Thursday, November 29, 2012

Starting to Get the Ultra Itch!

Phoenix Marathon training is going pretty well. I'm hitting good quality and am taking advantage of the favorable weather we're having on the Front Range. Right now, my goal for Phoenix is a 2:55. That breaks down to 6:40 pace. If I get to mile 20 in 2:12 and am still feeling good, I'll have a decent shot at 2:55. Good marathon times often come down to what you do in that last 10K.

Unfortunately, I seem to have tweaked the ball of my right foot--a likely case of metatarsalagia. This is my first tour of duty with this injury. At first, the injury scared the hell out of me, because I feared a stress fracture in my foot. But I'm now pretty sure it's just an inflamed metatarsal. It definitely doesn't feel good, but at this point it's an injury I can manage amid my training so long as I keep icing it and wearing a special pad in my shoe to help reduce impact. At night, I'm wearing a splint while I sleep in order to immobilize my entire foot and promote healing. This is the same splint I wore when I had plantar fasciitis. Comically, I'm finding that my Hokas provide relief with this injury, so for the time being they're back in the picture, though I'm also spending time in lightweight trainers and, on easy days, my trusty Kayanos.

Speaking of Hokas, there is simply no question in my mind that you can run way faster on smooth descents with them. With Hokas, I can fly on the downs if I'm on a road. But if I'm going down a technical mountain trail, I feel unstable in them.

My hope is that the injury clears up soon. If it doesn't, then I'll manage for the next seven weeks and hope it clears up when I shut down for a few weeks after Phoenix.

Injuries continue to plague me! If you have any advice on overcoming metatarsalgia, please let me know.


I'm getting the itch for an ultra! I've been training on roads mostly and so it's no surprise I'm missing the trail. The other night I finally read the 2012 Leadville 100 report in the latest Ultrarunning magazine and I started to feel kind of homesick. The report was pretty good, though I could have done without the beginning part when the author went on and on about Life Time Fitness and its goals for growth in the endurance world. I like Life Time, but I would have rather the report focused on the race's tradition and what happened this year.

I won't be ready for an ultra until at least April. Phoenix is on January 20 and then, like I said, I'm shutting down for two weeks to allow my body to recover and get ready for Leadville 100 training. That means I won't start running again until early February--the perfect time to start some trail running! I actually really enjoy running snowy trails, especially the Barr Trail. I have many great memories of time on the Incline and Barrr Trail last February and March. I really want to break 25 minutes on the Incline in 2013.

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that a pretty remarkable pattern is emerging with my 100-mile times. On odd years I do well in 100s; on even years things go bad. Check this out:

2007 Burning River 100 - 6th overall - good!
2008 Mohican 100 - knee blew up at mile 60; went from 1st down to 4th - bad (for me at least)!
2009 Mohican 100 - 1st overall - good!
2009 USA 24-Hour Championship - 9th overall/131 miles - decent but not great
2010 Leadville 100 - stomach blew up at Mayqueen inbound; barely got to the finish under 25 hours - bad!
2011 Leadville 100 - 22:35 - pretty good (but I could have done better)!
2012 Leadville 100 - DNF with knee problem - bad!
2013 Leadville 100 - Good????????

Yeah, interesting to say the least. Hopefully 2013 will be a "good year" for me at Leadville.

As of now, my 2013 calendar looks like this:

Phoenix Marathon - January
Cheyenne Mountain 50K - April
Collegiate Peaks 50M or Jemez 50M - May
Mount Evans Ascent - June
Leadville 100 - August

I desperately want to do Leadman but I just don't have time, at this point in my life, to train on a mountain bike. I think my interest in Leadman mirrors my huge interest in doing an Ironman triathlon. Both are off the table until Noah is a little older (and I have more vacation time).

I'm sure I'll fill in more races for 2013, and of course plans will change. But two things won't change--Phoenix and Leadville!


  1. Horay for odd years! (for what it is worth, I have sort of the same observation for even years).

  2. I am hitting the trails every chance I get, I think we are on borrowed time. At least, I hope we are. I love this weather, but we need snow. But I digress...

    Interesting, I am considering Cheyenne Mtn 50k and Collegiate Peaks 50 as well. It will depend on WS100 and how I recover from my March 50.

  3. I think we're the only two who openly love Barr Trail. It seems to be the trail most runners make fun of. Nobody goes there, it's too crowded, as Yogi would say.

    Do you really listen to Phish?

  4. Get that foot better Wyatt. Barr is okay after you get up past the Incline cut off. After that it is one of the best trails ever I think. Leadman??? That's a stoopid idea if I have ever heard of one. :)

  5. JT: Yeah, the Barr Trail is crowded, but it's still an awesome trail as we both know--especially when you start the descent and can just fly. When we lived in Ohio, I often dreamed of running Pikes one day, so when we moved here I quickly made the trip down to the Springs and hit the Barr Trail. I didn't finally do the Incline until much later, but now I love it. I love how it's so tangible--one mile, 2,000 feet and whatever your time is. It's a great test.

    I didn't listen much to Phish but, as you know, they're often played on Jam-On on Sirius/XM, so that's how I've started to hear more of the their music. As a Dead fan, I definitely hear some Dead in Phish's songs, which is a good thing.


  6. Andy: Leadman ain't happening until maybe 2015 or 2016. I just don't have the time for that much mountain biking--I'd be starting from scratch as I don't have any experience mountain biking though I have laughed at quite a few mountain bikers in places like Mount Falcon :-). Falcon is a great place to spend time ridiculing mountain bikers.

    Go Leadman!


  7. That's a bummer about your foot Wyatt! At least it doesn't sound too serious. I dealt with what I thought was metatarsalgia last summer, but found out after seeing a sports podiatrist that it was actually extensor tendonitis. I listed all of the treatment remedies that I found helpful, or not so helpful, on my blog, which may or may not work for your injury.

    Blog post

    Good luck in Phoenix, and with your injury!