June 5, 2008


After almost a year of blogging under the subdomain blog.gonesomewhere.com, and thinking I was going to do something with it, I never did.

So, I’ve made the executive decision to move my blog to it’s new home, www.gonesomewhere.com.

I’ve moved all the posts there already, and will be posting all new material there.

Once this has been up for a few days, I’ll set this up to automatically transfer over there.

Let me know what you think. I’ll be modifying everything over the next week or so, and be all ready to go with plenty of new material. (Especially since we’re taking a trip next weekend.)


Where ideas come from

June 1, 2008

As you know, last weekend I had some serious knee problems. Getting up on Tuesday, my knee was still throbbing enough that I decided to take the week off. (I did some stretching, but no running or walking.)

Now, this is all well and good, but without actually doing anything, a couple things happen:

  • I put in an extra few hours into work, since I don’t take much of a lunch break if I’m not working out. My boss loves this, and doing it occassionally doesn’t bug me. However, I start to get grumpy, because I’m not burning any physical energy off.
  • Being at my desk, or at home, or anywhere else, since I haven’t done anything, I tend to daydream about doing something. These “ideas” pop in my head, and things start happening.

It’s the second bullet that’s more interesting. It was one of these idea’s last January that led to the 29 Cubed challenge, where I thought it would be a good idea to do 29 miles in 29 hours on February 29th. As we all know, that came out a raving success, with a people around the world joining in and completing it.

This last two weeks have generated two new ideas. The first is, on the last weekend of June, we should go out and do some sort of crazy miles. I was thinking of 36, since a race that’s tenatively planned in September involves that mileage. And, conveniently enough, there is a local trail that is 6 miles, so doing 6 laps seems reasonable. Now, this idea is still in formation, and may be put on hold because of my knee problems.

The second idea is all about my knee and the Darkside marathon course. Because the course is essentially flat, it’s perfect for walking. And by walking, I don’t mean a leisurely stroll around the park, I mean race walking. Fast, funny looking, and smoking by slow runners (such as myself when I run).

The next 3M race is on Labor Day, which gives me 3 months to train. (However, due to another race, I may not do this one. Will have to wait to see the schedule later in the summer.)  Even better, in October, they have a 50K on the same course. This is more appealing for a couple reasons; It’s fully supported and it’s a 50K.

I’d like to do the 50K in under 5 hours. This will be tough, since adding 5 miles onto my best marathon time puts me well into 6 hours. I’ll need a plan, and some training. Matter of fact, it would probably be safe to say I’ll need a lot of training. And it’s going to be hard. Maybe even really hard.

The basics of what I need are:

  • Strength and flexibility training.
  • Serious VO2/Heart Rate improvements.
  • a lot of work on form and technique. Maybe even trying to fit a clinic in somewhere.

Now, I need to go figure out how to do that…

My first DNF

May 26, 2008

This morning, I attempted to run the Darkside Running Clubs 3M marathon. This is a small (~15 people) race in Peachtree city. The 3M stands for Monday Morning Marathon, and they have one on Memorial day and another on Labor Day. It’s billed as race where you show up, they give you a course.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple months, since it just sounded exciting and the Darkside members sound like interesting folks. This proved to be true, as we pulled up and noticed on Scott’s truck there was “134.4” sticker. Roman asked, and he responded with “I got tired of seeing all the 26.2 stickers, so I had my own made.” Hilarious!

We hung out for a few minutes, the course was described and we walked to the starting line. It was low key, where everyone looked at their watch and someone said “lets go”. So, off we went.

I hung with the lead group for the first couple miles, not so much because I wanted to go fast, but I was afraid of getting lost and I wanted to try to make one lap with someone in site. Eventually I decided they were going too fast, and I dropped down to my speed.

The course was very comfortable…it was all flat, something I didn’t know was possible in this state. It was along a multi-use path that would throughout the community. Peachtree City is a golf cart community, and there were plenty of golf carts cruising around. At one point, I saw a caravan of about 30 of them heading towards the city center for the Memorial Day parade. The course was marked with chalk, and I managed to not get lost.

