Tag Archive for Hoka

24 hr Lemming Loop 2016 – race report

Time for a long review of the 24 hour Lemming Loop endurance race. But before I get into the long race report below I have to start out by saying thank you to the great volunteers at the race. They were always quick with encouragement and a joke – it would be easy to get a bit dark at an event like this but with those folks everything was kept light and happy. Fantastic!

The race and the aid station were amazingly well organized – I have a tendency to blow up at the races put on by Trail Run Manitoba but that is on me not on them. I recommend their races to anyone looking for races that are different from the normal in Manitoba – that is anyone looking for a race that doesn’t run on Portage Ave here in Winnipeg.

The report below was fired out quickly so there could be many grammar issues.

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7:00 am – both dogs laying on my chest licking my face. Apparently it is breakfast time and I am not going to be able to sleep in today. I took the day off work for final prep and to try to get extra sleep before the 24 hour Lemming Loop. 10 hours to the start.

I got up and fed the dogs and helped get the kids off to school for the day.

I had the truck mostly loaded last night but I still needed to go grab ice for my cooler and do the final organization. So I went grabbed the ice and did my final prep before going out for breakfast with my wife. No coffee for me – I needed to try to be able to nap in the afternoon. I had a breakfast wrap and some bacon – nothing that was going to cause stomach issues.

A bit more organization and the kids were home from school for lunch. I had a bit of a chat with them and then went an lay down with the hope of napping.

I actually fell asleep fairly quickly all things considered but I woke up after about 45 minutes and was wide awake – I had given myself about 3 hours but apparently I wasn’t going to get it.

Well, not much I could do about it so I got up, played with the dogs a bit and then got into the running gear I planned to start the race with. I then hopped into the truck for the 30 minute drive to Beaudry Park where the event was set up.

The past 2 years the event had been at the Living Prairie Museum but it originated at Beaudry Park and it had moved back again this year. I had never run at Beaudry Park before but I had done the 12 hour races at the Living Prairie Museum the past 2 years – so Beaudry was an unknown to me.

Back before I decided to sign up for this year I figured I needed to check the park out and see if I could handle the trails. So back near the beginning of summer I went out and did a few laps (fighting the swarms of mosquitos) and while the trails were a little bit tougher than the Living Prairie Museum, they were much easier than the trails at Spruce Woods Provincial Park (where I blew out of the 50k race back in the spring). The trails did have more roots to trip over due to the trails being recently recut due to flooding wrecking the old trails.

With that in mind I signed up figuring I could handle the trails.

So I got to site, backed my truck into a spot close to where the race trail came near the parking lot so that I would have to go far off the trail to grab gear and my own snacks, etc. I went and did my check in and got my race bib. I then wandered back to the truck to get out of the way of the volunteers who were busy setting up. I did scope the snacks they had and I could tell a lot of what I had brought was redundant but I was still glad I had brought them anyway – my system seems to be a bit tricky during races so making sure I had exactly what would work for me is vital.

Back at the truck I put my race bib on and set up my own aid station. I put out a beach chair, my cooler and my jugs of electrolyte drink and flat Coke. I also put my “Don’t Panic” towel on the beach chair – advice that would be useful for the full race.

I put on my Hoka One One Challenger ATRs – the first pair of shoes for the race. I used these shoes at Spruce Woods and when I did my test run at Beaudry Park back near the beginning of summer. They are a trail running shoe – not an aggressive pair so they can still be used on streets if I needed to, but still trail shoes. I’m not a fan of them on the road but they have worked for me on trails before so they seemed like the perfect shoes for the race. (foreshadowing here)

So besides the too short nap and lack of sleep, my only real concern at the start of the race was making sure I didn’t make the same hydration mistakes I did at Spruce Woods Ultra. So my plan was to always have a bottle with me and every lap I would finish it – I would alternate flat coke for the sugar and electrolyte drink for the salt. Making myself finish the bottle every lap would keep my conscious of putting liquids in me. I would finish a lap, rinse the bottle I was using and refill it with the same type of drink it had and then put in the cooler. Out of the cooler I would take the second bottle I brought that had already been filled with the other drink. This way I would always have a cold drink to take with me. As a bonus I would also be looking in my cooler every lap and reminding myself to eat as well.

Then 20 minutes before the start of the race, we got our last minute instructions and pep talk from Dwayne the race director. And then time for one last pit stop before we were off.

The weather was good – a decent temperature and a bit breezy in the open areas but not a concern in the treed areas.

