100k WC 2011

100k WC 2011

Gagarin Half Finish

Gagarin Half Finish
Gagarin Half Finish

Awards Gagarin Half

Awards Gagarin Half
Awards Gagarin Half

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)
Cosmonauts give out the awards



Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday and a Marathon to Boot!

                                              Leonid Burikin and I Moscow Masters champs 2011

Never ever have I  just done a marathon on impulse/whim or cold turkey. My first ultra back in 98 was sort of like that but it was in December and not at a time when I was doing HARD training like I am now. A few friends from the Alpine Runners back near Chicago asked if I'd like to run a 50k at the weekend and I thought a bit and agreed to do it as a long run for fun. that ended in my setting the course record at the time.
After the March 8th race, I did another ez run in the evening for a total of 25k for the day. The next day was an easy 15k then the next I did just shy of 46k on the snowpacked trails. I played the lets see what fits into 4 hours on snow today game. My camelbak ran out at 35K and I was heading back into the part of the park where there used to be kiosks selling hot chocolate, tea, WATER among other  things,etc. This winter is the first winter they have been gone which is really stupid because there is a commercial sledding hill that is packed at weekends where these vendors used to be and lots of poeple are just out walking in the park and can't buy hot drinks or eats now. This is some stupidity the new mayor has put into plan closing lots of street kiosks around town but in the PARK it makes sense to have them for people out and about using the park-DOH. I used to buy wwater at these kiosks especially in the summer. I have carved out a 13.5 k loop on the trails and would fill my handheld at the kiosk at the end of the loop. Sure, we have a well, but getting access is like getting access to the president -the line is nasty and it's easier to just buy water along the way. So, just over 3 hours into my run and out ran the water...damnit!

My next loooooong run (minimum 40-50k) was on the menu on the 25th. I was faced with the same dilemma of how to deal with probably not having enough water AGAIN. After that long run, I hit the track 4 days later for fifteen  400s and my legs were flat still...hmmm I was supposed to run the 3000 at the college meet 4 days after that and my raw speed was still off. The next day, I still felt poopy and tiredish on my 20k run. Friday, the following day, I had my first rest day in FIVE WEEKS! Hmmmm my body was trying to tell me something I think. After the rest day, I was fine. On Sunday, I actually set an indoor 3000m PR  dropping my indoor time from my Beloit days in Jan of 96-HOLYCRAP!! A little rest goes a LONG WAY!! I just ran the 3000 to get my speed back up after lots of looooong stuff and to get the All American standard. I did this at the indoor track that has the worst awful steep banks too that beat the hell out of the legs and don't produce fast times for me. I was shocked.

Midweek speedwork happened on Wednesday:

5000,3000,2000,1000 down the ladder 5-6k warmup and cooldown and 1k rests between the repeats. This is an asskicker of a workout and I need to be mentally ready when I do this bugger in order to nail it properly. It also usually takes me 4 sometimes 5 days before I feel like doing hard speed again after. 5000 gets done at half marathon pace, 3000 just a bit faster, 2000 gets done at 10k pace and the 1000 gets done at 5k pace-it is not a childsplay workout. I hit this workout spot on. I also did some serious ice bathing that evening! Ok, the rest of the week looked like this:
TH- 20k EZ
FRI- 15-18K w/ 20x100m hard 100mrest.
Sat-easy 15k (got winter series awards for the mile series Nov-Feb that afternoon)
Sunday- 40-50k controlled effort pickup last  8-10k (weekly totals to be 160-170 k)

Wed eve I called the organizer of the winter series to find out what time the awards were to be on Sat. since it hadn't been posted on their site yet only to find out it was moved to April 1st :-( and I'd miss it because it's the Gagarin Half that day!

