Thursday, August 28, 2014

50k Training by the numbers

It's go time. Or as my dad would say, the hay is in the barn.  Let's just hope there is enough hay to get me through 50+k.

So let's recap what got me here:

New states raced in: 2 (Missouri and Colorado)

Breweries Visited: 6

Five cross-training activities (Vacuuming not pictured)
  Countless Beautiful Runs

Many Sources of Inspiration

Thanks to everyone for the support, comments, patience, words of wisdom, and advice. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Monday, August 25, 2014

50k Training Week 15: 8/18-8/24

Last recap before race day! Since I usually post my training recaps on Monday morning, week 16 won't pop-up until after race day. Try to contain your excitement.

Monday: Rested with some light yoga and stretching.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Tuesday: It felt really weird to only run 4 miles. For some reason, I get impatient in shorter runs because I feel like they should be over faster.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 4 miles (8:39/mile pace)

Wednesday: It was one of those days where I didn't feel like running, but I got in 5.  Why do those days always seem to happen more during taper? I'm probably just looking forward to race day too much!
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:42/mile pace)
Thursday: When I ran with the Jayhawk last Saturday, his shoe came untied at least 4 times.  No joke. 4 times in 7 miles. I found it kind of nuts! So when I was contacted by the friendly folks at Lace Locker this week asking if I wanted to try/review their product, I jumped on it.  The Jayhawk doesn't double knot his laces because it puts a weird and uncomfortable pressure point on his foot, so the lace locker looked like the perfect solution. Anyways, it arrived today and he tried it out on his run: 3.5 mile no shoe tying stops! It might save our running dates.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)
Note: the Jayhawk rocks the black lace locker, but I didn't catch a pic. (Source)
Friday: We had a pretty hot weekend here with high humidity, so it really started to freak me out in terms of race day weather. I've been readjusting my goals and race plan to accommodate high heat, and trying to mentally be ready for it. Oh, and stalking the weather report of course.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Saturday: Joined a friend from work on her group run. Their whole gang is training for the Savannah Rock n' Roll half together. It was nice to get in some miles in a totally different area and to meet some new faces. Plus, they start/finish at a coffee shop so what could be better?!
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 8 miles (10:00/mile pace)

Sunday: Took it easy on the treadmill.  The Jayhawk knocked out 8 in the humidity (his longest run ever) and declared that the Lace Lockers are awesome because he didn't have to stop once. Success!
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:41/mile pace)

How was your week? Any good racing stories to share?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Five: Things to do while tapering

1. Read. Because during training you always fell asleep when attempting this activity. This can also double as race prep and motivation.
Currently in the middle of: Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (Affiliate link)
I'm really enjoying it and getting in the mind of one of the top Ultrarunners is great mental prep for me right now. He is funny, tough as nails, and really inspirational. I definitely see me reading this more that once.
Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America (Affiliate link)
Recently finished this one and I really enjoyed it. Originally ran into it in a used book store and was drawn in by the title, but the book was even better than expected. Marshall is an amazing ultrarunner who did a Quad-Badwater and a coast to coast run across the US.  Another great look into the mentality of ultrarunning.

2. Paint your toe nails. Great activity to hide your frightening black and blue nails and allow you to still wear flip-flops in public without scaring small children.
You really don't want me to zoom in any closer. I've finally lost all the blistered skin from the Troop Trot but the myriad of black and blue toenails remain.

3. Try a new beer. Because carbo loading is an important part of the tapering process. (Note: beers should be consumed individually, not en masse, otherwise you will end up running hungover). This week I tried two beers one very local and one very not local.
The White Hops from Three Taverns brewery here in Atlanta.
Three Taverns is a small, new brewery (just turned 1) and I am loving their stuff. I stumbled on it because it is across the street from the Monster's kennel. I don't think their distribution is very big yet so it might be difficult to find outside the city, but their White Hops is excellent. The Jayhawk describes it as " light, refreshing, and packed with flavor".
The second pick of the week is Koko Brown from Kona Brewing. It's a great brown ale brewed with toasted coconut (yep, they had me at coconut), but it's a darker beer without being too heavy. The Jayhawk loved that it was smooth and without any bitterness.

4. Cook something. You need to fuel up for the big race, right?! On day two of taper, the Jayhawk actually joked that he was going to send out a search party to find me because I was being way too domestic to be EB. Probably worth mentioning that by that point I had already cooked 5 new recipes and showed no signs of slowing down. Highlights include Spiced Oat and Pear Blondies (they were rather yummy), Rigatoni and cheese casserole with mint and peas, Pineapple mojitos, and Cold soba noodles with miso, lime and ginger. Can't wait to see what the second week of taper brings.
The lemon zest and mint made the rigatoni cassarole taste much lighter than expected. Loved it!
5. Make sacrifices to the weather gods. Because this just isn't funny. It was 91 today, feels like 97.  That's crazy hot when you are running 31+ miles. Please send me some positive juju on this one folks.
Here's to hoping those record lows return in time for race day.
What are your favorite taper time activities? What is your dream race weather?

