Training Widget

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hills before the mudder

Day 485 - April 30, 2010

I closed out April with a 6 mile run on hills in the heat. I was actually glad today was warmer and waited until 4pm to run so it was good and hot. Sunday at the Tough Mudder is forecast to be in the high 70's and 80's. That will be a shock to a lot of people who have been training in the 50's and 60's. I also picked a run with the longest hills I could find for one last workout before charging up those ski slopes at Bear Creek. I can't wait to run this race. I'll post a recap as quickly as I can - hopefully Sunday night, but probably on Monday.

Here are the stats for April.

April - 131 miles
Year to Date - 522 miles
Streak to Date - 1982 miles

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trail Run - Hightop Mountain

Day 479 - April 24, 2010

I'm so far behind on posting but I'm going to try and catch up. Here's an account of the trail run I did this past Sunday.

When my running partner canceled on me at the last minute, I decided to head up to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and get one more trail run in before the Tough Mudder. To keep it simple, I chose the first trail south of the Swift Run Entrance. The Hightop Mountain trail starts at an elevation of 2637 feet above sea level and quickly rises to over 3500 ft (3608 according to my GPS).
The trail was in really good shape. I had no trouble with footing and there was only one section where it was especially rocky. No, the hard part was the climb. Nearly 1000 feet in less than a mile and a half on the way out. I broke it up with several walking breaks, but I tried to keep moving.

The other difficult thing that I hadn't expected was the temperature and the wind. when I left my house, it was 60-65 and a little breezy. Up on Skyline it was easily 10 degrees colder and the wind was howling. Of course I was completely unprepared and only had on shorts and a t-shirt. I contemplated heading back down to lower elevations but decided to stick it out.

After reaching the summit, I started down the other side of the mountain and the next 2 miles or so went very easily. I cruised down the trail and my only concern was that I was going to turn around at Smith Roach Gap and run back up the same downhill I just enjoyed. It turned out to not be that bad and I walked even less on the way back.

I really enjoyed all the signs of spring. The trail was lined with fresh green grass and many different wildflowers. I stopped a couple times on the way back to snap a few photos.

All in all, I think I'm as ready for the race as I'm going to be. The climbs were not that bad and I was able to get back up to speed on the downhills. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Still Tired

Day 477 - April 22, 2010

The half took more out of me than I thought. I'm still not feeling very peppy on the runs. Another short run for me tonight - just two miles.

The official half marathon results went up last night. My official time is 1:24:35. I still think that is about 20 seconds faster than I really ran, but my finish photo showed 1:24:45 on the clock and I guess I could have been 10 seconds back from the line at the start. But, I have no idea how my watch time (1:24:57) and actual time could be so far off. Oh well. I'll gladly take an 8th place finish in a race with over 1000 people!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Still Recovering

Day 474 - April 19, 2010

Still in recovery phase from Saturday's half marathon. I feel pretty good, just some soreness in the hamstrings. Tonight was a beautiful evening for a run and I really enjoyed the 3 miles. I'll probably continue to take it easy until this weekend when I'll do one last long run before the Tough Mudder.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Charlottesville Half Marathon

Day 472 - April 17, 2010

Today's race went really well. I finished in 84:54, and 8th overall. The part I'm most pleased with was the strength of my finish. At 10 miles, I was 65:35 and really disappointed. That was over two minutes slower than my 10 miler time two weeks earlier. I knew I would be a little slower, but two minutes was way more than I expected. At that point, I thought my shot to break 85 minutes was done.

I figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried to pick up the pace, get to the top of Grady Ave and let it all out on Preston. When I finally reached the finish, I had done it. It took a sub 20 minute last 5K and sub 6 final mile, but I had broke 85 minutes and set a new PR in the half.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blame It on the Running High

Day 462 - April 7, 2010

Finally! After years of trying and waiting too long, this year I didn't procrastinate. I am officially registered for the Marine Corp Marathon in DC on October 31. I am very excited. I haven't run a marathon since 2003, but this is going to be the year I break 3 hours and qualify for Boston. I can't wait.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Photo from yesterday

My good friend Roger took this photo just before the 5 mile mark. Thanks Roger.

