WEEK 4 – Hills, Hills and More Hills

Week 4 consisted of 36-40 miles. I started the week off with 7 miles on Tuesday, followed by 4 Miles of repeats on Wednesday, and a hard 10K (6.2. miles) Thursday. During these middle-of-the-week, early morning runs, I felt stronger than I have in a really long time. Tuesday’s 7-miler was run like a tempo, and there were times during Wednesday’s interval training where I could sprint for periods of up to 500 yards before backing off into a steady pace. I like feeling stronger and I am very pleased with my progress in this area of training.

Both Saturday and Sunday were just flat-out tough.

Saturday I ran the trails of the Sweetwater State Park with it’s extremely technical trails, and brutal hills. We got in somewhere around 7-8 miles (1:47:00) during a very hot and humid morning. A new, huge skateboard park had a grand opening in our neighborhood and I HAD to participate Saturday night. …one, gnarly, skinned up knee later and I was back at home wondering how I was going to manage a long run on Sunday.

Sunday, it was hard to get out of bed. I was sore from the Sweetwater run, and even more sore from skating …not to mention my pus-filled knee which scabbed up nicely overnight {sigh}.

By 7:45 A.M. I was at the Kennesaw Mountain for an intended 16.2 miles. I did 11.5 miles. Could I have gone the extra 4.5 miles and completed 16? Yea, but I was really fatigued, the humidity was rough and the hills of the mountain were taking a toll on me physically and mentally. I opted to stop at 11.5 and go eat mounds of food at Waffle House with my training partner.

Which brings me to diet. I was rock-solid the entire week and my weight is still dropping; however, this weekend I broke-down and sampled a smidgen of my wife’s homemade dessert (a little too much sampling), sneaked a small fry at Wendy’s on Friday night, and of course, gorged at Waffle House Sunday morning.

Hot To Trot 8-hour Race | Next Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday, I am running a challenging, ultramarathon timed event right here in metro Atlanta. The race is called Hot to Trot. To give you an idea of the ridiculousness of this race, below is the race acceptance confirmation I received:

“Welcome to the 2007 Hot To Trot 8 Hour Run! Your entry has been
received and accepted. If you entered this race in error, good for
you! By virtue of being accepted, you have been included in a class
of runners known to have totally lost control of their senses. Yes,
you are insane. Accept it…”

How’s that for building confidence? sheesh.

The race is basically run for 8-hours, during the heat of the middle of the day, on a one-mile loop, through the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve in Decatur, Georgia. In this race, I will be practicing electrolyte micro-management, race-day hydration methods and mental toughness. One mile loops give runners many opportunities to quit …I don’t want to quit.

My goal is to complete at least 20 miles with a fantasy goal of 32; but, whatever the mileage, I’m not going to quit unless I’m pulled from the race for health concerns.

Wish me luck on Saturday. { …and bring me some water}

WEEK 3 – Very Real Progress

Week three (3) is in the books with 40 miles under my belt from Tuesday to Sunday. Eighteen miles alone for Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to my physical improvement, the mental side of my training got a real boost this week. Unintentionally, I pushed most of my weekly training runs to the limit, surpassing much of the mileage expected of me and even participating in “burst” training to get the legs and lungs working extra hard. The little “successes” go a long way towards keeping me motivated. …Especially when it’s 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday, 90 degrees and I’m feeling a little lazy.

Most of my training this week was typical with junk miles during the week, core strength training on ‘rest’ days and lots of walking with the family to keep them active – but the highlight of the week was Sunday’s 10-miler at Kennesaw Mountain with friends from my office.

Running at Kennesaw Mountain

With all the heat lately, running in the mountains offers a beautiful reprieve from the massive heat and smog of high traffic, road running routes. It’s very important that I train in the mountains as much as possible; furthermore, it’s even more important that the trails I select are as technical as possible. The Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Trail Run, the race I am running in support of Project Kids Eat, is well known for it’s difficult, technical trails and extreme hills, so proper planning is key to surviving this race and finishing before the 12-hour cutoff.

Sunday was perfect. The weather was a cool 68-72 degrees, overcast and drizzly making for almost perfect running conditions. We were lucky enough to run past a deer with it’s baby in the back fields, along with other various critters of the mountain forest. We started at the Burnt Hickory trail head and ran the Kolbs Farm loop, before trekking through the Cheatham Hill fields and back to Burnt Hickory, for a total of about 10.2 miles, or ~ 1:40:00. Great morning training!

This next, upcoming week of training will be similar to this past week with the addition of more miles for the Sunday long run. I will be running again at Kennesaw Mountain on Sunday but hope to do the entire mountain loop covering 16.2 miles from the Kennesaw Mountain Visitor Center, out to Kolbs Farm, and back.

Wish me luck – and as always, if you can donate, even $5, to my cause, please do so using the Donate Now links on this site. It’s free, secure and a piece of cake. Make yourself feel good right now.

WEEK 2 – Training in Paradise

So here I am at the end of week 2 of MMTR training, sitting in the Miami airport, sun-burnt and exhausted, reflecting on my continued training while vacationing.