Monday, August 18, 2014

50k Training Week 14: 8/11-8/17

Wow, as I write this, it's less than 2 weeks until race day. I'm officially beginning to taper, assemble a race plan, and figure out what to do with my free time. Bring on the madness.

Monday: I was excited for the kick off of Shark week.  Unfortunately, the Discovery channel has decided to fill the week with a bunch of fictional shows and bad science. Sadness.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Shark week appropriate snacking.
Tuesday: Felt a little sluggish for the first two miles, but was able to get in the grove after that. This has happened before after rest days, especially rest days after big weekends. Spent a little extra time foam rolling and foot rolling after my run to get out the kinks.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 6 miles (8:46/mile pace)

Wednesday: I spent the day in a 7 hour training class and, to put it nicely, I wasn't in the mood to run.  I think I was just so bored that nothing was really stimulating.  The Jayhawk reminded me a run would do me well (and save him from my grumpy self for the rest of the evening), so off I went.  It turned into being a rather strong run and it felt really good. Unfortunately I only had time for 7ish, but I vacuumed too, so I got in a little extra cardio (much to the horror of the Monster).
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 7.08 miles (8:14/mile pace)
They just won't get dirty. Might be time for puddle jumping.
Thursday: In light of the fact that it's less than 2.5 weeks until race day, I went down to Lullwater park to continue breaking in my new seafoam beasts (and get them dirty so I don't totally look like a newbie on race day). Nothing went wrong on this run, I just didn't really have any bounce in my step.  I did see a small deer while in the park, which was rather bizarre. Though the park is woodsy and green, it is smack across the street from Emory University, the CDC, and all the traffic that goes with them.  Not exactly the kind of spot you would ever expect a deer to live. But maybe she was a city girl.
Planned: 8 miles   Actual: 6.5 miles (8:54/mile pace)

Friday: I was lucky enough to win a copy of the Athlete's Guide to Yoga from Beth at Running with the Sunrise. I am pretty pumped about it and have started with chapter 13: Lower legs. I have chronically very tight calves and hopefully increasing my lower leg flexibility will alleviate some of the trouble.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
(Affiliate Link)
Saturday: Joined the Jayhawk for his long run and logged 7 miles with him. We don't always get a chance to run together due to training schedule and different paces, but it's nice to change it up once and a while. Went back out for a solo 5k afterward to round out the day to 10.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 10 miles (first 7 at 11/mile pace, last 3.1 at 7:58/ mile pace)

Sunday: Recovery day. Nothing exciting to report. Kept it easy and started to over think that I was entering taper.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 8 miles (8:41/ mile pace)

How was your week? How do you deal with tapering?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Scenes from Recovery

Today, I am linking up with Beth from Running with the Sunrise for Wordless Wednesday! I picked a few scenes from run recovery to share. 

What are your essential recovery tips?

Monday, August 11, 2014

50k Training Week 13: 8/4-8/10

Three weeks to go! I can't believe it's almost time to taper. Oh the madness.

Monday: Vacuuming and foam rolling, cross-training regimen of champions.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Switched Tuesday's and Wednesday's workouts. Headed down to Lullwater park for a hot one to try out the new trail shoes. I managed to squeeze in about every surface possible (pavement, wooded trail, gravel road, grassy knoll). Overall the shoes felt good and spacious. They are definitely different from the purple mile eaters, but nothing bothered me about them.  The highlight of the run was when a little bunny raced me in the trees (he kicked my butt and was way too fast to get a picture). I was pretty achy later in the evening, probably due to the new shoes working my legs differently than my usual and probably the reason they always tell you to run in different types of shoes.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 8 miles (9:12/mile pace)
I love this random suspension bridge in the park.
Wednesday: No residual soreness or achiness from the new trail shoes. Headed back down to Lullwater for another hot one and did the hillier road loop in the purple mile eaters.
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 6 miles (9:07/mile pace)

Thursday: Ran inside on the treadmill to get a little break from the heat. Nothing too exciting to report, but my legs did feel a bit tired.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 6 miles (8:50/mile pace)

