Sunday, May 30, 2010

0-2 and a walk

Well, to say the least I was pretty disappointed with my "run" at the 2010 Sageburner 50K. There were some good things that came of it, and I did come away with my first ever top 10 ultra finish. With that, I made a myriad of mistakes while out on the run and sort of doomed myself early on, but such has been the case with my ultra career thusfar.

Going into the weekend I knew I was fit, I'm much more fit that I was at any point last year, which was part of the reason I thought that 4:45 was a reasonable goal, and that I could probably go faster. I also knew that my goal was to use Sageburner as a training run to gauge where I am in my training. To be honest, If I wanted to go fast, the long run last weekend was just about the wrong thing to do. I'm not a strong climber, and the 7000+ feet of vertical took any freshness out of my legs, so entering today I felt OK, but I didn't have any pep in my legs.

Starting off the race I was still pretty optimistic about my chances of running 4:40 or so and I marked Duncan Callahan as a good gauge of where I should be. I followed him up the first hill and down to the base of the second climb where I let him go a bit. I still had him in sight about 7 miles in although I was just about certain I was in for a tough day. I was running about 8:49/m averages through the rolling climbs but I was working too hard for that early on. The subsequent miles begun to really heat up (it would hit about 80+ on the course) and I continued to push harder than I should. I pushed hard to the top of "gateway" and then into the halfway aid station, this is where things turned south.

Coming up out of a tough descent and subsequent ascent I headed out with one bottle (should have stopped to drink a bottle and take a full out) with the thought that another aid station was about 3-4 miles away. This next sections is hot, exposed and I was already out of water 2 miles in. As it turns out the RD's removed the aid station and I was out of water for the next hour. At mile 20 (where the aid was last year) I was still on pace to hit my goal of 4:45 but dangerously dehydrated, beginning to bonk a bit and I had a decision to make. I had come to grips with the missing aid station (though really discouraged) and I knew how far the next one was (~4 mi) with still the toughest climb to go before I could get aid.

I decided that I would save it and shut it down. Could I have continued to push and made a run at that goal? Perhaps, but it would have meant that I strayed way over the red line and could very well have led to me hanging out the rest of the evening/night on and IV drip. Being that I have Sun Mountain in 3 weeks, I wanted to be able to go race there. I'm a bit disappointed in that fact, the fact that I didn't continue to push into the finish but I think it was the smart decision. I really shut it down for the last 10 miles and walked a lot, stopped at the aid station for a long time to drink and drink about 3 bottles the first time and a few cups of coke. Then again 3 miles later for 2 more bottles and again at the final aid stop 2 more bottles.

I crossed the line in a personal worst 5:31:xx. Which as Rick Hessek would say, was a nice walk :) and it was. It was actually a nice 20 mile run and a 10 mile walk. I came in with two goals, go under last years time by 30 minutes, and retain my AG title, both of which were not attained. With the conditions on the course and the direction (I think this was a slower run than last year's direction) it wasn't the worst day ever, but competition wise well, my pre-race goals seemed pretty unrealistic after I learned that Parr won it in 4:23, with DC taking second in 4:32. In anyone's reality, I shouldn't have been anywhere near the footsteps of those two (and I wasn't). I was closer to Parr than I was last year while completely shutting off the engine for 10 miles so I guess I can take solace in that.

I did have fun, which is always the goal. And this sport continues to humble me, which I need on a regular basis. I've thought that I may take some time to rethink my goals for Sun Mountain, although the course is much better suited to the training I've been doing so we'll see. Do I think I can really come close to sub 7:45? Well, not really. I'll taper, so hopefully I'll have fresh legs. I think I can nail the first 20 miles, but after that I'll just see how hard I can take it. I do need to bring 2 bottles along, I know that!

Overall, my body feels good today, I'm gonna go for a run this evening, and we're headed out for a hike in the black canyon. The only part of me that is sore is my stiff back which I've been dealing with for a few weeks, so I guess the higher mileage was good for something :) So for those scoring at home, I'm 0-2 on the day with a pair of backwards K's and a walk... But we get to lace 'em up again in 3 weeks...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wish me well!

I say that and not wish me luck because ultra races 'aint got $#*! to do with luck. I'm trained, I'm ready, and I'm embracing the challenge. Should be fun!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The week that needed to happen

Well, last week I said I had intended to run about 80-90 miles this week (actual week total was 71 miles), but Tuesday I took a day off to recharge after a horrid run on Monday where I did not feel well and was not "in it" mentally. Wednesday and Thursday were easy efforts and felt more recharged with the same on Friday.

Something new for me was heading down to Manitou Springs on Saturday (left the house at 3:40 am) to run with Rick Hessek, Dan Vega, and Scott (the other Scott) from CRUD. Having not done much vertical this year due to my crazy schedule and my dislike for treadmills I was in for it. I had no idea what kind of work I was about to get into except that I was going to do the Incline after 3 hours of running. We started promptly at 5am and ran up the start of the Barr Trail Race and then took a left onto "no name trail" which actually is called "water pipe trail" according to the CRUD guys.

