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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hitchcock 50 Mile Race Recap


Hitchcock 50-Mile Race Recap.


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Remove1st time this thing has seen December
The week leading up to the 50 miles of Hitchcock hills was crazy. I came down with a cold early in the week & then spent most of Wednesday night in the ER after coming down with what we think was food poisoning. Because of a surgery I had when I was a kid I am unable to vomit so this type of thing is tough on my body because I cant just get it out. Thursday night I started to feel better and Friday after work I got the camper hooked up & headed to Lincoln. Saturday morning I got the camper out the Hitchcock and set up and was able to enjoy some time cheering on the 100 milers at the Campground Aid Station. That afternoon, I left Hitchcock and headed back to Lincoln for a Christmas Party then returned back to the park around 6:30PM. I had just enough time to change clothes and get my pack ready for 50 miles of night time fun. I always try and set goals before a race. In this case I signed up for this race because it was going to force me to directly face some of my ultra-marathon weaknesses. What I wanted to get out of this race was:
Sleep-deprived running. This is one of my biggest struggles in a 100-miler. Sometime around 2 or 3 am my body almost shuts down. I start to feel so empty and down that it's hard to overcome. More experience with this will help me keep learning what works and what doesn't.
Speed at night. No matter if it's trails or road for some reason when I'm running after the sun goes down I seem to run slower. I think subconsciously I get more cautious with my gate.
Vert! The continuous vertical gain that this course offers was one of it's biggest draws for me. Not that climbing is a big weakness of mine but if I'm going to be competitive at Gorge 100K in April, I need elevation gain training and lots of it! I needed to improve my ability to let gravity push me on the descents and not "apply the breaks" and trash my legs.
Now just 4 - 12.5 mile loops to accomplish all this.
LAP 1 - 2:09'46 - 164 Avg HR - 12.75 mi - 10:07/mi - 2556 ft of gain.
7PM rolled around and 40ish of us started down the road and then back up to gain some separation before hitting the trails. That worked well and a small pack of us began the trails together. I was excited to be running these first few miles with Angie Hodgeas we tried to not fall down. I think I was the first to go down as we hit the muddy descents. I fell 2-3 times in the first half a mile and was immediately thinking about how am I going to do this for 50 miles? The next mile I kept hearing the screams of people as they came to the muddy descents and took their first falls. After those first 2-3 miles the trail seemed to dry up in most spots as I made my way to the first aid station. I rolled through this stop and the next station without needing anything. I got to the Start/Finish to conclude lap 1 feeling great. I was excited to see Carol Johnsonat this aid station with a big smile and my drop bag all ready for me if I needed anything. This was so awesome! I probably wouldn't of grabbed anything had it still been inside but since it was right there I grabbed a smoothie and drank it as I walked though. I finished this lap with my HR way higher than it should of been for a 50 miler. I think the excitement of the race got to me and I had it turned up a little to much on this lap.
LAP 2 - 152 Avg Hr - 2:35.54 - 11.94 mi - 12:32/mi - 2441 ft of gain
I started lap 2 still feeling good. I fell 2-3 more times in the beginning miles of this loop but once I got through the mud I was back to rolling through the trails. I hit the first aid station where I saw Kiera & my mom for the 1st time. I was happy to see that they made it to the park safe and was at smiles at this point. I quickly greeted them; refilled my sports drink gave kiddo a big hug and headed back out. Temps were still pretty decent and my heart rate had settled down from the first lap and i felt like i was in my grove most of this lap. I started to feel the wear of the miles on my legs towards the end of lap 2. I am still learning how to let the downhills take me and not "applying the breaks." I tore up my legs slowing down on the descents; someday i'll learn how the pros do it.