White Oak Canyon trail - This is a recovery run?

Day 459, April 4, 2010

What was I thinking...ok here's the deal. With the Charlottesville Half Marathon and the Tough Mudder races fast approaching, I needed a way to balance my road and trail running. There are three more weekends before the tough mudder and one of those is the half marathon. An 8 mile trail run the weekend before or the day after the half marathon sounded like a bad idea and I'm not sure how much benefit I would get from waiting until the weekend before the race. But, I really need the trail work. What to do?

As I posted yesterday, I ran the Charlottesville 10 miler and today should have been a recovery day. But I decided that today was the day to try the trail run. I called up a friend and off we went.

We found the lower trail head off of Rte 600 and started out at a leisurely pace up the trail. The first mile was a gentle climb and not too bad. But, then it got steep. The trail was in pretty good shape and there were plenty of waterfalls and views to distract from the pain of climbing. Near the top, the trail leveled out and there was another mile of relatively flat running before reaching Skyline Drive, 1 hour and 12 minutes after starting. Not bad for 5.2 miles....wait a can an 8 mile run on an out and back course be 5.2 miles at half way? I went over to the trail head sign and sure enough, the GPS was dead on. This run was going to be even further than the race yesterday. Fortunately, the down hill running wasn't too bad. I felt ever drop in my quads, but we were able to return to the car in just over 49 minutes. Not a bad pace for the terrain.

I'm sure I'll really feel it tomorrow, but I'm glad I got some experience in on the trails. I also have two weeks to recover before the next race, so I think I should be ready. I'll do some more trail running before May, but I won't tackle anything that long or steep. I need to really start thinking about the other obstacles and figuring out how I will maneuver them. It should be a fun 4 weeks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kicking butt in C-ville

I haven't posted an update on the running group in quite some time, but it is time to pay them their due. Of the 5 or 6 who ran multiple times with the group, 4 registered for the 10 miler and ran it today. Not only did they run the entire race, they all set personal bests. That is incredible. It was an awesome day.

Way to go Mike, Tyler, and Deb. You guys rocked today.

I also wanted to mention that I have checked off #3 on my list of goals for 2010. I crushed my goal of breaking 65 minutes in a 10 miler. 63:14 today and that is a personal best by almost 56 seconds. What an awesome feeling!

Charlottesville 10 miler - 2010

Day 458 - April 3, 2010

Kick butt! Today's 10 miler went way better than expected. The forecast was for heat, but it never got that warm during the race. My goal was to break 65 minutes if all went well. At mile 1, I was a little nervous that I had gone out too fast, but at that point, there's nothing you can do about it. I decided to just go with it and if I hit the wall, I would deal with it. Mile 1 was 6:13 and I followed it up with a 6:17 for mile 2, 6:11 for mile 3, and 6:02 on the mostly down hill 4th mile. The 5th mile is where things start to get interesting as you run back uphill through the downtown mall. The crowds on the mall were great and I was feeding off the energy. I finished mile 5 in 6:09, probably the fastest I've ever run that mile. Miles 6 and 7 get pretty hilly and I was really pleased to run 6:25, and 6:30. I generally don't like the 8th mile. It is a long straight stretch up Main St with very few people. Mentally I find that really tough. But, this year was not too bad and I maintained a 6:33 pace. From 8 to 9, you run up hill through the corner and then turn uphill on McCormack through UVA. This stretch always slows me down and I've never done that mile in under 7 minutes before. Today, I crushed it in 6:38. With 1 to go, I picked it up and pushed as hard as I could for the last mile. I was rewarded with a final mile split of 6:12, my third fastest mile of the race. Official chip time - 63:14 a personal best by 56 seconds and 4 minutes faster than last year! I finished 54/2700+ and 8th in my age group (yes, it is a tough age group). Thanks to all the people and volunteers who made this such a great race.