Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Need for Speed

My Bull Run Run 50 training program called for "10 miles with the first three at 7:30 pace, and the last seven at 7:00-7:10 pace" today, so I decided to run the Charlottesville 10-miler instead of training by myself. The Ten-Miler is a Charlottesville institution, a "must-do" run for any local runner, and I have run in it at least 15 times in the last twenty years. The course rolls through UVA and downtown C'Ville (that's the downtown mall in the pic above) before ending back at the start at the UVA athletics complex. This year the race celebrated it's largest starting field ever (over 2400 runners) and all the proceeds went to the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad. I prefer to race in non-profit races as much as possible, and this race is a great community event, supported by hundreds of volunteers.

Mark Lorenzoni (my coach) told me to be careful not to race the seven miles hard since BRR is looming in two weeks, but if I felt good, I should just pick up the pace and see what happened. The weather was cloudy and cold with temps in the 30s...perfect for me. I went out with the middle of the pack and took 26 seconds getting to the starting chip timing mat! My first mile was 7:50 (gun time) and then the miles started clicking away...7:20, 7:20, then 7s with a few 7:10s on the toughest hill sections...I felt great but was reminded why this race is so tough and why I prefer racing ultras...the anaerobic suffering was brutal! I ended up finishing in 72:20 something (chip time, good enough for second place in my new age group, 45-49)! I finished up with five easy miles on the Rivanna Trail and my favorite recovery drink: Supremo Skim Decaf Mocha from Greenberry's. Not a bad training day!

Now it's time to taper for Bull Run...I am hoping to break 9 hours on that course (I have run 9:03 and 9:00:37 in 2005 and 2006). I feel great about my training, having followed my Masochist training program to the letter with lots of quality runs, trails, and hills with a great group of friends who are training for Boston. Thanks guys for the great support, for 21 miles on the Fox Mountain loop and all those tough track workouts at 0530! Let's hope for cool weather for both our races!

Here's a pic of me, Michelle, and Heidi, running in front of Greenberry's (where else?). Heidi is going for her seventh straight Boston finish and a 3:20 pace. You go, girl!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Running Through The Wall, six years later

Neal Jamison has a new ultrarunning and training blog which is really cool. Neal is also the author of Running Through The Wall:Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon. He asked me to submit an essay to this book back in 2002, and recently he interviewed me for his blog on the lessons I have learned during the past six years of training and racing ultras.

I enjoyed the chance to reflect back on the past six years of my ultra life, and I hope that some of what I shared in the interview will be helpful to others. Thanks, Neal, for including me on your ultra journey!

Speaking of journeys...Neal and I will be joining some of our good VHTRC friends tomorrow at the Catawba Runaround, which Neal profiles on his blog. I decided to bag the long road trip to the Land Between The Lakes 60K because my traveling companion, Heidi Johnson, is battling piriformis issues, and a 9-hour drive would be torture. Plus, the weather forecast is calling for a major snow storm out there. I do love to run in fresh snow, though! One of the great things about this popular event is the RD, Steve Durbin. When I emailed him to tell him we wouldn't be making the trip, he offered to credit our entry towards next years race! How cool is that? Hopefully someone will take be able to take our spots---all four of the races (23K, marathon, 60K, and 50M) were full.

Spring is almost here, despite the winter weather elsewhere. Catawba was my ultra rite of passage in 2004, and is now a rite of spring for truly defines the spirit of ultrarunning. Happy Spring!