Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Bourbon Chase: Training

It's called the "Jogger" schedule, which, to me, implies novice. But, the plan from the folks at Bourbon Chase looks nothing like a beginning runner plan. Each week has five to six days of running per week and strides. Lots and lots of strides. The mileage is fairly low on the plan, most runs less than 5 miles but it's intimidating nonetheless.

Sort of like running a relay.

Having run two before (Hood to Coast 2013 and Bourbon Chase 2014), I had an idea going into training this year with what it takes to do an event like this. A good endurance base, experience running on tired legs and the ability to run whenever on whatever terrain.

As my total mileage for the race will be 15 miles, too, I knew I should be able to come close to running that distance on a long run. Knowing the terrain of the Chase, I knew I needed to be serious about hills. And the threat of cutoffs, I wanted to have some fire in the legs.

So my weekly plan shaped up to be a little like this:

• Easy run with strides at the end. This run was usually in the 4- to 5-mile range.

 photo IMG_20150915_094632-2_zpsdnvtjl2p.jpg

• Mid-week quality run. This run, more often than not, was a combination of hills plus speed at a local cemetery. Initially, I wanted to alternate between shorter intervals and hills but an experienced runner encouraged me to combine the workouts. Example: Run loop with hills, recover, hit perimeter of the cemetery for 400s. Alternately, I would run a fartlek – 1 minute hard, 2 minutes easy – over a hilly course. I tried to make sure that I ran at least 5 miles on this day but preferred to do at least 6.

 photo IMG_20150619_064659_zpsac3ffiyy.jpg

• Mid-week run with the BRF. We usually run 5 miles at a whatever pace. If we were particularly grumpy or excited, we did them faster. If we were tired, we ran them slower.

• Long run. I slowly built my endurance to get in half marathon shape. Every third week, though, I split the long run so that I could do a double. Hurt so good.

I'm feeling really good with where it left me. I felt strong on the small rollers when I ran the Muncie Mini-Marathon, and I had a faster than expected race at Fort4Fitness. My endurance is on point, too, and I finish long runs tempted to keep going with my marathon-crazy buddies. But, I don't.

An aside, as they had a cutback week this past Saturday, I ran all 12 miles with them. The pace slowly crept up the last few miles and I decided to go for it the last half mile. We finished with an 8:50. Holla!

 photo IMG_20151002_090422-4_zps4tvncsha.jpg

Here's how the last few weeks of running have looked like. I didn't have as many quality workouts between racing and tapering but that's how it be.

Week 9

Monday: 3 miles with Tami, 9:58 pace
Tuesday: 5 miles, 9:40 pace
Thursday: 4.2 miles, with strides, 9:39 pace
Saturday: Fort4Fitness Double Play – 10K at 8:49 pace and 4-mile race at 9:20 pace

Week 10

Tuesday: 5 miles, 9:41 pace
Thursday: 5.52 miles, 9:26 pace
Friday: 4.25 miles, 9:31 pace
Saturday: 13 miles, long run, 10:01 pace

Week 11

Tuesday: 5.25 miles, 9:02 pace (1-2-3-4-5 intervals)
Thursday: 6 miles, 9:28 pace (hilly route)
Friday: 4 miles with Tami, 9:47 pace
Saturday: 12 miles, long run with strong finish, 9:55 pace

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Bourbon Chase: Race Week Is Here

My Vera Bradley duffel is in the middle of the bedroom floor. Fall/winter running clothes have been pulled and tossed from the storage container, sorted haphazardly on the bed. My hatchback is stuffed with goodies from Nuun, NAAWK and ProCompression. Boxes of snacks from Sam's Club are occupying space, as well.

If the state of my house and car doesn't say it, I will: It's almost time for the Bourbon Chase.

And, let me tell you, I am so excited. Probably a little too much but the trip to Kentucky promises the opportunity to sleep more in one night than I have in a week.

Plus, this race is the one I've been working toward for more than 12 weeks. Sure, I've had a few thrown in there (like my impromptu half) but I have been training for the Bourbon Chase. My plan (a modified half schedule) was tailored to meet the demands of the course and efforts to build endurance and speed were all to help me be a strong teammate. It was the race I dreamed of when I couldn't run when I was pregnant and when I was waiting for my C-section to heal. It was the weekend that kept me sane when the demands of a newborn tested my emotional stability.

Or maybe it was the promise of bourbon.

Anyway, this week, I'll be talking about the race.

Today: Legs and expectations
Tuesday: How I trained for a relay
Wednesday: What I'll be eating
Thursday: Three unexpected things you should pack for a relay

◊ ◊ ◊

At 9:45 a.m., outside the Jim Beam distillery, I will start the chase. The 200-mile journey from Shepherdsville, Kentucky, to downtown Lexington begins with me.

I felt a little greedy asking to be runner No. 1 for our team, Pirates of the Bourbon Trail, especially since I was runner 12 last year. There's just so much fan fare when you are a runner through a major exchange; it's hard not to want to be a part of that.

The mileage for runner No. 1 seemed fitting for me, though. I will run a total of 15 miles over three legs and not run much more than 7.

 photo leg 1_zpsnq9vwoqz.jpg

Leg 1: The Chase begins

This 7.1-mile leg is rated difficult, probably because of its distance and elevation profile. My projected time is 1:14:33, based on a 10K pace of 10:30. I was very generous with my 10K time because I wanted to take a bit of the pressure off me and account for hills and fatigue. However, I ran the Fort4Fitness 10K at  pace of 8:49. I'd love to be around a 9:30 pace for all of my legs.

 photo leg 2_zpslfbpfa6q.jpg

Leg 13 : Outskirts of Danville

This 4.5-mile leg, rated easy, is mostly on U.S. 150. It has some pretty rad downhill sections, which make me really excited, but a gradual uphill to the exchange. The second leg is traditionally the night leg but I'll start around 8:43 p.m. – so no super dark runs for me. I have an estimated finish time of 47:15 but I'd love to be around 43 minutes.

Leg 25: Don't Gorge Yourself

 photo leg 3_zpsfpjeutex.jpg

The exchange for this 3.4-mile run is at Wild Turkey, and it starts with an insane downhill. Last year, I remember coming into this exchange at a sub-7 pace because I couldn't go any slower down the hill. I'm pretty sure I fumbled the bracelet hand off because I couldn't control the pull. I'm not sure I'm that fast this year but it will be nice to have a fast turnover down the initial decline.

I am excited for this last leg, not just because it will be the shortest, but for the views. According to the Bourbon Chase, "The majority of this short leg runs along a very narrow road and crosses a bridge HIGH above the Kentucky River. In fact, the railroad bridge to your right is known as High Bridge because at the time it was built, it was the highest railroad bridge in America."

Captain has me down to run this in 35:42. Even though I said I'd like to run faster, I would really like my legs to work. Period.

Fun, right?