Thursday, November 12, 2020

Beach Day in November?

Jalapeno Hundred

Ultra #069 | 18th 100mi (or more)


Here I am beginning of November. A couple week removed from a poor mental state in my last ultra where i jut literally quit. On the other side I was 3 weeks out from the Brazos Bend 100, which sadly has just been cancelled due to the surrounding pandemic safety concerns for participants especially those whom would 
be travelling here to run. So now I am starring at my only known opportunity for the remainder of 2020 to get myself another buckle. About an hour northwest of Houston area where the 7IL Ranch sits near Cat Spring, TX. This ranch has been used many times for TROT races including Jackalope Jam and the infamous Habanero Hundred (a hellish hot ultra held in the middle of TX heat in August). Jalapeno Hundred is the little cousin of Habanero since it had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic. With that the course was the same 16 loop of the yellow course out on the ranch with a high noon starting time.

Waking up in my own bed for a race is always nice. I got to have homemade coffee for the drive and kiss all my girls goodbye before taking off for the ranch early Saturday morning. I arrived and with the new protocols getting my temperature check and performed my contactless check in. It was still nice and early around 10:00 which gave me a couple hours to relax and set up my own self-crew spot. Got myself all set up, gear ready and just put my feet up on my cooler and closed my eyes listening to a podcast as I tried to relax for a last few moments.

(image from Plants vs Zombies 2)
11:45 and Rob Goyen, TROT race director, starting do a short race briefing. At this point I got my shoes tightened the way I wanted. 2 minutes before start we were called up to the start area and remained spaced out. I lined up on the front side on the far right side of the road. High noon and we were off and running. I intentionally remained back from the very front and let the faster relay runners and 100 km runners go in front. I settled into a comfortable pace. i ended up running with my TROT teammate, Matt Zmolek, whom is a very good and consistent 100 mile runner. His pacing is something rarely matched, as he always seems to keep it even and steady from start to finish, so I know if I am running around him that is a good thing as long as I can hang on later on. We caught up a bit and did some small chat as it had been awhile since seeing each other. We ran together for the first 3 loops more or less, then Matt stopped and changed out his shoes and socks I would later find out. The heat of the day was here hanging in somewhere near 90f or so but we would only have to endure it for a little longer as the fall daylight fades near 18:00 or so. I managed to keep cool by utilizing my NATHAN ice bandana and keeping my intake of plenty of fluids on those first few loops.
High noon the start. Captured by JJustis Photography | Trail Racing Over Texas

After my 4th loop I still had not found my perfect pace time per loop I was trying to dial in and still thought to myself I was slightly faster than wanted. I slowed myself down a little and hoped to be able to stay on the new revised pace longer. Sometime in loop 6 (I think), Matt caught back up to me and we shared another half loop together before I left him go in front on me as I thought it was slightly fast for my current state. We were both near the lead of the 100 mile race at this point along with a young lady from California (Lindsay Phennix) who was not far behind us as we kept seeing her at the end/start of each loop. The 3 of us were all very close at the front of the race.

This is what it looks like to be hunted as prey. Matt Zmolek always paces 100 milers amazingly and makes it look easy. Congrats Matt on your victory out on the ranch.
Captured by JJustis Photography | Trail Racing Over Texas

On the 5th loop (I think) I did manage to kick one of the few well placed routes out there in the treed section of the course. I somehow didn't lift my foot high enough and it caused me to stumble and proceed into a tuck and roll situation on my left shoulder. since the Ground is mostly soft sand out there it was not painful but man was it dirty. Felt like a beach day with sand everywhere you didn't want it, even after only briefly being on the ground. I got up shook off my clothing and then had to clean my bottle nipples off of the sand sticking to them.

"The beach" at 7IL Ranch. Yes there is sand out there, not the entire loop but....lots of it.
Not sure what loop this is, but i don't look too pissed off.
Captured by JJustis Photography | Trail Racing Over Texas
Darkness started to creep in next loop but I managed to complete the 6th loop fully before actually requiring my headtorch. From here is was just a grind in the night hours to keep going. As we approached midnight there was less and less runners out there: partially because we were all spaced out, a few DNFs, and also a lot of the 100 km runners were starting to finish and clear off the course all together. Around this time I finally crossed over the 100 km mark myself, which meant 10 loops done, only 6 to go. My pace continued to slow just a little more each loop.