About 20 minutes in I had my first gear issue. I was using my running watch but also was tracking the run using my phone. I was also using the phone to get pacing information and music through my earphones. I slide my phone into my running belt connected to an external battery pack so that it can go for many, many hours. Unfortunately though after about 20 minutes into the run the music stopped, basically the headphones cord was getting bent funny and getting pulled out partially which would cause the music to pause. I tried several times to fix this but it kept happening so I just kept the phone in my hand instead which would not be sustainable for 24 hours.

First piece of tried and tested gear that didn’t work as it had in training and previous races.

About 5 minutes later I tripped on my first root. Not my last trip but the only time I hit the ground. That sent the phone spinning through the leaves on the trail. Definitely not sustainable.

After I finished the first lap I texted my wife as she was planning on coming out to visit the race with the kids after supper – if I caught her in time she could bring my phone holster and I could get the phone out of my hand. I had caught her in time but it would be a lap or 2 before she was out.

Second lap went well and felt good. I was going easy and feeling ok.

After the third lap, my wife was there and gave me the holster. Yeehaw, I didn’t have to keep the phone in my hand anymore!

Three laps took about 2 hours including the time it took to follow my bottle swap each lap.

At this point the sun was going down fairly quickly so I grabbed my headlamp before I started out for the 4th lap.

I started run/walk cycles on the fourth lap and had to turn on the lamp about 3/4 of the way through the lap.

No drama for a while but through the fifth and sixth laps my ankles and calves were starting to revolt pretty bad. The laps were a lot slower and I was finding the bottles I was using were too small – so I switched to a larger bottle that had come in the race kit. It worked much better.

After 6th lap I figured I had to do something about my legs. So I swapped out my second gear item that hadn’t worked they way they had in the past.

I put on clean socks and a pair of Nike Pegasus 30s that were well tested and had worked well for me in the past. In fact I had used them 2 weeks earlier at the Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon and they were good then.

My calve issues cleared up almost immediately with the different shoes but the ankles issues remained.

During the 7th lap I could still do the run/walk cycles but the running portion pace tanked. Instead of being 5+ mph it was closer to 4.2/4.3 mph. Damn.

But it was at this point I discovered they had bacon at the aid station! Whoohoo! I ate a lot of that and their grilled cheese sandwiches over the race.

At this point it was pitch black outside too. It was a rare “black moon” that night – that is a second new moon in one month. Plus it was cloudy so there was no light in the woods. Damned dark.

Part of the trail was in an open tall grass field where I had really hoped I would be able to watch the stars through the night. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for that but I amused myself by turning off my headlight occasionally to enjoy the dark.

Turned out that the 7th lap was the last one during the night where I could run. Accepting that fact for now I decided to walk strong instead and put on an audio book to listen to and pushed on.

During the 8th lap I missed a corner and wandered off the trail. Luckily I caught on about 10 paces in so I didn’t wander too far. Whoops. Obviously tired at this point.

The 9th lap got me over 50k and finished the audio book. I ate some pizza that they had brought in for the aid station and at around 2 am I told them I was taking a break and headed to the air mattress in the back of the truck.

I quickly changed my clothes and crawled into the back of the truck and into the sleeping bag. I had also brought a large battery booster pack and plugged in my phone, my portable battery bank and my running watch to get them all recharged.

I had positioned the truck so that the south wind wasn’t blowing in at me but the way I was laying I was catching a cold breeze across my head. The rest of me was quite toasty but not my head. So I threw a blanket over my head. Unfortunately it took longer to fall asleep than I would have guessed and I kept waking up to reset the blanket over my head when it slid off.

I heard the 12 hour folks starting off at 6 am…crap I had meant to get moving around 5 or so but forgot to set an alarm. Damn. But at least I could see some stars now so I looked at those for a few minutes while I got my brain together.

So I got up and staggered around – I felt better but legs were still a bit buggered. I went to throw on my main running jacket as it had gotten cooler but as I went to put it on I noticed it stank. What the hell? Damn, I had something in my pocket – smelled like dog treats in a baggie that must have been there since a run with the dogs in the winter. Glad I brought another jacket.

Swapped that on and had a short chat with the race director before pushing out for another lap. My stomach had been growling through the nap but I just needed to get moving to make sure my brain didn’t shut me down. Wake up and move damn it.

And glory be I could run. Not fast (maybe 4.5 mph) but I ran that full lap with no issues. But I could tell my blood sugar level was tanking. Should have eaten.

So I sat and had some hot tea, a cheese sandwich and a donut out of my cooler. Feeling much better now.

Lap 10 was done and based on the pacing I figured I had a shot at 100k if I could keep things moving.

Out for lap 11 – at this point the sun came up – a beautiful sunrise.

