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Warda Wild Hare 50k 2017 race report.

The macro schedule that my coach gave me doesn't call for any run longer than 24 miles. Even though I trusted that his plan would get me to and through my 100 miler, it was my Logical self that trusted. My Emotional self felt like I needed to do at least one 50k in order to feel prepared. So I ran it by my coach, and he said as long as I ran super easy and just did it for the distance, not for any particular time, that he blessed that plan. It would have maybe been nice to have a supported 50k a little later in my training, but the only other one in the area that I knew of was Bandera, and that's both too close to Rocky, time-wise, and also too hard on the body. Wild Hare was early, but since I've done it before, it's a known quantity and seemed like a good course for my 50k.

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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 10.

This was intended to be a step-back week, 37 miles, but after consulting the coach, I decided to do one last longer run before tackling the 50k at Wild Hare next week.

It was a fairly tough week. A lot of accumulated fatigue, a lot of slow runs, a lot of bad weather. But I plodded through my 18 miles on Saturday with no problems, and then got to enjoy a nice Greenbelt run with Matt, testing out our new trail Hokas. I didn't anticipate having them in time to use for Wild Hare, but having tested them today, I think they'll be fine for next Saturday. I'll have my old ones there just in case, and have an opportunity to change them out every loop (4 total).

I spent a lot of this week reading Rocky 100 race reports. I can't believe it's taken me this long to start doing that. It's been pretty enlightening. Reading about problems people have had, things they wish they'd done or hadn't done, things they'll do differently next time. It's pretty fascinating to see how some people didn't really struggle too much in the last 40 miles, and some people just fell apart completely. And it's reassuring to read about how much walking can happen in those last 40 miles and still come in under the 30 hour time limit.

This next week will feature a little bit of tapering and a lot of planning. I want to use Wild Hare not only to do a longer trail run, but also as an opportunity to test out food options. I have some Boost, I have some potato chips, some pb&js.. we'll see how the stomach tolerates those things during my run.

I'm both excited and a little terrified about doing a 50k on Saturday. I'm not great at running even splits, but I'd like to start out slow enough that I don't ascend too terribly. It'll be good practice for not going out too fast at Rocky, where the punishment can be so much harsher. It'll probably hurt by the last loop. And that's the kind of practice I need.

7+10+18+8=43
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 9.

Getting close to halfway! Getting very close to the Wild Hare 50k. One more long run, then the 50k.

I feel like I should be more nervous about that. Especially since I re-read my last Wild Hare 50k race report yesterday, and I said I felt undertrained for that, and I evidently had several 18s and a 20 under my belt for that. I'll do 18 next week, and that will be my longest run going in. But I also feel like I've got a lot of miles built up in this training that don't necessarily just equate to my long run. Instead of a lot of short runs and one long one, this training features a lot of medium-long runs and one longer. So I'm feeling pretty good about Wild Hare. Especially having no goals other than making sure I go very slowly. I want to still be able to run the next day.

Rocky started to feel a lot more real this week, because I started thinking about decisions that will impact my race. I started really thinking about nutrition, for instance. I have some things I want to try out in training, that I will probably try out at Wild Hare. Nothing crazy: pb&j, which I already know works, maybe Boost, maybe potato chips. See how my stomach reacts.

I also finally bought a hydration pack, so I can start training with that. I had been planning on getting an Ultimate Direction pack similar to Matt's, but when we went shopping, the place we went only had one UD pack, and it was way too big. We were about to leave, and Matt noticed they had a whole separate display with Nathan packs. One struck me immediately, because it was low-profile, came with smaller bottles, and looked small. It's unisex, but still fits me really well. And I wasn't sure that I wanted to cart around full-sized water bottles, so the 12oz bottles seem perfect. Those 24oz are still more water than my 22oz handheld, and I get to have my hands freeeee. I tested it during our trail run on the Greenbelt this morning, and it was great. SORT of rubs on the back of my neck, but that was with a scoop neck sleeveless shirt, which hopefully I won't be wearing. Because it'll be cold. Please.

The only downside on this pack so far is that we planned to get at least 2 more of the 12oz bottles, so we could just swap out pre-filled bottles each loop, but we can't for the life of us FIND replacement bottles so far. 10oz and 18oz? Sure. 12oz? Negative. I sent mail to Nathan, we'll see if I hear anything back.

