Category Archives: Trail Running

Hope on the Trail 5K/10K Review

This past Saturday I participated in a local 10K race in Thorntown, IN put on by a charity organization, Hope for his Children Inc, that benefits orphaned, abandoned, and impoverished children of the world. Being a foster parent I was drawn to this race for the good work this organization does on behalf of our most vulnerable population, kids.

The event gives participants the option to run or walk a 5K or 10K distance for an out and back on a flat and fast section of a reclaimed rails to trails system starting at the Thorntown trail head. The start of the trail is paved and eventual turns to packed gravel. The trail is beautiful as it explores the Indiana countryside and cornfields. I really enjoyed the course and the event overall.

The volunteers and event staff were well organized, friendly, and informative exemplifying Hoosier hospitality. The race coincides with Thorntown’s Turning of the Leaves festival weekend so there’s plenty to do, plenty to see, and plenty to eat after finishing the race!

If you want to run a great local race for a good cause then add the Hope on the Trail Run/Walk to your race schedule for 2018. I know I’ll be back next year!

2014 and Beyond…a Look Forward

2014 is a big year!  Lots of goals and most of these relatively short term goals are to prepare me for 2015 and the charity run we have planned that will take the DAWS Spinal Muscular Atrophy Running Team (S.M.A.R.T.) 500 miles from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the gates of Disneyland after which we will run the Dumbo Double Dare to top off the mission to raise awareness and funding for research on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that is the #1 killer of children under the age of two years.

So how does one prepare to run 19 back-to-back marathons to equal 500 miles then think it’ll be a walk to run another 19.3 miles around Disneyland? The answer: Lots of planning!

Screenshot 2014-02-15 13.22.55

I need to bring my physical self to a whole new level and I plan to do that by training for three BIG events in 2014 with several smaller events sprinkled in for continued motivation and fun. You can checkout my full race schedule here! Let me know if you’ll be at any of the races and we can meet-up for a pre-race  photo while we still look good!

Event #1: The Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay

This run spans 45 miles. I will run it solo (I’ll have a support crew) on June 14, 2014. The event is timed and the cutoff is 9-hours. This will be the most difficult event of the year due to the cutoff. This ultra marathon event will be a huge push for me. I am planning on dropping 25 pounds to reach my best performance weight prior to this event, but it is the staging ground for all other events in 2014.

Event #2: Ride Across INdiana (RAIN Ride)

This ride will take me 164 miles across the state of Indiana in a single day. On July 12, 2014 I’ll ride this event with a group of friends so this should be a fun event, but I will not let the future fun detract from the fact that I’ll need to spend quite a bit of time in the bike saddle in order to prepare myself to go the distance.  Thank goodness this one has a lunch break around the halfway mark!

Event #3: Cedar Point 70.3 Triathlon

I am in the process of becoming a triathlete and with this event on September 7, 2014, I will earn my place as a more all around athlete. This event includes a 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon. This one is a little scary as I haven’t swam any distance at all in the last 20 years and before that it was just laps during swimming in middle school…good times!

The Plan

Training for three events is taking a lot of patience and planning. Currently I am doing two-a-day workouts in the morning and at lunch with a long run on Saturdays and a long bike ride on Sundays. The cross training is helping my recovery from any one workout. I usually swim in the mornings three days a week, and then also lift and bike in the mornings two days a week. Across lunches I’ll either do the elliptical for 60 minutes or run either a tempo run or do intervals. If I need a rest day then I take one and I have planned in pull back weeks where I drop my training volume significantly in order to let my body rest that week.

I was already trained to run a full marathon at Disney so it’s good to be starting from a solid fitness base. Dialing in my nutrition will be an important part of the training as will my recovery efforts. Nutrition will be 70% of the training as I must reach a healthy performance weight in order to maximize my training and push the envelope on training volume when I need to.

Of course, on September 8, 2014 what’s a guy to do considering all three of the big events will be completed? Easy, I “start” training for the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World coming up in January 2015.

