Monday, April 28, 2014

7 Questions with Nebraska runner Hayley Sutter

Name: Hayley Sutter
Age: 24
Born and Raised: Lincoln, Nebraska (Southeast High School)
Currently Lives: Lincoln, Nebraska
Occupation: University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
PR's: 1:21:32 Half Marathon (Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon, 2013); 1:01:16 10 Mile (State Farm 2014); 22:05 6k Cross Country (Tori Neubauer Invitational, 2009)
Fave Shoes: Brooks Pure Flow for training. My favorite racing flats are the Saucony Type A6 (I call them my business shoes because when I wear them it's time to do work)

Hayley Sutter enjoys her stretch of trail just south of the Lincoln Zoo.

Respect the Run: When did you start running and were you always a strong runner? 

Hayley Sutter: The first time I remember purposefully going on a run was when I was 9 or 10 years old. However, I didn’t start running to become a better runner until I was in high school and, even then, I wasn’t overly dedicated at first. The first few weeks of track season involved a lot of walking and stopping at friend’s houses for mid-run snack breaks. About halfway through the season I realized I might be able to make the varsity track team and I started getting more serious about running. I don’t really think I became a strong runner until I was a sophomore or junior in college.

RTR: What was your favorite distance to race in college and what distance do you like now?

HS: My favorite race in college was the 6k cross country course. I am generally a strong and confident runner so it was always fun for me to be able to catch people in the last half of the race. If I am having an especially hard week or need to refocus my running I still go out to Pioneers Park for a hard run. My favorite distance now is definitely the half marathon. I only have two half marathons under my belt right now but am hoping to be able to run 2 or 3 this year.

RTR: How is post-collegiate running treating you compared to college? Do you have a coach? Is running for Lincoln Running Company Racing keeping you motivated? 

HS: At first, post-collegiate running wasn’t even in the picture. After graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan, I was mentally and physically burnt out and took almost an entire year off from consistently running. I am really glad I took the time off though because I was able to reconnect with my love of running and now it is something I look forward to and 100% enjoy. I don’t have a coach per se – I write my own workouts, tell myself when to go where and how fast, and decide what races I am going to run and what effort I will put forth – but I do have a group of people whose involvement in my running is far beyond that of an interested bystander. Ann Ringlein was my college coach and in many ways still is my coach. I ask her for advice and guidance regularly and would probably be terribly injured or undertrained if it weren’t for her. My dad, boyfriend, and dearest friends have also helped to encourage me and give me suggestions to improve my running. In addition, LRC Racing has been instrumental in helping me continue to grow as a runner by providing me with a network of people who have similar goals. A few weeks ago two of the LRC boys and I met on the track for a workout; even though I did a different workout than the boys it was nice to have someone encouraging me and reminding me to swing my arms efficiently.

RTR: What does a typical week of training look like for you? What kind of mileage and workouts do you normally like to do?

HS: I average between 60-80 miles a week and generally do a workout on Tuesday and incorporate a long workout into my weekend long run. In addition, I decided early on in my career that I was going to run to work as much as possible and for over a year now I have been making the 3 mile commute regularly – meaning I run about 30 miles a week with a backpack on. I think my biggest key to success has been my long run workouts; they allow me to get a really solid workout in that I wouldn’t be able to do if I were going a shorter distance. One of my favorites is 7-8 sets of 5 minutes hard and 5 minutes easy. The long recovery allows me to really get after the 5 minutes hard and by doing 7-8 sets I get a really good endurance workout.

RTR: What are your goal races for 2014?  Is there a marathon in your future?

HS: My biggest goal race will be the Kansas City Half Marathon. I was able to win the race last year and want to come back and set a PR this year. I am also looking forward to the (Columbus, NE) Downtown Runaround, Harvest Moon Hustle, and Nebraska Wesleyan Alumni XC meet. I have this very arbitrary idea that when I am 27 years old I will be physically and mentally ready to run a marathon (I have no idea how I came up with 27 but it has stuck). I am 24 now so in 3 years you will likely see my debut marathon on the first Sunday in May at the Lincoln Marathon. (Note: Hayley is competing in the Lincoln Half Marathon this year on May 4th, 2014.)

RTR: I was running in Lincoln a few weeks ago and noticed your name on a sign. You have adopted a local stretch of trail! Tell me about that.

HS: Yes! I adopted a section of the trail about a year ago after I noticed how much abuse the trails get. As someone who relies on the trail network, I wanted to be able to give back and tell Parks and Rec thank you for everything they do to keep our trails clear and convenient. I take a lot of pride in my trail and get a little heart broken when I see people littering on it or damaging the flora along it. The coolest thing about my trail is I adopted it back in April of 2013 and every day when I was running home from work I would look to see if they had put the sign up yet and when they finally did it was on my birthday! It was one of the best presents I got that year and I have a really great picture of me and the sign right after I first saw it. I encourage everyone who uses and enjoys Lincoln’s trails or parks to consider adopting one (Visit here to find out how you can adopt a trail or park).

