Monday, December 12, 2011

Revised 2012

After disappointment and frustration at both Leadville and Hellgate the second half of this year, I've decided to revise my thoughts for 2012 and focus my races a bit more.  Hellgate was frustrating, but I fought it out as long as I could, and of my 3 DNF's in ultras, it's the one where I know I made the right decision.  I had only managed to eat a couple handfuls of pretzel sticks from mile ~15 through 44 (where I dropped) and the course is too demanding to get that depleted.  There are some lengthy rock fields and technical descents in the 8.6-mile stretch into Bearwallow Gap, and they just destroyed me.  Regardless, I loved every bit of Hellgate I ran, even the parts I hated, and I will be back.

So anyway,  I had planned to give 100 miles another crack in 2012, but I've re-evaluated, and I want to get better at shorter distances before I give that arduous task another go.  I also want to give myself more quality, focused workouts this year and try to get faster.  For now at least, this is what I'm thinking for 2012:

Holiday Lake 50k++
Terrapin Mountain 50k
Promised Land 50k
Mt. Washington Road Race (Something pretty different, but I do enjoy climbing)
The Eastern Divide Ultra 50k (new race, 30 minutes from my apartment, looks to be a fast course)

After this, I'm (almost) definitely signing up for Mountain Masochist to round out the LUS, and if I can do the right workouts (if I even want to) this summer, I might go to Grindstone and try at just finishing, but probably not.
If I don't then my fall will be some combination of this:
IMTR 50 Miler
Cheat Mtn 50 Miler
Mountain Masochist 50 Miler
Hellgate 100k+

I'm not going to double MMTR and Hellgate, so which I decide to race will really depend on my training through the summer and autumn.  Whichever I choose, I want to be fully prepared.

My thought for not doing anything longer until the Fall is that I can do a natural progression of mileage, focusing on some speed this spring and then making it longer as I move forward into the Fall.  I've got plenty of base from this Fall, so hopefully I can bounce back quickly.  I'm also only taking 15 (fairly easy) credit hours this Spring thanks to abysmal course placement by the Chemistry Department limiting my schedule, so I'll have time to do more focus workouts and actually do stretching and core work and all that good stuff.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall running and 2012 racing

After Leadville I had a few weeks of great running.  Coming from the mountains of Colorado, everything in Blacksburg just felt easier, so after my week off, I ran 3 straight weeks of probably 90 (fast for me) miles per week.  Then I just didn't really feel much like running, at least daily, so I ran maybe 50-65 mpw, but over the course of 3-4 days.  After I ran 3 Ridges + Priest (24ish miles with 8k ft vert/8k ft descent) with the CAT people and Jenny though, I got the spark back and started running again regularly.  Now, I'm starting to peak for the Hellgate 100k next month, and I feel in great shape.  I'm on my 3rd straight week of at least 1 long run for the week.  I like to get out for 16-18 miles on Tuesdays if I can, but those are touch-and-go.  Anyway,  I finished a 24 mile 3:30 run up on Ft. Lewis Mountain This is my new favorite area to run near school. It's like 30 minutes away, but there's a lot of winding single track and service road you can string together for any length of run.

Anyway,  I feel pretty good, and the miles are coming easily, so I'm excited for Hellgate.  It will be my first 100k; I love running in the cold and running at night, so it'll be a treat--a horribly masochistic treat.


I need to get the 100 mile monkey off my back, so Old Dominion is going to be my first peak race of the year...all the way in June.  I would also like a 50 mile PR, since my current (10 hours) is pretty bad, and I know I can knock a couple hours off that, so Bull Run Run 50 or the Mississippi 50 is on the list for Spring.  It'll be an interesting year.

January: one of 3 50k's.
March 3: Mississippi 50 Mile Run  OR
April 12: Bull Run Run 50 Mile

April 12-14: 24 Hour run for cancer OR
June 2: Old Dominion 100

August 24-25: Cheat Mountain 50 Mile
September 1: Iron Mountain Trail Run 50 Mile
~October 4: Grindstone 100

That's a lot of racing; especially if I get the urge to do a marathon or retry Terrapin Mountain, but I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Leadville: DNF

The week before any race I normally feel nervous.   I feel my throat down in my gut and my extremities tingle. Leadville didn’t fall into this rule.  I moved into my apartment in Boulder, CO in late May with the sole objective to run.  I went out for 3-hour jaunts in the mountains a few times a week and had the best training block I’ve ever had.  Three weeks before Leadville I went out for my final long run planning to do the Boulder Skyline that traverses Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Mt. Sanitas, and Flagstaff if I recall.  During this run I ran out of water very early and it took me several days to feel recovered, but I still felt tired on most of my runs for another week.  I finally came around about 10 days before Leadville since I’d been tapering and I started feeling all my strength come back.

