Monday, January 31, 2011

January 2011 in Review

I should have just included this in yesterdays weekly recap, but the end of the month sneaked in on me.  January was a month full of a lot of snow.  There were no days where it snowed a lot, just a lot of days that produced a few inches here and there; ultimately, running was never hard to come by.  I never really planned on starting the year running as much as I have, it just kind of fell into place.  The majority of these miles have been spent on trails, grass, and gravel roads.  Very few of these miles are on hard surfaces.

Total Miles in January:  551 
Total Time in January:  69:46:07

551 miles is the most I have ran in one month.  During January, I also ran and won my first 50k.  The added relief of not doing highly intense workouts has left my legs open for some longer runs.  I must add that most of my running is slower now too, mostly due to the increase in mileage and the added difficulty on routes/terrain.

February looks to be a month of no racing.  I am fine with that.  I have a hard time justifying traveling more than a couple hours to race a 50k, because I can simply drive out to the forest and put together a sweet 31 mile loop that provides the same benefits.  Anything above that distance I am more willing to travel to race.  31 miles is a lot easier to run solo than 50 miles.  Leading into the end of February and the beginning of March, I should be ready to rock out a good 50 miler down in Texas!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jan. 24 - Jan. 30

Monday 1/24
AM:  8 miles (1:01:31).  Floodwall + barefoot
After my first class, I jumped up on the floodwall for 6 miles and then did two miles on the turf field.  Even though the turf had about three inches of untouched snow on it, I shed my shoes and went barefoot.  It felt like I was floating on pillows and these are the times I want to trash all my shoes for good.  Overall, my leg were feeling sluggish.
PM:  11 miles (1:28:07).  Shawnee State Forest
Took Joe Stewert out to "real" trails of the forest for his first bout with them.  This was probably not the best day to introduce the trails to him, as it was very slick.  Him wearing the Saucony Kinvara's (no traction) was probably not the best idea either.  We started from the 125 parking lot and headed counter-clockwise on the Main Loop, until the second #6 road crossing.  We turned right on #6, left onto Silver Arrow, and right to loop up back around to my car on the Day Hike Trail;  this was not the easiest of routes.  I think I was semi-bonking by the end of this run, legs were again feeling tired.

Tuesday 1/25
AM:  18 miles (2:12:54).  The Road(s) Not Taken
I'm not one to do a run of this distance purely on roads. I usually would do this on trails, grass, or some combination of those. Today though, after the first three miles of sloppy running on the trails, with my legs hurting, I decided to run the rest of this run on roads.
This run turned out to be one of my best runs in a while. I went out on Sedan-Crabtree and turned left on to Big Bear Creek Rd. I had never ran out here before, so this was all new. I found a small asphalt/gravel road, Edward Rd. and turned right onto it. This road probably lasted 2.5 miles. Turned left onto Mead Rd. and it too around 2.5 miles. Out and back.
The reason this run was so good was because it brought me back to my times of first getting into running. I remember running from my house out to back roads that I had never even driven on. I really loved doing this. Being in the country, there area lot of open fields, deer, dogs, friendly people, cows, horses, and its really good.
Same with today. Cows ran along the fence line, people outside their houses chopping wood smiled and waved at me, friendly dogs trotted beside me, and I watched deer play from a distance in the rolling fields; I even crossed the Pike County line on this run. This is the type of youthful adventure that drew me into running and it had been a long time since I've experienced this. I am thinking I need to go on these types of 'don't really know where I am" runs more often.
So, after a sluggish start to this run and my legs feeling beat, I was thinking of only doing about 12 miles and calling it a nice recovery day. This run turned out to be a lot longer and even faster then I imagined. I didn't drink water or take in any calories and feel strong. 
PM:  6 miles (46:01).  Brush Creek Area
After a long day, I am calling these the two best recovery runs I have did in a while.  Legs feeling much better.

Wednesday 1/26
AM:  12 miles (1:28:12).  Portsmouth and Floodwall
After my first class, I ran 8 on the floodwall and the rest up through town.
PM:  8.5 miles (1:05:03).  Floodwall +Turf
Ran out and back on the floodwall again, plus a little extra down in the youth soccer field.  At the end, I tried to go barefoot on the turf but the melting snow made it slushy and too wet/cold for me to handle, so I just ran around it with shoes on for a couple miles.

