Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vermont 100 Race Report

Sorry for the long delay. For some reason writing about the race seems harder than completing it was.

I am very happy to have completed the race and to have done so in less than 23 hours. I realize now that my goals were a bit ambitious, and based on my training and how I was feeling that day, a 20 hour finish (let alone 18) was unrealistic. I think that if everything had gone well I could have broken 22, maybe even 21 hours. I’m not sure what my actual time was. My watch says 22:55:41, the race results that include our split times lists my time as 22:57:22, and a page just listing finish times has me at 22:59:07. All I know is that I broke 23 hours. I just needed to break 24 hours to get a belt buckle (as opposed to a plaque), but breaking 23 hours was what kept me going the last several hours of the race.

I realize now that during a long race you encounter many situations in which you are forced to make a decision. One’s success or failure in a race can often be attributed to one’s decision-making. I think that on long training runs one also encounters these situations, so while these training runs prepare one physically, they also prepare one to make good decisions.

Even before the race began, one makes vital decisions about what to wear, what to carry, what to put into drop bags, what to eat and drink. Although people say not to try anything new in a race, I often find myself trying new things. Before this race I tried a nutritional supplement that was supposed to make me burn fat and therefore require me to take in fewer calories. Also, I still felt full from last night’s dinner of a whole pizza that I had eaten a mere 8 hours earlier. As a result of not wanting to feel bloated early on in the race, I made the (bad) decision to dilute my sports drink more than I usually would. Another (bad) decision I made was to wear a windshirt, as it was raining steadily at the beginning of the race. The rain stopped soon after, but within a few miles I was soaked from sweating. The feeling of the windshirt on my wet skin was cold and clammy, and eventually I felt chilled, but taking it off would have made matters even worse, so I wore it until I got to my first drop bag at mile 21 and could change into a dry shirt.

The combination of the cold, clammy windshirt, possibly not enough calories, a cloudy, drizzly, overcast morning put me in a serious funk soon after I passed through the 15.3 mile aid station in 57th place. I was right where I wanted to be from a pacing standpoint and was not tired from physical exertion, but felt emotionally exhausted and physically weak. All the adrenaline I had felt in the days and weeks leading up to the race had vanished, and I felt like quitting, not only the race, but running altogether. In these low, soul-crushing moments, I feel terribly isolated from everyone and everything. Inevitably I see people pass me, often in groups, chatting away, and I wish that someone would come by and talk to me, getting me out of my isolation and encouraging me to go with them. This never seems to happen. What does happen is I take the initiative and talk with someone or latch onto a group.

In the midst of the funk (somewhere between 2 and 4 hours), I began to wonder if the funk was not nutritionally related, and I was not taking in enough calories. Just around the time I realized this, my body began to feel like itself again. Instead of feeling weak and listless, the muscles in my legs felt tired and sore, like they normally would after 4 hours of running and walking. Although my funk had cost me 15 or 20 minutes, it felt great to get back to normal. Just before the 30 mile mark, I ran for a bit with Andy and Patrick, two guys I met with at the medical check-in the day before. Every time I saw them they provided encouragement and a few laughs. I think I left the 30 mile aid station before them, because I didn’t see them for a while. I hit that aid station at about 5:45, a full 30 minutes slower than my best case scenario. You might think that this would be discouraging, but it really wasn’t. Once the race started, all the goals and projections ceased to matter. What mattered was what I could do that day on that course, and my projections were mostly guesswork. The sun came out at around this point, and leaving this aid station I encountered at steep, vicious climb. I went from feeling cool to being overheated in about 10 minutes. At one point I actually sat down on the trail to catch a breather and get my heart rate down. I managed to be go from 65th to 78th place in the span of 2.8 miles.

