Across the Years Training Weeks 19 and 20 Recap
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So I signed up for my first 24 Hour foot race and detailed my high level training plan and my nutrition plan.

So now I will detail my training from Weeks 19 and 20

Week 19 Training for Across the Years 24 Hour Race Calendar

I am so tired… as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm (having spend the last 2 hours editing and uploading my photos for this post and getting the template set up) I am just really tired. It is a cumulative effect I think of a crazy busy last 2 weeks, some serious training (although I have stopped most of my gym work) including 12 miles trail running which I document below and just a lot of things coming at me from all directions which has made me at the moment… very tired. It also could be that I have half started my taper and I generally don’t feel great during it, Anyway.. just thought I would state how I am feeling at the moment (not certain if I will get this post done tonight or if it will have to wait until tomorrow to finish as I write this) and then proceed into the slightly disjointed but collectively what I want to write about the last two weeks! So here goes:

  • Last week was crazy busy in ways that I haven’t experience for some time (without going into the details as to why) and so I simply wasn’t able to get to the gym as I was expecting to. My original plan was to stop all leg work starting today (4 weeks out) and either also have stopped all gym upper body work today or continue until 3 weeks out… but I decided that since it just happened that I wasn’t able to get it in last week that it has essentially stopped and so I will have stopped all gym work (except serious stretching and core work) 5 weeks out. I am not at all concerned about it and perhaps the extra week of rest will do me good… I have always believed it is better to over taper than under taper. It played itself out in my having my strongest run in about 5 months on Friday. Not destroying my legs 3 times a week in the gym helped my run… imagine that 🙂
  • I plan to continue core work (which I did hard yesterday) until about 2 to 2.5 weeks out and serious stretching until at least 2 weeks out. Tapering is a weird thing in the sense of how you feel doing it… and many don’t taper enough but I believe there comes a certain point where the only thing you are doing is trying to freshen up. There is no more training and I wrote about that here but in the case of this race I am planning a longer and slightly more sever taper because the training has been longer and more severe. I think there is some association between the two.
  • I have this strange “thing” that I am dealing with on my left quad/knee. I have been to the chiropractor twice now on it and the feeling is it is very tight quads as they insert into the fascia of the inner part of my knee. He has worked his Graston tool on that area (ouch! as usual when getting Graston done) and that night it seemed to really help. He said he felt the area that was tired and he worked there. I am also seeing my myo-fascial massage therapist this week and am going to have to really work that area to try and free it up. It should do the trick (between the two of them they have fixed basically everything I have dealt with since starting the training for this race) but there is the possibility that it won’t and it is something with the joint itself. In my opinion a pretty remote possibility at this point and it hasn’t hindered my running really at all up this point.. it just gets sore in that area at times when I am not running. I find that stretching it (mostly the butterfly stretch and the standing quad stretch) helps a lot. We will see as it progresses.
  • I have been thinking about it for a few weeks now… and there is a reasonable possibility that I will switch my race to the 48 Hour that starts on Dec 30th. I would say it is more unlikely than likely at this point, but the reason that I am thinking about it is because the only way I can get a buckle (the ultra equivalent of a medal) at any of these races is to run 100 miles or more and (while it is my top goal to run 100 for the 24 Hour… it is definitely a serious stretch and I am honest with myself on that). We do get what sounds like a very nice beer glass for competing (no matter the mileage completed) but this buckle just calls out to me!

across-the-years-medal

Have definitely not made a decision yet and there are definitely some “cons” to moving to the 48, but if I do believe me when I say I will have a lot to write about making the decision 🙂

  • I talked about getting on a pretty strict diet for the last 7 weeks (and I think there is some merit to the idea before a race) but these last 9 days it has not been happening. I haven’t cooked my “diet” food for over a week and have been eating out more (also have had a few beers).. once again it all comes down to the craziness that my life has been recently. Not an excuse at all just the way that it has been. I’m still down 6 lbs though (from when I started the diet) so that is good and I really wasn’t expecting to lose more than 10. I am going to attempt to get back on track this week.
  • I am seriously considering putting on my Oofos Sandals late in the race when I am intentionally only walking for longer periods (30 to 90 minutes). They really make everything from my lower back down to my ankles feel better when I use them after a run and my thinking is that they will help me when during the race. I most certainly cannot (and wouldn’t attempt to) run in them, but there will come a period where I will take a break and walk for a while and I think it would feel really good to get out of my shoes and throw them on. I will be testing this walking fast (and longer) in them this week to make sure it is pheasible. My only concern going into them is the rubber of the thong rubbing up against that inner part of those two toes. I think it might be a really nice change of pace for my feet if I can make it work. We will see.
  • I was looking through the participants signed up for the different races a couple of days ago, and there are 3 thirteen year olds (well one is actually twelve years old and looks like a brother of the one thirteen year old) running the……. wait for it…. 72 Hour! I really do not know what to write about that…. Wow definitely comes to mind but other things do as well. Looking at their previous results it looks like they have completed some 100 milers, but still… I don’t know what to make of it but I am really looking forward to running with them awhile.. Amazing

