It hurts way less than that Nashoba hill… Mental prep for lactate threshold runs

Last week I was working in London and had a 30″ tempo run.  My coaches notes said “you will need to be VERY focused and maintain concentration throughout the run.  Get amped up before going!”  These 5k type speed runs are my most dreaded workout.  I was listening to a podcast where a 100-200 miler was being interviewed and she said she’d rather run 100 miles than do a 5k.  They’re hard!!  I’m out of my element these days.  Mentally I’m pissed because when I was 17, I could run 8″/mile pace for as long as I wanted and I struggle to get that for just one mile today.

I have to get past comparing myself to when I was 17.  I know this 🙂

I had a few revelations around/in this run:

  • It should be fun.  Holler, smile, say hello to folks.  Have a more positive attitude knowing you will be better for doing it and don’t take it too seriously.  I am an amateur after all – back of the pack right now so I can only get better!
  • In the middle of the run I compared myself to what I felt like running up that 2 min Nashoba hill and realized I was way, way better off.  This was not even painful.  That put things in perspective.  That hill is my new comparative for what being close to utter failure feels like (that day stays in my head I almost literally fell over about 30′ from the top from poor pacing).  It wasn’t that bad really.
  • I’ve been wheezing and my breath is more limiting than my legs so I may get an inhaler to help out in this cold weather.

I ended up doing a 9:13/mile pace, way faster than the 9:37/mile I did 12/25/19.  It also takes time to get your pacing back and acclimate to speed work after the long runs.  I was pretty discouraged at my start of year benchmarks but after a few weeks, I think I am better than last year.  I also researched a little on how these extra 10 lbs affect me, which I calculate as being worth 2 s/mile/pound or a good 20-30 seconds.  Working that.

I ran around and around St. James Park, which has just spectacular huge trees, beautiful against the moonlight.

There is always fun/drama during the run.  I got slightly slowed in second mile as I started to pace with the ducks quacking!  My eyes cried a few times for no reason, and I think concentrating on not tripping and falling took my mind off the run.  Good effort with 30 s/mile improvement since December 25 for same distance!

Hello Old Friend, 2/2/20

It’s been a while since we’ve spent time together!  Nashua rail trail has been a steady place to do longer flat runs but I left it in June of last year to hit the trails and mountains.  Doing 80″ “long” Sunday runs adding 10 min a week – around the same time as last year but in Z3 vs. Z2 and @ 180 cadence (last year I didn’t start using metronome until spring).  Keeping up the cadence adds pressure for sure!

Lesson learned last year:  You will always be tired at the end of a workout.  You will always think, if I’m this tired at this distance/time, how will I ever make it for as long as I need to go….. but you will.  Doing intervals, doing hills will never be “easy” but your recovery after will be shorter.  Last year, I would have been absolutely crippled for the rest of day with my lower back issues – mostly resolved!

Progress.

Durability

Bruise is fake.  Took a wilderness first aid class two weeks ago with NOLS through REI.  As my distances in the mountains/trails get longer, I feel much better feeling a little competent around how to help myself or someone else with an injury.

I also debriefed with my PT biomechanics master, Mike Roberts, this week about last years races and my current hip pain.  Had a few interesting thoughts:

  • Durability takes time to build up.  I slowed down the second half of both long races.  This year I hope to be more consistent with a year of experience/mileage under me.
  • Even though I still have hip pain, which started on the flatter long runs after Killington, he thinks its not because of some mobility issue to fix but normal recovery and a little beefing up of my glue mead will help as well.
  • Training/performance for a high elevation race like Killington (12,200′) vs. the Stone Cat 50k (2,500′) is different.  Going up and down hills alternates which muscles are being used.  Continuous flatter runs are beating the crap out of the same ones the whole race.  That didn’t occur to me when I thought StoneCat would just be super easy vs Killington and it crushed me.
  • He thinks a little run downtime during my upcoming shoulder surgery is great timing and will help me fully recover from last year.

My questions remain:

  • How long do you need to recover between races?  How many can you do a year vs. years of experience… I’d like to lay out a plan between now and 100 mile UTMB qualifiers.
  • What does recovered mean?
  • When do you need to just run vs. cross train with bicycle to build up that endurance?  At some point cycling may not stress you enough to get used to it.

