Sunday, December 26, 2010

Till We Meet in Hell and Training 12/19 - 12/25

Week 5 of my official training plan. All systems go...

Onto the numbers...

12/19, Sunday - 10.5 - 1:30:00, Till We Meet in Hell. Trail Monster Valerie had the tremendous idea to host a run/race on some of the trails she runs regularly at USM in Gorham. She mapped out a 1.15-mile course and invited/challenged us to run it as many times as possible. The course was much tougher than I had expected with some steep drops and climbs in and out of some gullies, plenty of twists and turns and some solid climbing. Oh, and really, really fun. My plan was pretty simple: run hard. At the start, I headed out behind Blaine and Andy but could only keep them in sight for about 1.5 laps. I ran mostly alone, except when I was lapping people, which seemed to be mostly on the even numbered laps and barely saw anyone on the odd numbered laps. Strange. After the first lap, I set a goal to keep all the laps under 10 minutes. Mission accomplished, and I was very pleased with my effort. I got in 10.5 miles and finished third overall. Valerie and Jeff also devised a handicap system, which I could not even begin to understand. I liked the system, though, because I also finished third with the handicap and took home some beer. Post-run, we all gathered at Sebago Brewing in Gorham for food and more good times.

Here are my splits:
Lap 1: 9:38
Lap 2: 9:45
Lap 3: 9:30
Lap 4: 9:51
Lap 5: 9:58
Lap 6: 9:51
Lap 7: 9:42
Lap 8: 9:48
Lap 9: 9:29
Final .2: 2:25

12/20, Monday: 5 - 43:45, Brunswick Town Commons. My quads were sore, but despite that my legs will felt springy even with the previous day's effort. Nice, easy recovery run.

12/21, Tuesday: 9 - 1:12:19, Highland Green Gold Course. Crazy, warm weather made me cranky, but the run was solid. Kept a solid pace for two laps of the cart paths of the golf course. This loop would become a staple of my training, if there wasn't so much golf being played out there.

12/22, Wednesday: 4 - 37:09, Powerlines. Some snow finally came to Topshizzum, so I found an excuse to finally use the screw shoes. I wasn't really into this run. Just felt off and disinterested.

12/23, Thursday - Off

12/24, Friday: 18 - 2:25:32, Georgtown, Rowley & Newbury. I had originally planned to go long on Thursday, but weather and scheduling knocked me off that. Thankfully, I was able to get it in while visiting my parents for Christmas. Admittedly, I was not really sure how this run was going to go, but I turned out great. I was a bit creaky for the first two or three miles, but I really found my rhythm after that. Legitimately, felt better at mile 15 than mile 3. Really happy with how this run went.

12/25, Saturday: Off, Christmas

Miles: 46.5
Trail: 28.5
Road: 18

Another good week, but I'm looking forward to a step back week this week. I've been handling the bump in mileage and intensity pretty well, but I know that some rest will be good. I'm also really looking forward to getting out on my snowshoes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dead, Alive or Indian Food?

Ken Ober loves that reference.

Well, the answer to the question is that I am, in fact, alive. Very much so, but life, work and thankfully, training have trumped blogging. On the life end, the kiddo continues to grow, do more things and, generally, be excessively cute...when she's not being...well...a kid. Work And, training is going very well. So, here's a post about it. Maybe now, my wife and Jamie will get off my back about being a bad blogger.

Since I last posted, much has happened on the training front. Initially, things took a turn for the worst as over the span of three weeks, I ran a total of 45 miles. I was ill, and I just couldn't shake it. (See the aforementioned kiddo.) By the middle of November, I was able to get back to our regularly scheduled program, and then starting the week of November 21, everything changed.

That week marked week one of an 18-week training program. This represents a major paradigm shift for me. From my return to running in late 2007 through May of this year, I had a "it's enough as long as I get out the door" mentally. Well, at Pineland, it was evident that that attitude wasn't going to cut it. I adjusted my training somewhat over the summer by upping the mileage and mixing up the type of runs. The results were positive, culminating in my performance at the Pisgah 50k. At this race, I proved that I could complete an ultra, and it was, in reality, a huge relief. But, I was really just flying blind, and upon further reflection, I know I can flat out run stronger. The only way I see to do this is to "train for real." I picked the brains of both Jeff and Jamie after their stellar fall marathon performances, and I picked my next goal race. I'll be racing (not running) the Gator Trail 50k at Lake Waccamaw State Park in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina on March 26. (Doubles as a visit to D's parents.) For a training plan, I'm using Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning, courtesy of Jamie. Hence, the 18-week schedule. And, away I go.

Now, Pfitzinger's plan is great, but it doesn't account for trail running and snowshoe racing. Not a chance I'd be dropping either of those from my schedule, so I'm doing some heavy modification. But, that only makes sense, since I'm training for a trail 50k, not a road marathon. However, I'm confident that the basics of his plan will work for my race and that the schedule of long runs and speedwork will pay huge dividends.

So, how's it going, so far? It's going very well, and I've easily moved past the "just get out the door" mentality. In fact, when I missed a planned run, I get cranky about it. I'm adjusting well to the mileage increase and have been pleasantly surprised with how fresh I've felt.

Here are some highlights:
Week one (32.5 miles): This was Thanksgiving week, and we were actually in North Carolina visiting D's parents. We took a morning to check out the Gator Trail course, which was a great move. I've had something to visualize whenever I've been feeling less than great on a run. For the 50k, we'll run 6 laps of the 5.2 mile course, which is at least 90% trail with a one short road piece and one boardwalk. It's fairly flat, but it does get sandy in a few places, which will be tricky (read: slow and annoying). Unfortunately, this was the only trail run of the week, and my left achilles was sore.

Week two (35.5 miles): I arranged two back-to-back off days to rest my achilles and that was all it needed to feel fine. Long run for the week was 12.5 miles on the Cathance River Trails and beyond, through which I discovered a new trail.

Week three (45.75 miles): Big jump, but with no achilles issues, I went for it. I struggled through a 4-mile tempo effort in the wind and snow on Monday, but the numbers were right what I wanted. Put in a solid 14 miles on the roads later in the week. Unusual for me to run that long, so far out from my goal race, but, like I said, paradigm shift.

Week four (42.25 miles): Missed a day due to work and travel, or I would have been closer to 50. However, all these miles were on trails, so the difficulty quotient more than makes up for it. Again, flexing and stretching the Pftiz Plan. I bookended the week with two very hilly runs, one at Bradbury Mountain State Park and one at the Green Hills Preserve. Highlight of the week was a 14.25-mile "Double" Cathance run.

I'm now in week five and still rolling. The only complaint is my ankles/top of my feet. I have some soreness here throughout the day, but I, generally, don't feel it when I run. This week is my last build up week before an easy step back week, so my hope is that the rest will resolve it.

So, that's the big news. I've set some pretty big goals for myself for this race, and as the training progresses, I'll find out just how much of a reach my "A" goal is. But, no, I'm not divulging those goals here. I may outline them pre-race, but you'll definitely hear how I stacked up in my race report. Right now, I'm just enjoying the training, and looking forward to snowshoe season. And, of course, beyond the Gator Trail 50k, I have a few ideas planned out as well. Those will depend on my training and race recovery...for another post.

In the is the most requested tune in our house: