Monday, March 9, 2009

Big two weeks

Starting Tuesday, Feb 17, I ran 13 straight days and accumulated 120 miles. The week before last my weekly mileage was 67 miles, the most weekly miles I have run since last summer. This is actually the most miles I think I have ever run in a winter week. For me, my weekly threshold is in the 70-80 mile range. With the stress of work and the care of two high energy toddlers (not to mention not enough sleep), my body just can not handle much more. All this is put into perspective when i consider that in just less than 12 weeks, I will run over 80% of my recent 13 day total mileage, non-stop in a bit over 24 hours. All this in mountainous terrain in the blue ridge mountains of VA.

Now if I really want to get technical and all inclusive, I need to consider the impact of the 3x a week workout classes I am doing into my run total. I am now spending 45 minutes, three times a week in the gym doing a combination of plyometrics, core, and weight training, which I have not done in any of my past running seasons. So I could convert the time I spend in the gym to miles I could have run during that time, and add them to an adjusted, or "fully weighted", mileage total, because those 2 hours and 15 minutes I spend in the gym do weigh on my running heavily, forcing my legs (and body and mind) to run more tired than I otherwise would if I wasn't going to the gym. So to put this theory into numbers, last week I ran 67 miles. My fully weighted mileage last week, assuming I would have run five miles in the 45 minutes I spent in the gym (this is conservative, since my typical training road pace is 7:15-7:30), was 82 miles. While this is all fun with numbers, I am definitely doing more than I did last year and my training is more effective than a couple years ago when I was training for my first 100 miler, so I am going to throw out there the statement that I should do really well this year racing. While I can guarantee that I will not break any course records or win any races, I would bet that I will be happier on my long runs and feel stronger from start to finish. That's the real point of all this, isn't it? Winning doesn't account for much in my mind (and not because I am not fast enough to do it). It's the trying and doing that matters.

Last week I was in a training down cycle (for recovery) and will start ramping the miles back up this week. This cycle of training will culminate with another Fat Ass 50K at Bradbury on Saturday, March 28. after that will be a slight taper for the Boston (double) marathon, where I am still planning on running from Boston to Hopkinton for the start of the official marathon, and running back into town for the official finish.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trail Monster Fat Ass 50K, sort of

Yesterday morning I joined fellow Trail Monsters in Freeport for a Fat Ass 50K around Hedgehog Mountain. While I did run 50K+, I did not do it all with at the Fat Ass "fun run". I decided to get part of my run in during my "commute" from Cumberland to Freeport.

I left home at just after 6 AM in a very light drizzle which quickly changed to sleet and then snow. The temps were very pleasant at around 33 F but there was a headwind that stayed with me the entire run. Other than a couple bio breaks, the run went well. I followed the same route to Freeport that I have taken on all my past runs to Freeport: Rte 9 through Cumberland Center to Rte 115 into Yarmouth across Bridge Street to East Main Street to Old County Road to Webster Road and then Desert Road. Instead of turning right on Desert like I do when running to work, this time I hung a left and then the first right onto Merrill to Katy and Chuck's house, who hosted the run.

I arrived just as everyone was suiting up to head out, having already amassed 13.5 miles. The crowd was impressive, more than I expected. It was nice to see some running friends I had not seen for awhile. The course planned for the run had been adjusted from the original 7.8 mile loop due to the warm weather and rain that had visited the day before. The new loop was an almost exact 5 mile loop from Chuck's house out to Hedgehog Mountain, up the mountain, and back the same way we went out.

The group stayed pretty tight during the first loop with very little drama. Once on top of Hedgehog, we paused to take in the the beautiful day from the high vantage point. On the way back, the fun started. There is a field we crossed twice on each loop, once out and once back, that contained a number of tricky spots. First, there were a couple low spots where post holing was nearly impossible to avoid with cold water at the bottom. I deposited my feet in them on the way out, which provided a very frigid wake-up call to my feet. On the way back the group left the main snowmobile route in search of a better way across the field. This search was unsuccessful in every way, leaving the group strung out across the field post holing everywhere. The going was slow (and bloody) for some, but soon enough we were back on the main trail and did not make the mistake again.

Once back at Chuck's house everyone went about refueling and addressing other needs. The first loop and each subsequent loop was taking about an hour. Considering the mashed potato consistency of the snow, this was good going. After a brownie, half a boston creme pie donut and some caffeinated high fructose corn syrup, I was on lap 2. I spent a good part of the day running with my buddy Jamie, who has been suffering from some plantar fasciitis issues. Fortunately, it seems that he is becoming a success story of active release therapy and stretching. He is a source of great inspiration for me, and I am thrilled to see him improving. It is my opinion that he should vanquish from his mind any fear of not running the Western States 100 this year. He is all but there now.

Lap 2 and 3 went by pretty quickly and by the time I knew it I had logged 31.4 miles in just over 5 hours. I felt great this morning and knocked out 10 miles this evening on the treadmill. I think my body is coming around to the long stuff. Bring on the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100!

A final note on yesterday's run. I want to send a big thanks to Chuck and Katy, and Katy's mom, for the great hospitality. The food was plentiful and yummy. Big shouts out to Alan, Emma, Ian, and Floyd for running all six loops (5oK). Great job to Mindy for achieving her longest post-injury run. And two high fives to my boy Jamie. Great run to Danielle and Ryan, Jim "PBR" Dunn, Blaine, and everyone else. Spring running is almost upon us!