2020 Goals: Kilkenney Ridge 50 Miler

I am working first two months to build what strength I can before going into shoulder surgery.  Then it will be a year of rebuilding and lower strength/running trying not to fall and reinjure myself on the trails.  I am still recovering with hip pain from race last November – have to beat this or will be limited this year.  My goals are to get more competent at 30 milers and try this 50 mile, 15,000′ course which will require some rigorous hill training as well/just like last year.

Current primary races:

  • Vermont Ragnar ultra 30 mile
  • Kilkenney Ridge 50 miles, 15000′
  • Stone Cat redo 30 mile, 2500′

I plan to volunteer at the VT 100, which will be my target race in 2021, and is a qualifier for UTMB.

It bothers me a lot being so slow and I think the way to improve that is interval training – I lived in fear of my first interval runs this year.  I have slowed down a lot since the last ones ins August but hopefully will improve quickly.  I am afraid of what I’ve lost and need some experience to understand these training cycles…will feel better when I competently run some long distance and feel strong/better than last year to know that I do have a better base that will payoff this year.

I am excited about trying for a 50 miler and love those long training runs in the woods.  Got my husband a pair of trail shoes so he can throw down a few with me 🙂

Race Schedule 2020

Winter Snowshoe 5k Dion Nor’easters 1/11

Winter Snowshoe 10k Dion Nor’easters early Feb

Half Marathon – early Mar

Shoulder surgery 3/5/19 – out six weeks

Ragnar Zion  5/8 15 mi

30 mile race – end May

Vermont 100 volunteer – Mid July

VT Ragnar Ultra 30 mi – 7/24

Kilkenney Ridge Race 50 mi – 9/19

Shoulder Setback…Back to the Drawing Board for 2020 Goals

Got confirmation that I need shoulder surgery on my other (right) side.  It was the Spartan Spring race last May – I knew it was hurt but hoping it would recover and just kept aching.  MRI confirmed a few weeks ago with similar damage as my left – not a huge tear but one that won’t heal by itself.

Super deflated initially as I was so looking forward to working strength and distance and now figuring out how to adapt my plans for next year.  Spartan races are out but I found an alternative 50 mile, 15000′ elevation race in Sept that will be my new goal.

Surgery planned early March as we had already planned a scuba trip to the Philippines in February.  That puts any upper body work out until September.

Fun in the Dark and Venturing Into the Woods 12/8/19

I love running at night – doing the Vermont Ragnar trails was one of the most fun runs I have ever done.  I am back to running with a relaxed 30″ run plus warmup tonite in the cold, on slightly snowy roads and my trail shoes (which I didn’t know about last winter).

Because I am afraid of getting lost up in the mountains, I decided to learn how to use my compass.  Saturday (yesterday) I did two beginner Orienteering courses at Beaver Brook run by upnoor.org, who were kind enough to teach me many things including:

  • How to use my compass and a map
  • How to use snowshoes and what different types there are – they loaned me a pair
  • What snow gaiters are and let me wear a pair
  • How you can buy different bottoms for your trekking poles or X-country skiis and let me try theirs out

Super fun 2.5 hours making some beginner mistakes but learned a lot!  Had to pay closer attention to the map (never really did that before) to notice when I should be passing streams or paths or boulders and the importance of orienting compass and map to north when you start vs. being turned totally around by accident…

Beautiful, beautiful day in the woods with about 20″ of snow.  I had to venture off the trails, forded a small river and even set new trails following the directions vs. taking the easy way!  It was also pretty cold in the 20s so got to try out my new Arc’tyrx jacket which was too hot with a midweight fleece and ski pants – went back to my running wear for these temps with the added snowshoes and gaiters.

 

I am so very happy I know how to do this now – it is like taking a test out in the wild!  Can’t wait to try an intermediate one next time.  Two organizations to look into:

  • upnoor.org
  • New England Orienteering Club

Barkley marathon here I come……in a few years 🙂

 

A Journey in Professional and Personal Continuous Improvement

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