The Times They Are A...

You guessed it: Changin'.  Spring is in the air, I bought a domain name, my Achilles only hurts when Dr. Roy digs his thumbs into it, and I'm getting fitter—even running without my shirt and not feeling too embarrassed.  A lot going on recently, so this post/update will be a bit of potpourri, or as David Riddle would say, an Everything Bagel.  So without further ado, let's dig in:

I recovered fairly well from American River, and by the following Tuesday, the day after the awful bombings in Boston, I was out cruising a solo marathon training run to spend some time in reflection—an act of solidarity with all those affected by the bombings.  Totally unplanned, but it just felt like the right thing to do that day.   I headed out with no water or food and actually got a pretty good run in—I started running some miles in the 5:40s around mile 20, but I started to feel the effort, finally easing off for the last 4 or 5 miles of the run.  I wanted to get after it a bit and feel some of that marathon pain.  You can see the "move," as captured by my Suunto Ambit, on the newly redesigned Movescount here.  

Salomon USA Trail Running Team Summit
Which brings me to the next topic, the kickass weekend I got to spend in Ogden, Utah at Salomon/Suunto HQ.  Most of the Salomon USA Trail Running Team was on hand for the first US team athlete summit.  We got in a handful of great trail runs and meals together, spent a full day going over many of the great new products from Salomon and Suunto, and also got outfitted with loads of new gear, including new Suunto Ambit2 S watches.  I've really enjoyed my Ambit, and the Ambit2 S (Saphire), with a sleeker design, is even cooler.  I've usually been pretty minimal with my approach to training data (for instance, I rarely use exact mileage; I just run based on time and estimate my mileage), but I find the Ambit to be really great for trail running in particular.  I love knowing how much vert I'm getting on some of my bigger training runs when I can get out of the city.  With the watch syncing with, I can track way more data than I'll ever need.  The watch is totally customizable for whatever sport/activity you choose, so you can have a number of display screens show exactly the things that you personally want to know while running.  It's also got customizable apps, so you can create your own functions to be used in training.  You can check out a nice preview from iRunFar here.

The weekend in Utah was a really great opportunity for the team to meet and bond.  The more we can function like a real team, the better, I think.  It helps us to build a synergistic community of support with similarly talented and likeminded folks.  And it opens doors to all sorts of new opportunities (see "Summer Travels" below)!  I actually got to room with David Riddle, which was great, since we're both based in the Midwest and we're both running Ice Age this weekend.  I also have some similar ambitions to things David has already accomplished, such as competing on Team USA at the World 100km Championships and running (really fast!) at the JFK 50 mile.

More Training
After the Salomon team summit, I caught a cold, and I ended up essentially taking a week off from training.  Between a week of recovery from AR50 and a missed week due to illness, training has still been coming along slowly it seems.  However, in the last week, I feel like I've finally turned a corner.  I had wanted to get up to the Ice Age Trail course for a big back-to-back long run, planning on covering the whole course in two days.  Because of my cold and my work schedule, that didn't happen.  However, I was able to get up for a day on the trails anyway.  I hit 22 miles on the course, running the Nordic loop—section 1 of the course—and the majority of the out-and-back section 3.  I also got in 18 miles with a nice treadmill climb the next day for my first back-to-back long run ever, actually.  I know this is bread and butter ultra training, and I'll certainly be doing that more often in the future.  My mileage has started to build a bit, and I'm finally feeling comfortable doubling most days.  I've gotten more consistent with the functional strength work and I'm feeling very strong and stable through my core.

Also, I got my bloodwork back (from pre-AR50) and found out that my iron levels are actually quite good (my ferritin count is 112).  I had been concerned I might be anemic just because I'd been feeling run down so much.  It was nice to prove that negative, but I also found out that I was slightly magnesium deficient.  Everything else was good.  Since finding that out, I've been really loading up on spinach, Swiss chard, and raw sprouted pumpkin seeds, which are about the three best food sources of magnesium.  On the whole, I'm quite happy with the way things are going now.

Ice Age Trail 50 Mile
Ice Age is coming up this Saturday, May 11, and I'm pretty excited for it.  The trails up in Kettle Morraine State Park are in great shape, and the competition will be great too.  My dad, sister, and brother-in-law will all be on hand to watch, and I'll get to see a handful of running friends old and new. I mentioned that my Salomon teammate David Riddle will be running, and also Salomon's Cassie Scallon on the women's side.  The men's race has a bunch of solid runners, just off the top of my head: Riddle, Zach Bitter, Josh Brimhall, Eric Senseman, Brian Condin, Scott Breeden, Glen Redpath, Mark Thompson...  more that I missed I'm sure.  I'm going to try to have my sister tweet updates from the course (via my handle).  I'm sure some others at aid stations and the like will be doing the same, so stay tuned!

Summer Travels
I'm actually going to be staying up in Wisconsin for a couple days after Ice Age to chill with Cassie Scallon (who's from Wisconsin originally), as I'm going to be pacing her at the Western States 100.  See, I told you the Salomon team summit led to cool opportunities!  That is just one of a handful of fun trips I have planned for the summer.  I'm headed to the Northeast for the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 mile in June, and staying on to visit a friend in Montreal before heading to New Hampshire for the following weekend's Mt. Washington Road Race.  WS100 pacing a few weeks later, and then back to New Hampshire in July for the US Mountain Running Championships at Cranmore.  I'm also hoping to get to one of the new Ragnar Trail Relays (presented by Salomon!) this summer—either Tahoe in July or North Utah in August.

A lot of racing in the coming weeks (a few still tentative and not posted on the sidebar schedule), should be fun!