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LAP 3 - 2:42.8 - 143 Avg HR - 11.91 mi - 12:39/mi - 2408 ft of gain
In the first few miles of lap 3 the lead women (turned out to be the overall winner) passed me. I stopped quick to tie my shoe and she came quickly around me and greeted me in great spirits. She went on to have a great race. I got to the first aid station and saw Kiera & my mom again. Kiera let me know she’d be sleeping on my next and final lap through. My legs were feeling tight & hurting some at this point (29ish) miles in the race. I had some potatoe soup and got this quick picture with them and headed back out. The journey to the next aid station was not bad but the last 6 miles of the loup started to really feel the hills trashing my legs. Each decent created pain in my quads and each ascent had sharp pain in my right calve. It was to the point where on the climbs up I was stopping 2 to 3 times on the running my knuckles up and down it trying to get the pain to subside. During the final miles of lap 3 I met the overall winner Linden. We ran together for a few miles and both made it quickly though the Start/Finish aid station & then back on the trails.


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Mile 29


LAP 4 - 3:31.6 - 137 Avg HR - 11.87 mi - 14:32/mi - 2379 ft gain
Lap 4 started out as my only lap without falling in the mud, that was about the only good thing that happened on lap 4. Trying to run through the pain in my legs I got myself really worked up and had a moment of feeling like I was overheating. I poured my water on my head in an attempt to cool me down/shock my system/wake me up out of a funk, I don't know. Anyways that clearly stupid decision led me to need to take the time at the first aid station to completely change my clothes. It was around 3am in December and as the temps were unseasonably warm, still wet clothes and mid 30’s make for a bad combination. I decided a few miles before that aid station that I was going to take the time to change and change my attitude and get back to enjoying the trails. I changed clothes there and it changed my spirits. By stopping I knew I had no chance of catching the lead runners and did not have to stress myself out about that anymore. The pains in my legs stayed for most all of this lap but I was working through it in much better spirits so it quit being a factor, it was back to just being a part of it and not a hindrance. I got to the final aid station with 6 miles left and just had a little chat with them, offered them a York peppermint patty from my bag and then made my way back to the start finish. The last 6 miles I ran all that I could, I hiked all the climbs up and shuffled the downhills. I met a few other runners to chat with on this section which made the miles go by a bit faster.
Finish
I finished this race happy for the most part. It was to me what ultra-running is at it’s core. It was some spectacular trails with challenging variables such as mud, cold & big climbs; all right here in the mid-west. It was a low-key, laid back ultra marathon full of volunteers who really cared. It was a reminder of exactly why I love this sport so much.
I got in the ring with Hitchcock and upon finishing it felt like I got some rounds & Hitchcock got some rounds but in the end we came out about dead even. Which is perfect for me to want to come back with some vengeance and rock these hills again year after year.



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So where did I land on my 3 things I wanted to work on our there.
Sleep deprivation running - it got the best of me again; hard time staying awake late, got in a funk again around 3 am.
Speed at night - learned a bit more on this; gained some more confidence.
Vert! - Only way i'm going to master this is to keep doing races & runs like this and challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone on those hills. I love the challenge.
Of all the ultra’s I've done I have to say this one was one of my favorites. The GOATZ put on a top-notch event with wonderful support. I would highly recommend this race. A big thank you to Scott, Chris & Ron for putting in the hours and hours of work to make this possible.


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serious vert!






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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

KUS 24 Hour - 100 Mile Run

Kansas Ultra-runners' Society 24-hour/ 100 mile run​

One of my favorite things about being human is having the ability to analyze where we are at at any given time and compare it to where we want to be. In any element of our existence we have the ability to determine where we are at physically, mentally, spiritually, whatever it is, and compare it to where we want to be. The difficult part is embracing the opportunities that allow us to really discover where we are currently at. That is putting the vulnerability right up with the opportunity; if you deny vulnerability in your life; you deny opportunity. The Kansas Ultrarunners' Society 24-hour race provided me with a great opportunity to test where I am at both physically and mentally as an ultra-runner and specifically at the 100 mile distance.
Ryan Hall says it pretty good in this quote: “Running isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Never is this more evident than in a 24-hour 1.3 mile loop run. I ran over a "Finish" line 74 times; each time passing through did however provide me with a little bit of momentum. Hearing the mat beep, seeing my name and number of laps pop up on the screen kept reminding me that with each lap I am getting more miles. But it truly was not about the destination that day; it was truly about the journey, the adventure.

