Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grindstone Training, Week #6, July 21-27

First, check this out:

I am always interested in reading about other mothers who are drawn to ultra endurance events, how they got there, how they train, and what challenges they face. I think it would be very COOL to run an ultra with one of my kids or be on an adventure race team with them, and my husband. Talk about family fun (or not!).

This week was a cut back week, since I had been training hard with three weeks at 70+ mpw out of the last four. I am getting a feel for what my body can handle, when I need a day off (usually Thursday after Wednesday's sufferfest tempo runs), and when I need to replace running with swimming (today, after a tough runs on Friday and Saturday and a long day at my daughter's swim meet). Being successful at Grindstone is going to mean getting to the start line in good shape---NOT overtrained or nursing an injury, so I remind myself of that when I am feeling flat or sore. This week was a great week to take it easy.

Monday, July 21: OFF. No swimming, no running, no lifting. Recover from the long weekend of training.

Tuesday, July 22: 7 miles easy on trail, HR below 120.

Wednesday, July 23: 3 miles warm up, then 5 miles at 7:20 pace on rolling dirt roads, then easy jog over to power lines. I then ran three repeats of the power lines (1:10 up, 3 minutes recovery to the bottom). Then 1 mile cool down. Total miles: 10

Thursday, July 24: 5 miles easy on trail, HR below 120.

Friday, July 25: Carter's Mountain! This is a very tough and historic run, a perfect "Tour Of Charlottesville" for someone new to the area who might want a killer hill workout. First, I ran easy on the Saunders trail for about a mile up to the Carter's Mountain Orchard Rd. Then I ran steady (HR 135-140) to the top for 13 minutes (it's about a mile to the top). Then easy running down, focusing on leaning forward from my ankles---Chi running-- to the boardwalk up to Monticello. Turn around at the Monticello bridge, then cut across a fire road down to the parking area. Then climb up the mountain again, this time on sweet single track to the top (another 13 minutes of climb), then descend to Secluded Farm, a gorgeous piece of land donated to Monticello, with miles of mowed grassy trails. Total miles: 8.6, with about 3500 feet of climb.

Saturday, July 26: 16 miles with the marathon training group. This group meets weekly at different spots around town for their long runs. Most runners are training for Richmond and Marine Corps, though some are also training for Baltimore and Mt Desert Island in Maine (Bill). I like to jump in with the group every now and then. On this day they were running a gravel road 7.5 miles out and back, and I added an extra mile to make it 16. I decided to just run as I felt...easy, not breathe too hard, and see what happened. To my delight, I was clicking off 8-minute miles with no problems, and my second half all my splits were in the 7:30 range. I ended up running this course about 4 minutes faster than I have ever run it, and I felt like I was doing an easy run the entire time. Very encouraging!

Sunday, July 27: Swim and lift. Total for the week, about 48 miles. Next week calls for 77 miles and my first track workout!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grindstone Training, Week #5, July 14-20

Thank goodness for naps! With these high mileage weeks, my body has been demanding them and I have been taking them. Especially given this 90 degree heat we are having, it's also easy to do, and I am really getting into the groove of my summer vacation. Basically, for the month of July, I have been sleeping late (except when meeting Bill for tempo runs), running, eating, driving the kids around to their activities, eating, napping, and driving. When my daughter goes to swim practice in the mornings, I either run or lift. Ditto in the afternoons. Now I can see why the professionals can train as hard as they do---they have nothing to do except train, eat, and sleep!

In addition to sleeping well, I am trying hard to stay hydrated, and to eat a lot of small, healthy meals throughout the day. I am loving the fresh fruit and vegetables available during this time of year and am taking advantage by cooking a lot of veggie-only meals along with salmon (for the Omega fatty acid boost) and shrimp. I find that I am constantly hungry and I have no problem eating as much as I can handle, including Ben and Jerry's Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz ice cream. This is a great fringe benny of 100-miler training!I am also drinking a 20 ounce Ultragen Cappuccino after my hard days, and it really helps my recovery.

This week's training plan called for about 75 miles, and I added a longer, harder back-to-back weekend. Next week will be a cut-back week so I can recover from these hard efforts. So far, so good!

Monday, July 14: 6 miles on rolling dirt roads with 20 seconds hard (all out) and 40 seconds recovery x 15. Not quite what Neal Jamison has been doing, but I am intrigued by that approach.

Tuesday, July 15: Easy 5-mile run on hilly pavement, lifted afterwards upper body and core.

Wednesday, July 16: Tempo Run with Bill. Easy 3 mile warm-up on rolling gravel roads, then 2 miles at 7:20 pace x 3, with 2:30 rest in between interval sets. This was tough, 'cuz we ran it on very hilly roads. We finished the last mile of the last set climbing up O-Hill again...brutal. Total mileage after cool-down was 11 miles with many feet of climb. Afterwards, I swam and ran easy in the pool. I took a huge nap later in the afternoon!