Thursday 1/27 
AM:  8.5 miles (1:05:26).  Brush Creek Area + Fire Tower
Ran the house trails, to the fire tower, and around on the roads. 

PM:  8.5 miles (1:06:23). Brush Creek Area + Fire Tower
Basically, this was the same run as I did in the morning, just instead of the roads, I ran more on the trails.
Friday 1/28
AM:  10 miles (1:18:31).  Brush Creek Area + Fire Tower
Woke up at 6:30 and decided to go run since I wasn't too tired.  Ran up Fire Tower on the fresh couple inches of snow.  Then I finished up on the slushy Sedan-Crabtree Rd.
PM:  7 miles (52:34).  Floodwall + barefoot
After class, I ran out and back on the floodwall.  Added two barefoot miles on the turf when I got back to campus.  As soon as it gets a little drier/warmer, barefooting should become a lot more frequent.

Saturday 1/29
PM:  15 miles (1:55:18).  Meigs County
I only did this one run today. Planned on doing 12 but it turned into such a nice day during my run I decided to do a little more and call it a day. Ran down Rocksprings, around Salisbury Elem., up around Meigs and 4 miles on the trails there (slow, muddy), and then back down Rocksprings. Near the end of this run, I envisioned I was running the end of a marathon and needed to run 7:30 for my last 1.5 miles to Qualify for the Olympic trails. Although I was probably actually only barely breaking 7 minute pace, I of course won the Marathon and qualified. Good run.   

Sunday 1/30
AM:  4 miles (29:57).  Meigs County
PM:  19 miles (2:22:11).  Strouds Run 
Parked at the Cucumber trailhead, ran up Rock Finger and onto Athens Trail to get to the lake. When I hopped on the road to get to the Sundown trail I caught up with two OU students who were running and asked if they wanted to run with me. They accepted and we did a loop around the entire lake via Sundown and Lakeside. When we got back to the Athens trail they split off and I headed back to the car.
This ended up being one of my best runs lately. I felt smooth, strong, and in control of my running. I ate a little 150 cal. fruit bar and had about 15 oz. of water. While I was alone, I was probably close to running 7 min. pace. Good day, good end of week.

Total Miles:  135.5
Total Time:  17:12:10

This is my second week of ending up with XXX.5 miles.  Although I can't say I didn't do it on purpose.  I want a round number to end the month.

This is also my highest week of mileage ever which is always a positive thing.  For most of this week I was feeling slightly sluggish but the weekend runs proved to be a little more free feeling.  The pain is my foot has gone away completely.  I figured it would with a lot of icing.  Now, there is some small inflammation in my left knee.  I am thinking maybe the inflammation from my foot just simply moved up to me knee since it is in the same leg.  It has not been a hindrance to my running though.

My training for Neuces (or really, just my training for anything this year) has gone very well.  I am not sure what my mileage will get up to the next few weeks.  I have about a month until the Neuces 50 and I suppose I will cut back a little in the weeks leading up.  Who knows?  I am just going to continue to run.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jan. 17 - Jan. 23

Monday 1/17
PM: 19 miles (2:16:55).  Fire Tower x 10. 
Yesterday, Wysocki went out and set the Fire Tower summit record with 5 trips up and down the hill in the same run.  I have never tried to do a lot at once but his feat made me want to go out and do even better. The hill is around 1200 meters from the gate to the fence around the tower, not to steep but running 7 minute pace is a struggle (5:15). The fastest I have ever ran it was 4:34 last spring. It is all loose gravel, making the footing not so sure and right now the snow is sill making it a little slushier. Here is what I did:
15:50 to get there.
1. 5:22.....5:05 down
2. 5:28.....5:00 down
3. 5:26.....5:02 down
4. 5:24.....5:00 down
5. 5:00.....5:08 down
1 minute walk
6. 4:51.....5:21 down
7. 5:36.....5:18 down
8. 5:42.....5:19 down
9. 5:22.....5:31 down
10. 5:00.....5:35 down
15:25 to get back
So, I was able to do 10 of them at respectable times, besides numbers 7 and 8 they were all under 5:30, even one real low at 4:51. This was a fun way to get a lot of miles in, 19 total, and it will provide for a good challenge on a later date. Plus, this was about 9 or 10 miles of just pure uphill running on the day.  Although this does not get my legs absolutely "rolling," this is as structured as a "workout" that I have did since cross country season. 

