Monday, August 29, 2011

Pushed it at the Poto

Taken from Runner's World: Potawatomi Trail
Pinckney, Michigan
This 17.5-mile mostly single-track loop in the Pinckney State Recreation Area, 20 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor, twists and turns around kettle lakes and bogs and undulates between lush forested lowlands and along the high crests of glacial-formed ridges. Known locally as the "Poto," the hard-packed dirt trail has plenty of technical terrain features, including several creek crossings, steep climbs and descents, and many sections with gnarly roots. Not surprisingly, the Potawatomi plays host to some of the best trail races in the Midwest, ranging from 5 miles to a full marathon.


Saturday morning my dad, his friend Dave and myself headed out to Pinckney, MI to run the Poto.  My dad and I are training for DWD Ultra 50K and Dave is part of the 100 mile relay team.  We need to get in as many training runs as possible out on these butt kicking trails.  We have less than 4 weeks until the event. Time to really get cracking here!

It turned out to be a perfect morning to run.  It was cool, light breeze with some sun and clouds.  My dad wasn't feeling 100% so he was unsure how long he would last.  Well, I think he discovered the best remedy for a cold.  Run for close to 3 hours and 40 minutes!  Yep.  We ran the trails for just over 3.5 hours.  It was awesome!  I felt great almost the entire time, other than being stung/bit by something in the ear.  We all got a bit tired towards the end, but that is to be expected when running the terrain we were on and for that length of time.  Afterwards we walked over to Silver Lake to soak our legs.  Taking a dip in a cool lake after a sweaty run is so refreshing! 

This coming weekend we are changing up the terrain and heading to flatter trails.  After having 3 weekends in a row of killer hills, I could use the break.  We are going to run in Toledo at Oak Openings.  It will be nice to have the softer ground under foot, yet still be able to run a faster pace.

I am taking 2 days off from running (took Sunday off and will take Monday off too).  My legs are sore so I'd rather make sure they recover before pushing it.  I've got a two-a-day lined up for Tuesday and Wednesday, easy 6-8 mile run Thursday, yoga Friday, long run/trail run Saturday and strength training/cross training on Sunday.  I have tried to follow a specific training program, but lately I've been "winging" it.  It's sort of difficult to find a training program to prepare you for 6.5 - 7 grueling hours of mud, hills, rocks, roots, water, etc...  I am getting really excited for this event though.  I am ready to take on the challenge and earn the right to wear a DWD shirt!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Somerset Stampede race results and review - The Cliff Notes Version

I am going to keep this short and sweet.

Half marathon + 4.20 miles.  ran 2 miles w/u, 13.1 race and a 2.10 mile c/d.

For me, this race was awful.  The hardest I have had in a long time.  I lost focus early on and could never regain it.  The hills kicked my butt, the sun annoyed me, my hip was sore, etc...  I didn't expect it to be this hard after coming off the Run thru Hell.  I had a successful race on an extremely hilly course, so why would this race be any different?  Well it was.  My pace was all over the place, I struggled up the hills and couldn't wait for it to be over.

I ended up running my slowest half marathon (not including trail half's) in 3 years!!!  Not only that, I ran this course 4 minutes slower then last year.  WTF?!  Since this is such a small race I snagged first in my age group with a finish time of 1:44:24, 7:58 pace.  Clearly this was not my day.  I ran my marathon pace for this half and felt awful the entire time.  Oh well, you can't be 100% all of the time.  I just chalk it up to being a good hill training run for Dances with Dirt. 

Official Results:
Finish Time: 1:44:24
Pace: 7:58
AG Place: 1/10

Friday, August 19, 2011

Half Marathon and Nascar weekend!

I have another half marathon this weekend.  This will be my 3rd year running the Somerset Stampede.  It's a small and inexpensive race (only $20!) that offers two distances; a half marathon and a 5K.  The course is made up of challenging hills out in the country, dirt roads, a horse trail and finishes at the Somerset Beach Campground.  My current PR for this course is 1:40:02.  My goal is to break 1:40:02 but I would be thrilled if I could come out with an overall half PR by breaking 1:37.

It just so happens that this race fell on the same weekend of the Nascar race out at MIS (Michigan International Speedway).  We attend every Nascar race at MIS (June & August).  It's nice being able to enjoy the lake that my in-law's live on yet being within 12 miles of the race track.  I am off work Monday so I can get in another hilly 6-8 mile run before heading home. 

