Training for this race has gone surprisingly well. Been averaging a solid 10-minute mile pace the entire time. I maxed out at 15.5 miles. I made the decision NOT to do a 20-miler with the 35-pound pack, but I did do the 15.5 mile run as a depletion run, meaning no gels, salt tabs and I only had water for the first 3 miles. I’m also buoyed by the fact that I did 3 pack runs a week and every training plan I saw for the race only had 1 or 2 runs a week.
I revised my goal time to 5:30 and a top 10 finish. The weather is a concern as the initial forecast called for 25 MPH winds. However, that forecast was revised down to 15 MPH winds today.
I bought a nice new Ospry pack and it has been a total delight to train with.
Here’s my long-ass training log:
5 miles in 37 minutes
Late run last night. 19 out. 18 back. Loving the new NBs. Mellow run.
Strava is now out for Android. After this race, I’m looking forward to hitting the various PHX trails and seeing where I land on the leader boards.
12.5ish miles in 2 hours
Inside track run with the 35-pound pack. ASU basketball star Jahii Carson decided to play a pick-up game at my gym and the inside track surrounds the basketball area, so people stood and watch from the track. The workers did the best they could to make people leave, but I still ended up weaving in and out of people. Luckily he left after about 45 minutes and the place cleared out. I ate a gel at the 1:15 mark and switched directions (I was the only one on the track at this point). My pace was pretty consistent and I was kind surprised I didn’t fade. 12 laps is one mile and I was doing 45 to 50 second laps, so I figure I ran about 12 and a half miles. Feels like this is some of the toughest training I have ever done. I’m glad the race is just 3 weeks away. 2 more weeks of training, then bring on the taper.
5 miles in 33 minutes
The company has started a health/active lifestyle initiative. I christened the treadmill in our new work-out room. They photographed and recorded it for the company newsletter and internal website. Vanity took over and I went a little faster than I normally would have. Awkward running on treadmill with a ton of people watching. They actually got a nice True and not some crappy Costco treadmill. Plumbing to the shower isn’t finished yet, so I have spent the rest of the day stewing in my own filth.
5 miles in 37 minutes
Busy day. The wife and I ended up childless after both older kids went over to friends houses and our babysitter wanted to take the baby to the first-time parent class she teaches at a local hospital. Ended up eating at a soul food place in downtown PHX we always wanted to try. Walked around for about an hour, then the wife wanted to do some shopping. I used Map My Run to map out a 5-miler, went back to the car to throw on my emergency running gear and off I went. Hit a shitload of traffic lights and stopped for some homeless people (I brought a fistful of ones). I love urban runs.
15(ish) miles in 2:30
Drank too much last night and woke up with a hangover. I was underfueled and dehydrated for my 2:30 run with the 35-pound pack. Forced myself to stick with the program. Once I was on the track at the gym, I fell into a groove. Felt great until I hit 2 hours, then I could feel the energy drain out of me and it was a slog until the finish. Tough run, but I’m pretty happy that I pushed myself and finished. 3 hours is definitely my max for these pack training runs.
5 miles in 35 minutes
Would have skipped this one if not for this damn streak. Feel pretty beat up right now. Even split.
After reading race reports and looking at past results, I’m gonna say 6 hours is my goal for this race. Seems every year there’s one studly dude who runs it in 4 hours, then the rest of the top 20 is between 5 and 6:30 hours. I’d be fine with top 20. 13 minute miles puts me at around 5:45. I’ve been averaging 10 minute miles with the pack, but that’s on a padded indoor track. The race is on a fairly treacherous jeep trail through the middle of the desert and there’s a lot of uphill. I should be training on some trails, but with the pack, the risk turning a knee or something is too great.
9.5(ish) miles in 90 minutes
Felt like shit all day yesterday, but was still planning on running for 2 hours with the 35-pound pack. About 30 minutes before the run, I tweaked my back while playing with the baby. Decided to cut it to an hour. Hit the gym and actually felt pretty decent when I started. Got to an hour and still felt solid, so I added another 30 minutes. Talked with a woman training for a pikermi during most of the run. She’s 50 and her husband was a hardcore (sub-3:00) marathoner who died at 45 while running. She’s the second woman I have met while running whose husband died while running. We were clicking off sub-50 second laps, so I would guess I did 9.5 miles. Good run and my back feels decent today. 10 miles tonight.
