocket, dropped some Pringle’s and headed out at what Kyle kindly referred to as “Still running!” Just 2 miles to go!

Halfway back to the finish I caught up with and met Steve Breeding we visited for a short while and he invited me to a race in Scandia, Kansas later this year. Since he said he was done running, I forged ahead at the next downhill and soon crossed the finish line in 5:35:12. Ben gave me my medal, Cherie took my bib since my opposable thumbs no longer worked, and I walked immediately to my car at the park entrance. I drove back to the ranger station (parking was now available) and had hot chocolate, snacks, and black bean soup. Yum! Yum!

It wasn’t long before my fellow turtles were crossing the finish line and we were congratulating each other on a job well done. It was a great experience for me and I am looking forward to many more in the future. Special thanks to my wife Susan for putting up with me through thick and not so thick (literally), and Beth “Relentless” Hilt for the weekend training runs and helping to give me the confidence to tackle 20 miles even though 13+ a few weeks ago was my previous long run.

Photos courtesy of Dick Ross at See KC Run

Links you should visit:
- KC Trail Nerds
- Bad Ben's Trail Running Site
- Psycho Wyco Run Toto, Run!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Animals, nerds, and a long run in the woods.

Last weekend, Susan and I saw two bald eagles at Wyandotte County Lake Park while we were helping mark the course for the Psycho WyCo, Run Toto, Run! Wednesday night, a bobcat crossed highway 69 in front of me just 3 miles from my house. I don't see exotic animals all the time. In fact, I see a bald eagle about every 10 years and have seen bobcat twice in my life! Maybe I will see more wildlife since I am running trails.

I am going to race 20 miles with the KC Trail Nerds tomorrow. What fun!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Superbowl Weekend!

Unfortunately, I will eat way too much of things that shouldn't be eaten in the first place. But food and friends are a good thing. Friends are good every day. Superbowl food? Once a year.

I have a good weekend of trail running planned. I will run with the Trail Nerds at Clinton Lake in Lawrence on Saturday. I want to do about 10 easy miles but I'll take it as it comes. Sunday morning is the Psycho 5k, Ice Edition trail race at Wyandotte County Lake Park. This will be my first official trail race! After the 5k, I'll do the full loop (10.3 miles.) I am becoming more and more confident that I will complete the 20 mile, Psycho WyCo in two weeks on February 14. I'll check in and let you know how the weekend goes.

So long!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Since my last post.

I turned 50. Spent some time with my family in the mountains (Estes Park). Started a new business doing the same old thing. Signed up to run a 20 mile trail race. And tried to come up with something profound, interesting, and entertaining to write in my blog. Failing that, I wrote this.

I plan to take myself less seriously and post more often. It's a blog, not the "Great American Novel." Ta ta for now!