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Trails and Travails

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Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:12 pm

I guess this will pick up where Into the Wild left off.
Basically, it's going to be all about trails and ultras until early December. Then a month off (yeah, right) and we'll start marathon training in January.

Tentative race calendar:
7/4 - Ladera Ranch 10k
7/23 - not a race, but Rim-to-River-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon
9/10 - either Endure the Bear 50k or Land of the Sky 36-miler
9/24 - Granite Bay trail marathon
12/3 - North Face 50-miler SF

There will be some racing in October and November, as well. 9/10 and 12/3 are goal races, everything else is just glorified training. For now.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Schuey on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:24 pm

Mike look forward to following your blog and your quest in conquering the Ultra distance. I guess I will have to get a blog going soon also.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Kenny B. on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:25 pm

Nice line up of races. I am jealous of the Ultra running. One day! Enjoy the training! cheers
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Chris M on Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:08 pm

"7/23 - not a race, but Rim-to-River-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon"

Whoa. A long time ago, maybe when i was your age, I did the hike from the South Rim down to the river and back up. Very tough. Are you going on to the North Rim? How long a run is that?!?! That will be unspeakably hard. I think there was a 40 degree temperature swing during my hike from high to low. It was a brutal hike and I was just walking - running it?!
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mrs. Schuey on Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:40 pm

Mike, looking forward to following your training! The Grand Canyon run sounds like a blast!!
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:05 pm

When are you moving up to northern CA??

Looks like an ambitious schedule, Mike, but you can do it.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Natalie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:33 pm

I'm getting sore just reading your summer schedule. Ah... youth!
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Dave-O on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:39 pm

Trails and Ultras...two things I essentially know nothing about. And that's why this should be a fun read.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:12 pm

Trail, running yes; racing no.
Ultra, no.

But look forward to following your training Mike.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Matt W on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:05 pm


Good luck with your training/racing this summer. It sounds like you have some interesting runs planned. I hope it all goes well and proves to be the adventures you want them to be.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Jeff F on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:17 pm

Mike, looking forward to following your blog. I am also mostly doing trails and ultras this year. I know a couple of runners who did the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim earlier this year. Sounded like quite an adventure.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  dot520 on Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:26 pm

I'll be out in So Cal this weekend for Father's Day visiting in Seal Beach. Could you try to have some sunnier, warmer weather?? Where up north are you planning on moving?
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Tea from RonItch on Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:52 pm

AWSESOME!!

I've done two 50K's but haven't been interested in doing 50 miles or anything longer. (Maybe down the road a bit).

It will be a lot of fun following along.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:53 am

Very cool summer/fall racing schedule Mike. It'll be fun to follow along.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Peg Coover on Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:12 am

The hardest race I ever did was a 12K trail run. OMG! I was more sore the next few days after that than after my first marathon! I was humbled! I admire your determination!
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Ken Mello on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:04 am

I think that I'm going to learn a LOT by following what goes on in here. Exclamation
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mark B on Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:50 pm

Peg Coover wrote:The hardest race I ever did was a 12K trail run. OMG! I was more sore the next few days after that than after my first marathon! I was humbled! I admire your determination!

Boy, can I relate to THAT sentiment!

And Mike, you'll have to use this blog to share some of your secrets of successful trail racing...
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:48 pm

A collective thank you to everyone for the enthusiastic welcome. Loving these new forums already.

Schuey wrote:Mike look forward to following your blog and your quest in conquering the Ultra distance. I guess I will have to get a blog going soon also.

I know you SAID you weren't planning on the WS 100 anytime "soon," but I'm planting the seed now: Mike vs. Schuey 2013. And yes, I find it foolish that I'm challenging you to a 1v1, but I figure if I keep up the trail racing while you're pounding out more unattainable marathon times, we might come to the starting line on a level playing field.

Kenny B. wrote:Nice line up of races. I am jealous of the Ultra running. One day! Enjoy the training! cheers

I admit that the 50k/36mi followed 2 weeks later by a marathon is partially inspired by your idea of running marathons as training runs. So I thank you for that.

