Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ultra Plans, Weekly Summary Aug 16-Aug 22

Training and recovery from the Big Bear Trail Ultra has gone fairly well but I've decided not to enter The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in Wisconsin. Part of me still wants to jump in it, but I think a wiser way to go would be to relax a bit and put in a nice training block of long runs (4+ hours), back to back long ones, and consistent mileage over the next couple of months before I enter another 50 miler. I feel recovered from my 7/17 ultra, but experiencing some aches and pains and even a bit of left hamstring/buttocks stiffness which concerns me. I battled that problem for over a year so I don't want to revisit that. I believe based on my marathon time from Boston '09 that I can enter the JFK 50 on November 20th. So at this point that is my plan and will likely also enter the New River 50k (as a good training run) on 10/1.

Had my first 30 mile training run this week and that went well. Quite slow but running for 5 hours was the objective. Still sort of amazes me that I can run past the marathon distance slowly and bounce back really well and only have tired legs the next day. Moving forward... will try to do another 30 miler this week but with the next couple of weekends of busy schedules and travel won't worry much about my training, then will concentrate on 4+ hour weekend runs, back to backs and throwing in some faster runs when rested. Below is my log from last week.

Weekly Total 70.5 miles

Monday 8/16/10 (6.5 mi)

Noon- Generally easy 55:50 run. Ran into ultra runner Scott Douglas in the neighborhood and ran a portion of it with him. No issues, legs okay. Had planned a rest day but felt restless at lunch time.

Tuesday 8/17/10 (4.5 mi)

AM- Easy 40 minute run. Did some on the golf course, then Ewood. Recovery day.

Wednesday 8/18/10 (13.5 mi)

AM- w/ Chuck, hot humid conditions. Both struggled through a slow 2 hour run. Didn't feel like we were going so slow, but averaged 9 min/mi. Felt dehydrated after.

Thursday 8/19/10 (6 mi)

AM- In a light rain. Did a 6 mi run in 50 minutes. 8:35 pace. Middle portions of run were quite hilly. Ran out to Sweetbriar, Wicliff/Ferndale/Rockford. Feel a whole lot better. (PM core work)

Friday 8/20/10 (30 mi)
AM- Started at 5:30 a.m. with MP at Salem Lake. Did approx 30 miles in 5 hours. Started in the dark with headlamps. Stumbled along, zigzagging for the first 30 minutes in the dark. Ran the first 15 miles with Michael then went ahead and circled back for him a couple of times. Only did 3 gels but certainly needed more on a 5 hr run. Leg fatigue late but no serious issues. Slowing was more mental then physical.

Saturday 8/21/10 (10 mi)

AM- Alone @ Salem Lake, real slow out and back 10 miles. Very very slow to begin then began to feel okay.

Sunday 8/22/10 (0)
Rest day. Moved Kane into dorm in Chapel Hill so decided to rest. 30 minutes of walking and core work.

Recap 8/16/10-8/22/10

Planned on more miles and a better back to back long run but happy making it through the 30 mile run fairly easily. I hit 70 miles and decided to rest on Sunday with a busy day, would have been hard to fit in much of a long one. Plan to do 2 more weeks of 70+ before I up the mileage in preparation for November ultra.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekly Summary Aug 9-Aug 15

Weekly Total 72 miles

Monday 8/9/10 (0)
Did not feel real well during the day. Hot temps... decided on rest. @ HP Athletic Complex- walking, some jogging, running drills, core work.

Tuesday 8/10/10 (9 mi)
AM- @ Salem Lake. Easy paced 9 mile run.

Wednesday 8/11/10 (12.5 mi)
AM- w/ CK for early portion, 1:50 generally easy pace. 8:40/mi. Off and on legs/knees were stiff. All on roads (Ewood, Dntown, HPU)

Thursday 8/12/10 (4 mi)
AM- Easy 4 mile recovery run. Generally feeling tired and "beat up".

Friday 8/13/10 (11.5 mi)
AM- Slow 11.5 miles on roads. Some with TT. All slow running but feel okay.

Saturday 8/14/10 (18 mi)
AM- @ Salem Lake w/ TT and CK. 18 mi run in approx 2:40. Extremely easy on me to run only 18 and so slow.

Sunday 8/15/10 (17 mi)
AM- w/ MP at Watershed Trails in Greensboro. 3 hour run on Piedmont, Big Loop, Owls Roost and Wild Turkey. Some leg fatigue late in run but generally feel pretty good. Slow going on the technical single track trails. Did only 1 gel during the run and used waist belt for water bottles. MP said he had a 3 hour loop and I stopped my watch at 3:00:05! Not bad planning ehh?

Recap 8/9/10-8/15/10
Decided to cut back a little this week in terms of recovery days and no super long runs. Legs had been feeling rougher then usual so felt like I needed it. Weekend miles were good, slow miles but good running. Hope to do a 30 mile training run next Friday or Saturday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekly Summary: Aug. 2-8

August 2-August 8 Total- 76 miles

Monday 8/2/10 (8 mi)
AM- In Hendersonville at Dupont Forest 1:14 on good trails, included stream crossing. Mostly slow pace, but rolling hills. Good surface for the most part. Very good for legs.

