Lap 4 – an ugly one

This will be the last post until the race is done as I am going out to stay now. He had a very rough lap 4, of about 4 hours and stomach issues pretty bad. He came in not wanting anything to drink or eat, which is a bad sign and so his pacer, Rich, took on everything with him and was going to try and get it in him. Hopefully, having a pacer will help distract him and he will be a bit stronger this lap. I am now going out to stay and hopefully catch a few hours sleep in the car. I have determined one thing, which is you are either a crew member or a pacer and shouldn’t do both since I’ve been on the run since 4 AM this morning and not sat down or rested yet. Good thing to remember going forward. Until the race is over, keep those powerful prayers and thoughts coming our way. We need them. Laura

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Lap 3 Update

We’ve just returned from the park and seeing John make the turn at Lap 3. He came through about 3:10 PM, which has him at 45 miles at 9 hrs 10 min. The kids ran out on the trail and came in running with him which perked him up, plus another running friend, Christy, came out to surprise him and cheer him on. Both, hopefully, gave him a little boost in spirits. After running through the lap tracker, he wanted a sandwich and soup again. He said he was beginning to feel the effects of being out there 45 miles and his legs were beginning to tire (ha, mine are tired after 7 miles) and his stomach was starting to bother him a bit. Hopefully some solid food will help this issue. He decided to wear his race belt to free his hands from carrying his energy drink and conserve some energy too. We set him up with his headlamp since when he finishes this next lap he’ll be doing that in the dark and need it. After this, he will run with a pacer for lap 5 and I think that will really help. I’m hoping that the person also runs lap 6 with him as mentally I think he is going to need it. It was tough to watch him go knowing that lap 4 was going to be the first time he would see longer than 50 miles, but one thing I’ve realized in this journey is I have to just not worry and let him keep going. We’ll see if I’m still saying this after lap 5. I’ve been told that at that point I will be the one to use some tough love on him and make him keep going. We will see. Rain is predicted to come in about 2 AM tonight, although the cloud cover now looks like it could open up at any point and pour. Keeping our fingers crossed it holds off until later though. Until after Lap 4…….

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Lap 2 Update:

John was in good spirits when he came in at 5:49ish after lap 2. His friend, Rob Forman, had riden his bike to a fork in the trail that hit the Pemberton and saw him 11 miles into this lap. I think it was a “boost” mentally to see him as that is the first thing he told me as he came in. He changed his shirt and gum, ate part of my sandwich (he had insisted earlier he didn’t need one, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt if he wanted it) and downed some chicken noodle soup as he was leaving and heading out for lap 3. He’s not taking in much of his Gu gel and I’m a bit concerned about that, but will keep an eye on him. Lap 3 will be a mental lap for him since it will take him up to 45 miles and getting close to his farthest distance. All in all he is still in good spirits and feeling strong. He was looking for the kids and I could tell wanted them there so the next two laps they will likely be with me to cheer him on and keep him “up”. Til lap 3……

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Lap 1

Hey, this is Laura and wanted to give you all an update on John since he started. I think both of us had minimal sleep last night although we were in bed quite early, but I think minimal sleep was had. Even Grace said she slept light. We were out the door by 5:10 this morning and to the park by 5:30. It was like “Base Camp” at Everest. A bustle of activity and energy. With 3 min. until the start, John decided to get in line. Always the guy that shows up in the nick of time. It was a chilly 46 F with a light breeze. At the buzzer 391 races were off. With only a small trail it was rather a “walk” at first though. The kids and I headed back into town to warm up and gather a few things before we headed out again at 8 AM to see him make the turn at Lap 1. He was trying to come into Lap 1 at 2 hrs and 50 min. and he showed up to see us at 2:51 min. So a great first lap. He said he felt good and strong. A bit chilly but ready to keep going. An off he went again. We are estimating him coming in now from lap 2 at about 11:50 AM. It is still overcast and 50 F out there, so hopefully, the sun will peek out a little bit to give them some relief from the dreary look of the day. Until after lap 2, keep sending positive vibes and thoughts his way!

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Jappy Javelina Jundred Eve!!!

