Thursday, December 21, 2023

Pre-Training Phase I complete


View from this morning's run. How could you not be grateful when seeing this?

Since committing to the Cowboy 200 last September, I have been in Phase I of "pre-training".  This has been a base building phase with strength work added in for fun.  Actually, not for fun - I don't love doing it, but I sure do like the way it makes me feel. 

Anyway, 400 miles later, and I am ready to roll into Phase II of pre-training which will be from Jan 1 - April 15th.  There is an estimated 527 miles to run in this phase and countless hours of weights, thousands of squats and lunges.... 

Then I will be ready for actual training - or the final 20 weeks until the Cowboy 200.  (Estimated mileage in this final phase - over 1,200).

So far so good.  I am tracking my recovery and actually paying attention to what the numbers are telling me and adjusting accordingly, and lo and behold, it is working!  Go figure - if you pay attention and try to do things the smart way, you stay healthy. Huh.  Should have paid more attention to that earlier in my running career.

Meeting with my crew and pacers in January to start planning trip logistics. I have made hotel reservations at the start and finish line, and I am starting to loosely sketch out what my race goals. I always have an "A, B and C" goal for each race and this one will be no different.  The main difference here is that it is the first time at this distance, and really all of my race goals are being pulled out of thin air.  Once I get to my 70+ mile weeks, I should have a better idea.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and as always...

Happy Running! 


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Strength Training - Prep for a 200


My mail lady hates me.  In the last few months, she has had to deliver increasingly heavy boxes, from hand weights to a weighted vest. Actually, the 20# hand weights were marked as "unable to deliver" and I had to pick them up at the post office.  

The main difference that I am incorporating into training for my 200 versus previous 100 milers is the addition of weight training.  I am really enjoying it so far (3+ months into the training cycle).  At my age (53), I understand more now than ever that in order to have longevity in sport, or quality of life in general as I age, weight training is necessary.  

I have my standard weight routine that I have done for years now, but I have decided to switch it up to guarantee I am getting full body workouts, and use Sally McRae's strength app.  So far so good! You can choose the length of your workout - I lose interest after 30 minutes - or you can start a structured program that she has set up.  You don't need to head to the gym to do it either - all can be done at home, with bands and free weights.  I am not a gym person.  I know, if I need to drive to workout, I will likely not workout. It needs to be convenient, and preferably done before my brain completely wakes up for the day.

Check it out if you are interested.  $99 for the year, and you can customize your own plan, led by Sally who I consider to be an expert in strength and conditioning in general, and especially for ultrarunning. Link below.  

As always, happy running! 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Training for the Training - Pre-training?

( Hey there - If you are here for the Loup Garou update, scroll down to the next post. :-) )

Since committing to the Cowboy 200 in September of this year (the race is Sept 2024), I knew that a 200 miler would be a whole different animal.  When I have done 100 milers in the past, I have just run ... a lot, and it worked.  As with anything, the more time you put into being uncomfortable in training, the better your race will go.

One of the reasons I like the idea of the 200 mile distance so much, outside of it being so new and no one really having the distance perfected, is that I don't believe you can just grunt this one out.  With 100's, if you are moderately trained and can endure some discomfort, you should be able to finish.  This is different.

The most I have done in one go before is 130 miles, and boy do I remember those last 20 miles.  They were essentially as fast death march where every step was excruciating.  My feet were so swollen that I finished the last 20 miles in flip flops. 

That memory is exactly why I am approaching Cowboy from a different angle. Yes, I will still need high mileage weeks and long runs. The difference is that I have added in more strength training than I have ever done.  I know that second and third day on the trail will tax ALL of my muscles, so my goal is to try to gain overall strength and fitness to hopefully push that fatigue back as much as possible.  While it is inevitable, I'd like to delay it as long as I can.

So, here is an overview of my training:

Through the end of the year, continue to build a base with 30ish mile weeks and strength training 3 days a week.  At the first of the year, gradually increase my mileage to 50 mile weeks while maintaining strength work. April 13th is when the "official" training cycle begins and the long runs get much longer and 2 a days will kick in.  Just in time for Louisiana summer.

By July, anything resembling a social life will end for a bit while I focus on running, working out and recovering. As an introvert, I don't hate this idea, lol. 

And there we have it. The next 9 months of my life, if spent working hard and staying disciplined, should get me to the finish of my first 200 miler in a decent time. (yes I have a time goal, and no I am not putting it out into the world)

Happy running! 


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

All Good Things ...


This year's Loup Garou race is going down as the Year of the Smiling Runner.  There were so many happy faces and happy tears at the finish line this year, and we love it!  Each of our runners came to challenge themselves and spend some quality time out on the trail, and each one walked away with something they didn't have before the race - and no, I am not talking about chafing or black toenails - I mean insight. And hopefully a sense of pride in what they were able to accomplish whether they crossed the finish line or not.

The last 7 years of hosting Loup Garou has been a tremendous blessing for myself and our race crew.  We have been a part of many life changing moments, and we are honored to have been a part of every one of them.  And we are tired.  Putting on this race is seriously hard work, and the older we get (race director and volunteers), the harder it gets.  We have decided to continue the race until it's 10th year (2026), then call it a day.  

I feel like it is important to end the race on a high note, and leave people with good memories from it.  We have worked very hard to build our Loup Garou community, and we make every effort to make our race special - from the runner swag and merchandise to the gumbo and aid stations... we want all of our runners to know that if they do the work in training, we will take care of them during the race so that they have the best opportunity to reach their goal. 

This race is special to all of us, and I want to preserve the positive vibe and good memories from the event.  

So, if this is a bucket list item for you, you may want to get to training!  2026 will be here before you know it!  

Registration for 2024 is open in Ultrasignup, and we can't wait to see our running family again next December!

Happy Running,