Hmmmmmmm it had gotten colder and things had once again frozen up during the week and even in spikes the ice walking home that evening was nasty. I had serious concerns about where in the hell to run the long run this weekend. My friend and awesome marathoner Leonid Burikin was orgainzing an official marathon on Saturday for his 50th birthday. Hmmmm the only thing is was was of course 50 laps on the paths in the park...jeez a counting lesson! I do that on the indoor track especially when I have 10-15 k tempo runs and have to keep track of 75 laps! TEDIOUS!!!  Well the other thought was that the marathon I'd planned to coincide with my training run the 10th was moved to the 17th and I once again am one of the team captains in our club's marathon match. Hmmmm it won't be fast, but I can "donate" my training run to our score:) I had hoped to do that on the 10th as well but the darn thing got moved back a week. Coach and I decided not to risk me running a fast marathon in Rostov only 3 weeks before the 100k better to do quality long stuff in March.

Sooooo Thursday morning I called Leonid to find out what the surface conditions were on the course and he said pavement with only a little ice that he would have sanded. OK that sounds cool. Ok 50 loops means I can put my Vitargo bottles on the table-no running out of water issues this week, surface seems way better than the crap I have here- icy crusty freeze-thawed trails and or icy roads in the park, and it's more fun when I have company on a long run. OK now  all I need to do is get Leonid something for his birthday before Saturday. Coach gave the green light to run the marathon but under 2 conditions:
1. No changing the original plan that means 20k ez thurs and the 15-18 +the 100s on Fri
2. No breaking 5 min/km aka 8 min mile pace( so as not to have any recovery issues)- do it like I do a steady long run on the trails work the last 10k or so if the legs feel good.
My legs were nice and heavy when I ran on Thursday and only just a little better on Friday,but by no means peaked and ready to fly on Saturday. If nothing else it would be a good way to learn to deal with that tired legs late in a race feeling- AKA how to deal with the last 30k or so in the 100k.

Saturday morning I rode out to Solnechnogorsk with Leonid and Sasha. Both were in charge of organizing and lap counting (not an easy task). We got to the start in the park where the summer marathon in Solnechnogorsk start/finish is near the stadium. I failed to mention that on Friday it had SNOWED SIDEWAYS most of the day and night! We were greeted by snow, ice,more ice, and MORE ICE! Ha, you have to be kidding me, I came here to avoid this crap! I just laughed and thought well at least there will be no issues with my running too fast and going under 5 min pace. My next thought was THANK GOD FOR ICEBUGS! The course had over a total of 200 hairpin and slick turns on it. There was a downhill stretch followed by an uphill one that was entirely covered in VERY THICK ICE! There was also a narrow singletrack stretch of about 30m that was full of holes in the snow and waiting to bite your ankle should you roll or twist it in a hole. OMFG nice surface conditions....NOT! This made the Zelenograd Marathon in December look like a cakewalk by comparison!
                                                       Well, at least they were sanding along the way
                                                                      ICY  uphill
                                                       Pics from Masha Shalneva

So off we were on our 50 lap adventure. Turnout was more than expected and runners came in from as far as Omsk, Arkhagelsk, and some from St. Pete. I actually finished I actually finished just ahead of the guy from Omsk.

                                                         Pics of start  Masha Shalneva

At least the weather was nice- sunny and just below freezing. The girl working the table was really nice and brought my drinks out a couple bottles at a time so they wouldn't freeze. Coach usually does this but he's out of town til next week. Some other runners also set their goodies on the table too. There was dried fruit, bananas, bread, tea, and hot water as well. They did a good job with that:) OK round and round we ran and nobody broke any bones! WOW! I can't imagine how others ran without spikes! I would never do this or I would spend all day doing face and or assplants!  Lots of people went out too fast. I just parked it on autopilot  like I do on a long run running just a hair over 5 min pace all day. My first half was a couple minutes slower than the second, but that's because with 2 laps o go I decided to actually run  after having picked up a little with 10 laps or just over 8k to go. Legs felt good-no wall -just a controlled effort on a very challenging surface. I was first woman and 7th over all. I started lapping guys who went out too fast after the first 10k  and then some more in the 2nd half. 2nd woman was Galina Eremina who  is on the 24 hr team. I finished in plenty of time to get a hot shower followed by 15 min of cold water on the legs. I finished just over 3:30-close to my slowest ever save for the years I ran the Equinox in Fairbanks and Chicago 2007. Actually 3:30 ish was the plan in DRY conditions for a steady training run I wasn't supposed to dip under.  Everyone's times were waaay slow because of the conditions. First guy finished in 3:07 to give an idea of the difficulty factor!
                                                              Thank God for ICEBUGS!
                                                           pic -masha Shalneva

