Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heart Verses Head

My heart and head are fighting.  Heart says to run the 50 miler no matter what. Head says, you idiot, you know you can't possible make the cutoff even if you have the desire to continue in physical duress.

 Since I can only run a few miles, fifty sounds real stupid and truth be known after doing a lot of soul searching, I think my real problem is having a DNF. I emailed the race director and he said no problem stepping down to the marathon ....but no guaranty of a finishers jacket.

 Hey, I didn't even think about the fact that I might be taking someone Else's well earned jacket away from them. On top of that, I really have no idea if I can finish the marathon either.

 Now maybe, just maybe my IT band will not act up .......I am not too optimistic though.  As I think about it, if it does act up, I will have no chance to PR the Marathon even if I do finish it.

So, other than a DNF, what harm is there in just toeing the line and running as long as I can? Does it really matter whether I'm calling it a marathon or a 50 miler? Perhaps this is merely the last hurdle in my transition from a road racer to a true trail runner.

I know this is totally different than a 5k or 10k, but I can remember times I had injuries or felt like crap, came dangerously close to just not showing up for a race, and then having a good race regardless.

 I seriously don't expect a miracle here but I am going to show up anyway, so why not at least attempt the 50 and just run. I can except the fact that it may only last a few miles and that I will DNF ......that being on the table, I suspect I will just start with the 50 milers and see how it goes......savor the experience as long as it lasts.

My battle plan is to get as much enjoyment as I can from the whole experience. I will try to run one lap and then if I can, I will try to run a second one and go from there. Going in with no expectations seems to take the bulk of the load off, so now perhaps I can just enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not Going Well

I attempted another run and experienced right knee pain only three miles into it, walked two more..... lasted 5 before I aborted. The dream that I can somehow beat the cut off at Stone Cat while walking most of the course is far fetched and it is time for me to be realistic.

 My plan of running a 50 miler this year has vanished......pretty disappointing to say the least

Not sure what my plans are at this moment

Monday, October 22, 2012

BBU--Pounder Race(s) Report

In my title, I put races as plural because in essence I ran two entirely different 15  mile races. The description however is the same………wet, slippery, muddy, gnarly, hilly, relentless and beautiful terrain. The only consistent factor throughout the day was the drizzly fog and never ending choices at the aid stations.  I felt like royalty as these more than helpful volunteers not only offered any aid needed  but treated the whole visit like a party that was just waiting to peak on my arrival.  One very cheerful volunteer (who,  I am sure I do not have to name)  ran toward me before I even made it to the aid station yelling out for my demands……..on top of that there was bacon. As much as I love any aid station snack with chocolate in it, nothing tops the smell of bacon cooking as one is running out of the woods. I also found a new favorite food…..baked potato smeared with peanut butter and dipped in salt, add in the bacon and I think it covers all the major food groups.

As usual this event was top notch, put on by runners who know what it takes to bring an event like this together. I have yet to figure out what higher power Ian is connected to, but he seems to consistently get the trail conditions he loves so much. The course could not have been better for a hard core trail runner, just the right mix of mud and water, enough run off to cause the streams to bubble with pleasure and just enough mist to keep one cool but not a heavy enough rain to cause discomfort (except maybe for the 50 miler start)

I am proud to report that only fell once and I am not sure how it happened, but it was mile 7 of the 2nd lap. There were no roots or rocks to blame it on and I landed on the edge of a very muddy puddle. My left calf locked up so bad (because of trying so hard not to go down) that I had to sit for a few seconds before I could get back up and then it took a little messaging to get it to calm done enough to start walking.

I didn’t train very well for this event as far as high mileage goes and it showed in the later miles.  I felt I trained very well for a tough 15 mile trail race and knew I would have to run smart to accomplish the finish here that I desired. In retrospect I did not run very smart but did  learn some extremely valuable lessons. I opted to run the first loop as bare as possible by leaving the Nathan vest behind and depending solely on the aid stations for fluids. After the first loop I planned to  change into lighter shoes, possible put on dry clothes and gear up with fluids and gels.