I have a half marathon planned in October and in November I have a full marathon and a 30-mile ultra marathon on back-to-back weekends. I’ll be 8 weeks out from the Dopey Challenge at this point and poised to run a great series of races across four days!

I’m hoping to take a lot of pictures and have a lot of fun this year as I reach my short term  fitness goals to prepare me for 2015 and the DAWS  running team’s 500 Mile Challenge.

So expect a LOT of race recaps this year!

Happy Training!

Brian

You can also follow me on Facebook at Running Down a Dream 23

Eagle Creek Trail Half Marathon

The Weather

The outlook for Saturday was less than ideal.

It was a tad humid Saturday when my friend picked me up to head over to the Eagle Creek Trail Half Marathon.  Wait…no…it wasn’t a tad humid. It was as another friend described, “Swampy”. Yes, there was a swamp in the air. While the temperature was in the low 70s the Dew Point was right behind rising to 74 degrees which basically meant we were running through dew filled air. To say that I was saturated before I ever made it to the halfway point would be an understatement. I looked like I had been doused with a fire hose from head to toe. By the time I made it to the second aid station there was no relief and we drank water and sports drink to try to stay hydrated.

The Course

Eagle Creek Half/Full Marathon Course

This was a tough and amazing course. I run the Eagle Creek Trails weekly, but I have not previously traveled over to the far side of the reservoir and the first few miles including the start and finish were there. The course  had killer inclines that led into equaling daunting declines. Large segments of technical single track running meant that it was one way and single file which became interesting when the course leaders started back along the out and back course. My friend and I did the right thing and stepped aside for the folks going for a specific time or a PR. We were out for a fun run/hike and weren’t worried about our time or pace.

Meeting Online Friends

As usual I wore my blue WDW Radio Running shirt for this race. I had mentioned to a couple virtual friends that I would be the bald guy wearing that blue shirt. As luck would have it the course was an out and back so every runner crossed paths at least once or twice throughout the morning. I ran into local runners Christina R. & Kelly S. from the Daily Mile. Christina writes a blog so once you finish up here if you’d like to read more about the Eagle Creek Race put on by Plant Adventure then head over there to see another perspective.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a humid on Saturday!

I have one other shout out to the young lady who crossed paths with me briefly (we didn’t stop to chat on the single track nor did I get her name).  As we ran by each other she looked at my face and then looked at my shirt and then looked at my face again to which she said, “Hey, you’re that Goofy guy!  I go to your website.”  I said something like, “Nice to meet you. or Thank you.”  I was in the last half of the half so I was a bit tired.  She was obviously going out for the second part of her FULL trail marathon and looking strong for the conditions of the day. So hopefully she reads this post and makes a comment.  -It was nice to meet you (briefly) and I hope you had a fantastic race!

My Training & Next Steps

The weekend before the EC Half I did a 25+ mile run in and around Eagle Creek. This week (including the EC Half) was a recovery week so I only put in a total of 28 miles for the whole week. Right now I am alternating larger volume weeks and shorter mileage weeks for recovery. As I told my friend during the race, this course was a reality check for me.  The hills and descents of the first few miles are perfect for what I need for my ultra training.  I’ll be back to this section of the course often and anytime I can’t run a large volume of miles on a Saturday morning I’ll go for running this section so I get specific and quality miles. This track mimics well the hillier trails of Southern Indiana where my ultra marathon will take place.

Next Saturday I have a long run planned that will take all morning.  If all goes well I’ll be on my feet for over 06:00:00 hours and cover more than 26.2 miles. I’m really hoping to cover 27 to 28 miles but a lot of that will depend on the weather which right now looks to be cooler and less humid than Saturday’s race. So I’m really training for two things here including “time on feet” and distance.  My wife has already volunteered to meet me at the 3-hour mark to refuel me with a fresh sports drink, water to refill my Camelbak and maybe even some real food!

So my ultra marathon training carries on. I have 13 weeks of training left and I’m excited to finally be pushing past the marathon distance training runs. My next race is the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 2nd followed by the Heritage Trail Full Marathon on September 30th.  I’m looking forward to both!

