Monday, January 25, 2010


It seems like I have a "Taper" post before every race. It's such a mental turning point. This is where your number of weekly hours of training start going down instead of up. This time, it was a hard cycle because it's the first time I've had to deal with an injury that prevented me from running. Still, thanks to good advice and many sessions on the dreaded elliptical machine, I got lucky and I the issue was resolved in time although it forced me to ramp up pretty fast. Should I have trained more hours? Probably. Could I? Probably not without falling apart. I'm no spring chicken anymore and we had to ramp up training for Susitna because the race is more than a month (5 weeks) earlier than my original target race, the "Rock and Ice Ultra". Plus, the distance is 100 miles non-stop (kinda) instead of 135km in 3 stages. I'm just happy I was able to pull it off.

One good thing about the earlier date is that I've been able to train on snow, even though I sometimes had to drive a bit. After yesterday and today's rain, I'm not sure where I'm going to find snow cover. Hopefully, the cold will come back and we will bet some snow before the weekend. If I still had over a month of hard training to do on snow, I'd be worried. El Nino sucks.

This week I had a small setback, with a possible case of PF on the left foot. I say possible because other than the location (inside arch, to the back almost on the heel) the pain feels more like a bruise than PF. Anyway, we cut back a bit on the sort runs and I was able to complete my back to back runs of 3hr and 4hr without any problem. The discomfort has mostly subsided and I'm not worried. Training time will go down steadily, until the race. I've never had so many rest days. Feels weird.

Yesterday I went to Creemore for a fun run organized by the people who bring us the "Creemore Vertical Challenge", Pierre and Lee Anne. The course was a 7-ish km loop with about 3km on roads and 4km on trails. Of the 3km on roads, one was on an actual paved road with sandy shoulder. NO ice or snow. No need to tell you that pulling Sancho under those conditions was quite the challenge. The trails were also challenging with two major (and steep) elevation changes and water features. Pulling Sancho out while on my hands and knees was a different kind of training. Thank you Microspikes.

After my second loop, quite a few people lapped me, that's how slow I was. Still, I managed 3 loops in almost exacly 4 hours and I still felt fine after so I'm happy with how it went. Stupidly, I forgot to take pictures so I got nothing to post here. We all had a great time. It's always nice to talk to like-minded spirits who don't think you are out of your mind. Quite the mental recharge.

So here I am, not even 3 weeks from my first 100 miler. Do I feel like I can run 100 miles? Most of the times. Do I think I can? Definitely. I have little aches and pains that I know will bother me at some point in the race, but who doesn't? Never try to complain about your boo-boo to an ultra runner, they will always have something horrible to show you. Yesterday, someone was telling me how she ran with duct tape in her pack in case she breaks an ankle and she needs to tape it together to finish the race. Not get to the next aid station, finish the race. Personally, I don't think even McGyver can "fix" a broken ankle with duct tape, but the thing is, she believed it. Crazy person! You know who you are...

18 days, 21 hours and 17 minutes to go.


Sara Montgomery said...

Hope you enjoy the taper, JD. Love that duct tape story! Too funny.

David Johnston said...

What name are you going to give your race sled?
Good training post and glad i found your blog.
Keep at it and we alaskans will see you soon.
Dave, wasilla

chris mcpeake said...

enjoy the taper.
wow another use for duct tape.

Anne said...

Hi- We met t the creemore fun run. I was wondering while durring your taper if you could post a picture of your sled and belt set up ie. rope connected to bunggie cord to regular rope to etc. Thanks!

Hone said...

I will be running 70 miles of the course this weekend so I will take lots of pictures and write up a good report about it for you.

Just make sure you are pulling that sled everywhere you go. =)