Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Training Week of 2/6/12

Well, as I was finishing up the last 1/4 of the 40 miler I told myself I would take a week off from running.  Ends up that my ankle is giving me some trouble, no surprise, and my toes are a mess, so the week off is a perfect plan. 
Wound and injury summary:
  • Right subtalar joint dysfunction
  • Raw spot on the top of my right foot at the distal end of my 1st metatarsal.  How you get a blister on the top of your foot I don't know.
  • Raw left pinky toe.  That sucker took a beating.  Looks like I used sand paper on it. 
  • As Monday rolled around I noticed fluid buildup under both my left 4th and big toenail.  Those nails will be gone in a month or so. 
Again, this race was run in shoes that were wet and muddy for 50k, just 2 weeks ago with no blister or chafing problems.  So I'm not sure what happened between the two races. 

2/8/12 - Rode the spin bike at the gym for 30 minutes.
2/10/12 - Mtn biked at Liberty Mtn 15.4 miles.  Lots of climbing.
2/11/12 - Mtn biked at thet Cove 14.6.  Legs felt good today.
2/12/12 - 6 mile run at 7:20 pace.  Felt good to be back on my feet.
6 miles running
30 miles mtn biking
8 miles cycling

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week of 1/30/12 - Race Week

So the Uwharrie 40 miler is on Saturday.  I hope the ankle is a non issue by then.  This will be my first race over 50k since the 2003 Hellgate 100k.  There was a reason I semi-retired from these races, I hope that reason doesn't resurface.
Normally I'd run my normal schedule while running easier, but since my ankle has been sore I decided to limit my running to two days (mainly I'll run to check it out).
1/31/12 - 4.25 miles running.  A mix of trail and road.
      Went for an easy road ride at night since the weather was still in the 60's. 
2/1/12 - 4 mile run on the road.  Ankle is doing well.  It has been adjusted 3 times since it started bothering me.  Each adjustment has immediately helped it feel better.
2/4/12 - Uwharrie Mountain Run 40miler