Tuesday 1/18
AM: 14 miles (1:45:00). Brush Creek Area, Fire Tower x 2
Ran on the House Trails with Karhu for a couple of miles.  I am glad I have found a dog, and even more glad that her favorite thing to do is run.  Can you imagine that!? 
PM: 6 miles (46:48). Brush Creek Area

Wednesday 1/19
AM: 7 miles (48:21). Portsmouth
Kept this entire run on the roads after my first class.  Foot problems.
PM: 13 miles (1:37:00).  Kentucky Ridge, Flood Wall
This was just one of those runs where I might of well not been running.  It would have been better if I could have did my entire run in Kentucky.  Alas I had to turn around due to the ridiculous amount of mud that covered my shoes.  It was not worth tromping around with 10 lb. feet.  Finished up on the flood wall.

Thursday 1/20
PM: 17 miles (1:09:01).Brush Creek Area
Did all of this days running at once.  Karhu joined me for 5 miles on the House Trails before I headed out on the Main Trail.  My footprints were nearly covered with snow by the time I got back to the house. 

Friday 1/21
PM: 12 miles (1:36:40).  Shawnee State Forest
I woke up and my foot was hurting pretty bad. Yesterday was basically pain free so I thought it was better... wrong. Looks like it was a little swollen for the first time.  So, I went and talked to Boggs, who was just as surprised as I was to be in the trainers room and not just to weigh myself or get in the ice bath.
He looked at my foot and pulled, twisted, yanked, and pounded on it every which way. He asked me if I felt any pain? I never know what to say to this question. He suggested it might just be inflammation or a little strain in a ligament, like an ankle sprain. I haven't "sprained" my ankle in a long long time but he said with all the miles I am doing something could have happened somewhere a long the way. I asked what the possibility of it being a stress fracture and he said that it would be hurting a lot more than it was, plus it feels better on runs, when the muscles and ligaments get stretched out.  I am hopeful that this won't be much more of a problem than it is.
So, after the training room stint, I headed out to the forest, almost forgetting what I had just been told and ran on a snow covered rocky trail. After 35 minutes my foot was still hurting so I got off the trail and ran about 25 minutes on the road before finding the Lookout Trail right off of Mackletree Road. I ran this the rest of the run and my foot started feeling better.
PM: 4 miles (32:24).  House Trails
I like that my excuse to run is to "take Karhu out for exercise."  She was loving the fresh snow.

Saturday 1/22
AM: 12 miles (1:30:04).  Brush Creek Area
Did the Main Trail plus 2 x Fire Tower additions.  I went hard up it the second time thinking I might get the record since there was good traction with a fresh set of truck prints in the snow.  But, my legs weren't up for the push.  Didn't even break 5 minutes.  I like pushing hard for a little but every now and then.
PM: 6 miles (44:42).  Brush Creek Area
Ran with Wysocki until the Main Trail branch-off and I headed back solo.  Good day with the foot after yesterday's debacle.

Sunday 1/23
AM:  4 miles (31:05).  House Trails
Morning "feel good" run with Karhu the Dog.  She cut the run short!
PM: 15.5 miles (1:59:39).  Great Seal
Met Keegan and Suka at the Lick Run trailhead for for fun snow running in Great Seal.  The snow drifts made for some slow conditions but overall it was a good, fun run.  Legs were a but tired, but not bad.  Foot = good. 