After the race, we celebrated Leonid's birthday and had the awards. Leonid is also a sculptor and made individual plaster plates for top 3-very beautiful work. The medals were original and pretty too. Leonid is actually a marathon monster. he often runs them VERYoften. I don't know how many marathons we've run together over the years, but pretty much anything I've done in Russia, he has bee there too.A few years ago, he ran pretty much every weekend and most of those were sub 3 hours!!!! INSANE! Major respect to a great marathoner and overall very nice person!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women's Day 4k -Happy Women's Day!

Women's Day rocks. This is when the guys have to do all the housework, chores, cooking,etc. it's also the early season opener for the road races. To be honest, this race was not in the original plan. Last year, I skipped it for the snowshoe. All the other years I've done it I haven't eeked into the top 10 and get my ass handed to me on a silver platter by all the elites for whom short and fast is their thing. It's NOT mine that would be why I do ultras and have moved up to specialize in the 100k. This is a short, fun race, but also very competitive.

After last weekend's ass kicking double, we figured it would be best to skip the March 8th run and my chances of making top 6 (top 6 overall hit the podium) were about that of a snowball's in hell a 25km trail run to keep up the recovery from the weekend would be better. Sometime midweek perhaps Wednesday (race was th) I was due for a low volume speed session. We needed to lay off a bit on the hard workouts following last week. Last week, I did a 15 tempo at just under half marathon pace 2 days after the track double. Five days later, I did the xc +snowshoe double. Mind you the snowshoe produced a 10k PR split along the way so yeah,  I was pushing the envelope.It was time to back off a little this week and digest it. We were keeping the volume up but lowering intensity for a few days to recover.
Sunday-20k ez
Monday 23k easy up from snail to turtle pace...progress:)
Tues 20k on the track with 10x 200m on 200 off...eek yuck poopy still not recovered these were slow averaging 42 sec. Yeah better just keep taking it easy. The 200s were supposed to shake out the leftovers in my legs but I still felt totally BLAH! Coach decided to skip Wed speed and send me to the 4k but just as a moderate speed workout at 4min/k-no ass busting since I'm still very obviously not recovered yet.

Wed.....very ez sandbag it slow in the snow on the trails day only 15km. I am simply dragging ass! I came home and napped! Jesus am I still seriously recovering?? After nearly 6 min/k crawl on the snow??? Are you kidding me?! I really probably really really should not race in the morning and take another ez day. I'm pretty good at listening to my body and when I go through a bout of the poopy tired drag assy-ness I know I need to back off a little. I'm toeing a fine line with the kind of training I do between getting into phenomenal shape and or overtraining if I'm not careful. This is where listening to my body is key.

Massage with  the stick before bed and lots of stretching to get remaining kinks out helped. My thighs and quads were still not 100% after the snowshoe. They needed some TLC. So off to bed. Alarm screamed at 7:15 -oh Jesus I otherwise would have overslept and it was still DARK out. I REALLY DO NOT wanto to get out of this warm bed. Ugh window thermometer reads -18C- Ok by this time of yr I'm getting a bit tired of big minuses too. "I really should just crawl into bed and run 25k in the afternoon when it's not -18 and early morning," I thought. Ok plop the Fein into my Emergen-C- I'm just not going to wake up without the Fein.

After breakfast, I got dressed and was out the door by 8:30. What to wear.....Today was definitely a 2 layer on the legs day. I had on my 3/4 length compression tights and socks as the base layer and my regular tights on top. Ok it's Women's Day I need to be girlie....I went with my Ink N Burn Wicked Fast Chick'D  shirt. I love this one because on the front it says "getting chick'd", on the sleeve "chick'd" , and on the back "you got chick'd!  yeah, the guys run 8k we run 4 but I figured I could still be a smartass and chick some along the way;) Ok girlie....pick skirt hmm  got many ....tie dye, blue, daisies, hmmmmm going with the Moeben daisies again they match the shirt nicely. Ok off to chick some folks dressed all girlie LMAO!

