Saturday, July 25, 2009

Afterthought from Deseret News 10k

Haha, so, I have more evidence that I ran like an idiot yesterday (beyond my first half being 2 minutes faster than my 2nd half). I woke up today and my legs felt worse than they have after a lot of my marathons. Yeah, bad pacing yesterday I guess...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Deseret News 10k race report

Important stuff:
Time: 35:08
Splits: HORRIBLE...
Mile 1: 5:04
Mile 2: 10:15 (granted the first 2 miles were pretty downhill compared to the rest)
5k (3.107 miles): 16:35 (a major uphill in here + intentionally slowing down)
Mile 4: 21:35 (starting to hurt a LOT)
Mile 5: 27:35 (totally dying)
10k: 35:08 (HR of 194 ever since mile 5, couldn't go any faster than 6:17/mile pace for last 1.2)

So, this morning, I ran in the Deseret News 10k. I'd been feeling like absolute crap after spending too much time in the 185 degree sauna over the last week, so I wasn't even sure that I was going to race, but I decided to just go for it last night. No, they don't normally have 10ks on Friday mornings in Utah, but today is Pioneer Day, a state-wide holiday that commemorates the day that Brigham Young and other Mormons made it in to the valley after a very long walk from halfway across the country in Illinois. I'm obviously not Mormon myself, but the perilous 1300 mile trek they made is definitely a pretty cool story and one worthy of remembrance. Anyway, some Mormon newspaper puts on a big 10k and marathon every year on Pioneer Day and while i didn't feel like doing a marathon at this point in the summer, this seemed like the one good opportunity to run a 10k comparable to sea level running due to a net downhill on the course that roughly evens out the elevation factor, according to the Jack Daniels calculator, which I've used quite a bit lately just to compare runs in Baltimore and Minnesota to runs here. Anyway, I've only ever done one 10k previously, which I felt went extremely poorly, probably mostly due to me having run it the weekend immediately after the Boston Marathon, a Monday race that I wasn't yet recovered from. My previous time was a 35:30 and I was hoping to run about a 34 flat here today. Unfortunately, I seem to really suck at pacing for a 10k. I went out too fast and didn't really contemplate my mistake until I hit the 2 mile split in 10:15 and my heart rate was already at something like 192. I backed off the pace in mile 3, but by that point it was already too late. I hit the 5k split in 16:35, 1 second off my official PR that I ran back in Minnesota recently and despite trying to back off, my heart rate was up 1 BPM more, at 193. At this point, I just mentally convinced myself to keep the effort as high as possible until the finish no matter how bad it hurt, and believe me, it was already starting to feel pretty painful by the 5k. I hit mile 4 in 21:35, which meant that I didn't fall off pace too horribly in the 4th mile, but the 5th mile took 6 minutes of misery, putting me up to 27:35. Funny enough, this was still faster than my 5 mile time I ran at Celtic Solstice in December (27:55), though I'd unofficially run a 26:59 on a treadmill previously under perfect pacing conditions (although treadmills are supposedly slightly easier than running on roads when you have them at a flat). Anyway, my heart rate hit 194 beats per minute around mile 5 and I'm not sure how, but I managed to keep it there for the entire last 1.2 miles, the agony of which was literally completely indescribable. Assuming my max is still 200 (and honestly, it's very possibly a beat or 2 lower than that since I haven't tested in 2 years or so), I was running at 97% of max for 1.2 miles, something which is usually saved for maybe a quarter mile, or at most, half mile sprint at the very end of a grueling race. Despite the net downhill, the last mile was entirely uphill and my body was completely trashed, so the last 1.2 miles took me 7:33, a pace of 6:17/mile, despite my dangerously high heart rate. Due to my piss-poor pacing job, I finished in 35:08, a far cry from the 34 flat I was looking for, but my ridiculous splits (16:35, 18:33) make it obvious that I'm capable of faster if I could just pace a little better. Officially, this is a PR, but I'm going to still consider myself to not have a 10K PR because I'm embarassed by this stupid of a performance. Lessons learned: 1. Do NOT race so fast in the first half of a 10k next time I attempt the distance. A more reasonable way to do it would be to keep my HR below 185 in the first half and then let it climb as the going gets tough int he 2nd half. 2. I apparently have an incredibly high tolerance for pain. Apparently, very few people can withstand having their HR that high for that long, so that's good to know that I'm able to take it like that and keep pushing when I feel like quitting, even if my pace goes to crap. I don't know when I'll try another 10k, but I think I should be a lot faster next time...

