Tuesday, September 18, 2012

North Face Enurance Challenge Madison, WI 50 Miles

Before I start saying anything about this race I want to thank both of my pacers and all of my crew, I could have never done this without you all.

I will start right away on Saturday morning, race morning. It was a very cold low 40 degree morning in the Kettle Moraine State Park but excitement was very high among the competitors. I had this set as my "A" race for the year and I really wanted to PR at this event. Training was solid throughout the year and I had tapered well so I was ready to just let loose at this event, I was ready to crash and burn if thats what it came to but I wanted to put it all on the trail. Knowing that runners, especially ultra runners are their own worst enemy on the trails I had 2 solid pacers and a great smiling crew chief to cheer me up at all the aid stations. Waking up at 3 am for a race that starts at 5 is never easy because it gets your emotions going really early in the day. I was freezing when we got out to the car so I had on 3/4 tights, a long sleeve shirt, and a great running jacket for clothing, Skora Bases on my feet for the start. We all huddled near space heaters placed by the start line and waited for the man himself, Dean Karnazes to come out and give us all a little pep talk before the start. He is a very cool guy by the way but more on that later.

We take off and I am surprised that no one takes off like a bat out of heck, I mean it was 5 in the morning and pitch black so I get the being cautious thing. I took off at a good pace and I was confident that I had prepared well. I really noticed a change in temperature once I got into the trail, I was over dressed and had 6 miles till I would be hitting the aid station. I unzipped the jacket, exposed my wrists to stay cool and most importantly picked someone to run with. I had been running next to a girl that won the girls division of Land Between the Lakes 50 miler, my first 50 mile race, so I knew she was a great runner and I would PR if I could stick by her as long as possible. We ended up running together into the first aid station and I made my move from there, early in the race I know but I wanted this one bad, and decided that I needed to stay in front of her and pick up some more runners. Really I felt great, my shoes were climbing well and flying down the hills with ease.

As soon as the sun came up and there was light I was into some of the crazy hot fields in the park. There was a lot of moisture on the grass which soaked my shoes early on but really they breath well. I didnt see crew for aid station 2 or 3 so I was just continuing to push my pace in great anticipation for my crew to rock. I had two water bottles in my hands loaded with 2 gels in each and S Caps in my back pocket. I managed to get down one gel after the 3rd aid station but that was it until I hit my crew at the 4th aid station and got a slim fast down. I just couldnt handle gels in my stomach so I obviously need to learn my body more nutrition wise but today was not the day for that, I wanted to be fast.

From aid station 4 to aid 5 was 7.1 miles, a long hilly, sandy, wet stretch. I was able to pick up a pacer at the end of all that to turn around and to it again. I am lucky enough to have a dad who is a rock star runner and he pushed me really to my limit for this section, we chased down some runners and also flew on some down hills. I was feeling my calorie deficit bad and I needed something, basically a miracle at aid station 6. My crew was awesome and Amy already had bottles ready for me, I asked her to throw an elixer tab, basically a lemon lime electrolyte mix in the bottle and let everything rock. I walked out of this aid station with my buddy Dennis and wouldnt ya know he is great at pushing potential as well. I was being pulled along through some of the biggest hills on the course and I was loving it. On the outside I probably didnt look that way but on the inside I was so happy to be running all day.
As Dennis and I came into the aid station my awesome crew chief said " Hey, there's Dean. Go get him" with a big smile on her face. So I took my dad out and we cranked it up to a whole new level. I was dead at this point, nothing left in my legs and only about 250 calories taken in so far. We hammered as much as we could through the course and caught Dean. We talked for a bit and than I had to continue the push to the last aid station before the finish. Once we arrived at the last aid station after a brutal hill climb I saw a guy that was in the lead, I felt so down, I thought he was already finished and waiting for another runner. Come to find out later he made it 46 miles and dropped, it will happen to anyone, if you think you feel good in an ultra just wait a minute..... you wont anymore. My dad led me into the station screaming fast and I headed out with Dennis for the last 4 mile stretch. This was a big time sandy stretch but there was a huge prize at the end, a finishing time.
To be honest the best decision that I made all race was to not have a watch on or ask time at all. I ran a race, I didnt run a time I ran the race the way races are ment to be run. If I could suggest one thing to anyone racing that would be it. Cut out the GPS cut out the watch totally, enjoy your time on the course and race the runners around you.

