Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trigger: Pulled


I got this e-mail last night.
Dear Adam,
Congratulations! You are now registered for Vermont 50 Mt Bike or Ultra Run

What did I just do? :)

How Did We Get Here

Remember that test from last weekend? Yeah, I passed with flying colors. My plan to run around the reservoir was shot down when I visited the deli along the route, that I was counting on being open, and learned that they would not be available during the hours I had planned. So, it was to the backup plan - an aid station simulation.

I ran a couple of these last year, and the basic idea is to mimic the distances between the aid stations in Vermont. I setup an "aid station" in my kitchen when I got up at 4:30 AM on Saturday morning, had some water and a piece of toast, and prepared to head out.

I actually had that last split wrong. It is 4.4 and not 4.2. This gets me to "Margaritaville" in Vermont - a total distance of 27.4 miles or so. The asterisk is to denote "bonus". I figured if I got to around 23 or so, I'd be feeling good, I'd at least go for the marathon if not the whole distance.

My primary fuel
If you want to read about the splits, I logged it on dailymile here. I took my time, played with different run/walk strategies, and had a great marathon distance training run. Afterwards, I had an ice bath, hot shower, and headed out to my nephew's second birthday party, where I ate and drank and ran around and had a blast. I thought for sure I'd be hurting Sunday.

But... I wasn't. I went out and ran another ten miles on Sunday. My legs were (still are) a little tired, but not anything unexpected for having run 36 miles in less than 24 hours. Since then, I've gone on a few more runs and my body is responding in a way I am honestly surprised by.

I may be crossing the threshold and entering into the "lean mean mountain running machine" territory I've been striving to get to.

So, I pulled the trigger.

Now all I've got to do is stay healthy and show up September 30th at Ascutney and RUN 50 MILES. Whether or not I make it this year, if there is one thing I learned from last year's experience - it'll be a Bucket Filler.

Yeah, I just might be mad. But then again, all the best of us are.

Until next time - run, run, run.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Catching Up

Please accept my apologies, dear readers (all 39 of you). It's been a while since my last post. It's been over two months, and while some things have changed, my desire to get out and run every day has remained constant. The streak is currently at 218 days, with no real end in sight, but one potentially very large threat looming in late September. Let's take a look at some highlights.

The day after the 50k at Pineland, I ran a couple of miles. Since then, the streak has not stopped. With nothing to really train for, it's been simple to go out for at least a mile every day. Some days, if the weather is nice I'll go out for a double. I tend to meet my "running wife" Rebecca for morning runs a few times a week, and I've slowly been adding more people to the weekend running crew. All of this makes it easy to continue getting out there.

Operation Lean-Mean-Mountain-Machine
Earlier this year, I resolved to lose the weight I had gained during the tail-end of last year. As you may or may not recall, entering 2012 I weighed just shy of 220lbs (219.2 to be more precise). Over the next few months, I modified my eating and exercise and saw good results. In April, I began eating "paleo-ish" and have continued since. Some of this is already documented in the Pineland Race Recap.

At Pineland, I weighed around 190lbs. Over the last couple of months, I've lost about 12-15 lbs. It varies depending on the week, and all the other factors around this - muscle, water retention, massive amounts of coconut ice cream and dark chocolate. But more importantly, I've leaned out, and I feel noticeably stronger. Hell, I can even do a handful of pull-ups and chin-ups now.

This transformation has led to more effortless running. My "auto-pilot" paces are getting faster. My recovery times quicker. One night, I even saw a 6-handle for about a half mile. It was downhill, but hey, that still counts!

On the mountain side of this operation, I've been logging more and more time over at Wachusett and the surrounding areas. My ultrarunning bud Julie was kind enough to take me out on a course that is a little technical and somewhat hilly. I've since learned that these terms translate to "a fuckton of roots and rocks" and "nightmare climbing". Crow Hill & Leominster State Forest if any of you are interested. Let's just say you won't be breaking any pace records.

Speaking of mountains
There is a little race at the end of September. It begins at Mt. Ascutney. Last year, it ended, for me, with disappointment. Throughout the year, I've been putting off registering. I've had all a bunch of reasons. "I'm gonna streak all year", "I don't want to face it again", "I want to lean out and really become a mountain machine", "What if I do it and fail again?", etc, etc.

But the biggest reason I was procrastinating is that Rebecca is targeting a half-marathon this fall. Her initial choice was Smuttynose, which falls on the same day. I told her I would train with her and run it, so I had an "out" for VT50. Well, a couple of weeks ago, she told me that she was going to re-evaluate and find another race, as the woman she planned to run with wouldn't be ready in time. One door closed, and another one opened. Her rescheduling, coupled with the fact that my buddy Doug has threatened to kill me if I don't run the race again this year, has got me leaning toward pulling the trigger.

So I came up with a kind of test to assess my overall level of fitness and my "readiness" for trying to tackle this beast in September. Last weekend, I headed out to Wachusett for some mountain repeats. I ran from the lodge at the base up the summit road and back down a few times. I also ran up and down Bolton Rd. once. The resulting numbers looked promising. From the dailymile workout log -

Wrist bitch - what say you? 3337 ft up, 3327 ft down. Plug that into your calculators kids. Let's see how it compares to VT50. 17.25 is 34.5% of the alleged distance in the green mountains. So....scaling out to 50 miles, this course computes around 9672 ft. Take that, Vermont!

This was not easy. Everything was sore. I had an epsom salt bath, an ice bath, tons of stretching, ibuprofen, etc. Then I woke up the next day and ran 11 miles in the woods. It was the first time I had run back-to-back double digit runs in over a year.

First part of the test looks really positive. The second part is coming up on Saturday. I'm planning my own version of Stu's 30k. Except that it'll be more like a 40k around the reservoir. I've got a few stops planned out along the way where I'll be able to buy some water and a snack. I'll slow down and walk and take my time. All about time on feet. Maybe 5 hours or so. We'll see.

If all goes well, and I can get out on Sunday, and still walk next week, you may be reading a post about how the trigger's been pulled. Maybe...

Until then - run, run, run.