Total Miles:  129.5
Total Time:  16:17:39

Looking back, this week seemingly went by rather quickly.  Something I have been having a bit of an issue with lately is my left foot.  Even though I haven't mentioned it much, it has been about three weeks since it has been bothering me.  I do not deal with injuries very well and blocking them out seems to be the best option; this is not to say that I do not keep a close eye on a problem though.  When I woke up on Friday, simply blocking out my foot was not an option, so I went and talked to the trainer at the school later that day.  The visit was reassuring and I am more understanding of what the problem is.  He said it seems like a strain to one of the ligaments, the posterior talofibular ligament.  With that, icing seems to be keeping the inflammation down and doing different types of loosening exercises throughout the day keeps it from getting too rigid.  I can deal with this.

This week saw another increase in mileage (even though I said I would be sticking around what I was at last week.)  Without the fast workouts of past years wearing at my legs, I feel more up for longer running.  Plus, this is a natural progression I feel.  Something I am going to start very soon is running one longer run, 25-35 mi., a week.  I need to quit pidder-paddying around; I guess the snow is scaring me with the already strenuous trails out at the forest.  I'll buck up sooner or later.  Other then that, I will most likely keep the in-week routine of 15-22 miles a day for now.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jan. 10 - Jan. 16

Monday 1/10
AM:  5 miles (36:50).  Portsmouth  
PM:  11 miles (1:20:00).  Shawnee State Forest
Drove out to Forest after classes for the day.  Good to be back for the semester.   

Tuesday 1/11
AM:  13.5 miles (1:40:07).  Brush Creek
PM:  7.5 miles (1:00:55).  Brush Creek
This day was a bit strange.  A dog came out of the woods about 5 minutes into my first run and followed me the entire run and back to the house.  Then on the second run, she followed me again.

Wednesday 1/12
AM:  8 miles (1:00:44).  Portsmouth
PM:  12 miles (1:28:17).  Portsmouth
Decided to run in Portsmouth with the 4 o'clock practice.  Most of this run was with Jeremy Anderson.

Thursday 1/13
AM:  5 miles (37:00).  Crabtree-Cemetery
Ran from the house before I headed to Athens for the GRE.
PM:  11 miles (1:28:11).  Strouds Run
After I took the GRE, I headed to Strouds Run for a half-light, half-dark run.  

Friday 1/14
AM:  4 miles (29:33).  Crabtree
PM:  11 miles (1:15:00).  Marietta
I drove one of the vans to the Marietta Indoor Meet.  I just ran with anyone I could as they were warming up and cooling down throughout the night.

Saturday 1/15
AM:  13 miles (1:47:27).  Crabtree-Cemetery
Ran to the Fire Tower, back to the house, around the trails, and back towards the Fire Tower and back.
PM:  4 miles (31:23).  House Trails 

Sunday 1/16
AM:  18 miles (2:08:50).  Scioto Trails
Met Keegan at Scioto Trails and did the loop that he did back in the summer.  We kept a good pace on all the service roads, probably sub 7:00.  The trail sections were not entirely slow either.  This was a great run.

Total Miles:  123
Total Time:  15:18:17

This was a good week, the first week of the Spring semester.  I have semi-sorted out where and when I will be running throughout the week and I like the amount of times I have scheduled for the trails.  This will be the first time I could literally run on grass/trails every run of the week if I wanted to.  Although my plantar fascia muscle has been nagging me this week, I am overall in good health.  I have felt this type of strain before and it will surely go away within the next few days.  It actually did not hurt today on the run.  I also ran a little faster on a few of these runs this week, which means I recovered well after the 50k.  Looking forward to another good week of pure mileage.


Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Frozen Sasquatch 50k Race Report

Once again, the Frozen Sasquatch lived up to its illustrious name as the early morning brought 3-4 fresh inches of snow to the Kanawha State Forest in West Virginia.  Similar to last year, this was going to be a cold, snowy, slick, fun race.  

I woke up at 3:30 to make the very early morning drive through the whiteouts on I-64, arriving an hour early, unlike my fashionably late arrival last year.  I sloshed my car through the white parking lot and walked into the building to grab my packet.  There was hardly anyone there, but by the time I came back from the restroom and a short warm-up, the building was full of anxious runners bound to make the trek through the woods.  After chatting with some of the people I remembered from last year and met, we all headed back to the parking lot for the start of the race.