One thing I still need to figure out is shoes. I really like my current Hoka trail shoes, but they are looking a little worn. They don't have a ton of miles on them, because I just don't do a ton of trail running, but I'll certainly need new shoes before Rocky. Since these do nothing offensive to my feet, I'll first try just replacing them with the current model. Assuming they still make them. But I think I'll do that after Wild Hare. 50k with new shoes sounds dangerous. I may just have to stop and retie them a few times. I hope they've improved that technology in the last few years.

This was the last week of a build cycle. Theoretically I'll drop back down next week, but I'll actually probably either stay the same or build a tiny bit more, getting my body ready for Wild Hare. I'm happy to have added a little cross training back in this week, too! Two short, easy spins and one short, less-easy swim. I'm not sure why I continue to believe I can go to Masters and swim easy. It's never true.

8+10+16+8=42
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 8.

Week 8 is complete!

This week was all running. My bike was traveling back from North Carolina all week, and I only just got it back today. Need to put the pedals back on and take the race wheels off, then install it on the trainer, where it will live.. for the foreseeable future. We'll see.

I just couldn't find the motivation to go swim this week. My shoulder definitely still isn't feeling great. I think it's mostly carrying the handheld that's irritating it at this point, not even the swimming. I need to sort out a hydration solution for Wild Hare in the next 2 weeks, preferably in time to practice with it at least once. Worst case scenario I'll just wear one of my old Nathan packs.

I let my body be my guide this week, even more so than normal. I knew I'd have some fatigue from the race, and just ran at whatever pace felt acceptable, no pushing. I felt okay for the Sunday run after the race, and okay for the Tuesday 7 miler, but the fatigue hit pretty hard for my Thursday 9. A bit of a slog, but a slog with great weather, so that helped. It's been great weather all week. I'm going to be so sad when this front is gone, especially if we go back to 70s-80s for lows, and intense humidity. Ahwell, I'm happy that we've had this unseasonably Fall-like weather as long as we have.

I'm hoping to work some cross training back into my schedule this week, in addition to bumping my mileage up again. Last week in this build cycle!

Oh, and I ended my week with goat yoga. Yoga with baby goats. It doesn't get much better than that. (And it was actually a decent stretch!)

7+10+14+6=37

Goat yoga. Yoga... with baby goats.
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 7.

Definitely some revisionist history backdating this week, since I didn't get my race report finished until Thursday, and didn't want to post my weekly roundup until that was posted. But let's pretend like I'm posting this on Sunday, the last day of week 7!

Obviously this week was all about Ironman 70.3 North Carolina. Which I completed and actually had a good and solid race. Surprisingly so.

Otherwise, though, I managed to stick to my assigned mileage! I decided ahead of time I'd play it by ear/feel, and if I felt like I needed more rest before the race, or after the race, I'd cut runs out. But I felt really good. So overall I did a 9 mile run to work on Tuesday, 4 miles on Wednesday, another 4 miles the day before the race, 13.1 during the race, and then 3 recovery miles the day after the race. Plus two short Masters swims and a veryvery short shakeout ride the day before the race. (Well, plus a 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike during the race, I suppose.)

My body was willing and able, and I guess it wasn't the most successful step-back week, if my goal was to get some recovery from it, but I'm being cautious with my recovery, and letting my body dictate what's a good idea and a bad idea.

But week 7 was a success, and now I'm 1/3 of the way through my 21-week Rocky training schedule!

9+4+4+13+3=33
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Ironman North Carolina 70.3 2017 race report.

My next big thing after Ironman Texas was (after a bit of recovery and downtime) to train for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail race. That's almost 50 miles further than I've ever run at one time, and would require some intense and focused run training.

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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 6.

Week 6: done. My last week in the 2nd build block, and my highest mileage so far. Overall, though, a lot less time training, because on Wednesday I sent my bike away with TriBike Transport to go meet me in North Carolina for my half Ironman in a week.

My runs were a little all over the place, again largely due to weather. Tuesday's 7 and Thursday's 9 both had delightful temperatures in the 60s and running felt pretty good again. Then Saturday's 15 mile run, of course the longest run of the week and the longest run I've done since Ironman Texas, had terrible weather (warm, humid). Sunday's run split the difference, and half of the 7 was terrible weather, then a front started blowing in the for the second half, which made it more tolerable.