One neat thing was little tunnels going under the roads. I couldn’t help myself for a while, and felt the need to talk in them just to hear the echo.

A tunnel going under a road.

There was plenty of little lakes we went around, and lots of people fishing. In the morning, it looked nice with steam coming off the water.

The lake.

Okay, enough of the site seeing and back to the race. The course was 5 laps. The first one we all went the same direction, and the others everyone could go either way. This provided us a chance to have a change of scenery, and high-five each other as we saw each other. Everything was on the honor system. (Number of laps completed and time. Grab a finishers medal if you complete them all, and leave your name.)

Now, as I mentioned in the title, I didn’t finish this race. That’s okay, I didn’t think I would. Due to the knee problems I’ve been dealing with, I haven’t been training much. (I think for this month until today, I only had 48 miles logged. That’s definitely not the type of miles to complete a marathon.)  My plan was to do as much as I could, and finish about the same time as Roman (whom I carpooled with). I was hoping he wouldn’t lap me too many times, and was successful there, since he only passed once. I managed to finish lap 3 about 5 minutes before he finished his last one.

My first lap, after running the first couple miles (at about 9 minute miles), I slowed and started mixing in walking. I finished in 1:07, which isn’t bad for just over 5.2 miles. Overall, I felt pretty good during this one.

The second lap, I mainly race walked, and mixed some running in as I needed to stretch my legs. It took me just a little longer, at 1:15. Toward the end of this, my knee started hurting, but not too bad of a slow down.

My third lap was race walking the entire way. (Until I had to slow down for moments because my knee was hurting.) About half way around, my knee felt pretty bad and I definitely slowed down. Amazingly to me, I did this lap in 1:15 also, only 8 seconds difference from the second lap. (But to be fair, some time was wasted in lap 2 looking for an appropriate bush to borrow.)

I\'m at the rest stop

I was real happy with these times. If I come back for the next one, I may consider race walking the whole course. Because it’s so flat, it’s a perfect course for it.

One thing I tried new this time was using a “Buff” to keep the sun off my head. I thought it worked good, and I got the cool pirates look, which is almost like having a costume. Even through they are known from Survivor, at no time during this race did I have to win immunity or eat bugs.

ChickEkiden 2008

April 26, 2008

Last year, I heard about a run that sounded like a lot of fun, but for various reasons, I couldn’t do it. However, this year I was determined to make it onto a team and do it. Today was this day! The 2008 ChickEkiden, part of the Gainesville chicken festival. It’s a marathon length (26.2 miles) relay with a team of 6 people. The best part? The relay baton is a rubber chicken.

Our group was able to come up with 12 people, so we entered two teams: “Runners Fit” and “Runners Not So Fit”. The “fit” team was made up of the fastest people, and the rest of us, who weren’t so fast, were the other team. Needless to say, yours truly is not so fast…

Each of us had was responsible for approximately 4.3 miles. I was a little worried when Ryan told me the last mile was tough. Of course, I asked him if that meant it was his-tough or my-tough. It took him a moment to think about, but decided that it was his tough. Uh-oh, that doesn’t bode well.

Starting off, there were a lot of big rolling hills. Running next to a lady, whom I ended up doing almost the whole leg with (Coach Carmen), we joked that if this wasn’t considered the tough part, we need to really worry about the last mile!

Well, we ran. Without going through the boring step-by-step of the entire route, it was a good course. I actually didn’t think the last mile was that bad at all. The thing that makes it tough is just that you’re tired. Especially me, since I was like white lightning, running 2 minutes faster than my average. And yes, that’s two minutes faster per mile! I finished my leg in 37:50, when I was planning for 45 minutes. WooHoo!

Doing the chickendance after the handoff

One thing that may have slowed me down just slightly is I did what was appropriate: At each mile marker, I had to slow down to do part of the chicken dance. And of course, after I did the handoff, I did it again.

A shout out goes to my wife who came out to take pictures and support us. (She acted as the “team mom” for us, although she drew the line at holding our used Kleenex.) The rest of the team was great to hang out with and we all got our fill of chicken jokes in.

