Monday, August 25, 2008

Grindstone training, week # 10: August 18-24

That's beautiful Cheat Mountain in the pic. On Friday I ran the first annual Cheat Mountain Moonlight Madness 50 miler, put on by Adam Cassady with support from the WVMTR. I included this race as part of my Grindstone training for a few reasons:

1. The 9:00 start on Friday was similar to what we'll see at Gstone, with its 6:00 start. I had to work most of the day on Friday, so I wanted to experience the feeling of working and then getting ready to race after dinner.

2. I wanted a really long run that wouldn't trash my body, and I knew a night run work make me run slower and help me resist the urge to race.

3. I am not a strong night runner, so I wanted to practice dealing with navigating in the dark and fending off the sleep demons.

And finally, the folks at the WVMTR always put on fantastic races, so I knew this would be well-run and a lot of fun.

It was also interesting to go into a race without a taper, as well as with the mindset of running 100-miler pace for 50 miles!

Here's the week:

Monday, Aug 18: Rest. No running, swimming, lifting. I worked hard with Greg, Jeff, and Ed up on the AT on Sunday 9/17 and needed a recovery day.

Tuesday, Aug. 19: Swim 1,000 and lift.

Wednesday, Aug. 20: Track workout, 10 miles total. 3 mile WU, followed by 3x1200 at 6:30 pace with the 800 meter hill surge after each 1200 off the track. I wrote about this workout a few weeks ago, and was hoping to keep my splits in the 4:55 1200/8:20 total range. As it turned out, the weather was very cool, and I was able to pop off 4:50/8:09, 4:49/8:11, and 4:51/8:10 splits, my fastest ever! I then ran another 5 miles on O-Hill with two powerline runs of 1:05 and 1:04, also my fastest ever. wooo-hooo! What difference cool weather and a little recovery make!

Thursday, Aug 21: Swim 500 and lift.

Friday, Aug 22: Cheat Mountain! The weather was awesome for a night run...clear skies, cool temps in the 60s, and a fairly bright moon (though not a full one). The race was staged at the 4-H camp in Beverly, WV and my friend Ed Duval and I arrived around 6:00pm. I ate a turkey sub from Subway around 4:00pm and then nibbled on a pop-tart and water around 8:00 while hanging out with the VHTRC (below).

It was fun to catch up with old friends and ponder whether to bring a hand held bottle or a hydration pack (I brought both). It reminded me of the moments spent anticipating Hellgate 100K, but without the stress of the weather. At 8:00 we had the pre-race meeting and were off at 9:00 after a rousing rendition of the National Anthem. The first 17 miles of the race are on dirt road that climb up the mountain, about 2,000 feet. I happen to like running on dirt roads but I could hear some good-natured grumbing around me from the trail lovers I was running near. When we finally entered the single track, I began to look forward to the next road section, as the trail was narrow, technical,and muddy, with lots of exposed roots and undulating climbs. I am sure it would be great in the daylight, but it was tough for me in the dark. Still, my goal for this race was to take it very easy and treat it as a training run, so I just trudged along enjoying the fine company of Rebekah Trittipoe, while we talked about our families, training, and work.

The hours sped by and I found myself running near Rick Gray, one of my faithful blog readers (Hi Rick!). Rick noticed I was plugged into my iPod so he stayed nearby but didn't try to yak, which at that time of the night (around 2:00am), I really appreciated. We navigated about 15 miles of trails and roads together, and then it was time to head for the finish line. I came in to AS 6 (mile 33), which was manned by my C'Ville training partner Bill Potts...he told me I was fourth woman and to get going. I was feeling very relaxed, a bit sleepy, but not interested in racing, so I drank some yummy soup and headed down the road.

Rebekah caught up to me a few miles later while I was fighting my sleep demons, and the caffeine pill she gave me was a HUGE boost. I found myself with new energy and a new was time to hammer this downhill road section! Rebekah and I decided to run in to the finish together, so I stayed with her when she had an upset stomach, and we worked hard together to pass a woman around mile 45. Rebekah is one tough runner (she holds the women's speed record for the Allegheny Trail), and it was a blast to run with another woman who is as competitive as I am. We came across the finish line holding hands and laughing, but also rather psyched that we were DONE! (that's me and Rebekah below after getting cleaned up and eating yummy bacon, eggs and pancakes).

The CMMM 50 was a tough race. I ran about an hour slower than I thought I would, but I was very pleased with how I felt at the end---I had a ton of energy left in the tank, my legs felt fine, and I had no stomach problems the entire night ( many folks seemed to struggle with nausea for some reason). I was happy to be able to hammer the last 17 miles, which told me that I had paced myself well. Despite having "only" 6,000+ feet of climb, I got in an excellent training run for Gstone.

Here are the results and some pics on Flickr.


Casseday said...


I'm glad you enjoyed yourself this weekend. A good start to the first of many CMMM 50's that I hope to direct. Best of luck with the rest of your training. You will do well at Grindstone.

-- Adam

Rick Gray said...

Sophie, A truly wonderful run through the night. I always enjoy your company so very much. Rick

Rick Gray said...

Sophie, A wonderful run though the night. Thank you for your kind comments. I always enjoy your company out on the trail. Rick

Marlin Yoder said...

Great run at Cheat Mountain! Sounds like a fun run with good friends. 39 days 'til Grindstone!

Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks everyone! I love getting your comments so keep them coming. Adam, thank you for putting on such a great event. You did good! The AS were excellent and I loved the cold grapes at AS 2/7 and the soup at 4,5,and 6. I had a blast---sorry I couldn't stay longer.

Rick, great run, my friend! It was very comforting having your company out there in the middle of the woods, but also to be able to run by myself---I tend to get quiet and antisocial in the middle of the night. So, thanks for being around and pushing me at the end:-)

Marlin, all I can say is that I got good practice dealing with negative talk such as , "I think I'll bail from Grindstone" when I was sleepy at 4:30 a.m. It was amazing how quickly my attitude changed as soon as the sun rose---good to remember for Gstone!

Andy said...

Good job, Sophie! Keep it up. And t hanks for the note regarding the cat...though now that she's home, she's not eating at all!! Not a pretty picture.
Anyway, stay healthy and I'll keep you posted on Stone Steps training. Don't know if your familiar with this course (you may have run it with Robin Meagher), but it's 5.3 mile loop of rolling trails with, of course, the steep stone step climb in the middle. We do that 5 times then do a smaller 3+ mile loop.
The IT band still get a bit sore, but it's holding up!

Bedrock said...


Great job at CMMM 50! You seem to be very well prepared for Grindstone. Good luck with the rest of your training. Hope the new school year is off to a good start.