Monday, August 30, 2010

Heart's Not In It

It's been a long year... lots of miles. By the end of this week 2010 will officially be my highest mileage year ever--and there are still 4 months left. It's been great and I have enjoyed it, but I'm feeling a little tired these days.

Registering for the Victoria marathon had a double purpose. First, a bunch of my friends are doing it and it has been on my list of "to-do" marathons for quite some time. Second, I thought it would be a good way to keep myself from slacking too much after White River. I have a tendency to lose momentum after a big goal race and just fall off the wagon, so I wanted to avoid that.

As a result, I've moved right into marathon training. It took a few weeks to get my mileage back up to a reasonable level, but this week I should hit 50+ miles. And I feel fine, but my heart isn't in it. Part of me wishes I hadn't committed to Victoria. Part of me is considering just doing the half-marathon, but I'll decide that later if I don't feel up to the full in a few weeks.

With that said, I am planning to take some "down" time after this race. It will probably be for the rest of October and November, where I reduce my running and rest up a bit, and catch up on other things (November is also nanowrimo month!).

For those who have done a planned down-time like that, how much did you reduce your running? What did the weeks look like? How do you prevent yourself from losing all of your fitness and endurance? Did you follow a schedule or just run when you felt like it? I'm interested in finding out what others do... if I go into it with NO plan, then I will fall off the wagon. I want to at least maintain a decent base so that I can move into ultra training again in the new year! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Two of my favourite ultra runners have had spectacular DNFs this year. While these guys are inspiring at all times, I find their DNF stories to be the most inspiring of all. On top of the fascinating psychology and physiology of what happens, their amazing attitudes and thoughtfulness are what strike me most. So I'd like to share:
Anton Krupicka's Leadville 100 report here.
Gary Robbins' Miwok 100km report here.

Anyone can DNF... it takes a great deal of character to do so with the grace and honesty that these two display. If I as a runner can pick up anything from them, I hope it's their mindset.

(though a bit of their speed would be nice too. ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ultra runners

Found this on the web and thought it was cool:

"It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being -- a call that asks who they are." -- David Blaikie

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cascade Crest 100

I've always said that I had no desire to do a 100-miler. Who wants to run all night? Who wants to be out there for 24-30 hours, usually running loops around a 6-10 mile course? Why do that to yourself?

Friends said, "wait until after your first 50-miler... you will change your mind." I thought they were wrong; but if running has taught me anything, it's "never say never."

Finishing my first 50 and having an amazing experience brought the idea of 100 into the realm of "possible", but I still did not have any real desire to run one, and thought, "maybe in a couple of years."

But the fates decreed that while in this malleable mindset--still wearing the post-ultra glow, looking for a new goal, open to new possibilities--I should discover a race that could finally make me want to run 100 miles. No short, repetitive loops for me. How about a full-on adventure, one single, challenging, beautiful 100 mile loop in Washington's Cascade mountains?

Take White River and multiply it by two... then add a bit more elevation change, and you have Cascade Crest. There is a 25% dnf rate, but there is also a generous cut-off time (32 hours). I have a year to train.

I also have no freaking clue how to train for 100, so I've been looking at training plans online. The first-timer plans all seem to peak at around 70-75 miles per week. My White River training peaked at 69 miles, so that is very similar. The difference is that the 100 plans distribute the miles differently, putting more emphasis on back-to-back long runs and less emphasis on the shorter weekly runs.

Registration is in February, so I have some time to figure it all out and see what kind of shape I will be in for spring. But the reward would be worth the effort:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Changing Gears!

After two weeks of rest and light running, it's time to change gears again and start getting ready for Victoria Marathon!

My run today was strong... best run since White River, which tells me that I'm on the right track. The past two weeks were kind of weird, in that the first week I just felt sore, but the second week I felt fatigued. My runs themselves have been fine, but there was that underlying fatigue that slowed me down and made me wonder if I needed more time. However, that seems to be gone today so I am taking that as a green light!

In order to transition back into higher mileage a little more gently, I'm aiming for 4 runs this week, and then will bump up to 5 next week. I'm adding one speed workout per week and I will also be doing my long runs on the road (but will still try to get in some trail runs because I love them so much!).

While I am looking forward to Victoria, I find myself yearning for a new ultra goal. I need to figure out a new goal race soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Week Later

My mind is still on those trails. I want to do White River again. If I could do it next month I would, but I will have to wait until July 2011! All week I have been pondering goal races for 2011 and am still undecided; there are several that I would like to do but they all involve travel, so I will eventually have to narrow down the list. If anyone has favourites that I should consider (specifically, more 50-milers) then let me know! If I keep my training up through the winter, work on strength and work on hills and maybe even work on speed, I could have a great year next year!

In the meantime, I've just registered for the Victoria Marathon in October. It's been on my list for several years, as I hear it's a great race. I haven't run a road marathon since 2007, and my pb is just waiting to be knocked down (it should go down fairly easily, I think). It will also keep me motivated so that I don't slack too much now in "recovery".

Speaking of recovery, I'm doing well. I've only run three times since the race but those runs have felt good. There are no specific issues, just some fatigue left over, and my quads are still not happy when I do even gentle down-hills. I only have one purple toe from the race (the one I slammed on a rock). Overall, I'm quite happy! Will keep the running easy and light for at least another week though.

Here are the official race photos, by Glenn Tachiyama. First is the ridge leading to Corral Pass, with Mt. Rainier in the background:

This is the last bit of a struggle up to Sun Top; my smile here is forced!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

White River 50 Race Report

Rather than copy it here, I'll just link to the report on RM:

It was an amazing day, and I absolutely loved this race! What a great first 50!