Chris M wrote:"7/23 - not a race, but Rim-to-River-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon"

Whoa. A long time ago, maybe when i was your age, I did the hike from the South Rim down to the river and back up. Very tough. Are you going on to the North Rim? How long a run is that?!?! That will be unspeakably hard. I think there was a 40 degree temperature swing during my hike from high to low. It was a brutal hike and I was just walking - running it?!

Going from the South Rim, following Bright Angel trail. 7.7 each way with ~4.4k' elevation change. I'm hoping to get in under 3 hours (1:15 to get to the bottom, stop for a second, collect some water from the river, then 1:45 back up). I don't think that's a huge stretch. I'll be starting at 6-7am.

Mrs. Schuey wrote:Mike, looking forward to following your training! The Grand Canyon run sounds like a blast!!

I think you're the first person who's agreed with me that the run sounds fun rather than, well, lethal. Wink

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:When are you moving up to northern CA??

Looks like an ambitious schedule, Mike, but you can do it.

I'm moving some stuff in during the week after July 4; will be there for a week or so getting acquainted with the trails and area. Moving for good mid-August.

Natalie Wolf wrote:I'm getting sore just reading your summer schedule. Ah... youth!

Very Happy Figured I gotta do it while I still can...

Dave-O wrote:Trails and Ultras...two things I essentially know nothing about. And that's why this should be a fun read.

I know a bit about trails, but all my ultra knowledge is pure theory. I'll make sure to pass on the tidbits I learn along the way.

Jerry wrote:Trail, running yes; racing no.
Ultra, no.

But look forward to following your training Mike.

I'm not sure that my attitude towards trail racing is the same as my attitude towards road racing. Road racing, I pick a time and work to demolish it. Trail racing, I generally focus on an effort level that's slightly more than what I think I can sustain for the distance. Then in the second half of the race, I focus on picking people off.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:56 pm

Matt W wrote:
Good luck with your training/racing this summer. It sounds like you have some interesting runs planned. I hope it all goes well and proves to be the adventures you want them to be.

You've nailed the intent with the choice of the word "adventure," Matt. I love racing marathons, and I do have plans for a sub-3:00 "soon," but I think a little freedom and some good stories are best for me at the moment.

Jeff F wrote:Mike, looking forward to following your blog. I am also mostly doing trails and ultras this year. I know a couple of runners who did the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim earlier this year. Sounded like quite an adventure.

R2R2R scares even me... for now. Twisted Evil
I've yet to check if you've set up a blog yet, but hopefully I'll be able to learn a thing or two from it before I kill myself in a race.

dot520 wrote:I'll be out in So Cal this weekend for Father's Day visiting in Seal Beach. Could you try to have some sunnier, warmer weather?? Where up north are you planning on moving?

Accuweather's saying SB will still be cloudy Sad That's the beach, though... It's warm over here in the foothills, though! I'll be moving to Auburn, about a mile south of Old Town.

Tea from RonItch wrote:AWSESOME!!

I've done two 50K's but haven't been interested in doing 50 miles or anything longer. (Maybe down the road a bit).

It will be a lot of fun following along.

Any advice for the 50k's? I know that as the mileage really piles on, some people suggest a 5min run:1min walk pattern, but I'd imagine you can still run through an entire 50k, right?

Seth Harrison wrote:Very cool summer/fall racing schedule Mike. It'll be fun to follow along.

Hope it's as fun to follow as it'll be for me to run Smile

Peg Coover wrote:The hardest race I ever did was a 12K trail run. OMG! I was more sore the next few days after that than after my first marathon! I was humbled! I admire your determination!

Ah, ain't trails great? I've found that trail running is greatly, greatly supplemented by hill repeats on the bike. Same focus on the quads. Just means I'll have tree trunks instead of marathoner legs.

Ken Mello wrote:I think that I'm going to learn a LOT by following what goes on in here. Exclamation

Hopefully I do, too, before it's too late. Wink

Mark B wrote:

And Mike, you'll have to use this blog to share some of your secrets of successful trail racing...

