I realized it's been a while since I last posted. Things have kind of fallen apart since the Highland Sky DNF. I was gone the next two weekends, which made it tough to fit runs in. I also got sick and had to take 6 days off running.
I finally started feeling better at 1.5 weeks before the race. I think I'm pretty much back on track now. Yesterday I drove out to the mountains for a final hard training run. I ran 22 miles on a tough course with about 5,000 feet of climbing. I felt great, ran about 9:40 pace, and finished with a lot left in the tank.
Training had a lot of ups and downs in general. I was looking back at training logs, and I was pretty darn consistent for the 6 months leading up to Vermont last year. This year I ran about the same number of miles (averaging just under 80 miles a week since January 1st), but there were definitely more peaks and valleys. Here are a few of them:
- Mega weekly mileage: I had four weeks where my mileage ranged from 112 to 120 miles. Last year I topped out at 100 miles, so it was great to be able to hit these levels and still feel good.
- Elizabeth's Fat Ass 50K: This race was one of those days where everything came together. I'd run 100 miles in the prior week, but my legs were strong, and my climbing was great on this course with 6K elevation gain. Winning was fun too :)
- Speedwork: I did almost zero speedwork before Vermont last year. I was focused exclusively on endurance training. But coming out of Vermont, I realized that speedwork could definitely be beneficial. I hit the track fairly often and basically maintained the speed I had in Philly last year. I was able to run lots of mile repeats at 5:45s and 800s and 2:45s.
- Climbing: I did a lot more specific practice to handle the major climbs I'll face in Tahoe. I spent a lot more time running out in the mountains (at least 10 times over the 6 months). I also hit the stairmaster pretty frequently and did a lot of 2-4 mile treadmill runs at 10:00 miles and 10% grade.
- Stomach issues: My stomach just plain sucked this year. It really held me back on long runs, and I threw up far more than I would have liked. I still need to crack this problem. It's by far the biggest variable in Tahoe that could keep me from finishing.
- 3 DNFs: Seneca Greenway 50K, Bel Monte 50, and Highland Sky 40. Man, I hate DNFs. It was even harder because they were all caused by the stomach issues. I think I also was a bit too ambitious in my racing schedule this year. I can't race that often if I'm going to gun for a fast time in every race.
- Less consistency: My average mileage was the same as last year, but there were some great weeks and then more weeks than I'd like where I couldn't run much. Earlier in the year I was flirting with injury and had to take it easy. I also have the extreme taper I was forced to do with being sick. Thinking back, I also think a big part is that work got really busy a lot of times, and I also was traveling a lot (both with work and personally). It's tough to keep training at a high level when I'm taking lots of early morning and late night flights. I have less time for running and am also much more tired and can't recover as well.
So all in all training wasn't exactly what I'd hoped for, but I did push very hard and think I'm in good shape. On the whole I'd say I'm in better shape than before Vermont last year. Wish me luck in Tahoe!