It has been a few weeks since I updated this blog, and I apologize for that, but I am still here and still grinding. I a have also been making sure to update my training through the YouTube channel as well, but really should be putting more of that on here.
The long and short is that I feel confident in my abilities, but do not have confidence in my training as of yet. Responsibility is something that prevents all of us from doing EVERYTHING we want and that has been the consistent theme over the past few months but now I am also fighting an injury in my right ankle. This has not stopped me either but has surely slowed me down. This however does not appear to be a bad thing!
I was recently told by another ultra runner that going at even a 12 minute pace might be too fast for me to sustain over the course of a 6-7 day event like I am planning. Jogging at a 13-14 minute pace might actually be more likely and I should expect to walk a lot. The later part I already figured, but I was shocked at how slow I may actually have to go. Training at this pace has been nearly impossible. With the weather being nice out I want to just let go and run hard! I have been holding myself back a lot because of the ankle and this advice, but it is driving me a bit nutty! That is until last night.
I came up with a bit of a solution that SHOULD help me slightly. To help my ankle heal and prevent the pounding as well as to slow down slightly I started walking on my treadmill carrying a 40lbs ruck sack. Why would I do this you may ask! Well it was just my daughter and myself home last night first off so I couldn't go outside when she was asleep, at least for a 4 mile walk, but also I wanted a challenge!
That is the point of training for me, to create a challenge that I have to fight through. That and the wonderful training effects of rucking and how much strength it builds. It is amazing how much energy it takes to walk a 15:30 mile while carrying 40 lbs on your back. This allowed me to have the mental processes of a typical workout (struggling through) while also being able to take it easy on my ankle and train at a slower pace.
I am also realizing that pushing 60-70 mile weeks right now is a bit unrealistic at least to do so consistently. My life is too busy. Once the school year is over and summer school starts I will have an extra hour in the morning and the afternoon and I will be able to add in some additional miles. This will allow me to get to the number of miles that I desire while still being able to live my life.
Over the next few weeks I will be covering a bunch of topics I have learned about ultra running and the tips and tricks I have received from some of the best out there. I will say I am only learning so this information is more about my education than experience, but I want to share as much as I can with anyone that needs it. I will post a few stories on here but also check out my YouTube channel using the link below.
After last weeks 35 mile run I have been left with a confidence that I cannot accurately describe. The thought of running these long distances no longer scare me as much as they did, which is what I had hoped for when I set out to run last Sunday. With this confidence though I have also paid attention to what my body has been telling me.
My breathing was great on the run and my legs felt strong. This surprised me slightly due to the emphasis I have been putting on weight training the past few weeks, but also told me that it was working as I hoped. Going with lighter weights and longer reps has helped my body deal with longer runs. The burpees I have been doing have also been helping. These have been great for the time being, but I know that I need to ramp things up a bit more as I progress through the month.
I also had a few weak spots that I did not expect, one in particular. The very top of my abdomen was in a lot of pain at the end of the run. I have known for a while that long distance running requires a good core, but this shocked me as to how far up the muscles were significantly used. To help correct this I have started doing a new kettlebell routine I have come up with that engages all areas of my core as well as various other muscle groups.
Diet is still an area that I am working on tweaking, but as I progress forward and push a little more every day I can feel the mentality switching from "I really should train" to "I need to train... need to find my limits". This is obviously difficult with the lives we all have for any of us, but that cannot be an excuse! So for right now I am committing to 60-90 minutes of training per weekday and then 2-4 (or more) hours on the weekends. I will have recovery days, but these will still have "active recovery workouts" built in so I can maintain my momentum and maintain this mentality.
If there is anything I have learned from all of this over the past few weeks it is that my mentality is what can and will be my downfall. My body can obviously handle it so I need to ensure my mind can as well.
This week I want anyone that reads this to simply ask themselves "how can I push a little more today?" If you take this mentality you will be amazed by the results you get in a fairly short period of time!
Make sure you register for the Pain in the Canal Virtual Challenge which starts this Saturday, May 15th and join me in pushing our limits and seeing what we can really achieve! Click here to register today.
Over the past few weeks I have been leaning more on my strength training, healing my right calf and trying to get through the various obligations in life. This has been having a negative mental effect on me however. How can I ever run one ultra distance without substantial training let alone 7 back to back? I need to run! So last week I was planning on a light early week and a 30 mile run on Sunday to get myself back on track.
Things started ok last week with roughly 8 miles of running between Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday came and I had too many meetings and obligations. I knew that I was not going to be able to run on Wednesday and was ok with making it my rest day for the week. Then I got a call. "Marty, are you working the E-Race Cancer Half Marathon on Sunday?" my friend Mike asked me. I had completely botched the dates of the event and was stuck! I said I would work previously but now how would I be able to fit in a long run?
After a few minutes of talking to him about this and the difficulty with training I have had recently he offered to just let me run the half. This was nice and all, but not even half the distance I wanted to get in. We left the conversation and I went to get my daughter when I had a thought I heard from one of Dean Karnasas' books about how he would run to the start line of a race. When I looked at the directions it was a 22 mile run to the start line of the half. If I ran there then ran the half I would exceed my numbers and be good to go. I shot Mike the text and let him know the plan.
Sunday morning was an early start. Wake up at 2:45 and starting running shortly after 3:30. It was beautiful outside! The plan was to have my girlfriend meet me at sunup to ditch my lights, change at least my shirt and resupply my nutrition/water around mile 15. Then at the start line of the half change shoes and socks, resupply again and finish it off.
Things went as smooth as one could expect for my first ultra distance run. The only times I stopped running at all were at the designated refuel stops I described above. I had pain, that is just natural! The pain shifted though and never lasted. Started in my left knee around mile 12, then my right hip about 6 miles later. I got blisters on both feet around mile 20 but because of the planned stop at 22.5 I was able to address them quickly.
All in all I felt great! There were a few times where I wanted to try and keep up with the runners of the half, but I had to remember that they had a substantial edge on me, they hadn't done 22 miles prior to starting. So when they started blowing past me around mile 5 of their race I needed to remember that it was just my run and no-one else's!
At mile 31 I hit a wall HARD! My splits dropped form an almost steady 10:30/mile pace to over 12 over the course of the next 4-5 miles. This isn't a bad thing, but something that I need to take note of. I need to tweak when I am taking some sort of nutrition/food and adjust it to make things a bit better and smoother for me. I could feel myself draining but I never stopped!
Upon finishing the run I felt great! I felt like I could do more and knew that at least my shortest day of 42 miles this summer was within striking distance. I so badly wanted to get back out and finish another 7 miles but decided not to push it too much just yet, I still have time!
Overall I am satisfied with how I did and felt. 35.5 miles in 6 hours and 6 minutes (missed the stop on my watch when I crossed the finish) is not too shabby for my first 50k+. I am going to do a detailed analysis of the overall effort with what worked and what didn't just to ensure that things run smoothly as I move farther. Over the next month my goal is to hit 42 miles in 1 day. I am unsure if I am going to try for this all at once or take a break mid way through yet. My gut instinct is to just keep moving and have quick refuel stops along the way, but that will not happen until later in the month so we shall see how I am feeling when the day comes. Until then, keep pushing yourself and I will do the same! See you on the canal.