aty-72-hour-brothers

  •  I already wrote that (even though I won’t be doing much more gym work) that I plan on doing some intensive and long stretching for a few weeks and I really have come to love these two stretching machines at my gym

precor-stretch-machine

stretch-machine-other

I can just get so much deeper into my stretches with them than I can by myself on the floor. The top one allows you to use the power of the chair going backwards (and you holding onto the uprights) to get into a stretch in a way you can’t on the floor. I plan on continuing to use them together (along with some floor stretches afterwards) for 45 – 60 minutes. The top one is made by Precor, but I forgot the brand of the bottom one but I don’t think there is another piece of equipment that looks like it. If you have either one in your gym I highly recommend them, I have seriously considered getting the Precor one for the house I like it that much (I think it is around $400). I wish I had more time during the week when I am in full training mode (gym and running) to use them but now that I am not doing the gym training I do have that time.

  • A lot of runners do one leg squats and/or deadlifts to try and strengthen their legs and enhance their stability and there is nothing wrong with them, but I think that two legged squats and deadlifts enhance your stability and strengthen your knee just as well. I don’t really believe that your gym work has to be one legged if you are a runner, but once again there isn’t anything wrong with doing them (I just don’t find them very fun and I like the fact that you can use a lot more weight when you can use both legs at the same time). I get the theory behind doing your gym work with one leg, but I am just not convinced that it is necessary.
  • A good friend of mine is a meteoroligst in Pueblo, CO and I asked him to give me a 5 year average forecast for Phoenix on December 31st (just curious really… it is not like if it was bad that it would stop me from going) and he did and boy does it sound basically perfect!

5-year Avg for Phoenix- High: 63° (range 48°-74°) | Low: 42° (range 32°-48° | Rain: 0.00″ | Wind: 4.8mph

I mean Wow… almost as good as you can get!! Very cool.

  • I was looking for a video on the race (partly just excitement and partly to get a better feel for it) and I found this one on “The Fruitarian’s” website. Not a fan of his dietary approach but this is a very cool video of the race and made me even that much more excited (champagne at midnight on New Years! 🙂 and what looks like the best aid station food like EVER!) So many different reasons why I am getting excited!

