>A Comparison

April 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

>As race day comes closer and closer, I find myself doing more and more exactly what every ultrarunner does-but-should-never-do before a race….read as many reports about said race as possible. Just as with Western States, I find two bad race reports for every good, three reports of hot, humid weather for every year of cool temps and overcast skies, etc….. I’ll leave the details out, but here’s a brief comparison of the two races:

Western States: limit of 370 runners (lottery) + allotted qualification spots
Old Dominion: ?? If there’s 50 starters we’ll say its a good year.

Western States: Cutoff: 30 hours
Old Dominion: Cutoff: 28 hours

Western States: Aid stations: 24
Old Dominion: Aid stations: 24

Western States: climb: 18,000 feet. descent: 22,000 feet
Old Dominion: climb: 14,000 feet. descent: 14,000 feet

Western States: Originated in 1974 (oldest 100 mile run)
Old Dominion: Originated in 1979 (2nd oldest 100 mile run)

Western States: Pacer? Yes, for ~45 miles (a little less if you’re moving faster)
Old Dominion: Pacer? A safety runner is allowed for 12 miles

Western States: Point to point course, starting in Squaw Valley and ending in Auburn, CA
Old Dominon: Start/finish at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, VA

Western States: Finished in 28:09
Old Dominion: TBD 🙂


>Week 1

April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

>I generally don’t write all that much about my training, and I think that’s generally because I usually just run, bike, or swim…a lot. But, in an effort to do well at OD, I am doing more specific workouts the next 6 or so weeks to get ready. So I probably won’t detail them too much, but I’ll outline what I do:
4/19 – Easy 7.5 miles, 1 hour
4/20 – 15 miles; 6×7:30 in the middle; 2 hours
4/21 – 10 miles; 4x15min + w/u and c/d; 1:20
4/22 – Easy 7.5 miles, 1 hour
4/23 – 15 miles; 3×20 min hill workout; 2 hours
4/25 – 31 miles; 5 miles easy, trail marathon (race); 42 min+4:31 race = 5:13

Totals: 86 miles; 12 hours 33 minutes

Not bad. My legs took the increase in mileage really well. My strongest workout was the hills….I went out to Loch Raven Resovoir and clocked the hill from the bottom of Loch Raven Dr to the tippy top of Providence Rd to be 2.5 miles. I parked at the top and jogged down 20 minutes….turned around and ran back up in just *under* 20 minutes. Same thing twice more. The second run up was ~30 seconds slower than my run down, and my third was ~1 minute slower. So obviously good effort, and I held up well. That was Friday evening, and less than 12 hours later I was in Newark, DE for the Trail Dawgs Triple Crown Trail Marathon.  I needed to do at least 30 miles for the day, so I got there early to put in 5 beforehand. As I was lining up for the race, I saw that Nate, my marathon coach from USNA was running too! He was coming off of Boston this week, so neither of us were quite sure what the day would hold. I started out conservative, which was helped by the fact that the half-marathon starts 10 minutes ahead, so soon enough you are caught behind the slower half runners (sidebar rant for a second….if you are a back of the pack runner in a trail race, do NOT wear headphones. I don’t mind politely asking for a good place to pass and hanging out behind for a minute, but when I ask 2-3 times for some room but you can’t hear me bcause you’re jamming to Nickleback, it makes me want to push you in the river.)

Anyway, I came through the first loop in about 2:10 or so. Melissa, Brennan, Ryan & Meghan McGrath were all out there cheering for me (awesome surprise to see you guys, thanks again! And big shoutout to MEL who WON the 10K which she ran pretty spur of the moment on their way to Philly to watch others at Penn Relays….) Look how happy I was to see them!

Anyway, I grabbed some snacks and went out on loop two. The trails here were great – very runnable and well kept. I had a good time going the whole time (also thanks to the man at the aid station with the cold washcloths…that was awesome!!)

When I got to the final river crossing though I knew the day was beginning to take its toll as about 2 steps into the water I lost my balance and kerplunked in the water. The men I was running with did a good job of not laughing. But as I was getting up, I looked back and saw another girl. Shoot! I had managed to go all day holding 4th place and was able to keep racing out of my mind for the sake of having a good strong run. But 2.5 miles from the finish? Hell no! So I turned the wheels on and started pushing. About 3/4 of a mile from the finish, I saw a figure decked out in gold ahead of me….walking. Was that an N* on his back? Ha! I caught Nate! I yelled up to him “You better not let me catch you!!” to which he turned around and said some choice words. I caught him and we pushed each other up the last few hills and into the field where we finish. As we were sprinting in to try to beat each other, he turned to me and laughed and said “hey, just like old times at practice eh?” So that was pretty cool. It’s nice to race up North because it’s definitely a different crowd and kind of nice when I don’t know anyone else. But, it’s also nice to have a familiar face or two.