I met Tamara one of our club directors who told us all to meet her at 9:30 to get numbers from her. Then off to gear check I was. They had warming tents this year-thank God as it was a bit nippy for changing on the street. I squeezed in a 4k warmup and my legs were slowly waking up. I still wasn't 100%, but feeling much better than I was just yesterday. Soon we were off and the course was nice and ice free this yr. I got to run in my Lunarracers instead of Icebugs.  1 K was 3.50 hmmm that's a bit frisky as it was still about -15C for the 10.30 start. Just before 1k a mystery lady in black looked maybe mid late 30s joined me. Someone new? I didn't recognize her. First turnaround...I see we were running 6th and 7th. Her pace was just right not too fast not too slow we just ran together. Just before 2k we passed 2 ladies. 2k 7.35...damn that's fast for being all layered up on tired legs on a cold day! I still felt ok and the Lady in Black and I continued on together pulling further away from the ladies behind us. 3k...11.22 (11.22my garmin  vs 11.19 course 3k marker)ok, excuse me, this is sub 19 min 5k effort on non recovered legs in the cold! JEEZ! We were just evenly carrying on pulling further away from the chasers. Lost a little time on the tight turn but still the pace was not too easy not too hard. With about 500m to go, there were a few tight turns that cost me some time and the Lady in Black was better at negotiating them and I finished just behind her in 14.50. Actually I would count it more as a 15.10 ish effort garmin slowed it just over 100 short but 3.47 pace. Nice- I was not dying either just felt like a nice controlled effort. yeah, I could have easily held the pace another K and pulled an 18.50 ish 5k proving once again that I'm a cold weather runner. I finished and was handed the card for 5th woman(top 6 for awards here)-are you kidding me? How did that happen? I was also handed 3 roses for Women's Day :-)

So who was the Lady in Black???? It was Alevtina Naumova. Once she shed her hat inside the tent I recognized her. She said she'd recently turned 50-holy crap! I knew she was a 2:29 marathoner but somehow I thought she was about 40 because I remember seeing her a lot at the indoor track about 8-10 yrs ago when I was here on winter break from Alaska. She lives not too far from me. Yeah she looks way younger than 50! There are not many 50 yr olds still running 18 smthg 5 ks either- that's top notch in the 50-54 group. I just thought WOW if only I live to 50 much less still run like that and look that good! Up just a bit from us in 3rd place was a girl who had just placed at jr. indoor Nationals in the steeple and trains with one of the top coaches in Moscow. First and 2nd went to Elena Burikina and Tanya Perepelkina- 2 elite marathoners. 6th place girl was another young, speedy one not too far back. Ok.....so how did I end up on the podium with these ladies in a SHORT race on legs not 100%??? I almost felt not worthy-I'm an ultrarunner being speedy? Maybe I just handle cold better? Heat is my nemesis so that could be.  I don't know but the 4 ladies just ahead of little ol' me are all serious professional runners. Off I was to cool down then the awards were soon thereafter.

So, yeah I still had to get in my 25k totals today.I ended up doing a short and sweet 12k ez run late afternoon to fix that:)
                                        pic  by Vladimir Metelkin

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Killer Double! Can't Decide Which Race to Run? Do Both!

