All the running and training is slowly falling into place for me recently. A few weeks ago, I ran the Survivor Series 15k at Rock Cut Park. I decided to use this as speed work and took off at a suicide pace. I’m not the fastest in the world but I lit those trails up and passed every person that I could see. I wiped out four times and finished the race w/ bloody knees. Wound up running 7:10 / miles and this was a VERY hilly course. That STILL wasn’t fast enough to place but I ran harder and felt better than I ever have. And you can’t ask for much more than that.
On my birthday, I ran the Frost Bitten Fat Ass 50k w/ some friends up in the hilly Blue Mounds. It was a small race and this was the first year it was put on. It was a 2 loop course w/ a huge climb at the end of both loops that was almost a thousand feet to the top. And it was COLD. And I’d been sick and unable to run the week b/f. No worries. I set off not far behind the leaders who were running the 25k. Ran the first loop w/ them and had a blast. Set off for the second loop by myself and by the time I made it back to the big climb at the end, I was power hiking and hoping there wasn’t anyone coming up behind me. Well, turned out I was the only one crazy enough to run the 50k so by default, I got a first place and set a course record. Luckily some friends waited for me and had some chicken noodle soup and other foods ready for a cold and tired boy. I fueled up and changed clothes and had it in my head that I needed to run 6 more miles to equal my age. That’s how I usually celebrate my birthday. A couple of good friends were willing to run w/ me and I was glad for it. I was tired and would have had a very hard time getting it done w/out them. And after that…went to a sushi joint and ate my age in pieces of sushi. It was an awesome birthday and great training for the McNaughton 100.
After that, I started feeling some nagging injuries. Three, actually. I rarely get injured and of course they would have to come when I’m training for my first hundred miler. I took it easy for a few weeks, incorporating a lot of cross training and bike riding, hoping like hell the injuries would iron themselves out. Days were going by and I was unable to log much for running miles.
Friday I woke up and went for a bike ride. About 25 miles. When I got back I was feeling good. Really good and rather optimistic about the nagging injuries. They felt fine. I decided I would go for a long night run that night to get used to running at night in the woods. I also wanted to train running by myself and wanted to do ten loops somewhere, to wrap my head around the whole 10 loop thing I’ll be up against at McNaughton. So I set off for the trail system by my house w/ a hydration pack, iPod, ten gels and my dog at about 7pm. Roxy ran about 15 miles w/ me and then I ran her home. I refueled and headed back to the trails. I really wanted to do 10 loops. It was a mental struggle for sure. But overall, my legs and feet felt good. I concentrated on the ground in front of me and the little light my headlamp provided. I ran for a total of 7 ½ hours before finishing my tenth loop of the Rockport Park trail system. As I was running home, I checked my watch and I was up to 38 miles. I decided I could squeak out another 2 miles to equal an even 40. I didn’t get home until 2:30am. I had a Budweiser and a lot of trail mix before passing out. I had to work the next morning. And the next morning after that I ran 17 fast on tired legs. This was a huge confidence booster for me after nursing the injuries for a couple weeks. I’m feeling good. I have two more tune up races b/f I will be running 100 miles of brutal trails on April 13th. I’m really looking forward to it. I will have a few friends there pacing and crewing and it will be a huge celebration of LIFE. I am also running for Active Water and brining clean water to places where it is not accessible. Mainly in Zambia, Africa. Many of the families there have to walk 10 or more miles everyday for unsanitary water. $25 takes care of a family FOR LIFE! If I raise $3000, Active Water will dig a well, providing water for an entire village! So I’m working hard and hoping for big things this year.