I started out casually behind a chunk of 50k/25ker's but by the time I was at the top of the first hill, I was running with Gancho Slavov and Adam Casseday.  Alaxander Wepsala, who I thought was in the 25k, was way up on everyone.  Later, when Gancho and I caught him, we found out he was actually in the 50k.  It was nice talking with Adam for the time we ran together and with Gancho for nearly 20 miles of this race.

At the end of the first lap (1 of 2 25k loops) I had to make a quick bathroom break and thaw-out my frozen water bottle.  I was quickly 4 minutes behind Gancho and Alex actually caught back up to me.  I spent the next 5 miles reeling back Gancho and when I caught him it was right before the second of three large climbs on the course.  I had been gaping everyone on the uphills all day and it was no different at this point in the race.

By no means a wildly elevated course, but the frequent uphills is what I felt the best on all day.  I jumped past Gancho as he started up the beginning of the hill and continued to push hard until the finish.  As I dashed down the final hill I could hear the people at the finish line some 100 ft. below cheering for me.  This was a good feeling because in only my second ultra, I was the winner!

Now, some more details about the race.  Honestly, I did not feel great at many points during these 31 miles.  The only times I did feel good, was on all the uphills.  I was able to power up all of them and felt more traction then I did on the downhills and straights.  I ran inconsistently, pulling away for a while, then being caught again by Gancho.  I was antsy to take the lead, but needed to just wait.

Another big problem was my lack of fuel during this race.  I mistakenly forgot to purchase any gels beforehand and all I was able to gather up was a packet of 8 PowerBar Gel Blasts, a total of only 190 calories, not nearly enough I would imagine.  Without any stores, besides Krogers that sells PowerBar products, I was not able to buy any Hammer Gel or GU Chomps, which is what I prefer.  I also brought three S!Caps that I stashed in my water bottle pocket, but was unable to use as my zipper froze shut.  I stayed hydrated enough throughout the race, the only positive thing about this aspect of the race.....

Although I tried to make up for the lack of energy supplements by grabbing handfuls of whatever at the aid stations, I did not prepare well enough; not nearly as much as I prepared for TNF 50.  With all that said, I still won the race and did not feel completely empty.

My first 25k loop was 2:23:30 (counting the bathroom break) and my second 25k loop was 2:14:07.  The fact that I negative split the race by over nine minutes really pleases me, especially since I didn't feel too fresh.  Once I got into the lead, my confidence really went up and I pressed harder than I pressed early in the race.  My final time was 4:37:37.

Finishing the Frozen Sasquatch on a Frozen day
With the slick, cold, and snowy conditions, the times were very much slower.  I would like to see what someone could run if the ground was dry for once.  Maybe next year?  I have ran a few runs now since the race and already feel recovered.  Unlike after the 50 miler, where I could barely run 3 miles, I am getting right back into the swing of things with my weekly mileage.  This was just another experience race before some bigger ones later this year.  


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jan. 3 - Jan. 9

Monday 1/3
AM:  9 miles (1:07:25).  Fire Tower x 2
PM:  7 miles (52:06. Fire Tower
Even though I normally would have made this day into a single longish run, I did run up some hills during both runs.  

Tuesday 1/4
AM:  12 miles  (1:28:13).  Fire Tower, Brush Creek Trail 
PM:  9 miles (1:02:42).  Portsmouth
Ran in Portsmouth with Erock.  First run with him since before break.  This is also the first time I ran this fast for this long since before break.

AM:  6 miles (44:00).  Fire Tower
PM:  11 miles (1:26:06).  Great Seal
PM:  6 miles (42:56).  Chillicothe
After I got out of Great Seal I met up with Corey and Holbert and they were still needing to run so I though I would tag along.  Thought they were only doing a few but ended up doing six.  I'm not sure if I have ever ran three different times in one day, even though the last couple runs were within an hour from each other.

Thursday 1/6
AM:  10 miles (1:20:00).  Great Seal
Great Seal again on this morning.  I was feeling particularly sluggish the entire run. 

Friday 1/7
PM:  8 miles (58:09).  Portsmouth
Ran in town with some of the guys.

