Friday, December 30, 2005

Famous Lies told to Runners at a Race

Over the years I've heard some whoppers from aid station crews, course officials, race directors, and people on the sidelines of a race.
Here are Some Famous Lies told to Runners:

"The finish line is just ahead." - (No way).

"The aid station is just ahead." - (the aid station crew hasn't even set up, yet, or it's 5 miles away).

"Trust me ... this is the last hill." - Translation: 4 more hills.

"It's all downhill from here." "You're almost there." - Translation: 5 more hills.

"Another 100 yards, around the corner, and you are can turn on the speed, now." - (It's always 1/2 mile to go when they say this).

"You're looking really strong." - (You look like a stumbling, self-flaggelating drunk).

"You're looking good, keep it up." - (You look like total dog shit)

"You are breathing're in a groove." - (You're practically asthmatic, you're caked with dried salt, your face is an almost purple-red, you are slobbering, and you're bleeding from 6 spots on your body when they say this).

"That guy is in your age group! Go get 'em." - (He's actually 10 years younger/older than you, so don't worry your little, mileage-addled brain).

Heard from the finish line of a 10K: "if you can hear my voice, you can still break 40 minutes." - (No frigging way, with just 10 seconds left...don't be a fool, yet again).

"Just an easy 5K to go!" - (usually said by some numb-nuts-non-runner with a bull horn at about Mile 21 of a marathon).

Heard before trail ultra-distance races (many, many times): "The course is well can't get lost."

Said (incorrectly) at the mile 53 aid station in my last 100-mile trail run: "This container has water, that one has Heed in it...let me fill your water bottle for you." - I almost threw up when I drank it, because Heed was mixed with my sports drink.

...And the biggest whopper that I've ever heard: "Just 1.5 more miles and one major hill to go." - Said at the last aid station at the Superior Trail 50 in 2004...there were actually 3 major hills and 7 miles left to go in a 50-mile race that turned out to be 57 miles long! (We were warned at the start of the race that the new, 2004 course might be slightly long-ish). I still had fun, though, (even though the finish line was not marked and I was lost for 30 minutes trying to find the damn thing).

Can any of you RBFer's share other race lies that you've heard?

Creepy Running Location..."I don't back-in"

Running Quote for the day:
"Battling to maintain the delicate balance between hyperfitness and physical collapse." - Megan Liberman

Last night Caleb, Kyle and I hit the BuRP Trails at Minor Park, for a nice 7-mile run on technical trails. Minor Park is a very interesting place. The dead-end road where we park our cars is unlit and very spooky.

There are 2 kinds of people who park there:
1) People who pull their vehicles into the parking spot front-end first. They consist of runners, hikers, bikers, dog-walkers, and people who go fishing. You know, "normal" people who recreate.
2) The 2nd kind of people who park there, are people who pull their vehicles into the parking spot REAR-END first. These are people who are up to no good. They consist of: A) men trying to meet other men to do strange things in each others cars, and on occasion, B) pot smokers. I have no problem with the pot smokers, but the "Richard" smokers give me the creeps.

When my group of Trail Nerds shows up, the "REAR-END first" crowd tends to scatter like a group of pigeons with a dog running through it. So, contrary to popular belief, I guess we ARE good for the neighborhood. This is the only place where we run that I see this kind of behavior. Every now and then, the KCMO Police Department operates a sting operation there, but they are back at it again, in no time.

I think we will switch our Thursday night runs to WyCo Park for a while, or maybe we should all get bumper stickers that say, "I don't back in" or something. Nah, we will just go to WyCo for a while.

On Saturday, we will meet for an easy, 5-mile trail run at SM Park. On New Year's Day, a few of us will run a Fat Ass 50-Kilometer trail run at Wallace State Park. It should be good for our 100-mile training to run with only 3 hours of sleep, or so.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Running Quotes and Training Logs

Ultra Running Quote of the Day, (found on a sign on the course of the Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run Trail Race):
"it never always gets worse." This quote is originally attributed to David Horton, I think. David is a Crazymanrunner & Race Director and wrote a nice little piece on "Completing Your First Ultra-Marathon" a few years ago.

Check out these other quotes.

My Training Log:
Last night I hit the stationary bike at the gym for 30 minutes, then did a 1-hour leg training workout, with ab supersets between sets of leg reps. I then went and met up with the Wednesday Night Run group for supper. I used to run every Wednesday with that group, but I'm shunning pavement for the most part, lately. It was nice seeing some new faces there.
Tonight I'm going to run 7 miles (after dark) on technical trails with the Trail Nerds.

Be ready for 2006! Here are some ways to log your progress in the new year, if you missed my last post.

On-Line Running Logs:

Excel-based Log For Running Stats:
David Hays' Log will track/graph everything, including shoe usage.
Here's another version of David Hays' pre-modified for 2006 with room for up to 9 pairs of shoes, for your entire running shoe collection.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Training & Running Logs

What are your running goals for the 2006? What is your goal for total mileage for 2006? Did you meet your 2005 goals?

My running goals for 2006:

Run two 100-mile trail runs, one of them a Hardrock qualifier (at altitude).

Run three 50-mile trail runs.

Run a few 50-K trail runs.

>2400 total mileage.

Race Direct two trail events.

Of course, my main goal is to stay healthy and uninjured. I met my 2005 goals, and am healthy, although I need to continue to lose 1-lb per week for a while, until I've lost "that last 20."

With that, it's time to start thinking about next year's personal running log. There are two ways to go; online versions and an Excel-based model to keep at home. Who needs paper? Both types are free, so check them out.

On-Line Running Logs:

Excel-based Log For Running Stats:
David Hays' Log will track/graph everything, including shoe usage.
Here's another version of David Hays' pre-modified for 2006 with room for up to 9 pairs of shoes, for your entire running shoe collection.

Slower than Normal Trail Run, Last Night

Only 3 of the Trail Nerds group showed up for the trail run last night. (It is a holiday week, after all). It was just me, Kyle and a newby named Bill. Bill has never run on trails before, and decided to try night trailrunning, first! Cool! Bill had started running back in May of this year, and is a very ambitious runner. He had just ran a half-marathon in October, and in 7 weeks will run in my race, the Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run 50-K Trail Run.

We started the first 5-mile loop slowly. Usually, we run the 2nd loop at a 90-seconds-per-mile faster pace. Bill decided to run the second loop with us, but may have bit off a little more than he could chew, so he was running a little slower on that loop. He did fine, had fun, and finished feeling ok. The only problem with running slower than normal: the park closes at 8:00 PM, and we got back to our cars at 7:55.

When we got to the front gate (at 8:01 PM), a Park Policeman was a little over-zealous. He had already locked the front gate. He used the opportunity to bitch me out for a while. I asked him if it was he who had folded my outside rear-view mirrors flush to my car (while it had been parked), and he said, "it would be a good way to make a point, wouldn't it?" He didn't admit to it, and I don't really think he would take the time to do that, but he kind of pissed me off. I chilled-out quickly, and apologized for being 1-minute late, and left the park.
The after-run hot soak felt even better, last night!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Running (and Homebrewing)

Happy Festivus!
I'll just post about running and homebrewing over the holidays. The rest of the family stuff was pretty darn awesome, and there was even a little bit of time to relax, as well. I also got what I really wanted for Christmas; a lot of time with my family and a new burr grinder for my coffee. (I'm easy to please). My old coffee grinder, a ten year old rotary mill-type unit, was held together with tape...really. My kids couldn't stand seeing me use it, so they got me the new unit. Thanks, kids!

Running News:
Last Thursday night, just 3 of us ran on the trails at SM Park: Good Ben, Christian and me. The trails were covered with "Kansas City Slime-Mud from Hell." Christian took a tumble part way through our jaunt, but wasn't hurt. The next morning, Kyle and I hit the whole park's worth of trails out at SM Park. We probably ran 16 or 17 miles at a slow pace, and we took it real easy. "Easy" is a relative term when you have 3 pounds of mud on the bottom of each shoe, though.

I didn't run or work out on Saturday, but on Christmas day (Sunday), my son and I went to the gym (at work) and hit the weights for ninety minutes. It was a family activity, after all, right? The kid still has some catching up to do, because I can still out-lift the healthy 23-y.o. by a big margin. He's slowly working on getting back to his old strong self, though. And he can still out-wrestle me; he's got some great technical skills in that department.

