Sunday, May 6, 2012

9:36 is My Goal

I'm still training on a restricted schedule, but I'm at least training. My left calf tends to raise its ugly head every once in a while...but appears happier when we are going easy on trails. I can accommodate that request. For now, it's lots of easy trail running. I keep my heart rate under 150 and walk many of the hills. That's OK. My overall pace seems to hover around 10:00. Sometimes slower when it's hot and sunny, sometimes faster when it's cool and overcast. I hope to pile on the miles over the next few weeks and months. My ultimate goal is to race well at the 8-Hour Howl at the Moon run on August 11. That gives me over 3 months to prepare.

So I have a little over 3 months to prepare to race 8 hours in the August heat and humidity of central Illinois. Seems reasonable. It's a timed event (one of the biggest in the country), so I can just cruise along for 8 hours and see how many miles I complete. Guess that would be fine...if I hadn't already done that many years in a  row! I need more than a half-hearted attempt at another Howl at the Moon ultra. It was my first ultra and it remains my favorite. It deserves better from me. I've run it 11 times. Here are my current Howl race statistics:

Total Races: 11
Low: 33.9 miles (2010)
High: 47.06 miles (2006, 2008)
Total Miles: 469.85
Average Miles: 42.7
Best Placing: 12th (2005)
Worst Placing: 99th (2010)

This year has not been going well for me, so it's time to regroup, refocus, and commit to SOMETHING. That something is a renewed dedication to my all-time favorite race.  I plan on reaching 50 miles at this year's Howl at the Moon race! Yes, 50 miles. To complete 50 miles in 8 hours I need to AVERAGE a pace of 9:36. Sounds easy. Who can't run at a 9:36 pace? That's an easy morning jog. Sure is, except I need to maintain that "jog" for a full 8 hours...and that includes any breaks for food and drink...or change of shoes...or bathroom breaks. Oh yeah, it's also usually run in serious heat and humidity of late summer in Illinois. Imagine 85 degrees, densely humid air, and the afternoon sun beating down on your face. You've been "running" for 6 hours and still have 2 more to go. Suddenly, a 9:36 pace seems like a sprint.

Guess it's time to train. I need lots of miles. Lots of warm weather running. Lots of long runs. I'm skipping races between now and August 11 so I can concentrate on good old fashioned aerobic mileage building. Racing will not get me 50 miles at Howl. Lots of miles around 9:36 pace will get me where I need to be. I plan on incorporating walking during the Howl at the Moon event, so I will walk in training. BUT, my walking and running combined better still equate to a 9:36 pace! That means jogging at around a 8:30-9:00 pace and walking at a brisk 14:00-15:00 pace...probably at a ratio of 4-1 (run to walk). Fortunately, my Garmin will track all my running and walking and let me know how the overall pace if progressing.  It'll even categorize my walking vs jogging vs running. So, my goal over the next 3 months is to average 9:36 pace or better on all of my training runs. Even the long ones. Even the hot ones. And I need plenty of miles at this pace to feel comfortable when August 11 rolls around.

Wish me luck! I was inducted into the Howl "Hall of Fame" at the 2010 race. This year I hope to live up to that moniker. I will make the Howl course my bitch. I'll own that race! Let the training begin.


jeff said...

enjoy....gregg and I start t/th at 5:50am at 47/BP lot for willnot be 9:36 pace...maybe someday again.

love that arthur newton, ahead of time on gaiters, salt, stride rate,mileage, shoes and more.

check out the LOW tower..biggest climb we have, less university res halls.

Chris said...

I will try the bell tower. Nothing like inserting a long stair climb in the middle of a regular run!

Ruairi said...

best wishes for continued recovery and the howl. i am going for a similar event in the beginning of june (12 hr) because the date in august clashes with work. take care for now.

Chris said...

Good luck with the June 12 hour event!

jeff said...

keep up your consistent runs...maybe in June a couple of double must be getting about 40miles a week.