Sunday, 16 April 2017 23:56

Cycling Can Make You a Stronger Runner

It appears that there is a 'competition' between cyclists and runners since both tend to have rules that the other group does not understand. However, for those who are utilizing both sports know the benefits of cycling in matters related to running. More often than not, injured runners are asked instead to ride their bike for healing and physical therapy purposes.

By and large, cycling is very good training for runners. Only a few understand and comprehend the real value of cycling and usually these are the people who are doing cross training between two routines. Accordingly, many experts and specialists state that regular routines of cycling can actually result in making you a better and stronger runner. Moreover, adding both outdoor and indoor cycling to your running routines on a regular basis can largely increase your overall leg strength and endurance causing you to run faster and longer.

Although there is a barrier nowadays between cycling and running, most experienced runners tend to own bicycles. Consequently, they consider this tool to be one of the most valuable equipment they could ever have that is very much beneficial to their running activities. This may significantly improve their leg fitness which is one of the most essential factors for runners.

If you are a runner on your own, whether just a starter or a veteran, you should start cycling because it can make you a stronger runner and you may benefit from these as well generally:

Cycling.jpg

  1. Cycling is great form of active recovery

Every runner experiences extreme tiredness and pain in their overall physique especially in the legs and feet. These kinds of struggles are usually the most hated parts of every runner in their running routines. It is very much constant for runners to experience such kinds of strains after running.

Now, cycling can largely ease these strains since it is a great form of recovery. After running, it is always advisable to do a few rounds of cycling to increase the blood flow and at the same time reduce the pain and stiffness in the muscles.

  1. Improving cardiovascular fitness

Generally, cycling is a very low-impact activity. It does not require full force and stress on your body unlike running which completely will cause you severe tiredness in the muscle afterwards. Although running is the main choice for improving your cardiovascular fitness, complementing it with cycling regularly will help you further improve and maintain what you achieved in running.

Running alone can largely help you with your cardio but it is a great amount of deal when you include cycling in your daily routines. Not only you improve your cardio but you also do it on a very less strenuous way.

  1. Building complementary muscles

As always, doing exercise routines regularly will help you increase your strength and endurance initially. However, you will no longer benefit from it in the long run if you stick with the same routines again and again – which in this case – running. It won’t improve any longer your other muscles. On the other hand, if you do cycling at the same time, you are complementing your running exercises and routines. The muscles that are usually being used in cycling are different from the ones in running. Hence, you are actually further improving and building all your muscles in totality.

  1. Leg turnover will increase like whoa

Running specialists require you to have an average cadence of 174 up to 180 footfalls per minute to prevent injuries and things alike. In addition, know that the best runners globally have a rate of 180 per minute of leg turnover. Similarly, pedaling a bike or simply cycling must be done with a smooth and average rate of cadence.

In parallelism, if you do cycling – your cadence may be transferred to running which apparently is a very beneficial on your running routines activities. Now, if you are just to start with your cycling activities –then it is very much advisable to start at a cadence rate of 90 per minute. Eventually, you may need to increase it in the long run which will cater benefits to you as a runner.

  1. Increased strain being placed on bones and joints

Usually, runners know that running generally place a huge stress and strain on bones and joints causing for certain problems and inconveniences to arise in the long run if not properly attended. While daily and regular running can efficiently help you better to be a good and fit runner in the field, cycling can largely help you with your overall fitness.

It is a common knowledge that cycling pose a much lower strain and stress on the knees and bones but seemingly to benefit your overall fitness as same as to running. Therefore, including a regular cycling routine in your running exercises or even make it an alternative option to your running activities a few times may allow you better to be a more fit and stronger runner.

These points are actually great things to ponder on especially if you are opting or seeking for a greater alternative and complementary activity for your running routines and exercises.

 

Published in Train

Rocky Raccoon 100 the 2016 version was not supposed to happen and what did happen was not supposed to happen. Thoroughly confused? Good, I will clear it up along the way from the start of the weekend through the final step across the finish line.

For those of you that may not know I registered for Coldwater Rumble 100 in Goodyear, Arizona without reading all of the words on their site. I wound up overlooking the fact that the race is not a Western States 100 qualifier and my long-term goal is to race the Western States 100. To do that I have to either win a qualifying 100 mile race OR keep racing qualifiers to gather lottery tickets along the way. After realizing that Coldwater was not a qualifier I had 3 choices:

  1. Race Bandera 100k two weeks prior to Coldwater and finish in under 16 hours. Bandera is one of only a few 100k races that are a Western States qualifier. Why?  Because it is freaking hard. Last year (2015 Race Report) I raced it and finished in under 13 hours so under 16 was feasible
  2. Pace Jeff at Rocky Raccoon 100 and give up this year's chance at a ticket and be the safety runner for Jeff if his lottery ticket were to be picked.
  3. Race Rocky Raccoon 100 two weeks after Coldwater and just finish.

When Bandera registration neared its close I realized I was in no mental shape to race that course or book a room, or drive to Bandera or anything to do with Bandera. Down to two choices and I presented them to Jeff allowing him to pick and hoping that he would choose option 2. Of course he chose option 3 without any hesitation and here I was pressing the register button on Rocky Raccoon 100 2016.

When I finished Coldwater my feel were blown up and I was so scared that I would DNF at Rocky Raccoon because the turn around time was so short and there would not be anytime to recover.

Pre Rocky Raccoon 100 2016

Here is the race report:

Loop 1 - Are We Going Too Fast?

Jeff, Greg and I lined up about 20 rows behind the starting line. I was very nervous about how my legs would hold up and beyond that how my mind would be able to sustain the concentration and positive mindset for another 100 miles. 100 mile races make me nervous despite this being my 4th attempt because there is so much uncertainty to them. Weather changes, body adjustments, blisters and everything else that can happen over the course of this long day.

We started out slow as the course is packed and is difficult to maneuver and in my mind I was thrilled with what was happening. When we hit the first aid station my confidence started to pick up but it really exploded when the next aid station was now only 2 miles away rather than 4-5 miles the way it previously was. Covering 5 miles and hitting two aid stations allowed me to break this race down into easier bits. The next aid station after was 7 miles and is typically the toughest 7 miles on the course but this year my mindset changed because I knew the aid stations were 3.5, 2, 7, 3.1 and 4.4 miles apart. Huge opportunity to break the race down.

In addition to that unfolding I realized that with the changes in the course it was much more runnable than it was the year prior. I found us doing a lot of running and would feel a twinge in my left ITB which had me worried about how it would hold up the entire race. At some points I could feel Jeff and Greg pulling away but a well timed hill forced them to walk and for me to catch up.