Happy Training!

Brian

Mugged at Dew Point

If you’ve continued your usual run schedule the past couple weeks then you know that the heat and humidity have been brutal just about everywhere in the the good ol’ US of A. To try and beat the heat I’ve woken at 3:20am the past three weeks for all of my mid-week runs to try and get my miles at the coolest time of day. Still, at 4am when I start my run the heat and humidity has been just slightly better and it seems that all I’m doing is removing the sun from the equation. While this is a huge help my experience this morning was that of 84 degrees and 85% humidity which is brutal and performance stopping to say the least.

To battle the heat, hydration and recovery are key points to remember. Perhaps a good place to start is to figure out your sweat rate and to figure out how much water you should drink per day so you know the numbers. I am big on knowing your numbers and as I’ve said before, numbers don’t lie. The numbers cut through the emotion, the mental, the physical and the crap! Being armed with your numbers is a great first step toward maximizing your potential.

First up is you daily water intake. Check out the Human Water Requirement Calculator to see how much H2O you should take in per day. My number surprised me. Just be honest with yourself when using the calculator so you’re as accurate as possible. Also, I don’t count sugary drinks or even diet soda toward my intake number. That’s a personal choice and a good way to make myself decide/opt for water instead of a soda or juice. Knowing how much you should drink daily will ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day and ready for your next training session!

Next up is your sweat rate. This will tell you how much you should drink during exercise to stay hydrated. According to Active.com, “An average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters (roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz.) per hour during exercise.” The best way to calculate your sweat rate is to weigh yourself sans clothing right before you workout then go workout for an hour without taking in any fluids and ideally without using the restroom during this time. After an hour of exercise weigh yourself again without clothes. The change in weight is the amount of fluids you lost due to exercise. If you are down two pounds then you lost 32oz

Be specific for the type of exercise you do when calculating sweat rate. If you a want a sweat rate for running then you should run for an hour. You SHOULD NOT lift weights for an hour and then expect that sweat rate to be the same for when you go for a run. You’ll sweat more on a run than you will lifting weights in the air conditioned gym.

Speaking of AC, please pay attention to your environment when calculating sweat rate! If you decide to calculate your sweat rate on the treadmill in your air conditioned gym with the two TM fans blowing on you then know that you will sweat more outside on a hot day. Basically, just pay attention to the temperature, humidity and dew point in relationship to human comfort.

Finally, if you are becoming more active and losing weight like me then be sure to recalculate your sweat rate on a regular basis as your body will become more efficient at regulating heat and your performance will increase too so you’ll want to make sure you are drinking enough, but also not over-hydrating…not a big issue in the recent 100+ temps, but still something to consider so you aren’t trying to run with a lot of extra fluid sloshing around in your stomach. Stay hydrated and stay safe on those hot runs!

Happy Training!

Brian

Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay Recap

This past Saturday I met five other runners whom I had never met before to form team Six Degrees and run the 63+ mile Hendrick’s County Park-2-Park Relay in Indiana. All of us knew someone in common so the team name made sense. Sixteen teams of six runners as well as six ultra marathoners took off at various times Saturday morning to complete the course. For the relay teams the course was ~63+ miles and the ultra runners took on a 50+ mile course solo.

Team “Six Degrees” before the start of the relay race!

Our team consisted of Jen, Liz, Donnie, Jessica, John and me (Brian). I was designated “Runner 1” for the team and ran the furthest distance (only by a few tenths of miles though). We each took three legs of the course with me running legs one, seven and thirteen. I got lost for about 10-15 minutes on leg #2 due to a lack of signage coming out of a wooded area, but otherwise I had no trouble on my three legs of the journey. The final leg had me and another team’s runner racing to the transition area at a dead sprint with both teams cheering us on til the next runner on our teams took off. It was a great way to end my part of the relay!

