Thursday, May 24, 2012

Almost Moments of Brilliance

     Every year I am trying to solve the mystery of my training for a more successful season. This year I feel a bit closer to solving this magical equation. My goal was to get a jump on my big race season with the Massanutten 100 Mile in Virginia, May 2012. I covered 69.6 miles in 19 hours 50 minutes with the last several miles a very slow walking pace. My legs felt stronger than ever when I dropped at the aid station. Throughout the day, I climbed with power, ran a comfortable pace on the flat sections and maneuvered the downhills with a conservative pace in order to be able to race the last 20 miles of the course. The overall pace on the day before those last few miles was 15 minutes per mile. Usually, most ultras for me are a positive split and the plan this time was to produce a negative split with the enjoyment of running strong in the last section. Around mile 40 the pads of heels started to blister, then my toes & balls of my feet started to go about 50 miles. Dropping is never a choice I want to make and I been over thinking my decision since that moment. After my race report here are the three things I felt made a positive impact on my training for the race.
      First...Last year I noticed that by increasing my speed & decreasing my mileage to an average 50 mpw in training runs yielded better performance. Where as before in 2010 logging more miles at a slower pace with an average of 90+ mpw. Building off of that this year I pushed my pace into the 7's for most runs 10 miles or less and even down to low 6's on less than 5 milers. Even track sessions were sub 6:00 minute miles. The longer runs, 20+ miles, were close to 10's. In the past when logging high mileage I was dropping the pace to 12-15's so that I felt good to be able to cover 100+ mile weeks.

      Second ....was building overall strength. I got a personal trainer in March. She builds very intense 30 minute strength sessions twice a week. In addition, there is an hour track session every other week. She has a lot of plyometric exercises, minimal rest breaks (less than 10 seconds most times), and explosive lifting. This has helped my body run harder longer for longer periods of time. Not to mention I gained over 5 lbs of muscle in this short time. Last year I was running at 155 lbs. Now I am running at 172 lbs.

      Third.... was building a bunch of training races. I basically, had a race every week for two months leading into my focus race. During this ramp up period I had numerous 5K, 8K, 50K and other various races. Every race I went out strong and held for as long as possible then running on tired legs. I had one PR set in the 50K with a time of 4:36:43. The first 10 miles of the race I averaged a 7:48 per mile then slowly dropped over the next 20 miles. In addition, several age group places in most of the races.

      I now have a good base, decent speed and strength to do the job. Expanding up that I am set to tackle Angeles Crest 100 Mile this July.

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