Friday, July 20, 2012

Best 5k - Marathon - Trail Ultra - 24 hour training plan

For the last 2 years I have focused on 24 hour training.  There have been a couple shorter diversions to get ready for a hilly ultra or get just fast enough to break 3 hours in a marathon before I go back to exclusively 24 hour specific training.

The 24 hour training = Total volume and really long runs.  I do believe these are very important to 24 hour race success, but I am missing out on some key components of training.

The 2nd half of 2012 - I am training to be a jack of all trades and a master of none.  I am training to be a strong well rounded runner.  I have this hunch that I will get much better at everything 5k - 24 hour.

My goal races include:  Glacial 50 Mile (Hilly technical trail), a 24 hour race yet to be named, a hilly marathon and I want to fit in a 5k-10k race that I can go for a PR.  My speed for 5k-10k range races is the farthest gone from that group.

I am finding it refreshing to try and fit in speed work, hill work, trail running and long runs (Long for me is 30+ mile runs).   It is easier to combine long and trail running then long and speed work.  Most weeks I fit in all 4 components.

 I am making progress in each area.  Age has crept up on me in speed workouts and I have to use a bit of caution or I end up with naggly injuries that have to be nursed.  I believe the longer and more consistent I do speed work the less this will be an issue.

I have had to give up really big mileage weeks (160-200+) to do this training.  Days with 3 runs are scarce and days with one run are much more frequent.  I am thinking I will fall into 110-130 miles per week.  This mileage range is sustainable.

Key workouts:
*  Long runs - Track (Foreshadowing), Treadmill, road or trail (Technical or flat) - 30+ miles usually with a goal of 6+ hours.
*  Speed work - Done typically in a 16-24 mile run:  5x5 minutes @ CV, 5x1 or 4x2 miles at LAT, 4 miles @ LAT or 8-10 mile tempo
*  Hill work - Run up and down hill (Grinding the hill) for 2-4 hours - this is just as much for the downhill running as uphill,  4-6 miles @ 15% on TM or Hilly technical trail
*  Hilly Technical Trail - Unless a race this workout usually is 4-5 hours on the Ice Age Trail in the Northern Kettle Moraine.  Occasionally I will make this a 6+ hour run to add "Long"

My end goal is to work into 17 minute 5k, high 34 minute 10k, 2:40 marathon and 160 mile 24 hour shape and be hill strong to do well on technical trail races ... Basically I want it all.

This will not happen overnight - But I think within an 18 month window (End of 2013) all can be achieved.

Good running to all -

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Will you still run when there are no PRs left?

This is a question I have been asking myself lately. 

I did not start running until I was 34 years old.  When I starting running (jogging) I was 300+ pounds.  I have never achieved a normal running weight.  In the last 9 years I have managed to be 200-205# for maybe a total of 18 months ... maybe.  The rest of the time I have been heavier, often 220-240#.  At one time I had 20# more upper body muscle (350 bench press) - But I stopped lifting 5 years ago, so 180-185 would be equivalent to the old 200-205.

A reasonable weight for a runner who is 6'3 is 160-170 pounds.  I always have locked up potential in the handicap I carry around my waist, butt and thighs.  I have run over 40,000 miles in the last 9 years.  I often dream of the potential I could achieve if I hit a runners weight.  I believe that all my PRs would be shattered if I weighed 175-180 pounds ... even at 43,44,45 years old (Currently 43).

In 2012 the typical cycle continues - After a fat gaining winter, I have been working hard. I Started the year @ 242 and for the last month I am pretty steady at 200-205#. Sometimes after a long hot workout, I have even seen dehydrated 193.  I continue to hold onto the hope that I can balance the summer family & friends fun time that often includes good food and good beer, with training and work and actually achieve a better running weight.

For some reason this year I have the feeling that its now or never - Either I figure out the great mystery of getting everything in balance and getting my weight to a more reasonable runners weight, or I turn in my runners card and become an occasional jogger.  It is not a desperate feeling, just a realization that time is not on my side.

What drives each of us to run is ours.  My accomplishments would be humorous to many for the time and effort spent.  "You spend how many hours a week on a hobby to achieve mediocrity?"

I am not even sure I like to run ... Sure, there are days of amazing runs, but overall?  I do like the process of training.  I love to race!  No matter what shape I am in, I love the strategery of trying to get everything out of your body that day.

I can get the buzz of racing without being in good shape ~ So logically the only reason to train at a high level (For me) would be the carrot of PRs, the pull of race success or success against individuals I want to be compete against.

When all these are gone - What will be left?  Will it be a runner?

A common saying in our group is "Runners Run".  This means at some point everything else fades away and you are left with who you are ... a runner.

