An Athlete's Diary
The Week After Superior 50k
It's Monday and I'm going to post this thing. My training has shifted to BWCA training. There is a bit more upper body strength training happening now as paddling and portaging requires more upper body strength than running does.
I'm going to start this with what has happened so far Saturday, May 25, one week after Superior 50k. It's 10:28am and I've already gotten a workout in and had a protein smoothie. I don't report that because I'm embarrassed about what you're about to read. I point it out because I feel good about at least the decisions I've made this morning toward my next event. It's one choice at a time and I've made an overlying decision to prepare for what's next. If I make choices that get me further from that sometimes, I'm okay with it. I look forward to the next play, the next opportunity to choose and don't get too caught up in the past. It was a great week!
I’ve written quite a few race recaps/reviews over the years. This one has me writing about the week after. The trip we took to the north shore on May 17 and 18, 2019 was a quick one. We were in Lutsen for under 19 hours so it kind of felt like Superior Spring 2019 was just another thing in the rhythm of an already busy season. That’s okay though because there are few things in this world that can fill one’s soul like Superior. It’s the course, the history, the energy and most of all, the people.
That’s not what this is about though. This is about recovering from an event like Superior knowing that the whole season is one giant event and each event is really just a training run with a finish line and an official time and, most often, a medal and a t shirt. So, there are a few more perks than just improvement and season training. There are more people too I suppose. I’m not sure of the exact numbers this year but it was probably 500+ in all three events together.
Let’s try this again… it’s not about the event, it’s about the days that follow the event. We finished up on Saturday afternoon, headed back to the lodge for a shower and a Coke and we headed home. My brother Jesse (12.5k finisher), Son Caden (12.5k finisher) and I loaded up and headed home. I guess it’s not surprising that we were hungry. Just getting to Lutsen was an adventure in itself with a smoking engine in Two Harbors on the way up. Kip at the auto shop said it was nothing to worry about, so we headed up 61.
I’ve eaten really good after events and was probably better off for it. I did have a protein smoothie after the Coke this time so that was good. I’ve also let myself go for a few days and pretty much eaten whatever I wanted and didn’t eat much, if at all, when “in training”. Sometimes it feels really good to eat really good and sometimes I just let it go. We stopped at Hardee’s in Hinckley on the way back down 35 and I had a monster roast beef, large curly fries and large Diet Coke. This is one of those times I’d let it go for a couple days. Multiple donut feedings. There was ice cream involved, lots of chips (many varieties) and more! From Tuesday on there has been less sugar. Now it’s turned to PB and J and still chips.
There’s also a physical recovery that takes place. I’ve done this a few different ways too. Sometimes I’ve gone out and run a dozen miles the next day. In fact, in 2014 I did a half marathon the evening before the Voyageur 50 mile and finished under the cut. In the ultra-community that’s not super unusual, at least not for some of us.
During my training I try to visit the chiropractor a couple times per week, especially during high volume periods. I’ve learned that taking a few days before going to the chiro after an event is a good idea. I feel it gives my body a chance to regulate itself and it takes some time for any more chronic aches and pains to reveal themselves. I didn’t go to the chiro until Thursday. I did, however stretch and foam roll Tuesday. Nothing real crazy, just a quick full lower roll and full light stretching routine.
It’s Thursday now, and a holiday weekend approaches. I look forward to spending time with family and I’ll work a couple of hours tomorrow where I’ll be on my feet for a few hours. Today I went on a short jog/walk and the feeling of the SHT is still with me. Running Superior requires a different gait. For me, it’s a little wider and more from the hips, especially when there's mud. My feet need to be free to avoid roots, rocks and mud. That gait was with me today and for that I am grateful. The first couple runs after an event are always reflective for me. I think about the trail, what I learned from the experience, what I overcame (physically and mentally) and how my body is feeling now beginning again training for next.
I felt great today. Tomorrow is another day and I’m looking forward to it. We’ll be traveling to the BWCA in a few weeks and that will require a little bit different type of training. More strength.
