Tuesday, April 30, 2013

West Rim Trail

It has been a busy few weeks to say the least, and I let stress get the better of me.  My weekly mileage has been between 35-45 miles.  Not bad for bouncing back into 50ks....but not quite where I want to be for the 50 miler.  With the June 8 Cayuga race officially about a month out, I want to be careful about pushing too many long runs, and make sure I give myself a solid taper after the West Rim Trail attempt.

Pine Creek Gorge- I can't wait to see this!

          I went from a 42 mile week into about 35 last week...a decent taper into our West Rim Trail unsupported speed record attempt.  As I had mentioned in a previous post, my friend Erik and I are planning on setting a new record there.  I officially posted on the FKT site and we are heading out tomorrow (4/30) to camp over night and are starting out on Wednesday morning for the attempt.  I don't know why I even say attempt...to be honest whatever time we pull out will be a record, as nothing has been posted previously.
     It will be pretty cool to have a record like that.  I have to remember to take it semi easy however...if I go out too hard and don't recover well, I could potentially screw up the next few weeks of training into the 50 miler.  It will be my last long run before the 50, as well as the longest run yet this year.  I won't lie and say I'm not nervous though.  We're already planning to go out and run it again in the fall to see if we can best our times.
    I'm excited though.  I've been getting my gear together and picking out clothes, gels and all that over the past few days.  I loaded the audio tracks from the certification onto my ipod so I can get some "study" time in while I'm running, and I'm feeling good.  I went out for a nice and easy 10 with Matt this morning-might as well get in one back to back before the 50!
   So there it is...I will post a follow up with some pictures and info about the trip.  This will be my first time on the trails up there!  Here's to the West Rim Trail!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today We Are All Runners...

   Some days it's hard to get out the door.  Today was one of those days.  I pictured the news I had been glued to yesterday and I slowly got my things together.  I made my way down the stairs and out the door..."One more step toward being done," I thought. "Just need a little shake out to get my head in the game."
    I walked the first half mile to the trail. "I'll run when I get there," I thought.  Slowly, achingly, I took my first step and kept going.  I headed up into the trail with the sun shining bright and the breeze cool on my skin.
    I was moving slow.  After a weekend full of over-indulging in delicious food and way too much dessert, I made the decision to fuel with only water today; no pre-run or during-run food. I wanted to kick-start my body back into utilizing fat for fuel and get back on track with my nutrition.
    My legs were tight and heavy and begged for me to turn around and call it a day, try again tomorrow.  As I kept moving, my thoughts drifted to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  I had been glued to the TV and internet all evening, like most other households.  Unimaginable, saddening photos kept surfacing throughout the day, the numbers of the injured kept rising, and the images of the bloodied streets were everywhere.
     I read a report of a man caught in the explosion whose legs were lost, yet in shock, he continued to try and stand.  I ran another mile for him, and another. I ran for the 8 year old boy who will never get the chance to run a marathon for himself, and for the family that will never see him try.  
     My legs slowly began to warm up. I ran for the volunteers, police, and first responders who jumped in without hesitation to help the wounded. I ran until I didn't feel my legs moving underneath me, only thoughts carrying me through the woods...
    I thought about this sport.  This sport that is so often thought of as an individual undertaking.  Yes, it may be one person that makes the decision to train and attempt a race, but it is their family and friends that cheer them on and encourage them along the way.
    Toeing the line of a race, anyone can hear the cheers of encouragement throughout the crowd and the sidelines.  Moving down the road or trail, the curbs are peppered with signs and excited families of runners, each one motivating you with their shouts and cheers along the way.  Running is a community sport--from the person timing the race, organizing the race, running the race, to the person shouting from the top of their lungs as heaps of tired runners shuffle by.  We are all brought together by the run and excited to be a part of it.  Although there are many who choose not to enter a race, they are no less a part of the running community than those who proudly wear the medals.  We are all a part of this great community, and today we are all runners.  We can all provide that little bit of encouragement and motivation along the way; we are all part of the everyday race, even when there is no finish line in sight.
   I came home tired and dirty.  It was a tough run, one I didn't want to do.  I kept running for those that can't, those that may never be able to; I ran because I am proud to be a runner.  I am proud to be part of such a wonderful community.  

