Sunday, January 18, 2015

Burning River 100 for Ben: 28 Weeks - Thoughts on the Run

The 3 Amigos pose on a Burning River Training Run
Max is saying "Screw the picture let's run!"
I’ve been thinking about how to run the Burning River a lot during my runs this week. It will certainly be different than any 100 mile race I’ve ran thus far. Races in the mountains have forced walking sections, sometimes for hours. When running 100 miles in the Rocky Mountains we are faced with steep climbs that can take hours and reach elevations over 13,000 feet. These sections usually become “power walks” and once above 12,000 feet “survival shuffles”. Burning River is going to be different. The first 40 miles is fairly flat, all runnable, and with the lower altitude it will be very hard not to go out too fast. The issue I’ve been struggling with is do I run the whole thing or take five minute walking breaks every 20 minutes?  Logic and experience says I should take the 5 minute walks every 20 or so minutes, pride says to just run. If I am going to take the walking breaks I need to implement it into my training and anyone who calls him/herself a runner never wants to be seen walking! But I think it’s something that needs to be done. Going out too fast in a 100 mile race may gain an hour in the first 50 – 70 miles but it will cost many hours if not a DNF “Did Not Finish” in the end.  Not to mention excruciating suffering in the second half of the race. So I’ve decided that I need to incorporate power walking into my training, even on the flats. This is going to take some real discipline and pride swallowing for sure.

Nutrition is another issue that needs to be figured out long before the race. I’ve  been pretty good with this in every ultra-endurance event I’ve ever done; I’ve stuck with liquid nutrition only and no more than 300 calories an hour. So far I’ve never got sick or nauseated as I’ve seen so many others have. When running or riding an ultra-endurance event it is impossible to process as many calories as being burned. I’ve seen many racers try to only to become sick and puke their guts out, eventually distressing their digestive system so bad they can’t keep anything down. There is a ton of research that shows that when running or riding long distances the body just cannot process more than 300 calories (if that) an hour. So it makes no sense to try to eat more; it just puts more stress on the system and uses more energy to try and digest it all.

So another part of training, especially for ultra’s is to teach the body to get very efficient at burning fat for fuel and save carbohydrates. I’ve been working on this a lot by not eating breakfast before rides or runs, to include long runs, then only eating 100 calories or less an hour in liquid form during my long runs. So far it seems to be working as I have not had any problems with bonking. I’ve got just over six months and a couple thousand miles to experiment, so it will be interesting what I come up with.

This week was a recovery week. I shortened the runs a bit except for my Saturday run. I planned on running less but it ended up being 18 miles anyway. And that was after doing a very hard VO2 Max test on the bike earlier in the morning. Not sure how that happened. I guess I was just really enjoying the run.

Lab Rat - Volunteered for a graduate study by taking a VO2 Max Test
An Hour of Serious Suffering!

Loving Life with Max on an 18 mile fun run!
Finally, as I’ve stated since firing the blog back up is that one of the reason’s I running the Burning River 100 is to honor a brave young man, Ben, who has been battling cancer for over two years. He and his mother’s positive attitude and bravery have been very inspiring to me. I had a small taste of how brutal chemo type treatment can be several years ago and want to raise awareness and do something to help kids and families going through this very hard treatment.  We decided to use this run to raise money for a non-profit of Ben’s choice. He chose the Akron Children's Showers Family Center forChildhood Cancer and Blood DisordersThey were voted the best Children’s cancer treatment center by US News for 2014 – 2015. Ben chose them for what they did for him and for what they do for the kids that come from all over the country that don’t have the support system that he has. 

We now have a donationpage and our goal is to raise $10,000 by the start of the race. I’m not very good at going out and soliciting people for money, but this is a cause I feel strongly about, it will help a lot of kids, and I think worth supporting. Any contribution no matter how big or small will help. Thanks!