Wait, who said anything about being successful? Very Happy
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  John Kilpatrick on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:18 pm

That is a crazy ambitious schedule - I know you can do it! It will be a good day when 3:00 falls!

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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:18 pm

Again, thanks to everyone for stopping by and sugar-coating how crazy you all think I am. Wink But seriously, I hope to learn a lot from the next few months, and I will be sure to pass along everything that comes to me.

I think today was the perfect day to start the actual "training" section of this blog. Those of you who followed along on my TP blog(s) know that I frequently mention the following:

Sabotaging my own training via drinking/staying up way too late the night before an important run
Ladyfriend
Rattlesnakes

Let's start with yesterday. Yesterday was supposed to be a 7 miler with 2x 2@6:05 in the middle. Well, this came after a number of hard workouts this week, including lots of trail running, hill repeats on the bike... So it didn't really surprise me that my right glute seized up a mile into the first interval. It did, however, annoy me, as this is the first time EVER that I've had to cut a workout short. Ended up with 6 miles, only 1@6:05. Because of this, I wasn't too sure whether or not I'd be doing today's run.

Fast forward to last night. Since classes have ended, I've been hosting dinner parties with some friends every couple of weeks. Basically, an excuse for me to cook a lot of good food, get free booze out of it, and enjoy a few laughs over a communal meal. Last night's turnout was a bit smaller, but this did not correspond to less alcohol being consumed. Bottom line: fell asleep with ladyfriend around midnight (hey, we started at 7) with a BAC that'd surely land me in jail. Definitely not doing today's run, right? So I thought...

We woke up at 10 today (as opposed to my usual 6-7) and decided the grey skies were a good enough reason to just lay around in our pajamas and watch some cycling on TV. The sun was just barely poking its head out by the time she left at 1:30. I decided to switch the location of the run (from one mountain to another) and just suck it up and do it. Started in the heat of the day at 3 - remember, this is a training run for the Grand Canyon, which will be hot-hot-hot, so I was intentionally picking the worst time of the day for it. 16 miles, 4450' gain/loss, and 2:27 later, training run #1 for the Grand Canyon was in the bag.

Oh, and yes, I saw a rattlesnake. Little guy, only about 2' long, and fortunately the trail was wide enough to swing around him without any conflict.

And now, I'll bring back those fun elevation charts I used to post. The white number is my actual average pace for the interval. The blue number is my "NGP," or Normalized Graded Pace. This is derived from the elevation change (and gradient) over the interval, and corresponds to the pace I'd be keeping at my effort level if the course was flat. The red number is my average heart rate for the interval. For the record, 155-160 is my GA range. Each interval averages 8% up or down, includes ~1950' gain or loss, and has some sections at 10-11%.



Last edited by Mike MacLellan on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Schuey on Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:19 pm

I know you SAID you weren't planning on the WS 100 anytime "soon," but I'm planting the seed now: Mike vs. Schuey 2013. And yes, I find it foolish that I'm challenging you to a 1v1, but I figure if I keep up the trail racing while you're pounding out more unattainable marathon times, we might come to the starting line on a level playing field.

Well Mike I love the challenge and no I don't think it is foolish hat you are challenging me to a 1v1 at WS 100. I think that this is a great idea and I also believe that it would be awesome to go and do this race with you. How fucking fun would that be! So 2013 let's see what we can do. If we go forward with this lets hope that both of us get into the lottery! Yeah I think this would be a blast!
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:54 pm

Schuey wrote:Well Mike I love the challenge and no I don't think it is foolish hat you are challenging me to a 1v1 at WS 100. I think that this is a great idea and I also believe that it would be awesome to go and do this race with you. How fucking fun would that be! So 2013 let's see what we can do. If we go forward with this lets hope that both of us get into the lottery! Yeah I think this would be a blast!

It's on, buddy. I have a feeling this will be much less of a 1v1 and more of a "why are we doing this, again?" race, but either way, the company would be great.