Early evening as the fog started to form. Captured by JJustis Photography | Trail Racing Over Texas

The strangest thing happened that night, a very dense fog rolled in and it was super humid. I can only describe it like running in a light misty shower, it was almost magical. My headtorch was nearly useless as the light was bouncing of the water droplets and fog in front of me only illuminating maybe 4 feet in front. True tunnel vision due to the weather. It never did cool off that much as much as I had hoped, but it was definitely nice compared to sun in the afternoon to run in. Somewhere in the night I was eventually caught by the 3rd place runner, Lindsay, whom overtook me and kept going. Her pace was stronger at the time, so I did not try to hang on.

Loop 12 I was stumbling my way back to the end of the loop and felt like a zombie sleep walking. This is my normal ultra early morning demons where i struggle through the natural circadian rhythms of your body trying to tell you to sleep as you resist and try to continue forward. For me this always happens around 4-6 am just before the sunrise. I have experienced many times and dread that feeling. I grinded out that loop and sitting in my chair at the start finish eating some mashed potatoes I saw Matt coming in to finish his loop. He had lapped me, and was now 10 km ahead, a full loop. I still had 40 km to grind out. I tried to run out behind Matt after finishing my potatoes hoping to ride some of his momentum but was too late and did not catch him, so I settled back into my own pace.

The last 4 loops were just a nice steady pace where I had gained some energy back with the last 2 loops when the light from the sun was trying to peer through the still somewhat dense fog. It made for a more spirited finish in terms of my frame of mind. I still thought I was in 3rd place as I had not seen or caught Lindsay again since she passed me in the night hours, I ticked off my final miles and came into the finish with a big smile on my face,  I had completed another ultra, another 100 mile race. I thought I had crossed the line in 3rd place as I never did see the lady (Lindsay) in front of me, however later I found out she had stopped between loops at some point where i passed her back again and never knew it. Honestly I did not know i had got 2nd instead of 3rd until I got home a couple hours later when I was checking on the live results to see if others I knew were finishing up.

Racing during a pandemic: finish line feels.
Captured by JJustis PhotographyTrail Racing Over Texas


Statistics

STRAVA activity: https://www.strava.com/activities/4325194853

UltraSignup Results: https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=78726

Times from UltraSignup of the 12 finishers of Habanero's little cousin: Jalapeno Hundred.

98.23 mi | 21:26:01 | 4,495 ft+ | 13:06 mi/min average | 2nd overall

x16 loops - 1:15:27 average | 1:00:12 min (loop#1), 1:33:45 max (loop#14)

x15 interloop aid - 05:14 average | 00:30 min, 12:15 max | 45:04 total time

My own excel spreadsheet data of my loop-interloop times.

Awarded a finishers medal and got to pick a buckle from a large selection of random special buckles. I picked out an eagle. Pretty neat idea as each buckle was unique.

Gear Used

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Thank you for following along.



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Sotol Dance

Anatomy of My 2nd D.N.F.

Ultra #068 | DNF #002

It's been awhile since my last in person race (although I was lucky enough to venture to Colorado in July for a race.) I know that some of you out there have not been to an in person race for various reasons since the pandemic lockdown(s) have occurred globally, so I am not complaining, just stating my timeline. I enjoy to race a lot so July seems like a while ago already. I planned going to Hill Country out near Bandera to take on this race called Cactus Rose as it is known to be tough and you need to be self-supported. It was the type of race built for these social distancing pandemic conditions.
The beautiful (and sharp) Sotol (Dasylirion texanum)

I've been to Hill Country State Natural Area before as it is also where Tejas Trails holds the Bandera 100 race each January (which is an annual Golden Ticket race for WSER). I had ran Bandera 100 twice in 2018 and earlier this January in 2020, so I knew what to expect in terms of the terrain and the hill climbs and the basic loop.


I went to Bandera with my usual goal of just finishing the challenge of an ultra and grinding it out. I honestly didn’t have a time goal, even when others asked me I didn’t have a response to that. Maybe this was part of my issue for this particular race. My drop bags were all organized and arranged the way I wanted them. I was placing 2 large stashes out on the course at 3 of the 5 aid stations areas.

