10 June 2014


Running one hundred miles changes you. Not just on the surface. It will change you from the inside out. It forces you to look deep into yourself, sometimes deeper than you want to look. You will learn things about yourself you never knew and you will grow. Through all the ups and downs of the race you will grow in physically, mentally and spiritually. And maybe, just maybe, you will reach a new level of self awareness; you will transcend. This is the story of my journey to the finish line of the Pigtails Challenge 100 Miler.

In many ways, my journey began years ago when I ran my first half marathon. Afterwards, I began researching long distance running and was introduced to a world I had no idea existed. I poured over articles on nutrition, training, athletes and races. I often found myself thinking "why the hell would anyone run farther than a marathon?" or "who are these crazy people?". Then it happened, I met some of them. I joined a local running club and was the sole non-marathoner amongst them. In fact, many of them were these crazy ultra marathon runners I had been reading about. As of today, four people (not counting myself) in the club have completed 100 mile races. Running and chatting over coffee with them planted the seed.

Fast forward eight years to this past December. I had run multiple marathons and one ultra marathon. Something in my head clicked and I decided this was the year to go for it. At the time I didn't know what it was. Maybe life had big changes in store and I wouldn't have time after this year or maybe I would get injured and have to take time off. Whatever the hand the flipped the switch was, it also clicked the register button. I had a little under six months to get from marathon shape to 100 mile shape.

For the majority of the training, I was also coaching a group of half/full marathoners for my store. This made big weekends easy. I was running 20/20 or 30/20 weekends or at least a 30 miler for a few months. That was one nugget of knowledge I had gotten from some seasoned vets. True, overall mileage is important but big weekends are key. In my marathon training, I had typically peaked around 60 mpw. For Pigtails, I averaged over 60 mpw with a peak in the mid 80's.

The peak of my training was to be in late April. A key 30 mile run followed by a 50 mile race the next weekend. The 30 miler went very well. I was able to close the last thee miles at 6:30 pace. The 50 miler, not so well. I pulled out at the mile ~28 aid station. I had a strong 20 mile start and then I started to fall apart. In hind sight, it was all nutrition.

(Shortly before dropping at Mt Si)        
My typical 30 mile run was gel at miles 5, 10, 15 followed by a Harvest Energy Bar at 20 and another gel (if needed) around 27. Well, apparently I forgot that. At the Mt Si 50, I took a gel at 6 and 12. Then I tried to eat a bar at 20. A few miles later, the bar was only 1/3 gone. I put it in my pack and figured I'd try again in a few miles. Then I forgot to keep eating it. By mile 26, I was mostly walking or running about ~2 minute per mile slower. I had never been at that point in a run so I didn't know what it felt like or what it was. I just thought I was done. Without a crew or pacer to make sure I was eating, I dropped at the first opportunity.

It took me a few days to shake off some of that. I think a lot of it stuck with me until Pigtails. I had to force myself to shake it a little as the group I was coaching had their goal race the very next weekend. I didn't want my demeanor to affect them or their races. After all, they had worked just as hard as I to prepare and deserved every bit of support and energy I could give them.

My store also has a booth at the expo for this event. So I spent all day Friday on my feet. Around 5pm, I decided that I was going to double. I walked over to the registration table and signed up for a marathon that started the next morning (a ghost event). I figured the double would give me the boost of confidence I needed for the 100. I had some serious doubts about being able to come close to finishing after dropping out of Mt Si. Sometime at the expo, I convinced (well, I like to think I convinced. Really, she probably convinced me) the coach from our second store, Sabrina, to double with me. While I was entering new territory, this was old hat for her. The past two years she has completed the Seattle Quadzilla (four marathons in four days), even winning it last year. 

The next morning, we ran separately at our own paces. There is also a half marathon at Ghost so I had the pleasure of running with a local PT, Erik, for the first half. I ended up slowing a bit the second half, finishing around 3:34. Then we both spent all day on our feet at the expo and laced up again the next morning for the second marathon. This was the main event for our training group.

(Erik and I at mile 13)
After we unloaded her car at the finish line (we have a VIP Tent there for our trainees), we headed to the start with two of our trainees. We hung out in the car for a bit to stay warm. Then we found more trainees, took some pics with them, took some pics with other Marathon Maniacs and lined up for the race.

(Staying warm in the car)
(Bonney Lake Trainees)

(Tacoma Trainees & some fellow Maniacs)

We started out fairly close together but ended up running the first few miles separate. I paced one of my trainees, Jeff, for the first bit before catching up to Sabrina. Her and I ran together for the rest of the race (save a few miles I'll talk about in a bit). That was a whole new experience for me. Sure, I'd paced family and friends in 5k's and half marathons, but I had never ran the majority of a marathon with another person. Sharing in that experience, the quad punishing downhills, the rollers through Point Defiance and the seemingly never ending flats of the waterfront in day two of a double is something I still have trouble describing. It bonds you to the other runner more than I thought possible. Going along that path together, in my mind, cemented our friendship. No matter where life takes either of us, I know I'll be able to pick up the phone and chat with her or meet up for a run.

