Thursday, June 10, 2010

Green River Urban Adventure Ultra

The short:

Total Distance: 35 miles (34 continuous, 1 mile broken up)
Total Time: 7:58:28 [13:40 min/mile pace]

Breakdown (mile values are rounded off):

Home to Marathon Start: 6 miles @ 1:17:45 [12:57 min/mile pace]
Green River Marathon: 26 miles @ 5:33:09 (Officially recorded as 5:33:40) [12:42 min/mile pace]
Marathon Finish to Water Taxi: 2 miles @ 41:29 [20:44 min/mile pace]
Water Taxi to Light Rail: 0.5 miles @ 19:55 (too many damn stop lights)
Final stretch home: 0.5 miles @ 6:07

The Long:

Now, after last year's bomb-out at Mile 16 at the Green River Marathon, I wasn't going to be defeated this time. But I also wanted to be a bit eco-thrift-conscious. The race itself is free, but transportation efforts usually involved me driving to the finish line and getting a ride to the start, finishing the race and driving home. I didn't want to drive this time and I didn't want a ride. So this is what I figured to do. I would run from my house to the start (about 6 miles), then run the marathon (26 miles), then run to the SODO area of Seattle to take the train and bus home (6 miles). So I was looking at 40 miles of pavement to beat my body down with.

I got up and headed out the door at 5:30am on an empty stomach and started the first 6 miles to the race start. I decided to maintain a 3 minute interval setup where I would run for 3 minutes and walk for 3. For the most part, this worked out very well for the whole race.

My hydration was my 2 liter pack and a 24 oz handheld bottle. I had a bunch of GU's along with a peanut butter and honey sandwich for later, some S!Caps, painkillers (Aleve & Canadian 222's), and some Tums. I primarily lived off of the bottle, but did need to take some from the pack when my bottle refills ran out along the course. I didn't consume anything more solid until I got 4 hours into the run. I was quite surprised by this. However, when I reached MY marathon point, the wheels came off. I was tired as hell and had to walk hard for a good stretch. After pounding half the PB&H sandwich, two Aleve and two 222's, along with another GU before then, I was able to rock the 3 minute intervals again.

About 2-3 miles towards the finish, the blisters on my feet decided to bust open. HURT LIKE HELL. I was still functional otherwise. Muscles weren't sore like I'd expect and joints (especially ankles) were feeling good. Blisters and just being tired were my two issues that plagued me after crossing the finish line.

After eating the other half of my sandwich and drinking some more, I set off to tackle the 6 miles to SODO to get to the Light Rail station and take the train home. But two miles of struggling to run, eventually walking the whole way - I decided to just take the Water Taxi to Downtown Seattle and then catch the Light Rail and eventually get home another way to where I would have less distance to run.

In the end...

Original Plan: Run 40 miles collectively
Actual Outcome: Ran 35 miles collectively.

When I got close to home, I didn't take any breaks in time and ran the whole 0.5 miles. Figured I needed to man-up at the end.

Didn't crack 40 miles for the week, but it was a solid effort. Now I just have to get these blisters fixed cause they hurt!

Redmond Watershed 12-Hour Race Report

I've seriously neglected this blog, but as I said before - I'm still toiling away and still training. Although I'm also trying to still sort myself out.

In late March, I switched employers (YAY!), but with changes (good or bad) always has some kind of growing pain. So after missing Mt Si, I was more focused on getting some serious miles for the Watershed.

Last year, I volunteered as the Trail Director and Course Sweeper. I enjoy sweeping the course and I'm GOOD at it. I really embrace the "Leave No Trace" thing when sweeping.

The main goal was just to go as much as possible for the whole 12 hours. However, I didn't put in the running miles that I should have. Most of my regimen has been lifting heavy and some cardio from some biking and running. The course was going to punish me for sure.

Throughout the race, my ankles and the tendons around my ankles were suffering a serious beating. This is what I get for not training more specifically. I was running fine until the end of the 3rd loop and feeling my ankles buckling underneath me.