That was aptly justified as we hopped the first of many no trespassing signs and ran across a water pipe bridge just seconds after Scott declared he was scared of heights. That ended up leading us to the Cog Railway which we ran up for a few miles and then over to Barr Camp. So, first 7 miles +4500' and I was toasted on the climbing. The nice thing is that what goes up also comes down and I was finally able to show that I'm a fairly talented downhill runner (minus the falling :) which I did again at the bottom on the easy part!)

The Incline was ridiculous and I made Rick and Dan wait about 20 minutes for me to finish (sorry guys). I made it and we continued up a short bit on single track which I thought was mean, but it made up for itself as we got to run more downhill. It was nice to have such talented and friendly tour guides to take me around, and I was especially impressed with Dan's fluent stride. I swear the whole time we were running it looked like he was getting a massage; I must have looked like someone was giving my a giant wedgie ;)

At the bottom it was 4:06 of running and just under 20 miles (that's basically a moderately slow pace with a giant 1 mile asterisk) and a total of +7000'. Hardrock stuff, certainly the pace. It was good time on the feet and my run today was nice and easy 10 flat and the legs responded just fine.

Now, I'll take it easy this week and try to stay tuned up for Sageburner this weekend. I'm getting excited to finally see where this training has taken me. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eww! Biff it pics!

Almost all healed up now, but here's some gross pics of my hand and hip from about 2 weeks ago... The hand looks worse than it was, but the hip doesn't look as bad as it felt.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Part 1

This will be my weekly recap, and a bit of history on my training goals.

Week in full was mild (50 miles total, minimal elevation with some faster work mixed in):

I've been focusing on 14 day training cycles, trying to look at 2 week blocks and use days more productively (ie: quality hard days/quality rest days)

Excluding this week the last 8 weeks have been solid, broken down in to my 2 week blocks they are: 140 (70mpw avg), 129 (64.5mpw avg), 120 (60mpw avg), and 100 (50mpw avg). Before that I was still basically testing out the knee post injury.

So, this week I'll have somewhere between 80-90 miles depending on how the body feels (bringing my 2 week total to somewhere around 130-140). A good peak as I head into Sageburner week the next week.

Tonight I'm going to celebrate my son's 2nd birthday by running 10 miles for every year of his birth! We had his party on Saturday so I took that day off and devoted it to playing with the little man, drinking beer, and eating bratwurst!

I love having family in town, so it was a treat to have both sets of Grandparents babysit as Rachel and I went on a date Saturday night to the movies for the first time in 18 months... Crazy! It was fun, saw Date Night and laughed pretty good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2 Week Recap

I've managed to not post for 2 weeks, so I'll give you the nitty gritty details.

I averaged 70 miles the last 2 weeks by posting a 50 and a 90 mile week. Really it was like two 70 mile weeks but my long run last weekend was potponed due to some sickness until last Monday.

I've felt solid during training, the hamburger quad feeling has been dissapating until later in my long runs, and my climbing has been coming along a bit better. I still suck at big hills, but I've worked to get better and I can notice that.

Some really constructive reading I've been doing is following Nick and Scott's blogs. The past year and a half that I've been training for ultras have allowed me to take some big strides, and deal with some setbacks as well. I'm never nearly as good as I think I am, but I'm finally learning how to do the work.

I'm tired no doubt, but I've put the finishing touches on the best 6 weeks of training I've ever had. The past 7 days were a mileage PR of 90 miles. I'm teaching myself to incorporate true "recovery runs" and to run on tired legs. My long run this past Saturday was a revelation of a few things. Friday night I ran a moderately quick 14.5 miles on pavement at 7:49 pace. On Saturday's run, I wanted to get a feel for race enviornment, set up an aid station, get some elevation and go.

Starting in the C-470 lot between Matthews/Winters and Green Mt I hit Zorro trail hard and pushed it up all the climbs (ran all the way to the top on the other side as well instead of skirting around on Red Rocks trail) and when descending the middle of the Hogback towards Zorro again, I fell hard. My hip and hand are really nasty looking right now, but I picked myself up gave a few thoughts of turning in and trying again later, then I flipped the switch.

As ultrarunners, we need to be tough. Dumb tough, like a bull rider. This was that time; common sense said, let's try again. However, when ultraracing, there are no second changes and being afraid won't get you across the line. So I charged on with a pep talk to myself using some phrases I hope to never hear out of my son :)

I continued through my makeshift aid-station on the trunk of my car, using my planned method of attack for racing this summer (salt stick, GU gel, water). I was beat but my legs felt OK considering the distance and climbing. I stayed on my feet the rest of the run and ran "smart" to contradict some earlier statements. Being dumb tough ain't enough to get you a finish time that you want. Running smart (fueling/conserving) along with being tough enough to ignore "minor" hiccups like falling hard or having hamburger quads will produce the best efforts.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to run a smart race at Sageburner, push through the pain I know will be there from mile 20 on, and achieve my goals. I'm going to continue to get my runs in the next few weeks, not doing any kind of real taper for the race except limit my weekend long runs to 20 miles, and have fun. I'm gonna take some time to just enjoy myself out there.

Run along now... I'll get some nice pics up of my hip/hand soon :)