Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lead up to Rocky- Pacifica 50k

What’s up?
It’s been a great two weeks of getting back into the swing of running. Training for the past two weeks has been 70 miles each week. Not super big mileage, but enough to keep me healthy while getting some key targeted runs. This past weekend, I had my last major tune-up before the Rocky Raccoon 100: Pacifica 50k. With 7100 ft. of elevation gain in 31.4 miles, it’s a good strength builder looking ahead towards the other 100 mile runs this year. I kept a nice even pace, with the following times on the loops: 1:04, 0:59, 1:03, 1:22, 1:06. The 1st and 4th loops were the 11.3k and the other loops were the 9.3k loop. The 4th loop was an anomaly, in part due to my desire to keep my legs fresh for Rocky Raccoon and also the stimulating conversation taking place between myself and two other runners. Normally, I would have kept pounding the trail with jogging on the flatter sections. I chose instead to enjoy the company and the conversation on the trip up to North Peak before picking it back up on the return trip back down to the aid station. It was a bit weird though, since it seemed to placate my usually competitive nature. I’m hoping this is a blessing in disguise and has a positive effect on Rocky Raccoon performance. I try not to get too competitive at the 50ks, trying to instead use them as base builders and speed work where appropriate. All in all, though, I still finished in a respectable 5:48, 6th place out of 44 starters, when all was said and done with the aid station stops. Still, at least once this year, it would be nice to have a top 3 finish at a 50k, even though it is the 100s where I want to compete the best.

This week, I’m looking at a 100 mile week, with 15 miles each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then a late night/early morning 18 miler/ 32 miler back to back runs on Saturday morning. That way, I have Saturday and Sunday all day free to do whatever. Then, I’ll start the taper for the following week with a few easy runs. I am excited to go back out to Texas. I haven’t been there since last March for my cousin’s wedding just outside Houston. I’ll be flying into Houston and then traveling to Huntsville for the race. One small benefit of the race is a chance to see my cousin and his wife again. It should be great, especially going to a place that’s really foreign to me. I’ll be seeing them at some point on Saturday during the race and on Sunday noon time when the race is over. I like to travel with a purpose, and although doing a big race can be a purpose in and of itself, traveling to see family, friends or just to do some work your passionate about is sometimes a little bit sweeter.

People don’t always realize this, but traveling to a race and then competing can definitely take its toll if you let it. It’s enough to be running 100 miles, but to add to it the stress of being in a new city, sleeping in a different bed, and not always knowing everyone around you can be overwhelming. I’ve always enjoyed adventure, so that’s really the approach I take. Going to Huntsville is just another adventure and another chance to see a part of this country that I see very little. I just hope I don’t run into any gators out there!

I have a friend who will be taking pics and I’ll start to include video of this race as well as some of my “only for Badwater” training methods, for those of you interested in the race. The application is due in less than a week and I'm almost finished with it. It's definitely a strong application, but nothing is ever guaranteed. Of course, I think I'm just as excited about returning to Africa in the first half of 2008 for 2 to 3 weeks. Either way, I'll be doing things that I'm passionate about and always keeping my eyes on the prize that's most important.

I definitely have to put some more pics up here for 2008, especially considering the places I get to go. It'll be nice to look at all these pics 20 years from now and remember the good times I had and the great people I shared them with. Also, I’ve updated the training log on the right hand column. Enjoy.

Stay strong, run hard and God bless.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Getting Ready for Rocky- The first 100 miler of 08'

The last two weeks of training have gone well, with a 70 mile and 80 mile week respectively. I will try to bump that up to 90 miles and 100 miles for the next two weeks, before slowing down to a much lighter load prior to the Rocky Raccoon 100. I know there are other runners who believe in consistent weeks above 100 miles, but I am not one of them. I have enjoyed playing basketball and using some of the other cardio machines at the gym (when I don’t feel like running in the rain), which have helped me feel better about the time I’ve been putting into my runs. I’m making a conscious effort to include activities I already enjoy doing to enhance my focus during my runs. So far, so good.

While I wasn’t 100% happy with my race at the Rodeo Beach 50k on 12/22, but there were some positives out there on the trails. I was really sick going into the race, continually trying to fight off a cold I had caught the week before. The time in the race where being sick really took its toll was over the final 20k loop. On the first major ascent of the 20k loop, I felt like my energy had been sucked out of me. I started to suffer from just being plain tired, continually wiping my nose and spitting flem. I felt better over the last 10k, but still tired from the lingering illness. The major plus from the race was feeling the benefit of my road marathon racing on the downhills. I flew downhill, hitting sub-6 minute mile speed at times while moving efficiently over the somewhat uncertain footing of the terrain.

Rocky Raccon, which once felt ages away, is now only 4 weeks away. 4 weeks until I’m back attacking the 100 mile distance again. The goal will be to have a negative split between my first half and second half. With 5- 20 mile loops, it’ll give me an accurate look at how my first half loops compare to the second half loops. Considering the relative flatness of the course (5500 ft. of elevation gain and 5500 ft. of elevation loss) and being the first 100 miler of 2008, I have shaped my pacing plan to a sub-20 hour finish with the following tiered-goals for the race:

1) Finish the race
2) Finish under 24 hours
3) Finish under 20 hours
4) Finish under 18 hours
5) Finish under 16 hours, 40 minutes

The goal for the race which I believe I’m well trained to reach is goal #3. I will adjust accordingly, but I plan on running the first two loops in 3:30 minutes and 3:40 minutes, with 6 minutes of breaks on each lap. From the first lap on, I will gradually increase the number of calories coming from solid food sources to control potential nausea. I’m concerned more with setting the stage and laying the foundation for a race like Badwater in the summer. Oh well…..even the best laid plans still require tinkering during the race, so I’m prepared for anything both positive and negative.

Time for me to go to bed….I’ll post the training log tomorrow.

Stay strong, run hard, and God bless,