Sunday, January 29, 2012

Planet Adventure Winter Trail Half Marathon

I was excited as soon as I found about about this race. I even skipped the Brewers Guild of Indiana Winterfest so that I could run. The idea of a night time trail run in the winter was so appealing to me that I skipped a day of drinking craft beer to put on some tights and a headlamp and run around in the woods in near freezing temps for 13 miles. I am pleased to report that the good people at Planet Adventure put on a great event that didn't disappoint.
You had the option of a quarter, half, & full marathon, each one made up of the appropriate number of 6.55 mile loops around Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.  Each race started 10 minutes apart and with 500 people signed up between all three races, I had some concerns about getting stuck behind slower runners on the trail.  The first mile was mostly traffic free but things started to get congested after that.  A few runners took to running off the trail to get around people but I tried to relax and pass where I could.  I knew that after mile 2, the course opened up while going around the bird sanctuary and that there would be plenty of room to pass people & make up time there.  Miles 3 to 5 were very runnable and I was able to settle in to a good rhythm. After there it got a bit interesting.  With all the rain/snow that had fallen over the last week & the temperature hovering right around freezing, the "swamp" loop lived up to it's name.  Shoe sucking mud for what seemed like a mile straight.  Some people tried to tip toe around it but I really didn't see the point and just charged through. It was wet and ridiculously cold but I'm sure I saved some time by not trying to avoid it. It's a trail race. You're going to get dirty. I may have had a different approach if I was running the full marathon but I wasn't worried about wet socks or cold feet on a half marathon.  From there the trail conditions approved and ran my first lap in 57:25.
The crowd thinned out a lot for the second loop. It was a completely different feeling than the first lap.  On my first time around the bird sanctuary, I turned around to see hundreds of headlamps running along Eagle Creek Reservoir, making their way down to the water.  On the second lap, I saw maybe a dozen lights behind me.  I was running with 2 other runners and we took turns passing each other until we arrived at the Lilly Lake aid station.  I stopped to drink some Heed and take a GU and lost sight of both of them.  One of them I would catch toward the end of fitness trail section, the other one I never saw again. When I arrived at the swamp loop the second time, the conditions had become even worse.  There were a few times that I thought my shoe was going to stay lodged in the mud.  Once I had cleared the mud, I pushed on to the finish line.  I ended up finishing in 1:58:02 & 29th out of 228. The finisher's medal is one of the best I have ever received. It's a cross section of a log with a piece of leather acting as the ribbon & Planet Adventure placard. Age group winners received an additional plaque with their age group standing to put on the back of the log.
Thanks to Planet Adventure for putting on a great race and thank you to all of the volunteers for standing out in the cold for 8+ hours.

Carmel Marathon Training - Week 4 01/23/12 - 01/29/12

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Rest
Saturday AM - 7.19 (Carmel Runners Group Run)
Saturday PM - 13.32 (Planet Adventure Winter Trail Half)
Sunday - Rest

Weekly Total - 20.51

I spent most of the week trying to recover from a pain in the arch of my foot.  It got so bad that I actually made an appointment with a podiatrist (which I now need to cancel). My foot started to feel pretty good on Thursday and by Friday, I was almost pain free.  I decided that I would try out my foot at the Carmel Runners Group Run on Saturday morning. I was already registered for the Planet Adventure Winter Trail Half (race report coming soon) that evening but I wanted to make sure I would be able to run it pain free before showing up at the starting line.  The last thing I wanted was to be running around the bird sanctuary at Eagle Creek & have to hike it back to the starting line due to injury.  I glad to say everything went well with both runs and my foot is still pain free. 
After my early fears of PF, I'm guessing that it was just a deep bruise caused by my 14 mile trail run breaking in my New Balance MT110s last week.  I loved the feel of the shoe but I think I'll stick with the Saucony Peregrines on the trails until after the Carmel Marathon.  I'm not saying the foot pain was caused by the MT110s but I'm not willing to risk losing almost an entire week of training, if I can avoid it by switching shoes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Carmel Marathon Training - Week 3 01/16/12 - 01/22/12

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 7 miles (Treadmill Tempo)
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 9.38 miles (Speed work)
Friday - 14 miles (Trail)
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

Weekly Total - 30.38

Great week of training up until Saturday morning.  I woke up with pain in my foot which I thought was just a stone bruise from my first trail run in the MT110's.  Unfortunately, I'm starting to believe it is something worse.  First guess is Plantar Fasciitis but I'm not sure.  Most things I've read say that PF hurts the most first thing in the morning and dissipates as the day goes on.  My pain seems to come & go throughout the day based on how much I'm on my feet.  I've been rotating between icing & massaging with a tennis or golf ball most of my free time which seems to be offering some relief.  After 5 days of no running, I can't say that my condition has improved but it hasn't become any worse.  I'll continue to rest until Saturday's trail half & then make a game time decision for the race.  If it's still persisting after the weekend, it'll be time to make a trip to the doctor. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Carmel Marathon Training - Week 2 01/09/12 - 01/15/12

Monday - 3.1 miles
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - 7 miles (Tempo)
Thursday - 9 miles (Speed work)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 15 miles

Weekly Total - 34.1

Once again ran my three key workouts but failed to get in the cross training. Nailed my tempo run on Wednesday and hit my goal pace +/- 1 second of marathon pace on each mile but it think it cost me some speed on Thursday.  I was aiming for 3:00 minute 800m repeats and I was able to hit it on the first two but they became gradually slower. I ran my sixth & final interval in 3:11.  I really look forward to my Thursday speed work at NIFS.  Great group of guys to run with and it's definitely easier to do repeats on an indoor 200m track when you have other people suffering along with you.
Two weeks into the plan and I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm happy with the mileage that I've been getting in and my body seems to handling the increased work load as well.  I know I'm still 14 weeks out from the marathon but I'm fairly confident that if I'm able to continue to stick with the plan that I'll be able to go under three hours in April.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Carmel Marathon Training - Week 1 01/02/12 - 01/08/12

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 5 miles (Treadmill tempo)
Wednesday - 6.2 miles (Trails)
Thursday - 8 miles (Speed work)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 13.1 miles
Sunday - Rest

Weekly Total - 32.3

I did my 3 key workouts as prescribed by the FIRST plan but didn't get in any of the cross training. I was going to spin on Wednesday but the opportunity to hit the trails is always a more enjoyable option.  I'm happy with this week's training as a whole but I was a bit upset with not being able to maintain my goal pace on the tempo portion of Tuesday's treadmill session and on the mile repeats on Thursday.  I do realize though that the paces I had planned are for someone who is currently capable of running a sub 3 hour marathon & I still have 15 weeks to go. Briefly flirted with the idea of running 8 miles today to get in 40 miles for the week but I haven't had a 30+ miles week that didn't include a marathon or 50k in over 6 months.  Taking the extra day off this week will be beneficial as I start to ramp up the mileage in the weeks to come.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"It might be time to start looking at getting uncomfortable..."

Nice post by Travis Liles over at Run The Ultras on taking your training to a new level.  I love the last few sentences about if you want to improve your results, you're going to have to make your training uncomfortable. It's a nice reminder, with my spring marathon training starting this week, of what it'll take to achieve my goals in April. Approaching my training with the same attitude that I've had over the last few years will just lead to the same lack luster results. I'm going to have to wake up early on cold winter mornings that I'd much rather stay in bed. I'm going to have to push myself through speed work on days that I'd rather just head out for some easy miles. If I'm going to run a sub 3 hour marathon, the road to get there is going to be uncomfortable