Tuesday 8/3/10 (7 mi)
AM- 7 mile run in 1 hr. on roads. First few miles with Kane, worked into a steady pace. Hot temp.

Wednesday 8/4/10 (10 mi)

AM- w/ CK on roads. Real slow 10 mile run in 1:29. Legs stiff, Chuck and I both were struggling a bit even at a very slow pace.

Thursday 8/5/10 (0)
Rest day after 12 straight running days post Big Bear.

Friday 8/6/10 (13 mi)

AM- Slow run on the roads. Some with T, S, D.... 1:56 running time. Knees are a bit stiff entire run.

Saturday 8/7/10 (25 mi)

AM- @ Salem Lake w/ MP. Real slow again, 4:03, 25 mile run. Legs again a bit achey but no major problems. Post run I was very tired and sleepy all day but no leg stiffness or pain.

Sunday 8/8/10 (13 mi)
AM- On roads w/ CK. 1:54:30 for approx 13 miles. Chuck had us at 8:35 per mile. Solid run, again legs/knees achey late in run.

Weekly Recap 8/2-8/8
Solid week. Legs seem to have more fatigue and stiffness as compared to the same miles pre Big Bear. Might need more recovery. Trying to decide if I will enter The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 in Wisconsin on 9/18. I will wait a little longer and see how my August training progresses. One thing pulling me to the WI race is the course seems to be more mild then most trail 50's. Rated a "2" for both terrain and surface. (Big Bear was a "3" in both categories.) Hope to do a 5 hour run in two weeks... that will probably help me decide.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big Bear Recovery

After Big Bear

After running my 52 miles at the Big Bear 12 Hour Trail Run my right leg was swollen pretty bad. The swollen area was right above and around my knee. I notice bruising above and below the knee. I wasn't really in bad pain so I was hopeful that it just needed time to recover and I wasn't injured.

After the race I ate lot's of pasta salad and other snacks at the finish area but was concerned about the leg. I drove down to the General Store about a mile away to get ice and sat in the back of the Explorer icing it. I was drinking fluids, took 3 ibuprofen, and snacked best I could. I wish I could have socialized a little more with the other runners and families but I wanted to keep ice on it and moving around was difficult. Back to Olivia's for more food, this time to go. I brought it back to my room and ate and generally felt pretty miserable. You would think after that many hours running I would sleep for days, but I was up early. The swollen knee area was extremely stiff. Walking was pretty difficult. I headed home shortly after I got up as laying around the hotel was as miserable as driving. But boy the 6 hour drive home was nearly as difficult as the race! No running for several days but by the next weekend I was able to start jogging. The swelling went down but even today bending completely at the knee is difficult, very stiff as it bends totally. Doesn't seem to bother me while running so I'm back at it. Below are logs of the week of the ultra and the two weeks after that. Beginning with the most recent week.

7/26-8/1/10 (60 miles)

Mon 7/26/10 (6 mi)
AM- Easy 6 miles on the Watershed Trails in Greensboro (Wild Turkey Trail)

Tue 7/27/10 (4 mi)
AM- 40 minutes hiking and then 4 miles real slow on Wild Turkey and Nathaniel Greene trails in Gboro.

Wed 7/28/10 (7 mi)
AM- w/ Tom, Steve and David, slow 7 miles on the roads in Ewood.

Thu 7/29/10 (7 mi)
PM- Steady loop at Salem Lake 57:16 (8:10/mi). After a slow start, this was the fastest I've run in quite some time.

Fri 7/30/10 (6 mi)
AM- Real easy 6 mile run on the road. Legs stiff early.

Sat 7/31/10 (25 mi)
AM- w/ MP @ Salem Lake, 4 hour run nice and easy. Some out on the bike path. Did 3 gels. 25 miles according to MP's GPS!

Sun 8/1/10 (5 mi)
PM- On the road to Hendersonville, did an easy 45 minutes on trails at Lake James State Park. Very gentle surface and rolling hills.

7/19-7/25/10 (9.5 miles)

Mon 7/19/10 rest

Tue 7/20/10 rest

Wed 7/21/10 rest

Thu 7/22/10 rest

Fri 7/23/10 rest

Sat 7/24/10 (3 mi)
AM- First day back. Legs seem to be okay. VERY slow 3 mi jog with SK.

Sun 7/25/10 (6.5 mi)
AM- On roads, 60 min's, again very very easy. Legs tired but okay.

7/12-7/18/10 (71 miles)

Mon 7/12/10 (0)
Began taper week with rest day

Tue 7/13/10 (6 mi)
AM- Real easy 54 min. run on the roads.