And for the record, this race gets a big thumbs up! The course was good, a lot of support and volunteers. The post race food was good. (I’ll let other people give their comments, but I liked the Panera breads.)

Afterwards, we planned on going to the chicken festival, but ended up shooting up to Brenau Academy, a girls school associated with the university there, where Dianna graduated from. We thought we’d take a picture of her there, but turned out they were having an open house. We ended up spending plenty of time talking to a lady who was touring it with her kids, and talked to the headmaster and a couple other people there. We also got to wander around and see the rooms and classes and stuff. It was a lot of fun.

We then stopped at RunnersFit for their spring sidewalk sale. Turns out that a number of people from our group was there, so we hung out a bit. (Felt sorta like going to Cheers, where everyone knows your name.) I met David, who ran the Sweet H2O 1/2 marathon this morning.

Note for team members: The pictures are uploaded to my gallery: photos.gonesomewhere.com. Go to the races folder, and choose the Chickekiden 2008. If you want full size shots, let me know so we can figure out how to get them to you.

Intimidating hill of the day (and other funny things)

April 21, 2008

Saturday, I had the first half of my exciting weekend running, getting ice cream. Now, as exciting as this was, it was all roads, shoulders and sidewalks, dodging cars and breathing exhaust.  So Sunday, the plan was miles of trails.

Our group planned to meet at Ft. Yargo State Park at 7:30. This is when we usually meet, and has the advantage of getting us off the trail by the time the bikers are started. Clay, Joe and myself made the early hour. Everyone else was AWOL. Now, normally I won’t name drop like this, but it comes back later.

For a change of pace, we decided to go counter-clockwise. This will be against the bike traffic, which is good so we could get out of the way as needed. Off we set, and the speedsters rapidly take off. Because I screwed up my knee the day before, I decide to play it by ear. I made it through the first mile and was ok. At the end of the second mile, I thought about turning around, but decided it was just as easy to go forward to get back to the car. (Okay, never mind the fact that it was 2 miles back or at least 6 miles forward. Hey, I was in pain and not thinking clearly. Yeah, that’s the ticket…pain blurring the thoughts. You did buy it, right?)

Now, not being the total masochist, I did cut across the bridge near camping area B, cutting 3 miles off the trail. I had the vague thought I’d catch Team Speed at some point, but it never happened. I think I heard them talking at one point on the gas line, but I was on the trail in the shade.  At this point, about 4 miles in, I realize I’m almost hiking instead of running, so I adjust myself mentally and decide to take it easy.  Ah, that’s better…my knee only hurts half the time going downhill.

As I headed down the gas line (after the trail comes back out of the trees), I kept going down. And down some more. Boy, I realized that if I was going the other direction, this hill would be REALLY INTIMIDATING!

Here’s a picture of it, so you can feel appropriately in awe. If you look closely, you’ll see a mountain biker powering up it. I had to stay and watch him…he made it up, but I could’ve sworn he was wobbling from exhausting at the top:

(Now, just so you don’t thinking I’m a sniveling whinger who’s all talk, I did run UP this hill once. And, it was at about mile 25 of my 29 Cubed race, so I wasn’t exactly on fresh legs. And yes, it was a long ways up.)

So, as you may have noticed, I mentioned a biker. He passed me at the bottom of the hill. As I continued on, more and more bikers started coming. Now, I knew I was going slow, but that’s okay, since I was packing plenty of water in my fancy new CamelBack. Of course, a few made smart comments, such as “dude, your going the wrong way.” I continued on, and at one point, one of them wiped out right after passing me. (He must have past bad karma, since he only said hello as passing.)

A while later, a group of three passed. The first guy, in a proper a English accent, said “two more behind me.” So I hang on the side of the trail, and see the other two coming. I tried cheering them on with a “Come on! You can take him!”, but they didn’t understand me. As they get closer, it was two women, and one of them says with her accent, “hey, where’s your bike?”.

