Thursday, April 17, 2014

Its happening again ...

They make fun of me of course.  I would too.  I've run my last 100 at least 7 times now.  Or I should say, my last attempt at running my last 100 7 or so times now.  I think I've started 9 and finished 4.  I'm out of balance.  I like all my coffee cups hanging on the hooks the same way.  my toiletries are aligned, books on the shelves are straight (oddly enough I can not abide by a desk 90 or 180 degrees in a room).  They make fun of me for that too.  I've never really grown out of being made fun of I guess.  Do any of us?  do we progress beyond kindergarten ?  do we?  I'm still running willy nilly through the woods.  still ride my bike.  i like campfires, building things and dogs and hugs and I still get made fun of.  Sound's just like Mrs. Doro's class to me.

So I can't run Kettle this year because I signed up for the Lutsen 99er last September 9thish - or the day I felt like I should be running Sawtooth.  The Lutsen 99er is a 99 mile mountain bike race at the end of june - 2 or 3 weeks after kettle.  So I signed up for the Trek 100 to get ready.  It's the same day as Kettle.  If I ran Kettle - 1) I'd not bike before then and 2) my feet would be swollen for weeks after so 3) the Lutsen 99er would be painful and we all know I like to be the smiley runner at the end of every race (right - I do not win them - that would entail too much pain).

But - I've been thinking.  Sawtooth would really be just like an awesome hike right.  I't can't be that bad and I love it up there.  i just need someone to pace me at night when its so scary and dark and howly with wolves.... And - as noted - I am out of balance, 4 of 9 and all.  plus the Dutch Kettle is only a 1/2 this year - hardly worth the effort.  So - I'd like to sign up or think about signing up.  And - I need to decide soon because ultra-running is becoming way way too popular and requires so much planning ahead.

So - do i sign up now and maybe not run it.  I'd be made fun of.  Do I not sign up and then feel remorse in September (or would it be relief?)?  If I did sign up - I could'nt quit at 42 again just because Kevin did and it was so scary and dark and Allison had a car (that was one of the times I was so happy to know I was never running another 100 .... I think there may have been a video made as well ....).

Boy-O-Boy the pressure is on ...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just like we all always say .... it wasn't me.

Last year I attempted the Kettle 100 and wrote about being OK with not having completed it - and not being a 100 mile runner.  Then as all two of my readers know, I changed my mind (3 days later).  And I believe, recently, I wrote about needing to run one more 100.

So.  Off I went on Saturday.  Goal, 12 minute miles.  12 x 100 = 1200 minutes = 20 hours + some fudge factor, I'm done about 2:30.  Have a beer and I'm in bed before light and all is well.  I got tired at mile 28 though.  It wasn't hot, except it kind of was.  I was just pouring sweat.  At Wilton road, I came up on a man deep into the Body Glide ritual.  Not something a man wants to see another man doing.  Parker apologized.  We ran together for a while discussing the heat, humidity and chafing.   At this point, I had my Hawaiian shirt on since this spring has been so cold and awful, I would have been sunburned had I not put something on at Scuppernong.  I do look good though.
2 of the 6 women that got me through.
At Emma Carlin (mile 47 ?), I was still on "schedule"  Kathy told me I was 6 minutes ahead.  I said - just wait .... by Bluff I had lost 25 minutes and Kathy was texting my pacers that there was some worry (she said she saw it in my face).  They were COMING ANYWAY.
Women and Girls just know how to take care of you

As I hit Tamarac (mile 57 ish) I still didn't know.  By mile 60, I was contemplating flipping a coin.  Then I saw Joel coming back out.  Darn it !!  At the 100K point - as the picture above shows 1) I was very tired and by now, cold (but at the same time hot) and 2) very comfortable thanks to Hannah's pillow and EmmaGrace's blanket.  I explained that I was not likely to finish until 8:00 AM Sunday morning.  My sister Suzannah, who has three children (one of whom is 6 months old) said not to worry, she was happy to walk with me the first 14 miles and then my nieces Rachel and Emily were going to go the last 24 miles with me and that they are COLLEGE students and college students like to stay up all night.  Kathy very convincingly said that staying up and crewing for me until 8:00 was perfectly fine with her as well.  So convincingly, I believed her.

