Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moab 100: a bit of an odd report.

As was clear from my last post, I went down to Moab with the sole intention of running a big PR for 100 miles. Having seen only this picture of the course: http://geminiadventures.com/24U.gif on the official website and not having found an official description, I was expecting a fast and easy desert loop where I could run somewhere around18 to 19 hours. I was quite shocked when I showed up, found out that picture was only relevant for the first and last quarter mile of each 5.37 mile loop, and that the rest of the course mostly looked like: http://twitpic.com/1bdoma , though it was typically much more uneven than this picture. The majority of the course consisted of slickrock or loose sand. Thinking about it, I very quickly realized I would not be able to run much faster than 21 hours on a course like this, so I immediately started debating whether or not to switch down to the 12 hour category and just run 50 miles or so (especially because the footing was awful for nearly the entire loop and I didn't want to risk injury at night). After a loop or 2, I comfortably settled into running with or around 3 guys from the Naval Academy (some of which I've had the pleasure of running or racing with before). 2 other 100 guys were way out front, and it stuck that way the entire time. Had I thought I could win, I'd have allowed myself to run a mediocre time and stayed in, but when the top 2 guys were still way out after 43 miles, I sat down for about 35 minutes to go to the bathroom again and make a few phone calls to get input on whether I should just switch and run 50 miles instead, and realized I was gaining nothing by running the whole 100. Sure, I'd get mental confidence from it, but running 100 miles for no particular purpose is quite detrimental on the body and could have potentially slowed down my progress in Badwater training an unacceptable amount, so I just switched categories, zipped off one more lap (once I actually started the lap, it was one of my fastest of the 9 I did) and then later just ran an extra 1.67 miles on my own to make it a total of 50 miles. My pacing for the 50 miles would've given me a 19:30 100 mile (low 18s had I not sat down and debated what do, which I wouldn't have needed to do), but despite the fact that my legs felt literally totally fresh even after 50 miles, I would've slowed down a lot at night due to the horrendous footing. In hindsight, I feel like I should be a little mad at myself now. It turns out the 2 front runners were both running out of their means and dropped out shortly after I left, so 2 of the 3 guys I was running with finished 1st and 2nd, while the 3rd had knee problems and called it a day after 54 miles. Hindsight is 20/20, but despite the fact that I feel like I could've hung with the top couple guys that finished, I still made the right decision based on the course. I didn't have to take any time off of training and was literally back at it the next day, not to mention that I got one heck of a Saturday long run in. I initially felt somewhat weak for dropping without any sort of injury or problem, but it stems from the fact that Badwater is simply so much more important to me than anything else on my schedule that I wasn't willing to risk the consistency of my training to run the same kind of time that I've previously run for 100 miles. That's about it. Kind of weird, but I'll take it long before I'll take a 22 hour 100 mile that puts me out of commission for weeks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another good week.

I'm feeling reasonably ready for the Moab 100 right now. I had a good week this past week. Highlights would include a solid 15 miler at a pretty high effort level today and a very solid 2x2 mile on Wednesday with a relatively long warmup and cooldown. I did the intervals at just a hair over 5:00/mile (keep in mind that I'm at 5000' elevation), so I was really pleased with it. Today's 15 had somewhere around 2500' of gain with really difficult terrain for most of it and I ran it in 1:53, a really fast time for me for that particular loop. To put it in perspective, I have 14, 15, and 16 mile versions of this loop, and 6 or 7 weeks out from the Fall 2009 marathon that never happened (which I was expecting to run somewhere around 2:40), I hit the 14 mile version in 1:44 and the 16 mile version in 1:58, so I'm pretty close to where I was previously (also, I ran 10 miles at exactly 6:00 last night after skiing pretty hard for a few hours, so I wasn't 100% fresh). I'm just running an 8, 7, and 8 miler this week, so I'll be really fresh going in on Saturday. I'm still seeing this as a bit of an early season test considering that I have no idea who the competition is, but I'm going to run it as fast as I can. I should have a big 100 mile PR next time I post. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lots of running/skiing/sauna time on Sunday

Sunday was basically my last big day before the Moab 100. Karl had given me a 16 miler on roads on Saturday and 18 on trails on Sunday. However, the weather totally sucked on Saturday, so I kind of put my run off until very late. Still being a wet sloppy blizzard outside, I went to the gym and just put in my 16 miles on a treadmill, starting sometime around midnight, so I actually did the run on Sunday. I was supposed to be running moderately hard (but with enough left over to do a longer run on trails the next day), so I dialed in 6:40/mile and ran the majority of the run at that pace until cruising the last few miles in the mid-high 5s to finish at 1:44 even and a 6:30 average. I went home right away and went to bed, woke up, skied for 3 hours at the Snowbird Resort, came home, and immediately went out the door for my "18-miler". Feeling good near the turnaround of my out and back despite the incredibly sloshy conditions on the trail which often irritate my legs somewhat, I tacked on an extra 2 miles to make it a 20 miler. I ran the 20 miles with rolling hills the whole way and 3 very significant climbs (two around 7-800' and one around 500') and well over 4000' of total gain in a little over 2:50 for about an 8:30/mile average. An hour later, I jogged another 2.5 miles with Jess as a cooldown and finished everything up by doing some sauna time (sat there for 20 minutes at 175 degrees).

Oh, and the best part is that while coming back on the trail, I recalled that a FAMILY of mountain lions had been spotted on the trail I was running on and caught on a security camera in a parking lot adjacent to the trail several days prior. If I had remembered this, I would've taken another route, but it was too late to do that, so I just ran 4 or 5 miles through that area holding a sharp 2 pound rock in each hand in case I had a run-in, feeling incredibly sketchy every time a car drove by. I'm pretty sure I would've had a rather tough time defending myself against 3 mountain lions, but whatever, I felt slightly less afraid of dying while holding the rocks. haha...

Long story short, I did 38.5 miles of running, 3 hours of skiing (which is a very tough workout when skiing at Snowbird), and a decent sauna workout in one calendar day. Interestingly enough, my neck was slightly sore the next day, but everything else was fine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moab 100? Why not...

I was planning on running the Antelope Island 50 in a few weeks, but the registration somehow closed despite the race specifically claiming not to have an entry cap. I had originally considered Moab 100 instead of AI50 to begin with, so I just opted to get in a good 100 mile desert trainer. I know that my base isn't "exceptional" right now, but it's still pretty good and I was definitely in the best shape of my life before I broke my foot on Halloween, so I'm not too concerned about the distance.

What are my goals? Well, first off, to run well the whole way without ever really regressing to walking. Second, I want to absolutely nail my nutrition. Third, I want to have as close to even splits as possible. Fourth, I want to win if the race (assuming it isn't more competitive than it's been the last few years). I should say though that if I hit the first 3 goals and a bunch of competitive people show up and beat me, I will still be very happy.

I'm planning to start out around 10:00/mile and just hold that pace. I will aim to take incredibly minimal breaks, eat lots of high calorie foods (donuts, cookies, etc) at the end of every lap, eat 2 gels per 6 mile loop, take 1 salt pill per hour (it won't be that hot, but I will take more if necessary), and keep a steady pace and effort the entire time.