So when I toed the line at 4am last Saturday, I wasn’t nervous.  I felt ready.  I started near the front because I don’t like doing the shuffle across the start line of large races that is standard for the middle of the pack onward. Once everything opened up a few hundred yards later I settled into what felt to be a nice slow cruise along the first road miles.  I know well that I have a problem with starting races too fast, so I made sure I stayed within myself.  I kept pulling back to keep myself bored (I kept myself in my head to know I wouldn’t pull away).   I hit the tabor boat ramp at mile 6 in what felt pretty slow and I maintained that pace through May Queen.   I felt heavy this entire section and I figured it was just nature calling.

At May Queen my dad informed me that I came through at 2:05—10 minutes faster than what I’d planned.  Two Gu chomps packs and a refill on my Nathan bladder and I was off to Fish Hatchery.  I hiked a good portion of the climb up Sugarloaf just to slow down some and then held myself back down powerline.  Through this point in the day I’d felt pretty bad and had a growing ball in my bowels that I was hoping could be taken care of soon and I would feel better.  That never happened.  I felt decent on the road to fish hatchery except for that and some growing blisters form my Hoka OneOnes.  I came through Fish Hatchery at 4:10, 20 minutes faster than I’d planned but I still felt like I was holding back just fine.  I switched into my Saucony Peregrines, put on some sunscreen and swapped my Nathan pack for a handheld for the upcoming 3-4 mile stretch to Timberline.  On this road my right quad started hurting. Not cramping, not a sore feeling, but just hurting.  I felt it on every step until I had to resort to walking until we got onto a dirt road and even then my stride was more of a lope dragging my right leg behind.  I took a few minutes at Timberline to try to massage it out and then I headed on to Twin lakes.  The stretch to Halfmoon II or whatever they call it now was uneventful.  I felt bad but I ran it.  At that aid station I sat and massaged my quad while eating some watermelon and ramen.  I was feeling great again except for my quad and when I headed out.  I walked almost all of the next 10 miles to Twin Lakes.  I ended up getting into Twin Lakes pretty close to cut-off and made the decision to quit.  It might have been possible that I’d have turned things around, but most likely not and at my current rate I wouldn’t have even made it to Winfield by cut-off.  Even if I did manage to pick things back up, I didn’t go to Leadville to stagger in at 29:50 and so I made the decision drop.

The next day I couldn’t bend my right knee and that reassured me that I’d made the appropriate decision.  I went for a 30-minute jog today and felt okay, except my right quad still felt raw.  In another week I should be back to some decent semblance of training.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Training update

I'm sitting on my bed with my feet propped up for a recovery day after a nice week of training.  This weekend is 6 weeks out from Leadville, and during the past week I weighed whether to do my back-to-back long runs this weekend or the next.  I opted for this one so I still have two weeks to put in long(er) runs before I drop down my long run mileage a bit in the final month.  I really want to run the Four Pass Loop in Aspen while I'm out here this summer, so all is working out.   This is also one of those weeks that makes me feel really good about what I'm doing and look forward a great deal to racing.  I ran up Mt. Elbert last Saturday, so I shied from vertical some this week to help keep my mileage up more.

The nitty gritty:

AM: 10 miles (Dowdy Draw/Goshawk Ridge with some add-on at the end) Pretty flat
PM: 4 miles and 40-min elliptical after weight room workout.

AM:  10 miles (same as monday)
PM:  5 miles (3 and 4 were barefoot)--Just a shake-out run around town with two miles on Kittredge Field.

AM: 8 Miles Walker Ranch loop
PM:  2 miles and weights/cross-training

PM: 2 miles barefoot

PM:  5-hour long run (mostly) on the LT100 course.  ~25 miles in length. Ran from the Turquoise Lake dam to the Fish Hatchery then looped back around.

AM: 4-hour long run. ~20 miles (very sluggish, plenty of hiking up).  Parked 2 miles west of Twin Lakes at a bridge that crosses the currently impassable river there, and ran up and over Hope Pass.  Didn't go down to Winfield, just went down the other side far enough to get a feel for the trail on that side.  My muscles felt fine on this run, but I was just tired overall and couldn't push it how I'd have liked to have done.

Total: 86 miles.