Sabrina and I had actually started running together a few months prior to race day. Once a week, I'm usually at our second location for a meeting with their store manager, our owner and Sabrina. In the fall our owner and I met early to run before the meeting. He got injured and has been unable to run for a while. Being in the habit, I continued to come early and run solo. Then I kept running into Sabrina on the waterfront. So we just planned on running together that morning every week. We actually just finished running before I started writing this part. Through all the miles, we started opening up to each other. There was an instant trust and connection there. We've both been struggling with different things in our lives lately and those miles on the waterfront were/are our outlet. We lean on each other and push each other to grow and enjoy life. I think I've learned more about myself along that waterfront than I had my entire life before this year.

Back to the race. Somewhere around mile 14 Ellis (one of the trainees from Tacoma) caught us, or maybe we caught him. We ran with him/near him for about 4 miles, telling all the spectators to yell "Go Ellis" for him.

Near mile 19 or so we caught Jeff, from the Bonney Lake crew. I had ran the first ~4 miles with him. He was trying to get his first sub-4 hour finish. I let Sabrina keep going at our pace and ran with Jeff for a bit. I pushed him a little, just getting him to move along at a steady clip, taking walk breaks when needed. I did my best to be a coach and give him advice for the last 3 miles of the course (and he got his sub-4!). Then I sped up to catch Sabrina. Along the way I passed several of the ladies I had coached who were running the half marathon. I stopped and ran with them each for a little bit to see how they were doing, etc.

We ended up crossing the finish line around the 3:54 mark. Let me tell you, this girl can kick! We're ~200m from the finish and she says "watch this" and takes off! I really had to dig to stay with her through the finish. I think this is best described using the picture below. Its a photo that our trainees bought for us and actually printed out to poster size. Sabrina looks full of energy and I look completely wrecked. Its awesome. Probably my favorite finish line pic.

Seeing as we live in the hometown of the Maniacs, our training program didn't end at TCM. Two weeks later at races in Olympia, Portland and Chicago, over two dozen new Fanatics/Maniacs were born. Sabrina and I joined the majority of them at the Capital City Marathon.
(Seven New Manics: Aurea, Brittany, Garrett, Amber, Evan, Ashley and Ellis)

(Sabrina and I at the start of Cap City)

Cap City was a great race. Definitely going to be on my to do list for a while. I was able to sleep in my own bed the night before and park a block from the start. Sabrina and I ran the all 26.2 miles together this time. Side by side, stride for stride. Along the way we ran with a few friends, including Bill and Ellis for several miles. The pic above was in an online version of the local paper. Was it the best idea to run a marathon 6 days before the 100 miler? Probably not. Did I have fun doing it? Absolutely! Being with my running family is what keeps me sane. Its how I find myself and what I am made of.
(Stride for stride at the finish)


(Post Cap City)

This brings me to the whole purpose of this post, the Pigtails Challenge 100 Miler. I chose this race because it is logistically very easy. The course is a 9.4 mile loop around a watershed preserve/lake. So the 100 mile runners ran 3 miles out, 3 miles back and then 10 laps (alternating direction each lap). That meant you were at the main aid station and all of your gear every 9.4 miles. All I had to do was think of anything I might want and/or need and put it in one big bin. Here's a list of what I packed, in no particular order (that I can recall at this point two weeks out):

Change of shoes
Extra socks
Extra shirts
Nip Guards
KT Tape
Nathan Hydration Pack
Nathan handheld pack (no bottle)
PowerBar bottles (2)
Amphipod handheld
PowerBar Energy Blends
Electrolyte/Salt capsules
PowerBar Recovery Drink Mix
PowerBar Harvest Energy Bars
Starbuck Double Shot drinks
Trigger Point Grid foam roller
Addaday Type A roller
Space blanket
Post-race clothes (pants, shirt, jacket)
Marathon Maniac jacket
Ziplock bags
Garbage bag (for dirty clothes)
Garmin Forerunner 910XT
iPod Shuffle
Extra batteries
Flashlight (for my crew)
Clipboard with projected times/instructions for pacers
Air Heads Candy

I tried to go to bed early the night before and actually got to sleep while it was still light out. I woke up at 3am to get dressed and get some food in my system. My wonderful wife and I had already packed the car the night before after Sabrina helped us pack. She too got up at 3am to drive me to the start and hang out for a few laps. We arrived at the starting area around 5am for the 6am start. Despite the early hour, there was plenty of life already. You see, at this event I was only running the half. That's right. Thursday morning roughly a dozen brave souls started a 200 mile race. Friday morning, about seven runners toed the line for a 150 mile run. I checked in, got my bin/chair set up and got as mentally ready as I could. After my dnf at the Mt Si 50 Miler, I knew the mental aspect would be huge in this race. To those that know me, it was no secret that I kinda wanted to go for the course record. Though the analytical side of me, which usually wins, knew that would not happen. At least, not this year.

This race is different from many ultra marathons in that you are allowed a pacer at anytime (but no more than two at a time). I had a huge outpouring of offers to come pace me from friends. It appeared that I would only be solo for the first 15.4 miles and possibly another 9.4 miles around the halfway point. Another difference, no race shirt. Instead of race shirts we all got race robes. They are a very good quality robe with the Pigtails Challenge logo. Bel got a picture of me in the robe before the race as well as a shot of all the 100 mile runners with the RD.

Everyone in my crew chronicled the event via Facebook so my friends and family could follow along. Most of the pics below are from them.

