Monday, January 23, 2012


Sometimes I feel like crying because I’m so tired of running. The thought of going out for another run on nasty, unmaintained, slippery sidewalks makes me want to puke.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I’m sick of pain. Pain in my ankles. Pain in my quads. Pain in my calf. I feel like if I ran only when there’s no pain, I wouldn’t run at all.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I feel like I’m waisting my time running ultras. I suck at running long and I’m not really getting any better.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I’m mad at my family for not giving a shit about my running and never offering any support.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I hate other runners, for whom everything seems to effortless, who get up at 5AM to run, who never seem to doubt anything. Why is it so hard for me?

Sometimes I feel like crying because I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run 100 miles again. It’s so hard. Can I ever summon that much willpower again?

But then again;

Sometimes I feel like crying when I remember standing alone under the stars in Alaska, my headlamp off, taking it all in.

Sometimes I feel like crying when I stop during a long run in the desert to look around and see how beautiful it all is.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I feel so alive I can hardly stand it.

Sometimes I feel like crying because I know how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Don’t worry though. Most of the time, I’m OK.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


After barely dragging my ass out of the Grand Canyon in October, I had a hard time running with any kind of consistency in November and December. Heck, I had a hard time all year!

I felt like I had all the excuses in the book. Too much work, tired, my Achilles is killing me and finally my favorite: maybe having half my thyroid removed is lowering my energy level. It’s rare but it happens. Haven’t I gained over 10 pounds in the last year? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that I’M EATING LIKE A FRACKING PIG. I eat a lot, I eat often and I snack all night. AND I had gained about 5 lbs even BEFORE the operation. What's up with that? Obviously, I'm full of it.

So my new thinking is this: my right Achilles hurts more because I’m heavy AND I run too long for my level of fitness right now. I would typically go for a run at lunch, let’s say 8 or 10k and then my Achilles would hurt the next day and I would skip. Vicious circle. No consistency. I believe my fitness has been on a downward spiral for over a year now. I need to do something about this.

My new plan is to rebuild from the ground up.
  • Lose weight: It’s a fact that I need to lose weight if I’m going to finish Leadville. I hear people who say they ask their pacer to carry their water bottle, which weighs a pound, and here I am carrying 15 our 20 extra pounds on my back. I need to go below 160 lbs. I started calorie counting on Monday so I can reset my eating habits. Calorie counting is the only technique that works for me. Everything becomes black and white: either you eat it or you don’t.
  • Consistency: I want to run at least 5 times a week, preferably 6 times. I’m starting with short runs, in the 30 minute range, so I won’t aggravate my Achilles and have to skip. I should be able to build fairly quickly on top of this. I went out 6 times last week and this week looks good.
  • Increase volume: As mentioned, my training sucked last year. Looking back at my training log last year, I see only 8 weeks where I ran more than 7 hours. If you take into account the fact that I ran two hundred milers, paced two others, ran two 50k and did r2r2r then you’re left with ONE week where I trained more than 7 hours. It’s really hard to run more than 5 or 6 hours if you run 4 times a week. Your really need to run maybe 5 but probably 6 or more days to get that kind of volume.
  • Shoes: After two years running in Nike Lunarglides, I’ve decided to switch back to the Lunaracers. I’ve noticed after coming back from running trails in my Crosslites that my Achilles felt really good only to get really painful after a couple of road runs in the Lunarglides. I’m not a big fan of Nike because they change their fracking shoes too often but I seem to come back to them. I tried to get me some Adizero Pros, but Adidas doesn’t seem to carry them here. Fuck ‘em. I got a new pair of Lunaracers which is more of a neutral shoe, where the Lunarglides are more of a “support” shoe. They feel pretty good and my Achilles feels really good. Then again, might be my new plan and the shoes do nothing.
So this is my re-boot plan. After I’ve consolidated this for a while, I will get into more Mohican/Leadville-specific training (aka ‘pain’).

Speaking of Mohican, I see on their website that they have removed the horrible 2 mile lollipop we had to do at the end of each loop. This is a relief. A (small) part of me thinks that to get true redemption, I would have needed the same course, but really that section of the course was truly horrible. The cutoff is still 32 hours, so I shouldn’t count my chickens until I see what they’ve replaced it with...