Saturday, July 25, 2009

Triku - Triathlon Poetry

Triku-The traditional Japanese poetry form with a triathlon focus.

Went swimming today
Sun was high and deck was hot
More sunscreen next time

Mid-90's on a lovely Florida day and the YMCA pool was nice and cool, but it's really easy to burn on a day like today. Lesson learned.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Birthday Run - Complete!

I'm happy to report that I successfully completed the 45 mile Birthday Run with the help of my supportive family and many friends.

I started just after 10pm on Friday, July 10 and finished around 9am on Saturday, July 11 for a total of 11 hours. The weather was beautiful overnight and into the morning with clear skies, a nearly full moon and temperatures in the low to mid 70s. It was still humid, but noticeably cooler than any recent day or night. Perfect for a long, slow run.

The run was great fun and I was kept motivated and entertained by all the people who helped throughout the night. A team of over 20 family members and friends helped, ran and rode bikes along side of me throughout the night and into the morning. I was so touched by the generosity, enthusiasm and willingness of each of these people to come out and support me on my adventure. Thank you all!
I've included an alternate way to look at the Birthday Run...a heart rate trace of the 11 hour period. For the training geeks, my resting HR is typically between 45-50 and my average for the run was 133 with a maximum of 165, which I hit when I broke the tape of the finish. My heart rate monitor said I burned 5,400 calories, but I suspect it might be a bit higher than that. You can click the picture below to see the details of my heart rate and mileage over time.
Here are some notable highlights from the run.
Warm Up Run - 10 PM - 12 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Jill, Gail, Merle, John, Trudy, Mike and Bob on his bike. I quickly realized that brownies at the first rest stop were a bit of a distraction for some as we made two 5 mile loops. Also, taking pictures with my highly reflective safety vest proved tricky. Gained first nickname of the night...Tron.
Completed Miles: 10 - Feeling great!

Transition Run 1 - 12:15 AM - 1:22 AM - 4 miles
Assisted by John, Matt, and Steve and Bob on bike. Had to make up a little time due to a slightly late start and the brownie distraction. On a whim, Steve purchased a new bike that afternoon and worked on assembly during the final hour of the Warmup Run. It was worth it! Steve would ride with me from midnight until 6:30 AM and he had a really bright headlight and a Blackberry that plays music. Very nice.
Completed Miles: 14 - Back on schedule

Almost a Marathon Run - 1:35 AM - 3:30 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Matt, Steve and Bob on bikes, Valerie on her bike, Estuardo running and his teenage daughter on her bike. Initially I thought I would only have one volunteer on this loop, but ended up with quite a crowd. The neighborhood security officer stopped us at about 2:45 AM and indicated that we shouldn't be running down the middle of the street as it wasn't safe. We politely agreed and continued running down the middle of the street. We didn't see many cars that morning. I had not met Estuardo until 1:30 AM, but quickly learned that he is a multi-Ironman finisher and he jumped at Steve's suggestion to join us. His daughter, who he called "coach", was equipped with a Fuel Belt with more bottles than mine and she rode happily along in the early morning hours with her dad and his new found friends. She was super-supportive and I got the feeling that she'd done this before. Thanks "coach".
Completed Miles: 24 - Felt like I'd almost run a marathon. Still felt pretty good.

Transition Run 2 - 3:45 AM - 4:30 AM - 3 miles
Assisted by Steve and Valerie on bikes and Lora running. Lora was the unexpected surprise at 3:45 AM when I saw her yellow Jeep pull in. She was able to make it out for the run and then get a lift back to her car. That was really nice! Thank you Lora. Valerie rode ahead of us and Steve lit the way from behind as we made our way down the dark, scary street of the run. As we slowly made our way, we were startled by the guard armadillo on duty halfway down the street. He heard us coming and charged towards the fence and I expected him to jump up on his hind legs and bark ferociously, but instead he snorted softly and then turned away, satisfied that he had protected his yard. Valerie also sacrificed for the team by riding through all the spiderwebs that crisscrossed the trail. Lora also did an interesting little "froggy jig" as she dodged a randomly hopping frog crossing our path near the finish. Nobody wanted to hear the squish, so we appreciated the fancy footwork to avoid our green friend.
Completed Miles: 27 - Re-energized by the short run