The core of my plan was to start very conservative and save something for the last 6-8 miles …….that didn’t happen and I really do not know where my brain was,  that is why I split these loops up. The first loop was amazing and I ran it like a 15 mile race. I guess I just got caught up into the flow of it. I felt strong and very much in control for the whole 15 miles. I even told some runners I was passing that I was probably running too fast….. so I knew what I was doing but somehow must have felt I could pull a rabbit out of my hat for the second 15 miles…….mistake number one!

Mistake number two, I didn’t bring my stuff to the tent, I just left it all in my truck and figured I would just jog over to gear up for loop two…….I didn’t do it. You know, the truck wasn’t that far away, was I too lazy or maybe I felt so confident from the first loop, I don’t know but I do know it was a bad decision. I felt it immediately as I WALKED up lunch break hill, I was in for a tough finish. I kept the pace conservatively slow and patiently waited for the moment after the bonk when the body decides to let things flow again and it came at mile #19.

Problem is, a disturbing pain in the outside of my right knee also seemed to appear at the same time. At first it was more bothersome than a problem but the more I ran the down hills the worst it felt. Like most aches and pains, I figured this would pass because I didn’t remember a point where it felt like I tweaked it……but it sure felt tweaked and instead of passing, it kept barking louder. Eventually I had no choice but to drop the run part of my run/ walk 2nd lap  strategy and  then it even  hurt while  walking down the hills.

There were some short spurts of running but only long enough to convince me that it was a mistake. The most difficult part of this for me was the fact that I had cardio and though my body was fatigued, I could have continued running if it were not for the knee issue. It was so discouraging to have runners pass me that I should be able to stay in front of. Then the oddest thing happened, I took a wrong turn ……not sure how that could happen when I knew the terrain, I knew the course and I checked to find that the markings were all in place. I guess I was so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t pay attention. Luckily I didn’t lose any time as I caught it fairly quickly.

I kept plugging along and had it in my mind that I would finish at all costs. At about one mile from the end I decided I was going to run to the finish regardless of the pain and even though it was probably a mistake, I just could not bring myself to walk it in. The finish was an odd experience for me, It didn’t feel like a finish at all… just felt done and my thoughts went directly to the Stone Cat 50 miler in two weeks…..will I be able to run it?  Did my lack of training and executing a solid plan ruin my first 50 miler attempt?

I went home very discouraged and not too happy about my performance but now that a day has passed and I can look at the race as a whole, I realize that I created my own hardship and that the hardship is exactly what happens in the ultra races. It is inevitable and for some runners anticipated in an enjoyable way. As I look back now, I see all the moments I enjoyed and am proud of weathering the storm.

This was a very tough  race,  was exactly as described on the website and what I knew I signed up for. I  am proud to say I attempted and finished it. I can’t however say I conquered it, cause I kicked it’s ass the first lap then it turned around and kicked mine on the second ( I would say that puts us even) ….So…I will save that statement for the BBU next year.

1st lap 15.7 miles @ 3:06:18  (11:52 pace)
2nd lap 15.4 miles @ 4:09:03 (16:11 pace)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Back To Church

Spent the first part of the week feeling a bit of anxiety about the 50k so kicked out of work a half hour early and went to church.......the Brad. The east side was beautiful and nothing settles things down more than an enjoyful easy run at Bradbury.

 I find it very calming to let my brain wander and meditate in a way.....if that is possible while dodging rocks, roots and trees. Reguardless, I always feel better when I am done than when I started.

I have no problem going to a "real" church, but honstly I feel much more religous and closer to the esssense of our maker when out in the woods. I don't need a bunch of Amens around me to feel like I am on the praying level.

I feel one must live how they preach, every moment of their life. Be honest and caring to the people around you. I find this quality in trail runners and esspecially with the Trail Monsters.

