Saturday, June 30, 2007


Friday- 40 miles- 14:31 100% WALKING!!

That is right boys and girls...this ultraRUNNER did his final prep for the Vermont 100 WALKING. 40 miles on technical trails up and down the Massanutten mountains walking from first light until sunset. Longest break was 5 minutes. It was a Long Long walk.

Why the hell would I do something like this?

Simple: You have to suffer to be able to suffer- David Horton. In order to be able to mentally handle 100 miles and the many hours it is gonna take to cover that distance I really think it is important to get out on your feet and be moving that long. The little things that really suck in a 100; those things that people drop out because of, our have a miserable experience due to are all little things that need to be practiced:

1. Tolerating the ache and pain in your feet for a bizillion steps
2. Toughening the feet to be able to with stand blisters
3. Working the core stabilizer, leg abductor/adductor, butt-hip extensors, hip flexors, ect- all are not prime movers- but are really relied on once you are tired. What better way to train them than with a LONG walk?
4- Getting your stomach and GI used to processing food/water for x- hours
5- Mentally getting used to that "this sucks" logical voice in your head that becomes louder and louder (and harder to ignore) as the hours go by.
6- Training your body to mobilize fat stored in subcutaneous stores and put it into the blood, as well as breaking it down into energy. You need high levels of specific enzymes to make that process an efficient one....and you only can get that by being out an moving for HOURS and hours.

Why not run another long one??? Well, the race is 3 weeks away and I know MY BODY will not recover in time from a long run. And I DO NOT believe any ones quad muscles totally recover from a long run, deep down at the cellular level, in just 3 weeks.

Best advise I ever read was: Don't do any training that you will not fully recover and improve from. Thus I walked and did not run.

Let me tell you it was exactly what I wanted: A suffer fest.

I started at 5:50 AM and headed off walking the Boyer's Furnace course (the race that I direct) The course is a loop around Fort Valley and since it was a loop once I committed, there was no bailout options. I had drizzling rain start about 4 minutes after I began and continue on/off the entire day. Temps stayed cool but being wet and walking through puddles is something I have not experienced in a long time having been in Egypt. Being on technical trails was also new and today I can tell as my peroneal muscles and feet and ankles are all really sore/tired. I also intentionally did not eat very much so I rode a bonky-hungry annoyance feeling all day. (one to promote fat metabolism, but also to get me mentally used to that uncomfortable feeling)

The days biggest suffer factor was carrying a pack. I am a little man (5'7" 133lbs) and not very strong. Thus strapping on a full pack of 20+pounds (with 17lbs of liquid in it to start off) sucked. Even though I drank a pound of water every hour and the pack kept getting lighter, it still sucked. I just kept telling myself it was "good training".

Today is a day off to relax, then tomorrow I hope to bang out my last run over 90minutes in length between now and the big race.

Beautiful Charlottesville

Thursday- 8 miles- 71min

Ahhhh Beautiful C-ville. I enjoyed some good conversations with the folks from the UVA library where I used to work and my college advisor for my masters work in exercise physiology. For lunch I Ate the fabulous chicken parm sub from the one of my favorites on the corner. Then I was able to meet up with old training mate Jeff Wilbur and Montrail/Nathan teammate Sophie Speidel for a run. We ran around the observatory hill trails getting me used to technical footing (go go gadget ankle proprioception), hills, and humidity. All should be very beneficial for the VT 100.

Post run I grabbed some Chipotle and headed off to the Massanutten's to camp the rain. It was still fun though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Final Beat Down Plans

Tuesday- 3 miles- 33min easy trails
Wednesday- 4 miles 31min w/ 8 x striders

Well I am now ALMOST out of the Army. A lot of paperwork processing the last couple days. Now nothing much to do but wait for the final paper to come back saying Honorable Discharge. Exciting!

Well, Monday's workout did what I wanted it too. I was pretty sore to run, but sore enough that I didn't want to. I had originally planned for 4 x 2.5 downhill miles and was thinking 5k of downhill in 10 miles was just so beautiful numbers-wise...but when I got into the workout I felt immediately that the quads were going to be shot after only a couple. Thus I sped up on the 2nd rep after coasting the first knowing I could only manage a couple and should make them quick. I could have done a 3rd, but a 4th would have been pointless being overkill. Overall I am happy I was able to sneak out and get this kind of work in as I think it will be invaluable for the hills of Vermont.

