Yankee Springs Trail Run '14

Yankee Springs Trail Run '14
After the half marathon

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gearing Up For 50 miles

   Well...its been awhile since I've written an update, so here we go. The last time I gave any kind of update I was gearing up for Mad City 100k in April. Tarryn and I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the 100k National Championship. The short story is Madison is a beautiful city and the race director Tim Yanacheck puts on a great event.  The course is 10 10k loops around mostly a park with paved bike paths and some roads. I went out at goal pace (6:50's) and felt very comfortable running in 5th place until the 4th lap when I stepped off a curb awkward and strained my achilles tendon. Half way through the 5th lap it was hurting very bad and I was starting to favor my right leg. At the 50k mark I decided the potential further damage wasn't worth finishing, if I even could have in that condition.
   I took three weeks of slowly returning to training after the race and began getting ready for Yankee Springs Trail Run. They have a 10k Friday night, Marathon and Double Marathon on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday. The original goal was to go for Max Kings' Marathon course record from last year, he ran all three days. A couple weeks before the race I found out my cousins open house was on that Saturday and I wouldn't pass that up. So...I signed up for the 10k and half marathon, with race entry provided by Wolfhound Racing, thanks Dave. On Friday my goal was to shoot for 37-38 minutes and go hard on Sunday. I felt that I ran a conservative effort and won in 36:52. Having had switched to 3rd shift a couple weeks prior I stayed up all night, and the next day! By the time I was tired it was time to get ready for the open house. We went and had a great time visiting with family. I finally went to bed around 8pm and was up at 4am to get ready for the half marathon. It was pouring ran that morning so I knew my shot at a "fast" time wasn't going to happen. We arrived a little late and I took off for a warm up. On my return I saw everyone standing at the starting line! I picked up the pace and joined the crowd. Three seconds later I was off again for the start. The race was smooth but I was all alone from the gun. I just ran my own race and tried to stay focused. The race quit around four or five miles in and I cruised in for win number two for the weekend in 1:24:34. I needed that for a confidence boost coming back from the injury.
   Currently I'm focused on Dirty Burg 50k on July 12th as part of my work up to North Country Trail Run 50 mile August 23rd. I'd really like to run sub 6:40 for North Country but we'll see how training goes. I'm still adjusting to working 3rd shift and doing long runs in the dark but its working so far. Other than being so scared by a skunk that I almost sprayed him and the occasional raccoon or deer its pretty calm at night, and much cooler. I'm excited for the rest of the year and am considering signing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile championship in San Francisco December 7th. I'm sure I'll run other shorter races this year but those are the big ones. I'm grateful for my sponsors Wolfhound Racing and UltrAspire. I definitely utilize my UltrAspire hydration gear, Inov-8, and Recofit Compression. Thanks for reading and get out there and run!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Taper Time!

So far this year has been pretty good to me. Starting off the year with a crazy 50k win at Yankee Springs Winter Challenge. The hardest Marathon ever at the Ground Hog Marathon in the beginning of February, and training for Mad City 100k has gone well. I've been working 50 hour weeks every other week, which takes 60 hours with the commute, so my mileage has been low. I've been floating around 60-65 mpw over five runs, which isn't much for an Ultra. That being said I feel pretty confident going into my taper. Since I have been unable to put in the mileage I want I've focused on quality. Speed work on Tuesday and Thursday with back to back long runs on the weekend. Since I've been working so much and on my feet all day ever run is on tired legs which I feel adds to the training. I've had all my best racing years running lower high quality miles and working a manual labor job. I feel like I have enough speed heading into Mad City but I always question my long runs. The last two weekends went pretty well. On the 15th I ran 16 in the am at a 6:54 pace took a six hour break and ran 14 at a 6:40 pace, woke up early and ran another 10 at a 7:00 pace. I felt good on Sunday morning but really low on energy which was good practice for the later stages of the race. I totaled 40 miles in 24 hours at a 6:50 average. This weekend I ran a hilly 10 on Saturday at a 6:29 avg to get my pace set for Sunday. On Sunday I ran a somewhat hilly 24 miles at a 6:28 pace and felt great. On the flat roads I was very comfortably cruising at a 6:20 pace without much effort. After having two good speed workouts this week I was happy with this run.
post run :)

