Monday, September 24, 2012

Hard Training

I started a little earlier This Saturday to be sure I could get the full 4 hours in.   I hit Lunchbreak hill at 4:45 Am and my first surprise was how much better my new headlamp was than my old one. Besides a solid forward beam, it had enough power to somewhat light up the peripheral. This made my ground perception much better than last Saturday.

 I definitely had less trouble following the trail with this lamp. The one draw back, though minor was that it was a little heavier so I had to make the strap much tighter which bothered a bit.  There was a slight mist in the air and with the lamp on it resembled a tiny snow squall. Not that I am wishing for snow, but it was kinda cool.

 The climb seemed a little harder this morning. I suspect part of that was the extra weight with the Nathan vest and all the gear. Not that I needed that much gear but I wanted to tax myself on this run and the extra weight would help.

I decided to run until I felt fatigue before eating or drinking. The idea was to bonk a bit and then fight back from it. I also needed to know how far I could stretch it. Two hours went by and I still felt fairly fresh, then about 6 minutes later I could feel the cement hardening on my legs and the breath laboring. I don't think I slowed the pace too much and I had no muscle cramps, I just felt tired and heavy.

 For the second time, I had problems following the right trail on the East side so I had a bit extra mileage when I got back to the school. I striped off the nathan vest and gear then headed back to the trail. It is amazing how much better that felt.

 I ran the hill a minute faster and felt much stronger......funny how different it can feel with just a few pounds shed. I did a two mile loop which I called a cooldown. Kinda  funny though because my pace was 1-2 minutes per mile faster than when I first started. I am sure part of that is the dark running which is considerably slower.

Now that I have run about  a half dozen times from the school, I found the part I least like is the descent. I think the grade is just too much to allow me to run comfortable. It is almost like I have to brake a bit. Whats odd is I don't have the same problem running down the Terrace trail and I think the grade is similar.

 Upon the second return, I actually felt great and if time had permited, I would have shot for five hours.

BBU loop:  16 miles @3:33:54 (13:23 pace)
Lunch break hill cooldown loop: 2.2 miles@ 25:30 (11:36 pace)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Not A Fan

Tuesday nite I ran bradbury in the rain. I find I am not a fan of the new gravel surfaces they are creating there......seems more like Pineland than single track in many places.
That being said, I wasn't too upset about it on this run because I couldn't see with my glasses being wet and fogged up so the roots, holes and rocks became more of a reaction than a planned step. It seemed lonely there as there were very few cars in the parking lot.

 I didn't see a sole until I return at dusk and there was one guy there who had just finished biking. There is something about running in the rain that I like ....and this night it was surely welcome as the days at work lately really drag me down.

 My schedule this year is worse than ever and I find myself daydreaming about VC and wish I was going even if it was to just spectate and cheer on the Monster gang.

Ran the connector + for a total of 7 miles @1:18:59
NB minimus

Monday, September 17, 2012

Brad Ultra Training

The initial plan was to join the group for the course training run on Saturday, it seems I never run with them. I spent much of the week trying to adapt my schedule to meet the plan.

One thing that came up was the chance to run a few miles in the dark. Dave was camping at Bradbury and had a few night miles on the agenda. I was hoping to join in because I have only run in the dark a couple times and Stone Cat is coming soon.

I would not say I am scared of the dark or anything but it is a little concerning to be in the woods running alone in the dark, so a run with Dave would have worked out perfect. Safety in numbers I guess.

Well the night run didn't work out as I didn't arrive home until close to 9:00. On top of that, an 8:00 start at Bradbury was out of the question because of a 9:00 am schedule conflict. new plan was to start early Saturday morning with my son and we would both get some dark running in. Well, his knee is still acting up and he elected to take it easy this weekend and run on the road. He did not want to jeopardize his StoneCat Marathon plans.

New plan.....I would run the BBU course alone, in the dark, and hopefully not get lost or worse, get eaten by something hungrier and faster than me. My hope was to run one loop and then meet up with the group at 8am and at least say hi.

