A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ride the Rockies Training: Good Days and Bad

Do you ever go for a ride or a run and feel like you're cruising without much effort? You're just feelin' it? I had that kind of ride this past Sunday. Riding solo I averaged 16 mph over a route I'd normally do around 15.5 (on a good day). I rode the same route today with Big Troy and averaged 15 mph. I could lie and say Troy held me back but it was quite the opposite. I was dragging. It felt like my legs were just dead weight. Ever have one of those days?

Big Troy at the Larkspur Corner Market
I guess you can't expect to have a good day every time out. I know better (but I still do). The key is that I got in the miles, only the second time I have met my weekly goal of 100 miles since the beginning of March. I've only racked up 380 miles in the saddle towards my goal of 1,500 by the start of Ride the Rockies on June 9. And it supposed to snow tonight!

I'm not sure if it's good to try to push yourself on bad days or take it as a sign that your body may need to rest. So I decided not to overdo it and cut our ride short by 10 miles today. I'm glad I did. My legs feel like we did the full 52 we had planned. It's important to listen to your body. My friend Dane Rauschenberg (who just finished running 350 miles in seven days!) talks a lot about the importance of rest and how he thinks it has helped him avoid injury.

Kathy's FUMS blog
(officially stands for
"Fundamental Understanding
of Multiple Sclerosis)
I recently read a blog post from a high school friend who lives with MS along these lines. She was being stubborn, trying to work full time and "ignore" the signs MS was sending her body. "I don’t want it to affect me, so therefore I won’t let it. I’ll ignore it," she wrote. "But MS will not go quietly into the night. The jealous one awakens to find you not paying attention to it. So – okay, it’s gotten my attention, thank you very much. I got it. I’ll go part time."

"Having to give this damn disease a piece of something that means so much to me – my time, my job – feels like failure. It feels like I’m giving up or giving in. A friend of mine made a great point, however. She said I wasn’t giving in or giving up, I was giving the MS the respect that it demands – and deserves – but that I have refused to give it all this time. And she’s right."

And I think I have bad days. I can't imagine what it must be like to live with MS. From the stories I've heard from the people I have met with MS there are definitely good days and bad days. Days when you feel like you could conquer it and days when you feel like it is conquering you. Even just having to inject oneself with a needle every other day means there will be good days and bad.

That's why I am riding in the Colorado Bike MS ride in honor of Kathy and in memory of Patty, the sister of a colleague who's life was cut short by MS. I set an abitious goal to raise $5,000 to help people living with MS manage the highs and lows of living with this insidious disease and to support the search for a cure.

 need contributions of $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000. Here is a breakdown of how I hope to reach that goal, based on my favorite cuts of BEEF!

• 1 donation of $1000 = $1,000 Bone-In Ribeye
• 2 donations of $500 = $1,000 Filet Mignon
• 4 donations of $250 = $1,000 Smoked Brisket
• 5 donations of $100 = $500 Kansas City Strip
• 10 donations of $50 = $500 Flat Iron Steak
• 20 donations of $25 = $500 Flank Steak
• 50 donations of $10 = $500 Ground Beef*

I made a personal donation of $100 (in addition to the $75 registration fee) to kick this off. That leaves $4,900! Based on this formula I need more than 90 people to support me in order to reach my goal and every donation counts. I hope you will seriously consider joining me in this effort at whatever level you can by going to the BEEFMAN'S Fundraising Page and contributing.

Ride on!

*Made with Lean Finely Textured Beef, of course!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

See Dane Run the Oregon Coast

I've never really liked running. I generally run out of necessity, either to exercise while traveling or prepare for the third leg of a triathlon. I consider a half marathon a long run and have completed nine runs of that distance (three as part of Ironman 70.3 distance tris and one as part of a marathon relay).

So the thought of running 50 miles in one day is staggering to me. But that's what my friend Dane Rauschenberg did this past week -- every day for seven straight days -- running Highway 101 from California to Washington, stopping along the way to speak to school kids about the importance of being physically active and "ignoring the impossible."

Dane and Beefman
I met Dane in a chance encounter boarding an airplane after running the 2010 Go! St. Louis half marathon (he had run the marathon)  and have had the pleasure of getting to know him over the past two years. I have also enjoyed following his ever impressive accomplishments, including his solo run in the 202-mile American Odyssey Relay in 2010 and his seven-day, 350-mile journey along the coast of Oregon this past week (read his daily recaps on his Pacific Coast 350 blog).

