Monday, February 25, 2008

Ultra Training Guide

I have started an Ultra Training Guide. You can get to it by hitting the link at the top right of this page or clicking here. This guide will serve as a resource to anyone who is or wants to train for an ultra marathon. It is a work in progress so hang it there. I will be adding to it as I have time.

I want to point out one important resource that I used. The blog titled "I Run Far" by Bryon Powell. Bryon is a very experienced ultrarunner who has countless valuable posts. Two of these posts rise above the rest when it comes to Ultra Training: How to select your first ultra and Training for your first ultra. I highly recommend reading these posts as I used them as a guide for my training program for Holiday Lake. You can see how I trained for Holiday Lake at, the online training blog that I use. If you have any questions you can ask me, or check out Bryon's blog and post comments to him. He was very responsive to me and willing to help.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Added Photos Page

I just added the Fotobook plugin. This allows for wordpress to integrate with my Facebook photo albums. Click on the red box titled "Photos" at the top of this page to view the photo page.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

I just got home from watching Spirit of the Marathon. It is a documentary that follows elite athletes Daniel Njenga and Deena Kastor along with a handful of middle to back of the packers. It is centered around the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It starts 4 months out and chronicles the athletes as they prepare for the race. There are many interview scenes with Marathon greats which keep the flow of the movie going.

I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys running. It really portrays the triumph of the human spirit. It is worth the rental fee when it comes out on DVD.

A Pain in the Foot

It is strange how pain suddenly creeps up on you. I ran the race on Saturday. My body was sore, especially my legs, but it was all dull microscopic muscle tear pain. All joints and tendons felt 100% by Monday morning. That is the day the foot pain began.

I was at Walmart with Sydney getting some supplies and suddenly I had this sharp shooting pain in my right foot. It starts right in front of the heel and ends before the ball, all on the outside. Are there any Podiatrists reading this who can help diagnose it? I had been wearing crocks all Sunday evening and Monday. I feel that the lack of support and stress from the race led to this injury. I have been wearing shoes since then.

It is now Thursday and it is feeling ok, but not 100%. I am planning on running on it tomorrow morning to test it out. Hopefully all will go well. There are only 9 weeks until Promise Land 50K. I really need to run some hills to get ready for the elevation I will face.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ultra Challenge

I challenge any and all of you to get out and run an Ultra. If you enjoy God's creation they why not spend a Saturday running in it? You will meet many new and interesting people and experience a truly meaningful event. An event where the race director will take time to talk to you and answer your questions, the volunteers will all smile and gladly fill you bottle up, and where the other participants, even the front of the pack, will cheer you on. I am not an elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination. If I can do this then so can you!

So lets go and leave the pavement behind. No more sucking exhaust fumes and dodging cars. This is something that is worth a try.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Farmville Super Meth, No I Mean Super 8

The Super 8 Hotel in Farmville, VA is horrible. DO NOT STAY HERE. Kathy, Sydney, and I arrived Friday night before the race and checked in. The first thing that should have raised a red flag was the "Meth Watch Participant" sticker on the front door. I guess they have a meth problem in Farmville. The room was dirty and there were stains on the chair. The bed was very uncomfortable and the pillows were flat. We tried to go to bed early but were kept awake all night by the guy or girl upstairs watching a loud tv and jumping around, and the people running up and down the stairs. I finally fell asleep around 2AM, only to wake up for the race at 4:30. This was one of the many times in my life I wish I had a gun with me. Kathy commented that she did not feel very safe here.

Kathy dropped me off at the race and had to go back to this hole in the wall. When checkout time came she had to make multiple trips to the car with Sydney in tow. A rude man asked her if she was done in there. The clerk tried to kiss Sydney. I would have went off at this. The meth residue may have gotten on her! That is the last time I stay at a super 8. I would rather stay in my car.

If you see either of these as you go to check in to your hotel get in your car and drive away as fast as possible.

