Racing

Racing
contact me at e.senseman@gmail.com

4/29/2012

04/23 - 04/29

Monday (April 23): off. My achilles is finally feeling nearly back to normal. I'll give it a try tomorrow.

Tuesday (April 24): AM 10 miles, 8 mile tempo in 47:04, 5:53/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail to the E-ways. The first mile or two I felt slight discomfort; well, not even discomfort really, just some pressure in my achilles that wouldn't normally be present. I did begin to feel some discomfort on mile 8 of the tempo and on the one-mile cool down I felt more severe pain. I'm a bit worried but, fortunately, I was at Berkeley earlier today and Rolando suggested a remedy: a small brace with achilles support and a heel insert. He has had similar achilles trouble the last few months and said that, with this combination, he was able to run pain free until the healing was complete. I'll try it. 

Wednesday (April 25): off. My achilles tendon was quite sore and so I held off on my planned speed work. Damn!

Thursday (April 26): AM 12 miles, 1hr:26, 7:06/mile, out-and-back on the Military Ridge Trail from Mt. Horeb to Blue Mounds State Park. I tried out the brace today with mostly positive results. There was plenty of discomfort the first mile but it didn't feel like I was re-aggrevating the injury every step like it did when I had been running without the brace. Anyway, it was nice to spend some time on the trails. PM 8 miles, :57, 7:09/mile, out-and-back along Monona Bay to the Arb. Once again, the first mile was painful but the miles thereafter were mostly pain free. I take it that the tendon needs to get loosened up a bit and the pain that I feel in the first mile is mostly tightness. 

Friday (April 27): PM 7 miles, :50, 7:10/mile, along Lake Monona to Turville Point. It was a pleasant evening for some easy miles. I threw in 5 x 30secs of hard effort (around 5min/mile pace) to wake up my legs for the 8k tomorrow. My achilles is finally feeling better!

Saturday (April 28): AM 15 miles, Crazylegs 8k in 27:35, 5:31/mile. The conditions were less than ideal (wind + cold + rain = less than ideal) but I was happy with my effort today. For more, see my Race Report: Crazylegs 8k.

Sunday (April 29): AM 11 miles, 1hr:12, 6:33/mile, SMR loop. Both my achilles and my legs were sore from yesterday so I was most pleased with my morning run. Since I wasn't able to run as many miles this week (due to the injury), a moderately fast run after a hard effort was a good way to get the most out of training this week.

Weekly Totals: 63 miles, 7hrs. I was able to get three hard runs in this week: an 8 mile tempo, a 5 mile race, and an 11 mile middle distance run. Even though my mileage was low, I think I benefitted considerably from the faster pace. My achilles is almost back to 100% so I'll try to get back to 100+ mile weeks starting next week.

April Totals: 244 miles, ~30 hours. I shouldn't have expected over 300 miles this month given that I took almost a full week off following Mad City. Then there was the injury, which limited me to ~60 miles a week for two weeks. Given the injury and the time off, I can't be too unhappy with my training in April. In May and June, however, I ought to cover close to 800 miles (assuming no injuries!).

Race Report: Crazylegs Classic 8k

As a training run, I was very pleased with Crazylegs; as a race, less pleased. I placed 23rd overall in 27:35 (5:31/mile). My pacing was less than ideal but I managed: 5:09, 5:43, 5:27, 5:46, 5:27. Having run 20 miles on Thursday, my legs were a bit heavy but I felt that they responded well enough. I was most pleased with the fact that I was able to rebound (so to speak) on miles 3 and 5. In the past, I've had a difficult time picking up the pace after I've settled into a comfort zone. At mile two there is a rather steep climb and instead of pushing hard I eased up and stayed comfortable; that I was able to return to a decent pace for mile three was promising. After a hairpin turn at mile three, I allowed myself to return to a comfort zone and, as such, I lost contact with a small group (this group of four finished about ten seconds in front of me). But, once again, I was very pleased by my ability to return to a quicker pace in the final mile. Today was a promising result: I did a much better job of pushing through bouts of pain than I have previously.

The half marathon next weekend should also serve as a great training run but, hopefully, I'm physically and mentally able to run a stronger race.

4/22/2012

04/16 - 04/22

Monday (April 16): off

Tuesday (April 17): AM 12 miles, 1hr:27, 7:15/mile, along Monona Bay to the Arb. Easy miles on a cool, humid morning. PM 8 miles, 1hr, 7:22/mile, along Lake Monona to Turville Point. Cool breeze, lots of sunshine, more easy miles.