But I got all my runs in, none were terrible, and it probably wasn't the best taper for a half Ironman that has ever been executed. But my focus isn't on the triathlon, it's on the eventual 100 miler.

That being said, while I'm going to start out the week with higher mileage runs, I AM going to keep my runs shorter later in the week, in hopes that my triathlon won't be completely terrible. I may end up a little short for scheduled mileage this week, but it's a fallback week, and it has an intense workout at the end, so I'm not going to fret it. We'll just see how my body feels.

No tri bike, so the first part of this next week will be very bike-light (if bike at all). Couple swims. Couple runs. Then on Thursday we head for NC to get this party started! (And I guess do a triathlon.)

7+9+15+7=39
(Bad math, but the 0.xxs add up.)
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 5 + Rip Roarin' Ride ride report.

This week started with a 2:50am wakeup call. I really wanted to do Monday morning masters, but when the schedule came out, Monday's practice started at 5am. Which means getting up at 3am in order to ride my bike there. But since my body is incapable of sleeping until my alarm goes off, I got up at 2:50. Which I'm fairly surely most of the world considers a "still up" time rather than an "already up" time. Then I swam for 90 minutes, which is roughly 40 minutes longer than I've swum in a couple months. Ouch. Fairly sure I'm ready for that 1.2 mile swim now, at least!

Rip Roarin' Ride!

Things went well this week. I made a last-minute decision to do the Rip Roarin' Ride 50 miler on Saturday, hoping it would give me a little more confidence about the IMNC 70.3 ride, and I think it did. Cecilia joined me (Karen was out of town), and then Matt decided to join, as well! We just enjoyed a little ride through Liberty Hill, with a few photo ops and a whole lot of hills. I'd forgotten about the hills. Still there. But they were doable, and I'm fairly sure there aren't nearly so many hills on the race course. Finished up with a little 3 mile run off the bike, courtesy of slightly longer mid-week runs and a slightly longer Sunday run.

That feeling when your husband, who hasn't ridden his bike in ages, tags along on a hilly ride, and rides up and down the hills three times in the time it takes you to go up once. 😡😍

Oof, that Sunday run. We were promised cooler, drier weather, and that didn't really turn out to be the case. I went to bed early and didn't set an alarm, letting my body dictate when it wanted to get up, and somehow I ended up walking out the door to run at 5am. I think I've ruined myself for ever having a "normal" schedule again. The run was tough. At mile 3, I didn't feel great, and was near my house, and considered just going back home and going back to bed. But then I decided to treat it as a race day simulation, because things are going to get hard, and I'm going to want to quit. But I know that if I just keep going forward, things will get better eventually. And they did. I felt better by mile 5, and while it wasn't a fast run, it was a solid 14 miler.

So that's week 5! 5/21 done. Week 6 is my last build week of this block, and also features the relinquishment of my bike to Tri Bike Transport on Thursday. No long ride this coming weekend, which is intimidating when you have a triathlon coming up, but also a relief because the decision is taken out of my hands. Then next week is race week! AKA girls' weekend, which is really the part I'm focused on.

8+9+3+14=34
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 4.

My first step back week! Back down to 31 miles, said the schedule.

The weather plays a huge role in how running feels this time of year. After months and months and months and MONTHS of terrible weather where every run feels bad, suddenly we're getting glimpses of Fall. Suddenly some runs aren't completely terrible, ending in horrendous chafing. Some mornings the temperatures are in the SIXTIES. It's magical. But then the next day, the lows are back in the high 70s with 90% humidity. And then it's terrible again.

But just having those glimpses makes it easier to be optimistic about future running. At least the worst weather is theoretically now, during my shortest runs. I'm looking forward to lower temps (and humidity) as my runs get ever longer.

Matt joined me for my Sunday trail run again, and it was a really great run. My first run on the Greenbelt in ages, and Matt and I just enjoyed the cooler weather, talked a lot about everything, I picked his brain about the course at Rocky, and the time just flew by. Of course, he also made me run an extra mile, so I ended week 4 at 32 miles.

7+7+11+7=32

I track all my workouts/mileage, just for my own amusement, and you can usually tell what I'm training for (or whether I'm training or not) based on my monthly run mileage. For Ironman or marathon training, it's usually above 100 miles a month. For the last few months, since Ironman Texas, my monthly mileage has been between 50 (recovery from IMTX) and 90 miles. My first month of Rocky training I jumped from 90 to 132 miles. It'll be interesting to watch that number grow as the race gets closer.
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 3 + Gears for the Years ride report.

