Oh come ON, give me some credit, of course I'm going to train for this one :-)
Leadville is a bit of a grandaddy of hundred mile races, at least in my limited experience thus far. So, I'm paying my dues and respecting the distance as much as I can possibly fathom. I've learned lots of good stuff in my first two hundred mile finishes: I can 'get by' with low mileage; I can run through pain, intense discomfort and mental turmoil; I can bust out my fastest splits 90 miles into a race; power naps are one of the best ways to reenergize; running while sleeping is doable, but highly UNrecommended; I need to wear a light around my head and my waist to avoid feeling pukey; "drink before you're thirsty, eat before you're hungry, walk before you're tired." Yada yada.
But, Leadville is a whole 'nother ball game. The things I've gotten away with thus far aren't really going to fly this time around. So, that means I need to approach this whole Race Across The Sky a little differently than in previous races. While I'm still running relatively low mileage (maxing out at 60mpw), it's still much higher than what I did going into Vermont and Rocky Raccoon. I'm also now following an honest-to-goodness training plan, courtesy of the ever wonderful, Geof Dunmore. I'm also taking a page from his book in posting a training update. Perhaps this will make me feel even more motivated than I already am?
Well, so far so good. Training started in earnest at the end of May. Though we've been running consistently prior to the plan beginning, it was just very unstructured.
Structure. Now there's a concept. One which I seem to have avoided in just about all of my running. I can't fully explain the cool Excel spreadsheet, complete with forumlas and periodization, that Geof made, but it's totally rockin. I love checking off the miles as I get them in and watching the weekly and monthly totals climb skyward in my Running Ahead log. Checking each night to see what I have lined up for the next day creates this pull for me, a need to get out there and do it.
My heart. I've been running with a heart rate monitor for just about every run now to make sure I'm staying within my arbitrary HR zone (220 minus my age, then working at 60-85% of my max HR; I'm curious what my actual HR zone is, though...I should get that tested). It's interesting. Clearly, I was working way outside of my 'zone' before I started wearing the monitor (it's either my Garmin 305 or a Polar, by the way)! Now I closely watch where I'm at and adjust accordingly. Humid days, I may as well walk, or crawl, my HR goes through the roof!
My feet. A few weeks ago I noticed a nodule on the bottom of my left foot. Weird. It didn't hurt, but I knew it wasn't supposed to be there. I noticed that my orthotics irritated it, so I took them out of my running shoes and have been running sans orthotics ever since (I was already kind of fazing them out anyhow). I decided to get it checked out to make sure I wasn't going to make things worse with my increased running. Dr. Chin at The Running Institute checked everything out, did some gait anayses, played with my orthotics, checked my shoes, then decided to do some ultrasound on my foot to get to the bottom of my mystery. The result: I have a bruised plantar fascia. Poor little guy. Know what caused it? My orthotics. Long story short, the left arch was too high, essentially punching the fascia everytime my foot hit the ground, and over time this caused the little nodule I now have. Fancy that! I noticed after long runs that my left arch always felt bruised from the orthotic, but never thought much of it. Not only that, but he thinks it's the cause of all that crazy peroneal tendinitis I was dealing with for so long. The best part, everything feels amazing now that I've stopped using the inserts. Hopefully, it stays that way. In an effort to make the transition smoother, I've been doing lots of lower leg and foot strengthening exercises. I would LOVE to not have to wear those things again :) Per doctor's orders, I've been applying arnica ice to my foot a few times a day to help with the healing process. It smells really nice :)
My legs. It's a funny thing, increasing mileage, intelligently. While there are random aches and owies here and there, they seem to go away within the day, and the next day it's something new. Me being me (meaning, borderline hypochondriac when it comes to my running...hey, no laughing!) I have to remind myself (and Geof finds himself reminding me as well) that it's probably nothing. Things are going to ache, I'm running a lot more than I ever have. My body is learning how to deal with it all and manage the increased load. I do get squirrly when I feel anything less than awesome in the achilles area, though, gives me the heeby jeebies. I am finding that I am recovering faster though. A day I cover 14-15 miles in two runs also seems to be far more beneficial than doing the full 14-15 in one shot. My body appreciates the recovery between those two runs :)
My body. I do feel stronger than I ever have before. Through all the PT exercises I do for my hips, core and balance, I feel like I'm armed with all the right tools to tackle Leadville properly. And that feels good my friends.
This was fun! I should do this again sometime. I think this is the first time I've ever posted any kind of training anything... Thus far, I've put in 159.4 miles in the last 30 days, including having my highest mileage (non-race) week ever, at a whopping 51.6 miles. Feels goooooooood.