Saturday, August 30, 2008

8/30/08: Eye of the Tiger

I've been dying to sign up for a race this fall but ended up missing out on both the North Face 50 and the JFK 50. I finally decided to go to Rocky's home town and run the Philadelphia Marathon.

I would definitely prefer an ultramarathon or a trail race, but I think it'll be fun to try to run a fast marathon again. I set my marathon PR there in 2006 and it's a very fast course, so hopefully I can put up a good time even though I'm a slow ultramarathoner now.

So for now I'll do more speed work and temp workouts to get ready, and then it'll be back to the trails in 2009!

8/29/08: Weekly Training Log & Trail Pictures

I had another great week of training. I've been working some crazy hours, but I've still been able to squeeze my runs in, and I got to 81 miles this week.

Saturday: 14 miles easy
Sunday: 28 mile trail run
Monday: 7 miles easy
Tuesday: 10 miles with with 8 hilly, faster miles
Wedensday: 8 mile trail run in Boston
Thursday: 7 mile speed workout (3x1mi in 6:00, 5:48, 5:36)
Friday: 7 miles easy

I felt really solid in the long trail run on Sunday even though it got very hot by the end of the run. Wednesday was also an awesome run. I was up in Boston for work and found some trails near the hotel I was staying at. I went to Callahan State Park, and the trails weren't too hilly or too technical, but it was very scenic and lots of fun. It was certainly a step up from my usual treadmill runs when I'm traveling for work.

I was also pleasantly surprised with the speed workout on Thursday. My first two speed workouts after 6 months of only endurance training were pretty terrible. I guess the third time is a charm. I need to make it a priority to do speed work once a week even when I'm training for ultramarathons. I think they really help for any distance.

Below are some pictures from the Sunday trail run. The run was entirely on trails right in Washington, DC. I'm always amazed at how many trails are inside DC and how scenic they are, so I tried to take some pictures along the way. Unfortunately, most of my pictures were terrible, and the memory card filled up before the best part of the run (Rock Creek Park). At least a few of them turned out well.

(Entrance to the Glover Archebald Trail)

(This trail runs for 3 miles right through Northwest DC)

(I don't know what this is, but it's right off Glover Archebald and looks pretty cool)

(Battery Kemble park, which links to Glover Archebald)

(Random creek in Glover Archebald)

I'll try to get more Rock Creek Park pictures some other time.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/22/08: Weekly Training Log

This was a pretty solid week of training. The ramp up after Vermont is going well.

Saturday: 26 miles on the Appalachian Trail
Sunday: 12 mile easy run
Monday: 7 mile easy run
Tuesday: 10 mile hill & trail run
Wednesday: Off (traveling for work)
Thursday: 9 miles w/ 6x800 in 2:57 (200m rest)
Friday: 6 mile easy
Overall: 70 miles

I'm trying to focus a lot more on speed and cross training. I didn't get to the gym much this week because I was working long hours, but the track workout on Thursday was good. It was extremely tough, and I should have run those intervals faster, but I've done almost no speedwork for 6 months. Hopefully I can keep forcing myself to get out to the track once a week and get some speed back.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/17/08: Appalachian Trail Adventure

I've been laying fairly low since the Vermont 100 trying at first to just recover and then nursing a bit of a knee issue, which I think was due to waiting too long to get new shoes.

I'm finally feeling mostly better, though my knee isn't quite 100% yet. The weather was beautiful this weekend in the DC area and Jen was out of town, so I figured what better time for an adventure out on the trail?

I decided to head to the Appalachian Trail where is crosses through Harper's Ferry. I haven't run on the AT except for the 16 mile stretch in the JFK 50, and this was only a 1:05 minute drive from where I live. The plan was to do somewhere around 25 miles, which would interesting since I hadn't done any mountain running or runs over 14 miles since Vermont.

(Shenandoah River in the morning)

I woke up at a5:15 and was on the trail by about 7am. After a little section through the town of Harpers Ferry where the Appalachian Trail Center is location, I went over the bridge that crossed the Shenandoah river. The two pictures above are from the bridge, and it was a really cool sight. There was a lot of fog, which made for a really beautiful sunrise.

Once I crossed the bridge, I headed up into the mountains. The first two miles went straight up, and I was already tired when I hit the top! I eventually hit my stride and started running pretty well. I felt good for the first 3 hours, but the last 1.5 hours were a struggle. Terrain was pretty tough and rocky, and it had been a while since I'd run this long.

All in all I had a great time, though. This run kicked my butt, but the bright side is that I'm sure it'll be a good jumpstart back into serious trail running. I'd definitely like to explore more of the AT, and I'd also like to go back to Harpers Ferry just to hang out some. I highly recommend a day trip there.

(Pretty much the only part of the trail without rocks of hills)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/13/08: Feels like the first time

The title for this post is great song by Foreigner. Which song by Foreign isn’t great? Oh yeah, “I want to know what love is.”

Anyway, I had fantastic run yesterday morning. It’s the kind of run that makes me remember why I love running and why I started running the first place. The weather was beautiful. August has been unseasonably nice in DC, with daily high temperatures in the 80s and almost no humidity.

I woke up early to a crisp, cool day. It was in the low 60s without a cloud in the sky. I headed out for a nine mile run on one of my favorite trails that runs along the west bank of the Potomac. The Potomac Heritage Trail is surprisingly rugged and remote feeling considering that it runs right in the center of the DC area.

It was simply a fantastic run. My legs felt great, and I was moving at a good pace. There was a low lying mist over the river, early morning sun shining low through the trees, and beautiful waterfalls along the side of the trail. It doesn’t get much better.

On a less exciting note, I didn’t manage to sign up for the North Face 50 or JFK 50 before they filled up. I’m especially bummed about JFK 50 since I was really looking forward to going back this year and trying to beat my time from last year of 7:51.

I’ve been looking around for races in the area, but I can’t find any ultras in the area that aren’t already full. There are just too many people doing this crazy sport! With the wedding and honeymoon this fall, I really don’t know if I’ll want to spend the money to travel somewhere (like the Stone Cat 50 mile), so I may not have a big race again until 2009.

I do have big plans for 2009 though (maybe a topic for another post), so the main thing is that I continue training hard without a race to motivate me. I seem to usually be pretty good in the motivation department, so hopefully that won’t be a problem for me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

8/9/08: Olympics!

It's been three weeks since I finished the Vermont 100. Recovery has been going pretty well. After about a week and half, I was able to start running again. I'm getting back into training now and feeling pretty good.

I've also been fortunate enough to have Brooks agree to sponsor me. I've been running in their shoes for a while now, so it's great that they'll be able to help me out.

The really exciting thing going on now is the Olympics. There are a lot of great American distance runners, and I'm excited to see what they can do. What are your predictions for the Men's and Women's marathons? The fields are very stacked this year, so I'm curious to see what you all think. I'll let you know my predictions shortly. Whatever happens, I'm sure they will be very interesting races with the crazy conditions in Beijing.