Sunday, February 27, 2011

2/27/11: NJ 100 Training Update

I have a much better post on the way soon, but first a quick training update.

This was my last big week of training before the NJ 100, and it went incredibly well. The 50 miler was a great test for me, and I recovered quickly and felt very good the rest of the week. I managed to hit 110 miles overall, which is the most I've done since before the Tahoe 100.

Really starting to get excited for the NJ 100!
  • Saturday: 50 miles in 7:48
  • Sunday: 7 miles very easy
  • Monday: 17 miles with some stairmaster & lifting
  • Tuesday: 14 miles
  • Wednesday: 14 miles with a 3 mile tempo run at the gym
  • Thursday: Off (work travel)
  • Friday: 8 miles easy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2/20/11: 50 Mile Training Run

Yesterday was my longest training run before the NJ 100. The plan was to run 50 miles on trails and bike paths around DC, much of which would consist of doing a 21 mile loop twice.

Melissa Chen (college friend) was also in town and doing her last long run before the Napa Marathon. My plan was to start running at 4am, meet her after running about 25 miles, run 22 miles with her, and then drag myself home for the last 3 miles. Certainly a questionable plan.

I staggered outside a bit after 4am, and it was an extremely windy day (gusts up to 50 mph). Unfortunately my legs also felt pretty tired from the start. I had taken the previous 2 days easy, but I think all the hard training had caught up with me.

I trudged along in the wind and the dark and tried to stay relaxed. The nice thing was that there was an amazingly bright full moon. It was so bright that I almost didn't need my headlamp.

My stomach had been going south for a while, my legs were totally dead, and I was generally in very tough shape around mile 20. I figured that when I saw Chen at mile 25 I'd have to tell her to go ahead without me. Over the next 5 miles, my stomach settled down though, and my legs started to feel a little bit better.

Then at mile 25 ... Chen! I think just having some company really boosted my spirits. My stomach was back to 100%, and my legs actually felt a bit better. I figured I'd run 5 or maybe 10 miles with Melissa and see how it went. If I needed to, I could cut the loop off short.

I kept on feeling better and was running sub 9 minute miles and feeling very comfortable. This was actually faster than the just over 9 minute miles I ran for the first 25. I decided to try to go for the full 50 miles. I figured there would be a good chance that I'd blow up, but I've always been pretty good at making bad decisions when it comes to running.

We kept on clicking off miles and making our way around the loop that went up around Bethesda. It was great to have some company and really helped distract me. At mile 35, I actually felt MUCH better than I did at mile 20. Distance running is a strange thing, but I was just happy to be feeling good.

Before too long, I was 40 miles in and still feeling decent. My legs were very tired, but I knew that I would make it to the end. Each mile got tougher and tougher, and by mile 45 I was in a world of hurt. But hey, what's another 5 miles?

Chen peeled off at mile 47. I was really hurting at this point and think I may have scared people I passed running through Georgetown, but I eventually made it home.

I finished a bit under 7 hours and 50 minutes, which made it a 50 mile PR for me by just a few minutes. Several things made me super excited by this run:
  • First off that I ran 50 miles. This was tied for my 4th longest run ever (Vermont 100, 68 miles at the TRT 100, 53 miles at Laurel Highlands, and tied with the JFK 50).
  • My legs were tired from the start, but I managed to keep on pushing for 50 miles, even when I really wanted to stop after 20 miles.
  • My stomach was not good but came back and felt great through the end of the run. I was able to get down a lot of food and dropped only 2 pounds during the run.
  • Got more used to running very early. I think part of why I struggled was the 4am start, and I'll have to face the same thing with the 4am start at the NJ 100.
  • Basically ran 2 big loops, which helped prepare mentally for 25 mile loops at the NJ 100.

I want to throw out a huge thanks to Chen. If it wasn't for her, I would have cut the run short at 30 miles and would not be as well prepared for the NJ 100. It was also really great to have some company at there. Chen, good luck at Napa!

I did end up tweaking my knee on the run, but I think it will be fine if I'm careful with it. I do have a bit of serious running left to do (including the Seneca Greenway 50K on March 4th), but the hardest training is done. Now I just need to stay sharp and make sure I'm rested for the big day!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2/15/11: 100 Mile Week

It has been a while since I hit a 100 mile training week. My training logs seems to think the last time was last May when I threw in a heavy training week before the Laurel Highlands 77 that I DNFed.

This last week looked as follows:
  • Saturday: 40 mile trail run
  • Sunday: 21 miles
  • Monday: Off (traveling for work)
  • Tuesday: 4 (quick run early in the morning while traveling)
  • Wednesday: 14 with 4x800 @ 2:45
  • Thursday: 12
  • Friday: 9

I ran the 40 miler pretty hard and ran the 21 fairly hard as well, so I didn't really mind taking it easier while traveling for work. My legs were still pretty shot on Wednesday, and the 800s definitely felt much harder than they usually would.

It was still a very solid week of training, and my legs held up well. This week I'm dialing it back a bit (targeting 70-75 miles), and then I'm planning to go nuts next week! Hopefully I'll get a 50 miler in on Saturday and be somewhere around 110 miles for the week. Then the taper will start for the NJ 100!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2/5/11: Building Character

Training has been going incredibly well for the NJ 100. Maybe too well? Here are some of the highlights since I began serious training a month and a half ago:
  • 5 weeks in a row of 90+ miles a week
  • 4 runs over 30 miles, including a 35 and 40 miler
  • Some decent speed workouts such as 3 mile repeats in 5:39
  • Some pretty solid longer tempo runs in the mid to upper 6s

All in all, I couldn't really ask for much more (at least without hurting myself).

Today I ran 40 miles, which will hopefully be my second longest training run before the NJ 100. Naturally I chose to do this run on a cold, rainy day. I can say at the very least that this was a "character building" adventure.

For the entire ~6 hours it was about 34 degrees and rainy. I was also not very well prepared for these conditions. I mean who needs forecasts? I neglected to wear my waterproof jacket and actually wore nothing at all that was remotely waterproof.

After a few hours, I was pretty thoroughly soaked through. My hands were the worst. My gloves were soaked with freezing water, and I honestly thought I would have the bail out from the run because they were so cold. The trails still hadn't recovered from last week's snow either. A lot was clear, but there were stretches of several miles that still had inches of uneven ice.

Despite all these challenges (some environmental and some self-induced), I actually had a fantastic run. My legs felt solid, my stomach was fantastic, and I ran relatively fast (close to 9 minute miles).

Hopefully I can keep feeling good and have another solid run when I attempt ~ 50 in two weeks. And maybe I'll get to build some more character in the process.