Monday morning, three of us hit the trails for a little 10 or 12-mile run. The mud was partially frozen, so it was actually very easy going. We ran through a stream crossing in the last 20 meters or so, just to get any residual mud off of our feet.

This morning, I hit the weights again for a nice 80-minute workout. Tonight, our group will do two five mile loops after dark, at the old same place, as per our Trail Nerd schedule.

HOMEBREWING News from the Bad Ben Nanobrewery:
Monday at noon, I started working on my latest batch of homebrew. I finally had the time to brew my most recent version of an Imperial Stout. The weather was perfect and the brewing session went well. Alex came over to keep me company for a while. He had brought some munchies, and we commenced having a good bullshit session. I was on a time deadline for brewing this batch, because my wife and I were going over to the next door neighbor's for a friendly game of Uno at 6:00 pm. A 10-gallon all-grain batch usually takes me every bit of 6 hours to complete, especially when there is so much grain involved (for an imperial-style stout). I got finished at 6:03 pm, and just had the brew kettle left to clean. Alex helped me haul the heavy stuff back into the house before he left for home.

I changed the recipe of this stout somewhat from my last posting. I didn't add the cocoa, and I jumped-up some of the other ingredients for an even larger grain bill. I'm also going to split the batch after primary fermentation into two 5-gallon batches (for secondary fermentation). One batch will age in whiskey-soaked French oak, and the other I will leave alone to it's own devices. The final wort starting gravity was at 1.084 (20.23 Plato), which was a little lower than I expected, but I had cut my boil time to only 1 hour, instead of a planned 80 minutes, due to the time constraints.

I also finally transferred my Imperial Rye IPA to it's secondary fermenter. I ended up dry-hopping the batch with 6.5 ounces of leftover Zatek-Bor (Bohemian) hop pellets. Zatek-Bor hops are really hard to find outside of Eastern Europe. It will be interesting to see what kind of aromas and tastes prevail with this fun brewing experiment. (Remember that I used the last of my homegrown hops in the original boil). It is already down to 1.014, so it's almost completely finished with fermentation. It might eek down to a final gravity of 1.012, I figure, for an alcohol percentage of 9.3 percent (by volume)!

Happy Trails and Cheers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Trailrunning Party

Last night, our trailrunning group ran from a different location. We decided to go to WyCo Park and run a short little 5 or 6 mile loop on some gnarly and hilly singletrack. Eight of us showed up: seven veterans and one newby.

It was still and dark, with no moon to help with the lighting. The snow and ice conditions were perfect for running. The snow was melted down to 2-3 inches, and was at the perfect temperature where it packed well, instead of slipping under our feet. I was leading the pack. The last 3/4 mile or so, four of us ran at a 7:30-min/mile pace over the rocky and hilly course. We stopped and waited at the last road crossing for the other 4, then finished the last few hundred yards together. What a fun run!

We also decided to have an mini-party after the run, at Shane Jones' house. I brought some of my homebrew - a keg of my latest version of Kölsch, and a large swing-top bottle of my Belgian Winter Warmer. The beer was a hit, and Shane & Brandi's chili, cornbread, and cookies hit the spot. We had fun telling various nutty stories related to running, mountain biking, and other debauchery. "Good Ben" even spent some time helping to get the Jones' computer working correctly again. I had just received the new Kansas City Trail Nerds hoodies, and gave some of them to all of the trailwork volunteers that were there. The new hoodies employ Jason Crosby's great artwork on the front.

The group had gotten together behind my back and had purchased me a very nice $100 gift certificate to a local outdoor/hiking shop. They also sprung for a nice bottle of Holiday Cheer. They said it was for being the crazy organizer/"fearless leader" of all of our trail runs throughout the year. Thanks, Trail Nerds!!!

Tonight, No Running - I'm going to go into the gym and do a major leg workout, and then some cardio. Tomorrow night we'll run 10 miles of trails at SM Park, and the next morning, (Friday), Kyle and I will do a "big loop" of 17 miles of trails, also at SM Park. We'll take it easy Sat & Sun, then run again on Monday morning.

I may brew a batch of Whiskey Barrel Stout on Friday, after our run. Here's the basic recipe for my 10-gallon all-grain batch:
20 lb. British pale (Marris Otter)
1 lb. Dextrine malt (Cara-Pils)
2 lb. British crystal 50-60L
1 lb. 8 oz. British chocolate Malt
1 lb Chocolate Rye
12 oz. British black patent
1 lb. Carafa
8 oz. Roasted barley
1 lb. Rye Malt
1 lb. Wheat Malt
2 lb. Oat Malt
Mash: Single-step infusionInfuse boiling water to temp of 152° for conversion rest for 60 min. Sparge with 170° water.

Boil: 90 minutes. Add 6 oz of Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Cocoa, last 10 min of Boil. Add 15 grinds of Black Malabar pepper, last 10 min.
2 oz. Amarillo Plugs (60 min.)
1 oz. Amarillo Plugs (45 min.)
1 oz. Amarillo Plugs (30 min.)
2 oz. Kent Goldings (5.9% AA, 30 min.)
2 oz. Kent Goldings (5.9% AA, 15 min.)
Yeast: Wyeast British Ale II, #1335, 200 billion cells. Pitch yeast at 75°. Ferment at 70° for 7-10 days rack to secondary. Secondary fermentation at 70° for 20 days. To secondary vessel, add 2.5 oz of medium-toasted French Oak chips that have soaked in Maker's Mark Whisky for 2 weeks.
Carbonation: Force carbonate the b*tch. (2.3 volumes of CO2 in kegs).

Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm the Imelda Marcos of Muddy Shoes

I have a dirty little secret. I have six active pairs of trail running shoes. I also have 3 pairs on the "injured reserve list" that I only use occasionally. Yes, I have 9 pairs of trail shoes!

They are all in varying degrees of degradation and mileage accumulation. I don't think of myself as a Shoe Whore, and I've never watched an entire episode of Sex in the City, but that does seem like a lot of shoes when I try to look at it objectively. There are reasons for so many trailrunning shoes, though.

Some are single-purpose shoes, such as my 6-year old Montrail Wasatch's that have sheet metal screws screwed into the tread blocks (to facilitate running on ice). I'll use them maybe 6 or 7 times per winter season. Wasatch's have been discontinued for a few years, and these probably have 800 total miles on them. I wish they still carried them, they were a great shoe. Another single-purpose shoe would be my Inov8 Terroc 330's, which are an awesome shoe under the right conditions. I like to use them for short to mid-distance trail races. For anything longer, the toe box is just too darn narrow to be comfortable. They have the best traction that I've ever experienced in a trail shoe, though. I like my Montrail Hardrocks for very long distances on dirt roads. The heels are too tall for me to use them on technical trails, though. For courses that are dry with a lot of loose and imbeded sharp rocks, I keep an old, well-used pair of cushy, old skool Montrail Vitesse available. Their traction sucks on wet rocks and in the mud, though.

My favorite all-purpose, long distance, shoe of choice is the Montrail Leona Divide. They have traction on all types of surfaces with no empty spaces for heavy mud to collect. They are lighter and more flexible than many other trail shoes, but offer adequate protection from stone bruising. I always have 3 pairs of Leona Divides that I rotate in my lineup. Currently, I have the following mileages (tracked on a spreadsheet) for my Leona Divides:
Pair 1) 475 miles - they have that "dead-feeling" and are just about ready to be tossed/recycled. I'll use them on some of the really muddy runs this winter.
Pair 2) 410 miles - still feeling good!
Pair 3) 290 miles - the latest generation of LD's, (with the orange tread blocks). No complaints; they should last a full 500 miles.
Some of these shoes many other runners would have disposed of many miles ago. I guess I'm always trying to push them as hard as I push myself. Honestly, frugality and logic have a lot to do with why I keep this large collection of mud-mashers. Each shoe is assigned a number. That number is written on the inside bottoms of the shoes. I track their mileages throughout their lifespan on an Excel spreadsheet (designed by David Hays). The foam part of the shoes tend to wear out before the bottoms do. The foam loses resiliency...there's no "bounce-back" left in them. Sometimes the tops or sides blow out, too.

