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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rebuilding

A few weeks ago I ran the Cool Moon 100 and basically had a mental breakdown during the race and dropped out of the event at mile 50.

When I got back home from the race I decided I needed to up my training.  I needed to regain my mental toughness that I felt that I had lost.

I made it a point to train the last few weeks with my friend Steve and my friend Andrea.

Steve is my Jiu Jitsu coach and knows how to push people.  I told him about what happened during Cool Moon and how I needed mentally challenging workouts to help me get my game back.  Steve was more than willing to help me out.  Every workout with Steve was mentally and physically taxing.  A lot of sparing with no rest, and constantly being put in positions where I wanted to give up and tap out, but giving up and taping out was not an option.  I was getting very comfortable with being uncomfortable again once I started working out with Steve and my old Jiu Jitsu buddies.

My friend Andrea is getting ready for her first full Iron Man.  On Tuesday mornings I've been tagging along with her and doing her morning workout.  Andrea is pretty fast and an awesome training partner.  She pushs the pace every time you run with her.  Even her "easy" pace is pretty hard at times to keep up with.

After spending the last few weeks working out with Steve and Andrea, I honestly feel like the holes that I had during Cool Moon have been filled.  These two awesome friends helped me push myself mentally and physically to the extreme over the last few weeks.

I feel like my confidence to push hard has been regained!!

I'm running the Headlands 100 for my 5th time in a row in just a couple hours from now, and I'm totally ready to rock and roll!!!!

Until next time...

KEEP RUNNING!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

08-09-2014 Cool Moon 100



On August 9th of 2014 I set out to run the Cool Moon 100 for the second year in a row.  I knew going into this event that it was not going to be easy.  I was one of the 4 people who finished last year, and I didn't expect the race to be any easier this year than it was last year.

I went into the race knowing that I was a little under trained, and unfortunately I was very unprepared mentally to take on 100 miles.

The course was just like last year, some good climbs and some good heat.  The course wasn't as hot as last year, but it was pretty warm (I think it was in the very high 90's).


Lately I've been working a lot, and I think under a little more stress that I realized.  During the first 25 mile section of the run I felt pretty good.  I hit mile 25 around 6 hours into the event like I planned, and I was starting off on my next 25 mile loop... and that's where everything started feeling like it was coming apart.

All the stress from working too much, planning a 135 mile run from Bakersfield to Madera at the end of September, trying to find a new full time job, and feeling like I haven't been there enough for my family came to a boiling point.  Around mile 35 I mentally came apart and just didn't want to be on the course anymore.  I didn't feel like running at all, and I was pretty much just power hiking the course.  I couldn't mentally get back into the game, I would run for a few mins and then start walking again.  I felt like even though I was a little under trained for this event, I physically should have been able to finish the event.  I tried to mentally get back into the race but it just wasn't happening.


Very long story short... at mile 50 I dropped out of the race.

My next 100 miler is tomorrow morning.  I'll be running the Headlands 100 for the 5th year in a row for what will be my 5th finish.

I've made changes in my training, mentally and physically, and hopefully everything will come together this weekend.


until next time...



KEEP RUNNNIG!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Solstice 24 Hour Run 06-21-2014





On June 21st at 8:00am I headed out to run a 1.06ish mile loop at Crissy Field in San Francisco for 24 hours.

I went the the New Balance 980's
for this event and wore them for
the entire 24 hours.
I was a little worried going into the event since I haven't ran a 100 mile distance race since November of 2013, and so far I had only ran two 50 mile races in 2014.  I was also a little worried because my training runs over the last few weeks were not very strong due to the fact that I've been feeling a little under the weather.  I really wanted to run at least 100 miles within the 24 hour time limit that the event had, if not a little more than 100 miles.  There was also a very strong wind blowing during the race.

The event was starting off without a hitch, I saw my friend Ed before the race started, and he and I ran the first 10 miles together.  It was nice seeing Ed and catching up with him.  My friend Jack also managed to stop by and run a couple laps with me early on in the event.

As the day went on I found myself lacking in motivation and I honestly just wanted to stop and go home.  Mile 30-38 was pretty tough.  I managed to keep pushing and told myself to try to just make it to hour 12 of the event.  As I pushed passed mile 38 I started to realize that my problem might be my calorie intake.  I started to think that I simply might not have been getting enough calories in for the amount of time that I had been running.  I immediately grabbed a fist full of Twizzlers from my gear bag and got some fast calories.  Within 5 mins of eating some Twizzlers I felt re-energized!!  My pace started picking up and I was feeling ready to run again.

I used this bottle made by
Simple Hydration for this event.
It's become one of my favorite
pieces of running gear.
By the time I hit the 12 hour mark I was somewhere around 52 miles.  I was starting to feel better, but I was questioning if I was going to be able to hit that 100 mile mark at all during this event.

Two weeks prior to the event I detoxed from caffeine so that the caffeine would be more effective during the race.  Somewhere around 13 hours into the event I opened up a bottle of Dr. Pepper and I started using some caffeinated Gu packs.  I tried to introduce the caffeine as late into the race as I could.  I feel like getting in a good caffeine detox before any events is important for me.  Caffeine seems to be way more effective if I detox from it 10-14 days before every event.  There wasn't one time during the run that I felt sleepy.

