Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I hope everyone is enjoying some time off or at least a little down time from the daily grind! Enjoy the holiday season.

-Keep Moving Forward


Posted by Travis at 2:36 PM 0 comments  

Where to start...?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The last few weeks have been worthless as far as training goes. After my 50k, I have only ran 1 time and that was today. I decided to take a week rest after the 50k since I have been training for triathlon/ultras pretty consistently for the last 10 months or so with out many breaks. I have had a few stretches of 3 or so days when I did not train, but that was about it.

The first part of the week I took off actually worked out well. I just took it easy. I went the gym a few times and did some weights, but nothing too exhausting. The second part of the first week was a little different. The St. Louis area got hit pretty hard with an ice storm and my power was out for 6 days!!! How terrible is that? My wife and I have a gas fireplace in our living room, so we brought our mattress downstairs and slept by the fire. We played board games by candle light and went to bed pretty early since its dark by 5. There's only so many games of Jenga you can play in a cold house before you decide to hit the hay. :) I was also traveling a bit so that week was pretty booked anyway.

The second week started with still no power. I was had an entire week of travel ahead of me. The power was still not on Tuesday night and I was leaving on Wednesday morning to fly out to Kansas City. I had to pack my suitcase in the dark. I wore my headlamp to find a shirt and pants that I thought matched, though the blue-ish light from my headlamp made it tough. My travel was stopped short by the passing of my grandmother that had me back at my parents house from Thursday-Sunday. It was sad to see her go, but she's been sick and she's in a better place now. The one good thing that always comes from things like that is that family comes together.

Then I hit the road for work again leaving Monday night and getting back late yesterday night. So here I am. A bit of a whirlwind over the last few weeks, but things are settling down now.. wait.. Christmas is right around the corner so I guess I will be busy for a bit longer. That 6 miles I put in today was not much, but it was good to get out there and clear my head. Plus it was 60+ degrees. I wish it would have been this warm when the power was out!

Posted by Travis at 9:48 PM 3 comments  

Tryptophan 50k results

Monday, November 27, 2006

Location:SIU Edwardsville Trail System
Distance: 50k (31 miles)
surface: single track
Elevation gain: 1860 ft
Temp at Start time: 37

Overall Winner: Travis Liles 6:06:57

Overall Male Winner : Travis Liles 6:06:57

Youngest Finisher : Travis Liles 6:06:57

Oldest Finisher : Travis Liles 6:06:57

Top Quote: "So will someone fill this up for me (long pause).. Ok, I'll do it myself." - Travis Liles
Yesterday marked the first ever Tryptophan 50k. The weather was perfect for late November. The temperature topped out at 68 right around the time the final runner crossed the finish line. The trail was in good shape, not too wet to cause muddy shoes, not too dry to be dusty.

The run was supposed to start at 7:30, but apparently the RD did not have the aid station set up. Things finally got moving 7:46. It was cool out, but not cold, so I went with shorts and a long sleeved shirt. Each loop was a little over 5 miles. Since I had only been to the course one other time on a walk with my wife and the dog, I was not sure how the path flowed. It did not really matter that much since I had 31 miles to cover. I ran a few laps before I settled on a loop that would work out so that by the time I hit 31, I would be close to the car and not out in the middle of nowhere.

I felt really good for most of the day. The hills were decent. There were no huge climbs, but plenty of short climbs and descents. I think that the weights and stair climber I have been doing a few times a week over the last few months have really helped. My wife came out with Augie (our dog) to see how I was doing and to go for a walk. I was at mile 18.8 and was still feeling good, but it was nice to talk to someone for a few minutes. It broke up my run a little.

The aid station at mile 18.8 (also my transportation to the run and home)

Leaving the aid station, a little over 12 miles to go.

I was moving along pretty well. I did not have any down times yet and I was over 20 miles. I made sure to keep up on my nutrition. I used this run today as some experimentation for my diet. I used Perpetum, Hammer Gel, pretzel sticks, and bananas all which seemed to work for me without any feelings of nausea. Around mile 23, I started to feel the wall coming on. I had tripped over a root and hit the ground. No major or even minor damage, but it was enough to slow me down and take me out of "the zone." I pushed on for the next few miles until I came around.

26+ into the run (I took this on the move with my camera phone, not bad huh?)

I hit the marathon mark and was in good shape. My feet hurt, but my quads, calves, and knees were still underneath me, so I decided to pick it up a little for the last bit of the run. I hit the 31 mile mark in 6 hours, 6 minutes and 57 seconds. Not too bad. I was at the 1/2 way mark in 3 hours and was able to get close to repeating that time for the second half.

The first Tryptophan 50k is in the books. Maybe next year I can convince my family and friends to participate. I doubt many of them will do 50k, but a loop or 2 cant hurt, especially around the holidays.

Posted by Travis at 3:00 PM 6 comments  

Change of plans...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I had originally plannned on running in the "Dude, Where's the Trail?" 50k fun run in Blue Springs, MO tomorrow. My cousin who was going to run it with me had something come up and was unable to go. I decided since he was out that I was going to skip 7 hours of driving and a night in a hotel by myself. However, I will be running my planned mileage tomorrow in the "Tryptophan 50k." I'll be the lone runner in this self created run. It will take place on and around the Cross Country trail at SIUE. Its going to be roughly 5 miles per loops, so I will use my trunk as the aid station.

Results and pictures to be posted after all runners have finished. :)

Posted by Travis at 10:20 PM 2 comments  

Zune it up!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you follow this blog at all, I generally focus on the running/triathlon side of things, but occasionally I will focus on a device or technology of some sort that I use during training.

I've had several MP3 players over the years, including hard drive based (think standard Ipod) to flash based (think Ipod shuffle). Both have their strengths and weaknesses which I will outline below.

