Monday, 25 November
Update for: 2013 One-Two-Three: 3 Events, 3 Causes:
Recovery and Event Two: JFK 50-Mile Run
In this Entry, I discuss training during the 5-day interim between the Philadelphia Marathon (17 November) and the JFK 50-Mile Run (23 November), and my experience of running the JFK. Philly and JFK are Events 1 & 2 of the 2013 One-Two-Three: 3 Events, 3 Causes to raise money and awareness for:
- MD (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association)
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis Society)
Fund Raising Update:
Together we have raised $890 that I will split evenly between these three foundations. Thanks to the 28 of you who have donated!
I invite you to contribute between $10 and $30. All the money collected is divided equally between the three foundations listed above. I have set up a Pay Pal account exclusively for contributions: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you donate at least $10, I will gift you with my 131-page PDF book ”2012 Triple Ultra Challenge” chronicling my training and racing experiences last year completing 3 multi-day ultra triathlons in 30 days - culminating with the Virginia Triple Iron.
We returned from the Philadelphia Marathon Sunday afternoon, after a shower and clothing change. I slept well Sunday night. First thing Monday morning, I ran slow and easy for 50 minutes. Midday, I swam 20 minutes and then steamed for 15-20. Throughout the day (and the week), I iced a few sore spots - my left ankle and plantar facia.
Tuesday, I arose early, eager and ready for a thorough Pilates/yoga body tune-up. I did no aerobic exercise on Tuesday - spending most of the day on my kneeling chair at the computer, (ice pack and heating pad as my companions). I had a bike fit in the evening.
Wednesday, I ran early - again a slow recovery run on my favorite mixed surface running route through the Cornell Campus. Just as I headed out for this run, my neighbor Seth was walking up the hill towards Cornell. I joked with him about how my recovery runs start out so slow, that people walk up the hill faster than I run. He thought I was kidding... until he disappeared ahead of me.
The "slow pace of humility" is vital to my craft as an endurance athlete.
Once I reach “higher ground” and the terrain levels out, my pace picks up. The initial steep uphill - run gently (slower than a walking pace) - helps to stretch my calves and feet. I added 4 short, intense hill repeats near the end of this run.
The maximal muscle fiber recruitment of these repeats (at the appropriate time) can really accelerate recovery. I felt great.
As soon as I returned home, I did 10 minutes of jump rope and balance disc work. Again, just a small amount of this is effective for recovery. However, like the hill repeats, this kind of stress must be judicious and a regular part of my regimen. Otherwise, the risk for injury is high.
Midday, I swam 25 minutes and steamed afterwards. With the pool temp at 78, it feels so good to steam! This combination of a cold swim and very hot steam is also vital to my recovery.
Thursday, I arose early and rode my bike to the Cornell Track in the bitter cold. I ran 40 minutes - a mix of easy running with drills and strides.
Friday, 22 November, was the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I rose early for another Pilates/yoga tune-up before a 6-hour drive. I met up with my good friend Larry “Mr. Consistent” Lewis at the JFK 50 expo. Larry has now completed 16 consecutive JFK 50’s!
Event Two: 51st Annual JFK 50-Mile Run
Originally, I had signed up for a 5am start time for the JFK - to allow 14 hours to run the JFK plus an extra 2 miles (to make this an even double marathon). However - after doing the math and realizing that meant a 3am wake-up - I elected to switch to the mainstream 7am start, with a 12-hour cutoff. I got to sleep in until 4:15!
Larry and I arrived at the starting area early enough so I could head out for a 25-minute mix of walking and slow running. The dark skies were completely clear, and the temperature was mid-20‘s, with wind from the west.
After a pre-race meeting, the thousand of us walked the 1K to the starting line as the sky was beginning to glow. Except for the elite runners, it was a typical low-key ultra-style start (even at this - the largest ultra in the US). We were milling about in the street in a vast array of running attire - from cold-weather hi-tech Gore-Tex, to scantily clad. We heard the sound of the start horn - no count down or cue.
"Oh, it’s time to start." I began loping along, as 95% of the field passed me by. Its easy to react to this with mild panic and pick up the pace to keep up.
Huh-uh! That reaction is fear from the head. My body is intelligent enough to know the appropriate pace to finish this “race” gracefully. This was my third running. The first one, I barely finished... in a “death march” style. Never again. I trust my body's intelligence and no longer cloud that with head trips.
After 2.5 miles of pavement, we run on the Appalachian Trail for 13 miles. This section is very rocky and the risk of injury is high. So early in the race, impatience and anxiety cause many runners to go out too fast. My focus through this section is safe passage.
I exited the trail and passed through the Weverton Aid Station at 15.5 miles just 12 minutes ahead of the cut-off time. Perfect!
Ah, now I was on the C&O Canal Tow Path - soft surface and flat - for 26.3 miles. Let the running begin!
I settled into a “12-and-3” run/walk pattern: 12 minutes running, 3 minutes walking. Running pace averaged 10:00-to-10:30 mile pace. Gradually, I began to pass runners. At first, this was just occasionally, then more frequently.
The weather had warmed into the low 40’s. Since we were running westerly into the wind, I kept on my gloves and hat for the entire run. For temperature control, I simply lowered and raised the zipper on my Ibex jacket. This is by far the best piece of running apparel I have, along with my 2XU calf compression sleeves, compression tri shorts, tri top, and thermal top.
At Mile 34, I switched to a “9-and-3” run/walk pattern - maintaining the same running pace, for shorter duration. I had no problems keeping the pace and rhythm. At 41.8 miles, I exited the C&O and began the final paved road segment of the course. This section starts with a respectable climb and then settles into a rolling course of country roads, as the sun set.
I suspended the “9-and-3” pattern and made my run-or-walk decision on the topography - running most of the ascents and level stretches, and walking the steeper downhills. As the course got gentler, I went back to the “9-and-3” until I was inside of 2 miles. My running pace slowed to around 11:00. Inside of 2 miles, I “ran it in” - without any sprinting.
I finished gracefully (still able to run without a limp) in just over 10 hours 57 minutes - more than an hour ahead of the 12-hour finish cut-off time. I ran the first 25 miles in just over 6 hours and the second 25 in less than 5 hours. (The second half is much easier than the first.)
As a "point of reference", the top 50-59 male, Jon Lawler, finished 9th overallin a time of 6:21:19, averaging 7:38 mile pace. Humbling.
Larry Lewis and I at the JFK 50 Finish
I ran in the New Balance Trail Minimus shoes - light, super-flexible and thin-soled. My feet were a bit sore for the last 10 miles. (I am icing as I write this Sunday night and Monday morning.) I love the feel of minimal footwear. It has refined my running technique - my Alliance with Gravity.
The downside is the minimal protection on rocky terrain and zero stability in every stride. In that last 10 miles, I could feel the strain on the connective tissues in my ankles and feet. For me, I see this as a challenge to further refine my Alliance with Gravity - to run with less impact on the Earth.
The finish lines are graceful, yet the zendurance path never ends...
Four days to recover. And then a marathon a day for three days. The "slow pace of humility" continues.
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