Zach Bitter, Jim Sweeney, Chris Lundstom, Greg Crowther and Nick Accardo are all racing. Including myself there are six people with the potential to run the 100k World Championship qualifying time of sub 7:20 which is a 7:05 pace. I believe that Zach and Jim are the favorites to go 1-2. I also believe if I run a smart race and the stars are aligned just so, I have a shot at running somewhere around a 7:10ish. Its only a guess though, I've never ran this far on the roads. I plan on going out at what feels comfortable but not getting caught up in the hype the first three laps. I don't want to put "time in the bank" just run a steady pace the first seven 10k's then see what I can do the last 30k. I want to thank UltrAspire and Wolfhound Racing for there sponsorship and helping make training and racing so much better! Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crunch Time Training

   Well I just wanted to give a little update on the training and general mindset. Originally I was signed up to run the Indiana Trail 50 mile but I found out recently that is the same weekend as Tarryn's graduation walk at school. So, instead I'm signed up for Mad City 100k which is also the USATF 100k road national championship. I'm pretty excited to get in a road ultra and see what I can do on fast terrain. Given that my last two races were winter races I'm not sure of my overall speed. I won both races and felt good during both races. Overall I feel my fitness level is decent considering the relatively low mileage that I've been able to put in so far this winter. Mad City is on April 12th,  enough time to get some quality but I'd be happier if I had another month to train.
   I've been working 50 hour weeks, which happens to be a manual labor factory job. I do believe that being on my feet 12 hours a day and getting in "strength training" while doing so is benefiting me. I've ran my best races on lower, high intensity mileage, while working manual labor jobs. The plan is to get in marathon specific speed work during the week and solid long runs on the weekends. I'll use the next two weeks for an example, the key workouts:
-Tue(yesterday) 8 miles 3mi warm up 5 mile progression run starting with 6:10 down to 5:38
-Thur 10 miles 3mi warm up 1/2mi at 5:30 pace, 1/2mi at 6:40 pace x 6, cool down
-Sun 20 miles at 6:20 pace, apx. 12mi at 6:30 pace, 8 miles around 6:10-15 pace
Next week
-Tue 9 miles 3 miles at 5:50 pace, 1mi easy, 3 miles 5:50 pace
-Thur 8 miles 3 x 1mi at 5:30 pace
-Sat 14 miles easy
-Sun 31 miles (I turn 31 on the 26th so its a good B-Day run)
I believe that these are the best style of workouts I can get in with my work and family obligations. I have about two months (so not setting a time goal yet) and a taper so I need to make the most of it. I feel strong and confident about my training and running in general at the moment. I'm grateful for my sponsors UltrAspire and Wolfhound Racing, check them out on Facebook! They have both been very supportive and great people to be involved with. I'm also very grateful for Tarryn and Dylan(mostly Tarryn) for putting up with my 4:30am-3pm work days and strange passion for running that I have :) Thanks for reading, and hit me up on Facebook, I'll chat about anything running related!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A New Year