I came out of the woods for the last mile with a group of three guys in front of me, none of which were running the 50 mile race but still rabbits to catch. I was pushing to drop my pacer and to also catch the crew just in front of me. I ran my legs off that last mile and it paid off. There was one sharp right turn and than about a 50 yard stretch and the finish, my dad was standing right at the turn and I thought I heard him say "push it in you will be under 8 hours" so naturally I kicked hard and to my surprise there was no finishing clock anywhere to be found. I crossed the line and collapsed, I had left it all out on the trail and I was happy with my run.

We had to wait around for a while to see the results so I tried talking to some of the reps and what not to kill time. My dad came up and told me the results and I was shocked, I wanted to see it for myself to believe that I had broken the 8 hour mark. It felt amazing to push that hard and have success in the race.

                                          If you ever get a chance to meet Dean, do it he is amazing.

Never wear a watch when you race, its a great training tool and nothing else. (Thanks for that info Travis)
Eat more calories during the race.
Write a word on the bottom of your shoe that only you know about, it will drive you to achieve great things.

18th overall, 3rd in my age group

Run Real

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Duluth Trail Festival

 I was so pumped up to do this series because I wanted to get some more experience on the Superior Hiking Trail, the same trail that ate me up and spit me out on my first attempt at Wild Duluth 100K. The trail fest was in a three race format spanning from Saturday morning until Sunday . Saturday morning was a 5K and they included the element of beach style trail running in the first run. I had convinced my Dad and one of my long time running buddies, Dennis, to do this run with me as well. I had no idea what the first two races were but I did know that the third and final run was on the Superior trail and that made it reason enough for me to do it. Before leaving for Duluth, Skora sent me a loving care package and that totally raised the spirits of the event for me a ton. I love being able to show off the latest and greatest in a minimal shoe.

My fiance and I arrived in Duluth and I was eager to go run. Duluth is such an amazing place to go out and run, if you are a roadie than you can run by the north shore. If you are like me and love trails than you are in heaven with the great set up that they have. Amy loves this restaurant up there called Burrito Union, I must admit that it is amazing for local and fresh burritos and as an added bonus there is a trail right across the street so I promised her a burrito dinner and I headed out on to the trail.

This was no ordinary trail that I was used to running, St. Cloud is flat. Duluth is like an uphill run no matter what way you turn and something inside me loves the up hill challenge. I took off down the trail in Chester Park having no clue where I was going but I figured I would just stay on one single trail and try not to get turned around. It just so happens that I stumbled across a man wearing a Western States 100 shirt, immediately I stopped and started talking to him because I wanted to figure out both the trail and that amazing shirt. This was no ordinary trail runner, this guy looked legit I mean he had two pony tails and they looked cool plus an amazingly awesome beard, tell me this guy didnt know his stuff. He told me that there was a ski hill just ahead about two miles and from there I could really have some fun. Finally I had to ask about the shirt, he casually told me the story of how he was a crew member for Scott Jurek, who is from Duluth area, and how that year he won the Western States race with a huge PR in that race. I was both blown away and totally recharged and ready to rumble.

