Monday, February 25, 2013

2 week catch up: The 100 draws near

Today is monday, and I haven't posted for two weeks. I'm on spring break. You know you're in a midwest community college when "Spring Break." Means working, asshole deep snow, and research papers. Either way, I'll use my procrastination to catch up on the latest exciting happenings. I imagine that by now, the only traffic I'm getting is comprised of stragglers who are searching for reviews of Merrell Trail gloves.

I've barely been running. 3-4 days a week, 50-60 miles a week. This may barely seem like "barely." The overwhelming bulk of these miles have been long, leisurely weekend jogs. Monday to friday, I'm lucky to get 15 miles in. The "old man/weekend warrior" approach I once thought to be foolish has become my way lately. Want to know something? It's awesome. I don't stress out about a certain mileage number, I feel great all week, I've got energy to focus on school work and my job, and the weekend runs are essentially pain free. Last Saturday/Sunday combo consisted of back to back runs. Saturday was an easy jog in the sunshine on slippery roads near my house. I focused on relaxing and going as fast as I could without "fighting" the snow. Lean forward, stick foot to ground, lift foot, repeat.

Sunday was a bit of a risk that I knew would determine whether I was in any shape to attempt a 100miler. I haven't run much over marathon distance in a long time, but had the idea to run from Holland, MI to Grand Haven and back along the lakeshore. There's an unplowed bike path that(pretty much) makes it a straight shot. About 20 miles each way, give or take. I recruited the moral support of Ephram and Mike. They were looking for a 20 miler on sunday, so they met me in Grand Haven and jogged the second 20 miles with me. On the outbound trip, I chose to stay out of the heavy church traffic and post-hole through the snow. Ankle deep in most spots, knee deep in some, it was a really slow, arduous solo slog in the dark. About 3:40, with a running clock at stoplights, getting lost, and a bathroom break at a gas station. No Garmin, so I relied on google maps. The return trip with Mike and Ephram was much speedier since we took the road back. I was a tool and took the dry pavement since I had dead legs. Only one significant low, and it was remedied by a banana and a 24ounce miller lite from a roadside party store. I told myself that if this run went south, I'd get a hold of the Umstead RD and tell him to give my spot away. Thankfully, it went well. I won't be shooting for a front spot, but I think it will be okay. Maybe a little trepidation will teach me some respect for the task of running 100 continuous miles.

I mostly attribute the perceived ease of this run to some good company. Having Mike and Ephram pulling me along, all three of us laughing our asses off the whole way reminded me why I love ultrarunning in the first place. I didn't get into this hobbyjogging thing for medals or sponsorships. I got into it because biting off more than you can chew and seeing what you're made of is fun. It's what makes life worth living.

So, I had a 60-some mile week, and 52 of them were in two days.

The following week was...less stellar. A week of midterms, ashamedly, stressed me out and I put running on the backmost of back burners. I saved myself for the weekend, and came down with a wonderful case of food poisoning. Projectile terrors from all angles kept me in the house for two days, and I barely walked, much less ran.

As Ray Bradbury once said, "Sometimes you just have to jump out the window and grow wings on the way down." Being calculated and meticulous with training is necessary sometimes, but for my purposes, it can run the risk of making things less fun. I think this is why I gravitate toward longer, more foolhardy pursuits. One side of me thinks that running a race without giving it the utmost of dedication in training is disrespectful to the sport. The other, more dominant side feels that making things what we want them to be is more important than rules imposed by others.

A longstanding joke between some of my friends is the ridiculously simple line, "Anyone can run 100 miles if they train for it."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fat Assery

Rest day - a mighty enjoyable one I might add. 12 hours at school. I'm a little over a third of the way through the semester, and things are looking good so far. Grades are coming in, and if I can keep it up, I'll make it to the next one. The thought of two more semesters of toiling away only to turn in a grad school application is a bit daunting, but I'm surprised at how little it bothers me. I'm on a trail now, and all I need to do is follow it.

2 miles. Yep. Two. Never underestimate the power of the two mile jog. I used to think that being an ultrarunner made me immune to the wonderous effect of a 20 minute run. I was wrong. I wanted to get outside for a moment before heading to work, but had very little time. There's a beautiful chunk of woods a mile down the road from my house. I ran through the snow and down a two track, where I sat next to a creek for a moment, took a few deep breaths, smiled and headed home.

4 hours of water classes to boot. Don't tell anyone that I like my life. It's not a popular opinion to have.

12 miles - School from 8am to 4pm, then hit the road running. 2 mile warmup, then alternating easy and hard miles until the loop was done. Easy miles were slow 8:00-8:30, hard were 6:20-6:40. the 4 hard efforts are made interesting when each step alternates between slush, powder, ice, gravel, and asphalt, but the heart rate got up, so I slept well. Any faster, and I probably would have exceeded my dilapidated state of fitness.