Well…hello again. Its been quite awhile since I've posted any type of blog so time for a little catch up. First a little review of 2013. In '13 I had big plans of really breaking into the Ultra world and seeing what I could really do. For the first half of the year I had the freedom to put in any kind of mileage that I wanted which turned out to be a curse. I did find out that I can handle 100+ mile weeks but I don't perform very well with them. I found it just leaves me feeling run down even on race day. I did have some real strong racing in '13 and it was when my mileage was lower and the race distance was no longer than 50k. Another thing that changed halfway through the year was starting a new job. It is a very labor intensive job and I work 4:30am-3pm most weeks. On top of that I gained sole custody of my son along with being a loving FiancĂ© my "free time" has changed a bit. Looking back at my training for the last couple of years I've noticed the higher intensity training regardless of overall mileage does well for me. I decided at the end of '13 that I would focus this year on being in the best marathon/50k shape I could possible be in for road and trail with a few key 50 milers in the mix. I started the year with Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50k on Jan 4th. I really wanted to go after the course record this year but mother nature had other plans with a thick blanket of snow on the course, oh yeah Michigan in January. I won by 28 minutes and felt good the whole race. Next on the schedule is the Groundhog Marathon in Grand Rapids Feb. 2nd, tomorrow. Once again we are supposed to have snow dumped on us so "time" will not be a goal of mine just out there to finish as high as a can. I may run the Kal-Haven 50k+ on April 5th as a last long training effort for my goal race this spring, Indiana Trail 50 mile April 26th. I really want to go for the win and beat my PR of 6:24 for 50 miles. The rest of the year will include a lot of half marathon to 50k races leading up to the USATF 50 mile road championship on Oct. 26th. I am fortunate to have this passion and a little success with it. I am very proud and excited to say that I have two sponsors for 2014. I am once again part of the UltrAspire Elite Immortal program. I do believe that they make the best hydration equipment on the market and they are a great bunch of people. I also am happy to be a part of the Wolfhound Racing Team. They offer many great products for runners, cyclist, and crossfit folks. I have links for both of my sponsors on my blog, check them out. Looking forward to a stellar 2014, hope to see you out there running!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Almost time to taper

In June I really tried to push up my mileage and focus on hills with one "speed" workout each week.  My June totals were 390 miles in 25 runs and about 14,000 feet of climbing. The major difference in my high mileage training this time around was quality. Before I traveled to Texas to run at Nueces I was putting in close to 100 mile weeks BUT no real focus on hills and very little speed work. This time around my back to back long days were for the most part all run at Robinette's. I tried to but in at least 50-55 miles in every other week and on my "shorter" weeks do 40-45 miles at a quicker pace. That was my sun-mon routine. Tuesday was 6.5-8 easy miles. Wednesday was a 12 mile tempo run in the morning and 6 easy in the afternoon. Thursday 6.5-8 easy miles. Friday 16-20 miles at a good pace but not tempo effort. Rest on Saturday then start the week over on Sunday. I feel that coming from the injury I had at Nueces this is about as good of a plan that I could muster. This Sunday I'm do my last long run of about 5 hours(7 laps at Robinette's). After that I'm starting a slow three week taper. I have faith in my training and I'm excited to run Burning River 100 mile on the 27th. I had a great race running Hurt the Dirt but was too scared to finish at the Yankee Springs Double Marathon. I felt I had plenty to go the distance but my IT started burning starting the third lap so I called it a day after the third lap. It was a great training run to start off the month, 41 miles at an 8:33 pace. I feel like I'm over the injury and ready to redeem myself. I already have it in my head to run my own race at Burning River. 100 miles is a looong way no matter how good of shape your in. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I had a time or place goal set but the most important thing here is to FINISH. I'm excited to have my new Pearl Izumi N2 Trail, Pearl Izumi Ultra Short Tights, UltrAspire gear, and Fluid hydration products. Solid training is all but done and great gear, the rest is all mental. I'm excited and optimistic! I'll let you know how it goes, wish me luck!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yankee Springs "race" report

