Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Venison Rump Roast and Scalloped Sweet Potatoes


Last week’s mission to get stronger/faster was made possible by this fine venison rump roast accompanied by apple cranberry orange honey relish, sweet potatoes, and salad.  The rump roast recipe is a combination of my turkey making prowess and roast experience.  My wife used her genius and some trial and error to adapt the scalloped sweet potato recipe from a flour and heavy cream laden version.  This meal is delicious after tearing up muscle all day, leads to a lightning fast recovery, and will have you back at it in no time.  Everything is real easy on the stomach as it is grain and dairy free.

mmm good, real good.
If you did not harvest and butcher a deer and have a full freezer of venison you can substitute beef bottom or top round.  The top round will be leaner and the bottom round less so.  The top round lends itself to under cooking better and makes delicious sliced roast beef.        

To make the Venison rump roast:

1 Venison Rump 3 – 5 lb
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
2-3 strips bacon
¼ - ½ cup Honey

1 -2 Apples coarsely diced
1 Onion coarsely diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Cup water

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Season the rump with salt and pepper.  Brown the meat on all sides about 2 minutes per side.  Place the rump in a crock pot and drizzle with honey.  Place the bacon strips on top of the rump.  To make the aromatics used in this roast add the water, cinnamon, coarsely diced apple, and onion to the frying pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the aromatics to the crock pot.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Alternatively use a covered roasting pan and an oven set between 225 - 275˚F.  Discard the aromatics when done.  Slice and serve with Cranberry relish (follows).

To make the Cranberry relish mix together:

1 Cup Honeycrisp Apple coarsely diced
1 Cup Cranberries minced
1 Cup Mandarin Orange slices
½ Cup Honey

Adjust ingredient portions and dicing coarseness to achieve desired balance of ingredients and texture.  The cranberry relish makes up fast.  Dice the apples coarsely.  Mince the cranberries finely using a food processor.  Mix all the ingredients together and use immediately or refrigerate for 2 hours for best results.  Walnuts would also make a good addition.

To make the scalloped sweet potatoes:

4 Sweet Potatoes
1 yellow onion diced
4 strips bacon
1¾  cup coconut cream
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Preheat an oven to 375˚F.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/4" thick slices. Boil the potatoes for about 8-10min to soften and drain.  Make up the bacon strips how you like in a pan and dice when finished.  Drain some of the bacon from the pan (or not) and soften the onions for 2 minutes.  Add the coconut cream, salt, and pepper and heat on low for 5 additional minutes.  Working in layers place the sweet potatoes in an 11x17 pan followed by the onions and cream mixture and diced bacon followed by more sweet potatoes, etc… until ingredients are exhausted.   Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until soft.  If you would like to brown the top, broil for the last 5min.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dog Encounters

Last week I hit the bike path to get in my short duration high intensity run for the week because that is what I do to keep my 5k fast while training for 50k distances.  That and throw around big weights, go vertical, and all sort of strength training to build muscle in my legs and keep my testosterone levels jacked.   But this is not a post about flipping the switch and turning loose your inner beast on a mission to get stronger/faster, this is a post about what to do when while on that mission a big dog on the loose gets lit up by your headlamp standing sentry in your path on a cold winter night.
More intimidating than others for sure but all loose dogs should be given the same attention.  This dog appears alert but is not displaying signs of aggression.  Source.
Naturally this kind of shit upsets me.  Here I am trying to get my run on in a deserted place and now I have my own hound and a pitbull to manage.  Ignoring the situation is the dumbest thing to do.  If you become the attention of a loose dog that can fuck you up, you better give your full attention to that animal.  Keep running and the dogs prey drive will take over and he may come and bite/maul you.  Blame the dog all you want, but by running cowardice is exhibited, prey behavior mimicked and an action the dog may have not taken elicited.  Fact:  Humans cannot out sprint dogs that can eat you, not even Olympic sprinters.
Rabbits run from dogs because they are food.  You should not because you are a human, master of the dog.   You are on the top of the food chain, embrace it.  Source
So now that you have given the dog your attention and come to a stop, stand your ground, face the dog and confidently tell him no every time he advances.  If you are part of the pace crazed disposable income music loving crowd you will also feel a need to stop your Garmin and remove your ear buds in order to give your full attention.  Yours truly doesn’t run with music as it degrades my situational awareness but I am guilty of stopping my watch.  If the dog attempts to flank and get around you turn and always face the animal.
A buffalo standing his ground.  This is a shame because I would have liked to eat him.  Hopefully this never happens to you.  Source.
Sometimes encounters like this can end like two ships passing in the night but dogs are smart enough to take your back if you stupidly offer it up.  Continue to face the dog until it is out of range, as previously mentioned, redundancy equals importance.  Sometimes when enough time has passed the negligent owner might come around and take control of their animal and you can move on.  Sometimes after a few minutes the dog might lose interest and leave, or help may arrive.  This dance can last a while or escalate all too quickly, but avoid letting the dog into your personal space.
A Dalmatian showing aggression.  Lefty has a scar on his nose from a loose Dalmatian that got a hand jammed down his throat, flipped over, and a knee on his ribs until he cried uncle and ran away with his tail between his legs.  Source.
Dogs tend to give their intentions away through their body language but can flip quickly depending on how you respond, remain calm.  I have had one dog engage in stalking and bar his teeth the moment I encountered him.  In situations like these it makes sense to match the dog’s escalation with an escalation of your own by throwing things or picking up a stick to deliver a beating and getting ready to stomp him.  If you choose to carry a defensive tool, prepare to use it.  There is no need to escalate to violence when encountering a dopey tail wagging dog not showing any signs of aggression.