  • I ran the final running of the Charity Event “Miles for Food” last Sunday and it was great. miles-for-food-groupIt is a 6 hour Charity run that gathers food and money for a local food pantry and I have always really enjoyed being a part of it. It was really cold that morning and turnout was significantly lower this year (I think because we couldn’t organize as teams this year.. which was always a fun aspect) but it was an awesome opportunity to test out my run/walk strategy and I did and I think I have it perfected for the race. There are two flattish loops that you can run during it (one 1.9 miles and one 3.1) and I went for a total of 22 miles (my longest run yet) before just getting really hungry and kind of bored (didn’t really see anyone the last 10 miles). I was really happy with the run and am confident in my run .35 miles then walk .15 miles strategy. I plan on just doing this over and over again for the majority of the race. It allows me time to eat and drink while I am walking and then get back to running and not have to worry about those aspects. One thing that was kind of interesting was that I found my running pace stayed relatively constant the whole time (about 9:30 – 10:00 pace) but my walking got slower. That was interesting and perhaps has to do with having to recover more as the hours went on and the slower pace of the walk allowed that. I definitely plan on keeping my walking pace faster for as long as I can during the actual race, but my walking will slow down I am sure as the hours get into the double digits. I did get a chance to run with a couple of very seasoned ultrarunners (both having done a lot of 100 Milers between them) and got some good advice and information on what to expect. I will be detailing what I learned in a future recap soon. I used Sticky Bites for the first time during this run and I am a huge fan! No GI issues (which I can get in runs/races over 20 miles) and they taste good. They are described here and at the bottom of the article there are 3 videos with the specific recipes (so I won’t rehash them here). I made the Chocolate and Sea Salt Sticky Bites (and added butterscotch chips.. yummmm!) I am a huge believer and the high water content of them does make a lot of sense to me. I think I am definitely converted off of GU’s and powerbars. Will I be eating a significant amount of other types of the food at the race as well? Yes for certain.. but I think that Sticky Bites will be a staple. I will be adding coconut to some, dates to some, raisins etc etc. That is what is so cool about them is that because they are sticky you can add all sorts of things.. and changing up the flavors as the hours go on is going to be crucial.. because no matter how good something tastes.. after many hours you get sick of it!
  • I also took in one scoop (equivalent of 25 grams of protein) of HumaPro Protein during the run and I had no trouble with it and think it will be really helpful during the race (and with my recovery afterwards). Most runners don’t take in much protein during a race but I think I am going to try and get 25 grams in every 2 hours (or perhaps a little more frequently). To me it makes a lot of sense (along with all of the carbs and nutrients I will be getting).
  • A twitter friend ultrarunner tweeted out about a post on IrunFar written by Geoff Roes entitled “Is Running Selfish?” and he makes some good points, but I have to admit that I think it definitely is to a point. I don’t think that makes it inherently bad (and doesn’t make us bad people) but to say that it isn’t somewhat selfish is just hard to defend. Yes we can be a positive light for those that are trying to get in shape and so on, but I disagree with him (at least for me) that I am spreading joy to the world after a 24 Miler.. joy generally isn’t what I am spreading.. I am usually not spreading much of anything because I am so beat. It is just that the training can take so much of your week (and thereby take us away from the rest of the world and our family) that there is an element of selfishness to it I think. I just thought this might a good talking point for you in the comments below. I am interested in hearing your thoughts. I am a runner and don’t feel like I am a bad person because of it, but I do think we are all a wee bit selfish to train like we do (but a lot of hobbies are somewhat selfish). Just thought you might like to read.
  • I am going to be having 2 giveaways this month! One for an awesome (best I know of) waist pack from Fitletic and one for running shoes from Skora Running. Stay Tuned!!
  • My 10K run on Friday was my best run since I started this training. I was hitting 8:20 – 8:30 pace on a seriously hilly course and felt good. I think this is testament to the fact that I wasn’t destroying my legs in the gym during the week and they were finally able to be slightly fresh. It will be interesting to see how I feel as the weeks go on (as I continue to be able to utilize the strength from the gym but not be burdened by the gym training) and at the race. It is an interesting experiment!
  • I ran a 12 miler on Chubb Trail at Castlewood State Park this morning. It is a favorite trail here in St. Louis and has a storied race held there each April (which I have done 4 times) The Double Chubb 50K/25K Below are some pictures from my run. It was a joy to be out in perfect weather on the trails! I have said that when trail running is good.. it is the best.. but for me when the conditions are really bad (especially super muddy) it isn’t my favorite way to run… But this morning the conditions were perfect (40 degrees and sunny)!

chubb-trail-parking-sign

chubb-trail-west-tyson-climb

chubb-trail-prairie-sign

chubb-trail-lone-tree

chubb-trail-railroad

A boy scout troop was building a pavillion for us weary runners, hikers and mountain bikers at the one end where I was parked! That was so very cool and appreciated.

chubb-trail-scouts

  •  At the Miles for Food event, I had one of the runners take a picture of me after I was done because I wanted to show how I had set up my Fitletic belts (I will in a future recap because they worked wonderfully) but what came out of it was how I looked 3 feet tall! 🙁 How does that happen sometimes in photos and especially in race photos (that we can look like we are scrunched down and are little gnomes)? I think the main ingredient is having the photographer significantly higher than you (and therefore looking down on you). This happens a lot in races and that is how it was set up for this photo. I mean.. I am not tall but at 5’10” I am average height and normally look average height… in this photo I look like a little boy! 🙂 I just think it is funny and I am sure you have all had those photos where you barely recognized yourself! :):)

miles-for-food-fitletic

So onto the last two weeks:

Monday the 18th: 7 miles at 9:53 overall pace

Tuesday the 19th: 6 Light Sets of Eagle Leg Press

14 sets for Chest (including the 1st time I have hit two sets with 100lb Dumbbells on the flat bench)

12 sets for Traps

1 set of Captains of Crush Grippers (was late so needed to go)

Wednesday the 20th:

Thursday the 21st: 6 miles at 9:59 overall pace

Friday the 22nd: 3 sets for Glutes

2 sets for Abs

14 sets for Delts (including 1st time putting up an 85lb Dumbbell standing overhead press)

6 sets for Biceps (been a while since working biceps has felt good.. I think they must be tight or something.. just don’t feel “right”)

Saturday the 23rd:

Sunday the 24th: 22 miles using the run/walk technique at “Miles for Food” Felt good overall. Was very cold. Learned I like Sticky Bites a lot.

