Training Week: 03/20/17 – 03/26/17

03/20/2017 – 03/26/2017
A friend asked me the other day what I did this past weekend and I told him, unlike the week before when I missed both weekend long runs, I was able to get out on back to back long 18 mile runs Saturday and Sunday, both in the rain, one which even had bits of hail and snow thrown in just for good measure. His first reaction was a scrunched up face, face pulled back, followed immediately with, “why? What’s your motivation?” I paused, because honestly, those two 18 mile runs sucked. They weren’t entirely what I’d call fun and except for the two hours I spent running with a different friend, I spent 7 hours by myself tromping around in the cold dimly lit wet suburban mountains in March. It’s not exactly the dream weekend that graces the covers of Trailrunner or Ultrarunner magazine or actually now that I think about it, any magazine. So what did I say?

I said, “Because I want to know what I can do. I want to know what my limits are and then push farther beyond them.” He nodded, knowingly (but not knowingly because how do you sum up something so large in just one sentence.) How can one three letter word, “why?” have so many answers and none of them can ever be sufficient? I left the answer at that. I could spend an entire evening explaining without ever actually answering his question. “Why do you run?” has been asked by countless people and answered by countless runners who drag themselves out on long weekend solo runs in weather more associated with a hot cup of joe, a couch, some comfortable clothes and a thick book ripe for reading or remote control and a television. The answer as to why we run has been explained in a myriad of numerous ways and every single reason is both insufficient and at the same completely valid.

This is week 2 of the 3rd (of 5) training blocks which puts me pretty squarely halfway through my training for Bighorn.

Questions to you:
• Why do you run?
• What’s your motivation?
• What’s the worst weather you’ve ever run in? How did you get through it?
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Training Week: 03/13/17 – 03/19/17

03/13/2017 – 03/19/2017
Didn’t hit my mileage and was slightly disappointed, but it probably turned out to be what I needed, even though last week was an easy week. Legs have been constantly fatigued. Finding myself starting to dread the double digit midweek run. Definitely not looking forward to the double digit weekend run starting with a 2. Uninspired not only to run, but to do any physical activity. Looking for any excuse. I found it this week and looking back on it, I’m actually ok with it.

Questions to you:
• What are your symptoms when you overtrain?
• How many times a week do you run?
• How many of your runs each week are double digits?
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Training Week: 03/06/17 – 03/12/17

03/06/2017 – 03/12/2017
This was a down week in all aspects of the meaning of a down week. My legs were defiantly fatigued. My desire to run was low. My (scheduled) miles were almost half as much as it has been. It rained almost all week. I needed this down week to be even more down than it already was. Last week’s faux easy week was probably, in hindsight, pushing the line. The fatigued legs bled over into the majority of this week and culminated into one of the harder Sunday ‘easy’ runs in a while (minus the company of my always fantastic trail friends). Three more training blocks until Bighorn 100 miler…

Questions to you:
• How often are your ‘down weeks’?
• What do you do to ‘make yourself’ go run?
• Do you like to run with friends or by yourself on long runs?
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Training Week: 02/27/17 – 03/05/17

02/27/2017 – 03/05/2017
After last week’s back to back marathon weekend, the next week feels like it should be an easy week. That was this week, except it turned out to actually be a hard week just as it was planned. With fatigued legs, I never quite know whether I’m teetering on the tired side of the line or the injured side of the fine line. A few years ago I would have probably plowed ahead not listening and not respecting the distance and effort. Even now I still fall for my heart and not my head. But right now, I think I’m thinking clearly and I’m on the right track. I’m not quite at the point where I need to run, but I’m definitely on the I want to run and it’s a good feeling. I’m confident right now, but not overly so. 15 weeks until Bighorn 100.