 I read George's 100 mile report and said to myself, I want to be that guy.....I read dave's 100 mile report and  immediately I wanted to be that guy. I watch Ian and Ryan preaching at the race start and think I want to be like those guys, I see the drive and commitment of Val and mindy and wish I was more like them. I could keep naming names as there are so many more that set an amazing example for others.

 I guess I am just plain lucky to be associted with such a fine group of people. I sit here and realize that I am extremely excited and ready to tie up the trail runners and hit The just feels like home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Having Respect For The BBU

One thing the last four early morning BBU runs taught me was to have a healthy respect for the difficulty of this course. When I toe the line Saturday morning, I will not have the confidence I expected or originally planned for, but I will have the desire to conquer it.

 I am in pretty good shape right now, have a solid base and have been able to pull off some good quality runs. What I haven't accomplished is the time on my feet needed to feel I can master this distance. If it were a 25K, I would be pretty excited and I would be attacking this course with reckless abandon.

 Being a 50K changes everything and I will be much more conservative from the start as time is of no value and just finishing is the goal. I really need to finish this race if I am seriously expecting to finish the 50 miler at Stone Cat.

I thought I would be starting the 50 miler with a certain amount of confidence but instead I feel about the same as I did last year heading into the Marathon.  I wasn't able to train well for the last month and a half last year before the marathon and felt that finishing would be a luxury.

 This year I am totally ready for a marathon and would go into that feeling pretty good, but running the 50 miler I feel I have not trained very well there is much soul searching  going on.

Right now I am concentrating on The Brad race and will have much more insight once that is over.  Then I will critique my thinking and adjust for Stone Cat.

 My goals are pretty simple, I need to finish the 50K. I have done a lot of thinking and calculating. My times for one lap of the course has hugged the 3 1/2 hour mark pretty consistently so it seems reasonable to expect  at least 3 1/2 for the first loop and considerably slower for the second, probably closer to 4 hours. unofficial prediction for the inaugural BBU is 7 1/2 hours.

See you all Saturday....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Plan.......Who Needs A Stinkin Plan?

  The name of my blog says it all, because I seem to be running plan-less at this time.
My plan says to do a 30 mile run three weeks before the 50 miler then taper. I am running a difficult 31 miler TWO weeks before the 50 miler ......and leading up to the 30 miler I am supposed to be at peak for three weeks and I have really been more like in maintenance mode.

 A week and a half ago I was a bit worried, as my 4 hr training run felt way too taxing for about half of the 50K race course. Sense then I have realized that I do have a solid base and what I do two weeks before the event has little to do with my overall condition and as long as I don't overdo it, I am probably going to be fine.

 It's a good thing I have settled down and am not really that worried about the lack of long miles, because this weekend was a blow out as far as distance running goes. I worked Saturday and was out of town Sunday running was a "fit in" type of thing.

 I did get in a decent 5 mile run down to Winchester with my son and it was very enjoyable. The terrain is similar to Bradbury mountain side, though the inclines were not as steep but they were  longer. Kev was still babying the knee so the 5 miles was just right.  After the run we went to the Black Horse Tavern in downtown Winchester and what a great place it was.

 I ordered the local Pumpkin head ale which was a bit more cinnamon-y that our Pumpkin head up here. I also had this burger called a Chuggy Burger........the name doesn't make sense but the burger was fantastic. It was a cheddar cheese bacon burger with a sunny side up egg, tomatoes and lettuce. First time I had a Burger with egg yoke spurting all over the place.....which I soaked up with the hand cut fries.....amazing combo!

 In the process of watching the game, we somehow sucked down two additional beers  and I realized I pretty much consumed all of the calories I burnt during the run ....and then some.
 Upon my return home I had planned a double up run but there was more interference so I ended up calling this week a step back week.

 On the bright side, the Patriots managed to squeak out a win and I have a long run planned this all is good I guess.