On Monday I sat down for a steak dinner with Dane at Henry's Tavern in Portland (he ordered his favorite post race meal, a top sirloin steak with blue cheese) less than 24 hours after he finished his run. As he recounted the week (with occasional help on the details from Shannon, his crew on the run), I was reminded of stories from past Ride the Rockies, from the incredible highs, like cresting the top of a 12,000 ft. pass, to the exhausting task of setting up camp, getting cleaned up (body and clothes), finding food and getting up day after day to do it all again.

Dane shared stories of battling wind, rain, and hail, friends joining him for runs along the route, stopping to speak to school kids, climbing 900 ft. hills to finally crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River into Washington.

Speaking to the school kids was definitely one of the highs, Dane said, and he left each event feeling reenergized and ready to hit the road. However, these events also presented a major logistical challenge as the timing of his speeches didn't always line up perfectly with the timing of his run. Often the Team BEEF crew had to pick him up along the route, transport him to a school, then return him to the point where he left off to continue his run, sometimes well into the night.
The Franklin High School (Portland, OR) track team joins Dane Rauchenberg for a one-mile "recovery" run the day after his Pacific Coast 350-mile run.

Regardless of the challenge it presented, Dane said reaching hundreds of school children with a message of the importance of physical activity was the most rewarding part of the run.

I attended Dane's final speech to a group of students at Franklin High School in Portland on Monday. It was great to see 200 kids wearing "Beef. Fuel for the Finish" t-shirts listening intently as Dane shared his story. They also asked lots of questions, wanting to know what he ate along the run (beef, of course!) and what shoes he wore (Altra Zero Drop). "I don't care if you want to become a great runner or a great painter," Dane told the students, "just set your goals high and work hard to achieve them."

Following his speech Dane led the students in a one-mile "recovery" run around the dilapidated track at this inner city school. I joined them for the run, figuring this would be the only time I'd be able to keep pace with my good friend! As we ran, one student, a Franklin High track team member also named Dane wanted to know how to begin training for an ultra marathon. He was obviously inspired by Dane's story and wanted to follow in his footsteps. He also wanted a Team BEEF jersey so I promised to send him one!

During dinner Shannon shared the story of one of the students Dane met this week -- an overweight teenage girl. She was working at the fast food chain where Shannon stopped to pick up a cheeseburger for Dane. When Shannon explained who the food was for ("I told everyone I met what he was doing," Shannon explained) she told Shannon she had heard Dane speak earlier in the day and he had motivated her to start walking to work one day a week.

I heard Dane say many times that if he could motivate one student to start moving the Pacific Coast 350 would be a success. Well, Dane, I think you achieved your goal, not only running all 350 miles (and then some) but motivating others along the way. Congratulations!
I am proud to call this amazing and inspiring man my friend.

Ride on!


P.S. Dane asked me to write the foreword to his new book due out next month. Dane shared a few chapters with me and I am anxious to read the rest of his thoughts on life lessons from his first 100 marathons.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ride the Rockies 2012 Training -- One Month Down, Two to Go

My first month of training for Ride the Rockies 2012 has had its ups and downs, literally and figuratively. Great weather has allowed me to get out and ride 220 miles along the Front Range of the Rockies. Unfortunately, two weeks of business travel cut significantly into my riding time and I am 140 miles behind schedule to hit my goal to ride 1,500 miles before June 9.

Finding riding time is always a challenge in training for Ride the Rockies, but I think logging time in the saddle is the most important thing you can do to prepare. I spent 20.89 hours either on my Cyclops Fluid2 Indoor Trainer or on the road in March. Not too bad but I need to kick it up a notch in April. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Travel will continue to be an issue in the next two months. Since I can't take my bike with me wherever I go I run when I am on the road. I put in 26 miles in four hours of running in March. While there is nothing like riding to get in riding shape, I think mixing in a few runs here and there is good for overall physical conditioning and helps avoid repetitive motion injuries.

For some reason the elevation gain shown on MapMyRide is always off,
but the elevation profile tells the story!
I am fortunate to live where I can head out my front door and get in some climbing work. My riding buddy Troy and I set out yesterday morning to go for a climb, and climb we did! We headed west on State Hwy 67 from Sedalia, Colorado, to Rampart Range Road, a nice Category 2 climb gaining 1,256 ft. in 4.7 miles (average grade of 4.8%). From rollercoastered over to Sprucewood through beautiful Pike National Forest before turning around and heading back. It total we gained 4,635 ft. in 46 miles.

Big t and Big D at the Sprucewood Inn.
An average day on Ride the Rockies 2012 will cover 74 miles with 4,156 ft. of vertical gain! So if you are training for Ride the Rockies and don't live in Colorado, I highly enourage you to find the steepest hills in your neighborhood and spend some time climbing. You'll be glad you did come June.

Ride on!