Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 18-24

Happy Easter everyone! I hope that you all are enjoying some relaxing time with family and/or friends. I know that I am after a very tough week running. With only 10 weeks to go till the Big Juan (prior to this week), I started to get a little antsy with building my base. Week after week since the beginning of the year it has been mellow in terms of HR and climbing. And then BAM! Lucho smacks me with exactly what I was looking for - a week filled with volume, climbing, and speed! It was tough but I'm happy to say I was able to complete it. The reason I was able to complete, albeit tired, was my fitness. I have never been this fit in terms of endurance with Saturday at Mt Falcon for confirmation. I looked back at all my splits for doubles at Falcon over the past 4 years and I have never been able to put even splits on the board, usually 10+ minutes on the second. Either I go out too fast on the first loop and die on the second during the climbs, or I just simply didn't fuel right. Fueling, hydration, and the constant building of endurance has been the theme since January. I now realize I am being sharpened for the biggest race of my ultra running career - Western States. The work is not done but this week has shown me the direction I am going - the sharpening phase of this 25 week training schedule. 9 weeks and counting! Here is what the week looking like:

PM - 6 myles Lifetime Fitness TM
Wednesday - 12 myles Track (8x800 w/400s in between)
Thursday - AM 9 myles HR backcountry (3 mile progression)
Friday - 6 myles Grigs
Saturday - 28 myles Mt Falcon v2.0 (7877ft of climbing)
Sunday - 20 myles South Platte Pkwy (intervals w/ 3 mile progression)

Total - 103 myles, 14hrs 2mins, 11,900 ft of climbing

And a little secret streak I have been keeping will officially end tomorrow. I have run everyday since Christmas - 121 straight days. But just like records, streaks are meant to be broken. I had visions of running every day this year but for the betterment of my fitness it is time to take a day off. Lucho's guidance after this week - Monday: day off, no options. I got a little hitch in my lower back that is radiating all the way down to my calf so a day off will hopefully help. Talking to Ryan Burch (he had his own little streak), he made a good point that the longer you go, the more risk you take just for the sake of a streak. The goal is Western States and not the streak. Besides, I will never have a streak like Bill Finkbeiner - he has run every day since 1980!! Check out these other streaks. Wow!

Last, a couple of pictures of some cool Kats

Look Dad

Loves his picture taken

Boys doing eggs

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 11-17

"Hey man, nice job in your race. Thanks. But what happened? Whad'ya mean? Well, you fell apart around 40...."

That was an exchange I had earlier this week that set off a whole bunch of emotions from, huh?? Did I fall apart? to being pissed off and everything in between. I'm a cerebral kinda guy so I think about these things on all my runs. Usually on the run I get very angry but then the endorphins shut down and I methodically go about my day. But when I woke up Saturday morning and was pissed -even before I had my coffee- I knew something sparked a fire. A fire deep in my belly is a good thing because it charges and motivates the warrior spirit inside of me. So I started asking myself a bunch of questions this week: Have I lost my competitive edge? Do I settle in races when it gets tough? Am I mentally and physically worn out?

I will admit I "settled" at AR 50. I know this because there was no one in front and no one behind that I could see, until Ellie came prancing up on me. If you remember in my AR 50 report I gritted my teeth and ran as hard as I could when Ellie appeared. If I would have done that at mile 40 would I have come closer to 6:10-:15? The answer is yes. Was I physically capable at mile 40? Retrospectively yes. Believe me-you, I know how mentally tough it is to pick up the pace when the get up and go is gone. But I've done it before. I think the reason we don't and decide to settle is because we are scared. We are scared to hurt beyond belief. And we are scared of the unknown. Let me tell you something that Peter Bakwin told me years ago when I emailed him after his double Hard Rock "Your body will do twice as much as your mind thinks it will - the mind is the limiting factor"

I just want to say thank you to the person I had this exchange with earlier this week. You made me realize I have become soft. And there is no better time to toughen the "EFF" up than RIGHT NOW! You will see something different from me at Miwok, at Pocatello, and at the Big Juan. I will not settle!