My pre-race gear packing photo shot. Everything I would need for a self-supported long adventure in Hill Country.

Lots of fatty nut mixtures with a selection of sugary snacks to contrast it. I usually do a bit of both so having choice out there is a nice thing to have for how you feel at that moment.

Got to stay hydrated too!


My 1-person tent set up. *Note: I need myself a van!

I drove out on Thursday mid morning after getting my gear packed into my car. I headed West to Hill Country. 4.5 hours later I had arrived in the park. I found my way to the group lodge and set up my tent area. Next thing was to grab my gear and get things set out for morning, so I took my car to the 2 aid stations and dropped them off accordingly picking my own little area of real estate to hold my cooler, water, and small Coyote II Victory Sportdesign drop bag. The 3rd aid station I was utilizing my gear at was at the group lodge which was the start/finish area so I did not set that out till morning during my start. I went for a small light run to shakeout the legs a little. I only went 3.11 mi (just over 5 km) to keep my #RunStreak going as well because I really do truly feel better when I am moving. I wanted to keep running and exploring the trails but it was nearing sunset and pus I still had a big day ahead of me.

My night in the tent was not the best sleep ever as the wind picked up slightly over night. Checking my Garmin stats later on it appeared I 6hr 52min of sleep, but there were periods of slight wakefulness within there so it was fragmented sleep pattern. I got up with the early birds around 06:00 even though my start window for the race wasn't until 08:00. But that gave me a good 2 hours to wake up and do my final  preparations. I hauled my chair over to the start/finish area along with my bag there where I'd have change of kit (if needed). Checked in once I saw there was no one else standing there to help keep social distancing. I got my ankle tracking bracelet and was now ready to go. The volunteers informed me we could start whenever we wanted since it is all chipped time race and starts when you cross the mat. So I mixed up some Tailwind into my Nathan bottles and was ready to rock. Got my Garmin GPS synced and was standing in the starting chute all by myself. Just after sunrise at time of 07:42 I pressed start and heading down out on the course.

Loop1 - Too Fast?

Legs were ready, my mind was ready, and all I had to do was complete 150 miles on some gnarly rocky terrain. I tried to keep my pace calm, cool, and collected for my first loop. I mentioned prior I honestly didn't have a laid out time goal/plan, but as I sent out I thought a nice even 6 hours per loop would be a nice result. I do not study my watch as I run so I run on my perceived effort as I go. This lead to a good first loop time overall. There were no issues, I did not have any hiccups and cruised around in 5:02:30 (a near perfect 5mi/hr pace). Near the end of the loop the temperature was starting to creep out as the sun was out as the clouds parted, I knew the heat of the day was coming.

Loop2 - Shit Show!

A short break between loops I grabbed my Nathan hydration pack (which I had ready to go) since I planned on being slower and also needing more fluids during the heat of the afternoon. I set off back around the loop on a slow jaunt. I can't recall how far into the loop it was but I started to take lots of walking breaks already as the temperature here in South Texas was now reaching 90f. I drank and drank but seemed to not be able to keep myself fully hydrated as I started to feel twinges in my leg muscles only 3 miles into loop2. I had salt with me, I was drinking Tailwind and getting my salts that way already, and plus I had straight water in my spare front bottles. At the 4.14 mi aid station I caught up to my TROT teammate Dena Carr. She had started before me timewise I think at 07:00, so about 45 minutes ahead. I came into the self aid here at "Ya-Ya" and saw Dena, she was complaining of cramps and the heat as well. I felt her pain, even though it was unfortunately only beginning (I wasn't fully aware of that at this point). We set off together coming out of that self aid. We caught up and chatted briefly and enjoyed the company. But like maybe 1-1.5 mile down from the aid I could not keep my pace long enough to maintain a constant job - my calf muscles were cramping. I told Dena to keep going and I'd catch back up later on. I was back to my usual solo running, but not by choice as my stupid muscles were not cooperating.