*for comparison sake, let's assume a 30GB hard drive based player (roughly..7,500 music files, 25,000 pictures, OR 100 hours of video) and a 2GB( roughly 500 songs, video and pictures may or may not be an option) flash based player. There are also a lot of variable when talking battery life and total capacity, so I am using general estimates.

  • Hard drive based players hold a lot of stuff ; songs, pictures, even movies. They suffer by being bigger. Since a hard drive has moving parts, potential skipping and more damage could occur if dropped as well as generally shorter battery life, averaging about 12 hours. Once again because of moving parts and the higher power consumption to move those parts.

  • Flash based players are basically the opposite. Still hold a lot of content, but you have to be more conservative with what you put in it since storage capacity is much less then hard drive based (for our example 15x less). They have no moving parts which contributes to less (or no) skipping and increased battery life of 24+ hours.

I've owned both types and will say that for general running, gym work, cycling, etc. that flash players fit the bill. The biggest issue I have is that I have to juggle content all the time. If my player is close to being full and I get a new CD, I have to remove some music to put on the new music. This issue exists with hard drive players, but far less often and only with users with huge collections. The other side of that is, sometimes I am going along and think "it would be good to listen to..." and I can't because I did not think to load it up before I headed out the door.

Now on to what sparked this post. I bought a Zune. Its a hard drive based player by Microsoft. I'm not looking to compare to Ipod or make arguments that is better/worse.. whatever. I really like this device. Its got a great screen, holds all my music and pictures. I even have a few videos on it. I put my podcasts on there for a change of pace from music, plug it into my car stereo. My favorite feature is the wireless piece. If someone else has a Zune, we can exchange files wirelessly. The Zune store (think Itunes) is great too.You pay a subscription fee and can download as much music as you want and transfer it to your device. If you decide you like a certain album you can opt to purchase it. Seems like you are paying for it twice right... sort of. Look at it this way. I can pay 14.99 a month for a many songs as I want to download. Lets assume I download and listen to 1000 albums but only like one albums and want to keep it forever, then I just buy that album for around 10 bucks. Think of it as an unlimited test drive as long as you pay the monthly fee. This is not mandatory, you can use your existing music that you have, buy CD's to rip to the device and do the standard "pay as you go" type service where you pay .99 a song.

Zune in brown playing my current favorite album

Posted by Travis at 11:36 AM 0 comments  

Yep, it works

Monday, November 13, 2006

I have a stick shift and was stuck in some serious stop and go traffic for hours the other day. Apparently my dress shoes don't bend so well just above my toes. My foot was for sure getting tired from all the clutch work, but I did not pay much attention to it until today. The top of my left foot is sore from all that shifting, but I can't use that as a reason not to go run. So I looked all over for some sort of pad to lay over it to relieve some of the pressure. I could not find anything and asked my wife if we had any foam or another item that might work. She looked and could not find anything, then all of a sudden I hear, "wait, I know!!" She comes back with a box of, for lack of a better term, "nipple covers" It's a silicone pad that sticks on to keep the cold for being noticeable... (I think you see where I am going here) I peeled one off and stuck it to the top of my foot. PERFECT!! It worked great. It stayed in place and did the job. One more reason why my wife is great and will be good crewing me in long races down the road.


Posted by Travis at 6:24 PM 3 comments  

ABC News: Research: Humans Are Born to Run

Monday, October 30, 2006

 This is a bit old, but worth a read..... 

Link to ABC News: Research: Humans Are Born to Run

Posted by Travis at 1:33 PM 4 comments  

The Great Pumpkin Patch

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I was out running my long run today, an out and back on a paved bike trail, and was really enjoying the scenery. Trees line a majority of the trail. It's great to see all the colors the leaves are changing and to every now and then have some leaves slowly falling to the ground around me. At the half way point, I opened up my hydo pack and pulled out a HammerGel. While I was stopped, I looked over and there was a huge pumpkin patch. I have never seem so many pumpkins before still on the ground. I got out my camera phone and snapped a shot then headed back.

It was a nice run, cool weather and good things to look at. It's a shame that this won't last long. Before too long, it will be cold and the trees will be bare. Better enjoy it while I can.

Posted by Travis at 7:08 PM 1 comments  

A good month...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This last week of training has been good. My mileage is adding up and I should have one of my top total milage months to date. My base is far better then it was a year ago, which is expected, but looking back at logs from this time last year, I'm at a good spot especially this early in my training.

I found another nice off-road trail off of one of the paved trails I usually run on. Its about 1.5 miles long with some rolling hills and a few climbs. I ran up on a Cyote who had just caught a mole. We were both super suprised to see each other and quickly went our seperate dictions. I also ran across a HUGE groundhog who seemed interested in what I was doing and then 3 deer who ran across the path about 20 feet in front of me. Running places where I can see things like that make me want to get out there more. It's way more exciting then seeing car after car drive by.

Now on to the best part... I had to work on Saturday in Omaha, NE. I was doing a presentation on Windows Vista for a partner company and I had some pictures of me running and some of the blogs I read up on the screen (picture below). Someone asked if I did triathlon and ran. I said yes and a few other questions got asked about it and I moved on. Then yesterday I saw one of the guys from the presentation on Saturday. He came up to me and said that he had not run in years and after talking to me a seeing what I was doing, he decided to go out and get a few miles in. Man was I pumped to hear that!!! It was just a great feeling to know that my "silly little addiction" can make an effect like that. I'm going to be high on that comment for a while.

-Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Travis at 9:31 AM 2 comments  

Now What?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I've completed my first full season as a endurance athlete "type". I've ran a 30 mile trail race, competed in a sprint distance and a international distance triathlon, achieved a 10k goal I set for myself over a year ago and ran a marathon. It may not sound like much, but coming from virtually no aerobic activity 20 months ago to where I am now makes me really happy. Not only does it make me happy, but it makes me think "what will I be able to do this year?" With that question in mind I decided I better get down in writing what the next steps are for me.

Through all of my training, running holds the #1 spot for me. I will be actively perusing the ultra distance events from here on out. Mainly 50 milers, but I’m keeping an eye on the 100's down the road. Most of this reasoning comes from building up my base to be ready for a race of that distance/time...yet. I will be trying for a spot at the WS100 in 2008.

I am going to be spending the next 6 months concentrating on building myself up for the McNaughton Trail 50 mile run I ran the 30 there last year and was undertrained for the hills. I finished pretty well for a newbie but know I can do better this year with some real concentration on hill work and overall increase in endurance.

First up on the schedule is the Dude, Where's the Trail 50K on Nov. 26th. This is a 50k fun run in Blue Springs, MO. My 20 year old cousin is getting into ultra running and we are going to run together, not as a team, just for the support and the fun of it. No real details as I don't know them and won't until I show up for the run, hence the "where's the trail" name!! I do not have any scheduled races after that for 2006, but will continue training hard. I will be joining the SLUGS and hopefully meeting some great people and finding out about some good routes in the St. Louis area. McNaughton 50 miler is April 13th,(it's also got a 150 miler, so anyone out there looking to get some really long distance in, check it out) then my friend Howard wants to run the JFK 50 in mid November for his 50th birthday and has asked me to join him and I gladly accepted.

I guess that sums up what I've got going on the next year. There will of course be additions, but those are the top line items. Thanks for checking in! I'll be updating with my training plans, mileage and pictures along the way. Now go outside and enjoy it!!

-Keep moving forward

Posted by Travis at 11:00 AM 5 comments  

Lewis & Clark Marathon

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I looked over at the clock Sunday morning and it said 3:50... guess its time to get up and get ready. I heard my father-in-law (Ron) milling around and figured I better go downstairs and start the coffee. We had put our gear together and filled up the water bottles with various sports drinks the night before. We ate some breakfast, drank some coffee and headed out the door at 5.

The drive to the course was about 40 minutes. We parked, hit the restrooms and stretched out. My wife (Micaela) came along with a cooler of snacks and extra sports drinks for the both of us. Since the course was an odd shape, we actually ran past the finish line 3 before we crossed the finish line. Micaela set up camp near the Start/Finish for some pics and to hand out round 2 of the drinks.

It was the start of the Endurance50 and a good crowd was over by the NorthFace tent getting books signed and talking to Dean Karnazes. I decided to wait until the end to do that. We met up with my cousin Jennifer who was running her first 1/2 marathon and headed to the start line My friend Howard, his wife and some of their friends were running the 1/2 also. I had not been able to get a hold of him to meet up and just by chance we lined up about 8 feet from each other. We talked for a bit and decided to run together for a while. He's faster then me in the marathon distance, but he's coming off an injury, so he was easing back in with the half.

The gun sounded at 7:00 and we were off. Howard and I ran together for a while then I separated from his group and ran my own race. The sun was coming out, there were no clouds in the sky and no shade to see for a while. It was heating up fast. My goal was to maintain a 10:00 min/mile pace. I was wearing my Polar 625x so I was able to keep a watch on my pace and my HR.

The course was an odd shape. It was a 12 mile out and back from the Start/Finish then a loop out past the Start/Finish then repeat for the marathon. I knew what I was getting into, it was just funny running by the finish line so many time and not getting to stop. I was charging alongand ran my 1/2 in a little under 2:05 and was feeling good. My ITband was holding well. I spotted Micaela and she helped me swap out water bottles and I was off for round 2. I met up with some runners from the local running club (BiPod) of the town I just moved to. I ran with them for a while and got some great words of encouragement then let then go as they were using the run as training and were only looking to go another 4 miles before they called it a day.
The sun was really beating down and the pounding was getting to me. I kept telling myself, "get to mile 20.." I don?t know why that was what I was after, but that's what was getting me through. I got to 20 and was still going so I pushed on. I first walked at the water stops at mile 21. I had a hard time getting going again, but was able to. I pushed on and walked through the water stops for the next 2 miles.

Then I hit the wall a little after mile marker 24. I was really having a hard time. My legs were killing me. I walked with another gentleman for about .2 of a mile and discussed the event with each other. I told him this was my first marathon and he said "Just finish, that's all this is about" I agreed, but I have a hard time with that. I wanted to average 10 minute miles and it was slipping away, but he was right. I was not there to do anything more than finish. We walked for a little longer, then he took off. I walked a few more steps then picked up the pace too. I was so close, no more walking.

The area I was in was shaded and on a crushed lime stone trail, so it was cool and softer then the road to run in. I knew there was a big hill coming up at the end of mile 24 so I mentally prepared myself and charged up it. This hill was hard, but nothing compared to the ones at McNaughton, so I kept that in my head and went for it. I passed mile marker 25 as the ground started to level out. I was so close. The rest of the race was literally down hill with the exception on one small incline. I got through it an approached the parking lot where the chute started. I was almost done. Def Leopard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was blaring out of the speakers as I ran by. I was thinking "pour some water on me would be way better." I crossed in 4:22.15.. 10 minute miles on the nose. *The clock in the picture below is total running time, not chip time.

This was rough. I had trained hard for my international distance triathlon all summer, but it was more concentration on all 3 events as opposed to running exclusively. My body was feeling it, but I was finished. I grabbed some water. Thanked Micaela for her help and then made my way toward the Endurance50 bus. I staggered around for bit then saw Dean come out. I did not have my book or a pen or even a camera, but I just wanted to introduce myself and say hello. Just then my cousin Jennifer came over to talk and snapped a picture of Dean an I.