Wed 7/14/10 (8 mi)
AM- w/ Chuck, steady 8 mi run Ewood, Dntwn, Greenway

Thu 7/15/10 (5 mi)
AM w/ Chuck, Easy 45 min's, roads

Fri 7/16/10 (0)
Rest and travel to WV

Sat 7/17/10 (52 mi)
AM Big Bear 12 Hour Trail Run

Sun 7/18/10 (0)
Rest travel home from WV

Big Bear Lake 12 Hour Run Report

Big Bear Lake 7/17/10

Arrived in Bruceton Mills, WV on Friday afternoon after a 6 hour drive. I was alone as schedules didn't work out for me to have a crew along to help. I checked in at the race headquarters and got my packet. I walked out on the trail a bit and it sure look rugged... lots of rocks and roots and such. Met an old guy named Alex from New Jersey at registration he ran in '09 and covered 32 miles. I stopped on the way back to the Microtel (3 miles away) at Olivia's, a local restaurant, and had some good pasta. I tried to get to sleep early but I was a bit restless.

I was up at 5:30 a.m. and drank some coffee, ate a banana, and a waffle. Over to Big Bear Lake in plenty of time for the 7 a.m. start. I set up my ice cooler near a spot close to the start/finish with water, ice, sports drink, gels and assorted snacks. The course was completely on trails, each loop was 6.5 miles. I hoped to complete 52 miles or 8 loops but hoped to really go a bit further. But if I completed over 50 miles, I'd be satisfied.

The race was quite small with about 30 or so "solo" runners and 65 2 and 4 man teams. There were a few "veteran" looking trail runners at the start and they broke out fast after we got moving. Very strange feeling to take those first few steps realizing I had many hours of running ahead of me. I quickly realized I had underestimated the course. The trail surface was very rocky and rooty and even in "smooth" sections there were rocks and roots that you had to be careful with. And the entire way was rolling hills. Wasn't as concerned with the hills as I was with the rugged surface. I knew it was going to be doubtful that I would be able to keep the pace I planned.

I finished the first 6.5 mile loop in 62 minutes which was exactly where I wanted to be. 2nd loop in 61 minutes and the 3rd loop in 64 minutes. After finishing 4 loops or 26 miles I was feeling okay but nervous knowing I was only half way to my goal. There were Aid Stations on the course but after the first loop it seemed easier to just fill up my hand held bottles and refill them after each loop. I was also trying to eat a sports gel every 25-30 minutes. Goal being 250 calories per hour and 24 ounces of fluid.

As I began my 5th loop after running 26 miles, I took the lead among the solo runners, although I didn't realize it at the time. I was holding up pretty good and just tried to keep moving and not worry about how much I was slowing down. The object being to just keep going. A couple of ultra trail quotes were in my mind... "perpetual forward motion" and another came to mind when I started feeling bad...."it never always gets worse"... The second quote meaning sometimes you have bad patches where you feel bad or your legs are dead but many times after refueling you will bounce back and feel better.

My biggest problem besides general fatigue was I ended up tripping and falling down 3 or 4 times. Not unusual in a trail race. I didn't feel like any of the falls were really bad and just seemed to be scraped up a bit. My final "fall" was under the pine trees over the smoothest part of the trail. Laying in the bed of pine straw felt so comfortable, it was difficult to get back up.

Somewhere after 30+ miles my right quad/thigh began to stiffen up pretty badly. I wasn't sure if it was caused by one of my falls or if it was just stiffening because I'd been running that far. I thought many times the last 20 miles that my left leg just felt tired but no issues and my right leg was in bad bad shape. At the end of my 6th loop (39 miles) I began to feel some nausea and decided to change what I was ingesting. I switched my sports drink to just gatorade and diluted it with some super cold water, did a different type of gel and grabbed a small baggie with potato chips. The new "food" seemed to pep me back up. At one point I realized I'd run over 40 miles and I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion. I'm not sure why it hit me like that. I wasn't boohooing and crying but I did get all misty eyed and walked a bit to drink some while I re-grouped.

My final 13 miles or so were really tough. My right leg was stiffening badly and I ended up power walking up the hills(not uncommon at ultras) and just shuffled along the trail when I could. I slowed way down over the super rocky parts, very concerned that I would fall one more time. But shockingly I stayed on my feet the entire final 20 miles. Toward the end of the 8th loop one of the team runners passed me and really encouraged me when he realized I had run over 50 miles..... it really helped.... he told me to just keep moving and I "looked great" shuffling along down the trail.

As I closed in on the final steps of the 8th loop and knew I'd complete my 52 miles, I knew that would be it for today. I crossed the line a little over 10 hours after I started and even though I could have continued on as I had 2 more hours before the time limit was up, that was it for me! 52 miles, 10 hours 18 minutes.

While taking off my shoes and attempting to clean up I realized my right quad was swollen really badly. Later I determined that the stiffening and swelling was caused by one of my falls (and running another 3 or 4 hours on it). I stopped at the scorers table and asked how many solo runners were out on a 9th or 10th loop and they informed me I was the first to have completed 52 miles. I came home with the "first solo male" award. Nice to bring an award home. I'll post next on my recovery.