So let me ask you, what are you gonna do when it gets tough? Are you gonna settle or are you gonna grit your teeth and give everything you've got? And this goes for life in general as well.

Enough of that. 9 weeks till the Big Juan and I am fit. Now it's time to dial it in and become sharp. Here is what the week looked like:

Monday - 6 myles Bluff loop
Tuesday - 9 myles Waldo canyon
Thursday - 6 myles KC treadmill
Friday - AM 11 myles Coyote Ridge

Total - 90 myles, 12 hours 17 minutes, 9895 ft of climbing

Ran with Patrick Garcia on Saturday for the first loop and then on the second loop ran into Kieran McCarthy (reads the blog) who came over from Falcon trail head. The key workout was actually today where I did 3 x 3 mile (actually 2.3s), which was progressively faster for each. On Tuesday I botched the workout. I was supposed to do 8 x 8 seconds up a steep hill. I thought it said 8 minutes so after 4 x 5:30s up the steep part in Waldo canyon, I had enough. Travel should be settling down for the next couple of weeks so I'm hopeful I can string together a bunch of hometown runs. Take care

Monday, April 11, 2011

American River 50 - 6.24:52 6th

I just bought my first tube of Tecnu. Forget any soreness, the itching is driving me crazy! During the pre-race panel session, they had warned about the overgrowth and described poison oak. And I'm pretty sure I jumped over everything green on the trail but maybe during our (Clark and I) bushwhacking section right before mile 31, I could have possibly rolled in that junk.

I traveled out with Burch and Clark early Friday morning to Sac city. Coming off a week in DC (and travel in subsequent weeks) I have seen my fair share of DIA but it was nice to be traveling with people I know and have a few laughs with. Once in town we picked up our race packets, got a bite to eat, checked into the hotel, and got a little leg loosener in on the final two myles. It's always a pre-race plan of mine to preview the final section of a course just in case something dramatic is unfolding. I, at least, would know how far I have to gut it out.

Alarm went off at 3:00 AM for a 4:10 AM bus departure. Temps seemed reasonable and a few faint stars were out so it was shaping up to be pleasant at the start and throughout the day. Julie Fingar (RD) set up a few people inside a close-by office suite with goodies to boot. Inside were a few familiar faces: Thornley, AJW, Mackey, Joe Uhan, and Meghan Arbogast. Before I could down a Clark pre-race donut it was time to go.

I warmed up and felt really, really good. The lungs were working and the legs were cooperating so I got a good vibe that it was going to be a good day. But then again maybe it was a trap?? I was going back and forth in the mind and eventually settled on mid 6:30s were doable on the bike path (27 miles). Immediately from the start a couple shot off the front and Clark not too far behind them. I settled with Mackey and we had a good thing going through 8 myles. I didn't take any splits other than on the bike path were mile markers and I was getting rough mile splits, pretty consistent in the mid 6:20s. Right about that time Dave took off to get with Joe Uhan and Clark, got in front of them about 10 meters and stayed there for a few myles. I stalked behind all 3 of them about 10 seconds for the better part of 15 myles.

Soon we crossed a bridge (mile 18?) and small sections of single track trail. It was at this point that I realized that maybe the pace was too hot for me in the beginning. My legs were dead or just not spunky anymore. I trailed Nick about 20 seconds into mile 22 aid station and did another check with the mile markers on the path, slowed a bit to mid 6:30s but if felt more of an effort to stay there and now I knew I had over done it. Finally the marathon mark in 2.50:08 and I thought I was ready for some trails....

Normally I come alive on the trail but I realized as I was trailing Nick, he was increasing the gap ever so slightly and I was working way too hard. I decided to back off just a bit, gather myself for a few myles when all of a sudden Nick comes running back on the trail at an intersection "Scott - which way? There are no flags" He had lost a few precious minutes and then we picked the wrong way only to be detoured through a field back to the right trail. That's probably the moment when Poison Oak decided to take a ride with me back to Colorado - man I itch! Anyway, through 32 myles in 3.32 and I still was hanging onto Nick ever so slightly. After the aid he took it up a notch and officially broke me.