Another reason for so many shoes:
Around here, I run through water crossings and and/or mud about 90% of the time. My shoes and shoe inserts are always in a constant state of drying-out. I don't even wash my shoes anymore...I just let the mud dry and then bang them together before the next use. What's really weird, though: I only have 3 pairs of shoe inserts. I hand wash them and dry them in my garage on the rack next to my shoes.

Does this collection translate into other areas of footwear, you may ask? No! I only have one pair of "office work" shoes, and one pair of roadrunning shoes. I have no other "casual" footwear, other than some 5-year old Teva sandals that I change into, after runs.
Whew! I guess I'm not Shoe Whore!

Running on Trails or Pavement?...It's No Contest!

I just realized that I haven't run on pavement since September! I try not to ever run on pavement, and I seem to have succeeded. I could run on pavement, but IT'S JUST SO DAMN BORING IT IS UNBELIEVABLE! You see, I've been spoiled by running on trails.

Why do I like to run on trails? Trails have reinvigorated my interest in running. I've run at least 36 road marathons since 1990, and in the last four miles or so of each one of them, (including Boston) I realized that I hated crowds and I hated flat, boring pavement. In fact, it was at Boston 2000 that I had my "moment of clarity" and realized how much I had started hating pavement and "big" races. That's the year that I started running many more unpaved ultra events.

What makes trails more interesting, besides not knowing what's around the next curve in the trail or seeing wildlife and flora and fauna? Running on rough, unpaved trails you have to pay attention to every foot strike, or you will find your face planting itself into some nasty rocks or mud. You have to be alert, think, and keep in touch with your surroundings and the changing conditions. You actually become part of nature itself. Running on pavement, you tend to turn-off or ignore physical world inputs, and concentrate on other things, such as traffic. To me, it is much more unnatural to run on paved surfaces.

Trails are much easier on your joints and connective tissue, (aside from the occasional twisted ankle). You have to use many more muscle groups than you do running on flat pavement or concrete. Let's face it, we weren't meant to run on flat, all of the time. When I trained solely on pavement, I had overuse injuries galore. They disappeared when I started running on trails. Two years ago I started doing some long pavement runs once again with buddies, and ended up getting plantar fasciitis again, in short order.

Here's another example, from real world experience: If I run a fairly-flat marathon on pavement, I will be very sore the next day. This comes from not varying the pace, and using the same muscle groups, over and over again for 3 or more hours. When I run on trails for the same distance (or even longer), I will be more tired but much less sore. Again, it's the overuse injury thing on pavement.

In this area, we have a few good parks with some decent technical trails. It took me a while to find many of the trails when I moved here several years ago. I didn't want others to take years and years to find them, so I set up a web site with trail information and have been slowly adding a pages of information per trail-area or park. I also set up a related group web site for scheduling group trail runs at least four times per week. Now I have some folks with the same interests to run with! Two times per week we run after dark. It seems counterintuitive, but the night trail runs are the most popular. I even get old pavement buddies to run an occasional trail run or two per month. We run in all conditions and temperatures.

I guess what I'm trying to say in synopsis: if you have chronic, nagging running injuries or are looking for something to give your running some added excitement, try trail running! There might be a local group near you, or you can do what I did - start your own!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Near Perfect Trail Run, last night.

First of all, I have today off!!! I had to burn my last vacation day, or lose it.
On my agenda:
I already worked-out in the gym for 1-1/2 hours. I'm going to eat an early lunch. I'm going to take my dog with me to WyCo park and do some "adjusting" to the new singletrack trails. I'll do my "secret Christmas shopping" today. I'm also going to take care of a couple of home maintenance items. That's it.

Last night, we had a very nice run on the BuRP trails. It was windy, but once we were in the woods it was fine. The moon was high and bright, and gave an assist to our lights in the less-wooded areas. The mud from the previous week's snow and rain was frozen on top, but soft below. It was at the point where it was soft but not mushy or sticky, so the trail was fast. There were 4 of us. We took it easy and just talked and ran. An hour and 10 minutes just raced by, and we finished feeling refreshed.
Mike suggested we go have a beer and possibly a meal at 75th Street Brewery, and James and I happily complied. (I knew my wife was in a bad mood and baking goodies at home for work, and I felt it wise to stay out of her way). I ended up just having beer and leaving James and Mike there, waiting for food. Jason and his girlfriend showed up later and I missed them.
I ended up watching Comedy Central until midnight, knowing that I didn't have to wake up real early this morning.

Homebrew post:
My Imperial Rye IPA is still fermenting like crazy, and it's been 13 days in the primary fermenter. I'm waiting for it to drop off, so I can transfer it into the secondary for a couple of weeks of conditioning. This is the most steadily-vigorous and long-lasting fermentation that I have ever experienced in almost 2 decades of homebrewing. It had better taste like heaven. By the way, I used a starter of approximately 200 billion yeast cells for the 10-gallon batch, (Wyeast #1056).

This weekend, I'm going to work on a slightly-revised version of my Triple Chocolate Porter recipe. I think that would be a fun one to brew next week. The last one I brewed took top honors in a national homebrewing contest, the first contest that I've ever entered. I use Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa, chocolate rye malt, and chocolate barley malt in the recipe. With all of the flavanoids and melanoids, it's gotta good for your heart and blood pressure, right?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Barefoot Runners: I'll Get You Slimed

Well, I put the offer out there to any barefoot runners. This is the e-mail that I sent out:

I'll comp a FREE ENTRY (including free event shirt, support, and food) to any barefoot runner that will START AND FINISH either the 10, 20, or 31 mile events at my "Psycho WyCo" trail event on Feb 11th, 2006, as long as they run it truly barefoot. Honest.
I know that trail runs in the Winter are not most runner's cup of tea, whether shod or not, but it would be cool to have some unshod representation at this grueling event.
Put the word out to any of the "Toe Slappers" that might be interested. Link for race. Be sure that they read the race report (with photos and results). Our finish rate last year was just over 50% for the 50K.
They can fill out the snail mail version of the entry form, circle the distance, and put in bold letters at the top, "Free: Psycho-Tough Barefoot Runner."
I will also add a special Barefoot Runner Awards Division, this year.
Bad Ben

I hope I get some takers. It would be the Shiznight!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Slick & Rainy Trail Run

Last night, nine trail runners showed up to run on the muddy trails (with melting snow here and there) at Shawnee Mission Park. The wind was blowing, it was 37F, and it had started raining when we got going at 7:15 or so. I led the group for the whole run.

We had one newby and one getting-back-into-shape regular, so I took it fairly easy on the first 5-mile loop. Those two didn't elect to run the second loop, so I picked the pace up to 1-min/mile faster. We couldn't run much faster than that, because it had started raining really hard for the 2nd loop. With the rain, the "mud frosting" on our "trail cake" became really slick, and the rocks here and there were like greased teflon to run on with our mud and snow-coated treads. It required a lot of concentration to run fast, and every now and then an assist from pushing or bouncing-off a tree on the corners.

WHAT A FUN TRAIL RUN! This is the kind of stuff that Kyle Amos and I love to run on. (Yeah, we're weird).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

T-Shirt Etiquette

In the running community the wearing of race T-Shirts has become a sign of accomplishment and fashion. Choosing just the right T-Shirt for that special occasion can be a daunting and difficult task. The following guidelines have been compiled (in fun), to help the responsible T-shirt wearer avoid potential embarrassment and/or elevate their perceived status in the running community.

Note: This is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek review of the sometimes superstitious regard runners have for their finisher shirts. My personal view: I don't care if you wear your shirts wrapped around your head in an ever-expanding please, no nasty-grams back to me on back-channel e-mail. Have fun.

T-Shirt Etiquette Guideline:
1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event; (Significant others and volunteers are exempt).

2. Any race tee, less than a marathon distance, shouldn’t be worn to an ultra event. It simply doesn’t represent a high "cool factor " and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. It's like taking a knife to a gunfight. If you set a PR at the Pikes Peak Marathon, definitely wear that shirt whenever possible; that one counts.

3. When you are returning to a race in which you previously finished, then wear the shirt from the first year you completed the race. Don’t short-change yourself by wearing the shirt from the year before. It doesn’t adequately display the feat of accomplishment or the consummate veteran status that you are due.

