Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time for the Anaerobic Sufferfest!

Eliza O'Connell at World Duathlon Championships

My friend Kirstin reminded me the other day that this was my favorite way to describe the VHTRC Women's Half Marathon trail race. I am going back to run the "anaerobic sufferfest" on Saturday after taking a few years away to train for Grindstone 100, and I am really excited. As I wrote in my 2007 post, the WHM was my very first VHTRC event back in 2002, so this is an anniversary of sorts. Eights years of hanging out with the VHTRC! I am one lucky ultrarunner. I am also excited to see what I can do for a shorter distance on the trails---have I become a slow slogger after two years of 100 miler training, or do I still have some speed in these old legs?

Howard has met set up nicely this week with a taper (of sorts) and then tacking on some more miles after the race to keep my weekly mileage intact. After 8 weeks of following Howard's plan for MMTR, I am feeling fit, light on my feet due to the quick turnover intervals, and prepared to suffer for 2 hours at my anaerobic threshold as a result of weekly tempo runs. My PR on the current WHM course is 1:56:45 set in 2006. I am not gunning for a PR given the weather forecast of hot and humid, but I would like to break 2:00. I will take it out easy and see what I have left in the tank after the first hour. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a great day in the woods celebrating my fitness and my eight year connection to my awesome running club. Wooo-hooo!

What's also fun about having the WHM in my training cycle is that it has forced me to start thinking realistically about my goals for the next few races coming up. As a 47-year-old, I know my course PR days are numbered (though it took me 5 years to get a course PR at Hellgate in 2009, so go figure). Is it realistic to think that I can still score course PRs? I would like to break my course PR of 9:34 at MMTR in November, but I know that the cosmos must be aligned just right for that to happen: weather, trail conditions, work stress, family stress, fitness, nutrition...all of these factors will play a huge role in determining the outcome. Part of the adventure is letting it all play out, and I am excited to see what happens!

A few shout outs to two women over 40 who are making things happen: My friend Eliza O'Connell (above), who almost beat the entire field at the Terrapin Mountain Trail Half marathon, finished 10th and second American woman in her 40-44 age group at the World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland last weekend. Eliza ran a 40-flat 10k, followed by a 40K bike in 1:33, followed by a 20-flat 5K. Talk about an anaerobic sufferfest! What's even cooler is that she is a mother of three darling daughters under the age of 10, and that she just started racing duathlons a year ago! Way to go Eliza---your focus, hard work, and "laying it all out there" are an inspiration to so many of us!

I am also really inspired by Ronda's blog post from this morning. Ronda always writes interesting and energizing posts that get me fired up and thinking about motherhood, balance, and how I train and race. After reading about her goals for 2011, I may have to dust off my old Specialized mountain bike for the cool fall temperatures after MMTR is in the books. As for 2011...Bill and I are already scheming about a stage run in the SNP, and I am thinking about adding a mountain bike race to the mix. Thanks for the push, Ronda!


And Miles 2 Go said...

Betcha you'll do great at WHM. And I'm glad you're thinking about some difference stuff. PRs are great, but they are most def NOT the only reason to do what we do. New is kewl, too.

Rooster said...

Sophie, your PR days are just getting started! I refuse to listen to anyone who says, "Well you are getting older". Hell, I know that but a girls gotta dream, right? Don't set yourself short for "anaerobic sufferfest" you might shock yourself, go for it.

I need to meet some your running crew. Amy talks about your running group all the time with fond thoughts. I know she misses them. Sounds like us Oregonians have some serious shoes to fill. Hey, dust off your mountain bike and meet me in Leadville for the 50M bike race?

Rick Gray said...

I know you are going to run great Saturday. Yes, our bodies are getting older, but yours continues to stay strong. Don't sell yourself short. Start out easy and your body will guide you along and I imagine it is going to be on the fast end of things. Good luck and remember to have some fun in the process!

Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks guys! And of these days my hubby and I are planning to come out to your neck of the woods so I can run Waldo and he can mountain bike in the BikeOregon weekend. Have you seen that/heard of that? Looks like a sweet way to check out all the great trails and meet some like-minded folks.

Until then, let me know when you will be coming east. I know Amy loves the Bull Run Run's a nice trail but not as representative of what we love about Virginia ultrarunning as Promise Land or Grindstone 100 (lots of running and lots of climbing, not the rocks of Massanutten). The VHTRC gang will be at Bull Run, Promise Land and Massanutten in force.

I AM going to go for it tomorrow, looks cool, just the way I like it!

amy said...

Great race Sophie! I do talk about the VHTRC all of the time--I'm sure people get sick of hearing about how great it is and that there is no equivalent, but it's the truth!

I think you've got a PR in you for MMTR....look at what Meghan's been doing all year at 49. Your best years are yet to come!

Rick Gray said...

Congratulations on an excellent finish. 1:56:56. Certainly under your goal for this year and just a hair over your PR. And you thought you were getting older. I told you not to sell yourself short. Congratulations again. Rick