Monday, October 29, 2012

Autumn Goals

After a great week of running, I am beginning to get really excited about training for some upcoming goal races in few weeks.  I am planning on trying to set two PRs in totally opposite race distances, within a week of each other.  This may seem quite foolish, but I think that it will work out if the recovery from one goes well.  So what are the two goal races?

The first one isn't officially a race, but the Bent Creek Gobbler 50k is a run that has been on my list for awhile.  I've run half of it the past two years, but have never gone for the full for various reasons.  This run is perfect for a trail 50k PR as well.  Of course there are flatter mountain courses out there, but none quite as beautiful or fun or free!  I've been trying to get my mileage back up and have been concentrating on getting a good long run in each weekend to get used to the "suffer" factor to prepare for this one.  The Gobbler will be in 4 weeks, the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Goal:  sub - 4:30:00

The second goal race, a week after a 50k, is the Mistletoe 5k.  After running my first 5k a little over a month ago, and doing better than anticipated, I set my sights on the Mistletoe as my course to set a new 5k PR.  The course is mostly slightly rolling and there isn't a big 300ft climb in the last mile (like my last 5k).  I've been concentrating lately on doing some more specific speedwork to reach my time goal and will continue doing so leading up to the race.  The speedwork will also give me a bonus in my 50k training as well!

Goal:  sub - 0:19:55

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pitchell Report


Oh well, to be honest, this was kinda expected.  The weak couple of months of training coupled with the unknown of running through the night and running 100k+ proved to do me in, along with some other issues.  The run started off well.  Brian Kistner and I ran conservatively down the Shut-In Trail in 3:55, and this section seemed to fly by.  It was the ensuing 14 mile Asheville section that really got my mind into wanting to quite.  I never really got tired all night, stayed well on my nutrition and hydration but my mind just kept telling me that it wanted to stop running.  This was way too early for having these thoughts and I almost got them out of my head once the sun rose.  But as soon as started thinking of going on, one mile from the Folk Art Center, I felt a weird pain in my achilles.  This was the nail in the coffin.  I don't think that I really injured it, but instead bruised it.  Time will tell with future runs, but so far so good on it healing.  After the DNF, I took a 5 hour nap, picked up some pizzas and drove up to Mitchell to welcome in the finishes of this craziness.  Below are some lessons I learned from my first Pitchell experience that I will take into next year.

Lessons learned:

  1. I kinda like running at night
  2. $20 dollar walmart headlamps work very well
  3. Stop eating gels, because they make me nauseous (except espresso gels occasionally)   
  4. Train more leading up to the date of Pitchell (may mean running it in the Spring)
  5. Downhill training is more valuable than uphill at this run (surprisingly)
  6. I love the Pisgah Nation crew! (nothing new)
Congratulations to Sultan, Matt, Mad A, Kevin, Tim, Wendy, Dennis, Mark, and Dave for finishing this beast of a run!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pitchell Preview!

It has been a long time since I have posted here.  And to tell the truth, there wasn't much to post.  I've had some good runs, but nothing awesome and the weekly mileage, vert, and time on the feet has been minuscule.  A lot of this has been due to getting used to the new job and coaching the middle school cross country team, but most of it has just been a sheer lack in motivation to get out there on the trails.  I obviously feel extremely under-trained for the monumental task that lays before me at the end of the week, but hey, my cross country team is fighting for first place in our conference!  This is the second straight year that my Pitchell training has been messed up by a new school year and cross country season, but that is life.

Looking on the positive side of things though,  I have had the most successful year of running ever this year and built more of a base this winter, spring, and summer than ever before.  Although the past two months have been lack luster, I've had a few good weeks mixed in there to keep the confidence up along with a new 5k PR.  I can't discount all of that training and think that it has left me, because it hasn't.  The challenge for Pitchell is entirely the UNKNOWN.  Do I wish I was more prepared, yes, but it isn't going to matter that much in the long run.  And boy is this a long run.

My biggest concern, you could even say fear, is the unknown.  I have never run longer than 40 miles or over 10 hours.  So the 65 miles and the 18.5 hour cutoff (self imposed) is very daunting.  I also do not really have much experience with running at night.  The longest night run I have ever done lasted about 2 hours, but luckily was on the Shut In section of the course.  But still, running 7 hours through the night, maybe alone the entire time is a bit scary.  Another big question I have is how my mind is going to overcome my aching body at the Folk Art Center.  Big questions that will undoubtedly be answered come Saturday morning.

But the biggest question of all is, How could you ever be completely ready for a run that is 100% technical singletrack, involves running through 7 hours of darkness, 65 miles, 15,000 ft of vert, and travels from one iconic mountain to an even more iconic mountain?