Got an email notification of a training run for the "Harding Hustle 30k/50k" this morning and remembered that there's an ultra on July 9 that uses the course I ran yesterday. Except it goes 5 miles farther up the mountain for the 30k (the last 3 are much flatter, only about 3-4%) and then another whatever for the 50k. Last year, first to the top was 1:13... I actually raced against the guy who posted that earlier this year in a 5-miler. He's an absolute animal on hills, and he won by 3 minutes. I was second place.

Wish I was going to be in town for this one.

Oh, and I hate rest days. Hatehatehatehatehate. I'm thinking I'll end up running a slow hour later.
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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:30 pm

So, I didn't run on Friday. My body was saying yes, but my quads were saying that's hilarious, and wouldn't let me out the door. Let's just say I couldn't even walk down the stairs in a straight line. Had to turn my hips and kind of side-shuffle using the handrail for support.

Another one of those youthfully exuberant late nights that began with Starbucks and 100 Years of Solitude - the book - at 8:30, after which I headed to a house that my buddy was, well, house-sitting; a small group (5 of us) progressed through The Last Exorcism - the terrible, terrible movie - a Mortal Kombat tournament, a viewing of the original Mortal Kombat movie... and ended sometime after 4 in the morning. Did I mention that the only liquor in the entire house was 2 bottles of Schnapps? And for mixers, either Propel or Almond Milk. I made a concoction I'm going to call "almond creamsicle" with the almond milk and some apricot Schnapps. It wasn't too awful, but it was kind of awful.

Woke up at 7, then 8, then 9, then finally kept my eyes open at 10.

As I was planning a 12-mile run Saturday and 15 today, I wanted to make absolute sure that ladyfriend and I were still doing our bike ride in the afternoon before I considered cutting the run shorter. She said we were. So I decided to go 9-12 miles instead of 12.

Ended up with 11 at a pretty slow (compared to what I've been doing lately) pace. Low 8's, I think. Quads were bitchy for the first 8-9 miles, and my left hamstring made itself known. Hips got sore by the end. Nothing to make me worry, just the usual "you've been kicking our asses on hills all week" complaints, but still not exactly fun.

The bike ride, on the other hand, was, for the most part, fun. Again, ladyfriend's dad joined us, as did her brother (who has run a marathon, actually). We started slow and easy - I let the two older guys pull for a few miles to loosen my legs up - before I decided I should probably take my turn pull for a bit, as a head-cross had picked up. I accidentally dropped them all. Repeatedly. Eep. Probably not a good way to win over her dad. By the time we started the "pre-hill" (a few miles at 3% before the 2 miles at 6%), her dad and I had split from them and I was pulling us around 22-23 into a mild head-cross. I think he enjoyed keeping up.

First time up the hill I really cranked it. Ended up hitting the top just under 10:30 after starting it - average 11.3. According to bikecalculator.com, that's 276 watts, or 4.34watts/kg. I think my aerobic threshold is around 170-180, with my LT around 240. These are pretty loose estimates, but I don't think they're completely off. Went over the backside and came back up with ladyfriend, so it was a pretty easy effort until the sprint at the top.

Then, as her dad and brother had only done the hill once, we realized they didn't wait for us. Which was fine (I wouldn't want to wait 20 minutes, either), but meant that now there was no one to share pulls with, as ladyfriend likes to just sit on wheels (and needs to practice getting comfortable with that, anyway). That head-cross from the way out became a harder head-cross on the way back. ~7-8mph for the most part. By the end, my quads were really, really unhappy with me, I was starting to bonk, and both ladyfriend and I wanted to throw our bikes into traffic and die.

Or eat an entire French baguette with hummus, oil/vinegar, and tomatoes, and polish off a bottle of wine. Which we did. And it was worth the pain on the bike.

You can see on the elevation chart where I took the first pull (miles 3-5ish) and the second (6-9ish).

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Re: Trails and Travails

Post  Mrs. Schuey on Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:12 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:Since classes have ended, I've been hosting dinner parties with some friends every couple of weeks. Basically, an excuse for me to cook a lot of good food, get free booze out of it, and enjoy a few laughs over a communal meal.

Funny...that's my definition of a great time! It sounds like you had a lot of fun and great job on getting in the run even though you probably still felt the night before drunken drunken
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