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...

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