Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week of 12-22-08

Total=74 miles

This total sounds pretty low for me, but I was actually quite happy with my training this week. I did all of my training on either snow/slush/ice or on treadmills, both of which seem to break down my legs much faster than a good blacktop road or cushy trail.

Monday: 10 miles: I went outside for a run, but Monday was outrageously cold (the windchill hit -40 at some point early in the morning) and I was totally underdressed, so I turned around after literally a half mile for a total of 1 mile. I hadn't really been outside much at all since coming home, so I just had no idea that the weather was going to instantly brutalize me like that... As soon as I got in, I just hopped on the treadmill in the basement and finished up another 9 miles. I actually ended up running uphill on the steepest possible incline the entire time without realizing it (which was apparently the case of the treadmill run the previous night, which explains why that one was so slow as well...). I figured out the incline thing on the treadmill the next day and was pretty mad at myself for not realizing it previously, but I guess I was just relieved, because I was kinda worried about how slow my pace was...

Tuesday: 13 miles: I had a crazy slow run outside through snow, slush, and ice. Part of it was
on trails with powder being literally near-waist deep in a few spots. Consequently, the run was incredibly slow, taking 2 hours, pretty much exactly on the dot. The temperature was pretty low and my gel pretty much froze in my pocket, but I was super bundled up with a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, 2 pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, ski socks, a neck gator, underarmour "Bank Robber" mask, hat, 2 pairs of gloves, and a head-lamp, so I didn't get too cold. Running on ice, snow, and slush was SUPER hard on my quads and this 13 miles pretty much felt like the last 13 of an average length ultramarathon on my legs. I didn't catch the temperature, but it must've been a windchill of close to -20.

Wednesday: 10 miles: This was another decent outdoors run. I found one patch that had no ice or snow on the road, so I picked it up to a nice 6 minute/mile tempo for a couple miles, but my overall time was still 70-something due to the really slow parts. The temperature was -11, but I didn't feel that bad... Overall, it was a pretty good run. I was fairly sore, but it wasn't too bad.

Thursday: 7 miles: I ended up just taking a pretty easy day outside. My quads were getting pretty unbelievably sore, so I just ran some good snowy trails for 7 miles or so before ending the run. I took it pretty slow and I ended up just hitting the 7 miles so I could have an average of 10 miles per day so far this week.

Friday: 11 miles: This was split up into 2 treadmill runs, both run at a pretty fast pace. I did a 6 first off before I had to go to Abercrombie to put in a 5 hour shift as a "model" and another 5 when I got home. The first run was at a 6:2x pace and the 2nd was at the max speed on the treadmill, 6:00 flat, discounting the relatively slow start for the treadmill to catch up to pace.

Saturday: 20 miles: Saturday was the big day of the week for me. I went to Lifetime Fitness as a guest of my parents for 3 1/2 hours and just absolutely pounded my body into the ground. I was already really sore coming into the day and I ran 10 miles in 67 minutes on a treadmill, immediately followed by a pretty intense chest workout and then another 10 miles in 68 minutes. The pace between the two runs was pretty much exactly the same, the only difference being that I tempo'd the last mile of the first run and just didn't have the motivation to do so on the second. The 2:15 20 mile total would equate to a 2:56:51 marathon pace, and while I certainly couldn't have run the 2 runs back to back with another 10k at pace on Saturday, I'm sure I could've easily run that time or faster if I had tapered out and got my legs feeling a bit more fresh. If that doesn't sound realistic, just consider the fact that I've been in pain just walking around over the past few days... My marathon PR of the fall was a 3:00:42, but that was on a trail. Granted, the course was very fast for a trail marathon and pretty flat for the most part, but trails are ALWAYS slower than roads. I only did the 2 marathons this fall, and given that I was badly out of shape for Baltimore and didn't start to really run well until early November, I never hit the kind of time I was looking for. I'm most definitely in the best shape I've ever been in right now though, so I'm sure a good fast road marathon like Boston could yield a 2:50 to 2:55 at this point if I gave myself a week off the hard training to freshen up my legs. I really had a hard time feeling motivated to do this training on Saturday since I was feeling quite stale, but I'm really glad that I did since my week would not have been nearly the same without this kind of day.