If last weekend wasn't enough in the double department, then this weekend took the cake! What do you do when two races show up on the calendar on the same day that you simply can't miss? You do both and make it a damn good workout for 100K training. The final race in the winter xc series was already long since in place for March 3rd. I knew the snowshoe race would be soon too. Last year, it fell over the March 8th holiday. This year because of the elections, March 4th would be unlikely,but I had figured it would be again arounf the March 8th holiday weekend as we have 8-10March off. Nope- just over a week before the race, I got word it was going to be on March 3rd! CRAP! Now what do I do???I can't sit out the xc series, or I could drop to 2nd or 3rd place in the end. Sitting out the showshoe would be a sin. This is my longtime love from my Alaska days and I can't just not snowshoe! OK the xc race was at 10 and the snowshoe at noon. Aha...the xc race was on one end of the forest and the snowshoe on the other...hmmmmmmm OK the question was now not whether I'd try the double, but now how could I get from point A to point B. With a week to go, I tried finding a ride but to no avail. I figured someone could scoop me up on their way out of town to the snowshoe since the xc race was so close by. Transport was risky because I might not have enough time to make it for a noon start. The simplest way was to cut 4km through the forest from the xc loop to the ski trails where the snowshoe was. I was told it's about a 30-40min hike. Ok not a bad idea A. If you 100% know the way B. If you aren't carrying all your gear C. If you hadn't just run a race and were trying to save your legs for the next.  Ok, forget hiking for fear of taking the wrong trail if anything else. So, a day before the race, I still have no ride and gave up and got the numbers of a few taxi firms. I was just going to order a cab since the drive from point A to B is about 15-20 min. and I would 100% not miss the noon race. Trying to get a gypsy cab from the xc site would be tough because there isn't much traffic in the area at that time of day on the weekend. So, just as i'm about to order a taxi, Coach's son savesthe day. It turned out he was planning a workout at 11:30 only 5 min from the xc race. Cool, the plan was to scoop me up about 10 30-40 ish and get me to the snowshoe site. Problem solved. DOH why didn't I ask him earlier? Ah well.

                                                           signup for the 2 mile

So, first race of the day was the 2 mile. Now, I had a 5 point lead in the standings and my plan was simple- if the 2nd place woman shows up, I actually have to run and make sure I don't let more then 4 ppl come between us. If she does not show, I sandbag and run nice and easy as a true warmup. Nope- 2nd place woman showed so that meant I couldn't get too lazy. If she won this stage it was no biggie, again I just couldn't get passed by 4 or more ppl. between us. So we were off and I just tucked in right behind her and that's pretty much how it ended up.

                                                                   tucking right in...

 The snow was well packed and fast. I felt good and could have chased down the snow PR I put down in December but decided I needed to be wise and ration my strength carefully because 12k on snowshoes is a holy hell of a lot harder than a 2mile xc run. Plus, last year I got 3rd by a super close finish and this year, I wanted to see if I could try and win the snowshoe. So Anna, the 2nd woman picked up just a little toward the end of the 2 mile and I just let her go but made damn sure there weren't a bunch of guys (or gals) close on my heels that could come between us. She took 2nd overall in the under 30 group in the indoor mile series which has become very competitive . When there is snow on the ground though, it comes down to which one of us is having a better day, though I doubt I could get her in a mile or 1500 on the track. Still a 13:11 finish on snow going not eyeballs out in the end netted me my 2nd best 2 mile snow time:). Going under 13 on the snow would have been so doable but the little voice in my head said save it for the snowshoe. It's amazing how much snow slows things down by A LOT. Anna and I are both 5 minute milers but snow times are a different story.

Well, I finished and did a short cooldown then quickly changed into my snowshoe gear-shoe switch and got my gaiters on so as not to fart around doing this in the cold before the snowshoe race. I didn't even have time to wait for the xc awards:( but I warned the oragnizers ahead of time of the situation and since they are also the ones who put on the winter indoor mile series, I agreed to pick up my 2 mile award when they have the awards banquet for the indoor series later this month since I'll pick up there for my 2nd in the mile series.

OFF to the snowshoe!!!! I was there by 11. YAY! This organization is really top notch and does a good job. I quickly got my number and headed to the warming tent to drop my stuff and get my snowshoes on. I warmed up a little bit to keep my legs from getting cold from the 2 mile and was ready to go. Now the snowshoe has 2 categories- sport and trekking. The sport category is for the serious/ professional  athletes and they are generally good. Among us we had the European champion in the biathlon and several others who were strong  many of which were climbers and multisport types and mountain runners. We do 12k. The trekkers were mostly the amateur division types and they do 7.5k. There were less people in the sport category this year, but that does not mean less competitive. So we were off at noon and the trekkers were off  about 10 or so min after us.

                          ready to go and deliberately wore my DAISIES because the shoe was held in ROMASHKOVO- and the word comes from the word DAISY although it's a bit early for them to appear I think.