4. Never wear a race shirt from the race you are about to run. It displays a lack of running integrity and might put the bad-heebee-jeebee-mojo on you for the race. Wearing a T-shirt of the race, while currently running said race, is discouraged. It’s like being at work and constantly announcing "I’m at work". Besides, you wont have the correct post-race shirt then...unless you like to wear sweaty, pitted-out clothes on a regular basis. If you do, then go back to the swamp, Gomer.

5. Never wear a shirt from a run that you did not finish. To wear a race shirt is to say "I finished it". Exceptions: see guideline #1.

6. A DNF’er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question (using a fat Sharpie or a Marks-A-Lot).

7. During a race, the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have (see guideline #3). This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuse to drop out since you’ve done it before.

8. If possible, runners should buy significant others T-shirts which can be worn without regard to running the race. (see guide #1). Keep in mind, they support your "running Jones" more than you think. They also have ways of punishing you that you can't even imagine.

9. Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto. So there. Remember, you can always volunteer for a race and get a shirt. I encourage this as your civil duty to be a member of the running community. Races don't happen without volunteers, folks.

10. No souvenir shirts: therefore, friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If your mom thinks that your Boston shirt is lovely, tell her to QUALIFY for Boston herself, & send in her application early for next year, so she can earn her own shirt. A downside to this: she still has plenty of time to write you out of her will between her training runs for the big race. Note that your mom CAN wear your finisher's shirt under one of these 4 conditions- 1) you live with your mother; 2) she funded your trip to the race; 3) she recently bailed you out of the slammer; 4) All of the above. There is an exception to this guideline: (refer to # 1...If you are from Arkansas and your mom is your Significant Other).

11. Always wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race’s pre-race briefing. The more recent the race, the better. This is a good conversation starter. However, avoid the tendency to explain how that it was a training run for this, and this is just a training run for the next, etc. It just sounds like your rationalizing mediocre performances. Sometimes it’s best to live in the here and now. ("I've never been more prepared for a race! This is the big one!)

12. It must be clean, but dried blood stains are okay, especially if it is a trail race or a particularly tough event. If you're an ultrarunner, you can even leave in mud and grass stains, (and porcupine quills). Not washing-out the skunk scent is pushing the macho thing a bit too far, though.

13. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly out-classes the event you're running. It’s like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or like unleashing an atomic bomb among aboriginal natives. You get the idea.

14. Also: never wear a blatantly prestigious T-shirt downtown or at the mall among non-running ilk. People will just think you have a big head, which you do. You'll also get stupid questions, like, "how long was that marathon?" If it's a shirt to a 50 or 100-miler, they'll think it's a shirt for a cycling event or just think you're frigging nuts, which (of course), you probably are.

15. The Bryner Guideline: Never wear a shirt that has more sponsors listed on it than people that ran in the event. (Are you listening, race directors?) A shirt with too many logos on it is just plain ugly. By the way, you can let ANYONE wear this shirt; non-finishers and distant relatives, alike. If you respect your spouse or mother, though, you won't let either of them wear it. You can wear it to change your jalopy's oil or as part of a Halloween costume. It would also serve well as bedding in your kid's gerbil cage.

16. The Spencer Guideline: If an event is cancelled at the last minute, but the event shirts were already given out, you can't wear the shirt unless you actually ran the race on that day. This means you will have to run your own unsupported event, through snow storms, hurricanes, or whatever lame-ass excuse the Race Organizers came up with for cancelling said event. If you still want to wear the shirt, you have to mark with a sharpie, "I didn't run this lousy event", across the front of the shirt.

17. Never wear a shirt that is so old, thin, and threadbare that you can see the color of your nipples or chest hair. This seems to be just a guy thing, especially and old-codger-runner-guy thing. Here's the test guys: if you're too scared to machine-wash your 1978 Tab Ten-Miler shirt for fear of it wafting down the drain as meer subatomic particles, then it's probably too transparent to wear in public. If you can (still) remember your great performance at that particular day and you want to save it for posterity, PLEASE have it framed so that you can keep it on the wall of your den or your "I love me" room, and (at least) out of public view. Better yet, have it sewn into a quilt. You can then sit on your couch and read back-copies of Runner's World, cuddled up with your "runner's binky", with a glass of warm milk.

18. By the way, if you don't know what terms like DNF, volunteer, or Significant Other are, then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you know what they mean, and you shouldn’t have any meaningful relationships, either. You should probably become a hermit and/or New Age "Tantric" runner, sitting at home in the lotus position performing virtual marathons in your mind, while sniffing used GU packets, incense, and patchouli.

T-shirts must be used sensitively. Worn responsibly, they can help expand one's consciousness and immerse you in a great conversation with your running brethren. Worn stupidly, they can cause fright, horror, vacant stares, sprained ankles, and general social unrest.
This list was formed from using various tri and runners' submissions, and then acquired, exfoliated, and added to by me. You can send any suggestions of yours to me. If they are semi-coherent and not too offensive, I might add them. But then again, I might not.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fun Weekend Training Runs in the Snow

On Saturday, Six of us decided to run on the snowy trails instead of the pavement at the annual Chili Run at Wyandotte County Park. This is the 3rd year in a row that we've run this on the Chili Run day. I led the way, breaking through the 9" of new snow for 10 miles. The newer singletrack section of trail was hard to find with all of the snow, so we ended up doing some bushwhacking, too. You can see by the "before" and "after" photos above that it was a good workout. Photo on top: Kyle, Alex, Caleb, BadBen, Mike. Photo on bottom: Jason, Caleb, BadBen, Mike, Kyle.
For Sunday's run in SM Park, only me and a trailrunning newby (Christian) ran. He did fine in tougher than normal conditions on a 9-mile trail run. He'll be back for more, probably on Tuesday.
Only 19 miles total for the weekend, but I can justify the "short mileage" because of the effort expended to run through deep snow. One of the runners on Saturday said it was the hardest run they had run, to date. The "long and the short of it" is: I think my training is still on track.

Homebrew update:
My Imperial Rye IPA is still fermenting like crazy in the primary fermenter. The Christmas Belgian Tripel, which I finally named, is finally mature enough to drink. It turned out to be a wonderful (sipping) beverage. I had about 4 brandy snifters of it while watching six hours of football, yesterday. Yum, yum. A meal in itself.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

Have you ever had a day at work where you feel completely alien, like you've just landed on some strange planet, and everybody just looks at you with their heads cocked sideways, like you're speaking some alien tongue?
I'm having one of those days. Maybe nobody has had as much coffee as me, but it's like they can't keep up or something.
It must be caused by this really cold weather. Their frigging brains must be frozen. Or maybe I've finally evolved to the lifeform that I was destined to become.
Oops, wrong planet!

On a different note, I've finally posted my main running/other events and goals for 2006. I didn't post any of the marathons that I might do, though. The first event will be RR100. It should be a busy year, and hopefully I'll remain uninjured and healthy. The same to you, I hope.

It's Darn Cold & Snowy Out, (but we're still trail running)

James and I were the only two to show up for the group run last night on the BuRP trails. We ran for one hour and called it good. The snow was deep, light, and slick on the hidden rocks, roots, etcetera. Neither one of us fell, but I wish I would've brought my pair of screwed shoes for extra traction. I'll be sure to bring them for tomorrow's 10-mile Alternate Psycho Chili Run.
Hopefully, the temperature will warm up somewhat. My outdoor (calibrated) electronic thermometer registered -3F at 6:00 am, this morning. It's not too bad to run in, but my butt gets cold and my face dries out, especially if there is any kind of breeze blowing.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snowy Day...It'll be a fun trail run tonight!

We had 9 inches of snow fall last night. (That's about 23 centimeters, for all of you people who live in a measurement-progressive country). It was also zero degees F this morning, when I got up. (That's -17.8 Celsius or 255.37 degrees Kelvin).
Here's a picture of the ol' homestead, with my trusty steed parked out front in the driveway and in the snow. Ironically, my wife's car is parked in the relatively toasty 45F garage, but I drove her to work today, since I have the all-wheel drive Honda Element.
It's been a good vehicle. I've even slept in it on the starting lines of a couple of wilderness-area trail ultra runs, this past year.
The after-dark trail run will be REAL FUN tonight. I told the group that I won't have us do any crossings of the Blue River. We will wuss-out and avoid getting our lower legs and feet wet tonight. It's probably a wise move.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

KC Trail Nerds

My Running buddy Jason Crosby came up with a cool design based upon a previous Ink-doodle, that our trailrunning group will use for shirts and a banner. Jason is a darn good graphic artist from Central Georgia who runs trails with the rest of us nerds. If you want a design for your needs, give him a jingle.
I'll have the banner up on my rented shelter at the Rocky Raccoon 100-Mile trail run in February. There should be 6 or 7 KC-area runners entering the event, this year. Usually, it's just little ol' me.
I'll also put the banner up at my race, the "Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run" that is scheduled for 1 week after Rocky. It will be a busy February, once again.
Now I just have to get through the Winter uninjured and healthy!

