Monday, January 30, 2012

Every Step is a Big One!

I have run both 78 minutes and 84 minutes the past two days and  I am still recovering from the trails on Saturday.  I have run both on hills and have helped to stretch out my sore calves.  I have run both 13 and 11.5 miles and I am getting ready for Arkansas where I hope I can run a stellar time at White Rock!  Anything under 4 hours will be the goal though I hope to average 6:30 a mile on the course maybe faster.   Oklahoma has been windy and warm as snow seems like it will never make it here but that is where Upstate New York will totally change Ashlee and my own perspective on snow.  Time to rest up for another long work week!

I hope too that one day I can be represented by great companies and brands such as Backwoods and Acidotic Racing which is partnered with Golite.  I hope that I can run fast enough to merit a spot as one of the top mountain runners in America and maybe the world!

When I also think about what I would like to do with my life, working for an outdoor retailer would be an awesome career.  I have a big crush on Mountain Hardware lately as all their apparel and equipment is worth every penny. I really like the direction running is headed and same with the retailers that make us athletes perform and train at the highest level.

Here is what I began with: I was a scrawny high school kid who had the talent to run fast but never knew my true ability. Today, I feel like I have taken that passion of running and have built upon it a running career where I have the opportunity to become "Elite" and to race at the highest level whether it be for a USA team or internationally.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sooner State Trail Games 8 miler!

Yesterday, I ran the Sooner State Trail Games here at Draper Lake Bike Trails at OKC.  Ashlee and myself got up a a reasonable 7:30 am time and headed to the race site.  The last time I ran at Draper trails was maybe 3 years ago with OU and Coach Martin Smith.  It was a nice cool morning perfect for trail running. The temps hovered around 32 and a breeze made it feel like the mid 20's but luckily trail running provides protection from the wind.

I knew coming into the race that I would be blitzing past people on the narrow single-track trail that winds much like a dirt banked track which is very much the style of Oklahoma state trail systems.  The races went off in a stagger start where the 12 mile competitors had a 5 min lead on me.  I decided not to run the 12 mile because I did not want to lose time getting stuck behind people which seems to happen a bunch at these events.  So, the 8 mile was a perfect choice. 2 laps at 4 mile clips.  As soon as the gun went off, I was gone into the abyss of Draper.  I had near silence as I jolted out like a bolt of lightning.  I was running sub 5:10 pace for sure.  Maybe 3 minutes into the run, I began catching the first of the competitors.  I darted in and out of the collections of people speaking "Passing on you left or passing on your right" at every opportunity. People were very nice and efficient with moving out of the way so I could pass. The times showed for it.  I shot down the last open stretch and hit the first lap in 22:25 which was about 6-7 minutes faster than any other competitor.  I felt a little tired on that 5th mile but eased up on my relentless pace as I finally had open spaces on the trail to move.  My new Inov 8 230's in pink were fabulous shoes that made my feet suck to the trail to provide me the best possible traction and movement.  It was on a day like this where I know that trail running is a forte of mine because I just effortlessly ran 8 miles and ran an amazing time through a difficult trail to have with other people in the passageways.

My second loop began to pick-up speed as I crossed the finish-line sprinting like in a mile track race as I hit the mat in 45:19 for my overall time.  I looked at what pace I averaged and it was 5:37 a mile in what was a tough and technical race.  I was so overjoyed to have Ashlee at the event to wave at me and jump up and down screaming my name. I loved the moment.  The downside about finishing early was that I was done before most 4 mile runners were in and had waited a long time for the awards. We pushed to grab the hardware and off we went for lunch before I headed off to work at 2.

It was a great day. I ran fast, smart, and handled the trails like a professional.  Today was one of those days where I feel that I am truly reaching a point of professionalism and I have the chance to become a professional at trail running.  I have the strength and speed and endurance needed to accomplish my goals and I am ready to take on White Rock Mountain next weekend.  33 miles and hopefully I can set a mark that will stand for generations!  Thank you to my sponsors, Ok Runner, Backwoods, and Acidotic Racing for giving me the tools in my build-up to elite-ism as a trail runner!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Scott Downard!!!!!

Today I ran a nice morning run with my boy Scott Downard. It was his birthday today and it was a true pleasure to spend the morning running with him. We ran for about 70-75 minutes on the Sutton Wilderness Trails and it was a nice cool morning just how I like it and then it warmed up into the 40's. It was a fun time and we got some nice talking with him and running on some dirt. After yesterday's DUST Bowl run this run was paradise. I could breath and it was a great break from the monotony of working!

