Sunday, October 31, 2010

Final Mountain Masochist Preparation

Writing this with 6 days until the 2010 Mountain Masochist Trail Run. (Hope I didn't break some blogger rules/etiquette by swiping one of Beth's photos to finally put a pic with my blog.... let me know if I broke any rules) All the work is done and I will just do some easy light running this week and maybe a couple of complete rest days. I feel okay about my training but not super pleased with the last month or so. I didn't do much during the week days over the last month but continued to get some good long runs on weekends. I'll try to focus on the positive and know that I'm ready to run long for many hours. My long runs were good... over the last 12 weeks or so I've done 9 runs of 24 miles or longer (two 30+ milers, two 28 milers, 26.5 miler, two 25 milers, 24 miler, 23 miler on the MMTR trail, and the two weekends that I didn't go super long I did back to back 20's and back to back 21's.)

Last weekend I decided late in the week to head up to Lynchburg and join a bunch of other MMTR runners in a training run on the second half of the course. It was a perfect cool morning but warmed up nicely. So good to see some familiar faces, meet the famous David Horton and make some new friends. I didn't know much about the course so I stuck with some folks that I knew and a few that had run the course before. Lot's of slow uphills on Forest Service type roads. The uphill running was intimidating but I know I'll do fine climbing slow and steady. The "Loop" was just as advertised (thanks Rick).... nice single track that started gentle but had more climbing and some good technical downhill. My group got ahead of me on the downhills but I usually was able to catch back up on the uphills. After the loop had some trail that was difficult to follow but I should be able to find my way next week. Parts of the trail were so covered with leaves and so minimal of a trail that I felt like I was just running through the woods following blue blazes on the trees with no real trail. One super steep hill late is VERY steep and will be difficult just hiking up without resting on race day. The last several miles were generally downhill but I'm sure my quads will be trashed by then so that may be difficult as well.

It was a great day to be running in the mountains. I somehow got hooked into driving to the starting point (I'm sure everyone would have rather had their car at the finish) but with the beautiful weather and great friends it was nice sitting in the sun and enjoying the post run chatter. A few folks got "lost" but all made it back with a smile. Finally a driver offered to drive folks back to pick up cars. A bunch of us jumped up and hopped in his car... didn't get to say a proper goodbye but I was ready to get on the road. We had 7 hairy, smelly guys piled into a small Toyota... thank goodness for open windows! I had an uneventful ride home and was able to interrupt my music listening to tune in the LSU game on Sirius. Got home in the 2nd quarter and there was pasta boiling on the stove and I had enough energy to chop up an onion, tofu, mushrooms, green pepper, steam some bok choy and mix it all up with the pasta and ate bunches all afternoon.

I did learn a a valuable lesson about the MMTR course. As I joked with the post run crowd, I'll have to have a big lead on Beth if I intend to beat her to the finish line. She's a heck of a downhill runner! I'm a bit worried about possible bad weather next week but we shall see. Maybe that will take my mind off the difficult course.

Below is a brief summary of the last two weeks of training: (301 miles for October)

Monday 10/25
Rest Day (travel to Dallas for work meetings)
Tuesday 10/26
AM Easy paced 8 mile run
Wednesday 10/27
AM Steady 7 mile run early AM
PM Quick 4 miles on the treadmill after being in a classroom all day
Thursday 10/28
Rest Day/Travel Day
Friday 10/29
PM after getting home at 1am, did an easy afternoon 6 mile run
Saturday 10/30
AM Steady paced 14.7 miles in 2:02. 36 degree morning, but no wind. Felt great and real good to run with Chuck again after a few weeks.
Sunday 10/31
AM Nice morning... 7 miles in 60 minutes. Legs feel good.
Total 46.5 miles

Monday 10/18
AM 6 miles of easy flat running. Legs tired.
Tuesday 10/19
AM Repeat of Mondays 6 miles.
PM A lot of quick brisk walking
Wednesday 10/20
PM Steady 7 mile run in Ewood.
Thursday 10/21
AM Easy 7 miles on a cool morning
Friday 10/22
AM 10 miles of steady running with Tom in the neighborhood.
Saturday 10/23
AM 23 miles on MMTR course!
Sunday 10/24
Easy 11 mile run on the mostly flat Greenway
Total 70 miles

Monday, October 18, 2010


I got the exciting news on Saturday morning that my late overflow entry into the Mountain Masochist Trail Race had been accepted. So I'm runing a 50 mi mountain race on Nov. 6. I wanted to run another 50 miler and decided on MMTR for a few reasons... first off, well it's the Mountain Masochist, enough said! Excited to be participating in one of the east coast's premier ultra events. Plus I wanted to do another ultra sooner rather then later, feeling like my body needs a rest before I begin Umstead training. So it worked on the calendar... I've averaged around 80 miles a week since late May. So I'm excited yet nervous, concerned that I haven't done the proper mountain climbing in training. I feel like I'm a decent uphill runner, but I guess I'll find out in a few weeks.