Farmville Super Meth Hotel: If you see this hotel RUN MethWatch Logo

Holiday Lake 50K++ 2008 Race Report

Friday evening I loaded up my wife and 5 month old daughter and we headed to Farmville to spend the night at a Super 8 motel. We arrived with no problem. I tried to sleep but the race was dancing through my head and the person in the room above us was watching a loud tv and jumping around. Finally around 2AM I fell asleep only to be woke up by my alarm at 4:30. I woke Kathy and Sydney up and got dressed. It was 10 degrees warmer than I first thought it would be, a great sign. We drove the 40 minutes to Holiday Lake and Kathy dropped me off in the parking lot. I was very anxious and nervous. This was my first Ultra, I have never even run a marathon before, but I had trained hard and was 100% injury free. I walked to the dining hall to find a busy scene of strong looking athletes. I remember feeling a little out of place at that moment and not sure about what I was getting myself into. I checked in and got my race number. Then I prepared for the run. I started talking to a man named John and he eased my nerves. We all went down to the start line and Dr. Horton called out names of those people who had not signed in yet. One lady yelled from the parking lot "I am coming". Then without any fanfare we were off.

We ran up the road and hit a large bottle neck were the course turned into single track. It was slow going until we crossed the dam. Then things opened up a bit. I was feeling good at this point. I was carrying two water bottles, which was one to many. This gave me the luxury of skipping the first aid station all together. I ran hard down the hill after this aid station and into the woods. I was taking an occasional walk break, mainly on the uphills. This was all part of my race plan. As we hit the pavement I was running hard again downhill. I was thinking about how much fun it was going to be coming back up all these hills in lap 2.

I arrived at the second aid station and filled up a bottle. I quickly ate some food and continued on to the first water crossing. I crossed on some rocks, next time I will just run right through. We ran down a long hill and then back up the other side. Aid station 3 was more of the same, fluid and food. I was still feeling great. I was at 12.3 miles when I passed Bradley Mongold, the eventual winner. Of course he was going the other way! I was announced as I entered aid station 4.

I was feeling good about making the first loop in 3 hours and hopefully on pace for a 6:30 finish, but the extra distance I heard rumors about had other ideas. The last few miles of the first loop was difficult as I was passing other runners on steep and narrow single track trails. I finally hit the start finish and had plenty of time to spare. I dropped a water bottle and continued into the second loop.

The second loop was like a late round heavy weight fight. I was on the ropes for a while, but as they say things do not always get worse. The trip back to aid station 4 was long and brutal, but I fought hard and made it. On this section I saw a lady running in a long heavy dress. She looked like she belonged in another era. I thought I was seeing things for a while, but my wife and I saw her on the road as we were driving away from the race. Very strange experience.

After I saw the lady in the dress I tucked in behind an experienced runner named Pete and struck up a conversation. We ran together to the next aid station. Soon after this he passed me and I never saw him again.

The trip from aid station 3 to 2 was almost all uphill and I walked a lot of it. Pete had told me not to walk to much because it gets addicting and before you know it you will be walking for 10 minutes. This section is where it began to feel better running than walking. Aid station 2 to aid station 1 was another struggle, but overall I was feeling better. I stopped at one point to clear the debris from my shoe and then continued on. I heard the cow bell ringing as I approached aid station 1. Only 3.5 miles to go!

Everything was feeling good now. I had weathered the storm and made it to the last round. I realized that I could make it in under 7 hours if I picked up my pace a little. I started to run as hard as I could. I was not going to walk, I wanted 7 hours bad. I dug deep inside myself. I wish I could of found this inner strength 10 miles ago, but at least I had it now. As I neared the dam a lady passed me. She looked fresh and was moving very fast. I crossed the dam and soon could hear the finish line across the lake. I was running hard now. I passed another runner named Sam who had been leap frogging me most of the second loop. He said "looks like you get the last pass". I told him to follow me and we can make it in under 7 hours. He started running hard behind me down the trail.

I pushed hard up the last hill and onto the road. I knew I was going to make 7 hours. As I sprinted down the hill I saw my wife and daughter, video camera in hand cheering me on. What a great way to end the race. I finished in under 7 hours and Sam finished right on my heels. We had done it. It was a great feeling to shake Dr. Horton's hand as I finished and congratulate Sam. It felt great to hug my wife and hold my daughter.

Thank you Dr. Horton for putting on a great event. Thank you to all the volunteers for giving up a beautiful day to make this possible. Thank you to Kathy for always being my number one fan. Lastly and most importantly thank you Jesus for giving me the ability to complete such a task. I now have the Ultra bug. I could not have asked for a better race or better weather (50 and sunny) to run my first Ultra.

At the finish My Gear

Full Photo Albumn

Professional Picture


Monday, February 18, 2008

Quick Thoughts

I will be publishing a full race report soon and a report on our "Meth Watch" hotel experience Friday night! I just wanted to get these quick thoughts down for now.

