Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peak Training is here

59 more days until I get to run Bighorn 100M. The last time I ran it we were forced onto the alternate snow route last minute due to unrelenting snow. I am really hoping we get to do the original course this year. I am seriously looking forward to the grind to Porcupine Pass on the narrow no trail in the wee hours of the night. There is only 8 weeks left so subtracting the 10 day taper that leave 6 weeks of heads down training. This is my favorite part of ultra running.

Not only do I absolutely relish the hard back to backs that start this week I love the challenge of making it all work. With my lovable type A personality the balancing act is almost as hard as the runs. I don't want to miss one sporting event, I don't want eat like crap, I don't want my dishes or laundry to pile up, I don't want my arms to turn to total flab and my wings to grow hair. I'll even admit I don't leave my house without all the beds made. Since I don't live in my own private running world and I have a family who expects me to do more than lay my tired butt on the couch it makes these next weeks the perfect challenge. Success will be measured in 2 ways. First, can I get it all done and still be my happy self? Second, will I rock those hard workouts and get the most out of them? Due to Alex's track schedule I have bumped my week to a Tues. - Mon. schedule for the next three weeks. Track meets are an all day event and I can't miss one to go for a run because I would be running along feeling like a looser so why bother. My week of running will look something like this. 3 long recovery workouts, 1 day off, one long 3A/3B trail effort of at least 2 hours then the back to backs. The back to backs will be 4 hours with 2-3X45 minute hill repeats at lactic threshold which I will do on Sunday. Then on Monday back that up with 6-7 hours of running in the 3A/3B range with some lactic threshold stuff on the second half. Both these days will be in the Gorge. Lucky for me a couple of my friends are going to join in the fun. I can and will go run in the Gorge solo but having company is always good and makes the nerves calmer. During the long tired times every sound in the woods can turn into a cougar stalking or a bear attack in a cluttered lactic acid filled mind. :) So as it stands for the next couple of weeks I have 3 seriously quality runs, 3 recovery efforts and one day off. After MacDonald Forest which just happens to coincide with the end of track season it's back to a normal week for the final training.

How am I going execute. I have cleared my calendar. Nothing but life and running exists for then next 6 weeks! Now that is living. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peterson Ridge Rumble!

I rumbled, tumbled and stumbled my way through the rumble on Sunday. It took me 5:54:40 or 9:43 pace. I am very pleased with the outcome. With no cut back week and a fairly tired training body I did the best I could do. Most ultra runners use races as training runs. It's a good way to be social, get a good workout, have aid on a course you tend not to run often. However I find the mental aspect of this kind of training situation to be tricky.

Going into a race when your not really putting your head down, focusing and giving your very best is not easy for me. I have such a desire to see how I can improve and I like the challenge of a race environment so lining up and deciding it's going to be a slow one doesn't work for me. Instead I need to line up and let the day unfold. No pre-conceived plan or outcome. I am such a mental case that if I tell myself I am tired and it's going to be painful low and behold it is!

When reality sets in and pain is not temporary the mental games begin. Peterson was a bit of mental game and thankfully I think I won this round. The weather was great and the scenery was perfect. Not to mention the dry trails....ahh something we haven't seen much of lately. The rumble is a running race! With my fitness there is no reason for me to walk here. I forgot how much that hurts. The lack of long climbs to stretch out the body makes my body hurt more. From the get go I was moving with a labored stride. Waiting for my body to warm up and my groove to kick in was a lost hope but I stayed with this thought train for a good 15 miles. Although I continued to hope for this moment all day I only got about 20 minutes of magic. Fortunately and not surprising given it's my standard mode of operation it came at about mile 33 where I caught Bret. That was fun!

So what do you do when your running a training race and you feel like lead? Well, there are a few choices. One, you could quit, two, you could just wallow in it begging for it end or three, see it for what it is...A TRAINING RACE! A race where things are going to be difficult and you just have get over yourself and deal with it. Accept it as part of the process and see it as a step in the right direction for one you want to really give it your best shot. It took me to about mile 15 to get over myself. At which time I was able to become one with the pain and use it as a tool. A good memory for later days.

I don't know what it is about those central Oregon trails but my feet caught everything and most of it invisible. However, let me assure you ladies out there chivalry is not dead. I fell and before I knew it I was being lifted by two men who stopped, snatched me up and wanted to be sure I was fine. I not a tumbler but I have fallen before just to be jumped over and left for dead. I swore Sean installed some sneaky system to catch every toe that passed over it because I was like a rag doll out there. Of course it could have something to do with the fact that my legs were not springing up as they should. It was a fun day, hard but really fun. I got to run a bulk of it with the Corvallis gang and they are simply chatty Kathy's out there making it look effortless.

