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.