1/1-1/5: 30.96 Miles
1/6-1/12: 63.02 Miles / 293ft Elevation Gain
1/13-1/19: 71.65 Miles / 1,431 Elevation Gain
1/20-1/26: 74.10 Miles / 2,535 Elevation Gain
1/27-2/2: 67.65 Miles / 3,967 Elevation Gain
2/3-2/9: 82.68 Miles / 1,010 Elevation Gain
2/10-2/16: 60.34 Miles / 1,336 Elevation Gain
2/17-2/23: 59.15 Miles / 4,717 Elevation Gain
2/24-3/2: Miles / Elevation Gain
JANUARY: 283.58 Miles (9.15/Day)
- 2 hour run: 14.51 Miles
- 2.5 hour run: 18.7 Miles
- Too Cold to Hold 10 Miler (As a tempo workout)
- 2 Hour run: 14.70 Miles
- 3 Hour run: 22.73 Miles
- The Cowtown Marathon Ultra 50k: 3:37:37, 4th Overall
I made it to the start/finish festival area at 8:25 AM with just enough time to take off the extra layers I had on and drop my stuff off at the bag drop tent, then hop on the start line. The race went off right as scheduled with all three distances (5k, 5M, 10M) going off at the same time. My plan going in was to average 6:30 pace to get some speed under my belt before The Cowtown 50k on February 23rd and not let myself get caught up in racing. The race started in Norbuck Park and was run along White Rock Lake and then turned around and came back along the same path. The race was along the same route that I run every single morning so I was very familiar with the course. Things started well and about .25 miles into the race, the course split and the 5kers stayed left and the 5M and 10M runners continued to the right.
I started out exactly on pace, coming through the first mile in 6:30.7. When I crossed the first mile marker I was in 22nd place. My plan was to continue to maintain my pace and see who I could pick off along the way. At mile 2 I was in 20th and I continued to pass a few runners including 4 runners who turned around at the 5 Mile turnaround, putting me in 12th at mile 3. I kept pace and came through mile 5 at 32 minutes. The conditions for the first 5 Miles were cold with minimal wind coming off of the lake, but the majority of the way back the wind was harsh and frigid. Over the remainder of the course I caught 4 more runners while maintaining my pace, only picking it up slightly in the last half mile. My last 5 miles were covered in 31:56 with the finishing time on my watch being 1:03:56 and an official timing result of 1:04:39 and 8th place overall. I even got first in my age group and a cool cold bag as a prize. Overall, I felt pretty good with this being the first type of speed work i've actually done this season. In combination with my 2-3 hour runs it gives me good confidence for The Cowtown 50k where I'm looking to go just under 4 hours. That race will be another check point in my season before I run a 24 hour race in late April and look to add some trail 50k's and 50 milers to my 2014 race schedule!
Before I started my career at hawkeye and joined The North Face Endurance Challenge team, I never imagined that I would run an Ultra Marathon, let alone an Ultra on trail. Now, I’m already beginning to plan my training for the next one! My entire reasoning behind entering into this race was to understand the mindset and thought process as well as relate to the experiences of participants in The North Face Endurance Challenge Series races, primarily the 50K and 50 Milers. I signed up for the July 13th race on June 21st and knew that I was going to suffer through part of the race since at that point my longest run in my life had been 30K (18.6 miles) and I had never run a trail race before. I had been logging 70-80 mile weeks for the past few months, but with no long runs over 16 miles. In the weeks between registering and actually running the race I cracked the 20 mile barrier and increased my longest run ever to 26.2 miles in 3:21:53. This run was a very light and easy long run to familiarize myself with the Enduro Plus Pack, practice consuming food while running, and give myself a little more confidence in my ability to cover an entire 37 miles. I completed the run on the 4th of July and decided to give my body a rest on the week leading up to the race.
