Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Sunday, April 24, 2011

100 Mile Spring Break

I hit 100 miles for the week with a two hour run, a three hour run, a four hour run, two quality hard workouts and a few other runs. I ran twice a day a few days to run with people who couldn't make it to our regular practice. Everything went very well. I took Saturday off for afamily camping trip and I was a little sore for Sunday's run, but all of the others were fine. I ran a pretty hard ~28 miles in four hours. 16 x 400 in 1:21 on Tuesday which felt incredibly comfortable- almost too easy as each 100 was exactly the same each time. I guess a hardworkout doesn't have to involve throwing up to be effective! Ha! Felt very fresh everydayexcept for today and today wasn't bad. I wish I had the time to run like this every week. Got to visit a couple of places I've never been before, most notably, South Mountains State Park, below Morganton. Also did some hiking with the family this week. Very enjoyable.

I really love it when running is an excuse to see beautiful new places. Waterfalls, overlooks, animals, flowers, rock formations, the trail itself... I only wish I could stand and enjoy it longer.
At South Mountains, I knew I only had 22 minutes to get from the top of Chestnut Knob, to my car to the gate before the sign said it would be locked. I was 3 minutes late and the ranger was waiting for me at the gate to lock up. I apologized. "Not a problem. Glad you could enjoy the park." I did, but wanted 10 more minutes to stand on the rocks and look out. Got a good
picture at least.

I also love it when I come back to familiar places and remember little details about the trail... how many steps to take after the big rock and before the dip... the rhythm of cresting the little hill and then shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, lean left so you don't hit your shoulder on the tree on the way down... remembering what the trail was like in different seasons, or thoughts like, "I remember when I used to have to walk up this hill. Ha!" I did some running at Beatty Park and ASC trails which are local favorites.

After knowing that I've never been more ready for a marathon as I was last month and then
having an unforeseen setback (stomach problems), I was kind of disappointed. As it gets warmer, there are fewer chances to test my race fitness, but I decided to add a couple to the calendar I wasn't planning on doing: Black Mountain Monster 24 Hour Run in early June & Grandfather Mountain Marathon in early July.

I did Black Mountain Monster last year and melted in the unseasonable heat. I am ready to really go for it this year and plan on treating it as a 100 mile race, not a 24 hour run. Minimal breaks. Minimal time spent at the end of each 3 mile loop. Keep pushing forward. I liked the course last year. I did not like the severe dehydration I noticed early on or the hallucinations once it got dark. ...actually thinking eels and sea turtles were coming out of my body was kinda neat. :)

I've always wanted to run Grandfather Mountain Marathon. I was signed up in 2005 but chickened out. I ran the Rock'n'Roll Marathon in San Diego the month before and didn't do well. I thought, "If I can't do better than that on a rolling course, I don't have any business
running up Grandfather Mountain," and backed out. I got a text from Shannon, one of my runners last weekend. "Is Grandfather Mountain a good place for a long run?" My response: "Huh? Yeah, you're not there are you? I didn't know you went to the mountains." Shannon: "No. I was thinking I want to run a marathon this summer. Is that a good one?" Ha! We discussed it and I came up with a bare bones training plan for her. It's not ideal, but enough to get her to the finish line uninjured I think. I know she could handle a 14-16 mile run now but hasn't done over 8-10 since the fall. She's a 5:30 miler/11:59 2 miler right now and in good shape but the jump to long runs will be a welcome challenge. What a tough marathon to do as your first one & especially the month after you graduate high school. I'm incredibly excited about running it with her!