7 miles - just a cruise around my neighborhood. More snow.

Another rest day in hopes of back to back runs this weekend. Whenever I type it onto this log, it never happens. Let's see.

8 mile...I think. No watch, but the standard loop at Hoffmaster that usually measures between 7 and 8. Cold as hell, I think it was 5 degrees at the start. I'm not usually one to complain about trail conditions(maybe I am. I don't know), but this was some slow going. Footprints frozen into the ground with pleny of wet snow on top of it. Wearing stff-soled shoes made my ankles pretty wobbly. Oh well, got it done.

Instead of hitting the roads for an afternoon run, I helped my brother haul boards and cinderblocks out of his basement. 12 steps + buckets full of crushed cinderblocks x a shitload of trips. Good enough.

27 miles - A supremely fat-assy fat ass run with Jeremiah. 1.5 hours on the trails at Luton Park, then 3 hours on the roads. From the beginning of the run to the end, I consumed:
3 egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches
1 custard long John
1 raspberry filled donut
1 GU
3 bottles of Sam Adams Lager

I've never finished a run feeling full before, usually ravenously hungry. Not the case here. I have to admit, this served no purpose whatsoever, other than that I felt hungry and we had Camelbaks on to carry it. In hindisight, however, it may have some benefits. In each of my 100 milers thus far, I've run well for the first 50 miles, but drastically underfueled. a GU here, an Ensure there. No real food. For a 50 mile, this is fine, and works well. Not so much in a 100. Being in a hurry, not thinking clearly, and running too fast to digest food comfortably are the biggest reasons for this. To run an event that will take(if I'm able) 14-21 hours, I need to eat more. I know how to run fast enough to do well. What I lack, apparently is the ability to sustain the energy levels needed to do so. So, yeah, I ate a shitload of food and came back flabbier that when I started.

Felt good overall on our return to the car, and made the return of my favorite show. Life is good.


An improvement over last week, so it's cool. Rome wasn't built in a day...but it wasn't built by slackers either. Keep Running, or whatever it is you do that makes people look at you funny.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Super Bowl Movement Dec 28- Feb 3

Took a rest day, studied, and drank a shitload of coffee during a 14 hour day at school. Coffee=raised heart rate=exercise...right? Literally, 14 hours on campus. The old me applied the following formula, where x=the amount of time studying out of class per credit hour

x = 0 unless there's a test tomorrow, in which case x=.5 How I graduated with honors for my Bachelor's is either testament to my natural, unpolished abilities, or a slap in the face to academia.

...either way, goose egg running miles. Monday is a good day to reserve as a rest day, provided I do my weekly long run on Sunday.

Just the 4 hours of water exercise. School is really weighing on my jogging.  Now that I'm taking prerequisites for grad school, I'm borderline obsessive about studying. Hopefully it evens out. At least the exercise I get at work keeps me from becoming sedentary.

10 miles - 9 hour day of school. 1 hour of class, 8 hours of studying. Got home and did a 10 mile progression run. Not a balls-out effort, just an overdue run on pavement with decent turnover. All runs since recovering from the flu have been stomping out miles in snow. This was all dirt road or pavement and rolling hills. Pace slowly went from 8min/mile to 6:40 for the last one.

6 miles - Covered coworker's aquatic class, and cought a run in between it and my regular pool sessions. 1 hour, no watch. I'm assuming 10 min/miles, so who knows. The hilly, snowy trails at Hoffmaster + stair repeats on a set of 120 stairs. A nice way to get some intensity. Total of 6 hours of exercise for the day, so not too shabby.

Another day of no exercise. Shit. Getting observation hours at the PT clinic(most schools require 80+ hours of observation time. Looking at life in a more holistic way, I'm very happy. Returning to health after illness, inury free(for now), enjoying my runs, and finally busting my hump to chase professional goals. If I valued myself based on running miles, I'd be one sad jogger with all these days off.

8 miles - Standard loop at Hoffmaster + the ridge(slippery, technical singletrack. Really fun). Great jog with Mark, Rick, and Erik in the falling snow.

23 miles - Super convuluted and strange run. Left from home to the Cedar Creek area. I used to ride dirtbikes and go four-wheeling every weekend in this large patch of State Land, and thought I'd take run there and cruise the old trails. I was the only one to have touched the area since our last snowfall, with the exception of some pesky xc ski tracks. The trails were hilly and technical, especially in their icy condition. 1-1.5 feet of powder on top of a layer of ice. Beneath the ice was about 6inches of water. Every 5-10 steps, my foot would punch through the ice and sink to the bottom. Since this trek was looking more and more like an adventurous speedhike, I just went with it and enjoyed it.

Once I made it through the trails, I took the roads into Twin Lake, where I hopped the train tracks back home. Great 4.5 hour outing.

 47 miles? Welp, this 100 mile will suck.