(Before the start in my robe)

(100 Mile Runners with the RD)

Shortly before the start of the race, I got a surprise. Sabrina drove up early to run the first lap with me! I went out solo for the first six miles before she joined me. The gentlemen behind me in the green t-shirt, Gavin, won the race and the gentlemen in the blue jacket got 2nd. The three of us, along with Hope (the gal in the middle) and another gal (who won the women's race) went out together for a bit.

Eventually, Gavin and the 2nd place finisher pulled away a bit. They turned a little too early but knew they did. They saw us and said "That was too soon, right?". Yes. Yes it was. I had actually let myself go a little too quick and started to pull back a little. The racer in me wanted to run them down and hang with them but I knew I was going too fast. I finished the out and back in 53 minutes. Afterwards, I ditched the jacket before starting lap 1.

(Start of the 100)

Sabrina and I cruised through lap 1 in 1:35. I made sure to eat something (usually a gel) every 30 minutes. At the main aid station I tried to eat something more solid and the backside aid station was more about getting some Coke or refilling my water bottle. I used the Amphipod handheld for the first 43 miles or so. After that I switched to the Nathan strap and my PowerBar bottles. They held more water and it was getting warm out. 

At the end of lap 1, I grabbed some solid food and had Bel refill my water bottle while I ate. I also grabbed another salt capsule. The plan was to take one every lap. I was then joined by Jesse, one of the gals I coached for the Tacoma City Marathon. On one of our laps, I saw Linda at the backside aid station. She is an accomplished runner from my run club. She had ran this event in the past and was one of the brains I picked during my training. Jesse ran two laps with me in 1:34 and 1:46. Between those laps, Bel went home to rest a bit/be productive. At this point I felt ok but I knew I wasn't eating enough. Let me tell you, it sucks knowing you should be eating more but just don't want to. I had heard from friends who ran 100's that eventually I wouldn't want to eat and would be forced to by my pacers. I just didn't think it would be so early in the race and I thought I wouldn't be aware that I wasn't eating enough.

Between laps 3 and 4, I changed from my split shorts to my half tights and swapped the t-shirt for a singlet. I also changed socks and swapped my Hoka Conquest for my Hoka Bondi's. I also rolled out a little with the Addaday roller. Lap 4 I was joined by Tom, from my running club. He made sure I ate solid food on our lap, particularly some pb&j squares that I did not want to eat/tasted horrible to me at that point, and made a note on my pacer instruction sheet to make sure I was eating. He also kept me moving. If I recall correctly, this was the only lap where I spoke negatively (the thoughts crept up on a few laps) and Tom turned my attitude around real quick. He convinced me that as long as I could still walk, I could finish. We completed out lap in 1:58. This is the lap break where I discovered how glorious watermelon is. I'm pretty sure I had watermelon at every lap. I also started eating chips and potatoes at this point.

(Rolling our somewhere around lap 4)

(Finishing up lap 4 with Tom)

I was then joined by my friend Kelli for two laps. Somewhere on our first lap I discovered I no longer wanted gels or salt capsules. Still being aware of the need for calories, I mixed two gels and the salt/electrolyte capsules into my water. I believe this was the lap where Jeff (who I pushed at TCM) and his wife Heather were manning the backside aid station. It was good to see their faces for a few laps. At the end of our first lap, my family and friends at arrived to show some support. My wife, parents, little sister, nephew Malachi were there as well as our friends Faustine and Todd, Matt and Kara and their son Oliver. Having such a huge support crew at that point (just past halfway) was amazing. Playing with Malachi for a minute with the Addaday roller, sharing a cookie with Oliver, and some cantaloupe that Faustine and Todd brought.

(Starting lap 5 with Kelli)

(Photo my dad took of Kelli and I heading out)

It was either the lap 4/5 break or the 5/6 break where I discovered my magic potion (which, I believe Sabrina called my Galaxy Juice at 1 am). A mixture of two gels, salt/electrolyte capsules and PowerBar Recovery Mix. That was in my bottle the entire rest of the race and my crew prepped the extra PowerBar bottle for me while I was out so all I had to do was change bottles at the lap breaks. Bel was amazing at making sure I was good and had what I needed/had sunscreen on. I couldn't have finished this race without her there. Kelli and I went back out for another lap. During my first lap with Sabrina, I had started walking the uphills (roughly 700ft of gain per lap). Kelli kept saying how fast I was moving on the walks considering how far into the race I was. Our lap splits were 1:53 and 2:07.

(Gearing up for lap 6)

(Actually eating after lap 6)

After lap 6, I actually had a good amount of solid food. I are some Fig Newtons and a hotdog as well as more fruit. Bill and Sabrina had returned to support/crew chief for me. I was joined at lap 7 by Amy and Nicole, two gals from our Tacoma training group. They were amazing! Two very energetic, funny and talkative women is exactly what I needed at mile 62. With about 2 miles left in the lap, Emily and Tamra appeared on the trail. They are two of the employees at my store. I had coached/paced them through their first half marathon and they had driven up after work to pace me. Seeing their faces and running with them was most definitely one of the highlights of the race for me. We finished lap 7 in 2:05.

(Lap 7 pacers: Amy & Nicole!)