When we left the Park Road aid station I realized that we were only 4 miles away from completing loop 1 and this gave me a confidence boost plus knowing that there were at least 4 hills we had to walk and I could allow my barking ITB to quiet down. As we rounded the corner and headed down the path to the start/finish area I could see we were finishing in 3:34 and felt that was fast for what I had anticpated finishing that first loop and my mind turned to worry.

Finishing Loop 1 At Rocky Raccoon 100 2016

Loop 2 - Finishing On My Own

At the bag drop Karen helped me refill my hydration pack and asked me how I was doing. I told her my ITB was flaring up and was bothering me. I finished speaking to her, grabbed my FlapJacked Waffles and started walking. I told Greg and Jeff to catch me because I knew they were running strong and would have no problem getting up to me. Once they reached me we started running.

This time getting to the first aid station was more work as my left leg was acting up and tiring. I asked a volunteer for ibuprofen and when he poured out 4 then started to put two back in the bottle I stopped him and grabbed all 4. I took 2 and put the other 2 into my vest. Some hydration and we were off.

The running started to bother Greg's knees and we were walking a bit more than I expected. I shifted to a higher cadence as that seemed to help me get past the ITB issues. The next two miles went by fast and my spirits picked up (or was it the ibuprofen?) and I was feeling the ability to run again. The 7 mile stretch was tough but not impossible and before I knew it we were heading down a straight jeep road to the Park Road aid station.

When we got there I saw my wife, Karen, and my mile 80-100 pacer, Greg, and it was awesome. Jeff and Greg were stopping and I told them I was going to go on ahead and they would catch me. As it turns out I was able to run quite a bit here but not as much as I had thought I would be able to. I was being conservative with my leg and also knew that I was going to be finishing in under 4 hours. Having two loops done in under 4 hours coming off Coldwater two weeks earlier was a tremendous boost for me.

End Of Loop 2 - Rocky Raccoon 100

Loop 3- I Can Run

While I was finishing Loop 2 I realized that I had run out of liquid and was not smart enough to have filled up my pack at the last aid station. This meant that the transition time between loop 2 and 3 was going to be longer than normal as I wanted to put my two hydration bottles in my pack and then would need to top off with Tailwind from the aid station.

Once I was done getting all my liquids squared away along with eating Oreos and Pringles, I was headed back out for Loop 3 and I saw Jeff and Greg coming in.  I was shocked to see them this soon as I had expected them to catch me but when they did not expected to have a bigger lead on them. As we passed I said I would see them on the course. Having just run 60 miles by myself in Arizona I was mentally ready to tackle 20 on my own and off I went.

My legs started to feel much better and I found myself running all of the flats, descending aggressively and power walking up the hills. I took the other two ibuprofen just after I left the DamNation aid station the first time (you hit it twice per loop.) From there you are able to run a majority of the 3 miles before the timing mat. I was in shock how much I was able to run and not feel the tightness in my ITB. I did a mental body check and nothing was bothering me at this point.

It was just past the timing mat that I saw Jeff and Greg on the descending portion and expected to see them running next to me in a few minutes but that never materialized. I felt like a man on a mission and was running aggressively. Hit the DamNation aid station the second time around and picked up it on the way to Park Road. After Park Road I knew I had just 4 miles to get there and all of the sudden the 4 walking hills became three as I became possessed with finishing this loop and picking up Greg (Ninja) for my safety runner on Miles 60-80.

It's Ninja Time At Rocky Raccoon 100 2016

Loop 4- Let's Go Ninja

I asked Ninja to pace me AGAIN for miles 60-80 (he paced me last year) because I think that a 100 mile race on a 5 loop course is broken down as follows:

  • Loop 1 - Run hard but not so hard that you damage the rest of your race. Bank as much time as possible to provide ample time on loop 5.
  • Loop 2 - Stay aggressive but smart. Be cognizant of hydration and nutrition.
  • Loop 3 - Make Or Break against other racers. Others will kill themselves but by being passively aggressive you will pass them on Loop 4/5.
  • Loop 4 - Make Or Break for 24 Hours. If you have run the first three loop wisely, this loop can be another feather in your cap to sub-24.
  • Loop 5 - Relax. The end is near and sub-24 is on the horizon BUT be smart to not lose focus on finishing pace

When Ninja and I started he asked me what my goal was and I told him sub-24. I thought that having two sub-24 hour races two weeks apart was the accomplishment of a lifetime. He asked if there was a secret agenda and there was not. Let's just run and see what unfolds. Ninja is a great pacer because he knows the trails of Huntsville very well, is a Texas State Champion Trail Runner and knows how to direct. When we need to run he tells me, when we need to walk he tells me. He will run ahead of me and grab the liquids and foods I need.

As we neared the DamNation aid station the first time I told him to get me ibuprofen as a preventative measure. As he took off it lit a fire in my a$$ and I started running to. He got to the aid station and I was on his tail to the point that he had to wait to get the ibuprofen while I was eating. He opened the pack and there were 8 pills. I took 4 of them and he held the other 4. It was time to run but at this poitn the temperatures were dropping.

When you near the timing mat you are right on the lake and it is a very cold section. Greg happened to have a jacket wrapped around his waist that I put on and when my core temp heated up we were off and running. We ran so hard and so fast that we negative split Miles 70-80 in comparison to Miles 60-70. It was liberating to be running this hard and finishing the loop as strong as we did. The finish time of this loop was 4:14 while Loop 3 was 4:04. Yes, we were running.

Ninja Is Ready, But Am I?

Loop 5 - Do We Take It Easy?

As we entered the aid station Greg ran into the tent to grab me grilled cheese and quesadillas while I went to have Karen fill up my hydration pack and put the jacket on and have the hydration pack on the outside. I did some quick math and realized that I could finish in 22 hours with a decent Loop 5. My goal during Loop 4 switched from under 24 to beating CWR and now it was to be at 22.

Greg Brink, my Mile 80 - 100 safety runner, was ready to go and off we power walked the first hill and started running. I told him that I wanted to be smart and convservative here because I knew that sub-24 was in the bag even with a horrible Loop 5. We were chatting and laughing and having a good time. At the Nature Center aid station I asked him to remind me to take the other 4 ibuprofen pills that Ninja stuck in the pocket of his jacket at DamNation. We grabbed some TailWind and some Oreos/Pringles and took off. Running when we could and walking when we had to.

We hit the DamNation aid station and I went into the 'Med Tent' to switch out batteries in my headlamp and saw what could have been an episode of The Walking Dead. The temps had dropped to the mid-low 30s and people were freezing plus the fact that it was a 100 mile race. I had to get out of the tent as quickly as possible so as not to get caught up in the pain. I saw Greg and off we went for the last 7 mile stretch. After about 1 mile he reminded me about the ibuprofen and I told him that would happen at the aid station the next time and it was time to keep running.

