Sep 15, 2011

Mid September Check-in

After reaching my 1000th mile in 2011 on September 1st, I hit some sort of wall. I suddenly felt weak, and my left leg in particular was bothering me. I decided that I would take a week of down-time, which I hoped would re-energize things and get me going again. 
Daily mileage September 1-15
From the chart above, you can see that I dropped my mileage dramatically on September 4 and didn't start increasing it again until the 9th.. giving me 5 solid days of rest. It definitely helped. I no longer feel "beat up" and the left leg feels better, though not 100% yet. 
Daily Mileage August 22-31
Weekly Mileage since Aug 1. Note that week 38 is only half-finished.
My training has been really consistent lately, and the weekly mileage, while relatively low compared to most ultrarunners, is actually rather high for me, especially since long runs have been completely absent. The chart is typical of a "base-building" phase in training, and I've felt that this solid block of 29-mile weeks has been very beneficial. I've really never had this kind of consistency in my training, and, I think as a result, I've felt much more comfortable in my daily runs - week 37 notwithstanding. I can't remember the last time I dreaded going out. And the motivation to keep the running streak alive no longer feels like a burden.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that I'm still lacking long runs. Like I said in the previous post, I used racing as a means to getting long runs in, but now that I'm not racing as much, they've become largely non-existent. The last time I ran a mere half-marathon was way back in July, during a race. This fall I'm running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and this winter I'm running ATY. Both races respect the fact that I am building a solid base, but demand that I start getting those endurance muscles going again. Which is why I'm planning on doing a nice long run this weekend.

Speaking of ATY, I've set a goal of going 200 miles in the 72-hour race. I'll have more comments about that in a future post, but if I'm going to have a hope of reaching that goal I'll need long runs and a reduction in weight. I'm shooting for 239 lbs by December 28th.

Weight Chart halfway through September.
Diamonds are daily weight. Red line is trend.
Floaters are bad; sinkers are good.
Dashed yellow line will hit 239 on December 28th.

From my weight chart, you can see that I slipped a bit during and after labor day (which coincided with the decrease in mileage), but as you can see I'm back on track and another solid week of this will create some serious momentum.

Sep 1, 2011

August 2011

One of these pairs have been used in a trail ultra. Can you guess which?
Pleased to report a solid solid month of August.


  • 131 total miles, my second-highest total of the year - and that is without any races!
  • Sub-57 minute 10K split on a training run (PR)
  • 3 interval workouts, all with 800-meter or longer intervals
  • Four ascents of Bear Mountain
Weight Loss

August was a bit of a roller coaster. The net result, however, is positive - I was 288 on the first day of August, 281 today. The trend isn't quite as dramatic, but still positive - down about 2 lbs.

The red line is a 20-day weighted moving average
Notice that both of the roller coaster bumps on the right side of that graph occurred on the weekend. That is an issue - but the bigger issue is avoiding overeating at night, where I commonly have two or more full meals. I feel that avoiding that will cause weight to drop very, very dramatically. Another thing worth noting is that, in the month of August, I avoided pizza entirely. Pizza is kryptonite to me- one of those foods that I simply cannot stop eating after the first bite. So.. the last time I had a bite was July 24.


One effect of not racing in August is I don't have the long runs - I tend to use marathons and ultras as my long runs. Not only is this an expensive and time-consuming way to do things, but as I found in the spring, racing too much leads to burnout. So I need to add them back in - they were conspicuously absent in August (the longest run was just over ten miles.)  To that end:
  • Do at least two 20-milers. 
  • Continue running every day (streak is currently at 246 days and there's a good chance I'll pass 1000 miles in 2011 with today's run.)
  • Go at least 150 miles, with at least 32 miles each week, and at least 40 miles on the weeks I do the 20s.
  • Get the evening eating habits under control.

Looking forward to the fall, I'm currently registered for only two races - the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, and Across the Years 72-hour at the end of December. While it's likely that I'll add another race or two, I'll be reluctant to do so. I think I raced too much in the spring and was burned out by Memorial Day - causing the disaster DNF at Pineland Farms where I dropped at mile 20 simply because "it sucked."

So I've already decided that I'll say "no" to more races. Instead, I'd like to take the races I run more seriously. Perhaps as a result of racing too much, I've started taking a far-too-casual approach to the races I run. I don't like taking these things too seriously, but I also recognize that they deserve more respect than I've been giving them. Depending on how September goes, I'll likely give myself aggressive "a" goals for MCM and ATY. Possibilities are churning in my mind. I look forward to sharing them with you as they become more clear.