A solid week, and the end of my first 3 week block. I mentioned this training was different from training I'd done in the past..

Usually I build 3 or 4 weeks, then have a recovery week. This training, I build 3 weeks, then drop back a little on week 4, then build up from there two weeks, then drop back, etc. It's a little confusing to describe like that, but here's an example:

Weeks 1, 2, 3: 28, 31, 34 miles
Weeks 4, 5, 6: 31, 34, 37 miles
So then week 7 is 34, then 37, etc. Kinda stair stepping.

The big way this is different is that I never get a true Recovery week. Just build, build, build. There's no easy 3 milers in my future. That's not so scary now, but it gets a little intimidating down the road when I have 6 weeks in a row where my long run is 20+ miles (on top of 3 other longer weekly runs).

Several good things offset the scary, though:
One is that Russ is all about modifying according to how I feel. If I need a week with a 3 miler, I can do it. If it's too much, I can dial it back. The goal is to not overdo it. Better undertrained than over.

And in light of that, the other good thing is that there's nothing truly, truly scary in my future. No 50 milers. No back to back 40 milers. In fact, the mileage stays so low, I had to REQUEST some higher mileage stuff. Not really for my body. But for my brain. I received permission to do the Wild Hare 50k in November. Otherwise my training will top out with 24 miles being my longest run. That seems scary in light of asking my body to then run 100 contiguous miles. Maybe it's unnecessary, but it'll make me feel better emotionally.

So that's kinda the summary of my training plan. It's exciting and also scary.

Meanwhile I'm already modifying things! Since I have that half Ironman coming up in a month, I still have to get some good swim and bike training in. All of my bike training has been on the trainer, but I really needed to get out on the road at least once, and make sure I could still ride outside, so Karen, Cecilia and I did the Gears for the Years 60 mile ride on Sunday. Since that meant a shorter run on Sunday than was scheduled, I made my Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday runs a little longer.

Gears for the Years ride! Turns out, riding on the trainer isn't a great substitute for riding on the road. But now that I've ridden on the road once, I declare that Good Enough and will finish out all my remaining IMNC 70.3 training on the trainer! #slow
Taking a photo at the portapotties to send to Trista to let her know we were thinking about/missing her on her birthday.

The ride was.. mostly good. It started out incredibly foggy, so much so that we couldn't see other bikes that we knew were just up the road. That was a little scary, but man we would have paid to get that fog back by mile 50, when the sun and heat were out in full force.

I did verify that I can still ride 60 miles (actually 58, I refused to ride around the parking lot for 2 miles to get to 60), so I know I can do the distance in NC. It definitely left me more tired than I'd prefer, and made my left glute sore (same thing that happened in Galveston earlier this year). Made my neck sore. Made my left foot feel a little crushed. And by the last 20 miles, I was THIRSTY. Like.. couldn't get unthirsty thirsty. Even drinking constantly. I guess that was running 14 miles in terribly humid and warm weather the morning before. I'm not gonna do that the day before IMNC, I think. Good plan.

When we were done with the ride, we headed out to run 4 miles off the bike. Did I mention the sun and heat? The car told me afterward it was only 92, but.. 92 is bad. Especially when you've been doing all your runs at 5am in the dark. Karen stuck with me, though, and I was super proud of myself that, given how many times I desperately wanted to stop and walk, or just stop, I kept going until I hit 4 miles. And even though I was convinced that I was running 10 minute miles, and that my last mile HAD to be an 11 or so (endless uphill, Karen pulled ahead of me and I couldn't stay with her), my splits were actually 9:32, 9:03, 9:00, 8:21. Oh, that's why that last mile sucked. But hey, I can still do an 8:21, evidently! In crappy weather, even!

Reward for getting through 3 weeks of Rocky 100 training: new shoes! (Actually my old shoes just had 470 miles on them, so it was time.)
New shoes for my run! I figured this would be the shortest run I'd be doing from here on out, so a great time to try new shoes. They felt just like my old ones, so perfect.

So week 3 was an exhausting week, but I got all my run miles in, I did some solid cross training, I know I can do the ride, I know I can still run off the bike, and now I get a week to dial back the mileage slightly and recover. And maaaaybe a little bit of a cold/rain front? Not holding my breath on that one.

7+9+14+4=34

Onward to week 4!