Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Strangely enough I have always loved speed work. I think it's because it tends to be the only time I really push myself super hard. Before Scott's coaching I did absolutely zero speed work. Mostly because I had no idea the value it would play in both my running and my mind. Although I find it extremely hard both physically and mentally it gives me the sense I am accomplishing something. Probably because when I am done I feel like I have worked really hard and the glow of a good sweat is rewarding. Well I am back in the full swing of speed work and lots of it. Last week I got to finish by doing hill sprints on the wildwood. The workout was 2-2.5 hours long and I was to find a hill that was no more than 1 mile long and do repeats..4-5 miles worth. Seemed simple given the long 55 minute hill repeats in the gorge but I knew it would kick my butt.

On Saturday I headed out from the zoo on the wildwood with Pittock Mansion hill being my repeat destination. There were so many runners on the trail and it felt so good to be back on the wildwood. Although Hardrock is now a whole 2+ weeks gone I must have taken some of the experience and injected it into my blood. While running on the wildwood I had a strong urge to take myself cross country in Forest Park. The smooth trails were lovely but I seriously had ideas of just going straight up or straight down through the brush. Of course that would be a huge "no, no" so I kept it clean. As I day dreamed along I found myself running very fast. Sub 9 minute miles on the wildwood is pretty darn fast for a warm up but I couldn't help myself. With all the other runners seemingly turning every bump into a race I played along. I felt if they were going to chase me and pass me it was gonna cost em! Well, it cost me much more I am sure but it felt good.

Arriving at my hill repeat destination a complete sweaty breathless mess I felt re-born. The speed was coming back and I was ready to see how much my lungs would be ripped open on this threshold stuff. The hill to Pittock Mansion is simply no longer a hill with Hardrock stuff still swimming around in my head. Not only did it seem flat it seemed groomed. I marveled at the perception change and basked in it. Not to often is my stubborn mind changed and probably changed for good. The first 3 repeats were pretty darn fast and comfortable but the last 2....well not so much. Seems I found my breaking point or it could have been the racing warm up. It didn't matter because I still enjoyed my day back on the trail, pushing and feeling worked.

This week is more speed. A tempo run today in 90 degree heat made me one sweaty mess. I also acted as a fly strip. While finishing up my tempo run I looked down and wondered how I got so much dirt all over my body. My stomach, legs and arms were covered with tiny black dots. After closer review I realized the black dots were bugs! It was so yucky! I am not a sweater. I barely need salt tabs in a race and just don't produce much water. Well, this heat is forcing me to sweat like crazy and I love it. I will forever be jealous of the ones who's sweat rate is high. The feeling of cleansing via sweat is kinda cool. Yes, I know the other side of the story is dehydration and I felt like that after my run.

I am back in the weight room with great intentions. I am pretty much sore from head to toe so basically right on schedule to get myself in trouble if I don't get a grip. All joking aside I do plan to get a plan soon but right now I can't seem to stop myself from joining in on everyones workouts. For the rest of week I have a couple of recovery runs, an M-Pace run then 4.5 hours. For my long run I am hoping to get up to my favorite spot, Yokem Ridge. Hopefully I can get that worked out and I hope it's not 100 degrees!


  1. I am getting back into speedwork. And this post certainly motivates me! It's great to see you can push hard so soon after Hardrock. You will rock CC!

  2. ...joining everyone's workouts??? Come join me at crossfit tomorrow...we are playing outside with kettlebells and sprints..you'll love it!!! Mountain biking saturday?? I miss you! K

    ps...your entry was cool...very excitable and really captured how you seemed to be feeling and moving. :)

  3. YES thanks for this post also Ronda, u motivated me to get my speedwork back in the weekly lineup!

    and as for weights ---

    Alright let's not push it - LOLOL

    ok ok I will do it- geesh

  4. Nice post Rooster. Your right – It’s relative to what you experience. After running Arkansas Traveller 100M ankle breaking rocky course, the AT portion of JFK50 was a walk in the park. It was funny listening to runners around me complain about how rocky the Appalachian Trail was and how unfair it was, and I’m thinking I could run all day on this smooth trail.
    You’re a machine.

  5. Ronda,

    Two questions for you:

    1. Have you ever considered coming east to run the Massanutten Mountain Trail 100? My running club, the VHTRC, puts it on and it is an awesome race. One thing I have noticed though is that we tend to have a weak women's field while the men's field always rocks (Karl won last year). I think many of the sport's top women are turned off by the rocks (there are many). In reading your post about your perspective changing now that you have done HR, I wonder if you might consider it for 2010. The womens CR is 22:something held by Sue Johnston (here is the link to the women's all-time list at MMT:


    I am thinking you could run really well there, possibly break the CR and spice up the women's field to boot. I have also been trying to convince Krissy to come out but after freezing her eyeballs at Hellgate 100K a few years ago, I think she is spooked by Virginia ultras :-)Actually, she won Grindstone, the 100 I am training for, last year---she likened it to Wastach in terms of difficulty. It's a wonderful, runnable trail with 23,000+ of climb. But think about MMT! We have a great time and take care of our runners. More info is on our website, www.vhtrc.org

    2. I am considering trying Crossfit as they just opened a new Crossfit here in my town. How do you use their workouts to complement your ultra training? I am thinking I would give it a shot but am worried that it will be too much stress with 80+ mile weeks I am putting in now.

    Feel free to email me directly if you want instead of posting this and responding...thanks so much!!!