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Heat Wave (July, Part 1)

I spent the first part of July working in Illinois and, while the high temperatures this year paled in comparison to last year, it got warm. If you don't have any races in the heat planned, like, say, the Badwater 135, then it can be difficult to get motivated to run in warmer temperatures (it can be so damn uncomfortable!). When the temperatures start to tip the scale, my strategy is to run as early as possible and as late as possible; so I did during the first two weeks of July, and with mostly favorable results. Here's how the first two weeks, which totaled 183 miles (W1 91 miles, W2 92 miles), looked:

Week 1 (W1):

07/01: off
07/02: AM 10 miles, 1hr:11
07/03: AM 10 miles, 1hr:19; PM 10 miles, 1hr:16
07/04: AM 6 miles, :45; PM 13 miles, 1hr:35, 7 x 600m hill repeats, 1,000' of climbing.
07/05: AM 7 miles, 1hr:04, Pere Marquette trails, IL, 1,500' of climbing; PM 10 miles, 1hr:16
07/06: AM 11.5 miles, 1hr:26
07/07: AM 13.5 miles, 1hr:57, Chubb Trail, MO, 1,600' climbing.

Week 2 (W2):

07/08: AM 8+ miles, :59
07/09: AM 12 miles, 1hr:32
07/10: PM 10 miles, 1hr:16
07/11 AM 20 miles, 2hrs:19, 2 x 2 mile @ 11:13 (5:40, 5:33), 11:20 (5:42, 5:38), 1 mile @ 5:29, very hot, very windy; PM 6 miles, :45
07/12: AM 8 miles, 1hr:13, Pere Marquette trails, IL, 2,000' of climbing; PM 10 miles easy, 1hr:14
07/13: PM 6+ miles, :43
07/14: AM 6 miles, :45; PM 6 miles, :45

I ran plenty of slower, easy miles in the first two weeks of July, as well as a few runs with decent elevation change and some speed. The miles are starting to ramp up now as I'm out West, not working, and doing nothing but training (July, Part 2 coming at the end of the month).

A look at the last couple weeks in video and pictures:

Participating in one, epic wave. 


Driving along the Mississippi River.

Pere Marquette, IL.

Descending steps at Pere Marquette.


Summer Lovin' (June In Review)

The summer is a busy time for ultrarunners. In many cases, summer is the season of racing, and that shouldn't come as a surprise, since some of the oldest and most sought after races occur during the summer months: the Western States 100 (and what a race it was this year!), the Vermont 100, the Wasatch Front 100, and the Leadville 100, to name some of the most prominent (and those included in the so-called Grand Slam of Ultrarunning).

I haven't stepped up to the hundred mile distance just yet, and while there are plenty of shorter ultra races to run during the summer months, the warmest months of the year have meant one thing to me the last few years: miles, and lots of them. I won't race any ultra distances until mid-September, and so higher volume training has begun after completing my last spring race, The North Face Endurance Challenge - Washington, DC. Moreover, because my next race is so far off, I have the luxury of running at paces and distances determined by my caprice: I have no race specific training to worry about just yet, I have a lenient work schedule that allows me to run almost whenever I please, and I can listen to my body and do what is best to ensure that I stay injury free. That said, I was able to log a good number of miles during the first month of summer, running 408 miles in June (bringing the yearly total to 1,767 miles). Here's a breakdown for the month of June:

06/01 - 06/09: 120 miles (including a 50 mile race)
06/10 - 06/16: 93 miles (including a 24 mile training run (3hrs:21), a 5km race the next day, and 200m repeats and three mile repeats earlier in the week)
06/17 - 06/23: 87 miles (including a 5km race, 200m repeats, and hill repeats)
06/24 - 06/30: 108 miles (including a 50km training run (3hrs:52), a 5km race the next day, and five mile repeats earlier in the week)

The last three weeks of June included three 5km races, where I finished 15th (16:36), 1st (17:17), and, most recently on June 30th at the Head for the Cure 5km, 1st (16:51). The focus this past month has been to slowly increase training volume, to run shorter speed sessions, and to do more strength training (mostly non-running workouts involving bands, body weight exercises, etc.). As the summer continues, so will the miles and the strength training, but I will turn to longer distance speed sessions (mid to long distance tempo runs, longer hill workouts, etc.). For now, I'm happy with my level of fitness, and, for the future, I'm glad to know that I have at least two more months of hard training to improve.

Finishing up the Head for the Cure 5km, Forest Park, MO.

Watching Kevin Melnuk finish 4th in 18:04 at the Head for the Cure 5km. 
My favorite workplace.

Closing the finish line at the Head for the Cure 5km.