Tuesday---I went running out on 12 ave all the way out to Tecumseh and then looped back on Porter ave. It was a nice late afternoon run before we were supposed to get pounded by the first rain we have had in Oklahoma in a long time!  The run was nice and relaxed as I headed out to some really nice brand new development that had a monster hill I eagerly jolted up.  Just as I was a mile from home, the rain began. First, as a light sprinkle, then it really picked up. And just at the moment I was picking up my pace for home a Subaru came out of a nearby gas station and almost hit me. If people have two eyes, they should use them as I placed my hands on the hood of the car and yelled some nasty remarks. I hate when people do not pay attention and it makes me sooooo mad!  I ran for 80 minutes and about 12 miles.

Wednesday---I worked 15 hours today and I had my afternoon run break. My goal: to make it to Stanley Draper Lake from Belmar Golf Club.  With just my luck, I was able to make it to Draper and to see the lake from a great high hill overlooking the whole area.  I felt accomplished as I am really beginning to enjoy running in Moore. Besides all these dogs that want to run with me, Moore offers big hills, no cars, and new territory.  I was able to run 15.4 miles and I clocked in at 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I placed these stats into pace calculator and I averaged 5:50 a mile for the distance.  I am blown away by that time since I was running strong and fast but I never expected 5:50. But then again, it could happen.  This gives me great confidence for my next races and for the OKC marathon.  I am very tired now as I write this but I feel accomplished knowing I did so much in one day.!

Thursday--Run To Bank and Post Office  60 minutes and I felt good though I had to deal with some dumb drivers.

Friday--Night run in the crazy wind of Oklahoma and Preparation for the Sooner Trail Games Tomorrow. I ran a solid 60 mins and 17 seconds and about 9.5-10 miles. I just kind of bounded along to get the legs juiced up and ready to go for tomorrow.  Time to let loose.

Tomorrow's race is an 8 mile trail race along the mountain biking trails of Draper Lake. These trails are like a dirt banked track and should provide me some fast times as long as there is not too many loops where I can get stuck behind people. I am running this race just for the heck of it and to  get my new Inov8 230's into some practice before next weekend's 50k at White Rock.  I am so lucky to have Ashlee cheer me on and I look forward to wearing my Acidotic Racing Jersey and some Smart Wool Socks provided by Backwoods.  Thank you for my sponsors: Acidotic Racing, Backwoods, and OK Runner for helping to make my dreams a reality!

Now Let's Run some Trails!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life---The True Story

This week, I have been working all day all the time it seems. Yesterday, I did not even have time to run because I decided I needed the rest.

Embassy Suites was full of rehab drug addicts and let me tell you they LOVE CAFFEINE, LIKE A DRUG!  I served more Red Bull and more coffees that our little stand could put all of Starbucks out of business.

Today I am going for a Sunday run and the wind is painting the sky a dusty red reminiscent of the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma's Past!

Wish me luck and I hope I do not get blown over!

The End Result: 79 minutes and 57 seconds...dust like the dust bowl. Winds picking up to 50-60 mph and sustained winds at 25-30mph. 70 degrees in January! In other words, I just do not get the weather here in Oklahoma.  With such adverse weather, it makes for a run through hills feel like torture. I could not breathe and the air was full of soot and dirt as it caked the insides of my eyes. Somehow I was able to run about 11-12 miles through it all but it was like running it what I thought would be the aftermath of some nuclear winter. This was one of the worst training runs of my life.

Here are some photos to indicate what the run was like!

I just do not understand how the weather here can change from cold and rain to hot and dusty in less than 12 hours but locals just say that is Oklahoma for you!

This past week I was able to log 78.75 miles which is not bad for taking Saturday off because of working all day long. If I added 12 miles to that equation I would be close to 90 which is perfect for where I want to be for Marathon buildup.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Saturday I worked all day and was also privy to find that I cannot breath out of my nose. With the various changes in temperature here in Oklahoma, some grass allergen or something decided to kick my butt. So, I decided instead to watch some football and just relax.

Sunday--A nice long run 85 mins long out to the Ez-go GOlf Cart Store in Noble, Ok and then back home. The morning started out nice and quiet and cool as everyone is at church and then it warmed up into the mid 50's by runs end. My left hip was flaring up a little bit but I think it is because I need to switch into my next pair of shoes since my last pair has been worn for a  full 2 month and 1 week cycle.

