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Finally Fifty

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Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:07 pm

Well, yes, it's that time.  After swearing off distance races after that silly 50k, I again have decided to sabotage my own sanity and turn that k into an M.  Something about the finish line of WS100 in Auburn always gets me, and this time it got me good.  That's really the only reason I'm continuing this foray into the world of ultras - WS100.  It's firmly solidified itself as my single bucket-list running thing.  I don't even care about a sub-3 marathon anymore.  I just want that 24hr buckle handed to me at Placer High.

That last blog was about as silly as the race, but the gimmick to it was that I was limiting myself to a word per mile.  Har dee har.  

So a real update, then.  Still living in DC (technically VA) but haven't been home in about 6 weeks.  Been on the road in a giant CCW loop around the US hitting up National Parks and mountains wherever possible.  A fair blend of camping and couch-crashing with friends.  The trip I always wanted to take but never had.  It's been about what I expected, which is to say I'm glad I did it and very tired.  

All those mtns (cumulatively ~60k' gain) would come in handy if the 50M I'm running had any, but it doesn't.  I've chosen the Stone Mill 50 as my introduction to the distance, though that wasn't without some contention of its own.  I had wanted to run North Face SF, but they pulled some shady (in my opinion) stuff by not releasing the "new and improved" course maps until AFTER the early bird pricing period was over.  They also changed the finish to be a crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge, which frankly sounds torturous after 47mi of trails.  Once I saw the new map and elevation profile, I'm pretty glad I passed on this one.  It's a series of 7x 1000' hills that basically look like copies of each other.  Some of them are.  Kind of seems boring and borderline tedious.  

Anyway, so Stone Mill.  Early November, which means I should be actually training and putting in miles by now.  I'm getting there.  Between hiking and running, I've been hitting on average 50mpw for this trip, with the aforementioned vert.  Time to convert that into steady/flatter running.

Other fall excitement will include the Parks Half Marathon in Rockville, MD (9/9, goal time <1:30), the Tussey Mountainback relay in State College, PA (10/8, 15mi over 4 legs, goal pace averaging 6:30), the Triple Lakes Marathon in Greensboro, NC (10/21, not sure if I'll shoot for podium, top 10, or just sub-4 as a training run)... plus summitting the state high points of PA, WV, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, and TN.  Oh, I guess that's new, too.  Shooting for all 50 by sometime.  I'm at 4 + DC.  Both CA and CO were busts this summer, but they'll still be there next time I'm in the area.  

More presently, I'm hanging in Chattanooga at Haley's family's house.  Yes, Haley is (relatively) new as well.  Haley, meet everyone.  Everyone, Haley.  It's sopping wet and pretty warm here, so most of my running for the next few weeks (as we go from Chatt--->Greensboro--->DC) will likely be acclimation-oriented plus the occasional disastrous workout.  Like yesterday's 2x 3mi @ HMP that turned into 3mi+2mi @ HM-effort (hey, I hit pretty close to 6:45 for like 2-3 of those splits).  Today was a glacial (in pace only) 5 mile recovery run that reminded us both how much we drank post-rafting last night.  Hopefully tomorrow brings something better, with 9mi on the docket.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  ounce on Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:13 pm

Look whose here, all equipped with new goals and a new girl.  Good luck on all of it.

I hope while in Chattanooga, you were able to go up to Point Park on Lookout Mountain.  Civil War battle was up there.

As far as state highest points, Texas' is Guadalupe Mountains National Park about 50 miles or so south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Best way to get there is to land in El Paso and drive about 120 or so miles east.

I hiked it back in 2010.  It's taller than Half Dome, but much easier.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:43 am

Looking forward to following your progress towards your new goal.  I love the avatar...you look like an ultra runner!

Congrats on the new girl as well...
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  KBFitz on Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:05 am

Hey Mikie! So that's what you've been up to. KEWL! Stone Mill is a good choice for your first 50. MCRRC puts on fine events and I've heard good things about Stone Mill. My 1st 50 was JFK. (It was also my 1st and only DNF ...Nuff sed.) I look forward to following your journey toward WS100. Good to see you're in it for the long haul.