I started the run with 2 friends from Grand Island that were running the 6 and 12 hour races. 
Both were hoping to, and later accomplishing their first ultra-marathons. Early in the day, it was great to have Matt to talk with as we rolled off lap after lap.  It was perfect temperatures to maintain a good pace. I looked over at Matt around mile 10 and said "Oh crap man, I forgot to eat breakfast." Normally I load up pretty good before a race like this but some how spaced it; lucky for me the 1.3 mile loop made access the aid station and my drop bag easy and often. Before I had thought much about it we were already around mile 25. This is where he seemed to gain speed and I decided I needed to hold back if I was going to have any shot at completing 100 miles. 

I hit the 25 mile mark at 3 hours and 35 minutes. I hadn't set any goal times for any of the splits, I had 2 goals coming in: 100 miles in under 24 hours and to be moving more than 90% of the time from the start until the finish. I have a data field on my watch that keeps track of Move Percent and after a shockingly low Move Percent at the Hawk-100 I knew that this was an opportunity of mine. 

I consumed mostly water, tailwind and Mio with caffeine in it during the race. I would alternate between the 3 based on whatever sounded good. I'd say I carried my handheld bottle for around 75% of laps. Being able to drop it for a lap when I felt my hydration was on point. I had my Orange Mud single barrel pack on at the start but realized pretty early on that their was no real need to carry it in a race that had so much access to food and water. I came to mile 50 at just under 8 hours of running. I had been moving 97.5% at this point and only walking up the 2 hills. This was a great feeling; knowing that I had ran half of my goal in 1/3 of my allotted time gave me the confidence that I would make 100 in under 24.

After mile 50 my legs started to get tighter, feet were getting sore and the laps seemed longer. Around mile 55 or so I started having my first real battles with nutrition. I had been eating quite a bit at aid stations up to this point but for the last few miles my stomach was shutting down. This happened in the past to me and the only thing I could seem to get down at that point was smoothies. Something about it being cold and a liquid made me be able to hanlde it. I got back to the aid station and hopefully politely asked Brian if he could run to the gas station and get me 4 Naked Smoothies. 2 laps later there he was with the smoothies. These things completely saved my day and my race. Without these I don't know if I would have been able to refuel like I needed to and I"m not sure if I would of made 100. So thank you Brian for those and each favor I asked of you when I came around, I truly appreciate it.

I spent most of the afternoon alternating between the the Unbroken audio book and the Huskers Game on my I-Pod and just trying not to ever think about how many miles I had remaining or how many hours left. I hit mile 76 at 13:41 and decided to update facebook at that point so people knew i was doing all right. At this point I had less than a marathon left and I had almost 10 hours to do it. Every mile after 75 was hard-work and hard earned. I tried many different tactics to mentally get myself the strength to run and then back it off. My legs and feet were complaining but I wasn't stopping, I never let my move percent drop under 95% and finished the day moving 96.2% of the time. That means I was moving 19 hours and 25 minutes of the total 20 hours and 9 minutes that it took me. At the Hawk-100 the move percent was 64%.  



I called up many friends and family throughout the overnight hours and talked with them as I tried to make the miles go by. Thank you all for being there and awake and listening to me ramble through the night.



Also a big thank you to all the ultra-runners on the trail that entire day. I'm trying to thank you all personally but I"m sure I'll miss or forget about some conversations, (little sleep deprived) Everything from the simple "Good Job" and  "Nice Work" comments; to the hour long conversations made my entire journey better. At every race, I am always so grateful and inspired by the people I meet on the trails, this one did not disappoint. Also a big thank you to all the volunteers! They were absolutely amazing, always asking what they could get me and helping me out at the aid station. Even other ultra-runners crews, I didn't catch the guys name but he was there crewing another runner but made me feel like I had a crew all night long, each time I came through asking if their was anything I needed. This is truly what ultra-running is to me. 

I talked to my ultra-running side kick, Mike around 2:45 am for like the 5th time that day. I had just around 2 miles left to go. I told him I did not have the energy to get done by 3:00 am (would of made under 20 hours) and that I was going to be happy with just finishing 100 miles and taking almost 7 hours off my Personal Best for this distance. I hung up with him and ran my final 2 laps. I finished 100 miles in 20:09 minutes.

