Results tagged “News”

Takeaways from the FASTER Study

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I was fortunate enough to fly out to Connecticut during Spring Break to participate in an experiment examining elite ultrarunners' diets. I recently talked a bit about my participation in the FASTER Study, which is being put on by Dr. Jeff Volek and a team of graduate students, many of whom are working on their doctoral theses, at the University of Connecticut. Now I am back to give you some of the specific details of my experience.

In its simplest form, the study is aimed at discovering the role diet plays in how our bodies metabolize fat vs. carbohydrate during exercise. The complete study will be released later this summer, but I can at least share with you some of my personal results.

One portion of the study was a VO2 Max (maximal oxygen uptake) treadmill test. VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete's body can utilize during exercise, and is a partially determining factor in an athlete's aerobic endurance. It is important to note that VO2 Max is not necessarily the point at which you have to stop running; the measurement is is a general indicator of endurance at best: Some folks are able to push on well past hitting their VO2 Max, while others almost immediately cave upon reaching it. I guess this is where mental toughness and guts come into play.

During the test, the researchers gradually increased both the speed and incline on the treadmill until I could no longer continue, and my rates of fat and carbohydrate metabolism at various intensities were measured. In order to be consistent with all testing subjects, they had to use the same method of VO2 Max testing, increasing both speed and incline. Personally, I'd like to try the test again with a program that just increases speed, as my training is more specific to flat, fast surfaces at this time. This makes a difference in the VO2 Max, which is why everyone has a different VO2 Max score for each sport. (Like I said, they did it the way they did for methodological purposes; this is just me being a data geek.)

My VO2 Max came in at 66.1. As I suggested above, this number is of rather little importance by itself, as it really doesn't say too much about what I can do on the racecourse. However, with the rest of the data from the study, I can pinpoint where my fat metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism peak at varying intensities, and I can see the ratio between the two at any given percentage of my VO2 Max.

Analyzing the data was wonderfully reassuring to me. My fat metabolism peaked at 1.57 grams/minute. At this point in the test, my VO2 uptake was at 49.4. By dividing this number by my eventual VO2 Max of 66.1, I can calculate at what intensity I burn the most fat: 74.4%. At that intensity, I was burning 98% fat 2% carbohydrate (1.57 fat grams/minute and .07 carb grams/minute). To put this into perspective, 65% of my VO2 Max had me running approximately a 7:15 per mile. Even when I increase my speed to around 7:00 per mile, I was still burning nearly all fat! Of course, as the intensity moves up, these numbers begin to shift a bit, but you would be surprised at how efficient at fat burning one can be, even at increased intensities.

Take a look below at a few more of my personal data points from my VO2 Max test:

% VO2 Max
Fat Usage
Carb Usage

As you can see, even when I start reaching some pretty high (for ultrarunning) intensities (80%+ VO2 Max), I am still metabolizing way more fat than carbs. This is an important takeaway for me, especially as I strategize for longer races. An athlete cannot replace the amount of calories they are burning quickly enough to expect an outside fuel source to meet their race-day caloric demands. A person may be able to physically consume enough, but their body would simply not be able to process the fuel quickly enough to stay ahead.

This is why I strongly believe that the less you have to fuel during a race, the better. Not to mention that fueling can be a hassle, and if it can be minimized, the hassle lessens. There are a lot of other factors that come into play as well. Heat, for example, can greatly effect how the body accepts (or on super hot days, rejects) the calories you give it. This is why you see so many more stomachs turn at hot weather races. Less eating means your body can use its precious blood stores for cooling and muscle function, rather than for digestion.

Spring Madness

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With Spring arriving, I have had a few pretty cool happenings. I think I have successfully recovered from the South Carolina 24 Hour (SC24)—and thankfully dodged a bullet in terms of the Achilles issues that came up on that day. I have been able to train pretty much without a hitch for the past week. Post SC24, I participated in the FASTER Study, and I have done some last-minute preparations for the Mad City 100k.

The FASTER Study is a research study being put on primarily by Dr. Jeff Volek and his team of graduate students (some are on the cusp of becoming doctors themselves) at the University of Connecticut. It compares the metabolic pathways of elite ultra marathon runners who follow a high-carb diet and those with a low-carb diet. Preliminary data is showing that there is, indeed, a big difference! What struck me was the incredible attention to detail Volek and his team are taking in the methodology, particularly with respect to eliminating outliers in the data. The full results of the study should be coming out this summer, but my personal results will be available much sooner; I promise to share. But, even this early, we can safely say that what you eat does matter, especially in the ultra distances. This has given me some validation in that I can attribute much of how I feel and my performance over the past year or so to nutrition.

