Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring or winter??

We now enter the time of year in South Dakota where it seems as though Mother Nature is going through menopause with mood swings as wild and severe as a hungry school of piranhas that just smelled blood in the water. Early last week, temps were spring-like, with afternoon highs in the 50s and 60s...Rapid City even set a record high of 64 or something like that one day. Hell, overnight lows were in the 30s and 40s, which I'm usually pretty happy with as the high temp this time of year. Of course, that couldn't last and as quickly as it left, winter returned in the form of a winter storm that rolled in on Saturday, dropped temps to the teens with negative windchills and left behind over 6 inches of fresh snow (to add insult to injury, almost all of the snow we had before had finally melted by Friday). Son. Of. A.....

Monday - 7.1 miles. Beautiful day, had every intention of heading up Lookout Mtn. at lunchtime. Only problem was that I forgot to pack a shirt with my running gear in the morning. So I had to settle for a road run after work.

Tuesday - 6.2 miles in the morning, 6 in the afternoon. Made damn sure to pack a shirt for the afternoon run this time and did get up on the Lookout Mtn. trails. They were mostly free of snow, but there were some pretty slick ice patches and one section of still deep snow near the top.

Wednesday - 10.2 miles with 6 tempo. The term "tempo" takes on a new meaning during ultra training. Back when I would actually focus on a marathon, my tempo pace was faster than my marathon pace by 20 or 30 seconds. Now, I'm just happy if I can actually get to what used to be my marathon pace. Doing a tempo run early in the morning doesn't help matters any....just can't get my legs to turn over that fast that early.

Thursday - 6 miles in the morning, 4 in the afternoon. A little chillier out. Nothing at all remarkable about either run.

Friday - 6 miles. Back up on Lookout Mtn. The snow and ice was much reduced since Tuesday, but it had been replaced by mud. I managed to slip on said mud once, but also fell onto the same patch of mud, so a pretty soft landing.

Saturday - 15.2 miles. Got up at the buttcrack of dawn to meet up with Ryan in Sturgis and run the Centennial Trail. We ran the first section of the Black Hills 100 course, starting at Woodle Field and following the trail out and back. Like Lookout, the trail was mostly clear but had a few patches of ice in the shady areas. With about 2 miles left in the run, I managed to find one of those ice patches and fell. Hard. Landed on my left side, with my upper buttcheek (for lack of a more technical term) taking the brunt of it. Usually when I fall on a run I bounce back up and keep going (while looking around to see if anyone saw me fall). This time, though, I had to sit there on the trail and catch my breath for a little bit before I got up. I knew nothing was seriously damaged, but it sure as hell hurt. After the initial pain wore off, I felt fine running back to the vehicles but after I cooled down it got pretty sore.

Sunday - 7 miles. The winter storm struck in earnest overnight, dropping at least 6 inches of snow. My butt was sore from the fall the day before and the weather/road conditions left me with very little motivation to run outside, nor was the idea of running 15 miles (as I had planned for the day) on the indoor track all that exciting. I seriously contemplated ditching a run altogether and just calling it a rest day, but I finally forced myself out the door in the afternoon and managed to get 7 miles done on the indoor track. My legs (and sore butt) felt fine, but I just was not into it mentally, which is half the battle.

Total - 67.7

So, three trail runs this week, which isn't bad for February. Of course, if the weather would cooperate that number could increase, but I won't hold my breath on that one.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Collegiate Peaks/Bighorn Week 1

It's the dead of winter, so must be time to start cranking out some miles and training for spring races, right? Nothing like kicking off training for two trail runs in mountains than by running laps around a perfectly flat indoor track. The last couple weeks have seen a similar weather pattern around here.....colder than sin early in the week and then warmer over the weekend. Running on the indoor track a few days a weeks sucks, but better that it happens early in the week rather than when I have my long runs planned.