At this point, I still do not know who I am ...

Good running to all!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dances with Dirt Devil's Lake 50k race report

4:42:54 (Final Results Pending) 9th OA

Low 70s and humid and at the 5:30am start.  I drove down Saturday morning, getting to the race course 45 minutes before the start.  I am not sure where the 45 minutes went - I was not ready when they called 5 minutes to start.  I quickly got my camelback filled and stuck 12 gels in my Race Ready shorts.

I am not sure where I got the wrong idea that we did the ski hill loop twice.  It took we 4+ hour to realize my error.

Last year we started straight up the ski hill, this year we ran a mile along the base and then bushwhacked back and forth up the ski hill.  Just like last year - The lead group missed the turnoff into the bushwhacking area.  The rest of us followed like sheep to the slaughter - Luckily being slower I only ran a hundred yards off course.

I have found out in trail races that I have done, I have my own rhythm - maybe because I am 200 pounds - but I climb a bit slower and descend more quickly than those around me.  In single track when its hard to pass - I really dislike running other people's rhythm, so I purposely let people go past and took it easy on the ski hill loop. 

The ski hill loop was set up easier than last year and soon I was on the Ice Age trail heading toward Devil's Head Lake State Park.  I pretty much ran by myself the next hour plus.  Last year we climbed up to the bluff twice - This year we went up the long gravel trail to the top of the bluff, ran a bit at the top and came down.  The mileage was filled in with an out and back to "The Bug Pit".  This out and back was a long decent followed by a couple miles of prairie running - Many tight spots were created as I came back while meeting other runners going the other way.  This was not a nice trade off - Climbing the bluff up the stone steps was a much nicer / harder course.

On the way back from "The Bug Pit" I had @ 3:30 on the watch and I started to get a funny feeling I might be wrong about the 2nd ski hill loop.  I faintly remember someone disagreeing with me when I said we would be running this loop a second time.  I still wanted to save something for a 2nd ski hill loop - So I half walked, half ran the long climb back. 

As we headed back away from the state park I had 4:20 0n my watch and now I knew I was heading toward the finish and not another ski hill loop.  I cranked up the effort to maximum.  Soon it was the last 2-3 mile downhill back to the finish line.  I was flying, I am guessing I was averaging sub 7 minute miles.  I could have cranked it up a bit more, but I must have passed 30+ half marathoners on the narrow trail.  I also managed to to pass 3 - 50k runners.

We poured out off the Ice Age Trail onto a paved trail with a slight uphill - My quads turned into Jello.  I fought to keep running for a couple minutes - Then gave in to a little walk ... A spectator asked my why I would walk 1/4 mile from the finish.  Oooops my bad - A little embarrassed I powered to the finish.

My friends Richard and Renee were just before the finish line giving me a shout.  Richard has been fighting a severe case of Lupus for 2 years and is finally able to start running.  He did the 10k ... Last week the Afton Alps 25k - Yes he is my OCD brother from another mother!

My other friend Mike finished the 50k a few minutes ahead of me - Now has beaten me 2 out of 3 races we both have done.  He runs fearlessly and is mentally and physically strong enough to hold on to finish well.

I sat around another 3-4 hours enjoying the good beer they have at the race and the company of other runners - This is my favorite part of this race! ... Well my favorite part of most races.

Thanks for reading - Good running to all!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another weekend of not training

I should never post workouts before I do them.  This weekend we went back to Wausau to boat with friends on Saturday and Family on Sunday.  I had thought I would be able to get up early Sunday and fit in a 3-4 hour run up and down Rib Mountain (700 vertical feet each rep).

Friday night I had a really nice 20 miler with 5x1 mile @ LAT pace.  I could not start until late because I had to get stuff done at work.  The problem with really long or intense workouts that end after 10pm is I never sleep well.

After no sleep Friday night, I got up at 6am and did the 10 miler I had planned.  Boating was awesome with the Salzmans - We get to see these friends only a couple of times a year.  After a day of wakeboarding and tubing like a 30 year old,  I knew I would be very sore Sunday morning.  After boating (8:00pm) We make the decision to go over to their house for a few drinks - I knew this was the choice of not getting up to run the big mountain workout.  I can train anytime and time with friends is precious - So I think I made a great choice. 

This summer is turning out that way - I train pretty hard M-F and enjoy the weekend with Family and Friends.

Sunday morning I did manage to run 8 miles before repeating a long day of boating - 8 hours in the sun, playing on the water can really drain your energy.

On the bright side - It is Monday again, so after sleeping in this morning I am sure I will start my M-F focused training at lunch today.

