Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eight Weeks Out: Endurance Challenge

This week was an exercise in increasing miles goldilocks style, not too little, not too much but just right for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.  I hit this elusive target in that the miles I put in were challenging and I feel recovered enough to put in more challenging miles.  All the runs were of the hot and humid variety and while Tuesday and Thursday featured AM runs it was of little increased comfort.  In order to make the most of time constraints my long run was a two a day effort and likely the best approach in this heat.  The rest of the week was filled out with swimming and biking.

M:  ½ hour swim (1500 m)
T:  1 hour run  (10 mi)
W:  ¾ hour bike (14 mi)
F:  1 hour run (8 mi), and 1 2/3 hour run (13 mi)
S:  1 hour mountain bike (8 mi)
S:  1 ¾ hour bike (28 mi)

Sunday’s social ride in the heat was one day too many.  It is difficult to say no to a beautiful woman.  Starting Friday evening my recovery began being compromised in the interest of social standing.  I have paid for it.  There has been no training this week after I came down with a dose of food poisoning Sunday night and I have not eaten a full meal since then.  With Endurance activity comes a compromised immune system and the need to take nutrition, hydration, and sleep very seriously.  A 5k might kill me right now.  This week has been about fighting dehydration and restarting my digestive system.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nine Weeks Out: Endurance Challenge

My calves ache and my feet have taken a pounding in recent days.  When I wake up from a good night’s sleep and take my first steps I can feel the good ache in my legs and feet as my contracted muscles stretch out.  This past week I ramped up my running in preparation for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.  27 miles marks a five week high and I got in two good time trial efforts in the form of Milwaukee's Bastille days 5k and the Dances with Dirt half marathon at Devil’s Lake.

Devil's Lake Dances with Dirt Elevation story

The week started out with early AM runs of 5 and 6 miles in the heat and humidity on Monday and Wednesday.  These were slow miles with the dog and having not run in the AM for a while I was still acclimating.  Thursday night was the always fun Bastille Days 5k running through downtown Milwaukee.  There is always a fun atmosphere with lots of hot bodies on display and good eating.  I did not know what to expect for performance.  I felt strong, went out fast and gradually faded with mile splits of 5:41, 5:54, 6:36 and a final time of 18:49.  It was a good time trial and puts me about a minute slower than where I was during my spring training cycle.

Pre race dinner hickory smoked beer can chicken

Come Saturday I had another race effort, this time the Dances with Dirt half marathon in Devil’s Lake.  I drove up Friday and camped with some friends.  During the hot night before the race I woke to a few Charlie horses.  There was a lot of climbing in those first few miles of the race and my calves were still destroyed from the 5k two days prior. I walked most of the uphills and wondered if I would be able to knock this race out in less than 3 hours. The embarrassment of being passed by what felt like everyone was a little much. After the initial climb I sped way up catching most everyone that owned me on the climb. The downhills were wide open without switchbacks which I loved. Good race, and a good wake up call to my current running fitness, would do it again.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Next Big Thing: North Face Endurance Challenge

My mission to get stronger / faster specific to running has been going sideways these past few months. The decrease in volume and intensity in training was a much needed physical and mental health break laying the ground work for the next period of growth. Sometimes it just feels good to take it easy with no plan other than if it feels good do it after a long stretch of busting ass.

alt="Click Here to Register for The North Face Endurance Challenge"

width="200" height="250" />
The next big thing in my life is the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k nestled in the scenic Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest of Wisconsin. My love and I camped and knocked out the ½ marathon last year and it was awesome, wrote all about it here too.  The plan this year is the same, camp and run, probably mountain bike that weekend too.  It is time to get serious about running again to knock this out.

2012 thus far

As it stands right now I cannot do a 50k.  Turns out you actually have to run consistently to maintain 50k level fitness.  My last 50k was at the beginning of May and this race is in the middle of September. I am no mathematician but can count on my fingers and that leaves ten weeks to get back into 50k shape. I know where I want to be and I know where I have been so planning a course of action to bridge the two is all that remains.

Mountain biking in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest

I will ramp miles up to my sweet spot of 30 - 40 miles a week over the next couple weeks and load most of the miles into the same 24 hour period. I see a lot of base building long runs with some tempo work but will lay off the intervals. I see myself hitting up the kettle moraine state forest a lot for race day specific terrain and I can also mountain bike there. Did I mention I have been spending a lot of time mountain biking? Yes, yes I did.  It is like trail running, all off road and all good.