Friday, October 29, 2010

Fresh Plans

With my racing season having pretty much ended at Haliburton, I’ve been taking it pretty easy. I’ve been running 3 or 4 times a week for a total of 4 to 5 hours. I’m eating as if I’m running 100 miles a week, so I’m afraid to step on the scale, which I haven’t done since August. We’ll cross that bridge when we have to.

One of the good things about running less is that it allows me to run harder. After a few difficult races early this summer, I slowed everything way down with the definite goal of finishing Haliburton. That worked well. The second half of the season was slow, but I enjoyed every single race. Now that Haliburton is done, I can go with the flow a bit more, without making a conscious effort to stick to a certain pace or effort level. Personally, I find running fast exhilarating and my mood is always sky high after a harder workout.

That’s why I decided to start a marathon training cycle, with the Sedona marathon on February 12th as my target race. Since most programs are 24 weeks, I don’t quite have enough time for the full program but I think I can ride my current fitness level and compress it a bit. It’s not as obvious as I thought. I found out this week that running faster means changing my stride and form and that means pain. Right now both my calves really feel the burn from my last couple of workouts. I might race a 5k or 10k race in the next couple of weeks to kind of see where I’m at and set my various training paces. That should be painful.

So I’m kinda, sorta, semi-excited about running my second marathon. Compared to my earlier idea of another epic trip to Alaska, running a marathon is a bit underwhelming. I guess I’m desensitized or something. With a Winter hundred miler, for just a bit more training you get to enjoy over 30 hours of fun in the snow instead of a paltry 3 or 4. Damn, maybe next year. Still this marathon will definitely be a challenging race for many reasons: I haven’t raced hard in a long time; the race is at 4500 feet, not quite officially at altitude but you definitely feel it; only half the course is on pavement; and finally, there over 1800 feet of elevation change. I doubt I will break my marathon PB on that course, but it should be fun and I’ll give it a shot.

This is it for now. Enjoy this nice cool weather.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back from Vacation

Well, my vacation is over. I had a great time in Arizona. I haven’t run quite as much as I’d hoped but I still managed to squeeze in a few good ones. The main reason I’ve been so busy is that we were looking for a vacation property here in Sedona and that consumed an amazing amount of time and mental energy. We did find something so expect to see more posts and pictures from here in the next few years. I just love running the trails here and I’m really looking forward to doing a lot more of it.

Sweet trail
Last weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, the kids flew in and spent the weekend with us. We went to see the Grand Canyon on Sunday. It’s big. It also reminded me of the Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim (r2r2r) trip that a few Ontario ultra runners did this September. Looking at this gigantic crack in the Earth, it’s hard to believe that anyone could go down, climb up the other side and then do the whole thing in the opposite direction, all that in the same day. My wife was not impressed when I told her that I really wanted to do that next Fall. I’m going to have to work on my climbing. 

To the other side and back?

Hopefully, other like-minded runners will be interested and we can make this a team expedition. I’m not sure I would attempt this all by myself. I believe there are already two of us. Let me know if you’re interested!

Another big decision I made is that I’m not going back to Susitna this year. There, I’ve said it. That breaks my heart but I just can’t contemplate the training right now. I need some down time where I can just run for the fun of it without having to worry about squeezing in 5+ hour long runs on the weekend, plus travel time if I need to find snow. I believe that the fact that I can’t even think about the training tells me that I need a break, so I’m taking it. We're going to try to spend as much time as we can at our new "cottage" and I'm going to enjoy my runs there, that's a for-sure. I'm going to call it hill training for r2r2r.
Our new garden. Looking forward to a few beers.

I’ve been taking things pretty slow since Haliburton, running about every other day for 45 to 60 minutes. My pace varies according to my mood and the terrain. I’ve been eating like crazy so I haven’t stepped on the scale since the race. I’ve started teaching another Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room. I’ve got 27 people signed up and yesterday I met them for the first time. Much harder to go out with so many people. Still fun though.

So this is it. No race in the immediate future. That feels weird. I’ve been training for one race or another for a couple of years now and it’s going to take some getting used to. Mind you, Seaton is only 6 months away. 50 miler this time? Some people never learn.