We passed one of Greg's friends and then we passed another friend of mine and my confidence started soaring. I was having a damn great race and I told Greg we were going to just keep running and at certain points we were holding sub-10 minute paces. We were working and getting this race done. When we hit the DamNation aid station for the last time I took the last 4 ibuprofen and washed them down with a 1/4 cup of coffee because when you leave these tents the temperature feels like it drops 30 degrees.

After the coffee we were off and running. We were passing athletes left and right. I have never yelled on your left more in a race than I did in the last half of this race. I was pushing the pace and without a watch to rely on was just running on guts and feel and it felt GREAT.

The last aid station was an awesome sight. I grabbed some Tailwind and 1/2 a grilled cheese and we were gone. Again, the 4 hills that I walked on loops 1 and 2 and 3 became 3 as we were flying around the course. When we hit the bridge section I knew we only had one mile to go and that the last hill would be walked and then we were gone. I told Greg to text Karen that we were .75 mi out and by the time he finished sending that text we were 0.25 miles out and I started hauling ass. We make the left turn toward the finish line and Greg says to me: I have never finished a 5k this hard let alone running with a guy on Mile 199 of 200 in two week.

That finish line was glorious and I jumped over it and into the arms of my wife. I hugged her so hard that I nearly squeezed all the air out of her. I looked over to the finish time and saw 20:23. HOLY SH*T. I not only finished a second 100 mile race but did it in 3 hours less PLUS was only off my 2015 Rocky Raccoon time by 1 hour.

Greg Brink And I At The Finish Of Rocky Raccoon 100

It has taken about a week for this to set in and I still have a hard time understanding how I managed to pull this off. Of course, the blisters on my feet are reminding me but of all the athletic accomplishments I have achieved this ranks up there as one of the best. My ticket to the Western States 100 Lottery has been earned.

UNTIL NEXT YEAR ROCKY RACCOON 100 (UNLESS I GET INTO WS100)

Rocky Raccoon 100 - DONE

Published in Race Reports

In less than two weeks I will be at the starting line of the Coldwater Rumble 100 in Goodyear, Arizona. This will be my third attempt at completing a 100 mile ultra trail run and if successful will also be the third belt buckle I collect. Since many friends and colleagues know that I run 100 mile races they also know that I train for them and have begun asking me questions about the race. Maybe the fact that the date is just around the corner is what has sparked this interest but either way answering these questions helps frame my mind for the task that is coming up.

One of the first questions I am asked is:

How Do You Manage To Run For 100 Miles?

It is a fair question especially when you consider the majority of the people asking are not long-distance runners. The folks that are asking the question typically state: I get tired just driving 100 miles so how do you do it.

My answer is simple: I want it.

My answer is complex: I want it so I will do everything I can to make it happen.

The second answer is the key to being successful at running these distances and that means having as strong a mental game as you do physical game. When I am training for 100 milers I will have weeks that are planned out for 50 miles and others that are planned out for 85 miles. Both weeks I approach the same and that is to make the difficult so that I get stronger mentally. The 50 mile week will have more speedwork and the 85 mile week will just be a bear to wake up the next day after having just run 15 miles.

By being stronger mentally I can accomplish any task set out before me. At Lake Martin 100 in 2014 the elements were against the athletes. It had rained for a week prior to the race and the course was nothing more than a mud pit that you had to slosh your way through. I battled the course and the elements to finish in just under 28 hours. It ranked as the hardest race I had completed to date and still holds that title. That race taught me that I can do anything and is something I fall back on quite a bit.

Make your training harder than the race and develop the mental strength to be able to fall back on when the going gets tough.

Tips:

  • Run without headphones for 2-3 hours and just listen to your thoughts, breathing, nature.
  • Run in the evening and then early the next morning on a Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday.

Is Your Approach To A 100 Mile Race Different Than A Marathon?

Without a doubt the approach to a 100 mile race is different. If you think about it, the 100 mile race is essentially 4 marathons and if you approach it as if it is the same then you are doomed before it starts but that does not mean that you cannot take concepts from the marathon approach and apply them to the ultra race distance.

When I register for a 50k, 50 mile or 100 mile race I look at the course and the aid stations. I want to know the distance between the aid stations as well as how many loops the course is. By taking this information in I can process a strategy that will allow me to get from point A to point B and only focus on that one segment.

Knowing this information also allows me to establish a nutrition plan. How much liquid I will need in my hydration pack? How many FlapJacked pancakes or Mighty Muffins will I need at base station? What will I eat at each aid station? Having the answers to these questions before the race starts allows me to focus on the execution of a plan versus wondering what is going to unfold.

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What Is Recovery Like?

This is probably the most difficult question to answer. After each ultra race my recovery has looked somewhat different. After Lake Martin it became a quick focus on getting all the calories into my system that I could handle. After Rocky Raccoon it was about sitting down and allowing my body to rest and that included taking a nap.

Taking an umbrella approach to recovery from a 100 mile race the focus is on getting hydration and calories into my system. I will drink water, without forcing it, while eating simple foods. If I am able to get mashed potatoes I am thrilled because they do not require any chewing and just swallowing (remember it is the middle of the night and you are exhausted.)

After sleeping for a few hours I will start to focus on walking and getting blood flowing through my legs while wearing compression gear. Simultaneously I am looking for healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbs which is typically egg sandwich(es) and waffles/pancakes. I do not want to eat until I am bloated and try to keep the calorie consumption even without peaks and valleys.

The other part of recovery that is important is to go for walks and not runs for the next couple of days. Keeping the blood flowing allows the body to recover much faster than if you were to just lay down all day.

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On January 23rd in Goodyear, Arizona the goal will be to complete the race in 22-23 hours while having a good time with friends. Laughter is always a big help for me mentally and being surrounded by people of a like mind will help with that.

Published in Train
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 06:29

2015 Bandera 100k Race Report

2015 Bandera 100k Ultra Trail Race will not be an event I will forget for a very long time.  When Jeff mentioned that we should do this race as a great way to end the peak weeks of training for Rocky Raccoon 100 I thought it was a great idea.  When you are running 85-90 miles per week the more races you can involve the better as it takes away the monotony of running on your own, plus it allows you to test pacing and nutrition strategy. As race day neared I started to worry about the effects of running on such a difficult course would be on my legs.  I worried about injury and getting sick as the forecast was not a pretty one.  On race day all of these went away except for keeping true to my only two goals for Bandera 100k.

  • Goal 1: Stay vertical.  Do not take chances to avoid falling and what could lead to injury.
  • Goal 2: Finish under 16 hours and get yourself a lottery ticket to Western States 100.

