Sunday, June 1, 2008

Is that all?

Yesterday, I ran 22+ miles with a bunch of runners who are doing the Vermont 100 this summer. We ran on the course itself, a portion of the course known as the "Camp 10 Bear loop". During the race, you hit the Camp 10 Bear aid station twice, at about miles 46 and 70, and the second time through is where you meet your pacer. We did skip one newer trail section that is on private land, so we did a bit less mileage than runners get on race day. I'm not sure if everyone who was there is running the VT100, but most of them are entered.

I normally train solo and it was really nice to spend a day with a number of other ultrarunners, talking about running and all kinds of other subjects. One topic that was repeated through the day with Sherpa John falls into the category of "what's said on the trail, stays on the trail". That rule was introduced to me years ago by Sue Johnston, who regretfully doesn't live in Vermont to train with us anymore. But, we certainly had some good fun at John's expense during the run.

For the most part, I was amazed at how good I felt. I didn't run with the fastest people, but I more than held my own in a mid-paced group of solid runners. The run pushed me to well over 90 miles in the past 8 days, and I felt strong all day.

Back in the winter, I laid out a plan for my WS training. The core of the plan was my long runs and long races. I am now done with my long training runs for WS, and amazingly, I nailed my plan pretty well. I also planned to lose weight for the race, and I've done that pretty well. I'd still like to drop a couple more pounds before the race, and I think that will happen with my focus on speedwork for the next couple weeks.

Without a doubt, I'm in the best ultra shape I've been in since I ran Hardrock in 2004. My training plan and its execution have paid off. It almost seems anti-climatic at this point, hence the subject line of this post (and also a U2 song that I like a lot).

But, of course, the training isn't the end product. The race result is the end product and that work remains to be done. I still have four weeks in which I need to remain healthy, do some tuning work, and get myself completely ready for the race.

Early in the year, I speculated about my chances of running sub-24 at WS. Given my past speed in road races, I think I possess the ability to get into sub-24 hour shape. But, I'm not there now and that's not going to change before the event. However, my current fitness level should allow me to run a smart, tactical race without having to worry about cut-offs along the way. If we get hit by intense heat for the race, I'm fit enough that I can back off through the worst of the heat and still have time to finish the course.

If I was racing the Vermont 100 this summer, I would certainly shoot for a sub-24 there, but WS is a much tougher race that VT.

So, I've got 27 days until I start WS. I need to be smart about the rest of my training, stay healthy, eat well, sleep enough, rest enough, and I should arrive at WS ready to run a great race. Right now, I can't wait for June 28th.

6 comments:

Jamie said...

Glad the hay is in the barn. What day are you flying out for WS? If you'd like to meet up out there, let me know (I'm getting there Wednesday night).

Damon said...

Jamie,

I'm flying on the 21st, and then going to Yosemite on the 23rd. My wife is going to do a couple of days of rock climbing while I hike with the kids at higher elevations and maybe go tubing in the Merced. We'll head to Squaw on Thursday to meet the rest of my crew and my pacer.

We're staying in Truckee for the two nights before the race and we have hotel rooms in Auburn for Saturday and Sunday nights.

On Thursday night, some of are going over to Reno to a pizza place owned by a friend of mine. It's called Eclipse Pizza, and it's a good place. You'd certainly be welcome to join us for dinner on Thursday, if you're interested. It's a bit of a drive to Reno, but not that bad.

Jamie said...

Thanks for the invite. We'll probably be sticking around Tahoe City though since I have friend who lives there and she's part of my crew. I'll keep an eye out for you on Friday though for the pre-race festivities.

BTW, my pacer, Stephen, is camping in Yosemite around that time before he meets up with me. Keep an eye out for this guy: www.livestrongmaine.blogspot.com

Take care,
-Jamie

Anonymous said...

Damon,
I really enjoyed running with you yesterday. You looked to be in great shape and I'm sure that you will do great in the WS run. Thanks for the excellent beer after the run!!
Nate

Damon said...

Nate,

It was good to run with you as well. You are in good shape and I'm sure you'll have a great run at VT100.

I'll try to remember to burn that CD set for you for race weekend.

"Sherpa" John Lacroix said...

"I didn't run with the fastest people, but I more than held my own in a mid-paced group of solid runners."

You callin me slow Lewis?!

Hehe... thanks for the brew Damon. Good luck to you at WS. I'll be rooting for ya. You ARE in great shape.. go get em bud!
SJ