Monday, May 31, 2010

5/31/10: Indestructable

This was a rare weekend of no running for me. Jen and I went back for our 5th reunion at Princeton, so I took a few days off, which I really needed anyway. Reunions was great as always. A lot of good friends, a lot of beer, a lot of dancing, and a lot of fun.

After a long weekend of hard partying, I decided to recover by waking up at 4:45am on Memorial Day for one last big training run before Laurel Highlands. I hit 42 miles in a faster than expected 6 hours and 45 minutes. The first half was singletrack trail, and the second half was mostly paved trail with some more single track

I felt really fantastic for the whole run and finished with a lot left in the tank. It was really hot and humid, but that didn't seem to bother me much. My stomach was also better than it has ever been on a really long run. I ate and drank a ton and felt 100% the whole way. On days like this you just feel indestructable. Everything goes right, and it feels like you can run forever.

Hopefully I'll feel the same way in 2 weeks. In the meantime, I need to do some SERIOUS tapering. I followed up 105 miles last week with this run, so I have a lot of recovering to do. I had to cram a lot of training in pretty quickly, but almost 2 weeks should still be enough time.

Bring it on Laurel Highlands. Bring it on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5/23/20: Back to the mountains

I'm a mere 3 weeks out from Laurel Highlands now and had a monster weekend of training. Jen was out of town for the weekend at her sister's bridal shower, so that meant it was time for some serious running!

I ended up hitting 60 miles for the weekend, which is a tie for the most I've run in a training weekend. All in all I felt great, and I think I'm in good shape for Laurel Highlands.

On Saturday I drove out almost 2 hours to the Massanuttens to run in the southern part of the range. I realized I hadn't been to the mountains since January, and it definitely kicked my butt.

I took a few pictures below:

The run started with a 5 mile climb up to Bird Knob that was 2K+ elevation gain. The terrain gets pretty gnarly in spots, and this is a picture of the "trail" up to Bird Knob.

Near the top I saw this guy in the middle of the trail. It was about 5-6 feet long, and I almost stepped on it!

Awesome view from the top of Bird Knob

View north towards where I started

The mountains in the distance are on the other side of the gap where I started. I've run over there before too, and it's also a great run.

Field about 8 miles in

Nice section of trail. This is as smooth as the Massanuttens get. No rocks!

Another nice view after the second big climb

Next weekend I'm hoping to do one more really long run that is around 40 miles. After that, it's basically taper for Laurel Highlands and hope for the best!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5/16/10: Born to Run Eve!

So Eve is also Born to Run!

We were at a Dachsund Meetup recently, which basically involves 30 or 40 dachsunds running around a big yard. Pretty cute stuff.

Eve was having an awesome time tearing around the yard, and someone there was kind enough to take a few pictures of Eve running with their super awesome camera.

The pictures below are pretty outstanding. I'm not sure I've ever seen a creature look so happy while running!

On a side note, training is still going pretty well. My knee bothered me last week, but I just cross-trained for a few days and still managed to get in over 90 miles. After two 90+ mile weeks, which I'm not really used to at this point, I'm definitely in need of taking it a bit easy. I'll dial it back this week and then hit it really hard next weekend. I'm planning to head out to the mountains and will definitely bring a camera and post some pictures.

Happy running everybody!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

5/9/10: Training Hard

First off, I forgot to post the picture Jen took at the finish line of the New Jersey Marathon. What was I thinking?!

With Laurel Highlands not very far away, I've started training to get back in ultra shape. There isn't too much time left, but I do have a good base from pretty consistent miles throughout the winter and early spring.

Last week I ran 90 miles to kick things back in gear. I'm hoping to hit 100 miles this week. It's going to tough with work trips on Monday and Friday, so I kicked things into gear with 53 miles this weekend.

I went out to Bull Run yesterday for 35 miles, which was by far the furthest I've gone in a while! I had intended to more like 30 but somehow managed to get lost on a trail I run all the time and added another 5 miles. My legs were pretty beat, but my stomach held up well, and it ended up being a great run. Today I ran 18 and felt great despite the long miles yesterday.