In other news, the Mad City 100k is coming up in a week and a half. Although my training doesn't have me peaking for this event, I do hope to be able to run a very competitive race. I currently have a slot on the US 100k Team, but it is my 100k split from Desert Solstice, so I don't have a lot of confidence that it will stand. At Mad City, I hope to at least lower my current 100k PR and possibly secure a more assured spot on the US 100k Team. My primary preparation for Mad City since SC24 has been a handful of longer efforts (up to 3 hours), and some high-intensity speed sessions (400s and below). I wanted to keep the speedwork simple, so as to not forestall the recovery process, while still doing enough to maintain my pre-SC24 fitness. It's a balancing act—but one of the more fun aspects of racing ultras.

2013 Year Review

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Had 2013 ended two months ago, this would have been an incredibly different review. I guess you could say, from a competitive standpoint, I “back-loaded” 2013. There were plenty of peaks and valleys throughout all of which I can say I learned a lot from.

In January, I competed in the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee. It was the starting point for the speedwork training block I had planned, which was intended to prepare me optimally for the Mad City 100k. Given that it was the entry point to speed—meaning I hadn't done any speedwork leading up to it—I was very pleased with my 2:31:30 time.

Despite the season, I felt like I got a lot of quality speedwork in throughout the winter months. My workouts were tailored for Mad City, which is a relatively flat, paved course. But when I made the mistake of not registering early enough, I felt as if my training direction was off. I was able to register for the Ice Age 50 Mile, but I hadn't done any Ice Age Trail–specific workouts, so I felt unprepared. I hoped the road speedwork would transfer, but on race day it became obvious that I didn't have the skills I needed to race optimally at IA50. I finished third with a time of 6:08:45, approximately three minutes slower than last year.

My recovery was promising, and with a new goal of racing the Burning River 100 Mile in late July, I immediately jumped at the chance to compete in the Kettle 100k (three weeks after IA50). I had a nagging case of tendonitis behind my knee, which sidelined me the days leading up to and after the race. However, I managed to win and come away with the 100k course record. Definitely a motivating event leading into Burning River.

When Burning River finally arrived, I was excited. I truly felt like it was the first race of the season I was legitimately prepared for. But things went downhill fast; I was not prepared for the weather (it rained for over 50 miles), and I was ultimately DQ’d at mile 93 for missing an aid station back at mile 70.

It was now past mid-year, and I hadn't really nailed a race yet. At this point the previous year, I had three ultra wins and had completed my first 100-miler. I was already signed up for the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile, but beyond that I was unsure if I was going to compete in any more ultras in 2013.

In mid-August I moved to Madison to begin my new teaching job at Clark Street Community School. Met with a much better training environment, I was really getting excited about Tussey. The thought even crossed my mind about trying to get into Desert Solstice if Tussey went well. I was completely uncommitted at this point, and I was equally as prepared to shut it down after Tussey if I felt tired or in the need of an early off season.

Tussey came, and I competed well. I was happy with my time and second place finish, but something didn't quite feel right. Almost as if I hadn't quite nailed the course. I felt like I had raced as well as I could have on that day, but it didn't feel like one of those races where everything just went right.

My recovery was by far the quickest to date. By mid-week I felt like I hadn't even raced. I had toyed with the idea of racing back-to-back-to-back weekends at the 50-mile distance, just to see how fast I could recover. And when I started feeling really good only a few days after Tussey, I decided to wait a week and then try to break 5:20 at the Chicago Lakefront 50 Mile.

The Chicago Lakefront went better than I could have imagined. Not only did I break 5:20, but I wound up running a 5:12:36, which turned out to be the sixth fastest American 50-mile time—and the fastest one run in North America in nearly 33 years! I was stoked! The next weekend, while I was on my way to the Team RWB running camp, Nick Curry of Aravaipa Running contacted me with an invitation to race at Desert Solstice. As I had not yet reached out the Desert Solstice crew, I took this as a sign that I should go.