Thursday, July 17: Easy recovery run with Michelle, 8 miles on rolling dirt roads. It was great to catch up with Miss M., who was visiting from TN. pm: lifted lower body and core.

Friday, July 18: I blew off running with Bill this a.m. in favor of sleeping late (until 8:45!). Our dog had been keeping us up all week, having just gotten neutered, so I was feeling the effects of lack of sleep. Total rest lifting, no running, no swimming, nada. Just a few beers while listening to Rusty's band play at a local outdoor concert!!

Saturday, July 19: 20-mile Trayfoot Mountain lollipop with the VHTRC gang, above: Marc, John, Sophie,Tom,Jill,Dave,Debbie, and Quatro (Gary took the pic). This loop is a fave of many local trail runners and it was fun to be able to share it with my buddies from NoVa. It has over 8900 feet of climb in 20 miles and has numerous water crossings, including an awesome swimming hole (below) at the finish, where we stashed our recovery drinks. With temps in the 90s, this was a great heat run on a very runnable and scenic course, and it took us all about 5 hours. More pics from our run are here.

Sunday, July 20: 26 miles on the Wild Oak Trail (one loop). This is more Grindstone training, as miles 23-43 of Gstone are included on this loop, which has over 10,000 feet of climb (according to a recent Garmin 205 reading). It was really hot and humid, so I took 100 ounces with me (two hand helds, one with water, one with Sustained Energy and my 60 oz. Nathan Intensity with a huge ice cube and two tablets of Nuun (particularly tasty in cold, cold water). I ran conservatively, knowing I had a few 1 hour+ climbs to handle in the heat, and finished my loop in 7:15. I particularly enjoyed getting to know some new VHTRC friends, Jim, Vince, and Dave, who came for their first TWOT experience. Thanks to Quatro, we had two excellent aid stations which were (literally) lifesavers. Overall, I was very pleased with how I handled the heat and my pace on the very tough climbs. Just how tough is this loop? When I invited David Horton to join us, his reply was, "Too tough!"

Yes, it was tough. I am looking forward for an easy week ahead!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grindstone Training, week #4: July 7-13

A great week of training. Since school is out, I am able to sleep late and nap in the afternoons, which makes these big mileage training weeks manageable. Grindstone's date (October 3-4) is perfect in terms of training in the summer---much more doable for my schedule than training in the busy spring for a summer 100!

This week called for around 70 miles with two long runs back-to-back, a tempo run and the rest at my 100-miler pace (very easy, HR in the 120s and below).

Monday, July 7: am: 8 miles on dirt road with 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy x 15.
pm: 5 miles easy on rocky trail, kept HR in 120s and below.

Tuesday, July 8: 5 miles on rolling road, easy. Followed this with 30 minutes lifting, focusing on upper body and core.

Wednesday, July 9: AM: 9 miles with Bill Potts, with 4 miles at 7:10-7:20 pace (this is my tempo pace)with about 3300 feet of climb! We ran this on very hilly dirt roads and the last one was done on a gradual climb up O-Hill, a knarly "hill" we like to train on near UVA. This workout was very tough and I took a good long nap in the pm...ah! I also drank 20 ounces of First Endurance Cappuccino recovery drink. It always makes a HUGE difference in how I recover from these hard workouts.

PM: 4 miles easy on a new section of the Rivanna Trail near Fairview Swim Club and Dunlora.

Thursday, July 10:After my daughter's very late swim meet last night, I slept in and lifted in the pm, focusing on legs (lunges and squats on a balance board) and core.

Friday, July 11: 16.5 miles on hilly dirt roads out in White Hall, a gorgeous area known for its rolling hills and lovely horse farms. This is our fave long run because we run mostly on dirt, cross Fox Mountain in the middle of the run, and see hardly any cars the entire way. Bill's GPS reported that we had close to 4,000 feet of climb. It took us 2:18, averaging 8:22 pace for the run and my HR stayed in the 140 bpm range.

Saturday, July 12: Our first training run on the Grindstone course!!! Quatro and I joined Marc Griffin for 15 miles (miles 5-21 of the race), climbing Elliott's Knob during the first 1.5 hours of the run. After checking out the gorgeous (though hazy) views from the Knob, we proceeded north on the North Mountain Trail. This was rocky, overgrown, and a bit technical for my taste, but soon it became awesome, runnable single track down to the intersection at Dry Branch Gap. From there we climbed up Crawford Mountain and this was BRUTAL. Very steep, progressively harder climbs for 2.6 miles, which took us an hour to complete. Quatro, who is not running Grindstone, just shook his head and mumbled something about this course being MUCH harder than Massanutten and "what are you people thinking???!" We then dropped down onto the Chimney Hollow Trail for the next 3.5 miles, which was more runnable singletrack with lovely views of the Deerfield Valley below. We crossed Rte 250 and climbed another mile or so on the Dowell's Draft trail to the fire road intersection where we left Q's car. Total time on trail: 4.5 hours for 15 miles, in the heat of the day (12:30-5:00pm). I think we climbed at least 5,000 feet, probably more.