(Backside aid station lap 7)

After lap 7 Ben, the only other guy from my store, was there. I ate more solid food, including a slice of pizza before Ben and I took off. He was training for an ultra himself and was using this as a long run. Initially he had planned to run two laps with me but stuck it out for three laps. We chatted, well, Ben chatted tried to distract me like a good pacer. It worked well. At the backside aid station, I ran ahead (like 30 feet) for my last port-a-pottie stop. When I walked back to the aid station I just heard "I know you from Fleet Feet". "Colleen, right?" Our stores old Nuun rep was there. Turns out, now she works for Brooks Running. Once again it felt good to see an unexpected and familiar face out on the course. Roughly half way through that lap, the sun began to set. For whatever reason, the literal darkness brought me to one of my dark points in the race. I was not doing well with no light besides our headlamps. I wasn't cramping and I felt ok physically, I just wanted to be done. I had to fight a lot mentally the last three laps. We finished our guy's lap in 2:12.

(Amy helping Ben gear up for the guy's lap)

(Backside aid on lap 8, starting to get dark)

During the lap 8/9 break Belinda and my father-in-law had arrived to support me through the finish. I had more solid food: some amazing cheese quesadillas. I also had some really good chicken broth. While I was sitting in my chair drinking the broth, I knew I needed something else on the course with me. I needed Sabrina. Her spirit is contagious and her energy is seemingly relentless. I looked up from my cup and said "you have two more laps in you?". She just smiled and said "yep". So the last two laps were Sabrina, Ben and myself. The first lap we were loud. Talking to each other, laughing. We even youtubed the skip from the Wizard of Oz so we could do that for a few strides. Lap 9 was 2:18.  

The lap 9/10 break I had more fruit, chips, broth etc. Its funny, everyone always told me in training Beware the Chair. I sat in my chair almost every lap break and had no problems getting back up. I had decided it was time to finish. Sabrina, Ben and myself headed back out for the final lap. This one was much quieter. We were all just pushing through. At one point, we even turned our headlamps off for a few strides to just embrace nature and the journey I was on. We finished lap 10 in 2:37. I had said something about finishing with them and Sabrina said something like "This is all you, we're pulling back". Her and Ben slowed enough to let me pull ahead but were still able to watch me finish. At 2:58 am, I crossed the finish line in 3rd place. My wife and father-in-law congratulated me as well as Ben and Sabrina. The race director came over and gave me my buckle and congratulated me as well. Side note: my watch is awesome. It lasted the entire race. All twenty hours and fifty-eight minutes.

After some pics, a little more food and some very emotional hugs, we left for home. While I was walking around fine at the finish line, getting out of the car at home was insanely difficult. I spent most of Sunday sleeping and most of Monday cleaning the apartment. Took a few Epsom salt baths and a few walks. It was nice to lay low for a few days. I took six days off from running afterwards to recover.


(With my amazing wife)

I learned a lot about myself on that run. I connected with friends on a deeper level and I connected with nature. I looked deeper into myself than I had before. I pushed through dark times and fought a mental battle like never before. I grew physically, spiritually and emotionally. I was given a whole new perspective on life and a new level of awareness. I had transcended.

I want to include a few things that some of my crew wrote about the event, particularly Ben and Sabrina. Their comments are below. While this was initially a bucket list event for me, I wouldn't be surprised if I make this journey another time. 

"I must share an experience I had yesterday. My buddy Nick Paterno has been training for a 100 miler! Let me say that again 100 miles. I was humbled and honored to pace him for his final three laps of this race. Not only did this incredible person finish but place 3rd on his first 100!!!! This man is an inspiration to everyone and shows the world that there are no limits to the human body. Enjoy all your accolades nick, you deserve every second of them stud!! I will run until 3am with you any day!!" -Ben

"When you go into something with unconditional confidence, there's no room for anything but success. Even if the outcome is different than what you expected, your experience had forever enhanced your perception of the world and you have evolved. Beyond the Tacoma and the Capital City Marathons I found myself side by side with Coach Guru at the Pigtails 100 mile adventure. We literally ran these races together. This is the blend of our own training and coaching. I was honored to send Nick off in the early hours while fresh in his 100 mile race. He was nervous anticipating this new distance and wondered what lay ahead. We ran side by side as friends in his journey, plodding along while he redefined his limits. Friends he has met through running came to pace him at various points in his race. Runners know how to support each other both spiritually and physically. I came back to run miles 80-100 with Nick. He has the strength in him but the act of running by his side represented the celebration and honor of the human spirit. We crave a journey, connection to the earth, spirituality and companionship. Nick was able to feel the pain in his body, listen to his mind considering the effects of his distance, but trust his spirituality to transcend him to finish 100 miles. I’ve been told by a wise soul that if you put it out there the universe will provide." -Sabrina

(All smiles and still standing)

26 May 2014


No doubt this post will be followed by a much more extensive one. Actually, it will probably be a mini novel as it has to stretch from my DNF at Mt. Si to this weekend.

I finished the Pigtails Challenge 100 mile race in 20:58:00. Good enough for 3rd place.

21 May 2014

Adventures in Life and Running

This post will be brief. I found redemption and confidence from my dnf at Mt Si. I still plan to post more on that. Working two jobs and training has taken up most of my free time so I haven't posted in a while.