Now we had to wait for Ron to finish and it was really starting to cloud up. We saw him at the mile 24 marker walking. He said he was going to have to walk because his knees were killing him. I cheered him on and said "give it what you got left" he gave me a nod and kept going. Not long after he rounded the corner, it started pouring!! It was coming down in buckets. How miserable it must have felt to be that tired and sore and getting just drenched, but he continued on. The aid staff recommended that everyone go inside due to the lightning. We did and tried to guess when he would get done. We got in the car and drove as close to the finish line as possible until we saw him down the road. He was running again and on the home stretch. He crossed the finish line in 5:52 on his 55th birthday. Happy Birthday Ron!!

We all talked for a minute and he wanted to get his bib signed by Dean so we headed over to the bus. The whole event had basically shut down after the rain, but he was determined to meet Dean. One of the guys from the bus let him on and when they all heard he had just finished in the downpour, the whole bus started cheering and clapping for him. He got his bib and my book signed and we headed home for some watch some football and relax.

It was a great race. The course route was a little crazy, but the staff was great. It was really awesome to meet Dean. He was a super nice guy and I wish him the best as the Endurance50 continues.

-Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Travis at 11:26 AM 6 comments  

Endurance 50 begins tomorrow

Saturday, September 16, 2006

50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days has been done by Sam Thompson already, so to think that 2 people would want to do this is crazy (or highly motivated depending on your point of view).  Sam ran for Katrina awareness and Dean Karnazes is running for Karno's Kids, a charity to encourage youth to get outside and be active.  Both are good causes so I'm not going to pit one against the other or anything like that.  I just think its great that people are using fittnes as a way to bring attention to good causes.  I know there is a lot of negativity around Dean out there in the Ultrarunning community(I am a fan though) and Im not writing any of this to convience anyone one way or another.  I'm just glad that ultrarunners are using their skills to get the word out about something positive.  Huge credit goes to Sam and his crew for completing the task and good luck to Dean and his crew as your journey begins!!!! 

Since the Endurance 50 kicks off right down the road from my house, I decided to get in on it.  I am running in the Lewis & Clark marathon.  This will be my first marathon and 2nd longest run next to McNaughton.  I have not really been training out-right for a marathon, but I trained pretty hard all summer for my international distance trialthon and ran a 20 miler as a measuring stick last weekend so I should be good.  My Itband has been a bit of an issue, but I'm not out there to set records, just to finish and use this as a long workout for my ultra training.  It's going to hurt, no doubt, but that's what it's all about!!

My father-in-law is running too.  This is his first marathon and a warm-up for Chicago in October.  I'll get some pictures pre and post race and maybe my wife can snap one of me and my father-in-law during the race.  I won't be moving too fast so she should be able to get it done. :)

-Keep Moving Forward!

Posted by Travis at 12:21 PM 1 comments  

Mark Your Trails

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This is pretty awesome!! I was on Windows Local and noticed that now you can map out custom routes. This is really great because now you and your friends can share locations of running trails that are not on the map. Check out the link to the School House Trail below. I mapped that one out yesterday.

School House Trail

Posted by Travis at 7:39 AM 0 comments  

Chicago Triathlon Pics

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Here's a collection of pics from the race.

10 minutes before my wave starts

That's me in the pink cap.. had a rough start Im back on track here.

Staying Aero. Averaged close to 21 mph for the bike leg.

averaged 7:32 minutes/mile

Big Finish!! 2:48:04

Post race photo with some friends. From the left Bob, Tim, me, Dan
Bob and Tim did the sprint distance, Dan and I were in the International.

Posted by Travis at 10:23 PM 3 comments  

Trail running

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I finally found an off road trail 'close' to my place. There are plenty of paved ones all over the place, but I could not seem to find anything made of dirt.

My cousin and I were out for a 20 miler the other day and saw a trail coming off of the one we were on. I said 'great now I know where to go to get in some trail work.' Problem was this was my first long run in a while and I quickly lost track of where exactly it was and just focused one finishing.

So today I decided to go hit the dirt trail thinking it was not that far to run to. I started on my way at a decent pace thinking I would come up on it sooner or later, well later was the answer. I put in 5 and had just found it and I had dinner plans for my birthday, but the whole reason I came out was to run the trail. I called my wife and she said to hit the trail and she would come pick up at one at one of the parking areas close to the trail (she's the best). Long story short, I got in a longer run then expected and some trail work. Let the ultra training begin!!!

*note: Im not mad in that picture, I took it with my camera phone. I felt kind of goofey smiling for the camera in the middle of the woods by myslef :)

Posted by Travis at 9:43 PM 4 comments  

Lessons Leaned at the Chicago Triathlon

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Where to start? Let's begin by saying I learned a lot at this race.

Items to note for my next race:
1. My open water swim needs work, specifically the start in a crowd.
2. Pull the leg of my wetsuit over my chip to keep it from getting pulled off.
3. Make sure my chip is still on before leaving the transition area.
4. In the event of a 'mistake' just remember why I am there and what I put in to get there.

I had an awesome time. It's crazy how big this event is. I had some issues with my timing chip, so I only have a few of my splits available and a total time of 2:48:04.

I'll post my race report and some pics soon.

Posted by Travis at 5:38 PM 1 comments  

Chicago Tri Start Line

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Time: 6:00 am
Water temp: 72
Weather: mid-70's and light rain

Posted by Travis at 6:30 AM 2 comments  

Ready to go

Friday, August 25, 2006

Last year I ran the Chicago Triathlon super sprint because at that time my triathlon 'career' was only a few months along. In all actuality my total time swimming was only a few months. I had never ridden a bike for any reason except to ride it and my running had been on hiatus since 97.

