Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Karl Meltzer's Pony Express Run

When contemplating one's own long distance runs crossing many states, it is always great to see you are far from alone.  On Tuesday, Karl Meltzer, from Sandy UT (just down the road from me in Salt Lake), finished running the entire 2,064 mile Pony Express National Historic Trail from Sacramento, CA to St. Joseph, MO.

Averaging over 50 miles a day, Karl topped 11,000 feet on his journey burning approximately 247,000 calories as he became the first person ever to run the entire length of this trail.  And to ca the entire journey off, he delivered a letter from the mayor of Sacramento to the deputy Mayor of St. Joseph.  I am personally a little disappointed the mayor couldn't make it out for Karl.  Maybe the fat that Karl covered over 100 miles in the last 24 hours caught the mayor off-guard.  Wow.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Karl but we have exchanged a few emails in an attempt to find a time when we were both actually in the places we call home to go for a run.  If I didn't already know it, I definitely do now that I haven't the foggiest idea if I could keep up with him even on an easy day.  Karl has created one of the hardest 50 kilometer races in the country in the with his Speedgoat 50k.  Even the top competitors usually take 2 hours longer to complete this course than they do a normal 50k.  Obviously, Karl likes challenges.

Asking why he did this is a rather pointless question, in my opinion.  In fact, if I had a chance to ask 10 questions of Karl with regard to this excursion, that would be question 17 at best. He did it, I am sure, because he wanted to. He also had a steady diet of chicken and burgers along the way.  Got to love that a man pushing himself to the limit has no problem fueling himself with, amongst other things, beef.  If it is good enough for Karl, it should be good enough for you as well.

Regardless, a huge kudos goes to Karl for redefining possible.  One of these days I do hope we get to go on that run.  I am going to try and keep it under 20 miles, if at all possible.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running for the Bay Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 33rd Edition 
881.2 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Running for the Bay Marathon
Place: Apalachicola, FL
Miles from home: 2081 miles
Weather: 70-80s; Bright sunshine; very windy

Sure there were some snafus. But the medals were pretty.  And honestly, people will remember medals long after they forget that the course could have had a few more manned aid stations or that the leaders were misdirected on the course on an occasion or two.  I don't mean to be flippant with the medal comment but my point is that the human mind romanticizes the good in the events in our lives and often forgets that bad things.  This is necessary in order to get through life.

With the Running for the Bay Marathon, there lies great potential. I mention the medal earlier because having a good medal means a great deal and not just in the "Hey, this is pretty!"sort of way.  No, the finisher's medal shows an attention to detail and care by the race organizers to the desires of its participants.  It shows they care enough to try and please their runners.  Heck, this race even had multiple-Olympian Keith Brantly come and speak to the participants at dinner.  Even if the runners may not have known who he was at first  (a knock on the knowledge of the average runner and not Mr. Brantly himself) it is an effort that means a great deal in country of nearly 500 marathons and far less attention spans.

Personally, this race presented a chance for me to do one of two things.  First, I wanted to run a 3:02 marathon simply because I have never run that time.  I have run every other time from 2:58 to 3:31 but I have never run a 3:02.  When I stated these intentions a few in the know said that a 3:02 would probably be enough to win the marathon outright.  Of course, now that thought was in my head.  So I said if it was close enough at the end, I would eschew the 3:02 and go for the "W" but the pace I would set from the start would be 3:02.  I could see that the weather would be warm, far more humid than my body can function in ideally and promised to be also produce a cloudless sky.  All things not in my favor.  In addition, as the weekend wore on and a lot more energy was being expended in places I was not expecting, I doubted a 3:02 would happen at all. Nevertheless, a 7:00 minute mile was the plan.  I shared this with tons of people at the expo the day before the race, listened to their stories and met, as usual, a ton of awesome people.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eating Beef

Anyone who has known me for any of my athletic career knows I have a long-standing love of fueling myself with beef.  For the most part, growing up, while I paid a little more attention to my diet, I know I decided a lot of my food choices by taste.  However, a staple of the Rauschenberg household was beef: roasts, steak, burgers, etc.  Well, that and fake double-surfing with my brother, natch.

When I began to run, run far, and run long my diet didn't change very much. Neither did my desire to basically see food as something I ate because of the way I liked its taste and the ease with which it could be cooked. Today, being home very infrequently and usually quite busy when I am home (and usually cooking for one) I don't make much time in my schedule for four course-meals.  Yet, I still have steak or protein-rich beef nearly every day, when possible.

The duck was merely an appetizer after my 33 mile birthday run.
My trips to steakhouses after marathons are basically how I begin not only the refueling process but the "OH MY GOD that tastes soooo good" process.  I make these trips because I knew it worked for me and I knew I felt good before, during, and after eating beef.  But as I started doing different running feats that obviously required something most people do not have, I knew that the three-headed beast of good exercise, good genes and good nutrition obviously played a part in what I was able to do.  So I did research.  I read books.  I experimented on myself with different food types.  Over and over again, the resounding proof in facts I found and the results on race day were that I performed best when I was making sure I had beef in my diet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kansas City Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 32nd Edition 
855.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Kansas City Marathon
Place: Kansas City, MO
Miles from home: 1067 miles
Weather: 50-70s; Bright sunshine; slightly windy

If I didn’t recall one or two marathons where I spent more time doing it, this would be the Marathon of Bathroom Breaks.  However, the Kansas City Marathon will still be in the top three, regardless.  But don’t worry, there is more to talk about than my gastro-intestinal issues.

