Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thirty-one, Here I Come!

Just wanted to check in briefly. My birthday run will be this Saturday in Pisgah National Forest. I am so ready! As you may have guessed from the title, my 30-miles-for-my-30th-birthday run has turned into 31 miles. One to grow on and all.

There have been a couple of training bumps along the way. I got a crazy stomach virus that knocked me off track for a couple of weeks. More recently, I discovered what "Runner's Diarrhea" is [shudder] when I completed my first ever marathon (WOOHOO Marathon!!). But for the most part I've been able to get in good long runs on my weekends and stay active enough during the week that I feel ready for Saturday.

Derek has been wonderfully supportive during this whole process. When I asked for his help, he came up with my original training plan, encouraged me to keep to it, and didn't get too annoyed with me when I ignored it and ate doughnuts instead :) He loves me. Derek is also taking care of all of the 'race day' logistics, so that I can just run and have fun. I definitely would not be able to do this without him.

That's all I have for now. I'm going to spend the week eating plenty of carbs, enjoying a lot of yoga and walking, and just chilling out. Will post again when the run is done! Hopefully there will be pictures :)


Friday, May 30, 2014

Trail Run Fun

So far the training for my upcoming 30 Mile 30th Birthday Run is going pretty well. Tomorrow, I will be halfway through my second training cycle with a 16 mile run to be completed. I'm excited because from this point forward, every 'long run' I do will be the greatest distance I've ever run. So even if I don't make my 30 mile goal in the end, I feel like I'm getting to do something cool just through the training.

I'm doing all of my long runs out on Cathey's Creek Road and the adjacent forest trails. I think trail running provides unique problems for the runner as well as bits of entertainment that you won't find anywhere else. With that in mind, here are some of my pointers for running in the woods...

  1. Even if you wear bright colors, you may get shot at by a drunk hunter. I recommend singing the Oscar Mayer Wiener song as loud as you can to announce both your presence and your insanity. 
  2. If you squat to pee, check for poison ivy. If you fail to do this, call me and we can commiserate.
  3. Snakes are everywhere. Get over it and jump over them. Or abruptly turn around and run back the other direction. That definitely works too.
  4. Not all deer are afraid of you. In fact, some deer may just give you crazy eyes and then charge you. Watch out for those psychos.
  5. After reviewing points #1, #3, & #4 - it's probably a good idea to be armed when you run.
  6. Those horseflies that try to bite you may seem like a nuisance when you are running like a maniac to escape them; however, when you discover that you cut down on your time considerably just because you were running from those little jerks, you may be grateful for there presence. But not really.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The "Ultra" Training Plan

My goal of running 30 miles by my 30th birthday (12 weeks away at this point...) is rather... well... ambitious would be a nice word. I wouldn't be trying it if I didn't already have a strong baseline of fitness and enough experience to believe that, with appropriate training, my body can do this without badness happening. 

This past year, I trained for a half-marathon within an 8 week period immediately after having healed from stress fractures in both feet (the fractures were not due to running, FYI). Because of the recent injury, I was very conservative in my training. I stopped at even a hint of pain and I walked more than I ran. However, when I was able to run, I ran my heart out. Towards the end of my training period, I was amazed at how much better my training felt than in the past. Most of all, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to gain both speed and distance. I had started my training hesitantly, thinking I wouldn't be able to run the race completely; I ended my training in the best running shape of my life.

Based on that success (and other stuff), I plan on training similarly for my "30 by 30." I'm going to do a couple of short-fast-hard runs during the week (seriously, just two of these) along with a long, gentle-paced run on the weekends.

Derek took this plan and added to it based on his own experience and research. He created a comprehensive training plan for me that includes cardio, strength training, and core training. His plan incorporates a great deal of advice found in Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston (Derek wrote a book review on it if you are interested; If you live around here, you can also borrow this book from the Transylvania County Library).

I'm sure that the additional strength training will help me improve my power and my overall bone health, too (my doctor will be pleased I'm sure; I can never leave an appointment without some comment about how frail & skinny I am..."You'd better put on some weight, or you'll break a hip when you get older!" [eye-roll] Maybe I'll rant about that in a different post). Strength training is something I've always been slack about, and I'm hoping that making it part of my running training will help me do better with it. 

We'll see how it goes :) I'm off to do my first double-digit mile run of this training cycle!