It’s beautiful in Arizona this time of year, the temperatures are cool in the morning and moderate during the day plus the desert has been in full bloom for the past several weeks. Yesterday I ran for 5.5 hours taking my time while climbing the tallest peaks in the McDowell Mountains next to my house. I took a few pictures I thought you would enjoy, because I enjoyed the sights in person.
A Quick Update Since Last Year
After a less than stellar racing season in 2012 where every race I entered experienced record heat (me running 50 to 100 miles on sunny 90°+ days is not a good combination) I’m back in 2013 with a new outlook on training, a completely different training period and a new attitude on running. It goes much deeper than what I’m writing here but here’s the gist of each.
New Outlook on Training. In the past I’ve focused on simply piling on the miles. All these miles were run at the same speed and I just pounded my way through them. It worked in 2011 when my goals were conservative in relation to finishing time. But in 2012 when I tried running faster times (yes, in record heat each time) I found I only had one gear and trying to race faster resulted in slower finishing times and a dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish).
So in 2013 I’m changing my training paces by doing very fast (for me) track work, followed by a very slow recovery day, followed by an intense hill climbing day, followed by a very slow recovery day, then my long runs on the weekend. The result so far is I feel stronger at this stage of my training than ever before and my perceived effort level has changed dramatically. I still “feel” the same when I get tired on long runs but when I look at my pace it’s ofter a minute to minute and a half faster than in past years when I felt tired. I’m cautiously optimistic this is a big improvement over past years but I haven’t had a chance to test it past 25 miles yet so we’ll see what happens when I go for a real run.
Different Training Period. The last two years my main focus has been on one key race in October/November with other races sprinkled in as training. This made my training start in late May early June and all my miles were done through the heat of an Arizona summer. In 2013 my focus is on running the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run. This is a much harder 100 mile race than I’ve previously attempted with over 24,000′ of elevation gain and more than 80 of those miles being higher than 8,000′ above sea level. With Tahoe Rim Trail 100 being held in July my training started in February and I’ve been running in a lot of cool and sometimes cold Arizona mornings. I’ll also get a taste of the heat starting in June and when I taper in July but I’m really looking forward to finishing Tahoe Rim Trail 100 then taking a break from training in the dog days of August and September.
A New Attitude on Running. Maybe it’s just a new attitude on racing but focusing on a race is the only reason I run anyway and it’s my blog so I’ll call it what I want. In the past I’ve focused on the miles, both in training and for a race. Notice my blog is still called “My Quest to Run 100 Miles (in less than 24 hours)”. My new focus is on where I run and not how far or how fast. I’ve decided if I wouldn’t go somewhere on a family vacation to just chill out and enjoy the scenery then why would I go there and beat my brains out trying to run 100 miles. After all this is supposed to be enjoyable isn’t it? So this year enter the Tahoe Rim Trail, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Maybe I’ll carry a small paperback book with me and if I have trouble running I’ll sit down in a beautiful place and read my book instead. HA!
Going into Tahoe Rim Trail 100 I have a few things I’m going to do as training. The first will be in early May when I run Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) in the Grand Canyon with a handful of friends. The route we are taking is about 48 miles. Living in Arizona I’ve visited the Grand Canyon a few times and taken a day hike with my family but this will be completely different. I’ve wanted to do this run for the past few years and almost did it last year before my plans fell through. To say I’m excited is an understatement. My only concern is…drum roll please…the heat! Yes, early May on the rim of the Grand Canyon will be spectacular. But in the bottom temperatures can typically reach 105°-110° at midday, which will be our return time off the North Rim as we venture back across the Colorado River and start climbing our way out. I’m still looking forward to it and doing it with a small group of fun people.
My other planned race right now is the Adrenaline Night race in early June. This race starts at 7:00 p.m. and goes through the night as June in Arizona has the highest average temperature of any month. I look at it like the old joke about NASA sending astronauts to the sun…they’ll land at night so they don’t burn up on impact. I’m signed up to run 65K (which I calculated and it’s really 66K+) and would like to run an additional 8.2 mile loop after I finish to get close to the 50 miles I want for Tahoe training.
Vote For Jay
For those of you who haven’t seen my pleas to help my friend Jay Danek win a sponsorship giveaway by First Endurance he needs your vote. I created a page on my running blog “Trail Running Club” explaining who Jay is and why he deserves your vote. You don’t have to be a runner yourself, just trust me, Jay deserves this and needs help winning. I’d greatly appreciate you voting for Jay and share his profile on your Facebook asking your friends to vote for him also. Here’s the link: http://www.trailrunningclub.com/blog/2013/04/11/help-jay-danek-win-the-great-sponsorship-giveaway/
One Last Thing…A New Blog Name
I think it’s time to change the name of my blog, “My Quest to Run 100 Miles (in less than 24 hours)”. That was accomplished in November of 2011 and doesn’t really mean anything at the current time, although it brings back great memories when I think about it. So if you have any suggestions I’d like to hear your ideas. Leave them in the comments section and maybe one of your ideas will be forever attached to this famous media spectacle I call a blog.
Until the next time…be safe and have fun.