Park Run - Bandit Style - 5:00 AM - 6:45 AM - 8 miles
Assisted by Steve on his bike, Paula, Mark and Scott. We ran to the entrance of the park that contains a nice, soft trail around a number of lakes, but the gate was locked. No surprise, since the park doesn't open until 7 AM. Undeterred and a little giddy, we hopped the fence and gently hoisted Steve's new bike over and were on our way. Our pace quickened with the fresh legs of the new group and we made quick work of the park loop and were surprised to see that the gate was open when we left. I picked up a hitchhiker with 3 miles left to run in this segment...the singing balloon.

Completed Miles: 35 - Saw my wife again after 25 miles. She liked the balloon.

The Finale - 7 AM - 9 AM - 10 miles
Assisted by Mark, Scott, Paula, Luis, Rose, Rhonda, Robyn and Sandy and Laura on bike. Paula's singing balloon was a hit and I had it tied to my waist for the remaining 10 miles. When you tap it, it sings a little birthday ditty. When your friends punch it, it sings. When it hits a low tree branch it sings. When your running form is sloppy, it sings. Needless to say, I was serenaded for the next 8.5 miles until the battery started to go. Then the perky birthday song started to sound like a fat, sloppy, slightly drunk, Elvis impersonator singing the once perky birthday song.
We celebrated the passing of each mile mark after 40 with a whoop and continued to calculate the exact route we needed to take to get to 45 miles at the finish. Paula was in charge and I was thankful. Rhonda, Laura, Paula and I ticked off the final miles and soon made our way down the final stretch and at half a mile out, we could see the finish and the small crowd that was waiting. I picked up the pace and saw my daughter holding one side of the finishing tape with a big smile on her face. I saw my son and wife and many of the people that had helped on the run who had come back for the finish. I was running hard when I hit the tape and I raised my arms as I crossed the line. My heart rate monitor read 45.11 miles, but it felt like much more. It felt like an adventure I will never forget filled with sweat, fuel, fluids, heart rate monitors, GPS wristwatches, tech fabrics and expensive shoes. An adventure in training, planning, preparing, coordinating, e-mailing, blogging, Twittering and talking. But most of all it was an adventure filled with stories, laughter, smiles, friends and family who shared and cared about my goals and dreams.

Thank you all for the support!
Dave (Ironbirdlegs)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Triku - Triathlon Poetry - Special Birthday Run Edition

Birthday Run is here
Forty five miles for forty five years
A long night ahead

Less than two hours until the run begins. I'm so thankful for the friends and family who have volunteered to run, bike and support me tonight. Let the adventure begin!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Birthday Run - Final Details

Thank you to everyone who has offered words of encouragement (along with expressions of disbelief) and to those of you who will join me on my 45 mile Birthday Run. Here are the final details of the run for this coming Friday/Saturday, July 10-11, 2009.

General Information
Through the generosity of those participating, we will have coolers with water and/or Gatorade on each route.
  • Please bring your initial fluids and any nutrition needed for your segment.The average pace will be 12 min/mile with a run/walk pattern of 5 minutes on, 1 minute walk.
  • The start and finish times are my best estimate, but please be flexible.
  • Twitter updates will be posted throughout the run (

Warm Up Run

  • Start Time: 10 PM
  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Finish Time: 12 AM
  • Additional Info: Run will consist of two 5 mile loops with a stop at the house in between.
Transition Run 1

  • Start Time: 12:15 AM
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Finish Time: 1:10 AM
  • Total Miles: 14.5 miles
  • Additional Info: Point-to-point run to get to the next meeting place.
Almost to Marathon Run