Anyway, I hopped in the car after grabbing a burger and headed home. My legs felt good, but my left foot has been killing me today. I am blaming the Brooks Cascadia trail shoes I tried out….which also turned to cement blocks on my feet after getting them wet. So yeah, sorry Brooks, not a fan.

Now it’s time to rest up for Week Dos…..

>Great Eastern Endurance Run (GEER) 100K Relay – Sept. 25, 2010

April 21, 2010 § Leave a comment


NEW! This year for the 8th Annual Great Eastern Endurance Run we are adding a 100K relay event. There are 9 legs and you can form teams of 2, 3, 4 and 5. The shortest leg is ~2 and the longest is ~13. Every team member must run AT LEAST ONE leg of the relay. On race day, you are free to switch around the legs as long as at the end everyone has run once. Each team will be responsible for one team vehicle to get to/from 9 transition points, as well as a race number belt which will be the team’s “baton.”
More details are here.
Any questions, contact me, I’m the RD for this event 🙂

>2010 Bull Run Run 50 Mile

April 15, 2010 § 2 Comments


What you’ve got boy is hard to find
Think about it all about it all the time
I’m all strung up my heart is fried
I just cant get you off my mind
-ke$ha, “your love is my drug”
*This song has nothing to do with the remainder of the post, I only want people to understand what was stuck in my head for 8 hours and 48 minutes.
**Parts of the remainder of this post (like much of the blog) may be enhanced for reading pleasure. This story, while based on facts, may not be completly true.
Bull Run this year came upon me before I knew it. Usually the week before the race I am planning race logistics out, packing on wednesday, leaving nothing to do on Friday except eat and sleep. This year was a little different. On Friday I was at Oriole’s (home) opening day at Camden Yards till about 630 , and came home to eat AND pack AND get to bed at a reasonable hour for a 3am wakeup. Luckily, this race requires little planning – you can only have a drop bag in one spot, so there’s only a couple things to prepare.
3 am came quickly, and I headed out of Baltimore towards Clifton, VA. Only about 80 minutes from Baltimore, these trails are often overlooked, but it’s a great area. I got to the start and picked up my packet, realized it was going to be much warmer than I thought and put on shorts and a t-shirt for the run. Since I still rely mostly on GU when I run, I would wear a Nathan racepack and then have everything I needed with there and at the Hemlock aid station (mile16). Going into the race I knew a couple things – one, I wanted to try to go out hard. This has never worked out well for me in a race; however, it is inevitable that I do this at least a couple times a year. I figured this would be a good race to get it out of my system before OD100. Second, I knew that as much as I could carry in my nathan pack, it was going to be difficult to carry all my GUs and I would have to find something else that worked at an aid station in order to have the nutrition to finish.
The race starts with a .75 mile loop around the parking lot to spread runners out before getting onto single track. I was with the top 2 women for this loop, and we headed onto single track. I kept them in view, but stayed in the pack right behind them through the first aid station. After that, you do a 2 mile out-and back on a fast trail down along a river. I was still very close to them coming back through that aid station, but I was beginning to notice the fatigue in my legs. I would not be able to keep that pace up much longer. So, I did the smart thing and dropped back on my pace. Unfortunately this left me in an awkward position in the crowd – not quite with the leaders but also no one right behind me. I was either getting passed quickly, or no one was around. Shoot. I came up to the 16 mile aid station and saw some friendly faces. I told Bobby that this was not going to be a pretty race for me (although I did remind him that I am always pretty…this was just going to be a struggle….haha). I spent a couple minutes changing my bottles and GU, and then headed out. At this point I was probably the 7th woman or so.
After this I headed out on the trail for the longer of the 2 out and backs of the day. I felt relaxed, but not comfortable. Instead of enjoying the run I knew I was working pretty hard, which made it more exhausting since I was focusing so much. It was obvious that when my mind wandered I paid the price. I took 2 good falls in the span of a mile and a half or so. After the second fall I rolled over and was sitting there looking at the damage to my knees and elbow when a gentleman runner came upon me. Bearing no race bib, he said “i’m just a runner, are you okay?” I said yeah, I was fine, just took a fall, keep going! But he said “are you sure? do you need anything?” At that moment I thought about it, and did what any girl would do….I pouted my lips and batted my eyes and said, well if you wanted to run to the next aid station with me that might be nice. Of course, that would be my wildest fantasy! he said. So I jumped up and we ran and chatted for the next 2-3 miles into the aid station. When we got there I went into the chute towards the tables to get fuel and he peeled away (turns out he was out there cheering on a friend). I felt much better mentally after having company so I moved on, knowing that the worst was (almost) behind me.
Not long after that I came upon what most would say is the most challenging part of the day – the Do Loop. Not even much of a trail, its a 3 mile loop consisting of a lot of steep uphills and steeper downhills….not fun after 32 miles. I dropped my pack for the 3 miles though and having a lighter load helped me move along. When I got back to the end of the loop there was also PIZZA there. I grabbed a slice of pepperoni and was super pumped about the treat that as I ran out of there with the slice in hand I told everyone who I was passing (as they headed into the aid station) that there was PIZZA!!! They didn’t seem to care so much.
Even though I had been over half-way done with the race for quite awhile, I was finally headed in the actual direction of home, and that’s a huge boost. But, apparently I wasn’t moving as fast as I thought because I got passed somewhere around 40 miles in. At this point I knew I was close to being in the top 10. So I kept pressing on and BOOM passed a girl who I hadn’t seen since early in the race. I felt great and was running the climbs too! And then the wheels started to come off. I left the 45 mile aid station feeling great and within about 250 meters I felt like I was moving backwards. I could hardly pick up my legs. I couldnt think of anything else other than oh. my. god. how will I ever get to the end?
I struggled mentally for a few minutes before getting a hold of myself. Then I went through my checklist: Was I drinking enough? yes. Salt? yes. GU? hmmmm…..Looking back, I realized I had skipped at least 2 GUs since the pizza. Whoops. I quickly popped 2 into my mouth, washed it down, and kept moving. Unfortunately, it was a little too late – the girl I had passed a mile or two earlier came rushing past me like I was standing still. Gah. After a little while longer, the GU’s set in and I was moving again. Lucky for me the energy hit right before a technical section and I was able to pass the girl again on the rocky part! I knew I was within 2 miles to go at this point so I kept my head down and ran. I got to the last climb and when I looked down from the top I saw not one, but two women behind me at the bottom. That lit the fire! I brought it in the last 400 yards, finishing in 8:48, 9th woman, 55th overall.

