Check out the video below of Andy Jones-Wilkins before Western States. Notice how relaxed Andy is (he's holding a beer!). That's saying a lot because Andy seems to really live for finishing top 10 at Western--which he pretty much does every year.
Seeing Andy in this interview, and then considering how he did at Western States (9th overall with a 16:39--a new PR for him), really makes me better-understand the importance of being relaxed and loose before a huge race. I think Nick Clark, who finished 3rd overall only a few minutes behind Kilian, really looked loose in his pre-race interview, too. I watched all the other interviews and it's no surprise that the looser you seemed to be, the better you did. A few folks looked really tight and tense. For me, the takeaway is this: Stay loose and relaxed! When we arrive in Leadville a few days before the big race, I think I'll kill a few beers and just relax, laugh and enjoy the beauty of it all!
Major props to the folks at IRunFar.com for doing such an awesome job of covering Western States!
By the way, my plan for 2012 is absolutely to enter the Western States 100 lottery. If I get in, I'll be at Squaw Valley this time next year! The deadline for entering the lottery is this October, and, yes, I know my odds aren't good. I'll keep applying until I get in.
My training for the Leadville 100 is on track and I'm really happy with my fitness and how I'm feeling overall. I'm noticing a bit more climbing power in my legs--just a gradual change at this point. For the week ending June 26, I covered 95 miles and ran for 13 hours and 11 minutes with some sweet quality mixed in.
Monday, 6/20 - Easy
AM: 7.1 miles easy on the trails around my house.
Tuesday, 6/21 - Hills
AM: Hill repeats; 10.01 miles in Parker.
PM: 3.25 miles on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 13.26
Wednesday, 6/22 - Easy
AM: 7 miles easy on the trails around my house. Had an early morning meeting so this was all I could do.
PM: 3 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 10
Thursday, 6/23 - Tempo / mountains
AM: Tempo run. 9.5 miles total, 5 miles at tempo pace (about 6:20). Legs a little tired.
PM: 7 miles at Mount Falcon. 1797 feet of ascent, 1624 feet of descent (took a different way back to my car). Ran up to Walker's Dream and then back down. Legs quite tired on the descent.
Total miles for day: 16.5
Friday, 6/24 - Easy
AM: 8.35 miles easy in the Parker hills. Legs super tired from Thursday's hard workouts so I decided this was it for the day.
Saturday, 6/25 - Long
AM: 15.5 miles easy in the Parker hills. Legs much better.
PM: 3 miles easy on the treadmills.
Total miles for day: 18.5
Sunday, 6/26 - Long / mountains
AM: 17.65 miles and 3 hours flat at Mount Falcon. Gained 3333 feet and dropped 3312 feet. Got up to 7900 feet. Ran from my car to Walker's Dream, gaining 1900 feet over 5 miles, without walking a step--major progress. Then went on to the Mount Falcon summit. Felt very good the whole way but started to feel the heat in the last hour.
PM: 3.35 miles easy on the treadmill.
Total miles for day: 21
Totals for week:
- Total miles for the week: 94.71 miles
- Total time running: 13 hours, 11 minutes
- Total vertical: 9,000 feet
- Total runs: 12 (7.89 miles per run--perfect!)
- Yoga stretches and core strengthening
This Saturday, July 2 is the Leadville Trail Marathon. I'd be lying if I didn't say I want to do well. Last year I finished with a 4:55 and 28th overall and even managed to take a wrong turn and add about a half-mile onto my race. This year I'd like to run a 4:30 or better. I've been training pretty hard and will not have really tapered (just a mini-taper), so we'll see if my legs are ready for a 4:30 at Leadville this Saturday. The course is basically all between 10,000-13,200 feet, turning around at the top of Mosquito Pass. With the possible exception of the Pikes Peak Marathon, there probably isn't a harder trail marathon out there. It's a doozey, and I've heard the snow is really starting to clear in Leadville so I would imagine the trail conditions will be good.
With Saturday's trail marathon on the radar, my goal this week is 70-75 miles. I'm going to cut the mileage going into Saturday and then run fairly aggressively in the race. Whatever Sunday brings is OK with me. Last year I felt pretty good the next day.
I bought some Hoka One One Bondi B running shoes. I'll be doing a full review in a few weeks, after I've had some time to really assess the shoes. For now, here are some initial impressions:
- Flexibility: Decent
- Weight: Very good (even though they "look" clunky)
- Cushioning: Excellent--probably the softest shoes I've ever worn
- Stability: Very good
- Sizing: Not great at all. They seem to run small and only after a few runs did I realize that my left shoe is smaller than the right. Not good! And it's too late to return them!
- Price: Horrible--$170! Kids are starving to death in Africa and I dropped almost two bills on a pair of freaking shoes.
I always like to assess where things are at the year's midpoint. When I consider where I was at the beginning of the year (barely able to run due to a serious case of plantar fasciitis) and where I am now (clicking off 95 miles a week), I feel really good. I'm not very happy with my race results so far this year, but at least I'm running and enjoying my surroundings. Yes, my perspective has changed. My life is too busy and my work schedule too demanding to view running as anything but a joy. My biggest struggle right now is not letting training get too in the way of family time. Sometimes on my long runs, like Sunday's run at Mount Falcon, I start to really miss Noah and Anne. The important thing, I think, is to just enjoy it all, stay loose and not take running too seriously. As the saying goes, "Running is way too important to take too seriously." Or something like that.
Get 'er done!