RTR: You also have recently started a philanthropic group called Good Runners, Better People. What's the idea behind this group? 

HS: The idea for Good Runners, Better People came when I was cleaning out my closet and decided to tackle my running clothes as well. After sorting through my clothes I went out for my daily run; however, I could not stop thinking about all the excess running clothes I had and came up with the idea of hosting clothing drives to benefit local high school athletes. After discussing the idea with my teammate Ryan Dostal, he and I approached LRC Racing to get the project started as an initiative of the team. Good Runners, Better People has since grown and is now a three-part philanthropy of clothing drives for technical running gear, redistribution sales at participating middle and high schools, and a college scholarship for high school runners focused on the positive impact of running. With the full support of the Lincoln Track Club and BRIN Racing Series we have been able to hold three very successful clothing drives and will continue to be present at all LTC and BRIN Races. In addition, nearly half of Lincoln’s high schools are Good Runners, Better People partnering schools and we will have the first redistribution sales in August or September of 2014.

More than a clothing drive, Good Runners, Better People is a philanthropy seeking to help established runners to become better citizens and create a more welcoming running community. I like to think of our name not only as a summary of the philanthropy, but also as our challenge to Lincoln’s running community. If you would like to learn more about Good Runners, Better People visit our website or Facebook Page.

RTR: Hayley, it's great you are finding so many ways to give back! Great talking with you and best of luck racing this year!

Monday, April 14, 2014

How I Cheated at My Local 50k

The email hit me hard. My stomach dropped and I started to feel sick.

"I have a few questions for you about the stampede trail 50k race. Your answer to these questions will give you a chance to clear your name and show me your true character.  Do you think you ran the full course that day?  How many times did you run the mile loop on the farm?"

Earlier this week, I emailed a local trail runner to ask about doing an interview for my website. What I got in return was an accusatory email stating that I had not only cut the course in my first 50k race back on March 1, but possibly done it on purpose. The second part of that accusation is ridiculous if you know me at all. Why in the world would I cut the course, especially in a race that I won handily?

I was offended that I was even being questioned. Is this how you welcome a guy who is new to your state and your running community?

But then I went to my Nike GPS data and watched the little cursor move across the map showing where I had run that day. And sure enough, I HAD cut a mile loop off the course.

I didn't even notice the total mileage on my watch as I finished the race. Looking at it after I stopped running and went inside the barn to warm up, the total was 29.88 miles.
But this didn't alarm me because my watch is known to lose the GPS signal and come up short on mileage, especially out on the trail.
Meaning if I run with you and your Garmin or Suunto brand watch says 20 miles, my Nike TomTom watch might say 19.6 or 19.8 miles.
Not to mention that trail race courses can come out long or short on your GPS no matter how carefully the RD may have planned the course.

But there it was on my laptop screen (and here it is below because I can't figure out how to make my Nike GPS data public). I had only run the mile loop on the farm 3 times rather than the required 4 times. After making a quick halftime stop for a bathroom break and drink at the barn (race headquarters), I had been in such a hurry to race away from another runner, that I just plain blew past the turn for that mile loop without even realizing it.

Screen shots of my GPS map data showing how we made only 3 loops of the farm (bottom loop) rather than 4. 

The second place runner, just a few seconds behind me leaving that halftime stop, chased after me and ended up cutting the mile loop as well.
It appears that the third place runner and runners thereafter did complete the proper course. Thankfully, the third place runner was about 30 minutes behind me, so our inadvertent error hadn't changed the outcome of the race. Adding another 7 minute mile wouldn't have even come close to erasing that 30 minute deficit.

The frustrating part is that I've been walking around for over a month now totally unaware that I cut off a loop that amounts to about a mile. Nobody said a word to me after the race that day about missing that loop. No calls or emails from the RD or other runners asking if I was sure I had gone the whole distance...
The second place runner was also clueless about the error we had made that day until I got this email and then alerted him to the facts.

Meanwhile, the runner who sent the email was stewing for a month. That runner's thinking was that we had either cheated on purpose or had realized our error and were never going to admit to it.

I have asked the RD to disqualify me for not completing the course and I have offered the 3rd place finisher my medal. The 3rd place finisher responded that I had still earned the medal and he didn't want it. I'm not sure yet what action the RD will take in terms of amending the results/disqualification. Stampede 50k Results

I am including my mile splits below. The slowest miles, such as mile 16, correspond with stops at aid stations. Also, here is a link to the 2nd place runner's GPS data.

Lesson learned. It turns out you really should study the course and know it front and back. Especially on a day where the wind is so harsh and cold that no volunteers will be out on the course to help guide you.