I quickly moved from the finish area after getting my buckle and saying my final farewells to the aid station volunteers. I stumbled over to my vehicle and set up my camp pad and sleeping bag. It was around 40 degrees out but I could not get my body temp to come down from the run. I slept the next 2 hours with my shirt off and the windows down thinking it was way to hot outside for November. I woke up around 7:20 to find the only evidence of their being a race at this park was a couple left over port-a-potties. The town-people were around walking their dogs and riding their bikes on this nice chilly Sunday morning as this random, half naked, shoe-less zombie like creature hobbled from his car to the port-a-pottie and back. After this, I got myself together and went and showered at the Y, ate Huevo Rancheros with french fries & a glass bottle of Coke then made my journey back to Nebraska, I got home some time that evening happy with my race and this whole adventure.

In my normal day to day life I crave adventures like this with a sense of passion that is hard to explain. My mother raised me early on storybooks and adventures and then my brother when I was older with maps and trail reports. The passion in both of them as they they describe a trail or a mountain captivated me. Both of them, instilled a sense of adventure in me that I am forever grateful for. You don't have to be a runner to find adventure, but you need to get out of your comfort zone. Adventure at its core is being uncomfortable. Their were times in my life I had no uncontrollable drive to climb a mountain or blaze a trail. My sense of adventure was not gone at this time of my life but I was unaware that I was filling it with other things. Having a night out to look forward to brought enough of the unexpected and uncomfortableness to keep my sense of adventure at bay. As I sit here now looking back to 765 days ago when I decided remove alcohol from my life without evening knowing why, I'm beyond glad I did. I'm not sure who or what aided in that, but this me; here; right now, is exactly where I want to be.

Now go out there and treat yourself to some extreme uncomfortableness

Happy Trails!
Jeff




Data from KUS100. 

Here's the break down by quarter. 

0-25miles 3:35
25-50 miles 4:26
50-75 miles 5:33
75-100 miles 6:52

Move percent: 96%
Avg Hr 138
Suffer score: 1,533
Elev gain 5600ft
Calories burned: 14,097




"The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness." -Brene Brown




Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hawk 100 Mile Race Recap

Hawk 100 - An epic 27 hour 100 mile trail run journey in Kansas. 

It's a quiet & calm night back in central Nebraska, perfect night to contemplate the last 3 days.  Today started at 5 am in Lincoln after my Mom, Kiera and I made the trip back up from Clinton Lake in eastern Kansas. I had none of the falling asleep problems last night in Lincoln that I am having tonight back home. I was 100% completely drained and out cold by 7:30 Sunday night. What gave that bed such a strong hold on me was the events of the previous 48 hours in Kansas.

At 8:57 AM on Sunday I ran under this red LED clock and steal framed portable finisher arch with two people who using the word friends seems like such an understatement. The word "pacer" is what's most often used to describe the amazing people who do everything in their power to get you to be able to run, walk or crawl under that hanging red LED clock at the Finish line. They not only gave this weekend but many many weekends for the past month to be trained and ready for this challenge. Hours and hours of running and training and reading and gaining knowledge to help a friend reach a dream. When the three of us crossed that finish line it was the end of the most epic 27 hours of life.

The Hawk 100 mile trail race is 4 loops around a 25 mile trail that is mostly rocks and roots with a little prairie run mixed in. Complete all 4 loops, get a 100 miler Finisher belt buckle. I was more committed to getting that belt buckle than I can begin to describe. It was not just to have the prize in my hand, I wanted the journey. I wanted the highs and the lows. I wanted to work through all of them and come out the on other side. I wanted to prove that I had worked hard enough and am strong enough to overcome every challenge that 100 miles of trails and 27 hours of running throws at you. I owe every bit of holding that buckle in my hands to my 2 pacers Mike and Travis & my entire support crew: My mom, Suzi, Kiera, Kelsey, Aaron & everyone else who was around that day both at the race and online, keeping me going.
Just about 5 hours before running under that red LED clock and holding that buckle I sat in a chair 12 miles from it. It was 4:00 am and I was doing everything I could to not fall asleep. I had a double shot espresso can of Starbucks drink in 1 hand and a cup of soup in the other. I had a blanket wrapped around me that I'm sure Aaron loved the smell of when he got it back. Mike and I had just finished the 3 mile loop on bunker hill in about an hour. My body was shot as I sat there, I had fallen asleep while running 3 times on the stretch back from the hill to that chair. I told myself in that chair that you've hit all your lows. The rest was going to be better. Before the falling asleep episodes; my pacer Mike had been guiding me through both dry heaving and gagging as we worked our way around Cactus ridge. He kept his patience with me as I complained about the severe pain in my right foot. I asked him around 84 to let me lie on the the road for 5 minutes when we crossed it at mile 85. He said he thought that was a good idea and I think we both had our conversations with God as I lied on that cool road 85 miles down and 15 to go. 5 minutes passed by like 5 seconds and we made our way to the cactus ridge rocky and hilly trail. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Mike went through that day to get me to that buckle.

