Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nice weekend of running

I had a real enjoyable weekend of running even though I didn't feel great during the runs and I now believe that I will finish my first 50 miler in less than 4 weeks. I have to admit up to this weekend I had doubts, ok, who am I kidding I still have doubts but I now know it's achievable.

Why? Well, my plan for the weekend was to run 2 loops at Murphy and I actually did it. My original thinking was to run Sunday as I thought Karyn and I would be running the river bottoms on Saturday and I thought my daughter would have cross country, as it turned out neither happened so I decided to go for it on Saturday. My plan was to run the 1st loop kind of by feel, I would walk all the major uphills, walk when I felt like it, take a drink break every 20 minutes or when walking a hill depending on where I was, take an S-Cap every 40 minutes, take fuel around an hour and a half and whenever I needed it there after.

I got to Murphy around 8:30, I went to the entrance that the race would start from as I wanted to emulate the race at least as far as the loops go. It was a cool morning so I through on a jacket and some pants, I loaded up the Nathan, decided on which shoes (Teva Romero's) and off I went.

I didn't feel good from the start my left IT band was tight and I was expecting my left knee to bug me as it had been recently causing some issues. Nothing too urgent, probably just tendinitis but the hills at Murphy I figured would aggravate it. I thought I might run into some folks as Wayne had emailed that on the Surf the Murph website they said they were having a training run at 8:00 am. I also should admit that I got there after 8 as I didn't want to run this with anyone else. I do enjoy my solitude when I run but on this morning and for this run I needed to do it at my pace and being social means I am not running my pace.

I tried to keep the pace slow, my thinking was to shoot for between 14 and 15 min/mile on the 1st loop and then see what happened on the 2nd loop. I marked out the hills mentally so that when the race happens I can keep the positive voice going, things like just 3 miles and then the hills that hurt are done. Oh there are many other hills at Murphy but only 2 that really cause me issues to walk up. In order to stay true to the course I did have to go around a couple of closed gates but I needed this test to be as close to the race course as I could make it. As I meandered through the north section, I felt ok except for the IT band and a feeling it was going to be a long day. I just plodded along and kept thinking that 2 loops was going to be a struggle, then I stepped back and I told myself to relax, you have all day. My thanks to my wife and my family for allowing me to take on this time consuming task.

When I came into the horse parking lot, I decided I should go for some fuel as maybe my malaise was just low energy. I went for a couple of clif shot bloks and continued on. After a mile or so I was feeling a little better but still not real good. It was cold or I should say I was cold. It had drizzled a bit but it was more from the exposed southern section. It could be interesting if there is a stiff wind for the race. After another hour, I decided I was still having some low energy so I went for a chocolate #9, it was a bit stiff from the cold. I hope they don't freeze. I may have to test that out before the race. I was heading to the single track section that takes you out of the southern section when I heard someone behind me, it was couple of women. I figured they would pass me during that section, I crossed the road and was heading up the hill when I came across yet another locked gate (course marker 15 to 9), this one had multiple signs on it to stay out, so this time I decided I would. I took a left and then looped back to the other side of this gate (meaning from 15-13-12-11-10 to 9), from the map this looked to be about the same distance. I turned around and headed back to the main parking lot, after a bit the two women reappeared and passed me as we came into the main lot, they continued on as I went to my car to grab more fuel. One loop done in about 3 hours 45 minutes, the Garmin said the distance was 14.6.

On to the second loop, I decided I had gotten hot so off with the pants, keep the gloves, more chocolate #9, a liter and a half of electrolyte, a few more S-caps. I wasn't too sure how it would go as I was feeling low energy still and my legs seemed dead. The IT band had not gotten worse nor had it gone away. I was crossing the wooden bridge in this section that is over a marsh and I slid right down the last part (it was like sliding on ice) which kind of snapped me a bit. I was a bit surprised and walked it off, no damage. I made it through the hills and got to the horse trail lot, I was thinking I was going to make it. The energy remained low so I just kept moving, I took a 5 minute walking-fueling break with the hope it would get me going. It didn't but I just kept moving. I was doing a lot of walking in a very runnable section, I just didn't have it.

On I went, until I was back on the single track section and I debated do I just pack it in or do I repeat the exact previous loop. I decided I had nothing to lose so on I went. I got to the gate again(15 to 9) and debated, nope, not this weekend and proceeded to repeat the first loop again. As I worked my way towards the main parking lot, I was starting to feel pretty good not where I could run but more with the realization that if it was race day I would just continue on for one more loop and do exactly what I did on loop 2, walk, run, just get through it. I finished the loop right at 4 hours, the Garmin said 29.3 and it went to 29.5 when I synced it later.

So on a not great day, I got through almost 30 miles and felt like I could have gotten through a third loop, I can do it. I won't be fast and I will probably be on my own as my pace will probably be a bit sporadic. A couple of things did come up, I lost track of when I was taking S-caps, my chocolate #9 was pretty thick and I developed a couple of hot spots on both feet but considering how wet my feet were, that was ok. I ran 8 miles today and outside of the hot spots on my feet from yesterday all seemed ok.

So 4 weeks out, things are looking good, one more long weekend of running and then it's taper time.


Wayne said...

Nice job, Mike. Sounds like a good confidence boost which it should be! Getting the fueling figured out is huge too. You're ready!

CewTwo said...

You de man!

I'm impressed with what you are doing. What is up for next weekend? I know that you are up there in miles already.

What are the taper miles?

Very, very cool - What you are doing!

RunWesty said...

Wayne - I am not sure if I am ready or not but I am a whole lot closer to believing it will happen. Good luck in Duluth.

Charlie - Thanks for the positives as well, here is my remaining weekend plans, next weekend 33 or so, then 20/12, then 15/12 and then 50.

Kel said...

Les is having another training run on Saturday at 8 am. I will probably head out there and review the "bonus loops" that are part of the course that aren't on the map. The hill leading up to the first aid station required the use of hands the first time I did it.

Londell said...

Nice job... I still think mental issues are the most difficult in the 50 and you worked on those as well. I can not wait for that race... I get to volunteer and see you get the first 50 under your belt!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are set. I am a little behind but as long as it is not 70 and humid like superior was I am hoping to do ok. I sure would like a day like they had for the TCM this year>See you on halloween Steve L

Don said...

Good work! Those of us who ran a mere marathon on smooth streets last weekend should take note. There really is something beyond marathons, even in training.


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