Training, week of 7-13-09, Badwater report

This is like way behind, so my bad if anyone was actually curious to read this...

7-13-09: 33 miles: pacing at Badwater (from mile 26 to 63 with 4 miles off at one point)

7-14-09: 29 miles: pacing at Badwater (from somewhere around 76-82 and 100-123)

7-15-09: off

7-16-09: off

7-17-09: 20 miles: 2 5 mile runs, somewhat long-ish trail routes to and from campus in the morning, 10 miles in PM, also, 20 minutes in sauna

7-18-09: 16 miles: 2x4 to and from campus, more direct route than previous day, 8 miles in PM, running with fuel belt, which TOTALLY sucks since it bounces everywhere unless you tighten it so much that it's basically cutting off all circulation, 22 minutes in sauna

7-19-09: 2 miles: laaaaaazy after sauna, ran just enough to get to 100 miles for the week, basically just down to the end of the street, slightly farther, and back... hahah..., 23 minutes in sauna

Weekly total: 100 miles.

Anyway, about Badwater:
I've told this story like x-million times now, probably anyone that actually cares to hear it, so I'll be brief. haha...

I went out to crew for Pierre Ostor. 1 hour before the race, we found out that another French guy, Alain Prost-Dumont, was missing 1 crew member due to something happening with customs (I'm not really sure what...). You can only run if you have 2 crew members or more and he was down to one, but there were 4 of us with Pierre and Pierre said it would be ok, so I offered to switch, which was obviously very good news for Alain and his only crew member Theo, who had spent some insane amount of money to get there (plane tickets for both of them and the other crew guy, rental van for 5 or 6 days, $795 entry fee, food, insane amounts of water, etc). I'm not sure how much they had total in supplies, but when Pierre and crew went out to buy supplies, he ended up with 25 gallons of water and 100 pounds of ice (ice being refilled during the trip, probably over 200 pounds total). Anyway, I ended up officially switching 10 minutes pre-race. In case you're wondering, Alain and Theo spoke nearly no English and I haven't spoken French since high school. I was fairly good at speaking it then, but it's been 5 or 6 years since my last class and it took awhile for it to come back. During the race, my vocabulary improved substantially just because I was forced to dig back into my memory so much, so I was a lot better by the end of the race, but still by no means fluent or even close. Anyway, Alain started off at 8 AM monday and ran pretty well with no problems for about the first 26 miles. Around 26, he threw up a bit (probably just because he was pushing a little too hard in the heat) and started to complain about his stomach, the heat, and his left leg. He really wasn't taking very much salt (no S!-caps or anything, just the electrolytes in one of his French sports drinks, which I was pretty sure wasn't close to enough). I decided around 26 to go and run with him for awhile. From 26 to around 36, things were ok, but he really started to cramp around 36 (which I suspected to be from the lack of sodium). 36 to 42 was incredibly slow, almost all walking, and he was in a lot of pain, so I just did my best to try to convince him to take more sodium, as well as giving him mental support through my poor French. The cramps got to their worst around mile 40, right around Devil's Cornfield, where the temperatures swelled to a sweltering 130 degrees or so. Being out there pacing with him, I was very thankful to have good sunglasses and an OR-brand SPF-30 hat with a long floppy face and neck cover, which shielded me from the intense 130 degree headwind, which literally felt like running into a hairdryer on at full power. At this point Theo and I finally said something like, "look, there is no alternative, you have to take the S!-caps", or in French, "Regardes, il n'ya pas d'alternative, c'est necessaire que tue prends les S!-caps". haha... Anyway, we got him taking them and he made it to mile 42's time station in Stovepipe Wells. At 42, at which point it was starting to get dark out, I ran into the convenience store, bought a ton of good food (milk, chocolate, yogurt, gatorade, 5-hour energy, which doesn't work for more than an hour by the way... total lie in the name..., etc) and called my family just to let them know of the change of plans and that I'd probably be up for at least 48 hours straight pacing/crewing if the pace didn't increase much. Anyway, by the time I got back in the car with Theo and drove down the road to find Alain, he had already made it 2 miles and was no longer cramping, thanks, I presume, to the 341 mg of sodium/s-cap we'd given him. I jumped out with a pleasantly full stomach and continued pacing him. Mile 42 to 60 was an 18 mile, 5000', climb up to Towne's Pass, the top of a mountain, but his pace was significantly improved from what it had been before. The only problem during this section was that he tended to break longer than