Monday, January 19, 2009

Weeks of 1/05/09 and 1/12/09

Ok, so I totally forgot to post my training last week and didn't think of it until a few days ago, so I decided to just wait and post 2 weeks all at once.

I kept this week to an average of just under 10 a day. I finally got somewhat acclimated to MN snow training enough that I could successfully do some very good quality long runs without really feeling it the next day, but I definitely wasn't up to how I feel training without snow.

Monday: 5 miles, treadmill, not particularly fast, roughly 7 minutes a mile... There's not a whole lot to be said about this run.

Tuesday: 13 miles in snowy/icy conditions in 1:28:xx. This was actually the same run that took me about 2 hours on the nose a couple weeks before. The conditions were definitely a bit better on this second running of the course and I was definitely pushing much harder, but it still made me pretty darn happy to run it this fast. 1:28:xx is clearly not a very fast time for 13 miles normally, but when running in pretty harsh conditions in a lot of gear, it's not nearly as easy. This was definitely a tempo run and I was pretty exhausted when I finished.

Wednesday: 6 miles, treadmill, easy, 7 minutes a mile or so, mostly just recovering from the previous day.

Thursday: 8 miles, treadmill, a bit faster, 6:30 or so per mile, still not really pushing too hard, mostly just saving up for one last big run in MN during the weekend.

Friday: 8 miles, outside. This run consisted of a couple loops through the hilly Kathryn Abbot Park trails, a loop around the fairly flat, but very snowy OHA elementary trail, and some running on Hilton Trail (an actual street, not a real trail) before returning home. Felt good, kept the pace decently high, well, at least decently high for being in thick snow for a lot of it.

Saturday: 20 miles, outside, Afton State Park. For some reason, I never seem to get out to Afton State Park until I'm about to leave MN. I've only been out there a few times, but I absolutely LOVE running there. The trails are so challenging that, in a 50k race that takes place here, only a couple people have ever broken 4 hours in the nearly 20 years that they've been running the race. Either way, I hammered out the pace on this run, putting in pretty close to 7 minutes a mile despite thick snow and huge hills. Afton State Park snakes around the majority of Afton Alps Ski Resort and has numerous climbs and descents that might as well have been skiing runs in the skiing resort, so it really is a pretty formidable course. I did one massive loop around the entire park with a number of offshoots along the way. When I finished this run, I was pretty much exhausted, but it was still a very enjoyable run and I'm definitely thinking about flying home this July to take part in the Afton 50k Trail Run just so I can race these trails.

Sunday: 8 miles, outside, in Baltimore! I flew home on Sunday and went out for a nice run when I got home. I didn't push too hard since I was pretty sore after Saturday. It was nice to be running on straight-up pavement with only a single layer of clothing.

Weekly Total: 68 miles. The mileage is pretty low, but I still felt like my 2 particularly strong runs made this a decent week of training.

I decided several weeks beforehand that I was going to do a big 35-40 mile trainer, mostly on trails, during this week's weekend, so having that in the back of my head, I focused this week on having a huge run at both the beginning and end of the week with VERY easy days in the middle. My total still hit an average of 12 miles a day despite taking 2 days off and taking another 3 days really easy, so it was a pretty successful week.

Monday: 26 miles. I was definitely still sore on Monday, but I decided to push it hard with a marathon-length run while I was still hurting from my MN training. I completed the run in right around 3:15 for about a 7:30/mile pace. My legs were sore at the beginning, so by the end, I was feeling like absolute crap, but it was still incredibly enjoyable. The course was as follows: Home to Gilman trail, all of the trail to left on Northern Parkway, right on Roland, left on Lake, right on some neighborhood street leading down to Robert E Lee Park, cut through the broken fence blocking the bridge that most certainly is not broken or damaged in any way but is still for some reason labeled as such, run into the park, run one big loop, run a second half loop to get back to the exit by Falls Road a couple blocks from FRRS, take a right on Falls, run Falls until whatever that road is called that bridges over 83 (the first one to cross 83), take that to Bellona, left on Bellona, take Bellona all the way until it merges into Kenilworth, take Kenilworth all the way to York, right on York, cross the circle in Towson and follow York up to Lake, right on Lake, left on Charles, loop around JHU campus before running home. The running in RELee Park was pretty tame and the trails weren't particularly wet or bothersome. When I finished, my legs were all but screaming in pain, but I was really glad to run this whole thing.

Tuesday: 6 miles, easy, over 7 minutes a mile, running around the zoo. Even this was super painful. After Monday, my entire legs, including even my hamstrings, which are never sore, were pretty beat up. After the run, I felt even worse and anyone that saw me walking anywhere that evening must've thought I looked pretty funny.