I've got to do a lot of running between now and June 12th but am feeling good so far and looking forward to it. I took a few pictures yesterday at Bull Run. It was awesome weather and a beautiful day. Hopefully the good spring weather holds up for a little while longer before the DC swamp kicks in.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5/7/10: New Jersey Marathon

Jen, Eve, and I headed up to New Jersey to join Dad for his first marathon. I was going to run with him, and Jen was going to provide her stellar support crew skills.

Dad trained really well and was extremely ready for the race. Unfortunately, the Jersey shore turned into a sweltering oven and made it a really tough day.

We lined up at the start and they blared Born to Run. Very fitting for a race on the Jersey shore (The Boss must have stolen the name from my blog, though). The song finished and we still hadn't started yet. Rather than play another song, they decided to blare Born to Run again. Awesome.

After getting our fill of Bruce Springsteen, we were finally off. The race started right on the boardwalk next to the beach. With the breeze coming off the ocean, it seemed deceptively cool. Once we got away from the beach, it was already a lot warmer even though it was only 9am.

We started off running strong and clicking off a bunch of miles around 8:20. Dad was feeling good, and we were moving well. It was probably 75 or warmer even towards the beginning of the race, so people were dumping cups of water on their heads to cool down from the start. There were also some kind people who lived along the course who had put sprinklers out to help runners cool off.

We kept motoring along and saw Jen again around mile 12. I had put sunscreen on my face in the morning but had foolishly forgotten to put it anywhere else even though I was running shirtless. In case you weren’t aware, I’m pretty pale. After a winter without much sunlight, hours in the blistering bright sun was going to cause some problems. Jen was planning to swing back to the car to get some sunscreen, but it was in Dad’s car, and she didn’t have the keys. Doh! After we went by Jen, there was a big crowd of people. I spotted some steaky Jersey shore guy putting on sunscreen and ducked off the course to bum some sunscreen off him (thanks, dude). Even with that I STILL ended up getting burned.

Anyway, I caught back up to Dad, and we came towards the halfway point in around 1:52 and were still feeling strong. The marathon does the half marathon course twice, which is rough when you have to run through the finish line when you’re only halfway down. I suppose such things build character.

Now it was really starting to get tough out there. I’m guessing it was well into the 80s at that point and on its way into the 90s. There was very little shade, no cloud cover, and we were running on black asphalt. Each aid station became mostly about dumping as much water as we could on ourselves (and trying to avoid dousing ourselves in Gatorade).

Dad continued running a fast pace around 8:30s until mile 17 or so. From here to the end was really a battle against the heat. There was just no way to keep from overheating. It was really getting ugly out there. A lot of people were dropping from the race (something like 40% dropped), people were collapsing on the side of the course, and a number of people ended up needing medical attention. It was really all about survival at this point.

Somewhere around mile 22 or 23 that same damn guy in the Minnie Mouse costume who passed me at Boston passed me AGAIN. Man, I’m not sure how many more times I can take getting passed by this guy.

Anyway, we kept slogging it out and hit the finish in 4:14. We were both spent. I’m still amazed that Dad was able to finish his first marathon in such brutal conditions and run so well on top of that. Congrats Dad!

We tried to find some shade as soon as we could to start cooling down. Both of our stomachs were also in tough shape since we had to drink a lot more to stay hydrated than we were used to. After recovering for a bit, I downed a big, ice cold root beer float. Boy was I a happy guy.

It was certainly a tough day, but I had a great time running with Dad as usual. He is recovering extremely well and already back running. He’s even starting to threaten another marathon, which will hopefully be in cooler conditions (couldn’t really be much worse). I’ll keep you all posted.

In the meantime, I need to start upping the miles, throwing down some really long runs, and getting my mountain legs back to get ready for the Laural Highlands 77 mile race on June 12th. I ran 90 miles this week and am heading to the Massanuttens tomorrow for what will hopefully be a 30+ mile run out in the mountains. The race isn’t that far away, so hopefully I can get ready in time!