So what am I planning for my last beat down workout before the big race (which is 3 weeks away now)????? Well, I feel like I am in good cardiovascular shape. I am confident I can go the distance having done 6 and 7 hour runs at or slightly under goal pace. I am a bit worried about the hills, but think I will be all right. The debate today is what to do now? I think some of my friends recently put in too much prior to WS 100 (or too close..not allowing enough muscle repair) and went in with dead legs. I have also done this in the past and don't want to repeat it.

So this is my plan:
1) No run beyond 90 minutes the last 20 days before race day
2) One last Long effort to stimulate my fat oxidizing enzymes. Thus I plan to go do a LONG hike over the next couple days. Hiking rather than running to save the muscles, but yet long enough to stimulate the system that needs the work.
3) One last run of 18 miles with a bunch of downhill in the mountains as my last attempt to damage those quads done July 1st.

With my long LONG runs being 11 and 8 weeks prior to race day I should be well recovered and ready. Hopefully the above plan will optimise this prep and not undo it! Some would say I am woefully under trained for a 100. I mean I am only averaging 60 miles a week. I have only one 26, one 40, and one 50 miler in my legs in the 5 months leading up to the race.

All I can say is I have done way more for previous 100's and have also done much much less. So this one aught to be just right huh?!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Love Virginia

Monday- 13 miles- 2hrs, 2x2.5 mile DOWN hills

With a day off I headed for the hills...literally. I love Virginia! This state has it all and it was great to drive out to the Shenandoah's for some quad work in the incredible mountains. I thought about going to the Priest mtn to run repeats on the 5 miles there that have 3,000 ft of climb, but thought better of it knowing a year without hills is a long time. Instead I went to rte 758 (Woodstock Tower road) that is part of both the Old Dominion 100 mile races. It is a 2.5 mile stretch of road that climbs 1200 ft. The dirt/gravel/blacktop road is a beautiful one with views of the valley below, shade producing trees, and a ton of switchbacks.

I parked at the top of the road and ran a warm up out and back on the miles 82-84 of the Massanutten 100 . Then I set off running down the big hill. The goal of the workout was to blow my quads out a bit. Nothing like repetitive eccentric contractions. I envision my quad muscles being like a piece of wood on a lathe....I apply the chisel (the downhill miles).... and the quads are striped of their fluff, leaving only the hardened sculpted core beneath.

The first downhill repeat went well with me just a coasting but still running near 6:00 mile pace (2.5 = 15:53) Downhills rock! Then I turned around and ran every step on the way back up just to prove I could do it. (Because I am stubborn or stupid?) It took 23:44 on the way up. I was a sweating mess after this and spent some time in the shade of my car eating clif shot blocks (the greatest invention since the wheel!) and drinking gatorade.

Round two had me still thinking I could do 3 repeats and I put in a bit more speed on the down hill running 14:36. Wow! I have not run 2.5miles that fast in a LONG time...again downhills rock. The second trip back up the mountain sucked. It was 93 degrees, humid, and I was tired. I walked most of it (2.5 =37min) and decided at the top that was enough for the day.

If I had a ride back up.... I would have ran down once more....I simply didn't want to face the climb back up again.

Post run I celebrated America and its wonderful ways by having a home-made strawberry milk shake from a Ma & Pa's shop, then a grilled chicken sandwich with tomatoes and provolone cheese on wheat from Sheetz (made in like 33 seconds!) all washed down with a 44oz fountain soda. mmmmmm excessive-ness!!!! It was so missed when I was in the middle east!

Monday, June 25, 2007

10K Tempo

Sunday- 8 miles- 1 w up, 10K-40:49, 1 c dn

Wow, getting used to humidity bites! Dry heat is definitely different. It felt like I was running with a coat on. I was feeling unmotivated and ended up at the track by default but it turned into a good workout.

I ran a 6:44 first mile (to much shock and disappointment that it felt hard to run that pace(, then I settled in at what felt like a moderately comfortable pace and ran the next 5 miles each within one second of 6:30pace. I then pushed the 25th lap (86) to get it in under 41minutes. The constant feedback of the track was great, and the soccer players and other runners offered much entertainment. But, I almost missed my Sinai 1520m loop.