This time was actually a few minutes slower than last year, but that doesnt worry me. Like I said before, last year I think I peaked too early. Now is when I need to put in the work and get the job done. I have recovered well and will continue to take it easy this week and weekend. I’ll be heading down to Charlottesville to help with the marathon, and I am opting to skip Bumpass in the name of getting rest and not stressing out over a race that won’t help me towards my ultimate goal. I made a few mistakes at BRR but hopefully I got those out of my system. I had fun and I am confident going into these last two training cycles!

>Bull Run (Quick) Prequel

April 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

>Tomorrow I am running Bull Run 50 mile. Last year I enjoyed this race and had a decent showing (5th woman, 8:43). It got hot last year, and I also had a pacer for the last 10 miles, so this year could be quite different. Due to life (homebuying, moving, work, lack of motivation) I haven’t hit training too hard after Syllamo. Mostly, I think last year I over-trained in March/April and didn’t pay enough attention to the 6-8 weeks before Western States. So, this year I am taking it easy in the earlier parts of my season, and after this race I have 6-7 weeks before tapering for OD to really get to work. Given the base I feel I have right now, that is plenty of time.

Talking to Francesca last night, my plan is this: go out to race. The first half of this race is fairly laid back, very runnable. The second half is another story. So, the plan is to play it by ear. Hopefully I feel good and will be pushing for a top 3 finish. If that’s the case, go hard or go home is the motto and I’ll do my thing. If it’s not my day and just getting through the 50 miles will be a victory, I’ll back off, stay relaxed, and save myself because that means…….a double! If I’m not out there to race, I need to make the best of it and put in a solid training weekend. So the goal will be to keep myself together enough to be able to get up on sunday and run. I can again see how I feel and do at least 12 but up to 20 on Sunday. I may have to get out to cherry pit to do that, or I may get to patapsco and stay on the trails. BUT hopefully I’ll be baller and will only have to pay my dues on Saturday!

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