This one will be short. I did my longest run in training for RRUM on Saturday. I had two people from our Meetup Group in Austin who had signed up to come along, but Bob came out to train for his half marathon. Bob is a Vietnam Vet and it was cool to run with him for a bit and trade war stories. His of course make mine look like nothing. He has to keep his heart rate down, so it was good for me to run with him to keep my pace slow. My goal was a 12 minute running pace, with 5 minute breaks every 5 miles with an additional 5 minutes at every 10 miles to mimic aid stations. At that point I would have a peanut butter and honey sandwich and keep moving. So that made my goal 6 hours and 40 minutes. I could go over but not come under. The idea was to get my body used to running slow.
I ran the trail at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, because it is a mostly flat trail with a lot of pebbles and a few roots. But mostly smooth. Depending on detours and which trail you take, this provides for about an 8 mile loop. There are probably a few more inclines than Rocky Raccoon will have and you do have to go up and run by I-35 at one point, where there are a couple steep inclines. Also, there is quite a bit of people dodging in the later hours of the run... I'm guessing people were also getting a head start on their resolution since this was New Year's Eve and it was more crowded than ever.
I started at 6:10 AM, and met up with Bob about 2 miles in. We shoot the breeze for a bit and then split up. It was also nice because I'm super paranoid. While this trail is nice and the wildlife risk is minimum, I can't help but think there is not a risk of running into not so nice people. A friend at work who is not a guy I would pick a fight with based on looks was swung on down there by a homeless man and a crack head chased me on my run during daylight near there... so it was nice. 38 degrees at the start was also a tad colder than I had planned...
About the time we split, the sun was coming up as I crossed under the Mopac bridge.
By mile 5 I felt absolutely great and thought, I could do this forever! I do that at about this point on any long and always think back to it later and laugh. At every 5 miles, like I said, I took a 5 minute walk break with a GU and some water from my camelbak.
Miles 1-5 all came in a little bit slower than pace, but I was feeling good and I guess I picked it up because mile 60-10 all came in quite under pace, more in the 11:30 range. I had my peanut butter and honey sandwich and prepared to head out.
Now, I was wearing my my New Balance MT110s which I previously reviewed. It was at this point that I paid for it. My left knee really started bothering me on the outside. On inclines I had trouble so I would fast walk them. This shoe only has a 4 mm drop from heel to toe and 15mm of cushioning at the most, but I still think that was enough so that instead of forefoot landing while just touching my heel, I must have landed on the forefoot and hit the heel with 30% or so of normal heel strike impact. The pain was pretty bad. I was glad I brought my Merrell Trail Gloves and I switched to them at mile 15 and the knee pain did not worsen but never went away. Part of the problem with them is that my foot is still injured and I'm not sure if my feet are up to 50 miles yet barefoot or in a shoe like that. My feet were definitely more sore from those than the MT 110s. I think my plan right now is to go barefoot as long as I can. When my feet start getting sore, I'll go to the Trail Gloves. After that, I'll go to the MT110s. I should not be hitting with much impact by then and I can recover from any knee issues as long as they are minor post race. But I will have all 3 for their different utilities.
At this point I also started taking my Succeed! tabs to keep enough sodium in me. I felt pretty well as far as hydration until the very end, when I felt salty and like I was having trouble staying hydrated, so I think I will ease back off of the Succeed! tabs on my next long run and see how that goes. That is why we do long runs - experiment and find out what works and what does not before race day.
At mile 20, I happened to pass my car and they were about to tow it! I was parked at Auditorium Shores in Austin and apparently between 8 and 11, they had closed the park and put a notice on my car. I got there just in time and they let me move it over to Mopac, where I was lucky to get a spot. I was about to throw a fit if I could not get a spot after thinking I did well being the first person there that day! This of course made mile 20 take 35:37 minutes instead of 12 for the mile plus 10 for the walk break, while 19 took 12 and 21 took 11:06. However, I have no idea if I could complete the 11:06 without the extra 13 minutes, but I was not happy.
With all of that, my run came in at 6 hours and 44 minutes and 49 seconds. About 5 minutes slower than planned pace. So I feel like I am right on target. I was fine after taking a nap (benefit of a toddler) and had a great NYE!
The running dog shows how exciting our party was. But I prefer having a couple beers and hanging with my wife and kid to a party any day. I really loved our NYE. The next day I did 5 miles of hills with the dog in my first truly barefoot run since hurting my foot.
Today I feel good. I plan on getting in 5 miles this afternoon. Sitting in my office chair seems to be making the residual stiffness worse (I'm writing this on my lunch break).
I also got the book Relentless Forward Progress for Christmas. I am actually switching to the 50 mile ultra plan in that book from my own because they are so close. I like it because it has a short run this weekend and then another long run before the taper. That fits perfect with my wedding anniversary get away this weekend (staying at a Bed and Brew!).
So training seems on target. I hope you other RRUMers who read this... well Chaser... not sure if Bubba reads this... are doing well as well. I think we have all (the barefoot group) had some sort of obstacles in our training, but if we let that get us down we probably should not be attempting an ultra anyhow.
Oh... just a side note. If anyone who is a walker on Lady Bird Lake trails reads this... or even a runner... your group should not take up the entire trail. 2 across is the most you should ever be. Seriously.