"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

In Theilman, set your watch to 1977

Recent Training

3/31. 11+ in 105, in heavy snow, with Barb. Barb ran the race at Phalen the day before, coming in third. Knowing someone else she competed against, I plied her with questions, but she was too busy complaining about the weather.
4/1. 12 in 104, after shoveling 8 inches of snow.
4/2. 14 in 104, with 12 in 86. HRav=151, pk=167. Decent run at last!
4/3. 4 in 35. New shoes are a problem. They feel like boards strapped to my feet.
4/4. ~6 in 51 with the two Pats.
4/5. ~20 in 183 in the Zumbro Bottoms (see below).
4/6. 12 in 108 in cold rain. Dead quads (thanks, John!)

Zumbro Bottoms Revisited

Saturday, I drove down to Larry's run in the Zumbro Bottoms near Theilman (population: us). Helen and Julie have already posted their versions and Carl will soon, but here's mine. The first thing I noticed about the farms on highway 60 were that many had as many as 50 dog carriers, but no dogs; I still haven't figured out the purpose, but my favorite theory is that they're modular chicken coops. When I went through Nebraska last year, I decided the old dog houses in the middle of fields were irrigation line access nodes. As I seem to be stuck on dogs as a subject, Scott (who I hadn't seen since Superior, when he'd been living on Red Bull for a day) brought his dog, Bosco. You should've seen Maria's face when I said to the dog "We have something in common... we were both named for chocolate drinks!" - first nervous laughter at the odd comment, then she got the reference and realized it was okay to laugh.

There was a lot of laughter after the run. Good thing, considering the run itself.

I started out with John, Helen and Pam. John, of course, headed straight for the toughest route up the toughest hill and went as fast as he could while keeping up a continuous narration of "Look at that! Isn't this great?" You can always tell the father of young kids. John has this tendency to charge ahead, then rest up and drink while you catch up, then take off again - never letting you stop or take a drink, if you aren't careful. Pam wasn't feeling great and the ladies left us after an hour of post-holing and sliding on the not quite melted ice. Helen asked, "Is it because you're going so fast that you're not slipping?" No, it's because John's trained on ice by winning the Arrowhead 135 and I train in shoes that slip on any surface and am used to it.

A reasonable man would've gone back to the start with Pam and Helen, then gone back out with someone else. I went back up that hill (it must be about 400 feet) with John, then turned an ankle and slowed. A reasonable man would've called it a day. I went with John along trails that gave you a choice of deep snow or deep mud - I tried one leg in each - then deer trails, then bushwacking when even he admitted we weren't on any trail at all. "This is heaven!" called John; my idea of heaven doesn't involve pulling thorns out of my hands and thighs. I was starting to really feel this run and it shouldn't have felt so bad. I turned that same ankle again on the way back in.

Just as I was done, Julie and Lynn pulled John back onto the course for another hour or two! John talked about running Chippewa, but how he's out of shape and recovering from Arrowhead, how he'd probably die at 20 miles, but, trust me, he's in shape.

1977? John commented that ultra trail running is like punk rock. It's primal, primitive, raw. I couldn't help thinking that he might think punk started with Green Day. There's some great stuff now, The Young Knives sound a lot like Television and Ted Leo is a genius, but I was there when punk hit the scene in 1977. At one point, John asked Helen how long she'd been running (4-5 years) and there was an awkward pause, which I filled by admitting I'd been doing it for 30 years. 1977, actually. So, Pam and Helen were learning to walk when I was running my first races. I'm starting to accept the fact and not be bothered by it: John's two decades younger. [Wynn's younger yet. Eric Youngblom's only 19 or 20.]

After the run, I ended up eating three sausages - not my usual fare - and downing everything liquid I could find. Even with the surprise heatwave (it was almost 70 on the way home), I shouldn't have been so dehydrated.


I'm surprised that anyone reads this blog. I was shocked when my last girlfriend, Lori (who I mentioned once in passing in connection with St. Valentine's Day) admitted to reading it. "Scrumpo, Your attempt at trash talk was hilarious. I've seen you give mosquitos a second chance... Tell me about this new woman you're interested in." I sent her details and she responded, "Wow, you've really gone against type! She must be really special. Either that, or you've had a stroke." Both, probably.

Minor elements

I promised to finish up my posts on electrolytes before Chippewa. Along with Sodium and Potassium, one loses appreciable amounts of Chlorine and Magnesium in sweat. One loses a lot of chloride ion, but less than one loses of sodium, which is why I frown on replacing sodium just with table salt. Other than its use as hydrochloric acid in the stomach, not much is known about what chloride ion actually does. Chances are, if you're getting enough sodium, you don't have to worry about chlorine.

Magnesium is a real problem, though. One loses as much magnesium as potassium in sweat, but I don't recommend supplementing with it, even though magnesium deficiencies are common and lead to muscle cramps and fatigue (just like potassium). The difference is that one's body is better at storing magnesium, so one can build up one's stores before long runs. Magnesium salts, added to replacement drinks, act as emetics, which I learned the hard way; epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) are sold as such.

Another problem with magnesium is that it requires balancing with calcium and phosphorus. Increased calcium requires increased iron. Increased calcium, iron and fiber requires increased zinc. All of these, if increased by supplements, create new imbalances.

The basic replacement fluid recipe I gave in the post "Bookmark This Post" has orange juice, which has amounts of magnesium, calcium and the rest in reasonable concentrations.


bryan said...

Sounds like I missed out on a great time at Zumbro!

I've had the same feeling of "like boards strapped to my feet" for a couple pairs of Blurs on the first couple runs -- after that they are broken in and have felt great ever since. I would say, as long as you're going to hammer enough miles onto them before Chippewa... but of course in your case that is not a concern.

Steve said...


I tried your electrolyte mix this weekend on my 25-mile run and it was the best I've ever tried! Well done!! Besides being rather tasty, it really did a great job of keeping me hydrated and minimizing muscle tightness and cramping. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Kel said...

I think you'd be an excellent candidate for orienteering (aka cunning running).

Good luck at Chippewa!