Monday begins Lunar-swift +3 Pair 2 that I go for free thanks to making a order mistake!

For Last week, I was able to log 87 miles of work!!! My fitness and strength is there and I am raring to test my race fitness this year. Usually, Christmas time hinders my training base a little bit but this year I was able to consistently train through the holiday and I feel great besides this horrible congestion in my upper respiratory area.

Here are two new shoes I would like to get my paws on soon!

Montrail Rogue Fly for those tough Trail Races and the Inov F-lite 230 for mountain/trail/and road running!

Tuesday---I was called off of work today because of the all of a sudden cold and windy conditions so I instead I went for a nice 1 hour and 35 minute run out on the hills of Robinson street. The run was great as I made it to 84th and the lake in no time and I felt decent though I was starving since my morning green tea and yogurt was not enough.  The cold temps in the teens felt just fine and even when the wind died down, I felt quite hot even.  I love the way hills can make or break you and I really jump at the opportunity to get in some quality work.  I am feeling fit and I am going to order my next pair of shoes the Inov 8 F-lite 230's for trail running, mountain running and maybe some road races.  I was able to log about say 14-25 miles today as my 6:30 or so pace felt very comfortable and that means I am ready to put on a show in the upcoming weeks!

Wednesday---Run out towards Draper Lake on SE 164th from Belmar Golf Club. I loved the peace and quiet out there and the hills posed a great challenge. I ran for a duration of 72 minutes and turned the run into a tempo.  I had a great clip of 5:20's through Moore Wind(which is by far the worst wind in Oklahoma)...Really windy stuff like 10-15 mph windier than anywhere else and finished at the golf course.  
Total Mileage: Say 12.5

Thursday--Run out on the OU XC course. I ran a couple of loops through the soft clay surface and felt really tired from working all the time so I pushed back home and crashed on the couch. 75 mins and maybe 11 miles in the books as my fatigue just never gave me that energy to run fast.

Friday--Long work day and night run out to see ASHLEE at Hudson's and run by Rock Creek Polo Club. Nice cold run and felt comfortable. 75 minutes!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Run With Scott Downard-Thunderbird in Winter!

Scott and me on Monday, decided Lake Thunderbird would be fun! The trails were in great shape as we made a great effort out of this nice morning run.  The pace was relaxed and fun as we winded through the trail sections.  I would not know of  the damage I did to myself out there until the next day as a tight lower back is subject for pushing hard on some of  the switchbacks.  But with today's cloudy rain run, I feel like I am loosening up a little bit.  We talked about trail running companies such as Montrail and Karhu, carefully dissecting their products. It was a nice

1 hour and 34 min run and according to Scott's Garmin, we logged about 11.7-12 miles.

Tuesday---I got out the door early for a run in some light showers. Overall Time: 74:19. The run had me visualizing running the OKC marathon catching the best competitior and then surging to the finish. I flew up the hills today and had fun letting my mind wander. That is the true fun about running. Having the chance to let your mind just wander is a wonderful thing and it gives me time to rehearse and plan out different events I would like to occur in my life.

Wednesday--- 66:07 (Time out)  I ran to the bank as the massive cold front came in full force.  Sustained winds at 35 mph and gusts of 40-45mph was what I encountered out on the run. It almost felt like a hurricane or rather a crazy roller-coaster ride. I struggled to pick up my legs in the wind as I pushed to the bank to deposit my hard-earned money from the previous week.  The temps went from mid 50's all the way into the low 40's in a matter of minutes as the wind became violent and I was just happy to make it to the bank and back. The run was slow because of the wind but it was not terrible.  These types of fronts are characteristic of Oklahoma and let me tell you that you would think they would shut things down because the wind really alters everything. Not only is it hard for me to stand up straight from the wind, by you have to be soooo careful when driving through such high winds.  I am excited about tomorrow's cold cold run.  Today was my relaxing maintenance run just to get the blood flowing without doing anything crazy!  I will be happy when I can avoid running in such intense wind storms!

Thursday---Super Cold, Wore all the winter gear. Temps in the teens. Ran with Scott and we logged a 1 hour 44 minute windy hilly and tough 15 mile run out on Lake Thunderbird's Alameda side.  We encountered harsh wind chills, crazy packs of dogs, horses, and a run for the ages.  There is nothing so great than being outdoors experiencing the elements head-on and I was so pumped to wear my winter tights in harsh conditions.

Friday---80:10 Run out on Alameda and then headed on 48th street.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Run In the Darkness....