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Still running this lap but getting a bit slower – running maybe at about 4.0-4.2 mph – not doing regular run / walk cycles instead just doing a short walk as needed. 100k / 18 laps still seemed doable.

Lap 12 – ankles buggered again. Was able to run some but not much or often. A strong walk actually seemed to eat more ground than the running at this point. I also now fighting some painful blisters.

So I now decided to switch shoes again. I cleaned up the blisters and put on clean socks. This time 2 pairs as the next pair of shoes were a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 3s. They were a bit oversize so I use double socks with them to prevent blisters. They are extra cushy so if I was going to be walking they should have been easier on the ankles and I should be able to get decent walking speeds.

….And a wicked blister on the bottom of my right foot after just one lap (#13). Third pair of tried and true shoes had let me down. Dammit!

So I stopped and took care of that and put back on the first pair of shoes. At this point I have accepted that I was stuck walking the rest of the time.

On lap 14 I had a nice chat with an older lady who was out at the park taking pictures…she was walking faster than I was…that was fairly disheartening.

At the end of lap 14 I sat and chatted with my wife as she had come to see visit again with the kids. I sat and ate and drank a bit as I visited and at this point I was at 49.7 miles with my longest ever event being 50.33 at last years 12 hour lemming loop. I had to get further than that so it meant at least one more lap to do that but I would then need another 3 to get to 100k. Unless I could run there was no way to make it because at this point my walking speed had dropped to closer to 2.7 mph so I couldn’t even get close to the speed I needed for that.

At that point I probably had time for another 2-3 laps but I had to take it one lap at a time. So I saw the wife and kids off and started moving again.

The 15th lap was tough. I kept dropping my drink bottle – at least I had no issues bending over and picking it up…but it was not a good sign. The last mile I kept thinking it would be nice if there was a bench or something to sit down on for a bit, or maybe that area of grass over there would be good…

I finished the 15th lap hitting 53.3 miles and told them I was pulling the pin. I talked quickly with the race director and went to try to pack up my gear into the truck. I got part way through that and started to feel light headed and nauseous so I sat down on the tailgate of the truck.

I ended up curling up on the tailgate and then slowly shimmied my way onto my air mattress and stretched out a bit more. I started to feel better but was feeling pretty unfocussed. So I sent my wife a texted my wife letting her know I was stretching out and might fall asleep…and then promptly fell asleep with most of my body under the tonneau cover with just my feet and calves sticking out. I bet it looked pretty silly, but it was comfy.

I woke up a half hour later feeling pretty damned good…comparatively. I looked at the time and realised I probably had time to do one more lap. So I stood up and promptly gave up on that idea. Brain was willing but legs were unlikely to cooperate.

So I packed up and headed home for a long shower. Bonus points for being able to climb stairs when I got home.

I did a fair bit of napping through the evening and started to feel more human.

When I went to bed I went to sleep quickly and almost immediately jerked violently awake. As soon as I fell asleep, I immediately went into a dream about being back out on the trail and tripped! Then woke up trying to catch myself. That was unexpected but does speak to what my biggest concern was out on the trail as I was pretty damned tired of kicking roots by the end.

So how do I think I did? Probably the best answer is not as well as I would have liked but better than I had any reason to expect. My training just wasn’t right – I did not spend enough time on trails like what was out there to figure out a good way to run and not trip so often plus I did not do enough truly long training runs.

I did do something things right however – I hydrated well and I ended the race only a couple pounds lighter than when I started so that was way better than the 10+ pounds I was down after Spruce Woods Ultra. I had also fueled well – I only had 2 points where I had low blood sugar – the lap first thing in the morning where I should have eaten before I ran and I buggered up on the last lap I did as I think I had already shut down or was just not thinking straight. Plus no runners’ trots which was a phenomenal surprise!

Besides the blisters and the rough ankle on my right foot I seem to be almost 100% – my ankles look bruised and my feet look like they have a heat rash but other than that no other issues.

So at this point I had a lot of thinking to do – I am I cut out for this ultra thing? I have not done as well on the last two as I would like…but I also pulled off 50+ miles despite being severely undertrained…so maybe I can do it but I would need to focus my training much better. What does that mean though? Stop worrying about half marathon speed training? I just don’t know at this point and it is going to take time to sort out mentally.

Up next is the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services Half Marathon in 2 weeks and then the Goofy Challenge in January. I need to focus on training for the Goofy Challenge over the next few months and how that training goes will help me decide what I do after that….stay tuned!

To end this – thanks again to all the fantastic volunteers at the race! And thanks to the race director Dwayne for all the hard work put into the race! Awesome job once again!

Time for my recap of the 2015 12 hour Lemming Loop…or at least what I can remember of it.