Mile 32

I still thought I was moving good but right at mile 35 aid station Burch came flying past - he was looking strong. Made me realize I was moving slower than I thought but I couldn't respond yet. In fact, all the way through mile 40 aid (Rattlesnake) I was on the edge of throwing up. Not from bonking cause I was eating and drinking very well but from riding the red line for too long. At Rattlesnake bar I took a couple drinks of Coke and that seemed to do the trick. My energy was better and now I know I was moving good. If I remember correct I hit mile 40 in 4.57 and knew I still had a shot at 6.15.

Up and down, in and out of canyons. Probably the most beautiful section of trail right along side the American River for the better part of 6 myles. I honestly was enjoying it and then the hill smacked me right in the face. 3 myles to go I was just about 5.59 total time. 6.15 was now out of the question because there was 1000 ft of climbing to go. Saunter in or just grit the teeth and go? I made a decision to saunter until about 2 miles to go when I got a peak of none other than Ellie Greenwood. Damn! Now grit your teeth and go! I don't know how fast those last two myles were but I can tell you I could not breath, if I had to guess low 8s to upper 7s. Finishing time of 6.25:52, exactly 10 seconds slower than my previous time 3 years ago.

I thought I was capable of a time between 6.10 and 6.15 but it wasn't meant to be. Having said that I'm happy. Every race can't be the best race and the experience with great friends, great weather, and a great beer makes it a wonderful experience. Thanks to Julie for hosting a top notch event. I can't say I'll be back (as I itch my body) but it's too soon to tell. Congrats to everyone who finished and, in particular, the Colorado contingent who mopped up 4 of the top 6 spots.

My fueling:

1 Powerbar (peanut butter-chocolate) 30 minutes into race
3 Powergels (2 Espresso, 1 straw-banana) hour, 2 hour, 3 hour marks
4 efs liquid shots (diluted in water bottle) nips every 15 minutes
2 20 oz bottles of straight water
3 cups of coke

And last, I finally cracked the triple digits for myles in a week - 100 even. Clark, Burch, myself, and AJW all got out for some myles (14) on the WS trail on Sunday morning.

If I don't beat Clark in a race, I have picture proof of a couple meters of day light between us...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mar 28 - Apr 3

Another solid week. And just as I've stated before, I'm trying to train through all these spring races leading up to the big juan in June. I feel my body has adapted to the stress of running everyday with an average volume of 72 myles/week through 14 weeks for a total of 1014 through the end of March.

This past week was the first time I've actually done track work and mile repeats. The 10 x 400s on Wichita State track were an avg. of 1:19, while the 4 x mile repeats on the Highline Canal were an avg. of 5:50. I'm hoping it doesn't take very long to get the comfort of running those paces and getting the return of the leg speed. This week I also had the pleasure of running with Matt Keddington and Patrick Garcia. My schedule has been busy lately so it was actually refreshing to find time to run with these guys. Matt is looking to take down Manners at Pocatello 20 mile (that's what he said Aric) and Patrick to run away with some cashola at Cheyenne Canon 50K.

Next weekend is the American River 50 mile in Sacramento and I am a little nervous. Stacked field again. I reached back into my running logs to find out what I did to prep for AR last time and I noticed a couple of 30+ mile runs back to back down the South Platte bike path. I didn't do that this time but the volume of my training is about 20 myles higher per week plus I've got two pretty fast 50K's under my belt. But I think the volume, in of itself, will carry me through the final 19 myles of trails better than last time when I bonked pretty good after the 50K mark. It's the first 27 myles that are making me nervous. I will use the force Obe Juan.

Here is the week in review:

Tuesday - 8 myles Wichita TM
PM 6 myles The Bluffs with "The Kid" Matt Keddington
Sunday - 22 myles HR tour de trails with Patrick Garcia

Total - 80 myles, 11 hours 5 minutes, 5837 ft of climbing
March total 351 myles

Now I'm off to Washington D.C. for the week.