Last Monday was the official kick off for laying the ground work for the 100-miler. I’ve enlisted the help of a coach, James Whipple (Whip Runs) who is a kick-ass ultramarathoner. When I saw the initial first weeks of the training plan (which focuses on my first big race, the Northface Endurance Challenge DC 50-miler) my heart stopped at the word treadmill. Say it isn’t so!!! The forbidden dreadmill! I hadn’t ran on a treadmill since the year I started running and I had no intentions of ever running on a treadmill ever again. But there it was…treadmill work. He says that it will help me with controlling my pace and increasing my speed, and since he knows more about this stuff than I do, I will give it a try. Besides, my friend Tom, who is currently training for Leadville, did 90% of his training for his first 100-miler on the forbidden dreadmill. He survived and he finished.
So, Tuesday morning I set out to do what the plan said, six progression miles on the dreadmill. I started at 5.0 for mile one and it actually wasn’t so bad. Then I hit 1.26 and I wanted to blow my brains out. I was watching the TV at the gym and had my iPod in my ear and I was literally losing my mind. Bumped up the speed at mile 2 and regained my sanity and lost it once again at 2.5. This went on and on until I finished. I actually thought I was going to quit at mile 5 and 5.5. It took everything I had mentally to not stop that treadmill dead in it’s tracks. This is going to be a long, long training season.
Saturday I ran with the Charm City Run group at Gunpowder Falls. God I love that place. I decided to take my dog Zoey with me to see how she would do running with a group of people. And despite some of her bad manners with her jumping on people with excitement (we’re working on it and folks really didn’t listen when I asked them to not greet her excitedly), she did pretty well. At one point a couple of runners got a head of me and Zoey wanted to keep up. She kept turning around looking at me as if I were slowing her down. Com’n run faster! I’m working on it Zoey, I’m working on it.
Saturday’s run was Zoey’s longest run on the trails with me to date. She hit a whopping seven miles and while she was a little tired at the end, she could’ve gone out for more if I pushed her. But, seven was enough for my baby girl and slept like a rock the rest of the day.
The Squirrlley Twail
Yesterday a group of us went up to PA and rand the Squirrlley Tail Twail Wun half marathon. What a blast! I wasn’t expecting the trails to be snow-covered and icy, but they were. It took a little while to get my footing right, but one I did, I was rockin’ and rollin’. The course was fairly flat with some rolling hills and if it weren’t for the snow and ice, it would’ve been pretty easy. I hung out with the girls for the first few miles, and we horsed around, cause that’s just how we roll.
I got to a point where I felt that I was breathing down the necks of the runners in front of me and needed to pass, so I did. When I realized I was clocking negative splits, I decided it was on. I can’t help myself sometimes. I get so competitive with myself and once it’s in my head, well, I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do. I slowed down on some of the hills, but didn’t walk them, and anytime I heard a runner behind me try to catch up, well…I went faster. So much fun! Here are my splits:
If your’e looking for a winter half and don’t mind the possible wintery trail conditions, as I heard last year it was worse, I highly recommend this fun and inexpensive race ($25). The premium was a really nice sweatshirt, and the after race food was delish! The course is lightly supported with two unmanned water stops and a full water stop at mile six, and the volunteers are fantastic, as usual.
After the race, we all headed out for some celebratory drinks and more food at White Rose Bar and Grill in York, PA. I swear, they had THE BEST Bloody Mary’s EVER!