I'm trying out a training schedule recommended by my friend, and ultrarunner extraordinaire, Mark Ott. It's kind of scary sounding at first, and goes like this: 30/30/45. That is, run 30 miles one day. Rest one day. Run another 30 miles. Rest another day. Run 45 miles. Rest two days.
Mark's thinking goes, that if marathons are no longer a problem, and for me they aren't, then it's time to up the mileage. Which I knew, and I needed this kick in the pants to get me to do it, but I'll admit that the length of each run kind of shocked me. I mean, I can run 30 miles, and even 45 miles, without much problem. I did finish two 50 Mile races last summer (2011), and DNFed a “Hundo” at Mile 70. But those were races! This would just be me, on my own, with no competition to inspire me along.
Still, what I like about Mark's plan is the days of rest in between. My initial reaction was, Wait, shouldn't I be running every day? Even just small ones on the days off? But then I came to my senses: I would need those days of rest to recover for the the following day. It seems/feels a little counterintuitive, training for an ultra with four days off a week. And yet, this has been one of my 'excuses', that training for a hundo seems to require someone to be independantly wealthy. Mark's idea is that this schedule gets you the mileage, while also allowing for plenty of time off, to take care of business, and have a social life. So much for my excuses....
And, since I actually have a lot of free time lately (laid off from job—long story) I figured even if I was totally destroyed by this schedule, I have time to play with it. And recover from it.
First 30 Mile Run
Went well, in that I felt good after. It may actually have been more than 30. Previous 50Ks I've run in 6 hours. This took me almost 7! I think I wasn't running as fast as I would in a race. And, if it was more, that's ok. But, although tired, I certainly wasn't wiped out, and was walking around my apartment ok. Still, seven hours is a big chunk of time. I have to remember that Mark can run a 50K in like 4:30, so this did become an all day thing.
Tied in with that is the fact that I didn't plan for loss of daylight. I ran the last hour, hour and a half, in the dark, which probably added even time. I could've anticipated this problem a little better, but didn't. I haven't run a long trail run here in Portland, so I was going on my normal short run routine. Could've been injurious to me! I adapted by getting off the trail as soon as I could and back out onto this dirt road, though the problem with that is the road is the Gravel Road from Hell, so even in my thick Luna sandals, my feet got hammered.
I did end up dressing appropriately. I started my run with almost clear sky, and almost didn't bring my 'shell' jacket, but did at the last moment, because of the cold. Well, five hours later, I was in a hail storm, and I never really sweat that much. If anything, I could've worn some Injinji socks with my huaraches, though they would've been soaked in mud very early. My feet were actually ok. A little cold by the hail storm, but the huarache soles kept me up off the cold ground (see the second run day).
Also: I have to remember to lube up. Again, just not thinking. Used to only lubing up for marathons and other races, not for lone runs. Had some chafing when I got back!
Day of rest
This felt good, to just do anything but run. I was a little slow-moving, but otherwise felt fine. Yoga classes helped immensely, as did eating a lot, carbo loading for the next day.
Second 30 Mile Run
No hail, which was good. I was running a little slower, though not much. I felt surprisingly strong. More mud, more rain, though mostly a light mist. The big unexpected problem was my footwear malfunctions. Not one, but both of my Luna sandals broke down: The hemp rope laces do not seem to like wet weather. I'd been trying them because I thought they shrunk when wet, and so would be more stable (ie more than leather laces) when wet and on hills. And, they don't stretch as much as leather would, but they don't necessarily tighten up either. I had to stop and tighten the back heel straps numerous times. But the big problem was the rope rubbing against the soles and getting cut off. Both of the 'toe knots' snapped right off, and both laces were cut off at the outside 'heel holes' as well. All of this seemed sudden, though I wonder if I could've inspected and anticipated this, by checking for wear on the ropes.
Unfortunately, it's really really hard to re-thread the rope through those little holes, especially when the rope is wet and muddy, and especially when my hands are numb from cold and running five hours. I was able to sort of force the rope through the holes, though sometimes just strands of it, enough to barely hold, and finally, with the last toe hole break, I just could not fix it. On a dry trail, yes, but not in these NorthWet conditions. Fortunately this happened three-fourths of the way through the run, so I could simply run barefoot the rest of the way, though I will say the Wildwood trail is not the most barefoot friendly, with lots of gravel laid out. That plus the cold made for a pokey run home, though at that point I knew where I was, and even knew a couple short cuts.
Still, with all the repair stops, and the slightly slower run in general, my run ended up lasting almost eight hours. (!!!). I felt ok when I got home and showered. Kind of like I'd run a 50K. But, considering the 50K I'd run two days ago, I felt surprisingly ok. My feet were ok too.
Neither day did I actually run the route I thought I'd run, which would have added maybe at least 45 more minutes!
I'm not happy about the sandals. For the next run, I'll either try the Leadvilles, and see how that fancy lace fares, or take my Merrills out of retirement, which is kind of what I bought them for: colder weather and rougher trails.
And, I might try my 45 mile run out in the city somehow. Do a Dean Karnazes “Runabout” and just stay on my feet all day. Which, might work out, since if running this 50K took eight hours, 45 will have me running at night. In which case maybe I'll just wear my thinner Xeros. But in any case, I have to figure out a way to reload on water and food. Either do this 30 Miler, come to my apartment for replentishment, then head out again, or, just bring money along on the city run. but 45 Miles is going to be on up to 12 hours! (which is what those 50 Mile races took me). But, so far this is taking a big chunk out of my days. I'm ok with it for now, but I'm not sure if this would work for those normal people with jobs and families. We'll see what Mark has to say about that.
Now another day of rest....