Here's what I've ran since:

May 3rd: Ghost of Tacoma Marathon-3:34
May 4th: Tacoma City Marathon-3:54
May18th: Capital City Marathon-3:57

This weekend is the big 100 miler. Over the past 5 months of training, especially the last month, I have learned more about myself than I thought possible. Training for this event has brought me new friends and strengthened old friendships. These amazing people have helped my to become not just a better runner but a better person. I couldn't even imagine embarking on this adventure without their support. To those of them who are reading this, thank you.

I will post again on either Sunday or Monday after the race. No matter what happens, I know I will have an amazing experience.

~Run Strong~

27 April 2014

Week 15, 16 & Mini-RR

Week 15 was ok: ~ 60 miles with no real LR.
This week, 16, was the same. Somewhere between 60 and 70 miles.

I dnf'd in the 50 miler this morning. Couldn't eat/keep anything down after mile 20. By the drop bags at mile 28.9, I still wasn't eating and had zero energy. Hoping to redeem myself next weekend at the Tacoma City Marathon and/or PigTails...I'm still trying to process the whole thing (hence the scatteredness of this post). Will probably write a better RR when I've had some time.

13 April 2014

Week 14

Monday: 7 miles (7:16)
Tuesday: 9.38 miles (7:11)
Wednesday am: 12.5 miles (8:58)
Wednesday pm: 5.21 miles (8:56, coaching)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 8 miles (8:30)- 1 mile warm up 4x1 mile uphill (0.5 mile recovery): 5%, 6%, 7%, 8%, 1 mile cool down
Saturday: 30 miles (8:24)- 7.x solo miles, 20.x miles coaching, 2.7 solo @ 6:28
Sunday: 10 miles (7:15)

Total: 82.09 (8:09)

This was a very solid week of training! Not really sure when I decided to run 6 days instead of the usual 5, it just sorta happened. Tuesday's run was faster than I had planned so I took it super easy on Wednesday's runs.

For Saturday's LR, I ran 7ish miles solo before our training group met, 20ish with the group and 2.7 solo @6:28 pace to close out. I felt super strong during that last solo effort. To be honest, I was almost ready to call it good at 27 miles. Even though I had planned on 30 for the day, 27 seemed ok.

Then I started thinking about wanting to be fast at my 50 miler at the end of the month and I thought about a quote from NorthFace ultra runner Rob Krar "You have to be ready to go to a dark place and embrace it". This was from an interview where he was talking about his ability to run fast at the end of an ultra (specifically the last 4 miles of the UROC 100k which he ran at 5:16 pace). Its not enough for your body to be capable, you have to be mentally willing. In the past, I think that has been a huge part of why I haven't ran sub-3 in the marathon yet. So, I pushed for the last 2.7 miles and I couldn't be any happier with the result.

Fueling for the run was much better this time around (compared to my other 30 milers). Started off with a bagel and a bottle of Perform about an hour before running. During the run, I had 3 PowerGels, 1 Energy Blend and 1 Harvest Energy Bar. Immediately after the run, I had a TripleThreat protein bar and a bottle of Recovery.

Oh, I finally figured out the best placement for my HR strap too. Wore it for the whole run with no chaffing issues. For those of you new to this blog, I have a minor heart condition so I like to wear a HR strap during long runs and workouts to make sure I'm not pushing more than my heart can handle. Sometimes everything else feels great but my heart doesn't cooperate (see my post about this past fall's Portland Marathon).

Fueling and recovering smartly from Saturday made today's run awesome. A solid 10 mile effort with one PowerGel at mile 4. I slept in a bit this morning, worked on lectures, had lunch with my amazing wife and then went for the run. During the week, all of my runs (minus coaching Wednesday night) are super early in the morning. During Pigtails, I'll be running at all hours so I want to get some more daytime runs in when I can.

Going forward, my weekly plan is: Monday-Rest, Tuesday-Run, Wednesday-Double, Thursday-rest, Friday-Run, Saturday-Long, Sunday-Double. That should let me punch my mileage a bit higher; looking to hit 90+, 100+ and 80+ before tapering after the Tacoma City Marathon.

Non-running wise, the week was pretty good. I was able to get ahead a little in my lectures (mostly from this morning), class went well on Tuesday/Thursday night, taxes got filed and I got to spend time with my wife.


06 April 2014

Week 13: Recovery

Well, this week was tough. Not physically...well, a little physically. But not from running, just lots of work hours. In my post about last week, I said I wanted to crack the 90 mile mark this week and run more easy miles. After attempting to wake up early and run on Monday and Tuesday only to have the snooze button win, I decided my body was telling me something. I needed a recovery week.

For me, a true recovery week means little to no running. I put in a total of 17 miles, all of which came while I was coaching Wednesday night and Saturday morning. I refueled, slept a lot and tried to get into a new routine; a new quarter started so I'm teaching until 10pm two nights a week. As such, the recovery week couldn't have come at a better time.

I feel pretty refreshed, though still a little tired. I'm definitely excited to hit it next week starting with my run tomorrow morning.

Wednesday: 7 miles (7:40)
Saturday: 10 miles (8:29)

Total: 17 miles (8:09)

30 March 2014

Week 12

This week was a little better than last, but still not quite right. I've been pretty tired lately. Definitely need to be sleeping more, but I think I need to be running easy more. Next week I'm going to try and get some more easy miles in.

