Hello everybody. Thanks for popping back and looking in on me. In my last blog I posted my results and experiences at the 56km Limberlost Challenge. That race really wiped me out physically and mentally. I have said in the past that I do not perform well in the heat and that certainly was the case at the Limberlost, posting my second DNF of the year and my slowest EVER marathon distance (a lap short of finishing the 56km distance) in just under 6 hours!! At least I wasn't the only one that found it tough going.
For any of you contemplating running it in 2013 please read my race-report. It truly is a beautiful course and if you want a challenging cross-country race I would highly recommend it. It's a long way for me (4 hour drive) but I would definitely like to re-run it again. Thanks mostly to jumping in the lake fully clothed half-way through the race I did pick up a doozy of a blister on each heel. I also got a black toenail but it didn't come off thankfully (still to experience that in the future no doubt).
I felt totally drained after that days efforts and it took me 4-5 days before I even wanted to start running again. In the past if I have suffered a major disappointment like this one I generally give up for 6 months and lick my wounds but I'm trying to stay focused and encouraged. I get really down on myself when I've been training for a year doing high mileage and it begins to come together and you are feeling good and then on the day when it counts to crash and burn is so demoralising. It's such a skill to bring it all together on the day and it's certainly a combination of wisdom, knowing yourself mentally and physically, having a good sense of pace, and not getting carried away or influenced by what anybody else around you is doing - oh, and not doing ANYTHING new on the day.
Alas, my Achilles tendon is hurting like a son-of-a-gun and it's really, really, really irking me! Yes, I'm irked. My first run after a 1.5 week layoff after Limberlost felt dreadful, like all my hard earned training had been sucked away in my time off. My training has really taken a beating mileage wise. I'm trying to give my tendons a rest day between workouts but I'm finding it hard to run through the discomfort. I should take a page out of Chris McPeake's blog - what does he say - SUCK IT UP! ha ha. He's got a good point but we all have to weigh up a 'niggle' which can be addressed with a day or two off or some ice versus an injury which we are making worse by our training.
It just irks me (again!) that this injury is not going to go away now through icing or any short-term layoff. I've had Plantar Fascia in both feet in the past and that took almost a full year to recover from. I've also suffered from this Achilles problem in the not-so-distant-past and maybe it's age (now being an old 'git' of 45) or building up the mileage too quickly or the speed work or the hills. . .whatever it is I'm trying to be responsible with my training and how I feel. I went to my doctor before Limberlost and he's given me the paperwork to go get a scan so I will do that but at this stage I'm pretty sure it's not serious and all they'll tell me is to back off and let my body heal itself.
I really don't know how you guys and girls do so many long-distance races through the summer injury-free and keep up the momentum having 50km races every weekend (or longer!) or second weekend. After Limberlost I had pencilled on my calendar to do the Run for the Toad in late September which I did last year (my first DNF). I want to improve on last years result but with this persistent injury I was really unsure whether I'd be up for it or not.
So I found myself going through the calendar of races and I do love the sound of the Dirty Girls but for this year I'll give it a miss - so many distances to attempt and I spoke with one runner who was going to do the 48 hour race (Lisa)! Geez, respect! Then I see the Iroquois Trail Test 32km and 50km and I'm thinking, hmmm, maybe I'll do the 32km as a good training run in preparation for the Toad but then, damn, family commitments and I have to give that one a miss.
I then look at the registration deadline for the Toad and it is almost closed - I know that the fees go up 1st August so I had to decide quickly if I felt I could do the Toad or not. So I decided, injured our not, I'm going to give it a go and if the training doesn't go well or I am injured I'll just do my best which is all any of us can ask of ourselves. I liked the course and I do like to have all you crazy people with me through the highs and lows.
Okay, so I'm registered for the Toad and that means I've got almost 2 months to get to the start line.
I got a message from Chris McPeake who is a keen ultra runner so thank you. He mentioned he had a tough time at Limberlost and I saw him beginning his 4th lap and he didn't look like a happy bunny at that point but he stepped up and did it whereas by that point I was looking for shade and trying to make sure my calves didn't cramp. He wisely said that sometimes it's not a good idea to look for a pacer as competent as the Laurie McGraths of the world and I'd have to agree. She was chatting away for the first lap at least and didn't seem to be in any way in distress and probably on that day it was a bad idea. I hope one day I can be the one comfortably chatting and having 'hangers-on'. ha ha.