This is a little longer than most of my posts.  I decided to write it while everything is fresh in my mind rather than waiting until the highs and lows mellow out.      
     This is a race of 40-20-8 miles.  The 40 starts at 7am, 20 at 8am, and 8 at 9am.  It seems like a logistical nightmare.  The 40 milers park at one place and get shuttled to the start.  The 20 and 8 runners park at another location and get shuttlde both to the start and from the finish.  Since Gina was running at 8am she was able to drop me off at the start.  Just as she pulled off I remembered my 20oz handheld and electrolytes were in the car.  "That's OK" I thought I'll ask for a cell phone and call her.  That's before I found out there wasn't any service around the race start.
     So I thought about revising my plan right then, to dial things back and run for fun rather than race  That thought came and went.  Plan was to run within my limits, see if I could get adequate hydration at each aide station, see how the ankle holds up, and try for a top 10 finish.  In any long distance race the goals change as the day goes on, but it is important for me to mentally decide on a path before the race begins.  Makes me think of a Napoleon Hill qoute, "if you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it."  This, always under the principles of, 1. Be safe 2. have fun and 3. be competitive. 
     Due to some parking issues, the 40 mile race was delayed 20 minutes so that everyone could get to the starting line.  At 7:20am the word GO was uttered and we were off on a .1 mile section of road to an access road that quickly narrowed down to single track.  The first mile was uphill and in many sections extremely rocky which made for some early race hiking.  At the 1 mile mark things leveled out and the running race started. 
    The majority of the course was in the woods on a rocky trail under an old growth forest with very little underbrush, just leaves.  The trail would go up and down and in many places the down took runners to creeks with holly trees, laurel, and rhododendrons lining their perimeters.  There were a number of creeks with campsites, many of which had campers that were a little baffled by a race running past them at 8 in the morning. 
    I started the race in 7th place and things were going smoothly.  I usually find myself behind the first tier runners.  Meaning there is a group at the front, then me, then a big gap to the next group.  At around mile 5 I started to feel a hot spot on the top of my right big toe.  I don't usually get blisters.  In fact, I decided to wear the same shoes as I did in the Willis River 50k 2 weeks ago; AdiZero XT.  I was happy with them during that wet and muddy race and didn't have one issue with blisters.  So I stopped, took off my shoe, and checked to see if the tongue was twisted or I had some trail debris in there.  Nothing.  So I decided to stop at the 8.5 mile aide station and see if they had some first aide to patch me up until the turnaround where I had a drop bag with dry socks and shoes. 
     At the aide station I asked to see if they had moleskin and an alcohol pad to clean up the dirt, blood and sweat to help it stick.  They had it all but the moleskin wasn't sticking to my sweaty foot.  Fortunately they were on the ball and one of the volunteers grabbed some tape and we looped the tape all the way around my foot to hold the moleskin down.  Off I went, in what I think was 12-14th place. 
    From this point to the 20.25 mile turnaround everything went as planned.  No real changes in position, I was in 12th.  I held my ground, drank around 16-20oz at each aide station, and grabbed some food at each spot. 
     At the turnaround the volunteers were on the ball.  I came in, a volunteer saw my number, went and grabbed my drop bag and became my pit crew.  He asked what I needed.  Shoes (check).  I changed into my trusty Salomon XTs that are 5+ years old with few miles on them.  I've mainly saved them to race in.  These shoes are bomb proof but heavier than I prefer and they have a pretty big heel drop.  I started changing my socks and shoes and he grabbed my bag of food/gels and got what I wanted.  I grabbed my electrolytes and two mini clif bars, he took my other shoes and sent me back out for the return trip. 
     Oh, the sweet feel of shoes with plenty of room, that aren't shredding skin off of your feet, that are dry, and have plenty of cushion to protect feet from countless rocks.  I got a second wind mentally and physically.  In addition, this section is uplifting since it is the part of the course where runners encounter both the 40 milers heading in to the turnaround (the competition) and 20 milers that are heading into the finish.   
     For most of the return trip it was the same thing; man do I have a long way to go, I hope I can hold off the cramps, I hope my ankle continues to hold up, don't look at your Garmin, why didn't I sign up for the 20 miler, constant forward progress, don't worry about anyone else, and another favorite quote of mine from Dr. David Hoton, "it never always gets worse." 
     At around 24.5 miles I met up with Gina, she was doing good and happy to see me.  Other than how are you doing, all I remember her saying was "I can't believe you have to go up all those hills."
     Now as an aside.  In Ultras past I have usually hit a place where I start what I call the Death March.  This is where the mind can't make the legs go faster and places I should be running end up with me hiking.  I have had the good fortune in the last few years for this to not be the case.  That I am able to continue to forge ahead at a much better pace than races past.  I run a lot more of the race course now, trying to run most of the gradual hills with much shorter strides in an attempt to not overstress the muscle and try to ward of cramping.  For me, I am convinced that cramping comes from overexertion.  Ecaps or salt tabs can help but inevitably if you push muscles too hard for too long you are going to get a visit from the cramp monster.
     Somewhere in there I was passed by one guy and saw the first place female catching up with me.  As we headed into the 5 miles to go aide station I snagged a rock with my right foot and went tumbling.  I assessed everything, no harm done, and kept chugging along.  At the AS the 1st female didn't stop and went on by as I refueled and hydrated. 
    With the last 5 miles to go I was starting to feel the "I can make it 5 more miles, noproblem" and started to pick it up a bit, hitting some of the uphills with slow running rather than hiking.  Shortly after I passed the first female and then 1 other guy which put me back in to 12th place.  I was all by myself when I hit the AS with 2 miles to go.  I asked the volunteers if anyone was close and they said someone had just left.  I really didn't believe them so I asked if they were messing with me and they reaffirmed that someone was just ahead. 
    It took about .25 mile before I saw the guy ahead.  There has always been something about gaining on a runner.  I have this pull to reel them in, I'm not sure if everyone feels the same but it becomes a drive in me.  If I'm all by myself in no mans land I stay at a consistent pace but once I see someone in front of me I find another gear. 
    As I was gaining on him another guy became visible.  It ended up being a 2 for one deal.  I was now in 10th, suhwheeeet.  I knew that once I was to the 1 mile to go point it was all downhill on very technical rocky, and now wet, terrain.  I ended up seeing one more runner before this point and was able to pass him and get some ground on him before the rocks.  I didn't want to have to push it on technical trail. 
    All said I hit the finish in 7:22:29 in 9th place.  I was happy with the day, I was beat, and really glad to end the race with gaining some places.  I really thought I would be holding onto 12-14th place rather than gaining ground on the competition. 
     Another thing that I have in my race arsenal is candied ginger.  I always take a 2x3" baggie full of this to races.  1. it's a fuel source, 2. it helps with stomach issues and/or helps keep the stomach calm, 3. ginger is a very effective anti-inflammatory, and 4. I like the taste.  I am not a fan of runners using NSAIDS.  Some reseach done at Western States shows that taking NSAIDS actually creates more inflammation. 
48.5 miles running and 12 miles road biking.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Week of 1/23/12

My ankle is still giving me trouble and making me mental as I prepare for the 2/3/12 Uwharrie 40 miler.
1/24/12 - Did a 19 mile road bike ride.
1/25/12 - 7 miles at the cove - Up the Buck and down Hi dee ho.
Ankle did so so.  Was pretty sore following this run.  I'll stay off of it until it is pain free. 
1/27/12  - Road ride up Mill Mtn, down to Starlight, and back on brambleton.
1/28/12 - Mtn bike ride at the Cove.  4 gorge, up the 1000ft to the Drop, down to Kerncliff, Araminta, Hemlock tunnel, Comet and out on the road.
1/29/12 - 32 mile road ride.  Rode to Green Hill Park, Harborwood, Wildwood, and back.  The wind was up and this was a tough 20mph ave ride. 
7 miles running, 12 mtn biking, and 70 mile road biking.
Ankle is coming around but I'll stay off of it until Tuesday.

Week of 1/16/12

Well I feel pretty good following the 50k.  I have some right Achilles tightness that snuck up on me Sunday but otherwise feel pretty good.
1/17/12 - 4/25 mile run around the hood.  Half on trail half road.
1/18/12 - Ran 8 miles on the road around the hood.
1/20/12 - Did a mtn bike ride at the cove - 20 miles.  Rode up Buck, across the mtn on Brushy Mtn Fire Road down the Drop, Tuck a way, and then did the lower loop CCW and finished on 4 Gorge.  Nice ride.  The legs did pretty good but I was lacking power on the climbs which is what I expected.
1/21/12 - 8.5 mile run at 7:10 pace.  Home to the Greenway, Smith Park, and back.
1/22/12 - 7 miles of random Raleigh Court running. 
Following my Saturday run I started having some right ankle pain.  Must be from the tight Achilles tightness post race.  I just didn't expect it to pop up at the end of a good training week and following a greenway run. 
27.75 miles running and 20 mtn biking