Next week is also the start of the Spring Quarter. I teach Tue/Thur until 10pm. So, I'll be running 6 days a week instead of 5. Rest day will switch to Friday's and I won't double Wednesday's. That way, I don't have to get up super early the day after I'm out late teaching.

I got in my second shipment from PowerBar on Friday. This one was more Recovery Sports Drink (best recovery drink I've had), Energy Blends and two new items to my nutrition arsenal: Harvest Energy Bars and Triple Threat Protein Bars. I used a Harvest Bar on my Saturday LR and felt great! It was the best I've felt during/after a long run at that pace in some time. The Apple Crisp flavor is great! The Triple Threat Bar is great too! I had one after the Saturday LR and Sunday MLR.

Hoping to crack that 90 mile week next week. I think it will all depend on how much energy teaching takes out of me.

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 10 miles (8:34), hills, 1585ft of elevation gain
Wednesday am: 12.71 miles (8:29), first part solo, last part with Sabrina
Wednesday pm: 5.13 miles (8:40), coaching
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 6 miles (7:14)
Saturday: 23 miles (7:58), first 12 with Kim, last 11 coaching
Sunday: 13.2 miles (7:16), mostly @ 7:30 pace, dropped it the last ~5 with the last mile sub-6

Total: 70.04 miles (8:00)


23 March 2014

Week 11

Ugh. That's how I feel about this week. Nothing spectacular and a failed second LR today. My legs weren't in it and my head wasn't in it. This wasn't exactly the week I was looking for as the week after a cutback but I'm trying to stay positive. I've still got two months before Pigtails and I still got decent mileage in this week. I'm going to take today to focus on my teaching and maybe do a little research. Hopefully I'll be able to mentally reset overnight so I'll be ready to tackle a high mileage week next week.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 12 miles (7:07)
Wednesday: am- 6 miles (7:12)
Wednesday: pm- 5.17 miles (9:21)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 10 miles (7:23)
Saturday: 22.22 miles (8:29; fuel: 3 PowerGels, 1 Energy Blend)
Sunday: 8 miles (7:58; fuel: Perform Sports Drink)

Total: 63.39 miles (7:56)

18 March 2014

Race Report: St Paddy's Half Marathon

Normally, a race report is a reflection of my performance on the course. Rest assured, that will be here. First, I wanted to reflect on my training group.

This was a tune-up race for our half and full marathon training group which I am lucky enough to coach. Full marathoners competed in the half and half marathoners ran the 10k. The men and women in this picture blew me away. Not just by their performances, but their support for each other both on the course and at the finish! To those who were cheering for me on the out-and-backs, thank you!

This amazing group of athletes have gone from toughing out their first long runs of 8-10 miles to hill repeats in the freezing rain and snow to track work in the dark, pouring rain with just the stadium safety lights to light the way. For those reading this, you're hard work is paying off and I can't wait to see what you do on May 4th (which, fyi, is International Star Wars Day).

Congrats to all the runners from the Tacoma store and a special congrats to those I train out of the Bonney Lake store: Andrea, Jen, Glyn, Jesse, Jarna, Heather, Jeff, Celiane, Rhonda, Sarah, Lane and Stephanie! A big thank you goes out to my partners in crime, Sabrina and Michele. I couldn't do what I do with out your support.

On to the report:

I woke up around 5am. Had a small glass of orange juice, a banana and half a bagel. I left my apartment around 6 to head to the start. After battling with the parking meter which wouldn't take my cash (thanks for using your card and letting me pay you in cash guy in line behind me!), I walked the two blocks to the start. There I got my bib and started setting up the VIP tent for our trainees. I spent the next few hours hanging banners, chatting with trainees and enjoying the atmosphere. About 30 minutes before the start, I drank a bottle of PowerBar Perform Sports Drink. Fifteen minutes prior to start, I had a PowerBar Energy Blend to top off my fuel stores.

After a short warm up jog and some dynamic stretching, I made my way to the starting line. If you've seen me at the start of a race then you know my pre-race ritual includes a short prayer. No matter what my nerves are doing, that short prayer is enough to calm me down and get my head focused. Today, it told me I was going to have a good day.

I went out with a small group, maybe 8-10 runners. The three lead gals and a few guys from the group made a ~40 meter gap by mile two. Something told me to run them down so I did. After bridging the gap, two gals and a guy sped off. I ran with the third place woman until about mile 6.5 (when you start the climb to Pt Defiance). For what ever reason, I like to think it was four years in Montana followed by two years on the trails in Portland, I'm strong on the hills. I pushed through the rollers and started picking off runners.

I blasted back down to the waterfront (you can see which mile was down hill in the splits below) to the 9 mile marker. By then the second place woman was in my sight. At this point, we were weaving around 5k/10k runners. This made things a little tricky, but also made the last few miles go by quicker. One half runner I came up on around mile 10-10.5 and I worked together until the last half mile or so. We caught the second place gal and didn't look back.

The last little uphill just about killed me. Didn't think it was a big hill when we ran down at the start but man, at mile 13 that thing felt like a monster! As I crossed the finish, my store owner (who happens to also be the RD) told me I was 5th overall! I was ecstatic! Though I couldn't really express it. I was exhausted! After resting on the rails for a few minutes, I made my way to our VIP tent. I got a quick calf massage (thank you to Bodhi Wellness), changed into some dry clothes, got some soup and my bottle of PowerBar Recovery Sports Drink.

