Thursday, July 19, 2012

So Long, 5K...Let's Never Meet Again!

Nothing too exciting to post about recently, but no one ever said training was sexy...certainly not the training I'm doing anyway. See, while trying to reach my 16:29 5K goal, I realized it was waaayyyy easier to get on the treadmill and have the machine force me to go fast. Otherwise, I was finding the internal conversation between my brain and legs always went something like this while running on the road:

Brain: OK Legs, we need to run this next mile at 5:40, and then drop 5:15s the next two.

Legs: Yeah....about that. Listen, me and the lungs were talkin', and we decided we're not gonna do that.

Brain: C'mon guys, don't you want to break into the sub-16:30 5K world?

Legs: No. No we don't. What we do want to break into is a bag of Doritos. No wait...donuts! We want donuts. Is it too late to change our request to donuts??

Brain: I hate you guys.

So as you can see, the decision to move my 5K time trials to the treadmill was really the only option. I see the 'mill as sort of like a big mechanical arbitrator in this debate.  Anyway, with the help of the good ol' hamster wheel, and a lot of really loud heavy metal on my ipod, I ran a 16:25 earlier this week and have happily checked the box on that goal. My reward, I'm happy to report, was that I didn't throw up at the end. ...and I have to say I appreciated that just about as much any of the 100 mile buckles I've earned in the past. So long, 5K...time to hang out with your big brother Mr. 10K for a while now. ....35:30 is the goal for this one!

In other news, I'm slowly piecing together my race schedule for the rest of 2012. As indicated on the upper right side of this page, I'm signed up to run the Dahlgren 50k in a couple weeks (definitely a "tune-up" and not a "race" for me this time around), and then I'll be heading to the hills to take on the 71 nasty mountain miles of The Ring. I'm looking forward to actually being in shape for that one so I can make an honest effort at grabbing the CR out there (I still own the record running in the opposite direction, but I think both times are a bit soft). I have a ways to go yet in training, but I think it's a worthy goal to shoot for.

Beyond that, I do want to make a return to the 24 HR world and put forth an honest effort at qualifying for the US Team again. I think a trip to the Netherlands for the 2013 World Championships sounds pretty cool to me, so I'll either throw my hat in the ring for the UltraCentric Gold Rush in November (the winner gets a 1oz Gold Coin!), or the Desert Solstice in December. We'll see how training goes the next couple months before I make that call.

In the meantime, I'm happily looking forward to bailing on work tomorrow and heading out to the mountains to run. It's the least I can do to reward my poor legs for all that treadmill torture the past couple weeks!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating the Country's B-Day in the Mountains!

You know what's worse than trying to hammer yourself back into running shape? Trying to do that when it's 100+ degrees out every day. Really, baby Sam, way to make your daddy suffer by being born at the wrong time of year!  The good news is, I'm certainly getting plenty of heat training in during my afternoon runs home from work. Not that I'm going out to Badwater again this year, but on the freak chance that the President called me up and said I needed to run out there as a matter of national security, I think I'd be in pretty good shape to answer that call.

Actually, it hasn't been all suffer n' shuffle in the heat these past couple weeks. Just yesterday I was able to join about 50 fellow VHTRC-ers for the annual "Browntown Loop" - a 20-something mile loop in the northern VA mountains. The club has been holding this run for the past 12 years, always on the 4th of July, regardless of the day of the week. This year's Wednesday date made for a nice mid-week break from work, and the early start gave us a bit of a break from the real heat that rolled in by the end. Even though I'm far far faaaarrrr away from being in mountain running shape, I still had a great time with the folks at the front dragging me up and over a couple mountains.
The 12th annual Browntown Loop crew. Photo: Sophie Speidel
The real treat of this run is the stop off (about half-way) at the Browntown General Store, which opens up just for us every year! Nothing like some ice-cold Gatorade and Little Debbie cookies to refuel before the final climb back up to Skyline Drive!
The best thing about this map? It shows just how far we're willing to go off-map to hit the General Store (which is the dot waaayyy up there on the top)! Graphic: Keith Knipling

All in all, a great way to spend the 4th!  I can also see some signs that I'm finally getting back into shape. I still have a few seconds (17, to be exact) to take off my 5k time before moving up to my 10k challenge, so hopefully I can wheeze out a 16:29 this weekend and leave the lung-busting torture chamber that is the 5k behind me for good! It was a nice break to exchange the whip of the watch in a 5k for the carrot of some ridgeline views in the mountains yesterday, that's for sure!