I realize for most of you it’s not as exciting as Christmas or New Years Eve but this has been forefront in my mind over the past 5 months much more than any holiday I can remember in recent years (except for my Wedding Anniversary ;-) of course).

As I write this I’m less than 16 hours away from the start of the race, My Quest to Run 100 Miles (in less than 24 hours). Unlike the Man Against Horse race I’m not nervous at all, in fact I’m wondering if I’m too calm as I haven’t even started preparing for the race yet. Of course I’m the guy that packs 20 minutes before I leave for the airport when traveling also. When I finish writing this I’ll get my hydration drinks mixed and nutrition items ready for tomorrow and in the cooler. Pick out my first set of clothes to wear, I say first set because I’ll change shirts a couple times during the race so as the sweat dries and hardens it doesn’t wear like sandpaper against my skin and I’ll change socks once or twice to get a dry pair as needed. Other than that I don’t care. I’m trying to act as though it is simply another Saturday training run and I just won’t come home until Sunday.

After packing I need to be at the race headquarters about 4:30 p.m. to check in, get my race packet and the mandatory medical check in. I don’t plan on staying for the pre-race dinner so I can just come home and chill out.

The weather for tomorrow has changed almost hourly throughout the week and is now forecast to be 75° for a high, sunny with rain moving in late. We haven’t seen the sun all day today so don’t know if the clouds are going to move out or if they are here earlier than forecast. I guess it doesn’t matter because I have to run no matter what.

I was recently passed emails back and forth with my mother-in-law (she sometimes refers to me as her “idiot son-in-law” I’m sure) regarding my ability to be around “ordinary people” after this and what my thoughts would be. I’m not sure if it was serious or in jest but I suspect a little of both. I’m paraphrasing the conversation but the point I want to make is my sincere response was I don’t think there is such a thing as an “ordinary” person. We are all extraordinary but some people just choose to only do ordinary things every day. Each and everyone of us has it within us to do extraordinary things in and with our life. Maybe it’s taking better care of our health and weight, maybe it has nothing to do with running or physical activity, maybe it’s helping children that need a proper adult role model and mentor to guide them down the right path. Maybe it’s traveling to places you only dream about. The options are limitless, the extraordinary part comes from getting outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself to live your life so you have no regrets in later years. Please, anyone that has always wanted to do something and always had an excuse not to, go find an excuse to do it instead. You won’t regret it I promise.

Race Updates
Tomorrow the race starts at 6:00 a.m. Arizona time. I’m turning my website over to my wife Laura and she will update throughout the day as the race progresses. It will be very interesting to see what Laura does with her opportunity to write whatever she wants on this topic. Her version of the past 5+ months and mine might not be exactly the same!

If you are facebook friends with Laura or me, Laura will also update those periodically. Lastly, there will be a live webcam at the race start/finish line throughout the race as well as live updates as runners complete laps. That webcam can be viewed at

Thank You
I’ve mentioned it in the past that sharing this Quest with everyone is very out of character for me. I didn’t feel comfortable doing it at the beginning and honestly I’m still not comfortable with sharing it. But it has been a great experience and I’m very glad I brought all of you along for the ride. The support I’ve received over the past 5+ months and especially this week has been overwhelming. I would like to sincerely thank everyone that has sent me notes and called. Knowing so many people are thinking about my progress and wondering how I’m doing will help keep my legs moving during the coldest and darkest moments tomorrow night. And so you know “darkest moments” to someone running 100 miles in less than 24 hours has nothing to do with the amount of sunlight there is.

I kidded about it earlier but I need to thank my wife Laura, my son Sam and my daughter Grace for all their support. It’s been a lot of fun for me sharing this with them and no way could I have gotten to this point without their help, encouragement and teasing me along the way. I know the training and race itself will be something all 4 of us will never forget and will influence us as a family and individuals for the rest of our lives.

Until the next time…be safe and have fun!

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In the Home Stretch.