I had little time to prepare (about 5 weeks), so I squeezed in a 17-mile track workout and a few other speed sessions before a shortened taper. I went into Desert Solstice with the mindset that if I had just run a 5:12 fifty miler, I should be able to comfortably get through the first half of the 100-mile in 5:50. With such a start, I thought I would have a good look at the American Record for 100 miles, which was 11:59:28 at the time.

Saturday, December 14, could not have gone any better. I was able to break the American 100-mile record by finishing in 11:47:21, and also pick up the World Record for longest distance run in 12 hours by covering 101.66 miles. Given the relatively short notice for even competing at Desert Solstice, I was thrilled!

By the end of the year I was completely humbled to be named the sixth Ultra Runner of the Year, and have my Desert Solstice performance be voted Ultra Performance of the Year. I have dreamed of running a UPOY caliber race, but never imagined it would happen in 2013.

I guess the biggest thing I learned this year was to learn from individual races, but not overthink them. In October, based on my earlier performance, I had little to no reason to believe I would end the year the way I did. My biggest takeaway for 2014 will be to reflect, make adjustments, and move on.

Mad Running Bliss

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Today while I was running, I thought it felt like it had been a while since I posted here. Then I realized it had been! This past month has been crazy busy with moving to Madison, getting reading for the start of the new year—at a new school—and training. Now that I am settled in, I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis.

So far, Madison has been great for my training. I have been able to get in much more hillwork and it has been a huge motivating factor while moving into more speedwork. At the end of this post you'll find a brief snippet of what my training has looked like over the past few weeks, but I wanted to highlight one workout in particular.

The workout I want highlight was a hill workout and trail run combo. It was a true ultra workout in the sense that it was 25 miles in length and covered trail, hills, and scenery. My workout goal was to get my legs accustomed to longer descents and climbs than usual. I went to the best place I know for this within easy driving distance for a day trip: Devil's Lake State Park. This is definitely my favorite place in Wisconsin to knock out some trail miles.

I started out the day with a five-mile warm-up, which consisted of a conservative climb up and down the East Bluff. I didn't take the really technical hiking trail, opting instead for the East Bluff Trail around the back, which is much more runnable. After the warm-up, I did 3x up and down the first big climb up the East Bluff (1.15 miles each way). It culminates with a brief, but extremely steep, slope that is both exciting and a bit intimidating to bomb down, which I guess is why it's so appealing. I tried to progressively increase how aggressively I attacked the ascent and descent each trip up and down. I managed to squeak under five minutes on the final mile down. It was great to that much uninterrupted leg turnover.

After the hill repeats I hopped in my car and went over to Steinke Basin to run some miles on that section of trail behind Devil's Lake. I would describe this section as like the Kettle Moraine Trail area on the Ice Age and Kettle courses. Nothing super long, but constant ups and downs with roots and rocks sprinkled all around.

I finished the day with a more leisurely loop around the lake, going up and down both the East and West Bluffs. I was able to snap some phone pics on this loop, which you'll find below. It ended up being about a perfect day weather-wise, and I got plenty of the sought-after eccentric muscle contraction. Today marked the end of a seven-day period in which I logged 142 miles, including three workouts (tempo, interval, and hills).

Recent Training Log

Photos from Devil's Lake

A Little Pep in the Step

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As JFK brought in the end of my 2012 race season, I couldn't resist the urge to look ahead to 2013. Not to mention the extra time I have when my miles are low forces me to look elsewhere for a running fix.

With much consideration, I would like to return to Madison, Wisconsin, in April, this time to take a swing at the Mad City 100k. Last year's 50k left me quite intrigued by the 10k loop, which was utilized for both the 50k and 100k distances. I bypassed the 100k distance last year in order to take advantage of my bid into Western States, and I'd still like to try my hand at the 100k distance. It seems like a no-brainer to focus on Mad City, as it's the USATF 100k Road Championships, and it's located right in my backyard.

So more about Mad City on a later date. The real reason for this post is to talk about training. With my focus ultra being a paved looped course, I plan to alter my training quite a bit from previous training cycles. My goal is to get my body extremely comfortable running between 6:00 and 6:30/mi pace.

