Friday, May 29, 2009

Western States 100 - Week 2

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in inequity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians: 13:4-7

Sorry for the late posting this week but time has gotten the better of me. Twenty nine days until the Western States 100. I had another good week of training and was able to get in 62 miles including a great 25 miler on the Appalachian Trail. The Lord continues to fuel the machine and hold the body together.

I started out the week with a gym session of weightlifting and 5 miles on the Precor Crossramp. For the cross ramp I ran a double hill set and got the resistance up to level 13. Tuesday through Friday I was able to get 4 commute runs accomplished for a total of 32 miles along the Custis and WO&D trail. These runs were all AM run commutes from the East Falls Church Metro Station to the Pentagon. I ran two Fartlek runs, a Tempo, and an easy run on Friday. All 4 of the runs were run at a sub 8 minute mile pace.

Saturday, I was able to get out early on the Appalachian Trail for about 25 miles. I started at the Manassas Gap Trailhead and ran through Sky Meadows State Park up to the Ashby Gap Trailhead. This was a great training run with about 4500’ of elevation gain and loss; it also offered some long stretches of downhill running. The highlight of the run was a very large black bear encounter about an hour and a half in to the run. As with most of my bear sightings this bear was more scared than I was, however in his attempt to get away he ran parallel to the trail for about a hundred yards and refused to turn in to the woods. Finally, he decided that my following him was too much, so he darted across the trail in front of me and down a steep hill. This allowed me to get by, needless to say my pace accelerated for the next half mile or so. The rest of the run was uneventful, compared to that.

The run through Sky Meadows was awesome, what a beautiful view up on the ridgeline. The day did start to turn hot and very humid. I was hoping to make this a 30 mile run but by the time I got back to the car I was out of water (I carried a 72oz Camelback and 20oz handheld) and all I had to refill with was warm Gatorade. So that combination helped me talk myself out of another 5 mile stretch. The trailhead parking lot was at the edge of a nice mountain stream that I sat in for about 5 minutes at the end of the run and it did wonders for my legs. The run took 4 hours and 45 minutes and gave me some great training on the hills and hopefully started to work on my heat acclimatization.

On Sunday I had planned to put in 10 miles at the Bull Run Battlefield but was pleasantly surprised when my wife asked if I would walk with her that morning. So we ended up walking at the Battlefield early Sunday morning and she was able to get what I call “the deer experience”. Starting from the old stone bridge parking lot it’s about a mile to a very large meadow. If you can get to the meadow early enough it is full of deer eating breakfast, we were lucky enough to get there early. She has heard me talk about the deer at Bull Run often and I usually count how many I see during my runs out there but for this day I was just content to share this experience with her and didn’t bother with a count.

I am well into week 3 training but won’t ruin the write up, which I hope to have posted in a more timely fashion. The WS100 is closing in and I feel stronger than I did last year. I think that the training over the next couple of weeks is going to set me up for a good taper and leave me in a good fitness position. Run Strong!

God Bless and Semper Fi,

Training for 11-17 May: Weekly Mi (62), May Mi (206.6), 2009 Mi (977.0)
Mon: 5.5 mi- Crossramp and Upper Body Lift
Tues: 8 mi- (Fartlek) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Wed: 8 mi- (Tempo) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Thurs: 8 mi- (Fartlek) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Fri: 8 mi- (Fartlek) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Sat: 25 mi- Appalachian Trail
Sun: Walk at Bull Run Battlefield

Monday, May 18, 2009

Western States 100 - Week 1

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah: 40:31

Forty days until the Western States 100. I had a solid first week of training this past week and totaled out at 61.6 miles. I was able to run 39 miles during the work week and most of that was speed training. The speed training continues to work well and I have been able to knock off a couple of minutes from my standard 8 mile morning run commute.

The week started light with a 50 minute run on the Crossramp stationary trainer and about 30 minutes of upper body weightlifting. Tuesday and Wednesday were morning run commute days along the WO&D / Custis trail. The morning commute has been working out pretty good the route is 8 miles long from East Falls Church Metro station to the Pentagon. The trail itself is an asphalt bike path and has mile markers every ½ mile. The standard on this run has become to run a fartlek or tempo type of run. For the fartlek, I run a 2 mile warmup and a 4 mile fartlek, running hard for a ½ mile and then recovering for a ½ mile, and finish with a 2 mile cool down.
Thursday, I was able to run in to work in the morning and follow up with another 7.5 mile run on the way home, this was from East Falls Church to Vienna Metro, again along the WO&D trail. Friday was supposed to be another 5 miles on the crossramp but things got busy at work and I was unable to get to the gym at lunch.

