Hello, thank you for joining me along my journey of becoming a Runner! I've always been an active guy, played sports in high school and continued into adult recreation sports after high school. As I started my family and found a career, the activity level slowly decreased. Well my Fiance had enough of our lazy ways and started on the Weight Watchers program and completely overhauled our daily meals. Step 2 was getting more active, so we decided to JOG our annual Juvenile Diabetes charity walk and actually enjoyed the activity. The month following the charity walk, we signed up for our first official 5K and had an absolute blast. From that point forward I have officially been BIT by the running bug and this is my journey to becoming a RUNNER!

Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm Starting to Believe

I’m becoming a believer….

This whole strength training thing is starting to pay off…

The Challenge:

I’ve found that my racing performance peaks out at about 15 miles.  Anything over that and my body starts to break down after the 15 mile mark.

Las Vegas Marathon – Came out hard, holding an 8:30 min/mile pace.  Ran into cramping at mile 15.

Phoenix Marathon – Tried to stay conservative during the downhill start, came into the half  at about 8:30 min/mile pace.  Ran into ITB issues at mile 15 with cramping for the remainder of the race.

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50k – Came out really strong, 8/9 min/mile pace on the trails, and ran into cramping at mile 15.

As you can see, mile 15 has been my breaking point.  Being 100% honest, ever since my first marathon attempt, I’ve had this mental breaking point at that 15 mile mark.  Anytime I’m running over 15 miles, I have this thought in the back of my head just waiting for the 15 mile mark and for the cramping to begin.

The Hard Work:

About the beginning of the year, I decided that enough was enough.  I was dedicating myself to start adding some light strength training into my weekly training.  The plan was to hit the weights Mon, Wed, & Fri each week regardless of how it impacted my runs.  The focus of my plan was strengthening my hamstrings and secondary was my quads and core.  Key workouts were going to be leg curls and leg extensions with squats and lunges mixed in here and there.  So began the hard work.

The Baby Steps:

A few weeks back when my coach was getting ready for his 100k, I ran a pretty good 20 miler with him at what I considered a pretty good effort.  I started to feel some twinges in my left hamstring around mile 15 but nothing came of that.  Overall it was a solid day and really started to build confidence that I may be over this whole 15 mile problem.

Fast forward to this Saturday.  I purposely planned for a blow up day.  Some of you may be wondering what’s a blow up day….

It’s basically a test of fitness.  For me, it’s a day where I go out and run as hard as I can for as long as I can to see where my body starts to break down.  I planned and expected for my legs to start cramping around mile 15.  That was the goal for this day.

I was able to schedule a majority of the miles with one of the faster guys in our running group (He just ran a 1:28 half marathon at the Rock N Roll Half).  I was starting a little bit earlier than him and had about 5.5 miles until I met up with him.  I came out strong and was able to hold about an 8:30 min/mile pace over those 5.5 miles.  GREAT START!!  Grabbed my running buddy and we were off.  We had a bit more climbing to do running back over my original 5.5 miles to meet up with the running group, but even with the elevation gain, we still held onto a 9:00 min/mile pace over the second 5.5 miles.  STILL RUNNING STRONG!!

Our run group is a “no runner left behind” kind of group on Saturday mornings.  We take frequent breaks to make sure everyone can keep up and get the proper water and nutrition.  My running buddy had to be done early so he was jumping ahead and didn’t plan to make any stops.  Staying true to the planned “blow up day”, I jumped out with him and we proceeded to throw down another 5 miles at a 8:30 min/mile pace.  I was dying during this entire sections…but it wasn’t my legs.  I couldn’t get my breathing under control and was gasping for air pretty much the entire way.  Knowing the trails as well as I do, I was in full blown mantra mode…Just make it to “insert landmark”, just make it to “insert landmark” LOL. 

I parted ways with run buddy around mile 17 and decided to wait there for the rest of the running group.  The morning was a bit chilly but overall gorgeous.  I had no problem taking in the views while I waited for everyone.