RACE DAYI woke up at 10am on Saturday, July 13th and immediately whipped up my typical weekend brunch; French Toast. I was hoping that eating what I normally consume would give me one less thing to worry about. I then packed up everything that I was bringing with me and double-checked I had everything:
- Hydration Pack
- Energy Gels
- Clif Bars
- Head Lamp
- Other Nutrition Essentials
Subway Pit Stop
I made good time and arrived at the Start/Finish area around 4:30pm. Unfortunately, it was 100 degrees out already and the park was extremely secluded with no buildings with AC so I grabbed a towel I had brought with me and spread it out under a tree with some good shade and relaxed/read Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner until the pre-race meeting at 6pm.
Before Entering The Park
After the meeting I made my final pre-race preparations; filled up my hydration pack, made sure I had my gels, food, and headlamp. I had no idea how to prepare my body for a 60k. Typically, I have a pre-race routine that involves a couple mile jog, stretches, and exercises, but all I did to warm-up were a couple of leg swings, figuring that the first few miles of the race would serve as my warm-up. I toed the line at 6:50pm and awaited the start of the race. The race director blew an air horn and everyone was off for the first of four loops (9.51 miles for the first loop and then three more loops of 9.09 miles).
Start Line Set-Up
Loop 1: The race started off with a .42 add on to the first loop. It was already clear at this point who the top runners were as I was running in the back of a 5 person pack and the rest of the field was broken out behind us. In races I become a hyper-competitive person, so even though we clipped off our first mile at 7:10, I was determined to stick with the group. We ran together for the first 4 miles, talking and familiarizing ourselves with one another until we hit the first aid station. The other runners I was with only had hand held water bottles and all stopped. I decided to continue on alone since I had my hydration pack. The rest of the first loop was pretty uneventful except for a small spill I took around mile 6 just after the course changed from having to leap large rocks to a short uphill path covered with a combination of sand and small rocks, but luckily it wasn’t too bad and I pushed on.
Loop 2: I passed into the start/finish (actually 9.93 miles) and over the chip timing mat in a time of 1:20:15, about an 8:04 per mile average. At this point I was feeling great. I stopped at the blanket I had set-up with gels, chews, Clif Bars, and water and shot a gel, splashed some water on my face and down my back and I was off again. Through the first loop I was 1 minute ahead of the pack and figured I would try to run roughly the same pace. My original strategy was to compete through 3 loops and grind out the 4th one if things took a turn for the worse so I figured I might as well stick to it. At 8:30pm, it still wasn’t all that dark out so I had left my headlamp back at the start/finish. I was able to enjoy the scenery a little more on this loop and felt in the zone. Again, I skipped over the first aid station since I still had ample fluids left in my hydration pack. I continued on, but when I reached the second aid station (16.47 miles in) I stopped for the first time. I opened up my hydration pack and asked for a 50/50 split of Gatorade and water, ate a couple of pretzels and Pringles and was on my way. Everything remained completely fine as I made my way through the slowly darkening Texas Hill Country, back to the start/finish. Again, I crossed the timing mat and was :55 ahead of the group which had begun to split up. I had hit 1:18.56 for the last loop and was at 2:39:11 total. My overall pace had slipped to 8:22/mile. Again, I took another gel, half of a Clif Bar, grabbed my headlamp and turned it on and I was on my way.
Loop 3: This was the point when I realized I probably should have gone out more conservatively on my first trail race/run over 26 miles, but I was still feeling full of energy. I continued to hydrate with my pack, noticing that I was drinking with more frequency as I continued through the night. When I reached the second aid station (25.56 miles), the second overall runner had closed the gap on me and was within talking distance. We began to talk and I was still feeling pretty good, definitely not as great as on the first two loops, but I still felt confident I could sustain my pace. The next thing I knew I had taken a wrong turn in the pitch black night and didn’t notice for about 10 seconds until the second place runner yelled out my mistake. I veered back up a hill of rocks, and found myself in second for the first time in over 20 miles. I don’t know if it was my unintentional route change or moving into second, but I could feel the wheels coming off as I pressed on at 27 miles into the race. I pushed my body the last mile until I reached the start/finish feeling completely defeated.
