Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back To Back

article-1232605-076DEFA5000005DC-114_634x707My back to back training weekend is complete.  16 miles trail run yesterday with a 8 mile neighborhood run this morning.  Today’s run felt good.  I even ran it at a 10:45 pace!  Back to back training sessions are a good way to train for ultra marathons.  It’s improbable to train at near race distances, so running before your legs have time to recover allows your body to simulate what later miles may feel like.  I started off feeling tired and my legs felt fatigued shortly into the run.  After settling in, my legs woke up and things were good.  I did take about 4 walk breaks, but mostly was running nonstop.  I’m planning one, possibly two, more back to back weekends before the race.  I’ve got three months left to go.  I hope they all go as well as this weekend!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Upcoming Races

This morning me and about 25 fellow Stone Mill 50 Milers met on the trail for a practice run.  The Race Director pulled it together to include a couple of aid stations and parking coordination to and from start/finish.  The plan was to start at the mile 35 marker and run in, roughly 16 miles (the race is actually more of a 51 mile race),  The run came off well for me.  I was warn out at the end, but made it there fine.  Take that two weeks ago!

Anywho, I was talking with one of my fellow races about upcoming events, and I realized I’ve got a ton of stuff on my schedule.  So here goes…. races I’m planning to do:


Red Rock 5K - Las Vegas, NV - 8 September 2012 (Registered)

Army Ten-Miler - Washington, DC -   21 October 2012 (Registered)

Stone Mill 50 Mile Run – Gaithersburg, MD – 17 November 2012 (Registered)

Green Valley North Turkey Trot (5 mile or 5k) – Chestnut Ridge, MD – 24 November 2012 (Not Registered)

Walt Disney World Marathon – Orlando, FL -  13 January 2013 (Registered)

A2A Marathon – Ardmore, OK – 3 March 2013 (Not Registered)

There you have it.  Quite a lot on my running plate huh?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Straight Talk

Since my last post, I've been mostly doing straight running.  On Saturday I hit the NCR Trail for a 10 miler.  I did the first five straight, at a 9:35 pace.  I took a break to have some fuel and potty, and took a couple of short walk breaks on the return with a combined pace of 9:42.  Sweet!!

Yesterday I got in a great full body lifting session, then ended out the day with a nice and cool (71F) post-sunset 8 miler through the neighborhood, straight running again.  It was just me, my clothes, and a headlamp. No watch, phone, or even a water bottle.  It felt refreshing! 

This latest rash of straight running is not indicative that I'm getting away from the run walk.  It's simply falling into evolving running philosophy of diversity in running.  Lately I've been finding great joy in mixing things up. 

They say diversity is the spice of life.  I say diversity keeps the runs fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two under 16

That's two miles under 16 minutes!  I ran the parade field/lake route at lunch today in 15:44.  I knew from an evening run last week, that I've improved my speed, but I didn't know how much.  Today, I headed out with my trusty droid with Runkeeper going to find out,my estimation was about a 8:30 pace.  Five minutes into the run Runkeeper said I was at a 8:25 pace; 10 minutes in I was at an 8:05 pace; then 15 minutes in, I was at a 7:55 pace.  Heck yeah! 

Tonight is concert night, so I'll be hitting up Centennial Lake for a short run as well.  I've been reading a lot about back-to-back runs for ultramarathon training and figured I'd try it today.  Jess, at 21 Days had a three-run day finishing off 13 miles yesterday.  Not that her post was the inspiration for my own multi-run day, but it's encouraging to see others do it too, three runs, I don't know how she found the time!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things I Learned on Today’s 20 Miler.

1)  When you ask a race director or an elevation profile, and the response is ‘I don't have elevation of the course but it is relatively flat except the hill into the school at the end.”  DON’T BELIEVE HIM! This trail was one long single-track, with many short hills and switchbacks.  I so under estimated the difficulty of the terrain.

2)  Whenever you’re going on a trail run that even has the remote possibility of crossing water, take extra socks. I hit my first crossing at mile 1.5, and sure enough, foot went right in the water.  I ran with we socks the other 18.5ish miles.  Thankfully, no blisters.

3)  Electrolytes, they’re your best friend until you forget to pack any, then they quickly become your worst nightmare.  To be honest, I think this is one of my biggest failings.  In my normal life, I try to eat as salt-free as possible, due to blood pressure issues.  I have got to stop thinking that way when it comes to long runs.  I used to be good about using Nuun, but I forget about it, often.  For today’s run, I had three burritos with mushed black beans (unsalted), hummus, kale, mixed peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  I also packed out a couple of Justin’s Peanut Butter with Honey packets.  In hindsight, there wasn’t much sodium there.  I’ve noticed a pattern with my bonking and a lack of sodium. Must…. investigate…. salt tablets.  I used them on the Golden Gate Trail Marathon, because they were provided at the aid stations.  I think it really helped.  thoughts?

