Friday, February 10, 2012

Redemption Will Have to Wait

Thought I'd write a little training update to show some accountability on my new goals.

First, after a few slushy days, this Winter has been perfect for running so far. It sucks for anyone training for a snowshoe race or any other real Winter sport but it's been great for us poor souls stuck in the city. Running in slush drives me nuts and ice scares me, so I'm a happy camper right now.

This brings me to the important thing: Leadville. That's going to be a recurring theme until the end of August. All Leadville, all the time. Truth is, I've probably read ALL the Leadville blogs out there and I've come to the conclusion that for me to finish the race withing the 30 hours, I will need to commit physically and mentally. I wouldn't be as worried if the time limit was 32 or 34 hours, but 30 hours will be hard.

Yesterday I had my first official talk with coach Derrick. Now that Derrick has got that silly Yukon Arctic Ultra (where he finished second in an unbelievable 23 hours and 18 minutes) out of his system, he can move on to the real important stuff: how to get me over Hope Pass twice and on to the finish within the time limit. Derrick is fast at work building my plan as we speak and I will begin formal training in about 10 days.

One thing that came out of this conversation is the realization that I can't seek redemption at Mohican without jeopardizing my Leadville race. Running a 100 miles takes a big mental and physical chunk out of me and sometimes I can be months running like crap. I just can't afford the down time. On the other hand, last year's DNF at Mohican left me in pretty good shape. Derrick suggested I run Laurel Highlands, a 70 miler down in Pennsylvania in early June. I've heard excellent things about that race so I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what I'm going to do.

On the training front, I have to say that things are going great. My right Achilles is the best it's been in a very long time. I've lost about 5 pounds since I started my calorie counting project a bit over 3 weeks ago. Basically, I've stopped stuffing my face all evening and eating chocolate croissants for breakfast. Another aspect I wanted to improve was consistency and that's improved as well. I've run pretty much 6 times per week in the last month. I'm up to about 6 hours of running per week, which is starting to feel like real training.

The biggest difference though is how I feel while I'm running. To be completely honest, last year, running was sometimes a struggle. Even short runs felt like crap, except maybe when I ran on trails. I never really got into a groove while running on pavement, where my Achilles hurt with every damn foot strike. For the past couple of weeks, as the pain slowly receded, even those boring runs feel great and I actually enjoy them. I guess it's true what they say, consistency pays off.

That's pretty much my news for now. I'm leaving for three weeks of running bliss in Arizona on February 29th and I can't wait. I'm looking at running the 50k or 30k at Mesquite Canyon, on March 11th somewhere near Phoenix. The 30k seems more reasonable but I'm not discarding the 50k depending on how I'm feeling.

Hope those pilots at Air Canada don't rain on my parade with a strike.