                                                              sport division

Now, I really liked this year's course! We did a big loop partly on the ski trails partly on single track in the woods. Last year's course had much more technical single track. There were some steep ups and downs and hairpin turns on the singletrack this yr, but it was not too bad. The ski trails were awesome. They rolled up and down the whole way so you could not get lazy. Up and down the hill we went and up and down some more. The course was very similar to what I did at US Nationals in Anchorage in 2005 difficulty wise or similar to our hilly ones in Fairbanks. I felt right at home on these hills and loved the trails. The course was super well marked with little flags every 50 or so meters along the trail. If there were any forks or confusing turns, there were signs with arrows clearly posted. Plus, well, just follow the snowshoe prints in the snow:)! I was glad things were clearly marked, because I was pretty much on my own the whole way. After the first 500m we headed onto the first of the singletrack sections. At that time I was already ahead of the women and a few guys. I do not like to take the lead early but I was just running my own pace and ended up ahead. It was probably for the best because getting bottlenecked up on singletrack sucks. It's nearly impossible to pass. So I just carried on my merry way up and down the hills. The KMs were marked on the trees again nice to know I wasn't lost! On the open secions, I could see a guy about 150-200m ahead and that's how he parked out the whole race. I could see no one behind. I had a lead but I had no idea by how much. The amount of uphill and down was pretty even. In fact, my 6k split was 36:30 and my finish just over 1:13-pretty even effort. My 10k split just over 60 min I am still looking up but is in PR territory. I have several races in Alaska including US NC's on courses of similar difficulty right at 60-61 min for 10k. Damn, I was hauling ass despite being alone. Still, I could not be lazy because I had no idea how much a lead I had. The ups and downs were pretty steep, but I just kept going.

2km to the finish sign was waiting in the snow...ok I thought, I might be able to win this because I still don't see a soul back there. I wanted to make sure I was out of sight of anyone back there because if they could see me then, they could try and catch me. Next marker was the 1k to go sign on the last of the singletrack. I picked up the pace when the singletrack opened onto the groomed trails and the final k came in at 4.58. That 2 mile didn't hurt me at all! It was just a nice warm up. The guy in front finished about 200m ahead and it was nice to have someone in my field of vision along the way to confirm I was indeed going the right way!
                                                                       men's winner
                                                                   little ol' me
                                                                                2nd woman

 I finished and got some hot tea right away. I had wanted to drink from about 8k on. I then headed into the warming tent to change into my drys. That's when they announced 2nd woman coming in. Hmmm I'd guess about 10 min had passed since I finished. I came back out of the tent and drank some more and then i was ready to eat and eat I did. They had kasha again this year  YUM and bread and candies at the finish. There was also a woman selling honey from the beekeeper-YESSSSSS good honey. I bought 2 jars of honey with propolis. The taste was good! I had planned to hit the honeyfest in the center on Sunday, but scrapped the plan because it may have been shut for the elections and being near Red Square where the honeyfest was, was not a good idea because of the protests. Need for heney-met! I'm glad the beekeeper had his number on the jars, as I might keep ordering from him in the future. This is good honey! They said this beekeeper had been selling at the ski races too at Romashkovo-where the snowshoe was held. There was a xc run or ski there in January I didn't do and later found out top 3 got HONEY! Damn, I'll run for HONEY!

Soon after they had the awards, and once again they had sweet prizes. The weather cooperated with temps about -2-3C. It was still cool for the xc race at 10. I left the house at 8 and it was -14C boo hiss but warmed up  by the afternoon. So, this tough double went off well. I pulled off what I intended to do. I had no idea I'd win the snowshoe by over 9 min though. Holy crap!  It's nice to know that I was able to attack a PR on a similar in difficulty course to where I often ran in Alaska and put down a time no worse than I did 7 years ago at US Nationals and having already raced earlier in the day. I guess I have not forgotten how to snowshoe. training wise this was awesome- first race was for speedwork the snowshoe was for strength and endurance. The high volume 100k training allowed me to tackle a tough double like it was no big deal becauseI'm used to doing long intervals and or tempo runs. I would most definitely not recommend this for the faint of heart.
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