Superior Spring 50k Big Block 2019
Superior 50k is coming fast, now less than two weeks away. I felt I needed to get in one good size block and this weekend was my last chance before Superior.
Block Run 1 - Thursday at French
Every morning I drop my kids off at school and this day I headed straight over to one of the Three Rivers Park Reserves. I know this course well as I've spent many hours on these trails but I rarely know how it's all going to go down once I get there. I don't like running French that much only because of the geese. It may be more of an issue later in the year and I only had to confront one goose. It didn't chase me but did hiss.
This was a good start to my block. I wasn't sure how it would all unfold as there were still a lot of things that had to happen besides logging miles this weekend. After I finished I headed home then to Target Field to catch a ball game.
Wednesday night I saw Berrios was pitching for the Twins and the Astros were in town series tied one a piece. Stubhub has good prices to I went for it. The game was great even though I didn't get there until the 3rd inning just in time to see Buxton make a great catch robbing extra bases. Then, the Twin's bats woke up and they strung a nice rally together. I watched until the bullpen door opened for the top of the 8th and I headed home. Twin's win!
Block Run 2 - Saturday at Hyland
Saturday morning took a bit more planning as I was out the door before 6am. It was foggy on my drive down from Maple Grove and Elli had a basketball game in Bloomington at 9:10 so I went to Hyland, just a few minutes from the gym.
I haven't done many hills this spring, at least in long runs and Superior is one hill after another so I wanted to run a few hills. Hyland has great hills and it was close to the bball game so it worked out just perfect. I love the picture above as the fog was lifting and the sun was penetrating the trees allowing just pockets of light through.
At Hyland there are two main hills that I use in training. There's the ski hill which is one of the longest trail hills here in the Twin Cities and there is the ski jump hill which is less runnable and the footing is more technical. Both hills prepare you for Superior in different ways. I often do sling repeats when I go to Hyland. I run the ski hill, run to the ski jump hill, climb the ski jump hill and head back to the ski hill. I'm not sure how many times I looped it Saturday but three or four times anyway.
My legs got a bit heavy towards the end and the fatigue set in later on in the day. Caden had baseball practice and I hit about an hours worth of fungo flys (I like doing this as it was a big part of my Texas life). My left hip and shoulder were sore from stopping the rotation of the swing.
Block Run 3 - Sunday at Elm Creek
Of all three parks I ran this past weekend I've spent the most miles and hours at Elm Creek. We used to live very close so it was always easy for me to get out there and log miles. I drove there today. Temps were in the 60's and the bugs haven't yet arrived in full force, not to mention the trail is quite dry. These factors all made for a very enjoyable afternoon into evening on the trail. I walked and ran but mostly ran and was able to finish the last few miles pretty quickly.
This picture is from my favorite spot in the park. It's a little maple corridor between the chalet and the nature center about in the middle of the park. In the fall the leaves are very colorful and it's in this space the seasons really stick out to me. I'll sit in this spot sometimes and just soak in the beauty and solitude of nature.
After finishing my legs were shot. They still are actually as I write this on Monday morning. A quick trip the chiropractor and a good night sleep have helped but I'll focus on recovery for the next couple of days before building to Superior. There will be at least one nap today.
They had a sale on cereal at Hyvee this weekend. We rarely have cereal at our house, except for St. Patrick's Day when we have lucky charms, so this was a treat. I'm sure I'll have another bowl of chocolaty goodness before these Cocoa Puffs disappear :).
One last thing here... I will be running a performance workout on the West side of Maple Grove on Memorial Day from 10-12 for male and female athletes ages 10-13. This workout is limited to 10 participants and the cost is $50 per. Athlete's will be on the clock from 10-12 and we'll focus on toughness and endurance. Equipment will include battle ropes, ViPR, medicine balls, speed ladders, Penalty Boxes, mini bands and more. Go to https://www.trainingedgesports.com/memorial-day-2019.html to reserve your spot!
