Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week ending February 26

Mon 2/20  4 miles easy on Cottonwood
Tue 2/21  6 1/2 miles around the neighborhood. I ran easy today knowing I would have more time tomorrow to go down to Croft and run some trails.
The Terrapin Mountain
well worth the diversion.
Credit: Frank Rodriguez via Facebook
Wed 2/22  8 1/2 miles at Croft. The Chapters is a one of my favorite trails, a two and a half mile section made up of a series of steep climbs and descents into and out of the floodplain of a small feeder creek. It’s the descents I think made a difference in last year’s Terrapin 50K, especially the rocky, sometimes very steep drop from the peak of Terrapin Mountain, about mile 21, down to a forest road and the last aid station at mile 25 or so. That I could keep my feet moving quickly meant I pulled away from a guy I had run the last seven or eight miles with. 

On this run I practiced picking a line through the roots and twists and rocks of the four fast descents, the longest about 2/3 of a mile. This is a tough run, and my legs felt slow from Tuesday and a day at work. I focused on the last miles of the race, pushing a pretty fair pace with tired legs.
from Dairy Ridge: Palmetto Trail to the Chapters, back to the Palmetto, and out.
Thu 2/23  3 miles. I squeezed this one in before a public meeting I was leading. As usual, the running calms me. I wore short-shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt in 78 degree weather.
Fri 2/24  4 miles, including 2 miles barefoot
Sat 2/25  16 miles at Croft. About the hilliest route you can take--lots of very steep climbs, several sustained climbs, almost no flat sections. Again, I tried to focus on what my friend Ted always called “quick feet” on the descents. I started faster than normal because I met a guy in the parking lot who ended up running the first half with me. The New Balance MTSomethings and the “Pb” sticker were dead give-aways. He’s in town as an intern at the hospital; it was good to have some company.
My quads were pretty shot by the end, and I did practice walking because Ian Sharman told me to. But I felt good that I was still running hard downhill, especially in the more technical parts, and at the end.
from Dairy Ridge: New Edition to the Lake Trail to that little lake trail to TC’s to the Chapters to the Palmetto and out.
Sun 2/26  5 miles at Southside. Took every shortcut I could. My legs are very tired from yesterday, which means it was a harder workout than I thought. 
Total: 47 miles in seven runs
I feel good about the steady mileage, high for me. I’ll take this next week a little easier, then one last long run two weeks out before something of a taper for Terrapin. I know that when I’m running it I’ll know how I’ll compare to last year, but I’m trying not to think about time. 
As usual, I think a lot of things about my fitness right now. I have maintained reasonably high mileage without being overzealous and getting injured. I’ve been consistent, and feel strong even when I’m tired. With some rest, especially the week of the race, and the same patience I had in the race last year, I could run faster than I ran. But last year I had no idea what my time would be; this year I have a target time, good splits, and knowledge of the course. I can’t let those advantages become burdens.
I look forward to running a course for the second time, I look forward to a well organized event, with great aid stations, and a well marked course. Race director Clark Zeeland has tucked in some fun bits, too, with the  orienteering punch tools at a few key locations, especially making you go out to the rocky nub of a look out on Terrapin Mountain and sliding through Fat Man’s Misery, which woke me up in a sweat a few weeks before the race. Clark assured me by e-mail that the passage had never stopped anyone before, and that there was an alternate route. I slid through easily, and really like the parts of the course that make you experience the best of mountain running. 
Not least, I look forward to hanging out with legendary ultra-runner and character David Horton.  The link goes to a photo of my finish last year, shaking hands with Horton. He called every finisher’s name over the PA, razzed most of them in some way, congratulated everyone. He is a great asset to ultra-running. 
The best thing, though, is that C will be able to go with me, and we’re making a weekend of it. Camping the first night will be at the start/finish line, which I really  liked best after the race, when I crashed for a half-hour or so after I finished. C has been to one other race, and loved working an aid station. She’ll either work, or wander in the mountains and bump into us. Getting to see her through the race will be a real boost.  We’ll stay somewhere a little more settled on Saturday night after the race.

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