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10/22 - 10/28

Race week! Here are the details:

Monday (Oct. 22): off
Tuesday (Oct. 23): AM 10.5 miles, 3 x 2,000m repeats @ 6:50 (5:29 mile), 6:44 (5:24 mile), 6:36 (5:18 mile) with Fran at the UW track. 800m recovery jog after the first repeat; four minutes standing rest after the second repeat. Perfect workout: well paced and increasingly faster.
Wednesday (Oct. 24): AM 8 miles, :57, 7:10/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail.
Thursday (Oct. 25): off
Friday (Oct. 26): AM 6 miles, :41, 6:50/mile, loop around Monona Bay. Feeling fresh, rested, and ready to go! 4 x 100m strides as a final tune up.
Saturday (Oct. 27): AM 51 miles, Surf the Murph 50 Mile, Minnesota, 1st place, 6:55:43 (course record). For a detailed recap, see my Race Report: Surf the Murph 50 Mile.
Sunday (Oct. 28): off

Weekly Totals: 74.5 miles, 9hrs:50. A great week. And more to come in preparation for the TNF-Championships on December 1st.

Race Report: Surf the Murph 50 Mile

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone. So a sign read along the Surf the Murph course on Saturday.

It's especially important to make friends with pain if you want to run down the competition. It's never an easy task to be chasing the leaders during a race: there is constantly a sense of urgency that can result in a faster pace in the middle of the race and subsequently a DNF; the miles seem longer as you turn each corner with the hopes of spotting your prey; it's very easy to fold mentally, to give up hope, to accept defeat.

I had a breakthrough today: I finally learned how to hunt down prey. I ran the first lap (16.96 miles) with Eric (second place finisher last year) and Jason (TNF-Madison fourth place finisher previously). Since I hadn't a crew to assist me, I had to drop by my car after lap one and, due to frozen fingers and some other confusion, I was about three minutes behind, in third place, as I started the second of three loops. Relax, I told myself, they will come back to you. I've been in this situation before: they've rarely (if ever) come back to me. But I was pacing well, and fueling well, and my heart rate was low, and my legs felt good, and I kept tearing down the descents and churning out the ascents, and floating through the flats.

And then it happened: they came back to me. First, at mile 23, I turned a corner and there he was: Eric, clad in blue, waning. I closed the 50 yard gap and, after a brief chat, moved easily into second. Patience, I told myself, you still have half of the race left. And then it happened again: at mile 28, I turned a corner and there was Jason, wearing all black, roughly a quarter of a mile ahead. I relaxed. I knew I was exactly were I wanted to be. I took my time: I closed slowly, I watched his every step, I felt him tiring, I gained strength. After a brief chat with him, I moved into first, where I remained for the last twenty miles, all by myself.

It's a tough lesson to learn but one that must be learned: how to be the predator instead of the prey. Today was a tough lesson learned.

Result: 1st place, 6:55:43, course record. 
*50 mile (50.8 miles), 50km (33.9 miles), and 25km (16.96 miles) results can be found here


10/15 - 10/21

Here's what the penultimate week before the Surf the Murph 50 looks like:

Monday (Oct. 15): PM 10.5 miles, 1hr:13, 6:58/mile, around Monona Bay to the Arb (road and trails). It's been nice to run injury free. I'm feeling good.
Tuesday (Oct. 16): off. Busy today and I don't want too many miles this week.
Wednesday (Oct. 17): AM 10 miles, 30 x 20/40 workout, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail to the Arb (road). 20 seconds of hard running, 40 seconds of easy jogging. The workout made for around five miles of 6:20/mile pace.
Thursday (Oct. 18): AM 10.5 miles, 1hr:20, 7:45/mile, loops around the Arb trails. Legs were feeling a little tight from yesterday so I kept an easy pace.
Friday (Oct. 19): PM 12 miles, 3 x 1mile @ 5:20, 5:11, 5:14 with 800m recovery jog between sets. 30 minute warm up and then I ran the repeats on the road at the Arb (on a flatter section).
Saturday (Oct. 20): AM 12.5 miles, 1hr:50, 8:55/mile, loops around Indian Lake with Hank. A splendid morning with cool temperatures and a gorgeous sunrise (see below).
Sunday (Oct. 21): off. The first of a couple days off to prepare for Surf the Murph.

Weekly Totals: 55.5 miles, 6hrs:55. I'll try to continue with two speed related workouts a week for the next several weeks in preparation for the TNF 50 Championships. I also hope to bump up mileage starting with next week.

The sun rising over the bluffs at Indian Lake, WI

Fog settling in the early morning at Indian Lake, WI

A classic Fall morning: frosty trails, colorful trees, and a foggy lake.