Friday: I rested and it was good.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest
Longest run to nowhere.
Saturday: Received a sad text from the Jayhawk at the start of his 5k: The Garmin is dead. It's been getting a bit quirky, so this was not shocking, but still not what you want to hear the morning of a long run. With impending storms (I need dry sneakers for Sunday) and a phone that wouldn't be able to track for 3 hours (I like to make sure I have battery available in case of a real emergency), I did what I didn't want to do: headed indoors for another epic treadmill run. I decided to push the pace a bit during this run because it turns out the faster you run, the faster you can get off the treadmill.  There's some motivation for you. I ran the 'middle' 8 at a higher tempo and was definitely done when I hit 20. This run made me pretty excited for fall marathon training (focus on the positive, not the fact that someone left the TV on 'Sprouts' for 2 hours and didn't give me the remote).  Oh, and the Jayhawk rocked his 5k.
Planned: 20 miles  Actual: 20 miles (8:46/mile pace)
All by myself.
Sunday: Back outside. Initially I wasn't sure what to expect from this run.  I felt tired when I started, but not achy, sore, or anything like that. Turned into a nice negative split run and finished strong. There is hope!
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 7.7 miles (8:36/mile pace)

Because we all knew I would probably starting thinking about this once the 50k bug caught me, here is an article from Trail Runner Magazine about Training for your first 50 miler. This should surprise no one that I am thinking about one.

How was your week? How do you get through treadmill runs?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Notes from 50k Training so far

I definitely can't be classified as an ultrarunner and even after race day I will still be VERY green around the ears with the whole marathon+ distance, but in my training cycle I've started to learn a few things that make it a little different. Some of these items may be obvious to you and other items are more individual, but either way, there are things to change and adjustments to be made before I run my first 50k at the end of the month.
1. Gear: For the most part I loved my entire gear/outfit combo at Troop Trot. I frequently run in my hydration pack,  a Nathan Intensity Race Vest for Women, and I love the way it fits. I've never chaffed or had it bounce around. It also has several pockets and a pouch for fuel, keys, phone, etc.
The obvious shortcoming in my gear during the race was my trail shoes.  I had never run longer than 10 miles in them and, as I realized post-race, they were half a size too small. I had changed my shoe size in road sneakers after my previous toe bleeding events, but forgot to in trail shoes. This is the one and only gear item I need to change (and it's a biggie).
Hopefully these workout a little better.
2. Fuel: I am a deep believer that fueling is a very individual thing. What works for a lot of people, doesn't always work for me. That said, my road fueling strategy isn't adequate for the trail/ultra world. Typically on long road runs, I fuel every ~5 miles with Island Boost which works out to about every 45 minutes on average. While I tried to follow this plan for the Troop Trot, 5 miles takes a whole lot longer on the trails, so I need to be fueling by time, not distance (duh). 
In addition, I need to take in a few more solids just to prevent the sloshy feeling late in the race.  One thing I noticed at Troop Trot, is that several people brought their own coolers and left them at the start/finish.  Since it was a loop course, they could periodically access them. Though the course was well aided and bringing extra stuff was not required, it did seem like having a stash of things that might not be at aid stations could be super handy in the late miles. Snakebite is also a triple loop, so I am currently coming up with my list of odd items I want in my lunch box for those late race blues. Safe to say magical coke (soda, not drugs) with be on the list.

3. Hydration: While I feel like I've been hydrating fairly well on my long and hot days, there have been a few runs where it's been a challenge, but I've found a few things to make it easier. Having cold and even ice water in my hydration pack makes me drink more. After a few runs where I had filled my pack the night before and been unexcited to drink the tepid water, I've learned that adding ice makes it all go down better.
One thing that probably needs improvement on super hot days is my salt intake. I typically run with electrolytes in my hydration pack, but on super hot days when I can't stop sweating, I've noticed some dragginess in late miles and I need to boost my salts. I'm thinking about trying S-Caps or salt tabs to help and pre-loading with salts before the race.

4. It's not all about the miles: A hallmark of ultratraining is running on tired legs. This includes back to back efforts on the weekends and more weekly miles. But I've come to realize as I've been training in peak summer heat, it's not all about the miles. While it is vital that you are running mileage similar to marathon training, time on your feet and in the heat is just as important. I've been working to balance outdoor sweatfest workouts with indoor mileage based workouts. Obviously, this would be different if my goal was to win the race and in that case I would be focused on mileage and pace, but for now I am focused on running at least a certain amount of time with pace not being the focus.

What is your favorite thing that you've ever had at an aid station or on a run? Do you use salt tabs or pre-load with salt?

Monday, August 4, 2014

50k Training Week 12 Recap: 7/28-8/3

August! It's August.  For Reals. *Breathing Deeply*

It's race month!  Time to start getting a little nutty about all the details for race day. I'm hoping to have a post up this week about what I am currently planning (sorry, it was a crazy week last week).

Monday: Rested like a champ.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Tuesday: On the treadmill.  I've made the conscious decision to treat my indoor and outdoor running a little differently. Indoor, where I have ac, I'm focusing on time and distance, where as outdoor, I'm focusing just on time on feet and in the heat (yes it rhymes). Let's be honest, there will be no 8 minute miles at Snakebite and I need to be comfortable running whatever pace for a longtime in the heat.
Planned: 6 miles  Actual: 6 miles (8:46/mile pace)

Wednesday: Outside in what can only be referred to as Christmas in July like weather.  We even hit a new record low here in the ATL (59 degrees!).  I didn't get to run until 4:30ish because of that whole job thing, but it was still pretty awesome for rush hour in the city. I headed down to Lullwater park and got in a few figure 8s on different trails. I didn't get to run as long as I hoped (you know, the buying groceries and feeding the family thing gave me a deadline), but it was a good one and I felt strong and happy during it. Great way to top off a hectic workday.
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 6.46 miles (8:59/mile pace)
Thursday: Made advance plans with the Jayhawk run from work and runcommute home with the hope of catching some extra miles. I checked the weather, stashed my stuff in the car, and headed out. About 4 miles in a nasty storm blew in, the kind that brings inches of rain. I hid out in a bus stop for about 10 minutes hoping to get a hold of the Jayhawk, but unfortunately my phone was a little water logged. I made the decision just to swim run home and it ended up being a fun run.  For some reason, I run well in the rain (see Hospital Hill Run).
Planned: 8 miles  Actual: 7.4 miles (8:43/mile pace)
The city is so green from all the rain.
It was seriously raining.
Friday: Finally bought new trail shoes. If anyone would like a pair of lightly used size 9 Mizunos Trail shoes, drop me a line. I am willing to part with my old ones.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest
Yes, they are Seafoam green and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Saturday: Headed out not quite as early as I hoped, but the weather wasn't too bad. I ran through all my usual spots but added in a new bit by the natural history museum. I ended up with a very hilly route (forgot to pull my garmin stats) and I was happy that I still felt strong in the last few miles. I ran through the Emory campus twice, and found it a bit odd that so many cops were out on a Saturday morning in the summer. When I arrived home, I realized that I narrowly missed the arrival of the Ebola patient, a pretty big public health moment. How odd would it have been to see me running by Gupta on CNN? That's what I get for running negative splits.
Planned: 12 miles  Actual: 13.7 miles (8:58/mile pace)

Sunday: Ran the first 3 with the Jayhawk (in my new shoes) as part of his recovery run and the next 6 on the treadmill.  I wanted to give my legs a little break after all the climbing on Saturday.  I ended up having the gym to myself, so it turned into a recovery run/dance party thanks to James Brown, The Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder. Yes, there was air drumming.
Planned: 10 miles   Actual: 9 miles (3 easy and 6 at 8:50/mile pace)

Inspiring and honest race recap from Hardrock 100 by Timmy Olson. I love that sacred fritos powered him through.

Interesting article from NPR this week about how runners should fear the heat more than the heart attack. Judging from how my hot workouts have gone lately, heat illness (including cramps) is something that poses a frequent effect on my workout.

How was your week?  Any excitement to report?

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Recap

Miles: 141.45 (silly recovery days)
Races: Keeping with tradition (or at least what I did in June), I wore the same outfit to both races.
Peachtree Road Race

Troop Trot 39k
As long as I finish the 50k with a smile, I will be satisfied.

Highpoint: Ok, so this was pretty cool. If you ever have a chance to hear Meb speak, go.  He is funny, inspiring, and really down to earth.

Not so Highpoint: I got into a bit of a funk after the Troop Trot. I think it was a combination of being tired, needing rest, and being stressed out at work. Mentally I just wasn't there and I needed a break. I am happy to say that I have overcome said funk and am feeling re-energized and refocused for the last month of training. Oh my god, it's only a month to go.
A change in scenery always helps get my mojo back.
What I'm looking forward to in August: Umm, just the longest race of my life. I currently alternate between excitement and mild freaking out about race day (I still haven't bought new trail shoes).  I am really beginning to think that the heat and the humidity will be a bigger challenge than the miles themselves (not that I am shortchanging the 30+ miles). A majority of my success on race day is going to comedown to fluid and fuel management.

On that same note, the Snakebite race director posted the final course. They had to make some changes this year as some of the land around the park that was used last year was purchase by a certain movie producer who didn't want trail runners on his land. So instead of an out and back, it will be a triple loop similar to Troop Trot (that practice race is paying off in more ways). The course will "have a little bit of everything-creek crossings, abandoned jeep roads, and bush whacking to keep you honest."  Each loop is 11.1 miles with an aid station at the start and mid-way point. For you math majors out there, you are right. Three times 11.1 is more than 50k (actually a 55k), but I had already been mentally planning for it to be a bit long as I know the course had bonus mileage last year.

How did your July turn out? What's up for August?
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