Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ultra training, week two

The good news: I'm still running.

The bad news (or more good news?): I'm eating like a pig. Seriously. Thursday I had two dinners. Not two helpings, mind you, but two separate dinners. I was starving. I'm always starving. I think it's the combination of a vamped-up training schedule plus the horrific knowledge that in 13 weeks I'll be running 50K in the brutal cold. My body screams: More calories! More fat! More insulation! And I happily oblige.


My foot isn't 100% healed so I'm been running longish runs twice a week and supplementing with long cross training sessions. My aim is extended high-intensity workouts. This, from what I've researched, is the most effective way to substitute running/marathon/ultra training.

So far, it's working. I've run two effortless 13 milers and a lot of 9s and 10s. Of course, the long-distance agony doesn't really start until one passes the 16 mileage mark so I'll let you know in a few weeks if this plan really works.

One lousy thing: Because I need to avoid twisting my foot at all costs, I must run on even surfaces, which means roads, now that the snow has hit. I have to stay off of my beloved trails, at least until the snow packs down smooth. But I did get in one delicious 9-miler the day before the snow hit.

Wheee! Downhill most of the way back from here. This is part of the Campbell Creek trail system, and the trails loop and interconnect and go on forever.

I love this sign, it makes me happy each time I run past.

My gym workouts include 2 hours on the stationary bike, on hill program, twice a week (don't even try this without music) and my new favorite thing, which I borrowed from an ultrarunning blog: walking very fast or running very slow on a treadmill at 15 incline setting.

Sounds easy? Umm, no. I alternate between 3.8 and 4.5 speeds and am wet with sweat by 15 minutes. I go for about 80 minutes total and it's a long, slow, thigh-screaming agony. Last session the treadmill belt was wet from my sweat. It's an excellent high-intensity, low-impact workout.  I engage in this delicious torture twice a week.

The remaining days? Two long runs plus weight training and core exercises twice a week and, this is important, one day of utter and complete rest. And I mean complete. I mean lying on the sofa and reading books and getting up only to walk to the refrigerator to load up on more food.

Besides sweating, I've also been writing like mad and last weekend I took a mini writing vacation at Alyeska Resort. This was a treat from MM since I start a new journalism job in two weeks and need to finish my second novel by then. The resort is amazing. I wish I had taken more pictures by alas, I'm not much of an indoors photo-taking gal. But here is the view outside the window, where I wrote for most of the days.

MM and I took an amazing walk through the Winner Creek Trail at night in the snow. It was so quiet and snow kept falling off the spruce trees with soft little plops. It was like being in another world.

The resort is filled with wonderful little nooks and crannies coupled with comfy chairs and tables. There were so many places to write! I loved it. There's also a fitness center and awesome swimming pool and hot tub. The price, however, isn't as awesome. It's rather spendy, actually, and runs about $200 a night and up, but we took advantage of the PFD special and got the room for $99 (for those of you who don't know, PFD stands for Permanent Fund Dividend, which refers to the free money check all Alaskans receive from oil profits each year).

Must scurry off for a run before dark. We are losing daylight quickly up here, about three minutes a day, which can make one feel a little bit frantic about getting out and enjoying the brief interludes of sunshine. (Come back, daylight, okay? I want it to be summer forever.)

Happy weekend, everyone.


  1. You're already training for Little Su!! With that mileage and killer cardio sessions this early on, you're going to kick ass at the race.

    Alyeska is so pretty, I wish I lived nearer to a beautiful snowy paradise like that.

    1. A snowy paradise--oh, but a cold paradise! It's 10 right now and dipping. Brrrrr!!

  2. That treadmill hill workout sounds killer. I would try it, but I would probably fall off the back! I always find that I am a ravenous wildebeast when I ramp my training up, but it evens out after a little bit when my body adjusts. It's a fun time though! Enjoy it! How little day light are you down to?

    1. Mike fell off the treadmill last winter--too funny! (He who laughs first falls next, eh?)We're down to about seven hours of daylight and losing fast.

  3. Glad your running is improving. Gorgeous pics. Sounds like a nice treat to stay there.

  4. As usual, gorgeous pictures! Great work outside. If you need the energy feed the machine! Whole grains, nuts, fruits, veggies and lean proteins.

    1. Ha, ha, so hard to eat healthy, though we do eat pretty clean except for bi-weekly forays into the pretzel bag (salty carbs!) and Sunday morning muffins (white flour! white sugar!). So. Good.

  5. Thanks so much for posting this to Readers' Workouts. I love reading about both your training and your writing adventures. And, seeing these glorious photos.

    Joy's Book Blog

  6. Beautiful pictures! I live in Eagle River and we LOVE our time in Alaska!