After the high of the New River race last week you'd think I would have kicked it in training this week. Didn't exactly happen (at least not until the weekend.) I did learn a bit about my legs.... I figured out I can run 25-30 miles at an easy 9 min per mile pace and bounce back quickly with little recovery time. But running 31 miles at 8-8:20 pace really took it out of me. I just don't seem to have much energy and my legs have been dead. We moved out of our house (renting it out to the big furniture market in High Point and re-located for 8 nights into an extended stay hotel in Winston-Salem) and things weren't settled and routine for several days. So I ended up taking two days off (with a rest day prior to New River and rest day the next day).... so have taken the same amount of rest days in the last two weeks as I took all of 2008!

After not much during the week, I did have a decent weekend. Saturday I headed over to Salem Lake on a beautiful day and ran a VERY slow 24 miles. Legs were tired the whole time but I just learned of my MMTR entry so I was determined to spend a few hours on the trail. Sunday I found the closest mountain I could find and ran for 3 hours at Pilot Mtn. State Park. The trail was decent and nice to do some climbing in prep for the VA mtns. I went up to the summit twice (approx 1200'+ ea, so probably over 3,000 of climbing) and on the second time down hit an alternate trail and back up looping around the stone face of the summit... lots of rock climbing. Not sure how far I went but it was 3 hours of climbing and downhill. Legs still very tired so I have to figure out what I'll do over the next ten days before I taper. Hopefully I will head up further into the mountains this upcoming weekend.

Brief Summary of Oct 11 - Oct 17
10/11/10 Monday
AM- Easy paced 7 mile run with Chuck and docs on Ewood loop and downtown.
10/12/10 Tuesday
Busy all day long with moving out for Market so took a rest day
10/13/10 Wednesday
12 miles in Winston Salem... struggling and going slow.
10/14/10 Thursday
10 miles in W-S in a cold rain. SLOW
10/15/10 Friday
Another unplanned rest day... feeling tired and burned out
10/16/10 Saturday
Easy 24 mile run @ Salem Lake. Slow and enjoyable!
10/17/10 Sunday
@ Pilot Mtn. 3 hours, to the summit 3 times. Not sure distance, but 3 hours is 3 hours right?
Total miles: 70

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New River Trail 50K Race Report

Had a great day at the New River 50K. The experience ranks a close second to my sub 3 hour marathon as a 50 yr old at the'09 Boston Marathon. The utra marathon crowd is so different then a "normal" road race or marathon. It is a very close knit family that I now feel apart of. I know I will cross paths again on another trail with many folks that I met on October 9th.

Leading up to the 50k, I had a fairly easy week. I did a 2 hour run on Wed. but just light running the other days. I did have back to back long runs a week ago. So not a complete taper but still more rested then usual.

I made the trip alone. Got up at 4:45 a.m. and was on the road shortly after 5. Besides all the running gear, I brought a banana, coffee, and 3 whole grain frozen pancakes that I popped in the toaster for a pre race meal on the drive. The drive was less then 2 hours so I had plenty of time when I arrived for the 8 a.m. start. The temps were in the low to mid 40's at the start and it was likely to be in the 70's at the finish so I really argued with myself about what to wear. I ended up deciding on short sleeves with gloves. I could always drop the gloves when it got warm.

I didn't really talk to many folks prior to the race other then in the porta john line. Of course that reminded me of my mother always meeting people at the bathrooms when we took family camping trips. Also chuckled to myself about the Keller Williams song "I Fell in Love in the Porta Pottie Line"... no I didn't fall in love but enjoyed the pre race chit chat.

The race started promptly at 8 a.m. with the sun just coming up and fog lifting over the river. The New River was wider then I expected up in Virginia. It was a beautiful sight. The entire course is on dirt (with road crossings and wooden bridges), about the width of a forest service road, all along the river. It was an out and back course. After the initial mile I sort of fell in line with Jenny, from Bristol, VA. Jenny was all decked out with fancy gear. Sports sunglasses, compression socks, vest for gels and drinks and such. She claimed to have only run two previous ultras but she talked and ran like a true veteran. [Correction: Jenny has run a bunch of ultras but I did get it right that she only had one previous 50 miler!] She was running great just 4 weeks after her first 50 mile mountain race. I noticed her Garmin chiming at what I figured were mile intervals (no marked miles on the course). Jenny let me know we were running pretty even splits, right at 8:20 per mile or so. A little faster then I planned but very comfortable. Jenny and I also had a Louisiana connection as she went to SLU in Hammond, LA. I took an early pit stop to water the bushes and quickly caught back up to her and felt like we were slowing a bit so I moved on down the trail.

I didn't really know what pace I was running, but it was cool and the views were beautiful so I just kept moving along. The trail was much like Salem Lake, only smoother and flatter. Enjoyed the course so much... shaded trail, over many foot bridges, through a very dark tunnel, past a small waterfall, farmland, crossed Chesnut Creek.... Off and on my knee was hurting but seemed to go away as quickly as I noticed it. Ultra's seem to have more good older runners and talented women. There seemed to be a bunch of over 40 guys in front of me and several women. I got to the turnaround in 2:09 and noticed at least one gray haired guy in front of me. Coming back I realized no one had passed me since probably mile 5 and I was picking off runners, so either they were slowing or I was moving along pretty good. I tried to concentrate on keeping my cadence quick and keeping my legs under me and not heel striking and braking. I was in my very minimal New Balance 100's and felt like I kept a mid foot plant the whole way.

One guy did pass me on the way back, Chad from Mooresville, NC. Chad promised me I wasn't slowing but that he had gone out very conservative and had picked up his pace. So the last 2/3 of the race he was the only one that passed me. I did a total of 5 gels, and since this was a "green" event and didn't have cups, I stopped at a few aid stations to fill up my water bottles. I opted for a fuel belt and not a hand held for fluids. My legs were feeling tired probably in the 16-25 mile range but then actually started to feel pretty good again. I guess I got in enough fuel to rid myself of the glycogen depleted leg feel (dead legs). With about 2 miles to go I ran out of water/gatorade and started to fade a bit but with so little left it wasn't a big deal. I never did catch the white haired guy but finished feeling pretty good in 4:18:56 for right at 8:20 per mile. Very pleased... and much faster then I planned to go. It was getting pretty warm late in the run and I could feel it but didn't feel like I pushed myself too hard which was my goal.

I finished in 20th place out of 130 finishers and as I suspected quite a number of 40+ guys in front of me, also was beaten by one 55 yr old, a 60 yr old (the gray headed guy I was hoping to catch) and 4 women. I think the post race experience is what really made the event so special. A woman that finished a few minutes behind me said she was heading to the river to soak like last year.... sounded like a great idea. So I made my way down to the banks of the New River and found a nice rock to sit on about 20 feet out into the river and was able to soak my tired legs in the cold clear water up to about my thighs. I ended up talking a good bit with Chad, who was the only one to pass me after the initial miles. I joked that he had ruined my day. He is also running in the Umstead 100 mile race in April. I sat back with my legs in the cold water, warm sun on my face, mountain ridges in the distance taking it all in and feeling satisfied after running 31 miles.... listening to the "ultra talk"..... "oh I heard you ran blah blah blah 50 miler, how was that?" "it was great, 20 miles of forest service road, 12,000' of climbing, the last 20 miles on gnarly, single track, thick mud and rocks.... it was so awesome" "hey do you do 5 hour back to backs or limit it to 4 hours?" "what's your next ultra?"..... I'm not sure anything could have made me happier at that moment.

I ate some great veggie soup at the post race feast, along with bread, bananas, apples, chips and lot's of cookies. I hung around some more around the finish line area chatting and cheering on the later finishers. One old guy finished and it was announced that he had just completed his 242nd ultra. He also said they don't get any easier... the finish line crowd loved it.

I said goodbye to all my new friends, thanked the race director and headed to the car to hit the road, almost not wanting to leave. BIG thanks have to go out to Annette Bednosky, the world class ultra runner, who gives back to the sport she loves by directing this wonderful race. Now on to finding the next 50 miler or 100k before I attempt 100 miles at Umstead in April.

