Monday, February 22, 2010

Hat Trick

I scored the trifecta this week, hitting 80 miles for the third week in a row. After struggling earlier in this year to get to that number, it's now become almost routine. Funny how that works.

Sunday - 7 miles. We had spent Saturday night in Rapid City after watching the Rush hockey game and I had planned on going for a trail run on M Hill Sunday morning with a couple of other guys, but the -10 windchill put the kaibash on those plans. Two of us met in the parking lot and while waiting for the 3rd guy, we talked ourselves out of actually running. The third guy did eventually show up, after we had left, and he manned up and ran, so I guess we shoulda stuck around a little longer instead of wimping out. Oh well. After getting back to Belle that afternoon, I found that the wind was much calmer there and was able to get a run in.

Monday - 12 miles. Headed out planning on doing 10 but I was feeling good so I ran a slightly longer loop.

Tuesday - 10 miles. The miles are clicking by.

Wednesday - 14 miles. Had to do this early in the morning (as in 4 AM) because I had a class in Rapid City all day long. Early morning medium-long runs are always kind of dicey because it's usually hard for me to get my body going that early. This one went pretty well though, although I could feel myself fading considerably the last 4 pace didn't suffer much, but it felt like I was nearing the end of a 20 miler instead of just 14.

Thursday - 7 miles. This one was slow...definitely feeling the aftermath of the 14 miles the day before.

Friday - 8 miles in the morning, another 4 in the afternoon.

Saturday - 18 miles. This was one of those runs that remind you why you love running. Right from the start, the pace was effortless, but fast (for a long run). I ran the same Belle to Walmart route I ran a few weeks ago, but hammered this one out 20 seconds per mile faster than last time.

Total - 80 miles

After three weeks of 80 or more miles, I'm taking a planned cutback this week. I don't know that I really want to because things are feeling really good right now, but I forced myself to rest yesterday, no run at all. One thing I've learned about running is that if it's something I don't really look forward to doing then it's probably worth doing, even if that means taking a rest day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In a groove

One thing I've learned over the past several years of running is that my body goes through streaks. I'll have a week or two where things just don't feel good and every run is a struggle followed by a stretch where everything is clicking and the miles are effortless. The only thing that keeps me going through the rough streaks is knowing that eventually I'll bust out of it and into a good streak. Well, right now I'm definitely in one of the good ones (although things weren't necessarily bad before, just so-so).

Sunday - 8 miles total, including 2 mile warmup, 4 mile race (Freeze Your Fanny, which I already wrote about last week) and a 2 mile cooldown.

Monday - 6 miles in the morning, 5 in the afternoon.

Tuesday - 10 miles

Wednesday - 12 miles

Thursday - 10 miles in the morning, 4 in the afternoon

Friday - 20 miles. I usually do my long runs on Saturday, but I pushed this one up a day because I had the day off and the weather forecast wasn't looking good for the weekend. It ended up going very well. I ran a negative split and the last mile was the fastest (by far).

Saturday - 8 miles. Was glad I wasn't going was fairly warm out when I ran, but it had snowed overnight and was still snowing when I ran, so the footing was kinda crappy (I actually wore my trail shoes for extra traction). Regardless, this run felt surprisingly good, especially considering the 20 miles the day before.

Total - 83 miles

So, two weeks in a row now over 80 miles. Can I make it three?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hitting 80 and Freezing My Fanny

Well, I finally broke the curse this week. After several weeks where driving to Montana or getting sick or spraining my ankle prevented me from hitting 80 miles, I finally did it this week. And my reward? Well, nothing. It's just an arbitrary number, which just goes to show that runners can be obsessive about pretty stupid crap. But that doesn't mean I'm not gonna try to hit 80 again this week.

Sunday - 6.25 in the morning, another 4 in the afternoon. The afternoon run was split (2 miles each) with my two dogs. They each run fine alone, but not so well together. Plus, Molly is fat and out of shape and can't really handle more than 2 miles. Vedder, on the other hand, could go all day.

Monday - 6.25 in the morning, 4.5 in the afternoon.

Tuesday - 10 miles with 5x1200m intervals. Had to do this one on the indoor track (200m) at Black Hills St. University because all of the outdoor tracks are snowed under. This was the only run of the week where I really noticed my ankle. Towards the end of the run, it started getting a little sore, I presume from the constant turning. I also played two games of 3 on 3 basketball with my team in the evening. We lost both.

Wednesday - 11 miles in the morning, 4 in the afternoon.

Thursday - 9 miles.

Friday - 7 miles.

Saturday - 18 miles. Ran from my house in Belle to the Walmart in Spearfish, which is really only 16 miles, so I had to tack a couple on to the beginning of the run. This route is pretty much uphill the entire way, although it's very gradual for the first 10 miles or so. Then, after a monster hill (one where power hiking is just as fast as running) just before mile 10, the next 4 miles are constantly rolling hills. The kind of hills where you can see what appears to be the top at the next curve in the road and then when you get there you see that it just keeps going up. Finally, it tops out on another big hill and the final 2 miles are a nice downhill cruise into Walmart. I met Shannon there, finished up some grocery shopping and drove home. I have never run there and back, but with ultra training coming up, it might be something to consider.