Saturday morning came and it was time for that sweet festival to start, we arrived at the park and got checked in. My Dad knew that it was on the beach but he did not know that this was some of the softest sand I had ever been in, talk about burning up the legs. I warmed up and was ready to go. My goal for the event as a whole was to be in the top 10, never having done a race series like this before I figured that to be a reasonable goal. We lined up and I have to admit I was quite nervous for the gun because I dont have that "drop the hammer" kind of speed anymore with all my long endurance training. Boom! Gun goes off and we are taking off, we started down a big long gravel straight away that seemed to turn into sand pretty quickly. The trail section was fast and had a great flow to it, the sand sections just about did me in. As we hit the first long sand/beach strip I got passed by a 10 year old little boy who was just flying through the sand, in my head I knew that I would lay it all on the line to not let this go down. We got off the beach and I flew through the next trail section. I knew I needed a lead since we were about to be on the beach again for the finish. I put a good minute or two on him, he was in 6th and that is hugely impressive because that was a very competitive field, and headed out toward the beach for the final half mile. I tried as best as I could to stay light on the sand but my legs were rocks already so I gutted it out and took 5th.  (PS. Thats not my finishing time)

We went back and tried to rest the legs to get ready for the hill challenge in Chester Park. The race was going well and morale was high but I can tell ya that my legs were tired I hadnt tapered or rested or anything for this series. We made it to Chester Park later on that day and as we drove in we saw the hill. It is the landing to a down hill ski jump, making it extremely steep.

We were ready to run and that we did, the gun went off and the front runners were at a dead sprint, everyone wanted to get in a good position in order to make good time on the trail. This was a much more narrow trail and the first 3K were basically down hill making the starting pace punishing enough. Turning back and starting to climb was tough but the pace didnt let up even a little, if you wanted a top spot you continued to push yourself. I push hard until we got to the hill, there are many techniques to climbing the hill, I went to my hands and feet and started grabbing anything I could to pull myself up that wicked climb. Finally making it to the top I was really tired but of course I continued down the trail, only to continue to climb that ski hill that I had just had so much fun playing on. I finished up the course and than ran to go find my Dad, he was just coming down the rock slide and heading into the field. By the way I cant say enough of how proud I am of him, this series was no easy feat. (The picture is of the ski hill we climbed after quad hill)

Sunday was the 15K and this had everyone in the group a bit nervous, I mean seriously though it is up Elie's peak as well as Spirit Mountain, but we put on our racing shorts and went out and hammered away at it. The start was not as fast because it was a 15K but when you start going up the peak you instantly space out from other runners and I felt like I was lost, even though I have already ran that route I was still uncertain. It was different from the other runs because this run was still blazing fast but completely solo. I ran the entire race by myself besides the last mile where I had a guy come up and he tried passing me, after working that hard I was not about to let someone pass me in the last mile. I hammered it out and passed him in the end but man was he quick. If you are in the Mid-West I would strongly recommend trying the festival next year. I ended up 6th over all and pretty ok with that :)

Thanks goes out to Skora running as well as Amy for being there taking care of me after each race.

Trail Fest Race Results

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Awesome pump up songs for runs

There are tons of good pump up songs for running and what not but some that really stick in my head are the following.


Its the Yellow Ostrich- Marathon Runner. I love this song, it really makes me think while I am running.

Eminem - Til I Collapse

This is such a classic song I cant believe how much music can pull out of a person.

Thanks for letting me be random :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cremator 50 Mile Race Report

Cremator 50 Mile Race Report

            Being from Minnesota I feel that I started preparing for this race way early, going from Minnesota down to South Carolina for an endurance race in extreme heat is something that I took very seriously. Researching running and how to best keep the body cool became a daily event, I knew that I wanted to finish and finish well. I had a lot of my family coming down to watch me and help crew me through this adventure.

            My fiancĂ© and I flew down to South Carolina on Wednesday trying to acclimate to the heat of the low country. Luckily there is an amazing running store located just off of Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Running Company, and they have a group run on Wednesday nights. I wanted to take my run nice and easy because I had not tapered for this race because I was planning on training through this race to the Lean Horse 100 which will be my first 100 mile run. When we got to the store for the run my competitive nature got the best of me and I went out with a faster group and instead of just a nice easy 5 I went for a quick 8. For my first time running in the heat I thought it went very well even though I went way to fast. We headed back to my grand parents house and I tried to relax, not an easy task as it was my second fifty that I had ever done.

