Friday, July 20, 2012

Trail Pic of the week

I was on this trail at one point in my life. This is somewhere in the middle of the Pine to Palm 100. How could one not want to run after staring at this perfect single track?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


from the top of Mt. Pilchuck
Sometimes I think I do stupid things to slow myself down, or maybe stupid things happen to me to force me to slow down. I just finished a 3 week block of some pretty damn good training; weeks of 77, 75, and 80 which was supposed to be 90 but instead I decided to cartwheel down the trail of Mt. Pilchuck so I was forced to take a day off.

I went up with a friend on Saturday, and jammed 51 miles of running in on the Thursday and Friday before in order to have that day free to go up the mountain. It’s a pretty easy hike, 2.7 miles and maybe 2500 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead. Well, the girl I went up with is one of those minimalist trail running shoe people. I am constantly giving her crap about her not wearing real shoes and asking how the hell she could possibly run real trails without real shoes. But she did get the last laugh on that one.

So anyway on the Thursday before I ended up running a 50K, it was maybe 85-86 degrees so a little warm, but not much elevation change so I ran it easy in 4:11. I also learned that I don’t like warm Nuun too much. I used to drink that all the time but when the sun is out and it jostles in the camelbak for too long = gross.  I switched to water at the next chance I had to fill up.

Friday I ran an easy 20, and literally slept around 30 minutes on Thursday night. Sometimes it is just too hard to shut the body off after running for 4 hours or longer. Needless to say my turnover wasn’t the best but the legs really weren’t that bad. I just couldn’t make them move as quickly as I wanted them to go. I only ended up running this in 2:50 which was a little bit of a bummer. I think if I would have just run the 51 miles all together it would have been a little easier to do. Still, all told I ran the 50 miles in about 6:53 (+ 1 mile cool down) which isn’t too bad for training.

So Saturday comes and after rally car driving up to the trailhead and scaring the shit out of my passenger (sorry : ) we hike to the top. After about 4K it is constant snow to the top, after a while of this it did get a little annoying. The views from the top were pretty amazing though. Sure, it’s not a high mountain at only a little over 5300 feet, but considering it is surrounded by sea level the view is still breath taking. Too bad the clouds were hovering at about the snowline as well.

We hung out at the top for about 15 minutes and then started making our way down, slipping and sliding through the snow which is pretty damn fun. I would go about 200 feet at a time and just try to steer myself away from the more scary obstacles like huge rocks and trees until I would get to a point that I was able to slow myself down. It was like trying to steer a couch on wheels down a mountain road. I could kind of steer, but not really, and oftentimes found myself sliding down the mountain on my ass in the snow. Good fun for sure.

Eventually we got out of the snow and made it to real dirt. She wanted to run down the rest of the way, and being an ultranerd how could I say no to that? This is some pretty technical trail though, lots of rocks, ledges, etc. So I’m bombing down the trail as fast as the terrain would allow me, every once in a while I’d wait for her to catch up but it was never long as barefoot girl proved she can run downhill tech trail pretty damn good. And then I catch a little rock, ankle rolls, and boom! I’m on the ground log rolling down the trail. I knew instantly the ankle was done for the day. It hurt like a mother f*#*#!!!! I limped down and eventually it came back a little but still – there was no more running (or walking if I could help it)  the rest of the day.

So I ended up taking a couple extra days off and came back to running on the Tuesday and ran a 10 mile tempo run which went pretty well. I’m on a well deserved easy week so the timing is ok. I think in the last 12 weeks I have done 19 runs that were over 20 miles and averaged about 73 miles per week. Not too bad for someone that was completely and utterly on the wrong track in life only 5 months before. It’s amazing what one can do when surrounded with good people as opposed to shit – but sometimes the wipers just can’t clear the shit from my vision.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oh Sh!t

It's funny how sometimes you take the ability to run 20 or 30 miles every weekend for granted, and then follow that up with another 10-20 miles the next day. No problem right? That's what we do. And we sandwich it around going out with friends, chasing kids around the playground, mowing the lawn, and everything else people do in life each day. But then one day you are in the middle of a longish training run and it doesn't work out that way. That happened to me this past Saturday.
   So I was supposed to run 50 miles, although it didn't quite turn out that way. It was not even 30, and it completely sucked. I headed out to Duval to run 50, and decided to do a double out and back just so I could get enough liquids. So anyway, I start off nice and easy running 8:30's which generally feels like a walk, nice and easy and the heart rate is barely even elevated. It's a little warm, a little humid but nothing too crazy. I start running and by mile 3 I am already feeling hungry. OK, no big deal, I eat a powerbar as I shuffle along. And drink my Nuun out of my camelbak every so often. I think I'm doing just fine as far as nutrition goes. Whatever, I'm just running relaxed and everything is as easy as it should be for the 1st 12.5 miles. I turn around and continue back down the trail toward my car - just taking a little detour at about mile 16 to stop at a store and get some water and refill my liquid. All is still well. I continue running and pop some clif bloks and continue to drink.
   35 minutes later I am walking. I am trying to figure out what is going on and I cannot. My legs really don't hurt at all. But I feel like all of a sudden I am in survival mode and it happened in the blink of an eye. Fast. i walk for a mile and eat and drink, and slowly start to jog and I just don't have it. If I were on a bike I would say that I lost all my power. I can still run, but it is an embarrasing slow shuffle. Only 2 weeks ago I won a 50K and was running sub 6:00 pace at mile 31. Now it is remarkably flat and I'm barely moving. I eat some more and drink some more, and try to keep running but it is obvious that whatever I did just wans't working for me this day. I eventually recover enough to run the last hour back to the car @ 8:30 pace - but it was ugly and felt worse.
  It's not like I haven't ever had this happen before. But usually it's in a race after running for 9 or 10 hours - not after 2.5 hours of pretty flat terrain at a sedentary pace. I decided to just cut this run short as i know forcing the distance can take a lot out of oneself, and training is not the place to wipe myself out for a couple weeks.
   I got home and jumped on the scale and said "oh shit!" That lies part of my problem. My weight is coming down from running 70-80 miles per week, but there is no way in hello? that I should weigh 164  pounds -not yet anyway - after a run and drinking the 25 minute drive home. So I would guess the root casue to be: A) I just didn't drink enough B) i didn't eat enough in the days before the run.
On the bright side my legs were fine and I ran 20 the next day  @ 7:45 pace which was comfortable and relaxed.
  The moral of the story is yes ultra runner type people can go out and run for a long time fairly comfortably, but we need to make sure the tank is full before we leave. I don't want to have to suffer again like that needlessly, and after all the years I have been running or riding bikes or whatever I should damn well know better by now. I just need to remind myself every so often.