In the meantime, just make sure that you & Haley are in the path of totality on Aug 21.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Woot! He's back!!

Great adventure, great goal, great girl (Hi, Haley!). You're going to love this distance.

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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:10 pm

Thanks for the warm homecoming, all.

Oz - Good info re: TX.  I believe TX, NM, and possibly 1 or 2 others will be a small road adventure in the future.  We did not get out to Lookout this time around, but we'll be back at least 2 more times this year and I've been planning to do the "Big Daddy Loop" up there, so I'll remember that park.

Nancy - The beard is taking on a life of its own.  I'm okay with this.   Laughing

Kevin - JFK's course just looks  pale to me.  35 miles on the towpath doesn't seem fun.  Re: MCRRC, I've run (DNF'ed due to that ITB issue 2 years ago) their Seneca 50k and I agree, they put on a hell of a good race.  Super friendly and the race director was kind enough to shuttle me to the start when I dropped.  Funny you mention the eclipse - we drove by Andrews, NC (town with the absolute best/longest view of it, already rationing gas, etc.) on our way back east.

Mark - Very much looking forward to all the fun things to come with the (continued) adventure, girl, and distance.  

---

First structured training week in almost 2 months wrapped up today.  Super weird to run more than a mile or two without walking something steep/technical.  By yesterday's long run, it seems my legs had come around, as they propelled me at 8:30-8:45 miles relatively effortlessly.  The cool rain was a welcomed break from what I'd been getting acclimated to in TN and NC.  Alas, the mug will return this week.  

No real highlights from the running week other than successfully completing 50+ miles and continuing to manage my weird soleus/shin splint thing.  Apparently the legs still haven't fully bought into the 8mm drop Saucony's I'm using now.  Oh, also I'm apparently about 5lb lighter than when we left for our trip, which isn't surprising.  Never bored = never snacking on junk.  Still on the eternal quest for "race weight," whatever that means.  Maybe sub-150?  I've been hanging around 162 for about a year so it's nice to be well within the 15x range now.

Life-wise, we're back in VA and relatively situated.  Have company coming to stay with us for a week, which will be a long time, but I couldn't really say no when I was asked, as I was in the process of searching for friend's couches to crash on, myself.  Work starts tomorrow for both of us, so that's gonna be a rude snap back to reality.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:15 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:
No real highlights from the running week other than successfully completing 50+ miles and continuing to manage my weird soleus/shin splint thing.  Apparently the legs still haven't fully bought into the 8mm drop Saucony's I'm using now.

One other possibility to consider if you're having chronic issues with the soleus/shin: How's your ass? My PT is convinced I tweaked my upper calf/lower hamstrings earlier this year by having a weak gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, thereby making quads/hamstrings/calfs do all the work on shock absorption and propulsion. If you haven't worked in that sort of targeted strength training work yet, you may want to give it as shot. It might help.

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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:35 am

@Mark B wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:
No real highlights from the running week other than successfully completing 50+ miles and continuing to manage my weird soleus/shin splint thing.  Apparently the legs still haven't fully bought into the 8mm drop Saucony's I'm using now.

One other possibility to consider if you're having chronic issues with the soleus/shin: How's your ass? My PT is convinced I tweaked my upper calf/lower hamstrings earlier this year by having a weak gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, thereby making quads/hamstrings/calfs do all the work on shock absorption and propulsion. If you haven't worked in that sort of targeted strength training work yet, you may want to give it as shot. It might help.

+1  I think we can all benefit from glute targeted strength training!
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  ounce on Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:27 pm

@nkrichards wrote:
@Mark B wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:
No real highlights from the running week other than successfully completing 50+ miles and continuing to manage my weird soleus/shin splint thing.  Apparently the legs still haven't fully bought into the 8mm drop Saucony's I'm using now.

One other possibility to consider if you're having chronic issues with the soleus/shin: How's your ass? My PT is convinced I tweaked my upper calf/lower hamstrings earlier this year by having a weak gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, thereby making quads/hamstrings/calfs do all the work on shock absorption and propulsion. If you haven't worked in that sort of targeted strength training work yet, you may want to give it as shot. It might help.

