Fall / Winter Trail Racing

Well coming off the trails in Wisconsin we dialed in our trail running skills in Palos Park Trail System once more to keep our momentum going. Running more than 10 miles on the trails while being more efficient and effective on our running speed and cadence. We had a few new runners for this late fall race in Galena, IL Oct/19.

On this weekend we had the option of three distances. A 5k, 10k, or half marathon. Five of us raced the half while four more raced the 5k. Nicely groomed trail, and almost flat and shaded. Late warmer temps had runners shed their outer shells and ran fairly fast on this little trail.

Coming from the Northwoods with minimal rest and recovery I thought I could tackle this 1/2 marathon without skipping a beat. Well, not so fast my body was telling me very early on. Half marathoners staged first on this 27F morning and I was not a happy camper. Cold, and feeling very stiff we started our run. Sun was peeking out between he trees only teasing us with some light and zero warmth.

My hat, shell, and gloves stayed on when we hit a few icy bogs on the trail and knew right away that this was gonna be a rough one if I hit these bogs, and I’d feel colder if I did. Not my ideal running situation while I was just getting warm. Well, to no avail with runners somewhat tightly situated on the trail some of us hearty souls took one for the team and sloshed through those bogs and kept on cruising. Feeling cold, it took me to the 10k mark to finally shed my shell and stash it in my pack somewhat.

The shell stayed on my shoulder straps and it would not budge. Upon shedding the shell I began to feel my Right IT bad fire like crazy. No build up of discomfort or indication of hip tightness at all just boom! Here I am big boy! Whatcha gonna do!? Well, I continued to run, walk, stretch, and repeat that process around a half dozen times to stretch and curse my tight hips, all the while I hydrated to stem any possible cramping that may arise from this. I thought long and hard about just walking the rest of the distance, but I was not gonna give in and just walk.. I made up my mind that I would finish regardless of my discomfort.

I made it back to the start line and knew I had 5k left. Regardless of the hobble, shuffle, and pain I would not stop to stretch until I crossed the Finish line. When I did finally cross that line I was fatigued, and in pain. We took our medals, some pics, and then I tried to walk a few steps (26 total) to the top of the bridge / sidewalk to grab some food when at the first ten steps I took my body lit up like lightning bolts on both IT bands bilateral knees and hips. My body was having none of this stair climbing nor walking in general. So, what did I do? Heck I walked with Nene next to me for 800m to the restaurant and finally sat down to drink as much coffee as possible not caring about anything else except that there was food coming my way and I could relieve my pain with copious amounts of coffee until we walked 1200m back to the car and head back to the hotel to take a Hot bath. Purchased epsom salt, and Skor chocolate to take the edge off. Yes, cho-co-late! My pain killer of choice.. I have my type of meds and you have yours. 😛

Post bath what would any sane human do? I’m not sane so we went to a distillery that a friend referred me to and had an adult drink. Man did it hit the spot. No, not buzzed just felt the warmth inside that was missing and we headed back to the the hotel and then grabbed some food. Time well spent.

Would I do this race again? You bet! I love Galena, and plenty to do there. This year we’ll sty a bit longer and have great time to enjoy the festivities they have after the race. Halloween weekend with parade, and costume contest to be had.

L-R- Gio’s Wrecked Runners
Eleni, Tom, Nene, me, Aurora
L-R: Gio’s wrecked runners
Aurora, Eleni, Mark, Nene

Chicago Veterans Ruck March 5/24/19

There are times where you feel anxious, or butterflies prior to an event that you’re participating in that will make your preparation for such an event either fruitful or regrettable. I’m happy to state that my butterflies were there, but not so much as a nervousness due me questioning whether or not I have trained properly, and am I wearing the right equipment for this event.

The morning started at Chicago’s Union Station for our ride to the start line which was at Henry Kalk Park, Glenco, IL. Just getting off the train and the registration/ check in tables are 100 yds away. Well, one good thing deserves another right? Well, the morning of the event it had been forecasted to be gloomy, rainy, and cool. What we did get was very rainy, lighting, and thunder.

While getting off the train, it opened up on us. Yes, it just kept on coming, and not a shelter in sight except for the volunteers, and food areas. With standing water, mud, and a bit of a wind we just had to come to terms that we were going to be uncomfortable sooner than later.

Everyone involved had a great attitude towards the situation fully knowing that being uncomfortable was par for the course so we all took it in stride. Heck, once the colors were presented, our national anthem sung, and a speech given it was time to ruck and roll. A 20 mile ruck with weights of your choosing is what makes this event all encompassing. We’ve had children, and adults with their school bags and gym shoes , and the elderly with nothing on their backs. You get this done the best possible way you can in the time you can.