Wednesday (April 18): AM 10 miles, 3 mile "float" workout in 17:30 with Fran and Festus. I wasn't feel great this morning, but managed to have a half-way decent workout (Fran did an additional mile that I did not partake in). We ran half of each lap (200m) in around 36 secs and the second half in around 46 secs. I haven't run intervals that quickly in quite awhile, so it was a nice change of pace. I'll need to get in a few more of these "faster workouts" over the next month or so.

Thursday (April 19): AM 31 miles, 4hrs, 7:45/mile, point-to-point from (roughly) Ridgeway to Verona on the Military Ridge Trail with Hank. I joined Hank for a mock race-day experience in which his wife (graciously) crewed along the way every five or so miles. I was very pleased with the effort: it was not taxing, my legs felt great and have recovered marvelously. I did have some pain in my left achilles tendon during the second half of the run. I'll need to keep an eye on that to make sure I don't incur a serious injury.

Friday (April 20): off. My achilles was quite sore with a lot of inflammation this morning. I waited until late afternoon to run but realized within 100 meters that I was going to have to take a few days off. The pain wasn't too terrible but I know that if I run through the pain there will be an even greater chance of a serious injury. I'll take the rest of the week off, ice, soak my achilles in hot water, and rest before getting back to it next week. Unfortunate, but so it goes.

Saturday (April 21): off

Sunday (April 22): off. The achilles is feeling much better--good news.

Weekly Totals: 61 miles, ~8hrs. This started off as another excellent week of training but unfortunately it was cut short. I was still pleased, especially with the 50k effort on Thursday and the swift recovery thereafter.

4/15/2012

04/09 - 04/15

Last week (04/01 - 04/08) I only ran about 20 miles, which isn't worth posting about. I mostly took it easy and allowed my legs to recover from Mad City (they felt beat up). Back to it this week.

Monday (April 9): AM 10 miles, 1hr:11, 7:05/mile, out-and-back on Cap City Trail to E-ways. Faster than planned but my body held up well; I had a bit of tightness and pain in my hamstrings around miles 7 and 8, so clearly my legs are still not fully recovered.

Tuesday (April 10): off. General fatigue and heavy legs are a good combination for a day off.

Wednesday (April 11): AM 13 miles, 10k tempo in 36:40 with Fran around the Arb. Legs still feeling a little heavy on a cold morning, but they were responsive enough to run some sub-6 minute miles. PM 6 miles, :44, 7:20/mile, along Monona Lake to Turville Point. This is the best my legs have felt since Mad City. I should be able to start bumping up mileage without a problem.

Thursday (April 12): AM 20 miles, 2hrs:20:24, 7:01/mile, out-and-back on the Military Ridge Trail from Mt. Horeb just past Barneveld. My legs felt great. The lingering feet issues I was having also seem to have subsided. This was the first long run in which I wore my Montrails and I was very pleased; they were super responsive! I did 6 x 30 second pick-ups in the later miles. Beautiful day: sunny, minimal wind, and open trails. PM 6 miles, :45, 7:30/mile, along Monona Lake To Turville Point. Incredible deer sighting! I turned a corner and was staring at three deer that were less than ten feet from me. They initially froze and then I was able to stand and watch them slowly walk away. I wish I had had my camera.

Friday (April 13): AM 21 miles, 3hrs, 8:40/mile, Devil's Lake State Park and Ice Age Trail. My legs were a little sore from the past two days (45 miles), so I was extremely happy with how responsive they were, and with how they held up, on some rugged and often technical trails. I had to battle constant fly attacks the first two miles around the lake (I guess they are hatching this time of year?) and then climbed 500 feet up a bluff in about a half mile around mile three. The trail then took me down the backside of the bluff and I picked up the Ice Age Trail around miles six. The terrain was very challenging, which was perfect for a tough training run, but I had a mildly severe ankle twist around mile eight. Part of the trail was still covered with leaves and so picking through the roots and rocks was extra challenging; I stopped paying attention for a minute and rolled over my right ankle pretty hard. I was able to keep running -- and finish the run -- but it's quite swollen now. Hopefully it won't keep me from finishing a strong week.

Saturday (April 14): PM 10 miles, 1hr:14, 7:28/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. I was able to run late in the day after icing my ankle sufficiently to get the swelling down. It was rough going the first few miles, as my ankle was causing a bit of discomfort, but it felt much better by the end of the run.

Sunday (April 15): AM 14 miles, 1hr:35, 6:48/mile, SMR loop with Fran plus three miles. It was a warm, humid morning, which didn't bode well for me since I was already dehydrated. I was pleased with the way my legs and ankle felt (not tired or sore, minimal pain) but my body was taking a beating. The last three miles were super relaxed but during the 11 mile loop we maintained sub 6:40s for most of the way.