Defensive tools a runner might opt to carry but are not limited to include kinetic action devices, blades, bear mace, and Tasers.  Bare hands are sufficient for some.  The AR10 chaffed and cut into my 5k time so I do without these days.
The overall idea is to discourage and avoid a physical encounter but even my intimidating presence with my hound at my side has not been able to discourage all dogs from invading our personal space.  Balance is of utmost importance in all situations, especially these, do not get knocked down.  I prefer to maintain a side profile facing the animal with knees slightly bent in case I need to stomp the son of a bitch (proper English use).  Keep you tender fingers balled into fists so they don’t become dog sausages and track the dog with your arms and body.  Protect your face and neck.
A tail wagging friendly working dog.
Maybe the dog is playful and curious, maybe not but you will have to be the judge of that matter and decide what course of action to take.  If attacked, as a biped you can stomp and kick.  If you prefer a more personal touch you might want to control the neck, flip the dog by it limbs or tail, knee on stomach, choke, etc...  Stay on your feet and use your weight and long limbs to your advantage.  Take away the dogs footing/balance and he becomes much easier to manage.  This is all easier said than done but it is better to go down fighting than cowering.  Most dogs will give up when engaged.  Yes you may get bit but that is better than being mauled.
Nothing is more pathetic than people without enough sense to look after their own well being or defend themselves when attacked.  A cell phone does not qualify as proper mitigation.  After you place a call it only offers the possibility that someone will come to look for your body or send an ambulance after the fact.  The immediate situation remains.  Anyone can stand up for themselves.  A 100lb woman outweighs most dogs and has all the tools needed to dominate all but the most vicious of these animals as a human.  
A human capable of defending herself and her yip yap dog. 
In the few years I have had Lefty I have lost count of all the loose dogs we have come across.  Dogs are social and attract other dogs.  I imagine in a different time and place I could have easily grown my pack, as almost all of these dogs were very curious and friendly.  This was my third run in with this pit bull this month and his owner tends to be 1-3 minutes behind.  In two instances his owner eventually grabbed him and in one he left after a few minutes of being told no.  He seems friendly enough but Lefty is not, especially when in a leashed vs. unleashed situation.  I always take Lefty’s side in these matters and hold a 2-0 record in dog encounters turned violent.  A loose dog is just as liable to get his ass beat as it is to attack someone.    
I hope to never be on the business end of this
There is always the option put forth in the old joke about surviving a bear attack by being faster than the slowest person you are with too.  Or was that a metaphor for financial markets?  Probably a bad idea,  I don't know, read this for surviving bear attacks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meat and Potatoes


My past few weeks have been 10+ hour efforts packed full of hard hitting MMA, Strength training, swimming, and high mileage winter running.  It’s not easy tearing up muscle daily in a mission to get stronger/faster and is only made possible by eating the most nutrient rich food when I need it.  Keep the grains and processed food – I’m not interested in improving my swim by way of added buoyancy.  I’ll take some lean meat and vegetables for peak performance.

The meat and potatoes of improving athletic performance are killer workouts followed by recovery.   In recovery food comes first followed by rest.  The meat and potatoes of recovery food is, well, meat and potatoes.  Combined with some leafy greens the end result is the perfect blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. 