Well, to cut it short, I finished in a dreadful 2:21. My GPS said about 8.5 miles, but reviewing the tracks, it did lose coverage a little bit, so I’ll call it an even 25 miles. 🙂

Getting home, naturally I did want every team player does. I sent an email to the group, something along the lines of “Hey, where the heck were y’all? And you missed British accents! everyone loves accents. ”

A while later, I get this message back from an esteemed member of our club, and nearly fell out of my chair laughing:

That’s funny, that was my wife asking about the missing bike. she was
out riding Yargo this morning and came across a runner with a camel
back. I saw your message and just asked her, she replied – “how did
you know about that”! She’s from Liverpool, UK.

(Thanks Simon, that made my whole  day! Say hi to the wife from the idiot who forgot his bike. Sorry for confusing the accent, but you now how us dumb Americans are so culturally insensitive to these things.)

Ah, and to complete the mood of the weekend, I treated myself to an ice cream shake in the afternoon.

Ice cream run

April 19, 2008

Watching the weather report yesterday, it was supposed to be raining all morning today. This left me with a delemia, do I get up and meet the group or sleep in and go running whenever I get up?

I decided to sleep in…and it was pretty nice. For my run, I decided to make it kind of long, and go up to Bruesters to get ice cream. I thought it was about 8 miles away, so the distance would work good and I’d hit it right when I’d be about ready for a break. Perfect.

So, off I went. At about mile 2, a fresh biscuit and coffee sounded pretty good. But, alas, I set out for ice cream, so that’s what I’m going to get.

About mile 2, I passed the Golden Pantry.

Continuing up the road, it felt like I was in the county. There’s a big field that has alway looked pretty nice, but there weren’t many cows around enjoying it.

One thing y’all should know, down here in Georgia, hogs are taken very seriously. They have whole mountains of them.

Bruesters was just around the corner from here, but checking my GPS, I barely had 5 miles, so instead of going there, I headed up the highway to a subdivision and cruised around it for a while. I thought about stopping at a garage sale they were having, but decided that I’d be better off not. Otherwise I’d end up buying something I didn’t need and having to figure out how to get it home.

After adding the mileage, I headed off for my reward. I got in just under 6 miles when i got in. I got a single scoop of New York Cheesecake on a sugarcone. The guy looked at me pretty funny, pouring sweat and it had just finished raining, but I didn’t care…that first lick was great. So was everyone after it!

I chuckled when I saw their napkins. Guess I earned this because my shoes were on the right foot…would have been a long 6 miles if they weren’t.

Instead of going back the way I came, I headed down Braselton Highway (124). The shoulder was pretty small at times, but traffic wasn’t too bad. I got a chance to snap a shot of this old house. According to an article I read a while ago, this is one of the oldest standing buildings in the state. The owners are donating it to a local center, so soon it will be disassembled and rebuilt at some park.

In the end, I ended up with 10.71 miles. I guess I really underestimated it how far it was to the ice cream shop, but still worked out okay.

On a side note, I recently bought a new Camelback, and this was the first chance I’d have to use it. I was real happy. a lot of room and my back didn’t get too hot. I’ll look forward to using it on tomorrow’s trail run.

Funny story of the day (April 16th edition)

April 16, 2008

As y’all know, occasionally I am caught up in something that strikes me as funny. Today, another one of those moments happened.

On Monday, a coworker mentioned he signed up for a sprint triathlon. “Cool for you” I said. He’s a big biker…brought his own trainer into the gym to use all winter and goes out whenever the weather is good. So the swimming and running will be new for him. He was getting ready to head out for a run. I went back upstairs and had lunch.

Today, I was getting dress and he comes in:

Him: “Rahn, I don’t know how you do it?”

Me: “Me neither. What are we talking about?”

Him: “Running! I ran 3 miles, and I felt worse than going on a 60 mile bike ride.”

Me: “Oh that. Not sure what you could possibly mean.”

Him: “The pounding! How do you handle the !#)$! pounding?!? ”

Hehe, this was pretty funny, in my opinion. Since neither one of us are built like the Kenyans, of course we have these types of issues to deal with. We talked a bit about technique and getting shoes and what-not. (So, the other funny part of this is here, big guy giving running advice. Who would’ve thunk it? Especially a second time in less than a month.)