Haven't blogged since 1/23 when I created this thing. This will be a discipline I'll need to work on as I have never really journaled my entire life. I guess I've always thought it best to keep my thoughts safely inside my head. Anyway...
With the Grand Slam now a reality, the last couple of weeks have been filled with taking care of the logistics involved in an endeavor such as this. Registration Forms, flights, lodging, service requirements ( 3of the 4 races require some form of trail or volunteer work as part of your application) and of coarse a training plan that will not only get me to the starting line of Western States in the best shape of my life, but one that will also keep me healthy and injury free during the 10 weeks between June 28 and September 6 when the slam concludes at the Wasatch Front 100 outside Salt Lake City.
The first phase of training has been focused on building a strong base that will support the more intense effort that will be needed later this spring. The plan is built on a 14 day schedule that basically repeats itself, with intensified pace or increase mileage, every two weeks. The 14 day schedule includes 2 speed days, each with their own focus, 2 different hill workouts, 4 longer runs ans 2-4 recovery runs. Core and Strength (weight) work play a big role during this period as well, Both machines and and balance/body focused weights (walking lunges, balance ball dumbbells) are utilized. As you can see from this schedule this is not a time to just heap on miles, but build mileage slowly while stressing the body with targeted workout that will also help make it stronger and faster. As the workload has steadily increased I have also discovered Sleep and Nutrition will need to be addressed. The increased stress on my 45 years old body is already being felt. Without a plan for better sleep and improved nutritional support I may not make it to June.
During the build up to Western States a number of races have been incorporated into the training schedule. These races serve a variety of purposes; one, they are a much more favorable option then going out on a six hour training run by yourself. two, they provide an opportunity to get out on trails, the surface the majority of Grand Slam miles will be run on and three, racing helps keep you sharp for the actual race. There's an old saying, "long slow distance,makes long slow runners" With the demanding time cut-offs in these races one can't afford to be too slow.
On Saturday, February 10 the First of these races was to be held. The PsycoWyco 50K outside Kansas City, a race last year run in 15 degree temps on trails of ice, causing me to fall so often (despite the sheet metal screws drilled into my shoes), that it took me 7:48 to finish the three lap course. This year with 8" of snow falling throughout the region on Wednesday, anything was possible for Saturday.