Monday, August 16, 2010

More Bacon!

Back to the Bacon Strip on Sunday.

This served 2 purposes:
1. Lean Horse training: I'd run at least 18 miles in order to fully simulate the ~17 mile stretch of Argyle Road.
2. Denver Marathon Training.

Huh? Why would I do marathon training when I'm within a fortnight of my first hundred miler? Well, after a summer of long, slow runs and hikes (Motto: If it hurts, slow down. Then do it again!), I wondered if I was doomed to a life of 9, 10...15 min miles. And I felt like a harder intensity effort but not as long would a good way to end the week.

In a way, ultra training is simple and sloppy. Pile on the miles, and every mile you run is faster than 'race pace.' Run any mile in under 10 mins and I'm easily under race pace, in fact.

Anyway, I had the car so I drove this morning: felt kind of weak about that but it was a legit 20 minute drive each way. I planned on Double Bacon: run the first lap in 7 min miles, if that was even possible, then switch out my water within 1 minute from the bumper of my car, and then run the 2nd lap in 8 min miles.

Got everything ready and headed out. 7 min miles is pretty fast these days, I thought in my head. So I headed out comfortably fast. I purposely slowed as I approached the first mile at 6:15. Whoops. Next one, 6:30. Still too fast. Took a few miles but finally dialed it into 7s. Overall average around 6:47, faster than what I'd be really happy with at Denver.

I had sucked down a full bottle and switched out a new one. Kept drinking as I headed up the road. Definitely slower now. Just keep it under 8 min/mile. The sun was beating oppressively on the side of my face, most of my bottle was gone by 2.5 miles, and my pace was slipping. And, all I could think about was ice cold water. I've seen this movie before, and I know the ending: I run out of water, get hotter and hotter, trudge around feeling like death, and hate life. No thanks! I turned around at mile 3 and headed back to the car.

I was able to go a bit faster going back, with a combination of downhill and the fact that I had a little bit of Gatorade left by the car. It was just a few swallows, but I was thankful. Then, I thought I remembered a water bottle that had been in the car for months. Sure enough, found it buried under the seat. Drank that quickly and poured a little on my head: felt better instantly. I was ready to be done, but headed out for 2 more miles, able to hit low 7s again.

Overall, felt good about the workout. It was hilly, hot, and at the end of my last week of significant miles. Less miles from here on out.

I also learned (and re-learned) some things.
1. Hydration is huge
2. Hard effort in the heat requires significantly more water than easy effort: I drank more liquid in 2 hours of tempo than I did the previous day in 6+ hours of hiking and light running, at elevation.
3. If I'm running out of fluid and rationing, I will absolutely slow down...and if I have hope of imminent liquid, I can speed up. It's quite a rational response, I suppose. Rather than fight it, I should just avoid it altogether by having enough fluids!
4. Ultra training messes up your perceived speed and ability at other distances

Luckily the Lean Horse aid stations are close enough together, every 5-6 miles. I have settled my debate about weather to go with a 20oz bike handheld or my 32oz fishing jug: I'm definitely going with the "more is better" approach!

Afterward, my legs kinda hurt. Hurt so good!


  1. Sounds like you have been having a lot of fun! That should end soon enough though:)

    Good luck at lean horse!

  2. Wow, you had a better run than me on the Bacon Strip. I went out Sunday afternoon with Ean (she rode her bike with me). I also intended to run 7 minute miles, but only one lap. I quickly adjusted me goal to 7:30 after struggling through the first couple miles and then struggled some more at the end and ended up averaging 7:40. Still a good run- much faster than I've been running. I'm looking forward to the run in the Black Hills next weekend.

  3. Thanks guys, looking forward to it. Yes, there will be less time for fun while in school, so they say.

    That's a great run, Alex, and none of our miles will be anywhere close to 7:40! The heat out there can get brutal, and just when you think you have a rhythm, there's a headwind. Two laps definitely requires some water strategy, so I'm definitely looking forward to frequent aid stations at Lean Horse!