It never always gets worse; in fact, it got better, or at least, I felt better. I met up with Andy and Patrick just before 47.2 miles at Camp 10 Bear, an aid station I would see twice and where I would meet my parents, who be crewing for me for the rest of the race. I spent about 5 minutes here, changing shoes, socks, shirt, exchanging a hydration vest for a waist belt and handheld bottle, and getting weighed. I had never been weighed before in a race, and I was curious as to what I would find. I was down only 2 pounds from when I was weighed the day before, so my nutrition and hydration were solid. I left Camp 10 Bear in 74th place at just under 9.5 hours and met up again with Patrick, Andy, and met Tamara. The four of us stuck together for the next several miles, encountering another vicious ascent soon after leaving the aid station. Both Patrick and Tamara were not feeling well due to their exertion and the heat of the day (Patrick recovered but Tamara DNF’ed) but I was feeling great so I motored on ahead. I was moving steadily up and ran for a bit with Nathan and Jenny, a couple who had done several 100s earlier in the year. In fact, Jenny won two 100 mile races just 7 days apart. Nathan, who had finished in the top 10 at Vermont last year, kept me from negative thinking.

I came into Camp 10 Bear again at 70 miles in 14.5 hours feeling great, having moved up from 74th to 56th. I was to pick up my pacer here and thought that finishing in under 22 hours was a probability ( I “only” needed to average 15 minute miles). I had met my pacer the day before but he was nowhere to be found; I learned from him later that he had to leave Vermont the night before due to a family emergency. My parents found an impromptu pacer for the next 7 miles, but not before I was hit with more bad news. I was down 6 pounds, and if I lost 2 or 3 more, the next time I was weighed, at mile 88, I might have to stop and eat/drink or be pulled from the race. This led to another (bad) decision. Leaving Camp 10 Bear, we encountered yet another relentless climb. While climbing, I was drinking more than I had been in hopes of gaining some weight. I began to feel queasy, so I ate some ginger candy, and that seemed to help. Near the top of the climb, I passed someone who was puking their guts out. Less than 10 minutes later, we were recovering from the climb while walking on a flat stretch. I began to eat a gel, but the moment the gel hit my mouth everything came out. I was on my knees giving up all my food and drink to the ultra gods. I could see bits of watermelon, orange, a rainbow of flavors. As I was laying on my back, the former puker passed me and we exchanged knowing looks. My weight gain plan was not working. When I finally got up, my body began to cramp, so I began to drink again and took several electrolyte pills. No more than 40 yards down the trail from the gastric emptying, we encountered the official race photographer. If only I had taken that gel a minute later, I would have had a race photo worth buying….

The 7 miles with my pacer took 2 hours, and my confidence along with it. The sun had set, so the final 23 miles would be in the dark. My parents found yet another impromptu pacer for the next 11 miles, and at first he seemed excessively happy and chatty. At one point I almost turned around and dropped out, but as I had no good reason to do so, I kept moving forward. I made the (good?) decision not to eat any more gels, so in order to get more calories I was drinking one bottle of sports drink and one bottle of Mountain Dew, and eating chicken soup/broth whenever I could get it. I had no further stomach issues and never felt sleepy. Near the end of our time together, well after I had come to welcome his companionship, we encountered a long stretch of flattish dirt road. After all the relentless ups and downs of the course, this stretch was welcomed, and I ran all of it. I think this was my favorite memory of the race, feeling at peace while running down the dirt road in the dark, with stars above and verdant farmland all around.

I came into the aid station at mile 88.6 having to urinate badly, but being concerned for my weight, I managed to hold it in. It turns out that I was back to my weight from Friday. The scale used at mile 70 was just a cheap bathroom scale unlike the rest of the scales that were like the one’s you see in doctor’s offices. Next ultra I will pay attention to the kind of scale and will ask other runners if their weight seems off.

I was on my own for the final 11.4 miles. I had been on my feet for just under 19.5 hours. I knew I had no chance at 22 hours, but finishing under 23 hours seemed a lock. However, that nice long runnable stretch was the last running I would do, save for a few stumbles here and there. I had known that Vermont’s downhills were ultimately worse than its ups, so I walked some of the early downhills, but at this point in the race I was praying for uphills and flats. I could still walk strongly on the uphills and flats but could only stagger and stumble on the downhills due to my destroyed quad muscles. I managed to maintain my position and my motivation, but realized that making it in under 23 hours was going to be close. As arbitrary as it was, that sub-23 hour goal kept me going. I barely stopped at the last handler station at 95.5 miles because I knew every second counted.

