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A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

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A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:51 am

There, I said it.  I made it known.  

Fifty.  

The big five-oh.  

.

I guess it's only appropriate that my hopeful return to the ultra world surrounds the same race series as my original, failed attempt.  That's right, we're shooting for The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington DC 50.  Wow, that's a mouthful.  Long name for a long event, I guess.

Again, I'll have company for this one - my brother will be racing it as well.  His aspirations, being a definitive sub-3 marathoner (2:53:xx at TCM), are higher than mine (spoiler alert: he wants to set a course record), but company all the same.  

---

But Mike, why 50?  Don't you want to run a sub-3 marathon?  Well, yes, I do; however, 50 miles actually seems more doable on my schedule.  Sounds strange, maybe, but with the bulk of my running taking place on the weekends, there's less importance placed on midweek runs (although, there will still be workouts).  When thinking about running a sub-3, I hesitate to commit to running tempos or 15mi medium-long runs at 5am before a full day of work.  Sub-3 can wait a bit longer; I've still got plenty of good years ahead of me.

---

So then, now that it's on the table, logistics.

I'm going to change up my training a bit in order to make this happen.  After talking with my brother quite a bit about his run-up to TCM, I think he's onto something that I can adapt for my own purposes.  Basically, the whole training cycle will be high-volume, but cross-training will play a large part in hitting those goals until sometime around February.  While I haven't completely drawn up a training plan, this is what I forsee:

Oct 6-Nov 8 - TCM recovery and a quick 1-week taper for a local 50k (small, low-key) to be used as a training run (goal finish 4:30ish).  
3-8hr/week, 33-50% on the bike.


Nov 9-early Jan - With a few visits home, I'll be running my local/favorite trails as much as possible, including a 25-30mi run with my brother that bags the two tallest peaks in Orange County on the weekend after Christmas.  
8-15hr/week, 25-50% on the bike.


Mid Jan-March - This part will be the most tentative, as I'm not sure what work will bring in the spring.  I'll begin more specific training (strength-based hill repeats, heading to the course as often as possible, back-to-back long runs) and hope the winter is kind.  
10-15hr/week, 0-33% on the bike.


April - Taper and race.  With my brother, his girlfriend, and my parents coming into town, it should be a fun weekend.  I'll probably be tapping some of you locals to see if you're interested in crewing/pacing.

---

Finally, goals.  These are pretty arbitrary and subject to change once I get a better feel for the course and my training:
A.  Sub-7hr (<8:24 pace).
B.  9:00 pace, whatever that equals.
C.  Sub-8hr (<9:36 pace).
D.  Finish in one piece.

Oh yeah, the title.  TNF EC50 runs from Algonkian Park down the Potomac Heritage Trail to Great Falls Park (VA side) for 3 loops, then back.  Great Falls, Great Rise.  I know, it's a pretty awful, forced pun, but it's about all I could come up with.  

Let the games begin.

---

(EDIT) "Important" Posts for Reference:

Rosaryville 50k Report
Double Peak Bagger and Lessons Learned


Last edited by Mike MacLellan on Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:32 pm

You did forget one very important thing in this training schedule and one you are probably not used to thinking about: WINTER.  Yup, it happens and although DC itself is on the coast and a "city" you will feel the affects, so let's hope it isn't the whopper they are predicting right now.  And frankly a 50 miler is certifiable, so there is that as well  Wink

Any way, admirable goal and one I look forward to following along with - ask Wendy and Tim for tips as right now they are the masters of this universe.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:05 pm

Mom - I did say that I hoped winter was kind... What a Face

I've asked Wendy about midweek long runs and she said she doesn't do them - mostly low HR with lots of overall volume.  I follow Tim on Strava and will pay close attention to what he's done in the past.  (Hey Wendy, get on Strava, will ya?)

---

Since TCM, I've done 3 workouts...  All pretty minimal effort, but I'm happy that my legs and body are feeling good about it.

Thurs - 30min recovery run.  Was still a little sore and tight.  3.33mi
Fri - 1hr bike ride.  I'm slow and not in bike shape.  And my traps hate me.
Sat - 30min recovery run with Aileen.  Paces were mostly in the high 8's with little/no effort.  3.42mi
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mark B on Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:18 pm

Ye-ha! It's about time our boy came to his senses. 50!

I like your plan and your goals. And I think it's totally reasonable to think that training for a 50-miler is more doable than training to go sub-3 in a marathon. Even though the ultimate distance is longer (by a lot), the day-to-day stresses on the system to prepare are much less intense. And IMHO, it's intensity, not distance, that's more likely to cause injury and derail your plans.

One thing about 50s is that you absolutely do NOT have to do huge miles mid-week. Here is a 50-mile training plan I used for Mount Hood back in 2013. It probably has fewer miles than you plan to run -- it's designed to ensure people finish, not necessarily set a CR -- but the idea is the same, with the lion's share of miles run in back-to-backs on the weekend.

And definitely talk with Wendy and Tim. They are far faster than I am, and they and their friends seem to have a good handle on how to trail for and run ultra distances at a faster clip. Tally ho!
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  nkrichards on Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:29 pm

I tend to agree with Michele...the certifiable part...but good luck with your training and a DC winter.