Today we are all runners.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another Week Closer to 50. (Plus Greek Meatballs and Spinach Pie)

This was a pretty good week all in all.  Mid-range mileage, but I was able to focus on some harder effort runs, which was nice. It's always good to get the heart pumping!  I started out the week on a good, long note...and finished on a low one.  Just didn't feel like moving, so I bagged it and cooked all day instead.  Our West Rim Trail effort is officially less than a month away (May 1) and the Cayuga 50 is closing in...

Monday 4/1    17.01    Trail                3:16

I started out my day bright and early at the gym and led a portion of the workout.  I was feeling so good after, and had Monday off due to some scheduling changes, that I decided to go for an easy 12-15.  It turned into 17 and that is a-ok.  The trail I took turned into a total rock scrambling session and there were places I couldn't run at all.  I had to take my hand-helds off and do a bit of climbing around, but eventually got back on decent running trails and went with it.  It was nice to get a late 9:40 mile in (mile 14) and a good mix of hills and flats for the total.

Tuesday 4/2     8.01    Trail with Matt        1:27

This was Matt's first day back after his 100k.  It was good to run with him again and nice to get out in the dark!  I had to head to Maryland from here, so we decided to cut it short so I wouldn't be late.  Too bad traffic wasn't quite as considerate and I was late anyway.

Wednesday  4/3      5.02    Paved Trail in Maryland       43:05

The one thing I enjoy about some of my work trainings is that there is always someone game to run.  This morning was no exception; 6:45ish out-and-back before the day began.  I had some great company and moving just felt great.  I hit a 7:45 mile at 4 and kept it 8 through the last.  It felt good to get some speed in and I want to pepper more in throughout my weeks.

Friday  4/5           6.00       Road with Hill Repeats         54:42

I had yet another day off this week and although I had a good bit on my to-do list, I got out for a good 6.  I did a big loop around my neighborhood and ended with a mile + off repeats and headed home with a 9:07 avg. pace.

Saturday 4/6           5.02   Road After Work             42.20

I had a great day at work.  It went by quickly and the weather was beautiful.  I wasn't planning on a run at all, as Saturdays are usually an off day for me so I run long on Sunday, but I couldn't help it.  I changed and headed out the door as soon as I got home.  Running faster felt good and I went for it.  I had another 7:45 mile and then ended with an 8:26 avg. pace.

Sunday 4/7          5.57   Trail                         1:08

Today was one of those days it wasn't worth heading out for a run.  I woke up not feeling like running and avoided heading out early by drinking coffee instead.  I walked the first half mile to the trail and just didn't feel like moving.  My legs were heavy and my head just wasn't in it today.  Instead of slogging on, I decided to bag it and turned around.

Weekly Total: 46.63
  I learned that it's good to listen to your body and take a day off if you feel like you need it.  October is a long time away and I don't want to overdo it and burn out.  Consistency is key and staying healthy is of the utmost importance.
  Go get some miles.

Cooking was on the menu instead!

Greek Meatballs

1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 tps. oregano
1 tps. garlic powder
1 Tbs. onion flakes (I used onion powder and added a little more)
2 Tbs. fresh mint
zest of 1 lemon (I didn't have one so I squeezed in a little lemon juice)
1/4 cup feta cheese

1.) Pre heat oven to 350
2.) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
3.) Form meat into balls and fill baking dish
4.) Bake between 30-40 minutes

Spinach and Feta Pie

For the filling:

1/2 cup spinach (thawed from frozen), or 2 cups fresh spinach
 1 cup fresh sorrel, chopped ( I used dandelion greens)
 1 cup fresh Swiss chard, chopped (I used more spinach)
 1 cup of other green leaves you got (e.g. chopped amaranth, kale, collards, beets, dandelion etc). Use more spinach & swiss chard if you can’t find such kinds of greens.
 2 leeks, cut in 1/4-inch rounds
 4 scallions (or 1/2 of a big onion), chopped
 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
 1/2 cup cauliflower, “riced” with a shredder*  ( I left this out)

 100 gr feta cheese, crumbled (optional, only if you do dairy)
 salt to taste

For the batter:

 1 Tbs. sour cream or yogurt, or 2 Tbs. coconut milk if you don’t do dairy
 Juice of a 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs. fine coconut flour or tapioca
 1/3 cup olive oil
 1 or 2 eggs
 1/2 cup warm water

1.) Mix the filling ingredients except cauliflower and feta, careful to get most of the water out
2.) Mix together until it looks wilty and add in feta and cauliflower
3.) In a second bowl, mix batter ingredients
4.) Blend in batter to filling and mix, careful not to mash to feta.
5.) Put in pan about 2 inches thick
6.) Bake on 400 for 40-45 minutes

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ahhh..back to it after some rest, with a great bit of news.

      After a rest week and the long NJ Trails weekend, I was feeling anxious to get back to the trails.  I was still mulling over taking on the challenge of running a fall 100 and couldn't get it out of my mind.  With the Oil Creek 100 filling quickly, I left the registration on my phone and checked it incessantly to see how it was going and if I still had the benefit of time to continue the internal debate. Either way I have a 50 to prepare for, and our West Rim Trail attempt even faster approaching.

      With all the dreams of trails and racing dancing in my head (quite a distraction, I admit), I decided to give myself a rest from job hunting and getting plans in order to maybe go back to school.  And as the saying goes, good things happen when we are least expecting.  I got a phone call I couldn't be more excited about. I will be studying and training to become a personal trainer. It is with an amazing gym with some ridiculous talent. I have been looking into this for so long and it finally lines up with my schedule being able to handle it!  Oh, and the brain goes even more crazy....not needing to work a full 40 hours and no longer having such a long commute to work frees up my schedule to get in a hell of a lot more miles.  Yeah, that seriously is where my head went.  I guess I really am a true ultrarunner.

     So with all the excitement of the week dancing through my brain, I went and did it...registration spot 123...I am officially entered for my first 100 mile race.  Oh, hell yes.

      With the race fresh in my mind, I was able to get out the door for a nice 8 miler on Tuesday to start  getting back into some higher mileage weeks again.  I added in some miles and put some speed on my legs to get used to being tired and moving throughout.
Tuesday 3/26            8.01       Trail    1:22:23

   I went out from the house and hit some single track, keeping up a decent pace.  My goal was to jump on Forbidden Drive and move fast back home.  I took some music (which I never do) and go figure, the damn ipod wouldn't work.  So after letting the bottom drop out on pace in the middle, I tucked it away and started kicking.

Wednesday  3/27     4.2         Road Hill Repeats    37:58

    I headed out the door in the dark for an easy 2 mile warm up and headed to the hill for some repeats.  I cruise up and slam down the hill.  Avg. 9:02 pace with 2,049 ft. of elevation.
                               4.03        Trail with Drew       45:28

    A nice after-work introducing Drew to the Wiss.  It was getting dark quickly, so we ended on Forbidden Drive.

Thursday   3/28       Day Off.
     I had stupidly worn an old pair of shoes for both Wednesday runs and tweaked my knee a tiny bit, so I decided to do a morning weight workout.  I find it a benefit in maintaining strength and conditioning even in high mileage weeks. Carrying a hand held bottle weight on you and going up or down steps adds an additional strain on your legs, so keeping up with strength exercises helps.

Friday      3/29        8.02        Pre-Work Road Miles       1:11:14

   I felt pretty good this morning and just worked to keep my pace under 10 minute miles.  Enough to get the heart pumping, but not be tired or fatigued after the run.

Sunday   3/31         5.01         Easter Road       44:26

     We went away for Easter, so I was circling around in York, PA getting in some good hills.  Nothing crazy and steep, but enough hills and a quick enough pace to keep the legs burning!

Weekly Totals:  29.27

This was a great week: job-wise, running-wise.  I pushed my pace throughout and realized I had been running too slow for most of my non-long runs.  I am making a point of changing that this season.  I notice a huge difference already, especially on the flats.  My speed is faster, yet doesn't feel like a lot of extra effort.  Excellent.  Although I'd be lying if I said my mind doesn't wander to doing some 50ks to see how I would race with this newfound speed....I may have to throw at least one in this summer...there is time for that.

Enjoy each run, each step and every hill...go get some miles.