With under an hour to go I came across John, a guy I had seen in the first two hours of the race. Although walking, I passed him and told him that he needed to come with me if he wanted to break 23 hours. It turns out, he was in his own funk, and my encouragement is just what he needed. He came with me and we stuck together for the last few miles. We saw the 99 mile marker and had about 20 minutes left, so we knew barring disaster or another vicious climb, that we would make it. He started feeling better and ran the last bit, finishing a minute ahead of me. When I came upon the finish line I considered shuffling, but I decided to just walk it in and soak in the moment. The picture at the top of the blog is me finishing and John going to shake my hand.

I finished in 55th place. I was in 57th place at 15.3 miles and 56th place at 70.1. I was as low as 78th and as high as 52nd.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I’ve always thought that going in with low expectations was the way to go. Usually when a movie or book has been built up by word of mouth or professional reviews, I go in expecting to be wowed, and am often at least slightly disappointed. However, if I go into a movie expecting it to be bad, I am inevitably at least slightly entertained. (I have tried to convince my wife to have lower expectations of me, but even with these lower expectations, I still manage to disappoint her.) I think that one’s expectations also in many ways determine the way in which one perceives one’s performance in an athletic competition.
Looking back on my high school and college running career, I realize now that as my expectations got higher and higher, my enjoyment lessened. My best race was the 800 meters, and I achieved my personal best of 1:52.23 in my junior year of high school. Before that race, my personal best was 1:55.08 (give or take a few hundredths), so I PRed by almost three full seconds. This race was a breakthrough performance, but sadly, it was also the apex of my running career (and I didn’t even win the race). Up until that point, I had been winning (or nearly winning) races and showing steady, gradual (and at times dramatic) improvement. I never thought that that improvement would cease so suddenly and dramatically. From that point on, unless I won a race, it was a disappointment because I ran slower than I knew I was capable of running. 1:52.23 became the measuring stick for success. My senior year in high school I managed to run 1:53.65 in the insanely competitive California High School meet to nab a spot on the podium in 6th place. Having overcome some injuries, I was satisfied with this result. Other than my 1:52.23, this was the only time I ran under 1:54. In college, I was not the most motivated athlete, and I regret not having been more committed. I thought at the time that I was lazy or scared of the pain involved, and although those things may both have been true, I think I also had such high expectations of myself based upon past performances that I got little to no enjoyment out it. A vicious cycle was formed—disappointing performance leads to lack of motivation leads to lack of work ethic leads to disappointing performance….
I realize now that I could be entering a similar phase in my post-retirement running career. I began running again with the goal of running a marathon and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I was extremely disciplined and motivated in the training leading up to my first marathons, and I achieved my goal with relative ease. While embarking on this training, I discovered ultrarunning. I had always been vaguely aware of it, but through the magic of the internet I discovered GUTS, ran the Fat Ass 50K- and from there I was hooked. I had always preferred running on grass, dirt, and trails, so it was a natural progression. In my first ultras, I just had to finish to meet expectations. Sure, I had time goals, but short of not finishing, I was going to be happy. I guess I would call this the honeymoon phase.
The one and only 100 miler I did came about almost by accident. I was one of the last people to make it off the waiting list and onto the start list of the Umstead 100. This happened only 2 months before the race, so it wasn’t as if I had plenty of time to train. As it was, I was injured, nursing an inflamed IT-band, so I wasn’t training much at the time to begin with. I showed up at the starting line vastly undertrained, still injured, and virtually no expectations. I hoped to make it to 50 miles, if I could finish the 100 that would be awesome, and if I could do it in under 24 hours, I would be ecstatic. 19:19:27 later, I was more than ecstatic, I was shocked. People always say that running 100 miles strips you down to the core, and I assume that this happens due to the prolonged suffering and exhaustion that takes place. I wouldn’t know, because I never really suffered. I never had a bad patch in the race and felt that I could have kept going for another 25 miles if necessary.
That being said, what should my expectations be for this weekend’s Vermont 100? To finish is not enough, I’ve already done that. I’ve also already run under 24 hours. Should I be disappointed if I run slower than 19:19:27? I know in my head that Umstead had only 8,000 feet of climb and drop, whereas Vermont has 14-15,000, so it is an empirically more difficult course. I also know that Vermont is more technical, with stretches of trail, whereas Umstead was all dirt road. Umstead was also an 8 loop course, so I knew exactly what was in front of me, but every step of Vermont will be an unknown. Although I posted my goals in a previous post, here they are again. My dream race at Vermont would be to break 18 hours. I will be ecstatic if I break 20 hours (more ecstatic if under 19:19:27). I will be happy if under 22, pleased if under 24, and content with finishing.
I have analyzed the splits of the finishers the last few years, so I have a good idea of where I want to be. The main thing I need to do early is NOT RACE. I need to pay attention to my effort level and keep it slow and steady. I have decided to employ the Galloway run-walk method with a 4:25 run and 0:35 walk break. I will try to run keep this relatively consistent regardless of terrain, meaning I will be running some uphills and walking some downhills early. I hope to hit mile 21.1 at 3:30-3:40, which is right around 10-minute miles. I hope to reach mile 30.1 in 90 minutes, continuing with the 10-minute miles. I would love to see my parents (my crew) at 47.2 miles a mere three hours later, which would slow my pace to around 10:30 per mile. I will spend a few minutes at this aid station changing shoes, shirt, swapping my hydration vest for a waist pack. The next aid station is at mile 51, which is roughly half-way through the race. I hope to make it here in just under 9 hours. If so, I hope to make it to mile 70.1 in 12 to 12.5 hours. If I am still running strong, it will have taken me right around 4 hours to get from 47.2 to 70.1. I pick up my pacer at 70.1, and if I still have anything left, I will make it to the finish in under 6 hours. Here is a list of my ideal splits at key aid stations based upon previous finishers (the times in parentheses are Daniel Larson’s 2007 splits):
21.1: 3:35 (3:34)
30: 5:05 (5:05)
47.2: 8:05 (8:05)
51: 8:50 (8:52)
70.1: 12:05 (12:01)
88.6: 15:45 (15:38)
100: 17:59 (17:49)
Daniel Larson will be running Vermont for the third time this year. If I am smart, I will find him before the race and run with him but NOT RACE him early. Hopefully he will go out at a similar pace to 2007.
Getting back to expectations, I need to focus on monitoring my effort and holding back for the first 30 miles. I need to remember forcing myself to walk and go slowly on the second and third laps at Umstead and getting passed by people that I ended up being hours ahead of at the finish. Ultimately I need to remember to enjoy myself, thank all the volunteers, and never to give up.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vermont 100!?!