How did the day go?  What are my thoughts on the race organization, the course, the volunteers and everything in between?  Let's find out.

Friday January 9th - The Day Before Bandera 100k

On Friday I drove 5 hours from my home in Dallas to the Flying J Ranch where Jeff had booked us a room.  On my way down he texted me that he upgraded our room to one that had a kitchen and a laundry room.  Little did we know how important that laundry room would be. When I got to the hotel and brought my bags in Jeff and I went to grab a bite to eat and then over to the pre-race meeting and packet pick-up.  While at packet pick-up we met two athletes that had run Bandera 100k the previous year and they were able to answer the three questions we had.

  1. Q: What time should we show up?  A: Get here prior to 6am so you get a close parking space and not dealing with lines.
  2. Q: How hard is it to pick up drop bags? A: Crossroads drop bag can be picked up as you are leaving the park.
  3. Q: Are there any sections on the trail that you can run? A: Yes, middle 20 for sure. First 5 tough as well as last 5.

After hearing that information we set out to eat dinner.  Keeping to the program of eating like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner I decided to have a greek salad and fried pickles.  After having a bowl of fruit before bed I was set.

Saturday January 10th - Bandera 100k Race Day

4:30am wake-up call.  Breakfast of coffee, toast with peanut butter and sliced banana and it was off to the race site. I decided that I did not need drop bags on the course and just packed a bag for the start/finish line.  In that bag I had a pair of fresh shoes to change into along with a full change of clothes.  Jeff and I made a commitment to ourselves that we would make a full change of our upper body clothes regardless of how good/warm we felt.

Loop 1 - The First 31

When we lined up I repeated my 2 goals in my head as the clock was counting down.  Having Jeff with me and running into training partner Troy at the start helped to calm me down to just run and not 'race.'  Once we started moving the nerves left and it was time to execute the plan of start slow and then go slower.  We ran with all of the 100k participants for the first 5 miles which included a section that is vertical and one athlete slipping on the ice and falling backwards into Jeff who blocked him while I grabbed the front of his shirt.  I made a mental note to make sure to be careful at that spot when I came around for Loop 2. When we reached the Nachos aid station things started to clear up in terms of athletes.  The spreading out started to take place and we could start to run.  This is also the first time on the course where the sotol is not tearing you up.  The sotol cactus hurts as it pulls your skin when you run through it.  There is no avoiding the cactus so you have to suck it up and get through it as best you can. [caption id="attachment_9797" align="alignright" width="600"]bandera 100k - race report - ultra trail run Bandera 100k Course Profile[/caption] Jeff and I stuck together through the sections from Nachos to the Cross Roads Aid station and then when reached Mile 20 he mentioned to me that I could go ahead if I wanted to secure a good time because I was able to descend really well.  I told him that if I get the itch then I would go ahead.  When we hit the last mile before getting to the Cross Roads Aid station a second time I was in heaven.  I latched onto Troy's hip and we descended that last mile at a very fast pace and I was loving it.  I had a huge smile on my face and when we hit the aid station Troy and I were laughing that we were actually able to run.  I waited around for Jeff and Troy took off.  After Jeff came into the aid station we headed out and this time after about a mile I kept running and was now on my own. I kept repeating my race strategy which was to run the flats, walk the hills and cascade gracefully down the descents.  I could feel that my legs were strong and I just kept on plugging until I reached the Last Chance aid station where I grabbed a couple of Oreos and moves on. In the last 5 miles from Last Chance to the Lodge I came upon an athlete that was walking and seemed to be walking gingerly.  When I caught up to him we were chatting and he told me that he fell at the 11km mark and probably broke a rib.  When I asked if he was going to stop at the turn around he said that he would because he was having trouble breathing and could feel the rib floating.  I was in awe that this guy went past all the aid stations between the 11km mark and what was now about the his 45k mark and still moving.  Tough. Tough. Tough. When I got to the Lodge I stuck to the plan of making a full upper body change so I swapped out my wet and sweaty tops for dry tops and it felt great.  When I took off the Hoka OneOne Mafate and put on the Hoka OneOne Stinson Trail shoe it felt even better.  My feet felt light and I was ready to run.  I opened a foil packed with a FlapJacked pancake and ate it as I set out for Loop 2. [caption id="attachment_9805" align="aligncenter" width="172"]bandera 100k - ultra trail race - runner - race report Check out the mud on my shoes at the end of Loop 1[/caption]