At this point, more of our athletes started rolling in. I chatted with them, cheered on others as they crossed the finish and gave the medals to my last two half marathon athletes! The whole event was a blast! After the kids' 1k finished up, Sabrina, a few others and myself cleaned up the VIP tent and I headed home to my amazing wife :)

In all it was probably one of the best race experiences I've had, as an athlete and as a coach.

I didn't have my Garmin on auto lap because it never matches up with the markers. I just hit the lap button when I saw that I was passing a mile marker.

1: 6:31
2-3: 13:08 (6:34 avg)
4-6: 18:46 (6:15 avg)
7: 6:16
8: 6:16
9: 5:49
10-11: 12:36 (6:18 avg)
12: 6:11
13: 6:26
0.1: :38

Garmin Time: 1:22:41
Official Time: 1:22:37
Overall: 5th
Men: 4th
Age Group (25-29): 1st

Elevation Chart:

16 March 2014

Week 10

Major cutback on mileage this week. Really, it just meant no long weekend. Had a solid session of mile repeats on Wednesday and a half marathon PR on Saturday. Race Report for that later today or tomorrow.

Monday- Rest Day
Tuesday- 10 miles (7:45)
Wednsday- am 10 miles including 5x1 mile w/ 400m recovery (6:07, 6:00, 5:56, 5:56, 5:50) (PowerBar Energy Blend before, Perform drink during, Recovery drink after)
Wednesday- pm 6.95 miles (7:58)
Thursday- Rest Day
Friday- 7 miles (8:35)
Saturday- 13.1 miles (6:18, St Paddy's Half) (PowerBar Energy Blend and Perform before, Recovery after)
Sunday- 8 miles (7:42)

Total: 55.05 miles (7:24)

09 March 2014

Week 9

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 10 miles (6:53)- Felt pretty good this run. I hadn't planned on going that quickly but all the treadmills with TV's were taken and my iPod died so…I cranked out what I could to get it done.

Wednesday: am: 5.05 miles (9:49), pm: 6.69 miles (8:16)- Pretty good day overall. Ran with Kendra and Angela in the morning. I had initially planned on continuing to get 10 in the am but my legs were a bit sluggish from Tuesday's effort so I cut it at 5. Coaching in the evening, I paced a few of the runners through their workout (5x800m). We got dumped on the entire workout. To make it a little fun, we played "Guess Coaches Time". I did one more 800, hard. Closest to guess my time without going over got some Feetures Elite socks. Managed to muster up a 2:34 for that.

Thursday: 10 miles (7:32)-I had planned on running an easy 10 on the mill again. About a quarter mile in I hear and excited voice behind me "Nick!"A good friend, Ruth, was about to do her run on the mill since she hadn't found anyone to head out with her. We opted for the roads and cranked out a solid effort. Ruth, if you're reading this it was AMAZING to run with you again :)

Friday: 3 miles (6:24)- I had planned on taking a rest day but…got a little stressed with lecture planning and had to crank out something. Ended up with a progression run. Splits: 7:19, 6:08, 5:43.

Saturday: 30 miles (8:44)-This was an interesting run. The group I coach was running 10 miles for the halfers and 17 for the full. I ran 10 miles before the group started. During the run, I got in ~18 miles (ran a little back and forth to run with different trainees) and a quick 2 to finish off the run. I probably could have fueled more but still felt pretty good! I brought an Energy Blend and 5 PowerGels with me. I had the blend after the first 10 and 3 of the PowerGels during the last 20 miles. Right after the run, I had a bottle of Recover Sports Drink (also from PowerBar). I really feel like this makes a difference in my ability to bounce back after a hard effort.

Sunday: 20 miles (7:47)- This was a #BrilliantRun! I ran the first 7 miles @ 8:34 pace. I had 3 PowerGels, 1 Energy Blend and 1 bottle of Perform with me. The first ~3 miles felt crazy hard. I had the Energy Blend around mile 3.5. Even after, I still felt off the effects of yesterday's run. Around mile 5 I opted to take my first gel. I don't know if it was the caffeine or just the extra nutrients but after a few minutes, everything was easier. My breathing slowed, my stride got smoother. I picked the pace up to 7:30 for the next 10 miles. To close out the run, I pushed progression style until the last mile which was sub-6:40 pace! I am feeling very strong right now and this run shows me that my fitness is reaching a new level.

Total: 84.74 miles (8:06)

This being my third straight week of building, next week is a cutback week :) I welcome the "rest" I'll get by only doing one long run next weekend. I've also got a race on the schedule. My trainees will be running a 10k or half marathon (depending on their goal race in May) on Saturday. I'm entered to run the half but have yet to decide if I'm going to race or just pace one of them.

I believe I'm ~10 weeks out from Pigtails. I'll probably continue to build for the month of March and attempt to hold what ever mileage I reach ( be it 90mpw or 100mpw) for the month of April. My 50 mile tune up is the last week in April. A week later, I'll be running the Tacoma City Marathon with my trainees. Then its taper time for a few weeks.