My blueprint for getting my body to this state relies heavily on five specific tactics. First, short bursts. These are anywhere from 20-second sprints to 400-meter repeats (on a track if it's clear of snow, otherwise on the road using GPS). Second, tempo runs. These consist of stringing together up to 18 miles at a pace between 5:30 and 6:00/mi. Third, mile repeats. No sugar-coating this one, other than deciding whether to do the repeats fartlek style or interval style (I will likely do fartlek style more, as I hate stopping completely or walking between sets). Fourth, decreased “average pace.” I want my body to be really comfortable at a 6 to 6:30/mi pace. Lots of my non-speedwork miles will be run at the 6-6:30 pace. What better way to get the body used to a certain pace than to run that pace regularly? Don’t get me wrong, I will be wise on recovery runs. The idea here is that by reducing the overall volume, my body will be able to handle a quicker average pace. So no, I will not be robbing recovery by going faster on my recovery runs. I will simply find additional recovery from less volume. Fifth, plyometric/strength training. Last time I decided to focus on speed I used plyometrics often, and I felt this did wonders for the “pop” in my legs, as well as keeping my muscles loose and ready to fire quick without injuring anything.

I am really excited take on this next training block. A different outlook on daily workouts should be lots of fun. As I get things going I will post some sample weeks of training to show specific workout details and how I feel they have helped or hindered progress.

Promise To Keep 135 and 189.5 Mile Week!

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This week was far from mundane: I logged my highest weekly mileage to date and participated in a great cause! For those of you who read my blog last week, you will remember I was talking about the Promises to Keep 135, an opportunity I had to help out some friends and support a great cause. Promises to Keep 135 was an event supported by My Team Triumph WI that honored soldiers from Wisconsin who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brian Gruender and Roy Pirrung ran the entire 137 miles, and I was privileged to join them for 68 miles along the way. I was reminded of some important logistical elements of ultrarunning during this event. I was actually planning on joining Roy and Brian for 73 miles (I had met up with them around mile 64). However, my blood sugar levels and blood pressure had other plans. With 30 miles to go, I blacked out when we stopped for a bathroom break. I ate three granola bars, drank some water and took in some sodium, and I felt completely rejuvenated. After missing about 2 miles, I rejoined the group. I felt fine the rest of the way until we only had 3 miles to go, when I started feeling lightheaded again. This time I grabbed someone for help in attempt to avoid taking another dirt nap. The team was great and had me refueling within seconds. Once again, as soon as I got some more fuel in me, it was like a light switch went on. I sat out the next couple of miles as a precaution, and then rejoined the group for the finish.

So, what did I learn? You have to fuel based on time, not mileage. Fueling based on mileage was a problem because Brian and Roy had already run 64 miles when I met up with them, so naturally our pace was slower than what I was used to running. Consequently, I probably was not taking in the necessary amount of nutrients. A valuable lesson learned indeed. I also was able to meet some amazing service members who joined in for segments of the run, all of whom were amazing people who I will never forget.

My other workouts this week were focused on trail and hills. I tried to attack as many trails and hills as I could, and I managed to log trail miles on a number of great running spots in Wisconsin. I started with Door County, WI. Here I was able to access some of the rolling hills of Peninsula State Park. During the middle days of the week I was able to maneuver about some tight-turning, single-track trails in the Ice Age Trail circuit. I was thrilled, as always, to join the Lapham Peak Trail Runners (LPTR) on Wednesday night for a solid bout with the challenging terrain the “Black Loop” at Lapham Peak. The end of the week provided some flatter trails in the Milwaukee and Oshkosh areas before I logged the 68 miler Saturday.

In the coming weeks I am going to work on incorporating more hill work, as well as lunges in attempt to target eccentric muscle contraction. I will be looking to benefit from the uphill climbs of the hill workouts too, but my main focus will be the descents. I really want to start training my muscles to remain strong throughout eccentric muscle contraction demands that are found most notably running downhill.

If you would like to see this week's miles broken down, please see below.

Sunday17 mile long run
MondayAM: 18 mile long run
PM: 5 mile hill repeats
Tuesday19.5 mile long run
WednesdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 15 mile hills (Lapham Peak)
Thursday17 mile long run
Friday20 mile long run
Saturday68 mile long run (Promise to Keep 135)
Total189.5 miles

March 2012 Training

Training Recap: March 4-10

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Hey folks! Exciting events on the horizon for me, and training is going great. This week brought 132 miles of running following a 30-mile Saturday long run. These high-mileage weeks after ultra-geared long runs of 30-plus miles are always interesting because the week starts with legs that are still trying to fully recover from the previous week's long run. This week transitioned fast though, partly because the six days before my Saturday long run were low key. By Tuesday morning my legs were feeling spry, allowing me to get in a solid nine-mile tempo run at 5:45 per mile pace on Wednesday morning.