Beer-related post: My Imperial Rye-IPA has been fermenting like crazy since I brewed it on Sunday. The most recent version of my "Gute Träume Kölschbier" that I brewed for a friend turned out well. Luckily, I'll have some left for myself. I'm going to bottle a few extras for some of the Germans at work, also. They are all from the Köln area in Deutschland.

Bitterly Cold Trail Running

The run last night was fairly cold. We were in the woods on some nice singletrack trail, so the minus 4F windchill wasn't a factor. Six of us headed out, but Jason fell within the first mile and biffed his knee. He walked back to his car to go home and lick his wounds. The other five of us did two 5-mile loops in a fairly decent time.
I got home and fully expected to take a hot soak and eat some dinner. Instead, I got a call from my daughter. She had a flat tire and also had my grandson in the car with her. When I got there, my pump couldn't pump up her tire because the bead was off of the rim. Sooooo, I ended up heading back home to get a spare winter tire for her Saturn and changing said tire. (I didn't want her to drive on a spare donut tire in the snow). By the time I got home (around 9:30 pm), I was thoroughly chilled. I finally had my hot soak and dinner, and all was right with the world again. Question: Am I enabling my 25-yo daughter, or just being a decent dad? Background: I still pay for her cellphone, and will probably pay for her tire repairs today. Her Significant Other is a real nice guy, but can't change a tire or respond correctly to any car or household mechanical issues. I dunno. I may be a real sap. By the way, his dad does the same for him.
The weather today is supposed to be fairly brutal. For wellness today, I'm going to hit the gym after work and do my weight workout with about 1/2 hour on the stair treadmill.

Monday, December 05, 2005

An Action-packed Weekend

Time for a lunchtime post!
Saturday the trail construction went very well. Five people and one dog (Winston) showed up and we hit it pretty hard. The goal was to get to the end of the new section and worry about the detail work later. We got to the end as planned, but far surpassed our goal and got a lot of the sections tweaked into "runnability" just fine. So we now have an extra mile and a half of single track on the Psycho WyCo course! For Saturday's work, special thanks to Good Ben, Alison, Jason, Kyle, and Winston. We will be doing some more detail work later, but it is already pretty impressive.

That night I had my company holiday party. It was held at a fancy hotel (downtown). We had a pretty good time doing the "dress-up" party thang. It was first class all the way. The food was wonderful, and there was a band and an open bar. I always have to break the cardinal rule, ("never drink more than your boss"), because my boss doesn't drink. My rules for not getting into trouble: I try to be more reserved & quiet than normal, and I always leave about two hours into the event. I usually have to be filled-in the next day about the idiots who started dancing on tables or got loud and obnoxious. I miss all of that BS, thank goodness. The hotel had a lot of additional security because the Denver Broncos were staying there. Those guys are big...only 3 can fit into an elevator at a time.

The next morning came quick. Of course, after all of our trailwork effort on Saturday, we just had to run on the same trails on Sunday. It was 15 degrees F on Sunday morning when the four of us started running. The ground was as hard as concrete, but there was plenty of traction. The new section was schweet to run on. The new switchbacks and altitude loss/gains are great. We only did one 10-mile loop; there were no takers for a second loop. We all had our own busy day ahead.

I got home, had a nice hot soak in the bathtub and took my lovely wife to breakfast. We stopped by the hardware store for additional Christmas lights, furnace filters, and other sundries. When I got home I performed about 2 hours of chores and then got on with my homebrewing. Greg showed up. He brought a couple of homebrewed beers to try; one that was crap (and he knew it was and wanted me to critique it), and a bottle of imperial stout. The imperial stout was good, but I would put it more in the domain of a "Baltic Porter" style. I had the Chiefs/Broncos game on in the garage while I brewed. Multi-tasking at its best! The Chiefs won, by the way.

Today I'll do my weightlifting and cardio workout after work. (I had to come in early this morning to train some contractors). This evening I need to hunker-down and do some of my Track Club duties.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Trail Run Thursday Night

For our scheduled group run last night, just Doug showed up to run with me on the BuRP Trails. It turned out to be a nice, easy-going run with lots of good conversation. Thanks, Doug!
The temperature was about 20 degrees F, it was very dark, and we had two crossings of the Blue River. After the second crossing, my feet were numb until the end of the run. A nice, hot shower afterward cured that in a hurry.
To anyone who didn't show up - you're a Complete Wuss; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I had a good weight workout this morning; back and biceps, with plenty of abs and some calf routines thrown in. I intend to go back into the gym tonight and hit the step treadmill and the stationary bike for some cross-training cardio. Tomorrow, we're doing trail work on the new singletrack section of WyCo Park. We'll run two loops of the park and try out the new section on Sunday, for about a 20 mile run.

It will be a busy weekend. Our company's holiday party is Saturday night and I fully intend to homebrew Sunday afternoon. Somewhere in there, I have to install a new humidifier, fix a toilet, and move two of them to my daughter's place. Oh yeah, I need to clean out the roof gutters again. Most of the rest of the leaves dropped this last week, and it's been very windy.

About the homebrew. I plan to brew an Imperial IPA that has a fair amount of Rye Malt in it. I will also use the rest of my homegrown hops. The starting gravity should be in the range of 1.075 to 1.085, depending upon several factors. I'm basically going to "wing-it" with this all-grain batch, depending on what ingredients I have lying around.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Favorite Beers of 2005

Has anyone tried any commercial beers of note, this past year? Here are some of my favorites that I've enjoyed in 2005:

Local: This year's Nutcracker Ale by Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City. It's a bottle-conditioned ale that they produce for November and December only.

2005 Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada. Always a good bet. If you can find their Harvest Ale on tap somewhere, you've just got to try it, as well. It's brewed with "green" hops, fresh from the hop harvest.

Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout by Great Divide (in Colorado).

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe (a traditional Flemish red ale).

Most of the beers that I tried while in Seattle at Elysian Brewpub and Bigtime Brewery & Alehouse. These are two of my all-time favorite beer establishments in the Northwest US.

All of the fresh beer on tap at The Rogue in Portland, Oregon, Especially the Imperial India Pale Ale, Menage Frog Belgian Style Tripel, and the Morimoto Imperial Pilsner.
Also, some of the beers I enjoyed and the relaxing time I had at Tugboat Brewing in Portland.

My favorite lager of the year: Leavenworth Friesian Pilsener (similar to those brewed in the Friesland region of Northern Germany) by Jenn Gridley of Fish Brewing Co., Olympia Washington. I'm going to try to reproduce a version of this in "Sputnik", my new fermenter.

These were just a few of my faves. How about you?

Great Trail Run in the Cold, Last Night

Six of us showed up to run our normal Tuesday night trail run, last night. The surface was glazed with mud that was half-way between frozen and wet, making for slick conditions in a few spots. It seemed darker than usual, because the wet mud is darker than the surface we are normally used to. My flashlight seemed dimmer, because of it.
I was leading the charge and started off slow, but felt crappy on the first 5-mile loop. On the second loop I started getting into a rythym, and felt pretty good. I slowly poured on the speed through that whole loop, and we finished strong. I didn't think that I was going that fast, but was told otherwise by some of the usual suspects.
All in all, a great 10-mile trail run.

When I got home, I had a great surprise. My daughter had come to our house earlier in the day and made some great soup out of Thanksgiving leftovers. My grandson was also there to greet me, (we were watching him 'til about 11:30pm). I sat down in front of the TV and poured myself a Boulevard Nutcracker Ale, which is especially good this season. A wonderful evening.