So we had a nice 30 mile trail run that day rather than a 50k. Still a great day on the trail, despite the -30 windchills and all this drama!
NOTE: You can read my detailed race report about this 50k race Here.  (It was written before I knew about cutting off the mile loop.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Race Report: Novartis 10k Run (4/12/14)

The Sellers family had another Saturday at the races here in Lincoln, NE. I ran the 10k this morning and my son Gavin ran the 2 mile race.
It was great to see some Lincoln Running Company teammates that I hadn't seen in quite awhile (Jason Zakaras and Logan Watley in particular). Zakaras, Brian Wandzilak, and I are likely making a run at Rim to Rim to Rim (running across the Grand Canyon and back) in July so we have plenty to talk about for that trip.
It was also nice to see that Team Nebraska represented well this morning with several strong runners including Eric Rasmussen, Cory Logsdon, Cheto Cerda and Nate Stack. It made for a nice large pack the first couple miles of the race and really helped to break the wind.

Below are a few starting line shots that my wife snapped. (I'm in the orange hat.)


It was a very humid and windy morning with temps in the upper 60's at the 9am race time. This course starts and finishes at Holmes Lake, which is a nice little lake right in the heart of Lincoln. I had never run this course so didn't have a very solid goal for my first mile or my overall race pace.
I ran my first track workout of the year this week so I had no real feel for my fitness yet. I decided not to overplan things and just run on feel. I ended up getting out in 5:21 for the first mile and that left me in the chase pack, which was fine. 5:21 was probably the fastest mile I had run yet this year, period.  But luckily I was feeling pretty good and in mile 2 and I ticked off another 5:21 while I made a move up to run alongside my teammates Ryan Regnier and Logan Watley.

We were in 8th, 9th and 10th place at that point with runners strung out in front of us and a small Team Nebraska pack chasing us. For mile 3 I went 5:30 and still felt pretty darn good.
Mile 4 included a nice long climb up 56th street where Logan, Ryan and I continued to work together to a 5:45 mile split.

There was a bit of goofiness at the turnaround point just after mile 4. Unluckily for me, whoever was working that turnaround was confused and ended up telling the first seven runners to turn around early and cut about 20 seconds off the course (I timed it). As our little pack approached the turnaround, the volunteer figured things out and we were told to go on up to the real turnaround point---which we did. And we grumbled all the way. That 20 seconds did cost me one place at the end of the day, but the difference between 7th and 8th place at the Novartis 10k is nothing I will lose sleep over.

This is me near the finish of the Novartis 10k. 
Near the finish with local runner Ivan Marsh offering encouragement.

After the turnaround you get to run back down the 56th street hill, which was a nice break. I was able to run a 5:25 mile and separate myself from Watley and Regnier at this point. During mile 6, I worked to reel in the next runner but I just ran out of time. I held my 8th place standing through the finish. I ran 34:16 and felt pretty good out there on the course. Results Here
Our LRC men put 6 in the top 10 today and our women put 4 in the top 5! See the LRC team race recap here.

I was testing a new pair of racing flats today. The Skecher's GoMeb Speed 2. They treated me well but I'm not sure yet if they are a sturdy enough shoe for a full marathon. I need a day or two to evaluate any soreness in my lower legs and feet before I can make a good evaluation of these shoes.

Looking ahead, I have the Lincoln Marathon in 3 weeks. I'm toying with dropping down to the half marathon at Lincoln and then running the full marathon at Grandma's up in Duluth, MN in late June. I'm still on the fence at this point. If I run the Marathon at Lincoln and/or at Grandma's, my goals will be 2:40 and 2:35 respectively. I believe the Grandma's Marathon course is quite a bit faster than Lincoln.

In related news, my son Gavin (9) ran the 2 mile and looked strong. He ran 13:34 for 7th place overall. He was the first finisher under 18 years old. Gavin is getting warmed up for his outdoor track season which starts in May.
Nice work Gavin!

Start of the Novartis 2 mile run. (Gavin in the middle in purple.)

Gavin near the finish of the Novartis 2 mile run.

Monday, April 7, 2014

7 Questions with Nebraska ultra runner Pete Kostelnick

7 questions with Nebraska ultra runner Pete Kostelnick, winner of the Brew to Brew 44 miler on April 6, 2014. Pete was also the first man to run across Iowa with the RAGBRAI week-long bike ride in the summer of 2013.

Pete Kostelnick completes the Heartland 100-mile race (sunglasses and white singlet).

Age: 26
Born and raised: Boone, Iowa
Currently lives: Lincoln, Nebraska
Family: Married, no kids
Occupation: Accounting/Finance

Respect The Run:  When did you start running? How long have you been running ultras?