My goal this week was to put in a solid effort mile-wise. I did not want anything too big because next week will likely be my highest-mileage week to date. (Actually, I guess it's this week, since this is a recap!) This brings up another interesting topic. Promises to Keep 135!!!

Please take a moment to check out the website. Promises to Keep is an event brought to us by My Team Triumph WI whose goal is “Honoring the 158 Wisconsin Soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.” It consists of a 135-mile route from Kenosha to Appleton. Two men, Roy Pirrung, and Brian Gruender will be running the entire 135 miles. I will be joining them at mile 65, and I will run the remaining 70 miles to Appleton. I am extremely excited to share 70 miles with these two, as well as the great service members who will be joining us along the way! I look forward to meeting some inspiring individuals, and I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Also, coming up on March 15 is the official launch of Flotrail! I have already submitted my first blog for the website, addressing what it means to be an ultrarunner (to me at least), and some insight into what I will be blogging about in future posts.

Another fun thing I have coming up is with Pace Per Mile. If you don't already know, Pace Per Mile produces an endurance podcast, and I will be providing them with race previews, reports and recaps for endurance events in Wisconsin. If you are unfamiliar with Pace Per Mile, check them out. They have some great podcasts that address nutrition, training and products, as well as endurance-related interviews. I find myself clipping of lots of miles while listening to their podcast.

Upcoming Events:

Sunday21.5 mile long run
MondayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
TuesdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
Wednesday10 mile tempo run
- 1 mile warm up, 9 mile tempo @ 5:45 pace
ThursdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
FridayAM: 10.5 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
Saturday20 mile long run
Total132 miles

March 2012 Training

Training Recap: Feb. 19-25 and More!

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This week began with some great news for me! The running website Flotrack is branching out to cover trail/ultra/mountain running as well as track events. I was thrilled to find out that Flotrack wants me to be one of the professional bloggers for their new site Flotrail! The site launches on March 15, which will have my first of hopefully many blog entries for Flotrail. This site originated from runners requesting that Flotrack cover the great sport of ultrarunning. With this in mind, I urge you to make requests about any ultra topics, info or advice you would like me to blog about at Flotrail.

Training this week brought a variety of runs. I aimed to get a few solid workouts in because last week lacked variety. And with my ankle feeling strong, I was ambitious with my workouts. I also added an element to my easy runs that I had mentioned last week that I might incorporate.

My first workout was more or less an interval session. I rarely get to a track to rip off interval repeats these days, but I do incorporate intervals within my runs. This interval session was 15 reps of 50 seconds at about 4:45/mile pace. Recovery was 90–120 seconds of jogging. I did a 7-minute warm up and a 19-minute cool down, bringing the session total to 10 miles. My second workout was a tempo run. It was very unorthodox 9-mile tempo within a 10-mile run. Normally I like to have a decent warm-up and cool-down when doing tempo runs, but I did this tempo in the morning, so I was pressed for time (after all, those middle schoolers aren't going to teach themselves). Anyway, the tempo was at 5:42/mile pace. I was pleased with this pace for two reasons. First, I have not been doing much speedwork lately. Second, I felt really smooth for that distance and pace. My third workout covered some basic hills in Manitowoc, WI. It was a 19-mile run with eight solid climbs of about half a mile each.

The new element I added to my training was some pick-ups after easy runs. Basically all I did was 4 reps of about 20 seconds throughout the last mile. I did this on morning easy runs in order to give my legs a little pop after the relatively slower pace of easy runs.

I ended the week with 136 miles. After two hard weeks in a row, my body is definitely ready for a down week. I plan to take it easy for the first six days of the week and then add a nice ultra-style long run to end the week. Please see below if you want to see specifics about my miles.