After a long Saturday at both jobs, I had the chance to go for a cool evening run. With my trusty headlamp, I headed out into the darkness out towards Highway 9 and Cedar Lane.  For those of you who do not know much about Cedar Lane. Cedar Lane is like the Magnolia Road in Boulder, Colorado or the Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon Course. Cedar Lane is arguably the steepest road in Norman with one killer steep hill that has "Go Lance Go" written in spray paint along the crest of the hill. Cedar Lane is a long winding farm road that has limited traffic and wide open spaces!  Cedar Lane, to me is the heart of Oklahoma Hill Country and has been my great training partner for my 5 years I have been in Oklahoma.

I ran a nice loop on Cedar Lane as the darkness masked the surroundings. With my headlamp, it made the run erie as bushes would rustle near me indicating maybe a potential wolf or Big foot hanging on the outskirts of my beam.  I logged a nice 14 miles and perhaps 83 minutes of action.  I have also tried my Camelback fuel tabs which Backwoods provided me with and they seem to give me the essential carbs I need as I run without over-encumbering my stomach. Plus, the wild berry flavor rocks!  Anyway, for those Oklahomans, test your fitness on Cedar Lane, a true piece of Oklahoma running culture!

Sunday--I also went for an evening run. My destination was the Westwood Municipal Golf Course right near my job at Embassy Suites.  The run took me through the downtown of historic Norman and then out along Robinson.  The highlight of the run was the 27 different cop cars I saw along my run which leads me to make a point.

*I have never seen so many Cops before driving around a place than Norman, Oklahoma in my whole life. Why is that? Do they think that driving around is going to improve people's driving? Or are they out to make a pretty penny?  Anyway, I saw 27 cop cars in 76 minutes through NORMAN and that to me is insane. I saw more cop cars that day than in my whole time growing up in New Jersey.  Whatever those reasons for why police like to drive around Norman is still in debate but back to the run. It was unreasonably mild for a night run. I had to shed a jacket because the temp was right around 45 which is warm for a night in January.

I enjoy the solace of a good night run as long as I have proper lighting and feel safe.  I look forward running in an environment different that the one I have found in Norman. I look forward to running mountains and ski slopes and roads completely under tree canopy.  I miss really running in the rain and not having to wear sunblock in the winter. Yes, I got a little red one day when I ran and worked at the golf course. I am optimistic in a great year and am excited for the future. Thanks again to my new sponsors, Backwoods and Acidotic Racing for helping me achieve greatness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Running Wild!

Wednesday---74 minute tempo run where last 5 miles averaged 5:33 a mile! Ran to the bank then off around the OU campus and along Berry Road! Great run and it was very warm with temps near 60!

Thursday---Ran out along East Lindsey caught some hills and ran along 48th street! A nice cool morning that turned hot really fast as my dress for 30's soon became too much for the late 50's at the conclusion of my hill run. I love hills simply because they pose a challenge and if you can learn the technique of how to effectively run uphill, you can succeed when many other competitors falter.

Friday---I stopped in at Backwoods and was pleased to find a great goody bag of running gear and equipment that will come in very handy for my next series of trail races.  Thank you Pam and everyone at Backwoods for partnering up!

What was in this goody bag you ask?

Let me begin with the Smartwool Running sock. That is right,

SmartWool PhD Running Socks - Ultra Light Cushion!!! These socks are not only nice and light, but well cushioned and could work with any kind of gym routine, trail run, or long hike.  They seemed to be like little wool sheep on my feet that were extremely breathable and easy to run in.  These are a terrific pair of socks for any of those that want a cushioned but breathable alternative to normal dri-fit socks!

I also received a Headsweats hat from Backwoods and let me tell you Headsweats is an amazing hat company that makes the lightest running hats on the market and they have a great terry-cloth inner brim that sweeps up sweat! While running in the Midwest, a running hat is a crucial piece of equipment for those sweltering hot summer days and even in the wintertime when there is a day with wide open sunny skies and plenty chance to pick up some excess sun.  The headsweats hat not only looks cool, but is cool for the head providing essential ventilation and circulation to all the right spots.

Thank you Backwoods for being so awesome and I look forward to bringing home the victory at the White Rock 50k.

I tested out my new gear today with a 15 mile run to Belmar Golf Club where the nice 68 degree day gave me a chance to use my hat and my new wool socks! Great hills and a strong run for one day.  Now it is time to rest and recover for a busy weekend at work!

(Images Courtesy of Google Images Search Smartwool Running Socks and Headsweats)