Loop 2 - The Second 31

As I started running I could feel how light I felt.  My hydration pack felt lighter which told me that I would need to fill up at some point because being out on those trails without liquid would not be a good idea.  My feet felt great and it seemed as if the mud was not sticking as much to the Stinson as the Mafate.  The best feeling though was the fact that I was dry. During the first part of Loop 2 I kept repeating to myself that I needed to race the daylight.  I am not a fan of wearing a headlamp and with the trail being difficult and my first time on it I wanted to get as far into the loop as I could before having to wear the headlamp. [caption id="attachment_9806" align="alignright" width="199"]Bandera 100k - ultra trail race - race report Middle of Loop 2 - Notice how clean my shoes look now[/caption] It was at this point that I made the decision that aid stations were pit stops and not an opportunity to strike up conversation.  My goal was to stop at the aid station and down two cups of coke and grab two Oreos to eat as I walked.  When I hit Nachos there were about 10-15 athletes hanging around and I went right past them following my plan.  Relentless Forward Motion was the name of the game at this point. As I came upon hills that were not steep I made the decision to run them as opposed to walking them because at this point I have nothing to conserve my energy for.  I ran the flats, the uphills and descended and I felt myself getting strong.  Reaching Chapas I followed the aid station plan and kept moving. When I hit Cross Roads the first time on Loop 2 I refilled my hydration pack as well as the two Oreos and Coke and then kept on going because I knew in this section there were some steep climbs as well as the fun descent that I wanted to hit in the daylight.  I was fortunate enough to do so and when I got to Cross Roads the second time I grabbed a cup of coffee because the sun was setting and I could feel that I was getting cold when I left aid stations due to their warmth inside the tents. As I left Cross Roads I was only focused on getting to Last Chance.  4.2 miles and nothing else mattered.  During this section I came upon Ted who was Bib# 333 and I stuck to his tail as much as I could.  Eventually Ted and I ran into two other athletes and we all ran as pack for a while.  After about 1 mile one of the athletes pulled over to use nature's restroom and we kept going.  When we reached Last Chance I could tell that we were covering quite a bit of ground at a decent pace and yet my legs still felt very strong.  When we left we ran into another athlete but it was not long before it was just Ted and I. After having run 5-6 miles together we finally decided to chat.  As I found out Ted lives in Austin and is from Zimbabwe.  What a great conversation and what a great way to kill the last 4.7 miles.  At one point I told Ted that when we hit the field he did not have to worry about out sprinting me because my only goal was sub-16 and injury free.  His response was: the podium is all yours.  We had a good laugh. Ted and I were clicking off the miles and passing a few runners when I told him that I thought we were finally done passing other athletes and this was with about 1.25 miles to go.  Sure enough within minutes a head lamp appeared from behind us and I remember hearing Ted say something along the lines of: somebody caught us. That was all I needed to hear and for whatever reason I took off like a jack rabbit.  I began descending as if it were a perfectly gorgeous 55* day out with the sun shining.  Except it was below 32*, raining and muddy beyond belief.  When I finally stopped descending and realized I had smashed my toe and knew I was within 0.25 miles of the finish line I had thought I would stop running and coast in.  My legs had a different idea and I kept running.  In fact I ran so much and so hard that I wound up being that dude that passes people as they get close to the finish line.  I apologize to the two ladies I passed but my legs were moving without my control it seemed. As I crossed the finish line I looked at the clock and saw 12:52.  Not only did I eclipse 16 hours and earn a ticket into the Western States Lottery but I also beat the 14 hour goal and was now below 13 hours as well.  WHAT?!?!?! [caption id="attachment_9795" align="alignright" width="300"]bandera 100k - ultra trail runner - race report USATF 100k National Championships[/caption] The official from USATF asked if I was in the Championships and before I knew it he was handing me a medal as well as getting a belt buckle from Joe the Race Director.  I walked into the lodge area to get my gear as I was expecting to go to the car and change and then come back to get Jeff when I realized he was standing in front of me.  When I asked how he managed to close so  fast he told me that he crushed his ankle and was driven to the finish line.  I was bummed because our number one goal to stay injury free was not accomplished by Jeff.  We walked back to the car and got changed when I saw the back of the USATF medal and it showed 3rd Place M40-49.  WHAT?!?!?!?! Two days later I am still shocked by the race I had.  It was nothing I expected but I am very happy with the outcome.  More importantly I ran this morning and my legs feel pretty good.  In addition to that Jeff says his ankle is feeling much better and he thinks he will be more than ready for Rocky Raccoon 100 on January 31st.

Thank You

Thank you to Joe for putting on a wonderful race.  Thank you to all the volunteers who braved miserable conditions to support us.  Thank you to all the athletes for lining up to run and making this an experience I will never forget.  Thank you to my wife and stepson for their never-ending support of my dumb ideas.

Published in Race Reports

Ultra running is defined as anything longer than 26.2 miles, or the marathon distance.  I recently joined the ranks of ultra running by participating in 4 different events over the months of February and March.  The distances covered were 50k (31.1 miles), 50 Miles and 100 Miles.  In the past these distances would have been daunting.  As a matter of fact the 100 mile distance is still daunting and will probably always give me pause before hitting the register button.  The 100 mile race has the opportunity to present so many obstacles, especially on the trails and in the middle of the night, that it is the race that I think I will always question my preparedness just before the start of it. The question of ultra running being 'good' for you physically came up earlier today when Regina posted a video and tagged Jeff and I in it.  I watched the video and found myself shaking my head at every comment the athlete made.  All of it made so much sense to me except for one comment:  "I have a lot of fun doing this but I don't think it is necessarily good for you."  It was this comment that started a conversation amongst us, including Kevin.

The consensus seemed to be that running this distance, in the video the athlete is running 135 miles, is not good for you physically.  At first I agreed but then I started thinking a bit more about it.  At what point is there diminishing returns on a race of this distance?  Athletes are not necessarily going into Zone 3 and Zone 4 in their heart rate, so what is the taxing portion?  Is the question more about being sleep deprived?  What about those in the armed forces that are up for longer periods of time? More questions than this popped up but the reality, for me, is that this is not a scenario in which you are looking to improve fitness.  Your fitness is achieved in the weeks and months leading up to the event.  Your body is then restored during the recovery phase, which for me is currently at the end of Week 2 from Lake Martin 100.  Did I gain any fitness over the course of 28 hours?  I highly doubt it but I did gain something much more valuable at this point and for the future. What I gained from ultra running was a mental advantage and that is priceless and will pay dividends going forward.  When I first took on this challenge I looked at the miles that I would be running on a daily and weekly basis during the training.  Weeks that included 85 miles and 90 miles.  Back to back days of 31 miles and 20 miles were staring me in the face.  They seemed so daunting but as the training continued these became commonplace and while not 'easy' they were no longer frightening.  My mental ability to comprehend the distance, break it down into manageable parts and then achieve the goals improved from Day 1 through the start of the race.  During the race I was able to rely on the fact that I had put in 18 weeks of training that involved 1,000 miles of running and I was prepared, both physically and mentally. Today I am looking at a race schedule for the start of 2015 that includes a 100k, 100 miler and 50 miler all in the course of a month.  3 months ago I would have laughed to keep from crying.  Today I smile and say:  Yes, I can do this.  Today I think to myself about how awesome it is going to be to go through the training and accomplishing the daily goals and race goals.  This mental edge will allow me to perform day in and day out and to achieve even better physical fitness.   This to me is far more of a benefit than any detriment that may or may not come from running 100 miles in a given day. A year ago there was an article on TriathleteMagazine.com regarding what happens to the human body during an Ironman.  This was an interesting look into the physiological process that takes place.  An Ironman is hard, but running a 100 miler is harder so this take can be changed in terms of the physical tolls.  All that being said the following line from the article is what makes me think that the mental gains far outweigh the physical toll that takes place during these endurance events, including ultra running: Fortunately, though, those years are restored to you within a few weeks. Then it’s time to start thinking about tickling the reaper again. I would sacrifice a few weeks of non-activity to recover in order to reap the benefits that the sense of accomplishment brings.

Do You Think Ultra Running, Or Endurance Events, Are Good For You?

  For reference here is an article from The New York Time that is also interesting reading. New York Times Blog: What Ultra Marathons Do To Our Body.

Published in Train
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:01

Mindset Adjusts But Goals Remain The Same?