Sunday: 3 miles: I spent 11 hours in a car driving to Michigan and arrived at 7 PM. It was already dark when I got here, so I just sat around for a couple hours before running. I went out on some trails behind my Grandpa's house and of course my stupid headlamp started going crazy and just dying out on me over and over, so I decided I would rather not get injured and/or lost in a remote set of woods in some part of Michigan that I absolutely do not know at all, so I cut my run off super short. I was pretty irritated at first, but I realized that my legs were hurting so badly that doing any sort of legitimate run probably would've been a pretty stupid idea. Hopefully taking this day incredibly easy will allow me to hit it hard again tomorrow and do a nice icy trail run of at least a half marathon.

Weekly Overall: Like I said, the 74 number seems pretty bad, but I still feel like my quads have gotten quite the workout this week. I'm still fairly pleased with my training and as of a couple days ago, I finally hit more miles in 2008 than I had in 2007. I've always considered 2008 to be somewhat of a failure for my running since I didn't progress very much on the marathon (only dropped my PR a couple minutes to a 2:58:57) and DNF'd my only attempt at 100 miles. Also, my summer training was complete and total BS, especially compared to the incredibly solid training I had in summer 2007, but I did have 3 pretty highly successful races in late 2008 (in a trail 50, trail marathon, and road 5). Additionally, winter 08/09 is finally starting to look like my return to consistent training and extremely high mileage weeks and consistency in training has always proven to be key for consistency in racing, so I'm pretty sure that I'm setting myself up for a highly successful 2009. In fact, on a related note, if I can just put in 27 miles in the last 3 days of this month, December '08 will officially be the highest mileage month I've ever run in my life, which is quite exciting considering that my current monthly high is still standing from something like 18 months ago. My 100 mile every week thing clearly isn't panning out quite like I wanted it to, but in all honesty, I have never in my life consistently averaged over 85 or 90 a week for a very extended amount of time and that kind of mileage has always been enough for my ultramarathon racing since I typically train at a pretty high intensity, so my averaging 90-ish a week for the last 3 weeks is still quite good for me. When I DNF'd a 100 this past summer, I literally only had 1 week of recent training that I had been completely happy with and when I DNF'd the only other race I've DNF'd (a trail 50 in summer '07), I was trying to run a 2nd 50+ mile race within one week 2 days after missing a night of sleep, only sleepign 3 hours the night before the race, having the flu so badly that I couldn't eat chicken noodle soup without throwing up, and running on a very tough course in straight temps over 100 with a very high humidity, ie I had no chance no matter how good my training was. My 85-90 mile weeks that summer clearly served me well, but in hindsight, I'm still amazed that I even got 38 miles before hitting the point that I was on the verge of passing out and having to quit. I guess my main point here is that 85-90 mile a week averages is definitely enough to race ultramarathons well if the intensity is pretty decent. Either way though, if I were in Baltimore, I think I could still be hitting 100 mile weeks and I plan on picking it back up to that when I get back since I feel like my focus and drive is slightly better in Baltimore for some reason or other (probably the weather and running conditions more than anything else). I still have 2 weeks back in the midwest though, so if I can just top 160 miles total in those 2 weeks, I will be quite happy... I'll probably post a year-end blog in a couple days, so that should be oh-so-exciting...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training in Minnesota, gunning for Badwater '10

