Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I woke up this morning and it was Saturday the 22nd, the day I've been waiting for, for two weeks. Not to mention that it is the first day of fall, officially. I wasn't quite sure I was going to wake up alive by today, the past two weeks have been so stressful. Finally, I have a break in my schedule, I have the whole weekend off from work, and time to take a deep breath and not rush off to anything for a whole day!

I am so thankful for today, I don't have to work, I don't have to run, I don't have to do anything except: study, work on my upcoming evaluation for work, pick up my race packet for tomorrow's Equinox Half Marathon, get ready for my butt crack wake up tomorrow to catch the bus up the canyon to the race start.

I haven't had time to get in touch with my doctor to get a lab order to get my thyroid checked, but I did jump start things by skipping a little of my thyroid medication this week, because my hands are shaking and I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin. Work was almost impossible for me to get through without being grumpy.

All the usual distractions, phones ringing, multiple people asking me questions at once, multitasking between 3 patients with all their pumps going off at the same time, trying to remember little details like calling the patient's family member 30 minutes before they're done...all of this stuff is normal but when you're hyperthyroid everything is exponentially escalated. It sounds like a chorus of frogs croaking and it won't go away! My head felt like it was going to explode.

So tomorrow is the test run, it's a test of my fitness to give me an idea of how I should pace myself at my upcoming 12 hour race in OKC.

This week I met with a runner and coach I've known for years, Kent Oglesby, and ran my training plans and goals by him. I wanted some input from someone who knows speed training. I've always coached myself, and will continue to do so, but when you work on things on your own for so long, it helps to bounce ideas off of someone who works with athletes all the time and has a vast amount of personal experience and knowledge about endurance training and racing.

I showed him how I set up my workouts and my training throughout the year, and asked questions about different elements of my training. He gave me some very useful suggestions for how to tweak a few of my workouts. Although he does not work with many ultrarunners and has not been an ultrarunner himself, it sounded like my approach is fairly similar to his when it comes to setting up training for long races.

I feel like I've been very much on the right track, haven't struggled with injuries, still find it possible to regain some speed, and perform fairly well on a minimum of training.

I've set some age 50 goals for myself and I'm now turning my focus to faster running. Not 5Ks or marathons, but I am looking to make a dent in my sluggishness that has resulted from several years of training for long races. I figure I still have some years to work on my speed and get my body to respond. I still have that 6 day race and more multiday runs in mind for the future, but I'm going to make the most of the resource I do have, which is, a fair amount of natural speed.

I do have naturally fast leg turnover and it doesn't take too much for me to re-train my legs to go fast, I've been doing strides most of this year and I'm definitely moving along at a quicker cadence than I was last year. The 5Ks have helped too. Just reminding my legs that they can also run 7:30 miles instead of 10 minute miles has been a good addition to my training.

I suppose I am lucky in some ways, I do have that ability to run fast and I don't have to train awfully hard to perform well. I do well at moderate mileage, probably on the low side. I take a lot of rest.

It is always mind boggling to me when I hear these runners talking about how they train, with very little rest after long races and hitting it hard with high mileage and killer workouts, week after week, with almost no rest period. Even when I was in my 20s and 30s, I couldn't handle the high mileage.

I average about 40-50 miles a week year-round. That means I don't run that kind of mileage all year. I throw in some high mileage weeks when I'm getting preapred for a long event, but they are always followed by cutback weeks, and in my rest periods after races, my mileage can drop to zero for weeks. I might ride the bike some during that time, but not a lot.

Anything more than that for months on end, I get mentally burned out, first of all. And I get physically tired, my pace drops off, and I feel like a slug. And then I'm just plodding along, which as far as I'm concerned, unless you're training to run for days at a time, is pretty much a waste of effort. Might as well go for a recreational hike in the woods instead.

You might have longevity as a runner doing high mileage, but not longevity as a performing athlete. It all depends on your priorities. I would like to do all I can while I can, and later on, when my legs become less responsive and less capable of achieving lifetime PRs at shorter distances, then I have a whole world of multidays and longer distances to explore.

I don't race a lot either. You won't see me racing for performance more than a couple of times a year. I peak for specific races and everything else I run, even if it's an organized event, is for training. This year I have two goal races on my agenda, one was the Cornbelt 24 hour, and the other one is Across the Years 48 hour.

I can count 24 The Hard Way 12 hour as a race, too, because I am going to push myself hard just to see what I can do, but it really is just one of three key training runs for the 48 and I'm not going for a PR.

So tomorrow when I run this half marathon, which is downhill, on pavement, and should be ideal temperatures and weather, I am going to start off at my recent tempo run pace and try to pick it up just a hair and sustain it all the way to the end.

A good, hard, steady workout without hurting, so that afterwards I'm not completely spent. Hopefully I can run a decent pace which will be mentally rewarding going into my fall training, and will give me a dose of reality for preparing for my big race in the coming months, too.

I have a big blogpost building up in my head but I am still doing a little research and will be posting on that soon, once I get all my other stuff done. Enjoy your weekend, whatever you're doing.


mike_hinterberg said...

Glad you woke up alive instead of waking up dead! Infinitely preferable.

Happy Fall! A lazy Saturday morning here, too, going to check out Fortoberfest, and its unique and novel premise of combining beer and bikes in Ft. Collins...

Alene Gone Bad said...

Enjoy the day, beer and bikes R us. Just getting caught up on reading blogs, getting back to normal. Congratulations Mike on your Run Rabbit Run finish, sounds like it was a real challenge with multiple course issues, but a beautiful run nonetheless. Extra points for having survived your fall so close to race day...