I have refueled on pretzels peanuts and ice cream in the past – it was stupid then and still is.  Obviously there was little protein for muscle rebuilding.  Less obvious is that after an intense effort blood PH is acidic, eating net acidic foods like grains or dairy does not help.  The body must cannibalize minerals from the bones and muscle to restore the PH to neutral.  That is why recovery foods should be a base PH like vegetables.

Meal prep in advance is the key to maximizing successful workouts.  That’s why I don’t leave the house to do a 20+ miler for 50k training if the fridge is all but empty except for beer, pickles, and Catsup.  The chuck roast I made Sunday has fueled 3 days of activity for my wife and me, a good return for minimal prep time with the only downside being the overall cook time.   


         
Ingredients for Beef Chuck Roast follow:

3-5lb Beef Chuck Roast (grass fed)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ cup chili powder
½Tbsp Salt
½ Tbsp pepper
1-2 Cups beef stock
3-4 medium potatoes diced
2 Carrots diced
2 cups Pearl onions peeled
2 cups Mushrooms whole
1/2 head garlic peeled, diced
6 dried cayenne peppers

Preheat the oven to 275˚F.  Add the olive oil to a frying pan and heat on low.  Mix the chili powder, salt, and pepper and roll the chuck roast in it taking up all the seasoning.  Brown the chuck roast on all sides in the frying pan about 2 minutes per side.  Add the chuck roast and beef stock to a roasting pan.  Cover and cook for 2-3 hours turning a couple times.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and increase temperature to 325˚F.  Add the remaining ingredients to the roasting pan and cook covered for 1 more hour.  Enjoy.

My wife thought it would be better with tomatoes.  The whole mushrooms and pearl onions were what made it good for me.  Chuck roast isn’t exactly lean but I wanted practice with roasts before using my venison rump.  This roast was practice for greater things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

Replacing grains with vegetables to include roots, and squash as my go to carbohydrate source has introduced some challenges in weekday meal preparation.  I don’t have the hour it takes to properly prepare and cook things like sweet potatoes, squash, and beets during the week.  Most meals take 15 to 30 minutes from start to finish and even that seems like an eternity after working out.  It makes sense to prepare some of these foods in advance.

I have had butternut squash in the house since Thanksgiving - truly amazing how long it keeps.  Butternut squash is alright on its own but tastes way better as a soup.  I also feel the same way about potatoes and make potato leek soup on occasion.  I make a lot of soup, it is what I do.  Soup is nutrient rich and good for recovery or fueling.  The best soup is made with homemade stock and this one started off with a whole chicken as usual.  Come winter stocks and soup are made weekly in my house.          

Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients for Butternut squash soup follow:

1 Butternut Squash
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Large Onion
Fresh Ginger 1" x 3" piece
4-6 Cups Chicken Stock
Salt
Pepper

Prepare the chicken stock and butternut squash in advance.  To prepare the butternut squash preheat an oven to 350˚F.  Cut the squash in half length wise and seed.  Rub the exposed meaty part of the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook in oven for 1 hour or until soft.  Let cool and spoon the meat out of the skin, discard the skin.  

To start the soup, melt the butter (olive oil to keep it dairy free) in a soup pot.  Skin, and dice the onion and skin and thinly slice the ginger.  Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook until soft 8 – 10 minutes.  Add the Chicken stock and reserved butternut squash.  Heat through for 20 – 30 minutes.  Working in batches puree the soup in a blender, be careful with hot ingredients.

Serve with heavy cream (coconut cream to keep it dairy free) and garnish with parsley or chives.  The only green I had was mint so that is what I garnished with.  Toasted almond slivers or toasted squash seeds also make fine additions.  Refrigerates well and can be enjoyed all week.   