Not all the sections were lows though. We had some great miles
listening to the Huskers game, talking about family and anything else that came to our minds. For all the lows there were many highs. Through every part of the 27 hours I never lost sight of the fact that this is what I wanted to be doing. I was in my element, on trails working through stuff. To me, that is living. I was always choosing to stay out there, not just for the buckle but because in the moment, that is where I wanted to be.

When Mike & I began the 3rd loop at mile 75 we had already overcome quite a bit. I had a severe pain in my foot that I thought was an open blister while running. Suzi helped us figure out it was a nerve thing that must have happened when I hit a rock hard. We stopped at mile 75 and I changed shoes to try and reduce the pain. That stop at mile 75 Suzi did all my medical checks and rubbed down my hamstrings, calves and shoulders with bio freeze. Simple tasks proved too hard for me as I spilled an entire route 44 cherry lime aide in my lap. We spent a great deal of time at that stop but I believe it helped a lot. 

The miles before that aid station were the slowest and hardest of the day. Every step sent crazy amounts of pain to the middle of my foot. I don't know how Mike kept my mind from thinking about the fact that I had to do that part of the trail again with legs more tired, and even worse pains. Those lows weren't the whole loop together though. We had some good miles rolling through trails that him and I had run 6 weeks earlier in preparation of this day. The time we spent on all these trails just running and having a good time is what I'll cherish from this journey. 

Before Mike came in at mile 50 I was running most of the 2nd loop by myself. Seeing my mom and Kiera at every aid station all day long was the biggest key to these miles. Their smiles and encouragement always brought so much light to every stop. I felt most of lap 2 went pretty good. The one takeaway from lap 2 would be to eat more calories early when my stomach can still handle it.



Lap 1 was filled with calming nerves at the beginning and then having some great conversations with the guy who would go on to be the overall winner. It was great to gain knowledge from him and meet another Nebraska trail runner. The comradely and support at ultra-running events always astonishes me. Everyone is so very kind and supportive and want to whatever you can for your fellow runner. 


So let's go back to sitting in that chair at 4am with the Starbucks and cup of soup. It was almost daylight, I had talked myself up for this last part. I told my crew I'd see them at the finish line and my new fresh pacer Travis and I made our way into the woods. I took the lead without any thought as to if that was going to be good or not. Turns out it worked pretty well. I knew Travis was as fresh as can be and these first few miles were the most run-able of the remaining 12. We seemed to roll through the first couple with many different conversations. Having someone fresh come in with me I believe helped me want to keep rolling through the trails for him to get some miles in. Before I knew it the sun was coming up and the head lamps were going off and we made our way to the final aid station.


I had a cup of ramen noodles and some soda. Travis had me load up some nutrition for the last stretch. He had me eat a honey stinger ginger snap waffle which tasted amazing at about mile 95. The miles after 95 were seeming to go by so slow. We decided to text the group when there was 3 miles left. We got to that point and I kept going in and out of running too hard to walking then back to running too hard. I learned hours ago that running actually hurt a lot less then walking; it was just about finding the right rhythm. With all the rocks and roots In these last miles that rhythm thing kept proving more and more difficult. Finally around 98 I was able to lock it in and get after the finish. I saw Mike as we were about out of the trails for the final half a mile. It was so amazing to be able to run in with him after all he put into this race. The 3 of us turned out of the trails for the final stretch. The most overwhelming amount of mixed emotions came over me as I just ran as hard as I could to the finish line. 

