Well, I've though about starting a blog about my running for awhile, now I'm currently training for my toughest race yet so why not get one going. Why 'Stupid Running'? Because I usually do things my own way (aka the stupid way), but it usually works for me. While training to qualify for Boston, I ran 140 days in a row with no rest day. Stupid, but it worked. I ran Boston with completely the wrong nutrition. Stupid, and it didn't work, cramped up huge at 30km. So it's really hit and miss. I should probably listen to other people who know what they're doing. This stupid blog will be a work in progress as I really don't know what I'm doing here either.
Here's my brief running history: I'd always run a little here and there to stay in shape. In the fall of 2007, I ran my farthest run to date, 10km. I started to wonder how hard it would be to run much farther and how far I could go. The next day I did 12km, next week 15km and so on. I ran a lot in 2008 and did my first half marathon in Dec 2008. In spring 2009 I did my first marathon and qualified for Boston. Fall 2009 I did my first trail race which was 50km and loved it. I did Boston in April 2010 and haven't run a marathon since. After Boston I ran a 50 mile (80km) trail race, then did a few 50km races also over the summer. My first overnight was a 24hr race, I did 130km (6 weeks ago from this post). I have basically been planning to work up to a 100 miler in the spring of 2011, but then along came HURT, a race which I'm currently grossly under trained and under qualified for.
H.U.R.T. 100 is a 100 mile (160km) trail race which takes place Jan 15th in Hawaii (currently 17 weeks away), and it's one of the toughest 100 mile races in the world. It has an elevation change of approx 27000 feet, it's hot, it's covered in roots, rocks and mud and there's pretty much no flat spots. The cutoff is 36 hours. Unlike other 100 mile races, at HURT the runners who go over 100km but don't finish the 100 miles in 36 hours are still credited with a 100km finish award. This is done because of the difficulty of the course. There are only 125 entrants allowed.
So what the hell am I doing on the entrants list at HURT you ask? One night while farting around on the computer, I noticed HURT has a lottery to get in and I had a brain cramp and threw my name in. I figured what are the odds anyway? They actually did the draw while I was out running the 24hr run 6 weeks ago, when I finished the run in the morning and checked my email, I'd been picked. Some people at the race had checked the list and actually knew I was in but didn't say anything! Apparently, HURT wants to let newer runners in for some diversity, so that's where I come in.
I had signed up and paid for my first 100 mile race which was to have taken place last weekend, but it ended up my kids had too much going on (both made it to their soccer final and I coach my son's team, plus he was starting hockey same day) and I was nursing a sore knee so I ended up skipping it. I really wanted to run this 100 so I could gauge where I'm at for HURT and base my training from there. With 17 weeks to go, it wouldn't be smart for me to attempt a 100 in the middle of training (next one in the area isn't until Nov 27th), so it looks like HURT will be my first attempt at a 100 miler. Brilliant.
I basically need to run more hills, get my mileage up, run more hills, add some leg strength, run more hills, do some full body workouts, and most of all, run more hills. I'm still tinkering with some 100 mile training plans I've found. They all basically have medium distance runs Tues, Wed and Thurs, long runs on weekends with Mon and Fri as rest days. Each week adds a bit more mileage, then a down week every 4th week to recover. I'll pretty much follow this, but my schedule and kids mean some days will be switched around here and there. I'll have some days when I can't leave to run, I'll have to hit the stationary bike and weights in that case.
Mileage: Currently my mileage is way low, I'm sure I could have willed my way through a 100 miler last weekend, but it wouldn't have been pretty and I probably would've come out of it injured. My day to day schedule is all over the place and constantly changing, so I'll have to adapt and get the runs in when I can. This will probably mean a lot of night runs, and some shorter multi-run days to add up.
Leg strength: During the 130km run I did last month, the worst part was my exhausted quads on the downhills. I did a very rocky and hilly race 2 weeks later, after this I had major knee pain, I attribute this to running on weak and exhausted quads. I used to do more leg workouts, but after I started running more I pretty much abandoned working my legs. In addition to strength training for my legs, I'll have do most of my runs on hills. Long flat runs won't be a big help other than adding easy mileage.
Full body: I'm a firm believer in having full body strength to improve running. Core and back strength is essential, you also pump your arms as many times as your legs while running (just try running with your hands in your pockets). Arms and shoulders are necessary for momentum while scrambling up and down the technical hills. After my 130km my traps and upper back were killing me the next day, just from shrugging and lifting the weight of my arms while swinging them for momentum up hills. I already do a lot of push ups and chin ups everyday, I'll add in some more weights and extra core workouts. This also means cross training, which will mainly be mountain biking. Maybe some swimming on off days, not sure yet though. I suck at swimming.
Nutrition: I already eat well, I'll just be a bit more conscious of what I'm eating with my main goal being to maximize my body's ability to recover from training. I already eat lots of veggies and fruit and take a multivitamin, I'll now up my protein intake to help muscle repair. I don't drink much or eat crap (except during a long run), so not much will need to change here.
NEPA (Non-exercise physical activity): A bit of a lifestyle change here. For the next 4 months, this means less sitting around. Lots of time on my feet (not easy working in an office). I work from home a few days a week, these days are always easier to keep moving. When given the option of sitting or standing, this means a lots more standing. This also means no sitting around in front of the TV, I'll use this time to get in core and other workouts. This means doing things the hard way, taking the stairs, walking more, etc. A lot more time on my feet is essential. I'll sit around after HURT.
Other Factors to Consider:
Kids come first: The munchkins' needs come before mine. My son is 8 and my daughter is 6. They know all about the race, are very excited for me and are always asking questions about it. I can always find the time to train (even at crazy hours if needed), so I won't let my training get in the way of their needs or our time together.
Cold vs. heat: I'll be training over the winter, but running in the Hawaii heat. I have no idea if there's really any way to prepare for this, I'm going to ask some people who've done the race for any tips on this. I've heard of some people preparing for races in the heat who do crazy things like run on a treadmill in a sauna. I'm missing 2 things here, a sauna and a treadmill. Actually, I've never even run on a treadmill.
Injury: I'll need to be careful of increasing my mileage too fast. I'm still nursing sore knees from my last 2 races, so I've have to ease into it a little but they are slowly feeling better. I really don't have a lot of time, so any injury that pushes things back will be very detrimental.
So can I even do this? I'd like to think so! I'm completely confident I could finish a 100 miler, but this one? The odds are extremely against me, just the way I like it. Some people go to HURT with the intention of finishing the 100km, I'm going with the intention of 100 miles. The reason I got picked and other more experienced runners didn't is simply because I'm a newer less experienced runner. So the way I figure it, they picked me because they think I'm a weenie! Well screw them! I'm going for it!
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go" - T.S. Elliott
Let's do this!