Fun & training going hand in hand. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Run thru Hell results and review

After a 3 year hiatus, my uncle's race was back on!  In the past, the crowd has topped off near 1500-1800 runners total between the wienie run (4.8 miles) and 10 mile race.  This year it just reached 1,000.  I am hoping that the word will get out that the Run thru Hell is back and we can double that total next year!

I got to the race location 2 hours before the start.  I had assumed I would need to help set up or hand out registration packets.  They didn't need me to do a thing.  I was there to be food for the humming bird sized mosquitoes though.  Holy moly, these things were awful!  I was getting eaten alive.  I tried to hard not to use insect repellent, but finally broke down and sprayed myself from the waist down.  so instead, they bit my face.  I had 3 very large welts on my forehead and side of my face.  Guess that is what happens on a damp morning out in the country! 

3 runners from my gym were running this race as well.  We met up at the start line, waited for the gun to sound and off we went.  I took off on my own.  I may run with them during the week, but I like to race alone.  My goal was to finish in 1:15, which would be a 7:30 pace.  This course sticks to mostly dirt and gravel roads with lots and lots of hills.  Definitely a great work out!  I kept leap frogging this younger woman.  She would kick my ass on the up hill but I passed her every time on the down hill and flat ground.  About 2 miles left to go, she passed me one last time and I never did catch her.  I tried.  Afterwards I thanked her for the push.  I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:17:05 with a 7:43 pace.  Good enough for a 3rd place finish in my age group but 2 minutes off my goal.  I looked up the results of the woman I ran with and she finished in 1:17:10.  So although I had not caught her in the end, I ran the course 5 seconds faster.  Feels good to know this 32 (almost 33) year old body can take on a young woman who is 23 years old! 

Official Results;
Time; 1:17:05
Pace; 7:43
AG place; 3rd/22

Monday, August 8, 2011

Training, races and other ramblings

I am going to apologize in advance at how "all over the map" this post will be!

I have an ultra marathon in less than 7 weeks.  Am I ready?  Not at all.  I am following Hal Higdon's intermediate I marathon training since I am running the Detroit Marathon in less than 10 weeks but have altered the program to include my races as well as trail running.  I really need to get some distance running done on the trails or I will never survive Dances with Dirt!   The longest I have run on the trail is 13 miles.  That won't cut it!!

I had a long run of 15 miles this past weekend.  My goal was to force myself to run 30-60 seconds per mile slower than my marathon goal pace.  I ended up running an 8:00 pace.  Not only did I run much faster than I intended, but I did it in the sunshine and humidity.  As much as I know long runs should be runner slower, I really needed this.  I've felt so sluggish over the past few weeks so this was definitely the boost of confidence I needed.

Here are my splits for my 15 mile run I did on Sunday on Grosse Ile. 

Mile 1:    8:05
Mile 2:    7:52
Mile 3:    8:00
Mile 4:    8:01
Mile 5:    7:53
Mile 6:    7:54
Mile 7:    7:50
Mile 8:    8:08
Mile 9:    8:01
Mile 10:  8:06
Mile 11:  8:26
Mile 12:  7:51
Mile 13:  7:57
Mile 14:  8:05
Mile 15:  8:08
Mile .01: 7:30

I've been running with a group from the YMCA.  Last week I ran with one of the runners only twice and spent the rest of the time on my own.  It definitely made me realize how I miss running alone.  I was always a solo runner, unless I ran with my dad.  I recently began running with a group at the gym every morning at 5am.  As much as I enjoy the company, I need to get out on my own too!  I was able to get a great speed work out in (on the treadmill), had a fast long run and even hit the track.  Now, to break it to the group that I just can't run with them every day. 
I have a 10 mile race this weekend.  I am really looking forward to this race.  The course is quite hilly and I could use a good hill work out.  I have decided to use this as a training run and not race it.  Wish me luck on sticking to that goal!  I will be arriving to the location bright and early that morning to help out.  It's my uncle's race and he can use the assistance.  My dad is arriving at 4am to set up all the water stops on the 4.8 and 10 mile courses.  I really hope this race has a great turn out.  In years past, prior to the 3 year hiatus, they had close to 1300 runners.  From what I have heard, there are only 300 registered.  :-(  
Another thing that has been on my mind a ton lately are shoes.  I love my Brooks Adrenaline's but I need something lighter in weight for speed work and tempo runs.  I really want to try these from the Brooks PureProject line, but they do not come out until October.  I also like the look of the Saucony Mirage and Saucony Kinvara.  Running Warehouse also has Nike Free 3.0 for $64.88 and I can use a code to get an additional 10% off.  What to do, what to do.  I know the simple answer.  Head up to Running Fit and see what they suggest!