Thursday, August 25, 2011

Training Log 7/10-8/10...Echo Summit Challenge... 3 week taper!

Got my training logs up for the last month or so.  Some new forms of training in the mix there.  Been putting in lots of time on the bike (what?  bike?  save that for another post and the blog will be masquerading as BKPKR for a while!), plenty of roller, some yoga/ stretching and the Pilates which have been killing me.  All has been extremely beneficial to my training regimen.  I was putting in some pretty tough weekends biking/ running/ pilates all together.  It would involve getting up and out of the house at 6:30 am, lay out a half marathon or more, come home hop on the bike and ride out to Verdi, then back home for a hour or more of Pilates/ roller.  The benefit of this is it allows me to lengthen the amount of time I am doing aerobic activity without pounding joints running the entire time.  I really like the spinning action of cycling, helps me work the kinks out from running and works muscle groups I don't use while running.  When I purchased the bike the intention was to use it for bike touring, little did I realize I could also use it as a fabulous training tool.  Pilates have been doing me a ton of good too.  Strengthening and toning my core has helped my running a bunch.  I can protect my lower back now by resting and using my stomach muscles more.  I also feel like I run more upright than I used to.  I also get very strong in a forward motion, but not much strength side to side (lateral?).  Pilates works all the muscle groups my other training misses.  I also like that it provides stretching too, which I am realizing is beneficial as well.  I have to say though coming out of 3 of those weekends on Monday I felt hung over.  In a good way obviously.  I know I was doing myself a ton of good by putting in long weekends on my feet and bike.  Monday would be tough though as I would be back at work and dragging ass.  I would then claw my way back out of the hole I had dug all weekend to feeling good again by mid week.  Of course still lifting weights here at work which I have worked my way up from 55lb reps to 60lb reps.  Probably doesn't sound like much, but I do 120 reps (2 different ways)/ 12 chin ups and some other core strengthening exercises on my quick lunch break 30 minute laps.  Hey those chin ups work wonders Floweasy!

Now lets talk about taper.  When I did my first trail running race back in July I thought tapering meant to quit running 2 days prior to your event.  WRONG!  That left me feeling sluggish and not to fast on my feet.  I have read a few books on ultra running recently (not that I have any intention of running over 50 miles in a race format ever... if it goes beyond 50 miles I am going after a fastpacking speed record.... save the cash and do what I love alone in the woods... leave the spectacle for other folks... I sure don't need it) and have stumbled upon a calendar with suggested mileages for different length races and how to taper that mileage for race day.  After getting the input of several of my athlete buds on Facebook I realized the 3 week taper I am doing is a nice ling taper.  Honestly if I would have planned it better I would have worked the race weekend in as week one of my 3 week taper.  I have a 36 mile race coming up September 10th near Tahoe City on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  It would have been good to taper for the longer race and make the Echo Summit Challenge 20 mile race part of the taper.  I am not too bummed at the mistake as I am curious how well I will do in the 20 mile format.  At first I wondered if the taper was going well or not.  It is going extremely well.  I don't really give myself true rest days (doing nothing), I always do something active on my rest day.  So my training log is usually running 6 days a week, then on my off day I still ride bike 30 miles.  After checking with friends about this 3 week taper I have going it was suggested to me to keep my rest days active and my non rest days at full tilt.  These full tilt runs have been going good.  I have been running hills as the course I am running on Saturday is very hilly.  For training specificity I am running hills to be ready to race on hills.  I have been running my work lap quite a bit which basically grinds up 300 ft of elevation right off the bat in less than a quarter mile.  This hill is usually imposing no matter how I feel and I am able to run up it comfortably and not get short of breath.  Usually when I hit the top of the climb and get to run flat on the ditch trail I am trying to recover, but now I get to this point and I just dig my heels in and let it rip.  Of course coming down the canyon is like floating, just let the legs reach out as far as I can and cover as much ground as comfortable.  Cardio/ strength/ and recovery are all in top form for me going into this race.  I also got a pedicure, 2 hr full body deep tissue massage and visited my chiro so I am chomping at the bit for this race.

Totals again
So my goal is to be covering twice the distance of the PCT annually by running/ walking/ hiking/ snowshoeing/ skiing and put in plenty of miles on the bike too.  Here is my totals so far this year:

Run/walk/ hike/ snowshoe/ ski = 3008.2 miles
Bike = 629 miles

Echo Summit 20 miler elevation profile
The race is the Echo Summit Challenge.  I had the privilege of going out and pre running the course a few weekends ago.  From here on out I will be prerunning all courses as I think this will be a huge advantage over someone travelling long distance for the race who has never seen the course.  The route of the run is basically on the PCT for a short distance to the junction with the Pony Express Trail (or the XP).  It then descends down to Lovers Leap a climbing area, does a small loop down here then climbs up steeply behind lovers leap to rejoin the XP and climb all the way back up to Echo Summit.  Taking a look at the elevation profile shows a course that has virtually no flat/ traversing sections of trail.  You are basically going up or down.  Fortunately many of the climbs are totally runnable with the exception of one.  I think based on what I have experienced and seen first hand at ultra races many people will be walking these hills right out of the gate.  The hills are deceiving as they look like they just go and go, but most of them are really short compared to what I am used to.  There are a few sections of trail where the route pops out onto a ski/ cat track run that you can really open it up on.  The biggest trick in this race based on my scouting is going to be to save enough leg descending to Lovers Leap to be able to turn around and climb back up to Echo Summit.  I am really good at descending as well, but there is one segment of trail down near Lovers Leap that is so rough it looks like you are running in a boulder choked river bed.  I tried to run down it a few hundred feet, but realized quickly I was more likely to hurt myself and just tried to walk it as fast as I could.  Now the climb up the backside of Lovers Leap will be my other walk.  It is so steep back here and powdery I can see toasting my legs to the point of not having anything left for the return climb back up to Echo Summit.  I plan on descending down to Lovers Leap as fast as I can and grind it out on the return.  I plan on running every hill except for the two spots I mentioned.  Even on the descent down to Lovers Leap the course reminds me of a saying I am fond of, "you mostly climb to descend."  On the return though it just seems like one big climb with some steeper sections.