+1  I think we can all benefit from glute targeted strength training!
How DARE Mark assssk about Mike's ass!!  That question should be addressed to Haley.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:06 pm

Y'all beat me to the punchline.  I was going to suggest that you ask Haley, to which she'd respond, "boooooty!"  Twisted Evil

I think it's more of an overall fatigue thing than a specific body part.  Just tends to crop up when I'm pushing past readily accessible endurance/glycogen stores and my form starts to degrade.  Fortunately, it's never more than a 2/10 and it's just kind of annoying instead of painful.

This week so far:

Back to work (boo) but with two solid commute-runs home already (6mi w/ 4x strides + 4.3mi).  DC is being gentle with the humidity.  That's supposed to change soon.  Also, yesterday was 9mi w/ 2x 2.5mi @ 6:35 (approx LT pace).  Nailed it.  Okay, the 2nd interval was SLIGHTLY slow (6:38) but included a mile on trail and a net elevation gain, so I'm saying it was nailed.  Felt great to hit those splits, especially considering Haley and I both came down with a pretty crummy cold yesterday.  

Rest day tomorrow.  Hopefully these sniffles will pass.  They're not too severe, just kind of blah.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:24 pm

Turns out I neglected to update this over the weekend - oops!

Some pretty solid running since last Wed.  Actually, some very encouraging running that's making me think I'm starting to come into something resembling fitness again.  The cold was minor and more of just sinus annoyances than actually feeling tired/run down, so that's mostly good.  Made for interesting nose-blowing (read: snot rockets), that's for sure.

Saturday brought my first real "long run" - I don't really know what the criteria for this is, I guess >2.5hr? - in a while.  I've done tons of ultra-style run-hikes over the summer, but nothing long and steady like this.  18.5mi starting in the high 8s and ending in the low 8s.  Included a 4.5mi section of net-uphill rollers - okay, more punchy than rolly - and a long, very gradual descent back home.  Felt good until the last 4mi or so, when the mental game began as the heat picked up and the path became a straight line with no shade.  

Yesterday brought a VO2max/lactate clearance run - 7x 3min on, 2min off.  Intervals were at ~6:20 pace, occasionally (and unintentionally) dipping below that into the high 5's.  Okay, a few of them may have been 45sec @ 5:55 and the rest of the interval at 6:20 or just slightly slower.  So kind of a surge-and-hold type thing?  I dunno.  Goal was to get some mental grit and turnover work.  I think it was successful.  

We're on a step back week this week, which coincides with a few work scheduling mishaps, so it's really a lazy week.  Probably for the best, as we're still kind of adjusting back to real life and have had a family staying with us all of last week.  Down time is feeling pretty good.  

Took advantage of today's off-off day (no running, no work) by brewing up a modified version of Haley and my favorite homebrew IPA.  Added some oats to the mash and made most of the hop additions later to give it a NEIPA character (creamy, less bitter and more juicy/aromatic) but still added a decent amount of bittering hops there to keep the IBU high (75!).  Should ferment out to just over 6% abv.  Yum!
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:05 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Turns out I neglected to update this over the weekend - oops!

Some pretty solid running since last Wed.  Actually, some very encouraging running that's making me think I'm starting to come into something resembling fitness again.  The cold was minor and more of just sinus annoyances than actually feeling tired/run down, so that's mostly good.  Made for interesting nose-blowing (read: snot rockets), that's for sure.

Saturday brought my first real "long run" - I don't really know what the criteria for this is, I guess >2.5hr? - in a while.  I've done tons of ultra-style run-hikes over the summer, but nothing long and steady like this.  18.5mi starting in the high 8s and ending in the low 8s.  Included a 4.5mi section of net-uphill rollers - okay, more punchy than rolly - and a long, very gradual descent back home.  Felt good until the last 4mi or so, when the mental game began as the heat picked up and the path became a straight line with no shade.  