Sunday21.5 mile long run
MondayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10.5 mile easy run
TuesdayAM: 10 mile interval workout
- 15x50sec w/ 90-120sec recovery
PM: 5 mile shake-out run
WednesdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
ThursdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
FridayAM: 10 mile tempo run
- 1 mile warmup 9 miles at 5:42 pace
PM: 10 mile easy run
Saturday19 mile hilly run
Total136 miles

February 2012 Training

Training Recap: Feb. 12-18

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It was a pretty basic week of training for the most part, making it a good addition to my training base. I would have liked to get some more speedwork or hill sessions in this week, but I was hampered with a sore right ankle for a few days and did not want to push my luck. I am not quite sure why my right ankle was sore. Possibly running 32 miles in slippery conditions the previous Saturday. Regardless, I managed to get in a week full of base miles. The rest from speedwork should give me a fresh set of legs for the coming week. Weather permitting, I would like to get a lengthy tempo run in sometime mid-week.

One thing I was reminded of this week was how beneficial it is to let your legs go hard. My legs were beginning to feel a little sluggish before I invested one of my morning runs into some all out pickups. I have done this type of workout a number of times this winter season, so it was not a huge shock to my legs. Instead, it really loosened things up and allowed me to feel a lot lighter and smooth on the following days. I might try something new next week and put 2 to 4 short pickups at the end of the all or most of my runs. Check back next week if you are curious how this pans out, or if you are the anxious type, follow me on Twitter.

An aspect of my training that I feel has really been working is my body's ability to run smoothly for long periods of time. I know I have mentioned this before, but I sense continued progress in this avenue. I always think back to the first marathon I trained for in 2008. At about mile 18, or around 2 hours into my long runs, my legs would feel like logs. I could maintain pace, but I would have to work much harder. These days I have been able to feel the same from the first stride to the last on runs over 20 miles. In last week's case, I went 32 miles and felt pretty even throughout. I am excited that my body is adapting this way, allowing me to avoid some of the dreadful ups and downs associated with ultra racing.

I have more exciting news that developed since last time I posted. I was blessed to be able to interview with two ultra runners, who are very knowledgeable about the sport. Jerry Armstrong, author of Conversations with the Trail, and Abe Clark, author of Chasing That Elusive Horizon both posted interviews with me. We talked about all things ultra, including training, racing, and future plans. If you have a moment, please check them out!

Below is a detailed list of the miles I logged last week. As mentioned earlier, if you would like more immediate information about how my daily training is going, please follow me on Twitter @zbitter!

SundayAM: 20 mile long run
PM: 3 mile shake-out run
MondayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
TuesdayAM: 10 mile easy run;
PM: 12 mile easy run
WednesdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 6 mile easy run
ThursdayAM: 10 mile easy run
PM: 10 mile easy run
FridayAM: 10 mile workout
- 10x45 second all-out pickups
- 2 minute recovery jogs
PM:10 mile easy run
Saturday22 mile long run
Total144 miles

February 2012 Training

Backloaded with My Team Triumph

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Starting Line with My Team Triumph
This week was modest in terms of total mileage, but it culminated with a spectacular day of running to wrap up the week. A few weeks back I was contacted by Christian Jensen, president of My Team Triumph. They are an organization that gives individuals with disabilities an opportunity to participate in the community through endurance sports. This is something I feel strongly about and I am extremely happy to be developing what I hope to be a long term relationship with the organization. Anyway, Christian encouraged me to consider helping out with a number of events they have on the schedule, which includes a 135-mile trek across part of Wisconsin, which I will probably be doing half of, and the Seroogy's Valentine's Day 15k. I am pleased to have just experienced the latter of the two. It was a day filled with great experiences.

My Team Triumph
I woke up early Saturday morning at 3:30 am in hopes to log a few miles before the 8am start of the Seroogy's 15k. I wanted to get in a solid 30-mile effort because I had only run 50 miles in the six days leading up to Saturday. It was a down week, so a 30-miler would bring my weekly miles to a satisfactory spot. I ran about 6.5 miles before the race. When I met up with My Team Triumph I learned that I would be on a team with a group of guys who would alternate pushing Josh, our team captain, in his racing chair. I was extremely pleased to find out that Roy Pirrung, ultramarathon legend and huge role model of mine, would be part of the team I was on during the 15k! It was great to get to talk to him during and after the event. It was also a great experience to get to talk with Josh, our captain. He was quite the comedian along the way, and overall a very positive person. I really look forward to participating with the guys in my group during upcoming events.

When all was said and done with the 15k, I had approximately 16 miles under my belt for the day. I was able to give myself a tour of the city of De Pere for another 16 miles to cap the day at 32 miles. I intended to do 30 miles but got off track for a bit. No harm, no foul. I finished the down week with 82 miles. My body is feeling great, and the 32-miler was probably one of the smoothest I have felt on a training run of 30+ miles. I did not ever notice any big dips in energy levels or motivation. I love to see this because it tells me my body is responding well to training.