Saturday 1/8
PM:  31 miles (4:37:37).  Frozen Sasquatch 50k 
There will sure to be a little race report coming within the next few days.

Sunday 1/9
AM:  6 miles (45:10).  Fire Tower
PM:  4 miles (30:43).  House Trails
This run was ran more for recovery purposes only.  Stretched real good and did "looseners."

Total Miles:  119
Total Time:  15:35:07

This week was up and down.  One good thing was the 50k I did on Saturday.  It was my second ultra and I got first place.  Still, I did not feel great during the race.  Actually, the only time I felt good was on the uphills.  I was happy with the way I was able to recover though.  I ran two smaller runs today and it didn't really feel like I ran 31 miles yesterday.  This week was about 15 miles and three hours longer than last week, so I am quickly jumping up.  Maybe that is why I have been feeling a little sluggish lately.

This time of the year is usually a time when I am starting to do 5 x 1 mile repeats and such to get ready for the track season.  It is kind of nice to think that I will be able to get some straight mileage on the trails as much as I want.  With school starting tomorrow, I will begin another scheduled semester, so I will quickly have to get on another routine of planning when and where I run each day.  During the winter break I have been at leisure for when I run.  I am looking forward to it though, its only my last semester as an undergrad....      


Monday, January 3, 2011

Dec. 27 - Jan. 2

Monday 12/27
PM:  16 miles (2:01:00).  Rocksprings to Meigs Trails

Tuesday 12/28
AM:  14 miles  (1:42:54).  Skinner + Add On Roads
PM:  8 miles (1:00:55).  To A-marts and Back + 4 on Texas
Got caught in the dark without my headlamp so I stumbled my way back to the house.

AM:  6 miles (43:30).  Hemlock and Back
PM:  8 miles (1:00:32).  To A-marts + 4 on Texas

Thursday 12/30
AM:  13 miles (1:36:30).  Rocksprings to Meigs Trails   

Friday 12/31
AM:  10 miles (1:10:37).  Peach Fork Rd.
PM:  5 miles (36:32).  From A-marts house
Last run in 2010!  It was a good, fun year.

Saturday 1/1
PM:  10 miles (1:13:16).  Trails from the Cabin
Sluggish on this first run of the year.  Drove back to Lucasville.

Sunday 1/2
PM:   14 miles (1:43:40).  Shawnee State Forest
Felt a little sluggish again on this run.  It was nice to get back into the forest though.  Non-snowy winter days might be my favorite days to run there.

Total Miles:  104
Total Time:  12:49:36


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Race Schedule for 2011

Yesterday (actually, early this morning) I talked about not having a solid race schedule for 2011.  I still don't have a solid one, but I have a lot of options weighing on my mind and often if I write a little about it, I will come closer to a finality.  For a couple of years now, I have told myself that once I ran my last cross country race my senior year, which I did in November, I will completely focus on ultra-running.  This is probably what will end up happening for this year, but I have thoughts about racing a little track this spring as well.  Here are some options for myself.....

For Sure Races I Will be Running:
Since this won't conflict with track races if I DO decide to do any, I will be doing a couple 50k's early in the year.  They are easy to travel to and I know the courses.  This early in the year, it is hard to find a big ultra to do, besides maybe Bandara and HURT, but those would require extensive traveling arrangements, something I can't do right now.  Even if they are small 50k's, it will be good experience and a fun time of running. 

Jan. 8:  Last January I ran the Frozen Sasquatch 25k and this year I will be doing the full 50k.  Since I won the 25k, I am able to race for free this year which is always good, and there are a lot of nice people from the Kanawha area that are good hosts.  The course is challenging and if there is snow on the ground again, it will be a fun adventure.
Feb. 12:  I also did the shorter version of the 50k at the Louisville Lovin' the Hills race last year and will more than likely do the full 50k this year.  It is a close enough drive from school, just like the Frozen Sasquatch, and these will be good little experience races, since I have still only ran one ultra.
The ALL ULTRA Possibilities:
Like I said, this will probably be the way I go with racing.  I go in and out with urges to run any track races in the Spring. 