The weather while sunny and clear was also very hot! The first few legs were relatively cool, but as soon as the sun was above the tree tops the heat climbed quickly and reached the daily high of 90 degrees. The sun beat on us all day, but we found a little comfort in the AC of our support vehicle (Thanks Donnie!). Overall, it was a great day even with the extreme heat. If I don’t do the relay again next year then I may do the ultra as my second 50-mile race. For now though I’m back to focusing on training for my first 50-miler!

Happy Training!

Brian

Oh Deer!

Ok actually it was a doe, a deer, a female deer…you know the rest…and there were four of them. The herd of deer was just one of the sights I came across while on my 13+ miler two Saturday’s ago.  The weather was perfect and I was out the door before 8am to enjoy a nearly two and a half hour run with much of it being on trails in Eagle Creek State Park. At Eagle Creek you have the choice to run out in the woods or on the paved roads that go through the park.  I opted primarily for the trails and loved it. I initially took the long way to get to the park circling the Colts Football Complex.  There are soccer fields behind the main complex and running around those made for a great warm up. After I exited the trails I ran up 56th street for some time and then turned around to come back home circling the sports complex again for good measure. All in all I did over 5.5 miles outside the state park so having run around 7 miles on trails is a great accomplishment.  Trails are a tad more surprising and a better workout than flat pavement!

Overall a great week of running.  Now that we’ve moved I am right next door to the state park and can’t wait for things to quiet down so I can head out the door on Saturday mornings to head down the street for a run instead of hopping in my car.

3 Runs

This past week was a good one for recovery after a brutally humid Indianapolis Mini Marathon on Cinco de Mayo. After the mini marathon my left foot was hurting a little on the bottom so I’ve taken it easy and am letting it recover well so I can start training for my first ultra marathon a week from now.  This past week I had three runs that were fantastic for different reasons. The first run was neither long nor taxing. The next run wasn’t that long either, but introduced me to a new type of running. The final run was by far one of the most enjoyable runs of my recreational running career to date!

Run #1

This run was over lunch and was a whopping 1.32 miles in length on a comfortably warm day. I don’t point out this run because it is significant, but to get back to the roots of my blog which is about being fit.  I see other bloggers and Facebookers say how they didn’t get to do their 10-miler today…blah blah.  Okay, why not an 8-miler, 5-miler, or a 1.32 miler? Get it in where you can!  I had a similar run on Saturday when i was waiting on my running partner to arrive.  I had an extra 10-15 minutes so instead of sitting in my car and waiting I ran 5 minutes in one direction and then turned around to come back to the car. A couple minutes later my friend arrived and we did Run #2! The point is I didn’t waste that 15 minutes sitting in the car. I took that small amount of time to add an extra mile to my day.

Run #2

For run #2 my friend and I went fully off road for the first time. Up until now I’ve been a user of the “Rails to Trails” areas of Indiana. These areas used to be literally where a train track once was and now they have been redone to have pavement or other type of foot path for runners, walkers, bikers, etc. Connected to a favorite Rails to Trails area are several shorter dirt trails that run along or near Eagle Creek in Zionsville. We started on these and did a couple of dirt trail miles. I even started breaking in my trail shoes  on this run which I’d been waiting to do for a few weeks until after the mini marathon. We finished up on back on the main trail and I stopped before reaching 7-miles total as my left foot started to feel a little sore and I didn’t want to push it. 6.5 miles was plenty for me for the day!

Run #3

Run #3 happened a few hours after Run #2. I had the great honor of running the Rookie Run with my 4-year old niece. Two exhilarating blocks of competition! It was so much fun to run with my niece in this awesome event.  The organizers of the run do a great job on this event. The bibs for the kids have a tear away number on it which the parent (or other family member) get so when the child finishes you can’t have the kid unless you have a matching number.  Even though I went the entire distance with her I was asked by no less than five different security people to show them my number to make sure I had the right kid.  Security was awesome!  Also, the rest of the event was top notch too. There was entertainment the entire afternoon. I can’t say enough about the event!

All in all it was a great week. I have one more recovery week before my official ultra marathon training schedule begins and I’m looking forward to it!

Happy Training!