Pete Kostelnick:  I started running cross country my junior year of high school in 2003.  I ran JV the entire year, and then varsity my senior year, never a very serious runner.  Funny thing about Boone High is my fellow classmate Danna Herrick (Kelly) is an olympic marathon qualifier, good friend Logan Gonzales was a 800-1600m repeat state champ who then ran at Texas, and there have been several state champs in CC and track since my time (Brogan Austin, Chandler Austin, Albert Meier). I quit running from '05-'08, and ran my first marathon in 2008, and first ultra in 2011 at Brew to Brew.

RTR : Congrats on a big win on April 6 at the Brew to Brew 44 mile ultra in Kansas City! What kind of strategy or pacing got you the win this year? Looking back at results I see you have run Brew in the past but never won the race...

PK: I went out easy like I always do for this race, which is probably a smart move in itself.  Realistically, I probably went out slow (~8 min pace) since it's still dark at 6 AM, and the course can get you lost if you aren't careful and navigating with others.  I went out with several guys who had never run it before, so I was the one who knew the course. Pretty soon, at mile 15, I noticed I was in a pack of four with an "older" guy on my tail.  Brew to Brew has a 10 min handicap for each age group starting at 40 and increasing on up, so I freaked out a bit knowing I hadn't gained any time on someone who had 10-30 min of age grade to work with.  So honestly, I started to push the pace closer to 7:15 min miles from 7:45 min miles in hopes this guy would stick with me and have to walk later, where I would gain my time (ultra running isn't always a friendly sport).  My goal was a 7:30 pace overall, with negative splits, which I did just barely. That is about the time my neighbor, Ryan Regnier, ran in 2012 when he got 1st place and I placed 3rd (we didn't know each other until a year ago).  So I just had to beat his time, right?  I've placed 2nd or 3rd all three years I've run it, so I wanted to get over that hump this year.

Kostelnick winning Brew to Brew on April 6, 2014. 

RTR: What does your race day nutrition look like? breakfast? how much/what form of calories taken on the run?

PK: I usually eat a breakfast of oatmeal or a bagel and banana before a race.  This morning I went with a donut and Clif Bar since they were at the gas station.  I used to fill up to the max before an ultra distance race, but lately I've tried to limit my calories, and ensure that they come 2 hours before the race so I can take a Vespa pouch 30-45 min before the race without a full stomach to optimize fat sources of energy.  I ate just under two Clif Block packs along the way, and that was it for eating.  I had some Tailwind mixed in with my water for the last 14 miles to replenish some sodium.

RTR: How do you recover from a race like Brew? (days off, compression, ice baths, etc) How long to get back into normal training mode?

PK: Usually I only take a day or two after Brew to Brew--it's an odd distance where you don't push the pace too hard, but don't really break down the muscles like a 100 miler.  I don't have any recovery traditions, other than letting the legs rest until they crave some miles.

RTR: What does a typical week of training look like for you building up for a race like Brew? (Mileage, any hard workouts, etc.)

PK:  I've been doing more 5 - 10 mile races this year than I typically do, so I made sure to mix in a couple 30+ mile easy runs in March, with the faster runs saved for weekend races.  Coach Will Lindgren (Nebraska Run Guru Elite, got me motivated and in shape earlier than I thought was possible in January after taking a couple months off.  Say what they will about his (Lindgren's) ability to stir the pot, he's the best running coach in Nebraska by far.  I've been getting in 80-100 miles per week consistently since February.

RTR: What is your goal race for 2014 and what specific preparation will that require?

PK: Badwater 135 is the ultimate goal.  I also want to do well at the Lincoln Marathon in May and the Superior 100 in September, but they're all completely different mindsets and strategies.  For Badwater, I want to see if I can hang with a big name or two.  I don't really know what my training for that will look like yet, other than a few June Saturday runs where I'm wearing a hoodie, winter hat, and 100 oz camelbak.  I've had the benefit of running two of my hundred mile finishes with Cath Todd, the lady's Badwater winner last year, so I may need to pick her brain a bit more before then.

RTR: What are your favorite shoes for training and racing? What other gear is a must for "going ultra"?

PK: Brooks Pure Grit (2's)--I run in these things every day from 1 to 100 miles on any surface.  They flex well to give you a natural landing and push-off, but still provide great support.  If Scott Jurek wears them, they must be perfect, right?  The 3's (2014) feel a little narrow for my square feet, so I'm not sure if that's psychological or not.  For ultras, my must-haves are Body Glide, handheld bottle (50 oz camelbak if > 7 miles/1 hr between aid stations), Vespa, Tailwind, Clif Blocks, and Jolly Ranchers.  Salt is important, but I try to get it through more natural sources than pills.  I also try not to touch any "sandwich" type food for 50 miles or less, but have noticed I need "real" food past my 100k plateau.  Every runner is different, though.  I know some people who don't eat at all during a 100 miler.

RTR: Thanks for your time and have a great year of running!