At this point, I'm going forward with the notion that Collegiate Peaks is basically a training run for Bighorn. I've never run a marathon as a training run for another marathon before, much less a 50 mile as a training run for another 50 mile, but I'm gonna give it a shot anyhow. Bighorn has been in my crosshairs ever since the moment the friendly aid station volunteer cut my bib off my shorts last year, so it will remain my focus during training. Before I registered for Collegiate Peaks, I had planned on running 30/10 that weekend....now, I'm just running an extra 10 miles that weekend but doing it all on one day.

In any case, here's how the first week of "official" training shook out:

Monday - 6 miles on the indoor track.

Tuesday - 6 miles indoor track in the morning, 4 miles with 8 strides indoor track in the afternoon (different indoor tracks though....a little variety to running in flat circles).

Wednesday - 10 miles indoor track (115 laps of pure, unadulterated fun).

Thursday - 6 miles. Finally got to run outside and it felt horrible. For one, I expected it to be much warmer than it actually was, so I was underdressed and consequently cold. For another, I just didn't have any energy and my stomach felt off.

Friday - 6 miles in the morning, 4 miles in the afternoon. Both outside and felt much better.

Saturday - 15 miles. Totally effortless. Got done and felt like I'd run 5 miles.

Sunday - 15 miles. Took more effort than on Saturday, but still felt pretty good. The 20-30 mph wind sucked hardcore, but overall a pretty decent run.

Total - 72 miles

The biggest thing missing from last week were trail miles. With two long trail runs coming up, I need to get away from the indoor track and city streets as much as possible and get the trail legs going. Unfortunately, Mother Nature makes that a difficult endeavor this time of year. But, the temperature is supposed to be in the 50s and maybe even 60s for most of this week, and was in the 50s over the weekend, so massive melting is occurring. I plan on heading out for a trail run this afternoon and getting as many in as the weather allows for the next few months. I'm guessing today's run is going to be a snowy/muddy mess, but that's just part of the fun of trail running, right? Better than running in tiny circles, for sure.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Back

Hey, it's only been two months. Give me a break. Nothing really exciting happened anyway. I managed to exceed my 2010 mileage goal of 3,300 with just over a week left in the year. 2011 has gotten off to a slower start, thanks largely to a voluntary (and minor) surgical procedure that I underwent on New Year's Eve and resulted in taking the first 8 days of 2011 off. Once I started running again, it was low mileage for the first week to make sure everything as A-OK and then I ramped it up from there, hitting 70 miles for each of the last two weeks.

I guess the biggest news is that I seem to have settled on a race schedule for 2011. In fact, just today I registered for the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 50 mile in Buena Vista, CO. This race wasn't even really on my radar until this past weekend when Black Hills 100 co-director and occasional running partner Ryan mentioned that he was probably going to do it along with two guys who are using it as a training run for the BH100 and asked if I wanted to tag along. The seed was planted in my head and festered from awhile before I gave in and registered (I held out for all of three days....such willpower). It's six weeks out from the Bighorn 50, which is my main goal race for the summer, so hopefully if I don't go too crazy I'll have some time to recover and still exorcise my Bighorn demons. I've been intrigued by the Colorado ultras (and admittedly intimidated by the high elevation) for a couple of years now and CPTR seems like a good place to test the waters. Ultimately, I couldn't pass up a running road trip to the Colorado Rockies.

Other than CPTR and Bighorn, I'm planning on running the Missoula Marathon for the 5th time (i.e., every year it has existed). And that's about it. I'll try and hit as many of the local Black Hills Trail Running Series races as I can (and am directing one of them, the Crow Peak Ascent on 7/31). And, of course, there's the big debut of the Black Hills 100, which I'm co-directing with Ryan and Jerry Dunn, on 6/25. Two 50s and a marathon in a two monthish span seems sufficient right now. I would like to run another 100 sometime, but don't think it's in the cards for this year. Maybe Bighorn or Leadville (if I overcome my altitude fear at CPTR) next summer...