[caption id="attachment_9540" align="alignright" width="206"]mindset - ultra trail race - run Source: JeeJee Safir[/caption] Mindset can be your best asset, yet simultaneously can be your worst enemy.  When I first tied up a pair of running shoes my mindset was:  How Far Can I Go?  That day I lasted 400 meters around a track before feeling as if kerosene were poured down my throat and a match lit inside my lungs.  It burned and it hurt bad.  Instead of going home I walked 400 meters.  I then went for a second run of 400 meters and that same burning feeling came on.  400 more meters of walking and I headed home.  A total of 1 mile but my mindset was established.  I was going to tackle this whole running thing.  I was not going to give up on myself or my goal which at the time was to run 1 mile straight.  In less than a week I ran that mile and the next goal was set.  2 miles running.  Then 5 miles running.  Then 10 miles running.  You get the picture. I got to the start line of that first half-marathon in the heat and humidity and gave it my all.  Around Mile 10 I had to walk because the fuel to go on was gone.  What happened that day has been happening ever since.  For the past 7 years I have trained for a race.  I have gone to the start line and raced my hardest.  Some days were terrific and other days just sucked.  Either way I was going back to the training grind to get better.  To help develop a new skill for making me a better athlete. Along the way I have realized that the one asset I have is a strong-willed mindset.  I am a determined person and I pursue my goals and dreams with an almost reckless abandon.  This weekend I will be at the starting line of a 100 mile race.  I have zero clue as to what will unfold.  I haven't the foggiest idea if I can make it because it is all unknown, just like that first half-marathon.  What I do know is that my mindset is to go and race the course.  My mindset has been established to allow myself to be smart about the race and pace it from the start.  I have established a feeding routine as well as a drinking routine so that my mind will be as clear as it can be and capable of pushing my body for 20+ hours of running.  Being a stubborn mule, in this scenario, is going to provide me the strength to carry-on and also to motivate Dave and Jeff along the way. This morning as Karen was leaving for work she expressed some fear about us doing this race.  Karen will not be there so I can understand her thought process, but I gave her every bit of confidence that this was going to be fine.  She asked me to not go beyond my capabilities and I promised her I wouldn't.  I told her that I would not allow myself to crumble to the ironwill of the finish line.  Being smart about this race is what is going to allow me to finish this race.  And once the race is complete the focus and mindset will shift to the next training cycle, but while on the course I will be living in the moment. [caption id="attachment_9538" align="alignright" width="225"]mindset - ultra trail race - run Source: Career Rocketeer[/caption] During a text message exchange with our crew leader Caroline I told her that she will have to use her instinct to gauge how we are looking as we enter the aid stations at Mile 50, 68, and 75.  If we are looking ragged then she needed to be forceful and tell us to sit back and not head out for a moment until we rehydrated and ate something.  Our mindset is that of competitors.  Get it done regardless of what may unfold.  Push yourself until the brink.  Run and if you end up in the med tent so be it.  That is where our mindset can be our liability.  This is not a sprint or a marathon.  This is a 100 mile endurance event.  We will be racing this course with as much mental strength as physical ability.  This is what excites me, but also scares the living crap out of me. There have been days over the course of the past 18 weeks of training where I thought to myself:  I got this.  No problem. It will hurt but there will be no stopping us once we get going.  In the past two weeks I have begun to question the physical ability to go from dark to light to dark again. To go from cold to warm to cold again.  To lasting 24 hours without a meal but instead consuming liquid calories and Oreos.  It seems overwhelming and daunting but then I am brought back to my imagination of the elation of crossing the finish line and high-fiving Jeff, Dave and Caroline and saying: We Did It.  That mindset is what will carry me through.

What Has Been Your Mindset Heading Into A Race? How Has It Changed During The Race?

Published in Race
Thursday, 20 March 2014 09:09

Running 100 Miles Fears And Thoughts

[caption id="attachment_9530" align="alignright" width="151"]running 100 miles - fear - thoughts Source: Lake Martin Website[/caption] Running 100 miles in a couple of weeks or even one week is daunting.  Running 100 miles in one day can be downright frightening.  When I registered for Lake Martin 100 I was excited to be taking on a challenge that I never saw coming.  It was one of those moments where you think to yourself:  F' It Let's Do This.  After hitting register you think to yourself......what did I just get myself into. I applied all the training mantras and thoughts from going through Ironman cycles to this training yet it always seemed different.  I tried to incorporate swimming and biking when I could but it just seemed to get in the way.  As a matter of fact I have not been in a pool in about 4 weeks and my bike has not seen my a$$ in more than 6 weeks.  The training, especially the overload weeks, did not allow time nor the motivation to do either of the other sports.  There were days were I wanted to go swimming to aid in the recovery process but then thought to myself:  pack bag, get in car, drive, change, swim, change, get in car, drive, unpack bag.  No thanks I'll just sit on this couch and exercise my thumb as I go from channel to channel. Throughout the heavy training I would think about scenarios in which I needed a response for that just in case moment on the course.  Yesterday, I was speaking with co-workers about running 100 miles and they asked me was I worried if I would finish.  My response came quick and with authority:  NO.  I have trained myself to combat the physical fatigue that is going to occur but I wonder where the mind will go when the time ticks closer to 14-15 hours.  I then started to think about other things that give me pause and this brief list is what I came up with.
  1. Temperatures when the sun goes down.  As many of you know I am a cold-weather wuss even though I ran the A-OK in sub-20* temps I am not a fan of cold weather.  I would rather run in heat and humidity like I did at Ironman Texas than to run in anything below 40*.  When the sun goes down we will have been on the course for over 12 hours and thus the mindset then needed to battle the physical fatigue is going to increase because the sun has gone to sleep and the temperatures will get colder.  Making sure that the gloves I start the race with are in my hydration vest so that they are on my person when the time comes.
  2. Weight Loss.  There is not much I can do about this but it is in the back of my head.  When Jeff and I ran Rocky Raccoon 50 back in February I managed to lose nearly 10 pounds despite drinking close to 120 oz of liquid while consuming a Oreo, M&Ms, Potatoes and liquid calories.  My fear is more about the strength needed at the end of the race to carry on.  Dropping that kind of weight may hamper my ability to move on.  The good news is the chance to eat like Michael Phelps the next morning.  Think of all the pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, hash browns, fruit, oatmeal and coffee one can eat after a running 100 miles. OK, not a fear anymore.
  3. Blisters On My Feet. This is another scenario in which preparation may not be enough.  I will be cutting my toe nails this weekend so that they can grow a bit but not be too long for the race.  I bring this up because I forgot to do just that for RR50 and while diving downhill I felt my toe grab my sock and sure enough a huge blood blister formed.  Regardless of blisters forming I will finish the race but being in discomfort for very long will take a toll on the mind.
  4. Caroline Our Crew Leader. She scares me.  I am not kidding.  She is a 3:05 marathoner and having to deal with three idiots in the middle of the Alabama woods may be more than she can handle and thus turn into the person that just yells at us and crushes our souls.....I am just kidding.  In our exchanges for the past couple of weeks Caroline is the one thing in this race that is going to be constant....other than PAIN!!!!
Ironically, the pain is not something that I fear.  We all know it is coming and we all know we are going to get through it.  It is the unknown that causes the most pause when it comes to running 100 miles.  That being said there is a start line and a finish line that we all will see.  What happens between those lines is going to be an experience and one that I am thrilled to be sharing with Jeff, Dave, Caroline and the GoPro. OK, maybe there should be another fear...... [caption id="attachment_9531" align="aligncenter" width="300"]running 100 miles - fear - thoughts Source: Lake Martin Website[/caption]
Published in Race
As you may know I am racing Rocky Raccoon 50 this coming weekend and that race along with the Rocky Raccoon 100 last weekend made me think about qualifying times for these races.  Really it was about cut-off times which lead to the thoughts about qualifying times.  Anybody who is involved in endurance sports knows that there is a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon and the Ironman World Championships in Kona, but what about having qualifying times for other races.  Would you run in a race that required you to qualify somewhere else?