Yesterday brought a VO2max/lactate clearance run - 7x 3min on, 2min off.  Intervals were at ~6:20 pace, occasionally (and unintentionally) dipping below that into the high 5's.  Okay, a few of them may have been 45sec @ 5:55 and the rest of the interval at 6:20 or just slightly slower.  So kind of a surge-and-hold type thing?  I dunno.  Goal was to get some mental grit and turnover work.  I think it was successful.  

We're on a step back week this week, which coincides with a few work scheduling mishaps, so it's really a lazy week.  Probably for the best, as we're still kind of adjusting back to real life and have had a family staying with us all of last week.  Down time is feeling pretty good.  

Took advantage of today's off-off day (no running, no work) by brewing up a modified version of Haley and my favorite homebrew IPA.  Added some oats to the mash and made most of the hop additions later to give it a NEIPA character (creamy, less bitter and more juicy/aromatic) but still added a decent amount of bittering hops there to keep the IBU high (75!).  Should ferment out to just over 6% abv.  Yum!
I wish I was fast enough to complete a long run in 2.5 hours...mine usually last between 3 and 4 hours!

Glad you made good use of your off day...hope you enjoy the brew.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  ounce on Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:08 pm

@nkrichards wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Turns out I neglected to update this over the weekend - oops!

Some pretty solid running since last Wed.  Actually, some very encouraging running that's making me think I'm starting to come into something resembling fitness again.  The cold was minor and more of just sinus annoyances than actually feeling tired/run down, so that's mostly good.  Made for interesting nose-blowing (read: snot rockets), that's for sure.

Saturday brought my first real "long run" - I don't really know what the criteria for this is, I guess >2.5hr? - in a while.  I've done tons of ultra-style run-hikes over the summer, but nothing long and steady like this.  18.5mi starting in the high 8s and ending in the low 8s.  Included a 4.5mi section of net-uphill rollers - okay, more punchy than rolly - and a long, very gradual descent back home.  Felt good until the last 4mi or so, when the mental game began as the heat picked up and the path became a straight line with no shade.  

Yesterday brought a VO2max/lactate clearance run - 7x 3min on, 2min off.  Intervals were at ~6:20 pace, occasionally (and unintentionally) dipping below that into the high 5's.  Okay, a few of them may have been 45sec @ 5:55 and the rest of the interval at 6:20 or just slightly slower.  So kind of a surge-and-hold type thing?  I dunno.  Goal was to get some mental grit and turnover work.  I think it was successful.  

We're on a step back week this week, which coincides with a few work scheduling mishaps, so it's really a lazy week.  Probably for the best, as we're still kind of adjusting back to real life and have had a family staying with us all of last week.  Down time is feeling pretty good.  

Took advantage of today's off-off day (no running, no work) by brewing up a modified version of Haley and my favorite homebrew IPA.  Added some oats to the mash and made most of the hop additions later to give it a NEIPA character (creamy, less bitter and more juicy/aromatic) but still added a decent amount of bittering hops there to keep the IBU high (75!).  Should ferment out to just over 6% abv.  Yum!
I wish I was fast enough to complete a long run in 2.5 hours...mine usually last between 3 and 4 hours!

Glad you made good use of your off day...hope you enjoy the brew.
Just imagine how long mine last!  Laughing
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Oz & Nancy - Yeah, well...  I do remember reading somewhere that long runs over 3hr have greatly diminishing returns, so I try to cap most of my ROAD runs at 3-3.5hr.  That said, many of my "long runs" this summer were 4hr+ hike/runs in the mountains/on trail.

Wrapped up the cutback week with a surprisingly quick 7-miler (most miles in the low 8s) and some strides.  I had a good - not great - long run/workout #2 on Friday.  Planned 12mi w/ 2x 4mi @ HMP, which was pretty ambitious but maybe doable?  Not quite doable, though.  Ended up with 12.25 w/ 4mi + 3mi @ HMP before I decided it wasn't worth digging that deep to eke out the last mile.  The first interval had me pretty much redlining the entire time, which was weird, so I knew that it was gonna be a struggle to get that one done.  Second interval started great until the 3rd mile when things rapidly turned sloppy.  No big deal, still some solid training at race pace.  