One of the reasons I set up my week of running like this is because I wanted to keep my miles down, as it was intended to be a recovery week, while still letting my body experience the rigors of some long bouts of running. I thought planning an ultra-style long run for the end of the week would do just the trick. See a summary of this week's running below.

Also, please check out more info on My Team Triumph and their cause.

Sunday10 miles
Tuesday10 miles
WednesdayAM: 10 miles
PM: 5 miles
ThursdayAM: 10 miles
PM: 5 miles
Saturday32 miles
Total82 miles

Great News!

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In the past few weeks I have been blessed with a number of great opportunities. I look forward to working closely with two organizations that have dove into the running community. Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB) and Aurora Bay Care Sports Medicine have both reached out to me in order to form partnerships. This is great for my running career, but I'm also happy that both organizations have great missions that match my values.

Team RWB present a great cause, focusing on veterans returning home from service. As stated, their mission is: "Team Red, White & Blue’s vision is to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position." The importance of this organization can not be overstated. During my undergraduate program I majored in History and Broad Field Social Studies, so I am familiar with our country's past mistakes in reintegration of our armed forces after service. Physical and emotional consideration must be taken when reintegrating soldiers, and this program spear heads this by providing meaningful relationships and activities for returning soldiers by providing emotional and physical growth. The great thing about Team RWB is that it is growing fast! If you would like to find out ways in which to contribute to this cause Team RWB has a fantastic website outlining it's objectives and opportunities.

Aurora Bay Care Sports Medicine is also currently assembling a team of athletes.They will be looking to this team for guidance in promoting the fitness goals of employees and community members, all while helping athletes like me to reach my goals. This was another easy decision for me. As a school teacher who has coached all levels of youth in cross country and track and field I am a firm believer in promoting athletic goals. This type of agenda promotes physical strength as well as discipline. I am very excited to begin working with and promoting the services Aurora Bay Care Sports Medicine offer. If you are in the Green Bay area I encourage you to check out their facility. They offer Dartfish video analysis, which helps runners see how their running form can be improved. This helps prevent injuries and promotes faster race times! The technology at Aurora is state of the art. They are also getting an Alter-G treadmill, which allows you to defy gravity while running by reducing weight to as low as 20 percent! For those of you who have suffered running injuries that hamper your ability to endure the impacts of day to day running will appreciate this technology.


Race, Recover, Repeat...

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Recovery after The North Face 50-mile ultra (TNF) went better then expected. I was running again after only three days off. The following week I managed to log 134 miles with some quality hill work and some speed work. This was done in 6 days as I took a day off during this training week. The week progressed as follows:

Sunday17 miles (City Park Hill 15x)
TuesdayAM: 18 miles (5x5min @ about 5:45 pace, Menominee Welcome Center Hill 8x)
PM: 5 miles
WednesdayAM: 10 miles
PM: 12 miles
ThursdayAM: 10 miles (City Park Hill 25x)
PM: 9 miles (in the rain)
FridayAM: 11 miles (10x30-45 second pickups at all out)
PM: 12 miles
SaturdayAM: 20 miles (City Park Hill 30x)
PM: 10 miles
Total134 miles

My recovery pace and urge to get back in an ultra race has me rethinking my racing schedule for the rest of 2011. Having already competed in two trail ultras I would really like to try a road ultra. I can manage at least two more ultras this year if I compete in the Fall 50 (Door County, WI) and the JFK 50 (Washington County, Maryland). The Fall 50 is on October 22 (Saturday), giving me a five-week window after TNF. Though the Fall 50 is on road, my current rate of recovery gives me two solid weeks to build up mileage and then two more weeks to back off a little in time for the race. JFK 50 is four weeks after the Fall 50. This would give me a week to bounce back from the Fall 50 followed by about 10 days of high mileage training before I would need to back off in time for JFK. I believe this plan is feasible given the large base I have from summer training (peak week of 171 miles + workouts).

Assuming all goes according to plan, it will be interesting to see how my legs react to doing three ultras in 9 weeks. Ultra running is all about acclimating the body to the rigors of the sport. The way I see it, the best way to do this is to get out and race!