Bear with me as I explain this and then give me your opinion about qualifying times.

The cut-off time for a 100 mile ultra is typically 30 hours while the time for a 50 is 15 hours.  When you think about these times in a per mile pace they are quite generous as is the 17 hour time limit for an Ironman, which I have written about here.  For example, the per mile pace for a 100 or a 50 with those cut-offs is 18:00.  That does not seem daunting does it?  Seems quite feasible to make it across the finish line at that pace.  Of course, this does not take into effect the terrain, weather or other factors but all things being equal this seems quite doable yet people are not finishing these races in these times and are getting pulled off of courses.  This past weekend the DNF rate for the RR100 was ~57% so I have  been told.  That is high and there are going to be a myriad of reasons why.  Weather certainly played a role but what about the person that is just not ready for this type of event? Would a qualifying times system of races prevent the 57% DNF rate?  I do not know but it couldn't hurt.  It also couldn't hurt to protect people from themselves.  I understand that there is no fail safe built into this idea and not every variable can be addressed but there could be a system that works for people. Let's say a race organization decides it wants to only conduct half-marathon or greater distance events.  In order to register for the half-marathon distance you must have completed a 15k in XX:XX.  I do not know what that is so let's just assume it is 2 hours which is a 12:54 per mile pace.  Now on the course the cut-off for the 13.1 miles is 3 hours which is a pace of 13:44 per mile.  Not impossible by any means but would you do it?  Would you register for this race if you knew that you would be close? Let's take another example.  In order to register for a 50 mile or 100 mile race you had to have done a 50k with a time of 8 hours and 30 minutes or a pace of 16:27 per mile.  If the cut-off for the 50 mile race is 15 hours and you could run the 50k in 8:30 then you should have no problem getting to that finish line in time.  The same can be said for the 100 mile race.  Would this make these races a sort of elite racing organization? [caption id="attachment_9409" align="alignright" width="276"]qualifying times - marathon - triathlon - endurance sports Ironman World Championships - Kona[/caption] The organization would not be built to eliminate anybody from doing it but it would certainly create a system in which the bucket list person, who has no desire to train thoroughly enough, was forced to think twice before registering.  It may also save them from themselves.  If you are on a 100 mile race course for 30 hours that means that you are most likely awake for nearly 32-34 hours straight which just cannot be good for your system.  You are stressing the body in an unsustainable way by not completing the 100 mile race in 30 hours and a system like this may just save that person from long-term harm. I know people are going to say that everybody should have a chance to race and I do agree with that which is why I am saying that it would be one race organization and not every single race.  This would allow anybody who wanted to cross half-marathon off of their list of things to do to be able to do just that, but it would also give those who wanted to race a race that did not have tens of thousands of people who had no desire to push themselves to the limit be standing at the starting line as well.  And before you say that people are pushing themselves remember that a recent article in the Wall Street Journal of half-marathon and marathon times shows that runners are getting slower. I know for me that this would be enticing.  An opportunity to qualify for a race that only allowed a certain few in and those few were the fastest on the day they raced.  I have been at the starting line of the Las Vegas marathon in what seemed like a race only to come across people who had no business to be at the front of the start of the half-marathon be in the way when we merged. By in the way I mean walking before Mile 1 and be in the marathon lane.  It was frustrating and maddening for me when I wanted to run as fast and as hard as I could to have people who seemed more intent on looking at the fountains of the Bellagio than to be racing be in my way.  I worked my ass off for that race and the people sauntering along did not seem to care about their finish time or the race in general and were just happy to be in Las Vegas. Let's also talk about the sense of accomplishment.  If you wanted to race that marathon from XYZ Race Company but knew that you had to finish a half-marathon in 3 hours but kept falling just short wouldn't that sense of accomplishment be amazing when you did cross in 2:59?  The person that is finishing the half-marathon in 3 hours is going to have a hard time qualifying for the Boston Marathon but having qualifying times for a race series may give them that sense of accomplishment.  From the marathon finish they may decide to work just a little bit more to compete in the 50k and then the 50 and 100 mile races. For triathon a similar series of events could take place with athletes having to qualify at the sprint distance in order to race the Olymic distance and then 'graduate' to the Half-Ironman and eventually Ironman.  If they are 'crazy' enough (I use that term lightly) to go for a double or triple Iron distance event then the race director will want to know that they finished an Ironman in 15 hours (making it up!)  The opportunity to continue to grow in the sport just makes too much sense to me.  Maybe because it is my idea…..who knows.

What are your thoughts on qualifying times?

 
Published in Race
IMTN or Ironman Chattanooga challenge has entered week 14 which means that lucky week 13 has passed.  The week brought about separate challenges for KC and I and that proves that no one training cycle is ever going to be perfect.  It also goes to show you that you cannot compare yourself to anybody else while training for an Ironman because while the paths may meet on race day they certainly take their own turns and twists on the way there.  Week 13 In Review.

KC's Lucky Week 13 Challenges And Solutions

[caption id="attachment_9395" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman - training - endurance sports - triathlon Tackle The Challenge Head On.....Then end the week with a 100 mile bike ride![/caption] This week was interesting in that I had to play a smart time management game. Work is notoriously crazy the first 3-4 months of the year, then it stays busy but settles down with a few ebbs and flows throughout the rest of the year. Anyway ...what I'm trying to say is that there are no excuses. If you  want something bad enough, you will make the time to get it done, no matter what. Needless to say, I worked 6 days this week and about 11 hours of overtime, yet, I still managed to get all of my training in and then some. I snuck an extra day of Xfit in (yay me!). It's pretty simple, I make sure I have several sets of workout clothing with me, toiletries, extra food, and I'm good to go. Thankfully, we have an AWESOME gym set up at work, so I can go down whenever and get an awesome workout in, shower, then get back to work.
I'm still going strong on the century streak. I did my 5th century today, so that is 5 for 5 ...hell yeah!
Other than that, still tame on the training front. Next week looks much the same. I can't believe I'm saying this but I sure do miss swimming! BUT, I have to stay clear of any infection causing bodies of water for another 3 weeks ...meh! I'm ready to hit the pool that's for sure.
That's all I got for ya ...
Upward and Onward!