The Super Sprint was on Saturday. My good friend Dan was in the Olympic distance race on Sunday so I stayed to cheer him on. I saw some awesome things that day. People of all ages and abilities giving it all they could and I made a promise that day that I would be there in 06. So here I am, 2 days away from a one year project and ready to go.

Race Day Goals:
-good transitions
-relax on the swim and stay efficient
-average 19 mph on the bike
-give it my all in the run and pace under 9 min/miles
-finish under 3 hours
-take it all in and enjoy every second!

I'll be posting via my mobile device over the next few days.

-Keep Moving Forward-

Posted by Travis at 9:40 AM 1 comments  

10k Goal Achieved!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I shifted my exercising lifestyle a little more then a year ago from power lifting to more cardio based activities. I never imagined I would have run a 30 mile trail race or be 1 week out from a olympic distance tri. When I made this switch I wrote down some goals for shorter distance races with no idea that I was going to enjoy the longer races better. There goals have been hanging out there and I could not just let them go. So I ran a 10k as my last hard workout before I taper.
My goal was 48:00 and since I rarely go out and run fast for 6 miles without having rode my bike first, I was not 100% what I was going to be able to do. Well long story short.... I ran a 44:41! Guess all this training is paying off.

Posted by Travis at 5:49 PM 2 comments  

Cool new blogging tool.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For those out there that have multiple blogs like me (this one and my Windows Live Blog) or want to use somthing to post with other then the web page itself, you should check out the Windows Live Writer.  It works with lost of different blog providers and has some nice tools built in like Spell Check and some good formatting tools for fonts, colors, bullets, etc...  Its free and woth a look.   Happy blogging!

Posted by Travis at 11:01 AM 0 comments  

Wetsuit Training

Sunday, August 13, 2006

With Chicago Triathlon just right around the corner I figured I needed to get some more open water training in. I also figured that I needed to get some time in my wetsuit just in case water temperatures are low enough. It went really well. Its crazy to me how boyant those things make you.

I swam at the lake at my mother-in-law's house. My wife, nephew and a few of the dogs came down to watch and play in the water.

Once I got used to the feeling of the suit and how it "floats" the lower 1/2 of my body I swam for around an hour non-stop.

There was a group of people docked at the nearby beach who talked to my wife about what I was doing and she explained. Once I finished my workout and was coming out of the water they all cheered and wished me good luck. Now, if I could figure out a way to get people to cheer for me after every workout....

Posted by Travis at 10:06 PM 2 comments  

25 Days until Chicago Tri!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Chicago Triathlon is less than a month away. July flew by with buying/settling into the new house as well as being sick for about a week, so training was a bust. Even with all of that I think I am ready. The swim is my worst event, but hopefully the water temp is below 78 and I can wear my wetsuit. The cutoff to place in Age Groupers is 78 degrees, but you can wear one up to 84 degrees and the penalty is no prizes or awards. Given that it is highly unlikely that I will be even close to the tops in my age division, I may wear it if it is below 84, but that will be a decision I make in the next few weeks based on how my swim workouts go. I am confident on the bike, not fast, but confident. Under the right conditions I can average 20 mph, which would be my goal for the course. The run is where I am the least worried. After running the 30 mile trail run back in April, I know that I can push through just about anything.

This is my first Olympic distance triathlon (swim - 1500m, bike - 26.2, run - 10k) and the main goal is to run a smart race and do my best. My secondary goal is to finish at the 3 hour mark. If I can hit 40 minutes in the swim, 1:20 on the bike that leaves me an hour to get through my 10K. I have to take the transitions into account, but this is completely possible. Keep your fingers crossed!

-Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Travis at 6:03 PM 2 comments  

I'm in Seattle

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm in Seattle all week for a conference and wanted to know if anyone knows of some good places to run. Groomed trail or paved... not too extreeme, I left my Cascadia's at home :)

Posted by Travis at 8:25 PM 2 comments  

What do you think about when you are on the road?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

One question I get a lot is "When you are out for a long run (or bike), what do you think about?" I guess the answer is everything and nothing. Sometimes I will be really focused on climbing up the next hill or keeping a constant pace. Other times, I think about family that has passed, especially my grandpa (the reason for my bull tattoo on my bicep). I think about my wife and our life together. Sometimes I find that 20-30 minutes have passed and I don’t remember thinking about anything at all. One thing I do my best not to think about is work. That is why I do what I do; its to get away from my cubicle "ecosystem" and escape to a place that is my own.

So I pose the question - "What do you think about during you long excursions?"

Posted by Travis at 7:45 PM 5 comments  

A Little Inspiration

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Every so often you run across something that really gets to you. It makes you truely appreciate what you have and how far others are willing to go to make someone else happy. While looking on some other blogs I follow I found a link to "Touching Triathlon" It's a story about a father who has taken on marathons, triathlons and other races all while pushing, towing, and carrying his disabled son. It all started when his son's school put on a 5 mile race and the son decided he wanted to do it. Considering the fact that his son was bound to a wheelchair and has little or no control of his limbs it was going to be a team effort. From there it has grown, they've competed in over 85 marathons and 8 Ironman distance triathlons .

