Thursday, June 11, 2015

St George Marathon Plan

I'm still not sure why, but the St George, Utah marathon did not fill up this year through the normal lottery process. Registration opened up for about a week and I took full advantage. I had not planned on running another marathon in my life, but am happy to make a St George exception at the encouragement of my wife who has run it several times.

There are some trail ultras in my future, partly because of this, but my pavement marathon days are numbered. Why? Pavement marathons are unnatural. I realize the oddity of that statement. Running 50 - 100 miles on dirt seems unnatural enough. I am more talking about the toll pavement takes on a body. Although humans are physiologically intended to cover great distances over varied terrain, we are not constructed by evolution to stress such a limited muscle range in such a concentrated period of time as required by a pavement marathon.

The best reason to run a pavement marathon is the event itself. The pre-race expos, speakers, other runners, cheering fans and witnessing the pure life accomplishment for many make for a satisfying two days.

Since this is likely my last marathon, I want to do well. I got my training plan off of with some modifications. For example, I will be running four days per week instead of five as suggested. I will make up the difference with some heavy cross-training. I refuse to give up mountain biking. I will also add in some high rep weight lifting and core strengthening along with some plyometrics. According to Janae Jacobs, the Hungry Runner Girl, her best marathon came after incorporating a spin class into her training.

I plan on weighing in at 205 the day of the marathon. I am currently at 227. This puts me in the Weight over 40 category. I am a big fan of weight categories in endurance races. They encourage participation to a demographic most at risk. Last year's top ten results had the slowest runner in the category at 3:49:44. I have made this my goal time.

The elevation map makes the run look rather easy. There is a ton of downhill, but according to Golden Harper, former course record holder for his age group, there is a ton of up hill and a strong need to train on hills.  Golden also expressed the importance of holding back and negative splitting. Quad shredding will doom the end of the race.

I will be doing a significant amount of trail running (another recommendation from Janae), mostly because I prefer it. I have a rule, however, to do at least one pavement run per week.

So we will see what happens. I will be posting training updates occasionally.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Altra Co-Fouder, Brian Beckstead, Runs Boston Backward then Forward, Negative Splits

After 52.4!

Since I last wrote about Altra, a lot of new, awesome stuff has come out. I still race in the One2. Check out this video...

Seriously, it feels like you are running barefoot on a wrestling mat. I prefer them for runs under seven miles. They weigh 5.9 ounces which is just a little more than the weight of a Double Whopper and 20 times better for your health. There is a new version coming out which I have seen but have not run in.

There are four new shoes that I have tried and love three of the four. If there were no Lone Peak 2, I might love the Superior 2, but in a head to head battle, the Lone Peak 2's are always my shoe of choice. Lighter people seem to like the Superior 2 better. It is thinner and lighter. The issue for me is that I am throwing 230 lbs plus vertical and angular momentum onto my shoes with every step. I need a little more cushion.

The Lone Peak 2 is ridiculously grippy, durable and perfectly cushioned. The rock guard sandwiched in the sole absorbs sharp spots effectively. So far I have logged about 400 miles on my first pair and have already purchased a second pair to alternate. 

The Provision 2 is a stability shoe that solves my wicked pronation issues. Its StabiliPod technology does something I don't understand but like when I run in them. It also has a built in stability wedge that helps with pronation as well. I use this shoe for runs longer than 7 miles on pavement.

Finally, Brian Beckstead ran Boston this year in the new Torin 2's...twice. He ran it backward before the race started then forward and negative split.

Brian after completing Boston backward

I asked him what shoes he ran in. His comment, "The Torin 2. It exceeded my high expectations." I will be testing these over the next several weeks. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Wild Side of Mountain Biking and Trail Running

Bighorn at the mouth of Provo canyon

Although uncommon, wildlife encounters are anything but rare in the mountains near my house. Last night my son Joseph and I were traversing a fire road in Provo canyon on our way to some singletrack he had never done when we say the Bighorn in the picture. 

The Bighorn was not at all afraid of us and just kept eating when he first saw us. His lack of fear put a little fear into me. I had to think about what might happen if he got angry and charged me, or worse, charged at Joseph. 

We stood there for several minutes watching until he decided to move on. 

This was not my first wildlife encounter in the mountains by my house or in other remote locations. I have come up on a herd of Elk at Big Springs as well as an enormous bull moose and a baby. I have had a huge rattlesnake sit on a slickrock ledge that was my only exit point from a plateau. I had to kick small rocks at it to get it to move on. Near Little Baldy, I rode through a flock of turkeys and got chased by one I assume was the mother. 

My friend, Seth Wold, got attacked by a Rattlesnake on a trail run. 

The beautiful landscape is always there and makes the bike or the run that much better, but every once in a while you end up with an epic wildlife encounter.

What have you seen on your own runs and bike rides?