Friday, May 9, 2014

Training for the Lynch Canyon Trail Run 2014

My comeback is a work in progress!

Me, running the 2013 Lynch Canyon Trail Run
I posted an article about a month ago stating that I wanted to gauge my fitness and whether or not I was improving by running the Lynch Canyon Trail Run for the 2nd time. If I beat last years time that would be a pretty strong indicator of improvement and give me confidence as I draw closer to the races I have planned this fall. Normally I seek out races I have never run before so I never really have a chance to compare this years race to last years race. Lynch Canyon is only a month away and I'm getting pumped about the comparison. In 2013 I was in pretty good shape. I wouldn't say top condition but I was logging a fair amount of miles and had set some PR's in the marathon and the 50k a few months earlier so I was certainly not "out of shape". This year is a completely different story.

Racing with the family in August 2013
 The birth of my son last summer really slowed down my ability (and my desire) to run and train hard. I preferred to spend my time with the family and run whenever it was convenient, which wasn't often. I ran a 35k, a marathon and the quad dipsea all with less than stellar results but I had fun and I checked some races off my bucket list. When 2014 started to roll around I decided I was going to concentrate mostly on the half marathon distance in 2014 so I could satisfy my desire to compete and yet not have to put in 50 mile weeks. Once I started this process on Feb 1st with the Fort Ord Half Marathon I realized I was a far cry from my former self and I knew it would be a long slow road to get back up to where I thought I ought to be. My weekly mileage was in the teens at best with my long runs being single digit rarities. I was needed around the house a lot more than before my son's birth so fitting in any more running time was not easy at first. Little by little we figured out how to make it work without dumping my responsibilities on my wife. I started running quality hill workouts to get the best bang for my buck. I signed up for a different half marathon every 2 to 3 weeks to keep my motivation amped up and I slowly started inching my long runs back up into the double digits.

Now that I am 3 months into this rebuilding process I am feeling better than ever. I have run  6 races since I began and my times have progressively gotten better. My wife and I ran a 10k for her birthday this past weekend and did very well (1:01:00) considering I was pushing a jogging stroller on gravel and she had not raced in a long time. My weekly mileage has moved up from 10- 15 miles per week to 30- 35 miles per week with the end goal being 40- 45 m.p.w. The ultimate end goal is to place in the top 10 in the Brazen Ultra Half Series and the mid point check up on that goal is The Lynch Canyon Trail Run in Solano County. I'm a data type person and having run the Lynch Canyon last year gives me a perfect metric to gauge my comeback by. I want to smash my last years time by coming in just under 2 hours at "The Toughest Race in Solano County". I really feel like that is a possibility and if so it will mean more to me than you could possibly imagine. It means that I found a way to keep my love of trail running while still maintaining the love of my life, my family. That is no easy task for a first time father. Many of you can attest to just how common it is for life to get in the way of your hobby. It's sad, but when you find a way to slowly incorporate your hobby into your life and make it all work out that is awesome. Accomplishing goals while not sacrificing quality time with my family is a great feeling, or at least I assume it will be when the Lynch Canyon Run comes around and I kick it's ass!

 If for some reason I don't get the sub 2 hour time I am looking for I will be satisfied with any time that is better than last years 2:16:31. It seems unlikely but if i don't beat last years time I am still WAY better off then I was back at the turn of the year. The journey to get back on top has been and will be reward enough but lets not be too "woo woo" about it, I WANT THE SUB 2 HOUR!!!

 Running is a selfish "lone wolf" kind of sport but in some small ways it can be a group activity. My wife and I are more apt to run together when the chance presents itself thanks to Grandma & Grandpa and their generous gift of a jogging stroller. My wife doesn't always have the ability to make it to all of my races but when she can we try to make the most of it. The Lynch Canyon race organizers have tried to make this a very family friendly event and the result is a ton of people hanging out, having picnics and cheering on the runners that come into the finish. They even offer a free 2.5 mile hike for anyone who wants to do it. All you have to do is sign a waiver and hit the starting line. The course is suitable for jogging strollers so my wife will definitely do that while I'm out on the course giving it my all. As you can tell, the closer the race day gets the more pumped about it I become. I highly recommend you read all the various posts I have written about this race. You will see why I love this race. I think the race director, Chris Abess puts on a great event and I would whole heartedly recommend you come out and run either the 5k, 10k or the half marathon. If running is not for you then join in on the free hike and enjoy some of the best views in the Bay Area!