Even after this little break, I laid the hammer down for the last half mile and clicked it off at about 6:30 min/mile pace. 

The Validation:

As you can see, nowhere in those miles do you see cramping.  I’m starting to believe that this whole strength training thing is working.  I waited so long and avoided strength training like the plague, but now that I’m starting to see the benefits I keep asking myself…”Why the H@#$ did you wait so long you idiot”…LOL.  I plan to stick with this strength training, it seems to be a huge benefit, and really can be the difference maker in the rest of my year.  I love racing but now I’m REALLY looking forward to racing.

Go ahead, let me know, why the H@#$ did I wait so long to start strength training lol…

Thursday, February 23, 2017

BC Pacing Recap and Footage

Hey Everyone!!

I’m finally getting to recapping the race from this past weekend.  I’ve also put together some of the footage that I took that day.

Week Leading Up:
Last week, the forecast coming into the race was not favorable.  It was calling for 45* - 50* temps and rain all day.  In the interest of safety, the race organizers decided to change the course from Point to Point to an Out and Back.  This would remove some of the major river crossings and keep everyone safe.  The challenge this posed was that my coach would now be all on his lonesome for 20 miles in the middle of the race.  No crew support and no pacing.

Race day:
The race was about 1 hour 30 minutes from my house and I wanted to be there by 5:30 am the latest.  Needless to say it was a very early wake up call for me.  The weather wasn’t too bad as I was leaving the house and I was hoping things would stay that way for a portion of the day.  WRONGO!!  About 20 minutes into my drive I hit rain and it was a steady annoying little rain.  As I got to the start location, the rain was still coming down and you could already tell this was going to be a long miserably wet day.

Runners started to show up about 6:00 am and shortly after I found my coach as he was getting himself ready for the day.  We headed out to the start line, the MC counted down, and away they went.  I caught the start on the GoPro then we immediately jumped in my buddies Jeep to head off to the first aid station. 

We weren’t meeting our runner at the first aid station as it was only 7.5 miles into the race.  We still passed through as it was on our way to the second aid station where we would see our runner for the first time.  As we crossed through the first aid station, I got my first glimpse of extreme trail running and the facts of what I would face later that day.  Every runner we saw was covered from foot to knee in mud.  Not little splash spots from running through puddles, this was caked on thick mud.  Yikes!!

We got to the second aid station, parked, grabbed the stuff we needed, and headed towards the aid station tent.  Honestly, there was about 15 minutes of waiting where we thought we missed our runner.  Finally he came slogging through and we got to work for our first crew stop of the day.  He was in great spirits, we only changed his jacket, and we sent him off.  We grabbed the gear, jumped back in the Jeep, and headed off to the next aid station.

We were only 20 miles into the race, about 4 hours of running time, and the aid station looked like a tough mudder station.  The picture below is from a bit later in the race but this is how it was all day.

We grabbed our runner and headed into the aid station tent.  Things were pretty miserable for the runners.  We decided to focus on getting him into dry clothes, refilling his fueling and water, and not really asking him about how he was feeling and how it was out there.  Get him in, get him out.  This was the big sendoff, he would be out there for a long 20 mile stretch without crew.  He did have one drop bag along the way which was a huge bonus but that’s a long time not seeing your crew.

As soon as he headed off, we jumped in the Jeep and headed into town to grab some lunch.  We had about 4 hours to kill before we would see our runner back at the same aid station.  Grabbed lunch and even got to do some adventuring around the desert.  The area was gorgeous.

About 40 miles, and about 9 hours into the race, and we picked up our runner again.  There were some low moments in those 20 miles but overall he was in pretty good spirits.  We did a full clothing change, changed shoes, restocked fuel and water, and got him ready for the next section.  The good news, I was jumping in with him to pace through the next two sections.

