Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29/11: Training Recap, Speed Workouts, and Kilian Jornet

I have had another two good weeks of training. Definitely laying the foundation for the National Marathon on March 17th.

Week of 12/10


  • Saturday: Magnus Gluteus 50K in 4:42. Very hard effort that brought a PR and 2nd place.

  • Sunday: 10 miles easy and some cross training / lifting

  • Monday: 12 miles easy

  • Tuesday: Off

  • Wednesday: 10 miles with 5x800 @ 2:40. My legs were still shot from the race, so this was a very tough workout. Would have wanted to do more repeats if I was fresh, but I was happy with this.

  • Thursday: 4.5 easy

  • Friday: 2.5 easy

  • Total: 70 miles

Week of 12/17



  • Saturday: 15 miles. Did a 14 mile route that I often run around DC in what I think was my fastest time ever. Averaged 7:10 pace on mostly trails with some hills. I didn't have a watch and wasn't even pushing the pace all that much, so this was a great run for me.

  • Sunday: 15 miles easy

  • Monday: Off

  • Tuesday: 8 miles easy

  • Wednesday: 5 miles easy

  • Thursday: 10 miles easy. Wanted to do a speed workout in the evening, but my legs just were not there, so I bagged it.

  • Friday: 9 miles with 4x1mi @ 5:43. Obviously I made the right call with postponing the speed workout. Rather than have a crappy run on Thursday, I had a very solid workout on Friday with somewhat fresher legs.

  • Total: 62 miles

For the first time in a long time I have been able to do speed workouts pretty consistently. I hate speed workout with the passion of a thousand burning suns. If you offered me the choice of a track workout at 6:30am in the dark and being kicked in the face, I'd have to think about it for a while.


But I will admit that I always feel fantastic afterwards and am really glad I did it. I am also convinced it is the key to success for me and more important than the distance and long runs. I have plenty of endurance at this point after years of a consistent base and running 3,500 miles a year. But I am not naturally fast and benefit greatly from more speed workouts.


However, I used to really force myself to do the workouts on a particular day of the week. That lead to some bad workouts and cutting workouts short when I wasn't feeling good. Sometimes I would skip them altogether and end up falling out of the habit.


I have recently been much more flexible on when they happen, such as the 4x1mi repeats I recently did on a Friday morning, which I wouldn't have even thought of doing a few years ago. But I make sure to do them regularly whenever my legs feel good, and I think it is producing good results.


On a less boring note, Kilian Jornet is one of the best ultramarathoners in the world and is also the world champion ski mountaineer. The way he runs up and down mountains defies explanation and is truly inspiring. I highly recommend clicking on this link and watching episode 7 for some sweet footage of Kilian running in the Alps: http://www.salomonrunning.com/us/tv-channel.html?ch=kilian-quest.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12/11/11: Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K for the third year in a row. I've run well here the past 2 years, but I had a particularly good day this year and ran 4:42. That was good for second place and a 13 minute PR in the 50K.

The MGM 50K is a fantastic VHTRC event that has a solid post race party. I almost didn't show up this year since I had been traveling nonstop for work from Tuesday through Friday and was exhausted. But I managed to drag myself out of bed and figured I'd give the run a shot.

The course is 12 miles on the Bull Run trail, 7 miles on the unmarked and unnavigable "Do Loop", and the same 12 miles back. My legs felt pretty good at the start, and I took off at a decent pace feeling pretty relaxed.

I was running out front with 3 other guys for a while. My main concern in this race is always how the hell to make it through the Do Loop. 2 of the other guys were on the course for the first time, but the other guy said he knew the Do Loop pretty well. My plan was to try to stick with him, but he started to push the pace and take off after the first aid station at mile 5.5. I didn't want to push too hard, so my hope was that I could stay close enough that I would catch up at the aid station right before the Do Loop. He was my only hope!

I came off the Bull Run trail in 1:45, which was right on 8:45 pace. Luckily my plan of catching up at the aid station worked, and we headed off into the Do Loop. Our fearless leader navigated us through successfully, and man did we haul some ass. We ran a lot of it at sub 8 pace and ran the whole thing in just over 8 minute pace. That was a real stretch for me on that tough terrain, but I had no choice but to keep hanging on. I was worked over by the end of the Do Loop, but man did we make good time!

I came into the aid station again and was thrilled to see my good buddy Greg! I haven't seen him in a while, so it was great to catch up. His dog Ziggy was also there and was the life of the party as usual.

Given how exhausted I was, my plan was to dial it back and just try to survive. But somehow I managed to crank out a great pace and ran the six miles from 19 to 25 in 8:40 pace, which was even faster than my pace on that section on the way out.

I rolled into the last aid station at 25.5, refilled the water bottle, and grabbed some Coke and a cookie. I got back on the trail but was just toast at this point. I haven't been doing many long runs since I've focused more on speed, and I just couldn't hold this kind of pace beyond 25 miles. I pushed as best as I could and still managed to keep it together somewhat. The last 3/4 of a mile is straight uphill, and my legs started cramping up. Luckily that didn't happen until very close to the end.

It was quite a relief when I made it back in 4:42 with a big PR. My stomach was great the whole time, and the new system continues to work extremely well. The speedwork definitely paid off, and I have realized that I should do a lot of speedwork even when training for the longer stuff.

The only down side is that I had to leave before the beer and pizza got there. Quite a tragedy, but you can't win em all!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12/10/11: Training Recap

I didn't quite hit the mileage I had hoped for last week, but I at least got one very good run out of it.


  • Saturday: 13 miles with Dad in NJ.

  • Sunday: Off. My legs were shot, and I really needed to take a day off.

  • Monday: 13 miles easy @ 7:40. Felt better after the day off.

  • Tuesday: 10 miles w/ 9 mile tempo run @ 6:18 pace. I was very happy with this run. I was initially planning on running 6:30s, but the faster pace felt pretty easy at the start. Definitely was getting tired at the end, but still a very encouraging run.

  • Wednesday: 5 miles easy @ 7:40

  • Thursday: 7 miles easy @ 7:20

  • Friday: 5 miles very easy @ 8:00

  • Total: 53 miles

This morning I ran the Magnus Gluteus Maximus 50K and had a pretty solid run. I'll leave you all in anticipation for the race report I'll run soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011

12/2/11: Training Recap & Great Falls Pictures

First off, here is what I've been up to over the last week:


  • Saturday: 14 miles easy. I was still beat up from lots of racing and hard running, and my legs were shot. Took it very easy.

  • Sunday: 17 miles, last 8 @ 6:30. Still recovering, but finally had a little bit of pep in the legs. Ran the last 8 miles at 6:30, which actually felt pretty easy.

  • Monday: 12 miles easy. Lifting + core work.

  • Tuesday: 5 miles easy @ 7:40.

  • Wednesday: 10 miles with 4x1mi @ 5:41. My legs didn't feel as fresh as I had hoped, but I still managed 4x1mi in 5:49, 5:42, 5:39, 5:34. The first two intervals felt easy. Last one was tough.

  • Thursday: 12 miles easy @ 7:40. Lifting + core work.

  • Friday: Off (work travel)

  • Total: 70 miles
Now that it has turned cold and the leaves have fallen off the trees, here are some late fall pictures from a trip out to Great Falls the day before the Potomac Heritage race.

The canal that runs for 250 miles starting in Georgetown

One of the "small" falls on the way to the real deal











Great Falls in all of its glory.







Kayaking anyone?



Eve was very impressed by Great Falls