So:  Kathy is ok.  Hannah and EmmaGrace are OK, Suzannah is OK, Emily and Rachael are COMING ANYWAY and my friends Kevin and Ladonna know that I need to finish (Kevin is old like me and understands the need to "do one more 100.")

I got up.  Got some warm clothing on and away Suzannah and I went .... slowly.  very slowly.  That's it really.  Getting out of Nordic is all I really needed to do.  As the title says.  It wasn't me.

I got to run with my Sister again.  I got to remember the time 6 years ago now that she ran me in on my first 100 mile run.  Once again, the night was beautiful.  we ran the same section (on the way out this time).  We heard the bullfrogs.  we felt the stillness and the awe.  And as we approached Hwy 12, a pack of coyotes was yelping and howling on the oak ridge across the lake (I explained that we would soon be running over there).  Another magic memory that will stay with us both to the end.

At Hwy 12, Rachel and Emilie were waiting.  Emily was going to take the next section except Rachel was going to go too.  After some confusion over head lamps (I was not helpful - I apologize) and some insisting that they take at least a little water, off we went.  They were perfect pacers.  falling into my sporadic rhythm.  Run when you can, walk when you have to.  They talked, but not too much (like one particular pacer we were stuck near for a while (she would have driven me batty - but hopefully was just what her particular runner needed)). We ran down to Rice lake and back, seeing lots of people I knew, all saying hi Ron.  And everyone I didn't, all saying hi and good job.  Emily and Rachel saying they didn't deserve to be told good job, not realizing that without them, no good job would have been being done.  They were learning about the ultarunning "community."  While we are all obviously somewhat obsessive and many would call loaners - we are a very strong, supportive community of them.

Back at Hwy 12 Emily decided to run to Bluff as well.  A total of about 16 miles.  I'm not sure that she's ever run that far.  And after Bluff, it was just Rachel and I.  The girl that just can't say no (according to her dad and my sister) - never said no.  We walk ran it in.  Suzannah and I turned on our flashlights about four miles out from nordic, Rachel and I turned ours off with about 4 miles to go.

So, I completed my 4th and last 100 miler.  Definitely no where near as well as my first and third.  It's done though.  And, it's done because of the wonderful support I had from 6 beautiful women (ok two are still girls).  I can't thank them enough and I hope that my crazy adventure taught them just a little about tenacity (I've been called stubborn), but more, I hope they each remember this excellent adventure with as much love and awe as I will.

And I was thinking ..... I wonder what Leadville would be like?  I wonder if Rachel needs a pacer at Kettle?  That would be a good training run for me .....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I was wrong. And if you are sick, it's my fault and I apologize.

I'm running 100 miles on Saturday.  Or such is my plan.

I just read my post after quitting Kettle at the 100K point last year.  It sounded great.  So convincing.  So final.  So grounded and mature.  Apparently it wasn't.  Apparently I changed my mind.

It started bugging me that I've quit the last 3 100's I started.  I am not a quitter.  Really.  I may change my mind sometimes (like the last 3 100's I've started), but I don't quit.  Except I have.  And I did.  And I knew it.

And my kids knew it.  Hannah was only 5 when I last completed Kettle.  She and EmmaGrace have seem me quit twice.  It's not OK.  So, I signed up again.