5 miles in 35 minutes
Left the house after 11 last night. Even split with no finishing kick. Definitely feel like I’m hitting a low spot in my training. Think I overdid it with the pack the last couple of weeks and now I’m paying for it.
13(ish) miles in 2 hours
Killed it tonight with the 35-pound pack on the indoor track. Just solid with no fade. A “I can run forever” night. I contemplated just leaving my car at the gym and running home, but knew that would be a hassle for the wife in the morning. Went through about 36 ounces of Gatorade and a gel. I needed this after a shaky couple of days.
5 miles in 35 minutes
Morning run after I dropped the kids off. Lots of bluehairs of the canal, but they kept with canal etiquette (get the hell out of the runner’s way) and I didn’t have to punch any of them. Even split.
7.5 miles with 2,400 feet in elevation change in 63 minutes
Fuck! Had a sub 60 dead to rights, but got stuck behind some horses in a narrow section of the trail. By the time they pulled off the trail, I knew a sub 60 would be impossible, so I cruised to the finish. Still, an enjoy run on a beautiful day.
10 miles in 93 minutes
Had planned on another 2 hour run with the 35-pound pack on the inside track, but I’m starting to worry a bit about heat on the day of the race, so I changed my plans. Hit the canal with the pack at mid-day and decided to run my 10-miler at about 80 percent effort. It was already 77 when I left. Felt solid the entire way and briefly had dreams of finishing in 90 minutes, but a nasty headwind picked up in the last 3 miles. I managed a dinky quarter-mile finishing kick. 46 out. 47 back. Great run. I had worried that my runs on the indoor track were spoiling me a bit. Perhaps it’s the “muggy” conditions of the gym and the rather unforgiving track (it’s not spongy like outdoor tracks), but the outdoor runs actually seem easier. 2 hour pack run on Tuesday, then the taper begins.
5 miles in 35 minutes
Wife and kids are on spring break, so I didn’t have to go through the usual morning routine before my run. Relaxed run. Even split. No finishing kick.
A kind soul from a message board gave me his Garmin info from last year and the “monster” uphill in my race really isn’t that monstrous. Looks like an average of about a 2% grade over 5.5 miles. While it certainly won’t be fun with a 35-pound pack on, it’s hardly a killer.
12.5 miles in 2:02
Hit the canal with the 35-pound pack. Felt great, turned around at 1:01 in hopes of running a negative split, but got hung up at a couple traffic crossings. Nice little finishing kick to bring home an even split. Gonna push my luck and do a 2 and a half hour pack run on Thursday. Probably should be backing off now for the taper, but I’m still feeling weary of this race and know I have been undertraining mileage-wise in an effort to save my back. So I’m gonna reduce my taper to one week and pack on some more miles this week.
I think a 6 hour goal race time and a top 20 finish is sandbagging it a little. I’m gonna revise it to 5:30 and top 10 finish.
5 miles in 36 minutes
Left too late last night (after 11) and it kinda felt like a drag. Even split. No finishing kick. Gonna do 2 and a half hours tonight with the 35-pound pack, then the dreaded uphill Towers run on Saturday. That’s a shitload of tough work this close to the race, but I plan on completely shutting it down (just doing my 5 miles) after Sunday.
Also, the forecast for the day of the race is calling for 25 mph winds. This shit is gonna be fun.
15.5 miles in 2:35
Still feeling a little shaky about not doing a 20-miler with the 35-pound pack before the race, so I decided to do a 2 and a half hour depletion run tonight. I had a granola bar for breakfast and a can of chicken noodle soup for lunch, then skipped dinner before my run. At the last second, I kinda realized I hadn’t really drank anything all day either, so I did decide to take a bottle of water with me, which I drank all of in the first 3 miles. The run went pretty well, but as expected I had cottonmouth for the entire second half. With about 2 miles left, I started to fade. No finishing kick. This wasn’t as good as my last few pack runs, but I feel good that I still averaged 10-minute miles without fuel. I’m ready for this fucking race.