Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training Running training ultra running

Update on my activities

Hello, is there anyone still out there listening?  I know it has been an insanely long time since I have posted regularly, but I promise myself (and those still paying attention) that this will change somewhat.

You see, I started this blog when I started to run as a way to document my journey.  It acted as a great motivational tool at the time, but quickly absorbed far too much of my time.  I worked diligently to grow readership by following other blogs, and commenting regularly on them.  My reader list grew, and all was working according to the plans that most bloggers follow.  However, that takes ALOT of time and effort.  My personality is not the type to do things half way, so I went “OCD” and spent many hours to get more readers.

It was fun having followers as well as requests from PR companies to test free merchandise in return for blogging about it.  Some may also remember how I learned a few things by testing this merchandise, and it led to some additional purchases on my part.

I came to a cross roads…in order to maintain enough customers to make a living (working from home for myself) while maintaining the amount of running I love doing I had to make a choice.  It came down to blog (following the plan to build more readers) or run.  Again, because I cannot do anything half way I really had to make the choice.

Of course I chose to run.  So while I have not been blogging about running, it has not kept me from doing it.  Since February, when I managed to run 72 miles of a 100 mile race, I have still been running 20 to 30 miles a week to maintain the level of fitness I am comfortable at.  I also took a little break after the long race in February to rest up and let a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis heal up.  Now that we are entering target “running plan start zone” for fall and winter races here in Florida I will start writing a little as my miles and plans become more clear. (While keeping my OCD in check and not going overboard with the blogging.)

Thanks for reading.  Leave a little note below and let me know your still around.Adam closing


Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training Running training ultra running

Pre-taper long week and humbly chicked

Many things happen while running the distances we do.  Some of them are physical while others are mental, and some are completely fictitious creations of our mind to keep us occupied.  I thought I would share an event that was real, but obviously just “bubble gum for the mind” as I was running a mid-week 20 miler of what will be a 103 mile week. I had just finished a couple of 93 miles weeks back to back, and this was my peak week prior to tapering.  I had taken a paved trail along a canal with lots of wildlife, and though there were other runners  and cyclists it was peaceful from the lack of traffic sounds.  It was another afternoon run to pick up heat training and be better prepared to handle it if the pending Iron Horse 100 turns out to be hot, like last year.

While moving along at a nice 8:45 per mile pace I was feeling pretty good for being 8 miles in.  I ran 16 miles the day before, and today the pace felt very good though not easy.  There was a slight breeze, puffy clouds in the sky, and I was thinking that after I finish my first 100 mile ultra I will use the gained fitness from the training to concentrate on my speed and finally get Boston Qualified.

As I was crossing a street I noticed a young woman running toward the trail.  At a glance she didn’t have the appearance of a regular runner, though she was in good shape.  In her cotton t-shirt and normal gym shorts her calves lacked the “look” of someone who ran much.  At my current pace I passed right by and didn’t give it a second thought as my mind switched gears and the young woman was forgotten.

I continued at the same pace and was thinking more about my strategy for the upcoming race.  Then it happened.  From the corner of my eye I saw someone passing me.  At first I thought it was probably a cyclist since they use this trail as well.  Then I noticed it was actually the young woman I saw earlier, and she was listening to an iPod and smiling slightly as she passed.  I remember thinking “Well, good for her.  I am glad to see her feeling good about her run.”

When she was about 10-15 yards ahead of me I decided to match her speed, because I was curious how fast she was actually travelling.  Garmin said we were running a 7:50 pace.  I had no intention of passing her because I was getting in a much longer run than she was probably doing, and I did not really want to run at my marathon pace right now.  However, she must have sensed me trailing because she increased speed to a 7:33 pace and maintained it for another 1/2 mile as I matched her.  Again, I had no intention of passing her.  She was going much faster than I intended to run, but I was feeling pretty good so I continued to match her speed while maintaining distance.

I was actually interested in her running form as we were running a pretty nice pace.  She seemed to be running pretty easy, and while her form was not graceful it was very “easy” looking and she gave no open signs of fatigue.  I was impressed and continued to tail her to the next street crossing the trail where she got off and stopped.

After safely crossing the busy street I continued the remaining 11 miles of my run at the planned pace now that my mental deviation from the run had passed.

Adam closing

100K ultra Adam Culp Race Race Report ultra running

2011 Iron Horse 100 Endurance Run Race Report

Iron Horse Endurance Runs Banner

Due to a pretty harsh cold virus taking advantage of my bodies weakened state after this race I am just now able to focus enough to get this race report out.  I know many of you have wondered what happened to me.  I have not been blogging actively, or commenting on other people’s blogs for quite some time.  Well, February 19th 2011 and the Iron Horse Endurance Run has finally came and went and I  survived  This race was to be my first 100 mile ultra-marathon for which I had trained hard over the past 22 weeks.