Jason's Week 13 Challenge And Solutions

Many of you know that I am racing the Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra trail run this coming Saturday and that means that I have been in taper mode since last Sunday.  While there are runs on the schedule they are not long, at least not long in comparison to the overload weeks where 70+ mile weeks were the norm. Taper usually brings with it the crazy feeling that I have not done enough.  I call it crazy because if you have been following a well-thought out plan and did the work then you have done enough.  Period.  This time I decided to take taper very seriously and not do anything but taper.  I had 5 runs schedule for the week and I did 5 runs.  I did not go to the pool.  I did not get on the bike.  I ate wisely and did what I needed to do to bring a spring back to my legs and it was there when I went and did a 10 mile race. [caption id="attachment_9393" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman - training - endurance sports - triathlon Fort Worth Running Company Chocolate Chip 10 Miler Data Points[/caption] This 10 miler was not going to be a race where I take off and hope to hang on.  As a matter of fact it was a race to get the 10 miles in without being bored by myself.  As the gun went off and we were cruising at a very manageable pace I decided that my legs felt good enough that I should negative split the entire race.  Add in the fact that it was cold out and finishing as quickly as possible certainly enough of a reason.  At the turn around point I dropped a gear and ran faster with each passing mile and my legs felt springy.  They had life in them and I knew right then and there that the taper, as hard as it was to not swim and bike, was working.  I finished 11th overall.  Part of me says:  Had I run hard out of the gate I could have finished Top 5, but this was not an important race as much as it was an important brick in the ultra trail run wall. This upcoming week is more of the same.  Lots of do nothing.  Lots of pay attention to sleep.  Lots of pay attention to food intake.  Lots of mental prep.  The taper challenge will continue but the light at the end of the tunnel is right there and come Saturday when the gun goes off all of it will have been well worth it.  Oh, and check out the forecast for Saturday.  Running in the woods in the mud.....just like being a kid.   [caption id="attachment_9391" align="aligncenter" width="200"]ironman - training - endurance sports - triathlon Rain = Mud. Mud = Fun. Let's Do This![/caption]
Published in Train
Monday, 27 January 2014 08:44

Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 - The Doldrums!

The ups and downs of training for an Ironman, or any event, can take a toll on a person's psyche.  Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away for a day or two.  Get away from it all and allow the universe to take control.  As endurance athletes we are Type A meaning that we want to have all the control, but at times that can wear you down and the effects can be seen in your performance, your diet, your sleep patterns and just about anything that takes place in your life.  This week seems to have been the doldrums for both KC and I but for different reasons.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 Recap

Ok, these weeks lately have been really lame and boring but you know what? I’m okay with that. I feel like I still need the down time for my brain. My mind hasn’t quite wrapped itself around training for another Ironman yet but it will soon. And once the physical and the mental parts come together in harmony, like when the stars, moon, and planets align, it’s game on and full speed ahead. For now, I’m happy with where my training is. [caption id="attachment_9384" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - duldrums KC's 'light' Week 12 Training Log.
Not sure a 4th Century Ride in 4 week is light.[/caption] I have a confession to make. I’m a very spontaneous person, so when I get something in my head, I usually just do it. Last Friday was a testament to that spontaneity. I had been thinking about getting my nose pierced for quite some time, so when I woke up last Friday, I decided that it was the day to finally do it. So I did. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know why you will not see any swimming on my calendar snapshot until the beginning of March. No swimming allowed because the puncture could get infected and who has time for an infection? I do have a 70.3 on March 22nd, I haven’t swam since Ironman Florida and I AM NOT ONE BIT WORRIED. I’ve taken long breaks from the swim before, only to come back even stronger within a few sessions. The same cannot be said about long breaks from running and biking. The fitness is lost too quickly on the run and bike, unlike the swim. At least that has been my experience, so I don’t fret over it. This week’s training was good. I got my 4th, 100 mile ride in today, so that makes a century every week for the month of January. Not too shabby, huh? I’m thinking I’ll try to keep that streak going if I can, for a while, maybe through February. My running is coming along nicely. I’m slowly inching up the mileage …slooooowly. I would like to have an average of about 30-35 miles of running per week by mid February. That’s a comfortable range for me. This week’s lesson is practicing setting short-term goals. Not looking too far ahead just yet. It’s too early in the game (the game being IronmanTennessee). So far, it is working very nicely. No burn allowed here! Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 12 Recap

Last week was the final week of overload training for the Rocky Raccoon 50.  The week totaled 70.68 miles which is the second consecutive week I have gone over 70 miles and totaled 209+ miles over the three weeks.  Needless to say that final run on Sunday was a sap sucker as well as de-motivator for the upcoming race.  My legs were extremely heavy & I was sore in my lower back which I attribute to two things.  The first being that I was coming down with a bit of a chest cold and having run 26 miles the day before on the road.  The road just trashes your legs and it was evident from step 1 that the run on Sunday was not going to be a pleasant one. When I finally finished slogging through 11+ miles I landed on the couch and spent the rest of the day there.  I had no desire to do anything and the energy was quickly fading as the hours ticked away.  I finally fell asleep for a short nap, which normally energizes me but this time just continued to make me tired.  When I woke up I started questioning my ability to race these 50 miles.  Questions such as:
  • [caption id="attachment_9383" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - duldrums Managed three swim sessions and have a goal of a :39/50y on the 4th of 4x50 descending.[/caption] How am I ever going to get through 50 miles if I am this tired after 37 over two days?
  • Should I have started the overload week a bit earlier to get in more miles?
  • What would happen at the Lake Martin 100 if getting to 50 is so hard?
I questioned and questioned and questioned.  I then made the determination that I was not going to get up early Monday and go to the pool or get on the bike.  I was going to sleep in and allow my body to heal.  I was going to sleep in and allow my mind to regain the strength it had lost during those two hours of running on Sunday. Right now I am in taper and the amount of miles I run this week is approximately half of what I have run in the past two weeks and it seems glorious.  I have gone through overload three times in lead up to Ironman races and none of them were as hard as the three weeks for the lead up to Rocky Raccoon.  Getting through those weeks and preparing the mind and body for the race in two weeks is going to be my sole focus.  Nothing else matters and I am okay with that.  Lake Martin 100 training will effectively start the week after RR50 recovery and then and only then will I concern myself with 100 miles of running.
Published in Train
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