            Packet pick up was on Friday night and it felt like a little kid in a candy store once we arrived. I got out and practically ran to get my packet, I met Tim ( the race director) and a few others but got out of there as fast as I could. I was starting to get really nervous about the whole event, my amazing grandparents drove me to the pick up and they asked if I wanted to go drive the course I was about to go run, I told them no way did I want to see what I was about to do especially if I was doing two loops of it. I wanted to actually get some sleep that night so I let the course be a surprise in the morning. We went out for Italian so that I could get noodles and I ordered plain noodles, no sauce, no butter, nothing just noodles, the restaurant was pretty blown away with the order but they did a good job. Once we got back I tried sleeping and managed to get a few hours under my belt but was pretty anxious.

            Wake up was early and to be honest it couldn’t come early enough, I was pumped for the run. I had laid everything out the night before so I was ready to get my shoes on and head out. We loaded the car and headed to Port Royal for the day, a long, hot day that is. We got to the race and there was an amazing vibe in the air with everyone buzzing about the run. Just a fun little fact, only two people who started last year attempted it again this year. When we arrived there was a nice little fire going and weight ins started right away. I got there and got settled, trying to calm my nerves I talked to some of the other runners but mostly kept to myself. The start was a blast, Tim called everyone to the line and said ready, set….. there is a car coming, ha. GO! We took off and I tried to calm my pace a bit so that I could make it to the end. I latched on to a group of runners that seemed to be at a great pace for my goal which was sub nine pace. After a little bit I had to let them go because they had picked up pace a little and the heat was starting to come out and play, I ran most of the first 12.5 alone. Towards the end of that first stretch I made a friend and we ran for a bit together until he wanted to pick up pace a little more than I could as well. Support along the course was great, people were cheering and any support crew in the area would offer S-Caps or Gatorade. For the most part I just loved seeing my family throughout the course, they made it such a great experience for me really. I couldn’t believe how much easier it is to push when you have loved ones surrounding you. On my way back I did a solid pace until the bridge, the bridge was the only large hill on the course. I made it to the turn around and weighed in successfully, I needed some one to pace me up the hill the second time and my sister was ready to make it happen. My fiancĂ© was going to be my savior on the way back up the hill but my sister was there to put in some grinding miles. We got up the hill and back on to the hot road, I loved the smells of the low country and that was one thing that kept me going.

In order to finish this run I needed to have myself stay in the moment, realize where I was and how great it was to be there. The whole reason that this race report has taken so long to come out is that I felt like I needed to re center myself after this run and make it a much more personal report.

            The last loop, 25 miles, was getting to be a scorcher. Everything about the run made it hot, the name continued to flash in my head and the black pavement wasn’t helping at all. The best thing was to dump water over my head so that I could cool my core and try to keep my head. I absolutely love every aspect of running in South Carolina and that includes the heat so I tried my best to just love it all and keep running. Running that last loop was not only tough but it was a blast to be honest, it was a little rough to have to finish and end my long run in the low country.

            I ended up passing a women on my last lap, having no clue what place I was actually in and I made that my goal to not let her pass me again. I worked as hard as I could to hold that lead on her. Obviously my legs were burning up after the 40 miles but I had that goal and I had to see it through to the finish. I some how managed to push through my pain and I hurled myself to the finish line. Once I hit the line Tim was there to hand me my finisher medal and take a few pictures, we did all that and than he said “Congrats Max, You finished 5th” and he handed me a top five finisher shirt. I was in shock to be honest, I never thought that I would ever finish in the top 5 of a race this distance and I surprised myself.