I still feel off, and hope it comes around soon. Going off to do some hills today.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Travel is all I do

Friday- 3 miles- 36min (enjoying a forest! with walk breaks)
Saturday- 6miles- 55min with Anne

A couple of nice runs enjoying trees, squirrels, chipmunks, grass, leaves, roots, dirt, rocks, water, GREEN THINGS, beavers, ducks, geese, fish, turtles, deer, dogs, runners, bikers, and even cars. ALL of which are things I have not seen on my runs in a year.

Actually has been a bit of sensory overload. Incredible.

My body has felt really quite awful. nothing like traveling for 37 continuous hours, adjusting to a 7 hour time change, and then driving for 13 hours in a 26 hour period. UGH! I'll be busy for the next few weeks, going here and there, but trying to squeeze in quality runs when I can.

In fact it is time to go run now!

Congrats to all those Western Sates finishers!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

USA USA USA!!!!!!!!!

Monday- 4 miles- 35min- my last Egypt miles
Tuesday- 0miles Travel & waiting
Wednesday- travel- 0 miles
Thursday- 14 miles- 1:48

Back on US Soil! Feels very good!

Monday I got in one last tour of the MFO's north base and packed up. I started my 37 hour traveling adventure Tuesday morning arriving back home in Arlington Wednesday at noon. a long time waiting around in airports but no big problems. Very happy!

This morning I got up and headed out with my Nathan pack hoping to put in a good 20 mile welcome back run in Arlington and on the C&O canal only to find out that my legs don't like hills. Within 40minutes I had that dead quad feeling and was humbled by the run. I cut it off early and headed back with a good one in the bank but realized I have some work left to do to get ready for the specifics of the Vermont 100 course. Sure I am in shape...but not for hills. Thank goodness I still have a month left....and that the Vermont 100 is not the Hardrock 100!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Embracing The Suck

Sunday- 22miles- 8@7:45, 3@6:15, 7@7:50, 3@6:18, 1 c dn

Embrace the Suck is a phrase I have heard in the military to respond to someone who is complaining. Or as a way of thinking. Like a philosophy for dealing with what you know will be a bad situation. That was my attitude tonight. I know the Jack Daniel's tempo / easy hour/ tempo workouts always hurt. So I figured I might as well REALLY make it so tonight as it will most likely be my last HARD effort here in Egypt.

Thus, rather than an easy 2-3 miles warm up I did 8 miles in 62 minutes. Sucked down a gel, then jogged over to my trusty 1520m road loop for the 3 mile tempo run. I was thinking (wrongly) that I needed to run 5:53 per loop to hit my lactate threshold pace..but should have been aiming for 5:58. anyway I ran well:

3x1520m continuous- 5:54, 6:04, 5:49= 17:47

I was pressing more than I should have and then beginning my "hour jog" I figured out why. I was aiming for a pace that was a bit too quick. I settled into my hour jog at just sub 8:00 miles and really bonked after 4 miles. I stopped to hit a gel and drink some water then did another 3 miles. Then I began round two with 18 miles already in my very tired legs.

3x1520m continuous- 5:55, 6:03, 6:00= 17:58

Wow! That was hard, but actually the second session felt smoother than the first and went incredible well. I actually felt better once I started running the tempo pace than I did just prior. All I could think during the run was: Damn...I am pounding out mile 19, 20, and 21 at a crisp pace, in the June heat of the Egyptian desert....No one else is training this hard! Probably because they are smarter than that.

As I am 4-5 weeks out from race day I am really stressing my body recently. It is endurance time and I am feeling the efforts. I am feeling a lot of little aches/pains right now. In the last 7 days I have run 81 miles with 23 of them at lactate threshold. That is a lot. Come July 21st. 8:30 pace better feel like a cake walk!

So this closes out 365 days on the ground in Egypt. 2,947 miles. Hoped to get 3,000 but just missed it. I am definitely not the same man that came here a year ago. I have dropped about 7 lbs and have increased my fitness multiple levels. But, mentally I am different as well. Hopefully better......I certainly love the USA more. We all should.

One Year Ago

Friday- 6 miles 47min easy
Saturday- 8 miles easy- 2 pick ups

Well It was a year ago today that I left the USA. Time is a funny thing...sometimes it seems to go so slow, other times it flies. Taken by the day it was a slow. Looking back now at the whole year. It seems to have gone quick. The years just keep rolling by.