  • It was a perfect day. 40 - 55 degrees and sunny with litte wind

  • The race ended up being 34 miles (measured with my Garmin Forrunner 305)

  • I finished in 6:58 and change

  • I had my best run the last 3 miles after a grinding second lap

  • Chips Ahoy Cookies taste great while running

  • Never stay in a Super 8 hotel

  • I do not like Clif Shot sports drink

  • I am now officially addicted to these races, most fun I have ever had running by far

  • Only once thought "The fun level has reached an all time low!" This quote was made famous by my friend Steve during a backpacking trip

  • Middle age women can kick my butt

I could go on forever with my list here, but I will save the details for the next few posts. Hopefully I will have some time tonight to complete my race report, hotel report, and a "what I ate" entry.

Friday, February 15, 2008

T - 1

It is not Friday and tonight we are off to a hotel near the race. I have to check in at 6AM. I got a lot of sleep last night and feel great today. There is a flu going around work, but so far I have managed to avoid it. I have enjoyed eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese last night and today. I am going to eat pretty heavy today early and then light tonight. This is something new I am going to try. I feel pretty sluggish on most race days I have experienced so far, maybe this will help. The weather is looking so so. The high for the day is 40 with a start temp of 32. Ideally it would be 45 to 55. I will have to make a decision on what to wear and weather or not I should carry both bottles.

Wish me luck. More after the race....

Trail Running Tips

Here is a new feature to Justus On The Run. I am now going to include videos on this site. The first is a news cast on Trail Running Advice. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I ran this morning for the first time since Monday morning. It was cold and snowy here, well sort of snowy. I decided to run through 2 large areas of standing water that formed in the grass where I run. They were about 6 inches deep and Baily loved them. I though he was going to roll around in them. That dog loves cold water. This exercise was to simulate the stream crossings I will face on Saturday. It was COLD, but only for a few minutes and then my feet started to warm up. I really do believe that within an hour of a soaking like that my feet may be dry. I will have to test that theory out. The SmartWool socks are great.

The run felt good, even though it was only 4 miles. I was pretty effortless. Now I just need to sit back and relax and eat a lot of carbs. I cannot wait for Saturday to come.

Here is a pick of Baily hanging out at the beach. Proof that he loves to be wet and dirty.

Baily at the beach

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

T - 3 Until Race Day

It is almost here! I am run down this week and tired. I ran 3 miles Monday morning and felt good, but have not run since. Tonight I am going to put in 5 or 6 and maybe I will run 2 on Friday morning. I do not perform well with more than one day off at a time. Somehow I have been seeded at number 55 / 260 (see for yourself). I believe these seeds are based on predicted finishing order. I guess I have some high expectations to meet. Last night I had a scratchy throat and did not sleep well. I feeling pretty good today but it is a wait and see pattern for now. I am going to take it really easy on tonights run. More soon, I promise.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Let The Taper Begin

From the week after my last race (Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Sept. 2, 2007) until today I have ran 635 miles. I really did not get dialled in and hit my stride until the middle of December. In January I had weeks of 32, 50, 52, 52, and 33. Last week I did not hit the planned 45 miles, but it was not a bad thing. I look at it as a week of extra taper time. My body did not respond well to running so I took 3 days off from running.

This weekends long run showed the dividends. I just ran 18 miles on easy trails, but the speed and ease of the run shocked me. I was able to cover the distance in just over 3 hours. I ran the last 2.1 miles at a pace under 9 minutes per mile. Maybe not fast for most, but fast for me, especially after 16 miles.

Now I will officially begin my taper for Holiday Lakes. I am only going to run 30 miles this week, with a 12 mile long run on Saturday. I will rest on Friday and Sunday. Next week I will run 3 on Monday, 6 on Tuesday, and 3 on Thursday. It is going to be hard to not run, but the excitement of running and the extra sleep should leave me more than rested and ready for the race. I feel that my fitness level is growing and my weight is slowly dropping.

This morning I ran a 3 mile loop around my subdivision. I started off at a 9 minute per mile pace and was laboured for the first mile.  Once I was warm I fell into an 8:30 pace with no problem and I feel like I could have held this pace for quite a while. I want to run a half marathon this spring to gage how better off I am now that I was last spring. We will see how that fits into my training, schedule, and wallet.