Brian

Ultra Marathon Training Plan

Over the last few weeks I have been reading the book, Relentless Forward Progress, which is a guide for running ultra marathons and includes several training plans for distances from 50K to 100 miles. I opted to use a 50-mile maximum week training plan for my first 50-mile ultra.  Of course, as usual I have adapted the program to fit my own needs and to incorporate the various races I have scheduled over the course of the year leading up to my November 3rd ultra event. Similar to the Goofy Challenge Training Plan the training schedule for an ultra relies heavily on back-to-back runs on the weekends only more so than the Goofy as well as increased “time on feet” and volume of mileage.

I have one goal for this event…finish in the upright position.

So here it is! My ultra marathon training plan complete with two initial ramp-up weeks and one recovery week afterwards. The program starts Monday May 7, 2012.

Week

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

Ramp-up Week 1

Rest 5 mile 3 mile 5 mile Rest 10 mile Rest
Ramp-up Week 2

Rest

5 mile 3 mile 6 mile Rest 10 mile Rest

Ultra 1

Rest 6 mile 5 mile 6 mile Rest Rest 12 mile
Ultra 2 Rest 6 mile 5 mile

6 mile

Rest

5 miles 14 mile

Ultra 3

Rest

6 mile

5 mile 6 mile

Rest

16 mile

5 mile

Ultra 4

Rest

5 mile

3 mile 5 mile

Rest

14 mile

5 mile

Ultra 5

Rest

7 mile

5 mile 7 mile

Rest

16 mile

5 mile

Ultra 6

Rest

7 mile

5 mile 7 mile

Rest

18 mile

5 mile

Ultra 7

Rest

7 mile

5 mile

7 mile

Rest

18 mile

5 mile

Ultra 8 Rest 6 mile 4 mile 6 mile Rest 14 mile

5 mile

Ultra 9 Rest 10 mile 5 mile 8 mile

Rest

Rest/RAIN Ride*

 21 mile

Ultra 10

Rest 10 mile 5 mile 7 mile

Rest

 12 mile 10 mile

Ultra 11

Rest 7 mile 5 mile 7 mile

Rest

 EC* Trail Half +9 5 mile

Ultra 12

Rest 6 mile 4 mile 6 mile Rest 14 mile

5 mile

Ultra 13 Rest 9 mile 5 mile 7 mile Rest 24 mile

5 mile

Ultra 14

Rest 7 mile 5 mile 7 mile Rest DINO* 15K 18 mile

Ultra 15

Rest

6 mile

4 mile

6 mile

Rest

Rest

 DL Half*

Ultra 16

Rest

5K/Cruise*

5K/Cruise* 5KCruise* 5K/Cruise* Rest

Rest

Ultra 17

Rest

10 mile

5 mile 7 mile Rest 24 mile

5 mile

Ultra 18

Rest

7 mile

5 mile 7 mile Rest 18 mile

10 mile

Ultra 19

Rest 7 mile 5 mile 3 mile Rest Heritage Trail Marathon +5

Rest

Ultra 20

Rest 6 mile 4 mile 6 mile Rest DINO* 15K & Wine @ the Line 5 mile

5 mile

Ultra 21

Rest 7 mile 5 mile 7 mile Rest 25 mile

5 mile

Ultra 22

Rest

5 mile

5 mile 7 mile

Rest

Purdue Half* +5

Rest

Ultra 23

Rest 5 mile Rest 7 mile Rest 10 mile

5 mile

Ultra 24 5 mile Rest 3 Mile Rest 2 mile Ultra!

2 mile

Ultra 25 Rest 3 mile Rest Rest 5 mile Rest

Rest

So this is a VERY busy training/race schedule for me.  I’m looking forward to lots of trail running in Eagle Creek State Park and even travelling down to Spencer, IN a couple times to see what the trails look like for the ultra.

Happy Training!

Brian

Follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

The-Ultra-RunningMan23

The-Ultra-Runningman23??