In all seriousness sounds like a great goal that you've put some thought into. It will be fun to do it with your brother.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Tom H on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:18 am

Mike, I like the way this is going and will be watching with great interest as after CIM I'm contemplating the American River 50 which is also in April.  Your pace will be much faster than what I'll be chasing, but I get the feeling that the learnings along the way will be very valuable - so be plentiful in your posts!  Perhaps we will be able to commiserate along the way.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:06 pm

Mark - We seem to be on the same page.  I think it'll please you to know that I'm setting my Maffe HR (153) as my max for most of my runs.  Back-to-back long runs will have a goal somewhere lower than that.  

Nancy - Just think of it as a really long walk in the woods...  Nothing certifiable about that, right? Wink

Tom - I always wanted to run the AR50 when I was in Sactown.  Alas, I never quite got a training cycle together during my time there.  I have, however, run 90% of that course, and I've ridden the parts I haven't run, so I could probably give you some pointers.  Like the massive hill at the end.

---

1hr run with the HR strap today.  LOTS of people leaving the Army 10 Miler and clogging the running paths, which I'm sure caused my HR to be a little higher than normal, but probably not a significant amount.  I didn't monitor my HR at all, but ran at what I consider an easy, manageable pace.  Whaddoya know, my average HR was 150 with most miles coming in around 149-150.  So I guess I have a good handle over what my body feels like during an aerobic run.  That said, I miss the days when 150bpm translated to mid-7s...  But patience, grasshopper. 

7.2mi on the day for 14mi this week + 1hr cycling.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Julie on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:42 pm

I'm sure you can do this! Two of my friends ran a 50 miler this spring using the leading ladies schedule and it was a lot of long runs on the weekends. It was a lot like the 50K plan but instead of hard/easy alternating weeks it was 2 hard then an easy week. I hope your brother meets his goal, very ambitious! Sounds like running is in the genes and I know you'll work hard for this. Good stage of life to do it, too, if you have the time.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:48 am

Julie - Funny, I've always trained using a 2-weeks-on-1-week-off schedule.  I tried 3:1 once and it didn't work well.

---

1:05 bike ride today.  It's drizzling, in the low/mid 60s, and very pleasant out.  Rode the loop around Arlington (the same one Chris and I ran + the same one I ran for my last 20) but cut it a little short for 17mi total.  I'd consider the effort level a spin, just moving the legs and reacquainting myself with the bike.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  mountandog on Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:44 pm

look forward to following this.  I like your plan and goal.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:14 pm

Still not stoked about the Ghost 7s.  I had 1 good run in them, no foot pain at all, but today's run kind of sold me against them.  I'm reading that a lot of people are complaining about these shoes, but there's no way for me to return them now...  Hopefully they'll break in after a few dozen miles.  

5.8mi in 50min.  Meant to go for :45, but the route was a little long.  Legs are tired, so tomorrow will be a rest day, I think.

---

In other news, having a car in the DC area is stupid.  I was denied parking at my job this morning (what?) because I didn't give them my info prior to today - I was never told I had to - but this is the government and they don't care.  They sent me to a lot across the way, the "cheapest in the area" which advertised $14 for up to 2hrs.  Nah.  I found a lot advertising a $7.50 max rate...  Minus the small print that I didn't see.  $25.00 flat rate for unverified visitors.  ...

I had a few choice words, considered just ramming the gate to leave without paying, etc.  Lesson learned.  Take the bus next time.  It might take a half hour longer, but it's well worth it.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Tom H on Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:43 pm

I ran in Ghosts for a couple of years, but the toebox and my toes failed to see eye-to-eye.  I ended up moving to the Saucony Kinvara and really liked them, but started suffering from heel pain even though I had moved to a much more mid-foot strike.  My podiatrist gave me some thin plastic heel cups to use and problem solved.  I don't know where you get your shoes but if you get them from Roadrunner Sports and join their VIP club, you get a 90 day return on all shoes.  I've used that a few times when trying out something new and they are great about taking them back.  Plus, the VIP pays for itself with the discount it gives you if you are putting in any kind of mileage.

Big city living is great for some people, but I just couldn't do it.  Frustrations like you point out get under my skin too easily.  Sounds like you need to just park farther away where it is cheaper and get your daily runs in by hoofing it to work!
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Jim Lentz on Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:40 pm

Good luck training for the 50! It is a totally different challenge than the marathon.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:00 pm

Tom - The 7s have a much larger toebox, but something about them just isn't right.  My metatarsals are still a little sore.  Unfortunately, I bought them from a local shop in St. Paul, so returns are out of the picture.  Hoping they break in a bit...

And yeah, I most definitely lamented to my mom (my real mom, not 1L) how this isn't Sacramento where most parking is free and everything was easier.  Cities have their advantages, but I definitely won't be living in one for the rest of my life.

---

Ended up ordering some Ghost 6s from Brooks website.  We'll see if they're any better.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mark B on Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:32 pm

Sac and D.C. (heck, most places) aren't even close to the same. Finding a way to use Metro or other transit will probably save you time, money and stomach lining over time.