Side note: On Tuesday my son worked-out with the personal trainer (Igor) at my place of employment's wellness center. He will have a dietary consult with him on Wednesday, and plans on working-out 5 days a week. He told Igor that he is tired of having his dad being able to out-run and out-lift him. Maybe he will give up smoking. We can only hope. :-o

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Recent Photos

I just wanted to post a couple of photos from this last week. First, my grandson used his tree climbing expertise to pick one green orange and one almost ripe grapefruit, while at his Great Grandma's in Yuma, Arizona.

Also, the Wyandotte County Park trail crew at work last Sunday.
Shane, Eric & Daughter, and Good Ben.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Busy 2 Weeks: Beer, Texas, Yuma, Trails, & "Double-Pulls"

The past two weeks were busy for me.

First, Texas:
I spent 6 days in Texas for a certification refresher and test; (work related). It was tough this year; a lot of studying to pass my board certification, etc. I got to run for an hour and a half in Huntsville State Park, where my event in February will be. I also got to reserve a campsite there. I spent my last night in Houston and hit the Flying Saucer for a few good brews. (I was within walking distance from my motel, so no driving was involved). No beers of note, but I had a good time.

I came back that Saturday, and on the way back from the airport we decided to try the new (chain restaurant) Granite City Brewpub at Zona Rosa shopping center. I tried the IPA, and it had some problems, but was drinkable. The staff knew nothing about the beer, though. I asked what the "specialty brew" tap handle was, and the only answer I could get was, "all of our beers are special." So I went to the bartender and got the same answer. Then I wanted a sample of the Maibock. She poured half of a shot glass of Maibock, and the other half with light lager. I said, "what the hell are you doing?" She said, "I'm giving you a double-pull." She explained that they give double pulls on all of their beers that are "more powerful" because the general public can't take the extreme nature of the tastes involved. You can actually order all of their beers that way. Cross this piece of shit operation off of my list. I'm a Beer Snob! A person has to have standards, though. Any "brewpub" in this day and age that thinks they have to "protect" people from complex or wonderful tastes by dummying-down their beers, should NOT BE IN THE BUSINESS OF BREWING! Fug off, Granite City. Go back to Planet Mediocrity, or where ever the heck you came from.

Then I spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at home last week; I took last week as vacation, leading up to our trip to Yuma to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Before I left, I transferred my first batch out of the new fermenter, a Belgian Tripel. to kegs and force-carbonated. I also transferred 10 gallons of Kölsch to kegs from a secondary fermenter. Both beers turned out marvelous! The Tripel is really complex, and you shouldn't drink more than a brandy snifter at a time. It started at a gravity of 1.085 and ended up at 1.012, and I used 4 different yeast strains and various temperature ranges during its fermentation cycle. The Kölsch is very refreshing with some pronounced noble hop notes. It was the lightest gravity Kölsch that I've produced, with an a final ABV of 3.1%. I created this batch for a friend of mine that I owe a couple of favors to.

We took my grandson with us to Yuma. This is the 4th plane trip for this fun little 3-1/2 year old. It was a pretty laid-back time, and I only ran once for about 90 minutes on the canals. A very relaxing trip to a sleepy little city. On the way back during the plane trip, I figured out a unique recipe for an all-grain, "Multi-Grain IPA" which will include Maris Otter malt, Pilsener malt, wheat malt, rye malt, and oat malt. More on that later. We got back late Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday, in lieu of trail running, I had scheduled a trail-building day at WyCo Park. Five of us showed up, and blazed about 1/2 mile of new singletrack trail in about 4 hours. I had scoped it out the previous Tuesday with my dog. I put down surveyor's flags behind him as he walked the natural path of least resistance through the woods. I named this section of trail after him, of course. The new trail will ultimately add 600 ft of elevation gain with 600 ft of loss, and a lot of beautiful switchbacks up and down the hills. I'm hoping we can finish it next Saturday, so that we can run on it by Sunday morning.

This week I'll spend time getting back in shape. I'll be back to my normal routine of 5 to 6 days of trailrunning and 5 days of weightlifting (per week). I'm sure I'll be sore, but I think the "rest" that I had the past 2 weeks will do me good, in the long run.

I'm only a couple of months out from running my next 100-mile trail run. I checked to see who had registered so far, and was surprised to see some new names from my neck of the woods who I've never heard of. I "Googled" them, and it appears one of them has at least one 50-miler under his belt. The other person has never even run a marathon, or so it appears. Good luck, guys!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

T-Shirt Design for Psycho WyCo

Jason Crosby designed the new shirt for the latest incarnation of the "Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run." You have to check it out; it's awesome! Jason is quite the artist, and has become an avid trailrunner. He just completed his first marathon on October 23rd.

The Pyscho WyCo race is a tough course; you have a choice of running the 50K, the 20-miler, or the 10-miler. Come and join us on February 11th, for some wicked fun.

Friday, November 11, 2005

College Station, Tejas...Bummer it isn't Austin

I need to pack-up my stuff for Texas. It's my once per year, six-day business trip to A & M in College Station. At least it won't be too hot in November. My flight leaves Sunday afternoon, so I will at least be able to get in a good trail run Sunday morning.
I dislike that town immensely, but I get along OK while I'm there. The running sucks down there, so I will join a gym for the week and be fine...(or so I tell myself). I'm also within staggering distance of some decent restaurants and bars; (I don't have to drive to them).
Here's my schedule while I'm down there:
4:00am: go to gym and workout;
5:30am: shower, eat b'fast, brew some coffee for the day & put in thermos...(the coffee at my conference sucks);

7:00am: drive to my class, learn something, and bullshit with the bumpkins;
5:00pm: get out of class, shower, and go eat;
7:00pm: 3 possibilities: 1) study, 2) go for a run, or 3) get shitfaced.
10:00pm: Hit the rack.
Repeat 4 more times.

That'll be my week. I usually am pretty disciplined on business trips, so I won't get into too much trouble. (That comes with age and experience, I guess).

Craft Beer Post

When I get home from work and done with everything today, I'm going to enjoy a small bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne. It's a Flanders Red Ale brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium. This oak-aged beer is so good, it should have a song written for it to the tune of "Mickey, you're so fine" something like this: "Yum, yum, it's so fine, hey Duchesse, hey Duchesse!"
Speaking of Belgians:
I have a Belgian Tripel that I just jacked-up the final fermentation temperature on, to attenuate it some more. I should be able to drink it in a week, when I get back from Texas. It's the first batch in my new stainless steel fermenter. Here's a photo and story about that. I've since added an electrically-heated wrap, because I keep the temp of my house between 63 - 66 degrees during the cooler months. That's too low for proper (Belgian ale) fermentation.

Good, Cool Night Trail Run

We had a nice, cool run at Minor Park on the BuRP Trails last night. The temperature was right at the dew point, so it felt much cooler than it actually was. I wore shorts with a long-sleaved lightweight top, and gloves.

James called and said he couldn't run...he had almost gotten there, then realized he had forgotton his running shoes. I've done the same a few times, as well. Work and a busy lifestyle gets in the way of memory, sometimes.

Doug, Jason, and Good Ben showed up, so we had a 4-person crew to tear up da woods. Jason was feeling fully recovered from his marathon; Good Ben was chomping at the bit to run (after his wine country vacation); and Doug is always ready for some fast trail running.

So, I set a faster pace than normal right from the start. We were playing leapfrog with some night MTB'ers. We would race ahead of them on the technical stuff, and they would catch us on the faster, less rocky trails. By the first crossing of the Blue River, we had lost them for good. The water wasn't as cold or deep as I thought it would be. The trails on the west side of the river are very fast, and I set a steady, but fast pace. I let Good Ben lead from the 2nd river crossing to the finish. We finished the 7 miles of rocky, rooty trail in about 1-hour even. Fast enough to kick some Mountain Bike Ass, I'd say.

Side note: I shouldn't eat barbeque at lunch, and then LEAD a trail run. The "Flatulence Factor" was tearing-up my running partners. I mean it...their eyes were burning. Sorry dudes!

Tomorrow morning I have to go into work, so I won't be running at WyCo. I'll lead the group on Sunday at SM Park, though. We should be able to crank-out at least 15 miles on the trails; the weather and trail conditions will be perfect.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Running & Training

We had a good group trail run, last night. It was dark and and unseasonably warm - about 75 degrees F, or so. Seven runners showed up, and only 2 runners dropped out at the 5-mile half-way point. Kyle led for most of the run. He pushed the pace right up until the end. Only one runner, James, fell down on the trail (without injury).

