Wow, even though I didn't compete in Badwater, it took me a few days to recover - from the excitement, the lack of sleep, and the travelling. All week I just felt really happy for Alan and Jamie. I just find it so inspiring when someone sets a course record. Jamie fought back and won! I love it! This is one of the things that makes ultrarunning so exciting to me. Because the races are so long, you really get to see the struggle, the fight. There is no "easy" way to win a race. It is a battle for everyone on the course. How cool is that? I know I said it last time, but if you get a chance to crew at Badwater, take it. It is an unbelievable experience.
On to training. It is time to start ramping up for Korea. For me, this means adding specificity - yuck. Gone are the days of tons of miles with no specific purpose. Back are the days of tempo runs, M Pace runs, Easy Runs, strides, hills, etc. Now don't get me wrong, I was incorporating those elements before, but not as carefully as is needed before a big race. I just find that if I am too focused for too long, I get really burnt out. The year is essentially a build up for me, slowly peaking for the race in the fall. This schedule came about because I did my first 100 in Novemeber of 2006, so I built towards it with two 50 milers. Then in 2007, I was trying to make the National Team, so we built towards Ultracentric in November. Now, this year, the World Cup is in October, so it has worked to build in the same manner. Maybe next year, I will be able to focus better on more than one big race so the schedule will be a little different.
The big difference for me this week was that one of my long runs was a hill run. I really don't need a lot of hill training for Korea (the course is a 1.2 mile flat loop), but I find it much easier to get my heart rate up on hills without putting so much strain on my back. The group was going to do McKelligon Canyon, so we met at Madeline Park at 5:00 Saturday morning. The first few miles are uphill because we have to traverse Scenic Drive, which is a mountain road that takes you from one side of the city to the other. When we reached the other side, we had a gentle 3 mile climb to the entry of the canyon. McKelligon Canyon is used as a training course for the military because it is a rolling course that gives you continuous ups and downs with no flats. I think it is more mentally challenging than physically challenging, but either way, you feel it. After we reached the top, we headed back over the mountain for 14 miles. My running buddy Gilbert needed 20, so I conned him into 9 more so that I could get 23. There was no magic to 23, but I wanted as many as possible and that seemed like a fair amount to con someone into doing :) A new runner (to our group), Ed, came with us, intending to do 18. I'm not sure he will ever trust us again! The last 9 miles were also done on hills, so I felt like I got a pretty good workout.
Sunday, I only had time for 10 in the morning because my sons were modeling in a fashion show. Neither of them were too excited by the idea, but the cutest girl in their class (Anika) had asked them to escort her in the show and that was enough to convince them it was a good idea. They are kind of embarrassed, but ended up loving the attention - they were the only boys (as opposed to grown men) in the show. This age is so funny - they are part kid, part teenager, and you never know which one you are going to get. I think it is all very cute, but I can't let them know it!
Spencer, Kathrin Petit (Anika's mom), Anika, Grant
The fashion show took all day, so I didn't get another run in until 7:30. Tim and I went out on the river and ran 6.5 miles. It was beautiful - overcast, sun setting, quiet. We had a wonderful run, talking about everything. I felt good, relaxed. We jumped in the pool with the boys when we got home and had a nice swim. I love swimming at night, at least when it is in a pool and I know there aren't any sharks!
Today is my rest day, so I slept in until 7:30 - yeah! But tomorrow, it is back to work. I'm talking to Scott in a few minutes, so I know I will get a great schedule. Time to break out the watch!