March 12:  One race that I could possibly consider running is the Land Between the Lakes 50 Mile.  A couple of years ago I looked on the map and saw this area of land situated between two big lakes and ever since I have been interested.  Then, I started hearing more about it and even that they had a race in the area.
March 5:  If I do not do Land Between the Lakes, it means that I decide to do the Nueces 50 Mile Endurance Trail Run.  I found out about this race a couple of weeks ago because it is this years USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship.  It is in Texas and is inconveniently a weekend before Spring Break but there is some money involved and it would be nice to go to Texas, I have never been there.  I will keep an eye on this option for sure.

Since I will most likely be doing a 50 mile in March, I will need a little time to recover, if I react the same way as I did after TNF EC.  April will probably be a month of no racing.

May 7:  The North Face 50 Mile Regional - Bear Mt., NY. 
June 4:  The North Face 50 Mile Regional - Washington D.C.
I plan on doing one of the North Faces regional races sometime this year.  They are all a lot closer to me than the one in San Fran.!

July 30:  Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run.  This is the one race that I will be looking forward to the most, regardless if I run track or not.  Even if I do run track, my training will be good enough to do this 100 mile race.  This is also a USATF Championship race.  100 miles seems scary right now, but I am really looking forward to getting into my first one.  Plus, the course is in Ohio and probably less than a four hour drive.  That means I could spend a couple weekends getting to know the course.  That is of course, if I am still living in Ohio by then.  After graduation in May, I'm not sure where I will be.

After July:  After the 100, I will see how recovery goes and decide on if I will race in the remainder of the year.  This all seems so far away right now, but it's fun thinking about it.  There are still the three remaining North Face races after July 30th and many, many, many 50 mi. or 50k's.

The TRACK Possibilities:
If I decide to do track races I want to really nail it.  I will have a big base coming in and I have a good idea of what I would want my training to mimic, which is the basic schedule of my cross country training last summer through fall.

-From the time I started training for cross country last summer, it was 21 weeks until the All-Ohio Race, which was my best race of the year.  There was only 8 weeks of work-outs, the time before was pure mileage and one little summer road race.
-From when I felt recuperated after the 50 miler in December until April 8th, it is exactly 21 weeks as well, and also the date of the Duke 10k, which I did last year and was my best and favorite track race of my career. 
-If I would not do that race, I would go to April 29th and run the Hillsdale Gina Relays 10k, only if I could get into the elite race at night, which I would have no problem doing I imagine.
-I would not do any workouts until 8 weeks before but really hammer in those 8 weeks.  From now until then, I would simply run a lot of miles as I did all last summer.  I do not think the two 50k's in early January and February will hurt me any.
-Based on timing, I think the Gina Relays would work better for me.  That means 8 weeks before the race would be March 7th and I would adapt cross country workouts and track workouts from 2010 and go from there.
-Along with workouts, I would do a couple other races in the midst of those 8 weeks, and I know I can find a fast 5k that would fit my schedule.  

So in reality, if I am not fooling myself, it would only take 8 weeks out of my schedule and eliminate a couple of the Ultra's I am planning on.  Pending on what the SSU team is doing, I could do some fast workouts with them and even travel to the races with them.  I am not an expert in training for a fast 10k but with my race experience and confidence, I think I can PR.  Eric Putnam has taught me so much in my four years at SSU and I know his training mixed with my mileage has produced results in the past.  

Things are bound to change throughout the year but at least I have all my options covered and whichever I choose, I will be happy with.  As the semester of school begins and we get closer to the dates, I will surely make a final decision.


My Year of 2010 and Before

The year of 2010 literally just came to a close.  I just logged my last run and am reflecting on the years behind me.  Without a doubt, 2010 was the best year of running of my career, but it all started four years ago.  I ran track my 7th grade year.  I remember that season; the cinder track that I was pushed off of as I was passing a kid from Waterford in the 800.  Accepting the blue ribbon because he was disqualified, I shook his hand and told him next time he won't have the chance to push me off the track because I will be ahead of him from the start..  I ended up running 5:32 in the mile that year.  I was competitive by nature.