First up – awesomely run race again. Well organized and you can tell it is all about giving the runners the opportunity to do their best. Great management, nice course and fantastic volunteers! Thanks folks!

Now about my run and personal experience…

I was going in fairly undertrained. This time last year I had over 30% more mileage on my legs than I do this year. I had a few 200 mile months last year and this year I have been struggling to get over 100 most months. I did have a few longer runs in recently but, being honest with myself, I wouldn’t say I was actually ready.

Then the day before the race, I got knocked on my ass by a cold – headache, runny nose and wicked sneezing. I ended up taking the afternoon off of work the day before to hit the cold meds and crash on the couch for a while. Amazingly the meds seemed to work…and didn’t make me drowsy…that meant I could run on the meds. Ok…that means I am go for the race.

I finished packing up my stuff after taking the kids to swimming lessons, pre-loaded my vehicle and set out my breakfast and hit the sack by 10pm (after taking another set of cold meds).

Up with the alarm at 4:30 – showered, dressed, took more cold meds and out the door by 5 am without waking the dogs (first win of the day). I ate my breakfast on the drive and wandered up to the staging area as the orientation was occurring – missed it but I had read about the changes to the course on the trailrunmanitoba.com website and remembered enough of the rules from last year that I felt comfortable anyway.

There was the choice of dropping your gear in the outside tents or inside (where there was limited room) – I saw an open spot near the bathroom and went with that for my gear location. I had brought a few changes of clothes in-case I need to make a gear swap due to weather changes and I figured being close to the bathroom for the changes would be a good thing.

Strangely, I was feeling very confident – I had no real reason to be but I was. Maybe it was the cold meds I took when I got up?

I wandered outside to look at the tally board to see how a friend was doing on the 24 hour run – saw that he was up well over 50 miles (13 hours in for the 24 hour folks at that point) and it looked like he was going strong for the 100 he was shooting for. Cool.

I got in with the small pack getting ready to get started and lined myself up somewhere in the middle – I wasn’t going to make the mistake I made last year where I went out too fast.

I fired up my gps tracking app on my phone as well as a run/walk timer app. I knew I was going to probably ignore the interval app for the first while but I wanted it running so that when I got to the point that I wanted to use it, it would already be going. Plus it speaks off the number of intervals completed giving me an idea of how much time had passed without necessarily having to look at my Garmin watch.

Speaking of my Garmin watch – it died on me at about 10 hours in last year and I wanted to make it last as long as possible for this run so I didn’t turn it on until right before the race started – every minute I could make it last would be needed. It was extra important as when I got to the race I found that the backup watch I had brought had stopped keeping time. I would still have my phone but I didn’t want to have to keep popping it out of the holster to check the time.

Ok – then we are off – headlamp is on and off we go – I held back and didn’t push. I just wanted to get comfortable with the course changes and watch for areas where roots and rocks were going to be a problem – the worst areas I logged in my brain so that I would know when to snap back into focus and pay attention to what my feet were doing.

About 3 laps in I had to take a bio break. At this point I had noticed my headlamp was starting to dim but luckily it was starting to get bright enough I didn’t really need it anymore.  I did my restroom stop and grabbed a bottle of electrolyte drink from my gear and dropped off my headlamp. The drink I was using comes in tablet form that you drop in a bottle of water – it is made by Gu and is 0 calorie, so flavored salt, but tasty. I was quite impressed at how well it worked for me (besides a side issue with it that I talk about below)

The electrolyte drink is a new thing for me – I can’t handle Gatorade (I get major swamp gut after a couple hours on a race if I drink it). So I usually drink flat Coke on long runs and it works very well for me – however on the 12 hour race last year I tanked about half way through and I realized it was because I was low on electrolytes (I could walk but running gave me headaches). My goal for this race was to do a bottle of electrolyte drink followed by a bottle of coke and keep alternating. I would also take in a gulp of water every lap as well as some chips that they had out at the great snack table. Through the day I also had some cookies, some chocolate bars and some grapes. Extremely good selection of things to try – I even saw chocolate covered bacon but didn’t want to risk potential impacts to my system.

I noticed at this point that my friend’s (who was doing the 24 hour) lap counter didn’t seem to be moving up. Oh oh.

I continued on and about half way through the next lap I ended up with some deep dark stomach gurgles and cold sweats. Not good. Surprisingly the feeling past and I was good for hours after that. Not sure what that was but it could have been baaaaad.

Not much drama after that for a while – I just kept fairly steady pace and would do a bit of walking as I finished every lap but I wasn’t doing the true run / walk cycles yet.

