Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Fast, hills and endurance: PCT 50 Build Week

The training for a 50 miler is tough. You need to be fast, have strength on the hills and still have the endurance to push through about 8-10 hours of running!
I worked to cover all three this long weekend.

Fast: To celebrate the 4th of July I have raced the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon every year since we moved here...except last year when I had a sprained ankle. This race starts early, has a large crowd and is fairly well organized and is fast and flat. It also falls at a good time to check how my training is going for the summer ultras. I raced for the first time with my heart rate monitor. Tried to race smart. Start out slower (based on heart rate and therefore pace) than any other time with the plan to pick it up for the last 4 miles. Things were going well till my body let me down. I have had a few issues with my right leg. So which leg starts talking during the race: the left of course! :-) My left hamstring progressively got tighter so when I tried to start picking it up I was worried about "blowing a hami" and that would make a 50 miler pretty tough. So I settled in and just ensured to cruise it in. I placed 40 out of 1260 with 1:25:52. Full results are here. Not what I wanted to do but ended feeling strong and my quads just asking for more.

Did about 5 more miles of running to end the day with about 18 miles and 2 hours 10 mins. My friend Scott was a stud and did the full marathon in 3:36!

Hills: Saturday morning was early out to the top of Saltzman for 2 by 35 minute hill repeats. The same "St Helens to Skyline via Saltzman" I talk about here. I was really glad my friend Rick was joining more reason not to wimp out! I knew the start would be tough after racing on Friday but OUCHY on the starting downhill. After a good long warm-up we were ready to hit the hill. Both repeats went well hitting the top at 32 mins for both times. Good pratice with the fueling and hydration. The sad part is that I could only run down as fast as I ran up and my heart rate was too low. But only a minute slower on the ups from last time and better heart rate. Just time to do more stretching!

The details:
1. 55:14 (116 avg, 136 max) (warm-up)
2. 31:21 (166 avg, 154 max) (up)
3. 32:00 (120 avg, 164 max) (down)
4. 32:45 (152 avg, 169 max) (up)
5. 34:39 (131 avg, 183 max) (cool down)

Total 3 hours 5 mins and about 22 miles and around 2400 ft of climbing.

Endurance: Sunday morning before church was the long run. My left leg was still tight and there was many times in the first 5 or so miles that I was on the verge of calling it and just walking back and heading home. Then a funny thing happened: a second wind. I kept fueling and moving and finally hit the turnaround. I was running down to the start of Wildwood so heading back was more up than down. But with the hill training, the hills of Wildwood just melted underneath me. I almost yelled out: "Is that ALL you got" as I crested each hill. Pittock Mansion is bump! I was actually able to start posting some decent splits as I was climbing. Again better than when I was running downhill. The PCT will not be so kind (see the picture which is near the turnaround of the upcoming race) but it was good for me to feel the payoff of the workouts and mentally know that things can pick up when you least expect them.

After church and after Trisha got back from her mountain bike ride with Ronda, I did another 3.5 miles with the kids in the neighborhood. Total 3 hrs and 30 minutes and around 23 miles.

Highest mileage week so far topping out at 80 miles.
Now on to the really tough peak week...ouch :-)

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