other runners, so there was a lot of cat-and-mouse going on where we'd pass other people then take too long of a break, during which time they'd re-pass us, and then we'd go back out and repass them, etc. etc. I took a 25 minute nap in here while he was doing a mile and a half or 2 miles at one point, just to make sure i'd be nice and totally rested for the next day. Yeah, i'm kidding... It did nothing for me... Anyway, by 60, he'd passed a few people and he picked it up a lot on the descent, and by a lot, I mean, probably so much that it could've potentially messed up his quads. I ran with him from 60 to 63 and then said, all right, you're doing ok now and i've paced 33 of the past 37 miles, so I went back to the car to help Theo with the crewing. I ended up getting the better part of an hour of sleep at some point around mile 65 and when I woke up, it was just starting to get light out. He made it to the station at mile 72 in Panamint Springs by 7 AM I believe. The general prediction for the race is that the amount of time it takes to get from 0 to 72 is about equivalent to the amount of time it takes to get from 72 to 135 since there are 2 huge climbs in the last 63, but only 1 in the first 72, so we expected somewhere around 46 hours at this point. 60 to 72 had been almost entirely a descent from Towne's Pass down to 1000', so at 72, he had another long climb, which nearly leveled off somewhere in the low-80s, but still continued gradually uphill until the Darwin checkpoint at mile 90. I ran 6 miles from somewhere around 76 to 82 just to keep him going at this point and then helped Theo with crewing again until about 100. At the 100 mile mark, I got back out and ran until mile 123 in Lone Pine. This section was really where Alain started to pick up the pace. He was taking a good amount of sodium, his legs were doing ok, and he was running a fair amount, probably more than he was walking. The course was mostly downhill from 90 to 123, dropping from 5000' at Darwin to 3000' in Lone Pine, before the last major mountainous uphill, so I just went along with him right on the side of the road and everytime I thought that he was walking for a little too long, I'd say "Est-ce-que tu peux courir?", French for "Can you run?" and he'd start going again. We did really well about not letting him take many breaks in this section, so he made up a lot of time and passed a fair amount of runners. We ended up cathing up to Pierre around 110 or 115 and he was feeling pretty trashed, so we wished him luck and continued on. By mile 123, Alain was slowing down again and I decided to crew in the car rather than stay out for another number of hours on the course, mostly due to my horrible shoes and socks and the big blister I was developing on the inside my pinky toe on my right foot. I quickly grabbed some McDonald's at mile 123 and hopped in the car. I dozed off for about 10 minutes at one point while we were waiting on the side of the road for Alain, but that was it for sleep: a total of maybe an hour and a half during the entire race. Around mile 128, someone mentioned that there was a massive fire at the finish, so there was a new finish only about 1 mile ahead. Unfortunately, that person was clearly not a runner because we told this to Alain and continued to the finish to meet him there, which happened to be more like 3 miles ahead. 129 vs 131 might not sound like a big difference, but when you've gone 128 miles already, there's a huge difference between 1 more and 3 more. Anyway, Alain eventually made it up to the top and asked us to run across the line together as a team, which we did, and that was it. Alain finished in 40 1/2 hours or so, got his sub-48 buckle (which was switched to a sub-46 buckle due to the shortened course), his medal, and his finisher's t-shirt. I sat around and waited about 1 more hour, at which point Pierre finished and I got to go back to a nice spacious motel with him and his crew for a few hours of semi-restful sleep. Anyway, I obviously cut out some details, but I don't feel like writing more and it's already pretty long. I'm very much hoping that I'll be able to run it myself next year, so hopefully a year from now you'll be able to read my very own race report. They only let in 90 or so runners from a few thousand applicants every year, but having paced should help my application, which I feel is already reasonably strong. I have a few more very difficult races coming up in the remainder of the year that I think should help prove my worth and I'm leaning towards running Badwater's sister race, the Arrowhead 135, a 135-mile trek across frozen northern Minnesota in early February, to help cement my place in next year's event. That's all for now...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Week of 7-6-2009 training, new gear

7-6-2009 was mostly about recovery. I kept it super light so I'd feel fresh and be able to run a lot with my runner at Badwater (will have a separate post about this).