A couple of easy running days in my last weekend here. Not really a weekend as we have been working 7 days a week for the last 3 weeks now as the National Guard arrives and we transition over.

I'm looking forward to tonight's workout. It is the classic Daniels:( Tempo- jog an hour- Tempo) run. Always is humbling. I will do good sized warm up and cool downs to make it pretty heavy mileage-wise as well.

Congrats go out to all those racing in the states: Grandma's Marathon & half, Mohican 100, Bighorn trail races. All fun stuff and great events from what I have read and experienced.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A REAL Tempo

Thursday: 16miles- 6 w up, 7 miles at 6:25pace, 3 c dn

Okay recently I have been doing lots of Jack Daniel's suedo tempo runs at lactate threshold pace with short recoveries. I have been modifying a lot of the workouts from the 1998 JD running formula editions marathon structured program (Plan B) and this was another one in that line.

True tempo runs are meant to be continuous efforts at a hard pace...not an all out racing effort, or at a pace like is manageable, but not a cake walk. Today I ran just a touch off my calculated lactate threshold pace- or the pace I should be able to hold for a 15k-10mile race.

After a good warm up I settled in for some laps of my 1520m loop. The plan was for 6 miles since the JD plan called for 3x2mile. but, I got off to a slow start with the first repeat being at marathon pace, and thus I decided to tack another mile on at the end to make it 7. The plan was to back off the pace and make the last mile at marathon pace as well, thus, bookending a 5 miler at lactate threshold. Instead I found it hard to back off.

Splits for 1520m: 6:22, 6:10, 6:09, 6:02, 5:57, 5:51, 6:10. Not bad at all as this was without rest breaks and was about a 40minute 10k. This still sounds depressing to the me that remembers running 35:09 as a 13 year old. But, the effort level was not super high tonight and it (the 40min 10K) is a heck of a lot better than what I was capable of in January.

I don't have a heart rate monitor but I would have liked to have seen what I was at during this one. 45seconds post the effort my HR was 110bpm.

Watch out Crowther. I am up to 7 miles...progressing from Aprils workout....soon I will be doing 41!

Raging Debates

Tuesday- 6 miles 46min easy
Wednesday- 8 miles 64min easy

Debates?????? Not political...rather on training. Lots of questions raised and answers offered on the ultralistserve recently. I even debated with myself about going long this weekend. but, alas, I am sticking to my guns. No more Super long runs needed. Runs of 15-22 miles? Yes. Some hill repeats when I get back to the states? Yes. But 35-50 milers? NO! I think they would do more harm than benefit. I did a 40 and a 50. I showed my body that it can still do that. I trained my quads to handle that kind of stress, now I am letting them recover. I will continue to do lactate threshold workouts after a decent amount of running to train myself to turn the legs over when tired and to train my muscles to better spare and store glycogen.

REALLY looking forward to leaving the Sinai...should happen soon...not supposed to say on public formats like this specifics, but, I now have a plane ticket! As of June 10th I have now been away from my wife for a year. Never doing that again. I, unlike many I serve with, did not forget my vows during my year away. Not sure what the true divorce or infidelity rate is in general America vs. those in the service, but they are both alarmingly high I am sure. Now I am not some incredibly morally righteous person, but dam!.... If you get married wear your wedding ring!

Anyway, back to running... good luck to all my friends out at Bighorn this weekend

Monday, June 11, 2007

10 x Cruise Miles

Monday- 15 miles- 4 w up- 10x1520m-5:53-1 c dn

A very nice one tonight with temperatures much cooler than yesterday. "Only" in the 90's! I wanted to step up the cruise mile repeats again following the "extension training" principle. I did however run a bit faster than I probably should have. My calculated Lactate Threshold pace for cruise intervals (off from my 11:21- 2mile time trail) puts me at 6:17 pace for Tempo runs. On my Sinai mile- 1520m loop that means about 5:58. I was able to average about 5 seconds under that tonight, but was probably pushing a bit more than I should have. It is tough to judge pace into the wind though.

10 x 1520m-5:55, 5:54, 5:50, 5:55, 5:52, 5:54, 5:53, 5:54, 5:54, 5:53 on 60 second recovery

It became work on the 7th repeat, but the funniest moment came after the 2nd one when I realized an Egyptian crow had stolen the gel I had set next to my water bottle. He picked it up and flew away and began to try and eat it by pecking and tearing the package. the Crows here are a perfect example of Darwinian evolution. They are identical to Crows in the USA EXCEPT they are sand colored on their backs and wings (heads and bellies black). Gotta reflect the deathly hot sun to stay alive in this region of the world!