 For some reason, I am not worried about the 50K and am looking forward to the experience. I suspect because I have no doubts about finishing other than time and what better lead in for the 50 miler at StoneCat than a tough Bradbury training 50K.

 Actually, I am getting pretty excited.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Feeling Out Of Sorts

 Only two weeks before the Bradbury Bad Ass 50k, then two weeks later is the 50 miler at Stone Cat.......not feeling too ready and there is virtually no time left to do much of anything about it.

 Not that I haven't been training but more like not putting in enough miles. I had a good plan and it included some fairly long runs...but I couldn't seem to get in the quantity of miles I should...or at least what most running plans say you should.

What I have done, is put in mostly quality miles. Is that enough though? I actually thought it was until last Saturday which was my third Saturday in a row that I ran the BBU course entirely (15.5 miles ) then ran the hill again and tacked on a few additional miles.

I showed up at 4:30 am as usual, I felt good at the start and actually quite good though most of the first lap. The plan this time was to finish the first lap as normal (all running no walking) then hit the trail again for at least 8 -10 more miles.

 After the connector and while climbing Bradbury, the leg muscles were feeling real tight and I felt abnormally tired. Coming down Lunch breakhill the quads and calves were cramping up. I was glad to stop at the bottom and unlike last week where I felt great at the bottom and strong on the second trip up lunchbreak, this time I didn't want to continue at all.

 I took about 3 minutes to take a drink and convince myself to hit the hill again. The climb was tough, I wasn't feeling the love at all and at one point started walking which lasted for about 1 minute because it just didn't feel right. I started running again and though I was tired, it felt much better to be running.

 By the time I crested the hill, I had a little more energy but the muscles were still cramping. I ran a loop around the mountain and then decided to abort the original plan of 8 extra miles. I ran back down lunchbreak and was very glad to stop.

 I went home sore, tired and disappointed .....the one day I had time to run longer and my body just didn't want to do it. The hams,quads, calves and back muscles were lame all day Sunday and Monday.  I felt like I ran 30 miles rather than 18....

 All day Tuesday I thought about it and decided perhaps I was running too much on Bradbury terrain and decided to stop at Pineland for a run instead. It was my first run there since the 25K in May and it actually was quite nice not having to worry about foot placement, rocks and roots.

 I had a comfortable yet somewhat speedy run and even though I felt good and strong, it still did not curb the worry in the back of my mind about the BBU......if I struggled that much finishing one loop, how was I going to do on the second loop?

 Let's just say, all the confidence I had two weeks ago after running the first loop, hitting lunchbreak the second time with the Trail Monsters and feeling great the whole way ......has pretty much washed away with the tide.

 I have no doubt that I will finish the BBU, but my original thoughts of beating my PR and  only 50K time of 6:28 (at pineland) is surely a stretch on the Bradbury terrain. I suspect I will be lucky to finish in 7-7.5 hours.

 My real worry right now is the 50 miler two weeks later.......I am going to give it everything I have but am not sure I have enough to earn the coat. The one thing I have going for me psychologically is that I finished the marathon at Stone Cat last year after 2 months of virtually no running ...... I really had to use my will to finish that second lap because the body wasn't liking it.

Last weeks running (not including workouts and such)

BBU loop (couple wrong turns, 1.5 hrs in the dark)
16 miles  @3:33:51  (13:23 pace)
2.2 miles (up lunch break again)
@25:30  (11:36 pace)

Bradbury mountain portion of the BBU loop (including lunch break hill)
5.1 miles @55:35  (10:54 pace)

East side portion of the BBU loop
4.5 miles @41:34  (9:15 pace)

BBU loop (1.5 hrs in the dark)
15.5 miles @3:21:54  (13:22 pace)
2.2 miles (up lunch break again)
@27:29  (12:30 pace)

Oct 2
Pineland (campus loop and east side loop)
7.3 miles  @1:05:47  (9:01 pace)