With summer now in full swing, training for my first 100 miler has been going well. I’ve spent some great time out on the trails with friends, and set a few new PR’s along the way. Now, there’s some catching up to do – between work, training, projects around the house, T-ball games, camping trips and that month long murder trial I managed to find myself on the jury of, I haven’t exactly had much time to write here.
Mayor’s Marathon Mini-recap
Last month, I ran the Mayor’s Marathon here in Anchorage for the 3rd year in a row. Coming off a shiny new 1/2 marathon PR of 1:35:24 a month earlier, I had high hopes of running a good race and setting a new marathon PR as well. It turned out to be a fairly warm day, which has been the case all 3 of the years that I’ve run this race (though remember that this is “warm” by Alaska standards, you people down south would probably laugh at what we consider “warm”). I set off at my goal pace, and actually felt really good through most of the race. There are some decent hills around the middle of the race that slowed me down a bit, but nothing that I wasn’t expecting.
As has become our tradition with this race, my kids were waiting to spray me with squirt guns around mile 19 where the course goes near our house. It’s always nice to see familiar faces late in the race, and get a little cool-down. After that, I was on the home stretch. They changed the location of the finish line this year due to construction. This only affected the last 1/2 – 3/4 mile of the course, which includes the dreaded hill right at the end. At first I thought this was good news, but in reality, that relatively short but steep climb was replaced by multiple shorter ups and downs in the final mile, which I found to be more difficult overall.
All that being said, I managed to finish in 3:39:15, a 10 minute PR! Other than those new hills in the final mile, I felt pretty strong throughout the race, and my recovery in the following days went very well. Makes me think I could have pushed harder
Training has been going well overall, with many 50+ mile weeks, a couple with 60+ miles, and last week I peaked at 71 miles, even with things not going quite to plan. For my peak week, I had planned on doing an all night run with 2 friends who are also running the 100 miler. We picked a nice set of trails where we could do multiple loops of various length, using our cars as an aid station. We planned to start around 8pm Friday night, and run through the night until around 8am Saturday morning. The idea was to get in some good time on our feet, and to get some experience running all through the night, since that’s definitely something we’ll have to do during the 100 miler.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Around 2am, both of my running companions weren’t feeling too hot. One had a wonky ankle, and the other’s energy and motivation had all but disappeared. Having run a little over a marathon so far, we called it a night. The next day, after catching up on my sleep, I was feeling surprisingly good, so I decided to do back-to-back long runs, and headed out for another 20 miles. That brought me to 71 miles for the week, my highest mileage to date.
Now with just 3 weeks left until the big day, as far as my training goes, the hay is pretty much in the barn, as they say. I’ll do one last long training run this weekend. Next weekend, I’m actually running the Crow Pass Crossing, a 24-ish mile trail race from Girdwood to Eagle River. I’m really looking forward to this race. It’s a beautiful trail that I’ve hiked and backpacked numerous times, but never ran on yet. There are some pretty challenging climbs, and a big river crossing near the middle of the race, where you have to cross just a few miles downstream from where the water is melting off a glacier – talk about cold! Depending on the recent weather, the water can be anywhere from ankle to thigh deep.
Since Crow Pass is just 2 weeks before the 100 miler, I plan to take it easy and mostly just use it as one last long training run. It will be all downhill after that, trying to keep my sanity as I taper down to race day, and finalizing my plans for what exactly I’m going to carry with me and what’s going in my drop bags.