So why no BIG long warm up tonight? I'm wussy...and a bit afraid of the heat. I wanted to be sure I could finish the workout. With a 10 mile warm up I probably would not have.

115 in the Shade

Saturday- 6 miles- 48min
Sunday- AM- 2 miles walk, PM 6 miles -47min

Holy crap it is time to leave Egypt! Yesterday was unbelievable hot. Hottest of 2007. 115 in the shade and sheltered from the furnace wind. In the sun....get ready... 137!!!!!!!!! The best way to describe it is to go open your oven after cooking a turkey for a few hours and let the heat wave roll out and singe your that feeling. That is what it felt like. Some said hair-dryer hot. I disagree. It was worse than that.

I went running at 5pm when it had cooled down to 108 in the shade for the sole purpose of running in weather just that hot. I want to be able to tell my grand kids about what HOT really is. So now I have run in temps ranging from negative 20 degrees in Alfred, NY in 1994, to the 120 here in the Sinai. It was not pleasant and the water in my water bottle went from refrigerator cold to BLAH hot cocoa hot by the 3rd mile.

In other news congrats to Fellow Montrail teammate, VHTRC, Virginian, and blogger Bryon Powell on his 2nd place at the Laurel Highlands 70 miler! The guy is awesome and proved what I am also trying to prove......Once you have established an ultrarunner base. And have put in a few LONG long runs, and are able to have proper caloric intake during the race. The most important thing to racing ultra races well is speed. Meaning.... weekly runs where you run "fast"- which is relative to everyone. I think it had been 8 weeks since he put in a run longer than 26.

Vermont will be similar for me.

Also after listening to the body (which was achy and letting me know) I am not going to go to a 4 day schedule of Long/easy/tempo/easy. I am going to stay with what has been working for me:

1-Long- tempo

No need to fix what ain't broken.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Finding the Pace?

Thursday- 4miles- 32min
Friday- 12miles- 1:29- 3w up, 3x3k at LT pace, 3 c dn

Yesterday was a good run. It was a return to some faster running for the first time in 17 days. And despite it being just 13 days post my 50 miler (and 48hrs since a 22), the legs felt pretty good. BUT, I sure did have trouble finding what tempo pace is again.

I ran my 1520m loop 2x for 3040m or close enough to "2 miles" after a decent warm up. I did not do any striders or quicker running before setting off on the first go around and it showed as I was 16 seconds too slow. I adjusted and then managed to run pretty well afterward:

3x 3040m- 12:20, 11:52, 12:05 on 2 minute recoveries

My Lactate threshold pace is around 6:17 per mile so these repeats should have all been about the pace of the 2nd one. However, it is always important to listen to the old body and run smooth and relaxed. Thus the third one was a bit slow. I'll take it.... and am feeling pretty confident again now to think I have been able to put in the 22 miler and this LT workout less than 2 weeks post a run that absolutely destroyed my quads. I think this bodes very well.

After my last posts comments I have to laugh and tell you about September of 1997 when I went camping in a remote state forest of upstate NY for 4-5 days. I took only pop tarts and power bars with me and put in a 112 mile week running trails in preparation for my first marathon.

In today's multi-million dollar sports nutrition world we can easily loose sight of the basics. In the 20 minutes post exercise your insulin IGF-I hormone levels pulse and thus, a huge ability to transport glucose from the blood, into the muscle for endogenous storage as glycogen occurs. It does not have to be fact simple is better. Glucose is glucose is glucose and by dumping poptarts into my system 15min post run I was able spike my blood glucose level and replenish my muscle glycogen stores. The only thing that would have worked any better would be orange juice or glucose tablets that can be held in the mouth and absorbed right through the mucus membranes there.