Next week will bring a jump in mileage up to the low 60s, so I think the struggle will be keeping my paces slow enough to accommodate the increased load.  

At least I should have some yummy beer by Sunday - the bulk of fermentation is done (sitting at ~78-79% attenuation now, usually hit 79-81% by bottling) so dry-hopping will occur in a couple hours with bottling on Wednesday.  All the IPAs I've made to date have carbed up SUPER fast - 3-4 days instead of the usual 7-10, so Sunday will be the taste test.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mark B on Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:55 pm

Ooo. Homemade IPA. Sounds tasty.

Oh, the running sounds solid, too. Just remember to not kick your ass with every run, lest you burn yourself out in six weeks.

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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  ounce on Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:11 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Oz & Nancy - Yeah, well...  I do remember reading somewhere that long runs over 3hr have greatly diminishing returns, so I try to cap most of my ROAD runs at 3-3.5hr.  That said, many of my "long runs" this summer were 4hr+ hike/runs in the mountains/on trail.

That 'diminishing returns' is a bunch of crap.  I never would've finished my first marathon, had I followed that.  Can you imagine a 13 mile final long run for a marathon because my finishing time is 6 hours?  85-90% would probably be closer for a road marathon.  Can't speak to anything past a 50K, although 2/3rds the distance would be a starting point for me.

Cheers! Shots
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:28 am

@ounce wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Oz & Nancy - Yeah, well...  I do remember reading somewhere that long runs over 3hr have greatly diminishing returns, so I try to cap most of my ROAD runs at 3-3.5hr.  That said, many of my "long runs" this summer were 4hr+ hike/runs in the mountains/on trail.

That 'diminishing returns' is a bunch of crap.  I never would've finished my first marathon, had I followed that.  Can you imagine a 13 mile final long run for a marathon because my finishing time is 6 hours?  85-90% would probably be closer for a road marathon.  Can't speak to anything past a 50K, although 2/3rds the distance would be a starting point for me.

Cheers! Shots

I've heard/read all about limiting long runs to 3 hours or so but as Doug says...when it takes that long to run a marathon you've got to get some longer runs under your belt.  I try to keep my longest runs under 4 hours...when I slow down to an appropriate long run pace it takes me that long to get in 20 miles.  If anything I need to prepare mentally to be out there for a long time.

Nice running Mike...hope your increase in mileage goes well.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:26 pm

You had better call when you come to hike in the north GA mountains - or I'll be pissed.  I'm back in the ATL most of the time - so I'm threatening.  Maybe you should run this: https://www.facebook.com/events/1612143272334441/  I'm thinking about doing it with the Kilpatricks.  

As for running the JFK - try biking 184 miles of that pretty boring towpath.  At least I had something to look forward to with Kevin meeting us at mile 7!
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:54 pm

Mark - Can confirm tastiness.  It's a massive juice bomb on the nose but those 70 IBUs are coming through very clearly in the tasting.  I've only sampled it room temperature pre-bottling, so it was a bit "hot" still (spicy/harsh) but that should mellow out once it's carbed up and cold.  Unfortunately, I only got maybe 3.5-4gal out of the batch due to the huge amount of hop/yeast cake.  Meh.  Oh, and yeah, you're right on the money with where I'm at with running - the hardest thing right now is to NOT take advantage of how good things are feeling.

Oz/Nancy - I agree that for time-on-feet and mental training, longer than 3hr is great.  I still think it's "safer" on a softer surface, at least for me, but that works out since my race is on trails, too.

Mom - Yes, Mam, I will, Mam, I promise, Mam.  That half would be a lot of fun if we were going to be in Chattanooga for Thxgiving, but I believe we'll be in central PA with Haley's family at her brother's place.  Trying to split the week since we both have it off.  Fri-Wed in CA, Th-Sun in PA.  But when we come down around the holidays in December, I will make sure you know my plans.