I'll make this quick... It's REALLY hard to hit my daily mileage outside here it turns out, but I'm going to do my absolute best to hit my goals. The good thing is, if I can actually pull off 100 miles in these conditions, I'll be MUCH better off than if I were to run 100 miles a week on easy terrain in Baltimore. My quads are getting one heck of a workout running here, so it's just building my conditioning even faster. The temperature today was finally warm enough to where I was at least reasonably acclimated to train outside for a couple hours, of course given that I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, face mask, neck mask, ski hat, headlamp, 1 pair of shorts and 2 pairs of pants, ski socks, and toe warmers. Phew... Anyway, it still took me exactly 2 hours to go 13 miles, which is pretty much absurd for me. I have to run on the side of the road obviously so I won't get hit by cars and the snow is pretty thick everywhere with a nice layer of ice underneath, so I was just slipping around everywhere. My gel packet that I took was nearly completely frozen in my pocket after about an hour, so I had to try to warm it up before I could even eat it. I know, however, that if I can keep this mileage up, especially here in MN, I will be in absolutely extraordinary shape for Rocky Raccoon. The weird thing, though, is that the one race that's been on my mind a lot lately is Badwater 2010, the 135 mile race across Death Valley in July (in nearly as many degrees as the race has miles), from the lowest to the highest point in the continental US (the forest service has banned competitive events from scaling all of Mt Whitney, but the truly crazy competitors just rip off their bibs after 135 miles and continue the additional 11 mile ascent to the top of the mountain). I imagine that this is probably related to the fact that the selection process for 2009 runners (no, I did not and am not going to apply for 09) is about to take place. There is nothing I want more right now than to run Badwater '10 and become one of the youngest people to ever attempt or complete the course. It might sound pretty crazy to want to run this race, but amazing challenges like this seem to provide a feeling for me something like that of nostalgia, only that it's for something that I have yet to do. Before running Lean Horse '07, my first ever 100 mile run, I had a feeling somewhat like this, only to a lesser extent. Badwater is billed as the "ultimate challenge of champions" for a reason and I know that it may seem like sheer stupidity to 99.99999% of people, but it's almost just something that I feel that I "have" to do, if that makes any sense. Badwater is something I want to do solely for me, not really to prove anything to even myself, just something that is strongly beckoning me. I think only a handful of people really grasp and understand my motivation for running the races that I do since it's rather hard to verbalize why I do what I do, but those of you that have some some sort of insight can probably see the attraction to a huge epic race like this for me. I guess it's early to be thinking about 2010, but at the very least, if I ever feel like cutting a day short, I just ask myself, "Do you want to run Badwater in 2010 or not?" and then I finish my run in its complete form, often tacking on extra mileage.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Week of 12-08-08

Well, I have to say; this was a relatively disappointing week for me. I ran 85 miles (12.14 miles a day on average), which would make me pretty happy at most times of the year, but I was hoping to not really have any weeks much under 100 miles between last week and the end of February. A few things got in the way, causing me to have 3 pretty terrible days of running this week (including 1 complete off day...) Here's how the running went:

Monday: 0 miles: I had 2 finals on Tuesday, so Monday was entirely shot. I think I was in the Hopkins Academic Computing Lab (Hac Lab) studying for 13 hours straight or something ridiculous like that, so I just had absolutely no break to even hit a couple miles. I was EXTREMELY disappointed by that, but I ended up doing reasonably well on both finals and cementing a very good GPA with my 22 credits this semester, so I guess that's pretty important too...

Tuesday: 7 miles: I had finals from 9AM-noon and 6PM to 9PM. I was unable to justify running between the two tests since I had to still cram for the second one, so I had to wait until afterwards. My design team was coming over for pizza and beer (well, more like Bailey's since both I and another team member pretty much hate almost all beers... hah...) at 10:30 PM, so I had very little time. Either way though, the rain was IMMENSELY hard and painful in the mid-thirties weather that night and my legs were absolutely bright red when I was done, so I wouldn't have wanted to go much farther anyway... I just did a quick Druid Hills loop, felt like I was going to die with the rain, and turned it in.