This Week’s Training:

·         Took the day off
·         AM: Run (8.3 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.2 Miles)
·         AM: Run (4.7 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride from Work to Gym (10.3 Miles), Strength Workout
·         AM: Run (8 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7 Miles)
·         AM: Ride to work (8.5 Miles)
·         AM: VO2 Max Test (Bike) (20 Miles), Run (18 Miles)
·         AM: run (9.3 Miles)

Total: 159.3 Miles (Bike 110.8, Run 48.5)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Burning River for Ben: Week 29 - Icy conditions!

We are under 30 weeks now until the Burning River 100. Wow the weeks are going by fast! But when your a kid going through chemo I can only imagine that time goes incredibly slow; especially when treatment lasting 2+ years – if you survive. Running a 100 miles will be a piece of cake compared to what these kids endure. 

As I’ve stated before we (Jeff Mulder, Matt Larsen, and myself) are going to travel from Colorado to Cleveland/Akron Ohio to run the Burning River 100. This will be Jeff’s first 100 mile run and he is so motivated by this cause. In the beginning our goal was for me to run the Burning River 100 with Ben, who is going on 2 ½ years of treatment, running the last mile with me. One thing led to another and we’ve decided to raise money for the awesome clinic that cares for these kids. Jeff and Matt joined the cause. Matt is a veteran 100 mile runner who has completed the Leadville Trail 100, among the toughest 100 mile races in the country. We are still working out the details to set up a donation site and will hopefully have it up soon.

The more I learn about Ben’s journey, the amazing staff, and amazing people that have been involved with his journey, the more I am humbled by the kindness and love. That's why real life is so much better than watching it on a screen. If one's experience of the world is through the news media this kind of love and support doesn't exist. Throughout this whole ordeal Ben and his mother have been ever so positive and inspiring. She talks only of the  awesomeness of her neighbors, school, hospital staff, doctor, friends, doggy brigade and so many others that dedicate their lives and time to helping these kids and family through a very rough time. We have created a Facebook page with the intention to inspire, help & encourage others who are facing the crisis of Childhood cancers.

Ben’s journey has been incredible, going from being so sick from the chemo he couldn’t even pet a dog from the doggy brigade to running, cycling, and cross fit. 

There were times when Ben was too sick to even sit up in bed. Even to pet one of the wonderful dogs from the Doggie Brigade he LOVED so much was a big deal for him... So, since he couldn’t reach down to pet them, they would just hop on his bed to greet him!

Look at Ben now - 2+ years later still receiving chemo treatments and working out at CrossFit Cadre in Hudson, Ohio, with incredible people who really care.

Ben with Allen of CrossFit Cadre

Since Ben was on such high doses of chemo, certain ones such as vincristine can cause side effects. Ben had developed a condition called “drop foot” or neuropothy... It can be pretty painful and cause your feet to drag, prohibiting your foot to flex, bend/rotate. Anyway, Ben had started Physical therapy to work on this... but needed something more, something more consistent. Being in bed for a year, Ben was so determined to “beat” this and get the braces off and develop full range of motion with walking.... So, meet Allen, one of the trainers at CrossFit. Allen was/is phenomenal. Took Ben in another area of the gym and started working with him. One on one instruction, helping him regain his strength and mobility. Encouraging, helping, supporting Ben along the way. Truely inspirational!

As far as training, things are going very well. I’m really happy how I’m feeling, the energy level, and how my joints are feeling. This week had some interesting days as we had some very icy days; the type where people are falling going to and from their cars. This required special equipment and I was prepared. Studded tires are awesome. I rode to and from work on icy roads and bike paths while everyone else was complaining how they couldn’t drive or even walk to their cars. Another tool I used for running was YacTrax, basically snow/ice chains for shoes. They work awesome and I could run in the most slick conditions without a trace of slippage.

Studded Tires - The Bomb!

And These are Perfect for Running on Ice

This Week’s Training:

·         PM: Ride Home from Work (7.1 Miles)
·         AM: Run (10.3 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home from Work (7.5 Miles)
·         AM: Run (6.2 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride from Work to Gym (10.5 Miles), Strength Training
·         AM: Run (10.4 miles), Ride to Work (5.2 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home from Work (7.5 Miles)
·         AM: Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         AM: Run (18.4 Miles), Road Bike Ride (26 Miles)
·         PM: Gym Workout
·         AM: run (10.2 Miles), Road Bike Ride (36 Miles)

Total: 181 Miles (Bike 125, Run 56)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 30: Burning River for Ben - It's Gonna Be a Party!

