Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 UROC 100k preview - I'm entering uncharted waters

2012 UROC 100k - My pre-race thoughts

--100 kilometers.  62.2 miles.  Ten 10 k's.  Two marathons and roughly a 10 miler.  Whatever you want to call it, this is the craziest thing I have ever attempted.--

In September of 2011, I did something I never dreamed possible.  Heck, I didn't even know things like this existed three years ago.  I completed my first ultramarathon.  I know, I know.  Most *real* ultrarunners don't even consider a 50k an ultramarathon, but in the technical sense, it is, and I did it.  I ran the sister race of the UROC 100k -- the Uber Rock 50k.  It was an amazing accomplishment, and all of my training paid off as I ran one of the best races I've ever ran.

Leading up to the race, however, I kept telling Summer that "it's only a 50k.  It's not even a real ultra.  Those other people are running the real ultra" (talking about the 100k race).  So think what you want.  Maybe it's a real ultra, maybe not.  Either way, I did it, I finished it, and I had a great time doing it.  The weeks afterward, I was still enjoying the fact that I had done what I set out to do.  So much that the 2012 race registration opened in October and I began thinking.  Dreaming.  Saying, what if......what if I did the 100k?  Could I do it?  Could I put in the training and do something like that?  100 kilometers?!?  Roughly 62+ miles.  It's only 100k.  It's not like it's 100 MILES.  Wait, wait, wait.  Scratch that train of thought.  THIS IS a big deal.

Summer was pregnant with our first baby at last year's race.  Would she be able to put up with me going on long training runs again throughout the summer?  Would I be able to do the long training runs on minimal sleep given that we would have a newborn?  We talked about it, and surprisingly, she encouraged me to sign up for it.  The 50k was such a great race, with great crew access, that Summer was able to follow me all day long.  She enjoyed it as much as I did.  And that's just one more reason I love her so much.  So, roughly $175 later, I'm signed up for my first "real" ultramarathon.

--Training/Year in Review--

I ended 2011 feeling strong about my training.  I was putting in consistent weeks and January came along.  I did my first Frosty 50k and finished in 5h10m and was pleased with the result (57 min. 50k PR!)  Next up was the Pilot Mountain Payback Trail Marathon in my backyard.  Again, great finish in 4h1m with a 42 minute PR from the same race last year.  Trying to keep myself in marathon shape, and unable to resist the $10 entry fee, I did the Virginia Creeper Trail Marathon in March to make for my third race in as many months.  Afterwards, I stayed in training mode and signed up for the Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 miler in June, thinking that would be a good training run in preparation for UROC 100k.  I faultered.  I ignored my body.  I developed 'discomfort in my knee'.  Eventually I had an MRI to learn that I had a slightly frayed meniscus.  After careful deliberation, I threw in the towel and backed out of the 50 miler.  I could have ran it, and possibly finished.  But if I had made my knee worse, that would have impacted my chances of doing my goal race, the UROC 100k.  So I bailed.

I took a few weeks off and things started to improve.  I started June and slowly began running again.  Taking mandatory rest days, I was increasing mileage again and feeling good.  My monthly mileage began to show improvement:

May (injured but in denial):  77 miles
June: 150 miles
July:  182 miles
August:  254 miles

By the end of the summer, I was feeling great.  Putting in consistent long runs, doubles sometimes three times a week.  Everything was falling into place.

Labor Day weekend I had planned to do my longest solo training run ever.  I didn't have a mileage goal, but I wanted to be on my feet all day.  I did just that.  I covered 35 miles in 9h18m, with 7,200+ ft. of elevation gain.  More important, I broke through the 30 mile barrier which had plagued me in previous long runs.  This was a big confidence booster.

My last long run was an experiment.  20 miles in 3h43m and no calories.  I had read about training your body to burn fat economically and how beneficial it was in long runs/racing.  So I tried it.  It too, was an amazing run.  I really enjoyed it and felt great.  This left me ready and excited about UROC.


I did my normal two week taper.  First week was great.  No 'taper madness' had set in.  Week two was a different story.  I was ready to just go run, but I had to finish the week out.

Last night, (Wednesday....3 days before race day), my fears became a reality.  I had been saying to myself all week that I should probably wear shoes and not flip flops like normal when I'm around the house.  Didn't want anything to happen to my feet.  I did not heed my own device and ended up stubbing my right big toe outside so hard that it felt broken.  The toenail ripped and was hanging off.  It bruised immediately and turned black/purple.  I had spotted the race a toenail head start.  After some maintenance this morning, it's still bruised.  I'm not sure how well I'll be able to run but as another running friend said, by mile 35, something else will be hurting and I won't be thinking about my toe.

--100 kilometers.  62.2 miles.  Ten 10 k's.  Two marathons and roughly a 10 miler.  Whatever you want to call it, this is the craziest thing I have ever attempted.--

Monday, September 17, 2012

Race # 25 - Kernersville Rotary Club July 4th 5k

Kernersville Rotary Club July 4th 5k
8:00 AM
Kernersville, NC
Time: 20:39
Place: 55/567 overall, 9th place age group

I guess I need to write a little something about my 25th race.  My sister invited me to run for free in the Kernersville July 4th 5k race.  I rarely turn down a free entry fee so I decided to give it a go and run a rare summer time race for my schedule.

I had no plans for this one.  I didn't care how I finished.  Of course I would see how fast I could do it, but I wasn't banking on any sort of PR given that it was really warm at the start.  There were 567 finishers so a pretty big turnout and one that I didn't want to be stuck in the back of.  So I lined up near the front and took off at the sound of the horn.

A few turns and we were out on Main St.  This course is an out and back that is slightly uphill, then a little down, and then turn around and back.  As usual, I started out a little too fast so about a half mile in, I finally found a decent pace.  Mile one clocked at 6:21.  Still a little fast, especially with the temps.  I kept it on cruise control though and tried to block out the uncomfortable feeling and the thoughts saying to slow down. I actually used a water stop in this race which is a rarity for me in a 5k.  But a little cold water to wet my mouth and dump on my head was welcomed.

Mile two I clocked in at 6:42.  So as expected, I slowed it down a little.  Doing quick math in my head, I had then ruled out trying to PR.  I was ok with that given that my PR was in a December race on a similar course in this city.  Temps were about 25 degrees cooler though.  As I made the turn at the halfway mark, I wanted to keep it steady for the finish.  I knew I didn't want to be passed, as usual.  So I kept motoring.

My Garmin had given me a low battery signal at the beginning of the race so I was just hoping it would hang tight until the finish.  We finally made our way back off Main St. and into the final two turns.  The last part was slightly downhill.  Mile three clocked at 6:48 so still slowing a bit but whatever.  I'm ok with it.  I did have one final kick at the end and I tried to catch a guy in front of me.  But when I kicked, he countered and we blazed through the finish line, him beating me by a step or two.  Nothing like battling it out for 54th position!

My Garmin actually died right as we were making the final turn and it was 3.11 miles in 20:32.  So that meant that the course may have been a little long but who knows.  Official time is 20:39.  I'll take it.