First leg of the race
Strategy for this race... battle plan... goes something like this.  Micro Monkey is crewing for me (no snickering that I have a crew on a 20 mile race).  Main reason for this is so I may run through all the aid stations and not linger.  I obviously got this idea from watching guys like Tony K (who trust me I bow down to, I will never be a runner like him or Killian) just blow through.  I like the idea of keeping the legs moving and not breaking my focus looking at all the people in the aid station or lingering there looking at treats.  I learned in my first 13 miler race in July that a running race can really come down to seconds and if I can save my self several seconds here not doing anything in the aid stations the better.  So the first aid station comes at about the 4 mile mark.  I am sure many people will be using handhelds for a race like this and will have to run the first 4 mile segment with a handheld.  I am foregoing this and will run with no bottle to the 1st aid station.  Micro and I did a dry run and we visited the 2 aid stations I need her to be at to crew for me during this race.  She will be at aid station 1 to hand off a bottle (my small one half full with Heed and 2 Hammer Gels and an Endurolyte).  This will be huge in my opinion as I will be able to run unhindered for the first 4-5 miles, then grab my first bottle from Micro.

Echo Summit Challenge lower half
Then at the 2nd aid station I will pick up my second bottle which is at the 10 mile mark.  Here I will be switching up to a mix of Perpetuem and Heed and have another Hammer Gel on board for the climb back up behind Lovers Leap.  I will again see Micro at aid station 1 for my little bottle hand off for the last 4 miles back up to Echo Summit (this will roughly be the 16 mile mark).  Now here is the kicker, I think the race will go well under the advertised 20 mile length.  I only got 17+ when I GPS'd it and I talked with the RD who mentioned a shortcut to keep us off the road down near Strawberry Tract.  I am fine with that, but it is nice to know when you are keeping track of your time/ pace if your race is going to be short or long.  I am really excited to give this race a good go.  I felt at my last race like I was unsure of my pace and spent most of my time running in no mans land between the front 3 or 4 runners and the rest of the pack.  I paced part of the race with 1st place women's overall and if it wasn't for her I think I would have gone slower.  That won't be the case this time.  I am prepared to work hard as this distance race will be over before I know it.  Plus the fact I have trained more properly and tapered correctly makes me really want to see what I can do this Saturday.  Last secret weapon for this race is Race Day Boost.  I have been dosing on this for 2 days and will do it all the way up until Friday so that I get the full dose this time around.  I had really good results using it last time and am curious if the full dose will help even more.

Did I mention the race course is beautiful?
Couple more secret weapons... New Balance MT 101's ( 9oz mens size 14), Pearl Izumi Infinity Split Shorts and a visor instead of sunglasses.  The NB MT 101's are light as a feather and keep me low to the ground.  I find I have plenty of leg at the end of a long run in these.  Looking forward to racing them again and this course will be perfect for them.  I am finding I really dig the split shorts for running.  Plenty of air flow and less chafing/ bunching/ rubbing.  I actually feel like I extend more in a short like this.  I have found the PI's to be plenty comfortable and airy.  Well thought out running short.  I had been wearing sunglasses running quite a bit, but this course is mostly under forest canopy and doesn't really get much direct sun.  I find I am battling sweat on my glasses pretty quickly for a race, but I don't have to deal much if I just use a visor to cut the glare.  So visor it is.  I will probably pick this up from Micro at the 1st aid too.  We leave at 8:am for the 20 mile race and the sun will be to my back and side descending the canyon.  It will mostly be hitting me on the way back up.  Wish me luck on this race and expect a full race report upon my return early next week.


  1. Sounds like a plan, Adam. Pre-running the course (or having run the race in previous years and being familiar with it) is definitely a big advantage. Have a great race -

  2. Wow, sounds like you're thoroughly prepared, I hope the harvest is plentiful come race day, you've put in a lot of work. Will the Perpetuem be beneficial for you at this distance? Best of luck.

  3. Thanks for the shout out! It's amazing how many muscles you can target by simply doing pull ups! I'm currently training for my 15th 50 mile race which takes place on Oct 23rd. Glad your training and racing is going well. Peace love and handstands!

  4. Pre running definitely helped with pacing/ attack plan. I will post a race report next. Been busy transcribing Scott Williamsons speed record attempt on the PCT.
    Eugene I miked a half scoop perpetuem and a full scoop heed for my 2nd bottle. Believe it or not heed melon and orange vanilla perpetuem mix nicely together. I think it did help being a 3 hour race to have a mixed bottle to sip on on the return trip back up to Echo Summit. I didn't need to waste time digging out another gel in this section. I will get a race report up soon, but in general my fueling was spot on for this race.
    Hey Floweasy, are you running the JFK again? If so right on buddy. I saw your name in ultra runner magazine last year (or maybe the year before that) when you ran it last. Race went well and I have another race coming up 9/10 that is a 50k. I am not sure I will ever step it up to the 50 mile format. In fact I really liked the 20 mile format (fast and furious). Man, you Puff and Snappy need to come out some fall and we should do some hiking in the Sierra chill/ layed back style. Reunion!