            That finish certainly lit a fire in my stomach and I am working towards more top finishes, next will be the North Face Endurance run in Madison, WI.

Thank you to Skora running for making such an amazing shoe that I felt fresh my entire run.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My first 10K and preparing for the Cremator.

Hey guys,

     Its been a long while since I have been on my blog to update and I want to let everyone know that I am back and sorry that I have not been keeping everyone in the loop. I have not lost my running but I have lost my connection with why running is important to me. I have found it now so do not worry, I just needed a humbling race to remind me that I am running for the love of being outside and not for the love of medals and winning. Since I last wrote I have won a 5K and raced a 10K where I finished 8th (my first 10K so not too bad but still I was not happy with it.) I ran the Heights Hustle 5K in Columbia Heights, which is where I went to school for most of my freshman year of high school. If was fun to be back in town and racing around the streets, it brought back a lot of memories and I loved that about the run. I took first in that race with a pretty uncontested time of 19:00 and like I said no one there to chase down or even attempt to run away from. I had been at 100 miles for that week when I added that run but during my warm up for the race it opened my eyes like nothing else has, I cramped up. I had just ran around some neighborhoods in my 4 mile warm up and was out on the track doing some stretching and strides to really wake up the legs when all of a sudden my whole right quad went into transformer mode and turned in to a rock. Instantly I was furious with myself, what was I thinking, I have a 50 mile run in a month and I just hurt myself doing a 5K. How stupid was I? I swear, in the next second I was laughing to myself thinking that all things happen for a reason and that I should probably remember that I should smile and be friendly, not ubber competitive. That run helped change my outlook big time and boy was it fun to haul around a rock of a leg for a 5K...... NOT

    Training for the 50 is going really well, but when I think of my training plan it is to simply train through this race and train into my first 100 mile run in South Dakota. Mentally I am beyond tired, I mean last year was 135 degrees off of the pavement and I wont be tapered for the run. How crazy is that? I am going to be running 50 miles in extreme conditions with tired and beat down legs. Oh well, all for a great cause, my first 100 mile belt buckle!

    Now that I have my blog back up and running I will be posting much more often but its just such a nice day right now that I am going to say so long for now and catch me if you can. :)

Run Real

America..... ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just one of those long routes.

This is finals week here at St. Cloud State University and so of course I took to running in between my classes to release my tension. I have this route that is just a brutal run, not physically because it is relatively flat but mentally because it is one long and straight stretch. This run is so difficult because there is not a thing around you for the whole 15 mile stretch. I love this run because it mentally makes you stronger as a runner and as a person. There is nothing better than being secluded in order to get your mind straight and a total sense of preparation for finals.

Run Real

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Preparation for the Trail Mix 50K

Yesterday I received a pair of Forms from Skora, a company located in Oregon and a great company all the way to their core principals so if you have some time check them out and let me know what you think, I immediately took the shoes out on a run and was blown away by the fit. I have never loved an upper when I have tried a shoe on. I have always just gone with whats breathable and a strong outsole but you don't have to compromise with the Forms. I am so excited for the race on Saturday to really give them a test and I will of course give a race report as well as a shoe review. 
It was a brisk morning but still a perfect time to head out and get a short trail run in before the race this coming Saturday. I have been cutting down my mileage leading up to the 50K and will continue to taper off the rest of this week, which by the way is very difficult when there is a new pair of amazing shoes calling your name. I am very up in the air as far as which type of hydration I will go with for the run but what I have decided is that I am going to love every minute in my Forms. I will be up early in the morning to have a breakfast of 300-400 calories and pack up my gels for the race. I am a huge peanut butter fan and absolutely love the Gu Peanut Butter gels so I will be fueling up with those on my adventure Saturday. I am planning on giving it my all and so gels and calories are going to be a huge part of my hope full success. Lets hope for some warm weather on Saturday and go out and give your self a treat with an adventure run on Saturday as well.
Run Real My Friends.