No problems Chris on not chatting at the start. I fully understand how you feel and everybody is different how they approach a race. Some like to surround themselves with activity and friends, some sit quietly on the sidelines, some triple-check their drop-bags to ensure they have not forgotten anything, some pace nervously, some stand on the starting line just keen to get started. I also want to wish Chris the very best with Leadville. I really look forward to that race report and have been researching more about it online. Holy crap that looks like a bad-boy! Chris mentions that Seaton is also a bad-ass course so now he's gone and done it, hasn't he! I'm going to have to do it at some point and HURT some more! You're all trying to punish me I think. What did I ever do to any of you!!! Ha ha.
How Cool Would This Be?
You know what I would LOVE to see in the future of trail races and running events? I'm sure it is just a matter of time but think of it... Our race bibs would contain our timing chip but also a GPS transponder and the course would be marked out digitally or with MapQuest or whatever and you would be able to log in at home to watch the race unfold over whatever distance.
A different colour dot would represent each distance and a race number beside the dot for the runner (which you could click on to get their profile/previous races, times, placings, etc.) with the course super-imposed beneath the dots with elevations, etc.. You would be able to search and watch by gender, distance, place, etc. - wouldn't that be ultra cool? What else? And perhaps at certain spots a live-feed cam as your favourite runners go by. And maybe you could have it on your wrist watch to see how far you are away from your closest competitor. Or maybe it's just stupid but I'll bet it will happen.
Ok, enough blabbering for now. I'll keep you posted later with how the training is going but for now I hope I'll be lining up on the start-line at the Toad with the rest of you! All the best.
Update - It's Now 11th September
Well, normally by this point before a longer race I'd have my hard training over and be in a fairly good position as far as fitness goes but I'm very jittery right now. Only 3 weeks before the Toad and with the ankle issue I have not been getting in the right kind of training at all. This past week was my highest mileage since the Limberlost Challenge at 60 miles which isn't stellar. The week before was 45 miles, then 40, then 25. And to make matters worse my longest run to date has been only 15 miles last week! I'm hoping to get at least one 20-22 miler in within the next couple of weeks but forget about competing. I think this one is going to be about surviving! The only good thing is that with the cooler weather coming on that I can get outside and actually enjoy some 'fresh' runs. By this point I'm getting pretty tired of the treadmill.
I read all the blogs from the runners that went and attempted Leadville. Some didn't finish but I enjoyed the blogs for their personal experiences. The 3 extra miles and cut-offs seem to have played a big factor in some of the DNF's which is tragic considering the months of training and personal sacrifices some of those runners went through to get there but most intend to attempt it again and certainly their experiences this year will put them in a better position next time. I certainly would love to attempt this one at some point but I better set my sights a bit lower and concentrate on getting the Toad out of the way (and hopefully finishing it this time after my DNF last year).
I've started a 'log' on excel to track mileage, exertion levels, type of run, etc. It is something I did when I first began running and kept it up for a number of years and I do find it fascinating to look back through sometimes so I thought I'd try it again. I don't know how many of you keep logs but they can be useful to see if you are doing the right kind and level of training for a particular race.
Well, that's you now up-to-date with my training since Limberlost. It is what it is and there is little I can do now to change my fitness in a few short weeks. The key will be getting 1-2 long runs in and if I can do that ok then, knock on wood, I will finish this time.
All the best for now and I hope all your training is going to plan.
Update - It's Now 25th September
Hi again. Well, this will be my last entry before the Toad so you'll have to wait for my Post Race Summary which I try to do fairly quickly after the event while it's still fresh. It's been a few weeks since I posted my last update here. Well, I did get one 22 miler done outside with a few 13.1 milers but again, no crazy weekly mileage. I'll do one more 10km tommorrow (Thursday) and then take Friday off and then it will race day! I know I will have to walk sections of this one both strategically and because I'm not in peak fitness so we'll see. The weather forecast is for rain unlike last year and the temperature is supposed to be around 17 which would suit me - even a few degrees cooler I'd be ok with. I'll carry my handheld and wear a belt with two Nathan bottles but not going to add the Endurolyte powder this time, only the perpetum. I think the Endurolyte is making me sick. I also will only fill one bottle with water and the other I'll have the powder and will fill around the course once I drink the one (less weight). I got lost driving to the course last time so hopeful not to repeat that exercise.
Of course I just HAD TO look at the race results for myself and everybody else from last year and I've pulled out my 'flawed' crystal ball and my predictions based on current fitness will be 5:15 - 5:25. If I pull a sub 5 hour out of the hat I'll be well chuffed but the goal regardless of time is to finish this time and gut it out even if I'm feeling crap and not doing well.
Well, there you have it.
Da da da dat's all folks. See you on Saturday and good luck to everybody.