One of my heroes in running is Bill Rodgers. One of my favorite quotes from him refers to his late-night snack habit back in the late 1970's when he would get up and go eat chocolate chip cookies dipped in mayonnaise! He said "I don't know if I eat like this because I am running 150mpw or if I run 150mpw so I can eat like this"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Ten Lap Salute

Tuesday- AM- 2.2 mile walk
Tuesday PM- 4.4 miles 37min
Wednesday- 22 miles- 3:19

Finally the legs seemed to return to normal and since it was my last night in the south camp base for running, I figured I would sign off with a good one. I packed a bag (double bag this time) full of Mtn Dew, NUUN, body glide, CLIF shots and water and started off with the idea of running a lot of miles. Reality set in after 15miles that tonight was not a good night to put in an ultra, but I intended to run enough to make the legs sore again.

I established a pattern of running the 2.2 mile loop in 17:30-18:00 min then sitting and drinking for 1:30-2:30 and managed to do 3 laps an hour consistently. I hope I can maintian this sub 9:00 minute mile pace in next months race aswell.

Following the run I had a nice dinner of 800calories of poptarts (the dining hall was closed...what else am I going to eat?) and began setting up the final training schedule leading up to ran day July 21st.

I basically have 4 more weeks of HARD /LONG training and a 2 week taper. I am using the Jack Daniels marathon plan workouts (10 specific ones remaining) and am also intent on getting in regular 20 milers at 8:00 minute miles or "slow twitch stimulating" runs in order to maximize my slow twitch fibers effectiveness. So this is the skeleton going forth:
A 4 Day repeating schedule:
Day one- long easy paced 20 miler at 8:00+ minute miles
day two- recovery 5-7 miles at easy pace
Day three- Daniel's specific workout totaling 13-15miles (most of which at 6:15-6:30pace)
day four- easy recovery 5-7miles

The continued focus on lactate threshold runs will help with efficiency and the regular 20 milers will help with endurance. And I'm going to gamble that I don't need any more runs that are super long. I want to come into a 100 RESTED FOR ONCE! Honestly, I believe I have already got in what I need. This is contrary to what a lot of uultrarunners think (What?! you are not going to run 45milers every weekend right up until 10 days before the race???), but we will all have to wait to see the results!

I think I have finally figured out my body and how best to train it. My focus is on prepping for a faster 100, not a mountain one that will take 30 hours and involve 5,000ft climbs and descents.

John Treacy the 1980's Running legend speaks
EASY DAYS EASY!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Random Thoughts

Sunday: 6.6miles- 54:24
Monday: 7miles- 4.4-38min, 2.2-14:30, striders

Well, as the Egypt days are counting down I am really starting to think about life back in Virginia. Which leads into the hope for great training with fellow VHTRC mates like the incredible Keith Knipling who just pulled off the incredible:

Massanutten 100- 21:18- 3rd
Old Dominion Memorial 100- 17:46- 1st
Old Dominion Original 100- 19:21- 1st

This is stil blowing my mind. Keith is an interesting cat in that he did not run for his high school or college, but did through hike the App. Trail solo. Following those 2100miles he did his first ever foot race- Bull run Run 50 mile followed one month later by a finish at MMT in 35hours in 1999. He has been a competitive cyclist and this may be the reason for the speedy recoveries. Having a lot of accessory muscle helps in the race when normal running muscles and fibers get fatigued you have something else to recruit, and likely helps post event too, as you have another activity to perform to add in flushing the damaged muscle tissue out post race. My hat is off to him.

So I think about this and the fact that even today 10 days post my 50 miler here I still feel the dead quads and soreness! Man, I must have demolished the muscle fibers, or I am just really a wuss. I have been chomping at the bit to get back into the swing of normal runs. I need to get some 80-100 mile weeks in, and a bunch of 17-22 milers. I was even considering moving my 3rd of 3 LONG long runs up from June 16 to June 9...but can't the way I am feeling.

Alas, today I ran a bit more up tempo and the legs actually felt better. Possible due to the muscle recruitment hitting faster twitch or intermediate fibers that were not as utilized during the 50 and thus not as obliterated. Anyway it felt good to go fast. I miss it. It has been 2 weeks and I am starting to get nutty.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Runners are Stupid

Friday- 4.4 miles- 41mins (3 walk breaks)
Saturday- 6.6 miles- 54mins

Okay the legs are SLOWLY coming back. A good thing as my supper wussy runner's ego and confidence was starting to wain big time. I am not alone in this.... runners have very fleeting confidence. I recognize it and hate it, but seem to be able to do little about it. You are only as good as your last race...and if workouts are poor then for damn sure ALL your fitness is lost. Not logical thinking I know, but I am not alone in these skewed thought processes.