This Friday Tarryn, Dylan, and I went to Yankee Springs for the race weekend. There were races all three days. Because of just getting over my IT injury about five or six weeks ago I originally signed up for the marathon . I switched to the Double Marathon about two weeks ago thinking it would be better training for the Burning River 100. Friday night I volunteered to help with the 10k race. Another added bonus was the opportunity to meet and chat with Montrail stud Max King. Tarryn and Dylan left just before the 10k start and I was staying the night in a cabin because of the 6 am Double Marathon start time and they would come in the morning. I didn't get done helping out until around 10 pm then headed to the cabin to get ready for bed( about 11:30pm), 4:40 am came pretty early but I felt ready to run. Part of the reason I chose to run the Double was an article I ready on Irunfar.com about using "B" races as practice runs working your way to your "A" race. Bryon Powell signed up for a 100 mile and just planned on dropping at 50, great way to have a fun long training run. I've never done this in the past because if I'm in a race I want to race. So I went into this with the mindset that this was only a training run and to not destroy my legs. The next month or so is the peak of training for the 100 mile, so I couldn't afford to be laid up for a week because I pushed too hard. There were only about 23 of us signed up for the Double so no big crowd to force me into the race mindset. The course was four 13.1 mile loops of technical single track and rolling hills but no major ones. In the first loop I started with another runner for the first two miles, then I was alone. I rolled through the first lap not feeling very smooth but no issues. I came through in 1:45 for the 13.5 mile loop(GPS). I felt smoother the second lap and other than day dreaming past a turn adding about 4-5 mins and stepping over a turtle laying eggs on the trail it was uneventful. Coming into this race I was doing a lot of shorter, hard back to back runs. 12-16 mile tempo runs Sunday night and 19-26 mile trail runs Monday morning. So the longest single run I had was a 26 mile run in 3:27. Starting off on the third lap I still felt alright but I could tell that the lack of "time on my feet" in long runs would be an issue. I slowed the pace down quite a bit and just enjoyed an easy lap. About half way through the lap I was starting to realize that if I run the full Double(55 miles for me) I'd be out there for 8 hours and do what I said I wasn't going to, destroy my legs. So even though it felt tough to do I decided to call it after three laps. I ran 41 miles in 5:53 an 8:33 per mile pace with 2800ft of elevation gain and equal loss, it was a great workout. It was 15 miles farther and 2 hr 26 mins longer than my longest run since my injury. I accomplished what I wanted out of the "race" with a solid training run and a good time. Staying injury free and working my way back up to 100 mile weeks is the goal. I believe it was a wise decision and I stand by it. I don't feel beat up and I'll probably run tomorrow which is what I wanted moving forward in training for Burning River. I tested a new piece of gear on this run also. I wore the UltrAspire Quantum race belt with my gel flasks and electrolyte pills and it felt great. I'm happy and excited to bump up the mileage and get in great shape for Burning River!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Feeling Good

I've feel the best that I have in a long time. I think the IT band injury I got at Nueces in Texas may have been a blessing in disguise. I'm no longer getting wrapped up in the number of miles I'm running per week and focusing on quality. I have been slowly but steadily increasing my mileage with the focus on quality. I've been doing my long runs on the hilliest trails around G.R. and getting in hard tempo runs. I'm currently running about 75 miles per week over five days with plenty of quality. I ran Hurt the Dirt trail half marathon a few weeks ago where I won by six minutes in a 1:22. It was mountain bike trail with tons of snaking around and rolling hills. There where three races going on at the same time which did make it tricky to pass and get in a good rhythm, along with all the twist and turns. I felt like it was closer to my marathon pace than half marathon but a great fitness gauge. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Jeff Browning for a couple trail runs this week, Patagonia and UltrAspire sponsored Ultra runner. I was able to chat with him and get some good insight on training and racing 100 miles. He was an awesome dude and very laid back, gotta love ultra runners. I'm feeling confident about Burning River 100 on July 27th. In two weeks I'm running Yankee Springs Double Marathon for a hard workout/ B race. My goal is to work on pacing for Burning River and give a solid effort without destroying my legs. The course does have some short steep climbs but overall a runable course. I'm going to shoot for sub 7 hours but just listen to my body and run how I feel. I am grateful that I have UltrAspire and Fluid as sponsors. I have great hydration gear with quality product to put in it!