LOVE HARDER , EAT BETTER & EXPLORE FURTHER
P.S. I think "hay's in the barn" and "smelling the barn" are only Southern sayings...
And, I’m spent. Training Cycle Over. Nothing else to be done except enjoy the rest of the week in a healthy taper, resting, recovery, keeping my legs springy and enjoying the company of my foam roller and my king-sized bed. Pinhoti 100 is in four - 4 - FOUR - days. This will be my first 100 miler and I’m not confident at all. I know my training load has been high, most of my key workouts have gone great, and for the most part I think I’ve worked up my strength and no longer fear the intense blow-up that I had at the Georgia Death Race in April. Though I’ve never gone further than the 100k distance (except of course at GDR which measured in around 72 miles in 2017) I feel like I’ve got a good hang of that amount of time on my feet (13-16 hours). I finished Beaverhead 100k in July in extreme temps and altitude feeling like I could have kept running, I hit the finish line of the Barkley Fall Classic not nearly as blown to pieces as I expected and was back running a day later.
I had a few high 80-90 mile weeks, which isn’t nearly as close to the triple digits as some others will train at - but I feel like I spend nearly as much time in those miles and make up for the lacking with vertical gain (since June I’ve had at least 10 weeks with over 10k feet of elevation gain). My training load has kept me with weeks over 70 miles for 5 months.
A few great days:
This race is put on by the “Friends of Warner Parks” and many other sponsors, that all had set up amazing swag tents on a cool October morning in Nashville. Race day sign-up was super simple and computer-based (MAJOR kudos to the race company for having this set-up, it brought my stress level down a ton).
The race is a 6 mile loop, half trail and half road, using the Red Trail at Percy Warner Park. Relay teams would compete in their own division for 5 loops, and me and 20 other psychos were taking on the “Crazy Owl” option to run the 5 loops on our own for a full 30 miles. There was also a 5k option.
Looking forward to an opportunity to go pack-less and really be able to open up on this course, I prepped my mini-aid station (a camp chair, 3 Honey Stinger Chew Packets, and a concentrated Tailwind mix in a handheld bottle, Oh yah I was super prepared lolololololol). I was aiming to complete at lap every 50-53 minutes having me finish between 4:15-4:30 hours, my hip flexors were still bothering me from heavy training loads and speed, but I figured it work itself out.
Quick and easy course description, if it stays the same for future years, from the Start Line not far inside the Park Entrance, racers head out onto the road for a bit for quickly hopping onto the trail section of the loop. The 3 miles of trail chosen for the race are tough, choppy and hilly, you can make up some time on the runnable sections and the downhills but for those doing 5 loops of this there was plenty of hiking. Plenty of aid stations set up on this course to go without a pack or even a hand-held so I stayed plenty hydrated and even had to duck off trail once or twice. You couldn’t possibly get lost on the well-marked course and eventually you were dumped out onto the roads of Percy Warner (where the infamous Flying Monkey Marathon is also held). As much as you can open it up on the road, I tried to keep my pace around an 8 min/mile or less, this section was also pretty damn hilly!
I went out much to fast enjoying the company of my friends Dan Albert and Rafal (of Spring Energy - try it out! Love the Electroride Drink!). My first lap was 49:50. I slowed down instinctively not wanting to burn out. Second lap was also a good run, by the 3rd and 4th laps however I was jamming my fingers into my hip flexor trying to work out the pain that was making me consider quitting because running is stupid sometimes. The 4th lap was ugly. I regrouped at my aid-chair, grabbed my handheld so I could blow through aid stations and make up some time on the final lap and FINALLY my hip/glute pain worked itself out and I made back some time basically sprinting my final lap and taking it home. The win was fun and the swag amazing - but mostly the confidence boost of a tough, fast day was just what I needed this last week. I finished in 4 hours and 31 minutes, almost exactly a 9 min/mile average pace and only a few minutes behind the 2nd and 3rd men.
So here we are. A fewsleeps away from Pinhoti, goals be damned, I want to enjoy this experience and not leave my first 100 miler bitter, sad, angry or hurt.