It was a very challenging 22 weeks with a total of 101 runs for 1,183 miles over 187 hours and 158,500 burned calories.  THAT is why I have been such a quiet blogger this past 5 months.  It sure was hard to put in this much training, work full time, and still have family time.  But  somehow I managed, and really loved it in the process.

Virus Lurking

I did everything I could think of to ensure I was ready as could be for this race.  I ate right, trained hard, rested when needed, cross-trained, tapered for 3 weeks, and managed to keep motivated the entire time while training alone.  The one glitch was a work related conference one week prior to the race where EVERYONE WAS SICK with the sniffles.  Then 3 days before the race I came down with a cold despite HUGE amounts of vitamin C.  I did not catch if full force, but it was enough to drain some of my reserves. (more on that when describing the race)

The night before the race I ate everything in site to ensure I had enough calories to load up as much as possible.  Now, I am not a fan of Golden Corral, but it served the purpose that night.   I always feel slightly out of place when I go to one of these places since I am not over-weight, and don’t really qualify as a “full” red neck. (I see your head nodding, so you know what I mean.)  I know not everyone in that place fits my description, but I was very much in the minority.  As I walked around the trough to get some food I could feel the eyes on me as if to ask, “Why are you here? You don’t belong.”  I was like a Chimp surrounded by a group of Gorillas who are wondering why I am eating their bamboo.

My Fueling Plan

My plans for the race were pretty simple.  I planned on running the full 100 miles in 21 hours, and would take in 350 calories/hour and about 15 ounces of fluid/hour also.  To do this I was drinking HEED from a CamelBak, eating GU gels, and also drinking Perpetuem from a 20 ounce bottle.  The idea was to refill the CamelBak every 3 hours with HEED, eat one GU every 45 minutes, refill the Perpetuem every 4 hours, and drink water at the aid stations every 6 miles.  I also planned to eat 1/4 PBnJ (peanut butter and jelly) at each aid station.  Also, each lap of 25 miles I would try to eat something solid as I rested for about 20 minutes.

The Race

The morning of the race I ate a decent breakfast, and headed to the event which was only a few miles down the road from the hotel.  It was in the mid-50 degree range and the forecast called for mid-70 degree temps in the afternoon.  I started out with shorts and short sleeved shirt, and was very comfortable except for my fingers which got a little cold in the first few miles until I put my running gloves on

The first 25 miles went pretty well, and I completed the lap in 4:40.  I stayed on time with my fueling and hydration, and all felt pretty good.  The day was starting to heat up though, so I felt I should slow down a bit.  I refilled the CamelBak and Perpetuem bottle, picked up more GUs and headed out for the second lap feeling a little hot but OK.  Looking back I realize I should have put on sunscreen at this point also.  About half of the course was not covered, and I did get some slight burns.  A non-Floridian would probably get fried.

Mile 28, heat taking a toll

The second 25 felt OK as my wife and son ran with me for the first 3.5 miles and commented that I was starting to look tired.  This became much more obvious about mile 34 when I realized I had not urinated for awhile, and my fingers were a little swollen.  I realized the temps were in the 80’s and were taking a real toll being higher than I had planned and I needed to increase my fluid intake quick.  To handle this I started drinking from my CamelBak more often, and drank more plain water at the aid stations.  While I caught it in time to get my fingers swelling down, it was still awhile before I had enough surplus to urinate.  I finally had the urge to go again around mile 43., and noticed that my body really didn’t want to accept any fuel.  The damage was already done as I finished the second lap at the 10:44 mark.

As I took a break at the 50 mile mark I knew my body needed fuel, but I had no appetite at all.  Nothing sounded good, I was not feeling pleasant because of my slight cold, and I still had 50 miles to go.  I forced down 1/2 PBnJ, and an orange half, and drank some plain water.  At this point I contemplated dropping out.  If I could not fuel up properly I knew I would not last long, but decided to head out and see how I felt after the first 3.5 miles.  As I headed out I felt pretty bad, and my condition did not improve even though the sun was down.  After knocking out the first 3.5 miles I decided to sit for awhile and force down a sausage sandwich as my wife prepared the CamelBak and Perpetuem.  I was completely beat, but was not ready to call it quits yet.

After about an hour (may have been less, but it felt like an hour) I was feeling pretty good so headed out to continue the 3rd lap.  It was dark at this point, so I was running by the light of my headlamp.  My wife ran with me for the first mile, then turned and returned to the aid station while I continued to run in the dark.  It was kind of creepy running through the woods, in the dark, and hearing leaves rustle all around.  The most spooky thing was running along, and then hearing little footsteps in the dried leaves that sounded like they were following you. (Tshhh, tshhh, tshhh, tshhh.)  So I would shine my headlamp in the direction of the footsteps and they would stop.