I have changed my goal race (yet again). I will be running the Vermont 100 and not White River 50. I have been itching to run something longer that will bring me into the element of the unknown. I know I can push through discomfort and stick it out for 50 miles, and on a good day I can run (relatively) fast. Although I have done one 100, it was at Umstead, which took a lot of the unknown out of it, as it was a loop course. I knew what awaited me in terms of terrain and aid, and I never got to a breaking point—rather, the closer I got to the finish, the stronger I felt. Vermont will be a different story, especially if the conditions are similar to what I have been dealing with this year.

I went into Umstead with no expectations, as I was injured for the four months leading up to the race. In the ten days between June 19-28, I ran 100 miles over a ten-day span, with 4 18+ milers and three rest days thrown in for good measure. I am much more physically prepared, it would seem, but I also go into the race with much higher expectations. I always set myself several goals, especially when the race is long and so much can happen. Here are my goals for Vermont—dream: under 18 hours; ecstatic: under 20 hours; happy: under 22 hours; pleased: under 24 hours; content: finish under 30 hours.

Part of the uncertainty has to do with the race course itself; although one of the first 100 milers and part of the grand slam, it has no map, no elevation profile, and until a few weeks ago had no course description, and the course description is long but not very descriptive. I know I will be running on mostly smooth gravel roads, some single-track, and a few miles on the road, with lots of ups and downs. I will be looking for more blogs that contain descriptions of the race.