All-in-all, I am pleased that I was able to focus quality attention on running and cardio improvement while also making sure my family did not have to experience any interruptions in the fun. This required me to get up between 6-7 a.m., sneaking out the room, and trodding down US1 counting mile markers. The downside is today’s long run. It didn’t happen. Partly due to too much fun at the Kokomo, at Holiday Isle in Islamorada, Saturday afternoon …actually, mostly due to the Kokomo, a few cocktails and a great reggae band skankin’ in the Florida sunshine.

I ran 6 miles Tuesday, 8.5 miles Thursday and 7 miles Saturday, all in extreme heat and humidity I might add. This should be great heat training for an 8-hour race I am running August 4. For additional conditioning, I weight-trained one day at the resort gym and kayak-paddled over 3 miles on another non-running day. There was lots of swimming, snorkeling and walking as well to keep me moving and my muscles working. I even took the stairs for every trip to and from our fourth floor room. …every little bit helps and with the race and training constantly on my mind, I try to fit in movement within every situation in which I find myself.

Many times, on vacation, I can let my diet slip, but not this time. I ate mostly seafood the entire time with very little excessive carbs or saturated fats. Naturally, in the heat of the Florida Keys, it was mandatory to stay adequately hydrated and me and the family easily burned through a case of bottled waters and drank plenty of water with every meal. I may have actually lost a smidgen of weight on this vacation. Imagine that…

Although I am feeling guilty about neglecting the long run today (Sunday), I still did pretty well. I still have 15 weeks to go and I am strong and pretty well conditioned. Things should improve exponentially over the next few weeks. I just need to stay focused and remember that no matter how difficult all this is, it pales in comparison to being a homeless child.

As I sit here waiting for my flight, watching my 12-year old stepson play his Nintendo DS handheld video game system, while listening to his iPod, I can’t help but think about those homeless kids that I am reaching out to with this race …sitting in their government subsidized hotel rooms, with no home, no iPods, no video games, no positive role models nor anyone showing them any quality attention, wondering when and where their next real meal will come from.

If you are reading this and can perhaps throw out some support, it would be a big help for these kids. $100, $25 and even $5 can make a HUGE difference for some of these victims of circumstance …and as I always remind folks, every single, solitary penny goes directly to the needs of these kids and nowhere else.

You can donate here. All credit cards accepted, and your transaction is encrypted and 100% secure through PayPal. You will not incur any fees whatsoever. Your donation is your donation.

Thanks for reading, checking in with me, and supporting the homeless kids. It sure feels good to do some good.

WEEK 1 – Outta’ the Gate

This week was a lot of running – but it’s nothing compared to what lies ahead. Although I felt like I did an awful lot of running, I was pleased that I was recovering so well from each of the runs. I bought a fancy massage chair recently and I believe it helps my muscles recover. If not – who cares? It feels sooo good.

My concern is that I am not resting on the ‘rest’ days of the training schedule. Instead, I am using those days to strengthen train my core and upper body muscles making actual ‘rest’ a bit hard to find. {sigh}

One highlight of the first week of serious training was running the Peachtree Road Race, Wednesday, July 4th. 55,000 runners, a bunch of bands, thousands of eccentric spectators and an ugly t-shirt capped off a great start to the Fourth of July holiday.

This week I ran 6-8 miles a day, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This weekend I logged 8 miles (6.5 run, 1.5 walk out) at Kennesaw Mountain and slugged through over an hour of heat training, for 7 miles, on Sunday. I am far shy of the scheduled Sunday long run, but for the week I knocked out about 34 miles.

Off to Key Largo – Logging miles in the tropics.


*** Please take a moment to read what I am doing and why I am doing this. Perhaps, it might inspire you to donate a couple o’ bucks. Anything will do $5, $20, $50 – whatever fits your budget.

I promise whatever you give, it will feel really, really good.

WEEK 0 – A Prelude to Seventeen Weeks of Training

Starting a new intensive training program is always exciting.

I’ve built a solid base of running ability over the last year, but the next seventeen weeks is going to be a monster test of will, patience and body management. The more I can hype myself up, the better chance I will have at project success.

I spent an hour yesterday (Saturday) heat acclimating with a one hour run in the peak Atlanta afternoon heat. 97 degrees with a heat index over 100 degrees. The physical drain factor associated with that kind of heat is unbelievable. I made sure to run in the wide open, direct sunlight. The concrete was so hot, I would run in the grass medians just to avoid the heat rising up off the ground. Crazy hot.

Hot to Trot 8-Hour Race

Why the heat acclimation? I’ve decided to run an ultra in August as long run training. It’s an 8-hour timed race called the Hot to Trot at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve in Decatur, Georgia. It’s going to be quite a challenge. The field is limited to 40 runners and is run during the hottest month in Georgia. I am probably not 100% qualified to run the race, but I begged the race director and did my best to demonstrate that I understand the risks of running such an event.

The course is a 1.x mile trail loop through the nature preserve. The loop element to the race will allow for some good planning. In dangerous heat races like this, it’s important to properly manage your fluid and electrolyte balance. Poor planning, lack of appropriate aid and slack race management can make bad go to worse in a flash. Eight hours is a long time to be moving on your feet. Good race management is key.

My goal is 30 miles. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it will be a miracle performance in the expected heat which should easily register at 90-100 degrees.

Stay tuned, tomorrow begins the official seventeen weeks of regimen training and I’m excited and ready.