10/08 - 10/14

Finally, a week of running without IT band or knee issues. I continued to take it easy, but I was able to incorporate a few faster runs. Here goes:

Monday (Oct. 8): off
Tuesday (Oct. 9): PM 8+ miles, :58, 6:49/mile, out-and-back around Monona Bay to the Arb (road). After a long and eventful weekend, I was still feeling a little wiped.
Wednesday (Oct. 10): AM 11 miles, 3 x 2 mile repeats @ 11:12, (5:35, 5:37), 11:26 (5:49, 5:37), 12:10 (6:07, 6:03) with 800 recovery jog between sets on the Cap City Trail. Not a bad effort, although not terribly well paced. There was a stiff headwind at the turnaround and I had to burn a few matches, so to speak, to keep up the tempo during the second repeat into the wind (i.e. I had to use a lot more effort to sustain the same pace), which made for heavy legs on the last repeat.
Thursday (Oct. 11): AM 11 miles, 1hr:20, 7:13/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail to the Arb (road). Easy miles in the am.
Friday (Oct. 12): AM 6 miles, :44, 7:11/mile, loops around the Orville Point Trails. A few miles in the morning to get loose. PM 6 miles, :39, 6:32/mile, loops around the Arb trails. A few fast trail miles, including a couple miles on a golf course (always fun).
Saturday (Oct. 13): PM 12 miles, 1hr:16, 6:19/mile, miles 2 - 11 in 1hr:01:21 (6:08/mile), Military Ridge Trail from Mt. Horeb. I was really pleased with this run. Despite poor conditions -- rain and wets trails -- I kept a strong pace and it felt quite comfortable. Last four of the middle ten in 23:37 (5:55, 6:02, 5:51, 5:49).
Sunday (Oct. 14): off. An altogether miserable day: rain, wind, cold. Props to the folks who rain in the Glacial Trail 50 today (especially Hank Southgate and winner Chris Rubesch).

Weekly Totals: 54 miles, 6hrs:10. Tame, but I'm feeling healthy. Surf the Murph in two weeks!


10/01 - 10/07

I've been quite busy with friends in town, class work, etc. but here's the rundown on last week:

Monday (Oct. 1): AM ~12 miles, 1hr:23, 6:53/mile, out-and-back along Monona Bay into an Arb loop (road). Knee still ailing. The brisk pace seemed to feel more comfortable than slower miles so I kept a steady clip.
Tuesday (Oct. 2): AM 10+ miles, 5 x 1,000m @ 3:30, 3:17, 3:17, 3:12, 3:11. 30 minute warmup before meeting Fran at the track. 400m jog between sets. We eased into the workout since both of us had been from serious speed work for some time. It felt good to get moving. Felt some sharp pain in my knee during the 20 minute cool down.
Wednesday (Oct. 3): AM 10 miles, 1hr:14, 7:20/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. Recovering from yesterday, same story with the knee.
Thursday (Oct. 4): off. Knee issues + a long day of teaching = rest.
Friday (Oct. 5): AM 12 miles, 1hr:30, 7:32/mile, loops around the Arb (trail). Still feeling sharp pain, especially around miles 9 and 10. The rolling hills (especially the down hill) were painful.
Saturday (Oct. 6): AM 20 miles, 2hrs:44, 8:12/mile, out-and-back from Hank's house to the Ice Age Trail. I made it through this one, and my knee was pain free during the second half, but I felt some serious pain from miles 4 to 7 during this run. Sharp, shooting pain like I've never felt before. Boy, did it hurt. But I kept moving (although silently) until it worked itself out and the second half was smooth sailing. I'm heading to St. Louis in a week and a half to see my chiropractor to get this issue settled before my next race.
Sunday (Oct. 7): off. I though it'd be smart to take it easy after yesterday. And I had friends in town to enjoy my time with.

Weekly Totals: 64 miles, 8 hours. Less than notable totals, but I need to focus on getting my knee/IT band back to normal. The good news is that I ran today (10/9) and didn't feel even a hint of pain. Let's hope that continues!


09/24 - 09/30

Although I was set back a few days because of my knee, I ended up having a decent week on four days of running. It's all here:

Monday (Sept. 24): off. 42 minute swim. My knee was really sore in the morning, which had me worried, but it seemed to get better throughout the day.
Tuesday (Sept. 25): off. 40 minute swim. The swimming seems to help; feeling better.
Wednesday (Sept. 26): off. 45 minute swim. I should be able to get back on the trails tomorrow, as my knee, though not without pain, feels much better.
Thursday (Sept. 27): AM 7+ miles, 1hr:02, 8:45/mile, loops around the Arb with Hank. Slight pain during the run, especially during the second half, but a nice, easy first run of the week. PM 3.5 mile run to the SERF, 30 minute swim, 1.5 mile run back, around 6:30/mile during the runs. The swimming seemed to help again and my knee felt much better.
Friday (Sept. 28): AM 10 miles, 1hr:08, 6:45/mile, 20 x 20sec sprint, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. I pulled this 20/40 workout from Zach Bitter (though it's similar to the 200m repeat workout that I do): 35 minute warm up, 20 x 20sec sprint, 40sec recovery, cool down. This makes for a few fast miles and for activation of fast twitch muscle fibers. Some speed felt good.
Saturday (Sept. 29): AM 26 miles, 3hrs:23, 7:45/mile, Military Ridge Trail with Hank. Great morning for a long run. We took it easy, fueled well, etc. There was a nagging pain in my knee the first ten miles but I felt much better during the last sixteen. 
Sunday (Sept. 30): AM 12 miles, 1hr:22, 6:53/mile, SMR loop plus one mile with a five-man SMR group. Up tempo on the pavement has been tough since TNF Madison, but I finished the run without any serious pain and without soreness thereafter. My knee seems to be coming around (finally).

Weekly Totals: 60 miles, ~7hrs:30. In upcoming weeks, I plan to increase mileage and to add lots of speed work in preparation for the Surf the Murph at the end of the month. 
Monthly Totals: 250 miles, ~28hrs. A fairly tame month but, given all the travel, the start of school, and the race in the middle of the month, not surprisingly so. More miles next month!