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reconnaissance

This weeks long run served as recon and gear check for the now 3 weeks out John Dick memorial 50k.  I always like to check out a course ahead of time but this run was more about the conditions.  Just a couple days earlier six inches of snow fell making the sunny freezing weekend perfect for cross country skiing and other winter sports.  The Scuppernong trails where the race will be held were closed for cross country skiing so I went to the nearby John Muir mountain bike trails for a taste of trail running on packed snow.
Dogs love winter trail running.  With the proper gear I was quite comfortable.
The experience was good.  I had on a minimalist trail glove and it was perfect for the very plush snow.  I could have used a bit more traction and will likely pick up some yaktrax.  My wife wore a full cushioned trainer and was miserable with her foot sliding around in the shoe too much.  Pacing was slowed by over a minute to deal with conditions.  Actual race conditions should be better as the singletrack mountain bike trails represented worst case with a lot of twisting and winding.
The love of my life navigating the majestic winter landscape
After five miles on the trails we went back home where I rounded out the long run with seventeen more miles along the lake with four of them true off road and the rest on packed snow along the paved path.  The Gatorade in the tube of my Camelbak started to get slushy and freeze about an hour in.  The liquid in the pack was more resistant to freezing but eventually froze by the third hour.  Come race day I may need to add a shot or two of vodka to mitigate this issue.
Snow packed Oak Leaf trail
Other than the couple issues mentioned the 22 miles went very well.  My legs had not recovered from a brutal strength training session two days prior and the run was very low intensity accordingly.  Breathing was easy and I enjoyed the many sights and wildlife.  Winter is a great time to be outside and with the right gear it is very comfortable.
This beard is priceless in the cold.  



 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking Back & the Path Ahead


Life is best enjoyed absorbed in the moment.  Living in the moment is a state that comes naturally to some, some realize over time, and some sadly never come around to.  When our thoughts are consumed by the past or future our enjoyment of today is near impossible as well as effectively shaping and learning from the events that transpire.
It took bringing a true master of living in the moment, a dog, into my life and the deaths of friends to recognize how unbalanced my ways were and begin living for today. 
Thoughts of the past and the future require due consideration and balance with the present.  Achieving peak success in a complex world requires some reflection and planning.  The keys to future success lie in past accomplishments and failures.  The good and bad experiences of the past year shaped the ambitious schedule of events I plan to do this year and how I will go about making it happen.

2011 unfolded in ways I could have never foreseen.  Long term ambitions were repeatedly realized and replaced with even greater ambitions at a faster clip than I could ever imagine.  I mountain biked in Spain, ran my first half marathon, competed in my first triathlon, rediscovered trail running, and ran 26.2 miles.  Only partial credit for these accomplishments belongs to me.  My wife deserves most of the credit for her infectious ambition and drive.  Her influence showed me paths I would not have seen or taken otherwise.
The past year featured an unstructured life happens training plan.  286 hours marks a life time high with 119 running, 90 biking, 35 swimming, and 34 MMA/Strength hours.  Running was consistent the whole year, everything else was not, I hope to remedy this in 2012.  
Accomplishments are rare and are something to take pride in.  Accomplishments are the culmination of a long journey that is just as rewarding but also contains failures.  To achieve greatness it is important to take stock of these failures, learn, and move forward without letting the failure define us.

 2010 ended horribly for me.  In November I went to Spain for work and wrecked my ankle within the first few days.  A couple weeks later I got stomach worms.  I lost a ridiculous amount of weight and had a very tough mental time making it through the month.  It was a low point for me but laid the foundation for appreciating what I have and making the most of the future.  In January I ran my first half marathon and a year later this past December I cut 20 minutes off that time, mostly thanks to the intellectual pursuits and open mind that accompanied my training.
896 miles run in 2011 is up six fold from 145 in 2010 and marks a lifetime high.  Shaded portions indicate injury.  Every run was purposeful and a great return on investment was realized in terms of race times.  
All glory is fleeting and after accounting for success it is necessary to move forward.  There is much truth in that we are only as good as our last effort and where we are going is more important than where we have been.  Like our failures our accomplishments should not define us but the journey should by teaching us to appreciate, persevere, fight, laugh, and love - in other words live.
        
I don’t know everything 2012 holds but know if I go into it with my head on straight success will follow.  The goals I have this year are different than any I have had before.  I would like to make running a social experience and have already started by running with some friends, reaching out to other runners, and planning the Ragnar relay.  Every performance goal I can think of is achieved by purposeful balanced consistent training leaving me with a volume goal of 10 hours of training a week.  Rounding out my goals is living a balanced life with plenty of rest, recovery, and time for loved ones.  The idea is not only to succeed but to thrive and enjoy life with those around me.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Biomechanics: Efficient Runner Model Rev 1.1

Mathematical Analysis utilizing biomechanics and basic physics can be used to determine the energy cost of various running factors. When the energy cost is known and compared to empirical data the time penalty associated with these factors can be determined. Running variables, combinations thereof, and their effect on performance that can be readily analyzed include:

Shoe weight
Shoe cushion & heel to forefoot differential
Over-stride/cadence
Excess body weight
Foot strike


This post establishes the basic model that will be used for the separate analysis of each of these factors. Assumptions and initial conditions are also defined. This is a crude model intended to capture the gross movements, which account for the majority of energy cost.  This update from Rev 1.0 modifies the figure to clarify center of mass position relative to foot strike and adds the parameters and calculations used to determine the energy cost of striding and vertical displacement.