Q had a full finish line aid station in his car, complete with chairs, fresh fruit, sandwiches, alco-pop, beer, and soda. Very nice...thanks, Q-Bob. It was also fun to run with Marc and commiserate together about what we will encounter during the first 20 miles and last 20 miles of the Gstone race! This was a big wake-up call for my training plan...gotta climb, climb, climb and descend. Repeat many times.

It was good to see this section in the daylight (we will run in the dark twice) and, though daunting, it was very motivating for me as I enter into a really tough portion of my summer training: 70-80 mpw in hot and humid conditions. I felt great today which gave me a lot of confidence that I am training properly and handling the big mileage well.

Sunday, July 13: Easy, easy 8 miles on the flat section of the Rivanna Trail with Jack (my awesome Aussie).

A BIG shout out to our VHTRC Hardrock 100 finishers Mike Dobies, John Dewalt (age 72), Keith Knipling, Greg Loomis, Steve Pero, Howard Cohen and Sean Andrish. Wooo-hooo! I am looking forward to reading reports on Steve's, Greg's and Keith's blogs. Congratulations!!!

And finally, best of luck to Kerry Owens, Susie Spangler and the other VHTRC folks running the Vermont 100 next weekend. From looking at the entrants list, it appears that many of the fast folks who had entered WS are now racing VT. In addition, Jeff Washburn, who suffered a stroke last fall, is entered. Go Jeff!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grindstone Training, Week #3, June 30-July 6th: Sand dune repeats!

A beach vacation is a perfect opportunity for a recovery week. I went to the beach the week after WS100 and Highland Sky 40 for the past three years, and this year, a cut-back week from 100-mile training was in order. Granted, I have only been seriously training for Grindstone for a few weeks, but no matter: I knew the rest of July was going to have some big, hot miles, so I took advantage of this lazy week at the beach with my family to throw away the training program and run when I felt like it, about 35 miles (instead of the prescribed 75). If there is anything I have learned in the past 6 years of ultra training, it is to be flexible, especially when it comes to spending time with family. So, here is what the week looked like:

Monday, June 30: Day Off. Slept in, checked out the ocean, started reading the first of my three books (Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler). Drank a yummy Margarita.

Tuesday, July 1: am: Ran 7+ miles with my friend Hallie from Charlottesville. We lamented the lack of hills and boring-ness of the flat beach roads, and the big horse flies that followed us on the dune buggy trails. Thankfully we had each other for company!
pm: Ran 3+ miles to and from the pool, accompanied by my niece and daughter on their bikes and my son who is in training for cross-country!

Wednesday, July 2: Slept in. Tired from a full day at the beach, watching the Olympic Trails in swimming (go Dara Torres!), drinking margaritas on the porch, and reading my second book, Disappearance: A Meditation On Death and Loss in the High Latitudes by Sheila Nickerson.

Thursday, July 3: 8+ miles with Hallie. The air quality down here, while nothing compared to what's happening in Northern California, is very poor because of an underground peat fire inland, burning since June 1. It makes running a chore. But later in the day we climbed Jockey's Ridge (pictured above). This is a family tradition for many folks that for us dates back to when Rusty and I were at UVA, coming down to Nags Head for SGGL gigs and beach week. Our kids love climbing up and bombing down, over and over.

Friday, July 4: Killer Dunes 2-mile race at Jockey's Ridge. I signed up for this on a total whim. The flatness and the roads were getting to me...I needed a mountain to climb! This race, first run in 2006 with 30 starters, boasted 120 this year. I ran a warm-up loop, the race loop at 10-minute-per mile pace, which was really HARD (HR in the 160 range), and a cool down loop, for a total of six miles. I am not sure how much climb was involved, but we had at least three big climbs each loop in soft sand. I was passed in the last half mile by a young beach lifeguard. Bummer.

On the way home, I checked out Nags Head Woods for future runs. Looks like a great place with beautiful trails.

Saturday, July 5th: 12 miles on the beach road. Hot, windy, flat, many cars. I don't know how the Badwater runners do it. My hat is off to them. I miss my shady and cool mountain trails! I recovered in the p.m. finishing my third book, Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, which is amazing, amazing.

Sunday, July 6: Rest day, drove home, unpacked. A wonderful week with family and friends!! I feel rested and ready to tackle the next three weeks! Neal Jamison has posted some of the big Gstone runs we have planned on his blog.