Brief training summary from Oct 4 - Oct 9
10/4/10 Monday
Easy 5.5 mile run with Chuck and Docs
10/5/10 Tuesday
Slept in, easy 3 mi jog (semi tapering)
10/6/10 Wednesday
14.5 mi run with Chuck, 2:04. Felt good in cool crisp temps
10/7/10 Thursday
Real easy 6 mile run alone. Okay after a few miles
10/8/10 Friday
Rest Day
10/9/10 Saturday
NRT 50k 4:18:56 8:20/mi
10/10/10 Sunday
Rest Day
Total 60 miles

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Training Summary Sept 27 - Oct 3

82 miles
3648' vertical
11 hrs 40 min
20 miles on trails

A good week of running as the weather turns cooler. Did another back to back long run weekend. So 2 weeks ago did back to back 21 milers, last week a 25.6 mile run, and this week back to back 20 milers. My leg/knee still an issue but it seems to be getting better. Need to continue the hip stretching to lengthen IT band. Other then that all feels pretty good. I will try to do a solid 50k this weekend at the New River 50k but don't want to have a marathon race effort and have to recover. I will decide on a 50 mile race after I see what the upcoming weekend takes out of me.

Monday 9/27/10 (8 mi, 455')

AM- w/ Tom in a light rain. Easy paced 8 mile run in Ewood and downtown.

Tuesday 9/28/10 (5 mi, 225')
AM- Busy and a little tired so just did an easy 5 mile recovery jog. Legs were okay after initial minutes.

Wednesday 9/29/10 (14.5 mi, 705')

AM- w/ Chuck... steady paced 14.7 mile loop in 2:01:55. 8:20 pace and under. Not a hard effort but faster then last week. Decent temps so solid run. Leg feels better.

Thursday 9/30/10 (0)
No running, up much of the night dealing with heavy rains and water in the basement. Unplanned rest day.

Friday 10/1/10 (14 mi, 675')

AM- Easy 2 hr run with Tom. Pleasant morning temps. Pace approx 8:40/mi. Leg ok except for a couple of patches.

Saturday 10/2/10 (20.6 mi, 963')

AM- Slept in w/ a cool morning. On roads alone, ran for 2:59:55 for 20.6 miles. 8:44/mi. Did 3 gels. Right knee gave me some intermittent pain. Iced after.

Sunday 10/3/10 (20 mi, 625')

AM- Cool morning, w/ Chuck at Salem Lake. Water at the Dam so out and back for 14 mi and added 6 more miles for 20 miles in 2:51, 8:33/ mi. Felt quite good. no leg issues. Felt better today on my second 20 mile run. Good sign. Did 2 gels and one at conclusion of run.

September Recap

September Total Miles 340

79.1 mi/week average (11.3 mi/day)

177.5 miles on trails

Continue to build a solid base for either an ultra or marathon training. Have been over 70 miles per week since the last week in May (other then recovery from Big Bear)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Training Summary Sept. 20 - Sept. 26

75 miles
3350' vertical
10 hrs 57 min
25.6 of 75 mi's on trail

Monday 9/20/10 (7.3 mi, 450')

AM- Easy 63 min run w/ docs. 7.3 miles @8:40/mi. Feel okay but still experiencing some weakness in right knee.

Tuesday 9/21/10 (7 mi, 550')

PM- 7 mile run with 4 x Ferndale & Rockford hills at hard effort. Ea hill approx 1/2 mi duration. Felt good to change my rhythm a bit and have some oxygen debt.

Wednesday 9/22/10 (14.7 mi, 705')

AM- w/ Chuck at 4:50 a.m., 14.7 mi in 2:04. Cut off a little of last weeks wed. m/l run. 8:30 per mile, nice steady run.

Thursday 9/23/10 (0)
Rest day

Friday 9/24/10 (10 mi, 560')

AM- w/ Tom in neighborhood. Real easy 10 miles in approx 1:30. Slow running recovery run.

Saturday 9/25/10 (25.6 mi, 730')

AM- Ran the Salem Lake 30k, but prior to the race did a steady 7 mile loop in 60 min's. Saw world class ultra female runner Annette Bednosky of W. Jefferson, NC out doing an hour run prior to race just like I was. Finished my 7 miles just as race was starting (good timing). Did the first 11 miles of the 30k under 8 min pace but began experiencing the same right knee and leg weakening. So I slowed it down and even stopped to stretch it at the Linville road water fountain. Didn't plan real well and did not bring any gels. So did a 3 hr 40 min run with only gatorade at the aid stations. Was feeling pretty depleted towards the end. Ran a bit with Annette during the early portions of the 30k. Noticed on her blog that she did an extra 20 min's after the race to get in her 3:40 of running. Disappointed in my leg and feeling so depleted but solid day of running.

Sunday 9/26/10 (10.5 mi, 355')

AM- Cool morning, did a real easy paced recovery run of approx. 10.5+ miles. Legs tired but okay with some hip stretching.