After that season, I decided to play baseball for the next two seasons instead of run.  My knees hurt because I was growing fast and running wasn't that cool.  My sophomore year I ran track again.  I ran cross country my senior year, because my high school never had it before that.  I did well in my first year of cross and that next winter I decided I really wanted to focus on running.  I still didn't know much about the science of running or other training details, but I enjoyed it and had success with.

From January 1 2007, I started logging my runs and since that day I have kept an extensive record of all of my running.  That is when I consider me being an actual runner, just four years ago.  That year I also made the transition from high school to college and I began to understand running a lot more.  Every year I have learned so much more.  I steadily improved each year, continuing to increase my miles.

Here is my mileage per year from 2007-2009:
2007:  2,341 mi.
2008:  2,884 mi.
2009:  3,544 mi.

I don't know what made me want to run a lot of miles.  I remember when I thought 60 or 70 miles sounded like a lot of miles for a week and I didn't do it until I got into college.  Then my sophomore year I received the training calender from coach and it had a week of 80 miles on it and I remember doing 82 the week of camp.  That was the most up to that point.  It wasn't until my next year I hit the 100 mile mark, I did it twice.  I was scared to do this, but I PR'd that year several times in cross country.  It was that year I really started to run trails a lot and began to read more about ultra-running.

2010 came around and I remember making a conscious effort to run more miles.  I made a goal before the track season to run 100 miles for 10 consecutive weeks and I did it.  I also ran two big PR's in the 5k and the 10k, my best track season in college.  I did not plan on running as much as I did during the cross country season but during the summer I became bored hanging around 70-80 miles and quickly jumped above 100.  Once I was above 100 I did not go below until 22 weeks later.  I broke 25 twice in the 8k during the four highest weeks of mileage.  I realized I was fastest when I was higher in mileage combined with long-interval workouts.  

With all that said, here is my year of running:

January:  429.5 mi.
February:  414 mi.
March:  500 mi.
April:  392 mi.
May:  252 mi.
June:  396 mi.
July:  447 mi.
August:  481 mi.
September:  473 mi.
October:  536 mi.
November:  484 mi.
December:  351.5 mi.

Total Miles in 2010:  5,157 mi. 

Per Month
 Per Week

I had a lot of great moments and runs in 2010.  Here are some of my favorite and most memorable runs of 2010:

-Duke Invitational 10k:  This was the race that I looked forward to and prepared for the entire spring.  I previously had bad attempts in the 10k, due to either bad weather or no competition.  This time the competition was stacked and the weather was great.  The race was surreal and I can remember almost every lap.  It was also a big confidence boost for cross country.
-40 Mile Shawnee State Forest Loop:  This was my first big taste of a long run and a long time on my feet.  Plus, this was done with two of my good friends, Keegan and Reece.  We had a great time and made me want to run even more long runs like this.
-All-Ohio:  What can I say about All-Ohio?  I ran 24:42 and we beat Malone for the first time in school history.  Proud day for me and the Bears.
-Nationals:  This of course was a emotional day.  The team and I did not do as well as we wanted but this was my last race as a college cross country runner.  I wish I had a million more of these days.
-North Face Endurance Challenge:  Naturally, to wrap up a busy year of running, I ran this as my first ultra race and when I signed up for it, I did not know what I was about to be thrown into.  I enjoyed everything about this experience and look forward to more of these types of things in the years to come.

I am looking forward to another great, healthy year in 2011.  I have not found a solid race schedule yet.  I have a lot of options but it will definitely include some ultra-marathons.  The biggest goal is to do a 100 miler.  As far as "fast racing" goes, I am still not sure if I will do any for the track season.  I still know I can go faster in the 5k and 10k, as I probably could for another 8-10 years.  But, I am not as drawn toward fast track races as I am toward long trail races.  If I do race any track, I will take 8-10 weeks and totally focus on a 10k sometime in April.  That's only if I don't find a nice ultra to do in that time. 

I will make up my mind soon about my plans.  2011 also promises to have some sort of big change in my life.  I graduate in May and after that a lot could happen.  I could go away for grad school or simply just to move away and get a job of some sort.  Or maybe I will just stay in Ohio doing something.  Whatever the case, I will be running a good bit!