I'm pretty happy with this week since after the long runs my legs feel fine, but I just feel kind of wiped out.  After today off, I'm going to get back into some climbs this week.  I'm going to do this week hard, then take a few easy days when my mom visits at the beginning of next week.  After that break, I'm going to try to push all the way until I start to taper in early August.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ruminations on Summer Training

I thought I'd write something up since I've been asked about my running as of late, and I'm bored recovering from yesterday's long run.  I've been in Boulder for three weeks now, and I've finally adjusted to the altitude and gotten my training back to a normal level.  I've not been following any strict mileage or training program since I got here, I've just been running up a mountain at least 5 times a week, which normally is 8-10 miles per outing, and I've done two long runs so far (the first being 25 miles and the second be 22).

Now with just under 10 weeks left until Leadville, I'm going to be upping my mileage and I've actually planned (sort of) my training up through 5 weeks out from Leadville). I really don't like following strict plans because I get to involved in the numbers and push myself to the point of injury, but I do like having a general idea of training, so here it is:

The next two weeks:
AM: One of three routes (either Bear Peak, Green Mountain, or Walker Ranch Lollipop)
PM: (Mon, Tues, Thurs)Running to and from the gym (2.5 miles each way) plus weights and ab work
Friday: A flat 8-10 mile run (most likely Boulder Creek Path)
Saturday: Long Run (5-5.5 hours)
Sunday: barefoot on Kittredge for recovery

I hope to hit about 100 miles per week each of these weeks.  My mileage has been somewhat low for 100 mile training, but it's been very focused.  I don't worry about hitting high mileage when I climb 3000' in a 7 mile run.

Anyway, the week after that will be fairly light for recovery purposes.  I'll probably just climb once or twice that week and focus more at the gym and on cross-training. Then I'll have three weeks before I peak for Leadville.

Those three weeks will be similar to the upcoming two, with the exception being that the middle week will not have a long run (or it won't be out of the teens at least), and the third week will end with 100 miles in 2-3 days (fastpacking the Leadville Course).  Then I'll have a recovery week when my mom comes to visit, and two more weeks of training before I start a long taper.

Ten weeks out, and I'm pretty excited. It's going to be a fun summer.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Training Feb. 21-27

14 Miles (2:10)
12 Miles on the Huckleberry (repeated the dirt road section several times to stay off the pavement) + 2 barefoot jogging at the VT track

15 miles (2:05)
Had a really good day at Pandapas Pond.  Headed down the Poverty Creek Trail a long way, then turned around, picked up the FS Road, then up Indian pipe for ~800ft of Climibing in .44 miles then back along Poverty Creek, with a few spurts on other trails along the way back to the car.  Weather was perfect and I'd have liked to have kept going.  I think these Tuesday trail runs will become more regular.

AM: 12 miles
3 mile warm up plus half of a "Perfect Mile" track workout (did 8x200 at 36s and 4x400 at 70)  It's been so long since I've done any speedwork, this really took it out of me.  I should start going once a week.  Followed by 2 miles of barefoot around the track and then I met up with Shannon as I was finishing and decided to run with her to tack on an extra few miles.

3 miles around campus
Cross-training session at the gym.

8 Miles
Small Huckleberry-Christiansburg loop.  Cold and rainy all day, so I stuck to pavement.
3 Miles (treadmill)
Core circuit and biking in gym.

5 miles
Just a quick get-loose run before lunch. Heading home this weekend for long runs.

29  Miles (4:31:46) ~3000ft of gain
Parked at Skulls Gap and ran FS84->Jerry's Creek Trail->FS(whatever #) all the way to the Creek Comer trail then around the Hurricane Campground for a couple miles looking for water and an open bathroom.  Then back FS84 all the way to the Iron Mountain trail and back to my car on it.  
All in all a good day.  I couldn't find water at the campground so I filled up in a stream and I also ran out of Gu with ~8 miles left so I felt pretty dry by the finish. 40oz water, 2 Gu Chomps bags and 1 Roctane. I should have brought an extra bag of chomps, but I didn't realize it was going to be 60+ degrees out.

12 miles, Huckleberry loop with some back and forth on the gravel stretch to avoid pavement.
Knee was aching me a good bit today, and it hasn't before.  I'll probably take tomorrow off and just cross train.

Total: 101

It feels nice to be above 100 again so soon after a race.  Crossing my fingers that I can keep this up.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Training Feb 14-20

4 miles (34:00) easy on the treadmill
Biking: 6 miles (20:00)

Still very sore, quads and calves are tight.  Mainly stretched.

10 Miles (1:20:00)
Huckleberry Gravel Out-and-back
Had to run some errands, so I decided to run out to do them and felt good, so I turned around instead of catching the bus.  There is still some latent soreness in my quads.

4 Miles (35:00)
3 Miles on 8% incline, 1 miles barefoot (treadmill)
Biking: 10 Miles (31:00)

6 Miles (37:00)
Huckleberry Gravel-Duckpond loop
Sunny and little wind.  Decided to get in a tempo run between classes.  Hamstrings felt tight, but appropriately so.  Legs are feel back to normal now, but my peroneal tendon is nagging me a bit again.