No I’m not actually changing my twitter handle to add the word “ultra” and no this is not a post about Dean Karnazes’ book with a similar title…good book though! This is about my next adventure later this year. That’s right, I am registered for my first 50-mile ultra marathon! My ultra of choice is the OPSF 50/50 Ultra Marathon.

Wait…what’s an “Ultra-Marathon”?

Good Question!  Let’s define an ultra marathon for you. An ultra marathon is any distance foot race/event that is longer than the traditional 26.2 miles of a standard marathon.

What about the Goofy Challenge?  That was more than 26.2 miles!

So is the Goofy Challenge an Ultra?  A purist would likely say “no” since the 39.3 miles of the Goofy is ran across 2 days with a big break in the middle where as an ultra marathon is a continuous event until the mileage is finished (assuming a course time limit). Having just completed a Goofy Challenge…plus an extra 5K for 42.4 miles in three days, Dopey I know…I can assure you that the experience will be helpful! The shortest ultra I know of is the 50-K which equates to 31.07 miles. I had the option to do this shorter distance instead of the 50-miler, but to be honest there is no doubt in my mind that I can finish a 50K especially after having completed 42.4 across three days. At the end of the Goofy Challenge I was more than prepared to go another 5-miles. The 50-miler is a much greater challenge for me. Also, having read up on the topic of ultra marathons I’ve learned that the people who run these events don’t consider it a “real ultra” until you hit the 50-mile mark. Anything less is considered a long marathon or “just a training run”. As they say, “When in Rome!”

Why in the name of all that’s holy…?!?!?

Why an ultra? Well, that’s a good question! An ultra marathon is like a mountain to some runners. You run it because it’s there. For others it’s just the challenge of the distance. It’s a little bit of both for me plus training for an ultra marathon is much different than training for even a regular 26.2 for both the program and the philosophy. Also, this is a trail run so the environment of the course is much different than a standard road race. So I have a 2-in-1 challenge ahead of me!

Preparation

To prepare for this event I am increasing my training mileage quite a bit. Right now my weekly mileage not including cross-training is close to ~25 miles per week.  Once I start the ultra training I’ll boost that number to over 30 miles per week almost immediately…emphasis on “almost” and then increase it from there.  It’s advised that you only increase total mileage by 10% from week to week so luckily I have a couple weeks to build up so there isn’t such a huge jump at the start of the program.  Another nicety is that the weekly mileage increase primarily comes in the mid-week runs at the start along with the addition of a short Sunday run after a long Saturday run.  The first 8-weeks has a small 5-miler on Sunday after the long run on Saturday. I was amazed at how closely the training plan resembles the Goofy Challenge Training just higher mileage.

Besides the races I mentioned in my last post I also added a couple 15K trail runs and a full marathon trail run so I can get more trail experience. As soon as I finish the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 5th I will be all about the trail running for the remainder of the year.  I’m looking forward to buying a headlamp! 🙂

Happy Training!

Brian

You can follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

Happy Trails to Me

I was looking over my race schedule for the year and realized it was kind of wimpy so I went in search of a few races to beef it up. Realizing I’ve never done a trail run event I decided to sign up for my first at Eagle Creek State Park. The 3rd Annual Planet Adventure Eagle Creek Half/Full Trail Marathon will be held Saturday, August 4, 2012. I’ll do the half marathon since this is my first significant trail run.  I’m excited to start training for trail running after the Indianapolis Mini Marathon is complete. Of course, I’ll need a pair of trail running shoes and some bug spray for this new adventure!

I also added a 15K which is a part of the Indy Mini Marathon Training Series and a 5 mile race which to be honest is just for fun!  The Wine at the Line 5 mile race has free wine tasting and pizza at the end of the run and takes place at Mallow Run Winery. What more could you ask for?  Also, this is a day before my birthday so what better way to celebrate than to run 5 miles, drink wine, and eat pizza!?!?!?!  I’m still looking to run a few more 5K/10K races throughout the summer and possibly one other more significant distance race toward the end of the year, but that is yet to be decided.

Until then…

Happy Training!

Brian