Monday, October 25, 2010

Miles to run before I sleep

I have to admit that after the first 15 miler on the Sunday morning that I began Monster Mega Mileage Week, I was already worrying about the 20 miler the following Saturday that I had planned to finish the week. Having never come anywhere close to 100 miles in one week of training I was expecting to be very tired and sore by the end.

I was very fortunate to have excellent weather all week other than some rain on half of my Wednesday run with Jenn which made it much more enjoyable. It was a little surprising that I looked forward to every one of the runs during the week and even though I didn't need the miles I was very tempted to get in a second workout on Friday. I did use my better judgement though and saved up for the Saturday finale.

I was expecting that Saturday would be slow and painful and I was just hoping it would not turn into a death march the last few miles. Wow, was I surprised when I actually felt great! I met Karla and Amy at 7 and it was a cold in the 30's. I had frost on my windshield on the drive over to Crabtree. After we got going I warmed up quickly and we were moving at a decent pace. As we ran along I began feeling stronger and more confident and was actually having to hold back to keep from running away from the ladies. We picked up the pace a little bit on the last 12 miles and finished strong. I was so happy to have them along to share it with me and they both said if I had began to falter that they would have dragged me to complete my goal. Glad that wasn't necessary ! I only regret that Lisa was not able to run any with me this week.

So here is the breakdown for the week:

Sunday - 15 miles am

Monday - 10 miles am, 5 miles pm

Tuesday- 10.2 am, 9 miles pm

Wednesday- 16.7 miles pm

Thursday- 10.2 miles pm

Friday - 6 miles am

Saturday - 20 miles am

Weekly total 102.1 miles

Ran 35.2 of the miles with Karla, 24 with Amy and 16.7 with Jenn.

Ran 37.1 on dirt, 9 on the track, 36 on the road and 20 on the greenway.

I don't foresee another 100 mile week in the near future but I'm glad I did it and without any problems along the way. I do hope I can get my weekly average close to 70mpw between now and Boston next April. Stay Tuned.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monster Mega Mileage Week

Darkness comes early and a chill wind begins to blow as the fog comes creeping. A full moon cast an eerie pall as shadows fall upon the path littered with the dead foliage from the skeletel shapes of the trees as the sway in the breeze. The glowing eyes of the black cat as it scurries by while unseen voices seem to moan a warning not to venture too far. Yes, it is October and that must mean--------, It's MONSTER MEGA MILEAGE WEEK !!

Well, actually it's not all that scary. But it is a step into uncharted territory for me. So, what exactly is Monster Mega Mileage Week? It will be my attempt at running 100 miles in training in 7 days for the first time in my 33 years of running. Yes, I know, I have completed 6 ultramarathons of 100 miles before but I have never come close to that in a week of training. I have done a couple of weeks of 70 miles over the past couple of years and have hit in the 60's a few more times but my average in my highest mileage years including races has been about 45 miles per week.

In order to run 100 I will need to average about 15 miles per day. I got things off to a good start this Sunday morning with a 15 miler at a decent pace on a beautiful chilly morning starting just as it began to get light outdoors. I was able to watch the fog rise off the many ponds in the area and see the sunrise. The run went well and I felt so thankful to be out and able to do this that I love so much.

Ever since I first began running I have used a chart to track all my runs and it runs from Sunday to Saturday like a calender so that is why I began this morning. I look forward to the challenge and if things go well I will be able to run quite a few of these miles with some of my special ladies from Ultraman Joey's Angels and Princesses Club or my Harem as Laura calls it. The plan is to finish up with a 20 miler next Saturday so if anyone wants to join in for some miles let me know. Stay Tuned, wish me luck, pray for me and let's see how it goes !

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New River 50K

I think this is one of the best photos I've ever taken. I'd like to think it is due to my skills as a photographer but it was more just sheer luck at being at the right place at the right time. That time just happened to be about 6.2 miles into the New River Trail 50K.

I liked the 8am starting time which made for a relaxing morning. Our rental house was only a couple of blocks away so around 7:30 we made our way down to the riverside which was covered in a blanket of fog and prepared for the journey ahead. With the temperature around 45F I was feeling confident that today would be a good run for me and all my friends. Promptly at 8, race director Annette Bednosky sent us off on the trail.

My plan was to run easy the first mile to warm up and then gradually pick up the pace to about 8:50 pace and hold onto that as long as possible. We could barely see the river for the fog at first and in the first mile the course is away from the river anyway so the only view was the runners in front of me. I bided my time behind a small group until the 1st mile in 9:02 and then eased my way around them as I picked it up just a bit. I soon caught up to Kathy Lee and ran talking to her for awhile but then she backed off and I picked it up a bit more and put it on cruise control.