Monday 7-6: 8.1 trails, with Garmin, 7:41/mile, 1716' of gain

Tuesday 7-7: 10 miles: 1.5 warmup, 1.5 cooldown, 3,2,2 on 0,20,35 minute in 17:05, 11:19,11:12. Was sore, so only did this instead of 3x3, felt ok, but not as strong as I could've been.

Wednesday 7-8: 8.3 miles: 1:06:30, 1683' gain/loss, ave hr 156 (around 160 once i settled in), max HR 177, hit several times, about 8:00/mile, not terribly easy or hard, max grade of 60%, min elevation about 4800, max about 5900

Thursday 7-9: 4.6 miles: did 3.1 fast on trails in 19:20 with 700' of gain, felt like garbage, right leg felt super shot, jogged in last 1.5

Friday: 9 miles: Garmin was charging, slightly longer version of wednesday's run, only slower, took SUPER easy, right leg still sore.

Saturday: fly out to Badwater, nothing, needed rest.

Sunday: rest.

Total: Only 40!!!! Shortest week I've had in a long time, glad I kept it there though because I'm 5 days through the upcoming week as of posting this and will probably be hitting an all-time mileage high this week!

New Gear:

1. Saucony Fastwitch 3s: First off, replaced my Saucony Fastwitch 3s after having my last pair for maybe 2 months. They get destroyed fast, but I still love them so I bought my 5th straight pair, which Wasatch Running Center gave me for $68, a pretty solid price. I can't believe how much better it feels to be in new shoes.

2. Injinji micro-socks: Only used them once so far, but these seem like the answer to bad blisters between toes. I actually have one right now from Badwater pacing, but running with these today made everything feel great!

3. Princeton Tec Apex Pro: Scored this for $53 new on eBay, normally a fair amount more. 80 lumens at max setting, previous headlamp was the lowest-end 15 lumen petzl, which was the sorriest excuse for a headlamp I've ever seen. This one is much much better and while the 80 lumen setting uses a halogen lamp that burns out the batteries in a few hours, the brighter of the 2 LED settings is still incredibly bright (such that if you look at the lamp straight on, you can't see well for about 10 minutes. Trust me, I tried it. haha...) I took this out for the first time for my 2nd of 2 10 milers today, tonight around 9:30 or 10:00, in total darkness, and I absolutely loved it. I flipped on the halogen on the most technical rocky sections on the trail, but the LED settings were totally adequate for everything else (would've been for the bad sections too, but if I've got a halogen, I'm going to take advantage ot it). I remember having blown $30 on that Petzl headlamp, so if you can afford to not be a total cheapo, but don't want to drop $200-$450 on the top of the line stuff like the Petzl Ultra or Duo, this is a great buy. In fact, I briefly used a $200 Petzl Duo at Badwater and I actually think this Princeton Tec is brighter and better.

I'll post about Badwater tomorrow or sometime soon when I'm not exhausted and wanting to sleep.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Got my Garmin Forerunner 305!

I finally got this sucker in the mail today, popped it on the charger for a couple hours, and then went running as soon as it was done charging. I have to say, this is absolutely everything I hoped for. Pace, heart rate, calories, and distance all seem accurate. Apparently I had been underestimating my elevation gain/loss, so that was actually a really nice surprise. I did a fairly but not insanely hilly run today and figured I had covered somewhere between 1000 and 1500' of gain, but apparently I hit 1716' of gain and 1724' of loss (started at my doorstep, ended at my driveway... haha...). My total stats today, to give an example of what I get off this sucker, were 8.11 miles, 7:41/mile, max speed of 5:07/mile, average HR of 156 bpm, max HR of 182 bpm, elevation gain of 1716', elevation loss of 1724', max grade of 41% climb, max negative grade of 38% drop, 983 calories burned, minimum elevation of around 4895 feet, max elevation of 5575 feet, and a maximal climb from 4920' to 5575' with only 20' of drop the entire way, all within 1.1 miles (ie, average grade of 11.3% climb for 1.1 miles... ouch... haha...) Anyway, if anyone is considering getting one of these, I HIGHLY recommend it. This is going to be, without a doubt, the best thing to happen to my training in a LONG time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week of 6-29-09 training report: what started as garbage ended well

To sum up the week, Monday and Tuesday were absolutely terrible, Wednesday could've been good, but it was raining and I felt lazy, so it was mediocre, and Thursday through Sunday were spectacular.