Reviewing my training weeks, I ran anywhere from zero to 10 miles a week. The last three weeks before the event I ran/walked 7, zero, and 5 miles. The zero was when I was sick as hell and trying to recover. Major muscles groups were pretty solid from my lifts. My hamstrings were sore, but not to the point of being debilitating. Had I ran more per week, have some decent long runs, I believe my ankles would have held up better and I could have gone further.

Thankfully, a timed event that is as long as this one allows anyone to chill out for as long as they needed to and I took that opportunity. So after a really painful 4th loop that had me walking and sitting to massage my ankles, I sat on the sidelines and chilled my legs in a very tall horse trough for over three hours before my ankles were able to support my weight again. I had decided to offer up my services again to Chris and Tom (the RD's) and sweep the course in the last couple of hours. So I went through the course in the final two hours, taking down markers and signs, looking out for trash and erasing any sign that the race ever took place.

Near the end, I managed to get in before the 12 hours were up and throughout the last loop, I ran pretty good for a big guy. Plus, that small loop was the most exciting thing to be apart of. Runners were going full-tilt at this point and at the end, I chased the first place runner down to the finish while ending my sweeping duties at the same time.


Loop 1 - 1:16:00
Loop 2 - 1:15:43 (2:31:44)
Loop 3 - 1:31:20 (4:03:04)
Loop 4 - 2:18:03 (6:21:08) <- Took a serious poop and a good number of rest breaks to massage my ankles
Rest - 3:38:51 (10:00:00) <- Refueled, Recovered, and shy of fixing myself up with duct tape and Gorilla Glue
Loop 5 with Extra Credit - 1:59:20 (11:59:20)

Total Distance:

28 miles (actual recorded distance since the extra credit didn't count: 26.88 miles)

Lessons learned: More specificity training...and more ice baths...and mixing Aleve and Canadian 222's is a GOOD THING.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Still toiling away. Still trying to find my groove.

Strength: Until I got really sick about a week ago, doing pretty well. Current strength cycle 1RM numbers based on my lifts in the Wendler 5/3/1 program are:

Back Squat: 310 lbs
Bench Press: 215 lbs
Deadlift: 355 lbs
Military Press: 155 lbs

However, based on previous workouts, my calculated 1RM are around here:

Back Squat: 330 lbs
Bench Press: 230 lbs
Deadlift: 375 lbs
Military Press: 160 lbs

Looking back, I'm a freaking long way from where I once was strength-wise and with this program, I can do it forever due to simplicity and always get some kind of gain.

Cycling: Minimum miles per day is about 7 miles. More of a challenge on the return trip having to contend with riding uphill to the bus station for about 1.5 miles. Some days I had to ride more due to my car going tits-up for various reasons (bad starter/alternator/battery, car accident, etc). Blame it on the evil 100 mile commute I had to do for over a year at my previous company. Anyway, back to the bike, my ass isn't as sore as it was when I started riding again and my legs are not getting nearly as knackered. Although I need to suck it up a bit more and learn to run on tired legs from cycling and try and gut it out when I have a strength session and my legs are still feeling the effects of the bike.

Running: This is truly the suck. I missed out on the Mt Si ultra due to the car issues. My mileage has tanked hard between getting sick and getting tired from riding my bike. However, when I did run, I was faster. One of my 5k-ish loops I finished in about 33 minutes, which is faster than I've done in some time. I am gaining speed and there is some endurance left. However, I know that this Saturday's Redmond Watershed 12-hour run is going to really make me suffer for missing out on those miles. But I'll use this race to my advantage and make my body remember what ultrarunning is all about.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm still alive

I've been quiet here, but I've been training. More strength work (appreciating the barbell more) and trying to get my mileage to previous levels of 30 MPW as the minimum. I'm starting a new job on Monday and will start to re-incorporate my bike commuting again.