Sunday, February 27, 2005

Mini Syllamo

As most of you know, my next race is the multi-day race Three Days of Syllamo. Although I've raced farther than the longest day of this race (day 2 is 60k or 37.3 miles; I've done two 50 mile races), I've never done this much mileage over three days. One of my concerns is that I will be too sore from the previous day's walk to successfully complete the next day. So I decided to make this weekend, my last hard training weekend before my taper, a "mini Syllamo." Starting Friday I did three long walks in a row.

Day One: 12 miles
This day was harder than I expected because I had "dead legs." I hadn't trained all week due to lightning storms in the mornings so I'm not sure why I felt like I was dragging. I wasn't fast (which was OK since I knew I needed to go slowly and pace myself if I wanted to successfully complete three long walks) but I did finish the mileage.

Time: 2:24:08
Pace: 12:00

Day Two: 30.3 miles
This day actually went well. I walked at White Rock Lake since the trails at North Shore were very muddy due to recent rains. However, I was able to walk on the dirt trail that other runners have worn next to the cement/ashpalt running trail. So I would estimate that about 80% of the walk was on a surface resembling "single track" with some grass thrown in here and there.

I purposefully took the walk slow because I knew I had one more day to go. I kept a nice even pace all the way through the walk and did not discernibly slow down, which I was happy about.

My only problem on this day was my feet--the bottoms of my feet were very sore, especially my left one. I attribute this partly to the asphalt and concrete, and partly to the fact that the natural slope of the walking surfaces meant that my left foot took more of the force of my footfall. However, the biggest cause was probably my shoes. I've been waiting to have some extra money to buy new shoes. I ordered them last week but they did not arrive in time and I stupidly walked in my old shoes. They have over 550 miles on them, so this was a dumb thing to do.

When I got home I put them in the garage and this week I'll take them to RunOn and leave them in their donation box, along with a couple of pairs of old NB110 racewalking shoes.

Surprisingly I felt pretty good after the walk. I was definitely tired, but I spent the day running errands with my daughter and spent a lot of time on my feet--the bookstore, two grocery stores, an "indoor play area," etc.

Time: 6:28:15
Pace: 12:48

Day Three: 20.07 miles
Today I wore different shoes, some Asics 2080s that were old but hardly used. My left foot was still tender, but the new shoes helped.

Unfortunately, it rained all night so I still couldn't go to North Shore, and I couldn't walk on the dirt trails at White Rock, so all of today's miles were done on asphalt and concrete.

Again I took it slow, but in my second 10 mile loop I started getting that "horse running to the barn" feeling, plus I got a second wind. I turned in some decent splits during the last half, including several in the 11:30 range. When it was finally over, I was sure glad it was over!

Time: 4:11:44
Pace: 12:32

Three day totals:
Distance: 62.4 miles
Time: 13:04:07
Pace: 12:34

I enjoyed my little experiment. Although it wasn't on trails, I basically walked about 20k less than I will at Syllamo, and I did it with a faster pace than I plan to use at Syllamo, and I did it without a taper or aid stations (when necessary I refueled at my car). I ate and drank on the "run" and only stopped three times in 62 miles. So I feel ready! I just wish the race was here.

My taper plan is to do relatively easy walks this week and next week, probably only about 4 miles instead of the normal 6.1. The only exception is that two days this week I will be in San Jose on business and plan to tackle Mission Peak. It's too much fun to resist. Then next weekend I will do about 10 easy miles; the following weekend and the whole week before the race I won't walk at all. Then it will be time to head to the mountains!

I hope everyone is having great racing or training! Good luck and keep up the hard work!