---

Weird week, schedule-wise.  Since it's still summertime here in DC, federal employees are using up as much leave as they can before the end of FY and the madness that comes with Sept/Oct.  Which means a cancelled (unpaid Sad) job on Wednesday gave me a sort of ping-pongy week - on and off and on and off and on and off.  Great for getting more miles in, weird for trying to find some sort of consistency or routine in the days.  

The humidity has picked up again, with dew points in the low- to mid-70s and highs in the mid-80s.  Not altogether pleasant.  Borderline complaint-worthy.  But a good way to enforce some slower running in order to not overheat and explode.  No real workouts this week, just a few sorta-long runs (M/W/F ~1:30).  Hit Potomac Heritage Trail on Wed for a change of pace - quite literally - and found a jungle of spiderwebs, overgrown itch-inducing plants, downed trees (seriously, like 8-10 over the course of 3.5mi), and wet/sandy rocks that offered zero traction.  Slipped and slid down a rock face at one point and threw my arm up to balance myself... and threw out my back.  Two miles into a 9mi run.  Sweet.  Been stretching it daily and having Haley grind out the knots nightly.  It's still stiff, but ok.  

Headed out to Great Falls in VA tomorrow for my long run (~21mi/3-3.5hr) and a kayak race.  Down the falls.  What?!  Both of us just spectating, though.  Should be neat - kayakers like beer, so that's a plus - and hopefully safe for all.  

Speaking of safe, allow me to soapbox for just 5sec.  Vice's mini documentary on Charlottesville is insane.  To the point that I'm temporarily retiring my "Don't Tread On Me" shorts, which were purchased and worn in jest.  Because, well, there's no fuckin' way I wanted to be associated with that right now.  Okay, soapbox placed back in the corner.  Stay safe, all.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:48 am

I really know how to animate a crowd, don't I?  Leave the bitter stuff right until the end, like that IPA I brewed up.  Eh?  Eh?

So the beer turned out "pretty good."  Definitely gonna skip the extras next time and just follow the standard recipe.  Not worth the extra work and the fact that bottling day was much less fun than normal thanks to the thickness of the brew.

---

Running continues to progress, though the legs, body, and mind are starting to feel the miles.  Ended up doing last week's long run on Sunday, since Saturday was looking to be uncomfortably warm and wet.  Went well, no complaints other than the usual "I haven't run a 20 in a long time" from the body.  

This week was a couple easy runs with a tempo scheduled for Wed.  The original plan was 11mi w/ 2x 2.5mi @ 6:35, which would be an ass-kicker of a workout under ideal conditions.  A lingering high dew point and full day of work meant that this wasn't going to happen in the afternoon, so instead the run was split into 7 + 4.5 (commute home) with the 7 as the tempo in the morning.  Did 4.5mi progressive tempo and am sort of okay with the results.  Not nearly as quick as I'd wanted, but given the conditions and fatigue, I think running from feel was smarter than running for time.  

I've got a back-to-back long weekend coming up (16 + 18) then a sharp taper into my first fall race, the Parks Half Marathon on 9/10.  Still looking for a <1:30 time but not as confident about hitting it.  Taper quality and weather on race day will probably be the two biggest factors.  I know the time is in me, but it'll require a little race-day magic.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mark B on Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:56 pm

Bitter? Nah. Just a bit more woke than before.

And I hear you. The odds of me wearing khakis and a white polo shirt are somewhere up there with winning the Powerball jackpot. Idjits.

Anyhoo, good luck at your half. The weather sounds awful for running at all, so you may as well do it as fast as possible to get it over with.


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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:11 pm

Mark - fun fact: woke is my 2nd favorite word after privilege.  Wink  But yes, it has its purposes, and this situation seems apropos.  

---

Weekend update!  

Back-to-back went from bleh to great, which I guess is considerably better than the other way around?  Haley and I fled from DC after rush hour Friday and headed up to central PA, where she has some family.  We've spent a bit of time here together - this was our first trip as a couple after dating maybe two weeks? and our first stop on our road trip this summer - so I've come to really enjoy the area and the trails it offers.  