The next two sections of running could only be described as…Incredible!!  With 40 miles on his legs, this guy was clicking off miles like crazy.  We were picking off other runners as we cruised along through the mud and rain.  We ran the runnable sections, hiked the major climbs, and the whole time I was just amazed by his strength and determination to not only keep moving, but really run very strong when so many other runners were falling victim to the elements.

Our buddy picked him up at the last aid station to bring him home.  I got back to the finish line location, changed into dry clothes and headed out to wait for them to come into the finish.  Again, as I saw them come around the corner headed to the finish, it was amazing to see the strength as he finished up this tough day.

I ended up with about 11 miles running, but honestly this was probably the biggest learning experience in my running life so far.  Not only my runner, but seeing all the runners out there giving it everything they had to fight through the physical demands and on top of that was the horrible weather conditions.  Completely inspiring!!  It was a long day but it was definitely worth every second

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Let the Fun Begin

I just got up north to where the race starts and where I'll meet my coach.  Looking at about 15 hours of work today.  Let's see how it goes lol.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Pacing Eve

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow is the return of “The Ultimate Pacer”.

My coach is running The Black Canyon Ultras 100k and needed some help in the second half of the race.  Well things got pretty interesting this week as we head into race weekend.  The forecast was calling for rain all day on Saturday.  Trail runners typically don’t mind the rain all that much, and personally I love it because I think it’s fun to play in the mud.  Unfortunately, Arizona doesn’t do well with rain, and even an inch of rain channels into our water ways and can surge some of the streams to 5ft or 10ft in depth.  The race this weekend has a few crossing of little streams and one large river and was immediately a concern for the race organizers.  As of Monday, people were posting pictures on FB showing the main river at about 3ft of water already and we would be adding to that with all the rain on Saturday.  Needless to say, it wasn’t looking like a very safe situation for runners, crew, and volunteers.  The race made the difficult decision to change the course to avoid the major waterways which I think was the right choice, no need to take chances.  So yesterday my coach and those of us in his crew were exchanging emails and text messages to re-work the race plan.  I’m happy to say we got most things worked out and we are ready to go for tomorrow morning.

I’m super excited because not only do I get to pull pacing/crewing duty for my coach, but also, I’ve never run this trail before and I’ve heard it’s gorgeous.  Here are some photos I pulled off google:

I plan to have the GoPro and record as much as I can during the race.  So hopefully I’ll have some epic footage for you guys come Monday.

What are your plans for this weekend?

Anyone throwing down a running adventure for Presidents Day?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Little Run-scussion Today

Happy Hump Day Everyone!!

I’ve really been liking the discussion type posts, I like seeing everyone’s feedback and if this was more like a forum I know there would be some great discussions.  Before I get into today’s discussion topic, I don’t know what is going on with our weather out here in AZ.  We have been hovering around the 60’s and 70’s the last couple weeks. 

Heck this morning on my run it was 60* and that was at 4am in the morning.  Hello this is supposed to be February.  But this is a nice transition for my discussion topic for today which is also weather related…

Raining During Races

This Saturday I’m pulling crew and pacing duty for my coach during his 100K race.  All week we have been exchanging texts and emails planning for the race.  One of the big concerns right now is the rain.  There is about a 50% - 70% change of rain ALL DAY, and the temps are hovering right around 60*. 

Personally, I love running trails in the rain, I love getting muddy and having puddle marks all over my legs and clothes.  It reminds me of when we were kids and got to splash around in puddles on a rainy day.

So for today’s discussion…

1)     Do you enjoy running in the rain?

2)     What are some tips for running in the rain?

Look forward to seeing everyone’s feedback

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

But she loves me anyways...

I am a pain in the a@#, but she loves me anyways…

I have an overly humorous side and never take things seriously, but she loves me anyways…

I say absurdly inappropriate things to see her reaction, but she loves me anyways…

I get a little obsessive with my hobbies (like this whole running thing), but she loves me anyways…

True love is two imperfect people loving all of each other.  I think Frances “Baby” Houseman said it best:

There are a lot of things about me that aren’t what you thought.  But if you love me, you have to love all the things about me.

Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sharing a Little Family Today

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had a great weekend!!

For us over at the Schlub household, it was a pretty awesome weekend.  Here on the old blog I don’t share to much about my life outside of running.  I started this blog to focus on improving my running, holding myself accountable, and hopefully help someone out there from making the same mistakes I have made.  Well sorry to say, this weekend was just too good not to share with everyone I know which includes all 5 of you that come over here and read lol.

Gotta Earn IT!!
Weeks ago, my 8 year old came up to us after church service and told us he wanted to go to church camp.  This is his first year eligible to attend camp, a couple of his buddies are going, so we immediately started to get more details.  Everything looked fantastic and we couldn’t think of a better way for him to spend a week during the summer.  Based on our involvement at the church and my experience working with youth sports, Mrs. Schlub and I have even decided that I would go along with as a youth coach to be a part of this whole experience right alongside my son.  Awesome!!  The only discussion item is the cost, not a hefty amount that we couldn’t pay, but at the same time not an amount that you spend each weekend. 

The solution was…you gotta earn it…

I wasn’t expecting him to earn the entire amount, we just wanted to him to put some effort into working towards his goal, and understanding that this is a large cost and it would take some work on his part.  We decided to hold a garage sale where we could get rid of clutter, and let him sell some lemonade and baked good.  Well the community helped us out in droves, we received garage sale donations from people all around the community.  Now this was a friend helping friend situation, we received clothes, household goods, and a bunch of different items to sell.  In return, we were basically saving everyone a trip to the dump or Goodwill lol.  So Saturday morning bright and early we started with a driveway and yard full of stuff to help pay for church camp.  To my complete surprise, he did amazing and paid for his church camp.  Yes it was a lot of work on our part as parents, yes we had to make the signs, yes we had to work with all the shoppers…..but…..he was out there all day, selling his lemonade and baked goods, and answering questions about his church camp.  A really amazing collaboration between family and neighbors to not only help a boy go to camp, but more importantly, a life lesson to work hard and earn something you care about. 

I did get a run in this weekend.  I took Saturday off because we were hosting the yard sale most of the day.  My coach was running his last back to back this weekend before his 100k next weekend.  I would have liked to be there for both runs but I was only able to make it out Sunday.  Met up with him at 5:15am and we headed out for 20 miles.  It was a great run, we talked through a lot of stuff related to his upcoming race and in the end he felt really great after a long 40 mile weekend.  For me, I got some side by side miles, some miles where I trailed behind him, and some miles where I led out front and pulled him along.  I cant tell you how much im looking forward to pacing this weekend, its going to be pretty awesome.

Building Memories
I grew up watching wrestling, I have no shame.  The stories, the real life super heroes, the crowd involvement, I thought it was cool.  BTW…Yes I know it’s fake lol.  As I got older I moved away from the entertainment and found joy in other things.  Well…the last few years my son has really come to enjoyed professional wrestling.  I see a lot of the same joy in his eye that I had when I was younger.  Professional wrestling was coming to AZ so we bought tickets as a Christmas present so he and I could go with some of his buddies.  So Sunday night we headed off to the arena to watch the Elimination Chamber.  This event is a 3 hour long PPV show and when you add in the arrival time and preshow, we were looking at a 6 hour event.  This was one of those events that makes you smile, and I hope he will be telling his kids about some day.  To sit back and see one of your kids hollering, cheering, booing, and in suspense the entire time…it was priceless. 

Again, I don’t share too much outside of running, but I woke up today with a full mind of great family events from this weekend and wanted to share with all of you.  Hope you have a great Monday

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday Run Buddies

What’s up everyone!!