A visual examination of efficient runners was necessary to create a proper model. An optimal stride was found to be one that places the center of mass directly over a slightly bent knee when the foot strikes. Cadence is equal to or greater than 180 foot strikes per minute and a forefoot strike is employed
.  Both low cadence (over stride), and the use of a heel strike reduce efficiency.1  

The two gross movements which constitute the majority of energy expenditure are striding and vertical displacement.

Striding
For each stride the foot is accelerated up and forward requiring energy. The energy cost of striding can be calculated using Newton’s laws of motion and by treating the legs and shoes as point masses. For these calculations the leg was divided into separate masses consisting of the shoe, foot, calf, and thigh. Examination of a stride reveals the respective distance each point mass travels with respect to the hips.



The mass contributions m were found in percent total body weight with respect to one limb.  The horizontal distance  ∆dh  traveled was found as a percentage of stride length L.  The vertical distance ∆dv traveled is a percentage of total body height. 2
 

m [%]
∆dh [%]
∆dv [%]
Thigh
6.7
15.4
-
Calf
2
46
-
Foot
2
100
26.7
Shoe
-
100
26.7

When the pace and cadence are known the stride length L and acceleration a of each point mass can be readily determined.

L = 1/(pace•cadence)
a =  2∆d/t2

When acceleration is known the force F required to accelerate each point mass can be found.  Energy E is then calculated for each point mass, summed, and converted to food Calories.

F = ma
E = F∆d

As the total striding energy is calculated per stride it must be multiplied by cadence and optionally pace to place it in terms of either time or distance respectively.  Dividing by 4184 will convert Joules to food calories.  When analyzing striding, the power generated to push off the ground is ignored, as it is captured by the center of mass and conversion of energy calculations.

Center of Mass and Conservation of Energy:
The energy cost related to center of mass displacement can be calculated using a spring mass model and Hooke’s law.  The center of mass mC follows the dashed sinusoidal path of amplitude ∆h.  When cadence is known ∆h can be readily calculated using equations of motion. 

∆h = ½(9.8)(tSTRIDE/2)2

The vertical component of the Kinetic energy of the runner can be calculated when the height is known.  This is the energy of each foot strike EK.

EK = (mC)(9.8)( ∆h) 

Additionally the shoe, foot, leg, and torso can all be modeled as one equivalent spring or separate springs in series.  Here the leg is treated as one equivalent spring.



Central to calculating center of mass energy costs is the conservation of energy.  Each stride transfers some energy to the next, loses energy to the environment, and adds additional energy from muscle contractions.  To find the energy the leg captures ELEG the spring constant of the leg must be known or the force exerted on the spring at its maximum compression must be known.  From the work of Lieberman the force is known to be 2.5 body weight.

ELEG = ½ (F)(mC)(9.8)(½∆h)    


To maintain a steady pace the energy lost to the environment is equal to the propulsive energy of muscle contractions.  The energy expended to maintain vertical movement EV is thusly:

EV = EK - ELEG

Once again, as the vertical energy is calculated per stride it must be multiplied by cadence and optionally pace to place it in terms of either time or distance respectively .  Dividing by 4184 will convert Joules to food calories.  The total energy cost of running is the sum of the striding and center of mass calculations.

*

1 The gross movements for a heel strike and forefoot strike were found to be the same, notable differences exist in the impact forces.  The stride time tSTRIDE can be calculated by  dividing 60 seconds by cadence.
2 Mass and height contributions are for a 5’8” 145lb 10.7% body fat male.

*

Please feel free to refute any part of this post or add detail that has been missed.  While my intent is to fully explain things I do not always succeed and some nuances have been omitted in the interest of brevity.  I am happy to discuss in further detail as required.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Night Run


