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I Feel Guilty for Not Blogging – A Confession, Some Excuses, and An Apology to My Many, Many Fans

March 13, 2012

I like to try to do things the right way but it seems I’ve dropped the pooch and screwed the ball in my attempt at consistent blogging.  My most recent post was nearly 2 months ago, which was a lone entry after a prior month of nothings.  Now just might be the time for me to get back on course with more frequent updates, all of which should be as informative as they are witty, with prose as good for the eyes as the accompanying photos are for the ears.  Or something like that.  Or I might just wait another month or three before getting back on here.

Now, for the excuses.  Since the last post, some 57 days ago, I’ve been busy.  There was, of course, the Birthdays of MLK and some prominent former Presidents and my dad, Groundhog Day, some Hallmark Holiday, a February 29th, and The 14th Anniversary of My First Date With Alison.  There was a steady stream of out-of-town friends and family visits and the sudden, unexpected death of our minivan.  Oh, and we had a baby girl we named Story Carlin Randall.  That took a chunk of time out of the day on January 28th but, whew!, I was able to get through the entire process without missing much sleep or a single run.  Alison is super impressed.

Obligatory baby photo:

Somewhere between a whistle and a smile

But, back to my running.  I mean, that’s what people want to hear about, right?  [For the running data nerds, I am logging my mileage on a spreadsheet until I get sidetracked.]  In the same 57 days I’ve run roughly 532.28 miles (684 miles going back to Jan 1).  That’s an average of 9.34 daily miles, inclusive of rest days and a few missed workouts when I thought I broke my ankle (don’t worry mom, it’s fine).  All told, I’ve logged 18 days with at least 15 miles for 2012, plus another 6 of 11-14 miles, meaning I’ve run “longish” about once every 3 days for over 10 weeks.  Adding in at least a dozen hard efforts to focus on speed and this has already probably shaped up to be the toughest block of run training I’ve ever done.  I guess that’s what runners do.  They run.  And if I want to consider myself a genuine “ultra-runner” I best keep on ultra-ing my training.

Last night I tried something a little different.  I ran 30 miles by myself on some of the tougher local trails.  It took me over 6 hours, with at least half of it in the dark.  Being totally alone (I didn’t even see anyone for the last 3-4 hours), in the woods, on the technical (rocky, wet, steep) terrain, was more fun than I expected.  Going into the run I thought I’d do 22.5 miles, which is 3 loops, but I felt so good I went on to get a nice round 30 in.  It wasn’t easy but the surprise was it wasn’t that hard, either.  Granted my pace was slow – over 12 minutes per mile average since I hiked many of the climbs and kept a running clock for fluid breaks (whether to refill by backpack bladder or empty my own).  Still, given the conditions and my cumulative fatigue, it was great to cover the distance without any real suffering.

It was my last very long run before a couple of upcoming races.  The first, on March 24th, is the track one-miler mentioned in my previous post.  That will be quite a test, as I sorta suck at short distances and this one will be run in full view of a stadium crowd, my family, and some of the best milers around, some of whom are attempting to run sub-4:00.  My current best is 5:39 – a so-so time for a casual daily runner but not good enough for a middling high school girl trying to make the track team.  I sure hope to improve on my current PR, ideally to at least be competitive with the more accomplished of the 10-12 year old runners.

Next up is a race that plays more to my strengths: stubbornness and the ability to be uncomfortable for many consecutive hours while still moving forward.  On April 7th is the Hells Hill 50-Mile Trail Run.

If the weather cooperates and I’m patient enough in my training to go into the race rested, I have a great shot of making this my fastest effort at the distance.  While all on trail with plenty of twists and turns and some real ups and downs, the course is isn’t overly difficult and I ran well last year in the 25K that shared much of the same route.  I’m still new enough to running ultras to not really know how long any given race might take but I’m hoping to go a good bit under my most recent time of 9:47.

The 50-miler will be a good way of gauging how effective my recent higher-mileage training has been and give me some direction for what I need to do between April and October to get myself ready for my biggest planned undertaking of the year: the unrelenting 100 continuous miles of harsh, steep trail I’m running on October 27th.  I’ve mentioned wanting to do “a hundred” quite a bit, including in my previous post.  I think about it a lot, with a mix of excitement and anxiety and a bit of sense of urgency.  While anyone who runs more than a marathon is rightfully considered an “ultramarathoner”, there remains a distinction between those who have tackled the 100-mile distance and those who have not.  Being out there for that long (the course record is 19 hours but many take the full 36 hours allowed and only about half of all entrants finish at all) is a quest more than a race.  It is a real adventure, with highs and lows and pain and joy and peaks of excitement and hours of monotony.  That’s what makes covering the distance such a huge accomplishment and a goal worth reaching for, regardless of whether I finish in something under 24 hours (my goal, only 14 people have done so in the history of the race) or 36 hours or not at all.  I realize that nobody else really cares if I try this or, if I run it how fast I go or even if I finish.  That’s just it – the goal is by me and for me, though I’ll take whatever support I can wherever I find it.

So, in short, I’ve been running a lot and plan on running a lot more.  Some I’ll run hard but most is more of an extra-quick trip through the woods.  I’ll do my best to share my journey now that I’ve gotten past the craziness of the last couple of months, with this blog functioning more as a stream-of-consciousness training log than any attempt at great writing, though I do anticipate it will continue to have a decidedly non-fiction bias.  To the adoring masses, sorry for the hiatus and thank you for your continued support.  Comments are always encouraged and thanks for reading!

  1. Britta permalink

    Though I count myself among the masses of adoring fans, I must disagree with your characterization of a 5:39 mile as “so-so.” You are a badass! I just signed up for my own version of badass…a 232-mile relay race on Montana back roads and trails. Not sure yet how many miles I’ll personally run, but it will be a great way to kill three days in July and check out the unstoppable scenery around here.

    • randallmike permalink

      Britta, your relay sounds like quite an adventure. I am hoping to be part of something like that myself and am bummed to miss out on a similar event this summer that some friends are doing in Chicago. But, I’m guessing the back roads of Montana might be a bit more picturesque. Stage races are a lot of fun and it is great to do it as part of a team. Good luck with the training and the race!

  2. Just about time you posted! 9:15 for HH.

    • randallmike permalink

      I’m not sure how fast I’ll go in Hells Hills but I’m looking forward to pushing hard. 9:15 would be a major PR but I may just shoot for that so I don’t disappoint you. And, after all, running this one is my birthday present from Alison so I may as well go out and suffer a little to celebrate another year of life.

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