Today I wanted to do a bit of a discussion post related to our run buddies.  All across the spectrum, from beginners to elite runners, you see run buddies clamping together and knocking out miles.  Train together, race together, and always supporting each other through the ups and downs of this crazy sport.

So the discussion I propose today is…

What qualities do you look for in a run buddy?!?!

Being 100% honest, I think I can run with just about anybody these days.  I actually have different buddies I run with depending on scheduling and my different workouts.  Yet, there seems to be some common trends with the guys that I run with more often from the guys that I run with less often.  I’m going to throw some of these out there and would love to hear what some of your commonalities are with your run buddies.

Important Items:

1)      Scheduling – This is probably the most important aspect about training with me.  Yes I know I’m crazy for waking up at 3am to run at 4am, but that is the best time for me to train that doesn’t impact my family.  So if I come across someone who also trains super early in the morning, we are almost immediately run buddies by default lol.

2)      Reliability – I think this is important for everyone.  If you say you’re going to be there for the run, you better be there.  Honestly though, a lot of the guys I run with have a family, so I get that stuff comes up and life gets in the way.  But if tardiness and missed runs become the norm, there is only one outcome…

3)      Pacing for Speed – I put this on the list because lately I have been excited to run with guys that are of comparable speed or faster.  This is vitally important if you want to improve in this sport.  As long as I’ve played sports, I’ve always heard the saying…”if you want to get better, you need to practice and play with someone who is better than you”.  I think this stands true and which is why I’ve been seeking out faster runners to train with.

I’m a pretty low maintenance runner.  If you can wake up before the sun comes up to get a run in, than we are good to go.  On the other side, I think there are some common misconceptions with run buddies and I wanted to also go over some of those.

1)      Pacing in General – I have some close friends that run occasionally.  When I find out they are running I immediately bombard them with questions about when they run and if I can ever join them.  The general response is…”you’re too fast for me”…or something along those lines.  I’ve had very little success explaining to non-runners that we often need recovery runs and would be happy to slow down for them.  Oh well, their loss right lol.

2)      Chatting – A good conversation always makes a run go by faster, but for me it’s not mandatory.  I’ve been on plenty of runs where everyone is just clicking off miles and all you can hear is the trail under our shoes.  Honestly sometimes those runs are refreshing because the sounds flow in harmony with the strides of the group.  Almost like music.  Then on the other side I’ve been on plenty of runs where we have talked about everything under the sun.  I do have a personally liking when I’m running with more experienced runners and they are sharing their knowledge with me, always awesome to learn something new.

3)      Fragrances – Keeping it real, I always run with other dudes, and some of these gentlemen have a tendancy to smell better than others lol.  I often find myself running with a run buddy or in one of our groups and catch a nice smelling scent from someone, I immediately think “oh wow, that smells nice.  I feel bad if they catch a wiff of me”….LOL.  Again, this is not a big deal.  I usually smell worse than anyone else I may be running with and usually masks anything else I might smell during the run.

There you have it, today I just wanted to have a little fun discussing our run buddies and what makes them so awesome.  I really look forward to seeing what everyone looks for in a run buddy

Monday, February 6, 2017

More Adventuring Epicness

We all love Monday’s right….

Have I ever told everyone, that I L-O-V-E adventuring?!?!

I know many years down the road when I’m done chasing Strava segments, when I’m done trying to smash PR’s, and I don’t quite have the speed that I have today, I’m going to happily transition to full time adventuring.  I posted last week about some summit chasing adventuring I did last weekend.  It really reminded me how much I enjoy leaving the “racing” training behind and just spending some time being out in nature.  My coach was putting a little adventure together for yesterday and at first I wasn’t going to join.  When the guys started talking about how awesome this run was going to be, it got me jonesin to join.  So I did some negotiating (ok I was begging lol) with Mrs. Schlub and she allowed me to go out and play with my friends lol.