Posted by Travis at 9:23 AM 3 comments  

Western States 100

Friday, June 23, 2006

This weekend marks the 33rd annual Western States 1oo. The WS100 is one of the oldest ultra's in the world and is a big event in the ultra running scene. To quailify you have to meet one of the requirements below, so you can't just sign up for this one.

a) 50 miles in under 11 hours
b) 100 kilometers in under 14 hours
c) completion of any OFFICIAL 100-mile trail race

My ultimate goal is to complete the WS100 in 24 hours. After I finished the 30 at McNaughton in April, I decided that I would step up next year to the 50 miler and try to complete it in the 11 hour time frame. Even if I quailify for WS100, I most likely will not run there in 2007. I just do not think I will be ready for that event in a years time, but finishing McNaughton in less then 11 hours is a top sports related item for me.

If you are interested in "watching" the progress of any of the runners at the event this year, go to the Start List and click on a runners bib number to follow their progress. Just a few names to watch with links to thier bibs as well as thier blogs or websites;
Catra Corbett - 140
Dean Karnazes - M7
Tim Twietmeyer - 11

Good luck to all the runner!!!

-Keep Moving Forward

Posted by Travis at 10:38 AM 2 comments  

Wolf Creek Results

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I arrived at the race location around 6:45. I got my clothes changed, aired-up my tires, set up my transition area then went for a quick bike, followed by a short run. streching, then off to the water to get in a few strokes.
The water was a bit chilly at 74 degrees, but compared to the air temp of 65, it felt great. Everyone was asked to get out of the water to start the race. It was decided that it would be a mass start from the beach. The race director yelled "GO" and all 80 of us ran into the water. There is a lot going on when 80 people jump into a small space and try to swim at the same time. I never really got going on the swim, it was actually one of the worse swims I can recall lately, but I got through it. I'm not sure if I was actually faster this year or not. Overall the swim times for the event were minutes lower on average, but there were a lot better athletets too, so the swim may have been a little shorter then 400 meters, but who knows.

10:38.4 Not what I was hoping for, but I did not drown so I'll take it.

My T1 was so-so also. I was a little frustrated after the swim so I did not have a clear head going in and I took a little longer then I should have. I'll continue to practice my transitions and get better. Once I was out of T1 I got clipped in and took off. I knew I had a lot of time to make up from the swim so I decided that since I had the best chance to make up ground here that I would just go for it. There was one small problem, it was a little windy most of the way out on the bike course. I had to really smash the gears and burn some engergy to get up to a good pace. I got to the turn around and was averaging right around 17.5 MPH, the wind had got me a little. I knew that I would have the wind at my back so I was not too concerned. I got to the turn around and passed some friends there, got some words of encouragement, gave some encouragement, then put my head down and got moving. I saw my cousing Jenn coming from the other direction, she was going great!!! Once I got on the level ground I started hitting my stride and was averaging over 20MPH the whole way back. I was approaching the transition area and started to remove my bike shoes. I've been working on this little time saving trick for a while now and finally got it!!

Approaching T2.. pedaling on top of my shoes so I could get my running shoes on faster.. success!! 28.45.7 for 9.2 miles 19.2 MPH

I got into T2, threw on my socks and shoes and got out in what I felt was a good time with not a lot of extra effort. My legs felt like they'd never been used before, the general feeling triathletes get after getting off the bike. I tried not to think about how they felt and concentrated on good running form. The first 1/4 mile out of transition was a gradual uphill, so it was a struggle to get going, but once I got to where the road leveled out I settled it in. I made up a lot of ground on the run too. I was feeling good and decided I better kick it in and finsih hard. I was not sure what pace I was running, but I knew it was better the 8 min/mile. I saw the turn to get back to the start/finish and got after it. I finished in 1:01:18. 4th in my age group and 33/80 overall.

I'm pumped!! best 3 mile run ever. 20:17, 6:46 min/mile

post race, just relaxing.

Some friends from "oneslowdoc" finished 25/80 and 5th in a really hard age group of 35-39. The female in the picture is my cousin Jenn that I mentioned above. She had an awesome race and finished in 1:17:26, 2nd in the 30-34 group and "Writebrained" who won the Clydesdale division and was 47/80 overall

Overall, it was a good race to start the season. It definitely put some reality around where I need improvement. In my age group I finished Swim-7th, Bike-3rd, Run-2nd, so as I know, the swim is my worst event, but that's why I am in classes.

Posted by Travis at 2:13 PM 2 comments  

Swim Class

Friday, June 09, 2006

I’ve completed my first week of triathlon swim class. I swam on Tuesday and Thursday. We jumped right in on Tuesday and swam 2400 yards in an hour. To a experienced swimmer that’s not a lot, to me… it’s a lot and fast. The instructor is an Olympic qualifier for triathlon, which is great, because she knows how to wrap it all together. That’s not to say that a swim coach who had not done triathlons could not coach the class, but having someone who has “been there, done that” adds some credibility. The coaching that I did get was welcome. I was told I have a good base, but I need to finish out my pull. Apparently I was stopping short on my pull through, which was making me less efficient. Check out the super high tech picture I found that displays the “proper” way to do it.

In Thursday’s class, I took it easier than I did on Tuesday. I was still a little sore from the previous class and since I have a race this weekend, I needed to just get some laps in and work on my stroke. I only swam about 2/3 of the scheduled workout but still felt like I had improved over the previous session.

I’m really excited about the race this week. My ITband has finally started cooperating consistently and my run times have all been under that 8 min/mile pace even on bricks, so hopefully I can pull it all together for a good start to the season.

Posted by Travis at 9:00 AM 1 comments  

10 days until first tri of the season

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Its been a while since I posted last so I figured I would get something out here so that my loyal readers (all 2 of you) would not think I was missing :)

Wolf Creek Sprint Triathlon is coming up June 10th - .25 Mile Swim, 10 Mile Bike, 3 Mile Run. Wolf Creek was the first triathlon I ever did and I am returning to see how I have improved. Plus, its a nice event with good scenery and it's was well organized. Last year I finished in 1:23:18. I'm hoping to improve on all the times this time around. Ideally, I'd like to finish the swim portion in under 10 minutes, average 18+MPH on the bike and under 8 minute/mile on the run. I am considering this a "C" race, so if I dont hit those I won't be too upset, but I think they are reasonable goals.