Wednesday: 28 miles: After finally being done with classes, I put in a pretty beastly day of training. I think I exercised for something like 4 hours and 30 minutes on Wednesday since I also put in a pretty sick chest day in the gym. I wanted to do one massive marathon plus length run, but I ended up getting out the door a bit late and had to meet Henry Kaldre at the gym to lift at a specific time, so I only had a bit over 2 hours to run before lifting. I ended up throwing together a 19-mile run in that time and arriving at the gym breathless just on time to do an intense lift. Immediately after lifting, I ran back out the door and did another hour or so, putting in 9 more miles. The first run was a somewhat extended Robert E Lee run, hitting pretty much every aspect of the park at least once, while the 2nd was just a good Charles street run at a relatively easy pace since 28 miles in one day is fairly taxing, even when split up, when running at an average of roughly my marathon pace. Splitting up the miles the way I did, even with only a relatively short break, which was filled with other exercise certainly made the mileage much easier, but it was still a fairly grueling day. I have to say; I was incredibly pleased with my mileage on Wednesday and when I finished my 2nd run, I was pleasantly tired. Oh, and one other thing... Robert E Lee was frickin crazy on Wednesday... Tuesday's storm was pretty ridiculous, so many parts of the trail were outrageously flooded. There's one part of the course with incredibly bad maintenance problems and an insane amount of sawbriers, and both legs got pretty shredded when I had to weave in and out of the trail to avoid huge calf-deep puddles. Baltimore's park and trail department (or whatever department is in charge of such things) REALLY needs to get off their butts and clean up that part of the trail... When I'm able to stick EXACTLY to the trail, it's great since it's really rocky and quite technical, but honestly, the sawbriers are getting incredibly out of hand.

Thursday: 16 miles: Thursday was a pretty interesting day for me. I hosted the BME party on Wednesday night and a few people stayed until like 4:45 or so, so I didn't get to bed until 5 AM. I planned on sleeping in SUPER late, but Chris Chiang called me at 9 in the morning to have me look for his girlfriend Karin's credit card and camera, which he thought they left at my party. They ended up not being at my place, but by the time I was done looking and realized that, I had been up for 15 minutes, so I ended up not going back to bed. Running after only 4 hours of sleep
is never particularly fun, but the 16 miler I did wasn't particularly bad. I don't remember the exact time on it, but I remember it being pretty slow, like a 1:50 or something. I did a reasonable length Robert E. Lee loop since I can't seem to get enough of that place lately. It was still pretty wet, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the day before.

Friday: 7 miles: Well, I knew I was racing a 5 miler on Saturday morning, so I played it safe and kept it really light on Friday. I ended up just running to the gym from my apartment (about a mile) and then doing a quick additional 6 miler on the roads instead of coming directly home. I made the mistake of cutting through a quick stretch of woods without any lighting on the way there and I SLAMMED my head into a pretty big tree branch, which literally knocked me flat on the ground. It was bleeding slightly from the blunt force, but I thought it was funny more than anything. Hey, I guess it's no secret that I'm probably some sort of insane masochist. The 6 mile was a pretty good progression run with a pretty slow start building into a second half at a pace that felt pretty even with what I wanted to run in the 5 miler the next day (I was gunning for about 5:30 a mile and a top 10 finish).