I get asked all the time about my training and what I'm doing and how I do it. People might just be asking because it seems like an interesting subject to begin a conversation with or to be nice. It seems like you are truly interested though so I'll share a bit about where my head is at at this point in my 2019 journey.
The crazy is starting to set in. Lot's of things going through my head now as training is building up and Trail Mix is just a couple weeks out on April 13.
The next couple days will be very telling. I've got a couple of tough workouts. I'm feeling confident enough and am coming off a weekend off to go into these workout with the intent of going pretty hard when going hard is called for. It's going to be an interesting couple days for sure, and quite telling as well.
I left County Road 6 way earlier than I’d ever left before after pushing to get ahead all day. There were a few lower moments, not just mentally, but physically too. I’d gotten behind electrolytes between Silver Bay and Tettegouche. Then, I overshot the sweet spot on the way down the Sawmill Dome about two miles shy of County 6.
I grabbed my headlamp and a few calories and headed off into the dusk. Night was upon us and I cruised into Finland at about 10:30pm. I left Finland and began the trip to Crosby. Sonju Lake is a mandatory stop but I don’t like to stay there long. On the road into Crosby my pace was brisk, possibly too much so.
Crosby to Sugarloaf is a grind. It’s 3:00am and there is a lot of descending and climbing. Plus, this section of trail is 10 miles long. Sugarloaf is a spot I’ve dropped multiple times and I know if I can get in and out, I’ll finish.
As I pull into Sugarloaf my left foot has been on fire for miles. When I took off my shoe and sock, I expected to see a big ole’ blister on the bottom of my foot. We looked but found nothing. I was convinced there was a blister there buried deep under the skin. I grabbed a safety pin and talked my brother into sticking into the bottom of my foot, in hopes we would be able to alleviate the pressure that had build up. He stuck that thing in what seemed like a half an inch and came out with nothing.
The longer I sat there the better my chances of not continuing on. I had a lot of support sitting there in that camp chair under the stars. Caden was with me, I changed shoes and socks and we took off to Cramer Road as the sun was beginning to lighten up the Eastern horizon.
Fast forward to today, I had a small blister form on that left foot and immediately searched for a safety pin. It probably wasn’t the same pin but the memories came flooding back. Part of training for ultra-marathons and doing them is foot care. Our minds will take us through tough feet but it certainly makes things a bit more difficult, one step at a time. I was able to walk the remaining 31 miles plus to finish in 34 hours, 19 minutes and 19 seconds. That was more than three hours faster than my first finish in 2014.
In the days to follow Superior 2018 the blister we tried to pop at Sugarloaf reared its ugly head and it was buried deep in there. A part of the ball of my foot about the size of a quarter was exposed for the better part of the week, many layers deep.
Tomorrow I’ll do my work barefoot and focus on letting my left foot breathe and heal.
Nothing really profound to share with you today, just an update from the road as I look forward to toe the line at Trail Mix 50k on Saturday.
7 Simple Ways to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season
While sickness around this time of year isn't always avoidable, here are 7 simple ways to stay healthy this holiday season:
There you go, 7 simple ways to help stay healthy this holiday season. Here's to a healthy last couple weeks of 2017! And please, don't cough or sneeze into your hands. Use your cough pocket also known as your elbow. (see image above :))
A Glimpse Into CIW© at PGC
We had a great workout group yesterday at PGC in Edina, MN. Since they started holding exercise groups four years ago, most new employees take advantage and join in at least twice a month. Steve, the owner, is in this shot on the far right and one other, Sharon (in the PGC shirt), has been consistent from the beginning.
Career Integrated Wellness © is something I created years ago. It never shows up the same way at any one company, but always fits just the way it's supposed to based on feedback and agility. The objective is to help employees integrate wellness into their careers. Everybody's got a career, right? If we can align the health and wellness we all talk about with the career that we have, everyone wins!
There were more connections made during the workout yesterday than I can even count. Every week there are many connections made, encouragement delivered and relationships grown.
Learn more under the CIW© tab and contact me if you think this might be a good fit at your company.
Training Edge Sports, LLC