My "B" race is the IronAbe in mid-July and my "A" race is the Chicago Triathlon in the end of August.

Below are some pics from the 2005 race. I'll update after the 2006 event with some new ones.

After the swim.. I'm not in last, but close :)

Made up some ground on the bike. This year's
bike portion is 10 miles, last year's was 11.

Posted by Travis at 9:09 AM 3 comments  


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Exercising is a very primal act. It's you running down a road, swimming in a pool/lake, or riding down the road on a very simple mode or self-propelled transportation. Of course you can make it very technical by; wearing a GPS enabled watch, have super high-tech wicking garments, motion control shoes, aero bars, the list goes on and on. The basics of it are that it is you and your body out to make itself better. I use exercise to get away from the day-to-day grind, the so-called "Cubical Ecosystem," but I use a lot of technology when I do it. My job title is "Technical Specialist" so you know I love that stuff.

So what's the new technical stuff I found that has to do with endurance sports? I recently started listening to Blogcasts. You may have heard them called "podcasts." You don't have to have an Ipod to listen to them, it can be any portalbe media device, or even just listen to them on your computer, so I will refer to them as Blogcasts to keep it generic. A Blogcast is basically a recorded blog entry that you can download and listen to on a MP3 player.. I found one the other day when I was looking to register for a local triathlon. The site is its got some great stuff on there for training, eating, and all kinds of triathlon related information. Through thier blogcast, I found So check them out!! Great stuff for listening to on the run..literally!!

Posted by Travis at 3:00 PM 2 comments  

The Endurance 50

Monday, May 08, 2006

For those that do not know who Dean Karnazes is, I recommend that you check out the book Ultramarathon Man. To put Dean in a class of "endurance athlete" would probably not do his accomplishments justice. To name a few, he has run 260 and 350 miles non-stop! His next "quest" is the Endurance 50. The goal is to run 50 marathons in 50 different states, in 50 days. This will be quite a feat. Looking at the race calendar, adding up the mileage, and factoring in travel got me thinking about how huge this will be to complete.

After reading Dean's book, I really got into running and pushing myself again, so I am excited any time he ups the ante. My blog title actually comes from something his father said to him when he ran his first Western States 100. Check out the Endurance 50 website, it's going to be intense. Good luck Dean and the rest of The North Face Endurance 50 team!!!!! See you in St. Charles, MO on day 1.

-Keep moving forward

Posted by Travis at 7:55 PM 1 comments  

New Wheels!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I went to the bike shop to get some new components for my road bike to make it a little more aero. I picked up a bullhorn handlebars, shifters to mount on the aero bars, new brake levers and an angled seat post to make up for the longer top bar on my raod bike. All together with labor was going to cost over $400, which I was expecting. The plan for me was since I bought a road bike last year, to get parts this year then move those over to a tri bike next year, but....

while they were writing up the bill for parts and labor I saw hanging on the wall a 2004 Cannondale Ironman 2000 tri bike. It was cut over $700 over original price. I of course was interested and had them take it down. I took it for a spin then decided to have them fit me for it to make sure it was right. I spent about an hour on and off the bike, checking my fit and how it shifted and proper leg extension.... Long story short I bought it! It had all the components I was looking at to put on my current bike (now and future), but better, plus it was an actual tri bike, not a road bike that I was trying to convert. I weighted my costs of the $400 that I was going to spend, plus what I had planned for next year and decided the deal was too good to pass up. I had them put the stuff I was going to get and got back on the trainer to adjust everything, seat, pedals, aerobars... and off I went. I have a pic below. I took it with my cell phone so its not the best, but it works.

- Keep moving forward

Posted by Travis at 2:30 PM 2 comments  

It's a boy!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My sister had her first baby on Saturday... Welcome Ayden Dixon Daniel. How long until I can take him out for a run? :)

Posted by Travis at 7:43 AM 2 comments  

Back at it

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's time to get back at it again. I've taken roughly a week off since McNaughton. Whatever that knee injury is that was acting up during the race is still with me. It is not near as bad as it was, I dont even notice it when I am walking, only when I run and its not too bad unless I am going down hill. I need to let it heel up, so I will put the brakes on running for the next few weeks and concentrate on swimming, biking and weights/streching. I hit the pool for about 45 minutes this morning and the gym during my lunch break. I feel good, I'm ready to tackle the Wolf Creek Sprint Triathlon for the 2nd time. It will be my 1 year anniversary to multi sports.

Posted by Travis at 1:27 PM 1 comments  

McNaughton Results

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I arrived in Pekin a little after 6PM on Friday night. I met my friend and virtual training partner (we communicated over IM) Howard at the hotel and headed over to the race site to pick up our packets. The race shirts were great, they were Brooks long sleeve wicking T's. I knew from that we were in for a good race environment. Most of the Sprint Tri's, 5k's and 10k's I have done give away cheap normal T-shirts, so this was a great start. We talked with several people that had run the race before and some that had done many other ultras all over world as well as some elite athletes that were friends of the race director who were there to help out. We ate the dinner and talked to some other folks who had traveled from all over to attend. After a couple of hours we decided to head home and start winding down. Winding down was not easy. I was pretty excited about my run and there was a band playing next door. Around 12:30 I finally got to sleep, but was up again at 3:30 and decided that I might as well say awake and get ready for the day. I threw on my running short, shoes, and a long sleeve shirt and went out for a short jog to get moving. It was really stuffy out and warm, not good since the sun was not even out yet. I doulbe checked all of my gear and headed out the door to meet Howard to leave for the run.

