Training for a 100 mile race! #UltraStark #RunSanity #Keys100

The challenge may not be easy, but it's possible!

Let My People Run

“We all needed flextime to surf the waves when they were good or ski the powder after a big snowstorm or stay home and take care of a sick child.”

Yvon Chouinard

Founder, Patagonia

 The founder of the Patagonia sportswear company started his business with the intentions of being different.  He didn’t want staff that weren’t active and never used their products.  He wanted a staff that would embrace physical activity and break a sweat.
Why can’t other organizations follow suit.
What has happened to “work”?  Why is it a badge of honor to eat lunch at your desk?
As ridiculous as it seems, as least some business used to occur on the golf course.  And you know…golf is a good walk spoiled.
Work life balance?
I challenge you to take at least 1 lunch break per week to go for a run.  In 1 hour you can easily bust out 3 to 5 miles.  Eat a small snack prior to your run and eat a sandwich after; food done, exercise added.
If enough of us choose to take a break to run, then employers will begin to see the need to “Let my people run”.
oh…and also, if we’re all running, then we all run the risk of smelling and nobody will notice (it will be our little secret).
When you’re training for a 100 miler you got to get miles wherever you can.

Tick Tock Ultra Race Review

This past Saturday Anne and I ran the Tick Tock Ultra.

This is the first race that I have run and the race director insisted on giving me a hug with my medal.  A petite Southern woman gave out hugs to stinky, smelly, sweaty runners that had been running all day.  It was amazing!

The Tick Tock Ultra was a great event.  It took place in Lakeland, FL and the course was laid out around a beautiful lake.  We spent the day lapping beautiful houses, a college campus and lakeside scenery.  The course was well supported as an aid station was available almost every mile.  Unfortunately I was not able to run my best due to a nagging hip injury (more core work) we completed almost 33 miles.


Is that Freedom Rock…

…turn it up!



I realize that by typing that quote I have dated myself as a child of the 80’s.  I spent my childhood, and current adulthood, watching way too much television loaded with  this great commercial.

With the extended duration of runs in this training plan, music is a necessity.  While “big-time” marathons and the USTAF officially outlaw headphones and music, it is almost a requirement for ultrarunning.

As of this writing, the favorite song in our house is “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.  This is ironic coming from a 5-year-old that can’t be silent for more than 30 seconds.  Coincidentally, this is a great running song is it starts slowly and builds to a dramatic ending.  Great for that last half mile sprint!

While the last half-mile is important, the bulk of the run has to be filed with with something to numb the pain and dull the boredom.  For tis task, I turn to podcasts.  My listening tasks are eclectic so I enjoy listening to comedy, history and science.  I divide my download between “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan“, “Stuff You Should Know“, and “Freakonomics“.

I hope I have sparked something that may add to your listening pleasure.


Goin’ Fast

“I’m just a big hairy American winning machine, you know?” – Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights

When I was in my mid-twenties I owned a motorcycle (Wow, that sentence makes me sound old).  One of the more enjoyable, and stupid, things to do on a motorcycle is to drive fast at night.  The small cone of light put off by the headlight and the road rushing by underneath, makes you feel like you are flying.


I have since gotten too old, and “burdened” with too many responsibilities to ride a motorcycle.  My newer, much safer way of satiating my need for speed is with sprints.  As long distance runners, especially ultrarunners, we focus on going long and slow.  This strategy can get a bit boring and your muscles adapt and get used to the stress.  Running intervals allows me to engage different muscles and train in a different manner.  These intervals also bring about new soreness.  After running 10 intervals of about 200 meters each, my quads are screaming.  I end up spending the next few days walking pretty slow, limping, and enjoying the feeling of going fast for just a few moments.

Sausage Fingers

My wife, Anne, and I completed our first Florida summer ultra, River to Sea, and we learned plenty.  While this was not our first ultra, it was our first ultra attempt in Florida.  First things first, Florida in July is HOT!  The day started at 77℉ and peaked at 91℉.  At the 7AM start I already had sweat running down my back and by 10AM my shirt and shorts were soaked.  Needless to say, keeping up with proper hydration was a problem.  I did my best to keep up with fluid intake but I was still feeling the results of dehydration.  When this happens, my fingers begin to swell.  

kirk-hands_320(Exaggeration…If only I looked like Chris Pine)

At the beginning of races I try to remember to take off my wedding ring as it becomes uncomfortable.  Urban legend would have you believe that your finger will be cut off if your titanium ring gets stuck but Snopes has proven that wrong.  Maybe someday I will get trendy with a Qalo but I have like my “old” ring.  After 4 hours of running the swelling was really beginning to bother me and drinking plain water wasn’t doing the trick.  The great thing about ultrarunners is that they are always willing to lend support and that was when a fellow ultrarunner offered me Tailwind.  Tailwind is a powder that is mixed into a water bottle.  There are a variety of flavors, even unflavored.  On my first sip I was surprised by the salty taste.  This caught me off guard but subsequent sips were not so startling.  I am pleased to announce that the swelling subsided after 30 minutes and did not return as I kept up with my fluid intake.

Written by Adam Stark, ultrarunner, student, father, husband, cyber security researcher…aka…the smartest man alive!

Getting Old is not for the Weak

My wife ran 33 miles this weekend.

For me on the other hand, health and wellness has not been very good this week.  I woke up Sunday at 3AM with a raging headache and sore throat.  I spent the rest of the day coughing and struggling to stay awake.  By bedtime Sunday night, at 8:30PM, the cough was in full force.  Night 2 with little to no sleep.  I managed to make it to work but I only lasted until Noon.  By bedtime Monday night, a little bit closer to 9PM, the cough had subsided a little and I was finally able to get some sleep.  I spent Tuesday home from work resting and recovering from the cold.  Wednesday morning got off to a normal start and at 7AM as we were walking out the door I stopped to put something in the trash.  I felt a slight twinge in my lower back but I didn’t think anything of it.  By 9AM I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and having difficulty walking.  At 11AM I called my wife and begged her to come get me as I was unable to stand or walk.  I managed to shuffle in a bent over position, down three flights of stairs and roll into the car.  After a trip to urgent care, an injection of painkillers and muscle relaxer pills, I am now able to stand at almost a 45 degree angle.  I am now confined to the couch waiting for another round of drugs to work their magic.  I’m too old for this “stuff”.

A Few Words about Food

Food…a simple idea but yet our world has made a big deal about it.  As runners we spend time planning our routes, our gear, our hydration and even our recovery.  Unfortunately the simple food that fuels our runs can be forgotten.  Search Amazon for runners’ cookbooks and you will be presented with plenty of options.  This is before you even get into the many arguments of what to eat and not eat; paleo, vegan, fruitarianism.  I want to take the next few sentences to lay out a simple plan of when to eat.  Between family, work and school we lead busy lives in our house.  Due to growing up with low blood sugar, remembering to eat is not a big deal for me.  If I don’t eat I get grumpy and then get sick (ie vomiting).  My wife, and co-author, on the other hand forgets to eat during her day.  An optimal eating plan that works for me throughout my day:

6:45AM – Breakfast

9:00AM – Snack, usually fruit

11:30AM – Lunch

2:00PM – Snack, usually peanuts or cashews

5:30PM – Dinner

8:00PM – Late snack, if hungry

I try not to let myself ever get that “hungry” feeling.  Getting to the point of extreme hunger and then gorging never works for me.  I end up scarfing something bad for me usually as fast as I can and then regretting it soon after.

Does anyone else plan how they will “fuel-up” during the day?



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