Saturday: 17 miles: I'm an idiot. I'm just going to throw that out there. Brian Lange, Steven Houck, and Steven's fiancee Beth Hernandez came over just to hang out for an hour or so right before I was planning on going to bed around 11 or so. Right before they left, the mentioned that they were going to play Counter Strike at the Digital Media Center and I stupidly agreed to go play. Well... we ended up literally staying all night and playing until 6 in the morning. I was supposed to get up for my race at 7 in the morning for the local 8:30 race and 1 hour of sleep is clearly not very useful, so I just worked on grad school apps for an hour before i had to get ready to race. I somehow was able to stay pumped up on adrenaline and sugar until the race and somehow, unbeknownst to all but maybe God, I ended up managing to run a 27:55 5-mile at the hillier-than-expected Celtic Solstice 5 mile. Dave Berdan crushed the course in 25:09 for the win, which pretty much blows my mind; that guy is an absolute machine. According to the preliminary results, I placed 10th out of 1883 runners, but they said a number of chips didn't work properly at either the start or the finish and there were also many hundreds of runners running at a reduced price without a chip. There were something like 2800-3000 runners registered for the race, so I'd bet there were at least 2500 or 2600 running it. I had seen on a different results sheet that I placed 12th, so who knows which one is correct; I'd tend to believe the first one I saw that put me in 12th since I know there are numerous mistakes with the online one... Anyway, being completely honest, the 27:55 was NOT whatsoever a difficult run. I thought that I wasn't going to run particularly well since I hadn't slept, so I just didn't push very hard. According to a treadmill, I have run 5 miles on a completely flat surface in 26:58 (and that includes the 15-20 seconds wasted with the ridiculously slow start-up, so probably more like 26:40 to 26:45) when well-rested, but I thought that time was unbelievably fast. I guess I believe it now based on this time, especially since I was in MUCH more pain after my treadmill 5-mile time trial than I was after Celtic Solstice. Anyway, the entire run was a good progression. I did the first mile in a quite-slow 5:50 just to see how I felt and then the second in something like 5:45. I finally found a good groove around mile 2 and did the next 2 in 11:00 flat (running pretty even 5:30s for both). I knew that I was just a little off pace to break 28 minutes at mile 4 and Falls Road sort of expected me to break 28 minutes when they gave me a comp'd "elite" entry, so I edged up the pace a notch and put in a still-easy 5:20 final mile for a 27:55 finish. One thing that's sort of funny is that my last 3 miles were in a total of 16:20, which would put my last 5k split well under 17 minutes. I haven't raced one in a few years and I've done almost no speed training since well before my last 5k (never even having officially broken 18 minutes), so this just goes to show that I have been absolutely correct all along that my distance training would drastically improve my speed, even if I rarely or even never run at a 5k or 5 mile type pace when training. In the end, I wished I'd pushed a little harder since going sub 5:30 miles in less than 27:30, or probably even breaking 27 wouldn't have killed me, but hey, I was still able to hit a good amount more running that day, so whatever... 5 mile races are certainly not my focus right now, so I guess it was good to take it relatively easy. Anyway, I had to run a mile to and from the race and when I got to the race, I did another 1 mile warmup, so the morning total was 8 miles. I became extremely tired shortly after coming home, but I still managed to throw together another 9 miles later that day before completely crashing and going to bed.

Sunday: 11 miles: I was stalled up at the airport for most of the day, so my run was cut short. I got back to MN super late and it was absolutely freezing outside. The car's thermometer read -6 straight up, but that seems to probably be a bit warm in the winter and I saw a sign outside reading as low as -13. Sometime during the night or tomorrow morning, the windchill is supposed to exceed - 40 degrees, so I decided not to die and just ran on a treadmill. I actually put in 1 mile at the airport to get to the baggage claim rather than taking the shuttle, so I just pegged another 10 miles out at home. I have the feeling my parents' treadmill is pretty inaccurate in terms of pace (it's from the 80's, so who knows...) It was telling me that it took me 69 minutes to run 10 miles, though I'd imagine I hit more like 11 miles in that time. I almost NEVER take more than 62 or 63 to run a 10 and I worked up a REALLY good sweat on this run, so I just felt like there was no way this thing was accurate. I could see myself going even 65 or 66 on an off day, but 69 is ridiculous. Nonetheless, I just logged it as 11 total for the day since I have no real evidence to suggest that the treadmill is wrong other than the fact that it has numerous other ridiculous problems, (such as the fact that it moves forward approximately 5 feet every mile if you don't put a heavy object in front of it, it shakes back and forth uncontrollably if you're going at anything beyond a walk, and the calorie counter is way off... I happen to know that I burn roughly 124 cal/mile, but it was putting me at just over 100 per mile...) Anyway, the next several weeks ought to be interesting... If I get stuck having to run an insane amount on a treadmill since the weather is too crazy to do long runs outside, I might go out of my mind...

Anyway, weekly total = 85... Like I said, it was relatively disappointing, but I still had one 28 mile day thrown in there that I felt pretty great about. It was really more like 85 in 6 days since I took Monday off, so I guess that's not terrible. I just have to make sure I avoid missing entire days in the next month and a half.

