For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ultra simple

Well, i'm running my first ultra of sorts this winter.  I say 'of sorts' because of the winter part - it certainly will be much tougher in some respects than a typical ultra, but easier in the sense that there's no way i'll be running the whole thing.  In digging a little more into the race i've gotten even more excited - supposedly the 64 miles are comprised almost entirely of single track trail.  Snowshoes aren't allowed (to make sure everyone faces the same conditions).  And rather than a 5% completion rate, the event boasts an even lower 2% - only four racers have finished the full distance over the four years the event has been held, despite hundreds of entrants.  Sweet.

My training is going very well - i'm motivated and focused and actually feel myself getting stronger every week.  I'm keeping things simple - lots of running on the treadmill to gauge progress and ensure i'm not slacking, plus an outside run at least every other week that is designed to really challenge me.  I'm running twice a week and biking once - i've also added a bit of strength work which means my total cardio time is only 1:50 per week.  Below are the details -

Run 1 (usually tuesday):  20 minutes on treadmill.  Hill program.  This program has an 8 min "warm up" period at a modest grade followed by 4 x 1 min hills, each bigger than the last, with a 1 min rest interval at no or little incline.  The last four minutes are flat or with a slight incline.  At the start of these 12 weeks i was running at a 7:30 pace on level 5.  last tuesday (3 weeks in) i was @ lvl 10 (lowest incline is 1.5%, highest is 7.8%).  by the end of 12 weeks i hope to be running the program at level 10 at under a 7 min pace, or even 6:40.

A fire like this, after 32 miles of walking, is what kills most people in the Frozen Otter.
Bike 1 (usually thursday):  30 minutes on the stationary bike.  I do some sort of intervals or tempo ride using wattage to measure intensity.  for example, week 1 i warmed up for 5 minutes @ 200+ watts, then did a 20 minute tempo ride @ 250 watts and a final 5 back @ 200+ watts.  In week 3 i repeated this workout but managed to keep 275+ watts for the first 10 minutes of the tempo ride before not being able to sustain it and dropping down to 250 watts for the next 10 min.

Run 2 (usually sunday):  1 hour.  I'll alternate this between a run on the treadmill (no slo random pro) and an outside run.  On the outside runs i'll try to keep them meaningful and hard.  I ran outside on week two for example, and recruited uber-athlete Sean Cooley to ensure that i got destroyed.  I did.  Next week i will be at the in-laws cabin and will try to do a cross-country run outside through old snow-mobile trails to get in some hills and running conditions i'm more likely to face on the frozen otter.

Thats it - short and sweet and hard.  And in another 9 weeks, or 18 training hours, i'll be ready to go run 64 miles.  In fact, if i barely make the race cutoff at 24 hours, i'll have spent less time training (over 12 weeks) than it takes me to do the race.  Pretty cool!

Monday, November 14, 2011


It had been an awful long time since i'd had a long run outside, and because in 10 weeks i'll be aiming for a  really long run outside, i figured it'd be better not to wait any longer.  I couldn't quite muster the motivation to go on my own, so decided to try to use my vast social network to get some company.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was.  And it wasn't.  I suppose this is the way with most ideas - there is a pretty distinct separation between what is good for the short term and good for the long term.  In this case, my decision was good for the long term.  I'm pretty sure its going to kick my body into gear and make it realize - holy sh*T - he intends to be a runner again!  As far as the short term is concerned though, i'll refer you to the title.

My running partner/would be executioner.
Sure, i've felt like this before, but it has been a while.  And it has probably been longer since i felt so destroyed 20 minutes into an hour workout.  But it was my decision - truth be told i only sought company from one guy - Sean Cooley - who i learned (while running our first mile at sub 6:40 - despite clear instructions that i wanted an hour run at around a 7 minute pace) is soon to be announced as Minnesota Tri News' most improved triathlete of 2011.  I'm not a very social runner, but i needed to be pushed and knew Sean could do the job.  I just didn't realize how well he could do it, but then he is an overachiever (not many 'most improved triathletes' are also first year med students).  We eventually slowed down to our target pace by the fifth mile, but it was too little too late.  I hung on through mile eight and then cut Sean loose, jogging and even walking the remaining 2 miles to my house, and can barely walk this morning.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Next on the agenda

CP tracker nationals has come and gone with somewhat disappointing results.  6th place is a long way from the podium, although there is some consolation in that we were one of eight teams to clear the course.  One issue we had was a lack of experience (as a team) with competitive orienteering.  Another problem that we had is that we weren't all on the same page in terms of expectations and fitness coming in.  We figured some stuff out though so hopefully won't make the same mistake if we go for it again next year.

In the midst of nationals and then planning and pulling off (with Ted and Beek) END-TOMBED, our twelve hour mt. bike race that received rave reviews, the arrowhead135, which was to be my next big adventure (i've tackled it twice on bike but was going to attempt completing it on foot this time) filled up.  Bummer.  Luckily, Grant Mehring, fellow suffer-o-phile told me about the frozen otter race in Wisconsin.
Results from the 2011 frozen otter.  Only the top two racers in the purple section finished the full course!
The event takes place about a week before the arrowhead and is perhaps equally as daunting - a 64 mile romp through the woods on a hiking trail.  To be declared a finisher, you have to complete the distance in under 24 hours.  To make matters worse they have a checkpoint every 8 miles with a big fire and the offer of a shuttle back to race HQ where there is indoor warmth and food and drink.  apparently by the 3rd CP racers are dropping like flies.  In face in 2011 only 2 out of the 42 full distance racers completed the course.    Anything that has a 95% attrition rate is my kind of race.

I'm planning on making my own attempt with Grant and Tom Fisher - my partner on last year's bike of the arrowhead135, who is the youngest biker to finish that event and had hoped to be the youngest walker after 2012.  He'll no doubt be the youngest to finish the frozen otter (if he succeeds), and maybe with three of us we'll be better able to ward off the sleep-monsters and rally to push on through CP's that we reach when we're at low points (unless we're all low at the same time, which rarely happens).

And of course, i'll do it only training 2 hours a week.