The temperatures have been dropping with the past couple days featuring weather that would have sent me to a treadmill in years past.  My natural progression from treadmill running is to not running at all so that I don’t have to endure the torture.  This year I am determined to get in miles outdoors over the winter.  Thus far all has gone well and I have learned a lot.  I was excited to see the lower temperatures so that I could gain experience running in them for an upcoming winter 50k.  I hope for the best but also want to have experienced and be prepared for the worst should the event weather be less than perfect.
Milwaukee at night as viewed from South Shore Park
I started my journey in the early evening well past sunset.  I find running at night particularly peaceful and the weather meant my dog and I had the path all to ourselves.  The windswept ground featured patches of snow and ice from flurries the night before that reflected both my headlamp and my dogs red bike light.  The air was a brisk 18˚F and my breath was clearly visible.  Breathing was surprisingly easy and the first leg of our out and back run was very comfortable with a 20mph wind at our backs.
On the Oak Leaf Trail
The second half of the run was far less comfortable with the 20mph wind now in my face.  The effective temperature was 0˚F with the wind chill and breathing became more difficult.  The wind was the worst along the lake, though the crashing waves were a sight to see.  My run came out to 8.5 miles in a little over an hour.  The experience was manageable but would have been better had I packed a face mask and thicker gloves.  Live and learn.
Keeping watch even though I assured Lefty we were the baddest thing in the woods that night.  We did see a fox along the path.
             

Strawberry Apple Beet Lime Juice


Fresh juice makes a great hydrating nutrient rich breakfast compliment.  It also makes a great mixer, just add vodka, or tequila and maybe a dash of cointreau, or chambord.  I don’t use the juicer enough but it is always worth the effort.    

There was a lot of fresh fruit in the kitchen following a New Years Eve party and I wanted to start paleo January out right.  I didn’t think this up, the Green Kitchen at the Milwaukee Market sells this as the Red Rooster.  The beauty is in its simplicity and the flavor is robust and delicious.         

Red Rooster with mint garnish
Combine in a juicer:

2 small-medium roasted Beets
1 small lime
4 Strawberries
3 apples

Since I added beets to my diet a month or two ago I have been extolling their virtues.  Turns out plenty of people are aware of beets and don’t like them.  At our New Years Eve party I learned they smell earthen, like an old moldy basement.  Later it degenerated to dirty gym socks.  I even had beets on hand to dissuade critics but only reinforced their views.  Beets are not for everyone.   

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year Ahead


2012 has not been far from my mind much of the past year.  As the previous year ebbed and flowed lessons were learned, expectations adjusted, and plans made and revisited.  If all goes well this year will be full of 50k and marathon distances and a ½ Ironman.  Rolling the calendar is a mere formality as I have been incrementally taking steps to realize these ambitions for some time.  The major events I would like to do that will shape my training are listed.  A full list of events can be found on the races page.


4 Feb 2012 Badgerland Striders John Dick Memorial 50k

The first time I saw this event the very notion it existed offended my senses.  Who would undertake a primitive winter trail run of this magnitude?  I quickly dismissed the race as foolish but it gnawed on my mind in the coming weeks.  This is the challenge I need to grow, stand up, and take back winter.  Denial progressed to acceptance and today even if the event falls through it has been a success in shaping my training since November.
The John Dick Memorial 50k features winter trail running.  Lefty will be staying home.
 12 May 2012 Badgerland Striders Ice Age Trail 50k

Like the John Dick memorial this event also takes place in beautiful southern Kettle Moraine.  Also offered are 50 mile and half marathon distances.  I will train specifically for this event and run for time, doing the entire taper / peak business.   

8 Jun 2012 Chicago Ragnar Relay

This should prove to be a great experience.  Running will be the easy part in comparison to all the behind the scenes organization and planning required.  I will be running with my wife as part of a coed ultra team provided we can convince two more women to join us.

30 Jun 2012  XTERRA Dairyland

This off-road triathlon consists of a 1500 yd swim, 15 mile bike, and 5.4 mile run.  I have wanted to do this since I learned of its existence.  Triathlon is awesome but this one has mountain biking and trail running to make it even more so.  This is a must do event for the year.

My cross country mountain bike sits idly waiting out the winter 

15 Jul 2012 Racine 1/2 Ironman

Pulling off this event will take a lot careful planning and execution.  It should serve to keep me focused and honest in getting training time in on the bike and swim.  Should I come up short in my training there are plenty of sprint and Olympic distance events to fall back on around this time.

15 Sep 2012 North Face Endurance Challenge 50k

Another event in southern Kettle Moraine.  I plan to make a big weekend of it with camping, biking and seeing friends.  The weekend is about having a good time and the race will sort itself out.
Last years Endurance Challenge 1/2 marathon

7 Oct 2012 Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

This will serve as my second big race for time of the year.   My training will be shaped around the event and I will do the entire taper / peak business.

14 Oct 2012  Badgerland Striders Glacial Trail 50k

Hopefully I can hold my peak and turn out a great performance here bringing a close to the running season earlier than 2011.


Thanks for reading.