Surprisingly, I've actually not been all that nervous about it.  Of course, it's been an incredibly cool spring which may have been a factor.  I haven't been nervous until this Monday that is.  That's when I started planning my drop bags and watching the weather.  Monday night - I got the cold fever sweats.  I immediately assumed:

  1. I have the flu (because other people I know have it - I therefore apologize to all sick people out there - you actually always get sick 1 to 2 weeks before my races just to set me into a panic.  It's my fault.  I'm sorry.) 
  2. I have Lyme's disease (because I think I was bitten by a tic whilst camping at Fanny lake 2 weeks ago and I read a lot on the internet about Lymes disease) 
  3. I overdosed on Morels this weekend (we had too many last year and all felt woozy for a couple days too)
  4. I am entering Manopause (which is perfectly OK) or 
  5. I'm nervous (which was actually not a consideration until just now when I read last year's post and saw that I had the cold night sweats too).  
So here it is.  Thursday.  I've slept in flannel and fleece each night to sweat out my sickness (that I may not actually have).  And - I'm very excited because my wetsuit came today and I understand they make your really sweaty (won't Kathy be surprised by this evening's attire ....).

But.  Aside from the fact that I may be sick, or not (see above), I'm not really that worried this year.  I am very well set on simply finishing.  I will not run any hills until mile 70.  I am focusing on 12 minute miles which I still have not achieved in training ( no matter what - I end up at 10 min miles).  I also have planned some very slow sections across the marsh and down to Rice Lake and back where it's dark and rocky.  I do however expect to run the last 14 at a 10 min. pace.  In effect, I'm hoping to be the same guy i was at Ice Age.  Not the fastest guy there, but definitely the happiest and most able to almost immediately grab a burger and a beer (this is a common measure of wellbeing amongst ultra-runners - usually, if we push it to the end, we find ourselves feeling rather awful and unable to eat for an hour or more - my goal is to finnish happy, strong and ready to eat).

So I was wrong when I thought I was mature enough to retire from this 100 mile running thing.  And I really hope I don't have to write a post on Sunday telling all of you (like there are any of you) that actually I was right, then I was wrong and now (Sunday) I'm right again.....

Life is complicated.  I'm pretty sure we bring that on ourselves.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Country Mouse comes to the City

I was trying to get out for a run today.  It was hard.  I needed to plan.  I needed to take care of certain things (it being the morning and all).  I was nervous.  Where was I going to be able to stop if a crisis ensued !!  I packed my normal running supplies (everyone I run with knows what is ALWAYS in my pocket).  It was taking me forever to get out.  Kathy was getting antsy since my run was holding up the family. and then Kathy said it:

The country mouse comes to the city.  It took a while to sink in.  But it's true.  The above is a picture of our mini bar here at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis.  Or rather, it's a picture of the contents of our mini bar here at the Four Seasons Hotel.  We needed to empty the mini bar because we bought beer from the grocery store.  And we bought meat and bread and carrots from the grocery store so that we can have a picnic tomorrow.

I really am not a city mouse.  My run ended up going under railroad tracks and through industrial areas (industrial "park" is way too nice to describe the area).  The whole while I was cognizant of the areas of safety (in terms of a potential crisis). I managed 6 miles.  I went to a nice old French area of the city.  ran along the river.  When I got back to the hotel, the door guy handed me a water. Wow !!  the nice check in lady asked me about my run.  All I could manage to say about it was that I ran under a train bridge and saw a homeless tent encampment (I actually seem to be able to find these in every city I run in).

This country mouse is looking forward to getting out tomorrow.  We are going to hike / run the Chub trail which I have been told in in the country.  I'll have my normal running supplies - but I wont be nervous.

My bullets fell out of my pajamas the other day.

Once you have bullets in your pajamas, you don't tend to take them out.  It's just not on the list of things you remember, like I got up so I'll make coffee or take a shower or brush my teeth or empty the dishwasher.  I remember these things. I do not however remember to take the bullets out of my pajamas.  When they fell out, I was upstairs in the guest bedroom (since that's where my closet is because the very large closet I built in our bedroom is 100% filled by Kathy - and frankly - it's easier to have a closet outside of the bedroom since I go to bed before her and get up before her.  I am just quietly in bed when she arrives and gone when she gets up so it's really as if my only purpose in the bedroom is to serve as one of those warming stones/pans they used to put in the beds - or at least did in Miss Swann's bed in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies)   and I just put them back in my pocket since the box of bullets wasn't in my closet and I really don't want bullets just sort of laying around the house or sitting on the dresser (yes, my dresser is also in the guest bedroom).

