Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Game Time Decision

Following my fiddy, it was all systems go. It wasn't nearly as tough as I thought to get up to that number. In fact, it was pretty easy. I wanted one more long run before I made my Pineland decision.

So, on a rainy morning, I snuck to The Brad for a real solid 23.5 miles in under 4 hours. Great run. Even better solo run. Route was simple: Scuffle, Breaker and the Bruiser without the Island or O Trails. It's the Not Quite Extreme Bradbury Bad Ass.

I ran the Scuffle very comfortably in an hour even and then got a little excited on the Breaker with a 1:35 split. Probably a touch faster than necessary, but really, why not? I actually ran everything on each lap except the final few strides to the summit. Then once across the street, I thought of turning in on the Link Trail near the end of the Mini-Bruiser, but that would have been lame. Finished the run with a 10:06 average, which I was pretty happy with. I was tired—that will happen after 4 hours of running—but no where close to spent. Great confidence boost. I was ready for the 50k.

Then I got sick. Horrible sore throat to start followed by a 100° fever on Friday. The cold, plague, whatever it was coincided with the height of my allergy troubles. I used a full roll of toilet paper blowing my nose on Monday. And, as I write this, I'm hopped up on all-manner of sinus relief medicine. I'm still pretty clogged up. I have run the last two days—easy, five milers. Legs have felt good, really good actually, but the sinuses are the real issue. With my history with asthma and allergies, I've sadly become pretty in-tune with my airways. I starting using an inhaler when I started running track. So, I'm a game time decision for Sunday. If I feel like my sinuses are clear enough, I'll give it a go. If not, I'm not interested in that death march. I know what it feels like, and I'm not going to put myself through that. More importantly, I don't want to prolong any illness and, therefore, recovery. Can you register for a 50k day of the race and do well? Hopefully, I'll get the chance to find out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Training 5/8 - 5/14


Onto the numbers...

5/8, Sunday: 18 - 2:42:24, Pineland. Kicked the week off right with a great run at Pineland. Goal was 18, but it was really a first test to see which race, if any, I'll be doing Memorial Day Weekend. Ran Oak Hill first, then the larger, lower loop (interrupted by a return to the car to drop a broken and leaking water bottle), then Oak Hill again. Averaged 9:10's or so for the first 13+, then pushed it down to around 8:30's for the final circuit of Oak Hill to simulate how I hope to finish a race. (Something I've never done at Pineland as that final trip around Oak Hill has always been a death march, regardless of distance.) Overall, the run went great, and I had plenty left in the tank by the end. Although, had you asked me how I was doing at 11 or 12, I wouldn't have had anything good to say. Something turned completely around as I was climbing up the Campus Loop to complete the large loop, and I felt terrific the rest of the way. Normally, I'd never chose to run at Pineland as I much prefer the singletrack of Bradbury or the Cathance River trails, but, mentally, it was necessary to attempt to get myself ready...for something...maybe...

5/9, Monday: 5 - 45:04, Homeplace Loop. Easy, recovery jaunt. Legs felt pretty good, but I was hungry and low on energy.

5/10, Tuesday: 8 - 1:09:38, 16x Mt. Ararat. Awesome to get back to my up and down circuits of Mt. Ararat. Even though it's only a bump, I did get about 1000' of vertical total, an average of 130' per mile, and a great strength workout. Legs felt good again, which is an awesome sign. Not sure how many laps I can mentally push this loop to, but it'll be fun to find out as the year goes on.

5/11, Wednesday: Off

5/12, Thursday: 9.25 total, 3.75-mile race, Great Glen Trails Spring Series. Eight-week, annual Spring Series started up, and I was looking forward to a little speed work. Although speed on these trails is hard to come by with a fair bit of climbing and singletrack. (Although, less singletrack than I would like on this year's course.) Pushed hard, but it was evident that I have done zero speed work as my turnover was closer to a danish than anything zippy. Final time was 26:48 (7:14 avg), which was a touch disappointing. Admittedly, my ribs were pretty sore from breathing so heavily. Running easy is one thing, but trying to pull in a ton of oxygen hurts like a mutha. Ran the course as a warm up, and tacked on 2.75 for a cool down.

5/13, Friday: 5 - 39:36, Highland Green. Easy spin through the neighborhood. Legs felt fairly springy, although I could tell the previous day's effort left a little junk in them.

5/14, Saturday: 5 - 43:05, Homeplace Loop. Pretty uneventful run, which is fine, but I felt a bit disinterested. One of those days.

Miles: 50.25
Trail: 45.25
Road: 5

Stoked to be able to jump to fiddy miles so comfortably—plus, not a lot of easy miles in that mix. Sort of went after it this week to see how the body would handle it, and I'm pleased with the result. How will this translate to racing? Not sure yet. One final test coming on Monday—long run at The Brad—and then I'll make my decision on Pineland. Really, though, 6 weeks post-rib fractures, I can't complain. I never thought I'd be back to this state so quickly and had written off any racing until the Bradbury Scuffle in July. (Registration now open!) So, I'm pretty stoked to even have this decision to make. Really shows that my training at the beginning of the year was solid.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Training 5/1 - 5/7

What's this? A post? Better yet, a training post? Yup. You better believe it, suckas!