I landed at the school at 5am, got the gear together, put on the head lamp, took a deep apprehensive breath and hit the woods. The trail is so different in the dark, especially here because I am not too familiar with the trail.

I added four things to my gear for safety, my cell fold up hunting extra flashlight and a compass. Not that I felt I needed these items but being prepared is a smart thing.

I can't believe how many times I tripped or landed funny because of the limited vision. Running in the dark is totally different and you have to pay much more attention .....similar to the O trail type of focus.

Before I made it to the top of the long hill, I lost the trail three times and had to search a bit to relocate. I also noticed many new noises that seemed so much louder and more prominent when your vision is impaired.

I never felt threatened but did find myself having visions of what might be out there just beyond my tiny beam of light. My thoughts turned to Joe and how he ran solo at night on the 100 mile trek......damn he was pretty brave as those woods were surely full of many unknowns.

I felt much more comfortable when I hit the Boundary trail because I know it so well and somehow just felt relieved to be on familiar ground. I crested the mountain and hit the East side trails. I cruised around for about another half hour before the sky started showing signs of morning daylight.

About two hours and forty five minutes into my run, I was heading back down lunch break hill and actually feeling pretty good. I figured my timing was perfect and the gang would be just about ready to hit the trail when I got back to the School.

There was a large group of runners ready to hit the trail and I decided to tack on a couple more miles and run with them. It would be good training to run Lunch break hill at about the time I would at the 50K. I had no idea how my body would handle it but figured I would hang near the rear if needed.

We took off and I was running near the front and actually feeling pretty darn strong for three hours running. I ran the whole hill no problem while maintaining my position in the group.

I figured I would turn around and head back once we hit the bottom of the mountain so when we hit the terrace trail, I just let it all hang loose and let gravity dictate my descent.

It felt great though I suspected I would suffer for it on the climb back up. I turned around at the parking lot and shouted out greetings as I passed all the runners coming down the trail.

The run back up was not as bad as I figured but I was definitely tired coming down lunch break hill for the second time. It all worked out well and I made it home for 9:00

I could have easily run longer, though one never quite knows where that bonk is going to rear up. All said and done I feel the 50K training is on course and expect a favorable run at the BBU.

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Bruiser Race Report

All the races leading up to the Bruiser this year were important and memorable, and even though I have a couple big races still planned, the Bruiser was my "state meet" as far as trail racing is concerned.

In training, my fastest unofficial time was 2:10:00 which was 7 minutes faster than my PR on this course. I worried that the 2:10 was maybe a fluke, or I missed part of the course, or perhaps I peaked too soon.....on top if that, the course was changed because of the missing bridge.

I wish I could say that I did all the right things in the two days leading up to this race, but somehow I didn't. Saturday I worked at my sons house hand shoveling, setting cement blocks, ripping out old walls and constructing new ones. I started at 5:30 am and didn't quit until 7:30 pm.

I ate way too much pizza and junk, sweat all day without re hydrating enough and then after we finished, we went out for supper and drinks and more drinks. I went to bed way too late then woke up tired and lame on race day. I also felt the beginning of a sore throat. not a good scenario for a race day PR.

I was up plenty early so I took a morning swim in hopes of limbering up the muscles a bit then headed to Bradbury. On the way I rationalized by reminding myself I merely needed to beat 2:17:00 to PR and I should be able to do that regardless.

I decided I would stick to my race plan and see how things fell into place. If I crash and burn.....well I put myself in this position. After Ian reminded everyone how much fun we were going to have, the race was on.

I positioned myself pretty close to the front at a place that I would be forced to push a bit for the first two miles. This worked out real well and I actually felt pretty comfortable and strong.

My first mile was 8:38 pace which was quite fast for me on these trails. I come out of the Island trail about a minute faster than any training run. I felt good and was not being passed by many runners.

I was in full race mode and even though it was too early in the race to know such things, I was confident that I could race the first tens miles according to plan. The O trail would just be a careful jog to the finish. I had no doubt that I could beat 2:17

The first five miles ticked by and I was enjoying the ride. The trails seemed tranquil today as there are days they are surely hateful and do everything they can to trip a runner up.