  • Start Time: 1:25 AM
  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Finish Time: 3:25 AM
  • Total Miles: 24.5 miles
  • Additional Info: Run will be one large loop within neighborhood and finish back at the start. There will be a cooler with water and Gatorade at the start/finish and a cooler within the neighborhood.
Transition Run 2

  • Start Time: 3:45 AM
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Finish Time: 4:25 AM
  • Total Miles: 28 miles
  • Additional Info: Point-to-point run through a neighborhood, across a major boulevard and down a narrow, dark street. Officially longest run ever at this point
Before Hours Park Run

  • Start Time: 4:30 AM
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Finish Time: 6:10 AM
  • Total Miles: 36 miles
  • Additional Info: Nice, soft packed dirt trail for most of this loop in the park, slightly ahead of their opening hours.
Big Finish Run

  • Start Time: 6:30 AM
  • Distance: 9 miles
  • Finish Time: 8:30 AM
  • Total Miles: 45 miles
  • Additional Info: Run the minimum number of miles required to get to 45, taking into account any accumulation of errors to this point.
Pictures and additional impressions will be posted after the run. Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Birthday Run - Training and Nutrition

I'm relieved that the Birthday Run is less than a week away. It takes a little pressure off knowing there is nothing more I can do now to build endurance for my first 45 mile run, but at the same time, it allows for little bits of self-doubt to creep in. I've put in a number of key training sessions that should help me in the long run. I've summarized the approach below.

Training Summary
  • Fairly consistent 8-12 mile long runs each Saturday since March
  • Consistent 8-13 mile tempo run each week in June in addition to long runs
  • Long runs on weekend and multiple back-to-back long runs
  • Multiple night running sessions
  • Average mileage for last 5 weeks, 38-54
  • No injuries

Back-to-Back Weekend Runs and Misc Long Runs

  • May 22 - 17 mile run on Saturday
  • May 23 - 18 mile run on Sunday
  • June 13 - 19 mile run on Saturday
  • June 14 - 6 mile run on Sunday
  • June 20 - 19 mile run on Saturday

Simulation Run

  • June 26 - 12 mile run on Friday am
  • June 27 - 3am start - 25 mile run on Saturday

The simulation run was great and slightly unplanned. I ran 12 miles on Friday morning and then we had guests over to BBQ and I didn't get to sleep until after midnight. The alarm went off at 2:15am for a 3am start of the 25 mile training run with a friend who is training for the San Francisco marathon. I came into the Saturday run fatigued from the 12 miles and without much sleep from the late BBQ night and I survived. This is a good sign.

Nutrition Approach

After reading and experimenting in training, I've arrived at my nutrition plan for the Birthday Run. I'll primarily be using Hammer's Perpetuem to provide calories (carbs, protein and fat) along with some Hammer Gel for variety. I'll also be using Endurolytes for electrolyte replacement along with plenty of water. I decided to move away from carrying Gatorade to avoid mixing carbs and electrolytes with the other fuels and instead separate out the fuel, hydration and electrolytes. I used this approach on the simulation run and everything worked as I hoped, though I realized I need to take in a few more calories as I was pretty hungry at the end of the run. I'll have steel-cut oatmeal about 2.5 hours before the start and a Chocolate Balance Bar about 45 minutes before along with sips of Gatorade leading up to the start.

During the run, I'll aim for 16-24 oz of water each hour, depending on heat and humidity and take 2 Endurolytes per hour as well. The Perpetuem will be mixed to pancake-batter consistency and I'll swig this from my Fuel-belt bottle every 45 minutes or so and wash it down with water to get the calories I need. Hammer Gel will be used as well to vary the flavor and texture in addition to Fig Newtons and chicken broth at the rest stops for variety.

I'm feeling pretty good about the plan, but know I need to be flexible and prepared. Five days and counting...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Triku - Triathlon Poetry

Triku-The traditional Japanese poetry form with a triathlon focus.

BodyGlide, my friend
Say "Goodbye" to rash and chafe
Ouch, I missed a spot

A warm shower after a long run reveals where I missed with BodyGlide. I'm thinking a full body dip is necessary for the Birthday Run.