Total - 80 miles

In addition to all that, I also ran the Freeze Your Fanny 4 mile race in Sundance, WY yesterday. Technically, that should go on next week's post since it's a new week, but I might as well report on it while it's fresh in my mind. I didn't have huge expectations coming into the race, which should be pretty evident from the fact that I ran 18 miles the day before it. I had taken 2nd place overall there last year, running a 26:02 (6:51 pace), which is pretty slow considering I ran my half marathon PR at 6:44 pace. But, the footing was pretty horrible last year, making it difficult to really push the pace. I was hoping this year to run something faster than that, but wasn't sure if the footing would be any better or how my legs would respond after the 18 miler.

As the name implies, it's typically pretty cold in Sundance in early February and this year was no different, but it wasn't horrible. The temp was about 25 with a light wind out of the east. There was less snow on the road than last year, you could actually see the pavement this year, but it was still a little slick in some spots. When the race started, I immediately found myself behind 7 high school cross country runners. Within the first mile, I managed to pass a couple of them and was sitting in 5th. Right at the 2 mile mark, the course heads up a short but fairly steep hill. I was able to catch and pass the 4th place kid here and started gaining on the 3rd place runner as we headed down a long downhill stretch after the summit. This is where my mind started playing with me. I knew that they were only giving away trophies for the top 3 overall runners and not age group awards (last year, they had age group awards, but no overall awards). So, now I found myself in 4th, right on the tail of 3rd, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to out race this high schooler who probably has much fresher legs (I'm guessing he didn't run 18 the day before) and a much faster kick. For awhile, it seemed like he was slowing down, so I slowed down too and just drafted off of him heading down the hill. As we hit the final mile, I pulled alongside him, stayed there for awhile, and then tried surging to see if he would follow. He did. Damn. So, we hit the final turn side by side and were faced with a 3 block sprint to the finish, which is exactly the situation I didn't want. I pushed with all I had left and for the first two blocks we stayed dead even. Then we hit the final block before the finish and the kid took off like he was shot out of a cannon. I had absolutely nothing left, so backed off a touch and cruised in in 4th place, maybe 5-10 seconds behind him. Ended up with a 25:38 (6:39 pace), 24 seconds faster than last year, but 2 positions lower and just outside the trophies. All in all, a pretty decent race considering the circumstances.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Salvaging some miles

Apparently, you can run with a sprained ankle. I had heard that you could, and was actually told by the doctor I finally saw on Tuesday, that you could, but it seems kind of far fetched. It actually seemed very far fetched early in the week, as every time I tried my foot tightened up and threw off my stride, which made running uncomfortable, but not painful. After an extra day of rest (and a trip to the doc to make sure it was nothing more serious than a sprain), I gave er another try and it was all systems go from there. I did back off on the mileage from what I had on the schedule, but by the end of the week my ankle was basically a non-factor, giving me hope that I can finally break that magical 80 mile mark this week.

Sunday - Headed out for a planned 6 miler and hobbled home after 1.25. Nothing hurt, but every once in awhile my foot would tighten up and I couldn't stride normally on it, so I decided to bag it and give it the day off.

Monday - Fresh snow and cold convinced me not to risk slipping and injuring myself further, so I headed to the indoor track for 6 miles. Again, I had the foot tightening issue but I decided to power through it this time. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure why I did that, but I did end up with one of the slowest 6 milers I've ever run.

Tuesday - Didn't feel like putting myself through the previous day's run again, so I took a rest day and went to see the doctor instead. He confirmed that it was a sprain and not a break, gave me some ankle strengthening exercises to do and told me I could run on it, but should "take it easy". Obviously, he does not know me. I also played basketball again in the evening with my 3 on 3 team. I played fairly cautiously and with a brace on my ankle and managed to not injure myself further. And, again, we one won and lost one.

Wednesday - Made another attempt at running and this time made it through 6 miles without any foot issues.

Thursday - Tried for 8 miles this time and again had no issues.

Friday - Well, I'd gone 6 and 8, might as well try for 10, right? I actually went 10.25 and again no issues and actually my foot was feeling better and better each day.

Saturday - Decided to limit my "long" run to 14 miles, so headed out for an out and back run. My foot felt great, almost unnoticeable, but otherwise I just felt like crap in general. It's a pretty shitty feeling when you reach mile 8 of a run and you have 6 miles to go and you feel horrible and you really have no choice but to plod forward. I don't know what it was, but I just did not have any energy and that 14 miles ended up feeling like at least 20.

Total - 45.5 miles

So, knock on wood, it appears I've made it through the worst of this ankle thing. I'm targeting 80 miles this week and wondering what's gonna happen THIS time to prevent me from getting there.