It was as if the rocks, roots and obstructions moved to allow me good foot placement. There were a few runners that that came up behind me who were obviously running much faster than me and I graciously moved to let them by. But this was a race and because of being in race mode, all others were required to earn a pass as I had to earn most of the places I gained.

I figured mile five would be about the time I would realize the extent of any type of crash and burn because that is about when I usually settle in and get my second wind.

Five came and went without me realizing how I felt, I was playing leap frog with a gal wearing vibrams. It was amazing to watch her foot placement. She was so graceful and seemed capable of placing her feet in all the right places.

In mile six we rounded the corner and headed up the snowmobile hill trail. This hill seems to last forever and I suspected it would be my chance to gain a little ground on this gal as I felt I was stronger on the hills. Almost 2/3rd the way up and we were still side by side in our friendly duel. I knew there was not much hill left so I surged and started leaving her behind.

My plan at the water stops was to eat a gel, wash it down with water and keep my lost time down to about 40 seconds. Instead I felt rushed and aborted the gels for a drink of Gatorade and a douse of water on my head which took in the range of 30 seconds.

When I reached the second aid station I lost all I had gained on the vibram gal because she took a splash and go while I was sucking down the Gatorade. I almost took off to chase her then reminded myself I should be running my own race. I finished the drink doused my head as usual and hit the trail ......never to see vibram girl again.

Miles eight and nine, I ran on screech mode trying to push the pace as hard as I could. I needed to hit the head of the O trail no later than 1:40 but preferably at 1:35. I liked the fact that I felt in control and was still running strong. In my mind I played with the idea of blowing off the last aid station but knew It would be a bad idea as I needed all the energy I could muster up to try and master the O-trail tired.

I found myself really liking the new trail as it seemed to prep me for the mindset of the O. I reached the final aid station at 1:32:50. Wow ....over three minutes faster than my best!

I usually run the O-trail a conservative 35 minutes but have run it as fast as 30 minutes. I didn't expect the 30 but felt a sigh of relief knowing that my easy 35 minute pace of the O would still earn me a PR under 2:10.

I started easy and payed close attention to my foot placement. I hadn't gone down yet today and I didn't want some injury derailing my race. Then what I didn't plan on happened.......I noticed some runners catching me and for some reason I couldn't stay out of race mode...even though I knew I was going to PR and even though I knew racing the O trail always caused a few face plants before it was over and even though I have become so focused on the trail while racing it that I took a wrong turn.

All that meant nothing and I started speeding up, pushing hard when I could, trying to spread the gap with the runner behind me. I was refusing to be passed by anyone. I was full out racing the O trail and it was working.

About halfway through, I could feel the fatigue of the race catching up with me, my legs felt heavy and I caught a few rocks and roots but was able to stay upright......that is until I suddenly found myself flying through the air. I went down hard and landed on the elbows and knees. Lucky for me it was a very soft area and except for a lot of black dirt all over me, there were no injuries and no blood.

I hit so hard that my wrist pushed the Garmen into my arm and shut it off. I got up quick and brushed as much dirt off as I could. Now I not only lost time but I had no idea what my time was.

I was pissed, I had a plan and the most important part of it was to respect the O trail and run it conservatively. I took off and started sprinting...yes I was sprinting the Otrail and for some reason it seemed easy.

In no time I popped out of the woods and turned on the kick. The finish felt great and for some reason the time didn't really mean that much to me. I guess it was because I gave it all I had and when you do that, there is nothing left to complain about.

I actually ended up with a great finishing time and a tough PR to beat next year. I only wish I could have stayed around longer to cheer others and and bask in my glory, but it was Grandparents day and the agenda was apple picking......Hmmnn does that qualify as a cool down?

Bruiser 12 miler 2:00:53 ......somehow I ran the O trail in 28 minutes (fastest mile of the whole race in the O trail 8:29!)....he-ha! perhaps I should run all my races while sick and tired.