Monday, October 7, 2013

Anita Baker ran 2:44 for the marathon in 1988!?

Nah. I guess not. But she did get played on the radio this morning while riding the bus to work. What in the hell is a Chilean bus driver doing jamming out to Anita Baker at 7:30 on a Monday morning? Being awesome, apparently.

Ah, Monday.

Monday. Polishing the revolver.

Got me two weeks until the...(deep breath)

The North Face Endurance Challenge 80K (50 Miler) Santiago, Chile 2013


Wait. Wait. Nevermind. I'm exhausted after typing the title of the race. I'm going to take a nap under my desk.

Yawn. Stretch.

So, let's do a quick rundown of 2013. This post is 100% something just for me to be able to re-read next year. Skip this one. It won't have a single sex joke or drug reference. BORING!


First thing:

January and February (summer in Chile) were both months of nice, coasting-along training. I was basically just enjoying the fitness I had built during the lead-up to my first 100-miler last December. I did some fun runs with friends in January, a lot of track workouts, because I lived next door to a track and then in February had a giant week of running in Argentina while staying with a lady friend there. All of this was just running because I was having a lot of fun while running. No goals. No purpose. Just vibin' and fuckin' diggin' it and shit, man.

The rest of February was spent with my mom, dad, and brother who visited for two weeks. I had about a week in between their visit and the start of my 2013 contract, which I spent lightly jogging and heavily drinking.

I decided to make the TNF 50 miler in Chile my GOAL for 2013. I mean, I've run the race twice now, but I wanted to FUCKIN' KILL IT this year. So, yeah. Big plans.

Starting in March, I cleaned up my act and my stoke was 100% blazing. I'M GONNA FUCKIN' KILL THAT TNF 50 MILER!!! BUT! I wanted to be smart. So, in March I put in about 5 hours/week, all quality stuff. Track workouts, hill sprints, etc. Nothing long. Nothing slow. No crazy brutal mountain days, just a lot of key sessions, well-executed. The volume would come. Did a bunch of core work. Lifted weights. Got strong.

April/May/June, I averaged about 12 hours/week of training. This consisted of very early morning runs, lunchtime jogs and then evening runs followed by spinning class as cross training (usually some weights or core work after). The weekends were spent in the mountains or around the city in the hills, doing my long stuff. In my mind, the really useful combo during this period was the evening runs which were about an hour long and then I'd go straight into the spinning class (perfectly timed, of course). This was a lot like when I used to do aerobics in Michigan (do you remember that little confession, True Believer? Jesus. Aerobics?). Back then, I'd run for 1.5-2 hours and then do an hour of aerobics directly afterward. This year, the evening run would be what I'd call a tempo effort, as in, pretty hard and then the spinning class would just be sheer white-hot, teeth-grinding horror.

The results? In June, my capacity for hurting was very high and my wholly unquenchable stoke led me to race a cross country 6K, an xc 4K, a road 5K, and two trail races (21K and 33K) in about a 5 week period. I know this is not a lot of racing for some dudes, but I don't do the "training race" thing very well. I killed myself in every single one of those races, top 10 for all of them and a PR for 5K. I also ran my best times for my local test-piece runs.

However, after the final trail race (the 33K), I was feeling a little peckish. The raging bonfire of my stoke had suddenly been reduced to a tiny pile of embers. The following weekend I basically pissed on the ashes by meeting up with some buddies for a too-long, too-hard effort. I swear, I could feel something just give out in my head. Like a blown fuse or something. It was winter in Chile and shit was heinously fucked.

I tried to keep things together, but after two weeks of extremely half-hearted jogging (still putting in about 9 hours each week), my knee revolted against the entire program and I was left barely able to ride a bicycle. Great.

Three weeks went by while I lifted weights and rode my bike as much as I could force myself to ride my bike. On the fourth week (and final week of July), I went to the U.S. of A. The warming love that radiates from my favorite country (not to mention it's summertime heat), combined with the unbelievably delicious beer, helped recuperate my knee and I made my triumphant return to jogging after about a month of no running.

I came back to Chile feebly striking the last soggy match I had, hoping to rekindle some of the enthusiasm I had during the beginning of the year. Slowly (Oh so slowly!), it started coming around. I had a couple solid weeks. I still didn't feel great. A little tired and little like I was going through the motions, but I didn't feel bad either and I was happy my knee was back in action.

Then, the week before going to San Pedro for 6 days to train with Daniel, I got really sick (see previous post). I couldn't eat or drink anything for about two days and I took the entire week off from any sort of physical activity. This plan worked for the best and I arrived in San Pedro healthy again, if not particularly running fit.

That week was good. I really needed to have my ass kicked around a bit. It also helped bring things back into focus after sort of forgetting my BIG GOAL for 2013. Since then, I've had two, 10-hour weeks. The big difference now, as opposed to April for example, is that I'm not running as many times per week. Gone are the extra lunchtime sessions and I'm not waking up at 4:30am everyday to run and certainly no more triples. Last week, I actually took three days off completely, but still put in 10 hours of running.

The plan has been to feel FUCKING AWESOME each time I go for a run. Simple, right? Not just because that means I run better on the day, but because right now my Stoke (capital "s") is all that matters.

These final weeks are much less about suddenly becoming 10 times fitter, I think I'm already pretty fit. What I want to do is have several weeks of good feelings. I want my memories of all my runs from this period to be positive. The weather is getting better. I'm avoiding my boss more. I'm now down to my lowest weight of the year (68 kg = 150 lbs) and my times for all of my test-piece runs are almost as fast as April again.

So, that's where I'm at physically. Just got to keep the good ju-ju flowing.

Second thing:

This is without a doubt the longest and hardest I have focused on any one race. Actually, this is the first time I've EVER "focused" on a race...the experience has been a mixed bag. On one hand, it's cool. It's fun to train and to have a clear goal in my mind. On the other hand, sometimes I felt like running wasn't "running" anymore. It wasn't a release or an outlet for my stress. A way to feel healthy and happy. Sometimes, a run would feel like Work (capital "w"). Perhaps, True Believer, you recall my sentiments regarding Work. In short: Fuck Work.

So, that's been complicated. Do I want to focus and dedicated myself to a single race again? I don't know right now. For one, it remains to be seen how I do in the 80K. I'm hoping to run faster this year than last year, although I think that it's very likely I'll finish out of the top 10.

If that happens, the reason will be a positive one I think: Chilean runners are faster than they were last year. Just ask Max (who won the Patagonia International Marathon's 42K category last week). Or Moises (who doesn't have a blog). Or Matias. Just in looking over the times from last month's K42 race...if I had run my 2012 time there, I would not have made the top 10. Last year, I was 4th. The fact is: The steadily growing Chilean MUT scene is maturing and has now produced a large crop of fast, strong runners. Which is fucking awesome. See: Boss Jogging link on the sidebar for further evidence of this UNADULTERATED RADNESS.

So, yeah. Whew. That killed almost an hour out of my workday! YES!

Last thing:

I'm still planning to move back to the U.S. in early 2014. I don't know where. I don't know what I'll feels like the right decision. I miss the States and I want to run races there. Simple.

Here's a very short video from last weekend. Good back-to-back long runs and my big toe's nail finally jumped ship. Good riddance. No room for quitters on this rig.


GZ said...

Anita Baker was bad ass when she was on top of her game.

Stoke is as stoke does so get the stoke on. Mandate the stoke.

P. said...

G- I fuckin love Anita Baker. seriously.

Stoke's mandated. Legislated. Were my mental government to shutdown, Stoke would be considered essential personnel and would still receive a paycheck. Made out of guitars and pizza.