We met up at a trailhead about 30 minutes from my house.  I’d never been out in this section of desert before so it was immediately great views and the excitement to see what lay ahead.  We got a little bit of everything while we were out this day…

1)      About 6 miles of true trail running
2)      Some steep hiking
3)      Hand and foot vertical scrambling
4)      Epic summit views
5)      Lost at the summit and how to safely get back down
6)      Poop my pants descents down said vertical scrambling
7)      Stories and memories that last a lifetime

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Need Some Rest Please

We have made it to Thursday!!

Let’s just open this post up with some in your face truth.  I took Wednesday off from running and it looks like I may be taking today off running as well. 

100% honesty…I’m just needing some rest days lol.  I didn't even put pictures in this post lol.

A round about monthly review to give some background.  One of the many running groups I follow on Facebook was doing a mileage challenge through the month of December.  I ran my first 50k in December then took a couple weeks off so being a part of a mileage challenge wasn’t going to happen.  Come January, a group of us wanted to get over the holiday hangover and start the new year off right.  So we started the Resolution Rundred and pledged to run a ## of miles throughout the month of January.  My goal…200 miles!!

I am going to breakdown the month of November by grade in a few different categories:

Grade – A+
Only race I had was the Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  Well I went out and shattered by PR coming in at 1:35.  This was one of those defining races for me and I’m really happy with this performance.  Double edged sword, great performance that has led to internal discussions about a BQ again.  So we will see where things lead.

Grade – A-
Overall my effort for the month was excellent.  I was engaged, looking forward to my runs, and had very few runs where I had to alter the workout or change the effort.  I can honestly say it wasn’t until the 31st, the last day of the month, that I finally started to run out of steam.  More on that later.

Grade – A+
No injuries to report so that is always an excellent way to kick off the year.  Although fatigued most of the time, legs feel great.

Strength Training
Grade – B
I started strength training in December.  For those that are new around here, I HATE HATE HATE strength training lol.  BUT, I am susceptible to cramping in my hamstrings at longer distances and I really think that is due to weak hamstrings.  Based on the goal that I’ve set for this year, I am focusing on improving my weaknesses, so strength training is a big step.  I planned strength training for Mon, Wed, & Fri and for the most part I was pretty consistent with 2 days a week.  Hey that’s a start!!

Elevation Gain
Grade – A+
As a trail runner, elevation gain is extremely important to training.  Additionally, I enjoy the heck out of climbing mountains lol.  I ended up with roughly 22,000 feet of elevation gain for the month and averaged about 4000 feet of climbing each week.  Looking at last year, the highest I had in one month was around 21,000 feet of climbing so this was an excellent way to start off the year.  On a training note, climbing is my weak point so continuing with my goal for the year, I’m trying to improve on my weaknesses.

Grade – B+
I really struggled with grading here.  I could have made a goal that was easily obtainable, a goal that didn’t require some real effort.  I just don’t roll that way lol.  Flat out, my goal for January was 200 miles and I ended up with 193 miles.  Don’t get me wrong, 193 miles is a great month and a very quality effort…BUT…the goal was 200 miles!!  So if I’m properly evaluating, I didn’t quite meet my goal.  If I’m going to keep improving and keep focusing on my weaknesses, I need to be hard on myself.  So a B+ is what it is and I need to try a bit harder in February

Grade – A-
Taking the mathematical average, this was my overall grade.  I am more than happy with the way that January unfolded.  I had plenty of accomplishments to be happy about and more importantly, some key items that I need to keep working on moving forward.

Now back to my impromptu rest days yesterday and today.  That was a big month with a lot of miles and elevation which also included the addition of leg workouts.  My legs needed some rest lol.  Only thing on the schedule is pacing my coach at his 100K in a couple weeks and that will only be about 15 miles.  I think I can afford to take a couple days off before hitting it hard again.

Do you grade your months by category?  Or do you grade it overall?

Should we start a blogger challenge for miles in February??  We have to hold each other accountable right??