Saturday, May 10, 2008

100th Post and 50 Mile Jitters

Welcome to my 100th blog post! I first "blogged" on July 15th, 2007, a mere two weeks before my first attempt at running the 100 Mile distance. Here I am ten months later posting number 100 a little over two months before my second 100 Miler. Hopefully what I have written has struck a cord with some of you and given humor to the rest. As I do with my running pursuits (and all other aspects of my life) I will continue to improve my blogging with every post. My mission will remain the same: show what a cancer survivor, who pre-cancer was fairly unmotivated in the way of running and fitness in general, can do when faced with a life-death situation and given the chance to turn his life around. Having said that, let's talk training...

In two weeks I have my first 50 Mile race of the season: Ian Parlin's most excellent Pineland Farms Trail Challenge on Memorial Day weekend. This is by far the best race of the year in Maine, and I challenge anyone to disagree. If you do, come with some pretty good reasons because all I have to say is cowbell and free Gritty's beer!!! So to prepare for this race, I have stepped up my training. Since it has been over a week since my lost post, I am going to only fill you in on the highlights. I have hit the part of my training where my weekly mileage starts creeping up to 50+ mile weeks to 75+ in a few weeks. The last two weeks I have got in the 50 mile weeks largely by adding back-to-back long runs, which is a superb training idea for ultras. The last two Fridays I ran to work (love using less gas) followed by a long run at Pineland on Saturday. This works well for me because it gives me at least one day of the weekend when I can wake up with the kids and try to help Kelly in the kitchen. Plus sleep is good.

Details. Yesterday's work run was pretty uneventful after the first ten minutes. During that initial ten minutes, I heard a pileated woodpecker but was unable to find it in the trees. A quarter mile up the road as I rounded a bend there sat not five feet from me not one but two pileated woodpeckers on a telephone pole, nearly within arms reach. What a cool looking bird. They both hopped from the pole to a nearby tree and as they landed they splayed their wing feathers giving me a great view of their entire wingspan. After that there wasn't much to note. Total run was short at 13 miles due to early morning work I had to get done.

Today I met Jamie at Pineland at 5 AM. What I thought was going to be a wet, sloppy slog through the wet trails turned out to be one of the most pleasant running days yet this season. We ran together for about 10 mile before returning to the parking lot to meet the other runners who decided to "sleep in" and join us at 7 AM. In the past I have also noted to myself how few runners take advantage of the great running Pineland has to offer. On any given Saturday or Sunday I might only see one or two runners. Well that changed today. By the time we had set off with the 7 AM late sleepers, our group had swelled to 17. I found this to be a bit unsettling, to have this many people running together (on a non-race day) on the trails that I have always run solo or in small groups. But I am ecstatic that this many people have discovered the great running out there. Eventually the group did break up and even Jamie split off from me leaving me to run with my L.L.Bean buddy Tom and a new running friend I met today. We ran another couple miles for what added up to a 23 mile day for me in 3:28. My overall pace was just around a 9:00 minute mile.

Now I have to say one last thing. To get this nice even 23 miles I had to add on .22 miles once I reached the parking lot and all the other runners. In the past I have come out publicly and stated that to add on such trivial miles at the end of long runs for the simple sake of finishing with a nice round number is sheer insanity and makes no sense. Well today I am saying I am a hypocrite since I also fell for the maniacal pursuit of the even number. I have to ask myself though: does running 23 today make me a better runner than if I had run 22.87?

2 comments:

Jamie said...

Really enjoyed the run, Stephen! And about the round numbers... yes, it does make you a better runner! It's good mental discipline. Even if not, round numbers are just cool. And fly Qantas. Yeah. Defintely, Qantas.

Blaine Moore said...

Yeah, there's no real need for that extra tenth of a mile. It may help, it may hurt, but in most cases it probably makes little difference. I don't worry about getting them in or not getting them in.

As for Pineland being the best race of the year in Maine, I have to disagree. If it was the best race in Maine, then it wouldn't fall on a weekend that I am never able to take part in it! Oh well, maybe in 2010 I can run it...