During the middle of the loop around mile 12 there is a steep up and down called Ice Cream Hill. I was still struggling at this point and the steep technical downhill was not good. I started getting spasms and my calf seized up a couple times where I'd had to flex to get it to loosen. The flat rolling terrain was not too bad, but the steep climbs and descents were not kind to me today. Right neat the bottom coming off Ice Cream Hill my right calf seized so badly that I could not flex my foot to loosen the muscle. The terrain was too steep to get my ankle planted enough to dorsiflex my foot (which is how I usually correct the full muscle lockup). I yelled out in pain and anger all at once. After a few agonizing seconds, which seems like forever when you leg muscles are locked, I finally was able to get myself positioned facing uphill and use my body weight to force my ankles to dorsiflex resulting in the muscles unlocking. I just sat there for a minute on all fours facing the hill wondering what to do next as I still had about hundred feet to get down. I attempted to turn around and instantly cramped up again. I then literally crawled backward down the remaining hundred feet of this steep hill in order to get to the flatter terrain. This was the only way to keep my feet dorsiflexed where they would lock up. Once I got down to the rolling flat portion I was able to resume walking again which is the cure all to loosen up all the muscles. it is nearly impossible to do so on steep terrain so when cramping (or worse as I just described) or even full muscle lockup occurs.

From here the remainder of the loop2 was a mix of super slow jogging, non-stop chugging of fluids, and lots of walking breaks in order to keep my legs as loose as I could. I saw Dena again right before arriving back to the end of the loop, she was already turned around and starting her loop3. Ultimately it took me 08:14:19 to get the 2nd 25 miles complete. Some of those miles were the worst cramping I have ever experienced and was not fun to deal with. Overall I had done the ~51miles in 13:28:59 thus far.

Loop3 - Recovery Night Miles

I sat down after loop2 and downed so much water. I tried to regain any hydration I could. I was drinking constantly out there but had still not peed yet since the end of loop1 nearly 9 hours ago now. I took a good 35 minutes between loops getting in extra calories and drinking as much as I could handle. It was now dark out so the next 10-11 hours was headlamp time. I felt a lot better after sitting and downing a few cups or ramen that the group lodge had available. It was the magic broth that helped bring me back to life it seemed.

When I set back out on loop3 I was again running at my nice slow 100mi pace. It felt great to be moving again faster than a brisk walk and I was thankful for that. But I knew the road was long ahead of me yet, as I was only just over a third done at this point. The thing about longs ultras is that you always have lows, and I was glad to have survived this one. I was now looking forward to a nice steady night loop and get back on track. There was really nothing exciting happening to note on my 3rd loop other than I took about 10-20 mins at each aid station to down more calories and maintain my fluid intake. I think around the first aid station where I finally was able to pee again after nearly 10 hours, and I was relieved to see a normal color which indicated to me I was back trending towards a healthy hydration/electrolyte balance again finally.

The third loop was 08:27:18 but probably 1 hour plus of that was me taking care of myself in the 4 interloop aid stations, so I was happy with this loop. This put me coming back into the start/finish at the lodge around 06:15 or so, which was about an hour prior to sunrise.

Results - DNF

I was tired my feet hurt and I was now slower than I thought (based on my made up goal time during loop1). I started doing "stupid runner math" and figuring that I was only half way done in just over 22.5 hours and still had ~77 rock kicking technical miles to go. I sat there eating and drinking trying to convince myself to get up and go. It was not working. Finally I told myself I needed to sleep on it and not make a rash decision. So I sat in my chair and closed my eyes for about 20 minutes. I woke up and had no desire to go. my legs felt refreshed, my body had no excuse to quit, but my mind was now playing tricks on me and I did give in. I walked over to the timer and took off my ankle bracelet and handed it in, I was done. 77 miles, only half way to my goal of finishing. Ultra #068 was not a success. I had just given up because my head was not in it anymore. This has now resulted in my DNF rate (DNFr) increasing to 2.94% as I have now 2 DNF in my 68 ultras I have run.

STRAVA activity: https://www.strava.com/activities/4238486845

• the GOOD: I ran 77miles. I quit on my own terms, even after a short nap to ensure my choice.

My STRAVA stats. 3 loops completed...then I quit. Still 3 remained only 50% done.

the BAD: I quit and did not see my A-goal of finishing through when I didn’t have a physical reason not too. I lost my “why” for this run.