Edited last paragraph: blah blah blah me trash talking certain training strategies a bit too much... hahahahaha... The main gist: You pretty much max your ability to do anaerobic work after about a month; that's a physiolgically proven fact. Aerobic training can be improved upon nearly indefinitely. If you want to do speed work, you need the endurance base to do it. My absolute hero, Lydiard, had even his 800 meter runners doing marathon training (over 100 miles a week), for many months before he would allow them on the track. How well did they do? World records and gold medals... seems pretty clear to me that the guy knew his stuff... As Lydiard discusses in "Running to the Top", which, despite its incredibly bad grammar and lack of focus, is the holy grail of running books in my opinion, Kenyans are only the best because all of their top runners were doing literally 100 miles a week as a means of transportation since the age of 10 or even younger. Their only truly legitimate genetic difference is an elongated gluteus maximus, which really only helps them to sprint a bit faster when fatigued, ie shave a couple seconds off max. There is proof that they have better developed endurance simply as a result of training their base for a longer period of time. By the time they start working on speed, their endurance is so through the roof that they are absolutely and utterly ready to crush anyone and everyone. The main lesson, focus on you endurance and get into shape before you run fast. I am doing that for several months this winter (virtually zero speed work between mid-December and mid February), ONLY focusing on building endurance, and I am confident that it will make me much faster in the end once I am finally doing some speed work.

Oh, one other edit: my treadmill was broken on Saturday... hahaha... I didn't realize it two broken wheels and was at a huge incline until after I posted this, so that is a bit of a relief to me. Hurray, I don't suck as much as I thought I did!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

End of the week training report for the week of 12-8-2008

So my week was as follows:

Monday: 11 miles: Treadmill run at around a 6:15 to 6:20 per mile pace... I was feeling particularly lazy, so I just ran at a modest pace inside on a treadmill rather than braving the elements.

Tuesday: 15 miles: I was going to go out for a nice fast 10 mile tempo run, mostly involving running through and around Druid Hills, but on my way back after about 9 miles of tempo, I ran into fellow Team That's What She Said runner Kris Simms and ran most of his run with him at a slower pace, tacking on some extra miles. I don't have an exact time on the run, but the first 9 miles were probably around 5:50 per mile (I was CRUISING), and the last 6 felt to be somewhere in the 7's range.

Wednesday: 15 miles: I went for about 105 minutes out in the cold soaking rain. My pace was reasonably fast, but relatively easily sustainable. I ran to and from Robert E Lee park with a loop and a half-ish (loops are somewhat hard to define here) and was stupid enough to bring my iPod shuffle, which stopped working partway through the run . Fortunately, after letting it just sit around for a few days, it's working again. The other retarded thing I did on Wednesday was slam my ankle into a downed tree really hard, which has given me a rather painful bruise. I was going on a new trail that I didn't know very well and I was jumping a fallen tree, but it was super slippery and my right foot completely slid out from under me. Unfortunately, I crashed down on the other side and slammed my left ankle into another smaller downed tree on the other side that I didn't initially know was there. I was sort of just laughing at myself at first for being so reckless and stupid, but it's been a little bit painful for the last couple days now. Fortunately, a bruised ankle is nothing more than painful while running; training on it won't screw me over at all.

Thursday: 25 miles: Thursday was a great day of training. I went back to Robert E Lee in another downpour and ran a couple miles more than the previous day in a little under 2 hours for a 17 miler early in the day. Later on, I was feeling good, so I went back out for another 8 miles in Druid Hills with a headlamp in on and off showers around midnight. Shortly into my run, before I hit the park, some dude was walking down the street and was like "Man, that's some dedication", which really helped fuel my run. It's funny how a little comment here or there from someone I don't even know that knows nothing about my training can make me want to keep working hard. I felt really good the whole run since I kept it super slow (spent just under an hour for 8 miles) and I was just super pumped up for a few hours after running and couldn't get to bed until 4:30 AM or something ridiculous.

Friday: 9 miles: By Friday, I had begun to start feeling nervous about the last 2 finals of my undergraduate career (I have both on this coming Tuesday: Models of the Neuron from 9AM - noon and Systems Bioengineering 3 from 6PM to 9PM). I'd done very little for studying and I didn't give myself very much time to running so I could spend more time studying. I just ended up going out for a 9 miler, which I did in about an hour, mostly on the forest trails and hilly paved trails in Druid Hills. I probably would've chopped off a bit of studying and run more, but I was pretty nervous about my 20 mile Loch Raven run on Saturday, since I was running it with Adam Sierakowski who is quite fast. I didn't want to go into it tired and sore, so I just kept Friday pretty short.