With the short week following the Wichita Marathon on Sunday, the Saturday running of the KC Marathon gave me a chance to see how well my recovery, following months of being exhausted from my 202 miler in April, was progressing.  At the marathon expo I was given the pleasure of addressing runners as one of the featured speakers. The question of how I recover so quickly from marathon to marathon was one topic on the mind of many of those in attendance.  As I was working with the Kansas Beef Council and sporting my “Real Men Eat Beef” t-shirt, I can see why my particular eating habits were a hot topic.

While I made it clear that if I knew the exact reason why I am able to do what I can do I would bottle it and sell it, I said that I can tell them what I do and they can make their own conclusions.  As many people desire to eschew scientific studies and facts presented to them in favor of real-life testimonies, speaking about my own revelations is something many take very seriously.  Fortunately, love it or hate it, I pull few punches, regardless of the audience I am speaking to and shoot rather straight. So when I told those in attendance I can, whenever possible, get healthful lean beef into my diet, even the night prior to my races, a few eyebrows were raised.

Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the expo and my commitments to it, I had no chance to partake in my usual beef-loading and had to partake in the pasta dinner, hastily eaten in between signing books at the Beef Council’s booth.  No problem.  Pasta rocks too.  I then spent some time with a good friend after the expo, watched a little TV, and got to bed at a decent time (for me at least) of 1:30 AM.  Soon it would be time for my 120th Marathon to begin.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Angels and Antelopes: The Story of a Cross-Country Race

Angels and Antelopes: The Story of a Cross-Country Race is exactly what the title says it is: a tale about a certain cross-country race.  Did the race happen?  Is it fictional?  Does it matter if it is either?  No, not really.

While at the brand new GoRun Wichita store last week doing a book signing, I noticed this book on the shelf near the register.  Written by Randy Mijares, one of the co-founders of the GoRun Wichita store, the book is a story of middle school girls, as they take on the National Championship meet.  A race, told from the viewpoint of one of the young girl participants, unfolds before the reader in simple prose with more than a few chuckles.

Who wins or loses here is of little consequence.  One can tell the book was written by someone who cares about the nurturing aspect of the sport, so it is of little surprise that the author is also the founder of the Flying Angels Cross Country Club.  This club is a youth running team based in Wichita, Kansas comprised of girls and boys, ages six and up, who meet regularly to train together.

Undoubtedly many of the runners Randy has coached are either directly represented in this book or are a composite of many.   In either case, the book reads very fluidly and is one any parent with a middle school runner in their house would greatly enjoy.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 See Dane Runs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 31st Edition 
829.4 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon
Place: Wichita, KS
Miles from home: 1038 miles
Weather: 50-70s; Bright sunshine leading to cloudy skies

Sometimes you just get lucky. And by taking a leap of faith, based on hunches and personal connections, I got lucky with the Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon.

It was a crazy weekend (plus) in Wichita but in a wonderful way.  From television interviews to promote the race to giving pep talks to middle school cross-country runners to minor league hockey games to taking part in a race that was filled with both good parts already and great potential, I could not have been more happy to have spent the past few days in Wichita.

I can say right now that any recap of this race would leave out probably half a dozen things which were both fun and fantastic.  However, Wichita is definitely one of my favorite cities in this country. Mid-western charm, sports fans galore and a recommitted positive attitude to a marathon which had been flagging in both popularity and numbers of late, makes this a top-notch city.

I had the extreme pleasure to be in touch with many of those involved in making this race the success it way and in more than doubling last year's marathon finishers alone, this race is on the road to much more.  Were their things that can be better? Absolutely.  I am pretty sure there is no perfect race out there.  But little details were paid attention to and bigger details were handled masterfully.  I can only hope to be back here again next year and hopefully sooner than that as well.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kiawah Island Marathon

Even as my mind is gearing up for races of other distances and disciplines, I am still adding marathons to my schedule for the remainder of this year.  And more ironically, many of them happen to be ones I wished I had been able to run during my 52 Marathons in 2006 but could not for various logistical or financial reasons.

As such, I could not be happier to say that while I prep to run my first marathon in Kansas this weekend, I am also simultaneously making plans to not only run my first marathon ever in South Carolina but also to be the featured speaker at the Kiawah Island Marathon on December 11th!

With four years of living on the eastern seaboard in the greater Washington DC area, it is quite funny to me that only after moving to the Mountain States region of our country that I actually, in just this year, will knock off  South Carolina and Louisiana (the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, to be exact) from the States-I-Haven't-Run-A-Marathon-In list. Somehow, over half of New England, New Jersey and North Carolina remain. Nevertheless, now I will finally be running a race I have head nothing but good things about ever since I first started running marathons.

Here's hoping you will join me in running in the Palmetto State in December!