Witnessing a crew with the passion and heart to get me to the finish was eye opening. Putting everything they've got into helping a friend, a son, a husband or a dad grab a hold of a dream that once slipped away. Then, once having it close, not letting him let it go during the hardest of miles and biggest of struggles. Staying up over night and getting to every aid station to make sure he can bring that belt buckle home. I am so very grateful for the support of my pacers, crew the volunteers and the amazing race directors, Sherrie & Justin. To do amazing things, you must surround yourself with amazing people. 
I started that Saturday morning wanting to prove something to myself, I finished with new visions for myself of where I want to be as a person.  Happy Trails.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nebraska State Fair Marathon 2015 Recap

GOALS
Note the "52w" on the top right of this screen grab here. 
That means I posted this 52 weeks ago. 

In addition to online I posted this in my garage where I get out of my car daily. 

The message on it is simple:
The What: BQ
The When 8/29/2015. 
The Time needed: 3:05:00
The goal was clear. 

When I wrote 3:05:00 on that flyer I had completed 2 marathons. I completed my first one in Lincoln on May 4th, 2014. I had the help of a great pacer, Eliot Lee, who has became a great friend & inspiration. I finished that my first marathon in 3 hours and 43 minutes. The finish at that marathon was an overwhelming feeling. I had started running 1 year prior to that and had no idea I would work my way up to a marathon in a year. Truth be told, I struggled to get thru 1 mile without walking that first week of running in April of 2013. I kept at it though, signing up for occasional 5K's & 10K's and working my way up to a half marathon & then the full. I struggled through many 5k's, just trying not to walk. I haven't always been a runner, or an athlete even but something kept getting me back out there to get better and work harder. I remember a point in 2014 that I thought to myself if my body can run 1 mile at 7:00,  the only reason it can't run 26 miles at that pace is endurance. That little thought gave me so much motivation over time, that the thing that stood between me and qualifying was something that I was able to develop. Mechanically my body could do that speed, I just needed to work hard to develop the endurance.

Shortly after finishing that marathon in Lincoln in 2014 the Boston Marathon seed had been planted in my head. I download a book about the history of the Boston Marathon that summer. I did my second marathon at the end of  that summer at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair. I finished it in 3 hours and 33 minutes. That is the day that I posted the flyer above in my garage.

 I set many goals throughout the course of my day for different things. Some are daily, weekly or monthly goals. Then some are more special goals. A good goal should scare you a little bit & excite you a lot. It should however, always bring a certain level of passion with it, that's how you know it's a special goal. 

As I sit here and try to look back on the year between posting that flyer and running that race it seems so much longer than 1 year. Running has taken me on adventures, both physically and mentally that i would have missed otherwise. I tested my body and it's limits on some rocky Kansas single track trails at 2 different 50 mile races. I blazed through a 100K (62 miles) race in Iowa and learned about how well I can do when I take the pressure & planning away and just go out there and run. I've had the opportunity to run relay races across Colorado & Nebraska running and enjoying the company of awesome people. I've climbed multiple mountains sharing stories with people I've just met that day or rekindling old relationships. I completed 2 other marathons, Phoenix in February &  Lincoln in May getting me stronger and marathon smarter.  For me running allows me to keep moving forward, weather that is on trails, on roads, in life or in my head. It is the foundation for what has become the best version of myself. 

 I ran 2800 miles total that year, for a mental picture of how far that is; that is almost the exact distance from Los Angles, CA to New York City. A guy who couldn't get thru a one mile run without walking in May of 2013, but wanted to keep working at it to better himself & accomplish a goal. Not just physically better myself but I saw what running brought to my overall mental health as well. It's is fairly hard to write that I struggled with running like I did, like for some reason I'd be a better runner if that weren't the case. If I had always been more fit or able to preform as a runner I'd somehow be more "worthy" of sharing my experiences with you.  I think that stems from that we all struggle for acceptance when we start a new activity. Like there is some judge out there deciding whether or not we are real runners. I have learned through the 3 years now of running that this community is some of the most amazing people I have ever met. The journeys, stories, accomplishments and overcoming that accompanies running is astonishing. I see the welcoming of anyone wanting to better themselves daily on social media.  It's one of the most shameless cultures I've ever been a part of. We have all opened ourselves up to vulnerability time after time; not just when we began running but when we continually sign up for races that give us the opportunity to set a goal and either obtain it or fall short. Sometimes we crush it, sometimes we don't. This sport has taught me not to wait until you obtain your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching your goal.