I was feeling good as we approached the first aid station at about 5.3 miles and I was at exactly the pace I wanted averaging 8:50. From here, we had to do a short out and back section of about 8/10ths of a mile which gave me a chance to see most of the other runners behind and in front of me. I pulled out the camera for the first time and snapped a few shots of some friends but I didn't want to take the time to take too many. I wasn't even going to run with the camera since I was racing for a pr but I wanted to at least get a picture of the ladies. Lisa was not very far behind me and Karla was a little bit further back and looking comfortable. I kept the camera out because I knew I wanted to get a shot of the bridge over the river and it turned out to be nearly perfect as the sun was just coming up from behind the hills and burning off the fog.

Once I crossed the river , the course began a very slight but noticeable incline as the trail ran beside and upstream of Chestnut Creek. We would be going this way for almost the next 10 miles so I made a conscious effort to back off the pace slightly hoping that I could stay close to my goal and then make up some time on the downhill return. The only problem with that is that for some reason the pace which should have felt like an easy training run was not feeling easy. I didn't feel bad, I just didn't feel like I could go any faster. That seemed strange to me since I had run 30 seconds per mile faster at the marathon 4 weeks ago and now I had only gone about 7 miles.

I continued along enjoying the gorgeous views of Chestnut Creek and the trail until I reached the 2nd aid station at Chestnut Yard around the 12 mile mark. By now my average pace was 9:00, still good but it was not not getting any easier and I was hoping it would. It was nice to see some familiar faces at the aid station including Mark Long of the MTC. Mark was entered in the race but has been injured so he came up anyway to help out and support some of the MTC crowd.

I tried to maintain my pace as I continued up the trail but I was already gradually slowing down. I had not given up hope yet for the pr but something was going to have to change. A few miles later I could hear Lisa coming up behind me. I didn't have to look to know it was her. We have run so many miles together in the past 1.5 years that I can recognize the sound of her footstrikes. We ran together for a short distance but then she pulled away. She was doing great and I was hoping she would be able to continue in her first ultra.

I finally made it to the turnaround at about 15.9 miles and already I had slowed my average pace down to about 9:15 and by the time I got refilled and on my way it was even slower. Now it would take a miracle to get the pr but I tried to pick up the pace now that the grade would be slightly downhill. Try as I may, I just did not have it today for whatever reason. I just kept getting slower and slower. Finally at about 18.5 miles I decided to just start walking and wait for Karla to catch up with me. If I couldn't run a fast time then at least maybe I could enjoy the rest of the race with the Marathon Princess. I stopped at the next aid station for a refill and some coke and stretched my aching hamstrings for a bit and then continued walking. It wasn't much longer and after 2 miles of walking that Karla finally caught up to me.

She was still running well and we enjoyed the next 2 miles miles together but whatever was causing me to be so tired would not let me even hold her pace so she went ahead and for the next 9 miles I would just relax and do a run/walk to the finish. The plan now was to just get to the end as comfortably as possible and enjoy the views along the way. I was really glad I had chosen to bring the camera along now . The rest of the race was rather uneventful. I was passed by quite a few friends and they all asked if I was ok. I assured them that I was fine, just not having a good day and was taking it easy the rest of the way.

With little less than 3 miles to go, Tony Rouse caught up to me and we ran together for the next couple of miles. It was nice to share a little time with one of the truly nice guys in the sport. Over the years Tony and I have shared many miles in various ultra's. The amazing thing today was that Tony and 3 others, Doug Dawkins, Eric Fogelman and Rick French had just completed a 4 day stage race across NC for 145 miles.

With a mile to go I told Tony I needed to take another short walk break. He hesitated but I told him to go on ahead. I could now see the welcome sight of the finish just ahead and as I made my final approached the best sight was seeing my two wonderful training partners Karla and Lisa standing there waiting for me.

Despite the disappointment of the slow time I still enjoyed the race a lot. It is so beautiful and Annette and her volunteers did a great job with the race .Normally if I was having a bad race I would get in a foul mood but today I was able to keep a smile on my face and just make the most of it.

Here are the results.

and here are the rest of my pictures.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

New River Trail 50k preview

The New River Trail is a converted rail trail along the New river in Western Virginia and is one of the Virginia State Parks. Along the 57 miles of the trail it passes through Shot Tower Historical Park which you can see from Interstate 77. Just a few miles downriver it also passes through Foster Falls which is now a part of the NRT St Park. In the past when I used to travel to work in West Virgina I would occasionally stop at Foster Falls where I have run and biked on the trail and once I kayaked the falls. It is a beautiful area and a wonderful place to visit so I was excited when a couple of years ago when Annette Bedknosky, an ultrarunning friend announced she would be directing a race on the trail.

