Friday, November 18, 2011

Run Your Can Off and Training for the upcoming USATF National Club XC Championships

To Run Long and Steady or Short and Fast???

That was the dilemma I faced.  After running UTMB in August and the VT 50 in late September I was eyeing some late season 100 milers.  I felt like I needed to get in another 100 miler to end the year.  But at the same time I was being recruited to be part of our GMAA club team to represent the 50 year old age group in Seattle, Washington in December for the USATF National Club XC Championships.  This is a 10K XC race with the nations best masters runners.  For the last two seasons I have been part of this team.  Two years ago in our first showing we very quietly did our thing and won the Nationals in Lexington, KY.  Last year the competition worked all year recruiting to get a top team together and yes, they were succesfull but we still came away with the bronze last year running in Charlotte, NC.  We have a great group of 50 year old runners coming out of the Burlington area.  Norm Larson, Tony Bates, Kevin McMahon, Jim Miller and myself make up the core group but the team can vary depending on availability and injuries.  This year the race is in Seattle, Washington.  Never been there before so I figured I would go.  With that in mind, the focus now would shift from long endurance training to short and fast.  Not an easy transition.

The Team

Training plan:  Run short and fast as much as I can until the December 10th Nationals then refocus on the longer runs.

October 8, 2011:  Art Tudhope 10K
     This race always hurts and this year was no exception but a good trainer.
October 16, 2011:  Des Moines Marathon
     Bad weekend overall and my worst marathon in 7 years.  Still a good trainer. (Did win my age group).
October 29, 2011:  Halloween Hustle 5K
    Starting to feel better.  Of the top 6 runners in this race, 4 of the 6 were 50+ years old. (Myself and my teammates). Bony Tony took first overall.
November 6, 2011:  NE XC Championships 8K at Franklin Park
     Another good trainer but I spaced out a bit in the woods.  At the end I felt like I didn't even run a race.  Need to run harder, I can!  GMAA took 2nd place for our 50 year old team.
Coming Up:
November 24, 2011:  Pequot Runners 5 Mile Thanksgiving Day Run
     I've run this in the past.  Popular race with up to 7500 runners for this event.
November 26, 2011:  Cow Chip 6K XC Run
     Have heard about this but never run it.  The course changes every year.
December 4, 2011:  Santa 5K Run
     First time race in Burlington.  Should be fun wearing a Santa suit for the 5K distance.

Along with these races I've been making a weekly visit to the CVU track to do speed work.  The first week was terrible but each week seems to be getting better.