I have 18 days before I toe the line at Javelina Jundred in my attempt to run over 100 miles in less than 24 hours. It’s unbelievable to me how fast the time has gone since I officially started training on May 31st. Those 40 mile weeks I ran early on slowly grew into the 50’s, then 60’s and so on until August when I hit my first 80+ mile week. Since then I’ve run two more weeks above 80 miles, finished in 9th place overall at the Flagstaff Trail Marathon, completed a 50 mile trail race in 10 hours and ran over 90 miles three different weeks, the last two weeks 90.70 and 96.50 respectively. Back in June when I looked ahead at my October schedule I wondered how I’d make it through this month, both physically and mentally. I’m now looking back in amazement at how strong I’ve become in both areas. It just proves how adaptable and incredible the human body is if you train it properly. To see someone else run the distances I’ve been running every day, to see someone else run 31 miles one day and turn around with a strong 13 miles the next in 90° heat or to see someone else run any of the mountain trails I train on daily I would say they are a unique and gifted athlete with special abilities. In reality anyone with the perseverance to stick with their (or my somewhat educated) training each day has the ability inside them to accomplish the same thing and more. You just have to want it bad enough and stay focused on the end goal.

So far as my quest nears the home stretch my map shows during this training cycle I’ve run enough miles to make it to the Mississippi River to the east, almost to Calgary Canada to the north.

During the next three weeks I’m going to slowly reduce my miles but keep the intensity at a high level. This coming week I’ll cut back 25% and run in the low 70 mile range. The following week I’ll cut back again to the low 50 mile range and then it will be race week where I’ll only run two or three days at 4-5 miles each (just enough to burn the nervous energy I know I’ll have).

Unless something unexpected happens I’ll send out one last update prior to race day. There will be a live internet feed of the race that I’ll share with everyone as well as I’ll have my wife update my website throughout the race so you can follow along. It will be a good way to experience some of the day with none of the pain!

Until the next time…have fun and be safe!

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I beat 11 horses in a 50 mile foot race…really!

Saturday was Man Against Horse Race near Prescott, Arizona in the Mingus Mountains and it was AWESOME! Read my race report here.

I have less than 6 weeks before Javelina Jundred. I’m going to take it easy this week with between 60-70 total miles then increase the next 3 weeks to 80-90 miles again before a 2 week taper going into Javelina Jundred. Right now I don’t plan on running any more races prior to Javelina Jundred. I feel like I’m ready to go after a successful long run at Man Against Horse Race this weekend so my goal is to simply maintain high miles, stay healthy and mentally fresh. It might be a lot to ask doing all three of these goals at the same time but this is all a new learning experience for me so whatever happens I’ll just have to deal with it.

Until the next time…have fun and be safe!

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1000 Miles and Still Going Strong!

Yesterday I passed the 1,000 mile mark since beginning my Javelina Jundred training on May 31. Having endured a summer of training in the dry heat of Arizona and the hottest August in history it seems so long ago that I started this quest. The radius on my map stretches to the edge of my home state of Iowa (and nearing Canada to the north, Arkansas to the east). Crazy things can happen in very small steps if you do it long enough.

Over the past fives weeks I’ve logged weekly totals of 80.50, 82.25, 58.00 (rest week), 92.00 and 80.80 miles. In September alone my Saturday long runs have been 31, 25, 33 and 26 miles (with other 20+ mile runs sprinkled throughout the weeks) with the most recent 26 mile run being the Flagstaff Marathon (at 8,000′ above sea level) on Saturday then running 20 miles less than 16 hours later on Sunday morning. * I’ll put a link to my Flagstaff Marathon report at the end of this post so you can read it also.

This week will be a quiet week as I prepare for my second ever 50 mile race on Saturday, October 1st. Man Against Horse is in Prescott, Arizona. Runners and horses start out at the same time racing over the 50 mile mountain trail. This should be a very good bench mark test to see where I’m at with my training, both physical and mental, with only 46 days left before the start of Javelina Jundred.

Here’s the link to my Flagstaff Marathon Race Report.

Until the next time have fun and be safe.

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The Long and the Short of it.

I’ve had two really good back to back weeks of running. The past two weeks I ran 80.50 and 82.25 miles respectively but they were completely different types of miles with different purposes.