This will also be the first time my family will be seeing me run an ultra, as well as the first time that I will have a crew (guess who?). I am excited to have the support and hope that they enjoy the experience. I am also worried about wearing them out. 20 hours is long enough when one is running, but probably even worse when someone is driving around and then sitting, waiting, and worrying. I also worry that, although I am always exceedingly polite and thankful to aid station volunteers, with my family my real (i.e. a-holeish) side might come out. All in all, though, I am excited.

I have a Twitter account now, but I don’t know how to use it. I will figure out how to do so and have someone send out text message updates of my progress on Twitter. I got my Twitter account solely so I could follow last weeks Western States 100. The webcast was overwhelmed with web traffic (big surprise), so Twitter and the webcast’s “Live Blog” were the only way to get updates. Twitter was even more timely than the “Live Blog” in letting us know who was up front and who was dropping out, thanks to some people tweeting from the aid stations. I think it’s only a matter of time before big races like Western States have designated Tweeters (Twitterers?) at aid stations, much like Scott Dunlap suggested on his blog back in April. Congrats on the finish, Scott.

Last Two Months

I always get annoyed when people whose blogs I follow fail to update them in a timely manner. I wonder if anyone is annoyed with me? That would mean someone actually reads this thing. A lot has happened. We (wife, cats, and myself) moved to Grant Park literally next door to church. (I ma looking at the church right now as I type this. If I make any typing errors it is because I am looking at the church. [Only one error!])

I ran lots of races. Short recap:

May 2—IOCC 5K: 1st- 17:59

May 3—Buncombe Forest 34 miler: 4th- 5:31:41

May 12—Atlanta Track Club (ATC) All-Comer’s Track Meet: 800m- 2:07, 3200m- 11:05

May 19—ATC All-Comer’s Track Meet: 1500m- 4:24

June 2—ATC All-Comer’s Track Meet: 3000m- 9:46

June 6—YMCA Louisville Run to the Sun 4 miler: 3rd- 22:35.5

June 19-21—Rock/Creek Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race: 12th- 10:16:53

I returned to the track for the first time since college back in 1998. Even though I have been training to run long and (relatively) slowly, and having run nothing faster than 5:30/mile pace or so, I ran pretty fast. I guess I have a fair number of fast-twitch muscle fibers. This is encouraging, as I really enjoyed running on the track, and now I know that I can train for longer stuff but still run well on the track. I am thinking about training for some early spring 50Ks and then crank up the speed work and see how much faster I can run with proper track training.

I was also really pleased with my road racing. At the four-miler in Louisville I did something I had never done before—I ran each mile faster (5:47, 5:44, 5:33, 5:31) and went from 8th to 3rd from mile 1 to the finish. This race made me want to run Peachtree in hopes of PRing for 10K, and thanks to Reebok and Susan Jones, I have a number up front. Now all I have do is run fast on the 4th.

The ultras were a bit more taxing. I haven’t felt really pleased with any races this year (with the exception of Fat Ass, which was more of a run than a race). This year has been the year of heat. Mississippi was the first hot day of the year, Buncombe was hot and HUMID, and the Stage Race was in the upper 90s each day. I have not dealt well with the heat. I have learned several things about myself and the heat: 1) don’t use gels with lots of caffeine (caffeine seems to overheat me and make me nauseous); 2) use Endurolytes rather than S-Caps (I’m not sure why, but my stomach tolerates Endurolytes better); 3) don’t rush through aid stations and possibly forget something (saved seconds lead to lost minutes); 4) water tastes better than sports drink later in the run; 5) don’t mix the Perpetuem too strong and make sure it’s mixed with COLD water; 6) sucking on ice feels great.

Short recap of the ultras:

Ran every step for the first 3.5 hours of Buncombe, walked a little before getting to the final aid station at mile 28 in 3:57, and walked most of the way to the finish. This was unplanned, but I was treating this as a run and not a race. My legs were spent from the 5K and weight training the day before and from not walking at all. I got a great 4 hour run with a nice 6 mile hike as a cool down.

