Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This Week in Training - The end of June 2011

The End of June and the 4th of July Weekend

June marks the end of usually the biggest training month of the year for me.  With a number of longer races coming up, I seem to maximize my training during this period and this year was no different.  I had a goal for the month of June and in order to get there I needed about 60 more miles. That meant on average 15 miles per day for Monday thru Thursday.  That seemed possible.  Monday was a run out on the trails at The Forest and Sleepy Hollow.  Some of my favorite single track trails in the area.  Tuesday brought on the Catamount Trail Series of races weekly 5K race.  As usual a good running of the trails prior to the race and then running afterwards.  I felt good at the race with decent energy and no foot issues.  Wednsday brought about a lunch time road run around the block, running on the trails at Catamount later on then the mtn. bike races followed up with some more running the trails.  While there were threats of rain, it held off until later that night:)  Thursday was another lunch time run around the block with an evening run at Catamount after showing a house in Jericho.  And that ended June with just over 500 miles for the month.  Goal Accomplished!

With June over and just over 2 weeks until the VT 100, I thought I should do a good long run this weekend.  Being July 4th weekend, it just didn't feel right not traveling over to the Finger Lakes to run the Finger Lakes 50's which has become a tradition.  So Friday late morning the truck was packed and off I went to the Finger Lakes.  The drive is long, usually about 6 hours and can take some patience driving on the back roads of NY until you reach Rt. 90.  Once on Rt. 90 it's cruise control and away you go.  There are no big mountains to see, just rolling hills and you follow along the Erie Canal. 

Driving to the Finger Lakes
Once off the main highway it was more of the same heading south to Hector NY and the Potomac Campground.  In addition to the rolling hills were grapes, lots of grapes.  This area has turned into wine country with lots of vineyards.
One of the many vineyards offering great wine.
I met up with Chris Reynolds at the race headquarters, the race directior and her faithful helper and husband Joe.  They put together a wonderful race.  Low key with lots of volunteers to help yet professional quality even with chip timing which for a trail race is unusual.  It was great to see Joe and Chris again and some other familiar faces.

Joe, Jackie & Chris
After signing in, I got my race packet and headed back to the truck which is where I would stay for the night.  But I still needed to get in a pre-dinner run which was definitely needed after the 6 hour drive.  I met up with another familar face, that of friend Chad Denning.  Chad joined me in the pre-dinner run.  Chad was new to the area so I gave him a quick tour of the beginning and end of the course.  After the run, Chad and I had some dinner on the roadside besides our car camping rigs.  Good dinner, early to bed, not much to drink.

After a good nights sleep it was up at 5:00 AM to prepare for the 6:30 AM start.  They had awesome muffins to greet the runners prior to the race along with coffe or hot water for tea.  The Finger Lakes 50's has three separate races going on.  A 50 mile, a 50k and a 25k.  The 50's start together and it's a loop course with 16.5 miles per loop.  The nice part is that you can support yourself during the race by having a drop bag in one place as you loop around.  The 50k runners will do two loops which is a bit more than a 50k but then again it's a trail race, who's counting miles.  The 50 milers run three loops plus a baby loop.  The runners have an option to end after 50k or continue on with the 50 mile as they are running the loops so on a bad day if you decide you don't have it in you to run 50 miles you can stop after two laps and have run a legitimate 50k without a dnf on the 50 mile.  And if you are feeling great after two laps you can decide at that time to continue on to run the 50 miles.  For me, it was planned from the start to only run a 50k as I had the VT 100 in two weeks and I thought it best to give myself a break here.  Chad was planning on running the 50 miler as he was training for some upcoming adventure races and really wanted the distance.  Nice thing was that we could run together for a while. 