I did get 114 miles in 11 runs with a 36 mile long run and a 20 miler with speed.
Good running to all -

PS - I think I will actually get a big workout in this Saturday (DWD 50k) ... it's gonna be fun!

Friday, July 6, 2012

2012 DWD - Devils Lake 50K Pre-Race thoughts

This time last year I was recovering from a bunch of stitches in my head from trying to scalp myself.  I took 6 days off to recover from the head injury and on the 7th day I ran DWD Devils Lake 50k.  I was sluggish, but enjoying the experience when I fell ... Unable to roll to my back I caught myself with my arms.  In that split seconds I sheered off most the cartilage in my elbow and fractured the radial head. 

After a few more weeks off wallowing in food and alcohol I had gained a bunch of weight.  I got in 4 good weeks of training leading up to Leadville, but weighed 228# at weigh in.  I tried to run a race of a person 200# ... DNF'd at Mile #70.  It was a summer of disappointment for running.

I am really looking forward to DWD 50k this year ... To get the devil off my back.  I am looking forward to enjoying this hot weather race (upper 80s - low 90s) and not injuring anything.  My weight is reasonable 200-205.  My training not great, but solid ... I have done a moderate amount of trails, hills and a little bit of speed.  I have a large volume of miles this year > 3,500 YTD.

This is not a goal race - My goals in order of importance:
1)  Finish without injury
2)  Have fun
3)  Post race beer with Richard, Mike, Abe and others
4)  Break 5 hours

I am planning on only a 2 day taper with tonight and next Tuesday as 20 milers with moderate speed work.  This Sunday I plan on working up and down Rib Mountain in Wausau for at least 3 hours.  Next Wednesday will be a 20+ mile run, then it will be time for a 2 day taper.

This race is good training for my Fall goal race - Glacial 50 miler.  I think if I have a really good day ~ maybe top 5, but that is a bit of a long shot.

Good running to all -

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pittsville H&S 5 Mile race report

32:44 - 11th OA, 3rd AG

It has been a couple of years since I have run anything shorted than a marathon.  The Gary Bjorkland 1/2 Marathon for the 1st shorter effort and this was the 2nd.  I was looking forward to the race as my wife and girls were coming along and doing the 2 mile race.  They have a little carnival in town and we planned to have a little post race fun.

Temps on the way to the race ranged from 96-100 degrees.  We arrived in Pittsville 45 minutes early to a temperature of 96 and it was fairly humid.  I think this race has as many people in the 2 and 5 mile combined as the population of the town ~ 700+.

I tried to warm up ~ 3 miles pre-race ... I did 3 miles of slow jog with some a bunch of striders.  I think this was a mistake as it just made me over heat.  I think I would have been better sitting in the air conditioned car and coming out 5 minutes pre-race to jog to the start line.

The national anthem was very well done by a trumpet player and we were off.  With the heat, I started off at a very comfortable race pace - I figured running well within myself for 3 miles and pushing the last 2 was a good plan.  About 400 meters into the race I saw my friend Alex who I have battled 3 other years - But today he was running with a friend and I did not have to worry about getting beat. 

I did not wear a watch as I did not want to be tortured with my slowness on this hot night.  We hit mile #1 and someone called out 6:24 ~ Wow was that slow.  I had my eyes fixed on Jay - A good 50 year old runner that I like to beat, he was 15 seconds ahead of me.

I just tried to relax and be smooth and comfortable - By mile #2 I was leaving sweat footprints and my insides felt baked, but I felt in control.  Mile #3 I was still around 15 seconds behind Jay but gaining.  Although I was really hot and miserable, I thought I still had it in control with my relaxed stride.

Mile #4 I just tried to hold onto the relaxed stride, but I was starting to get a bit light headed and having a hard time getting enough oxygen.  At the mile #4 mile marker I had pulled within 1-2 seconds of Jay and just wanted to hold on to the end.

Right after that things went south fast, I was cooked.  I tried to slow down for a little bit, but that gave no relief.  for the 1st time ever in a short race, I walked.  After approximately 40 seconds of walking I felt able to get back into running.  From the time that they had called out at mile #4, I think I made a 7 minute mile the last mile (With walking), so my pace was reasonable.

Afterward I found my family and had 50 ounces of water, 8 slices of watermelon and some homemade granola.  I was still pretty dizzy - But foolishly started on the free beer.  It took almost an hour to calm down enough to stand without being dizzy.

After many free beers and the awards ceremony - We headed to the little carnival.  I took the girls on the tilt-a-whirl.  Not the best choice after beer and being dehydrated (I get nauseated anyway).  I survived but could not enjoy any fair food.

It ended up being a pretty fun family experience - Now we can all remember when we all ran that really hot race - Way back in 2012.

Good running to all -