Loop 4: I had completed the last loop in 1:37:53 and crossed the start/finish mat (28.11 miles) in 4:17:04. I had now officially crossed into unfamiliar territory in both distance and time. My body felt like quitting, but I knew that I had to push on, and I did. I continued on at a pedestrian pace, close to 11 minutes for the next two miles and then everything came crashing down on me at once. I stopped and put my hands on my knees and stood there for 15 seconds. My quads were toast, what had felt like the starts of tendinitis in my right knee that I had been dealing with the week prior to the race started to resurface, and my stomach turned on me, not allowing me to take in any solid food. I told myself that I could push on and that it was all mental. With these 7 miles left, I started feeling like a zombie. I felt like I was in a fog for the rest of the race. I forced myself to walk and then run when I could manage in short spurts. This was my cycle until I hit the second aid station (34.65 miles) and made my final fill up of drink and what solid food I could stomach at this point. The volunteer at the aid station told me to sit down in a chair so he could evaluate me. I believe if there hadn’t only been 2.5 miles left in the race he would not have let me leave. I stayed in that chair, preparing for my final march to the finish for close to 10 minutes. I had never imagined that I would be reduced to feeling like this prior to the race. I dragged myself up and began to run again, making it only .25 miles or so before stopping again to walk. From there it was a slow forced walk for the next mile and a half or so. With just over a mile left I forced myself to continue running and I didn’t stop until I reached the finish. I crossed the timing mat, at 37.2 miles, for the final time in 7:03:39, an overall pace of 11:23/mile and in 8th place. It had taken me 2:46:35 to complete the final 9.09 miles, a disappointing 18:20/mile, and 7 minutes slower then my first and second loop combined!
As I crossed that finish line I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride in myself. Although I was unable to run through the entire race, I thought to myself, this is only my first trail race and I was definitely not as prepared as I should have been. This run was amazing. I have never had such great respect for trail runners before in my life and for the volunteers who commit their time to help support runners along the way. It wasn’t the time or effort that I had been hoping for, but as I sit here now, I’m already planning my training out so that the next time I will be able to crush whatever course I decide to take on! This road runner has been officially converted into a trail racing lover.
I’ve only had crab cakes once before in my entire life; at my best friend’s wedding this past September. They were a broiled version that was amazingly good. Ever since then I’ve been planning on trying to make them, but keep forgetting. Well, today is the day that I finally went to the store in preparation for my long-anticipated meal!
I did some Googling to find a recipe that would match my taste buds, be relatively healthy, and not cause a significant dent in my wallet. I created a mashed-up version for these crab cakes from a few different recipes I discovered in my online search. If you’re cooking for more than one or want larger portions, double or triple the recipe to accommodate your needs!
RECIPE MAKES 5 CRAB CAKES–EACH CRAB CAKE IS ROUGHLY 70 CALORIES.
1 Can Bumble Bee Lump Crab Meat ($1.99)
1 Green Bell Pepper ($.68)
½ Cup White Onion ($.50)
1 Serving Kraft Low Fat Mayonnaise ($.05)
1 Serving Kraft Tartar Sauce ($.17)
1 Serving Mustard ($.01)
1 Serving Egg Substitute or Egg ($.17)
8 Saltine Crackers ($.08)
1 Piece of Wheat Bread ($.09)
1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
¼ Tsp Oregano
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Onion Powder
½ Tsp Black Pepper
½ Tsp Salt
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
- While the oven is heating, crush your saltines into very fine crumbs. You will also need to cut up your slice of wheat bread into very small pieces or place in a food processor to create bread crumbs. Place all created bread crumbs on a small plate.
- Combine the crab meat, green bell pepper, onion, all wet ingredients (the tartar sauce can either be combined or used as a dipping sauce depending on your preference), spices/seasoning, and ¼ of your bread crumbs in a mixing bowl. Stir everything together to evenly mix the ingredients.
- Form small balls of the mixture and place them onto the plate with the bread crumbs. Combine the bread crumbs and balls of mixture to form the crab cakes. Place the plate to the side.
- Lightly coat an oven safe skillet with the oil and heat to medium high heat on your stove top.
- Add the crab cakes and cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side
- Remove skillet from the stove top and transfer to the oven for 8-12 minutes to finish cooking.
- Serve and enjoy!