Saturday was the highlight of the week! At 0730, my daughter Abby and I toed the line for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) 5K. This was the second year that Abby was running this race and we had aspirations for improving the time over last years 37 minutes. Just over 5500 people were in this race, of which about 2400 were 3rd through 6th grade girls. GOTR is an awesome opportunity for young girls to get exposed to the world of running and also work as a group to accomplish a common goal of completing a 5K race.
The race started off a little slow, we were in the 5th corral and had to wait for a good ¼ mile before the crowd started to thin out a little. The first mile or so was in the parking lot of Fair Oaks mall and we were making good time. After leaving the mall parking lot we got ourselves into a couple of pretty good size hills, which Abby did great on. There was an aid station at the half way point and that helped to get Abby motivated for a long climb. Just over 2 miles into the race I could tell that she was starting to feel the pain and we adjusted pace as necessary, but she kept pushing hard and never stopped running, even on the hills. The last ¼ mile was downhill into the finish line and I told her to pick up the pace and finish strong. Well she gave it everything she had, and then some. We were moving fast and about 50 feet prior to the finish Abby said she couldn’t breath, pulled up, and lost her breakfast right in the middle of the road. In true road warrior fashion, she wiped her mouth and ran across the finish line. I could not have been prouder, 34 minutes and 19 seconds.

It was awesome to be able to run with my daughter and to see her accomplish a goal that she had set for herself. She is 11 years old and has completed three 5K’s and a 5 mile trail race, the sky is the limit for her. I think that she has recovered from the embarrassment of the puking episode and is starting to embrace it as a badge of honor, as well she should.

I finished off the week with a great 22 mile run on Sunday morning along a portion of the Fairfax Cross County Trail. We had some big storms on Saturday night and it was still raining a little when I started a 0600 on Sunday. It rained for most of the run but that actually felt pretty good, the trails were incredibly muddy and that made for tricky footing most of the morning. I ran this pretty hard and finished the 22 miles in 3h:21m for about a 9 minute per mile pace.

For the week ahead, I hope to be able to continue with some speed work during the commuter runs and get a 30 mile mountain run in on Saturday along the Appalachian Trail. The goal is to get between 60 and 70 miles for three more weeks and then go into the taper. Like I said before, I have no idea if this training plan will work but I feel like I am able to run better than I was at this time last year and only time will tell. Run Strong!

God Bless and Semper Fi,

Training for 11-17 May: Weekly Mi (61.6), May Mi (154.6), 2009 Mi (915.0)

Mon: 5.5 mi- Crossramp and Upper Body Lift
Tues: 8 mi- (Fartlek) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Wed: 8 mi- (Tempo) AM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Thurs: 15.5 mi- AM and PM Run Commute WO&D Trail, AB
Fri: Off
Sat: 3.1- GOTR 5K
Sun: 22 mi- Fairfax CCT

Monday, May 11, 2009

Western States 100 - Week 0

“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord, which made Heaven and Earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepth thee will not slumber.” Psalms 121: 1-4
The Western States Endurance Run is now a mere seven weeks away. I have completed all the races that I plan to run prior to the WSER and will now focus in on seven weeks of training that will hopefully get me in position to make a run at the 24 hour mark on 27-28 June. So the gameplan is to have four intense weeks of training, trying to get 70-80 miles per week of quality miles and then use the last three weeks to taper and rest going into the race.

I have built up a good base and have worked out some bugs on the long races during the first part of the year, but I noticed the recovery from the longer races kept my miles down the week after the race. I am going to concentrate on running shorter but faster runs during the week and mid range runs on the weekend. The incorporation of Fartlek and Tempo runs has made a big difference in my overall physical condition and I plan to increase the use of these techniques during my weekday runs. This is a plan to deviate from, as life has a way of frequently rewriting my schedule, but a plan none the less. I will write a weekly training update, so check back and follow the progress for the next seven weeks.

This past week, I will call it Week-0, was used as a recovery from the 24 Adventure Trail Run. It worked out perfectly, I happened to be on travel to St Louis and it was the perfect time to rest and regroup. I did manage to get a run in on Thursday morning before flying back to DC. I ran 10 miles on the Katy Trail in St Charles, MO. The Katy Trail is a 264 mile bike trail that runs along the Missouri River and provided a good place to run in a busy city environment.

