22 September 2014

19 Days to Glacial Trail

I needed that.

I ran a total of 12 miles last week, with a whopping 217 feet of elevation gain.  I was not really beat up too badly from the previous marathon in the physical sense, but I think mentally I needed a break.  I got in a couple runs and felt relatively well-recovered during them.  Yet, I think my 'cruising speed' is 10-15 seconds slower than it was a couple weeks ago, going in to Lapham, so I will need to watch that, as that is often a sign of over training.

Hopefully I didn't peak too early for the goal race in under 3 weeks.  Even if I did, though, I'll take the amazing memories of Marquette, Lapham Peak, and TNF in less than a month.  What a great stretch!
I hadn't been to this light house since high school.  Oddly enough, this weekend is my 15 year reunion!

My version of a Personal Hotspot

15 September 2014

The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Report

So there I was, having a beer with Crouse at Fudgies last week.  We were chatting about all things running, and Dan shared with me his "Trailer Principle," as I'll call it.  Dan insisted that if someone is running behind you, you cannot help but speed up.  He said it's always better to be the person NOT in the lead of a group, because then you will inherently 'push' whoever is in front of you, while perhaps not over exerting yourself and your pace.  This is exactly what happened on Saturday.

The race started off at 9:00, and I was excited for it.  I didn't feel as sharp as I had at Marquette or Lapham last weekend but still felt like I could run a course PR (under 3:21).  I had slept in my car the night before but actually slept pretty well.  I wouldn't have a crew present at all, so I had one Simple bottle full of CarboPro and a sandwich bag with another couple hundred calories of powder in it to fill up half way.  It was COLD the previous night and that morning, but about 15 minutes before the race started, the wind calmed down and the sun actually came out.

At the start, I chatted with buddy/nemesis/frenemy Sascha, and then took off.  I was running behind a guy for the first half mile before passing him and finding myself in the lead.  The race starts off with about .8 miles of road before ducking in to the woods.  As soon as you're on the trail, there's a decent uphill stretch.  Thinking back to Dan's "Trailer Principle", I eased up going up the hill and was immediately passed by Grahame.  Grahame would lead, and I would be a couple steps behind him for the next 14 miles. Grahame was wearing a hydration pack, so he didn't need to stop at any of the aid stations.  He and I literally ran continuously for the first half.  I never felt like I was running a lot slower than I would have.  I felt I was putting in a solid pace and effort and was staying steady.

Around the halfway point, the course leaves the Ice Age Trail (single track) and follows a gravel road for a bit, then hits up the Horse Trails.  This was the first time we weren't on single track, and I took the opportunity to run next to Grahame for a bit.  He was definitely working.  So, at this point I passed him and decided to start upping the effort levels to try and gap him.  I hit the steep loose gravel of the horse trails without hesitation and really started to hammer the flat sections.  I've never felt that fresh at that point in a race.

By Mile 18 I knew I had the win.  I also figured I had hammered enough of a gap that I could probably ease up the effort a bit.  Yet, I didn't.  I just kept working.  The stretch from Hwy 67 to Piper Aid station has always felt really long and boring to me, but on Saturday it wasn't bad.  I worked my way through it, and sure enough I was now only about 4 miles from victory...and for the first time ever, Ellie would be there!

From Piper to the finish, I ran sub-7 minutes miles.  Like I said, I've never felt that solid.  My last mile was a 6:13 (on the roads back to the start).  My third-last mile was a 6:38.  I just loved it.  So.  Much.  Fun.

I actually got a bit emotional at the finish with Ellie.  It was amazing to hug her at the finish, especially after a WIN!

Strava Data.

And just like that, the only event left on my calendar is Glacial Trail 50 miler, in 26 days.  Yikes.

26 Days to Glacial
8 Sep - 14 Sep
41 miles
1,671 feet of gain

Car Camping
Mile 5ish...already had fallen down once.

3 in a row!

Cross Training / Recovery on Sunday

Captain Nic

09 September 2014

Lapham Peak Trail Marathon Report

Lapham Peak is awesome.  The "Black Loop" is a beast.  I had a great morning down there again and look forward to returning next year...although during the 4th loop on Saturday, while playing mind games with myself, I decided that if I broke 3:30 on the day, I wouldn't come back.

I finished in 3:31.  The 4th loop was a beast, and I ended up running 57:13 on that one.  Grrr..

My earlier splits were:

51:34 -- with the tower involved, too!
50:15 -- 2nd fastest on Strava!  Had I known I was soooo close to breaking 50, I would have pushed!

Here's the Strava data.

It was great to see nikki there and chat with her for a while. A perfect way to start the day was to have her walk up after happening to park directly behind me!  What are the chances?

As for the race, it went better than I expected.  As the marathoners assembled at the start line, I was the only person actually *AT* the line.  All others were a couple feet back.  Not sure why that is, but it simply meant that when the horn sounded, I was leading.  I opened up on the relatively flat first mile with a 7:07.  I ran more of the first hill than I ever have before.  It gave me pause for a bit, but I just went with it.

I think about how I used to dread some of those hills at Lapham.  Then, I ran the 50k at Devil's Lake and the 50k at Marquette, and Lapham seemed a bit more tame to me this year.  It's amazing how I used to think of some of the hills in the Northern Kettles as really big...it's all relative, I guess!

By the time I went up the tower and came back down, my lead was about 3 minutes.  I then switched to how I was going to get under my goal of 3:35 and played math games in my head.  I felt pretty solid the entire day, with the exception of the 2nd half of the last loop (duh), when my energy was starting to leave me a bit.

Speaking of which, I've figured out the nutrition pretty well for a marathon/50k.  But does this transfer to a 50 miler?  I guess I'll find out in about a month!

Not much of a report to this one, but I guess I'm already looking forward to this week's run, and then getting my head wrapped around Glacial...I will hopefully add to the report with more time, but in the meantime, I gotta rest, recover, and then race some more!

4 Days until North Face
33 Days until Glacial Trail 50

1 Sep - 7 Sep
52 miles
4,849 feet

The only picture from the day...my mom struggled trying to work my iPhone :)