Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just running

Still have not signed up for another race, but my running has gone remarkably well and I have 2 races planned right now. Let's catch up on my training first.
I started something new the week after my Laurel Fork Falls run - I started running 5 days a week. I've purposefully never ran 5 days a week before, but thought I'd see how it goes. So each week I am doing 4mi hills (ICAR), speedwork (6-7mi), a tempo run (6-10mi), another 6mi hills (ICAR) and I am back to doing a longer run. After my run tomorrow morning, this will be 4 weeks in a row with 37+ miles. That is a first for me. I am surprised how well it's gone (and with yoga twice a week). Last weekend's long run was 17 and it was so easy. 2nd half faster than the first, and my last mile was my fastest. I also just restarted my speedwork/FIRST program to just a bit faster than I had been doing 3:40 training from a 3:45 marathon training plan.
I was contemplating an April race, either Sweet H2O 50k, Southern Blue 1 day relay, or Xterra Hickory Knob (3.7mi + 7.2mi double event), each one the weekend of April 21st. In the end, I think I just decided none of those, as that weekend may not work for me (maybe a work-travel thing). I'd love to do any of them though...tough calls.
What I am signing up for soon is the Race For Awesomeness (12hr, Individual, Day - not the 24 hr, or the relay, or the Night run) on June 2nd. I really want 50 miles. 53 would be even better - a double marathon. Heat will be a factor, but I will prep as well as I can. And isn't that the best name for a race??

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trail Running on the FHT!

So I got back to the trails last weekend and my motivation has definitely returned. A group was getting together to run the Foothills Trail Heartbreak Bench Marathon Saturday morning at 8am. It's an out-and-back from Hwy 178 towards Lake Jocassee to a particular bench. I wasn't quite up to a full marathon (training or time), so I came out to run 13 or so.
I joined Scott, Scott, Lester, Joe and Chris as we left the parking lot and climbed the stairs onto the Foothills Trail. This is the starting location of the difficult Laurel Valley ultra that is held in August. 33+ miles with no aid. I have never been on any of this section, so I was very excited to come out and see some of it. Joe pretty much took off from the start, and I hung out with Chris & Lester mostly. Scott H was a bit ahead and Scott was a bit behind. We four would all be together again as I stopped to turn around.

The trail was wonderful and I quickly remembered how much I enjoyed this. The week leading up to this - I wasn't even sure if I was coming out here, so I ran my normal schedule. Long-ish run Sunday, speedwork Tues, tempo run Thurs and some hills on Friday. I do not do the 3 straight days of running thing often, but legs felt pretty good. I got a quick introduction to some of the Steps that people always refer to on this section.    

They were a bit slick going down (we had torrential storms early this morning but not a drop during our run) and slow going up - both ways.
Great scenery - waterfalls, bridges, trees, etc - and great running. After an hour - made it to Virginia Hawkins Falls (~4.8mi in). Timing was good so continued on to Laurel Fork Falls and made it there in 1:33 or so. Went just a bit further, said my goodbyes, and went down a side trail to the Lake Jocassee boat ramp access.'s some photos of some of these things:

Virginia Hawkins Falls

Laurel Fork Falls

Lake Jocassee & Falls

One of many bridges

Suspension Bridge

Laurel Fork Creek

I turned around after 1:41 of running - just over 8 miles I'm estimating - and felt Good! On the way back - legs started complaining on some of the steps, but felt decent on the flats and excellent on the downhills. Came upon 3 or 4 sets of hikers while returning, took a few more of these photos, and enjoyed being outside. Took short detours twice on the way back, but quickly got back on trail. Sun finally came out not long before I finished, but it never did get terribly warm. With my handheld and 100oz camelback - I was overcautious carrying that much and only ended up drinking 45 ozs of water or so. 3 Gu's and half a PB&J bagel was plenty to keep me energized too.
Ended up finishing in 3:43 for almost 17 miles worth and still feeling good. Such a I can start planning for future runs/future races. Nothing just yet - but soon I'll decide.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


So - After a disappointing (to say the least) Harbison 50k in early January - my motivation was GONE. Didn't want to think about any race of any distance. I kept running 20-30 miles a week though, now having done 7 weeks of speedwork and tempo runs. Have not run over 13.5 miles at a time - but that will come back. I am just beginning to consider racing again, just not sure when or what distance.
Not going to rush into another 50k (or more) undertrained (we'll see about that!).

Right now - plan is to keep the speedwork/tempo runs going and "think" about extending my long run to 15-18 miles again, maybe every other week, pushing my weekly avg up to 35 (or what it was training for Chicago, but with shorter runs).