Ultimately my race resulted in my 2nd Did Not Finish (DNF).

Gear Used

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Thank you for following along .
This was ultramarathon #068 for me, and 18th 100 mile (or longer). Next up: 
(i) Jalapeno Hundred (07-Nov-2020) Cat Spring, TX
(ii) Brazos Bend 100 (05-Dec-2020) Needville, TX




Sunday, October 4, 2020

Training Through Covid Chaos

Training During a Pandemic Lockdown

How I Increased My Solo Runs up 0.5% from 99.5%

The way I saw it there was really only 2 options when we were presented with a suggested lockdown situation in the county I live in here in South Texas. Option 1: continue training. Option 2: accept the situation as a loss and take the opportunity to jump into a recovery cycle. Obviously I chose the first option, which is the point of this blog post in case you haven't guessed or follow my STRAVA activities. I will lay out exactly what I have been doing in the past 6 months now and what I am hoping to gain and build on moving forward.

It was early spring and I had just completed Chattanooga 100 out in Tennessee/Georgia on March 6-7th. I drove home and returned to work knowing of the pandemic breaking out in the North East portion of the country. No one knew what as to come, I was still anticipating a nice build to some big racing this summer. That week I went to my usual Wednesday night group run with the Sugar Land Running Club (Mar 11th). Little did I know that would be the last SLRC group run for a long time. I believe it was that weekend that Texas strongly suggested full voluntary self-isolating lockdown & social distancing. I recall that very vividly as my parents had just finished their cruise and arrived back in Houston. They were supposed to stop by for a couple days before flying out at the end of the weekend. My wife & I made the hard decision to not see them in person for the safety of our kids since they had just from one of the worst possible scenarios....a floating ship of containment for over a week from people all over the world. Happy to say my parents were never sick and nothing came from that particular cruise. None the less it was a hard decision.

I can't recall exactly the sequence of events because it all seems like a blur now, but I remember 14 days being the self-quarantined period then everything would go back to normal. I took my work stuff home and started teleworking. Lucky I have recently transitioned to a new position that falls within the IT function of our company and thus remote working was not a super hard transition in terms of my daily role. I was naïve and thought that it was going to be a simple as this temporary quarantine and then things would transition back to normal. Like everyone else I did not foresee the mass chaos this COVID pandemic would cause in this country and how everything would shift. I still has my sights set on my A-goal July race of California Untamed. Surely this little lockdown period was only a bump in the road....right? How long could this actually persist? Oddly enough I think we are all seeking these answers today. Sad but true.

One of my next races to fall victim to cancellation was a backyard ultra event in April that I was targeting here is Texas. I thought it would be a great opportunity for another 100 mile effort on my part, and hopefully a lot more. So when Dave Proctor and friends put on the Quarantine Backyard Ultra (Apr 4-5th) as a free virtual online event I took the opportunity to hope in and use it for a long effort, as it nearly replaced my race perfectly in terms of timing. It was cool to run among so many elites and 2400+ other runners around the world. Full story on this effort here. It was fun to race and use my garage as my home base so my kids and wife could check up on my every hour, when they felt so inclined to do so.

Pre-race photo all prepped for the Quarantine Backyard Ultra.

Mid March the reality of the situation starting taking affect here in the Texas trail community. TROT had just announced they were going to cancel all these remaining spring schedule which was Mar-Apr-May. Not letting go of my line of sight, I still was training and working on building up for my July A-race. After Quarantine Backyard Ultra,, I devised my own training plan for the upcoming month to run a virtual 50 km ultra each weekend and continue training. I used TROTs virtual races to build my own block of training and providing motivation for myself during this time period. I won't go into all the detail here but I got it done (see prior detail blog post #MyMonthof5s project). I am not much of a planner in terms of my structured training plans so May was a nice step forward for me. I don't think I have ever had a nice long effort consistently like that before. Of course I do long runs, but I often don't stack then in every weekend, like your typical cookie cutter training plans. Honestly  don't even do that many long runs in my training because I race so much that often my races are my long runs. Some call me crazy, but I just like the race setting and chance to get out on the trails. May was a good month for me averaging 75.5 mi per week which is far above my usual 40-60 training mileage.