Monday the 25th: 45 minutes of intense stretching using the Streching machines and the floor

Tuesday the 26th: 6.2 hilly miles at 9:36 pace overall (getting easier to run without the gym work!)

Wednesday the 27th:

Thursday the 28th:

Friday the 29th: 6.1 hilly miles at 8:50 pace overall (a lot of 8:20 – 8:30 pace.. legs feel fresher already being away from the gym)

Saturday the 30th: 6 sets for Abs/Obliques

45 minutes of intense stretching using the Streching machines and the floor

Sunday the 1st: 12 easy relaxed miles on Chubb Trail documented above. Was relaxed pace but I still felt beat up afterwards.

Best of luck in your training,

Chris

6 thoughts on “Across the Years Training Weeks 19 and 20 Recap

  1. Becky@ Trails and ultras

    Loved the trail photos 🙂 your training just puts me to shame, I must try harder! When I’m not out on my full day runs I’m genereally just lounging around. I at least should make the effort to do a small amount of resistance work and stretching each day. Incidentally the idea of those 13 year olds doing the 72 hours has just blown my mind. How? HOW??

    Reply
    1. Chris M Post author

      Thanks Becky!
      Like I wrote in the post.. now that I am not doing much gym work I have the time to do the stretching.. otherwise there is no way I could fit it in (except for 10 minutes after my runs). It does really feel great doing it now though. Oh if we all just didn’t have 6 hours more in each day and an extra day in the week 🙂
      Yes when I saw that those 3 boys were signed up.. it literally blew my mind too. When I was 13 thinking about running for 3 days! I will definitely talk with them during the race and write about what I learn.
      It was nice to be out on the trails and I am glad I did it when I did because this coming weekend is supposed to get into the single digits Fahrenheit.. Uggh 🙁

      Reply
  2. Amy

    Wow. That is a tough decision. I would say listen to your body and listen to your heart. See how your body responds to your training and see if the time is right. Also, my jaw dropped when I read the part about the 12 and 13 year olds. That just blew my mind!

    Reply
    1. Chris M Post author

      Hi Amy,

      Yes there are a number of things to think about in deciding if I move to the 48. One thing that I forgot to write (but will add now) is that if I do switch I will still run the first 24 the same. I almost feel like I will have two different races combined because I still want to have a 1st 24 Hour (and want to see what I can do in that time).. and then also see how many extra miles I can “zombie march” out on the 2nd day! 🙂
      Still very much up in the air. I know either way it is going to be tougher than I imagine.
      And yes 13 year olds participating in a 3 day race made my jaw drop. I definitely need to get a bit of their story when I meet them!

      Reply
  3. Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness

    Chris you sound tired [when you wrote this]. Have you decided on a distance? 48? 100? Both are amazing accomplishments! How is your quad/knee? My husband is friends with several fruitarians (seems to be more common with ultrarunners) and I’m fascinated but I know it’s not for me. Hopefully as you’re reading this you’re rested and feeling better. 12 year olds? No way! Don’t be hard on yourself about the diet. Tomorrow is another day but first take care of yourself mentally. Then, tackle the nutrition. Keep me updated!

    Reply
    1. Chris M Post author

      Yes I was really tired when I wrote this post, but I feel better now (a week later).
      I do have thoughts on specific goals if I do decide on the 48HR, and I will detail those if I decide on switching (which at this point is perhaps less likely). I would say 100M is one of the shortest goals if I make that jump. Will be detailing my knee situation in my post that I am writing now.. suffice it to say it still doesn’t seem like it should affect my race.
      Yes fruitarianism is most definitely not for me either.
      I wasn’t being hard on myself actually, just detailing what had happened. I am still down that weight and feel good overall so that is what matters.
      Thanks Jill!

      Reply

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