Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6/29/10: Gettin to It

So first off, Eve is finally recovered from Laurel Highlands. Between waking up at 4am, playing all day at aid stations, having to sit in my lap when I was gross and sweaty, and me spilling Ginger Ale all over her on the way back to the hotel, it was a rough day for her. Ultramarathons are tough for all involved.

I’m feeling recovered as well, but it did take longer than I had anticipated. I thought I’d be 100% after a week, but it ended up taking a full two weeks. I guess 53 miles is still 53 miles even when it comes with a DNF!

My shin continued to bother me after the race, but it has been subsiding and feels back to normal now. I’m really glad I didn’t push further in the race and do something worse. My knee is also still a bit tweaked, but it is also continuing to get better.

At the end of the Laurel Highlands race report, I mentioned that I wanted to focus a lot more on quality over quantity. I’ve always been more old school and felt that you could extol quality all you want, but at the end of the day, the person who gets out there and runs the big mileage will end up winning.

In my new and reformed mindset, I still think that quantity is important, but I recognize that it just isn’t enough. I really want to take my running to the next level, and to do that, I need to be able to run fast on technical trails in the mountains for a long time. I have plenty of endurance, but I just don’t have the speed or technical running ability.

This last weekend was the first step in that direction. On Saturday, I drove up to Catoctin State Park to run with Greg Zaruba. He and I have run a lot of miles together in races, and Greg is a really fun guy. We ran close to 20 miles in the mountains through his backyard trails, and it was a really solid run. I felt great, the trails were beautiful, and it was a good time running with Greg. Greg is also a really strong downhill runner, so he pushed me a lot on the downhills, which has historically been a weak point.

On Sunday I ran 11 miles on the Potomac Heritage trail, which is a really rocky and technical trail that runs along the west bank of the Potomac and is very close to where I live. It was 99 degrees and humid, and I got very dehydrated, but I ran fast at least for the first half and had a solid run overall.

I’m already feeling a lot stronger on climbs and on technical trails. Here are some of the main things I’m planning on to continue moving in the right direction:
  • More time on the trails
  • More runs out in the mountains (ideally once a month or more)
  • Shorter, faster trail and mountain runs. Most of my trail and mountain running tends to be on really long runs, but I think shorter runs of 10-20 miles would help me get faster on trails.
  • Run timed routes fairly regularly and track progress. I think this will also help me get faster and will make it easier to see if I’m getting in better shape. Started by running 2:03 on the 11 mile Sunday run.
  • More track workouts with the DC Road Runners

I’m still planning to keep up a decent mileage base but will try to focus more on the above rather than being a slave to big weekly mileage. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

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