Thursday, June 29, 2017

Canal Corridor 100 Prep

Pre-run selfie with Stephanie
The last week and a half I have been winding down my training for the quickly approaching Canal Corridor 100 mile endurance run. I completed my last long run last Sunday on the Towpath. My friend Stephanie ran the first 15 with me and I did another 5.5 before calling it a day. It was a 50 mile week, which seemed light compared to the previous week which was about 85 miles with two long runs.

This week is lighter with probably less than 30 miles of running. I kicked off the week with a 90-minute recovery ride on my bike on the Towpath and have just been doing one short run a day of 4-5 miles. I got in an easy 30-minute spin at lunch today and plan to run a short one tomorrow along with some core work and maybe 8-9 miles of running Sat or Sunday.

Next week will be very light with just a couple easy shakeout runs and a couple of rest days before the race, which is Saturday, July 8. I have been so nervous about getting injured with the higher mileage of 75-100 miles week of running so I have kept all of my runs easier in effort and I feel pretty good aside from an occasional ache here or there.

Now I am focused on shopping for and packing up the gear I need to have with me during the race and for my drop bags. I am trying to get mentally prepared to take on this big challenge. I feel like I have done a good amount of physical prep for the race but I also know that a lot of the outcome will be not based on my physical strength but more on mental strength and my ability to stay strong and keep calm even if the shit hits the fan so to speak.

I am stalking the weather and of course worrying that it will be too hot (high 80s) and that they show thunderstorms. Still we are more than a week out so I am hoping for more favorable conditions!

I have to check in at the race start at Lock 3 next Friday after work then head home to eat a good meal and attempt to get some sleep. I need to be back at the start to check in around 4-4:30am and the race starts at 5am. It's going to be a long day at the races!

I have no idea what to expect from myself time wise. We get 30 hours to complete the race. Essentially you can power walk it if you want to. I would like to run as much as I can with scheduled walk breaks. The goal is really to survive this and cross the finish line as quickly as I can without injuring myself. I will be taking a longer break from running after this event - it may be two weeks before I am back out there. Only time will tell.

I'll be posting updates online as I can and I am sure Steve will be posting too. He is allowed to pace me from mile 66-100 so it will be nice to have his company in those later miles. I am sure I will need all the mental support I can get! Please send positive thoughts and energy my way next weekend! And if you happen to be on or near the Towpath Trail you may even see me!

Part of the beautiful Towpath Trail I will be running on for 100 miles!

Nothing to it now but to do it! Send me good vibes!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Green Jewel 50K Race Report & Training Update for Canal Corridor 100

Prerace selfie with the hubby!
Saturday I ran the Green Jewel 50K for the third time...although this time it was a much different race for me than the past two years. For starters, it moved to June instead of March as originally scheduled. As you can imagine this made for a much warmer race. Also, the course was reversed to start in Brecksville and end in Rocky River. This means most of the climbing is done before you hit the Emerald necklace. Finally, I have been training intently for the Canalway 100 next month and never really planned to race this so I ran my first ever 100 mile week last week and then only tapered for two days leading into this. A friend of mine suggested that I race the 50K and then run the next day early on tired legs to simulate how I will feel at the end of the 100. Okay, I thought that made sense so I listened. I decided to attempt to race this thing even thought I figured I would pay for this decision being as fatigued as I am.

Somewhere in my irrational mind I thought I might even be able to beat my time of 4:38 from last year. We started off in the park running straight up hill from Oak Grove at about an 8-8:15 mile pace. Ouch. This hurt. My legs were not happy and I was laboring from the start. Once you get off the trail you run some miles on Valley Parkway. There are some decent sized hills and I can recall my calves cramping up into painful little balls so I decided I would take a little walk break. I remember one of my splits being about 10 so I think I ran about 8 and then walked for 2 minutes. That helped. But this continued. It was the worst my calves have ever felt in a race and I debated dropping out and heading back to the car. Noway! I told myself you HAVE to run this race! What if this happens during your 100? You can't just give up! So onward I went. Fortunately I had a water bottle with Nuun with me as well because it was getting hot early on and without water and electrolytes the cramping in my calves probably would have been worse. Either way I knew this was going to be a long sufferfest!

By the first aid station at Ridge Road I was feeling a little better about my chances of surviving the race - mainly because we were heading downhill then. Although it is not the easiest thing to run fast down Ridge Road either. Ouch! Onward I went after a gel and some Tailwind. Around that time I was still trying for sub 9 for a bit but by 13 or 14 I really wasn't feeling great. I was sore, hot and just kindof apathetic about my chance at having a great race. Onward I went just trying to walk a little as needed to rest my tired body. I remember thinking it was taking forever to get to the check point at Wallace Lake. I was pretty excited to get my drop bag and get my Smuckers Uncrustable for a snack along with my GU Rocktane gel. But when I got there my bag was not there and I think we were at about 16.5-17 miles not 14 since the course was reversed. This was not good for my psyche and I was again cursing my decision to race this thing and I decided I would just survive it.

My friend Tony ran by and motioned for me to run with him and his group as I was walking and I said "I'm not racing it, just gonna finish it." Part of me wanted to quit, part of me wanted to walk it in and part of me just wanted to get it done as fast as possible. So I ran as fast as I could and then took walk breaks when I wanted to. I reminded myself that this race is the best training run I would have before Canalway. I couldn't just give in. I drudged on in the heat, took in some gels and tailwind and eventually found myself at the mile 27 aid station. I was pretty excited then to be close to the finish and my friend Jim was working the aid station and gave me some cheers and energy to move on.

I was able to run most of the end but did walk some of the uphill as I was pretty exhausted and hot. I was trying to break 5 hours at least but came up a little short at 5:08 and change. I finished 4th female, 1st in my AG. But really I was just happy that I pushed myself through a very, very tough day for me physically and mentally. I assume this is how it will feel during the 100. I am sure I will hurt like hell and I will want to quit a million times but will need to dig deep and find the strength to continue on towards the finish. I hope that this training I am doing now will make me strong enough physically and mentally to remain as focused and strong as possible.

Steph L, me and Steph I post race
After the race I went to the bathroom to change into dry clothes and then walked back over to the finish to watch for my friends (and fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors) Stephanie L and Stephanie I. Both of them were standing there when I walked up. I was excited to see that they had both done well! Stephanie L had run her first 50K and rocked it and came in not too far behind me placing 2nd in our AG! Stephanie I and her teammate were the 2nd place womens' relay team! Steve also had a good race considering that he too is very fatigued he still placed in the top 10 and in his AG!

Post race Steve and I headed over to Fatheads for some hard earned burgers and hoppy beers! Then it was time to go home, shower, sleep and get up early to run on tired legs. Our plan was to get up in the wee hours of Sunday am and head to the Towpath for 8-10 in the dark. But at 3am I just couldn't drag myself out of bed so we snoozed and instead ran around 8am. It was already hot and muggy and we did 9 slow miles before having a snack and heading out on the cross bikes for an hour of fun biking. The week wrapped up with 60 miles of running, 30 miles of biking. Today I am resting but got in a nice lunch walk on the Towpath. I will try to get in one last big week of 90+ miles and start my taper about 2 weeks out on Sunday.

hard-earned hoppy beers at Fatheads post-race!