Week of 8/22 Week of 8/29
Mon xtrain xtrain
Tue 14.00 17.00
Wed 10.00 5.25
Thr 10.00 20.00
Fri 10.00 5.00
Sat 18.50 31.00
Sun 18.00 4.00
Total 80.50 82.25

Week 1 was designed to continue building endurance with a steady demand on my legs and body thoughout the week culminating in moderate back to back long runs on the weekend. Keep in mind this week followed a rest week so I started out very well rested both mentally and physically.

Week 2 had virtually the same total miles but the focus was on building individual long runs. In theory a person could run 12 miles a day, 7 days a week and get in 84 miles (about the same mileage I did). But all that makes them is a good 12 mile runner. My goal is 100 miles and with a good base built up over the past 3 months my focus has now shifted to those individual long runs. Long runs are a balancing act, don’t run far enough and I won’t be ready to run 100 miles…run too far and my body won’t recuperate fast enough to go back out the next day or within the next two days to stress it again. Conventional wisdom says 5-6 hour training runs are the right distance. The hardest part about Week 2 was honestly the 4-5 mile runs. I really wanted to get out and keep going but it’s too important on those days to hold in the reigns and be ready for the next days longer distance.

Saturday I did my first 31 mile run of this training schedule (I’ve done several other runs of 31+ miles over the past 2 years but not since last Spring). Waking up at 1:15 a.m. I was hoping to get most of my run in before the sun came up. I lucked out with the weather, the temperature on my truck thermometer read 83° as I was pulling into the Pemberton trailhead. This is the same trail Javelina Jundred will be held on November 12 and 13th. My plan was to simulate race day as close as possible by utilizing a run/walk strategy of 20 minutes running followed by 3 minutes of brisk walking then 20 minutes of running etc. I know every inch of the trail from running on it so many times so I timed the 3 minute walks to be on the hardest part of the course. If that meant running for 18, 23 or 25 minutes then starting the 3 minute walk that was ok. This strategy is designed to get me to the final 30 miles with gas left in the tank so I can push it as much as possible and not be crawling toward the finish.

The second part of my plan was based on nutrition. I switched gels a few weeks ago because the gel I had used for long runs in the past upset my stomach. After a lot of research I switched to Gu Gel Just Plain (Just Plain is exactly what it sounds like, no flavor). Taking 1 Gu Gel on my drive to the trail then every other walk break I consumed 7 – 100 calorie gels during my 31 miles. I didn’t experience any stomach problems and felt good the entire run, no spikes in energy and always feeling like I could go further on the energy I had. Along with my Succeed Ultra electrolyte drink I was happy with the results and will stick with this plan unless some unforeseen problem comes up in future long training runs.

After finishing my run the temperature had climbed to 94°, it was time for an ice bath. Cold water from the faucet (in Arizona that means about 90°, ugh) plus 40 pounds of ice felt great on my legs.

Click for larger image

An ice bath after a long run helps speed up recovery and today I feel great, no muscle soreness at all. I took a planned “sort of day off” by doing a brisk 4 mile hike on the Promenade Trail near my house this morning. It was all I could do to stay patient and not break out in a run.

The circles on the map are slowly growing. It’s been two weeks since I updated my progress. I have two boring weeks of training coming up (one will be a rest week) so I don’t expect to update my blog now for a while.

Until the next time have fun and be safe.

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You don’t know what you don’t know…

I’m starting to feel that way about running 100 miles in one day. The training is going well and I’m way ahead of my original training schedule, because I’ve been adding extra miles daily to the schedule. But as I get stronger and run farther each week it’s opening my eyes as to how hard this is really going to be and how much harder its going to be than I originally thought. I’m gaining even more respect for the people I know that have already completed 100 mile races.

This week I ran 80.5 miles, my highest weekly total ever. My biggest concern for miles right now is my weekly long run. It’s very hard to run long right now near my house when the average high the past 2 weeks has been well over 110°, several days have reached 113°-116°. Over the next five weeks I have scheduled long runs of 31, 16, 24, 26.2 (followed by 20 the next day) and 50 miles. My overall weekly mileage might drop slightly during these weeks to allow for more rest after these long runs.