Recently, every trip has begun with me getting dropped off at a local trail system (about 2.5mi from her brother's house) and getting in a few miles on the trails before settling down with a beer.  Friday was no different, except "a few" meant doing the two main loops CW and CCW, for a total of 12.8mi and 2800' gain.  After a 4hr drive, that's a bit of an ass-kicker, but by the 3rd and 4th loop, I felt pretty human again.  Ended short of the planned 16mi, but with the elevation and time on feet, I was satisfied.

Saturday brought a local whitewater paddling race that Haley and her brother raced.  Haley again took "Top Dog" female (2nd year in a row) and was awarded a large piece of firewood that will go on our running shelf thing.  Neat thing about this race is that it has a multi-use trail (mostly catering to weekend bike cruisers) paralleling the river, so I was able to run from the take-out up to the starting line (8mi on foot) and catch them before they got underway... and cruised back down to the finish line just in time to watch Haley pull into the eddy after the last rapid.  That was a couple uptempo miles, hitting somewhere between 50k and marathon effort.  Finished up with 18mi w/ 6 @ 7:40--->7:15.

Slow morning today after watching McGregor vs. Mayweather.  Pleasantly surprised that both boys put on a show, despite it being blatantly clear that Mayweather was sandbagging and playing for the first 5 rounds.  Just under 6mi on rolling two-lane roads just taking in the beauty of rural PA.

Ready for taper and feeling like I'll be ready to race in 2 weeks.  Hoping for a strong tempo run mid-week to blow out the gunk in the legs and get my head ready to roll.
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:17 am

I like the way you take advantage of your location and activities to get in some really interesting runs!
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  nkrichards on Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:52 pm

They burned Eagle Creek trail!!  Good thing you were able to run it when you did.  I heard a rumor the fire was caused by fireworks but haven't confirmed that.  Over 100 hikers got caught between two fires and had to spend the night at Tunnel Falls.  They dropped supplies in to them as they were mostly just day hikers.  The rescue workers came in and brought them out a different...much longer trail...the next morning.

We're burning up.  We need to borrow some rain from Houston!
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Re: Finally Fifty

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:28 pm

Nancy - And here I thought the only doom I missed out on over the weekend was more NK posturing...  Came back to civilization to Instagram videos of haze and smog so bad that friends in Boulder couldn't even see the Flatirons (we're talking <2mi visibility) but had no idea how widespread the fires were.  At least when CA burned every year of my upbringing, it was just burning ugly brown stuff... not a literal wonderland.  I hope you're at least far enough to not be directly affected.

---

Before we get to this past weekend's adventures, a brief recap of last week.  Kind of a weird week, overall.  Had a planned "touch up" tempo run to blow out the gunk before my half this coming Sunday - 5mi cutdown from MP to 8k pace... well, that was a disaster.  Hit a red light about .5mi into the "good miles" and immediately felt heavy-chested and gasping for breath.  Interestingly enough, the last time this happened (while training for MCM last fall) was at the exact same light... and I RARELY run there (maybe 5x in that year).  Anyway, decided to split the tempo up into 3x 1.5mi to at least salvage something.  Probably would've been wiser to leave it at nothing, but I did get some miles in the range of HM to 10k pace.  No biggie, I guess.  Fatigue and heat index.

Haley and I booked out of town on Friday, again headed for, where else, Pennsylvania.  This time a fair bit SW of our normal locale, though, with a campsite booked for the weekend in Confluence.  Mom should have fairly intimate knowledge of the area, given her recent GAP/C&O trip.  (Speaking of, Mom, look out for a FB message in the next... sometime... re: GAP.  An adventure is in pre-planning phase.)

The purpose of the trip was quadfold:
1.  Bag MD highpoint.
2.  Bag PA highpoint.
3.  Get some miles in on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, site of my goal spring/summer race, the Laurel Highlands Ultra 70.5.  
4.  More life on "camping time," which is kinda like "river time."

All four objectives were hit.