Made a wrong turn in the first two miles of the first stage (Picture at top of the post is before I got lost; all the guys in the picture followed me). I should have gone out slower, I should have been thinking about all 60 miles, not just the 22 of day one. I ran too hard playing catch up and bonked at three hours, walking a long downhill that I should have flown down. I felt by far the worst after this first stage. Day two I ran smart early on but then pushed too hard in the middle, falling apart again in the last half hour. Day three I suffered from running too quickly early on, but ran steady for the final 2.5 hours, finally getting the hang of racing. (Picture at the top of the webpage is from day 3: I am wearing the hydration pack and waiting to climb out of "Randyland.") The stage race was great preparation for a summer 100.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 20-26

Monday: 3 miles of walking to and from home, MARTA, and work. Total: 3 miles (walking)

Tuesday: Approach trail to Appalachian Trail with Jason Spruill. The run goes from the visitor’s center at the base of Amicalola Falls (1800’) to the top of Spring Mountain (3700’) and back for a total of 17 miles. Having never been up there, I was expecting it to take us about 2 hours to get there and a best case scenario of 3 ½ hours round-trip. The hardest part of the run is the very beginning. With no chance to warm-up, you are forced to slog up steep switchbacks and then trudge up a steep gravel road. The trail is never overly technical, and after the initial climb it becomes more runnable. While there is plenty of climbing, it is never relentless (except for the beginning). I let Jason lead us out there and he set a brisk pace. I had to be on my A-game to keep up with his power hiking, and he attacked the running portions as well. With a few miles to go I realized that we were making great time, so I took the lead and powered up the final climbs. I got to the top of Springer in 1:37:34, with Jason not too far behind. We took a few pictures and at some food, but it was windy at the top, so we didn’t dally too long. Going back was obviously easier, but there were more uphills going back than we had remembered downhills going out. I usually hit a low point between 2 and 3 hours, but I felt great the entire run. With a few miles to go, I realized I had a shot at finishing in under 3 hours, so I hammered the long downhill and finished in 2:58:42. On the drive home, we drove through a Chick-Fil-A that was selling 10 lb. bags of ice for $0.99, so I bought a bag for the ice bath that night. Total: 17

Wednesday: 4 miles of walking to and from home, MARTA, and work. Total: 4 (walking)

Thursday: Still sore from Tuesday’s run, I did an easy 6 miles in 51:10 (8:32 avg.) around Piedmont Park before work. Icebath after work. Total: 6

Friday: Since I’ve got a 5K coming up soon, I wanted to do a workout that would give me a sense of 5K pace and a reminder of 5K pain. I ran to the closest track (Clark Atlanta University) and did 6 x 800 with a 200 jog: 2:50, 2:49, 2:48, 2:48, 2:48, 2:41. Average 800 was 2:47 and average 200 was 1:13. The goal was to run 2:50 so I exceeded that slightly. This gives me confidence to run between 17 and 17:30. By the end of the year, I hope to be in the low 16’s. The total run was 7.5 miles in 54 min. (7:12 avg.). Total: 7.5

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 9.5 miles in 1:16:08 (8:01 avg.) at Atlanta Memorial Park. Total: 9.5

Weekly Totals: 40 miles running (7 miles walking) in 6 hours (9:00 avg.).

My IT band has been bothering me since the run on Tuesday. I need to get some massive hill training in preparation for the White River 50 Miler, but it seems like my body breaks down whenever I do runs with significant elevation changes. I really need to be more consistent with my core exercises. The 40 miles this week was intentional, as I am getting in some recovery before my two races this weekend: a 5K on Saturday and a 34 miler on Sunday. Time goals for the two races: run under 17:30 (and as close to 17 as possible) for the 5K; run under 5 hours with a controlled effort for the 34 miler.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 13-19

Monday: 3 miles of walking to and from home, MARTA, and work. Total: 3 (walking)

Tuesday: 12 miles in 1:29 (7:24 avg.) at Atlanta Memorial Park. 2 lap warm up (1 lap = 1.8+ miles), 3 x mile with 60 sec jog (6:17, 6:15, 6:17), 2+ lap warm down. Warm up and warm down were at 7:40ish per mile, so the whole work out was of good quality. Total: 12

Wednesday: 4 miles of walking to and from home, MARTA, and work. Total: 4 (walking)