If your toes want a bit more room, and you're okay with zero drop, you may want to try on a pair of Altras. They even have a performance-oriented model called One2 that looks kind of interesting.


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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:17 pm

Nope, this Mom is used to public transportation and wishes that Cleveland had some that was more accessible.  Me thinks you need that Metro card or use your bike like crazy Kevin does.

More serious question: Might you still be interested in crewing/pacing at JFK?  Nothing definite but a bunch of guys from my group here are running and well, there might be a need for an interested body or two for pacing duties.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  ounce on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:03 pm

Good luck with the training.  I personally like public transportation, especially when I worked downtown many years ago.  Not burning any gas plus not having to park or pay to park was wonderful.  And the kicker was that you always had a drop dead time to leave, which was the last time your bus was running out of downtown.  "Gosh, I'd love to stay, but..." Approval
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:06 pm

Mark - it's not the toes that are the problem, it's my arch.  I suspect I very slightly supinate (is that even the verb for it?) and since the padding hasn't had time to adjust, my foot is not caught by the sole...  If that makes sense.  

Mom - Thxgiving plans won't allow a JFK appearance anymore.  With Aileen's school schedule and Wendy pulling out, there was no reason to stay the weekend.  Sad

Re: Metro...  Believe you me, I love our Metro system, despite it being woefully lacking in some areas.  I'm just not used to buses, and so if given the choice between a bus and driving, I generally opt to drive.  That will be changing.  I've given thought to cycling all over, but with the humidity, I'd show up looking like a mess.  Also, my bike is far too expensive to leave locked up outside (and I doubt anywhere would let me bring it past security).

---

We had tornado warnings today, so I guess it's good I didn't plan to run when I got home.  I think this is summer's last stand - it was warm and sticky yesterday, and it's very wet and thunderstormy today.  Supposed to get some temps as low as the high 30s next week.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mark B on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:11 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:Mark - it's not the toes that are the problem, it's my arch.  I suspect I very slightly supinate (is that even the verb for it?) and since the padding hasn't had time to adjust, my foot is not caught by the sole...  If that makes sense.

I think that makes sense. It sounds like the outside edge of your foot (5th me tarsal) wants to slop over the side of the sole, yes? You may want to look at shoe that has a more curved last. As I recall, Brooks tends to make more straight-lasted shoes. (At least, they used to.)
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:37 pm

Mark - Yes to the first part.  No to the second.  I've had more severely sloped shoes and they wrecked my arch pretty fast.  That said, see below:

---

6.5mi today.  First 1.5mi with Aileen - she's starting to train for "fast 5k's," as marathon training seems to have contributed to some female issues she's had the last year.  I had 45min planned, but it was sunny and breezy and I felt good, so I just tacked on an extra bit by making a loop instead of an out-and-back.  

Wore the new shoes again.  Feet were only unhappy for maybe a quarter mile, though I can't figure out why.  I tied them a bit tighter today and relaced them (previously I was using the rearmost hole to lock my heel in more firmly; I went back to "normal" lacing) before the run.  Maybe my foot had too much freedom with the loose upper and was sliding around on the insole?  Dunno, but I'm back to accepting these shoes.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:39 pm

No problem, just wasn't sure of your plans and they could use the runner if available and who knows what country Kevin might be visiting!
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mark B on Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:52 pm

Glad the shoes are working for you better now. There's an amazing amount of variability in how shoes fit and perform with very small changes, so tweaking the lacing like you did could have made all the difference. Good news!
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:37 am

Mom - Would have been a fun opportunity - thanks for the heads up anyway Smile

Mark - Go figure, right?

---

So much for 2-day shipping, FedEx.  My shoes shipped Wednesday and are currently sitting in Dulles, VA, waiting for "weekday delivery."  They've been there since yesterday.  Zzz.

After yesterday's run, I tacked on an hour-ish ride with Aileen's classmate's boyfriend.  Just a minimal effort spin around Haine's Point.  Still, I was pretty pooped, and slept soundly last night.

Just-shy-of-6mi today.  I ran into a fellow runner who was visiting from New Orleans and wanted a 3-5mi run.  Went with her for a few miles before she turned back to the hotel and I continued towards home.  Spent the last half mile chasing down some incumbent cyclists and catching them just in front of my apartment (at a 5min pace uphill, UGH).  

Core and upper body workout after the run.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Tom H on Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:18 pm

5 minute pace.  Uphill.  That's just wrong.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:59 am

Tom - It was only a 1-2% uphill at that point.  And I was sprinting, so it only lasted 20sec.  The whole chase was 2min @ 5:35 average pace.

---

90min long run today.  Went up towards Roosevelt Island (hey, they finally unlocked the bathrooms!... but the stalls have no doors...) for a loop then continued up Potomac Heritage Trail until it was time to turn back and head home.  The trail is interesting, worth exploring more.  I set my watch to alert me if my HR was over 153.  It only beeped at me twice (other than the last .25mi @ 7-8% hill headed home), so I was well within an aerobic zone.  Ave HR turned out to be 143.
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Re: A Great Rise to 50 (Redux)

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