How do I adequately describe today? Absolute perfection. Sure, I had the day off which was nice. (I work 9 hr days so I can get every other Friday off) I had my favorite Falaffel Hummus Vegetarian Rolled Pita from Aladdin's...that was REALLY good. I had some chillin' out alone time at the Kent Starbucks using my 2 free hours of Wi-Fi I get every day...that was nice, too. I also had one of their London Fog Tea Lattes...free and very good as well. But perfection? That would be the trail run from today over the lunch hour. I got to the parking lot at Happy Days at about 10:15am and saw Wild Bill's car in the lot...seems like I wasn't the only one seeking an escape on the trails today. The temperature was around 20F, no wind, and the snow varied between 3 and 6 inches. I was alone which gave me full license to stop and admire my surroundings and take as many pictures as I wanted. I would have been really upset if I hadn't taken my camera today. I was on sensory overload with how incredible it was. Besides Wild Bill's footprints, no one else had disturbed the white powder. Plus, the lack of wind kept about a 1" stack of snow on top of every branch, rock, or anything relatively horizontal that would hold it. It was the epitome of peacefulness and God's creation. Perfection in every way and I had the privilege of running on top of, beneath, and through it all. In all, I gathered up 34 pictures worth keeping and got a new header for my blog along the way (just in case you missed it when this page loaded!) The pics can be viewed in the slideshow which is running on the sidebar or you can view them in full view here. Since so many folks are asking how I take the running photos or who is there to do it for me, let me explain: This little gadget called a GorillaPod makes it all possible. It's light as a feather and will wrap around anything and stand on anything. I use it along with setting a 20sec timer on the camera while also setting my camera to take 10 consecutive pictures. It was hard to find the GorillaPod in a brick-n-mortar store but I did at Best Buy. They're also available all over the place online. This picture here on the right is of a woodpecker I heard hittin' the wood hard along the Ledges Trail. It took awhile to spot because it was so high up but I eventually captured a shot.
Now in case you're not following along with my past few posts, you may have not stumbled onto my finalized 2009 schedule. After careful consideration, consulting with some veteran 100 mile runners, evaluating the different race options, looking at the family calendar, kids' calendar, summer schedule, vacation schedule, Navy schedule (whew!!!), I came up with a very doable schedule, in my opinion. The events were picked to build on each other and point me towards my end goal: finishing my first 100 miler. No road races/marathons will happen until the fall at the earliest since they don't coincide with the type of training I need to do. The events are also far enough apart to allow proper recovery. Like I've heard so many times, I can't get to the finish line unless I get to the starting line. That means staying healthy, training smart, and recovering smart. Recovery and rest are often overlooked but I have found for me personally that it has equal importance as the training itself does.
After the BT50K next weekend, all training will be pointed squarely at the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run the first weekend in June. It's about an 8 hour drive from here and is located north of Chicago in southern Wisconsin. The only 2 events after the BT50K that I have scheduled will be the Covered Bridge FA 50K in Mill Creek Park on March 7th and then Lloyd's Fools Day 50K four weeks later. In between and after the Fools Run will be some back-to-back runs, some night running, and some focused hill training. As I outlined a few posts ago, I will do the sleep deprivation/overnight/back-to-back training runs twice...once in April and once in May. Overall mileage on any given week will not go over 70 miles and if it actually hits 70, it will be on those two big back-to-backs. I have zero intention of training at that level for an extended period of time. Basically, my mileage will look like a rollercoaster if graphed out over the months. Big training weeks piggy-backed by recovery weeks. Within the weekday early morning runs around home, I will do some speedwork, tempo runs, and fartleks. I want to keep leg turnover and speed up while going long and slow on the weekends thereby keeping overall fitness up from head to toe. Nutrition will not change but I will train on the long runs to simulate race day foods like boiled potatoes, PB&J, chocolates, Hammer's Heed, etc. Once I get my kettle (!), I will have 8 weeks to properly recover before Burning River on August 1st. After Masochist last year, I was totally back in business in 3 weeks. I followed a strict recovery strategy and it worked well. I will do the same and will not run in ANY events during that time period...including the Summer BT50K, which is 2 weeks before BR. (Vince, sign me up to volunteer, please!) For BR, I hope to use all the knowledge I gain from Kettle to get my first buckle at Burning River.
So that's it in a nutshell. Why 2, you ask? Hmmmm...a good question that I honestly don't have a good answer for. It all makes sense in my head (and in some other not-to-be-named fellow ultra-runners' heads) but putting it down in words seems to be difficult. I'll take a raincheck on that question for now.
I hope to see many of you next Sunday at the Boston Store!
Happy Trails, everyone!