We arrived around 5. We talked and tired to relax the last few minutes before the start. The clock reached 6 and we were off!! A stampeed of 200+ runners headed down a slighly muddy hill, ready to be on thier feet for the next 4 - 36 hours. The first few miles were realatively flat, especailly in comparison to what I was about to find as the course weaved around the woods. This run was very different for me. I was not used to walking, but that seemed to be how you do a run like this. You jogged when you could and when you got to a hill, you walked up it. In the beginning, it was hard to set your own pace. You would get caught up in a group of people walking up the hills and since it was single track most of the time, passing was not easy to do. It was actually a great thing that I did not pass or I would have gone out way too hard and had a hard time finishing.

We weaved all around the woods and came out into an open field. At the top of the field was the first aid station, 2.78 miles in. I grabbed a little water, but not much else and charged on. From this point, the course got rough. The down hills got steeper and so did the climbs. I just followed the people infront of me, walking up hills and joging when it was "flat". Out of the woods we came again to the next aid station. I had them fill up my water bottle and I headed on. We looped around and came back out by the same aid station then out into an open field. I met up with a few guys running my same pace and we continued on together until the end of the first loop. I came in 2 hours 5 minutes and was winded, but not feeling too bad. I headed over to my bag where I ate a Gu, swapped my water bottle for my PowerBar mixture and headed down the hill for miles 11-20.

Loop 2 was starting off great. My legs felt good and my feet were doing well even though they were a little wet from the creek crossings. After the 1st aid station of the loop, my knee started to bother me, I tired to shake it off and not pay attenetion to it. The pain would come and go. I mostly noticed it when I was decending, which happened a lot during the middle part of the course. Luckily I met some great people to run with and talking kept my mind off of it. I finished the 2nd lap in about the same time as the first 2 hours and some change. As I came up over the last hill of the loop, I could see the Start/Finish. My wife and father-in-law had arrived to cheer me on, it was just what I needed. They followed me to my bag where they asked how I was doing, what I needed and so on. We talked for a minute or so then I was off again. "See you in a few hours" my wife yelled and I disappeared down the hill.

Lap 3 was going to be hard. My quads were tired, my feet had some blisters from being on them all day and they were wet from creek crossings, my left knee was making it almost impossible to sustain any type of speed going downhill. I pressed on to the first aid station. I had got there, I was in the single digits now, less then 8 to go. The problem is that the middle section of the race had the most climbs and decents, but I had got this far. By this time most of the runners had thinned out and I "ran" the majority of the last leg alone. The hills seemed a lot bigger then before and the downhill parts were killer. I went down sideways and hopped on my right leg and did as little as I could with the left, sort of draggin it behind me, I had to look rediculous. I arrived at the 2nd aid station, caught my breath, ate some grapes, a piece of a banana, filled up my water bottle and took off. I was super tired and it was getting really hot out. Over the next mile I drank most of my water, luckily the course loops back around to the 2nd aid station. I filled up my bottle again and headed out. From here there was only a little over 3 miles left, "just a 5k" I said to myself.

The last few miles were all mental. I just kept telling myself "don't stop!" I quit looking at my watch because at this point, it did not matter. All that mattered was that I was going to finish. The ground was leveling out and I tried to run as much as possilbe. I ran past a log that someone had carved in it "1.00 miles." I was going as fast as I could (which at this point was not fast at all) just trying to get to the end. I rounded a corner and was out of the woods, 1 last hill and I was out. I climed to the top of the hill and saw the Start/Finish. I yelled out my bib number. I looked over and saw my wife and father-in-law cheering. I just tried to finish strong. I crossed the finish line in 6 hours 46 minutes. The race director high-fived me, handed me a big silver belt buckle that said "30 mile Finisher." and that is all it needed to say.

Posted by Travis at 10:09 AM 7 comments  

A study of how bee's fly

Monday, April 10, 2006

One question I get a lot is "why do you do that?" "That" being run, bike, or swim.. or a combination of the three.. I always had some answer to that. There's lots of reason; obsession, health, because I can, self image, time to myself.. the list goes on.

When I took on ultra running I started putting in a lot of miles*. I would get "how can you run that long?" This was not a question I could answer very easy. It's one thing to say that; you train hard, put in a lot of miles or have a high threshold of pain, but there's more to it then that..or is there? I was reading Joe Friel's book (A Triathlete's Training Bible). There was a comment in there about a study of bumble bees and how as far a science was concerned they should not be able to fly, they are not aerodynamic, they have small wings, but somehow they fly quite well. They fly because they dont know they are not supposed to! I guess I will take that approach. I endure long runs where everything hurts, because I don't know that there is a reason not to.

*I know "a lot" is a relative term. In comparison to others' runs, mine are just a blip in a log book, but in my circle a 30 mile run is not common.

Posted by Travis at 7:20 PM 2 comments  

McNaughton Trail Run - 30 miles on my mind

I have been thinking about it since I woke up this morning. I am really excited, but my mind is full of questions like: How long will it take me? Am I ready? What is the weather going to like?.. to list a few.

This Saturday I am competing in my first ultra distance race. Actually this is my first race, (triathlons included)that is over 15 miles. My longest foot race has been a 10k. I made a committment to train hard, but smart for this event and I think I did. From Mid-January to the end of March I ran 300 miles and put some time in on my bike to give my body a rest from the pounding of running. Considering about a year ago, a 5k was pretty tough for me, I am happy with where I am today.

I have been having some trouble with my IT-Band, but I think some rest and streching have done me well and I will be ready to go bright and early on Saturday morning.

Posted by Travis at 6:06 PM 0 comments