On the 8th or 9th lap (about 17 miles in – I had ditched my toque and jacket by this point) I was walking and finishing off a grilled cheese sandwich when a runner trotted past and I heard “that looked like a Ted…was that a Ted?” I replied “it is a Ted, is that a Pete?” Indeed. It was my friend doing the 24 hour – I trotted after him and we chatted a bit. He had crashed pretty hard through the night apparently and had a lap take him over an hour. He ended up getting some sleep and then woke up and ate a whack of carbs and got some caffeine. And now he was moving again. That is perseverance.

I did a lap with him – the only reason I could keep up was because he was taking it easy (he is quite out of my league – a just over 3 hour marathoner) and it was still my fastest lap of the race.

His strategy was to rest a bit after each lap so when we finished that lap he stopped for a bit and I kept going (he still lapped me several times after that).

After about 5 hours I got into the true run/walk intervals to start resting the legs (5 min run and 1 min walk per cycle).

I hit the marathon distance at about 5:10 or so and was right around 28.5-29 miles at the 6 hour point. Going slow but still feeling pretty good.

At about here my wife and daughter showed up to cheer me on (son came too but he had just gotten sick and stayed in the vehicle – I think the poor bugger was fighting the same cold I was) but didn’t stay long so that they could go get out the boy home and cleaned up. My daughter did help herself to some of the food on the runner table before we could stop her – luckily there was plenty

Was able to stay pretty steady (if a bit slower) for a few more hours and it was looking like I had a shot at 52.4 – double marathon. Everything would have to run absolutely perfect for that to happen from there on out but it is good to dream.

Just before the 10 hour mark I stopped for another bio break and figured the double marathon was probably gone but there shouldn’t be an issue hitting 50 miles if I kept steady. After I got running again I figured I could do 3 x 30 minute laps and then do 1 short lap to hit 50 easily and probably have a 10-15 minute buffer. I was feeling good and was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – time to push.

I got through the first of the 3 laps on time and grabbed another bottle of electrolyte drink and pushed. I got about half way though this lap and crashed hard. I started to feel tingly and a bit light headed. Oh crap…

I couldn’t run and I walked as hard as I could but I was feeling pretty awful. It took everything I had to finish that lap and I was concerned that I might be done and could maybe pass out. What was supposed to be a half hour lap took over 40 minutes. At this point the 24 hour folks had just finished so I kind of quietly went over to where my gear was and grabbed a coke and chugged half a bottle and tried to think.

What I realized was that my blood sugar had tanked. The electrolyte drink I had been drinking was 0 calorie and I wasn’t replacing those calories that my body was expecting from the Coke I usually drank. If I was right, it meant it was something I could fix. I needed fast calories, now! After a minute or 2 I was able to stand up and move – I wandered out and grabbed a handful of cookies and started chowing down and slamming more Coke.

I ran into my friend Pete at this point and he had made his 100 miles – Awesome! (edit – looks like he hit second place! Amazing recovery!) He was excited and wanted to chat – but I had to keep moving though because if I sat down to chat I wasn’t going to get moving again. I congratulated him and slowly continued.

So I started walking again – I didn’t want to risk the long lap – if it took me too long I wouldn’t get credit for a partial one if I ran out of time…plus it was going to be deserted and I wasn’t sure anyone would find me if I took a header.

So I walked a short lap and made sure to let the time keepers know that it was a short one and not long like they had originally marked.

I was starting to feel better at this point and the math was that if I could hammer out 3 more short laps I maybe, just maybe would hit the 50 mile point…

I didn’t know for sure how long the short laps were – I vaguely recalled them being like 0.8 or 0.85 miles from last year but wasn’t sure. I figured 3 more would do it but I couldn’t afford anymore stopping – I had to get those 3 done as fast as I could at this point. (which really wasn’t what you would call fast…)

Pushed through the first – ok. And then the 2nd – still doing ok. Started the 3rd and my Garmin started saying low battery. I had 10 minutes to go and I needed to keep looking at the watch to see where I was and how much time I had left – it kept up the urgency and that was what I needed to try and get the 50 miles.

Finished out the 3rd with 2 minutes to go – and started pushing down the stretch again to hit the 100 meter markers (on your last short lap they have markers every 100 meters and you add the last one you hit to your tally). My friend who did the 24 hour run was still there and when he saw me keep going he yelled “You’re still going?” – he didn’t realize how close I was to 50 miles and I needed every step to just make sure.

So I hit the 100 meter mark and it was going to be tight to the 200 meter point but dug as deep as I could and got to there. At that point the Garmin said I had less than 5 seconds to go so I stopped and the air horn went to say we were done.  Good timing. I hit stop on the Garmin and it shut off. Hope it saved the run…

I walked back to the start line and gave them my 200 meter number and asked the organizers what the distance was for the short loop. 1250 meters. Before doing anything else I sat down with my phone with Google and the calculator app.

