Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Time To Get Back On Track

I feel like I could possibly be coming out of the rut I have been in for the last month or so. Excuses have been flowing all too easily and I haven’t been making the time to run the amount I would like. I have tried to muster the motivation to do some writing here but just have not been able to do so. I’m still riding daily to work and running 10 to 20 miles a week but I feel like I’m skating and doing the bare minimum.

I have realized that I do this in my life every so often. I have these periods of time, usually after finishing some significant event in my life, where I withdraw and take a month or so to redirect my life. This time I believe it was the completion of the 100 miler. Once the wounds have healed and the emotional buzz from fulfillment of achieving a goal have worn off, I find myself thinking, “what next?” I know I’m more difficult to get along with during these periods but Sara is always patient with me. I usually feel restless and my patience is thin, the easiest description would probably be moody. To friends who are close, it may just seem like I am being quiet. To most people it might not even be noticeable but I feel a difference and I know Sara and Jakob feel it.

The good news is that I usually come out of these funks with a new fervor for life. I think the key to it all is having some sort of goal you are working towards. When you don’t have a specific thing you are trying to achieve you just wander aimlessly. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the aimless approach to life, but for me, it leaves me feeling like I am trying to fall asleep with restless legs. So what will the next goal be? I have decided to run the FlatRock 50K on September 24, 2011. 50K is 31 miles. I have never set a time goal for a long race before but instead have always focused on just finishing. I am not what most would consider a fast runner and usually fall within the middle of the pack. My plan is to finish this race in 6 hours or less.

While 6 hours may not seem like a very fast goal for a 31 mile race, barely under 5 m.p.h. or 12 minutes per mile, I fully believe it will be a substantial challenge. The race has only had a handful of people finish in less than 5 hours. The first time I attempted this course it took me just over 8 . There are 2 reasons I think my time was slow. First, I was still fairly new to distance running. My training was poorly designed and didn’t cover enough mileage. The other element was the difficulty of the course. The challenges are described in detail on their website. FlatRock Trail Description Here is an excerpt:

Extreme concentration is required when running Flat Rock, as you will take very few steps where there will not be some potential obstacle. Most of these will be in the form of rocks. You will very quickly learn why the race motto here at “the Rock” is “If you look up…you are going down!” Buyer beware please. While the trail does not have any long hills, there is an estimated total elevation gain and loss of approximately 3,000 feet for the 50K. Most of these hills are very steep and rocky and are not runable, unless you can run trails like a mountain goat, due to the treacherous footing.

I took some pictures of the course the first time:

These are some of the more extreme places. I also remember a substantial amount of mud on the course.

I haven’t decided what footwear I will use. I have contemplated Five Fingers. Lately, I have been doing several miles a week completely barefoot and I am still convinced that less shoe is best. The rockiness of this course, at least at my level of conditioning, will demand I have something on my feet. For my next shoe, I’m going to try a pair of the newly released New Balance Trail Minimus. I have been enjoying running in their MT101’s but think I would enjoy even less of a shoe and the Minimus now offers that.

Minimus MT10

Ultimately I’m looking for something that gives my foot room to move and function, is extremely light yet has a sole that will protect me from rock points and sharp objects, and something that does not employ springs, air pockets or supports of any kind. All I want my shoes to do is protect me from sharp stuff on the ground and let my body move as it was designed to do.

So there is the proclamation, now to spend the next 6 months making it so.

Week of March 7 – Bike 80, Run 16, D 10, U 5
Week of March 14 – Bike 80, Run 20, D 10, U 5
Week of March 21 – Bike 80, Run 18, D 6, U 2
(I’m adding the 20 flights of stairs at work to my training to help with the hills. D for down and U for up)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm still alive but my tongue is tied.

Week of February 7 – Bike 80, Run 15
Week of February 14 – Bike 80, Run 20
Week of February 21 – Bike 80, Run 20
Week of February 28 – Bike 80, Run 10