Oh, and one other thing, I ended up not racing this weekend, primarily because I didn't even go home. My flight home got canceled a few hours before I was supposed to leave on Thursday and United was being retarded and offered me only an EARLIER flight that I couldn't make in time. I really was starting to change my mind about racing and going home in general (not to mention that moving in here in Utah has cost me a TON of money and I could use the $350 back from my flight), so I decided not to argue with them and just took the refund money for my flight.

Anyway, here's the scoop on the week:

Monday 6-29-09: 6 miles: Went to the indoor track for repeats and nothing felt right. I cut it way short and did 1.5 warmup, 2xmile, 2x800, 1.5 cooldown. Not only did I feel like crap, but I had accidentally packed basketball shorts, which are NOT fun to run fast in. My splits were WAY off normal (5:38,5:36, 2:34,2:33). I don't know why I felt so out of it, but my energy levels were just way off.

Tuesday 6-30-09: 12 miles: Downtown SLC loop from campus, all on roads for what may be the first time ever here. I did the first 9 or 10 all right, not much above 6/mile. However over the last 2-3 miles just felt like crap going back uphill from downtown to campus and I basically slowed down to a crawl. I went from 10 miles in maybe 63 or 64 to 12 miles in somewhere around 83 minutes. That's how bad I felt at the end. I didn't have water and I was dehydrated since I had eaten a salty Arby's Roast Beef sandwich right before hand, not to mention that this was after a pretty brutal day in the gym, which included the typical creatine monohydrate and NO Explode, both of which dehydrate me. Needless to say, I am carrying water on pretty much anything over 8 miles or so now.

Wednesday 7-1-09: 6 miles: Rainy, felt lazy, did a 6 mile pseudo tempo run on roads in 37 or 38 minutes.

Thursday 7-2-09: 12 miles: Now this is the type of crap I like. I did a 3x3 mile workout sandwiched by 1.5 mile warmups and cooldowns on the indoor track. I had previous done 3x2 and 2x3, but hadn't upped the ante to 3x3 yet. Now I know why this is considered a good lactate threshold workout. By the end of interval 3, my legs were BURNING. I still don't have my HR monitor/GPS watch (though it's supposed to be here in the mail tomorrow), so I did it by pace and feel, which seemed to work out all right. Before I say anythign else, I should note that when I do these type of workouts, I consider 3 miles to be 4800 meters. In actuality, it's like 4817 meters or something, but people usually compete the 1600 rather than the 1609 and I don't feel like figuring out where 47 meters is on a non-marked indoor track. :) The first interval was a pretty easy 17:05 (5:41.67/mile). I rested until the 20 minute mark (ie, about 3 minutes of rest) and took off for number 2. Since number 1 was pretty easy, I did number 2 a hair faster in 16:56(5:38.67/mile). I once again started after about 3 minutes of rest (this time on the 40 minute mark) and I knew going into #3 that it was the loop that was going to separate the men from the boys. The first mile or so was ok, mile 2 started to feel pretty ugly and I wasn't sure if I could hold on, and mile 3 just felt like an all-out war of attrition. I remember my comment afterwards being that around 2 miles in, I felt as though someone was beating me with a ton of bricks with every step. How I managed to hold onto pace is beyond me, but I finished #3 in 17:04, (5:41.33/mile and 1 second faster than #1). If you altitude correct these, it'd be about 6 seconds faster/mile, so had I been doing these at sea level at an equal level of effort, I would've been averaging around 5:35/mile for 9 miles with pretty minimal rest, which is a pretty beastly workout for me. My legs were definitely hurting afterwards and I was feeling pretty drained, so I walked my bike back most of the 3 miles home rather than riding it. haha...