Some miles are harder than others

I normally run a lot of hills so if you ever calculate my average pace per mile it looks pretty slow, well ok, its not just looks, it is slow. Yesterday I ran 18.5 miles on the Highline Trail near Pine, AZ. In that short of a distance I had total elevation change of 7,347′ (GPS devices are amazing aren’t they?!). Today I followed it up with a very slow recovery 18 miles, on tired legs, with less than 800′ of total elevation change and ran it in 1:43 less time. If all my runs this week were on flatter ground I put in enough time to approach 95+ miles. But I’ve already established in past posts that if I didn’t run in the mountains I wouldn’t run so for me miles and “time on my feet” are variable factors that can’t really be quantified.

Diet Update

OK, it’s not “really” a diet…let’s call it a “nutrition program”. In the past week my daily caloric intake has been as follows:

  • 1,946
  • 1,777
  • 2,031
  • 1,853
  • 2,095
  • 1,985
  • 2,572 (*860 during run from GU Gel and electrolyte/energy drink)
  • 14,259 total calories consumed in the past 7 days

I started at 6′, 170lbs. which equates to a Basal Metabolic Rate of 1,847 calories per day required for a sedentary person to maintain their weight. Obviously 80.5 miles this week plus cross training is not sedentary. So how do I have enough energy to keep running? I eat every 2 hours or as close as I can throughout the day. A human body can only digest up to 350 calories per hour (that’s a well trained athlete, most people are a lot less) so keeping quality calories coming in a steady stream but in low quantities is the best way to stay fueled throughout the day. I could write a book about this subject (but it’s already been done too many times) so I’m keeping it brief, if you want more detail contact me directly and I’ll gladly help you. Here’s an example of one of my days.

3:00 a.m. 197cal – 1/2 100% Whole Grain Bagel w/ 1/2 TBSP Peanut Butter, 1/2 TBSP Nutella and a strong cup of coffee (pre-run meal)
7:00 a.m. 288cal – Whole Grain Mini Tortella w/ 1/4 skinless chicken breast, 1 tsp salsa, 1/4 bell pepper, 1/4 C egg whites and 1 1/2 C green grapes on the side (post-run meal)
9:00 a.m. 60cal – large Fuji Apple
10:00 a.m. 290cal – 1/2 C Old Fashion Oatmeal, 8 almonds, 8 tart dried cherries, 1/4 C 1% milk, 1 tsp 100% maple syrup
12:00 p.m. 351cal – 1 serving 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti, 1/2 serving frozen peas, 1/8 red bell pepper, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 can white tuna (packed in water)
2:00 p.m. 110cal – 1 C watermelon, 1 C green grapes
4:00 p.m. 127cal – 6oz. low fat organic chocolate milk
6:00 p.m. 351cal – Jennie O turkey breast patty w/ catsup, dill pickle & jalepenos, Oro Wheat Sandwich thin (bun), 1 C fresh green beans, 1/2 C low fat cottage cheese
9:00 p.m. 270cal – 1/2 C Old Fashion Oatmeal, 1/2 TBSP Peanut Butter, 1/4 C 1% milk (fuel for tomorrow’s run at 3:30 a.m.)

Of course there are a couple Diet Cokes and a Verve! or 2 during the day along with several glasses of water or green tea but no calories are involved, just much needed caffeine.

I’m down 6lbs. in the past week with plenty of energy to put in the needed miles. Another 4-5lbs. and I’ll reassess and most likely go on a maintenance program to keep my weight under 160lbs. through Javelina Jundred.

Special Shout Out to Jay Danek

I introduced you to Jay Danek in my July 3 post titled “Highs and lows…and more lows”. Jay ran his first 100 mile race this weekend in Hot Springs, SD called the Lean Horse Hundred. Jay finished the race in 19 hr. 01 min. and placed 4th overall. Way to go Jay!!! Jay’s one of those guys that trains very hard. A normal week for Jay is over 100 miles and often times closer to 125 miles. Jay started running about 2 years ago and has run 4 miles or more (a lot more normally) for 531 days in a row. Yes, in a row without a day off! When Jay returns from South Dakota this week I plan on twisting his arm for all the secrets I can get about running a 100 mile race. Jay will be running Javelina Jundred on November 12th when I attempt my first 100.

Until the next time have fun and be safe.

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