Then came the Run Your Can Off on November 12th, a 6 hour event.  I had been so good at working on the short distances but finally fell off the wagon.  I really needed a good longer run for many reasons so this fit into my life schedule.  I had no expectations but to just run with friends for 6 hours.  It was also a good fundraiser as we all donated items to help support the Winooski Food Shelf.  The event involved a 1.25 mile loop in the Gilbrook Natural Area in Winooski.  You could donate on a per lap basis or time.  For my 6 hours I donated a turkey.  This was a very low key race but very well organized with the help of Greg Veltkamp and many other volunteers.  It was a typical VT day, cold and dark and standing around for the start I was shivering in my Mizuno shorts but soon after we got going, I warmed up.  Right from the start I headed out with Chad Shepard and Pablo.  Chad was only going 20 miles so he took right off at a fast pace.  Of course I had to run with Chad but new I would pay the price later but so be it.  This was just a fun day in the woods with friends.  After about 4 laps, Chad was overheating and had to change out of this tights into shorts so he went off to change.  Meanwhile, Pablo and I continued on the fast pace.  We never saw Chad until he was finished with his 20 miles as we were probably running at similar paces and never caught up again.  The course consisted of a 1.25 mile loop (according to a GPS??) on trails in the woods with very little elevation change but just rolled and twisted through the woods.  My Mizuno Ascend trail shoes where perfect for this run.  For the first couple of hours there was some congestion with other runners but all in good fun and no worries.  There were walkers, runners, strollers and dogs so it made for an interesting run.  Pablo is a young buck going to UVM and just getting into the ultra scene with some experience but after 20 miles I could hear his foot steps getting louder and louder.  And he was starting to catch his feet and trip a bit.  I knew he was tiring.  By mile 26 or so, he took a longer break at the aid station and I continued on.  We were about 3 1/2 hours into it at that point.  So for the rest of the day, I just did laps, occasionally running with some friends here and there.  Serena Wilcox ran with me for a while but she was running with dogs which was not easy.  I came across Todd Archambault and he was having stomach issues so opted not to run the full 6 hours.  Amazing to see was Wayne Warnken who ran for I think 2 1/2 hours with a kid on his shoulders.  After about 30 miles or so I was feeling low and asked for some Coke at the one aid station.  None to be had, but to my surprise at the next go around I was informed that Coke would be here soon.  So the next lap, there is was, ice cold, fizzy Coke.  Just what I needed!!  Thanks Greg!  What a pick me up and off I went.  I had been drinking GU Brew throughout which was great and eating GU Gels but there's still nothing like a hit of Coke to give you a boost.  So round and round I went, spacing out as I did my laps.  I ran into Pablo a few more times and ran a bit with him but he was in a slower mode and I just kept moving along.  I could see time was getting down there and the 6 hours was getting closer.  I thought maybe 2 more laps if I moved my butt but then I saw Scott at the aid station.  His goal was to run 50K this day but was one lap short and was done.  When I heard that, I convinced him to run with me for one final lap.  He had just eaten a bunch of food but it wasn't hard to get him back on the trail for one final lap.  The RD, Greg also joined us for this last lap.  We had a fun run around and ended on a good note.  Scott completed his 50K, Greg had a very successful event.  Pablo came in shortly after we finished at just around the 6 hour mark.  I think Pablo and myself were the only ones to run for the full 6 hours that day.  I haven't seen the official results but Greg had me down for 35 laps or almost 44 miles.  I had my watch counting laps but realized later on that my high tech watch only goes up to 30 laps.  And so much for speed training but it was a much needed run anyway.  Thanks to Greg and all the volunteers who put on this event!

Run Your Can Off Finishers Medal

Back to reality and speed work.  I have a 10k race coming up to prepare for.  Tuesday, speed work day.  Although this week instead of the CVU track it was a trip to Burlington to run with Mike Early and Jess Cover.  Both are training for the Houston Marathon in January.  They had on the schedule for this day to run 5 x 1 mile repeats with about 12 miles total.  My body still hadn't recovered fully since Saturday's 44 miler especially with Joe Carrara taking me out for a hilly 10-11 mile recovery run on Sunday.  The warm up run wasn't feeling too bad and after about 3 miles, we were running hard and fast.  First repeat went well, Mike and I ran just under 6 minute miles.  Same for repeat # 2.  By the third mile I had slowed up a bit and ran more like a 6:08 mile.  4th repeat, not good, down to a 6:15 and feeling beat up.  I was waiting to be chicked by Jess.  5th mile, about the same, maybe slightly faster but not feeling any better.  All in all, a good workout, painful but good.  Thanks Jess and Mike for kicking my butt.

So now, three weeks to go.  I have three more short races on the agenda and more speed work to do.  Hopefully this will make a difference and help my speed which has been lacking.  For the Team!  Special thanks to Headsweats for sponsoring us with awesome hats so we can all look like Norm.

Jack with the new Headsweats Midcap.

I almost forgot.  The Video Of the Month has to be this guy surfing the biggest wave ever, a 90 footer!!  What a rush and what fun it would be to ride this.  Here's the link:  Big Wave Ride

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anything I can do to help you and the team succeed! If the fear if being "chicked" gets you to go faster then we should do all of our speed together because the possibility of chicking you sure kept me moving!