Throughout the shutdown of the United States STRAVA stepped up and provided some other external motivation for me that has helped. On their app monthly challenges would come up, and the company smarty used the fact everyone was at home to devise and promote some different challenges from their standard ones they had been doing (I am happy that a lot of these have stuck around thus far). STRAVA introduced challenges such as walking, strength training, yoga challenges, and there was even a swimming one. Of course their staple challenges of running and biking remained the core. During the pandemic I have now incorporated some strength training into my workout routine, although not perfectly timed yet I try and get at least 1, if not 2, times a week to a session with weights in my garage. The same thing occurred with yoga. My wife has been bugging me for years for me to join here in her yoga, but it took STRAVA challenge to nudge me into trying it with her. I am happy to say I enjoy it more than I thought and am trying to do these sessions with my wife when I can. I often find myself doing some downward dogs and active hip opening routines while watching YouTube or Netflix even if only for 15-20 minutes.

Photos from my Instagram (@trevormeding). Yoga, biking, and strength work.


Examples of some of the STRAVA monthly badges I used myself for additional motivation.

Related to the cross-training, I have taken a more purposeful approach to my training in an overall sense. I am now remember to keep my easy days super chill and I have been doing more run workouts, and intervals than I ever have before. As a endurance ultra runner we often neglect speed in our runs, so I am ensuring to do at least 1 speed workout each week and more often or not, just add in a few strides near the end of runs. Keep those muscles guessing but ensure hard efforts when doing the workouts! On the opposite end relax and stay slow and steady, even walk as needed during easy days. I don't have a coach so I often research what are some good interval workouts, but my staple is usually something simple like 1-3 min hard intervals (1:1 rest) to gain a total of at least 20 minutes of work. This is just an example. Other times I have been know to do actual distance intervals such as 800m repeats or even 400m to work on that faster turnover. In the end I hope to see pay off in my longer events when i am tired and just need to push for a certain section or am in the middle of trying to catch a fellow racer.

Another opportunity that came about due to the pandemic and the lack of travelling and races was now I could focus solely on my #EverySingleStreet project. I had started this last November and been slowly ticking away progress in my current city of Sugar Land. With the lockdown here I often found myself going to different parts of the city and neighborhood to continue my mapping progression. I would bike commute to the spot I needed to do, run a normal 60-90 minute run, and then hop on my bike to travel back home. My STRAVA log often consisted of my activities labelled "bike-run-bike (part i)". I would label all 3 like this because that is the extent of my activity naming for the most part. The continuation of this project gave me some purpose and another reason to focus on something other than the self-isolating culture we had become. I did enjoy seeing the new portions of the city and getting to know my area. I fully every single street of Sugar Land near the end of July which represented 8 months of persistent progress and work towards this goal. The resulting heatmap is probably the coolest piece of art I have ever created, and I am proud of that.

#EverySingleStreet Sugar Land, TX

By the time June had come around I am pretty sure I had resided myself to the fact that there would not be any racing till the fall at the very earliest.  I was still following the news at this point and searching for races that were saying they were going to be held, but everyone kept saying that then eventually cancelling or postponing. However Silverheels 100 out in Colorado put on by Human Potential Running Series caught my attention. Not only was this a great venue and was on my to do list it appeared to be a contender for actually being held. I was able to sign up right before the race as the RD understood the current environment and knew people were waiting till last minute. Since this was a mountain race in a tiny town out in Colorado I took the chances and thought it was safe to do for me without putting my family at risk. I did travel solo and stuck completely to myself during the mini 4 days trip which included dirt bag sleeping in my car. The race was well done with a lot of extra mitigation procedures in place and as a runner I did not see an issue. Being a full blown introvert the post race party and gatherings usually aren't my thing so I was not too bothered those did not occur. It was just so cool to be able to run and explore some Rocky Mountains in a organized type setting while maintaining my own personally safety. The event was tough due to being at elevation but this might be one of the most rewarding 100s for me since it was able to happen under the circumstances. A more detailed story on my Silverheels 100 adventure is here.

Selfie during Silverheels 100 in Fairplay, CO. What a beautiful course in the Rockies.
This is an event by Human Potential Running Series (HPRS).

