Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Boston Buildup - Take 2 & Other Miscellany

Well, as often happens, life has gotten in the way, and it's been a couple of weeks since my last post.  Things have been busy at home, at work and in other areas.  Winter has finally decided to behave like it's normal self, so that's been a factor, too.


In terms of running, the week of January 3-January 9 ended up like this:
  • Monday (1/3) - XT
  • Tuesday - 6+M
  • Wednesday - 12.4M
  • Thursday -AM: 6+M easy; PM: 6+M easy
  • Friday -10+M
  • Saturday - 7+M, with 4x20 secs strides
  • Sunday - 12.65 sloooowwwww miles on snowy trails with my ultra-pal Nate
Total for the week = 64+ miles

The week of January 10-January 16 marked the first week of a "formal" - meaning fully planned - schedule (which of course ended up being tweaked).  It came out like this:
  • Monday (1/10) - 6M
  • Tuesday - 10+M, progression run
  • Wednesday - 10.3M (103 laps on 0.10-mile indoor track during massive snowstorm)
  • Thursday -AM: 6M recovery on TM; PM: 4M recovery on TM, plus weights and core
  • Friday - 8.3+M progression (at dusk, after waiting around court nearly the whole day)
  • Saturday - 10+M, easy
  • Sunday - ~19M on hilly, snowy, slippery, roads with a nasty headwind for about two-thirds of the run
Total for the week = 74+ miles

I've felt a few niggles in the outside of my hips, but I'm generally feeling smooth and strong, and have been able to take hills more powerfully than at any time in the past 8 or so months.  It also appears that my body continues to evolve, in my fifth year as a "runner".  My weight is consistently down about 4 pounds from this time last year, with the leanness seemingly accompanied by more muscle.  I feel lithe and strong, and while often tired, I sense that I'm capable of feats of endurance and strength unlike anything I've done before.  We'll simply have to wait and see if that's the case when it comes to perform in a race setting.


The next four weeks involve mileages of 83, 80, 77 and 77, with the week of February 7, 2011 including the Holiday Lake 50K++.  The "++" is the result of what some folks call "Horton Miles", bonus distance (at no extra charge!) named in honor of Holiday Lake Race Director and ultrarunning legend Dr. David Horton.  The preliminary intelligence I've gleaned about this race is that it's in the middle of nowhere but is a very runnable ultra course, consisting of two 16+-mile loops, with runners changing directions at the end of the loop (thus doing the same loop in reverse the second time).  Given its location in the western part of Virginia, the weather and conditions could be anywhere from 50 sunny degrees to sub-freezing with - like last year - half-a-foot or more of snow on the ground.  I'll try to gather more information about this race and preview it later.  I know, I know . . . you all can hardly wait.


Finally, I'll mention that I finished a must-read for any endurance athlete: Bill McKibben's Long Distance: Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously, [Amazon link] where one of the world's foremost  environmental thinkers recounts the year he dedicated himself to training like an elite/Olympic Nordic skier.  A thorough review may follow separately, but suffice it to say that while McKibben was prepared to test his physical limits, he had no idea - as the re-released title indicates - that his mental, emotional and spiritual strength would be subject to even greater rigors when his father confronted rapid-onset terminal cancer .  The book is full of thought-provoking reflections, and in particular eloquently conveys the solitary nature of the internal struggle/mission of the endurance athlete.  McKibben certainly "gets it", and I for one hope that his eloquence might help others understand what drives people like him (and me) to continue to push and push despite knowing that we'll never achieve any objective measure of glory, victory or elite status.

That's all for now.  thanks for reading. -ESG/Ron

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