So as you can tell from above running is a great big part of my every day life. So when I started tapering back before the Nebraska State fair marathon this week the anxiety for the run built and built. Finally Saturday morning rolled around and I was so ready to get this marathon started. I had a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and 16oz of Gatorade for breakfast. I was careful not to drink to much because mile 6 last year I had to take a pit stop. My mom, Kiera & I headed out about 5:30AM to Grand Island. I saw many familiar faces at the start line that made the time fly by before the race. Sometimes this time can seem to take forever, but that was 1 of many perks of a local marathon. Before I knew it it was 6:30AM and we were off. The weather was perfect running weather. under 60 and overcast with a soft breeze. 
I programmed my watch with splits that match my running style, it worked the same as a pace band. It would show me the time I "needed" for that mile, the pace I was at & how much distance I had left of the mile. I started it out with a 7:20 mile and then down around 7:00. I started with a buddy of mine, Brian, from our Ragnar Relay run. We ran together until around mile 3 were I started settling into my pace. I was very careful in these first few miles to watch the pace and not go out faster than I intended regardless of how i was feeling. At around mile 3 we split from the half marathoners and we were pretty spread out at this point. I saw Kiera & my mom shortly after the split and was greeted with some cheers. It felt great for the day to be finally here. 

We went around about a 4 mile loop before coming back to the original trail that we turned off and meeting up with some half marathoners  At this point, about mile 8, I was still feeling great. I was having to use quite a few discipline techniques to not start moving faster as I felt so good. I stayed right on each mile pace and checked my watch quite a bit to make sure of that. I had confidence that I could maintain the paces that I put in my watch and that if I stuck to that had absolutely no excuses. 
We worked our way up to Hall County park around mile 10.


This is a park that I run and train at a great deal. I got my first pain of the marathon here. It was a fairly sharp pain in my lower back, something completely new, that only lasted a minute or two. It did not seem to be nerve as it wasn't real severe, maybe just something with how my gate changes when I am running 7 minute miles compared to the majority of my training at 8 minutes per mile. That went away quickly and at mile 10 I had my first nutrition of the day, a honey stinger caffeinated gel. I was also implementing my plan of a couple drinks at every water station, alternating between water and Gatorade. I think i missed 2 maybe 3 the entire run, which is really good for me.
After circling that park we headed north for 2 miles up to my office. Earlier that week I emailed the office what time I would be by and it was great to see so many encouraging faces as I passed by at mile 14. I was still feeling great and right on pace at this point. I had another Honey stingers gel at mile 15.  We went from there and circled around the cemetery, this is another place I run quite regularly in training. I passed 2-3 marathoners around the cemetery and as we headed out. The reason I mention that is that this is always a challenging but not often thought about aspect of the run. Your natural instinct is to speed up around them and then hold a faster pace then what you want for a while after, similar to driving in a car. I made sure not to speed up and just maintain and only worry about my pace and where I was at in my run. 
We concluded our time on the bike trail around mile 18 and started out journey to Highway 30 for the out and back. I had ran this out and back probably 5 times in the last 2 months. every time trying to mentally put myself in the race. One time in training i did 20 minutes of 100 meter sprints before running this stretch to try and simulate tired legs. I was ready for this stretch. I had a mantra, "never fade" that I ran though my head probably 100 times during this part. 