Burning River is going to be a party! Two more Coloradans, Jeff Mulder and Matt Larson, signed up so we will be taking on this adventure together. I never dreamed that this would happen!

Jeff Mulder will be joining the Adventure!
We will be running in honor of Ben O’Daniel, a very young man that, along with his doctor, family, hospital staff, and volunteers, has been bravely battling Childhood Leukemia ALL type B for over 2 ½ years. As I’ve mentioned before, I watched from a distance in amazement at how Ben, his mother, his brother Alex, their neighbors, friends, teachers, and the incredible staff and volunteers in the Children’s Cancer Center faced this disease with such positivity, hope and love. I find it truly an honor to be honoring them in this run.

Just a year before Ben was diagnosed and began his chemo treatments I had a small taste of what those treatments are like when I experienced several months of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin treatments for Hepatitis C. It was an incredibly brutal experience that took everything I had to get through, but it was just a small taste of what Ben and these kids go through. It took me a long time to recover from the treatment both psychologically and physically. Aside from honoring Ben and the kids that have to go through this Hell, I want to show them that there is life after treatment. Ben will be finishing up his chemo treatments this year. He is currently doing cross fit and preparing for the last mile of the Burning River 100 even as he is still in treatment; an incredible young man.

In coming weeks I will be documenting Ben’s journey as well as the heroes that are in the trenches at the children’s cancer centers. The more I learn about what they do the more humbled I am.

Training has been going very well. I’m still just working on overall fitness, keeping the mileage at about 50 miles a week with no speed work. It is very important to build a good base and teach the body to become very efficient at burning fat for fuel, especially for longer races, and some would consider 100 miles a longer race.

It got interesting this week as we had a cold front come in that brought temperatures in the minus ranges. On New Year’s Eve when I got up for my 4:30 am run before work, my IPhone said it was -15F with a chill factor of -33F. I thought that was way too cold for Max (although we ran in -8F the day before) so I ran barefoot in the basement on the treadmill. After about two miles Max had all he could stand and jumped on the treadmill with me. He flew off, tripping me in the process, and we both ended up thrown against the wall and on the floor. In the end I gave in, bundled up and we ran outdoors. Max was fine. In fact he was probably the happiest dog on the planet. For some reason there were a lot of rabbits about so he had even more fun chasing rabbits throughout the run. My eyelashes were freezing shut toward the end.

I've heard of heat waves but cold waves?
On New Year’s Day Roswitha and I started 2015 off on the right foot by running the Rescue Run 5 & 10K in Palmer Park. It was very cold with the temperature right around zero at the start. Even with the cold temps over 700 people finished the combined races raising over $10,000 for El Paso County Search and Rescue. I felt incredibly good, better than I have felt in 20 years in a 10k and somehow won the old fart’s age group and finished 20th overall. A really nice start to the New Year and definitely a good sign that training is going well.

Roswitha and myself before start of the Rescue Run
New snow added a little adventure to our 18 mile CRUD run. 18 miles on trails covered in snow make for some hard but fun work. All in all it was a great workout and a great week.

Team CRUD on a snowy Trail Run
This Week’s Training:

·         AM: Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home from Work (7.3 Miles), Gym Workout
·         AM: Run (10.6 Miles)
·         PM: Bike (Tempo Intervals on Trainer) (35 Miles)
·         AM: Run (6Miles)
·         PM: Bike (Trainer) (18 Miles)
·         AM: Run Rescue Run 10K (6.2 miles) + 2 mile warm-up.
·         PM: Bike (Trainer) (24 Miles)
·         AM: Trainer Ride (20 Miles)
·         AM: Run (18 Miles)
·         PM: Gym Workout, Trainer Ride (22.4 Miles)
·         AM: run (11 Miles), Trainer Ride (30 Miles)

Total: 219 Miles (Bike 165, Run 54)