Saturday: 20 miles: I did a really great 20 miler on Saturday morning with Adam Sierakowski, the guy who debuted in the marathon in a freakishly fast 2:47. Adam kept assuring me that he was out of shape, but I was imagining that his "out of shape" would be something like my "incredible shape". Fortunately, though, I was able to keep up the whole time and have enough energy left at the end to tempo the crap out of the last 5 miles. We did the first 80 minutes at roughly a 7:30/mile pace on pretty rugged trails including a couple uphills that were so bad that I vowed to never run them again. After about 80 minutes, we were inadvertently right back by his car after probably a little less than 11 miles, so we just ended up doing a much faster out-and-back on Loch Raven Drive. We instantly picked up the pace on the road, which was downhill almost the entire way on the out and the 30 minutes went by very quickly. On the way back, I decided to see what we were made of and I just brought the pace up another notch to a quad-burning rate that was pretty ridiculous after having run 15 or 16 miles already. We're still sort of arguing about what the pace was near the end, but having done a fair amount of treadmill training lately on my lazy days and now having a pretty good idea for exactly how a 6 minute mile feels, I'm pretty sure the last 3 miles were extremely close to, if not under, a 6 minute mile. The back section was mostly a slight gradual uphill with one particularly nasty uphill for what must've been close to a mile near the end, but we both pushed it in pretty hard for a strong finish.

Sunday: 9 miles: Now that I'm really getting scared about my finals (I'm maybe a little over half-way done studying for Models of the Neuron, but I haven't done crap for SBE3), I kept my run pretty darn short. I decided to just run super fast today, so I did a pretty short loop through Druid Hills and then finished by going on an absolute rampage around campus as fast as I possibly could. I wanted to start getting used to training in uncomfortably cold temperatures so I won't absolutely die when I go home to MN for Christmas, so I was super-hardcore-like and ran this thing shirtless despite temperatures somewhere in the low 40s. It must've looked pretty funny to see me running at a barely sustainable pace at the tail-end of daylight in December with no shirt on... haha... I was WAY under 6 minute miles for this crap, so I was good and tired by the end.

Weekly Total: 104 miles

Reflections on the week/a bit about next week: I know I was gunning for about 115 miles, but I decided that anything over 100 was still very good, especially since I really need to keep my mileage up through the end of January and I know that 115 a week is more than I'll be able to sustain for that long. If I can keep my average as close to 100 a week as possible, I'll probably be the most ready I can be for Rocky Raccoon without burning myself out. I'm still debating whether or not to actually race the Celtic Solstice 5 miler this coming Saturday; I know that if I race it without at least 2 days taper, I probably won't be incredibly happy with my time and I also know that regardless of what happens, I really want to run the entire 20 mile NCR trail later in the day on Saturday, so doing that after racing would be fairly painful. That being said, running a good 20 miler after totally fatiguing myself by racing might help with the preparation for Rocky Raccoon, so I might just go ahead and do it. I'm pretty sure that if I race on Saturday, I won't end up tapering for more than a day since tomorrow and Tuesday will probably be crappy days for running due to finals and whatnot. There's a decent chance I won't even get out to run on Tuesday until 10 PM or something since I'll probably want to study more for my 2nd final after taking my first one. That being said, I'm going to want to put in really big days on Wednesday and Thursday to make up. No matter what, I'll probably have to be content with 90 miles this week. I'm going to push for as many miles as I can and try to hit 100, but that'll probably only happen if I do back-to-back 20's on Wednesday and Thursday, run the whole NCR thing on Saturday, and then still hit a reasonable run in MN on Sunday after getting in pretty late. I'm feeling pretty well-motivated as of late though, so I should hopefully be able to make things happen, especially, if I throw in 2-a-days on Wednesday and/or Thursday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Post

So, I decided to open up this blog to post my running training. I figure this will 1. keep me training as hard as I can if anyone is reading, and 2. help inspire other runners if my training goes well and my races go well as a result.

