Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tim Kruse- From Half to Hundred

Tim Kruse training on the Frozen Gnome 50k/10k race course in Sternes Woods
I met Tim in late 2012 when he came to a talk put on by Cari Setzler at The Running Depot in Crystal Lake, IL. At the time a half marathon was the farthest distance Tim had run. He was interested in a training program being hosted by The Running Depot and Fast Finish Coaching. It was a program written by Cari Setzler and coached by Cari and I. It was designed to get runners ready to run Earth Day 50k. Tim signed up for the program and soon started demolishing his goals and setting new ones. His final race for the season was a finish at Cactus Rose 100 in Texas. One of the most difficult 100 mile races in the USA.

I sat down with Tim to ask him a few questions about his exciting year:

Did you start the year out with any specific running goals?

I came into the year wanting to run my first marathon, do another Tough Mudder, and maybe a Spartan Race.  I was turning 40 so I wanted this year to be kind of special from a fitness standpoint. 

Tim Kruse at a Tough Mudder race

What races did you run this year?

Frozen Gnome 10k, Crystal Lake, IL
Shamrock Shuffle 8K
Gladiator Assault Challenge
Tough Mudder Chicago
SpartanRace Midwest Super Spartan
Earth Day 50k, Crystal Lake IL
North Country 50 miler
Rock Cut Triple Crown Series Finisher (Age group winner). Rockford, IL

Wow, that was quite a jump from your original goals for the year. Do you have one race that you are particularly proud of and why? 

I think I’m most proud of Earth Day 50k, my first ultra.  I really had no clue what I was doing, or really what it meant, I just knew I wanted to finish the race.  It’s a local race run by the MUDD Ultrarunning club, great course, well run with awesome volunteers. 

What was it like running your first 50k?

It was a new kind of hurt, especially miles 20-25 were the toughest, in training I hadn't gone over 18 miles because of an injury.  I think having a coach and a schedule on your first attempt makes it easier.  You get to rely on training when things aren't going your way.  The race was a great one to pick, Earth Day 50K, because it was local and the volunteers were just awesome.  It was definitely a gateway into longer distances.   
Tim Kruse coming to
finish line of North Country
50 mile-his 1st 50

What was the most important lesson you learned this year about running ultras?

I think learning from others' mistakes and successes, patience, and how to pace the distance properly for "my race" are my takeaways this year.  I think it took me until the Hobo Runs in Rockford to feel like I was starting to get things right.  I take the approach as I know nothing, and as long as I know nothing, I'm teachable.  I try not to get cocky, I don't get too high, too low, just rock steady in the middle.   

Tell me a little more about your 100 mile race. What was the course like? 

Tim Kruse at Finish line of Cactus Rose
100- One of the toughest 100s
in the USA
Course description: "No Whiners, Wimps, or Wusses : A nasty rugged trail run with Bonus Points for Blood, Cuts, Scrapes, & Puke. The course is best described as rough & knarly (technical)... understanding we made every attempt to avoid what is flat to find what is nasty. It was built more for entertainment than speed." This is the description from the Cactus Rose website and it describes the course perfectly.

What was going through your mind as you were running all those miles? 

As I went over 50 miles into uncharted territory I kept thinking that I only had 45 left, 35 left, 50K left, 2 aid stations left.  It made the race smaller and more manageable.  Even though I really enjoy running in the dark, I think one of the most amazing things is the sunrise on day 2 of an ultra.  They say it gives you a recharge and it did for me, what a blessing to look out over Texas Hill Country, there's so much life in a seemingly desolate place.  The last mile was the hardest on my body and the easiest on my mind.  My feet were so blistered I could barely walk, and and I had come to the realization that I was really going to finish, even if I crawled in the last half mile.        

Did you ever dream that one day you would be a 100 mile finisher?

No, this was like something someone else does, but not me.  It wasn't even a goal or a thought at the beginning of the year.  I think those around me knew that I could do it before I even thought about attempting it.  I still think I have to do it again because I'm so new to ultra running, and in some ways it's almost like I'm not really getting what it means to finish a 100.  I keep thinking if I did it, maybe it's not that hard.  I think the funny thing was people out on the course would ask me in bewilderment, "Why the hell would you chose Cactus Rose as your first 100?"  So maybe it was hard, but I'm still too much of a newb to know.    

What did you do for training? Is there any one or two things in training that you did that you feel helped in your training?

The heart of my training has been time on feet running, but for Cactus Rose 100, I had completed the North Country Run 50 mile race at the end of August, and then a 52 mile stage race 3 weeks later.  The 6 weeks leading up to Cactus Rose 100 I made a plan that had back to back long runs of 24-28 miles on Saturday and then 10-15 on Sunday plus a mid-week long run of 12-15 miles if I didn’t do speed work.  I think the thing that helped me out the most was hitting the gym and lifting weights.  As a speed work/strength workout I would run a mile at lactic acid threshold, stop and do a circuit of 25 frontal squats with 95lb, 25 deadlifts with 95lb, 25 kettle bell swings, and then do walking lunges with 20lb dumbbells 10 steps out and back.  I would do this for at least 6 miles and then a 2 mile cool down.  Sometimes I would hop on the stair master, bike, or elliptical as the cardio to change things up.  I’d do this on a Tuesday or Wednesday so it wouldn’t affect my long runs on the weekend.  I was also do a core routine several times a week.  I did a full 3 week taper with running, stopped lifting 2 weeks out, and the week of the race I focused on rest and stretching.    

What kind of shoe do you like to wear?  
Inov-8 Trailroc 245

My favorite shoe is the Inov-8 Trailroc 245 newer red color.  I wore this shoe at North Country Run 50 mile, Hobo Runs 50K, and Cactus Rose 100.

What do you use for nutrition?

On the 100 mile race I mostly used Ensure Plus and coconut water at aid stations.  I like to have Clif Shot Bloks Black Cherry with me at all times rather than gels and Raw Revolution bars have worked out really good.  I stay away from peanuts because of a slight reaction, and anything that has sugar alcohols in it like xylitol, mannitol, or sorbitol.     

What does your family think of your running adventures?

My wife has been very supportive with giving me the time to train and explore the world of ultra-running, but it takes its toll especially since we have young children in the house.  I’m looking forward to some dates with the wife and movies with the kids this winter.  I’ve also been told by other family members, we don’t’ understand why you’re doing this, in fact it’s crazy, but we’re proud you. 

Is there anything you would like to share?

This adventure will definitely continue.

Tim with his training and racing
partners in a Tough Mudder event

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