Monday, May 3, 2010

Sawtooth or Bust!

Well, this season has pretty much been a bust. It went from my "breakout" season to my "breakdown" season (LOL). But, oh well, it's not like I'm the only person who ever lost a season to injury. So, no more bellyaching about it. Time to move on and see what I can make of this year!!

The past couple of weeks I've been able to get out on the trails to fast walk and jog with minimal discomfort. The osteitis pain is at bay, but the groin still gets sore after workouts and the hips are chronically tight. Nonetheless, I'm extremely grateful and happy to be out on the trails again in any capacity, despite not being at 100%.

Thanks goes out to Bill Pomerenke, who has become my training buddy lately and got me back on the trails. He too, has been nursing a groin injury. During our fast walks/jogs we've been tossing around ideas about the possibility of finishing a 100-miler power walking the hills and flats, while running the declines. There's a lot of pros and cons about the idea in theory. One of the hardest things to do when "running" a 100-miler is maintaining a conservative pace so that you don't blow up. Perhaps a steadier and less dramatic pace falloff could be accomplished using the more walking and less running strategy? I'm sure a lot depends upon how you've physically prepared, as well as the course, but who knows? Ultramarathoning is somewhat of an enigma, with no absolute wrong or right ways to train and race.

So far, we've managed a decent pace each time we've gone out, including 13 miles at The Murph in 12:23 pace this past Saturday. Granted, 13 miles at The Murph is not 102 miles of SHT, but it at least gives us an idea that it may be plausible. Future plans for putting the idea to more rigorous testing include longer distances at Afton, possibly 100K, as well as some time on the SHT itself. I think it will be very fun and interesting to see how one feels mentally and physical over much longer distances using this approach. I do know one thing for sure though, you won't be winning any races this way. But, no matter, because for me it's all about crossing the finish line and grabbing that red jacket.

At this point, this approach would be my only possible strategy for finishing Sawtooth, as I don't foresee being near 100% for another 6 - 8 weeks, if even that soon. In addition, for personal financial reasons, I've taken a PT gig at the Roseville REI which runs through the Labor Day weekend. Consequently, my available training and racing time will be significantly reduced. Therefore, I'm planning on only doing Sawtooth this year, with the caveat that my groin is fully recovered. Otherwise, I'll just have to consider the season a total loss racewise and focus on continuing to recover for next year. Either way, I'm good with whatever happens and I'm truly excited to face this challenge with a new approach. You just gotta roll with the punches and enjoy what life gives you, right?

That being said, I wish those running Ice Age and Superior in the coming weeks the best of health and luck!!

Still seeing red......................................


Anonymous said...

Wow, you've really got a great attitude. I'm so happy for you that you are able to get back on the trails. I love the idea of trying out a power-walked 100. I've wondered myself if that would be possible, I'd love to cheer you on!

Steve said...

Thanks, Jen. Your hubby is the master of pacing. We could all learn a thing or two from Zach!

Matthew Patten said...

If you stick with Bill for all of Sawtooth, I will crew for both of you.

As for IA, I just hope the other Grabowski doesn't beat me by more than an hour.

Take care, good luck.

Cool gig at REI

SteveQ said...

Diane Farmer proved Sawtooth can be done by hiking the uphills and jogging the downhills - she claims she ran less than 5 miles total and finished in 35.5 hours. It's important to note, however, that she passed people who were running while she hiked. She hiked FAST.

Steve said...

Thanks for the info, Steve. Bill and I have been hiking pretty fast, but we'd have to maintain that over a lot longer distance than we've done so far. Nonetheless, it's very encouraging to hear it may well be possible.

Matt, that'd be cool. You can be our "Earl"!

Helen said...

Really super attitude Steve - not easy to stay positive given how well the first few months of the year were going for you
- others in the blog world could learn from you ;)

I'll be doing the 50M at Superior so will be out there cheering y'all on Friday - I definitely think alot of hiking is a good plan for that course. Too many people forget that hiking muscles differ somewhat from running ones and don't train them enough. Everyone but the top guys have to hike many sections of the 100 miler up there. And if the injuries heal up nicely it'll be a great base for some intensity through the summer months.

Mitch R. said...

A fast hike using trekking poles will get the ST100 done.