Sunday, September 13, 2015

Summer Training

Oops, it's been a really long while since my last post! It's been a busy summer- working full time and trying to get good training in definitely took up a good chunk of time. Generally things went well...unfortunately I wasn't able to get my weekly mileage above the 50-70 range, but I ran an ultra distance every other weekend. In between I had lower weekly mileage, but also did strength training, mile repeats, and midday heat acclimation runs.

Toward the end of June I spent nearly 24 hours running on the treadmill in short bursts (3-6 miles at a time). I rested 30-60 minutes between runs, which in some ways was harder than a straight run, since my legs would just tighten up. It was good mental training too, and I ended up with 65 total miles.

Two weeks later I did a similar training, but for about 10 hours overnight, ending with 32 miles total. Both times I started at the end of a full work week to maximize the mental and physical fatigue.

Then in late July I ran the Endless Summer 6 Hour. I tried to keep pretty consistent, although I slowed down a bit in the heat toward the end. I pushed myself somewhat, but was careful not to go all out so I didn't need to "recover" before getting back into my training. I ended up as 2nd place female, and I think 9th overall. I was pretty happy with the result, although I would have liked a bit more pace consistency. Alec was back and crewed for me for the first time since November, which was really nice :) Basically he just handed off my bottle full of Tailwind every lap, but we had that handoff down- I was able to just grab it midstride...felt all professional!

Two weeks after that I switched gears and ran the Martha Moats Baker Fatass 50K. That was a great event put on in the George Washington National Forest by VHTRC (Virginia Happy Trails Running Club). It runs on part of the course for Grindstone 100, and it was very technical and overgrown, with lots of elevation change! I ran with Alec's old army hydration pack since there was minimal aid, which added an extra challenge since it was huge on me and bounced around on my shoulders. It took me well over 8 hours to finish the 33+ miles, and I was around middle of the pack. I tried to just take it easy and enjoy myself, but I am not great on trails and it was exhausting! I felt proud of finishing such a rough course though, and took home some great souvenir battle wounds thanks to all the overgrown blackberry bushes :)

In late August I flew back to Savannah to visit all my running friends, and run a local 50K at the same time. That was a flat course on a mix of pavement and gravel. Being Savannah, it was hot and humid, but I managed to keep a very consistent pace- only about 30 seconds difference between my fastest and slowest miles :) Again I fueled solely on Tailwind, and had a great time thanks to seeing all my lowcountry ultra friends again! I ended up 2nd female and 2nd overall, with my second-fastest ever 50k. I felt very comfortable with the pace, and wasn't too tired afterwards. Definitely happy with that, especially after running ultras all summer with no tapering or recovery time.

So now I am tapering for Spartathlon (12 days!) and of course driving myself crazy with anxiety :/ I think I am in pretty good shape, but Spartathlon is so beyond what I've done before that it's hard to tell. I know I'll be tired and jet-lagged before I even hit the starting line, but hopefully my stubbornness and mental strength will help me finish. My overall goal will just be to finish, although I am roughly shooting for 32 hours. If I can just manage to finish and touch the feet of the statue of King Leonidas in Sparta, it will put me in a very small and elite group. Even if I it takes me 35 hours and 59 minutes I will be happy!