Our team of five had a two females, and three males. Each wearing a ruck or backpack that suited their ability to accomplish the goal of 20miles. We had no illusions of trying to keep up with the ROTC HS / College kids. Nope, my ego was checked when I registered. With that being said we did pass many people on the route who were much younger than us and finished much sooner also.

Typically due to improper footwear I’d lost nails the last two years, and no I’m not posting pics of them although I did take pics of my feet. This year I wore the shoes I’ve been training in for over six months I’ve broken them in, so they’re so comfy and wide. I’ve worn many brands of shoes for training, and have found them to be very solid, zero drop, wide toed, and look odd. I dig them. They’re the Altra Superiors 3.0, but the link will give you the 4.0’s. I’m gonna grab them next for my trail half marathon in October.

Selene, she wore the Altra Lone Peak 3.5. Solid shoes, and man do they make a difference. Not having any foot issues is a big deal in such an event as this, and we’re two happy people because of it. They did not break down with 50lb on my back, and that’s not including water, food, or extra gear.

We rucked through beautiful neighborhoods, and walking past the Baha’i House of Worship It’s a beautiful building outside, but you’re gonna drop your jaw when you go inside.

Our lunch stop area (designated) in Evanston, IL we had a chance to do foot care. Change socks, check for blisters and such items to be taken care of. Someone decided to get a little warmer by using a garbage bag to get warm.

Well fed by our volunteers, we donned our gear and headed out. Warm? Not really, still a lake breeze keeping the temperature at 55F/13C all the time. The wind at times was nasty, until we were on Sheridan Rd, by Rogers Park until way past Loyola University. Once we got to Hollywood beach, game on for windy, cooler, and a little sunny. By that I mean that it was brighter and no rain. Rucking on the lakefront path is always a treat except when the idiot bike riders think their higher level of riding a bike fast is greater importance than the pedestrians they barely miss hitting. Dickweeds!

Once we passed the uptown area, past Montrose harbor, and cricket hill the Rucker’s were very spread out, and you could tell everyone was determined to make it. No matter what. Blisters, and body aches be damned! Supporting each other whether or not we knew each other is of more importance than being a lone wolf in this event. Words of affirmation is one thing, but get words of encouragement from strangers really lights their, and my fire. That’s why I keep coming back, to give back.

Once passed the Nearing The totem pole we were stopped and greeted by a bud of of Weber’s whom he had served with and started to give us beer. Heck, I was thrilled and thirsty so I of course enjoyed a can, and carried another just in case I felt thirsty sooner than later. Actually I felt good after that, I had just taken my CrankSport eGel. So, my carb load went up and I felt goooood!

Once we made it to our last obstacle, which happened to be a bridge to cross over Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue Beach, we were feeling it for sure! My legs ached pretty bad, but we were determined to either hobble or crawl to the finish!

Selene took a video of struggle but we were laughing at our level of discomfort. Old geezers doing work! 😂

One the funniest things that happened was when we were resting waiting for others to finish and hydrating with my beer of course I started to get cold. So I said I’m going to put on another shirt to warm up. While trying to put in over my head I couldn’t lift my arms and got stuck. As if on cue Weber, and Selene began to laugh hard at my demise but wouldn’t help. My inability to don a shirt was due to the crush line injury on my traps by the ruck. So, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

They laughed so hard they couldn’t reach their cameras to take a pic. Good thing.

As far as equipment this year as last events went here is the load out.

My faithful ruck from GoRuck in the GR1 has been such a sturdy piece of well made equipment that has been dragged, thrown, swung, smashed, soaked, and in all weather conditions to boot. It’s tough I tell you. Very much so, that hauling this ruck for prolonged period of time (7+ hours) it does not lose its shape. Shoulder pads are very well padded, and my suck factor was well reduced as I lugged 50lb for 20 miles that day.

It may sound like a product review, but not my intent. It’s a statement of fact to instill in anyone starting out in any endeavor such as this to go out and try out many rucks, and read plenty of reviews. One purchase, no regrets, and plenty of time had working out with or using it as a EDC bag.

I hope to have more participants next year to join us, maybe it’s you?