Thursday: 14.7 miles in 2:15 (9:14 avg.) at Cochran Shoals/Sope Creek with Jason. Felt weak and hungry in beginning, pace gradually increased as I felt better, lots of ups and downs, final mile on the flats in 7:25. Total: 15

Friday: Rest and ice bath

Saturday: Granite Grinder ½ Marathon on trails at Conyers International Horse Park in 1:34:38. Garmin had 13.53 and I did go off course for 30 sec to a min. Garmin also had 7:00 avg. Don’t have time on warm-up or warm-down. I’m guessing 2:15 total time (7:30 avg.). Total: 18

Sunday: 5 miles in 42:00 (8:24 avg.). Total: 5

Weekly Totals: 50 miles running, 6:41:00, 8:01 avg. pace; 7 miles walking

At 152 miles (159 if I include the 7 miles of walking), this is my highest 3 week total ever. I think my body is adapting, as my leg issues are (I think and hope) gradually subsiding. I am stretching and foam rolling more consistently, and the ice baths also help. I will be doing the AT-approach trail with Jason on Tuesday and take Friday-Thursday as a recovery week. After the recovery week I hope to be able to up my mileage to 60ish on 5 days a week running.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 6-12

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: It was cold and windy and my Tuesday running partner (Jason Spruill) has daddy duties due to spring break, so I wimped out and headed to LA Fitness. I decided to try to climb 4000 feet in an hour on the treadmill. According to Dan Rose’s blog, 4.3 miles on a treadmill at an incline of 15 would get one 4000 feet. Apparently a 15 on the treadmills at LA Fitness is not as steep as Dan Rose’s treadmill (or calculates feet climbed differently, because I did 2.26 miles in 30:22 (between 4.4 and 4.5 mph avg.), and it told me I climbed 1780 feet. I then took a water break, jogged 0.5 miles, then did 1.59 miles in 22:11 (4.3 avg) on 15 and it said I climbed 1240 feet. I finished up with a little less than 4 miles going 6 mph (10 min. miles) for a total of 8 miles. I’ll admit I was cheating on the climbs and holding onto the top of the treadmill rather than pumping my arms. This workout really aggravated the tendonitis behind my knee. Note to self: use body glide or tape nipples before running on treadmill. Total: 8

Wednesday: 2 mile warm-up (17:20), then 5 miles (41:11) with Oakhurst Running Club. Ran in control and took it easy except on the uphills. We placed 2nd at trivia because we did not know the final question. Total: 7

Thursday: 15 miles at Atlanta Memorial Park in 2:10:12 (8:41 avg.). I did 8+ 1.8 mile loops—boring, but the slow pace and flat, forgiving surface (for the most part) kept my aches and pains from getting any worse. Total: 15

Friday: Rest and ice bath.

Saturday: Woke up with a really sore right shoulder/neck (from holding on to the treadmill on Tues.?), so decided not to run until PM. Kristi picked me up at work and we decided to go out and eat, so I got a second rest day, albeit an unplanned one.

Sunday: I got sucked into the Masters and didn’t leave the house until after 5pm (I recorded the final 2+ hours and watched it upon returning home). I decided to drive to Boundary Waters Park in Douglasville and check out their trails. I had planned to do 20-22, but since I was starting so late, the odds of getting that many miles in before dark wasn’t likely. The park closed at dusk and some regulars said that the rangers herded people out before dark, so I decided to run pretty hard. I got in around 17 in around 2:10. My Garmin crapped out again just before the 2 hour mark, and I think it was being a little stingy. I was definitely doing sub-8 minute miles, as the trails were pretty flat (except for one steep up-and-down section that I did just once) and I was pushing the pace. Ice bath upon returning home. Total: 17

Weekly total: 47 miles, 6:52:12, 8:46 min/mile avg.

Wanted to get to 60 this week, but Saturday and Sunday ended that quest. That treadmill workout really compromised the rest of the week because of how bad my knee and IT bands felt. I’m still really pleased with how my training and fitness are progressing. I have a real shot at getting to 200 miles for the month of April, which would be a first for me, my previous high being 183 in February 2007.