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A Girl’s Guide to Trail Running » 2009 » August

A Few Quotes for Race Week

Posted on Aug 26, 2009

Race week is here! The Cascade mountains are calling.  I am getting really excited to run the race on Saturday.  100 miles, 21,000 ft of gain and 21,000 ft of loss… I also get to celebrate my 30th birthday that day… This is certainly a way to remember the beginning of a new decade!  In preparing for the race I like to read some of the quotes that motivate me.  Here are a few of my favorites:

A lot of people run a race to see who’s the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts.”
          – Steve Prefontaine

The body does not want you to do this.  As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong.  You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy…It is not age; it is not diet.  It is the will to succeed.”
          – Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” -  Franklin D. Roosevelt


The road to success is line with many tempting parking spaces. – Traditional Proverb


“Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.”  – Storm Jameson


“The best way out is always through.”- Robert Frost







A Last Long Run to Steady My Legs

Posted on Aug 17, 2009


Whew… its time for a breather.  JB and I drove to Point Reyes yesterday to try a new trail for the last of my long training runs.  We got a late start because I slept in and then we made french toast and watched an episode of 24 that we had on DVD.  I mean isn’t that what Sunday’s are for.. that and some good running, of course.  Finally we got out the door with full Nathan hydration packs, lots of Hammer gel, Cliff shot blocks and Sharkies.  As we drove through the Marin Headlands near Interstate 1, we could see the telltale sign that summer is coming to an end as the parking lot of Muir Woods was overflowing.  The minivans and SUV’s full of people  were there waiting to get a glimpse of the glorious Redwood trees that lie deep in the quiet of those shadows. Only a few weekends in August remain!  JB and I were seeking more refuge and quiet and so we kept on driving in the mad traffic.  Finally after almost 2 hours in the car, we put on the GPS, tightened our laces on the shoes and started up the Palomarin trail near Point Reyes Bird Observatory.   The views were incredible and the weather was pretty warm.  We planned on 6 hours and 30 miles for the day with an out and back on the Glen Trail, the Coast Trail and the Backroad trail.  The first 5 miles went by in a flash- the legs felt good, the lungs breathing in rythym, and my best running pal in the whole world by my side made me want for nothing more.  Soon we ran into Ultrarunning veteran Chuck Wilson who informed us that he had just saw a bobcat not far from where we were headed.  I was hoping that little guy would still be around when we got up the trail.  No such luck… But Chuck did tell us to go run on the Sky Trail up to Baldy point and we headed that way after consulting the map.

As we came to the intersection where Baldy began in a huge climb, a couple of older guys sitting by the side of the trail,  muttered  to us” You’ll be sorry!” JB and I glanced at each other and smiled and then replied- “I don’t think so…” and took off running straight up the hill, laughing the whole way.  The old guys watched us and the perplexed look on their faces was priceless.  Not a regret in sight as the trail steepened and we downshifted into climbing mode.  What an awesome trail, an awesome view.DSC00473

We pushed it hard for the next 5 miles to the turnaround.  We found the water spicket, refilled our packs and bottles and started back.  We were making good time and were on track for our goal. The next 14 or so miles peeled away pretty quickly and JB and I found ourselves on the edge of the land with blue ocean and a sunset on the horizon.  We paused and took in the views of the coastline and I took the time to be grateful for my family, my health and the ability of my legs and lungs to let me see so many places in nature I otherwise would not.

Cascade Crest 100 is 12 days away.  Lots of rest, mental re-focusing and a game plan is what I will be working on.  Of course life goes on, so work and responsibilities don’t go away. But, I know that’s what makes life so interesting.


Lactate Threshold runs

Posted on Aug 4, 2009

Saturday brought about an amazing revelation- I really love lactate threshold runs… Masochistic? Nah, not really- I think its a sign my fitness is getting to a nice place.  Starting out at the Heather Cut off trail near Muir Beach in the Marin Headlands, I ran up to Pan Toll on a fairly steep but still fast trail.  Pan Toll is just below the sumitt of  Mt Tamalpais.  I did this repeat twice for 45 minutes each climb.  I knew I was going pretty fast, because running down still took me 35 minutes!   2 hours, 53 minutes and 17 miles later I was happy and soaking wet from the sweat and humidity. It was just a great day!

I used to dread these climbs because they are so hard, but now I like to think of them as “hauling ass hill repeats.” Before my coaching with Scott (Jurek, as in 7-time winner of Western States 100, ultrarunning guru), I never incorporated speed work or specific lactate threshold work. What does a long distance runner have to gain with those workouts anyway? Lots and lots, as it turns out. Experienced runners who are looking to gain fitness must do so by going into their anaerobic threshold metabolism. A very interesting study published on the Running Research news website, cited an exercise physiology study looking at ways to increase lactate threshold in runners by doing the following: Runners that averaged around 75 miles a week were told to drop their mileage to 45 miles a week and in substitution of that mileage ,perform a progressive series of hops, jumps, bounds and explosive sprints three days a week. The study found these runners increased their lactate threshold by 6.8 percent in nine weeks!

Hill work in Eastern Nevada over the July 4th holiday

Hill work in Eastern Nevada over the July 4th holiday

How do you find your lactate threshold?  The best way to figure it out is to run a 10K or 10miler as fast as you can.  Lactate threshold is what you can hold for about an hour.  Make sure to wear a heart rate monitor and the heart rate that occurs at that level of running is very likely your LT.  Another awesome reference guide is to pick up the Daniels Running Formula available here, which takes you through your exact chart for your speed.

So here’s to the hills and all the speed you can find..

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