See you then,

Magister Nosce

Planning and executing

I’ve spent the past two weeks prepping, doodling, writing, and finalizing a 12 week running program. Of course it’s nothing too detailed since it’s going to be presented as an outline for the participants at the gym for those that want a goal race after the 12 wk program runs its course

The focus of the program is really how to teach/instruct clients on the basics of running technique. I teach clients to improve their hip strength, hamstring pull, and make less noise while running. This is not a Big deal for veteran runners unless they themselves have some chronic pain, or need to improve their running technique where I am asked to assess/evaluate then proceed to have them work on re-learning how to move with one skill at a time.

Getting outside and running is a great release for many involved, and stress relief if you’re not training for a coming race is something they look forward to. There are times when a direct correlation of following a plan reduces the stress involved as to what distance, or focus points one should cover is not something they have to worry about. They just follow the plan, execute the drill and are non to displeased to find themselves running better and finding that there is enjoyment to be had.

What do you look forward to when you train, whether it be in the gym, or outdoors? Is it the physical aspect of doing something, or a mental release that you actually look forward to when you participate in such endeavours?

Go out, find what makes you happy while being in the moment to find release in the physical realm, or a mental check. Emotionally, I believe both the psyche and physical exertion work on releasing such toxicity at times that I look forward to the iron game and really let out my anger, or sadness during and intess bout of lifting/CF.

While running, I entertain my past running career. Racing both in road/trail races and how they both are similar in a small way and differ greatly depending on distance and location of course. Who can beat a trail race with great scenery? While running along the Chicago lakefront really is a fantastic treat as long as you’re not being run down by the idiot bike riders!

Go out, train, have fun both in the box or outdoors.

My Prio shoes.  Excellent zero drop shoes I've run with, and have even grabbed for my HIIT/CF WOD's

See you soon,

G

A last minute ruck

I went ahead today to complete a challenge that was cancelled in the early part of October. It was the 12mile time trial ruck.

I expected to do it alone, but decided my boy Gunner would be bored at home so I decided to feed him well, and hydrate him prior to leaving the house.

Beautiful trail day with overcast sky, slight cool wind blowing at my back for the first half of the trip. The colors are what get me moving outside even more this time of the year. I’m a fall baby and it shows. I had conversations With people at certain times this year about training in different temps, and found myself coming back to solidify my stance on the Fall/Winter time of the year where I can train harder and much longer.

Nature changing and preparing itself for darker, cooler, and icier days ahead. Those changes are what I love about this time of the year. Cooler temps means wearing wool tops, and a windbreaker even when it’s in the 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. You’re gonna sweat, so wear the proper clothing and just enjoy yourself.

Well, walking with a dog is no big deal really. All you have to consider is time, distance, people and other dogs especially the untrained ones. Other than that it’s great! Speed rucking, and with me loaded down with 50+ pounds on my back, and him on a leash makes it a very interesting day on the trail.

He kept up really well until we saw a Big buck crossing the trail, and all he wanted was to chase it. Umm, nope! We trudged towards mile three where the video below was taken. He’s enjoying life, and loves the outdoors. What dog doesn’t?

Once we got to our turnaround point we sped up just a tad more, from 3.5 pace to 3.9 pace. Man oh man I’m feeling that decision right now. Everything’s aching, swollen, and lost two nails one on each foot, and they’re from the same digit respectively. I’ve lost toe nails from those toes before. No big deal, just get over the fact that your hurting on the ruck march, and suck it up.

You’ll live, and the good thing is that a Hot epsom salt soak helps immensely after such an event. Yes, the nails are off, and before you ask why? This is why – It hurts to walk with nails that have been pulled upward of the nail bed every step you take.

So, I take them off. Simple. Fast. Clean. No more pain, or discomfort. They grow back, and most of the time growing them back isn’t a pretty thing since they don’t grow back perfect.

Well, back at the trail from beginning to end:

Trail – Salt Creek Trail

  • Start – Brookfield Woods
  • Halfway point – Wolf Rd
  • Finish – Brookfield Woods
  • Once complete we walked way slower, had him do his business then back home.
  • Once home, he drank water like he’d never had a drop over a week. Funny, I took a bowl, and water for him to drink out of, but instead he just turned his head in disgust! It made me laugh. Should’ve taken the pic of that. I was just spent.

    We ate lunch at home, 4 eggs, and a bowl of barbacoa taco meat that was left over. Heck, it was gourmet for me!

    Until next time kiddos! Kicking my feet up while he snores! Will need more food also!

    Oh, just might take a dram or two of Rum. Why not? 🥃🤔🤫

    P.S. Hydration is key to seeing something like this through, and so does electrolytes from Cranksports. It helped so much! Get on it people!