Weekly Totals: 100 miles, 12hrs:30. This was an excellent week of training. A few hard efforts, back-to-back-to-back long efforts (66 miles in three days), and little soreness. I need many more weeks like this (or better!) over the next few months.

                                     A view outside of Mt. Horeb from the Military Ridge Trail.

Plenty of mud to go around at Devil's Lake.

Trails can be treacherous. 

Finally, a great running commercial:

4/03/2012

03/26 - 04/01

Monday (Mar. 26): off

Tuesday (Mar. 27): AM 8 miles, :59, 7:22/mile, out-and-back along the Lakefront Trail to Picnic Point. Windy conditions this morning with mild temperatures. I hadn't been out to Picnic Point in awhile and it was a welcome view of the city from the newly constructed rock stairs.

Wednesday (Mar. 28): AM 6.6 miles, :42, 6:22/mile, loop around Monona Bay. I ran miles 2-6 at anticipated race pace, which ended up being about 6:10/mile. Felt smooth.

Thursday (Mar. 29): off

Friday (Mar. 30): AM 4 miles, :30, 7:30/mile, out-and-back on Cap City Trail. A few easy miles to loosen up the legs. I feel more than adequately rested.

Saturday (Mar. 31): AM Mad City 50K, 3:21:49, 6:29/mile. Overall, I wasn't disappointed with the result but I was disappointed the way I ran the race. I really didn't stick to my race plan and so I ended up burning out in the last 15k. See the Mad City race report for more on my 4th place finish.

Sunday (April 1): off

Weekly Totals: 51+ miles, ~5hr:30. A race this early in the year was good for two reasons: it served as a indication of my fitness and it was a great learning experience. I'm now ready to increase my mileage for the next three months. I have three races over the next two months but all are for training purposes. I expect, then, to start hitting weekly mileage in the triple digits.

March Totals: 293+ miles, ~35 hours. March was another strong month. However, I hope to run closer to 400  miles in each of the next few months. I'm looking forward to training for my next two races (an 8k and a half marathon) and improving my speed.

Race Report: Mad City 50k

Here are the results: 4th place, 3hr:21:49, 6:29/mile. I finished behind some very strong runners -- Zach Bitter, Patrick Russell, and Chris DeNucci -- and so it was hard to be overly displeased with my placing. I was, however, disappointed with the way I ran the race. Perhaps that's not entirely fair; I'm more disappointed that I wasn't able to maintain the pace that I began with rather than disappointed with the fact that I started the race at the pace I did. My five 10km splits (the course was a 10km loop run five times) were thus: 37:49, 37:22, 38:12, 42:03, 46:21. I really fell apart at around 35km: my legs became very heavy and the pace seemed daunting. If I had ran the first two laps at a minute or so slower, I think that I would have been able to finish with sub-40min 10kms on the last two laps. Part of the issue, I think, was that I didn't fuel as well as I should have. I had more than enough fuel with me: three gels and three packets of GU blocks. But I only ate one gel and less than two of the packets. I was probably consuming around 120-150 calories per hour, but I should have been consuming 200 or more per hour. So, if I had done a better job fueling, I think that my legs would have felt much better and I would have had the mental energy to maintain a decent pace. 

Regardless or my pleasure or disappointment with the race, it was nice to gauge my fitness and my ability to implement a race strategy early in the year. Obviously, I need to work on both these things, but it's good to know exactly what I need to work on. I'll incorporate longer tempo runs over the next several months (10-12 miles), faster speed work (12 x 30sec sprints during a middle distance run), and longer weekends (50+ miles). Moreover, I'll have to reevaluate my strategy in races with big name runners. I don't have much experience against top ultra competition, but I now know (from Mad City) that (a) I need to be in better shape and (b) I need to either sit early and come back later or (b*) gut it out with the leaders for the whole race. In Mad City, I ran with Pat for the first four miles until we caught Zach, but I was already working too hard at a very early stage in the race (in my defense, we ran mile 4 in 5:43), so I lost contact and never regained ground. In other words, I was trying to implement (b*) but I failed miserably. If I had gone out more conservatively, I think I could have finished ahead of or with Chris in third. Anyway, now I know what to do differently. 

The next two races (Crazylegs, Door County Half Marthon) are purely for training purposes, so I'll train right through them. I plan to increase my mileage to 100+ by the end of April. Then, in May and June, I hope to run at least every other week at over 100 miles. The Madison Marathon at the end of May will, in all likelihood, also be used as a training run. In any case, in training for these three races I will continue to do a lot of speed work (shorter and longer distances), which should allow me to improve my fitness and endurance for the 50-mile races later in the year. 

Back to the trails this afternoon!