Afterward, I showered and played hide and seek with my grandson and dog. We watched him until about 11 PM. I had settled in front of the TV by 9:30 PM (to start reading Humboldt's Gift, again). I haven't read this book since 1992, and am looking forward to getting into it, again. I relaxed with a nice homebrew of mine, (a black India Pale Ale), and a bottle of Sierra Nevada's latest version of "Celebration Ale."

My 100-miler training schedule is working out well, so far.
Check out my "normal" average training week, for the last few months:

Morning: Weights for 1 hour: Chest, shoulders, Tri's, calves, abs
Evening: 4 - 6 mile "recovery" run (sometimes on pavement)
Morning: Weights for 1 hour: Back, biceps, calves, abs
Evening: 10-mile "tempo" trail run w/flashlight
Morning: Weights for 1 hour: Legs, abs
Evening: 6-10 mile pavement or trail run
Morning: Weights for 1 hour: Chest, shoulders, Tri's, calves, abs
Evening: 7-mile "tempo" trail run w/flashlight
Weights for 1 hour: Back, biceps, calves, abs
No running
Morning: Long & slow trail run 12-30 Miles
Morning: Medium-distance & slow trail run 10-15 Miles

It may seem excessive, but overall fitness is very important in the later stages of a 100-mile trail run; especially core body strength. I'm pretty sick of running on pavement, so I've almost completely switched to trail running. No surprise there, I've been moving in this direction for years.
So far, I've been able to balance family, friends, work, reading, homebrewing, and the other things in my life, as well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Solo Night Trail Run

I had a really nice trail run, last night.
I had gotten off from work a little late, so I couldn't meet and run with my Monday night pavement buddies. I like social runs, but I'm becoming quite an "anti-pavement activist" runner, of late. I put on my (recently dried) trail shoes and drove to Shawnee Mission Park. The Earthriders MTB Club have recently put in some new trails at SM Park, so I ran on them alone.

I love running alone, (at night), on trails. The sounds of deer and other animals are everywhere, but just out of sight, and you have this self-produced "tunnel of light" to run in. You would think that it would be spooky, but I find it naturally comforting. I usually run all night without company on my 100-mile trail runs, so it's good to get used to running alone. Rocky Raccoon is only 2 months away, after all!

I hit the trails pretty hard, and cranked-out 5 miles quickly. It was unseasonably warm, and I sweated through my clothes by the time I finally stopped back at the car.

Afterward, I drove home and showered. I then went with my son and his out of town buddy to 75th Street Brewery, to meet up with my regular Monday night running group. It was Cooker's 57th birthday, and his wife was there with a cake to celebrate.

Today is Tuesday. I will meet and lead the "usual suspects" on an after-dark 10-mile trail run at SM Park. Fun, Fun! We've been averaging 9 people every Tuesday night. Night trail running is great training, and darn fun, too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Let's Catch Up

I haven't posted for a while, so, I'll catch you up with the last week and a half of events.
A couple of Sundays ago, on October 23rd, Kyle and I decided at the last second to do the Blue Springs Trail Marathon. We had also run it last year (as a training run), and thought it would be a great (and cheap) training day marathon. We had another intent, as well: to push/pull our newbie trailrunning buddy Jason Crosby, to his first marathon finish. Jason designed the shirt for the race. The pace we kept was slow, steady, and fun.
How I felt: I could've run about 30 to 45 minutes faster in the race, but that wasn't the was supposed to be a long, slow, distance training run. I'm happy with how my training is going...I barely felt the marathon after I was done, and ran hard & fast two days later, on a 10-mile trail run.
The night trail runs are great! We've had 9 people on average show up on both Tuesday and Thursday nights to run on rocky, rooty, and hilly trails. I even had a special Halloween Costume Trail Run last week. I called it the "Boo River Parkway Trail Run", and it was run on the Blue River Parkway Trails. James Barker showed up as Alex, with a tree branch stuck to his head, a vodka bottle in his hand, and a dog chomping onto his arm. "Good Ben" Reeves showed up as Little Red Riding Hood, red dress and all. Kyle Amos was Darth Vader, and I was a dead runner, wearing bib numbers "666" on the front, and "1313" on my back. Newbies Chris, Caleb, and Doug showed up, as well. Good fun and a fast trail run. We ran the 7+ miles of dirt trails and water crossings in 1:02! Not bad. I had brought some appropriate homebrew for afterward: Drive-By Malt Liquor and Bitch-Slap Black Ale.
We ran long the next morning (Saturday) at Shawnee Mission Park, then had a trail maintenance day on Sunday at Wyandotte County Park. Five of us worked for over 5 hours adding some decent singletrack trails at WyCo.
I ended up getting strep throat from my grandson (or son), and missed almost a full day of work on Monday. The antibiotics are kicking in, and I had my first run since Saturday on Wednesday night. We ran on the paved streamway trails for the WNR. We met at 103rd & State Line, and Jeff P and I ran for about 6 miles. It felt good to run again. We had a little tailgate party afterward. I hit the weights this morning. Back into the swing of things, again! I'm well on my way to another training buildup for the Rocky Raccoon 100-mile Trail Run in February. It will be the 4th year in a row that I've run in the Rocky Raccoon 100.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sputnik Lives!..My New Fermenter

Check out my new semi-conical fermenter.

Special thanks to Jim Stephens and Craig Carter for the awesome fabrication job and welding-together of the various parts and pieces that make up this Frankensteinian unit.

Craig found a disgarded (stainless steel) industrial vacuum tank and other disgarded junk. We started planning the final result and then started on the initial fabrication. Jim Stephens took up the ball and finished it, when Craig ended up transferring to another job location. It has sanitarty fittings throughout, and even a temp gauge, for my "experimental Belgian" production.

The first batch of beer is well along in its fermentation. It's a 7-gallon batch of a Christmas (Belgian) Trippel. The first part of the fermentation took off like a rocket, and moved the SG from 1.080 to 1.020 within 4 days! Of course, an estimated 280 billion active yeast cells, may have helped a bit.

Here's the grain bill portion of this all-grain recipe:
24 lb. British pale (Maris Otter)
2 lb. Cara Munich (Crystal)40-54L, Dingeman
1 lb. Biscuit Malt - 23L, DWC
2 lb. Briess Special Roast (50L)
2 lb. Cara Vienne (Crystal) 19-27L, Dingeman
1 lb. 8 oz. Aromatic Malt - 26L – DWC
1 lb. Rahr White Wheat Malt, 3-3.5 L
6 oz Carafa Malt

You can come over and see "Sputnik" on "Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day" on November 5th. I'm a registered site. Just do a search for Bad Ben. Show up at noon and watch me do my voodoo, and have a few brews (on me).

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sandrat Trail Run

The Sandrat!

For those of you who missed the Sandrat Trail Run, it was humid and muddy, but a real fun time in ol' Lawrence, Kansas on Sunday. The mud wasn't as bad as Steve Riley (the RD) made it out to be, though. (Maybe we're just used to training in a lot worse).

Matt Brisch, fellow homebrewer and an incredible runner, smoked the course in 1:09:32, to take 5th overall, finishing with race director Steve Riley, at the same time. "Good Ben" (Reeves), Jason Crosby, and Shane Jones ran strong and fast races, and came home with first and second place age-group hardware, (which consisted of painted plastic rats). Kyle Amos was recovering from an "elective injury" and couldn't run. I was recovering from a (hilly and long) Saturday training run, and was happy to finish within the century. Alex Kovalev is back to trailrunning after a tough year, and cruised/lumbered through the course just fine. Jeff Perry followed, and then passed his "tantric mud vision", and finished strong. Eric Tiffany, back from his first road marathon, had a very decent finish. "Marko" Jacquez had to run, recover and then run off to work. Larry Miller, once again made his annual pilgrimage to run the Sandrat, from his home in Lafayette, Indiana. It was nice seeing Jason Daniels and Paul Sidwell at an event, again. It was also nice to see Ed Payne and Dick Lipsey (from Lawrence), again. It was also wonderful to meet and talk to (during the run) young Cara McPeak, of Manhattan, Kansas. It passed the time well for me.

Kyle Amos has posted some photos of the race.

I had fun providing the libations for the race, this year. I had promised Steve Riley that if he directed the race again, I would provide the traditional "Breakfast Beer" free of charge. On tap for after the run were the following homebrews: Sandrat Trail Ale, Siren's Song Fantasy Ale, and Gute Träume Kölschbier.