4 Miles: (35:00)
Easy treadmill, last two barefoot.
Biking:6 miles
Felt pretty drained tonight, taking an recovery day tomorrow before the weekend long run(s)

6 Miles (50:00)
Barefoot recovery run.  Feeling loose.

Decided to just cross train today, since I'm planning a long run tomorrow.  Did a lot of core work, rowed for 10 minutes, and biked just 5 miles.

18 Miles (3:02:42)
Exploring Mountain Lake
I decided to head up to Mountain Lake since it's the highest you can get around here (~4000 feet, peaks at 43xx), and they boast 22 miles of trail.  I parked my car and headed off, feeling fresh of the easy day yesterday until I hit several miles of alternating loose rock and leftover snow drifts from Winter.  After slogging through all that at a horrendous pace, I manages about 8 miles of good running, hitting a could 6:10ish miles on the downhill stretches.  Then my IT band started aching and I slowed some.  Ended up cutting about 7 miles off what I had planned on doing, but I already feel better now, just a few hours later.  I think I started this too late into the day (about 4 hours after I woke up) without having eaten a proper meal.  I think I should take a day off tomorrow.

Rest/Core work
Last night my calves were tight and actually locked up a couple times, so I decided to take a day off.  I probably started back too soon anyway.  Looking forward to another day on the trails tomorrow though.

15 miles (13 @ Pandapas Pond + 2 Barefoot)
Pretty good run, minus a few mishaps regarding roots hidden by leaves.  I felt strong on the couple long climbs (1.5 miles/900ft climb at one section).  Didn't carry any water, so I had a bit of a rough patch climbing back up Brush Mountain at mile ~9.5-11, then the last mile was smooth.

Total: 67

Low mileage, but considering the race last weekend, I'm pretty happy with it.  I felt stronger than I thought I would.  I'm still tired, but I hope I can sleep more this week than last and that will go away.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I woke this morning after 11 hours sleep (my roommate snores like a freight train, so I get what I can on the weekend), feeling tired.  I'm pretty worn out. I've been killing myself at the gym the past couple weeks and it feels good.  I wasn't able to maintain the higher mileage I'd been doing, but I made up for it with about 2.5 hours spent in the gym every day biking/rowing/lifting, with a few miles on the treadmills, often barefoot, to keep my lower joints used to impact.

So now, two weeks out from my first 50k(++)  (Holiday Lake in Appomattox, VA), I feel like I think I should, worn out.  I'm tired, and after a nice taper I should be race-ready.  I've been running more and more the past few days, and my ankle has held up just fine, albeit the running was done on a treadmill.  I'm hitting the road today for 6-8 miles, and then I'm running one loop of the course tomorrow (16ish) then I'll squeeze in a few more runs upwards of 10 miles, followed by a-week-and-a-half long taper to the race.

Below is an example day of what I've been doing in the gym:
Bike 35-45 Minutes (12-16 miles)
Row for 10 minutes (~2000m)
Bike for 20 Minutes [high intensity] (7+ miles)
Leg Press (6 sets of 15 reps)
Standing Hamstring machine (3 sets of 10)
Calf Raises  (4 sets of 15)
Planks (raise each leg on a 3-second up, hold 3 seconds, down 3 seconds timing)
Oblique planks
Elongated/elevated crunches
Run 3 miles (either increasing speed or incline as I go)

That's the best I could to to replicate regular running training, and I actually like going. I think that after this race I'll keep going in the evenings for cross-training since apparently my legs don't like doing 2-a-day runs as much as my mind does.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's about time.

I've been considering making one of these for a while, and I'm taking a brief break from my reading for class tomorrow, so this seems like as good of a time as any.  I'll be posting up training information and musings on here.  I want a blog that's a bit more personal than my tumblr and one that I can dedicate to my running now that I'm hopefully going to be training well for a while.

Unfortunately, I've been laid out for the past week with Peroneal Tendonitis, which is honestly the most painful running injury I've ever gotten.  I could see the tendon popping over my ankle bone.  So after two days of rest and 3 days of gym workouts on a stationary bike, I jogged a mile barefoot on a treadmill and was actually pain-free.  It was a bit tender walking around later, but with stretching and strengthening, I should be fine to still run the Holiday Lake 50k in 3 weeks.  I was hoping to run a fast race there, and not running for a week and a half (even though I have been exercising) may or may not help things.  I had been building up a good base (up to 112 miles the week before this injury), so not all is lost.  I think Promised Land in April will end up being my fastest 50k of the Spring though.