During the evening the wind settled down and I was able to move at a decent pace and get a good amount of ground covered.  I was still questioning if I was going to hit 100 miles or more, but I just kept on pushing forward.

This is buckle I received for running
over 100 miles in under 24 hours. 
Every loop that I ran I was encouraged by John Brooks (the race director for Pacific Coast Trail Runs) to keep going.  As the hours went by I was very surprised how close I was getting to hitting my 100 mile goal within the the 24 hours allowed for this event.  As I got closer to the 100 mile mark John came up to me and told me, "I know you're tired and you probably want to stop soon, but do your best to run until the clock runs out.  You can run more that 100 miles today."
The awesome coaster all the runners
received for running for 24 hours.

I really just wanted to stop after I hit the 100 mile mark, but I took John's advice.  After I hit the 100 mile mark there was still time left on the clock, so I kept running.  By the time is was all said and done I ran an official distance of 102.98 miles.

One of the things that kept me motivated during the event was the fact that I had friends contributing money to the Bakersfield and to the Central Valley Ronald McDonald House for the effort that I put out at this event, and my good friend Chris told me before the event that he was going to donate $1.00 per every mile that I ran.

If any of you would like to still donate to the fundraiser I did, you can still do so at https://www.fundraise.com/micasa/24

My next race is the Cool Moon 100 this coming August, so now that is my main focus.  Last year the Cool Moon 100 kicked my ass, so I want to go in ready for it this year.


Until next time...

KEEP RUNNING!!!!



Saturday, June 21, 2014

My First Long Run Of 2014

I'm currently heading to Crissy Field in San Francisco ro participate in a 24 hour race out on by Pacific Coast Trail Runs. 

For 24 hours I'll run around a one mile loop and see how many laps I can do.  Hopefully I'll run just over 100 miles.  The course will be flat and fast so running more than 100 miles at this event is a huge possibility.

I haven't ran a 100 mile race since November of last year.  I feel a little under trained (I'm also feeling a little sick) but I've done this distance before, so hopefully my previous experience will get me through my 24 hour adventure.

This coming September I am doing a benefit 130ish mile benefit run for the Bakersfield and Central Valley Ronald McDonald House.  I have decided to make today's run part of my fundraising effort.  I've asked friends, family, and supporters of the Ronald McDonald House to make a flat donation or make a pledge per mile that I will run today.

If you are interested in donating you can do so at https://www.fundraise.com/micasa/24

I set my fundraising goal for this event at $1000.00 and so far I already have $70.00 and I haven't even started running yet.

If you're able to help out with a donation of any size please do so.  I greatly appreciate any help that anyone can give.

My event will start at 8:00am (2 hours from now) and end at 8:00am tomorrow.

With a little bit of luck I hope to run over 100 miles in the next 24 hours.  I'll post my final mileage and a quick race report after I get home on Sunday afternoon.

Until next time...

KEEP RUNNING!!!!

p.s. I will do my best to update my Twitter feed every few hours with an update on my mileage.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

California Classic Century Bike Ride 05-17-2014





On May 17th, 2014 I decided to change things up a little bit.  While I in no way consider myself a cyclist, I decided to ride the California Classic Century ride that starts and finishes in down town Fresno.  I dusted off my old Schwinn mountain bike that I use to ride many, many, many, many, years ago to High School, and I started riding about a month prior to the event.

My typical rides were about 40 miles long and I did about one a week for 4 weeks.  I learned pretty fast that I needed a better quality seat if I was going to last for 100 miles sitting down on my ass.   I picked up some cycling shorts, but I’m honestly not a big fan of spandex so I wore the cycling shorts under a pair board shorts. The cycling shorts helped give me that extra cushion that my ass needed for long bike rides.

The nice thing about riding 100 miles versus running 100 miles is that riding the distance was way faster that running.  Riding also required a lot less food.  All I took on the ride was 6 Gu’s and I filled my water bottle up at the aid stations. 

I mounted my Garmin Virb camera to the handle bars of my bike and took some footage of the ride.  For the most part the ride was nice and scenic.  There was one really tough climb that was about 5 miles long, and it was followed by a pretty nice downhill section. 

I can honestly say I prefer running over cycling, but it was a nice experience riding 100 miles.  I found that most of the people on the course weren't much for conversation, but there were a few really cool people that I had the privilege of talking to.

Now that the ride is over I’m back to training for ultras again and have my first race coming up on June 21st.  I’m really looking forward to running a really long distance again.  The race I have coming up is a 24 hour event in San Francisco.  Shortly
after the 24 hour event in San Francisco I will run the Cool Moon 100 and the
Headlands 100.


Until next time…

KEEP RUNNING!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Went Right & What Went Wrong

Yesterday I ran the Leona Divide 50 miler.  I went in with a goal of sub 10 hours, and a backup goal of 10 hours 30 mins.  To make a long story short (I’ll write the long story later this week and post the video) I finished in just under 12 hours.