I saw every bit of my support crew out on
this stretch and they made such a difference. They way out I was still feeling good all over and I was still in great spirits. If at any point I caught myself thinking about how many miles I had left I immediately would try and get myself out of that, think about this mile, where you are at in this mile and what you are going to do in this mile only. At mile 22 my watch told me to be at 6:40 for this mile. I was like what! Who programmed this dang thing for a 6:40 mile this late. I turned up the speed and came fairly close to hitting it. The next 2 goal pace was 7:03 which seemed so much better after the 6:40.  Maybe that's why I did that. I was able to gain a few seconds on those 2 as i came in right around 6:50 on each of those miles.

Mile 24 I started to get my first sense of "your going to make it in time." I tried hard to not let myself think you are going to make it. I've been a part of to many basketball games where you think you've gt it and it all falls apart. I knew if I stayed in the mile, I could not fail if i hit each mile goal. I also had a spot on my watch that would total up all the miles and tell me how far over or under the projected miles I was for the entire run. About half a mile after that sense of "you are going to make it"  my legs started to tighten up pretty bad. This was the first sting of any real pain since that back thing that lasted only 2 minutes around mile 10.  I knew it wasn't enough to make me stop and walk but I wasn't sure if it was going to slow me down to much to hit my goal. Had I had that much cramping up around mile 20, I couldn't of worked through it for 6 miles. Luckily at almost mile 25 I could work thought it till the end. 

At around 25.5 miles I hollered out  "like being up by 4 points with 2 minutes left to go in the game" to people from work cheering me on. I saw my family at around this stretch too and started to really dig deep. I was greeted by my buddy Nate just as i I could start to see the finish line. I was giving it all I had at that point. I think that last .4 miles was around 6:00 pace. Not sure if Nate was ready to run with me at that pace after running his half. He started running with me then it was just me. 

I crossed the finish line at 3:03:32. 1 minutes and 28 seconds under my qualifying time of 3:05:00. I was immediately congratulated by so many great friends in the running community and my family. Kiera's smile at that moment was indescribable, it was something i will never forget. One of my biggest inspirations in the ultra-running world & friend Kaci Lickteig was right there to congratulate me as well. The feeling at the finish of my first marathon was overwhelming but this one was so very special in its own way. It was such a great moment. I hung around the finish are for about 10 minutes before Nate & I ran back out to find Mike who was still out on course and cheer him on. It was great to see him & many other runners come in the rest of the day. I was riding that runners high for the rest of the day as we took in the Nebraska State Fair fun!

Any goal worth having is worth the effort to make it come true. Sometimes setting the goal can seem to be the hard part. If the passion is there the mission will become clear. Boston was one of my first big running goals so it feels great to accomplish it. It is not however my only goal. If qualifying for Boston was like the World Series, my Super Bowl would be competing at Western States 100. That goal became clear sometime in 2015 as I started pursuing ultra-running more. More and more goals will come and go, it does not take anything away from this one. I am happy with where I am at now, but I am excited for where I am going. Happy Trails all! Hope to see you out there. 



Splits

MilePaceGAPElevCadence
17:09 /mi7:09 /mift174 spm
27:02 /mi7:02 /mift174 spm
37:02 /mi7:02 /mift174 spm
46:58 /mi6:57 /mift176 spm
57:00 /mi7:00 /mift174 spm
67:00 /mi7:00 /mift174 spm
76:58 /mi6:57 /mift174 spm
86:57 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
97:04 /mi7:04 /mift176 spm
106:57 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
116:59 /mi6:59 /mift176 spm
126:56 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
136:52 /mi6:52 /mift176 spm
146:59 /mi6:59 /mift176 spm
156:55 /mi6:45 /mi20 ft176 spm
166:59 /mi7:02 /mi-23 ft176 spm
177:04 /mi7:05 /mi-13 ft174 spm
187:00 /mi6:56 /mift174 spm
197:01 /mi7:02 /mi-3 ft174 spm
206:56 /mi6:58 /mi-7 ft166 spm
216:50 /mi6:52 /mi-7 ft176 spm
226:50 /mi6:51 /mi-3 ft158 spm
236:54 /mi6:54 /mift124 spm
247:01 /mi7:01 /mift172 spm
256:55 /mi6:55 /mift162 spm
266:46 /mi6:46 /mift104 spm
0.46:15 /mi6:15 /mift108 spm



https://www.strava.com/activities/380090461