The start went off right at 6:30 AM.  First part of the course is down a gravel road and then you turn into some nice single track.  The road downhill was fast and hard on my feet but all was feeling fine.  Sean Andrish from Virginia took off right from the start to take the lead.  I followed with Chad and some others together in a pack.  As we entered the single track, Sean was already gone.  I've run this race enough to know better than to run that fast.  Not that we were going slow as we were still going at a good clip but at a much more reasonable pace to hold on for the duration.  In the woods on the single track it was a slow gradual climb up to where you cross a road and then eventually through a cow meadow.  Chad and I had pulled away from the others at this point but after the long downhill following the cow meadow a couple of guys caught back up with us.  So for quite a while it was myself leading the pack of Chad, Peter Lawry and Jeff Powers.  The course was great with some mud holes that could pull your shoes off but still it was in great shape.  After about 8 miles or so, I was still leading this pack and felt some pain in my foot as I would go through some of the mud.  I've been dealing with this pain on and off all year and usually can run through it until it goes away or eases up and may have to slow down on hard decents.  But this trail was soft so I never anticipated any major problems.  The little pain got worse and worse.  We were still cruising but finally I had to back off to try to regroup.  The legs felt good, the energy level was good but this foot was becoming an issue.  After a few more miles I was running last in our pack but could slowly see them gaining distance.  Even on some areas where I would normally kick it in and take off, I was having a hard time even running.  With probably 4 miles to go, I finally had to walk and stretch it out as it wasn't going away.  Basically I limped it in to finish lap one in a time of 2:18 and at that point decided it was not going to happen this day.  Only my 2nd DNF ever.  Usually I can pull off a bad day and at least finish but I didn't think I wanted to walk the next 16.5 miles to get in loop number two.  Bummed I decided to go try to run slowly along the road for a bit to see if I could stretch it out.  Bad choice as I headed out for about a mile and a half doing the walk/run thing and it wasn't pretty.  Coming back it was more walk than run.

The Finish Area

I got myself changed and went to the finish area to watch the 50k guys finish and to see Chad thru after his 2nd loop of the 50 mile race.  First through from lap two even before the 50k runners was Jeff Powers a 50 mile runner followed by Chad Denning just seconds behind. Chad was looking good but would have to kick it in to pass Jeff.  Then the 50k runners came in.  As predicted, Sean slowed up on lap 2 and ended it with the 50k.  He just got back to training a month ago so this race was more to see where he was at with his training.  Still he finished the 50K in second place, first master. Excellent run, keep it up!  First in the 50K was Paul Wallace followed by Pete Lawry. 

Chad after lap 2
I enjoyed a great meal at the race BBQ as always, said my good buys to Chris and Joe and was back on the road for 6 hours to Charlotte.  The foot hurt all the way back home to which I administrered some tequila upon arrival and then rode my bike to a tiki party on the lake.  I found out later that Jeff held on to the lead in the 50 mile with Chad finishing about 10 minutes behind for second.  Good run guys!

Sunday morning, discouraged and with sore foot.  Now what, the VT 100 is in two weeks and I can't run.  I did some chores around the house and then by afternoon was thinking, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."  With that in mind I pulled out the road bike which has been sitting vacant for years.  I dusted off the saw dust and debris from it, pumped up the tires, found my shoes with the mouse family but luckily they only chewed up the pile from the winter boots and off I went on about an hour road ride.  It was scary at first looking at the pavement as I was going down a hill at 40mph wondering if I had tightened the front wheel.  It stayed on.  I guess this is training until the foot feels better.  After I got home, I did throw on the running shoes for a quick mile test run.  No, not ready to run, still hurt.

Monday was the annual 4th of July Clarence De Mar 5K road race in So. Hero.  I was signed up to run this and probably I could have pulled it off but was told by my advisor, Aliza, not to run.  So I did listen and instead of running volunteered to help out at the race.  After the race I hooked up with Joyce and Scott Holsten who had just finished running the 5k race and we went off on a bike ride in the Islands.  Joyce and Scott are avid bikers so I wasn't sure if I could even keep up. 

Joyce and Jack
North Hero Country Store
Jack and Scott
We rode about 33 miles on a perfect day.  Joyce and Scott took it easy on me and made it a short ride.  Got home, did some more chores and then time for a test run.  I went out for an easy mile and it was better but I know if I want to run the VT 100 and better yet the UTMB in August, I need to behave and take care of my foot. 

 "Desperate times call for desperate measures."  This is a variant of the proverb "Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies."  Whatever, I guess I'll be riding my bike for the next 2 weeks.

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