Wednesday: 0 miles, REST

Thursday: 8 miles, EASY, over 7 minutes a mile, running a Lake Ave loop. This was still pretty painful and my legs were still fairly sore.

Friday: 0 miles, REST

Saturday: 7 miles, run to the gym, run a Northern Parkway loop, run home after lifting, a bit sore still, but not terribly bad.

Sunday: 36 miles. Sunday was the 2nd major run of the week. In fact, this was probably the longest run I've ever done outside of a race. In previous very long ultras, I've always had a couple shorter ultras as my really long training runs for the biggest one, but for Rocky Raccoon, which is now in less than 3 weeks, my last 2 major races were November's Stone Cat 50 mile run and NCR Trail Marathon. Both are certainly helpful for Rocky, but they're a bit too far back now to be directly and completely beneficial. Being a bit worried that, while my mileage has been pretty high, I haven't had a whole lot of runs longer than a marathon to train up, I ran 10 miles more than a marathon on Sunday, running with Dave Ploskonka. We ran to, through, and from Loch Raven and we had a pretty exact mileage measurement with his Nike Plus wristband mileage counter thing. We took trails as much as possible on the way there and back and threw in as many major hills as possible throughout the run. The course was probably, on average, much hillier than Rocky Raccoon, so it'll be nice to run on the very tame Rocky course and not have to deal with tremendous hills like the ones in this run. The first marathon was completed in almost exactly4 hours, and by that time, we were back off the Loch Raven Trail and just on roads for the rest of the way, but unfortunately, neither of us had brought a whole lot of food and Dave suddenly just crashed right around the 4 hour mark. The weather had been decent, around 30-35 degrees, but it started snowing shortly before this point. Dave needed to walk, but I knew we would start to freeze pretty quickly if we didn't run. Dave had only brought a mix of gatorade and protein powders, maybe 150 calories at best, so I gave him the last serving I had left in my 5-serving Hammer Gel container and we walked very slowly for that mile, hitting it in something like 23 minutes. By the time we got to Seminary Road, which meant that we had about 9 miles to go, I said that we really needed to run because I was starting to freeze, so we slowly jogged up the rest of Dulaney Valley Road to Towson area until we got to Superfresh. The lines in Superfresh were absolutely ridiculous, so the stop cost 15-20 minutes, which I was not particuarly happy about. We both bought a couple beverages and some food and the calories alone were enough to get Dave moving again, so we started running again. After pounding down too much food in too short a period of time, I had to stop at the Towson commons to use the bathroom, and by the time I realized that the main public bathroom was locked and I had to convince someone to let me into the theater to use the bathroom, that wasted almost another 10 minutes. By the time the 5th hour and all of its breaks were over, we had gone maybe 2 1/2 miles in one hour, which didn't really make me too happy, but we picked it up pretty hard for the last hour and ran a sub 8 minute mile for the remainder of the run, which very likely was the fastest pace of the entire run. When all was said and done, I had easily enough energy left to tempo the last half mile, which included the really long and fairly steep hill going up 37th, so I was happy with the run. The total time was just over 6 hours, our average pace had slowed to 10 minutes a mile with that joke of a 5th hour, but to hit my goal pace at Rocky, I'll only need to hit 12 minutes a mile, so since I still felt pretty fresh at the end of the run, I'm starting to feel pretty confident about my ability to break 20 hours at Rocky.

Weekly Total: 84 miles. The total is pretty decent, not particularly high, but my 2 long runs this week were some of the best long runs I've had lately, so I'm very satisfied with this week's training. Beforehand, I had contemplated trying to hit considerably more mileage than this, but I realized that I was really sore after training in MN for a few weeks and I really needed Sunday's run to go well, given that it may have been the single most important run of my endurance base buildup for Rocky Raccoon, so I couldn't afford to be absolutely wrecked going into the run.

Next week: This coming week is my last real week of training before I taper for 2 weeks before Rocky Raccoon. Normally, I only taper for 1 week for most major races, but I'll have been pushing myself pretty hard for a few months, having hit nearly 1000 miles in the 3 month buildup to the race, so I'm going to want 2 weeks of easy running to make sure that I'm totally ready to do my best. If I go into the race sore, everything I've done will be far less useful, so I need to really make sure I'm feeling my best. I don't have a direct goal for this week's mileage, but I'm planning on hitting a 30 mile-ish solo run this coming weekend and 1 or 2 other 15-20 milers throughout the week before then in addition to some shorter easier runs, so my mileage ought to be pretty high. I feel like no matter what happens this week, though, the majority of the work for my race is finished and I am going to be ready to throw down a big PR.

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