My pajamas are lime green fleece with grinch heads printed on them.  I don't remember whether Hannah or EmmaGrace bought them for me.  It could be either of them since they both believe me to be the Grinch which is of course understandable since Kathy always says - don't be such a grinch Ron. I'm not really a grinch - but I do like peace and quiet and sometimes living with 3 girls/women can get loud and being a man, I may (at least to them) express myself rather grinchishly.  In the same vein, both daughters like the fact that once I have expressed myself, I merrily go about my business.  No brooding, no lengthy lectures.  And - please note here - Brooding "the act of sitting on eggs to incubate them is called brooding"  Hens, i.e, females are the ones that brood.  Bill (our rooster) never broods - he just struts about crowing his way through every day- of course he is rather Hen Pecked .....  Its all connected.  We are all the same.  Are we chickens?

Now I have a bullet in my pants too.  It really can't stay there very long.  Banging around in my pocket with my iPhone.  I don't really have anywhere to put it.  Should I throw it away?  What if something sharp hits it in the garbage.  That would be a problem for the garbage carrier and then for me since who else would have been the one to throw a bullet in the garbage.  I could put it in my drawer - but.

And several weeks later - I finish this post (this being the first new sentence in weeks).  The bullets are our of my pajamas now (I washed my pajamas).  It seems that the squirrels have enough food in nature (we do have about 250 Walnut trees on the property).  In other words I am beyond the season where I come down to make coffee, see the squirrels all over the bird feeders, load the .22 (since when I went through a period of using the shotgun I felt kind of bad since the advantage was so heavily stacked in my favour ..) and attempt to sneak out the door to level the birds' playing field.  The squirrels were smart this year though (I believe this is a result of selective breeding over the past 10 years (man in grinch pajamas - run, zig zag, do not tarry !!) and as a result, the bullets collected in my pajamas (load gun, run around yard in pajamas, give up, unload gun, put bullet in pocket) rather than being used much.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm not on the farm.  Not near it.  I'm in Las Vegas for the Financial Forensics Accounting Academy (or something like that).  It's quite interesting.  Last time I was here was in 2003, stayed at the Venetian, got a $60 taxi ride to the hotel and barely saw outside but for the early AM runs along the strip, trying not to trip over all of the bare naked lady cards left on the ground (I wonder how one feels to see their image tossed aside as garbage ....).

This year there was no way I could stay inside for a whole week, so I rented a car, Ford Focus - very nice.  It's been great actually.  I've gotten to bed each night about 9:00 and up each day by 4:30.  Going down through the casino and Lobby at 5:30 am headed out for a run makes me feel so superior to all of the people still up and drinking at the bar (bars - they are every where in this hotel - The Cosmopolitan).  It's like I was back in Madison, 1985, going for my winter night runs past the bars with people inside, not running.  Is it bad to measure oneself against one's environment?

The light and noise and crowds of people here is beyond me.  It's the opposite of who I am.  I like people, but in small, well known doses.  Luckily, Las Vegas actually has phenomenal running trails within a 40 minute drive (10 of which is just managing the awful traffic lights on the Strip) of the Hotels.  I agree with my friend Mr. Lammers that Bootleg Canyon is the best.  The attached picture is of me, having made it up what started as a bike trail but became more of a climbing route before joining back up with a bike trail (and a slight divergence here - these bike trails are WAY beyond my comprehension - they were hard to walk or run - I simply can not imagine maneuvering mountain bikes down them).  This was at Bootleg canyon.  Just amazing to run at.  