03 March 2014

Week 8

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 10 miles (7:43); treadmill miles//hill work
Wednesday: am-10.5 miles (8:11), pm-5.4 miles (8:08)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 10 miles (6:37); progression run from 7:30 to 5:16
Saturday: 26 miles (8:16); first 10 with a friend, last 16 coaching
Sunday: 20 miles (8:23)

Total: 81.9 miles (8:04)

Great week of training! Felt good for every run, minus the end of my 20 miler on Sunday. The 26 the day before got to me and I felt sluggish. Also, my right foot is a little sore near my 5th metatarsal head. Might ice it tonight if its still bugging me. I'm very encouraged by the fact that I was able to do another back-to-back set of 20's this weekend. Hoping to do something similar this coming weekend, but with a  30+ miler on Sunday.

On the work side of life, I definitely need to stop procrastinating. I have a new textbook for my statistics class this quarter. I've got three weeks left to re-work my lectures to fit this text. Guess I'll go get another cup of coffee and get to work!

28 February 2014

23 February 2014

Week 7

Very happy with this week! Solid week and a crazy strong weekend to give me a new weekly mileage PR.

Monday- Rest Day
Tuesday- 10 miles (7:19)
Wednesday- am: 10.43 miles (7:59), pm: 5.41 miles (9:01)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 12 miles, progression run from 8:34 to 5:48 (7:23)
Saturday: 20 miles, solo 5 @ 7:05, plus 15 coaching (8:29)
Sunday: 20 miles, last 4 cut down from 7:30 to 6:40

Total: 77.84 miles (8:05)

I also found out I was selected to be a member of Powerbar Team Elite! This is my very first sponsorship and I'm very excited to be working with them! They are a great company with great product that I've been using since my 4th marathon.

I have to brag a little about my training group too. They are just finishing their sixth week of training for a half or full marathon. They are blowing me out of the water with their strength! Wednesday night they had a set of 4x800 to run and everyone of them exceeded my expectations. Then they crushed their long run yesterday on a hillier course than we usually run. Can't wait until these athletes get to race in May!

MTD: 228.4
YTD: 510.4

18 February 2014

Week 6

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- 10 miles (7:11)
Wednesday- am: 11 miles (8:04), pm: 6.25 miles (8:30)
Thursday- Rest
Friday- 10.33 miles (8:11) incl 4 @ 6:22
Saturday- 30 miles (8:35), last 6 @7:3x
Sunday- Rest

Total: 68.8 miles (8:12)

Solid week. Took an extra rest day this weekend as I took my wife away for a few days and didn't want to interrupt our time together. Planning on 75-80 miles for the current week.

09 February 2014

Week 5

Nothing too fantastic this week. Missed my LR this morning due to weather/being out late last night. Total of 50 miles. I did manage to get in a solid tempo run Friday (8 miles @ 6:23). Going to rest well today and hit it hard next week.

02 February 2014

Week 4

Quick post (its half time so I can actually focus for a few minutes). Small cut back in miles, higher intensity. Finished off the week with a solid LR this morning.

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- 10 miles (7:15)
Wednesday- am: 10.07 miles (8:31) pm: 6.02 miles with hill repeats (8:41)
Thursday- Rest
Friday- 10 miles (4 warmup/cool down @ 7:30, 6 tempo @ 6:27)
Saturday: 12 miles (8:10)
Sunday: 20 miles (7:28)

Total: 68.1 miles (7:44)

Back to the game! Go Hawks!

26 January 2014

Week 3

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 miles (7:40)
Wednesday: am- 12 miles (8:03), pm-5.86 miles (10:10)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 10 miles (8:20)
Saturday: 11 miles (8:10)
Sunday: 27 miles (10:04)

Total: 75.9 miles (8:57)

Great week of running! Capped off with my annual Birthday Run (27th bday=27 miles). First 20 miles @ 10:xx pace, last 7 @ 8:3x pace. Big thanks to Ben (miles 1-15.6) Cat (miles 1-20), Kim & Jerry (miles 1-3.5), Kebra (miles 7ish-15.6), Emily (miles 12-15.6) and Tom & Janet (miles 20-27) for joining me. 

A major thanks to my amazing wife for supporting my running and for coming to mile 20 and 27 to support and run a few miles :)

19 January 2014

Week 2

Today ends the second week of training for PigTails! While I didn't hit my goal for the week due to another unplanned rest day (maybe I'll just start planning to take two days off) but still a very solid week.

This was also the first week of half/full marathon training for a group I'm coaching. Its a great group of runners (~25 total) and I'm looking forward to watching them grow over the next 15 weeks before their goal race in early May.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 miles (6:49 pace)
Wednesday: am: 7.25 miles (8:03) pm: 4.01 miles (9:32)
Thursday: 10 miles (8:12)
Friday: Unplanned Rest Day
Saturday: 12.6 miles (8:27)
Sunday: 20.27 miles (7:46)

Total: 64.13 (7:58)

12 January 2014

Week 1

Its been too long since I posted. I'm still chasing that sub-3 marathon, but am taking an Ultra detour.

Here's week one of training for the Pigtails 100 Miler.

Monday: RD
Tuesday: 9.56 miles @ 8:22
Wednesday: am- 6 miles @ 6:34, pm- 5.91 miles @ 10:09
Thursday: 10 miles @ 8:52
Friday: URD
Saturday: 14.04 miles @ 8:07
Sunday: 16.5 miles @ 8:35

Total: 62.01 miles @ 8:27

Hopefully training for this race and coaching a half/full marathon training group will make posting a regular thing again.

~Run Strong