I'll never forget the first time I met Annette several years ago at the Promise Land 50k when she was just beginning to run ultra's. I was sitting under the picnic shelter with the Finkles and a couple of other friends. Most of the runners had already gone to there tents for the night when Annette walked over and said she wanted to hang out with the "cool people". Of course since then she has become one of the top lady ultra runners in the country winning many races including the Western States 100. She is a terrific person and a pleasure to be around and I look forward to finally get a chance to run her race.

My training has been going very well and with the forecast for nice Autumn weather with the start in the 40's I should run well. I am planning to go for a 50k pr. I doubt I have too many chances left to get pr's at 50k so at least this course should give me n opportunity to go for it.

Karla the Marathon Princess and Lisa The Mountain Girl will be making the trip with me. Hopefully Karla can pr in what will be her 3rd 50K and the way Lisa has been running lately I expect her to get her first ultra finish and do it well. I'm also excited that I will get a chance to see a lot of my other ultra friends that I have been missing a lot the past couple of years.

Annette's Blog.

Race website.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Selma Railroad Run 5K- 2010

Well if anyone didn't run well this year , it couldn't be blamed on the weather. We had near perfect conditions in the 50's and a beautiful sunny morning. I was up early and excited so after my morning coffee, I hopped in the car and ate some rocket fuel (peanut butter and marshmallow creme) as I made the short drive down to Selma where I found parking a block from the start/finish. I picked up my number and chip and then joined Karla and Lisa for a warm-up mile.

Then about 10 minutes before the start I did another half mile with some pickups to race pace and then made my way to the line. I got off to a good start, not getting suckered into the fast pace of the young and inexperienced that always seem to go flying off. I settled into a comfortable pace and found myself just behind NCRC friend Bobby Baxter. I was hoping the pace I was on was close to my overall goal of sub 22 because I didn't think I could go any faster without blowing up later.

The first mile was good at 6:57, but I already knew my fantasy goal of beating my 2005 time was not going to happen today. So I settled in almost drafting Bobby as we continued through the neighborhood and then back onto the main road. Just before the turnaround and near the two mile mark you can see the leaders coming back and heading towards us heading to the finish. Aaron Tarter was in 3rd and Godiva's Anthony Corriveau was right behind in 4th. Clayton friend Brent George was not too far behind and then the first woman as expected was our own North Raleigh Threat, Laura Labella Frey followed by NCRC's Jordan Duvall running in his Vibram 5 fingers. Shannon Johnstone was the 2nd place woman just a little further back back in 2nd.

I went around the cone and then by the 2 mile mark in 14:12, a 7:15 mile. I was hoping I hadn't slowed but the second mile here is always slower for me. I was still just a few strides behind Bobby but he began to gradually pull away and I was going as hard as I could. I could now see the runners behind me and Lisa was not too far behind and running strong. Margo was just a ways behind her and before long I could see the Marathon Princess looking good. A little further and along came Frank.

I was really pushing now and hoping I could hold on to the pace and get under my sub 22 goal but these 5k's really hurt if you race them hard. I was able to keep up the pace and made it just under in 21:57. Woohooo !

After all my friends came in,Karla, Lisa and I went for a 2 mile cool down and got back just in time for the awards. All my friends really did well this year. Lisa was first in her age-group with a big time pr of 22:38. She is on fire these days and you'll be seeing more pr's this Fall from her. Margo was 2nd and Karla was 3rd but since they only go 2 deep with the trophies she missed out this time. I was very surprised that I got 2nd in mine but then I was :30 seconds faster than last year!

Aaron went on to place 3rd overall, and 1st in the 30-39 age-group. Brent was third in the same age group. Anthony was 4th overall and 1st in the masters 40-49. Laura and Shannon went on to place 1-2 overall for the ladies and I believe it was a pr for Laura too. Jordan was first in the 20-29 group and Frank ran strong and placed 2nd in the 60 and over. I would also like to put in a word for a fellow Zebulon runner that I just met at the race, John Goodie. John is a regular reader of my blog and a new runner and he ran what I believe was a pr for him at the 5k distance too. Good job !

I'm really surprised that more Triangle area runners don't come for this race anymore. It is a flat , fast certified course and is one of the best bargains out with just a $15 entry fee when most 5k's these days are $25 to 30 and up.

Here are the results

I would also like to proudly note that in 1981 when this was a 10k, my mother Frances Anderson was 51 years old and won 1st place in her age-group !