4) Always leave a treat/drink in your car.  I was very low on water after today’s run, partially because I was out much longer than I anticipated, and partially because of the difficulty of the trail.  No, I didn’t run out, but I guzzled down the last bit when I was in sight of my car, and then I had nothing waiting for me.  I did stop at 7-11 for some much needed Gatorade, but it sure would have been nice to have something to drink as soon as I got to my vehicle.

5)  When your mind bottoms out, don’t forget about the reasons you run in the first place.  Somewhere around Mile 18, I was feeling down.  I’d given up running about 2-3 miles back, and was just hiking to get back.  It’s amazing how your mind came make you feel like a failure when it’s exhausted (I did finish TWENTY MILES today, who cares if the last 4-5 were 95% hiking.  I was still tough!).  Anyways, all of a sudden, I saw a couple of deer bound off, but another remained.  I got a shot (camera not gun!) in and the click scared him off and he jumped the creek.  But then, he turned and just stared at me. We stared at each other for a good 30 seconds before I could get my camera out and ready.  He let me get several pics in, then jumped away, leaving me with a clear reminder of just how much I love trail runs.  After that, the hiking wasn’t so bad.

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 20 Miler

I decided last week that this Sunday’s long run would be on the trail for the Stone Mill 50 Miler (my first ultra scheduled for November).  What better way to get to know a race, than to run the route, right?   I planned a 20 miler, with the potential for more, if I felt up for it, unfortunately, this did not happen.  I severely under estimated it’s difficulty.  I mean, after running the Golden Gate Trail Marathon, something “flat” shouldn’t be too hard, right?  wrong!  I’ll take a couple of monstrous hills, with relatively flat or slowly rolling hills, over small and steep hills with tons of switchbacks.  It was NEVER ENDING!  The trail was 95% single-track with lots of overgrowth and hidden roots. 

The run started off, very enjoyable.  Weather was excellent, I had some yummy snacks, and I was ready.  That is, until the turnaround.  I dive-bombed so fast my head nearly spun off!  Well, not really, but it was like night and day.  The first several miles coming back were difficult.  Many relatively big hills, wet socks, and a low supply of electrolytes just chewed me up and spit me out.  After about mile 14-15ish, I didn’t have the energy to fight my mind and succumbed to full on hiking it.  Not that hiking is anything to sneeze about, but still.  I do have to run this again, plus an extra 30 miles in 3 months.  Will I be able to get myself ready by then??  I think so.  Learn the lessons above, train hard, and I’ll be there.  Now that my rant is over, enjoy some pics from the field!
20 miles of this! 
I loves me some burritos!
One of the old stone mills.
taking a breather while eating my last burrito.
This would have been a great shot, had my camera focused properly.  Grrr!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rest Weekend

Rest and recovery, the other half of training.  Everyone needs rest to ensure they're getting the full benefit of training.  If not, you run the risk of injury and burnout.
This poor guy needs some much required rest!

I've not been in the situation this guy was in, but I did choose to have a rest weekend.  Last week I put in a relatively large amount of miles and cross training exercise.  With the heat of late, disturbance of my sleep schedule (Two days last week I had to be in DC for an inspection at 7:00), and my weight training and racquetball at lunch, my last two runs were SLOW.

On Friday, I went for a trail run around Liberty Reservoir, a small lake near my house.  It was hot, humid, and the trail was thick with vegetation.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I've done some hiking there a few times, and knew the trail wasn't necessarily "runnable" so I was going into it as a hike, with the potential for running.  I packed out a black bean, lentil, and avocado wrap for lunch.  At one point, I crossed a little strait putting me onto a small island.  Here, I took a break and enjoyed my wrap while watching some fish swim around.  After that, it was back on the trail.  I ended up running about a 5Ks worth of distance.
Mainland on the left, strait in the middle, island on the right.

That is such a BIG strait.  LOL
A hidden boat landing.
Relaxing for some grub.
 The rest of the weekend I relaxed.  We took Connor to a local county fair, and stayed at home most of the rest of the weekend.  It was definintely a "patio" weekend. 

Now that Monday is here, it's back to it.  I've got a 50 Miler to train for people... I can't be lollygagging around! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Secret Revealed.

I've been thinking about running an ultra for quite awhile.  The allure of such a long distance, being out there for the great part of a day...or more, testing the limits of my abilities, it sounds great. 

After running the Golden Gate Trail Marathon, I knew I was ready, so I've been searching around.  I knew I wanted to do something between a 50K and a 50 Miler, I don't think I'm ready for anything further.  After scouring the internet for all the possible races within driving distance, I settled on the Stone Mill 50 Miler, a low-key ultra through the Seneca Greenway and Muddy Branch trails in Montgomery County Md.  It's a relatively flat but off-road course, and that intrigues me.  I've been running either hilly trails, or flat "rails to trails" kind of terrain.  One blogger I follow, Shelly from "It's Just One Foot in Front of the Other." ran this race last year and her race report made me go for it. 

I alluded to this a few posts back as my secret, and that was because I was waiting for registration to open. It did this morning.  So there you go, I've got four months to train up from hill trail marathon condition to 50 miles.  

Bring on the endurance training!