Friday's drive to the campsite took us on a scenic route through WV - seriously, why have I NEVER heard about how freakin' gorgeous that state is?! - to a little gravel pull-off on a 2-lane windy county road with only an inconspicuous sign marking its significance: "Maryland Highpoint --->".  The run to the peak was short and mostly easy, with 700' gain over 1.1mi, the middle third being the steepest and foggiest.  Pretty cool running through low clouds resting on a fern-covered slope only to pop out above them at the peak... if you can call it that.  The "peak" is actually just the highest point along a ridge that touches both MD and WV, though there are higher points on the WV side.  Popped back to the car and, in order to hit my self-imposed requirement of each peak requiring <1hr of "work," I grabbed Haley for a 2nd, more leisurely trip to the summit.  Overall, 4.4mi w/ 1400' gain for the day.

We almost bagged the trip due to some jerk-offs lighting mortar fireworks at the trailer park RIGHT NEXT TO THE CAMPSITE until 11pm.  The explosions were so powerful that I didn't even have the startle response from the sound - just the shockwave hitting my (and everyone else at the campsite's) chest.  Fortunately, we stuck it out and awoke to a misty Saturday morning.  Headed over to Ohiopyle, which it turns out is an incredibly scenic white-water town.  Or, as they call themselves, a drinking town with a whitewater problem.  I headed off on the LHHT, which has a gentle 1200' fireroad leading to the actual trail.  Then?  A ~100' climb up some steep steps cut into the mountainside and held up by logs.  I had to laugh, because this is LITERALLY AT MILE 0.

No, for real.



The camera really flattens out the trail, but I assure you, it's steep and brutal.  Haley was about 6' below me while taking this.  So, I ended up with 7.25mi and 2600' gain.  Yep, you read that right: over 300'/mi.  Took me over an hour and a half.  70.5 is going to be absolutely insane.  The silver lining is that after mile 9 or so on the trail, it's "mostly flat" until the final descent.  Probably ~100-150'/mi after that, anyway.  We'll see.  Multiple additional trips are planned to fully scout out the course a minimum of once, preferably twice.  

An easy 8 along the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage, a 150mi multi-use trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD) with Haley continuing on to Ohiopyle while I ran an out-and-back to get the car on Sunday.  We started at her normal easy pace and she somehow ran a 10mi PR, dropping her average pace from ~9:40 to 9:00 in the 6 miles without me.  Okay, got it; once a river rat, always a river rat.  Give the girl water and mountains and green.  We spent the afternoon - finally sunny! - moseying around the town and being continually impressed with this apparently well-kept secret of PA.  

Monday wrapped up the trip and brought a pretty neat state highpoint run - Mount Davis in PA.  I had planned a route that, on paper, looked like it gave me 2-2.5mi of easy descending before climbing for 5mi (1200') to the peak.  Enough for a warm-up and, dare I suggest, a progressive uphill tempo.  Turns out, SW PA has no slope so steady.  2+mi of rolling and occasionally steep descending through Amish country brought me to a dirt road that'd take me almost to the peak.  The road almost immediately kicked to 10+% for a quarter mile before, yep, descending just as steep for half the vert.  It did this at least 4-5x over the course of 3mi.  I was happy to have only hiked briefly when it really kicked up - well past a grade that any buggy or 2WD car could navigate, and still hit that mile in <10min.  A strong finish brought me to a confusing parking lot area with no highpoint in sight.  Haley was already parked there and had scouted it out, but silly me ignored her calling me back and tore through a trail that an older couple had just entered.  It was the long way to the peak, but not TOO much longer than the easier paved road.  The highpoint itself was interesting, with the USGS marker obliquely cemented to a rock - the natural highest point - and a pretty tall observation tower not too far off.  When we climbed the tower, we were greeted with a neat metal-carved topo, but nothing but clouds and mist all around.  By the time we returned to the car and had some breakfast, the clouds had cleared.  Oh well, it was almost neater to be surrounded by white silence.

[url=https://servimg.com/view/16579947/91][/url]


No idea why all the portrait images are being rotated, but, uh, enjoy the neck stretches!
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