I check out tomorrow.  I was going to muster up the courage to walk down on the strip tonight and drink a beer at a bar, by myself.  I just couldn't do it. (I was lucky enough to have been taken under the wings of a married couple in my class (Thank you Cami and Dusty !) - so tonight we went out to a Diners Drive-ins and Dives featured Restaurant, Forte Tapas Bar)  Instead, here I am, thinking about the farm, thinking about my family, thinking about the quiet, and likely going to bed.  I saw a great trail to run up this morning.  I was able to google the area and can see where I need to go to park.  Looks like I'll be up at 4:30 and feeling superior one more time tomorrow as I walk through the lobby to go on one last quiet adventure here.

I think I'l come back here next year for training in the least likely city for Ron to ever be seen in ....

Monday, October 15, 2012

I might be too old now

Glacial 50K.  Yep.  50K not 50 mile.  and I am glad.

Old Ron Bero signed up for the Glacial 50K this year.  Having not trained much this summer (of course it's all relative right - ran some 20's and such throughout the summer).  Decided that I better get my act in gear so I signed up for the Lapham Peak Marathon and the Northface 50K once it was clear that after re-spraining my ankle at least 3 times that Superior was out of the picture for this year (and Kathy said - there is no way you are doing that Ron (which provided the perfect excuse really)).  trained up for the two races Sept 8 and 15th.  Ran Lapham in 4:02 - basically 4 Blacks at about 59:30 each which for me is really pretty good.  I won my age group (I also lost my age group).  The NF50k wasn't all that bad either - 4:39 came in second in my age group (Joel's 50 now - I'll never win my age group again as long as he's in it - I have started my Nordic Ski training already though).

So - with Lapham and NF under my belt (and perhaps a few Hamm's Light's in my belly), Joel and I decided that we could do the Glacial 50 mile this year.  It would be a nice balance - I was at three 50Ms and four 50Ks so this would round things out for me.  So - we switched.  But then the weather report started telling us that it was going to rain all weekend.  I whined but to no avail.  The Reverend was stubborn.  He was not going back on his plan.

Up at 3:00.  sat on my porch (I do this every morning - 365 days a year - yes I do tend to be habitual - think the TV Show Monk....)  Not bad out.  60 degrees and misty - actually my favorite running weather.  But - the weather app was telling me it was not going to get warmer that day in Greenbush - it was going to be getting colder and the wind was going to be building to 20mph our of the northeast.  A Nor-easter as it is.  Ugh.  I felt the DNF coming and there is no such thing as a DNF in a 50 mile (for me so far anyways).  Driving up - I remained positive but somewhat hoped that I might be late.  Then about 5:00 the rain started and it was getting colder.  I was raining so hard that even stopping in a corn field wasn't an option.  I made it in time.  It was pouring.  This was the kind of day that you'd just like to stay inside and clean your basement and watch movies (which is exactly what I did all day Saturday). I walked in and apologized to the Reverend and had Old Ron switched back down to the 50K (Thank you Robert !!).

That 50K decision was the best decision I've made in a while.  It was ok at the start.  I couldn't see in the woods (rain and clouds make it dark).  rolled my ankle a few times. and settled in to a rather heavy slog.  happily telling everyone I met - like Pink Man John, with whom I ran for a while, it is a GREAT day for a 50K !  And it was.  I ran out in about 2:33 or so (actually forgot to look at my watch but Matt said 2:30 and he was ahead of me at the turnaround) and back in about 2:34.  It was slipperier and softer on the way back and the wind had picked up, the rain had picked up and it had gotten colder.  And - my left quad started cramping.  I think it was from the cold.  The other slight issue was that all I had for GU was the Jet Black Raspberry 2x caffeine.  By the time I finished my heart was doing an offbeat spasm of a dance.  I had chilly then a beer to calm it down.

In essence - I may be too old to do a 50 mile in pouring rain in 50 degree weather now.  I just don't think I could have mustered up the mental energy to make it through 10+ hours of being in that S___t yesterday.  and I am glad that Old Ron realized this BEFORE he started.  What a great day for a 50K.