I currently run with Team TROT and Trail Racing Over Texas had come up with a great virtual run challenge which appealed to me along with many others. The TransTexas Virtual Run was formed to provide some motivation and incentive for runners, walkers, and everyone in between. The distance of 879 mi across Texas was to be the cumulative goal for this virtual event. This presented itself to me as another opportunity to structure another nice block of 2 month training. With no known races in sight yet I figured I could dedicate large volume miles in July and August and aim to complete the TransTexas Virtual Run in 2 months. That is exactly what I did. In the end it took me a total of 68 days, finishing off just into September, but this resulted in a consistent weekly effort of 8 weeks in a row averaging above 85 mi. This is another great brick in my building up towards my large 2021 race goals.

TransTexas Virtual Run by Trail Racing Over Texas.
Custom medal by Elevation Culture.


My Pandemic Highlights

This has certainly been an interesting 7 months now as we are currently entering October. Looking back I am very grateful for a few things for sure in terms of what has occurred. I could be dwelling on what could of been, but I choose to focus on the good points:

  1. My job - Having a role that has allowed me to transition to full time teleworking. This has been a good benefit for my lifestyle and our family. We often get to do family walks or bike rides now in the middle of the day to break up the hours. I am simply thankful to have a job in this interesting time in our economy as I know so many industries, companies, and people have been impacted negatively. My work-life balance has tilted in my favor for sure, and I am grateful for this.
  2. May training block - a structed block of consistent training that has lead to some fitness gains. I think this was a good first stepping stone for me this year.
  3. EverySingleStreet - completing this project was a unique way to keep me motivated. It also provided some extra focus once the pandemic hit.
  4. Beer Mile PR - of all the virtual events I did participate in getting a big PR in my Beer Mile might be the best one of the summer.
  5. TransTexas Jul/Aug training block - as mentioned above, this is by far my most dedicated training block to date. I am currently on taper down from the back end of this block and looking forward.
  6. Consistency - ever since I started running I have believed in consistent over volume. I still believe this and the fact I run daily reflects this philosophy. As I write this I am a couple days away from 6 full months (180 days) of a #RunStreak of at least 5 km per day.
  7. Walking miles - I've added a lot of walking over the past few months. Thanks in part to the STRAVA badges, and also just trying to get out with the family at home to get outside. This adds low aerobic intensity to my training while doing time on feet
  8. Family health - truly thankful for me, my wife, and our kids in all being healthy thus far throughout the pandemic. We are facing many changes and challenges with the current environment but we all have our health.

The Medings. Masks made are by rabbit with a portion of each purchased going towards World Central Kitchen.

So what is next?

My local running club, Sugar Land Running Club has just held its first live group run back last week, however, we are still recommending solo runs. This is the only time I did ever really run with people during my training so eventually this should be able to occur as the situation in Texas allows. More exciting is the fact that trail racing is coming back! I am super stoked to have lined up some big events for the Q4 into the end of the year. As I write this I am 6 days away from the next in person race out on a ranch about an hour outside of Houston. Looking forward to getting back on the trails with my trail community, even if it is in a different capacity for now.

My upcoming race schedule for remaining of 2020:
1. The Remix Trail Racing Over Texas - 50 km
2. Cactus Rose 150 Tejas Trails - 150 mi
3. Jalapeno Hundred Trail Racing Over Texas - 100 mi
4. Brazos Bend 100 Trail Racing Over Texas - 100 mi
The last quarter of the year is a purpose heavy load to not only build of my last summer block, but a step forward into 2021. My goals for next year include some big races such as:
  • Tour de los Tejas Trail Racing Over Texas - 372 mi (600 km) | Feb - registered 
  • Cocodona 250 Aravipa Running - 250 mi (402 km) | May - current pending: I am on the list, just need to accept the entry once it officially opens.
  • California Untamed 330 California Untamed Racing - 330 mi (531 km) | Jul - registered (roll over from 2020)

Thank you for following along. let me know how your pandemic training went. Did you let it get you down or use it like me and utilize it as motivation to build up for the future? Hope to see you on the trails soon. Most of all I hope you and your family are safe and healthy during these trying times.

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