I was still feeling pretty good and made it to the first aid station about 4 miles later.  I was hopeful they would have some soup because I was still not able to take in much fuel except for drinking HEED.  At the aid station I was in luck and they did have some lentil soup.  I sat long enough to finish a cup of soup, and then headed out.  I was thinking really hard about turning at the 100K marker and finishing the race in 4.5 miles, but was not sure.

My body made the decision for me when I started shivering from head to toe.  Here I was running and feeling warm, yet still shivering.  I realized my body had nothing left, and made the decision to follow my gut and call it quits at 100K.  I managed to run the last 4.5 miles back to the finish line.  I completed the 100K in 14:40 (my Garmin time).  The official results are not posted yet, so I will come back and edit this after they are posted.  With all of the stops, and time spent trying to recover enough to complete the 100 miles, it caused the last 12 miles to take me 4 hours.

While technically this was a DNF, the race coordinator was kind enough to let me still claim a 100K finish.  So I have my first belt buckle.

100K finisher buckle

Lessons Learned

  1. Last year I did not notice how sharp, and how many, rocks there were on the course.  I believe this was partially due to wearing ‘cushion’ shoes last year, and this year I was wearing ‘stability’ shoes.  By the end of the race my feet felt like hamburger, and were swelled up for 3 days.  I think the fact that my shoes were also due to be changed helped in the matter, with less sole to protect my feet.
  2. I should have drank more fluids earlier on at the rest stops to make up for the added heat.  By the time I realized this I had already blown the race.
  3. My wife offered to run with me more than she did, and because I was already miserable I refused.  Next time I will inform my pacer to just run and not ask me if I want them to.
  4. I should have forced down some more food after mile 25, rather than wait until 50 when my body was more worn down.
  5. Be more careful NOT to catch a cold virus a few days prior to a race of this magnitude.  Not sure how I could have been more careful of this, but I do know that having a cold sucked.
  6. Take more salt tabs or Endurolytes each hour in heat.  I had forgotten that during the cool months of training.
  7. Change my shirt each 25 miles.  This will cut down on my bodies usage of energy to stay cool/warm.

Thanks for reading.Adam closing

Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training Running sports psychology training ultra running

Taper mental games begin!

I am 2 weeks away from my next marathon, the 2010 Space Coast Marathon, which means I am in the second week of my taper.  For me, this is when the mind games begin prior to a race.  Did I build enough prior to the taper? Should I really taper 3 weeks, or is 2 sufficient? I have a bunch of energy, how fast should I run during the taper? Should I do a little more speed work this close to the race? What should my pace be for this race? And the questions continue to add up every minute…

So, all of these questions and a little doubt really start to wear us down and try to destroy our upcoming race.  Stress builds by the day, we are super hungry even though we are not burning as many calories, and we start to second guess decisions we made prior to the taper.  What I really need to do is RELAX!!!

OK, now that I have a little more of a grip it is time to put my thoughts into this blog post before they change.  Yes, they will change.  However, I will need to return to this post and read it just to get myself right and return to sanity, or at least less hysterics.

First, we must not let our current “taper madness” cause us to change our plans.  Whatever pace we planned on running prior to the taper is what we should do. Yes, we trained well and stuck to the schedule all the way down to the full 3 week taper which is proven to work.  No, extra speed work at this point is pointless.

Second, stick to the plan.

Third, remember to follow the second point and STICK TO THE PLAN!

Now that I have that out of the way, I am feeling much better. In the second week of my taper I am feeling strong, running like a champ, and looking forward to my first race since the February 50 mile Iron Horse.  It feels so strange to be running 37 miles in the 2nd week of taper, but to put it into perspective I did reach a peak of 63 miles in the week prior to starting the taper.

My goal loosely is to run a 3:30 marathon.  Am I sure I can run that fast for a marathon?  No! But I am going to give it my best.  Ultimately I believe I am physically ready to do it, but it will be a great mental battle to push into uncharted territory for me.  I am so ready!

Anyone else out there running the Space Coast Marathon this year?

Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training training training summary weekly summary

Week 25, 2010 training totals

Felt much better about my running this week.  Registered myself up for a 150 mile in 30 days goal on, and I aim to accomplish it.  I had to force myself out of the apartment a couple of times because I was pretty tired on the weekend runs, but I am glad I did them. (Even though the pace was veeeeery slooooow.)  Next week will be better.

training_summaryRunning Miles: 33.75
Quantity: 4 (see runs below)
Time spent running this week: 05:47:13
Calories burned: 4,322
Avg. Time/Mile: 9:53
Avg. Heart Rate: 146
2010 Running Miles: 740.24