1250 meters = approx. 0.77 miles times 4 = 3.08 miles

200 meters = approx. 0.124 miles

23 full laps at 2.05 miles per lap = 47.15

So all totaled to 50.35 miles – I fricking did it.

(Update – official numbers posted and confirmed at 50.33 miles. Yeehaw!)

My phone app said just over 51 but it was reading high most of the day and my Garmin said 49.6 but it had been reading low most of the day as well.

I still have to wait for the official word but right now I would say I made my 50 miles – and did a mile more than I pulled off last year. Add in that I am probably 15 pounds heavier this year over last and that I was fighting a cold this year makes for a really unlikely scenario…but I did it. Wild.

I sat down for a minute and chatted with my friend and he headed home and I went to gather my stuff and grab a slice of pizza. The pizza was great (by Pappa Murphy’s here in Winnipeg) but I only got through about a half slice before my stomach rebelled. Apparently my stomach wasn’t up to solid food at that point – but man it was tasty.

At that point I grabbed my gear and wandered out to my van – fired up the heat and put a blanket around my shoulders and started the drive home.

Amazingly when I got home I was able to get out of the van and walk into the house and up the stairs. Even managed to take the dogs out and feed them.

At this point I was starting to shiver so I managed to climb even more stairs, have a shower and get warm and clean. I then sat my ass on the couch and didn’t move for a while…

In the end, I came through relatively undamaged – my left ankle is tight and doesn’t want to give full range of movement without some pain but I can tell it isn’t permanently damaged, only sore. Other than that some scrapes on the feet where things stuck through the shoes but nothing major – yay Hoka Cliftons – legs feel amazing for what I just did.

So that is the long story of the run or at least what I can remember – hope you enjoyed the story.

Again, thanks to all the volunteers and the organizers – another great race this year!

 

edit – Oct 5 – I should mention that I did not use music at all during the run – I put one ear bud in my right ear to catch pacing information from the gps running app as well as get alerts from the run/walk app. The other ear bud I tucked into my shirt to keep it out of the way. This worked surprisingly well especially since most runners were passing on the left so I was always able to hear when someone was coming up behind me and calling for a pass. I might have to do more of that on outdoor runs where I am not looking for speed.

Unfortunately it is time to retire some running shoes

Over the past couple days I have had a few different pairs of shoes crap out on me, each with their own symptoms and indications to let me know that they were done. The coincidental timing of the shoe failures made it tough to sort out which pair(s) were the culprit but with some trial and error, I have sorted out the issue. I occassionally get a hit on the blog from a runner trying to figure out how many miles they should expect to get out of a pair of running shoes and with that in mind I figured I should do a quick write up of the symptoms I was having and how I worked through discovering what was causing my issues. Read on below…

So over the past couple weeks I have been noticing some issues with my feet and legs. Specifically – I have been having some aches in around the front half of my right foot and some issues with my right knee while running. I have also been having issues with my left ankle almost seizing up some days. The right leg issues showed while running but the left leg issues would show up at other times of the day after my legs had had a chance to rest, whether I had run or not that day.

The right knee is a known old issue that comes and goes – mostly if my form is good and I am putting in decent miles the knee will strengthen and be solid. I think this issue is just because I haven’t been running enough but may also be due to bad form. But if it is bad form what is causing that? It is possible that the right foot issues are messing up how I am moving and planting that leg and foot. So I will treat that as a side symptom for now.

My right forefoot is a new thing and I have only been seeing it after my outdoor runs. I had originally thought it might just be due to being a bit off my game and running heavily on asphalt and cement. My outside running lately has been exclusively in my Hoka One One Cliftons, which are fantastic and have done well at shielding me from the punishment I should expect from a lot of pavement running. But on Thursday I did an 8.85 mile run in a new set of Cliftons that I received as a present for Fathers’ Day, and I didn’t have the same forefoot pain. This made me think that the original pair of Cliftons might finally be dead. I hadn’t run the day before so there was the chance that the rest day had allowed the foot to recover, so I did a test run on Friday with the original pair and the foot pain returned. That still wasn’t conclusive because the pain could just be an issue with running back to back days. So Saturday I ran in the new set of Cliftons again – no foot pain…original set of Cliftons is toast. I am sorry to see those shoes go – they hold a lot of memories and have helped me through many races – my first ultra back in October, my first Dopey Challenge (3 of 4 races and wandering around the parks after) as well as a few other half marathons and another full. But I certainly got my money out of them and they have treated me right since the very first test run in them.