Questions to you:
• What’s your most severe running injury?
• Do you have a shakeout run or workout or distance?
• What is your ‘A’ Race this year?
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Training Week: 02/20/17 – 02/26/17

02/20/2017 – 02/26/2017
A big week (of over-eating BBQ) and a big weekend of races (state #11 – Texas and state #12 – Oklahoma), I powered through solo for the majority of it, avoiding injury and enjoyed running in new places on new trails with new people. It was long a long week full of big mileage and long drives and at the same time short with stops at multiple BBQ joints and never doing one thing for more than a few hours at a time. It was a good week and one that I’d do again, but maybe without that accident…

Questions to you:
• Have you ever run back to back races? How did you recover between races?
• Do you have any long term lifetime running goals?
• Do you like multiple looped, out and backs, or point to point courses the best?
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Training Week: 02/13/17 – 02/19/17

02/13/2017 – 02/9/2017
In what was supposed to be a ‘down week’, I am probably far more sore I probably should be. Apparently that’s happens when you still try to cram in all the same amount of vertical gain in two-thirds the amount of distance. 10,000 feet a week is my goal, regardless of whether it’s an up week or a down week, which probably doesn’t make my down weeks, down. It also means I’m doing far more hiking than I did last year when I trained for Kettle Moraine. My legs are super sore and I have two marathons in two days in two states coming up this weekend. Perfect.

Questions to you:
• What’s the most amount of vertical feet of gain you have climbed in one week? In one day?
• What is the one must see inspiring running YouTube video that you would recommend?
• What is your local running shop?
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Training Week: 02/06/17 – 02/12/17

02/06/2017 – 02/12/2017
This was supposed to be a down week, but my schedule got a bit mixed up with some work commitments, so I flipped this week (easy/low mileage) with next week (hard/high mileage). I may or may not have overdid it this week. Not enough rest and too many continuous hard weeks has me worried about my left achilles again. On the schedule was to be Fort Ebey Kettles trail marathon in two weeks, but I find myself on the way to Texas that week ya’ll, so instead of high tailing it back to the Pacific Northwest to try to make the race, I decided I’d extend my trip and in true ultra running fashion, signed up for not one marathon, but two marathons, back to back, in two different states. The plan is to take them both easy as training race runs, finish them and check off two more states on my list of marathon or more. These will hopefully be states number 10 and 11 for me. But for now before I get too far ahead of myself, I’m going to try to nurse myself back to health.

Questions to you:
• Have you ever run back to back races?
• How many states have you ran a marathon or more in?
• Have you ever had an injured achilles? What did you do to help it heal?
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Training Week: 01/30/17 – 02/05/17

01/30/2017 – 02/05/2017
This training week had a little bit of everything – rain, sunshine, snow, fartleks, long runs, friends, lunch runs and even a few firsts (for a friend). Set out this week with no real goal, other than to hit my mileage, but by my last run on Sunday, I had decided my weekly goal would be 50 miles and 10,000 feet of vert. I’ve made training plans in the past which incorporate dedicated hill workouts and prescribed speed workouts and they’re great, but I’ve also teetered just on that fine line of injury and peak fitness, more often than not crashing over to the injury side of the line. For this Bighorn 100 training cycle my core training plan consists of only hitting mileage (four week training blocks of three increasingly progressive weeks followed by one recovery week), maxing out vert (rough weekly goal of 10,000+ feet), and continuing to have fun while doing it all. It’s not much to ask for and yet I know from past experiences it will take perseverance to make it all the way to the end in one piece, both physically and mentally.

It’s 130 days until Bighorn…

Questions to you:
• What is your favorite hill workout?
• How is your training plan structured?
• What is your “A” race this year?
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Training Week: 01/23/17 – 01/29/17

01/23/2017 – 01/29/2017
Easing into this training cycle has been both a chore and something I’m looking forward to. I have not really felt like running at all this week, so I tried my best to run to get others to run with me for as many runs as possible. At the same time, I’m really enjoying running. Although a 14 mile run still seems (and feels) ridiculously far to me right now. I find training to be as much physical as it is mental. Apparently I have a long ways still to go for both.

Questions to you:
• Do you incorporate speed workouts into your training?
• What is your favorite speed workout?
• Do you heat train? How does it affect your workouts?
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