Just like that—well, slightly fewer dumbbells, but I am slowly getting my act back together. In fact, I could have actually written a post last week, as I did manage to get a "full" week of running. It only totaled 33 miles, but I'll take it just three weeks post-broken ribs. The week was highlighted by a 12-mile run at Bradley Palmer with D. She noted that I was "laboring a bit" near the end, and while I wasn't my usual easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl-self, I was pleased at how good I felt after a three-week stretch in which I took 16 straight days off and only ran a total of 9 miles in three very slow runs.

This week was more "real." Admittedly, I'd like to run one of the races at Pineland Farms at the end of the month, and I need to figure out the exact state of my fitness. You know, while attempting to beat myself back into shape. It's a flawless plan.

Onto the numbers...

5/1, Sunday: 5 - 40:52, Weldon Farm Loop. Nice easy recovery run from my parents' house with D. Well, it was supposed to be easy, but D kept dropping the pace trying to break me after the previous day's 12 on the trails. ;-) I was a bit tight but didn't feel all that bad.

5/2, Monday: 7 - 1:04:40, Brunswick Town Commons. The traditional route through the Commons is 5, so we cruised around some familiar and some unfamiliar singletrack. Unfortunately, most trails dead-ended, so no new loops were devised, but we did get to tromp through some mud. Legs felt fine.

5/3, Tuesday: 5.5 - 44:25, TMR TNR at Twin Brook. WOOT! Schedule worked out nicely for a rare TNR appearance for me, and it seems like each time I show up the group is bigger than the last time. Good stuff. Ran with Ian, Tom, Blaine, Red Meat and Jeff for most of the run, and the latter two certainly didn't take it easy on the pace in general or the guy with broken ribs during the sprint lines. Plus, I always forget about those damn things. "Where are you going!?!?!?" That being said, it was great to catch up with the group, and good to get muddy with them all. Pace was snappy, and my legs handled it nicely. Great run.

5/4, Wednesday: 7.5 - 1:19:04, Black Cap via Kettle Ridge Trail and Red Tail Trail w/ Kevin Tilton. More fortuitous scheduling found me in North Conway in the afternoon, and I made plans to meet Kevin for a run up Black Cap. It was raining steadily when I met Kevin at his office, and we were both a touch disappointed the other wasn't going to bail. One could question the wisdom of meeting up with a guy whose license plate reads "MTN GOAT" to run up a mountain under any circumstances, much less with broken ribs, but I figured he was too nice a guy to leave me dead on the side of the hill. Plus, I told him D knew where we were going and would hunt him down...or at least, I think she would. In any event, this was a really great run. I trailed Kevin the entire way, and we chatted about...what else?...running. The Kettle Ridge Trail was very runnable for the trip up, and we made it to the summit in 46:10, which wasn't too far off Kevin's easy pace. Of course, just as I asked him how we were doing on time, hoping I wasn't dragging him down, the trail pitched upward for the final push to the summit. I stopped chatting at this point, since we were now off my easy pace—in the opposite direction. I could definitely feel my ribs as I sucked wind the final few yards to the summit, and Kevin was nice enough to not laugh at me. Of course, he had promised me a view, and we were standing in a rain cloud. The trip down was just as sweet as the trip up, with the Red Tail Trail being equally runnable. My legs felt pretty good the whole way, even with the 1700' of gain and loss. Hopefully, we can meet up again, as I'd really like to get more mountain running mixed into my training.

5/5, Thursday: Off (planned).

5/6, Friday: 11 - 1:20:26, River + Meadow Cross Roads. 8 miles @ MP (7:08 avg.). Why are my quads sore today? From the finding out where I am category, this run was a bit of a test, and I'm pretty pleased with the result. The first three miles were easy (7:48 avg.) with the final 8 at marathon pace, which I guesstimated would be about 7:20. That's probably close to true marathon pace right now, so this run was more of a half marathon/20-mile pace run. But, the only time the pace felt tough was into the wind, which was strong in a few sections. And, really, it was nice to just open it up a bit. My core was a bit tired by the end, so the affects of the broken ribs were evident. That's not surprising, though. In short, I'll take it.

5/7, Saturday: 4.75 - 42:05, Homeplace. Easy recovery run. Quads still sore because Kevin is jerk and not from the previous day's run at all. Otherwise, pretty comfortable stroll along the trails and saw a ton of birds I couldn't identify.

Miles: 40.75
Trail: 24.75
Road: 16

It's now been a full 5 weeks since the broken ribs, and I'm pretty happy to be putting in this type of training. More importantly, aside from the sore quads from Black Cap and the normal hamstring tightness I get with any mileage ramp up, I feel pretty solid. I can feel my ribs whenever I need to really pull in a big breath, but that's pretty much it. Getting in and out of bed still causes the most discomfort. Plan is to step it up again next week to continue to test things out. Going to be smart, but going to keep pushing.

No firm plans for racing, yet, however, and this timely quote on Anton Krupicka's blog sums up exactly how I feel right now:

"With regards to racing, all bets are off until I am once again healthy and confident in my fitness. I don't line up for an ultramarathon unless I feel I can do the event and the competition justice by delivering a meaningful best effort. So, you won't see me at a starting line unless I'm confident in my ability to do that; if you do see me on a starting line, you can be sure that I feel ready to rip."

I'll let you know when I'm ready to rip.