Bill and Micheal did the 30K. They had a good time and Bill isn't really sore. I punched his quad just be sure and nothing! Now this would be no big deal except Bill didn't really run. He did a few 5 mile runs, one 8 miler and one 17 miler on accident. Cheri rocked the course PRing but something awesome! Good time, good people...thanks Sean!

Monday, April 5, 2010

One small moment.

Have you ever woken up one day, looked in the mirror and time stands still? You know the feeling, a deja vu, an expression or a moment when everything seems so clear and pure. Today I woke up at my usual time did my usual routine but I had one of the moments. While putting lotion on my leg I noticed my skin wrinkle around my ankles as I rubbed it in. I paused. It was a moment. I rubbed it in some more then sat down. I am young at heart but I am getting older. While sitting there looking at my legs, tan from Hawaii it's as if my skin was talking back at me. It wasn't complaining or making some awful face but rather enlightening me. This is not a post about skin care however I would suggest you where sunscreen. :) Rather it's simply a thought stream. Where did time go? Have I missed anything? I am now 43, have been married for 16 years and my son is already nearing 14. My skin is wrinkling, my hair is over 50% grey but yet I feel like I just got started. I have so many things I want to do yet there have been so many I have already done. How did I not notice the wrinkles on my ankles? The journey is so enriching, frustrating, exhilarating but ultimately it's everything we choose it to be.

I wondered if my entrance in to the world of endurance running has forced me to look at life differently. If all those hours inside my own mind with my own thoughts and the feeling of my own body gave me an opportunity to really understand me. What makes me happy, sad, frustrated, angry but most of all what makes me feel alive. So much that I forget that I am aging! Is there a level of rapid maturity that happens when you have so much time to ponder thoughts? The sharing and understanding you gain from the long trail time with friends. The ones that know you like a book because they spend countless hours watching you go through physical and mental highs and lows. The relaxed feeling of just being you, good and bad is incredibly comforting and satisfying. Can you really be this lucky? Do all those moments add up to a mature individual? For me, I would have to say yes.

There is such a simplicity to life but the complexities of getting it right can be daunting. Today I sat there long enough for Bill to notice the tear in my eye and wandered what on earth could be so troubling. The emotion erupted because of everything but none of it at all troubling. It was a tear of acceptance. A tear of happiness for the opportunity to have so many adventures in such a short period of time. Thankful for it all, good and bad. A tear of true happiness. The wrinkles in my ankle at that moment represented so much. More than I can describe here. They say time flys and whoever said that knew what they were talking about. From my youth of horror, to my crazy 20's where career meant everything, to my 30's when creating family and understanding how to do it all was exhausting, to my 40's where it begins to really gel. I am happy with it all. I wouldn't trade any of my 43 years of experiences because for good or bad it has made this moment perfect. For that moment I got to see it all as clear as day. The feeling on contentment I had at that moment will last. I think it's starting to set in. I wish for everyone to have one of these moments when they look at themselves, their lives and all that surrounds them and feels strong and content. I got a lot out those wrinkles.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I might need a helmet!

(photo by: Glen Tachiyama)
I can't even call this post Chuckanut Mountain 50K race report. I am so delinquent on blogging. Seems like every time I sit down to post a thought something comes up. Life is busy right now but it's all great stuff so choices are easy.

A small Chuckanut recap: I had nearly a 15 minute PR. I shocked myself! I ran well and had minimal inhibition by my nagging hammy. It gave me some fits on the ridge trail section but seemed to mostly cooperate for the rest of race. The downhills were the worst but I still ran fast with a shortened up stride. The flat section home was a bit edgy. One over stride and zing! Fortunately I was no worse off after the race and a week in Hawaii over spring break was perfect healing. Team Lululemon, Portland has been put together and I am proud to be representing such a fun company. The team gear is super cute and not logoed out. Meggan did a great job pulling this together and hopefully the company will expand the team next year.

Chuckanut was such a great race for me. It really was a stepping stone in bringing my short game up to speed. Cheri and I have been tearing around the trails like crazy using each other as carrots both with intention of making the other work. I absolutely LOVE these kinds of workouts and focus. I have never done this kind of trail work before and it has paid off. Black Saturday's are hard but a totally different kind of hard. The change up is perfect timing for me. I am still working with the Daniel's principles but applying them a bit differently than I have in the past. Using heart rate to determine my workload on the rolling terrain vs. pace. After a tiny scrape on forehead from a dangling branch that come so fast I didn't see it I wondered if we should be wearing helmets on these workouts! Cheri is a fabulous downhiller and I sometimes feel like I am going to kill myself trying to keep up. One false step and I am a goner! My miles are up and my intensity is up in a different way. My trail pace is improving greatly.

Next up Peterson Ridge Rumble 60K next Sunday. Bill, Cheri, Micheal Gary and I all heading up for some Central Oregon trails. Peak training for Bighorn starts after Peterson. I am anxious to see what that entails for weekday stuff. I know the long back to backs will be an element.