Friday 7-3-09: 20 miles: Sometime on Friday during the day, I decided that it would be wise to do a fairly strenuous mileage push over the weekend since I have some big ultras coming up and haven't had all that much along the lines of super high quality long runs and back-to-back efforts since maybe April. I decided that I should do at least a minimum of 100 KM over the weekend (~62 miles), so I decided to do 20+/day for each of the 3 days. Friday was actually my shortest of the 3, but it had a very hardcore climb in the beginning of the run (over 2000' feet within 4 or 5 miles, starting a few miles in) and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the run: very hard work despite the technical trails and relatively high heat. I ended up running from my apartment through a bit of a misguided way up to one of the highest local peaks, running along ridgeline for awhile, and then tracing my steps back almost identically. Total time was 2:45 and I felt that I was pushing myself REALLY hard for this run, probably about 8:00/mile, having taken a 2-3 minute break at the top of the highest peak to just soak in the scenery, so the total was about 20 miles. Total elevation was somewhere near 4000'. Man it's going to be nice to have a Garmin so I don't have to guess on these long trail runs.

Saturday 7-4-09: 24 miles: After spending the morning buying furniture, I went out for a 3 hour and 9 minute run that I pushed even harder on than I had the previous day. The total climb was similar to the previous day, around 4000', but it was more spaced out rather than having half of it within 20% of the run, so I was able to push myself pretty hard. A small section (20-30 minutes) was on roads so I could get home before it got dark out, and I took a detour on the first part to get a spectacular and painful 1500' climb in (though this was a longer more gradual climb than the previous days that was pushed out over a number of miles), so it was roughly out and back, but not totally. The final hour of the run was actually the fastest part I'm pretty sure and I felt like I was really pushing hard near the end. I was definitely under 8:00/mile on average since I took zero breaks and only walked for 5-10 seconds at a time here and there to drink water and on one super poorly maintained section of trail that lasted a couple minutes. Overall, I figured definitely under 8/mile, total of 24 or so in 3:09.

Sunday 7-5-09: 24 miles: Similar to Saturday's run, just minus the 1500' climb, having maybe 500' in its place, and out slightly farther along the Bonneville Shoreline trail, so the total climb was 1000' less, but the total distance was about the same. I did this one in the middle of the day in pretty bad heat (mid to high 80s), so it was somewhat painful. I ended up running out of of my 2 .5 L bottles of water within an hour and a half and having to cut back to a neighborhood and going down the street until I saw someone outside that I could ask for a refill. I drained one of those instantly and drained the other one right about the time I was passing the U of U, where fortunately, I was able to get more water in both from a fountain outside. I ended up draining another 1 1/2 of those in the last 30 minutes since I was so dehydrated (my urine was somewhere between dark yellow and orange, which is never a good sign). All in all, I definitely took this run a little bit slower, despite having only 3000' of climb rather than 4000', but I can just blame that on the lack of planning with water since my legs still felt pretty good despite coming into the day with 2 long runs in the previous 2 days. Overall, I was very glad to be done with the run, but I guess that it was only because my stomach was starting to get messed up from repeated underhydration and binge hydration to make up for it. Once you enter that cycle, it's never much fun to keep running, so I'll just have to be careful to stay on top of hydration in my August ultras, 1 or both of which could end up being pretty hot. Total time, 3:17.

Overall: 104 miles, but 68 of that was in a 48 hour span from Friday through Sunday. Despite a piss-poor first 3 days, this was one of my better weeks I've had in awhile. Not only did I do a phenomenal lactate-threshold elevating interval workout, but I hit back to back to back long runs and did 9 hours and 11 minutes of running over the weekend, hopefully a hair more than the amount of time I'll have to spend running at Mt Disappointment. I think in that 50, due to the extremely tough conditions, I'll probably have an official goal of 10 hours, but if the course is a little over-hyped (which I have the feeling it it is based on the overall description, trail descriptions, elevation profile, etc, given online, which mostly match or fall short of my new training rounds here in the trails in SLC), I think somewhere around 9 hours might be possible.

Next week: I'm leaving to crew for Badwater on Saturday, which should be an interesting experience. :) I definitely need a lactate trainer in here, probably another 3x3. My mileage will definitely be lower than this week, but I'll probably try to get at least 1 reasonably long 20-ish or so miler in before I leave.