In the end (after Friday’s run) the shoes are being retired at 466.9785 running/training miles and more than a few walking miles as well. This is pretty damned impressive considering I have been in the 220-230 pound range the entire time I have been using these shoes. I have always been a Nike Pegasus guy and have gone through dozens of pairs of those shoes over the years and they have never gotten me that kind of mileage! The best mileage I got on a pair of Nike Pegasus 29s was about 350, about 330 for Nike Pegasus 30s – which I have always been happy with. Unfortunately the Pegasus 31s released last year were no where near as cushioned a shoe and I was only able to get 305 miles on them before I had to set them aside. That is over an additional 50% mileage with the Hoka One One Cliftons over the Pegasus 31s….wow!!

Ok – so that sorted out the right foot but what about the left ankle? This didn’t seem to be aggravated by running so much but it was aching frequently if I was out walking around and also showed stiffness after work. It got really bad one day after I mowed the lawn – a half hour of mowing shouldn’t cause issues when I can push out 3.5-4 miles of running in the same time period.

Now my walking around shoes are a pair of Nike Pegasus 30s – I wear these when shopping and at work and pretty much any time I am out of the house besides when running or doing specific yard work. My yard work shoes are a pair of Pegasus 29s that I retired from being my normal walking around shoes a while ago because they were feeling a bit dead but were ok for short periods of use. When that happened I took what was my current running 30s and moved them over to walking around shoes instead – so my current walkers had about 100 running miles on them before they were re-purposed and then had several months of being used day in and day out.

So there were 2 different scenarios where my ankle was hurting, neither of which involved running. After just doing everyday stuff and after doing yard work. I had not worn the walking around shoes the day I had issues after mowing the lawn so there seemed to be no correlation between shoes and the ankle issue. Strange.

But I had to try something so I grabbed my last pair of Pegasus 30s I had in reserve (with no mileage on them at all) and did basically a walking around shopping day in them. No ankle issues at all. I avoided both the old 30s and the old 29s completely that day and I felt no issues with my ankle the next day.

I did some walking around in the old 30s the next day and felt some issues. Those are dead.

So my conclusion is that what has basically happened is that my walking around shoes (the 30s) have died at around the same time the demoted yard work 29s gave up the ghost completely. Or because the 30s are now dead and causing issues the previously dead 29s are aggravating the issues.

Either way, I will be tossing out the old 29s and demoting the old 30s to yard work shoes for the rest of the summer and start using the new 30s for my new walking around shoes. I don’t know what I am going to do once that pair is worn out – I have worn Pegasus for so long for everyday life that I don’t a have a clue what could replace them! I will burn that bridge when I come to it I guess.

Anyway – the moral of the story is that there is no hard and fast rule on how many miles or how much work you can get out of a pair of decent running shoes. You have to watch your body and figure out when it isn’t feeling right and experiment to see if it is the shoes or a deeper issue to be solved. I do recommend keeping a log of how many miles you get on a pair of shoes as that can give you some indication when you might start having problems (especially if you have killed another pair of the same type of shoe before) but that really isn’t a substitute for monitoring and paying attention to what your body is telling you!

13.1 sweaty miles in 2:15:38 – sloooow run today. Trying to save some energy for an attempt at 18-20 miles tomorrow.

I knew I was going to be trying to do a fair bit of long slow running this weekend so on Friday night I decided I should try a bit of speed work on the treadmill to get that out of my system.

I ended up doing 4 miles in 29:59 on the treadmill – solid run alternating between 2 minutes at 7 mph, 2 minutes at 8 mph and 2 minutes at 9 mph most of the time. It felt good!

Then this morning the dogs got me up early enough that I hoped I would miss most of the heat but even still it was hot and humid out there. Very draining. The smoke in the air from all the forest fires in the north probably didn’t help either. It was very hazy the whole run as it has been for days here.

The picture from my cell phone doesn’t really do it justice but it was quite the red/orange sun this morning!

Red sunrise - Winnipeg

I figured this morning I would give the new Hoka One One Cliftons that I got for Fathers’ Day a try – I definitely wanted to make sure to break them in before I try them on any really long runs. They did great on the run – I should have remembered from my other pair that they really didn’t need to be broken in at all – felt comfortable from the first step. Love these shoes!

I knew I wanted to go slow and steady so that is what I shot for. I figured that should help keep the heat from beating me up too bad and also save some energy in the legs for a longer run tomorrow. Even still I was pretty fried by the end of the run – I am definitely not used to the heat yet – it is going to take a while.

