Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You hear that, Rocky? Raccoon hunting season is in full swing.

Week two of chasing the Raccoon was a pretty good one. I managed to work in four decent runs during the week-- even though work is a bit crazy right now. I wanted to stack up another decent week to build off last week's fun and games, so I had use up a lot of the weekend on the trail. Luckily, Ginger needed to do her MCM training long run on Saturday. That meant we got to spend the day together over in Damascus checking out the sights on the VA Creeper Trail. The plan was to do 16 together and then I'd tack on an extra four at  the end. Well, my math skills are not exactly, shall we say, strong. In fact, my math game is not tight at all. About a half mile from the turnaround (we were doing an out and back with a water jug stashed at mile 5), Ginger stepped off the trail for a second. I think she had to tie her shoe, so I said I'll keep going and we'll catch up at the flip flop. Well, I'm dumb and went a mile or so up the trail before I realized that the halfway point was 8 not 9. Duh, that meant, I had to haul ass to try to catch her before the she finished. I didn't. She was crushing it. She took 4 minutes off her time from when we last ran that 16 mile section. I was pushing it, and still couldn't catch her. Check out these splits:

It was a great workout though. I was crushed by the last two miles. First time in awhile I've done a run and really cracked myself. All in all, it was a great day. Sunshine, good times, a nice 20, and Ginger had a killer MCM training day.

I finished off the week by joining Carla and Geoff for their 13 miler at Moses Cone. I love those trails. It was another pretty day, and fall is coming quickly here in Boone. Running in the cool weather, without crazy humidity made for a great week. I ended up logging about 60 miles. I'm proud of all of the Always Brothers Marine Corps Marathon runner. Everyone has been killing it in training, and I think we'll have a great time in DC in October. Here are my totals for the week of MCM/Rocky training.

Not too bad for this early in Raccoon Hunting season. I'll back it off for the next two weeks. I'd like to do some hiking and let my legs recover a bit before I do my final prep for the New River 50k and Marine Corps Marathon in October. Those races are two weeks apart, so that'll make for a perfect beginning to the real build up for Rocky.

I'm pretty pleased with how my legs have been feeling after Leadville. I've been running stronger than I was before I went out there, and I'm feeling good about the possibility of a PR at Rocky in February. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Raccoon Hunting: Week 1

I enjoyed a couple of chill weeks since I got back from Leadville. I got back into the swing of things at work, processed the trip, and weighed my options for my next racing goals. I promised myself I would wait a couple of weeks before deciding what I'd do next. I kinda did that. I decided to run the New River 50K (Oct 12th) just because the race looks fun and the distance is a reasonable one that I could do just with normal running as I'm prepping for the Marine Corps Marathon with the Always Brothers team that we put together. I've enjoyed joining Ginger for her training runs, and I've been running with Carla and Geoff as they hit their long runs in their training. It's been fun to run with all of them and see how psyched they are with the progress they are each making. Ginger has been running really strong and having a good time. I'm so impressed with how she's taken a great approach to recovering from her injury last winter. I love running with her and enjoying the time on the trail with her. Carla and Geoff have really been an inspiration. Each week, I've joined them for their distance PRs and they have been doing a great job.

Last week, my Raccoon Hunting buddy Jim Cansler called and said he wanted to take another shot at the Rocky Raccoon 100. It was such a great weekend last year, that I couldn't say no. We will camp at the park, watch the superbowl and celebrate my birthday after. Ginger said she'd be happy to crew me and hopefully pace me for a few legs, so that was all the motivation I needed. I pulled the trigger and signed up. That means, that I have kicked off the latest 100 training cycle. I think Rocky is just what I need after Pbville. It'll be great to run a course I know and take a stab at a new 100 PR time. If nothing else, it'll set me up with a good fall/winter of training in case Pbville ends up being a goal for next summer. And, it'll just be an awesome trip.

I have felt really strong on every run since I recovered from Leadville. This week, I hit three strong 7 milers on Mon, Tues, and Wed. I took Thursday off, and did Ginger's long run with her this week. She did great and we had a nice average pace (9:26) for 16 miles- complete with negative splits for the second half. She's a beast! I took saturday off and ran with Geoff and Carla today. I ended up hitting 19 in 2:54 with some serious negative splits on the last 9 miles or so. I was psyched to finish with 8:42, 8:41, and 8:20 miles at the end. I felt great, and think the first week back went great. Here are the weekly totals.

It was a great week overall. I got to do some good runs, had a good week of classes, and got some cool news when I found out that a story on ESPN.com linked to my blog. I'm a sports junkie, and getting a link from the mothership is pretty much the highlight of my blogging career.

I've still been using the Hoka Stinson Evo Tarmacs for my smooth trail runs, but I've been looking for a trail shoe for tech trails to replace the La Sportiva Wildcats I've been wearing for years. The toe box is just too narrow now that my feet have mutated. I had been using the Hoka Stinson Evos, but I got some blisters at Leadville because that shoe just doesn't fit my foot quite right. I like the New Balance Leadvilles I had been wearing, but the sole just isn't grabby enough to be my go to tech trail shoe. If you got suggestions, send them my way. I'm a forefoot striker and I like a low drop, neutral shoe. I've been thinking Altras but I tried on a pair and I'm not sure the toe box is actually tall enough. It's plenty wide, but a little too low. Maybe I just need to try another size/model.