After I said I was going to take a break from ultras next year, there was a sense of relief and I started running more comfortably. The same thing happened last year when I stopped in the middle of Voyageur; I found myself thinking, "Ah. Now I don't have to do Lean Horse, either." Refreshed, I'm starting to think about races next year and I might stick to long races on easy courses like FANS, plus trail marathons and 50K's (now that I've taught myself that I don't have to race everything).
If anyone ever attempts to duplicate my race schedule for this year (not likely!), I'd recommend cross-training. I, the dinosaur who says one trains for running by running, am advocating doing something else. The continuous racing makes it impossible to train otherwise; I thought I'd be able to do easy runs or power-walking, but it's just draining. Not training except for ultras every weekend causes one to lose the ability to run a "reasonable" pace for a "reasonable" distance.
Some recent runs
May 19-25: 38 miles, at 8.5-9 minutes/mile. Some problems with right achilles tendon, which had been acting up in recent races.
May 26: 3 miles in 31, with three times up the Brickyard hill, once very hard (heart rate hit 180). There were scores of kids on a field trip, so I had to dart in between them as they wandered all over the place. One must've been a boy scout - he first asked if I was lost (I did go past him in both directions twice), then if I wanted something to drink; someone get him signed up for an aid station, quick!
May 28: Ran the Mystic Trail and Battle Creek. For those who care, the worst way to get to the Mystic Trail is to take Piedmont Street (unmarked) from Point Douglas Rd. to where it ends at map coordinates N 44 degrees, 55.448 minutes, W 93 degrees, 00.995 minutes. My Garmin said the trail's only 0.8 miles long. The trail's overgrown now and I had to run with my head lowered to get through; there was a fallen tree, so I had to do some bushwacking as well. I went to Battle Creek to test my heart rate monitor on a tough course, to see if my plans for Kettle Moraine made sense. I ended up averaging 12.5 minute miles, which seems too slow.
May 30: Call it 16.5 in 3:37 (I forgot to turn the Garmin on for a while). Ran with Alicia, Tom, Nancy and John. Storkamp looked like a wind-up doll trying to stay at our slow pace and left us after an hour. It was the first time I'd run with Alicia, even though we've both been at Afton thousands of times. It turned out to be a run at a heart rate average I'd like to maintain at Kettle - 22 hours for 100 miles is a very unlikely pace for me to maintain.
June 1: 5 in 59.5 (HR av=120). Another pace run at Battle Creek, turned out to be too hard. Saw a lot of butterflies: blue, orange and yellow, all tiny. Also saw at least 6 kinds of dragonflies. No deer flies yet, nor mosquitos nor ticks. Beautiful day, reminding me of why I run trails.
June 2: 2 in 16 (HR av=145, pk=174). Twice up Ohio Street hill, very hard. Tried to get heart rate to maximum, but started wheezing. Coughing badly for hours afterward. Probably just dry air (dewpoints in the 30's: it's like a desert this summer), but has me concerned for this weekend's race.
I plan to finish Kettle Moraine in 28-29 hours (and predict 23-24 for Matt). Then Afton 50K in three weeks will be easy, Voyageur 50 after that won't be bad. Lean Horse 100 should be my kind of course, so that doesn't worry me much. Superior 100 three weeks after that will be tough - very tough. Then four weeks off and I do Glacial 50 Mile and hope I'll be recovered in time. Lastly, Wild Duluth 100K only 6 days after Glacial... that is, well, "gnarly."
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
4 days ago