My size doesn’t help in the heat either – I had a large bottle of water with me on the run that I drank all of and I still had a 4 pound weight difference between my before and after weigh ins. (I always weigh myself before and after a long run – because of my size and how much I can sweat out on a hot run I want to know how much liquid I need to get back in my system).

In the end I was pretty steady at 6 mph with no breaks up to about the 12 mile mark before started to crash out – I ran out of water at about mile 11 which didn’t help. I had to take a couple walk breaks to finish out the remaining 1.1 miles finishing up the full 13.1 mile run in 2:15:38 – definitely not fast but that wasn’t the plan for today.

The plan now is to shoot for 20 miles tomorrow – I am off work on Monday too so if the heat is looking not too good I may move that 20 miler to Monday instead. But my hope is to get up early enough tomorrow and have it done by 9ish. And then have the day to lounge by the pool!

8.72 miles in 1:24 – very hot and humid this morning. Rain at about mile 6 helped

My training mileage this week hasn’t been all that great to be honest.

I got in an ok treadmill 5 miler on Tuesday and then a very good 8.85 miles outside yesterday and then this morning’s run was a bit of a struggle.

I put up twitter posts of the first two of those runs but as a recap – Tuesday was 5 miles in 38:14 and then Saturday’s was 8.85 in 1:18:46 and I felt very strong on Saturday’s run.

I had planned to get up early (expecting the puppies to get me up around 5:30) so that I get in a 20 miler this morning before it got too hot. But I didn’t plan on not falling to sleep until well after midnight (closer to 1 am) then being woken by a thunderstorm around 3 and then by our son having gotten sick around 4. Luckily he is feeling much better but it took a solid 30-40 minutes to clean up his room. The dogs were of course up with all the commotion so they were off schedule. By 5 am, everything that needed to be done was sorted and I could have gone running then but I was looking at less than 3 hours sleep so I figured I would lay on the couch and set an alarm for 6 and then go after that…I know I heard the alarm but it was closer to 8 before I was conscious again. So by the time I got myself moving it was closer to 9 and already very hot and humid – not sure what the temperatures were but they felt pretty oppressive.

So I changed up my plan and decided that I would just do 5 miles and look at getting in the long run tomorrow morning instead. With that in mind I didn’t bring a drink with me as it was going to just be a short run. Then I changed my mind and decided to try a new route through a new subdivision…which ended up being longer than I expected. Instead of 5 miles I hit 8.72 miles in the end. The pace was pretty steady even with the heat but interestingly my speed dropped off a bit around the 6 mile mark right around the time the rain started. The rain helped cool things down a bit and I would have figured my pace would have picked up a bit but instead I slowed down. I was probably just a bit burnt by that point and the damage had already been done so the cooler temps just weren’t able to have the desired effect. Plus the lack of liquids probably hit around then too.

I hadn’t brought liquids with me for the run yesterday either and didn’t see the same speed drop off but it was cooler yesterday so I was sweating quite so bad either. Another reminder to drink when it is hot outside…

This morning also marks the 2 week point leading up to the Manitoba Marathon. Frankly, I am not ready. My last run greater than 13.1 was 18.2 miles on March 22nd. And on March 29th I did a double run day to hit 20.12 that day (13.1 afternoon + 7.02 night). Both of these days were prior to me getting sick in early April and the lack of running that resulted from that. So basically I haven’t done a really long run in months and haven’t done one since I got sick so I’m not sure if I am even capable of a marathon at this point.

And that is why I want to try to do a 20 miler tomorrow – to get that confidence and to understand where I am. It probably won’t be fun but I think it needs to be done – but like always, life has a way of changing your plans.

At this point I know I am capable of still doing a sub 2 hour half marathon but I am not sure what I am capable of after I get past 13.1. So my current guess (which may change tomorrow) is that I will try to go easy on the first half and be in the 2:00-2:10 range and then do what it takes to finish. I suspect I am going to be closer to 5 hours – which is frustrating but at this point I have to take a step back and treat the Manitoba Marathon as part of my training for the 12 hour Lemming Loop in early October.

The Lemming Loop is my goal race for this year now that the Dopey Challenge is done and I won’t be training for any of the Walt Disney World Marathon races in January 2016. My goal for the Lemming Loop is to at a minimum break over the 50 mile mark (hit 49.278 last year) but would love to make it over 60 miles. I am going to say my actual goal there is to complete 2 marathons (52.4 miles) and every step after that will be a bonus.

Beyond running I have been trying to get other exercising in as well – I am still doing my daily chin ups, triceps dips and push ups and 1-3 sets of swimming pool resistance training exercises every time I get in the pool.

Look for more posts and updates on the site soon as I build out my plan for the Lemming Loop and training for the summer.