Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fall Racing and Training 2012

I seem to have next to no time to update my races or my training anymore, so it looks like I will just update things when I am able.
Since my last post, I spent much of the summer training for another JdF Epic tilt at the end of August. The training went reasonably well, but I certainly should have put more mileage in if I wanted to be serious. On the day, a couple elites took part (like Sean Chester) so that aspect of it was exciting for sure. For me, I did the first 22k in 3 hours, a pace that was certainly too fast (relative to my training) and like all long distance events, starting too fast will put you in your place awfully quickly. The second half was miserable, but I hung on to finish the 47k trek in 6:45 this year. It was a shame, as I likely had a sub 6h time in me if the pacing was better. I am confident that one day, I'll achieve this feat, but may take a few more tries to get the pacing correct. The day was awesome though, and the conditions were ideal for a PB. I likely will tackle this again in late August of 2013.
After the summer, I settled into a training program of 3 days/week with my long runs being somewhere between 12-20k - a very minimalist program, but one that really had the primary goal of just keeping my in shape. I did ramp things up a little as I headed into Race 1 of 3 of the Fall XC Series.
On Nov. 11th, I raced in the 20k Thetis Lake Relay. I was stunned to see Simon Whitfield in the race, and I ran very well to come 4th in my division (1:13:33). I was very satisfied with steady pacing, and I made this a priority so that I could perform to my potential.
A couple weeks later, I was in the 10k Gunner Shaw race. This race is notorious for water and mud, and with the crazy wet conditions in October and November, the conditions were as nasty as they have ever been. Once again, I started too fast and found myself in ~10th place after about 3k into the race. When we hit heartbreak hill, my heartrate was much too high heading into the hill and I red-lined pretty fast and was forced to power hike up the top of it. I also spent much of the next 2k in recovery mode, and several runners went by me like it was my first 10k race ever. However, I did find my legs again about 5k in and I tucked in behind running club-member (and top female) Claire Morgan and we flew along the 2nd half of the course. When we hit the "Gunner" hill series towards the end, I charged up some adrenaline and passed Claire and hammered into the finish. While it was not a well-paced race, I did finish with a decent result and was proud of the 2nd half effort.
The final race of the Series was the 16k Stewart Mountain Race - my favourite :). I enjoy the distance and the hills, and much of the Gunner mud and water was still around.  I started the race intentionally slow, wanting to be patient. In the early going, I was behind a couple of runners that I would like to beat, but stayed the course and stuck to my guns. By the time 5k rolled around, I was feeling quite good and made a pass up a slow hill, leaving 3 runners behind me. Another pass at the water station took me to the bottom of the mountain, where I power hiked the majority of it, wanting to conserve my energy for the 2nd half of the race. The plan worked, and by the top of Stewart Mountain I had not been passed by anyone, and I had passed another 2 people just power hiking. The downhill section came, and I was ready for it. I flew along this portion, gobbling up some valuable distance. Nobody seemed to be in front of me now, and I felt like I was opening a good gap behind me. A small little leg cramp at 14k reminded me to stop for water, but it luckily went away fairly quickly. The end portion of the race continued to be good, and I finished having a superb race. Overall, I finished in 17th place. My time was nearly identical to the time I ran 2 years ago in this race, but the event that year was on a shorter (and slightly easier) course.
So the year was a bit mixed. I rarely seemed to get in the training that I wanted to, but made the best of the situation. I did manage to stay relatively uninjured this year, and that is always the primary goal. The end of the year ended very well with 3 solid races under my belt.
Looking ahead to 2013, I am signed up for the Island Series, and will definitely take in 6 or more of those races. I do not know beyond that, and it will likely depend on where I can fit extra training sessions into my daily weekday schedule.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motivation and Update

Regrettably, it has been over a year since my last post. Over the past year, I have been on a self-induced maintenance program with my running. In short, I have struggled significantly to get out more than ~2x per week. It has been hard for me to determine what exactly was the cause of this sudden decline with my running, but there have been a few personal and family issues that have simply made me not motivated at all. Inside, I hate myself for having this feeling. I always prided myself on being Mr. Determination, and all of a sudden last was gone.
After the e2e marathon last June, I essentially took the remainder of the summer off. I was hoping that over this time, my Achilles issues would clear up - which it didn't. I began running a little bit in the fall season, with hopes of entering in some of the Thetis XC events, but alas, getting into a regular training pattern never happened. I did sign up for 2 races in the fall, but due to sickness, I withdrew at the last minute for both.
I was encouraged at the start of 2012 and had some big hopes that a fresh year would wake me up into a new found motivation pattern. Again, this never happened. Life became difficult with some more personal issues, and I basically used running as a stress-relief and a form of escape from some of the other crap in my life.
On a positive note, I used the nice weather in the late spring to inspire me to do my first race in 8 months - the Sooke 10k. However, the race was a bit of a wake-up call, as after the 5k mark, I had to stop and walk due to lack of fitness. The 41:xx time was humbling to say the least. I felt like I was in good speed shape, as I was looking better with my training quality.
Two weeks later though, I ran a solid TC10 in ~38:30, which I was very pleased with. I was now consistently running 3x per week, and even though my distance was horrible, my speed was decent. I then put in a few longer training runs (17k ish) and then entered into the Oak Bay 1/2 Marathon. Once again, I was good with a clocking of ~1:27. Definitely not where I was the previous year ~1:23, but I was satisfied that 3x per week could bring me such results.
My most recent race was the Sidney 5k, done on July 1. I had a solid race and finished 10th overall with a time of 18:20. This reaffirmed that I was in good shape, but still didn't really have the endurance. So then I banged out a couple more distance runs ~20k, and then singed up at the last minute for a Harriers Club Run - 27k in the Sooke Hills.
The group that day was an all-star group. There were 12 guys, who I would say, had an average of 37 min/10k time. These were a pack of studs I was with, and I was just hoping the distance would not kill me. It was also my first run with my Nathan Hydropack in over a year, so I was excited to back on the trails for a lengthy one. In short, the day went great for me, and I was strong throughout. I really enjoyed the social aspect of it as well.
This run coincided with another thing that happened that week. Through the running grapevine, I heard that a fastee from Nanaimo - Jeremy Clegg - was attempting to run the West Coast Trail in record time. I read the report on his attempt, and it sounded all-too familiar, as it was almost a replica of when I did it back in 2007. His time was slightly faster in ~13:30.
I mention these past two things for a reason. These were two pretty big motivating factors for me. I am finally happy to report that I have my running mojo back. I am finally motivated again, and have my sight set on big things.
Last weekend, I went out on Sunday morning at 6am and ran 17k on the Juan de Fuca as a training run. 2h of solo running in God's country brings back the motivation pretty quick.
My goal for the summer is to maintain my speed and now increase my distance. I have made it my goal to run the 47k JdF Trail once again this year, but also know that I need a few weeks of serious distance in me to get me through. It appears as though there could be a couple other people who also may join me in the event, so I am super excited about this.
My running life is good right now, and I wanna just keep the ball rolling and stay healthy. Very excited and proud to say that I am motivated once again.