I am just finishing my undergrad at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Biomedical Engineering with minors in music, applied math, and (regular) math and I'm currently applying to various PhD programs in Bioengineering and/or Biomedical Engineering. Between January and August, I'll be working full time as a lab technician, a good (but pretty low paying) job that won't require anything beyond a typical workweek, so compared to the hell of Hopkins BME undergrad, I'll have all the time in the world to train.

About me: I am an endurance runner having raced distances between marathon and 100 miles 17 times thus far. My relevant PRs are:

Marathon: 2:58:57 (Boston '08)

50 Miles: 8:42:25 (Stone Cat '08)

12 Hours: 65.73 miles (F.A.N.S. '07)

100 miles: 23:09:00 (Lean Horse '07)

My goals for 2009 include dropping my 100 mile time below 20 hours (this may or may not be feasible), dropping my 50 mile time below 8 hours, and dropping my marathon below 2:50:00.

I'm currently training via my own system that is quite similar to the Lydiard Method so that I will peak for extreme endurance in February for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile endurance run and for marathoning in April for the Boston Marathon. This involves running as many miles as I am comfortable running between now and the end of January and then, after Rocky Raccoon, doing 3-4 weeks of speed, 3-4 weeks of hills and strength, and then overall tune-up for a few more weeks before Boston.

Other than Rocky and Boston, I have a few "tune-up races" between these 2: (B&A trail marathon and Seneca Creek Greenway Trail or whatever it's called 50K in back to back weekends in the first week of March, and American River 50 miler in early April, though I'm still tentative on AR50). After Boston, I will be pushing my endurance back to the maximum for a fun-filled summer. I'm planning on doing 3 races this summer, all 100-milers: Old Dominion in June, Vermont in July, and Cascade Crest Classic in August. I DNF'd OD at 81 miles last year, so I've got some vengeance to exact on that course after more proper training (I didn't quite have the time to really train properly for a 100 last summer).

My training has been absolutely excellent lately and I've recently run a gravel and rock trail marathon within 2 minutes of my PR set at Boston and a trail 50 miler in a big PR of 8:42:25, especially good considering that the race director admitted the race was measured in "Horton miles", ie it was probably a few miles long. I've been picking up my mileage quite a bit the last few weeks and have been hitting 20-25 mile training runs like nothing, easily running a 25 miler in 3 hours flat last week and still feeling fine for a decent length run the next day. So far this past week (weeks always starting on a Monday), I have run 11 miles, 15 miles, 15 miles, 25 miles (25 being today and being split into a 17 and an 8). I'm looking at doing a VERY easy 13 or 14 tomorrow morning with a short 3 or 4 mile jog in the evening, a decent 20 on Saturday, and a nice relaxing 12-ish on Sunday to top out the week around 115 miles or so. After a relatively mediocre first week of December due to my last semester of undergrad wrapping up (only running 57 miles), I'm still hoping to hit somewhere around a record 400 miles in December, which will be very tough considering the fact that I'll be spending the last 11 days of the month home in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. I've been training in terrible weather all this week though, so I guess I'm getting used to it.

My biggest relatively long term goal for my running at the moment is to become the youngest person to ever run the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile trek across Death Valley in July, considered the most difficult athletic endeavor in the world. The current record is 24, and if things go well with my 4 100s this year, I'm going to apply for a spot in 2010's run, where I will be a bit shy of 23. If I can break 20 hours in either Rocky or VT (the 2 easier 100s I'm doing this year) and finish all 4 100s, I think I'll have relatively decent odds of getting in, especially considering the fact that Old Dominion's heat rivals Badwater's, according to numerous runners who have finished both races.

Other than running Badwater, I'd like to also run the HURT 100, Western States 100, Arrowhead 135 (the frozen MN february version of Badwater, also put on by Adventure Corps), and Superior 100 at some point, in addition to some other less difficult races.

Please feel free to post any comments you might have about my training, racing schedule, etc. As you can see, I absolutely love to run and I love talking about running. I will try to keep my training updated as carefully as possible on here, but I log it on as well, so if I don't keep up for awhile, it won't be difficult to come back and post a fair amount of time worth of training at any given point in time.