I finally did it! I hit 70 miles (officially) this week and went over 1000 for the year! The training plan I kind of Frankenstein-ed together from a few books, my 50miler training plan, and some of my own idea had me hitting 70 miles as my peak weeks. I have now put in two weeks right about there. From my experiences at other distances, I planned that this week would be my last really big week. I take 2 weeks for a marathon taper and I took 3 weeks for my 50miler taper when I “A-raced” VT50. I assume 4 weeks or so of an extended taper for VT100 is going to make the most sense.
This week was a fun mix of road and trail. The main thing I tried to do was simulate the climbs of VT100 as best as I could here on the flat Seacoast. My friend Alex and I went over to Mount Agamenticus in York, ME twice this week and practiced run-walk intervals on a long dirt and gravel road that leads up to an auto road. The climb itself is about 2 miles with the first 1.5 miles of it at a 4% grade with the last .6 miles on the auto road that averages a 10% grade with some sections as steep as 17% grade. It’s tough.
Wednesday we went out there for Global Running Day and hit 11 miles of 4min running/1minute walking intervals on the hilly roads surrounding Mount A, and then did two repeats of the auto road to end the run. We averaged <10min/miles and gained almost 1,400ft. It was a great workout but it didn’t trash me.
Saturday was “mini Vermont” day. We started our run saying we would be happy with 20 miles and about 3000ft of gain. We started running at 10am on one of the first hot days we’ve had in quite some time. About 5 miles into the run, we said how 25 miles would be a good distance since “we’re already out here.” We were 17 miles into the run when Alex started talking about finishing our run with two repeats up the .6mile auto road to round it out to just under 28 miles. I came back with “If you’re doing it, I’ll do it.” So, the run ended up being 5hr5min long, 27.8 miles, and with a gain of 3703ft – still averaging 11min/mi counting our stops to fuel. After we got home and our watches uploaded and we realized one more trip up Mount A (which would have brought us to 7 times up that monster) would have gotten us over 4000ft and we were both kind of disappointed that we didn’t dare the other one to go up one more time. If one of us had said “Let’s do another” the other would have went. Alex and I are the same kind of crazy. We had a ton of fun out there. We talked about everything under the sun, laughed a lot, named our cars the Batkucar (back-to-car) aid station, and planned out some race-day strategy for VT100. We also followed it all up with ice cream.
Today I rounded out my mileage with a solo 8.2 mile trail and hilly road run (700ft gain) in 90+ degree weather. I was a bit tired and it was hot, but all in all it felt great and I even accidentally set a CR on Strava on a hill climb on a trail I run all the time. I think it was because it’s not nearly as steep as anything I had been running earlier in the week so it didn’t phase me much to just power up it. I followed the run up with a pint of ice cream for good measure.
So, what’s in store for the extended taper? My plan will be to keep the next two weeks of training in the 50s for mileage. Then, I back off considerably the final three or so weeks before the race. I have run an ultra-distance run every other weekend for the past 6 weeks (May 15th Wapack 50miler, May 29th Pineland 50k, this Saturday 28miles). I have made it through the toughest part of the training cycle uninjured and having learned a lot from races and other who are far more experienced than me. There are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to this sort of distance. I respect it. I’m terrified of it. But, I feel very confident I’ve done everything I possibly could running-wise to make completing 100miles a possibility. Now I’m going to ride out the next month staying healthy, rested, hydrated, fueled, and treating my body and mind with respect and care. I’ll start by trying to heal up these toes!
I am in awe every day of what my body has done and what sort of stressors it responds to. I’m so grateful for the fun I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned while building to these peak weeks. Time to trust to trust the training and the amazing machine that the human body is.
Mileage: 70.1 running; 9.5 walking (Average gain per running mile was 98 ft!)
Time on feet: 14hr 51min