Be sure to put this race on your calendar for next year. It's 9.6 miles of intense fun, followed by even more casual fun and fellowship.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Weird & Disturbing Articles: The Bank of Walmart? Abort Black Babies to Lower Crime?

The Bank of Wal-Mart sounds like something from an episode of The Simpsons, but it may soon be a reality. The company has applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for insurance for a proposed bank in Utah, one of the few states that allows commercial firms to operate banks. Article

...What next...McDonald's Mortgage Lenders? Give up points for burgers? You want fries with that loan, dude?

Former Education Secretary William Bennett remarked that the crime rate and the abortion of black babies are linked.

Bennett, on his radio show, "Morning in America," was answering a caller's question when he took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up.
"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," said Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues."
He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky." Article

...Yeah, and everyone knows that aborting every white, suburban baby would bankrupt Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy, and Starbucks. Not to mention that Britney and the "Boy Bands" wouldn't get any work.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ink Doodles

A trailrunning buddy of mine, Jason Crosby, hails from Macon, Georgia and recently relocated to the Kansas City area. He posted this illustration recently on his blog, "Ink Doodles". It's based on his experiences running with our group on our crazy night runs.

Jason has been the graphic artist for the Tour de Georgia, and several other projects. He's a natural runner, and loves trailrunning, and is training for his first 50K. He seems to despise pavement running.

He's a wonderful addition to our motley crew of trailrunners.

He freelances, and comes up with great graphic designs for all occasions. Any race directors or others interested?
Drop him a line:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday Night Impromptu Trail Run

Three of us decided to run on trails Tuesday night (after dark), on a whim. We decided to run at "Psycho WyCo" Park. The temperature is finally cooler and we were feeling great for running fast and furious up the relentless WyCo hills.

We spotted many deer, and Jason's new xenon flashlight probably caused them a great deal of retinal damage. My hand-held was about out of juice, so it was confusing... with his bright light bringing up the rear (and casting spooky shadows), while mine was dimly giving me just an inkling of what lie ahead. Running in the woods (near-blind) requires a lot of concentration and "trail-feel".

We put in about 7 miles, but with the crazy footing and the hills in that park, it felt like 12 road miles. It was a nice way to round-out Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's the time of year that I appreciate being alive. The hot & humid Kansas City Summer is pretty-much out of here, and the cooler Fall weather is in. It means that I can brew beer on the weekends again without being parboiled by the weather. It also means that I can run harder, longer and faster (outside) for the same reason. Training can be a real bitch around here in the Summertime.

Photos from Oktoberfest gets me in the Autumn mood, too. Check out this one. Aren't those some of the most big and beautiful mugs of beer that you've ever seen?

I'm not much of a German lager fan, but I could definitely go for "just a taste" of Germany, I think. Yum, yum, yum. Ich habe eine Liebe für Bier!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dreams of Western States, Hardrock, and Leadville

I want to run the Hardrock Hundred in a couple of years. Hardrock is probably the most difficult 100-mile trail run in the world. It is a big loop course that starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado. The high point on the course is 14,048 ft, and it has a total of 67,ooo ft of climb and descent. They give you 48 hours to complete it, and the winning times are usually about 28 hours. To put that in perspective, I finished the last 100-miler I ran in 24 hours, and I'm a middle-of-the-packer.

To qualify, I'll have to first run one of the following difficult mountain 100-mile runs: Wasatch, Eagle, Bear, Leadville, Angeles Crest, Massanutten, Western States, Plain, HURT, Bighorn, or Cascade Crest Classic.
I've picked Western States as my vehicle to Hardrock Heaven, but even though I've qualified for Western, they also have a lottery system to get in. So my dream of running it will be fulfilled not only after a lot of hard work, but will also depend upon f*cking dumb luck.

Last year, I paced (72-yo) Lou Joline at the Leadville 100. I definitely got "mountain fever" from hanging around in Colorado for nine days. I loved the challenge of high altitude and constantly changing weather. Kyle and Stacy were out there with me for while; (Kyle, Stacy, and me are in the photo below).

I'm much more of a mountain person than a Midwest person. Especially a Colorado mountain person.

It would be great to run Hardrock in 2007. After all, I'll be 50...that's five-zero years old, buddy. To get prepared, I'll have to crank up my trail mileage, lift more weights, and continue with my 15 x 15 abs per day regimen. For mental preparedness, I'll keep drinking good beer and listening to decent music. (Running with a hangover, occasionally might be good training, too). Goals are good. Difficult goals are better, and make life more interesting. Hmm. Maybe I'll run off with Jessica Alba or Teri Hatcher. Difficult goals, yes, but...

To read a great Hardrock race report (with photos) click here.

Mean Humor Gets Me Reinvigorated on Crappy Day

I was having a crappy day, until this was sent to me. I busted my frigging gut when I saw it. It's been floating around the web for a couple of years, but this is the first time I've seen it.

The author says, "If you work in an office with lots of people, chances are that you work with a person who hangs pictures up that their kids have drawn. The pictures are always of some stupid flower or a tree with wheels. These pictures suck; I could draw pictures much better. In fact, I can spell, do math and run faster than your kids. So being that my skills are obviously superior tothose of children, I've taken the liberty to judge art work done by other kids on the internet. I'll be assigning a grade A through F for each piece."
You should be able to see the whole thing at one of these links: Link1 Link2

Rita's Wrath and the Politics of Bad News

As Rita approaches the Texas coast, the world watches. I was in Houston last week, and had talked to lots of people displaced by Katrina to Houston from Louisiana. Many sad stories. Now they have to pick up stakes again and head out with the Houstonians. This really sucks.

The govenmental and NGO's response should be better, and more fine-tuned, this time. I'm optimistic that it will be.

I've had many friends and associates tell me that they are upset by the "witch hunt" and "blame game" going on, for trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the Katrina response. (Some of these people are still saying nothing went wrong, by the way). They need to keep in mind that this is still supposed to be a FREE SOCIETY, and a free press is part of that. Without the press, no one would of known about much of what was going on during Katrina, because the press was there before the government. The president was ignoring it until one of his brave staff told him how bad it actually was. (You see, our wonderful leader does not watch the news or read papers or internet news; he relies on his staff to tell him what's going on in the world. This smacks of "Ivory Tower" to the Nth degree. Staff members are loathe to tell him bad news, you see, because of his history of reaction to said bad news). He likes to be surrounded by people who agree with him. This makes it hard for someone to approach him with a different viewpoint other than the one that he has already formed.

We need to learn (and learn darn quickly) what went wrong with the Katrina response, because we are just HALF-WAY THROUGH THE HURRICANE SEASON, you f*cking dolts!!! If that means finding blame, or firing not-right-for-the-job college cronies, so be it. We need to be prepared for up to 5 more Ritas and Katrinas, this year. Thank goodness the president has turned his attention to the problem (and has accepted the blame for the Federal response).

What's weird is, he's finding out that there is deep-rooted poverty in the Gulf Coast region, and wants to throw money at the problem. If he would actually look for poverty in this country, he would find it everywhere. But, we will have to wait for one of his staff to tell him that, I guess.

Throwing money at the poverty problem is not the answer. Especially since we're throwing money at Iraq and other problems at a historic level, without actually paying for it now; it's all debt. When will people wake up and notice that the "New" Republican Party is not the party of fiscal responsibility? They are spending the country to death. Maybe that is part of the NeoCon plan, to "kill the beast" (of government), and proceed with their "final solution" of gutting any social programs and just funding a large military for doing what we want in the world. America, the "Hegemonic Bully", as it were.

I'm not saying the Democrats have a solution for anything, currently. They don't have a unified focus and seem to regurgitate back the viewpoint of the "poll du Jour". I'm not too hopeful that they will have a viable candidate, within 3 years, but maybe the Republicans won't, either. The way things are going under this administration, though, you would have to be either blind or a mindless ditto-headed follower to think that things are getting any better.

I'm disgusted with both parties, have been for years, and pissed that we don't have more of a choice in this country. It appears that we have too many folks in the government that live in ivory towers and are out of touch with what's going on. Their agenda seems to be power and money only, funded by all of us middle-class saps (and our children and grandchildren).