Fortunately it has only been a week since my LONG long run and finallyI was able to run normally today. I was starting to think stupid thoughts like I would never be able to finish Vermont....jeez a run of only half the distance killed can I possibly..... blah blah blah.

Today, I had a normal stride and ran the Hilly / sandy loops well with even a hint of a spring in my step. Quads still have some lingering soreness but hey, that only means I must have killed off all the week myosin heads and destroyed the weakest sarcomeres... Now only the strong survived and I will surely be able to crush the Vermont course.

While running I had a thought about the coming Vermont race that I have been focusing on for a good 7 months now. I don't care at all about anyone else in the race. I know a couple good guys are running (Jim Kerby- AT 100 winner, and Todd Walker- 2nd at MMT '07) but I can't control what they do on July 21st. Just what I do. And I plan on running through the first 50 miles comfortably in under 7 hours and continuing to crush myself and the course there after. I hope to be running strong and even paced splits through 80 miles. And while on training runs most days of the week I envision myself running strongly all the way through the finish line.

I will be lining up to attempt a 100mile race for the 26th time. I know what to expect. And I am trying in training to prepare properly to avoid mistakes I have made previously. If I can pull all I have put into this body the last 7 months back out of it on race day, I will be happy. Whether that brings me home in first or 10th I don't care.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Still Thinking and Reading

Wednesday- 0 miles .... still too damn sore
Thursday- 2 miles- mainly running

Yesterday I spent 8 hours traveling to southcamp and ran late in the evening. It was mainly running, but still so sore. I hate down time for recovery and despite being a PT and KNOWING I should cross train and what not I hate that too. Only non-running I like is Kayaking and I really am looking forward to getting back on the water.

Anyway I know the stress and adapt thing is vital so I am not pushing the running...when I am recovered I will again get on it mileage-wise. Need to get in a couple big weeks in the next 3 for sure. I assume my next long run will not kill me as much due to the muscles learning not to get so traumatically torn apart at the cellular level (and thus not as much of an immune/swelling/needed repair response)....Ie.. not as sore. Generically I call it quad invincibility. For me it take 3 beat down efforts....then my quads pretty much can't get sore. Saturdays effort was the 2nd.

Anyway I have been thinking and reading more about training and picked this one off my good buddy's webpage: I Run Far. This is a great read-from HADD -off the fame..... here are some relevant highlights related to my post yesterday about myself and how I have not produced as good of performances at longer distances:

"To sum up; if you are well trained aerobically, you do not fall apart (as in my example from yesterday's post about my PR's) when the race gets longer. The reasons are usually at least one (and maybe both) of two things from the athlete concerned:"
1. Low mileage background in training
2. Whatever mileage being done is being run “too fast” (for performance level)

For me:
#1 Could be argued.... I have averaged 2100-2800miles a year in my serious training years
#2- Is exactly what I have been determining with good 10+ year hindsight now

I have always trained in the past under the impression that I would get better the harder I ran. Thus I tended to pound intervals often....progression was via a shortening of the rests period or by adding more reps. But I never ran tempo or lactate threshold type runs. It was easy conversational pace or intervals. Period.

thus my tolerance for lactate continued to suck and my perfromances show that

I even used to get pissed at my teammates for "racing" easy days or our weekly 10-12 milers since they then would not be rested enough to POUND the next set of intervals. Training on my own post college..... I would randomly pick 6:00pace per mile as a "tempo" pace and try to extend my tolerance of it every week or two. Sometimes this worked well as it was probably pretty close to LT pace for me at the time and was tolerable. Other times it destroyed me and eventually I shied away completely from anything other than conversational pace. One thing I did do that seemed to work well was hill repeats 4-6minutes in length done 3-10 times. The strength gains from the hill were great and running back down allowed even more muscle gains due to the eccentric work. They beat me up but I at least allowed enough time for proper recovery.

Okay to summarise this babble: I plan to do more specific running for the next year and a half with the hope of running a sub 2:30 marathon.
Staples will be
1) 10 mile runs done at just sub-lactate threshold pace (half marathon race pace)
2) Jack Daniels specific cruise interval pace workouts done with a lengthy warm up
3) The infamous JD (tempo / easy hour/ tempo) run
4) Runs of 2+ hours

Now time for some easy miles!