Before I start going on and on and on about all the things I did wrong at this event, I’ll start with some of the things I did correctly…
  • Before the start of the event I made a small copy of the course elevation profile and the distances between the aid stations to keep in my pocket during the run.  I also studied the elevation profile and had a decent plan of attack in my head before the race even started.  I had a good idea what parts of the course I would be running and what parts I was going to be power hiking.

  • I packed my wet wipes in my hydration pack.  I always put a good amount of wet wipes in my bag at every race and every time I go on a trail run.  I was very happy that I remembered to do this.  Before the event started I made sure to take a trip to the restroom, but we’ll just say that I didn't take care of all the business that needed to be taken care of.  Right before I pulled into the first aid station I knew that I was in need of a pit stop right away.  I pulled into the aid station and noticed that there was no porta potty, so I decided I would just head to the next aid station and hope for the best.  Hoping for “the best” didn't get me anywhere, because the second aid station didn't have a porta potty either.  I tested my luck and uncomfortably ran to the next aid station at mile 17.6, then found that it too was without a porta potty.  I honestly didn't see one the entire event.  Thankfully I had my wipes.  I finally did what needed to be done miles ago… I ran a little bit off of the trail and took care of business behind a bush!!! 

  • I was spot on with my hydration.  It wasn't very hot out so this wasn't that big of a deal.  I made sure to have one of my bottles with Fluid Sports Drink and the other with water.  I mainly drank Fluid the entire event, and only drank water just to wash down whatever Gu I was taking.

  • Before the race I detoxed from caffeine.  This allowed the Salty Caramel Gu and my Passion Tea Fluid to more effective.  Both of them contain caffeine.

  • Even when things weren't going good yesterday, I still took the time to enjoy the fact that I was out doing something I love.

Here are some of the things I did wrong…
  • I have not incorporated hill repeats in to my workout since October of last year.  I typically do hill repeats early every Tuesday morning at the park.  During the winter I got really lazy and started skipping this Tuesday morning workout.  I usually do this workout from 5:00 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. and just do non-stop repeats, but the cold and lack of sunlight stopped me from wanting to do this workout.  I honestly feel that because of my lack of hill work I lacked the confidence to run the hills at this race.  I never felt fatigued hiking up them, but for some reason I just didn't try to push hard and run up them.

  • As much as I was pretty good about staying hydrated, I did a horrible job of taking in solid food.  Around mile 26 I started feeling really hungry and I started eating at the aid stations.  The aid stations were stocked with watermelon and I did my best to eat as much of it as I could.  Watermelon is amazing during long trail races.  It makes my stomach feel full and it helps me stay hydrated.  I should have started taking in solid food earlier into the race.  I typically stop at every aid station and eat something just so I can try to stay ahead on my nutrition, but for some reason I didn't do that at this event.  I was constantly fighting off hunger pains the entire last half of the race.  I was eating as much as I could at the aid stations but a couple miles after I would leave the aid stations I was feeling hungry again.

  • I didn't pack my bag very well.  I usually pack a few extra goodies to eat along the course… a sandwich, twizzlers, rice crispy treats, or anything else that I enjoy while running on the trail.  I failed to pack any snacks for this race.  I have no real good reason for not doing so, I just didn't do it.  This was very stupid of me.


I walked away from this race reflecting upon what I could have done differently.  Every event is a learning experience.  I learned a few tough lessons yesterday, and hopefully it will hope me improve my training for my next race.


Until next time…


KEEP RUNNING!!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

American River Run (AR50) 2014

On April 5th 2014 I ran the American River Run 50 Miler for the 5th year in a row.  This year I ran it with my good friend Leigh Moser.  Leigh and I first met each other at the Run de Vous 100 miler back in 2013, and we have been friends ever since.

Last year Leigh paced me for the second half of the AR50 and helped me finish in 8:54:09.  This is my personal best time for a 50 miler race.  This year Leigh and I decided to run the event together.

Leigh and I had a blast on the trail.  We took it pretty easy this year and just enjoyed our time on the trail.  This year the course for the AR50 was slightly different that all the previous years.  In previous years the first part of the race was mainly a pave bike/running path, and the second part of the race was mainly a single track trail run.  This years change in course was designed to incorporate more trail and less paved path.

I think that the course change was nice, but I honestly liked the fast pace of the old courses paved road start.  I also liked the feeling of having a road race for the first half of the event, and a trail race for the second half.

The race this year also had a staggered start.  Half of us started at 6:00am and the other half started at 6:15am.  With the race being so large with competitors this year, and not on a wide paved road at the strat, the staggered start totally made sense.

The volunteers were awesome and the aid stations were well stocked with all the typical  ultrarunning aid station food and beverages.

I also had a new toy on this run.  My parents recently surprised me with a new camera for my birthday (my birthday was one day before the race).  They know that I like to take videos of my runs and they picked up a new Garmin Virb.  I'm still figuring out how to use all the fancy bells and whistles on it, but so far it's a really cool camera.

In the weeks after AR50 I've been preparing for my next race, the Leona Divide 50 miler on April 26th.  My training since AR50 has been pretty consistent and I'm really hoping to have a strong finish at Leona Divide.


Until next time...

KEEP RUNNING!!!!