The plan was to get a run in on Saturday and Sunday, however priorities and that life thing intervened on Saturday and when all was said and done the run did not happen. I was able to get out early on Sunday for a 14 mile run around the Bull Run Battlefield. It’s always good to be the first one on the trails at the battlefield before the deer get spooked. Whenever I run out there I keep track of how many deer I see, Sunday was a record breaker at 46.

Although it was a low mileage week, it was a needed recovery for my body and it sets me up nicely for four hard weeks of running. The Lord continues to bless my running efforts and I am constantly reminding myself that, it is through his perfect plan for my life that I am able to continue to forge ahead in this sport of ultra running. I have a deep respect for the challenge that lies ahead in the WSER 100, however I have no fears, for my faith in the Lord is strong and my confidence in His plan is stronger. Run Strong!

God Bless and Semper Fi,

Training for 4-10 May: Weekly Mi (29.0), Monthly Mi (93), Yearly Mi (853.4)
Mon-Wed: Off
Thurs- 10 miles: Katy Trail
Fri: 5 miles: Crossramp
Sat: Off
Sun: 14 miles: Bull Run Battlefield

Thursday, May 7, 2009

24 Hour Adventure Trail Run

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Running for 24 hours or running 100 miles, I don’t know which sounds more insane, but I do know that however you slice it, that’s a lot of running. This past Saturday and Sunday I competed in the Athletic Equation 24 Hour Adventure Trail Run. The majority of people running this race were competing in the solo category. I was part of a two man team, along with fellow Marine, Bill Rysanek, competing in the three man team category. The concept for the team categories was that you had to alternate running the 8 mile trail loop and could not run consecutive loops. At first glance the idea of getting a break after each loop sounded pretty good but as the night wore on it became exceedingly difficult to get back out on the trail after the break, more to follow.

This was the fourth year for this event and the fourth year that race directors Alex Papadopoulos and Scott Crabb have donated 50% of the event proceeds to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. As a fundraiser for the IMSFF for the past 2 years, I was thrilled to participate in an event that would make such a gracious gesture. This is only the second Athletic Equation event that I have participated in and once again Alex and Scott put on a quality event. The volunteers that offered there time this weekend were fantastic, thanks for your support.

The run is conducted within the Prince William National Forest, located in Triangle, VA. The course is 8 miles long, set up like a lollypop with a 2 mile out and back (stem) and a 4 mile loop. The start/finish line is headquarter at Camp Miwavi, which provided great support throughout the race. We started at 0700 on Saturday morning and I led off for our team. The strategy for this race was different than a normal ultra, in that I would have a break in between loops. This allowed for some great training as I was able to run pretty hard on each lap and not really worry about pacing for the end of the race.

The course itself was in great shape. The “lollipop stem” at the start of the loop went down the south valley trail along the Quantico Creek and was fairly flat. The start of the 4 mile loop continued down the south valley trail to the mid-point aid station. We then turned left away from the creek and started up the Taylor Farm Road trail, this was one of the bigger climbs on the course. At the top of the hill we turned left onto the High Meadow Trail. This was a great trail that ran for about 2 miles back to the intersection with the South Valley Trail (lollipop stem) and back to the start finish.

Throughout the day there were occasional rain showers that felt pretty nice. The temperature started to climb in the late afternoon and the humidity was very high for the entire race. I was able to run the entire 8 mile loop for the first 4 four of my 8 loops, including all of the hills. Alex said that each loop was about 300’ of elevation change, I think that it was closer to 1000’ per loop. As night started to fall our times started to slow but Bill and I continued to run strong loops. About 2300 it started raining pretty hard and it continued through the rest of the race. I happened to resting when it started raining and it took a lot of motivation to get ready to leave the comfort of Camp Miwavi and head out into the rain to run 8 miles in the dark, in the middle of the night, but we continued to do it.

In the end, Team Fly Marine was able to accumulate 124 miles which was good enough to take first place in the 3 man team category (there were only 2 teams in this category). The race finished off with a great breakfast feast prepared by the volunteers. This race offered a great opportunity to train hard on tired legs and get in some much needed night running. The atmosphere of this event is very family oriented and Alex and Scott really take great care of the runners. Thanks again to the Athletic Equation group for the generous support of the IMSFF, you will certainly reap what you sow. Run Strong!

God Bless and Semper Fi,

Training for 27 April-3 May: Weekly Mi (74.0), Monthly Mi (197.5), Yearly Mi (760.4)
Mon: 5 mi - Crossramp
Tues: Off
Wed: 5 mi - Crossramp 8 mi
Thurs / Fri: Off
Sat / Sun: 24 Hour ATR: 64 Mi
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