Snake River Island Hop 100K Training: Week One

Week One is in the books, and I’m going to call it a qualified success. The physical training side went pretty well; the fueling & recovery self-care was lackluster. I’m following the training plan suggested at the SRIH’s webpage. It’s self-directed: it tells you how much mileage you should cover over the course of the week, how long each of your weekend runs should be, and lets you figure out when & how long the weekday runs will be. I like that the weekends generally include long-ish back-to-back runs. I think that will help train my body to deal with running while tired. The weekday runs don’t specify hill training or intervals – with few exceptions – but I figure I can add those in, as well. Given that my goal is to finish & survive, I’m less concerned about my training plan being perfect and more interested in it being workable.

In the interest of preserving my knees, I’m sticking with my habit of only running on trails. Because of this, my weekday “runs” will be walking workouts if they’re on pavement. I see an advantage to this: I want to re-train my body to walk fast. Once upon a time, I could walk faster than a 15:00 mile; I have this recollection of walking a 12:00 mile when I lived in New Orleans. I’ve gotten out of that habit, as my running has slowed down as I’ve trained for longer distances. Walking fast requires a particular stride, and I want to be comfortable maintaining a 15:00/mile walking pace going into SRIH100K. The race has a strict 14-hour cutoff, which means the 100K runner has to maintain at least 13:33/mile pace. Since that allots no breaks for eating or peeing, I’ll need to be faster than that while actually moving. But if I can maintain 12:00/mile while running — that’s stretch, but it makes the math easier — the 100K can be completed in 12:24, leaving about ninety minutes for stopping at aid stations.

My first run in this plan was a short one – two miles – but it was my first run in about five weeks. I opted for a treadmill run immediately prior to my core strength workout Monday evening. I detest the treadmill, but it was only two miles – even I have the discipline for that! I was pleased with that run. After a warm-up, I set the belt to 12:00/mile pace. With the exception of a couple of short recovery periods, I maintained that pace throughout the rest of the run.

Thursday was the Nomads 5K Run & Brews. We were meeting at RF McDougal’s. I was a bit early, and instead of waiting for the rest of the bunch – I’m slower than the rest of them, and it was cold (28°F) – so I headed off on my own. I ran into Columbia Park. That was a good choice, as there are spots along the road where there’s a gravel shoulder. I ran where there was gravel, and walked on the pavement. I tried to walk fast, but that’s going to take some mental re-training as well as physical: I  have to keep reminding myself to speed up!

The weekend’s runs were ten and six miles, respectively. I had concerns about jumping right to ten miles straight out of the gate after my brief lay-off from running, but I did okay. I warmed up for about a mile, then settled in to my 4:1 run:walk ratio with no other metrics. The footpod died, so I don’t have cadence information from this run. I’m pleased with how it went.

I stretched a bit when I got back to the car – my quads were tired! – and when I got home I put my feet up on the wall for a while. That was bliss. We had company, so I couldn’t do the foam rolling I wanted to do: my adductor longus needed some work, and treating that makes it look like I’m humping the foam roller. Lying on the floor while talking to company was as weird as I was willing to go.

Sunday worked out well: I needed to do the coffee hour for the 8:00 a.m. service at church, the Seahawks game started at 1:30, and we had tickets to a hockey game that started at 5:00 p.m. I decided I’d get up early so that I could be at the church early enough to both attend the 8:00 service and set up coffee hour, go for my run after that, and still make it home in time to watch the Seahawks. My schedule worked!

I did Sunday’s run at Chamna. I really missed running there. I could feel Saturday’s run in my legs: even the shortest elevation gain as difficult. I walked almost everyone of them. (If you’re unfamiliar with Chamna, here’s an example: the steepest “uphill” gains less than ten feet.) But I pushed myself through the run. It was a good workout!

But alas, then there’s the fueling & self-care. I didn’t get enough sleep on any of the last three nights. I’d planned to swim Thursday morning, but I didn’t get to bed until ten and I wasn’t going to force myself to get up early for the swim workout. (I’m glad, too, because I can’t imagine how exhausted I’d be if I had.) I skipped a foam rolling & stretching session that was on the calendar. (Our furnace was getting its annual check-up. The guy arrived later than I anticipated, and shortly after he left The Hubs came home, so I gave up on the idea of getting that work in.)

And the fueling: Ugh. I went way over my calorie budget several days last week. The best thing that happened was Karyn & I skipping our usual Thursday lunch date, as I had a patty melt at R.F. McDougal’s that evening. Unfortunately, I ate a can of soup that had 2.4 gm of sodium in it. I think my mouth was puckered from all that salt for a couple of days. After my run on Saturday, I ate an entire serving of molcajete, but worse was that I ate the rice and the tortillas, too. And of course, Sunday brought far too many opportunities to eat sugary baked goods at church.

I was pleased with my decision to eat a couple cups of my split pea soup prior to the hockey game; I wasn’t tempted by the food offerings at the arena. I treated myself to a beer – it was a church function, so why not? – but it took me almost half the game to drink it. Given the tired state of my legs, I planned to drink the last of the kefir right before bed to give my body both whey & casein protein to work with all night … and then I forgot. I ended up eating protein bar instead. Not the greatest choice, but I think skipping the protein snack would have been a worse idea. My legs are tired and a little sore today, but I think it would have been worse had I not indulged.

Alas, every day is a new opportunity to get it right. That’s what I’m doing today. I’m working on being more deliberate when eating. I try to ensure I eat snacks, but I’m also listening to my body and letting it dictate if I really need the nutrition at that moment. I also signed up for a DietBet: lose 10% of my body weight over six months. I pay in $25/month. If I meet my goals, I get a portion of the pot. There’s research that shows this model is successful – let’s see how it works for me.

Tonight is a one-mile run and the core workout. I plan to do the mile on the treadmill before the core workout. My left knee has been a little balky today, and it feels like there’s a little swelling in it. I’ll keep an eye on it, and keep eating anti-inflammatory foods — and hope for the best.



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