Monday - 4/3
Spent most of the Monday after GDR exhausted and sort of nauseous - personally victimized by my standing desk - and walking a bit funny. Doing A LOT of stretching and rolling the day before helped bunches, but you just can’t quite erase 72 miles and 20,000 ft of climbing as easily as you might think…
Tuesday - 4/4
Getting antsy (and not sleeping well anyway) Luke and I got up early and headed to the gym. I spent 45 minutes doing some easy strength and recover exercise (with no weight) and a little bit of core work. It felt good to get my muscles moving again. Here’s my short strength circuit, which I’ll do after runs a few times a week, and my recover circuit which I NEED to start getting done every day or every other day to keep up with tight IT bands.
Strength Circuit x 3
Squat - x 10
Lunge - 20 Walking Lunges
Plank - 1 Minute Plank.
Single Leg Squat - x 10 Each Side
Push-Up - x 10
Recover Circuit x 3
Clamshell - Each Side x 10
Side Hip Bridge - 10 Hip Raise from Side Plank, Each Side
Single Leg Hip Thrust - 10 Thrusts, Each Side
Side Leg Raise - 10 Raises, Each Side
Weighted Hip Thrust - 10-20 lb Weight on Lower Stomach, 10 Hip Thrusts
Wednesday - 4/5
Took a long lunch to get over to the on-site gym. Got on the stationary bike to get a good sweat going, pretty easy considering the AC hasn’t worked in the building in a few years, and went back at the recovery circuit.
Couldn’t bear to miss the Pub Run this afternoon, so I laced up, and we jogged on over to our favorite brewery. Five easy miles shared with friends and I felt great, though I think I sweated 4 times as much as everyone else. The easy pace felt great but the short downhill we had to take mid-run nearly killed me. That and the LOADS of pollen that have descended on Huntsville. 6.4 Miles
Thursday - 4/6
Legs feeling mostly back and bouncy - Luke and I went out for our favorite “Flat 6” around our neighborhood. It was National Biomechanics Day, I felt compelled to try to keep a consistent pace, my steps light and my leg swing high. Love my Milestone Pod for giving me that extra push to keep my form great.
Friday - 4/7
Too beautiful out to stay in at lunch - I laced up for my loop around the power plant cooling towers. It’s a perfect out-and-back 3 miles from our parking lot (I know since we do a seasonal 5k race here!). I promised Luke we’d take the afternoon off and focus on some wedding stuff - this was not a difficult choice.
Saturday - 4/8
A perfect trail day! We waited until the afternoon to get started, since it warmed up into the 70s, and after some pancakes and construction we headed out. From our apartment, to a trail head, to the tippy top of Monte Sano and pack ended up being a perfect 13 mile “long run”. I felt recovered and great (definitely pushing too hard on the climbs - Liz wear your HRM dammit!) until we headed for the descent and the heat and sun nearly knocked me out cold. Thank goodness we had thought to bring water with us - though strapping my pack back on nearly gave me PGDRSD - [ Post Georgia Death Race Stress Disorder, I made it up, its perfect].
We even got Luke into some Lululemon!( He loved the Vent Tech Short Sleeve (which I now sing the praises of the women’s Swifty Tech Short Sleeve ) but a pair of shorts just weren’t perfect. The man has the widest quads known to man and everything (I mean EVERYTHING) was starting to chafe. Great yoga, swim and hangout shorts but we’ll hold judgement until he can get a hold of a pair of 3’’ inseam shorts.
Sunday - 4/9
I volunteered to split time the Bridge Street Half Marathon in Huntsville - my favorite job! You’re telling me I get to stand in the sun, drink coffee and scream encouraging things at people! What! Yay!
I got to the start around 7 AM to start my stopwatch and headed out for an easy 4 mile run to my Mile 10 timing spot. AND I ended running into the entire half marathon - so I got to do more cheering!
To round out our day Luke and I hit the Redstone Arsenal for a bike ride - out to the river and back - it was gorgeous, if tremendously windy, and we had a great time. I hadn’t been on my bike in almost 5 months!
So to summarize - I was feeling great, like I hadn’t run 72 miles uphill, by the end of the week. I still somehow feel like I’m catching up on sleep. Our wedding is in 4 days - my training schedule is back with bite - and I’m pretty sure I’ll wander to the altar desperate for our honeymoon and to take a nap.
Luke Hough & Liz Canty
Liz Canty and Luke Hough. Co-habitants who like to run, race, explore and drink much too expensive beer. Read along through the awesome, the sweaty, the daily life and the occasional bickering over which running shoes are the best…